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Delaware, OH — Captain Barbossa found the perfect time to visit the winner’s circle for the first time this year, capturing Thursday’s $335,400 Little Brown Jug final for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:49.1 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. Cattlewash was second and Catch The Fire finished third. The win was Captain Barbossa’s first in 13 races this season. The gelding, who finished second in his Jug elimination, was driven to victory in the final by Joe Bongiorno, who celebrated his 27th birthday Wednesday. Captain Barbossa gave Bongiorno his first Jug trophy, as well as the first for trainer Tony Alagna. He paid $15.00 to win. Captain Barbossa, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Swinging Beauty, is owned by Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson, and the partnership of Alagna, Martha Frank, John Fodera, and Steven Wienick. He was bred by Steiner Stock Farm. His winning time was one-fifth of a second off the stakes and world record for a 3-year-old pacer on a half-mile track. The margin of victory was 1-1/2 lengths.   Catch The Fire, Sandbetweenmytoes win Little Brown Jug eliminations Catch The Fire won the first $111,800 elimination of the Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers Thursday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, overtaking pacesetter Seeyou At Thebeach on the last turn on his way to a 1:49.3 triumph. Seeyou At Thebeach was second, followed by Later Dudes and Genius Man. Those four horses advanced to the $335,400 Little Brown Jug final.   Catch The Fire was the 4-5 favorite in the field of seven. He was driven by Mike Wilder for trainer John Ackley and owner CT Stables. Sandbetweenmytoes scored a 7-1 upset in the second of Thursday’s two eliminations, using a three-wide move entering the last turn to get past leader Capt Midnight on his way to a 1:49.3 victory. Captain Barbossa finished second, with Capt Midnight third and Cattlewash fourth. Those four horses also advanced to the $335,400 Little Brown Jug final.   Sandbetweenmytoes was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Delaware, OH — Plunge Blue Chip on Thursday trotted the fastest harness racing trotting race mile in history on a half-mile track, winning the $87,500 Miss Versatility Series championship for trotting mares in 1:51.3 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Pure Chance finished second, followed by Grand Swan and Manchego, the 3-5 favorite who went off stride in the second turn while in second place behind Plunge Blue Chip. Following Manchego’s break, Plunge Blue Chip was never pressured. She set all the fractions — :27, 54.4, and 1:22.3 — on her way to eclipsing Maven’s previous all-time race best on a half-mile oval, 1:51.4 set at Delaware in 2013. Plunge Blue Chip’s winning margin was 5-1/4 lengths.   “She did it on her own,” driver-trainer Ake Svanstedt said. “I didn’t feel her pick up the speed after the first quarter, but that’s good when you don’t feel the speed on a horse. She raced without shoes, and that made her faster.” Plunge Blue Chip was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock, which shares ownership of the mare with Svanstedt and Tomas Andersson. She has won three of eight races this year and 22 of 46 in her career, with earnings of $1.43 million. Plunge Blue Chip is a 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Delaware, OH — Arnold N Dicky was sent off as the 1-9 favorite in Thursday’s (Sept. 24) $47,006 Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old harness racing male trotters and lived up to expectations, winning by 6-1/4 lengths over Sunny Crockett in a world-record-equaling 1:54 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. To Be Frank finished third. The time equaled Action Uncle’s world record for a 2-year-old trotting colt on a half-mile track, set last year at Delaware. It bettered the previous Standardbred Stakes record of 1:55, set by Don Dream in 2016. Sunny Crockett took the lead on the first turn with winning driver Dave Palone content to sit second with Arnold N Dicky until the backstretch. Palone then moved Arnold N Dicky to the front and was unthreatened the rest of the way.   Arnold N Dicky is trained by Chuck Sylvester, who owns the colt with Amy Lynn Stoltzfus and Gil Short. Bred by Concord Stud Farm, Arnold N Dicky is by Bar Hopping out of Kalibrated. He sold under the name Measured Pour for $17,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. “It’s an added bonus racing for Chuck,” Palone said. “He was a hero of mine when I first started in the game, a legendary trainer, and who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity.” The victory was Arnold N Dicky’s fourth in nine starts and upped his earnings to $144,060.  Chase H Hanover won the $54,206 Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers in a world-record-equaling 1:51.1. Lou’s Pearlman finished second and Jackie Moon was third.   The time equaled Ocean Rock’s world record for a 2-year-old gelding pacer on a half-mile track, set last year at Northfield Park. Sent off at 1-2, Chase H Hanover was driven by Ronnie Wrenn Jr. for trainer Scott Cox, who owns the gelding with Jason Ash. Chase H Hanover, by Captaintreacherous out of Calgary Hanover, was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. Chase H Hanover, the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship runner-up, has won three of nine races and finished second on five occasions this season. He has earned $210,797. Filly Beats the Boys to Take the Old Oaken Bucket  Sans Default (Matt Kakaley) scored a mild upset over Hobbs (Jason Bartlett) to take the $83,800 Old Oaken Bucket in 1:55.  Burke Racing Stable, Crawford Farms, J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi share the ownership of the Muscle Hill filly. Ron Burke trains the winner.  Ohio Breeders Championship Action  Three-year-old gelding Ocean Rock (Dan Noble) equaled the track record in the second of two OBCs for colt pacers with his 1:49.3 mile.  Sandra Burnett owns the Rockin Amadeus gelding who swept the Ohio State Fair Stakes, Ohio Sire Stakes Final.  Elver Hanover (Chris Page) took the opening $48,121 division with a 1:51.1 victory over Cody Hanover (Mike Wilder) and Can B Perfect (Tim Tetrick).  The Yankee Cruiser gelding is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Dr. Bridget Jablonsky, Jason Mellilo and J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby.  A pair of $63,446 divisions of the freshman colt pace went to Heart Of Chewbacca (Dan Noble) and Charlie May (Brett Miller) in identical 1:52.2 miles.  With the win, Charlie May became the latest member of the Ohio Triple Crown club after previously posting wins in the Ohio State Fair Stakes and the Ohio Sire Stake Championship.  