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Young South Australian harness racing trainer Chris Neilson achieved the ultimate when he supplied the trifecta in the $10,000 2017 Justice Family Plate (2645m) at Globe Derby Park. Machtwister ($6), a query at the trip, sprinted up the sprint lane to grab leader Im A Peregrine ($7.90) and scored by a long neck with Soho Monza ($19.40), 4-1/2 metres away third. Ironically, the son of Mach Three started his career as a two-year-old with champion trainer-driver Lance Justice who was on course at Globe Derby Park to be part of the presentation of the race named in honour of his family. “Lance said Machtwister was a bit of a rogue early and I can tell you age hasn’t improved him, but I love him because he has been a wonderful horse for my stable,” Neilson said. A son of prominent SA trainer Jill Neilson, Chris has been slowly building a handy team of pacers starting out by purchasing older horses and running them mainly in claimers. It is fair to say he was in a state of shock after training the trifecta in the Justice Family Plate. Neilson said he had to thank his mother for helping with his team. “I actually took a week’s holiday last week and none of the horses were fast worked in the lead up to tonight,” he said. “With the hot weather in Adelaide this week that might have been a good move.” Neilson prove he has an astute brain telling driver Wayne Hill to take a sit on Machtwister rather than leading which he had been expected to do from gate one. “He was a doubt at the trip and I knew if he led he would possibly fire up and over race,” Neilson said. “Sitting in behind he settled a lot better but when Im A Peregrine was able to lead I thought he would be the one to beat but Machtwister was good enough to sprint lane him.” Neilson owns Machtwister outright, shares ownership with fiancée Kristen Harris in Ima A Peregrine, and with business partner Byron O’Reilly in Soho Monza. “It was a big result,” Neilson said. “It is the first $10,000 race I’ve won, it was my first trifecta and I’m pretty sure it has never been done before in the Justice Family Plate.” The trainer celebrated hard on Saturday and admitted on Sunday he was “standing myself down on vet’s advice.” by Graham Fischer

Mach it So with usual harness racing driver Jason Bartlett in the bike picked off pace-setting First Class Horse (Matt Kakaley) nearing the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. As was the case a week, ago, the two lads led the way, with First Class Horse working around Mach it So-from outside post positions 7 and 6, respectively-right at the :27.3 opening quarter-mile. By a :56.4 intermission, pole-sitting Melmerby Beach (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fifth, with minimal movement. First Class Horse continued to lead in and out of a 1:24.2 three-quarters, with a length-and-a-half advantage into the lane. It took a while, but Mach it So did get to the leader, prevailing by a neck in 1:52.3. First leader Limelight Beach (George Brennan) closed well up the cones by miss a half-length, with Blood Brother (Scott Zeron) and 7-5 fave The Real One (Pat Lachance) settling for the minors after both had way too much work to do. For second choice Mach it So, a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was his ninth win in 29 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $34.20, with the triple returning $199.50. The win in the feature was one of five for Bartlett in the 11-race program. The Raceway wraps up its 2016 live racing Sunday afternoon, with a 1 PM first post and a mandatory payout for the Pick 5 wager. Frank Drucker

A shrewdly-driven Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton, $6.90) prevailed from the pocket Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Usually a authentic closer, Mach it a Par-from mandated post position No. 7-was put in play here, and it obviously served her well. She and eight-hole assignee Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) both cleared the inside half-dozen ladies, with a three-wide latter making the lead just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Longshot So Nice (Tyler Buter) left into a three-hole, which didn't do much for the cause of pole-sitting Regil Elektra (Dan Dube). The song remained the same at the :57.1 intermission, before Hidden Land (Brent Holland) moved...from seventh. Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron), as the tepid 2-1 fave, was away last and chased that one toward a 1:25.1 three-quarters. Mach it a Par was fidgety in the pocket, extricating it to grab a short lead in and out of the final turn. She then finished is off, winning by 2 lengths in 1:52.3. Hidden Land put in a fine effort, continuing first-up for second, with a needing-room Regil Elektra, Krispy Apple and Moto Moonbeam N (Matt Kakaley) rounding out the payees. Bedroomconfessions was devoid of pace and backpedaled to last. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 13th win in 31 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $64, the triple returned $250 and the superfecta paid $1,143. Yonkers' 2016 live season concludes with cards Saturday (first post 7:10 PM) and Sunday (first post 1 PM). A reminder that there's no simulcasting Dec. 19th through 28th, inclusive and the '17 season begins Sunday (post time TBA, dates pending approval of New York State Gaming Commission). Frank Drucker

When owner Mark Gurry and harness racing trainer-driver John Justice purchased Hickstead from New Zealand the Australian cups scene was front of mind. On Sunday at Wedderburn the four-year-old son of Mach Three showed his class with a tough win in the Travel Managers Wedderburn Pacing Cup over 2555 metres. Despite travelling wide for the final 900m, the Justice-trained gelding – a grandson of Il Vicolo, who sired Hickstead’s mother Il Informed – had too much potency for Lucky Lombo and Uroc Mman in a mile rate of 2:00.9. Justice said Hickstead was originally purchased because of his standing start manners, but his mobile gate form is also impressive, and he has won seven races since crossing the ditch despite Victoria's decision to cease stand-start pacing races – including a Mildura Guineas and Sunday’s Wedderburn Cup. “He’s a really good distance horse. I think he could develop into a very nice open class horse hopefully,” Justice said. “He seems very suited to Australian racing conditions and so far so good. He appreciated the extra trip on Sunday.” Justice has earmarked Hickstead for South Australia Cup night at Globe Derby on January 7, where he could contest either the Justice Family Plate – a race sponsored by Justice’s family – or the Group 1 South Australian Cup. “It’s always a special night for the whole family. We all get together and hopefully we can continue to be involved and keep it going,” Justice said. Hickstead picked up four points in the $25,000 Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship as a result of his success. Hectorjayjay leads the ladder on six points, one point clear of Major Secret, whose Geelong Cup success on Saturday took him into second placing on the ladder.  Earlier on the card Brent Lilley combined with Rod Petroff to win the Richmond and Associates Wedderburn Trotters Cup off a 10-metre mark with seven-year-old Sundon-Niamey gelding Sun Of Anarchy, defeating Coimadai Lodge and Herecomes The Cat in the 2555m race in a mile rate of 2:05.0. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Despite 26 degree temperatures, snowy conditions and an 11-degree windchill, Noone To Depend On established a new track record of 1:51.4 for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on Friday night (Dec. 9) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Recently purchased for $25,000 at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale by Stephen Herrick and Mark Bogen, the new track standard-bearer was making her third local start in a non-winners of 10 races with a $30,000 claiming tag (plus allowances, bringing Noone To Depend On's sale price to $51,000). Trainer-driver Kayne Kauffman, who picked the horse out for her new owners at Harrisburg, was impressed with her first two starts for him, including a 1:53.3 score in the same class a week ago. "She showed me enough last week to think we might have something special, so I decided to test her a little more tonight because we're going to have to move up in class now and I wanted to know if she'd be competitive. Despite the snow and cold, the track was in very good condition under the circumstances so I kept her rolling and she responded." Noone To Depend On is a daughter of Ontario sire Santanna Blue Chip. She now has 10 victories in her career and with her latest triumph moved within two thousand dollars of the $100,000 earnings plateau. Halle Shark (Josh Sutton) and Cas Art Apparel (Chris Page) deadheated for the place position with Allthatjazzde Vie (Peter Wrenn) another short nose back in fourth. The Fillies and Mares Open pacers stepped onto the track a race later with Aniston Seelster (Sutton) downing American Girl (Travis Seekman) and Albanian Era (Jeremy