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Mark Steacy has a pretty good batting average in the Breeders Crown. The harness racing trainer of Harper Blue Chip, who is entered in this year's Three-Year-Old male trotting final, has won three finals with 10 starters and narrowly missed a fourth. "I've been kind of lucky as far as the Breeders Crown," he said. "We haven't raced in a lot of them, but I guess we've made the best of what we've been in." He won with Majestic Son in the Three-Year-old Colt Trot in 2006, Stylish Artist in the 2007 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and Hana Hanover in the 2009 Open Mare Pace. She placed third the year before in her division. Steacy narrowly missed a fourth win last year, finishing second by only a neck with Sunshine Beach, who started eighth in the field of nine and was parked a good deal of the way. Asked to pick if any of his winners stand out from the rest, Steacy chose Majestic Son, who would go on to win Horse of the Year Honors in Canada that season. "By far my best horse was Majestic Son," he said. "He was a great horse, comparable to any of the three-year-old trotters that have raced. That's how I feel about him." Majestic Son, with Trottin' Trevor Ritchie handling the lines, won by a third of a length, beating odds-on favorite Glidemaster, who won the Hambletonian. Hana Hanover, driven by the Minister of Speed, George Brennan, registered a win at more than 13-1 odds in a time of 1:48 4/5, the fastest mile of her career. "Hana Hanover was a real gutsy mare, not so much blessed with talent, but she just had a big heart and tried real hard all the time," Steacy said. Stylist Artist, also driven by Brennan, went postward in her race at just under 5-1 odds, leaving from the rail. She sat in second for part of the race, dropped back to fourth, albeit by only a half length, and poured it on with a final quarter mile in 27 3/5 to prevail by 1½ lengths. "Stylish Artist was a nice filly, but she got lucky," Steacy said. "She got a very nice trip and it just worked out well. George Brennan drove her perfectly. She was a nice mare, but not a great mare." Harper Blue Chip, who finished third in the Hambletonian at 45-1 odds, is one of 10 entered in his Breeders Crown. He will face two of trainer Jimmy Takter's horses - Nuncio and Father Patrick - who are also entered. (Harper Blue Chip subsequently drew post nine, and was assigned a morning line of 12-1) "It's hard to compete against him when he has two real live horses like he has," Steacy said. "If his horses are 100 percent healthy and everything, realistically we're not going to be first or second in that race, but it's been a long year and Father Patrick is vulnerable now, and Nuncio beat (Harper Blue Chip) by three-quarters of a length last time out (in the Matron), where we were back four or five lengths at the start of the summer. So I think we're closing the ground on these horses. The horse that scares me a lot if Riina Rekila's (EL Titan, which won the Erskine in his last race). He's a nice horse and I think he's peaking at the right time. I'm quite worried about that one as well. Post position is going to mean a lot. (EL Titan subsequently drew post 10) "Finishing third (in the Hambletonian) was probably the best I expected to happen. There's nothing like winning the Hambletonian, which I'd like to do some day, but going up against (Takter's horses) and finishing third was like a win because we were such a long shot." Harper Blue Chip, a $40,000 yearling purchase, has won six of 14 starts this year and $657,029 after winning four of eight last year and $196,883. He is undefeated in four Ontario Sires Stakes races this season. He is owned by Landmark 6 Racing Stable that includes Steacy, David R McDonald, David K Reid and George R Judson. McDonald and Reid have been with Steacy since the early 1980s. Judson is another longtime client and the octogenarian is enjoying his Great Success in the business with Harper Blue Chip. "I knew George was looking for a nice horse and I felt this was going to be a nice one, so we swung a deal where I sold my 25% share to him in the horse's two-year-old year and it's worked out really well for him," Steacy said. Landmark 6, led by Howard Pearce of Kingston, is a syndicate that owns one quarter of the horse. Steacy and Pearce started putting together syndicates six years ago to give relative new owners in the business a chance to be involved in a group with minimal financial risk. Some of the original syndicate members have reinvested in the subsequent Landmark groups. "Fortunately for Landmark 6, they got the ultimate horse in Harper Blue Chip," Steacy said. "That's made it even more rewarding for the Landmark groups. He's been our best horse, by far, but we've had a couple nice ones, but nothing like Harper Blue Chip. When we cash out at the end of the year, they're all going to make money in this group." As part of the process of creating the syndicates, the members have to relinquish their investment after the horses' three-year-old seasons. The members pay up front to cover all the costs through to the end of the three-year-old year. "That quarter will probably be sold, we'll just have to figure out a price," he said. "If a good enough offer came along, we'll sell the whole horse. It would have to be a decent offer because I think this horse can make a very nice aged horse as well. I know it's tough for four-year-olds but there's a few more opportunities next year for four-year-olds. And the Majestic Sons have shown they can go on as four-year-olds." Steacy's 2013 three-year-old pacing star, Sunshine Beach was recently retired to stand stud at Seelster Farms. He had a tough four-year-old campaign winning only one of 10 races and a mere $27,330 after winning eight of 20 last year and $913,702. He was one of the few to pin a loss on Captaintreacherous. Sunshine Beach battled with a bladder stone problem all of his three-year-old season, which was not publicized, and this year he had to endure a kidney stone issue. "It took its wear and tear on this poor horse," Steacy said. "He was a very talented horse and he got off to a slow start because he had a few complications early at two, and once we got that figured out he matured into a nice three-year-old." "He was parked every step of the mile from the eight hole (in the Breeders Crown) and just got beat," Steacy said. "He was a champion three-year-old, maybe a half a step behind Captaintreacherous." By Perry Lefko, for the Breeders Crown

