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HANOVER, ON - AUG. 29, 2020 - Locally owned freshman trotting filly Top Of The Bar delivered an impressive performance at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 29 to earn her second  Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots victory of the season. Starting from Post 2 with driver Bob McClure in the race bike, Top Of The Bar settled in third as A Blue Blood led the field to a :31 opening quarter over a rain-soaked and wind-battered oval rated three seconds slower than normal. As A Blue Blood carried on to a 1:04 half, McClure sent Top Of The Bar up the outside and the filly continued to stalk the pacesetter through a 1:35.2 three-quarters. In the stretch Top Of The Bar finally reeled in A Blue Blood, getting up for a one-half length victory in 2:06. A Blue Blood settled for second and fan favourite Flanagan Destiny was third. "She's such a solid filly," said McClure. "One thing about Mark Etsell, his horses can trot, so when you go to a track like Hanover you can stand on them pretty good and know they can take it." McClure engineered the win for Rockwood resident Etsell and his co-owners Robert Newton of Walkerton, Graham Hopkins of Chesley and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. The Muscle Mass daughter was also victorious in Grassroots action at Grand River Raceway on July 29 and finished third in the July 13 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "She raced good. When she raced it was pretty muddy, windy and muddy, and she did it, I guess the hard way, first up, and Bob said she was good," said Hanover native Etsell. "He was confident. He knows that she's kind of a rugged little girl." Top Of The Bar will make her fourth lifetime start in the last regular season Grassroots leg at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 17 before heading to the Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 1. With a total of 112 Grassroots points, the filly currently sits second in the division point standings. The top 20 point earners advance to the Semi-Finals. Doing It All made a leap into the top 10 with her first Grassroots victory in the second $22,100 division. From Post 1 the Kadabra daughter and driver Stephen Byron got away second behind early pacesetter Snowfalla, who rang up a :31.3 quarter and a 1:04.3 half. Tribeca Seelster tallied the 1:35 third fraction and duelled Doing It All down the stretch, but Doing It All got a head in front at the wire for the 2:07.2 score. Kadillac Girl recovered from an early break to be third. "They weren't going much today, but it rained pretty good up there. It rained until just about post time," said trainer John Bax. "She's a big, big, good gaited filly who just doesn't know how to race yet and hasn't filled out. I think she's going to be more of a three-year-old." Campbellville resident Bax conditions Doing It All for owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY, who offered up $100,000 for the filly at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. In her three previous Grassroots starts Doing It All had finished seventh, fifth and fourth, giving her a total of 65 points. The final $22,100 division saw Tipsy In Dixie claim her second Grassroots victory with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 3 that saw her trot under the wire in 2:07.2, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Movin To The Top and Fortune Tellers K. James MacDonald piloted the fan favourite to the win for trainer Harry Poulton and fractional ownership group TheStable Tipsy In Dixie of Guelph, ON, and the reinsman said he was confident in the filly from the start. "She just buzzes around the farm track, and she got around Grand River like a hoop on a barrel. I would have been thoroughly, thoroughly shocked if she didn't handle Hanover well. I was pretty confident going in," said MacDonald. "She's just a little beauty. She's just a good gaited, nice little filly, she doesn't do anything wrong. She's a little sweetheart." With two wins and a second in three Grassroots starts, Muscle Mass daughter Tipsy In Dixie leads the two-year-old pacing fillies into the final leg with 125 points. Click the links to see complete results and replays of the afternoon's program. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Hanover Raceway next weekend, Saturday, Sept. 5, with the final Grassroots leg for the three-year-old pacing fillies. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - JULY 30, 2020 - Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted a pair of $108,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts on Wednesday, July 30 and Macho Martini and Tokyo Seelster both made their third straight harness racing appearance in the Milton oval's winner's circle. First off the gate was Macho Martini, starting from Post 8 with regular reinsman Bob McClure in the race bike. The pair had to dodge a breaking Royal Tyrone heading into the first turn and were six lengths off the pace when Rookie Season reached the :28.2 quarter, but Macho Martini had caught the leaders by the :58.3 half and established a comfortable lead before the 1:28.2 three-quarters. Heading for home the fan favourite opened up a four and one-half length margin on his peers and hit the wire in 1:56.4. Master Grand overcame a bobble at the start and interference at the half to finish second and Rookie Season was four more lengths back in third. "What a fun horse to be a part of. Every week he just goes out and does his job," said Rockwood, ON resident McClure. "His personality off the track too, he's just a big, cocky kid, just a lot of fun." Campbellville, ON resident Luc Blais conditions Macho Martini for Determination of Montreal, QC, who offered up $37,000 for the Muscle Mass son at the 2019 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Blais said the colt demonstrated talent all winter and has already developed into a professional racehorse. "He was always the best colt in the winter, training. He's a mature horse, he looks like a three-year-old, strong and mature," said Blais. "He's very professional. He's got a nice presence. He's a proud horse, you know. What you see on the track, he's like that in the barn." With a full slate of stakes events on his calendar, including the Champlain and William Wellwood Memorial, Blais said Macho Martini will enjoy a mini-vacation