This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby final, Metro final, She's A Great Lady final, Champlain Stakes and Simcoe Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Zweig Memorial, Zweig Memorial Filly and Crawford Farms Trot, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y.; and Cane Pace, Shady Daisy and Miss Versatility, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Aug. 28) at Mohawk Racetrack with three divisions in the C$253,114 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Aug. 29) card at Mohawk features two divisions in the C$249,242 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the C$209,189 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters. The big Saturday (Aug. 30) program is highlighted by the C$667,000 Metro final for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby final for open pacers, the C$480,000 She's A Great Lady final for 2-year-old filly pacers, the C$218,076 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters and the C$207,689 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action will take place at Vernon Downs on Friday night (Aug. 29) with the $340,000 Zweig Memorial main event and $60,000 consolation for 3-year-old male trotters, the $150,000 Zweig Memorial Filly for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot for older open trotters. On Monday (Sept. 1), Tioga Downs will host a trio of Grand Circuit events, led by the $437,325 Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature the $125,000 (est.) Shady Daisy for 3-year-old filly pacers and the $40,000 (est.) fourth leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Mohawk Racetrack this past Saturday night with eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro Pace and the She's A Great Lady. Sweet Lou was a 1:48.1 winner in his Canadian Pacing Derby elimination. Leaving no doubt as to his current superiority, Sweet Lou powered his way to victory in the first Canadian Pacing Derby elimination in preparation for this week's Canadian Pacing Derby final. With Ron Pierce simply a passenger, Sweet Lou, the prohibitive 1-9 choice, was initially tucked in third as Thinking Out Loud clocked the first quarter in a blistering :25, before blowing by the leader and taking the field to the half in :53.3. After opening a couple of lengths on his pursuers while reaching three-quarters in 1:22, Sweet Lou easily prevailed by one length in a stretch drive over the determined veteran Foiled Again, the world's richest pacer, and Domethatagain in 1:48.1. It was Sweet Lou's 10th consecutive win of the year on a 2014 resume which includes victories in the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park, U.S. Pacing Championship and William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and the Ben Franklin at Pocono Downs. Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou, a 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future, has banked more than $3 million, but has enjoyed more success this year than in past seasons, including his 2-year-old campaign in 2011 when he won 10 of 12 starts, capped by the Breeders Crown, and was named divisional champion. Clear Vision, with Brett Miller, nailed stablemate Bettor's Edge at the wire to take the second elimination. The top two finishers are both trained by Ron Burke. Bettor's Edge, the even money choice, had things all his own way for all but the final strides, cutting out leisurely fractions of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.3. But somehow Clear Vision, who finished second by a nose to A Rocknroll Dance in last year's Canadian Pacing Derby, came flying late from last for the nose win in a three-horse photo in 1:50.3. State Treasurer finished a neck behind the winner in third. It was only the fourth win in 19 starts this year for the 8-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover, but by doing so, he went over the $2 million mark in career earnings with his 27th lifetime victory. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 826; 2. Tim Tetrick - 514; 3. Ron Pierce - 396.5; 4. David Miller - 369.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,171.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 569; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 199; 5. Julie Miller - 180. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 258.6; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 231.1; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 162; 4. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 5. Robert Key - 125. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Tioga Downs and Mohawk Racetrack. Tioga will host the Reynolds Memorial events for 2-year-old trotters. Mohawk will offer the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers, Champlain Stakes races for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage for 3-year-olds and William Wellwood and Peaceful Way for 2-year-olds. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 28 - When John Campbell turns Go Daddy Go to the gate in the $667,000 Metro Pace final Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack, he's hoping it will prove to be another successful chapter in a partnership with trainer Bob McIntosh of LaSalle, Ont. that goes back nearly 40 years. A week after winning his Metro elimination by one-and-a-quarter lengths over Lyons Levi Lewis in a career-best 1:52.4, Go Daddy Go will leave from the two hole in an effort to deliver the first Metro title to McIntosh and the fifth for Campbell. The Metro is race 7 on a card that kicks off at 7:25 p.m. "He's a tough guy," McIntosh said of Go Daddy Go. "He doesn't mind being first up. He's versatile that way. He's maybe not the best on the front end, yet. He's a little green. But, coming at horses he's awfully impressive. He reminds me a lot of his dad, Ponder. There wasn't a tougher horse around. He was as game as they came." Go Daddy Go, who is also owned by Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, hasn't been off the board in his seven lifetime starts. He sports a 3-3-1 record, with wins in the $200,000 Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway and a strong second in his $90,000 Nassagaweya test on Aug. 14 at Mohawk that convinced McIntosh to take a shot at the Metro. "He hasn't gone a bad race," Campbell said. "He's figuring it out as he goes. He's got the desire part. You can't teach that... He keeps improving and doing his work. He's just a very solid colt." Campbell, 59, and McIntosh, 62, are both Hall of Famers in Canada and the United States that have teamed up on innumerable champions. "The oldtimers are still at it - him and I," McIntosh said, laughing. "Over the years we've had some good ones. It's been a great run and John's still driving like a young guy. He's still the best. He hasn't lost a beat." Saturday, Campbell will drive all four of the horses McIntosh has entered on the stakes-rich card. He'll pilot Lasting Appeal in the $207,689 Simcoe, Thinking