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Only once since 1992 has a trainer won the Hambletonian in consecutive years, but Luc Blais hopes he can accomplish the harness racing feat Saturday. Blais won last year's Hambletonian with Forbidden Trade, who upset favorite Greenshoe to win harness racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. This year, he sends Threefiftytwo to the $1 million final at The Meadowlands. Threefiftytwo finished second to Ready For Moni in his Hambletonian elimination this past weekend and is 6-1 on the morning line. Jimmy Takter is the most recent trainer to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years, with Trixton in 2014 and Pinkman in 2015. "We've got a chance, that's for sure; we're in," Blais said, adding with a laugh, "The first part is to be in. The second part is tougher. Everything needs to be perfect that day. A healthy horse, the best trip, everything needs to be perfect." The Hambletonian is the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. CBS Sports Network will air a delayed one-hour broadcast of the Hambletonian from 6-7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The stakes-filled card at The Meadowlands starts at noon. Threefiftytwo has won five of 13 career races and $167,818. His victories last year included a leg of the Define The World Series and two legs of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold series. He finished fourth in the sire stakes final. This season, Threefiftytwo has a win and a second in four races. His triumph came in a conditioned race at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:52.3. In his start prior to the Hambletonian elim, he went off stride in a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold series. The colt is owned by Determination stable, which also owned Forbidden Trade. Threefiftytwo is a son of 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life out of Four Damsals and was trained by Royalty For Life's conditioner George Ducharme before being purchased by Determination following his first start. "He's a nice horse," Blais said. "He was a tricky horse a little bit in the beginning. I think it took us a little time to figure him out. We made a few changes. I think this year he is more mature. I know he made a break the start before (the elimination) but I think he went too fast in the turn. Two weeks ago, he raced super good and the other night he looked good again. He raced very good." For the past seven years, the Hambletonian eliminations and final were raced on the same day. This year, the format returned to contesting eliminations the week prior to the final, which Blais said is a benefit to Threefiftytwo. "He's a different horse than Forbidden Trade," Blais said. "He's more anxious, he's not a cool horse. To have the elimination and then the final the week after is perfect for him. That is better than a doubleheader, that's for sure." Hambletonian elimination winners Ramona Hill, one of two fillies taking on the boys along with Sister Sledge, and Ready For Moni were guaranteed starting spots in posts one through five for the final. Ramona Hill will start from post five and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Ready For Moni will start from post one and is 3-1. Threefiftytwo will start from post six. Scott Zeron drove the colt in his elimination, but also is listed to drive 4-1 Back Of The Neck in the final. "That's a good draw for him," Blais said. "He likes to leave a little bit and that's a good place for him. He will be very focused for that. "It's exciting all the time to race in this kind of race," Blais added. "It is a big race. We enjoyed the moment (last year)." In addition to having Threefiftytwo in the Hambletonian, Blais has long shot Whose Blues in the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters. Whose Blues, a daughter of Cantab Hall out of Bright Baby Blues, finished eighth in an Oaks prep this past weekend at The Meadowlands. Whose Blues won the Pure Ivory Series last year. She has won six of 13 career races and $92,874 for owner Determination. She is 20-1 on the Oaks morning line. "She raced just OK," Blais said. "I'm going to try to work on that." $1 Million Hambletonian PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1-Ready For Moni-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Takter-3/1 2-Back Of The Neck-Scott Zeron-Ake Svanstedt-4/1 3-Hollywood Story-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-15/1 4-Big Oil-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 5-Ramona Hill-Andrew McCarthy-Tony Alagna-5/2 6-Threefiftytwo-Scott Zeron, Luc Blais-6/1 7-Capricornus-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-15/1 8-Rome Pays Off-Mattias Melander-Marcus Melander-15/1 9-Sister Sledge-Brian Sears-Ron Burke-12/1 10-Amigo Volo-Dexter Dunn-Nifty Norman-12/1 $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML 1-Crucial-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 2-Next Level Stuff-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-9/2 3-Reba Blue Chip-Verlin Yoder-Verlin Yoder-20/1 4-May Baby-James Yoder-James Yoder-10/1 5-Tricky Sister-Corey Callahan-Andrew Harris-20/1 6-Whose Blues-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-20/1 7-Sorella-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Takter-7/2 8-Fortune Starlet-No Driver-George Ducharme-15/1 9-Solsbury Hill-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-12/1 10-Ab'sattitudexpress-Tim Tetrick-Lucas Wallin-20/1 11-Panem-Dexter Dunn-Nancy Takter-6/1 12-Hypnotic AM-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-5/2 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

MILTON, ON - December 2, 2019 - World champion harness racing trotter Emoticon Hanover capped off her legendary career with a coast-to-coast 1:53.3 victory Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The six-year-old trotting mare was sent to the top by driver Bob McClure and got things her own way, trotting home in :27 for a three-quarter length victory in the $34,000 Preferred. Trainer Luc Blais confirmed Monday morning that Emoticon Hanover, a two-time Breeders Crown champion, would be retired following that evening's start. "I was very nervous before the race," said an emotional Blais following 'Emoticon's' final start. "She gave me an incredible thrill. She never (had) a bad race and always gave a 150 per cent of her." A daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover was purchased for $165,000 at the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale by Serge Godin's Determination and went on to become one of the greatest Ontario sired trotters of all-time. "We (made) the decision in the last minute," said Blais. "We had a meeting in Montreal and it was not an easy decision, but she deserves that, she deserves to breed with the best stallion." Blais noted that the connections first choice is to breed Emoticon Hanover to Muscle Hill. Emoticon Hanover spent the majority of her two and three-year-old campaigns battling with rival Caprice Hill for Ontario Sires Stakes glory. The talented ladies exchanged victories in the 2015 and 2016 OSS Super Finals. The Blais trainee gained recognition across North America as a four-year-old with a dominating stretch of victories that included a pair of World Record performances, 1:50.2 at Tioga Downs in the Joie De Vie and 1:52 at the Delaware County Fair in the Miss Versatility. 