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TORONTO, January 16 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced the date of the Pepsi North America Cup, its spotlight Standardbred race, along with the rest of the $12 million 2014 harness racing stakes schedule. The 31st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup will offer a guaranteed purse of $1 million on Saturday, June 14 at Mohawk. The continent's finest three year-old pacers will line up behind the gate, with eliminations scheduled the week prior on June 7. Captaintreacherous captured the race, first staged in 1984, last year. The lucrative June 14 card offers a showcase for the continent's best horses across several divisions, including the $400,000 Fan Hanover for three-year-old pacing fillies, the $325,000 Roses Are Red for older pacing mares, the $270,000 Armbro Flight for trotting mares, the $225,000 Goodtimes for sophomore trotting colts and the $100,000 Gold Cup for older pacing horses. "We are enthusiastic about the 2014 racing season and proud to announce one of the finest stakes programs in North America," said Jamie Martin, Executive Vice President of Racing. "Woodbine Entertainment Group plans to make this the best Pepsi North America Cup ever." Mohawk will once again play host to some of the continent's most prestigious Grand Circuit events. On July 19, the $550,000 Maple Leaf Trot, for older trotters, will be offered for a 62nd time. Market Share won the 2013 renewal. The $685,000 Metro Pace for two year-old pacing colts is set for Saturday, August 30. Ontario-owned, trained & driven Boomboom Ballykeel was victorous in the 2013 edition of the race. Co-featured on the rich Labour Day weekend card are the $650,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers and the $450,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes for juvenile pacing fillies. The Canadian Trotting Classic (CTC), for racing's best three year-old colt trotters, will take their positions behind the starting gate on Saturday, September 13 for a purse of $685,000. Royalty For Life won the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands en route to a score in the CTC last year. The $375,000 Peaceful Way final for two year-old trotting fillies, the $365,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotting colts and the $365,000 Elegantimage, for three-year-old filly trotters, are also featured on the mid-September weekend. The Grand Circuit stakes return to Woodbine for its Fall meet in October. The $1.9 million Fall Four (Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory and Governor's Cup), will be contested on Saturday, October 25. These events were last held at Woodbine in 2010. Also in 2014, all finishers in the stakes finals will earn purse money. The winner will continue to receive the traditional 50% of the total purse, while those sixth through last will get 1% each. Those finishing second through fifth will receive 50%-24%-16%-10%, respectively, of the remaining purse. Plus, if 11 horses or fewer declare to start in a stakes series, there will be no eliminations and all declared horses will advance directly to the final. Byes will no longer be issued in stakes events. The stakes nominating process begins February 15. For the entire stakes schedule click here: by Greg Gangle for WEG    

Canada's 2013 leading driver Trevor Henry enjoyed his second five-win performance of the weekend on Sunday evening at Flamboro Downs. The Arthur, Ont. reinsman, who earned five victories on Western Fair Raceway's Friday card of harness racing, carried his winning momentum into Flamboro's 12-race card. His final win of the night came in the 11th race feature aboard Mach Of Ballykeel ($4.50). The five-year-old Mach Three gelding, who is a full brother to 2013 Metro Pace winner Boomboom Ballykeel, fought off Justalittleluck and Web Cam in a three-way battle into the stretch to win the $6,500 Preferred 3 Pace in 1:59.2 over the 'good' track for O'Brien Award nominee Richard Moreau, Ballykeel Racing and Mach Of Ballykeel Stable. Henry's first win of the night was with another Moreau trainee, sophomore pacer Adversary Seelster ($2.90), in the fourth race. He returned to the winner's circle after eight-year-old pacer Buckbuckbuck Mach ($5.60) scored his third in a row in the following dash for conditioner Stephane Larocque. Henry also won the seventh race with pacing sophomore Easton Bound ($4.90) for Joe Agostino before going back-to-back with freshman pacer Rebel Teen ($5.80) for Leonard Lalonde Jr. and the aforementioned Mach Of Ballykeel. Henry's 2013 win total climbed to 523 -- 96 more than his nearest rival in the national standings, Flamboro leader Billy Davis Jr. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Flamboro Downs. Reprinted with permission by 

TORONTO, December 28 - Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau retained their titles as Woodbine Entertainment Group's (WEG) leading harness racing driver and trainer, respectively, after the 2013 Standardbred racing season came to a close Saturday night at Woodbine. Filion finished with 248 wins at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks, five in front of Scott Zeron, who had 243 victories, while Jody Jamieson was third with 213, including a pair on the final night. Moreau collected his third WEG training title after winning 126 races. Jeff Gillis had 81 wins, while Carmen Auciello wound up third with 76 victories. Filion, who lives in Milton, had to share his first WEG driver championship with Jody Jamieson in 2012, each with 284 wins. But this year he stands alone. "This past year has been a memorable one for me both on and off the track," said Filion. "I drove many terrific horses and am very thankful for the opportunity. Winning with Boomboom Ballykeel (in the $683,000 Metro Pace for trainer Richard Moreau) was certainly unexpected and that was a great thrill. Off the track, my wife and I adopted a baby and that's something very special." The 44-year-old Filion, who also led all drivers in purse earnings on the WEG circuit with over $5.3 million, is seeking a second consecutive O'Brien Award as Canada's Top Driver, an honour he earned for the first time for his accomplishments last year. The 49-year-old Moreau, who captured his first WEG title in 2010, also led all trainers in purse earnings with over $2.5 million. The Puslinch, Ontario resident is an O'Brien Award finalist for Canada's Trainer of the Year. Live racing returns to Woodbine on Monday, January 6 and continues on a three-day-a-week schedule (Monday, Friday and Saturday). First race post time is 7:25 p.m. Videos of all Saturday night races are attached.

