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

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

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

Hightstown, NJ — Shartin N’s win in the Golden Girls helped the 6-year-old pacing mare regain a firm hold on the No. 1 spot in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll while Meadowlands Pace champion Best In Show jumped into the rankings at No. 9. Shartin N, who has won nine consecutive races since suffering her only setback this year from post eight at Yonkers in March, received 33 of 35 first-place votes and increased her advantage over No. 2 Atlanta from five points to 69. She leads the sport in earnings, with $605,765. Atlanta, who was third-placed-second in the Hambletonian Maturity remained second in the poll while Stanley Dancer Memorial division winner Greenshoe moved from fourth to third and William R. Haughton Memorial winner Lather Up went from sixth to fourth. Bettor’s Wish and Captain Crunch, who finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Meadowlands Pace, tied for fifth. Hannelore Hanover, who won a leg of the Miss Versatility Series, moved from 10th to seventh. Gimpanzee and Western Fame, who joined Best In Show to fill out the final three spots in the Top 10, were idle last week. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which runs weekly through November, does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 8 – 7/16/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (33) 6pm 11-10-0-0 $605,765 347 1 2 Atlanta (1) 4tm 7-6-1-0 $438,330 278 2 3 Greenshoe (1) 3tc 5-4-1-0 $326,500 276 4 4 Lather Up 4ph 9-6-0-1 $411,405 253 6 T5 Captain Crunch 3pc 6-4-0-0 $511,574 168 3 T5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 7-5-2-0 $554,630 168 5 7 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 5-3-0-0 $79,282 96 10 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 2-2-0-0 $131,788 61 8 9 Best In Show 3pc 9-3-3-2 $444,440 56 — 10 Western Fame 6ph 10-6-1-2 $526,300 49 7 Also: Millie’s Possesion 36; Stonebridge Soul 26; Evident Beauty 18; Pilot Discretion 13; None Bettor A 11; Warrawee Ubeaut 10; Caviart Ally, Six Pack, Workin Ona Mystery 6; Rich And Miserable 5; Courtly Choice, Tequila Monday, This Is The Plan 4; Bettor Joy N, Crystal Fashion, Green Manalishi S, JK First Lady 3; Guardian Angel As, McWicked, Mr Vicktor, Treacherous Reign, Shake That House 2; Jimmy Freight, Tall Drink Hanover 1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

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

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

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

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

Over the past 40 years, only three female trotters have earned at least $300,000 at age 3 after being unraced at age 2. Harness racing trainer Jim Campbell trained one of the horses in that group, Stage Show, in 2008. He hopes to add another to the list this season. Millies Possesion is 6-for-6 this year for Campbell and breeder/owner Fashion Farms after sitting out her 2-year-old campaign because of soundness issues. She won four times on the Pennsylvania stakes circuit before notching her first Grand Circuit victory last week in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands, pushing her earnings to $107,267. On Saturday, she competes in the second of two divisions of the Del Miller Memorial at The Meadowlands. The $126,500 race is expected to be her final prep for the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations July 27 at the Big M. "I can't say enough about her; she kind of speaks for herself," Campbell said. "She made a great transition last week stepping up with tougher horses and her first time at The Meadowlands. She took to it like a true professional. "It's a small percentage of the ones that don't race at 2 that come back and do what she's done. Am I surprised? Nothing surprises me in this game anymore. You think you know something and then it goes the opposite way. With her, the more she's raced, the more she's shown that she knows what she has to do. She's just a true professional. She gives you everything she's got." Only one 3-year-old filly over the past 40 years has earned more than $564,000 after missing her 2-year-old season, pacer Yellow Diamond, with $1.31 million in 2009. In addition to Stage Show, who won the Matron Stakes and finished third in the Oaks and Breeders Crown on her way to $394,279, the trotters to surpass $300,000 were Ontario standouts China Pearls (with $511,856 in 2011) and Donven Promise (with $456,350 in 2001). Both were O'Brien Award winners. Campbell considered Millies Possesion, a daughter of Possess The Will out of Fashion Athena, one of his top 2-year-olds last season before shutting her down. This season, she is the sport's fastest 3-year-old filly trotter thanks to her 1:51.1 win in the Reynolds. Millies Possesion, with regular driver Dexter Dunn, started from post nine and raced on the outside the entire mile. "It's hard when you're training them to say this one is going to be our best one because you never know what they're going to do when they go behind the starting gate," Campbell said. "I'm really impressed with her gait and the way she gets over the ground, and her determination and attitude. She knows she's a racehorse and she loves doing it. There's nothing negative to say about her, that's for sure." Among the fillies joining Millies Possesion in the second Del Miller division are Starita, who also won a Reynolds division last week, as well as The Ice Dutchess, who won last year's Peaceful Way and Jim Doherty Memorial stakes, and multiple Pennsylvania stakes winner Asiago. The $124,000 first division includes Reynolds division winner Cloud Nine Fashion, also from Campbell's stable, and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Evident Beauty. Also in action Saturday will be Hambletonian-eligible 3-year-old male trotters in two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. The fields feature seven of the 10 horses in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian rankings: No. 1 Greenshoe, No. 3 Green Manalishi S, No. 4 Pilot Discretion, No. 5 Don't Let'em, No. 7 Super Schissel, No. 9 Swandre The Giant, and No. 10 Osterc. Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager    

