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Batavia, NY---It was bombs-away at Batavia Downs Sunday (Aug. 31) when the heavily favored Major Dancer came up just short at the wire as 40-1 Ken Doll J pulled the surprise in a $39,900 division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Off the gate Sweetnsinful (Jimmy Whittemore) took an uncontested lead around the turn and up the backside before the 1-2 Major Dancer (Jonathan Drury) rushed and took over the top as they hit the quarter in :27.1. After a pedestrian second split of :30.1, Table Talk (Jim Morrill Jr.) started the outer flow and Ken Doll J (Aaron Byron) followed in swift fashion. Feeling the heat, Drury stepped on the gas and tried to pull away to the three-quarters with a :28 flat third panel. But the strategy was ineffective as the chasing pair continued to make up ground through the turn and into the stretch. From that point on it was a real horse race with a tiring Major Dancer coming back to Table Talk, who was outside of her and Ken Doll J, who was three-wide. When they hit the wire, Ken Doll J just got up in the final stride to win in 1:54 and light up the board. The winner paid $83.00. Table Talk was second and Major Dancer hung on to be third. This was the second win of the year for Ken Doll J (Bettor's Delight-Normajeankillean) and also a seasonal mark. The victory brought her earnings up to $74,882 for owner Ken Jacobs. Ken Doll J is trained by Linda Toscano. After the race, Byron said "Everything just worked out. I got a great trip and I didn't really have to do much to half. The filly was real good down the lane." In the first $39,900 division, Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) was the beneficiary of a patient steer and came away with a three-quarter length victory as a result. Up Front Elizabeth (Mark MacDonald) flew off the wings and led the field through a quick and gapped :27 quarter in post-position order. The story remained the same to the half in :56.3 when Carlota Blue Chip (Jack Flanigen) pulled and tried to apply some heat. She was only able to get up to third on the outside before stalling with two other horses behind her at the three-quarters in 1:25. When the outer flow faded around the last turn it allowed the rail-riding Barefoot Beauty (Jimmy Whittemore) to come off the pylons and that in turn left a spot for Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) to shoot up inside. At the head of the stretch, the bearing-out Up Front Elizabeth was in the middle with Barefoot Beauty to her right and Just Add Vodka to her left. The three battled to the wire with Just Add Vodka getting the advantage at the end to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2. Barefoot Beauty was second and Up Front Elizabeth was third. It was the third win of the year for the Julie Miller trained filly that also happened to be a new lifetime mark. The victory boosted the seasonal earnings of Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) to $94,233 for owners Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Steven Demeter, Herbert Burns III and Nahuel Agosti. Morrill praised both the horse and trainer saying "I can't believe how much better she was today. Julie did a great job getting her ready." In the second $39,200 split, Spreester (Jason Bartlett) made quick work of a short field and two breaking horses to register a five-length romp in the fastest of the three divisions. As the field went into the first turn, Delightful Dragon (Mark MacDonald) made an uncharacteristic break and watched as the rest of the field pulled away. Sky Artist (Kevin Cummings) was on the point but Medusa (Aaron Byron) was pushing the issue outside at the quarter in :26.4. But Medusa appeared to get foul-gaited and Byron took her back to the wood fourth. Then Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from second to challenge but also made a break before the half in :56.1. So with two of the three favorite guilty of miscues, Spreester, who had been sitting second through it all, pulled past the five-eighths, circled and cleared the leader before they hit the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. When she got back to the pylons, Bartlett popped the plugs and became a passenger as Spreester shifted gears and simply paced away from everybody. She hit the wire a five-length wrapped-up winner in 1:53.3. The winner paid $5.60 to her supporters. Delightful Dragon recovered from the early break to be second and Sky Artist hung on for third. This was the sixth win in 14 starts for Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) and the Paul Zabielski trained filly topped off her bank at $134,680. Spreester is owned by Kimberly Zabielski. Bartlett commented "I really didn't want to sit in the two-hole but they kept blowing up around me. She just exploded down the lane." The results of today's NYSS contests were important in the point's standings leading into the Night of Champions finals. Spreester took over the top spot, Just Add Vodka moved from fifth to third and Ken Doll J vaulted herself from twelfth to seventh. There was also an Excelsior leg contested and was won by Expose who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:56.3. The winner paid $6.80. Expose is trained by Linda Toscano and is owned by Linwood Higgins, Stake Your Claim Stable, Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered a four-win afternoon and Mark MacDonald scored a double. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Sept. 1) with a special Labor Day matinee card slated to start at 1:15. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---On Sunday afternoon (Aug. 31) the New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old pacing fillies come to town to compete for their cut of $119,000 in purses. The group is highlighted by Major Dancer (Art Major-Two Steppin' Sally), who is currently the fourth highest money earning 3-year-old pacing filly in North America with $201,644 in the bank. She is a seven-time winner in twelve attempts and has only finished out of the money once this year. She won the $46,248 Town Pro stake at Mohawk Raceway earlier this year in her lifetime best time of 1:51.2 as well as an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in 1:51.4. She finished second in the $244,875 final to Precocious Beauty in a 1:51.1 mile. Major Dancer will be driven by Jonathan Drury for trainer Casie Coleman. She is listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the third $39,900 NYSS division carded as the eighth race that also features A La Notte Hanover driven by Matt Kakaley and Table Talk with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines. A