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Arch Madness wasn't ill, but a victory in a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia last week might have been just what the doctor ordered. Now the 10-year-old gelding is returning to competition against the continent's best older trotters as he heads to Saturday's eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. Among the entrants are world champion Sebastian K, Maple Leaf Trot winner Intimidate, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, and 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. Arch Madness, who skipped the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario, enters his Cashman elim with one win in eight starts this season. Lifetime, he has won 35 of 115 races and earned $4.22 million, good for sixth place among all trotters in history and second to only Moni Maker among trotters that raced the majority of their careers in North America. "It's always nice to get an easy win in a horse," Trond Smedshammer said about Arch Madness' three-length victory in 1:52.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 16. "That's the best medicine for a horse, winning. I was very happy about that decision [not to go to the Maple Leaf Trot]. It worked out good. "You can't ask him to go everywhere; he's 10 years old. Canada was an easy decision to leave out." Arch Madness (a son of Balanced Image-Armbro Archer) was winless in two races at age 2, but won at least one race worth more than $170,000 in six of the next seven years. His top triumphs came in the 2007 Breeders Crown for 3-year-olds, 2008 Maple Leaf Trot, 2011 Oslo Grand Prix, 2010 Cutler Memorial, 2009 Credit Winner, and 2013 Allerage Open Trot. He finished second in the Elitlopp in 2012 and 2013. He also finished second twice in the Breeders Crown Open, in 2008 and 2009, and twice in the Maple Leaf Trot, in 2009 and 2011. "Arch is pretty much the same as he's been previous years," said Smedshammer, who trains the horse for owners Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. "It doesn't seem like he's lost much, it's just the competition is tougher. It's been brutally tough, especially [Sebastian K]. "I haven't been too worried about it because later in the year when the others seem to be getting tired, he usually gets better," Smedshammer added. Arch Madness will start from post seven in the second of the two Cashman eliminations. To his inside from the rail are Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, and Appomattox. To his outside is Creatine. The first division, from post one, is Market Share, Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Intimidate, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. They have five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Sebastian K, despite his photo finish first loss since coming to the USA last week in the Maple Leaf Trot, remains strongly in the #1 spot in the Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Top Ten Poll. He received 29 of the 35 first place votes with Father Patrick getting three votes and Sweet Lou getting two votes. Someone even used their first place vote by sentimentally giving it to Modern Family. Seems that a lot of voters feel that Dancin Yankee is not worthy of Top Ten status. He has only won 13 of his 20 starts, three seconds, one third while competing week in and week again against the best pacers in the country. He has won his last five in a row, eight of his last ten, a record of 1:57.2 and has beaten Sweet Lou. Plus he has raced and won at four different tracks already this season, including two half mile ovals. Pretty much the same for Perfect Alliance, who after two straight losses (she had 13 straight win to start off the year), is off the Top Ten list. It is every tough to remain on the board this season. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 10 – 7/22/2014                                              Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (29) 8th 6-5-1-0 $327,278 340 1 2 Father Patrick (3) 3tc 6-6-0-0 $510,931 304 2 3 Sweet Lou (2) 5ph 9-6-1-1 $642,650 277 3 4 He’s Watching 3pc 6-3-1-1 $558,235 229 4 5 Trixton 3tc 8-6-1-1 $283,855 160 5 6 McWicked 3pc 8-5-2-0 $418,830 130 6 7 JK Endofanera 3pc 7-5-0-1 $566,667 100 7 8 Shake It Cerry 3tf 6-5-0-1 $217,338 76 8 9 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 7-7-0-0 $211,157 68 10 10 Nuncio 3tc 7-5-2-0 $342,003 56 -- Also: Dancin Yankee (48), Perfect Alliance (31), Bee A Magician (27), Modern Family (17), Market Share (12), Intimidate, Somwherovrarainbow (10), Classic Martine (5), Anndrovette, Rocklamation (4), Artspeak, Your So Vain (3), Bettor’s Edge, Fancy Desire, Foiled Again, Mission Brief (2), Clear Vision, Designed To Be, I Like My Boss (1). Note: Modern Family received 1 first-place vote. Compiled by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Ron Burke says there will be times when 2-year-old filly trotter Mission Brief makes him exclaim with awe, "Oh my God, look what she did." He also says it's possible he will mutter the same phrase in disappointment. "It's going to be both ways," Burke said, laughing. "She's very, very fast. All along I've thought she's our most talented 2-year-old. She just has to get her brain settled down a little bit." Mission Brief was among 17 horses entered in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands. Two $20,000 eliminations will be held Friday, with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the $320,000 estimated final on Aug. 2 at the Big M. Also on Friday will be one elimination for the $280,000 estimated Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters. Three horses - Canepa Hanover, Guess Whos Back, and Honor And Serve - received byes to the final based on earnings, so the top seven finishers in the elimination will join them. Mission Brief, who so far has been the season's fastest 2-year-old trotter, is not the only Burke horse entered in the Merrie Annabelle. The sport's leading trainer also sends out Gatka Hanover, who is unbeaten in three starts. "I know there are people in my barn that think [Gatka Hanover] is better than the other filly, but I've been a Mission Brief fan the whole way," Burke said. "Hopefully they'll both make it through and they can settle it in the final." Mission Brief has won two of three races. She went off stride in her first start, but came back to win her next by 9-3/4 lengths in 1:55.1 and then captured the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship by 13-1/4 lengths in 1:53.3. A daughter of stallion Muscle Hill out of the 2007 Breeders Crown-winning mare Southwind Serena, Mission Brief was purchased as a yearling for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and J&T Silva Stables. Southwind Serena is a half-sister to Southwind Spirit, a Muscle Hill-sired colt that Burke also trains. Last year at age 2, Southwind Spirit won the American-National Stakes and Kindergarten Classic final. "It was the reason we looked at Mission Brief," Burke said of the family connection. "And she was beautiful. That [$150,000] was the most we ever paid for a yearling and we thought we got a bargain." Burke hopes Mission Brief's two wins are an indication she is settling down a bit. "She seems to be getting better about her behavior," he said. "You're just going to have to hope that she picks the right times to put it all together." Gatka Hanover has won all three of her races in Pennsylvania, capturing a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars and two divisions of the sire stakes. "She's never been even challenged," Burke said. "She's done everything wrapped up." Gatka Hanover is by stallion Muscle Massive out of the dam Girlie Tough. She was purchased for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a half-sister to Heaven's Door, who was winless in four races last year at age 2, but has won the 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship and finished second in the Del Miller Memorial. "We bought [Gatka Hanover] because last year I saw Heaven's Door make breaks and just go unbelievable miles after she ran," Burke said. "You were just hoping this one would be a little calmer, and she is. Heaven's Door has come back this year and been awesome so we're thrilled to have [Gatka Hanover]." Gatka Hanover is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Tracy Hendler. The remainder of Gatka Hanover's Merrie Annabelle elimination, the first of the two divisions, has Wordie Hanover, Demons N Diamonds, Lock Down Lindy, Lilu Hanover, Love Me Madly, Smexi, and Sweet Thing. Mission Brief's split is filled by Sarcy, Flirting Filly, Onda Di Mare, Hot Start, Livininthefastlane, Jolene Jolene, Whitney Hanover, and Crazy Beautiful. "You know there are horses that have not yet shown their best miles," Burke said. "I don't think Mission Brief has seen the bottom and [Gatka Hanover] has never even been challenged. But I'm sure mine aren't the only horses sitting on miles they haven't shown yet. It's just going to be how every horse adjusts to the track." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Former world champion Perfect Alliance, who was victorious in her first 11 races this year before suffering back-to-back setbacks, will try to get another win streak started when she faces five harness racing foes in Friday's $20,000 first round of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Perfect Alliance finished seventh in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series on July 12 at the Meadowlands. The race was won by Bee A Magician in a world-record 1:51.1, with Perfect Alliance 4-1/4 lengths back. Afterward, Perfect Alliance was found to have bled, in addition to scoping sick, and will compete with Lasix on Friday. In her previous start on June 14, Perfect Alliance finished second to Classic Martine in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. Perfect Alliance starts Friday's Ima Lula from post six, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer Julie Miller, and is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The remainder of the field is Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, Handover Belle, Rockin With Dewey, and NF Happenstance. "I was pretty surprised because she had a layoff and trained good during the week," Miller said about Perfect Alliance's performance last week. "This time of year, we do have a little bit of sickness in the barn with the young horses. She still went in (1):52 with a last quarter in :27, it's still an impressive mile, but I didn't like how she did it. "After scoping her and pulling the bloodwork, we elected to put her on Lasix and treat her for being sick. She seems really good. We took the necessary steps to get her better for this week. I'm just hoping for a nice bounce-back race. I'll let Corey decide behind the gate what he wants to do, if he wants to leave or race from behind. I just want to see her finish strong at the wire." Perfect Alliance -- owned by Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz, and Arthur Geiger -- won the Singer Memorial Series and the Bobby Weiss Series during the winter and equaled the then-fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter when she won a division of the Miss Versatility in 1:51.2 at Woodbine Racetrack. She also set a track record at Mohawk, winning in 1:51.4. "You always want more, and we're the same way," Miller said. "She started luckily in good spots [earlier in the year] where she seemed to be the prohibitive favorite all the time, to where she did prove herself in those races in Canada. "You're going to have a clunker every now and then. They're living animals; they're going to have an off day. You just need to listen to your horse and let them decide their schedule. I'm still proud to train her and I'm sure the owners are still proud to own her." The second round of the Ima Lula is July 25 and the $55,000 estimated final is Hambletonian Day, Aug. 2, at the Meadowlands. Reynolds Memorial Stakes divisions for 3-year-old trotters are on Saturday's Meadowlands card. Only four fillies entered, so that race will be a non-betting event prior to the regular 7:15 p.m. post time for the night's first race. One of those fillies is Julie Miller-trainee Take The Money, who is auditioning for the chance to race in the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks. Eliminations for the Oaks are July 26 and the $500,000 final is Aug. 2 at the Big M. Take The Money, owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, has won six of 10 races this year, primarily in Pennsylvania. She has twice finished second to top Hambletonian Oaks contender Shake It Cerry. She will be driven Saturday by Marcus Miller and faces Bikini So Teeny, Silent Opera K, and Mity's Winner. "She's been a nice [Pennsylvania] Sire Stakes horse, in my opinion," Miller said. "We're using this race to decide whether if we're a Hambletonian Oaks contender or not. She's had a little bit of a layoff, but I want to see a nice race, finishing with trot. With a four-horse field, it's usually just a race home. That's what I want to do. "If Marcus hops off the bike and says 'She was vicious, she was super,' then you go in the Oaks. If he says she didn't seem strong, then we have to have a discussion. She trained really good. I know by program she seems to be the best, but that's why they still race. I'm just hoping for a strong race." On the boys' side, there are two 11-horse divisions worth $32,207 each. Jimmy Taker-trained Nuncio, who has won four of six races this year and twice finished second to nemesis, and stablemate, Father Patrick, is part of the 3-5 favored entry with Amped Up Hanover in the first division. Nuncio and Amped Up Hanover are eligible to the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 2. The rest of the field is Uva Hanover, Another Deposition, Sarcastic Man, Southwind Poseidon, Revrac Harbour, Resolve, Home Front, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. All are eligible to the Hambletonian except Another Deposition, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. Takter's Trixton is the 3-5 choice in the second division. The split also includes Mister B's Way, Skates N Plates, Another Transcript, Truxton, Well Built, Speak The Truth, Scacco Matto, Lightning Force, Muscle Midas, and Datsyuk. All are eligible to the Hambletonian. * * * The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters on Friday visits Harrah's Philadelphia, where several horses with famous siblings will go behind the gate. Kolachke (Donato Hanover-La Riviera Lindy) is a half-sister to 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven and Sistas (Andover Hall-Honorable Mother) is a half-sister to Honorable Daughter, the 2008 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter. Inch By Inch (Yankee Glide-Armbro Niagara) is a full sister to millionaire Falls For You, Lilu Hanover (Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover) is a full sister to stakes-winner Luckycharm Hanover, and Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough) is a three-quarter-sister to 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Heaven's Door. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications  

When harness racing trainer Ake Svanstedt announced he was leaving Sweden to compete in North America, the initial reaction of Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg, who had their star trotter Sebastian K in Svanstedt's care, was disappointment. As time passed, the brothers decided it was an opportunity. Rather than find a new trainer, they decided to send Sebastian K to the U.S. with Svanstedt. After watching Sebastian K win the first five starts of his North American campaign and trot the fastest mile in harness racing history, a 1:49 triumph in the Sun Invitational on June 28, they are happy they did. Sebastian K puts his perfect 5-for-5 record on the line in Saturday's C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack. The 8-year-old horse will start from post No. 1 with Svanstedt driving and is the 2-5 favorite on the morning line. Michael, 53, and Tristan, 43, race under the Knutsson Trotting Inc. stable banner. Their father, Bertil, who passed away in 2012, got the family started in harness racing some 50 years ago. Knutsson Trotting has 44 horses, counting racehorses, broodmares and foals. They have six horses in the U.S., including Sebastian K and the rare 2-year-old white pacing colt White Bliss. Four of the horses in the States are co-owned by Courant AB, including Peter Haughton Memorial hopeful Centurion ATM. The brothers operate gaming company TCS John Huxley and Knutsson Holdings AB, with Michael living in Sweden and Tristan in Singapore. They recently took time to speak and correspond with Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner about their passion for racing and Sebastian K. KW: What has the experience with Sebastian K been like so far? MK: It's been absolutely amazing. I'm not surprised with the speed, to be honest, but I'm surprised that he got into it so quickly; that he's been acclimatized so quickly. We knew about his capacity. Of course, 1:49 was absolutely a blast. But we knew he would have a good shot at the old record. It was a bit of a gamble for us to move him from a good environment in Sweden where there is good money and good races, but we're adventurous. We did the right thing and we're enjoying the moment. KW: Why did you decide to send Sebastian K to the States? TS: For the adventure! And to break the world record. We knew he was fast enough to compete against the best in North America and win races, but the real carrot was breaking the world record. His best time in Sweden was 1:51 flat and that was on a five-eighths-mile track that is medium fast. We believed he could go sub-1:50 on a fast mile track so after a lot of soul-searching we decided to ship him to the States with Ake