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A session of eight qualifiers circled the track at Woodbine Mohawk Park on a spring-like Thursday (March 11) under burgeoning sunshine and over a "fast" surface. Moneyman Hill opened the session with a pocket-popping 1:54 mile over his stablemate Always A Hotshot, driven by a returning Jonathan Drury. Moneyman Hill, who finished third in last year's North America Cup, followed Always A Hotshot through fractions of :28, :57 and 1:25.4 before pouncing with a :28 final quarter and getting a head in front at the beam. Doug McNair drove the four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding for trainer Carmen Auciello. Drury had just the one drive during the qualifying session but the reinsman is slated for six drives on Saturday (March 13) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In 2020, Drury finished eighth among all drivers with more than $2.9 million in earnings on Canadian soil. He had shoulder surgery mid-January that was originally slated to sideline him for 4-6 months, but the reinsman reported that his recovery went much better than anticipated. "It felt really good," Drury told Trot Insider of his single morning test. "I'm still not 100 percent when it comes to range of motion but the pain has gone away for the most part and I feel comfortable." In the final qualifier of the morning, another Auciello trainee—Uhtred—matched the fastest pacing mile on the morning. Driver James MacDonald sent the four-year-old Art Major gelding to the point and set a clip of :29, :57.4 and 1:26.1. With a :27.4 final quarter, Uhtred stopped the clock in 1:54 to finish two-and-three-quarter lengths better than stablemate Undrthesouthrnsun N. Teddys Littleangel, who won on the Grand Circuit at two and in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold at three, put in the fastest trotting mile of the morning. The now five-year-old daughter of Archangel rode the pocket through fractions of :29.2, :58.4 and 1:28.3 until pacesetter Slip Into Glide slipped into a gallop off the final turn. Inheriting the lead, Teddys Littleangel strolled to the finish of a 1:59.1 mile six-and-a-half lengths better than Meeas Dream. Doug McNair drove the mare for trainer Ted MacDonnell. The Thursday morning qualifying session is available in its entirety below:       For full qualifying results, click here. From Standardbred Canada

While they may be a degree removed from the limelight most days, harness racing drivers Aaron Merriman, Montrell Teague and Jonathan Drury had their share of stories to tell in Sunday night’s (May 10) edition of COSA TV. After being forced to settle for a runner-up finish with Wiggle It Jiggleit in his first Pepsi North America Cup appearance, the Delaware-based Teague relished the chance to come back to the Toronto suburbs in 2018 with Lather Up — and he made the most of the opportunity. “It was definitely redemption, because I was pretty sour about finishing second (with Wiggle It Jiggleit),” Teague related to COSA TV presenter Greg Blanchard. “Getting the opportunity to do it with Lather Up was definitely redemption.” The redemption was paired with vindication, as Teague silenced scores of doubters in his ability in the sulky. “It felt great,” Teague continued. “I literally went through it with Wiggles and Lather Up — it was always the talk that if Brian Sears, Yannick, Tim Tetrick, Aaron Merriman were driving the horse, he would do much better. I proved them all wrong; that was the best feeling.” The next year, Lather Up and Teague teamed up for a pair of world record efforts at The Meadowlands — a 1:46 mile in the Graduate and the first nine-furlong race faster than 2:00 in the Sam McKee Memorial. Like Teague, Merriman makes the most of his handful of Grand Circuit appearances, but finds the bulk of his perennial success close to home. “I’ve had the opportunity to drive Grand Circuit races, but never the best horse,” said Merriman. “Everybody’s got a niche in this business, and I’m very happy with where mine is. I had to think of my children first, and (Ohio) was the best place to raise them.” Merriman, a home-grown Ohioan who learned the ropes of harness racing from his father, Lanny, has blossomed from humble beginnings racing for $1,200 purses at Raceway Park in Toledo into one of the sport’s top drivers — and the only one to ever record three consecutive 1,000-win seasons. “It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of luck, to be able to get from track to track and have the opportunity to drive nice horses,” said Merriman, who shuttles back and forth on Interstate 76 between Northfield Park and The Meadows. “The second time I did it (reached 1,000 wins in a season) actually meant so much. Last year, I didn’t think I had a shot, and to get it on the last night of racing made it special.” That fateful thousandth win came in his last drive of the season — aboard The Spinster N in a late-closing series final at The Meadows on Dec. 30. While primarily a half-mile track driver, Merriman credits the addition of The Meadows to his schedule as having improved his depth as a driver. “I’m so absent-minded a lot of times when I drive,” Merriman admits of driving at Northfield, where he has been a mainstay for the past two decades. “You know the drivers’ tendencies; you know a lot of the horses. Northfield’s a fast track; it’s got a lot of speed and it does overcompensate my driving some. “Going to The Meadows has made me a better driver — definitely a lot more thinking and a lot more tripping horses out.” Drury may fly under the radar more so than Teague and Merriman, but his experience as one of Betting Line’s two regular drivers in 2016 served to put him on the map in Canada’s premier driving colony. “He was a lot of fun to drive,” Drury said of dual classic winner Betting Line, with whom he teamed up for a 1:50.1 win in the Somebeachsomewhere and a trio of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions. “He had just an unbelievable turn of foot to him. He never felt like he was out of place when you were sitting behind him; he just picked off horses so easily. “Horses like that make your job really easy. They can take care of you when you make a little mistake.” Before gaining the trust of Casie Coleman to drive Betting Line, Drury worked his way to the Woodbine Entertainment circuit by way of a couple Signature tracks in Ontario — and a brief detour south of the 49th parallel, too. “I started out driving a lot at Kawartha and Georgian, and I got hooked up driving for Carmen Auciello quite a bit,” Drury recounted. “He actually gave me a chance to go down and drive a little bit in the States when he had some horses first go there. Once I came back home, I drove a vast majority of his stable, and it took off from there.” Central Ontario Standardbred Association The entire broadcast, which aired on the Central Ontario Standardbred Association’s Facebook page, appears below.

