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Freehold, NJ --- Ken Warkentin gets up early Sunday morning and hops into the car to head to a hockey rink. Although he spent the better part of Saturday calling harness racing at Freehold and the Meadowlands, finishing work around midnight, he is energized. When he arrives at the rink, he will not be playing in a game, though. He puts on black pants, a striped shirt, and gets ready to have a new kind of fun. The 58-year-old Warkentin is in his first year as a USA Hockey official. Warkentin is no stranger to hockey. He grew up in Toronto and was starting to skate at the same age he was learning to walk. He played organized hockey in youth leagues, high school and college, and for several winters was on as many as four teams at the same time. As an adult, he continues to play hockey in recreational leagues. But now Warkentin is enjoying another side of the sport. Earlier this year, at the urging of his wife, Warkentin completed an officiating class and is now a certified Level 1 USA Hockey official. He has worked 10 games so far, for ages 10-and-under (Squirt) and 8-and-under (Mite). “It’s quite challenging and intense,” Warkentin said. “But being out there with the kids, and the game, it’s just a lot of fun. It’s high-octane fun. “I’ve had nothing but pleasant experience so far. No parents have thrown rotten tomatoes at me yet.” Warkentin is paired with a more experienced official in each game as he gets more comfortable in his role. Unlike the NHL, which has two linesmen and two referees, these games are worked by only two officials. “You’ve got to skate your tail off and know the rulebook inside and out,” Warkentin said. “It’s a team effort between two guys and you have to work together. It’s really all about positioning, but you need to hustle. “The games I’ve watched experienced officials do, it looks like they’re doing nothing. It looks like they’re standing in one spot the whole game. It just comes with experience to be in the right position; to see what is going on and being in position to make the right calls. It’s a real challenge, but it’s a lot of fun.” Warkentin officiates mostly on Sundays because of his schedule. He drives up to an hour to get to the various rinks and has worked primarily travel league games. “These kids are fast and they’ve got skill,” Warkentin said. “You’ve got to be on your toes and laser focus for three 15-minute periods. It’s a fast game and split-second decisions. You can’t stop the game and ask to think about it. You have to see what you see and call it right away. It’s kind of like the races, in a way. When I call races, I don’t think, I react. “Of course, you’re going to make mistakes. The professionals make mistakes all the time. But everyone here knows you’re not only developing the players, you’re trying to develop the referees. We’re all in the same boat. You just have to be honest when you mess up. You apologize and move on.” Warkentin, who has a Level 2 USA Hockey coaching certificate and has helped at clinics in the past, would like to work his way up the officiating ladder. “I’d like to challenge myself and do higher levels,” Warkentin said. “You only get out of something what you put into it. I’m taking this seriously. This means a lot to these kids and their coaches and their parents. When I get my assignment, I can’t stop thinking about it all week. I want to do it right. “Even if I’m up at 6 a.m. after a late night working, I’m not tired. I’m excited. I can’t explain it. When I get on the ice, there is something magical about it.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Freehold, NJ --- Following is the final harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll of 2017. The year’s final stakes result, Downbytheseaside’s victory in the Hap Hansen Progress Pace, did not lead to any shuffling of positions in the rankings, although “Seaside” added 36 points to his total and inched nearer to the top three. Hannelore Hanover finished the season No. 1, followed by Ariana G and Manchego. Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon completed the top five. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December 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. Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Hannelore Hanover (14) 5tm 17-10-5-0 $1,049,129 320 1 2 Ariana G (13) 3tf 15-12-2-1 $1,123,690 312 2 3 Manchego (4) 2tf 12-12-0-0 $873,948 276 3 4 Downbytheseaside (3) 3pc 22-14-2-3 $1,602,452 252 4 5 Fear The Dragon (1) 3pc 18-12-4-0 $1,350,156 182 5 6 What The Hill 3tc 18-9-1-2 $948,178 155 6 7 Youaremycandygirl 2pf 11-9-0-0 $895,615 148 7 8 Emoticon Hanover 4tm 13-5-4-3 $429,416 64 8 9 Blazin Britches 3pf 15-11-2-0 $540,424 62 9 10 Lost In Time 2pc 9-5-2-0 $608,112 36 10 Agent Q (27); Pure Country (20); Fourth Dimension (15); Stay Hungry (12); Keystone Velocity (9); Twister Bi (7); Devious Man (5); Huntsville, Nike Franco N, Plunge Blue Chip (4); All Bets Off, Crazy Wow, Marion Marauder (2); Alarm Detector, Beckhams Z Tam, Easy Lover Hanover, Filibuster Hanover, Mach It So (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

After becoming only the fourth driver in harness racing history to win 1,000 races in a year, Aaron Merriman is looking to add as many victories to his total as possible by the end of the season. And while it will be impossible to surpass Tim Tetrick's record of 1,189 wins in 2007, Merriman could finish his campaign No. 2 on the list. "That would be phenomenal," Merriman said, adding with a laugh, "Then it would be two redheads at the top. People might want to start dying their hair." Merriman got his 1,000th win of the year Saturday and entered Monday with 1,006 victories for 2017. Merriman passed Tony Morgan, who won 1,004 times in 2006, for the third-most wins in a year and now has only Walter Case Jr.'s 1,077 triumphs in 1998 separating him from Tetrick. "It's pretty crazy," Merriman said. "To join the three other men that I have is just unbelievable. A lot of things have to go right to even win that many races in a year. It's tough. It's just very special in a sport that's so old. When I got it, it was just very surreal. It was a very special moment, a very special accomplishment. I'm just very proud." Merriman will end this year on top of the sport's standings in wins for the third consecutive year --- his 1,006 victories are 402 more than No. 2 George Napolitano Jr. --- and he is the first driver in history to win at least 800 races in four consecutive years. Merriman won 890 races last year and 874 in 2015. His 841 victories in 2014 were second to Ronnie Wrenn Jr.'s 847. Entering Monday, Merriman had driven in 4,327 races this year while competing primarily at Northfield Park in Ohio, where