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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Serendipitious proved she was better than the boys in the $7,900 conditioned/optional claiming trot at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (April 22) and made sure her male counterparts won't soon forget it. Serendipitious, not only destroyed the field of harness racing geldings by five lengths, she went the mile in track record time of 1:58.1, the fastest ever by a trotting mare at the Hamburg half-mile oval.   The previous all-aged mark for mares was 1:58.2 set by Escrow Blue Chip in 2012. The 1:58.1 time by Serendipitious also established a new standard for 4-year-old trotting mares at Buffalo Raceway. The old time for that level was 1:58.4 held by Hat (2011), Clydabell (2012) and Sabo (2012).   Driver Kevin Cummings was a hit with the ladies in the early going as he sent Serendipitious to the record-setting mile. A Cameo In Life ($8.70) then made a clean sweep for Cummings in the early daily double by rolling to a 1-3/4 length decision in 1:58 in the co-featured $8,500 Open II for the distaff pacers.   Serendipitious ($2.90) started off the night impressively in scoring a five-length decision, earning her third win in four tries in 2015. The track was fast but a raw wind, temperatures in the low 40s and occasional rain and snow showers made the record even more remarkable.   Serendipitious had little trouble going gate-to-wire. Scoring from the four post, Cummings went right to the top with the winner, facing no resistance. Posting fractions of 29.0, 49.0 and 1:29.0, the outer flow started to develop just before the three-quarter marker. That's when Serendipitious got her cue to put it into high gear. She had no issues in the stretch, going 29.1 in the final panel. September Hall (Shawn McDonough) and Studio City (Ron Beback Jr.) were left to battle it out for the minor spoils and finished in second and third respectively.   Owned by Guy Polillo and trained by John Mungillo, Serendipitious (Majestic Son-Royal B G) has now earned $11,948 this season and $71,347 in her young career.   In the co-featured second race, A Cameo In Life completed the 4-2 Cummings' daily double combination that returned $14.00. Sitting third down the back stretch the final time, A Cameo In Life tipped to the outside, brushing easily to the lead and never looked back from there.   Eyemajet (Shawn Gray) finished in second while Wicked Elphaba (Ray Fisher Jr.) took the show position.   Owned by Clark Siminski and trained by Kirk Desmond, A Cameo In Life (Lease On Life-Allamerican Cameo) has now put $20,938 in the bank this year and $80,028 lifetime. It was the fifth win in 13 attempts for the 6-year-old A Cameo In Life.   Cummings and Gray finished with three victories apiece while Jack Flanigen doubled.   Racing will continue on Friday night with a 12-race card set for 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Pompano Beach, FL...March 18, 2015...Its Payday Friday paid early dividends this Wednesday night with a splendid 1:54.1 harness racing victory for owner-driver Dan Clements in Pompano Park's featured $12,500 Open Handicap Trot. The five year-old gelded son of Kadabra, trained by Renaldo Morales III, was sent away carefully by Clements before brushing up strongly around turn one to take command and control the proceedings off of panels of :28, :57 and 1:25.1 before sealing the issue with a :29 finale, holding off the pocket sitting Winermaster Hanover (Bruce Ranger) and the late surges of Dukester (Rick Plano) and Nothinbutanallstar (Mark O'Mara) to score by three-parts-of-a-length. Flyhawk El Dorado picked up the nickel in the sextet. After the event, driver Dan Clements related, "I wanted to be cautious leaving just to make sure he was solid and, when we got away OK from the gate, I let him trot...and trot he did! He is handy and can do it any way but I thought I'd be better off leaving, especially from this advantageous post here." Its Payday Friday won for the third time this season in eight starts to send his seasonal earnings to $28,750 and $211,388 lifetime. As second choice on the board, Its Payday Friday returned $5.00 to his faithful.. In the $10,000 co-feature trot, Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey guided the five year-old gelding High Blue to the largest payday in his career with a victory in a lifetime best 1:54.4, destroying his former mark of 1:57.4 accomplished over the half mile oval at Saratoga. Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, High Blue zipped out of the gate from post five through a seemingly suicidal opening quarter of :26.3 and then proceeded to carve out panels of :56.2 and 1:25.3 before striding home in :29.1 to score by a length over Ramzan (Matt Romano) with Increditable (Kevin Wallis) third--that 2-3 order subsequently reversed as Ramzan went up in the air near the wire. CJ's Rascal was fourth while Majestic Won finished fifth in the field of nine. In a post race interview, driver Wally Hennessey said, "You know, when I qualified him about a month ago, I zipped him out of there and he won wire-to-wire in (1):59 and a piece but he came home pretty well in that one. I raced him off the pace in his first two starts back with the first one against that Dukester, who won in (1):54 and change and the one last week we got shuffled a bit but he still had good trot late in the mile. So, I decided to send him tonight and he was revved up early--that opener was all him. He just didn't want to let anyone by. He kind of surprised me by his staying power at the end. It was a heckuva mile for him!" Sired by Majestic Son, High Blue won for the initial time this season to send his seasonal earnings to $6,550 in four starts and lifetime bounty to $64,307. Not only was this High Blue's largest career payday, as the fourth choice among the punters, High Blue Paid $13.40 to win--the largest win mutuel payout of his 10 lifetime successes. In Pompano Park's Super Hi-5, there were two tickets that had the 2-1-8-3-7 combo, each receiving $2,736.20 for their 20 cent investment. The carryover going into Saturday's program has vaulted over $54,000. Also interesting to note is the fact that, since the inception of the Super Hi-5 at Pompano Park, the average consolation payoff has soared to slightly over $500.00. Post time for the Saturday extravaganza is 7:30 p.m. John Berry reporting for Pompano Park    

Any harness racing breeder will tell you there are no guarantees when it comes to breeding standardbreds regardless of their racing record or pedigree. Plenty of top class well bred mares fail to fire as broodmares for reasons that in the main are a mystery to everybody. Well known breeder Trevor Casey has raced a lot of horses over the years and one of his better racemares from a few years ago was Belle Galleon. The daughter of Sundon was bred by Garry Allen, the HRNZ chairman and raced initially by Trevor Casey and Bruce Negus of Courage Under Fire fame who trained the filly. Bruce sold his share in Belle Galleon to Mike Bowden after the filly had had a handful of starts as a three year old and Trevor and Mike raced the mare for several seasons as she accumulated eleven wins and $116,144 on the track. Trevor remembers her as quite difficult to get organized in the beginning. " She took ages to get the hang of it early on." " We would take her to the trials quite a few times and she would just gallop." " She did eventually come to it and we started her at Oamaru but she ran into a real smart one in Jasmyn's Gift and finished second. " We lined her up the next night at Forbury Park and she won easily," Trevor told Harnesslink today.   At her third lifetime start she ran fifth in the New Zealand Trotting Oaks but was disqualified for an early gallop and in just her fifth lifetime start Belle Galleon ran second in the New Zealand Trotting Derby to Thedonsson after having no luck in the running. Belle Galleon changed camps a couple of times during her career moving between Bruce Negus and Colin De Filippi. After been retired to the broodmare barn, tradegy struck the Belle Galleon camp soon after when part owner Mike Bowden passed away. In his will Mike left his share in Belle Galleon to well known Amberley trainer Kevin Chapman. So Trevor and Kevin take year about breeding from the mare and while she was a very smart mare on the racetrack, Belle Galleon is fast becoming a broodmare gem. Trevor bred the first foal, a colt by Dream Vacation that he named Stent due to having had stents implanted earlier that year. He entrusted him to Colin De Filippi and as they say the rest is history.  A smart two year year old Stent has just got better and better every year to the point where he has just gone through a five start Australian campaign including the Southern Star final unbeaten. His earnings stand at a tick over $950,000 NZ and there appears plenty more in store for the now six year old gelding. Kevin sent Belle Galleon to Majestic Son when his turn came around and the resulting foal was named Belles Son. He has hit a purple patch in the last fortnight winning his last two starts and three lifetime from just ten starts and looks to have a bright future. Trevor then sent the mare to Angus Hall and the resultant filly foal was named Arya. Placed with the All Stars barn, Arya was a star two year last year, only missing a place once from seven starts when she was controversially disqualified in the Harness Jewels. Sent to Australia for the Breeders Crown, she was dominant throughout the series, winning the final effortlessly. Arya was left in Australia with Brent Lilley by Trevor as he also has top class filly Wanna Play with the All Star barn and didn't want the two fillies to clash. This season at three she has carried on her winning way for Brent and on Saturday night took out the Group 1 $60,000 Need For Speed Princess final on the undercard to the Southern Star. Arya is now the winner of seven of her eight Australian starts and has taken her earnings over the $160,000 mark and she is still only half way through her three year old season. When Kevin's turn to breed a foal came around he sent the mare to Muscles Yankee and bred a colt he named Izmok. Izmok was sold at last months New Zealand Premier Yearling sale at Christchurch for $90,000, the top price for a trotting yearling at the New Zealand sales this year. Izmok was purchased by Charlie and Kaye Templeton from Invercargill. Trevor