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YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 17, 2017-Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker for high-end pacing mares began Friday night, with a trio of $40,000 divisions. The opening event saw odds-on choice Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing, $3.60) parlay a perfect pocket trip into a handy, 1:53 victory Winning the draw, Shesjustadelight N watched as Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) grabbed the lead before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Then, along came American Girl (Tim Tetrick), who eschewed a three-hole only to get hung for her troubles by Empress Deo. It was a :55.2 intermission and 1:23.4 three-quarters, with American Girl eventually backing away. While that was transpiring, Shesjustadelight N was enjoying the show, awaiting her close-up. Empress Deo owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but the fave was ready. Shesjustadelight N edged inside, defeating the Empress by a length-and-a-three-quarters. Change the Rulz N (Scott Zeron) rallied for third at 48-1, with 110-1 shot Quick Draft A (Mark MacDonald) and Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) rounding out the payees. "She's just super handy and I couldn't have asked for a better trip," Cushing said. "I was a bit surprised Tim (Tetrick) didn't take the seat behind me, but it ended up working out for us. "It's always good when you can just a win in this series without using a horse hard, so we're going take it.." For Shesjustadelight N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by her driver & Kevin Sywyk and trained by Heidi Gibbs, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, with the triple returning $109.50 "She's just super handy and I couldn't have asked for a better trip," Cushing said of his lass. "I was a bit surprised Tim (Tetrick) didn't take the seat behind me, but it ended up working out for us. "It's always good when you can just a win in this series without using a horse hard, so we're going take it." Friday night's second Matchmaker grouping saw another odds-on number, Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $3.20) prevail, though not without some angst. Away third from post position No. 2, Mach it a Par quarter-moved around Bedroomconfessions (Zeron), taking over right a :28.1 first two furlongs, There were very soft fractions after that (:57.3, 1:26), with Betabcool N (MacDonald) trying it first-up from fourth. Mach it a Par owned a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn, then was all out to hold off Bedroomconfession by a nose in 1:53.2. Betabcool N held for a credible third, with Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton) ad Krispy Apple (Brett Miller) settling for the remainder. For Mach it a Par, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, Gandolfo & T L P Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $5.10, with the triple returning $16.20. The first round's final foray offered the fast female, as Regil Elektra (Bartlett, $8.40) lasted on the lead in a season's-best 1:52.4. From post No. 3, she hooved her way (:28.2, :57.1, 1:24.3). Regil Elektra had a length lead into the lane, then whipped a crisp rally of 22-1 Hidden Land by a half-length. Third went to a pocketed Lispatty (MacDonald), with a first-up Medusa (Kakaley) and Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno) grabbing the minors. Nike Franco N (Tetrick), locally debuting as the 9-10 favorite, gapped second-over and wound up seventh. For second choice Regil Elektra, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone Stable and trained by Keith Armer, it was her third win in six '17 starts. The exacta paid $133.50, with the triple returning $374. "The open draws are so big in these series, and both (Mach it a Par and Regil Elektra) had good posts, so I had to leave with them," Bartlett said. "Mach it a Par isn't a front-end sort of mare, but I thought she was good in the last quarter when she had to be. "Regil Elektra won the Open Handicap here last Friday when it was cold, and she was there again." The Matchmaker (as well as the Saturday night-beginning George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series) offer five preliminary rounds, leading to a finale, set for Saturday, Apr. 22nd . by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 10, 2017 - Odds-on Regil Elektra (Jason Bartlett, $3.20) held off Change the Rulz N (George Brennan) in a two-speed, inside number Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Winning the post positions 2-through-6 draw, Regil Elektra was stung a bit by the lass to her left, making the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile After a :57.3 intermission, 39-1 outsider Sail to the Beach (Dan Dube) tried it first-up from fourth. That move did nothing to advance the cause of those behind her as Regil Elektra led in and out of a 1:26 three-quarters. The fave owned a length-and-a-quarter lead entering the lane, then held off an edging-out Change the Rulz N by a neck in 1:54.4. Third went to a ground-saving Know It All (Eric Abbatiello), with Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) and locally-debuting American Girl (Scott Zeron) settling for the minors. For Regil Elektra, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone Stable and trained by Keith Armer, it was her second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, with the triple returning $207.50. YONKERS' SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $1,600 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening's (March 11) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $1,676.81. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (for programs with at least 11 races...if not, then it goes as races 6 through 10). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