he will end Wrenn's four-year reign as the top driver, and The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. "A lot of people don't realize, but it's not easy to stay fit and fresh for that many races," said Merriman, who has driven in 1,500 races more than any driver this year. "I think that's an accomplishment in itself. I'm almost more proud of being able to do that. Winning races is great, but to be able to keep up a frantic pace like that, a lot of people can't do that. It can wear on you mentally and physically. I'm very proud of that." For his career, the 39-year-old Merriman has won 9,735 races, which ranks 16th in North American harness racing history. He was the second-youngest driver to reach 9,000 victories, behind only Tetrick, who did it when he was 34. "You hope you're going to have a long career, but no one knows what is going to happen," Merriman said. "A lot of this seems to have happened in a blink of an eye. I guess time flies when you're having fun. I still consider driving horses a phenomenal time; it's very fun to me. "I think the people --- the drivers, the trainers, the owners, the grooms; everybody involved --- is the biggest reason why I love it so much. There are good days and bad days, but all in all it's all part of the process. I can't say enough about everybody that's been involved. I just love it. The camaraderie is what makes it so special." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Harness racing's two richest horses this year, Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon, will meet for the final time in Thursday's $308,060 Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. Downbytheseaside, who has earned $1.44 million this season, will start from post No. 2 with Chris Page in the sulky and is the 8-5 morning-line favorite. Fear The Dragon, with $1.27 million in the bank, leaves from post five with David Miller at the lines and is 9-5. Both horses are trained by Brian Brown. Thursday's 13-race card, which also includes four $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund championships for 2-year-olds, begins at 4:30 p.m. EST. The Progress Pace is race 10 with a 7:30 p.m. estimated post time. Downbytheseaside won last week's Progress Pace elimination by three lengths over Fear The Dragon in 1:50.1. "Seaside" and "Dragon" have met six times this year, with Dragon winning three races (North America Cup, Hempt Memorial, Little Brown Jug elimination) and Seaside winning two (Milstein Memorial and Progress elim). Both horses have battled health and foot issues during their campaigns, but have combined to win 25 races. Downbytheseaside enters the Progress final with a three-race win streak and four victories in his last five starts. His only loss during that span was a second-place finish in the Breeders Crown. For the year, Downbytheseaside has won 13 of 21 races. He has finished off the board only three times, with two of the occurrences on the same day at the Little Brown Jug. In addition to his previously mentioned victories, his triumphs include the Messenger Stakes, Art Rooney Pace, Monument Circle, Matron, and Jug Preview. "The horse right now, according to Brian, is as good now as he's ever been," said Jim Koehler, whose Country Club Acres owns Downbytheseaside with Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing. "You just wonder how this race will go. Every horse race seems to be different; a different situation as far as who is going to leave, who is not going to leave, where you're going to end up. "He's a funny horse. He evidently likes the long trip on the outside. If he's in a bunch and can't get out like he likes to, it seems to be when he gets in trouble. When he leaves at about the three-eighths or so he seems to just keep on wearing them down." Downbytheseaside will retire at the completion of the season and stand at Sugar Valley Farm in 2018 in partnership with Diamond Creek Farm. "The horse has worked hard and it would be nice for him to finish (with a win). Am I disappointed in the Jug? Yes, no question. I'm disappointed in the Breeders Crown. But you can't complain. The horse has won more than $2 million in his career. There must be a lot of people that are more disappointed than I am." Fear The Dragon has won 12 of 17 races this year for owner Bruce Trogdon's Emerald Highlands Farm. The colt's appearance in the Progress elimination was his first start since finishing eighth in his Breeders Crown elimination Oct. 21. He was scratched from an Oct. 28 race because of health issues. Trogdon paid $25,000 to enter Fear The Dragon in the Progress Pace because the horse was not staked to the event. The decision was made following a sharp training mile and consultation with Brown and Miller. "It was a tough call, but I hated to end the year on a bad note," Trogdon said. "We decided to put him in and let the chips fall where they may. "He raced pretty good (in the Progress elimination) but he definitely got beat by Seaside. But he needed the race. As far as this week, I don't know if Dragon is the Dragon we saw during the summer, but we'll see what happens. He might have just needed that race last week." In addition to his previously mentioned wins, Fear The Dragon's victories this year include the Adios and a division of the Tattersalls Pace. He has finished off the board only twice, with both occurring in the past three-and-a-half months while he was limited to five races because of his health woes. "I wish all that didn't happen, but it did," Trogdon said. "Before he got sick, we didn't duck any races. We went to them all. You can't take away all the things he already did." Following is the field for the Hap Hansen Progress Pace. The race is named in honor of former Dover Downs and Brandywine Raceway executive Wilmer E. "Hap" Hansen, who passed away in 2014. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Western Joe - Western Ideal - Yannick Gingras-Christopher Choate-5/1 2. Downbytheseaside - Somebeachsomewhere-Chris Page-Brian Brown-8/5 3. Geez Joe - Roll With Joe - Andy Miller-Erv Miller-4/1 4. Music Is Art - Art Major - Corey Callahan-Jake Leamon-8/1 5. Fear The Dragon - Dragon Again - David Miller-Brian Brown-9/5 6. Normandy Beach - Somebeachsomewhere - Tim Tetrick-Scott DiDomenico-8/1 7. Mac's Jackpot - Somebeachsomewhere - Brett Miller-Jeffrey Smith-9/2 8. Blood Line - Somebeachsomewhere - Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-6/1 Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine harness racing Horse of the Year but it might give an indication how difficult the choice will be for the members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association when they vote on year-end honors next month. Hannelore Hanover moved into the No. 1 spot in this week’s rankings following her win in last weekend’s TVG Series championship for female trotters. She took over the top position from Ariana G, whose season ended with her Breeders Crown victory, although each horse received 14 first-place votes. The two female trotters were separated by five points in the voting. Manchego was third in the poll followed by Hap Hansen Progress Pace elimination winner Downbytheseaside and elimination runner-up Fear The Dragon. What The Hill, who beat older horses to win last weekend’s TVG Series championship for male trotters, was sixth in the rankings followed by Three Diamonds Stakes winner Youaremycandygirl, who moved up a notch past TVG female trot runner-up Emoticon Hanover. Lost In Time, who won the Governor’s Cup, joined the ratings at No. 10. The final Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll for 2017 will be released next week.  Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Hannelore Hanover (14) 5tm 17-10-5-0 $1,049,129 319 2 2 Ariana G (14) 3tf 15-12-2-1 $1,123,690 314 1 3 Manchego (4) 2tf 12-12-0-0 $873,948 286 3 4 Downbytheseaside (1) 3pc 21-13-2-3 $1,448,422 216 4 5 Fear The Dragon (2) 3pc 17-12-3-0 $1,273,141 164 5 6 What The Hill 3tc 18-9-1-2 $948,178 154 6 7 Youaremycandygirl 2pf 11-9-0-0 $895,615 150 8 8 Emoticon Hanover 4tm 13-5-4-3 $429,416 66 7 9 Blazin Britches 3pf 15-11-2-0 $540,424 63 9 10 Lost In Time 2pc 9-5-2-0 $608,112 49 -- Pure Country (32); Agent Q (28); Fourth Dimension (26); Stay Hungry (15); Keystone Velocity (11); Twister Bi (9); Huntsville (8); Plunge Blue Chip (6); Devious Man (3); Crazy Wow (2); Alarm Detector, All Bets Off, Beckhams Z Tam, Filibuster Hanover (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Ron Burke will send What The Hill to face older foes in Saturday's $350,000 TVG Series championship for male trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack and the harness racing trainer is interested to see how the colt responds. What The Hill received an invitation to the TVG finale because of his win in October's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters at Hoosier Park. He is the third consecutive Breeders Crown 3-year-old champion to try the TVG, following Bar Hopping and The Bank. Bar Hopping finished fifth last year and The Bank was seventh in 2015. Joining What The Hill in this year's race are Lookslikeachpndale, Mambo Lindy, Pinkman, Crazy Wow, and Dayson. Crazy Wow and Dayson also are trained by Burke. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Information and Research Department, What The Hill is trying to become the first 3-year-old male trotter in recent history to win against older foes in a series final worth at least $100,000 since Before He Cheats captured the $120,000 Chester Late Closing Series in 2007. The only other instance since 1992 of a 3-year-old trotter winning a race worth at least $100,000 against older horses came on the female side, when filly CR Kay Suzie defeated seven mares in the Breeders Crown at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. "I'm excited to try this," Burke said. "(What The Hill) loves the Meadowlands and it's a short field, which gives him options. It's something neat to try to see where he is and how much he has to improve for next year if he races." The Meadowlands on Saturday also hosts TVG Series championships for female trotters, male pacers and female pacers. In addition, the 13-race card includes the "Fall Final Four" stakes for 2-year-old trotters and pacers. Post time is 7:15 p.m. EST for the night's first race. What The Hill has won six times in his career at the Meadowlands. In his most recent appearance at the track, in August, he finished first in the Hambletonian but was disqualified for interfering with another horse in the stretch. On Saturday, the colt starts from post five with driver David Miller. "The best part is that he's very similar to me to Crazy Wow," Burke said. "That's who I most would compare him to; just how they move and their ability levels. I think right at this time they're very similar." What The Hill has won eight of 17 races this year and earned $774,928 for owners Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. For his career, the son of Muscle Hill out of K T Cha Cha has won 11 of 31 races and $1.09 million. Two other of this year's Breeders Crown champions will meet in the $175,000 TVG Series final for trotting mares: Hannelore Hanover, who defeated male rivals in the Breeders Crown Open Trot, and Emoticon Hanover, who won the Breeders Crown Mare Trot. Completing the four-horse TVG field are Barn Doll and Caprice Hill. Hannelore Hanover, a 5-year-old mare who also beat the boys in the Maple Leaf Trot, has won nine of 16 races this season and earned $952,879. Emoticon Hanover, a 4-year-old, has won five of 12 starts this year and earned $385,666. Both hold world records, with Hannelore Hanover's mark of 1:49.2 the fastest in history for a female trotter and Emoticon Hanover's 1:50.2 the fastest in history for a female trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. "It's a short field but it's good horses," Burke said. "(Hannelore Hanover) will have to be sharp. She trained great last week, so hopefully she will be good." Burke stakes-winners All Bets Off and Check Six are among the seven horses in the $350,000 TVG Series championship for male pacers. Mach It So, who won this year's William R. Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands, and stakes-winners McWicked and Dealt A Winner also are in the field. "All Bets Off, to me, needs to win this," Burke said. "If he wins it I think he's aged pacer of the year, so it's a big priority to try to win this race." The $175,000 TVG Series championship for female pacers includes 2016 winner Lady Shadow, this year's Breeders Crown Mare Pace winner Pure Country and stakes-winners Nike Franco N, Blue Moon Stride, Darlinonthebeach, and Bedroomconfessions. Burke's night is not limited to TVG action. Among the remaining horses from his stable in action is Breeders Crown 2-year-old pacing filly champion Youaremycandygirl in the $381,200 Three Diamonds. She will start from post 10 with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. "I hate the draw, but she's a great horse," Burke said. "She will put herself in the right position. Yannick will figure something out from out there." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

