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The first harness racing meeting for the new season at Methven comes up for decision on Sunday and as per usual for this time of year it sees the emergence of a lot of spring 3 year olds. Race 1 for the CO 3 year olds and older over 2300 meters from behind the mobile has drawn a smart field with several promising 3 year olds lining up. McArdle Star form the Ken Barron barn has drawn poorly at three on the second line but his trial runs suggest a big debut run from the son of McArdle. Brought out of the 2013 Australasian Classic Sale for $30,000 by long time stable clients Steve Thompson and Grant Dickey, McArdle Star will have the services of in form reinsman Blair Orange and looks a big winning chance. Highview Freddy from the Robert Dunn barn is another 3 year old who looks above average and from the one draw can make his own luck. A full brother to the outstanding Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($1,021,904) Highview Freddy had four starts at two against Say My Name and company so it is a big drop back in class here. He ran a lovely fourth behind Margarita in his first run back from a spell and looks sure to be a major player with Sam Ottley in the bike. Another runner from the Robert Dunn barn is Altissimo who has drawn nicely at barrier three. She is a 3 year old daughter of Mach Three from a Beach Towel half sister to the champion pacer Elsu 1:53.6 ($2,083,352). Altissimo qualified recently on the track in very impressive fashion and has the services of leading reinsman John Dunn in the bike.  Another 3 year old making his debut for the season is the Gotta Go Cullect gelding Until Further Notice from two on the second line from the Jimmy Curtin barn. Until Further Notice is a recent addition to the stable and he is now owned by long time stable client Ralph Nieper who raced his half brother Slash An Burn 1:54.7 ($277,288) from the Curtin barn. Placed twice as a two year old when racing out of the Murray Swain barn in Southland, Until Further Notice won a trial last week at Ashburton with smart closing sectionals of 56 .8 and 27.4 and looks ready to rumble. Just so all the 3 year olds don't have it all their own way, the Nigel McGrath trained and driven Western Art with four seconds in his last five starts looms as a fly in the ointment for the 3 year olds as he is well overdue to take out a maiden race.  We think with his favourable draw Highview Freddy just gets the nod from us but it  really is an open race and it wouldn't surprise us to see one of the other four mentioned in this article salute the judge. Harnesslink Media

Last weeks harness racing selections were a case of so near yet so far. Maurice McKendry, Terry Chmiel, Ricky May, Gerald O'Reilly and Nathan Williamson all nabbed winners while six others were placed, some at good odds. This week we have four meetings around the country and our selections are spread over those meetings and Maurice McKendry is shooting for three in a row at Auckland. Addington - Thursday Night Ricky May - Thinks Idolise is ready to win in race 4 Gerald O'Reilly - Likes King Of Strathfield to upset Stent in race 6 Sam Ottley - Rates Lovemetwotimes a big chance from barrier one in race 7 Terry Chmiel - Gives Betabcool a big tick in race 8    Invercargill - Friday Afternoon Clark Barron - Reckons Run Fatboy Run is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Vera's Delight is due a change of luck in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Costa Del Magnifico will make a winning debut in race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Very keen on first starter Jetsdream to win race 8 as well   Alexandra Park - Friday Night  Tony Herlihy - Likes Red Sky Night even from the second row in race 2 Steven Reid - Really rates Sirius Star to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Concorde can go one better than his debut second, also in race 3 Maurice McKendry - Rates The Royal Charger a big chance with the aid of the mobile in race 4 Josh Dickie - Very very bullish about the chances of Voluntad in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Irish Whisper a big chance to win fresh up in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Le Lua Invasion is overdue a win in race 9   Methven - Sunday Afternoon John Dunn - Thinks Highview Freddy can use barrier one to win race 1 Blair Orange - Rates McArdle Star from the on fire Ken Barron barn as also hard to beat in race 1 Matt Williamson - Reckons Davey's Gift is well overdue and should win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates the locally owned and trained Golden Desire a big chance in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thinks his fathers trained horse Kylie Castleton can win race 5   Harnesslink Media  