St Lads Moonwalk (Mach Three) prevailed in the Open Pace as part of the double harness racing feature on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Trainer Jackie Greene had last year's local Pacer of the Year as Artful Way took home top honors after being the winningest participant in the Open Pace in 2016. This year's version for Greene could be St Lads Moonwalk who was aggressively piloted by Frank Coppola Jr. in the $13,000 Open on Sunday. The race's 5-2 second choice pocketed the favored Sassy Hanover (Billy Dobson) and held on to beat him in the stretch in a mile paced in 1:54.2. Sassy Hanover was second best while longshot Starzheaven (Jordan Derue) earned the show spot. The $12,000 Open Trot was won by Slugfest (Conway Hall). The Trotter of the Year at the Spa in both 2014 and 2015, Slugfest again had a solid '16 campaign and started out his season in style on Sunday afternoon. Always seeming to thrive in the colder months of the year, Slugfest was at his best in the second half of the double feature as driver Jay Randall marched the veteran out to the early lead, a lead he would never relinquish. The Maureen Salino trainee went coast to coast in 1:56.2 at odds of 5-2 on Sunday to record his first victory of the year. Perfect Rendition (Larry Stalbaum) came up second best while No Recess (Jim Devaux) finished third. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon with a matinee first post of 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 24, 2017 - Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $6) was the third and last leader Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Into the game early from assigned post position No. 7, Mach it a Par waited her turn as Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) and Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) took turns with the lead. Mach it a Par grabbed her chance just after a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a 29-secone next substation (:56.2 half), it was 48-1 rank outsider For the Ladies N (Dan Dube) taking out of fourth. Regil Elektra (Brent Holland) was second-up, while 19-10 choice Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton), in her U-S parimutuel debut, was behind that one Mach it a Par continued her work night in and out of a 1:25 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. Despite drifting a bit, she held sway, negating the sharp close of Mackenzie A to win by a head in 1:52.4. Third went to Lispatty, with Empress Deo and Regil Elektra rounding out the payees. The five cashers were separated by just 1¾ lengths at the line. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, Gandolfo & T L P Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her first win in two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28, with the triple returning $75.50. Frank Drucker

