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Louisville, KY --- He’s earned $1.06 million, set his lifetime mark of 1:50.3f at age five, will be returning to the scene of his greatest triumphs on Friday night at The Meadowlands (March 20) and has the first stall in his barn. It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane. It’s Sevruga. “The horse was sold in July to Joe Pennacchio and he really cares about him,” said Julie Miller, the gelding’s conditioner. “He realized he might not be doing as well as he should have been and he sent him back to us. It is so terrific to have him back home. Right when he got off the van, his ears were pricked and he took up exactly like he had never left.” The 7-year-old son of SJ’s Caviar and the Malabar Man mare Stunning Lindsey will compete in a $27,500 Open Handicap at the Meadowlands on Friday. It is race six on the card and Sevruga will leave from post position five with his regular pilot, Andy Miller, in the bike. The venerable trotter will take on six foes and is listed at 6-1 on the morning line. It is his second pari-mutuel engagement of 2015 after finishing sixth at Dover Downs on March 11. “I can qualify him three times, but he’s just too smart and knows the difference between that and a real race,” Miller said. “He knows when there is money on the line and gets much more out of his races. At Dover he came out of that race a little sick, but he’s fine now. I expect him to take a couple starts before he is really fit.” Sevruga has faced the starter on 85 occasions with 30 victories, 19 second place finishes and 10 thirds. Unraced at age two, the gelding earned just under $150,000 as a 3-year-old while only performing in two races around the $100,000 purse mark. At that time he was trained by Tyler Raymer and co-owned by Raymer and Jim Meittinis. He was first sent to Andy and Julie Miller as a 4-year-old and earned $244,000 from 21 races. He was also fourth in that year’s Nat Ray and Maxie Lee Memorial behind champion Chapter Seven. It was as a 5-year-old, however, when Sevruga showed how classy he was. He banked $484,575, compiled a record of 22-9-7-2 and posted triumphs in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial and the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and only failed to hit cash a check twice. “We were so tickled to death when he won those two stakes,” Miller said. “Especially after all the opens he had been in and he proved he could go anywhere as he had won at Pocono, Chester and Yonkers. We were so happy for him that he was able to accomplish that.” After failing to cash a check in the 2013 Breeders Crown and Allerage Pace at the end of his campaign, it was discovered the horse had a piece of bone jutting off the side of an ankle and after Dr. Patty Hogan removed the chip, Sevruga showed up for his 6-year-old campaign as good as new. He captured his first two starts, was second in the third, then third in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial final and second in the Maxie Lee. Shortly after a fifth place finish in his Cashman elimination, Sevruga was sold and transferred to the barn of Kevin Carr. In his seven starts for Carr he won only one time. Pennacchio returned him to the Millers in the fall and in the six times he raced for them to end his season, he collected a win, two seconds and a third. For the 2014 season, the gelding added $186,870 to his bank account from 23 races. “We gave him some time off to freshen him up and now he is ready to go,” Miller said. “I don’t know if he can keep up with some of the top stakes horses out there, especially with the group of 4-year-olds we have coming out, but he still enjoys being out there. “We have been so lucky to have him and I can’t say enough good things about Joe Pennacchio giving him back to us. When you are a trainer, it’s a job, but there are some horses you really fall in love with and he is it.” As for his personality, Sevruga is exactly what you would expect of a horse that has put together such an outstanding career. “There is not much to say about him because he is such a pleasure to be around in every possible way,” Miller said. “He loves the attention he gets being in the first stall and he just always behaves like a classy, old gentleman. Like I said before, he might have lost a step, but he showed he can still get it done in his qualifying win at the Meadowlands on Feb. 26. We feel he can still do really well in the Opens, but no matter what he does, we are just so, so, happy to have him home.” by Kimberly French USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - (March 13, 2015) With harness racing Swedish interests looking on from The Meadowlands grandstand, Melady's Monet put forth a flawless audition, winning the $30,000 Open Handicap trot for the second week in a row and for the fifth time in his last eight starts. The 7/5 favorite from post 9, Melady's Monet was gathered back off the gate early in the mile and established a stalking position halfway through the field. The early lead belonged to longshot B YoYo, who reached the first quarter in 26.4, but Andy Miller and Lindy's Tru Grit was not content with his position and that trotter quickly assumed command down the back stretch. Not to be out-done, Brett Miller guided Odds On Amethyst off the pylons and they picked up the pursuit of Lindy's Tru Grit through a 56.3 half-mile. At that point, John Campbell elected to follow Brett Miller's move and Melady's Monet found himself well-positioned second over. But into the far turn, Odds On Amethyst cleared to the front, leaving Melady's Monet first over as the field rolled through three-quarters in 1:25. Both trotters coming off wins at the Open level would proceed to hook-up for a stretch battle. Inside the final eighth of a mile, Melady's Monet was able to wear down Odds On Amethyst to reach the wire in 1:52.3. The win was the fourth on the season for the six year old gelding. Melady's Monet is trained by Kevin McDermott for Melady Enterprises L.L.C. The co-featured event was the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace. That race featured millionaire and world champion, Somwherovrarainbow, who was the 3/5 favorite. But it was not her night tonight as Radar Contact, in what may have been the best performance of her career, not only won, but dominated the field to win by four lengths, posting an 11-1 upset. Somwherovrarainbow was a bit wide in the first turn while following Camille who would grab the lead early in the mile. Those two hit the opening quarter, while racing on even terms in 26.4. The