next week after winning the first two Gold legs and the first leg of the Millard Farms Series. "He had three big weeks now and we're going to give him a week off," said Blais. "The season is going to be long now, the big race coming in a couple weeks. We're going to try to make him fresh as we can." In the second division Tokyo Seelster left smartly from Post 7 and was sitting third when Highland Mowgli reached the quarter in :29. Regular reinsman Sylvain Filion soon had Tokyo Seelster on the move and the fan favourite hit the half in :58.2. Harry mounted a challenge heading for the 1:29.1 three-quarters and got a head in front of Tokyo Seelster, but the colt kicked it into another gear and powered away to a three and one-half length victory in 1:57. Highland Mowgli finished second and Harry was third. "Leaving the gate I was just being careful to avoid breakers and stuff like that and once we turned on the backside, I pulled to go to the front, decided to control the pace," said Milton, ON resident Filion. "Once he got there he relaxed really good, he relaxed almost too much, he kind of fell asleep on me, until Paul Walker came alongside with his trotter (Harry) and then he took off again. He was really, really strong at the wire. "That's what I like about him, he's going to probably last longer that way," said Filion of the colt's laidback approach to racing. "I'd rather have him like this than the opposite, too rammy and stuff like that, no, that's a good quality in a two-year-old trotter." Richard Moreau trains Tokyo Seelster for Michael and Sam Sergi of Canton, NY, who purchased the Kadabra son for $52,000 at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. The Sergi's watched the race from home and were impressed with the youngster's third effort. "At the top of the stretch they were all coming pretty good at him and I thought, 'Geez', but when he found that extra gear then we were all like, 'Wow'. He could be the real deal," said Michael Sergi. "It's sort of bittersweet that we can't come there to watch, because we can't cross the border, but we'll cheer from home I guess." Sam Sergi bought his first Standardbred four decades ago and has shared his love of harness racing with son Michael over the years, from driving and training to breeding mares and standing stallions. They typically start their young horses at their Canton farm before handing them over to trainers, but Tokyo Seelster remained in Ontario after the sale last fall. "My dad usually breaks them but he was having some health issues so we just decided to leave him there to be broke. We were actually going to bring him home and train him but we live in New York, our track was really bad, it was pure ice for most of the winter, so that's when we decided to send him to Robbie," said Sergi, noting that Tokyo Seelster learned his first lessons from Moreau and his staff, moved to the barn of Ottawa horseman Robbie Robinson for his winter conditioning, and then returned to Moreau in time for the Gold Series season opener on July 9. "Every time we would call and talk he (Robinson) was like, 'Yeah, he's doing great, feeling good'. And a couple of times he was even like, 'You know, I really don't want to jinx him, I just don't want to say, but he is special'." Sergi said Tokyo Seelster looks to be the best two-year-old trotting colt the family has owned, and they look forward to watching him battle in the remaining Gold events, as well as the Champlain and William Wellwood Memorial. The freshman trotting colts will make their third Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 20. Complete results from Thursday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Milton oval on Friday, July 31 with three Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies will compete in Races 1, 4 and 8, with the first race getting underway at 7 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two of the hottest trainers in harness racing each sent out a two-year-old pacing filly who together produced a great stretch duel Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as Notorious Pink from the Tony Alagna stable made her debut a successful one by edging the Nancy Takter barn's JK Alwaysbalady by a head in 1:53.4. Tim Tetrick sent Notorious Pink (Captaintreacherous - She's a Hot Mess) to the lead at the eighth pole around her favored rival, reaching the first station in a leisurely :29.3. Yannick Gingras decided to put JK Alwaysbalady (by Horses of the Year Always B Miki and JK She'salady), a 1:52.1 winner in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes company in her last start, on the lead in front of the stands, increasing the tempo to :57.3 and leaving all but the pocketsitter in their wake. The positions remained unchanged past a 1:26 three-quarters and to headstretch, where Tetrick pulled Notorious Pink out and gained a head advantage by midstretch. But that's all she would ever lead by, as the pacesetter dug in tenaciously, and was just outsprinted in the :27.4 dash home. Notorious Pink, who had had a 1:55 - :26.4 qualifier at Gaitway before this race, offers lots of promise for owners Alagna Racing LLC, Steven Head, John Fodera, and Riverview Racing LLC.   A freshman son of Captaintreacherous went even faster later on the card, when Crunch Hanover (dam: Code One Hanover) was along in time over Lindysalwaysthinkn in 1:53. Lindysalwaysthinkn wouldn't surrender the lead when challenged by the winner, so Scott Zeron took the pocket and waited to take another shot in the stretch. Nearing the wire Crunch Hanover went on to take a half-length decision over the pacesetter for trainer Linda Toscano and the partnership of Enviro Stables, South Mountain Stables, R-And-I Farms, and Bay's Stable.   The sophomore trotting Kadabra filly P L Notsonice, coming off a second in a division of an Ontario Sure Stakes Gold event, made short work of her opposition while taking a new mark of 1:54. Driver Renaldo Morales III sent the Joe Skowyra-trained distaff on a big move early and secured control of the throttle, then was unchallenged in a :56.3 back half, winning by 9½ lengths after the four previous races had been decided by a nose, a head, and two necks. P L Notsonice, third in the Peaceful Way final last year, is co-owned by Morales and Prince Lee Acres.   