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YONKERS, N.Y. – The prestige and rich harness racing history of the International Trot can rear its head in many places. For Anders Ström, the race’s lineage materialized before him as he studied the yearling catalog of the recently concluded Arqana Trot Select Yearling Sale. Ström paused on hip no. 47, a colt out of Sirene de Mai, whose great, great, great grand dam, Une de Mai, along with her countless European feats, won the International Trot in 1969 and 1971.  “The race has seen many great winners, and I actually watched the 1969 edition on YouTube recently,” Ström said. “It was when French super mare Une de Mai beat Nevele Pride, as I was in the process of buying a Ready Cash yearling colt in Deauville from the Une de Mai maternal line.” Ström bought the colt for €170,000 and he will have a chance to make history of his own in this year’s renewal of the Yonkers International Trot. His stable, Stall Courant AB, will start Cruzado Dela Noche as a representative of Sweden in the $1 million stakes. “It would be (my) biggest win so far. Only Elitloppet, Prix d’Amérique, Hambletonian and the Swedish 4-year-old Derby can match it, in my book,” Ström said. “But this horse’s character makes it extra special. As he already has qualified as a sire in the Swedish system with high grades, a win here would boost his credentials for that as well. That would be very nice.” Ström bought Cruzado Dela Noche sight unseen out of the 2013 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $28,000. The Pennsylvania-bred son of Muscle Massive out of the Credit Winner mare Alidade, then known by the name Arusa Hanover, looked the part, but it was something intangible that piqued Ström’s interest.  “I wasn’t at the sale because of business in Australia, but ‘Cruzado’ was one of five lower-priced yearlings that I bought on the back of advice from friends and agents who were at the sale inspecting horses,” Ström explained. “Cruzado was the one that had the extra special attitude which is why I renamed him with a name I had kept for a really good horse. The name comes from the Spiderman movie, when Peter Parker comes up with the idea for his suit.” Despite his early promise and standout spirit, Cruzado Dela Noche struggled to stay trotting in his 2- and 3-year-old campaigns; he made breaks in stride in 10 of his 28 races and qualifiers. Despite those setbacks, Cruzado Dela Noche finished third in the Peter Haughton Memorial and posted wins in a division of the International Stallion Stakes and a leg of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes as a freshman in Nancy Johansson’s stable. “He was slightly immature and whimsy to begin with, but tremendously talented,” Ström said. “We felt that he would mature over time, so we weren’t especially worried. Nancy and Marcus Johansson took good care of him in the early days which we are thankful for now that the horse is sound and makes a good career as an older trotter.” After a 3-year-old campaign that produced just two wins in 11 starts, Ström sent Cruzado Dela Noche across the Atlantic to trainer Stefan Melander and Courant Managing Director Sabine Kagebrant. The calculated move would allow Cruzado Dela Noche to take advantage of the 4-year-old stakes in Sweden and give him time to develop.  “We stake all our U.S. purchases to the rich 4-year-old program in Europe. It doesn’t cost much and they add a lot of purse money, so it is an easy business decision,” Ström explained. “Stefan Melander also has a great track record when it comes to the older American horse. “Melander’s training regime suits him perfect. He also has an ‘extra groom’ in Sabine Kagebrant, who has great experience with older star trotters, having worked with Stefan Melander, Björn Goop and Jörgen Westholm horses all over Europe,” Ström continued. “When Sabine is out of the office, she spends a lot of time with ‘Noche,’ makes him feel special and that works well for him.” At 4, Cruzado Dela Noche won the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Deutschland and the Group 2 Norrlands Grand Prix. He also placed third in the Group 1 Sprinter Mästaren Final. At 5, Cruzado Dela Noche captured the Group 1 Copenhagen Cup. “He always does his best, I can think of only one or two races when he failed and there were good excuses,” Ström said. “One was in Elitloppet 2017, when he made a break at the gate in the elimination which otherwise likely would have given him the same trip as Resolve, who eventually was second in the final.  “That was hard to take. I think he could have matched Timoko on the day, he was in such good shape,” he continued. “But overall this horse gives us tremendous joy, just to see his attitude makes me wonder sometimes. He is so much more than just the average good racehorse.” Now a 6-year-old Cruzado Dela Noche has been lightly raced this season. The stallion was sixth in the Group 1 Olympiatravet Final April 28, third in the Copenhagen Cup May 13, scored his lone win this year in the listed Gösta Bergengrens Minneslopp May 30 before finishing fifth in the Group 1 Oslo Grand Prix. His short campaign was by design as Cruzado Dela Noche returned to the United States early to settle into a new chapter of his career. “We got invited in May and then we decided to give the horse the best preparation possible, with proper quarantine so he could get acclimatized to his new-old life in the U.S. Our dream race to target this season is the International Trot so we didn’t want to leave anything to chance,” Ström said.  “European races are run in a different way which isn’t ideal for ‘Cruzado.’ He likes the high, even pace better, which is why we staked him for the fall season in the U.S.A. just in case,” he continued. “Any which way, he raced really good in the spring, so we felt he was going upwards in form all the time.” Cruzado Dela Noche reemerged in a qualifier at Pocono Downs September 12 for trainer Marcus Melander. He led wire-to-wire in 1:55.2. The stallion got another trial under his belt at the same venue September 26, crossing the wire first in 1:54.2. “He has done quarantine, then two light qualifiers at Pocono, which he made look very easy,” Ström said. “He likes his life at Marcus Melander’s farm and he will get another sharper workout, like an ‘eye-opener,’ a few days before the race which I believe will be enough to take him to top form.” Cruzado Dela Noche, who will pair with driver Brian Sears for the first time in the International, will face nine rivals: Arazi Boko (Italy), Ariana G (United States), Dreammoko (Netherlands), Lionel (Norway), Marion Marauder (Canada), Pastore Bob (Sweden), Ringostarr Treb (Italy), Slide So Easy (Denmark), and Up And Quick (France). Although the field is one of the deepest in recent memory, Ström likes his chances. “I think this year’s field is absolutely fantastic, given the challenge with trans-Atlantic transport of international horses. All races in this class are tough. But ‘Noche’ has beaten Twister Bi, last year’s winner, fair and square before, from second-over in a Swedish record time over the same distance as the International Trot, on a slow five-eighths-mile track. That says he can compete with anyone on the day,” Ström said. “Now I hope Brian Sears up first time will give him an extra gear as well. From posts one to five he is a real contender, otherwise a decent chance to show anyway. I respect the competition and I believe the winner will be the horse that is best on the day and has racing luck.” The $1 million Yonkers International Trot is slated for Saturday, October 13 at Yonkers Raceway. The card will also feature a pair of $250,000 invitationals, the Harry Harvey Trot and Dan Rooney Pace. For more information on the event and its participants, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