The C0 pace for 3 year olds and older at the Oamaru Harness Racing clubs meeting today (September 14th) drew three horses with a reputation for being above average pacers. Cran Dalgety lined up the talented Christian Cullen gelding Cody Singer who is big on ability but still lacks a touch of ringcraft. Kevin Court lined up Smokin Bird, a daughter of Bettor's Delight who had won her only start at two but is still classed as a maiden as she starts her 3 year old season. The third of the fancied horses was Tas Man Bromac, a son of American Ideal who had also won his only start at two and races out of the barn of Nathan Williamson. The public made Smokin Bird a warm favourite but there was plenty of support for Cody Singer and Tas Man Bromac as well. Smokin Bird got away first and grabbed an early lead with Tas Man Bromac settling fourth on the inner and Cody Singer last after missing away for a few strides. It stayed that way until Dexter Dunn moved Cody Singer around the field to sit parked at the 1600 meters mark and Nathan Williamson came off the inner with Tas Man Bromac and slotted into the one by one. Then Dexter decided he wanted the front with Cody Singer but Matthew Williamson on Smokin Bird didnt want to hand up and they went to war for the next 600 meters. By the time they reached the 800 meters mark, Cody Singer had dropped in on Smokin Bird's back which left Tas Man Bromac parked out. Thats how they stayed until they turned for home where Nathan shot Tas Man Bromac clear for an easy and impressive win. Smokin Bird stuck on gamely for second after being mauled mid race while Cody Singer ended up fifth but only four and half lengths from the winner. Tas Man Bromac paced the 2600 meters from a stand in a very smart 3:19.2 with closing sectionals of 57.8 and 28.5 Tas Man Bromac is the second foal of the imported North American McArdle mare Tasmcmanian who is a half sister to five in 1:55 including Arts Conquest 1:50 ($880,576) and Lifeoftheparty 1:54 ($151,365) Shy Devil, the dam of Tasmcmanian went 1:53.3 and earned $169,185 on the track and is a half sister to the talented Gamma Ray 1:52.1 ($467,504) and XLR Ray Shun King 1:52.1 ($207,210). Tasmcmarian is closely related to two outstanding mares in Naughty But Nice 1:54 ($1,062,197) and Leah Almahurst 1:52.3 ($1,053,201) Tas Man Bromac lived up to his pedigree today with a performance that suggested he had many wins left in front of him. Harnesslink Media    

Two-year-old pacers took center stage at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 12) evening, contesting their divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stake on the penultimate program of the 2014 harness racing season.   And while Hall of Terror (Marcus Miller, $3.50) turned in a mightily impressive :54.4 final half mile in his victory, top honors went to Dealt a Winner ($3.90), who set a new track record for two-year-old pacing geldings.   The son of Cam's Card Shark was well off the pace early in the tenth race, moving second-over behind Shooby Said (Jim Marohn, Jr.) after Gallic Beach (Tim Tetrick) brushed from midpack to the fore in a sensible :56.4 half mile. On the backstretch, David Miller angled Dealt a Winner three-wide, pushing past Shooby Said into a joint lead with Gallic Beach on the far turn. The two dueled through the stretch, with Dealt a Winner taking over outright in the final sixteenth and drawing clear for a one-length win. Sicily (Corey Callahan) tracked live three-wide cover on the backstretch, staying on for third.   Dealt a Winner's 1:52.3 victory took a second off the prior track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. Ed Hart handles the training duties for owner Jeffrey Snyder.   McArdles Lightning (Scott Zeron, 1:53.3) and Dragon Eddy (Mike Simons, 1:53.3) were the other two winners in the Reynolds divisions for two-year-old colts and geldings.   Corey Callahan teamed up with two freshman fillies for Reynolds wins as part of a Friday driving hat trick, holding sway with Divine Caroline (1:53.1) and kicking clear with Bettor B Steppin (1:53.3) in their stakes splits. Deli Beach (John Campbell, 1:55) was the other triumphant filly in the evening's stakes races.   The closing night (Saturday, September 13) program at Tioga features an 11-race card, with post time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite

Fifty-four of the 68 winners of the Little Brown Jug go back to Hal Dale. Two of those winners, Keystoner and Good Time, were his sons, while all the rest are linked to either his son, Adios, or his grandson Meadow Skipper, neither of whom won the Jug. Adios, who was born in 1940, pre-dated the Jug, which started in 1946. Meadow Skipper did participate, but he was parked most of the mile in the 1963 final and finished third to Overtrick, who set an all-age world record of 1:57.1. While Adios, who was twenty years older than Skipper, got a head start; eight sons and a grandson—Romeo Hanover—by Adios had won editions of the Jug before the principal of Skipper’s first crop, Most Happy Fella, won in 1970. Meadow Skipper certainly made up for lost time. Thirty-four of 43 Jugs since 1970 have been won by sons or other descendants of his—that’s about 80%. The only gap larger than one year during that run was the three year stretch at the beginning of the run, between 1971 and 1974, when Nansemond, Strike Out, Melvin’s Woe and Airliner were victorious. Between Hot Hitter’s win in 1979 and Abercrombie’s in 1993, there was a 13 year dry spell for Adios and any other progenitor not named Meadow Skipper. The last Adios line colt to win the Jug was Real Desire in 2007. Beyond his own failure to win the Little Brown Jug, Skipper’s prolific band of sons, grandsons and great grandsons, as successful as they have been at producing Jug winners,  have a spotty record when it comes to winning the race. Yes, Most Happy Fella, Niatross and Bettor’s Delight won, but the list of Skipper’s descendants who produced winners but didn’t win it themselves is much longer: Cam Fella, Western Hanover, Falcon Almahurst, Western Ideal, No Nukes, Cam’s Card Shark, Rocknroll Hanover, The Panderosa, Tyler B, French Chef, Oil Burner, Tyler’s Mark…. While Adios had nine sons win the Jug, Meadow Skipper only had four. The difference is that while Adios only got four from his greatest son Bret Hanover and three via his great grandson Abercrombie, Skipper got twenty from the Most Happy Fella branch, eleven from the Cam Fella branch, and seven through Albatross.   