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TORONTO, August 14 - It's been over four months since the launch of the Standardbred Alliance in Ontario on April 1 and wagering on Standardbred horse races at these tracks is already seeing a sharp increase compared to the same period last year.   From April 1 through August 9, "all-sources" wagering on Standardbred Alliance racing is $148,227,950, an encouraging 8.92 per cent rise over the $136,083,298 bet through the equivalent period in 2013.   The numbers are promising on a per race basis as well. Last year, an average of $57,347 was bet per race (2373 races). After April 1, in 2014, an average of $60,280 per race (2459 races) was recorded, also a strong 5.11 per cent increase. Number of races is up 3.6 per cent over last year.   "There's plenty of work to do, but so far the alliance concept is proving to accomplish what it had intended," said Jamie Martin, Executive Vice-President of Racing at Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) and Chair of the Standardbred Alliance board. "It's helped to create some positive momentum for the industry, plus a platform for the core standardbred tracks to be partners in this new era. Racing fans are responding well at Mohawk and the other Alliance tracks under the new model with wagering up strongly both per race and overall."   Grand River Raceway, in Elora, is seeing double-digit wagering increases both per race and overall.   "We have experienced an increase in wagering of 16.56 per cent per race, leading to a 10.58 per cent rise overall on our live racing product," said Dr. Ted Clarke, General Manager of Grand River Raceway. "Total wagering on our Industry Day on August 4 was the highest since 2005. The positive wagering results and attendance indicate the fan base and interest are solid."   The Standardbred Alliance, led by Woodbine Entertainment Group, is a consortium of eight Ontario racetracks. Launched April 1, the members represent a three-tier racing hierarchy, 'Grass Roots' (Clinton, Hanover), 'Signature' (Flamboro, Georgian, Grand River and Western Fair) and 'Premier' (Mohawk and Woodbine).   The tracks have worked together to implement operational efficiencies, co-ordinate a year-round racing calendar, develop a program of racing that is attractive to foreign and domestic customers, and establish consistent purses.   The Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) is buoyed by the wagering rise through the early months of the Standardbred Alliance concept.   "We're glad to see wagering is up," said Sue Leslie, President of OHRIA. "Fans are continuing to embrace this wonderful sport and it's gaining new ones. The next step is to have racing fully integrated into the province's gaming strategy to ensure the long-term sustainability of the model."   Highlights of the season so far include State Treasurer's win at the Molson Pace at Western Fair, JK Endofanera's win in the Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk, Shadows Wonder's victory in Clinton's Kin Pace, Go Daddy Go's score in the Battle of Waterloo at Grand River and Warrawee Promesse's tally in the Dream of Glory at Hanover.   The Georgian Downs meet is in full swing, with the Earl Rowe Memorial Cup Trot set for August 23, while the start of the final part of the 2014 Flamboro Downs meet is scheduled for September 2.   Several major stakes are set for the latter half of season on the WEG circuit, including the Metro Pace at Mohawk on August 30, the Canadian Trotting Classic on September 13, while the 'Fall Four' (Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Governor's Cup and Valley Victory) is set for Woodbine on October 25.   by John Siscos, for WEG  

ANDERSON, Ind.—August 5, 2014—A field of nine will be sent post-ward in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 8. In what may be the most accomplished field ever assembled, the 21st installment of Hoosier Park’s signature event will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m.  The race will be part of a special weekend tagged as “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The evening will also be complimented by Indiana Sires Stakes finals, sending the purse money to be distributed throughout the evening over the $500,000 mark.  The 2014 Dan Patch field boasts combined career purse earnings over $10 million and includes four millionaires, three previous Dan Patch winning drivers, two Hall of Fame drivers, and one Hall of Fame trainer. Bettor’s Edge, Heston Blue Chip, Sweet Lou, and Thinking Out Loud will make their way to Indiana boasting career earnings over the $1 million mark. Ricky Macomber Jr., who visited the Dan Patch winner’s circle in 2000 and 2002, will drive Bettor’s Edge from post seven while Peter Wrenn, who won the 2012 installment of the Dan Patch, will start from post three behind Night Pro.  Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce, who was victorious in the 2005 Dan Patch Invitational with Maltese Artist, has been enlisted to drive the 4-5 morning line favorite, Sweet Lou from post five for North America’s leading money-winning trainer, Ron Burke. With over $2.9 million in career earnings, the five-year-old horse is the richest horse in the field and is currently riding an eight race win streak, most recently victorious in 1:47.2 in the US Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands.  Harness racings’ all time leading money winning driver and Hall of Famer, John Campbell, will make his way to Hoosier Park to compete in his second Dan Patch Invitational and has been enlisted to drive Thinking Out Loud for Hall of Fame trainer, Robert McIntosh from post two. Throughout his career, Thinking Out Loud has amassed more than $1.5 million with a record of 44-14-7-10.  Also joining the stellar cast of entrants as a main contender for the 2014 Dan Patch title is State Treasurer, with Jody Jamieson at the lines from post eight. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee has been tabbed as the 4-1 morning line second choice. A winner of over $750,000 lifetime, the five-year-old horse recently set a 1:48.1 Canadian seasons record at Mohawk and is the 2014 Molson Pace Champion.  Night Pro will play the role of local favorite from three for trainer Dale Decker. Night Pro, a former Indiana Sires Stakes champion, enters Saturday’s race after posting seven consecutive wins in the Invitational pace at Hoosier Park. The four-year-old gelding has won 22 of 30 career starts and has amassed over $350,000 in career earnings.  The 2014 Dan Patch field, in post-position order with named driver and trainer includes: 1.      Dancin Yankee           Tr: Amber Buter         Dr: Tyler Buter     8-1 2.      Thinking Out Loud      Tr: Robert McIntosh  Dr: John Campbell   6-1                 3.      Night Pro                   Tr: Dale Decker        Dr: Peter Wrenn      20-1 4.      Carol’s Comet           Tr: Ron Potter          Dr: Aaron Merriman 15-1 5.      