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This Week: Yonkers International Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Courageous Lady, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: This week's marquee event on the Grand Circuit is the $1 million Yonkers International Trot, which will be held on Saturday (Oct. 12) at Yonkers Raceway. A field of 10 top trotters will head to the gate in the Yonkers International. Also on Saturday, Northfield Park will host the $120,500 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action this week begins on Wednesday (Oct. 9) at Harrah's Philadelphia with two divisions in the $114,800 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the $102,200 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. On Friday (Oct. 11) The Meadowlands will host the fourth leg of The Kindergarten for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be two divisions each for the colt pacers, filly trotters and filly pacers and a single division for the colt trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Division leader Greenshoe kept his crown intact as he patiently pushed for the front and faced little challenge when cruising to a 1:51.1 mile in the 127th Kentucky Futurity - going as a $450,000 single heat sponsored by Hunterton Farms, Stoner Manor Inc. and Menhammer Stuteri Ab - over a "good" track at The Red Mile on Sunday (Oct. 6). Greenshoe patiently pushed for the front and faced little challenge when cruising to a 1:51.1 mile in the 127th Kentucky Futurity. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Stablemate Green Manalishi S swept to the top from post eight while Gimpanzee raced first over to a :27.3 first quarter and supplied cover to fellow Marcus Melander trainee Greenshoe. Gimpanzee slid to the lead up the backstretch while Greenshoe, the 1-9 favorite, crept closer to the top through a :55.1 half with Pilot Discretion on cover second over. Greenshoe hit his best strides heading to the final turn, rushing past Gimpanzee to lead the field past three-quarters in 1:24. Through the stretch the millionaire son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be veered wide but kept to task while pursued down the center of the course by Don't Let'em, who took second. Gimpanzee held third from Soul Strong closing from the back of the pack for fourth. "I was really happy with the way things were working out; I wasn't getting any road trouble," said winning driver Brian Sears. "I was able to be patient with him and ease him up to the front. Then when I thought it was time to use him up a little bit he was there for me and was pretty much in hand. I was really happy with the way he scored down so I was getting a good feeling going behind the gate. He's got speed that really no other horse I can think of can go with." Earning $1,241,273 lifetime for owners Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli, Greenshoe - bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz - won his 12th race from 16 starts. "I was here for the first time in 2007," said owner Anders Strom, who co-owns Greenshoe through Courant Inc. "I started my business as a horse owner for real in 2005 and set myself a target to have the world's best horse in 15 years and we are up by a photo finish now. Not to say the least to do it with this team of trainer, groom, driver, my co-owners which also will include Hanover Shoe Farms where he will find his new home next season." Greenshoe paid $2.20 to win. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 1,170.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,028; 3. David Miller - 792; 4. Dexter Dunn - 751; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 624. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,063; 2. Tony Alagna - 673; 3 Ake Svanstedt - 527; 4. Marcus Melander - 474; 5. Nancy Johansson - 421. Owners: 1. Brad Grant - 225.1; 2. Fashion Farms - 214.5; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 210; 4. Courant Inc. - 202.5; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 186.2. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park with 12 Breeders Crown eliminations (if necessary) set to take place on Friday (Oct. 18) and Saturday (Oct. 19). Hoosier Park will host The Pegasus for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and The Meadowlands has the fifth leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

CHESTER, PA - Of the four winners Hall of Famer David Miller drove on the Wednesday afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia, three of them were victorious in $30,000 divisions of the John Simpson Memorial for three-year-olds. Two of them came on the trot, both of them daughters of Triumphant Caviar trained by Chris Beaver. First up was Back Splash, who rallied from the pocket to go by pacesetting Stella Jane by a length while equaling her lifetime best of 1:54 for the ownership of Beaver, Donald Robinson, Steven Zeehandelar, and R.B.H. Ventures Inc. Beaver and Zeehandelar are also the owners of Pure Chance, who followed up on a win at Delaware OH by taking a new mark of 1:54.1 in another Simpson cut. She had the largest margin of victory in a stakes all day, crossing the wire 2¾ lengths ahead of American Kronos after tailing that one from the pocket most of the way. Both of the Beaver trainees achieved earnings milestones: Back Splash went over $100,000 for her career bankroll, while Pure Chance has now surpassed $250,000 in earnings. The third Simpson trot winner was Sweet Chapter, a starter in the Hambletonian Oaks final, who was sent to the lead in front of the stands by driver George Brennan and had a 1¼ length advantage over Hanovers Best at the end of a mile in 1:54.2, which gave the daughter of Chapter Seven a new speed badge. Blake MacIntosh trains the winner, now a winner of over $200,000, and co-owns her with Hutt Racing Stable and Mortgage Boys Stable. The other stakes winner for driver David Miller was the pacer Trillions Hanover, who has now won four stakes starts in a row after coming from well back, not the easiest route to victory at Philly, to defeat Philly Hanover by a half-length in 1:52. Tom Fanning is the trainer of the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, who has ten career wins and $246,905 in earnings for VIP Internet Stable LLC, Falcon Racing LLC, and Paul Lang. Somebeachsomewhere was also the sire of the lone stakes-winning filly who was not the crowd favorite, Another Beach Day, who came a long way uncovered and still was able to go past pacesetting So Awesome by 1½ lengths while posting her fastest win time ever, 1:52.3. Yannick Gingras guided the Ron Burke trainee for owners Michael Hall, CTC Stable, Howard Taylor, and Let It Ride Stables Inc. The stakes day opened with the A Rocknroll Dance filly Rockn Philly being on top of her game, making an early move to command and withstanding the inside rallier JK American Beauty late to win by a neck in 1:52.1. Victor Kirby drove the winner of $282,004 for trainer Jim King Jr. and the ownership of Tim Tetrick LLC and Jo Ann Looney-King. For full results and entries click here. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Chris Beaver will send out the morning-line favorite in each of Wednesday's three John Simpson Memorial Stakes for 3-year-old female harness racing trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia as he looks to push his training stable to a career high in earnings for the sixth consecutive season. Beaver's Simpson favorites are among a group of 3-year-old filly trotters, including Kentucky Filly Futurity hopeful Weslynn Quest, that has combined to earn in the neighborhood of $1 million this season. Overall, Beaver's stable has banked $2.64 million in 2019 and is less than $5,000 from surpassing last year's total of $2.65 million. "I have a fantastic group of 3-year-old trotting fillies," the Ohio-based Beaver said. "I ended up with about 10 (1):55 3-year-old trotting fillies this year and that's really helped the season." Back Splash, who was one of six Ohio Sire Stakes 3-year-old trotting filly finalists for Beaver as well as a Kentucky Sire Stakes finalist, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first $30,000 Simpson division at Philly. She has won three of 13 races this year and earned $61,100. David Miller drives the filly Wednesday. "She's a fast filly," Beaver said. "She hasn't gotten around the small tracks really good this year, but she did win in (a career-best) 1:54 at Scioto. I think if she gets out there and keeps rolling along and doesn't get into a lot of traffic, she can be good." Pure Chance, who heads to the second Simpson division off an Ohio Breeders Championship victory, has won six of 12 races and $167,492 this year. She is 2-1 and also will have Miller in the sulky. "She's been a really nice filly and she's tough," Beaver said. "I really like her. I think she could make a nice racehorse after she's done with her stakes races. "I had a full sister to her (Sesame) that's made about $250,000 in Ohio, so they've been good ones for me. I like (Pure Chance) better though. She races without hobbles and she's very consistent. The only times she hasn't raced really good, she's had a couple trips where she got roughed up, otherwise she's always been finishing strong. She's put in a good effort every time." Beaver has a second horse, Stone In Love, in the second Simpson division. Stone In Love, who will have George Napolitano Jr. as her driver, has won two of 16 races and $53,078 this season. "She's a nice filly, but she's not quick off the gate so she always kind of gets in a bad spot," Beaver said. "She's usually finishing pretty good though." In the third division, Keystone Abbey is the 2-1 favorite. The filly has won five of 17 races this year, including the Currier & Ives Filly, and earned $101,870. Napolitano will drive Keystone Abbey. "She's been a little bit lucky this year," Beaver said. "She was good that day (in the Currier & Ives Filly), but the favorite ran coming down the lane. She won some races and didn't have to go very fast to win them. She did reel off four wins in a row earlier this year, so things have worked out pretty well for her for the type of horse she is." In addition to his Simpson Memorial Stakes group, Beaver hopes to have two Indiana Sire Stakes 3-year-old trotting filly finalists in recent Buckette Stakes winner Sophia Lia and Morairtime. Those two fillies compete in the final preliminary round of the ISS on Wednesday night at Harrah's Hoosier Park. On Sunday, Beaver expects to have Weslynn Quest in the Kentucky Filly Futurity at Lexington's Red Mile. She finished second to Only Take Cash in the Ohio Sire Stakes final and missed by a nose to stablemate Pure Chance in the OBC. "She's a very fast filly," Beaver said. "I had trouble with her being too hot and making breaks early in the season. I got her straightened out toward the end of the sire stakes season and she set a track record (1:53.3) at Scioto. She has a sister (Weslynn Dancer) that's turned into a good aged horse and she's eligible to a lot of the big races late in the season. "We'll have to see how she goes stretched all the way out against real good fillies, but I think the pedigree is there and the high speed. She's never had to trot in (1):50 before so we'll see what happens." Wednesday's card at Harrah's Philadelphia also includes three divisions of the Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Rockn Philly, So Awesome, and Trillions Hanover are the morning-line favorites. Racing begins at 12:25 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

CHESTER, PA - Two-year-old colts were featured in over $190,000 of John Simpson Sr. stakes action at Harrah's Philadelphia, with Yonkers' leading driver, Jason Bartlett, taking a rare excursion to metro Philly and winning the first division of the colt action on both the trot and the pace. Captain Malicious dominated his division of the pacing contests, going right to the front for Bartlett and posting fractions of 27.4, 57.2, and 1:25.4 en route to a ¾ length victory over pocketsitting Meetmeatthedance in 1:53.4. A winner of his Pennsylvania Sire Stakes consolation event, the victorious son of Captaintreacherous - Silky is trained by Ray Schnittker, who is also co-owner with Dr. John Egloff, John Frisch, and Max Hempt. Speaking of leading drivers - George Napolitano Jr. tied Tim Tetrick at the top of the Philly drivers standings with his 175th win of the local season, going wire-to-wire in the second division of pacing colts with Hervey Hanover in 1:53. After early fractions of 27.2 and 56.2, the Somebeachsomewhere - Here Music