Out Loud in the $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and Dapper Dude in the $34,000 Preferred. The first horse Campbell drove for McIntosh was a $5,000 claiming mare named Brilliant Bonnie in 1977 at Windsor Raceway. "She was an orangutan," McIntosh said. "She was no fun to drive. I do remember that," Campbell said. "She was no Go Daddy Go." Go Daddy Go is a homebred colt out of McIntosh's mare San Francine. She has also produced Daddy Mac ($600,000), Change Your Luck ($180,000) and Miss Maverick ($230,000). "She'd made me a lot more money breeding than racing," McIntosh said of San Francine. McIntosh also bred San Francine, a mare sired by Artsplace, who, in 1990, became the first of Campbell's four Metro winners. At the time, Artsplace was trained by Gene Riegle. Later in the colt's career, McIntosh trained Artsplace. In 1999, Campbell won the Metro with The Firepan and denied McIntosh his first Metro victory. The trainer was a close second and third that year with Intrepid Seelster and Richess Hanover. Two years later, Campbell and McIntosh were on the verge of winning the Metro together with Western Shooter when the talented colt made a late break in deep stretch. "That was my fault. That was a whip break," Campbell said. Further tragedy struck when Western Shooter died before he could begin a promising sophomore campaign. "Yeah, we've had a lot of success over the years and some really good horses, but I think the first one that would come to (McIntosh's) mind and mine as well is Western Shooter," Campbell said. "He passed away between his two- and three-year-old year, but that might have been the best horse we had and we never got to prove it. He was just tremendous, just so strong. He just kept getting better all year. We really had high hopes for him." Go Daddy Go might not be in Western Shooter's class just yet, but John Campbell would dearly love to win the Metro for Bob McIntosh. "I know Artspeak will be the huge favourite," McIntosh said. "But there's a reason they hook them up and race them because anything can happen." by Dave Briggs, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 27 - Harness racing's finest is taking over Mohawk Racetrack. The annual Grand Circuit week begins tomorrow evening (August 28) with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies and wraps up next Saturday (September 6). The Champlain Stakes for two-year-olds and Simcoe Stakes for three-year-olds are staples on the Grand Circuit schedule every year. "Having North America's top two and three-year-olds come to Mohawk is exciting and something we all look forward to," said Scott McKelvie, WEG's Racing Secretary and Director of Racing. "The Grand Circuit's annual visit is always a highlight of the racing season." Thursday night three Champlain divisions for more than $83,000 will take place for the freshman trotting fillies. Spirit To Win (PP3), the winner of this year's Pure Ivory Series, leads the group of eight in the first division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Celebrity Spirit, Spirit To Win has won three times in four career starts for trainer Dustin Jones. The second division features Ontario Sires Stakes standout Danielle Hall (PP6) for the trainer/driver duo of Carl and Jody Jamieson. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe - Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall has won four of her five career starts for earnings of over $137,000. Jolene Jolene (PP1) is the 4-5 morning line favourite in the third and final division. Trained by Jonas Czernyson, Jolene Jolene is a daughter of Muscle Hill - Celebrity Speedie and has one win in four career starts. She was the runner-up in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands on August 2. The stakes action will continue on Friday night with two divisions of more than $103,000 of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and two $124,621 divisions of the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters. World champion Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year's Hambletonian Oaks, headlines the group of 13 three-year-old trotting fillies. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit will start from post six in the second Simcoe Stakes division (Race 9) with driver Brett Miller. She is coming off a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the Casual Breeze Stakes last Friday at Mohawk. Miller and Takter will also team up in the second Champlain Stakes division with freshmen trotting colt French Laundry. A son of Muscles Yankee - Creamy Mimi, French Laundry has won three of his five career starts and will start from post three. On Saturday evening, the $207,689 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies and the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters will take place as part of the massive Canadian Pacing Derby card. Precocious Beauty leads a group of nine three-year-old pacing fillies in the Simcoe Stakes. Last year's She's A Great Lady Stakes winner, Precocious Beauty will start from post four for the trainer/driver team of Gregg and Doug McNair. A large field of 12 three-year-old trotters starring this year's Hambletonian winner Trixton will meet in their Simcoe Stakes division. Trixton, who has drawn post eleven in the second tier, will be making his first start since capturing the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on August 2. Trixton will also be making his first start at Mohawk since he set the track record of 1:51.3 in the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14. Trainer Jimmy Takter will take his usual position in the bike behind Trixton on Saturday evening. After a busy weekend, the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes action will resume next Saturday (September 6) with the $260,000 Champlain Stakes for two-year-old pacers, the $240,000 Champlain Stakes for the two-year-old pacing fillies and the $240,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers. Racing fans can stay up to date with the Grand Circuit by visiting their Facebook page www.Facebook.com/TheGrandCircuit and all of Mohawk's racing action at www.MohawkRacetrack.com by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
There’s little doubt there could be a sub-1:50 speed sighting Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack considering the star power that will be on display, but who would have guessed a pair of sub-1:50 performances would have popped up over the oval on a Tuesday night? Emerald Lexus was the first to do the deed thanks to his three-length triumph against claiming foes in Race 7. Doug McNair rallied the Victory Puddy pupil to the 1:49.3 score over Shipps Xpectancy and Hopetobefirst. Racing for a price tag of $8,000, Emerald Lexus won for the fourth time this season and for the 15th time in his career. The career winner of $123,385 is owned by Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Ontario. To view the rest of this story click here.
