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Mark MacDonald is still more than a month away from returning to the racetrack as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but the veteran harness rcing driver is feeling good and looking forward to a successful 2020. MacDonald was injured in July when he was unseated from the sulky prior to a race at Saratoga. He suffered a fractured left shoulder joint and is now rehabbing following surgery and three months in a sling. He hopes to return to action sometime in January. "I'm doing really good," said MacDonald, who is working out at the gym daily and getting physical therapy four days a week. "I'm taking it day to day. It was a massive surgery and it takes time. It's just time to stabilize the muscles around it. But I'm feeling good. I feel like I could drive tomorrow. I don't know if I'd want to hit the ground tomorrow, and that's what they're worried about. The surgeon wants me clear for contact. "Strength-wise, it's no problem. But I don't want to mess it up if something were to happen. It's frustrating because it feels really good and they're saying just take it easy. That's easier said than done sometimes but I'm working through it and listening to what they tell me. "They X-rayed it the other day and said it's perfect. They were really happy with the way it looked." In addition to repairing MacDonald's shoulder, the surgeon was able to correct tendon issues MacDonald suffered in a previous accident. "I always had pain in that shoulder for a long time," MacDonald said. "Not horrible, but it always bothered me a little bit. Where he fixed it up, it feels really good. They did a great job and I have a feeling that when I do start driving again it's going to be a lot better than it's been in a long time. "It's hopefully short-term pain for long-term gain." MacDonald has suffered his share of injuries over the years but said this one was the most difficult. "I seem to get myself into these predicaments," MacDonald said with a laugh. "For a while, I was bummed because I couldn't do anything. Shoulder surgery is really tough, the toughest one I've had. "You're just sitting around doing nothing. I had a hard time getting out of bed for a long time, physically; I needed a hand up. I couldn't move my arm for months. It's hard to sleep, hard to get comfortable. I couldn't even put my socks on, it was terrible." A native of Prince Edward Island who now lives in Goshen, N.Y., the 40-year-old MacDonald has won 6,220 races lifetime and $91.6 million in purses. He was Canada's Driver of the Year in 2005 and 2006. "Hopefully I'll get back at it in January," MacDonald said. "Maybe I'll change it up a little this year and go to The Meadowlands a little bit more. We'll see what happens. Hopefully I'll have a real good year. I'm just staying positive now. I have something to look forward to." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Wanda Polisseni is the type of person who, in her own words, prefers to fly under the harness racing radar. But after her Winndevie won last month's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, providing Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables with its first trophy, that became a little more difficult. Not that Polisseni has any complaints. "I was surprised at the number of people that congratulated me and follow my horses; I'm very appreciative," Polisseni said. "I'm not infatuated with the winner's circle. That's not what I'm all about. But I fully appreciate it. Winning a race like the Breeders Crown makes it all worth it. "There are so many people that have been in (the sport) so much longer than I have and I'd like to see these other people win too. I feel like I've had more than my share of blessings and good fortune. I just love to see my horses race, no matter where they end up, as long as they're healthy and happy." Winndevie returns to the races Thursday in the $176,150 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Dover Downs. In fact, all four 3-year-old Breeders Crown champions - with Dancin Lou, Gimpanzee, and Warrawee Ubeaut joining Winndevie in that group - will be in action in the Matron events for sophomore pacers and trotters. Trained by Trond Smedshammer and driven by Brian Sears, Winndevie is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field that includes Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, who was second in the Breeders Crown, as well as Crown third- and fourth-place finishers The Ice Dutchess and Only Take Cash, not to mention Elegantimage Stakes winner Evident Beauty. Winndevie, by Credit Winner out of Vida De Vie, has won six of 14 races this year and hit the board a total of 13 times. Her earnings of $559,804 lead all 3-year-old filly trotters. For her career, Winndevie has won 12 of 21 starts, including the 2018 New York Sire Stakes championship, and $787,682. Her trip to the Breeders Crown was her first Grand Circuit appearance after spending her career to that point on the New York circuit. Polisseni called the filly's Breeders Crown triumph at Woodbine Mohawk Park, "really a very nice surprise." It is probably fitting because her arrival in Smedshammer's stable was a surprise as well. Polisseni thought she had completed her shopping for yearlings at the Standardbred Horse Sale two Novembers ago until she looked over her list of purchases and realized she did not get a Credit Winner-sired filly. So, after a review of the remaining possibilities, she bought Winndevie (then named Hello Dolly De Vie) for $45,000 on the final day of the yearling auction. "I never told Trond I was going to buy her," Polisseni said, laughing at the circumstances surrounding the purchase. "I knew I wanted a Credit Winner filly and she was the best one that I liked that day. I liked the way she looked on the floor, the way she moved, and the video. I loved her. She's a beautiful filly. "I put her on the truck to go down to Trond's (stable). It was a surprise to him. But he's told me many times in the winner's circle that he's so glad I bought her." Polisseni, who lives in upstate New York, got her start as a harness racing owner about 15 years ago. Smedshammer has trained her horses for a decade. Her Purple Haze Stables has ranked among the top 10 in earnings for owners on multiple occasions, including in 2018 and 2019. "I feel really blessed with the success that I've had and having Trond as a trainer," Polisseni said. "He's the best. He knows how I want my horses treated and it's always the horse comes first. I never have to worry with Trond, there is no stress. That makes the racing so much more fun. "(The Breeders Crown) was all for Trond. That's how I felt. I wanted him to get all the attention and accolades. I was thrilled." Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Dover Downs. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

