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There were few surprises at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday night as the top two-year-old trotting colts and geldings padded their point totals in the last Grassroots event of the regular season. After finishing second twice and third once, Cousin Peter finally found the winner's circle in the first $18,450 Grassroots division. Starting from Post 1 driver Louis Philippe Roy settled Cousin Peter in the pocket behind Priceless Ruler and followed the pacesetter through fractions of :28.4, :59.3 and 1:29.4. In the stretch Roy slid Cousin Peter into an open lane and the colt reeled in Priceless Ruler and first-up challenger Magical Journey to score a neck victory in 1:59.2. Fan favourite Magical Journey was second and Priceless Ruler settled for third. "He's a horse that doesn't really look fluid when you sit behind him, but he wants to try and has a big heart that makes him forget his little issues," said Roy. "I might be wrong, but he's a horse that I expect to improve a lot between two and three years old." Roy steers the Johnny William son for trainer Richard Moreau and owners Sergis Racing Stable LLC of Canton, NY and Saverino Spagnolo of Ottawa, Ontario. With a total of 122 points the consistent Cousin Peter finished the season in third spot and will be among the favourites in the Sept. 20 Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The second division saw point leader Royale Elite get a pocket trip behind Archway, who led the field to fractions of :29.4, 1:02.1 and 1:33.2. Coming off the final turn driver James MacDonald tipped Royale Elite out from behind the pacesetter and the colt powered home to a two length win in 2:02.4. Archway finished second and fan favourite Judge Ken recovered from an early break in stride to be third. "The trip worked out great; no stress," said trainer Mark Steacy. "We'll keep to the same schedule for next week and hope to stay sound and healthy." Wednesday's win was Royale Elite's fourth in Grassroots action. He was also victorious at Georgian Downs, Hiawatha Horse Park and Woodbine Mohawk Park. His only loss came at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the July 31 event where he finished third behind two colts that are ranked among the top 10 Gold Series competitors. With his near perfect record, Royale Elite leads his peers into the post-season with 212 points. Steacy trains Royale Elite for owner-breeders Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec and the conditioner's concerns about keeping the Royalty For Life son healthy are more than just lip service. His stablemate Rap Royalty, ranked fifth in the standings, was scratched out of Wednesday's first division due to sickness. "We're hoping Rap can rebound to race next week," noted Steacy, who currently leads all trainers in the Ontario Sires Stakes standings in pursuit of his third straight Johnston Cup title. The final division saw LA Magic record his first victory in just his second lifetime start. The Kadabra son and driver Jody Jamieson stormed away from Post 2 and never looked back, reeling off fractions of :29.2, 1:00.3 and 1:30.3 on their way to a one and one-half length win in 2:01.2. Lightly rated Fitzgibbons trotted into second, leaving fan favourite A Royal Line the third-place spoils. "I've schooled him and qualified him and he is naturally gifted with a flawless gait," said Jamieson. "I really thought he could ambush them off the gate tonight and win, and that's exactly what he did." Jamieson crafted the win for trainer Duane Marfisi and owner Gary Morritt of London, Ontario. With a fifth-place result in his Sept. 3 debut, LA Magic finishes the season with a total of 55 points and heads into the Semi-Final tied for ninth spot, but Jamieson is expecting him to be a serious player. "He'll be the freshest horse in the Semis next week," pointed out the driver. "Hopefully he'll use the light schedule to his advantage." The top 20 points earners with at least two starts in the Grassroots program will advance to next week's Semi-Final. The top five finishers from each $20,000 Semi-Final will earn a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 29. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Trois-Rivieres, QC - A packed house came out Sunday afternoon to the Hippodrome 3R for the tracks richest harness racing program of the season headed by eight Quebec Series Finals for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. For Super Sunday there was $512,000 in total purses over the 12-race program. Here is a breakdown of each of the eight championship divisions. $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - The fasted mile on the afternoon came in the colt division that turned out to be a two-hole race between Kinnder Jackson (Louis Philippe Roy) and track record holder Hudson Phil (James MacDonald). It was Kinnder Jackson that was first on the lead with Stock (Stephane Brosseau) in second place past the opening quarter in :27.3. MacDonald came first-over with Hudson Phil and going past the half mile in :56.4, nearly got the lead, but Roy kept them parked out. Then in the backstretch, the dogfight continues with Hudson Phil a head up on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:25. But on the final turn Kinnder Jackson took the lead back and was up over a length as they started down the stretch. It was then that Hudson Phil found another gear for MacDonald and they collared Kinnder Jackson before the wire to win by a half length in 1:54.1. Stock was third. Trained by Mark Steacy, it was the fifth win this year for Hudson Phil, who was bred and is owned by Tony Infilise's Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson. He paid $5.10 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - Driver Stephane Brosseau left quickly with All You Can Dream with race favorite Katniss S BG and driver Louis Philippe Roy sitting in second place as they went by the opening quarter mile in :27.2 and the half mile in :57.1. Then in the backstretch, Roy pulled the pocket and sent Katniss S BG to the front with Sharks Summershandy (Pascal Berube) following on the outside past the three-quarters in 1:27.2. Then in the stretch Katniss S BG was an easy winner by two lengths in 1:57. Sharks Summrshandy was second with Butterfly BG (Guy Gagnon) third. Sired by Mach Three, it was the fifth win this year for Katniss S BG. She is trained by Richard Moreau and was bred and is co-owned by Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. She paid $3.40 to win. $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - It was race favorite Nobodynojustice and driver Guy Gagnon who was not going to let anyone take the lead away from them. SOS Irresistable and driver Daniel Laflamme tried early on and those two played hardball, neck and neck, to the quarter mile in :29 and the half mile in :58 with neither horse giving way. Then in the backstretch, SG Goliath King and trainer/driver Sylvain Grenier got into the mix first-over and at the three-quarters in 1:29.4 they could not pass Nobodynojustice. As they came down the stretch Nobodynojustice could not maintain the lead and SG Goliath King came on to win by a half length in 2:02. SOS Irresistable was third. Owned and bred by Grenier of Saint-Rene, it was the fourth win this year for the son of Lucky Fool. SG Goliath King paid $7.20 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Montanaalaska and driver Guy Gagnon was first on the lead with Precieuse CC and driver/trainer Claude Beausoliel following in second place as they went to the quarter in :29.2, the half mile in 1:00.2 and the three-quarters in 1:32.1. With no one challenging from the back of the pack, Beausoliel waited until the final turn and pulled Precieuse CC from the pocket and came after Montanaalaska. Those two locked horns coming down the stretch with Precieuse CC the stronger horse, going on to win by one length in 2:03.3. Montanaalaska was second with Stand For Justice (Stephane Brosseau) third. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for Precieuse CC, who is sired by Angus Hall and is owned by Marie Andree Cournoyer of Chicoutimi. She paid $6.10 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - It was Ginness Panic and driver Louis Philippe Roy who shot out to the early lead and cut fast fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 with Dernier Essai (Sylvain Filion) trying to keep up in second place. Then in the backstretch Stephane Gendron came first-over with YS Sunshine and the not only collared Guinness Panic, but past them by before the three-quarters in 1:25.1. YS Sunshine then kicked in another gear for Gendron and pulled away in the stretch to win by three and one-quarter lengths in 1:55, a track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. GA Speed Gary (Guy Gagnon) was second with Guinness Panic third. It was the fourth win this year for YS Sunshine. The son of Sunshine Beach is trained by Michel Allard and was bred and is owned by Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. He paid $3.30 to win. The previous track record was 1:56.4 set by Sugarsam in 2014. $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - The biggest upset of the day came when Cooking The Speed and driver Stephane Gendron won at odds of 18-1. Hurryupatthebeach (Pascal Berube) cut the mile with Cooking The Speed sitting the pocket seat through fractions of :27.4 and :57.3. Jody Jamieson was already on the move with Better Now and as he approached the leaders in the backstretch, Gendron pulled the pocket with Cooking The Speed and the action heated up past the three-quarters in 1:27.3. All three horses were stacked three-wide around the final turn and as they started down the stretch, Hurrayupatthebeach began to fade as Cooking The Speed found another gear, winning by one length over Better Now in 1:57.3. Hurryupatthebeach was third. It was a lifetime mark for the daughter of So Surreal who is trained by Michel Allard and is co-owned and bred by Allard Racing of Saint-Esprit. She paid $38.90 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - The 1/5 favorite, Cesar Dunharas and trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby went right to the lead with Mister Sky (Francis Picard) trying to follow the live cover in second place to the opening quarter mile in :30. Then at the half mile marker in 1:01.1, Stephanie Brosseau came first-over with Only For Justice but was unable to gain ground as Cesar Dunharas went to the three-quarters in 1:31. On the final turn Only For Justice found another gear and gained on Cesar Dunharas, collared him in the stretch and came on to win by a quarter length in 2:01.3. Mister Sky was third. It was the second straight win and a lifetime mark for Justice For All. The gelded son of Justice Hall is trained by Dany Fontain for breeder/owner Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal. He paid $14.30 to win. $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Claudi P V and driver Pascal Berube were the only one in the field to stay trotting and thus was an easy winner by five and one-half lengths in 2:01.1. Stablmate My Lady Hall (Jocelyn Gendron) was second with the 1/9 favorite, Kenogami Darling (Guy Gagnon), who was going for her fourth straight win, broke at the start. My Lady Hall led the field through fractions of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:29.3 with Claudi P V in pursuit. Then coming down the stretch, My Lady Hall made a break and Claudi P V blew by her for the win by 15 and one-quarter lengths. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for the daughter of Holiday Road, who is trainer and co-owned and bred by Serge Nadeau with Marcel Brouillard of St-Marcel-De-Richelieu. She paid $9.70 to win. The Open Handicap Pace saw former Quebec Series Champion, Atomic Million AM ($3.80) and driver Guy Gagnon wire the field with ease in 1:54.2. Another Quebec Series Champion, Capteur De Reve ($6/90) and driver Pierre Luc Roy, were able to wire the field in winning the Open Handicap Trot in 1:59.1. Track Notes: Driver Stephane Gendron and trainer Michel Allard each had two wins in the championship finals and driver Louis Phillipe Roy has two wins, one in the finals. Live harness racing resumes at H3R next Sunday, September 16, first race post time at 12:50 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

MILTON, ON - September 8, 2018 - Grand Circuit harness racing week concluded Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park with three divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers. A group of 14 sophomore pacing colts and geldings were separated into a pair of $83,342 splits, while a talented field of six pacing fillies battled for a purse of $150,996. Just a week after winning the Messenger, Stay Hungry brought his 'A Game' to win a tough battle in the second Simcoe division. Driven by Doug McNair, Stay Hungry was unhurried in the beginning and got away fourth. Backstreet Shadow and driver Yannick Gingras circled from second to first at the opening-quarter and rolled the field by the half in :55. McNair gave Stay Hungry his cue to charge first-up going to the three-quarter pole and was almost three-lengths from the lead when Backstreet Shadow reached the third-station in 1:23.1. In the stretch, McNair dropped Stay Hungry onto the back of Gingras briefly before coming back out for an exciting stretch duel. Stay Hungry paced home in :25.4 and was able to edge a game Backstreet Shadow by a nose in 1:49.3. Hidden Delight was third. "The way the draw set up I figured that was the way the race would go," said McNair following the victory. "I would be a late first-over and Yannick's horse would be sprinting home hard." Trained by Tony Alagna, Stay Hungry is being pointed towards potential history at the Little Brown Jug on September 20. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has captured the opening-two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown, Cane Pace and Messenger, and is now five for 11 with $683,031 earned this season for owners Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman. "The Jug is in a couple weeks and that's what they are aiming at, but it was great to get a win back home," said McNair. "That's all they are going to be talking about from now until the Jug is the Triple Crown, but he's won two of the first three legs and that's special." Stay Hungry's career numbers now sit at 11 wins and over $1.2 million earned. He paid $2.90 to win. Jeff Gillis trainee The Downtown Bus continued his run of stops at the winner's circle by posting a 1:50.2 victory in the first division for colts and geldings. Driven by Tim Tetrick, The Downtown Bus shot out to the lead and got to call the shots, posting fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:23.1 to lead into the stretch. Tetrick pulled the plugs on The Downtown Bus at the three-quarter pole and the Gillis trainee was able to last on the lead, finding the line in time to hold off a charge from Torrin Hanover was _ length score. Babes Dig Me finished third, while Dragon Time was fourth. The Simcoe victory extends The Downtown Bus' current win streak to three. "He's turned the corner and Jeff has done a great job with him," said Tetrick, who has driven the gelded son of Mach Three throughout his current win streak. "Last week he trained around there pretty good in (1):49 and today he was up in little more open class and some better-bred horses and he still got the job done. I was pretty proud of him." A homebred for Gillis and Ellen Ott, The Downtown Bus now has eight wins and $218,354 earned in 19 starts this season. The Grand Circuit victory increases his career earnings to $238,700. A $2 win ticket on The Downtown Bus returned $4.20. Shower Play continued her flare for the dramatic by delivering another stunning final-quarter rally to win the Simcoe Filly Stakes in 1:52. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Shower Play got away fifth in the field of six and appeared to have a mountain too big to overcome when Youaremycandygirl got her own way on the front, posting fractions of :26.4, :56.4 and 1:24.1. Youaremycandygirl opened up a lead of nearly four-lengths at three-quarters, while race-favourite Kissin In The Sand was second-over and Shower Play third over with more than seven-lengths to overcome. Kissin In The Sand and Shower Play both delivered furious stretch rallies to track down Youaremycandygirl in the final-eighth with Shower Play unleashing a :26.3 kicker to reach the line first. Kissin In The Sand finished second, beat a length and a quarter, while Youaremycandygirl crossed in third. "It's always fun to win races on the front, but to go by everybody is a better feeling for sure," said Roy following the race. "I give credit to Rene and Susie because in the middle of the summer we had some steering issues with her, so they worked a lot on her and did some changes and I think she's come back better than she was at the beginning at the season." Trained by Rene Dion, Shower Play also defeated Kissin In The Sand in June's $415,000 Fan Hanover. The daughter of Shadow Play has now earned $415,563 in 10 starts this season for owners Dion, Susie Kerwood and Martin Leveillee. The Simcoe victory gives Shower Play five wins this season and eight overall. Her career earnings jump to $454,300 with the victory. A $2 win ticket on Shower Play returned $14.10. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Nirvana Seelster becomes newest millionaire Bill Budd trainee Nirvana Seelster grinded out a third-place finish in Saturday’s $34,000 Preferred Pace to become harness racing’s newest millionaire. The seven-year-old gelding entered Saturday’s card just a little over $300 away from $1 million in career earnings. Nirvana Seelster and driver Trevor Henry did the heavy-lifting in the Preferred and despite surrendering the lead early in the lane, the Budd trainee battled hard to the line for a third-place finish, beat only three-quarters of a length. American Wiggle, driven by Louis Philippe Roy for trainer Richard Moreau, captured the $34,000 top-class in 1:49.4. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster is a 39-time winner with a mark of 1:48 taken last season at Mohawk Park. The Budd trainee has made 176 of his 178 career starts at either Woodbine Racetrack or Mohawk Park. Nirvana Seelster recently competed in his fourth consecutive Canadian Pacing Derby. The fan-favourite has seven wins, 20 top-three finishes and $191,170 earned in 27 starts this season. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