Harness racing is one of those sports where luck plays a big part at times. Sometimes when things are going bad nothing positive happens where as when your luck is in, the world is your oyster. No one knows that better at the moment than well known owner Trevor Casey who has been riding a wave of success in the last few years. One of his many stars at the moment is the talented Majestic Son filly, Hot Pants. A $30,000 purchase at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale in Auckland in 2012, Trevor races Hot Pants in partnership with co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen and right from the start Hot Pants has shown promise. Although she didn't win as a 2 year old, Hot Pants ran second in the $82,000 Sales Trot to stablemate Dieu De L'Amour ($58,839) and fourth to another of Trevor's youngsters in Daenerys Targaryen ($106,923) in the 2 year old Trotters Championship. Hot Pants looked to have come back bigger and better at three when she won her maiden race by 10 lengths just prior to the New Zealand Trotting Oaks. But thats where things started to go wrong and Trevor didn't see it coming. "Mark was very confident of a big run in the Oaks and although she ran third, she was beaten 10 lengths and was very disappointing," Trevor told Harnesslink this week. A few days later Trevor got the call all owners dread. "Mark rang to say that Hot Pants had bled badly after the Oaks and the vet advice was that she was finished as a racehorse and should be retired,"  he said. Trevor put Hot Pants in the broodmare paddock but was toying with the idea of selling her. " I have plenty of well related and performed broodmares as it is and didn't fancy another one, he said. Trevor watched Hot Pants tearing around the broodmare paddock and wondered to himself if there was anything that might help Hot Pants get over her bleeding episode. It was at this point Trevor contacted well respected Victorian vet Alastair Maclean who is a good friend for advice. " Alastair sent me some powder to treat her with which over time seemed to pick her up and I became keen to try her again" he said. The next hurdle for Trevor was convincing Mark Purdon to try her again. "Mark was reluctant initially but came round after a couple of conversations," he said. So four months after being retired, Hot Pants returned to the All Stars training establishment at Rolleston to try to resurrect her racing career. No one involved really knew how it was going to turn out let alone Trevor. So there was some understandable nervousness in the camp when Hot Pants lined up for her first start back at the end of September at Addington. A nice fifth in the hands of part owner Natalie Rasmussen was as good as could be expected in the circumstances and it was decided to press on The first up start had qualified Hot Pants for the $24,505 final of the Alabar Super Series and with a peach of a drive from Mark Purdon she got home over Indiana Jones and Commander Paris. Next up was a junior drivers race but Trevor wasn't sure if it was the right move. "Mark was keen to put up stable driver Matt Anderson" "He had great confidence he would get the job done and as usual his judgment was spot on," he said. From there Trevor was keen to start on Cup Day but Mark had sorted out a 1950 metres mobile on Show Day and it was there Hot Pants lined up. Wide for 500 metres before finding the death seat, Hot Pant was left parked as Sunny Ruby set a scorching pace in front. Able to slot down onto the running line at the 700 metres mark when a horse broke, Mark angled her off the inner on the corner and burst through the middle late in the piece to claim a great win. Hot Pant's time of 2:25, a mile rate of 1:59.6 was a new New Zealand record for a mare 4 year old or older. Trevor was suitably impressed with Hot Pant's performance. "She has always had speed but now she has developed a staying game as well."  "To set a New Zealand record after doing so much work was a great effort,"he said Just as important was how she came through the race. "She has come through the race really well and all going well we are planning to head to Auckland now," Trevor said. It should be of little surprise that Hot Pants is going as well as she is when you look at her bloodlines. By boom trotting sire Majestic Son, Hot Pants is the first foal from the lightly raced but talented mare Dutch Annie (4 wins) ($35,719)  The second foal is last years talented 2 year old filly Yagunnakissmeornot ($26,180) who won four times in her debut season and finished fourth in the Harness Jewels. The grand-dam of Hot Pants is the brilliant racemare Miss Whiplash 1:58.6 ($151,765) who left last years 2 year old trotting filly of the year in Wanna Play 1:58.9 ($52,171)  who is also raced by Trevor. Wanna Play is also by Majestic Son making her a 3/4 sister to Hot Pants. One thing you can guarantee now is that when Hot Pant's racing career comes to an end for the second time, Trevor will manage to find a spot for her in his broodmare band. There is a fine line between success and failure in harness racing and the story of the successful return of Hot Pants to the track shows how fine that line can be at times. Harnesslink Media  

