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For a stroll down Breeders Crown memory lane check out the excellent features put together by Dave Briggs, Lauren Lee and Dave Landry at http://www.hambletonian.org/resources/BC30Years.pdf and by Hoof Beats http://www.hambletonian.org/resources/2HB.pdf Do you agree with Dean Hoffman's Top 20 Breeders Crown moments? Share, post and tell us your own at http://harnessracingfanzone.com/category/road-to-the-breeders-crown/ Breeders Crown champions of days gone by are featured in the book Standardbred Old Friends, whose creators, renowned photographer Barbara Livingston and Ellen Harvey, will be on hand both Friday and Saturday night at the Meadowlands to sign the 208 page book devoted to champions of the past, who are now in their twilight years. The cover horse on Standardbred Old Friends is then-29-year-old Mack Lobell, depicted at his home at Menhammar Stud in southern Sweden. Other Breeders Crown champs captured on their yearlong 10,000 mile journey are CR Kay Suzie, Moni Maker, Matt's Scooter, Super Grit, Staying Together and 37 other horses of distinction. The book will be sold at the Harness Racing Museum booth during the first three races on Friday and Saturday, all proceeds go to benefit the work of the Museum. It can also be purchased on their web site at www.harnessmuseum.com or by calling 845-294-6330.  by Moira Fanning, for the Breeders Crown

With the resurgence of elite world-wide trotting highlighted by top of the line European contenders coming across the Atlantic to race in major contests in the U.S. and Canada along with the rejuvenated Yonkers Trot, the Breeders Crown classic, and the Maple Leaf Trot have become international spectacles to go with the Elitlopp and Prix d',Amerique in Europe. Looking back 26 years ago to the day in 1988, the March of Dimes Trot at Garden State Park had the attention of of the trotting world and the near soap-box behind-the-scenes saga of how the race was saved, was the story of the time. Despite a country-wide airstrike enveloping France, a weeklong rain and a major money short-fall, the March of Dimes Trot went on as scheduled. A race, destined to be the greatest trot of the 20th century, overcame all obstacles. It matched four of America's top trotters, led by the legendary Mack Lobell, along with Go Get Lost, Scenic Regal and Canada's No Sex Please, a three-year-old, meeting four of Europe's stars headed by famed European champion Ourasi, and the renown Napolitano, Callit and Sugarcane Hanover. The trotting world anticipated the one- mile test to wind-up as a match race between arguably the greatest trotters of the era - America's superstar Mack Lobell, winner of the 1988 Elitlopp and the great French standout Ourasi, four -time Prix d'Amerique champion - squaring off in the $600,000 March of Dimes Trot at the late Garden State Park. Originally billed as a $1,000,000 International clash, between the foreign trotting stars and North America's champions of-the-day, the event became a contest in serious jeopardy. Nine days before the event, with European trotters already on their way to the United States, only $80,000 of the $1-million purse was in place. At the Harrisburg sale, Paul Spears, of Hanover Shoe Farms, is said to have helped raise $300,000. Among other contributors were prominent owners Joe Thomson, Ed Gold and George Segal. Fellow amateur driver and benefactor Peter Gerry "guaranteed" the rest as the final purse was re-established at $600,000. In fact, circumstances even prevented the track from advertising a $1-million contest for racegoers. The contest did go on with the fan predicting the race-winner receiving $500,000. Selecting the second-place finisher was good for a $250,000 payoff. The fan picking the third-place finisher got $125,000 with fourth- and fifth-place finishers receiving $8,000 and $5,000 respectively. The ill-fated, ultra-modern Garden State Park racetrack was located a short distance from Philadelphia, across the Delaware River, in Cherry Hill, N.J.   Early in the race week, the March of Dimes Trot appeared destined to be 'dead in the water.' Track officials, publicist Bill Fidati and track race-caller Alex Kraszewski were inundated with countless telephone calls. Conceived by Pennsylvania harness racing enthusiast Gordon Dickinson, as a major international trotting test in the tradition of the International Trot then held at New York tracks, originally at Roosevelt and later Yonkers. Profits of the much-anticipated event were targeted to the March of Dimes charity, but as raceday approached, the heralded trot seemed deep in financial trouble. The original concept envisioned the world's finest trotters meeting for a $5-million purse and with the March of Dimes charity as its sponsor. As the 1988 harness year progressed, Mack Lobell was, as expected, the dominant trotter in North America, while Ourasi was at the top of his game in Europe beating the best trotters on the continent. Both owners were not afraid to boast of their horses. Each challenged the other all Summer long. Lou Guida wasn't aware of the prominence of the Elittlop until HTA Executive Director, Stanley Bergstein, called and recommended that he send Mack Lobell to the classic race. "He destroyed the field to become the first four-year-old to win the race always won by older horses," recalls Guida." He also was the first American horse to win since Delmonica Hanover. "The next day,' remembers Guida," a manager for Ourasi's owner, introduced me to the French Racing Association president who argued that French horses were far and above American trotters. He challenged me to race Mack Lobell at one of France's 'up and down racetracks.'" "I invited them to come