Sweet Lou                 Tr: Ron Burke          Dr: Ron Pierce    4-5        6.      Heston Blue Chip      Tr: Linda Toscano   Dr: Corey Callahan  15-1 7.      Bettor’s Edge           Tr: Ron Burke     Dr: Ricky Macomber Jr.  10-1 8.      State Treasurer        Tr: Ian Moore      Dr: Jody Jamieson        4-1 9.      Our Lucky Chip     Tr: Jason Miller     Dr: Trace Tetrick    30-1  Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in two special wagers offered for the Dan Patch Invitational card. A $25,000 Guaranteed Dan Patch Superfecta pool will be available as part of the Strategic Wagering Program. The wager will have a minimum bet of 10 cents and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and the Indiana Standardbred Association. Slated as the twelfth race on the card, estimated post time for Hoosier Park’s signature event is 9:30 p.m.  A $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-3 will also be made available to racing fans in races seven through nine as part of the East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge. The East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge will pit the top-five drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against five of the top drivers from the East in a three-race challenge with the winning team going home with their share of the $20,000 prize. The top five drivers from Hoosier Park will make-up “Team Midwest” with the top five drivers from the East driving for “Team East”.    In what is being called the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend”, Hoosier Park will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside special wagers, free fireworks, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. Also, highlighting the weekend will be a concert by the Grammy-award winning group, Little Big Town on Saturday, August 9 as part of Hoosier Park’s summer concert series line-up.   Emily Gaskin Racing Commentator, Publicist and Marketing Specialist

Hippodrome 3R, in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, will be hosting the richest event for four-year-old pacers in North American harness racing on Sunday afternoon, September 21, the Prix d’Ete, reviving Quebec’s most famous historical stakes race The Quebec Jockey Club has modernized the race by changing eligibility from three-year-olds to four-year-olds for the revival. There will be a $250,000 in total purses for the Prix D’Ete with the main race, for the top seasonal money winners declaring in, going for a purse of $200,000 and if entries warrant there will also be a $50,000 consolation race. This is the first of several looks at the current crop of four-year-olds eligible to the Prix d’Ete, which will rank them one through five as current abilities and promising futures foretell. Many of the horses eligible for the Prix D'Ete are racing this weekend at tracks throughout North America. #1 Apprentice Hanover - He is trained by Ben Wallace and is owned by Brad Grant.  Apprentice Hanover has been one of the top horses in the older ranks for the first half of 2014, earning $313,660. He has won five Preferred events at Woodbine, had one win and hit the board in all five of his Levy Series starts at Yonkers, including missing by just a neck from last at the head of the stretch in the $567,000 Levy Final. He also just missing by a neck in the Molson Pace at Western Fair Raceway (these two tracks are, like the Hippodrome 3R, half-mile tracks). “Apprentice” just returned to the races this past Saturday after a month’s freshening, missing less than four lengths in a 1:48.3 mile. #2 Mach It So - He is trained by P.J. Fraley and is owned by Bamond Racing. This is another horse who had a lot of success in the Levy Series – well, at least in the prelims, where he won three legs, was second in two others but in the final, he was unlucky enough to draw the outside post eight, and he was outside most of the mile. Has earned $123,250 already this year. #3 Sunshine Beach - Trained by Mark Steacy and owned by Hudson Standardbreds, Conrad Leber, and Diane Bertrand. While Sunshine Beach won nearly $1 million last year and beat Captaintreacherous in one of the most dramatic races of the year in 2013, he is not having a very good start to his 2014 race season. That is, purse earnings are not very good. He has made four starts against the best pacers in the world and has only two fifth place finishes, but then again, he has paced in 1:49.4 or less with :27 second or less last quarters in all of his starts. We are sure he will return to his winning ways soon. #4 Captive Audience – Trained by Corey Johnson and owned by Debbie Element and Mac Nichol of Ontario. After a great start to the 2014 race season where he won four straight races, Captive Audience too has hit somewhat of a cold streak. He was third in his Ben Franklin elimination division and just like Sunshine Beach, has been pacing in less than 1:49.3 with :26.4 last quarter miles but not earning much racing against the best pacers in the world. #5 Duc Dorleans - Trainer Jacques Dupont and owned by Gestion Levesque 2005, Les Ecuries Dorleans, and Marie Helene Dupont), is the true local hero for the Prix D’Ete. He is the all-age track record holder at the Hippodrome 3R with his 1:52.4 triumph here last year, and this year he wrote the track record for older pacing horses at 1:53.1.   The “Duc” equaled his lifetime best of 1:49.3 at Mohawk last month, and was third in the top class at Mohawk this past Saturday. There’s every reason to believe that these four-year-olds will put on a great show at 3R come September 21, and it’s very likely to be a fast show, too: Already this season the all-time track trot mark of 1:56 has been equaled by Michelangelo, and in all 10 divisional standards at the Hippodrome 3R, the track record has been rewritten or equaled. Make your plans now to reserve your seat at the Hippodrome 3R as September 21 will be coming up very fast. We will have updates on the Prix D’Ete contenders every other week. For more information about the Hippodrome 3R please visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Quebec-owned Evenin Of Pleasure pulled off an 80-1 shocker in C$100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational Pace for the local O'Brien Award winning team of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Richard Moreau on North America Cup Night at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont. Evening Of Pleasure scored the biggest win of his career in 1:49.2 for owner Gestion Jean Yves Blais of Montreal. The field was scratched down to nine with Warrawee Needy sick and Bettors Edge (Ron Pierce) hustled off the gate from the outside to carve out panels of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:22.4. Meanwhile, the sport's richest pacer Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) and 3-2 favorite and Molson Pace champion State Treasurer (Chris Christoforou) followed in second and third with the later moving first up into the final turn and the former pulling the pocket down the stretch. However, it was Evenin Of Pleasure who slipped up the pylons to prevail in the final strides. Foiled Again was second and Bettors Edge was third over State Treasurer. The 4-year-old son of Dragon Again out of Armbro Amour, who has been racing among the conditioned ranks on the WEG circuit, returned a whopping $164.30 to win. The win was his eighth lifetime and his career bankroll soared to C$233,997.   Courtesy of www.standardbredcanada.ca