TORONTO, November 13 - Three-year-old fillies were in the spotlight Thursday night at Woodbine Racetrack for round one of the Autumn Series. Three $15,000 divisions on both the pacing and trotting side took place. A three-week series, the Autumn Series is for three-year-old fillies who are non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2014 as of September 30, 2014. In the opening division for the trotting fillies, it took just one move for Acapulco Hall to sweep to the front and cruise to a 1:56.2 victory. Trained and driven by Rick Zeron, Acapulco Hall, who was sent off as the 2-1 second choice, got away in second behind Jayport Princess. As the field reached the half, Zeron brought Acapulco Hall to the outside and trotted right by to the lead. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, Acapulco Hall would trot home without any danger of surrendering the lead for a 2 ½ victory over Jayport Princess. Missys Ga Ga, the 4/5 favourite, would rally from sixth to finish third. Unraced as a two-year-old, Acapulco Hall has now won three times in nine career starts for earnings of over $34,000. The daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe is owned by Walnut Hall Limited and lowered him career mark by a full second. She returned $6.80 to win. Serendipitous blew out her rivals in the evening's second division. Driven by Chris Christoforou, Serendipitous sprinted off the gate from post one and never looked back. The daughter of Majestic Son posted fractions of :28.2, :58.3 and 1:27.3 before leaving the rest of the fillies far behind to win by 5 lengths in 1:58. Wawona finished second, while Nickange Two took the show spot. Trained by John Mungillo for owner Guy Polillo, Serendipitous came into Thursday night's race off a pair of victories at Batavia Downs. The leg one victory was the fifth win in 21 starts this season for Serendipitous and boosts her seasonal earnings to over $41,000. She returned $3 to win. In the final division, Meadowview Vicky had to dig in deep stretch, but got the job done as the 1/5 favourite. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Meadowview Vicky got away fourth, while Watch Her Dangle got the lead at the quarter pole and led the field down the backstretch. Meadowview Vicky would come first up in the third-quarter to challenge Watch Her Dangle and the fillies were on even terms at the third panel in 1:27.1. In the stretch, Meadowview Vicky would overtake the lead and had to dig deep to fight off Wings Of Ballykeel, who got a two-hole trip, and a late rally from Osprey Impact to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:57.3. A daughter of Muscle Mass, Meadowview Vicky is trained by Mark Etsell for owner Meadowview Farms Inc. She has now won won five of 12 starts this season for earnings of over $43,000. Meadowview Vicky returned $2.70 to win. In the first of three divisions for the filly pacers, Mach Some Noise came from off the pace to win in 1:55. Performing Art took the lead early in the backstretch and would bring the field into the stretch after reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4. Mach Some Noise and driver James MacDonald got away in eighth and would be situated seventh and three-wide as the field came off the final turn. In the stretch, Mach Some Noise would kick home in :28.1 to overtake Performing Art and score a 2 ½ length victory. Performing Art held on to second over Thrill Chaser. A daughter of Mach Three, Mach Some Noise is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owners O'Sullivan Racing Inc, Kirk McKinnon and David Goodrow Stable. The victory for Mach Some Noise extends her win streak to three in a row and improves her record to three wins in eight starts for earnings of $30,500. She returned $4.90 to win. Artistic Fusion pulled off a 24-1 upset in the second division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Artistic Fusion got away eighth in the field of nine and would be ninth on the outside when the field reached the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion went from last to first in the blink of an eye with a powerful last quarter kick to win by 2 ½ lengths in 1:54. Shellysilvermoon, who was first over on the final turn and appeared to poised for victory at the top of the lane, had to settle for second, while Royal Mama finished third. A daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion has now won four of 14 starts this season for earnings of over $31,000. The round one victory was the fifth win of her career. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote. She paid a generous $51.70 to win. An Angel Shes Not and Paul Macdonell converted off a two-hole trip to take the final division. Double Joy sprinted off the gate for Billy Davis Jr. and posted a quick opening quarter of :26.4. An Angel Shes Not got away second behind the leader and sat patiently in the two-hole as Double Joy posted fractions of :55.3 and 1:25.4. In the stretch, MacDonell came off the rail with An Angel Shes Not and she powered by Double Joy to win by two lengths in 1:54.2. Champagne Shower, the 4/5 favourite, made a late rally from seventh, but would come up just short of second behind Double Joy. An Angel Shes Not is owned and trained by David Snowden. The leg one victory was only her second win in 26 starts this season and the third win of her career. The daughter of Jeremes Jet has now earned over $43,000 this year and $53,000 in her career. An Angel Shes Not paid $6.10 to win. The second leg of the Autumn Series will take place next Thursday, November 20. The opening leg of the Autumn Series for the three-year-old colts and geldings takes place Friday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

Promising squaregaiter Eyre I Come is likely to try for a Cup week double on Show Day. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones says he plans to race him again on Friday providing the 4YO Majestic Son gelding eats up over the next two days. Eyre I Come got favourite punters away to a flyer in the opener on NZ Cup day, Tuesday, November 11. The $2.80 favourite stepped slowly but safely in the C2 and faster $20,400 Garrards Horse & Hound Handicap Trot over 3200m. Eyre I Come, a close relative of recent top Victorian-trained squargaiters Sundon’s Gift and Let Me Thru, was sent to the front at the mid-way point. He ran out the extreme trip strongly for driver Blair Orange, striding clear by three lengths over Queen Kenny, who tracked him over the final 1600m. The winner trotted the journey in a useful 4:07.8, keeping the pace strong over his last 800m in 59.2s and final 400m in 30s, suggesting he could be a future Dominion Handicap contender. “I was rapt with his effort,” Mark said. “The Harness Jewels (Ashburton, May 30) is the long-term aim with him.” “I’m thinking of going to Geraldine with him (November 29) then spelling him.” Mark says the $25,000 Four & Five-Year-Old Trotting Championship at Addington on March 20 will be his first aim after a let-up. Eyre I Come, raced by Grant Hatton of Christchurch, with Merv and Meg Butterworth, of Melbourne, is now unbeaten in both 4YO starts. From just nine starts, he’s now the winner of three for $27,004. Eyre I Come is bred to develop further being a grandson of former top NZ trot mare Landora’s Pride, who numbered 34 wins including the 1988 Dominion Handicap and 1987 Rowe Cup. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here  