From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Harness racing driver Stephane Brosseau had the hot hands at the Hippodrome 3R Friday afternoon, scoring a driving triple that included a victory in the Preferred Trot. Sent off as the 2-1 betting favorite, Brosseau was patient with Upvote Hanover after the start of the race as Precieuse CC (Claude Beausoleil) went off stride on the lead. After the break, driver Pascal Berube inherited the lead with Lucky Promesses, who may have seemed to be riled up by Precieuse CC as she trotted to the opening quarter mile in a speedy :27.2. Lucky Promesses cut the mile to the half in :58.1 with Stpattysday (Stephane Gendron) sitting the pocked seat and Upvote Hanover coming first-over for Brosseau and the war horse, Caroluzzo (Pierre Luc Roy) second-over. As the field reached the three-quarter mile pole in 1:28.3, Lucky Promesses was still in the lead as Berube pulled from the pocked with Stpaddysday and came after Lucky Promesses on the final turn. They cleared to the lead with Upvote Hanover still first-over but now gaining ground. Coming off the final turn, Upvote Hanover was able to collar Stpaddysday and beat her to the wire by a long neck in 2:00.1. Eau Naturelle (Steeven Genois) was third. It was the third win this year for the six-year-old gelded son of Kadabra. He is trained by Brosseau for owner Francois Morin of Beauceville. It was Upvote Hanover's 22nd career win and he paid $6.80 to win as the mild favorite. For Brosseau, it was his second driving triple of the H3R meeting. 15YO trotter racing on Saturday Chinnys Wings, who is 15 years old, gets another chance at racing Saturday when the Quebec Jockey Club hosts the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit races at H3R starting at 1:00 pm. H3R is hosting four special Saturday Fair Circuit events. A career winner of $382,000 and 45 races, Chinnys Wings starts from post 8 in the third race trot. He is trained and will be driven by Jean Lord and is owned by his wife, Nancy, of Trois-Rivieres. Chinnys Wings is allowed to race on the Fair Circuit until he turns age 17 and that is when he must retire from racing. This is his first start back at the track since December 19. Track Notes: Driver David Pilon and trainer Francis Richard both had doubles on the program Friday. Live racing takes place all weekend at H3R. There are eight races both Saturday and Sunday with first race post time at 1:00 pm. For a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club

ELORA, ON - JULY 1, 2020 - After sweeping the three-year-old trotting colt Gold Series season opener, trainer Ben Baillargeon turned his attention to the Grassroots Series at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening and delivered two more victories. The Guelph resident kicked off the Canada Day program with a victory as No Time To Play and driver Sylvain Filion rolled through fractions of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:29.1 on their way to a 1:59.1 score in the first $22,800 division. Hetalkstoangels finished three and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and Mr Arch rounded out the top three. "He's still very green, very dumb, and you can quote me on that too. I told Sylvain, 'Be careful when you come on the track I don't know if he'll go straight or turn'. The trot is there 100 per cent, the trot is there, he trots nice, but his mind wanders around," said Baillargeon. "I didn't know how to rig him tonight when I came here, and I changed the rigging after I warmed him up. I said, 'Well, if we get through the first turn then we're okay'. I think he's got everything to be a very nice horse down the road you know, like a four-year-old. He's got the speed, he trotted 1:55.4 his second lifetime start." Wednesday's outing was just No Time To Play's third lifetime start. He made his debut in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 9, finishing fourth, then delivered a second-place effort on June 16. Baillargeon trains the son of Kadabra for Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, Jean Dessureault of Candiac and Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff, QC. Eight races later Baillargeon and Filion capped off the evening with their second victory. Like his stablemate, Ongoing Royalty controlled the tempo from start to finish, posting fractions of :29.2, 1:00 and 1:29.1 before hitting the wire three lengths the best in 1:59.1. Dart Guy finished second and King Of Hearts was three more lengths back in third. "A friend of mine (Sylvio Ravary) owns him, we were raised together, and he said Ben I have this colt and he might be okay and this and that. They sent him to me about five, six weeks ago. They had him trained on the farm track in Quebec in 2:06," said Baillargeon. "He raced real good tonight. He's still a very green colt, but a good gaited colt and willing to do it, so that's nice." Les Cedres, QC resident Sylvio Ravary shares ownership of the Royalty For Life son with Andre Desrochers of St-Hughes, QC. While No Time To Play and Ongoing Royalty were making their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts on Wednesday, the other three division winners were regulars on the Grassroots circuit last season. The second division winner, Ripped And Ready, was a Grassroots winner at two and qualified for the Semi-finals. Grand River fans sent the colt off as their top choice and driver Guy Gagnon engineered a front-end effort that saw Ripped And Ready hold off a charging Fit Bitt in the stretch to record a 1:58 victory. Franks Angel rounded out the top three. Thierry Vandenplas trains Muscle Mass son Ripped And Ready for owner-breeder Dr. Ruth Irving of Russell, ON. The winner of the third split, Awesomedabra, was a two-time Grassroots winner as a freshman, with one of those wins coming in the Semi-finals. On Wednesday the Kadabra son had to overcome a mid-race miscue and lay down a :28.4 last quarter to get a head in front of Pot Stock at the 1:59 finish. Titans Dream finished one length back in third. "Unfortunately he made a break going to the half on a loose part of the track, luckily he was strong enough to overcome it," said Chris Christoforou, who drove the gelding to the win for owner-trainer Gary Lance of Port Perry, ON. "He got back into contention at the head of the stretch - he got out wide in the lane where the footing was better - and had enough to get his head in front at the wire. He raced very good." Unlike Ripped And Ready and Awesomedabra, Remember