The two divisions of the $92,042 (div) three-year-old filly pace went to Mcmarkle Sparkle (Brett Miller) in 1:52.3 and Penpaperpaige (Tyler Smith) in a lifetime best 1:52  by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Friday's stakes-filled card at Harrah's Hoosier Park features many of harness racing's big names - including Top 10-ranked Gimpanzee and Atlanta - but it includes only one undefeated harness racing horse. That's Somethingbeautiful. Somethingbeautiful is 6-for-6 this season for trainer Dylan Davis and driver LeWayne Miller, winning every start by a minimum of a length. She has faced Indiana-sired foes exclusively to this point, but on Friday tries the Grand Circuit when she competes in the $220,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers. Test Of Faith, the once-beaten Brett Pelling-trained New York Sire Stakes champion, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Somethingbeautiful is the 5-2 second choice. "There are some nice fillies in there, but I think she can go with them," Miller said. "It will be a nice test for her. But she's been facing some good fillies here too. She's been very nice. Her versatility and her maturity for being a 2-year-old, she's very good that way." Somethingbeautiful is by Always A Virgin out of Summer N Sand. She is a half-sister to Shnitzledosomethin, a now 5-year-old who was a Breeders Crown runner-up in 2017 and has earned $778,503 in his career. She was purchased for $30,000 at the Hoosier Sale and is owned by Howard Taylor, Ed Gold, Abraham Basen, and Richard Lombardo. The same group owns Shnitzledosomethin. The filly opened eyes when she qualified for the first time, winning in 1:58.3 with a last quarter of :25.4. In her six races, Somethingbeautiful has won from both off the pace and gate-to-wire, and kicked home in 27 seconds or faster in every start. "She really impressed me from the start," Miller said. "The only thing that surprises me is how easily she does it sometimes. She's a fighter. Her last start, I thought she was going to get beat, but when those fillies came to her she just took off again. "I think her potential is very high. I feel like she can compete with the best fillies out there." In addition to the Kentuckiana for 2-year-old filly pacers, Hoosier hosts the $150,000 Caesars Trotting Classic for older trotters, the $140,000 Harrah's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, $100,000 Jenna's Beach Boy for 3-year-old male pacers, $105,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, $221,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, and $120,000 Elevation for 2-year-old male pacers. Atlanta, coming off her win in the Maple Leaf Trot, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the Caesars Trotting Classic. Gimpanzee, who has won five of seven starts and been no worse than third in any race this season, is 9-5. Gimpanzee is ranked No. 4 in the sport's current Top 10 poll while Atlanta is No. 6. Century Farroh, who won the Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier in August, is the 3-1 favorite in the Harrah's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Dorsoduro Hanover, who won the Canadian Pacing Derby earlier this month, is 7-2. Other stakes favorites are Elegantimage runner-up Sister Sledge (8-5) in the Moni Maker, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion No Lou Zing (2-1) in the Jenna's Beach Boy, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Southwind Gendry (8-5) in the Elevation, and New York Sire Stakes champion Iteration (3-1) in the Kentuckiana trot. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday at Hoosier. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Delaware, OH — Minutes after watching Party Girl Hill win Wednesday’s Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fairgrounds with a performance that included a world record in her elimination and a 3-1/2 length score in the final, breeder/owner Tom Hill summed up his thoughts about the filly in simple terms. “She just proved what I’ve been telling everybody, that she’s the best horse I’ve ever owned,” Hill said from his home in Lancashire in the United Kingdom. “As we would say in England, she’s a Rolls Royce with hair.” Party Girl Hill, driven by Dexter Dunn and trained by Chris Ryder, won the $142,635 Jugette final in 1:50.3, with stablemate New Year finishing second and Peaky Sneaky third. Earlier in the day, she won her elimination in 1:49.3, the first sub-1:50 mile by a female pacer on a half-mile track in harness racing history.   Unraced at age 2, Party Girl Hill improved to 11-for-11 in her career with her two victories in the Jugette and pushed her lifetime bankroll to $577,270. “I don’t know how good she is,” Hill said. “I don’t know where the bottom is, I really don’t. “She can leave, she can come from behind, she can sit parked; it doesn’t make any difference. That’s when you’ve got a great one, when they can win from anywhere. She’s just a very special filly. She’s a gift from God, that’s what she is. I’ve had a lot of good horses, but I’ve had nothing like her. I’ve been blessed.” Party Girl Hill’s win gave owner Hill his second Jugette trophy. He won his first in 2010 with Western Silk. It also came four days after Hill celebrated his 70th birthday. “It’s near enough for a birthday present,” Hill said with a laugh. Party Girl Hill opened her march to the Jugette crown by beating Lyons Sentinel, last year’s Dan Patch Award divisional champ, by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.3 in the second of the event’s two eliminations.   The time eclipsed the previous world record for a 3-year-old pacing filly on a half-mile track, 1:50.1, shared by Warrawee Ubeaut and Call Me Queen Be. It also lowered the all-time mark for any female pacer, 1:50, shared by Godiva Seelster and Tequila Monday. “She’s just an amazing animal,” Dunn said. “There seems to be no bottom to her, she does her work so easily. It’s truly a real pleasure to be lucky enough to sit behind her. I have to thank Tom Hill for that, for trusting me with the drive. “She’s exciting. She’s gone both heats today without the plugs being pulled or really being asked. She just does an amazing job.” The 31-year-old Dunn, who arrived in the U.S. in the summer of 2018 at the behest of fellow New Zealand native Ryder after a standout career Down Under, added the Jugette to his growing list of Grand Circuit victories. He won a total of six races Wednesday at Delaware. “I had a lucky day,” said Dunn, who was the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s 2019 Driver of the Year. “I got to drive really nice horses and they were all on top of their game today. This girl really topped the day off well. “This is a special moment for my lifetime because the Ryders have been family friends with the Dunns for 50-odd years. Chris and (his wife) Nicola have done so much to get me over here and support me. It’s a day I’ll never forget.” Dunn’s only concern following the eliminations was Party Girl Hill racing in the final off a world-record performance. “As soon as we stepped on the track, those worries went away because she had her ears pricked and she was happy as anything being out there,” Dunn said. In the final, Dunn let New Year (who won the first of the event’s two eliminations, also with Dunn in the sulky) and Lyons Sentinel battle in the first turn before launching Party Girl Hill to the lead. Party Girl Hill, the 1-9 favorite, was on top at the quarter and never looked back. “Many thanks to Tom Hill for giving me such an amazing horse,” Ryder said. “Many thanks to Dexter, he’s done a tremendous job driving her.” When reminded in the winner’s circle by track announcer Roger Huston about Hill’s birthday, Ryder quipped, “That’s great. Happy birthday. Anything else I can do for you Tom?” Back in Lancashire, Hill said winning was enough. While some speculated about how Party Girl Hill might have fared if she took on the boys in Thursday’s Little Brown Jug, both Ryder and Hill downplayed the idea. “I don’t want to hurt the filly,” Hill said. “I don’t want