I was on a pretty good roll last week, selecting 10 of 16 race winners and ending the weekend with a $19.00 profit plus some decent straight trifectas and exactas. So how best to cap a good weekend like that? To do even better this weekend! It all comes down to the Breeders Crown so we are totally focused on the 12 Breeders Crown Championship Finals Friday and Saturday at the Meadowlands. Many of these races may decide divisional honors for a lot of Dan Patch Horse of the Year award winners. Good Luck! $250,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final Mares Open 7th race FRIDAY - Usually I would jump all over Bee A Magician in here but something told me last week that CLASSIC MARTINE is back in prime shape and ready to cut loose for the Chris Oaks Stable. She has a good inside post to either try and wire the field or get great cover to score from. Use Bee A Magician and Handover Belle in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 2yo Fillies 8th race FRIDAY - Here is one of the races that could decide divisional horse of the year finals. Mission Brief has been super-fast but also very erratic with making breaks. Last week she was at her best in three length score. But WILD HONEY never makes breaks, has won ten straight races and should get perfect cover behind Mission Brief and beat her to the wire. Use Mission Brief and Danielle Hall in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 3yo Fillies 9th race FRIDAY - With eight straight wins and 14 scores in 16 starts there is no way I can pick against SHAKE IT CERRY. She has been nearly perfect all season long and has beaten most everyone in this field this season and should be able to do it again. Use Lifetime Pursuit and Cee Bee Yes in exotic plays. $593,750 Pace Breeders Crown Final 3yo Fillies 10th race FRIDAY - This could be the grand finale of a superb season for COLOR'S A VIRGIN. All she needs to do is have one more parked-first-over-and-grind-it-out victory in here. She's done it all since winning Jugette and seals the season with her eight straight win and 14th score of the year. Use Gallie Bythe Beach and Precocious Beauty in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 2yo Colts 4th race SATURDAY - This will be one of the top races of the weekend with Pinkman the favorite going against top colts French Laundry and Habitat. I am going with HABITAT as he drew a good inside post, figures to leave enough to insure great live cover from French Laundry or Pinkman and beat either one or both in a classic stretch drive. Use French Laundry and Pinkman in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Breeders Crown Final 2yo Fillies 5th race SATURDAY - This should be the chalk race of the evening. Undefeated JK SHE'SALADY goes for her 12th straight win in a nearly perfect season. Somewhat safe to say that if she can win tonight she could become the first two-year-old filly ever to be name Harness Horse of the Year and deservingly so. No one has been within a length of this top filly since early August. Use Sassa Hanover and Heart Major in exotic plays. $400,000 Pace Breeders Crown Final Open Horses 6th race SATURDAY - Sweet Lou or Bettor's Edge may end up being the race favorites in this good match-up but with the big money on the line I am looking to the class of the field to win, FOILED AGAIN. Three of his last five losses were by photo finishes and he needs just to get a good trip and he can beat his younger rivals. Use Bettors Edge and Sweet Lou in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Breeders Crown Final 2yo Colts 7th race SATURDAY - Provided Brian Sears can leave and get position and not stung to a :26 opening quarter, IN THE ARSENAL can overcome the outside post 10 and take this field. Before last week he had between two top undefeated colts in back-to-back stakes and last week he was still a game third place finisher. Use Go Daddy Go and Lyons Levi Lewis in exotic plays. $281,250 Pace Breeders Crown Final Open Mares 8th race SATURDAY - Wow is this a great match-up. Nearly every horse in this field has the ability to dig down deep and come up with a winning effort and not surprise me the least. I am going to go with YAGONNAKISSMEORNOT from post five. She can leave enough to get good cover and if need be also grind it out. She leads all mares in this field with 14 wins. Use Anndrovette and Somwherovrarainbow in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 3yo Colts 9th race SATURDAY - This is where the slogan, "It All Comes Down To The Breeders Crown" really comes into play. If Nuncio beats his stable mate, Father Patrick here, he will sew up divisional Horse of the Year honors. If Father Patrick can win over Nuncio, then it will be a toss-up between the two horses. I think NUNCIO is just so consistently great that he will get to the front and not look back. Use Father Patrick and Harper Blue Chip in exotic plays. $531,250 Pace Breeders Crown Final 3yo Colts 10th race SATURDAY - Another classic battle will take place in here. Nearly every top sophomore colt in the sport is in this field. I see ALWAYS B MIKI continuing his winning ways with his 6th straight win. Winless in first six starts and now has won 12 of his last 13 starts. But he will have to be at his best once again to win in here. Use Let's Drink On It and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final Open Horses 11th race SATURDAY - Can the invading world champion from Europe come here and beat North America's best or can the lone lady of the field show her heels to the boys for a second straight week. I have to go with MAVEN to repeat. She won against good horses last week from post ten and draws much better in here. Use Commander Crowe and Your So Vain in exotic plays.
