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Freehold, NJ --- When he first began racing, Enterprise sometimes looked for the quickest way to exit the track. Over time, though, he seems to have settled for the fastest way to the harness racing winner’s circle. Enterprise is 5-for-5 in his career as he heads to Saturday’s C$251,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. Last week the Marcus Melander-trained colt won his Goodtimes elimination by two lengths over AWOL Hanover in a lifetime-best 1:53.1. The Goodtimes is one of the major stakes on the road to August’s $1 million Hambletonian. Last year’s Goodtimes winner, Marion Marauder, went on to win the Trotting Triple Crown (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity) and received awards for Trotter of the Year in the U.S. and best 3-year-old male trotter in Canada. Nine of the 10 Goodtimes finalists are eligible to the Hambletonian: Enterprise and fellow elimination winner International Moni as well as Shake It Off Lindy, Jake, Southwind Woody, Seven And Seven, Southwind Cobra, AWOL Hanover, and Guardian Angel As. Saturday’s card at Mohawk also includes the C$1 million North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, C$440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, C$365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers, and the C$253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. Enterprise will start the Goodtimes from post four with driver Tim Tetrick. The colt, owned by Courant Inc., raced only once last year, winning by 9-1/2 lengths in 1:58.1 at Harrah’s Philadelphia in December, and worked his way through conditioned-level competition before facing stakes-caliber foes. “He was very immature,” said Melander, who began training Enterprise in late summer last year. “When he saw an exit (from the track) he wanted to go out. I trained him on the straight track all fall and in November he felt great and ready to go. He felt like a good horse but I wanted to race him once to see how he was. He was still very immature in that race. If you take a look at it, you’ll see he was going like a snake down the stretch. But he had plenty left.” 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 awards winner Poof She’s Gone. Enterprise was purchased for $100,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. Enterprise prepped for the Goodtimes with wins in conditioned races at the Meadowlands before capturing a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. “I didn’t mind that he didn’t race much last year,” Melander said. “If he wasn’t ready, he wasn’t ready. It was good in a way because he didn’t have to race against the best ones right away, even if he probably could. He needed the experience, that’s for sure. He’s behaving pretty good; at Mohawk (last week) he was perfect. I’m very happy with how his races have been going so far. It’s exactly how we planned. “He moves so easy, even though he’s a pretty big horse. He’s got speed, but he never gets tired. Of course that will happen when he faces tougher horses; maybe it will happen in the final on Saturday. But he’s a very strong horse. He’s got the tools to be a good horse.” The 25-year-old Melander trains 30 horses in central New Jersey. In addition to Enterprise, he has a Hambletonian hopeful in colt Long Tom, who earlier this season won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Melander’s uncle, Stefan, won the 2001 Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight. “It’s still several weeks until the Hambletonian and anything can happen,” Melander said. “But I wouldn’t trade either of my horses for anyone. I couldn’t be happier right now. We’ll see what happens. I try to not think about the Hambo, I just try to think about the next race. I feel pretty calm about that. We just take one race at a time because I know a lot of things can happen on the way. Of course, that’s what we’re aiming for. But you never know what will happen. It’s a long road.” Following is the field for the Goodtimes with listed drivers and trainers. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1 - Shake It Off Lindy - Crazed - Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci 2 - International Moni - Love You - Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci 3 - Jake - Muscle Hill - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais 4 - Enterprise - Chapter Seven - Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 5 - Southwind Woody - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 6 - Seven And Seven - Chapter Seven - David Miller-Tom Durand 7 - Mass Production - Muscle Mass - Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron 8 - Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 9 - AWOL Hanover - Donato Hanover - James MacDonald-Luc Blais 10 - Guardian Angel As - Archangel - Brett Miller-Anette Lorentzon ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date – Track – Event – First – Second – Third May 6 – Freehold – Dexter Cup – Lord Cromwell – Gustavo Fring – Southwind Cobra May 19 – Meadowlands – NJSS – Long Tom – Yes Mickey – Deacon Tony May 19 – Meadowlands – NJSS – What The Hill – Southwind Cobra – New Jersey Viking May 20 – Meadows – PASS – Sortie – Giveitgasandgo – High Glider May 20 – Meadows – PASS – Andy M – Gustavo Fring – Stealth Hanover May 20 – Meadows – PASS – Common Parlance – Brown Bear – Brand New Key May 29 – Vernon – NYSS – Stick With Me Kid – Bill’s Man – Top Flight Angel May 29 – Vernon – NYSS – Devious Man – Lord Cromwell – Aces And Eights May 29 – Vernon – NYSS – Enterprise – Swell Chap – Meetmeinthemiddle June 2 – Meadowlands – NJSS Final – Long Tom – King On The Hill – What The Hill June 3 – Meadows – Currier & Ives – Fraser Ridge – Meme Hanover – Muay Hanover June 3 – Meadows – Currier & Ives – Moonshiner Hanover – Giveitgasandgo – Lars Perry June 3 – Meadows – Currier & Ives – Sortie – Dover Dan – Always A Good Time June 9 – Mohawk – Goodtimes Elim – International Moni – Guardian Angel As – Jake June 9 – Mohawk – Goodtimes Elim – Enterprise – AWOL Hanover – Shake It Off Lindy June 9 – Vernon – EBC Elim – Bill’s Man – Such An Angel – Stick With Me Kid June 9 – Vernon – EBC Elim – Devious Man – Swell Chap – Lord Cromwell June 10 – Pocono – PASS – Rubio – Muscles Jared – Di Oggi June 10 – Pocono – PASS – Dover Dan – Moonshiner Hanover – Sir John F June 10 – Pocono – PASS – Giveitgasandgo – President Lindy – Andy M June 17 – Mohawk – Goodtimes – June 18 – Vernon – Empire Breeders Classic – June 24 – Pocono – Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Elims – July 1 – Pocono – Earl Beal Jr. Memorial – July 9 – Pocono – PA All Stars – July 15 – Meadowlands – Stanley Dancer Memorial – July 22 – Meadowlands – Tompkins-Geers – July 29 – Meadowlands – Reynolds – Aug. 5 – Meadowlands – Hambletonian – Hambletonian eligible in bold by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Marcus Melander hopes Long Tom is a big man in the big races this year. After opening his 2017 harness racing campaign with a 1:52.1 win in the first round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes series for 3-year-old male trotters, Long Tom is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line in Friday's $100,000 championship at the Meadowlands Racetrack, with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. The colt's win time is the fastest this season for a 3-year-old trotter. "I couldn't be happier with him after the first race he did," said Melander, who trains Long Tom for owner AMG Stable Oy of Finland. "He's been training great. I was very happy he won because we didn't have to race the week after (in the second round of the Sire Stakes. It was perfect for him to have a week off and go into the final." What The Hill, who won last year's New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old male trotters and the Peter Haughton Memorial, is the 6-5 favorite in Friday's championship. The colt is undefeated in three races this season for driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke. Returning Dan Patch Award-winner Ariana G is the even-money favorite in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters. She won her only start this season for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras in 1:52.2, which is tied for the second-fastest win time for a 3-year-old trotter behind only Long Tom. Every Way Out, who is 2-for-2 this year, is the 1-5 morning line favorite for driver Tetrick and trainer Dylan Davis in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male pacers. Colorful Jasmine, from the stable of trainer Tom Cancelliere, is the 3-5 choice in the $100,000 final for 3-year-old female pacers. Corey Callahan is the driver. Long Tom, who arrived from Europe to Melander's stable in April 2016, won three of seven races last year and earned $60,950. He had three wins and a second in his first four starts, capped by a 1:55.2 victory in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile. He was third in a division of the International Stallion before finishing off the board in his Breeders Crown elimination and the Matron Stakes. "He raced very good before Lexington and he raced very good at Lexington, but then we had some bad luck in the Breeders Crown and Matron," Melander said. "He got a little sore, but he's a very good horse. We knew that when we shut him down last year. "He came back very good. He grew a lot over the winter. He's a very big boy now. He put a lot of muscle on him over the winter. He looks really good. I can't be happier with him." Following the New Jersey Sire Stakes, Long Tom is eligible to the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, and Hambletonian Stakes. The $1 million Hambletonian is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. "That's the plan with him at least," said Melander, whose uncle Stefan won the 2001 Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight. "It's going to be tough to beat (returning Dan Patch Award winner) Walner, that's for sure, but behind Walner it's pretty open. I think Long Tom is one of those horses with the potential to race in the big races. It's horseracing, so you never know what might happen." In addition to Long Tom, Melander has a Hambletonian hopeful in Enterprise. The colt raced only once last year after a late arrival from overseas, but is undefeated in four career starts for Melander. His most recent triumph was a 1:53.4 score in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. "He's been very good too," Melander said. "I'm very happy with my 3-year-olds. The main thing is to keep them sound and healthy and we could have a good year for both of them." Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Long Tom might be short on experience, but trainer Marcus Melander believes the 2-year-old male trotter can stand tall when it comes to harness racing on the Grand Circuit. The colt, who spent time in Sweden after being purchased for $60,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale, competes Thursday (Sept. 29) in the first of six Bluegrass Stakes divisions at Red Mile. “He feels like the right horse, but there are some good horses out there as well, so it’s not so easy,” Melander said about Long Tom, who heads to Lexington with two wins and a second in three career races. “He started out good and we’ll see how he does against the best ones out here. I definitely think he can be on the Grand Circuit. “He feels like a good horse and I think he’ll get better and better with every race he can have. We’ll see after Lexington how we do. But so far he’s been very good.” Long Tom is a son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Ilia. He is a half-brother to Tight Lines, who last week finished third in the Old Oaken Bucket at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio. Signed for by Swedish trainer Reijo Liljendahl, the horse is owned by the Finland-based AMG Stable Oy. Following the Harrisburg sale, Long Tom traveled to Sweden, where he was in Liljendahl’s stable. “We talked in February and Reijo told me he had a good horse he wanted to send over,” Melander said. “I liked him already at the sale, so when Reijo told me the name of the horse I was happy. He was a good-looking horse. He came to me at the end of March.” Because of his travels, Long Tom wasn’t ready to see action when qualifiers for 2-year-olds began in mid-June at the Meadowlands. But when Melander brought the colt to qualifiers a month later, he was pleased. On Aug. 9, Long Tom made his racing debut in a conditioned race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and won by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:59.1. Four weeks later, he finished second to New Jersey Viking in the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey-sponsored Harold Dancer Memorial Trot and followed that effort with a 1:56.1 victory in a conditioned race for 2- and 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands. “He’s been racing very well,” Melander said. “In the qualifiers I took it very easy with him and I felt he was a good horse. In his first lifetime start, he won very easy at Pocono even if it was just in (1):59.1. He did it so easy. “After that, he had some problems getting into races when the Meadowlands closed. But he raced very well at Freehold after some time off and when he won at the Meadowlands he raced great again.” Long Tom is a horse that tends to get complacent when he reaches the front, but Melander is impressed with the colt’s desire to win. “He’s not like a monster in training; he’s very lazy,” Melander said. “He’s like an older horse that’s been doing this for a while. He’s never grabby. He’s almost too lazy sometimes. Last week when he won at the Meadowlands he had plenty left. He’s just so lazy you need to get him going to hold his speed otherwise he waits for the other horses. “But you can feel in a horse when they want to be first. He’s nice gaited, but what I like most is his head. He wants to be a racehorse; he wants to win.” At Lexington, Melander is anxious to see if Long Tom has the speed to be a top colt. “That’s the thing, he’s never been coming home faster than :29 (seconds),” Melander said. “But he’s so lazy. When he’s first, he doesn’t go much faster. He knows he’s first and he knows he’s going to win. I think he’s got the speed. I’m not saying he’s going to go :26 quarters down here, but I think he can go faster than :29, that’s for sure.” Long Tom, who has earned $19,250 this season, is 9-2 on the morning line in his six-horse Bluegrass division, where he will start from post one with driver Tim Tetrick. Bill’s Man, from the stable of trainer John Butenschoen, is the 2-1 favorite from post two with driver Corey Callahan. The morning line favorites in the remaining divisions, in race order, are Tony Alagna’s stakes-winner Signal Hill, Frank Antonacci’s International Moni, Julie Miller’s stakes-winner Fly On, Ron Burke’s Peter Haughton Memorial champ What The Hill, and Jimmy Takter’s King On The Hill. For the complete card, click here. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Eight-year-old Swedish trotter Perfectly Enough arrived in harness racing trainer Marcus Melander’s New Jersey stable in early January with the hopes of competing this year against the best older trotters in North America. A return trip home in May, however, would be perfectly OK with his connections. Perfectly Enough, who won the Swedish Breeders Crown at age 3 and has earned 3.08 million Swedish Krona ($453,219 U.S.) during his career, was among 15 horses nominated to the inaugural Elitlopp Playoff at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The winner of the May 8 event will receive an automatic invitation to compete in the world-renowned Elitlopp at Sweden’s Solvalla Raceway on May 29. “The owner’s dream is to be in the Elitlopp,” Melander said, referring to Lars Enochson. “He would race there in that case. But it’s one step at a time. There are many good horses in (the Elitlopp Playoff). He’s in there, but we need to see if he’s good enough to race. We’re not going to race there just to be in the race.” Unraced at age 2, Perfectly Enough won 8 of 37 races and hit the board a total of 20 times at ages 3 through 5, but was winless in 13 starts the past two years because of knee woes. He last raced July 30, prior to having knee surgery for the second time. He was most recently trained by Bjorn Goop, but also spent time in the stables of Stefan Hultman and Stig H. Johansson. “So far he feels very good; he feels very sound,” Melander said. “I have another horse for the owner and we talked about (Perfectly Enough) a little bit last summer. After the season last year, after he had surgery, Bjorn thought it was a good idea to try him over here now. The owner was excited to bring him over.” Perfectly Enough is a son of stallion Express It out of the mare Just About Enough. Express It is a son of 1987 Peter Haughton Memorial winner Supergill and a three-quarter brother to Express Ride, who won the 1985 Haughton as well as that year’s Breeders Crown. Just About Enough is a daughter of 1995 Dan Patch Award-winning older male trotter S J’s Photo. She is a half-sister to Swedish triple-millionaire Prince Apanage, as well as a half-sister to Enough Is Enough (mother of 2007 Sweden Cup winner and 2009 Elitlopp runner-up Jaded) and Good Enough (mother of 2013 Copenhagen Cup champ Mr Picolit). In addition to his Swedish Breeders Crown win, Perfectly Enough’s victories include the 2013 Gavle Stora Pris, a Group 2 event, and the 2013 Gotlandslopning, a Group 3 race. He finished third in the 2012 Group 1 Swedish Trotting Derby. “Maybe he’ll get a kick out of it being over here,” said Melander, who is in his second full year of training in the U.S. and has a stable of 21 horses in New Egypt. “It seems like he thinks it’s fun so far. He’s 8 years old now, but every time we go out to train or jog him, he acts very young. He really loves to do his work. “It’s important that he really likes to do this, otherwise it’s not that easy. Even if they can go, it’s not that easy if they don’t think it’s so fun to race and train. He’s a very happy horse.” Melander has lightly staked Perfectly Enough, with an eye toward keeping the horse close to home. He hopes the trotter will be ready to qualify in a month. “I didn’t put him in too much because we don’t really know how good he will be over here,” Melander said. “We just staked him very easy, even though they’re good races. I didn’t want to go too far with him. “I love to race at the Meadowlands because it’s such a good track. That’s why I want to keep him around here. I think a mile track will be a good fit for him. I hope he is better now with his knees. With a big track, I think it will be good. It will be interesting to see how good he can be.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Trenton, NJ --- As a youth growing up in Sweden, Marcus Melander would stay up all hours of the night following the results of U.S. harness racing. And considering there is a six-hour time difference, we do meanall hours. But that was the allure of the sport for Marcus, who was making a good name for himself as a European driver but was always fascinated by Standardbreds in the States. “Everyone in my family always loved America,” Melander said. “We love Sweden too and we always loved America. Especially me, I loved harness racing over here too. I’ve always been in love with American harness racing since 12, 13 years old, sitting up at night with the time difference checking all the big races from here. I always wanted to come here.” His wish came true last year when the Melanders moved from Stockholm to New Egypt, N.J., to purchase the farm owned by the late legend, Stanley Dancer. “We were sitting home and