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Harness racing trainer/driver Goran Antonsen learned a lot during his first trip to the $1 million Yonkers International Trot last year, and following the draw for this year's race, he wished he didn't need to recall some of the knowledge he gained. "I learned that post positions seven and eight are really, really bad," Antonsen said with a wry laugh after his Lionel, the runner-up to Cruzado Dela Noche in last year's International Trot, received post eight for Saturday's 41st renewal of the invitational for older trotters at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. Lionel is 8-1 on the morning line for the International Trot, which brings a 10-horse field representing nine nations to Yonkers Raceway. Atlanta, one of two U.S. representatives, is the 3-1 favorite from post three. Antonsen owns, trains and drives Lionel, a 9-year-old stallion who represents Norway. Last year, Lionel and Antonsen started from the second tier's post nine and raced in the outer flow for much of the mile. In fact, Lionel was first over from the half-mile point to the final turn, where he took the lead from Marion Marauder but was unable to hold off Cruzado Dela Noche, losing by a head. "It was a great experience," Antonsen said. "The driving culture here is very much different from home. I feel the last experience is important, especially now when we have post position eight, because when you have a bad (post position) you are so dependent on what the others do. "Even though we drew number eight we are still optimistic. But, of course, it is more difficult." Lionel has won 25 of 82 career races and just shy of $2 million. His victories include a handful of Group 1 events overseas, including the 2017 Olympiatravet (Olympic Trot). Following last year's International Trot, Lionel returned to action in Paris, but was not in best form. He got time to freshen up and Antonsen said the horse is entering this year's International in good shape. "When he was finished (in Paris) he was very tired," Antonsen said. "But he's been very good since July, when he started to find his top form. Now, he should be as good as last year." Despite Lionel's starting spot Saturday, Antonsen is enjoying his return trip to New York. "But," he said with a grin, "it would be even more fun if we had (post) two." * * * * * * The connections of Denmark's Slide So Easy, also a returnee from last year's International Trot, were on the other end of the spectrum when it came to the draw for Saturday's race. Slide So Easy got post No. 1, which caused his table of supporters to erupt in cheers when it was announced at Tuesday's luncheon in Empire City Casino's Good Time Room. "It couldn't be better, so we're very happy," said Thomas Clemmensen, who owns the 10-year-old gelding with Soren Christensen. Slide So Easy arrived in the U.S. earlier than his European counterparts and stabled at Ake Svanstedt's Legend Farm in central New Jersey. Svanstedt will drive Slide So Easy for trainer Flemming Jensen in Saturday's race. The horse has enjoyed a strong campaign overseas, winning seven of 11 races this year and finishing worse than second only once. His victories include a second consecutive Danmark Mesterskab (Denmark Championship). For his career, the son of North American stakes-winning stallion Quite Easy has won 39 of 95 starts and $405,585. "I think he is a little bit better this year, so hopefully we can have a good race and come out and win," Clemmensen said. "He can open very fast, so if he wants, he can take the lead. I hope that Ake will take position second or third inside and come out at the end of the race." Asked if that would be his instructions to Svanstedt, Clemmensen responded with a laugh. "I don't do that," he said. "I think Ake knows (what to do)." * * * * * * A horse representing Germany has never won the International Trot. Norton Commander will try to become the first on Saturday. Owned by Ulrich Mommert, the 5-year-old stallion is trained and driven by Conni Lugauer. He has won three of seven races this year and 12 of 24 lifetime, good for $146,519. He will start the International Trot from post 10. In August, Norton Commander finished third in the Group 1 Jubileumspokalen (Jubilee Cup). "We're very happy with him," caretaker Nick Elving said. "He always gives 110 percent in every race he does. We actually wanted (post) 10, to be an outsider." Several weeks ago, Lugauer was asked by writer Brandon Valvo what it would mean to win the International Trot. "I'm always thinking about victories, but I didn't think about victory in the International Trot," he replied. "The question is too big. I don't know." Racing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. The International Trot is race seven with a 3 p.m. (EDT) approximate post time. The card also includes the $250,000 Harry Harvey Trot (race eight) and the $250,000 Dan Rooney Pace (race 11). Following is the field in post-position order for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Slide So Easy-Ake Svanstedt-Flemming Jensen-10/1 2-Bahia Quesnot-Junior Guelpa-Junior Guelpa-5/1 3-Atlanta-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-3/1 4-Uza Josselyn-Erik Adielsson-Rene Aebischer-5/1 5-Zacon Gio-Roberto Vecchione-Holger Ehlert-8/1 6-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-6/1 7-Cruzado Dela Noche-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-8/1 8-Lionel-Goran Antonsen-Goran Antonsen-8/1 *9-Guardian Angel AS-Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-4/1 *10-Norton Commander-Conni Lugauer-Conni Lugauer-15/1 *Guardian Angel AS and Norton Commander start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Atlanta was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's (Oct. 12) $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway after drawing post three for the 41st edition of the invitational for harness racing older trotters. A 4-year-old mare, Atlanta will represent the United States in the 10-horse, nine-nation field. The draw for the race, which will be contested at the distance of 1-1/4 miles around Yonkers' half-mile oval, was held Tuesday (Oct. 8) during a luncheon at Empire City Casino's Good Time Room. Atlanta, the 2018 Trotter of the Year in the U.S., is one of two stateside representatives in the International Trot and heads to the race off a 1:53 qualifier at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sept. 24. In her previous start, she won the Charlie Hill Memorial on Sept. 7 at Scioto Downs. For the year, Atlanta has won seven of 11 starts and finished second on three occasions, earning $658,400. She has won 19 of 35 career races and $1.79 million. The 4-year-old mare is trained by Ron Burke, driven by Yannick Gingras, and owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant, and Howard Taylor. "At the end, it was (posts) two, three, and five; it didn't matter which one of the three," Gingras said. "Post three is as good a spot you're going to get. We're really happy with where we're starting. "I feel really good because she trained here last week and she was so good. She was strong finishing, too, and went a good mile. I wasn't really planning on going super-fast, but she felt good and wanted to buzz her through one turn, and she did. I think all systems are go. We've got a good post, a sharp mare, and we'll see what we can do." Atlanta