to do something and regret it. If she raced the colts and got beat, I know it’s no disgrace, but I don’t want to do that. She’s only had 11 races. She’s only a novice.” A novice assembling one heck of a resume. One that Hill thinks should get noticed at the end of the season if her current form holds. “She should have a shot at being Horse of the Year,” Hill said. “She’s never been beat and she’s raced on every size track. She’s never been beat and never looked like getting beat. What more could she do? She is the only one out there that’s undefeated. I think she should have a good push to be Horse of the Year. Not for me, but for her. She deserves it.” Party Girl Hill sets world record in elimination Trainer Chris Ryder and driver Dexter Dunn swept the two $47,545 Jugette eliminations on Wednesday, with 1-9 favorite Party Girl Hill winning the second in a world-record 1:49.3 after stablemate New Year won the first in 1:52. Joining those two horses in the $142,635 Jugette final were Peaky Sneaky, Blazin Grace, and Keystone Eureka from the first elimination and Lyons Sentinel, Perfect Storm, and Lady Lou from the second. Party Girl Hill was third through the first half of her elimination before launching a methodical attack on leader Lyons Sentinel. The two battled around the last turn and Party Girl Hill drew clear by three-quarters of a length as they neared the wire. The time of 1:49.3 eclipsed the previous world record for a 3-year-old pacing filly on a half-mile track, 1:50.1, shared by Warrawee Ubeaut and Call Me Queen Be. New Year, sent off as the 4-5 favorite, won the first elimination in 1:52. Peaky Sneaky finished second, followed by Blazin Grace and Keystone Eureka.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Harness racing traner Luc Blais will have two horses in Saturday's inaugural Mohawk Million for 2-year-old trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park, so he is understandably excited about the event. But the trainer knows he is not alone in being pumped up about Canada's richest race since 2012. The Mohawk Million is the first million-dollar buy-in race in harness racing history. Nine spots in the 10-horse field were available for purchase for $110,000 (U.S.), with the final slot in the race given to the winner of the William Wellwood Memorial. Blais-trained On A Streak won the Wellwood to earn his place in the Mohawk Million. The colt is owned by Serge Godin's Determination stable, which also had purchased a spot in the race. Donna Soprano, the Blais-Determination tandem's undefeated filly, was selected by her connections to fill that spot. "It's very exciting," Blais said. "At the beginning, you've got a slot, but you don't know what horse will be there. Now, we're in. We are lucky, our horses have been racing well. You need luck in this game, and I think everything is going well right now. I hope it keeps going in that direction. "But we all feel the same this week. We all feel excited. This is something new and I think people are interested to see it. That is good for the game." The Mohawk Million carries a Canadian purse of $1.32 million, which converts to $1 million U.S. dollars. The winner of the race will receive the traditional 50-percent purse payout and all starters will receive at least one percent of the purse. Donna Soprano, undefeated in five races this year, will start the Mohawk Million from post three with regular driver Bob McClure. Her victories include the Peaceful Way Stakes, a division of the Champlain Stakes, and the Pure Ivory Series final. She has won every race by a minimum of one length and average of nearly three lengths. "I think she has a lot of character," Blais said. "She was not easy to bring here, but we figured her out, the way she wanted things. Every start is better and better, and she is more handy on the racetrack. Her last couple starts, she looks like a real professional. She acts like a special horse." Donna Soprano is a daughter of Donato Hanover out of the O'Brien Award winning mare Windsong Soprano. She was purchased for $190,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. She has earned $210,820 this season. Blais and Determination selected Donna Soprano for the Mohawk Million over stablemate Macho Martini, a colt who won his first seven races before finishing third in the Wellwood Memorial and then suffering interference and going off stride in the stretch of an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold division. "It was a good problem," Blais said about having to make a choice. "Macho Martini already has nine starts this year and he raced very big in the Wellwood. He had a rough mile. Donna has only five starts and she looks very hot right now." On A Streak, a son of Cantab Hall out of Habit's Best, is a half-brother to O'Brien Award winner Habitat and was purchased for $155,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He got his first win in the Wellwood, where he bested previously undefeated Southwind Tyrion by a head. A week earlier in their Wellwood elimination, On A Streak suffered a nose defeat to Southwind Tyrion. "He was second that day, but he raced big," Blais said. "I was not really surprised (when he won the Wellwood). He is getting better and better every start. It seems he is more mature and he knows what to do now, more than in the beginning. He is a nice horse, a very strong horse. He just needed a little maturity and now I think he's there." On A Streak will start the Mohawk Million from post seven with driver Scott Young. The Mohawk Million is race 10 on Saturday's card. Post time is approximately 10:45 p.m. (EDT). The full field for the Mohawk Million is listed below: Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Slot Owner 1. Iznogoud AM S (Doug McNair/Marcus Melander) - Courant Inc. 2. Warrawee Whisper (Jonathan Drury/Shawn Steacy) - Glengate Farms 3. Donna Soprano (Bob McClure/Luc Blais) - Determination 4. Full Of Muscles (Trevor Henry/Brad Maxwell) - Dreamland Farms 5. Altar (Jody Jamieson/Per Engblom) - Diamond Creek Racing 6. Tokyo Seelster (Sylvain Filion/Richard Moreau) - Jeffrey Snyder 7. On A Streak (Scott Young/Luc Blais) - Wellwood Winner 8. Bravado Fashion (Louis-Philippe Roy/Jim Campbell) - Fashion Farms 9. Insta Glam (Yannick Gingras/Nancy Takter) - John Fielding 10. Venerate (Andrew McCarthy/Julie Miller) - Brad Grant In addition to the Mohawk Million, Saturday's card at Mohawk includes the She's A Great Lady final for 2-year-old filly pacers, Milton Stakes final for pacing mares, and Metro Pace final for 2-year-old male pacers. For more about the Mohawk Million and Saturday's stakes, click here. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Attending the Little Brown Jug has been on Blair Corbeil's bucket list for a while, but the longtime harness racing horse owner only wanted to go if he had a horse in the race. On Thursday, Corbeil will be at his first Little Brown Jug at the Delware County Fairgrounds, ready to follow the exploits of his pacer Warrawee Vital. Ironically, owning a horse in the race is the only way he could be there this year as fans are prohibited from attending the races at the Delaware County Fairgrounds because of the coronavirus pandemic. "I've been wanting to go to the Jug forever and I've said that I want to have a horse in the Jug when I go," said Corbeil, a 56-year-old resident of Beaumont, Alberta, Canada. "This is my first one. It's unfortunate the fans will not be there, but it will be exciting no matter what. We're excited about the opportunity, that's for sure. "I think everybody that's been in the business long enough dreams about having the chance of being there and winning that race." A total of 14 horses entered the 75th edition of the Little Brown Jug, one of harness racing's premier events for 3-year-old male pacers. The field was divided into two eliminations, from which the top-four finishers in each group advance to the same-day final. Each elimination goes for $111,800 and the final is $335,400. Warrawee Vital is the morning line's 3-1 second choice in the second elimination. The colt will start from post three with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Rob Fellows. Capt Midnight, trained by Tony Alagna, is the 5-2 favorite, starting from post two with Dexter Dunn. Adios winner Catch The Fire is the 5-2 favorite in the first elimination. He leaves from post five with Mike Wilder driving for John Ackley. Warrawee Vital, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Great Memories, has won seven of 11 career races and $107,307. He is a half-brother to O'Brien Award winner Warrawee Needy and two-time Dan Patch Award winner Warrawee Ubeaut, who won last year's Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at Delaware. "When we bought the colt in Lexington, he had the pedigree and breeding behind him to be this good," said Corbeil, who shares ownership of Warrawee Vital with Yolanda Fellows and M&S Racing Stable. "He's very versatile. He's got tremendous gate speed and he's got that kick to come home with. He seems to be the full package." Last year, Warrawee Vital was unraced until December, when he won one of two races at Mohawk. After the calendar changed to 2020, the colt won a second race in January and then two preliminary divisions of the Snowshoe Series for 3- and 4-year-old pacers before finishing second in the final. It was enough of an audition to give his connections the confidence to stake Warrawee Vital for the summer and fall. Fellows gave the colt time off to freshen up, but then hit another delay training back for the stakes season. Warrawee Vital returned to the races in August, finishing second in a conditioned race and eighth in a North America Cup elimination before putting together a three-race win streak that he brings to the Jug. His two most recent victories came in divisions of the Simcoe and Somebeachsomewhere stakes. "He got to the races early enough (at age 2) but he had some problems, so I gave him time off," Fellows said. "I raced him in the winter to see if he was good enough to stake him, and he showed that he was. "Then training down in the spring, he had a little soreness problem, so I gave him time for that and that's why I'm so late in getting to the table. But he's raced well so far. His best quality is that he's smart. He's learned quickly what he's had to learn. He's caught on very well. And he's fast, very fast." Fellows is racing in the Jug for the second time in his career, but first time since 1988 when Just Bold finished third in his first heat and seventh in the final, won by B J Scoot. "I've gone there since I was a kid and it's nice to take a horse there," Fellows said. "(Warrawee Vital) has never raced on a half-mile track, but he trains on it. Hopefully, he's competitive and gives a good representation of himself." Said Corbeil, "Rob and Yolanda have done a fantastic job. They deserve something like this too. We're not the type of owners that have the opportunity to attend these big races all the time. It definitely means a lot to us to have this opportunity." In addition to the Little Brown Jug, Thursday's card at Delaware includes the Miss Versatility Series final for older female trotters, the Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old trotters, and divisions of the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters and pacers. Manchego is the 7-5 favorite in the Miss Versatility final while Hobbs is the even-money choice in the Old Oaken Bucket. Racing begins at noon (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Trainer Jim King Jr. knows what it's like to bring the belle of the ball to the big dance. Last year, his Lyons Sentinel led all 2-year-old harness racing pacers in earnings and was crowned the Dan Patch Award winner among the age group's fillies. This year, Lyons Sentinel has finished worse than second only once in seven races, but King knows it is a different filly turning heads at the dance now. Party Girl Hill has been the life of the party for trainer Chris Ryder and breeder/owner Tom Hill. The filly, unraced at age 2, is 9-for-9 as she heads to Wednesday's $237,725 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. She competes in the second of two Jugette eliminations, where she is the 7-5 morning-line favorite with driver Dexter Dunn. Lyons Sentinel, with Tim Tetrick in the sulky, is the 3-1 second choice in the same elimination. The top-four finishers from each elimination advance to the final, which will be held later in the afternoon. "I think Party Girl is at the top of her game," King said. "In fact, it looks like she's going to keep on getting better. She's definitely the one to deal with. She looks kind of special. I'm not without a chance, but she's definitely the queen of the ball at the moment." Lyons Sentinel won nine of 14 races last year and earned $801,809 for owner Threelyonsracing. For her career, she has won 10 of 21 starts, missed the board only once, and banked $1 million. The filly has five second-place finishes this year, including in the Mistletoe Shalee, where she started from post nine at The Meadowlands, and in the Adioo Volo, where she left from post eight at The Meadows. "She hasn't done bad work," King said. "She's not a front-end horse and she got stuck on the front end a couple times. Straight out of the box, she raced really hard and a horse just slid by her at the end. That doesn't do much for a horse's spirits, for their attitude. Last year, she could kind of handle them and it kept her spirits a lot better. "She certainly had her glory last year. Some of the other girls have stepped up." Lyons Sentinel qualified at Harrington Raceway on Sept. 16 and won in 1:54.2. Harrington is a half-mile oval, as is the track at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The Harrington qualifier was Lyons Sentinel's first time on a half. "She qualified real good," King said. "I'm satisfied she'll get around the corners just fine. If she trips out, we'll see what happens. I'm not ruling her out. I think we have a good chance, but Party Girl has the very best chance. He then added with a laugh, "I've been wrong lots of times. I hope I am again." Party Girl Hill enters the Jugette off a Sept. 6 win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Her victories this season also include the Fan Hanover Stakes and Adioo Volo. She has earned $482,181 in 2020, the top figure among all 3-year-old filly pacers. Ryder also will send out the morning-line favorite in the first elimination in 9-5 New Year. She enters the event off a win in a conditioned race Sept. 16 at Harrah's Philadelphia. It was her first victory in eight races this year. She is owned by Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing. Second choice in the first elimination is Nancy Takter-trained Peaky Sneaky. She most recently won a Fan Hanover elimination and finished third in the final. She is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and