Day At The Track
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49 to 64 of 2023

Silence is golden. At least it can be for Charlie Dombeck when it comes to Highalator. "He leaves me speechless," Dombeck said when discussing the 5-year-old harness racing stallion, who brings a five-race win streak to his Ben Franklin Pace elimination Saturday (June 22) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "I don't mind being speechless for another few weeks." Highalator has won eight of 16 races this year, earning an already career-best $153,310. He has won seven of his past eight starts, with a second-place finish by a half-length preventing him from being unbeaten during that span, which included three triumphs in the Golden Receiver Series and one in the Great Northeast Open Series. On Saturday, he tackles the Grand Circuit for the first time since last year's Graduate Series. Highalator is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first of two Ben Franklin eliminations, starting from post four with Richard Still driving for trainer and co-owner Jenny Bier. Levy Series champion Western Fame is the 3-1 second choice. "I'm going to be interested to see how he goes with these horses," said Dombeck, who shares with Daryl Bier the breeding credit on Highalator and whose wife Joann is among the stallion's owners. "Really, I shouldn't say I'm shocked, but I'm really very excited about the way he's racing. I think he's the best he's ever been in his life. I think he could have a hell of a year." In 2018, Highalator won a preliminary round of the Graduate Series and finished sixth in the final from post 10. For his career, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher has won 29 of 62 races and $429,028. He is owned by Bier, Dombeck, and Midsize Construction Inc. "I always thought he was a good horse," Dombeck said. "A lot of times when he got into the big finals he drew terrible or had terrible racing luck, but I always thought he was a nice horse. This year he came back, if you see him up close, he looks like a bull. He's just all muscled out. He just amazes me. "I'm happy for Jenny, she's done a great job. He looks so beautiful when he's going, he's got his head up and he's straight; maybe I'm a little prejudiced. And Ricky Still has done some job. Nobody could have driven him any better than he's been driving him. He's got a lot of confidence in the horse." Highalator seen here winning at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono The top-four finishers from each Ben Franklin elimination plus the fifth-place finisher with the highest 2019 earnings advance to the $500,000 final on June 29 at Pocono. "I just want to be in the hunt at the end of the stretch," Dombeck said. "I've been in this game long enough to know (the ups and downs). When they're doing good, ride it, and that's it. Just hope for the best. "It will be fun. Whatever happens he's a nice horse." The second Ben Franklin elimination finds McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada, as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Lather Up, a two-time winner in this year's preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series, is the 3-1 second choice. McWicked is making his third start of the season. He won his debut before finishing third in last week's Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational off a nearly one-month layoff. Saturday's card at Pocono begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) and also includes eliminations for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

With a returning Dan Patch Award winner (Six Pack) and multiple world-record-holder (Plunge Blue Chip) among his 4-year-old trotters, it's no surprise to find harness racing trainer Ake Svanstedt with a horse tied for the points lead after three rounds of the Graduate Series. Except for the surprise. The horse is Muscle M Up. "He's a surprise. He's surprised me," Svanstedt said with a laugh about the 4-year-old stallion, who has a win and a second in his two Graduate starts. "When he came to me, he did not train so good before he qualified. But when he qualified, he was a different horse. He was a real racehorse. He wants to race. He has a good heart, very good heart." Muscle M Up has won three of four races overall this season, earning $54,000. The stallion was purchased by Knutsson Trotting Inc. at last fall's Standardbred Mixed Sale for $65,000 after campaigning for breeder-owner Fashion Farms and trainer Jim Campbell. As a 2-year-old, Muscle M Up won two of three races including a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. He was limited to eight starts, winning two, at age 3. "I talked with Jim Campbell and he said he had a lot of problems when he was young," Svanstedt said. "Maybe he is older now and stronger. I think the time has helped. He feels like a good horse." Muscle M Up, a son of Muscle Hill out of stakes-winner Fashion Athena, won his first Graduate start in a career-best 1:51.2 on May 18 at The Meadowlands. On June 9, he finished second to mare Custom Cantab in a Graduate division at Tioga Downs. Custom Cantab and gelding Crystal Fashion are tied with Muscle M Up with 60 points apiece in the series. On Friday, Muscle M Up competes in the first of two $50,000 final preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands. He faces a challenging task, meeting a field that includes newly minted Canadian record holder Atlanta, Crystal Fashion, Custom Cantab, Plunge Blue Chip, and 2017 Dan Patch Award winner Manchego. Atlanta, the 2018 Trotter of the Year, is unbeaten in four races this season and heads to Friday's start off a 1:50.2 win in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Ron Burke-trained mare is the even-money favorite on the morning line. "This is a tougher race for him, but I think he can do a good race," Svanstedt said about Muscle M Up, who will have Andy Miller in the sulky because Svanstedt will drive mare Plunge Blue Chip. "I think he is going to race good." Plunge Blue Chip finished second to Atlanta in her elimination for the Armbro Flight Stakes but got sick the day after the race and was scratched from the final. She shares the world records for 3-year-old filly trotters on a half-mile track (1:53.1) and mile track (1:49.4). Plunge Blue Chip (Curtis Salonick Photo) "She grew a lot during the winter," Svanstedt said about the mare, who has won 17 of 27 career races and earned $1.01 million. "She is bigger and taller. She is a bigger horse. She did not grow so much between (ages) 2 and 3, but this winter she grew a lot. I'm excited to see what she can do this summer. "There are some tough horses, but she raced (1):49.4 two times last year, so she's not so bad either. She trained a lot of miles but not so fast before she qualified, so every race is going to move her forward." Svanstedt expects the same from Six Pack, improvement in every start. Six Pack, who last season became the fastest 3-year-old trotter in history (1:49.1) on his way to Dan Patch honors, is in the second Graduate division, where he is the 2-1 morning-line favorite over Fiftydallarbill (5-2) and Phaetosive (4-1). Six Pack, a stallion who has won 16 of 25 career starts and $1.38 million, captured his Graduate debut at the Big M before finishing third behind Crystal Fashion and Fiftydallarbill at Tioga. The $250,000 Graduate Series finals for trotters and pacers are July 6 at The Meadowlands. Friday's card at the Big M also includes the third round of the Rainbow Blue Series for female pacers. Caviart Ally is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a field of six going for a purse of $40,000. Caviart Ally won the May 18 leg of the Rainbow Blue and enters Friday's race off a third-place finish in the Roses Are Red Stakes. Kissin In The Sand, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old filly pacer, is the 2-1 second choice. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Friday. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Five of the 10 horses in the Road to the Hambletonian rankings produced by Meadowlands Racetrack announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin will be in harness racing action Saturday (June 22) in eliminations for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with No.1 Greenshoe headlining the event. Greenshoe, who also is the top-ranked 3-year-old trotter in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, is 2-for-2 this season, with his most recent victory coming in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship on May 31 at The Meadowlands. His times of 1:51.2 in the opening round of the NJSS and 1:50.2 in the final are the fastest miles of the season for a 3-year-old trotter. The colt prepped for the Beal with a 28-length victory in a qualifier at Pocono on June 12. He was clocked in 1:52, which equaled the third-fastest win time of the season by a 3-year-old trotter. Last year, Greenshoe won two of four races despite going off stride in each start. For his career, he has won four of six races and $189,223 for trainer Marcus Melander. The colt is owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. "Talent and ability are not the issues, that's for sure," said Greenshoe's regular driver, Brian Sears. "He showed a lot of speed last year, but he's maturing every start behind the gate; every time we get a good experience it's a plus. Hopefully we get some more good trips in him and keep him on schedule. He just needs experience. He's a smart horse, he's just a little anxious at times, but he's definitely starting to grasp it." Greenshoe is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the second of two Beal eliminations Saturday. The six-horse field also includes Osterc, who won the Dexter Cup in May, and 2018 Kindergarten Classic champion Reign Of Honor. Osterc is No. 7 in the Road to the Hambletonian rankings and Reign Of Honor is No. 10. The top-four finishers from each elimination plus the fifth-place finisher with the highest 2019 earnings advance to the $500,000 final on June 29 at Pocono. "It's early yet," Sears said, referring to the journey to the $1 million Hambletonian on Aug.3 at The Meadowlands. "It's easy to get excited (about Greenshoe), and why wouldn't you be excited, but that's not my job to get excited. My job is to keep everything in perspective and know it's a long way to getting there." Osterc, trained by Per Engblom, has won three of four races this season. His only loss came went he went off stride in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race he was leading at Pocono on June 2. He rebounded with a 1:52.2 victory in a PASS division at Harrah's Philadelphia on June 14. "He made an uncharacteristic break at Pocono; he had everything under control and then he hit a knee and went off stride," Engblom said. "We adjusted his front shoes for (Philly), and he was good again. He was very good, actually; that's the best he's been all year. He was just cruising with ear plugs in. "I know that we're in (Saturday) with Greenshoe, but aside from that I'm feeling confident with my horse. He's been so solid all year." Osterc In the first Beal elim, Ron Burke-trained Swandre The Giant (No. 9 in the Road to the Hambletonian) is the 2-1 morning-line favorite, followed by Summit In Sight at 5-2. Summit In Sight raced only twice at age 2, but has four wins in six starts this season for trainer Julie Miller and driver Andy Miller. The colt was a $300,000 yearling purchase at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable. Summit In Sight, whose development last year was slowed by a bout with colic in the spring, enters his Beal elimination off a 1:53 win in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division on June 14 at Philly. "We thought he could be a nice colt, so we put him away after two starts to try to get him ready for a nice 3-year-old year," Julie Miller said. "Training down, I don't know that he was very flashy, but he did everything right. That last start at (Philly) sort of stamped his ticket for the Beal; we were really happy with him." Summit In Sight's only finish worse than second this year came in his seasonal debut in a conditioned race at The Meadowlands. "That's the learning curve with him," Miller said. "We changed his equipment a little bit, trying to make him better every start. The last start was the best he's been." Summit In Sight Also in the first Beal elim is Green Manalishi S, a multiple stakes winner in 2018 who is making his seasonal debut for Melander. The colt is No. 4 in the Road to the Hambletonian. All totaled, 11 of the 12 horses in the Beal eliminations are eligible to the Hambletonian. White Tiger and Sheer Muscle join that group in the first elim and Marseille, No Drama Please, and Goes Down Smooth join it in the second. Saturday's card at Pocono begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) and also includes eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers, Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

Dexter Dunn was hoping to enjoy a little success on the Grand Circuit this year, but the young harness racing stakes season has already exceeded his expectations. Dunn, who captured 10 consecutive premiership driving titles in New Zealand before moving to the U.S. last summer, has won Grand Circuit finals with three different horses and finished second in six other events. Last weekend, the 29-year-old Dunn won the Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers with Treacherous Reign for trainer Tony Alagna. In May, he won the Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old male pacers with Bettor's Wish for trainer Chris Ryder and the Confederation Cup for 4-year-old male pacers with Done Well for Ron Burke. His runner-up finishes include the North America Cup with Bettor's Wish, the Blue Chip Matchmaker with Bettor Joy N, the Dexter Cup with HL Revadon, and Maxie Lee Invitational with Pinkman. "It's well above what I expected coming over here," Dunn said. "It's a dream come true, really. I can't say how much I appreciate all the help I've received that's gotten me to the stage I'm at now. "When I first came over here, Chris and Nifty Norman and a lot of other trainers helped me out a lot. They put me up when they could have chosen much more established drivers over here. (Driver) Andy McCarthy has helped me a lot. He's gotten me in with some trainers and when he went home for the winter, I did a little bit of work for his clients. "I'm lucky, really lucky." Dunn ranks No. 3 in earnings, with $3.51 million, among all drivers in North America. He is second in the driver standings at The Meadowlands and third at Harrah's Philadelphia. On Saturday, he will have six drives in Grand Circuit eliminations at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, including with Treacherous Reign in the third of three elims for the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. "She's a big strong filly and she's got a great attitude," Dunn said about Treacherous Reign, who is unbeaten in four starts this season. "She wants to race." Treacherous Reign won the Fan Hanover by a nose over Warrawee Ubeaut, who was last year's Dan Patch Award winner for 2-year-old filly pacers and also unbeaten this season heading into the race. Dexter Dunn and Treacherous Reign winning the $454,000 Fan Hanover "I was confident, but Warrawee Ubeaut had been so good, and she proved not only this year but last year that she's an outstanding filly," Dunn said. "As much confidence as I had, there was a bit of an unknown. "It was a battle in the stretch. I stayed (behind Warrawee Ubeaut) for a little bit to try to keep the momentum going at the top of the stretch and come out a little later. My filly probably just wore her down more than anything. It was a tough performance and she really dug in, my girl. It was great." Treacherous Reign is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in her elimination. Warrawee Ubeaut is the 5-2 favorite. The top-three finishers in each of the three Lynch elims return for the $300,000 final on June 29. Dunn also has drives in the two remaining Lynch divisions, with Philly Hanover in the first and Odds On St Lucie in the second. Philly Hanover, who has won four of five races this year, is the 2-1 favorite in her elim while Odds On St Lucie, who won her only start of the season, is the 5-2 second choice behind 2-1 Zero Tolerance. Philly Hanover, trained by Ron Coyne Jr., suffered her only setback to Warrawee Ubeaut. "She's really nice too," Dunn said. "I think she's still untapped. She's just winding up. There are some nice fillies out there." Dunn's remaining drives in Grand Circuit eliminations Saturday are Odds On Boca Raton in the first of three elims for the Max C. Hempt Memorial (3-year-old male pacers), Rockin Ron in the first of two elims for the Ben Franklin (open pace) and Goes Down Smooth in the second of two elims for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial (3-year-old male trotters). "I sort of had in my mind that if I picked up one stakes horse, maybe a nice 3-year-old, I would be happy," Dunn said, reflecting on his outlook during the winter. "Honestly, that's what I thought. It's just picked up. I've been lucky." Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Pocono. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — North America Cup winner Captain Crunch moves to No. 3 in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll while Fan Hanover winner Treacherous Reign and Goodtimes winner Pilot Discretion join the Top 10. Shartin N, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes, remains No. 1 and is followed by Armbro Flight winner Atlanta. Captain Crunch vaults from seventh to third with idle Greenshoe and North America Cup runner-up Bettor’s Wish completing the top five. Captain Crunch and Atlanta both won last week with Canadian record performances. Western Fame, who was idle, is sixth. Treacherous Reign appears at No. 7 in the rankings, one spot ahead of Fan Hanover runner-up Warrawee Ubeaut. Pilot Discretion is No. 10, one spot below idle Gimpanzee. 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 4 – 6/18/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (28) 6pm 9-8-0-0 $506,375 340 1 2 Atlanta (4) 4tm 4-4-0-0 $195,580 308 2 3 Captain Crunch (1) 3pc 4-3-0-0 $434,693 282 7 4 Greenshoe (2) 3tc 2-2-0-0 $112,500 190 4 5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 5-4-1-0 $367,500 160 3 6 Western Fame 6ph 8-5-1-1 $448,800 114 5 7 Treacherous Reign 3pf 4-4-0-0 $206,375 83 — 8 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 4-3-1-0 $146,358 75 9 9 Gimpanzee 3tc 1-1-0-0 $104,372 68 8 10 Pilot Discretion 3tc 4-4-0-0 $118,725 60 — Also: Hannelore Hanover 47; Jimmy Freight 42; Highalator 35; Workin Ona Mystery 24; McWicked 17; Lather Up 15; Courtly Choice 13; Bettor Joy N 7; Evident Beauty, Rich And Miserable 6; Haveoneforme, Rodeo Rock 5; Always A Prince, None Bettor A, Sunny Dee, Swansea 4; Southwind Ozzi, Weslynn Dancer 2; Blazing Bobby Sox, Guardian Angel As, Queen Of The Pride 1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Ron Burke has enjoyed success with 2-year-old filly pacers, including the two most recent harness racing Dan Patch Award winners, Youaremycandygirl in 2017 and Warrawee Ubeaut in 2018, and on Monday (June 17) got another look at a group that will try to continue that good fortune. Burke sent out four winning 2-year-old filly pacers during Monday's qualifiers at Gaitway Farm, with Merga Hanover victorious in 1:54, Sweet Ace in 1:54.3, Wayside in 1:55.2, and Sweet Camille in 1:57. Merga Hanover and Sweet Ace, who both won qualifiers earlier this month, were the only winners timed in less than 1:55.1 over the course of the morning's 12 qualifiers for 2-year-olds. Merga Hanover, who won her first qualifier on June 3 in 1:56.4 at Gaitway, is by American Ideal out of Magic Starlight and was purchased for $150,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. She is owned by Thomas Dillon, Scott Dillon, Joe Sbrocco, and Bill Donovan. She was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. Sweet Ace, who was a Gaitway winner in 2:03.3 on June 10, is by Sweet Lou out of One Ace Too Many. She was purchased for $20,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Larry Karr, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby. She was bred by Crawford Farms. Wayside, who was making her qualifying debut, is by Somebeachsomewhere out of Al's Girl. She is a full sister to O'Brien Award winner Sandbetweenurtoes and was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. She is owned by Burke Racing, Brad Grant, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. She was bred by Steve Stewart and John Carver. Sweet Camille, who finished third in a qualifier on June 10, is by Sweet Lou out of stakes-winning millionaire Camille. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 Stable, and Jack Piatt III. The ownership group also bred the filly. Sweet Camille                                                --Ken Weingartner photo "I thought Merga Hanover stamped herself as probably my best filly," Burke said. "Merga was great and Sweet Ace was great. But Wayside, that was her first time, and (second-place finisher) Primrose, it was her first time, so I was very happy with them. "The ones that have qualified twice unless they made mistakes, that's it for them. I'll start looking for overnights or we'll just prep them for the races off this. You see the improvement in them. We trained them in between this time, so they're going to be a little bit better. I was very happy." Burke's stable was responsible for 10 of the 12 winning 2-year-olds. Other second-time winners for Burke were pacing colts The Greek Freak and Cattlewash, both in 1:55.1, and trotting colt S Class in 1:57.1. Two horses that were second in their first qualifiers, trotting colt Cupid Hanover and pacing colt Mac's Big Boy, also earned victories Monday. The Greek Freak                                     --Ken Weingartner photo The Greek Freak, the nickname of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, is a son of Captaintreacherous out of Thirty X and was purchased for $75,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He is owned by Burke Racing, Piatt Racing, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. He was bred by Steve Jones and Mark Mullen. Cattlewash, bred and owned by Bill Donovan, is by Somebeachsomewhere-Road Bet. S Class is by Muscle Hill out of Spellbound Hanover and a full brother to 2016 Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Crawford Farms Racing, Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. He was bred by Bill Mulligan and purchased privately. Cupid Hanover, who won in 1:58.3, is by Father Patrick out of Cressida Hanover and a half-brother to 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster. He was purchased for $250,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by the Burke-led Elite Trotting. He was bred by Brittany Farms. Mac's Big Boy, who won in 1:55.3, is by Somebeachsomewhere out of Hall of Fame broodmare Michelle's Jackpot and is a half-brother to millionaires Michael's Power and Michelle's Power. He was purchased for $60,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, and Wingfield Five. He was bred by Jeff Snyder. Rounding out Burke's winners was trotting colt Vinny De Vie, who stopped the timer in 1:59.4. He is by Muscle Hill out of So You De Vie. He was purchased for $70,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Elite Trotting. He was bred by Joie De Vie Farm. "Out of the colts, I was very happy with Cattlewash, The Greek Freak, Mac's Big Boy," Burke said. "I thought the one that was the biggest surprise was Caliber (who finished third in Mac's Big Boy's qualifier). He showed pace late into a big mile. He's a big, great looking colt out of Allstar Rating, who was a world-record holder. He maybe hadn't shown that until now. Maybe he's one of those horses that in a race is going to come alive. I'm excited about that. "I was very happy. I thought it was a very good day." The two winning 2-year-olds not from the Burke stable were trotting fillies Ramona Hill for trainer Tony Alagna and Love A Good Story for trainer Julie Miller. Ramona Hill                                                    --Ken Weingartner photo Ramona Hill, who won in 1:56.2 with a back half in :55, is by Muscle Hill out of Lock Down Lindy. She was purchased for $70,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert Leblanc, and In The Gym Partners. She was bred by Crawford Partners. Love A Good Story, who won in 1:57.2, is by Chapter Seven out of Celebrity Lovin. She was purchased for $90,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Pinske Stables and Kentuckiana Racing Stable. She was bred by Celebrity Farms.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