MILTON, ON - November 16, 2018 - The inaugural Harvest Series wrapped up Friday with sensational performances from Ontario sired sophomores Phantom Seelster and Johnny Bravo. A pair of series finales for colts and geldings took place on Friday's 10-race card with a full field of 10 clashing on the pacing side and a field of six battling on the trot. Phantom Seelster completed the sweep of the Harvest Series with a strong 2¾ lengths victory in the $47,500 final for pacing colts and geldings. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Phantom Seelster got away second and enjoyed a two-hole ride behind Westslucky Terror, who cut out fractions of :27.3, :57.1 and 1:26. Shadow Moon made a first-up bid in the middle-half to apply some pressure, but began to fade nearing three-quarters, which forced a cover-riding Mission Three and Foot Solider three-wide. Phantom Seelster and Roy had room to slide out of the two-hole at the top of the lane, surged by Westslucky Terror to claim the lead and pulled away from his rivals for a 1:54.2 victory. Mission Three finished second, while Foot Solider was third and Westslucky Terror fourth. Trained by Richard Moreau, Phantom Seelster entered the Harvest Series winless in 14 starts this season and now exits with three wins in 17 outings. The gelded son of Mach Three teamed up with a different driver in each of the three Harvest Series legs, partnering with Bob McClure and Trevor Henry in the preliminary legs. Phantom Seelster has now earned $55,270 this season following the series sweep, while his career numbers now sit at six wins and $98,935 earned for owners Gestion Mastel Inc, Conrad Leber and Marcel Barrieau. A $2 win ticket on Phantom Seelster returned $3. Johnny Bravo continued his winning ways with a 1:58.2 victory in the $43,900 final for trotting colts and geldings. Driven by Jean Bernard Renaud, Johnny Bravo was parked around the first turn and had to be pushed to clear Charlie Ona Harley for the top spot. Once in command, Johnny Bravo posted fractions of :57 and 1:27.4. In the stretch, Johnny Bravo was able to seal the deal by holding off a late push from Draft Year, who sat fourth for most of the mile, for a length victory. Charlie Ona Harley finished third, while Master Switch was fourth. A gelded son of Johnny William, Johnny Bravo entered Friday's final off a victory in the second leg and a runner-up finish in the first leg. The Paul Walker trainee has now won three of his last four starts to improve his record to four wins in 12 starts. Unraced as a two-year-old, Johnny Bravo has now earned $59,400 for owner/breeders Paul Walker and Julie Walker. He paid $4.20 to win. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario three-year-olds, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2018 as of September 30. Friday evening's card also saw another edition of the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Preferred Pace. Seven-year-old Exhilarated put an end to Kendall Seeslster's winning streak by muscling by in the final strides for a thrilling victory. Kendall Seelster got things her own way, posting fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:24.2. Exhilarated enjoyed a two-hole ride behind the heavy-favourite and took her shot in the lane along with the other four mares in the field. A six-across finish developed with Exhilarated just getting by in the final stride for a 1:53.3 victory. Kendall Seelster finished second, beat a head, while P L Hurricane was third. Trained by Carmen Auciello, Exhilarated and driver Jonathan Drury went off at odds of 12-1 and were entering Friday's contest off back-to-back fourth-place finishes. The veteran mare now has 11 wins and $198,620 earned in 41 starts this season for owner Auciello Stables. Exhilarated pushed her career numbers to 36 wins and $589,130 earned with the upset victory. She paid $27 to win. Live racing continues Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Reigning Grassroots champion Pretty Handsome delivered an emphatic statement at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night, laying down a :27.4 final quarter in his 1:51.3 Semi-Final victory on a night when the wind slammed into each field as they turned for home. "It's about a three second wind really," said driver Jody Jamieson, who won two of the eight Semi-Finals, including the other three-year-old colt event. "So the trip (Jonathan) Drury's horse went was monstrous." Drury and Pretty Handsome left smartly from Post 5 in the second $20,000 pacing colt Semi-Final and were comfortably in control by the :28 quarter. Unchallenged through a :56.3 half and 1:23.4 three-quarters, Pretty Handsome seemed completely unfazed by the wind that took the steam out of many of the evening's pacesetters. Rather than slowing, the Mach Three gelding powered down the stretch to a nine and one-quarter length victory. Luka Shenko and Shadow Moon completed the top three, with Phantom Seelster and Gideon Seelster also advancing to next week's championship. "Actually, he didn't surprise me tonight," said Andrew McCabe, who trains Pretty Handsome for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein. "A lot of horses that were leaving out into the wind and then finishing into the wind as well were getting tired, but he just seemed to accelerate in the stretch." The win was Pretty Handsome's third straight and makes him a perfect four-for-four in Grassroots action this season. A two-time Grassroots winner at two, Pretty Handsome was not the favourite in last year's final and was awarded the title when Phantom Seelster was placed from first to ninth for causing interference. Second across the line, Pretty Handsome was elevated to first. With the other two-year-old title holders failing to advance to this year's finals, the gelding is the only horse with an opportunity to repeat as champion. Hoping to prevent Pretty Handsome from repeating will be the other Semi-Final winner, When You Dance, who used a late sprint to score his 1:54.2 victory. Pocket-sitter Yacht Seelster was second while pacesetter and fan favourite Casimir Richie P settled for third. JM Jack Of Hearts and Stock also advanced. Moffat resident Jody Jamieson piloted When You Dance to the win for trainer Ben Wallace of Puslinch and his partners Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, Quebec and Birnam Wood Farms of Boca Raton, Florida. Like Pretty Handsome When You Dance is undefeated in Grassroots action this season, winning two regular season events prior to his Semi-Final victory. "He's just been a nice horse all year for us," said Wallace of the long-legged pacer. "He's had a great summer and we're looking forward to next week." Jamieson's other victory came in the pacing filly division with favourite Neon Moon, who turned for home so far ahead of her peers she was able to ease up in the stretch and still hit the wire six and one-quarter lengths the best in 1:54.4. Sunday Afternoon finished second, Lady Bubbles was third, Mittany Nicole fourth and Enchanted Eva rounded out the finalists in fifth. "She's a beast," said Jamieson, who drives the Sportswriter filly for owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ontario. "She's likely a Gold contender, but that division is so tough she's taking the road less travelled. With no bad luck, she should win the Grassroots Final." Guelph resident Jonathan Drury earned his second Semi-Final win in the other pacing filly contest, guiding Machnhope to a 1:54.2 victory over Princess Abie W and Azure Seelster. Sharks Summrshandy and I Shadow U rounded out the top five. Bill Robinson trains the Mach Three daughter for CMR Farms of Hagersville, David Serwatuk of Hamilton and BC Reichheld Stables of Caledonia, Ontario. In the sophomore trotting colt Semi-Finals, Say You Do was also untroubled by the wind, pulling away from the field in the stretch to record a 12 length victory in 1:58. T Barrr finished second in spite of broken equipment, Legend Within was third, Daylon Phantom fourth and Sicario fifth. "He's a big strong colt that wasn't bothered by the windy conditions tonight," said driver Paul MacDonell. "He'll be a factor in the final next week." Guelph resident MacDonell