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Purchased for $250,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Sale, the 4-year-old trotter was unraced at age 2 because of immaturity, but has won five of his last eight starts dating back to August. He is 2-for-2 this season, with both victories coming in the preliminary rounds of the Super Bowl Series for 3- and 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands. Propulsion will start Saturday's $50,000 Super Bowl final from post one with driver Tim Tetrick. He is part of an entry with Blocking The Way and Opulent Yankee - a group that has been tabbed the 4-5 morning line favorite. "He's a horse we always had high hopes for, he just was really immature and needed some time," said Alagna, who trains Propulsion for owners Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco, Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, and the partnership of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Spending (a lot) of money doesn't guarantee they'll be good right away -- or ever -- but he's a very high-speed horse. He had some minor growing pains and it just took him a little while to put it all together. He reminds me a lot of (late stakes-winner) Modern Family as a young horse. He's got a lot of potential." Propulsion flashed that potential in October when he beat stakes-winner Odds On Amethyst by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.3 in a late closer at The Red Mile. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the 2007 Hambletonian Oaks-winning Danae, Propulsion (originally named Deyrolle) is a half-brother to stakes-winner D'Orsay and his famly also includes 1974 Horse of the Year, and successful broodmare, Delmonica Hanover. "After he won at Lexington, we knew this series was coming up, so we thought it would be a good place to get him back started on his 4-year-old career," Alagna said. "We shut him down so he would fit the series (conditions) and I think a lot of people keep these series in mind in the fall when they're deciding whether to go on or stop." Propulsion, who has won five of 10 career starts and earned $43,790, also is eligible to the Charles Singer Memorial Series and Shiaway St Pat Series at the Meadowlands. If all goes well, the horse could then head to the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters, which features three preliminary rounds followed by a $250,000 final. "He has the potential to be a Grand Circuit horse, he really does," Alagna said. "That's why these series are great for a horse like him because he can go through these three series at the Meadowlands and then have a little bit of a break and maybe go into that new Graduate Series. "It gives him a lot of nice starts against his own kind before he'd ever have to go against the better horses. But he'll have an opportunity and hopefully everything will go that way." Propulsion faces a tough group in the Super Bowl final. Opulent Yankee, who starts from post 10, also won both his preliminary races in the series. Other division winners JL Cruze, Two Hip Dip and Blocking The Way drew posts four through six, respectively. "I think it's a very tough series," Alagna said. "We've been tinkering with him a little, making some adjustments with him every start, and hopefully he'll be at his best for the final." Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also features the $56,000 Escort Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers and the $47,600 Worldly Beauty Series final for 3- and 4-year-old female pacers. The Worldly Beauty, on paper, shapes up as a showdown between Alagna's Witch Dali and Ron Burke's Donttellruss. Last week, Witch Dali had a five-race win streak snapped by Donttellruss, who posted a one-length victory in 1:51.3. Witch Dali, a daughter of Dali out of Whitesand Gem, missed nearly all of last season because of a foot issue. She returned in December and swept the Niagara Series at Woodbine, capturing the final in a series-record 1:51.2. "She had a foot issue that wouldn't resolve itself, so we just waited on her," said Alagna, who owns the 4-year-old mare with Brad Grant. "We just took our time and did the right thing by her, and she's paying us back so far. "She's been fantastic. She cut the mile (last week) and Donttellruss sat on her back and beat her, but it was more so the fact our mare was hot the other night. It's the first time she's really been overly aggressive and we made some changes on her this week for the final and I think she'll bounce right back. She came out of the race good and we're in good shape." Donttellruss will start the Worldly Beauty final from post six with driver Corey Callahan and is the 6-5 morning line favorite. Witch Dali will leave from post 10 with Tetrick and is the 9-5 second choice. By Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications/USTA    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will add Thursday night to the live harness racing schedule beginning on January 8. The first Thursday card of the year will feature the kick off to the annual Winter Late Closers, the Super Bowl for lightly seasoned 3 & 4YO trotters.   