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Freehold, NJ --- Only once during his current 10-race win streak has Sweet Lou trailed other horses at the halfway point, but trainer Ron Burke wouldn’t mind seeing it happen again in Saturday’s C$634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby (CPD) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sweet Lou won his CPD elimination last week by a length over stablemate Foiled Again in 1:48.1, ending a record streak of six consecutive victories in less than 1:48, but still good enough to give his connections the opportunity to pick his starting spot for the final. Sweet Lou, with regular driver Ron Pierce, will leave from post three and is the 4-5 morning line favorite. In his last six races, Sweet Lou has reached the half-mile point no slower than :53.3. The only time he trailed during that span came in the William R. Haughton Memorial final, when he followed Thinking Out Loud in the outer flow and got by earlier leaders Bettor’s Edge and Captaintreacherous in the stretch to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:47.1. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that trip in the Canadian Pacing Derby,” Burke said. “I’ve got a feeling you’re getting to the point now where people are trying to leave real hard with the intention that if they make the front they know they’re not going to have to cut it because (Sweet Lou) is coming. “In a way, I’d like to see him race off the back a couple more times because he seems to race that way just as well. It’s tough going these halves in 53 (seconds) every week. “This race really concerns me in that everybody now is trying to race the same way and all of these horses, one of these days, will end up stringing a half in 51-and-a-piece. I have all the faith in the world in Ronnie that he’ll get us in the right spot, but the right spot, I’ve got a feeling, might not be on the front this week.” Sweet Lou has won 10 of 13 races and $934,700 this year for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. For his career, the 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future has won 32 of 68 races and $3.05 million. “I was a little bit worried last week because he was bearing out a little bit late in the mile, but Pierce didn’t seem to be too concerned,” Burke said. “He said he kind of let him drift and he was fine, so we’ll see.” Foiled Again, who won the Canadian Pacing Derby in 2012 to become the richest pacer in harness racing history, is the 6-1 second choice in this year’s final and will start from post seven with driver Yannick Gingras. Foiled Again, a 10-year-old gelding who now is the richest harness racing horse in North American history, with $6.37 million, has won 80 times in his career. “He was vicious in his elimination, 25-(seconds)-and-a-piece out and 25-and-a-piece home,” Burke said. “He couldn’t have been any better. I think he’s as sharp as he’s ever been. He keeps drawing bad in the (finals) because he can’t beat Lou in the eliminations. That really hurt him a lot. “Now from the seven hole he’s got to go out and earn it. But Yannick always seems to get you in the right position, no matter what.” Burke also sends out elimination winner Clear Vision and Bettor’s Edge in the CPD. Clear Vision and driver Brett Miller will start from post two and are 8-1 on the morning line while Bettor’s Edge and driver Matt Kakaley will leave from post eight and are 7-1. Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Modern Legend, David Miller, David Drew, 20-1; 2. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke, 8-1; 3. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 4-5; 4. Domethatagain, Tim Tetrick, Rene Allard, 10-1; 5. Captive Audience, James MacDonald, Corey Johnson; 6. State Treasurer, Chris Christoforou, Ian Moore, 9-1; 7. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 8. Bettor’s Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 7-1; 9. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 20-1; 10. Ellis Park, Steve Condren, Brad Maxwell, 20-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- The Pacing Triple Crown begins Monday (Sept. 1) at Tioga Downs in upstate New York, where eight 3-year-old pacers meet in the $437,325 Cane Pace. He’s Watching brings a four-race win streak into the Cane Pace and is undefeated in three lifetime starts at Tioga Downs. Last season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes in 1:50, which established the track record for a 2-year-old. And in his most recent race, a 1:49.1 triumph in the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Aug. 10, he missed the track standard for 3-year-olds by two-fifths of a second. or the year, He’s Watching has won five of eight races, including the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4, and earned $692,247. He’s Watching was not eligible to the Cane Pace, but his connections paid $35,000 to supplement to the race. “He likes Tioga,” said Ontario-based trainer Dave Menary, who owns He’s Watching with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. “Hopefully we’ll keep our Tioga streak alive. “I’m really happy with him. This is the third time he’s had three weeks off between starts and he’s liked it so far. He raced well last time and seems to be in top shape right now. I had him to Mohawk (Racetrack) on Monday and went a good mile with him. “We’ve just kind of followed the same routine every time he’s had three weeks off and it’s working so far. I think we’re ready for Monday.” First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Monday, with the Cane Pace slated for approximately 3:46 p.m. The card also includes the fourth leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters, featuring world champions Classic Martine, Maven, and Frau Blucher. No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He’s Watching, who will be driven by two-time Cane Pace winner Tim Tetrick, will start from post six. “At Tioga, the six hole is fine,” Menary said. “I was hoping not to get the very inside or the very outside. I think from the six hole, it gives Tim a lot of options. I leave (what to do) up to him.” JK Endofanera, who in June won the North America Cup, enters the Cane Pace off a win in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes on Aug. 17 at Tioga Downs. In his previous two starts -- his elimination for the Empire Breeders Classic and the EBC final -- he finished second to He’s Watching. For the year, JK Endofanera has won six of 10 races and earned $660,709 for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables. He starts the Cane Pace from post five with driver Brian Sears. He’s Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries to the Cane Pace, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyonssomewhere. Luck Be Withyou, who won last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers, saw a three-race win streak snapped when he finished in a dead-heat second to All Bets Off in the Carl Milstein Memorial on Aug. 15 at Northfield Park. “There are a lot of horses in there, not just JK,” Menary said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start (in the Triple Crown). I’ve been able to keep him really fresh and he’s been sharp. Hopefully I can keep him sharp. “I’m trying to take it week by week, but he’s still got a lot left on his plate. I think he’s in good form right now and hopefully he can stay that way until the end of the year.” Following is the Cane Pace field with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Bushwacker, David Miller, Chris Ryder; 3. Doo Wop Hanover, Corey Callahan, Steve Elliott; 4. Stevensville, Mark MacDonald, Ray Schnittker; 5. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke; 6. He’s Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 8. Beat The Drum, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Trainer Nifty Norman might not be expecting his star mare Bee A Magician to beat the sport’s top male trotters in Friday’s $236,000 Crawford Farms Open at Vernon Downs, but he’s not shying from the challenge, either. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, will face nine male rivals in the Crawford. The field includes world champion Sebastian K, who was Sweden’s Horse of the Year in 2012 and is harness racing’s No. 1-ranked horse this season, plus major stakes-winners Archangel, Intimidate, Market Share, Mister Herbie, and Spider Blue Chip. “I’m not intimidated,” Norman said. “We’ve got to do it at some point, anyway, and I think she seems really good right now. I don’t expect to win, but I expect her to be good. She looks fantastic, nice and sound.” Bee A Magician, a 4-year-old mare who was undefeated in 17 races last season, has won two of eight starts this year and finished second on five occasions. She enters the Crawford off a track-record 1:55 victory over the boys in the open on Aug. 22 at Yonkers Raceway. “That had some bearing on our decision, although that was not the same quality field,” Norman said. “But I liked the way she raced there. “Basically, we’ve got to race and it was either against the mares for $40,000 (in Monday’s Miss Versatility Series leg at Tioga Downs) or the boys for $240,000. Getting a piece of $240,000 is better than winning for $40,000. We figured we’d give it a shot. “Plus Classic Martine is racing as good as anybody right now. It’s not like facing the mares was going to be easy.” Prior to the win in the Yonkers open, Bee A Magician finished second twice to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands. Classic Martine captured the final by a neck in 1:51.1, equaling Bee A Magician’s world-record time for a 4-year-old female trotter. Three of Bee A Magician’s second-place finishes this year came in miles of 1:51.2 or faster. Another came in the Hambletonian Maturity, contested at 1-1/8 mile, against 4-year-old male rivals. “I haven’t been disappointed with her at all this year,” said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. “I’ve thought she’s gone some great trips. “People keep asking what’s wrong with her because she’s not winning every race. I didn’t expect her to. It’s tough at this age (4). This year is really a learning curve to see how she handles the step up. It’s more to help plan for next year.” Bee A Magician, who has won 29 of 38 races and $2.49 million, will start the Crawford from post three with regular driver Brian Sears. Sebastian K, who has won seven of eight races this year, his first season in North America, starts from post five for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. He is the fastest trotter in history thanks to his 1:49 win in the Sun Invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 28. Intimidate is the only horse to defeat Sebastian K this year, winning the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose. Intimidate, who starts from post eight, won last year’s edition of the Crawford, then called the Credit Winner. Market Share, who has won 24 of 49 races and $3.43 million in his career, was last season’s Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. He will start Friday from the trailing position, post 10. “It’s a very good field, that’s for sure,” Norman said. “(Bee A Magician) has got a good spot. There’s lots of speed in there, and if she winds up getting a good enough trip, she should be good enough to get a piece.” The field for the Crawford in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 2. Spider Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Chuck Sylvester; 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman; 4. Flanagan Memory, Brett Miller, Rene Dion; 5. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 6. Master Of Law, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 7. Mister Herbie, Brian Sears, Jeff Gillis; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais; 9. Quick Deal, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 10. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano. Spider Blue Chip and Bee A Magician will race as an entry. Market Share will start from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- As the owner of a breeding farm, Mike Gulotta would seem an unlikely candidate to buy a horse that was gelded. But when longtime horse agent Gerry Bloch called Gulotta about gelded 3-year-old pacer Somewhere In L A, Gulotta knew he had to listen. After all, it was Bloch who directed Gulotta to a 4-year-old pacer named Lis Mara in 2006. Lis Mara, who had earned $180,536 entering that season, banked $1.96 million the rest of his career and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer in 2006. So far, Gulotta is happy he listened to Bloch and partnered with J&T Silva Stables and TLP Stable to buy Somewhere In L A on June 1. Since then, Somewhere In L A has won four of eight races, finished second in the Delvin Miller Adios, and earned $186,373. The fact (Somewhere In L A) was a gelding gave me some pause, but I thought that if Gerry was recommending the horse, I needed to pay attention,” said Gulotta, who is the CEO of Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. “I have a great deal of respect for Gerry. He’s found a number of horses for me, so when he calls, I have to listen. “I think this horse is pretty special. He’s a fast horse that can take a lot of air. I think he’s getting better and better.” Somewhere In L A races Friday in the first of two $99,990 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at The Meadows. He will start from post seven with driver Dave Palone at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Also in the race is Adios champion McWicked, who leaves from post four with David Miller driving for trainer Casie Coleman. A son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere, Somewhere In L A is the first foal out of the stakes-winning mare West Of L A. She is a