crafted the Kadabra gelding's third lifetime win for trainer Stephen Oldford, Oldford Racing LLC of Port Huron and Gene Oldford Farms LLC of St. Clair, Michigan. The other trotting colt Semi-Final went to favourite Jammin Jack and driver James MacDonald in 1:59.2. Mister Magic was second, Delcrest Holiday third, Takter fourth and Northern Ruler finished fifth. Mark Steacy trains Angus Hall son Jammin Jack for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. The trotting filly Semi-Finals went to Stormont Charlotte and Zorgwijk Sophia. Stormont Charlotte trotted to a personal best 1:57.2, finishing four lengths ahead of favourite Hopes Solo and pacesetter Ezee Tiguan. Magics Lucky Charm and Gradabra also advanced to the final. Sylvain Filion piloted the Justice Hall daughter to the win for trainer John Gouveia and owner Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. Favourite Zorgwijk Sophia sailed to a 1:59 victory, five and one-half lengths ahead of Melanie G and Shotgun Sally. Stormont Chef and Gotta Pay To Play were well back in fourth and fifth. Doug McNair drove both Zorgwijk Sophia and Ezee Tiguan for trainer Lyle MacArthur and owners Linda Wellwood of St. George Brant and Tammy Aspden of Caistor Centre and will have to choose between the two for the final. "Sophia is a nice little filly to drive," McNair said. "The other filly is different. Once you start her up she's tricky to get relaxed." McNair has until Tuesday to make his decision, when the top five finishers from all of the two and three-year-old Semi-Finals will be entered in the post-position draw for the finals. The eight Grassroots champions will be crowned Saturday, Sept. 29 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

There were few surprises as the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings wrapped up their Grassroots regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening, with either the favourite or the fans' second choice winning all three divisions. In the first $19,150 division, second choice Casimir Richie P and driver Trevor Henry went directly to the lead from Post 5 and never relinquished control. The son of Astronomical rang up fractions of :26.2, :55.3 and 1:24.2 on his way to a personal best 1:51.2. Favourite Luka Shenko and Gold Rush finished in a dead heat for second, one and three-quarter lengths behind the winner. "He's been a really nice colt for us. Only cost me $6,000 and he must be getting close to $100,000 life now," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "He's just not quite good enough for the Gold, he got third, fourth maybe, but he seems to relish the Grassroots side. He was in record form tonight, so that was good." Cambridge resident Moore shares ownership of Casimir Richie P with his son Tyler Moore of Campbellville and Michael Goldberg of Toronto, Ontario. Through two seasons of racing the colt has earned $93,818 and will be looking to pad that in the Grassroots post season. With two wins and one third to his credit in three Grassroots starts, Casimir Richie P tallied 112 points and heads into the Sept. 21 Semi-Final ranked fourth in the division. "I gave him a week off last week and trained him on Tuesday, and he trained wicked good over the farm track, so I might give him another week off," said Dr. Moore of the colt's schedule heading into the Semi-Finals. "I'm not sure yet, I'll see how he comes out of this one." Second choice When You Dance had a much tougher trip to the winner's circle in the second $19,150 division. Starting from Post 9, the Mach Three gelding and driver Jody Jamieson were parked for much of the :26.1 first quarter and enjoyed just a brief hold of the lead before Wind Blast circled back around to the front. Tucked in second at the :54.3 half, Jamieson sent When You Dance back into the outer lane heading by the 1:23.2 three-quarters and then waged a fierce battle in the stretch with Shadow Moon before prevailing by a nose in 1:53. Shadow Moon settled for second and fan favourite Bit Of Luck was third. "It was a tough, gritty win. He was parked past the eighth in 12 seconds and cleared ,and then had to let a high odds horse go," said trainer Ben Wallace. "Then he was lucky to squeeze out in the top and take him to come again. So it was gutty win. I know they only went in 1:53, but it wasn't an easy 1:53, if you know what I mean." The Puslinch, Ontario resident owns When You Dance in partnership with Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, Quebec and Birnam Wood Farms of Boca Raton, Florida. The gelding was also victorious in his only other Grassroots start, at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 22, and heads into the post-season in sixth spot with 100 points. "He's a deserving winner, he's had a tough summer," said Wallace, adding that the gelding will not start again before the Sept. 21 Semi-Final. "He hasn't had the best luck with trips and situations and maybe showing up, when he did draw good, maybe not as healthy as he could have been, so it was a nice win." With a flawless record of three wins in three Grassroots starts, reigning division champion Pretty Handsome heads back to the post-season tied for top spot in the standings with 150 points. The Mach Three son and driver Jonathan Drury cruised to victory in the third $19,500 division on Friday, sailing home five and one-quarter lengths the best in 1:50.2. JM Jack Of Hearts followed the favourite around the oval and into second and Gideon Seelster was third. "He seems to be in top form right now, always good heading towards the Semi-Final," said Andrew McCabe, who trains Pretty Handsome for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, Ontario. "We had a little bit of a hiccup with him there. He kind of earned the chance to try the Gold and he got sick on us up there in Ottawa (July 22). "We're really trying to win a Gold in the worst way, never won one. Not ever. It's never, ever, ever worked out," McCabe added. "Every time we try and make that approach something backfires on us." Pretty Handsome finished seventh in the July 22 Gold Leg at Rideau Carleton Raceway and eighth in a second attempt against the top colts at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 4. After almost a month off, the gelding returned to action in a Sept. 1 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park and regained his winning form, touring the Campbellville oval in 1:51. Friday's victory was his seventh of the season from 11 starts. Pretty Handsome will begin defense of his division title on Sept. 21. The top 20 point earners will compete in the Semi-Final round, with the top five finishers in each Semi-Final advancing to the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championship, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Clinton Raceway closed out its 2018 season with an outstanding afternoon of racing on Sunday featuring the 38th annual Charity Driver's Challenge and four Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies. Contested over the first eight races, the Charity Driver's Challenge was a fierce battle between Jody Jamieson, Doug McNair and Bob McClure. Heading into the final leg of the challenge McNair was leading with 160 points, McClure sat second with 137 and Jamieson was in third with 128 points. With a gritty first-over effort aboard Grande Seelster, Jamieson claimed the victory and with it his sixth Clinton Charity Driver's Challenge title. "To win number six today was a bit of a shock really. Some of the top young drivers in the country were here today, so you never know how it will play out," said Jamieson, who hails from Moffat, Ontario. "Fortunately, I had the best horses today and made it look quite easy." The participating drivers and Clinton Raceway fans raised just over $5,000 for the Tanner Steffler Foundation, which aims to support Huron County youth aged 12 to 24, and their families, with issues surrounding mental health and addiction, with the long-term goal of building a treatment and wellness facility within the county. All eight drivers - Natasha Day, Jonathan Drury, Ryan Holliday, Jamieson, James MacDonald, McClure, McNair and Scott Wray - were enthusiastic