with the singular aim to break the world record. KW: Was it a tough decision? MK: That was a tough decision. It took us months. Automatically, when Ake Svanstedt declared he would move to the U.S., we thought 'Oh no, oh no,' who will train [Sebastian K]. We did not have any thoughts whatsoever to move him outside the Nordic countries because he was doing so well. But then he did a very good race during the summer and we started to speculate: How fast is he? That's what triggered the question whether to move him to the U.S. or not. Not to even try would have been cowardly. So we decided to go for it and we sure did make the right decision. We're very happy about it. KW: Was it an emotional decision? MK: It was very tough emotionally. Firstly, he's done very well in the North European races. And also not to be able to go to him anytime we want, not to see him as often and go to every race, that was emotionally very tough. KW: Did you expect to see Sebastian K do so well so quickly? TS: Yes and no. I did expect him to win races early on, but not in the effortless way he has done. He has really taken well to the U.S. climate and harness racing in general. He was always at his best in Sweden racing at sprint distance (one mile) and on fast tracks in the summer. So the racing conditions in the U.S. and Canada really suits him. KW: What do you think about the Maple Leaf Trot? TS: Apart from the Hambletonian, it is the most recognized North American harness race in Europe. We often see it as the "over there" equivalent of Sweden's Elitloppet. It is steeped in tradition, and after breaking the world record this is the race we really want to win. The younger horses do not have the same cachet here as they do [in North America]. We are drawn to the older horses, the personalities. We like personalities, even with our horses. MK: We have big, big hopes for him. So far everything looks good. He has a good history with five straight wins, so we truly hope he can pull it off. KW: How did you get started in harness racing? TS: It was the passion of our late father, Bertil, and we are carrying on his legacy. The success we are experiencing with Sebastian K is down to our father's hard work and investment over 30 years in harness racing. He started with trotters and he had immediate success with a stakes-equivalent winner in Sweden called Private Property, sired by The Prophet. From there, the barn grew every year as our father was a buyer of horses and not a seller. KW: Michael, you were with your father when Sebastian K won his first classic race [the Group I King's Trophy in Sweden] at the age of 4. What was that like? MK: That was fantastic. Deep inside, we knew there was something going with him, but he had never proven himself in a big race. That was the first big race he won and it was in our hometown of Gothenburg. It was an amazing feeling. It also was [validation] that he was a good horse. Only a few months later he was second in the European Derby for 4-year-olds. That in itself was amazing, too, to be the second best in Europe at that time. KW: What was it like to see Sebastian K win in 1:49? TS: One of the highlights of my life, save for the birth of my daughter. It was 9 a.m. in Singapore and my hand was trembling. When I calmed down I went to my wine fridge to pull out a bottle of champagne, but I realized that it was not going to be strong enough so I grabbed a bottle of 24-year old rum from Guyana instead. It was a good breakfast! My brother Michael was in Sweden and it was 3 a.m. there and we spoke for over half an hour on the phone. He told me later that he was so jacked up that he could not go to bed until 6 a.m.! It was a wonderful day for our family and our thoughts were with our father. It was very emotional. KW: What is Sebastian K's schedule for the rest of the year? TS: If he feels good after the Maple Leaf Trot we will enter him for the Cashman Memorial. After that he gets a well-earned break. The next race would tentatively be the Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs, followed by Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park and Allerage at The Red Mile. He is also staked to the American-National and Dayton Derby Trot, but we have to make a decision closer to the dates. Of course, the season finale is the TVG Championship at the end of November at the Meadowlands. KW: What do you plan to do with Sebastian K after this year? TS: That is the million-dollar question. Our preference would be to combine stud duties with racing, which is the norm in Europe. I know Wishing Stone is doing just that this year in the States so it can be done. We are investigating that possibility and I am already talking to one farm about that option. But no decision has been taken yet. Sebastian K acted as a stud for some of our broodmares and he has sired six yearlings. One of them, a filly, will go under the hammer at Sweden's most prestigious yearling auction, Kolgjini Sales, in September. The dam won close to U.S.$200,000. It will be very interesting to see what price she fetches. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

This Week: Maple Leaf Trot final, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Battle of Lake Erie, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Lawrence B. Sheppard final, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will be held this Saturday (July 19) at five different racetracks. Mohawk Racetrack will offer one of their most lucrative events, the C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot for open trotters, featuring world record holder Sebastian K and defending Maple Leaf Trot champion Market Share. Northfield Park's marquee race, the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers, will also be held this Saturday. Yonkers Raceway will host the $125,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard final for 2-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host a pair of W.N. Reynolds Memorial trots with two divisions in the $64,414 3-year-old male trot and a single division in the $47,915 3-year-old filly trot. Rounding out the Saturday night action, The Meadows will offer a trio of $50,000 eliminations for their signature event, the Devlin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Mohawk entries can be found at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack hosted seven lucrative Grand Circuit events this past Saturday, led by the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds. He's Watching (Tim Tetrick) watched and waited for a straight shot to the finish line as he won the Meadowlands Pace in an all-age world record-equaling 1:46.4. The time equaled the race mark for pacers on a mile track held by Somebeachsomewhere, Holborn Hanover and Warrawee Needy. He's Watching was content to take a back seat in fifth to early leader Lyonssomewhere, who led the field to the :25.3 quarter, with Luck Be Withyou pacing along in second and JK Endofanera third along the rail. The leader held his position to the :53.2 half when JK Endofanera came off the rail, attempting to improve his position and pressuring the leader around the turn. He's Watching was behind JK Endofanera second-over. It looked like Lyonssomewhere might bottom out the field at the 1:20.3 three-quarters, but horses were soon coming from everywhere. From the huddle of horses trailing Lyonssomewhere came He's Watching, fanned five wide across the track and making up ground with every stride. Behind him and even wider were Always B Miki and Tellitlikeitis. Those three battled down the stretch with He's Watching scoring by 2-1/2 lengths over Always B Miki while Tellitlikeitis was third. He's Watching is owned by Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. In what some observers predict could be a dress rehearsal for the August 2 Hambletonian, the Jimmy Takter Stable starters finished in a fanned-out constellation of three horses across the track, with 2-5 favorite Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) first to the wire in 1:51.3 in the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old trotting colts. The field was led off the gate by Nuncio, but he was soon overtaken by Father Patrick who hit the quarter-mile mark in :27.2 and led the field to the :56 half. Muscle Network was on the move on the outside, making progress toward the lead before making a break at the top of the stretch. Father Patrick was well within himself at the 1:24.3 three-quarters, with Nuncio inching closer to the leader and Trixton advancing on those two, but unable to get past. As the field hit the finish line, Father Patrick was three-quarters of a length in front, with Nuncio two lengths in front of Trixton. Father Patrick is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, N.J. Sweet Lou sailed down the homestretch for his sixth straight win to take the $463,300 William Haughton Memorial for open pacers in 1:47.1. When the field turned for home, Captaintreacherous held the lead at the 1:21 three-quarters, but was soon set upon on the inside by Bettor's Edge and on the outside by Ron Pierce and Sweet Lou. At the wire, it was Sweet Lou with stablemate Bettor's Edge second and Captaintreacherous held for third. Sweet Lou is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 432; 2. Tim Tetrick - 429; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 730.