Springhill, N.S. native Teesha Symes has been around race horses her whole life. Now 25, she finds herself looking after the top aged pacer, in Canada, for trainer Dr. Ian Moore.  “Three days after I was born we made a stop at the local track - on the way home from the hospital - and ever since then I’ve been around the horses,“ said Symes. The daughter of Charles (Chuck) and Shirley has been all over the continent working with horses and she’s had her hands on some good ones over the years. “I spent about six months working with Shadow Play back in 2008,” she says. “I’ve also looked after Royal Becquet (2009 Gold Cup and Saucer starter), Mr Perseverance (2013 Paul Bunyan Invitational winner in Bangor) and now I’m enjoying my time with State Treasurer (two-time winner of the Molson Pace in London).” State Treasurer, owned by Sally MacDonald of Souris, PE and Paul MacDonald of Regina, SK, has got to be the number one-ranked aged pacer in Canada, right now, with his four straight wins - including his latest victory - a stunning last-to-first swoop, of the field, after making a bobble at the start of the $150,000 Molson Pace. “After he made that break at the start - I found it hard to even watch the race... Especially at the half when he was still sitting last,” Symes explains. “Then he began to pick them off and I made my way closer to the TV to get a better look. For him to get up to win that race was just awesome and to do it beating Foiled Again was just mind-blowing!”   Teesha recalls the second-place finish by Shadow Play to Somebeachsomewhere, in The 2008 Messenger at Yonkers, as one of her most favourite moments in racing. “That race was just so exciting... It was so close and it was a real thrill for me to be a part of that. ” It’s a horse by the name of Anybunny that will forever hold a special place in Teesha’s heart. “He was my favourite,” she says proudly. “I used to kill for the ‘BOOM’ call (Vance Cameron’s Boom! Just like that...) when racing on P.E.I... Sadly we had to put him down last season. He was sixteen then and he just wasn’t going to make it another winter.” Symes spent last summer working with her Dad in Bangor before heading to Dr. Ian Moore’s Florida operation in late October. Now in Ontario, working full-time for Moore, a normal day for Teesha consists of getting up around 5:30 am and heading to the barn - where the work normally finishes up around noon. “We’ve got an awesome team here and Ian is great to work for.” Working as a groom Symes likes to play it day by day. “It’s a lot of hoping for the best and living for the moment,” she says. “I’ve been lucky to have been mentored by my Dad,” she continued. “Guys like Mark Ford, Heath Campbell and Ian have been very good to me along the way too... Ian asked me the other day where he could get two of me, so it’s a nice feeling to get a compliment like that.” So what’s it like to look after the best aged pacer in Canada? “That question makes me nervous,” she replies. “I do my best to look after him like the other horses, but maybe he does get an extra piece of licorice or a few extra carrots now and then.” Another special horse out of the Moore camp this season is the P.E.I.-owned pacing colt Silverhill Shadow. And he’s special for Symes in a unique way too. “My Dad bought his mom (Ruthie Jane) from the Amish back in 2009. We raced her a few times in Charlottetown, PE and then sold her to Casey Gavin - who then bred her to Shadow Play. And from that came Silverhill Shadow.” Teesha likes her basketball, softball and hockey and had once worked with correctional services and the jail in Amhert, N.S., but her heart is and always has been with the horses. ”Growing up working next to Dad... Working with the horses is what I know and it’s what I love. It’s not even work for me...” So any advice to pass along to an aspiring groom? “I’d say work hard and always do your best,” she says. “Sure there are going to be some long days, but this job is so worth it.”   by Shannon "Sugar" Doyle, for Western Fair District

This Week: Currier & Ives filly division, The Meadows, Washington, Pa; Armbro Flight, Goodtimes, North America Cup, Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Charlie Hill Memorial, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; and Hanover Stakes (3-year-old colt and filly trot), Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this week. Action begins on Wednesday (June 4) at The Meadows with three divisions in the $93,860 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will host Grand Circuit racing on Friday (June 6) with two C$35,000 eliminations in the Armbro Flight for trotting mares and two C$30,000 eliminations in the Goodtimes for 3-year-old trotting colts. The Saturday (June 7) card at Mohawk features a trio of C$50,000 eliminations for the North America Cup for 3-year-old pacing colts and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Roses Are Red for pacing mares and the Fan Hanover for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Scioto Downs will offer its second Grand Circuit stake of the season on Saturday, with the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for open trotters, while Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit events on Saturday with the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old colt trotters and the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the Meadows, Scioto Downs and Balmoral Park races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Molson Pace for older pacers at The Raceway at Western Fair District, the Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway and the Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs. State Treasurer (#1) gets up on the outside to narrowly defeat Apprentice Hanover (#4) and Foiled Again (#7) in the Molson Pace. In one of the most exciting editions of The Raceway at Western Fair District's signature race, the $138,000 Molson Pace, last year's winner State Treasurer defended his title despite a terrible start and an inquiry on May 30 at the London half-mile track. Driver Chris Christoforou had State Treasurer three wide down the backside and picked up the cover of Apprentice Hanover and Jody Jamieson heading into the stretch. It was a great race to the finish with State Treasurer getting up on the outside to win by a neck in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a close second followed by the always game Foiled Again, just a half-length back