participants in the annual event, both for the friendly rivalry and the cause they were supporting. "I was leading until the last race and then got beat by Jody," said McNair. "But it was all for a good cause. It is important for people to realise that everyone and anyone can have mental health challenges, and no one should feel like they are different because of it, or be unable to find help." Once the challenge had come to an end Jamieson, McNair and McClure continued their dominant performances in the Grassroots events, with each reinsman piloting one two-year-old pacing filly to victory. McClure kicked things off with Lady Driver, delivering an impressive performance from Post 7 that saw them battle up the outer lane to a head victory in 1:59. Pacesetter and fan favourite Twin B Friendly settled for second and Hard Eight was third. "She's a nice little filly," said McClure, who piloted Lady Driver to the win for trainer Mike Keeling. "She's great gaited and that makes her very handy on the small tracks." The win was the first of the season for Sportswriter daughter Lady Driver, who is owned by CTC Stable of Chestnut Ridge, NY, and David Hamm and Michael Hall of Dagsboro, DE. Jonathan Drury interrupted the Jamieson-McNair-McClure show with a victory in the second $18,800 Grassroots division, guiding favourite Clearly Better to her first Grassroots victory in 2:00.3. From Post 2 the Betterthancheddar daughter controlled all the fractions and bested Better Now and Three Rocks by one and one-half lengths. Cambridge resident Blake MacIntosh conditions Clearly Better for his partners Stuart McIntosh of Essex, Ontario and Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. Jamieson was back in the winner's circle following the third Grassroots division with Jack Darling trainee Free Exchange. The fan favourites took command going by the quarter and sailed home to a one and one-half length victory in 1:59. Loves Delight was second and Turn Back Time completed the top three. "Free Exchange is getting stronger with each start," said Jamieson. "She is definitely one of the best Grassrooters around and I'm glad Jack has stuck with me to drive her." The win was Free Exchange's first Grassroots victory and her second lifetime. Exeter native Darling, who now calls Cambridge home, owns and trains the Betterthancheddar daughter. McNair wrapped up the program, and the Clinton Raceway season, in thrilling fashion, steering Sports Flix to a track record effort for his father Gregg McNair of Guelph and owner James Fraleigh of Dresden, Ontario. The Sportswriter daughter came from off the pace, swinging out three-wide at the three-quarter pole, and powered down the stretch to a four and one-half length victory in 1:57. Karans Choice was second and Aumydarlin was third. "She raced really good, that's a big mile up here," said the reinsman. The clocking took one-fifth of a second off the 1:57.1 standard established by Bourbon Seelster in an August 2015 Grassroots event. Sports Flix now has two Grassroots victories to her credit and sits atop the two-year-old pacing filly division with 117 points as they head into the fifth and final regular season Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 10. In addition the Charity Driver's Challenge and Ontario Sires Stakes action, Clinton Raceway also hosted its first-ever Weiner Dog Race and the victorious canine was Zinc from Post 8. The six-year-old Zinc was cheered on to his victory by handlers Maggie and John. Racing will return to Clinton Raceway in 2019 with more Ontario Sires Stakes action, family friendly events and community fundraising activities. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

MILTON, ON -  August 6, 2018 - Blank Canvas and Captain Nash found the winner's circle in Monday evening's second leg of the Dream Maker Series for two-year-old pacers. A total of 12 rookies were split into a pair of $14,000 divisions. Round one winners Captain Ahab and Best In Show opted to skip the second leg, which opened the door for two rookies to grab a victory and enter next week's final with confidence. Blank Canvas remained undefeated with a blowout 1:52 score for driver Jonathan Drury and trainer Casie Coleman in the evening's first split. The gelded son of Art Major rushed from third to first on the far turn, pacing his third-quarter in :27.2 to reach that station in 1:24.1. Blank Canvas proceeded to cruise home in :27.4 to win by nearly six-lengths. U S Captain finished second, while Thisihowwedoit was third. A $30,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Blank Canvas did not participate in last week's first leg of the Dream Maker. The Coleman trainee is now three for three in his young career with his three victories coming by a combined 13 ¾ lengths. Blank Canvas has earned $21,000 for owners West Wins Stable, J Robert Darrow and A Harris Racing LLC. He paid $2.60 to win. The second division saw Captain Nash break his maiden with a 1:52.2 score for driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Carl Jamieson. Quatrain Blue Chip cut the mile, posting fractions of :28.1, :56.4 and 1:23.4 to lead into the lane. Captain Nash followed in the two-hole, sitting a little less than two-lengths off the lead during the red-hot third-quarter. In the stretch, Captain Nash powered by Quatrain Blue Chip and paced home in :28.1 to win by 2 ¼ lengths. Twin B Jays finished second, while Macs Power, who was the race-favourite, reached up for third after being well-back turning for home. A son of Captaintreacherous, Captain Nash had two runner-up finishes in two starts coming into Monday's start. The Jamieson trainee came up half a length short to Best In Show in last week's first leg. Captain Nash, who was a $19,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, is now one for three with $14,000 earned for owners Carl Jamieson and Brian Paquet. He paid $8.50 to win. The $39,000 final of the Dream Maker Series is scheduled for next Monday evening. Live racing continues Tuesday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The second leg of the Whenuwishuponastar Series for two-year-old pacing fillies headlines an 11-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Freshman Grassroots champion Pretty Handsome picked up where he left off last season, scoring a victory in the three-year-old pacing colt season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, but this time there was nothing controversial about the win. "He got his regular reinsman JD (Jonathan Drury) back on him tonight and picked up where he left off last year. This start we didn't win by default, we won outright," said trainer Andrew McCabe with a chuckle, referring to last September's Grassroots Championship where Pretty Handsome was awarded the win after Phantom Seelster was placed from first to ninth for causing interference in the stretch. In Friday's rematch Drury and Pretty Handsome lined up at Post 7 while Phantom Seelster and driver Sylvain Filion were at Post 4. Big Talking Man roared away from Post 10 to a :26.4 opening quarter so Filion dropped Phantom Seelster into fourth on the rail and Drury tucked Pretty Handsome right behind the favourite in fifth. When Filion and Phantom Seelster made their move into the outer lane before the :55.2 half, Drury tipped Pretty Handsome out in their wake and tagged along through the 1:52.1 three-quarters. Turning for home Drury gave Pretty Handsome a clear look at the wire and the gelding powered by Phantom Seelster and on to a 1:52.1 victory. The Downtown Bus and My Teen Idol also reeled in the favourite, finishing second and third. The fair and square win was Pretty Handsome's first this season, coming on the heels of two starts against older horses, one at Woodbine Mohawk Park on May 5 and the other at The Raceway at Western Fair District on May 21. "He just had to get in with his own kind. It's pretty tough when they have success as a two-year-old, they've got to start out pretty tough as a three-year-old," noted McCabe. "That's why he ran to London his last start, just to kind of try and braven him up. (Driver) Nick (Steward) did a good job of that." Guelph-Eramosa resident McCabe trains Pretty Handsome for Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein, Ontario. Through 10 lifetime starts the son of Mach Three now has five wins and one second for earnings of $66,710. The fastest of the five Grassroots divisions was clocked by Hudson Phil, who romped to a seven length victory in 1:51.3. Montys Play and Shadow Of Lindy took second and third-place honours. Both a Grassroots and a Gold Series winner at two, Friday's victory was Hudson Phil's first of the sophomore campaign. "He was very good. He had to start this year in pretty tough and we tried not to be too hard on him," noted driver James MacDonald. "He drew good today and he performed just how we expected. He powered to the front and won pretty easy. Hopefully he keeps progressing." The win gave Guelph resident MacDonald and trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario three Grassroots wins at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the last two days. The trainer-driver duo also captured a pair of wins with three-year-old pacing fillies Hello Love and Lady Bubbles on Thursday evening. Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec bred and owns Hudson Phil. The son of Shanghai Phil now boasts a record of four wins, two seconds, three thirds and earnings of $181,232 in 14 starts. The last division saw local colt Uptown Funk earn his first lifetime victory, getting a neck in front of pacesetter Sporty Mustang at the wire in 1:55.1. Campbellville resident Mike Saftic engineered the victory for trainer Bill Cass of Milton and his partner John Craig of North York, Ontario. The son of Shadow Play and former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Lucks Mistress made just two starts last season and had one sophomore start - a second at Woodbine Mohawk Park on May 21 - under his belt prior to Friday's victory. "He raced good last week, in his first race of the year, and I thought he had a good shot if the trip went his way, and it did," said Saftic, who also piloted the gelding in his May 14 qualifier at the Campbellville oval. After finishing second three times, third once and fourth twice during his freshman Grassroots campaign, JM Jack Of Hearts finally found the winner's circle in Friday's fourth division. The Shadow Play gelding and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur sailed across the finish line three lengths the best in 1:52.3, besting Gideon Seelster and Taste Of History. Flamborough resident Isabelle Darveau conditions the consistent JM Jack Of Hearts for owner Jason Redmond of Smithville, Ontario. The other Grassroots division saw Yacht Seelster record his second straight victory with a 1:52 effort for driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, trainer Paul Reid and owner 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario. The Shadow Play son finished one and one-half lengths ahead of Family Sports and Gold Rush. The three-year-old pacing colts will make their second Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 29. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Campbellville oval on Monday, June 4 with the Gold Series season opener for the three-year-old trotting fillies. The first race gets under way at 7:30 pm and the trotting fillies will battle for a total of $190,400 in Races 2 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, October 10 - The annual Ontario Sired Autumn Series got underway Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack with harness racing two-year-old pacing fillies squaring off. Sheer Talent rallied from off the pace to defeat nine rivals in the $16,000 first leg for driver Jonathan Drury and trainer Carmen Auciello. The lead changed hands several times during the early stages of Monday's contest. Sports Leader, who was parked for three-eighths, finally cleared to the front ahead of Manhattan Play, the even-money favourite, and led the field by the half :56.4. Manhattan Play popped the pocket and circled back to command on the far turn to pace by three-quarters in 1:27. Sheer Talent, who got away eighth, got into the outer flow on the far turn and sat third-over, five lengths from the front turning for home. Daenerys Hanover, who was first up at three-quarters, pressed at Manhattan Play in the lane, while Sports Leader was also in the mix. However, Sheer Talent had the most pace of any filly in the lane and rocketed by on the far outside to win by a length and a quarter in 1:56.2. Daenerys Hanover finished second, while Sports Leader finished half a length ahead of Manhattan Play for third. A daughter of Badlands Hanover, Sheer Talent now has three wins in 10 starts this season. The rookie pacing filly was purchased for $20,000 at last year's Forest City Yearling Sale and has banked $29,700 in her first season for owner Robert Burgess. A $2 win ticket on Sheer Talent returned $8. In order to be eligible to the Ontario Sired Autumn Series, the two-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 as of September 30, 2016. The rookie pacing fillies will meet up again next Monday (October 17) for round two. Autumn Series action continues Tuesday with two first round divisions for two-year-old trotting fillies. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 4 - Candlelight Dinner appears to be on the path to stardom after another fabulous harness racing performance in the Whenuwishuponastar Series final Thursday at Mohawk Racetrack. The Casie Coleman trained filly was clearly the horse to beat in Thursday's final after an outstanding six length victory in the opening leg. A field of eight went behind the gate for the $39,800 event with $75,759 of the $83,172 in the Win pool wagered on Candlelight Dinner. The American Ideal filly didn't appear to break a sweat, as she jogged to a five length victory in 1:52.2. Driven by Jonathan Drury, Candlelight Dinner got away fifth, before making a brush to the front at the half in :56.3. The Coleman trainee made a :27.2 third-quarter look easy, before cruising home in :28.2 for the victory. Black Jack Pat, who won the second leg, finished second, while Moment To Ponder was third. A $110,000 purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Candlelight Dinner is now three for three to start her career for owners Mac Nichol, Let It Ride Stable and Howard Taylor. "Right from the get-go she has just been a sweetheart," said Coleman. "She got a little hot on me like most American Ideal's can, but we taught her out of that right away, that's why J.D.'s (Jonathan Drury) been racing her the way he is. "He's handled her really well, teaching her how to race when she is a dead favourite." Through three starts, Candlelight Dinner's smallest margin of victory is four and a half lengths. Coleman noted that the filly will be aimed towards the upcoming Grand Circuit events at Mohawk. "I have no plans to take her to New York for Sires Stakes," Coleman said. "She'll have a week off and then she is in the four stakes in a row here with the Eternal Camnation, (Shes A) Great Lady and stuff like that." Candlelight Dinner's Whenuwishuponastar victory gives Coleman two victories in the last three editions of the event, as Happy Becky captured the 2014 edition for the five-time O'Brien Award winning Trainer of the Year. Candlelight Dinner While the Whenuwishuponastar Series concluded Thursday, the Define The World Series got underway. A scratched down field of five rookie trotting colts and geldings met up for the $14,000 first leg. Tom Durand trainee Seven And Seven powered by a pair of rivals in deep stretch for a 1:57.4 victory. The son of Chapter Seven followed along closely, as Cant U Spell led the compact group through fractions of :29.4, 1:00.2 and 1:29.1 In the stretch, the favourite Awol Hanover came off the back of the leader looking to score the victory, but Seven And Seven had the most trot on the far outside and got up for trainer/driver Durand to win by a length. A $17,000 purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Seven And Seven is owned by June & Tom Durand and Allan Smith. The rookie trotting colt was making his second career start Thursday after a fourth place finish in his debut on July 14. Seven And Seven The second leg of the Define The World Series will take place next Thursday (August 11). Live racing continues Friday evening at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