On Wednesday, December 18, Standardbred Canada announced the finalists for the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. The winners will be announced at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala on Saturday, February 8, 2014. This year marks the 25th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Nine past O’Brien Award winners are looking to add to their trophy collections and are either defending titles or are nominated in a new division. These past winners include: Anndrovette, Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, I Luv The Nitelife, Intimidate, Mister Herbie, Sylvain Filion, Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms. Sylvain Filion will defend the Driver of the Year title against first-time nominee Doug McNair. Filion, 44, of Milton, ON, is currently the leading money winning driver on the WEG circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk and Woodbine. With 281 victories, he is closing in on Scott Zeron for the title as WEG’s top dash winning driver. He has a good shot of achieving that as Zeron has moved to The Meadowlands. A career winner of 7,477 races, Filion recently surpassed $6 million in earnings in 2013 in addition to going over $80 million in his career. He is also the regular driver for O’Brien finalist, Intimidate. Doug McNair, 24, of Guelph, ON, is enjoying a productive year as he’s driven 292 winners to go along with $5.6 million in purse earnings, his second best year on record ever for money. McNair was the regular driver for O’Brien finalists Precocious Beauty and Love Canal. There will be a new name beside the Trainer of the Year category as Gregg McNair and Richard Moreau are looking for their first National title. McNair, 52, of Guelph, ON, is en route to a career year and sits second in the Canadian trainer earnings standings. McNair conditions O’Brien finalist Precocious Beauty and to date has trained 109 winners and horses to $3.1 million in purse earnings. Moreau, 49, of Puslinch, ON, was a finalist in this category last year. The conditioner has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade. He leads the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Kelly Hoerdt, 47, of Beaumont, AB, receives his third nomination for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship and he is up against first time nominee Paul MacKenzie. Kelly Hoerdt is a successful horsemen who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. He’s been training in Alberta on and off for 25 years. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in earnings at Alberta Downs this year. He’s currently in the top five trainers at Northlands for both wins and money and sits in sixth at Northlands in the driving charts. Hoerdt has 66 wins and $487,528 in earnings as a driver and 81 wins and $616,517 as a trainer. Paul MacKenzie, 52, of Puslinch, ON, has been driving and training for over 35 years and has managed to be one of the top B circuit drivers for decades. The Charlottetown native is the all time leader in driving wins at Flamboro Downs. In 2013 he was the third leading dash winner at Grand River and in the top 10 drivers at Flamboro. Paul drove 169 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $1 million in 2013. He didn’t focus much on training. Unfortunately MacKenzie suffered some injuries at Grand River in late October and has not driven since. Precocious Beauty and Shes Da Bomb, both sired by Art Major, are the finalists in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly category. Precocious Beauty won 7 of 11 races, $462,912 and took a mark of 1:50.1 which happened to tie a World Record for the mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. Shes Da Bomb had 5 wins in 8 starts and earnings of $216,056. She paced to her season’s record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile. Both fillies captured divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and Champlain at Mohawk. Arthur Blue Chip and Luck Be Withyou didn’t battle each other much on the racetrack but the two will vie for the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt title. Arthur Blue Chip scored 6 wins in 11 starts, bankrolled $400,120 and took a mark of 1:51.2 in an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk before being scratched from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya. Luck Be Withyou’s victory in the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was the highlight of a 40 year partnership between owner John Craig and trainer Bill Cass. Luck Be Withyou had 5 wins in 11 races and $363,402 in purse earnings. He took a mark of 1:50 in an elimination of the Breeders Crown, and also scored a victory in a division of the Champlain at Mohawk. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore and looks to add another O’Brien to her trophy case. She is up against Love Canal in the three-year-old pacing filly division. I Luv The Nitelife boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner-up finish in the American National. Love Canal put together a record of 4-3-1 in 13 races, earned $344,693 and took a mark of 1:50.1 at Mohawk in the Canadian Breeders Championship one week after her win in the elimination. She also had victories in the final of the SBOA Stake and an Ontario Sires Stakes event. Sunshine Beach and Vegas Vacation are finalists in the sophomore pacing colt category. Sunshine Beach hit for 16 top three finishes, including eight wins in 20 starts for earnings of $913,702. He defeated Captaintreacherous in the Battle of the Brandywine in a 1:47.4 world record mile at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August and was a runner-up to the division leader in the Breeders Crown. He was also victorious in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Progress Pace. Vegas Vacation put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 in 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses with major wins in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Empire Breeders Classic, Simcoe Stakes, Little Brown Jug and the Matron Stakes. He was also a close runner-up in the Hempt Memorial, the Tattersalls Pace and the Adios. Anndrovette is looking to defend her crown as Canada’s Older Pacing Mare against the talented Rocklamation. Anndrovette is looking for her third consecutive trophy as the country’s top pacing mare following a season where she scored 7 wins and bankrolled $564,827. She took a mark of 1:48 at Mohawk in the Roses Are Red Final -- a Canadian record -- and also posted a win in the elimination. She won three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, an elimination of the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. Rocklamation won 5 of 21 races and earned $546,217 on the season while posting a mark of 1:49.3 in the Golden Girls at The Meadowlands. She won two legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and captured the Milton Stakes at Mohawk. A Rocknroll Dance and Foiled Again are the Older Pacing Horse finalists. Multiple World Champion A Rocknroll Dance was the first horse in harness racing history to pace three consecutive sub-1:48 wins. Those scores came this year in an invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1:47.4f) and in the elimination and final of the Canadian Pacing Derby (1:47.3-1:47.2). He established World Records as a four-year-old on both five-eighths and half-mile tracks. His 1:49.1 world mark on a half was taken winning the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield over Foiled Again, and his 1:47.4 world mark on a five-eighths came in an invitational race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He defeated the best older pacers of the year in winning the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in track and Canadian record time. A Rocknroll Dance has been retired from racing and will begin his stud career in 2014 at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final, for his