in third. The winning connections, trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald, had to wait out an inquiry regarding the start before the race was declared official. "I sweated a little bit last year too, but this is a little different this year," noted Moore. "He's a real good little horse, he tries his heart out and he showed that tonight for sure." Odds-on favorite All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, $2.60) was both anxious and effective on May 31, winning the $300,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. All Bets Off was a 1:52.2 winner in the Art Rooney Pace. All Bets Off collared leader Maxi Bon early in the lane, then held off a rallying Some Playa by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.2. Maxi Bon held third. All Bets Off, a son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stables and Rosemary Shelswell, is now three-for-four this season with earnings of $180,250. "Oh, yeah, I was worried," Kakaley said. "I thought giving up the lead (to Stevensville) was the right thing to do. Then I saw Danny's (Dube, with Maxi Bon) coming fast and I knew I was in trouble. I was lucky to get out. If I don't, I'm shuffled out, and probably last. "He's (All Bets Off) handy enough for the half-mile, but I think he can carry his speed to bigger tracks, too. Every start (All Bets Off) has been on his toes. Give Ronnie (Burke) and his crew an A-plus. I'm just fortunate to have the drive." Utilizing a powerful push clear in the far turn, Sweet Lou could not be caught in the $160,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace at Tioga Downs on June 1, turning in an impressive 1:48.3 victory. The 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser floated forward to track Bolt The Duer in the early stages, brushing to the front after a :26.2 first quarter and keeping the pace solid en route to a :53.4 half-mile. On the backstretch, Ron Pierce pushed clear with Sweet Lou, putting four lengths on the field in a :26.3 third quarter. Approaching the final 200 yards, it seemed the pace may have been too taxing, as Sweet Lou was all-out through the stretch and Heston Blue Chip found room to chase after being locked in. Sweet Lou dug in late, staving off Heston Blue Chip to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths. Bolt The Duer stayed on to be third. Ron Burke trains Sweet Lou for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 291; 2. Tim Tetrick - 255; 3. George Brennan - 164.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 143: 5. Brian Sears - 121. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 485.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 117; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller- 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 111.05; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 103.55; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 60; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Mohawk and the Meadowlands next weekend. Mohawk will host its five stakes finals, led by the C$1 million North America Cup, on Saturday night (June 14), while the Meadowlands will card the Meadowlands Maturity for 4-year-old open pacers and a leg of the TVG Free For All series for open trotters on Friday (June 13). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

London, June 2, 2014 -- An outstanding field and great weather this past Friday night helped spur Molson Pace night wagering numbers at The Raceway in London to their highest levels in more than a decade. The overall handle of $407,000 was up 24% over last year. Meanwhile, wagering on the Molson Pace itself jumped from $98,000 to $117,000, marking an increase of almost 20% over the 2013 totals. "It was very encouraging to see and was a great way to cap off the meet," said Racing Manager Greg Blanchard. "There seemed to be a lot of buzz around the event this year and I think the main reason was the quality of the field that was assembled. The atmosphere was electric here by the time the Molson Pace went to the gate and the race did not disappoint." The London oval is now dark for live racing until Wednesday, October 1. The track will be open 7 days a week throughout the summer offering simulcast racing from across North America. There have been several changes at the track in recent weeks and those will continue this month with the conversion of the tote system over to AmTote as part of Ontario's new Standardbred Alliance. Customers will now be able to wager on a state-of-the-art platform and will also now be able to use their HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) account for wagering, deposits and withdrawals at any of the Alliance locations and earn rewards on every betting dollar. The conversion is expected to be completed by Tuesday, June 3. From the Media Department Western Fair                                        

June 2, 2014 – Prior to this week, Brandon Valvo had a tenuous lead in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs as two handicappers were within $50 of him. What a difference a week makes.  Thanks to Valvo’s week-leading profit of $1,103.50 (overall lead of $1,983.50), he has a solid lead of $1,310.50 over his nearest competitor over this past week’s three-leg stretch of the contest; his most successful leg of the weekend being the Molson Pace at Western Fair District.  While Valvo may have been nervous with State Treasurer’s rocky start in the race, he was rewarded on a $100 win ticket paying $245, a $30 exacta key ticket good for $117.50, and a $120 trifecta ticket grossing $741.  While not as impressive Valvo also had winning days on Saturday’s Somebeachsomewhere at Mohawk, and Sunday’s Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs.  Another performance of note was Mark McKelvie’s, whose $362.50 weekly net profit moved him from 5th place to 2nd, just $62.50 in front of Bob Zanakis.  Some other big hits from the handicappers this weekend were on the Molson Pace; Garnet Barnsdale’s $250 place bet on State Treasurer which paid $400; Ray Garnett’s $20 exacta box ($120 total) paid $235; Sally Hinckley’s $2 trifecta box ($48) paid $148.20; Mark Mckelvie’s $50 win and place ticket ($100) paid $202.50; Dennis O’Hara’s $30 exacta box ($60) paid $352.50; Anne Stepien’s $5 trifecta box ticket ($120) paid $370.50 and $1 superfecta box ($24) paid $251.70.  On Saturday, Mark McKelvie scored a $372 trifecta with a $20 partial wheel ticket ($160) on the 1st division of the Somebeachsomewhere and a $385 payoff on a $50 straight exacta on the Yonkers Trot.  Gordon Waterstone scored a $204 payoff with a $120 win ticket on the second division of the Somebeachsomewhere.  On Sunday’s Roll With Joe, Rusty Nash scored a $219 profit on a $15 partial trifecta wheel ($45).   Standings as of June 1, 2010 - Leg 10 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $1,103.50 $1,983.50   2nd Mark McKelvie $362.50 $673.00 $1,310.50 3rd Bob Zanakis ($222.25) $610.50 $1,373.00 4th Earl Paulson $45.50 $390.50 $1,593.00 5th Derick Giwner ($575.00) $267.20 $1,716.30 6th Brian McEvoy ($117.50) $80.00 $1,903.50 7th Josi Verlingieri ($249.75) $18.05 $1,965.45 8th Sally Hinckley ($219.40) ($311.30) $2,294.80 9th Garnet Barnsdale ($350.00) ($398.00) $2,381.50 10th Gordon Waterstone ($309.50) ($629.50) $2,613.00 11th Rusty Nash ($160.20) ($805.20) $2,788.70 12th Ann Stepien $61.10 ($815.10) $2,798.60 13th Ray Garnett ($261.00) ($1,298.20) $3,281.70 14th Dennis O'Hara ($78.90) ($1,511.20) $3,494.70 15th Ray Cotolo ($548.00) ($1,761.00) $3,744.50 This week, it is a Saturday night contest night with a return trip to Scioto Downs for the $200,000 (Est.) Charlie Hill for older trotters.  The following week features racing at the Meadowlands (Friday) and Mohawk Racetrack for North American Cup Night (Saturday) where the handicapper’s bankroll is increased from $250 to $400 (all days with 5 or more stakes races will trigger the higher bankroll). by Allan Schott, for HANA

