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In past years, when Robert LeBlanc went to The Meadowlands to watch the Hambletonian, he always thought how cool it would be to have a horse in the race. This year, he finds out. LeBlanc, a retired vice president at IBM who has partnered on horses in trainer Tony Alagna's stable for three years, is among the owners of Pilot Discretion. The colt competes in the second of Saturday's (Aug. 3) two $70,000 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations at the Big M, where the top-five finishers from each division return for the $1 million final later in the day. Pilot Discretion will start from post three with Andy McCarthy in the sulky. He is 10-1 on the morning line. Greenshoe is the 4-5 favorite in the division. The Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. The Hambletonian, the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, restricted to 3-year-old female trotters, will be featured during a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). "As an owner, this is our race," said LeBlanc, a Canadian who now resides in Austin, Texas. "Everybody wants to be in the Hambletonian. Having a horse that's good enough, it may never happen again. But I'm enjoying the ride. Tony and the team have done an amazing job with him. Tony has managed him very well and he just keeps getting better and better." Pilot Discretion has won six of eight career races and never finished worse than third, earning $174,029. He was 2-for-2 in 2018 but saw his season end because of sickness. The son of Muscle Hill-Self Indulgent won his first four races this season, including the Goodtimes Stakes, before finishing second to Greenshoe in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and third in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "We raced him in the Tompkins-Geers just to get him another race because he'd had a month break between the Goodtimes and the Dancer," Alagna said. "We wanted to race him and give him last week off. We raced him off the pace; we didn't want to put him on the front again in his last start since we put him on the front in the Dancer. He closed very well, :26.3. "He seems great. He's very fresh. Even the night I warmed him up his last start at the Meadowlands, he was bucking and playing and kicking just going his first trip. He hasn't done that in the last couple starts. So, I think he's as fresh as a horse could be going into it." For LeBlanc, who owns Pilot Discretion with Dave Anderson and John Fodera, it's been difficult to wait for Hambletonian time to arrive. "I've got no more fingernails, I've bitten them off," LeBlanc said. "It's been a buildup every week. I'll be pretty wound up by Saturday. I'll be super excited. I've already told my wife that I have to watch the race outside (the grandstand) because I'll be the one screaming the loudest. "If you see a lunatic screaming if he's coming down the stretch with a shot (to win) you know it will be me. Every owner will be a lunatic, absolutely. That's the fun of it. This is what makes this game so much fun." Can Ake Svanstedt win another Hambletonian? Ake Svanstedt, who won the 2017 Hambletonian through disqualification with Perfect Spirit, will send two horses into Saturday's event. Marseille is 5-1 in the second elimination, where Greenshoe is the 4-5 favorite, and Soul Strong is 8-1 in the first elim, where Gimpanzee is the 2-1 choice. Svanstedt trains both horses and will drive Marseille, who is owned by Svanstedt, Stefan Balazsi's Order By Stable, and Howard Taylor. Dexter Dunn is listed to drive Soul Strong, who is owned by Cees Faber's Stable Why Not. Marseille upset Greenshoe to win the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial on June 29. For the year, he has won three of five races and never been worse than third. The son of Muscle Hill-Order By Wish heads to the Hambletonian off a career-best 1:51.4 victory in a division of the Tompkins-Geers on July 20. "He raced good the last time and he is training normal," Svanstedt said. Marseille was limited to four races last year because of soreness. When he returned this year, his behavior left much to be desired. The connections considered gelding Marseille but decided to hold off and gave the colt another opportunity to show improvement. He finished second in a qualifier and then won his seasonal debut, which ended the discussion. "Maybe he heard what we were talking about," Svanstedt said, smiling. "After he qualified and started racing, his head changed totally. He is not a stud when he comes to race. He has focus. He is a real racehorse and he wants to race. He is all business." Soul Strong was winless in eight races last year but has won three of six starts in 2019. He finished second to Marseille in the Tompkins-Geers. "He was not so good gaited when we started but his gait is better and better," Svanstedt said. "He was always a little sore and it was a balance how much we could train and race. But he has a good heart and has gotten stronger and stronger. We gelded him over the winter, and he is better now. He is older and stronger. He is going to be faster and faster." Svanstedt, like many others, considers Greenshoe the horse to beat. "Greenshoe is No. 1 but behind him it's wide open," Svanstedt said. "In the Hambletonian, there is good money behind the winner also. Of course, I want to win. But I must be realistic. "It's tough to be (in the Hambletonian). Everything must be a hundred percent perfect that day. When all the horses are on the same level, it can be the post position and the horse must be a hundred percent that day. Everything must be good." Andy & Julie Miller hoping for Summitt In Sight Team Miller - the wife-husband duo of trainer Julie and driver Andy - has hit the board in the past three Hambletonians and is hoping for more of the same on Saturday with Summit In Sight. The colt is 20-1 on the morning line in the first elimination, where Gimpanzee is the 2-1 favorite. "He is a longshot for the race but we're going to give him a chance," Julie Miller said. "We think we've got him sharp and ready. Basically, we need a lot of luck and hopefully he puts his best foot forward." Summit In Sight, owned by Natalia Stroy's Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable, was limited to two races in 2018 after suffering a bout of colic in the spring. He began this year with a sixth-place finish before putting together a streak of six starts where he finished either first (four times) or second. The string was broken when he went off stride and finished eighth in the Beal Memorial final. He heads to the Hambletonian off a fifth-place finish in a division of the Dancer. "We shut him down thinking he could be a nice 3-year-old," Julie Miller said about the son of Muscle Hill-Bluff. "We got him ready early and he flashed some talent. He had some unfortunate luck in the Beal with how the fractions of the race went; we really thought we had a good chance in there. "I trained him at the Meadowlands on Saturday just to get a good mile in him. I'm hoping I've got it all into place. He really developed from (age) 2 to 3 maturity wise. His gait got more extended and he grew up mentally as well. He's a more manageable horse, so however Andy chooses to drive him, suits him." Team Miller's past three finishes in the Hambletonian were a second by Met's Hall in 2018, third-placed second by Devious Man in 2017, and fast-closing third by Sutton in 2016. "Hopefully we can keep that momentum going," Julie Miller said. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Cantab Fashion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-6/1 2-Summit In Sight-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-20/1 3-Swandre The Giant-David Miller-Ron Burke-7/2 4-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 5-Mr Vicktor-Tyler Buter-Jennifer Lappe-15/1 6-Osterc-Yannick Gingras-Per Engblom-15/1 7-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-2/1 8-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-5/2 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais-12/1 2-Gerry-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-20/1 3-Pilot Discretion-Andrew McCarthy-Tony Alagna-10/1 4-Reign Of Honor-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-20/1 5-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-4/5 6-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson-4/1 7-Super Schissel-Scott Zeron-Per Engblom-10/1 8-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-5/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