La Notte Hanover (Art Major-All Night Long) starts for the powerful Ron Burke stable and is a two-time winner in 2014. She won her last outing at Yonkers in NYSS action with an impressive 1:55 wire-to-wire victory that brought her bankroll up to $87,733 for the year. She also competed in the Empire Breeders Classic and finished close despite having a lot of traffic to deal with in both of those races. Table Talk (Bettor's Delight-Place At The Table) took an early seasons mark of 1:51.4 at Mohawk and has competed in the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stake and $212,150 Mistletoe Shallee where she paced back-to-back 1:49 miles for driver Tim Tetrick. She has been plagued with some bad posts and a breaking issue of late but looks to be in a good spot here for trainer Brad Dalious. In the first $39,900 division carded as the fourth race, Ron Burke and Julie Miller have the one-two punch going to post. Burke sends out Jaded Dream and Miller counters with Just Add Vodka. Jaded Dream (If I Can Dream-Jaded Gal) put forth a handy effort at Yonkers in her last, winning a NYSS leg there in 1:54.4. It was a welcome sight after a series of poor post draws and the resulting tough trips. She has three wins in 13 starts and $62,586 in the bank. Matt Kakaley is back in the bike behind her for the first time since June 18. Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) only has two wins this year but has been consistently in the money; 13 out of 16 starts and that made her $74,283 for the year. Her mark of 1:55.3 was at Monticello but she has paced considerably faster than that in defeat on several occasions. Jim Morrill Jr. who has driven her several times over the summer gets the assignment. The second $39,200 division which goes as the seventh race has three very tough competitors going post-ward and looks to be the most closely contested event. It features the first, second and fourth leading points leaders for this sex and gait in the NYSS this year. Blush Hanover (Art Major-Brissonte Hanover) currently tops the leader board and comes into this race sporting five 2014 wins for trainer Linda Toscano. She finished a strong third in the Empire Breeders Classic final after a very rough parked-out trip. She has a 1:52 mark at the Meadowlands and has only failed to hit the board once out of 14 starts this year. Her $168,831 in earnings is tops in this field and she looks to add to that total in here with Jim Morrill Jr. at the helm. Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) is second in points despite also having recorded five victories. This filly can race on the front or from behind and that versatility makes her a formidable foe. Her $115,080 in earnings is also second highest in the field and driver Jason Bartlett who has driven this filly twice before with winning outcomes, opted to driver her today for trainer Paul Zabielski after having been down to steer two horses in this same race. Medusa (Bettor's Delight-Mythical) ranks fourth in points among the group but is not that far behind the leaders. She has seven wins in 14 starts and $102,723 stashed away. The Paul Kelley trainee has a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs and also had two good efforts in the Empire Breeders Classic races. Tioga Downs regular Aaron Byron gets the drive tonight from Tim Tetrick who had been at the lines for her last three starts. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. Batavia Downs also has a special Labor Day matinee 12-race card on tap for Monday (Sept. 1) with a 1:15 post. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Talented young reinswoman Ellen Tormey will fly out of Melbourne on Monday bound for the US and Canada where she will spend six weeks honing her skills. Tormey, 24, will first land with leading Canadian trainer Blair Burgess in Canada where she will gain invaluable experience near the famous Mohawk track in Ontario. Tormey will then have the opportunity to visit the Little Brown Jug Carnival in Delaware, Ohio, before joining the Linda Toscano stable – based in New Jersey – and travelling with Toscano’s team to the massive carnival at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. Tormey’s trip came about after she was awarded the 2014 Leigh Plunkett Scholarship. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation was inaugurated in 2013 as a harness racing charity that would raise money for charitable organisations as well as providing an international scholarship for a young participant. In year one the charitable organisation selected was the Leukaemia Foundation, with the Leigh Plunkett Foundation able to deliver a $50,000 cheque to the foundation. The foundation wishes to thank everyone around Australia who donated their time and money to such a worthy cause. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation will be launching again soon and young participants who want to experience what Tormey has been afforded should start thinking about their application. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

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

One of the best sophomore pacers in the country, All Bets Off, from the powerful Ron Burke Stable, will be the featured attraction when Monticello Raceway presents the last preliminary leg of the rich New York Sire Stakes program on Tuesday afternoon, August 26. All Bets Off, owner of a 1:48.2 record, is currently fourth on the list of money winning 3 year old colt pacers this year with over $511,000 in earnings. The son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope has seven wins, two seconds and one third in 10 starts this year and he comes into his $38,500 split off three consecutive victories the last in 1:50.3 in the Carl Millstein Final at Northfield Park on August 15. Owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell, Burke has once again assigned the driving duties to Matt Kakaley when All Bets Off starts from post five in the first race on the card. In all, Burke will send out six sophomore pacers that afternoon, four in the three NYSS splits while two others will race in the Excelsior Stakes. That means the Burke Stable will have an entry in one of the NYSS events and it so happens that it will be in the event that All Bets Off is in. Joining him on the mutuel ticket will be stablemate Forty Five Red, to be driven by Mark MacDonald, another nice colt but not the caliber of All Bets Off. It appears that Burke is probably starting All Bets Off in the sire stakes to make sure he has a enough points to qualify for the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. In the second NYSS