Master Lavros, last year’s Dominion Handicap winner and Trotter of the Year, had two days out in the paddock this week to help get over a mixed run at Kaikoura on Monday. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones and his Woodend-based right-hand man Regan Todd are doing their best to get the top trotter  back to where he needs to be by next Friday, but time is against them. Mark is aware he faces a big challenge to get Master Lavros back to his best. “He’s just got a few little issues. He would get away with it pacing in his hopples but he’s a trotter and when he broke the other day he made a real mess of things.” “If he’s right he can still win the Dominion but I haven’t got long to turn him round, so we might be pushing things uphill a bit.” Mark said. There was better news for the stable at Wednesday’s NZ Cup trials at Addington with promising 4YO squaregaiter Eyre I Come giving another good display. Eyre I Come, an acceptor for the C2 and faster Garrards Horse & Hound Trot over 3200m to open NZ Cup day proceedings, stepped safely on Wednesday. The Majestic Son gelding trailed early for race driver Blair Orange, then took over again with 1700m to run. He was always travelling well, scoring by 2 3/4 lengths over Tuesday race rival Jayceekay in 3:28.7 for the stand start 2600m in the slushy conditions. Eyre I Come quickened over his last 800m in 59.9s and his final 400m in 28.2s. and looks ready for Cup day. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here

The outstanding Love You trotting mare Habibti will be missing from all the trotting features over the New Zealand Cup harness racing carnival after sustaining an injury to a suspensory ligament. A scan at trainer David and Catherine Butt's property this morning confirmed their worst fears and Habibti will have six months off now before being rescaned. A winner of 15 races and over $307K to date, Habibti will be given every chance to overcome the problem with her suspensory. Owner Rob Paterson was very phisophical when contacted by Harnesslink this afternoon. " You have to take the good with the bad in this game and we have had a great run with this mare. " We will scan her in six months and take it from there" he said.  Habibti won't be completely idle during that six months as she is due to again have a embryo transfer this season after being served by Majestic Son last year and then having the embryo transfered to a surrogate mare. Rob Paterson is looking to follow the same path this season. "Habibti is going to be served by Angus Hall and then we will look to do another embryo transfer" he said. Habibti became a mum recently when the surrogate mare foaled a Majestic Son filly three weeks ago and then the filly promptly had issues with who her mother was. " The Majestic Son filly swapped mothers again so she has had three mothers and she is only three weeks old", Rob said today. Just when it looked like the open class trotting ranks were overflowing with talent leading into this season, injuries to Habibti and issues with Master Lavros have thrown the feature trots at the New Zealand Cup carnival wide open. Harnesslink Media

One of the most progressive winners at yesterday's harness racing meeting at Ashburton would have to be the beautifully bred trotter, Eyre I Come. He gained his first win for Melbourne owners Merv and Meg Butterworth, who joined co-owner Grant Hatton in the ownership in April. The grandson of former 1987 Rowe Cup and 1988 Dominion Handicap-winning mare Landora’s Pride (34 wins & $472,842) rounded out a hat-trick of wins on Sunday-Monday of Labour weekend for Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones, and in-form driver Blair Orange. Eyre I Come was first-up since breaking at despatch point and finishing unplaced in the Group One Northern Trotting Derby on May 9. The Majestic Son gelding also mixed his gait in his other two northern campaign races before spelling, but he was foolproof in Monday’s C1-2 Anderson Photography & Design Trot victory. After settling back on the outer, improved wide turning in and lengthened stride to a nicety at the business end, scoring by half a length from late finisher Mel Gibson in a useful 3:05.4 for the stand start 2400m. The winner was timed over his last 800m in 57.6s. The Butterworths’ secured the share of the gelding’s former Woodend trainer David Gaffaney, who qualified him and prepared him for his debut win at Timaru in February. Mark Jones initially selected Eyre I Come at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales for Mr Hatton, who races Auckland Cup placegetter Saveapatrol from the stable. However, Mark felt the well-bred youngster would benefit from his early development with Gaffaney, who had more time to spend moulding him. Eyre I Come didn’t come cheap, being a $45,000 yearling, but is bred to win races and Mark thinks he’ll improve further. His year younger half-brother Springbank Eden (by Angus Hall), beat the only maidens in a C0 trot at Waikouaiti in March for Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson. Their dam Landora’s Special (Sundon-Landora’s Pride, by Game Pride-Landora) won four trotting and is a half-sister to Landora’s Gift, who also won four. Landora’s Gift, voted the NZ 2YO & 3YO Trotting Filly of the Year in 1995-96, famously bred on as the Chiola Hanover dam of champion NZ-bred but largely Australia-raced Sundon’s Gift (1:54.3, 41 wins & $1.2 million), who not only won the 2010 Rowe Cup at Auckland for Chris Lang but also the 2010 Interdominion Trotting Grand Final at Mooney Valley, and numerous other Australian features. Another daughter of Landora’s Pride, herself a Victoria Dullard Cup winner across the Tasman, in Invasion’s Pride (six wins, and runnerup in a Australasian Breeders Crown 3YO Trot Final) also left a topliner in the brilliant Let Them Thru (2:00, 2240m, 19 wins from 30 starts for $A453,945), the runnerup to I Can Doosit in the 2011 Interdominion Trotters Final at Auckland. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stable    Check site here     