MachThree has become one of the most influential harness racing stallions in the world. His recent sudden death was a shock to the entire Industry as his true legacy is only just starting to unfold through the deeds of his siring sons and grandsons and also his daughters. As a racehorse Mach Three was a very good two and three year old with exceptional gait and speed. He faced the starter just 27 times for 18 wins and 6 placings, taking a track record at The Meadowlands of 1:49 in the $1,000,000 Meadowlands Pace and a track record on a half mile track of 1:51.1 in a heat of the Little Brown Jug on his way to earning a total of $2,376,700. As a stallion right throughout his career he has shown the ability to leave that exceptional horse who are as dominant on the racetrack as he was. His champion son Somebeachsomewhere 1:46.4 ($3,328,755) is the hottest sire in the world right now and his Southern Hemisphere champion in Auckland Reactor 1:51.4 ($1,837,043) is being given his chance to follow suit with him serving 1,300 mares in his first four seasons at stud. Mach Three's progeny have produced a staggering earnings world-wide total of $136,000,0000. In North America his average earnings per starter is over $112,000. One of the few sires in the world today who is able to leave one as good or better than himself (a special one) both on the track and at stud. Somebeachsomewhere is reshaping the North American breeding industry with his complete dominance of his stock on the race track. Auckland Reactor is being given the same opportunity at stud in Australasia. All in all Mach Three is an outstanding and champion sire. Breckon Farms have five Mach Three yearlings for sale at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka in Auckland on Monday the February 20th. Lot 28 – Miracle Moose (bay colt, Mach Three - Minnie Moose) Miracle Moose is the second foal from the black type Bettor’s Delight mare Minnie Moose ($142,791) and is closely related to Ashcott El ($124,651), dual Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed Diamond Moose ( $75,585) and Famous Deal ($124,019). Lot 40 – Oynas (bay colt, Mach Three - Paddy Brown) Oynas is the third foal from a five win Christian Cullen mare Paddy Brown ($46,726).  The second dam is the Group 1 placed Braeside Star ($67,225) a half-sister to New Zealand Cup & Miracle Mile winner Iraklis ($1,019,042). Braeside Star has had seven to race and they’ve all won and are all Black Type performers. This is the family of 3yo Pacing Filly of the Year O Baby ($391,273) and Group 1 Great North & Victoria Derby winner and three-year-old Pacer of the Year Lavros Star (1.50m, 28 wins $534,382). Lot 112 – Macca’s (bay colt, Mach Three - Bella Me) Macca’s is a half-brother to two winners in including Eclipse Me ($83,944). The second dam Estabella (1:56.3) is the dam of three winners including Milly Me ($246,999) and the Group 3 placed Delight Me ($77,092). This is the  family of dual Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed Pocket Me ($266,979), Fear Me ($60,168), Jungle Genie ($278,090), Jungle Jewel ($221,047), Buster Me ($265,430) and Puppetandmee ($201,518). Lot 91 – Zinny Mach (bay colt, Mach Three - Zingara) Zinny Mach is from a race winning Christian Cullen sister to the dam of the top Group 1 winning mare Lauraella ($649,946). This colt is the dam's second foal with the first foal being the now race winning three-year-old Laredo Torpedo who raced in the recent Victoria Derby. Lot 95 – Gimme Hope (brown filly, Mach Three / Affairs Are Bettor) Check this page out for all the history of this Gimme Hope wich we have already covered. Harnesslink Media

Australian Pacing Gold graduate Our Little General will work towards consecutive Blue Ribands when he heads to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Fresh from his Victoria Derby triumph a fortnight ago, Our Little General will tackle a heat of the harness racing classic for trainer Emma Stewart. Despite drawing awkwardly in barrier six, the son of Mach Three is a $1.90 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds, with Stewart confident Our Little General can justify his short price. “The draw isn’t ideal, but we couldn’t be happier with his condition,” Stewart said. “He had a good, solid trial at Ballarat during the weekend, which has really sharpened him up. “He will be in better shape this weekend than when he won the Victoria Derby at his second start from a spell.” Should all go according to plan, Our Little General will then contest next week’s $200,000 Final, which is part of a super Miracle Mile program. “Barring bad luck, he shouldn’t have any trouble making his way into the Derby,” Stewart said. “Like I said, he is in top shape, but will be better again after the heats.” The colt boasts an imposing record of nine wins and five placings from 15 starts for earnings of $360,305. APG Media  

Express Stride is the latest horse to beat the sub 1:50 mark down under with a dazzling 1:49.8 mile last Saturday night at the fastest harness racing track in the Southern Hemisphere, Tabcorp Park Menangle, just on the outskirts of Sydney in New South Wales. Express Stride was having his third start back on a new campaign winning all three races this time in to take his record to 24 starts, 9 wins, 6 seconds and 4 thirds for $191,790 in stakes with plenty more to come.  A Bettor's Delight horse from the top racemare Lauraella ($649,946) Express Stride is from the famed Black Watch family that has dominated the Yearling Sales in New Zealand for the last 30 years. This family is known as the Regina family. Express Stride winning in 1:49.8 There are a number of yearlings from the Regina family in the Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka next Monday the 20th of February. The Breckon Farms draft has several of note especially Lot 91 Zinny Mach a colt by Mach Three from a race winning Christian Cullen sister to the dam of Lauraella. This colt is the dam's second foal with the first foal being the now race winning three-year-old Laredo Torpedo who raced in last week;s Victoria Derby. Lot 91 – Zinny Mach (bay colt Mach Three / Zingara) Harnesslink Media            