Rocks blitzed a 27.2 third quarter to open up a good distance on favored Southwind Ozzi, then held off that one's steady late charge by a head. Andrew Harris handles conditioning duties for owner Brad Gray. The Russell Hanover - Applique Hanover gelding Aflame Hanover was the fastest two-year-old on the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes circuit this summer by virtue of a track record 1:56.4 win at Gratz, and today he showed he could translate his top form to pari-mutuel stakes conditions, heading right down the road and storming home in 55.2 to reduce his mark to 1:52.2 while defeating favored Jo Jo's Place by 1¾ lengths. The baby's next start for driver Tony Schadel and trainer/wife Linda, who are also his co-owners, should also be at a pari-mutuel oval - his Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship on Saturday afternoon, October 6 at The Meadows. Prior to his trotting event the Crazed - Pyschotherapist gelding Our White Knight had had six seconds and three thirds in nine career starts while earning $119,079, including a third in the New York Sire Stakes final, but Bartlett was finally able to deliver him to the winners circle, using wire-to-wire tactics in setting fractions of 28.4, 59.4, and 1:29, then withstanding potential pocket rocket Jason's Camden by 1¼ lengths in 1:58. John Butenschoen is the trainer of Our White Knight, and David Arrenholz is the owner. The Cantab Hall - Upside Hanover colt Klutzy became the only horse to win in the Liberty Bell stakes series last week and then come back with a Simpson victory this afternoon when he set fractions of 29, 58.4, and 1:28 on a clear lead for driver Eric Carlson, then won handily in 1:57.1. Julie Miller is the conditioner of the sharp colt for Stroy Inc. That victory completed all of today's stakes winners using the engine as a means to victory. FINISHING LINES - Driver Eric Carlson had earlier solidified his position as Philly's leading longshot handler, winning the eighth race with Hold It Hanover while paying $51.40 for his fifth $50+ winner of the meet, putting him one ahead of Brett Miller. Carlson is also tied for the distinction of having the most $100+ victories in 2018 at Philly: between him and Miller, they have piloted four of the six triple-figure win horses at the riverside oval.  

CHESTER, PA - The John Simpson Sr. stakes series, honoring the late Hall of Fame horseman and executive, got underway at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon with two-year-old harness racing filly action, with over $190,000 in combined purses for three divisions of pacers and two of trotters. In the first pace, the Well Said- Lady's Portrait filly Renaissance Lady K was sent to the front by driver George Napolitano Jr. before the 27.3 quarter, then the pair got to the half in 56.3. Favored Philly Hanover launched uncovered from fourth at that point, and made some headway before the leader got to the ¾ in 1:24.1; the chalk then continued to reduce the margin through the stretch, but Renaissance Lady K held gamely to post a neck decision while lowering her mark four seconds to 1:52.1. Norm Parker trains the winner for veteran owner Robert Key. In the other sidewheeling division, Rockn Philly, who did not have a good outing upon returning to her "home track" for a Liberty Bell contest last week, definitely brought her "A" game today while winning in 1:53.4. Victor Kirby sent the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance - Philadelphia to the lead after the 27.4, rested to the half in 57.2, and then powered home in 56.2 - 27.4 while unthreatened, boosting her earnings to $118.038 for trainer Jim King Jr. and the ownership of CC Racing LLC and Jo Ann Looney-King. Turning to the trotters: The "Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, showed he knows 5/8-mile track geometry in the first section, going out from the rail with Pilgrims Lass against two outside leavers, forcing one to tuck before letting favored Navarone Hanover go past the 28.2 quarter, and then racing in the golden seat through middle splits of 58.3 and 1:27.4. As first-over Big Weezy grinded to a short lead headstretch, Simons ducked to the inside, and gradually his Muscle Mass - Goodtimesstarthere filly erased Big Weezy's narrow advantage and got to the wire a neck to the good in a personal best of 1:57.1. Pilgrims Lass has now won two straight for trainer Scott Andrews and owner Edward Andrews. The Donato Hanover - Glide About miss American Kosmos, 3-for-4 lifetime and the 1-9 favorite of the crowd, found herself having to take a two-hole trip behind determined 38-1 shot Sigilwig, who set fractions of 28.4, 58.3, and 1:27.3 in their cut. At the ¾ pole driver George Brennan eased American Kosmos to the outside, and she trotted nicely down the center of the track to win in 1:57.1, at the wire a length ahead of Meadowbranch Vicki, with the gallant Sigilwig holding for third. Julie Miller trains the quick filly, whose only loss came when she made a break, for owners Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and Dr. David Goodrow. Stella Jane, looped early and out well past the 28.2 quarter before getting the lead, went on with fractions of 58.4 and 1:27.3, then had enough to withstand the horse that parked her early, Southwind Percy, by a neck in 1:57 after a stretch battle in the last division. George Napolitano Jr., getting a stakes win on both gaits, guided the daughter of Crazed - Naughty Nana for trainer John Butenschoen and owners Crawford Farms Racing. FINISHING LINES - With a carryover from yesterday in the Pick 4 pool, this afternoon's quad-win bet drew a lot of attention, with its 50-cent minimum and 15% takeout. Horses paying $7.60, $13.00, and $2.20 in the first three legs didn't really hint at a mega-payoff, but when $64.60 winner Inner Peace nosed out favorite He's Gone in the bet's final contest, a 50-cent ticket was worth $7441.90. (Had the favorite held, the payoff still would have been a generous $676.50.) From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