MILTON, ON - September 15, 2018 - Harness racing trainer Marcus Melander admitted he was a bit nervous before the start of the $400,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotting colts on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. As it turned out, he didn't need to be. In the seconds leading up to Canada's richest race for two-year-old trotters, Melander, who conditions top-flight trotter Green Manalishi S, admitted he was battling butterflies before the field of 10 got underway. A three-length triumph, timed in a career-best 1:53.4, changed that trepidation to pure elation. "He was very good tonight as well," said Melander, of the horse that took one of two Wellwood eliminations last Saturday. "I'm very happy to win this race. I was a little nervous before the race, actually. I'm not normally like that. After that race last week, he was really impressive. I was just very happy that we could show them that he's as good as he was last week." Sent off as the 3-5 mutuel favourite, Green Manalishi S, with Tim Tetrick in the sulky, got away third as Swandre The Giant and Yannick Gingras powered to the front as the trotters made their way into the first turn. After a quarter-mile in a tepid :28.2, Tetrick made the decision to go for the front after Union Forces, a 33-1 upset winner in the other Wellwood elimination, broke stride. With a confident Tetrick at the controls, Green Manalishi, who reached the half in :57.1, began to dash away from Swandre The Giant, who broke stride as the field turned for home. Easily keep his rivals at bay, the son of Muscle Hill, who won his Wellwood elim seven days ago, flexed his muscles down the lane, crossing the wire the easiest of winners. "That was really fun," said Tetrick. "First off, I just want to say it's a great honour to win the Wellwood race. A great family and proud to get to win this race. "I was going to go ahead and go," continued the veteran reinsman of his decision to push for the lead prior to the mid-way point. "I wanted to get through the first turn clear and safe. Down the backside, I let him trot. We got a good half and from there it was his race to win or lose." The longshot parade for second, third and fourth spots went to Smart As Hill (27-1), Okeanos (50-1) and Kings County (27-1), respectively. Green Manalishi S paid $3.30 for the win, combining with Smart As Hill for a $45.40 exactor. Okenaos capped a $378.80 triactor, while a $1 superfecta (Kings County) returned $2,876.45. Members of the Wellwood family were on hand to make the trophy presentation. It was the fourth win from six starts for the bay colt that had a runner-up finish in the $422,350 Peter Haughton Memorial on August 4 at The Meadowlands. "He's special," praised Tetrick. "He trots beautiful and he acts like an eight-year-old out there. He loves his work. Marcus and the crew have done a great job with him. He makes me look really good out there." Owned by Courant Inc. and bred Ab Svensk Reklamfinans of Solne, Sweden, Green Manalishi S will now set his sights south of the border. "We'll ship him down to Lexington next week and he's going to race there one or two times," noted Melander. "We've got the Breeders Crown left and I think we have the Valedictory as well. But we'll take one race at a time. He's a very nice horse." by Chris Lomon, for Woodbine Communications  

Anders Strom didn't get Nagamori Hill for a song, but he renamed him after one. Purchased as a yearling for a Swedish auction-record 3 million kronor, approximately $365,000 U.S., the Swedish-bred colt's name was changed to Green Manalishi in tribute to the Peter Green-penned Fleetwood Mac song "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)," which was released in 1970. "I'm a big fan of the Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac tune as well as the cover that my favorite band Judas Priest made," Strom said in an email. "I had the name on my list for a long time once the right horse would show up. I like to name all horses born in the same year with the same beginning letter; this year it was the 'G' crop." So far Green Manalishi, owned by Strom's Courant Inc., has been grand. He has three wins and two second-place finishes in five races, earning $146,757. One of his setbacks was by a neck to Prospect Hill and the other came when he raced on the outside from post 10 in the Peter Haughton Memorial, which was won by Don't Let'em. Last week, the colt won his elimination for the William Wellwood Memorial by 4-3/4 lengths over Kings County in 1:54.4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. He will start Saturday's C$400,000 final from post three with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Marcus Melander. What's impressed Strom? "About everything," he said. "He made a break in one of the qualifiers but there were good excuses for that. Otherwise he has done everything right and the mile he trotted in the Peter Haughton Memorial was out of this world from that number 10 spot. Oh, and I should not forget, he has a great psyche -- everyone just loves the horse's manners. "He is certainly one of the absolute most interesting colts for the future and I don't think I have had such a great prospect before. I really hope he can finish the season well and become a Hambletonian prospect next season." Green Manalishi is a son of Muscle Hill out of the Enjoy Lavec mare Naga Morich. His second dam, Dame Lavec, produced Raja Mirchi, who finished eighth in the 2009 Peter Haughton Memorial, but enjoyed success in Europe. All of which were contributing factors in Strom's interest in Green Manalishi as a yearling. "I liked the horse's conformation; he is really a fantastic-looking colt," Strom said. "But first and foremost he has the pedigree to become a superstar. He has the same maternal line as Raja Mirchi, who was a fantastic champion for Lutfi Kolgjini and now one of the most sought after stallions in Europe. With Muscle Hill as a sire, you could argue that Green Manalishi has the potential to become Raja 2.0!" The Wellwood Memorial is part of a card that also includes the second meeting between harness racing's top-ranked horses, No. 1 Atlanta and No. 2 Manchego, in the C$340,000 Elegantimage Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters plus the C$665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old trotters, C$385,000 Peaceful Way for 2-year-old female trotters, two eliminations for the Metro Pace for 2-year-old pacers, and two eliminations for the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old female pacers. Green Manalishi is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Wellwood. Union Forces, who won the event's other elimination in 1:55.3, is 6-1 from post four. He will be driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Domenico Cecere. Swandre The Giant, second to Union Forces last week, is the 2-1 second choice from post seven with Yannick Gingras at the lines for Jimmy Takter. "There are several good horses, perhaps even better," Strom said about this season's group of 2-year-old trotters. "I believe we will see a handful of horses that would have been a breakout No. 1 in any 'normal' crop." Strom hopes he has a couple of those horses in addition to Green Manalishi. Greenshoe has won two of four races, including the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, despite going off stride in all four starts. Gimpanzee, owned with Lennart Agren's S R F Stable, is 5-for-5 on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. "Greenshoe has perhaps shown the highest capacity so far, but he has also acted a bit immaturely," Strom said. "I think once he settles in he will be among the best in the crop. Gimpanzee is a less complicated horse. He has yet to race against top competition, but once he does it will be very interesting to see where he can rank among the other horses in this group. "I give credit to Courant's operational manager Sabine Kagebrandt for doing a great job to put these horses on the shortlist when we were working on the 2017 yearling purchases." Greenshoe, a son of Father Patrick out of Designed To Be, was purchased for $330,000 under the name Rifleman at the Lexington Selected Sale. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven out of Steamy Windows, was bought for $170,000 under the name Army Of Monkeys at the Standardbred Horse Sale. "Greenshoe is a financial term that I came across when I worked with introducing one of my startups to the stock market," Strom said. "Gimpanzee was originally named Army Of Monkeys and we nicknamed him Monkey, so I simply had to come up with a fantasy name that could carry his nickname. Now that he is so good, the name is great!" Racing begins at 7:25 p.m. (EDT) with the Metro eliminations. The Peaceful Way follows as race three, the Wellwood race five, Canadian Trotting Classic race seven, and Elegantimage race 10. The She's A Great Lady elims are races six and eight. Complete entries can be found here. Following is the field in post-position order for the William Wellwood Memorial. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-White Tiger-Anthony MacDonald-Harry Poulton-10/1 2-Okeanos-Roger Mayotte-Roger Mayotte-12/1 3-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-9/5 4-Union Forces-Scott Zeron-Domenico Cecere-6/1 5-Hudson River-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-8/1 6-Smart As Hill-Bob McClure-Mike Keeling-15/1 7-Swandre The Giant-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-2/1 8-Kings County-David Miller-Domenico Cecere-8/1 9-Southwind Avenger-Trevor Henry-R. Nifty Norman-15/1 10-While Your Up-Sylvain Filion-Clark Beelby-20/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA      