to American for a race," Guida stated. "They decided not to come." He continued, "The next day I was interviewed on French TV and I said they were chicken as I lifted my arms [with my hands in my armpits] to simulate chicken wings. That's where the heated rivalry began." At the time in the late 1980s, there was a monumental two-continent rivalry regarding which was the world's greatest trotter. Mack Lobell was the toast of North America while Ourasi, owned by enthusiastic Raul Ostheimer, was acknowledged European continent champion. The two owners continued a season-long ongoing debate about which of the two trotters was best. "Talk about the race started during the summer at the Meadowlands," remembers Joe DeFrank, who was also director of racing at Garden State Park. "Everything seemed to be going alright until about the time of the Harrisburg sale, a few weeks before. Things began to look so bad financially, that I thought it would never happen. "Then, Del Miller called me and said that I should 'hold on,''' continued DeFrank, "And, almost until race time there were growing rumors spread throughout the harness racing world that the race would not happen. "The industry itself didn't do anything," recalls DeFrank. "But Delvin (Miller), Paul Spears, the Gerrys (Elbridge Jr. and Peter), and a few others, went to work and raised about a million dollars from some of the sport's leading people. They went to work at the Harrisburg sale to raise money, and the on-again, off-again event was on-again," DeFrank said. On top of everything, Garden State Park popular president Bob Quigley was hospitalized. "I was rushed to the hospital with diverticulitis,' recalls Quigley, "I didn't even get to see the race." . A crowd of 8,013 fans, and perhaps the largest contingent of worldwide sportswriters and feature columnists covering a harness race, assembled and were on hand that chilly mid-week night. Another major complication at the time surfaced when France was mired by a strike grounding all flights. Even with the air strike, but because of the fervor in the country about the popular trotting rivalry, French officials stepped in to permit an exception, allowing Ourasi to fly out. 'Ourasi was the darling of France and a European hero,''DeFrank recalled, "Along with Ourasi, about 260 Frenchmen came with the horse. They were put up at a French hotel in New York. In lieu of staying in a nearby luxury hotel in Philadelphia or Cherry Hill, the horse's owner [Ostheimer] also chose to stay at the Meridian Hotel in New York and traveled to-and-from the track by limo.Even then, there was no certainty the race would go on," remarked DeFrank. "I would guess, about a million dollars was raised in a short period of time. Of course there were serious expenses involved flying in the horses, hotel stays and other daily charges, and $600,000 went to the purse," DeFrank detailed. "When I spoke to Ourasi's owner, he said he'd bring his great horse over for nothing just to be in the race," added DeFrank. In addition to the grave pre-race financial matters, heavy rain marred the early week weather including a deluge the previous day. Garden State management brought in helicopters to help dry the racetrack and turf course. Despite the entire pre-race furor, the big night had all the fixing of a grand night for racing. Garden State Park was owned by International Thoroughbred Breeders (ITB), and to boost the night,   in addition to the big trot, a thoroughbred race was programmed on the turf - something previously never done - runners and standardbreds racing on the same program, to help make the night extra special. Amateur driving stalwart Peter Gerry, in a show of hospitality, gave up his drive to the owner of Ourasi, who wanted to drive in the amateur race. Also on the excellent program, NASA astronaut Jeanne Yeager, who had just circled the world in a previously unprecedented performance, drove the winning horse in a celebrity race setting the stage for the big trot. Because of the many unexpected pre-race difficulties, but thanks to a number of harness racing supporters, the eventual race purse was finally determined to be $600,000. The first five finishers dividing the purse with $300,000 going to the winner, $150,000 for second, $72,000 to the third place horse, $60,000 for fourth and $30,000 to the fifth horse. In the Phoenix dining room watching the trotters warm up, owner Guida was concerned as he watch Mack Lobell warming in a fractious manner. He didn't warm up the way he usually does, and that worried me," remembers Guida. Garden State announcer Alex Kraszewski was at the microphone to start the March of Dimes Trot. Mack Lobell, driven by John Campbell, left the gate fastest as four trotters came away in the outstanding field of international champions. The four-year-old took the top trotters in the world to the quarter in: 27.3 with Sugarcane Hanover, first to try to overtake Mack Lobell. Driver Campbell said, "The fractions were easy." As the American champion reached the backstretch, two Swedish-owned challengers had secured up-close positions, American-bred Napolitano, owned by Ingvar Thorson and driven by famed international star Stig H. Johannson, and Callit, with Karl Johannson, driving the French-sired seven-year-old whose dam was also an American bred. The year before, Napolitano had ended Mack Lobell's bid for a Triple Crown sweep while winning the Kentucky Futurity. Reaching the backstretch diminutive Go Get Lost rushed up to challenge with Ourasi moving three wide. The French champion, quickly moved up to seriously challenge Mack Lobell. From that point, the dynamic duo raced as a team the rest of the way. "Ourasi was trotting easily alongside then began to attack