The partners of OSS Gold and Grand Circuit winner Physicallyinclined are excited to announce they have reached a deal to stand the outstanding harness racing pacer for stud duty in Ontario for 2017. Sired by the great Mach Three, out of the Artsplace mare Artisticallyinclined, Physicallyinclined offers a strong pedigree.  His dam, Artisticallyinclined, is a full sister to the O’Brien and multiple stakes winning millionaire Armbro Amoretto. The fastest son of Mach Three standing in Canada, Physicallyinclined trails only Somebeachsomewhere as the second fastest Mach Three stallion in North America.  Physicallyinclined set his lifetime mark, in wire to wire fashion from Pp8, winning the 2015 Pepsi North America Cup Consolation by multiple lengths in a sharp mile of 1:49.   Physicallyinclined built a strong résumé winning from 20 lifetime starts.  He amassed a 40% (8/20) win, an 80% (16/20) top 3 and 95% (18/20) top 5 performance record.  He showed world class speed including open and closing quarters of 25.3.  He paced in 1:52.4 at Georgian Downs as a 2 year old and 1:53.1 as a 3 year old at the 1/2 mile track in London, showing his versatility on all sized tracks. Physicallyinclined will stand stud at Milverton Equine Reproduction Facility - MERF - and be managed by veteran breeding manager, Doug Nash.  Doug has been in the business for 30 years and managed many great stallions during his career at the Glengate and Cantario Farms.    When asked about the horse Nash said, "I looked him up and watched some videos.  What I saw was a big strong animal with a great gait and speed and power to match.  When he arrived at the farm, he looked terrific, in great shape with impeccable conformation. It explained what I saw and read.  I've been around great stallions in my time and he has all of the same attributes.  I'm excited to see what the future holds." Nash went on to say, "I watched his NA Cup Elimination and honestly he didn't get a good trip and the pace was slow but he still came his own last half in :51.4.  There's not many that are capable of that, front or back, forget about adding the slow pace.  Then, the next week, he won by multiple lengths over a field full of some very good Grand Circuit horses in the NA Cup Consolation.  I only wish he would have been pushed a little more because from what I saw, I think he had much more in the tank."    He said everybody involved is eager to get this animal some quality mares and that multiple mare discounts are available. The introductory stud fee for Physicallyinclined has been set at $3,000 CDN.  For additional information please contact Doug directly by phone at (519) 573-5804 or via email at dndnash@rogers.com.  

Our Little General (Mach Three-Kabbalah Karen) caused a minor harness racing upset by taking out this year’s $200,000 Victoria Derby on Hunter Cup night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Last season’s Breeders Crown winning two-year-old rated 1:56.8 to beat a Mark Purdon trained pacer, not the $1.40 All Stars favourite Vincent, but the $25.60 shot Motu Meteor driven by Grant Campbell. Vincent copped a bad flat tyre and had to be pulled out of the race at the mile mark, much to the chagrin of punters. All the while Our Little General was in front, out of trouble, making his own luck for champion reinsman Chris Alford. The General pumped out quarters of 30.3, 30.7, 28.1 and 26.6, Alford looking around at the bell, no doubt wondering where his much vaunted opponent was. Trained by Victoria’s leading trainer, champion horsewoman Emma Stewart, Our Little General has now earnt over $360,000 in stakemoney. “He’s a great little horse,” Alford said. “Emma and (partner) Clayton (Tonkin) do a great job. I went in with confidence, not that I could beat the favourite, but that he would run a great race. “When he kicked on the turn he was really strong.” Motu Meteor ran second, beaten 4.1m, while Luke McCarthy guided Astride into third.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