division, race four, the Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account gets the odds maker's nod as the early favorite from the pole position. A winner of almost $105,000 this year the American Ideal-Copywriter colt, owned by Brittany Farms owns a record of 1:51 taken earlier this year at the Meadowlands. Brett Miller will be in the pilot's seat when Capital Account leaves from post position one. Another Brittany Farms pacer, Winds Of Change, whom they co-own with Val D'Or Farms, is rated the favorite in the third NYSS split, race eight on the card. Trained by Linda Toscano the son of American Ideal-Art's Temptress, has won two of his last three starts at Tioga Downs the fastest in 1:50.2. Winds Of Change will leave from the four hole with Brett Miler at the controls. The undercard features four Excelsior Series paces which will go as races two, five, six and seven on the 11- race card. Arguably, the best of the starters in those events is Lauren and Bob Tucker's Believeinthespirit, an Art Major gelding out of Spirit Of the West, who is a five-time winner thus far this year with over $41,000 in earnings. Trainer Ed Lohmeyer, has assigned Jimmy Morrill, Jr. to do the driving when the pacer leaves from post five in the second race on the card. First post is slated for 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Batavia, NY--- $110,000 is up for grabs in two divisions of New York Sire Stake action for freshman trotting colts and geldings on Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs. The fourth race has seven horses going postward in the first division for $54,500 in purse money. Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty-Art Of Deception) went wire to wire in his career debut at Buffalo Raceway in a sparkling time of 1:59.3, which set a new track record. That win at Buffalo makes him one of only two horses in the race to be victorious over a half-mile track. He then won at Tioga before finishing third at Yonkers. After being scratched sick on August 2, Driver Michael Mc Givern elected to race the colt from behind rather than on the point like had all year. Assuming he needed that start after his 17 day layoff, Royal Deceptor has a great chance to rebound here with his early speed from post five for trainer Cheryl Mc Givern. Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparkling Cider) has been spectacular on bigger tracks this year for trainer George Ducharme, but has had his challenges over the half-mile ovals. In his last four starts he has set two consecutive lifetime marks at Tioga Downs (1:57.4) and Vernon Downs (1:56) but in between has made breaks off the gate at Yonkers and Monticello Raceway. Regular driver Chris Lems will try to make him behave from the rail to get his third victory of the year. Pier Ho Exotic (Conway Hall-Rose Run Exotic) has had just the opposite history. He made breaks at Tioga and Vernon but has a win at Buffalo Raceway in 2:01, a second at Yonkers and a fifth at Monticello after being parked out most of the mile. Pier Ho Exotic is the other horse in the race to win over a half-mile track and John Cummings Jr. will once again be on board from post two for trainer Megan Wilson. The second $55,500 division is carded as race eight and has eight starters. It also features a battle between the top point's leaders for this sex and gait. Gabe The Bear Dean (Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch) had a flawless performance last week at Monticello Raceway when he went gate to wire in 1:58.4. The four and three-quarter length victory was his fourth in six starts and boosted his earnings to $74,119 for the year. Trainer/driver Ray Schnittker will have to overcome post six in the full field of eight but has the gate speed to do it. Mambo Blue Chip (Lucky Chucky-Flirty Two) has been nearly flawless for trainer Linda Toscano his last four starts, winning three and finishing second by only half a length. Those victories helped bank his $68,169 for the year and leave him tied with Gabe The Bear Dean atop the NYSS leaderboard for 2-year-old trotting colts with 183 points. Mambo Blue Chip has Jeff Gregory aboard from the rail and that puts him in the perfect spot for his stalking style. Insomniac (Crazed-Catch Some Z's) has a win and two seconds since coming into the Paul Kelley stable on July 19 and that includes a 1:56.4 lifetime mark at Vernon Downs. In his other two starts he was narrowly defeated by today's favorites, Gabe The Bear Dean at Yonkers in 1:58.3 and Mambo Blue Chip at Monticello in 1:59.3. Jason Bartlett who has driven Insomniac for most of the year is aboard again, looking to avenge those defeats. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series on the card with total purses amounting to $38,000. The most closely contested of those is the tenth race where Crashana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) is coming off back-to-back three length victories and is set to go against Lucky Budd (Lucky Chucky-Britt's Spirit) who also has back-to-back victories going into tonight. Both horses scored their wins on the same nights at the same tracks, but raced in different divisions. They also both sport 1:57.3 lifetime marks at Vernon Downs. Looking to play spoiler is Titanium (Conway Hall-Classic Yankee) who dropped into Excelsior action from the NYSS last week to collar his first win of the year at Monticello in 2:01.2, the same night Crashana and Lucky Budd raced and won. Facing these two for the first time and drawing inside them, Titanium will look to become the dominant trotter in this series tonight. Post time for the first race is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The harness racing action heats up on Saturday (August 16th) at Mohawk Raceway when the eliminations for the Eternal Camnation and Nassagaweya Stakes are held. There are three divisions for both the Eternal Camnation and The Nassagaweya and picking a standout in either series is tough at this point. In the first division of the Eternal Camnation, Happy Becky 1:53 looks a big chance from barrier two. The daughter of Cams Card Shark is trained by Casie Coleman and is to be driven by David Miller. In the second division of the Eternal Camnation, J K Shesalady 1:52 looks the toughest to beat although her draw of seven evens things out a bit. The daughter of Art Major is trained by Nancy Johansson and will have the brilliant Yannick Gingras in the bike. In the third division of the Eternal Camnation it is a very even field with perhaps A Plus 1:54.1 just getting the nod here. The daughter of American Ideal is trained by Tony Alagna and will have Scott Zeron in the bike on Saturday night. The most