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Over the past 40 years, only three female trotters have earned at least $300,000 at age 3 after being unraced at age 2. Harness racing trainer Jim Campbell trained one of the horses in that group, Stage Show, in 2008. He hopes to add another to the list this season. Millies Possesion is 6-for-6 this year for Campbell and breeder/owner Fashion Farms after sitting out her 2-year-old campaign because of soundness issues. She won four times on the Pennsylvania stakes circuit before notching her first Grand Circuit victory last week in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands, pushing her earnings to $107,267. On Saturday, she competes in the second of two divisions of the Del Miller Memorial at The Meadowlands. The $126,500 race is expected to be her final prep for the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations July 27 at the Big M. "I can't say enough about her; she kind of speaks for herself," Campbell said. "She made a great transition last week stepping up with tougher horses and her first time at The Meadowlands. She took to it like a true professional. "It's a small percentage of the ones that don't race at 2 that come back and do what she's done. Am I surprised? Nothing surprises me in this game anymore. You think you know something and then it goes the opposite way. With her, the more she's raced, the more she's shown that she knows what she has to do. She's just a true professional. She gives you everything she's got." Only one 3-year-old filly over the past 40 years has earned more than $564,000 after missing her 2-year-old season, pacer Yellow Diamond, with $1.31 million in 2009. In addition to Stage Show, who won the Matron Stakes and finished third in the Oaks and Breeders Crown on her way to $394,279, the trotters to surpass $300,000 were Ontario standouts China Pearls (with $511,856 in 2011) and Donven Promise (with $456,350 in 2001). Both were O'Brien Award winners. Campbell considered Millies Possesion, a daughter of Possess The Will out of Fashion Athena, one of his top 2-year-olds last season before shutting her down. This season, she is the sport's fastest 3-year-old filly trotter thanks to her 1:51.1 win in the Reynolds. Millies Possesion, with regular driver Dexter Dunn, started from post nine and raced on the outside the entire mile. "It's hard when you're training them to say this one is going to be our best one because you never know what they're going to do when they go behind the starting gate," Campbell said. "I'm really impressed with her gait and the way she gets over the ground, and her determination and attitude. She knows she's a racehorse and she loves doing it. There's nothing negative to say about her, that's for sure." Among the fillies joining Millies Possesion in the second Del Miller division are Starita, who also won a Reynolds division last week, as well as The Ice Dutchess, who won last year's Peaceful Way and Jim Doherty Memorial stakes, and multiple Pennsylvania stakes winner Asiago. The $124,000 first division includes Reynolds division winner Cloud Nine Fashion, also from Campbell's stable, and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Evident Beauty. Also in action Saturday will be Hambletonian-eligible 3-year-old male trotters in two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. The fields feature seven of the 10 horses in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian rankings: No. 1 Greenshoe, No. 3 Green Manalishi S, No. 4 Pilot Discretion, No. 5 Don't Let'em, No. 7 Super Schissel, No. 9 Swandre The Giant, and No. 10 Osterc. Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male 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. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager    

Atlanta secured her place in harness racing history last August when she became the first filly in 22 years to defeat the boys in the Hambletonian Stakes. Over the past month, though, the mare has served notice that she is not finished making history. On June 15, Atlanta won the Armbro Flight Stakes in 1:50.2 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, setting the record for the fastest trotting mile in Canadian history. Last weekend, she added to her legend by winning the Graduate Series championship in 1:49.1 at The Meadowlands to become the fastest female trotter of all time. The time also was the fastest in the 43-year history of the Big M. "There is no doubt that every time she races, you think you've seen the best of her, and she shows you something else," said Brad Grant, one of Atlanta's owners. "She actually continues to amaze." Atlanta's next opportunity to dazzle is Saturday in the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity at The Meadowlands. The Hambletonian Maturity was created by the Hambletonian Society and The Meadowlands as a race solely for 4-year-olds previously eligible to the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. This year's event attracted a field of 11. The distance of the race is 1-1/8 miles rather than the traditional mile. Atlanta, who is undefeated in six starts this year, will attempt to become the second Hambletonian winner to capture the modern version of the Hambletonian Maturity. Marion Marauder first accomplished the feat in 2017. She also will try to become the third mare in the past four years to win the race, joining Ariana G in 2018 and Hannelore Hanover in 2016. Eight of Atlanta's rivals in the Maturity also competed in the Graduate final, which Atlanta won by a neck over Six Pack by rallying from fifth place with a quarter-mile to go. The others from the Graduate are Custom Cantab, Manchego, Crystal Fashion, Muscle M Up, Mission Accepted, Phaetosive, and Fiftydallarbill. Atlanta will start the Maturity from post four with regular driver Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. "It's mostly the same field of horses," Grant said. "I take nothing away from any of the horses in there, the slowest horse in the Graduate went a mile in (1):50.4 and five of them were under 1:50, so it's a great bunch of horses and they're all there to win. Nothing is going to come easily for anybody." Atlanta won eight of 14 races last year and earned $1.01 million on her way to being named Trotter of the Year at the Dan Patch Awards banquet. In all but one of her victories, she led at the half. This year, she has won three times when no better than fifth at the half. "The last couple years, the safest spot to be was on the front," said Grant, who shares ownership of Atlanta with Crawford Farms Racing and Howard Taylor. "This year she is showing that she can come from off the pace, or in this case trot, and get up there and win. Ronnie and Yannick have done a great job racing her off a helmet and keeping her calm. She seems to be a very versatile mare. I like that." So, what is Atlanta's full potential? "I don't know that answer," Grant said. "I'm not even sure if you talk to Yannick or Ronnie whether they know that answer. Every night she surprises us. She just seems to find a way to win." Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, two divisions of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male 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. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Chris Ryder knows what it is like to race in the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace -- this year's appearance with Bettor's Wish will be the trainer's seventh trip to the harness racing event's final -- but this time feels different. Bettor's Wish, who has won five of six starts this season, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in Saturday's $682,650 race for 3-year-old pacers at The Meadowlands. The colt, with driver Dexter Dunn, heads to the final off a win in his elimination last weekend. The morning line favorite is Captain Crunch, who is 2-1 after also winning his elimination. Captain Crunch, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, won the North America Cup on June 15 at Canada's Woodbine Mohawk Park, with Bettor's Wish finishing second. Bettor's Wish has finished third or better in all but one of his 18 career races, winning 10. "Quite often in the past, I've been in the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace, and you get a bit nervous," the 63-year-old Ryder said. "You think hard about it, what has to be done. You always question yourself as a trainer. But with this horse, I'm absolutely not doing that because he gives you confidence. That's what Dexter says, and he's right. "He's so reliable when he races. Every time he races, he shows you some brilliance. I'm not nervous, I'm going to enjoy it, because you don't get in these spots very often. I'm just going to enjoy it and make the most of it." Ryder is among the owners of Bettor's Wish, along with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, and Ken Solomon. The colt, by Bettor's Delight out of Lifetime Star, was purchased for $20,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and has earned $664,556 so far in his career. "It's just a good story," Ryder said. "He was a cheap yearling, but when you look at his pedigree, it's tremendous. He's from the family of Life Sign and American Ideal; Three Diamonds is his fourth dam. But he was small and he wasn't a (Captaintreacherous-sired yearling). That was the first year of the Captains and the money went to Captaintreacherous. "He doesn't look small when he's racing," Ryder added. "He's got a big, long stride. And he's always good down by the wire. We're just pleased to have him." Bettor's Wish won five times last year, all in Canada, and was second in the Battle of Waterloo and Ontario Sire Stakes championship. This season, his triumphs include the Art Rooney Pace. Bettor's Wish "Honestly, he's a little better than I thought he would be," said Ryder, whose best Meadowlands Pace finish came in 2002 with runner-up McArdle. "He impresses me every time he races. He trains quite well, but plenty of horses train pretty good. When you go and race, he's got that bit extra that you don't always see when you race them. "I like his speed and his versatility. He's getting two-hole trips all the time and it's not just luck. It's because he can get himself where he needs to be." Bettor's Wish will start Saturday from post four. Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron will leave from post one while Workin Ona Mystery, the 5-1 third choice on the morning line, and driver Tim Tetrick start from post nine. No other pacer in the 10-horse field is better than 10-1. "This is going to be a tricky race," Ryder said, adding with a laugh, "I said that about the North America Cup, and here I am saying the same thing again. Who knows?" Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands features eight of the top-10 horses in this week's Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. In addition to Captain Crunch (No. 3) and Bettor's Wish (No. 5) in the Meadowlands Pace, No. 1 Shartin N is in the Golden Girls, No. 2 Atlanta is in the Hambletonian Maturity, No. 4 Greenshoe is in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, No. 6 Lather Up is in the William R. Haughton Memorial, No. 9 Warrawee Ubeaut is in the Mistletoe Shalee, and No. 10 Hannelore Hanover is in the Miss Versatility. For Saturday's complete entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager  

Hightstown, NJ — The race for No. 1 got a little tighter in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Shartin N remained in the top spot, as she has for all seven weeks of the poll, but Atlanta is gaining. Atlanta cut Shartin N’s lead from to 26 points to five thanks to her world-record 1:49.1 win in the Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands. Atlanta received 15 first-place votes, up from eight a week ago. Shartin N also won over the weekend, capturing a leg of the Great Northeast Open Series for pacing mares at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Meadowlands Pace elimination winners Captain Crunch and Bettor’s Wish remained in positions three and five, respectively, in the rankings while idle Greenshoe held steady in fourth. Lather Up, who equaled the fastest mile in history with his 1:46 score in the Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old pacers, joined the Top 10 at No. 6. The remainder of the Top 10 was idle. 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 7 – 7/9/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (19) 6pm 10-9-0-0 $521,375 330 1 2 Atlanta (15) 4tm 6-6-0-0 $339,330 325 2 3 Captain Crunch (1) 3pc 5-4-0-0 $459,693 270 3 4 Greenshoe 3tc 4-3-1-0 $250,000 204 4 5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 6-5-1-0 $392,500 190 5 6 Lather Up 4ph 8-5-0-1 $214,710 146 — 7 Western Fame 6ph 10-6-1-2 $526,300 99 7 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 2-2-0-0 $131,788 94 6 9 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 6-4-1-1 $192,358 70 8 10 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 4-2-0-0 $59,282 38 9 Also: Guardian Angel As 35; Pilot Discretion 14; Six Pack 12; Tequila Monday, Treacherous Reign 10; Bettor Joy N, Century Farroh, McWicked, None Bettor A, Workin Ona Mystery 8; Green Manalishi S 7; Highalator, Rich And Miserable 6; Courtly Choice 5; Always A Prince 4; Jimmy Freight 3; JK First Lady, Mr Vicktor 2; Millies Possesion, Queen Of The Pride, This Is The Plan 1.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