half-sister to millionaire Thinking Out Loud and stakes-winner You See L A. Somewhere In L A was bred and owned by Robert McIntosh Stables, C S X Stables, and Al McIntosh Holdings before the sale to Gulotta’s group. Last year, he won three of 11 races, including a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes, and earned $71,831. He enters Friday’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes start with three wins in his last four races. His only setback during that span came by one length to McWicked in the Adios, and Somewhere In L A is coming off a victory over older horses in the preferred on Aug. 22 at The Meadows. “Jimmy is doing a great job with him,” Gulotta said. “I thought if he had a better trip in the Adios, he would have been right there with McWicked. He was on the outside a long time.” Gulotta is hoping for a long and prosperous career for Somewhere In L A, noting the earning potential for gelding pacers while making reference to Foiled Again, harness racing’s richest all-time North American performer. “What’s wrong with making $6 million,” Gulotta said, laughing. “(Buying Somewhere In L A) fits from a business perspective. He can bolster our finances.” Tom Pontone, who along with his father, Lou, makes up TLP Stable, was unaware the horse was a gelding when he committed to be a partner. He was given the chance to leave the group, but decided to stay on board. “I thought he was going to do good,” Pontone said. “I saw his stakes schedule and we have the opportunity to get back our money this year. And I love owning horses with Mike because he’s like a brother to me. I told Mike I think we’re going to have a little fun with him. “He’s turned out to be a pretty good buy for us so far. He’s a tough horse and he keeps on trying. That’s the one thing I liked about him. He’s had some tough races where he’s had to come first up, but he never stops. He just keeps on going right down to the wire. He never gives up.” If all goes well, Somewhere In L A will go to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 7 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, then head to the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Somewhere In L A is the No. 3-ranked horse in the Road to the Little Brown Jug ratings, behind Meadowlands Pace winner He’s Watching and McWicked. None of the current owners of Somewhere In L A have had a horse win the Little Brown Jug. “It would be a thrill,” Gulotta said. “It would be a dream come true. “Even with a gelding.” by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Stakes-winner E L Titan has been absent from the Grand Circuit this season, but that is soon to change. The 3-year-old male trotter, who won three of five starts last season, including divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Madison County, made his 2014 debut earlier this month and is getting ready for the Simcoe Stakes and Canadian Trotting Classic, both at Mohawk Racetrack. Riina Rekila, who trains E L Titan for breeder/owner Erkki Laakkonen, qualified E L Titan on July 4 at Mohawk, where he won in 1:57.4, but didn't see the colt make his first start until Aug. 9, when he was victorious by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 in a conditioned race at Mohawk. "He had little issues, but we decided to start a little bit later with him," Rekila said. "He was staked to the Hambletonian too, but I entered him in a few overnights here and they didn't use the class, so I just came late with him. I can't just go and race (in the Hambletonian) without any normal races. "We hope he's good now until the end of the year." E L Titan is by the stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Courtney Hall, a stakes-winning full sister to millionaire Cameron Hall. E L Titan is Courtney Hall's fourth foal and the previous three -- E L Rock, Appomattox and E L Rocket -- each earned at least $233,000. Appomattox, who finished second in the 2012 Kentucky Futurity, leads the group with $414,548. Last year, E L Titan won his division of the International Stallion Stakes by a neck over Trixton in 1:53.4. The time was fifth fastest among all 2-year-old male trotters last season. He also finished second to Father Patrick in a division of the Champlain Stakes. "I really liked him," Rekila said. "He's lazy training, so you can't tell too much. We were very surprised he raced that well (on Aug. 9) because he had only one qualifier. At home, I just train him under saddle or on my sand track. I don't train him too fast, so I was happy he went (1):54 pretty easy at Mohawk." Rekila drove E L Titan as a 2-year-old, but Chris Christoforou was in the sulky for the colt's first start this season. Rekila hopes By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications/USTAChristoforou will drive E L Titan again in the Simcoe, which is Aug. 30. "If he doesn't take him, I'll take him," Rekila said with a laugh. "I like Chris. He's nice with the horse and he's one of the best drivers up here. "I like to drive 2-year-olds because maybe they are not so handy to drive," she added in explaining why she gave up her seat behind E L Titan this year. "I know them, so it is easier." Following the Simcoe and Canadian Trotting Classic, E L Titan's stakes schedule includes the American-National, Galt, Yonkers Trot, and Breeders Crown. "I'm racing him lightly because we would like him to race as a 4-year-old as well, maybe when he's a little older," Rekila said. "The owner is the nicest person ever, so we can do whatever we want. He doesn't want me to push the horse. If there are issues we can wait and race the horse whenever he's ready. We just want to have a nice horse. "I like him," she added about E L Titan. "They're all horses, so you never know, but I think he's a very nice horse." By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

While Father Patrick dropped from second to fifth place in this week's Top Ten Poll, Sebastian K remains a very firm #1 with 29 of 35 first place votes. The other six first place votes went to Sweet Lou.  Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 14 – 8/19/2014                                              Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (29) 8th 8-7-1-0 $502,603 343 1 2 Sweet Lou (6) 5ph 12-9-1-1 $916,500 313 2 3 Trixton 3tc 9-7-1-1 $786,917 252 4 4 He’s Watching 3pc 8-5-1-1 $692,247 238 5 5 Father Patrick 3tc 8-6-1-0 $530,001 199 3 6 McWicked 3pc 11-7-3-0 $728,271 133 6 7 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 8-8-0-0 $248,598 95 7 8 JK Endofanera 3pc 10-6-2-1 $660,709 64 10 9 Mission Brief 2tf 5-4-0-0 $255,775 60 9 10 Nuncio 3tc 8-5-3-0 $563,351 54 8 Also: Dancin Yankee (31), Shake It Cerry (26), Classic Martine (23), Yankee Bounty (16), Lifetime Pursuit, Rocklamation (14), Artspeak (12), Market Share (8), Modern Family (7), Centurion ATM (6), Somewhere In LA (5), Archangel, Sometimes Said (3), JK She’salady, Somwherovrarainbow (2), All Bets Off, I Like My Boss (1). Compiled by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

