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MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Trainer Marcus Melander brought three high profile harness racing colts into the $500,000 (US) Breeders Crown for sophomores on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Gimpanzee emerged as the best of the lot capturing his second consecutive Crown title at the expense of heavy favorite Greenshoe who suffered from a difficult overland journey in a 1:52 3/5 mile. The race contested during a driving rain and high winds saw plenty of early action with Gimpanzee one of a host of outsiders leaving the gate. He was joined by Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade as well as Soul Strong and Super Schissel. Forbidden Trade would need a pair of moves to secure the lead following the :26 4/5 opening quarter and he continued in control into the wind through the :56 2/5 half. Gimpanzee and driver David Miller came to challenge with authority on the turn and looked to tow elimination winner Don't Let Em and Greenshoe into contention. Don't Let Em struggled to keep up with Gimpanzee eventually made a break compromising Greenshoe's chances considerably in the process. Gimpanzee drove powerfully past the leader after a 1:25 3/5 three quarters clocking and the son of Chapter Seven took off to a convincing score. Greenshoe once into the stretch made up a huge chunk of ground to gain the place spot with early leader Soul Strong coming on late for third. Chin Chin Hall and Goes Down Smooth earned the final two checks. Gimpanzee undefeated last year as a freshman has now won seven times in 12 starts this year winning the Yonkers Trot and finishing third in the other two Triple Crown legs. Bred by Order By Stable Gimpanzee is co-owned by Courant Inc and S R F Stable. Sent off as a 5-1 offering Gimpanzee returned $13.10 for the victory. "I was planning on leaving," said Miller. "I gave him a rough trip but he's so tough." Melander suggested the horse could go under any conditions. "I don't think it would matter if it was a snowstorm and minus 20," said Melander. "He wouldn't have a problem with it." To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

Luc Blais was pleased when Forbidden Trade received a bye to advance directly to Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. After the Hambletonian winning colt drew post eight, he was less enthused. "I was happy when they asked about the bye," Blais said. "After the draw, I said oops. But it's part of the game. A race is a race. All the time you need luck." Twelve horses entered the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, which resulted in Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe receiving byes while the remaining 10 horses competed for the eight remaining spots in the final. Don't Let'em won the elimination with a Canadian-record-equaling 1:51.3 performance. His reward as an elim winner was being guaranteed a post in positions one through five. He will start Saturday from post two. Greenshoe, the winner of 10 of 12 races and C$1.16 million this season, will start from post four. He is one of three finalists for trainer Marcus Melander, with returning Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S. Forbidden Trade defeated Greenshoe by a neck in the Hambletonian. Since then, Greenshoe has won five in a row, including the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6 at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt's 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Sept. 29 at Red Mile is the fastest mile of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a 3-year-old in history. "He's doing great," Melander said about Greenshoe, a son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be. "I was happy to take the bye. He's been on the road for a long time, so it was nice for him to be at home. I'm very happy with how he feels. I'm confident going into the race, he feels as good as he can. I think he'll be good." Green Manalishi S and Gimpanzee finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Crown elimination. Green Manalishi S (Muscle Hill-Naga Morich S) has two wins at Mohawk this year, in the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes. Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) was last year's Dan Patch Award winner and counts the Yonkers Trot and New York Sire Stakes championship among his 2019 victories. "There are good horses there," Melander said. "It's going to be a tough race to win, but I'm happy with my three horses. We drew good; I'm confident going into the race. It will be exciting." Forbidden Trade has won eight of 13 races and C$1.07 million. In his most recent start, he won his second Ontario Sire Stakes championship. The son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory was the 2018 O'Brien Award winner. "It's going to be a tough race," Blais said. "He feels good. He raced good in the Ontario final and he's in good shape right now. I hope everything goes well in the race." The fun-loving Don't Let'em was once described as "a class clown" by trainer Nancy Johansson but he got an 'A' for his elimination performance. The colt, a son of Muscle Hill-Passageway, has finished first or second 12 times in his career. He's gone off stride in his remaining nine races. "His mind is his own worst enemy," driver Yannick Gingras said. "A couple times in the middle of the summer he'd wheel around in the post parade for no reason, but he's doing none of that stuff now. It seems like he's got his mind on his business." Chin Chin Hall finished second to Don't Let'em in the elimination. The colt, by Cash Hall out of Canland Hall, had hit the board in seven consecutive starts before an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Futurity. But that race over a 'good' track on a rain-filled afternoon did nothing to dampen trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's good feelings. "I don't even count that race; you have to throw it out," Norman said. "I was really happy with his run (in the Crown elimination); why wouldn't you be. He's been good every start the last couple of months. He actually feels like he's getting better and better. I think he drew pretty good (post five). It's a tough group, it'll be hard enough to just get a check, but I think he's good enough to be top five." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the corporate sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 2-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 4-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Chin Chin Hall-Peter Wrenn-R. Nifty Norman 6-Gimpanzee-David Miller-Marcus Melander 7-Goes Down Smooth-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 8-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 9-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 10-Super Schissel-Louis Roy-Per Engblom By Ken Weingartner for the Breeders Crown  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Entering the 2018 edition of the Yonkers International Trot, Cruzado Dela Noche hadn’t started in a pari-mutuel race in four months and hadn’t won a major harness racing stakes race since capturing the Group 1 Copenhagen Cup in May 2017. Predictably, bettors dismissed the 6-year-old Muscle Massive son at 30-1 odds in the $1 million stakes. However, off two qualifying wins for trainer Marcus Melander and picking up Brian Sears, Cruzado Dela Noche worked out a brilliant trip in the 1 1/4-mile stakes, tracking Lionel’s first-over assault on leader Marion Marauder. With the plugs pulled and the whip on the trotter’s