favorite cleared the lead shortly thereafter and took the field down the backstretch with Camille drafting in the pocket through a 55.2 half-mile. At this point, John Campbell guided his mare, Radar Contact to the outside and she committed to a first over grind around the far turn. With that mare at her throat, Somwherovrarainbow reached three-quarters in 1:23.3, but as the field turned for home, it was clear that Radar Contact was going the better of the two. As the mares straightened up in the stretch, Radar Contact found gears four, five and six and she pulled away from the millionaire, leaving her and six other mares in her wake as she rolled to an authoritative win in 1:50.2, pacing a 26.4 final quarter after racing first over. Charisma Hanover rallied for the runner-up spot. Radar Contact is trained by Noel Daley and was driven to victory by John Campbell. The first leg of the Shiaway St Pat trotting series was contested Friday night at The Meadowlands. With 13 horses entered, the first round was split into a pair of $20,000 divisions. The Super Bowl and Charles Singer winner JL Cruze was the name that headlined the list of entries. He was sent off as the 1/5 favorite in the second division and he picked up right where he left off. Settling into third position early in the mile through fractions of 28.2 and 57.4, JL Cruze committed first over as the field moved into the far turn and with a measured move, seized command as the field reached three-quarters in 1:27. In the stretch, JL Cruze turned it on, opening up at will and powering home in 27-seconds to win by many in 1:54. It was the sixth win from eight starts this season for the Eric Ell trainee. The win by JL Cruze gave John Campbell his third win of the program for Kenneth Wood, W J Dittmar Jr. and S J Iaquinta. When he doesn't face JL Cruze (and sometimes even when he does), he wins. That has been the case all winter for Opulent Yankee and that trend continued in the first round of the Shiaway St. Pat on Friday night at The Meadowlands. Sent off as the 2/5 betting choice in the first $20,000 Shiaway St Pat division, Opulent Yankee was kept off the gate slightly and allowed to settle into third position early in the mile with Andy Miller. The front end belonged to the Dover invader Razor Ramone, who was keyed up through a quarter of 27.2. Positions remained unchanged down the backstretch until Miller guided his trotter off the pylons past the half-mile in 57.3 where Opulent Yankee began his pursuit of Razor Ramone. Midway through the far turn it was clear that Opulent Yankee had more in the tank and the gelding cleared the lead going past three-quarters in 1:26.3. In the stretch, Opulent Yankee powered away with the end result never in doubt, gliding to an easy 1:55 score. Sheer Flex rallied for the runner-up spot, with Razor Ramone fading to third. Opulent Yankee is trained by Julie Miller for Little E L.L.C., Art Geiger, Jason Settlemoir and David Stolz. Rising star Jimmy Marohn Jr. had another impressive night at The Meadowlands, winning three races from six drives on the Friday program. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carried over again. That carryover will be $50,461 into the Saturday program. The last race jackpot also went unclaimed and that carryover is now $167,731. The 13-race Saturday program features the $58,000 Buddy Gilmour Final, led by Wiggle It Jiggleit. Post time is set for 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 4, 2015) - She's named for the heroine in The Hunger Games, yet the racing career of Katniss has taken a bit longer than was hoped to live up to its lofty expectations. With a price tag of $260,000, Katniss was the most expensive trotting filly to sell at the 2013 Harrisburg yearling sale. She was picked out by trainer Francisco Del Cid and purchased by owner Mario Mazza. Friday, March 6, Katniss makes her long-awaited debut in the first race at the Meadowlands. The 3-year-old Credit Winner filly is a full-sister to $1.1 million stakes winner Dejarmbro and her dam, Armbro Deja Vu, is a half-sister to millionaire world champion Manofmanymissions. "She suffered a soft tissue injury on the back of her front left leg last year when she reared up over a stall gate," said trainer Julie Miller, who has taken over training of the filly. "The owner gave her plenty of time to recover and it's not bothering her now. Hopefully she turns into a nice New York Sire Stakes filly or even more of a stakes horse, especially with that pedigree." Katniss enters Friday's race off a pair of qualifiers, drew post nine and will be driven by Andy Miller. She's listed at 3/1 on the morning line. "We're hoping she has a good positive experience racing for the first time," said her trainer. "Hopefully she passes a few horses down the stretch and finishes well." Friday's 13-race card at the Meadowlands is headlined by a $27,500 Open Handicap Trot. The field of eight is led by the coupled entry of Lindy's Tru Grit and Master of Law. Lindy's Tru Grit scored a narrow victory over Master of Law two weeks ago in their last starts. "[Lindy's Tru Grit] was staked lightly this year," continued Miller, who also trains Lindy's Tru Grit. "He's not the best trainer but he sure shows up to race. He's best tracking horses and utilizing that Meadowlands slingshot move." Friday's program also features two large carryovers in the Jackpot Super High 5. The fifth race carryover is now $41,316 and the thirteenth race carryover is $148,525. By Justin Horowitz for Meadowlands Media Relations          

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 20, 2015) - The complexion of the featured $30,000 Open Trot on Friday night at The Meadowlands changed dramatically with the scratch of morning line favorite Melady's Monet. That left the role of the favorite in the hands of the harness racing entry, Lindy's Tru Grit and Master Of Law, sent off at 4/5. Neither was interested in mixing it up early, as Coffeecake Hanover showed good speed, but she quickly conceded the lead to Appomattox heading to the opening quarter in 28.1. Team Six, who established position third on the pylons, made a move heading to the three-eighths pole and took over command down the backstretch. He would lead the field through a 56.3 half-mile. Lindy's Tru Grit began to roll moving into the far turn and challenged Team Six with a first over grind through three-quarter of 1:25.1. His entry-mate, Master Of Law, tracked his cover into the stretch. Team Six came up empty in the lane as Lindy's Tru Grit wrestled the lead away and sprinted to the wire with Master Of