This Week: Delvin Miller Adios final, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Lady Liberty, Peter Haughton Memorial and Merrie Annabelle eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit actions kicks off this Friday (July 25) at The Meadows with four divisions in the $80,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters and three divisions in the $60,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (July 26) card at The Meadows features the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios final and $30,000 Adios consolation for 3-year-old colt pacers, a single division in the $114,175 Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, three divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the $65,310 Arden Downs for 3-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the $54,952 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. Meadowlands Racetrack will offer four sets of elimination races this week, with all the finals slated for the Hambletonian card of Saturday (Aug. 2). On Friday, the Meadowlands will host two $20,000 eliminations in the Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old filly trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Saturday the program will feature two $50,000 eliminations in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters and a single $40,000 elimination in the Lady Liberty for older pacing mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Intimidate, trained by Luc Blais and driven by Sylvain Filion, pulled off a 45-1 upset over the heavily favored Sebastian K in the $560,790 Maple Leaf Trot this past Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Intimidate won the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose over Sebastian K. Sent postward as the 1-5 favorite, Sebastian K got away in second behind post ten starter Modern Family who was sent hard to the lead over the 'sloppy' track to post an opening quarter of :26.4. In the second quarter, trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt sent Sebastian K to the lead and controlled the race through the middle half with fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.4. Intimidate got away in sixth and picked up cover in the second quarter behind Flanagan Memory and was towed around the final turn second-over and just a few lengths away from Sebastian K. In the stretch, Sebastian K continued to dig in and tried to hold off his challengers, but Intimidate in the final stride nailed the heavy favorite to win the 63rd edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in 1:54.2. Market Share, the 2013 Maple Leaf Trot winner, came off the rail and made a late charge on the far outside to finish third. The Maple Leaf Trot victory was the third win in seven starts this season for Intimidate, a 5-year-old son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag, owned by Determination and Judith Farrow. In other Grand Circuit action over the weekend, Clear Vision broke the Northfield Park track record for older pacing geldings, posting a 1:49.3 win in the 29th edition of the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie. Clear Vision (Western Hanover-Artistic Vision) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, The Panhellenic Stable and James Koran. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Brett Miller to drive. Clear Vision started from post four and immediately advanced a position when Bolt The Duer made an uncharacteristic break to his inside. He was still sitting third at the :26.2 opening quarter. Miller pulled Clear Vision in the second panel and he remained first-over through times of :54.2 and 1:22. Clear Vision locked horns with pacesetter Night Pro in the last turn and bested him by two lengths in the stretch, stopping the timer at 1:49.3. Foiled Again finished third. In The Arsenal (Eric Goodell) never had an anxious moment this past Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $125,000 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace in 1:56.4. In the Arsenal opened 2-3/4 lengths on the field in and out of the final turn. A pocketed Rock N' Roll World cosmetically cut the final margin down to three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4. Third went to a stubborn Parklane Eagle. Second choice In the Arsenal, a White Birch Farm homebred son of American Ideal-Ladyotra trained by Kelvin Harrison, returned $6.30 for his second win in three seasonal/career starts. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 437; 2. Tim Tetrick - 434; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 767.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 397; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 184; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 177.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 160.3; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Tioga Downs. Meadowlands Racetrack will host nine Grand Circuit events, led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Balmoral Park will contest Hanover Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters. Tioga Downs will race Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
Arch Madness wasn't ill, but a victory in a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia last week might have been just what the doctor ordered. Now the 10-year-old gelding is returning to competition against the continent's best older trotters as he heads to Saturday's eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. Among the entrants are world champion Sebastian K, Maple Leaf Trot winner Intimidate, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, and 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. Arch Madness, who skipped the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario, enters his Cashman elim with one win in eight starts this season. Lifetime, he has won 35 of 115 races and earned $4.22 million, good for sixth place among all trotters in history and second to only Moni Maker among trotters that raced the majority of their careers in North America. "It's always nice to get an easy win in a horse," Trond Smedshammer said about Arch Madness' three-length victory in 1:52.