October 11, 2014. Harper Blue Chip, who was third in the Hambletonian and the Canadian Trotting Classic this season, capped off a four-for-four Ontario Sires Stakes campaign with a hard-fought 1:54.3 victory in tonight’s $250,000 Super Final for harness racing three-year-old male trotters at Mohawk Racetrack. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Harper Blue Chip settled in fourth while Maximuscle (Rick Zeron) flexed some muscle from the far outside post ten starting position and cleared the field before the 27 second opening quarter. Filion then sent Harper Blue Chip on the attack up the backstretch, but he was still on the outside of Maximuscle at the :56.2 half. Maximuscle and Zeron kept the pedal to the metal around the far turn, leaving Harper Blue Chip parked out all the way around the turn and over to the 1:24.1 three-quarters. Harper Blue Chip forged his way around Maximuscle early in the stretch despite the wide journey, and none of the closers were able to track him down as Harper Blue Chip reported home with a two length victory. Ole Jack Magic (Chris Christoforou) was up for second and Verdi (Paul MacDonell) split horses to collect third. P L Hercules (Randy Waples) got fourth and Maximuscle finished fifth. “The trip didn’t work out the way I think Sylvain and I anticipated,” said winning trainer Mark Steacy, who noted that Harper Blue Chip will be heading to the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs before the going to the Breeders Crown at Meadowlands Racetrack. “We were hoping maybe to clear to the front a lot earlier than that. We didn’t know we’d have to come first-up that hard. This horse, he’s stepped up to the bell every time he’s gone behind the gate this year. The season’s been great. “He’s not a flashy horse or anything and he’s not probably the quickest horse. He just has a big heart, just like his dad (Steacy trainee Majestic Son). He just wants to win. He likes to make money and he seems to be able to get it done.” Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie, and George Judson of Athens, Ontario, own Harper Blue Chip, who has won six times from 13 starts this year and ten times in his career. Out of the Muscles Yankee mare Winning Jonlin, the three-year-old colt was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. and Ray Schnittker and was purchased for $40,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. Harper Blue Chip has earned $606,942 in 2014 and $803,825 lifetime. The full results from tonight’s race card at Mohawk may be viewed Mohawk Results – October 11. By OSS News

The breeding season is here once again and harness racing is in good heart if the number of trotting stallions available this season is any guide. For the last two breeding seasons trotting bred mare numbers have been holding up remarkably well when compared to their pacing counterparts. The number of pacing mares has been slowly dropping for a wee while now Two seasons ago the number of pacing mares served numbered 2582 but last season saw another drop of 185 mares to bring the total served down to 2397 However in the 2012/2013 breeding season 644 trotting mares were served by 31 stallions and in the 2013/2014 breeding season 617 mares were served by 29 stallions. In light of those figures it is somewhat surprising that the number of trotting sires available to breeders has continued to grow, especially via frozen semen.  In the upcoming season the number of trotting stallions available to breeders has risen to 36. In the last breeding season only four stallions served more than 50 mares for the year and between them that four captured 319 of the mares served leaving just 298 mares for the other 25 stallions. It is little wonder the average trotting breeder is getting confused and having trouble sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Some of the trotting sires available via frozen semen are well established such as Andover Hall, Angus Hall, Muscle Hill, Love You and Muscles Yankee but quite a few are new to the stallion game in New Zealand and it is hard to gage where they sit in the overall scheme of things. Of those available via fresh semen last year, the North American owned Majestic Son served 161 mares in New Zealand and with the season his stock had on the track he should serve a large book again this year. Superfast Stuart (54)  Monarchy (51)  The Pres (50) and Monkey Bones (40) were other sires available via fresh semen last season who served reasonable numbers and they all have one thing in common.  These sires are owned in New Zealand and represent a major investment by the studs/owners but with the number of sires available via frozen semen growing to 26 this year they may have a struggle on their hands to attract mares. If the number of European and North American sires available via frozen semen continues to grow, the days of New Zealand studs and owners standing sires they own via fresh semen may be coming to an end. Weather that is in the best long term interests of the New Zealand industry is highly questionable. Harnesslink Media

Three-year-old trotting colt Harper Blue Chip has made three starts in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division this year and has won them all including the second of two $105,000 divisions tonight at Mohawk. Harper Blue Chip was sent off as the heavy favourite and quickly showed why as he flew up from sixth to grab early control and was well settled by the opening quarter in :27.2. He clicked off the half in :56.3 and was at the three-quarters in 1:25.4 and could not be caught down the stretch, winning easily in 1:55.3 for Sylvain Filion. Keystone Trevor closed well to take second while British Steel was third. Trained by Mark Steacy for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald, Cornwall, David Reid, Glenburnie and George Judson, Athens, Ontario, Harper Blue Chip was recording his fifth victory in a dozen starts this year for $481,000 in earnings. Lifetime his bankroll sits at $708,000. His victory tonight puts him squarely atop the point standings in this OSS division. A son of Steacy’s former champion Majestic Son, the colt is from the Muscles Yankee daughter Winning Jonlin and was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock of New York which also bred the winner of the first division which saw Muscle Matters and Mario Baillargeon establish the tempo through fractions of :27.1, :57.2 and 1:26. However, he could not hold off See The Wind and James MacDonald in the stretch as that colt took over to hit the wire first in 1:54.2. Muscle Matters held for second with Sheer Flex taking third. Chris Beaver of Delaware, Ohio, trains and co-owns the winner, a son of Deweycheatumnhowe, with Synerco Ventures of Toronto, Ontario, and Wilbur Lang of Ohio. Tonight’s effort was the second win in 12 attempts for See The Wind, bred by Blue Chip. A $10,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg, See The Wind is from a half-sister to $386,000 winner Bramasole. This was the final regular season Gold event for this group. The top point earners will hook up once more in the season ending OSS Super Final on October 11 back at Mohawk. To view the results from tonight’s program, please click Mohawk Results - September 22. OSS News

