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CAMPBELLVILLE, ON - North America's trotting elite will congregate at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Sept. 14 and among the contestants in the William Wellwood Memorial, Peaceful Way and Canadian Trotting Classic Finals are 10 Ontario-sired stars hoping to keep the trophies close to home.  After winning his elimination from Post 10, Harper Blue Chip is among the favourites in the $365,000 William Wellwood Memorial Final. The Majestic Son colt and Milton resident Sylvain Filion will line up at Post 3 in the final and trainer Mark Steacy is expecting a world class battle. "I think he's got his work cut out for him," says the Lansdowne resident. "Father Patrick is pretty highly rated, and rightly so with the races he's won, but he did look a little vulnerable on the last turn." Favourite Father Patrick will start from Post 4 and comes into the contest on a five race win streak. Harper Blue Chip's streak only extends to two races, but Steacy feels the colt is showing steady improvement. "He broke well, trained down well. He was quiet, well mannered, smart - similar to his father. He never showed high speed, but he always did what you wanted," recalls Steacy, who trained Majestic Son to $1,993,157 in career earnings. "With each race he got better, and the speed started to come. "Sylvain Filion really likes this horse and we both hope we haven't hit the bottom of the well yet," adds the horseman. Steacy shares ownership of Harper Blue Chip with Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall and David Reid of Glenburnie. The partners purchased the colt out of last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $40,000. "I always go looking for Majestic Son's. I'm a true believer," says Steacy. "I really believe Majestic Son is a great sire, and I've trained quite a few of his. He didn't catch the Grand Circuit mares like Donato Hanover and the likes of that did, but I think if he had you'd see a lot more than three in these Finals." In addition to Harper Blue Chip, Majestic Son gelding P L Hercules will also compete in the William Wellwood Memorial from Post 6 and filly Serendipitious will start from Post 8 in the Peaceful Way Final.  In last week's Peaceful Way Eliminations, two of the three winners were Ontario-sired fillies. I Jasmin and Danica Hall trotted to 1:57.1 and 1:57.3 victories respectively and will line up at Posts 2 and 3 in the $374,000 final. "It tells you that we're producing quality horses, doesn't it," says trainer Doug McIntosh, who sends the  Deweycheatumnhowe daughter into Saturday's final on behalf of owner-breeder Walnut Hall Limited of Lexington, KY. Like Harper Blue Chip, Danica Hall captured her elimination and her Champlain Stakes division one week earlier to ride into Saturday's final on a two race win streak. And like Steacy, McIntosh knows Danica Hall is in for a tough battle in the $374,000 Final. "She's a nice filly, but that race on Saturday night is a tough race. Whoever gets a trip in there will win," says the Wheatley resident. "That two-year-old trotting filly division is very deep." Trotting specialist Trevor Ritchie of Acton will steer Danica Hall in pursuit of the biggest prize of her young career. Among the other fillies expected to be favoured in the final is Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series division leader Riveting Rose, who will start from Post 5. The Muscle Mass daughter rallied from an early break in the elimination round to finish third for driver Paul Macdonell of Guelph, trainer John Bax of Peterborough and his partners Don Allensen of Wyoming, J And T Stables of Newmarket and John Hayes of Sharon. Rounding out the Ontario-sired hopefuls in the two-year-old finals are colt Massive Talent, who gets Post 1 in the William Wellwood Memorial, and fillies Toughs Legacy and White Becomes Her, who will start from Posts 9 and 10 in the Peaceful Way.  In the $686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic Final Toocool Forschool carries the Ontario-sired torch from Post 5. The Kadabra colt finished fifth behind Master Of Law in the elimination round and will be looking for a return to the form that saw him post a personal best 1:53.4 at Mohawk in his June 8 Goodtimes Elimination. Moffat resident Jody Jamieson will steer Toocool Forschool for Glenn Lalonde of Guelph and owners Roland Rocco of Lasalle, QC and Benoit Gendron of Beaconsfield, QC. The 10 Ontario-sired entries are matched only by the number of young trotters hailing from Pennsylvania. The other jurisdictions represented are New Jersey with six hopefuls, New York with three and Kentucky with one. Post time for Mohawk Racetrack's Saturday, Sept. 14 program is 7:25 pm, with the William Wellwood Memorial Final slated as Race 3, the Peaceful Way Final going postward in Race 5 and the Canadian Trotting Classic rounding out the evening in Race 8. For complete entries. For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder  