heavily represented sire in the Eternal Camnation elimanations is Art Major with four with Western Ideal next best with three. In the first division of the Nassagaweya Stakes, two of the smarter colts so far this season square off with The Wayfaring Man and Asap Hanover locking horns. The Wayfaring Man 1:52.2, a son of Dragon Again is trained by Nicky Comenga and will have the great Jack Moiseyev in the bike. Asap Hanover 1:52, a son of Somebeachsomewhere is trained by Linda Toscano and will have the outstanding Ti Tetrick in the bike. The second division of the Nassagaweya Stakes looks a bit more clear cut with the Battle Of Waterloo winner Go Daddy Go 1:54 looking the one to beat. The son of Ponder is trained by Bob McIntosh and will driven by the legendary John Campbell. The third division of the Nassagaweya Stakes contains the fastest horse in the three heats  and likely favourite in Artspeak 1:50.4. The son of Western Ideal is another one from the barn of Tony Alagna and will be driven by Scott Zeron. The most heavily represented sire in the three divisions of the Nassagaweya eliminations is Somebeachsomewhere with five with the next best being Western Ideal with four. All up we have six great races to look forward to on Saturday night. For the fields click here. Harnesslink Media  

Although Crazshana's 2:00 victory was topped by two others on the afternoon card, still that clocking established a new Monticello Raceway track record for freshmen trotting geldings at Monticello Raceway when Trond Smedshammer drove him to a 2:00 victory in a division of the Excelsior "B" Series of the New York Sire Stakes on Monday, August 11. The altered son of Crazed-Keystone Shana, owned by the Purple Haze Stable, finished three lengths ahead of Mythology Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) and was one tick faster than the former standard of 2:00.1 set by Donttellmywife in 2006. In all, nine divisions of 2 year old trotting colts and geldings, in both the New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series, were featured that afternoon and the colts who won their NYSS splits were most impressive, each winning rather handily. Gabe The Bear Dean's 1:58.4 victory was the fastest of the three while Mambo Blue Chip scored in 1:59.3, and in his first lifetime start Sugarmakesmecrazy was victorious in 2:00.2. Ray Schnittkker guided Gabe The Bear Dean, a son of Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch, to a four-length triumph in 1:58.4 in the first $35,867 NYSS split. They finished just two ticks slower than Fashion Blizzard's 1:58.2 track record two years ago. Although Gabe the Bear Dean was abetted by breaking colts early in the mile still the powerful youngster needed no ulterior assistance as he trotted unchallenged through fractions of :29.2,:59.3,1:29.2 before finishing four lengths ahead of the Brent Holland -driven Andy Ray. A $105,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg, it was the fourth victory in six seasonal starts for Gabe The Bear Dean who now has nearly $75,000 for co-owner Ray Schnittker and the Minix Stable. "He's a nice colt and does everything right," Schnittker said about Gabe The Bear Dean, and then added: "He's got a big motor, too. Sent off at odds of 2-1 Gabe The Bear Dean paid $6.20 for win Mal and Janet Burroughs were on hand to watch Jeff Gregory drive their Mambo Blue Chip to a 1:59.3 triumph over Insomniac and Mark MacDonald in another $35,876 NYSS spilt and that had Burroughs smiling...and chirping. "I've missed the Hambletonian the last few years but this guy (Mambo Blue Chip) is gonna get us back there next year," said Burroughs, only the second amateur driver to win the famed Hambletonian. (He won the 2006 edition with Malabar Man while Harrison Hoyt was the other when he won with Demon Hanover in 1948). Trainer Linda Toscano had Jeff Gregory again drive Mambo Blue Chip and he responded with their third victory together. Understandably, Gregory was all smiles when he spoke of the colt's attributes. "He a smart colt and handles like an aged horse. Yeah, we got a good trip but he knew just what to do when he saw daylight in the stretch." After traveling along in third position from the start and still in third place at the top of the lane, when Gregory had room in the stretch he aimed Mambo Blue Chip toward freedom and the colt responded with a one length triumph. Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 yearling purchase was second choice in the betting and returned a $4.40 win mutuel. As impressive as any of the other colts was Sugarmakesmecrazy. Racing for the first time for money off just one qualifying start at the Meadowlands where he was beaten a nose in 1:58.1, he breezed to a wire to wire two-length victory in a time of 2:00.2 and kept favored Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer) at bay. Asked why the colt hadn't started earlier Svanstedt said; "He's so big that he had problems" as he pointed to the colt's right hind ankle and foot. "He's a good trotter now but he will be a very good 3-year-old." An $80,000 yearling purchase, the son of Crazed-Maple Frosting, paid $4.80 for win. He is owned by Mellby Gard, Inc. The supporting undercard featured three freshman trots in the Excelsior "A" Series and three in the Excelsior "B" Series. Besides Crazshana's 2:00 victory other Excelsior winners included; Deadhead Royalty, 2:04.1 (Howard Okusko), Abir Hanover, 2:04.2 (Jason Bartlett), Lucic, 2:04.2 (Steve Smith), Lucky Bud, 2:01.1 (Homer Hockstetler) and Titanium, 2:01.2 (Jason Bartlett) In all, a total of 11 of the 13 races were for trotters on that Monday and Shortest Distance, driven by Jimmy Taggart, Jr. won in 1:57 and scored her 17th victory of the season. She now has drawn even with Diamond Tiara as the harness horses with the most wins in North America this season. -John Manzi