Four $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots tests for three-year-old pacing fillies were held on Monday night (August 25) at Mohawk Racetrack, and Dana Dearest remained hot as she picked up her third consecutive Grassroots victory. Driven by Chris Christoforou, it looked like Dana Dearest was up against it inside the final sixteenth as Mea Lilley Mark (Mike Saftic) had cleared to the lead out of the pocket and opened up a clear advantage. However, Dana Dearest kicked it into another gear nearing the finish line, and she would get up to win by a head over Mea Lilley Mark in 1:52.1. Double Joy (Mario Baillargeon) finished third. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ontario. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going seven-for-13. She has season’s earnings of $62,820 and a career bankroll of $67,048. Division points leader Her Own Land (James MacDonald) was also gunning for her third straight Grassroots triumph in the night’s third division, but she fell short. Her Own Land was in the lead through fractions of :27, :55, and 1:23.4, but in deep stretch Born To Dream (Doug McNair) forged her way by after a pocket trip, and it would be Born To Dream who won by a length a career-best 1:51.3. Her Own Land had to settle for second on this night and Shadows Wonder (Christoforou) bagged third. A winner in Grassroots competition on August 3 at Clinton Raceway, Born To Dream now has three total victories this season and four career triumphs. The daughter of Camluck, trained by Tony O’Sullivan for owner/breeder Lomangino Standardbreds of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, has banked $39,930 on the campaign and $49,726 lifetime. Monday night’s other two winners posted their first wins in Grassroots action this year. In the opener Artful Impulse (Randy Waples) took the lead past the :27.2 opening quarter and didn’t look back en route to a 1:52.3 score, and in the nightcap Regil Meg (Anthony MacDonald) worked out a three-hole trip and then paced by the leaders in the lane to prevail in 1:53. Artful Impulse is trained by Bob McIntosh, whose stable of Windsor, Ontario, bred and now co-owns the daughter of Artistic Fella with partners Dwight Stacey of Mitchell and James Walker of Port Perry, Ontario. This was win number three from 16 starts this year for Artful Impulse, and it was her fourth career victory. She has put away $73,480 in 2014 and $94,385 in her life. Carmen Auciello trains Regil Meg, another filly by Artistic Fella, for owners Denarben Stables of Thornhill and Rocco Auciello of Stouffville, Ontario. She now has a pair of triumphs from 15 attempts in 2014, and this was the third win of her career. She has pocketed $26,240 this season and $101,988 lifetime. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 23...Heavily-favoured Artspeak, trained by Tony Alagna and driven by Scott Zeron, kept his perfect record intact with another facile triumph, this time in the second Metro Pace elimination Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. The victory, his fifth in five outings so far in a monstrous juvenile campaign, stamped the son of Western Ideal as the one to beat in next Saturday's 667,000 final. His smallest margin of victory has been one and three-quarter lengths. Lyons Again set the early fractions of 27 seconds flat and :56.2, before Zeron popped the favourite from fourth to take over approaching the far turn. But Lyons Again wouldn't fade, parking the choice through early stretch after three-quarters in 1:23.3. Despite being out in the middle of the track, Artspeak then pulled away for the easy four and one-half length score in 1:51. Lyons Again held second, with Pierce Hanover third, Amora Beach fourth and Traceur Hanover fifth, all of whom will come back for the final. "He's an absolute freak," said Zeron, about Artspeak. "I knew I wasn't going to clear (before the three-quarters). I needed maybe a fraction of an inch to do it. So I just decided to sit with him and when we came off the top turn I chirped to him once and he was gone. I didn't have to pull the plugs. "He's progressed amazingly. Tony did a great job starting him in New Jersey Sires Stakes so it was a little bit easier competition. We were able to race him off the pace and do it the right way, second-over trips, come 26 on the end. He showed us right off the bat he's the real deal." Along with first elim winner Go Daddy Go, the win by Artspeak, who was coming off a sharp score in a Nassagaweya division last week, provided his connections with the opportunity to select a post position for the final before the balance of the field was drawn. In the last 10 years, the Metro, the richest race on the continent for two-year-olds, has been won by such champions as Captaintreacherous (2012), Sportswriter (2009), Somebeachsomewhere (2007) and Rocknroll Hanover (2004). Alagna, of course, is the trainer of Captaintreacherous, while Zeron will be seeking his first Metro win. Sent postward the 1-9 choice, Artspeak paid $2.20 and $2.10 (no show wagering), combining with Lyons Again ($2.50) for a $5.10 (5-6) exactor. A 5-6-2 (Pierce Hanover) triactor returned $38 while a $1 Superfecta [5-6-2-3 (Amora Beach)] was worth $82.65. Artspeak Go Daddy Go, with Hall of Famer John Campbell, got up in late stretch Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack to win the first $40,000 eliminations for next week's rich Metro Pace final. Go Daddy Go, trained by another Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh, was winning his third race in seven outings in a career best 1:52.4 and has been a gem of consistency, with three seconds and one third as well. The biggest win so far this year for the son of Ponder was the Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway in Elora on August 4. Sent postward a close second choice to favoured Asap Hanover, Go Daddy Go was moved up from fifth by Campbell around the far turn, after Lyons Levi Lewis had led the way through a half in :55.1, before reaching three-quarters in 1:23.4. By mid-stretch, though, Go Daddy Go had collared the leader and went on to post a gritty one and one-quarter length tally. Lyons Levi Lewis held second, with Lone Survivor third, Dudes The Man fourth and Trading Up fifth, to also qualify for the final. Asap Hanover wound up last of seven. "He just doesn't pay attention as much as he does when he's coming at horses," revealed Campbell. "We just kind of fell to the front last week (when finishing second in a Nassagaweya division). This week I made a conscious effort to have him coming at horses and he responded well. "He raced very well (the first time Campbell drove him, July 7), even though he was third. He paced a big back half and was still pacing at the wire. I told Bob (McIntosh) at the time that I thought he had a future. Since then, he's gotten sounder and easier to drive. But you never know when you come out of a Sires Stakes program just how they are going to do at the open level. But we were pretty sure he wasn't going to embarrass himself and would at least be competitive. So far he proved that. But next week will be a bigger test." By winning his elim, Go Daddy Go earned his connections the right to choose a post position for the final before the balance of the field was drawn. In the last decade, the Metro has been won by such champions as Captaintreacherous (2012), Sportswriter (2009), Somebeachsomewhere (2007) and Rocknroll Hanover (2004). Campbell is a four-time winner of the Metro while McIntosh, who also raced sire Ponder with Great Success, earning over $1.6 million, will be looking for his first win. Go Daddy Go paid $6, $3.10 and $2.50, combining with Lyons Levi Lewis ($3.70, $2.90) for a $16.30 (3-1) exactor. A 3-1-4 (Lone Survivor, $3.30) triactor returned $65.30, while a $1 Superfecta [3-1-4-5 (Dudes The Man)] was worth $264.30. Go Daddy Go Following the eliminations, the post postions were drawn for next week's final. Elimination winners earned the right to select their post positions. PP/Horse/Driver 1.Dudes The Man - Ron Pierce 2. Go Daddy Go - John Campbell 3. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 4. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples 5. Trading Up - Scott Zeron 6. Lyons Levi Lewis - Yannick Gingras 7. Pierce Hanover - Paul Macdonell 8. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 9. Lone Survivor - David Miller 10. Amora Beach - Tim Tetrick AE: Sports Bettor - Randy Waplesâ€‹ by Jeff Timson, for WEG
