Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter looks at Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia and can't help but be impressed. "It's like a mini Elitloppet," Takter said, referring to the famed invitational in Sweden that brings together an international field of 16 trotters. "This would have been a top field in Elitloppet elimination, anyway. It's going to be a great race." Takter's Father Patrick - who on Sunday makes his debut as a 4-year-old - is among four trotters entered in the Maxie Lee with Dan Patch Awards on their resumes. The others are Bee A Magician, who was harness racing's 2013 Horse of the Year, Market Share, and Classic Martine. The race is part of a star-studded card that also features the $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older male pacers and the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers. Father Patrick, who received Dan Patch Awards at both ages 2 and 3 and was the sport's top money-winner last season, drew post five with driver Yannick Gingras and is 7-2 on the morning line. He has won 22 of 28 career starts and earned $2.43 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. A son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream, Father Patrick prepped for his seasonal bow with three qualifiers. He was second to Melady's Monet in the first in 1:55, then won in 1:53.3 and 1:52. "Everything is much better than I expected," Takter said. "The horse had three qualifiers and he was stronger in every one of them. The last one was in (1):52 with the plugs left in; (Gingras) never really asked him anything. The horse is ready." In addition to getting ready for the racing campaign, Father Patrick has been doing stud duty. "It hasn't hurt him," Takter said. "He's going to breed three times this week. He's got a busy schedule, this guy. He doesn't seem to mind it. We've been fortunate that it hasn't been that hot. Sometimes when they've got to ship back and forth and breed, you just want to make sure their weight stays right." Bee A Magician, who on Saturday became the first female trotter to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and is No. 1 in the first Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, drew post three and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The 5-year-old mare is 3-for-3 this season, defeating male rivals in all of her starts. She won the Cutler in 1:51.2, which is the season's best time for any trotter. Her trainer, Nifty Norman, also is impressed with the Maxie Lee lineup. "I would say that's the best field she's met - maybe in her life," Norman said. "That's a really, really good field. I think we got probably the best draw out of that crew so we'll see how it shakes out. "You couldn't be more pleased with her," he added. "She's been fantastic every start and maybe got better each start. I'm thrilled." Classic Martine, who received last year's Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, got post seven and is 5-2. She has won two of three races this season, including the Miami Valley Distaff at Miami Valley Raceway in a track-record 1:52.2. Market Share, a Dan Patch Award honoree in 2012 and 2013, drew post four and is 8-1. "This is (Father Patrick's) first time racing against aged horses," Takter said. "Bee A Magician has really impressed me this year. She's a horse that's going to be tough to beat. But I feel optimistic. I think he can give her a run for the money. Classic Martine has been racing really good and you can't rule out Market Share with the class he has." Following is the field for the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lindy's Tru Grit, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 20-1 2. DW's NY Yank, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 9-1 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 2-1 4. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 8-1 5. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 6. Melady's Monet, John Campbell, Kevin McDermott, 12-1 7. Classic Martine, George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes, 5-2 8. Bourbon Bay, John Cummings Jr., Megan Wilson, 15-1 Following is the field for the Jerry Taylor Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Doctor Butch, John Campbell, Linda Toscano, 6-1 2. Sapphire City, Mark MacDonald, Paul Blumenfeld, 20-1 3. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 2-1 4. Great Vintage, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 10-1 5. Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 5-2 6. Dancin Yankee, Brett Miller, Josh Green, 15-1 7. Clear Vision, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1 8. Modern Legend, James MacDonald, David Drew, 6-1 Following is the field for the Betsy Ross Mare Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1 2. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-1 3. Radar Contact, John Campbell, Noel Daley, 9-2 4. Jerseylicious, David Miller, Wayne Givens, 9-1 5. Table Talk, Andy Miller, Bart Dalious, 20-1 6. Yagonnakissmeornot, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 9-5 7. Ooh Bad Shark, Allan Davis, William Wiggins, 12-1 8. For The Ladies N, Brian Sears, Peter Tritton, 20-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA
Dave Drew enjoyed his biggest thrill in harness racing last year when Modern Legend won the Canadian Pacing Derby. He hopes the horse can add to his legend with another strong campaign this season. Modern Legend - the only horse Drew owns - races in Sunday's inaugural $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia, where he will face a group that includes Levy Pacing Series champion Domethatagain and millionaires Clear Vision and Dancin Yankee. Modern Legend and driver James MacDonald will start from post eight. The race is part of a star-studded card that also features the $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters - where Dan Patch Award-winners Bee A Magician, Father Patrick, Classic Martine and Market Share make up half the field - and the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers. Seven-year-old Modern Legend heads to the Jerry Taylor Invitational off a second-place finish by a nose to JK Endofanera in last Saturday's opening round of the TVG Free For All Pacing Series at the Meadowlands. For