Market Share, the 2013 Hambletonian winner and victor in the $235,000 American National for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, returns to Balmoral Park on Saturday night in Race 9 to defend his harness racing crown in the $166,300 American National Aged Trot. The son of Revenue S-Classical Flirt-Yankee Glide was clocked in 1:53.3 with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for the Linda Toscano-trained, then-sophomore. Owned by Richard S. Gutnick of Pennsylvania, TLP Stable and J Augustine of New Jersey, Market Share will leave from post five in the field of eight trotters. "Never, never in a million years did we dream that Market Share could be this kind of horse," Toscano offered. "He's just one of those horses that enjoys his work and tries real hard. It's surprising, but that's a good thing." Bred by Hayley Moore of Paris, Kentucky, Market Share, a $16,000 yearling purchase from the 2010 Lexington Selected Sale, won all five of his 2-year-old starts over Freehold Raceway's half-mile oval. Toscano and principal owner Richard Gutnick were uncertain if he could excel at the bigger tracks, such as the Meadowlands. So it was up to Market Share to show them. In 2012, at age 3, Market Share won the $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk en route to earnings of $2 million. He also trotted the fastest mile in the history of Maywood Park when he captured the $108,000 Galt in 1:54.4, erasing Green Day's previous track record of 1:55.1, set in 2007. As a result, he was named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. Last season, his wins included the Breeders Crown Open Trot, Maple Leaf Trot, TVG Free For All Series Championship and American-National Stakes. He led all older trotters with $1.07 million in purses and received the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. "It's a treat to be able to bring one back like that as a 5-year-old," Toscano said. "By bringing back the older horses, people recognize the names and the horses become the stars again. I think that's what is missing in our industry. I think it's a real good thing." This year Market Share has added another $357,296 to his bank account, pushing his career earnings to $3,471,308 via a $37,200 Maple Leaf elimination at Mohawk, the $250,000 Maxi Lee at Harrah's Chester--when he set a new world record and career best clocking of 1:50.2 for an aged gelding trotter on a five-eighths mile oval--and a victory in a $40,000 Cutler elimination in 1:50.3. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Market Share surpassed the previous world mark of 1:50.3 that was co-held by Uncle Peter and Sevruga, both set in 2013 when he scored that record clocking in the Maxi Lee. Market Share now has 24 wins, seven seconds and 12 thirds in 53 career starts. On Oct. 5, he was race-timed in 1:52, finishing fifth by three lengths in the $173,000 Allerage Trot at Lexington's Red Mile. Market Share is the fourth of six foals out of his unraced dam Classical Flirt, and is a half-brother to Photogenic Legs (by Classic Photo) 3, 1:57.2h ($102,892) and to Broadway Legs (by Broadway Hall) 3, 1:55 ($57,225). By Kimberly Rinker
Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Tristan Sjoberg remembers listening to the International Trot on the radio while growing up as a teenager in Sweden. He would be rooting for his favorites Callit and Legolas during the early 80s when the International Trot was held at the now defunct Roosevelt Raceway. Now, Sjoberg is proud to be part of the return of the International Trot Preview to Yonkers when it returns to Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 25. "To have a horse in this race means the world to my brother and I," said Sjoberg, who is part owner of Sebastian K., the world record holder for trotting a mile. "Our father would be proud." The International Trot, with all its pageantry and worldwide participation will return in 2015 to Yonkers after last being run in 1995. "As for the sport, I think the reinstatement of the race is very good for harness racing in the United States," Sjoberg said. "When the race was cancelled (in 1988) I think the sport in North America lost a bit of its soul and became more isolated. It is important to have overseas horses compete in the United States as it is brings fresh ideas and keeps the interest up when international marauders come to race in North America. "One of the main problems in the last 10 years or so has been the focus on retiring successful horses too quickly and the lack of international races on American soil," Sjoberg said. "I hope with the reinstatement of the International Trot, or the World Championship as we call the race in Sweden, and the implementation of the "Gural rule" (keeping horses racing into their 4-year-old season) should revitalize the sport." Sebastian K or "Sebbe" as he's known around the barn, has won eight of 10 starts since coming to the United States from Sweden and appears to be one of the top choices in the estimated $250,000 International Trot Preview. On June 28 at Pocono Downs, Sebastian K, an 8-year-old trotter, set the world record for trotting the fastest mile in harness racing, when he stopped the clock in 1:49 in the $100,000 Sun Invitational. "He's an amazing horse," said Bjorn (Bernie) Noren, the assistant to trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. "He's a phenomenal animal." In 2012, Sebastian K was named Sweden's Horse of the Year and having started his career in Sweden, Sebastian K, races barefoot, with no shoes unlike many of his American counterparts. "Most horses over there race without shoes," Noren said. "I think it makes them go a little faster. You must have a good surface to race barefoot on or it could sting the horse's foot. Yonkers has a very good surface. We try to race him every time without shoes because he doesn't like to wear them." In Sebastian K's last start, the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park on Sept. 20, the 8-year-old faded to seventh, finishing off the board for the first time since coming to North America. "We put down his lackluster performance to dehydration and the thunderstorm that rolled in," said Sjoberg, who noted that Sebastian K scoped clean after the race. "He does not like high humidity." The International Trot Preview is also expected to attract Market Share, Bee a Magician and Archangel and is part of a strong evening of racing from the Old Hilltop featuring the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot. Yonkers Raceway will keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning on Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will host an all-trotting card that will be simulcast to Europe beginning at 11 a.m. The track will offer fans many promotions for the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer. By Jerry Bossert
$154,150 Trot Kentuckiana 2yo Fillies Hoosier Park 2nd race SATURDAY – This is a tough call as you never know how young filly trotters will race. And so I am going with the class of the field in Speak To Me. She has been super consistent this season and hails from Jimmy Takter Stable. Use Gatka Hanover and Gold Cora in exotic plays. $154,400 Trot Kentuckiana 2yo Fillies Hoosier Park 4th race SATURDAY – Despite having just one win in eight starts this year I am going with Smexi. She never makes breaks, has the rail and has been game all season long. Use Livinthefastlane and Sweet Hana in exotic plays. $266,000 Pace Milton Final Older Mares Mohawk 7th race SATURDAY – Classic final with many of the top older mares in the sport going to post. I like Krispy Apple as draws well, has won her last two starts in this company both on and off the pace and if need be can wire the field as she did two starts back in 1:48.4. Use Yagonnakissmeornot and Anndrovette in exotic plays. $153,200 Pace Kentuckiana 2yo Fillies Hoosier Park 9th race SATURDAY – With more than three times the purse earnings of anyone else in the field you have to go with Southwind Roulette. She comes into the race on a four-race winning streak and should not be beaten. Use She’s A Hot Mess and Cashaway in exotic plays. $151,950 Pace Kentuckiana 2yo Fillies Hoosier Park 11th race SATURDAY – Fans will get to see a filly in here who is the leading contender for Horse of the Year honors in her division. JK She’salady has the breeding and ability to be a world champion. She is undefeated in six starts and will lay over this field with her great pacing speed. Use Bedroomconfessions and Mr Leland’s Filly in exotic plays. $238,500 Trot Centaur Classic FFA Hoosier Park 12th race SATURDAY – The last time Sebastian K took this much time off he came back and nearly set a world record. Super class trotter should be able to toy with this field and put on a great race for Hoosier fans who should be flocking to the track to see this world champion perform. Use Market Share and Uncle Peter in exotic plays. $200,000 Pace Prix D’ete 4YO Hippodrome 3R 9 th race SUNDAY – What a great match-up for the revival of the Prix D’ete, one of Canada’s premier events for many years. So tough to make a firm pick. Yannick Gingras comes back to his home track and after his impressive victory in the Little Brown Jug I think he can overcome starting from post 8 with Sunfire Blue Chip. He is on a four-race winning streak and has overcome starting this far out before. Use Mach It So and Lucan Hanover in exotic plays.