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 347; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 182; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 167.35; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 151.1; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadows and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host eight Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for six lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Night Pro won the first race of his career at Northfield Park, but the stakes will be a little higher when the pacer returns to the Cleveland-area oval for the first time since his March 2013 debut. The purse for Night Pro's first victory was $2,000. On Saturday night, the 4-year-old competes in the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park against some of the best older pacers in harness racing. The field also includes Foiled Again, who is a two-time winner of the race and the richest pacer in North American history, plus stakes-winners Apprentice Hanover, Beach Memories, Bolt The Duer, Clear Vision, Fool Me Once, and Twilight Bonfire. Night Pro, an Indiana Sire Stakes champion and winner of six consecutive starts heading into the Battle of Lake Erie, will start from post one with driver Peter Wrenn and is 4-1 on the morning line. Foiled Again, who will leave from post seven with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke, is the 3-1 favorite. "I'm excited, to say the least," said Dale Decker, a Michigan resident who owns and trains Night Pro. "It's nice to let the rest of the country see him. I know people will be watching because of Foiled Again and the rest of them. "I think he can go with them. I just have to make sure he's healthy going in. That's the important part." Night Pro has won 21 of 28 lifetime races and $308,929. Decker, who attended the U.S. Trotting Association's Driving School in 2000 and has won 171 races as a driver and 180 as a trainer, purchased the son of Pro Bono Best-Midnight Jewel for $14,000 as a yearling at the Hoosier Sale, although he had no intention of buying the horse when he attended the sale. Decker, who runs a homebuilding company in addition to training horses, raised Night Pro for breeder Linda Marckel and expected the horse to sell for much more. "I was in a state of shock, so I started bidding," Decker said. "I didn't even have a truck or trailer there. But I had high expectations for the colt and thought he would bring more than that, so I ended up buying him." For a while, it appeared Decker's expectations would be unfulfilled. Night Pro was unraced at age 2 because he had a bone chip removed from his left-hind ankle and did little to encourage Decker until the end of February 2013. "He started back at [age] 3 and I didn't think he would make it to the races because he just couldn't seem to get over that ailment," Decker said. "He was just going through the motions. Then it was like the light switch turned on. It was like overnight he turned into a racehorse. Then, I thought I might have something." Night Pro won his first eight starts and 10 of his first 12 without ever finishing worse than second. His last victory during that span came in the July $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male pacers at Hoosier Park. When the fall championship arrived in September, Night Pro was battling illness and finished sixth. "He was a little sluggish in the last leg [of the sire stakes] and he was just no good in the final," Decker said. "It just took too much out of him. That was his last race of the year and he's come back strong this year." Now Decker will get to see if Night Pro is strong enough to handle the likes of Foiled Again, who has earned $6.31 million in his career, world champion Bolt The Duer, and 2013 Cleveland Classic winner Apprentice Hanover. Night Pro enters the Battle of Lake Erie off four straight wins in the invitational handicap at Hoosier Park, with the last three coming over 2012 American-National Stakes winner Our Lucky Chip. "I've been interested in getting outside of Indiana and seeing if he could compete with the rest of them," Decker said. "This means a lot to me." Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Night Pro, Peter Wrenn, Dale Decker, 4-1; 2. Beach Memories, Josh Sutton, Brian Brown, 15-1; 3. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 7-2; 4. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke, 9-2; 5. Fool Me Once, Aaron Merriman, Mark Austin, 6-1; 6. Twilight Bonfire, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 12-1; 7. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1; 8. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Ben Wallace, 10-1. By Ken Weingartner for, Harness Racing Communications    

There has been a flury of activities in the harness racing top ten poll for week 9 of the 2014 season. No, Sebastian K is still getting all 35 #1 votes as he should, but the middle range horses are moving up and down and in and out of the top ten list. He's Watching jumped up to #4 with his ultra impressive 1:56.4 Meadowlands Pace win, yet Dancin Yankee, who won once again, is out of the top ten list. Both Shake It Cerry and Sandbetweenurtoes moved into the top ten after very strong performances as Father Patrick and Sweet Lou are #s 2 and 3 respectively off their big scores at the Meadowlands.  Trixton, depsit a game third place finish remains in #5 but Nuncio, who beat Trixton last week, is off the top ten list in 11th place. Perfect Alliance dopped down on the list after finishing of the board for the first time this year. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 9 – 7/15/2014                                                Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (35) 8th 5-5-0-0 $201,100 350 1 2 Father Patrick 3tc 6-6-0-0 $510,931 296 2 3 Sweet Lou 5ph 9-6-1-1 $642,650 280 3 4 He’s Watching 3pc 6-3-1-1 $558,235 214 -- 5 Trixton 3tc 7-5-1-1 $267,752 149 4 6 McWicked 3pc 7-4-2-0 $393,830 100 7 7 JK Endofanera 3pc 7-5-0-1 $566,667 97 6 8 Shake It Cerry 3tf 6-5-0-1 $217,338 73 -- 9 Perfect Alliance 4tm 13-11-1-0 $177,637 67 5 10 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 6-6-0-0 $176,216 55 -- Also: Nuncio (45), Dancin Yankee (43), Market Share (35), Bee A Magician (30), Somwherovrarainbow (18), Anndrovette (15), Modern Family (14), Your So Vain (8), Fancy Desire (6), Classic Martine, Rocklamation (5), Designed To Be, P H Supercam (4), Wake Up Peter (3), Artspeak, Bettor’s Edge, Mission Brief (2), Foiled Again, I Like My Boss, Uffizi Hanover (1). Compiled by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications

1. National Debt, Scott Zeron, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1 Last year, National Debt won all four of his starts while competing in Alberta for trainer/co-owner Kelly Hoerdt, who received Canada's 2013 O'Brien Award for Horsemanship. He was sent to New Jersey-based trainer Ron Coyne Jr. for the start of this season and captured the Gilmour Memorial Series during the winter. National Debt, who finished fifth in his Pace elimination, won by JK Endofanera, has won seven of 10 lifetime races and earned $76,073. Owned by Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil, and the J&T Silva Stables, National Debt had issues with allergies earlier this season while racing in Canada and missed nearly two months prior to his Pace elim. "He had a couple good tighteners in qualifiers, and this was his first test for speed against these colts, but all in all it went well," Coyne said. "He showed a good burst of speed at the end, he came home :26.2 and he finished up really nice, so I was really happy about that. It's all a matter of the post and the trip and we'll see if we get lucky. "We missed a few of the big dances, but we're ready to go again," Coyne said. For a feature about National Debt from earlier this year, read here. 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1 JK Endofanera (Art Major-Presidential Lady) won his elimination in 1:48.2 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He is trying to become the 10th horse to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. For more, read here. 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, David Menary, 5-2 He's Watching (American Ideal-Baberhood) won his elimination in 1:48.1 and is 5-2 on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For more, read here. 