Since the turn of the century only three Adios Line colts have won the Jug—Astreos, Mr Feelgood and Real Desire—and none of those victories have come in the last six years. The other dozen were won by Skipper line stallions. This year’s Jug may prove to be a game changer, and there are a couple of ways that can happen. The field won’t be drawn until Saturday, but in his latest edition of Road to the Little Brown Jug, Delaware PR man Jay Wolf rates McWicked as the top contender. He, of course, is from the Adios line, being a son of McArdle, who has been keeping the Bret Hanover artery on life support in recent years. McArdle’s daddy, Falcon Seelster, wasn’t in the Jug, although he did set a world record of 1:51 at Delaware as a sophomore on Jug Day 1985. The call of that race by Roger Huston trumped the Jug itself, where Nihilator won in a time that was more than a second slower. A win by McWicked would prevent a seven race losing streak by Team Adios. Another way in which the 2014 Jug could be a game changer would be a win by a son of Somebeachsomewhere. Jay lists four possibilities on his Top Ten list: Ron Burke’s Limelight Beach, who just finished second to McWicked in the $260,000 PASS Championship Final; Jimmy Takter’s Cane winner, Lyonssomewhere; Bob McIntosh’s gelding, Somewhere In LA, who finished third to McWicked in the PASS Final; or Brent MacGrath’s Melmerby Beach, who won a split of the Simcoe over the weekend. This would represent a dramatic change because no member of the line running from Volomite through Sampson Hanover has ever won the Little Brown Jug, and no top line descendant of Volomite has won in 38 years, since Stanley Dancer’s Keystone Ore beat Joe O’Brien’s Armbro Ranger in 1976. The other two winners going back to Volomite are Overtrick in 1963 and Rum Customer in 1968. SBSW skipped the Jug, and last year Captaintreacherous, the star of his first crop, did the same. There may be no Jug winners on the branch he is now the figurehead for, coming down from his great, great, great grandsire Sampson Hanover, but that one was very handy on a half. In September, 1951, 4-year-old Sampson Hanover, who was converted from the trot as a three-year-old, became the first pacer or trotter to win a race in under two minutes on a half mile track. He accomplished that historic fete in the Almahurst Pace at Delaware, Ohio. So, we have the inspiration of Sampson Hanover’s Delaware heroics for the sons of SBSW and for McWicked his granddaddy Falcon Seelster’s world record mile over that track and his great granddaddy Bret Hanover’s world record of 1:57 in the Jug. Either way, it’s time for a colt not tied to Meadow Skipper to step up and take the prize. He’s Watching is quick as a cat around those turns and his pilot Tim Tetrick is no slouch. It won’t be easy, but it’s about that time. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/    

YORK PA - The York County Fair, in the southcentral county of Pennsylvania which once was home to the Capital City of the United States of the same name, didn't host any Presidents during its two days of harness racing on Monday and Tuesday. But it was the third-to-last stop of the local fair circuit this year, did crown two more divisional pointstandings champions, bringing the year's total to three - the first, of course, being the Princess of all North American freshmen. Tropical Terror ran her remarkable record to 15-14-1-0 on Monday, "two-year-old day," by capturing the faster of the two Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes divisions in 2:02.1. The campaigners of the Western Terror filly, Team Shaw - driver Chris; Chris's brother, trainer Jason; and Jason's son, owner Mason - may have enjoyed this one a little more, because their filly defeated her one conqueror, second-place finisher Keystone I Wish, although to the credit of the place horse she narrowed the other's advantage from 11 lengths at the quarter to 2½ at the wire. Tropical Terror, the winningest freshman in all of North America, had clinched her divisional title, and the blanket in the stable's colors presented at the fair banquet associated with the USTA District meeting (the Shaws' will be their blue and white), three stops ago at Wattsburg. Surprisingly, the second-winningest 2YO on the continent, the Nuclear Breeze gelding Nippy, has not yet clinched the colt section, despite posting his 12th win of the year, and eighth in succession, in 2:04, three races before Tropical Terror. And that's because a 2YO with 11 victories, Marshmallow Pulse, is also a PA fair regular, and in fact won the fastest of the division's three PaFSS cuts with a 2:03 mile the race after Nippy. Oh - did we mention that Nippy and the Quik Pulse Mindale gelding Marshmallow Pulse are also members of the Team Shaw stronghouse? Among the "Terror," Nippy (15-12-3-0), and "Pulse" (14-11-3-0), the trio have an awesome record of 44-37-7-0 - unheard-of consistency for babies, especially on the sometimes rough-n-tumble county fair circuit. Among the three, they have bankrolled $90,081 this summer for the college scholarship fund of owner Mason Shaw - which he won't need until 2030, as he is currently "also a two-year-old." The first of the two other horses to clinch a divisional pointstandings title raced in the very first contest of the meet - Police Navidad, an altered freshman son of Muscle Massive who assured his mathematical clinch in the division with his ninth seasonal