Win The Gold will try to do just that when she competes in one of three $70,0000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday at Georgian Downs. The Sportsmaster daughter comes into the contest fresh from her victory in the $138,000 Battle of the Belles final this past Monday at Grand River Raceway. James MacDonald, who guided the filly to that 1:55.2 effort, will be back in the bike behind the Tony O’Sullivan trained lass who has earned $85,000 in her young career. Owned by breeder Emerald Highlands Farm of Ohio, the filly is the third foal from a half-sister to Ball And Chain, a very popular free for all pacer on the Ontario circuit for many years and a winner of more than $1.4 million during his career. Win The Gold will depart from post six in the third of three Gold tests for the fillies on Sunday, race eight. While the top five finishers in the Battle of the Belles have all been entered for Sunday, none drew in with the winner. However, she does face Code One Hanover, another daughter of Sportswriter, who captured her last Gold event on July 18 at Grand River. Sports Chic, who finished a neck behind Win The Gold in the Belles finale, drew into the second division, race five. The Sportswriter rookie, who has an impressive summary of 3-2-0 in five lifetime starts to date, will leave from the rail for Jody Jamieson. Trainer Blake MacIntosh co-owns the two time Gold winner with Hutt Racing Stable, Pa. Capela, who finished less than a length away from the winner in the Belles, will also start in that test. She has Randy Waples at the lines for trainer Linda Toscano. The fourth and fifth place finishers in the Belles, Southwind Mischief and Betty And The Jets, will meet in the first division, race one. The Battle Of The Belles is the filly companion to the Battle of Waterloo for two-year-old pacing colts and that group will also be competing at Georgian on Sunday in three $70,000 Gold divisions. While the Battle winner, Go Daddy Go is sitting this one out, the remaining cheque earners in the $217,140 Battle final have been entered. Sporting The Look, the second place finisher, will leave from post two in the final colt test, race 10. Jody Jamieson will be at the controls for dad Carl who trains and co-owns with breeder 30 Plus Stable of Trenton and Tom Kyron of Toronto. The Sportswriter colt was a winner in the first Gold test for this group in early July at Mohawk. His competition Sunday includes Mikes Powerhouse, a son of Camluck who finished fourth in the Battle final as well as his elimination. A winner in an OSS Grassroots event in his first lifetime start, the colt is owned by breeder Jeffrey Synder of New York and is a full or half-brother to a bevy of champions including Michaels Power ($1.6 million), Michelles Power ($1.3 million), Michaels Marvel ($835,000), etc. That colt is from the Casie Coleman stable which will also send out the Bob Ben And John, who finished third in the Battle final, in race two and Southwind Indy, the final cheque earner in the Battle, in race three. Coleman has a total of seven starters among the two Gold divisions, all but one (Mikes Powerhouse) is sired by her former champion Sportswriter. Georgian’s card gets underway at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The filly pacers are featured in races one, five and eight while the colts will appear in races two, three and 10. The full program may be viewed through this link Georgian Entries - August 10. Ontario Sire Stakes

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

ANDERSON, Ind.—August 5, 2014—A field of nine will be sent post-ward in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 8. In what may be the most accomplished field ever assembled, the 21st installment of Hoosier Park’s signature event will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m.  The race will be part of a special weekend tagged as “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The evening will also be complimented by Indiana Sires Stakes finals, sending the purse money to be distributed throughout the evening over the $500,000 mark.  The 2014 Dan Patch field boasts combined career purse earnings over $10 million and includes four millionaires, three previous Dan Patch winning drivers, two Hall of Fame drivers, and one Hall of Fame trainer. Bettor’s Edge, Heston Blue Chip, Sweet Lou, and Thinking Out Loud will make their way to Indiana boasting career earnings over the $1 million mark. Ricky Macomber Jr., who visited the Dan Patch winner’s circle in 2000 and 2002, will drive Bettor’s Edge from post seven while Peter Wrenn, who won the 2012 installment of the Dan Patch, will start from post three behind Night Pro.  Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce, who was victorious in the 2005 Dan Patch Invitational with Maltese Artist, has been enlisted to drive the 4-5 morning line favorite, Sweet Lou from post five for North America’s leading money-winning trainer, Ron Burke. With over $2.9 million in career earnings, the five-year-old horse is the richest horse in the field and is currently riding an eight race win streak, most recently victorious in 1:47.2 in the US Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands.  Harness racings’ all time leading money winning driver and Hall of Famer, John Campbell, will make his way to Hoosier Park to compete in his second Dan Patch Invitational and has been enlisted to drive Thinking Out Loud for Hall of Fame trainer, Robert McIntosh from post two. Throughout his career, Thinking Out Loud has amassed more than $1.5 million with a record of 44-14-7-10.  Also joining the stellar cast of entrants as a main contender for the 2014 Dan Patch title is State Treasurer, with Jody Jamieson at the lines from post eight. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee has been tabbed as the 4-1 morning line second choice. A winner of over $750,000 lifetime, the five-year-old horse recently set a 1:48.1 Canadian seasons record at Mohawk and is the 2014 Molson Pace Champion.  Night Pro will play the role of local favorite from three for trainer Dale Decker. Night Pro, a former Indiana Sires Stakes champion, enters Saturday’s race after posting seven consecutive wins in the Invitational pace at Hoosier Park. The four-year-old gelding has won 22 of 30 career starts and has amassed over $350,000 in career earnings.  The 2014 Dan Patch field, in post-position order with named driver and trainer includes: 1.      Dancin Yankee           Tr: Amber Buter         Dr: Tyler Buter     8-1 2.      Thinking Out Loud      Tr: Robert McIntosh  Dr: John Campbell   6-1                 3.      Night Pro                   Tr: Dale Decker        Dr: Peter Wrenn      20-1 4.      Carol’s Comet           Tr: Ron Potter          Dr: Aaron Merriman 15-1 5.      Sweet Lou                 Tr: Ron Burke          Dr: Ron Pierce    4-5        6.      Heston Blue Chip      Tr: Linda Toscano   Dr: Corey Callahan  15-1 7.      Bettor’s Edge           Tr: Ron Burke     Dr: Ricky Macomber Jr.  10-1 8.      State Treasurer        Tr: Ian Moore      Dr: Jody Jamieson        4-1 9.      Our Lucky Chip     Tr: Jason Miller     Dr: Trace Tetrick    30-1  Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in two special wagers offered for the Dan Patch Invitational card. A $25,000 Guaranteed Dan Patch Superfecta pool will be available as part of the Strategic Wagering Program. The wager will have a minimum bet of 10 cents and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and the Indiana Standardbred Association. Slated as the twelfth race on the card, estimated post time for Hoosier Park’s signature event is 9:30 p.m.  