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1 One of two horses in the race from the Takter Stable, Tellitlikeitis (Well Said-Kikikatie) is a son of 2009 Meadowlands Pace winner Well Said out of the million-dollar-earning mare Kikikatie. He led early in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching, but finished fifth. Tellitlikeitis, owned by Lothlorien stable, has won four of 12 career races and $389,022. He finished second to JK Endofanera in the North America Cup. "I expect him to be better," Takter said. "He had three weeks off [prior to his Pace elim] and that's a long time in this group. I had to play it like that with him, unfortunately. I cannot race him every dance because he has issues. But he's got a perfect seat, the four post. If the pace is right, we know he can pace :25 the last quarter. If I get him a little bit better, he's quick enough that he can give you something." 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1 The 2013 Breeders Crown champion finished third in his Pace elim, won by He's Watching. Luck Be Withyou has won once in five starts this season and captured six of 16 career races, good for $404,827. He is owned by John Craig and trained by Bill Cass in Canada, with Oakes taking over in the U.S. Luck Be Withyou is a son of Western Ideal out of the mare Trim Hanover. He is a three-quarter brother to millionaire female pacer American Jewel. 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1 The colt tried to find room inside of JK Endofanera in the stretch, but was unable to get past the leader and finished third in his Pace elimination. Just three-quarters of a length separated JK Endofanera, runner-up Always B Miki, and Lyonssomewhere. Geoffrey Lyons Mound owns Lyonssomewhere, who is a son of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Miss Kitty Hanover. He has won five of seven career races and $98,570. "He didn't have enough room, but I thought he raced really, really good," Takter said. "He can step out of the gate extremely well. It's hard not to take advantage of that, but by the same token, you pay a little bit for that. "At the Meadowlands, it's not necessarily the best spot to sit behind the leader unless he's a very good leader. If you don't get racing room, you're playing with luck. With luck, yes he can win, without a doubt, and we need to be lucky in this race. It will be an interesting race." 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1 Erv Miller is hoping for big things from the big horse as the year goes on. Jet Airway opened 2014 with a second-place finish to JK Endofanera in the Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands. Owned by Miller, Tangie Massey, Paul Sunderhaus, and Larry Agle, Jet Airway has won six of 18 career races and $130,834. He is a son of Jereme's Jet out of the mare Aromatic. He raced 10 times as a 2-year-old, winning three races, but was shut down in early October. Marcus Miller, who recently got career win No. 2,000, is Erv's 25-year-old son. "He's a really fast horse, a big horse," Miller said about Jet Airway. "I think, hopefully, from midseason on he'll just keep getting better. It just seems he needed the racing to get going. He went a big mile [in his elim]. Marcus did a good job and he had a lot of pace finishing. "I could tell last year he was a pretty nice horse. I wanted to shut him down because he was real immature. I think as time goes, he'll just keep getting better." 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1 Always in the hunt, Sometimes Said has won only twice but hit the board in 14 of 18 career races. He finished second by a neck from post nine in last year's Breeders Crown, which was won by Luck Be Withyou, and was second in the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Owned by Fashion Farms, Sometimes Said is a son of Well Said out of the mare Lady Sometimes. He has earned $341,254 lifetime. Sometimes Said finished second in his Pace elim, beaten 2-3/4 lengths by He's Watching. "He's had a good week," Campbell said. "It's hard to say whether post eight will help him or hurt him, it depends how the race unfolds. It would probably be in his best interest if they're rolling along up front and he can get cover in the outer tier. "It's a tough group of horses. He went a big trip last week and he'll have to come back and be better than that this week." 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1 Came home the fastest of all Meadowlands Pace finalists with a :26.1 final quarter-mile to miss by a neck to JK Endofanera in his Pace elim. Always B Miki has won five of 20 career races and earned $219,916. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or Farms, and Roll The Dice Stable. Always B Miki was disqualified from third to fifth for interference in his Hempt Memorial elimination and went off stride in his North America Cup elim. He has three wins, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, and two second-place finishes (by a neck and a nose) in the five starts this year in which he's minded his manners. "I was apprehensive coming into [the Pace elimination] because he's just been a problem horse that way," Holloway said. "He's got a lot of speed, but he's not the easiest horse to deal with. He steered fairly well [in his elim] and raced well. He can go a tough trip, he's probably one of the tougher ones that way, but he is tough to deal with. "He's got the speed to go wherever they want to go. As long as he gets a decent trip he'll work it out from there." Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin, who was trained by Holloway and won two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown (Cane Pace and Messenger) in 2007, out of the mare Artstopper. He is a half-brother to Yagonnakissmeornot, who finished second in this year's Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. 10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1 Elliott is the only trainer in the race to have won the Meadowlands Pace previously, having captured the trophy in 2006 with Artistic Fella and 2009 with Well Said. Only two trainers, Brett Pelling and Bill Robinson, have more Pace victories. Doo Wop Hanover finished fourth in his Pace elim, which was won by JK Endofanera. He is a son of 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Deer Valley Miss and is a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Knock Three Times. For his career, Doo Wop Hanover has won five of 19 races and $180,788. He won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in May and the Hempt Memorial Consolation in a career-best 1:49 on June 28. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski. Post 10 has produced four Meadowlands Pace winners, tied for the third most of any starting spot, but none since The Panderosa in 1999. "I've had better draws," Elliott said with a laugh. "But when [Doo Wop Hanover] gets on the lead or first over, he wants to rock and roll, and he's better with a trip. We should be able to get a trip from there, we'll just hope it's not a bad one. "He's been good all year. He's a nice colt. He might be a notch below the best ones, but there's so many times now when the trip dictates the outcome. We just want to be somewhere in the live flow. You've got to be in it. If you're not in it, you can't win it." * * * Tim Tetrick and Ron Pierce have enjoyed multiple successes in the Meadowlands Pace in recent years, combining to win six of the last seven editions of the race. Pierce has won the Meadowlands Pace a total of four times, second to only John Campbell's seven Pace victories for the most among all drivers in history. Pierce's victories were with Dream Away (1997), Art Official (2008), Well Said (2009) and Roll With Joe (2011). He drives Luck Be Withyou in Saturday's race. Luck Be Withyou, who starts from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line, finished third in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching. Pierce won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers with Luck Be Withyou. Tetrick has won the Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx (2007), One More Laugh (2010) and Captaintreacherous (2013). He drives He's Watching in Saturday's race, starting from post three. He's Watching, who won his Pace elimination in 1:48.1, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. "I sure would love to [win again]," Tetrick said. "I have a great horse to do it with. I like my chances. "There are some really nice colts in here and it's a tough group." Campbell will go for Meadowlands Pace win No. 8 with Doo Wop Hanover from post 10. Brian Sears, driving 2-1 morning line favorite JK Endofanera, tries for his second Pace triumph while Yannick Gingras, with Lyonssomewhere, also will be going for his second win. Scott Zeron (driving National Debt), Brett Miller (Tellitlikeitis), Marcus Miller (Jet Airway), Corey Callahan (Sometimes Said) and David Miller (Always B Miki) all are seeking their first Meadowlands Pace win. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