Goshen, NY --- Getting to compete in the annual Mr. & Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry Sr. Memorial Hall of Fame Trot is an honor. Winning the race makes it even better. "Even better? That makes it the best," said grinning driver David Miller, who won Sunday's $10,000 harness racing event, which pitted five Hall of Famers against three of the evening's inductees at Historic Track. "I think I was second in it one time, and I finally got to win it. Put that in my column too. "I won the Legends (Day Trot at Canada's Clinton Raceway) earlier and now I've won the Hall of Fame race," he continued, adding with a laugh, "Hopefully that's not telling me something." Miller won the Hall of Fame Trot with Zagster, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Nick Surick. Zagster was second at the quarter, but soon took a lead he never relinquished on his way to a half-length victory over CR Blazin Beauty, driven by Jimmy Takter, in 1:56.4. The time was the fastest ever at Historic Track by a trotter older than the age of 3. Joining Miller and Takter in the race were Hall of Famers Brian Sears, Dick Stillings, and Wally Hennessey as well as Linda Toscano, Joe Holloway, and Blair Burgess, who were being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday night at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, located adjacent to Historic Track. Sears finished third with Marley's Guy followed by Toscano with Osprey Vision, Stillings with Well Connected Kid, Holloway with Lucius Vorenus, Burgess with Gwally, and Hennessey with Campbellini. "It's a lot of fun," Miller said. "It's an honor. There is a lot of tradition here and these guys have all put in a lot of time and had a lot of success. It's just fun to come back, meet up, and get to race." Trainers Toscano and Holloway were making their first purse starts as drivers in a number of years. Toscano's most recent was in 2008, Holloway's in 2003. Burgess had made six starts this year and 21 in 2018. "I had a good time," Toscano said. "I was nervous about it going in, but (trainer) Dave Russo is awesome. He found a horse for me when my horse couldn't make it and the horse was as safe as a church mouse, he did everything I asked him to do, and I had a really good time. "I drove in a qualifier on Tuesday because of this (race) but before that it was a while. Everyone talked me into doing this and I really had a good time. It was fun." Toscano, Holloway and Burgess were not the only Hall of Fame inductees to get in on the action Sunday at Historic Track. Renowned owner Ted Gewertz, also a member of the 2019 HOF class, was co-owner of the winner of the day's first race, Lights Come On, in a division of a New York Excelsior Series A race for 3-year-old male trotters. Lights Come On won in 1:57 with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer Anette Lorentzon. Bartlett won three of the nine races on the card. He also won with Lucky June Bug in 1:59 in a division of the Excelsior Series B for 3-year-old male trotters and with Liquorstoreblues in 1:59.1 in a division of the Excelsior Series A for 3-year-old female trotters. Andy Miller, though, was the day's big winner among drivers, capture four events. He won with Ev's Girl in 1:58.4 in a division of the Excelsior Series A for 3-year-old female trotters, Reckless Image in 2:01.2 in a division of the Excelsior B for 3-year-old female trotters, Amal Hall in 1:58.4 in a division of the Excelsior Series A for 3-year-old female trotters, and Jason's Camden in 1:57.1 in a division of the Excelsior A for 3-year-old male trotters. The day's remaining race was won by driver Scott Zeron with Boo Thang in 1:58.1 in a division of the Excelsior Series B for 3-year-old male trotters. For Sunday's complete charts, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

Goshen, NY - Trainer Ray Schnittker sent out three harness racing winners, including track-record-setting Captain Malicious, and Jan Johnson notched his first winning drive since 2016 as Historic Track hosted six Landmark Stakes on Friday afternoon (July 5) as part of its annual Hall of Fame weekend Grand Circuit meet. Captain Malicious and driver Mark MacDonald won the $15,700 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers by three-quarters of a length over Branquinho in 1:54.1 to eclipse the previous track standard of 1:54.3 for a 3-year-old colt set by Soto in 2015. A son of Captaintreacherous-Silky, Captain Malicious has won two of 10 races this year and earned $32,360 for owners Schnittker, Dr. John Egloff, John Frisch, and Max Hempt. "That horse has had no luck," MacDonald said. "He paced (1):49.1 in his Hempt elimination and just missed making the final. In the (Hempt) consolation, I got stuck behind a bad one. He's been good, he's just not had a whole lot of racing luck. He's a really nice horse. It's early yet. He's so handy, he's so good gaited, I can't see him not being a real player later in the year." MacDonald also found the winner's circle with Schnittker-trained Rodeo Beach, who won the $9,500 Landmark for 2-year-old female pacers by three-quarters of a length over Finally Free in 2:00.2. Rodeo Beach, who was fourth at the half, moved to the front on the final turn before losing the lead to Finally Free in the stretch. But the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show, a full sister to Dan Patch Award winner Huntsville, battled back for the victory in her career debut. "She was blowing right on by," MacDonald said. "We train here, and I don't know if she thought that was it (on the final turn) but she was calling it a day on me. Once I got around the turn, she took back off. She's just green. But she's a really nice filly." Rodeo Beach won the $9,500 Landmark for 2-year-old female pacers by three-quarters of a length over Finally Free in 2:00.2. --USTA/Ken Weingartner photo Rodeo Beach is owned by Schnittker, Mary Kinsey Arnold, and Paul Bordogna. Schnittker's remaining winner was Full Rights in the $14,800 Landmark for 3-year-old male trotters. Full Rights, a son of RC Royalty-Cruella De Ville, won by one length over Jnr Express in 1:57.4 with Schnittker in the sulky. Full Rights has won two of nine races this year and earned $19,824. The gelding is owned by Runthetable Stables. The 68-year-old Johnson was making his first driving start since October 2017 and won with Higher Call in the $13,550 Landmark for 2-year-old male trotters. Higher Call, who was making his career debut, was first at every call on his way to a 19-1/2 length triumph over Superior Athlete in 2:03.1. "It's been a while," Johnson said with a smile after picking up his first Grand Circuit victory since 2015. "(Higher Call) is getting better. He likes a small track. He's a grinder. He doesn't have that quick speed, he just keeps going. I had him in the winter in Florida. He's been sound and he wants to do it. He's a nice horse to be around." Higher Call, who is in the care of Johnson and trainer Marcus Melander, is owned by Caroline Gerry, who also bred the colt. He is a son of Explosive Matter-Bruschette. Gerry raced Bruschette, who was trained by Johnson, during her multiple-stakes-winning career. Driver Jan Johnson and owner/breeder Caroline Gerry with Higher Call. --USTA/Ken Weingartner photo "We didn't know if he had it in him or not, but he's growing," Gerry said about Higher Call. "We're just taking it easy with him, not pushing him. I love him. He's got such a nice manner. He's good looking. He's got to grow into himself. He was big from the beginning. He'll be good." Friday's remaining winners were Meadowbranch Vicki in the $7,100 Landmark for 3-year-old female trotters and Hurrikane Lori Ann in the $7,225 Landmark for 3-year-old female pacers. Meadowbranch Vicki won by a neck over Taja Mahala in 2:00.3. Meadowbranch Vicki, a daughter of Wishing Stone-Wen-mar's Memo, has won two of 10 races this year