Titans never found his way to the winner's circle in his freshman campaign, but the E L Titan son was consistent enough to make it all the way to the Grassroots Championship. On Wednesday, he finally visited the winner's circle with a front-end effort in the fourth $23,150 division. Crossfit Mouse was three lengths back when Remember Titans halted the teletimer at 1:58 and The Reins Of Titan was another length and one-half back in third. "Until tonight he was the best maiden in Canada I think," said trainer Shawn Steacy with a chuckle. "He's just a solid trotter. Until tonight he didn't have a nose for winning, that's all. But ultra-consistent, can get around any size track and kind of will do as much as what any horse around him will do. I'm hoping that he starts to like this winning thing, hopefully it becomes a habit." Steacy trains Remember Titans for Landmark 12 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, A K Malik Stable of Ottawa, ON and Dale Larson of Kent City, MI. James MacDonald piloted the colt to his first lifetime win. The three-year-old trotting colts will make their second Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 16. On Friday, June 17 Grand River Raceway will host its second Ontario Sires Stakes event of the 2020 season, welcoming the two-year-old pacing fillies to Elora for their second Grassroots leg. Complete results for Wednesday's program are available at Grand River Raceway Results. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Bred For Greatness ($6.20) was certainly 'great' once again as he notched a length harness racing victory over Lougazi in Buffalo Raceway's $13,000 Class A-Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday evening (March 11).   It was the fifth victory in six starts this year for Bred For Greatness and it was also his seasonal best with a 1:58.1 clocking.   Getting a perfect stalking trip behind the fraction-setting Cr Blazin Beauty, Bred For Greatness (Jim Morrill Jr.) tipped to the outside down the stretch and took command midway down the lane. Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) made his usual late charge but ran out of real estate and had to settle for second while Cr Blazin Beauty (Kevin Cummings).   Co-owned by trainer Mike Ohol and Steven Gross, the 6-year-old gelded Bred For Greatness (Federal Flex-Wendy Woo) now has produced $23,940 in earnings in 2020 and $116,221 in his career.   Noble Legend ($2.70) was no match in the $10,000 Class A-B Handicap Trot as the 8-year-old gelding put a 12-1/4 length pounding on the field in 1:58.3 over the fast track.   There race was never in doubt as Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.) roared right off the gate and put up splits of :31.,1, 1:00.4 and 1:29.4 in going the mile in 1:58.3. The only battle in the event was for the place position as Are You In (Cummings) finished a distant second with Barn Winner (Fisher Jr.) taking third.   Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock, it was the first win in seven tries for Noble Legend (Kadabra-Lovin It). The victory moved his seasonal earnings to $14,860 and $292,889 lifetime.   Julio's Girl (David McNeight III) produced a :57 back half and that proved to be more than enough to capture the $10,000 Class A Handicap Pace for the filly and mares.   Getting a first over trip, Julio's Girl ($7.50) collared the pace-setting The Bay Front near the three-quarter marker and strutted away to the 3-1/2 length win in a season's best of 1:56.1. The Bay Front (Morrill Jr.) held on for the place position with Little Joke (Davis Jr.) rolling into third.   Trained by James Clouser Jr. and owned by William Emmons, Julio's Girl (Art Director-Prayer Answered) has now found the winner's circle four times in six tries. The 7-year-old mare now has a seasonal bankroll of $15,980 and $161,958 in her lifetime.   Davis Jr. completed the night with four driving victories while Morrill Jr. added a pair. Rice conditioned a pair winners. Racing will resume on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program slated. There will be a $955 carryover in the Pick 5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, simulcast schedule and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

The Blooded Horse Winter Sale held Tue. Feb. 11, at the Champions Center in Springfield, Ohio, was the strongest in its 57-year history. Owners, trainers and breeders flooded the pavilion to restock stables and acquire broodmares. "People love coming to a sale to actually see and touch the horses they want to buy," said sale manager Jerry Haws. "It may take a bit more time and resources, but the dividends far outweigh the cost. Bringing horses to a venue of eager buyers is a tremendous marketing tool. Consignors seemed to be pleased as there were substantially less RNAs." The sale topper was the Grand Circuit placed 5-year-old Donato Hanover broodmare Sneeker Hanover 3,1:55.2s purchased for $49,000 by Michael I Miller of Ohio. From the immediate family of Marion Maurader 1:51 ($3 Million+) the classy bay trotter consigned by Cactus Acres was in foal to Kadabra. The sale runner up was the consistent 5-year-old conditioned trotter U Need Stones, consigned by Burke Racing Stable. Popular Canadian owner Adriano Sorella purchased the son of Wishing Stone for $45,000 as well as another Burke Racing Stable graduate, the beautiful chestnut Cracklin Rosie for $37,000. Burke Racing Stable also offered the innovative opportunity to choose one of two almost equally matched trotting mares that were presented in the ring simultaneously. The winning bidder got to choose the mare they wanted and Burke Racing Stable kept the other to continue racing. Both Wildfire Seelster and Matterlei were 4-year-old daughters of Explosive Matter; both had nine wins lifetime; and both had won five or six of their last eight starts at the Meadows. Herman and Morgan Hagerman of Ohio got the final bid at $43,000 and chose Wildfire Seelster to add to their powerful stable. For complete sale results visit bloodedhorse.com. The next sale is May 12 and it's an exceptionally strong market for racehorses. Entries close April 22. by Dot Morgan, for the Blooded Horse Sale      