the year, Modern Legend has posted two wins, a second and a third in four starts. He has won 21 of 67 career races and earned $916,192 for Drew, who also bred and trains the gelding. "I feel very good about him," said Drew, a 63-year-old from Ontario. "We'll do our best with (the post position). He's raced very well so far this year, so I'm certainly hoping for the best on Sunday in the Jerry Taylor. "Having a horse like him, it's something that's beyond anything I could have expected in racing," he added. "It's just been a real thrill to have this horse." Drew owned horses while working fulltime at General Motors in Ontario for 33 years. He began training after he retired from GM a dozen years ago. Modern Legend is a son of Modern Art out of the mare Ruby Cam. Drew and his brother, Greg, raced Ruby Cam, winning six of 11 races including the Middlesex County Pacing Series championship in 2003. Last season, Modern Legend and driver David Miller captured the $583,280 Canadian Pacing Derby at odds of 66-1, winning by three lengths over Foiled Again. "That's absolutely the highlight of racing for me," Drew said. "To have this horse and win the Canadian Pacing Derby was just outstanding. To be a part of this horse, he's just a fantastic animal. He did a great job. I couldn't be prouder of him." Drew is not alone. His wife Nancy and daughters Lisa and Stephanie are the horse's biggest fans. "They probably cheer the loudest of anyone when he's racing," Drew said. "They're avid fans. And they're very supportive of what I'm doing." Modern Legend, who was unraced at age 2 by design, put together an eight-race win streak bridging his 3- and 4-year-old seasons during which he swept the Autumn, Snowshoe and Cam Fella series. He was injured as the result of interference in the Cam Fella final and sidelined nine months, but returned to earn $229,469 at age 5. Last year, he banked a career-best $405,514, with five wins in 23 starts, and established his career mark of 1:47.2. He won four of his final 11 races and in the seven remaining starts lost only once by more than 1-3/4 lengths. "He closed out last year very well," Drew said. "I took it easy with him over the winter, kept him jogging and swimming. Swimming is part of his regular routine. I was hopeful coming into this year. He's probably started out at least as well as I would have expected for this season. I'm very happy with that. "He's staked somewhat comparable to last year. His next stakes engagement is the Ben Franklin at Pocono. Hopefully he'll fit in there and be ready to go for that." Following is the field for the Jerry Taylor Invitational in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Doctor Butch, John Campbell, Linda Toscano 2. Sapphire City, Mark MacDonald, Paul Blumenfeld 3. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard 4. Great Vintage, David Miller, Jimmy Takter 5. Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr. 6. Dancin Yankee, Brett Miller, Josh Green 7. Clear Vision, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke 8. Modern Legend, James MacDonald, David Drew Following is the field for the Betsy Ross Mare Invitational in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke 2. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr. 3. Radar Contact, John Campbell, Noel Daley 4. Jerseylicious, David Miller, Wayne Givens 5. Table Talk, Andy Miller, Bart Dalious 6. Yagonnakissmeornot, Simon Allard, Rene Allard 7. Ooh Bad Shark, Allan Davis, William Wiggins 8. For The Ladies N, Brian Sears, Peter Tritton Following is the field for the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Lindy's Tru Grit, Andy Miller, Julie Miller 2. DW's NY Yank, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman 4. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano 5. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter 6. Melady's Monet, John Campbell, Kevin McDermott 7. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick/George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes 8. Bourbon Bay, John Cummings Jr., Megan Wilson by Ken Weingartne Harness Racing Communications USTA
Chester, PA --- Sam Beegle, president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, today announced major additions to the 2015 stakes schedule at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack. On Sunday (May 24), a new Open Pace for colts and geldings, named in honor of Jerry Taylor, will join the Maxie Lee Open Trot and Betsy Ross Open Mares Pace to round out a trio of invitationals. The purse for each race is $150,000. Also new is the Liberty Bell series of early closers scheduled for September. Each of the eight races for Pennsylvania sired horses carries an estimated purse of $75,000. The schedule is as follows: 9/13--3-year-old colt and gelding pace 9/16--3-year-old filly pace 9/17--3-year-old filly trot 9/18--3-year-old colt and gelding trot 9/20--2-year-old filly pace 9/23--2-year-old filly trot 9/24--2-year-old colt and gelding pace 9/25--2-year-old colt and gelding trot "With the addition of the Liberty Bell series, we hope to extend the excitement of prime summer racing well into September and provide new opportunities for Pennsylvania sired horses,” said Beegle. “We’re also pleased to honor the memory of Jerry Taylor by adding his name to our May invitationals." Taylor, who passed away in 2013, was a Philadelphia attorney who raced at Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway for years. Among the many horses he owned was New Jersey Sire Stakes and Grand Circuit champion Devil’s Adversary. He is the father of prominent Standardbred owner Howard Taylor. Complete information will be available on the PHHA’s website, www.pahha.com. by Ed Kobesky, for the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