The 3-year-old pacers in Saturday's C$1 million North America Cup will enjoy center stage at Woodbine Mohawk Park but the harness racing card's supporting cast includes its share of star power too, such as No. 1 - ranked Shartin N, returning Horse of the Year McWicked, and additional award winners Atlanta, Emoticon Hanover, Forbidden Trade, Hannelore Hanover, Jimmy Freight, Kissin In The Sand, Tall Drink Hanover, Warrawee Ubeaut, and Youaremycandygirl. Shartin N, who has been the top-ranked horse in all three of this year's Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown polls, looks for her second consecutive win in the C$330,000 Roses Are Red Stakes. The 6-year-old mare won a prep race at Mohawk last week by 1-3/4 lengths over Caviart Ally in 1:48.4. She is the 4-5 morning-line favorite, with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Jim King Jr. "She's was better than ever," King said. "Her job was very easy to her. We're looking forward to Saturday, but we know how that works; anything can happen. But she sure does look the part." Shartin N won 19 of 24 races last year and became the first pacing mare to earn more than a million dollars in a season, banking $1.05 million, and received the Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer. She might be an even more complete performer this year. "I think there are several things better about her," King said. "She's stronger and she's much more intelligent. She's more in tune with the program; everything is not a fight. She was so persistent last year about wanting things her own way, you had to be so careful. She's just more educated to the way things need to be. "Tim is the biggest factor. He's gotten her to do the right things. He's put a lot of thought into where she's going and how to get her there. I just try to give him the best product I can, and he takes over from there." This season, Shartin N has won seven of eight races. Her victories include the Blue Chip Matchmaker final, Chip Noble Memorial, and Betsy Ross Invitational. In the Betsy Ross, Shartin N and pacesetter Caviart Ally battled side-by-side for the final three-eighths of a mile before Shartin N prevailed by a quarter-length. They paced the opening quarter in :25.2 and the third quarter in :26.1 on their way to a 1:49.2 mile. "If that didn't hurt (Shartin N's) feelings, then I don't know what it takes," King said. "That's got to be one of the all-time best things I've ever seen for a horse to do. Her and Caviart Ally had every right to pull up. They were going pretty good and to still have the will to finish the job, that's quite a thing. You can't take anything way from Caviart Ally, she's doing some good work. If it wasn't for Shartin, she would be getting the headlines." Caviart Ally, who has finished second to Shartin N five times in her career, is the 7-2 second choice in the Roses Are Red, which also includes Dan Patch Award winners Youaremycandygirl (2017) and Kissin In The Sand (2018) along with Blue Chip Matchmaker runner-up Bettor Joy N (also from the King stable). Seven Hambletonian Stakes hopefuls are among the 3-year-old male trotters that will compete in the C$247,000 Goodtimes. Two of them, Pilot Discretion and Forbidden Trade, were elimination winners last week. Pilot Discretion, 3-for-3 this year and unbeaten in five lifetime starts, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. He won his elim by 3-1/2 lengths over Southwind Avenger in 1:52. Forbidden Trade, an O'Brien Award winner last year, is the 7-2 third choice behind Swandre The Giant at 3-1. Forbidden Trade defeated Swandre The Giant by a neck in their elimination, with a time of 1:53.1. "I think he's getting tighter and tighter," trainer Luc Blais said about Forbidden Trade, a colt who has a win and a second in two races this season after capturing seven of 11 starts in 2018. "He's looking very good this week. You just hope he's going to race big on Saturday. I've got a good feeling, that's for sure. "I think he is going better and better all the time. He's got all the qualities to be a good horse. He's a very calm horse, you can do what you want with him. He's a very handy horse, very professional, very smart. He's like an older horse, like an 8-year-old gelding. He's not tough on himself. He's a very cool horse." Forbidden Trade McWicked, who last season at the age of 7 became the oldest pacer ever named Horse of the Year, makes his second start of the year, and first since winning his seasonal debut May 19, in the C$100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational. McWicked is the 7-5 morning-line favorite, with Brian Sears driving for trainer Casie Coleman. The field also includes O'Brien Award winner Jimmy Freight and Camluck Classic champ The Wall. For his career, McWicked has won 35 of 94 lifetime races and $3.90 million. He is on the verge of becoming only the fourth pacer in North American history to surpass $4 million in U.S. earnings. "I'm really happy with him; all seems great," Coleman said. "I wish he had another race, but the preferred hasn't been filling at Mohawk. I trained him a big mile Saturday morning at Mohawk and he was awesome. He should be good to go." McWicked Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year, goes for her fourth consecutive Armbro Flight Stakes title. The field also includes 2018 Trotter of the Year Atlanta and O'Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover. Plunge Blue Chip was scratched from the C$256,000 final, with also-eligible Dream Together joining the field. Warrawee Ubeaut, a Dan Patch Award winner last year when she became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in history, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the C$454,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Warrawee Ubeaut won her elimination in 1:49.1. Treacherous Reign, the other elim winner, in 1:50, is the 2-1 second choice. The field also includes O'Brien Award winner Tall Drink Hanover, who is 4-1. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Mohawk. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH - The U.S. Trotting Association (USTA) strongly opposes the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2019 (S. 1820), which was introduced Wednesday (June 12) by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The legislation is bad for harness racing, horse racing, and the health and welfare of horses. "At a time in which the industry is focused on preventing deaths, this legislation will have the opposite effect, and more horses will die," said USTA President Russell Williams. The legislation seeks to ban the use of a race-day, therapeutic medication called Lasix. Lasix is endorsed by veterinarians as the only known treatment for Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), a disease that causes bleeding in the lungs of a racehorse. Both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians support the use of Lasix and oppose the legislation. The bill also increases the cost of regulation and threatens the livelihoods of USTA members. "This newly-created regulatory body will have to impose additional fees and costs on the industry because it will receive no federal funding. Harness racing horsemen will be hit particularly hard because most of them are working-class people," added Williams. "It will drive many of them out of the business." According to a recent American Horse Council study, the racing industry contributes $36 billion annually to the national economy and provides 240,000 direct jobs. Any measure that will add further regulatory and cost burdens will only harm those state and local economies that depend on the industry. Finally, the proposed legislation would federalize horse racing and place it under the control of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), adding an unnecessary layer of oversight to the current state-based system. It would create an unelected, national board that specifically prohibits current owners, trainers, drivers, and practicing veterinarians from serving on it. Williams questioned, "Why an unelected board at the FTC would be better at regulating horse racing than those that know our industry best is beyond me." While the recent deaths in California are alarming, and more research needs to be done on what caused the tragedies, the proposed legislation would not have prevented a single death. Instead of working to reduce deaths in the industry, this legislation covers up the problem by pointing the finger at so-called "rampant doping" in the industry. Test results prove that doping is not a problem. In 2018, the Anti-Doping and Drug Testing Program conducted by U.S. racing regulatory bodies and compiled by the Association of Racing Commissioners International found that 99.4 percent of all racehorses were compliant with the rules. The "clear" rate for Standardbred horses was even higher at 99.71 percent. The USTA strongly opposes the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2019 (S. 1820) and encourages all industry participants and racing fans to contact their U.S. Senator to express their opposition to Senator Gillibrand's proposed legislation.   Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — The waiting is the hardest part. Not so much for harness racing trainer Paula Wellwood, but for Marion Marauder. Marion Marauder, a multiple Dan Patch Award recipient and 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winner, will make his seasonal debut Friday (June 14) in the third round of the Mr Muscleman Series at The Meadowlands. Wellwood was in no hurry to get the 6-year-old stallion’s campaign underway, starting him this year nearly a month later than in 2018, but Marion Marauder looked full of himself and anxious to get going when he arrived at the Big M for his final qualifier last weekend. “Yeah, he’s ready,” Wellwood said, laughing. Marion Marauder, three stablemates, and Wellwood arrived in New Jersey from their Canadian base about a month ago. While the other horses raced, Marion Marauder waited. “When we first got here, he really didn’t care,” Wellwood said. “But after we trained him a couple times and he went faster each time, he knew it was near time to go. When he sees the harness getting arranged (in the barn for a trip to the racetrack) he knows what’s going on. He’s thinking, maybe it’s my turn now.” Marion Marauder faces eight foes in the $40,000 Mr Muscleman. The stallion, with regular driver Scott Zeron, will start from post nine and is 6-1 on the morning line. Guardian Angel As, the Maxie Lee Memorial winner, is the 3-1 favorite followed by Trolley (7-2), Cruzado Dela Noche (4-1), and Pinkman (5-1). Marion Marauder prepped for the race by winning his qualifier last Saturday in 1:53.1. Last year, Marion Marauder won six of 14 races and earned $605,180. He finished no worse than second in his first 10 races, including victories in the Cleveland Trotting Classic and Cashman Memorial, but was no better than fourth in his final four. “We are limiting his starts this year,” said Wellwood, who trains Marion Marauder for owners Marion Jean Wellwood, her mom, and Devin Keeling, her son. “He seems to like maybe a little less starts. We’ll let him tell us.” By starting later, Marion Marauder missed the Cutler Memorial and Maxie Lee, but the bulk of the major stakes for older trotters are later in the year, particularly from late July through November. “We know the heavy end is at the back (of the schedule),” Wellwood said. “That’s why we weren’t in any big rush.” Wellwood, who shares training duties with husband Mike Keeling, said the stallion has continued to mature a bit physically, but little else has changed from last year to this year. “I think he’s a little bit bigger, thicker, like in the girth and the shoulder,” Wellwood said. “His personality is the same, that doesn’t change.” Marion Marauder has won 20 of 52 career starts and $3.14 million. His purse total ranks 10th among trotters in North American harness racing history. “He doesn’t owe us anything so we kind of let him do what he wants,” Wellwood said. “It’s his world and we live in it.” In addition to the third round of the Mr Muscleman, The Meadowlands hosts the third round of the Golden Receiver Series for older pacers. Highlator, who has won four races in a row including the first two legs of the Golden Receiver, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite from post eight. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) at The Meadowlands. For Friday’s complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Hightstown, NJ — After trotting the fastest mile in Canadian history over the weekend, Hannelore Hanover rockets from zero to 117 in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The 7-year-old mare is the top newcomer in the rankings, going from pointless to No. 6 following her 1:50.3 win in her Armbro Flight elimination Friday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Other newcomers are No. 9 Warrawee Ubeaut and No. 10 Workin Ona Mystery. Warrawee Ubeaut won her Fan Hanover Stakes elimination while Workin Ona Mystery captured his North America Cup elim. Both 3-year-olds are undefeated in three races. Shartin N, who won the prep race for this weekend’s Roses Are Red Stakes, remains No. 1 while Atlanta, who won the other Armbro Flight elimination with a then Canadian-record-equaling 1:51 clocking, stays No. 2. Bettor’s Wish, who won his elimination for the North America Cup, goes from sixth to No. 3. Greenshoe and Western Fame, who were both idle last week, complete the top five. 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 3 – 6/11/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (30) 6pm 8-7-0-0 $382,625 344 1 2 Atlanta (2) 4tm 3-3-0-0 $99,580 266 2 3 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 4-4-0-0 $198,750 198 6 4 Greenshoe (2) 3tc 2-2-0-0 $112,500 192 5 5 Western Fame 6ph 8-5-1-1 $448,800 153 3 6 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 2-1-0-0 $12,950 117 — 7 Captain Crunch 3pc 3-2-0-0 $59,693 116 4 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 1-1-0-0 $104,372 91 7 9 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 3-3-0-0 $69,745 72 — 10 Workin Ona Mystery 3pc 3-3-0-0 $77,167 69 — Also: McWicked 59; Courtly Choice 54; Lather Up 43; Highalator 32; Done Well 14; Caviart Ally 13; None Bettor A 12; Bettor Joy N, Evident Beauty 11; Crystal Fashion 7; Pilot Discretion 5; Only Take Cash, Quincy Blue Chip, Southwind Ozzi 4; Always A Prince, Ideal Jimmy, Sunny Dee, Swandre The Giant, Tall Drink Hanover 3; Guardian Angel As, Queen Of The Pride, Six Pack, Swansea, Treacherous Reign, The Downtown Bus, The Wall 2; De Los Cielos Deo, Keystone Abbey, Rich And Miserable, Rodeo Rock, Will Take Charge 1. McWicked received 1 first-place vote. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

The New England Amateur Drivers Club (NEAHDC), based at Plainridge Racecourse, is donating $2,000 to the Standardbred Transition Alliance (STA) to help in accreditation and granting to harness racing programs caring for off the track Standardbreds. The club, which has several dozen members, competes in one to two races each week at Plainridge; drivers donate their 5% commissions to charity to maintain their amateur status. It's been in existence for nearly 20 years and has donated tens of thousands of dollars, generated from Commissions, to local and national charities. "The horses and the joy we get in training and competing with them is the reason this club exists," says NEAHDC President Bill Abdelnour. "We are happy to be able to support this effort to give our equine athletes help to transition to a new career. I hope our fellow amateurs will follow our lead. The horses do so much for us, it's time we give back to them." Ken Weingartner