TORONTO, January 27 - Awesomeness and Lyons Sands were able to repeat in round two of the Snowshoe Series, while Waasmula became harness racing's newest millionaire with a fifth-place finish to a repeat-winning Sandbetweenurtoes in the $30,000 Mares Preferred Friday night at Woodbine. The second leg of the Snowshoe Series got things rolling on Friday's 11-race card. Awesomeness, who won his first leg division by more than seven-lengths, delivered another impressive gate-to-wire performance to take Friday's first $17,000 Snowshoe division by 5¼ lengths in 1:54.1. The Ryan Maxwell trainee was put on the front by driver Doug McNair and was never challenged, posting fractions of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:25.4, before pacing home in :28.2 for his second win of the season. Big Yellow finished second, while East End was third. A four-year-old gelded son of Mach Three, Awesomneness, who made his career debut in October, has been cleaning up this winter at Woodbine and now has seven wins in 13 starts. Owned by Martin Scharf, Awesomeness has banked $22,000 in three starts this season to bring his career earnings total to $84,600. The Maxwell trainee paid $2.20 to win. Awesomeness The second division was almost identical to last week's, as Lyons Sands went gate-to-wire with Senior K having to settle for second after a two-hole triple. Driven by J Harris, Lyons Sands blasted off the wings of the gate to grab command ahead of Senior K. The Bruce Goit trainee posted fractions of :27.1, :57 and 1:25.3 to lead the field into the lane. In the stretch, Senior K was angled off the pylons and took another crack at Lyons Sands, but just like last week, the leader did not surrender and crossed the wire first in 1:55. Senior K came up three-quarters of a length short, while Ohio Larry was third. A four-year-old gelding, Lyons Sands is now two for two in 2017 after winning nine of 13 last season. The son of Somebeachsomewhere is now an 11-time winner with career earnings of $61,090 for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound. Lyons Sands paid $5.90 to win. Lyons Sands Three and four-year-old pacers, who were non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible for nomination to the Snowshoe Series. The $39,400 Snowshoe Final will take place next Friday (February 3) and both Awesomeness and Lyons Sands will have an opportunity to complete a sweep of the series. Also on Friday, Sandbetweenurtoes captured the $30,000 Mares Preferred for the second-consecutive week, while Waasmula became harness racing's newest millionaire by picking up a fifth-place cheque. Richard Moreau trainee Sandbetweenurtoes had to fight off Sayitall BB in the stretch to secure a 1:52.3 front-end victory. The six-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was driven to her 23rd career victory Friday by Doug McNair. Owned by Brad Grant, Sandbetweenurtoes has quickly banked $37,500 this season to bring her career earnings to $817,722. Sandbetweenurtoes Despite not visiting the winner's circle, Waasmula's connections can celebrate after her fifth-place finish in the top-level event for pacing mares. The nine-year-old daughter of Million Dollar Cam earned $1,500 Friday to push her over $1 million in career earnings. Waasmula is owned and bred by Brent Vincent and trained by Bruce Goit. Her regular driver Trevor Henry was in the sulky to reach the milestone. Waasmula is a 29-time winner during her career with a mark of 1:49.2 taken at Mohawk. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 27, 2017 - Wrangler Magic (George Brennan, $16.60), who twice burned money as the harness racing favorite against less-talented lasses, was upon the money Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 5, 'Wrangler' saw a three-wide Empress Deo (Scott Zeron) pay a :26.3 price for the early lead. After a 56-second intermission, 9-5 choice Hidden Land (Brent Holland)-looped at the outset then stuffed into a four-hole-made her second move. She engaged Empress Deo in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with the eventual winner gapping from second-over. Empress Deo owned a tenuous lead entering the lane, A slow (:29.4) final quadrant 1:54.3 helped the field close ranks, with Wrangler Magic winning the scrum by a neck in 1:54.3. Motu Moonbeam N (Mark MacDonald), who had every chance up the inside from the pocket, was second, with a course-altering Set Me up (George Brennan), Empress Deo and Delightful Dragon (Matt Kakaley) settling for the minors as the payees were separated by a length-and-three-quarters at the finish. Hidden Land wound up sixth. For fourth choice Wrangler Magic, a now-5-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Kapildeo Singh, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $99.50, with the triple returning $341. Frank Drucker