The story of 4-year-old harness racing female trotter Perfect Alliance, who enters Saturday's $266,000 Armbro Flight Stakes with 11 wins in 11 starts this season after winning a total of just two of 18 races at ages 2 and 3, would seem farfetched if it didn't sound so familiar. Perfect Alliance races out of the stable of Julie and Andy Miller, who five years ago took an unheralded 4-year-old male trotter named Lucky Jim and helped lead him to an award-winning season. Lucky Jim joined Team Miller with a total of just two wins in 20 career races. He won his first eight starts that season, including two winter series at the Meadowlands, before tackling the sport's top older trotters. He didn't slow down, winning seven more races in a row before finishing the campaign with 17 victories in 18 starts. His triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Nat Ray, Maxie Lee Memorial and Cutler Memorial, and he received the 2009 Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. Whether Perfect Alliance can write the same ending as Lucky Jim remains to be seen, but the first few chapters of her story are strikingly similar. She won two winter series - one at the Meadowlands and one at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs - before challenging the top female trotters in the game. In her first try against the big girls, in a division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine, Perfect Alliance won in 1:51.2, equaling Classic Martine's world record for the fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter. Incidentally, Lucky Jim shares the world record of 1:50.1 for the fastest mile ever by any trotter on a one-mile racetrack. Last weekend, Perfect Alliance won her elimination for the Armbro Flight by 6-1/2 lengths in a track-record 1:51.4 at Mohawk. She starts the final from post four with Yannick Gingras at the lines and is the 6-5 morning line favorite. "It's hard to believe we could ever do that again - and she hasn't done it yet - but the way she started out is a lot like the way we campaigned [Lucky Jim] because she fit some of the winter series," Andy Miller said. "She got a lot of confidence out of those series and just kept progressing and getting better and better. "Now she's as brave as a horse can be. Now that she's facing the better mares, she thinks she can tackle anything." Miller drove Perfect Alliance in her first seven starts, but has been sidelined since mid-April because of injuries sustained in an accident. In her second race this year, Perfect Alliance won from post 10 at the Meadowlands despite being stuck on the outside for most of the mile and getting a flat tire on the final turn. "She still dug in and won the race," Miller said. "When she did that, I thought it was something special. I didn't know if she would go [onto record-setting performances] but I knew there was a lot there." Perfect Alliance is owned by New Meadowlands Racing Chairman Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Meadowlands Racetrack General Manager Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. She is a daughter of stallion Credit Winner out of the mare Yalta Hanover and was purchased for $75,000 under the name Perfect Deo at the 2011 Lexington Selected Sale. Her mother is a half-sister to stakes-winners Yursa Hanover, He's Spooky and Scary Good. She is a three-quarter sister to Thistle Dhu, who ironically edged Perfect Alliance last season by a nose in the $40,000 Zweig Memorial Consolation for 3-year-old filly trotters. "Last year [Perfect Alliance] was hot on the gate and had a few little issues, just immaturity," Miller said. "I think the time off and bringing her back this year she's just matured so much. The second time I qualified her, I covered her up a bit and put some earplugs on her and when I popped them she responded. I knew there was a lot there, but how far it would go, I didn't know. "It's worked out good. With these types of horses, you just hope you don't do anything wrong. She kind of takes care of herself. She does everything we ask and we just try not to mess it up." Following is the field in post order for the Armbro Flight with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lady Laker, Trevor Ritchie, Al Tomlinson, 20-1; 2. Bax Of Life, Chris Christoforou, Jerry Duford, 15-1; 3. D'Orsay, Sylvain Filion, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 4. Perfect Alliance, Yannick Gingras, Julie Miller, 6-5; 5. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 5-1; 6. Upfrontluckycarol, Steve Condren, Clark Beelby, 20-1; 7. Rockin With Dewey, Mario Baillargeon, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1; 8. Charmed Life, James MacDonald, Dave Menary, 12-1; 9. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman, 4-1; 10. Angies Lucky Star, Trevor Henry, Richard Moreau, 25-1. Andy Miller got a positive report from his doctors recently as he continues his recovery from vertebrae surgery, but still is several months from returning to action. "He said everything looks good," Miller said Monday while watching qualifiers at Gaitway Farm, where he and wife Julie Miller are stabled. "He said in six weeks I can probably get rid of the [back] brace, but as far as doing anything, it'll be a couple months yet. "I was hoping I could do a little bit of work. Hopefully in six weeks I'll get a little more clearance, but I'm sure it will be a couple months before I can really do much." Miller said it was "frustrating" to be on the sidelines, but he is still active in watching horses train and race and providing his input. Miller has won 8,054 races in his driving career and nearly $101 million in purses, with both totals ranking among the top 25 in North American harness racing history. "Eventually, I'll get back out there, but I'll just take my time," Miller said. "I'm so thankful that I can be here and watch them and give my input on them training. "There haven't been any setbacks and if I didn't have the brace on, you wouldn't know anything is wrong with me. I can get around pretty good; I'm not running sprints, but everything is as good as it can be." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Market Share has visited six different states and the Canadian province of Ontario during his award-winning harness racing career, but has never been to Ohio. That will change this weekend. Coming off a world-record performance 10 days ago, Market Share heads to Scioto Downs for Saturday's $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters. Market Share drew post four in a field of 10 and will be driven by Jeff Gregory for trainer Linda Toscano. The Charlie Hill Memorial field also features Arch Madness, Archangel, Creatine, Undercover Strike, Modern Family, Fusion Man, Major Athens, Rompaway Beau, and DW's NY Yank. Toscano said she was "on the fence" whether to go to the race, particularly because Market Share's regular driver, Tim Tetrick, would be unavailable due to commitments in Canada, but made the decision after talking with owner Richard Gutnick. "We sat down yesterday and talked about it," Toscano said. "We made a 'pro' and 'con' list and the only thing on the 'con' list was we're not going to have our driver. But we're very fortunate to have Jeff Gregory in the barn and there's a break from Yonkers and the New York Sire Stakes this week, so he can go and drive the horse. "Our next main goal is to have him as good as we can for the Maple Leaf Trot (in mid-July). I think this race fits his schedule nicely and he seems good. I understand the track is great out there, so we're going to take a shot." Gregory drove Market Share to a 5-for-5 season as a 2-year-old in 2011. For his career, the 5-year-old Market Share has won 23 of 42 races and earned $3.26 million. He was named the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter and the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter. He is owned by Gutnick, TLP Stable, and Bill Augustine. Market Share's victories include the 2012 Hambletonian Stakes and Canadian Trotting Classic, the 2013 Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot, and this year's Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational. In winning the Maxie Lee on May 25 at Harrah's Philadelphia, Market Share trotted history's fastest mile on a five-eighths track, sto "He came out of the Maxie Lee really, really well," Toscano said. "He had a nice easy week last week and should be ready to go." Market Share is not the only star in the Charlie Hill Memorial. Ten-year-old Arch Madness is one of just nine trotters to earn more than $4 million in career purses. He has won 34 of 111 lifetime races, including the 2007 Breeders Crown, 2008 Maple Leaf Trot, and 2011 Oslo Grand Prix. He is a two-time runner-up in the international invitational Elitlopp in Sweden. Archangel and Creatine both won Trotting Triple Crown races at age 3; Archangel capturing the 2012 Yonkers Trot and Creatine the 2013 Kentucky Futurity. Modern Family is coming into the Charlie Hill off a second-place finish in the Cutler Memorial on May 17 and has finished no worse than third in 11 starts this year. He has won five times. DW's NY Yank leads the field in earnings this year, with $171,600, and has exceled on smaller tracks. He has won nine of his last 14 starts around five-eighths-mile ovals and failed to hit the board only once. "It's going to be a good race," Toscano said. "It all goes to promoting the horse and promoting the industry. That's the beauty of the older horses. I think we're going to find that the older horses really develop a following. People really like watching quality horses race. "Years ago, the horse was the star. I'm all about making the horse the star. I believe in it. I love that." Racing in Ohio has enjoyed a resurgence since the introduction of video lottery terminals in 2012 and has attracted some of the sport's best horses for Grand Circuit events. "It's nice to see Ohio is getting back on the map again," Toscano said. "They've always been good fans. Probably the single-biggest turnout every year is the Little Brown Jug, so Ohio has been very good to Standardbred racing. It's kind of fun to be able to pay back a little bit and go out there and race." Here is the field in post order for the Charlie Hill Memorial with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Arch Madness, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Trond Smedshammer; 2. Archangel, Chris Page, Ron Burke; 3. Creatine, Mike Lachance, Bob Stewart; 4. Market Share, Jeff Gregory, Linda Toscano; 5. Undercover Strike, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Tony O'Sullivan; 6. Modern Family, Dave Palone, Daryl Bier; 7. Fusion Man, Dan Noble, Jeff Smith; 8. Major Athens, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock; 9. Rompaway Beau, Don Harmon, Krista Harmon; 10. DW's NY Yank, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Ron Burke. DW's NY Yank will start from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
This Week: Molson Pace, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontraio; Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Somebeachsomewhere, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Roll With Joe, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this weekend. Action begins on Friday (May 30) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Molson Pace for free for all pacers. In addition to the appearance of defending champion, State Treasurer, who will start from the rail, two-time winner Foiled Again drew the outside post seven in the eight-horse field and will be making his sixth appearance in London's signature race. Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $124,744 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies) on Saturday (May 31). Elimination winners Stevensville and All Bets Off lead the field in the Art Rooney Pace, while the Lismore is led by Southwind Silence and Tyra, who captured last weekend's pair of eliminations. Also on Saturday, Mohawk Racetrack will host a trio of C$75,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts. The Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (June 1) as Tioga Downs will host the $200,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for free for all pacers. Complete entries for the Yonkers and Tioga races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair and Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Maxie Lee Memorial for trotters and the Betsy Ross for Market Share won the $250,000 Maxie Lee by two lengths over Sevruga in 1:50.2. The time established the record for history's fastest on a five-eighths-mile track, which previously was 1:50.3 and shared by Sevruga and Uncle Peter. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick settled into fourth place behind Sevruga, Arch Madness, and Daylon Magician in the early part of the race. Market Share moved into second place on the backstretch before challenging Sevruga for the top spot on the final turn. Sevruga finished second followed by DW's NY Yank and Arch Maness. "Nowadays, when you win a stakes race it's either a stakes record or a world record," trainer Linda Toscano said. "The horses are faster, the equipment is better; you just have to go (speed wise) where you have to go to win. These are good horses, all of them." Market Share, a 5-year-old who won for the second time in three starts this season, is owned by Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine. Gutnick, a Philadelphia native, won the 2012 Maxie Lee with Chapter Seven. Two races later on the card, Anndrovette and Tetrick won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette took the lead from Monkey On My Wheel as the field headed to the halfway point and never looked back. Rocklamation made a late charge from the rear of the pack, but finished second. Jerseylicious was third, followed by Monkey On My Wheel. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Anndrovette paid $13.40 to win. Morning line favorite Shebestingin was scratched. It was Anndrovette's second win in seven starts this season and first since winning a leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on April 4. She was fourth in the Matchmaker final on April 26. Anndrovette, who captured the 2011 Betsy Ross, is owned by Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. The 7-year-old mare, a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, has won 37 of 95 career races and $2.77 million. She is trained by P.J. Fraley. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 286; 2. Tim Tetrick - 225; 3. George Brennan - 144.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 113: 5. Brian Sears - 101. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 410.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 97; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller - 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 96.85; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 94.35; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 40; 5. Brad Grant - 39.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at four different racetracks next weekend. The Meadows will host 3-year-old filly trotters with the Currier & Ives on Wednesday (June 4). Mohawk will feature three sets of eliminations for 3-year-olds, plus the Armbro Flight and Roses Are Red for older mares. The Goodtimes eliminations for colt trotters and the Armbro Flight eliminations for mare trotters will take place on Friday (June 6), while on Saturday (June 7) the track will host elims in the North America Cup (colt pacers), Fan Hanover (filly pacers) and Roses Are Red (mare pacers). Also on Saturday, Scioto Downs will host the Charlie Hill for free for all trotters and Balmoral Park will offer Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
Anndrovette is back to her world class harness racing form as she posted an easy two length triumph in capturing the $250,000 Besty Ross Mares Invitational Pace in 1:50.2 at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sunday for driver Tim Tetrick. The three-time Dan Patch award winning older pacing mare looked to be in possible trouble at the start of the race as four horses all left the starting gate to try for control of the lead. It was Monkey On My Wheel and driver George Brennan who were the first on the front but that was short lived as Tetrick came charging up with Anndrovette to take command at the first quarter in :26.1. Contend on the front end, Anndrovette led the field to the half mile pole in :53.4 and after that was then Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) who came after her first-over but in the backstretch she was not gaining ground so Corey Callahan went three-wide to loop her and be first-over. At the three-quarters in 1:21.3, Drop The Ball could not gain any ground against Anndrovette, who then was able to start to pull away in the stretch and score with ease. Rocklamation (Matt Kakaley) closed to be second with Jerseylicious (Ron Pierce) third. “She may not be as young as she use to be,” Tetrick said, “But she still gets the job done and was great today.” It was the second straight win in seven starts this year for Anndrovette. The seven-year-old mare by Riverboat King is trained by P J Fraley and is owned by the Bamond Racing LLC and Joseph Davino. She is a career winner of $2.8 million and this was her 37th career victory. She paid $13.40 to win. “I thought she was going to be good this year,” said co-owner Joe Davino, “But I did not expect a win like this today. She has a great trainer and good people behind her and that is what counts.” The win was one of five winners on the day for driver Tim Tetrick, who also had won the Maxie Lee Memorial Trot with Market Share in a world record time of 1:50.2. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Market Share became harness racing’s newest world record holder, becoming the fastest trotter ever to race on a five-eighths mile track in scoring a 1:50.2 triumph in capturing the $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sunday. 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. Sevruga was in the race today and finished second to Market Share. The Maxie Lee, named after the long time harness racing trainer from the Delaware Valley, started off with Sevruga and driver Ron Pierce taking the early lead away from Daylon Magician (Mark MacDonald) and Arch Madness (George Brennan) to the opening quarter in :26.1. Market Share got away in fourth place. Then after the half mile marker in :54.3, Tetrick sent Market Share after the leaders in the backstretch, settled briefly in second behind Sevruga at the three-quarters in 1:22.1 and then came right out after the race leader on the final turn. Coming down the stretch, Tetrick and Market Share pulled away from Sevruga and scored with ease by two open lengths. Sevruga was second with DW’s NY Yank (Matt Kakaley) third. "I knew he was going to do it (win the race) but did not think he could do 1:50 here." Said co-owner Richard Gutnick.. This is such a special race for me because Maxie Lee was one of my mentors in racing. He taught me how to work with horses, job my first horse and to win this race in his memory is extra special." "He just looked fabulous," said co-owner Bill Augustine. "Down the backside he just gobbled up track, then turning for home he looked so strong. He is really at the top of his game. It was the second win in