'Emoticon' followed those dazzling performances with a score in the Allerage at The Red Mile and her first Breeders Crown title. "Any kind of race we liked to watch her, she tries hard and I can't tell you what is the best (race)," said Blais. "I think the race at Tioga 1:50.2 was very impressive for me, it was a big race that afternoon." The World Champion returned to the races as a five-year-old and finished off the 2018 campaign in style by winning her second-consecutive Breeders Crown and her first TVG Mares Trot. Emoticon Hanover won the O'Brien Award as Canada's top older mare trotter in 2018. Determination's superstar continued to compete at the highest level this season, racing against the boys in her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot. The highlight of her six-year-old season came a little over a week ago when she reached up in the final strides to defeat Atlanta in the TVG Mare Trot, surpassing $2 million in career earnings. The TVG victory was also the 1,000th career training victory for trainer Blais. "I'm going to remember my 1,000th win," said Blais. "It's going to be easy to remember this one." Emoticon Hanover finishes her career with 27 wins, 56 top-three finishes, $2,044,663 earned and a mark of 1:50.2 in 74 starts. Woodbine Entertainment made a special presentation to Emoticon Hanover and Blais following Monday's race to recognize their accomplishments. TRAINING CANCELLED TUESDAY MORNING Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to notify all horsepeople that training has been cancelled for Tuesday morning. The track will reopen for training on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

MILTON, ON - December 2, 2019 - World champion Emoticon Hanover is set to make the final career start of her legendary harness racing career on Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Trainer Luc Blais confirmed Monday morning that the two-time Breeders Crown champion will be retired from racing following Monday evening's Preferred Trot. A six-year-old daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover most recently reached up in the final strides to defeat Atlanta in the TVG Mares Trot at The Meadowlands, surpassing $2 million in career earnings. Owned by Serge Godin's Determination, Emoticon Hanover will go down as one of the greatest Ontario sired trotters of all-time. The Blais trainee spent the majority of her two and three-year-old campaigns battling with rival Caprice Hill for Ontario Sires Stakes glory. The talented ladies exchanged victories in the 2015 and 2016 OSS Super Finals. Her three-year-old season did come to a close with a runner-up finish in the Breeders Crown. Emoticon Hanover gained recognition across North America as a four-year-old with a dominating stretch of victories that included a World Record of 1:50.2 at Tioga Downs, the Miss Versatility Series Final, Allerage at The Red Mile and her first Breeders Crown. The World Champion returned to the races as a five-year-old and finished off the 2018 campaign in style by winning her second-consecutive Breeders Crown and her first TVG Mares Trot. Emoticon Hanover won the O'Brien Award as Canada's top older mare trotter in 2018. The Blais trainee has continued to compete at the highest level this season, competing against the boys in her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot. The highlight of her six-year-old season came a little over a week ago with her TVG Mares Trot victory. Emoticon Hanover enters her final career start with 26 wins, 55 top-three finishes, $2,027,663 earned and a mark of 1:50.2 in 73 starts. Woodbine Entertainment will recognize Emoticon Hanover following Monday evening's Preferred Trot (Race 3) with a special winner's circle presentation. Post time for Monday's card is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

Luc Blais was pleased when Forbidden Trade received a bye to advance directly to Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. After the Hambletonian winning colt drew post eight, he was less enthused. "I was happy when they asked about the bye," Blais said. "After the draw, I said oops. But it's part of the game. A race is a race. All the time you need luck." Twelve horses entered the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, which resulted in Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe receiving byes while the remaining 10 horses competed for the eight remaining spots in the final. Don't Let'em won the elimination with a Canadian-record-equaling 1:51.3 performance. His reward as an elim winner was being guaranteed a post in positions one through five. He will start Saturday from post two. Greenshoe, the winner of 10 of 12 races and C$1.16 million this season, will start from post four. He is one of three finalists for trainer Marcus Melander, with returning Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S. Forbidden Trade defeated Greenshoe by a neck in the Hambletonian. Since then, Greenshoe has won five in a row, including the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6 at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt's 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Sept. 29 at Red Mile is the fastest mile of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a 3-year-old in history. "He's doing great," Melander said about Greenshoe, a son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be. "I was happy to take the bye. He's been on the road for a long time, so it was nice for him to be at home. I'm very happy with how he feels. I'm confident going into the race, he feels as good as he can. I think he'll be good." Green Manalishi S and Gimpanzee finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Crown elimination. Green Manalishi S (Muscle Hill-Naga Morich S) has two wins at Mohawk this year, in the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes. Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) was last year's Dan Patch Award winner and counts the Yonkers Trot and New York Sire Stakes championship among his 2019 victories. "There are good horses there," Melander said. "It's going to be a tough race to win, but I'm happy with my three horses. We drew good; I'm confident going into the race. It will be exciting." Forbidden Trade has won eight of 13 races and C$1.07 million. In his most recent start, he won his second Ontario Sire Stakes championship. The son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory was the 2018 O'Brien Award winner. "It's going to be a tough race," Blais said. "He feels good. He raced good in the Ontario final and he's in good shape right now. I hope everything goes well in the race." The fun-loving Don't Let'em was once described as "a class clown" by trainer Nancy Johansson but he got an 'A' for his elimination performance. The colt, a son of Muscle Hill-Passageway, has finished first or second 12 times in his career. He's gone off stride in his remaining nine races. "His mind is his own worst enemy," driver Yannick Gingras said. "A couple times in the middle of the summer he'd wheel around in the post parade for no reason, but he's doing none of that stuff now. It seems like he's got his mind on his business." Chin Chin Hall finished second to Don't Let'em in the elimination. The colt, by Cash Hall out of Canland Hall, had hit the board in seven consecutive starts before an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Futurity. But that race over a 'good' track on a rain-filled afternoon did nothing to dampen trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's good feelings. "I don't even count that race; you have to throw it out," Norman said. "I was really happy with his run (in the Crown elimination); why wouldn't you be. He's been good every start the last couple of months. He actually feels like he's getting better and better. I think he drew pretty good (post five). It's a tough group, it'll be hard enough to just get a check, but I think he's good enough to be top five." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the corporate sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 2-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 4-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Chin Chin Hall-Peter Wrenn-R. Nifty Norman 6-Gimpanzee-David Miller-Marcus Melander 7-Goes Down Smooth-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 8-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 9-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 10-Super Schissel-Louis Roy-Per Engblom By Ken Weingartner for the Breeders Crown  