Leg one drew a healthy 37 entries which were split into four divisions each racing for $12,500, with the $50,000 final on January 24 the ultimate target.   Division one is the first race on the card and offers a look at two of the top prospects competing in the series. Royal Ice hasn't raced much for owner Marc Goldberg and trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer but bought himself a ticket to the 2014 Hambletonian with his stunning 1:51.3 maiden-breaking win last summer. He'll face JL Cruze, a winner thrice including an impressive Big M debut last week for Delaware connections who bought him last fall at Harrisburg. Eric Ell trains and John Campbell will drive.   Propulsion has blossomed late for trainer Tony Alagna, who likely hoping the Super Bowl will serve as a launching pad for the regally bred son of Muscle Hill to go on to bigger and better things for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband, Joe Sbrocco and Little E LLC. A three time winner last seaon, Propulsion set his 1:52.3 mark in Lexington last fall and scored in an overnight at The Meadowlands a month ago. He'll begin from post one in the second division (race 2) for driver Tim Tetrick.   Opulent Yankee is the logical choice in division three (race 4) off his recent form. A Red Mile 1:51.4 winner last fall Opulent Yankee has a win and a second in his last pair at The Meadowlands and will begin from post two on Thursday for owner Little E, LLC. Andy and Julie Miller are the driver and trainer, respectively.   The fourth division (race 7) is a Pari-Mutuel puzzler and there is no greater mystery than Nick Salenetri's unraced four-year-old Two Hip Dip. Off just a pair of qualifiers, Two Hip Dip gives the impression he may have been worth the wait with his most recent a solid 1:59.1 / 27.1 win for Dave Miller, who is listed for Thursday's race.   Speaking of Pari-Mutuels, the 8% take-out Hi 5 wager is proving to be the "it" bet now and The Meadowlands presents a pair of those opportunities nightly. The fifth race on Thursday will dispatch a bulky field of a dozen C-2 trotters going the route distance of a mile and one eighth and the jackpot carry-over for the wager is at $10,645.   The last race will see ten pacers off and the jackpot amount in that Hi 5 carry-over pool is over $28,000.   Post time on Thursday is 7:15pm. Further information is available by visiting The Meadowlands website.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

MANALAPAN, NJ - December 23, 2014 -Harness racings Hambletonian winner Trixton will receive the 2014 Secretary of Agriculture's Trophy as New Jersey Standardbred of the Year as selected by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Trixton and Deo Volente Farms, the 2014 New Jersey Breeder of the Year and the trotter's new home, will be among the honorees at the 58th Annual New Jersey Breeders Awards Luncheon at 1 p.m. on January 25, 2015 at Charley's Other Brother in Eastampton Township, NJ. Trixton will begin his career as a stallion in 2015, standing at Deo Volente Farms in Franklin Township, NJ for a fee of $12,000. "We think Mike Gulotta [CEO of Deo Volente Farms] has demonstrated great foresight to stand Trixton in New Jersey," said Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association President Tom Luchento. "We hope breeders will share his faith in the future of the New Jersey program and breed their mares to Trixton." Trixton was one of three stellar three-year-old trotting colts in the stable of Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter in 2014, heading into the prestigious Hambletonian on August 2 at the Meadowlands. While his stablemates, Father Patrick and Nuncio, seemed like the stronger contenders, it was Trixton who prevailed, with Takter picking up his first Hambletonian as a driver and third as a trainer [Malabar Man in 1997 and Muscle Massive in 2010]. Nuncio was second and Father Patrick made an uncharacteristic break in stride, finishing out of contention. Trixton's sire, Muscle Hill, is a son of Muscles Yankee; all three generations are Hambletonian winners and stallions who have stood in New Jersey. Trixton's 2014 victories also included the Good Times, Simpson, Reynolds, Simcoe and the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship. He was also honored as New Jersey Sire Stakes Horse of the Year. A $360,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase, the trotter raced for the partnership of Bengt Agerup's Brixton Medical AB of Orsundsbro, Sweden and Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ. He was bred by Steve H. Stewart of Paris, KY; Martti Ala-Seppala of Hollola, Finland and John Bootsman of Ekero, Sweden. In two seasons of racing, Trixton earned $947,057, taking a mark of 1:50.3 and posting 12 wins, two seconds and two thirds in 19 career starts. For tickets to the awards luncheon, which are $35 each, contact Kim Tkacs at 609-292-8830. by Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ          