Law in hot pursuit. They trotted to the wire together, with Lindy's Tru Grit prevailing by a neck in 1:53.2. Coffeecake Hanover raced very well, trotting strongly through the stretch, emerging from in between horses to finish third. The win was the second of the season for the son of Cantab Hall, driven by Andy Miller for his wife, trainer Julie Miller and owners Lindy Racing Stable and Robert Rudolph. A claiming mini-series for trotters with a claiming price of $12,500 was contested on Friday night at The Meadowlands as well, split in three divisions, with the top three finishers from each division and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot), advancing to a $20,000 final next week. The first $7,000 division went to Fuel Cell (Corey Callahan), with Powerful Valor and Without A Clue guaranteeing spots in the final. The second division saw Fox Valley Legend (Jimmy Marohn Jr.) power through from in between horses to score. That gelding was claimed by trainer Scott Didomenico. Pocket Passer and Dash For The Cash also advanced to the final. The final division saw a 14-1 upset in the form of Northern Mattador (Scott Zeron), with Casanova Lindy and Free Rollin also qualifying for the final. The fourth place finishers hoping to join the nine automatic qualifiers are Keystone Wallace, Somolli Pirate and Marquesas. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 was unclaimed, producing a carryover into the fifth race on Saturday of $28,624, while the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover has grown to $133,604. Racing resumes on Saturday night, with three series finals, The Charles Singer, Burning Point and Sonsam featured on the 13-race program which gets underway at 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

At the mutuel windows Thursday night at The Meadowlands, there was $33,183 wagered into the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 pool, over fifty-percent more than the previous Thursday night. With more than one winning ticket, the carryover expanded to $110,127.87. Additionally, the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 also continued to grow its carryover which now stands at $18,506.14. On the race track, they have exchanged wins all winter and Thursday night was no exception. The setting was round two of The Charles Singer Memorial Trotting Series, with a purse of $15,000 and the match-up was Opulent Yankee and JL Cruze. Coming into Thursday night, the scoreboard showed a three-to-one lead for JL Cruze, with Opulent Yankee's victory coming in round two of the Super Bowl Series. The "Round Two" trend continued for Opulent Yankee on this night. Sent off as the 3/2 second choice (coupled with Blocking The Way and Propulsion), Opulent Yankee was sent straight to the lead with his driver Andy Miller, posting fractions of 28.1, 57.1 and 1:25.2. JL Cruze got away mid-pack and waited for the cover flow develop as Campbell sat patiently with his Super Bowl Champion. Blocking The Way committed to the lead and JL Cruze took up the chase behind that trotted, but sat loose cover on the far turn while Opulent Yankee continued to coast. Turning for home JL Cruze had work to do while Opulent Yankee shot away from the field. Campbell's trotter accelerated nearing the wire and closed the margin, but he could not catch Opulent Yankee who went a big mile on a cold night in 1:53.4. Detroit Rapper rallied to finish third. Opulent Yankee is owned by Little E L.L.C., Arthur Geiger, Jason Settlemoir and David Stolz and is trained by Julie Miller. The Charles Singer Memorial Final will be one of three series finals contested on the Saturday, February 21st program. Yannick Gingras won three races, while Andy Miller and Brett Miller each drove two winners on the card while Steve Elliot was the trainer of the night winning with two of his three starters. The pick five paid out to one winning ticket on Thursday night, returning $27,930.10 for a $.50 cent wager. Racing resumes on Friday night with post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

Harness racing trainer Julie Miller thought Opulent Yankee might be well suited for series racing this winter at the Meadowlands, and so far the 4-year-old trotter has made good on the trainer's beliefs. Opulent Yankee, who joined Miller's stable in November, won both of his starts in the preliminary rounds of the Super Bowl Series for 3- and 4-year-old trotters at the Big M and is likely to be among the favorites in Saturday's $50,000 final. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also features the $56,000 Escort Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers and the $47,600 Worldly Beauty Series final for 3- and 4-year-old female pacers. Opulent Yankee will start the Super Bowl from post 10 with driver Andy Miller. Propulsion, who also won two preliminary divisions in the series, will leave from post one with Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Tony Alagna. Other division winners JL Cruze, Two Hip Dip and Blocking The Way drew posts four through six, respectively. Jeff Gural's Little E LLC bred and co-owns Opulent Yankee with Arthur Geiger, Jason Settlemoir and David Stolz. Gural also is among the owners of Propulsion, with Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco and the partnership of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "I've been really happy with him," Miller said about Opulent Yankee. "Mr. Gural sent him to us after Lexington and we evaluated him and we told him we really liked the horse. We thought he could be a major contender in the winter series at the Meadowlands and it's proven to be true. He's been good in the first two legs and hopefully he'll be right there for the final." Opulent Yankee (Muscles Yankee-Opulent Bluestone) was winless in eight starts at age 2, but finished third three times, including in a division of the Reynolds Memorial Stakes at Vernon Downs. He went off stride in his 2014 debut, in the Charles Smith Trot at Freehold in September, but rebounded to win in 1:51.4 in a late closer at The Red Mile two weeks later. After two more starts in October, Opulent Yankee was given time off. He was entered to sell in the November Standardbred Horse Sale's Mixed Sale, but was withdrawn. "He has a nice way of going and a great gait to him; a good attitude and nice size and conformation," Miller said. "When he was in Lexington he showed some speed, so I felt like he was definitely a horse that could be competitive at this level. If they show a little bit of talent at 2 and 3, there is something to work with from the