The Little Brown Jug for three-year-old pacing colts and its filly companion race, the Jugette, are highly coveted races to win and this year Guelph, Ontario-based harness racing trainer Gregg McNair has a shot in each. Both of his Ontario-sired horses are regulars on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. His filly, Lady Shadow, is the favourite in the first of three divisions of the Jugette, worth a total of $298,100, to be raced Wednesday afternoon at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The daughter of Shadow Play, owned by Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, Michigan, has won five races and finished second in two others in 10 starts so far this year. She comes into Wednesday’s race riding a two race winning streak, both in OSS Gold events. McNair’s son Doug, her regular driver, will once again be at the lines behind the winner of $454,000 so far in her career. The other Ontario-sired filly in the Jugette is the Major In Art daughter Sectionline Aqua who has post eight in the second elimination. She’ll have hometown support as all three of her owners are from Ohio. Sectionline Aqua finished second to Lady Shadow in her last two OSS Gold outings. The Jugette and Little Brown Jug are both heat races. The top three fillies from each elimination on Wednesday will return for a second heat, the winner of which will be crowned Jugette champion. Gregg McNair, the leading trainer in the OSS program so far in 2014, has yet to win either the Jug or Jugette so far in his impressive career, but he has come close. In 2011 his filly Swinging Beauty captured her first heat of the Jugette and finished third to Idyllic in the final. In 2000 he started George Scooter in the Little Brown Jug. The Matts Scooter son was third in the first heat and came back to win the second heat but finished third in the race off to Astreos. McNair’s 2014 Jug hopeful is the Mach Three colt Three Of Clubs. McNair co-owns the colt with Tony Lawrence of Hanover, Ontario, and harness racing legend Keith Waples of Durham, Ontario. One of the most respected harness drivers in history, and a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Waples won the 1972 Little Brown Jug with Strike Out. The horse’s owner, the late John Hayes, famously said prior to the race: “I’d rather win the Little Brown Jug than go to heaven.” That victory was the first time a Canadian-owned horse won the Jug and now the 91 year-old Waples has another chance to capture the famed event with Three Of Clubs on Thursday afternoon, but it will be a big undertaking given the talent of the 16 colts entered. Three Of Clubs has drawn post three in the $103,600 first heat alongside On Golden Ponder trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario, who sits second to McNair in the OSS trainers’ standings. There are two colts entered in the second heat which also have Ontario trainers, Casie Coleman’s McWicked (post one) and Dave Menary’s Hes Watching (post six). The first four finishers will advance to the $310,800 second heat. A race-off, if required, will be worth $129,500. Other Ontario-sired performers racing at Delaware Wednesday include the Majestic Son daughter Yanks Ball Girl in the Standardbred Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. The second division finds OSS regular Gee OKeeffe who has two OSS wins to her credit this year. She’s owned by trainer Chris Beaver and Wilbur Lang, both of Ohio. Little Brown Jug day also finds one of the greatest mares to ever race in the OSS, Bee A Magician, competing. The four-year-old daughter of Kadabra, who has drawn post six in the 17th race of the day, the $121,000 Miss Versatility Final. Horse of the Year in both Canada and the US last year, Bee A Magician has earned $2.5 million to date in her career. Starting alongside in post seven is another top OSS graduate, $592,000 winner Charmed Life. For more information on the Little Brown Jug and Jugette, please visit their website Little Brown Jug website. By OSS News

Radical Dreamer, with Marit Valstad in the irons for harness racing trainer/co-owner Ron Oneill and co-owner Doug Millard, took another Ontario monte test Saturday evening on the Canadian Trotting Classic card.  The five year-old mare by Majestic Son-Paidindreams-Royal Strength was victorious by ¾ length to record her fourth monte win this season. Smarty Pants rallied strongly around the last turn and battled to the line for Riina Rekila but could not get to the winner. Twin B Excalibur finished third for Evelyn Harms after racing forwardly placed throughout. The non-wagering event carried a purse of C$15,000. Mohawk 9/13/14-Monte Trot, C$15,000 (after race 3) Non-wagering, 9 starters after one scratch Fractions: :30 - 1:01 - 1:31.3 - 2:02.2 Radical Dreamer (5f Majestic Son-Paidindreams-Royal Strength), Marit Valstad up for trainer/co-owner Ron Oneill and Doug Millard. Smarty Pants (5f Kadabra-Twitty-Conway Hall), Riina Rekila, trainer Richard Moreau and owners Stan Klemencic and ASA Farm. Twin B Excalibur (11g Earl-Senorita Sierra-Sierra Kosmos)m Evelyn Harms for trainer/co-owner Randall Fulmer along with Phillip Katcher. Next up for the monte specialists in Ontario are September 20 at Flamboro and October 1 at Western Fair. Thomas H. Hicks http://www.monteamerica.com/