Trixton, who trotted the fastest mile in New Jersey Sire Stakes history, has been selected as the New Jersey Sire Stakes' Premier Division Horse of the Year for 2014 while Strut My Stuff was named the Green Acres' Horse of the Year. The awards, which are voted annually by the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Trustees, are based solely on performances in races for New Jersey-sired horses, including NJSS races and other major stakes for NJ-sired horses. Trixton established the Sire Stakes record of 1:52.1 in winning the NJSS Premier Division Championship Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings in May at the Meadowlands. He was undefeated in NJSS competition, also winning a preliminary leg of the Premier Division. Jim Takter, who was the colt's trainer, drove in both victories. After his NJSS campaign, Trixton went on to win the Good Times and Simcoe at Mohawk in addition to the Reynolds and the $1,006.125 Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. The son of Muscle Hill won eight of 11 starts overall as a three-year-old, earning $893,370 overall this year for his owners Christina Takter and Brixton Medical Ab. The colt was bred by Steve Stewart, Marti Ala-seppala and John Bootsman. Strut My Stuff was undefeated in three NJSS Green Acres series starts at Freehold, including the $25,000 championship final for two-year-old pacing fillies in that series where she established a new Green Acres record for her division. Additionally, the daughter of Western Ideal was victorious in the $59,000 filly division of the Lou Babic. Trained by Ross Croghan for co-owners Let It Ride Stables of Boca Raton, FL and RBH Ventures of New York, Strut My Stuff finished the year with career earnings of $52,620. by Christopher Castens, for the New Jersey Sire Stakes

Southwind Farms, Manager of the Muscle Hill Syndicate, has announced that the book for the 2015 Breeding Season is now full and closed.  Muscle Hill will once again stand at Marion Farms, New Hope, Pennsylvania. Muscle Hill enjoyed a banner year, highlighted by TRIXTON’s Hambletonian win and MISSION BRIEF’s World Record performance at Lexington, becoming the fastest two year old trotter of all time, with her 1:50.3 victory.  He is currently the leading Money Winning Sire of Two Year Olds with over $2,000,000 in progeny earnings. In addition, he is the leading sire of 1:55 Three Year Olds.  Other top performers sired by Muscle Hill in 2014, include World Champion filly JOLENE JOLENE 2,1:52.1, MUSCLE DIAMOND 2,1:53.4, SOUTHWIND STRYKER 2,1:53.4, three year olds EL TITAN 2,1:53.4, HEAVEN’S DOOR 3,1:52, ROYAL ICE  3,1:51.3, ODDS ON AMETHYST 3,1:52.1,etc. Mike Klau, Syndicate Manager, said that he was overwhelmed with the booking requests that have come in and that breeding contracts for approved mares will be forwarded by the end of the month. We would like to thank everyone who has supported the stallion and would also like to welcome new shareholders, Coyote Wind Farm and Crawford Farm. Southwind Farm

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Ron Burke-trained Mission Brief, maintaining her stride throughout the mile, patiently progressed to the front and trotted away from her competition to a 1:51.4 score in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Trot at The Meadowlands on Friday, November 21. Wiclet Hanover gained the lead early, while Wild Honey tracked in the pocket. Driver Yannick Gingras guided Mission Brief advanced uncovered approaching the quarter, which was timed in :26.4. Wild Honey went off stride in the pocket, and Mission Brief cleared the lead into the backstretch. Unchallenged through fractions of :55.3 and 1:24.1, she drew away by 4¾ lengths with Danielle Hall chasing in second, Livininthefastlane in third, and Smexi in fourth. Mission Brief crossed the wire in a stakes record of 1:51.4, lowering the previous record of 1:53.4 set by Shake It Cerry last year. "The strategy was making the front whenever I had to," Yannick Gingras said, "and I didn’t really want to pressure too much in the first length for no reason. I thought I’d let the dust settle and she was so well behaved tonight she was letting me do what I had to do and she showed what she can do. "In Lexington she went a scary mile," Yannick explained,  "but tonight she could have gone 1:50 tonight just as easily as she went 1:51.4. I showed her the whip around last and she got into another gear and she had more than that. The talent this filly has is unbelievable, as long as she stays sound in her brain and she lets us do what we want to do with her she’s going to do amazing things." Bred by Black Creek Farm and S. Stewart, she is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry & Theresa Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. She paid $2.80 to win. Mission Brief by Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown

Mission Brief was able to mind her manners and wire the field in winning the 2nd race $25,000 elimination divisions for two-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands Friday. Driver Yannick Gingras took command away from Scented Roses and then cut fractions of :28.1, :57, 1:26.4 and then kicked in a :27.3 last quarter mile to win by three open lengths in 1:54.2. She paid just $2.60 to win. Second was Danielle Hall (Jody Jamieson) with Smexi (Corey Callahan) third. Also making it to the final next week were Lilu Hanover (fourth) and Hot Start (fifth) It was the eighth win in twelve starts for Mission Brief, who is sired by Muscle Hill. She is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stable, J & T Silva and Weaver Bruscemi. “She was really good tonight,” Gingras said. “She was on her best behavior. When she is like tonight she is tough to be. Coming down the stretch she was running out a little bit, she’s a little green, but once I touched her with the whip she kicked into second gear and she has five gears. No one was going to touch her.” Mission Brief Wild Honey posted her tenth straight win with an easy two length victory in her Breeders Crown 12th race division.  Driver Yannick Gingras waited in third place as Wiclet Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) went to the lead to the first quarter in :28.2. Then Gingras sent Wild Honey to the lead for good. She led to the half in :58.2, the three-quarters in 1:27.4 as Sarcy (Brett Miller) tried coming first over in vain with Liveininthefastlane (Tim Tetrick) second over.  Down the stretch Wild Honey kicked in a :27.4 last quarter mile to win it in 1:55.3. Livinthefastane was second with Wiclet Hanover third. Rounding out the final were Stubbborn Belle fouth and Love Me Madly fifth. "She has just been an unbeliveable girl," said trainer Jimmy Takter. "She's not very big, but she got a big heart and she the highest earners of all freshman fillies this year. She's just terrific." The daughter of Cantab Hall has ten wins in eleven starts with one second place finish in her very first start by only a nose. She is co-owned by Christina Takter, Jim and John Fielding and Herb Liverman.  Wild Honey UNBEATEN JK SHE'ALADY WINS 11th STRAIGHT Unbeaten JK She’salady notched her 11th straight win in 2014 as she was able to grind it out first-over to win her $25,000 Breeders Crown division for two-year-old pacing fillies by two and three-quarter lengths in 1:51.1 for trainer Nancy Johansson. With Tim Tetrick picking up the catch-drive for the championship events, JK She’salady journeyed first over from sixth nearing the half-mile mark and wore down fellow world record holder Sassa Hanover and her former driver Yannick Gingras. Sassa Hanover, who cleared to command past the :26.3 opening panel and led through middle splits of :55.1 and 1:23.4, held for second. Also advancing to the final in third through fifth were Bettor Be Steppin, Bettor N Better and Heavenly Bride. After the race, Tetrick discussed his first impressions of the Art Major filly. "There's a reason she's undefeated, she's a beautiful filly and knows how to get things done. She's special," he said. "She loves it first over. She loves this track...she loves every track, she hasn't lost," said co-owner and breeder Alan Katz of the 3 Brothers Stables. She paid $2.80 to win. JK She’salady The 6th race second division was marred by two disqualifications as the race winner was taken down and placed seventh. In the stretch, eventual race winner, Ideal Nuggets and driver Tim Tetrick, came out from fourth place on the rail and hit the legs of Well Hello There (Matt Kakaley). Also, fourth place finisher Happiness (Mike Simons) went inside the pylons coming down the stretch and was placed last. So once it was all done, Heart Major, who led most of the race, was placed first for driver Ron Pierce. The race had gone in 1:52.1. Divine Caroline (Corey Callahan) was placed second with Happy Becky (David Miller) placed third. Also making the final were Southwind Roulette in fourth and Well Hello There, who made a break, was double placed to fifth and makes the final. For Heart Major, the daughter Art Major posted her fifth win in just eight starts for trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. and paid $23.00 to win. She is co-owned by Dijo Racing, Joe Pavia, Jr. Stable, V. Barbera and S. Held. Heart Major, GALLIE BY THE BEACH UPSETS AT 9-1 Closing with a burst of speed from the top of the stretch, Gallie Bythe Beach and driver Tim Tetrick rallied home off the cover of eventual runner-up Major