Manalapan, NJ - The last time harness racing trainer Scott DiDomenico qualified 2-year-olds at Gaitway Farm, it seemed dark clouds followed him at every turn. Of the eight horses he sent into action that morning last June, one posted a win and only one other finished better than fifth. "It was kind of a beatdown day," DiDomeninco said. On Monday, there were dark clouds - literally, this time - all around but DiDomenico had a sunny disposition after watching three of his seven 2-year-olds post victories and another finish second. "It was a good day at the office," DiDomenico said. "It's been a little lean the last couple years qualifying here. To see these horses come through and go good is very fulfilling. It certainly wasn't a Black Monday today; it was a good Monday." A misty rain fell throughout the morning, with the temperature at 65 degrees to start the card. The track was rated "good." DiDomenico's winners were filly pacers Bolt Of Speed and So Rude as well as filly trotter Keystone Candace. Bolt Of Speed, by Bolt The Duer out of Winbak Speedi, won in 1:56.3. She was purchased for $30,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned by Triple D Stables and JFE Enterprise. She was bred by Winbak Farm. So Rude, by So Surreal out of I Am A Snob (a full sister to stakes winner Pedigree Snob) won in 1:58.2. She was purchased for $16,000 at the Goshen Yearling Sale and is owned by Triple D Stables and Michael Ferriero. She was bred by Steve Jones. Keystone Candace, by Andover Hall out of Caitir, won in 2:00.2. She was purchased for $25,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Triple D Stables and R.B.H. Ventures. She was bred by the estate of George Hempt Trust. Keystone Candace "I was happy with everything," DiDomenico said. "I thought Keystone Candace was probably the best of the three. She's trained well all the way through and it's nice to see a fulfilling effort the first time out. But I'm happy with all of them. They all were professional and did a good job. I can't knock any of them. "Even some of the ones that got beat were OK. I'm not a trainer that has to win qualifiers. I like to see them passing horses and going forward at the wire. Seeing them do that and seeing them win is special." Ron Burke led the way with five winning 2-year-olds while Julie Miller joined DiDomenico with three. Donna Marshall had one victory. Burke won with filly trotter Sister Sledge in 2:01.2, colt trotter Patriarch Hanover in 2:00.1, colt pacer Stop Action in 1:58.4, filly pacer Dance Club in 1:57, and filly pacer Sweet Ace in 2:03.3. Sister Sledge, who won in 1:59.2 during last week's Gaitway qualifiers, is by Father Patrick out of Behindclosedoors. She was purchased for $35,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. She was bred by Sergent Stables and Andray Farm. Patriarch Hanover is by Father Patrick out of 2012 Hambletonian Oaks winner Personal Style. He was purchased for $22,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, William Switala, James Martin, and Weaver Bruscemi. He was bred by Brittany Farms and Melvin Hartman. Patriarch Hanover Stop Action is by Somebeachsomewhere out of The Show Returns, a stakes-winning full sister to Dan Patch Award winner Put On A Show. He was purchased for $170,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Thomas Dillon and Scott Dillon. He was bred by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Michael Robinson, and South Mountain Stables. Dance Club is by A Rocknroll Dance out of Liscaramore. She is owned by Burke Racing, Knox Services Inc., David Wills, and Weaver Bruscemi. She was bred by Wills and Douglas Brechler. Sweet Ace is by Sweet Lou out of One Ace Too Many. She was purchased for $20,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Larry Karr, Melillo, and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby. She was bred by Crawford Farms. Miller's wins came with colt pacer Bombshell Hanover in 1:55.3, colt trotter Big Oil in 1:58.2, and gelding pacer Western Vacation in 1:57.3. Bombshell Hanover is by Somebeachsomewhere out of Blind Ambition and is a half-brother to stakes winners Big Top Hanover and Badiou Hanover. He was purchased for $60,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Pinkse Stables, Andy Miller Stable Inc., and Curly Tall Curly Small. He was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. Bombshell Hanover Big Oil is by Father Patrick out of former Miller Stable star Cee Bee Yes. He is owned by breeders Jason Allen and Doug Allen as well as Ronald Allen. Western Vacation is by Western Ideal out of Robin Cruiser. He is owned by breeder Pinske Stables. Marshall's victory came with filly trotter Miss McKee. The horse made a break last week but returned Monday following the removal of trotting hobbles and won in 1:57.4. Miss McKee is by Muscle Massive out of Dazzling Deb. She is owned by Marshall and William Duncan, who bred the filly with Glen Vetrano. For complete charts, click here. Ken Weingartner

East Rutherford, NJ --- Per Engblom's stable got off to a strong start at Saturday's second edition of Breakfast with the Babies at The Meadowlands, and kept the good times rolling through the morning. Engblom won six times, dominating the eight-race trotting portion of the harness racing card for 2-year-olds. "It was a very good day," Engblom said. "I thought we had prepared them good enough, especially my trotting fillies. They've been training great all winter. I had high hopes for them. The colts also came out nice. "We've got good horses, so they're supposed to look good when they come out. I was happy with pretty much everything." There was a total of 13 qualifiers for 2-year-olds Saturday, with all but five horses in those races making their debuts. In addition to Engblom, trainers Tony Alagna and Ray Schnittker were multiple winners, with two victories each. Schnittker picked up a win with filly pacer Rodeo Beach, a full sister to Dan Patch Award-winner Huntsville, who was the best in a contentious stretch drive for driver Mark MacDonald in 1:57.1, final quarter :27.1. "I thought she went very well," Schnittker said. "She was a little green, running out in the stretch. But she's a nice filly. She's got a lot of speed. I think she'll be a good one. All of them (from her family) have got speed. She's probably a little better gaited than some of them. She's nice. It was a good day." One of Alagna's wins came with colt pacer Its Showtime, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Breeders Crown champion Uffizi Hanover who won by four lengths in 1:54.3 in his first trip to a qualifier. He came home with a :26.4 final quarter with Andy McCarthy in the sulky. "It was very nice," Alagna said. "The colt trained down well all winter. He (qualified) well in hand. He gets a little lazy on the front, he's actually a much better horse from off the pace, so (McCarthy) was just keeping his attention. He had plenty left in the tank. It was a really nice mile for him." Its Showtime - Chris Tully Photo Following is a race-by-race recap of the 2-year-old qualifiers. Temperatures were in the mid-70s with a gusty, swirling wind. Ms Savannah Belle, a trotting filly bred and owned by Al Libfeld, got the day started with a 1:58.1 win. The daughter of Muscle Hill out of O'Brien Award-winner Stubborn Belle was third during the first half but moved to the lead at three-quarters and marched to victory with a :27 final panel for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Engblom. Engblom-trained filly Munster won the second qualifier in 2:01 with a final quarter of :28. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Munster was second through the opening quarter and inherited the lead when Mission Us went off stride just prior to the half. Munster is a daughter of Chapter Seven out of Richesse Oblige S bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock, Herbert Burns III, and Jacob Kiefer. She was purchased for $175,000 under the name Robin Blue Chip at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Black Horse Racing and Wiesman Farms. Engblom's stable made it a sweep of the filly trots when Hello Tomorrow won the third qualifier in 1:58.3 with a :28 final quarter. Hello Tomorrow, driven by Gingras, is a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Armbro Deja Vu and half-sister to millionaire Dejarmbro. She was purchased for $380,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Brixton Medical Inc., Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Lynn Katz. She was bred by Fair Winds Farm. When 2-year-old male trotters took center stage in the fourth qualifier, Engblom showed no signs of slowing down. King Slayer, driven by Gingras, won with a stretch move to pass Sheena Soldier in 1:59.4, final quarter in :28.4. King Slayer is a son of Father Patrick out of Forever Graceful from the family of 2010 Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive. He was purchased for $135,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He was bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz and is owned by John Fielding, Herb Liverman, Renato Bruni, and Alfonso Cesarano. Engblom was without a starter in the fifth qualifier, which went to Andrew Harris-trained colt trotter Sixteen and driver Scott Zeron in 2:02.2 with a final quarter :28. Sixteen is a son of Donato Hanover out of Met's Inn and