American Kronos was slowed a bit getting to the harness races, but quick to make a good impression. It might come as little surprise; she was viewed favorably since the time she was born. A 2-year-old female trotter, American Kronos was bred in Italy at Antonio Carraretto's Allevamento Kronos farm. Her sire Donato Hanover was 2007 Horse of the Year and dam Glide About was a New Jersey Sire Stakes champion and three-quarter sister to Dan Patch Award-winner Maven. In addition to American Kronos, Glide About's offspring include Treasure Kronos, a mare who won a Swedish Breeders Crown championship at age 3 and the prestigious Criterium Continental in France at 4. Standardbred bloodstock agent Perry Soderberg saw American Kronos a week after her birth and she was subsequently purchased privately as part of a package with now 3-year-old male trotter Zephyr Kronos by a group that includes Canadian breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The Libfeld/Katz breeding partnership has received three consecutive O'Brien Awards for Breeder of the Year in Canada and a Dan Patch Award as Breeder of the Year in the U.S. in 2016. "For the last two or three years, Perry Soderberg has gone to Europe in the early spring on our behalf looking for mares and families that we thought would be good additions for our breeding program," Katz said. "One of his regular stops is Antonio's farm. He saw (American Kronos) when she was a week old. That's all she was when he saw her and he really liked her. "She has a great pedigree. She has a license to be a top individual. I think you see Europeans coming here and buying our bloodstock and there is no reason why we can't go over there and buy some of their bloodstock and bring it over here. I think it's clearly becoming a two-way street. And it's productive going both ways." American Kronos' development was hindered by transportation issues, but the Julie Miller-trained filly has won three of four races since debuting in August. Each of her victories was by a minimum of 2-1/4 lengths and her mark of 1:55.3 is among the season's best by a 2-year-old filly trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. On Thursday, American Kronos is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the second of three Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia. She will be driven by George Brennan, who guided American Kronos to her 1:55.3 victory in a division of the Liberty Bell Series on Sept. 20 at Philly. "Julie has kept her on a slower program, but she has certainly developed into a very, very nice filly," said Katz, who owns American Kronos with Libfeld and David Goodrow. "Julie has done a terrific job mapping out her program to make her life as easy as possible and let her continue developing. "She's performing very nicely and hopefully she will finish out the year that way and make a nice 3-year-old. That was the game plan all along and Julie has executed the plan perfectly. She deserves all the credit in the world." American Kronos' wins in addition to the Liberty Bell came in a conditioned race in her career debut and in a division of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. Her only loss came when she went off stride in a division of the Keystone Classic. "She just didn't handle the track that day at all," Katz said of the lone miscue. "Otherwise, she's done everything very nicely." Said Miller, "We just took our time training her down. She has really developed and matured these last few months. We're very pleased with her progress." American Kronos is eligible to next month's International Stallion Stakes and Breeders Crown. She also is eligible to the Kindergarten Series. Katz said the connections are taking a wait-and-see approach to the filly's schedule. "We've tried to avoid mixing it up with the big girls to this point," Katz said. "We'll take it step by step. All the options are on the table, but we'll just go race by race and make our decisions as we go." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

This Week: Bluegrass Stakes, Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Dayton, Ohio; and John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 27) at Red Mile with four divisions in the $343,000 Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Friday (Sept. 28) card at the Lexington oval will feature four divisions in the $373,000 Bluegrass for 2-year-old filly trotters and three divisions in the $273,100 Bluegrass for 2-year-old filly pacers. On Saturday (Sept. 29), Red Mile will offer the $350,000 (est.) Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $200,000 (est.) Bluegrass for 3-year-old filly pacers. The first week of racing in Lexington will conclude on Sunday (Sept. 30) with $200,000 (est.) Bluegrass events for 3-year-old male and female trotters and male pacers. Also on Thursday, Harrah's Philadelphia will contest three divisions in the $107,410 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $85,000 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Friday card at Harrah's Philadelphia will see three divisions in the $98,800 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers and a pair of divisions in the $96,000 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters. Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night will feature a pair of Grand Circuit stakes in the $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for older trotters and the $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby for older pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Prior to last Thursday's $436,560 Little Brown Jug final, driver David Miller was asked what he expected from his horse, Courtly Choice, in the race. Just an hour earlier, Courtly Choice had been the favorite in his elimination, but went off stride behind the starting gate and needed to rally furiously to advance to the final. Miller, known for his reserved demeanor, responded firmly: "He's going to win." A little less than an hour later, Courtly Choice delivered Miller to the winner's circle. Courtly Choice was a 1:49.4 winner in the Little Brown Jug final. Courtly Choice won the 73rd Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old pacers at the Delaware County Fair to cap a day harness racing fans -- the 46,126 in attendance as well as those watching elsewhere -- will talk about for years to come. The colt earned the trophy with a sustained first-over grind covering nearly five-eighths of a mile, passing pacesetting favorite Lather Up in the stretch and then holding off Dorsoduro Hanover by a neck in 1:49.4. Lather Up, who earlier