Dancer (Brian Sears) to pull off a 9-1 upset in her elimination division of the Breeders Crown for three-year-old pacing fillies. She covered the one mile race in 1:50.4. Beach Gal finished third while Gettingreadytoroll was fourth and even-money favourite Sayitall BB was fifth. Sayitall BB and driver Yannick Gingras retook the lead from fellow supplemental entry Nat A Virgin after a :27.1 opening panel before Act Now swept around the top two near the :55 half-mile mark. Act Now then led the field by three-quarters in 1:22.4 and into the stretch before the late-closers closed in. "To have a daughter of Galleria come out here and race the way she raced tonight and get us to the final, we're very excited," said Jim Campbell, who trains Fashion Farms' homebred Somebeachsomewhere filly. Campbell explained that Gallie Bythe Beach learned to race off-the pace in Delaware winning a elimination heat of the Jugette and was also victorious using those same tactics in the Bluegrass Series at The Red Mile. "She can still go the other way if she needs to, she just happened to go some better races off the pace," he added. Gallie Bythe Beach paid $20.60 to win. Gallie Bythe Beach The seventh race second elimination division for three-year-olds pacing fillies saw Color’s A Virgin impress everyone by going first-over and grinding it out against Weeper, pulling away in the stretch for a one and three-quarter length triumph in 1:51. Driven by Trace Tetrick, Color’s A Virgin posted a lifetime mark with her seventh straight win and 13th victory on the year for trainer Brian Brown. The daughter of Always A Virgin is owned and bred by the Emerald Highlands Farm of Mount Vernon, Ohio. Sandbetweenurtoes (Brian Sears) was first on the lead in :27.2. Then Weeper and Ron Pierce brushed to the lead by the half in :56.2 as Tetrick moved Color’s A Virgin first up from fifth place. Uffizi Hanover (Brett Miller) grabbed her live cover. Precocious Beauty (Doug McNair) closed well to be second with Allstar Rating (Yannick Gingras) third. Also making the final were Uffizi Hanover in fourth and Beach Story fifth. Color’s A Virgin paid $3.80 to win. “It’s exciting,” said Trace Tetrick. “My mare showed up. She raced like she did all summer and she deserves a shot next week. She did it all summer racing first-over a lot. She comes through every week. She been a great mare.” Color’s A Virgin By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The temperature was just above the freezing mark for an eight-pack of qualifiers Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack. The track was listed as fast Friday, but the judges did allow a one second variant on the chilly and windy morning. Many eyes were on the seventh qualifier, as World champion Hes Watching and Milton Stakes winner Voelz Hanover lined up behind the gate. Leaving from post six in a field of six, Voelz Hanover and Randy Waples sprinted off the gate to grab the early, while Hes Watching and Jody Jamieson dropped in the two-hole. After an opening-quarter of :28, Volez Hanover kept the tempo hot with a :27.3 second-quarter to lead Hes Watching by half a dozen lengths. Voelz Hanover reached the three-quarter pole in 1:24, but Hes Watching, who was five lengths back, started to hit his best stride as they rounded the far turn. In the stretch, Hes Watching would track down Voelz Hanover, but came up half a length short at the wire in 1:53.4. Hes Watching paced his last quarter in :28.4, while Voelz Hanover's final panel was in :29.4. Hes Watching was making his second qualifying appearance in as many weeks in preparation for the Breeders Crown eliminations next weekend at the Meadowlands. The son of American Ideal is trained by Dave Menary, who shares ownership with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. Hes Watching has won five of 12 starts this season for earnings of over $837,000. His career bankroll currently sits at over $1.1 million. Voelz Hanover was making her first appearance since finishing fourth in the Fillies & Mares Preferred at Mohawk on October 10. She was entered to race the following week at Woodbine, but was a vet scratch sick. A nine-year-old daughter of Astreos, Voelz Hanover recorded the biggest victory of her career back in September when she won the $286,000 Milton Stakes at Mohawk. She is trained by Corey Johnson for owner Richard Berthiaume and has won six of 16 starts this season for earnings of over $262,000. Voelz Hanover's career record currently sits at 44 wins from 168 starts for earnings of over $1.7 million. Also making an appearance Friday morning was Valley Victory elimination winner Whataworkout. The Frank Antonacci trainee turned in a 25 length victory in 1:58. Driven by Domenico Cecere, Whataworkout was making his first appearance since making a break in the stretch of the $521,000 Valley Victory on October 25 at Woodbine. A two-year-old son of Muscle Hill, Whataworkout