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 16. "That's the best medicine for a horse, winning. I was very happy about that decision [not to go to the Maple Leaf Trot]. It worked out good. "You can't ask him to go everywhere; he's 10 years old. Canada was an easy decision to leave out." Arch Madness (a son of Balanced Image-Armbro Archer) was winless in two races at age 2, but won at least one race worth more than $170,000 in six of the next seven years. His top triumphs came in the 2007 Breeders Crown for 3-year-olds, 2008 Maple Leaf Trot, 2011 Oslo Grand Prix, 2010 Cutler Memorial, 2009 Credit Winner, and 2013 Allerage Open Trot. He finished second in the Elitlopp in 2012 and 2013. He also finished second twice in the Breeders Crown Open, in 2008 and 2009, and twice in the Maple Leaf Trot, in 2009 and 2011. "Arch is pretty much the same as he's been previous years," said Smedshammer, who trains the horse for owners Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. "It doesn't seem like he's lost much, it's just the competition is tougher. It's been brutally tough, especially [Sebastian K]. "I haven't been too worried about it because later in the year when the others seem to be getting tired, he usually gets better," Smedshammer added. Arch Madness will start from post seven in the second of the two Cashman eliminations. To his inside from the rail are Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, and Appomattox. To his outside is Creatine. The first division, from post one, is Market Share, Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Intimidate, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. They have five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 21 - Pierce Hanover delivered a big last quarter kick to take an action packed first leg of the Dream Maker Pacing Series Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of nine battled in the $12,000 first leg of the Dream Maker for freshmen pacers. Pierce Hanover, a son of Cams Card Shark - Panned Out, and driver Paul Macdonell got away in fifth around the first turn with long shot Late Night hanging up a first-quarter of :27.4. On the way to the half, Amora Beach was sent after the lead from third, but was stretched out by Late Night. The public's choice, Some Power, followed Amora Beach and was forced to go three-wide for a few strides before clearing to the front at the half in :55.4. Around the final turn, Some Power turned in a :27.1 third-quarter (1:23.0) with Amora Beach following right in behind, while the rest of the field sat several lengths off from the top two. In the stretch, Amora Beach overtook Some Power for the lead, but Pierce Hanover and The Wayfaring Man, who were both more than ten lengths off the lead at the three-quarter pole, made up ground with every stride. Pierce Hanover took the lead in the final steps to win by three-quarters of length in 1:52.1, the nation's fastest mile by a two-year-old this season. Amora Beach held on to share the place spot with The Wayfaring Man in a dead heat, while Some Power finished fourth. Pierce Hanover turned in a last quarter of :27.3, while The Wayfaring Man, in his debut start, posted a final-panel of :27.2. The leg one victory was the second win in a row for Pierce Hanover and his second win in three starts. Ken Sucee trains and co-owns the $38,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase with Ralph Sucee. Pierce Hanover paid $9.80 to win. The second leg of the Dream Maker Pacing Series goes next Monday (July 28) at Mohawk. An army of two-year-old trotting colts and geldings marched into battle Monday evening at Mohawk Racetrack, as the oval hosted six OSS Grassroots divisions. Lexus Magnum kicked things off with a 1:59.3 in his $18,000 split. James MacDonald worked out a two-hole trip for the youngster while Dream Persuasion whacked out fractions of :28.4, 1:00 and 1:29.3. Lexus Magnum angled off the rail in the lane and used a :29.2 kicker to win by a half-length margin over race favourite Mandeville. Dream Persuasion faded to finish third. Norm Dunstan of Caledon Village, Ontario bred, owns and trains the gelded son of Windsong Espoir-Lexus Hall, who was sent off at odds of 6-1. He’s banked $13,500 to date. Stormont Wizard took over command at the mid-way point of the second division, and once he cleared it was game over for the others. The colt, who proved to be the only favourite to win an OSS Grassroots division, led to the three-quarter pole of 1:30.3 and used a :29-second closing quarter to win by a neck over Great Magic in 1:59.3. Chuckalo Evan rounded out the top three finishers. Rick Zeron mapped out the winning trip for the Kevin Benn-trained son of Kadabra-Stormont Cinderella. The homebred, who is owned by Stormont Meadows of Long Sault, Ontario, has banked $13,500 in his first two starts. Hemi Seelster was collared in deep stretch in the third division, but he battled back for a 1:58.4 score for the tandem of driver Steve Byron and trainer John Bax. The gelding sat second through first-half fractions of :28.2 and :59 before sprinting past the tempo-setting Benvenuti on the final turn. Hemi Seelster had the lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:29.1, but he quickly came under heavy pressure from Pilgrims Joy. That foe took over command in deep stretch, but Hemi Seelster fought gamely to reclaim the lead en route to the 1:58.4 win. Pilgrims Joy was a neck back in second, with Winning Wizard third best. John Bax trains the son of Holiday Road-Hollywood Beauty for Parkhill Stud Farm, Matt Bax, John Houston and Goin To The Show Stable. It was the second consecutive stakes score for the career winner of $18,000. He was a $19,000 purchase from last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. Grandprix Seelster got off to a slow start in his OSS assignment, but he finished quicker than the competition en route to posting a 2:00.2 triumph for driver Randy Waples. The son of Federal Flex dug himself a 15-length hole at the quarter pole while sitting ninth, and things weren’t much better when he was nearly 14 lengths off the lead at the mid-way point. He improved steadily, however, in the back-half of the mile and when the leaders tired he fired out a :28.4 closing panel to secure the win by three-quarters of a length over Ontheroad De Vie. Taking home the show dough was Federal. Trainer Pat Hunt of Cambridge co-owns the colt with Glengate Farms of Campbellville and Goldfinger Stables of Burlington, Ontario. The youngster was collared for $8,000 from last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale and he’s already racked up earnings that exceed that purchase price. Its Huw You Know pulled off a stunning upset when he rallied home in the fifth division at odds of 78-1 for trainer/driver Keith Jones. The gelding enjoyed a two-hole trip for most of the mile, and he rallied in the lane and produced the 2:00.3 decision by three-quarters of a length over fellow longshot Featured Illusion, who was 36-1. Caulfield rounded out the top three finishers in the nine-horse affair. Doug McCarthy of Holland Landing, Ontario owns the stakes winning son of Holiday Road-Lukes Elvira. The $21,000 purchase from last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale is a sibling to the likes of Tymal Timeout (1:58.2 - $356,252), Lookit (1:59.3 - $187,033) and Tymal Recap (1:55.2 - $161,333). Pridecrest didn’t have much luck in his debut performance against OSS Gold Series foes at Georgian Downs on July 13. The shift to the Grassroots level of the OSS program clearly proved to be his cup of tea thanks to his 2:00.3 triumph for the duo of driver Roger Mayotte and trainer Susie Kerwood. The son of Angus Hall-Spilled Milk avoided a pair of breakers in the first turn before muscling his way to the lead in the backstretch. Once he cleared to the lead he strolled through middle panels of 1:00.2 and 1:31 before kicking home in :29.3 en route to the win. Runner-up Parkhill Lancelot’s late rally came up just a head short, while Jayport All Muscle came first-over and still managed to hang on for the show dough. Langcrest Farm of East Garafraxa, Ontario bred and owns the maiden-breaking rookie who has won $9,000 to date. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Elora, ON --- A total of seven $16,740 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were featured on Monday night (July 21) at Grand River Raceway and they saved the fastest split for last as Single White Sock toured the half-mile oval in 1:56. With Scott Coulter at the lines, Single White Sock was in front through fractions of :27.4, :58, and 1:27.3. Single White Sock turned away a big three-wide bid by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) past three-quarters, and he then kicked clear in the lane to prevail by 2-1/4 lengths. Twin B Scandal wound up second with Pan Street USA (Bob McClure) back in third. It was the second win in three starts for Single White Sock, a Badlands Hanovercolt trained by Barry Treen for owner Len Gamble. Tanya Prescott bred Single White Sock, who was purchased for $24,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. Single White Sock, an earner of $17,281, is the fifth foal out of the Apaches Fame mare Love You Dear, making him a half-brother to millionaire and former Ontario Sires Stakes winner Ramegade Bruiser. Camluck, the long-time stalwart sire of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, had a pair of winners with Big Moment winning the second division in 1:56.1 with Alfie Carroll handling the driving assignment and Mike's Powerhouse picking up a 1:56.4 victory in the third section for driver Trevor Henry. Big Moment broke his maiden in his second attempt for trainer Bob McIntosh, who also bred the colt with CSX Stables. McIntosh and partner Max Newham own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter. Mike's Powerhouse, who is out of the Artsplace mare Michelle's Jackpot, making him a full brother to the likes of 2012 Little Brown Jug champion and millionaire Michael's Power and millionaire Michelle's Power, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner-breeder Jeff Snyder. Mike's Powerhouse was victorious at first asking after finishing fourth and first in two qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Coleman was right back in the winner’s circle in the next race after Mike's Powerhouse’s victory as her Sportskeeper (Jody Jamieson) romped to a an 8-1/4 length decision in 1:56.3. Coleman also bred and co-owns Sportskeeper, a Sportswriter colt, with partner Merlin Howse. Sportskeeper, who was also making the initial start of his racing career, is the third foal out of the Nuclear Flash mare Keeper Flying, which means Sportskeeper is a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Keepers Destiny (Intrepid Seelster, $702,855). Sportswriter had another siring credit with Half A Billion, who was a 1:57.3 victor in the sixth Grassroots flight. Mike Saftic drove the colt for trainer Marcel Barrieau. Half A Billion is a homebred for the Hudson Standardbred Stable and he is a perfect two-for-two in his career and in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series competition. Half A Billion, the fifth foal out of the Western Hanover mare Racey Miss, is a half-brother to multiple OSS winner Racey Miss ($214,571) and Petite Courageuse ($195,733). Also picking up victories were: Bridge Of Stone, a Stonebridge Regal-Dreamlands Sachi (Western Hanover) gelding, who halted the clock in 1:57.3 for driver Scott Coulter, trainer Carmen Auciello, and owners Denarben Stables and Rocco Auciello. He has won both of his Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series tries The Fire Within, a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover. The half-brother to Illusionist ($893,246) picked up his second win from three attempts for driver Jody Jamieson and breeder/owner/trainer Fred Drouillard. The next time the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will be in action is August 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results of Monday’s night’s events, click here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
The unthinkable became a reality Saturday night in the $603,000 final of the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Raceway as the 45-1 long shot Intimidate was able to collar and beat undefeated Sebastian K by a head. It was a rainy night and the track condition was sloppy at Mohawk Raceway when the ninth race feature got underway with both Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) and Modern Family (Ron Pierce) both vying for control of the early lead. It was Modern Family who won the early battle to the opening quarter mile in :26.4 as Svanstedt quarter moved and took command in the backstretch, leading the field to the half mile marker in :57.3. It was then that Flanagan Memory (Chris Christoforou) starting up first-over and immediately grabbing the second-over cover was Intimidate and driver Sylvain Filion. They went by the three-quarters in 1:26.4 as Sebastian K and Svanstedt held control of the field. Then as they came down the stretch, Filion tipped out with Intimidate and slowly they began to gain ground on Sebastian K with Market Share (Tim Tetrick) also on the move after being trapped along the rail in fourth place. To the finish they flew with Intimidate collaring Sebastian K at the wire to win in the final strides by a narrow head in 1:54.2. Market Share was third. Intimidate litup the tote board paying $96.50 to win. It was the first Maple Leaf Trot victory for Filion. “I had a lot of confidence in my horse,” Filion said. “He has not been exactly 100% this year. Luc (Blais) his trainer had him ready for tonight. This is just amazing. We had a perfect trip. I just wanted to keep my cover and keep focused. “I knew he would kick home for me,” Filion added, “I didn’t know if we could get by Sebastian K.” A five-year-old gelded son of Justice Hall, Intimidate is trained by Luc Blais and is owned by the Determination Stable of Woodmount and Judith Farrow of Hemmingford, Quebec. It was his third win in seven starts this year and raised his career earnings to $945,000. For Sebastian K, it was his first defeat after six starts since coming to the USA this season. Despite the inclement weather and sloppy track, Sebastian K did race barefoot in the Maple Leaf Trot. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 19 - A quartet of Canadian Breeders Championships for the nation's finest three-year-old pacers and trotters highlighted the undercard for Maple Leaf Trot night at Mohawk. Harper Blue Chip, with Sylvain Filion at the controls, turned in another top notch performance to win the $121,958 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old colts and geldings trotters. After getting away in third, the son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin was sent to the lead approaching the half and never looked back winning by 3 Â¾ lengths in 1:55.2. Muscle Matters, the early leader, finished second, while Jitterbug finished third by a nose over Entranced. Harper Blue Chip is trained by Mark Steacy for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald, David Reid and George Judson. Following the race, Howard Pearce, a member of the Landmark 6 Racing Sable, said it was a sweet victory. "It's a tough year to have a really nice horse like 'Harper' because of those three nice horses down south," said Pearce. "But he's proven that he is one of the best in Canada, so that's wonderful." Pearce also mentioned that it appears Harper Blue Chip will now head south to the Meadowlands to compete in the Hambletonian. The Breeders Championship victory was the second win in five starts this season for Harper Blue Chip and the fifth win of his career. His career earnings now jump more than $350,000. He paid $2.70 to win. White Becomes Her extended her win streak to four in winning the $118,090 Canadian Breeders Championship for the three-year-old filly trotters. Mario Baillargeon moved the daughter of Angus Hall - Pursuing Keagan from the two-hole to the lead in the second quarter. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:28.1, White Becomes Her trotted away from her rivals with a :28.3 last quarter to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:56.4. Margie finished in the place spot, while Mayberry trotted into third. White Becomes Her is trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Vince Mastrangelon. The Breeders Championship was the fifth win in eight starts this season for White Becomes Her. Following the race, Mario Baillargeon said we haven't seen the best of her yet. "I don't think so, I can't wait to race her with the American fillies and get a trip," said Baillargeon. "She loves to follow a lot more than racing on the front, so I would like to get her on a helmet behind Shake It Cerry and see what happens in the lane." White Becomes Her now has six wins and earnings of over $210,000 in her career. She returned $3.30. Silverhill Shadow repelled all comers with a smart front-end pace to win the $122,028 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Chris Christoforou blasted off the gate to demand the lead from pocket-sitting Shadowbriand marking a quarter in :27 and a half in :56.2 through a persistent drizzle over a sloppy track. Sylain Filion made a menacing move first over into the turn with Victor Bayama, but Silverhill Shadow had another gear and stepped away to a dominant win in 1:51.2. A ground saving Shadowbriand, efficiently steered by Paul MacDonnell, stayed on determinedly to earn the place photo over Victory Bayama. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, the Shadow Play colt earned his fourth win of the campaign from six starts. The conditioner noted a very important similarity to his champion sire. "Heart and desire for sure," said Moore. "He's a big strong colt and he gives you all he's got every time out." A front-end trip was always in the cards for the quick Silverhill Shadow. "Chris was asking him to get the front going the first quarter, and I thought I had him warmed up pretty good, but he was great the last half-mile and that's where it counted," said Moore. He paid $5.80 to win. Brescia Seelster pulled off a 60-1 upset in the $122,343 Canadian Breeders Championship final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Sudoku brushed to the lead under urging from Jody Jamieson down the backstretch in :56.1, but it was an amped up My Secret Belle, piloted by Joe Hudon, who took over into the turn. My Secret Belle and Sudoku battled to mid-stretch before a closing cavalry of filly pacers converged with the outside rally of Brescia Seelster the winning move for Mario Baillargeon. Performing Art, a 40-1 long shot, stormed up the rail to earn place money keying boxcar payoffs. It was the fourth win in eight starts this season for Brescia Seelster, improving on a 1-4-1 record from 10 starts a year ago. "She was a little slow in maturing and Mario has been telling us all along as this horse gets older it'll be better," said co-owner Norman Keyes. Co-owned and trained by David Keyes, Brescia Seelster paid $138.70 to win. by Mark McKelvie and Keith McCalmont, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 18 - On the eve of the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot, one door has been shut for a 'Trot' hopeful, while a door has opened for a new challenger. Undercover Strike, trained by Tony O'Sullivan, was to start from post position eight in tomorrow night's Maple Leaf Trot, but has been scratched. The scratch to Undercover Strike has given a second opportunity to the Luc Blais trainee Wheeling N Dealin, who did not qualify for the final, but was the also eligible. Wheeling N Dealin will now start from post position eight in tomorrow night's final, but will wear saddle pad number eleven. A driver has not yet been named for Wheeling N Dealin as Jody Jamieson, who drove the horse in the elimination and is listed in the program, will be driving Archangel from post position four. Wheeling N Dealin has won eleven times in 27 career starts and has earnings of over $865,000. This season, the four-year-old son of Cantab Hall - Quick Credit has won twice in eight starts. Pop Writer and Sports Chic, who were winners in the first round of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series competition for two-year-old pacing fillies on July 11 at Mohawk Racetrack, backed up those efforts by winning again at the same level on Friday (July 18) night at Grand River Raceway. Four $70,000 Gold Series tilts went postward in all, with Northern Starlet and Code One Hanover taking the other two splits. That meant another sweep in the Gold Series for first crop sire Sportswriter as his incredible run with his rookies continued. Pop Writer (Doug McNair) was placed the winner in the opener after the judges determined that original first-place finisher Palette Tina (Trevor Henry) had committed interference to Fiftyshadesofbay (Rick Zeron) before the field reached three-quarters. Win The Gold (Jody Jamieson) was moved up from third to second in the official order and Fiftyshadesofbay got elevated from fourth to third. Posted by Pop Writer, the fractions were :28.4, :58.2 and 1:28.3 with the final time of the mile clocked in 1:57.1. Tony Alagna trains Pop Writer for owners Alagna Racing of Steger, Illinois, and John Carver of Bettendorf, Iowa. Pop Writer is now a perfect two-for-two in her career and in OSS competition with earnings of $70,000. Diamond Creek Farm-bred Pop Writer, who is out of the Cambest mare Pop Or Tonic. The biggest upset of the night was posted by Northern Starlet (Yves Filion), who rallied by the leaders in the stretch following a second-over trip to