With the Hambletonian Stakes already on his list of accomplishments, Forbidden Trade will try for the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown when he faces seven foes in Saturday's (Aug. 31) $500,000 Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway. Nine trotters have captured the harness racing Triple Crown since its inception in 1955, the most recent Marion Marauder three years ago. Forbidden Trade and driver Bob McClure will start the Yonkers Trot from post six. Gimpanzee, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter and third-place finisher in the Hambletonian, leaves from post four. Soul Strong, who was a parked-out fourth from post 10 in the Hambletonian, starts from post two. It will be Forbidden Trade's first trip to The Hilltop, but the Luc Blais-trained colt is no stranger to success on half-mile-sized tracks such as Yonkers. Forbidden Trade won at Ontario's Grand River Raceway last season in 1:56.4, the fastest mile by a 2-year-old trotter in Canadian history. It also will be McClure's first visit to Yonkers. The 28-year-old, though, did plenty of driving on Ontario's half-mile ovals before becoming a regular at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2018. McClure led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016. He was third last year and in 2015. "At the end of the day they're all still going in a circle," McClure said about racing at Yonkers for the first time. "I know it's a tight half, but I've driven on a lot of (half-mile tracks) here too. "Good horses, they get around pretty well anything," he added. "(Forbidden Trade) is just a complete professional. That's why he was so successful at 2; he was like a 4-year-old to drive. He never made any mistakes; he was just perfect." Forbidden Trade, owned by Serge Godin's Determination stable, won seven of 11 races last year and received the O'Brien Award as Canada's best 2-year-old male trotter. This year, Forbidden Trade has won six of nine starts and finished no worse than third in any race. He has won five of his past six races, with his only setback being a third-place finish in his Hambletonian elimination. He won the same-day final by a neck over favorite Greenshoe. "He came back this year and he's faster, he's stronger, he's always been great gaited, and he's just as smart," McClure said. "You look at all the races he's won, you can leave with him and go out of there in :26 (seconds) or you can take him back and come home in :26. He just does whatever he has to do. "He's just a really good horse." Forbidden Trade has raced once since the Hambletonian, winning a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold on Aug. 12 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He was really good that day," McClure said. "I'm sure he's in top form. He was feeling so good, Luc decided to go (to the Yonkers Trot)." Forbidden Trade, who has earned $907,728 in his career, will start the Yonkers Trot from one of the least advantageous post positions from a statistical standpoint. Posts one through five at Yonkers produce winners at a minimum of 14.3 percent, led by post one at 18 percent, while post six is at 8.5 percent. "It's just a starting spot," McClure said. "We'll probably just get off the gate and see how things turn out. You never know what's going to happen. Gimpanzee is probably the horse to beat, so we'll go from there." The three legs of the Trotting Triple Crown are the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. The Futurity, held at Lexington's Red Mile, is Oct. 6. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Yonkers. The Yonkers Trot is race six on the card and will be followed by the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. Bettor's Wish, the sport's top money-earner this season with $859,544, leads the field of eight in the Messenger, which is the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. Captain Crunch, who won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, did not enter the Messenger. The card also includes the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. For complete entries, click here. Below is the field for the 65th Yonkers Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Osterc-Dexter Dunn-Per Engblom 2-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 3-Sheena's Boy-Andy Miller-Ake Svanstedt 4-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Livinonthedash-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller 6-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 7-HL Revadon-Jim Marohn Jr.-Harry Landy 8-No Drama Please-Jason Bartlett-Tom Fanning by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

MILTON, ON -  AUG. 8, 2019 - Port Perry took sole control of top spot in the two-year-old harness racing trotting colt standings with his second Gold Series victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening. The long-legged Port Perry moved sharply away from Post 6 and once he took control the outcome was never in doubt. Rolling through fractions of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:28.4 Port Perry and driver Bob McClure were never threatened and in the stretch the colt hit a whole different gear, pulling away to a seven and one-half length victory in 1:56.2. Blue Cupertino finished second, edging out fan favourite Horse Trader who settled for third. "He's improved amazingly in the last few weeks. He was bionic tonight," said McClure of the Kadabra colt. "In the last 100 feet he pulls away, reminds me of Warrawee Roo." McClure steers Port Perry for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC, who also train and own top aged trotter Warrawee Roo, a winner of $781,640 in his racing career. In spite of his success however, Warrawee Roo is not the most celebrated horse in the Blais-Determination stable at present. That honour belongs to Kadabra son Forbidden Trade who captured the $1 million Hambletonian Final at The Meadowlands on Aug. 3. "It was an exciting moment that's for sure. It's a big event, the Hambo," said Blais. "Everything - you know Bob (McClure) drove him good, the horse was feeling good - I think that day you need to be perfect everywhere if you want to win." Forbidden Trade, last year's Ontario Sires Stakes champion, was flawless in three starts leading up to the Hambletonian and will be looking to add to his win tally when he returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park for Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action on Monday, Aug. 12. Port Perry's commanding victory in Thursday night's Gold Series test might have some dreaming of the 2020 Hambletonian, but Blais said he was not looking much further ahead than Friday morning with the strapping youngster. "I'm going to see tomorrow, see how he