All four 3-year-old Breeders Crown champions -- Dancin Lou, Gimpanzee, Warrawee Ubeaut, and Winndevie -- return to action for the first time since their Crown triumphs when Dover Downs hosts the Matron Stakes for harness racing sophomore pacers and trotters on Thursday. A total of 19 Breeders Crown finalists will be racing in the Matrons, including the top-six finishers from the 3-year-old filly pace (won by Warrawee Ubeaut) and the top-four finishers from each the 3-year-old filly trot (won by Winndevie) and 3-year-old colt-and-gelding pace (won by Dancin Lou). Gimpanzee, who won the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, faces four Breeders Crown finalists, including recent Carl Erskine Trot winner Don't Let'em and Erskine runner-up Chin Chin Hall. Gimpanzee is a two-time Breeders Crown champion and was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He starts Thursday's $208,300 Matron for 3-year-old male trotters from post five with Brian Sears driving for trainer Marcus Melander. He is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. "He's doing great," Melander said. "He came out of (the Breeders Crown) really well and he's been training good ever since. I'm confident going into the race. He's raced good all year, never done a bad race really. There are some nice horses in there, of course, but he's pretty good himself too." Gimpanzee has won seven of 12 races this year and earned $997,163. In addition to the Breeders Crown, his wins include the Yonkers Trot, New York Sire Stakes championship, and Empire Breeders Classic. He finished third in both the Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity. The colt could join recently retired 3-year-old colt stablemate Greenshoe with more than $1 million this year, which would make Melander only the second trainer ever to have two million-dollar-earning trotters in the same division in the same season. Jimmy Takter accomplished the feat in 2014 with Father Patrick and Nuncio. "That's cool," Melander said. "(Gimpanzee) has had a great year. He couldn't have done too much more. "I think he will be as good as he's been all year on Thursday. He's feeling great here at home. He really feels like he has all year. He's happy, so I'm happy." For his career, Gimpanzee has won 16 of 21 races and $1.58 million for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. If all goes well, the son of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows could finish this season by facing older foes in the TVG championship on Nov. 23 at The Meadowlands. "Hopefully he does a good race Thursday and then we'll probably race in the TVG," Melander said, adding the plan is to bring back Gimpanzee next year at age 4. "It feels like he could be a good aged horse too. He only had nine starts last year and 12 so far this year. I think that's perfect if we want to continue to race him. He feels like a horse that's not been pushed too hard. If nothing happens, it's a big chance he comes back." In the $248,350 Matron for 3-year-old male pacers, Bettor's Wish is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. The Chris Ryder-trained colt leads the sport with $1.43 million in purses. He was beaten by a head by Dancin Lou in the Breeders Crown. He has won 12 of 17 races and finished no worse than second in any start, with each of his last four runner-up finishes coming by no more than a neck. Dancin Lou is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. He brings a three-race win streak to the Matron. "I'm so proud of that horse, my heart could burst," trainer Tahnee Camilleri said about Dancin Lou, who has won 11 of 18 starts this season. She added about his Breeders Crown victory, where he rallied from fourth with a quarter-mile to go, "I was in shock. He did it the hard way. It's just unbelievable. What a little champion." Camilleri, a native of Australia, gave up a career practicing law to pursue her passion by moving to the U.S. to train horses. She is in her first full season with her own stable. The 32-year-old Camilleri conditions Dancin Lou for owners David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. "I didn't appreciate how hard it was going to be to come over here," Camilleri said. "I got terribly homesick and I'd lie in bed at night and wonder if I made the right decision. I toughed it out. For something like this to happen, I know in my heart I made the right decision. I'm so glad I'm here and so glad I did this. "I've had a lot of help, and I'm thankful to the owners for picking me to train their horse. They could have picked a bigger name, but they gave me a shot. I'm tickled pink that I could get such a good result for them." The field for the Matron colt-and-gelding pace also includes 2018 Dan Patch Award winner Captain Crunch and recent Monument Circle Stakes winner De Los Cielos Deo. In the $176,150 Matron for 3-year-old filly trotters, Trond Smedshammer-trained Winndevie is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. The field includes Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, who was second in the Breeders Crown, as well as Crown third- and fourth-place finishers The Ice Dutchess and Only Take Cash, plus Elegantimage Stakes winner Evident Beauty. Warrawee Ubeaut, from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, is the 2-1 favorite in the $165,900 Matron for 3-year-old filly pacers. Tall Drink Hanover, who was second in the Breeders Crown, is 3-1. The remaining fillies from the Crown final are Stonebridge Soul, Sunny Dee, Treacherous Reign, and Queen Of The Pride. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Dover Downs. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Harrisburg, PA -- Donttellmeagain, a 5-year-old male harness racing pacer with $779,011 in lifetime earnings, was the top seller at Friday's final session of the Standardbred Horse Sale, purchased for $400,000 by Jon Paton. The gelding was one of six horses to sell for at least $250,000 during the second day of the auction's mixed sale. Donttellmeagain, by Dragon Again out of Donttellmewhattodo, has won 19 of 46 career races and finished among the top three a total of 37 times. He won last year's Graduate Series championship and Dayton Pacing Derby. This year, he was a dead-heat second by a nose to McWicked in the Jim Ewart Memorial and third in the Roll With Joe. The Jim King Jr.-trained pacer was owned by Paton Racing Stables. He was consigned by Northwood Bloodstock. Starita, a Grand Circuit-winning 3-year-old trotting filly, was the day's second-highest seller, going for $360,000 to Hanover Shoe Farms. She was one of three fillies to reach at least $300,000. Starita, by Trixton out of Morningstar, has won six of 29 career races and $307,696. Her second dam is two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Passionate Glide and her family also includes Hambletonian Oaks winner Marita's Victory. She was consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing, owned by Val D'Or Farms and Ted Gewertz, and trained by Joe Holloway. O'Brien Award-winner Percy Bluechip, also purchased by Hanover Shoe Farms, sold for $340,000. The 4-year-old pacing mare, by Shadow Play out of Advantest, has won 12 of 40 career races and $874,267. She was a Breeders Crown winner at 3 and a two-time Ontario Sire Stakes champion. She is full sister to O'Brien Award winner Arthur Blue Chip and half-sister to millionaire Kenneth J. She was consigned by Preferred Equine, owned most recently by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Purnel & Libby, and Donald Emond, and trained by Ron Burke. Quincy Blue Chip, a 3-year-old trotting filly by Chapter Seven out of Sirenuse, sold for $300,000 to Steve Stewart. She has won 12 of 23 career races, including this year's Empire Breeders Classic and New York Sire Stakes final, and $675,430. She was consigned by Northwood Bloodstock, owned most recently by Barbara Boese, James Boese, and Richard Banca, and trained by Banca. Two female pacers reached $250,000 - Medusa and Lu's Illusion. Medusa, an 8-year-old mare by Bettor's Delight out of Mythical, was purchased by Erika Sergent. Medusa has won 40 of 160 career races and $1 million. She was consigned by Fox Den Farm, owned most recently by Randy Bendis and Pollack Racing, and trained by Bendis. Lu's Illusion, a 3-year-old filly by Sweet Lou out of Artistic Vision, sold to Fair Winds Farm. She is a half-sister to 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven as well as multimillionaire Clear Vision. Lu's Illusion, who has won five of 17 career races, was consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing, owned by Determination, and trained by Luc Blais. The two-day mixed sale portion of the auction saw a total of 663 horses and stallion shares sell for $27 million, an average of $40,756. Last year, the mixed sale saw a total of 619 horses and stallion shares sell for $18.2 million, an average of $29,498. For complete results, visit The Black Book. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA         Ken Weingartner   Media Relations Manager   U.S. Trotting Association   www.ustrotting.com      