is one of three mares in the field, with France's Bahia Quesnot and Switzerland's Uza Josselyn. Bahia Quesnot most recently finished second to Propulsion in the European Trotting Masters championship and earlier this season was second in two Group 1 events, the Oslo Grand Prix and Prix Maharajah. Uza Josselyn also has two Group 1 runner-up finishes this year, in the Prix D'Atlantique and Grand Prix de France. Bahia Quesnot, who starts from post two, and Uza Josselyn, who leaves from post four, are both 5-1. The International Trot has been won by a mare 11 times, most recently by Peace Corps in 1991. The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected in 2015. Guardian Angel AS drew post nine in the second tier and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. He finished third in his most recent race, the Caesars Trotting Classic on Sept. 20 at Harrah's Hoosier Park. His most recent victory was in the Maple Leaf Trot on Aug. 31 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The 5-year-old stallion, also representing the U.S., has won seven of 12 races this season and earned $664,634. He is trained by Anette Lorentzon, driven by Tim Tetrick, and owned by ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson. "I'm not very happy with it; we're much better being on the gate, but it is what it is," assistant trainer Anna Lorentzon said. "Timmy has to work the trip out from there. "He feels good. As soon as I shipped him back to New Jersey he's been back to his old self. He's had a really good season, better than we were hoping. So far so good. It would mean a lot (to win the International). There is a lot of prestige in it and we're representing the U.S. It's an honor to do that." There are four returnees from last year's International Trot, including winner Cruzado Dela Noche. The 7-year-old stallion, representing Sweden for owner Anders Strom's Courant Inc., is trained by Marcus Melander and will have Brian Sears in the sulky. He will start from post seven. Other horses back for another try are Canada's Marion Marauder, Norway's Lionel, and Denmark's Slide So Easy. Marion Marauder is making his third appearance in the race; he finished second in 2017 and fifth in 2018. The 6-year-old stallion, seeking his first win of the year, has captured 20 of 60 lifetime starts and earned $3.21 million. He is trained by Paula Wellwood, driven by Scott Zeron and owned by Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. Lionel, a 9-year-old stallion who has earned nearly $2 million in his career, finished second in last year's race while Slide So Easy finished eighth. Slide So Easy will start from post one, Marion Marauder from post six, and Lionel from post eight. Germany's Norton Commander and Italy's Zacon Gio complete this year's field. "Of course, it's a strong field," Gingras said, assessing the horses from overseas. "Uza Josselyn is a really strong mare and she's quick. Zacon Gio is unbeaten this year and everybody I've talked to says he's great on a half-mile track. He's a strong horse as well. Lionel, he's a little handicapped with post eight, but we saw what he could do last year. Bahia Quesnot has been really good in France. "(Atlanta) is not alone in the race. There are many horses that belong. Of course, we're one of them, but she's going to have to race hard." Racing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. The International Trot is race seven with a 3 p.m. (EDT) approximate post time. The card also includes the $250,000 Harry Harvey Trot (race eight) and the $250,000 Dan Rooney Pace (race 11). Following is the field in post-position order for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Slide So Easy-Ake Svanstedt-Flemming Jensen-10/1 2-Bahia Quesnot-Junior Guelpa-Junior Guelpa-5/1 3-Atlanta-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-3/1 4-Uza Josselyn-Erik Adielsson-Rene Aebischer-5/1 5-Zacon Gio-Roberto Vecchione-Holger Ehlert-8/1 6-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-6/1 7-Cruzado Dela Noche-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-8/1 8-Lionel-Goran Antonsen-Goran Antonsen-8/1 9-Guardian Angel AS-Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-4/1 10-Norton Commander-Conni Lugauer-Conni Lugauer-15/1 For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Lexington, KY — A night after establishing the record for gross, the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale concluded Saturday (Oct. 5) with the record for average, closing the book on a sale that saw the first million-dollar yearlings in history as well as the top-selling pacer and filly trotter pass through the auction ring. This year’s event at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion ended with a gross of $46.48 million for 762 horses and average of $60,997. The previous best average was in 2017, at $58,537 for 622 horses. Last year’s sale established the previous record for gross, with $39.77 million for 702 horses.The average this year was up 4.20 percent compared to 2017 and 7.66 percent compared to last year’s $56,652. The gross was up 16.87 percent. Saturday’s fifth session saw 129 yearlings sell for $2.96 million, an average of $23,016. The gross compared to last year’s fifth session, when 116 horses sold for $2.76 million, was ahead 7.37 percent. The average was down 3.44 percent from last year’s $23,836. The session’s top seller was pacing colt Tabooma, by Always A Virgin out of Walstan’s Lady, for $97,000. His half-sister PJ’s Legacy was an Ohio Breeders Championship winner this season at age 2. Tabooma was purchased by Kathy Smith, consigned by Anvil And Lace Farm, and bred by Walter Fister. Creedom, a trotting filly by Swan For All out of Cree, was second at $95,000. She purchased by Preferred Equine as agent for Lindy Farm. She was consigned by Peninsula Farm and bred by Michael Andrew. A total of 121 horses sold for at least $100,000 this year, three shy of last year’s record of 124. Muscle Hill and Father Patrick led trotting sires in gross, with 55 Muscle Hill yearlings totaling $7.15 million ($130,073 average) and 48 Father Patrick yearlings totaling $5.36 million ($111,667). The two also led in average among trotting sires with more than one horse sold. Somebeachsomewhere and first-crop sire Always B Miki topped the pacing sires in gross, with 38 Somebeachsomewhere yearlings totaling $4.28 million ($112,763 average) and 56 Always B Miki yearlings totaling $3.99 million ($71,321). Somebeachsomewhere led in average followed by Captaintreacherous at $73,776 for 49 yearlings sold. For complete results, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Lexington, KY — Trotting colts Captain Corey, by Googoo Gaagaa, and Stonebridge Danish, by Conway Hall, shared top honors at Friday’s (Oct. 4) fourth harness racing session of the Lexington Selected Sale, each selling for $150,000 as the sale exceeded $40 million in gross for the first time in history. Friday’s session totaled $4.58 million, driving the overall gross to $43.51 million for 633 horses, with Saturday’s final session remaining. Last year’s sale established the previous record for gross sales, with $39.77 million for 702 horses. A total of 168 horses sold Friday, with the $4.58 million gross representing a 23.87-percent increase over last year’s $3.69 million for the fourth session, when 159 horses sold. This year’s session average of $27,268 was