a half-brother to millionaire Met's Hall. He was purchased for $160,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Howard Taylor, James Walker, and Hutt Racing Stable. He was bred by Winbak Farm. Engblom picked up his fifth winner in the sixth, when colt trotter Synergy and driver Gingras led at every call and held off Take The Credit in the stretch for a 2:00.3 score with :28.1 final quarter. Synergy is a son of Father Patrick out of Southwind Sauna from the family of O'Brien Award-winner Federal Flex. He was purchased for $275,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and David Anderson. He was bred by Southwind Farms. Win No. 6 for Engblom followed with colt trotter Staro Onthe Rocks S in the seventh qualifier. Staro Onthe Rocks and Gingras won in 2:03.1, final quarter :28.2. The colt is a son of Conway Hall out of Stunning Lindsey and a half-brother to millionaire Sevruga. He was bred by Staffan Nilsson and is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and James Crawford. Qualifier eight was won by Staffan Lind-trained and Christian Lind-driven colt trotter Hennessy Am S in 2:01 with a :28.1 final quarter. Hennessy is a son of Muscle Hill out of Crysti Dream. The $100,000 Lexington Selected Sale buy is owned by Lind Racing Stable, Acadia Farms, Jonathan Klee Racing, and Pegasis Investment Group. He was bred by AM Bloodstock. Hennessy Am S (#4) - Chris Tully Photo Two-year-old filly pacers hit the track for the day's next two qualifiers. Caviart Jane stormed home with a :26.3 final quarter to win the ninth in 1:58.1. The filly was driven by Zeron for trainer Nancy Johansson and owners Caviart Farms and Christina Takter. The White Birch Farm-bred daughter of Captaintreacherous out of Act Now was purchased under the name Treacherous Act for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. Rodeo Beach, a full sister to Dan Patch Award-winner Huntsville, was the best in a contentious stretch drive and captured the 10th for driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Ray Schnittker in 1:57.1, final quarter :27.1. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of Wild West Show was bred by Schnittker and Charlie Iannazzo. She is owned by Schnittker, Mary Kinsey Arnold, and Paul Bordogna. Male pacers closed out the 2-year-old portion of the card, with Tony Alagna-trained Its Showtime living up to his name with a 1:54.3 romp, final quarter in :26.4. Andy McCarthy drove Its Showtime, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Uffizi Hanover. Bred by Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, and Sam Goldband, the colt is owned by Alagnafrankinthegym Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Katz, and LeBlanc and Head Partners. He was purchased for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. Alagna-trained Chief Mate, also driven by McCarthy, won the 12th, leading from gate to wire in 1:55.1, final quarter :26.3. Chief Mate is a son of Captaintreacherous out of Heaven Forbid. He was purchased for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by breeder Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant, and Captain Kirk Racing. Splash Brother, who was a 1:54.3 winner in last week's qualifiers, returned Saturday for a 1:54.2 triumph, final quarter in :26.3. The Schnittker-trained colt was driven by MacDonald for owners Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing, Steven Arnold, and Tammy Ann Flannery. The son of So Surreal out of Sugarcoated was bred by Steve Jones and sold for $30,000 at the Goshen Yearling Sale. Following the 2-year-olds, there were four additional qualifiers for horses ages 3 and older. Past Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotter of the Year, and driver Zeron defeated one of this year's Hambletonian hopefuls, Green Manalishi S, in 1:53.1 with a :26.3 final quarter. The 6-year-old Marion Marauder, trained by Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling, is preparing for his 2019 debut. Other winners were 3-year-old trotting filly American Kronos for trainer Julie Miller in 1:54.2, 4-year-old pacing stallion Nutcracker Sweet for trainer Tom Cancelliere in 1:50.4, and 5-year-old gelding pacer Alluneedisfaith N for trainer Ross Croghan in 1:53. For complete charts, click here. Ken Weingartner

Tom Fanning might not have a shoo-in to reach the Fan Hanover Stakes final, but he likes Trillions Hanover's chances with shoes on. Fanning watched his 3-year-old female pacer qualify last weekend at The Meadowlands in 1:50.2 with a shoe missing, after which he was quick to quip with a grin, "She probably goes 1:49 with four shoes." She can try Saturday (June 8), when she races in the first of two Fan Hanover harness racing eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Nineteen 3-year-old filly pacers were entered in the Fan Hanover, including Dan Patch Award winner Warrawee Ubeaut and O'Brien Award winner Tall Drink Hanover. The two will meet in the second of the two C$35,000 eliminations, which also includes Three Diamonds Stakes winner Prescient Beauty and budding Ontario star Sunny Dee, who is 8-for-8 this season. The top five finishers from each division will advance to the final on June 15. Saturday's card also includes two eliminations for the North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers and a prep race for the Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers. Trillions Hanover has won five of nine career races and finished second twice, earning $65,650 in purses. She was last year's Pennsylvania Stallion Series champion for 2-year-old filly pacers. "She didn't train down like she was going to be something special," Fanning said. "She just trained down like a normal horse, a little on the lazy side, but never gave us a problem. She didn't get sick, didn't tie up. When she got into a race, she just got better and better. She's got a good attitude. You don't have to coddle her like a lot of fillies. You train her, you turn her out, you jog her, she eats. She does her work. She's good that way." Trillions Hanover is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of Tutu Hanover. She was purchased under the name Thompson Hanover for $20,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Falcon Racing, J L Benson Stables, and VIP Internet Stable. "She was pretty nasty; I think that turned a lot of people off," Fanning said about the filly at the sale. "But she got over that and is really a sweetheart now. She's got a great attitude. She just wants to beat horses, she really does." Trillions Hanover has raced twice this season, beating 4-year-old Reclamation (handing the mare her only loss in seven starts this year) before going off stride in her second at Harrah's Philadelphia. "She has a little trouble at (Philly) in the turns, but we kind of got that straightened out," Fanning said. "We thought if she qualified well last week at the Meadowlands we would send her up for the Fan Hanover. She qualified really well. She only had three shoes, but we got through the race. "She should benefit from that qualifier. I've been training her, but not a lot fast. So that was a really good tightener for her. I think she will really step up off of that and she's showed legitimate speed. She wasn't completely done in the qualifier either, so that was a good sign. She can go, and she has some class to her as well. We'll see what happens." Trillions Hanover, who will be driven by David Miller, is 8-1 on the morning line. The favorite in the first elimination is 2018 Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Beautyonthebeach, at 3-1, followed by Treacherous Reign at 7-2. She is a Tony Alagna-trained stablemate to Tall Drink Hanover, who is 4-1 in the second elim. Last year, Tall Drink Hanover won the She's A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk, where Treacherous Reign finished in a dead-heat second with Prescient Beauty. Treacherous Reign is 2-for-2 this year while Tall Drink Hanover beat older foes in her only start of the campaign. "She had a great first start," Alagna said about Tall Drink Hanover. "She was very impressive. We felt like she had good fitness, so we didn't want to race her back last week. It's such a long year. The way she raced in her first start off a layoff, I think her fitness is there. We tuned her up a little bit (Monday) morning so she seems like she's going to be firing on all cylinders. "Treacherous Reign started out great last year and just got tired toward the end of the season. I should have put her away earlier than I did, but thankfully she's come back good this year. (Driver Dexter Dunn) was tickled to death with the way she raced the other day. She showed good pace on both ends of the mile. "I feel very good about them." The favorite in the second elimination, at 5-2 on the morning line, is Warrawee Ubeaut. She paced 1:48.3 last year to become the fastest 2-year-old pacer in history and is off to a 2-for-2 start in 2019. "She's been great," trainer Ron Burke said. "She couldn't be any better. If anything, she's been better (than last year) because she's calm; she'll let you do what you want, not what she wants. I'm thrilled with her." Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) at Mohawk. For Saturday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