What a great weekend of top flight racing starting tonight with the Molson Pace at Western Fair then Saturday with the Rooney and Lizmore Finals plus NJSS finals at the Meadowlands and Mohawk has some great finals and the Somebeachsomewhere elims and then on Sunday the Roll With Joe Pace at Tioga Downs. The action is really heating up and, of course, the two-year-old are making their first baby race starts so it’s full steam ahead in North American racing this weekend and the action will be with us all spring, summer and fall. Good Luck! $150,000 Pace Molson Pace FFA Western Fair 12th race FRIDAY – I have not come across such a well matched field of great horses in quite some time. Everyone has a shot to win in here. Thus my history tells me when confronted with such good competitive talent then go with the class of the field. And the class is Foiled Again. Despite having to start from post seven, which is the worst post position at Western Fair (post 8 starts in the second tier), Foiled Again is well rested, in prime shape off qualifier at the Meadowlands and should be able to work out some trip and if not he can grind it out as well. Use Bandolito and Dancin Yankee in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 2nd race SATURDAY – Provided his minds his manners and stays on stride, Western Vintage should have it pretty easy in this very short field of just five starters. A repeat of his 1:49.4 effort last start will crush the rest of this group. Use Doo Wop Hanover and Dancin Hill in exotic plays. $159,287 Pace SBOA Final 3YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Despite finishing fifth last start in open company against older horses, Lady Shadow two starts back was impressive in 1:52 triumph and looks ready for a big mile against her own kind. Use Artful Impluse and Porsche Seelster in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 3rd race SATURDAY – This will be a very good test for Trixton as he faces a very tough competitor in Speak The Truth. Trixton has the speed to blow away this field on his own merit and has been very good in just three starts this year and will be tested in here but still should be the best. Use Speak The Truth and Odds On Amethyst in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Somebeachsomewhere 3YO elim Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – Lightly raced over two years, JK Endofanera has been super sharp and one of the leading 3YO pace prospects this year. His back to back 1:49.4 triumph’s shows he is ready to improve on those miles which will make him the overwhelming favorite in this prelimary race. Use Luck Be Withyou and Falcon Justice in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Even with starting from the outside in post eight, I see Cee Bee Yes being able to overcome poor post and win in here off her last effort. She has the needed gate speed, can sit the pocket or cut the mile if needed. Use My Inspiration and Moonlight In Miami in exotic plays. $178,287 Trot SBOA Final 3YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY – Taking a shot in here that Muscle Babe will come back with another superb mile like she did last week in 1:54.3 lifetime mark with :27.3 last quarter mile. She is in tough but proved she can upset. She won’t go off at 32-1 this week. Use Margie and Magic Feeling in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – She may be starting from the far outside in post ten but Gettingreadytoroll looks too good to pass by. She raced and only won once as a 2YO but is unbeaten in two starts this year, both in 1:50.1 and she shows she can overcome an outside post and still win for fun. Use Act Now and Sayitall BB in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Somebeachsomewhere 3YO elim Mohawk 8th race SATURDAY – It was nearly a coin toss to decide between Somewhere In L A and Somestarsomewhere in this race. Both horses are top notch and despite Somestarsomewhere beating Somewhere In L A by a nose last time out, I am going with Somewhere In L A and the reason is simple insofaras Somewhere In L A has a much better post. This will be a great race and others in the field are also high caliber but after getting parked out for his life last start and just missing by a nose I have to go with him. Use McWicked and Somestarsomewhere in exotic plays. $124,744 Pace Lizmore Final 3YO Fillies Yonkers Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – Tyra may be the favorite in here but I am going with Southwind Silence. She won her Lizmore elimination division on the front end in 1:54 with a :28 last quarter mile and on a half mile track early speed and endurance on the front end is what counts and she has both in her favor. Use Tyra and Also Encouraging in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Somebeachsomewhere 3YO elim Mohawk 10th race SATURDAY – You need to allow for choking down last week in Rooney elim and that He’s Watching will make amends here tonight. He was all class last year and now has to prove it in a big way. I see him going right for the lead and not looking back. Use Let’s Drink On It and That’s My Opinion in exotic plays. $300,000 Pace Art Rooney Final 3YO Colts Yonkers Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – After wiring the field last week in his elimination division in 1:52.3, All Bets Off is in prime shape to dominate the field in here. Whether it be on the front end or sitting the pocket trip he should be the best. Use Stevensville and the entry of Maxi Bon and Gold Rocks in exotic plays. $160,000 Pace Roll With Joe FFA Tioga Downs 10th race SUNDAY – Very strong field here should be dominated by Sweet Lou who has been on a roll at the Meadowlands with two straight impressive wins in 1:48 and 1:48.3. He is coupled with Clear Vision who is no slouch either, finishing second last week to Sweet Lou and prior week to Dancin Yankee in world record mile. Use entry of Doctor Butch/Heston Blue Chip and Bolt The Duer in exotic plays.