in the day won his elimination in gate-to-wire fashion, finished third and Hayden Hanover was fourth. The top four finishers were separated by three-quarters of a length. "The first heat, he raced great but I felt horrible," an emotional Miller said following Courtly Choice's victory. "The only way he was going to make it better was if he won. He puts up a big fight, he's pretty game, and I give him a lot of credit. I have him all over the track a lot of times and he just keeps pushing forward. "The last 20 yards I saw he was getting up and I couldn't have been happier. I was pushing on him pretty hard and he was still digging. I was pretty excited when we hit the wire." Courtly Choice's elimination, the second of the day's two $102,720 first heats, will be remembered for its twists and turns. Courtly Choice, starting from post one at odds of 1-2, went off stride before the race began and was last in the six-horse field for the first half of the race. He fought back, racing three-wide at one point, to finish third behind Stay Hungry and Dorsoduro Hanover, beaten by only a length. But the story of that elimination did not end there. The inquiry light came on and Stay Hungry, who was bidding to become the sport's 11th Pacing Triple Crown winner, was disqualified and placed fourth for interfering with Hayden Hanover entering the second turn. Dorsoduro Hanover was elevated to first place, Courtly Choice to second, and Hayden Hanover to third. All four advanced to the final, but Stay Hungry was later scratched. "He was very revved up and that's usually not his characteristic," Miller said about Courtly Choice's miscue at the start of the elimination. "I got him into the gate just a little too quick. Usually I'm chasing him to keep up with the gate. He just kind of got balled up in there and bent around to the outside and rolled off. He made a huge recovery." Courtly Choice was not staked to the Little Brown Jug but was eligible as the winner of the Meadowlands Pace to enter for a $45,000 payment. "He's deserved it, he's earned it, and he proved today what a champ he is," said trainer Blake MacIntosh, who is part of the horse's ownership group made up of Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe, and Touch Stone Farms. The win was Miller's fifth in the Little Brown Jug, moving him into a tie with Billy Haughton and Mike Lachance for the most in history. Courtly Choice is a son of Art Major out of Lady Ashlee Ann and was bred by Winbak Farm. He has won 10 of 14 races this year and earned $899,353. For his career, the colt has won 12 of 26 starts and $952,704. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 980; 2. Tim Tetrick - 955.5; 3. David Miller - 701.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 454; 5. Jordan Stratton - 288. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 802.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 724; 3. Tony Alagna - 493.5; 4. Jim Campbell - 336; 5. Erv Miller - 267. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 229; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 182.8; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 171.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 153.2; 5. Robert Key - 142. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. Featured will be the Kentucky Futurity, the third leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Also on tap will be the companion Kentucky Filly Futurity for the sophomore fillies, the Tattersalls Pace and the Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, four International Stallion Stakes races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, and four Allerage contests for open pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Last week was filled with harness racing Stakes action at Harrah's Philadelphia, with two year old pacers and trotters competing in Divisions of the John Simpson Memorial over the weekend, with purses ranging from $30 - $35,000. Trainer Nifty Norman dominated Friday's action with three wins out of the seven divisions, including $75 winner Maria Deo in the first division for 2-yo-filly trotters. Norman went on to take the first two divisions of the filly pace on Friday, with impressive winner Reign On Me (1:53.1) and Sandy's Beach, who won via disqualification. The winner Better Than Happy was taken down for interference at three-quarters. Jake Huff trainee Azreal As It Gets (1:54.2) won the third pacing division. Other winners in the Freshman Trotting class were Looking for Zelda (1:56.1), who went the fastest of the four divisions, Perfect Summer K (1:56.3), and Weekend Wit BigD (1:58.2), who paid $84.80 to win. Driver Vic Kirby also drove Division one winner Maria Deo to her upset victory. On Sunday, the colts and geldings took front and center stage, and so did Drivers Tyler Buter and George Napolitano Jr, who each had 5 wins on the 14 race program. There were 3 divisions in the pacing class. They went to Linda Toscano Trainee Casual Cool (1:54.1), Roland Mallar student Yupper (1:53.1), and the John Butenschoen conditioned Parike Blue Chip, who's 1:51.4 clocking was the series' fastest. The trotting divisions were taken by Lynette Buter trainee I Know My Rights (1:57.4), Ake Svanstedt's Six Pack (1:55.4), and John Butenschoen charge Scirocco Rob (1:57.3). Also on the program, the 2015 Pepsi North America Cup winner Wakizashi Hanover took down a hard-earned victory in the Winners Over on Sunday in 1:50.1 for owners Tri-County Stable and Bruce Kennedy. The 5-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again was parked early, but settled into prime striking range behind the brushing Kid PK before using a passing lane move to win. He was driven by Vic Kirby. It's another big week of racing coming up at Harrah's Philly starting Wednesday. As always, Harrah's offers low takeouts on their Pick 4 (starts in race 2) and pick 5 (starts in race 6) of 15%. On Thursday, triple millionaire Market Share will be in action in race 8, an upper conditioned level trot. On Friday, the mares will be in action. Race 8 is an upper-conditioned level pace, featuring winners from a week ago Cousin Mary and Regil Elektra in a stellar field of 9. Harrah's Philly races live every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday with a post time of 12:40 PM Eastern. Michael Bozich .