and earned $27,383 for owner Hans Enggren. The Jenny Melander-trained filly was driven by Jason Bartlett. Hurrikane Lori Ann won by 1-1/4 lengths over Adorabella in 1:55.4 for driver Carl Garofalo and trainer John McDermott. The filly, a daughter of Lis Mara-Luxury Goods, has won two of six races this year and earned $28,501 for owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, and Pegasis Investment Group. Friday's Landmark Stakes are part of the annual Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. The meet coincides with the sport's Hall of Fame inductions, which will occur Sunday at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Post time is 1 p.m. daily. Admission is free for children (12 and under); adults are $5 and includes a racing program. The stable area is open to visitors, to see the racehorses up close as they prepare for competition. Sunday's races include the annual Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry Memorial Trot, featuring a field of Hall of Famers. This year's event will include inductees Blair Burgess, Joe Holloway, and Linda Toscano as well as Wally Hennessey, David Miller, Brian Sears, Dick Stillings, and Jimmy Takter. Following the race, the drivers will be available to meet fans and sign autographs at tables located adjacent to the grandstand. For Friday's complete charts, click here.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

Hightstown, NJ — Fiftydallarbill was a Breeders Crown harness racing champion at age 2 in 2017, but with most of his success coming at Indiana’s Hoosier Park, he still entered this year as a bit of an unknown as a Grand Circuit regular. But after equaling the fastest trotting mile of the season in his most recent race, the stallion could continue to enhance his recognition factor with another strong performance in Saturday’s (July 6) $250,000 Frank Zanzuccki Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands Racetrack. “He’s starting to make people pay attention to him a little bit,” owner John Barnard said. “He’s had a couple pretty big races, so people are giving him more respect, more attention, than when he was just in Indiana. When you trot in 1:50.2, you get a little more press.” Fiftydallarbill won his final preliminary round appearance in the Graduate Series on June 21 in 1:50.2 at The Meadowlands, beating Dan Patch Award winner Six Pack by a neck. In two earlier legs, he finished second to Crystal Fashion at Tioga Downs and second to Six Pack at the Big M. Between those starts, Fiftydallbill was third behind Guardian Angel As and Pinkman in the Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah’s Philadelphia. For the season, he has won three races and hit the board a total of seven times in eight starts. “I was really happy with his performance in the last (preliminary) leg of the Graduate,” Barnard said. “He’s shown he can compete with the best in the world. And the 4-year-olds are as tough as open company. I don’t have to go very far looking for competition, it’s right there. They’re not giving away any money. You’ve got to earn it.” Fiftydallarbill, a son of Swan For All out of CR Dixie Chick, has done his share of earning it. For his career, he has won 18 of 42 starts and banked $920,450. Prior to this year, all but one of his career victories came at Hoosier Park, including his Breeders Crown triumph and a 2018 Indiana Sire Stakes championship. Now, he is aiming to extend his success to racetracks across North America. The stallion is eligible to a number of Grand Circuit events including the Hambletonian Maturity, John Cashman Memorial, Spirit of Massachusetts, Maple Leaf Trot, Breeders Crown, and TVG Championship. “He’s been a great horse since he was 2,” Barnard said. “I knew he was something special probably three months before his race at Hoosier where he won the Breeders Crown. I went on the record with some people telling them that I thought he was a special horse and he was going to surprise people. “He gives you a total effort every time he goes on the racetrack. You can’t ask for any more than that. We’re having fun with him. He’s a great horse to be around. He’s got a great attitude and a great personality. He wants to go out every week and race. He loves to race, he loves the competition, and he loves what he does. To me, he’s turned out to be a warhorse. He’s shown a lot of heart.” Fiftydallarbill will start the Graduate final from post three with Corey Callahan in the sulky for trainer Katricia Adams. The 10-horse field also includes returning Trotter of the Year Atlanta, who is undefeated in five races this season, Six Pack, and millionaires Crystal Fashion and Manchego. “I don’t know how good (Fiftydallarbill) is yet,” Barnard said. “I guess we’re going to find out. I just want him to have the opportunity. I just want him to be in a position to win every week and then what happens, happens. That’s what horse racing is all about.” Saturday’s card also includes the $250,000 Dennis Drazin Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers, featuring Ben Franklin Pace winner This Is The Plan along with O’Brien Award winner Jimmy Freight and millionaires Courtly Choice and Lather Up. In addition, there will be two eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). It is Fan Appreciation Night and fireworks will follow the races. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Christina Takter was in Sweden when Captain Crunch won the C$1 million North America Cup last month, and although it was around 4 a.m., it did not prevent her from cheering on her 3-year-old harness racing colt or from celebrating enthusiastically with her husband, retired Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. "We were yelling so much I thought the roof was going to lift from the house," said Christina, who is among Captain Crunch's owners, with 3 Brothers Stables, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "We had set the alarm to wake up and see the race. It was a lot of fun." The Takters were in Sweden for a month, seeing family and friends. At the time of the North America Cup, they were visiting Per Eriksson. Did the commotion disturb their host? "We were staying maybe a quarter of a mile from their house," Christina said, adding with a big smile and laugh, "so I don't think I woke them up." Christina hopes there are more reasons to celebrate in the weeks ahead, beginning with the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. Captain Crunch, a Dan Patch Award winner in 2018, was among 15 horses entered in the event, with the group divided into two $50,000 eliminations that will be contested Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack. The top-five finishers will return for the final on July 13. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six. Captain Crunch, trained by Christina's daughter Nancy Johansson and driven by Scott Zeron, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the first of the two eliminations. North America Cup runner-up Bettor's Wish is the 9-5 choice in the second. For the year, Captain Crunch has won three of four races. His only loss came in his North America Cup elimination, when he went off stride in the first turn because of jumping a shadow. He recovered to finish fifth and advance to the final, where he started from post eight and posted a three-quarter-length win over Bettor's Wish in 1:47.2. "I was very, very nervous," Christina said about the final. "But, at the same time, that was kind of a freaky thing he did in the elimination, so I wasn't too worried about it. Of course, it's in the back of your mind, but we still had faith in him. "That's when you really want to show the world that the horse is what you think he is." Captain Crunch, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, was purchased for $85,000 at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale. Johansson's daughter, Ella, fell in love with the colt the day prior to the sale and implored her mother to buy him. The connection has added another layer of joy to Captain Crunch's story. "It's special," Christina said. "She picked him out, kind of; she really liked him. She has that extra bond with him. "I thought the price was right too. I was happy to get a piece of him because with the pedigree, I don't think we overpaid for him. And it's a very nice group (of owners) to be involved with." If Captain Crunch advances to the Meadowlands Pace final, it will conflict with another big event for the Takter family. Jimmy, already a Hall of Famer in the U.S. and Canada, is scheduled to be inducted into the Swedish Trotting Hall of Fame on July 13. And although Christina and Jimmy celebrated the North America Cup win in Sweden, the couple plans to remain home for the Meadowlands Pace. "It's going to be exciting," Christina said. "Of course, we have to get to the final. You never know. I just hope nothing happens, that the horse doesn't have bad luck or get sick. It all depends on Saturday." Joining Captain Crunch in the first elimination are U S Captain (5-1), Reigning Deo (10-1), Workin Ona Mystery (5-2), Mangogh (15-1), Captain Ahab (4-1), and Mac's Power (12-1). U S Captain, entering open stakes company for the first time this season, is unbeaten in four races this year. Mangogh and Mac's Power are making their seasonal debuts. The horses joining Bettor's Wish in the second elimination are Love Me Some Lou (10-1), Escapetothebeach (10-1), Best In Show (12-1), Captain Trevor (7-2), Hurrikane Emperor (8-1), Caviart Rockland (8-1), and De Los Cielos Deo (4-1). Saturday's card at The Meadowlands also includes the $250,000 finals of the Graduates Series for each 4-year-old trotters and 4-year-old pacers. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). It is Fan Appreciation Night and fireworks will follow the races. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

When it comes to travel, Mark MacDonald is unlikely to get to stakes races any easier than his trip on Friday (July 5). MacDonald is listed to drive in two of the afternoon's six Landmark Stakes harness racing events at Historic Track in Goshen, N.Y.; the town the 40-year-old driver calls home. "I'm right around the corner," MacDonald said, laughing. "That won't be a tough commute. I wish they had all the races there. Life would be easy." MacDonald is scheduled to drive two horses for Historic Track-based trainer Ray Schnittker. One of his drives will come behind Rodeo Beach, a full sister to 2016 Dan Patch Award winner Huntsville, in the $9,500 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers. Rodeo Beach, bred by Schnittker and Charlie Iannazzo, is making her career debut after two qualifier wins, both in 1:57.1. "You never know until they actually race, but when they train down good, and they qualify good, you've got to have some high hopes for them," MacDonald said. "I think she's pretty special, but we'll see. She's got real quick speed. I've really liked everything she's done so far." MacDonald's other drive is with Captain Malicious in the $15,700 Landmark for 3-year-old male pacers. Schnittker has three of the five horses in the race, including Branquinho, who is a full brother to Huntsville. Branquinho, with Tyler Buter listed to drive, has won four of six races this year and $116,700. His victories include a division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars and he finished second in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. Both Branquinho and Rodeo Beach are out of the mare Wild West Show. Her first six foals, all sired by Somebeachsomewhere, won at least one race and five have earned at least six figures to date (with three banking in excess of $525,000). Wild West Show and her offspring Cowboy Terrier, Stevensville, and Beachesofcheyenne all won Landmark Stakes at Historic Track. "That's a great family," MacDonald said. "They all seem to be great racehorses." Friday's Landmark Stakes are part of the annual Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. The meet coincides with the sport's Hall of Fame inductions, which will occur Sunday at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. This year's Hall of Fame class is led by trainers Blair Burgess, Joe Holloway, Jerry Silverman, and Linda Toscano; driver/trainer Ted Wing; owner Ted Gewertz; and communicators Mark Hall and Dave Little. Also being honored are horses Art Major, Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, Graceful Touch and Southwind Serena. Dr. Leroy Coggins, Charley Hinkle, Allen and Connie Skolnick, and Delinquent Account will be inducted as Harness Racing Immortals and Steve Oldford, the 2019 Museum Amateur Driving Champion, will be recognized for a sixth time. Foiled Again will be in Goshen for the weekend, leading the post parade at Historic Track on Saturday and Sunday and welcoming guests to the HOF dinner Sunday night from 4-5 p.m. on the Walk of Fame. Racing at Historic Track begins Thursday and continues through Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m. daily. Admission is free for children (12 and under); adults are $5 and includes a racing program. The stable area is open to visitors, to see the racehorses up close as they prepare for competition. Sunday's races include the annual Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry Memorial Trot, featuring a field of Hall of Famers. This year's event will include inductees Burgess, Holloway, and Toscano as well as Wally Hennessey, David Miller, Brian Sears, Dick Stillings, and Jimmy Takter. Following the race, the drivers will be available to meet fans and sign autographs at tables located adjacent to the grandstand. "Hall of Fame weekend is great," MacDonald said. "They always have a great atmosphere there. It's cool. It's grassroots racing at its finest. What really makes it great is that the grandstand is packed. Everybody likes working in front of a packed house. It's just really enjoyable." Historic Track is located at 44 Park Place. For additional information about the track and this week's races, click here. The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street. For additional information, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