three starts this year for Market Share, who was last year’s Dan Patch award winner as the top older trotting horse in racing. The five-year-old stallion by Revenue S is trained by Linda Toscano and is owned by Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine. He paid $2.60 to win as the betting favorite. In the eighth race $30,000 Winners Over Pace, Heston Blue Chip was able to use the passing lane to edge Bettors Glass by a head in 1:50.3 in a close four-horse photo finish. Leaving from post eight, driver George Brennan was able to get third position with Heston Blue Chip as Emeritus Maximus (Ron Pierce) led the field. Besthetyet (George Napolitano, Jr.) had come first-over with Bettors Glass (Tim Tetrick) on their backs and in the backstretch Bestjetyet made a break. Bettors Glass then became the first-over horse but continued to challenge Emeritus Maximus as they started down the stretch. With the pocket-sitting Abelard Hanover tiring, Brennan was able to move Heston Blue Chip to the inside and secure the victory with Bettors Glass second, Emeritus Maximus third and a late closing Dedi’s Dragon (Matt Kakaley) fourth in the photo. Trained by Linda Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, NY, it was the second win this year for Heston Blue Chip who paid $9.00 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
What a great weekend of racing we have in store with major events world-wide. This weekend we will be at Sovalla, Sweden for the Elitloppet, and Harrah’s Philadelphia for the Maxi Lee and Betsy Ross all on Sunday, then Saturday night it’s the Meadowlands, Yonkers, Pocono Downs and the opening of Mohawk Raceway! Good Luck! $36,162 Pace Historic Series 3YO Colts Pocono Downs 5th race SATURDAY – With just eight lifetime starts in two years, JK Endofanera is making up for lost time with five wins. He returned for 2014 with a 1:59.4 debut mile last out and a repeat of that effort will make him a winner in here for sure. Use Mattamerican and Bakersfield in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace TVG Free-For-All Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – Well matched field is overshadowed by Ron Burke’s three-horse entry. But once again I am going back with Bolt The Duer. He may have needed his first start and world champion and redeem himself with his first win of the year. Use the entry of Clear Vision/Bettor’s Edge/Sweet Lou and Warrawee Needy in exotic plays. $38,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 7th race SATURDAY – With a change of venue to a half mile track and a new driver to shake things up, Dynamic Youth put in a strong first-over effort last week and came away with a good victory. I think off that effort he can handle hike in class and win again and pay another good price (8-1 last week). Use Easy Again and Digital Z Tam in exotic plays. $36,912 Pace Historic Series 3YO Colts Pocono Downs 10th race SATURDAY – For the first time in his career, Fire In The Belly did not hit the board last week in rough go in PASS. Now he draws the rail, still in tough but I feel he will rebound with a strong effort and surprise this field. Use Capital Account and Seventh Secret in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Art Rooney 3YO Prelim Yonkers Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – It’s the long awaited 2014 debut of He’s Watching, the Dan Patch 2YO Pacing Colt of the Year last year. Undefeated and looking pretty sharp in his two qualifying races, He’s Watching zoomed around Yonkers oval last year and looks primed to take this one for fun. Use Forty Five Red and Unlocked in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – I am always hunting for a good priced horse to score with and I think I found one here. Resistance Futile was pretty good last year and trainer Blair Burgess usually has them ready to cut loose right out of the box. Off last qualifier this one has every chance to upset the field with expected live cover. Use Captive Audience and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Art Rooney 3YO Prelim Yonkers Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – With Gingras away in Sweden, Matt Kakaley has been enjoying great success driving for the Ron Burke Stable and should fair very well in here with All Bets Off. In short field of just five starters and has the ability to win either from on or off the pace. Use Maxi Bon and Thereisapaceforus in exotic plays. $600,000 Trot Elitloppet, Solvalla Racetrack, Sweden SUNDAY MORNING (USA 8:50 AM) The Elitloppet is Europe’s equivalent of the Hambletonian for older horses. The race features two elimination rounds with the first four official finishers returning for the final. There are two USA horses entered and I think both of them have a great shot at winning. They are, of course, Maven and Uncle Peter. Maven was a superior mare and has the speed and ability to beat her male rivals. Uncle Peter is also a high class trotter and being that this race is a European sprint at just one mile distance, I think both horses will do extremely well and one of them will even come back and win the final in the second heat! $30,000 Pace Winners Over $25,000 Harrah’s Philadelphia 8th race SUNDAY – Good competitive group will make this a great race. I look for an upset in here as the Burke Stable is razor sharp and Matt Kakaley enjoying all the big drives he is getting with Yannick Gingras in Sweden. Dedi’s Dragon is coming a big win last start and is in perfect spot to steak another one. Last week he scored at nearly 6-1. Use Abelard Hanover and Emeritus Maximus in exotic plays. $250,000 Trot Maxie Lee Memorial Harrah’s Philadelphia 10th race SUNDAY – Super strong field despite no Sebastian K or Modern Family. Going to have to give Market Share his due in hoping the breaking problem is taken care of and he returns to his former self. $3 million plus winner has a great season ahead of him starting here. Use DW’s NY Yank and Sevruga in exotic plays. $250,000 Pace Betsy Ross Mares Invitational Harrah’s 12th race SUNDAY – With her great gate speed and ability to grind it out first over if necessary, Shebestingin should be the best in here. She can overcome starting from post eight and once in command should hold off everyone else. Use Drop The Ball and Yagonnakissmeornot in exotic plays.