MILTON, ON - September 1, 2018 - Crazy Wow, piloted by Jody Jamieson, posted a barefoot 31-1 upset over favoured Marion Marauder in Saturday's $651,000 Maple Leaf Trot, at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Trained by Marcus Melander for owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J And T Silva Stables LLC and Deo Volente Farms LLC, the six-year-old son of Crazed was first off the gate and first when it mattered most in the Canadian classic. Will Take Charge overtook the speedy Crazy Wow and Emoticon Hanover to make the quarter in :27.1 and the half in :55.1. Ariana G moved first over with Marion Marauder following her cover, but it was Crazy Wow, sitting second late in the turn, that had the most to offer down the lane to spring the upset in 1:51.1. While the public was surprised, Jamieson, who previously won the Maple Leaf Trot in 2012 with Mister Herbie, was not. "I thought I was even-money," joked Jamieson when asked what he thought of his chances going into the race. "I talked to Marcus (Melander) and he said he was real confident in the horse. We actually hooked up jogging (in the warm ups) with St Lads Neptune and this horse, Crazy Wow, and he said, 'look at him. Look how happy he is.' I couldn't argue with him, the horse looked amazingly happy. When the horse saw the gate tonight he was just a different animal." Although it was Jamieson's first time piloting the six-year-old, the veteran driver performed with confidence. "I've watched him race plenty of times, but I didn't realize what kind of horse he was," said Jamieson. "That was a big trip tonight and he made it look real easy." Jamieson made the winning move at the top of the lane, when squeezing inside of Will Take Charge. "I wasn't sure I was going to get through. Around the last turn, I was following what I figured was the best horse in the race, Will Take Charge," said Jamieson. "And with Ariana G out there I figured maybe I'm going to be third, maybe at the very worst, and a little slim lane opened up and I jammed myself through there like I get in trouble sometimes for doing, but he just trotted right through there. Once I got through there clean it was never in doubt that he was going to win." Melander made the key decision to pull Crazy Wow's shoes for the lucrative final. "I've been thinking about that since I got the horse eight weeks ago," said Melander. "We trained him our way and then he qualified good at Pocono. He was a little short last week, of course, after just one qualifier after eight weeks break. "We were actually supposed to race barefoot last week," continued Melander. "But, there were two scratches in the race and we only had to beat one horse, so we kept the shoes on and saved the feet on him. The track was amazing today and it was an easy decision." Like Jamieson, Melander approached the Maple Leaf Trot final with confidence noting that he wasn't surprised at all with the winning effort. "Not really when we got the one-hole. He showed that he's been beating these horses before and the horse felt so sharp going into the race," offered Melander. "He needed a race last week and I was very happy with him this week and he warmed up great. I know he has an extra gear when I pull the shoes, that's for sure." Crazy Wow, bred by Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Ohio, paid $64.20 to win. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Crazy Wow will make his first start for Marcus Melander in the first of Saturday's two eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot at Ontario's Woodbine Mohawk Park and the trainer is looking forward to seeing the 6-year-old stallion in action. Melander took over the conditioning of the career $2.27-million-earner in early July. A total of 16 older trotters, including defending champion Hannelore Hanover, entered the Maple Leaf Trot and were split into two eight-horse eliminations. The top-five finishers from each C$40,000 division will return for the C$651,000 final on Sept. 1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Crazy Wow, trained previously by Ron Burke, will start from post three in his elimination with driver Tim Tetrick and is 5-1 on the morning line. Crazy Wow last raced June 30 and enters the elimination off a 1:55.2 win in a qualifier at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Aug. 15. The elimination also includes Marion Marauder, Emoticon Hanover, I Know My Chip, Dancer Hall, Bill's Man, JL Cruze, and Pinkman. Marion Marauder is the 5-2 favorite followed by Dancer Hall, a C$40,000 supplemental entrant, at 3-1. "I'm very excited to see him race," Melander said about Crazy Wow. "It's only the first start for me; I don't really know what to expect from him after only one qualifier. I've been training him a lot, but the other horses are going into the race in full form. He's on his way up. "Hopefully we can make the final because I think he will be much better in the final the week after. But I think he's ready to go with these horses. He hasn't raced for seven or eight weeks, he's not going to be on top of his game, but I think he will do a good race." In the second Maple Leaf Trot elimination, Will Take Charge is the 5-2 favorite followed by Hannelore Hanover at 3-1. The division is completed by Odds On Amethyst, Warrawee Roo, Guardian Angel As, Il Sogno Dream, Ariana G, and Dunbar Hall. Saturday's card also includes three divisions of the Nassagaweya Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers and three divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers. Crazy Wow is owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. Melander trains multiple other horses for several of the partners. A son of Crazed out of No Pan No Gain, Crazy Wow has won 21 of 64 career races and one of five this season. His win this season came in a preferred handicap at The Meadowlands. He finished third in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, behind Hannelore Hanover and Will Take Charge, and third in the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational, behind Will Take Charge and Marion Marauder. "He's a very nice horse to be around," Melander said. "Even though he's a stud, he's like a gelding to be around. He's a little lazy in training. I didn't know really where I had him before we qualified because at home he's very comfortable. "In the qualifier, when we went behind the gate, he really stepped up. You could feel he was the racehorse you thought he would be. But at home he is very laid back." Melander drove Crazy Wow in his qualifier. "I always like to drive my horses in their first qualifier, at least," Melander said. "Especially if it's a new horse, so I can feel if I want to do any changes. I didn't really know what to expect from him in the qualifier, but it was a good qualifier. He went a (1):55 mile pretty good and I was happy with him." Melander has spent the past several weeks getting to know Crazy Wow and tinkering with his equipment. "We changed a little shoeing," Melander said. "I qualified him with an open bridle. I know he had cups before; maybe we put something on his head as well because he is very laid back. You try to do some changes, do what you think is best. Every trainer trains differently. We trained him the way we train our horses. It feels like he is happy. "There are a lot of big races left, so I think he could have a good next couple of months." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 19, 2018--It's a froshfest Monday night (Aug. 20th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $160,400 New York Sire Stakes Michael Sorentino Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Post time for the dozen-race card is 6:50 PM, with the pair of $80,200 statebred events going as races 6 and 8. The opening division finds Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, post 8) eying a fourth sire stakes win in as many starts. The son of Chapter Seven hasn't been tested thus far, winning those first three races by a combined 12¼ lengths. He hits town after a life-best 1:55.4 effort at Saratoga, a track record for that age group. Gimpanzee is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach, FL, co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Geldings Horns for Three (Jason Bartlett, post 1) and Cavill Hanover (Dan Dube, post 2) have each won twice in sire stakes competition, the latter edging the former earlier this month at Batavia. Our White Knight (Scott Zeron, post 5) has been a bridesmaid four times (with one third) in his five NYSS tries, while Brady Bunch (Andy Miller, post 7) has chased home Gimpanzee in his last couple of sire stakes efforts. The evening's second and final grouping has Thunder (Zeron, post 5) going after a third consecutive NYSS win. The son of Conway Hall, trained by John Butenschoen for co-owners Crawford Racing, Jeremey Day and VIP Internet Stable, was an off-the-pace, life-best 1:58.3 at Batavia in his latest work night. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr., post 3) has two wins and two seconds in a half-dozen seasonal starts, while Chapter Fashion (Bartlett, post 7) enters off an open stakes win in a division of the Tompkins (Tioga), a maiden-breaking 1:56.1. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Fourth Dimension, the 2017 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, will miss the remainder of this season because of a small fracture on his left knee, trainer Marcus Melander said Monday. Fourth Dimension last raced on Aug. 4 in an elimination for the Hambletonian and went off stride following the half-mile point. Melander said the colt will require four months to recover from the injury. He said no decision was made yet regarding Fourth Dimension's future. This year, Fourth Dimension was winless in four races. He finished second in his seasonal debut, then went off stride in the final turn of his elimination for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. He went off stride again in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial and the Hambletonian. "It's very disappointing, but there is nothing we can do about it other than give it time to heal," Melander said. "It was a very small fracture, which is probably why we didn't find it before. After (the Beal) he wasn't himself. He was fine when we trained him at home, but when he was going faster there was something bothering him more than just soreness. We went over him and couldn't find anything. Sometimes those small fractures take time before you can see them. We took him again and did a complete bone scan on him and they found it. I'm glad we found it." Fourth Dimension is a son of Chapter Seven out of Corazon Blue Chip. He was purchased for $200,000 under the name Seventh Wonder at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes Dan Patch Award winner Magician. The colt is owned by Anders Strom's Courant Inc. Last year, Fourth Dimension won eight of 11 races, setting or equaling four track records in the process. His victories included the Valley Victory Stakes, a division of the International Stallion Stakes, an elimination for the Breeders Crown, and four divisions of the New York Sire Stakes. He has earned $409,195 lifetime. "We'll see what Anders wants to do," Melander said. "There should be some interest in him as a stud. He had a great year last year and he's got a great pedigree and is a good-looking horse. If he wants to stand him as a stud, he can do that; if he wants to race him next year, he can do that too. He's got options. We've got a couple months before anything needs to be decided." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 9, 2018 -- After an inauspicious career debut -- he broke stride as the 1-2 favorite in a PA All-Stars split -- Demon Onthe Hill has righted the ship, winning two straight PA Sires Stakes divisions. On Saturday at The Meadows, he'll try to extend that streak to three in the Florida Pro, a $181,388 PASS that goes as races 1, 3 and 4. Demon Onthe Hill leaves from post 3 in the first race with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Post time is 1:05 PM. Vicky Trotting, Inc. gave $125,000 at auction for the son of Muscle Hill-Sabrina Hall, a price that the colt's trainer, Marcus Melander, indicates was not unexpected. "He was a good-looking horse with a great video," Melander says. "The only disadvantage: he was pretty small then and still is. When it says Muscle Hill, they always get a little more expensive." Melander absolves Demon Onthe Hill of blame for that break in his career opener. "He would have won, but he got stuck in a knee boot and almost fell." His initial PASS victory was a ground-saving affair at The Meadows, but his win in the following leg at Harrah's Philadelphia was impressive. He wore down the leaders on the outside and drew off late, scoring in 1:55.4. That earned him a share of the national season's record for freshman trotters on a five-eighths-mile track. "It looked like he had something left in the tank," says Melander, who notes that Demon Onthe Hill is eligible to most of the important late-season stakes. "His size doesn't seem to matter. He grows on the track. I think he's the real deal." Melander also sends out Expedition (race 4, post 4, Dave Palone), who, at $230,000, was an even more expensive Muscle Hill yearling than Demon Onthe Hill. He's earned checks but no wins in his two PASS outings. "He's still a little green and doesn't know what's happening out there," Melander says. "Demon Onthe Hill might be a little better, but once he starts to understand what racing's all about, he'll be a nice horse, too." AMG Stable campaigns Expedition. Saturday's card also features a number of attractive wagering opportunities, including a pair of rich pool guarantees -- $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 9-13) -- and a $1,073.80 jackpot in the Super Hi-5 (race 13). The series of "Rockiin' on the Rail" live concerts continues, with The Stickers performing on the apron at the conclusion of the races. In addition, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will offer paddock tours, stating gate rides and a "Pick the Winners" contest, with a $50 voucher up for grabs. For more information or to register, stop by the MSOA table in the Racebook. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

Crystal Fashion has played a big role in what has already been a memorable year for Jules Siegel and Jim Campbell. He could add to those memories in a big way Saturday. The stakes-winning colt is one of three horses for owner Siegel and trainer Campbell in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Siegel, the owner of Fashion Farms in New Hope, Pa., was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1. Less than 24 hours earlier, Crystal Fashion had won the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and stamped himself a top Hambletonian contender. "It was a very exciting weekend," Campbell said. "We were all so happy for Jules to be in the Hall of Fame. He rightfully deserves to be in there, and to have that weekend the way it was with Crystal winning the Beal and Jules going into the Hall of Fame, it was just a great and exciting weekend." Siegel and Campbell teamed to win the 1995 Hambletonian, harness racing's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, with Tagliabue. Crystal Fashion and stablemates Fashionwoodchopper and Patent Leather will try to provide a second. Crystal Fashion is in the first of the event's two $100,000 eliminations, with 5-2 morning-line favorite Wolfgang and 3-1 second choice Atlanta, who is the lone filly in the Hambletonian. Crystal Fashion, a son of Cantab Hall out of Window Willow, has won five of eight races this year and is 7-2 with driver Tim Tetrick. Two of the colt's losses were by a nose. The top-five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final, which is set for a 5:14 p.m. post time and will air live on CBS Sports Network during a 4-5:30 p.m. broadcast. "He's been great," Campbell said. "He hasn't been any worse than second and has been a very dependable horse for us. He's a little bit bigger (than last year) and