Hightstown, NJ – There are no changes in the top four positions in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, but two newcomers join the Top 10. Hannelore Hanover, who won a leg of the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters, enters the rankings at No. 9 while Cleveland Trotting Classic winner Guardian Angel As, who triumphed with a world-record 1:52 mile, is No. 10. The top three horses in the poll — Shartin N, Atlanta, and Captain Crunch — did not race last week. Greenshoe, who was second by a head in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, remains No. 4 but saw his two first-place votes from last week redistributed, one to Shartin N and the other to Captain Crunch. Rounding out the top five is Bettor’s Wish, who was idle. 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 6 – 7/2/2019 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (25) 6pm 9-8-0-0 $506,375 339 1 2 Atlanta (8) 4tm 5-5-0-0 $220,580 313 2 3 Captain Crunch (2) 3pc 4-3-0-0 $434,693 284 3 4 Greenshoe 3tc 4-3-1-0 $250,000 206 4 5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 5-4-1-0 $367,500 144 6 6 Gimpanzee 3tc 2-2-0-0 $131,788 129 8 7 Western Fame 6ph 10-6-1-2 $526,300 113 5 8 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 6-4-1-1 $192,358 93 7 9 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 4-2-0-0 $59,282 51 -- 10 Guardian Angel As 5th 5-4-0-0 $185,534 49 -- Also: Pilot Discretion 35; Treacherous Reign 25; Highalator 20; Jimmy Freight 18; Stonebridge Soul 12; McWicked, This Is The Plan 11; Green Manalishi S, None Bettor A, Workin Ona Mystery 10; Caviart Ally 8; Century Farroh, Courtly Choice 6; Lather Up 5; Haveoneforme 4; Bettor Joy N, Evident Beauty, Tequila Monday 3; Mr Vicktor 2; Rich And Miserable, Six Pack 1. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

Wilkes-Barre, PA - Ake Svanstedt expected his colt Marseille to follow heavy harness racing favorite Greenshoe in Saturday's (June 29) $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, but his plan never came to fruition. Instead, Marseille led from start to finish in the event for 3-year-old trotters to spring a 55-1 upset at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Marseille won the Beal by a head over Greenshoe, the 1-9 favorite whose furious rally in the final sixteenth of a mile came up a stride short, in a time of 1:52.3 over a track labeled "good" to spark a $116 payout on a $2 win ticket. Green Manalishi S finished third. At the start of the race, Marseille and Swandre The Giant each left quickly from outside spots on the gate, posts seven and eight, respectively, with Marseille getting the lead in a :26.2 opening quarter-mile. Marseille led by 1-1/4 lengths over Swandre The Giant and 5-1/4 lengths over third-place Osterc at that point. Svanstedt rated a :30.3 second quarter with Marseille, during which Osterc launched a first-over bid, getting out ahead of Green Manalishi S, who was fourth, and Greenshoe, who was sixth. Osterc attempted to overtake Marseille in a :27.4 third quarter but was unable to draw even with the leader. Osterc went off stride in the final turn while Green Manalishi S was on the move three wide and Greenshoe eventually four wide as they headed toward the top of the stretch. Marseille trotted his final quarter in :27.4, which was just enough to hold off Greenshoe, who was more than five lengths back after the field turned for home. It was Greenshoe's first loss in four races this season. Greenshoe entered the Beal as the No.1-ranked horse in Meadowlands Racetrack announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian. The $1 million Hambletonian is Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. Marseille also is eligible to the Hambletonian. "My chance to be second in this race was to leave fast and maybe come behind Greenshoe," said Svanstedt, who also trains Marseille. "But he never came, so then it was just to go to the front." Marseille, a son of Muscle Hill-Order By Wish, has won two of four races this season and two of eight in his career. He has earned $317,758 for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc., Order By Stable, and Howard Taylor. The Earl Beal Jr. Memorial honors the former president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, who was a driving force to bring casino gaming to the state's racetracks. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Wilkes-Barre, PA - Shake That House and harness racing driver Brian Sears found a good spot early and an even better spot at the end of Saturday's (June 29) $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Benefiting from a pocket trip behind pacesetting Captain Victorious, Shake That House moved off the pylons heading into the stretch and marched to a two length win over Brassy Hanover in 1:49.2 over a "good" surface at Pocono. Captain Victorious finished third. Shake That House, who started from post seven and was sent off at odds of 8-1, got to the front on the first turn but yielded the lead to Captain Victorious following an opening quarter in :26.2. Captain Victorious reached the half in :55.1 and then faced a first-over challenge from Hurrikane Emperor as they reached three-quarters in 1:21.4. Captain Victorious rebuffed Hurrikane Emperor on the final turn but was unable to hold off Shake That House or Brassy Hanover in the stretch. "I was just glad I put down Brian Sears to drive (Shake That House)," winning trainer Chris Oakes said. "Once you hand the lines off, you want the right guy in the bike. When the money is on the line, (Sears) is the man." Shake That House, a son of American Ideal-Shake That Junk, has won five of six races this year and eight of 14 in his career. He pushed his lifetime earnings to $410,903 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Alan Johnston, and Northfork Racing Stable. The colt paid $19.40 to win. "I can't say enough about my crew," Oakes said. "They worked day and night for the last week and we got the job done." Max C. Hempt was a renowned Pennsylvania-based breeder, whose horses were known for the prefix "Keystone," as well as a longtime director of the U.S. Trotting Association and Hambletonian Society. He served as the Hambletonian Society president from 1966-1984 and the creation of the Breeders Crown series evolved under his leadership. Hempt, who passed away in 1999, was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1980. In the $75,000 consolation of the Hempt, Captain Trevor led a sweep of the top-three spots for trainer Tony Alagna. Captain Trevor, the 9-5 second choice, was driven by Andy McCarthy and stopped the clock in 1:50.1. Odds On Boca Raton finished second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner, while Escapetothebeach, the 6-5 favorite, was third. Captain Trevor, a son of Captaintreacherous-It Was Fascination, has won two of six races this year and eight of 15 in his career. He pushed his lifetime earnings to $186,250 for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant, and Captain Trevor Racing. He paid $5.80 to win. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Wilkes-Barre, PA - Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year, got career victory No.44 on Saturday (June 29) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when she powered to a 1:52.2 win over a harness racing track labeled "good" in a $75,000 leg of the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters. Rich And Miserable was second and Tight Lines was third. Rich And Miserable, who entered Saturday's contest with a six-race win streak, took the lead on the first turn but driver Yannick Gingras pointed Hannelore Hanover to the front after the field reached the opening quarter in :27.2. Hannelore Hanover was on top at the half and unthreatened the rest of the way, besting Rich And Miserable by 1-3/4 lengths at the wire. A 7-year-old mare, Hannelore Hanover has won two of four races this season and 44 of 75 in her career. The Ron Burke-trained daughter of Swan For All - High Sobriety has earned $2.89 million lifetime. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. Hannelore Hanover, the 2-5 favorite, paid $2.80 to win. Ken Weingartner