Market Share heads to Sunday's $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic break in the harness racing Cutler Memorial last weekend. In 40 previous career races, Market Share went off stride only once - when he lost a shoe in the 2012 Dexter Cup. In the Cutler, Market Share made a break heading into the first turn as he raced alongside eventual winner Sebastian K. The Cutler featured the much-anticipated encounter between the two-time Dan Patch Award-winning Market Share and the 2012 Swedish Horse of the Year Sebastian K. Both had won their respective Cutler eliminations, Market Share in 1:50.3 and Sebastian K in a world-record-equaling 1:50.1. "I made a lot of different scenarios in my mind as to what problems he might run into in that race, but none of them was him making a break," Market Share's trainer Linda Toscano said. "I think it was just one of those things. The horse came out of the race fine and I think he's good to go. He just made a very untimely and most uncharacteristic break. I really don't have an answer." Market Share is part of an eight-horse Maxie Lee field and will start from post No. 3 with regular driver Tim Tetrick. He is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Sevruga, who finished third in the Cutler behind Sebastian K and Modern Family, is the 4-1 second choice from post one. He will be driven by Ron Pierce for trainer Julie Miller. Ten-year-old Arch Madness, who is one of only nine trotters with more than $4 million in career purses and finished fourth in the Cutler, drew post eight for driver George Brennan and trainer Trond Smedshammer. "It's a good deep field of horses again," Toscano said. "The only thing I can do as a trainer is make sure my horse is as good going into it as I can. I can't dwell on what happened. Hopefully he'll rise to the challenge and do what I know he can." Market Share, who won the Hambletonian and Canadian Trotting Classic at age 3 and the Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot at 4, has captured 22 of 41 lifetime starts and earned $3.13 million. He was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter in 2012 and the Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter in 2013. He is owned by Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine. Gutnick's Chapter Seven won the 2012 Maxie Lee Memorial on his way to Horse of the Year honors. Prior to the Cutler, Market Share's connections decided to turn down an invitation to the Elitlopp in Sweden. The Elitlopp, which attracts an international field of 16 horses, also is Sunday. Toscano was able to joke about Market Share's break in the Cutler within that context. "Either God was telling me I made a good decision not going to the Elitlopp or He punished me for not going to the Elitlopp; I'm not sure," she said, laughing. Following is the field in post order for the Maxie Lee with listed drivers, trainers and odds: 1. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller, 4-1; 2. Undercover Strike, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 5-1; 3. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 2-1; 4. DW's NY Yank, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 5. Opening Night, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 6. Not Afraid, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 8-1; 7. Daylon Magician, Mark MacDonald, Mark Ford, 8-1; 8. Arch Madness, George Brennan, Trond Smedshammer, 6-1. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
This Week: Historic Series, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; TVG FFA Pace, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Art Rooney and Lismore eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Betsy Ross and Maxie Lee Memorial, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this week. Action begins on Tuesday (May 20) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs with two $34,712 divisions in the Historic-Ladyship for 3-year-old pacing fillies. The Wednesday (May 21) Pocono card features a pair of divisions in the $73,774 Historic-Dickerson Cup for 3-year-old male trotters. Pocono will also host Grand Circuit events on the weekend, with the $46,000 (est.) Historic-Pocono Cup for 3-year-old male pacers set for Saturday (May 24) and the $55,000 (est.) Historic-Coaching Club Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters on the Sunday (May 25) program. Meadowlands Racetrack will host some of the top free for all pacers in the sport on Saturday (May 24) in a $50,000 leg of the TVG FFA Pace, while on that same night Yonkers Raceway will hold $40,000 eliminations in the Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old males and $20,000 eliminations in the Lismore for 3-year-old filly pacers. On Sunday afternoon (May 25), Harrah's Philadelphia will host the $250,000 (est.) Betsy Ross for older female pacers and the $250,000 (est.) Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Swedish champion Sebastian K added to his lore with another convincing win, this one the $175,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial final at The Meadowlands on May 17 in 1:50.2. Sebastian K was a 1:50.2 winner in the Cutler Memorial final. The Cutler was the first major test of the season for the Free For All trotters, promising a battle royal between last week's elimination winners Sebastian K and Market Share and record speed possibilities. However, that went awry when Market Share made an uncharacteristic break in the first turn. As the race began Modern Family was put into play early by David Miller, using his keen gate speed to clear to the front before the turn with Sebastian K protecting the rail for Ake Svanstedt and securing the pocket through the :27.1 opener. With Market Share out of contention, there was little movement as the field passed the half in :55.2. Approaching the final bend Sebastian K was flushed out, trotting alongside Modern Family and they raced as a team past the 1:22.4 three-quarters. By mid-stretch Sebastian K was edging by that rival on his way to a 1-1/2 length win in a stakes record 1:50.2. Modern Family held well to be second while Sevruga followed up close throughout and was third. The winner is raced by Swedish interests, trained by his driver Ake Svanstedt and owned by Knutsson Trotting. The Woodbine winter/spring meet came to an end on Monday evening (May 19), but not before the Toronto oval hosted the Miss Versatility Series for the continent's top older trotting mares. Perfect Alliance established a new world record for a 4-year-old mare as she got under the wire first in 1:51.2. Perfect Alliance, driven by Yannick Gingras, established a new world record for a 4-year-old mare as the trotting miss got under the wire first in 1:51.2. In doing so, the daughter of Credit Winner also set a new Canadian and track record in the process. Sent off as the 6-5 second choice, Gingras and Perfect Alliance led from start to finish through panels of :26.3, :55.1 and 1:23.4 en route to victory. Bee A Magician (Brian Sears), Horse of the Year in Canada and the U.S. last season, finished second as the 2-5 favorite. After going undefeated in 17 starts last season, the daughter of Kadabra tasted defeat for the first time since Oct. 12, 2012. D'Orsay (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Owned by Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger, Perfect Alliance increased her career earnings to $178,801. She remains a perfect 10-for-10 this season. Fresh off her world record performance at Pocono, 3-5 favorite Classic Martine and Tim Tetrick found the wire first in 1:52.2 in the other division. Tetrick guided the daughter of Classic Photo to command well before the opening station in :27.1. Heading towards the half, second-choice Charmed Life (Jody Jamieson) brushed to the front to lead past the midway point in :57 and three-quarters in 1:25. Turning for home, Charmed Life began to tire as Classic Martine angled to the outside and exploded to the lead en route to a comfortable score. Rockin With Dewey came on for second, over Upfrontluckycarol. Chris Oakes trains the 4-year-old old lass for his wife, Susan, along with co-owners Edwin Gold, Hauser Bros Racing Entertainment LLC and Conrad Zurich. Classic Martine remains a perfect three-for-three this season and has banked $580,024 in career earnings. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 246; 2. Tim Tetrick - 155; 3. George Brennan - 129.5; 4. Brian Sears - 87; 5. Jason Bartlett - 79. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 340.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 135; 3. Joe Holloway - 92; 4. Rene Allard - 70; 5. Jimmy Takter - 40. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 118.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 86.4; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 86.4; 4. Ted Gewertz - 34.75; 5. Brad Grant - 34.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will again take place at four different racetracks next weekend. The Raceway at Western Fair District will host the Molson Pace on Friday (May 30); Yonkers Raceway offers the Art Rooney and Lismore finals on Saturday (May 31); Mohawk Racetrack hosts the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old male pacers on Saturday (May 31); and Tioga Downs will offer the Roll With Joe for open pacers on Sunday (June 1). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
Sebastian K will return to the races a little quicker than usual, but doing things quickly might be the trotter's style. A week after winning his North American debut in 1:50.1 to equal history's fastest trotting race on a one-mile track, Sebastian K will start from post No. 1 in Saturday's $175,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. "Sebastian K never raced back-to-back weeks, he always had like two weeks between the races, so that's the only question mark," said Bjorn "Bernie" Noren, assistant to Sebastian K's trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt, about the Swedish-born star's previous schedule in Europe. "But when we trained him (Wednesday) he was very smooth and Ake is very happy with how he came out of the race. He'll get two days off in the paddock and we'll race him Saturday." Sebastian K, an 8-year-old sent off at 5-1 odds, won his Cutler elim by 1-1/4 lengths over Modern Family, who set the early fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.1. Sebastian K trotted his final quarter-mile in :27 to lead Modern Family, Intimidate, Archangel, and DW's NY Yank to the wire and advance to the Cutler final. Market Share, who was last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter, won the other Cutler elim in 1:50.3. Market Share, who also was making his seasonal debut, trotted his final quarter-mile in :26.4 to overcome runner-up Arch Madness by one length. Undercover Strike, Sevruga, and Possessed Fashion also reached the final. "We knew our horse was ready to race," Noren said. "Ake had him qualify very good and he knew he was going to do a good race, but he was surprised by the time too. He didn't expect him to go that fast right off the bat. He won and he won with some power left in the lines. He was not all out in that mile. "Of course (the final is) a harder competition; you've got 10 good horses. You've got Market Share and he's a tough horse, a game horse. You've got Arch Madness and I think he did a tremendous race too. It will be a good race." Sebastian K, by the stallion Korean out of the mare Gabriella K, has won 27 of 64 career races and $2.31 million for owner Knutsson Trotting. He raced last weekend without shoes, which is more common in Europe, as he equaled a world record already shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim and Chapter Seven. "He always raced without shoes in Sweden," Noren said. "He's a different horse without shoes. Of course, you have to look at the racetrack; the racetrack cannot be hard. You cannot race on a hard racetrack without shoes. Ake warmed the horse up and felt the track was very good, the track crew did a very good job to get a nice cushion, so he decided to race him without shoes. "If the track is OK, every time he races he's going to race barefoot." Sebastian K will get time off following the Cutler as he will not compete in the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational on May 25 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "The schedule we have planned out, we plan to race him at the Meadowlands," Noren said. "We like to support (New Meadowlands Racing Chairman) Jeff Gural and all they do for the harness racing and the racetrack at the Meadowlands is probably the best too with the kind of speed they have up there." Following is the field in post order for the Cutler Memorial with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 2. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano; 3. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais; 6. Undercover Strike, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson; 7. Arch Madness, George Brennan, Trond Smedshammer; 8. Possessed Fashion, John Campbell, Tom Fanning; 9. Modern Family, David Miller, Daryl Bier; 10. DW's NY Yank, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
CUTLER MEMORIAL TROT, LAVERNE HILL PACE & MORE!
Harrah's Philadelphia is proud to present the Betsy Ross and the Maxie Lee Memorial scheduled for Sunday, May 25th, 2014. Both are invitational events and will go for a purse of $250,000. The Betsy Ross, an annual event for the top pacing mares in the sport, was won last year by upset winner Economy Terror, while last years Maxie Lee went to Wishing Stone. Any owner or trainer who is interested in racing in the Betsy Ross (pacing mares) or the Maxie Lee Memorial (free-for-all trotters) are encouraged to contact the Harrah's Philadelphia race office. Post 8 was not a problem for veteran pacing mare Continual Velocity as she used her early speed to win the featured event, a winners over $25,000 lifetime pace for fillies and mares Friday at Harrah's. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Continual Velocity took the lead just past the quarter, and narrowly held off race favorite Show Runner in the final strides. Show Runner was the 1-2 favorite at post time. Continual Velocity is a 6-year-old out of Real Artist and the Camtastic mare Extreme Velocity. She is owned by Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing and trained by Ron Burke. She paced the mile in 1:51 flat. by Michael Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia
Cowboyland Aalborg, TLP Stable, J&T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms’ Wishing Stone has been touring Europe for much of the past two years, and as a result the winner of the 2010 Kentucky Futurity has been “off the radar” and seeming off form for quite some time.