get-go. "The first time Andy and I trained Opulent Yankee, I said to Andy that I hoped Mr. Gural didn't want to sell (Opulent Yankee) because I thought he would be something nice to hang onto for the 4-year-old year. I don't know if he can step up to being a Grand Circuit 4-year-old, but for what we're asking of him right now, I definitely think he's a major contender." Miller is no stranger to winter success at the Meadowlands. In 2013, she finished 1-2 in the Super Bowl with Windsun Galliano and Helios. Last year, she saw Perfect Alliance win the Singer Memorial Series and Bambino Glide capture two legs of the Horse & Groom Series. And in 2009, Lucky Jim won the Horse & Groom on his way to dominating the summer and fall open stakes and a Dan Patch Award as best older male trotter. Opulent Yankee's ownership group is the same partnership that raced Perfect Alliance last year. Opulent Yankee won his first round of the Super Bowl by 5-3/4 lengths over Annapolis in 1:55 and won his second round by a half-length over JL Cruze in 1:53.2. "I don't want to date myself, but when I first raced in the Super Bowl, they were going in (1):56 and (1):57 to win it," Miller said. "Now it's a whole different level of horses that are eligible to those races. It makes for competitive racing, which is what we're all looking for. There are no easy spots in these series. They've really developed a nice program for these horses. "This final should be a great race. It's going to be the draw and how the trip works out. But I have a lot of confidence in Andy and Opulent Yankee." by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

East Rutherford, NJ (January 8th) - The Super Bowl, which marks the traditional start of the winter late closer program at The Meadowlands saw its first round contested at The Meadowlands on Thursday night. It featured four divisions, each worth $12,500. The first division featured an overwhelming favorite in the form of JL Cruze. Sent off as the 2/5, prohibitive choice, JL Cruze settled into third position behind a pair of longshots who set the tempo to the tune of a 28.1 first quarter and a 57 second half mile. It was at that point that John Campbell decided to make his move for the lead as he guided JL Cruze off the pylons and asked his gelding for speed. JL Cruze responded and quickly asserted command as he trotted past three-quarters in 1:27, before powering away through a 27.2 final quarter to complete the mile in a sharp 1:54.2, winning by five lengths on a bitterly cold evening at The Meadowlands. Mm's Roanie was second with Charleston Springs third. The winner is trained by Eric Ell for W Kenneth Wood, J. Dittmar Jr. and S J Iaquinta. The second division also featured a short-priced favorite, in fact Propulsion was sent off as the 1/9 choice and did not disappoint. The speed came in the form of longshot Always Quick Star who set the pace through fractions of 28 and 57.4, with Northern Secret riding the pocket trip. Propulsion situated himself second over through three-quarter of 1:26.3, while Jewels In Hock, who was leading the outer flow took the lead turning for home. As the field straightened up, Jewels In Hock broke on the lead and Propulsion inherited the lead and quickly pulled away to score in 1:54.4 for Tim Tetrick. Teach Me To Bucky was second and Northern Secret checked in third. Propulsion is trained by Tony Alagna for Brittany Farms, Katz, Libfeld, Sbrocco and Little E L.L.C. Jeff Gural made a trip to the winners circle after the second division of the Super Bowl as one of the co-owners of Propulsion, he returned quickly after the third division with Opulent Yankee. Sent off as the 2/5 favorite, Opulent Yankee was allowed to settle into third position as longshot Mass Appeal dictated the terms through an opening quarter of 28.2 and a half-mile of 57.2, before conceding the lead to pocket-pulling second choice Annapolis, who led the field around the far turn before being pounced on by a tracking Opulent Yankee, who loomed up and powered past Annapolis to draw clear and win impressively in 1:55, completing the final quarter in just 27.3. Annapolis held on to the runner-up spot with Windsun Cobra third. The final Super Bowl division was the most wide-open division on paper. Blocking The Way was sent off as the 2-1 favorite at post time and took no prisoners as he led every step of the way to score in 1:54.1. Allowed to settle on the lead early in the mile, Andy Miller established the early pace through fractions of 28.1, 56.2 and 1:25.3 without seeing much of a challenge. Bad I Am committed first over, but was only able to get up to Blocking The Way's wheel as the field turned for home. Dress For Success, who was tracking the cover of Bad I Am accelerated in the stretch and was charging late after the winner, but came up just a head short while finishing second. Bad I Am saved the show. Blocking the way is trained by Julie Miller for The Lindy Farms of Connecticut. The second round of the Super Bowl series will take place next Thursday, January 15th. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers went unclaimed with multiple tickets winning. The fifth race carryover now stands at $12,446, with the last race carryover at $31,182. Racing returns at The Meadowlands on Friday Night, featuring the first round of the Worldly Beauty series. Post time is 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

The distaff element of harness racing—two legged and four—has stepped to the fore and shone brightly during 2014. JK She’salady, the first freshman filly to be voted Horse of the Year, stands above all others in this regard. A perfect 12 for 12 season with a 1:50.1 world record to boot, secures her top spot. And beyond that, she is trained by Nancy Johansson, who thus becomes the second woman to train a Horse of the Year. Linda Toscano was the first, in 2012 when Chapter Seven won. Many were adamant about a two-year-old filly never winning this award, but her flawed opponents cancelled each other out and she emerged as a narrow winner. McWicked, who received only two votes, is the only other O’Brien eligible horse that received Horse of the Year votes in the US. So, the Art Major filly, who won five times in Canada, is odds on to be voted Horse of the Year in Canada as well. With a couple of weeks left in the year there are three women in the top dozen of the leading trainer’s money list. Casie Coleman is number four with $4.5 million earned in many fewer starts than any other trainer in the top 15. Right now she only has nine more wins than in all of 2013, but she’s earned a million dollars more than she did last year. Coleman is, like Jimmy Takter, a quality over quantity trainer. Her Dan Patch winner, McWicked, who won the Breeders Crown and the Adios, sports the second largest bankroll overall--$1.4 million. And several from Sportswriter’s successful first crop, including Super Final winner Reverend Hanover, also contributed. Julie Miller currently occupies the six slot on the money list, after finishing 17th in 2013. The fact that husband Andy spent the heart of the season recovering from a broken back suffered in an accident at Yonkers in mid-April didn’t make things any easier. Perfect Alliance, who won 11 in a row early in the year, as well as Robin Cruiser and Katie Said had successful campaigns. Market Share’s earnings were cut in half this year, Heston Blue Chip never regained his colt form and Chapter Seven is a distant memory, but Linda Toscano is still holding down the number 11 spot.  