A $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-3 will also be made available to racing fans in races seven through nine as part of the East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge. The East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge will pit the top-five drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against five of the top drivers from the East in a three-race challenge with the winning team going home with their share of the $20,000 prize. The top five drivers from Hoosier Park will make-up “Team Midwest” with the top five drivers from the East driving for “Team East”.    In what is being called the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend”, Hoosier Park will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside special wagers, free fireworks, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. Also, highlighting the weekend will be a concert by the Grammy-award winning group, Little Big Town on Saturday, August 9 as part of Hoosier Park’s summer concert series line-up.   Emily Gaskin Racing Commentator, Publicist and Marketing Specialist

Classic winners He's Watching and JK Endofanera gave a thrilling battle through a :54.3 last half-mile in their $12,500 Empire Breeders Classic elimination on Sunday (August 3) afternoon at Tioga Downs, and while He's Watching eked out a half-length win, the rivalry will continue in next week's $255,525 final. With a mid-card rain squall downgrading the track to sloppy, He's Watching ($2.90) made a first-over push against pacesetting JK Endofanera (Brian Sears) after a :56.3 half mile. The two champions were locked in battle for the final three-eighths of the mile, tracked intently by Capital Account (Yannick Gingras) through three-quarters in 1:24.0. In the final hundred yards, He's Watching pushed his head just past, prevailing in 1:51.1 in rein to Tim Tetrick. JK Endofanera proved valiant in defeat, while Capital Account kept pace well enough to hold third. Western Conquest (Marcus Miller) stayed on for fourth from a midpack stalking trip, guaranteeing a berth in the final. He's Watching, trained by David Menary for Menary Racing, Inc., Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and the Muscara Racing Trust, will start from post 3 in next week's final, as selected by his connections. Earlier on the card, Tetrick took the other Empire Breeders Classic elimination for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, sustaining a first-over bid with Winds of Change ($18.00) en route to a three-quarter length win over a late-charging Neat (Marcus Miller) in 1:50.2. Twin B Speedo (Mark MacDonald) and Forty Five Red (Yannick Gingras) completed the first four finishers of the earlier elimination. Linda Toscano trainee Winds of Change will start from post 1 in the final for owners Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Of the fifth-place colts and geldings, Ideal Magic was drawn by lot into the final, while Archetto Hanover will be the also-eligible. While "The Intimidator" swept the colt eliminations, the two eliminations for three-year-old pacing fillies both went to Brian Sears. Sears's first-over drive aboard Precocious Beauty ($5.40) was enough to wear down pacesetter It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron) and subsequently stave off a stalking charge from Delightful Dragon (David Miller) in the 1:51.4 second elimination, while It Was Fascination and the ground-saving Just Fine (Jimmy Whittemore) rounded out the top four. Precocious Beauty, trained by Gregg McNair for owner James Avritt, Sr., will start from post 3 in next week's $244,875 distaff final. Sears teamed up with Major Dancer ($4.40) to win the earlier elimination for fillies, sweeping to the fore in the final yards for a 1:51.4 victory, chased home by Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.). Pacesetting longshot Medusa (Tim Tetrick) held third after being gathered in, while A La Notte Hanover (David Miller) mounted a late rally to round out the top four. The Casie Coleman-trained Major Dancer will start from post 2 in next week's final for Coleman's West Wins Stable, Mac Nichol, and Adriano Sorella. Of the fifth-place fillies, Suplemental Income was drawn by lot into the final, while Table Talk will be the also-eligible. Both Empire Breeders Classic finals will be contested next Sunday afternoon, August 10. In addition to the Empire Breeders Classic eliminations, a pair of Geers Stake events were held for two-year-old pacing colts and fillies, respectively. Cashaway ($4.60, Tim Tetrick) held sway in 1:53.1 in her $31,607 division, narrowly holding off a late charge from Crescent City (Mark MacDonald), who was blocked from the pocket until all but the final 40 yards. JK She'salady (Yannick Gingras) triumphed in the earlier division, making a bold first-over move to beat Single Me (Tim Tetrick) in 1:54.0. In a $39,182 division for colts and geldings, Dealt a Winner ($2.50, Brian Sears) pushed clear late off a first-over trip, edging clear from Western Pioneer (David Miller) and keeping a chasing My Hero Ron (Marcus Miller) at bay for a 1:54.2 win, while Rock n' Roll World (David Miller) pounced from the pocket to beat Sonofa Sizzle (Dan Daley) 1:54.2 in a $38,682 split raced as an early non-wagering event. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 9) evening, with first post slated for 6:15 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

Batavia, NY - Three divisions of the New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings highlighted the Sunday afternoon card and it didn't take long for the youngsters to impress the crowd. Prohibitive post time favorite All Bets Off put on a clinic in winning the first division of the $116,900 sophomore stake and rewrote the record book in the process. Leaving from post five, All Bets Off went right to the front and was never headed. In fact, for most of the mile no one could keep up with him. Driver Matt Kakaley set fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1 as he sped for the last turn. At that point All Bets Off found a new gear and pulled away to an unprompted eight-length victory in 1:51.2, which set a new track record for a 3-year-old colt and was only one-fifth shy of tying the all-age track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. All Bets Off, who returned $2.60 for the win, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, the Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell and is trained by