After watching his two Hambletonian Oaks finalists on Tuesday draw posts eight and nine in the $500,000 event's 10-horse field, trainer Lucas Wallin, a 26-year-old in only his third season of racing his own stable, handled the outcome with the philosophical aplomb of a veteran. "We could be happier after the draw, but someone has to race from eight and nine, I suppose," said Wallin, who sends Queen Of Trixs (post eight) and Princess Deo (post nine) into the sport's top race for 3-year-old female trotters Saturday (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands. "There's nothing you can do. We just have to deal with it. "Both horses came out of their eliminations very good. I couldn't be happier with them. We need a little more luck and hopefully (the field) races to the half so we can get into it. There are a couple of horses in there that can mix it up a little bit. It's hard from out there, that's for sure. But anything can happen." Wallin grew up in Sweden, where he was driving ponies at the age of 8. Several years later, he began helping at his uncle Joakim Wallin's stable. In mid-2014, he was alerted to an opportunity to work for Ake Svanstedt's stable in the U.S. by childhood friend Oskar Florhed. Wallin spent two years with Svanstedt before deciding to go on his own. Since then, Wallin's stable has won 59 of 362 races and earned $789,548 in purses. Saturday's trip to the Oaks will put him on harness racing's big stage, not only within the sport but beyond. The Oaks and $1 million Hambletonian final will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network as part of a 90-minute show beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT). "It's very, very big for me," said Wallin, who is the only trainer with multiple horses in this year's Oaks. "You know you're doing something right. We're very lucky to get nice horses to work with. "It's tough to describe how big it is. A lot of trainers have done this longer than me and have never been to the Oaks, so I'm very fortunate and happy to be there. The whole team has worked so hard, so it feels very good for everyone to get in the final like this. It gives you a real boost, that's for sure." Queen Of Trixs finished third in her Oaks elimination, behind undefeated Millies Possesion and Evident Beauty. For the year, she has won two of six races and earned $57,125 for Mario Mazza's Mazza Racing Stables. One of her victories came in a preliminary round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes. She finished sixth in the final. "She got a little tough trip in the final," Wallin said. "These two last races, she's really improved. She is a really honest horse and very nice to be around. She is very small, but she's really, really fast. So, coming into this season we had big hopes for her. She always gives a hundred percent. When you look at her, she doesn't look like a top filly, nothing you would keep your eyes on. But she knows what to do." Queen Of Trixs raced barefoot in her Oaks elimination and Wallin plans to keep the shoes off Saturday. "That has been the plan for a couple of months, so we have prepared for that," Wallin said. "It should not be a problem. But now they say it is going to rain Saturday, so we'll see about the track. The track sometimes gets a little hard after the rain. But that's the plan at least now." Princess Deo is a newcomer to Wallin's barn, having spent the beginning of the season with trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. The filly has raced twice for Wallin, finishing fifth in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes and third in her Oaks elimination, which was won by When Dovescry. Princess Deo started from post 10 in the elim. "I have to thank the owners for giving me the chance to train this nice filly, they could send her to anyone," said Wallin, who trains the filly for owners Deo Volente Farms, Tom Pontone, and John Fodera. "Nifty did a really good job with her all winter. He's the one that trained her, we haven't done too much." Princess Deo is winless in six races this year, but she was second in last year's Goldsmith Maid and Kindergarten Classic Series final. "You feel right away it's a special filly," Wallin said. "She has a very big personality. She wants things in her own way, you just have to listen to her. That's what the groom has done and when we drive her, we let her be. She's the boss. But you feel when you train that she is something special. She showed it last year. "We probably got her at the right time. We haven't done too much work. We do our routines, and she likes it. It feels like she is going to be better and better for each race. She hasn't raced too much this year. I wasn't sure if this race came a little too early, but she really showed that she belongs here." Racing begins at noon Saturday at The Meadowlands. For the day's complete entries, click here. Following is the field for the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Southwind Casha-Scott Zeron-John Bax-15/1 2-Millies Possesion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-9/5 3-Sonnet Grace-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 4-Evident Beauty-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-7/2 5-When Dovescry-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-5/2 6-Sweet Chapter-Matt Kakaley-Blake MacIntosh-20/1 7-Asiago-Tim Tetrick-Per Engblom-15/1 8-Queen Of Trixs-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-15/1 9-Princess Deo-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-12/1 10-Miss Trixton-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-30/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

East Rutherford, NJ - Sixteen 3-year-old trotters entered Saturday's 94th Hambletonian Stakes at The Meadowlands, requiring two eight-horse eliminations to reduce the field to 10 for the $1 million final later that afternoon. Gimpanzee is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first elimination and Greenshoe is the 4-5 favorite in the second. The draws for the Hambletonian and companion Hambletonian Oaks, which is restricted to 3-year-old female trotters, were held Tuesday at The Meadowlands. Gimpanzee drew post No. 7 in his elimination and Greenshoe drew post No. 5. Both colts are trained by Marcus Melander. The top-five finishers from each $100,000 elimination return for the final. Millies Possesion, who won one of last week's two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the $500,000 final. When Dovescry, the other elimination winner, is the 5-2 second choice. As elimination winners, Millies Possesion and When Dovescry drew for spots in posts one through five, with Millies Possesion getting post two and When Dovescry getting post five. The Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). Greenshoe, the No. 1-ranked horse in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian, has won four of five races this year, with his only loss a second-place finish by a head to Marseille in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Greenshoe heads to the Hambletonian off a 1:50.1 win in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 13 at The Meadowlands. The time is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter. Marcus Melander trains Greenshoe for Anders Strom's Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. Three-time Hambletonian winner Brian Sears will drive Greenshoe. Gimpanzee is undefeated in 12 career starts and will try to become only the second unbeaten horse to win the Hambletonian. Deweycheatumnhowe accomplished the feat in 2008. Gimpanzee, owned by Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable, was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He also will have Sears in the sulky in his elimination. Greenshoe and Gimpanzee are two of four horses trained by the 27-year-old Melander in the Hambletonian. The others are Green Manalishi S and Gerry. Green Manalishi S, who has never finished worse than third in 14 career races, winning seven, is owned by Courant Inc. and is the 5-2 second choice in the first elimination. S R F Stable, which won the Hambletonian in 2017 with Perfect Spirit, owns Gerry. "With a horse like Greenshoe, when he's going to be the big favorite, of course it's going to be a little pressure," said Melander, who is making his third appearance in the Hambletonian. "But I can't do much more. I think I've prepared the horses the best I can. Now it's just up to the horses. I can't be more happy with them, how they feel at home, and how they've been racing. I'm excited, I have a good feeling. As long as they're fine, I think they will do a good race. "Like I said, I can't do much more. We need some racing luck, of course. There is so much that can go wrong in a race, you need a little bit of luck, a little bit of racing luck. Hopefully, we'll have that too." Other contenders include Don't Let'em, who with a 1:50.2 win in last week's Reynolds Memorial is the season's second-fastest 3-year-old trotter, hails from the stable of trainer Nancy Johansson. Don't Let'em, who is 4-1 in the second elimination, won last year's Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters on Hambletonian