Trois Rivieres, QC - It's Super Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday, September 9 with the tracks richest harness racing program of the year, $512,000 in total purses headlined by eight Quebec Championship Finals. The Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters and pacers has four finals, each with a purse of $65,000. The two-year-old's also will compete in four finals, each with a purse of $55,000. Plus, there are two $8,000 Invitational events, one for trotters and one for pacers. For this rich days of racing, world class drivers Sylvain Filion, Jody Jamieson, Louis Philippe Roy and James MacDonald are coming in from Ontario to compete with H3R's top drivers. Here is a brief overview on each of the special races on Sunday. 2nd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - Cesar Duharas is the race favorite and rightly so. Last week the son of Muscle Massive tied the track record for colts at H3R with a 2:01.3 triumph in the third round of the Future Stars Series. He will start from post five for trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby and breeder/owner Haras De Estrie, Inc. of Dunham. Cesar Duharas has three wins this season, the fastest a 1:58.3 record at Mohawk Park. Competition will come from Yves Filion's Money Hill (post eight), who has his son, Sylvain, driving the son of Muscle Hill and the entry of Only For Justice (post one) and Clevisse (post four) for trainer Dany Fontaine. 3rd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - YS Sunshine (post six) gets the call in here off his last start, a very impressive 1:53.4 lifetime mark last week at Mohawk Park. The Sunshine Beach geldings other two wins this season came in legs of the Future Stars Series with driver Stephane Gendron back in the sulky for trainer Michel Allard and breeder/owner Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. Second choice is the undefeated D Gs De Vito (post eight) with driver Jonathan Lachance. This unbeaten son of Sportswriter is going for his fifth straight win, all at H3R and he has a record of 1:58 taken last week. Other contenders include Guinness Panic (post five) and GA Speed Gaby (post three). 4th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Provided they can stay on stride, Montanaalaska (post four) and Kinnder Prediction (post three) both have good chances of winning. Montanaalaska won two starts back for driver Guy Ganon 2:00.2 and 2:02.4 the prior week, but also shows tendency to break stride too. Sired by Angus Hall, Montanaalaska is trained by Alain Martin for owner Michel Grenier of Gastineau. Kinnder Prediction broke last week for driver Justin Filion. The prior week was first placed ninth and the week before won in 2:02.4 over Montanaalaska. The daughter of Northern Escort is trained, owned and bred by Denitza Petrova of Melbourne. 5th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - The entry of BG (post four) and Katniss S BG (post 8) loom over the field. Katniss S BG is the stronger of the entry. This daughter of Mach Three has four wins this year, the fastest in 1:53 for driver Louis Philippe Roy and has won three of her last four starts for trainer Richard Moreau and co-breeders and owners Sylvain Desvheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. Lit De Rose (post seven) might have been made the betting favorite if not for her starting from an outside post. This daughter of Leader Bayama has been first, second or third in her last six starts with a record of 1:57 taken two starts back. She will be driven for the first time by Sylvain Filion. 6th Race $8,000 Invitational Pace - Hard to believe that four of nine horses in this race, Cee Pee Panic, HP Patriote, Atomic Million AM and Wildriverbumblebee, are all prior Championship winners. Cee Pee Panic (post three) is the oldest at age 9 and Wildriverbumblebee (post nine) the youngster at age 4 and the race favorite with Sylvain Filion in the sulky. Wildriverbumblebee is coming off a 1:54 triumph at H3R in his last start for trainer Francis Richard. UFdragons Rocket (post two) is the fastest return winner in the field, coming off a 1:52.1 triumph for driver Louis Philippe Roy. Other contenders include Atomic Million AM (post five) and Windsun Cheyenne (post eight). 7th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Kenogami Darling (post four) has dominated this division with back to back wins in the series and is going for her fourth straight win. The daughter of Justice Hall has been super for trainer Dany Fontaine and driver Guy Gagnon. Her record this year is 1:59.2 taken at Mohawk Park. She was bred and is co-owned by Jean Francois Reid of Anjou with Claude Reid of Jonquiere. Although Kenogami Darling has beaten everyone else in the field, watch for Kinderunbelievable (post five) and Claudi P V (post six) to be on the board. 8th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - Better Now (post 3) is the race favorite having won two of the legs at H3R and also coming off a strong second in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots last week at Clinton Raceway for trainer and co-owner Pierre Ouellette. The filly by Betterthancheddar has Jody Jamieson in the sulky and can race well from on or off the pace. Second choice is the top filly Hurryupatthebeach (post five). This daughter of Up The Credit was undefeated in her first five wins for trainer Pierre Leclerc, getting beaten for the first time in the third leg of the series. She will again be driven by Pascal Berube. Also watch for Flower Sena (post eight), who was able to beat Hurryupatthebeach in her last start for driver Jocelyn Gendron, but the outside post position will hinder her chances somewhat. 9th Race $8,000 Invitational Trot - What a top-notch race this will be. There are three Quebec Series Champions in the field, Capteur De Reve (post five), who just won his second straight title, former track record holder Seeyou Men (post seven) and Holiday Party (post eight). Capteur De Reve with Pierre Luc Roy in the sulky is the race favorite, having won the Open Handicap last week and with a record of 1:58.4 at H3R for trainer Maxime Velaye. Seeyou Men has Guy Gagnon in the sulky after they won last week at Rideau Carleton in 1:58.4. Others to watch include the return of Rocky Boy (post three), Broadway Maija (post four) and Windsun Hugo (post nine). 10th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - Great field of competition headed by race favorite Kinnder Jackson (post four) who has seven wins in ten starts, all at H3R for breeder, owner and trainer Deniza Petrova. This son of Allamerican Native has two wins in the series and will be driven for the first time by Louis Philippe Roy. Hudson Phil (post six) may show poor finishes last three starts for driver James MacDonald, but this son of Shanghai Phil was raced timed last week in 1:51.4 and has a record of 1:51.3 for trainer Mark Steacy. Play Jet Play (post seven) is part of an entry for trainer Dany Fontaine with last year's Champion, Stock (post five), who won a leg of the Series back in July in 1:54.2. 11th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - SG Goliath King (post two) could be part of a double ­on the day for Hall of Fame trainer Yves Filion. This son of Lucky Fool has three wins in his last six starts and will have son Sylvain in the sulky. Other contenders include Yankee Photo (post four) for trainer Gerald Woodberry and driver Pascal Berube, Orlys Fury (post three) and Nobodynojustice (post one). Post time is 12:50 pm Sunday and for a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The Quebec Jockey Club will host the richest day of harness racing in 2018 at the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday with C$512,000 in purses headlined by the championship finals of both the Breeders Cup and Future Stars Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. World renowned harness drivers Sylvain Filion, Jody Jamieson and Louis Philippe Roy will be leaving Toronto for Quebec to compete in the rich Super Sunday afternoon program. First race post time is 12:50 pm. Of the 12 races on the program, eight are the finals of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old's and the Future Stars Series for two-year-old's. Each of the four Breeders Cup finals go for C$65,000 each and the four Future Star final races for a purse of C$55,000. In addition, there is an $8,000 Invitational Trot and Pace, and for the first time there are two $8,000 consolation races, one for the Breeders Cup and one for the Future Stars. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Batavia, NY --- There is a lot at stake for all the entrants of the $117,600 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 5) as this is the last race for that group before the $225,000 final at Yonkers on Saturday (Sept. 22). But the one division all eyes will be on features a heavyweight match between Springsteen and Hitman Hill who both need to win for the opportunity to make that final. Currently Springsteen is 10th in points with 100 while Hitman Hill is sitting behind him in 12th with 75. The majority of the horses currently in position to make the final are also competing on Wednesday so it all depends on how well everyone does. There are three $39,200 divisions of the NYSS carded as race one, five and six. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m. Springsteen (Rock N Roll Heaven-American Charm) has had a huge year. He won the $500,000 Hempt at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a lifetime best 1:48.3 in June along with two NYSS divisions this year. But he failed to make the $400,000 Adios final and more recently finished seventh in the $400,000 Milstein. And this past Saturday (Sept, 2) he had a rough outing finishing last in the $500,000 Messenger Stake at Yonkers. He currently sits eighth in North America among all 3-year-olds for earnings with $341,175 and has the sixth fastest win time for that same group of 1:48.3 Louis Roy has been tabbed by trainer Rene Allard to drive Springsteen and they are the morning line choice at 8-5 from post three. Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) has had a full dance card this year as well and has put in stellar efforts in each one of his outings. He finished third in the Hempt (behind Springsteen), third in the Adios final and fourth in the $272,025 Empire Breeders Classic. He finished one-two in his pair of NYSS events and returns to Batavia Downs as the reigning track record holder for 2-year-old pacing geldings with a mark of 1:52.4 taken here in 2017. For the year, Hitman Hill has three wins and $200,387 in earnings with a seasonal and lifetime best mark of 1:49.3. Akron, New York native Chris Oakes trains Hitman Hill and has Brett Miller in the bike as usual. They will depart from post six listed at 5-2. The first division's early 8-5 favorite is Topville Olympian (American Ideal-Our Sophia) who just finished a close third behind Stay Hungry and Jimmy Freight in the Messenger Stake at Yonkers on Saturday. He has one NYSS win this year but has never missed the board while competing in that series. He's the top money earner in this race with $129,170 and picks up the services of Brett Miller for this outing. His main rivals appear to be Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven) who scored his best win at Tioga Downs this year in the Geers Stake going 1:50.2 and the NYSS points leader Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe-Wild Retreat) who has 180 and is 55 points ahead of his nearest rival. Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) gets the track handicapper's nod in the second division as he is listed at 2-1. After taking an early season mark of 1:51.3 at Tioga, Ideal Feeling acquitted himself well in an elimination of the Meadowlands pace in July that went in 1:49, although he missed the final. Then he finished a strong second to Courtly Choice in an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic before drawing post seven in the final, finding himself chasing a 1:48.3 mile from the back of the pack. He draws post four in a short field here and has Jason Bartlett up for the ride. Also looking to get the win are Real Surreal (So Surreal-Armbro Wallflower) who finished third in the Empire Breeders Classic, pacing in 1:50 in defeat while Ostro Hanover (Betterthancheddar-Ozmopolitan) makes his fourth start for his new trainer after winning a 1:52.4 NYSS race at Saratoga Raceway. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

After a track-record performance in his Messenger Stakes elimination last week, Jimmy Freight will need to overcome the most unfavorable harness racing starting position at Yonkers Raceway -- post No. 8 -- in Saturday's $500,000 final. While that presents a degree of uncertainty regarding the colt's prospects in the race, owner Adriano Sorella is hopeful his horse possesses the skills to get the job done. Jimmy Freight, who won his Messenger elimination in 1:50.3 to become the fastest 3-year-old pacing colt in the track's history, will have regular driver Louis-Philippe Roy in the sulky for trainer Andrew Harris and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Horses win from post eight at Yonkers at a rate of 4.1 percent. Posts one-through-five at the half-mile oval produce winners at a minimum 15.4-percent clip. "What are you going to do? You draw the eight-hole, you draw the eight-hole," Sorella said. "I'm not thrilled about it, but Louis knows what he's doing and the horse has been super, super sharp. He's a great half-mile horse and we know he can come from off the pace. We'll see how it plays out this weekend." Sorella, who paid $30,000 to supplement Jimmy Freight to the Messenger, would like to see the open draw for eliminations winners eliminated in the future. A number of stakes finals already permit the connections of elim winners to pick post positions for the final or allow elim winners to draw for inside positions prior to the open draw for the remainder of the field. "I knew going into (the Messenger) that it was an open draw, so it's not like it was a big shock to me," Sorella said. "I don't think you should be able to pick your post, but I think elimination winners should draw one-through-five, or something along those lines. If you want competitive eliminations, the elimination winners should get compensated in some way. "I know people will say it's only because we drew the eight-hole, but we've had this conversation all year when we've talked about these half-mile tracks." The Messenger is one of four stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Yonkers. The card also includes the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, which is the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown, as well as the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot and $112,904 Lady Maud. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) with the stakes events going in succession -- Hudson, Lady Maud, Yonkers Trot, Messenger -- as races four through seven. Stay Hungry, who won the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, will start the Messenger from post six. The final jewel in the Crown, the Little Brown Jug, is Sept. 20 at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. Springsteen, who drew post one, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, followed by Stay Hungry at 4-1. Babes Dig Me, who won the other Messenger elimination in 1:52.2, is 8-1 from post five. Jimmy Freight, a son of Sportswriter out of Allamerican Summer who was born in Iowa and raced the early part of his career in the Hawkeye State, has won 15 of 25 career races and hit the board a total of 24 times. He has earned $519,274, with all but $6,120 coming since Sorella bought the colt in July 2017. Jimmy Freight won twice in Ontario last year and finished second in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. He was lightly staked to races at the beginning of this season, leaving Sorella to supplement if he wanted to see Jimmy Freight compete in some of the sport's big events. Sorella paid $61,690 to get Jimmy Freight into the Meadowlands Pace and the horse finished in a dead-heat third in his elimination and fourth in the final. If Jimmy Freight wins the Messenger, he would be eligible to supplement to the Little Brown Jug in September. "We knew he would be good, we just didn't know how good he would be," Sorella said. "Training back, he was in Anthony Beaton's barn. I asked him what he thought when it came time for staking. I watched him train down and he looked good to me. I think we were a little more concerned about the horses coming back that were so strong at (age) 2 that we kind of left him out of a little bit and staked him more toward the end of the year. That kind of bit me. "It's been a fun ride, but it could have been a lot cheaper, that's for sure. But at the end of the day the horse deserves to be in those races and he's showed us that he's one of the top 3-year-olds. This is why you buy horses and you race them, to try to get a good one like this. When you have one, you don't want to think twice about some of the stuff you want to do with them. You want to go to those races so you're not kicking yourself afterwards for not trying." Jimmy Freight's wins this year include four divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes and a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. He finished third to older rivals Sintra and McWicked in the Gold Cup, where he rallied from eighth place with a :26.3 final quarter-mile. "Maybe he shouldn't have been in there, but we put him in there anyway to give him a race," Sorella said. "He was trying the whole way and closing hard. I like the fact that he's got gate speed or can come from behind. We've seen him on the lead, but some of his better races have come from off the pace. "This horse has got a big heart and nothing really fazes him. He went a big mile the other night. We knew it was coming because he likes the half and he's a pretty handy horse. I don't know if we've seen the bottom to him yet, but I don't think we have." Following is the field for the Messenger in post-position order. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Springsteen-Brian Sears-Rene Allard-3/1 2-Winston-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-20/1 3-Topville Olympian-Jim Morrill Jr.