Harper Blue Chip might not be as speedy as his father, former trotting star Majestic Son, at this stage of his career, but trainer Mark Steacy thinks he could become one of his majestic sons. The 2-year-old Harper Blue Chip is among the 10 finalists in Saturday's C$365,000 William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk Racetrack. The colt has won three of six races this season, including his most recent two. Last weekend, he won his Wellwood elimination in 1:56.1 and on Aug. 30 he won a division of the Champlain Stakes in 1:56. Saturday's card also includes the C$374,000 Peaceful Way Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters and the C$686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old male trotters. Harper Blue Chip and driver Sylvain Filion will start the Wellwood from post three. Once-beaten favorite Father Patrick, who won his elim in 1:55.3 from post 10, starts from post four with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. "He's had a good week so far," said the Ontario-based Steacy, who owns Harper Blue Chip with Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald and David Reid. "One thing about him, he's always full of himself. He's a good-feeling horse and seems to enjoy life. "Father Patrick is one talented horse. Unless he makes some kind of mistake, he looks pretty much unbeatable. But it's a horserace and anything can happen. The way my horse has been getting better and better every week, I'm hoping we're not at the bottom of the well with ours. If we get a good trip anything can happen." Steacy trained Majestic Son, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 2006. Harper Blue Chip's mother, Winning Jonlin, produced stakes-winners Medusa Blue Chip and Vibe Blue Chip and is a full-sister to stakes-winner Myolin. The family also includes two-time Horse of the Year honoree Mack Lobell and Hambletonian champion American Winner. Harper Blue Chip sold for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. "He had fairly decent conformation," Steacy said. "He might have been just a little bit toe-out, but nothing drastic. I don't mind that on a trotter anyway. He had a nice rear end on him and a good shoulder and I really liked that. I could see similarities in a few respects to what his father had. "I thought this one was probably bred better than most Majestic Sons on the mother's side. That's what Majestic Son has always lacked; he's never bred these kinds of mares before. The ones I've had have all been decent horses with lesser pedigree. I figured this one has got a little more pedigree and a little more body to work with, so maybe he could be OK. After that you've just got to get lucky." Steacy saw other similarities between Harper Blue Chip and Majestic Son. "They're both very smart horses," Steacy said. "Majestic Son was just a little more than ordinary training to get to the races, but he always did it right. Just as Majestic Son did, this guy seems to be getting better with every start. I think Majestic Son showed just a little more raw speed than this one does at this point. "(Harper Blue Chip) was good gaited and didn't make very many mistakes at all. He didn't show any big speed training down, he was just kind of the same quarters all the time; nothing flashy. But after he got started to race, the speed started to come. And it's coming a little bit more with each start. You like to see a little go to them, but with a young trotter at that point I'm just as concerned about seeing a good gait." Steacy brought Harper Blue Chip along slowly and gave him his first three starts in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots Series. He didn't face open stakes company until the Champlain. "That's kind of my policy; I try to give them as many easy starts before I start getting in against tougher competition," Steacy said. "I always believe they're a better horse if you can get a couple easy starts into them, get them brave and make them think that they're good." Following is the field for the Wellwood Memorial with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Massive Talent, Scott Zeron, Nifty Norman; 2. Raise The Curtain, Tim Tetrick, Dustin Jones; 3. Harper Blue Chip, Sylvain Filion, Mark Steacy; 4. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 5. Il Sogno Dream, Paul Macdonell, Chris Beaver; 6. P L Hercules, Chris Christoforou, Matthew Dupuis; 7. Odds On Amethyst, Dan Daley, Daley; 8. Credit Fashion, Brian Sears, Jim Campbell; 9. Damfoolrmillionair, Randy Waples, Brad Maxwell; 10. Muscle Midas, John Campbell, Gates Brunet. SUNSHINE BEACH TO MISS LITTLE BROWN JUG Trainer Mark Steacy said Wednesday that Battle of the Brandywine winner Sunshine Beach would miss the Little Brown Jug because of a health issue. Sunshine Beach, ranked third in the current Road to the Little Brown Jug Top 10, has won five of 12 races and $494,885 for owners Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand. He handed Captaintreacherous his only loss this year with a world-record-equaling 1:47.4 mile in the Battle of the Brandywine on Aug. 17 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He was eighth against older horses on Aug. 31 at Mohawk and second to Vegas Vacation in a division of the Simcoe Stakes last weekend at Mohawk. The Little Brown Jug, the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, is Sept. 19 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. "We made the call last night," Steacy said. "We thought hard about it because we really wanted to go. We just felt it was too much for him. I wouldn't say he's been sick, but his blood has been a little low the last week or two; I think he was just a little anemic for the last two races. "I just don't think I can get him healthy enough to race in the Jug and then Lexington and the Breeders Crown. I'd like to win the Little Brown Jug as much as anybody, but we have to put the horse before ourselves. Something had to give and I thought I'd take an extra week to make sure he's real healthy for Lexington." Vegas Vacation, who won his Simcoe division in a stakes-record 1:48.3, is the No. 1-ranked horse in the Road to the Little Brown Jug ratings. Sunshine Beach, who led the Simcoe from the start until yielding to Vegas Vacation in the stretch, has won six of 18 career races and earned $531,565. "After he came back from Pocono, I think it did take just a touch out of him," Steacy said. "That said, I thought he raced really good in the Simcoe. I think if we can get him back to 100 percent, like he was, he's going to race that much better. You've got to be at your peak for sure." by Ken Weingartner for USTA  