turning for home," tells Campbell. Ourasi finally took a short lead in mid-stretch as the battling pair headed down the long homestretch on the mile track. While the front duo were slugging it out, head-to-head, Sugarcane Hanover, handled by Gunner Eggen, was enjoying a perfect trip racing behind the pair. In deep stretch, the unheralded longshot closed past the front-battlers to finish first at the wire by a neck in 1:55.1. Ourasi won the personal skirmish with Mack Lobell edging the American-bred for second by a half-length. Driver John Campbell remembers that it had been a long season for Mack Lobell. "After coming back from the Elitlopp,' Mack' only was at his best about three times that Summer and Fall." At season's end, Mack Lobell has won 17 of his 19 starts with two third place finishes and was voted Harness Horse of the Year for the second straight campaign. Two years later, Campbell was voted into the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Sugarcane Hanover had been a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winning juvenile and a Breeders Crown champion at three. He was considered a contender, but not regarded as exceptional. As with other North American top trotters of the era whose stakes career ended, Sugarcane Hanover was sold overseas, to Helmer Strombo, of Norway, Ourasi, trained and driven by renowned European horseman, Jean-Rene Gougeon, enjoyed an outstanding reputation. Gougeon had driven the French- bred to outstanding wins in major races in Europe. Years before, Gougeon drove the great French mare Une de Mai to victory defeating the American champion Nevele Pride in the 1969 Roosevelt International Trot. While the March of Dimes Trot became a memorable and an artistic racing success, it was a financial dud with many complications, before and after. The harness sport dug deep in pockets to present a lesser purse than advertised. Even a crowd estimated at only 8,000-plus attendance, like the purse, never approached expectations. The race was telecast, later to be re-played on American TV, ESPN's announcer missed called the finish of the race incorrectly. It necessitated the entire race to be re-recorded and therefore replayed much later than expected. In Sweden, where the race began at 4 a.m. local time, Swedes wagered $400,000 on the race alone. In North America, ESPN was scheduled to air a delayed replay at 12 Midnight, but due to the TV Network's announcer missing the call at the wire despite onsite race caller Alex Kraszewski's accurate description. The TV finish had to be re-cut with the airing set back more than a half hour. Today, some two-and-a-half decades later, the trials and tribulations of the March of Dimes Trot have been long forgotten. The great international event featuring the greatest international trotters and drivers of the era has earned a place in history. It also saved the American harness racing community extreme humiliation. Despite the second-place finish, Ourasi's driver Jean-Rene Gourgeon said, "This was the greatest race I've ever seen." He stated, "It undoubtedly was the best trotting race in the history of the sport." "A major effort by many people enabled the March of Dimes Trot to be a giant artistic success. I think it's the best trot I ever saw," exclaimed Hall of Famer DeFrank". Looking back, John Campbell quoted, "It was a hell-of-a-race." With all the pre-race travail, the race became an all-time classic and the March of Dimes was a winner too. The charity organization received $200,000.   by Marv Bachrad for Harnesslink.com

The connections of Swedish star Commander Crowe have officially accepted an invitation to the $500,000 Breeders Crown Trot for the third time and the chestnut champion will make his first star on U.S. soil this fall. Commander Crowe raced in the Breeders Crown Trot in 2011-2012 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, finishing third to San Pail and third to Chapter Seven in his respective events. Since moving to the stable of French trainer Fabrice Souloy in 2010, Commander Crowe, now 11, is still going strong. He earned a Breeders Crown invitation by winning the Aby Stora Pris, a Grade 1 event in Gothenburg, Sweden, in August. Owned by Snogarps Gard AB (Barbro Wihlborg, Ulf Wihlborg & Joakim Wihlborg) the gelded son of Juliano Star-Somack-Mack Lobell has won 60 races in 103 starts, for earnings of $4.7 million. "We are delighted to accept your kind invitation for our horse Commander Crowe in order to participate in this years Breeders Crown for older trotters," said Joakim Wihlborg via emial. "We are fully aware of the conditions and we are looking forward to be a part of the big event." The last invited foreign horse to win the Breeders Crown Trot was Italian sensation Varenne, who captured the trophy with a then-world-record 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands. Trainer Fabrice Souloy reports that Commander Crowe will arrive in the U.S. in mid-October. The $500,000 Breeders Crown Trot is one of 12 championship events worth a total of $5.6 million to be raced at The Meadowlands over the weekend of Friday, Nov.21 and Saturday, Nov. 22. For more information visit www.themeadowlands.com or www.hambletonian.org    