has won twice in his first five starts for earnings of over $32,000. He is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut. Ontario Sires Stakes standout Sports Chic was also a winner Friday morning. A two-year-old daughter of Sportswriter, Sports Chic won her qualifier by 13 lengths in 1:56.4. Driven by Jody Jamieson, this was Sports Chic's first charted line since finishing fourth in the $250,000 OSS Super Final on October 11 at Mohawk. Trained by Blake Macintosh, Sports Chic has won five times from 10 starts for earnings of over $241,000. Macintosh is also a co-owner of the filly along with Hutt Racing Stable. The full list of Friday morning's winners can be found below. Mohawk Qualifiers - Friday, November 7 Race 1 - Whataworkout (Domenico Cecere) - 1:58 Race 2 - Sports Chic (Jody Jamieson) - 1:56.4 Race 3 - Sas Warkentin (Scott Young) - 2:00 Race 4 - Century Angeldust (Mike Saftic) - 1:58.2 Race 5 - Barefoot Beauty (Doug McNair) - 1:59.1 Race 6 - Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) - 2:00.2 Race 7 - Voelz Hanover (Randy Waples) - 1:53.4 Race 8 - Screen The Call (Jody Jamieson) - 1:58   Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred  

 Russell Williams, vice-president of the famous nursery Hanover Shoe Farms and a director on the boards of many of harness racing's top organizations, and Charles Keller III, who carried on the tradition of his father's famous Yankeeland Farm and also continues to serve the sport on many of its top organizations' boards, have been announced as the finalists for the 2014 Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, it has been announced by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). After the various chapters of USHWA submitted nominations for the award, the highest honor USHWA bestows based on voting only by its members and given for outstanding achievement in/service to the sport, the nominees were sent to the Association's directors, who voted to winnow down the candidates to the top two. Williams and Keller will now be voted on by the entirety of USHWA during the annual Dan Patch Awards balloting honoring the year's stars, both equine and human; that balloting will be conducted in early December. Williams, the grandson of Hanover's founder Lawrence Sheppard, plays a major part in the operation of the world's leading Standardbred-producing farm, where he keeps his own small but select band of broodmares (he is the breeder of the million-dollar-winning top three-year-old colt Nuncio). He is also vice chairman of the U.S. Trotting Association, the sport's supervisory organization, and a trustee of the American Horse Council and the Harness Racing Museum. Williams is also a noted "equine philanthropist," financing the possibility of many Standardbreds being able to live out their lives with dignity, including retired Hanover broodmares. Keller, the son of noted Yankees baseball player "King Kong" Keller, took over operation of Yankeeland Farms, which his father established, in 1990 until the farm's closing in 2006. The farm bred two Hambletonian winners, Muscles Yankee (1998) and Yankee Paco (2000), and it also bred Yankee Blondie, the dam of 2009 winner Muscle Hill, along with countless other divisional champions. It has produced the outstanding sires Yankee Glide and Yankee Cruiser, and has been the cradle of four Breeders Crown winners Keller is the chairman of the executive committee of the Hambletonian Society, a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum, and a former director of the U. S. Trotting Association. The Bergstein/Proximity winner, along with the awards for the best of 2014, will be given at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards dinner on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld; more details, including on accommodations, will be forthcoming soon. USHWA

October 11, 2014. Today showcased the 2014 German Grand Prix Yearling Sale at Hambourg, Germany. 64 head were cataloged with 61 sold (95%) for €770,500, an average of €12,631. Two consigned by legendary German breeder Alwin Shockemohle led the way, each bringing €80,000. Scully’s Princess (f, Donato Hanover-Scully FBI), a half-sister to Federal Flex, and Lady Muscles (f, Muscle Hill-Chieftess-Credit Winner, from a full-sister to Judge Joe, led the parade. Pedigrees of these two and video links follow.               Scullys Princess https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W9KSlb8-LA   Lady Muscles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGGWRXhCKmM Thomas H. Hicks