ANDERSON, Ind.-September 19, 2014 - Hoosier Park will offer arguably the best 14-race card of the 2014 live harness racing season to-date on Saturday, September 20. Grand Circuit racing action will make its way to Hoosier Park for the second time this season and with it, bring the top rated horses in North America to Hoosier Park as they convene on the seven-eighths mile oval in search of the lucrative purses offered on the card beginning at 5:15 p.m. Hoosier Park will host a standout card that includes the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic, the $250,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, the $150,000 Elevation Pace and the $50,000 Jenna's Beach Boy Invitational Pace. The world's fastest trotter, Sebastian K will highlight a powerful field of ten for Hoosier Park's richest trotting event, The Centaur Trotting Classic which has been slated as the twelfth race on the 14-race card. Fresh off his win in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot, Sebastian K has won eight of nine outings this year with a career bankroll of over $2.9 million and will start from post six with driver, trainer Ake Svenstadt at the lines. Joining the stellar cast of entrants in The Centaur Trotting Classic will be Hambletonian Winner, Market Share who has drawn the coveted rail position. The winner of last year's edition of the Centaur Trotting Classic and Hoosier Park's current track record holder for older horses on the trot, Uncle Peter will start from post seven. "I am overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of exceptional horses that are coming to Hoosier Park," Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager or Racing, Rick Moore noted. "This is unequivocally the best harness racing card to take place at Hoosier Park this season and we couldn't be more excited to showcase this night of nights to racing fans across the country." In a continued partnership with Hoosier Park, HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, will provide exclusive coverage for all the Grand Circuit racing action on Saturday. HRTV will be on property to provide racing fans with exclusive coverage of all the festivities happening on and off the race track. Racing fans can also catch exclusive interviews from drivers and trainers racing at Hoosier Park on the HRTV programming. In conjunction with all the action taking place on the track, Hoosier Park will host the inaugural "Food Truck Throwdown" in Hoosier Park's yard. Starting at 5 p.m., racing fans will have the opportunity to select from a variety of the best food trucks in the area and local craft beers. The Food Truck Throwdown ticket package costs $20 and includes: $10 food truck voucher, 16 oz. Dan Patch mug, two craft beer pints, and a mystery racing voucher that could be worth up to $1,000. All ticket proceeds will benefit the Madison County United Way. Racing fans will also have the opportunity to enjoy the annual FarmTastic event, a farm themed and family friendly day at the races. The event will feature an antique tractor exhibit, a tractor parade, children's activities and farm food favorites. Free sweet corn and watermelon will be available while supplies last. Hoosier Park's stakes filled 14-race card will begin at its regularly scheduled post of 5:15 p.m. Hoosier Park's live racing action will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 15. Emily Gaskin
It's been almost 20 years since the International Trot was last run at Yonkers Raceway, but it's back and may be better than ever before. With a probable field including world record holder Sebastian K, along with the 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share, the 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and the 2012 Yonkers Trot winner Archangel, the 37th running of the $250,000 International Trot will be a must race to see at Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 25. "The timing seems right to bring it back," said Bob Galterio, the vice president and chief operating officer of Yonkers. "This year, with so many good American trotters and a couple from overseas the time just seems to be right." When last run in 1995, it was Sweden's His Majesty who took the International Trot over S.J.'s Photo and Panifesto, both American trotters, and this year Sweden looks well represented by Sebastian K. "Of course it means a lot," said Bjorn (Bernie) Noren, the assistant to trainer Ake Svanstedt for Sweden's Sebastian K. "It's a big event for Europeans and it should be a big race getting all the good trotters together from overseas." His Majesty - 1995 International Trot Linda Toscano, trainer of Market Share, grew up at Roosevelt Raceway, where the International Trot was conducted from its inception in 1959 until 1988. "I come from Roosevelt and one of the highlights I looked forward to was seeing the other horses coming from the other countries to compete in the International," Toscano said. "I think it's a real cool thing that they revived it." The International Trot will be run along with the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot that evening, making for a super night of racing at the Old Hilltop. "We're very excited about that evening," Galterio said. "It should be a great night of racing and we're looking forward to it." Â· Yonkers Raceway hopes to keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning on Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will host an all trotting card that will be simulcast to Europe starting with an 11 a.m. first post. The track will offer fans many promotions for the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer. By Jerry Bossert
ANDERSON, Ind.-September 17, 2014 - Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter, will make his Hoosier Park Racing & Casino debut as he heads a powerful field of ten in the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic on Saturday, September 20. Offering arguably the best 14-race card of the 2014 live racing season to-date, Hoosier Park will play host to a stakes-filled card that boasts lofty purses as Grand Circuit racing action returns to the seventh-eighths mile oval. As Hoosier Park's signature trotting event, The Centaur Trotting Classic will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m. The 8-year-old Swedish trotter Sebastian K has taken the sport of harness racing by storm since arriving in North America earlier this year, setting records nearly everywhere he goes. Boasting a career bankroll of over $2.9 million, Sebastian K has won 34 of 72 races in his career and has only been defeated one time in eight starts since racing in North America. Sebastian K's stunning 1:49 victory