Atlanta secured her place in harness racing history last August when she became the first filly in 22 years to defeat the boys in the Hambletonian Stakes. Over the past month, though, the mare has served notice that she is not finished making history. On June 15, Atlanta won the Armbro Flight Stakes in 1:50.2 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, setting the record for the fastest trotting mile in Canadian history. Last weekend, she added to her legend by winning the Graduate Series championship in 1:49.1 at The Meadowlands to become the fastest female trotter of all time. The time also was the fastest in the 43-year history of the Big M. "There is no doubt that every time she races, you think you've seen the best of her, and she shows you something else," said Brad Grant, one of Atlanta's owners. "She actually continues to amaze." Atlanta's next opportunity to dazzle is Saturday in the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity at The Meadowlands. The Hambletonian Maturity was created by the Hambletonian Society and The Meadowlands as a race solely for 4-year-olds previously eligible to the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. This year's event attracted a field of 11. The distance of the race is 1-1/8 miles rather than the traditional mile. Atlanta, who is undefeated in six starts this year, will attempt to become the second Hambletonian winner to capture the modern version of the Hambletonian Maturity. Marion Marauder first accomplished the feat in 2017. She also will try to become the third mare in the past four years to win the race, joining Ariana G in 2018 and Hannelore Hanover in 2016. Eight of Atlanta's rivals in the Maturity also competed in the Graduate final, which Atlanta won by a neck over Six Pack by rallying from fifth place with a quarter-mile to go. The others from the Graduate are Custom Cantab, Manchego, Crystal Fashion, Muscle M Up, Mission Accepted, Phaetosive, and Fiftydallarbill. Atlanta will start the Maturity from post four with regular driver Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. "It's mostly the same field of horses," Grant said. "I take nothing away from any of the horses in there, the slowest horse in the Graduate went a mile in (1):50.4 and five of them were under 1:50, so it's a great bunch of horses and they're all there to win. Nothing is going to come easily for anybody." Atlanta won eight of 14 races last year and earned $1.01 million on her way to being named Trotter of the Year at the Dan Patch Awards banquet. In all but one of her victories, she led at the half. This year, she has won three times when no better than fifth at the half. "The last couple years, the safest spot to be was on the front," said Grant, who shares ownership of Atlanta with Crawford Farms Racing and Howard Taylor. "This year she is showing that she can come from off the pace, or in this case trot, and get up there and win. Ronnie and Yannick have done a great job racing her off a helmet and keeping her calm. She seems to be a very versatile mare. I like that." So, what is Atlanta's full potential? "I don't know that answer," Grant said. "I'm not even sure if you talk to Yannick or Ronnie whether they know that answer. Every night she surprises us. She just seems to find a way to win." Saturday's 13-race card at The Meadowlands also includes the Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, two divisions of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

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

Hightstown, NJ — The race for No. 1 got a little tighter in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Shartin N remained in the top spot, as she has for all seven weeks of the poll, but Atlanta is gaining. Atlanta cut Shartin N’s lead from to 26 points to five thanks to her world-record 1:49.1 win in the Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands. Atlanta received 15 first-place votes, up from eight a week ago. Shartin N also won over the weekend, capturing a leg of the Great Northeast Open Series for pacing mares at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Meadowlands Pace elimination winners Captain Crunch and Bettor’s Wish remained in positions three and five, respectively, in the rankings while idle Greenshoe held steady in fourth. Lather Up, who equaled the fastest mile in history with his 1:46 score in the Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old pacers, joined the Top 10 at No. 6. The remainder of the Top 10 was idle. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which runs weekly through November, does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 7 – 7/9/2019 Rank Name (First Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (19) 6pm 10-9-0-0 $521,375 330 1 2 Atlanta (15) 4tm 6-6-0-0 $339,330 325 2 3 Captain Crunch (1) 3pc 5-4-0-0 $459,693 270 3 4 Greenshoe 3tc 4-3-1-0 $250,000 204 4 5 Bettor’s Wish 3pc 6-5-1-0 $392,500 190 5 6 Lather Up 4ph 8-5-0-1 $214,710 146 — 7 Western Fame 6ph 10-6-1-2 $526,300 99 7 8 Gimpanzee 3tc 2-2-0-0 $131,788 94 6 9 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 6-4-1-1 $192,358 70 8 10 Hannelore Hanover 7tm 4-2-0-0 $59,282 38 9 Also: Guardian Angel As 35; Pilot Discretion 14; Six Pack 12; Tequila Monday, Treacherous Reign 10; Bettor Joy N, Century Farroh, McWicked, None Bettor A, Workin Ona Mystery 8; Green Manalishi S 7; Highalator, Rich And Miserable 6; Courtly Choice 5; Always A Prince 4; Jimmy Freight 3; JK First Lady, Mr Vicktor 2; Millies Possesion, Queen Of The Pride, This Is The Plan 1.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

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

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

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

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

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