After rebounding from a disappointing outcome in the Breeders Crown with a win in last week's Valley Victory Stakes elimination, 2-year-old trotter Fourth Dimension will try to wrap up his season with one more harness racing victory in Saturday's $464,650 final at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Valley Victory is one of the "Fall Final Four" stakes for 2-year-old trotters and pacers Saturday at the Big M. The Valley Victory, for male trotters, is joined by the $420,750 Goldsmith Maid for female trotters, $411,700 Governor's Cup for male pacers, and $381,200 Three Diamonds for female pacers. In addition, the card includes TVG Series championships for trotters and pacers. Fourth Dimension, trained by Marcus Melander, starts the Valley Victory final from post five after beating Kinda Lucky Lindy by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:55 last weekend. Brian Sears will drive the colt, who has won seven of 10 races and earned $176,700 for owner Courant Inc. In his start prior to the Valley Victory elimination, Fourth Dimension finished fifth in the Breeders Crown on Oct. 28 at Hoosier Park. He was the 1-2 favorite after winning his Breeders Crown elimination in a track-record 1:54, but was unable to find his footing in the final. "We were disappointed after the Breeders Crown," Melander said. "He had a lot of problems with the surface that day. It was the same for everyone, but my horse just had a lot of problems with it. He's a horse that really needs some grip and it was just slippery for him. It was too bad it was that day, but there is nothing we can do about it now. "(Last week) I was very happy with how he looked and how he trotted. He trained good after the Breeders Crown, otherwise I wouldn't have put him in there. He came out of the race good and I'm going to train him (Wednesday) a little bit. He seems very good." Fourth Dimension has won three of his past four starts, including a 1:52.4 victory in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile. That time is tied for the fastest race mile of the season by a 2-year-old trotter. In addition, the colt set or equaled track records four times this year. In the Valley Victory, Fourth Dimension's foes include Samo Different Day, who in October won a division of the Madison County at Hoosier Park in a then-track-record 1:54.4. Samo Different Day, who finished second in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Matron Stakes and was third in the Breeders Crown, received a bye to the final. Also in the field are Matron Stakes winner Wolfgang, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Fashionwoodchopper, Kentucky Sire Stakes winner Hat Trick Habit, and Kindergarten Series winner Tito. "I'm looking forward to Saturday," Melander said. "He's beaten these horses before. It's a nice group of colts, but I know my horse is one of the best out there. He's showed a lot. He's a very nice colt." The Goldsmith Maid features elimination winner Plunge Blue Chip, who has won eight of nine races for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Plunge Blue Chip's victories this season also include the Matron Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters. Among the horses joining her in the Goldsmith Maid are stakes-winners Hey Blondie, who received a bye to the final, and Seviyorum, who finished second in the Breeders Crown. Breeders Crown champion Stay Hungry, who received a bye, leads the group for the Governor's Cup, which also includes elimination winner Springsteen as well as stakes-winners Lost In Time, Closing Statement, and Nutcracker Sweet. The Three Diamonds features a field that includes Breeders Crown winner Youaremycandygirl and fellow stakes-winners Kissin In The Sand, Rainbow Room, Majorsspeciallady, Strong Opinion, and Reign On Me. Youaremycandygirl, Rainbow Room and Majorsspeciallady received byes. Kissin In The Sand was the elimination winner. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing three-year-old male pacers Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon are neck and neck in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, with a meeting in Wednesday’s elimination of the Hap Hansen Progress Pace at Dover Downs -- and another potential meeting in the Nov. 30 final -- on the horizon. Downbytheseaside won last week’s Matron Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers and moved up to the No. 4 spot in this week’s rankings, a position held previously by Fear The Dragon. Downbytheseaside is the 9-5 second choice on the morning line in the Progress Pace elimination, where he starts from the second tier’s post nine with Chris Page driving for trainer Brian Brown. Fear The Dragon, also trained by Brown, is the 8-5 favorite from post seven with David Miller in the sulky. Fear The Dragon was supplemented to the Progress Pace for $25,000. Eleven 3-year-old male pacers entered the Progress Pace. The top eight finishers from Wednesday’s elimination advance to the final. There were no other changes in position in this week’s poll. A total of seven of the horses ranked in the top 10 will be in action this week. No. 2 Hannelore Hanover and No. 7 Emoticon Hanover will face each other in Saturday’s TVG Series championship for female trotters at the Meadowlands. No. 6 What The Hill, who won the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, will face older competition in the TVG Series championship for male trotters. Also in action Saturday at the Big M will be No. 8 Youaremycandygirl in the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old female pacers and No. 10 Stay Hungry in the Governor’s Cup. Click here for Saturday's complete Meadowlands card. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December 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 26 – 11/21/2017 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Ariana G (16) 3tf 15-12-2-1 $1,123,690 324 1 2 Hannelore Hanover (10) 5tm 16-9-5-0 $952,879 305 2 3 Manchego (5) 2tf 12-12-0-0 $873,948 288 3 4 Downbytheseaside (1) 3pc 20-12-2-3 $1,430,922 209 5 5 Fear The Dragon (3) 3pc 16-12-2-0 $1,264,391 200 4 6 What The Hill 3tc 17-8-1-2 $774,928 104 6 7 Emoticon Hanover 4tm 12-5-3-3 $385,666 103 7 8 Youaremycandygirl 2pf 10-8-0-0 $714,545 102 8 9 Blazin Britches 3pf 15-11-2-0 $540,424 93 9 10 Stay Hungry 2pc 8-6-0-0 $437,964 32 10 Agent Q (30); Twister Bi (20); Keystone Velocity (18); Crazy Wow (15); Marion Marauder (11); Pure Country (9); Lost In Time (7); Filibuster Hanover, Fourth Dimension, Resolve (6); Alarm Detector, Darlinonthebeach (5); Huntsville, Nike Franco N (4); Bill’s Man, Fiftydallarbill, Phaetosive (3); Devious Man, Easy Lover Hanover, Kissin In The Sand (2); All Bets Off, Beckhams Z Tam, Bit Of A Legend N, International Moni (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Harness racing trainer Tony Alagna knows Breeders Crown champion Stay Hungry will race in next week's $411,700 Governor's Cup final and he hopes to send the colt some company for the event. Alagna-trained American History and Captain Deo are among the 2-year-old