BURKE WINS SECOND DIVISION WITH CLEAR VISION
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 21 - Homen Dry had the Define The World series title fall into his lap Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of nine lined up Thursday night to contest the $46,600 series finale for two-year-old trotters. Jetpedia, the leg one winner, sprinted off the gate to grab the lead, while Homen Dry, the leg two winner, got away in third. Jetpedia and driver Mike Saftic trotted by the quarter pole in :29.2 and then slowed the tempo down considerably to reach the half way point in 1:00.4. In the third quarter, Homen Dry and driver Chris Christoforou advanced from third into second, while Saftic picked up the speed with Jetpedia to reach the three-quarter pole in 1:29.4. As the field entered the stretch, it appeared Homen Dry was in for a sprint to get by Jetpedia, but Jetpedia made a costly break a few strides into the stretch allowing Homen Dry to inherit the lead and cruise to a 1:58.2 victory. Trained by Brad Maxwell, Homen Dry won by three quarters of a length over stablemate Southwind Stryker, while Lookslikeachpndale took the show spot. Following the race, Christoforou said the trip didn't exactly work out as planned. "It really wasn't where I wanted to be, but because of his habits he will tend to pull up on the front and I didn't really want to be there even though the fractions were slow" said Christoforou. "I had to sit back, but I didn't want to be too far back because the fractions were slow, so I was close as I could be without being on the front." The series finale victory for the son of Credit Winner - Beyond Blue Chip was the second win in a row after finishing second in his first two career starts. "He (Homen Dry) has done quite well," said Christoforou. "He's a bit of tricky little guy to drive at times, but he's got lots of speed." Owned by Paul Van Camp, Ben Mudry and Tim Murray, Homen Dry was a $19,000 yearling purchase at last November's Harrisburg Sale. The winner's share of the purse increases Homen Dry's career earnings to over $35,000. He paid $4.40 to win. Stakes action continues tomorrow night at Mohawk as the three-year-old trotting fillies will be on display in two $101,296 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions. Headlining the second division is Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year's Hambletonian Oaks. She will start from post seven with regular driver Yannick Gingras. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Cane Pace eliminations and Kindergarten leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday (Aug. 23) when Mohawk Racetrack hosts two C$40,000 eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and a trio of C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. More information on those races can be found by clicking on this link. On Sunday (Aug. 24), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $100,000 eliminations for the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature second round action in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Complete entries for the races at Tioga are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway this past weekend with a pair of lucrative stakes for pacing males. All Bets Off used the passing lane to score in 1:50.3 in the Carl Milstein Memorial. All Bets Off, overlooked by the betting public at odds of 7-1, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (Aug. 15) at Northfield Park. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke as the son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope won for the seventh time in 10 season's starts, while his share of the purse took his 2014 earnings to $511,175. All Bets Off is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell. Kakaley steered All Bets Off ($16.60) into the passing lane and he easily went by the tiring leader, McWicked, to reach the finish line on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.3. McWicked and Luck Be Withyou finished in a dead head for second. Stevensville was fourth and Let's Drink On It finished fifth. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Aug. 16) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The time was the fastest ever for an older pacing stallion on a half-mile track, breaking the mark of 1:49 previously shared by Jet Laag and Ponder. It was also the fastest mile ever paced at Saratoga. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Dancin Yankee is a 6-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest, owned by Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. Amber Buter is the trainer and Tyler Buter was in the sulky. The victory was the 15th in 23 season's starts for the bay pacer who lifted his 2014 bankroll to $457,640. Dancin Yankee ($3.90) started from post position three and went right to the front and was never caught through fractions of :25.4, :53.4 and 1:21, before pacing home in :27.4 for the record mile in 1:48.4. Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) sat In The Pocket the entire mile and finished second, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made a first over bid for the front down the backstretch, but could never catch the leader and ended up third. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 686; 2. Tim Tetrick - 512; 3. Ron Pierce - 386.5; 4. David Miller - 307.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,071.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 242.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 216; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 132; 5t. Robert Key - 105; 5t. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old male trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, along with the Crawford Farm Trot for older open trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will offer the finals in the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, along with Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and Simcoe Stakes events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and 3-year-old filly pacers. Tioga Downs will contest the final of the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Shady Daisy for sophomore filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
Eighteen of harness racing’s leading ladies are scheduled to assemble Friday evening at Mohawk Racetrack in a rich set of divisions of the Casual Breeze Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. The event, which in previous years was a lead-up to the Elegantimage Stake, features two $101,296 divisions which will be carded as Races 7 and 9. Headlining the event is this year’s Hambletonian Oaks winner, Lifetime Pursuit. The three-year-old trotting daughter of Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace enters the Friday evening assignment following a 1:51.3 world record-setting performance in a PASS event at The Meadows on August 12. Jimmy Takter trains the 10-time winner and Yannick Gingras will handle career winner of $516,672 from Post 7. To read the rest of this story click here.