carries his speed a little further." Crystal Fashion brings a three-race win streak into his elimination. He was off for three weeks following the Beal before returning to win a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division on July 20 and a Reynolds Memorial division on July 28. "That was by design," Campbell said. "I didn't want to have any more than two races before the Hambo after the Beal, so we raced him the one time at (Harrah's Philadelphia) and used (the Reynolds) as his final prep. "I was very happy with the way he raced in the Reynolds. He's a horse that doesn't get too excited about too much, but as soon as Timmy moved him over in the lane he just put his head down and kept on going. He's got a real nice way of going and I was very, very happy with him." Fashionwoodchopper and Patent Leather are in the second elimination, starting side-by-side in posts one and two. Six Pack is the 2-1 morning-line favorite, with Fashionwoodchopper at 10-1 and Patent Leather at 15-1. Crystal Fashion starts his elimination from post six. "We got a really good draw," Campbell said. "We got a good place to start. Hopefully the colts all bring their 'A' game. We're in it, we're excited, and we're ready to go." * * * * * * Marcus Melander also will send out multiple horses in the Hambletonian, with 2017 Dan Patch Award-winner Fourth Dimension at 10-1 in the second elimination and Evaluate at 15-1 in the first. Fourth Dimension, owned by Unibet-founder Anders Strom's Courant Inc., won eight of 11 races last year including the Valley Victory Stakes. This year, Fourth Dimension made his seasonal debut with a second-place finish in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs, and then went off stride in his elimination for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono. He also went off stride in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. Fourth Dimension, a son of Chapter Seven out of Corazon Blue Chip, enters the Hambletonian off a 1:52.4 win in a qualifier on July 21 at the Meadowlands. "I was very happy with his qualifier here, he was very good," trainer Marcus Melander said. "He did (1):52.4 very easily. I think he's going to show a lot more in the Hambo. His season has been a little strange. First he was very good in his first start and then two breaks. It's been a little weird. "But he feels very good and I'm very happy how he feels. I think he's very sharp and in good form. A lot of these horses that are good now maybe weren't as good last year and they've caught up to him." Melander attributed Fourth Dimension's two breaks to equipment issues. "It's just been a little unlucky," Melander said. "I'm not worried about that." Evaluate is owned by Melander's uncle, Stefan Melander, who trained and drove 2001 Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight. Evaluate, a son of Andover Hall out of Blathin, has won four of 11 career races and finished second four times. "Of course, he is not one of the favorites, but he's got some potential," Melander said. "With a good draw he'll be right there." Evaluate will be driven by Swedish Hall of Famer Örjan Kihlström, who already has two stakes wins at the Meadowlands in his career, capturing the 2014 Breeders Crown Open Trot with Commander Crowe and 2015 Fresh Yankee with D'One on Hambletonian Day. He drove Cruzado Dela Noche in his Hambletonian elimination in 2015, finishing ninth and failing to advance to the final. He is perhaps best known internationally for his wins with Nuncio, Magic Tonight, and From Above in the Elitlopp and his win with Maharajah in the Prix d'Amerique. He also has driven stars such as Giant Diablo and Propulsion. Kihlström's most recent drive in the U.S. came in 2016 when he finished fourth with On Track Piraten in the Yonkers International Trot. When he was elected to the Hall of Fame, Örjan Kihlström bio proclaimed: "Magic hands. Nerves of steel. Ice cold as few. He has the ability many want, but few possess." * * * * * * Lawmaker heads into Saturday's first Hambletonian elimination off a win at the Meadowlands in a conditioned race. The colt has won three of 14 lifetime races, but has gotten a paycheck in all his biggest races to date: third in the Beal and fifth in the Goodtimes this year, and fourth in the William Wellwood Memorial and second in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship last year. "He's doing really good," trainer Andrew Harris said. "He came out of his last race really good. I think he's come full circle. He had a bit of a rough year starting out, he had some issues that needed to be worked on, but he finally got over those and all signs are pointing upwards. He is getting better and better every start. He was really good in the Beal, I was very happy with him in the Beal final. "I think he's a really, really nice horse. Whether he's an Atlanta or a Wolfgang or any of those type horses, I don't know yet. He's proved he's worth giving a shot to." Lawmaker, who is 8-1 on the morning line, is by Muscle Massive out of Pretty Amigo. He is owned by the Anthony MacDonald-led fractional ownership group TheStable. MacDonald drove Lawmaker in his first 13 career races, winning two and hitting the board a total of 10 times, but weather-related travel issues forced him to miss the colt's final Hambletonian prep on July 27. David Miller got the drive and won in 1:53.3. MacDonald decided to keep Miller, a Hall of Famer who ranks No. 2 all time in purse money with $226 million, on board for the Hambletonian. "As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision for me, growing up watching the Hambletonian and dreaming of the day I got my shot," MacDonald said. "As a driver, I want to be the one on the gate...but as the co-owner of thestable.ca I have a much bigger responsibility to a huge group of people." The $1 million Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks will be shown live from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on CBS Sports Network. The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Brian Sears-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

There were three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two year old colt and gelding trotters at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Tuesday evening. Each division for the freshman high-steppers went for a purse of $54,500 and in the first division of the night, a new track record for two year olds was set. Marcus Melander's Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows-Muscle Massive) was the public's 2-5 betting favorite in his installment of the NY Sire Stakes for two year olds and brought a two-for-two career record into the try. Brian Sears marched the colt out to the front end as the freshman stepped away to a lead that grew to nearly five lengths in the early going. After clocking a half in 57.1, Gimpanzee appeared dominant in the final lap before stopping the timer in 1:55.4. The win time lowered the previous track record for two year old trotting colts by a full second, eclipsing the mark set last year by My Lindy Winner (Jim Morrill Jr). The win time also served as a new lifetime best for the freshman trotter whose previous mark was set at Tioga Downs in the start leading up to Tuesday's race. Frank Coppola Jr. piloted Horns For Three (Credit Winner-Swoosh Hanover-Lindy Lane) to a wire-to-wire score in the second division of the Sire Stakes on Tuesday. The Ed Hart trainee held off the first-over bid by the favored Our White Knight (Brian Sears) before scoring in 2:00.4. Horns For Three is now a two-time winner in the NYSS as he prevailed at Buffalo last month. The evening's final division of the NYSS saw Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna-Royal Troubador) roll to a first over victory for Scott Zeron. The John Butenschoen trainee recorded the first win of his young career as he toughed it out overland before scoring in 1:59.2. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Just because Sun Stakes Saturday is now in our rear-view mirror here at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, that doesn't mean the stakes season has slowed up any. This past week featured Pennsylvania All-Stars action for two-year-old trotters, and we have Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Stallion Series races for two-year-old pacers coming up. When you factor in the excellent overnight racing taking place night in and night out, we are at a truly exciting point in the season, one which we'll now chronicle by handing out some Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: ZANE HANOVER This four-year-old mare trained by Bruce Saunders made an immediate impression when she arrived from Harrah's on July 1. Facing a group of five-year-old and younger distaffers for a purse of $17,000, she controlled matters on the front end for a victory in 1:52.4. Zane Hanover was back at it on Sunday night, this time facing winners of four but no more than seven races for that same purse of $17,000. She left from post position #4 in a field of six as the even-money favorite. In the previous win, Zane Hanover was able to get to the lead with relative ease and pace fractions that weren't overly daunting. It was a different story on Sunday though, as Big City Betty fought hard to keep the lead, forcing faster fractions from the favorite as she took over on the front stretch. Big City Betty stayed right in the hip pocket of Zane Hanover, leading to numbers on the timer at the second and third poles that were a couple seconds faster than in her earlier victory. For many horses, that would have spelled doom. But driver George Napolitano Jr. called on the leader for more late, and she responded. Big City Betty came on strong in the lane, but Zane Hanover held her off to pick up the victory by a length in 1:51.1. The winning time was more than a second-and-a-half faster than the week before, but the bottom line is that she has collected two victories in a row against excellent competition at Pocono. Other top pacers this week include: Davids Coming Home (George Napolitano Jr., Gareth Dowse), who picked up his second straight condition win at Pocono and third straight victory overall, doing so in a career-best time of 1:53.3; Feeling Cam Lucky (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who followed up back-to-back wins at Harrah's with a condition victory at Pocono on Saturday night in 1:51; and Skippin By (George Napolitano Jr., Nick Surick), a mare whose 1:49.4 winning time in Sunday night's featured distaff condition pace was a career-best and matched the fastest of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SPLITSVILLE When you are trying to move up the ladder in the harness racing world, versatility is a good quality to have. Whereas a horse might be able to control a lower-quality field with no problems, moving up in class requires figuring out ways to handle tougher competition. Splitsville, a nine-year-old gelding trained by Karen Fread, was faced with that dilemma on Monday night. After winning his previous race in relatively comfortable fashion on the front end, he stepped up to face an $11,000 group on Monday night. Not only was he moving up in class, but Splitsville was also saddled with the extreme outside post in a field of nine. That meant that driver Brett Miller couldn't realistically entertain thoughts of another cozy, front-trotting win. So instead, he kept Splitsville back from the early fray, a wise move considering the way the front end bunched up with horses trying to grab the lead. At the three-quarter pole, the gelding was three-wide in sixth, but the others who had worked hard for the engine were beginning to falter. At the top of the stretch, Splitsville had worked himself into fifth position and, more importantly, had a clear path to the finish line. Miller coaxed a furious late charge out of him and he passed everybody in front, eventually winning by a half-length over Show Biz Hall in 1:56.4. Not bad considering he went off at 5-11 odds, and especially impressive considering the wide journey he had to take to pick up that second consecutive victory. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Gural Hanover (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who scored a condition victory on Sunday night in 1:53.2, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Fashion Possessed (David Miller, Jim Campbell), whose first career start was one to remember, as the two-year-old colt captured a Pennsylvania All-Stars race in 1:56.4, matching the fastest All-Stars time of the evening; and Sonnet Grace (Rod Allen trainer and driver), who followed up a Sire Stakes win at The Meadows in her debut with a victory Tuesday night in a Pennsylvania All-Stars race on Tuesday night in 1:56.2, the fastest time in five All-Stars splits that evening. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SUDDENLY SAM Neither a #9 post nor a 1-9 favorite blocking his path could stop this condition pacer driven by Marcus Miller from a victory on Monday night at 48-1, leading to a $99 payout on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: YANNICK GINGRAS Gingras enjoyed the Pennsylvania All-Stars action throughout Monday and Tuesday night, leading all drivers with three victories in those $30,000 races for two-year-old trotters. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: MARCUS MELANDER Melander owned the Pennsylvania All-Stars action on Monday night for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, as his trainees won three of the six divisions. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Bevigilia, for Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA – On Monday, two-year-old trotting colts have a chance to shine in the stakes spotlight in their PA All-Stars event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono; on Tuesday it is their filly counterparts’ turn to assert their abilities, going in five $30,000 divisions of All-Stars action. As is the case in the colt event, top stakes barns have multiple entries ready: four fillies will go postward from the stables of Ron Burke, John Butenschoen, and Marcus Melander, giving those three the most two-year-olds in the two events combined – Melander with eight, Burke with seven, and Butenschoen with six. Two of the fillies are already winners in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, having triumphed on July 3 at The Meadows. The first is in the first All-Stars division, race two, Sonnet Grace, who begins in the middle of a seven-horse collection for trainer-driver Rod Allen. Sonnet Grace drew away in the stretch to take the Sire Stakes contest in 1:58.1, following up on a 2:00.1 win in her debut, also at The Meadows. The other Sire Stakes winner begins from the middle of the race four seven-horse field: Fate Smiled, going for trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley. Fate Smiled was a 1:58 wire-to-winner in the Sires contest, stepping home in 57.4-28.4. Fate Smiled faces an opponent, Fraulein Bucher (post seven, trainer Nancy Johansson, driver Scott Zeron), whose mother, Frau Blucher, is one of only two horses to win $500,000 during her Sire Stakes campaigns at two and three (Wild Honey is the other). The filly with the fastest clocking among all the divisions, Beautiful Sin, will begin from the rail in race five for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras. She has three winning Meadowlands lines as her career product to date, dropping time each start: 1:57.2, 1:56.4, and then 1:56.2. Mention can be made of Fast Reaction, starting from post seven in an eight-horse race seven. Off a 24-day gap from the races, trainer-driver Rick Beinhauer won a Pennsylvania Stallion Series event at The Meadows in 1:58.1, with her last half in 57.1. Fifteen misses already show crossing the line first in 2:00 or better among the five divisions of fillies, which will be staged as races two through five and seven. Tuesday’s Pocono racing card begins at 7 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Last Sunday The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono got to showcase the early season's precocious freshman pacing colts in Pennsylvania All-Stars action, with many impressive winners looking like stars of the near future. On Monday, the two-year-old colt trotters will have the same opportunity, going in six $30,000 divisions of their All-Stars event. Most of the top stables all have multiple candidates for stakes glory: trainer Marcus Melander has four entrants, while barns with three starters include those of Chris Beaver, Ron Burke, and Erv Miller. The two season's leaders on 5/8-mile tracks at 1:57 are in consecutive races. One is Heavensdor Hanover, who in race three will start from four for trainer Wayne Givens and driver Victor Kirby; he recorded his 1:57 in a