JULY 23, 2016 - Reigning division and North America Cup champion Betting Line captured his sixth straight harness racing victory in the second of two $105,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday evening. Starting from Post 8 in a skirmish that also featured the number one and two point earners in the three-year-old pacing colt division, Magnum J and Sintra, Betting Line eased away from the starting gate and watched from sixth as Magnum J and Arsenic duelled to a :26.3 opening quarter. Magnum J was still in control at the :55.2 half, but Semi Automatic, Sintra and Betting Line had shifted into the outer lane and were threatening by the 1:22.1 three-quarters. Rolling off the turn driver Jonathan Drury of Guelph shifted Betting Line into overdrive and, in spite of a few wonky steps, the colt laid down a :26.4 final quarter to claim his sixth straight victory and second straight in Gold Series action. Sintra was three lengths back in second and Magnum J held on for third in the 1:50 mile. "We're not exactly sure what he did just quite yet," said trainer Casie Coleman of Betting Line's awkward stretch drive. "JD (Drury) said he couldn't have felt any better, he was just jogging, and he never spoke to him, just sitting there on him like a passenger and all of a sudden he just got all out of gear. "We don't see anything on the track, and I don't see any marks on him where he touched himself or nothing, and JD said once he gathered him out of it he was perfect and pulled up good," Coleman continued. "It's kind of a head scratcher for us, but he has had a tendency in the past, when he gets all by himself alone on the front he just kind of looks at stuff - that's why he wears that big shadow roll - but every once in a while he sees something. He did do it right at the wire in the Somebeachsomewhere, not near as bad as that tonight, but yeah, I wish we could, obviously, 110 per cent correct whatever that problem is, but we really don't know." Overall Coleman was very pleased with the way Betting Line raced in his first start since having a splint treated in early July. "I was really, really happy with the way he was steering tonight," said the Cambridge resident, who shares ownership of Betting Line with Ross Warriner of Burlington, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON. "That splint actually took me almost two weeks before I could even train him." The son of Bettor's Delight and Heathers Western will enjoy one more week of relative leisure before his schedule shifts into high gear. Following the fourth Gold Series Leg at Georgian Downs on August 7, Betting Line heads to Northfield Park for the August 13 Carl Milstein Memorial, followed by the Battle of Brandywine at Pocono Downs on August 20. The final Gold Leg goes postward Sept. 7 at Mohawk and the Campbellville oval also hosts the Simcoe Stake on Sept. 10, before Betting Line heads back to the U.S.A. for the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 22. "He gets pretty busy now, so I was glad to be able to give him a little bit of a break, in this little gap," said Coleman of the winner of $1,224,922. "He needed that time." Betting Line Betting Line will be joined in the Carl Milstein Memorial by his Ontario rival Sintra, who has also been invited to the August 13 event. "Instead of being a 'paid into' event, this year it's an invitational and Sintra's been invited to that, so that's going to fit pretty big on his radar," said trainer Dave Menary of the Mach Three colt he owns in partnership with Brad Gray of Dundas and Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON. While Sintra settled for his second runner-up finish behind Betting Line, his stablemate Nvestment Bluechip took home the Gold Series trophy from the first division. Starting from Post 5 driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat fired Nvestment Bluechip off the gate and reached the opening quarter in :26.3. The pair then settled in behind fan favourite Gerries Sport, who led the field to a :55 half and 1:23.3 three-quarters. Jamieson tipped Nvestment Bluechip out as the colts turned for home and the Shadow Play son was able to reel in the favourite and grab his first win of the season in a personal best equalling 1:51.1. Gerries Sport finished a neck back in second and Nocturnal Bluechip was three-quarters of a length back in third. "Tonight's, I think, a pick me up for the horse and our ownership group, and Jody and I," said Menary. "I mean he was supposed to be the star of the barn this year, where Sintra's had the limelight so far. "He come back so good, and maybe he got thrown to the wolves a little bit early," added the trainer. "He was in pretty tough, and he had the odd bad post, and nothing really lined up, but the money's in the bank, he's a good horse and hopefully this is a step in the right direction, that he's turned the corner." The win was the first in seven sophomore starts for Nvestment Bluechip, who won four of 11 outings at two, including three Gold Legs and his Champlain Stakes division, in addition to finishing second in the Super Final and third in the Breeders Crown. "He was just a good horse, he just did it week-in-week-out. He did it on the five-eighths, seven-eighths, he did it in the pocket, off the pace, locked in, on the front end," said Menary. "Now, there's so many good horses. When you're two you're able to win a little bit slower, you can get by with a few flaws and little bit of bad luck, but when you're three they can all go so fast, there's so many good horses, you can't get by with bad luck or flaws." Cambridge resident Menary shares ownership of Nvestment Bluechip with Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Denis Breton of Welland and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. Saturday's win boosted the colt's lifetime earnings to $452,303 and he will be looking to pad that total further when the three-year-old pacing colt titans gather for the fourth time on August 7 at Georgian Downs. Nvestment Bluechip The Ontario Sires Stakes returns to Mohawk on Monday, July 25 with Gold Series action for the two-year-old trotting colts. The colts will make their second Gold Series appearance in Races 2, 3, and 8, with the Campbellville oval's first race rolling in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 21 - Art Major filly Candlelight Dinner turned in an impressive six-length victory in the opening leg of the Whenuwishuponastar harness racing series Thursday at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of seven rookie pacing fillies met up for the $14,000 first leg of the Whenuwishuponastar. The annual series has produced many top fillies, including last year's winner L A Delight. Casie Coleman trainee Candlelight Dinner entered the opening round off a strong 1:54.1 victory in her career debut July 5. With a strong debut to go with a pair of impressive qualifiers, the betting public made the Art Major filly 1/9. Driven by Jonathan Drury, Candlelight Dinner left from post five and was unhurried into the first turn. The Coleman trainee was parked around the opening bend, but cleared to the front with ease before three-eighths. After reaching the half in :58.3, Candlelight Dinner surrendered the lead to a blasting Touching Thought, who paced up from sixth to first. The new leader's time on the front end was short-lived, as Drury angled the heavy-favourite to the outside at the three-quarter pole in 1:27. Retaking the lead at the top of the lane, Candlelight Dinner pulled away from her rivals with ease and cruised home in :27.2 for a 1:54.2 victory. Black Jack Pat, who sat on the back of the favourite, finished second. Moment To Ponder was third, while Touching Thought dropped back to finish fourth. A Lexington Selected Yearling Sale graduate, Candlelight Dinner was purchased for $110,000 last fall. She is the eighth foal out of Jate Lobell mare Time N Again and a full-sister to millionaire pacing mare Romantic Moment. Candlelight Dinner is owned by Mac Nichol, Let It Ride Stables Inc., and