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 19 - The spotlight will be on Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday night as two Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, two Metro Pace eliminations and three She's A Great Lady eliminations will take centre stage. The Canadian Pacing Derby has a rich history as the oldest stakes race in Canada for standardbred racehorses and on Saturday night the sport's top stars will bring their talents north for a pair of six-horse eliminations. 2013 Pepsi North America Winner Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick will start from post five in the second $40,000 elimination. A two-time Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous has had to make the tough transition from age three to four this season, but has still shown his grit and determination facing the big boys. Last Saturday night, 'The Captain' won the $34,000 Preferred in prep for the Canadian Pacing Derby and trainer Tony Alagna was delighted with his performance. "I was happy with his effort, it was a confidence builder he needed going into this week's elimination," said Alagna. "We drew away from Sweet Lou, but we caught Bettors Edge who has been racing really well, so hopefully the short field helps and he gets a fair shot again." 'The Captain' is a big fan of Mohawk Racetrack as he has never lost in six career starts over the Campbellville oval. "He's always been his best up here," said Alagna. "We've had him up here for major races, so he's always been on his game when he came up here. He likes the atmosphere and he seems happy up here." 'The Captain' has two wins in seven starts this season and has never finished out of the money for seasonal earnings topping $176,000 The top horse this season on the WEG circuit, State Treasurer, will line up two spots inside Captaintreacherous. State Treasurer has won the WEG Preferred six times this season and has won seven of his 12 starts for earnings of over $296,000. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, State Treasurer will be driven by WEG's leading driver Chris Christoforou. The hottest horse in harness racing headlines the first elimination. The Ron Burke trainee, Sweet Lou, enters his elimination on a nine-race win streak and having won his last seven starts in 1:47.4 or better Sweet Lou has drawn post two in his elimination and will have his regular pilot Ron Pierce in the sulky. A five-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser, Sweet Lou has made over $3 million in his career, but joining him in his elimination is the richest standardbred in the history of the sport, Foiled Again. Also trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again has earned over $6.3 million and continues to compete at the top level at the age of ten. Foiled Again, who will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras, is also a previous Canadian Pacing Derby winner having won the 2012 edition. The top five finishers from each elimination will advance to the $650,000 final on Saturday, August 30. Elimination winners may choose their post position for the final. 15 of the sport's brightest freshman pacing colts and geldings have been split into a pair of eliminations for the chance to race in the $685,000 Metro Pace Final on Saturday August 30. Leading the group of 15 is the Alagna trainee, Artspeak, who is undefeated in four career starts and enters the Metro elim fresh off a victory in the Nassagaweya Stakes last Saturday night. Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron will start from post position five in the first $40,000 elimination. Alagna said he was happy with how Artspeak came out of the Nassagaweya Stakes. "Artspeak jogged back super, everything checks out good," said Alagna. "We are really happy with the way he drew and hopefully he has another good shot this week and takes another step towards the Metro final." The son of Western Ideal - The Art Museum was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase and is owned by the Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The GYM Partners. One of the top local rookies, Traceur Hanover, will meet up with Artspeak for the first time. Trained by Normand Bardier Jr., Traceur Hanover enters this weekend's elimination with three wins in four starts and is also coming off a victory in his Nassagaweya split. Randy Waples sits behind the son of Western Ideal - Transference for owner Richard Berthiaume, who bought Traceur Hanover for the same price as Artspeak at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The other $40,000 elimination appears to be a wide-open affair, with seven rookie pacers looking to be in the top five to secure a spot in the rich final. Sports Bettor, who will start from post position seven, is coming off a 69-1 upset victory in his division of the Nassagaweya last Saturday night. Trained by Mark Austin for owner-breeder Frank Gentile, Sports Bettor broke his maiden in style with the Nassagaweya upset. Before his breakthrough in the Nassagaweya, Sports Bettor had finished second in three of his five career starts. Randy Waples will drive the son of Sportswriter - Shellys Delight. Also in the field of seven is this year's Battle of Waterloo winner, Go Daddy Go, who will start from post three for the Hall of Fame connections of driver John Campbell and trained Bob McIntosh. The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $685,000 final on August 30, with elimination winners earning the right to select their post position for the final. The She's A Great Lady has attracted 25 rookie pacing fillies that have been split into three eliminations. Shakai Hanover, a division winner of last Saturday' Eternal Camnation Stakes, headlines the first $35,000 elimination. Trained by Carl Jamieson and driven by Jody Jamieson, Shakai Hanover will start from post position three and has won twice in four career starts. The daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan set a new career mark with her Eternal Camnation victory of 1:52.4 and has earned just under $83,000. The second elimination features undefeated filly Band Of Angels from the Ron Burke barn. A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven - Time N Again, Band Of Angels has won her first five starts of her career, with all five victories coming in New York Sires Stakes events. She will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras and ships north with over $133,000 in earnings and a mark of 1:52.3. The final elimination stars another undefeated filly that will have Yannick Gingras in the bike. JK Shesalady won her division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes last Saturday to improve her record to four for four. Trained by Nancy Johansson for owners the 3 Brothers Stable, JK Shesalady has a speed badge of 1:52 and earnings exceeding $68,000. The top three finishers from each elimination and one third place finisher drawn by lot will advance to the $450,000 final on Saturday, August 30. All three rich finals will take place Saturday, August 30 at Mohawk Racetrack. The party will start at 6 p.m. and first race post time is 7:25 p.m. Here are the fields for Saturday night's stakes eliminations. PP/Horse/Driver Race 3 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Thinking Out Loud - John Campbell 2. Sweet Lou - Ron Pierce 3. Captive Audience - James MacDonald 4. Domethatagain - Ron Pierce 5. Sunshine Beach - Chris Christoforou 6. Foiled Again - Yannick Gingras Race 8 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. Ellis Park - Steve Condren 2. Bettors Edge - Matt Kakaley 3. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 4. Modern Legend - James MacDonald 5. Captaintreacherous - Tim Tetrick 6. Clear Vision - Brett Miller Race 6 - Metro Pace Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Lyons Levi Lewis - Yannick Gingras 2. Trading Up - Scott Zeron 3. Go Daddy Go - John Campbell 4. Lone Survivor - David Miller 5. Dudes The Man - David Miller 6. Asap Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Sports Bettor - Randy Waples Race 11 - Metro Pace Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. The Wayfaring Man - Jack Moiseyev 2. Pierce Hanover - Paul Macdonell 3. Amora Beach - Tim Tetrick 4. Some Power - David Miller 5. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 6. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 7. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples 8. Rollin Ring Afire - Matt Kakaley Race 4 - She's A Great Lady Elimination One - Purse: $35,000 1. The Show Returns - Tim Tetrick 2. Bedroomconfessions - Scott Zeron 3. Shakai Hanover - Jody Jamieson 4. Strut My Stuff - John Campbell 5. Palette Tina - Yannick Gingras 6. Aria Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Bettor Be Steppin - Corey Callahan 8. Kays Dragon Lady - Matt Kakaley Race 9 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Two - Purse: $35,000 1. Solar Sister - Doug McNair 2. Divine Caroline - Corey Callahan 3. Missy Tap Tina - Tim Tetrick 4. Cashaway - Tim Tetrick 5. Jk Shesalady - Yannick Gingras 6. Well Hello There - Matt Kakaley 7. Southwind Mischief - Chris Christoforou 8. Shesastarreporter - Jonathan Drury 9. Ideal Nuggets - John Campbell Race 10 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Three - Purse: $35,000 1. Float On By - Tim Tetrick 2. Macarena Mama - Chris Christoforou 3. A Plus - Scott Zeron 4. Bin N Heaven - Doug McNair 5. Betty And The Jets - Doug McNair 6. Band Of Angels - Yannick Gingras 7. Happy Becky - David Miller 8. Dancin Caroll - Jack Moiseyev by Mark McKelvie, for WEG Communications.