The author of Standardbred Old Friends, a coffee table book featuring the work of renowned equine photographer Barbara Livingston, will sell and sign copies of the book on Governor's Day at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, Delaware, on Thursday, July 24. The 216 page book features 150 photos and author Ellen Harvey's stories of 43 horses of great achievement, long gone from the spotlight, but still cherished and well cared for in the twilight of their lives. For a video about the making of the book, click here. The signing will benefit Horse Lovers United (HLU), a Delmarva group that places Standardbreds and other horses in to second careers and adoptive homes after their racing days are over. HLU placed one of the horses featured in the book, Dust Devil, who is now 24 years old and living on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Harvey will be signing at the M & T Grandstand from 3 p.m. to the close of racing that evening; the book is $30, with a portion of proceeds going to help HLU care for and place horses in need of homes. To learn more about Standardbred Old Friends, which features high profile horses like Mack Lobell, Cam's Card Shark, Winky's Gill, Staying Together, Western Dreamer and the late Moni Maker, Matt's Scooter and Giant Victory, "like" Standardbred Old Friends Book on Facebook. For more information on Horses Lovers United, go to www.horseloversunited.com. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Father Patrick is no stranger to overcoming difficult starting spots, and no stranger to providing fantastic finishes. He did both in his most recent performance, starting from post eight at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and winning the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial in a world-record 1:50.2. Post eight produces only 6.7 percent winners at Pocono Downs, the worst figure at the five-eighths-mile oval. On Saturday night, Father Patrick will leave from post nine in the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Post nine produces 8.4 percent winners at the Big M, the second-worst percentage of the 10 starting spots on the gate. Undefeated in five races this year, and the owner of a 14-race win streak dating back to last July, Father Patrick is the 4-5 favorite on the morning line in the 12-horse field. Regular driver Yannick Gingras will be at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter, who also sends out the only other horses at less than 15-1 on the morning line: Trixton, 3-1 from the second tier's post 12, and Nuncio, 4-1 from post seven. "It will be an interesting race," Takter said. "They didn't draw good, but they're good horses so we'll see what happens. Patrick got the toughest [draw] with the nine and two horses trailing, but he can do anything you want; he's so handy." The Stanley Dancer, the final major tune-up for the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands, is part of a stakes-filled Saturday at the Big M. The card also includes the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace, $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series. First race post time is 6:30 p.m. Saturday and the Haughton and Meadowlands Pace will air live beginning at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Father Patrick was last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He has won 15 of 16 career starts and earned $1.09 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. His victories last season included the Breeders Crown, William Wellwood Memorial, and Peter Haughton Memorial, which he won by 10 lengths at the Meadowlands. He captured his Breeders Crown elimination in 1:52.1, a world-record for a 2-year-old male trotter on a five-eighths-mile track, starting from outside post No. 9 at Pocono Downs. This season, Father Patrick won a division of the Historic-Dickerson Cup and two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes before sweeping his elimination and the final of the Beal. "His win [in the Beal final] was very impressive," Takter said. "He went in (1):50.2 and Yannick didn't even ask him at all. I was a little worried going into the race that he wasn't stretched out enough. They need that. Now he's got it. It's good to have that. "Patrick is, to me, the perfect horse." Nuncio, driven by John Campbell, finished second to Father Patrick in the Beal, beaten by 2-3/4 lengths. Nuncio, who is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, has won nine of 15 career races and finished second on six occasions - with five of those runner-up efforts coming to Father Patrick. Interestingly, Nuncio's win over Father Patrick came last July 12, exactly one year to the day as the Dancer. "Don't count Nuncio out," said Takter, who trains the colt for owner Stefan Melander's Stall TZ. "He's very good. John has basically nursed him, not to get him fired up, and mentally he's 10 times better than I dreamed I was going to get him. I'm sure from the seven post John is going to test him a little bit out of the gate. He's a hell of a horse. I like his chances too." Trixton, who will be driven by Takter, has won five of six races this year and is making his first start in a race with Father Patrick and/or Nuncio. He won the Goodtimes Stakes in a Canadian-record 1:51.3 on June 14, his most recent outing, and won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in 1:52.1 on May 31 at the Meadowlands. He brings a five-race win streak to the Dancer, with none of those victories coming by fewer than 4-1/2 lengths. Trixton is a son of 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill out of the mare Emilie Cas El, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1994. His family also includes past stars Andover Hall, Conway Hall and Angus Hall. "Trixton, when he has his 'A' game, we know what he can do," said Takter, who trains the colt for Brixton Medical AB and Christina Takter. "At this point, I'm sitting on three really, really good horses. I would be extremely disappointed if I don't end up winning the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian." Following is the field in post order for the Stanley Dancer Memorial with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Muscle Network, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 15-1; 2. Martiniwithmuscle, Ron Pierce, Joseph King, 30-1; 3. Revrac Harbour, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 30-1; 4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr., 20-1; 5. Skates N Plates, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 30-1; 6. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning, 30-1; 7. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, 4-1; 8. Speak The Truth, David Miller, Linda Toscano, 30-1; 9. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 4-5; 10. Well Built, Chris Ryder, Chris Ryder, 50-1; 11. Kapow Hanover, Corey Callahan, Staffan Lind, 50-1; 12. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Bettor's Edge is not the highest profile pacer in the Ron Burke Stable, but he is holding his own against the best in the sport. It's something he has done pretty much throughout his million-dollar-earning career. The 5-year-old gelding heads into Saturday's $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers at the Meadowlands off a second-place finish in the Ben Franklin Pace on June 28. He finished between stablemates Sweet Lou, who edged him by a neck, and Foiled Again. Sweet Lou and Foiled Again also are entered in the Haughton, as well as Burke-trained Clear Vision. Sweet Lou, who has a five-race win streak, is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Bettor's Edge is fourth choice at 6-1, behind Captaintreacherous (3-1) and State Treasurer (9-2). Foiled Again, who with $6.31 million in career purses is the richest harness racing horse in North American history, starts from the outside in post No. 10 and is 12-1. The Haughton and $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers will be shown live starting at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Saturday's card also includes the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series. Bettor's Edge, who joined the Burke Brigade in November 2013 after a successful stint with trainer Linda Toscano, has won six of 17 races this year, including three divisions of the spring Levy Series, and earned $285,340. "We're high on him," said Mark Weaver, who owns Bettor's Edge with Burke Racing, Mike Bruscemi, and M1 Stable. "In the Franklin, it looked like he was going to get by [Sweet] Lou and beat the best horses around. He's solid. A lot of people that follow him really like him. His lines are better than they look. He's been in against tough horses in tough spots." As a 3-year-old, Bettor's Edge won six of 25 races, including the Monument Circle, and had on-the-board finishes in the Breeders Crown, Tattersalls Pace, Little Brown Jug, Cane Pace, and Progress Pace on his way to $573,797 in season's earnings. "We always liked the horse," Weaver said, adding about Bettor's Edge's foaling year of 2009, "That year, [Sweet] Lou's crop, I love those horses. I don't think people realized how good they were. I think last year they started to realize, with Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance and some of the others and the way they raced in the aged pacing division. "We're trying to look at the immediate future as well as down the road. Foiled [Again] can't last forever; [Sweet] Lou eventually will be in the breeding shed. We like to buy horses we think can help fill voids when they happen. We thought he could do that. So far it's worked out. I wouldn't be surprised if he does some bigger and better things." If nothing else, Bettor's Edge has proved to be a durable money-earner. When he starts in the Haughton it will give him at least one race in 14 of the last 15 months. "A lot of these horses, you map out every start," Weaver said. "With him, we've been kind of winging it. He's had 38 starts since he's had a real break. Believe me, he's not getting one soon as well as he's racing. At some point he'll get the break he deserves and maybe he'll come back even better next year." Following is the Haughton field in post order with listed drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 8-1; 2. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1; 3. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 8-5; 4. State Treasurer, David Miller, Ian Moore, 9-2; 5. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson, 30-1; 6. Bettor's Edge, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 7. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Pete Foley, 12-1; 8. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 20-1; 9. Clear Vision, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 15-1; 10. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 12-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

This Week: Meadowlands Pace, W.R. Haughton Memorial, Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Delvin Miller Memorial, Golden Girls and Miss Versatility, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Hanover events for 3-year-old colt pacers and 3-year-old filly pacers, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill; and Sheppard eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit schedule continues to be a busy one and this week the spotlight shines on several racetracks, beginning with the Meadowlands. The stakes heavy Saturday card features the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, the $463,300 W.R. Haughton Memorial for free for all pacers, the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, the $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $178,450 Golden Girls for older pacing mares, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Saturday Grand Circuit action also includes the $40,000 (est.) Hanover Colt Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and the $40,000 (est.) Hanover Filly Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers, both at Balmoral Park, and two $25,000 eliminations at Yonkers in the Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old colt pacers. Grand Circuit racing for the week begins on Friday (July 11) at Mohawk Racetrack with two C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for free for all trotters. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Mohawk entries can be found at this link. Last time: Ray Schnittker had an incredible performance during last weekend's Grand Circuit action. He posted 145 training points, 125 driving points and 55.1 owner points, thanks to his success in Landmark Stakes events at Historic Track. Schnittker trained, drove and shared ownership in six of the nine Landmark winners from the Friday (July 4) card in Goshen. Among the winners was 3-year-old male pacer Stevensville, who could be heading to the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios at the end of the month. Stevensville (Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show), who was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Max C. Hempt Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, won the $19,340 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old pacers in 1:58.1 over a sloppy track. Owned by Schnittker, Paul Bordogna, and Ryan Miller, Stevensville has won seven of 21 career races and $185,079. He finished second in last year's Matron Stakes. Other winners for Schnittker, who is based at Historic Track, were 2-year-old male trotter Gabe The Bear Dean, 2-year-old female pacer Shes Ready To Rock, 3-year-old female trotter Suegrabbitnrun, 3-year-old male trotter Derby, and 2-year-old female trotter Kaliska. The Saturday (July 5) Grand Circuit feature at Meadowlands Racetrack was the inaugural $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, going 1-1/8 miles with no Lasix permitted. It drew an overflow field of 14, including defending Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, who had the misfortune to draw unlucky post 13. Your So Vain pulled a 7-1 upset, benefitting from a bold drive by trainer Ake Svanstedt who gunned to the front with a three-wide move on the backstretch and prevailed by 2-3/4 lengths. It was a terrific display by a horse that had not raced since November, and was debuting for the Svanstedt barn. The time was 2:05.3 as Your So Vain paid $16.60 to win. Bee A Magician, jammed up in traffic and shuffled far back in the early stages, kicked in strongly to get second over Flanagan Memory. JK Endofanera will be the 2-1 favorite for the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace final with He's Watching a close 5-2 second choice. The two standout colts won their $50,000 Pace eliminations on July 5, setting the stage for a classic showdown on July 12. JK Endofanera won the first elimination in a career-best 1:48.2 at the end of a surprisingly tight finish for the 2-5 favorite. Having fended off Doo Wop Hanover rounding the final turn, JK Endofanera found stretch challengers to his left as Lyonssomewhere tried to squeeze up the pylons while to his right, Always B Miki came charging down the center of the track. JK Endofanera dug in to hold off Always B Miki by a neck with Lyonssomewhere getting third. Brian Sears handled the 3 Brothers homebred trained by Ron Burke. He's Watching won the faster elimination in 1:48.1, also a lifetime best. Last year's Dan Patch Award champion following an eight for eight campaign, He's Watching has come back strong this season with two wins in five starts for Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. Despite starting from post nine, driver Tim Tetrick maneuvered He's Watching into a perfect second-over trip. They roared through the lane to reel in 17-1 longshot Sometimes Said by 2-3/4 lengths. Luck Be Withyou was third. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 392; 2. Tim Tetrick - 389; 3. Ron Pierce - 252; 4. Brian Sears - 190; 5. George Brennan - 164.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 638.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 287; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 182; 5. Joe Holloway - 142. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 145.75; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 134.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Ray Schnittker - 68.65. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Mohawk Racetrack, Yonkers Raceway, Northfield Park, The Meadowlands and The Meadows. Mohawk will race the Maple Leaf Trot; Yonkers Raceway will offer the Sheppard final; Northfield will contest the Battle of Lake Erie; The Meadowlands will have W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters; and The Meadows will have eliminations for the Adios. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit  