In one of the most dramatic come backs of the year in harness racing, State Treasurer, the 7/5 betting favorite, went off-stride at the start of the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair but was able to rebound for driver Chris Christoforou, sweep three-wide from near last place on the final turn and win by a head. It was the second straight Molson Pace victory for State Treasurer and the five-year-old stallion by Real Desire posted his fourth straight win in 2014 for trainer Dr. Ian Smith and owners Sally MacDonald of Souris, PEI and Paul MacDonald, Regina, SK. The feature race began with world record holder Dancin Yankee (Brett Miller) shooting to the early lead as State Treasurer and Christoforou made a break and had to pull out of the race momentarily, regroup and start back after the field in dead last place. With Bettor’s Edge (Trevor Henry) sitting in second, Dancin Yankee led the field to the opening quarter mile in a speedy :26.1 but was collared and pasted by world champion Foiled Again and driver Yannick Gingras. The momentum picked up at the half mile pole in :54.4 as Bandolito and driver Mark MacDonald came first-over to challenge Foiled Again but they not catch up to the leader as Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) was stalking the leaders second-over. At the three-quarters in 1:23, Bandolito began to tire and Apprentice Hanover was three-wide trying to loop everyone and who was following them? None other than State Treasurer and Christoforou. Around the final turn State Treasurer fanned three-wide as Apprentice Hanover was able to collar Foiled Again but as they came to the wire, State Treasurer was on the move and won by a head in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a game second with Foiled Again close for third and Dancin Yankee fourth. Sent off as the 7/5 wagering favorite, State Treasurer paid $4.90 to win. “It feels real good for sure,” Said trainer Dr. Ian Moore about winning the Molson Pace for the second time. “He was good last year too. It wasn’t that big a problem leaving. He was on the bit pretty good. He is a good little horse and tries his hardest.” “There was a tremendous amount of worry around the first turn,” Christoforou said. “With a smaller track its harder to get around early on. I was sitting behind the right horse and I had the best horse. I think he proved that tonight. “I was hoping on the last turn going three-wide that I could get on Jody’s back (Apprentice Hanover) and it worked out good,” Christoforou explained, “That way he was not three-wide all the way around the turn. I know my horse drifts out a little in the stretch so I don’t have to steer him much to get around so I just started driving him before we hit the stretch. He kinda swooped his way by and put his head in front and I am real proud of him. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

LONDON, Ontario . . . Mark MacDonald, one of harness racing's most talented drivers, made his return to The Raceway at Western Fair District where he made his start and was leading driver for several seasons, and captured two of the four City Of London finals tonight, part of the Molson Pace undercard. The third and fastest City Of London final, a $38,200 contest for pacing distaffers, had tons of action with MacDonald, now a regular on the New York circuit, scoring a victory. As the race got underway Trevor Henry and Face To Face overtook Miss Brandi K by the :27.3 opening panel. She hit the half in :55.3 with pressure from favourite Milliondollar Babe who was neck and neck with the leader down the backside but they were both overtaken by Lyons Katrina and MacDonald, who’d been stalking second over, and were absolutely flying by the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Lyons Katrina slowed in the stretch but held on to win in 1:57.1. Played By Anangel was a close second followed by Miss Brandi K. It was first lifetime win for Lyons Katrina, a three-year-old daughter of Major In Art owned by Geoffrey Lyons of Burford, Ontario and trained by James Morrison. Bred by Bill Loyens of London, Ontario, the filly is the second foal from $457,000 winner Milliondollarsmile, her first being $482,000 winner Windsong Jack. The fourth and final City Of London final, the $39,000 test for pacing horses, saw MacDonald and Fortune Playboy cutting the pace early as he hit the opening quarter in :27.3. He had pressure from Teranadawn at the :57.2 half but rebuffed that challenge and hit the three-quarters in 1:26 and held his position through the wire in 1:57.3. Hussys Blu Boy was second with Decroft Havaball third. Fortune Playboy, a four-year-old gelding by Rambaran, was recording his seventh win in 10 starts this year for trainer Patrick Shepherd and owner Holland Racing Stable of Niagara On The Lake, Ontario. In the $35,600 final for male trotters it ended up being a four horse race thanks to a late scratch and several breakers in the early going. That allowed Trevor Henry and Shadywood Kid easy access to the front end early and they never relinquished it. The three-year-old gelding by Pegasus Spur tripped off splits of :29, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4 and was a comfortable winner in 2:01.3 over Crime Novel and Kdazzle. Henry, the leader driver at The Raceway, co-owns the winner with John MacLeod who bred the Shadywood Kid with Henry's father Ross. Trained by Shannon Henry, Shadywood Kid was recording his first lifetime win in his 11th attempt. An exciting photo finish took place in the $34,800 final for mare trotters which saw Ja El Diamond setting the early tempo for Steve Byron through fractions of :29.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1. Heroine Seelster sat the pocket the entire mile and was trapped in that spot until late going when she finally found racing room and trotted up quickly but was just a nose short at the wire in 2:02.1. Oaklea Wand was third. Pat Hunt trains the winner, a three-year-old daughter of Angus Hall owned by Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ontario. Unraced last year at two, Ja El Diamond now has three wins in six starts this year for $31,000 in earnings. From the Raceway Media Department