There were four divisions of the John Simpson Memorial for harness racing 3-year-old filly pacers and trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 20), each going for a purse of $30,000. The first division for filly pacers went to Magic Forces (Marcus Miller). The daughter of Art Major-Magic Of Michelle went right to the top, setting fractions of :27.3, :56.1, and 1:24.1. The final time was 1:52, a lifetime mark.. The Erv Miller trainee is owned by Paymaq Racing, Ron Michelon, and Hannah Miller. Division two saw Cool Cat Racing's Perplexed take advantage of a pocket-trip to pick up the victory. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Monkeys Can Sing won for the sixth time in her career in start twenty-eight for Trainer Nifty Norman. She now has earnings over $95,000. World Apart (Jason Bartlett) set an extremely slow tempo on the front end to secure the victory as the heavy favorite in the third division. The daughter of Art Major-Polar Opposition had plenty left in the tank, stopping ghe clock in 1:52.2 for owners South Mountain Stables, Bay's Stable, Little E LLC, and Radio Racing Stable. She is trained by Linda Toscano. She is now a seven time winner with earnings over $265,000. Division four saw Chillin It De Vie (Marcus Miller) rallying from second-over position to win. The daughter of Well Said-Flibbertigibbet paced the mile in 1:52 for owners Joie De Vie and Winbak Farms. She is trained by Hermann Heitmann. It was her fifth career win, with career earnings now over $60,000. The first division for filly trotters went to Hot Mess Hanover (George Napolitano Jr.). The daughter of Cantab Hall-Her Culese went right to the front, and drew off willingly in a final time of 1:53.4, just two-fifths of a second off of the track record. The daughter of Cantab Hall-Her Culese is owned by Ed Smith Estates, Dave Smith, James and Dan Giannuzzi, and is trained by Joe Pavia Jr. It was her fifth career win in start twenty-five, with over $93,000 in career earnings. Division two saw Itsgoodtobequeen (Pat Berry) looping off of cover sweeping past in 1:54.4 for owners Jon Erdner, Martin Garey, and Henry Wieseneck. Doug Hamilton was the winning trainer. The victory for the daughter of Muscle Massive-Ucalthisahoneymoon is now over $100,000 in career earnings and a six-time winner out of twenty-three starts. Divisin three was taken by Broadway Concert (Corey Callahan). The daughter of Broadway Hall-Luscious Lindy sat pocket behind EZ Passer, who made a break at the eigth pole. The John Butenschoen trainee inherited the lead, and went on to win in 1:54.3. It was her fifth career win in start nineteen for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. The fourth and final division went to Sianna Hanover (Joe Bongiorno). The daughter of Donato Hanover-Simplicity sat the pocket before roaring up the passing lane for the victory in a final time of 1:55.4. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables and Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and trained by Ron Burke. It was her fifth career win in start twenty-five, with earnings now over $166,000. Michael Bozich .

At nearly 99-1 odds, the Francisco Del Cid trainee Stealth Hanover made a break in the Hambletonian eliminations, finishing eighth, failing to make the harness racing final. After another up-the-track finish in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, the 3-year-old gelded son of Andover Hall-Secret Credit began to figure it out. With the addition of trotting hopples and driver Simon Allard, things began to turn around. Stealth Hanover entered the John Simpson Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia Sunday afternoon (September 17th) on a two race win streak. The latest coming in the Liberty Bell last week at Harrah's Philadelphia, a three and three-quarters length win in a lifetime's best 1:54 clocking. This week, he was face-to-face with Hambletonian Champion Perfect Spirit (Ake Svanstedt). It was the Svanstedt's charge first race since winning the prestigious trophy back on August 5th, via disqualification. This day was indeed a different day however, as Stealth Hanover went right to the top and never looked back. He won in a track-record time of 1:52, ousting the great Pinkman's record of 1:52.2 for 3-year-old gelding trotters set in 2015. It was his fifth win of the season. Stealth Hanover is also co-owned by Mario Mazza. There were four divisions in total of the John Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. The Julie Miller trainee Fly On scored another impressive victory in race two on the program. The son of Muscle Hill-Calchips Finisher drew away to win in a time of 1:53.1 for owners Arden Homestead, Gaitway Stables, and the Andy Miller Stables. It was easily a lifetime best. In a re-match of the Townsend-Ackerman at the Meadowlands, Yes Mickey (Ake Svanstedt) turned the tables on Two AM (Tyler Buter) in 1:53.3. The gelded son of Muscle Hill-My Favorite Chip struck the top after being parked the quarter, going on to a decisive victory for owners Melby Gard Inc. Division three went to Awol Hanover, winning for red-hot trainer Luc Blais in a lifetime's best 1:54.3. The gelded son of Donato Hanover-Angel Fire Hanover sat pocket behind the deliberate speed of President Lindy, before edging out at the eighth pole to power by. He is owned by Determination of Canada. There were also four division of the John Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers going for a purse of $30,000. The first division was won by Mark Silva trainee Mac Attack (Andy Miller). The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Pirouette Hanover was a dominant front end winner, scoring in a lifetime's best 1:50.2. He is owned by Jeffrey Snyder. Division two went to Q's Cruise (Victor Kirby). The gelded son of Yankee Glide went on to his seventh win in his last nine starts with the pocket victory today. The 1:50 clocking was a lifetime's best. He is owned by trainer Jim King Jr. The win put him over the $100,000 mark in career earnings. The third division was taken by Eddard Hanover (Matt Kakaley). The gelded son of Dragon Again-Edra Hanover went to the top, and held off the pocket sitter Mac's Jackpot to secure the win. The final time was 1:52.1. He is owned by Burke Racing, Jjk Stables, Larry Karr, and Weaver Bruscemi. The fourth and final division went to Beach Boogie (Simon Allard). The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Dance Until Dawn was expertly rated by Allard, scoring in 1:52.1 for owners Allard Racing, and Jack and Ferne Frydman. The Rene Allard trainee was able to out sprint the heavily favored Donttellmeagain to win for the eighth time in his career. Michael Bozich .