Howard Taylor. She now has two wins in two starts and $14,000 in earnings. The second round of the Whenuwishuponastar Series will take place next Thursday (July 28). Live racing continues Friday night at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Betting Line returned to Ontario Sires Stakes action at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night and the North America Cup champion powered to a one and one-quarter length Gold Series victory in 1:49.4. Starting from Post 4, driver Jonathan Drury of Guelph, ON eased Betting Line away from the starting gate and settled into fourth as Nocturnal Bluechip and Sintra sprinted out to a :26.3 opening quarter. Heading for the :55.1 half Drury and Betting Line advanced up the outside on Sintra and driver Jody Jamieson, but Jamieson put his foot on the accelerator and Drury opted to hold his position rather than battle for the front end. Sintra led the field to the 1:22.3 three-quarters, but Betting Line was able to power by the pacesetter in the stretch, leaving Sintra to settle for second. War N Munn closed hard to be third in the $105,000 contest. "He raced good, as he always does," said trainer Casie Coleman of her star pupil. "JD (Drury) did a good job with him because he had a live splint bothering him and we were too close to the race to treat it." Coleman added that Betting Line is scheduled for a visit to the veterinarian on Monday to treat the splint, which caused the colt to run in slightly in the stretch, and should be back in fine form for the July 23 Gold event at Mohawk. "He's done that (run in) to me before with splint issues," noted the Cambridge, ON resident. "But we'll get it fixed up for the next Gold in three weeks' time." Following the July 23 Gold Series event, the reigning Ontario Sires Stakes champion heads south of the border for the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park on August 13 and the Battle of Brandywine at Pocono Downs on August 20. Saturday's victory extended Betting Line's win streak to five, with his only loss of the season coming in his May 14 debut, where he was second. The Bettors Delight son has banked $1,172,422 in his career to date for owners Coleman, Ross Warriner of Burlington, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON. Magnum J captured the other Gold Series division, controlling the tempo for much of the race before cruising home a two and three-quarter length winner in 1:51. The mile time was a new personal best for the Big Jim son. Nvestment Bluechip and Voracity finished second and third. Doug McNair of Guelph piloted Magnum J to the win for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, and his partners Tony Lawrence and William Brown of Hanover. The partners also raised a Gold Series trophy in the season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District on May 27. With two Gold Series victories Magnum J has sole ownership of top spot in the division standings with 100 points and will look to pad that lead when the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings return to the Campbellville oval on July 23. On Monday, July 4 Mohawk Racetrack will kick off the Ontario Sires Stakes two-year-old season with two Gold Series divisions for the freshman pacing colts. The newcomers to the provincial program will make their debuts in Races 2 and 3. First race post time is 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 24 - Lindys Nightmare and Collective Wisdom captured first round divisions of the harness racing Town Pro Series Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Town Pro Series has been used as a launching pad by lightly raced three-year-old pacing fillies over the years and after Friday's first leg it appears the 2016 edition will continue that tradition. Lindys Nightmare turned in a sizzling 1:50.4 performance to capture the first division. The Frank Antonacci trainee took over the lead in the second-quarter for driver Rick Zeron and reached the half in :56.1. Lindys Nightmare paced her third-quarter in :27.4 and still had plenty of energy left for the stretch drive. The 3/2 favourite rocketed home in :26.4 to draw away from her five rivals to score a 4¾ lengths victory in a career-best 1:50.4. Twenty Three Red came from fifth at the three-quarter pole to grab second, while Southwind Tango, who followed Lindys Nightmare into the stretch, finished third. A daughter of Western Terror, Lindys Nightmare was making just her fourth career start Friday. The Antonacci trainee was unraced at two, made a break in her career debut on May 1st, but now has three consecutive victories. Owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Lindys Nightmare has now earned $22,000 for her connections. She paid $5.10 to win. Lindys Nightmare Collective Wisdom enjoyed a pocket trip and pounced in the lane to score a 1:52 victory in the second division. Rocknroll Vision, the 4/5 favourite, went to the front and led the field of the five by the opening-quarter in :27. The public's choice went unchallenged through fractions of :56 and 1:24. In the stretch, Collective Wisdom was angled off the back of Rocknroll Vision by driver Jonathan Drury and the 7/2 second choice powered by to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52. Queen Ideal finished third. A daughter of American Ideal, Collective Wisdom now has two wins in five starts this season after going winless in four outings at two. The Richard Moreau trainee has now banked $22,900 this season for her 1187422 Ontario Inc. ownership group. Collective Wisdom paid $9.60 to win. Collective Wisdom In order to be eligible to the Town Pro Series, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of March 31, 2016. The second round of the Town Pro will take place next Friday (July 1). The first leg of the Summertime Series highlights live racing Saturday night at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

The much anticipated harness racing match up between State Treasurer and Wiggle It Jiggleit developed around the final turn Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, but neither horse came away with a victory. Nickle Bag spoiled the Horse of the Year showdown with his 10th victory of the season in Saturday's seven-horse $34,000 Preferred. State Treasurer showed good early speed and cleared to the front ahead of Nickle Bag heading into the first turn. The 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year posted opening-fractions of :26.2 and :55. Wiggle It Jiggleit left alertly, but was quickly dropped into fourth by driver Montrell Teague. The 2015 U.S. Horse of the Year got his cue to charge first up heading into the final turn. State Treasurer and Wiggle It Jiggleit went toe-to-toe by the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4, but waiting patiently in behind the superstars was Nickle Bag and driver Trevor Henry. Wiggle It Jiggleit wrestled the lead away from State Treasurer and had a few lengths on Nickle Bag with an eighth of a mile to go, but the classy veteran tracked down the Teague stable star to win the Preferred by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.1. State Treasurer battled hard to finish third. A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag scored his eighth Preferred victory of the season Saturday. The Bill Robinson trainee has now won two of his last three starts to improve his overall 2016 record to 10 wins from 16 starts. Nickle Bag has earned $184,860 in 2016 for owners Linda and Harry Loyens. His latest Preferred victory gives him 29 career wins and pushes his career earnings over $640,000. Nickle Bag paid $14.90 to win. Nickle Bag Wiggle It Jiggleit's second-place finish was just his sixth loss in 33 career starts and trainer Clyde Francis admitted he was disappointed. "We thought he would race a little better than he did," said Francis. "He didn't look as good as he did when we trained him the other day. I hope there is not much to it." Francis indicated that Wiggle It Jiggleit never really found comfort during the course of Saturday's race and at moments appeared to be close to going off stride. "He's always had a little funny way of going, but he was worse tonight." Wiggle