London, May 29, 2014 -- A familiar face, and former leading driver at The Raceway at Western Fair District, is coming back to London for the Molson Pace. Mark MacDonald has been one of North America's top pilots for many years, but this is one race he has yet to win. "I've been in The Pace with some very nice horses," he said. "Tigerama set the track record there (1:50.4 in 2008) in his elimination, but he drew the outside post in the Final and things didn't work out." "I finished second with Dr No to Our Lucky Killean (2006) and I've been there with Sand Olls Dexter (2004) and others... Having lived in London and driven there lots - it's just one of those marquee events that a guy like me would love to win." There's a 'tank' of a horse from south of the border that goes by the name of Bandolito, co-owned, trained and driven, for the most part, by Daryl Bier. He's a son of Ponder and MacDonald has yet to sit behind this 'tank', but he's very familiar with the Ponder family. "I know them well," he stated. "I've driven Ponder and I've driven his stakes champ son's Thinking Out Loud and Bolt The Duer - they're both world class and I think Bandolito is ready for his coming out party too. He hasn't beaten the big boys yet, but The Pace would be a nice spot to start." Bandolito is a lightly raced 4-year-old with just 19 career starts, but he has 13 wins, a mark of 1:48 F and he's banked over $250,000. Charles Dombeck, Dave Bier and brother Daryl all share in ownership and they've recruited MacDonald to pilot this speed demon is this year's edition of the $150,000 Molson Pace taking place Friday, May 30. "I was at Yonkers watching a race from Dover Downs, in April, and I was like 'Who is this pacing out of his harness?'" Turns out it was Bandolito, with Daryl Bier in the bike, cruising to a gate-to-wire 1:48.2 win - his 3rd quarter in 26.2 and final quarter in 25.4 - that's a final half in 52.1 after cutting it! So it is evident that Bandolito has tremendous speed over the five-eighths ovals, but how will he respond to his first test over the half-miler? "He's a very slick pacer and he doesn't wear a boot," said MacDonald. "His speed is just crazy... The half mile track should be just fine for this guy." Some say Bandolito rolls along on the lead like the late Riyadh. A front-end, half-mile track specialist who took on the best there was back in the early to mid 90's. "We'll see how he draws and go from there," added MacDonald. "I know he'll be a serious contender... I know he's ready for the big boys in London... They'll need their 'A+ Game' to beat him!" A confident Mark MacDonald will join London track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle on Friday's Molson Pace pre-game show to discuss his return to the London oval and offer more insights into this year's Molson 'Dark Horse'. First post on Friday night is 7:05 p.m. and fans will receive a commemorative Foiled Again post card with program purchase. There will also be contests, giveaways, the Molson 'Party on the Patio' and much more happening throughout the night. Full-card coverage will be available on HPItv. On the Wagering side, the early Super Hi-5 will offer an 'Instant Guarantee' of $15,000 while the late Super Hi-5 (Molson Pace) has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. Both Pick-4 wagers offer guaranteed pools - the early at $7,500 and late at $10,000. For more information, including free programs and live streaming video, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway                                  

The Raceway at Western Fair is pulling out all the stops on Friday for their special Molson Pace Night of harness racing with more than $530,000 in purses headlined by the $150,000 Molson Pace. The weather forecast for Friday’s 12-race program is clear skies and temperatures in the 50’s (10 Celsius) which will make for near perfect race conditions. In addition to the Molson Pace featuring many of the best older pacers in the sport, the track is also hosting four $52,500 Gold Divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts and four finals of the City of London Series for trotters and pacers. In total, nine of the twelve races on the program are major stakes events. With such an outstanding race program, any number of track records could fall by the wayside at the Western Fair half mile oval. With the exception of perhaps Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation, the 12th race Molson Pace is a star-studded field of world class performers including two world record holders in Foiled Again and Dancin Yankee. The 3-1 morning line favorite is State Treasurer and rightly so. The local horse is trained by Dr. Ian Moore and has been on a tear at Mohawk and Woodbine, coming into the race with three straight win for driver Chris Christoforou and last week ripped off a 1:48.3 lifetime mark. Foiled Again at 4-1 is the class of the field, in fact he is the class of all of harness racing with $6.2 million in career earnings, 80 lifetime wins and comes into the race off a brief layoff but as a tune-up for this race he won a qualifier at the Meadowlands in 1:51.2 over none other than Captaintreacherous. Dancin Yankee is the nation’s speedster this year with an impressive eight wins including a world record 1:47.2 triumph in his last start at Pocono Downs.  He has won three of his last four starts and has the gate speed needed to set himself in perfect scoring position. Rounding out the field are Bettor’s Edge, Bandolito, another local favorite in Apprentice Hanover, $567,000 Levy Pace Final winner P H Supercam and Captive Audience. The Molson Pace is the last race on the Western Fair program Friday evening but with such a superb undercard it will be the icing on the cake for every die hard harness racing fan. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

One of the best free-for-all pacing fields of the year is assembled in southwestern Ontario Friday night for the annual highlight of the Western Fair (London) racing season, the $150,000 Molson Pace. Making the race doubly intriguing is the London oval itself: a half-mile track, with seven starters across (if they tried eight across, the outside horse would be starting from the front yard of the homeowner across the street), and the eight-hole as a trailer. This fact has traditionally been a major factor in the outcome of the race -- and betting on it. #1, STATE TREASURER, 3-1 (the author's morning line), driver Chris Christoforou on the WFR proof: Defending champion in the Molson, State Treasurer has been a bit "under the radar" in the States, but he has won three straight Preferreds at Woodbine, all under 1:50, the last in 1:48.3. The veteran Christoforou is behind a horse that has the ability to control the front, and thus the outcome of the race, with a quick enough start -- which will be the key to the contest. #2, BETTORS EDGE, 8-1, Doug McNair: Stuck with post nine in his last two standards, TVG legs at The Meadowlands, but coming home sub-26 in both. Showed early speed at Yonkers, but if the one horse leaves and the eight stays on his back, might have to take back. On paper, doesn't figure to get a great trip. #3, BANDOLITO, 6-1, Mark MacDonald: The "little horse that can" has had only one start in the last 27 days, where he was shuffled to last at The Meadowlands. His best bet may be to try to join the outer flow and, with his lightning acceleration, try to sweep the field down the backside, but that may be a tall order here. #4, APPRENTICE HANOVER, 4-1, Jody Jamieson: Since that impossible but magnificent second in the Levy Final, he has raced only once, on May 17 at Woodbine, where he sat second and came up a length shy to State Treasurer. If the pace gets overheated and he's in a good position entering the final turn -- look out! #5, DANCIN YANKEE, 9-2, Brett Miller: Very good in the Levy, and brilliant in his last two starts at Pocono Downs, in the latter equaling the all-time record for 5/8-mile tracks of 1:47.2 after reaching the half in 52.2. In terrific form, but at a positional disadvantage here, with lots of speed inside, and a closer as fearsome as Apprentice Hanover in front of him if the flow develops as expected. #6, P H SUPERCAM, 10-1, Jason Bartlett: Won the Levy Final when the inside opened up, and on the board in 13 of 14 starts. I'm not sure how Bartlett can work out any kind of favorable trip for the talented gelding from here. #7, FOILED AGAIN, 8-1, Yannick Gingras: Yes, that says "8-1" next to the Six Million Dollar Man. Again, it's all positioning -- even the great Gingras will have to be a magician to work out the winning trip (tuck fifth early then second-over, or something like that). But he knows the terrain-- this is his sixth Molson start. #8, CAPTIVE AUDIENCE, 9-2, Sylvain Filion: Meadowlands fans will remember him sweeping the Whata Baron Series. The main thing he has going for him here is the trailing post eight, with the speedy State Treasurer in front of him. If not locked in by parked horses, he could be well-placed throughout, and he has been in good form at Woodbine. By Jerry Connors, for Harnesslink.com    