Yesterday at the harness racing meeting at Gore another daughter of the Muscles Yankee sire, Muscle Mass was a winner at just her third lifetime start. Mass Invasion is a 4 year old mare by Muscle Mass who is trained at Rakauhauka by Clark Barron for his father in law Joe Crooks. Sent out favourite after being unlucky at her previous start, Clark jumped Mass Invasion to an early lead from barrier four. Attacked after 300 metres by Springfield Eyre who went to the front, Clark immediately took Mass Invasion out of the trail and back into the lead and it was a lead she would never surrender. Keeping up a good clip the whole journey, Mass Invasion had too many guns in the straight and comfortably held off her challengers. Mass Invasion trotted the 2200 metres from a stand in 2:57.6 with closing sectionals of 60.6 and 30. Clark has a bit of time for the young trotter who only qualified in late August. "This is really only her first serious preparation and she has come a long way in a short time. She is a lovely gaited trotter with great manners as she showed yesterday," he said. The track had plenty of top on it early in the day and Clark thought Mass Invasion wasn't as fluid as normal in the conditions. "The track had a lot of top in race one and she wasn't completely at ease in it She wasn't that happy in front either but after being so unlucky the start before I thought I would take luck out of the equation," Clark said  Clark thinks that she will handle the step up to the C1 grade going on her trial runs. "She has raced a lot of the C1 trotters at trials and more than held her own so I think she will handle the rise in class," he said. Mass Invasion is one of only five live foals from the first crop of Muscle Mass that were sired by frozen semen. The whole five are 4 year old mares and Mass Invasion is his third winner but the best performer from that crop of five is undoubtedly K D Muscles 2:00.1 ($40,297) who though placed second in both the Trotting Oaks and the PGG Sales race, is yet to win on raceday. Muscle Mass was not available in 2011 or 2012 to New Zealand breeders but was available in 2013 via fresh semen and does have 55 yearlings to represent him next season. With his oldest crop just coming to the end of their four year old season in North America, Muscle Mass has $7,606,424 on his card already with 11 in 1:55. Muscle Mass is currently 11th on the North American 2 year old sires list this season while his full brother Muscle Massive is a close second to Muscle Hill with his first crop of 2 year olds. With the performance of his stock in North America and of the handful of his 4 year olds in New Zealand, you would expect the stock of Muscle Mass to be keenly sought after at next years sales. Harnesslink Media  

MANALAPAN, NJ – October 9, 2014 – SS Poseidon, winner of the $40,000 Harold Dancer Trot, is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the $33,500 New Jersey Futurity for harness racing two-year-old trotters, the third race on Friday, October 10, 2014 at Freehold Raceway. The Futurity, restricted to New Jersey-sired trotters, is sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.  SS Poseidon [Muscle Hill], coupled in the wagering with Firestop [Muscles Yankee], will leave from post one with Steve Smith driving for trainer Erv Miller.  He has two wins, four seconds and a third in nine starts this year, banking $88,505 for Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, IL and Shim Racing LLC of Deerfield, IL. Paymaq is co-owner of Firestop, driven by Eric Abbatiello and trained by Julie Miller.  The partnership also includes Douglas Sipple of Georgetown, DE and Daniel Plouffe of Bromont, Quebec. Firestop has two seconds in six starts and leaves from post six. The Ray Schnittker trained entry of Broken Record and Switchblade Hall, both sons of Muscles Yankee, are rated 7-5 in the morning line.  Broken Record, who will be driven by Schnittker, drew post two while Jordan Stratton gets the call on Switchblade Hall, leaving from post five.   Broken Record won the New Jersey Sire Stakes –Green Acres Final at Freehold on September 18 and finished third in the Harold Dancer Final while Switchblade was third in the Green Acres Final and second in the Dancer. The Francisco Del Cid trained and driven Mountain Top [Muscle Hill] starts from post three and is rated 7-1. Two fillies will take on the colts in the open event.  Demons N Diamonds [Muscle Hill], who won the filly division of the Green Acres, is 4-1 in the morning line from post four with Daniel Dube in the sulky, and Contraire [Muscles Yankee] is 25-1 from outside post seven with Ake Svanstedt listed to drive. Co-featured on the Friday card is the $25,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes – Green Acres Final for two-year-old pacing fillies, the eighth race. Seven fillies are scheduled to go postward with Smart Zone [Rocknroll Hanover] rated the 7-5 morning line favorite from post two.  Steve Smith will handle the Erv Miller trainee, who is owned by Paymaq Racing and D&M Trading LLC of Chicago.  She has a record of four wins, two seconds and two thirds from 11 starts and earnings in excess of $50,000.  Strut My Stuff, who captured the Lou Babic Filly in her last start, carries a three-race winning streak and is the 5-2 second choice from post three.  Jack Baggitt Jr. will drive the Ross Croghan-trained daughter of Western Ideal. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