male pacers in Saturday's single Governor's Cup elimination at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The top nine horses from the $20,000 elimination will join Stay Hungry in the $411,700 final on Nov. 25 at the Big M. Stay Hungry received a bye based on earnings. The Governor's Cup is part of the "Fall Final Four," four stakes for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. Saturday's card also includes single $20,000 eliminations for next week's $464,650 Valley Victory for male trotters, the $420,750 Goldsmith Maid for trotting fillies and the $381,200 Three Diamonds for pacing fillies. Post time is 7:15 p.m. (EST) for the night's first race. Fourth Dimension is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the elimination for the Valley Victory, where Samo Different Day received a bye. Basquiat is the 3-1 choice in the Goldsmith Maid elimination (bye to Hey Blondie) and Kissin In The Sand is the 2-1 pick in the Three Diamonds elimination (byes to Youaremycandygirl, Majorsspeciallady, and Rainbow Room). Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six for their respective finals. All other finalists will be in an open draw. American History, undefeated in three races since launching his career a month ago, is the 7-2 second choice in the Governor's Cup elimination, leaving from post nine with driver Yannick Gingras. Metro Pace winner Lost In Time, now in the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, is the 3-1 favorite from post 10. Captain Deo, who has a win in three starts and was second to American History in his most recent race, is 15-1 from post three with driver Joe Bongiorno. "Both colts just needed a little time," Alagna said about their late starts to the season. "We were high on them all along and they trained down with Stay Hungry and Key Advisor and our better colts. "So far (American History) has put it together on the racetrack. I sure wish he'd drawn better, but I'll leave it up to Yannick. "(Captain Deo) I thought came up a little short the other night, but he was used pretty good getting out of there so I think that's why he was a little flat on the end of it. He scoped clean, his blood work was good, and he trained back good. Hopefully with a trip he'll fire right back." Alagna anticipated a bye for Stay Hungry, so he had the horse in a qualifier last Saturday at the Meadowlands. The colt won in 1:53. "We got a good work into him last weekend," Alagna said. "I'll train him a pretty good trip on Saturday and he'll be fit going into the final." In addition to sending horses to the Governor's Cup, Alagna will have Missle Hill in the Valley Victory elimination. Missle Hill was third in his Breeders Crown elimination and seventh in the final, when he started from post eight. He is 15-1 in the Valley Victory elim, leaving from post three with driver Peter Wrenn. "He's shown in the last couple starts he can go with the better colts when he gets a decent shot," Alagna said. "He had bad luck in the Breeders Crown and just got away too far back. But he showed good trot on the end of it. If he races as good as he did in his elimination of the Breeders Crown he can get some money." The sport's top pacing mares also will be in action Saturday, competing in the final preliminary round of the TVG Series. Nike Franco N is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Alagna's Bedroomconfessions is 5-1. The 5-year-old mare has won 20 of 77 career races and earned $952,754. She was second to Pure Country in the Breeders Crown Mare Pace. "She's had a solid career," Alagna said. "Every year she shows up and does her work and puts a couple hundred thousand on her card. She's almost to a million dollars, and for a homebred, we're tickled to death with that. Hopefully she races as well as she did in (the Breeders Crown) because she was excellent. "After this year we'll most likely breed her to (Captaintreacherous). That's been our plan all along. We always hoped we could get her to a million dollars, but if we didn't it wasn't the end of the world. It would be a nice feather in her cap because she's earned it. She got a new lifetime mark (1:48.4) this year. She deserves it." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- It is unlikely Barbara Matthews will recapture the breeding magic she conjured up in the mid-2000s when she saw the births of Foiled Again, a pacer who became harness racing’s richest horse, and Floored, a Morgan who became a multiple-world-champion in the show world. But she is willing to dream. Matthews, after a decade away from breeding horses for harness racing, last week sold a yearling trotter named Prospect Hill for $130,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. The colt, by stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Louise Kemp, was Matthews’ first since breeding pacer Tres Noel, who was born in 2007. Her goal now is to produce a top trotter. “I don’t know if it will ever come true, but my one desire is to get a really nice trotter,” said Matthews, who recently returned to New Jersey after living in South Carolina. “Everyone has to have a goal. I guess you could call it the Impossible Dream.” Matthews is best known in the harness racing world as the breeder of Foiled Again, who was born in 2004 and recently got career win No. 97. The 13-year-old gelding, by Dragon Again out of In A Safe Place, has earned $7.55 million in purses and with three more wins would become the 16th pacer in the last 40 years to reach 100 victories. Only two horses in that group are millionaires, Rambling Willie and Pilgrim’s Fiery. “He’s just been truly amazing,” Matthews said. “He’s certainly got a very large fan club, and deservedly so.” Matthews’ champion Morgan, Floored, was born in 2005 and named after a pacer that raced for Tony Abbatiello. “I grew up in Colts Neck across the street from his farm,” Matthews said about Abbatiello, who passed away last month at the age of 89. “He always looked out for me as a kid and I would ride my pony on his track. He was one of the greatest people to me growing up.” In addition to Louise Kemp, Matthews bought 3-year-old trotting filly Cool Cates in September and 4-year-old trotting mare Spicedbourbongirl earlier this month. Both will be bred when they finish their racing careers. Cool Cates, the Buckette winner and runner-up in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, will complete her career Thursday in the $186,600 Matron Stakes at Dover Downs. For Thursday’s complete entries, click here. Matthews said she is thankful to Noel Daley, Richard Meirs, Rob Pennington and Kelvin Harrison for their assistance. “I’ve got to go into this and hit them hard, or what’s the point of trying,” Matthews said, adding with a laugh, “We’re not getting any younger. I’m not getting any younger that’s for sure. “I missed the foals. I love these horses. I can’t imagine not having them in my life. We’ll see what happens; right, wrong or indifferent. I’m having fun.