on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the $100,000 Sun Invitational was the fastest mile clocking ever recorded by a trotter. In addition to trotting the fastest mile in history, he is also the first trotter to ever win four times in 1:50.3 or faster. The No. 1-ranked harness racing horse in North America last appeared on August 29 at Vernon Downs when he won the Crawford Farms Open Trot in 1:53. Sebastian K is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. and is trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt. Svanstedt and Sebastian K will start from post six in the field of ten and have been enlisted as the 3-5 morning line favorite. Joining the stellar cast of entrants in the Centaur Trotting Classic is Hambletonian winner, Market Share who will start from the coveted rail position with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines. Market Share, who has won 24 of 51 races and $3.4 million in his career, was last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. The triple millionaire is trained by Linda Toscano and has been enlisted as the morning line second choice. The Centaur Trotting Classic is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday at Hoosier Park, which also includes the $250,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for two-year-old trotting and pacing fillies, the $150,000 Elevation Pace for two-year-old pacing colts and the $50,000 Jenna's Beach Boy Invitational Pace for three-year-old pacing colts. HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, will provide exclusive coverage for the 14-race card. Racing fans can also catch exclusive interviews on the HRTV programming from drivers and trainers racing at Hoosier Park. Following is the Centaur Trotting Classic field in post order with trainers: 1. Market Share, Linda Toscano 2. Natural Herbie, Verlin Yoder 3. Red Hot Herbie, Byron Hooley 4. Creatine, Bob Stewart 5. Master of Law, Jimmy Takter 6.Sebastian K, Ake Svenstadt 7. Uncle Peter, Jimmy Takter 8. Fusion Man, Jeff Smith 9. Arch Angel, Ron Burke 10. Appomattox, Liisa Vatanen For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park
Well it was bound to happen but last week was the first time in five weeks that I did not have a winning weekend with my selections. Oh well, on to bigger and better this weekend! Tons and I mean tons of great racing action both sides of the border this weekend. We will be covering the PASS Championships at Pocono Downs plus some of the Simcoe and Champlain action at Mohawk then off to Harrah’s on Sunday for their excellent PASS Championship card. It’s amazing how some of these championship finals for state-bred trotters and pacers feature the top of the class in some great battle. Just a testimonial to how strong the Pennsylvania breeding program is. Good Luck! $123,120 Pace Champlain Stake 2YO Open Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – While there is only one return winner in this field it is still very competitive. I’m going with Lyons Levi Lewis, who despite showing just one win in seven starts this year he has been racing against the best and is coming off a decent second place finish in the $667,000 Metro Pace last week. Use Thinkofagameplan and Freedomformysoul in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace Open Pocono Downs 8th race SATURDAY – Really nice field assembled here. I am going with the “old man” Golden Receiver as he has been on a roll as of late and still can show his heels to his younger rivals. Won last two starts against this group and can take another one. Use Sunfire Blue Chip and Mach It So in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 2YO Fillies Pocono Downs 9th race SATURDAY - With four wins and a third in only her five lifetime starts and a 1:51.4 lifetime mark two starts back right here at Pocono Downs, it’s tough to even think about going against Southwind Roulette. She is on a three-race win streak and has beaten most of these fillies already. Use Aria Hanover and Ginger Tree Alexis in exotic plays. $107,538 Pace Simcoe Stake 3YO Open Mohawk 11th race SATURDAY – After watching both Jet Airway and Melmerby Beach go at each other the last two weeks this was a tough call. But last week Melmerby Beach showed he can win in here and with any kind of live cover today he could score again. Use Jet Airway and Three of Clubs in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 2YO Fillies Pocono Downs 10th race SATURDAY – When it comes to young trotters there is none better in the business than Jimmy Takter and he has a very good one here in Wild Honey. She is on a four-race winning streak, already has a record of 1:55 and always wins when she cuts the mile, four of five times this year. Use Speak To Me and Gatka Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 2YO Colts Pocono Downs 11th race SATURDAY – You cannot, of course, ignore perfection, and that’s Billy Flynn this season. The son of Cantab Hall is 6 for 6 for trainer Staffan Lind and has beaten everyone else in this field already. Can score from on or off the helmet and continue winning ways. Use Piercewave Hanover and Honor And Serve in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 2YO Colts Pocono Downs 12th race SATURDAY – Here is one of the top colts in the nation. Yankee Bounty is undefeated in six starts but last week was really tested and still held on. Gets tested once again with big money on the line but should get the job done. Use Wakizashi Hanover and Tomy Terror in exotic plays. $50,000 Trot Open Pocono Downs 13th race SATURDAY – From a betting standpoint you just can’t go against the entry today of Wishing Stone and Market Share. May be separate trainers but both are world class trotters and should be able to handle this decent group. Use Sevruga and Arch Madness in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace PASS Consolation 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 7th race SUNDAY – Had to include this field even though it’s not a final, it’s still jammed with top fillies. Katie Said gets the nod as she has been razor sharp as of late with three wins in last four starts on the Grand Circuit including a lifetime best 1:49.2 clocking. Use Marathon Day and Tyra in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – Since her big score in the Hambletonian Oaks, Lifetime Pursuit has yet to lose either in the PASS or on the Grand Circuit. She is razor sharp for the Takter Stable and while this race is no cake-walk she should still be able to win off her recent form. Use Designed To Be and Take The Money in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 3YO Colts Harrah’s 10th race SUNDAY – What a great line-up for this final as nearly every horse has