triumph, putting him one off the North American victory lead among all baby squaregaiters. The gold and blue blanket will be going to trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel for owner/mom Virginia, owner/wife Kathy, and Lander Stables LLC. The third already-assured blanket will be of dark green and white with black edging, as the three-year-old Art Official gelding Mister Chaos clinched his crown by winning in 2:00.2 for trainer Bob Rougeaux III and D And P Racing LLC, with Chris Shaw the sulky deputy here. Ironically, that was not the fastest mile of the meet, as 15 minutes later the Real Artist gelding Ruffled Up won in even time for owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer. Mister Chaos is now poised to attempt to become something not achieved since the fair circuit pointstandings' historical records were preserved starting in 2002: the first horse to win both his pointstandings blanket and the Championship Final at age two and three. There are two more fair stops to make - Gratz this weekend (Sept. 14-15) and Bloomsburg (Sept. 18-19) -- before the $200,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship Night at The Meadows on Saturday, October 4. The other horse with a chance to do the "double double," the Western Terror filly La Fiesta, does currently have a slight lead in her pointstandings, but she'll need her "A" game to handle a pacing miss who, along with Nippy, has the PaFSS's longest current win skein at 8, TSM Soul Sister, a McArdle filly who also won at York for driver Todd Cummings, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner/breeder Ted Tomson. Fom the PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

Harrah’s Philadelphia harness racing track in Chester, PA was the scene of the $1.2 million Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship finals for three-year-old trotters and pacers Sunday. Four $260,000 finals plus four $50,000 consolation races were featured on the race program. McWicked may have established himself as the early race favorite for Little Brown Jug as he once again defeated a stellar field of three-year-old colt pacers in winning his PASS final. Limelight Beach (Yannick Gingras) was the first on the lead with McWicked and driver David Miller securing the two-hole spot to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26.4. Miller then immediately moved McWicked to the outside and took command. They went untested past the half mile marker in :54.2. It was then that driver Brett Miller came first-over with Somewhere In L A but they were unable to look McWicked in the eye by the three-quarters in 1:22. With the remainder of the stretch to go, Miller kept McWicked in gear and they were able to go on to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:48.4. Limelight Beach came on for second place with Somewhere In L A third. Sired by McArdle, it was the ninth win in thirteen starts for McWicked, who is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, NY. McWicked paid $2.80 to win as the 2/5 wagering favorite. With the winner's share of the purse at $130,000, McWicked became harness racing's newest million career winner. Lifetime Pursuit continued her winning ways since capturing the Hambletonian Oaks with her fifth straight win, capturing the $260,000 PASS Championship final for three-year-old trotting fillies in a track record clocking of 1:53.2. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Lifetime Pursuit floated out of the starting gate as Take The Money (Dave Palone) went to the early lead with Cantabs Fortune (Scott Zeron) grabbing the two-hold spot. By the opening quarter mile in :28.4, Gingras moved Lifetime Pursuit to the lead for good. They led to the half in :56.3 as Designed To Be and driver Brian Sears came first-over to challenge but through the backstretch to the three-quarters in 1:25, they were unable to collar Lifetime Pursuit. Then as they straighten out in the stretch, Lifetime Pursuit kicked in another gear and pulled away for a three and one-quarter length triumph. Designed To Be held for second place with Struck By Lindy (David Miller) third. Trained by Jimmy Takter and breeder/owner Brittany Farms, it was the seventh win this year for Lifetime Pursuit, a daughter of Cantab Hall. She paid $2.80 to win. Only two races later did trainer Jimmy Takter get to come back to the winner’s circle again, this time to celebrate as his Father Patrick won the PASS final for three-year-old trotting colts. It was stable mate Nuncio and driver John Campbell the first out of the gate, taking the lead from Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick) as Father Patrick floated on the outside for driver Yannick Gingras. But after the opening quarter in :27, Gingras urged Father Patrick on and they took command of the race for good. Past the half in :55.1 and then the three-quarters in 1:24.3 with just a minor challenge from Wheelsandthelegman (David Miller) who trained a first-over effort in vain. Then in the stretch, Campbell ducked to the inside with Nuncio to try a challenge but they could not gain any ground as Father Patrick and Gingras breezed to a one length triumph in 1:52.4. Nuncio was second with Don Dorado third. Sired by Cantab Hall, it was the eighth win in ten starts this year for Father Patrick. He is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, NJ and paid $2.40 to win. Sandbetweenurtoes saw her eight race unbeaten streak come to an end in the three-year-old filly pace final as she was unable to lead the entire mile, folding up as they came down the stretch and finished seventh. The race was won by 11-1 Weeper and driver Dave Palone, who were able to follow the outside flow third over behind Southwind Silence (Matt Kakaley) who was following first-over Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick) from the half mile marker. Weeper tipped out four-wide on the final turn and was able to gun down the field to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:51.1. Also Encouraging (David Miller) was second with Beach Gal third. Sired by Allamerican Native and trained by Kelly O’Donnell, it was the fifth win in ten starts this year for Weeper. She is locally owned by the Bay Pond Racing Stable of Paoli, PA and paid $25.40 to win. In the four $50,000 PASS consolation divisions, one for each class, saw the following winners. Somestartsomewhere (Yannick Gingras) won the three-year-old pacing colt consolation for trainer Ron Burke by a head over Kingofthejungle (Tony Morgan) in 1:50.4 and paid $32.20 to win. Ake Svanstedt’s Highest Peak won the filly trot consolation, wiring the field with ease by four open lengths in 1:56.1 for driver Tim Tetrick, paying $5.40 to win. The Linda Toscano trained Uva Hanover captured the trotting colt consolation race with a neck triumph for driver Tim Tetrick over Amped Up Hanover (Yannick Gingras) in 1:54. Katie Said and driver Marcus Miller won the filly pace consolation with game first-over move en route to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:51. Trained by Julie Miller, Katie Said paid $5.00 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Harness racing returned to Winton today (September 7th) and it was notable for seeing the first winner by the son of The Panderosa in Panspacificflight 1:50.6 ($442,953) in New Zealand. Available through Macca Lodge at Gore, his oldest crop in New Zealand have just turned three and number just 23. Several showed up at trials as two year olds but none had saluted the judge until today. The Manipulator had qualified seven seconds under time at Gore and with leading driver Dexter Dunn in the bike,he was sent out a short priced favourite on debut. Dexter let The Manipulator find his feet early from barrier one before he sent him to the front after 300 meters. The Manipulator always looked to be travelling well in front and Dexter hardly moved in the straight as he held all the challengers comfortably at bay. Trained by Tony Stratford at Riversdale, The Manipulator paced the 2400 meters from the mobile in 3:01.5, a mile rate of 2:01.7 with smart closing sectionals of 56.9 and 27. The Manipulator is the second foal from the top Presidential Ball racemare Luckisaladytonight 1:54.1 ($151,249). The first foal is the Laurence Hanrahan trained Cullen Keefe who is unbeaten in two so far. The grand dam Delightful Chance went 1:57 while the third dam Missy Lou is a half sister to the champion pacer Christopher Vance 1:54.6 ($1,747,167) Panspacificflight has done a great job in North America with over $9,000,000 on his card to date and his current crop of 2 year olds sit 13th on the North American charts ahead of Rocknroll Hanover, McArdle and Always A Virgin. His fastest runner to date is Paco Labrook 1:48.4 ($539,768) who is also from a Presidential Ball mare like The Manipulator. There is never a better time for a stallion's progeny to shine than in the spring when breeders are making up their minds about consorts for the coming season and in The Manipulator, Panspacificflight has produced a smart horse at just the right time. PS: First Flight In with Dexter in the bike made it two for the day for Panspacificflight when winning later on the program from the outside of the second row. Harnesslink Media    

Dubbo Harness Racing Club has announced the line-up for its stallion service auction. Thanks to the generosity of some of New South Wales’, Victoria’s and New Zealand’s leading breeding establishments, the club has secured services to several outstanding stallions. On offer are Shadyshark Hanover thanks to Goodtime Lodge, Art Official or Auckland Reactor courtesy of Alabar, Live Or Die and Mcardle from Nevele R Stud, Robin Hood via Yirribee and American Ideal, which resides at Woodlands Stud. All money raised goes directly into prizemoney, which has seen events such as the club’s flagship feature - Red Ochre Mares’ Classic – elevated to Group status. The tender opens on Monday, September 9 and closes at 5pm on Monday, September 16, 2014. Bids can be placed via the club’s site www.dubboharnessclub.com.au and clicking on ‘Trading Ring’ or by contacting Brett Wrigley on 0407 995 930 and Lester Hoy on 0457 647 919. The club has extended a “huge thank you” to the studs for their generosity, which is a driving force behind the growth of the local industry. PAUL COURTS

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         

One of the best things about spring in New Zealand from a harness racings fan's point of view is the emergence of the next wave of  harness racing stars on to the race tracks. Some of the maiden fields during winter had little depth or class but now that spring has arrived the smart early season 3 year olds are coming out of the woodwork. On Thursday night at Alexandra Park (September 4th) race two on the program is a C0 pace for 3 year olds over 2200 meters and if blood counts for anything it should be one hell of a race. Happy To Go is a first starter for the Telfer/Garlick barn who has drawn well at barrier four and has performed well at trials and workouts. She is by Bettors Delight and is the first foal from the former outstanding racemare Time To Fly 1:54.2 ($154,680) Hartofdixie from the Barry Purdon barn is another first starter who has drawn nicely at barrier five and she has also impressed track watchers with her runs at trials and workouts. A daughter of American Ideal, Hart Of Dixie is the third foal from Splendid Deal whose first two foals were Splendour 1:56.2 ($148,990) and Maxim 1:55.9 ($397,413) Courtney John from the Todd Mitchell barn is yet another first starter who has recently moved north from the Phil Burrows barn in Canterbury and will start from barrier two on the second line. She qualified in 2:00 neat back in February at Ashburton and has always looked above average. The McArdle filly is a half sister to the smart Seven Point One 1:56.1 from a daughter of the super broodmare Port Medley. The last of the first starters is Local Yokel for trainer/driver Tony Herlihy and he has also been performing well at trials and workouts and will start from three on the second line. A son of Elsu, Local Yokel is a half brother to the very smart duo of Presido 1:56 ($153,575) and Sound Of Thunder 1:57.4 ($134,841) The field is full of horses with good form with Christy Maguire from barrier two yet to finish out of the money in four starts while Percy Jones from barrier seven has also been placed in his three lifetime starts to date. Sirius Star from barrier eight has been placed in three of his last four starts while Culler Coded, Bettor Ace and Machulbeatchu have all looked above average in brief careers to date. It is a punters nightmare to predict but if we had to go for one it, we would probably lean towards Hart Of Dixie but without a lot of confidence. Who ever does come out on top will know they have really earned their first lifetime win. Harnesslink Media 

The 2014 racing season at Clinton Raceway came to a close on Sunday afternoon (August 31), and six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions were contested on the program. The star of those races was Thinkofagameplan, who moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Grassroots point standings with a 1:57 track record performance in the third split. With Randy Waples handling the driving assignment, Thinkofagameplan overtook leader Pan Street USA (Doug McNair) from first-over past three-quarters and then drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths in the new track record clocking. Pan Street USA wound up second with Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell) back in third. The 1:57 effort dropped the track record for a two-year-old pacing colt by a fifth of a second. It had belonged to Front Row since he won a Grassroots division in 1:57.1 on September 21, 2003. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his third win (all in Grassroots competition) from six attempts and pushed his bankroll to $36,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. In other action three horses picked up their second Grassroots wins of the season. The first to do it was Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who backed up his victory last Sunday at Georgian Downs with a 1:59.2 tally in the Grassroots opener. He was followed up by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon), who bagged the fourth section in 1:58 after a two-hole trip, and The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) was the last to double up as he snagged the fifth flight in 1:58.4. Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now two-for-five in the win column with a bankroll of $30,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Joe Hudon, who resides in Acton, Ontario, also co-owns Twin B Scandal, a gelded son of Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue (McArdle), with partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. Twin B Scandal now has a pair of triumphs from seven efforts, and he has banked $28,440. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal, who brought $32,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale, was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. The Fire Within is a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover ($311,480). The half-brother to millionaire Illusionist picked up his third win from six attempts and ran his rookie season earnings to $23,620 for breeder, owner, trainer Fred Drouillard of Dutton, Ontario. Also winning in Grassroots competition today were: --Star Cover (Jody Jamieson, 1:57.3). This son of Royal Mattjesty is owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario. Star Cover has won twice from seven trips behind the gate, and he has put away $14,060. He was bred by Winbak Farm and fetched $4,500 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale. Star Cover’s dam is the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Rosebud ($721,057), an Ontario Sires Stakes superstar who won 11 times from 14 attempts during her OSS career. --Charlottes Colony (Trevor Henry, 1:58). An Art Colony colt, Charlottes Colony broke his maiden in his fifth try and boosted his output to $16,800. Charlottes Colony is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Thomas McGuffog of Hanwell and Geoffrey Macneish of Douglas, New Brunswick. Charlottes Colony, whose dam is the Mohican Pride mare OGs Starlett ($536,647), was bred by Dan Belliveau and was hammered down for $4,200 at last year’s Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for rookie pacing males will take place on September 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. From the Ontario Sire Stakes and Clinton Raceway

The 2014 harness racing season at Clinton Raceway came to a close on Sunday afternoon (August 31), and six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions were contested on the program. The star of those races was Thinkofagameplan, who moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Grassroots point standings with a 1:57 track record performance in the third split. With Randy Waples handling the driving assignment, Thinkofagameplan overtook leader Pan Street USA (Doug McNair) from first-over past three-quarters and then drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths in the new track record clocking. Pan Street USA wound up second with Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell) back in third. The 1:57 effort dropped the track record for a two-year-old pacing colt by a fifth of a second. It had belonged to Front Row since he won a Grassroots division in 1:57.1 on September 21, 2003. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his third win (all in Grassroots competition) from six attempts and pushed his bankroll to $36,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. In other action three horses picked up their second Grassroots wins of the season. The first to do it was Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who backed up his victory last Sunday at Georgian Downs with a 1:59.2 tally in the Grassroots opener. He was followed up by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon), who bagged the fourth section in 1:58 after a two-hole trip, and The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) was the last to double up as he snagged the fifth flight in 1:58.4. Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now two-for-five in the win column with a bankroll of $30,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Joe Hudon, who resides in Acton, Ontario, also co-owns Twin B Scandal, a gelded son of Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue (McArdle), with partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. Twin B Scandal now has a pair of triumphs from seven efforts, and he has banked $28,440. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal, who brought $32,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale, was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. The Fire Within is a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover ($311,480). The half-brother to millionaire Illusionist picked up his third win from six attempts and ran his rookie season earnings to $23,620 for breeder, owner, trainer Fred Drouillard of Dutton, Ontario. Also winning in Grassroots competition today were: --Star Cover (Jody Jamieson, 1:57.3). This son of Royal Mattjesty is owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario. Star Cover has won twice from seven trips behind the gate, and he has put away $14,060. He was bred by Winbak Farm and fetched $4,500 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale. Star Cover’s dam is the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Rosebud ($721,057), an Ontario Sires Stakes superstar who won 11 times from 14 attempts during her OSS career. --Charlottes Colony (Trevor Henry, 1:58). An Art Colony colt, Charlottes Colony broke his maiden in his fifth try and boosted his output to $16,800. Charlottes Colony is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Thomas McGuffog of Hanwell and Geoffrey Macneish of Douglas, New Brunswick. Charlottes Colony, whose dam is the Mohican Pride mare OGs Starlett ($536,647), was bred by Dan Belliveau and was hammered down for $4,200 at last year’s Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for rookie pacing males will take place on September 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results and charts click here. Ontario Sire Stakes  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 30, 2014 -- Trailing by 5 lengths at the three-quarters and with his cover stalling, Adios champion McWicked showed his speed and determination Friday at The Meadows when he roared wide down the lane to score in a harness racing stake-record 1:48.3 in a $199,980 Pennsylvania Sires Stake. Sometimes Said captured the other division of the event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers known as the Tarport Effrat, giving David Miller a sweep. McWicked saw his five-race winning streak snapped in the Carl Milstein, and it appeared certain that his losing skein would grow when he was third over and treading water. But Somewhere In L A had taken the field through a hot three-quarters in 1:20.4, a wicked pace that gave Miller confidence. "They were going pretty hard there, but I did start getting worried in the last turn when they stalled out," Miller said. "But the leader wasn't getting away, and I was within range enough to catch him. I was happy with him. He got beat on the front last week, so I wanted to change it up. He doesn't have to be on the lead to win." The son of McArdle-Western Sahara had just enough track to down the game Somewhere in L A by a nose, with the pocket-sitting Limelight Beach third. Casie Coleman trains McWicked, who boosted his career bankroll to $957,883, for SSG Stables. The time shattered the previous stake mark of 1:49.2 shared by Big Bad John and Resistance Futile. Coleman previously indicated that McWicked will be pointed to the PASS championship and the Little Brown Jug. With the victory, McWicked became only the third Adios winner to score in the Tarport Effrat, joining Armbro Ranger (1976) and May June Character (2007). Fashion Farms' Sometimes Said entered the Tarport Effrat on a two-race winning