-Chris Oakes-7/1 4-JK Wildfire-Jason Bartlett-Brett Pelling-7/1 5-Babes Dig Me-George Brennan-Tony Alagna-8/1 6-Stay Hungry-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-4/1 7-Nutcracker Sweet-Jordan Stratton-Jimmy Takter-20/1 8-Jimmy Freight-Louis Roy-Andrew Harris-5/2  by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 25, 2018- Owner Adriano Sorella paid $30,000 for the privilege of Jimmy Freight entering the 63rd Messenger Stakes. We're surmising the other connections would be glad pay at least twice that much the privilege of Jimmy Freight exiting the 63rd Messenger Stakes. That's because Jimmy Freight (Louis-Phillipe Roy, $3.30) made Yonkers Raceway his very own veranda Saturday night (Aug. 25th), rolling in an elimination race while setting a track record in the process. The second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown began with a pair of $40,000 elims, five- and six-horse fields to determine the eight finalists for next Saturday night's (Sept. 1st) half-million-dollar finale. 'Jimmy,' making his-and his driver's-local debut, made short work of the second soiree. From post position No. 4, he waltzed around Westchester (:27.4, :56.2, 1:23.4, 1:50.3) with the greatest of ease. That :26.4 kicker gave Jimmy Freight the track record for 3-year-old colts, a tick faster than Source of Pride (2013). Pole-sitting Springsteen (Brian Sears) was out from third down the backside, moved to within a length-and-three-quarters in the final turn before being rebuffed. Jimmy Freight widened to 3¾ lengths and a place in the annals. Stay Hungry (Doug McNair) tried his luck from off-the-pace, rallying for third without ever threatening. A loosely-pocketed Winston (Corey Callahan) wound up fourth, with Decoy (Mark MacDonald) and Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton) both outrun. For Jimmy Freight, a son of Sportswriter trained stateside by Andrew Harris, it was his eighth win in 13 seasonal starts (career earnings now over $519,000). The exacta paid $10, the triple returned $17.80 and the superfecta paid $50.50. "He's just perfectly suited for the half-mile track," Roy said. "I never had to pull the plugs. When we were in the third turn, he wanted to go even more." The opening elim for the Messenger saw polester Babes Dig Me (George Brennan, $6.30) retake from Topville Olympian (Sears), then hold both that one and a first-up JK Wildfire (Jason Bartlett) at bay (:26.3, 56.1, 1:24.3, life-best 1:52.2). Babes Dig Me defeated JK Wildfire by a hard-fought head, with Topville Olympian beaten a neck. The battle for fourth was equally interesting, as 7-10 favorite Nutcracker Sweet (Stratton) was poor but had just enough to photo longshot Wild Bill (Ray Schnittker). For second choice Babes Dig Me, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by Brad Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Robert Leblanc & In the Gym Partners and trained by Tony Alagna, he's now 2-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $58.50, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offer due to the abbreviated assemblage. "Cat Manzi, who works for Tony (Alagna) said I'd like him and he was right," Brennan said. "I learned he's handy and he can fight one off." The open draw is Monday afternoon (Aug. 27th) for the Sept. 1st card, featuring the Messenger, $500,000 Yonkers Trot No. 64 (second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown), the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot & $112,904 Lady Maud Pace. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by favored Scott Rocks (Eric Goodell, $6.40) in 1:52.1. As for Sears, he won twice Saturday night, bringing the milestone-in-waiting career count to 9,998. Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 26th), latest "French' foray offers a first post of 12:45 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Driver Louis-Philippe Roy’s ride with Jimmy Freight to date has already been a fulfilling one. One of the first major stakes horses the Quebec native has traveled with, Jimmy Freight has taken the 28-year-old reinsman to the Meadowlands Pace and the Carl Milstein Memorial. The next step in the pacer’s journey, the $580,000 Messenger Stakes, brings Roy to Yonkers Raceway for the first time. “It’s nice to be racing on those tracks I used to watch on TV, and especially competing against those elite drivers,” Roy said. “Just meeting them was a big thing for me a few years ago, now racing against them is even bigger.” Roy became Jimmy Freight’s regular driver this spring when the colt entered Richard Moreau’s barn. The pair have registered seven wins together, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk and four splits of Ontario Sire Stakes. Jimmy Freight is 14-for-24 lifetime with $499,274 earned. “Jimmy is the easiest horse to drive, he can do whatever you want,” Roy said. “In front, off the pace, he doesn’t care, it’s the race that dictates the kind of trip will be the best for him, so that gives me more options and make my job easier.” Although versatile, most of Jimmy Freight’s success has come on the front end. He’s led gate-to-wire in four of his wins this season, including a 1:48.3 lifetime best at Mohawk August 4. The blazing mile came as no surprise to his driver. “He went a lot of fast miles against the OSS colts without needing any urging before, so I figured he could go that kind of speed if asked,” he said. Jimmy Freight wasn’t eligible to the North America Cup, but faced older pacers on the Cup undercard in the $100,000 Gold Cup. He came from 14 ¼ lengths out of it to finish third to Sintra and McWicked in 1:49 with a :26.3 final panel.  The Sportswriter son finished in a dead heat for third in his Meadowlands Pace Elimination July 7 and fourth in the final a week later, individually timed in 1:47.3. After two scores in Ontario Sire Stakes, including his 1:48.3 mile, Jimmy Freight went to Northfield Park for the Milstein. He set the pace there, but was caught in the final sixteenth by pocket-sitting Thinkbig Dreambig.  Roy is confident Jimmy Freight will register a Grand Circuit victory and thinks the Messenger is a prime opportunity to make the score. “I think he’s knocking at the door, I hope it’s going be his day soon,” Roy said. The Messenger drew 11 entrants, necessitating two $40,000 eliminations Saturday (August 25). The top four finishers in each elimination will advance to the final September 1. The rich Triple Crown card will also feature the $500,000 Yonkers Trot and the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud Pace, each with an estimated $115,000 purse.  Jimmy Freight drew post four in the second Messenger elimination Saturday night. The 9-5 morning line favorite will meet Springsteen, a 5-2 shot from the inside post. The Rene Allard trained Rock N Roll Heaven colt finished seventh in the Milstein last out and won the Max Hempt at Pocono Downs in June. Stay Hungry won the Cane Pace on Hambletonian Day and looks to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive. He is 2-1 from post five with Doug McNair driving for Tony Alagna. Winston, Decoy, and Kwik Talkin complete the field. The first elimination features JK Wildfire, a 5-time winner this year who tries open stakes company for the first time this season. Jason Bartlett will drive for Brett Pelling. Babes Dig Me finished third in the Cane Pace and drew the rail for George Brennan and Alagna. Nutcracker Sweet was second in the Hempt and finished sixth in both the Meadowlands Pace and Cane Pace. Jordan Stratton will drive the Takter-trained Bettor’s Delight son from post five. Wild Bill and Topville Olympian complete the lineup. First post time Saturday is 6:50 p.m. The 12-race card also features a $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. For entries to the races, click here.  by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