Order By Stable. Racing begins at noon Wednesday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The card also includes two divisions of the Buckette for 3-year-old female trotters, one division of the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers, and one division of the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters. For Wednesday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Hightstown, NJ — Party Girl Hill, undefeated in nine races this year, was among 11 harness racing horses entered in Wednesday’s (Sept. 23) $237,725 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. The Chris Ryder trainee competes in the second of the event’s two eliminations. The top-four finishers from each elim advance to the same-day final. The first elimination features five fillies. They are, in post order: New Year, Keystone Eureka, Peaky Sneaky, Blazin Grace, and Seadog Lady. The second elim, in post order: Lyons Sentinel, Party Girl Hill, Lady Lou, Marloe Hanover, Perfect Storm, and Bolt Of Beauty. Party Girl Hill, undefeated in nine races this year, was among 11 horses entered in Wednesday’s $237,725 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers. Chris Gooden photo. Party Girl Hill, a daughter of Captaintreacherous out of Look Cheap bred and owned by Tom Hill, enters the Jugette off a Sept. 6 win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Her victories this season also include the Fan Hanover Stakes and Adioo Volo. She has earned $482,181 in 2020, the top figure among all 3-year-old filly pacers. Ryder also sends out New Year in the first elim. She enters the event off a win in a conditioned race Sept. 16 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. It was her first victory in eight races this year. She is owned by Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing. Lyons Sentinel was the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old filly pacer. She has one win and five second-place finishes in seven races this season. She won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in July and her runner-up finishes include the Adioo Volo and Mistletoe Shalee. Lyons Sentinel is trained by Jim King Jr. for owner Threelyonsracing. Tony Alagna-trained Lady Lou goes to the Jugette with five consecutive second-place finishes. Most recently, she was second in a division of the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 12. She also was second in the Fan Hanover final, her Fan Hanover elimination, the Shady Daisy, and a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. She is owned by Brad Grant and Steve Heimbecker. Peaky Sneaky, trained by Nancy Takter, is the leading money-winner in the first elimination. She most recently won a Fan Hanover elimination and finished third in the final. She is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and Order By Stable. Racing begins at noon Wednesday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Marie Ortolan Bar can succinctly sum up the fairytale she is living with colt Cuatro De Julio, this season's fastest 2-year-old trotter thanks to his near harness racing world-record-equaling 1:51.4 mile two weeks ago, and winner of eight of 10 races as he heads to Sunday's $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship at the Red Mile. "It's a story about faith, love, and friendship," said Marie, who trains Cuatro De Julio. "He is a gift. It is a wonderful story." Cuatro De Julio arrived in Marie's life when she most needed a gift like him. The colt was bred by partner Jean Pierre Dubois' Dream With Me Stable and raised by Marie in Kentucky. She realized quickly he was different. She realized, too, he was a horse to change her life. For more than a decade, Marie battled a variety of debilitating health conditions, from blood disorders to a rare congenital heart defect known as Ebstein's anomaly. She nearly died on multiple occasions and was forced to give up training horses for the better part of eight years. She still worked with babies at Dubois' breeding farm, but her illnesses had taken a toll on her physically and mentally. "When you fall very sick, they fix one problem but then another one comes," Marie said. "It is not fun to be sick. Your spirit wants to go, but your body says no. I was so weak. One day you say enough." Marie's faith helped sustain her during this period. "If you do not have God in your life, you have nothing," she said. And on March 22, 2018, a colt by Trixton out of the Ready Cash mare Clarabelle arrived and renewed her strength and outlook. It was Cuatro De Julio, or Fourth of July, which is Dubois' birthday. "I would say when he was one month old, he was very special; very special, very smart," Marie said. "When he was four months, he would follow me everywhere. I would say, go play with your friends. But he followed me everywhere. He was the dominant one. He was always the first for everything. "The way he moved was not so beautiful, there were others more elegant, but what I loved was the shoulder, the neck, the bottom, and he was never sick. He was never weak. I told everybody, when he was seven months, I have a good horse. I told everybody that this one is special. If you meet Cuatro, you will fall in love." So special, Marie decided to get her trainer's license again. With the help of numerous friends, including Judi and Henry Lunsford and Lee and Al Eferstein, she began training Cuatro De Julio. "This horse gave her the thrill and happiness and the will to come back and train again," said Lee Eferstein, whose husband Al has become Cuatro De Julio's regular driver. "He brought all of that back for her. He is just so special for so many reasons." Said Marie, "You never train a horse alone. You train a good horse with good people around you, people who love the horse. Without Lee, I'm nothing. She gave me my confidence back. Without all the friends and advice, I'm nothing. Everybody helps. We are a team." Cuatro De Julio's career began on the Kentucky fairs circuit, where he won six of seven races including the season-end final at Lexington's Red Mile. His only loss came in his debut when Marie drove him at the Ballard County Fair. "That was a very bad idea," Marie said, laughing. "This horse is not easy. If you fight with this horse, you will lose." Following that first start, Al Eferstein, a veteran of the Kentucky fairs, took the seat behind Cuatro De Julio. After sweeping the remainder of their fair circuit starts, they tackled the Kentucky Sire Stakes. Cuatro De Julio won his first KYSS start, made a misstep in the second, and rebounded by nearly matching Walner's world record for a 2-year-old trotting colt on a mile track in the most recent. "People are always asking me, when are you going to put up a catch driver?" Marie said. "He goes very well with Al. We won eight races easy. When something works, why would you change?" Following the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, Cuatro De Julio is eligible to the Grand Circuit races at Red Mile and the Breeders Crown at Harrah's Hoosier Park. But there is no reason to look to the future. The present is a wonderful story as it is. "Working with horses is a passion," Marie said. "We all have a dream and we have to follow the dream, but there is a lot of sacrifice. The recompense now is Cuatro. This horse saved my life." Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday at Red Mile and the Kentucky Sire Stakes finals are the first eight races. Following are the morning-line favorites in each final, in race order. Three-year-old male trotters, Beads, 1-1. Two-year-old filly pacers, Making Waves, 4-5. Two-year-old male pacers, Perfect Sting, 6-5. Three-year-old filly trotters, Hypnotic AM, 5-2. Three-year-old male pacers, Tall Dark Stranger, 4-5. Two-year-old filly trotters, Darlene Hanover, 5-2. Three-year-old filly pacers, Reflect With Me, 6-5. Two-year-old male trotters, Dancinginthedark M, 2-1. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