a 17.24-percent hike compared to last year’s $23,258. Through four days, this year’s sale is averaging $68,738, which betters last year’s $63,148 by 8.85 percent. The 2017 sale set the record for final average at $58,537. A total of 121 horses have sold for at least $100,000 this year. Last year through four sessions the total was 120 and finished at a record 124. Captain Corey, the first foal out of Luv U All, was purchased by Robert Lindstrom as agent for S R F Stable. He was consigned by Peninsula Farm and bred by Carter Duer. Stonebridge Danish, out of Cream Puff, was purchased by Brixton Medical AB. The colt is a full brother to stakes-winner Creamy Mimi out of the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Pizza Dolce. He was consigned by Spring Haven Farm and bred by Angie Stiller. Eighteen of Friday’s top 19 sellers were trotters. The pacer in that group was colt Candy Trader, who sold for $72,000 to Dave Menary, as agent. By Bettor’s Delight out of Deception, the family includes the dam of O’Brien Award-winner Control The Moment. Candy Trader was consigned by Kentuckiana Farms and bred by Fred Kruszelnicki. Through four nights, Muscle Hill and Father Patrick led trotting sires in gross, with 55 Muscle Hill yearlings totaling $7.15 million ($130,073 average) and 48 Father Patrick yearlings totaling $5.36 million ($111,667). The two also led in average among trotting sires with more than one horse sold. Somebeachsomewhere and first-crop sire Always B Miki topped the pacing sires in gross, with 38 Somebeachsomewhere yearlings totaling $4.28 million ($112,763 average) and 56 Always B Miki yearlings totaling $3.99 million ($71,321). Somebeachsomewhere led in average followed by Captaintreacherous at $73,776 for 49 yearlings sold. The five-day yearling sale concludes Saturday, with the session beginning at 7 p.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. For complete results, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, and Green Manalishi S see plenty of each other on a regular basis but have not seen much of each other on the harness racing racetrack. The three horses, all from the stable of trainer Marcus Melander, will compete in the same race for only the second time this year when they meet in Sunday's (Oct. 6) $450,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at Lexington's Red Mile. The Kentucky Futurity is the third jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. The only previous meeting between Melander's trio came in the first jewel, the Hambletonian, on Aug. 3. Greenshoe finished second to Forbidden Trade in the Hambletonian, with Gimpanzee third and Green Manalishi S fifth. Four weeks later, Gimpanzee was Melander's only entry in the Trotting Triple Crown's second event, the Yonkers Trot, where Gimpanzee claimed the trophy by defeating Forbidden Trade. Greenshoe, who has won nine of 11 races and $939,550 in purses this season, is the sport's richest trotter. Among 3-year-olds, Gimpanzee is third and Green Manalishi S is fourth. "They've been racing good all year," Melander said. "We couldn't be more happy with how they've been performing. They've had a long season, but they're still going strong and look good. "We made a lot of money with those three horses. We were lucky because they were in different sire stakes (programs) and we could separate them a little bit. I think we were smart to separate them like that and I think it was good for the horses, as well. It's good for their head to not race against each other. I think we did the right thing with all of them. They've all won big races." Greenshoe is the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Futurity, which attracted 12 horses and will be contested as a single dash with two horses starting from the second tier. Greenshoe's victories this season include the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. The colt enters the Kentucky Futurity off a 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last week at Red Mile. The time is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a sophomore in harness racing history. Six Pack trotted the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old, 1:49.1, in last year's Futurity. "It was nice, of course," Melander said about Greenshoe's mile. "We knew he could do that, so it was nice to get that record for him. Especially if it's going to be bad weather on Sunday, he's probably not going to have that chance. "He came out of (the Bluegrass) great. It will be exciting to see him." Greenshoe, whose full brother Maverick sold for a record $1.1 million Tuesday at the Lexington Selected Sale, will start the Futurity from post four with regular driver Brian Sears. He is owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. Gimpanzee, a Dan Patch Award winner last year at age 2, has won six of nine races this year and earned $691,163. His victories this season in addition to the Yonkers Trot include the New York Sire Stakes championship and Empire Breeders Classic. He finished second to Greenshoe last week. The colt is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Gimpanzee (Mike Lizzi Photo) Green Manalishi S has won six of 10 races this season, including the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes, and earned $638,838 for owner Courant Inc. Green Manalishi S Gimpanzee and driver David Miller start the Futurity from post six and Green Manalishi S and driver Tim Tetrick leave from post eight. The horses are both 6-1 second choices on the morning line. "I'm happy with how my horses are going into the race," Melander said. "I'm confident going into the race, but it's horse racing and there are some nice horses in there. A lot can happen." Five horses sit at 15-1 behind Melander's trio on Sunday. One, Marseille, is the only horse other than Forbidden Trade to beat Greenshoe this season, winning the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial by a head. Svanstedt, who won last year's Futurity with Six Pack, trains and drives Marseille. Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade was not eligible to the Futurity. This is the second time in four years the Futurity will be a single 12-horse dash. Marion Marauder completed a sweep of the Trotting Triple Crown by winning from the second tier's post 11 in 2016. In addition to the Kentucky Futurity, the card includes the $267,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old female trotters. Eleven horses entered the race. Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry is the 9-5 favorite followed by Millies Possesion at 2-1. For more on the Futurity Day card, including two Tattersalls Pace divisions for 3-year-old male pacers and Allerage events for trotting and pacing mares, click here. For complete entries, click here. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT). Following is the field for the 127th Kentucky Futurity. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-M/L 1 - Chin Chin Hall - Cash Hall - Peter Wrenn - R. Nifty Norman - 15/1 2 - Marseille - Muscle Hill - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Stanstedt - 15/1 3 - Super Schissel - Uncle Peter - Scott Zeron - Per Engblom - 20/1 4 - Greenshoe - Father Patrick - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander - 4/5 5 - Don't Let'em - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras - Nancy Johansson - 15/1 6 - Gimpanzee - Chapter Seven - David Miller - Marcus Melander - 6/1 7 - Mass Fortune K - Muscle Massive - Tyler Buter - Norm Parker - 30/1 8 - Green Manalishi S - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 6/1 9 - Pilot Discretion - Muscle Hill - Andy McCarthy - Tony Alagna - 15/1 10 - Soul Strong - Father Patrick - Dexter Dunn - Ake Svanstedt - 15/1 11 - Goes Down Smooth - Muscle Hill - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 20/1 12 - Union Forces - Cantab Hall - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 20/1 by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager      