Day and is bidding to become the first Haughton champ to capture the Hambletonian since Muscle Hill in 2009. Marseille, trained by Ake Svanstedt, captured a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes in addition to winning the Beal Memorial. He is 5-1 in the second elimination. Svanstedt, who trained Perfect Spirit in 2017, is the only trainer in this year's Hambletonian to previously win the race. Swandre The Giant, who won a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial by a length over Green Manalishi S, is the 7-2 third choice in the first elimination. He is trained by Ron Burke. In the Hambletonian Oaks, Millies Possesion, unraced at age 2, will try to extend her career win streak to nine against a field of nine rivals. She won her Oaks elimination by a nose over Evident Beauty in 1:52.3. "I thought (Evident Beauty) had the momentum on her (in the stretch) but Millie dug in," said Jim Campbell, who trains the filly for owner Fashion Farms. "She's a true professional. She just knows what she's supposed to do." When Dovescry won her elimination by three lengths over Southwind Casha in 1:51.3. She has hit the board in all 12 lifetime starts, winning six. "She's amazing," said Simon Allard, who drives the filly for his brother Rene, and owners Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh, and Lawrence Dumain. "You could put a glass of water on her back and nothing would spill, she just trots so nice. You don't get the chance to drive horses like that every day. I'm so happy to be able to do this." Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Cantab Fashion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-6/1 2-Summit In Sight-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-20/1 3-Swandre The Giant-David Miller-Ron Burke-7/2 4-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 5-Mr Vicktor-Tyler Buter-Jennifer Lappe-15/1 6-Osterc-Yannick Gingras-Per Engblom-15/1 7-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-2/1 8-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-5/2 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais-12/1 2-Gerry-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-20/1 3-Pilot Discretion-Andrew McCarthy-Tony Alagna-10/1 4-Reign Of Honor-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-20/1 5-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-4/5 6-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson-4/1 7-Super Schissel-Scott Zeron-Per Engblom-10/1 8-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-5/1 Hambletonian Oaks final PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Southwind Casha-Scott Zeron-John Bax-15/1 2-Millies Possesion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-9/5 3-Sonnet Grace-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 4-Evident Beauty-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-7/2 5-When Dovescry-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-5/2 6-Sweet Chapter-Matt Kakaley-Blake MacIntosh-20/1 7-Asiago-Tim Tetrick-Per Engblom-15/1 8-Queen Of Trixs-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-15/1 9-Princess Deo-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-12/1 10-Miss Trixton-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-30/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

After weeks of seeing his horses at the top of the Hambletonian rankings, Anders Strom is finally just days from watching his group race in the $1 million event for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands. Strom, who races as Courant Inc., co-owns Greenshoe and Gimpanzee - who sit in the top two spots in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's final Road to the Hambletonian ratings - as well as No. 4 Green Manalishi S. Greenshoe and Gimpanzee have occupied the top positions for all 11 weeks of the rankings. All three horses are trained by Marcus Melander. "It feels just great," Strom said. "Obviously, I hoped all three would stay sound and healthy for entry into the big race and here we are. Marcus has had a good plan for the three and, so far, it has worked out just fine." Greenshoe has won four of five races this year, with his only loss a second-place finish by a head to Marseille in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Greenshoe heads to the Hambletonian off a 1:50.1 win in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 13 at The Meadowlands. The time is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter. "He is the most capable and he has matured well this season and looked better for every start," said Strom, who owns Greenshoe with former New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. "He lost in the Beal, but I just saw that as a minor bump in the road; the horse finished fantastically and looked really sharp. "For me, he is one of those horses that there are only 10 of each century. Muscle Hill was the last one and I believe Greenshoe is of a similar caliber." Gimpanzee is undefeated in 12 career starts and will try to become only the second unbeaten horse to win the Hambletonian. Deweycheatumnhowe accomplished the feat in 2008. Gimpanzee, owned by Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable, was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He is 3-for-3 this year, with all his starts in state-bred restricted races in New York. "Gimpanzee is so smart," Strom said. "He has not put one foot wrong and it will be very interesting to see him in this situation on Saturday. Even if he doesn't win the Hambletonian, I think he will be one of the top horses when we summarize the 3-year-olds toward the end of the season." Green Manalishi S has won two of four races this season. He heads to the Hambletonian off a win in a division of the Tompkins-Geers on July 20. He finished second in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, behind Swandre The Giant, and third in the Beal Memorial. The colt has finished in the top three in all 14 career races, winning seven. He is owned solely by Courant Inc. "Green Manalishi has been raced with one eye on the rest of the season; there is an option to ship him to Sweden for the $1.1 million Kriterium, which is 1-1/2 miles for Swedish-born horses that should suit him as a glove," Strom said. "But we haven't decided yet. He looks like he is trending upwards and I believe he can race well on Saturday." Sixteen horses entered the Hambletonian, so two eight-horse eliminations will be contested Saturday and the top-five finishers from each division will advance to the final later that afternoon. The Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured during a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). "All three horses are very strong and sound, so two heats will normally work in our favor, even if you never can be sure if the individual horse is suited for racing twice on the same day," Strom said. "Our horses have proven that they are more than able, but I have respect for the opposition; any horse can lose on the day. Fingers crossed!" by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Hightstown, NJ — Adios winner Southwind Ozzi found a spot in the top 10 and Clara Barton winner Shartin N remained No. 1 in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Southwind Ozzi joined the top 10 for the first time this season, landing at No. 10. Shartin N, who won the Clara Barton with the fastest pacing mile in Plainridge Park history, 1:49.1, stayed solidly entrenched in the top spot with 33 of 35 first-place votes and a 66-point cushion over No. 2 Atlanta. Millies Possesion, who is unbeaten in eight races, moved from No. 10 to No. 8 thanks to her win in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination. No other horses in the top 10 raced last week. 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. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 10 – 7/30/2019 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (33) 6pm 12-11-0-0 $655,765 347 1 2 Atlanta (1) 4tm 7-6-1-0 $438,330 281 2 3 Greenshoe (1) 3tc 5-4-1-0 $326,500 276 3 4 Lather Up 4ph 9-6-0-1 $411,405 233 4 5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 7-5-2-0 $554,630 157 5 6 Captain Crunch 3pc 6-4-0-0 $511,574 156 6 7 Gimpanzee 3tc 3-3-0-0 $161,688 108 7 8 Millies Possesion  3tf 8-8-0-0 $195,517 63 10 9 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 5-3-0-0 $79,282 60 8 10 Southwind Ozzi 3pr 6-5-1-0 $291,921 45 -- ALSO: Stonebridge Soul 36; Best In Show 32; McWicked, Western Fame 16; Guardian Angel As 13; Evident Beauty 9; Caviart Ally 8; Boadicea, When Dovescry 6; Rich And Miserable 5; Bettor Joy N, None Bettor A, Highalator, JK First Lady, Pilot Discretion, Shake That House, Tequila Monday, This Is The Plan 4; Crystal Fashion, Green Manalishi S, Sister Sledge, Six Pack 3; Courtly Choice, Jimmy Freight, Workin Ona Mystery 2; Mr Vicktor, Warrawee Ubeaut 1.