Smith) in 1:53. The 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three recently switched from the Ron Burke Stable to the Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable, making an impressive debut from her new surroundings following a four-week furlough. Kara Witt owns Aniston Seelster, whose bankroll swelled to over $175,000 with the tally. Racing resumes at Hollywood Dayton on Saturday, December 10, highlighted by the second annual six-race "Buckeyes vs. Hoosiers Driver's Challenge." Leading Indiana drivers Trace Tetrick, Sam Widger, Ricky Macomber, Tyler Smith and Andy Shetler will face Ohio reinsmen Josh Sutton, Kayne Kauffman, Jeremy Smith, Dan Noble and Peter Wrenn for regional bragging rights. In the 2015 inaugural event, it took the Buckeyes until the final race to secure the team title on their home turf. The real winners Saturday night, however, will be underpriviledged Dayton area children and a paramedic who manned the Dayton Raceway ambulance many of the nights during the track's first two seasons, but suffered an unfortunate fall from a ladder earlier this year and is paralyzed from the waist down. The ten drivers in the Buckeyes-Hoosiers contest have voted to donate their entire $2500 prize pool to paramedic Crystal Wilson to help with her mounting rehabilitation costs. Additionally, the drivers are urging fellow horsemen and patrons to bring new toys to the track for distribution before Christmas to need children in the Dayton Firefighters District 16, providers of the trackside ambulance on a nightly basis. The Ohio Harness Horsemens Association has chipped in with a $1000 donation to be split between the firefighters toy drive and Ms. Wilson; and leading Dayton driver Josh Sutton has pledged all of his Saturday night driver commissions to the toy drive. MIAMI VALLEY IS CALLING ALL TOP DRIVERS FOR $25,000 TOURNAMENT The deadline for driver applications to compete in the inaugural $25,000 North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway is less than two weeks away.  Interested drivers can download application forms at: www.miamivalleygaming.com by clicking on “Racing” and then “Horsemen Info”; or by emailing race secretary/tournament coordinator Gregg Keidel at greggkeidel@yahoo.com.  The tournament will be conducted over three matinee programs on January 8-10, but the field will be finalized shortly after the December 23 application deadline. Half of North America’s top ten dashwinners have already committed to participate and others are expected to sign on soon.  If more than 30 drivers apply, those with the most career victories (including a minimum of 100 in 2016) will be selected to compete for the title and the $10,000 first place cash prize. If you think you have what it takes to beat the best, review the driver application and join the fun.  Nationally acclaimed reinsmen Brett Miller, Aaron Merriman, Jody Jamieson, Trace Tetrick and Simon Allard have indicated they will be at Miami Valley for the tourney, plus current Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana standouts Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Josh Sutton, Chris Page, Tony Hall, Dan Noble, Mike Wilder, Kayne Kauffman,  Jim Pantaleano,  Randy Tharps, Peter Wrenn, Eric Goodell, Jason Brewer and many more. Leading drivers from throughout the United States and Canada are encouraged to submit tournament applications with a $300 entry fee, which is fully refundable if your career win total doesn’t get you in.  The entry fee includes the chance to be named North America Driving Champion and share in the $25,000 cash prize pool, plus includes up to three nights of nearby hotel accomodations, a banquet in Miami Valley’s acclaimed Cin City Steakhouse, and covers your required 2017 Ohio State Racing Commission licensing fee. Gregg Keidel  

In what could only be described as the claim of the year in western New York, Thunderbolt Jaxon who was taken for $12,500 on October 1, has now won his third straight $9,500 Open harness racing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec.3). Thunderbolt Jaxon (Ray Fisher Jr.) left sharply and eventually took the lead after being parked out by Inthenameofjames (Drew Monti) to the quarter. When the field settled in, they stayed single file to the half when Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) pulled and started an outer flow with Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) on his heels. Feeling the heat, Fisher let his charge out a notch up the backside and put some space between him and the attackers as they sped by three-quarters in 1:26.1. At the head of the stretch, Inthenameofjames popped out of the two-hole and took a quick shot at the leader. But that challenge was swiftly turned away as Fisher rocked and knocked in perfect timing and Thunderbolt Jaxon sped away to an easy two-length victory in 1:55.1. It was the sixth win in nine starts since being claimed, and 10th win of the year for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($10.80). He has now accrued $53,846 in annual earnings, the bulk of which has benefited his current owner Mike Torcello. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three is trained by Gerry Sarama. In the co-featured $8,600 Open II pace, P H Hellcat (Shawn Gray) led from the quarter pole until about 200 feet from the wire; that's when the pocket-sitting Brees Creek (Drew Monti) paced on by him to win by a neck in 1:56. Brees Creek ($8.70) is owned by the Resilient Racing Stable and trained by Rose Russo. Several horse people had multiple win performances on Saturday night, led by Drew Monti who had a driving triple. Shawn Gray had a driving double while Sean McDonough was victorious with two horses he both drove and trained. And trainers Rose Russo and JD Perrin each sent two students to the Purple Haze Winner's Circle for pictures. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Dec. 7) with post time at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 2, 2016 - Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton, $11.40) uncoiled her usual late rush Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Beating only a breaker for much of the mile, Mach it a Par - from post position No. 7 stormed home when it counted. She whipped a lane-finding, 17-10 fave Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2, with pace-setting Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) faltering late to third. It was Krispy Apple leaving from outside her seven rivals, having to go wide around that early misbehave of Moma's Got a Gun (Brent Holland) before securing the throne. After intervals of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:25, Krispy Apple had a couple of lengths into the lane, but tired in search of a fifth consecutive victory. A first-up Regil Elektra (George Brennan) and Village Jessica (Dan Dube) rounded out the payees. For third choice Mach it a Pair, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 12th win in 37 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33, the triple returned $124 and the superfecta paid $414. Frank Drucker

Batavia, NY---With another dark and stormy night as the backdrop, Thunderbolt Jaxon didn't despair over the wet harness racing track; he reveled in it as he won his second straight $10,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 26). It was basically a two-horse race from the word go. Thunderbolt Jaxon (Ray Fisher Jr.) left and parked Sam Hill (Kevin Cummings) to the quarter in :27.3 before letting him overtake. Once settled in, Sam Hill looked strong on the front and took the group to the half in :56.3. With Thunderbolt Jaxon safely tucked in second, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) came first over past the half and tried to mount a challenge. He did draw alongside the leading pair at three quarters but faded from contention by the top of the lane. There, Thunderbolt Jaxon shot into the passing lane and began eroding Sam Hill's lead with each stride, eventually sneaking by him at the wire by a short neck in 1:55.4. It was the ninth win of the year for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($15.00), five of which were accomplished for owner Mike Torcello who claimed the 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three on October 1. Gerry Sarama trains the winner. In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Southwind Torque ($7.80) made a four-wide move around the last turn to nose out the front running Bakken (Ray Fisher Jr.) at the wire in 1:57.3. It was a four-horse photo finish that saw six horses within one length of each other at the wire. Southwind Torque is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice and is trained by Maria Rice. Shawn Gray and Larry Stalbaum both had the hat trick on Saturday while Ray Fisher Jr. settled for a pair. On the training side, Kim Asher and Maria Rice both sent two horses for pictures. The early Pick-5, which was part of the USTA's Strategic Wagering program on Saturday paid $4,365 for the 1-1-3-5-8 combination. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 30) at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 19, 2016--The Real One (Pat Lachance, $8.70) etch-a-sketched his name into Yonkers Raceway's harness racing annuals, setting an all-age track record in winning Saturday night's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, The Real One watched a pole-sitter Melmerby Beach (Dan Dube) took no prisoners, as in early fractions of :26.4 and :55.1. Rank outsider Santa Fe Beachboy (Brent Holland) was pocketed and slight 2-1 choice First Class Horse (Jason Bartlett) moved from third. That one went up and over a non-resistant 'Melmerby' right after the 1:22.1 three-quarters. The Real One was perched behind that move as First Class Horse opened a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. The stalker ducked in and whipped his tow by a neck in 1:50 flat, a tick faster than the previous Westchester standard. That mile unceremoniously knocked a quintet--Crombie A, Forty Five Red, Limelight Beach, Go Daddy Go and Americanprimetime--out of the record books. Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) wound up a best-of-the-rest third--beaten 4¼ lengths--with Take it Back Terry (George Brennan) and Santa Fe Beachboy rounding out the payees For third choice The Real One, a 6-year-old Mach Three trained by his driver for owner Helene Filion, it was his eighth win in 30 seasonal starts (career earnings past $700,000). The exacta paid $62, the triple returned $215 and the superfecta paid $706. "That's his trip," Lachance said. "He chases other horses. Melmerby Beach did all the dirty work and we showed up at the end." Stratton's two-win night moved him within one of 3,000 career victories. No one took down Saturday night's Pick 5 wager, so Sunday morning's gimmick (first post 11:30 AM) begins with a carryover of $2,043.93 (50-cent base wager, races 6 through 10). Frank Drucker

Batavia, NY---Old man winter reared his ugly head on Saturday night (Nov. 19) as high winds and driving rain greeted the night's harness racing competitors. However the extremely sloppy conditions couldn't dissuade Thunderbolt Jaxon from his best effort as he splashed to a gate to wire victory in the $10,500 Open pace at Batavia Downs. Thunderbolt Jaxon (Jim Morrill Jr.) left and took the front by the quarter as the rest of the field ducked for cover. The leader and a close-following Spender Hanover (Drew Monti) led pedestrian fractions of :29.2 and :59.1 as an outer flow started to chase. Shady City (Larry Stalbaum), who had been parked out from the start and Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) constituted that bid but neither could sustain up the backside. Around the last turn, it was Thunderbolt Jaxon who could sense the win as he strode out and paced away from Spender Hanover down the lane and crossed the wire well in hand in 1:57.2. It was the first Open class win for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($5.60) at Batavia Downs since being claimed on October 10, and his eighth overall win of the year. He has now earned $43,846 in 2016. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three is owned by Mike Torcello and is trained by Gerry Sarama. Since Larry Stalbaum started racing regularly at Batavia Downs, he's been winning races at a hurried pace. That trend continued Saturday as he scored a grand slam on the card. And the winning horses gave Kim Asher the training grand slam as well. The two teamed up in the winner's circle with Story Book ($5.30), Itsonlyrocknroll A ($2.50), Steuben Patriot ($31.20) and Box Car Johnnie ($3.50). Jim Morrill Jr. had another three-win night to remain the Downs leading dash driver, now with 112 wins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 23) with post time at 6:15 p.m. Please note that a double draw will take place on Tuesday (Nov. 22) for race cards to be held on Friday (Nov. 25) and Saturday (Nov. 26). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9:00 a.m. For more information please visit the horsemen's link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