The word perfect is the perfect adjective in Perfect Sting's name at this point in his harness racing career. Trainer Joe Holloway believes another adjective might suit the 2-year-old pacing colt as his career continues: Special. Perfect Sting, a son of two of history's fastest horses, stallion Always B Miki and mare Shebestingin, is 5-for-5 this season for Holloway and breeders/owners Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. His next start comes in Sunday's $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers at Lexington's Red Mile, where he will leave from post five with regular driver David Miller and is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. Red Mile hosts all eight Kentucky Sire Stakes finals for 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters on Sunday. Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup winner Tall Dark Stranger, ranked No. 2 in harness racing's current Top 10 poll, headlines the championship for 3-year-old male pacers. Reflect With Me, unbeaten in six starts this year and ranked No. 9, leads the group of 3-year-old female pacers. Perfect Sting debuted July 28 with a dead-heat win at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and followed with a neck victory at The Meadowlands. Since then, he has won three Kentucky Sire Stakes starts at Red Mile, all by a minimum of a length. His 1:49.2 triumph on Aug. 25 is the season's fastest mile for a 2-year-old pacer. Only 11 freshmen in history have been faster. "A long time ago, I said I think this is going to be the best horse I ever trained," Holloway said. "So far, so good. But he's got to do it. We've got five more starts, at the most six, to see. They each get tougher now, but I think he can handle it. He's never been tired yet." During his Hall of Fame career, Holloway has trained a number of standout pacers, including three-time Dan Patch Award winner Jenna's Beach Boy and millionaire Always A Virgin as well as Hall of Famer Always B Miki (who shares the record for history's fastest mile, 1:46, with Lather Up) at ages 2 and 3. So his praise for Perfect Sting speaks volumes. "He's just far more advanced than Jenna, Miki, Always A Virgin; any of those," Holloway said. "David trained him (in the spring) and said when he puts it all together, he's going to be great. Each time out he's getting a little bit better and he's learning more. David said in three or four start he'd figure it out. He's still not quite there, but he'll get there. He does it effortlessly, so let's hope he continues that way. "It's too early to proclaim him the best, but I think he's got a real chance to do something special. Maybe he won't, maybe he will. But if he does, it will be a fun ride. "I called it early, David called it early, and now we just have to see." In addition to training Perfect Sting's sire during the early part of his career, Holloway trained Shebestingin throughout her career. Shebestingin was the sport's all-time fastest female pacer until 2019, when Shartin N's 1:46.4 mile bettered Shebestingin's mark by one-fifth of a second. "The mare deserved to have a great horse," Holloway said. "Hopefully he continues on." Following the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, Perfect Sting is slated to start in the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at Red Mile before going to the Breeders Crown at Harrah's Hoosier Park. "This was the plan the whole time, we're shooting for everything at the end," Holloway said. "Right now, everything seems to be working OK." Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday at Red Mile and the Kentucky Sire Stakes finals are the first eight races. Following are the morning-line favorites in each final, in race order. Three-year-old male trotters, Beads, 1-1. Two-year-old filly pacers, Making Waves, 4-5. Two-year-old male pacers, Perfect Sting, 6-5. Three-year-old filly trotters, Hypnotic AM, 5-2. Three-year-old male pacers, Tall Dark Stranger, 4-5. Two-year-old filly trotters, Darlene Hanover, 5-2. Three-year-old filly pacers, Reflect With Me, 6-5. Two-year-old male trotters, Dancinginthedark M, 2-1. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

Brad Grant watched Ramona Hill's Hambletonian Stakes win at The Meadowlands in August from his home in Canada because of COVID-19 international travel restrictions. But now Grant, one of Ramona Hill's six owners, is getting to spend some quality time with the harness racing filly in his own backyard at Ontario's Woodbine Mohawk Park. Last week, Ramona Hill won a division of the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Mohawk for her fifth victory in six races this season. It was her first Canadian start since winning a Breeders Crown at Mohawk in October. On Saturday, she returns to the Ontario oval for the C$350,000 Elegantimage Stakes, where her nine rivals include Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella. Andy McCarthy will drive Ramona Hill for trainer Tony Alagna. "I'm excited," Grant said, adding with a laugh, "I was beginning to think my partners were hoarding her to the south. At least up here I get her all to myself. We're enjoying getting to spend some time with her." Grant shares ownership of Ramona Hill with U.S.-based partners Michelle and Al Crawford, Robert LeBlanc, John Fodera, and Steve Wienick. Grant, who was among the owners of 2018 Hambletonian winner Atlanta, watched this year's race on television with his wife Bonnie while the remainder of the group was at The Meadowlands. "It's not the same, but thankfully I had that experience a couple years earlier, so I know what it's like," Grant said. "I had the second-best seat in the house (this year) and I could rewind the race and watch it as much as I wanted. "Bonnie and I were just tickled to watch it on TV and see everybody. It's a great group. We're all just enjoying it. Tony has done a great job and Andy gets along with this filly amazing. Being up here, Tony's mom (Donna Lee, who runs the stable in Canada) has pampered Ramona to death looking after her. We couldn't have it any better." Ramona Hill, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Lock Down Lindy, has won 11 of 13 career races and $1.17 million. She became the 15th filly to beat the boys in the Hambletonian, which she accomplished in a stake-record-equaling 1:50.1. In addition to the Hambletonian and Simcoe, her wins this season include the Del Miller Memorial and the filly division of the Harry M. Zweig Memorial. She is the No. 1-ranked horse in the sport's current Top 10 poll. "There are a number of colts and fillies that could be No. 1 this year," Grant said. "I think if you have a bad week, you could move off where you are and get bumped down the line in a hurry. So, to be on the top of that list, in my mind, is quite an accomplishment." Ramona Hill will look to remain on top with a win in the Elegantimage, but Grant knows it won't be easy. Nancy Takter-trained Sorella, the No. 8-ranked