Erv Miller liked the direction Geez Joe was heading last winter, registering four wins in a seven-race span that saw him miss the board only once, but the 5-year-old harness racing Standardbred pacer required throat surgery in January and was sidelined for more than seven months. He returned in September and looks to be rounding back into form as he heads to Saturday's $186,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at Lexington's Red Mile. Geez Joe has won two of four races since returning to action. He enters the Allerage off a 1:47.4 win in the open handicap at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Sept. 27. In his prior start, the gelding was eighth in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby but closed with the race's second-fastest final quarter-mile, :25.4, to make up six lengths and finish 3-1/2 behind winner This Is The Plan. "He's come back really good so far," said Miller, who trains Geez Joe for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. "He was in Indiana against these horses, but he really wasn't ready and he drew outside some (post seven). This will be his bigger test. Hopefully he's more ready for them this time." Geez Joe, by Roll With Joe out of Beach Bretta, has won 19 of 59 career races and earned $242,978. "We always liked him," Miller said. "He's just a really big horse and had to catch up to himself. He's starting to show that. He's always showed good speed, he just had some aches and pains from being a big guy there early on. He's starting to put it together as an older horse. It just took him a while to get there." Geez Joe will start the Allerage from post six with driver Marcus Miller and is 12-1 on the morning line. "He's pretty versatile," Miller said. "You can leave and put him in a race, or he can come from out of it. That's what I like most about him. "If he races well this week, we'll probably keep on going," the trainer added about a possible trip to the Breeders Crown later this month. McWicked is the 5-2 favorite in the Allerage pace. He won the Ewart Memorial on Sept. 7 at Scioto Downs and heads to Saturday's start off a second-place finish behind Jimmy Freight in the Dayton Pacing Derby. He was sixth in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Saturday's card at Red Mile also includes the $145,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot, $216,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers, and four divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. Lindy The Great, fresh off his victory in the Caesars Trotting Classic, which is part of a five-race win streak, is the 2-1 favorite in the Allerage trot. He will start from post two with Louis Roy driving for trainer Domenico Cecere. Warrawee Ubeaut, making her first start since winning the Jugette on Sept. 18, is the 7-5 favorite in the Glen Garnsey. She will start from post three with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA      

Lexington, KY — Red Redemption topped Wednesday’s (Oct. 2) purchases at the second night of the Lexington Selected Sale, going for $320,000 to Ake Svanstedt. The harness racing trotting colt, by Muscle Hill out of stakes-winner Magenta Hall, is a half-brother to millionaire Dewycolorintheline. He was consigned by Preferred Equine and bred by Little E LLC. Paul Kelley purchased the next two highest sellers, trotting colt Balenciaga for $270,000 and trotting filly Captured for $250,000. Balenciaga is by Chapter Seven out of Iluvmyjimmychoos, who was a winner on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit. Balenciaga was consigned by breeder Crawford Farms. Captured is by Muscle Hill out of Highland Glider. Her family includes stakes-winner Godiva Hall. She was consigned by Kentuckiana Farms and bred by James Wilhite Jr. Southwind Xena, a filly by first-crop sire Betting Line out of Southwind Solara, was the top-selling pacer. She was purchased for $230,000 by Bill Donovan and is a half-sister to Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi and stakes-winner Southwind Silence. She was consigned by Preferred Equine and bred by Southwind Farms. Beach Chief, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Chiffon Hanover, led the pacing colts. He sold for $210,000 to The Boys are Back in Town Stable. He was consigned by Spring Haven Farm and bred by the Estate of George F. Hempt Trust. A total of 174 horses sold Wednesday, grossing $13.06 million and averaging $75,103. The average was a 10.3 percent drop from last year’s second night, which saw 163 yearlings average $83,748 — a record for a second session. Through two days, this year’s five-day sale grossed $31.27 million for 292 horses and averaged $107,103. The gross is a 17.7-percent increase compared to last year (for 265 horses) and the average is a 6.89-percent hike from last year’s $100,192. A total of 108 horses have sold for at least $100,000 this year. Last year through two sessions the total was 110. Muscle Hill and Father Patrick led the trotting sires in gross, with 45 Muscle Hill yearlings totaling $6.63 million ($147,400 average) and 33 Father Patrick yearlings totaling $4.70 million ($142,485). The two also led in average among trotting sires with more than one horse sold. Somebeachsomewhere and first-crop sire Always B Miki topped the pacing sires in gross, with 36 Somebeachsomewhere yearlings totaling $4.18 million ($116,139 average) and 40 Always B Miki yearlings totaling $3.43 million ($85,900). Somebeachsomewhere led in average followed by Captaintreacherous at $90,806 for 31 yearlings sold. The five-day yearling sale continues through Saturday, with each session beginning at 7 p.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. For complete results, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Love A Good Story has authored a pretty nice tale this season for harness racing trainer Julie Miller and will try to add another winning chapter in Friday's (Oct. 4) International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters at Lexington's Red Mile. The filly, who notched her first Grand Circuit victory last week in a division of the Bluegrass, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of four International Stallion trot divisions. So far this year, Love A Good Story has won seven of nine races and finished second once. She was a six-time winner in preliminary rounds of the New York Sire Stakes and her only off-the-board finish came in the series final when she started from post eight at Batavia Downs. She rebounded from that setback with a 1:52.2 triumph in the Bluegrass, clocking the fastest time of the season for a 2-year-old filly trotter. "She bounced back well," Miller said. "We were hoping she was going to pick it up on the mile track, because she was going to have to, and she