The Forest City Sale took one to the gut when the Ontario Liberal Government leaked its intention to terminate SARP by March, 2013. The 2012 sale saw 257 yearlings average $10,519. The previous year 263 averaged more than $18,000. As contingency plans for the industry were assembled and assurances of continuity dished out from above, things began to settle down: in 2013 32 fewer head were sold but the average increased to $13,524. And in 2014 it kicked up to $15,294. Last year the average stepped up again to $23,207, although the number sold dropped by almost half since 2011. On Sunday 133 yearlings sold for an average of $26,308. That’s an increase of almost 12% from last year and 60% from the deep, dark days of 2012. And the gross was up $302,000 on three fewer yearlings sold. Let’s look inside. Shadow Play, who outdid Sportswriter at the Canadian Yearling Sale, managed to do so again—on a grander scale. The 11-year-old is selling his fifth crop, and up until Sunday his only $100,000 plus yearling was Arthur Blue Chip, from crop number one. He was a big time outlier at $135,000. On Sunday that one’s full sister brought $110,000 while a colt sold for $100,000. And another colt brought $82,000. The sire of world champion Lady Shadow saw 28 average $33,786, up 19% from last year and up 54% since 2013. Five, or 18%, topped $50,000; 14, or 48% beat $25,000 and 19, or 65.5% exceeded $20,000. So, while the son of The Panderosa, who has seen his fee hold steady at $4,000 (cdn) the last three years, made a splash at the top, almost half of his offering failed to beat $25,000. Sportswriter, the two-year-old division champ in the US and Canada, had more of a presence at Forest City than he has had in the past; he sold eleven for an average of $29,091. This after only selling a pair each in 2014 and 2015. This year’s sale crop is very large at 141 yearlings. Contrast that with last year when there were only 57. He had a good year in the OSS, finishing second on the leader board with the likes of Yaris Bayama, Yogi Bayama and Sports Column. Sportswriter stands for $6,500 (cdn). Nineteen by the son of Artsplace averaged $22,500 at the Canadian Yearling Sale. Seventeen-year-old Mach Three, who was selling his twelfth crop, has seen younger stallions come and go in Ontario but he still rules the roost—until next year when Bettor’s Delight starts selling Canadian breds again, anyway. Fourteen averaged $40,286. That’s up 14% from 2015 and up 22% since 2013. There were no $100,000 sales; the highest was a roan colt that went for $74,000. However, his prices were good across the board. More than 28% topped $50,000; 86% broke $25,000; and none of them dropped below $20,000. There are 103 in this crop. He shows no sign of slowing down. Camluck, who retired in the fall of 2014 and passed in August of 2015, had been a key figure in Ontario racing for decades. And the sire of Michael’s Power, Dreamfair Eternal, Burning Point and Giddy Up Lucky, finished strong with his final crop. Eight averaged $31,375, down only 6% from the 15 he sold last year. Badlands Hanover stood for eight years in Delaware before relocating to Ontario. He’s selling his sixth Canadian crop. Seven sold for a $16,000 average, up almost 4% from last year when he sold 14 at Forest City. Only two cracked $20,000 and four of them sold for less than $15,000. This offering is from a crop of 61 registered foals. There were 44 last year. Twnty-year-old Badlands bred more than 150 mares in each of his first four years in Ontario. Royal Mattjesty is another wheel-spinner. Eleven averaged $15,545. And that’s up more than 16% from last year. Beyond that, his average is up almost 53% since 2014, when four averaged $7,375. There are only 16 registered foals in the crop selling this year. There were 10 in the crop that sold last year and 12 in 2013. He’s not exactly a high volume stallion. Royal Mattjesty stands for $3,500 (cdn). The Western Ideal stallion, Big Jim, sold six for a $25,167 average—up 27% over last year when 11 sold. His average is up 29% since his first crop sold in 2014. Seven averaged $25,885 at the Canadian Yearling Sale, where Brad Grant paid $45,000 for a colt and Tony O’Sullivan paid $44,000 for another. Three at Forest City topped $25,000 while three failed to break $15,000. He’s number four in the OSS thanks to Streakavana and Magnum J. Big Jim stands for $4,000 (cdn). Vintage Master sold seven for a $10, 857 average. That’s down 25% from his $14,667 average for six sold last year. Eight averaged under $10,000 in 2014. Six sold for less than $15,000 at Forest City. Freshman filly Thatsoveryverynice won a split of the Eternal Camnation and a couple of Golds last year, but she’s been no factor at three. Trotters only represented 24% of the yearlings sold at Forest City. Muscle Mass is selling for the NYSS market this year and Kadabra is not a big Forest City guy: he only sold two Sunday, none last year and three in 2014. The sire of Caprice Hill, Emoticon Hanover, Winter Sweet Frost and Will Take Charge sold a filly for $80,000 and another for $29,000. Twenty-year-old Angus Hall, who saw his fee drop from $10,000 to $6,000 in the face of the SARP crisis in 2013, sold nine for a $23,333 average, up 28% from 2015 and up 45% from 2014. One topped $50,000; four of the nine broke $25,000; and 5, or 55%, fell short of $20,000. Triple Crown winner Glidemaster was shipped to Canada a couple of years ago after standing for seven years in Pennsylvania. Maven is his crown jewel, and the drop-off is precipitous after that. Blue Porsche closed his freshman season in promising fashion but wasn’t healthy enough to go on and the ill-fated Punxsutawney was killed in an accident. Glidemaster’s last two crops in Pennsylvania consisted of 17 and 14 foals. He sold a dozen for a $17,167 average at Forest City. Only one topped $25,000. Eight brought less than $20,000. Holiday Road sold five for a $23,600 average from a crop of 31 registered foals. Last hear he only sold one from a crop of 18. Majestic Son sold a pair of fillies for $36,000 and $26,000. Again, there are only 29 in the crop they came from. Let’s hope Muscle Mass, E L Titan and Archangel are going to turn out large numbers, because these small crops that sell at reduced prices are a problem. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

St Lads Moonwalk (Mach Three) prevailed in his local harness racing debut on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the Jackie Rousse trainee went coast to coast in the evening's Open Pace. St Lads Moonwalk joined the Rousse stable a few weeks ago and following a win and a third place finish at Vernon Downs took part in the $18,000 Open at the Spa over a sloppy track on Saturday. The three year old pacer marched out to the early lead and after posting honest first half fractions of 27 and 56.1 felt pressure for the first time as he paced towards three quarters. St Lads Moonwalk held off the late surge from pocket sitter RU Ready To Rock (Jay Randall) before stopping the timer in 1:52.2. RU Ready To Rock was the runner up while longshot Sassy Hanover (Billy Dobson) finished third. The early speed held in the Open and resulted in a line-up number that paid $54.50 (exacta) and $341.50 (triple) in the exotics. St Lads Moonwalk is the third Rousse trainee to win the Open Pace this year at Saratoga joining stablemates Artful Way and Titus Seelster. St Lads Moonwalk returned $11.20 to win in the mild upset with leading driver Frank Coppola Jr. in the sulky. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 21, 2016 - A from-last Mach it a Par and harness racing driver Brian Sears swept away her sorority sisters Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. It was a repeat performance for Mach it a Par, who cut the mile a week ago. Here, remanded behind the eight-ball (though in one notch after a inside defection), she saw polester Southwind Roulette (George Brennan) either seat 'em or park 'em. Hung for their troubles were Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) and Purrfect Bags (Jordan Stratton), while Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland) was pocketed. After early intervals of :26.2 and :55.4, 13-10 choice Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) launched a wide bid going toward a 1:24 three-quarters. She couldn't sustain it, however, as 'Roulette' maintained a tenuous lead into the lane. Enter Mach it a Par, who was last at three-quarters and fifth in and out of the final turn. She rallied widest and fastest, going away by 2½ lengths in 1:52.3. Jungle Genie N closed inside for second, with Moma's Got a Gun (Tyler Buter), Southwind Roulette and Krispy Apple settled for the remainder. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 11th win in 33 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $94, with the triple returning $667. Frank Drucker

Talented intermediate grade pacer Tenacious One was responsible for one of the fastest harness racing miles at Albion Park yesterday (Tuesday). The free-running gelding scorched the 1000m oval in a time of 1:51.6 – splits of 26.6, 29.8, 27.8 and 27.6 seconds. Winning driver Chris Petroff was left shocked following the powerful front-running display. “He’s a talented horse but that was an awesome mile; given he was coming off a let-up and without the benefit of a trial, he did a remarkable job. He looks set for a strong campaign.” Petroff said. The track record belongs to retired champion Im Themightyquinn at 1:50.4 – who set his mark when successful in the 2014 Sunshine Sprint. And upon further investigation, only one other pacer has gone faster than Tenacious One with dual Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova recording a mile rate of 1:51.3 when he proved successful in the 2015 Sunshine Sprint. Open class pacer and multiple feature race winner Ultimate Art has also recorded a 1:51.6 mile at Albion Park. So, Tenacious One joins an elite list. Formerly prepared in Victoria, the Mach Three – Miss Astronomical pacer has always been blessed with abundant ability but his headstrong ways have caused a few headaches. Since joining the stables of Redcliffe horseman Donny Smith, Tenacious One has been restricted to short course trips and allowed to run in his races. And the results have flowed. Tenacious One has won 7 of his 12 starts in the sunshine state. Assessed a metropolitan maiden, Tenacious One could find himself heading to Sydney at some point this campaign chasing the strong prizemoney on the bigger track. “Donny does an excellent job with his team and he’s got good options whichever was he wants to go with this horse, a possible Sydney trip makes strong appeal but Donny will make the call when the time comes. “He’s not the easiest horse to drive and I’ve found it’s best to work with him rather than trying to fight him, he can hold his speed really well and he proved that again yesterday.” Meanwhile, exciting three-year-old Maestro Bellini trained by Petroff is back in work and aiming at a southern campaign with the Victoria Derby an early target in the New Year.    by Chris Barsby

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 14, 2016 - Odds-on harness racing favorite Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $2.80) took advantage of a generous getaway locale Friday night, easily winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 5 (after winning the 5-through-8 draw), she wasted no time claiming her territory. Mach it a Par worked around Regil Elektra (Joe Bongiorno), then started what became a two-speed number (:27.4, :57.2, 1:25.1, 1:52.2). The final margin was a handy length-and-a-quarter, with Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland) a best-of-rest third. Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald) and Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter) rounded out the payees. For Mach it a Pair, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 10th win (29th lifetime) in 32 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10.90, with the triple returning $61.50. Saturday's rare day card (first post 1:10 PM) is highlighted by the million-dollar International Trot. Ten of the world's best trotters test the mile-and-a-quarter distance. U-S representatives Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras), Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) and Obrigado (MacDonald) start from post position Nos.1, 2 and 6, respectively. The International goes as race six as part of the 13-race card, which also features a pair of $250,000 Invitationals, led by Bit of a Legend N and Wiggle It Jiggleit (posts 1 and 8 in the flat-mile Pace) and Barn Doll and a returning Bee a Magician (posts 1 and 2) in the 1¼-mile Trot). Frank Drucker

Vernon, N.Y. -- The Kellogg Racing Stables, LLC's St Lads Moonwalk ($3.80) made his Miracle Mile debut a winning one, capturing Saturday (October 8) evening's harness racing featured $7,900 pacing event at Vernon Downs in decisive fashion.   The 3-year-old Mach Three colt enjoyed success in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series through the summer, earning his two most recent preliminary-event wins from off the pace. Tonight, Chris Lems put him in play from the outset, working clear of Major War (Truman Gale) after a :26.2 first quarter, rating a :57 middle half, and sprinting clear of the competition upon cornering for home. St Lads Moonwalk evaded his three foes by 4-1/4 lengths, prevailing in 1:51.2 in his first start for trainer Jackie Rousse. Modern Gesture (Fern Paquet, Jr.) captured second off a conservative stalking journey, and Flying Cowboy (Mike Merton) stayed even for third while Major War faded in the home straight off a failed bid from the pocket.   For St Lads Moonwalk, the win was the 12th of his fledgling career. For Lems, the win was the cornerstone of a driving grand slam following his five-win night on Friday. Lems additionally paired up with Gary Gibson trainee Some Major Beach ($4.80, 1:54.2) as well as Jordan Hope trainees Flashy Trick ($3.90, 1:53.1) and Hurrikane Bud K ($10.60, 1:54.1).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (October 13) evening; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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