comes back from that," said the trainer. "He looked good again today, looked like he was strong today. He's a big strong horse, you know, he needs lots of room, and I think he feels comfortable on that track (Mohawk Park)." Thursday's win was Port Perry's second in Gold Series action. He also captured a division of the July 4 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and then finished second by a head to Blue Cupertino in the July 23 leg at Georgian Downs. An $85,000 yearling purchase at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Port Perry has banked $133,200 in his first three lifetime starts and sits atop the freshman trotting colt Gold Series standings with 125 points. The other $105,600 Gold division was captured by Moon Bridge in near identical fashion. Taking control from Post 6 the fan favourite and driver Sylvain Filion rang up fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:27.3 before drawing away to a five length victory in 1:57. HP Royal Theo finished second and Scamp was another length back in third. "He was a little green, he never raced on the front probably," Filion told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. "He was looking at stuff, birds and stuff, but he kept racing to the wire, and he was trotting through it, and he was real strong." Thursday's appearance was Moon Bridge's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action, but the E L Titan colt logged a runner-up finish in a July 26 overnight event at The Meadowlands before making the trip north. Ake Svanstedt trains Moon Bridge for breeders Esa Lahtinen and Janne Korpi of Cambridge, ON and their partner Jussi Hietalahti of Turku, Finland. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Gold Series start over the Grand River Raceway half-mile on Sept. 23. On Friday evening (Aug. 9) Woodbine Mohawk Park welcomes the two-year-old trotting fillies for their third Gold Series event. The fillies will battle in Races 3, 6, and 8 on the Friday evening program, which gets under way at 7:50 pm. Complete results from Thursday's program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0808wbsbsn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Prior to Saturday (Aug. 3) afternoon, Luc Blais' fondest memories of a Hambletonian were from a race 24 years earlier, when Tagliabue won America's Trotting Classic at The Meadowlands. By Saturday evening, the events of the prior 24 hours would change that. Blais, who was a groom visiting the Meadowlands when Tagliabue captured the 1995 Hambletonian, watched Saturday at the Big M as his colt Forbidden Trade won the $1 million Hambletonian final, upsetting 1-5 favorite Greenshoe by a neck. Forbidden Trade, trained by Blais and driven by 28-year-old Bob McClure, was the 2018 O'Brien Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter and became the first Canadian champ to win the Hambletonian in the award's 30-year history. "It's amazing," Blais said. "I used to watch the race before, when I was not in it, and it was always exciting. And now, just to be in the race, it is exciting. To win, it's, I don't even know how to say it. It's a good, good, good feeling." Blais had started a horse in the Hambletonian once previously, sending Jake to the race in 2017. Jake finished sixth in his elimination and did not advance to the final. This time, Forbidden Trade was a strong-finishing third in his elimination before returning 90 minutes later to win the final. "I had confidence; I had a good feeling," said Blais, who conditions the son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory for Serge Godin's Detirmination Stable. "But we needed to be in the final first." The 57-year-old Blais is a native of western Quebec, not far from Ottawa. He got hooked on racing at an early age, watching his father, a salesman, race his own horses on the Quebec fair circuit. He worked for several stables, including Canadian Hall of Famer Yves Filion's Bayama Farms, before going on his own. "I always liked horses," Blais said. "My father had horses. He bought a classy horse with big legs. We needed to tub him and put time on him. You need to put time on the horse. A classy horse, if you put time on the horse, they're going to give back to you. That's my thinking." Blais' pick of Tagliabue's win in the Hambletonian as a favorite was due in part to the horse being unraced at 2 and brought to peak for the race. "I like that kind of story," he said. Blais said he planned to celebrate the Hambletonian win with his brother and friends before returning to work on Sunday. "Maybe we'll drink a few beers and just relax," Blais said. "After (Saturday) you have to go back to work. I think that's the only way you can be there, it's the work. You need to be there and work. And you need to have the passion, both work and passion." Blais and McClure have forged a successful relationship in the two years since McClure left Canada's 'B' tracks for the main stage of Woodbine-Mohawk. McClure's Hambletonian victory marked the third time in four years that a driver younger than 30 captured the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters. Scott Zeron won in 2016 with Marion Marauder at age 27 and two years later with Atlanta. "We were looking for a regular driver for the barn and he had just come from the 'B' tracks, where he was very good," Blais said. "He's a young guy, but he is a very mature guy. Very professional. He's got the talent to be a good driver. It's been a good partnership. To me, to have success, you need to work together." McClure, an Ontario native, finished second in purses in Canada in 2018 and third in wins. He led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016 and was third in 2015. He was making his Hambletonian debut with Forbidden Trade. "It hasn't sunk in yet, maybe in a few days it will," McClure said Saturday about the win. "It's certainly been career changing in the last four years. I have a lot of people to thank for that, I've had a lot of support behind me. The icing on the cake was the Determination Stable, I owe them a lot. I couldn't have done it without the people who supported me along the way." McClure admitted to some anxiety prior to the Hambletonian but was at ease when he hit the track with Forbidden Trade. "It probably didn't show on the outside in the paddock, but there were nerves," McClure said. "But whenever I hit the track, they all go away. And he's such a quiet horse, a push-button horse to drive, which makes it a lot easier on me being kind of green to this. "I would say he definitely led me. He did a very good job for me." McClure, who missed a month of action in the spring because of a broken pelvis, gave credit to Blais for having Forbidden Trade in top form for the Hambletonian. The colt entered the Hambletonian off three consecutive wins, including a prep against older foes on July 22 at Woodbine-Mohawk Park. "I do think he was underrated," McClure said about Forbidden Trade, who has won 12 of 19 career races and finished off the board only once in his past 14 races. "I think it's pretty great that the Meadowlands Pace winner (Best In Show) and the Hambo winner are Ontario-sired horses. It's really great for Ontario and Ontario racing. I think we do fly under the radar somewhat, but I think this shows we are competitive on the world stage. "Maybe we flew under the radar. I don't think we'll get away with that anymore." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