The third time's a charm for The Art Museum. At least that's how it's shaping up for the harness racing pacing broodmare. Her third foal is Artspeak, who has started his career with three consecutive wins, including the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Artspeak, a son of stallion Western Ideal, races in the third of three Nassagaweya Stakes divisions for 2-year-old pacers Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He heads to Canada off a 2-1/2 length win in 1:50.4 in a conditioned race Aug. 1 at the Meadowlands. No 2-year-old pacer has gone faster this season. "The mare's been knocking on the door and maybe this is the one that's going to make her a little more prolific," said Tony Alagna, who trains Artspeak. "It's too early to tell, but he's done everything we asked him to do so far. Now he'll go from the Jersey breds to open company, but he was very good in his last start at the Meadowlands. Saturday night we'll know more." Alagna is quite familiar with The Art Museum and her racing-aged offspring. The Art Museum was in the stable of trainer Erv Miller, where Alagna worked prior to starting his own barn, but never made it to the races because of an injury. Yet she made an impression. "She was a great gaited mare with a great pedigree and I had a feeling at some point she was going to throw something decent," Alagna said. "The first two foals were close, but not what this one has been. He seems like he'll be the best one the mare's had so far." The Art Museum's first foal, the filly Acquavella, at age 2 won a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and finished second in a division of the Reynolds Memorial, but struggled with health issues. Her second foal, the now 3-year-old colt Fort Knox, last season finished second to Luck Be Withyou in a Champlain Stakes division and has earned $65,241. "Acquavella was meant to be a top filly," Alagna said. "She had some health problems and never reached her full potential. I thought she was meant to be a really good filly, so I went back the next year and bought Fort Knox. He's a nice horse, but just couldn't go to the next level. Artspeak looks like he's got all the tools to be a top horse." Purchased for $100,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale, Artspeak's family also includes 2007 Meadowlands Pace winner Southwind Lynx. Artspeak is owned by co-breeder Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. Artspeak is the 4-5 morning line favorite in his division of the Nassagaweya, starting from post eight with driver Scott Zeron. His division includes Battle of Waterloo runner-up Sporting The Look, plus Some Power, Read The Proposal, and Pierce Hanover. Some Power sold for $270,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale under the name Way Bay Hanover. His family includes Dan Patch Award winner Popcorn Penny and he is a half-brother to stakes-winners Westwardho Hanover and Woodstock Hanover. Read The Proposal is a full brother to stakes-winners Lucky Bettor, Bettor B Lucky, and Bet On Luck. Pierce Hanover is a full brother to stakes-winner Passmaster Hanover and top open performer Philos Hanover in addition to being a half-brother to stakes-winner Panther Hanover. Artspeak is among four horses from Alagna's stable competing in the Nassagaweya divisions. Edison -- whose family includes millionaires Delinquent Account, Artiscape, and Western Shore -- is in the first division while Trading Up and Rock On The Hill are in the second split. For many of the horses in the Nassagaweya, it is either a final prep for the upcoming Metro Pace at Mohawk, or an audition. "Myron Bell picked (Edison) out of the catalog because he's got a phenomenal pedigree and he's really started to come into himself his last couple starts," Alagna said, referring to co-owner Brittany Farms' racing manager. "Rock On The Hill was much improved his last start. I want to give him a shot to see if he's ready to go in the Metro, and if he's not, we'll skip it. But he's a horse on the improve. Trading Up was very sick his last start at The Meadows. He was loaded with mucous. We'll see if he fits in, as well. "It's a lot better to spend the $1,500 starting fee in the Nassagaweya to see how you fit compared to the starting fee in the Metro." The first Nassagaweya division also features Dream Maker Series champion The Wayfaring Man, as well as Late Night, who is a half-brother to millionaire Real Nice, and Asap Hanover, whose family includes multiple Dan Patch Award winner Eternal Camnation. Mohawk hosts a stakes event in Eternal Camnation's honor earlier on Saturday's card. Battle of Waterloo winner Go Daddy Go is in the second division, which also includes Badix Hanover, who is a full brother to millionaire Big Jim. Alagna also has three horses in Saturday's Eternal Camnation divisions for 2-year-old female pacers - Bedroomconfessions, Cashaway, and A Plus. In addition, two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous is in the preferred pace. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Three-year-old trotter Father Patrick is ready to get back to action Sunday in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes at Tioga Downs in New York, looking to return to his winning ways after going off stride in the Hambletonian, snapping a 15-race unbeaten streak. His driver, Yannick Gingras, is ready too. "Win or lose, I'd always be looking forward to getting back on the track with him," Gingras said. "He's a great horse. He's provided me with great thrills so far, and I'm sure there are plenty more to come. "I'm looking forward to showing everybody what a great horse he is." Father Patrick's return is part of a card that features 10 Tompkins-Geers divisions for trotters and pacers. Among the horses competing Sunday are 3-year-old male pacer JK Endofanera, who earlier this year won the North America Cup, and multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old female pacers Precocious Beauty and Uffizi Hanover. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Father Patrick has won 16 of 18 career races and $1.26 million. He was the Hambletonian favorite, but drew post No. 10 - the outermost spot on the gate at the Meadowlands Racetrack - and went off stride at the start. The million-dollar race was won by Trixton, another colt from the Takter Stable, with Takter himself in the sulky. "I scored (Father Patrick) down pretty hard because I've never left with him before," Gingras said after the race. "I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for (the start). The gate opened and I touched him on the tail with the whip and he took off running. It's so unfortunate. Knock on wood, I'll have another chance. But he never will." Gingras, who leads all harness racing drivers in purses with $7.23 million this year, won five stakes races on Hambletonian Day. But he still had difficulty feeling upbeat. "It was a great day, but I still went home and was very disappointed," Gingras said. "When you focus on a race for so long, that's what makes it such a disappointment. There are only a couple million-dollar races and I haven't won one yet. That day had it all - the million dollars, the Hambletonian, Father Patrick and everything he's accomplished. It was such a downer. Even though I had a great day, I didn't feel like celebrating. "I do still think about it. It's a race I'll always want to take back, but you've got to live with it now at this point." Father Patrick races Sunday in the second of two Tompkins-Geers divisions for 3-year-old male trotters. His split also includes Datsyuk, who finished sixth in the Hambletonian. "They said he came out of the (Hambletonian) fine and he trained back good," Gingras said about Father Patrick. "That was to be expected. There's nothing wrong with him, so I'm sure he'll be ready to go on Sunday." The first of the Tompkins-Geers divisions for 3-year-old male trotters includes Dexter Cup winner Sumatra and Hambletonian fifth-place-finisher Resolve, a colt trained by Takter's daughter, Nancy Johansson. Precocious Beauty, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, and Uffizi Hanover meet in the sole Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old female pacers. Precocious Beauty is coming off a win in the Empire Breeders Classic on Sunday at Tioga. The Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old male pacers includes not only JK Endofanera, but Sweet Rock, who won the New Jersey Classic at odds of 92-1 on Hambletonian Day, and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Doo Wop Hanover. Among the 2-year-old female trotters in action is Jolene Jolene, who finished second in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes. "There are a lot of nice horses racing there, that's for sure," Gingras said. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

McWicked is not the most energetic harness racing horse when enjoying an uncontested lead, but his lackadaisical manner can change in a hurry when necessary. The colt's determination is one of the attributes that impresses trainer Casie Coleman as she prepares McWicked for Friday's inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at Northfield Park. McWicked was not eligible to the Milstein, but the colt's connections paid $34,000 to get into the race. McWicked, who brings a five-race win streak to the Milstein, will start from post No. 1 with driver David Miller. For the year, McWicked has won seven of 10 races, including the Max C. Hempt Memorial and the Delvin Miller Adios, and earned $654,271 for owner Ed James' SSG Stables. During his string of victories, McWicked has not once lost ground in the stretch. In fact, he has won by no less than a length during that span and increased his advantage in the lane by a total of 8-1/2 lengths. "It's just his desire to win, how much guts he has," Coleman said. "Because he's a lazy colt, sometimes I look at him at the three-quarters pole and I'm a little worried that he's getting tired. As soon as Dave hits the head of the lane and a horse comes up to look at him, boom he's just gone. "There's hardly been a race that Dave's had him where he's been all out. He's been quite in hand coming to the finish in most of his races. I've been real happy with that." McWicked, a son of McArdle-Western Sahara, heads to the Milstein off a 4-1/4 length win over Let's Drink On It in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on Aug. 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. The final preliminary leg of the series is Aug. 29 at The Meadows and the $260,000 championship is Sept. 7 at Philly. The three-week gap between McWicked's previous start and the next round of the sire stakes is the reason Coleman was searching for a race for McWicked. Following the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, the colt is expected to head to the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. "This race came up and it's a one-shot go for $400,000," Coleman said. "I talked it over with Ed James and we decided that it fits in pretty nicely, so we decided to go this route. I don't see why he wouldn't be good on a half(-mile track), but it's also a good test on a half before we go to the Jug. "Win, lose or draw it still gives me a couple weeks to freshen him up and get him ready for the sire stakes after this." For his career, McWicked has won 10 of 20 races and earned $833,888. He has finished worse than third only twice, most recently in the North America Cup on June 14 at Mohawk. He was fourth in that start, behind JK Endofanera, Tellitlikeitis, and He's Watching. It was the last time he lost a race. "He's been just superb every time he races," Coleman said. "Usually you'd think they'd start to get a little tired at this time of year with all the big miles they've been going, but this horse just seems to be thriving off it. "Every time I race him, I like him more and more. He seems to get stronger and stronger every time I put him behind the gate. I've been just thrilled with him." Following is the field in post order with drivers and trainers: 1. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman; 2. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 3. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter; 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 6. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman; 7. Boomboom Ballykeel, Aaron Merriman, Virgil Morgan Jr.; 8. Seventh Secret, Mike Wilder, Dan Altmeyer. By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Freehold, NJ --- Three-year-old filly pacer Sandbetweenurtoes improved to 8-for-8 this season and moved from No. 10 to seventh in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Sandbetweenurtoes won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and was the only horse in the Top 10 to improve its position from last week. The top six remained unchanged, with older male trotter Sebastian K holding onto the No. 1 spot, followed by older male pacer Sweet Lou. Sebastian K, who was idle, and Sweet Lou, who won the Dan Patch Invitational, were the only horses receiving first-place votes, with Sweet Lou adding two to his total from last week. Trotters Father Patrick and Trixton were next in the poll, followed by Empire Breeders Classic winner He’s Watching. McWicked, who won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, was sixth. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 13 – 8/12/2014                                              Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (29) 8th 8-7-1-0 $502,603 343 1 2 Sweet Lou (6) 5ph 12-9-1-1 $916,500 312 2 3 Father Patrick 3tc 7-6-0-0 $520,992 245 3 4 Trixton 3tc 9-7-1-1 $786,917 244 4 5 He’s Watching 3pc 8-5-1-1 $692,247 220 5 6 McWicked 3pc 10-7-2-0 $654,271 157 6 7 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 8-8-0-0 $248,598 82 T10 8 Nuncio 3tc 8-5-3-0 $563,351 62 8 9 Mission Brief 2tf 5-4-0-0 $255,775 57 9 10 JK Endofanera 3pc 9-5-2-1 $633,673 52 7 Also: Shake It Cerry (35), Classic Martine (34), Rocklamation (15), Centurion ATM, Lifetime Pursuit, Yankee Bounty (9), Artspeak, Market Share (8), Modern Family (7), Intimidate (5), Archangel (4), Dancin Yankee, Somewhere In L A (3), I Like My Boss, Sometimes Said (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