And we can’t forget about Riina Rekila, whose Muscle Hill colt E L Titan won the Galt with her driving and then beat Dan Patch winner, Father Patrick, in the Erskine for Ron Pierce. Trotter of the Year, Shake It Cerry, is the diagonally gaited miss who best represents the exceptional talent displayed by the distaff set in 2014. She won 15 of her 17 starts, with her only losses coming to a pair of formidable foes—Designed To Be in an early season edition of the PASS and, of course, to stablemate Lifetime Pursuit in the Oaks. Cerry set a stakes record in winning the BC and established a Dover Downs track record when she won the Matron. And it’s only fitting that ten years ago her dam Solveig won a Dan Patch. Sydney Weaver was the at the epicenter of the most potent demonstration of social media as a positive force in harness racing early in the year when her beloved mare Sydney Seelster was taken from her in a claiming race at Flamboro Downs. Trainer Guy Gagnon was pilloried on Facebook and Twitter for making the claim and soon cried uncle, agreeing to allow Sydney to claim her mare back. All of this went down back in February, but I can’t think of anything that topped it as the feel good story of the year. A woman who achieved a measure of notoriety this year for abusing her horses is photo journalist/trainer/amateur blacksmith and self-proclaimed equine maven Monica Thors. She was trimming the hooves of her horses to the point where they bled and became infected from the glue she used to keep the shoes on, leading to a situation where they either couldn’t stand or died. The state was moving at a glacial pace to correct this situation when Kathy McGuire, an animal cruelty investigator, got things moving. A Facebook page entitled “Stop Monica Thors,” which has drawn almost 14,000 Likes, brought enough pressure on regulators to remove the horses from Thors’ property. Whether it was base incompetence, a dark heart or personal issues that led to this tragedy, Monica Thors represents the worst of women in 2014. Thankfully there was a Kathy McGuire to help right the wrong. At the end of March Premier Kathleen Wynne, confirmed a $500 million dollar investment in horse racing by the Ontario Government. This was one year to the day after Paul Godfrey and Dwight Duncan had hung a March 31, 2013 date on the termination of the fifteen-year-old SARP program which had allowed harness racing to flourish in the province. This partial about face on the part of the Liberal Government has had a soothing effect on the entire industry. Two years ago, when signals were sent that the industry was about to suffer a critical blow, it had a dramatic impact on sales in Canada and the US. This year that situation shifted nicely as Canadians spent freely at Lexington and Harrisburg. And we certainly wouldn’t be looking forward to the Breeders Crown being raced at Woodbine in 2015 without this five-year government funding guarantee. The men in the OLG screwed this thing up big time, leaving it to Wynn to open her eyes and ears and realize that racing was worth saving in Ontario.  Male chauvinism is alive and well in harness racing. Many are furious about JK She’salady capturing Horse of the Year honors, and Casie Coleman, who has always inspired jealousy, sent them over the edge with her new trim physique. However, even the grump brigade can’t deny the prominent role the distaff set played in this game during 2014. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 12, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $35,000 featured Filly and Mare Open Pace was won by a course-shifting Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton, $6.20). Unhurried from post position No. 5, "Robin" watched" as Dune in Red (Austin Siegelman) stung 4-5 choice Rockaround Sue (Jason Bartlett) before releasing that one. It was a :26.4 opening quarter-mile and :56.2 intermission when Charisma Hanover (Dan Dube) moved from fourth. A quick :27.3 third quarter (1:24) seemingly separated the leader and the pursuer from the rest of the gang, as Robin Cruiser-racing from second-up-gapped. It was "Sue" taking a length lead into the lane, but the fast fray was taking its toll on the leading duo. They began to tire as Robin Cruiser closed ranks, ducking inside and picking off the people's choice late in a slow final quarter. The margin was three-quarters of a length in 1:53.1. Charisma Hanover was third, with Uf Dragon's Queen (Mark MacDonald) and Palm Patrol (Brent Holland) rounding out the payees. Dune in Red was last among the half-dozen with Cooking the Books an early-evening scratch. For second choice Robin Cruiser, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Yankee Cruiser owned by Pinske Stables and trained by Julie Miller, was her ninth win in 31 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16, with the triple returning $48.80 The Raceway's live season concludes with programs Saturday (post time 7:10 PM) and Sunday (post time just after 11 AM). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 21, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $35,000 featured Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by a cone-skimming Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton, $15.40). Unhurried early from post position No. 6, he watched as slight 2-1 favorite Coffee Addict (Dan Dube) step around Jonsie Jones (Greg Merton). After early intervals of 27-seconds and :56.3, Let's Go Higher (Eric Carlson) moved from third. That one harassed the leader in and out of the 1:25.2 three-quarters. Coffee Addict dealt with that interloper, taking a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. However, she was about to give it up, leading to a blanket finish. Robin Cruiser, fourth along the cones, dove deep inside and prevailed, whipping UF Dragon's Rocket (Mark MacDonald, three winners Friday) by a three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. Last week's victress, Rockaround Sue (Jason Bartlett), closed from last to grab third, with Coffee Addict and Jonsie Jones settling for the minor awards. The five cashers were separated by a length-and-a-half at the wire. It was a change of tact for "Robin," who was snapped on the money in her last two starts at odds of 3-1 and 3-5. For fifth choice Robin Cruiser, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Yankee Cruiser owned by Pinske Stables and trained by Julie Miller, was her eighth win in 29 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $125.50, the triple returned $510 and the superfecta paid $2,243. Note that since no one hit Friday's Pick 5, Saturday's gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,093.98 (50-cent base wager, races 5 through 9). The Raceway's five-program-per-week live schedule changes, with first post every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM, and the third of six Sunday matinees (replacing Tuesday evenings) this weekend at 11 AM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all nighttime programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Ducker, for Yonkers Raceway

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 29, 2014 -- Weeper, Pennsylvania's champion 3-year-old filly pacer, performed like a champion Monday at The Meadows when she rolled to a stake record 1:51 in a division of a $90,000 Keystone Classic. Katie Said and Do Your Job took the event's other divisions, each in 1:51.4 -- the stake record until Weeper smashed it. Weeper was let go at 11-1 in the PA Sires Stake final, but the public displayed no ambivalence about her chances Monday, hammering her down to 1-5. The daughter of Allamerican Native-Pleasant Yet Bad, who extended her career bankroll to $392,888, charged to the front for Dave Palone and defeated Stucklikeglue by 1-1/4 lengths geared down. Fancy Desire was third. Because Weeper is still relatively fresh -- only 11 starts this year -- winning trainer Kelly O'Donnell said her owner, Joe Thomson's Bay Pond Racing Stable, may consider supplementing her to this weekend's Glen Garnsey at The Red Mile. "She's only raced twice in the last 13 weeks," O'Donnell said. "We hit a couple of bumps in the road, and we had to give her a little time. She's not a horse you can race every week, but she doesn't take a whole lot of work either. We'll have to see how she comes out of this." Although Katie Said has won nine of 16 outings this year, she hadn't been in front at the quarter in any of her last six races. She extended that streak Monday, moving to the lead past the quarter for Marcus Miller and downing Lasting Appeal by 2-1/2 lengths. Someislandsomwhere earned show.   "Earlier in the year, she had breaking problems," Marcus Miller said. "Everybody knew it, and she wasn't a pretty breaker, so they were often trying to leave around her. So it just worked out she learned how to race from behind. She absolutely will run down good mares." Julie Miller trains the daughter of Well Said-Katies Lucky Lady, who now has banked $192,926, for Andy Miller Stable and Black Horse Racing. Do Your Job hadn't raced since Aug. 29, but Brian Zendt gave her a ground-saving trip, and she found the Lightning Lane in time to upset 3-5 favorite Also Encouraging by a nose. Early leader Cinamony completed the ticket. Tom Fanning conditions the daughter of Western Terror-Tootsie J for Fly By Night Stables and David Van Wart. "I was a little worried when I saw she'd been off for awhile," said Zendt, who drove three winners on the 16-race card. "Tom called me and said she was ready, give her a shot, so we did. She's a pleasure to drive. She did it easily." $71,200 Keystone Classic -- 3-Year-old Filly Trotters The program also featured a $71,200 Keystone Classic for sophomore filly trotters, with Donatella Hanover and Cantabs Fortune capturing the splits. Donatella Hanover was in her customary spot -- fifth down the backside -- when she moved with authority for Brett Miller, gobbling up the leaders and triumphing in 1:55.3, 3/4 lengths better than the fast-closing Steppin Out. Broadway Socks, who lacked late racing room, finished third. "I think she's better from off the pace; that's why I choose to race her that way," Brett Miller said. "I put her on the front once, and I didn't like her there. She waited on them. She's so well mannered that she never looks like she has a whole lot of trot, but when you pull her, she goes." The daughter of Cantab Hall-On the Glide has earned $143,146 for trainer Jimmy Takter and owner Christinatakterandthekids. Cantabs Fortune, a smallish filly, raced big after quarter-poling to the front for David Miller, trainer Rick Zeron and owners Rick Zeron Stables, Paul Marion and Ferme Rico Limitee. She prevailed in a career-best 1:54.2, 4-1/2 lengths better than Outsourced Hanover, with Travelin Dream third. "She's real handy, trots all the time," David Miller said. "And she can go some. I figured I could get back to the lead pretty easy. Everything went smooth." Tuesday's card at The Meadows features a pair of Keystone Classics for 3-year-old colts and geldings -- an $83,400 pace and an $81,200 trot. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Grand Circuit racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at The Red Mile with the $323,200 International Stallion Stakes (INSS) for two-year-old filly trotters. Thirty three freshman lasses were declared, resulting in four divisions of the stake.   The marquee player in the division thus far, co-world record holder Mission Brief has been entered and will leave from post three in the day's fourth race. The Muscle Hill filly from Southwind Serena has been sensational if slightly erratic in her young career.   Her blazing speed has carried her to five wins by wide margins in fast times, including the Merrie Annabelle and NJSS finals in stakes record time and a Peaceful Way elimination in the record mile of 1:52.1 (equaled last Thursday by Jolene Jolene at The Red Mile). The only blemishes on her eight race slate are by her own hand, going off-stride in all three and losing all chance.   The Grand Circuit's leading combination handles Mission Brief, with Ron Burke doing the conditioning for his own Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stable while Yannick Gingras will try to keep her on her best behavior. The way the track has been playing thus far, with her talent that record may be further reduced on Thursday.   