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica is proud to announce the guest line up for their Thursday, January 25th harness racing show at 1PM. Mike and Mike will reflect on the life and career of world champion Mach Three who tragically passed away. The duo will talk with John Campbell about his illustrious career and talk about what it was like to drive this magnificent horse. Myron Bell will join the program this week to talk about the "On The Deck Partners" from Florida and will highlight his career. Bell who has been involved in racing for a long time will give a glimpse as to what growing up in the business was like. Grow and Fortify's own Kevin Atticks will join the show to talk about the upcoming Maryland Horse Industry Day. Harness Racing's newest game "Off and Pacing" started beta testing this week! Ryan Clements the game's creator will be on to talk about what it was like to build this game and what is coming in the future. The 2017 USHWA Caretaker of the Year award sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park was awarded on Wednesday to Justin MacEachern. He will join the program this week to talk about how he got in the business and what it was like to take care of champion Call Me Queen Be. Justin works for the Ross Croghan stable and told USHWA's Gordon Waterstone "I am so overwhelmed by this, I can't even begin to explain it." Pompano Park Director of Racing Operations Gabe Prewitt will come on the show to continue the weekly Pompano Park segment. We will discuss the happenings as well as the success the Pick 4 wager has had on Sundays. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live on their website at www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

It’s with tremendous sadness that we advise of the passing of Mach Three this morning. Mach Three has become one of the most influential harness racing stallions in the world. The great horse broke his hind leg in the paddock and, in the shocking face of absolutely no alternative, the incredibly difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize him. It was a privilege to be able to care for Mach Three at Alabar NZ and be part of one of the most influential careers in harness racing. He will be greatly missed but we gain solace from the fact that his true legacy is only just starting to unfold through the deeds of his siring sons and grandsons and also his daughters. Our heartfelt condolences and appreciation go out to the Muscara family. Today is a very hard day but the journey has been a pleasure. Respect is earned. Mach Three will always be remembered at Alabar with the utmost respect. Mach Three - As at August 2015 on Stallion Sphere. There will be a detail update over the next few days. Somebeachsomewhere - As at August 2015 on Stallion Sphere. There will be a detail update over the next few days. Somebeachsomewhere - Updated article on Somebeachsomewhere just yeaterday.  

TORONTO, January 19 - Harness racing driver Doug McNair has been off to a flying start in 2017 and Thursday night he continued his hot streak by sweeping round one of the Blizzard Series at Woodbine Racetrack. McNair guided Stonebridge Pearl and Senseless Beauty to victories to take both $17,000 first leg divisions of the Blizzard for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares. The first division of the evening saw all the attention go towards Niagara Series winner Jimbelina, but the heavy-favourite just couldn't go all the way over the "off-track". Sent to the front from post-ten by driver Sylvain Filion, Jimbelina cut out fractions of :27.1, :57 and 1:25.2. However, Stonebridge Pearl and McNair stalked the leader's every move from the pocket and were able to pounce in the lane. Stonebridge Pearl powered by Jimbelina in deep stretch to win by half a length in a career-best 1:55. Sparkle finished third, while Franschoek was fourth. A four-year-old daughter of Mach Three, Stonebridge Pearl made her first start of the New Year a winning effort Thursday after winning just once in 21 appearances in 2016. Owned by Mark Ford and trained locally by Gregg McNair, Stonebridge Pearl banked $26,100 last season and her Blizzard opening leg victory now gives her three career wins and a bankroll of $69,880. She paid $22 to win. Stonebridge Pearl The second division saw McNair once again crossing the wire first, but this time he did it with the public's choice. Senseless Beauty was pointed directly to the front right from the beginning by McNair and was able to clear Collective Wisdom for the lead just after the opening-quarter of :28. After posting middle-fractions of :57.1 and 1:27, Senseless Beauty was tested in the lane by Collective Wisdom from the two-hole, but the favourite was able to turn aside the challenger and score a two-length victory in 1:55.4. Kloof Street turned in a strong final-quarter to come all the way from ninth and last to finish second just ahead of Collective Wisdom. Xelene Bayama finished fourth. A four-year-old daughter of Vintage Master, Senseless Beauty was making just the fourth start of her career Thursday. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee raced twice as a rookie in August of 2015, but didn't make another start until last month. Owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham, Senseless Beauty has now won back to back starts at Woodbine and is on a three-race win streak after finishing second in her career debut. Thursday's victory increases her career earnings to $24,500. She paid $4.40 to win. Senseless Beauty Round two of the Blizzard Series will take place next Friday (January 26). Three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares, who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2016, were eligible to the Blizzard. Live racing continues Friday night at Woodbine with round one of the Snowshoe Series for three and four-year-old pacers headlining the 11-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