Darlinonthebeach, a 6-year-old harness racing pacing mare who earned $1.06 million on the racetrack and is in foal to Always B Miki, sold for $450,000 to Diamond Creek Farm on Thursday as part of the White Birch Farm broodmare dispersal at the Standardbred Horse Sale's mixed sale. New Jersey's White Birch Farm sold 30 broodmares at the sale, going for a total of $3.51 million. Darlinonthebeach led the group, followed by trotter Celebrity Ruth at $400,000. Rounding out White Birch's top five were pacer My Little Dragon and trotter Please Beehave, both for $230,000, and pacer Dragon's Tale for $200,000. All the White Birch horses were consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing. Darlinonthebeach, by Somebeachsomewhere, is carrying her first foal after a multiple Grand Circuit stakes-winning career. Her dam, Darlin's Delight, was a Dan Patch and O'Brien Award winner. Celebrity Ruth, by Archangel out of Celebrity Obsesion, also enjoyed a stakes-winning career and is in foal to Muscle Hill with her first foal. The 5-year-old, signed for by Megan Velardo as agent, is from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Housethatruthbuilt. My Little Dragon, a 16-year-old by Dragon Again out of My Little Pretty, was a two-time Dan Patch Award winner and three-time Breeders Crown champion. She is the dam of O'Brien Award-winner Stay Hungry and in foal to Captaintreacherous. She sold to Steve Stewart. Five-year-old Please Beehave (Muscle Hill-Beehive) is a half-sister to 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician. She sold in foal to Chapter Seven to Ola Yoder. Dragon's Tale (Dragon Again-Born Storyteller) is the dam of stakes-winner Workin Ona Mystery. The 9-year-old sold in foal to Captaintreacherous, also to Yoder. Also selling in excess of $200,000 were trotting broodmares Secret Passion and Anikadabra. Secret Passion (Yankee Glide-Secret Magic) sold for $425,000 to Hanover Shoe Farms. The 5-year-old is from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner and world-record-holder Manchego and in foal to Kadabra with her first foal. She was consigned by Walnridge Farm and owned by Harbor Racing Stable. Five-year-old Anikadabra (Kadabra-Anikawiesahalee) sold in foal to Walner for $235,000 to Linda Stewart. She is from the family of O'Brien Award-winner Resolve. She was consigned by Concord Stud Farm and owned by Michael Pozefsky and Edward Wilson. The Standardbred Horse Sale concludes Friday with its final mixed session beginning at 10 a.m. (EST). For complete results, visit The Black Book. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

For the second year in a row, it was a record year for the Standardbred Horse Sale. The three-day yearling portion of the sale concluded Wednesday at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex, where a total of 833 horses sold for a record average of $48,903. The previous best average was set last year, at $42,675 for 830 horses. This year's average represented a 14.5-percent increase. In addition, this year's gross of $40.73 million was nearly 15 percent better than last year's $35.42 million. The only other time the gross exceeded $40 million came in 2007, when 1,048 horses sold for $42.78 million. "It was a great sale," Standardbred Horse Sale President and CEO Pete Spears said. "I think the sale was strong throughout, all the way to the end. There was a great reception for the top sires and many, many top-selling horses. We're very happy." Last year, two yearlings reached six figures on Day 3 of the sale. This year, the total was five. Pacing colt Keystone Catalyst was Wednesday's top seller, purchased for $120,000 by Myron Bell as agent. The colt, by Betting Line out of Keystone Caitlyn, is a three-quarter brother to 2018 Ontario Sire Stakes champion Keystone Concrete. The family also includes Keystone Havoc, the dam of millionaire Keystone Horatio and grandam of millionaire Bedroomconfessions. Keystone Catalyst was consigned by Vieux Carre Farms for Max J. Hempt. Next on the list was Twin B Edge, a pacing colt by Betting Line out of Twin B Exquisite. He was purchased for $110,000 by Casie Coleman. The colt, from a family of strong Ontario Sire Stakes performers, was consigned and bred by Twinbrook Limited. Three horses sold for $100,000. Trotting colt Swingforthefences, by Swan For All out of stakes-winner Sunday Yankee, was purchased by Mel Hartman as agent. He is a half-brother to stakes-winner Miss Sue V, who in addition to her victories in North America later picked up wins in Europe. He was consigned and bred by Concord Stud Farm. Vali Hanover, a trotting colt by Chapter Seven out of Vanity Treasure, was purchased by Jim Glass as agent. His family includes stakes-winner Fad Finance. The colt was consigned and bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. Trotting filly Flawless Country, by Southwind Frank out of Aleah Hanover, sold to Ake Svanstedt. She is from the family of 2018 Yonkers International Trot champion Cruzado Dela Noche, who also counts the Copenhagen Cup among his victories in Europe. She was consigned by Spring Haven Farm and bred by Christian Stoltzfus. A total of 374 trotters sold for $20.52 million, with the money divided nearly evenly between colts and fillies. The fillies averaged $55,297 for 182 and the colts averaged $54,469 for 192. Muscle Hill was the top trotting stallion with an average of $153,323 for 31 horses. Father Patrick was second with an average of $109,667 for 24 horses. A total of 459 pacers sold for $20.21 million. Colts averaged $49,943 for 229 and the fillies averaged $38,161 for 230. Somebeachsomewhere was the top pacing sire with an average of $97,860 for 43 horses. Captaintreacherous was second with an average of $54,295 for 44 horses. First-crop sire Betting Line averaged $52,561 for 66 horses. The Standardbred Horse Sale's two-day mixed sale begins Thursday at 10 a.m. (EST). For complete results, visit The Black Book.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

After delivering the Pinske family its first Breeders Crown trophy, Amigo Volo will look to continue his stakes-winning ways in Thursday's $181,600 Matron for 2-year-old male trotters at Dover Downs. Amigo Volo is the 2-5 morning-line harness racing favorite in a field of six. The race is one of four Matrons for 2-year-olds. Papi Rob Hanover is the 2-5 favorite in the $186,000 division for male pacers and Lyons Sentinel is the 6-5 choice in the $176,400 event for female pacers. The $147,600 Matron for female trotters attracted a four-horse field and will go as a non-betting race 15 minutes prior to the regular card beginning at 4:30 p.m. (EST). Amigo Volo has won three of his past four races and five of 10 overall this season. He has earned $514,696 for owners Pinske Stables and Florida's David J. Miller. The gelding is trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman and will have Dexter Dunn in the sulky Thursday. Nearly two weeks ago, Amigo Volo captured the Breeders Crown by 4-1/4 lengths over Rome Pays Off in 1:54.3 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. It gave Pinske Stables (Marlys Pinske and her son Karl) and Miller their first victory in the series. The Pinskes had double-digit starters