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Freehold, NJ --- There was little movement in this week's harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, with the top five horses remaining unchanged. Ariana G continues to lead the poll with 326 points, with Hannelore Hanover second, followed by Manchego, Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside. Matron Stakes winner Youaremycandygirl made the only move in this week’s poll, improving from No. 9 to No. 8 in the rankings. The remainder of the horses in the Top 10 were idle. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December 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. Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Ariana G (16) 3tf 15-12-2-1 $1,123,690 326 1 2 Hannelore Hanover (10) 5tm 16-9-5-0 $952,879 306 2 3 Manchego (5) 2tf 12-12-0-0 $873,948 292 3 4 Fear The Dragon (3) 3pc 16-12-2-0 $1,264,391 197 4 5 Downbytheseaside (1) 3pc 19-11-2-3 $1,325,922 167 5 6 What The Hill 3tc 16-8-1-2 $758,776 116 6 7 Emoticon Hanover 4tm 12-5-3-3 $385,666 110 7 8 Youaremycandygirl 2pf 10-8-0-0 $714,545 103 9 9 Blazin Britches 3pf 15-11-2-0 $540,424 94 8 10 Stay Hungry 2pc 8-6-0-0 $437,964 30 10 Huntsville (21); Twister Bi (20); Agent Q, Pure Country (13); Crazy Wow, Marion Marauder (12); Devious Man, Keystone Velocity, Lost In Time (11); Alarm Detector (8); Resolve (7); Beckhams Z Tam, Filibuster Hanover, Plunge Blue Chip, Rainbow Room (5); Easy Lover Hanover, Nike Franco N (4); Fiftydallarbill, Panocchio, Phaetosive (3); Caviart Ally, Charmed Life, International Moni (2); All Bets Off, Wolfgang (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Downbytheseaside will try to continue a late-season surge when he faces seven foes in Thursday's $210,000 Matron Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. The colt, who is harness racing's richest horse of the year, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite despite starting from post seven. The race is one of four Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacers and trotters Thursday at Dover Downs. Idyllic Beach is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the event for female pacers while Devious Man is the 3-1 choice in the Matron for male trotters and Ice Attraction gets the 3-1 nod for female trotters. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. EST. Downbytheseaside enters the Matron Stakes off a career-best 1:48.3 win Nov. 4 in the Monument Circle at Hoosier Park. His time was one-fifth of a second off Freaky Feet Pete's track record for 3-year-old male pacers. For the year, Downbytheseaside has won 11 of 19 races and earned $1.32 million for owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing. He faces on Thursday a field that includes Little Brown Jug champion and Monument Circle runner-up Filibuster Hanover, who is the 3-1 second choice from post one with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Burke also sends Rock N Tony, Eddard Hanover, and Miso Fast into the event. Chris Page will drive Downbytheseaside for trainer Brian Brown, leaving from post seven, which has produced only four winners in 111 races during the current meet at Dover Downs. "He seems as good now as he's been all year," Brown said. "He trained sharp (on Saturday) and checked out OK, so I think we're ready to go." Downbytheseaside, who has battled issues with his feet throughout the season, won his first four races this year, including the Art Rooney Pace, before a third-place finish in the North America Cup. He was second in the Meadowlands Pace and third in the Cane Pace before winning the Messenger Stakes as part of another four-race win streak. He then finished fifth in both his Little Brown Jug elimination and final and third in a division of the Tattersalls Pace. He won his elimination for the Breeders Crown and was second in the final before capturing the Monument Circle. "The horse has actually gotten better," Brown said. "He's put on some weight in the last month and his feet the last month are better. "He had some tough spots where things weren't going his way and we could have easily lost him, but he recovered. I think it speaks to his guts and his durability. I just wish he would have been this good a couple months ago." Brown also trains 3-year-old male pacer Fear The Dragon, who has won 12 of 16 races this season and is No. 2 in purses with $1.26 million for owner Emerald Highlands Farm. The colt was not eligible to the Matron, but his connections discussed supplementing the horse to the race. However, after battling health issues in recent weeks and qualifying on Nov. 9 in 1:53.4 at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway, the decision was made to sit out. "Dragon qualified decent, but he didn't qualify great," Brown said. "And for him to have to go against these horses, I think he has to be great. I don't want to cheapen the horse at all. We're still not a hundred percent sure he won't race again, but he's not racing this week." The Matron for 3-year-old male pacers is Race 10 on Thursday's 13-race card. Estimated post time for the race is 7:30 p.m. EST. There is no lack of talent in the remaining Matron Stakes. The field for the 3-year-old filly pace includes six of the division's seven richest horses: Caviart Ally, Agent Q, Idyllic Beach, Bettor's Up, Tequila Monday, and Obvious Blue Chip. Breeders Crown and Canadian Trotting Classic champion What The Hill, Yonkers Trot winner Top Flight Angel, and Kentucky Futurity winner Snowstorm Hanover are among the horses joining Devious Man in the Matron for male trotters. Ice Attraction, the Kentucky Filly Futurity winner, meets a group that includes stakes-winners Thats All Moni, Cool Cates, On A Sunny Day and Dream Together in the filly trot. For Thursday's complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