I know my dad said that this farm was for sale and had been for a couple of years,” Melander said. “We said if we had a chance to buy it, maybe we should do it and after a couple of months we decided to do it. “I know about Stanley. He’s a legend. On this farm there’s been many good horses from Stanley’s time and it’s a great farm. I love it here, I’m very happy we had the option to buy it. It’s amazing.” Marcus trains 15 horses at the newly named Melander Stables, and the family owns either all or part of every horse. His dad, Mikael, is a flight captain who works on the farm as much as possible, while his mom Madelene and sister Mikaela tend to the stables and groom the horses. “We’re working as a team and it’s been good, it’s been working out well,” Marcus said. “Fifteen horses are enough. I’ve got seven babies, three 2-year-olds and a couple older ones. It’s perfect.” And it’s only just the start for the 23-year-old Melander, who has been in love with horses from the start. His family bought a farm when he was 7, and Marcus began to work with ponies a year later. “I started to race them, we had about 20 ponies,” he recalled. “Not all the ponies are easy to drive, so it was a good (learning) experience for me. “I stopped doing that when I was 15. You can start to race big horses when you’re 16 in Sweden. So I went to the big horses at 16, I quit school and went to work for my uncle.” That’s not a bad place to learn the ropes, as Marcus’ uncle Stefan (Mikael’s brother) won the Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight in 2001 and currently has multiple-stakes-winner Nuncio. While there, Marcus began training some of the youngsters on the farm. “I learned so much working for my uncle,” Melander said. “He had a big stable with 150 horses in training. He gave me a lot of chances to drive in races too. You can just drive a few races between (ages) 16 and 18, like the fairs here. But when I was 18 I was driving more and more.” And he was succeeding. At age 19, Melander won Sweden’s equivalent to the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Rising Star Award. He continued to rack up the wins and had just more than 100 when the Melanders moved to America. “I was still working for my uncle until the last year,” Marcus said. “Everything went pretty fast. I drove a lot of races back home and it was hard to quit that, but I decided it would be fun to test it out here.” Once he arrived, he continued to gain tutelage under one of the best ever, as Melander worked for trainer Jimmy Takter over the summer. And considering the summer Takter had, it was a heck of a time to be with that stable. “Working with him taught me a lot,” Marcus said. “None of the drivers knew who I was but in the summer I was traveling a lot with the horses so I got to know people. It was very good.” It was even better on Nov. 1, 2014, when Melander picked up his first U.S. win by driving Alwaysafirsttime to victory at Freehold. Marcus took the early lead and never looked back. “That was awesome,” Melander said. “I had never won over here. Sweden I won a lot but not here. I just loved it. It was great. “It was one of my own horses. She was dropping one class and had been training pretty good so I knew I had a good shot. I came to the lead easy and it felt really good all the way.” The win was exciting for two reasons -- it was his first, and it was on one of his own. “I love to drive,” Melander said. “You get an extra kick when you drive. When you’re racing it’s just so much fun, but it’s also fun to train horses. When you have the babies it’s fun to see the horse from the beginning and how it goes, and when you win (driving) with that horse you’re extra happy. Of course I’m happy if I win any race, but if you win a race with a horse you’ve raised it’s great.” Marcus got an even bigger thrill this past January when he drove Wygant Princess for his first win at the Meadowlands. “That was also with one of my horses and that was just amazing,” he said. “To do it at the Meadowlands was just great.” Melander said the biggest difference in Standardbred racing here and in Sweden is the speed, which isn’t surprising since the races are shorter in the U.S. “It’s faster for the entire race,” he said. “In Sweden it’s a longer distance. Here you go one mile for the most part. In Sweden we have one and a half miles. In Sweden you go from the start, take it easy in the middle and go the last quarter again.” Melander has won four times in America and is hoping to bump that number up if he can get more drives. “I love to drive,” he said. “I would love to drive more. It’s not easy, there’s a lot of good guys out there, but we’ll see. I can drive my own horses and I hope to get more drives.” And who knows. Maybe there will be a young boy in Stockholm staying up all night just to follow the exploits of Marcus Melander. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

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