Stakes-winner E L Titan has been absent from the Grand Circuit this season, but that is soon to change. The 3-year-old male trotter, who won three of five starts last season, including divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Madison County, made his 2014 debut earlier this month and is getting ready for the Simcoe Stakes and Canadian Trotting Classic, both at Mohawk Racetrack. Riina Rekila, who trains E L Titan for breeder/owner Erkki Laakkonen, qualified E L Titan on July 4 at Mohawk, where he won in 1:57.4, but didn't see the colt make his first start until Aug. 9, when he was victorious by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 in a conditioned race at Mohawk. "He had little issues, but we decided to start a little bit later with him," Rekila said. "He was staked to the Hambletonian too, but I entered him in a few overnights here and they didn't use the class, so I just came late with him. I can't just go and race (in the Hambletonian) without any normal races. "We hope he's good now until the end of the year." E L Titan is by the stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Courtney Hall, a stakes-winning full sister to millionaire Cameron Hall. E L Titan is Courtney Hall's fourth foal and the previous three -- E L Rock, Appomattox and E L Rocket -- each earned at least $233,000. Appomattox, who finished second in the 2012 Kentucky Futurity, leads the group with $414,548. Last year, E L Titan won his division of the International Stallion Stakes by a neck over Trixton in 1:53.4. The time was fifth fastest among all 2-year-old male trotters last season. He also finished second to Father Patrick in a division of the Champlain Stakes. "I really liked him," Rekila said. "He's lazy training, so you can't tell too much. We were very surprised he raced that well (on Aug. 9) because he had only one qualifier. At home, I just train him under saddle or on my sand track. I don't train him too fast, so I was happy he went (1):54 pretty easy at Mohawk." Rekila drove E L Titan as a 2-year-old, but Chris Christoforou was in the sulky for the colt's first start this season. Rekila hopes By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications/USTAChristoforou will drive E L Titan again in the Simcoe, which is Aug. 30. "If he doesn't take him, I'll take him," Rekila said with a laugh. "I like Chris. He's nice with the horse and he's one of the best drivers up here. "I like to drive 2-year-olds because maybe they are not so handy to drive," she added in explaining why she gave up her seat behind E L Titan this year. "I know them, so it is easier." Following the Simcoe and Canadian Trotting Classic, E L Titan's stakes schedule includes the American-National, Galt, Yonkers Trot, and Breeders Crown. "I'm racing him lightly because we would like him to race as a 4-year-old as well, maybe when he's a little older," Rekila said. "The owner is the nicest person ever, so we can do whatever we want. He doesn't want me to push the horse. If there are issues we can wait and race the horse whenever he's ready. We just want to have a nice horse. "I like him," she added about E L Titan. "They're all horses, so you never know, but I think he's a very nice horse." By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 18 - On Monday evening, harness racing driver Doug McNair recorded his 2,000 career driving victory at Mohawk Racetrack with the three-year-old pacer Eastender. McNair, a resident of Guelph, Ontario, entered the evening two wins away from reaching the 2,000 win plateau. In the evening's third race, McNair picked up his 1,999th victory with Youre Majestic in a $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for two-year-old trotting fillies. McNair would then reach the milestone in the final race of the night with the three-year-old gelding, Eastender, who is trained by his father Gregg. Over the last few years, McNair has been consistently among the top drivers on the WEG circuit and has quickly become one of the top young reinsman in the entire sport. At the age of 18, Doug became the youngest driver in the history of harness racing to reach $1 million in career earnings In December of 2010, McNair became the youngest driver to reach 1,000 wins, reaching the milestone at Western Fair Raceway just weeks before his 21st birthday. This season, Doug is sixth in the WEG driver's standings with 90 wins and over $1.6 million in earnings. In total this season, McNair has made 129 trips to the winner's circle and has earnings exceeding $2.4 million. In his young career, Doug has competed in and won many of the sport's top events. Races such as the Battle of Waterloo, Confederation Cup and She's A Great Lady are just some of the major stakes victories on McNair's resume. Just this past Saturday night, McNair recorded a Grand Circuit driving victory at Mohawk by steering Solar Sister to victory in the $77,745 Eternal Camnation Stakes. McNair is currently in his seventh full season of driving and in that time period has career earnings of just less than $27 million. Doug reaches the 2,000 win mark at the age of 24. The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to congratulate Doug on the accomplishment and wish him continued success on his journey to 3,000 wins. Mark McKelvie
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 16 - Undefeated two-year-old pacing colt Artspeak was victorious in a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack Saturday night. Twenty-six two-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into three divisions for the Nassagaweya Stakes. One of the most talked about freshmen in the sport, Artspeak, turned in another easy-looking victory in his Canadian debut to take the $91,425 final division. A son of Western Ideal - The Art Museum, Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron left from post position eight and cleared to the lead just after the opening quarter of :28. Once on the lead, Artspeak controlled right to the finish line posting fractions of :56.2, 1:25. and cruising home in :27.4 to win the fastest division of the night in 1:52.4. Lyons Again, who grabbed the early lead and got a two-hole trip, finished 2 Â¼ lengths back in second, while Some Power closed up well to take third. Trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The GYM Partners, Artspeak is a perfect four for four and now has earnings of more than $115,000. Artspeak was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. He returned $2.90 to win. The first division for a purse of $89,924 went to Sports Bettor, who pulled off a huge 60-1 to upset. A son of Sporswriter - Shellys Delight, Sports Bettor and driver Randy Waples left from post eight and got away in the two-hole. Lyons Levi Lewis cut the mile and after a half of :57.1, hung up a third-quarter of :27. to carry a four length lead over Sports Bettor into the stretch. In the stretch, Lyons Levi Lewis continued to lead deep into the lane, but Sports Bettor grinded him down and got up in the shadow of the wire to win in 1:53.2. Rollin Ring Afire finished third, while The Wayfaring Man rounded out the Superfecta. Sports Bettor is trained by Mark Austin for owner/breeder Frank Gentile and the Nassagaweya Stakes victory was