It Jiggleit's next start is just a week away in the Confederation Cup on Sunday, May 15 at Flamboro Downs. Francis has full confidence the 2015 U.S Horse of the Year will bounce back. "You just back up and regroup and try to find out what the problem is." Wiggle It Jiggleit last start at Mohawk before Saturday's contest was a second-place finish in last year's Pepsi North America Cup. Also on Saturday, War N Munn recorded the WEG Series hat-trick with a huge performance in The Diplomat final. A field of nine three-year-old pacing colts and geldings battled in the $57,600 Diplomat final and it was action packed from start to finish. Dreamfair Mesa fired out from the middle of the gate to grab command and post a hot opening-quarter of :25.3. Several rivals began to charge up on the outside in the second-quarter, including the 1/5 favourite Gerries Sport. Dreamfair Mesa surrendered the lead to Worthy Art moments after posting a half-mile time of :54.3. Gerries Sport and Sylvain Filion were left first-over, while War N Munn, who had yet to see the pylons after leaving from post-nine, sat second-over. Gerries Sport took a narrow lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:22. The heavy-favourite tried to seal the deal in the stretch, but War N Munn and driver Jonathan Drury fired off cover and grabbed the lead midway down the lane. War N Munn finished the job in a career-best 1:50.2 for a two-length victory over Shocking Image and Worthy Art. Gerries Sport dropped back to finish fourth. Trained by Carmen Auciello, War N Munn turned in a massive parked-out effort for his sixth win in 10 starts this season. The three-year-old son of Stonebridge Regal has now scored victories in The Count B, Youthful and The Diplomat Series finals this season. "He shows up every night," said Auciello following the victory. "I knew tonight was going to be tough with the nine-hole, but J.D. (Jonathan Drury) couldn't have done a better job at working out a trip." War N Munn pushed his seasonal earnings over the $100,000 mark with the victory for owner George Munniksma. The sophomore pacer now has career totals of eight victories and earnings exceeding $148,000. War N Munn paid $11.50 to win. War N Munn Pacing fillies and mares also shared the spotlight on Saturday night. Chris Matthews trainee Lay Lady Lay went gate-to-wire to win the $57,400 Princess Series final for three-year-old fillies in 1:54. Doug McNair guided the daughter of Up The Credit to her first win in three starts this season. Lay Lady Lay is owned by 1posse2steves3brothersstb of Guelph, Ontario. She paid $5.60 to win. Lay Lady Lay Waasmula posted the fastest mile of the night in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred. The Bruce Goit trainee stopped the clock in 1:49.3 for her fifth win of the season. Driven by Trevor Henry, Wassmula has now recorded victories in three of her last four starts. She has banked $88,240 this season for owner Brent Vincent. Waasmula Henry finished the night with four driving victories. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Canada's reigning Horse of the Year made his season debut Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, but Nickle Bag spoiled the party with the nation's fastest harness racing mile of 2016. A strong field of nine older pacers competed in the $34,000 Preferred Handicap pace. State Treasurer, last year's Canadian Horse of the Year, was making his 2016 debut and started from the outside post-nine. Driven by Chris Christoforou, State Treasurer was able to float out and drop in sixth as the even-money favourite. Nickle Bag, the 8-5 second choice, left hard from post-six for Trevor Henry to grab the front and post an opening-quarter of :26. Nickle Bag kept the pace honest in the second-quarter and reached the half in :54.3. Christoforou started up State Treasurer nearing the half and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee was sent first up entering the final turn. However, cover did develop for State Treasurer rounding the final turn, as stablemate Arthur Blue Chip angled out from third at five-eighths. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3, Nickle Bag brought the field into the lane and waved goodbye. The Bill Robinson trainee finished off his mile with a blazing :26.2 final-quarter to win by 4¾ lengths in a career-best 1:49. State Treasurer came off cover in the stretch, but was unable to gain any spots and finished fourth in his season debut, pacing home in :26.4. Mohawk Warrior came from sixth at the top of the lane to finish second, while The Rev turned his two-hole trip into a third-place effort. A six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag secured his ninth victory of the season Saturday. The Robinson trainee has picked up seven of his nine victories this year in the Preferred. Owned by Linda and Harry Loyens, Nickle Bag surpassed his 2015 earnings total with Saturday's victory. The veteran pacer has banked $167,860 in 15 starts this year, compared to $162,790 in 26 starts last year. Nickle Bag's victory Saturday was his 28th career triumph and it brings his career earnings to $627,490. He paid $5.30 to win. Nickle Bag Although State Treasurer was unsuccessful in his season debut, history shows that may not be a bad thing. The Dr. Moore trainee finished sixth last year in his debut (May 2, 2015 - Preferred Pace) before going onto divisional and Horse of the Year honours. Also on Saturday, the second leg of The Diplomat Series was contested. A group of 13 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $20,000 divisions. War N Munn continued his WEG Series success with a 1:52 victory in the first division. The Carmen Auciello trainee got away fourth in the field of six for driver Jonathan Drury. Mach Power posted an opening-quarter of :28.3, but was quickly passed in the second-quarter by Shocking Image. The new leader reached the half in :57.2 and led the field around the final turn, while War N Munn charged first up to pull to within a length of the lead at the three-quarter pole. Shocking Image reached the third marker in 1:25.3, but quickly surrendered the lead in the lane to War N Munn. The 2-5 favourite rocketed home in :26.1 for a 2 ¼ length victory. Shocking Image was second, while Mach Power finished third. A son of Stonebridge Regal, War N Munn now has five wins in nine starts this season. The sophomore pacing colt has signature victories this season in The Count B and Youthful Series finals. War N Munn now has seven career victories and earnings of $119,261 for owner George Munnuiksma. His mile of 1:52 knocked three-fifths of a second off his previous career mark. The Auciello trainee paid $2.80 to win. War N Munn In the second division, Gerries Sport got his own way in the middle-half and finished up strong for an impressive victory. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Gerries Sport, the even-money favourite, left from post-seven and touched down on the front just after passing the opening-quarter in :26.1. Flaherty, the 7-5 second-choice, got a two-hole trip behind the favourite. Gerries Sport went unchallenged in the middle-half and posted panels of :55.4 and 1:25.1. The soft middle-half was the turning point, as the public's choice left his rivals behind and charged home in :26.4 for a 3½ lengths victory in 1:52. Flaherty maintained his position to finish second, while Worthy Art was third. A son of Mach Three, Gerries Sport is trained by Richard Moreau for Gerrie Tucker. The three-year-old colt is now two for two to start 2016 after posting three wins in 12 starts as a rookie. Just like War N Munn in the first division, Gerries Sport lowered his lifetime mark by three-fifths of a second. The son of Mach Three now sports a career bankroll of $56,845. Gerries Sport paid $4.20 to win. Gerries Sport The first leg of The Diplomat did not fail, therefore the 10 horses that earned money Saturday night have landed spots in next Saturday's $57,600 final. In order to be eligible to The Diplomat, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2015. Live racing resumes Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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