Lexington, KY --- The Kentucky Horse Park will host a book signing for Standardbred Old Friends with author Ellen Harvey on Wednesday (Oct. 1) from 10 a.m.-12 noon. A collection of endearing stories on the lives of legendary Standardbred horses, this book is a collaboration with award-winning equine photographer Barbara Livingston, whose popular books Old Friends and More Old Friends, painted a sentimental portrait of champion racehorses long gone from the spotlight. Guests who purchase a copy of the book will receive half off admission to the park on Oct. 1 and the special all-Standardbred Hall of Champions Show at 1:15 p.m. organized for the occasion. A collection of Standardbred sulkies will also be put on display this day for guests to view, including a rare tandem sulky and a sulky used with Hall of Fame pacer Rambling Willie. Guests may pre-order the book through the park’s online gift shop, atwww.kyhorsepark.com/shop, or at 859.259.4234, to ensure they have a copy, or to have a copy held for them if they are unable to attend the event. The first 50 books pre-ordered will also be signed by the book’s photographer, Barbara Livingston. Books may be picked up anytime between Oct. 1 and Oct. 12, or shipping can be arranged. Standardbred Old Friends focuses on the distinctly American breed that evolved from a horse that carried the family to church, raced at the county fair and now competes world-wide at a trot and pace.  Standardbred Old Friends portrays 43 horses, ages 19 to 37, most of them millionaires with Hall of Fame membership, but some of more modest distinction -- occupied as show horses, in law enforcement or as hardworking, blue-collar performers. With Harvey telling the rich tales of horses from Sweden to Southern California, from Maine to Florida, Livingston has captured images of horses whose achievements are now decades past, but whose memories will last a lifetime.  Standardbred Old Friends looks at the lives of horses like the Kentucky Horse Park’s own champion Standardbred pacers, Staying Together and Western Dreamer. Staying Together was foaled in nearby Georgetown, and won 21 of 26 starts in 1993, setting a speed record, in one of harness racing’s most memorable seasons. Stanley, as he is known, is now blind due to an incurable eye disease, but he has been able to adapt due to his own tenaciousness and his handlers’ care of him. Western Dreamer, or Dreamer, is the park’s resident Triple Crown winner, winning pacing’s Triple Crown in 1997 and becoming the first gelding of any breed to win a Triple Crown. Born just three miles from the Kentucky Horse Park, Dreamer is the son of Western Hanover, one of the most influential Standardbred sires in history.  Other Standardbred horses featured in the book include North American and European superstar Mack Lobell, now 30, at his home along the shores of Lake Malaren in southern Sweden, 2004 Horse of the Year Cam’s Card Shark at historic Hanover Shoe Farm in central Pennsylvania, and mother-daughter Hall of Famers Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie among the live oaks at their home in central Florida. For a video sample of the photos in the book and a look at the making ofStandardbred Old Friends, featuring 30-year-old champion Standardbred roadster Autobahn at Cane Run Farm in Kentucky, go to this link. The Kentucky Horse Park is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through Nov. 2. Admission is $16 for adults and $8 for children 7-12, and includes the next day free. Children 6 and under are always admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate; and the “Showplace for Saddlebreds” -- The American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop. From the Kentucky Horse Park

Paris-Turf reported today that Commander Crowe could race in the September 14th UET Masters Series Final in Copenhagen and then may fly to New Jersey and the barn of trainer Trond Smedshammer. The 11-year-old chestnut son of Juliano Star-Somack-Mack Lobell could then appear in three USA events, the Red Mile's Allerage, the Yonkers International and the Breeders Crown at the new Meadowlands. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

Norway's Support Justice (5m Kadabra-Artisane-Lindy Lane) took today's Gr. I UET Masters Series Jubileumspokalen over 2140 meters autostart at Solvalla. The winner earned 1 million SEK (US$145,140) for the victory, his 17th in 24 career starts, now with earnings of 4,732,895SEK. Geir Vegard Gundersen trains the winner and he was the driver. The important victory was number five this year in eight outings. Winning time was 1.11.7kr (Varenne race record of 1.11.2kr in 2002). BBS Sugarlight (5g Super Light-Sugarsweet Sid-Sugarcane Hanover) was second for Peter Untersteiner and Claes Boko ended third for Erik Adielsson teaming for trainer Stig H. Johansson. Stefan Melander's Standout (5m Ganymede-Ebony DK-Royal Troubador) was a fast closing fourth after encountering traffic trouble throughout from second tier post 11. John Campbell reined Standout. Magic Tonight was first to the lead with Beer Summit In The Pocket. BBS Sugarlight was first up early and then Time Machine went three wide to move alongside leader Magic Tonight. BBS Sugarlight was shuffled a bit and then made a three-wide charge late but could not hold off the eventual winner in what was a great contest with flying finish. Magic Tonight ended eighth, Beer Summit was tenth with Denmark's Stelton disqualified for a miscue. Support Justice may be one to watch in other upcoming classics. Replay of today's Support Justice victory may be seen here. Also video of Mack Lobell and John Campbell today at Solvalla follows. The Jubileumsspokalen began in 1977 and to date has produced three-time winners Zoogin and Gidde Palema. Pershing, Callit and Victory Tilly won this event twice. Stig H. Johansson has won this race as driver nine times followed by Ake Svanstedt with seven victories. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

Video of Mack Lobell & John Campbell