Make plans to attend the Canadian Yearling Sale Preview Day Saturday at Flamboro Downs. All yearlings set for auction on Sunday will be ready for viewing. The sale is set to start at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14. Complete sale information is available on theCanadian Yearling Sale page. Offspring from Ontario’s top stallions will be offered at the Canadian Yearling Sale, such as trotters sired by Angus Hall, Kadabra, Majestic Son and Muscle Mass, and pacers sired by Camluck, Mach Three, Shadow Play and Sportswriter. First crop Ontario-eligible stallions with yearlings available include pacers Big Jim, Bettors Delight, Up The Credit and Vintage Master, and trotter Manofmanymissions. To view the online catalogue, click the following link: Canadian Yearling Sale Online Catalogue From the Canadian Yearling Sales Company

Mohawk Racetrack offers a stakes laden harness racing card Saturday evening anchored by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic which has two top Ontario-sired colts taking on five very talented sophomores. The card also features the $385,000 Peaceful Way final with several OSS fillies in contention, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial with one lone Ontario-sired colt, and the $409,000 Elegantimage final with four OSS girls vying for their turn in the winner’s circle. In addition to those great trotting races, the program will also headline the top pacing mares in North America in two eliminations for the Milton Stakes which feature three OSS graduates including a Breeders Crown winner. In the showcase event Harper Blue Chip will attempt to duplicate his sire, Majestic Son’s, 2006 Canadian Trotting Classic victory. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario, trained Majestic Son, who won the ’06 CTC by more than six lengths over a very talented field, and also conditions Harper Blue Chip. A son of Angus Hall, Majestic Son was a dominant force in the OSS during his sophomore season, winning seven of 10 OSS events. In total, he won $622,000 in the provincial program during his career. Majestic Son now stands at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ontario, and Harper Blue Chip, with $547,000 in earnings, is his second richest performer to date, behind only Charmed Life ($592,000). So far this year Harper Blue Chip has a summary of 4-2-2 in 10 starts and although he’s won two OSS Gold events and swept the Canadian Breeders, he’s best known for finishing third in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian last month at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian winner, Trixton, is also slated to start in the CTC final, with post five. Trainer Jimmy Takter will drive the colt who has won eight of 10 starts this year. Tatker’s other talented colt in this division, Father Patrick (also eight for 10) is right alongside in post six. It’s a formidable duo facing Harper Blue Chip whose driver Sylvain Filion is cautiously optimistic, especially given that the colt has finally drawn a decent starting position, post two, compared to post 10 in the Goodtimes final and post nine in the Hambletonian. “He’s been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post,” Filion noted earlier this week. “We’ve got a tough bunch of horses to race against, but he’s very good right now. I’m hoping for a good, close to the front trip and hopefully some top horses won’t be on their game, because we’ll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It’s a very high quality group.” The other OSS colt joining Harper in the CTC final is Muscle Matters, a son of Muscle Mass who will start beside Harper Blue Chip in post three. Mario Baillargeon will be at the lines for his brother Ben who handles the colt’s training. Yet to win a race this year, Muscle Matters has been close, with five second place finishes in six starts, three of those to Harper Blue Chip. The CTC final goes as race nine on the card. In the third race, the $385,000 Peaceful Way final, there are six OSS fillies in the mix including a pair trained by John Bax, Stubborn Belle (post one, Paul MacDonell) and Juanitas Fury (post nine, Steve Condren). Both fillies have two OSS wins to their credit this season and both finished second in their respective Peaceful Way elims. Stubborn Belle was aptly named according to Bax. “She’s always been a lot like her name, that’s why she was named Stubborn Belle. She’s been a little hard to get to do it the way we want her to.” Despite that the Taurus Dream daughter, owned by Bax of Peterborough and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario, has set two records so far this year – a track record at Rideau Carleton (1:55.4) in an OSS Gold event and a stakes record in a Champlain stake (1:54.2). Bax also starts the Muscle Hill filly Southwind Champagne in the Peaceful Way final. She has post six with Steve Byron at the controls. The other OSS rookies attempting to capture the event named for one of the greatest Ontario-sired trotting mares of all time, $3.2 million winner Peaceful Way, include Daneille Hall (post two, Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (post four, Roger Mayotte), Amoureuse Hanover (post eight, Doug McNair) and Lady Caterina (post 10, Phil Hudon). The dam of Elegant Serenity, Elegantimage, is the namesake for the seventh race on the program. A star of the OSS in the late 1990s, Elegantimage earned just shy of a million dollars during her impressive racing career. A quartet of three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies will attempt to capture the $409,000 event including Bax’s Riveting Rose (post three, Paul MacDonell), Tosca (post two, Per Henriksen), Sweetie Hearts (post eight, Randy Waples) and Muscle Babe (post 10, James MacDonald). The other major trotting stake on the program is named for one of Canada’s most respected horsemen of all time, the late William Wellwood, a member of Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a successful participant in the OSS since its inception 40 years ago. The only Ontario-sired rookie colt in contention for this event is a son of Infinitif, Dont Rush who has drawn post four with Chris Christoforou in the bike. The colt captured a division of the first Gold event for this group in early July which surprised his trainer/owner and breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario. “If you had told me in October he was going to win a Gold the first week of July I don’t think I would have believed you,” laughed Jones. “He’s exceeded my expectations since I brought him in the barn.” The OSS graduates competing in the two Milton eliminations are Monkey On My Wheel, a Breeders Crown winner at three and 10-2-6 in 24 starts this year for owner/breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ontario. The winner of $1.5 million to date in her career has post seven in the sixth race which also features the Camluck mare Camille ($1.1 million to date) in post four. Voelz Hanover ($1.5 million lifetime) is the lone Ontario-sired distaffer in the second Milton elim, race 10. In addition to all of the on-track action, Mohawk is also celebrating their fans with Fan Appreciation Night Saturday featuring a first bet on the house, giveaways after each race and a $5 food voucher to the first 1,000 fans. To view the full card please click Mohawk Entries - September 13.