had a major score this year. McWicked is the horse to beat in here and rightly so off his championship season and he draws the rail to boot. He is most likely using this race as his final prep before heading out to the Little Brown Jug and thus will be all out for the rich purse. Use Somewhere In L A and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 3YO Colts Harrah’s 11th race SUNDAY – Despite his Hambletonian nightmare, Father Patrick has been nearly perfect his entire career. Last week he vented against same in Zweig Memorial and held the field at bay with an easy impressive score. He should be able to do the same inhere. Use Nuncio and Datsyuk in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 12th race SUNDAY – After her 20 length qualifying romp last week I have no doubt that Sandbetweenurtoes will leave from the rail in here and not look back and that no one will catch her. Undefeated filly is super and goes for her ninth straight win. Tough field but she has shown this season that she is one of the best in the nation. Use Allstar Rating and Weeper in exotic plays.
The best of the best of this year’s Pennsylvania-sired harness racing two-year-old trotters and pacers will gather together this Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for their $1,240,000 Championships Night program. The horses, in both the $260,000 finals and the $50,000 consolations, earned their way into these races by having the highest point totals based on finish position in four PA Sire Stakes preliminaries raced at the state’s tracks over the last two months. The four Championship events are slotted for races nine through twelve on Saturday’s 16-race card. The stellar card also features the $50,000 Modern Family Open Trot, in honor of the late trotter trained by Daryl Bier, and featuring such star-power Wishing Stone; Arch Madness; Market Share; and Sevruga, along with four other heavy-hitters. The $50,000 Adieu to the Almost Summer Pace will host the millionaire pacers Golden Receiver and Mach It So, who hit the finish line in a brilliant Dead Heat two weeks ago; millionaire Bolt The Duer; and Sunfire Blue Chip, headlining another star-studded field. To kick off the Sire Stakes Championship Night, a special “Signings and Sightings” event will be held with Hall of Famer and former NY Giants Linebacker Lawrence Taylor on the Sky Bridge from 4:00pm to 5:30pm. This is a wristband-only event, and fans may obtain their wristband starting at 1:00pm, which will be a limited amount. Authorized photos only will be signed, and they will distributed at the event. The first 200 fans at 5:00pm can get the 50/50 deal; they pay $50, and receive a total of $100 in live racing vouchers. Each $10 free voucher is good on a select Sire Stakes race or the Open Trot or Open Pace. Post Time for the night is 6:30pm. Racing continues at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday through November 22, and the track is dark the week of September 9-13 for the annual Oktoberfest celebration. JENNIFER STARR
WILKES-BARRE PA -The cream of the crop of this year's Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old trotters and pacers will gather together this Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for their $1,240,000 Championships Night program. The horses,in both the $260,000 finals and the $50,000 consolations, earned their way into these races by having the highest pointtotals based on finish position in four PaSS preliminaries raced at the state's tracks over the last two months. The four Championship events are slotted for races nine through twelve on Saturday's 16-race card at Pocono; here's a look at them in the order they will be conducted: TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:51.1, Economy Terror, 2007) These fillies have been very competitive among themselves, as this is the only of the four divisions that will find no four-time prelim winner looking for a sweep in the Championship. (In fact, there has never been a "sweeper" in the 2PF class since a record of prelim points was started in 2002, a fact which will obviously stay intact in 2014; what's more, the prelim pointleader has not won the 2PF Championship since Lady Annie in 2007.) Aria Hanover (post two, driver Tim Tetrick listed) and Southwind Roulette (post five, Yannick Gingras) figure to be the focal points of attention after showing three wins and a third in their prelims to be tied for the top in this group. Southwind Roulette was third in her first PaSS start, then has taken her last three; among the conquered in her final prelim was ... Aria Hanover, who had won three straight going into that event. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:54.3, Sand Violent Blu, 2011, and Designed To Be, 2013) In contrast to their pacing counterparts, two 2TFs have swept their four prelims and their Championship: Coulantine in 2004, and Fashion Feline in 2009. And the leading pointwinner has won their Championship in each of the last three years (the stake speed setters with Frau Blucher in between). Looking to add herself the "sweeper" ranks is Wild Honey (post seven, Yannick Gingras). In keeping her record unblemished in the prelims last time out, Wild Honey defeated Gatka Hanover (post eight, Ron Pierce), who had also won her three prelims heretofore, by a half-length. Neither filly will particularly benefit from their outside post draw, making this shape up as a very tough affair. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS (stakes record - 1:54.3, Stormin Normand, 2011) In setting this division's speed mark, Stormin Normand also completed the "Sire Stakes sweep," the only 2TC to have accomplished the feat. Attempting to emulate the "Storm" will be Billy Flynn (post four, Brett Miller), 6 for 6 in his young career. But there are three two-time Sire Stakes prelim winners in this field - Honor And Serve, Lima Pride, and Piercewave Hanover - plus Walter White, a horse who came within a head of Billy Flynn two starts back, so no one is conceding the honors to the unbeaten horse going in. TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS (stakes record - 1:50.2, One More Laugh, 2009) Like his colt counterpart on the trotting side, Stormin Normand, One More Laugh became his division's only sweeper when he set the stakes mark five years back. (The leading prelim pointleader has won the 2PC in three of the last five years, including Allstar Partner last year.) Probably set to draw the majority of the focus here is Yankee Bounty (post three, Yannick Gingras), who like Billy Flynn is both 6 for 6 lifetime and unbeaten in the Sires prelims. But also like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty had a horse who gave him a