Harrisburg, PA --- Dynamite Dame, a 5-year-old trotting mare in foal to Muscle Hill, was the sales topper at Thursday’s (Nov. 9) harness racing mixed sale session of the Standardbred Horse Sale, going for $135,000 to agent Bryan Montgomery. A daughter of Muscles Yankee out of the Donerail mare One Sharp Lady, Dynamite Dame was a stakes-winner at age 2 and runner-up to world champion Mission Brief in the 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Her family includes Bold Dreamer, the dam of two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Pampered Princess and O’Brien Award-winner Was It A Dream. Bold Dreamer also is the mother of Satin Pillows, who is the dam of Dan Patch Award-winner To Dream On and sold for $250,000 at last year’s mixed sale. Dynamite Dame was consigned by Northwood Bloodstock Agency. Pacing mare Sea Cruise Hanover, an 8-year-old daughter of Dragon Again out of the No Nukes mare Sami Cam, sold for $85,000 to Hickory Lane Horse Farm. Sea Cruise Hanover, who is in foal to Always Be Miki, is a full sister to multiple stakes-winner Sutter Hanover. Northwood Bloodstock Agency was the consignor. Megaball Hanover, also in foal to Always Be Miki, sold for $82,000 to Cornerstone Stock Farm. Megaball Hanover is a 4-year-old daughter of Western Terror out of the Matt’s Scooter mare Mary Mattgalane. She is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winners Meirs Hanover and Lady Mattgalane. Preferred Equine was the consignor. Moonlight In Miami, a 6-year-old trotting mare in foal to Father Patrick, sold for $80,000 to Richard Arnold. Moonlight In Miami is a daughter of Muscles Yankee out of the Windsong’s Legacy mare Bedtime Song. Her second dam is Bold Dreamer. She was consigned by Concord Stud Farm. Rounding out the top five were two mares tied at $77,000 --- trotter Pleasing Lady and pacer Jiminey Three. Pleasing Lady sold to Steve Stewart while Jiminey Three went to Daryl Miller. Pleasing Lady, in foal to Bar Hopping, is an 11-year-old daughter of Cantab Hall out of the Mr Vic mare Victory Please. Her previous foals include this season’s New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old colt champion Six Pack (by Muscle Mass). Preferred Equine was the consignor. Jiminey Three, who is in foal to Betting Line, is a 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three out of the The Panderosa mare Disneypan. She is a half-sister to stakes-winner Frontierpan, whose first foal, Quatrain Blue Chip, sold for $180,000 on Tuesday. She also is a half-sister to stakes-winner Tomorrowpan and her family includes two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Mystical Maddy. She was consigned by Preferred Equine. The Standardbred Horse Sale concludes Friday at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. For complete results visit The Black Book. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

When he was a young child, John Como Jr. would sit on his father's shoulders to see over the crowd and share in the excitement of watching harness racing horses battle down the stretch. As an adult, Como has enjoyed the exhilaration of seeing his own horses, such as stakes-winner Bolt The Duer, charge to victory. Now he hopes the future will be filled with more trips to the sport's big dances with Astaire. Como bought Astaire, a New York-eligible pacing colt by American Ideal out of the stakes-winning mare Dancinwiththestarz, for $115,000 during Wednesday's session of the Standardbred Horse Sale at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. It was the third and final yearling session at the sale, which will begin its two-day mixed sale on Thursday. Astaire was Wednesday's second-highest priced horse, following only trotting filly Amanda Blue Chip, who sold for $130,000 to Ken Jacobs. "We liked his look and I like American Ideal," said Como, who competes under the name All Star Racing. "And we wanted a New York-bred. We tried for a few others and didn't get them, so I got lucky and got (Astaire) today. "He's a really nice-looking colt, well built. And (consignor) Concord Stud does a great job with their yearlings. I'm real happy to get him." Amanda Blue Chip and Astaire were the only horses to bring six figures on Wednesday, but 10 others sold for at least $70,000, which helped produce a near-record yearling average for the sale. The three days averaged $39,675 for 851 horses, a 2.64-percent increase over last year's $38,652 for 867 horses. The top average came in 2007, when 1,048 yearlings sold for an average of $40,824. Trotting colts (196 sold) led the average, at $42,069. They were followed by pacing colts (251) at $41,984, trotting fillies (186) at $38,546 and pacing fillies (216) at $35,938. This year's gross of $33.76 million surpassed last year's $33.51 million. "We certainly made a great recovery from a somewhat slow Monday," Standardbred Horse Sales Company President and CEO President Pete Spears said, referring to a 4.28-percent dip in the first day's average compared to 2016. "We're very pleased with the results. I think the entire day today was very strong. Most Wednesdays have some fairly significant lulls in the action, but I think it was quite strong throughout the day. If anything, it seemed to pick up as the day went on. "Now, of course, we're hoping for an equally strong mixed sale. The momentum should carry through. If everything is dictated by supply and demand, not only are yearlings in relative short supply, but broodmares and broodmare prospects are in fairly short supply too. I would hope the very attractive broodmares and broodmare prospects offered (Thursday) and Friday will be in big demand." Como knew he would have to pay a price for a potential stakes-caliber yearling. He hopes Astaire, who will be trained by Pete Foley, can find his way to success. "Quality was going for good money; it really was," Como said. "My father started this business in '69 and one thing he told me all along was that you have to buy top breeding and quality if you want to have a chance in stakes races. I had a taste with Bolt The Duer and once you have that taste you want to get it back again." Como and his father, who passed away in 2013, saw Bolt The Duer win the 2012 Adios and several years earlier also enjoyed stakes victories with female pacer Shanghai Lil. "I love the horse business," said Como, who has 15 horses. "I'll always have horses. I basically grew up with it and it's always a thrill to have a good one. You always have something to shoot for. I've been lucky. I've always had a few horses that can compete at the higher levels. That's what makes it fun." Jacobs' Amanda Blue Chip is a daughter of Chapter Seven out of the mare Cantata. Her family includes stakes-winners Creamy Mimi, Pizza Dolce (a Dan Patch Award winner) and Mars Bar. Two horses brought $85,000 on Wednesday --- colt pacer Woodside Cody, purchased by Linda Toscano, and filly pacer Highmoon Sunshine, purchased by Paul Reid, as agent. Woodside Cody is a son of American Ideal out of the mare Filly Buster. His second dam is multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Loyal Opposition. Highmoon Sunshine is a daughter of Sunshine Beach out of the mare Ozone. Her family includes stakes-winners Wind Me Up and Northern Sky. For complete results visit The Black Book. Day Three Top 10 Hip-Sex-Gait-Name-Sire-Dam-Buyer-Consignor-Price 582-F-T-Amanda Blue Chip-Chapter Seven-Cantata-Ken Jacobs-Blue Chip Farms-$130,000 606-C-P-Astaire-American Ideal-Dancinwiththestarz-John Como Jr.-Concord Stud Farm, agent-$115,000 640-C-P-Woodside Cody-American Ideal-Filly Buster-Linda Toscano-Northwood Bloodstock, agent-$85,000 772-F-P-Highmoon Sunshine-Sunshine Beach-Ozone-Paul Reid, agent-Walnridge Farm, agent-$85,000 650-C-P-Hi Tech Gadget-Mach Three-Gadgets To Go-Brad Maxwell-Brad Maxwell/Tim Murray-Winbak Farm-$82,000 736-C-T-Bigly-Muscle Mass-Miss Fidget-Michael Anderson-Preferred Equine, agent-$82,000 572-C-T-Borges Hanover-Explosive Matter-Brooke Blue Chip-Purple Haze Stables-Hanover Shoe Farms-$80,000 816-C-P-Shamma Lamma-McArdle-Shabalabadingdong-Wrenn Racing, agent-Northwood Bloodstock, agent-$80,000 857-F-P-Soft Wind Hanover-Sportswriter-Summer Thriller-Casie Coleman-Hanover Shoe Farms-$80,000 834-C-T-Knight Of Valour-Muscle Mass-Smooth And Sassy-Paul Kelley-Twinbrook Farms, agent-$75,000 Ken Weingartner