The Burke stable will also send out contenders in two of the other divisions, with Kirsi Hanover a key player in race two and Gatka Hanover to be dealt with in race eight.   In between, Alfred Ross' emerging star debutante Bee The Queen will look to complete the Lexington Grand Circuit double by winning both weeks as she seeks her fifth consecutive win for trainer George Ducharme in race five. The Donato Hanover x Bee Line filly was a late comer, but she has surely found her best form here in Kentucky. Brian Sears has the drive.   Competition for the "Queen" will be led by Livininthefastlane from the rail for driver Tim Tetrick. She's also a Donato Hanover (Nicole's Promise) owned by the potent partnership of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld & Sam Goldband and trained by Julie Miller. Livininthefastlane comes in off a convincing win in the Kentuckiana Farms trot at Hoosier Park and has amassed more than $165,000 on the season.   Ten races comprise the Thursday Red Mile card with a post time of 1:00pm, which shall continue through the meet's end on Kentucky Futurity Day, October 5. You can find more pertinent info at The Red Mile website and if you missed any of last week's action visit the youtube page for all video replays of the races.   The start of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale is Tuesday at 7:00pm and continues through Saturday with the cream of the Standardbred yearling crop available for your inspection and purchase.   From the Red Mile press box

LEXINGTON, KY-- In the premier afternoon card of the annual Grand Circuit fortnight, harness racing sophomore filly trotters were in the spotlight, as they competed in two divisions of the $173,400 Bluegrass Stakes. And one filly stole the spotlight as Cee Bee Yes became the fastest three-year-old trotting filly ever with her victory in 1:50.2. With Cooler Schooner setting fast fractions, Cee Bee Yes coasted in the pocket, passed her into the stretch and dueled with Hambletonian Oaks-winner Lifetime Pursuit, ultimately getting her neck in front to win in the world record clocking. The prior world mark was 1:50.4 set by Lifetime Pursuit earlier this year. Cooler Schooner took control with ease, while Cee Bee Yes sat in second and Lifetime Pursuit in third. The top trio remained in that order as Cooler Schooner set splits of :27.4, :53.2 (:25.3), and 1:21.4 (:28.2). Galloping at the top of the stretch, Cooler Schooner was passed by Lifetime Pursuit, with Cee Bee Yes circling by, too. In the final eighth, Lifetime Pursuit had a slight advantage on Cee Bee Yes, who trotted alongside, then by the world champion filly, to christen her has a champion in 1:50.2 (:28.3). Owned by Jason and Doug Allen, trained by Julie Miller, and driven by Scott Zeron, the daughter of Muscles Yankee-Enbeecee-Enjoy Lavec paid $115.40 to win, with the $2 exacta, over 1/9 favorite Lifetime Pursuit, paying $217. This victory pushed Cee Bee Yes's career earnings to $339,532. "I didn't expect her to be the fastest of all-time, but I knew the race would set up with fast fractions," regular driver Andy Miller said, whose been sidelined due to a race injury sustained in April. "She's a very tough filly. Scott [Zeron] did a great job getting her into the race. He was patient, then he got her home." "In this business, you always throw the audible, but we would talk to Ron Allen and see the plans," trainer Julie Miller said in regards to Cee Bee Yes's retirement at the end of the season. "I would think she'd be a great mother." Cee Bee Yes Shake It Cerry, clearing the lead before the half, strode through the stretch to win in 1:51.2. The other Takter-trainee in the field, Scream And Shout, took the lead, while My Inspiration got away in second and Shake It Cerry in third. After a :27.2 quarter, Shake It Cerry made her move. Controlling the pace through a :55.1 (:27.4) half and 1:23.2 (:28.1) third quarter, Shake It Cerry kicked clear of Scream And Shout chasing in second, while Chivaree Hanover was rallying down the center of the course into second, and My Inspiration weaved her way into third. Shake It Cerry crossed the line in 1:51.2 (:28). With career earnings of $1,405,205, the daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Ron Pierce. Paying $3.00, her 1:51.2 mile is a lifetime best. "The filly [Shake It Cerry] took me around there [The Red Mile] on her own," driver Ron Pierce said. "I just sat there, just a passenger." "She sure felt like it to me," Pierce also said in regards to Shake It Cerry's sharp form. "I was saying 'Whoa girl, whoa, girl,' and she was thinking I was saying 'Go girl, go girl.' I could have let her trot and easily broke the world record, but I didn't see any sense of it; we have the Breeders Crown coming up, the [Filly] Futurity next week. There are still some major races for her." Shake It Cerry Live racing will resume on Thursday, October 2 with the $300,000 International Stallion Series for two-year-old filly trotters. The entry box will be open until 9:30amEDT on Monday, September 29. Post time for that card is scheduled for 1:00pmEDT. Race replays of action from The Red Mile can be found on our YouTube channel: Red Mile Harness. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

The 4-year-old gelding trotter Bambino Glide got back on track in the featured event at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 25). The race was a winner's over $25,000 lifetime trot, over a track listed good due to intermittent rain throughout the day. The wagering public put it's support behind Holy Halibut (Geo Napolitano Jr) who was looking for his fourth straight win. As the wings closed, it was Bambino Glide (Marcus Miller) and Holy Halibut fastest away, with the latter taking control just beyond the quarter (:27). It remained that way until just after the half (:55.3) when Opening Night (Eric Carlson) mounted a first over bid. After battling by three quarters (1:25.1) Holy Halibut sprinted clear to lead by two lengths at the top of the stretch. In the end however, it was Bambino Glide closing up the open stretch to win by a final margin of one length, stopping the clock in 1:54.1. The winner returned $4.80, keying a $12.20 exacta, and a trifecta that paid $39.60. Bambino Glide is owned by Kapildeo Singh and Shakoor's Racing Stable, and is trained by Julie Miller. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 22, 2014 -- Staring at a 4-1/2-length deficit behind the loose leader, Kelsey's Keepsake launched a determined first-over move that carried her to the upset victory in the fastest division of Monday's Keystone Classic at The Meadows. The $118,200 stake for 2-year-old filly trotters was contested over three divisions, with Blessings Counted and Wouldn't Itbesweet also capturing splits. Winning driver Marcus Miller thought he had a shot to catch the 1-5 favorite, Jersey Strong, when his filly got away flat. "The one thing I was worried about -- my filly doesn't get off the car very well from the rail," Miller said. "I was worried first about her trotting, and she took care of the rest. She was very good today, very solid, the best she's been for me." Sent off at 5-1, the daughter of Yankee Glide-Distaff relentlessly tracked Jersey Strong and defeated her by a neck in 1:57.3, with Product Placement third. Julie Miller trains Kelsey's Keepsake for Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Peggy Hood. In the final start of her freshman campaign, Blessings Counted was determined to take the lead, and winning driver Dan Rawlings didn't think it wise to dissuade her. "She's been getting pretty grabby, so she was going to the front today," Rawlings said. "I thought I was the best in here, so I wanted to dictate fractions. She has a lot of potential, but they'll have their work cut out for them this winter trying to keep her manners under control. If they do that, she'll come back as a nice filly. She's going away sound and healthy." Even under Rawlings' restraint, Blessings Counted won handily in 1:58, 1-3/4 lengths better than Matter Hatter. The first-over Sweet Shurga completed the ticket. Rick Beinhauer trains the homebred daughter of Muscle Massive-Winner Springs and owns with Regina Beinhauer. Wouldn't Itbesweet also prevailed easily on the front end, although winning trainer/driver Jim Raymer wasn't completely satisfied with the way she finished. "She's so quick off the gate -- that first eighth, she can beat anybody -- that I can get her in a bad spot," Raymer said of the $30,000 yearling purchase. "She's a little filly, and I think she's telling me she's had enough. For the fractions she had, I thought she'd be a little better on the end of it." Nevertheless, she downed Cantabulous Julie by 2-1/2 lengths in 2:00.2. Trustworthy Gal earned show. Harbor Racing Stable campaigns the daughter of Cantab Hall-US Victory, who is eligible for the Circle City at Hoosier Park. In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Rescue Team turned back several challenges and scored in 1:52.4 on the front end for Dave Palone, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Metro Ville was second, 1-3/4 lengths in arrears, with Do Me Honor third. The 4-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Tended Rose extended her career bankroll to $136,175. Palone, Burke and Eric Ledford each fashioned a three-bagger on the 16-race card. The Keystone Classics continue Tuesday at The Meadows with an $88,600 stake for freshman filly pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. by Nick Salvi, for the Red Mile

ANDERSON, Ind.-September 20, 2014 - Master of Law pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season as he was able to wear down the overwhelmingly favored, Sebastian K, late in the stretch to win the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, September 20. Driven by trainer Jimmy Takter, Master of Law was able to close off cover to win at 21-1 in 1:54.2 over a track rated good. Sebastian K and driver, trainer Ake Svenstadt left alertly from post six but would have to work for position as Creatine and Trace Tetrick left aggressively to get the first call around the opening turn in :27. Their lead would be short lived as Sebastian K pressed on to the lead and reached the front just before the half mile time in :55.4. With a target on his back, Sebastian K would once again have to work for position as the outer flow quickly began to form. Verlin Yoder had Natural Herbie out and firing down the backside and was forcing the issue first-over approaching the final turn with Master of Law in tow. As the field began to tighten, Sebastian K still called the shots around the three-quarter clocking in 1:24.4 but the taxing trip began to take its toll. Sebastian K was able to fend off Natural Herbie but Master of Law loomed large in the background. Tipping three-wide late in the lane, Master of Law surged passed his rivals and coasted to the wire to finish two lengths in front of Creatine. Natural Herbie held on gamely to round out the trifecta while Sebastian K faded late in the stretch to finish seventh. Dismissed at the betting windows, Master of Law returned $44.00 for the victory. "We got away decent, obviously the track was a little sticky but everything worked out in my favor," Takter noted in the winner's circle. "The track favored my horse a little more versus my other horse in the field (Uncle Peter) who was not shod for this track. This is a nice horse. He's developing all the time and he can play with these guys." Master of Law who has now won three of six seasonal outings is owned by Lindy Racing Stable, Brittany Farms, Adam Victor & Son, and Christina Takter. The gelded son of Deweycheatumnhowe-Posses The Magic has now won nine of 17 lifetime outings and pushed his career bankroll to $331,753. "My owners wanted me to drive this horse," Takter continued. "He is kind of a one man show, you can't rush him. I've only had him for a little while but I really like this horse. He's only four and he is staked to everything, so We Will See." Master of Law Takter also scored another training win on the 14-race card with his two-year-old trotting filly Speak To Me in one of two divisions of the $154,150 Kentuckiana Stallion Management. With driver Brett Miller in the bike, Speak To Me recovered from a break in the final turn to stop the timer in 1:55.2, a new track record at Hoosier Park for two-year-old trotting fillies. The second division of Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes action for freshman trotting fillies went to Livininthefastlane and driver Tim Tetrick in 1:56. Trained by Julie Miller, the daughter of Donato Hanover-Nicole's Promise was able to score from off the pace to record her third win of the season. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Tuesday, September 23 with a 14-race card. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the live racing schedule will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 15. Emily Gaskin

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