tail, Sears angled Cruzado Dela Noche three-wide with five-sixteenths of a mile to trot and joining Marion Marauder and Lionel, made it a three-across battle entering the final turn. Lionel put away Marion Marauder as he straightened into the lane and with Cruzado Dela Noche losing ground around the fifth bend, appeared to be on his way to International Trot glory. However, Sears went to the right-handed stick in the stretch and his trotter reengaged. As Lionel reached for the wire, Cruzado Dela Noche lunged, nailing his white-blazened rival in the shadow of the finish post. One year later, the enormity of Yonkers International Trot victory sticks with Sabine Kagebrandt, Managing Director of Cruzado Dela Noche’s ownership company Stall Courant Ab. “That brought us so much joy,” she said. “That meant a lot to us and it meant a lot to me because that horse brings us so much joy and he’s a really good horse and he has a really big heart. That he can take that win and show that he is an international horse, that’s the main thing. He had some wins in big races in other countries, but then he had one in America. “To win that big race under those conditions, it’s not so easy to go that many turns at Yonkers,” Kagebrandt continued. “It’s more money than the Prix d’Amérique, so it was a really big win for us and it was a big win for the horse. It means a lot, it’s a very big race to win, so we were so happy for that.” Cruzado Dela Noche’s Yonkers International Trot victory joined the Copenhagen Cup and Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Deutschland on the trotter’s resume, improved his record to 15-for-55, and boosted his earnings to $1,202,771. It was also the biggest win in Melander’s training career, which began in 2014 after he relocated from his native Sweden. The 27-year-old conditioner’s rapid rise to the top of the sport goes hand-in-hand with his partnership with Courant. “We love to be part of that. We’re so glad that he can make all that success,” Kagebrandt said. “I have known Marcus since he was a child and we have followed his move here to America. I think we were the first big owners that put horses in his stable. It started with one or two horses and then we started with more and expensive horses. We have always had a good faith in him. He has that kind of mission like we have, so we feel like it’s a good match. “We have the same view, how he should train and take care of the horses. We are very much involved also, talking about the training and where we should race,” Kagebrandt continued. “Of course, he’s the one who’s in charge, but he shares that information with us and we feel that we are part of it. That’s how we like it. We really love to work with Marcus. That’s really beautiful, I think.” Like Melander, Kagebrandt’s career is on the rise. Over the past year, Kagebrandt’s role at Courant evolved from doing the daily accounting and taking care of horses in the owner’s Swedish stable to managing the company’s budget and finances, selecting yearlings, and working alongside owner Anders Ström. A far cry from her initial aspirations of becoming a trainer, Kagebrandt appreciates the rarity of occupying such a role in a harness racing stable. “It’s really nice to work with Anders, we work really good together,” Kagebrandt said. “I really enjoy it. I travel all around the world to do what I love. I love my job. It’s beautiful. This kind of job, there are not so many jobs out there that are like mine.” Following his International Trot win, Cruzado Dela Noche finished sixth in the Breeders Crown Open Trot at Pocono and seventh in the TVG Free For All Trot at the Meadowlands. After a winter break, he returned this May to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Swamp. Cruzado Dela Noche topped 11 rivals in the 9-furlong stakes to take the winner’s share of the $175,000 purse. Although he’s placed in another two stakes in six other seasonal starts, Cruzado Dela Noche hasn’t found the winner’s circle since the Cutler. He often comes from off the pace, but tends to run out of ground going the standard mile distance in America and Canada. “I think he’s been really, really great. He’s one year older, but he still gives his best. He gets home really fast every time,” Kagebrandt said. “He goes really, really good every time, so we’re really happy with him.” Cruzado Dela Noche only failed to earn a check once this season when he finished last of six beaten 14 1/2 lengths in an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Aug. 24. Although he made a long first-over move in that start, Cruzado Dela Noche tired in the final 3 furlongs, uncharacteristic of his typically strong final quarters. “He didn’t like the shipping and he was not to be recognized. He wasn’t feeling well. He wasn’t himself, that’s for sure,” Kagebrandt explained. “After that, he got some medication and he got to rest for two weeks to recover. He’s been training at home. Marcus and Mikaela (Melander), they have been really happy with him. He has been strong again and really happy and he’s doing his work really good.” After regrouping at Melander’s New Egypt, N.J. stable, Cruzado Dela Noche prepared to defend his Yonkers International Trot title with a 1:55.2 qualifying win at Harrah’s Philadelphia Oct. 1. Racing 10 lengths off the pace in third at the half, Cruzado Dela Noche moved on the outside and kicked away with a :28.4 final panel to score by 4 1/2 lengths. Returning to represent Sweden in the Yonkers International Trot, Kagebrandt is confident. She feels the added distance is ideal for the 7-year-old trotter. “He doesn’t have that kind of speed like Greenshoe, but he can go another lap,” she said. “I’m really hopeful for the International because it’s his distance. He’s so much better at longer distances and he’s shown that in Europe as well. That’s why I’m hopeful because now he finally gets a longer race and that’s what he’s best at.” Cruzado Dela Noche and Brian Sears drew post seven in this year’s International, one slot outside his starting position last year and one slot inside of returning rival and last year’s runner up Lionel of Norway. Denmark’s Slide So Easy also competed last year and returns; he drew post one. The new faces in this year’s edition are 2018 Hambletonian winner Atlanta, who will represent the United States from post three. Guardian Angel As will also represent the United States and will start from the second tier in post nine. Marion Marauder will make his third appearance in the International representing Canada. European sensations Bahia Quesnot (France, post two), Uza Josselyn (Switzerland, post four), Zacon Gio (Italy, post five), and Norton Commander (Germany, post 10) complete the field. “It is tougher. They have a really good field. They did last year, but this is tougher than last year, absolutely,” Kagebrandt said. “The class of this year’s International is really good. It’s good for the race, it’s good for everybody. “We have great respect for our opponents. This year, Atlanta and Guardian Angel As should probably be seen as favorites,” Kagebrandt said. “Among the Europeans, Uza Josselyn is super quick and Zacon Gio also comes with great reputation. They also have good post positions. We need racing luck to beat those horses for sure. But we have the best driver and a horse with a heart of gold.” Cruzado Dela Noche would join Su Mac Lad (1961, 1963), Roquepine (1967, 1968), Une de Mai (1969, 1971), Delmonica Hanover (1973, 1974), Ideal du Gazeau (1981, 1982, 1983), and Lutin d’Isigny (1984, 1985) as a repeat winner of the International should he prove victorious Saturday afternoon (Oct. 12). “It would mean a lot, especially with ‘Cruzado’ because we know he’s a really good horse,” Kagebrandt said. “It’s really hard for him to win races here. When he cannot open from the start, he always gets a bad trip. He really needs this win so people understand that he’s a great horse. It’s really hard competition, but I’m not worried. I think he’ll be in good shape.” The $1 million Yonkers International Trot is slated for Saturday, October 12 at Yonkers Raceway. The card will also feature a pair of $250,000 invitationals, the 1 1/4-mile Harry Harvey Trot and 1-mile Dan Rooney Pace. For more information on the event and its participants, click here. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.   By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