This week's celebrity sections come from a Dave Briggs. Briggs is the publisher and editor for the Canadian Sportsman magazine. He was presented the Harness Tracks of America's Dan Patch Award for exceptional media, publicity and public relations contributions to the sport of harness racing earlier this year. Little Brown Jug Top 10 Contenders By Dave Briggs - Canadian Sportsman 1. Vegas Vacation inherits top spot after winning the Simcoe and the connections of Captaintreacherous elected not to race in Delaware. Can trainer Casie Coleman win back-to-back Jugs? 2. Sunshine Beach was a solid second to Vegas Vacation for trainer Mark Steacy and has a 1:47.4 mark set a month ago beating Captaintreacherous in the Battle of Brandywine. 3. Sunfire Blue Chip has been a consistent money-maker all year for trainer Jimmy Takter and topped Vegas Vacation in the Adios on July 27. 4. Lucan Hanover, Casie Coleman's other horse, won the New Jersey Classic on Hambletonian Day and has been a solid producer all year. 5. Word Power was just a neck behind Captaintreacherous in the Cane Pace and the Larry Remmen trainee has cashed a check in all but one start this year. 6. Twilight Bonfire was second to Captaintreacherous in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup in June and the Danny Collins pupil has cashed a cheque in six of the seven starts since. 7. Johny Rock has been a solid performer his last five starts for trainer John Butenschoen. 8. Wake Up Peter is, perhaps, the best winless sophomore pacing colt on the continent. Though a little on the inconsistent side, when he is on, he's near the front-runners. 9. Emeritus Maximus is a sizable longshot, yet the Alagna trainee has been on the board nine times this year in 14 starts against stakes competition and sports a 1:48.4 mile at Pocono. 10. Lonewolf Currier has won a third of his starts, but has been either on or out of it too much to be a serious Jug threat. 1. Vegas Vacation (Last Week #2) Owners: West Wins Stable (ONT), Adriano Sorella (ONT), Anthony Beaton (ONT) & Phyllis Saunders (ONT) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: Brian Sears & Scott Zeron Career Earnings: $646,516 Career Mark: 1:48.3 TgDn He won the $114,948 Simcoe Stakes (9/7) at Mohawk Raceway in 1:48.3, equaling his lifetime best. 2. Sunfire Blue Chip (Last Week #5) Owners: Christina Talker (NJ), John & Jim Fielding (ONT), Brixton Medical AB (SWE) and RAW Equine Inc. (ONT) Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Yannick Gingras Career Earnings: $476,819 Career Mark: 1:48.3 Mea The son of American Ideal was third in the Simcoe Stakes on September 7. 3. Sunshine Beach (Last Week #6) Owners: Hudson Standardbred Stable (QUE), Conrad Leber (QUE) and Diane Bertrand (ALB) Trainer: Mark Steacy Driver: Chris Christoforou, Jr./George Brennan Career Earnings: $531,565 Career Mark: 1:47.4 PcD He was second to Vegas Vacation in the Simcoe at Mohawk Raceway (9/7). 4. Johny Rock (Last Week #8) Owners: William C. Wiswell (WI), Jean A. Goehlen (IL) and Eugene W. Schick (IL) Trainer: John Butenschoen Driver: Andy Miller Career Earnings: $387,498 Career Mark: 1:48.0 PcD He set a new lifetime mark with a 1:48 win at Pocono Downs (9/7) in a conditioned event. 5. Lucan Hanover (Last Week #NR) Owners: West Win Stable (ONT) and Christine Calhoun (ONT) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: David Miller Career Earnings: $232,284 Career Mark: 1:48.3 M Finished third in a $114,948 division of the Simcoe Stakes (9/7). 6. Twilight Bonfire (Last Week #7) Owners: Robert J. Key (PA) Trainer: Danny Collins Driver: David Miller Career Earnings: $681,489 Career Mark: 1:50.1 Mea Took the fifth spot in the Cane Pace Final at Tioga Downs (9/2). 7. Wake Up Peter (Last Week #3) Owners: Wake Up Peter Partners (IL), Brittany Farms (KY), Louis Willinger (KY) and Eagles Soar Partners (NY) Trainer: Tony Alagna Driver: Ron Pierce Career Earnings: $532,680 Career Mark: Q1:50.0 M The son of Rocknroll Hanover has yet to win in 2013. He could set Jug history with a win. 8. Word Power (Last Week #9) Owner: Bradley Grant (ONT) Trainer: Larry Remmen Driver: Jody Jamieson Career Earnings: $225,802 Career Mark: 1:49.4 M He was just a nose short of an upset of Captaintreacherous in the Cane Pace Final. 9. Odds On Equuleus (Last Week #NR) Owners: Odds On Racing (IL) Trainer: Tony Alagna Driver: John Campbell Career Earnings: $622,801 Career Mark: 1:50.0 M Recently moved to the Tony Alagna Barn. He only has a couple of weeks to straighten him out. 10. Lonewolf Currier (Last Week #10) Owners: Francis Azur (PA) Trainer: Kevin McDermott Driver: John Campbell/Jason Bartlett Career Earnings: $274,495 Career Mark: 1:48.4 Mea Did not race last week. By Jay Wolf – Little Brown Jug Publicity Director  