East Rutherford, NJ — Hambletonian Day was to be a day to unfurl Swedish flags at The Meadowlands.   Why not? Rising star Marcus Melander started the day with a powerhouse four-horse contingent locked and loaded, taking dead aim at the 3-year-old trotting classic.   But when the dust settled, it was our friendly neighbors to the north celebrating, as Forbidden Trade pulled a 15-1 upset.   Canada’s champion 2-year-old showed the heart of a warrior to hold off 3-10 favorite Greenshoe by neck in a dramatic fight to the finish.   And it was the first Hambletonian victory for the Canadian trio of owner Serge Godin’s Determination Stable, trainer Luc Blais and driver Bob McClure.   Coming in, McClure said “the sky was the limit” for his colt. Forbidden Trade backed up that confidence with the race of his life.   Forbidden Trade, third in his Hambletonian elimination, was always in contention throughout the mile. McClure and his colt tracked Green Manalishi S, an elimination winner and a member of the Melander brigade, into the stretch. Forbidden Trade took charge, but danger was looming with Greenshoe uncorking a menacing rally.   For an instant, it appeared Greenshoe would blow on by. McClure admitted he was headed, but Forbidden Trade was not done. After all, this was the day of the Maple Leaf.   “It was two incredible colts fighting it out,” McClure said. “I don’t think there was a loser in that, but we’re really happy to get out on top.”   It’s also been a remarkable comeback for McClure, 28, who suffered a broken pelvis in a qualifier accident in April. He was back in action by May 23, using a hyperbaric chamber to hasten the recovery.   “I was really lucky to have a good physical trainer,” McClure said. “I probably rushed it back a little faster than I should have. I’m sure most drivers in this business have done this a time or two.”   Melander didn’t get the victory, but his trio of qualifiers for the final raced well. Gimpanzee rallied from far back to get third and Green Manalishi S held on for the fifth and final purse check.   Greenshoe never looked comfortable behind the starting gate for the final as driver Brian Sears held him together to prevent a break. That put him further back than expected, a loss of ground that proved costly.   The time was 1:51 on a warm sunny afternoon as the threatened showers never materialized to spoil the day. Forbidden Trade paid $33.80 to win.   It was the 12th win in 18 starts for the son of Kadabra. He was a $110,000 purchase at the Harrisburg sale.   The Hambletonian kicks off the Trotting Triple Crown. Next up is the Yonkers Trot on Aug. 31, followed by the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6.   Earlier in the day, a determined Green Manalishi S pulled a 9-1 upset in the first Hambo elimination. He left strongly from post eight, briefly dropped into fourth before ranging up first-over to wear down Osterc in a lifetime best 1:50.3.   Melander and Courant Inc. also won the second elimination. In a favorite’s delight, it was with Greenshoe, the 1-5 favorite, in 1:50.2.   by Mike Farrell, for the Associated Press

Driver Bob McClure and trainer Luc Blais have forged a strong relationship this year, winning 28 percent of their starts together. The partnership has helped McClure make a successful transition from Canada's "B" tracks to the main stage of Woodbine Mohawk Park, not to mention the harness racing Grand Circuit, and aided Blais' bid for career highs for wins and purses. The two will look to add to their accomplishments Saturday (Nov. 17) at the Meadowlands, where Ontario Sire Stakes champion Forbidden Trade takes on seven rivals in the second of two eliminations for the Valley Victory Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters. The top-five finishers from each elim advance to the $435,900 final on Nov. 24 at the Big M. Elimination winners will draw for posts one thorough six. Forbidden Trade, who has won seven of nine races, is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. He will start from post seven. Seven Hills is the 3-1 favorite, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer John Butenschoen. "He's been top notch all year," McClure said about Forbidden Trade. "He's pretty incredible for a 2-year-old. He looks like a 3-year-old and has the maturity of a 4-year-old. He's never given me any trouble. He's perfect to drive, a complete professional, no matter what kind of trip you give him. He's got the attitude of a good one. "The two races he lost were probably his two best races. One race (a preliminary leg of the sire stakes) he had a lot of bad racing luck and still raced huge. The other time (in a division of the Champlain Stakes) he had some traffic trouble. I didn't have him in good position and he got out of gear a little bit. He still came home :27.1, but he was in no position to win. He could have come home in :26.4 and he still wasn't going to win." Forbidden Trade, by Kadabra out of O'Brien Award-winner Pure Ivory, has earned $213,139 for owner Serge Godin's Determination stable. He brings a four-race win streak to his Valley Victory elimination. "I think the sky is the limit for him," McClure said. "He's been a professional from day one. He's made my job easy. If he's in any position to win he usually gets the job done. He's been fun to drive all year. I think he has the potential to be a top Grand Circuit horse." The 28-year-old McClure led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016, topping 500 both years, and was third in 2015. This season, with his focus on Woodbine Mohawk, he has won 285 races and a career-best $3.74 million (U.S.) in purses. He ranks third in Canada in both wins and purses. "I'm very happy," McClure said. "I have a lot of people to thank for that. I was really happy where I was (at the smaller tracks) and I was having a lot of fun. But I decided to commit to (Woodbine Mohawk). I wanted to be home with family more. I didn't anticipate picking up the stakes stables I did. I didn't anticipate having as good a year that I've had right off the bat. It's worked out significantly better than I thought it would." Among those on McClure's thank-you list is trainer Dean Nixon, who backed the driver from the earliest days of his transition. "I've driven for him for a long time and he's somebody I've had a really good working relationship with," McClure said. "He's happy with the work I do, and I respect the good job he does. We've always done really well together. It gave me the freedom of being able to make some mistakes during the transition and not worry about him being upset about it. He's always going to be in your corner. "When I picked up Luc Blais, that was the icing on the cake." Blais, who trains exclusively for Determination, is in the midst of his third consecutive million-dollar-season. His 66 wins this year are the third most of his career (his best came in 2000 with 77) and his $1.56 million in purses is also third (his best came last year with $1.85 million). In addition to winning the Ontario Sire Stakes championship with Forbidden Trade, Blais and McClure have captured the Steele Memorial and Joie De Vie with Dream Together. They finished second in the Armbro Flight Stakes with Emoticon Hanover and second in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship with Champagne Jane. "They asked if I wanted to be the driver for Determination stables and I jumped at the opportunity," said McClure, who has driven 163 of Blais' 236 starters. "Serge Godin and Luc Blais are very good people to work for. "I think everyone is real happy with the year we've had." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Emoticon Hanover (Daniel Dube) went back to back with Breeders Crown trophies to win the $250,000 race on a sloppy track by three-quarters of a length on Saturday night. Caprice Hill (Brian Sears) was on the lead at the first :27.1 quarter, before being quickly overtaken by Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) just past that milestone. Ariana G held the lead to the :56.4 half, trailed by Emoticon Hanover and Broadway Donna. Broadway Donna was up to engage her on the outside just past the half, but Ariana G held that lead to the 1:25.2 three quarters before Ice Attraction came up on the outside to make a try for the lead. While those two were looking for the finish line, Emoticon Hanover came charging on the outside to pass them both for the win in 1:54.1 The winner is trained by Luc Blais and owned by Determination. Ice Attraction was second, and Caprice Hill was third. "She's nice right now, she's good," said winning trainer Daniel Dube. "We went to the passing lane last week, we went to the outside today. She does everything right, she is more relaxed. She is a special mare." By Ellen Harvey, For The Breeders Crown