LEXINGTON, KY--Division leader Greenshoe kept his crown intact as he patiently pushed for the front and faced little challenge when cruising to a 1:51.1 mile in the 127th Kentucky Futurity--going as a $450,000 single heat sponsored by Hunterton Farms, Stoner Manor Inc. and Menhammer Stuteri Ab--over a "good" track at The Red Mile on Sunday, Oct. 6. Stablemate Green Manalishi S swept to the top from post 8 while Gimpanzee raced first over to a :27.3 first quarter and supplied cover to fellow Marcus Melander trainee Greenshoe. Gimpanzee slid to the lead up the backstretch while Greenshoe, the 1-9 favorite, crept closer to the top through a :55.1 half with Pilot Discretion on cover second over. Greenshoe hit his best strides heading to the final turn, rushing past Gimpanzee to lead the field past three-quarters in 1:24. Through the stretch the millionaire son of Father Patrick veered wide but kept to task while pursued down the center of the course by Don't Let'em, who took second. Gimpanzee held third from Soul Strong closing from the back of the pack for fourth. "I was really happy with the way things were working out; I wasn't getting any road trouble," said winning driver Brian Sears after the race. "I was able to be patient with him and ease him up to the front. Then when I thought it was time to use him up a little bit he was there for me and was pretty much in hand. I was really happy with the way he scored down so I was getting a good feeling going behind the gate. He's got speed that really no other horse I can think of can go with." Earning $1,241,273 for owners Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli, Greenshoe--bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz--won his 12th race from 16 starts. "I was here for the first time in 2007," said owner Anders Strom, who co-owns Greenshoe through Courant Inc. "I started my business as a horse owner for real in 2005 and set myself a target to have the world's best horse in 15 years and we are up by a photo finish now. Not to say the least to do it with this team of trainer, groom, driver, my co-owners which also will include Hanover Shoe Farms where he will find his new home next season." Greenshoe paid $2.20 to win. by Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

MILTON, ON - September 14, 2019 - Green Manalishi S and driver Tim Tetrick went to the front and never looked back to capture the $605,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   The Marcus Melander trainee held off a late push from Pilot Discretion to win Woodbine's marquee harness racing event for three-year-old trotters by half a length in 1:52.4. Tetrick becomes the winningest driver in the history of the Canadian Trotting Classic with now four titles to his name.   "That's a big honour," said Tetrick of claiming the Canadian Trotting Classic wins record. "It just kind of fell into place and worked out really good."   Tetrick's previous three victories in the Canadian Trotting Classic came with Crystal Fashion (2018), Bar Hopping (2016) and Market Share (2012).   Green Manalishi S, who went off as the 6/5 favourite, shot to the top from post-four and led the field by the opening-quarter in :27.2. After an easy :29 second-quarter, Tetrick ramped up the tempo with the son of Muscle Hill to trot a :27.3 third-quarter.   Swandre The Giant raced in the two-hole, but made a break going to three-quarters. Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade moved out from third entering the final turn and was nearly fourth-lengths behind Green Manalishi S turning for home. Goodtimes winner Pilot Discretion followed the moves of Forbidden Trade to sit third at the three-quarter pole.   In the stretch, Green Manalishi S had close to three-lengths on his rivals with an eighth of a mile to go. The push to the finish line saw the lead shrink with Pilot Discretion closing in, ultimately coming up half a length short.   "I wanted to get out of there and either sit really close or go ahead and cut it, but I didn't want to have to work too hard to do it," said Tetrick of his strategy. "I wanted him to feel really brave going down the backside and I went a little faster in the third-quarter to get a little separation on them and down by the wire it was getting close, but my horse held on good and he never wins by too many."   Green Manalishi S   Forbidden Trade finished third, but was placed back to fifth for causing interference in deep stretch to Only For Justice. Smart As Hill was moved up from fourth to third, while Only For Justice entered the Superfecta going from fifth to fourth.   Owned by Courant Inc, Green Manalishi S improved to four for four in starts at Mohawk Park. The Melander trainee becomes the first horse since Father Patrick in 2014 to win the Wellwood Memorial and Canadian Trotting Classic in consecutive seasons.   "This horse has kind of been in the shadow of Greenshoe and Gimpanzee," said Tetrick of Green Manalishi S status among Melander's stable stars. "He's done really well and he's made money and won an elimination of the Hambletonian. He's a very qualified horse."   Green Manalishi S is now five for nine this season with $688,226 earned. The Canadian Trotting Classic victory is the 10th career visit to the winner's circle for the son of Muscle Hill and pushes his career earnings over the million-dollar plateau to $1.2 million.   A $2 win ticket on Green Manalishi S returned $4.60.   by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment    

Hanover, PA — Hanover Shoe Farms Inc., Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli proudly announce that superstar harness racing colt trotter Greenshoe will retire to Hanover Shoe Farms at the conclusion of his 3-year-old campaign to commence stallion duty at the world’s foremost nursery in 2020. Greenshoe burst onto the harness racing scene in early June of his freshman year, winning his first 2-year-old race in 1:55 with a last quarter of :27.3. He would go on to win his next four races at 2, including the New Jersey Sire Stakes final in 1:53.3. Greenshoe made his highly anticipated return to the races as a 3-year-old in May of this year and has once again electrified industry participants and fans alike with his unparalleled speed, stamina, and determination. Greenshoe has thus far won seven of his nine sophomore starts, including both the New Jersey Sire Stakes leg and the final, his Earl Beal elimination, the Stanley Dancer Memorial, his Hambletonian elimination, the Zweig Memorial and, most recently, a Kentucky Sire Stake leg in 1:50.4 with a last quarter of :26. Greenshoe has trotted sub-:27 final quarters in each of his last five starts. To date Greenshoe boasts a record of 1:50.1 and $843,223 in earnings. According to Sabine Kagebrandt, managing director of Courant Inc., Greenshoe is slated to appear in three more races this year, the Kentucky Sire Stakes final on Sept. 15, the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6 and the Breeders Crown on Oct. 26 (eliminations the week before if necessary). It is possible that Greenshoe will also start in the TVG final at The Meadowlands on Nov. 23. A former $330,000 yearling purchase from breeders Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, Greenshoe is from the first crop of the trotting stallion Father Patrick and the first foal out of Designed To Be 3,1:51.3f ($656,166), she by Donato Hanover. While sporting the most modern of bloodlines, Greenshoe’s pedigree still makes him accessible to mares by preeminent stallions Muscle Hill and Chapter Seven. Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Executive Vice President of Hanover Shoe Farms, has been an avid Greenshoe fan since the colt’s first 2-year-old race. Dr. Jablonsky says, “It is with much joy and satisfaction that I share this announcement with the harness racing world today. I fell in love with Greenshoe the first time I saw him race and could envision his spot in our stallion barn very early in his career. To me, he is the horse of a generation. He can do things that I haven’t seen other horses do. His acceleration is magical and his gait is a thing of beauty.” Courant’s Anders Ström says, “Greenshoe showed early talent in training during the spring as a 2-year-old and showed his capacity in his performances early on. He is, in my opinion, the most capable and technically most perfect gaited horse since Muscle Hill and there are perhaps only ten horses like this born in a century. With his ability, conformation and pedigree, I am looking forward to his career as a stallion and will of course be breeding my best mares to him.” Hanover President Russell Williams adds, “Over nearly a century, Hanover has built the greatest Standardbred broodmare band in existence, and we continue to add at the top. Potential stallions of Greenshoe’s caliber do not come along often, but when they do, they belong in our stallion roster. The Greenshoe yearlings of 2022 will begin a new page in trotting history.” The response to the syndication of Greenshoe is expected to be overwhelming. Although shares won’t be formally sold until after his fertility exam in December, we encourage all those who are interested in becoming a Greenshoe shareholder to contact Dr. Jablonsky at 717.578.7395 or drjablonsky@hanoverpa.com to discuss the syndication. From Hanover Shoe Farms

Mattias Melander is uncertain what the future holds for his career as a driver. The 23-year-old is simply taking it one race at a time. "I don't really have a plan," said Melander, the younger brother of Dan Patch Rising Star Award-winning trainer Marcus Melander. "I don't think about it too much. I like (driving). I'm not sure that's all I want to do, but that's what I want to do right now. I've been getting more chances and I like it more and more. I feel more confident with everything." Melander, who works with his brother at the family's training center in central New Jersey, entered Thursday with 14 wins in 64 drives this year. He got his first Grand Circuit victory in August with trotter Back Of The Neck and will team up again with the 2-year-old colt in Saturday's C$370,000 William Wellwood Memorial at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Back Of The Neck, one of two Wellwood finalists from the Melander Stable, won his elimination last weekend by 1-1/2 lengths over favorite Port Perry in a career-best 1:55. The other Melander finalist, Capricornus, also was an elim winner. Tim Tetrick drives Capricornus. For the season, Back Of The Neck, from the family of Dan Patch Award winner Broadway Schooner, has won three of five races and $53,095. He is a son of Ready Cash out of Big Barb and was purchased for $150,000 at the 2018 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and breeder Order By Stable. In addition to his wins in the Reynolds and Wellwood eliminations, Back Of The Neck won his debut in a preliminary round of the Kindergarten Classic Series. He was third in his elim for the Peter Haughton Memorial and seventh in the final from post eight. Melander has driven the colt in all five starts. "After I won with him in the first race, the owners said I could keep driving him, so I was very fortunate they wanted that," Melander said. "He is a little bit (tricky to drive). He behaves, but you have to be very careful with him because he wants to do more than he actually can. You can't grab him too much and you can't grab him too little because then he's going to make a break or something like that. It's a fine line. "He's very talented for sure. He was a late bloomer but once he started developing he (progressed) real fast. He's very nice gaited. He does exactly what I ask him to do. When I tell him to go, he goes. I don't think there is anything I don't like about him. He's a good horse like that." Melander's other wins this year include two preliminary rounds of the Kentucky Sire Stakes series with 2-year-old male trotter Expectations and three state-bred-restricted races in Pennsylvania with 2-year-old male trotter Rome Pays Off. Expectations competes Sunday in the Kentucky Sire Stakes final at Lexington's Red Mile. Melander will turn over the lines to Brian Sears for that race. "That's Brian's drive; I've only been driving him because he hasn't been there," Melander said. "Expectations is a perfect gentleman, perfect to drive. He doesn't get worked up, he's just perfect on the bit, and when you ask him to go, he does." Melander, a native of Sweden, came to the U.S. four years ago and began working at the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, where his brother Marcus had also worked. Mattias planned to return home after a year, but Takter talked him into staying. "He told me I was going to learn a lot more, and I did," Melander said. "I'm grateful that he told me and convinced me to stay another year. I got a lot more experience working in a big stable. Jimmy is a great teacher. I got to learn a lot that year." Melander's education continues today, particularly in the sulky. "The biggest thing I've learned so far is probably more patience," Melander said. "I could get a little eager before. That's the biggest thing. Don't get too eager. "In the beginning, I would sit and think about (a bad race) a lot," he added. "I've learned more and more to just let that go. If there is something that I did wrong, I'm going to think about it because I want to develop and not do it again. But it's not something I'm going to sit and think about when I'm going to drive another race. You have to move on." Melander hopes to keep moving on successfully but is not putting any expectations on his career. "I just want to keep on driving and develop," he said. "It would be nice to drive in some more big races, that's experience too. Just keep on driving." One race at a time. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Batavia, NY --- Marcus Melander has come a very long way in harness racing in a very short amount of time. After making the move to North America from his home in Sweden at the age of 21 to work for Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, Melander went off on his own and hasn't looked back. Over the last five years, Melander's stable has won in excess of $7.8 million in purses, had five trotters reach the Hambletonian final and was awarded two year-end Dan Patch Awards for divisional winning horses. Melander himself received the 2018 Dan Patch Rising Star Award this past February in Orlando, Florida in recognition of his exceptional early career accomplishments. This year two of the best horses in his stable just happen to be New York-bred and both are undefeated in their New York Sire Stake (NYSS) starts this year. They are 3-year-old trotting colt Gimpanzee and 2-year-old trotting filly Hypnotic Am and they both will be competing in the $1.8 million NYSS Night of Champions at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 14). In his freshman season, Gimpanzee was undefeated going nine for nine. He swept the NYSS to become the 2-year-old champion, won the $600,000 Breeders Crown final and amassed a total of $591,358 for the year. That earned him the 2018 Dan Patch Award for 2-year-old trotting colts. This year Gimpanzee started out by running up his lifetime undefeated streak to 13 before joining Melander stablemates Greenshoe and Green Manalishi S in the Hambletonian final. Gimpanzee got parked out from post seven in his elimination and finished fourth. He then drew post seven again in the final, went a similar trip and finished third. He closed very well in both starts (:26.4 and :26.2) and was only beaten a length in each race. Melander reflected on those starts as he was preparing him for the New York finals this weekend. "He went tremendous in both races and finished strong in both despite having the seven hole. If he had a little better post in the final I think he could win the race because he was flying home. But he raced real good that day and we could not be more happy. He showed everyone that he is fast enough," said Melander. Despite the task of racing two heats in one day, Gimpanzee came out unfazed and continued his winning ways at Batavia on Saturday (Aug. 24). "He came out of those heats better than I thought but that doesn't surprise me. He's very laid back and easy on himself. It was good that there were no eliminations for the Yonkers Trot so we could bring him up to Batavia that week and get some more points and get some experience around that track. It was a great surface to race over at Batavia and he got around it very well," said Melander. After the New York final, Gimpanzee will be going down to the Red Mile for the Bluegrass Series and the Kentucky Futurity with his sights strongly focused on a second Breeders Crown championship. Stablemate Hypnotic Am hasn't visited Batavia yet this year because she was busy winning the $310,000 James Doherty Memorial at the Meadowlands the week her division competed there. Hypnotic Am was bred by her owner Courant and was such an impressive yearling that they sent her to Melander to train, rather than the sale last fall. And clearly that has worked out well for all involved. "She trained down good and every start she seems to get better and better. She has no problem doing the work herself; she has speed, she has stamina, she has everything a good horse should have," said Melander. "She went a big mile in the Doherty (1:53), a track record at Yonkers (1:56.1) and was a was very strong as a wrapped-up winner at Saratoga in 1:54.4 over an off track. She's a very nice filly." Her performances this year speak volumes. She is currently the fastest 2-year-old trotter overall in North America, richest 2-year-old trotting filly and the second richest overall behind Real Cool Sam, who has raced two more starts to this point and is coincidentally also undefeated at 8-8. After the NYSS final, Melander said she may head down to Lexington for the Grand Circuit races as well, but that will be a decision he makes later. But one thing is for sure, She will compete in the Breeders Crown. "We may go to Kentucky, depending on how she races and comes out of the race this week. I like to be careful with the 2-year-olds because they can get sick and that can happen very easily when they travel." Both Gimpanzee and Hypnotic Am are by Chapter Seven out of a granddaughter of Muscles Yankee. It's a cross Melander likes and his trotting star of two years ago Fourth Dimension, who was a four-time NYSS winner and the 2017 Dan Patch Award 2-year-old trotting colt of the year, had the same. Melander looks to continue his success in New York in the coming years, stating the program helps develop young talent. "I think it's a very good series and although there are a lot of half mile tracks, most of them have good surfaces. Many are very soft for the horses and that helps a young horse a lot. And as long as the tracks are good, that's good for the horse's futures then it works great to have them in this program," said Melander. "I will be shopping for New York horses at the sales this fall and if I can find something I like I will definitely try to buy them. I like the New York circuit. It's good money and a good program for us." The $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions that are comprised of eight $225,000 races will be held at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 14) with a first race post time of 6 p.m. The draw for that card is on Wednesday (Sept. 11) at noon and will be live streamed on the NYSS website as well as both the NYSS and Batavia Downs Facebook pages. Batavia native and New York State Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley will serve as the honorary drawmaster. Peter Kleinhans will be the track's guest host and handicapper for the in-house and simulcast broadcast and Heather Wilder will be in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle interviewing the winners and all their connections after each stake race. There will be two $7,500 guaranteed pools in both the early and late Pick-4 wagers that night and both will be all-stake Pick-4's (races 3-6 and races 7-10). The pools are part of the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and free program pages will be available on the USTA's website and through links on the Batavia Downs Facebook page when they become available. Free full card programs will also be available for download from the Daily Racing Form starting Thursday. There will be a T-shirt giveaway courtesy of the NYSS on Saturday night as well. Fans attending the races live only need to swipe their Player's Club card at guest services starting at 4:30 p.m. to receive a ticket to get their shirt after the seventh race. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

MILTON, ON - September 6, 2019 - A quintet of Grand Circuit stakes for rookie and sophomore trotters headlined Friday evening's card at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   A trio of Simcoe Stakes divisions for three-year-olds and a pair of William Wellwood Memorial eliminations for two-year-olds all took place on a 10-race card.   Green Manalish S dug deep late to reach up for a thrilling victory in the lone $174,503 Simcoe division for three-year-old colts and geldings. The victory gave driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Marcus Melander each a stakes hat-trick on the card.   All Wrapped Up made a second-quarter move from third to first and led the field by the half in :57. Green Manalishi S and Tetrick got away fourth and sat there until the midway point of the mile, angling out to come first-up.   The third-quarter saw All Wrapped Up ramp up the tempo :28.1, while Green Manalishi S grinded up to the leader's wheel.   In the stretch, All Wrapped Up was all out and kept Green Manalishi S more than a length away with an eighth of a mile to go. The Melander trainee would not be denied a victory, finding more in deep stretch and powering by just in time for a 1:53 victory.   "I thought I was a little messed up there when I let them get over to the half too slow and I was a little far back," said Tetrick. "I had to come a little early there going to the half, but my horse sat out there and put his nose up when it was time.   "Top of the lane a little bit (worried)," admitted Tetrick. "Half way down the lane he started kicking in and right by the tote board he took off for me and I knew I was going to get him."   Union Forces finished third, while Smart As Hill was fourth.   A son of Muscle Hill, Green Manalishi S was making his first start at Mohawk Park since capturing last year's Wellwood Memorial. The Melander trainee improved to four wins and $385,726 earned in eight starts this season.   Green Manalishi S will now head towards next Saturday's (September 14) Canadian Trotting Classic with nine wins and $945,883 in career earnings for owner Courant Inc.   A $2 win ticket on Green Manalishi S returned $2.80.   The entry box for the Canadian Trotting Classic closes Tuesday morning (September 10) at 10:30 a.m. The top-ten money earners to enter will compete in the rich final.   The Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies saw a group of 13 separated into a pair of divisions.   Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry made her first start since August 3 and got things her own way to win the $85,029 first division   Now racing for trainer Carmen Auciello, When Dovescry and driver Simon Allard trotted out to the lead and got away with soft fractions of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:27.4. Special Honor followed the leader's every move from the two-hole, while 3/5 favourite Evident Beauty sat third.   The sprint for home saw Evident Beauty trotting up a storm and appearing to have a chance to defeat When Dovescry until she made a break entering the final sixteenth, handing the victory to When Dovescry in 1:54.4. Special Honor finished two-lengths back in second, while Evident Beauty finished third.   "I got lucky," said Allard about the break made by Evident Beauty. "She didn't race in a little while and we needed a race and we ended up winning, so that's great. She's been good all along and sometimes the good horses do everything right and it works out for them."   A daughter of Muscle Hill, When Dovescry picked up her third straight win to bring her sophomore record to three wins and $328,054 earned in six starts. She now sports career numbers of eight wins and $618,764 earned for owners Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh and Lawrence Dumain.   A $2 win ticket on When Dovescry returned $4.50.   Sisters Promise went to the top and never looked back to win the $86,028 second Simcoe division in a career-best 1:53.4.   Driven by Tetrick, Sisters Promise trotted out to the lead and set fractions of :28.2, :57.4 and 1:25.3. Race-favourite The Ice Dutchess sat fourth and angled out heading towards three-quarters.   Sisters Promise got away from her rivals after creating separation at three-quarters and trotted home in :28.1 to win by three-quarters of a length. The Ice Dutchess finished second, while Bright Eyes M was third.   "She's always had enough talent, just hasn't been able to put it together," said Tetrick. "I got off the car and got an easy first-eighth and kind of cruised to the half and then I stepped on the gas and she held off The Ice Dutchess late."   A daughter of Father Patrick, Sisters Promise was winless in 11 starts this season prior to her Simcoe score. The Linda Toscano trainee has now earned over $100,000 this season to bring her career totals to four wins and $192,109 earned for owners Brittany Farms.   Sisters Promise paid $20.20 to win.   The top finishers from Friday's Simcoe Stakes are all eligible to next Saturday's (September 14) Elegantimage Stakes. The top-ten money earners to enter by Tuesday morning will line up for the rich event.   A group of 14 two-year-old trotting colts and geldings were split into a pair of $30,000 eliminations for the Wellwood Memorial. The top-five finishers from each division booked their ticket to next Saturday's $370,000 final.   Back Of The Neck was a coast-to-coast winner in the first elimination for the Team Melander. The Ready Cash colt and driver Mattias Melander set fractions of :28, :58.3 and 1:26.4 before trotting home in :28.1 for a 1:55 victory.   "Every start he races he's been developing more," said Mattias Melander about Back Of The Neck. "I was on him a little bit, but I think he had some left."   Trained by Marcus Melander, Back Of The Neck didn't face pressure until Beyond Kronos pushed first-up going to three-quarters. The margin of victory was a length and a half with Beyond Kronos finishing second and Port Perry finishing third off a two-hole trip.   Nylander and Hetalkstoangels completed the top-five to advance to next week's final.   A $150,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Back Of The Neck is now three for five with $56,845 earned for owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable and Judith Taylor. He paid $5.80 to win.   Marcus Melander completed the sweep of the Wellwood eliminations with Capricornus holding off a push from longshot Hp Royal Theo to win the second split in 1:55.1   Driven by Tetrick, Capricornus angled out from third on the far turn to make a first-up bid against leader and race-favourite Synergy. The public's choice couldn't deliver in the lane after a three-quarter clocking of 1:27. Capricornus overtook the lead and dug in to hold off Hp Royal Theo by a neck.   "I really liked what I saw and he really dug in all the way," said Melander of Capricornus. "He's got a really good attitude and that's really important and he's a really nice gaited-horse and a pleasure to drive."   Moon Bridge and Blue Cupertino completed the Superfecta. Synergy did make the final by finishing fifth.   A $110,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Capricornus is now three for six with $96,770 earned for owner JJ Stable. The Melander trainee shaved a fifth of a second off his previous career best with the victory.   Capricornus paid $4.10 to win.   The post position draw for next Saturday's (September 14) $370,000 final took place following the eliminations. The Melander stable had their choice of positions following the victories by Back Of The Neck and Capricornus.   1 - Blue Cupertino 2 - Hetalkstoangels 3 - Back Of The Neck 4 - Capricornus 5 - Hp Royal Theo 6 - Nylander 7 - Moon Bridge 8 - Port Perry 9 - Beyond Kronos 10 - Synergy AE - Your Still Up   Friday evening's card also featured a $30,000 Mares Preferred. Youaremycandygirl followed up her stunning victory from a week ago with a 1:48.3 victory over Seaswift Joy N and Kissin In The Sand.   Making her second start from trainer Richard Moreau, Youaremycandygirl brushed to the lead in the second-quarter and never looked back to win. The four-year-old mare and driver Louis Philippe Roy posted fractions of :54.4 and 1:21.4 before firing home in :26.4 for her third win of the season.   Owned by W Donovan, Youaremycandygirl sports career numbers of 21 wins and over $1.5 million earned. She paid $3.50 to win.   Live racing continues Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park with more Grand Circuit action. Rookie pacers, colts and fillies, will compete in the Champlain, while three-year-old pacing fillies will duel in the Simcoe.   Post time is 7:10 p.m.   by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment        