Through the years fast miles have been the norm on the mile clay oval at Springfield. The fastest in a pari-mutuel race was eight years ago when My Boy David sped to a 1:47.4 clocking with Andy Miller in 2006. While many may remember My Boy David’s fastest mile in Springfield history that came in his Illinois State Fair Stake elimination race, most fans may not know that the 3-year-old Homer Hochstetler trainee didn’t go on to win that $50,000 Final four days later. Fox Valley Tribal, driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Bob Sanders, took the championships in 1:49 flat, a half-length ahead of Thisbigdogwilfight. My Boy David settled for third (1:49.2), beaten two lengths. My Boy David would bounce back to take the Dudley Hanover title at Du Quoin and the Pete Langley Memorial Championship on Super Night and would go on to compete into 2012 at the age of nine, amassing over $1.3 million for owner Shirley Le Vin of Barrington Hills. My Boy David winning at Balmoral The great Mack Lobell holds the Springfield record for a trotter when he motored to a 1:52.1 clocking with John Campbell in the 1987 George Alexander Memorial as a 3-year-old. The fastest mile ever paced on the Springfield big track came in a time trail in 1993 when Cambest (Bill O’Donnell) stopped the timer in a sizzling 1:46.1. The oldest Springfield track record goes back to the year 2000 when the Erv Miller Stable’s Incredible Tillie (Andy Miller) took the 3-year-old filly pace in 1:49.2 some 14 years ago. The newest track record belongs to PQ Three, another Erv Miller trainee.  Last year Mike Oosting drove PQ Three to a 1:50 flat victory in the 2-year-old colt pace championship, bettering the old mark by 2/5’s of a second shared by Hot N Sporty (2005) and Lucky’s Z Tam (2006). To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here     County Fair Report   EFFINGHAM COUNTY FAIR AT ALTAMONT   Tuesday Afternoon-1 pm FIRST: $1,125 2 and 3-Year-Old Pace: Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Fast) Perfectly Clear (Kyle Wilfong)                       2:00.2  Trainer: Bob Rittof. Owners: Angela Coleman and Bob Rittof. SECOND: $1,125 2 and 3-Year-Old Pace: Togetherforver (Michael Johnson)                  2:02.4 Trainer: Michael Johnson. Owner: Rhonda Manship. THIRD: $1,300 Open 3-Year-Old Trot: Morgans Majestic (Ladarrius Whitaker)         2:0.2 Trainer: Ladarrius Whitaker. Owner: Gloria Gillis. FOURTH: $1,300 Non-Winners of $7,500 LT Pace: Ava Destruction (Darla Martin)                      2:00.3 Trainer: Joan Brown. Owners: David and Joan Brown. FIFTH: $1,900 ICF Maidens Trot: At Risk (Darla Martin)                                    2:06.4 Trainer: Darla Martin Owner: Darla Martin. BOONE COUNTY FAIR AT BELVIDERE   Tuesday Afternoon-Noon FIRST: $3,575 NICA 2-Year-Old Filly Pace: Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Slow) Rockin Cassinova (Jay Garrels)                      2:15.1 Trainer: Jay Garrels/ Owners: William and Wm. Pat De Long. SECOND: $3,496 NICA 2-Year-Old Colt Pace: Miss Mascoutin (Robert Yohn)                      2:25.1 Trainer: Robert Yohn. Owners: Philips Krogman and Robert Yohn. THIRD: $6,039 NICA 2-Year-Old Trot: New Achiever (Orval Bronkhorse)                 2:21.3 Trainer: Orval Bronkhorse. Owner: Orval Bronkhorst. FOURTH: $3,300 ICF 4-Year-Olds and Up Trot: Fall Creek Bandit (John Roberts)                   2:13 Trainer: Don Brown. Owners: Don and Vicky Brown. FIFTH: 1,000 Non-Winners of $1,500 Trot: Foxiesbandofgold (Robert Yohn)                  2:14.4 Trainer: Robert Yohn. Owner: Richard Thompson. SIXTH: PACE, 2 and 3-Year-Old Pace: Elusive Return (Gary Rath)                            2:11.1 Trainer: Gary Rath. Owners: Gary and Kathryn Rath. WILLIAMSON COUNTY FAIR AT MARION     Tuesday Afternoon: 1 pm FIRST: $5,852 ECS 3-Year-Old Pace: Horse (Driver)                                     Time (Track Fast) Cypress Hill Rose (Clay Simpson)                  1:59.2 Trainer: Donald James. Owner: Donald James. SECOND: $5,752 ECS 3-Year-Old Trot: Battleshoe King (Clay Simpson)                    2:04.3 Trainer: Clay Simpson. Owners: Buddy and Clay Simpson. THIRD: $800 Non-Winners of $3,500 LT Trot: Hoosier Jared (Cleon Woods)                         2:03.4 Trainer: Cleon Woods. Owner: Cleon Woods. FOURTH: $800 Free For All Pace: Smoke Rings (Larry Ward)                             2:00.3 Trainer: Larry Ward. Owner: Larry Ward. FIFTH: $6,700 ICF 4-Year-Old and Up Trot: Hong Kong Kwyne (Dennis Gardner)           2:04.4 Trainer: Dennis Gardner. Owner: George Knackmuhs. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

The July 29th edition of the Hugo Abergs Memorial is set and includes prior multiple winner Commander Crowe and  rivals Magic Tonight (bred by Canadians Libfeld and Katz), Un Mer d'Heripre and Oasis Bi. This famous international event, contested over 1609 meters, started in 1970, has a rich history with many US-bred winners including Peace Corps (a two-time winner), Sea Cove, Kosar, Mack Lobell, Pershing, Citation and others. Two-time winners, in addition to those noted above, include Lavec Kronos, Gidde Palema, Rite On Line, Big Spender and Express Gaxe. With good weather they expect a competitive and fast race over the 1000 meter course at Jagersro (Malmo, SWE) as the combatants seek the winners' share of the 1.75SEK million purse in this Gr. I International test. Horse-Trainer (Driver) Mosaique Face - Lutfi Kolgjini (also driver) Truculent - Lars I Nilsson (Johnny Takter) Orecchietti - Stefan Hultman (Örjan Kihlström) Magic Tonight - Roger Walmann (Johan Untersteiner) Un Mec d’Heripre - Fabrice Souloy (Franck Nivard) Commander Crowe - Fabrice Souloy (Robin Bakker) Ed You - Robert Bergh (also driver) Oasis Bi - Stefan P Pettersson (Björn Goop) Occhione Jet - Stig H Johansson (Erik Adielsson) Mr Picolit - Raoul Engblom (Torbjörn Jansson) by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com      