horse in harness racing, has won six of eight starts this season and heads to the race off a win over older male rivals, including returning O'Brien Award winner Musical Rhythm. "She is a great filly," Grant said. "I think it's going to be a heck of a race. There are some others in there, but obviously, a quick glance says the one to beat is Sorella. Hopefully, we can come back with another good race and get it done." Grant owns a second horse in the Elegantimage, Warrawee Vicky, who won last week's other Simcoe Stakes division. She has won three of six races this year and eight of 16 lifetime, earning $243,151. She is trained by Scott McEneny. "She raced well last week so we decided to put her in," Grant said. "We're racing for fourth or fifth money, but the filly has raced really well for me this year and we're pleased with her. Scott has worked hard to get her there, so we thought we should put her in and see how she does." Saturday's card at Mohawk also includes the C$560,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old male trotters, headlined by Goodtimes Stakes and Zweig Memorial winner Ready For Moni, as well as eliminations for the Milton (pacing mares), Metro Pace (2-year-old male pacers) and She's A Great Lady (2-year-old filly pacers). Grant is among the owners of Alagna trainees Notorious Pink in the She's A Great Lady's first elimination and Pirate Hanover in the Metro's first elimination. Notorious Pink swept the Whenuwishuponastar at Mohawk earlier this year before competing in the Kentucky Sire Stakes. She has four wins and a second in six starts. Pirate Hanover has a win and a third in three races. "She's a really nice filly," Grant said about Notorious Pink. "I got in on her just as she started racing. She's green but she was pretty good up here before so we thought we would give her a shot. She does seem to like the track up here and (driver) Bobby McClure was her pilot up here before and got along with her really well. "I think Pirate Hanover is a sleeper. He made a break (in a division of the Nassagaweya) but I think he might have clipped the wheel of the horse in front of him. The colt has got a lot of speed and I don't think we've seen the bottom of his tank yet. I'm real excited about that colt. I think he has a ton of upside and I think he's just going to get better as he races." For more about Saturday's card, click here. For complete entries, click here. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Amigo Volo might not have been himself the week following last month's Hambletonian Stakes, but after a brief respite and consecutive wins, he appears primed for a strong finish to his 3-year-old harness racing campaign. A multiple world-record-setter and Breeders Crown champion at age 2, Amigo Volo has won four of nine races this season. He competes Friday in the first of two Keystone Classic divisions for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadows, where he is the 6-5 morning-line favorite with regular driver Dexter Dunn. Amigo Volo finished fourth in the Hambletonian on Aug. 8 at The Meadowlands. He started from post 10, hustled to the front in a :26.2 opening quarter, and then had traffic issues after yielding the lead to Threefiftytwo. He made up multiple lengths in the stretch but ended up 4-3/4 lengths behind winner Ramona Hill. The next week, Amigo Volo finished third in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes after holding the lead in the stretch. It was the gelding's sixth start in as many weeks, so trainer Nifty Norman gave the horse time to freshen up and Amigo Volo responded. He heads to the Keystone Classic off wins in the final preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and the series championship. "I'm very proud of the horse," Norman said. "We tried to have him at his best for the Hambo, and I thought he was, things just didn't work out for him. But I thought the horse really raced good that day. "Then there is always a little bit of a bounce after that. You can't be good all the time; for every up, there is going to be a down. He was a little bit down his next start. He was just flat, and that's not like him. So, we gave him a little bit of time off and he perked right up and has really done well. He's been super his last two races. He looks like he's back to himself again." Amigo Volo is a son of Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma. For his career, he has won 10 of 21 starts and earned $946,719 for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller. In addition to winning last year's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters and this year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, Amigo Volo's victories include the 2019 Matron Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. He holds world records for 2-year-old geldings on a five-eighths-mile track (1:52.4) and mile track (1:52.3). Amigo Volo is eligible to Bluegrass Stakes, Kentucky Futurity, Breeders Crown, and Matron the rest of the way. "Last year when we raced him weeks in a row, he really raced good like that," Norman said. "He likes to race, he's a game little bugger. "I couldn't be happier with the way he's heading into the rest of the season. I thought the big tracks would be a disadvantage for him, but he's strong again, so I think we'll be OK. He's a really solid little guy." Ron Burke-trained Patriarch Hanover is the 8-5 favorite in the second Keystone Classic division for the 3-year-old male trotters. He finished third in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. There also are two Keystone Classic divisions for 3-year-old male pacers. Jim Campbell's Sandbetweenmytoes is the 5-2 favorite in the first and Burke's Cattlewash gets the 5-2 nod in the second. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

Hightstown, NJ — All four horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll’s top 10 that raced last week won, resulting in no newcomers joining the harness racing group and only one minor shift in the rankings. Ramona Hill remained No. 1 following her win in the Simcoe Stakes and Tall Dark Stranger stayed at No. 2 after his win in a preliminary round of the Kentucky Sire Stakes. Party Girl Hill and Gimpanzee, both idle and separated by only a point last week, swapped places at No. 3 and No. 4 while Shartin N, also idle, remained fifth. Completing the top 10 were Ready For Moni (idle), Atlanta (idle), Sorella (conditioned race winner), Reflect With Me (Kentucky Sire Stakes preliminary round winner) and Manchego (idle). The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 10 – 9/15/2020 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Ramona Hill (24) 3tf 6-5-0-1 $765,315 338 1 2 Tall Dark Stranger (11) 3pc 8-7-0-0 $899,131 323 2 3 Party Girl Hill 3pf 9-9-0-0 $482,181 231 4 4 Gimpanzee 4th 7-5-1-1 $643,464 227 3 5 Shartin N 7pm 6-5-1-0 $282,519 205 5 6 Ready For Moni 3tc 6-5-1-0 $575,670 129 6 7 Atlanta 5tm 7-3-2-0 $414,564 115 7 8 Sorella 3tf 8-6-0-0 $418,404 112 8 9 Reflect With Me 3pf 6-6-0-0 $233,630 86 9 10 Manchego 5tm 8-4-1-2 $276,201 55 10 ALSO: Donna Soprano 25; Captain Corey 21; Warrawee Vital 8; Action Uncle, Caviart Audrey 7; Century Farroh 6; Charlie May 5; Ocean Rock, Papi Rob Hanover 4; American Courage, Bettor’s Wish 3; Back Of The Neck, Hypnotic AM, Macho Martini, Tattoo Artist 2; Catch The Fire, Darlene Hanover, Guinevere Hall 1. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Two years ago, when owner Doug Paul asked trainer Susanne Kerwood if she wanted to join him in the purchase of a harness racing trotting filly named Js Miracle Mass at the London Selected Yearling Sale, Kerwood said yes. When the horse sold for a price that exceeded what she believed Paul intended to spend, she thought it was the end of the story. Until Paul said, "Hello, partner." "I thought we didn't get her," Kerwood said. "Doug said, 'We really liked her, and she's got a great family.' So, that's how we became partners. "That's one thing about Doug and (his mother) Rosalind, they buy quality horses, horses that are out of great families. They have good people look at them, like Abe Stoltzfus and Larry Rathbone, who know what they're looking at when they're looking at yearlings. They're a very good team, that's for sure." Doug and Rosalind race as M And L of Delaware. They typically change the names of the horses they buy, with the colts getting a name that includes "man" and the fillies getting one that includes "lady." Js Miracle Mass became Susie's Lady. On Friday, Susie's Lady faces the most difficult challenge of her career, meeting Ramona Hill in the second of two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ramona Hill is the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing's weekly poll and counts the Hambletonian Stakes, where she beat the boys, among her four wins in five starts this season. "I would say we're racing for second," Doug Paul said with a laugh. "I think the whole field is racing for second." Ramona Hill is the 1-5 morning-line favorite. Susie's Lady is 15-1. Susie's Lady, purchased for $65,000, is a daughter of Muscle Mass out of I Am Special. Her family includes High Sobriety, the dam of 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, as well as Marla Bar, the dam of Dan Patch Award winner Bar Slide. "She's got a lot of good qualities," Kerwood said about Susie's Lady. "She's a really good-gaited filly and she's got a pretty good head on her shoulders. You can leave with her one week and the next week if you want to take her off the gate, you can take her off the gate. In a trotter, I find that a really good quality. She's easy on herself, let's put it that way." Susie's Lady has won seven of 18 career races and hit the board a total of 13 times, earning $69,296. She was found to be sick following a fourth-place finish in a conditioned race on Aug. 8 but returned to action eight days later with a win in an Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots division at Georgian Downs. The filly heads to the Simcoe off a second-place finish in a division of the Casual Breeze Stakes on Aug. 28 at Mohawk. Susie's Lady finished one length behind McKee's Angel but made up more than four lengths in the stretch with a :28.1 final quarter. "She raced super," Kerwood said. "(Driver) Scott (Coulter) had to check her a couple times down the lane and lost some momentum, but she was closing hard. "She's a nice filly. And she's got a wonderful name. I love the name." Kerwood also trains a 3-year-old filly pacer, Betalady, for the Pauls. The daughter of Bettor's Delight-Lady Jake is 9-2 on the morning line in the first of two Simcoe Stakes divisions Saturday at Mohawk. Betalady is a two-time career winner on the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold circuit and has earned $143,019 lifetime. She was seventh in her Fan Hanover Stakes elimination on Aug. 22, her only off-the-board finish in a span of six races, but returned with Lasix for a Gold start Sept. 5 at Mohawk and won in 1:50.4. "She's a super tough little filly," Kerwood said. "You can race her every week and she keeps coming back. I'm so disappointed we didn't make the final in the Fan Hanover, that's probably the first time she didn't race to our expectations. She wants to be a good horse, that's for sure. She's got a great mentality. I think she's a good horse." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

Ake Svanstedt liked everything about Southwind Tyrion when he saw the yearling prior to last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. After purchasing the harness racing trotting colt for $145,000 and getting him home, he was less enthused. At least temporarily. "He was terrible," Svanstedt said with a laugh. "Until around May, he was pacey and his front step was just up and down. I think he had growing pains. When he was done with the growing, he started stretching out and was good. "Then the first time he trained at The Meadowlands he was a different horse. And when he qualified, he was amazing." Southwind Tyrion won his only qualifier in 1:55.2 and has kept on winning through the first four races of his career. On Saturday, the colt competes in the C$535,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at Ontario's Woodbine Mohawk Park. He is one of two undefeated colts in the Wellwood, along with Luc Blais-trained Macho Martini. Southwind Tyrion won his Wellwood elimination last week by a nose over On A Streak in 1:54.4 while Macho Martini triumphed by 1-3/4 lengths over Warrawee Whisper in 1:56 for his seventh victory of the campaign. The winner of the Wellwood receives a spot in the inaugural Mohawk Million, which will be held Sept. 26. Southwind Tyrion, this season's New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, is a son of Muscle Hill out of Taylor Jean. His third dam is Dan Patch Award winner Me Maggie and his extended family includes millionaires Lifetime Pursuit and Whiskey Tax, 2012 Goodtimes Stakes winner Beer Summit, and 2019 Ontario Sire Stakes champ Moon Bridge, who also was trained by Svanstedt. "He's a real racehorse," Svanstedt said about Southwind Tyrion. "He has been more serious since he started racing, at the racetrack and at home. He's not like a kid anymore. He was like a baby before, but now he is like an old horse. He likes racing. He really likes it. "Everything is good with him. He is a nice horse to handle. He can leave fast and he has never made a break. He can do everything." Svanstedt originally owned Southwind Tyrion with Lennart Agren's S R F Stable. The ownership group has since grown to include Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Brittany Farms & Riverview. Agren and Svanstedt teamed to win the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit. Agren is enjoying the ride now with Southwind Tyrion. "He is a very talented and intelligent horse and he has tremendous speed," Agren said. "He is strong, powerful, and knows how to finish." Agren said he is "absolutely" hoping for a victory Saturday so Southwind Tyrion can grab the final spot in the 10-horse Mohawk Million. Nine starting slots were purchased earlier this year for C$110,000 and those slots can be sold, traded, or leased by their owners. Slot owners do not have to declare a horse for the Mohawk Million until Sept. 22. Determination, which owns Macho Martini and On A Streak, already possesses a Mohawk Million starting slot. One other slot owner, John Fielding, is among the owners of a Wellwood finalist. He co-owns Nancy Takter-trained Locatelli. "We'll see what happens," Svanstedt said. "We need luck. But I think Southwind Tyrion is as good as he can be." Saturday's Mohawk card also includes the C$335,000 Peaceful Way Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters as well as divisions of the Simcoe, Champlain, and Somebeachsomewhere stakes. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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