Pocono baby event on the engine, with a 57 last half. "Hevanesdor" will find a tough opponent to his immediate left in Fashion Possessed (trainer Jim Campbell and driver David Miller), undefeated in two early races. The other 1:57f performer has the inappropriate name of Klutzy (post three, trainer Julie Miller, driver Andy Miller), who achieved his mark in a pari-mutuel contest at Philly. From the rail in this heat is Green Manalishi S (post one, trainer Marcus Melander, driver Brian Sears), who already has victories in 1:57 then 1:56.3 in Meadowlands freshman a.m. outings. The fastest two-year-old trotting colt overall is Don't Let'em, going from post three in the tenth race for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras, He posted a 1:55 clocking in his very first charted line, an M(1) baby contest, and since has come back to tally in a purse race in 1:55.1 - 27. He'll face three other opponents who already have been twice first. The six divisions, which feature eleven freshmen who already show a winning line better than 2:00, will be races one through five and race ten on the Monday card, which starts at 7 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Hightstown, NJ --- In only his third full season as a harness racing trainer, Marcus Melander enjoyed a memorable year that culminated with Fourth Dimension being named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. Melander, who turned 26 in January, came to the U.S. from Sweden less than five years ago and worked for trainer Jimmy Takter before starting his own stable in late 2014. He is based in New Egypt, N.J., at a farm that was home previously to each the legendary Stanley Dancer and Continental Farms stables. Last year, Melander’s horses won 38 races and $1.31 million in purses, nearly tripling his earnings from the previous season. His victories in 2017 included the Valley Victory Stakes with Fourth Dimension, a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial with Long Tom, and an elimination of the Hambletonian Stakes with Enterprise, who later was fourth-placed-third in the final. Melander’s stable this year numbers 40 horses, with the majority being 2-year-olds. He recently took time to talk with Ken Weingartner, the U.S. Trotting Association’s media relations manager. KW: First of all, congratulations on Fourth Dimension receiving the Dan Patch Award. What does that mean to you, especially at such a young age? MM: That meant a lot. There are so many good horses and so many good trainers. To have the best one, it means a lot, especially in my third year as a trainer. Like you said, I’m young, and it’s not easy to get those awards. I’m very happy with it. KW: What’s it been like getting settled here in the States and how have you seen your stable change? MM: The first year when I was here, we only had about six babies (2-year-olds). We had a couple that were OK. But after that, I got a horse (Clifton Beach) from (owner) Courant. He was a 3-year-old gelding that made breaks, but I did good with him. After that, I got some more horses from them and we did well. That’s when I started to pick owners up. You need to have good owners to have good horses. I’m very thankful to all my owners. KW: What have you learned over the first couple years? MM: First of all, I learned a lot when I worked for Jimmy Takter my first year here. Then I went on my own. You’ve got to put horses in the right condition, you have to figure out travel, there is always stuff you look at and maybe change. Last year with Enterprise for the Goodtimes we went back and forth (to Canada) and he was no good in the final because he had a problem with ulcers. Maybe we should have stayed up there. You’re always learning things. I’m only 26. I’ve got a lot to learn still. But I’m feeling more comfortable every season. KW: Have you done anything different training wise? Changed your approach? MM: Maybe a little bit. Last year we had a really good year with both the 2- and 3-year-olds. But you always look to improve things. You think about things as you’re out there driving. KW: With the experience you gained last year does that help you going forward? MM: Oh yeah absolutely. With Long Tom and Enterprise, they started early very good and I think maybe I topped them a little too early. They raced great until the (Hambletonian) and after that they flattened out a little bit and we had some bad racing luck. That’s stuff you learn too. Maybe we won’t qualify as early. But it was a little different because Enterprise only made one start as a 2-year-old so you had to be going a little earlier. KW: How are your 2-year-olds coming along? MM: They’re good. I’m very happy with all of them. It’s a good group. I can’t pick anyone out right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing them race. KW: Are they all trotters? MM: I’ve got three pacers. I’ve got 25 trotters and three pacers. It’s fun. They’re really nice. I’ve got one Captaintreacherous colt (Sundown Showdown) and one Sweet Lou filly (Sweet Body) and a Roll With Joe colt (Quickcallblue Chip). They pace very good. I’m happy with them. We’ll see how they do. KW: Do you see much difference with the pacers? MM: No, like I said, I learned a lot the first year I was here working with Jimmy. We had a lot of pacers there. You maybe do some things differently, but it’s not much different. KW: Has it been an adjustment living in the States? MM: I’ve loved it here from the day I got here. This will be my fifth year here. I’m happy. My whole family is here and there are a lot of Swedes around, friends and stuff, so it’s good. KW: What do you most like about living here? MM: I like the racing here. In Sweden it’s very good too, but it’s a little bit different here. I just like it here. KW: What do you most enjoy about working with the horses? MM: We have really good horses this year. I’m looking forward to the season. Hopefully we can have a great year again. Hopefully everything goes well and we have a good year. KW: Do you feel more pressure because of last year? MM: Not really. It’s not pressure. I have good owners that stand behind me. I’m feeling confident in what I do and I think that’s the most important thing. You can’t feel nervous about it. You have to train the horses the way you want and if it doesn’t go well, maybe because of sickness or something else, then that is it. But you can’t go around and feel pressure. I feel more excited and looking forward to the racing season getting started. It will be fun. KW: This is the position you want to be in, with stakes horses. MM: Oh yeah, absolutely. Thirty-seven of 40 (horses) are 2- and 3-year-olds. That’s what we’re looking for, for sure. KW: What do you like to do when you’re not working? MM: I like to be on the farm. There is always work on a farm when you own it. I like to be on the farm. I never leave the farm much if I’m not going racing. Following is a look at 2- and 3-year-olds in the Melander Stable, courtesy of www.melanderstable.com: 2-Year-Olds Army Of Monkeys (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) Demon Onthe Hill (Muscle Hill-Sabrina Hall) Dreamgirl Hall (Muscle Hill-Danica Hall) Fly Hawk Hanover (Explosive Matter-Free Spirit) Georgia Beach (Conway Hall-To The Question) Great Explorer (Muscle Mass-Mayflower Volo) Heather Deo (Trixton-Caylee Dream) Isolde (Cantab Hall-Tosca) Kesha Blue (Chapter Seven-Kendall Blue) Kredit Karma (Credit Winner-No Pain No Gain) Matter Of Fact (Explosive Matter-Chips N Caviar) Mimi'spearloflindy (Cantab Hall-Lindy’s Showgirl) Olympic Goal (Donato Hanover-Bewitching Beauty) Profit Prophet (Father Patrick-Jupiter) Quickcallblue Chip (Roll With Joe-Put On A Clinic) Reverie Deo (Trixton-Brigham Dream) Rifleman (Father Patrick-Designed To Be) Shee La (Cantab Hall-Victory Bouquet) Shocking Blue (Andover Hall-Angela Hall) Speed Titan (E L Titan-Show Your Lindys) Sundown Showdown (Captaintreacherous-Rideintothesunset) Sweet Body (Sweet Lou-Beach Body) Tangent (Cantab Hall-Fraction) Tuscaloosa (Father Patrick-Sweet Alabama) Whiteline Hanover (Andover Hall-Wishful Me) 3-Year-Olds Bay View (Yankee Glide-South Bay) Evaluate (Andover Hall-Blathin) Follet (Muscle Hill-Ruling Class) Fourth Dimension (Chapter Seven-Corazon Blue Chip) Fuel Her Flame (Cantab Hall-Graceful Touch) Muscle Playmate (Muscle Hill-Lima Playmate) Stonecoldassassin (Wishing Stone-Horseshowmom) Sweet On You (Kadabra-Dynamite Honey) Thrust Control (Cantab Hall-Ideal Harbor) Tokarev (Muscle Hill-Christiana Hanover) What A Knockout (Donato Hanover-Southwind Sofia) by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