Canadian harness racing history was rewritten at Grand River Raceway for the second time this season as Ontario's top two-year-old trotting colts and geldings gathered at the Elora oval for Gold Series action on Monday evening. Five of the six top-ranked trotters in the division squared off in the second $64,800 Gold division and delivered a performance worthy of the pre-race hype. Fan favourite Dream Nation went straight to the front from Post 1 and led the field of six to a :28.3 opening quarter. Coming off the second turn driver Bob McClure moved Forbidden Trade into the outer lane from fourth and the pair pressed Dream Nation through a :59.1 half and a 1:27.3 three-quarters. Matching strides turning for home, Dream Nation and Forbidden Trade battled all the way to the wire with Forbidden Trade getting a neck in front in 1:56.4. Southwind Avenger finished third. The 1:56.4 mile was a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record for Forbidden Trade. The previous OSS and Canadian record for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings on a half-mile track was 1:57.4, set by Daylon Magician at Flamboro Downs in 2010. In August two-year-old pacing colt Stag Party also lowered the track, OSS and Canadian record in a Gold Series event at Grand River. "I was very impressed tonight, the way he did that, you know, first over. He never quit," said trainer Luc Blais. "He trained good this week, and I had a good feeling for tonight, but I knew we had a big division, there were lots of good horses in that race." Bob McClure piloted the son of Kadabra and former OSS star Pure Ivory to the win for Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. In seven lifetime starts Forbidden Trade, a $110,000 yearling purchase, now has five wins, three of them in Gold Series action, and sits atop the division standings with 158 points. "He's been that good all year," said McClure. "I thought he was one of the best colts, if not the best, all year. He hasn't done much wrong this year. Every week he's coming late, coming late, coming late, and I don't think I've seen him get tired yet." Elora resident McClure was back in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle after the third $65,600 division with Only For Justice, who went straight to the front from Post 4 and never relinquished the lead on the way to a 1:57.3 personal best. Fan favourite Fingals Wave and Gold Edition were seven lengths back in second and third. Dany Fontaine trains Only For Justice for owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, Quebec. The win was the Justice Hall son's third straight, coming on the heels of a pair of victories in the second leg and final of the Quebec Breeders Cup at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres. With breaks in two of his three previous Gold Series starts, Only For Justice has accumulated 58 points and currently sits ninth in the point race. The top 10 point earners will advance to the $225,000 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 13. "He wants to race. He gets around a half so handy and he can leave the gate so fast, this place is his bread and butter," said McClure. "He's a very fast horse though. He deserves to be in the Super Final for sure." The trotting colts set the speed bar high right from the start Monday as Knight Angel and driver Sylvain Filion equalled the previous two-year-old trotting colt and gelding record with a 1:58.1 effort in the first $65600 division. Fan favourite Royal Rob took early command and led the field to a :29.2 quarter and 1:00 half before feeling the pressure from Knight Angel. The colts duelled through a 1:29.1 three-quarters before Knight Angel dug in to catch the leader by a neck in the stretch. While Your Up was four lengths back in third. Freelton resident Shane Arsenault trains Knight Angel for his partners Justin Fisher of Cambridge, Gary Leeming of Simcoe and Guiseppe Mascia of Mississauga, Ontario. The win was the first in six starts for the son of Archangel and Dream Taker, who struggled with breaks throughout the early stages of his career. With one win and two seconds in Gold action, Knight Angel moved into fourth spot in the standings with one regular season event remaining. The two-year-old trotting colts will make their fifth and final regular season Gold Series appearance at Woodbine Mohawk Park on October 4. Grand River Raceway wraps up its 2018 season this Wednesday, Sept. 26 with the National Driving Championship. Post time for Wednesday's program is 6:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

ANDERSON, Ind. - Emoticon Hanover and harness racing driver Daniel Dube went to the front and never looked back to win Friday night's $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot by three-quarters of a length over Caprice Hill in 1:53.4 at Hoosier Park. Pink Pistol was third and Flowers N Songs, who went off stride on the final turn, completed the order of finish in the four-horse field. Emoticon Hanover finished second in last year's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters. A 4-year-old has won four of the last five Breeders Crown events for the mare trotters. Emoticon Hanover is a 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra out of the mare Emmylou Who. She is trained by Luc Blais for owner Serge Godin's Determination Stable. This is Godin's third Breeders Crown trophy. Blais won one previous Crown with Intimidate in 2012. Dube has won six Breeders Crown finals in his career. For the year, Emoticon Hanover has won five of 12 races and earned $373,166. She has won 16 of 37 lifetime starts and earned $1.03 million. Emoticon Hanover was bred by Linda Wellwood, Tammy Aspden, Anne Shunock and Diane Ingham. She paid $2.20 to win as the 1-9 favorite. Emoticon Hanover By Ken Weingartner, for Breeders Crown   -