After talking up 2-year-old male trotter Stay Close during the spring, harness racing trainer Joe Holloway had to endure some questioning from owners Ted Gewertz and Marty Granoff when the colt qualified in 2:03.3 and 2:02 in June at The Meadowlands. "They both were, this is one you like?" Holloway said. "They were right. I watched him and he wasn't close to what I thought he should be. He was horrific, not even the same horse I had talked about. He was an embarrassment. You just scratch your head." Holloway gave the colt two weeks off, did some work, and returned for a third qualifier on July 13 at The Meadowlands. This time, Stay Close was close to what Holloway hoped, finishing second in 1:57.2. Six days later in his career debut in a division of the Kindergarten Classic Series at the Big M, Stay Close romped to a 1:54.3 triumph, besting the field by 10-1/4 lengths, to bring a smile to Holloway's face. The winning time equaled the fourth-best mark of the young season for a 2-year-old trotter. On Friday, Stay Close competes in the first of two eliminations of the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. Stay Close, who retains the services of driver David Miller, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in the eight-horse field. Synergy, a $275,000 yearling purchase who won his debut by four lengths in 1:56 on July 12, is the 5-2 favorite. Synergy is trained by Per Engblom and will have Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Real Cool Sam, who is 3-for-3 for trainer Jim Campbell and driver Miller, is the 2-1 favorite in the second elimination. The top-five finishers from each elimination will advance to the final on Aug. 3 at The Meadowlands. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six. Stay Close, by Father Patrick out of Tori Ann, was purchased under the name My Brother Jack for $100,000 at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Granoff's Val D'Or Farms, Gewertz and Steve Arnold. He is a half-brother to Milligan's School, who was a stakes-winner and earner of $539,726 in North America before going on to success in Europe. "He's come a long way in the last couple weeks," Holloway said. "That race (in the Kindergarten) was more what I thought of him. He was one I was high on, and I told people. He was good gaited, always going good. Hopefully he keeps going the right way now." Holloway, who was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 7, will have another stakes contender in action Saturday at The Meadowlands. Starita is 6-1 on the morning line in the first of two eliminations of the Hambletonian Oaks, which is the sport's premier event for 3-year-old female trotters. Starita Starita has won three of seven races this year, including a division of the Reynolds Memorial on July 6 at The Meadowlands, and has hit the board a total of six times. She heads to her Oaks elimination off a fourth-place finish in a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial on July 13. "Two starts back she raced great, was as good as anybody," said Holloway, who won the 2010 Hambletonian Oaks with Bar Slide. "She raced horrible her last start. She threw in a bad race. But it's very few and far between that she throws in a bad race. Hopefully we have that issue resolved and we'll go from there. "So far I've been real happy. She's got gate speed, she can race any which way, she's versatile; I like her chances. I think she can be a contender." Friday's card at The Meadowlands also includes three eliminations of the James Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old female trotters. The top-three finishes from each division plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot will advance to the final. For Friday's complete entries, click here. For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Before harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter went on his record run of five consecutive Hambletonian Oaks wins, Richard "Nifty" Norman posted back-to-back victories in the sport's premier race for 3-year-old female trotters. Norman could become only the fourth trainer in history to collect three trophies if all goes well for Evident Beauty the next two weekends. "This is the race you circle on the calendar," Norman said. "These next two weeks are the weeks you want to race your horses at The Meadowlands; it's something to look forward to. "We're here, we'll just let the chips fall where they may." Evident Beauty was among 19 horses entered in the Hambletonian Oaks at The Meadowlands. Two $50,000 eliminations will be contested Saturday (July 27) with the top-five finishers from each division returning on Aug. 3 for the $500,000 final. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through five for the final. The first Oaks elimination features four of the five fastest 3-year-old filly trotters of the season: Millies Possesion (1:51.1), Seaside Bliss (1:51.4), Golden Tricks (1:52.2) and Evident Beauty (1:52.3). The remaining horse in the quintet, The Ice Dutchess (1:52), is in the second elimination. Evident Beauty has won four of five races this year and seven of 14 lifetime, missing the board only twice in her career. Her victories this season include the New Jersey Sire Stakes final and a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial, which came in her most recent start on July 13, also at The Meadowlands. "Everything has gone to plan so far," said Norman, who trains the filly for owners Mel Hartman, Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, and Wayne Giles' R A W Equine Inc. "Hopefully we get to race two weeks in a row here. She seems good, she's been good all year, so we'll hope she's still good." Evident Beauty showed a new aspect to her game in the Miller, leading for much of the way in her neck triumph over Cloud Nine Fashion. It was only the second time in her career that she led a race prior to the stretch. "Obviously, that's not her forte; she's better from off a helmet," Norman said. "That's her go really. She loves to chase a horse down. But then the fact she was able to leave the race before, she showed she could race either way, so I think that's a big help. "She's a good honest horse, hardly ever makes a mistake. I wouldn't swap her for anybody." Norman won his previous Oaks finals with Bee A Magician in 2013 and Personal Style in 2012. The only trainers with more than two Hambletonian Oaks wins are Takter (eight), Jan Johnson (six), and Glen Garnsey (three). Millies Possesion, who was unraced at age 2, heads to the first elimination undefeated in seven lifetime races. She is trained by Jim Campbell, who won the 2009 Hambletonian Oaks with Broadway Schooner. Another Oaks winning trainer, recent Hall of Fame inductee Joe Holloway, sends out Starita, also in the first elim. "I'm very impressed with Jim Campbell's horse," Norman said. "She's come from zero to hero. She probably looks like the best filly in the country at the moment. I like mine because she can race first over, in the front, from the back, and (Millies Possesion) is the same. She looks like she can do it any way." Millies Possesion Rounding out the first elimination are Asiago, Sonnet Grace, Queen Of Trixs, and Grimmie Hanover. "Someone good is probably going to miss out," Norman said. "It's a very strong division. It might be good for (Evident Beauty) in a way because they might race a little bit harder and that's right up her alley. You can't win from the outside (posts) if you get back. They're good horses and I'm sure they're going to be heading out of there. It could be a real tough race." The second elimination features The Ice Dutchess, who won two of last season's most lucrative stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, the Jim Doherty Memorial and Peaceful Way. She was trained by Takter, who retired at the end of last season, and is now in the stable of Nancy Johansson. In addition, the group includes 2018 Matron Stakes winner When Dovescry and open stakes winners Cloud Nine Fashion and Princess Deo. Following are the fields for the $50,000 Hambletonian Oaks eliminations. ELIMINATION ONE PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1 - Evident Beauty - Trixton - David Miller - R. Nifty Norman 2 - Starita - Trixton - Brian Sears - Joe Holloway 3 - Seaside Bliss - Cantab Hall - Scott Zeron - Paul Kelley 4 - Asiago - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick - Per Engblom 5 - Sonnet Grace - Muscle Massive - David Miller - Ron Burke 6 - Queen Of Trixs - Trixton - Andy McCarthy - Lucas Wallin 7 - Grimmie Hanover - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick - Jeff Cullipher 8 - Millies Possesion - Possess The Will - Dexter Dunn - Jim Campbell 9 - Golden Tricks - Trixton - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt   ELIMINATION TWO PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1 - Miss Trixton - Trixton - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander 2 - Sweet Chapter - Chapter Seven - Matt Kakaley - Blake MacIntosh 3 - Beautiful Sin - Muscle Hill - Dexter Dunn - Per Engblom 4 - Cloud Nine Fashion - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick - Jim Campbell 5 - When Dovescry - Muscle Hill - Simon Allard - Rene Allard 6 - Southwind Casha - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick - John Bax 7 - Personal Paradise - Muscle Hill - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt 8 - The Ice Dutchess - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras - Nancy Johansson 9 - American Kronos - Donato Hanover - Andy Miller - Julie Miller 10 - Princess Deo - Trixton - Andy McCarthy - Lucas Wallin by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager    

Hightstown, NJ — Only two horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown top 10 were in action last week, which resulted in little movement at the top of the harness racing rankings. Gimpanzee, who won a division of the New York Sire Stakes to remain unbeaten in 12 career races, improved his position from eighth to seventh in the poll. Western Fame, who finished fifth in the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial, dropped from the top 10. Millie’s Possesion, who was idle but is undefeated in seven starts, moved into the No. 10 spot. Shartin N remained No. 1, with 33 of 35 first-place votes. She was followed by Atlanta, Greenshoe, Lather Up, and Bettor’s Wish in 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 9 – 7/23/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (33) 6pm 11-10-0-0 $605,765 347 1 2 Atlanta (1) 4tm 7-6-1-0 $438,330 288 2 3 Greenshoe (1) 3tc 5-4-1-0 $326,500 282 3 4 Lather Up 4ph 9-6-0-1 $411,405 241 4 5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 7-5-2-0 $554,630 165 T5 6 Captain Crunch 3pc 6-4-0-0 $511,574 163 T5 7 Gimpanzee 3tc 3-3-0-0 $161,688 94 8 8 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 5-3-0-0 $79,282 79 7 9 Best In Show 3pc 9-3-3-2 $444,440 43 9 10 Millie’s Possesion  3tf 7-7-0-0 $170,517 35 — Also: Western Fame 33; McWicked 25; Stonebridge Soul 24; Evident Beauty 11; None Bettor A 9; Shake That House 8; Caviart Ally, Rich And Miserable, Six Pack 7; Green Manalishi S, Pilot Discretion 6; This Is The Plan, Warrawee Ubeaut 5; Bettor Joy N, Crystal Fashion, Tequila Monday 4; JK First Lady, Marseille, Sister Sledge, Workin Ona Mystery 3; Boadicea, Jimmy Freight, Mr Vicktor, Treacherous Reign 2; Courtly Choice, Nine Ways, Southwind Ozzi 1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

No 2-year-old trotter was faster than Cantab Fashion last season, but it's been a slow trek back to action for harness racing trainer Jim Campbell's colt. Cantab Fashion will make his 2019 debut Saturday (July 20) in the first of two $50,450 divisions of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes at The Meadowlands, where his performance will help determine whether he can be ready for the sport's premier event for 3-year-old trotters, the Hambletonian, Aug. 3 at the Big M. Last year, Cantab Fashion put together a five-race win streak, including two stakes victories at Lexington's Red Mile, during his seven-start campaign and tied for the season's fastest time with a 1:51.4 mile. "He's definitely a talented colt, has got a lot of speed, but it hasn't been easy this year, that's for sure," said Campbell, who trains Cantab Fashion for breeder/owner Fashion Farms. "I wish we were coming in under different circumstances, but he's had some issues, which is why we're starting in the middle of July instead of the middle of May. "I've got no bold predictions or anything like that. I don't know how he's going to be. The Hambletonian is coming up in two weeks and I don't know if we're going to make it, or not make it, or what the deal is. That's why we want to get him raced on Saturday and see how he does. If he goes good Saturday night, we could come back and get a race into him the following week as well. "It's hard to get a good reading on him because he doesn't train as well as he goes in a race. You'll know (how he is) when I know." Cantab Fashion is among 17 Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the two Tompkins-Geers divisions. Following this weekend's action, there is one more stakes prep for the Hambletonian, the Reynolds on July 27 at The Meadowlands. Campbell is not alone in wanting to get a look at a Hambletonian hopeful prior to the big event. Aldebaranwalkabout, who won two of seven races last year for trainer Jonas Czernyson, is making his second start of 2019 in the first division of the Tompkins-Geers. He finished fourth in a conditioned race June 28 at The Meadowlands, timed in 1:53.1 with a final quarter-mile of :26.3. "We got a slow start with him, but I think he's pretty nice right now," said Czernyson, who trains the colt for Aldebaran Park Inc. "I let him tell me when he was ready, and it looks like it's paying off. I like him a lot the way we are right now. I think we're going in the right direction. I wanted to have one more start in him, like last week, but I couldn't get him in. I trained him up good and he's having a very good week at home, so I'm excited. "I'm going to see how he races Saturday and make up my mind from there. I don't know if I want to go three weeks in a row (prior to the Hambletonian). But I might race him in the Reynolds to make sure he's tight and ready." Aldebaranwalkabout was second-placed-first in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last year. "We had some issues last year; he was growing a lot," Czernyson said. "He was tall and gangly. He's filled out now. He needed a little more time last year, but he showed me a couple of times that he acted like he wanted to be a good horse." Cantab Fashion is 10-1 on the morning line while Aldebaranwalkabout is 12-1. The first division's 2-1 favorite is Green Manalishi S, who finished second to Swandre The Giant last week in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Green Manalishi S has won six of 13 career races, with six seconds and a third. "We thought he raced OK," said trainer Marcus Melander, who trains the colt for Courant Inc. "You always want to win but I think he needed that race. It was only his third start of the year and after the race we decided we wanted to race him one more time. He's a big horse and he needed one more race. I think this race was the perfect race to be in because we'll have two weeks to the Hambo." Green Manalishi S is No. 5 on Meadowlands Racetrack announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian Top 10. Pilot Discretion, who is No. 3, and Marseille, who is No. 9, are in the second division of the Tompkins-Geers. Saturday's Meadowlands card also includes two divisions of the Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old female trotters, with 15 Hambletonian Oaks-eligible fillies in action, and the final of the Mr Muscleman Series for open trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