Vernon, NY - Vernon Downs will host the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial trot for 3-year-old colts and its $135,000 filly companion Grand Circuit harness racing stakes on Saturday, August 18.   The Zweig (race 9) has drawn the two Hambletonian elimination winners in Greenshoe and Green Manalishi S, both of whom reside in the Marcus Melander stable.   Green Manalishi S (PP#2 Tim Tetrick) has won half of his six starts this season for owner Anders Strom's Courant, Inc. including a 1:50.3 career best when his prevailed after a long uncovered bid in his Hambo elim. He made his way to the front in the final, eventually succumbing to winner Forbidden Trade.   The enigmatic Greenshoe (PP#6 Brian Sears) came into the Hambletonian as the heavy favorite. He won his elim in 1:50.2 and looked for all intents and purposes to be the final winner despite an eventful trip when he trotted boldly up to Forbidden Trade mid-stretch, but did not go by. Greenshoe has amassed $586,500 in seasonal earnings for Courant, Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli.   The $135,000 Filly Zweig (race 8) is a very strong and competitive field led by NJSS final winner Evident Beauty (Dave Miller). She's won four of seven and is leading money winner in the field at over $200,000 this season for owners Mel Hartman, Little E, LLC and R A W Equine. Nifty Norman trains the filly.   Both of the Zweig races will be housed in a stakes barn where they must be checked in by 8:00pm on Friday evening. Call the Racing Office at (315) 829-6825 for details.   The NYSS for 2-year-old pacing colts supports the feature with a pair of divisions racing for a purse of more than $50,000.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs

Vernon NY - The 2019 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial colt trot has drawn 10 horses (9 to race with the 10th horse to have his 3-year-old payments refunded) that include several of the harness racing sophomore trotting division headliners.   Among those entered are the potent Marcus Melander pair of Hambletonian first heat winners Greenshoe and and Green Manalishi S along with Beal Memorial winner Marseille. They will compete in a single division of the stake to be raced at Vernon Downs on Saturday, August 18.   The companion filly stake drew 14 including NJSS final winner Evident Beauty and 2018 Jim Doherty Memorial winner The Ice Dutchess. There is the possibility of a consolation race to accommodate the fillies that will not draw into the main event.   Further details and the draw for post positions will be available later this afternoon.   Saturday card will also include New York Sires Stakes for the 2-year-old colt pacers.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs            

East Rutherford, NJ -- Greenshoe ($2.60) looked every bit the part of a odds-on favorite in the second Hambletonian elimination harness racing division on Saturday (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands, seizing command from Marseille with three-eighths to go and coasting to a handy 1:50.2 victory.   Greenshoe threw his head briefly at the start, but Brian Sears held him together before floating him into third behind Marseille (Ãke Svanstedt) and Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) on the first turn. After clearing from post eight in a :27.3 first quarter, Marseille rebuffed a pocket bid from Forbidden Trade en route to a :56 half before facing the first-over onslaught of Greenshoe on approach to the far turn.   With three-eighths to go, the son of Father Patrick surged to the fore and edged away willingly in the home straight to a wrapped-up two-length score, the seventh of his career.   Don't Let'em (Yannick Gingras) chased well after losing cover to protect second from Forbidden Trade, who switched three-wide from the pocket and accelerated in mid-stretch. Marseille finished fourth, and Pilot Discretion (Andy McCarthy) finished fifth to secure the final berth to the 94th Hambletonian, carded as race 12.   Marcus Melander, whose Green Manalishi S took the first Hambletonian elimination, trains Greenshoe for Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli.   by James Witherite, for the Hambletonian Society

East Rutherford, NJ -- Green Manalishi S ($20.60) outlasted a first-over grind to collar Osterc in 1:50.3 in the first $70,000 Hambletonian harness racing elimination on Saturday (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands, while fourth-place finisher Gimpanzee suffered defeat for the first time after winning the first 12 races of his career.   Now an eight-time winner, the son of Muscle Hill commenced his uncovered bid out of fourth just beyond a :54.4 half mile, advancing steadily on the far turn in line to Tim Tetrick to engage 30-1 long shot Osterc (Yannick Gingras) at the midpoint of the far turn. The pair dueled the length of the stretch, with Green Manalishi S just reaching in the final strides. Osterc was a game runner-up, while Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) launched a belated rally down the grandstand side to finish third.   Gimpanzee (Brian Sears), sent off the 2-5 favorite, gapped third-over cover but finished evenly to save fourth, and Cantab Fashion (Scott Zeron) finished fifth.   Marcus Melander trains Green Manalishi S for Courant Inc.   The top five finishers from each elimination will advance to the $1 million Hambletonian final, carded as race 12 at The Meadowlands.   by James Witherite, for the Hambletonian Society  

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Aug. 1) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Nancy Johansson, Marcus Melander, Dave Brower and Moira Fanning.. Co-host Michael Carter sat down with Nancy Johansson and Marcus Melander at their respective farms to talk their Hambletonian contenders. Both Melander and Johansson have big opportunities to win on Saturday afternoon and they discussed their chances in the big race. Brower, the handicapper and morning line oddsmaker at The Meadowlands will join to talk about the action packed sixteen race program slated for Saturday afternoon. The pair will dissect the races and talk about the $1,000,000 Hambletonian. Fanning, the COO of the Hambletonian Society, joins the program this week talk about the race and what goes into putting the day together. She will discuss some of the happenings at The Meadowlands this Saturday and what fans on track can expect. Post Time can be heard live on Saturday from 3-6 p.m. with live coverage of the 94th Hambletonian. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. by Michael Carter, for the Mike and Mike Show  

CHESTER, PA - The Muscle Hill sophomore colt Demon Onthe Hill trotted to a new mark of 1:54.3 victory in the $16,000 featured event at Harrah's Philadelphia, perhaps a good sign for trainer Marcus Melander as he heads into the Hambletonian on Saturday. Tim Tetrick, posting another five winners on the day, settled the winner of $155,405 in third as Klutzy set the pace, with favored Nextroundsonme in the pocket. Demon Onthe Hill was sent outside late on the backstretch to go after the leader after Nextroundsonme started to gap (he eventually broke), and the "Demon" finished briskly to leave Klutzy 3 3/4 lengths behind him late. Vicky Trotting Inc. may find themselves with a promising trotter finally headed in the right direction. The imperially-bred son of Muscle Hill and Moni Maker (her last foal), the four-year-old American Moni, finally gained his maiden victory with a 1:55.4 effort. A winner in a Lexington qualifier in 1:54.2 last season, American Moni was put on the lead by driver Andy Miller, stringing the field out, looked in a bit of peril around the far turn when the freshman Yankee Glide colt Hell Patrol tightened in then moved out to challenge, but then regained full control when the baby jumped it off turning for home. This was the first start for American Moni since teaming with trainer Julie Miller for Moni Maker Stable. Another well-bred winner was the Somebeachsomewhere freshman pacing gelding Super Mac, who overcame the outside post eight with an engine victory in 1:53.2, last half :56.1, for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim Campbell. Super Mac is out of Michelle's Power, a talented continuation in a long string of racing/breeding champions for this freshman's owner, Jeffrey Snyder. From the PHHA/Harrah's Racetrack