Neona Princess (4f Gigant Neo-Dew Princess-JR Broline) capped off an excellent racing day and weekend at Axevalla, today also an extra V75 wagering card. Johan Untersteiner drover the winner to a 1.13.7kr victory for trainer Peter Untersteiner,  who had quite a great day as he recorded five more wins within the V75. The 2640 meter autostart event was worth 1,000,000SEK to the winner in this StoChampiontet for four year-old females. Neona Princess recorded her 11th career win now for earnings of 2,267,360SEK. She has three wins and three second place finishes in eight 2014 starts. Backfire (4f Offshore Dream-Fashion Brodde-SJ's Caviar) was second for Johnny Takter in a close battle to the line. The outstanding card also featured victories by the following: M.T. Harmony (5f Quite Easy-Princess Pleasure-Viking Kronos) in 1.11.3kr over 1640 meters autostart to earn 100,000SEK. Peter Untersteiner is trainer/driver for Misty Trotting AB. Snabba Cash (4g Ready Cash0Scarlet Diablo-Pine Chip) in 1.14.kr over 2140 meters turning start to earn 110,000SEK for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner and owner Speediablo AB. Digital Frame (3m Super Photo Kosmos-Sliding Window-Scarlet Knight) in 1.13.2kr for 125,000SEK to the winner over 2140 meters autostart. He was a photo-finish winner for his fourth score in seven career appearances. Perfect Cash (4f Ready Cash-Icy Shadow-Starchip Enterprise) for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner in 1.13.1kr in this StoChampiontet Consolation over 2140 meters autostart. The victory was worth 100,000SEK to owner KAK Forvaltning AB. Rigatoni (4f Deweycheatumnhowe-Canneloni-Mack Lobell) for Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer Roger Walmann as they earned 100,000SEK for owner Team SHF-Easy. Rigatoni scored in 1.13.9kr over 2140 meters turning start. Eketorpets Tess (7f Kashner Hanover-Joanne-Dignatarian) for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner for owner Torn Roger. The winner scored in 1.12kr over 2140 meters autostart for her fourth win in eight starts in 2014, and this victory earned 100,000SEK. US-bred Proud Victory Rose (6m Yankee Glide-Starlet Rayne-American Winner) also posted a victory today worth 50,000SEK to owner Victory Racing Stable and reinsman Hakan B. Johansson. He scored in 1.14.6kr over 2140 meters autostart, his third 2014 win in five outings. Yesterday at Axevalla, the Silver Division (125,000SEK to the winner) over 1640 meters autostart, went to Time Machine (5m Super Arnie-Union Highness-Pythagoras) in 1.11kr for trainer/driver Jorgen Westholm and owner Stall Ignarus. He scored his fifth 2014 win in eight starts and he's now 11 for 33 lifetime. US-bred Sandrngham Hanover was second for trainer/driver Leif Witasp, this one is a seven year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall-Sally Hanover. The three year-old gelded son of Allstar Hall-Harmonica As-Mack Lobell, Michelangelo As, won for Johnny Takter in 1.15.3kr over 2140 meters turning start. This promising colt now has three wins and two seconds in six career starts, all in 2014. By Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Reven d’Amour (9m Revenue-Melody d’Amour-Super Arnie) took today’s Gr. I International €140,000 purse Prix Saint Michel, contested over 1609 meters (one mile) at the fast Mikkeli Finland racetrack. The race was a UET Masters Series event. Seven starters battled in this one after the scratch of Joke Face. Prussia and She Loves You were out early, disqualified for miscues. Monster Drive gained the front early for Jorma Kontio and controlled the pace until top of stretch when second over Reven d’Amour rallied wide to win comfortably in 1.10.3kr (1:53.1 mile time). The Swedish registered trotter was driven by Mika Forss for trainer Fredrik B. Larsson and owner Stall Harriet. The winner now has 21 career wins in 77 starts for €700,629 earned. The victory cements a solid 2014 comeback for Reven d’Amour and also for the Larsson family who suffered a 2014 Copenhagen Cup reported disqualification of Caballion for a banned substance in Denmark. Caballion was trained for that race by Franck Leblanc. Finland’s Surprise Lord (8m Classic Response-Beauty Bro-Arnaquer) finished second today for IIkka Normonen driving for Mme. K. Kindsberg trainer. Another Finland trotter Super Frido (6m Love You-Empress Kemp) closed for third for trainer/driver Markku Nieminen. Monster Drive faded to fourth with USA’s Beer Summit fifth. The card today at Mikkeli also showcased wins by Vesuvio As (8m Windsong’s Legacy-Remini As-Mack Lobell), Dance Photo (10m SJ’s Photo-Dancing Trout-Dancer’s Victory) and Express Duo (4m Express It-Dolce Merett-Carpe Diem). By Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

The author of Standardbred Old Friends, a coffee table book featuring the work of renowned equine photographer Barbara Livingston, will sell and sign copies of the book on Governor's Day at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, Delaware, on Thursday, July 24. The 216 page book features 150 photos and author Ellen Harvey's stories of 43 horses of great achievement, long gone from the spotlight, but still cherished and well cared for in the twilight of their lives. For a video about the making of the book, click here. The signing will benefit Horse Lovers United (HLU), a Delmarva group that places Standardbreds and other horses in to second careers and adoptive homes after their racing days are over. HLU placed one of the horses featured in the book, Dust Devil, who is now 24 years old and living on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Harvey will be signing at the M & T Grandstand from 3 p.m. to the close of racing that evening; the book is $30, with a portion of proceeds going to help HLU care for and place horses in need of homes. To learn more about Standardbred Old Friends, which features high profile horses like Mack Lobell, Cam's Card Shark, Winky's Gill, Staying Together, Western Dreamer and the late Moni Maker, Matt's Scooter and Giant Victory, "like" Standardbred Old Friends Book on Facebook. For more information on Horses Lovers United, go to www.horseloversunited.com. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Veteran Mack Grace SM recorded another victory in Italy today as he won the GP Citta'di Treviso over 1609 meters autostart. The purse was £45,100 in this event for aged campaigners. Roberto Andreghetti was the pilot as the winner battled with Orsia early in the contest before putting her away (she ended third) and also second place Perkins Grif. The eight year-old winning son of CC's Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM-Armbro Goal recorded his 50th career win in 95 outings for career earnings of £1,484,962, In the past twelve months the classy campaigner was been victorious 16 times in 19 starts for £633,012 and he now has over 30 wins in Grand Premio races and their eliminations. 6 GR.PR.CITTA' DI TREVISO E 45.100 mt 1609 - Trio   1° 3 MACK GRACE SM R.Andreghetti 11.7 2° 5 PERKINS GRIF A.Farolfi 11.9 3° 1 ORSIA A.Gocciadoro 11.9 4° 2 LA VIDA LOCA T.Di Lorenzo 12.0 5° 6 ISAAK BI A.Raspante 12.2 6° 7 PRIDE WISE AS A.Greppi 12.6 0° 4 NO MAN'S LAND P.Gubellini rc 0° 8 PAPALLA G.Lombardo Jr   On Saturday high-class racing took place at Halmstad SWE. Winners of interest included Orecchietti (by From Above) in the Gold Division for aged trotters as he scored for Orjan Kihlstom. Air Frame (by Scarlet Knight) won what may be referred to as the Swedish Oaks for four year-old mares. See below. Alibabba J (7g Paparazzy-Goldwell-Diamond Way), Asa Svensson up, 1.12.7kr, 40,000SEK first money over 1609 meters autostart monte Recation (6f Dream Vacation-Alexia Hammering-Smasher), Johan Untersteiner up, 1.10.7kr, 100,000SEK to winner, 1609 meters autostart. Bold And Fresh was second as the former Hambo Oaks winner is racing better Rare Wise As (4f Varenne-In Wise As-SJ's Caviar), Linda Allercrantz up for trainer Jerry Riordan, 1.13.2kr over 2140 meters autostart, 75,000SEK to winner BBS Sugarlight (5g Super Light-Sugarsweet Sid-Sugarcane Hanover), Peter Untersteiner aboard, 1.10.5kr over 1609 meters autostart, 125,000SEK to winner Air Frame (4f Scarlet Knight-Sunset Kosmos-SJ's Photo), Per Lennartsson up, 1.10.9kr over1609 meters autostart, The Sprinter Masters Mares Final (four year-olds) with 541,596SEK to winner Orecchietti (7m From Abover-Canneloni-Mack Lobell), Orjan Kihlstrom up, 1.11.4kr over 2140 meters autostart, 150,000SEK to winner of this Gold Division, that recorded his 19th victory in 37 outings for 4,352,860SEK and his fourth straight win (two in 2014). Solvato and Monster Drive ended next in line Juniata Hanover (3f Cantab Hall-Justgotafeeling-Thirty Two), Bjorn Goop up, 1.11.5kr over 1609 meters autostart in the ECT Next Year event with 75,000SEK to the winner, her ninth career win in 16 starts for 1,175,426SEK By Thomas H. Hicks           Renaissance Partners LLC   Thomas H. Hicks, Managing Partner   3508 Sahara Springs Blvd.   Pompano Beach, FL 33069   www.renaissancelc.com   renparlc@gate.net   954-971-3555 Tel FL Office   704-844-0600 Tel NC Office   954-415-6369 Cel   704-845-1176 Fax           Experience > Value, Integrity, Performance       The information above and attached, if any, may contain privileged and confidential information intended only for the use of the person(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any review, dissemination, distribution and duplication of this communication is strictly prohibited. Please notify the sender by email and destroy all copies of the original message. Thank you.      

Goshen, NY - If you have ever been the caretaker, trainer or owner of a horse that had a special gift of speed and talent--then you recognize it when you see it.   If you have ever shared a unique bond with that almost "human" horse--then you have experienced that indescribable feeling.   If you have ever wondered what ever happened to that horse that provided you with some of the biggest thrills of your life--then you know that inescapable wonder.   It's all in here. Every picture and every page contains yet another one of those stories.   Standardbred Old Friends is as unique a book as the equine characters it chronicles. Historical in nature, existential in substance.   From Hall of Fame trotters to Horse of the Year pacers--dozens of them. Each with their own legacy, each with their own people that loved them. Each story more inspiring than the next. The authors visited Mack Lobell in Sweden and Miss Easy in Hanover. From California to Maine and from Florida to Kentucky, they traveled far and wide to meet and greet horses big and small.   With such an expansive distance between these stone-dust heroes, compiling this compendium of athletes was a feat as remarkable as the authors themselves. The photographer, Barbara Livingston, is a multiple Eclipse award-winning legend who has captured some of the most iconic equine images of our generation. She partnered with Ellen Harvey, who left no stone unturned in her quest to reveal some of the most touching accounts of the bond between animal and person, as well as between two stablemates.   Together they tell the stories of 43 horses that have left the racetrack long ago, yet still have loyal fans and followers. Like the story of 25-year-old Staying Together who is living out his days at the Kentucky Horse Park. Despite his blindness, the 1993 Horse of the Year continues to serve as a goodwill ambassador. The pictures are breathtaking with stories to match.   The account of Flat Foot Fluzy and her friend Keystone Wallis give credence to the notion that horses are gregarious creatures. Or the California pacers who have happily pulled a carriage after they quit pulling a sulky in the 90s. Or the New Jersey-bred colt that became a Saratoga police horse for an encore. Or the mother/daughter reunion that had an unexpected surprise.   So many great horses, and how they are surrounded by the people who love them. Some reunited, some returned home, all with dignity.   by Chris Tully for Harnesslink.com              