There is no question in Steve Oldford's mind where Australian-bred harness racing import None Bettor ranks among the best horses he's owned. "I've had none better, I'll tell you that," Oldford said with a laugh. "He's kind of the real deal." None Bettor, owned by Oldford Racing and Joe Pennacchio's Joe P Racing, has won nine of 11 races since arriving in the U.S. at the beginning of February, with his nine victories coming consecutively since third-place finishes in his first two stateside starts. On Saturday, None Bettor faces seven rivals - including 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked and O'Brien Award winner Jimmy Freight - in the 11th annual Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The $260,000 invitational also includes Camluck winner The Wall, Levy Memorial champ Western Fame, Ben Franklin winner This Is The Plan, Confederation Cup winner Done Well, and Ideal Jimmy. None Bettor will start from post five with Joe Bongiorno in the sulky for his sister, trainer Jenn Bongiorno. The Bongiornos won last year's Gerrity with Evenin Of Pleasure. "We were hoping for a 2-3-4 post, we ended up with five; we'll take it," Oldford said. "It's certainly better than 6-7-8. "This is going to test him. The timing isn't great (with his schedule) but we want to go. I think Joe and Jenn will have him ready. He's a great horse to be around in the barn, does everything he's supposed to do. He is relaxed when he's out there jogging. We're hoping he stays good and relaxed right up until they say go." Oldford and Pennacchio, both known for their award-winning amateur driving exploits, partnered on None Bettor after Oldford heard about the horse through a network of connections Down Under. Oldford's success with Australian-bred pacer Stormont Czar, who has earned $84,125 since his purchase last year, played a role in getting None Bettor. "We watched his video and liked him and brought him over," Oldford said. "He showed a lot of speed on half-mile tracks and we thought we could make some money with him. I typically buy trotters, but the first one came out well. This one turned out to be a monster. It's just one of those things. We got him for the upper conditions at Yonkers with the hopes he would make the open. He got real good real fast." None Bettor, a son of Bettor's Delight out of Limerick Star, had 16 wins in 58 races Down Under. His victories in the U.S. include the Battle of Lake Erie and three legs of the Great Northeast Open Series. "The Bongiornos have done a great job," Oldford said. "They've gone slow with him and brought him along. We really took our time with him and made sure he was ready. "He's a nice horse. I'm really impressed with his gritty determination. He can sprint off the gate like there's no tomorrow. The way it's been in his recent races, he sets up shop on the front end and just digs in and won't let anybody by him. He doesn't want anybody to pass him." The Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial was established to honor the former longtime chairman of the board at Saratoga Raceway. Gerrity was involved in nearly every facet of the sport at some point in his career and instrumental in the expansion of the facility at Saratoga and installation of video gaming machines, even funding part of the project himself. Gerrity passed away in 2005. Racing begins at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Saratoga. Following is the field for the $260,000 Gerrity Memorial, which is race seven on the card. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-The Wall-Jim Pantaleano-Nick Surick-8/1 2-Western Fame-Dan Dube-Rene Allard-9/5 3-McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-9/2 4-This Is The Plan-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/1 5-None Bettor A-Joe Bongiorno-Jenn Bongiorno-5/2 6-Jimmy Freight-Scott Zeron-Andrew Harris-10/1 7-Ideal Jimmy-Brent Holland-Erv Miller-15/1 8-Done Well-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-25/1 Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — Dalton Walls can go fast, but he’s in no hurry. Walls, who was a four-year letterman in track (sprinter/hurdler) and soccer in high school, is pursuing a career in harness racing as a trainer. The 20-year-old Walls, the son of trainer Bruce Walls, is based at the Darke County Fairgrounds in western Ohio, where his small stable includes unbeaten Ohio Sire Stakes trotter Big Box Hanover. Since starting his own stable in 2017, Walls has won 14 of 67 races and earned $126,388 in purses. Walls and Bruce Soulsby are ownership partners on five horses, all trotters. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been at the barn doing stuff,” Walls said about his involvement in racing, which began by helping his dad around the stables. “When I went out on my own, Bruce Soulsby has been the force behind me. I owe him almost everything. He really gave me a shot for a young guy. We just keep growing a little bit every year. He and his wife have been really big supporters of me, and I owe them a lot.” Walls did not intend to focus on training horses so early in his adulthood. He went to Wittenberg University to study business management, but the success of the horses he kept as a side project persuaded him to direct his full attention toward racing. “I always wanted to keep my hand in it, but I saw how tough it could be with the ups and downs of the business,” Walls said. “My first year of college, I had a couple horses and was trying to do both, but I was getting stretched too thin trying to do everything. The horses were racing well enough that I decided to take a year and see if I could give it a shot and see if I could get something going. So far, it’s been going really well.” Walls plans to continue working on his college degree, now with a focus on agri-business. “I want to have something to fall back on,” Walls said. “I think that’s really important.” Walls enjoys working with young horses, particularly trotters. “The biggest thing for me is taking young colts that know nothing and watch them develop,” Walls said. “That’s my favorite thing, developing young trotting colts and watching them grow mentally and physically. I get a lot of joy out of that. It’s the most fulfilling thing for me.” So much so, that Walls has no burning desire to drive in races. He has driven 12 times, but only once since last August. “We focus on younger horses and I don’t want my owners having to worry about me learning to drive on these young trotters,” Walls said. “There are a lot of good guys out there. I think it’s best to let those guys drive and let me just worry about the horses, I think that’s more what I want to do for sure.” Big Box Hanover, a son of Uncle Peter-Box Of Dreams, has been a pleasant addition to the Walls-Soulsby stable. The gelding is 2-for-2 this year, with both victories coming on the Ohio Sire Stakes circuit. The horse, driven regularly by Trevor Smith, was purchased for $13,000 at the 2018 Ohio Selected Jug Sale. “He was a big, good-looking thing,” Walls said. “We thought the price was right and took a shot on him. He’s been good to us so far. We’re really excited.” Walls was uncertain what to think of Big Box Hanover when he was preparing him for this season’s races. “He never did anything wrong, but he only did exactly what you asked of him and not an ounce more,” Walls said. “He was never very impressive. You could kind of tell there was always more in the tank, but he never gave me much until we started racing. He’s done a 180. He just continues to get better. “I think what has impressed me the most, and I think Trevor Smith would say the same thing, he’s really willing to chase horses down. When he’s got a target in front of him, he never seems to run out of gas; he just keeps coming. For as big as he is, I really didn’t think he would be that fast of a horse. He continues to surprise me and rip off nice quarters and stuff like that. He really gives me everything he’s got on the racetrack and that’s all I can ask of him.” Big Box Hanover could help the young trainer make a name for himself, but Walls is taking everything in stride. “I want to get as big as the game will let me, but where I’m at right now, I think it’s important that I have enough time to do almost everything myself,” Walls said. “The owners are paying me to do a job and pay attention to stuff. If I keep my numbers small, I can put in more quality time with every horse I’ve got instead of getting stretched too thin and running around too much.” Most importantly, Walls learns more the more he does with each horse. “The owners letting me make mistakes has been really good for me,” Walls said. “They don’t lose patience with me and let me take my time and learn the right thing to do. I think making those mistakes has been good for me. Every horse I’ve had has been a learning experience, whether it’s good or bad. That’s been huge for me.