Harness racing trainer Luc Blais is feeling good about the horses he has in this year's $6 million Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Indiana but there's also a feeling of melancholy because he'll be competing without his greatest horse, Intimidate. The eight-year-old gelding was retired earlier this year.   Blais, co-owned and trained Intimidate, who won the 2012 Breeders Crown for three-year-old male trotters and went on to win many other significant races and almost $1.5 million in his career.   "It's a big hole (not having him in the barn)," Blais said. "He was a proud competitor. He loved racing. He was a professional horse."   Blais' contingent for the 2017 Breeders Crown include: Emoticon Hanover in the $250,000 Mare Trot; Dream Together in the $500,000 3-Year-Old Filly Trot; and Lookslikeachpndale in the $526,250 Open Trot. It includes many hard-knocking horses Intimidate faced in his career.   Blais also has 3-year-old filly trotter On A Sunny Day racing in a $63,000 supporting feature on Friday's card. She's been a star on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit.   All of the horses are owned by Serge Godin's, who races under the stable name Determination.   Blais' best chance would appear to be with Emoticon Hanover, who is the 4-5 favorite in a field only four competitors and leaves from the rail.   Emoticon Hanover has won 15 of 36 career races and is on the way to surpassing the $1 million mark in earnings. Purchased for $165,000 as a yearling at the Harrisburg Sales, Blais and Godin had a good feeling about the horse the first time they saw her because she was "very sporty" and "very alert."   She goes into her race with consecutive wins in her last three starts and victories in five of her last six. Included in the win streak is a world record time of 1:50 2/5 for four-year-old mares on a five-eighths mile track. It happened in the Joie De Vie at Tioga Downs and shaved a full second off of the old mark. Daniel Dube drives the daughter of Kadabra, who has been flashing some front-end speed or sitting just off of the lead in the last six starts.   "I think it's the first time she's raced in front in that caliber of competition," Blais said. "She's been good all season, she's stepped up, and it's a good feeling. She's an honest mare."   This will be Emoticon Hanover's third consecutive Breeders Crown start. She posted a second in last year's 3-Year-Old Filly Trot won by Broadway Donna. She was sixth in the 2-Year-Old Filly Trot.   Blais said this will be the first time in his career with an entrant in a field of only four starters. Maybe the third time will be the charm for Emoticon Hanover. She's certainly in a good spot.   Dream Together, a daughter of Muscle Hill, was purchased for $240,000 as a yearling at the Lexington Select Sales.   "That was a lot of money, but she had the family and the conformation," Blais said. "She was not right at two, but she's come back better at three and doesn't look tired at this time of year. I think she's going to be better at four. She's a very strong filly."   She has won three of 13 starts this year and banked $235,778, but happens to be a good filly racing against the superbly-talented Arianna G., the 3-5 morning-line favorite. Dream Together is listed at 10-1.   "I always say when you're in the race, the first thing is you have a chance," Blais said. "The second thing is, you try to put your horse in the best position you can. The competition is so tough, if (the favorite) has a bad trip you never know. Arianna G. is very special, but you never know. When we go into a race, we go (for the win). We like competition."   Lookslikeachpndale, a $185,000 yearling purchase at the Harrisburg Sales, has won two of 16 starts this year and 12 of 50 overall with earnings of $531,438. The field includes the likes of Hannelore Hanover, Crazy Wow, Marion Marauder and Resolve, each of whom has banked more than $2 million in their careers. Lookslikeachpndale, is listed at 20-1.   "That's a big race, but you never know, sometimes you get the trip," Blais said. "It's going to be an interesting race to watch, lots of good horses inside.   "It's tough to say how it's going to go, but I'm very confident for this weekend," he said. "I got a good feeling about all my horses."   By Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown

SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 - Ontario's talented three-year-old trotting fillies brought Grand River Raceway's 2017 harness racing season to a thrilling conclusion on Wednesday evening as they battled to a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record in the last race of the program. With $125,000 and the last set of points toward a Super Final berth on the line, the fillies were swinging for the fences early. Delcrest Magicstar left alertly from Post 1 and led the field of 10 to a :27.1 opening quarter, but Sweet Of My Heart also fired out of Post 8 and sprinted by Delcrest Magicstar soon after the quarter pole. In full gear around the second turn, Sweet Of My Heart reached the halfway marker in a sharp :56.1 and had opened up a gap of two lengths on her peers by the 1:25.3 three-quarters. Opting not to get involved in the early speed, driver Sylvain Filion had eased On A Sunny Day away from Post 3 and the fan favourites were sitting seventh at the quarter and sixth at the half. By the three-quarters Filion had tipped On A Sunny Day into the outer lane and the Muscle Mass daughter was gobbling up ground. She got a brief windbreak from Delcrest Magicstar, who led the field off the final turn, then kicked home to a one length victory. Delcrest Magicstar was second and Sweet Of My Heart stayed game for third. "I knew when I saw the half :56 that I was in a good spot," said Filion. "I knew they had to come back to me, it was almost impossible for them to keep going that speed, so that was very good for me. She just trotted home, it was just like a training mile for her." The 1:56 clocking took one-fifth of a second off the track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record first set by Sugar Wheeler in 2012 and then matched by Angies Lucky Star in 2013. "I was a little concerned before the race, her last start was just so-so, she wasn't quite herself," noted Filion, referring to the filly's sixth-place result in the Sept. 16 Elegantimage Final at Mohawk Racetrack. "But tonight she was back to her old self and she just felt super." The Milton, ON resident drives On A Sunny Day for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. The victory was the filly's third in Gold Series action and she will lead the sophomore trotting fillies into the Oct. 14 Super Final with 180 points. In nine starts this season the daughter of Muscle Mass and Dicent No has posted five wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $250,286. At two she captured four of six starts and banked $183,750. "He's (Blais) done a great job with her all year, and last year too," said Filion. "I've got a lot of faith in that filly." On A Sunny Day's connections will now be working to have her in peak form for the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 14. They will be looking for a little redemption for last year's Super Final when, sent off as the heavy favourite, On A Sunny Day made her first-ever break in stride and finished at the back of the field. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