third straight million-dollar campaign. Following Foiled Again's final start of the year, trainer Ron Burke noted that the iron tough pacer has exceeded his expectations with all of his accomplishments. He earned $1.4 million on the year, while surpassing the $6 million career marker and closed the season sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at The Meadowlands. Miss Aultsville and Riveting Rosie are nominees in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Miss Aultsville established a stakes, track and Canadian record of 1:59.2 for two-year-old trotting fillies on a half-mile track in an Ontario Sires Stakes event, one of her two season wins. She earned just over $151,000 on the season. Riveting Rosie closed out her 2013 campaign with six wins, one second and one third in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Riveting Rosie’s major victories were the Peaceful Way Final, The Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain. Father Patrick and Muscle Matters will face off in the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division. Father Patrick topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Stakes. Muscle Matters was lightly raced but earned $218,800 in 6 starts, half of which he won. He took his mark of 1:55.4 in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. Bee A Magician, who was perfect in her 2013 season, is up against Motown Muscle in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her 2013 races and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore season. The invincible filly took a mark of 1:51 at The Meadowlands and won the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Motown Muscle enjoyed a productive 2013 campaign, hitting for 6 wins in 14 races and $331,423 in purse money. She took a mark of 1:53.4 at Mohawk and racked up wins in a division of the Casual Breeze, Canadian Breeders Championship elimination and final, and several Ontario Sires Stakes events. Flanagan Memory and Your So Vain are the sophomore trotting colt nominees. Flanagan Memory won seven of 11 races for $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Your So Vain was a winner of 5 of 13 and $382,105. He posted a mark of 1:52.4 in winning an elimination of the Canadian Trotting Classic. He also added wins in the Simcoe Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, and a heat of the Kentucky Futurity to his resume. Bax Of Life and Maven are the Older Trotting Mare finalists. Bax of Life won 4 of 23 races and earned just over $155,000. She took a mark of 1:52.2 at The Red Mile. She was a nose winner in a Breeders Crown elimination and second in the Miss Versatility. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She swept the Miss Versatility Trotting Series including a 1:51.4 World Record in the final at Delaware. She also added wins in an elimination and the final of the Armbro Flight and Allerage to her credentials. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her coffers. Intimidate and Mister Herbie are the Older Trotting Horse finalists. Both horses were O’Brien winners in 2012 – Intimidate as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year and Mister Herbie as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse. Intimidate stepped up to the Older Trotting Horse ranks to win 7 of 9 on the year and bank $176,000. He won several Preferred events and took a mark of 1:51 in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in races including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067. Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms are nominated in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, and are both previous winners of this award. McIntosh’s 98 starters have accounted for 228 wins and just over $2 million in earnings in 2013, while Seelster-bred horses have posted 254 victories and $2.1 million in purse earnings. In the Future Star Category, the finalists for this first-time award are Travis Cullen and Patrick Shepherd. Horseman Travis Cullen, 21 of Edmonton, AB, closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the last day of racing while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year of over $366,000 in trainer earnings and over $577,000 in driving earnings, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. His 2013 total of 109 training wins in Canada places him fourth among all trainers while his .430 UTRS leads the nation. Patrick Shepherd, 21, of Lynden, ON, trained 112 winners and horses to $542,799 in earnings. His Canadian win total ranks as the third best among all conditioners, as does his .389 training average. One of the 24 horse nominees will be honoured as Canada’s Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, February 8, 20114, at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown, PE. The complete list of finalists and owners is as follows. 2013 O’Brien Award Nominees Pacers Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer Precocious Beauty - owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Shes Da Bomb – owned by F. Bellino And Sons LLC, Bronxville, NY   Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer Arthur Blue Chip – owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Luck Be Withyou – owned by John H. Craig, North York, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer I Luv The Nitelife - owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Love Canal - owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc – Robert Cooper Stables LLC, Boca Raton, FL - J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY   Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer Sunshine Beach - owned by Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc., Hudson- Conrad Leber, Montreal QC – Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB Vegas Vacation – owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON   Older Pacing Mare Anndrovette - owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Rocklamation - owned by J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY – Stable 45, Boynton Beach, FL- Our Horse Centre Stables, Clifton Park, NY   Older Pacing Horse A Rocknroll Dance - owned by A Rocknroll Dance Stable, Wauseon, OH Foiled Again - owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL   Trotters   Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Miss Aultsville - owned by Old Aultsville Stable, Mississauga, ON – Pealer Pen, Camp Hill, PA – John Kopas Stables Ltd. Milton, ON Riveting Rosie - owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON   Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Father Patrick - owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Muscle Matters - owned by Nunzio Vena, Bolton – Santo Vena, Brampton – Benoit Baillargeon, Rockwood – Richard Thompson, London, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Bee A Magician – owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Motown Muscle - owned by Bet Max Stables Inc., Casco – Benenati Inc., Clinton Twp, MI   Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Flanagan Memory - owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Your So Vain – owned by P G Van Camp Stables, Port Perry, ON   Older Trotting Mare Bax Of Life – owned by Jerry Duford – Joanne S Wray, Campbellville, ON Maven - owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL   Older Trotting Horse Intimidate – owned by Judith Farrow, Hemmingford – Luc Blais, Lochaber Ouest, QC Mister Herbie – owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY   People Awards   O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Paul MacKenzie, Puslinch, ON   Armstrong Breeder of the Year Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON   Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion, Campbellville, ON Doug McNair, Guelph, ON   Trainer of the Year Gregg McNair, Guelph, ON Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON   Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB Patrick Shepherd, Lynden, ON