Harness racing trainer Brian Brown sends two horses into Saturday's $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, including morning-line favorite Proof, as he looks to win the race for the second time in three years. Proof won the fastest of last weekend's three Hempt eliminations, stopping the timer in 1:48.1, which also is the second-quickest mile of the season for a 3-year-old pacer. Proof has won back-to-back races after posting a second and a third in his first three starts of the campaign. He starts Saturday from post No. 2 with David Miller in the sulky and is 5-2 on the morning line. For his career, Proof has won eight of 16 races and $476,299. The homebred son of A Rocknroll Dance-Ginger And Fred is owned by Diamond Creek Racing. "Early in the year, Proof just wasn't a hundred percent," said Brown, who won the 2017 Hempt with Fear The Dragon. "I'm not a hundred percent sure what it was, other than the last two starts I put some different pads on his front feet, and he's been a lot better. He was unbelievable last Saturday night. "I hope he comes back to even near what he was. Sometimes when a horse throws out a race like that, he might bounce the next week; sometimes it takes a little out of them and they won't be as good. I trained him (Wednesday), had the vet watching him train, and we both thought he looked really good. He trained really good. He didn't go a lot, it's not like he could have trained bad, but he's in good shape, I believe, coming in." Brown's other Hempt finalist is Air Force Hanover, who finished second to Shake The House in his elimination. Air Force Hanover, who starts from post six and is 8-1 on the morning line, will be driven by Dexter Dunn. He has won five of 19 career races and $215,888. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Cognac is owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Rich Lombardo, and Bill Donovan. "He didn't draw the better of the two, so he's got his work cut out for him," Brown said. "He raced really good last week. He was parked a quarter in :26 (seconds) and a piece and still was finishing good. I think he's coming to the race in pretty good shape. "I think we're lining up pretty good here. Some of the best ones drew outside, so I think we're in good shape." Air Force Hanover Shake That House, who won his elimination in 1:49, drew post seven for trainer Chris Oakes and driver Brian Sears. The remaining elim winner, Captain Victorious, got post eight. He will have Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. If all goes well following the Hempt, Brown plans to send Proof to the Meadowlands Pace and Air Force Hanover to the Adios. Brown-trained Workin Ona Mystery, who skipped the Hempt after a third-place finish in the North America Cup, will also go to the Meadowlands Pace. "It's just finding the right spots for the right horse," Brown said. Max C. Hempt was a renowned Pennsylvania-based breeder, whose horses were known for the prefix "Keystone," as well as a longtime director of the U.S. Trotting Association and Hambletonian Society. He served as the Hambletonian Society president from 1966-1984 and the creation of the Breeders Crown series evolved under his leadership. Hempt, who passed away in 1999, was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1980. Following is the field for this year's Max C. Hempt Memorial. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Lyons Night Hawk-Tim Tetrick-Gareth Dowse-6/1 2-Proof-David Miller-Brian Brown-5/2 3-Brassy Hanover-Corey Callahan-Eddie Dennis-15/1 4-Hurrikane Emperor-Dan Dube-John McDermott-5/1 5-Highlandbeachlover-George Napolitano Jr.-Kelly O'Donnell-20/1 6-Air Force Hanover-Dexter Dunn-Brian Brown-8/1 7-Shake That House-Brian Sears-Chris Oakes-4/1 8-Captain Victorious-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-7/2 9-Aflame Hanover-Andy McCarthy-Linda Schadel-12/1 Saturday's card at Pocono also features the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, and $500,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

When harness racing trainer Ben Baillargeon discusses his trotter Musical Rhythm, it is easier for him to list the things the horse cannot do rather than all he can. "He doesn't talk," Baillargeon says with a laugh, "and that's about it." A playful 7-year-old stallion ("You give him a ball, he plays soccer with it; you put him in the field, he throws it and goes and gets it," Baillargeon says), Musical Rhythm's big personality is outsized only by his big heart. The horse nearly died last year as the result of complications from an infection, but after several months and multiple medical procedures at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, he recovered and was able to return to Baillargeon. Baillargeon, who is among the stallion's owners, was grateful to simply have Musical Rhythm home. He thought the horse might perform stud duty, but his racing days were in the past. Then one day, Baillargeon told his daughter Sara to put the harness on Musical Rhythm so he could walk him around the track. "As soon as we hit the track, he said: I'm home; this is where I live, on the track," Baillargeon said. "He's been on the track since. He's just a gritty horse. He loves to race. "We were just happy to get him back. It was a blessing. But he doesn't want to give up. It's unbelievable." On Saturday, Musical Rhythm will bring a six-race win streak to the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic at Ohio's Northfield Park. For his career, the son of Cantab Hall-Musical Victory has won 36 of 89 races and $694,107. His victories include the 2016 Graduate Series championship, which he won from post 10 at The Meadowlands. Guardian Angel As, who brings his own three-race win streak to Northfield, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Cleveland Trotting Classic, with Jason Bartlett driving for Anette Lorentzon. Musical Rhythm is 10-1 with Northfield Park regular Ronnie Wrenn Jr. in the sulky. "He's got everything you need in a horse," Baillargeon said about Musical Rhythm. "He's such a smart horse and he can do it any which way. He's got lots of gate speed and he's got guts. He's got lots of grit. Everyone that's come at him lately, he puts them away. "Ronnie knows the track there real good. He'll figure out what he wants to do. The horse will do what he wants to do, that's for sure. The horse will give a tremendous effort. He always does. Whatever happens, happens." Baillargeon bought Musical Rhythm as a 3-year-old for $33,000 at the Standardbred Mixed Sale. He owns the horse with Santo Vena, Nunzio Vena, and Claude Hamel. The group bred Musical Rhythm to a handful of mares this year, and three are in foal. Baillargeon expects Musical Rhythm to get more opportunities in the future, but for now is enjoying watching the stallion compete again. "He's on quite the roll right now," Baillargeon said about the horse who is known around the stable by the nickname Marty. "Everybody loves him. He's got a fan club and he's done a lot for us, my family and my partners. Marty is there for us. We can always count on him. We are lucky to have him." Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) at Northfield Park. Following is the field for the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic Invitational, which is race 12 on the card.   PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Guardian Angel As-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-2/1 2-Weslynn Dancer-Dave Palone-Richard Banca-6/1 3-Emoticon Hanover-Jody Jamieson-Luc Blais-8/1 4-Pinkman-Brett Miller-Per Engblom-4/1 5-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-7/2 6-Musical Rhythm-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 7-Dayson-Chris Page-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Plunge Blue Chip-Aaron Merriman-Ake Svanstedt-12/1   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

After watching Gimpanzee take care of business and remain undefeated earlier this week, harness racing trainer Marcus Melander turns his attention to two more of the sport's top Hambletonian Stakes contenders, Greenshoe and Swedish-bred Green Manalishi, in Saturday's $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Greenshoe, a perfect 3-for-3 in 2019 and owner of the two fastest miles of the season for a 3-year-old trotter, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Green Manalishi, who made his seasonal debut in last week's Beal eliminations, winning his division by 1-1/4 lengths, is the 3-1 second choice. All three of Melander's horses figure prominently in the Road to the Hambletonian rankings compiled by Meadowlands Racetrack announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin: Greenshoe No. 1, Gimpanzee No. 2, and Green Manalishi No. 4. The $1 million Hambletonian, harness racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters, is Aug. 3 at The Meadowlands. "A lot can change in those (upcoming) weeks, but at least now everything is good," Melander said. Greenshoe, a two-time New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, enters the Beal final off a 3-1/4 length win over Osterc in 1:52.3 in his elimination last week. The son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be has been unthreatened in his three victories this season, capturing his two previous starts by a total of 9-1/2 lengths with times of 1:51.2 and 1:50.2. Last week, he was fourth at the half-mile point but already on his way to overtaking leader Osterc by the final turn. "He did what he always does; it's hard to keep up with him when he puts in that gear," Melander said. "When he puts in that gear, he can go so fast it looks like the other horses are standing still. It was a good mile. We didn't have to stretch him out more than we had to. He won under wraps and everything has looked good after that." Greenshoe's development has vaulted him from Hambletonian wild card to Hambletonian favorite at this point in the season. 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. He has been on his best behavior this year for driver Brian Sears. Still... "I don't look when they go up to the gate," Melander said with a laugh. "I'm not watching until I hear they are away, then I can take a look. "I always look at the replays and it looks like he's comfortable and behaving. You always have that in your head, what he did last year, but he's getting better and better for every start. Hopefully he continues to behave. It will take some good horse to catch him, that's for sure." For his career, Greenshoe has won five of seven races and $201,723. He is owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. Green Manalishi S was a multiple Grand Circuit stakes winner last year. --New Image Media photo. Green Manalishi, a son of Muscle Hill-Naga Morich S owned by Courant Inc., was a multiple Grand Circuit stakes winner last year. He won five of 10 races and finished no worse than second on his way to $510,557. His progress during the spring was slowed by some now resolved issues, which pushed his debut to the Beal. He won his elimination in 1:52.1 with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. "He had a little soreness issue and some bad luck in his qualifiers," Melander said. "It was nothing major and everything has been great since we took care of it. For his first race of the year and to go (1):52.1, it was a good mile. It looked like he had a lot of power left. We're excited for the final." If all goes well following the Beal, Melander plans to send Greenshoe and Green Manalishi to the Meadowlands for the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 13 in what would likely be their final preps for the Hambletonian. Gimpanzee's path is uncertain at this point, with the Dancer or a trip to Tioga Downs for a July 19 leg of the New York Sire Stakes under consideration. On Tuesday, Gimpanzee won a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers Raceway. The returning Dan Patch Award winner is unbeaten in 11 lifetime races. "We'll see where we race next," Melander said. "We could race him in another sire stakes to get more points for the final. (The final) is a lot of money to race for." For now, though, Melander is focused on the Beal and Greenshoe and Green Manalishi. "We trained them Wednesday here, very light training, but they felt really good," Melander said. "I'm happy with both of them." The Earl Beal Jr. Memorial honors the former president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, who was a driving force to bring casino gaming to the state's racetracks. Following is the field for this year's race.   PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-3/1 2-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-2/1 3-Summit In Sight-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-8/1 4-Wittyville-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1 5-Osterc-Yannick Gingras-Per Engblom-10/1 6-Goes Down Smooth-Dexter Dunn-Ron Burke-4/1 7-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 8-Swandre The Giant-David Miller-Ron Burke-5/1   Saturday's card at Pocono also features the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and $500,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

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