sent the mare back to Dream Vacation and has a full brother to Stent on the ground while Kevin has had Belle Galleon served by Muscle Hill. Trevor was at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday and was still bubbling today when speaking to Harnesslink. " It is not very often that you win a Group 1 but to win three Group1s on one night was unreal." " I don't think many mares will have ever left three Group 1 winners on one night apart from maybe Scuse Me." " The funny thing is that the three foals that are old enough to race from Belle Galleon have all won a race for the last two weeks in a row, " Trevor said. There are never any guarantees when breeding from smart racemares but in Belle Galleon, Trevor and Kevin have got that rarest of creatures - a broodmare gem. Harnesslink Media 

Tonight harness racing followers at Addington Raceway were witness to an outstanding run from last seasons dual derby winner in King Denny. After galloping away from the ten metres mark, King Denny with co-trainer Mark Purdon in the bike settled a long way off the pace early which was set by Monty Python. With 1600 metres to run, Mark eased King Denny into the running line from the rear and slowly worked his way forward. By this time Clover Don had taken over and King Denny ended up on his wheel passing the 600 metres mark.  Just when the run should have been taking its toll as they turned for home, King Denny just went up a gear and went to the line a comfortable winner. Credited with an official time of 3:21.3 for the 2600 metres from a stand, King Denny was privately timed to run his last 2400 metres in a very quick 2:59.6 after his early gallop. What made the run even more meritorious was King Denny ran into a strong easterly in the home straight. Mark Purdon was rapt with the run " He has gone huge really" " To sit parked and run into that strong breeze and still win like he did was a top effort," Mark said. Mark is not to concerned with his tardy beginnings at his last two starts. " He never got any experience of stands as a three year old as most of his races were mobiles." " He is getting better but just needs a bit more practice on raceday," Mark said. Future plans for the four year old son of Majestic Son are based around a trip to Auckland. " We will keep him close to home over Easter and just race him at Addington. " The long term aim is to have at his peak for the Rowe Cup at Auckland," Mark said. The manner in which King Denny has won his last two starts would suggest he is a huge chance to take home the silverware in Auckland. Harnesslink Media  

Yesterday we did a review of how all the harness racing sires fared at the two day sale at Christchurch this week. Now we turn our attention to Auckland and as expected the Australasian Classic was the success everybody thought it would be with a catalogue as strong as anything ever presented at Auckland. The one huge plus at this years sale was that the champion sire Bettors Delight ended up with with 35% of all horses sold at the sale. Between them Bettor's Delight, Art Major, Mach Three and American Ideal provided nearly two thirds of all the horses sold at Auckland which is such a help when it comes to averages overall. Bettors Delight Number Sold - 40 Overall average - $55,512 Colt average - $62,820 Filly average - $43,330 Just the backbone of the sale and his colt average for 25 sold of $62, 820 is outstanding for any standardbred sale worldwide let alone in New Zealand. Surprisingly for us his fillies averaged nearly $20,000 less than the colts which for a sire who is the best filly sire on the planet is a bit of a mystery to us. Art Major Number sold - 14 Overall average - $48,000 Colt average - $64,100 Filly average - $39,055 Compared to how he fared in Christchurch, Art Major had a stunning sale in Auckland. He has the highest colt average at $64,100 and his fillies brought money more in line with how they are performing on the track. The issue in New Zealand for Art Major has always been one of numbers in the sale due to him never breeding huge numbers of mares in this country. That changed this season when he served a book of 170 mares in New Zealand and therefore he should have a much bigger presence at the sales in the near future. Mach Three Numbers sold - 6 Overall average - $38,333 Colt average - $40,000 Filly average - $30,000 Those figures are a good indication of where Mach Three sits in the overall scheme of things.  Right up there with the big boys but commercially just a touch behind the other two sires above. Continues to have fluctuations in his numbers for sale due to foal numbers but does have bigger crops coming through so may have bigger representation in the future. American Ideal Numbers sold - 11 Overall average - $33,863 Colt average - $40,714 Filly average - $19,375 His numbers at Auckland were a lot better than they were at Christchurch but that was due entirely to one lot who made $150,000. We are still at a loss to explain the lack of demand for American Ideal fillies which have been his flag bearers in New Zealand. Hard to pinpoint what the problem is here with buyers overlooking his stock in favour of stock by sires he is matching on the track. It may just be the lag effect between