YONKERS, NY, Saturday December 7, 2019-- Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton took down both halves of Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $42,000 Open Handicaps Saturday night (Dec. 7th), doing so with Will Take Charge and big-table-debuting Raukapuka Ruler N. It was odds-on Will Take Charge ($2.90) who killed 'em softly--fractions-wise--in the week's marque trot. Winning the post positions 5-thru-7 draw, he left, working around Winning Shadow (George Brennan) right around the 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a :57.2 intermission, the returning Obrigado (Dan Dube) surprised by moving first-up from fourth. A 30-second third quarter (1:27.2) allowed Obrigado to hang around before slowing backing way. Meanwhile, Will Take Charge, who had faltered late in his past two tries, owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He defeated a Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) by that exact margin in 1:56.1 with a closing Swansea (Austin Siegelman), Winning Shadow and Sumatra (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For millionaire Will Take Charge, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Gillis, Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay, it was his sixth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $40, the triple returned $217 and the superfecta paid $704. The weekly adult pace saw Raukapuka Ruler N ($6.80)--from post No. 3--finish what he started (:28.1, :56.3, 1:23.2, life-best-matching 1:52.3). He repelled first-up Heaven's Gait (Brennan) down the backside, then owned a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. Saying Grace N (Marohn Jr.), the 17-10 fave who had angled out of the pocket, made up some ground but missed a length A late-arriving The Real One (Pat Lachance) was third, with Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland) and Sunfire Blue Chip (Siegelman) grabbing the minors. For second choice Raukapuka Ruler N, a 6-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding owned by (trainer) Peter Tritton, it was his fifth win in 11 '19 tries. The exacta paid $23.60, the triple returned $253.50 and the superfecta paid $1,106 by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

CHESTER, PA - The Sir Lincoln mare Lincoln's Girl N came uncovered into a :55 last half and still was able to draw away from favored Glorious Nite to win the $17,000 pacing distaff harness racing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon in a career best 1:52.4. Jive Dancing A shot away from the gate to the lead, with Glorious Nite making a move at the :28.1 quarter to get the lead, and she got a breather to a :57.4 half. Dexter Dunn sent his "countrymate" first-over from third entering the backstretch, and the big battle was on with Glorious Nite retaining command through the 1:25.2 three-quarters, Lincoln's Girl N still coming up to her, and Jive Dancing A starting to get a bit loose in the pocket. In the stretch a 34-day layoff may have caught up with Glorious Nite, but Lincoln's Girl N was certainly strong in her own right, going by the leader to win by ¾ of a length, with Jive Dancing A holding third. Lincoln's Girl N is now 4-for-6 on these shores and looking headed for better things for trainer Josh Green, who is co-owner along with Richard Lombardo and David Kryway. The Kadabra gelding Smokee Mirrors closed valiantly from far back to miss just ¾ of a length in his last start, so today driver Corey Callahan tried the front end, and his trotter liked the trip just fine, taking a new mark of 1:55.4 in a 1½ length victory over Freshette Hanover. Andrew Harris conditions the winner for owner Robert Key. Tim Tetrick added four more wins on the Friday card, keeping his hot streak alive, but now we know his long period of recent success at Philly will end Sunday, for next week Tetrick has been invited to Finland - within four miles of the Arctic Circle -- to compete in a special tournament. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

MILTON, ON - December 2, 2019 - World champion harness racing trotter Emoticon Hanover capped off her legendary career with a coast-to-coast 1:53.3 victory Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The six-year-old trotting mare was sent to the top by driver Bob McClure and got things her own way, trotting home in :27 for a three-quarter length victory in the $34,000 Preferred. Trainer Luc Blais confirmed Monday morning that Emoticon Hanover, a two-time Breeders Crown champion, would be retired following that evening's start. "I was very nervous before the race," said an emotional Blais following 'Emoticon's' final start. "She gave me an incredible thrill. She never (had) a bad race and always gave a 150 per cent of her." A daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover was purchased for $165,000 at the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale by Serge Godin's Determination and went on to become one of the greatest Ontario sired trotters of all-time. "We (made) the decision in the last minute," said Blais. "We had a meeting in Montreal and it was not an easy decision, but she deserves that, she deserves to breed with the best stallion." Blais noted that the connections first choice is to breed Emoticon Hanover to Muscle Hill. Emoticon Hanover spent the majority of her two and three-year-old campaigns battling with rival Caprice Hill for Ontario Sires Stakes glory. The talented ladies exchanged victories in the 2015 and 2016 OSS Super Finals. The Blais trainee gained recognition across North America as a four-year-old with a dominating stretch of victories that included a pair of World Record performances, 1:50.2 at Tioga Downs in the Joie De Vie and 1:52 at the Delaware County Fair in the Miss Versatility. 'Emoticon' followed those dazzling performances with a score in the Allerage at The Red Mile and her first Breeders Crown title. "Any kind of race we liked to watch her, she tries hard and I can't tell you what is the best (race)," said Blais. "I think the race at Tioga 1:50.2 was very impressive for me, it was a big race that afternoon." The World Champion returned to the races as a five-year-old and finished off the 2018 campaign in style by winning her second-consecutive Breeders Crown and her first TVG Mares Trot. Emoticon Hanover won the O'Brien Award as Canada's top older mare trotter in 2018. Determination's superstar continued to compete at the highest level this season, racing against the boys in her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot. The highlight of her six-year-old season came a little over a week ago when she reached up in the final strides to defeat Atlanta in the TVG Mare Trot, surpassing $2 million in career earnings. The TVG victory was also the 1,000th career training victory for trainer Blais. "I'm going to remember my 1,000th win," said Blais. "It's going to be easy to remember this one." Emoticon Hanover finishes her career with 27 wins, 56 top-three finishes, $2,044,663 earned and a mark of 1:50.2 in 74 starts. Woodbine Entertainment made a special presentation to Emoticon Hanover and Blais following Monday's race to recognize their accomplishments. TRAINING CANCELLED TUESDAY MORNING Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to notify all horsepeople that training has been cancelled for Tuesday morning. The track will reopen for training on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