responded well. She's got a very nice gait. She's a nicely put-together filly and does it with a lot of ease. If they're not working too hard at their gait, they're able to go faster." Love A Good Story, by Chapter Seven out of Celebrity Lovin, was purchased for $90,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale and her family includes Dan Patch Award-winner Self Possessed. She is owned by Pinske Stables, Kentuckiana Racing Stable, and Daniel Plouffe. The filly is eligible to the Breeders Crown later this month at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but Miller is not planning for anything beyond Friday. Not yet, anyway. "We take it step by step," Miller said. "I'm sure if we have a good result this week, it's definitely on the table. She's eligible and I hope we're making arrangements to go." Love A Good Story will start Friday from post No. 1 with Andy Miller in the sulky. Hello Tomorrow, who has finished second in three consecutive races including the Peaceful Way Stakes and a division of the Bluegrass, is the 7-2 second choice from post two. Tim Tetrick will drive for trainer Per Engblom. In the second International trot division, Ramona Hill is the 2-1 favorite over Shishito at 5-2. Both fillies won Bluegrass splits last week. Andy McCarthy drives Ramona Hill for Tony Alagna; Dexter Dunn gets the ride behind Shishito for Engblom. Ake Svanstedt trained and driven Common Sense S, another Bluegrass winner, is the 2-1 favorite in the third division while Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes champion Sherry Lyns Lady, trained by Jim Campbell and driven by Tetrick, is the 9-5 choice in the fourth. Red Mile also hosts two divisions of the International Stallion for 2-year-old female pacers on Friday. In the first, Team Miller sends out The Bethinator for her first stakes try. Last week, she won a late closer at Red Mile in 1:50.1, a time that is the second fastest of the season for a 2-year-old filly pacer. The Bethinator brings a five-race win streak to the International. She finished second in her career debut before reeling off three victories at Hawthorne Racecourse for trainer Nelson "Spider" Willis and then capturing her bow for the Miller barn at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "She wasn't eligible (for the Bluegrass) so we put her in that late closer," Julie Miller said. "That was a nice mile and Andy said she was comfortable doing it. We were actually a bit surprised how she did because you never know what they are. We were really happy with that performance. I told the owner if she raced well and won in (1):51 or better, she would get the chance to go with the big girls. So, this is her chance this week." The Bethinator, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Pleasure Beach, is owned by breeder Megan Rogers Racing Stables. Her family includes Sweet Future, who is the dam of Dan Patch Award-winner Sweet Lou and two-time Breeders Crown champ Bettor Sweet. "She got sick earlier in the year and they were patient with her," Miller said. "Hopefully all of that is paying off for her. Hopefully she performs well." The Bethinator is 8-1 on the morning line. Stakes-winner Reflect With Me is the 5-2 favorite for the McCarthy-Alagna duo. The Bethinator In the second division, Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Gai Waterhouse is the 3-1 favorite for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Domenico Cecere. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday with a Hall of Fame Amateur Series event, followed at 1 p.m. by the start of the regular card. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager    

Real Cool Sam was absent from last week's Bluegrass Stakes harness racing festivities at Red Mile but returns to action Thursday in the third of three $92,100 International Stallion Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters in Lexington, where he will attempt to push his career-long unbeaten streak to nine. Jim Campbell, who trains the gelding, expects it will not be an easy task. Real Cool Sam faces a field that includes Gangster Hanover, who won a Bluegrass division by 9-1/4 lengths in 1:52.3 for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Gangster Hanover trotted his final quarter-mile in :26.2, which was the fastest final quarter in the day's nine races. Real Cool Sam is the 7-5 morning-line favorite. Gangster Hanover is 5-2. "We trained him a little bit (Monday) and he seemed good," Campbell said about Real Cool Sam. "He's had a good week. But the competition is getting tougher, I know that. The way they went last week, there were some really nice colts that stepped up their game quite a bit. It's a tough race. There are some good colts in there and he's going to need his 'A' game." Real Cool Sam, bred and owned by Fashion Farms, is by Muscle Hill out of Cooler Schooner. His wins include the Peter Haughton Memorial, in a then-world-record-equaling 1:53.1 at The Meadowlands, and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship in a world-record 1:53.4 at Harrah's Philadelphia. In the PASS final, which was his most recent start on Sept. 8, Real Cool Sam and driver David Miller used a three-wide move on the last turn to rally from fourth and defeat Amigo Volo by two lengths. "I didn't expect him to win that when they were heading up the backside," Campbell said. "That track, it's very hard to make up that much ground the way he did it. He did surprise me." Real Cool Sam, named in memory of track announcer Sam McKee, will head to the Breeders Crown following the International Stallion Stakes. The Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-olds are Oct. 18 and the finals are Oct. 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We had planned a month ago that we were going to race just the one time here," Campbell said. "That was all by design. I just wanted to go the one race here to set him up for the Breeders Crown. "Everything has gone great with him so far," he added. "He trained down good and did everything right, but you still don't know until you race them how they're going to be. He's done everything and more than what we could ask of him." Rome Pays Off, who was second in the Peter Haughton and third in the Bluegrass division won by Amigo Volo, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first International Stallion division. Amigo Volo, who trotted a gelding world-record 1:52.3 to win his Bluegrass division last week, and colt EL Ideal, who won in 1:52.2, lead the way in the second division. Amigo Volo is 8-5 and EL Ideal is 3-1. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Thursday at Red Mile. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Hightstown, NJ — Bluegrass Stakes division winner Bettor’s Wish moved into the top three in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown harness racing poll, where Shartin N remained the unanimous No. 1 and Greenshoe, also a Bluegrass winner, stayed at No. 2. Lather Up, who was idle, swapped places with Bettor’s Wish and was fourth, followed by idle Southwind Ozzi. The next three spots were unchanged with idle Atlanta sixth, idle Real Cool Sam seventh and Bluegrass division runner-up Gimpanzee eighth. Tall Dark Stranger, idle, improved a notch to ninth and Warrawee Ubeaut moved into the top 10 despite also being idle as Bluegrass division runner-up Captain Crunch dropped out. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which runs weekly through November, does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 19 – 10/1/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (35) 6pm 15-14-0-0 $826,427 350 1 2 Greenshoe 3tc 11-9-2-0 $939,550 286 2 3 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 14-10-4-0 $1,153,944 238 4 4 Lather Up 4ph 12-8-1-1 $768,011 211 3 5 Southwind Ozzi 3pc 11-9-1-0 $736,935 165 5 6 Atlanta 4tm 11-7-3-0 $658,400 161 6 7 Real Cool Sam 2tg 8-8-0-0 $420,038 103 7 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 9-6-1-1 $691,163 62 8 9 Tall Dark Stranger 2pc 6-6-0-0 $376,890 57 10 10 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 14-9-2-3 $528,398 43 — ALSO: Captain Crunch 39; Forbidden Trade 36; When Dovescry 32; Elver Hanover 23; Lyons Sentinel 17; Manchego 13; Hypnotic AM 12; Guardian Angel AS 10; Alicorn, Green Manalishi S, Tall Drink Hanover 9; Century Farroh 8; McWicked, Millies Possesion, Treacherous Reign 6; Capt Midnight, Caviart Ally, Rich And Miserable 3; Crystal Fashion 2; American History, Papi Rob Hanover, Yall Beneath Me 1. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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

Hightstown, NJ -- In mythology, the manticore was a fearsome creature with the head of a man, the body of a lion and the tail of a scorpion. On the racetrack, Manticore is a 2-year-old harness racing colt pacer. Like his legendary counterpart, he is proving to be formidable. Manticore, trained by Bruce Saunders for owners M And L of Delaware and M & M Harness Racing, enters Saturday's (Sept. 28) Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers at Red Mile with three wins in eight races and no finishes worse than third. He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the third of four Bluegrass divisions, starting from post three with driver Brian Sears. Already a Grand Circuit winner, Manticore heads to the race off a second-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. "He's a very nice colt," said M And L of Delaware's Doug Paul. "He was a late foal, born June 5 (2017), and he's just coming into himself. But he started out early and hasn't missed a beat. He's really consistent. He can leave, he can follow, he can cut the mile; he's just very versatile." Manticore is a son of Western Ideal out of the McArdle-sired mare Southwind Piaya. He was purchased under the name Keystone Pablo for $20,000 at the 2018 Standardbred Horse Sale. "What we liked about him is that he was a Western Ideal out of a McArdle mare and he was late in the sale," Paul said. "Our rationale was that (2018 Horse of the Year) McWicked is a McArdle out of a Western Ideal mare, so we reversed it. "He was a very correct colt. Not the biggest colt but correct and substantially built. We had luck with Western Ideal the year before with (stakes-winner) Mangogh. They've always been nice horses." The Paul family traditionally incorporates either "man" or "lady" into the names of its horses. In addition to the mythological manticore, the television series "Game of Thrones" referenced insects called manticores, which contributed to the renaming of Keystone Pablo to Manticore. "It just fit, especially with how popular 'Game of Thrones' was at the time we were naming him," Paul said. Manticore is eligible to all the major stakes remaining this season, but Paul said the connections are taking a wait-and-see approach to deciding his future. "We'll see how he is in Lexington," Paul said. "So far he hasn't disappointed us in any race yet." In the first Bluegrass division, Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Catch The Fire is the 8-5 morning line favorite over undefeated Ohio Sire Stakes champion Elver Hanover at 2-1. Catch The Fire, trained by John Ackley, starts from post four with driver Mike Wilder. Elver Hanover, who is 7-for-7 for trainer Ron Burke, leaves from post two with Yannick Gingras. Seeyou At Thebeach is the 6-5 favorite in the second division. The Brian Brown-trained colt heads to the race off a fourth-place finish in the Metro Pace and starts from post three with Tim Tetrick. Tony Alagna's Captain Barbossa, with Andy McCarthy in the sulky, is the 3-1 second choice. He enters the race off a victory in the Kindergarten Classic Series. Kentucky Sire Stakes final runner-up Roll With Jr is the 3-1 choice in the fourth and final Bluegrass division. He is trained by Jeff Cullipher and will be driven by Doug McNair from post two. In addition to the stakes for 2-year-olds, there is a single 12-horse Bluegrass event for 3-year-old female pacers. Tall Drink Hanover, with McCarthy at the lines for trainer Alagna, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. She brings a five-race win streak to the race, with her victories including the Shady Daisy and Simcoe. The race also includes Fan Hanover winner Treacherous Reign and sire stakes champions Zero Tolerance (New York), Queen Of The Pride (Ohio), and Beautyonthebeach (Kentucky). Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Red Mile. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Baby Your The Best was not at her best in her most recent harness racing start, but her second-place finish behind Gai Waterhouse in the Kentucky Sire Stakes final that day only added to trainer Linda Toscano's level of appreciation for the 2-year-old filly pacer. "I love her," Toscano said about Baby Your The Best, who suffered from muscle cramping in the KYSS final on Sept. 15 and was beaten by three-quarters of a length after leading into the stretch. "She doesn't do anything wrong. She tied up badly in her last start and she was really good in spite of it. Hopefully, we've got that behind us and she can go out and do what I know she can do." Baby Your The Best is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Friday's (Sept. 27) second of two Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old filly pacers at Lexington's Red Mile. Gai Waterhouse, trained by Domenico Cecere, is the 5-2 second choice, followed by Carter Pinkse's Annabelle Hanover at 4-1. Purchased as a yearling under the name Emissary for $225,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale, Baby Your The Best is a daughter of Captaintreacherous-Dolphins Can Talk from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Put On A Show. Her second dam, Stienam's Place, is in the Hall of Fame as a broodmare and her half-brother Flipper J was a stakes winner. Richard Young and Joanne Young, who own Put On A Show, own Baby Your The Best. Baby Your The Best has won two of seven races and finished second in the remaining five. Two of her runner-up performances came to multiple-stakes-winner Lyons Sentinel, including in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. Baby Your The Best's two victories came in preliminary rounds of the Kentucky Sire Stakes series at Red Mile. "She's big, she's beautiful, she's great gaited, she's got a big pedigree, and she seems to not know the end of the mile," Toscano said. "There is nothing not to like about her." Toscano also has a starter, Rocknificent, in the first Bluegrass division for 2-year-old filly pacers. Rocknificent, who has won three of six races, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite. The filly is coming off a fourth-place finish, her only finish worse than third this