racetrack performance and sale ring success but we will be watching closely next year for the uplift in prices his performance deserves. Somebeachsomewhere Numbers sold - 4 Overall average - $36,625 Colt average - $42,500 Filly average - $34,333 As in Christchurch the SBSW were great types and were keenly sought after. The only Somebeachsomewhere colt in this sale went to the All Stars barn who have had some success with stock from his very small New Zealand crops to date. His biggest New Zealand crop are now foals on the ground and with the success at this years sales you would anticipate a much bigger representation at next years round of sales. Christian Cullen Number sold - 5 Overall average - $28,900 Colt average - $36,500 Filly average - $22,500  A bit surprising to see Christian Cullen struggle as much as he did in Auckland. Still in the frame as a commercial stallion as he proved at the two days in Christchurch but apart from one lot he was not wanted at this sale. His fillies in particular were marked down which considering their success over the years was a minor surprise. Rocknroll Hanover Number sold - 7 Overall average - $32,714 Colt average - $36,500 Filly average - $30,000 We didn't include Rocknroll Hanover in our Christchurch review as we took the view that being deceased meant he had a limited future impact on New Zealand sales. But having sold seven at Auckland and having such healthy figures persuaded us that we should include him in the Auckland review. A lot of breeders have used him over their Artsplace mares and horses bred on this cross are highly sought after world wide as this cross has produced six of Rocknroll Hanover's eight millionaires. Muscles Yankee Number sold - 3 Overall average - $42,333 Colt average - $43,500 Filly average - $40,000  Muscles Yankee only had the three lots in the whole sale but they all made over $40,000 so their is a real demand still for his stock. The maternal families of all three lots were top class which may have helped the overall result. Majestic Son Numbers sold - 3 Overall average - $34,500 Colt average - $52.500 Filly average - $25,500 The small number in the sale is due to the fact that Majestic Son only has eight yearlings on the ground in New Zealand Should have a much bigger representation next year as he served 161 mares in 2014 on the back of his earlier small crops performing so well. Overview  This sale is the best promotional tool that harness racing has in New Zealand but it has the potential to be so much better in our opinion By natural attrition of smaller breeders in the North, the sale has few lots by sires who are not in the elite group as the above statistics show. We firmly believe that the Australasian Sale could reach far greater heights if the following changes were implemented. *Limit the sale to 125 lots * Make it a select sale * Have a set number of places set aside for southern breeders. The whole point of the changes is to turn the Australasian Sale into an elite sale that dominates the top end market in Australasia. The thoroughbred breeders do it very successfully with K1 at Karaka and while we will never reach those heights we can close the huge gap a wee bit. Breeders in the north who don't get accepted for the Australasian Classic have a ready made alternative these days with the all age sale in May which has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. Last year it hit a five figure average for the first time and the bench of buyers included most of the regulars on the New Zealand sales scene. We have a chance to position our industry in the best possible light with a smaller select sale at Auckland and it is something that we would hope would be considered by PGG Wrightson and The North Island Breeders Association.. Harnesslink Media

Promising filly All Under Control lived up to her name in last Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite going into the Group One as a maiden, and one of the outsiders as $40.90, All Under Control was never in danger of being beaten. Impressed with the trotter’s performance, trainer Brent Lilley will aim All Under Control towards features such as the Victoria Oaks and Vicbred Super Series. “She’s still got to improve a fair bit, but she goes along well,” Lilley said. “I will wait until her next start or two to see if this was a one off or if she can keep producing those kinds of runs. “There is a bit to like about her on this run, especially the way she responded when Anthony (Butt, driver) showed her the whip. “He gave her one crack up the straight to keep her mind on the job and she found a bit like good horses so.” After travelling midfield from the outside of the front row, All Under Control completed a metre-and-a-half win from Casa Fundada, with Zaire Diva a half-head away third. “I went into the race thinking she was a rough chance, but she really put in,” Lilley said. “On that run, and with a bit of improvement as she gains experience, I’ll have a look at races like the Oaks and Sires’ Stake.” Covering the last half in 60.6 seconds, the daughter of Majestic Son rated 2:02 for the 1720 metres. PAUL COURTS

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

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