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Hightstown, NJ — Shartin N’s win in the Golden Girls helped the 6-year-old pacing mare regain a firm hold on the No. 1 spot in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll while Meadowlands Pace champion Best In Show jumped into the rankings at No. 9. Shartin N, who has won nine consecutive races since suffering her only setback this year from post eight at Yonkers in March, received 33 of 35 first-place votes and increased her advantage over No. 2 Atlanta from five points to 69. She leads the sport in earnings, with $605,765. Atlanta, who was third-placed-second in the Hambletonian Maturity remained second in the poll while Stanley Dancer Memorial division winner Greenshoe moved from fourth to third and William R. Haughton Memorial winner Lather Up went from sixth to fourth. Bettor’s Wish and Captain Crunch, who finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Meadowlands Pace, tied for fifth. Hannelore Hanover, who won a leg of the Miss Versatility Series, moved from 10th to seventh. Gimpanzee and Western Fame, who joined Best In Show to fill out the final three spots in the Top 10, were idle last week. 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 8 – 7/16/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (33) 6pm 11-10-0-0 $605,765 347 1 2 Atlanta (1) 4tm 7-6-1-0 $438,330 278 2 3 Greenshoe (1) 3tc 5-4-1-0 $326,500 276 4 4 Lather Up 4ph 9-6-0-1 $411,405 253 6 T5 Captain Crunch 3pc 6-4-0-0 $511,574 168 3 T5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 7-5-2-0 $554,630 168 5 7 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 5-3-0-0 $79,282 96 10 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 2-2-0-0 $131,788 61 8 9 Best In Show 3pc 9-3-3-2 $444,440 56 — 10 Western Fame 6ph 10-6-1-2 $526,300 49 7 Also: Millie’s Possesion 36; Stonebridge Soul 26; Evident Beauty 18; Pilot Discretion 13; None Bettor A 11; Warrawee Ubeaut 10; Caviart Ally, Six Pack, Workin Ona Mystery 6; Rich And Miserable 5; Courtly Choice, Tequila Monday, This Is The Plan 4; Bettor Joy N, Crystal Fashion, Green Manalishi S, JK First Lady 3; Guardian Angel As, McWicked, Mr Vicktor, Treacherous Reign, Shake That House 2; Jimmy Freight, Tall Drink Hanover 1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

It took Best In Show a minute and 48 seconds to win the Meadowlands Pace. It took harness racing trainer Linda Toscano nearly as much time to allow herself to believe it was true. "I would not get in the car until his number came up," Toscano said, referring to the vehicle that shuttles people between the paddock, where Toscano had watched the race, and the winner's circle at The Meadowlands. "I was not getting in the car." After a minute-and-a-half wait, Best In Show was declared the winner of Saturday's $682,650 event for 3-year-old pacers in a four-horse photo, beating Bettor's Wish and Workin Ona Mystery both by a head and Captain Crunch by three-quarters of a length. Then, Toscano could enjoy the ride. "Oh, gosh; this is home," Toscano said as she discussed the emotions surrounding her first Meadowlands Pace win. "Lately I've been training a lot of trotters, and I've always had a lot of fillies, and the one shot I thought I had at this race was with Heston Blue Chip (in 2012) and it just didn't work out. "Just to get another shot at this race, this is another one I can check off the bucket list. It's cool." Toscano, a New Jersey resident who six days prior to Best In Show's victory was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, became the seventh trainer to win the Meadowlands' two premier races for 3-year-olds, the Meadowlands Pace and the Hambletonian. She captured the Hambletonian, for trotters, in 2012 with Market Share. The other trainers to win both races were Billy Haughton, Ray Remmen, Chuck Sylvester, Blair Burgess, Steve Elliott, and Ray Schnittker. "It's been a big week," Toscano said. "This is what you try to get to." Best In Show raced only three times at age 2 before being shut down to provide the colt more time to develop physically. This year, he won a conditioned race at The Meadowlands before heading to Canada and winning on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit. He then was second in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, sixth in the North America Cup final after a third-place performance in his elimination, and second in another Ontario Sire Stakes start. He returned to The Meadowlands and finished second to Bettor's Wish in his Meadowlands Pace elimination. "When he came back this year, he was behind on experience, he was behind on everything," co-owner Richard Young said. "These horses were racing in big stakes last year and we were in non-winners of two in his fifth lifetime start here at The Meadowlands (in May), so we've come a long way in a relatively short period of time. The progress has been rather quick. "I'm elated. I kept telling people I thought he could win. He has tremendous gate speed for position and if they fought it out, who knows. I always thought we had a shot. I think he's shown that he belongs." Said Toscano, "We thought he was a quality horse. He came back and we brought him along the right way. Fortunately for us, we had a great jump-start program being able to go up to the Ontario Sire Stakes so we didn't have to go against these gorillas every single week. It was a great place to get him started and get his sea legs under him. Every week he's been progressing just a little bit more and more. "Finally, the rookie thing is gone, he's starting to figure this out. He's got good gate speed, he's an honest horse, and he's an easy horse to drive. I love his attitude. He's totally nonplussed by shipping. I shipped him back and forth to Canada every single week, I never left him there, and he just gets out of the truck and eats his dinner. Those kinds of horses help. I went to check on him in the detention barn (Saturday) and he was lying down when I got there. That's basically what you have to like the most about him." Best In Show is a son of Bettor's Delight out of the mare Put On A Show. Young was among the owners of Put On A Show during her racing career, which saw her earn $2.40 million lifetime and take home a Dan Patch Award at age 3 in 2010. Best In Show was her third foal, and first colt. "We're talking about a great mommy, a great daddy; we had a shot here," Young said. "We kept Put On A Show for one reason - we thought she would produce a champion. We were just going to wait on it until it happened. "I think I have a potential sire here, which is really exciting." In the Meadowlands Pace, Best In Show was the fourth choice in the betting, at odds of 27-1, behind favorite Captain Crunch, Bettor's Wish, and Workin Ona Mystery. Best In Show started from post seven and used his gate speed to get to the lead in a :26.2 opening quarter mile. The three top choices all passed Best In Show on the backstretch and battled to the half in :52.4 and three-quarters in 1:19.3. As the group continued its fight in the stretch, driver Brian Sears found room inside his three leading rivals and guided Best In Show through to victory. Toscano said she thought Best In Show was primed to get a good piece of the purse, but was not going to predict victory prior to the race. "Then you see where you're sitting and you see a half in :52 come up, you go, oh, this is kind of looking pretty good here," Toscano said. "You know the right horses are all around you and are going to carry you. Then it's just hope for room and hope your horse is going to show up at that point. So, it worked out really well." The horse showed up. Best In Show. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