Ron Burke. The win was his sixth of the year and raised his lifetime earnings to $497,842. The second division looked like it might break the record just set. After settling in second off the gate, 3-5 favorite Winds Of Change (Jim Morrill Jr.) bolted from the hole and shot to the top with a 6 length advantage at the quarter in :26.4. He was in command at the half in 54.1 with a gapped 10 length lead but the pack started reeling him in at the three-quarters. After the leader hit that post in 1:22.4, Forty Five Red (Matt Kakaley) who had come first-over caught the leader by the top of the turn, but Moliere Hanover (Jason Bartlett) was right on his back and it became a two horse race all the way down the stretch. After a hard fought duel, Moliere Hanover won a neck decision over Forty Five Red in 1:53.3 The time was a new lifetime mark for Moliere Hanover who was overlooked by the betting public and returned $24.20. Moliere Hanover is owned by Baymond Racing LLC and is trained by P.J. Fraley. The final split was won by Big Boy Dreams (Jason Bartlett) who presented his best outing of the year. Leaving from post five, Big Boy Dreams immediately took the lead and was never headed. After getting to the three-quarters in 1:25, Bartlett stretched out in the bike and simply urged the colt along with a few taps down the lane where the others attempt to catch him became futile. The mile time of 1:52.4 was a seasonal mark for Big Boy Dreams who returned $3.60 as the favorite. Big Boy Dreams is owned by Dominick Rosato and is trained by Tracy Brainard. There were also two divisions of the $12,600 Excelsior A series on the undercard. The first was won by Murder He Wrote, driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in a time of 1:55.2 for owner Camelot Stable and trainer Linda Toscano. Murder He wrote returned $3.80. The second division went to Archetto Hanover who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:54.2 for owner Paymaq Racing, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. Erv Miller trains Archetto Hanover who paid $7.60. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. continued his driving domination as he registered five wins and two seconds on the 12 race card. Morrill is by far the top driver in the New York Sire Stake series and on the year as a whole, sports a gaudy .406 UDR. Racing resumes Wednesday evening (7-30) at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia downs

The final edition of Breakfast With The Babies for the 2014 season began with Hambletonian favorite Father Patrick getting in some prep work in advance of next Saturday's big dance. His performance did nothing to encourage any Hambo fence-riders that may have been considering buying a $15,000 ticket to that dance. Yannick Gingras gave him a tour of the oval in 1:52 flat, back half in :54.4, last quarter :26.2 about as easy as it could be done. It looks like "All systems go" for team Father Patrick. Last year's champion three year old filly pacer I Luv The Nitelife made her return to the races this morning in winning fashion for owners Richard and Joanne Young. She has been nursed back to the races by trainer Chris Ryder after her season ending injury last fall and she looked sound and happy in her 2014 debut. Driver Tim Tetrick settled the mare in third through a slow 57.2 half, moved her on the last turn to a stretch lead then flashed her grit by refusing to yield to the late challenge of Bakersfield with a 27.1 close to the 1:53.2 mile. A pair of Meadowlands Pace finalists teed it up in the last race of the day and Lyonssomewhere got the best of JK Endofanera here by sprinting home in 26.2 on the end of a 1:51.1 mile. Trainer Jimmy Takter put the speedy colt on the lead through friendly fractions and had enough to rebuff JK Endofanera's close. So far as the freshmen, Habitat, a speedy Conway Hall colt that had made a pair of breaks in NYSS action recently, impressed with an effortless 1:55.3 / 27.1 win with Yannick Gingras aboard. Ron Burke trains colt for himself and partners Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stable. The group paid $50,000 for Habitat at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last fall. Trond Smedshammer won a couple this morning, the first with a nice Yankee Glide out of Calchips Finisher named Finish Line. He sat a pocket to first timer Sugarmakesmecrazy and Ake Svanstedt, nailing that one in the final strides of the 1:58.1 / 28.1 mile.He was a $50,000 Lexington buy for Trond's American Viking Stable, Diane Giuliano and Purple Haze. Trond came right back with the Andover Hall x Chez Belle filly Chezando, closing ground into a 28.4 final quarter for the 2:00.4 score. She cost Purple Haze and Michael Parisi $70,000 at Lexington last fall. The last of the baby trots fittingly saw Jimmy Takter win in 2:00.1 with French Laundry, a good Muscles Yankee colt who won a NJSS event in 1:56 a few weeks ago. He just held off the impressive closing rush of the $175,000 Cantab Hall colt Colbert who was making his very first start for Svanstedt. Pacers came around in the tenth race and ASAP Hanover won for the third time in morning trials, this one in 1:52.4 with Tim Tetrick driving. Linda Toscano trains the $150,000 Lexington sale colt by Somebeachsomewhere from Allamerican Coed for John Mehlenbacher. He has impressed and improved in each of his three outings. This time Tetrick put him on the lead and sprinted home in 26.4 in hand. Penji Hanover paced home hard to be second. Trainer Tony Alagna had a good day beginning with the eleventh where a pair of his pacing fillies went to the wire together with Cashaway tracking down Martinique in the final strides to get the 1:54.1 win. Cashaway was second in the recently contested NJSS final for Tim Tetrick, who drove the Western Ideal x CPA $105,000 Lexington sale grad today for owners Brittany Farms and Marvin Katz. New Jersey Sires Stakes champion Artspeak got some work in this morning, leading all the way and drawing off late in 1:53.2 over the pocket sitting Stover. The winner also hails from the Alagna barn with Scott Zeron doing the driving for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners (John Fodera and Steve Wienick). Racing manager Myron Bell bought the Western Ideal colt from The Art Museum for $100,000 in Lexington on their behalf and it certainly looks as though they've got a good one here. A Plus completed the Alagna natural hat trick by winning in 1:54.1 / 27.3 with Zeron aboard. She's an American Ideal filly out of the Brittany broodmare Has An Attitude that Tony bought for himself with partners In The Gym, Massey and Sbrocco for $60,000 in Kentucky. Better Said was a good second here with a late move for Toscano and Tetrick. Ed Hart's nice Cam's card Shark colt Dealt A Winner prevented an Alagna-slam when he held safe over Tony's closing Rock On The Hill in 1:54.2 for Brian Sears. Jeff Snyder owns the winner, a $35,000 Harrisburg bargain buy last fall. Live racing resumes at 7:15 this evening with the John Cashman Memorial eliminations headlining the thirteen race card. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