MILTON, ON - December 2, 2019 - World champion Emoticon Hanover is set to make the final career start of her legendary harness racing career on Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Trainer Luc Blais confirmed Monday morning that the two-time Breeders Crown champion will be retired from racing following Monday evening's Preferred Trot. A six-year-old daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover most recently reached up in the final strides to defeat Atlanta in the TVG Mares Trot at The Meadowlands, surpassing $2 million in career earnings. Owned by Serge Godin's Determination, Emoticon Hanover will go down as one of the greatest Ontario sired trotters of all-time. The Blais trainee spent the majority of her two and three-year-old campaigns battling with rival Caprice Hill for Ontario Sires Stakes glory. The talented ladies exchanged victories in the 2015 and 2016 OSS Super Finals. Her three-year-old season did come to a close with a runner-up finish in the Breeders Crown. Emoticon Hanover gained recognition across North America as a four-year-old with a dominating stretch of victories that included a World Record of 1:50.2 at Tioga Downs, the Miss Versatility Series Final, Allerage at The Red Mile and her first Breeders Crown. The World Champion returned to the races as a five-year-old and finished off the 2018 campaign in style by winning her second-consecutive Breeders Crown and her first TVG Mares Trot. Emoticon Hanover won the O'Brien Award as Canada's top older mare trotter in 2018. The Blais trainee has continued to compete at the highest level this season, competing against the boys in her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot. The highlight of her six-year-old season came a little over a week ago with her TVG Mares Trot victory. Emoticon Hanover enters her final career start with 26 wins, 55 top-three finishes, $2,027,663 earned and a mark of 1:50.2 in 73 starts. Woodbine Entertainment will recognize Emoticon Hanover following Monday evening's Preferred Trot (Race 3) with a special winner's circle presentation. Post time for Monday's card is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

The 72nd Annual Fall Blooded Horse Sale, held November 19-21, at the Champions Center in Springfield, OH, witnessed its highest average in the history of its fall edition. The harness racing horse sale was topped by leading Ontario Sires Stakes Grass Roots filly Splurge On Me at $82,000. Consigned by Robert McIntosh, the 3-year-old daughter of Kadabra, had 12 wins and $102,000 life. Mahlon Hochstetler of Loudenville, OH, prevailed against serious bidders throughout the pavilion to secure the classy trotter. Hochstetler plans to give the filly to LeWayne Miller to race this winter in Ohio and hopefully next year in Indiana before eventually breeding her. Sale runner-up honors went to Letme Fly Low from the strong Alvin Miller consignment. The competitive upper level 4-year-old Rockin Image mare was purchased by John Ackley to race in Ohio. Indiana Sires Stakes finalist Pure Rock was hammered down to Tom Ceraso, Jr of CT for $52,000. The Rockin Image son, consigned by Emerald Highlands Farm, earned $66,000 this year. Also hitting the board at $52,000 was the beautiful 4-year-old broodmare Bubblesnritz who was carrying her first foal by Crazy Wow. The daughter of Chapter Seven was part of the highly popular Crawford Farms reduction with Spring Haven Farm acting as agent. Allard Racing consigned the competitive conditioned pacer Beyond Delight who sold to Mitchell Standardbreds for $45,000 on Wednesday. Allard then reinvested the proceeds back in the Open pacing mare Berazzled for $45,000 at the end of the sale on Thursday. Consigned by Abby Stables, agt, Berazzled was runner up in the aged Ohio Sires Stakes championship. Bidding was spirited for the beautiful black trotter Milford's Z Tam with William Hartt of ME getting the nod at $43,000. The son of Swan For All was consigned by Z Tam Stables LLC. The Uncle Peter colt Credit Ace and the Pet Rock colt Rocksursocksoff shared top honors at $23,000 among the 150 yearlings that sold on Tuesday. Credit Ace was purchased by Winterwood Farm from Spring Haven Farm acting as agent for Winklepleck Farm. The latter also consigned the handsome Triumphant Caviar son American Scandal that was purchased by Joe Kramp of OH for $20,000. Visit www.bloodedhorse.com for complete sale results and to enter horses for the upcoming Winter Mixed Sale scheduled for February 11-12. From the Blooded Horse Sale

MILTON, ON - November 14, 2019 - Thru The Wickets and Lady Driver took home the gold in Thursday evening's Harvest Series harness racing finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $47,500 final for trotting fillies and $50,200 final for pacing fillies wrapped up the three-week event for Ontario sired three-year-old fillies. Thru The Wickets tipped three-wide from fifth shortly before three-quarters and powered down the centre of the track to win the trotting final by a length and three-quarters in 1:57.1. Trevor Henry guided the daughter of Kadabra to victory for trainer Shane Weber. Warrawee Ultra shot from the rail and led by open-lengths to three-quarters in 1:26.1. The leader was all done at the head of the lane, allowing rivals from well-back to pick up the pieces. Thru The Wickets took the top spot over runner-up Northern Royale, who rallied from eighth, while Club Belvedere crossed the line third after racing a few lengths behind Warrawee Ultra throughout the opening three-quarters. The Harvest Series