In Sweden trainer Jerry Riordan has experienced a super week to-date. On June 24 at Jagersro, Riordan trainee Rare Wise As scored in 1.13.8kr over 1640 meters autostart to earn 15,000SEK first prize.  The four-year-old daughter of Varenne-In Wise As- SJ’s Caviar is owned by Lisa Riordan and was steered by Linda Allercrantz. The Riordan team also won with Paolo America in 1.15.3kr to earn 15,000SEK in a 2140 meter turning start contest. Paolo America is a five year-old gelded son of Love You-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell, owned by Lisa Riordan and reined by Allercrantz to her 11th career victory. On June 26 at Aby the Riordan trained, Allercrantz reined Riordan Kronos scored in 1.15.3kr to earn 10,000SEK in a 2140 meter turning start event. The four-year-old gelded son of Going Kronos-Exclusive Kronos-Self Possessed is owned by Lisa Riordan and secured his first 2014 win in four starts.  Trainer Riordan was also third in the Aby featured Henning Kraffts Minne (100,000SEK to winner) for mares with Rossella Ross (4f Self Possessed-Northern Jewel-Garland Lobell) for owner Francesco Rosselli and driven by Thomas Uhrberg. Captivating As (6f Conway Hall-Cascade As-Mack Lobell) won this event in 1.11.5kr over 1640 meters autostart. Bjorn Goop reined the winner, to her 11th career victory, that defeated Single Sock (4f Conway Hall-Socksy’s Sister-Credit Winner) with Jorgen Sjunnesson aboard in a close finish. This one was developed in the US by Dan Daley Global Midnight and reinsman Christophe Martens won today’s Quinte+ Prix de Plaisance at Enghien. The winner secured her 16th career win for earnings of €274,621 for trainer Vincent Martens. Global Midnight is a seven year-old mare by Ganymede from Global Business by Victory Dream. Take and Tabby Point trailed the winner across the line. The day’s Quinte+ paid €188,246 for an exact order €2 wager. Jackpot this day was €4.4 million. June 26, 2014 Enghien, Prix de Plaisance, European €56,000, 2150 meters autostart, 16 starters, Quinte+ jackpot €4.4 million, 1.14kr 1st Global Midnight (7f Ganymede-Global Business-Victory Dream), Christophe Martens, 4.4/1 odds, Victor Martens trainer, 16th lifetime win for €274,621 2nd Take (7m Carpe Diem-Koncole), Franck Nivard, 6.8/1 odds, Fabrice Souloy trainer 3rd Tabby Point (7m Coktail Jet-Nobody Else), Sebastien Ernault, 70/1, Ulf Nordin trainer At Vichy the €80,000 purse International Prix Pierre Coulon went to favored Uprince with Eric Raffin aboard. Thierry Raffegaeu trains the winner that is now a career earner of over €377,000 from 11 victories. The winner scored in 1.12.7kr to defeat Italy’s 89/1 outsider Oibambam Effe. June 26, 2014 Vichy, Prix Pierre Coulon, International €80,000, 2150 meters autostart, 15 starters, 1.12.7kr 1st Uprince (6g Prince d’Espace-Malupricia-Capriccio), Eric Raffin, 2.5/1, Thierry Raffegeau trainer, 11th career win  for €377,470 2nd Oibambam Effe (6f Classic Photo-Etna Sec), Salvatore Carro up, 89/1 3rd Sophie du Vif (8f Jenko-Lavalliere de Vif), Aymeric Thomas up, 22/1 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Acclaimed equine photographer Barbara Livingston will be at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, N.Y. on Friday, July 4 at 11:30 a.m. to talk about and sign her latest book, Standardbred Old Friends. She will also sign at adjacent Historic Track starting at 1 p.m., when racing begins. The book, with 150 photos and stories about most of the living Hall of Fame Standardbreds over age 20, is the third in her Old Friends series of coffee table books about high profile horses, now in the twilight of their lives. The 216 page book also includes photos and stories, by Ellen Harvey, of some hard working blue collar horses, now enjoying a new career or retirement. Standardbred Old Friends is the culmination of a year of traveling from Sweden to southern California and Maine to Florida to capture images of the featured horses at their homes. The lush birch forest of southern Sweden surrounds Hambletonian-winning trotter Mack Lobell at home, while blue collar ex-racehorses Dreamy Starlet and McKeever Hanover are seen strolling through tide pools at Maine's Popham Beach State Park. Mother-daughter Hall of Famers Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie are depicted beneath the live oaks of their central Florida home. The oldest horse in the book, 37-year-old Waco Hanover, was photographed in an early winter snowfall in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains. Livingston, who is chief photographer for the Daily Racing Form, has twice won the Eclipse Award for her Thoroughbred racing photography. Her work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal. The book retails for $30. The museum is at 240 Main Street in Goshen and admission is always free. There is racing on July 4 at adjacent Historic Track at 1 p.m., adults $5 (includes program) and children under 12 are free.   Those who cannot attend the signing can purchase the book at www.harnessmuseum.com or by calling 845-294-6330.          

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