prevail by two and a quarter lengths in 1:56. Missy Tap Tina (Trevor Henry) finished in second and public choice Lady Hill (McNair), who was in front through fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:25.4, had to settle for third. Northern Starlet is trained by Stephane Larocque for owner Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, Que. She broke her maiden in her second attempt and she has now earned $38,500. Northern Starlet, who was bred by Dr. John McKnight, was plucked out of the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for $45,000. She is the first foal out of the Western Ideal mare Casino Nights, an earner of over $278,000 in her career and a half-sister to five other six-figure earners including Allamerican Captor ($986,982). Code One Hanover (Paul MacDonell) went right down the road in the third Gold Series tilt, hitting the opening quarter in :29.1, the half in :59.4, and the three-quarters in 1:28.3. In the stretch there was a battle between Code One Hanover and first-over challenger Southwind Mischief (Chris Christoforou), with the former able to beat the latter by a quarter of a length in a final clocking of 1:56.4. Shes A Pansation (McNair) collected third. Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ont owns and trains Code One Hanover, who won for the first time after a pair of runner-up efforts to start her career. Code One Hanover, an earner of $55,500, was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. and was purchased for $75,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Code One Hanover is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Current Hanover ($380,248) and a half-sister to the likes of Muscle Beachboy ($116,198). Sports Chic turned in the fastest clocking in the four divisions after she won the nightcap in 1:55.3 for driver Jody Jamieson. Her win was accomplished in similar fashion to Code One Hanover as she was on top through stations of :27.1, :56, and 1:25.4 before she kicked out a :29.4 final panel to seal the deal. Delightful Hill (Billy Davis Jr.) was up for second, beaten half a length by the winner, with Solar Sister (McNair) back in third. Trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, Ont. also co-owns Sports Chic with partner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sports Chic has a pair of wins from three trips behind the gate and she has now earned $73,000. Sports Chic, a Winbak Farm-bred filly, is the 15th foal out of the On The Road Again mare Vesta Blue Chip, which means Sports Chic is a half-sister to the great Rainbow Blue ($1,600,012), the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year. In addition to the on track action, Grand River Raceway also hosted a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes on Friday night. Fans at the track were able to participate in merchandise giveaways, trivia contests, and also got cupcakes. For the full list of upcoming celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes at other Ontario tracks, click here. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event for the freshman pacing fillies takes place at Georgian Downs on August 10. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 16 - Sebastian K's dominance may be overshadowing his competition, but Creatine is taking steps early in his four-year-old season to be a contender with the older trotters. Creatine and driver Mike Lachance will start from post seven in Saturday night's $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot final. A son of Andover Hall - Berry Nice Muscles, Creatine banked over $800,000 last year as a three-year-old, with his biggest victory coming in the Kentucky Futurity. This season, the Bob Stewart trainee has had to quickly make the transition from age three-to-four to compete with a talented group of older trotters led by Sebastian K In four starts, Creatine has yet to find the winner's circle, but has shown he can hang with the big boys by picking up a cheque in three of his four starts. In the Maple Leaf Trot elimination, Creatine finished second and four lengths behind winner Sebastian K., but the effort pleased his conditioner. "We were very happy with him, Mike (Lachance) actually never pulled the ear plugs," said Stewart following the elimination. "He saw he was going to be second and he was coming back in six days from a very tough trip at the Meadowlands, we couldn't be happier actually." Before the Maple Leaf Trot elimination, Creatine finished fifth in the Hambletonian Maturity, a race restricted for four-year-old trotters only. While Creatine has shown he can compete with the older trotters, Stewart said he would have liked to have seen more opportunities for the four-year-olds to compete against each other, rather than having to jump right in against the heavyweights. "It's very tough (transition from three-to-four)...they should have made that Hambletonian Maturity a series of three races and a final," said Stewart. "They had the money to do it and these four-year-olds would've been able to get their legs underneath themselves a little more." Creatine and the rest of the top older trotters may be wishing their was a stake race without Sebastian K as the "Scandinavian Powerhouse" has yet to be lose in five starts. Stewart said it was bad timing that this was the season he had a competitive older trotter. "It's just unfortunate that he had to come back as a four-year-old the year that Sebastian K showed up, any other year I would feel better about the situation." Heading into the Maple Leaf Trot final, Stewart admits Sebastian K will have to be off his game to get beat and hopes he can find some races down the road to avoid the world's fastest trotter. "To be realistic you don't see him every beating Sebastian K, unless Sebastian K slips some, but he's eligible to everything and hopefully for our sake there are some races at Indiana and a race in Ohio that hopefully Sebastian K won't go to," Sebastian K may hold down the spot as top older trotter, but Stewart is confident that Creatine is good enough to be right there in second. "He's going to hold his own against all the rest of them I think." by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
An early break put Windsong Geant behind the eight ball in the early stages of the Thursday evening feature at Mohawk Racetrack, but he regained his composure and used a last-to-first move to win the $28,000 feature race in 1:53. With Steve Condren in the bike, Windsong Geant rolled off stride past the quarter pole before landing back on the trot and chasing Mego Moss, Whiskey Tax and Bax Of Life through fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25. Windsong Geant was wheeled out wide coming out of the last turn, and his :26.3 closing kick worked to perfection as he drew clear to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Whiskey Tax. Catch The Dream rounded out the top three finishers in the six-horse affair. To view the rest of this story click here.