victory is the second win in 12 starts for Thru The Wickets, who was unraced at age two and had last collected a victory on August 1. She now has $38,152 earned for owners Tom & Elizabeth Rankin. Thru The Wickets paid $16.90 to win. To see the race replay, click here. Lady Driver converted off a two-hole trip behind Esprit Dequipe to best that rival by a pair of lengths and win the pacing final in 1:54.2. Jonathan Drury steered the Sportswriter filly to victory for trainer Carmen Auciello. The top-two at the finish were the same two leading at every call in the $50,200 event. Lady Driver left from post-seven and cleared Esprit Dequipe at the opening-quarter at :27.3. The fillies flipped positions racing to the half with Esprit Dequipe posting fractions of :57 and 1:25.1. The stretch drive saw little drama, as Lady Driver angled out and powered by for the score. Jessicas Legacy was third, while race-favourite Free Exchange was never in the mix and finished fourth. Lady Driver improves her three-year-old record to six wins and $74,055 earned in 22 starts. Her career numbers escalate to eight wins and $110,360 banked for owners Michael Hall, Ctc Stable and Our Three Sons Stable LLC. A $2 win ticket on Lady Driver returned $6.70. To watch the race replay, click here. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario sired three-year-old fillies, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2019 as of September 30, 2019. Live racing resumes Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:50 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

CHESTER, PA - Trainer/driver Jeff Gregory swept the $16,000 featured trots at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon with P L Ketchup and Turville Hanover - and almost everything else was taken by the track's leading driver, Tim Tetrick, who won seven times during the harness racing program's thirteen races. The Kadabra gelding P L Ketchup was coming off a sick scratch, and in his last 45 starts over the last two years had three wins and eleven seconds, but all systems were "go" as the trotter switched to Gregory's barn and promptly took a new mark of 1:53.3. P L Ketchup went splits of :27.3, :56.2, and 1:24 that gave him a big advantage over his foes, and when the two favorites, Hatkivah and Steuben Hanover, tried to advance in the stretch, "Ketchup" held off their late charges, with Steuben Hanover ¾ of a length back in second and Hatkivah another half-length behind in third. The Jesmeral Stable's acquisition immediately returned a good dividend on their investment. Gregory came back in the trainer/driver role with the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Turville Hanover, guiding that one to his sixth win of the year after not racing at two. Turville Hanover made the front nearing the quarter, set a moderate half, then came home in :57.3 to complete a 1:56.2 victory by 3¼ lengths over Remarkable De Vie. Jeff Gregory Inc. co-owns the winner with Stuart Morgan and Steven Finkelstein. Tim Tetrick was on fire from the opening bell, winning the first three races on the card, and then added races nine through twelve to get to his seven-bagger. Tetrick now leads George Napolitano Jr. 271-238 at the top of the 2019 drivers win column, and looks to be in good position to win his sixth dash title at Harrah's. Napolitano has won seven crowns- in fact, they are the only two drivers since the inaugural year of the racetrack (2006) to be Philly dashwinning champions; Cat Manzi took the title in that first meet. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

MILTON, ON - SEPT. 26, 2019 - Ontario's top three-year-old harness racing trotters wrapped up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening and division stars Bright Eyes M and Forbidden Trade padded their division leading point totals. The trotting fillies kicked off the Ontario Sires Stakes action in the fifth race with 10 hopefuls lining up behind the starting gate in the $158,800 division. Blue Magic, Angies Luckeylady and Bright Eyes M left smartly from Posts 1, 6 and 8 and wound up first, second and third on the rail going by the :27.1 opening quarter. Blue Magic's tenure on the lead was brief however, as driver Stephen Byron soon had Bright Eyes M aiming at the lead. Ahead by just over a length at the :55.4 half, Byron and Bright Eyes M had extended that to two lengths by the 1:24.2 three-quarters and three lengths at the top of the stretch. The field rallied late, but Bright Eyes M stayed game to the wire, securing a three-quarter length victory in 1:53.4. Teddys Littleangel finished second and Angies Luckeylady was another length back in third. "She seems to get off the gate a little better out there," said trainer John Bax of the filly's effort from Post 8. "She seems to be more comfortable, and then Steve can kind of make his decision, like tonight he kind of dropped into the three-hole and then as soon as everybody got settled away he was able to move her again, so it worked out good." Campbellville, ON resident Bax has conditioned the daughter of Kadabra to a record of six wins, two seconds and one third in 13 starts this season with five of those starts and four of the wins coming in Gold Series action. Thursday's victory pushed the filly's sophomore earnings to $312,925 for owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY. The win was Bright Eyes M's first since July 19. Her last three starts had been against some of the best sophomore trotting fillies in North America, where her best finish was a third in the Sept. 6 Simcoe Stakes, and Bax was happy to see the trotter back in the winner's circle. "She had lost her, maybe lost a little confidence. She had been sick and was on one line a little bit and so she wasn't at her best," said the trainer. "She's been good the last couple weeks training and jogging and the last race I thought she raced a lot better, I thought she was coming around again. And of course now she's racing with her own, so it sets up good for the Super Final." Bright Eyes M leads the three-year-old trotting fillies into the Oct. 12 Super Final with 208 points, 25 points ahead of Teddys Littleangel. The top 10 point earners will advance to the $225,000 Super Final. Two races later the sophomore trotting colts and geldings paraded onto the racetrack for their $158,000 test and fans sent Hambletonian champion Forbidden Trade off as their top