in Breeders Crown finals, and two second-place finishes, before breaking through. The triumph was additionally sweet because Karl's son Carter has worked this year for Norman's stable and worked closely with Amigo Volo, even getting his first training win with the horse during the Grand Circuit meet at Lexington's Red Mile. "It's pretty special," Carter Pinske said. "We've been close, had a lot of great horses over the years and won other big races, but it's nice to win this one at the end of the year. "My dad and I have kind of changed with Nifty to go after the end-of-the-year money instead of racing so tough at the beginning of the year. After a few years of working toward that, it's finally taking shape and working that way. That's always the goal, to get to the Breeders Crown, and it's special." The Crown triumph also came 15 months after the passing of owner/trainer Tim Pinske, Marlys' husband. "I'm thinking he had a little bit to do with it," Carter said. Amigo Volo, by Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma, was purchased for $42,000 at last year's Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to Reign Of Honor, who won last year's Kindergarten Classic Series championship for Norman's stable. "He's been an awesome horse to be around," Pinske said about Amigo Volo, who had world-record performances on five-eighth and one-mile ovals this season. "Every day he trained, you'd either be really mad at him or really excited about him. But he would always make up for it with his personality. He's got such a good personality. He'd let you know where he was all the time. He just likes being around people. "As far as being ready, Nifty said he's no different than he was in July," Pinske added. "He's jumping around in the paddock. He's got a good attitude that way." Following the Matron, Amigo Volo is eligible to the Valley Victory Stakes at The Meadowlands. The connections will take a wait-and-see approach about that race. "It's been a long season, he's been everywhere, and we want a 3-year-old too," Pinske said. "We'll see how he races and talk about it after." For the Matron Stakes 2-year-old filly trot entries, click here. For the complete regular card, click here.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

Pacing colt Make My Deo was the top-selling yearling at Tuesday's (Nov. 5) second session of the Standardbred Horse Sale, purchased for $280,000 by Robert Cleary as agent for Bill Peshina's Royal Wire Products. Through two sessions at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex, a total of 468 horses sold for $32.65 million and average of $69,769. The gross is up 16.6 percent from 2018 when 473 horses sold for $27.99 million. The average is up 17.8 percent compared to last year's $59,182. Make My Deo, by American Ideal out of Electric Fool, is a half-brother to Rodeo Rock, who has earned more than $700,000 in his career for Royal Wire Products. The family also includes millionaire Western Shore. The colt was consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing and bred by Deo Volente Farms. "He's a nice horse," Peshina said about Make My Deo. "We bought Rodeo Rock as a yearling too and he's done just fine for us. This is a very nice colt, so we were happy to get him. I liked just about everything about him; he's just a nice horse all around. And it's a good farm we bought him from, they're good people. "It's a big expense for us, we've never gone that high before. We're going to see what happens. Hopefully it works out. We'll find out next year." Second on the bestsellers list was trotting colt Delayed Hanover, by Southwind Frank out of Don't Wait Up, who was purchased for $230,000 by Ake Svanstedt for owner Melby Gard. He is from the family of international winner Order By Keeper as well as mare Amour Heiress, whose colt Spy Booth sold for $460,000 Monday. The family also includes 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton. He was consigned and bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. "I liked everything, it was good," Svanstedt said. "He is a good-looking horse. It will be interesting to see how he does on the racetrack. He has good conformation and the family on the mother is also very good. He is a good colt." Next was trotting colt Ghetto Boy, by Cantab Hall out of Galloway, who went for $200,000 to agent Robert Lindstrom. His family includes Dan Patch Award-winner Maven. The colt was consigned by Concord Stud Farm and bred by Order By Stable. Filly trotter Donna Soprano, by Donato Hanover out of O'Brien Award-winner Windsong Soprano, was purchased for $190,000 by Serge Godin's Determination stable. She is a half-sister to Ontario Sire Stakes champions Jula She's Magic (2019) and Tony Soprano (2015). She was consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing and bred by White Birch Farm. Sun B Kini, a pacing filly by Always B Miki out of One For The Beach, was purchased by Dana Parham for $170,000. Her family includes the dams of stakes-winners Divine Caroline and This Is The Plan. She was consigned by Concord Stud Farm and bred by S R F Stable. Team Allard bought trotting filly Oh My Goodness, by Andover Hall out of Oh My Darlin, for $160,000. She is from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Cedar Dove, who is the dam of Team Allard's Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovecry. She was consigned by Concord Stud Farm and bred by Windsong Stable. Also selling for $160,000 was pacing colt Abuckabett Hanover, by Betting Line out of All Tucked Up. He was purchased by Tony Alagna as agent for Cousins Stable. His family includes stakes-winner Thong. The colt was consigned and bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. The yearling portion of the Standardbred Horse Sale concludes Wednesday. The final session begins at 10 a.m. (EST) at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex. The two-day mixed sale begins Thursday morning at 10. For complete results, visit The Black Book. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Harrisburg, PA -- A year after consigning the two highest-priced yearlings at the 2018 Standardbred Horse Sale, Concord Stud Farm enjoyed another big day during Monday's (Nov. 4) opening session of this year's auction. Concord consigned the two highest-priced yearlings yesterday and three of the top four. All three were bred by Stefan Balazsi's Order By Stable and raised at Concord, located in Cream Ridge, N.J. Leading the way was trotting filly Gangsta Rat, who sold for $550,000. The price surpassed the $500,000 for last year's sales topper, Fifty Cent Piece, and is the second-highest auction price ever for a yearling filly trotter, trailing only the $600,000 paid for Ineffable at last month's Lexington Selected Sale. The second-best seller Monday was trotting colt Take This Society for $475,000. Fourth was trotting colt Spy Booth for $460,000, who was displaced at No. 3 by trotting colt Glacier Hanover ($470,000) in the final minutes of the sale. Last year, Concord's second-highest seller went for $415,000. "It's extremely rewarding," said Julie Meirs, the daughter of Concord founders Robin and David Meirs III. "It's nice to see that we're able to get over that barrier again. We just keep raising the ceiling, which is great. It keeps us reaching for the stars." In addition to its big three on Monday, the Concord-Order By Stable partnership had two more yearlings in the top 20 -- trotting colt No Ball Games Rat at $300,000 and trotting filly Keep Your Coins at $250,000. Order By Stable received the 2018 Breeder of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. "We have a great relationship with Stefan," Meirs said. "We work really well together. He's got all the trust in the world in us and we treat his horses, as we do with all the horses on our farm, like they're our own. We're making decisions and communicating with him on a daily basis if necessary. And now we're here." When Monday's session ended, Concord had sold 32 horses for $4.34 million. The gross was second to only Hanover Shoe Farm's $8.68 million for 69 horses. Concord's average of $135,750 topped consignors with more than four horses sold. "We're very excited, very pleased with how the sale has been going so far," Meirs said. "Some didn't sell for what we thought they would, but those ones at the top just light it up, which is awesome." During last year's sale, the Meirs family hosted a brunch for horse owners and buyers on the morning of the opening session. The brunch was back Monday and looks to have become a fixture. "I think we're stuck with it, which is good; it's a good way to be stuck," Meirs said, laughing. "We've had numerous people thank us for the brunch and I think it's a good morale builder. It's something for people to enjoy before they get bidding. It's worked well for us, so I'd say it's here to stay for sure." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

LeWayne Miller knows Grand Swan is good. He is still trying to figure out just how good. Grand Swan brings a four-race win streak to Friday's $120,000 Crossroads of America Stakes for 3-year-old female harness racing trotters at Harrah's Hoosier Park. The filly has won 10 of 13 races overall this season, including the Indiana Sire Stakes championship and divisions of the Pegasus and Circle City stakes. For her career, she has 18 victories in 25 starts and has finished worse than second only twice. She has earned $575,900 and is owned by Grand Swan Racing, Go Fast Stable, and Never 2 Late Stable. "She's done very well for us," said Miller, who co-owns, trains and drives Grand Swan. "She's a big, strong mare. I really don't feel like we've seen the best of her just because she likes to race against someone. She's not one that will draw off and win by five; she waits on other horses to chase her. "I really don't know how good she is. There were a few times when you thought she was beat, they'd come eye her up, and then she would take off with them." Grand Swan faces nine foes in the Crossroads of America. The field includes The Ice Dutchess, a multiple Grand Circuit winner coming off a third-place finish in the Breeders Crown, and $10,000-supplemental entry Pure Chance, who brings her own four-race win streak to Friday's race. A daughter of stallion Swan For All, Grand Swan is out of the mare Queen Mum. Joe Yoder, who is part of the Grand Swan Racing ownership group, bought Queen Mum in foal with the filly and trained Grand Swan down at age 2 before turning her over to Miller. She won eight of 12 races last season and continued to blossom after turning 3. "She grew up a lot and matured a lot," Miller said. "Last year I didn't feel comfortable getting locked in or sitting with her for a long time, she just got a little too anxious last year. This year training her down we trained her to help her with that and she really learned from it. "Her manners (are her best attribute). She's very professional and takes care of herself. In the post parade and scoring down she's nice and relaxed. When you ask her to go, she goes. She does whatever you want to do." Following the Crossroads of America, Grand Swan is eligible to the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs. The race would take Grand Swan out of Indiana for the first time. "We're planning on that," Miller said. "Then we'll turn her out and bring her back (next year) and see how she is. We're probably going to stake her to some of the aged races. We want to be careful because it's a tougher transition from 3 to 4, so we'll probably pick our spots." Friday's card at Harrah's Hoosier Park also includes the $120,000 USS Indianapolis Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, $220,000 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old male trotters, and $225,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Hightstown, NJ — Seven of the top 10 horses in last week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll lost their respective Breeders Crown finals this past weekend, resulting in little change in positions, but a tightening in points in the upper half of the rankings. Shartin N (second in the Mare Pace), Greenshoe (second in the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot), and Bettor’s Wish (second in the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding pace) remained 1-2-3 in the rankings. Warrawee Ubeaut, who won the 3-year-old filly pace, also saw her position unchanged at No. 4 but added four first-place votes and gained 110 points to pull within four points of Bettor’s Wish. Mare trot winner Manchego made the biggest position move, going from No. 10 to No. 5 while picking up 108 points. Gimpanzee, the winner of the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, and Tall Dark Stranger, who was second-placed-first in the 2-year-old colt-and-gelding pace, joined the top 10 at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Gimpanzee gained 71 points from a week ago; Tall Dark Stranger, ironically, dropped four points but made up positions as Southwind Ozzi and Atlanta dropped from the top 10 and Lather Up and McWicked each lost nearly 40 points. 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 23 – 10/29/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (17) 6pm 17-14-2-0 $920,177 304 1 2 Greenshoe (11) 3tc 13-10-3-0 $1,277,049 274 2 3 Bettor’s Wish (1) 3pc 17-12-5-0 $1,436,445 255 3 4 Warrawee Ubeaut (4) 3pf 17-12-2-3 $923,898 251 4 5 Manchego (1) 4tm 15-7-0-0 $485,038 189 10 6 Real Cool Sam 2tg 10-9-0-0 $497,774 88 5 7 Gimpanzee 3tc 12-7-1-2 $997,163 82 — 8 Tall Dark Stranger 2pc 9-8-1-0 $717,514 75 — 9 Lather Up 4ph 12-8-1-1 $768,011 65 7 10 McWicked 8ph 16-6-3-3 $1,017,466 58 8 ALSO:  Caviart Ally 50; Atlanta 48; Bold Eagle 31; Dancin Lou 28; Southwind Ozzi 24; Papi Rob Hanover 22; Ramona Hill 18; Amigo Volo 11; Winndevie 9; American History, Forbidden Trade, Six Pack 7; Lyons Sentinel, Reflect With Me 6; Elver Hanover 5; Millies Possesion 2; Captain Crunch, Guardian Angel AS, When Dovescry 1. Bold Eagle received 1 first-place vote. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Hightstown, NJ -- Tony Alagna entered this past weekend's Breeders Crown finals without an elimination winner, without a harness racing favorite, and, in some cases, without a favorable post position. He did, though, enter with confidence. The result was a memorable couple of nights at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Alagna became the fourth trainer in the 36-year history of the Breeders Crown to win three or more trophies in a year when Ramona Hill, Reflect With Me, and American History captured their finals at Mohawk. The other trainers in that group are Jimmy Takter, Ron Burke, and Bob McIntosh. "That's great company," Alagna said. "The horses showed up and did what we thought they could do. It turned out to be a phenomenal weekend for us. The drivers stayed confident, I stayed confident, my staff stayed confident; if you get all that together, then anything can happen." Ramona Hill got the fun started with a victory in the Breeders Crown's first race, winning Friday's 2-year-old filly trot from post 10 at odds of nearly 15-1. In the next race, the 2-year-old filly pace, Reflect With Me won from post eight at 27-1. On Saturday, American History captured the Open Pace at 5-1. "We didn't win any eliminations, but I was really happy with all the horses," Alagna said. "You don't panic. You set a goal for the horses and you don't stray from your goal