season, in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. Rocknificent, by Captaintreacherous, was the first foal out of Dan Patch Award-winner Rocklamation. Purchased under the name Deo's Proclamation for $145,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, she is owned by Enviro Stables, South Mountain Stables, and Little E. "She's been a fun horse to race this year," Toscano said. "She's gone some really tough trips; she had to be first-over way more than I would like it. She's a nice filly. I'm looking forward to racing her. Hopefully she will get a really nice trip and finish up good." Toscano's Friday will get underway with Senorita Rita in the first of four Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old filly trotters. Senorita Rita, who is 2-for-2 this season, is 6-1 on the morning line. Kentucky Sire Stakes runner-up Shishito is the 5-2 favorite. Senorita Rita won her debut in a division of the New York Sire Stakes on July 4 at Tioga Downs but did not race again until winning a conditioned race Sept. 12 at Red Mile. "She's a really nice filly," Toscano said. "I had to back off with her a little bit because she needed a little bit of time after I got her qualified and raced at Tioga. It's kind of a big test to go from a qualifier and an overnight into the Grand Circuit at this point when the others are so seasoned. But I think she has enough talent, so we'll try." Originally named Seven Links, Senorita Rita was purchased for $285,000 by Ken Jacobs at the Lexington Selected Sale. She is by Chapter Seven out of Lindys Head Nurse. "She's great looking," Toscano said. "I thought I was training three really nice trotting fillies this year. One disappointed, but (Dip Me Hanover) won the Peaceful Way and this one could trot right with her. I thought she was the best training down, so we'll see." In the second Bluegrass filly trot, undefeated Sister Sledge is the 8-5 favorite. She is 7-for-7 this season and enters Friday's start for trainer Ron Burke off a win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. Peaceful Way runner-up Hello Tomorrow, from the stable of trainer Per Engblom, is the 2-1 second choice. Engblom's Ms Savannah Belle is the 6-5 favorite in the third division. She was winless in her first three starts but has since put together a three-race win streak including the Kentucky Sire Stakes final. Ramona Hill, unbeaten in three career races for trainer Tony Alagna, is the even-money choice in the fourth and final division. She has won two preliminary rounds of the Kindergarten Classic Series and the consolation division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management. Stakes-winner Panem, trained by Nancy Johansson, is the 5-2 second pick. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Friday at Red Mile. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Yannick Gingras will head to Hollywood Dayton Raceway looking to sweep Friday's harness racing Grand Circuit stakes at the Ohio oval with morning-line favorite Mission Accepted in the Dayton Trotting Derby and second choice This Is The Plan in the Dayton Pacing Derby. It will be Gingras' first time behind Mission Accepted since the duo lost the Crawford Farms Open Trot by a nose on Aug. 11 at Tioga Downs. The 4-year-old stallion has not won since the Vincennes on Aug. 3, Hambletonian Day, at The Meadowlands, but Gingras has been impressed with the horse's efforts in his recent starts. Mission Accepted enters the Dayton Trotting Derby off a second-place finish to Lindy The Great in last week's Caesars Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park. Mission Accepted was eighth in the outer flow for the first three-quarters of a mile before fanning four-wide off the final turn and rallying for the place spot. Two weeks earlier, he was third, beaten only a half-length, in the Charlie Hill Memorial won by Atlanta. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Accepted is 2-1 on the morning line in the $171,250 Dayton Trotting Derby. "He's been super sharp," Gingras said. "Last time, he was loaded with trot finishing. I was really impressed with how much trot he had. And the race before, he was loaded that day too. He couldn't be coming into the race in better form. I think he's coming into the race in the right way." For the season, Mission Accepted has won four of 17 races, hit the board a total of 11 times, and earned $244,345. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, breeder Knox Services Inc., David Wills, and the Weaver Bruscemi partnership. "He's very versatile and sweet to drive," Gingras said. "He's not the biggest horse, he's not the most powerful horse, but you know he's going to go on the track and give you everything he's got." This Is The Plan enters the $151,750 Dayton Pacing Derby off a win in last week's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. After racing from the front in most of his starts this season, Gingras decided to race This Is The Plan from off the pace at Hoosier and got a second-over trip behind favorite McWicked en route to victory. "I did go into the race wanting to change tactics," Gingras said. "He had several tough starts in a row, and I figured it would be nice to try to get him covered up. You always have to respect McWicked and I thought that maybe if I could get McWicked in front of me, that might work out. Usually it doesn't work out that way, but for one time the plan worked out to perfection." McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year, is the 5-2 favorite from post one in the Dayton Pacing Derby. This Is The Plan is 3-1 from post five. This Is The Plan has won three of 16 races this year and finished second on six occasions, earning $743,598. He ranks third in purses among all older pacers in North America, trailing only Shartin N and Lather Up. For his career, the 4-year-old gelding has won 10 of 49 races and earned $1.38 million. He is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. Gingras hopes last week's change in style and subsequent victory results in more versatility down the road. "He's been super consistent," Gingras said. "He's got crazy gate speed and puts himself into the race. I really didn't know how he would race from behind. Heading to the Breeders Crown and the other big races coming up, I wanted to see how he would respond. Hopefully now he will be a little more well-rounded. Last week he showed he was able to do it. Hopefully he can continue in that direction." Racing begins at 6:15 p.m. (EDT) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. For complete Friday entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