Batavia, NY - The first of eight visits by the lucrative New York Sire Stakes takes place Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs and for the local fans it's a chance to see some of the biggest names in harness racing. The 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers will be on hand and that means some very exciting action. There will be three legs of the NYSS and two of the Excelsior series and the entrants will be competing for combined purses in excess of $140,000. The first division goes for $39,200 and looks to be the main event as it is loaded with talent and speed. Perennial training leader Ron Burke will start 3-5 morning line favorite All Bets Off, who ships in with some impressive credentials. He won the $300,000 Art Rooney pace at Yonkers Raceway in May and after winning his elimination heat in 1:48.3, finished third in the $500,000 Hempt final at Pocono Downs behind McWicked last month. In that race, McWicked set a new world record for 3-year-old colts on a five-eighths mile track (1:47.3). This will be the third start in the NYSS for All Bets Off this year who won at Vernon Downs in 1:50.2 and just ten days ago finished second at Yonkers in 1:52.4 to Capital Account, who looks to be his toughest competition in today's race. He has earnings of $291,575 already this year. All Bets Off, who starts from post five and will be driven by Matt Kakaley, is part of an entry that includes stablemate Keystone Honor. Capital Account has competed in some high-profile stakes already but without positive results. He drew post eight in both the $69,000 Somebeachsomewhere and $45,500 North America Cup elimination at Mohawk and finished well beaten in both. But even though he does not sport the gaudy numbers of the morning line favorite, he certainly has beaten him. In his last start at Yonkers in NYSS action, Capital Account was pulled third over up the backside before tipping four-deep around the leader All Bets Off at the top of the stretch. He then outpaced the 1-5 favorite to the wire to win by a half-length. The 16-1 shot was overlooked last week but certainly won't be in here. Capital Account is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and will start from post three for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. The second $39,200 division is headed by Canadian conditioner Cassie Coleman's Twin B Tenacious. After getting 2014 off to an inauspicious start, Twin B Tenacious has now strung together four straight wins (the last a NYSS event at Yonkers) and registered a 1:50.3 lifetime mark at the Meadowlands in the process. Steve Smith, who has been at the helm for all four victories, will once again be in the bike and start from post four. Forty Five Red, who is another entry from the powerful Burke stable, comes in off two consecutive wins at Yonkers Raceway which includes his seasonal mark of 1:52.3 in his last outing. Although he hasn't missed a check all year, his most recent outings have probably been his best to date and indicate he will be a legitimate threat to the favorite. The third division is worth $38,500 and looks to be a wide-open affair. Stay Up Late has been made the morning line favorite but has yet to win in stake action at three. He has gone off the favorite in his last three starts but his sole victory this year came in an overnight event at Yonkers Raceway on July 8 in 1:53.3. He gets Jim Morrill Jr. up for the first time this year and starts from post four Neat draws the rail for trainer Erv Miller and is coming in off three very impressive starts. After just getting beat in 1:53.4 in a NYSS race at Buffalo on June 27, Neat finished second in an overnight at Pocono Downs in 1:50.1 over a sloppy track the following week. He was then back in Sire Stake action at Yonkers his last start where he got away sixth and chased a :56 flat last half parked out to finish third in 1:52.3. Neat is rated at 5-2 for driver Brent Holland. 3-1 third choice Sir Sam's Z Tam has the fastest seasonal mark and the most money earned of any other horse in this race, but also has the only NYSS victory this year. After hitting the board four consecutive times, he found himself parked out in a fast last half at Yonkers before finishing fifth. Sam's Z Tam will start from post three for trainer/driver the Pat Lachance. The undercard features two divisions of the Excelsior series and they are slated to go as race seven and ten. The first split goes for $12,600 and has two horses that have dominated the class; Cabbie's Delight and Murder He Wrote. 8-5 favorite Cabbie's Delight has not been worse than second in six Excelsior starts. In fact he is the point's leader to date in the series. He won four straight out of the gate before finishing two close seconds in his most recent starts. Trainer Sam Serianni has Jason Bartlett in the bike this week as he looks to get back in the winner's circle. 9-5 co-favorite Murder He Wrote has won his last two starts, including a NYSS event at Buffalo Raceway where he blew up the tote board at 45-1. The roan gelding drew immediate respect after that when he went off the prohibitive favorite the following week at Yonkers where he won wire to wire in 1:54.1. Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Murder He Wrote and starts from post five for conditioner Linda Toscano. The final $12,600 Excelsior contest is headlined by 2-1 choice Believeinthespirit. After having negligible success in four straight NYSS races, trainer Ed Lohmeyer reclassified his charge to the Excelsior and the change has proven fruitful. Believeinthespirit has won his last two starts in convincing fashion and looks to continue the streak from post two. 5-2 second choice Archetto Hanover is the second highest point getter in the Excelsior series behind Cabbie's Delight and has three wins and two seconds to show for his efforts. Trainer Erv Miller has Brent Holland up for this trip and will depart from post five. Post time for the first race is 1:15. For more racing information or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon to www.bataviabets.com and open an account. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

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