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 17 - Mister Herbie, a two-time harness racing O'Brien Award winner, will make his third appearance in the Maple Leaf Trot this Saturday night, at Mohawk Racetrack. Owned and trained by Jeff Gillis, the six-year-old millionaire son of Here Comes Herbie is overlooked on the morning line at odds of 15-1 with favoured Sebastian K, a decisive 2/5 mutuel favourite, capturing most of the attention. However, it was only two years ago that Mister Herbie, sent to post at 8-1, upset the heavily-favoured Chapter Seven to win the Maple Leaf Trot with a strong stretch run in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4. "I'd take a repeat of that," grinned Gillis. Stepping up against Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), on Saturday, Gillis knows that Mister Herbie will have to be at his best. In 2012, Chapter Seven was a well-backed favourite, but certainly not as touted as Sebastian K. "It's not to the same extent," agreed Gillis. "Sebastian K looks fairly invincible when you can leave as hard as he can, and then come some pretty wicked back halves. "It's pretty hard to figure out a strategy to beat that. But, that's why we run the race. Favourites go down. Horses are not machines and they can come up with a less than one hundred percent performance. Someone could take a run at him." Mister Herbie is lightly raced this campaign. He made his qualifying debut by trotting home a dominant 15-length winner in 1:55.3 on June 6, his first start since an even effort at Meadowlands Racetrack in late November. He's posted a trio of second-place runs since that qualifier including a runner-up effort to Market Share in last week's elimination, the very rival Mister Herbie chased home in the 2013 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. Gillis was intent on giving his champion gelding some time off this winter following a year in which Mister Herbie won just once, yet still banked $492,607 in purse earnings thanks to six runner-up finishes in stakes competition. "He spent eight weeks in Kentucky. We deliberately brought him back a little bit slower, in part, because of how late the season ran last year," explained Gillis. "We took our time with him and hopefully we'll finish strong. He's done everything on schedule so far and gotten a little bit better each time. He's heading into the race in good form." Gillis knows his charge will need to drop considerable time off his 1:53.2 elimination clocking on Saturday to win a second Trot final. In fact, Mister Herbie will likely need to equal or better his own Trot final performance of 1:50.4. "If they get a good track on Saturday, I suspect they're going to flirt with the track record, and I'd be just as happy if we held it when it was over too," he grinned. Steve Condren, who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image, will be charged with engineering a winning trip and Gillis has every confidence in the veteran driver. "Steve is a tremendous driver and very accomplished. He has a lot of experience and I think he suits the horse," said Gillis. As for the conditioner's idea of the perfect trip? "Ideally, we'll get away mid pack and someone would soften up Sebastian K and we'd be second over and pounce on tired horses," he offered. "It takes a lot of luck for something like that to unfold, but I think it's going to be an interesting race. I'm not sure everyone will lay back and let him (Sebastian K) get an easy half." And while the Maple Leaf Trot is certainly first and foremost for Gillis and Mister Herbie heading into Saturday's lucrative $603,000 event, the conditioner does have one other key date circled on the calendar later in the season for Canada's reigning champion aged trotter. "The race I'd really like him to win is the Breeders Crown," said Gillis. In 2012, Chapter Seven turned the tables on 'Herbie' to win the Breeders Crown at Woodbine and last year, at Pocono Downs, 'Herbie' dueled with Market Share to a furious finish only to lose by a nose. "I feel he deserved a better fate the last two years and that would be one that would mean a lot to me. It was heartbreaking (losing the photo)," said Gillis. Until then, its eyes on the prize for Gillis and a horse he clearly has a lot of respect for. "He's the perfect horse in every sense of the word. He does everything right, full of personality and I'm extremely fond of him," said Gillis. "We haven't really won a big one in a couple years. Herbie's Maple Leaf Trot was probably our last big win, so I feel like we're due for another." Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred
When harness racing trainer Ake Svanstedt announced he was leaving Sweden to compete in North America, the initial reaction of Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg, who had their star trotter Sebastian K in Svanstedt's care, was disappointment. As time passed, the brothers decided it was an opportunity. Rather than find a new trainer, they decided to send Sebastian K to the U.S. with Svanstedt. After watching Sebastian K win the first five starts of his North American campaign and trot the fastest mile in harness racing history, a 1:49 triumph in the Sun Invitational on June 28, they are happy they did. Sebastian K puts his perfect 5-for-5 record on the line in Saturday's C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack. The 8-year-old horse will start from post No. 1 with Svanstedt driving and is the 2-5 favorite on the morning line. Michael, 53, and Tristan, 43, race under the Knutsson Trotting Inc. stable banner. Their father, Bertil, who passed away in 2012, got the family started in harness racing some 50 years ago. Knutsson Trotting has 44 horses, counting racehorses, broodmares and foals. They have six horses in the U.S., including Sebastian K and the rare 2-year-old white pacing colt White Bliss. Four of the horses in the States are co-owned by Courant AB, including Peter Haughton Memorial hopeful Centurion ATM. The brothers operate gaming company TCS John Huxley and Knutsson Holdings AB, with Michael living in Sweden and Tristan in Singapore. They recently took time to speak and correspond with Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner about their passion for racing and Sebastian K. KW: What has the experience with Sebastian K been like so far? MK: It's been absolutely amazing. I'm not surprised with the speed, to be honest, but I'm surprised that he got into it so quickly; that he's been acclimatized so quickly. We knew about his capacity. Of course, 1:49 was absolutely a blast. But we knew he would have a good shot at the old record. It was a bit of a gamble for us to move him from a good environment in Sweden where there is good money and good races, but we're adventurous. We did the right thing and we're enjoying the moment. KW: Why did you decide to send Sebastian K to the States? TS: For the adventure! And to break the world record. We knew he was fast enough to compete against the best in North America and win races, but the real carrot was breaking the world record. His best time in Sweden was 1:51 flat and that was on a five-eighths-mile track that is medium fast. We believed he could go sub-1:50 on a fast mile track so after a lot of soul-searching we decided to ship him to the States with Ake with the singular aim to break the world record. KW: Was it a tough decision? MK: That was a tough decision. It took us months. Automatically, when Ake Svanstedt declared he would move to the U.S., we thought 'Oh no, oh no,' who will train [Sebastian K]. We did not have any thoughts whatsoever to move him outside the Nordic countries because he was doing so well. But then he did a very good race during the summer and we started to speculate: How fast is he? That's what triggered the question whether to move him to the U.S. or not. Not to even try would have been cowardly. So we decided to go for it and we sure did make the right decision. We're very happy about it. KW: Was it an emotional decision? MK: It was very tough emotionally. Firstly, he's done very well in the North European races. And also not to be able to go to him anytime we want, not to see him as often and go to every race, that was emotionally very tough. KW: Did you expect to see Sebastian K do so well so quickly? TS: Yes and no. I did expect him to win races early on, but not in the effortless way he has done. He has really taken well to the U.S. climate and harness racing in general. He was always at his best in Sweden racing at sprint distance (one mile) and on fast tracks in the summer. So the racing conditions in the U.S. and Canada really suits him. KW: What do you think about the Maple Leaf Trot? TS: Apart from the Hambletonian, it is the most recognized North American harness race in Europe. We often see it as the "over there" equivalent of Sweden's Elitloppet. It is steeped in tradition, and after breaking the world record this is the race we really want to win. The younger horses do not have the same cachet here as they do [in North America]. We are drawn to the older horses, the personalities. We like personalities, even with our horses. MK: We have big, big hopes for him. So far everything looks good. He has a good history with five straight wins, so we truly hope he can pull it off. KW: How did you get started in harness racing? TS: It was the passion of our late father, Bertil, and we are carrying on his legacy. The success we are experiencing with Sebastian K is down to our father's hard work and investment over 30 years in harness racing. He started with trotters and he had immediate success with a stakes-equivalent winner in Sweden called Private Property, sired by The Prophet. From there, the barn grew every year as our father was a buyer of horses and not a seller. KW: Michael, you were with your father when Sebastian K won his first classic race [the Group I King's Trophy in Sweden] at the age of 4. What was that like? MK: That was fantastic. Deep inside, we knew there was something going with him, but he had never proven himself in a big race. That was the first big race he won and it was in our hometown of Gothenburg. It was an amazing feeling. It also was [validation] that he was a good horse. Only a few months later he was second in the European Derby for 4-year-olds. That in itself was amazing, too, to be the second best in Europe at that time. KW: What was it like to see Sebastian K win in 1:49? TS: One of the highlights of my life, save for the birth of my daughter. It was 9 a.m. in Singapore and my hand was trembling. When I calmed down I went to my wine fridge to pull out a bottle of champagne, but I realized that it was not going to be strong enough so I grabbed a bottle of 24-year old rum from Guyana instead. It was a good breakfast! My brother Michael was in Sweden and it was 3 a.m. there and we spoke for over half an hour on the phone. He told me later that he was so jacked up that he could not go to bed until 6 a.m.! It was a wonderful day for our family and our thoughts were with our father. It was very emotional. KW: What is Sebastian K's schedule for the rest of the year? TS: If he feels good after the Maple Leaf Trot we will enter him for the Cashman Memorial. After that he gets a well-earned break. The next race would tentatively be the Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs, followed by Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park and Allerage at The Red Mile. He is also staked to the American-National and Dayton Derby Trot, but we have to make a decision closer to the dates. Of course, the season finale is the TVG Championship at the end of November at the Meadowlands. KW: What do you plan to do with Sebastian K after this year? TS: That is the million-dollar question. Our preference would be to combine stud duties with racing, which is the norm in Europe. I know Wishing Stone is doing just that this year in the States so it can be done. We are investigating that possibility and I am already talking to one farm about that option. But no decision has been taken yet. Sebastian K acted as a stud for some of our broodmares and he has sired six yearlings. One of them, a filly, will go under the hammer at Sweden's most prestigious yearling auction, Kolgjini Sales, in September. The dam won close to U.S.$200,000. It will be very interesting to see what price she fetches. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
This Week: Maple Leaf Trot final, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Battle of Lake Erie, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Lawrence B. Sheppard final, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will be held this Saturday (July 19) at five different racetracks. Mohawk Racetrack will offer one of their most lucrative events, the C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot for open trotters, featuring world record holder Sebastian K and defending Maple Leaf Trot champion Market Share. Northfield Park's marquee race, the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers, will also be held this Saturday. Yonkers Raceway will host the $125,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard final for 2-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host a pair of W.N. Reynolds Memorial trots with two divisions in the $64,414 3-year-old male trot and a single division in the $47,915 3-year-old filly trot. Rounding out the Saturday night action, The Meadows will offer a trio of $50,000 eliminations for their signature event, the Devlin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Mohawk entries can be found at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack hosted seven lucrative Grand Circuit events this past Saturday, led by the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds. He's Watching (Tim Tetrick) watched and waited for a straight shot to the finish line as he won the Meadowlands Pace in an all-age world record-equaling 1:46.4. The time equaled the race mark for pacers on a mile track held by Somebeachsomewhere, Holborn Hanover and Warrawee Needy. He's Watching was content to take a back seat in fifth to early leader Lyonssomewhere, who led the field to the :25.3 quarter, with Luck Be Withyou pacing along in second and JK Endofanera third along the rail. The leader held his position to the :53.2 half when JK Endofanera came off the rail, attempting to improve his position and pressuring the leader around the turn. He's Watching was behind JK Endofanera second-over. It looked like Lyonssomewhere might bottom out the field at the 1:20.3 three-quarters, but horses were soon coming from everywhere. From the huddle of horses trailing Lyonssomewhere came He's Watching, fanned five wide across the track and making up ground with every stride. Behind him and even wider were Always B Miki and Tellitlikeitis. Those three battled down the stretch with He's Watching scoring by 2-1/2 lengths over Always B Miki while Tellitlikeitis was third. He's Watching is owned by Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. In what some observers predict could be a dress