scare - Wazikashi Hanover came within a neck of an upset last time -- and again like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty faces three opponents with multiple PaSS prelim wins: McArdles Lightning (who had three) along with Dragon Eddy and Lost For Words (two each). THE UNDERCARD There will be $50,000 consolations for each of the four Sire Stakes divisions' horses who came up just shy in trying to earn themselves a place in the final. It does seem strange to call a contest an "undercard" event when the field of eight has combined earnings of $12,112,270, especially when the first three horses in the post parade have bankrolled $9,956,663 among them. But this is a special field, for a special race - the $50,000 Modern Family Trot, honoring the recently-deceased free-for-aller who was based with the Daryl Bier stable right at Pocono, and who was competitive with this national group the last two years. Those "first three horses," by the way, are Wishing Stone, Market Share, and Arch Madness, and when mixed with Sevruga and four other hard-hitters they should give a fit tribute to their fallen fellow competitor. There will also be a $50,000 Invitational Pace, the Adieu to the Almost Summer Pace (no doubt if this race were held in the western part of the state, it would be called the Adios to the Almost Summer Pace, but that's another story). Millionaires Golden Receiver and Bolt The Duer will draw attention here, along with two sharp four-year-olds on three-race winning streaks: Sunfire Blue Chip and Mach It So. The first of Saturday's 16 races is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (And of course on Sunday afternoon, the $1,240,000 PA Sire Stakes 3YO Championships Day will be held at Harrah's Philadelphia, likely to feature a few horse you may have heard of -- Father Patrick and Nuncio, McWicked and Smewhere In L A, Shake It Cerry, Sandbetweenurtoes, horses like that. The draw for those races is tomorrow [Wednesday].) From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association
Last week for the first time in five weeks we broke even. We didn’t lose money but we were on a four-weekend winning streak for making money. But this now old news and on to this great weekend of racing. It’s the “Roaring Grand Circuit” big time this weekend and it kicks off Friday night at both Vernon Downs and Mohawk Raceway with the Zweig Trot, Crawford Farms Trot plus the Champlain Stakes. And the top horses are competing to make it even better. Then on Saturday the night belongs to Mohawk with the Metro Final, Canadian Pacing Derby, She’s A Great Lady final and the Simcoe Stakes. Super weekend and don’t forget on Labor Day Monday it’s the Cane Pace and Shady Daisy at Tioga Downs. Good Luck! $150,000 Trot Harry M Zweig 3YO Fillies Vernon Downs 6th race FRIDAY – Earlier this season she would have been 1/5 in the morning line but after a tough loss in the Hambletonian Oakes, Shake It Cerry has not yet gotten back the respect she once had. Don’t out this filly out. Last year she crushed at the end of the season and looks to be back in shape. Jump all over her if she goes off at 5/2. Class will tell. Use Broadway Socks and Avalicious in exotic plays. $124,621 Trot Champlain Stake 2YO Open Mohawk Raceway 6th race FRIDAY – Draws the rail and he is on a two-race winning streak. Habitat may be pressed a little early on but he should have things his own way in here. Can sit the pocket or go to the front and not look back. Use Muscle Diamond and Gifted Way in exotic plays. $340,000 Trot Final Harry M Zweig 3YO Colts Vernon Downs 8th race FRIDAY – How on god’s earth can you not even think of going again an entry of Father Patrick and Nuncio against this field. Two of the three best colt trotters in racing and all from the Jimmy Takter Stable. I am surprised they are allowing win betting. Use Flyhawk El Durado and Martiniwithmuscle in exotic plays. $124,621 Trot Champlain Stake 2YO Open Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Having won three times already this season, French Laundry is the horse to beat in here. He is usually hot on the lead and usually wires the field with ease as he can do again. Use Wheels An Smokin and Don’t Rush in exotic plays. $236,000 Trot Crawford Farms Open Vernon Downs 9th race FRIDAY – Last time this world champion was well rested he came back to win with a vengeance. Sebastian K goes for his eighth victory this year and should enjoy Vernon’s oval but wouldn’t count on a world record, just a nice easy win. Remember to watch the mare, Bee A Magician, as she has yet to face Sebastian K. use Bee A Magician and Market Share in exotic plays. $207,689 Pace 3YO Fillies Simcoe Stakes Mohawk Raceway 4th race SATURDAY – This is a very well matched field of top fillies. I am taking a shot that Beach Gal can upset. She has been razor sharp winning two of last three starts including lifetime mark of 1:49.3 right here at Mohawk. Use Precocious Beauty and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $480,000 Pace 2YO Fillies She’s A Great Lady Final Mohawk 5th race SATURDAY – After watching her last couple of starts I am convinced that unbeaten JK Shesalady is the top two-year-old filly of the year and she will prove it in here. She has the ability to get geared up and once in motion she blows by everyone else. Use Band Of Angels and Bedroomconfessions in exotic plays. $667,000 Pace 2YO Colts The Metro Final Mohawk Raceway 7th race SATURDAY – Unbeaten in five starts so far, but what impressive miles they have been for Artspeak. He can just bully his way to the front and never look back, especially in his last two starts at Mohawk. Use Go Daddy Go and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $218,076 Trot 3YO Open Simcoe Stakes Mohawk Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – Since he has never been a rocket ship out of the starting gate, it really does not bother me that Trixton is starting in the second tier here in post 11. Jimmy Takter will weave his magic and once Trixton gets some clearance he will stalk down the field, take the lead and win for fun. It’s the first start back for the Hambletonian winner but he loves Mohawk Raceway. Use P L Hercules and Harper Blue Chip in exotic plays. $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Final Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – It’s almost not fair anymore like with Sebastian K. Sweet Lou is pretty near perfection this season and goes for his eleventh straight win. He has mowed this opponents down left and right, week after week. When is Ron Burke gonna let Ron Piece cut loose with Sweet Lou and go for a 1:45 mile? More than likely in Lexington. Use State Treasurer and Clear Vision in exotic plays.
The “barefoot wonder” did it again as Sebastian K was able to lead from start to finish and set a harness racing track record for older horses with his 1:53 triumph at Vernon Downs Friday in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot. Leaving like he was shot out of a rocket, trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt has Sebastian K on the lead just moments after leaving the starting gate. Also leaving and securing the two-hold trip behind him was Archangel and driver Yannick Gingras as they sped to the opening quarter mile in an easy :28.1. Then in typical fashion, Svanstedt backed off Sebastian K to the half mile marker in :57.3 with Archangel right on their backs. It was then that Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick began to move up first-over and following their outside flow was Quick Deal (Matt Kakaley). When they passed the three-quarters in 1:26.3, Market Share was still gaining ground on the leaders and as they started down the stretch Archangel looked as if he had plenty of trot but no place to go as he was locked in behind Sebastian K with Market Share on the outside. Then in the stretch, Svanstedt let Sevastian K have his head and the world champion trotters pulled away from the group and went on to win with ease by two open lengths. Archangel was second with Market Share third. His 1:53 clocking tied the track record for older trotters that was first set in 2013 by For You Almost Free. “It was a great race,” said Bjorn “Bernie” Noren, second trainer for Ake Svanstedt, “He got an easy first half and a pretty good second half. It was an easy race for him tonight. During the off time he does what he always does. He trains twice a week intervals on the sand track and then go in the paddock the rest of the week. “It is such a great experience to have a good horse like him,” Noren said. “It is good to bring a top horse like Sebastian K here and that the fans really appreciate him. He has so many fans now and that is great for harness racing. We need that in our sport. “His next race will be at Hoosier Park on September 20 and then he will go to Lexington,” Noren said. Then we will go to Yonkers for their new International Trot and then maybe if all is OK we will supplement him to the Breeders Crown.” For Sebastian K it was his third straight win and eighth victory in nine outings here in the USA. His only loss was by a neck. The eight-year-old son of Korean was bred and is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Inc. of Vero Beach, FL. Sebastian K paid $2.30 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Freehold, NJ --- Trainer Nifty Norman might not be expecting his star mare Bee A Magician to beat the sport’s top male trotters in Friday’s $236,000 Crawford Farms Open at Vernon Downs, but he’s not shying from the challenge, either. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, will face nine male rivals in the Crawford. The field includes world champion Sebastian K, who was Sweden’s Horse of the Year in 2012 and is harness racing’s No. 1-ranked horse this season, plus major stakes-winners Archangel, Intimidate, Market Share, Mister Herbie, and Spider Blue Chip. “I’m not intimidated,” Norman said. “We’ve got to do it at some point, anyway, and I think she seems really good right now. I don’t expect to win, but I expect her to be good. She looks fantastic, nice and sound.” Bee A Magician, a 4-year-old mare who was undefeated in 17 races last season, has won two of eight starts this year and finished second on five occasions. She enters the Crawford off a track-record 1:55 victory over the boys in the open on Aug. 22 at Yonkers Raceway. “That had some bearing on our decision, although that was not the same quality field,” Norman said. “But I liked the way she raced there. “Basically, we’ve got to race and it was either against the mares for $40,000 (in Monday’s Miss Versatility Series leg at Tioga Downs) or the boys for $240,000. Getting a piece of $240,000 is better than winning for $40,000. We figured we’d give it a shot. “Plus Classic Martine is racing as good as anybody right now. It’s not like facing the mares was going to be easy.” Prior to the win in the Yonkers open, Bee A Magician finished second twice to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands. Classic Martine captured the final by a neck in 1:51.1, equaling Bee A Magician’s world-record time for a 4-year-old female trotter. Three of Bee A Magician’s second-place finishes this year came in miles of 1:51.2 or faster. Another came in the Hambletonian Maturity, contested at 1-1/8 mile, against 4-year-old male rivals. “I haven’t been disappointed with her at all this year,” said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. “I’ve thought she’s gone some great trips. “People keep asking what’s wrong with her because she’s not winning every race. I didn’t expect her to. It’s tough at this age (4). This year is really a learning curve to see how she handles the step up. It’s more to help plan for next year.” Bee A Magician, who has won 29 of 38 races and $2.49 million, will start the Crawford from post three with regular driver Brian Sears. Sebastian K, who has won seven of eight races this year, his first season in North America, starts from post five for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. He is the fastest trotter in history thanks to his 1:49 win in the Sun Invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 28. Intimidate is the only horse to defeat Sebastian K this year, winning the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose. Intimidate, who starts from post eight, won last year’s edition of the Crawford, then called the Credit Winner. Market Share, who has won 24 of 49 races and $3.43 million in his career, was last season’s Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. He will start Friday from the trailing position, post 10. “It’s a very good field, that’s for sure,” Norman said. “(Bee A Magician) has got a good spot. There’s lots of speed in there, and if she winds up getting a good enough trip, she should be good enough to get a piece.” The field for the Crawford in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 2. Spider Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Chuck Sylvester; 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman; 4. Flanagan Memory, Brett Miller, Rene Dion; 5. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 6. Master Of Law, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 7. Mister Herbie, Brian Sears, Jeff Gillis; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais; 9. Quick Deal, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 10. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano. Spider Blue Chip and Bee A Magician will race as an entry. Market Share will start from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The very finest trotters in the land will converge on Vernon Downs the evening of Friday, August 29 for Grand Circuit racing. The Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial drew full fields for both colt and filly divisions and the Crawford Farms Free For All looks to be the race of the season thus far for the veteran trotting set. The Crawford Farms offers a powerful field of ten to compete for a purse of $236,000. Current Top Ten Poll leader and multiple world record setting trotter Sebastian K will bring his impressive arsenal to Central New York for owners Knutsson Trotting and trainer / driver Ake Svanstedt. He will find plenty of competition here including 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's winner of this race and the only horse to vanquish Sebastian K in North American thus far Intimidate and the always formidable Market Share to name but a few. The $340,000 Zweig Memorial main event has landed both Father Patrick and Nuncio from the Jimmy Takter stable. Father Patrick will seek to reestablish his position at the top of the sophomore crop and Nuncio will be coming in on short rest, being entered in a PASS event on Tuesday afternoon. There is also a $60,000 Zweig colt consolation on the Friday card. Takter will also bring the likely favorite for the $150,000 Zweig companion filly race in Shake It Cerry. Last year's divisional champion has won seven of nine this season and is over $1.1 million lifetime for owner Solveig's Racing Partners. Local debutante Avalicious, PASS invader Broadway Socks and NJSS champ Heaven's Door will provide ample resistance to the top choice. The first leg of the 8th annual Tioga & Vernon Downs Drivers' Championship will be on the Friday program as well with four overnight races dedicated to that competition. The Vernon Racing Under Saddle series draws to a close with a $5,700 final and local driving legend, the late Jack Bailey, will be memorialized with the feature preferred trot. The hotly anticipated Jimmy Marohn, Jr bobble-head giveaway and free T shirts will only add to the festivities on this important occasion. Post time for the Friday evening extravaganza will be 6:45pm. Visit the Vernon Downs website for complete entry information and further details on racing and promotions.
Goshen, NY--Few harness horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms of Durhamville, New York. When top trotters Sebastian K and Market Share line up for this Friday's (August 29) $200,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon, they will score behind the bright red Crawford Farms starting car. And that is just the beginning of the Crawford's omnipresence. Driven by a passion for the sport, and a desire to help harness racing prosper, the Crawford's have sponsored this season's Meadowlands Pace, Kindergarten Classic and the aforementioned Crawford Farms Trot, formerly the Credit Winner. In addition to vast purse support, they have recently completed a state-of-the-art equine therapeutic spa, 40-stall barn, and a 6-gate horse exerciser at their central New York breeding & racing operation. Their hearts and minds are 'all-in' this game; for their farm and for the future of the Standardbred. Michelle and Albert Crawford have undoubtedly jumped-in with both feet, and provided a much-needed push to a somewhat hesitant industry. "We love this business," noted Albert, son of the late Jim Crawford who was the affable former president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. "My wife and I are committed to breeding top horses in New York State and supporting the industry in the process. We know that it is an uphill battle, but we are digging in for the long haul!" From the second-story Crawford Farms mural at The Meadowlands to the upcoming Red Mile Grand Circuit meet where the water trucks will bear the farm's iconic insignia, racing fans are constantly reminded of the dynamic duo's substantial commitment to the sport. Evident across multiple digital platforms, the Crawford's are very active on social media and have produced and broadcast several TV commercials. This weekend is no exception. With the $400,000 Zweig Trot also this Friday, renovations to the farm have reached a feverish pace this month in preparation for their inaugural Open House on Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. The team is eager to show the sport the fruits of their labor. "Our yearlings are ready and we hope to draw a large crowd of horse people for some food and refreshments while they evaluate our stock," exclaimed Michelle Crawford, who provides much of the spark in the engine around the farm. "My crew has really stepped up over these past few weeks to make this facility 'show ready' for the upcoming affair," the hostess added with a proud smile. The farm, which was founded in 1966 by Jim and Patricia Crawford, continues to be a family affair. The 100-acre nursery has continued to expand not only their footprint, but also their broodmare band. Last year Crawford Farm was the leading major consignor at the Morrisville Sale and will bring nine yearlings back to that venue on Sept. 21. In addition, they have ten yearlings consigned to the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, including two selling on opening night, Sept. 30. While the yearlings were being videotaped, it was 'all hands on deck' and all feet had running shoes. Al, Michelle, Jim Jr., and even matriarch Pat participated in the 35th annual running of the babies. Albert stated, "This is the day we get to really see what we have. It's exciting, but a little nerve-racking too." When they are not prepping yearlings, Michelle and Al own and operate one of the most successful healthcare lending institutions in the nation, Bankers Healthcare Group. In fact, BHG was ranked as the 5th Fastest Growing Private Company by Inc. Formed in 1992 from a modest group of four finance experts, BHG now employs close to 200. It appears that growth and commitment are not just a mission statement, it is a Crawford way of life. by Chris Tully