even though everything is not perfect along the way. You know you have a quality horse, you do the right thing, and you hope it pays off. The majority of the time, it will. "You learn that over time. The best thing is I've got a tremendous group of owners that don't waiver. They don't want to do this or that if the horse didn't have a good race. They keep the faith and let us do our job. They know that we're going to do the right thing." Robert LeBlanc was among Alagna's owners who tasted Breeders Crown success over the weekend. LeBlanc, who grew up in Toronto and now lives in Austin, Texas, got his first-ever Breeders Crown with Ramona Hill. Robert LeBlanc (center) with Brittany Farms’ George Segal (left) and Ramona Hill’s co-owner Brad Grant (right) after her Breeders Crown victory. USTA/Mark Hall photo "I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I first came to Mohawk, so to come back here for the Breeders Crown is something special; I am on cloud nine," said LeBlanc, a retired vice president at IBM who has partnered on horses in Alagna's stable for three years. "This is what it's all about. You want to be there at the end of the year when all the best horses are there and beat the best. It's fantastic." Ramona Hill started from post 10 but was hustled from the gate by driver Andy McCarthy and landed on the lead. She was third at three-quarters before bursting through the stretch to win by four lengths over Sister Sledge. "We knew that if she could get off the gate and into a position, she would be there at the end," LeBlanc said. "But your expectation is that (post) 10 against the best fillies in the country, you're hoping to get a good piece of it. But in the back of your mind, you're thinking maybe she can do it. "What a great mile, what a great drive by Andy, and what great preparation by Tony. This is fun." McCarthy's win with Ramona Hill was his first Crown triumph, and he would add three more (including with Reflect With Me) before the weekend was finished. Joe Bongiorno, who drove American History, also picked up his first win in a Crown final. Joe Bongiorno picked up his first win in a Breeders Crown final with American History. USTA/Mark Hall photo Bongiorno put American History in front from post three in the race's early stage, marking only the second time in 18 starts this season the 4-year-old stallion was on top at the first quarter. "I wasn't planning on leaving but when (Jimmy Freight in post two) wasn't taking off, I changed my plan," the 26-year-old Bongiorno said. "I had confidence, but I knew this was a great group of horses and I had to have him in the right spot. We put him in the right spot. The whole mile he was alive and felt great. He's a special horse; he knows what his job is. "To win a Breeders Crown, I'm just so thankful to Tony and his owners for having faith in me and trusting me with their horse. It's something I didn't even dream of. It's unbelievable." Alagna's stable now has won six Breeders Crown trophies. His previous victories came with Captaintreacherous (2013), Racing Hill (2016) and Stay Hungry (2017). "It just goes to show that the barn has matured," Alagna said. "The owners kept the faith, the drivers had confidence, and everything came together." USTA/Mark Hall photos   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

Hightstown, NJ - McWicked's accomplishments have already put him in rarefied air, and the 8-year-old harness racing pacing stallion has a chance this weekend to add to his achievements. On Saturday, McWicked competes in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park, where he is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. With a victory, he would join Jenna's Beach Boy as the only male pacers with three Breeders Crown trophies. The only other horses with three Crowns are female pacers Eternal Camnation and My Little Dragon as well as male trotter Mack Lobell and female trotter Grades Singing. Female trotter Peace Corps holds the record with four. In addition, McWicked is on the verge of surpassing $1 million in purses for a third time in his career. The only pacer with three million-dollar seasons is Foiled Again. McWicked will enter Saturday with C$990,198 (US$981,466). For his career, McWicked has earned C$5.03 million (US$4.87 million) and is second to only gelding Foiled Again among all pacers in history. Last year at age 7, McWicked became the oldest pacer in history to receive Horse of the Year honors from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He led the sport in earnings, with $1.57 million, and became the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. He also broke Foiled Again's earnings record for a 7-year-old, which was $1.40 million in 2011. Foiled Again holds the record for an 8-year-old with $1.20 million. "He's an amazing horse, no doubt," said Casie Coleman, who trains McWicked for Ed James' S S G Stables. "There are not too many horses that have done what he's done, and to keep doing it at his age. You really wouldn't know this horse is 8 years old. "And he's got a lot of big, tough miles under his belt; it's not too often he has an easy race. Every time he goes behind the gate, they're pacing (1):47, (1):48, (1):49. He's definitely an unbelievable horse." McWicked won his first Breeders Crown at the age of 3 in 2014. When he won his second in 2018, he became the first pacer to ever win Crowns separated by four years. He will try Saturday to become the first repeat Open Pace winner since Always B Miki in 2015 and 2016. He starts Saturday from post eight with regular driver Brian Sears. Jimmy Freight is the 4-1 second choice. "Everything has been great," Coleman said about the horse's preparation for the race. "I trained him (Tuesday) and he was awesome. He's sharp, sound, healthy. I'm very happy with how he is coming in. "I obviously would have liked a little bit better (post) but it's better than the nine and it's better than the 10. The way this horse has been racing, I'm not too concerned about it. Everybody wants to draw the inside more but it's a big track and the eight-hole at Mohawk really isn't terrible." McWicked, who has battled throat and foot issues throughout his career, has won 40 of 108 races lifetime. He has won six of 15 this year, hitting the board a dozen times, and enters the Breeders Crown final with back-to-back victories in the Dan Rooney Invitational and Allerage Farms Open Pace. McWicked is one of three horses attempting to win a third Breeders Crown. The others are trotting mares Hannelore Hanover and Emoticon Hanover. Hannelore Hanover, from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, won her first Crown in 2016 in the Mare Trot. She came back the following year and won the Open Trot, becoming the first mare to knock off the boys since Moni Maker in 1998. Emoticon Hanover, a Luc Blais trainee, has won the past two editions of the Mare Trot. She was the first to accomplish that feat since Buck I St Pat in 2009-2010. Manchego, the fastest female trotter in history, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the $325,000 Mare Trot. The Nancy Johansson-trained Manchego is a past Breeders Crown champion, having won the 2-year-old filly division in 2017. Johansson's Captain Crunch was a Crown winner in 2018 in the 2-year-old colt-and-gelding pace. He is the 5-2 second choice behind 9-5 Bettor's Wish in the $600,000 event for 3-year-old male pacers. The most recent male pacer to win a Crown at both 2 and 3 was Artiscape in 1997-1998. Burke trained three past champions in addition to Hannelore Hanover that are in action this weekend: Warrawee Ubeaut, Youaremycandygirl, and Dorsoduro Hanover. Warrawee Ubeaut won last year's 2-year-old filly pace and is the 4-5 favorite in the $550,000 3-year-old filly pace. The most recent filly pacer to win at Crown at both 2 and 3 was My Little Dragon in 2005-2006. Dorsoduro Hanover won last year's 3-year-old colt-and-gelding pace and is 6-1 in the $500,000 Open Pace. The most recent male pacer to win a Crown at ages 3 and 4 was Art Major in 2002-2003. Youaremycandygirl was a Breeders Crown champion at age 2 in 2017. Now trained by Richard Moreau, she is 6-1 in the $300,000 Mare Pace, where returning champion Shartin N is the 4-5 chalk. Shartin N, trained by Jim King Jr. and ranked No. 1 in the sport's Top 10 poll, is looking to be the first repeat winner since Shelliscape in 2013-2014. Marcus Melander-trained Gimpanzee is back after winning last year's 2-year-old colt-and-gelding trot. He is 8-1 in the $500,000 race for 3-year-old male trotters, where stablemate Greenshoe is the 3-5 favorite. There is one other past champion competing this weekend, Fiftydallarbill, who claimed his title in the 2-year-old colt-and-gelding trot in 2017. He is in the $500,000 Open Trot. Lindy The Great is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Guardian Angel AS at 7-2 and French star Bold Eagle at 4-1. Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Twenty years ago, Todd Clements was working as a network administrator in Toronto when his father got sick and asked his son to return home to Newfoundland. Clements resigned from his job and spent six weeks with his dad before Charlie passed from cancer at the age of 49. Their final days together changed the direction of Todd's life forever. "I'm a systems engineer by education," Clements said. "My dad was very proud of the work I did, but he knew my passion for racehorses. One of the last things he said to me was that life can be short, do what you love. Here I was in a three-piece suit, working in an office running a company. I really didn't like it. "My dad gave me the green light. I came back to Ontario and I went to work (in a harness racing stable) for $400 a week, which I was making a day, and it's all paid off." The 44-year-old Clements is in his first Breeders Crown, sending Fixed Idea to Saturday's $600,000 final for 3-year-old male pacers. Fixed Idea, who will be driven by Randall Waples, will start from post eight in a field of 10 that includes elimination winners Bettor's Wish and Dancin Lou as well as returning Breeders Crown champion Captain Crunch, Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi, and Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show. "As a Newfoundland kid growing up, you dream about being in those races," said Clements, who made several starts as a trainer in the years prior to leaving home for his network administrator job. "I'm extremely excited to be in the Breeders Crown." Fixed Idea, a son of Big Jim-Calchips Artist owned by Christopher Nicol, was unraced at age 2 and joined Clements' stable this year. All five of the horse's wins this season have come in conditioned races but he earned checks in three preliminary rounds of the Ontario Sire Stakes series as well as the series championship. He also was fifth-placed-fourth in the consolation of the North America Cup. "The best thing about him is his durability," Clements said. "He can take a long road trip and the best part of his mile is the last sixteenth. If races were a mile-and-a-sixteenth, a lot of those 3s and 4s would probably be 1s. He has heart. He tries and there's not much more you can ask." Prior to Fixed Idea's fourth-place finish in the Breeders Crown elimination, Clements' thoughts returned to his father. "I looked up and said, dad, please send me down some luck," Clements said. "I don't know if it was that, but we made it. We're going to be one of the longshots (Saturday) but it's a horse race. You've got to be in it to win it. We're just very humbled and just excited to have the opportunity to be in it." Clements is not the only trainer in the race who made a career change. Tahnee Camilleri, a native of Australia, gave up a career practicing law to pursue her passion by moving to the U.S. to train horses. The 32-year-old Camilleri conditions Dancin Lou for owners David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. Camilleri, who trained some horses in the States during a brief stay prior to completing her law degree, is in her first full season with her own stable. "There's definitely not going to be a lot of sleep this week," Camilleri said. "I'm so excited. I'm like a kid right before Christmas." Dancin Lou worked his way up through the conditioned ranks at Yonkers, putting together a five-race win streak, and won twice on the Kentucky Sire Stakes circuit. He was third in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes before winning a division of the Tattersalls over Southwind Ozzi. For the year, he has 10 wins in 17 starts. "I never thought initially when I got this horse that he was going to turn out like he has," Camilleri said. "It's been a gradual thing, but he's just gotten better and better. He got on a roll at Yonkers and it did wonders for his confidence. I still can't believe it's the same horse that I had at the start of the season. It's been unexpected, but a great ride along the way." Dexter Dunn drove Dancin Lou in his three most recent races but will sit behind Bettor's Wish in the Breeders Crown final. Andy McCarthy, who guided Dancin Lou to a career-best 1:48.3 victory in a division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes, picks up the drive. "He definitely can get the best out of him," Camilleri said. "Everything I've asked him to do, he's stepped up to the plate," she added about Dancin Lou, who is a son of Sweet Lou-Dancewiththebest. "There hasn't really been any pressure. It's just whether he was going to take the next step, and every step I've asked him to take, he's taken it. I'm really so proud of him." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Southwind Ozzi-Brian Sears-Bill MacKenzie 2-Captain Crunch-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Covered Bridge-James MacDonald-Blake MacIntosh 4-Dancin Lou-Andy McCarthy-Tahnee Camilleri 5-Bettor's Wish-Dexter Dunn-Chris Ryder 6-Best In Show-Bob McClure-Linda Toscano 7-Semi Tough-David Miller-Ron Burke 8-Fixed Idea-Randall Waples-Todd Clements 9-Bronx Seelster-Simon Allard-Rene Allard 10-De Los Cielos Deo-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown  

Luc Blais was pleased when Forbidden Trade received a bye to advance directly to Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. After the Hambletonian winning colt drew post eight, he was less enthused. "I was happy when they asked about the bye," Blais said. "After the draw, I said oops. But it's part of the game. A race is a race. All the time you need luck." Twelve horses entered the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, which resulted in Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe receiving byes while the remaining 10 horses competed for the eight remaining spots in the final. Don't Let'em won the elimination with a Canadian-record-equaling 1:51.3 performance. His reward as an elim winner was being guaranteed a post in positions one through five. He will start Saturday from post two. Greenshoe, the winner of 10 of 12 races and C$1.16 million this season, will start from post four. He is one of three finalists for trainer Marcus Melander, with returning Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S. Forbidden Trade defeated Greenshoe by a neck in the Hambletonian. Since then, Greenshoe has won five in a row, including the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6 at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt's 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Sept. 29 at Red Mile is the fastest mile of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a 3-year-old in history. "He's doing great," Melander said about Greenshoe, a son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be. "I was happy to take the bye. He's been on the road for a long time, so it was nice for him to be at home. I'm very happy with how he feels. I'm confident going into the race, he feels as good as he can. I think he'll be good." Green Manalishi S and Gimpanzee finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Crown elimination. Green Manalishi S (Muscle Hill-Naga Morich S) has two wins at Mohawk this year, in the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes. Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) was last year's Dan Patch Award winner and counts the Yonkers Trot and New York Sire Stakes championship among his 2019 victories. "There are good horses there," Melander said. "It's going to be a tough race to win, but I'm happy with my three horses. We drew good; I'm confident going into the race. It will be exciting." Forbidden Trade has won eight of 13 races and C$1.07 million. In his most recent start, he won his second Ontario Sire Stakes championship. The son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory was the 2018 O'Brien Award winner. "It's going to be a tough race," Blais said. "He feels good. He raced good in the Ontario final and he's in good shape right now. I hope everything goes well in the race." The fun-loving Don't Let'em was once described as "a class clown" by trainer Nancy Johansson but he got an 'A' for his elimination performance. The colt, a son of Muscle Hill-Passageway, has finished first or second 12 times in his career. He's gone off stride in his remaining nine races. "His mind is his own worst enemy," driver Yannick Gingras said. "A couple times in the middle of the summer he'd wheel around in the post parade for no reason, but he's doing none of that stuff now. It seems like he's got his mind on his business." Chin Chin Hall finished second to Don't Let'em in the elimination. The colt, by Cash Hall out of Canland Hall, had hit the board in seven consecutive starts before an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Futurity. But that race over a 'good' track on a rain-filled afternoon did nothing to dampen trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's good feelings. "I don't even count that race; you have to throw it out," Norman said. "I was really happy with his run (in the Crown elimination); why wouldn't you be. He's been good every start the last couple of months. He actually feels like he's getting better and better. I think he drew pretty good (post five). It's a tough group, it'll be hard enough to just get a check, but I think he's good enough to be top five." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the corporate sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 2-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 4-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Chin Chin Hall-Peter Wrenn-R. Nifty Norman 6-Gimpanzee-David Miller-Marcus Melander 7-Goes Down Smooth-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 8-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 9-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 10-Super Schissel-Louis Roy-Per Engblom By Ken Weingartner for the Breeders Crown  

Third Shift and Moon Bridge got a little unscheduled time off recently because of sickness, but the two Ake Svanstedt trainees are ready to go Friday (Oct. 18) in the single Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Thirteen horses were entered for the event, with the connections of Real Cool Sam, Port Perry, and Capricornus accepting byes to advance directly to the final. The top seven finishers from the remaining 10-horse field will join that trio in the $600,000 final Oct. 25 at Mohawk. Two-time Grand Circuit-winner Amigo Volo, a son of Father Patrick from the stable of trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman, is the elim's 5-2 morning-line favorite from post three. Dexter Dunn will drive the gelding, who won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at Lexington's Red Mile in his most recent outings. Third Shift, the New York Sire Stakes champion, is 8-1 and will be driven by Svanstedt from post one. Moon Bridge, who won the Ontario Sire Stakes championship this past Saturday at Mohawk, is 10-1 and will start from post seven with Sylvain Filion. Svanstedt considered sending the horses to the recently concluded Grand Circuit meet at Red Mile, but the health of the horses changed those plans. "Third Shift was sick, so we left him at home and decided to go for the Breeders Crown," Svanstedt said. "It was the same with Moon Beam. He was sick and hadn't raced for one month before the (Ontario) final. But both of them are sound and healthy now and I hope they can do good races." Third Shift enters Friday having last raced in the New York championship Sept. 14 at Batavia Downs. The colt, by two-time Breeders Crown champ Chapter Seven out of Overnight Command, zipped around the half-mile oval in a track- and stakes-record 1:56. He shaved more than a second off the previous Batavia standard of 1:57.1 and three-fifths of a second off the stakes record, which was set last year by Dan Patch Award winner Gimpanzee. "He hasn't raced since then, but he was very good in the final," said Svanstedt, who owns Third Shift with Mellby Gard Inc. "He has trained good and everything is good with him. He has everything. He is fast and strong and has a very good head. He is a horse that always tries; he wants to win. He's a good horse." Third Shift has won three of six races, finished second twice, and earned $198,212. His fastest win time of the campaign, 1:54.4, came at seven-eighths-mile Vernon Downs in a preliminary round of the New York Sire Stakes. "He is a big horse, but he handled the (half-mile) tracks good," Svanstedt said. "I hope he can go faster on the big track (at seven-eighths-mile Mohawk). He raced in (1):54 at Vernon in his third race, so I think he can go faster on the big track." Moon Bridge was unraced for nearly a month when he captured the Ontario title, beating Port Perry by a head in 1:55.4. The colt, by E L Titan out of Classic Belle, has won two of six races and earned $149,953 for owners Esa Lahtinen, Janne Korpi, and Jussi Hietalahti. He was bred by Lahtinen's Overseas Farms and Korpi. "He was good," Svanstedt said. "He is a nervous horse, but he handles it good. We have to be careful with him; we always take it easy with him. But he is a good racehorse. He comes to race." All eliminations for 2-year-olds, which go for $25,000 each, are Friday at Mohawk. Hypnotic AM and Ramona Hill are the morning-line favorites in the elims for 2-year-old filly trotters; Baby Your The Best, Alicorn and Lyons Sentinel get the nods in the elims for 2-year-old filly pacers; and Tall Dark Stranger is the choice in the single elimination for 2-year-old male pacers. Racing begins at 7:50 p.m. (EDT) Friday. The $600,000 finals for 2-year-olds will be Oct. 25 at Mohawk, with an early 7 p.m. post time. Elimination winners, in an order determined by lot, draw for post positions one through five for the finals. The draws for the 2-year-old finals, except for the colt-and-gelding pace, will be conducted Friday following the eliminations. The draw for the colt-and-gelding pace will be Tuesday at the post-position draw and press conference at Woodbine Mohawk Park. For Friday's complete entries, click here. Eliminations for 3-year-olds and up are Saturday, with a 7:10 p.m. post time. For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

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