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 6 – Once again Father Patrick stamped himself as the premier two-year-old trotting colt in North America with his victory in his $30,000 William Wellwood Memorial Trot elimination on Friday at Mohawk. The top five finishers from each of the two eliminations advance to next week’s $365,000 final, a part of the Canadian Trotting Classic undercard. Father Patrick, a son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream, captured the Peter Haughton Memorial earlier this year and set a Canadian record last week in his division of the Champlain Stakes at the Campbellville oval. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Father Patrick elected to race from behind as Odds On Amethyst (Dan Daley) quickly made the front ahead of Special Agent Man (Sylvain Filion) at the quarter in :28. As the field of 10 marched towards the half, Special Agent Man pocket-pulled and took over command before the half in :58.1. Credit Fashion (Doug McNair) began the first-over attack around the final turn, giving cover to Father Patrick. Special Agent Man continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:27.1, but Credit Fashion and Father Patrick were both stalking on the outside. Down the stretch, Credit Fashion quickly took over command as Father Patrick got rough-gaited on Gingras. Father Patrick then found his best stride and marched past Credit Fashion in deep stretch to score the 1:55.3 victory. Credit Fashion stayed for second with P L Hercules (Chris Christoforou) finishing third. “He was fussy with his mouth in the last turn,” Gingras said. “That’s why he wasn’t trotting the best. He was loaded with trot down the stretch and I didn’t even kick the plugs. He’s by far the best two-year-old trotter I’ve ever sat behind.” Trained by Jimmy Takter for Father Patrick Stable, Father Patrick now has $262,345 in earnings.. He paid $2.20 to win as the favourite. In the other split, Harper Blue Chip and Sylvain Filion stopped the clock in 1:56.1, earning a spot in next week’s rich final. The trotting son of Majestic Son, who captured his Champlain Stakes division last week, was in no hurry at the start as Massive Talent (Scott Zeron) made the front before the opening quarter in :28. Massive Talent would then give up command as Massacaia (Doug McNair) found the front before giving way to Damfoolrmillionair (Randy Waples) before the mid-way point in :57.4. Around the final turn, Il Sogno Dream (Paul MacDonell) began the first-over attack, giving live cover to Harper Blue Chip. Damfoolrmillionair continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:27.3, but down the stretch Il Sogno Dream took over command, but couldn’t fend off a late charge from Harper Blue Chip, who scored the one and a half length victory. Damfoolrmillionair stayed for third. “He’s coming along just the way we want,” trainer and co-owner, Mark Steacy said following the win. “We started him out slow and we didn’t want to throw him against the bear’s right way and I think it’s turned out to be the right move.” Owned by Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald and David Reid, Harper Blue Chip increased his bankroll to $70,633. The youngster has crafted a 3-1-0 record from six starts this season. He paid $4 to win. The $365,000 final, which takes place next Saturday, will line up as follows. 1) Massive Talent 2) Raise The Curtain 3) Harper Blue Chip 4) Father Patrick 5) Il Sogno Dream 6) P L Hercules 7) Odds On Amethyst 8) Credit Fashion 9) Damfoolrmillionair 10) Muscle Midas Greg Gangle WEG Communications - Standardbred

OTTAWA, ON — Ontario’s three-year-old trotting colts have one last opportunity to qualify for the Grassroots post season on Thursday, Sept. 5 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Two local colts, Northern Matador and Cabertoss, currently sit among the top 20 point earners after the first five regular season events. To extend their Ontario Sires Stakes season both colts need a victory over the Rideau Carleton oval on Thursday; only the top 10 point earners will advance to the Sept. 21 Grassroots Championship. Northern Matador has accumulated 67 points from one win, one fourth and three seventh-place finishes in Grassroots action and is currently ranked sixteenth. The Muscle Mass gelding will make his bid for a second victory from Post 5 in the first of four $18,000 divisions Thursday. From 10 sophomore starts the Mark Steacy trainee has two wins, one second and one third for earnings of $10,540. He posted a personal best 2:00.2 clocking at Rideau Carleton in a July 25 overnight event. Clarke Steacy of Gananoque, Landmark V Racing Stable of Kingston, Diane Bertrand of Edmonton, AB and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY share ownership of Northern Matador. From just three Grassroots starts, Cabertoss has one win and one fourth to his credit for 58 points and a number 18 ranking. William Murray Jr. of Mountain owns the Muscle Mass colt, and his father William Murray of Kingston trains. Cabertoss will start from Post 6 in Thursday’s eleventh race, and heads into the test off a second-place result in an overnight event at Rideau Carleton on Aug. 29. In 11 starts this season the colt has delivered two wins and two seconds for earnings of $11,838. The three-year-old trotting colts will be spotlighted in Races 2, 4, 8, and 11 on Rideau Carleton Raceway’s Thursday evening program, which gets under way at 6:30 pm. by Sandra Snyder  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 30 – Father Patrick, who captured the Peter Haughton Memorial earlier this year, set a new stakes, track and Canadian record of 1:54 in his division of the Champlain Stakes. Driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Jimmy Takter, Father Patrick has now won five of six starts in his young career. Gingras marched the son of Cantab Hall to the front before the opening quarter in :28, before allowing Il Sogno Dream (David Miller) to the front. Father Patrick quickly regained the lead before the mid-way point in :56.2 and continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:25.3, before dashing away from his rivals under a comfortable steer to win by open lengths. E L Titan (Riina Rekila) finished second with Deweykeepumnwhy (Jody Jamieson) grabbing third prize. Father Patrick’s 1:54 effort was just two-fifths off the world record set by the great Muscle Hill. Owned by Father Patrick Stable, Father Patrick now has $247,348 in lifetime earnings. He paid $2.40 to win. Two other $90,531 Champlain Stakes divisions took place with Pasadena Star and Harper Blue Chip finding the winner’s circle. Hall of fame conditioner Bob McIntosh teamed up with Randy Waples in the first divisions as Pasadena Star found the wire first in 1:57.1. The talented son of Kadabra came from off-the-speed through panels of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:28.2, before wearing down post time favourite Massacaia (Sylvain Filion) in deep stretch to score the win. O Narutac Perfetto (Billy Davis, Jr.) rallied to finish third. Pasadena Star now has crafted a 4-0-1 record from six starts this season along with $72,173 for McIntosh and co-owner C S X Stables. He paid $10.20 to win as the second choice. In the second division, Harper Blue Chip defeated his eight rivals in 1:56 at odds of 3-1. The son of Majestic Son was quickest to the front before the opening station in :28.2, but allowed longshot Derby (Mario Baillargeon) to clear to the position of command. Harper Blue Chip quickly regained control to lead past the mid-way point in :58 and the three-quarter pole 1:27.1 before dashing away from favourite Damfoolrmillionair (Randy Waples) in deep stretch to win by three and a quarter lengths. Raise The Curtain (Paul MacDonell) finished third. Trained and co-owned by Mark Steacy along with Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David Reid and David McDonald, Harper Blue Chip increased his bankroll to $55,633. The young trotter now has a 2-1-0 record from five starts this season. He paid $8.10 to win. Videos of all races attached. Greg Gangle

INNISFIL, ON - Mark Steacy trainees captured the first two $18,000 Grassroots divisions at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Sophomore trotting filly Juliet kicked off the evening's festivities with a gate-to-wire score in 1:56.3. The Majestic Son daughter hit the wire one-half length ahead of Moms Apple Pie and fan favourite Legzy to record her first Ontario Sires Stakes victory. Mike Saftic crafted the win for Juliet's owners Landmark V Racing Stable of Kingston, David Reid of Glenburnie, A K Malik Stable of Ottawa and Salt Hill Farm Ltd. of Pine Bush, NY. The win gave the filly a sophomore record of two wins, two seconds and one third in 10 starts for earnings of $25,701. One race later Steacy trainee Swishnflick and driver Chris Christoforou also opted for front-end tactics, battling to a 1:56.4 one-half length victory over division point leader Muscle Magic and fan favourite I Like My Kaddy. Steacy conditions Swishnflick for Landmark V Racing Stable, Diane Bertrand of Edmonton, AB, Richard Karper of Saint-Laurent, QC and Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC. The win was Swishnflick's second in two Grassroots starts and bumped the Kadabra daughter into eighth spot in the race for one of 10 berths in the season ending Grassroots Championship. Christoforou picked up a second Grassroots victory in the fourth division, piloting Fathers Amiga to a three and one-half length upset over Ms Warkentin and Atalanta. The 1:57.2 score was the Amigo Hall daughter's first. Edward Peconi Jr. trains the filly for Patricia Wall of Omemee and James Patrick Wall of Youngs Point. Grassroots favourites did not fare well at Georgian Downs on Tuesday, as all five went down in defeat over a sloppy oval rated one second slower than normal. The other upset winners were Wind Stroll in 1:58 and Eloise Eden in 1:56.3. The three-year-old trotting fillies make their sixth and final regular season Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 6. Tuesday's contest completed Georgian Downs' 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes season, which saw all eight provincial divisions compete over the Innisfil oval. For complete results. For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder  

FRASERVILLE, ON - Brighton resident Gord Brown piloted a pair of  two-year-old pacing colts to Grassroots victory at Kawartha Downs on Saturday evening. The veteran reinsman made his first appearance in the Grassroots winner's circle with Markathy, who has yet to be bested through five starts. While Saturday marked the Mister Big colt's debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, he has been trouncing the non-winners of one competition at Kawartha Downs every week since July 25. The colt's regular pilot, Brown sent Markathy after the lead early and the youngster rolled along on the front end and then battled down the stretch when Pop Pop Joe mounted a late challenge. Markathy hit the wire one-half length on top in a personal best 1:54.2. Pop Pop Joe was second and Opening Line completed the top three. Brown engineered the win for trainer Mark Steacy and his wife Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, who purchased the colt for $8,000 from last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale. Three races later Brown was back in the winner's circle with Prince Clyde, who picked up his second win in four days. The Camluck colt scored his first lifetime victory at Georgian Downs on Aug. 20 against non-winners of one company, and was even more impressive in Saturday's Grassroots test. Starting from Post 7 Brown settled Prince Clyde into fourth and waited until the second half of the race to roll the colt up the outside. By the three-quarters the pair was just a nose behind pacesetter King Royalty and they pulled away in the stretch to a one and three-quarter length victory in a sharp 1:54.1, a personal best for the colt. Sunderland resident Murray Brethour trains Prince Clyde for his partner Douglas Millard of Woodstock. The partners also bred the colt, who now has two wins, one second and one third to his credit through five starts. The other Grassroots divisions went to Allstar Seelster in 1:56; Brodys Scrapper in 1:56.1; V I P Bayama in 1:55.4; Regal Babe in 1:55.2; and Shadow Place in 1:56.1. The two-year-old pacing colts make their fifth Grassroots start at Dresden Raceway on Sept. 2. Saturday's contest wrapped up Kawartha Downs' 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule, which saw the Fraserville oval host four Grassroots events. For complete results.  For up to date point standings, race replays, and more.  Sandra Snyder  

INNISFIL, ON - Freshman Grassroots champion Cams Macharena picked up her second victory on the three-year-old pacing filly provincial circuit with a 1:53.1 personal best at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening. The Mach Three filly and driver Doug McNair employed a sharp finishing kick to reel in the leaders through the stretch and claim the three-quarter length victory over pacesetter and fan favourite Betit To Getit and pocket sitter Utica Bayama. McNair engineered the win for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Cambridge and owner-breeders Chris Arold and Michael Drury of Strongsville, OH and Kenneth Kohut of Independence, OH. With two regular season events remaining, Cams Macharena sits fourth in the race for one of 10 berths in this year's Grassroots Championship. Guelph resident McNair delivered a second Grassroots contestant to the winner's circle following the seventh race. Picking up a catch drive aboard John Kopas trainee Selandia, McNair once again employed a come from behind strategy to earn the filly her first Grassroots victory. Selandia sailed by the leaders in the stretch, hitting the wire two and one-quarter lengths on top in a personal best 1:54. Kopas trains the No Pan Intended daughter for Glengate Farms of Campbellville and LLK Stable of Mississauga. The quickest of the five Grassroots divisions was clocked by Racey Miss and driver Scott Zeron, who hit the wire in an impressive 1:51.4. The win extends the filly's flawless record in Grassroots action to three and puts her in second spot in the point standings. Mark Steacy trains the Shanghai Phil daughter for Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc. of Hudson, QC. The other two divisions were captured by Lyonssweetie in 1:53 and division point leader Mattys Big Day in 1:54.2. The three-year-old pacing fillies make their fifth Grassroots start at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Aug. 29. Next up on Georgian Downs' Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are the three-year-old trotting fillies, competing in their second last regular season Gold event on Saturday, Aug. 24. For complete results.           For up to date point standings, race replays, and more.      Sandra Snyder  

In what can only be described as a “class act” the connections of Captaintreacherous have released a statement of congratulations to the connections of Sunshine Beach on their victory Saturday night in one of the most dramatic harness races of the year. Here is their statement…     “Saturday evening past, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs hosted over $2 million worth of top quality races in their inaugural Super Stakes Saturday card. The event was well attended and very well done, providing some of the season's best racing.     One of the featured events, the $500,000 Battle of Brandywine, resulted in an epic battle between a pair of colts by Somebeachsomewhere with Sunshine Beach narrowly prevailing over Captaintreacherous in a world record equaling 1:47.4f.     The Captaintreacherous team wishes to send their congratulations to all the connections of Sunshine Beach, particularly trainer Mark Steacy, on a job well done. Both colts fought toe to toe for five eighths of the record mile, finishing within inches of each other, adding to the already impressive lore of their sire.     The Battle of Brandywine was a thrilling race for those of us with a stake in the outcome, as well as the fans that came out for the races. It was one of many highlights on Saturday, proving that harness racing can still produce the kind of entertainment and excitement that attracts interest when we put our best face forward.      In a season filled with exciting races for all divisions, it has been our good fortune to enjoy the ride with the "Captain" through the early season and we anticipate even more fun and excitement continuing with the Cane Pace and beyond.” Good Racing...The Captaintreacherous Partners It is most certainly a rare event when statements like this are sent out to the public but it also shows the class of the people involved and a shining moment for the sport of harness racing. It’s more than just a winning and losing coaches meeting after a game for three or four seconds of accolades. No one who watched Saturday’s classic battle between Sunshine Beach and Captaintreacherous can deny that “the Captain” gave it his all and showed no disgrace in seeing his six-race win streak come to a close after his "true grit" effort being parked out most of the mile race. And kudos to Sunshine Beach and his connections who had to come up with a world record tying victory in order to have beaten Captaintreacherous. If this is a preview of what’s to come in the next weeks then everyone better hold on to their hats as it will be quite a show, which it has been for most of the season. Not only class racing, but classy moves by the connections too! By Steve Wolf  

In a classic stretch drive to the wire, driver Brian Sears with Sunshine Beach was able to hold off Captaintreacherous and drive Tim Tetrick to win the $500,000 Battle of Brandywine at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs by a nose in 1:47.4. It took a world record tying performance for Captaintreacherous to see his unbeaten race season come to an end after six straight wins. The 12th race feature started off with Lonewolf Currier (John Campbell) leaving from the rail to take the quick lead with Sunshine Beach taking the pocket trip to the quarter mile in :25.3 and Sears wasted no time quarter moving to take command. It was the first time that Sears had ever driven Sunshine Beach. They raced in that order to the half in :53.3 as Tetrick moved Captaintreacherous first-over, giving Mach It so (Yannick Gingras) perfect second-over cover. Racing down the backstretch, Sears kept Sunshine Beach in control with Captaintreacherous right alongside to the three-quarters in 1:20.3. On the final turn Mach It So started to swing out three-wide but once they started down the stretch you could feel it would be a two-horse battle to the wire. Tetrick tried as best he could to urge Captaintreacherous on but the pacer seemed to be tired and was not gaining any ground as Sears kept after Sunshine Beach. But within 20 yards to the wire, Captaintreacherous came on again, closed the gap and the two horses finished together with Sunshine Beach getting the victory via the photo finish camera. Twilight Bonfire (Dave Miller) was third. “Once we were past the half there were no thoughts of letting him (Captaintreacherous) go,” Sears said. “If I was ever going to beat him (at the three-quarters) this was the place. And it just worked out from there. We have a lot of talented colts this year and they all seem to be able to carry their speed so I was not surprised by the 1:47.4 mile.” It was the fifth win in ten starts this year for Sunshine Beach. The son of Somebeachsomewhere is trained by Mark Steacy and is owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand, all of Canada. His mile tied the world record that is now co-held with Bold The Duer in 2012. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Sunshine Beach rewarded his backers with a $12.20 win payoff. “I’m very excited,” said Mark Steacy, “When you can beat someone like Captaintreacherous you have to be proud. I have always believed in this horse and that he has tons of talent. He has shown many times that he can go with Captaintreacherous. I wasn’t sure if he could beat him tonight. But I felt pretty good when I saw them at the three-quarters and Brian had not pulled the earplugs yet.” A video is attached. by Steve Wolf

Aperfectyankee's season so far has been less than flawless, but that has not dampened trainer Jim Oscarsson's opinion of his stakes-winning trotter as he heads into Saturday's $500,000 Colonial for 3-year-olds at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The Colonial is part of Super Stakes Saturday at Pocono Downs, which also includes the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine for 3-year-old pacers and the $350,000 Valley Forge for 3-year-old filly pacers. Aperfectyankee has won three of seven races this year and earned $179,451 for Oscarsson, who also owns and drives the colt. All of his victories this season have come on the Pennsylvania circuit, with two triumphs in divisions of the sire stakes and another in a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in the $1 million Hambletonian on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. The nine-horse Colonial field features seven horses from the Hambletonian final, including winner Royalty For Life, runner-up Smilin Eli and third-place finisher Corky. "I'm not disappointed with him, but I know he's better than he's showed," Oscarsson said about Aperfectyankee, who won last year's $387,250 Peter Haughton Memorial by a neck over Corky. "I think with better race luck he can be right there with them at the finish. "I think he's going to win some races this year. It would be nice (to win the Colonial). I think he deserves that." Aperfectyankee entered the Hambletonian off back-to-back wins and finished third in his elimination before ending up fourth in the same-day final. He started the final from post seven and was as many as 11 lengths behind leader and eventual winner Royalty For Life in the early goings. He finished 3-3/4 lengths back on a track that favored trotters on the lead; all three Hambletonian elims and the final were won in wire-to-wire fashion. "(The Colonial) is going to be tough; it's pretty much the same as the Hambletonian," Oscarsson said. "Except this time we've got a better post. I think he can go with them. It's going to be a fun race." Last year, Aperfectyankee won three of seven starts and earned $310,035. In addition to winning the Haughton, he won a division of the Tompkins-Geers and was second to 2-year-old champion Wheeling N Dealin in a division of the Champlain Stakes. He saw his season come to an end after a sixth-place finish in his elimination for the William Wellwood Memorial in September. Oscarsson decided to turn out the colt because of allergies. "When we brought him back to train during the winter he was good and he's been healthy," Oscarsson said. "He's a nice horse. He's perfect to handle, perfect to drive. You can do whatever you want with him." Following is the field for the Colonial with listed drivers and trainers (and morning line odds): 1. Picture This, Charlie Norris, Norris (20-1); 2. Aperfectyankee, Jim Oscarsson, Oscarsson (12-1); 3. Fico, George Napolitano Jr., Staffan Lind (15-1); 4. Smilin Eli, Tim Tetrick, David Smith (3-1); 5. Spider Blue Chip, Ron Pierce, Chuck Sylvester (4-1); 6. Corky, David Miller, Jimmy Takter (5-1); 7. High Bridge, Yannick Gingras, Takter (6-1); 8. Royalty For Life, Brian Sears, George Ducharme (5-2); 9. Dontyouforgetit, Takter, Takter (10-1). by Ken Weingartner  

Captaintreacherous returns to work Saturday night when he faces eight foes in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine for 3-year-old pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Ranked No. 1 in harness racing's current Top 10 poll, Captaintreacherous is a perfect 6-for-6 this season with his victories including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Max C. Hempt Memorial. He has not raced since capturing the Meadowlands Pace on July 13. Captaintreacherous prepped for the Battle of the Brandywine with a 1:50.1 qualifier win on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands. He paced the final quarter-mile in :25.4 and won by 15-1/4 lengths with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines. "He's really good," trainer Tony Alagna said. "I'm very happy with the way he qualified at the Meadowlands two weeks ago and he trained back good on Saturday here at Gaitway (Farm training center). I'm going to blow him out a couple easy trips (Wednesday) and he should be good to go." Captaintreacherous was named 2012 Pacer of the Year after winning eight of 10 races, including the million-dollar Metro Pace. He is one of only three horses to win the Metro, North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace, joining Presidential Ball and Rocknroll Hanover on the list. Owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing group, the "Captain" is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Battle of the Brandywine, where he starts from post four. In the Hempt Memorial, also held at Pocono Downs, Captaintreacherous started from post nine - the outermost post - and raced on the outside the entire mile, including three wide on both the first and last turns. The Battle of the Brandywine field also includes Meadowlands Pace runner-up Odds On Equuleus, who starts from post eight, and Meadowlands Pace third-place finisher Sunshine Beach, who begins from post two. Twilight Bonfire, who was second in the North America Cup, starts from post six. "Based on what he's accomplished against those other horses he's definitely the horse to beat all the time at this stage," Alagna said. "We're hoping we did the right thing by giving him a little layoff and freshening him up for the rest of the year. He put on about 75 pounds and he couldn't be any fresher, any sharper. "He really looks good condition wise. We're hoping that we did the right thing, and by the way he acts I believe we did." Captaintreacherous has won $1.12 million this year and $2.04 million for his career. Alagna said the horse's accomplishments thus far have taken off a lot of pressure for the remainder of the season. "At this point we feel like we've won the North America Cup, the Meadowlands Pace and the Hempt --- those are three huge accomplishments for a 3-year-old pacing colt," Alagna said. "If he can continue the rest of the year and rack up some more stakes wins that's what we're looking for as far as him being a stallion someday." Alagna considered sending Captaintreacherous into another qualifier last week, but decided against it after the colt's strong performance 12 days ago at the Meadowlands. "He got home in :25.4 that day and that's a big quarter for him because he's not normally a sprinter," Alagna said. "He's very sharp right now." Following is the field for the Battle of the Brandywine with listed drivers and trainers (and morning line odds): 1. Lonewolf Currier, John Campbell, Kevin McDermott (5-1); 2. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy (7-2); 3. Mach It So, Yannick Gingras, P.J. Fraley (4-1); 4. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna (5-2); 5. Wake Up Peter, Ron Pierce, Alagna (12-1); 6. Twilight Bonfire, David Miller, Danny Collins (15-1); 7. Beach Memories, Corey Callahan, Brian Brown (20-1); 8. Odds On Equuleus, Andy Miller, Robin Schadt (8-1); 9. Some Kinda Beach, Matt Kakaley, Erv Miller (6-1). by Ken Weingartner  