It is interesting to note that two of the top three money winning stallions in North America for the 2016 harness racing year are father and son duo Mach Three and Somebeachsomewhere. The other stallion that made the list is of course Bettor's Delight. This is how they did; Somebeachsomewhere tops the list with $20,625,147 from 339 starters.  Bettor's Delight was second on the list with $19,392,733 from 514 starters. Mach Three was third with $14,773,241 from 460 starters. Mach Three has stood in Canada for his entire breeding career and to make the overall list in third place for money won is a great achievement. There is no doubt that this stallion has gained more and more respect as a Sire as he has got older. His progeny keep getting better and better as they get older. They just keep racing. His progeny have earned around $150,000,000 world-wide to date, an incredible figure. Mach Three is the longest serving shuttle stallion in the world with now 13 years shuttling bewteen New Zealand and Canada, an incredible fact especially when the skeptics in the USA originally fought against shuttling because they thought that it would be a bad thing for the stallion himself and our Industries. Another reason the skeptics had in the early days was the fact that Mach Three retired as a late three-year-old because he twisted a bowel and nearly died as a result. He was in the Ontario Veterinarian Clinic for well over a week and it was touch and go whether he would survive. He had a piece of his Intestine removed. Some skeptics said at the time that he will never survive shuttling as a result. Well the evidence is there right now to show that all skeptics were wrong in this case. Somebeachsomewhere has always stood at Hanover Shoe Farms in the USA and has made a huge impact on the breeding scene throughout the world. Mach Three is a proven sire of sires and besides Somebeachsomewhere he has other sons at stud including the Down Under pair Sir Lincoln and Auckland Reactor whose progeny are about to start racing in Australia and New Zealand as two-year-olds. Somebeachsomewhere also has some sons at stud including the incredible Captaintreacherous 1:47.1 ($3,148,657) and Sunshine Beach 1:47.4f. Two exceptional yearlings by Somebeachsomewhere that are in the coming Australasian Classic Yearling Sale on the 20th of February are Lot 36 Fouryouonly and Lot 128 Sea Change. Lot 36 is out of a brilliant young dual Group winning mare called Onlyforyou. She was the two-year-old filly of the year in 2011/2012 and has earnings of $288,951. This yearling is a colt and it is a first foal from the dam. Lot 36 – Foryouonly The other Somebeachsomewhere yearling lot 128 in the sale that caught my eye was the super bred and outstanding looking filly called Sea Change out of the Group 1 Oaks winning and International winning mare Dancingonmoonlight. This filly is a half-sister to five winners including the Group 1 winning mare Miss Moonlight ($213,165).  Lot 128 – Sea Change These yearlings are bred in the purple and should command real respect with the buyers. For more on these two yearlings click on this link. Harnesslink Media      

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

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