a maiden breaking score. Sports Bettor now has earnings of over $76,000 in six career starts. He paid $141.50 to win. The $91,425 second division saw Waples return to the winner's circle, this time with Traceur Hanover. Traceur Hanover left from post three and allowed Go Daddy Go to clear to the front just after the opening quarter to take a two-hole trip. Go Daddy Go led the field into the stretch off a three-quarter time of 1:24. In the stretch, Traceur Hanover came off the rail to take his best shot at Go Daddy Go and was able to power past the leader in deep stretch to win in 1:53.3. Trading Up made a late rally to finish third, while Lyons Geoffjnr was fourth. A son of Western Ideal - Transference, Traceur Hanover has now won three times in four career starts and has career earnings of over $60,000. A $100,000 yearling purchase at last November's Harrisburg Sale, Traceur Hanover is trained by Normand Bardier Jr. for owner Richard Berthiaume. He returned $9.80 to win. Trio of Eternal Camnation divisions contested Twenty-five freshman pacing fillies were on display in three divisions of the Eternal Camnation stakes. Shakai Hanover and driver Jody Jamieson took the first $76,245 division in a career best 1:52.4. A daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan, Shakai Hanover showed the most early speed leading the field past the opening quarter of :28. Bedroomconfessions made a brush to the lead in the second-quarter and controlled the tempo in the middle-half posting fractions of :56.2 and 1:24.1. In the stretch, Jamieson brought Shakai Hanover out of the two-hole to battle Bedroomconfessions, separating themselves from the rest of field. Shakai Hanover just got her nose in front of Bedroomconfessions at the wire to win a tight photo finish, with a last quarter of :28.1. Happy Becky, the 3/5 favourite, was fifth at the three-quarter pole and finished up her mile with a :27.2 final panel to take third. Shakai Hanover is trained by Carl Jamieson, who shares ownership with Winnipeg Racing and Vira Hope Johnson. The stakes victory was the second win in four starts for Shakai Hanover and it boosted her career earnings to over $82,000. She paid $9.70 to win. In the second $76,245 division, the photo finish camera was not needed as Jk Shesalady won by seven lengths in 1:53.4. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Jk Shesalady was seventh at the half and was brought to the outside behind cover that was failing to keep up. Gingras sent the daughter of Art Major - Presidential Lady three-wide on the way to three-quarter pole and Jk Shesalady responded by pacing around the field and taking the lead at the top of the lane. Jk Shesalady paced away from her rivals with a last-quarter of :27.3 to remain undefeated in four starts. Trained by Nancy Johansson for owners the 3 Brothers Stable, Jk Shesalady increased her bankroll to more than $68,000 in her young career. Cowgirl Tough finished second, while Cashaway took the show spot. Jk Shesalady returned $2.90 to win. The final division for a purse of $77,745 was captured by Solar Sister and driver Doug McNair in 1:54. A daughter of Mach Three - Cabrini Hanover, Solar Sister was fourth at the half and came first up to challenge Palette Tina, getting to within half a length at three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Solar Sister took a slight lead half-way down the lane and dug in to hold off a trio of fillies that were within a length and a quarter at the wire, pacing her final quarter in :29.1. Palette Tina, who finished second beat a neck, was placed back to fourth for gaining an unfair advantage by going inside a pylon in the stretch. After the placing, Ideal Nuggets became the second place finisher, while Float On By was bumped up to third. Solar Sister is a homebred filly trained by Gregg McNair for owners David Willmot and Clay Horner. She paid $27.50 to win. For many of the freshman pacers, the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes served as preps for next week's eliminations for the Metro Pace and the She's A Great Lady Stakes. Saturday's undercard also saw 2013 U.S. Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous ($3.50) return to the Campbellville, Ont. oval where he remains undefeated. A winner of the Nassagaweya, Metro Pace and North America Cup at Mohawk, Captaintreacherous added a victory in the $34,000 Preferred to his $3 million resume, scoring in 1:50.1 for team Tetrick and Alagna. The 3-5 favourite took over command from early leaver Fool Me Once and Gingras down the backstretch, and after giving way to Sunshine Beach and Chris Christoforou, he came through along the pylons to prevail by one and a quarter lengths. Ellis Park and Steve Condren rallied off cover to edge out Sunshine Beach for second. The victory was Captaintreacherous' first since winning his season's debut in the Meadowlands Maturity. The four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere and Worldly Treasure is owned by Captaintreacherous Racing of Versailles, Kentucky. Springing a 30-1 surprise, Swan In A Million ($63) and trainer/driver Dustin Jones went from last to first in the matching Preferred Trot, named in honour of Kerry Davies, winning by three-quarters of a length over Charmed Life and Jamieson in 1:53.2. Pennsylvania's Diamond Creek Racing owns the six-year-old son of Andover Hall. Flanagan Memory rounded out the top three finishers over two lengths behind for Christoforou. The $685,000 Metro Pace Final and the $450,000 She's A Great Lady Stakes Final will take place along with the $650,000 Canadian Pacing Derby on Saturday, August 30 at Mohawk Racetrack. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Sorry that I had to skip a week due to my trip to Canada and Ireland but we are back in action once again. Hambletonian Day was my third straight winning weekend so as I am on a roll we will lay it all on the line for this weekend. Plenty of top flight racing around the country starting Friday with the Milstein Memorial and consolation Friday at Northfield Park, then Saturday’s action is mainly at Mohawk Raceway for their two-year-old stakes plus some top Preferred events. Saratoga has their Gerrity Memorial and to cap it all off is the Gold Cup & Saucer at Charlottetown Driving Park. Good Luck! $100,000 Pace Carl Milstein 3YO Consolation Northfield Park 8th race FRIDAY – National Debt was an undefeated early season sensation who seems to be coming back to life again. Off his last two starts he shows game finishes and should be able to take advantage of inside position to win in here. Use Limelight Beach and Western Vintage in exotic plays. $400,000 Pace Carl Milstein Memorial 3YO Northfield Park 11th race FRIDAY – With his five-race winning streak on the line, McWicked is in prime form and has beaten most of this field in the past. He is super sharp for trainer Casie Coleman, draws the rail on a half mile and should wire the field once again. Use All Bets Off and Tellitlikeitis in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Undefeated in her early career with four straight wins Happy Becky should have things her own way against this field. She has yet to be defeated on the front end and last start she romped by more than six lengths with ease. Use Bedroomconfessions and The Show Returns in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – Super well-bred JK Shesalady is undefeated in three starts and two back saw her win with ease in 1:52. She has drawn an outside post but that should hinder her ability to win once again. Use Cashaway and Wicked Little Minx in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - This is the weakest of the three divisions but A Plus should be able to take full advantage of that fact despite making only her second pari-mutuel start. She has already shown she can win from on and off the pace and will be tested well in here. Use Ideal Nuggets and Moonlit Dance in exotic plays. $89,924 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – The Wayfaring Man nearly made it a clean sweep in the Dream Maker series, winning last leg and the final. Logical choice in here provided he can continue to improve as they will be flying in here. Use ASAP Hanover and Edison in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Mohawk Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – Here we have the top two three-year-olds of last year going head and head. Both have had it rough going against seasoned stars but now face each other one again. I am giving the slight edge to Sunshine Beach over Captaintreacherous mainly because Sunshine Beach finally won a couple of starts and that should game him up for big mile. Use Captaintreacherous and Bestofbest Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Saratoga Harness 9th race SATURDAY – A great slugfest here with top horses going to post. While the Burke Stable has their big guns in Foiled Again and Clear Vision, I am going with Dancin Yankee. He suffered his first loss in six starts last out against Sweet Lou but should be able to come right back with good inside post to beginning winning streak again. Use entry of Foiled Again/Clear Vision and entry of Fat Man’s Alley and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 9th race pace SATURDAY – Despite having finished second in his last four starts Amora Beach still looms as the betting favorite in here and rightly so. He is a game performer and should be able to take this division either from on or off the pace. Use Traceur Hanover and American Legend in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – If anyone can wire the field in this race it will be Daylon Magician. He did it in his last start with a sharp 1:52.1 triumph, last quarter mile in :27.2. He is facing some tough local foes but can get the job done again. Use Mister Herbie and Wheeling N Dealin in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Even drawing the outside post eight should not stop Artspeak from remaining undefeated. Talented son of Western Ideal has been perfect in his first three starts and last time out scorched the track at the Meadowlands in 1:50.4 for trainer Tony Alagna. Use Pierce Hanover and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Gold Cup & Saucer Charlottetown Driving Park 14th race SATURDAY – This is really the place to be in North America. It’s the Little Brown Jug of Canada and after last year it looks like the Ron Burke Stable wants to win it again. Aracache Hanover was super strong on the front end in his elim win last week and with post two I see him wiring the field and not looking back. Use Wazzup Hanover and Bigtown Hero in exotic plays.
The harness racing driver-trainer combination of Randy Waples and Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh connected for victories in two of the seven $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (August 15) at Mohawk Racetrack. Their first winner was Big Moment, a colt by Camluck who just got up near the wire after a second-over trip to take the fourth Grassroots split by a neck in 1:55.1. Pan Street USA (Steve Condren) had taken the lead in the lane after a two-hole trip but just fell short at the finish, and heavy favourite Seaforth (Mike Saftic), the leader at the top of the stretch, had to settle for third. Big Moment Big Moment, also a winner in Grassroots competition on July 21 at Grand River Raceway, is now three-for-five in the win column overall with earnings of $26,160 for McIntosh, who also bred the colt with C S X Stables. McIntosh’s stable of Windsor, Ontario, and partner Max Newham of Merlin, Ontario, 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. Waples and McIntosh came right back to annex the fifth division with Thinkofagameplan. He moved to the lead before the :56.4 half, put away a first-over try from Supersonic Jet (Paul MacDonell) before the 1:25.2 three-quarters, and then paced a :28.4 final kicker to win by a length and a quarter in 1:54.1, which was the fastest of the seven Grassroots sections. Red Pine (Jody Jamieson) was up for second and Mac Raider (Mike Saftic) finished third. Thinkofagameplan Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his first win in four attempts and pushed his bankroll to $18,660, is a homebred for McIntosh and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. The excellent first season for sire Sportswriter also continued as he picked up two more victories. Sportsmanship was a 1:54.3 winner for driver Jody Jamieson in the third Grassroots flight, and Sports Lightning grabbed top honours in the six split, stopping the clock in 1:55.4 for driver Mike Saftic. Sportsmanship was sent out by trainer Dave Menary for the ownership group of Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown, Denis Breton of Welland, Tom Kyron of Toronto, and Parkinson Farms of Lucan, Ontario. Parkinson Farms also bred Sportsmanship, who broke his maiden in his fourth trip behind the gate. Now an earner of $12,500, Sportsmanship is the second foal out of the D M Dilinger mare Lady D M ($634,732), a two-time Ontario Sires Stakes Gold final winner. Sportsmanship Sports Lightning posted his second victory from four starts for co-owner/trainer Alvin Bowman of Markdale, Ontario. He shares ownership with Robert Nobes of Stayner, Ontario, Veral Robert Bowman of Deerfield Beach, Florida, and Donald Warden of Wasaga Beach, Ontario. Sports Lightning, who has now put away $19,600 for his connections, is the sixth foal out of the Camluck mare Cohenikova. Sports Lightning Also winning in Grassroots action tonight were: Mybestolxfriendray (Cheyenne Rei-Baywatch-Keystone Raider), a 1:56.1 victor for driver Phil Hudon, trainer Kevin St. Charles, and owner Dr. Andrew Roberts of Lexington, Kentucky. The winner was bred by Bonley Farm Inc. Mybestolxfriendray Pair Of Deuces (Badlands Hanover-Pacific Dragonette-Dragon Again), who halted the clock in 1:55.3 for driver Rick Zeron, trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman, and owner/breeder Pinske Stables of Plato, Minnesota. Pair Of Deuces Twin B Scandal (Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue-McArdle), who tallied in 1:56.1 for co-owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon of Acton and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. Twin B Scandal The next Grassroots test for the rookie pacing colts and geldings is on August 24 at Georgian Downs. For full results of Friday night’s events at Mohawk, please click here. Ontario Sire Stakes