MILTON, August 10, 2018 - Harness racing driver Louis Philippe Roy recorded his 1,000th career driving victory with an Ontario Sires Stakes score on Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Roy, 28, entered the evening just two wins shy of the milestone and proceeded to post three wins in seven drives. The Mont-Joli, Quebec native picked up his first win of the evening in the sixth race with pacing mare Cenalta Call Girl and just three-races later hit the 1,000 win mark with rookie trotting filly Hp Titania Runner in a $98,800 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event. Roy is currently this season's Woodbine leading driver and his climb from Quebec fairs to top driver in Canada has been unprecedented. Roy's first drive took place in 2008 and by the end of 2014 he had 253 races under his belt. That number has skyrocketed to over 4,800. "I'm always telling the same story, but every time I take my time to look at where I was just two, three years ago and where I am now, it's always over my expectations," said Roy following his 1,000th win. "I don't think anyone would expect to go so quickly from the fair racetrack to the biggest track in Canada." The young reinsman appeared on the Woodbine circuit in late-2016 and has been racking up the victories at a rapid-pace, while becoming a go-to driver for many top trainers. Roy posted 380 wins last season and currently sits at 260 for the current year. Also on Friday, Witch Dali extended her current win-streak to three with a late-charging score in the $30,000 Mares Preferred. A talented group of six older pacing mares clashed in the top-class Friday. Witch Dali was making her first start since July 13 and went off as the 9/5 second-choice, as Firebby, the most recent Mares Preferred winner, was made the 7/5 favourite. Firebby shot out to the lead and called the shots for most of the mile, posting fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:23.3. Meanwhile, Witch Dali and driver Jody Jamieson got away at the back of the pack, but were just a little less than four-lengths from the lead while fifth at three-quarters. In the stretch, Firebby held off first-up challenger Bettors Up, but couldn't stop Witch Dali from soaring by in deep stretch for a half-length score in 1:51.1. Shezarealdeal finished third, while Bettors Up was fourth. Trained by Richard Moreau, Witch Dali is now seven for 14 with $140,900 earned this season. The seven-year-old, who is owned by Brad Grant, notched her 30th career victory and went over $600,000 in career earnings with Friday's victory. Witch Dali, who has now won four of her last five starts, paid $5.90 to win. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

North America Cup champion Lather Up headlines a deep and diverse field in Northfield Park's premier event, the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial on Saturday night, August 11. The race, a three year-old Open by invitation only, has attracted a diverse and accomplished group of horses, representing sires from six different states and Ontario. Ohio-sired Lather Up has been named the 2-1 morning-line favorite by Northfield's Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting, Dave Bianconi. Lather Up has banked over $500,000 in purses while winning eight of his nine starts thus far in 2018. Lather Up is the only horse in the field that has ever competed at Northfield, including a local victory in Ohio Sires Stakes competition last year. Clyde Francis of the George Teague Stable trains Lather Up for breeder/owners Gary and Barbara Iles of Harrington, Delaware. Jimmy Freight drew the rail and is the 3-1 second choice. He ventures south of the border on the heels of a career best 1:48.3 romp in Ontario Sires Stakes company on August 4 at Woodbine/Mohawk Park. Jimmy Freight is now a perfect 4-for-4 in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events this year. Dorsoduro Hanover drew post-5 and is the 4-1 third choice. He is fresh off a breakthrough victory in the $400,000 Adios at The Meadows (near Pittsburgh). Pennsylvania-sired Dorsoduro Hanover enters the Milstein for harness racing's leading trainer in both wins and purses, Ron Burke. Burke recently surpassed the $200,000,000 mark in career purses from his stable, and is a fixture atop the seasonal leader board for trainers in both wins and earnings from his starters. The 2018 $400,000 Milstein Memorial field: POST HORSE DRIVER TRAINER M/L 1 Jimmy Freight Louis Roy Andrew Harris 3-1 2 Lather Up Montrell Teague Clyde Francis 2-1 3 Thinkbig Dreambig Jordan Stratton Jimmy Takter 12-1 4 Springteen Rene Allard David Miller 6-1 5 Dorsoduro Hanover Matt Kakaley Ron Burke 4-1 6 Minnie Vinnie Aaron Merriman Curtis Carey 15-1 7 Slick Tony Russell Foster George Leager 20-1 8 Always A Prince Trace Tetrick Tyler George 10-1 The race is named in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. His son, Brock, took over as Chairman of Northfield Park upon his father's passing until earlier this year when MGM Growth Properties purchased the racetrack from Milstein Entertainment, LLC. In 1972, the senior Milstein, a Cleveland builder and real estate developer, headed a group of several partners, including George Steinbrenner, which purchased Northfield Park. They leased the facility to other operators through the early 1980's. The track lost significant amounts of money during that period before Milstein took full ownership and control. In late 1984 he successfully applied to the Ohio State Racing Commission for the necessary licenses and, beginning in January, 1985, conducted permanent race meetings at Northfield of between 212 and 238 days every year. Milstein was the driving force behind a resurgence of the beleaguered track, which ascended to among harness racing's top tracks in attendance and handle. He was an innovator in promotions and advertising and successfully led the track into the era of simulcast racing. Exciting Undercard "The Carl Milstein Memorial is our richest and most prestigious race of the year," stated Brent Reitz, Northfield Park Vice President and General Manager, "but the rest of the card is loaded with exceptional racing as well." This year's Milstein Memorial program carries total purses in excess of $700,000. The 16-race program includes the $50,000 Myron Charna President's Pace, a race for four year-old-and-up Ohio Sired Pacers (by invitation only), three $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes for three year-old filly pacers, and three $19,000 Open events. Superfecta wagering will be available on Saturday's featured 11th race event with a $20,000 guaranteed pool. It is also the fourth leg of the Pick-4, which has a guaranteed pool of $10,000. First race post time is 6:00 p.m. In addition to superior racing action, Milstein Night will also offer guests a sumptuous spread in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The dinner buffet, inspired by Hard Rock Rocksino Executive Chef Chris Poplin, is specially priced at $21.95. Limited clubhouse seating remains; call 330-467-4101 for reservations. Guests who want to be down close to all the racing action can gather on the grandstand apron to sample some award winning fare. Making their return appearance to the Northfield Apron is Cleveland's award winning Barrio's food truck. Cleveland's Scene Magazine readers voted Barrio as the best food truck in northeast Ohio. Joining Barrio is the Addicted Coffee truck and Crooked Kettle Popcorn. Live music by Unknown Reason also will be part of the apron scene from 6-10 p.m. Attendees can also enter drawings that will take place throughout the evening. The drawings are FREE to enter and we will be giving away betting vouchers, gift cards, 55" SmartTV, amusement park tickets, and the Grand Prize of up to $2,000 in our Cases of Cash game. Plus, try your luck at our Putting Challenge, where you can win more cash and prizes from 7 - 8 PM. Admission and parking are always FREE at Northfield Park. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

AUGUST 6, 2018 - Ontario's talented three-year-old pacing fillies were part of Grand River Raceway's annual Industry Day celebrations on Monday and Neon Moon set the tone for the afternoon's festivities with a track record effort in the first $18,800 Grassroots division. From Post 5 driver Jody Jamieson sent Neon Moon straight to the lead and the fan favourite reeled off fractions of :26.4, 55.4 and 1:24.1 before opening up to a five length victory in 1:52.4. Hello Love and Askmysecretary finished second and third. The mile took two-fifths of a second off the former sophomore pacing filly track record, first set by Seaside Rory in 2012 and equalled by L A Delight in 2016. "She was really sharp going into the race, but you just, on a half-mile track you just kind of hold your breath a bit," said trainer Jack Darling, who also owns the daughter of Sportswriter. Monday's victory was Neon Moon's second straight, but her first in Ontario Sires Stakes action this season. In her first two Grassroots starts she finished third. A four-time Grassroots winner at two, Neon Moon may have earned herself a shot at the Gold Series fillies with the track record performance. "She's been racing Grassroots, but she's just kind of borderline Gold, so we might give her a shot," noted Cambridge, Ontario resident Darling. In the second division fan favourite Katniss S BG overcame the outside Post 8 to earn her second straight Grassroots victory. In rein to Louis Philippe Roy, Katniss S BG left sharply and was able to settle in behind the fans' second choice Falls Creek as she rolled through fractions of :27.2, 58.2 and 1:27.1. In the stretch Roy asked the Mach Three daughter for another gear and Katniss S BG sprinted by the pacesetter to record a half-length victory in 1:55.4. Falls Creek settled for second and Princess Abie W was third. "I wanted to leave, not to be too far away with her, and then I see Robert was on the lead. I thought he was going to try and have my cover and follow me, but I knew he was also the second best, like the one to beat, so I was even more happy just to get in behind him, following him," said Roy. "So Post 8 before the race was a little bit of a concern, but it ended up having the perfect trip. "I thought maybe he could have stretched me a little bit then sit behind me, and he might have a shot at beating me, but the way it turned out was perfect for me," the driver added. Roy piloted Katniss S BG to the win for trainer Richard Moreau and owner-breeders Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. It was the filly's third straight victory and her fourth in 10 starts this season. Lifelong Dream earned her first-ever Grassroots victory in the third division with a come-from-behind effort from Post 5. After leading the charge on pacesetter Cardiff in the outer lane, Lifelong Dream dug in down the stretch to score a head victory in 1:54.1. Machnhope was second and Sharks Summrshandy was third. Dean Nixon trains Lifelong Dream for owner-breeder Greg Merlo of Glencoe, Ontario and the horseman was delighted to see the filly record her first Grassroots win after a pair of runner-up finishes. "She's kind like of a little dream come true for him. He's always just had his own horses that have raced on the B tracks and this is the first time he's had a horse that was capable of racing in stakes competition," Nixon explained. "When we first got her, she's very small and I didn't think much of her. I wasn't overly optimistic and she's just been a pleasant surprise. "We give her time between starts, we don't over race her, and he doesn't mind that, he wants what is in her best interests all the time," the horseman continued. "I'm really happy that these people have been so fortunate, that this little horse has produced so well. It's a little dream come true for them and it's nice to be a part of that." Bob McClure piloted Lifelong Dream to the win, the filly's second in 13 sophomore starts. In the last Grassroots division driver Trevor Henry copied McClure's come-from-behind tactics with Cabowabocuttie, easing away from Post 7, powering up the outer lane and battling hard in the stretch for a one-half length victory in 1:56.2. Pacesetter and fan favourite Sunday Afternoon settled for second and I Shadow U was third. "When I seen we had the seven-hole I thought oh dear, but she overcome it," said owner Bill Manes of Rockwood, Ontario. "She tries; small but mighty." Gerald Lilley conditions Big Jim daughter Cabowabocuttie, who started her season at the Gold Series level, logging one third and one ninth. Monday's victory was her second straight, and her third on the season. The fillies served as the opening act for the $163,840 Battle of the Belles and the $262,315 Battle of Waterloo finals. Quebec Blue Chip delivered a commanding front-end effort to capture the two-year-old pacing filly event, stopping the teletimer at 1:55.1 for driver Jody Jamieson, trainer Dave Menary and owners Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown and Bruce Norris of Caledon East, Ontario. The filly's stablemate Ideation Hanover was second and Village Joules was third. Two-year-old pacing colt Bronx Seelster captured the Battle of Waterloo with a gritty effort that saw him fight back in the stretch when rival Bettors Wish got a head in front. The fan favourite hit the wire a neck in front of Bettors Wish in 1:53.1 with Sports Teen third. Arthur, Ontario resident Trevor Henry piloted the Big Jim son to his fourth straight win for trainer Wayne McGean and owners Capers 3 Stable of Sydney, Nova Scotia. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - July 27, 2018 - Firebby took care of business as the even-money harness racing favourite in Friday's $30,000 Mares Preferred at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The six-year-old Australian bred and driver Louis Philippe Roy shot out to the lead in a field of six and proceeded to call all the shots en route to a 1:53.4 score. Firebby posted soft panels of :29, :57.4 and 1:26 before firing home in :27.4 over the "off" track to win. Bettors Up rallied from last with a :26.4 kicker to make things interesting, finishing second beat a neck. Sandbetweenurtoes finished third, while Artistic Madison was fourth. Trained by Ron Adams, Firebby had been held winless in her last four starts, with her most recent victory coming in her Woodbine debut on June 1. Firebby is now five for nine since coming to North America this season. She was purchased privately by current owners David Kryway and Adams following her third start in North America. The new connections supplemented the daughter of Courage Under Fire to the Roses Are Red Stakes following her June 1 victory and saw their new acquisition finish fifth in the $370,000 final. Firebby paid $4.20 to win Friday. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

JULY 22, 2018 - After two weeks spent south of the border taking on the best three-year-old pacing colts in North America, Jimmy Freight returned to the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Sunday and delivered his third straight commanding Gold Series victory, circling the Rideau Carleton Raceway oval in 1:50.3. The clocking was a new track record for three-year-old pacers. Driver Louis Philippe Roy sent Jimmy Freight directly to the front from Post 2 and the heavy favourite cruised through fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:23.3 on his way to the two and three-quarter length victory. Sharp Action Money finished second and JM Jack Of Hearts was four more lengths back in third. "Louis turned around a few times to make sure he was having good control of this race, and it worked out perfect," said trainer Richard Moreau. Puslinch resident Moreau conditions Jimmy Freight for Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario. Through 10 starts this season the Sportswriter son has posted six wins, one second and two thirds, banking $258,439. Prior to Sunday's start he had been in New Jersey competing in The Meadowlands Pace where he finished third in his July 7 elimination and fourth in the July 14 final. "I guess he has to get used to travel now," said the trainer with a chuckle. "I think we have Mohawk next, for another Gold (August 4), and then going back to the States on the 11th. It's (Carl Milstein Memorial) an eight horse field and they go for $400,000 US." Sunday's victory made Jimmy Freight the fastest sophomore pacing colt to tour Rideau Carleton Raceway and was just one-fifth of a second shy of the 1:50.2 three-year-old track record set by Camluck gelding Michaels Power in a Gold Final on August 26, 2012. The second $96,400 Gold division was captured by The Downtown Bus, who led the field through fractions of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:23.2, fighting off challenges from Pretty Handsome and favourite St Lads Neptune before pacing away in the stretch to a two and three-quarter length victory in 1:51.1. Taste Of History and Grantmeawish closed well to secure second and third. "He raced great. I used him up a couple of times and he still held them off," said driver Doug McNair. "It was a huge effort tonight." Guelph resident McNair piloted The Downtown Bus to his first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes win for trainer Jeff Gillis of Mississauga, Ontario and Ellen Ott of Buffalo, New York. Gillis and Ott also bred the son of Mach Three. In 14 sophomore starts The Downtown Bus now has five wins, two seconds and four thirds for earnings of $103,315. In addition to the pair of Gold Series divisions, Rideau Carleton Raceway also hosted three Grassroots splits for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, and after starting their season at the Gold level, both When You Dance and Casimir Richie P found success in their respective Grassroots divisions. Fan favourite When You Dance hit the wire three and one-quarter lengths ahead of Pokerface Bluechip and Stock in 1:52. Guy Gagnon piloted the Mach Three son to the win for trainer Ben Wallace of Puslinch, Ontario, Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, Quebec and Birnam Wood Farms of Boca Raton, FL. Also sent off as the favourite, Casimir Richie P romped home to a six and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.3 for driver Tyler Moore of Campbellville, trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge and their partner Michael Goldberg of Toronto, Ontario. My Teen Idol was second and Mighty Mach third. The final $18,450 division saw Hudson Phil earn his second Grassroots victory of the season with a pacesetting 1:52.3 effort that saw him hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Gold Rush and Luka Shenko. Guelph resident James MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario and owner-breeders Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. Both a Grassroots and a Gold winner at two, Hudson Phil had made one appearance at each level before Sunday's victory. "Phil's always been a nice colt, but just a touch behind a few of the Gold horses, so we'll try the Grassroots for the time being," said Steacy. "He will go back to Hippodrome 3R for his next start and then return to Mohawk." On July 15 Hudson Phil captured his division of the first leg of the Coupe Des Eleveurs at Hippodrome 3R and will return to the Quebec oval for the July 29 second leg. The Gold Series colts and geldings will compete in their fourth event on August 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, while the Grassroots competitors make their fourth start at Clinton Raceway on August 5. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday, August 26 with the fourth Gold and Grassroots legs for the three-year-old trotting colts. From the Ontatio Sire Stakes