This Week: Molson Pace, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontraio; Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Somebeachsomewhere, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Roll With Joe, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this weekend. Action begins on Friday (May 30) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Molson Pace for free for all pacers. In addition to the appearance of defending champion, State Treasurer, who will start from the rail, two-time winner Foiled Again drew the outside post seven in the eight-horse field and will be making his sixth appearance in London's signature race. Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $124,744 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies) on Saturday (May 31). Elimination winners Stevensville and All Bets Off lead the field in the Art Rooney Pace, while the Lismore is led by Southwind Silence and Tyra, who captured last weekend's pair of eliminations. Also on Saturday, Mohawk Racetrack will host a trio of C$75,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts. The Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (June 1) as Tioga Downs will host the $200,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for free for all pacers. Complete entries for the Yonkers and Tioga races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair and Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Maxie Lee Memorial for trotters and the Betsy Ross for Market Share won the $250,000 Maxie Lee by two lengths over Sevruga in 1:50.2. The time established the record for history's fastest on a five-eighths-mile track, which previously was 1:50.3 and shared by Sevruga and Uncle Peter. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick settled into fourth place behind Sevruga, Arch Madness, and Daylon Magician in the early part of the race. Market Share moved into second place on the backstretch before challenging Sevruga for the top spot on the final turn. Sevruga finished second followed by DW's NY Yank and Arch Maness. "Nowadays, when you win a stakes race it's either a stakes record or a world record," trainer Linda Toscano said. "The horses are faster, the equipment is better; you just have to go (speed wise) where you have to go to win. These are good horses, all of them." Market Share, a 5-year-old who won for the second time in three starts this season, is owned by Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine. Gutnick, a Philadelphia native, won the 2012 Maxie Lee with Chapter Seven. Two races later on the card, Anndrovette and Tetrick won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette took the lead from Monkey On My Wheel as the field headed to the halfway point and never looked back. Rocklamation made a late charge from the rear of the pack, but finished second. Jerseylicious was third, followed by Monkey On My Wheel. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Anndrovette paid $13.40 to win. Morning line favorite Shebestingin was scratched. It was Anndrovette's second win in seven starts this season and first since winning a leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on April 4. She was fourth in the Matchmaker final on April 26. Anndrovette, who captured the 2011 Betsy Ross, is owned by Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. The 7-year-old mare, a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, has won 37 of 95 career races and $2.77 million. She is trained by P.J. Fraley. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 286; 2. Tim Tetrick - 225; 3. George Brennan - 144.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 113: 5. Brian Sears - 101. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 410.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 97; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller - 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 96.85; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 94.35; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 40; 5. Brad Grant - 39.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at four different racetracks next weekend. The Meadows will host 3-year-old filly trotters with the Currier & Ives on Wednesday (June 4). Mohawk will feature three sets of eliminations for 3-year-olds, plus the Armbro Flight and Roses Are Red for older mares. The Goodtimes eliminations for colt trotters and the Armbro Flight eliminations for mare trotters will take place on Friday (June 6), while on Saturday (June 7) the track will host elims in the North America Cup (colt pacers), Fan Hanover (filly pacers) and Roses Are Red (mare pacers). Also on Saturday, Scioto Downs will host the Charlie Hill for free for all trotters and Balmoral Park will offer Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Can you imagine taking slapshots in your backyard with Sidney Crosby or catching perfect spirals in the schoolyard from Tom Brady? How cool would it be to practice free throws with Lebron James or hit a bucket of balls at the driving range with Tiger Woods?   It would be a whole bunch of awesome - almost as awesome as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity one fan will be treated to thanks to the Burke Racing Stable, Hands On Horses Program and The Raceway at Western Fair District.   One lucky patron will have the chance to ride along in a double-seated jog cart with Foiled Again - the sport's richest pacer of all-time - during his warm-up prior to facing the starting gate in Friday's $150,000 Molson Pace Invitational at the London, Ontario half-miler.   Foiled Again, a two-time Molson Pace winner (2011-12) who enjoyed a multiple award-winning campaign in 2013 for trainer Ron Burke, is scheduled to make an unprecedented sixth appearance in The Raceway's marquee event.   The nine-year-old son of Dragon Again-In A Safe Place is an 80-time winner who boasts career earnings totalling $6,219,750. He'll look to add to that staggering stash of cash Friday evening, but it won't be easy considering he's drawn Post 7.   Fans attending Friday evening's program at The Raceway will be given a ballot for their chance to win the ride of a lifetime with the undisputed king of toughness. First race post time for Friday's 12-race card is 7:05 p.m.   For more information about the Hands On Horse Program visit www.handsonhorsesprogram.com.   by Stacey Reinsma, for Hands On Horses Program

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