rehearsal for the August 2 Hambletonian, the Jimmy Takter Stable starters finished in a fanned-out constellation of three horses across the track, with 2-5 favorite Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) first to the wire in 1:51.3 in the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old trotting colts. The field was led off the gate by Nuncio, but he was soon overtaken by Father Patrick who hit the quarter-mile mark in :27.2 and led the field to the :56 half. Muscle Network was on the move on the outside, making progress toward the lead before making a break at the top of the stretch. Father Patrick was well within himself at the 1:24.3 three-quarters, with Nuncio inching closer to the leader and Trixton advancing on those two, but unable to get past. As the field hit the finish line, Father Patrick was three-quarters of a length in front, with Nuncio two lengths in front of Trixton. Father Patrick is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, N.J. Sweet Lou sailed down the homestretch for his sixth straight win to take the $463,300 William Haughton Memorial for open pacers in 1:47.1. When the field turned for home, Captaintreacherous held the lead at the 1:21 three-quarters, but was soon set upon on the inside by Bettor's Edge and on the outside by Ron Pierce and Sweet Lou. At the wire, it was Sweet Lou with stablemate Bettor's Edge second and Captaintreacherous held for third. Sweet Lou is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 432; 2. Tim Tetrick - 429; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 730.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 347; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 182; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 167.35; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 151.1; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadows and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host eight Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for six lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 16 - Driver Doug McNair turned in a five-win performance Tuesday night at Mohawk Racetrack. McNair got his night off to a good start in the first race winning with Second Sister in the first $18,000 division of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots for two-year-old filly trotters. Second Sister, who is trained by Doug's father Gregg, won by 3 Â¾ lengths in 2:00.3. She paid $10.80 to win. In the evening's fourth race, the McNair's teamed up again with three-year-old pacing gelding Regal Babe, who won by 5 Â½ lengths in 1:52.4. He returned $7.20 to win. The McNair's then completed the hat-trick in the seventh race with two-year-old pacing colt Late Night by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.4. Late Night, a son of Art Major - Dreamlands Jo Jo, was a $125,000 Harrisburg Yearling Sale purchase. The victory was the first of his career in his second start and he returned $5.60 to win. McNair reached the grand slam in the ninth race, the final $18,000 Grassroots division, with Bistrobistro Taj for trainer Rick Zeron. The daughter of Pilgrams Taj - Freda Hall won by 2 Â¼ lengths in 2:00.3 and paid $8.20 to win. In the final race of the evening, McNair picked up his fifth win with Sword Of The Spirit for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. McNair sent the three-year-old to the front and put up solid fractions en route to a four length victory in 1:51. He returned $5.80 to win. The five win night pushes McNair over the 100 win mark on the season and up to sixth in the WEG driver's standings. This season, McNair has 102 victories and earnings of over $1.5 million. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Two-year-old trotting fillies sparred in four OSS Gold Series divisions Monday evening at Mohawk Racetrack, and it was a night dominated by the favourites. Youre Majestic, who was sent off at odds of 1-2 in her $52,500 division, was a going away winner in 1:57.4 for driver Doug McNair. The daughter of Majestic Son-Youre Adorable rallied for her second win in as many tries. Allerage Star was next best, with third prize earned by Desis Dream. Tony O’Sullivan took over the training on the youngster following a private purchase by F Bellino And Sons LLC of Bronxville, New York. The rookie won her debut over Northfield Park’s half-mile oval in 1:58.1 for former trainer Ladarrius Whittaker. To view the rest of this story click here.
On Tuesday afternoon (July 15 ) Monticello Raceway will host 3 year old trotting colts and geldings in both the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series. Two NYSS events, along with five Excelsior's, will offer over $163,000 in purse money. The NYSS events mark the third of eight legs for the sophomore trotters at various New York racetracks en route to the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. Along the way the competing colts and geldings will earn points in each leg, depending on the placements, with the top eight point recipients earning a berth in the rich finale. Although the Excelsior's outnumber the NYSS, five to two, those competing in the sire stakes events, at least at this time, are the cream of the crop and each division will go for a purse of $59,100. Two of the Division A Excelsior's go for $12,600 purses while the three Division B trotters each race for $6600. The NYSS trots will go as races eight and 12 on Tuesday's 13-race card and both fields contain quality trotters. The first $59,100 split pits Gural Hanover, an altered son of Crazed-Givemearing, against Expressive Action, a Conway Hall-Yetta's Angel colt. Both young trotters have similar credentials with each having three wins, one second and one third in five starts. And both have won on big tracks in 1:54 and a piece although Expressive Action has already earned over $167,000 while Gural Hanover's current bankroll tops $75,000. However the latter has defeated the former in the two previous NYSS events at Saratoga Raceway and at Buffalo Raceway. The odds-maker sets a 4-5 morning line odds on Gural Hanover while Expressive Action has been rated at 2-1. Gural Hanover is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E Stable and Panhellenic Stable and will start from the four- hole with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the controls. Meanwhile, Expressive Action, trained by John Grasso for the John Grasso Stable, Inc. will have his regular driver, Mike Simons, in the sulky when they start from post position two. Cash Me Out, with three consecutive victories-two in NYSS action-has been rated the 2-1 early line favorite in the second $59,100 division. His last, a 1:56.4 come-from-behind triumph over Expressive Action at Buffalo Raceway was a beaut. The Cash Hall-China Victory colt has four wins and three seconds in eight starts and over $88,000 in earnings. Owned by Traylor Racing, trained by Cheryl Mc Givern, Cash Me Out will start on the far outside from post six with Mickey McGivern at the lines. Flyhawk El Durado, the winner of last year's $225,000 2 year old colt and gelding final, will be the main competition in the six horse field. Trained by Mark Ford for Martin Scharf the Conway Hall-El Paso Gal colt has purses of over $77,000 and a best win time of 1:54.1 taken at Mohawk Racetrack in Canada. Mark MacDonald will be in the pilot's seat when the colt leaves from post four. The five Excelsior Stakes trots make a solid undercard on the Tuesday program. First post will be at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway