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Trenton, NJ --- For most of her life, the extent of Shelley Johnson’s photography featured holiday and vacation photos, much like the rest of the world. About 10 years ago, her husband Jeff surprised Shelley with a point-and-shoot camera for Christmas, in hopes that nine months later she would be able to take sharp action photographs at the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. “I’m not sure what Jeff was thinking,” said Johnson, who lives 35 miles east of Columbus, Ohio. “I had never taken action shots. I took it as a challenge.” Jeff must have known something no one else did, because the challenge has been well met. A decade later, most of the cover photos on Scioto Downs programs are taken by Shelley, who has developed an eye for action and just this week enjoyed shooting another Little Brown Jug. But her efforts in photography go beyond the racetrack. She also shoots photographs for the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which has Standardbred facilities in Ohio and Michigan. “I find great joy shooting photos of Standardbred horses retiring from the track and moving on to other careers,” she said. “New Vocations retrains Standardbred racehorses for various occupations under saddle and places them in new, caring homes. Each month I photograph these great horses going up for adoption. This is my way of promoting harness racing and helping the Standardbred horse adoption program.” While Jeff is the big horseman in the family, he did provide Shelley with a birthday present when he bought her a horse for her birthday named Master Chip in 2005. But it wasn’t like she just had to unwrap the horse at the stable. “I had to do all of my own bidding at the (Ohio Selected Jug) sale,” she said. “I had never been to an auction, let alone bid on anything. It was quite stressful. He didn't do much on the track, but I sure loved him. He has a good home now and enjoys life.” The Johnsons have also partnered with other owners on trotting fillies She’s Not Red and ML Cupcake, who are both broodmares now. They still have ML Cupcake, who was Ohio’s 2-year-old filly Trotter of the Year in 2010. “I can't wait until next spring to see her baby,” Shelley said. They also have a 2-year-old filly trotter, Carolina Charm, who has won four of six starts this season. “The racing was always Jeff's thing,” Shelley noted. “He knows horses, stallions, etc. I only enjoyed watching the races if it was a horse I knew. That's when I started taking pictures. It gave me something to do, and he was able to stay for the entire card without me wanting to go home!” It has led to a long, steady climb for the Ohio retiree who is technically a professional photographer by virtue of her sales, but still considers it a hobby. After receiving that first camera, she experimented on her feathered friends before horses, taking photos of birds at the feeder outside the dining room window. When she and Jeff bought their first horse, Shelley would try to capture him in action at the track. When she shot the Jug, it became a bit tougher as horses trying to win races traveled a lot faster than those being jogged and trained. “I took pictures, but they didn’t really turn out,” she said. Johnson kept plugging away. She took online classes for nature photography and equine photography. Neither dealt with shooting actual race action, but did help in the process. “I learned a lot about headshots and conformation shots in the equine class,” she said. “Also the proper distance to avoid distortion in the photos.” She also put in countless hours practicing at the farm of her friend Doris, who jogged and trained her own horses and taught Shelley a lot about the animals. But all the practice and all the talent in the world can only get a photographer so far without the right equipment. As her interest increased, so too did the quality of Shelley’s cameras. The big turnaround in her photos came several years ago when Jeff bought his wife a professional grade lens. “That’s made a huge difference,” Johnson said. “He even said if he had known the lens would make that much difference, he would have gotten it for me sooner.” She knew she arrived as a photographer when Scioto Downs made her a cover girl two years ago. “At that point,” she said, “I guess I thought, hey, I got this!” The monumental first cover came on June 21, 2012, with a photo of the entire field of a race on the starting gate, and an Ohio Lottery billboard behind them proclaiming “Winners Are Everywhere.” “It felt amazing to see it,” Johnson said. Aside from the program covers, she has had several photos in magazines by virtue of New Vocations using them. A week ago, Johnson was thrilled to see that one of her photos was used on the Scioto Downs billboard out front. She has discovered that she gets her finest results when not focusing on anything in particular. “I do my best when I just shoot random, with no pressure,” she said. “If I get it, OK. If I don't, OK. I will try to focus on a certain horse in a race if someone wants me to get a picture of their horse. That's hard though. The horse isn't always in view.” And as good as she has become, Johnson still feels the biggest key to her success “is probably just good luck.” “Most of the time I single-shoot the pictures,” she explained. “My camera doesn't shoot enough frames per second to use continuous mode. If I try to shoot in continuous mode and the horse has its foot planted on the track, it usually ends up planted in all of the shots. I like to try for shots with all four off the ground.” As for attempting to choose her favorite photo, Shelley said it’s like trying to pick a favorite child. She notes that when so many photos do not come out, “whenever I get one that I think looks good, I’m happy.” Judging by her success in recent years, Shelley Johnson has had quite a bit of happiness lately. To view Shelly Johnson’s work, check out her website at www.sfjohnsonphotos.com by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent  Courtesy of the US Trotting Association Web Newsroom    

With smart and calculated drives by Yannick Gingras, Limelight Beach won the prestigious Little Brown Jug at Delaware, Ohio Thursday in straight heats. In order to win the Little Brown Jug a horse must win two heats on one day to be declared the winner. Both Let’s Drink On It and Limelight Beach won their elimination divisions and earned posts two and one respectively in the final and they both made the most of their post positions. Gingras left quickly with Limelight Beach with Let’s Drink On It (Tyler Smith) dropping right in behind him in second place. They went to the half mile marker in an easy :57 and then the action started to begin. Somewhere In L A and driver Brett Miller came first-over and gave outside cover to Beat The Drum but it was McWicked and driver David Miller in sixth place on the outside who had the crowd on their feet as they tried to loop the field three-wide at the three-quarters in 1:23. Then on the final turn for home, Gingras looked behind him, saw Let’s Drink On It right on his helmet and backed his horse up so that when they started down the stretch, Tyler Smith would have no room to get loose with Let’s Drink on it and the tactic worked perfectly. Once starting down the stretch, Gingras urged his horse home and they won by one and one-half lengths in 1:50.4. Let’s Drink On It could find no room and was a strong second with Somewhere In L A third. Oddly, today was the first time this year after 12 starts that Limelight Beach had won a race and then to cap it off winning the Little Brown Jug in straight heats. Sired by Somebeachsomewhere, Limelight Beach is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the M1 Stable and Wingfield Brothers. He paid $4.00 to win. They had purchased Limelight Beach earlier this season and prior owners, Charles Wingfield and his brother, stayed on as co-owners. “We just had too much fun with his last year,” said Charles Wingfield, “And we stayed through this race right here. It’s amazing. I can’t believe it.” “I had two great horses to drive in the Jug today,” Yannick Gingras said. “People asked me who I liked better and I said Lyonssomewhere over Limelight Beach, but this horse came up huge today. He went two big heats today.” “We kinda got lucky in the first heat,” Gingras said, “but in the second heat he was tremendous, he was scary. I was looking at the program and I know there was not a lot of speed in the race and my horse the people had to respect his speed. Tyler’s (Smith) horse got out of the gate better than I thought. I kept my horse moving along. I did not want to go slow and he put in an awesome performance. Let’s Drink On It takes first heat of Jug Harness racing driver and 21-year-old local native, Tyler Smith, took Let’s Drink On It three-wide in the backstretch and was able to grind it out to win the $103,600 first heat of the Little Brown Jug. The race began with Lyonssomewhere (Yannick Gingras) shooting right to the lead from the start of the race with At Press Time (Matt Kakaley) grabbing the pocket seat. They raced that way past the opening quarter in :26.4. Then going to the half mile marker in an easy :54.4, Beat The Drum (Ron Pierce) came first-over to challenge and following his cover on the outside was Let’s Drink On It and Tyler Smith. Once they hit the backstretch, Smith moved three-wide with Let’s Drink On It and after the three-quarters in 1:23, had cleared past Beat The Drum and was coming after pacesetter Lyonssomewhere. Then half way around the final turn, Let’s Drink On It had collared Lyonssomewhere when Gingras’s horse went off-stride and had to be pulled off to the inside as Let’s Drink On It shied to the outside and Matt Kakaley with At Press Time just avoided Lyonssomewhere. Let’s Drink On It was able to regroup right away and Tyler Smith urged him on home to win by one and one-half lengths over At Press Time with Beat The Drum third and also making the final was On Golden Ponder (John Campbell) in fourth place. Let’s Drink On It covered the one mile race in 1:51 and at odds of 3-1 paid $8.80 to win. “He was good today,” Smith said, this horse ain’t got a real lot of gate speed. The way it lined up I figured I would be third or fourth and have to come first-over. But luckily Ron (Pierce) came out first and we were able to get a little cover until the backside. I was able to crossover by the last turn, but Yannick’s (Gringras) horse, I don’t know if I could have beaten him but we were gonna take a good crack at him. “I am happy to win,” Smith said, “and to be in the big race. It would mean the world to me to win this race. I would give back all the races I have won just to win the Jug.” Sired by Art Official, Let’s Drink On It is trained by Joe Seekman and is owned by Tina Seekman, L. Bond, H. Hewitt and V. Boido, Jr. Limelight Beach takes second Jug elimination Limelight Beach picked the perfect spot to win his first race of the 2014 season in 13 tries, capturing the $103,600 second heat of the Little Brown Jug. Given a masterful drive by Yannick Gingras, Limelight Beach was able to sit and draft in second place behind pacesetter and 3/5 favorite McWicked and driver David Miller. They went in Indian-style to the opening quarter in :27 and then easy half mile in :55.2 before the action began to heat up. Somewhere In L A and driver Brett Miller came first-over with He’s Watching (Tim Tetrick) following the outside flow to the three-quarters in 1:22.4. Then Somewhere In L A and McWicked were ready to lock horses down the stretch but it was Gingras with Limelight Beach, pulling off the rail, sweeping three-wide and looping both horse to win by a half length in 1:51. Somewhere In L A was second with McWicked third and Sometimes Said (John Campbell) fourth and making it to the Jug second heat. Trained by Ron Burke, Limelight Beach is sired by Somebeachsomewhere and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the M1 Stable and Wingfield Brothers. He paid $12.00 to win. “Everyone is supporting trainer Brian Brown this week,” trainer Ron Burke said, “and we are just reaping the rewards from his work as we got this colt from him. Horse was good today. We knew he was better than the other colt we have in. Having the other horse (At Press Time) in the final too is great. Yannick (Gingras) thinks we can get to the lead easy. We have won two Jugette’s and hopefully we can finally win the Jug.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

At this morning's annual meeting of the Little Brown Jug Society, the board elected Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ontario and Jason Settlemoir of Cream Ridge, NJ to the Little Brown Jug Society filling a pair vacant seats. Coleman is one of the sport's top conditioners, winning two Little Brown Jug and Jugette titles. Settlemoir is the General Manager of the New Meadowlands Racetrack and serves as the Simulcast Director for the Delaware County Fair. The Jug Society also re-elected the slate of officers, Tom Wright (president), Phil Terry (vice president) and William Lowe (secretary). by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug  

Combined they have won more than 10,500 races. Each has won the Peter Haughton Memorial Award as the top young Ohio driver. They all rank in the top 20 for dash winning drivers. And, this year all three of the Ohio "young guns,' Aaron Merriman, Chris Page and Tyler Smith are making their first Little Brown Jug start. Merriman, 36, is currently in second place as North America's leading dash driver (trailing Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. by 4 wins). The native of Northfield, Ohio will pilot Avalanche Hanover from post #3 in the 2nd LBJ elimination. 2014 has already been memorable for Merriman. In August he competed in his first Hambletonian, guiding Il Sogno Dream to a fourth place finish in the $1.1 million final. Merriman and Il Sogno Dream will reunite in the $118,000 Old Oaken Bucket on the Jug undercard. A few weeks ago Merriman was enshrined into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. "The Wall of Fame was real cool, it's my hometown track," noted Merriman. "There has been some great horseman at Northfield. The Jug is a great opportunity and I'm happy to be in it." Chris Page, 30, will be handling Rediscovery from the outside post #8 in the first $103,600 elim. The native of Mt. Vernon attended his first Jug in 1993. "(Rediscovery) is a nice colt," said Page. "He is real fresh right now and we trained him over the track last week. My goal is to make the Jug final." The youngest of the trio is Tyler Smith. Smith, 21, is a native of Washington Court House and will drive Let's Drink On It in the first elimination. "Driving in the Jug is an absolute thrill," beamed Smith. "My horse has been a 'no-luck' horse all year. I hope to get off to a good start and advance to the final." Smith has already made history. He was the youngest driver ever to achieve 1,000 career wins and at the age of 12 he became the youngest male driver in harness racing history to record a sub-2:00 race, driving Look Lilly to victory in 1:59.1 in a matinee at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The pacing classic will air live from 5:00 - 6:30 pm on the CBS Sports Network. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug  

HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, will bring racing fans one of harness racing's premiere events when it airs the 69th edition of the fabled $647,500 Little Brown Jug from the Delaware, Ohio Fairgrounds on Thursday (Sept. 18). The second jewel in pacing's Triple Crown, the Little Brown Jug is steeped in history, and annually draws the sport's top 3-year-olds to Delaware's half-mile oval. Additionally, HRTV will offer coverage of the full day of Grand Circuit stakes races, with first post slated for 11:45 a.m. (EDT). The coverage of the Jug will be interspersed within the network's full complement of top Thoroughbred action from Belmont Park, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Arlington Park, Los Alamitos, and more. From HRTV    

The Little Brown Jug for three-year-old pacing colts and its filly companion race, the Jugette, are highly coveted races to win and this year Guelph, Ontario-based harness racing trainer Gregg McNair has a shot in each. Both of his Ontario-sired horses are regulars on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. His filly, Lady Shadow, is the favourite in the first of three divisions of the Jugette, worth a total of $298,100, to be raced Wednesday afternoon at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The daughter of Shadow Play, owned by Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, Michigan, has won five races and finished second in two others in 10 starts so far this year. She comes into Wednesday’s race riding a two race winning streak, both in OSS Gold events. McNair’s son Doug, her regular driver, will once again be at the lines behind the winner of $454,000 so far in her career. The other Ontario-sired filly in the Jugette is the Major In Art daughter Sectionline Aqua who has post eight in the second elimination. She’ll have hometown support as all three of her owners are from Ohio. Sectionline Aqua finished second to Lady Shadow in her last two OSS Gold outings. The Jugette and Little Brown Jug are both heat races. The top three fillies from each elimination on Wednesday will return for a second heat, the winner of which will be crowned Jugette champion. Gregg McNair, the leading trainer in the OSS program so far in 2014, has yet to win either the Jug or Jugette so far in his impressive career, but he has come close. In 2011 his filly Swinging Beauty captured her first heat of the Jugette and finished third to Idyllic in the final. In 2000 he started George Scooter in the Little Brown Jug. The Matts Scooter son was third in the first heat and came back to win the second heat but finished third in the race off to Astreos. McNair’s 2014 Jug hopeful is the Mach Three colt Three Of Clubs. McNair co-owns the colt with Tony Lawrence of Hanover, Ontario, and harness racing legend Keith Waples of Durham, Ontario. One of the most respected harness drivers in history, and a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Waples won the 1972 Little Brown Jug with Strike Out. The horse’s owner, the late John Hayes, famously said prior to the race: “I’d rather win the Little Brown Jug than go to heaven.” That victory was the first time a Canadian-owned horse won the Jug and now the 91 year-old Waples has another chance to capture the famed event with Three Of Clubs on Thursday afternoon, but it will be a big undertaking given the talent of the 16 colts entered. Three Of Clubs has drawn post three in the $103,600 first heat alongside On Golden Ponder trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario, who sits second to McNair in the OSS trainers’ standings. There are two colts entered in the second heat which also have Ontario trainers, Casie Coleman’s McWicked (post one) and Dave Menary’s Hes Watching (post six). The first four finishers will advance to the $310,800 second heat. A race-off, if required, will be worth $129,500. Other Ontario-sired performers racing at Delaware Wednesday include the Majestic Son daughter Yanks Ball Girl in the Standardbred Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. The second division finds OSS regular Gee OKeeffe who has two OSS wins to her credit this year. She’s owned by trainer Chris Beaver and Wilbur Lang, both of Ohio. Little Brown Jug day also finds one of the greatest mares to ever race in the OSS, Bee A Magician, competing. The four-year-old daughter of Kadabra, who has drawn post six in the 17th race of the day, the $121,000 Miss Versatility Final. Horse of the Year in both Canada and the US last year, Bee A Magician has earned $2.5 million to date in her career. Starting alongside in post seven is another top OSS graduate, $592,000 winner Charmed Life. For more information on the Little Brown Jug and Jugette, please visit their website Little Brown Jug website. By OSS News

Post No. 7 proved lucky for Lyonssomewhere in the Cane Pace and his connections will hope for the same good fortune Thursday when the colt starts from the same spot in his first-round elimination heat in the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair. The outside post positions at Delaware's half-mile oval are historically regarded as difficult starting spots, but driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter are hopeful that Lyonssomewhere can overcome the draw. The colt, who supplemented into the race thanks to his victory in the Cane Pace, is the 5-2 favorite in his heat. A total of 16 3-year-old male pacers entered the $647,500 Little Brown Jug, presented by Fazoli's, but the number was reduced to 15 on Tuesday when Cammikey scratched because of illness. The field was divided into two first-heat elimination divisions and the top four finishers from each group will advance to the second round. If a first-heat winner also is victorious in the second heat, he is declared the Little Brown Jug champion. If not, there will be a race off between the three winners of the heats. "He ended up, on paper anyway, in a little softer division than the others," said Takter, who won the Little Brown Jug in 2006 with Mr Feelgood. "What are you going to do? "The horse is in good form. We'll give it a try." Gingras was able to put Lyonssomewhere in front early in the Cane Pace at five-eighths-mile Tioga Downs and held off favorite He's Watching by a half-length for the win. "In the Cane, I wasn't planning on leaving," Gingras said. "It's not like I had him wound up. He looped them, but I went to the gate thinking I was going to race him from off the pace. The gate was picking up speed and no one was leaving, he's a very handy horse, and I just had to put the whip on his tail and he went. "In the Jug, from post seven, I'll wind him up a little bit. He can leave a little faster than he did in the Cane. There's no doubt the plan is to go forward and I'll make my mind up in the first turn." Lyonssomewhere has won five of nine races this year and earned $370,892 for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound. The horse wasn't eligible to the Little Brown Jug, but the conditions allow the winner of the Cane Pace to supplement to the Jug for $45,000. The Cane Pace is the first leg in the Pacing Triple Crown, the Jug is the second. Since supplements were first allowed in 1999, three horses have used that route to enter the Jug field: Four Starzzz Shark in 2001, Art Official in 2008, and Betterthancheddar in 2011. All three finished third in the Jug. "I think (Lyonssomewhere) has got a great chance," said Gingras, who is North America's leading purse-earning driver and is seeking his first Jug. "It would be awesome to win it. This is a race everyone wants to win. With the fans there, it's a different atmosphere. The Jug is different than any other race. It's been a great year for me and it would add to what an unbelievable year it's been." The last horse to win the Pacing Triple Crown was No Pan Intended in 2003. The third and final leg, the Messenger Stakes, will be raced on Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. Lyonssomewhere is not Takter's only chance to win the Jug. He sends out Capital Account and Somewhere In L A in the second division of opening-round heats. Capital Account starts from post four with driver Ron Pierce and is 10-1 on the morning line. Somewhere In L A starts from post six with driver Brett Miller at odds of 7-2. The favorite in the elimination is Casie Coleman's McWicked, who drew post No. 1 and is the 7-5 choice. Somewhere In L A has won six of 15 races this year and earned $301,502 for owners Deo Volente Farms, J&T Silva Stables, and T L P Stable. The gelding finished second to McWicked in the Delvin Miller Adios. "He's a very good horse," Takter said about Somewhere In L A, adding with a laugh, "He's been consistently racing against McWicked, and McWicked has got to be the luckiest horse I ever saw at getting a good post position. We have six or seven and McWicked has all these good posts. "But he's been racing gamely. I'm really proud of him. This race is going to be interesting. Hopefully they're going to mix it up a little bit and there will be some action." Capital Account has won four of 16 races this season and earned $114,744. He is owned by Brittany Farms. "If he would have been in the other division, he would have had a better shot to make the final," Takter said. "He's a quick little horse. He's a good horse. But in that division, it's tough. He's a longshot." Following are the first-round elimination heats for the Little Brown Jug in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds. Elim One: 1. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman, 5-1; 2. Winds Of Change, Brett Miller, Linda Toscano, 8-1; 3. Three Of Clubs, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 10-1; 4. On Golden Ponder, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 7-2; 5. At Press Time, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 6. Beat The Drum, Ron Pierce, Staffan Lind, 15-1; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 8. Rediscovery, Chris Page, Ben Davis, 20-1. Elim Two: 1. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-5; 2. Limelight Beach, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 3. Avalanche Hanover, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 12-1; 4. Capital Account, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter, 10-1; 5. Somewhere In L A, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 7-2; 6. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 7. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 8. Cammikey, scratched. The Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazoli's will air live from 5-6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The last Jug elimination heat will be shown live at approximately 5:11 p.m. The remaining elimination will be covered on a tape delay basis. The second heat of the Jug will be shown live at approximately 6:15 p.m. If a race-off is necessary, CBS Sports Network will cut into its regularly scheduled program at 7 p.m. to show the race-off live. Post time of the race-off would be approximately 7:02 p.m. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Sunbury, OH --- The 2014 Ohio Selected Jug Sale was held on Monday (Sept. 15) at the Eden Park Equestrian Complex in Sunbury, Ohio. The sales topper was hip number 100, One Fine John, a black pacing colt by Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John-One Fine Cam. Ron Potter, acting as agent, purchased the yearling that was consigned by Spring Haven Farm, acting as agent for Gregory Triplet, for a price of $150,000. Another colt by Big Bad John also topped the $100,000 mark as Shell I Be Bad, was sold to Carl Atley of Xenia, Ohio, for $115,000. The colt is out of Shell I Shoot, the dam of the top pacing mare Shelliscape and Ohio star Shell I Attack and was consigned by Midland Acres. Complete results of the sale can be found at this link. From the Ohio Selected Jug Sale

It's happened several times recently. Casie Coleman leaves for the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio and ends up elsewhere. She doesn't mind, though. In fact, she hopes it happens again. After all, there's nothing like ending up on Cloud Nine. Coleman has won the last two editions of the Little Brown Jug, the second jewel in harness racing's Pacing Triple Crown, and on Thursday will try to become the first trainer in history to win three in a row when she sends McWicked into the $647,500 Little Brown Jug presented by Fazoli's at the Delaware County Fair. The race, offering the richest purse in its 69-year history, attracted 16 3-year-old male pacers, a number reduced to 15 earlier today when Cammikey was scratched due to illness. The field was divided into two first-heat elimination divisions and the top four finishers from each group will advance to the second round. If a first-heat winner also is victorious in the second heat, he is declared the Little Brown Jug champion. If not, there will be a race off between the three winners of the heats. McWicked will start from post No. 1 in the second opening-round division with regular driver David Miller and is the 7-5 morning line favorite to win his heat. "No one has won three in a row before and we're going to give it our best shot and see what happens," said Coleman, who trains McWicked for owner Ed James' S S G Stables. "It's a thrill for me just to be in it each year, let alone have a shot to win it. If we actually won it again, that would be pretty awesome. It would be surreal." Coleman, a 34-year-old from Canada, won the Little Brown Jug with Michael's Power in 2012 and Vegas Vacation in 2013. "It's hard to say what you're feeling at the time," Coleman said. "It's just you're on Cloud Nine for quite a long time." McWicked has won nine of 13 races, finished second on three occasions, and earned $908,266 this year. He has won seven of his last eight starts, including the Max C. Hempt Memorial and Delvin Miller Adios. He enters the Jug off a win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "He's been real good," Coleman said. "I trained him myself a couple trips over the weekend and he was very good, I was extremely happy. His blood is clean, he seems healthy and sound. "He went a trip (at Delaware on Monday morning) and he got over the track great. He seems to have settled into the Jug Barn without any problems. He seems happy. He's pretty easy on himself. He doesn't stress me out too much because he's a pretty easy horse to take care of." While Coleman is looking to make history with McWicked, Miller is hoping to add to his total of Jug victories as well. Miller has won the Jug three times and could tie Stanley Dancer and Ron Pierce for second place on the career wins list. Billy Haughton and Mike Lachance share the top spot with five victories. McWicked's first-heat division also includes Meadowlands Pace winner He's Watching and the second- through fourth-place finishers from the PaSS championship, Limelight Beach, Somewhere In L A, and Sometimes Said. "We hit the toughest division by far, but we got the rail so we can't really complain," Coleman said. "We've got David Miller, who knows Delaware better than anybody, I think, in the bike. I think things are looking good. We've had pretty good luck." Coleman's success at Delaware hasn't been limited to the Little Brown Jug. She won the filly companion race, the Jugette, in 2010 with Western Silk and in 2011 with Idyllic. This year, she sends Also Encouraging and Someislandsomwhere into Wednesday's $298,100 Jugette. Also Encouraging drew post seven in the first of three eliminations while Someislandsomwhere got post four in the third division. The top three from each group advances to the same-day final. "Also Encouraging doesn't have a whole lot of gate speed, which isn't a good thing for the Jugette," Coleman said. "But she's been racing phenomenal all season. She's been pretty much top three every time she goes behind the gate. She gives it everything she's got every time she goes out there. "Someislandsomwhere hit kind of a tough division. If anyone watches her races, it's unbelievable how bad her luck has been. She's due to get some good luck here. She's been racing great, it's just one thing after another with her and bad luck. I'm hoping she can come around. "I realize we're kind of longshots coming in, but we're going to give it a whirl." Following are the first-round elimination heats for the Little Brown Jug in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds. Elim One: 1. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman, 5-1; 2. Winds Of Change, Brett Miller, Linda Toscano, 8-1; 3. Three Of Clubs, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 10-1; 4. On Golden Ponder, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 7-2; 5. At Press Time, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 6. Beat The Drum, Ron Pierce, Staffan Lind, 15-1; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 8. Rediscovery, Chris Page, Ben Davis, 20-1. Elim Two: 1. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-5; 2. Limelight Beach, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 3. Avalanche Hanover, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 12-1; 4. Capital Account, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter, 10-1; 5. Somewhere In L A, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 7-2; 6. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 7. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 8. Cammikey, scratched. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Father Patrick won the Canadian Trotting Classic last weekend and became the first harness racing horse this season to surpass $1 million. The 3-year-old male trotter also moved up one spot in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, from fourth to third. Older male trotter Sebastian K remained the unanimous choice at No. 1, followed by older male pacer Sweet Lou. Four of the horses in the Top 10 race at the Delaware County Fair this week. Lifetime Pursuit, who is No. 9, is in Wednesday’s Buckette for 3-year-olde female trotters and No. 10 Sandbetweenurtoes is in Wednesday’s Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers. On Thursday, No. 5 He’s Watching and No. 6 McWicked are in the Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 18 – 9/16/2014 Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (35) 8th 9-8-1-0 $620,603 350 1 2 Sweet Lou 5ph 14-10-1-1 $940,533 298 2 3 Father Patrick 3tc 11-9-1-0 $1,136,901 257 4 4 Trixton 3tc 11-8-1-1 $893,370 217 3 5 He’s Watching 3pc 9-5-2-1 $801,578 205 5 6 McWicked 3pc 13-9-3-0 $908,266 162 6 7 Artspeak 2pc 6-6-0-0 $437,825 109 7 8 JK She’salady 2pf 6-6-0-0 $302,600 70 8 9 Lifetime Pursuit 3tf 12-7-1-2 $611,791 51 10 10 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 9-8-0-0 $248,598 44 9 Also: Shake It Cerry (39), Mission Brief (29), Nuncio (16), JK Endofanera (15), Yankee Bounty (12), Dancin Yankee (11), Lyonssomewhere (8), Classic Martine, Foiled Again (7), Market Share (6), Modern Family (5), Somewhere In LA (2), All Bets Off, Billy Flynn, Clear Vision, Habitat, I Like My Boss (1). by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

The Cam Land LLC owned Cammikey has been drawn from the Little Brown Jug due to illness. The son of Somebeachsomewhere was scheduled to leave from post #8 in the second elimination. John Campbell has been tapped to drive Sometimes Said in the second elimination. Beach Body was drawn from the 44th Jugette. The Jug undercard is set and the racing fans will get their fill of quality fields with 22 races with the potential of a 23rd race, the LBJ race-off (if necessary). Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, headlines the $121,000 Ms Versatility Final. The field of seven also features Frau Blucher and Maven, both of which established new world records during last year's meet. The $118,200 Old Oaken Bucket may shape up as a duel between Datsyuk and Il Sogno Dream. Datsyuk has been first or second in 8 of 11 starts this season. Il Sogno Dream was fourth in the $1.1 Hambletonian Final in early August. One event that is missing from the traditional Jug day undercard is the Winbak Farm Pace for older horses. The event was cancelled this year due to lack of entries. "We don't like to cancel an event, but we find ourselves in that position this year," noted Tom Wright, Director of Racing. "We still have a wonderful 23 race card, including the richest Little Brown Jug ever." Total purses on Jug Day will exceed $1.2 million. Jug Day will have a trio of guaranteed pool wagers; a $60,000 Pick 4, a $40,000 Pick 4 and a $25,000 Pick 3. The Little Brown Jug can be seen on CBS Sports Network from 5:00 - 6:30 pm. The post time on Thursday is 11:00 am.   by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug  

This Week: Delaware Grand Circuit, Delaware County Fair, Delaware, Ohio; American-National, Balmoral Park, Crete. Ill; Kindergarten Series, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; Milton Stake final, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Centaur Trot, Kentuckiana Stallion Management and The Elevation, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Prix D'Ete, Hippodrome 3R, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Wednesday (Sept. 17) at Delaware with the $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $89,475 Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $64,646 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday (Sept. 18) card at Delaware is highlighted by the $647,500 Little Brown Jug, the second leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Also on tap that day are the $121,000 Miss Versatility final for older trotting mares, the $118,300 Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old colt trotters, the $59,445 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt trotters, the $58,045 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $51,000 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly pacers. Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit events on Wednesday with the $73,000 American-National for 2-year-old colt trotters and the $57,200 American-National for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday card at The Red Mile will feature four $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters and three $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters. Grand Circuit action at Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 20) with the C$286,000 Milton Stake final for older pacing mares. Hoosier Park on Saturday will host the $250,000 (est.) Kentuckiana Stallion Management for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $225,000 (est.) Centaur for Open trotters, the $200,000 (est.) Kentuckiana Stallion Management for 2-year-old filly trotters and the $150,000 (est.) Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers. Rounding out the busy week of Grand Circuit racing, on Sunday (Sept. 21) Hippodrome 3R will offer the C$200,000 Prix D'Ete for 4-year-old pacers, plus a C$50,000 Prix D'Ete consolation. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Mohawk Racetrack this past Saturday, with the finals of four stakes, led by the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic for sophomore male trotters. Father Patrick, the 1-5 choice with driver Yannick Gingras, scored a popular 1-3/4 length victory in a time of 1:52.4. Father Patrick captured the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic in a time of 1:52.4. Trainer Jimmy Takter held more than a strong hand going into this year's renewal for 3-year-old trotters, sending out Hambletonian winner Trixton and Father Patrick, last year's divisional champion who had been expected to win the Meadowlands showcase event in August but made an unexpected early break. The toteboard reflected that, as Father Patrick was 1-5, Trixton 9-5 when they went behind the gate, while their five rivals ranged from 18-1 to 80-1. The two favorites, both of whom had won eight of their 10 starts this year, were expected to duke it out but this time it was Trixton, driven by Takter, who went off-stride at the start to eliminate himself. It wasn't a walk in the park but the win at least put aside the nightmare of this year's Hambletonian for Father Patrick, a son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream. Parked in fourth for the first half-mile, as Damfoolrmillionair took the field through a quarter in :26.4 and the half in :55.2, Gingras sent Father Patrick up to challenge the pacesetter, took over before the three-quarters was reached in 1:24, then powered home for the win in 1:52.4. E L Titan came on for second, with Harper Blue Chip third. The winner is owned by the Father Patrick Stable. On Monday (Sept. 15), the venerable 10-year-old pacing superstar Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) prevailed in the eighth annual $220,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in 1:50.2. Foiled Again held off Clear Vision to win the Quillen Memorial in 1:50.2. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables, Foiled Again assumed command from his rail post position just past the quarter-mile in :26.3. He led the rich field of eight, whose combined lifetime bankroll is near $15 million, to the half-mile in :55.1 and three-quarters in 1:23.1. Stablemate Clear Vision, who won the 2013 Quillen, received his marching orders from driver Brett Miller at the half-mile and battled first over but could not get closer than a half-length from Foiled Again at the wire. Bettor's Edge finished third. Foiled Again, the richest horse in harness racing history, boosted his lifetime bankroll to more than $6.6 million. It was his sixth consecutive year in Harrington's marquee event. Clear Vision was making his fourth consecutive start. Both horses are trained by Ron Burke. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,025; 2. Tim Tetrick - 583; 3. David Miller - 506.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 443.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 321. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,335.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 815; 3. Tony Alagna - 245: 4. Erv Miller - 244; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 222. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 291.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 263.75; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 187; 4. Robert Key - 185; 5. Bamond Racing - 167.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. There will be eight Bluegrass stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as eliminations in the Allerage for open pacers and trotters. Scioto Downs will also be hosting a Grand Circuit event, the $200,000 (est.) Jim Ewart Memorial for open pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Although he is still relatively new as an owner, Lindsey Rankin understands how rare it is to find a top racehorse. So he is trying to enjoy the ride with Lady Shadow to the fullest. Lady Shadow is among 22 horses in Wednesday's $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The field was divided into three eliminations, from which the top three in each will advance to the same-day final. The winner of 10 of 18 career races, Lady Shadow competes in the first elimination. She drew post No. 2 for the son-and-father team of driver Doug McNair and trainer Gregg McNair and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Beach Gal, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, is the 5-2 favorite in the second elimination. She starts from post four for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Dave Menary. Gettingreadytoroll, who has won three in a row including the Simcoe Stakes and Miss New Jersey, is the 5-2 choice in the third division. She will start from post two with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Lady Shadow has earned $426,753 in her career, racing to this point only in Ontario. "We've only been in it for five years, but I think she's probably our once-in-a-lifetime horse," said Rankin, a Michigan resident who owns Lady Shadow with his wife, Connie. "So we're going to try to enjoy it. It would be nice to make the final. We have family and friends coming to see her. "She's got a lot of ability. She's a really nice filly. She's got a big heart. It's been a lot of fun." Lady Shadow won five of eight races last year, including the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway, and finished second by a neck in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. So far this season, Lady Shadow has won five of 10 starts, including the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association final and two preliminary divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series. She won her elimination for the Canadian Breeders Championship by more than eight lengths in a career-best 1:49.2 on July 12 at Mohawk, but went off stride at the start of the final on a sloppy track and finished sixth. But even with the miscue, which left her trailing the early leaders by 27 lengths after the first quarter and 21 lengths at the halfway point, she missed by just 1-3/4 lengths. "We're not really sure what happened," Rankin said. "Doug said she was fumbly gaited and just started to run. Once he set her, she was fine, but he wasn't real sure what that was all about. She did that once earlier this year too. She's kind of a hot head sometimes. She's settled down as the season has gone on, but at the beginning of the year she was a lot to handle. "She's got a lot of speed, but sometimes she's hard to rate. She likes to be put up in the front, in contention, from the get-go." Rankin owned horses for three years beginning in 1979, but got out of the sport because of the demands of running a business that supplies graphic design equipment. Five years ago, he asked his then 11-year-old daughter Abby if she wanted to get a horse, and when the young girl's eyes lit up, he was back in the game. "Now we're kind of hooked back into it," said the now-retired Rankin, who owns six horses. He bought Lady Shadow for $19,000 at the Forest City Sale in Ontario. The filly is a daughter of 2008 Little Brown Jug winner Shadow Play out of the mare Lady Camella. The dam's family includes 1962 Little Brown Jug winner Lehigh Hanover as well as famed trotter Peter Volo. "I liked a lot about her; her conformation," Rankin said. "She's always been high strung. We had a lot of issues with her when she was a yearling. She was always trying to do something stupid, but we got through it all. "We've been real happy with her this year. She paces a half-mile track just as well as she does a big track, so we think she deserves a shot." Below are the elimination fields for the Jugette in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds. Elim One: 1. Shell Bell, Kurt Sugg, Kurt Sugg, 12-1; 2. Lady Shadow, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 5-2; 3. Color's A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 4. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1; 5. Ali Blue, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-1; 6. Beach Body, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 10-1; 7. Also Encouraging, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-2. Elim Two: 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1; 2. Allstar Rating, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 7-2; 3. Somethinincredible, Ron Pierce, Bob McIntosh, 8-1; 4. Beach Gal, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 5. Fits Well, Scott Zeron, Brian Brown, 12-1; 6. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 7. A La Notte Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 8. Sectionline Aqua, Brett Miller, Steve Bauder, 5-1. Elim Three: 1. Cut A Deal, Jim Pantaleano, Nick Surick, 12-1; 2. Gettingreadytoroll, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 3. Beautiful Lady, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 5-1; 4. Someislandsomwhere, Ron Pierce, Casie Coleman, 6-1; 5. Candy's A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 6. Sandbetweenurtoes, Brett Miller, Larry Remmen, 7-2; 7. Beach Story, David Miller, Kelvin Harrison, 8-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Trainer Tony Alagna confirmed Sunday that Captaintreacherous will not be entered in the $55,000 Winbak Pace on Little Brown Jug Day this Thursday in Delaware, Ohio. The two-time Pacer of the Year and career winner of $3,148,657 was expected to make his only start ever on a half mile track in the Winbak Stake. “He (Captaintreacherous) will not be racing in the Winbak on Little Brown Jug Day,” said trainer Tony Alagna, “We are doing more blood tests on him and after we evaluate the results we will go from there.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

How would you like a VIP experience at the 2015 Little Brown Jug? Thanks to the Fazoli's "Pick the Jug Winner Contest" one lucky fan will have the ultimate LBJ memory. Registered contestants will make selections on their choice to win races 9 thru 18 on Little Brown Jug Day. Players will accumulate a virtual bankroll based on a mythical $2 win-place-show wager on each of their selections in the ten races. To win the contest, a contestant MUST select the winner of the 2nd heat of the LBJ. All horses entered in the Little Brown Jug will be listed in the 18th race 2nd heat. All horses entered in the Little Brown Jug will be listed in the 18th race 2nd heat. The grand prize will include airfare and accommodations (provided for by a gift card for $1,500), two Hospitality Pavilion tickets for next year's race, a visit to the announcer booth, a visit with the driver of their choice, a visit to the winners circle, and a ride in the starting gate. The second place finisher will receive a $100 Fazoli's gift card and the 3rd place contestant will get a $50 Fazoli's gift card. Registration is open now. Contestants can register for the Fazoli's "Pick the Jug Winner Contest" at www.pickthejugwinner.com. Selections can be made starting at 2:00pm on Tuesday, September 16th. Past performances for the contest races will be available on the site compliments of TrackMaster. No purchase is necessary to participate and a complete set of contest rules are available at the contest site. A link to the contest site can be accessed through fazolis.com, littlebrownjug.com, harnessracingfanzone.com, ustrotting.com's Jug mini site, harnessracing.com, standardbredcanada.ca, playmeadowlands.com and other popular harness sites. The contest site was developed by 123racing.com. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

A talented field of sixteen sophomore colt pacers will go post-ward Thursday afternoon (September 18) looking to capture the 69th Little Brown Jug presented by Fazoli's. The field will be divided into two $103,600 eliminations with the first four finishers advancing to the $310,800 final. If a race-off would be necessary, the three horse event would go for $129,500. McWicked drew the rail in the second and arguably the toughest elimination. He's Watching drew the six hole in the same elimination. McWicked is coming into the Little Brown Jug off a 1:48.4 victory in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final at Harrah's Philadelphia. With the victory, the son of McArdle went over the million dollar mark in career earnings. McWicked is owned S S G Stable and conditioned by Casie Coleman. Coleman is looking to become the first trainer to win back-to-back-to-back Jug titles. "I am always thrilled to draw the rail at Delaware," noted Coleman. "We are in the toughest division, but I like where we are starting." He's Watching is the reigning two-year-old champion and has earned $1 million in career earnings for trainer David Menary, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. The son of American Ideal will be piloted by Tim Tetrick. Despite drawing the seven hole, Lyonssomewhere was tapped as the 5-2 choice in the first elimination. The Cane Pace winner Lyonssomewhere became Jug eligible when his connection paid the $45,000 supplemental fee to enter the 69th Little Brown Jug. Lyonssomewhere is owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound. The Somebeachsomewhere colt will be driven by Yannick Gingras and is conditioned by Jimmy Takter. "The outside post isn't the greatest, but I would rather have the seven hole in that elimination than the three or four hole in the second elimination," commented Gingras. The pacing classic will air live from 5:00 - 6:30 pm on the CBS Sports Network. $103,600 First Elimination PP Horse (Driver/Trainer) ML Odds 1. Let's Drink On It (Tyler Smith/Joe Seekman) 5-1 2. Winds Of Change (Brett Miller/Linda Toscano) 8-1 3. Three Of Clubs (Doug McNair/Gregg McNair) 10-1 4. On Golden Ponder (John Campbell/Bob McIntosh) 7-2 5. At Press Time (Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke) 8-1 6. Beat The Drum (Ron Pierce/Staffan Lind) 15-1 7. Lyonssomewhere (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 5-2 8. Rediscovery (Chris Page/Ben Davis) 20-1 $103,600 Second Elimination PP Horse (Driver/Trainer) ML Odds 1. McWicked (David Miller/Casie Coleman) 7-5 2. Limelight Beach (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) 6-1 3. Avalance Hanover (Aaron Merriman/Ron Potter) 12-1 4. Capital Account (Ron Pierce/Jimmy Takter) 10-1 5. Somewhere In LA (Brett Miller/Jimmy Takter) 7-2 6. He's Watching (Tim Tetrick/David Menary) 5-2 7. Sometimes Said (Tim Tetrick/Jim Campbell) 10-1 8. Cammikey (Brian Zendt/Bill Zendt) 15-1 2013 Little Brown Jug

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