TORONTO, October 17 – As WEG’s harness meet resumes at Woodbine Racetrack this evening, both Scott Zeron and Richard Moreau have commanding leads in the WEG driver and trainer standings. Zeron, a resident of Oakville, currently has 229 victories this season, 31 more than his closest rival Sylvain Filion. Zeron, who was a finalist for the O’Brien Award as Canada’s top driver for the past three seasons, finished third in the standings last year behind Filion and Jamieson, who tied for the win. “There really isn’t any better feeling than being the top driver at any track let along Woodbine/Mohawk,” Zeron said. “I’m driving against guys that I’ve idolized since I was 12 years old and I’m fortunate enough to have a great support system that provides me with quality horses on a nightly basis. “As much as I focus on maintaining the lead, all I can do is show up every night and try to get into the winners circle as much as possible,” Zeron continued. The talented reinsman, who led the WEG driver standings with 123 victories when the spring meet at Woodbine concluded, is hoping to continue where he left off. “I’m looking forward to returning to Woodbine and excited to make the most of the remaining months of the year,” Zeron said. The 24-year-old has 2,172 career tallies to his credit and is approaching $30 million in purse earnings. Moreau has also separated himself from his rivals in the training standings. The Puslinch resident has 111 victories this season, 46 more than nearest rival Jeff Gillis. The veteran conditioner, who has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade, celebrated his biggest of his career this season as Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Moreau, who was a finalist for Canada’s trainer of the year in 2012, has 4,214 lifetime victories to his credit along with over $34 million in purse earnings. The Woodbine Fall-Winter-Spring Standardbred meet is now a three-day-a-week schedule, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, through December. Following its Saturday, December 28 card, Woodbine will be “dark” until Monday, January 6, when a Monday-Friday-Saturday night schedule through March, is launched. First race post-time is 7:25 p.m. The special Thursday, December 26 Boxing Day card is scheduled for 1 p.m. by Greg Gangle for WEG  

Trainer Joe Seekman has put to rest any and all speculation that his top two-year-old pacing colt, Let’s Drink On It, had hurt himself in the Metro Pace Final on August 31. In the Metro Final, Let’s Drink On It was in third place coming down the stretch when he locked wheels and then went on a wild break and ended up finishing ninth. “He is OK,” Seekman said. “I was a little concerned after the race but once we got him in the race paddock I could see that he did jump on himself and was a bit sore but that was it.” Sired by Art Official from the Cam Luck mare, Letmedoweasy, Let’s Drink On It has four wins and two thirds in seven starts this year with earnings of more than $116,000 and a record of 1:51.1. The Metro final was the first time Let's Drink On It had failed to hit the board. “We gave him a bit of rest,” Seekman said, “And last Friday I trained him in a jog cart in 2:09 and he was perfect again. “We’ll shock ‘em in his next start this Sunday at Harrah’s in the $260,000 PA Sire Stakes finals.” Seekman added. “ By Steve Wolf for

Two horsemen who ply their trade mainly at The Meadows are fast approaching some major milestones in their racing careers. Driver Mike Wilder is now just three wins away from scoring his 6,000th career win and trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr,. is just eight wins away from posting his 5,000th training victory. Weekend Back Track $360,211 Cane Pace, 3-year-old pacers, Sept. 2, Tioga Downs 1. Captaintreacherous, 2. Word Power, 3. Wake Up Peter. Time: 1:49.2. Margin: Neck. Winning driver: Tim Tetrick. Winning trainer: Tony Alagna. Winning owner: Captaintreacherous Racing. $122,212 Shady Daisy, 3-year-old filly pacers, Sept. 2, Tioga Downs 1. Scandalous Hanover, 2. Ms Caila J Fra, 3. Shebestingin. Time: 1:51. Margin: Neck. Winning driver: David Miller. Winning trainer: Casie Coleman. Winning owners: West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella. $205,608 Simcoe Stakes, 3-year-old filly trotters, Sept. 2, Mohawk 1. Bee A Magician, 2. Shared Past, 3. Motown Muscle. Time: 1:52.3 (stakes record). Margin: 1-3/4. Winning driver: Rick Zeron. Winning trainer: Nifty Norman. Winning owners: Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee. $205,608 Simcoe Stakes, 3-year-old filly pacers, Sept. 2, Mohawk 1. I Luv The Nitelife, 2. Aunt Caroline, 3. Love Canal. Time: 1:50. Margin: 1. Winning driver: Tim Tetrick. Winning trainer: Chris Ryder. Winning owners: Richard and Joanne Young. $648,850 Metro Pace, 2-year-old pacers, Aug. 31, Mohawk 1. Boomboom Ballykeel, 2. Western Vintage, 3. Some Major Beach. Time: 1:50.4. Margin: 2-1/4. Winning driver: Sylvain Filion. Winning trainer: Richard Moreau. Winning owner: Ballykeel Racing. $618,450 Canadian Pacing Derby, older pacers, Aug. 31, Mohawk 1. A Rocknroll Dance, 2. Clear Vision, 3. Foiled Again. Time: 1:47.2 (stakes record; equals track and Canadian record). Margin: Nose. Winning driver: Tim Tetrick. Winning trainer: Jim Mulinix. Winning owner: A Rocknroll Dance Stable. $428,450 She’s A Great Lady, 2-year-old filly pacers, Aug. 31, Mohawk 1. Precocious Beauty, 2. Gallie Bythe Beach, 3. Beach Gal. Time: 1:50.2 (equals stakes record). Margin: 1/2. Winning driver: Doug McNair. Winning trainer: Gregg McNair. Winning owner: James Avritt. $115,650 Simcoe Stakes divisions, 3-year-old trotters, Aug. 31, Mohawk 1. Lindy’s Tru Grit, 2. E L Rocket, 3. High Bridge. Time: 1:53.4. Margin: Neck. 1. Your So Vain. 2. Deadliest Catch. 3. Loco Caballo. Time: 1:53.4. Margin: 4-3/4. HORSES BY EARNINGS   Horse Name Age Sex Gait Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings CAPTAINTREACHEROUS 3 H P 8 7 1 0 1,431,273 BEE A MAGICIAN 3 M T 11 11 0 0 948,759 ROYALTY FOR LIFE 3 H T 9 5 1 0 874,850 I LUV THE NITELIFE 3 M P 11 10 0 1 852,350 FOILED AGAIN 9 G P 20 5 3 7 668,234 CORKY 3 H T 13 4 5 3 660,191 PET ROCK 4 H P 11 2 3 1 558,508 SMILIN ELI 3 H T 10 4 3 1 534,500 SPIDER BLUE CHIP 3 G T 11 6 1 1 512,113 VEGAS VACATION 3 G P 12 6 3 1 492,431   DRIVERS BY EARNINGS   First Name Last Name Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings Tim Tetrick 2232 439 318 300 10,805,318 Brian Sears 1604 388 280 239 9,449,214 Yannick Gingras 1632 349 265 221 8,377,282 David Miller 2015 285 308 282 7,593,810 Ronald Pierce 2564 403 344 356 7,113,282 Corey Callahan 2558 447 316 354 6,456,160 George Brennan 1724 288 305 203 6,273,212 Matthew Kakaley 2060 316 320 303 5,405,413 Andy Miller 1938 284 278 248 5,232,311 James Morrill Jr. 1212 292 242 147 4,897,624   DRIVERS BY WINS   First Name Last Name Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings Corey Callahan 2558 447 316 354 6,456,160 Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 2039 445 318 278 1,748,958 Tim Tetrick 2232 439 318 300 10,805,318 David Palone 1635 432 242 166 4,268,400 Ronald Pierce 2564 403 344 356 7,113,282 Bruce Aldrich Jr. 2196 395 335 294 1,827,672 Brian Sears 1604 388 280 239 9,449,214 Aaron Merriman 2233 380 370 309 2,857,040 Michael Oosting 1610 369 265 217 2,322,026 Tyler Smith 1964 356 284 247 2,227,440   TRAINERS BY EARNINGS   First Name Last Name Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings Ronald Burke 3071 721 504 354 13,462,430 Jimmy Takter 384 93 53 55 4,420,541 Tony Alagna 512 96 64 55 3,521,489 Rene Allard 1362 313 209 157 3,327,620 Ervin Miller 929 184 148 124 2,889,915 P J Fraley 650 127 101 89 2,875,311 Richard Moreau 964 196 158 145 2,729,467 Virgil Morgan Jr. 984 247 144 119 2,633,961 Tony O’Sullivan 573 105 98 65 2,511,644 Linda Toscano 391 78 53 73 2,502,717   DRIVERS/TRAINERS APPROACHING MILESTONES   Driver Wins               First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Last