For Foiled Again, it’s summertime and nothing is easy. But harness racing trainer Ron Burke is confident the 10-year-old pacer will return to prominence again. The three-time defending Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer, Foiled Again has won four of 14 starts this year and earned $300,100, but last visited the winner’s circle in mid-April. He will try to snap a 10-race skid when he heads to Saratoga Casino & Raceway for Saturday’s $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial. The entry box for the Gerrity closes at 4 p.m. Wednesday. For his career, Foiled Again has won 80 of 212 races and earned $6.33 million, which is the most money for any harness racing horse in North American history. He has gotten better with age, with the money he has banked since turning age 7 – $4.31 million – being good enough on its own to make him the richest pacer. “I feel bad for him,” Burke said. “He’s super right now. He’s drawn the wrong spots, but he’ll get himself going. He’ll come back.” Since joining the Burke stable in 2008, Foiled Again’s overall win percentage in June, July and August is 19.2 percent, with 11 wins in 57 starts. That makes him 61-for-109 the rest of the year, which is a win rate of 55.9 percent. And he’s hit the board an astounding 103 times in those 109 races. During the months from September through the end of the year, Foiled Again has won 32 of 56 starts since 2007 and finished on the board 54 times. Foiled Again will enter the Gerrity off a sixth-place finish in the U.S. Pacing Championship, where he was beaten by stablemate Sweet Lou by 5-1/2 lengths despite a :25.4 final quarter-mile. In his previous two starts, he was third from post seven in the Battle of Lake Erie at half-mile Northfield Park and eighth in the William R. Haughton Memorial from post 10 at the Meadowlands. At the end of June, he paced the fastest mile of his life, timed in 1:47.1, but finished third to Sweet Lou in a world-record 1:47 mile in the Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. “You watch the replay [of the U.S. Pacing Championship] and at the wire he’s absolutely airborne,” Burke said. “He came home as fast as anybody. “Now a couple of the smaller tracks are coming up and he’s always been good at Mohawk. We go to Saratoga with him, then Mohawk, and then we go to Harrington [Raceway] or maybe Scioto [Downs]. He’s sharp. He’ll be good.” Mohawk hosts the Canadian Pacing Derby, which Foiled Again won in 2012, on Aug. 30. Eliminations, if necessary, will be Aug. 23. Harrington is home to the Bobby Quillen Memorial, which Foiled Again has won twice and been runner-up three times, on Sept. 15. Eliminations will be a week earlier, if needed. Scioto Downs has the Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational on Sept. 27. Foiled Again ranks No. 6 in earnings among older male pacers this year. The leader is his stablemate, Sweet Lou, with $916,500. The 5-year-old Sweet Lou has a nine-race victory streak after winning last Friday’s Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park in a track-record 1:47.2. For his career, Sweet Lou has won 31 of 67 races and $3.03 million. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and earned $1 million at age 3, but picked up only four wins in 2013. “I thought last year the torch would pass from Foiled to Lou, but I give credit to Foiled, he stepped his game up and Lou didn’t quite come through,” Burke said. “I’m not surprised this year. I don’t know if Foiled has ever run into a horse in the last couple years that’s as sharp as Lou is right now. It’s just a matter of whether Lou can maintain this until the end of the year. “But nothing Foiled does down the road will shock me. He’s just such a good horse.” Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Staffan Lind might have felt a little sick when he saw the result of the Peter Haughton Memorial earlier this month, but the harness racing trainer is hoping Billy Flynn's future is the remedy. Billy Flynn, a 2-year-old male trotter who is undefeated in four races, was not staked to the Haughton because of an injury he suffered soon after being purchased as a yearling for $120,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale. But in his second start, in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on July 15, Billy Flynn beat Haughton champion Centurion ATM by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4 at The Meadows. Haughton runner-up Uncle Lasse finished third. At first, Lind wondered what Billy Flynn might have accomplished if he was in the Haughton. But the trainer put such thoughts aside quickly. "It's better to have a good horse and have regrets that you couldn't race than the other way around," Lind said. "He has his whole life in front of him. I'm sure he can prove himself." Billy Flynn's next start is Thursday in the fourth of four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia. He will leave from post three with regular driver Brett Miller and is the 8-5 favorite on the morning line. So far this year, the colt has earned $78,505 for owner Bender Sweden Inc., thanks to wins in divisions of the Pennsylvania All Stars, Arden Downs and two rounds of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. "He's a big horse with a big gait, but the best thing about him is his attitude," Lind said. "He will give you a hundred percent every time. He showed it right away. He was just waiting for me to ask him to go a little bit more." Billy Flynn is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the Enjoy Lavec-sired mare Zeta Jones. Three of Cantab Hall's five richest foals - Father Patrick, Uncle Peter, and Pastor Stephen - were out of dams sired by Enjoy Lavec and Billy Flynn's full brother Mr Chicago was a winner in both the U.S. and Europe. "He was a big, strong colt with a nice pedigree," Lind said about Billy Flynn, who was named after the smooth-talking lawyer in the musical "Chicago," which co-starred Catherine Zeta-Jones in the film version. "I like the cross with Cantab and Enjoy Lavec. We went for it. I thought he would be right around ($100,000). You never know at a sale. You try to set a limit for every horse you're bidding on, and in his case we probably would have gone a little bit more." Billy Flynn's early development was put on hold for nearly a month because the colt suffered a strained ligament behind a knee while being shipped to Lind's winter base in Florida. "When he walked off the truck he was lame," said Lind, adding with a resigned laugh, "That's the life of a horse trainer. That's the reason we never paid him into the Peter Haughton. He wasn't supposed to be racing that early." But Billy Flynn got to the races on July 4 and won his debut, in the Pennsylvania All Stars, by 6-1/2 lengths. Three weeks later, he captured his Arden Downs division in 1:56.2, equaling the stakes record. He has won his four starts by a total of 11-1/4 lengths. His remaining stakes schedule includes the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes, Valley Victory, Matron, and Breeders Crown. "We like him a lot," Lind said. "I hope by the end of the year people know about him. I wouldn't trade him for anyone else." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Trainer Dave Menary is focused on getting He's Watching prepared for Sunday's $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old male pacers at Tioga Downs, but he's also looking forward to the colt's next probable challenge: A shot at the Pacing Triple Crown. The first jewel in the Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, is scheduled for Sept. 1 at Tioga Downs, with eliminations, if necessary, Aug. 24. He's Watching is not eligible to the Cane Pace, but Menary - who owns the horse with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust - is ready to pay the $35,000 fee to supplement to the race. "That's my game plan," Menary said. "I have a lot of goals. In the short term, I'm looking at Sunday. Right after Sunday, I'm concentrating on the Triple Crown. The Cane kicks it off. We've got to ante up and supplement to the Cane, and that's our plan. We plan on supplementing to the Cane. We plan on being there with bells on. "Hopefully things go well this week. We've got a decision to make and it's something I'll talk about with all my partners. But we're pretty confident in what we've got. You can't win the Triple Crown if you don't win the first leg of the Triple Crown." No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He's Watching has won four of seven races this year and brings a three-race victory streak to the Empire Breeders Classic final. For his career, the son of American Ideal-Baberhood, has won 12 of 15 starts and $856,207. Last Sunday, He's Watching won his EBC elimination by a half-length over JK Endofanera in 1:51.1 over a sloppy track. He's Watching, who was making his first start since winning the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4 on July 12, starts the EBC final from post three with driver Tim Tetrick. He is the 4-5 favorite on the morning line. "He's had a super week," Menary said. "He keeps making me look good. I'm pretty confident heading to the final. We were lucky to get the job done in the elimination and we got to pick our post. I couldn't be happier with what I see. I trained him very easy, but I loved the way he trained on Wednesday. He loves his work." Last year, He's Watching was 8-for-8 and received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer. Among his victories was a 1:50 triumph that established the track record for 2-year-old pacers at Tioga Downs, and at the time was the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old colt on a five-eighths-mile oval. "I think I have the fastest horse going, but I think I also have one of the freshest horses going," Menary said, referring to He's Watching having two three-week layoffs since the end of May. "I'm pretty confident. He ships well, he does well; he's a special horse." JK Endofanera, who won the North America Cup on June 14, is among two horses in the EBC final trained by Ron Burke. The entry is 2-1 on the morning line despite JK Endofanera and driver Brian Sears drawing post eight. JK Endofanera has won five of eight races this year and nine of 15 in his career, with total earnings of $941,642 for owner 3 Brothers Stables. Winds Of Change, who won the other EBC elimination, will start from post one for driver David Miller and trainer Linda Toscano. His victory last Sunday, with Tetrick driving, was his first in six starts this season. The son of American Ideal-Art's Temptress, has won three of 13 career races, including divisions of the Champlain and Tompkins-Geers stakes, and is owned by Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Part of an entry with Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account, Winds Of Change is 6-1 on the morning line. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

It would be easy for trainer Ron Burke to be confident as he prepares Sweet Lou for Friday's $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park. After all, his 5-year-old pacer brings an eight-race win streak to the event, with an unprecedented stretch of speedy miles to go with it. But Burke knows Sweet Lou isn't the only horse streaking into the Dan Patch. Dancin Yankee, the last horse to defeat Sweet Lou, also is among the pacers in the nine-horse field. Dancin Yankee, racing out of the stable of trainer Amber Buter, brings a six-race victory streak to the Dan Patch. It will be the first meeting between the two horses since Dancin Yankee won the Van Rose Memorial Invitational on May 3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Sweet Lou finished third, but since then has gone undefeated. "I think Lou is running into another horse that is racing as good as anyone in the country," Burke said. "I'm actually nervous. I think that horse is super sharp, career sharp, too. "There are other horses that could win too, but both those horses are on long win streaks. I think that's going to be a great race." Sweet Lou has won eight of 11 races this year and earned $791,500 for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. His wins include the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and Roll With Joe. His 1:47 victory in the Ben Franklin is the fastest ever on a five-eighths-mile track, breaking the previous mark of 1:47.2 that was shared by Dancin Yankee and Pet Rock. Sweet Lou has won each of his last five starts in less than 1:48, which is a record. He has been driven during his win streak by Ron Pierce. For his career, the son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future has won 30 of 66 races and $2.90 million. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and earned $1 million at age 3, but picked up only four wins and $348,638 at 4. "I'm just so happy he's winning," Burke said. "It's enjoyable to watch him race right now. I've been such a believer all along and for him to do what we thought he could, nothing feels better." Burke, who on Saturday moved past Virgil Morgan Jr. to become the winningest trainer in harness racing history, also sends Bettor's Edge to the Dan Patch. The 5-year-old gelding has won six of 19 races this season and earned $421,781. He was second to Sweet Lou in the Franklin and Haughton and fourth in the U.S. Pacing Championship. Dancin Yankee has won 14 of 21 races this year and $315,140 for owners Baron Racing Stable and Rich Lombardo. The 6-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest won the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in each of his last three starts. The remainder of the field is Thinking Out Loud, Night Pro, Carol's Comet, Heston Blue Chip, State Treasurer and Our Lucky Chip. "It ended up being a really good field," Burke said. Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Dancin Yankee, Tyler Buter, Amber Buter, 8-1; 2. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 6-1; 3. Night Pro, Peter Wrenn, Dale Decker, 20-1; 4. Carol's Comet, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 15-1; 5. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 4-5; 6. Heston Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Linda Toscano, 15-1; 7. Bettor's Edge, Ricky Macomber Jr., Ron Burke, 10-1; 8. State Treasurer, Jody Jamieson, Ian Moore, 4-1; 9. Our Lucky Chip, Trace Tetrick, Jason Miller, 30-1.  By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Sweet Lou moved nearer to No. 1 Sebastian K and Trixton pulled into a near dead heat with stablemate Father Patrick in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Sebastian K remained in the top spot coming off his world-record-equaling win in last week’s John Cashman Jr. Memorial while Sweet Lou, who won the U.S. Pacing Championship, swapped places with Father Patrick to take over the second slot. Hambletonian winner Trixton vaulted from sixth to fourth, just one point behind Father Patrick. Mission Brief, who equaled the world record in winning the Merrie Annabelle Stakes, and Ima Lula Series winner Classic Martine, who also equaled a world record, joined the Top 10. Mission Brief is ninth while Classic Martine is tied with Sandbetweenurtoes for the final spot. Shake It Cerry dropped out of the Top 10. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 12 – 8/5/2014                                                Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (31) 8th 8-7-1-0 $502,603 344 1 2 Sweet Lou (4) 5ph 11-8-1-1 $791,500 307 3 3 Father Patrick 3tc 7-6-0-0 $520,992 240 2 4 Trixton 3tc 9-7-1-1 $786,917 239 6 5 He’s Watching 3pc 7-4-1-1 $564,485 207 4 6 McWicked 3pc 9-6-2-0 $618,830 156 5 7 JK Endofanera 3pc 8-5-1-1 $569,792 59 8 8 Nuncio 3tc 8-5-3-0 $563,351 56 10 9 Mission Brief 2tf 5-4-0-0 $255,775 49 -- T10 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 7-7-0-0 $211,157 47 9 T10 Classic Martine 4tm 9-7-0-1 $221,732 47 -- Also: Shake It Cerry (38), Dancin Yankee (37), Rocklamation (18), Centurion ATM (14), Market Share (12), Archangel (11), Intimidate, Lifetime Pursuit (10), Artspeak, Modern Family (7), Yankee Bounty (6), Perfect Alliance (2), Bee A Magician, I Like My Boss (1). Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of the U.S. Trotting Association

Verlin Yoder came to the big dance with no expectations and left singing a happy tune. Yoder's Natural Herbie, a standout on the Indiana circuit, won Saturday's $75,000 Vincennes Invitational for older trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack, besting Southwind Pepino and Master Of Law by more than a length in a career-best 1:51.4. The victory, before a Hambletonian Day crowd of nearly 21,000 fans, came in Yoder's first-ever drive at the Big M. The 40-year-old Yoder, an Indiana native, has won 110 races in his career. The Vincennes field included four Hall of Fame drivers not to mention three others that previously won the Hambletonian. "It still hasn't sunk in," said Yoder, who spends the race season in Indiana and winter in Florida. "It was an honor just to be in with those guys, let alone win. That means a lot. I've got a lot of respect for those guys. "Everybody (at home) is very excited. That was cool. It's a big deal to go from Hoosier to the Meadowlands. You don't get to go to the big city for a dance many times. For somebody to go out to the dance and win it, that's something. If you have a good horse, it makes you look good. I give the horse all the credit, not me." Yoder trains and owns Natural Herbie, who headed to the Meadowlands off three consecutive wins in the invitational handicap at Hoosier Park, each in a track-record clocking. The 4-year-old gelding, a son of Here Comes Herbie out of Ljanearl, is a two-time Indiana Sire Stakes champion and has won 19 of 38 career starts, good for $494,941. "We've known the horse was a nice horse," Yoder said. "He was racing here in Indiana and he was doing pretty good. He did real good last year. But I never knew if he was going to take that next step as a 4-year-old, because that's a pretty big step. "It was nice to have an opportunity to race (in the Vincennes). I had no expectations. I drove the horse all his life, and I like the horse, and it's in his hands, not mine. I was excited to be there that day. He was going to show me if he was going to go faster there or if he had enough heart to go with those guys. He stepped up to the plate and was big." Although Yoder had never driven at the Meadowlands, he was familiar with racing's big stage there. In 2008, Yoder's Azur was in the Hambletonian, but finished fifth in his elimination and failed to advance to the final. A former factory worker who used to build RVs, Yoder has been involved in harness racing since 2004. It started as a hobby, but turned into a fulltime pursuit. He enjoyed his best year in 2013, when he conditioned not only Natural Herbie but Indiana Sire Stakes 3-year-old female trotting champion Lady Blitz. "I quit with both of them after the sire stakes finals in September and turned them out for 10 weeks," Yoder said. "I wanted to see if it would help them in later years and it looks like it was the right choice." Yoder bought Natural Herbie just prior to the start of his racing career as a 2-year-old. "I took him to the fairs and in his first start I thought he might be a little something," Yoder said. "But it took me about six or eight weeks before he started showing me he had high-end speed. Then he just kept getting better. He's really developed into a nice horse." Yoder is uncertain when Natural Herbie will race next. The gelding is not staked to many races, other than the Indiana Sire Stakes in October. "I always said if he's that kind of (top) horse I can nominate him as a 5-year-old," Yoder said. "Four-year-old, it's a big step. He doesn't owe me nothing. "I'll start him out here in a couple weeks or something. He'll be off this week, and next week we have a break at Hoosier. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I'll get something figured out. I might end up taking him and (Lady Blitz) out east somewhere. I'll just play it by ear right now." And maybe listen for the music of another big dance. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

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