Hurricane Beach's career got off to a stormy start, but trainer Luc Blais' forecast calls for better days ahead as the harness racing 3-year-old pacer continues to mature. A headstrong youngster, Hurricane Beach was gelded last year and has won three of six races this season. He heads to Saturday's eliminations of the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows off a 9-1/4 length win in 1:51 at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 9. The Adios attracted 14 horses, which were divided into two eliminations. The top four finishers from each division plus the fifth-place finisher with the highest career earnings return for the final on July 29. Meadowlands Pace winner Huntsville is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the first elim; North America Cup winner Fear The Dragon is the 7-5 choice in the second. Hurricane Beach is 20-1 in the elimination with Fear The Dragon, who is the No. 1-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Daniel Dube will drive Hurricane Beach for Blais and owner Determination stable. "He's got the physical (attributes) to be a top horse," Blais said. "But to be a top horse you have to be smart too. With racing and maturity, I think he's going to do better. We want to have patience. He has lots of speed that horse. Waiting for him, I think he's going to get better and better. He's a nice horse, a big horse, strong and very fast." Hurricane Beach is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Blazing Yankee. He was purchased for $230,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale and is a half-brother to world-record-setting Hurrikane Kingcole. His family also includes stakes-winners Lady Luvs Diamonds, Banner Yankee and Electric Yankee. Blais raced Hurricane Beach only three times last year, with a best finish of third in a conditioned race, before putting the horse away for the season. "He was very hot last year," Blais said. "I didn't want to go too far with him because I knew he was a little bit aggressive. Sometimes you keep racing and you make a crazy horse. That's why we turned him out right away. We brought him back and took our time with him. He came back pretty good. I think he is better than last year." Hurricane Beach was second in his 2017 debut and won his next start. He made it two in a row with a victory in a career-best 1:50.3 in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes on June 3 at Mohawk and then finished fourth in his elimination of the North America Cup, failing to advance to the final. A week later in the consolation division, he sped to the first quarter in :25.1 and half in :53 before finishing fifth. Blais, whose best known recent successes include two-time O'Brien Award-winning trotter Intimidate and Ontario Sire Stakes champion trotter Emoticon Hanover, gave the gelding a week off in the field before returning to work. He made equipment changes for Hurricane Beach's most recent race, the win at Philly. "He raced good," said Blais, who worked with stakes-winning pacers such as Goliath Bayama and Goodtime Bayama during his days in Quebec with Yves Filion's Bayama Farms. "Maybe he calmed down. Danny said he was more in control. We'll see. "We just need a little bit of luck." Saturday's card at The Meadows begins at 1:05 p.m., with the Adios eliminations set for 3:45 p.m. approximately. The Adios final July 29 anchors a blockbuster afternoon card that features six Grand Circuit stakes. Following are the fields for the Adios eliminations, in post order with preliminary driving assignments, trainers and morning-line odds: Adios Elimination 1, Race 9 1. Boogie Shuffle-Scott Zeron-Mark Harder-20/1 2. RJP-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/1 3. Highalator-Dave Palone-Jeffrey Long-10/1 4. Miso Fast-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/2 5. Blood Line-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-4/1 6. Southwind Yukon-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-20/1 7. Huntsville-Tim Tetrick-Ray Schnittker-7/5 Adios Elimination 2, Race 10 1. Western Hill-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-5/1 2. Lawrencetown Beach-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1 3. Fear The Dragon-David Miller-Brian Brown-7/5 4. Hurricane Beach-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-20/1 5. Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2 6. Eddard Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-20/1 7. Independent One-Matt Kakaley-John Butenschoen-4/1 Ken Weingartner

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 1 - Ariana G and Dream Together picked up harness racing 'Grand Circuit' victories Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 20 rookie trotting fillies were split into two $110,566 Champlain Stakes division. Ariana G has quickly stamped herself as arguably the top two-year-old trotter in the sport and Thursday night she continued her winning ways in her Mohawk debut. The Jimmy Takter trained filly left from post five with driver Yannick Gingras and after avoiding several early breakers, the daughter of Muscle Hill cleared to the front at the opening-quarter in :29.4. Ariana G coasted through the middle-half by posting fractions of :59.1 and 1:27.4. In the stretch, the daughter of Muscle Hill glided home effortlessly in :28 for a 1:55.4 victory. Takter's other starter, That's All Moni, finished 2¼ lengths back in second, while Stuck In My Spanks edged out Magic Presto for third. Owned and bred by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, Ariana G is now a perfect five for five following her Champlain victory. "This is really a special filly, but watching her makes me nervous because I know how talented she is," said Katz following his filly's victory. "It's a thrill and a pleasure to be able to say we bred her and we own her and she is part of our program and system." Thursday's start was the first for Ariana G since capturing the Doherty Memorial on August 6 at The Meadowlands in a stunning 1:53.1. "The first time I saw her she was about three months old and she was a weanling out in the fields of Kentucky," noted Katz. "We saw her periodically as she grew up. "She looked like she was talented as she was developing and growing and of course last year her full-sister, All The Time, was a top performer and won the Breeders Crown as a two-year-old, so we knew that we had terrific pedigrees to go with a top individual." Ariana G has now earned $270,870 through just five starts for Katz and Libfeld. The Takter trainee paid $2.20 to win. Katz noted that if Ariana G comes out of the Champlain well, she will be back at Mohawk next week for the Peaceful Way eliminations. Ariana G Dream Together extended her win streak to four with a 1:56.2 triumph in the first division. The daughter of Muscle Hill was sent to the front by driver Sylvain Filion and posted an opening-quarter of :28.4. Sianna Hanover, the 4/5 favourite, made a second-quarter move to the front from third and led the field through middle-half fractions of :58.2 and 1:28. In the stretch, Dream Together converted off the perfect two-hole trip by edging off the back of Sianna Hanover and rocketing by. The Luc Blais trainee stormed home in :28.1 to win by 1¼ lengths over Winter Sweet Frost. Sianna Hanover didn't have much trot in the lane and faded back to finish third. A $240,000 purchase at last year's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Dream Together now has four wins in five starts, with her only loss coming in her career debut on July 26. Following Thursday's race, Filion noted that Dream Together didn't exactly bring her 'A' game to the Champlain. "She was very powerful tonight, but my only concern was for some reason she wasn't trotting the turns very good," said Filion. "That's the first tonight that she kind of struggled in the turns, but Luc (Blais) will solve the puzzle." Dream Together swept the Pure Ivory Series before picking up a Grand Circuit victory Thursday. The daughter of Muscle Hill now has $89,463 earned for owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec and is eligible to next week's Peaceful Way eliminations. "I'm looking forward to the next start," said Filion. "She makes me very happy and excited to be driving her." Dream Together paid $5.30 to win. Dream Together Grand Circuit action continues Friday night at Mohawk with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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