Harness racing trainer Joe Holloway hopes this year does not provide the last word on Closing Statement's disposition. Closing Statement has won five of 12 races and earned $226,939 in purses this season despite being "a work in progress." In his most recent start, the colt finished third in the Breeders Crown. On Thursday, he faces seven foes in the $211,300 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. "The horse has got high, high speed, but he's a little difficult," Holloway said. "He's a good colt this year, but you also have to have manners. That's what we're working on. Hopefully next year he matures. He's going to need (better manners) next year." Closing Statement is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Ideal Newton. He was purchased under the name Ian Hanover for $125,000 at last year's Standardbred Horse Sale. He is a full brother to 3-year-old female pacer Inverse Hanover, who also was a Breeders Crown finalist, and his family also includes stakes-winner Newborn Sassy. The colt, owned by Val D'Or Farms, Rojan Stables and Ted Gewertz, is the 7-2 second choice on the Matron morning line. He will start from post seven with driver Brian Sears. Shnitzledosomethin, who was supplemented to the race for $20,000, is the 3-1 favorite. He will start from post five with Peter Wrenn driving for trainer Dylan Davis. Shnitzledosomethin finished second in the Breeders Crown and Indiana Sire Stakes championship. The race also features Nutcracker Sweet (4-1), This Is The Plan (5-1), and Karpathian Kid (6-1). This Is The Plan and Karpathian Kid were also Breeders Crown finalists. "The way the draw shook out, it's kind of tough," Holloway said. "But I don't know if I'd feel a whole lot better if I had (an inside post) because it's such a speed track and you're going to have to go. It's not like you're leaving and protecting the rail with that group of horses. It's a good race for being in November. "Hopefully we're the last one to the front and hold from there. Brian gets along with him, he's got a quiet set of hands, so we'll hope for the best." Dover Downs also hosts Matron Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers and 2-year-old male and female trotters on Thursday. Breeders Crown champion Youaremycandygirl, from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the Matron for female pacers. Jimmy Takter's Wolfgang is the 2-1 favorite in the event for male trotters and Ake Svanstedt's Plunge Blue Chip is the 5-2 pick for female trotters. Ken Weingartner

Harrisburg, PA --- As Bruce Trogdon made his way around the Standardbred Horse Sale the past couple days, he was looking to the future, but still keeping an eye on the present as well. A present that might include several more races for harness racing 3-year-old male pacer Fear The Dragon. Fear The Dragon, who finished eighth in his Breeders Crown elimination Oct. 21 and was scratched from an Oct. 28 race, will qualify Thursday at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway. If all goes well, the colt could be supplemented to the upcoming Matron Stakes and Progress Pace. "He had some health problems, but he finally trained better and acted more like himself and scoped decent," said Trogdon, who owns Fear The Dragon through his Emerald Highlands Farm. "So we're going to qualify him and decide, is that the real Dragon or should we just retire him. We haven't finalized anything yet, but it looks like he will be going to stud next year." Fear The Dragon has won 12 of 16 races this year and earned $1.26 million in purses. His victories include the North America Cup, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Delvin Miller Adios, and a division of the Tattersalls Pace. He finished second in the Carl Milstein Memorial. The colt's campaign has been part of a season Trogdon called "magical." Emerald Highlands Farm bred and owns 3-year-old female pacer Blazin Britches, who counts the Breeders Crown among her 11 victories this year, as well as Indiana Sire Stakes champions Always Bet De Grey and Always Woggy. All of the horses are trained by Brian Brown. "I've had so many fortunate things happen, and just a lot of really good horses," Trogdon said. "Brian has done a great job. It hasn't all been perfect. It's been a bumpy road here at the end with Dragon with some things, but when you've had as much luck as I have this year you can't complain when things go wrong. "We've had a magical year. I pinch myself and ask if it really happened." Blazin Britches, who has won 11 of 15 races and earned $540,424, saw her season come to an end after the Breeders Crown. She had surgery Tuesday to remove a small chip from her left hock. "We were going to quit with her anyway," Trogdon said. "She had chips taken out as a yearling and a little piece came off of the previous surgery site. We had never seen it (previously) on an X-ray. That was probably bugging her the last half of the year. She should bounce back real fast. "We're going to turn her out and she will come back and race again next year. But I'm going to try to embryo transplant her first so she might get a little bit of a late start. I don't want to miss the chance of having a Britches and Dragon foal." In addition to Blazin Britches' future, Trogdon on Tuesday added a Sweet Lou-sired filly named Afraid Not Hanover to his roster. Afraid Not Hanover, out of the stakes-winning mare Appleoosa Hanover, sold for $55,000. "I particularly had to have that one," said Trogdon, who also bid on an Art Major-sired filly, but was unsuccessful in acquiring the horse. "I like horses that are flashy and I love Sweet Lou. "We've got a lot of new ones coming, I've got a lot of my own (homebreds), but I couldn't resist. It's always fun to bring in a little new blood." Ken Weingartner

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