streak, and he had little trouble extending that streak, following the first-over cover of Let's Drink On It and prevailing in 1:50. Somesizesomestyle rallied for second, 1/2 length back, while Let's Drink On It saved show. "I was impressed with him," said Miller, who was piloting Sometimes Said for the first time. "He raced as good as I expected him to." Jim Campbell conditions Sometimes Said, who soared over $400,000 in lifetime earnings. In the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, converted claimer Colby Jate shot the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:50.3 and notch his fourth straight victory. Aaron Merriman drove the 7-year-old Jate Lobell-Cam Press Shania gelding for trainer Mike Watson and owner Friendship Stables. Tony Hall drove four winners and Dave Palone three on the 15-race card. Following a brief holiday hiatus, live racing at The Meadows resumes Tuesday, first post 12:55 PM. Even Pattak

It took an exciting stretch drive for Love You Bye (McArdle-Cam's Genious) to pick up her third win in the last four starts at Vernon Downs in the $10,000 harness racing feature on Thursday night.   Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) sat in mid-pack through the early stages of the race, as Seascape Hanover (Fern Paquet Jr.) set the early pace of 26.1 for the quarter and 54.4 for the half. It was at the half-mile mark that Ugly Betty (John Macdonald) rallied up on the outside to take the lead, which she held through the three-quarter mark in 1:22.3.   Ugly Betty was in front into mid-stretch, at which point Seascape Hanover came back up the inside and Love You Bye commenced to close down the outside. Love You Bye managed to beat Seascape Hanover home to win in 1:52.1.   The complete order of finish was: Love You Bye, Seascape Hanover, Ugly Betty, Park N Orchard, Table Games, Elleofnxample, Artic Byrd, and R U Ideal. Let's Go Higher had been a Judge's scratch. Love You Bye is owned by D. Jimmy Whittemore of Norway, Maine and trained by Dennis Whittemore.   Live racing resumes on Friday night with an exciting 10-race program featuring $340,000 Zweig Memorial with Hambletonian runner-up Nuncio and betting favorite Father Patrick making up a very strong entry for trainer Jimmy Takter.   Sebastian K will also be racing at Vernon on Friday night in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot and he will be facing 2013 Horse Of The Year, Bee A Magician, who takes on the boys. Post time for racing on Friday night at Vernon Downs in 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs     

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 28, 2014 -- When The Meadows hosts Friday's final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for 3-year-old harness racing colt and gelding pacers, it may seem like Act 2 of the 2014 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light. That's because the $199,980 stake has attracted Adios champion McWicked as well as Somewhere In L A and Let's Drink On It, who along with McWicked won Adios eliminations. First post Friday is 6:55 PM. Following the Adios, McWicked easily captured a PASS division but saw his five-race winning streak snapped in the $400,000 Carl Milstein at Northfield Park, where he dead-heated for second. "He raced great, but I thought he could have been a little better than what he was," said Casie Coleman, who trains the son of McArdle-Western Sahara for SSG Stables. "He came out of it quite good. He's had a real good week training, and I've been very happy with him." She indicated McWicked, whose dominance during his winning streak has made him a legitimate candidate for divisional honors, will be pointed for the PASS championship and the Little Brown Jug, with the balance of his schedule to be determined. McWicked goes from post 4 in the first division, race 8, with David Miller aboard, and he'll renew acquaintances with Somewhere In L A, who finished a length behind McWicked in the Adios final. The Somebeachsomewhere-West Of L A gelding leaves from post 7 for Dave Palone, trainer Jimmy Takter and owners J&T Silva Stables, Deo Valente Farms and TLP Stable. Since the Adios, Somewhere In L A has won both his starts, including a strong performance in The Meadows' Preferred Pace last week. Let's Drink On It endured a tough trip in the Millstein and had to settle for fifth. In Friday's PASS, he's landed in the wide-open second division (race 10), where he leaves from post 6 for Tyler Smith. "He couldn't get into the race in the Milstein," said Joe Seekman, who conditions the son of Art Official-Letmedowneasy for Tina Seekman, Larry Bond, Hal Hewitt and Vince Boido, Jr. "When you have good horses inside you, it's suicidal to try to leave. I hope he gets away a little closer. He's been training good, and he's healthy. Also in the second division is Bob Key's Mattamerican, winner of the Adios consolation. He'll try to overcome post 8 for Aaron Merriman and trainer Norm Parker. The $260,000 (est.) PASS championship for this division is set for Sept. 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. MANDATORY PAYOUTS FRIDAY. Because Friday is the last program of the Mountain Laurel meeting, there can be no carryovers in the Pick 4, the Pick 5 and the last Superfecta on the card. These wagers all are "must pay." In addition, the Pick 5 sports a carryover of $1,660.11. Since the Washington Trotting Association meeting begins Tuesday, Sept. 2, there will be no discontinuity in live racing. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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