Today’s Finish Trotting Derby at Vermo (FI), worth €100,000 to the winner, went to Jonesy in rein to Tuomas Korvenoja. The four-year-old son of Muscles Yankee-Ripley-Ride The Night scored comfortably in 1.13.2kr over 2600 meters autostart, his second victory in nine 2014 starts, increasing his career earnings to €289,098. Sahara B Boy )by Make It Happen) was second for Miika Forss in a close battle with third place Daryl Boko (by Majestic Son) with trainer Veijo Heiskanen aboard.  The Trotting Masters, worth €38,000 to the winner, went to Surprise Lord (8m Classic Response-Beauty Bro-Arnaquer) with Iikka Nornonen driving. He scored in 1.12.2kr over 2100 meters autostart to defeat Amazing Soul (by SJ’s Photo) with Jukka Kinniunen driving. Third went to Rainbow Zet (by Supergill) with reinsman Mikael Kopola). Surprise Lord recorded his fifth 2014 win in 11 starts and increased his career earnings to over €317,000. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

If you like trotters then Mohawk Racetrack was the place to be Tuesday evening, as the Campbellville, Ontario oval hosted five OSS Grassroots divisions for three-year-old fillies of the square-gaited variety. Quadrophenia prevailed in the first division, though things didn’t look pretty for the Dave Menary trainee at the head of the lane. James MacDonald treated the even-money favourite to a two-hole trip behind Diamonds For Life who threw down panels of :28, :57.2 and 1:27.1 before coughing up the lead to Suegrabbitnrun. Quadrophenia was double up in the two-hole looking for room, and she was fortune to get it in deep stretch. She then used a :29.4 closing quarter to win by a length over Suegrabbitnrun, with Northern Secret a well-beaten third. Kjell Magne Andersen of Slependen, Norway owns the youngster who improved her 2014 record to 4-2-0 from nine starts with the win. Despite being unraced as a rookie, the filly has stashed away $37,900 to date. Mystical Wishes had a rough trip at Rideau Carleton Raceway in her latest, but she bounced back and won as she pleased in the second division. Doug McNair rallied the 1-5 favourite to the three-length score over Flexible Woman in 1:57.1. Taking home the show dough was Carefulwhatyouwish. Tony Alagna trains the homebred daughter of Muscle Mass for Indiana partners, Mystical Marker Farms LLC of Dyer and Peggy Hood of Valparaiso. The filly was winless in four starts last season, but she’s now 6-for-11 this year. She’s managed to bank over $48,000 to date. Dream Act destroyed the field she faced in the third division. Mario Baillargeon powered to the lead with the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Dream Of Becca, and she successfully whacked out panels of :28, :56.4 and 1:25.2 en route to the eight-length triumph over Aphrodity in 1:55.2. Missys Ga Ga rounded out the top three finishers. Andy Miller Stable Inc, Nick Surick and Hannah Miller share ownership on the Ben Baillargeon trainee who won for the first time in six starts this season. The $9,000 payday lifted her lifetime loot to $34,320. Serendipitious forced a recall in the fourth division when she broke behind the gate and had her overcheck pop off, but she had a flawless start the second go around and went on to post a victory for driver Chris Christoforou. The Daughter of Majestic Son-Royal B G survived a first-over trip en route to posting the 1:58.2 win over Doweypuffandhow and Capturethememory. Guy Polillo of Brantford, Ontario owns the filly who is now 2-for-2 since relocating to the stable of trainer John Mungillo. The three-time winner bumped her lifetime bankroll to $28,772 with the win. Torches Star extended her OSS winning streak to three-in-a-row thanks to a career-best clocking of 1:57.2 in the final division. Steve Condren brushed the Ben Wallace trainee to the lead in the backstretch, and after doling out middle splits of :58 and 1:28 she was able to generate a :29.2 closing quarter which was good enough to earn her the score by three-quarters of a length over Chelseas Chance. Taking home the show dough was K D Bella. Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario owns the filly who improved this year’s record to 4-0-2 from 11 starts with the win. She’s banked in excess of $40,000 this year and more than $88,000 to date.   Before the pari-mutuel card got underway at Mohawk tonight, the $18,000 Grassroots final division for 3yo filly trotters that was rained out last night was held as a non-wagering event prior to Tuesday evening’s 12-race card. Jack Litten shot to the top from Post 8 for driver Doug McNair, and after slicing out splits of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.4 he fired home in :29.4 to win by 2-3/4 lengths over Class Me Nice in 1:56.3. Taking home third prize was Massive Pockets. Gregg McNair trains the son of Muscle Mass-PJ Naomi for Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, Michigan, and together they watched the gelding improve this year’s record to 2-1-3 from 11 starts with the win. The $9,000 payday bumped his overall earnings to $38,962. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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