After finally getting to spend an entire winter in Florida working with his family's racehorses, Carter Pinske knew it was what he wanted to do full time. So, when the harness racing season was ready to begin, Pinske followed a group of those horses to trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's stable, where he worked as an assistant for Norman in New Jersey, Canada, and now Kentucky. And on Thursday (Sept. 26), the 24-year-old Pinske will step out for his Grand Circuit training debut in the third division of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters with Amigo Volo at Lexington's Red Mile. The gelding, who heads to the race off a second-place finish behind Real Cool Sam in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind Kentucky Sire Stakes champ Ready For Moni. Amigo Volo is owned by Pinske Stables, headed by Pinske's father Karl and grandmother Marlys, and Florida's David J. Miller. With Pinske already in Kentucky with the horse, Norman decided it was time for him to take the reins. "He's been real generous to let me do that," Pinkse said. "I'm very fortunate to have these owners trust me with the horses in Florida and then be completely fine with whatever Nifty decides along with myself. They're great owners and I've been really fortunate all the way around." Prior to this past winter, Pinske helped prepare the family's horses for racing by assisting as much as time permitted around his school schedule. Pinske graduated from college in May 2018 and was happy to get a full winter with the horses in Florida before sending them to Norman as well as trainer Julie Miller, as he had done in previous years. "I went to Florida wanting to train horses, but I didn't know it would blossom like this," Pinske said. "This year, I sent 14 horses to Nifty and I went with them. He's just an awesome guy to learn from. He puts full trust in you and lets you take off. He's a really smart guy with a horse; he's got a really good way with a horse. Just being around him, it just kind of vibrates off him. "I'm extremely appreciative of Nifty. It's a partnership that's not going anywhere." Amigo Volo, by Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma, was purchased for $42,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to Reign Of Honor, who won last year's Kindergarten Classic Series championship for Norman's stable. In August, Amigo Volo won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in 1:54.4 at Harrah's Philadelphia, setting the world record for a 2-year-old gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. Real Cool Sam, who is undefeated in eight races this year, lowered the record to 1:53.4 when he won the PASS championship at the same track. "He went a really big mile," Pinske said about Amigo Volo's runner-up effort in the sire stakes final. "He had to do a lot of the grunt work and Real Cool Sam got a great trip. I thought we might have him there, but (Real Cool Sam) is just a game horse, a tough one to beat." For the year, Amigo Volo has won two of six races and earned $115,896. "He's just an awesome horse to be around," Pinske said. "He's a little horse, a little spitfire of a horse. I had to be real patient with him down in Florida. He always showed talent, he just lacked maturity. According to Nifty, that's about how the full brother, Reign Of Honor, was when he trained down. That's why we ended up gelding him. But he always showed talent and now has finally gotten to show it here. He's a really big-gaited horse for the size he is." Expectations, who finished second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes final, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the first Bluegrass division. Capricornus, who finished second in the William Wellwood Memorial, is the 2-1 choice in the second. Both horses are from the stable of trainer Marcus Melander. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Thursday at Red Mile. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Stienam's Place retired from racing at age 4 following a Dan Patch Award-winning career. Now, at the age of 25, she is retired again, this time following a broodmare career that landed her in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Barry Guariglia, whose Green Mountain Farms shares ownership of Stienam's Place with Kentuckiana Farms, said the mare would sell her final foal during next week's opening session of the Lexington Selected Sale. Twenty-four years ago, Guariglia and his racing partners, Peter Goulazian and James Greenwald, purchased Stienam's Place under the name Tranquil Sands for $62,000 at the Kentucky Standardbred Sale. "She's officially retired and will stay at Kentuckiana for the rest of her life," Guariglia said about Stienam's Place, who was the sport's Dan Patch Award winning 3-year-old filly pacer in 1997 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. "She's done well and gone a long time. It's time for her to just relax, eat some grass, and run around." Stienam's Place was from the first crop of Artsplace and the first foal out of Stienam's Girl. Her second dam, Stienam, was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3 in 1985. Bruce Riegle trained Stienam's Place and Jack Moiseyev handled the driving in all but several races. For her career, she won 18 of 31 races and earned $1.40 million. Her top win at age 2 came in the Sweetheart; at 3, her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Jugette, Glen Garnsey, Helen Dancer, and Matron. She won 14 of the final 15 starts of her campaign. She raced once at 4, suffered a severe bone bruise, and was retired. As a broodmare, Stienam's Place has produced 10 horses to reach the races, totaling 108 wins and $4.67 million in purses. First foal Donkeys Can Talk was a Kentucky Sire Stakes champion, but her greatest successes came during the second half of her career as a mom. The filly Showherthemoney was a world-record-setting stakes-winner at age 3 whose victories included the Jugette, Nadia Lobell, Matron, Glen Garnsey and Miss New Jersey. She won 19 of 54 races and $871,161 lifetime. At the same time Showherthemoney was enjoying her big 3-year-old campaign in 2009, 2-year-old filly Put On A Show burst on the scene by winning seven of nine races, including the She's A Great Lady. The following season, she received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old filly pacer, with wins including the Breeders Crown, Nadia Lobell, and Valley Forge. She finished her career with 31 wins in 50 starts and $2.40 million. Two of Put On A Show's offspring have gone on to be stakes-winners, Come See The Show and Meadowlands Pace champion Best In Show. Following Showherthemoney and Put On A Show, Stienam's Place produced three more horses to earn six figures in purses: Good Day Mate ($597,623), Rockstar Stride ($173,240), and The Show Returns ($377,327). "She's had a big impact," Guariglia said. "It took her a while to hit, but with her pedigree and performance as a racehorse, we kind of figured it was just a matter of time before she clicked. Sure enough, she did. "As a racehorse, she was a little ornery in the stall. Bruce had to keep her with a goat (named Bunny) to keep her calmed down. It worked for her. As a broodmare, she's been a perfect lady." Guariglia, whose top horses since Stienam's Place include Dan Patch Award-winning trotter Manchego, said he always enjoyed following the horses produced by Stienam's Place. Her final foal, a colt by Somebeachsomewhere, is named Ponzu. He is hip number 62 and will sell on Oct. 1 at the Lexington Selected Sale. "Some people say, why did you sell Put On A Show?" Guariglia said, adding with a laugh, "Well, first of all, if I knew she was going to make $2.4 million, maybe I wouldn't have. But I wish people the best luck and I want to see them do well. People have a weird angle on that stuff; it doesn't bother me at all. I enjoy watching (her offspring). Absolutely. It's kind of neat. "She was my first great horse. She was good on the track and great in the shed. All the way around, it was a great experience." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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