Alan Katz was hesitant to go to Ontario for the North America Cup last month, but he is glad he made the trip. It is unlikely he will have any similar reservations about crossing the Hudson River from New York and heading to Saturday's Meadowlands Pace. Katz and his brothers, Ron and Steve, bred and own JK Endofanera, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. The colt won his Pace elimination by a neck over Always B Miki in 1:48.2 last weekend and will start the final from post two with Brian Sears driving for trainer Ron Burke. In his previous start, June 14, JK Endofanera won the $920,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He will try to become the 10th horse in harness racing history to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. The Meadowlands Pace and $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers will be shown live on CBS Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday. The card also includes the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series. JK Endofanera's win in the North America Cup came from post nine at odds of 12-1 and followed a third-place finish in his Cup elimination. Katz drove eight hours from New York City to Mohawk, staying on the ground because other family members do not care to fly. "I asked Ron if the horse was going to be OK and told him I would be thrilled just to get a check," Katz said. "He said, 'I'm not.' Once I heard that, I figured I had to drive up there because I'd promised my brother. I thought it might be a long weekend, but everything worked out really good. Brian drove him super. "Once in a while, you get lucky. I was thrilled. The trip home seemed a lot shorter." JK Endofanera is a son of stallion Art Major out of the 3 Brothers Stables' mare Presidential Lady, who was a homebred multiple stakes winner. The 3 Brothers Stables' horses are named with the initials JK in memory of late family patriarch Jack Katz. JK Endofanera was named to honor Jack Katz as well as veterinarian Dr. Stephen P. Dey II, who passed away the day the horse was foaled at the Dey family's Heritage Hill Farm. Last year, JK Endofanera won four of seven races and finished second three times. He finished the campaign by winning the Governor's Cup at the Meadowlands. This season, he has posted wins in the Simpson Memorial Stakes and divisions of the Historic-Pocono Cup and Somebeachsomewhere in addition to his North America Cup triumph. In his Meadowlands Pace elimination, Sears and JK Endofanera sat in fourth place for the opening quarter-mile before bursting up the backstretch to take the lead at the halfway point. They then held off challenges from Always B Miki on the outside and Lyonssomewhere on the inside to win in a career-best 1:48.2. "I thought he was going to get beat, but he showed a lot of class and held them all off," Katz said. "He's probably better following horses than he is cutting the mile, but when you're the favorite every week you've got to be on the front. "We're tickled pink about him. I wish we had more like him. In this business, you never take anything for granted; they have to get a lot of good things to happen. It's a race. Anything can happen. But he's been giving us a thrill." Here is the field in post order for the Meadowlands Pace, with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. National Debt, Ron Pierce, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1; 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1; 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1; 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1; 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1; 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1; 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1; 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1; 10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

There was only slight movement in the Harness Racing Top Ten Poll for week 8. Sebastian K once again remains "undefeated" in the Number 1 spot with all 35 top votes. Dancin Yankee did move into the top ten ranking and is in 10th place while Modern Family moved off the list for the first time in weeks and is at number 11. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 8 – 7/8/2014                                                   Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (35) 8th 4-4-0-0 $182,500 350 1 2 Father Patrick 3tc 5-5-0-0 $352,431 266 2 3 Sweet Lou 5ph 8-5-1-1 $411,000 256 3 4 Trixton 3tc 6-5-1-0 $229,712 240 4 5 Perfect Alliance 4tm 12-11-1-0 $177,637 191 5 6 JK Endofanera 3pc 6-5-0-1 $566,667 178 6 7 McWicked 3pc 7-4-2-0 $393,830 85 8 8 Anndrovette 7pm 10-4-1-2 $366,037 77 7 9 Somwherovrarainbow 4pm 10-6-3-1 $355,523 62 9 10 Dancin Yankee 6ph 18-11-3-1 $277,640 53 -- Also: Modern Family (48), Nuncio (23), Market Share (17), Your So Vain (14), He’s Watching (13), Fancy Desire (11), Classic Martine, Foiled Again, Shake It Cerry (9), Uffizi Hanover (5), Designed To Be, State Treasurer (2), Domethatagain, I Like My Boss, Maven, P H Supercam, Tellitlikeitis (1). Compiled by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications

Harness racing trainer Dave Menary might have been concerned when He's Watching lost for the first time in his career earlier this season, but the setback was something of a blessing for the 35-year-old trainer. "When you're undefeated and you're trying to stay undefeated, it's a lot of pressure," Menary said. "Since he got beat I've had a lot more fun." Of course, winning again factors into that fun, and Menary hopes it continues in Saturday's $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. He's Watching won his Pace elim by 2-3/4 lengths over Sometimes Said in 1:48.1 last weekend. He's Watching, who will start the Pace final from post three with driver Tim Tetrick, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. North America Cup winner JK Endofanera, who captured his Pace elim in 1:48.2, is the 2-1 favorite. He will start from post two with driver Brian Sears at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. "Everything he's gotten, he's earned," Menary said about He's Watching, who has won 10 of 13 career races and earned $461,957. "There are so many good horses out there, and they go such big speeds, you need the speed but you need the luck too. "You're not going to dominate these horses. There are multiple horses that can go in (1):48 and change, and every horse in every race can go in (1):49. You need to have the speed, you need to race hard and have guts, and maybe have a little bit of luck." He's Watching raced solely on the New York Sire Stakes circuit last year, but dominated on his way to the championship for 2-year-old male pacers. He set or equaled two world records as well as track records at five different racetracks and was named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer in the U.S. In four of his wins, He's Watching was in front from gate to wire. In three other victories, he had the lead by the halfway point. The only time he failed to have the early lead came in his career debut, when he went off stride at the start and spotted the field more than 14 lengths, but still came back to win by three-quarters of a length. "He's just a good horse," Menary said. "He's a good horse no matter what track he races at, or what horses he races against. But now he's racing a lot more good horses. Last year in New York, it was pretty much him against the clock. We had to over-race him a little bit to keep him out of trouble and get the job done." This year, He's Watching lost his first race of the year, finishing sixth in his elimination for the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway. He bounced back to win a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk before finishing second in his elim for the North America Cup and third in the final. He won his Meadowlands Pace elim from post nine, sitting fifth through the halfway point before getting to follow Sometimes Said around the final turn and kicking home in :26.4 over the final quarter-mile. "It's the first time he ever got a trip in his whole life," Menary said. "He's always been doing all the work or he's been racing against the clock. [In the elimination] Tim did a great job. It's almost like he learned to race a little bit and he got a trip and it worked out the way we wanted it to." Menary owns He's Watching with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and the Muscara Racing Trust. The colt, a son of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Baberhood, was purchased for a mere $3,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. His family includes millionaires Western Ideal, Leah Almahurst, and Naughty But Nice. "He's just a versatile horse with an unbelievable motor, so we have a lot of tools that we can work with," said Menary, an Ontario resident whose recent successes include Battle of Waterloo winners Tarpon Hanover and Prodigal Son, as well as stakes-winners Tea Party Princess and Haul Away. "The first start of the year, it was just a series of bad events and you turn the page. Things haven't fallen in line exactly the way they should have, but I'm not disappointed with the colt or the start of the year. I think this is a step in the right direction. I think we're going to hear a lot of good from him this year." Here is the field in post order for the Meadowlands Pace, with drivers from the eliminations, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. National Debt, Ron Pierce, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1; 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1; 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1; 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1; 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1; 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1; 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1; 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1; 10. Doo Wop Hanover, Corey Callahan, Steve Elliott, 30-1. Story and photo by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

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