CHESTER PA - Harness racing three-year-old pacers of each sex both raced three $35,000 divisions in the John Simpson Memorial stakes series on Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, with the fastest mile of the six the 1:51.3 clocking turned in by "upstart" filly Lakeisha Hall in defeating the favored Lispatty.   Lakeisha Hall is a daughter of Third Straight who won her Kentucky Sire Stakes championship at both two and three, but the mile that stamped her as a contender was her last start, when she was third at Lexington behind Pure Country and Call Me Queen Be, timed in 1:48.4. Yannick Gingras jetted her away from the gate and she turned out to be the only detemined leaver against railsitting Lispatty, who let her take the lead before the 27.3 quarter before retaking, then putting up sectional times of 55.4 and 1:23. In the stretch, Lakeisha Hall took to the passing lane, and from midstretch it was apparent that she had the favorite's number this day, winning by 1¾ lengths while taking a new mark; in fact, Lispatty just saved the place over an oncoming Terror At Night. Lakeisha Hall is now 8-for-13 this year and 12-for-18 careerwise for trainer Ron Burke, and has amassed a bankroll of $270,485 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Jack Piatt II. I Said Diamonds opened the day with an easy pacesetting tally by 5¾ lengths in 1:52.3, stepping home in 55.4 for driver Jim Pantaleano. The daughter of Well Said upped her earnings to $446,357 for A Piece of the Action LLC, and is now 2 for 2 under the supervision of trainer Christen Pantaleano. The other filly cut went to the Western Ideal distaff Newborn Sassy, who, on the move uncovered after an early tuck, had just drawn even with pacesetting Wishy Washy Girl when that one went offstride midturn, then had enough to fend off 48-1 shot Time On My Hands by a head in 1:53.2. Tim Tetrick was in the sulky behind the earner of $545,415 for trainer Jo Ann Looney-King, who is also co-owner with CC Racing LLC. The Bettor's Delight gelding Bettor Memories took the fastest of the three colt sections in 1:52.1. David Miller guided the winner outside near the middle of the far turn after a groundsaving journey, and Bettor Memories took it from there, going right up to pacesetting Endeavor and then going by in the last 50 yards to take the decision by a neck for trainer Nifty Norman and owner Gus Dovi, whose sophomore pushed his earnings to $103,975. JK Heaven Sent, sent off at 17-1 despite the hot Philly pairing of driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen, proved to be a pocket rocket in taking another division in 1:53.3. The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding sat in the two-hole behind a moderate pace set by last year's 2YO PA Sire Stakes champion Ideal Jimmy, then had a personal last quarter of 27.3 to rally for the tally by ¾ of a length. The partnership of Michi Abday and Barbara & Donald Amstine also saw their winner surpass six figures in lifetime earnings - his total now stands at $109,624. Yannick Gingras and Ron Burke teamed to provide the only distaff upset in the last of the three filly divisions, and they also teamed to post the only winning male favorite in the last of the three colt sections when Fernando Hanover got the job done in 1:52.4. Gingras sent the altered son of Dragon Again from fourth to first past the quarter, and Fernando then stepped home in 55.1 - and needed every bit of it, as a shuffled Fresh Cut made a big rally in the lane, only to come up a neck shy. Fernando Hanover had not won before this event since July 11 - but his steadiness had amassed him $100,245 in that interim, and his lifetime bankroll now stands at $253,996 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and JJK Stables LLC.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association  

The John Simpson Memorial Stakes for harness racing colts and fillies will undergo several changes in 2016 as the races return to the Pennsylvania after a successful five-year-run at The Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs. The eight races for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers will be reformatted as early closing events that race the same year payments are collected. Named in honor of the late John Simpson, the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association will host the races at Harrah's Philadelphia with double the amount of added money and a revamped payment structure. "The Simpson name has been synonymous with excellence for 75 years," said Peter Marinari, executive director of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association. "We are pleased to be able to bring these races home to Pennsylvania." In accordance with the conditions of the now canceled stake, the accumulated stake monies will be refunded to the owners or nominators of the eligible horses as of December 15, 2015 as the race becomes a late closer. The early closing events, still administered by the Hambletonian Society, now have a single nomination fee of $200 per colt or filly and a single sustaining fee of $400 for those that wish to participate in the race. The entrance fee to start in any division of the Simpson races will be $400. Two-year-olds will make these payments in 2016 on March 15 and May 15; 3-year-olds on February 15 and March 15. Payment forms and complete conditions will be available on the Society website at www.Hambletonian.org or you may call 609-371-2211 to have them mailed, faxed or e-mailed to you. The Simpson Stakes were originally named the Hanover-Hempt Stakes after two of Pennsylvania's largest Standardbred breeders that owned the events. The races, created for two and three-year-olds of each gender and gait, were first raced in 1960 at the Carlisle Fair, near Harrisburg, Pa. In 1993 the races were renamed the "Simpson" stakes to honor Hanover Shoe Farms chairman of the board and Hall of Fame horseman John F. Simpson Sr. Born in 1919, Simpson became a legendary figure in harness racing, winning more than $5 million in purses. He won the Hambletonian twice, the Little Brown Jug three times and won all six