For Fourth Dimension, it was the classic case of addition by subtraction. Despite racing well enough in the preliminary legs to qualify for the New York Sire Stakes final at Yonkers, the harness racing freshman trotting colt was held out by trainer Marcus Melander. He felt Fourth Dimension had nothing left to prove in the Empire State and wanted to save him for the Breeders Crown. Removing the NYSS from the equation has paid off so far, as Fourth Dimension was a winner in last Saturday's Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt and gelding elimination races at Hoosier Park. He enters Saturday's final as the 5-2 favorite starting from the No. 4 post position. "He raced great in New York," Melander said. "He took a bad step there at Yonkers right before Lexington; maybe he didn't like the half(-mile track) as much. We decided to skip the New York Sire Stakes final. He showed (in his Breeders Crown elimination) he is one of the best ones in the country, so he is one of the best in New York as well. "It was $225,000 in purses, but we didn't want to go back to New York and race him and then come out here (to Indiana). It's not fair to the horse. We skipped it and I think it was the right move for sure." Fourth Dimension finished second in a Bluegrass Stakes division on Sept. 28 in Lexington, trotting in 1:53.1 and a week later won an International Stallion Stakes division in 1:52.4. In skipping the New York Sire Stakes final on Oct. 14, he got 15 days off and responded with a 2-year-old colt trotter track record of 1:54 in his Breeders Crown elimination. Driven by Brian Sears, the son of Chapter Seven-Corazon Blue Chip started from post seven and took the lead prior to the half. He trotted :28.1 in the final quarter to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Met's Hall. It was the sixth win in eight starts for Fourth Dimension, who also has a second-place finish. He has earned $139,700 for owner Courant Inc. Melander felt the horse's performances in Kentucky confirmed his talent. "Everyone that saw him in Lexington the first week when he was first up on Fashionwoodchopper, we went a big last half there," the trainer said. "The second week, he won so easy in (1):52.4. So I knew I had a good horse. But you never know. "(Our Breeders Crown elimination) was the best 2-year-old horses in North America, except for maybe Alarm Detector and Crystal Fashion, but we won pretty easy. I'm confident for the final." Fourth Dimension will see how he stacks up against Crystal Fashion in the final, as David Miller drove that gelding to a first-place win in 1:54.3 in the other elimination. Crystal Fashion battled Samo Different Day down the wire and held off Fiftydallarbill for a neck victory. "I was very happy with the way he raced," trainer Jim Campbell said. "He came first over and just kind of wore them down." The son of Cantab Hall-Window Willow has hit the board in 10 of 11 starts this year with four firsts, three seconds and three thirds, and has earned $155,292 for owner Fashion Farms. He goes off at 7-2 from the No. 1 post in the final. "We've been very happy with him all year long," Campbell said. "He's the type of horse, he's good gaited, and he always gives us a good effort finishing. The long stretch here definitely doesn't hurt him any." Following is the field for Saturday's $600,000 Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Crystal Fashion-David Miller-Jim Campbell-7/2 2-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/1 3-Fiftydallarbill-Trace Tetrick-William Crone-8/1 4-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-5/2 5-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-9/2 6-Dawson Springs-Joe Bongiorno-Tony Alagna-30/1 7-Moosonee-Scott Zeron-Christopher Beaver-30/1 8-Missle Hill-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna-30/1 9-Samo Different Day-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-20/1 10-Skyway Torpedo-Peter Wrenn-Alvin Miller-20/1 by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Trenton, NJ --- Marcus Melander has never won a Hambletonian but the 25-year-old harness racing trainer has the essence of Hambo greatness surrounding his entire being. And while the Swede does not have a favorite in Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands, he does have a Tim Tetrick-driven horse in each elimination getting pretty good odds. In the 10-horse division (race nine), Enterprise is 9/2, with only Devious Man (5/2) and What The Hill (3/1) being given better chances. Enterprise, who outgrew an immature streak after racing only once as a 2-year-old, won his first five career starts. A son of Chapter Seven out of the mare Shes Gone Again, Enterprise is a half-brother to New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Guess Whos Back and his family includes Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner Poof She’s Gone. Enterprise was purchased for $100,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. “Enterprise raced last week and was a little short,” said Melander, who began training the horse late last summer. “He got beat by a good horse, though (fellow Hambletonian starter International Moni). I was happy with him, but he needed that race for sure. I think that race will put him forward for the Hambletonian. He was a little sick up there in Canada (when he finished fourth in the Goodtimes final on June 17) so maybe he missed a little too much, had a race less (than hoped). But I still think he will be a hundred percent.” In the nine-horse division (race eight), Long Tom is at 3/1 odds, second best on the board behind favored International Moni (5/2). The colt, who came to Melander from Europe in April 2016, was this year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes champion at the Meadowlands. “Long Tom hasn’t raced since the Stanley Dancer (July 15), but he came out of that race very good,” Melander said. “I’m very happy with him. He’s been training great. There’s nothing to complain about there.” The trainer’s optimism should be taken seriously if exposure to Hambo success stories have any bearing on the matter. Marcus’ uncle, Stefan Melander, won the 2001 Hambletonian as trainer and driver with Scarlet Knight. Marcus worked with Stefan in Sweden and after moving to the U.S. from Stockholm with his family in 2014, Marcus began working for trainer Jimmy Takter, a four-time Hambletonian winner. His family purchased the farm in New Egypt that was previously owned by the late, legendary Stanley Dancer, who shares the record for Hambletonian training victories with five. And finally, the guy in the sulky is no Hambo Day slouch. The 35-year-old Tetrick won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share and drove to second-place finishes with Crazed in 2008 and Smilin Eli in 2013. In 2007 he won a single-season record 1,189 races, is a four-time U.S. Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year (most recently in 2013) and stands fifth all-time in earnings with $182 million. Melander knew of them all while growing up in Sweden, as he stayed up throughout the night to follow the results of United States harness racing while making a name for himself as a driver in Europe. At age 19, Marcus won Sweden’s equivalent to the USHWA’s Rising Star Award and had just over 100 wins before moving to America. Now, he is precariously close to realizing every Standardbred trainer’s dream in what he feels is anyone’s race. “The best horse (Walner) is not in, so it’s like a wide-open race now,” Melander said. “It’s 10 horses that can win it. It was Walner before, who was No. 1, and then numbers two to 10. All of them were as good as each other. It will be the horse with the best trip. You need to be lucky when they draw and everything like that. It’s wide open, really.” Melander feels the set-up, which requires the eliminations and the final to be contested the same day, could favor his horses. The top five finishers in each elimination reach the final. “I think that would be good for both of them because they’re both strong horses,” he said. “I think they are both a hundred percent. I’m very happy with both of them.” Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

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