Ron Burke leads all trainers in starters for Saturday's (June 8) Pepsi North America Cup harness racing eliminations at Ontario's Woodbine Mohawk Park, and although his three 3-year-old pacers are winless this season, the sport's leading conditioner is anticipating improved performances from his group. Burke, the 2018 Trainer of the Year in the U.S., sends out De Los Cielos Deo in the first of two C$50,000 eliminations and Captain Victorious and Semi Tough in the second. Nancy Johansson and Brian Brown are the only other trainers with multiple horses in the North America Cup elims, with two each. The top-five finishers from each nine-horse elimination will advance to the C$1 million final on June 15. The connections of the elimination winners will select their post positions for the final and the remaining eight horses will be put in an open draw. The draw will be Tuesday during a luncheon at Woodbine Mohawk Park. De Los Cielos Deo won his first five races last season before finishing second in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final and his elimination of the Metro. He was no better than fourth in three remaining starts but was dealing with a foot issue. So far this season, the colt is winless in three races, but he heads to his North America Cup elimination off a 1:48.4 win in a qualifier last weekend at The Meadowlands. "I knew he had that in him," Burke said. "Things have just gone terrible for him the first few races. I knew he was good, so I just told (driver David Miller) to stretch him a little bit in the qualifier to make sure I'm right. I was very happy with him." Semi Tough, who was second to Stag Party in last year's Metro Pace at Mohawk, is winless in four races this year, but has hit the board three times. Captain Victorious was a three-time winner last year on the Pennsylvania circuit for trainer Julie Miller. He was purchased by the Burke-led Captain V Stable in April and finished third in his debut for his new connections but was off the board in two starts since then. "We scoped Captain Victorious and his stomach has ulcers," Burke said. "I think that's led to his last couple bad performances. I'm hoping we'll have him ready to go. Semi Tough, every start he's gotten progressively better. He's heading in the right direction. "I think we're going to be all right." Semi Tough                                             -- Ken Weingartner photo The first elimination features Dan Patch Award winner Captain Crunch, who is one of Johansson's two entrants, along with Caviart Rockland in the second elim. The second elimination also includes O'Brien Award winner Stag Party in the nine-horse field. Captain Crunch is 2-for-2 this year and is among six horses entering the first elimination off a win (not counting De Los Cielos Deo's qualifier victory). The others include Art Rooney Pace winner Bettor's Wish, New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Hurrikane Emperor, and Somebeachsomewhere Stakes division winner Century Farroh. Bettor's Wish, Hurrikane Emperor, Century Farroh, and Shake That House join Captain Crunch as the field's undefeated horses this season, a combined 15-0. The second elimination has one unbeaten horse this year, Brown's Workin Ona Mystery, who is 2-for-2. Tyga Hanover brings a three-race win streak to the elim, including a victory in a Somebeachsomewhere division. Saturday's card at Mohawk also includes two eliminations for the Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers and a prep race for the Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers. Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) at Mohawk. For Saturday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

It is often said that sometimes the moves you don't make, or in this instance the races you don't make, turn out the best. Such appears to be the case for 3-year-old male trotter Pilot Discretion, who brings an undefeated slate to Friday's Goodtimes Stakes harness racing eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Pilot Discretion, from the stable of Tony Alagna, developed slowly last season at 2. When he was ready to go at Lexington's Red Mile in late September, he proved the trainer's patience was well invested by winning a late closer by 6-1/2 lengths in 1:56 and following up a week later with a five-length 1:55.1 score. After returning home to New Jersey in October, Pilot Discretion got sick. He was soon able to return to training and looked set to compete in a preliminary round of the Kindergarten Series at The Meadowlands, which would serve as a prep for the Valley Victory Stakes, but he spiked a temperature again. Alagna decided it was best to quit with the colt rather than push on. "It may be the best thing that ever happened to him long term because he's come back really good," Alagna said this week as he prepared to send Pilot Discretion to Canada for the Goodtimes. "Sometimes things work out the way they're supposed to." Pilot Discretion pushed his perfect slate to 4-for-4 by winning two conditioned races last month at The Meadowlands. His most recent victory came by 2-1/4 lengths over 5-year-old Stenhouse Hanover in a career-best 1:52.4. That time is tied for the fourth fastest by a 3-year-old this year. "He was an immature colt and we took our time with him," Alagna said. "He's really matured into himself nicely. It's a nice time to try him against stakes company. He couldn't be any sharper than he is right now. He trained great (Monday). For an inexperienced colt last year, he's really come back good." Pilot Discretion was one of 19 horses entered in the Goodtimes. The field was divided into two eliminations, with Pilot Discretion landing in the second. He will start from post No. 6 with regular driver Andy McCarthy. He is among three horses in the group, with Valley Victory winner Southwind Avenger and stakes winner Kings County, eligible to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes. The first elimination features eight Hambletonian eligibles: Smart As Hill, Trix And Stones, Swandre The Giant, Forbidden Trade, Magical Winner K, Blazing Trail, Only For Justice, and Super Schissel. Forbidden Trade was last year's Ontario Sire Stakes champion; Super Schissel captured the Matron Stakes. Pilot Discretion, whose four wins have resulted in $26,000 in purses, is a son of Muscle Hill out of Self Indulgent. He was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Robert Leblanc, Dave Anderson, and John Fodera. "He acts like a horse that's going to be very versatile," Alagna said. "He acts like a horse that can leave, that can sit, he can do a lot of things. He's not aggressive, he's a nice horse to drive. That goes a long way. He's really done well." Friday's card at Mohawk also includes two eliminations for the Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. The first elim includes 2018 Trotter of the Year Atlanta and world-record-holder Plunge Blue Chip, who is making her 4-year-old debut. The second elim includes 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, 2018 O'Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover, 2017 Dan Patch Award winner Manchego, and Darling Mearas S, a Swedish standout making her North American debut. Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) at Mohawk. For Friday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

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