choice for the sixth time in his Ontario Sires Stakes career. Starting from Post 7 Forbidden Trade and driver Bob McClure powered away from the gate and took command just past the :27.1 quarter. Through a :56.2 and 1:25 three-quarters the duo were unchallenged and a sharp :27.2 final quarter sealed the deal. Forbidden Trade hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of early leader Manatlas in 1:52.2. Only For Justice was five and one-half lengths back in third. "He pretty well speaks for himself, he was bionic tonight," said McClure. "I never asked him, he did it all on his own. He made us proud, like he always does. "I'm glad he's over whatever was bugging him last week," the Rockwood, ON resident added, referring to the colt's atypical outing in the Sept. 14 Canadian Trotting Classic where he was placed from third back to fifth for interfering with Only For Justice in the stretch. McClure steers Forbidden Trade for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Prior to his Canadian Trotting Classic result Forbidden Trade had finished no worse than third and he now boats a sophomore record of seven wins, three seconds and one third in 12 starts for earnings of $958,691. He leads the trotting colts into the Super Final with 175 points, 17 points ahead of Southwind Avenger. Before the top Gold Series horses take centre stage in the Super Finals, the Grassroots stars will face off in Semi-Final action at Woodbine Mohawk Park this Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28. The two-year-olds will compete in Races 2, 3, and 5 through 10 on Friday's 7:50 pm card, while the three-year-olds battle in Races 1, 3, 5 through 9, and 11 on the Saturday evening program, which gets under way at 7:10 pm. Complete results for Thursday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - SEPT. 17, 2019 - Splurge On Me tallied her third Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots win on Tuesday evening as the three-year-old harness racing trotting fillies wrapped up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park. With regular reinsman Trevor Henry in the race bike Splurge On Me powered to the front from Post 6 and never looked back. The Kadabra daughter cruised through fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:27.1 and then opened up six lengths on her peers in the stretch, trotting under the wire in 1:55.1. Favourite Rebellious Lady settled for second and Galaxy Seelster was six more lengths back in third. "She's a nice filly. She doesn't do much wrong," said Henry. "She was stronger tonight at the wire." With three wins, one third and one seventh in her five regular season Grassroots appearances, Splurge On Me leads the three-year-old trotting fillies into the Sept. 28 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park with 164 points. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will advance to the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championships at the Campbellville oval. "I think there's three good fillies probably and I think she's one of them. It will just depend on post position and how things work out," said Henry about Splurge On Me's post season prospects, ranking Halo Its Me and Lefkada as the other top fillies. Henry steers Splurge On Me for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON and his co-owner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The partners also bred the filly, who boosted her sophomore record to eight wins, one second, two thirds and earnings of $82,885 through 15 starts. A two-time Grassroots winner last season, Splurge On Me finished fifth in her Semi-Final and seventh in the Final and Henry would like to see the filly improve on those results this season. "She's a bigger filly now of course, but she always had good manners and everything. She's just bigger and more mature," said the Arthur, ON resident. "She can race any way, but she's better out of a hole actually. Where it might fit better is if she gets to the final and somebody's got some speed that she can follow; she's better that way actually than off the front." The other two division winners, Lefkada and Petro Hall, also advanced to the post season. Starting from Post 1, fan favourite Lefkada got away fourth as Witches N Angels led the field of seven to a :27.3 opening quarter. Witches N Angels continued to lead by the :57.1 half, but driver Scott Wray had Lefkada on the move, circling three-wide around a parked Order Mattie. On top by two lengths at the 1:26.4 three-quarters, Lefkada cruised home to a three length victory in a 1:56 personal best. Cambridge Kate finished second and Angelic Speed was third. The win was Lefkada's second in Grassroots action and her third lifetime. The E L Titan daughter was unraced at two and now has seven starts under her belt for trainer Jack Wray of London and his partners Thomas Wray of Schomberg and Douglas Dunbar of Woodstock, ON. With two wins and one eighth in three Grassroots appearances the filly wraps up the regular season with 101 points, putting her third in the point standings. Petro Hall earned her first Grassroots win in a roundabout manner when favourite Halo Its Me went inside two pylons coming off the final turn and was placed from first back to second. Petro Hall, who did all the work through fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:25.1 and trotted under the wire in 1:55, was driven to the win by Louis-Philippe Roy. "She's a little bit of a weird filly. She's not the most consistent, but when she's good she can be among the top Grassroots fillies, like she proved tonight," said Roy. "It depends on how she feels." The Guelph resident steers the Angus Hall daughter for trainer Victor Puddy and owners Lloyd Stone of Portland, James Ruhl of Tara, Dr. Charles Hall of Erin and Michael Kwietniowski of Guelph, ON. In four Grassroots starts she recorded one win, two thirds and one fifth for a point tally of 79 and seventh spot in the standings. Grassroots action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday night as the two-year-old trotting fillies wrap up their regular season. The freshman fillies will kick things off at 7:10 pm in the first race and also compete in Races 6 and 8. Complete results from Tuesday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0917wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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