OTTAWA, ON — A pair of locally owned fillies will roll in behind the Rideau Carleton Raceway starting gate on Thursday, Aug. 15 when the two-year-old trotting lasses bring their Gold Series battle to the nation’s capital. Diamonds For Life makes her Gold Series debut in the second $52,500 division, making the leap up to the top tier after scoring two wins and one second in Grassroots action. Frank Spagnolo and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa share ownership of the Angus Hall filly, who currently sits fourth in the Grassroots standings. Diamonds For Life will test her skills against the Gold Series fillies from Post 3, with Sylvain Filion subbing for regular reinsman Trevor Ritchie. Lansdowne resident Mark Steacy conditions Diamonds For Life, who was a $10,000 acquisition out of last fall’s Canadian Yearling Sale and has earned $22,500 in her four starts to date. Among the fillies Diamonds For Life will face in Race 4 is Danica Hall, currently ranked third in the Gold Series point standings, from Post 2. Toughs Legacy makes her third Gold Series start from Post 7 in the last division for Ottawa resident Mel Hartman and his partners Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. In her first provincial outing the Kadabra daughter finished second and she scored a third-place result in the Aug. 5 Mid-Summer Challenge Consolation at Mohawk Racetrack. The Richard “Nifty” Norman trainee and driver Jack Moiseyev will face a tough field in Race 8, including fourth-ranked Striking Serenade from Post 3 and division leader Marcella Hall at Post 4. Joining the Gold Series heavyweights is the number one filly from the Grassroots ranks, Chelseas Chance, who will start at Post 6. The two-year-old trotting fillies will wage their Gold Series battles in Races 1, 4, 6, and 8 on Thursday evening, with the first $52,500 division rolling in behind the Rideau Carleton Raceway starting gate at 6:30 pm. For complete entries please go to by Sandra Snyder  

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Milton resident Sylvain Filion had a hot set of hands at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening, guiding three freshman trotting colts to Grassroots victory. Filion kicked off his successful evening in the first race with fan favourite Its Magic Time. The Kadabra colt made an impressive debut, reaching the front before the halfway marker and cruising home a one and three-quarter length victor in 1:59. Richard “Nifty” Norman conditions Its Magic Time for Mel Hartman of Ottawa, and breeders Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. The colt is a full brother to three-year-old trotting filly Gold Series competitor Choir Robe, whose bank roll currently measures $108,192. One race later Filion was back in front of the Mohawk Racetrack grandstand with Massacaia, who stormed around the Campbellville oval to a three and three-quarter length win in 1:57. The outing was the Muscle Mass son’s first sporting trotting hopples and it was clearly the right move by trainer Richard Moreau. Gestion Jean Yves Blais of Montreal, QC owns Massacaia, who made miscues in his first two starts, both in the Gold Series. Filion capped off his winning evening in the seventh race with Harper Blue Chip. Sent off as the fan favourites, the duo controlled the pace and sailed home three and one-half length winners in 1:58. In his first two Grassroots appearances Harper Blue Chip had logged a fourth and a second for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne and his partners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall and David Reid of Glenburnie. Kadabra gelding Pasadena Star cemented his position atop the division standings with a 1:58.4 win in the ninth race, engineered by Milton resident Randy Waples for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Blackjack Spur (2:00.2), Deweykeepumnwhy (1:57.2), and Hitchin A Ride (2:01.4). For complete results.     Sandra Snyder

Diamonds For Life sharp in second Grassroots win CAMPBELLVILLE, ON - The second showdown between two-year-old trottingfillies Chelseas Chance and Diamonds For Life resulted in the fastest of five Grassroots divisions at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, July 29. After finishing one-two in the July 6 season opener at Kawartha Downs, the fillies squared up for their second battle in Race 9 and engaged in an early tussle for the lead with Diamonds For Life reaching the quarter in :29.1 and Chelseas Chance taking over before the :58.4 half. Fan favourites Chelseas Chance and driver Steve Condren of Milton sailed on to a 1:29 three-quarters and were more than one length ahead when they hit the stretch, but reinsman Trevor Ritchie and Diamonds For Life were sitting on a little extra speed. When Acton resident Ritchie asked his filly for one last charge, Diamonds For Life powered by Chelseas Chance to score a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:59.2, matching the personal best they recorded in the July 13 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs. Ritchie engineered the Angus Hall filly's second straight victory for trainer Mark Steacy and owners Frank Spagnolo and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa. Diamonds For Life and Chelseas Chance are now tied for second in the point standings, trailing Muscle Girl, who picked up her Third Straight Grassroots win in the sixth race. Driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville guided the filly to a 1:59.3 win off a front-end trip for Ray Paquette of Port Hope, who bred, owns and trains the Muscle Mass daughter. Valencia Sol recorded her first lifetime win in the first $18,000 division, circling out three-wide to grab the 2:01.4 victory. Greg Dustin of Strathroy trains and drives the Amigo Hall miss for Jackie Drysdale of Orangeville and Darlene Hayes of Carlisle. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Bit A Magic (2:00.4) and Wawona (2:00.4). The two-year-old trotting fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on Aug. 6. On Monday, Aug. 5 Mohawk Racetrack will host the second Mid-Summer Challenge of the 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes season, welcoming the top 20 two-year-old trotting colts and fillies from the Gold Series division.  For complete results.                   For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder  

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