of the Triple Crown races for both gaits. Simpson passed away in Orlando, Florida, in 1995, and "Memorial" was added to the stake name. "It's important to the overall health of harness racing for stake racing to continue, and in this case, actually increase in value," said Jim Simpson, president and CEO of Hanover Shoe Farms and son of the late John Simpson Sr. "We are grateful to the PHHA for their support in bringing these races home to Pennsylvania and for their commitment to top quality racing." Each division of the Simpson Memorial Early Closers is named for one of Hanover's iconic stallions or a champion racehorse bred by Hanover. The pacing divisions bear the names of such immortals as Bret Hanover (2cp division), the mighty Albatross (3cp division), and such famous distaffers as Razzle Hanover (2fp division) and Hardie Hanover (3fp division). The trotting stakes carry the names of Ayres (3ct division), Super Bowl (2ct division), Davidia Hanover (2ft division) and Elma (3ft division). The dates and venues for the 2016 races are below. 3-Year-Olds: to be raced at Harrah's Philadelphia The Ayres (Trotting Colt & Gelding Divisions): Friday, October 14, 2016 $50,000 Estimated The Elma (Trotting Filly Divisions): Friday, October 14, 2016 $40,000 Estimated The Albatross (Pacing Colt & Gelding Divisions): Sunday, October 16, 2016 $47,000 Estimated The Hardie Hanover (Pacing Filly Divisions): Sunday, October 16, 2016 $40,000 Estimated 2-Year-Olds: to be raced at Harrah's Philadelphia: The Super Bowl (Trotting Colt & Gelding Divisions): Friday, October 28, 2016 $25,000 Estimated The Davidia Hanover (Trotting Filly Divisions): Friday, October 28, 2016 $25,000 Estimated The Bret Hanover (Pacing Colt & Gelding) Divisions: Sunday, October 30, 2016 $25,000 Estimated The Razzle Hanover (Pacing Filly Divisions): Sunday, October 30, 2016 $25,000 Estimated        

Murderers Row is ready to step to the plate. Or, perhaps more accurately for a harness racing horse, step to the gate.  Murderers Row is one of nine 3-year-old female trotters entered in Friday's $39,816 John Simpson Memorial Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The filly - whose name is a reference to the moniker bestowed upon the famed New York Yankees lineup in the late 1920s - will start from post one with John Campbell driving for trainer Brett Bittle. The race also includes stakes-winners Allerage Star, Model Behavior, and Shaqline. It will be the first start of the season for Murderers Row, who last year struggled at the beginning of the campaign but closed out 2014 by winning three of her final four races. "We know she's not top of the hill, but we're hoping she's in the middle somewhere," said Steve Jones, who is among the group that bred and owns Murderers Row. "It took a little while for her to figure it out, but now she seems like she has (figured it out) hopefully. Time will tell." Murderers Row's father is Donato Hanover, who was Horse of the Year in 2007, and her mother is million-dollar-earner Housethatruthbuilt, who received the 2004 Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old female trotter. Murderers Row is a full sister to stakes-winner Real Babe and her family also includes 1999 Dan Patch Award winner Master Lavec. Last year, Murderers Row finished second in a division of the Reynolds Memorial Stakes in her second career start, but was winless in her first five races - going off stride in two. She got her first victory in 1:56.1 in a late-closer at Lexington's Red Mile and followed up with back-to-back triumphs in the preliminary rounds of a series for 2-year-old female trotters at The Meadows. Unfortunately for her connections, the filly returned to her breaking ways and went off stride and finished eighth in the $31,500 final. "The last race of the year she was 1-2 (odds) and made a break for really no reason," said Jones, who named Murderers Row and owns the filly with Mary Kinsey and Ted Gewertz. "She did that a few times last year. It wasn't a soundness issue, it was more maturity; more between the ears and being immature. "John Campbell said he thought her gait is better now. We're hoping she gets off on the right foot. Every time she goes to the gate you wonder about the breaking part, but she didn't break in her qualifiers." Chuck Sylvester trained Murderers Row for much of last year. Jones said Bittle is racing the filly to start this season because Sylvester is still in Florida. He joked that Bittle was an appropriate choice because his grandfather, Charlie Keller Jr., was a star for the Yankees in the 1940s and later founded harness racing's Yankeeland Farms. "I am very close with Charlie Keller (III)," Jones said. "Brett and Charlie's background is pretty much all Yankees." Yankeeland Farms bred 1998 Hambletonian winner Muscles Yankee, who is the father of Murderers Row's dam Housethatruthbuilt. Yankee Stadium is known as "The House that Ruth Built." The Yankees' legendary 1927 Murderers' Row included Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, and Earle Combs. Jones hopes his version can knock out a few victories this year. Murderers Row is not eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, but does have the Currier & Ives Stakes, Landmark, Reynolds, Arden Downs, Tompkins-Geers, and Hudson Filly Trot on her schedule. "She's a well-bred filly, out of a very nice mother, and we're hoping she's going to be OK this year as a 3-year-old," Jones said. "She looks like she's going to be a decent horse." Friday's Meadowlands card also includes the $43,106 Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. The field includes stakes-winners Bettor Be Steppin, Divine Caroline, and Happiness as well as She's A Great Lady runner-up Bedroomconfessions and New York Sire Stakes championship runner-up Bossers Joy. Weeper, last season's Matron Stakes winner, makes her 4-year-old debut in the $27,500 Open for female pacers. The race also includes Breeders Crown champion Sayitall BB plus stakes-winners Gallie Bythe Beach and Fancy Desire. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

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