East Rutherford, NJ — Stonebridge Soul led from start to finish to capture Saturday’s $207,700 Mistletoe Shalee for harness racing 3-year-old female pacers by a neck over Tall Drink Hanover in 2:04.2 for 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. Warrawee Ubeaut, the 4-5 favorite, finished third.   Tim Tetrick drove Stonebridge Soul, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of Rock N Soul, for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Henderson Farms and Bob Mondillo. The filly, sent off at odds of 3-1, has won seven of 17 career races and earned $443,846.   Stonebridge Soul’s victory was her second consecutive Grand Circuit score, following her triumph in the Lynch Memorial on June 29.    “People said she got lucky in the Lynch,” Ryder said. “That was ridiculous, and she proved it tonight.”   by Ken Weingartner, Meadowlands Media

East Rutherford, NJ - Greenshoe rebounded from his first loss of the season with a commanding 1:50.1 win in the second of Saturday's (July 13) two $153,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial divisions for harness racing 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands, defeating Pilot Discretion by 3-3/4 lengths to stamp himself as the favorite for the Aug. 3 Hambletonian. Super Schissel was third, another eight lengths back.   The time was one-fifth of a second off the stakes and track record for a 3-year-old male trotter set by Six Pack in a division of last year's Dancer Memorial.   In the first Dancer division, Swandre The Giant overtook favorite Green Manalishi S in the stretch to win by one length in a career-best 1:51.3. Reign Of Honor finished third.   Greenshoe, beaten a head in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial on June 29, started from post seven in the Dancer and settled in third behind Pilot Discretion and Don't Let'em for the first half of the race. Driver Brian Sears put Greenshoe in motion from there and was alongside Pilot Discretion as they came out of the final turn before cruising to victory.   "All along he's been a really talented colt, has a really high turn of speed, and he showed it tonight," Sears said. "He's done everything we've asked all year long and he's done it pretty easily, pretty in hand, so we're real happy with where we're at right now."   Greenshoe, who was the 1-5 favorite, is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli. He has won six of nine career races and earned $403,223.   Last year, the highly regarded colt went off stride behind the starting gate or at the beginning of each of his four races, although he was able to recover and win two. The son of Father Patrick out of Designed To Be has been on his best behavior this year for Sears.   "I'm always nervous when he races," Melander said. "Even if he's behaved in all his starts this year, I still don't trust him because you know one little misstep can cost you the race. Today (Sears) left a little bit out of there (from the gate) and kept him calm, and he behaved."   In the second division, David Miller drove Swandre The Giant to his first Grand Circuit win after picking up nine of his 10 previous victories in Indiana Sires Stakes competition. The colt, a son of Swan For All out of Adagio, is trained by Ron Burke for owners Diamond Creek Racing, J&T Silva Stables and Howard Taylor.   Swandre The Giant, sent off at odds of 5-1, raced without shoes and added Lasix for his Meadowlands debut. He has won 11 of 18 career starts and $417,568. He has won two of six races this season.   "It was definitely the Lasix, and they pulled his shoes off too," driver David Miller said after Swandre The Giant snapped a four-race skid. "He felt really strong. Through the stretch I was getting by (Green Manalishi S) without even asking him yet. He trotted right on by. He went a huge mile." Swandre The Giant    Last year, Swandre The Giant won his first seven starts, all in Indiana, for trainer-driver Brandon Bates before being sold to his current owners.   "He dominated Indiana and Brandon did a great job developing him," Diamond Creek's Adam Bowden said. "This is the kind of horse that we saw. Finally, he realized that."   by Ken Weingartner, Meadowlands Media

When Joe Barbera's father saw a friend that knew nothing about horses end up as a partner on 1974 Cane Pace winner Boyden Hanover, he told his sons, "If he could do good, we could do good with a horse." The comment launched Barbera's career as an owner himself. "That's when I claimed my first horse," the 75-year-old Barbera said, remembering it to be a pacer named Lakewood Joe D. "I raced at Roosevelt a little bit. When Roosevelt closed, I got out of the business for a while. I just wanted to concentrate on working." But Barbera, an affable Long Island resident who owns a rigging company, eventually returned to the horses. And on Saturday, he will be among the owners of three Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace finalists: Captain Ahab, U S Captain, and Captain Trevor. All three are trained by Tony Alagna, who also sends Escapetothebeach into Saturday's $682,650 event for 3-year-old pacers at The Meadowlands. "(The rigging company) has enabled me at this stage to get involved with these quality horses," said Barbera, who often partners with his brother Vincent on ownership. "We've had a lot of fun in the business and it's becoming much more fun in my later days because I'm with a group that can produce top horses, the kind that can race in the Meadowlands Pace, that can go to the North America Cup. "I've been close to having something good. I think I'm really close now with the people I'm with." Captain Ahab and Captain Trevor were winners on the Grand Circuit last year. U S Captain was winless in 2018 but has won four of five races this season. All three were from the first crop of stallion Captaintreacherous, who won the 2013 Meadowlands Pace and was twice named Pacer of the Year. He was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday. Overall, five of the Meadowlands Pace finalists were sired by Captaintreacherous, with 2-1 morning-line favorite Captain Crunch and 5-1 third choice Workin Ona Mystery joining Alagna's trio. Alagna trained Captaintreacherous during his racing career. "We went all-in on Captaintreacherous," Barbera said. "He produces wonderful horses. The bad thing about Captain is there are so many other Captains you have to go against. We don't have the only Captains. They're all good. The Captains are either good or they're great, they're one of the two." Captain Trevor                                                --Curtis Salonick photo Barbera, who is the uncle of Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, the executive vice president/syndicate manager at Hanover Shoe Farms, had his passion for racing in his early days in the sport fueled through a friendship with Hall of Famer Del Insko. Earlier this decade, he enjoyed success with Joe Pavia Jr. on the New York Sire Stakes circuit with horses such as Steelhead Hanover and Bet On The Law. He now owns part of 19 horses in Alagna's stable. "If you add up all the percentages, it comes out to about three," Barbera joked. "Tony is a hard worker and does everything to make those horses as good as they can be. But you still need a little bit of luck. It looks like it could be a very nice year for me. That's why we keep plugging. We know what can happen if you get a little lucky." In addition to the Meadowlands Pace, Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands includes the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old male and female trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

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