Start W Mike Wilder   5997 $42,137,535 ScD 8/31/2013 Eric S Ledford   4993 $56,786,775 Mea 8/31/2013 Howard G Parker   4985 $45,452,303 PcD 8/30/2013 Norman Chris Boring   3979 $19,828,659 RP 7/6/2013 Howard E Davis Jr 3975 $30,459,321 Har 9/2/2013 Timothy W Curtin   2985 $20,936,317 May 6/6/2013 Patrick D Berry   2980 $27,293,459 YR 9/2/2013 David Floyd Carey   2972 $2,433,051 Truro 9/1/2013 Ronald L Cushing   1997 $7,451,274 Wind 9/1/2013 Steven C Wiseman   1996 $7,552,141 Aces 8/31/2013 Ron Paul Wrenn   1995 $6,069,816 Nfld 7/18/2013 Rodney J Bolon   1992 $9,376,910 Mea 8/16/2013 Robert H Shepherd   1991 $14,648,536 GeoD 8/31/2013 Simon   Allard   1983 $15,248,659 TgDn 9/2/2013 Jerry G E Landess   1980 $2,037,837 Green 8/23/2013 John Paul Cummings Jr 1980 $8,646,735 Btva 9/2/2013 Kelly R Sheppard   1971 $9,404,905 GRvr 8/28/2013 Vaughan A Doyle   997 $780,366 Summ 9/2/2013 James R Mc Donald   997 $2,949,812 PPk 7/27/2013 Charles M Conrad   996 $5,778,458 Sbyvl 9/2/2013 DANIEL R                             OBRIAN        992 $2,122,046 GeoD 8/27/2013 Stephen K O'Toole   986 $2,423,974 PRc 9/3/2012 Robert                        L                             Sparling                                Jr 986 $5,212,019 Dres 9/2/2013 Clayton   Faurot Jr 981 $2,456,655 Mea 6/12/2013 Joseph   Ricco Jr 978 $3,727,744 MR 8/28/2013 GORDEN A MCKNIGHT   977 $2,885,134 Sar 8/31/2013 Wilbur L Yoder   976 $6,353,491 Mea 8/31/2013 John D Finn   975 $3,612,590 DuQ 8/25/2013 Darren R Crowe   975 $1,448,955 Truro 8/29/2013 Jeffrey A Smith   971 $2,729,884 Lex 8/29/2013 RONALD I MATHESON   970 $1,032,726 Chrtn 8/31/2013 Rocky Joe Loney   970 $2,398,869 VnWrt 8/29/2013 Steven B Norris   970 $2,548,111 RidC 8/29/2013                 Driver earnings in U.S. dollars             First Middle Last Name Suffix LTD Wins LTD Earnings Last Track Last Start Luc R Ouellette   8535 $129,529,339 Moh 8/29/2013 Stephane L Bouchard   7866 $69,999,632 Stga 8/31/2013 Peter M Wrenn   9102 $59,751,101 Lex 9/1/2013 Paul G                              MacKenzie        7769 $39,931,958 Dres 9/2/2013 James R Pantaleano   6122 $39,756,951 YR 9/2/2013 Raymond W Schnittker   2634 $39,710,068 Btva 9/2/2013 Jordan D Stratton   2321 $29,936,503 YR 9/2/2013 Aaron Edward Merriman   5938 $29,640,462 ScD 8/31/2013 Michael A Forte   3263 $19,923,592 MR 6/3/2013 Norman Chris Boring   3979 $19,828,659 RP 7/6/2013 Jimmy W Takter   711 $19,787,099 Moh 8/30/2013 Thomas D Strauss   2552 $19,687,609 GeoD 8/31/2013 Darrell L Coville   6564 $19,544,572 RidC 9/1/2013 Richard Lee Farrington   1250 $9,963,277 HoP 8/31/2013 Below that are trainers who may be approaching win milestones. USTA started tracking trainer statistics in 1991, so the trainers listed in green may have had training starts and wins prior to 1991, so the Life Wins column for those trainers may not be accurate. Trainer Approaching Wins Milestones   First Middle Last Name suffix Life Wins Life Earnings Last Track Last Start birth_date Virgil V Morgan Jr 4992 $41,615,720.00 ScD 9/2/2013 11/23/1965 John G Kina   1985 $5,997,768.00 RP 9/1/2013 3/1/1969 Roger S Welch   989 $13,017,393.00 BmlP 8/31/2013 9/22/1963 Matias S Ruiz   989 $3,694,560.00 Phl 9/1/2013 2/24/1958 Jeffrey R Gillis   989 $19,624,382.00 Moh 8/31/2013 10/1/1977 Edgar R Clarke   981 $5,293,443.00 VD 9/2/2013 12/6/1955 Guy   Gagnon   979 $4,998,721.00 RidC 9/1/2013 12/20/1968 James R Mc Donald   974 $4,558,300.00 PPk 7/27/2013 10/12/1955 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications  

Western Vintage and driver Yannick Gingras seemed to have the $683,000 final of the Metro Pace all but wrapped up Saturday evening at Mohawk Raceway, until mid stretch when driver Sylvian Filion found clearance from sitting third along the rail and rallied Boomboom Ballykeel to win in an upset at odds of 10-1. The race was marred by numerous horses bumping into one another and one pair locking wheels in the stretch and it took five minutes before the judges could sort it all out, reviewing the video tape and talking with the drivers involved. At the start it was Tellitlikeitis and driver Ron Pierce going out to the early lead but that was short lived as driver Yannick Gingras had Western Vintage on the move and in command by the opening quarter mile in :26.1. The 3/5 betting favorite then cut the mile to the half in :54.3 as Luck Be Withyou (Scott Zeron) started up first-over with Let’s Drink On It (Jim Morrill, Jr.) following second-over. Racing down the backstretch Luck Be Withyou went off-stride and that left Let’s Drink On It first-over on the final turn as they passed the three-quarters in 1:22.2. Some Major Beach (Doug McNair) was able to slip out and follow Let’s Drink On It second-over. Meanwhile, Filion was trapped in third place along the rail with Boomboom Ballykeel. As they started down the stretch, horses beared into each other, broke stride, locked wheels, all the while Western Vintage and Tellitlikeitis were clear of any interference and then Filion, who pulled out of third place with Boomboom Ballykeel, closed with a great rush of speed, blowing by Western Vintage before the finish to win by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:50.4. Some Major Beach closed well for third with Tellitlikeitis fading to fourth place. “It was tight quarters coming down the stretch,” Filion explained, “I was pretty confident that I was in my own rights…anytime there is a race like this, going for big money, the judges need to check out and they did. “He (Boomboom Ballyreed) was full of himself tonight,” Filion said. “I knew if we could get some cover he would be real close. When we drew the rail I knew we had a pretty good shot in here. He raced so good last week, just missed. You have to give credit to trainer Richard Moreau, he has done a great job with this horse.” It was the third win in seven starts this year for Boomboom Ballyreel. Sired by Mach Three from the Presidential Ball mare, Teig N Riley, Boomboom Ballyreel is a homebred colt bred and owned by Ballykeel Racing of Tillsonburg, Ontario. At 10-1 odds, Boomboom Ballyreel paid $23.00 to win and he lowered his lifetime mark by five full seconds. “We had a full brother to him (Boomboom Ballykeel),” said trainer Richard Moreau, who is also the Mayor of Tillsonburg. “He was a nice horse too so we thought this one would be good. It wasn’t until his first qualifying race that he showed great closing speed that we knew he was very good.” by Steve Wolf

With Arthur Blue Chip scratched sick from the $683,000 Metro Pacing Series Final Saturday night at Mohawk Raceway it has opened the door for Some Major Beach to have a shot at winning the pot of gold. Granted he may be a long shot at morning line odds of 20-1, but in the immortal words of harness racing hall of famer, Herve Filion…”You gotta be in it to win it!” Thus is the case for Some Major Beach. He was Also Eligible #1 for the Metro final. He finished fourth in his elimination division but now he has a second chance at stardom, and because of Arthur Blue Chip scratching sick the day before the race, he now gets into the final and replaces Arthur Blue Chip in post position four, which is a great post to start from and he will be driven by Doug McNair. Trainer Tony Alagna now has two horses in the Metro Final as Ideal Magic (Tim Tetrick) drew into the race but is saddled with having to start from the far outside in post ten and he is also 20-1. “I was on my way to Newark Airport this morning when I got the call,” trainer Tony Alagna said from his hotel room in Toronto. “I was really pleased that he drew into the final. You don’t get that many opportunities to race in a big stake like this so I hope we can make the most of it.” And if breeding has anything to do with this race, Some Major Beach would be the #1 contender. He is a half brother to 2007 Metro Pace winner and world champion racehorse and sire, Somebeachsomewhere. Some Major Beach is sired by Major In Art but is winless in five starts this year. He did win a baby race at Gaitway Farm in 1:56.4 and has been improving with every start. “He (Some Major Beach) was good last week,” Alagna explained. “Tim (Tetrick) told me he thought they could get second money and make the final but on the final turn he got on the right line really bad. So we have made some adjustments and he is showing good improvement. He is turning into a legitimate contender and with drawing a good inside post for tomorrow I expect him to race big. “Last year Wake Up Peter was Also Eligible #1,” Alanga said,” and he got into the final. Captaintreacherous won and Wake Up Peter was fourth. I hope history can repeat itself this year again!” By Steve Wolf  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 30 – When it comes to being involved in big races, small-time Maritime trainer/owner Wayne Whebby knows exactly what it feels like. The 71-year-old veteran conditioner has raced in the Pepsi North America Cup, Breeders Crown, Adios and Governors Cup to name a few, but on Saturday he’ll have his first taste of Metro Pace pie. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia resident will send out Play It Again Sam from post nine in this year’s $683,000 edition. “It’s a terrific feeling, but we’ll have our work cut out for us,” Whebby said. “We’re very fortunate to be in it, but there are a lot of other nice colts in there too.” Play It Again Sam was a $25,000 yearling purchase from last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale. He was a horse that was on Whebby’s radar at the auction. “I looked at him and really liked him,” he said. “He was very late in the sale (hip 706), which was good and bad. The price might be lower, but if I didn’t get him, I might be stuck with nothing.” Whebby wasn’t looking for a partner at the time, but that soon changed. The youngster also caught co-owner Ron McLellan’s eye (R G McGroup Ltd). He was in pursuit of any offspring sired by Shadow Play, of whom he also owns a piece. “Ron and I have been friends for years and we also came across another horse by Shadow Play named Im Drinking Doubles. Im Drinking Doubles was earlier in the sale and we got him for $32,000 and we were fortunate enough to get Play It Again Sam for $25,000. That’s how Ron and I became partners.” Whebby then shipped his two new purchases home to Truro, Nova Scotia to begin their early lessons. “Emmons MacKay broke them and got them going and did an absolute terrific job,” Whebby said. “I’d come in and train with him a few days a week and oversee things, but he deserves the credit.” When Play It Again Sam was training down, Whebby never got overly confident in his youngster. “I’ve been down this road before and sometimes they pan out and sometimes they don’t,” he said. “He did everything right and we knew the speed was there, but you never know what can happen once they line up behind the gate.” When both horses were near qualifying, Whebby called upon his son, Marc. “Marc did most of the fine-tuning on both of them,” said the veteran horseman. “He put the finishing touches on them and raced them in Truro. I like it that way because Marc gives terrific feed back and makes sure everything is the way it should be. He’s also a terrific blacksmith and overall good horseman. “We have a system that we use between Emmons, Marc and I and it’s been successful, so we’re not going to change,” he continued. So far this season, Play It Again Sam has sparked the attention of his owners with a 7-0-1 record from eight starts and $55,627 this season. “We brought him along accordingly and he raced very well in Truro, but again, racing in Truro and racing at Mohawk are two different leagues. He’s progressed very well and shows that he has the speed to belong.” Whebby then shipped Play It Again Sam west to Ontario to the barn of trainer Dr. Ian Moore, another Maritmer. Moore had two entries in this year’s Metro, but Moore’s other entry, Arthur Blue Chip has been scratched due to sickness, therefore Play It Again Sam will look to be crowned this year’s champion for the Maritime connections. Looking ahead to Saturday’s Metro Pace, the richest event for two-year-olds in North America, Whebby remains optimistic about Play It Again Sam. “I think it’s a very evenly matched group of colts this year,” Whebby said. “There’s not a particular standout yet and a lot will depend on racing luck and who benefits from the best trip. I sure hope that’s us. “Between, Ron, his wife, Gail, Marc and Emmons and I, we’re having a lot of fun this season,” Whebby continued. David Miller will be at the helm from post nine in race seven on Saturday evening. by Greg Gangle  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 30 – Arthur Blue Chip, who was installed the 7/2 second choice to win Saturday's $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk, has been scratched due to sickness. The word came from trainer Dr. Ian Moore on Friday morning. “He had a terrific week up until about yesterday,” Moore said. “I took him out to train and he coughed once before he went a mile and a few times afterwards. I scoped him and he showed signs of sickness, but is five-times worse this morning.” The son of Shadow Play has banked $194,495 this season along with a 5-0-1 record from seven starts. “This would be our fifth time being in the Metro and I think our best chance to win, so it’s disappointing not to be in it,” Moore said. “We have to do what’s best for the horse. It’s not a serious issue, but could develop into one if we race him. As a veterinarian I wouldn’t recommend to any client to race, so I’m certainly not going to race my own.” The $135,000 yearling purchase is owned by Shadow One Stable. Randy Waples was listed to drive from post four. First also eligible Some Major Beach, the half-brother to 2007 Metro winner, Somebeachsomewhere, has drawn into the Metro Pace Final and will be driven by Doug McNair. by Greg Gangle  

Surprise…I had a winning weekend! Right now I stand at picking horses in 87 races with just 35 winners, not good enough. I went four for seven last week and won $5.70. We are still in the minus earning column at  -$25.70 going into this weekend. The big action Saturday is at Mohawk Raceway with the finals of She’s A Great Lady, Metro Pace and Canadian Pacing Derby. Then on Monday at Tioga Downs it’s the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace and the Shady Daisy Pace and also Monday, Mohawk Raceway has Bee A Magician and I Luv The Nitelife in the Simcoe Stakes. $683,000 Metro Pace Final 2YO Colts 7th race Mohawk Raceway Saturday – Annually, this is a classic race and usually the winner ends up being one of the top pacers this year and beyond. Sorta like Captaintreacherous who won the Metro last year. Well this year’s crop is most certainly top notch and the three elimination winners plus most of the field have the ability to win in here. I’m going with Lets Drink On It. He was all out last week but was able draw within and hold on to win by a neck in 1:51.1. He is in a great position to get live cover but at anytime can pull out and go to the front for good. $651,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Final Open 10th race Mohawk Raceway Saturday – Here we go again with the best pacers in the world going head to head. You can just about throw a dart at the race program and pick the winner. Half way through the season no one has yet to win three in a row but I think that is about to change. Bolt the Duer has been so game the last month I think that drawing post two will get him early cover from where he has but two choices…go to the front or get live second-over cover. Either way he ends up in the winner’s circle again! $451,000 She’s A Great Lady Final 2-YO Fillies 5th race Mohawk Raceway Saturday – This race really depends on who wants to win it the most. Top fillies have been banging heads all season long. Beach Gal comes in late and in just her third lifetime start scorches the track last week in 1:50.3 by four open lengths. Gallie By The Beach, Ali Blue and few others all have the ability to win. My choice is Precocious Beauty, so well bred to be a winner and she has showed it in her last two starts with big scores. Inside post will only aid her early on before she can take command of the race. $360,211 Cane Pace 3YO Colts 10th race Tioga Downs Monday– Considering the herculean effort put in by Captainteacherous in his last start, getting parked the mile and still game to the wire in losing by a nose to Sunshine Beach in 1:57.4, there was no disgrace in that loss and there is no doubt that the first jewel in the pacing triple crown will go to the “Captain.” Vegas Vacation will loom as Captaintreacherous’s main rival in this field but I am pretty sure the “Captain” will return to his winning ways once again. $216,429 Simcoe Stakes Trot 3YO Fillies  6th race Mohawk Raceway Monday – Undefeated at a perfect 10 for 10 this season, world champion, world record holder, faster than any of the boys….It’s Bee A Magician and she is getting tested once again in this race. Drew post 11 so she must start behind the rail horse that has no gate speed whatsoever. 12 starters in the race so it will be very cozy early on. But as we all well know, once Bee A Magician can get any clearance she will scoot to the front and no one has been able to catch her yet. $216,426 Simcoe Stakes Pace 3YO Fillies 9th race Mohawk Raceway Monday – Another huge field here, 12 starters. I Luv The Nitelife has never been better, taking lifetime mark last start with 1:48.4 stroll in the park in the $350,000 Valley Forge Final at Pocono Downs. She’s won nine of her 10 starts this year, is well rested and should be able to work her way to the lead by the three-quarters and say sayonara to this field.   $ 122,212 Shady Daisy Pace 3YO Fillies 5th race Tioga Downs Monday– This is one super well-matched field of filly pacers. With I Luv The Nitelife up in Canada most anyone in this could jump up and win it. What mystery I can’t solve due to early press time is which horse Dave Miller will drive. He’s going off Shebestingin after she broke stride at the start of the $350,000 Valley Forge…He’s driven her all season long so something must be up with her breaking. He’s listed on both Scandalous Hanover and UF Dragon’s Queen, two horses I could also pick to win. Then there’s Ms Caila J Fra and Nikki Beach who all could win. I’ve never done this before so here we go. I pick which ever horse Dave Miller drives! Let’s hope for the best!  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 28 – Perry Soderberg is usually a man behind the scenes when it comes to recruiting some of harness racing’s great pacers and trotters, but come Saturday evening at Mohawk, he will be square in the spotlight. The native of Sweden spends many of his summer months visiting North America’s top breeding farms in search of future champions. He’s not selecting the youngsters for himself necessarily, but finding top yearlings for the sport’s top owners. But with the up-and-coming Western Vintage, that wasn’t the case. The youngster was a yearling that Soderberg recommended to all of his clients, but when the hammer fell at $7,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last year, it was Soderberg who was the purchaser. One year later, the son of Western Ideal is one of the key contenders in the $683,000 Metro Pace, North America’s richest two-year-old pacing event. “What an unbelievable thrill,” Soderberg said, of racing for the rich purse. “There are a lot of other top colts in the race, but I’m also confident in our guy. Like anything else, we’ll need some luck and all we can do is hope for the best.” Western Vintage was a horse of which Soderberg spoke highly, but his clients thought otherwise. “I told all my clients about him, but no one really seemed interested. I knew the family very well because of Vintage Master and Great Vintage, so I knew what type of horse the family has been known to throw. “He was average-size, but has a lot of muscle tone and stood very well,” Soderberg continued. “He did have a scar on his back right ankle, which was maybe why he scared some people away, but not me. He was also New Jersey-bred, which isn’t in demand with the Sires Stakes program, but he was well worth a chance.” The homework Soderberg did last season has allowed him to reap the rewards to himself this season as Western Vintage has banked $117,250 with a 4-0-0 record from five starts. “I’m not one to buy yearlings for myself because that’s not my business. My business is scoping out the yearlings each year and giving my recommendation to my clients and allow them to make their own decisions to hopefully end up with a champion. In this case, my clients knew I recommended the horse, but nobody jumped, so I did.” After Soderberg purchased the youngster, he quickly received a text message from Nancy Johannson Tatker, daughter of Hall of Fame Jimmy Takter. “Nancy messaged me asking if she could train the horse because that was the direction her and her husband, Marcus, were going. I quickly agreed. I’ve known Nancy for 30 years, so it was an obvious fit. She’s done a fabulous job with this horse and deserves a lot of recognition.” Soderberg's main clients that he recruits yearlings for include Takter, Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Brittany Farms to name a few. Soderberg’s results at selecting youngsters speaks volumes as he’s recruited Mr Feelgood, Muscle Massive, Passionate Glide, Pampered Princess, Ken Warkentin, Pastor Stephen, Cabrini Hanover and in recent years American Jewel, Romantic Moment, Father Patrick and Ali Blue. “I have a terrific clientele and it’s not just about spending a lot of money and purchasing the highest price yearling. It’s about finding the correct individual at the right price with the right conformation. “I get a great thrill just being apart of a horse’s career,” said Soderberg, a resident of New Jersey. “I’m not the type to be in spotlight. I’m content being behind the scenes. “On an average year I’ll look at between 1,600 to 1,700 yearlings,” Soderberg continued. “I remember one year I was close to 2,000. I spend a lot of time on the road, but in the end it has paid off very well.” After Soderberg purchased Western Vintage, the training reports he received were always encouraging, but Soderberg remained grounded. “I follow every horse that I pick out for clients and sometimes they turn out and sometimes they don’t, it’s just the way it works. I’ve been down this road before, so I didn’t want to get too high on him until he stepped foot on to the racetrack.” Western Vintage qualified at The Meadowlands, before scoring three straight wins including a $150,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes final. Most recently, Western Vintage scored a 1:51.3 lifetime best victory by two lengths in his Metro Pace elimination, while in the hands of regular driver Yannick Gingras. “He’s really progressed well this season and I was a bundle of nerves in his (Metro) elimination,” said the 53-year-old. “I usually don’t get worked up when he’s racing. I was fine when he raced in New Jersey, but not last week. Maybe it’s the thought of racing for that kind of money.” Soderberg’s hard work and dedication has paid dividends for his clients. On Saturday, he may well be the beneficiary. Greg Gangle – WEG Communications  

Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and Shes A Great Lady Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 24…The sports top rookie pacers were showcased on Saturday evening at Mohawk in a trio of $40,000 Metro Pace eliminations. Arthur Blue Chip, Western Vintage and Lets Drink On It captured their respective eliminations and stamped themselves as top contenders for this year’s $683,000 final on Saturday, August 31 at Mohawk. Favoured Arthur Blue Chip, with Randy Waples driving, fended off all challengers to handily win the first of three eliminations. Taking over from Luck Be Withyou after a 27.1 opening quarter, Arthur Blue Chip took the field to the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1.24.2. For a moment in early stretch, it looked like the pacesetter would need to repulse Tellitlikeitis and Yannick Gingras, who were rallying on the inside, but the son of Shadow Play-Advantest pulled away late for the one and one-half length tally in a career best 1:51.2. Luck Be Withyou outnodded Tellitlikeitis for second, with Some Major Beach getting up for fourth. “He’s getting to be a really nice colt now,” said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. “He’s just getting better every day. Tonight, he was quite quiet in the paddock. I thought something was wrong with him. But he came his last quarter in 27 flat, so looks like he’s okay for now. “Last week was the first time he raced off the front. I told Randy I’d leave it up to him as to how he wanted to race him tonight.” A $135,000 yearling purchase and a half-brother to Kenneth J, Arthur Blue Chip came into his elim fresh from a comfortable front-end score last week in a division of the Nassagaweya in 1:52. He’s now won five of seven starts for the Shadow One Stable of Guelph, Ontario, while pocketing $194,495. Arthur Blue Chip paid $4.20, $2.90 and $2.30, combining with Luck Be Withyou ($4.90, $3.30) for a $15.60 (4-5) exactor. A 4-5-2 (Tellitlikeitis, $2.70) triactor was worth $69.40 while a $1 Superfecta [4-5-2-7 (Some Major Beach)] returned $148.75. Odds-on Western Vintage coasted to a two length score in the second Metro Pace elim for driver Yannick Gingras. Western Vintage, a Western Ideal-Major Harmony colt, took over from Ideal Magic after the first quarter in 27.4 and blasted to the top, getting to the half in 55.2. Around the far turn and into the stretch, the favourite was pressed by Somewhere in LA after reaching three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Gingras let out another notch and Western Vintage drew off impressively in 1:51.3. Winds of Change blew by the rest of the field to collar second place, with Play It Again Sam third and Ideal Magic fourth. It was also the fourth win in five starts for the Nancy Johansson trainee, his only blemish coming last week in a Nassagaweya division, when he made a break before the start as the 7-5 choice and was distanced. “He was a little anxious last week on (driver) Marcus (Johansson), that’s why he ran,” explained Gingras. “He was a little anxious on me a little bit tonight, too. That’s why I let him do his thing. “He was full of pace. He was just waiting for me to call on him. Every time I’ve called on him so far, he’s had something left. I’ve yet to pull the ear plugs on him but I’m sure next week we’ll have to. I think he has as good a chance as anybody (next week) and he’s done nothing wrong so far.” Gingras is now undefeated on the colt in three pari-mutuel starts, including a New Jersey Sires Stake on July 13 at the Meadowlands. Just a $7,000 yearling purchase by owner Perry Soderberg of Manalapan, New Jersey, Western Vintage has now banked $117,250. Western Vintage paid $3.70, $2.70 and $2.10, teaming with Winds of Change ($7.10, $3.80) for a $21.60 (3-2) exactor. A 3-2-1 (Play It Again Sam, $2.20) triactor returned $52.20, while a $1 Superfecta [3-2-1-8 (Ideal Magic)] was worth $127.50. Favoured Let’s Drink On It gamely outfought Boomboom Ballykeel in deep stretch to post a neck decision in the third and final elimination. Boomboom Ballykeel took the field through an opening quarter in 27.2, before Let’s Drink On It was hustled to the front by driver Jim Morrill, getting to the half in a leisurely 56.1. After three-quarters was reached in 1:23.4, it looked like the chalk was home free, but Boomboom Ballykeel mounted a rail rally and appeared to put a head in front before Let’s Drink On It re-rallied for the close victory in a life best 1:51.1, the fastest of the three elims. Beat the Drum came on for third, six and one-quarter lengths behind the top pair, while Somesizesomestyle was fourth. Trained by Joe Seekman for U.S. interests, the son of Art Official, who was also trained by Seekman, was only a $12,000 Lexington yearling purchase. Art Official was the only horse to beat Somebeachsomewhere, and he did it in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace in July of 2008. “Jimmy (Morrill) said he thought tonight maybe he might be better covered up,” said Seekman. “There was a little scare in the stretch when the other horse come up the inside. But he’s two fingers. He can go anywhere. He doesn’t have to be on the front. “Art Official never won at two and this horse already has four wins. We thought we stole him (for only $12,000 at the sale).” Let’s Drink On It, winning his fourth in six starts, paid $4.70, $2.80 and $2.50, combining with Boomboom Ballykeel ($4.40, $3.60) for a $16.20 (4-7) exactor. A 4-7-3 (Beat the Drum, $3.10) triactor was worth $103.10 while a $1 Superfecta [4-7-3-1 (Somesizesomestyle)] returned $242.25. The rich classic has been won recently by a host of champions, including last year by Captaintreacherous, Sportswriter in 2009, Somebeachsomewhere in 2007 and Rocknroll Hanover in 2004. The top three finishers in each $40,000 elim, plus a fourth place finisher drawn by lot (Ideal Magic), advance to the final. The elim winners get to choose a post position before the rest of the field is drawn. 1. Boomboom Ballykeel 2. Lets Drink On It 3.Western Vintage 4. Arthur Blue Chip 5. Tellitlikeitis 6. Winds Of Change 7. Luck Be Withyou 8. Beat The Drum 9. Play It Again Sam 10. Ideal Magic Metro videos are races 5,7,9 attached Greg Gangle  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 24 – A pair of $35,000 Shes A Great Lady eliminations were contested on Friday evening featuring the sport’s top rookie pacing fillies. Precocious Beauty and Beach Gal found the wire first to advance to the rich $451,000 final next Saturday, August 31 - a part of the $683,000 Metro Pace undercard. After setting a stakes record in the Eternal Camnation last week, Precocious Beauty followed up that effort with another winning performance. Driven by Doug McNair for his father, Gregg, Precocious Beauty made her way to the front past the quarter in :27.2 and led her seven rivals past the mid-way point in :55.3 and 1:23.4, before front-stepping her way home to win by two and a quarter lengths in 1:52.1. Bahama Mama (Mark MacDonald) finished second with I Need Hotstuff (Tim Tetrick) third. Trained by McNair’s father, Gregg, for owner/breeder James Avritt, Precocious Beauty increased her bankroll to $89,667. The daughter of Art Major now has a 3-2-0 record from five starts this season. She paid $3 to win. Sent off at odds of 17-1, Beach Gal, driven by Scott Zeron, blasted off cover to take the final elimination in a sizzling 1:50.3. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was in no hurry in the beginning as Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras) cleared to the front past the opening station in :27.1. Ali Blue would continue to lead past the half in :54.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.3. Zeron was within striking range at that point, sitting third-over, four and a half lengths off the leader. Turning for home, Ali Blue was still the leader, but the backfield began to close. Zeron angled his charge off cover and the pacing miss exploded in deep stretch, using a :26.1 final frame to win by four lengths. Sudoku (Jim Morrill, Jr.) finished second with Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell) third. Trained by Dave Menary for owners Ken Ewen, Hewvilla Farms, Denis Breton and Larry Menary, Beach Gal increased her bankroll to $38,570 along with a 2-0-1 record from three starts this season. She paid $37.10 to win. The field will line up as follows for the $451,000 final: 1) Rockingcam Park 2) Precocious Beauty 3) Beach Gal 4) Ravinia Hanover 5) Gallie Bythe Beach 6) Sudoku 7) I Need Hotstuff 8) Bahama Blue 9) Ali Blue 10) Lasting Appeal Greg Gangle  

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