East Rutherford, NJ - Sixteen 3-year-old trotters entered Saturday's 94th Hambletonian Stakes at The Meadowlands, requiring two eight-horse eliminations to reduce the field to 10 for the $1 million final later that afternoon. Gimpanzee is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first elimination and Greenshoe is the 4-5 favorite in the second. The draws for the Hambletonian and companion Hambletonian Oaks, which is restricted to 3-year-old female trotters, were held Tuesday at The Meadowlands. Gimpanzee drew post No. 7 in his elimination and Greenshoe drew post No. 5. Both colts are trained by Marcus Melander. The top-five finishers from each $100,000 elimination return for the final. Millies Possesion, who won one of last week's two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the $500,000 final. When Dovescry, the other elimination winner, is the 5-2 second choice. As elimination winners, Millies Possesion and When Dovescry drew for spots in posts one through five, with Millies Possesion getting post two and When Dovescry getting post five. The Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). Greenshoe, the No. 1-ranked horse in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian, has won four of five races this year, with his only loss a second-place finish by a head to Marseille in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Greenshoe heads to the Hambletonian off a 1:50.1 win in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 13 at The Meadowlands. The time is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter. Marcus Melander trains Greenshoe for Anders Strom's Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. Three-time Hambletonian winner Brian Sears will drive Greenshoe. Gimpanzee is undefeated in 12 career starts and will try to become only the second unbeaten horse to win the Hambletonian. Deweycheatumnhowe accomplished the feat in 2008. Gimpanzee, owned by Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable, was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He also will have Sears in the sulky in his elimination. Greenshoe and Gimpanzee are two of four horses trained by the 27-year-old Melander in the Hambletonian. The others are Green Manalishi S and Gerry. Green Manalishi S, who has never finished worse than third in 14 career races, winning seven, is owned by Courant Inc. and is the 5-2 second choice in the first elimination. S R F Stable, which won the Hambletonian in 2017 with Perfect Spirit, owns Gerry. "With a horse like Greenshoe, when he's going to be the big favorite, of course it's going to be a little pressure," said Melander, who is making his third appearance in the Hambletonian. "But I can't do much more. I think I've prepared the horses the best I can. Now it's just up to the horses. I can't be more happy with them, how they feel at home, and how they've been racing. I'm excited, I have a good feeling. As long as they're fine, I think they will do a good race. "Like I said, I can't do much more. We need some racing luck, of course. There is so much that can go wrong in a race, you need a little bit of luck, a little bit of racing luck. Hopefully, we'll have that too." Other contenders include Don't Let'em, who with a 1:50.2 win in last week's Reynolds Memorial is the season's second-fastest 3-year-old trotter, hails from the stable of trainer Nancy Johansson. Don't Let'em, who is 4-1 in the second elimination, won last year's Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters on Hambletonian Day and is bidding to become the first Haughton champ to capture the Hambletonian since Muscle Hill in 2009. Marseille, trained by Ake Svanstedt, captured a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes in addition to winning the Beal Memorial. He is 5-1 in the second elimination. Svanstedt, who trained Perfect Spirit in 2017, is the only trainer in this year's Hambletonian to previously win the race. Swandre The Giant, who won a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial by a length over Green Manalishi S, is the 7-2 third choice in the first elimination. He is trained by Ron Burke. In the Hambletonian Oaks, Millies Possesion, unraced at age 2, will try to extend her career win streak to nine against a field of nine rivals. She won her Oaks elimination by a nose over Evident Beauty in 1:52.3. "I thought (Evident Beauty) had the momentum on her (in the stretch) but Millie dug in," said Jim Campbell, who trains the filly for owner Fashion Farms. "She's a true professional. She just knows what she's supposed to do." When Dovescry won her elimination by three lengths over Southwind Casha in 1:51.3. She has hit the board in all 12 lifetime starts, winning six. "She's amazing," said Simon Allard, who drives the filly for his brother Rene, and owners Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh, and Lawrence Dumain. "You could put a glass of water on her back and nothing would spill, she just trots so nice. You don't get the chance to drive horses like that every day. I'm so happy to be able to do this." Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Cantab Fashion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-6/1 2-Summit In Sight-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-20/1 3-Swandre The Giant-David Miller-Ron Burke-7/2 4-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 5-Mr Vicktor-Tyler Buter-Jennifer Lappe-15/1 6-Osterc-Yannick Gingras-Per Engblom-15/1 7-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-2/1 8-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-5/2 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais-12/1 2-Gerry-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-20/1 3-Pilot Discretion-Andrew McCarthy-Tony Alagna-10/1 4-Reign Of Honor-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-20/1 5-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-4/5 6-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson-4/1 7-Super Schissel-Scott Zeron-Per Engblom-10/1 8-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-5/1 Hambletonian Oaks final PP-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Southwind Casha-Scott Zeron-John Bax-15/1 2-Millies Possesion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell-9/5 3-Sonnet Grace-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 4-Evident Beauty-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-7/2 5-When Dovescry-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-5/2 6-Sweet Chapter-Matt Kakaley-Blake MacIntosh-20/1 7-Asiago-Tim Tetrick-Per Engblom-15/1 8-Queen Of Trixs-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-15/1 9-Princess Deo-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-12/1 10-Miss Trixton-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-30/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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