JULY 16, 2018 - Grey skies parted to reveal a double rainbow and Ontario Sires Stakes hopefuls evolved into Gold Series winners as the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings made their provincial debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening. Capturing the first $52,200 Gold Series division was Lifetime Royalty and driver Doug McNair, who eased away from Post 7 and used a late sprint to propel them to a one and one-quarter length victory in 2:01. Fan Favourite Knight Angel also closed well over the rain-soaked surface to be second, while pocket-sitter Isnt He An Angel was third. "We paid for him to be a good colt, and he trained down like a good horse all winter. I was always very high on him," said trainer Scott McEneny, who offered up $100,000 for the youngster at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. "That's a good way to start the season." The Waterdown resident shares ownership of Lifetime Royalty with Brad Grant of Milton and Martwest Racing Stable of Mississauga, Ontario. The son of Royalty For Life and Cha Cha Glide has two relatives that have earned more than $1 million - American-bred What The Hill and former Ontario Sires Stakes star Majestic Son - and McEneny had a bold circle around his name in the Lexington sales catalogue. "I loved him, he was a gorgeous colt at the sale, and I just said to Brad, I said I'd really like to take him home, and we did," the trainer recalled. "We had to pay for him - $100,000 for first crop Ontario Sired was pretty good money -but he was just gorgeous, he looks the part, and he always has been the part." Prior to Monday's victory, Lifetime Royalty had posted runner-up finishes in his June 25 and July 3 qualifiers and in a July 9 two-year-old conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, giving him an early season bank balance of $29,600. The second division saw driver Louis Philippe Roy employ similar tactics with Dream Nation from Post 5. The pair got away near the back of the pack and then advanced up the outer lane, taking control around the final turn. Through the stretch the fan favourites drew away to a four and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Tymal Tullo was second and Tennessee Titan finished third. "There's some young trotters that can get aggressive a little bit, so they drive you more than you drive them, but this one, he'll do what you want," said Roy, who drove the Archangel gelding to the win for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2015 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal., Quebec. "I trained him maybe four or five times with Jacques, even before qualifying him, and every time, just perfect attitude, doing what you want." Flawless through his June 25 qualifier and a July 2 two-year-old conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Dream Nation has earned back $33,100 of his $42,000 purchase price from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The third division saw another come-from-behind performance from fan favourite Southwind Avenger and driver Trevor Henry, who sat fifth through the first half of the mile and then accelerated up the outer lane to a three and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Henry engineered the victory from Post 8 for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Mel Hartman of Ottawa, Ontario, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida and Little E LLC of New York, New York, and the veteran reinsman found the victory uniquely satisfying. "I always liked the colt, when he was a yearling I went and looked at him at the sale, but I knew we wouldn't be able to afford him," explained the Arthur, Ontario resident. "I always had in the back of my head, at least if he turns out I'll have shot to drive him, because I liked the colt, I watched videos of him, I really liked him." The hammer fell at $77,000 for Southwind Avenger at the Lexington sale and the colt delivered a pair of qualifying victories at Harrah's Philadelphia before shipping north to compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes. The final division saw an impressive late sprint by Forbidden Trade land reinsman Bob McClure in the Gold Series winner's circle for the first time in his career. Starting from Post 8, McClure and the son of Kadabra and former Ontario Sires Stakes superstar Pure Ivory hit the wire in 1:59.2, reeling in Tymal Houdini and fan favourite Jumpshot. "I've had about six seconds, but no (Gold) wins," explained the 27-year-old reinsman, who drove the colt to the win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. "He almost over trotted coming out of the turn, but it's his first lifetime start, and once he got his head down and going he was doing some trotting." A $110,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Forbidden Trade delivered a 28 second last quarter to earn the victory. All four colts will have an opportunity to add to their provincial resume in the second Gold Series event on July 29 at Georgian Downs. On Thursday the three-year-old trotting colts make their first Grassroots stop at Woodbine Mohawk Park, competing in Races 5 and 8. Thursday's first race goes behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

JULY 15, 2018 - One night after hosting the Grassroots season opener for the two-year-old trotting fillies, Georgian Downs rolled out the red carpet for their Gold level peers, who stepped up the tempo as they battled for a total of $200,000 in three divisions. HP Titania Runner captured the first Gold Series victory of the freshman trotting filly season with a 1:58.3 effort that saw her get away mid-pack from Post 7 and then power up the outer lane to catch pacesetter Angies Luckeylady. Accelerating down the stretch, HP Titania Runner opened up a five and one-quarter length lead over fan favourite Angies Luckeylady and Warrawee Ultra. Louis Philippe Roy piloted the E L Titan daughter to the win for trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus, Ontario and owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec. Three races later, Roy was back in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle after guiding Cambridge Kate to a 1:58.3 score. Starting from Post 6 Roy eased the Royalty For Life filly away from the gate and settled her in seventh as fan favourite Shesa Sweetheart led the field to a :28.4 quarter and a :58.4 half. Heading for the 1:28.3 three-quarters Roy sent Cambridge Kate into the outer lane and turning for home the filly rolled out around the two horses in front of her and stormed to a one and three-quarter length victory. Champagne Jane and Witches N Angels also reeled in Shesa Sweetheart to earn second and third-place honours. "She's got lots of speed, I think she's got lots of speed," said trainer Carl Jamieson of Cambridge Kate. "She can leave too, I mean he didn't leave there at all tonight - and I was a little worried when he got away next to last - but she really closed excellent." Rockwood resident Jamieson conditions Cambridge Kate for his partners Glengate K Farms of Erin and Dr. Robert Boyce of London, Ontario. The partners acquired the filly from the 2017 London Selected Yearling Sale for $44,000 and she has banked $35,280 with a win and a third in her first two starts. "She's been good all along. Since the day we broke her she's had no problems whatsoever," noted Jamieson. "Anybody could train her all winter, like going sets, she didn't make breaks or nothing, she's always trotted good." Trainer John Rier felt the same way about Giving It All through the winter and the filly rewarded his confidence with a 2:00.2 victory in the last $66,400 division. Starting from Post 5, Giving It All and driver Mike Saftic took command early and trotted through fractions of :29.4, 1:01 and 1:30.4 before battling down the stretch to a three-quarter length victory over fan favourite Petro Hall and Pyrrha. "She raced good, she's a very good gaited filly," said Campbellville resident Saftic. "The track's a little deep there, a lot of the other fillies were having a hard time, but she was good. We got her good fractions and she gutted it out down the lane." Kitchener resident Rier shares ownership of Giving It All with his brother Randy Rier of Hanover. The brothers offered up $12,000 for the Angus Hall daughter at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and have recouped $36,700 with one win and one second through the filly's first three starts. "I don't know how fast she'll end up being, but she's got that nice gait, and she's got gate speed, and she moves real nice," noted Saftic, who has driven the filly in all of her races and qualifiers. "We'll see down the road, but we'll take that one." Giving It All, Cambridge Kate, HP Titania Runner and their peers will make their second Gold Series start on July 27 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Ontario Sires Stakes spotlight remains on Georgian Downs this week as the Innisfil oval hosts the Grassroots season opener for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Tuesday, July 17. The colts and geldings will compete for a total of $55,700 in Races 2, 5 and 8. The evening's first race rolls in behind the starting car at 7:15 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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