The breeding season is here once again and harness racing is in good heart if the number of trotting stallions available this season is any guide. For the last two breeding seasons trotting bred mare numbers have been holding up remarkably well when compared to their pacing counterparts. The number of pacing mares has been slowly dropping for a wee while now Two seasons ago the number of pacing mares served numbered 2582 but last season saw another drop of 185 mares to bring the total served down to 2397 However in the 2012/2013 breeding season 644 trotting mares were served by 31 stallions and in the 2013/2014 breeding season 617 mares were served by 29 stallions. In light of those figures it is somewhat surprising that the number of trotting sires available to breeders has continued to grow, especially via frozen semen.  In the upcoming season the number of trotting stallions available to breeders has risen to 36. In the last breeding season only four stallions served more than 50 mares for the year and between them that four captured 319 of the mares served leaving just 298 mares for the other 25 stallions. It is little wonder the average trotting breeder is getting confused and having trouble sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Some of the trotting sires available via frozen semen are well established such as Andover Hall, Angus Hall, Muscle Hill, Love You and Muscles Yankee but quite a few are new to the stallion game in New Zealand and it is hard to gage where they sit in the overall scheme of things. Of those available via fresh semen last year, the North American owned Majestic Son served 161 mares in New Zealand and with the season his stock had on the track he should serve a large book again this year. Superfast Stuart (54)  Monarchy (51)  The Pres (50) and Monkey Bones (40) were other sires available via fresh semen last season who served reasonable numbers and they all have one thing in common.  These sires are owned in New Zealand and represent a major investment by the studs/owners but with the number of sires available via frozen semen growing to 26 this year they may have a struggle on their hands to attract mares. If the number of European and North American sires available via frozen semen continues to grow, the days of New Zealand studs and owners standing sires they own via fresh semen may be coming to an end. Weather that is in the best long term interests of the New Zealand industry is highly questionable. Harnesslink Media

Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Lexington, KY - Grand Circuit harness racing resumes on Friday at The Red Mile with no fewer than eight two-year-old stakes on the eleven race card. The $382,600 International Stallion Stakes (INSS) for colt trotters drew five divisions while the $253,000 filly pace split three ways.   The pacing fillies open the Friday matinee card in races one, three and five with the middle division looking the toughest on paper. That split features the Red Mile debut of undefeated World Champ JK She'salady for owner/breeders the 3 Brothers Stable of New York.   The Art Major filly from Presidential Lady has been just vicious thus far in her seven race career putting a few withering moves on the competition at Mohawk including the record-equaling 1:50.1 mile in the $441,600 She's A Great Lady final. Her most recent was an easy score in a division of the Kentuckiana stakes at Hoosier Park.   Trained in the Nancy Johansson barn and driven by Yannick Gingras, JK She'salady will find a pretty talented field waiting for her on Friday.   Chief among the competition is the speedy Bettor Be Steppin, who won the other Kentuckiana split and further impressed last week here in Lexington with a forwardly placed 1:52 win, closing it out with a 26.3 final quarter under no pressure. She races for the Val D'Or Farms, Rojan Stables and Ted Gewertz and is trained by Joe Holloway, who has long had a "way with the ladies".   The accomplished Bedroomconfessions also caught this division as did Hilary's Style and Heavenly Bride, both coming off excellent races in week one of the meet.   Two of the Bluegrass division winners from last week will meet in a division of the INSS carded as the day's tenth race. The Bank and Southwind Stryker square off for the top prize in the $76,100 contest. Both colts trotted in 1:53.4 in their respective Bluegrass start and both used a stalking trip to get the job done.   The Bank has a slight post advantage beginning from post two for trainer/driver Jimmy Takter. He rolled up second over, closing in 28 flat to win by a half-length. Bred by part owner Goran Falk he races for Falk and Christina Takter and has made just shy of $65,000 thus far.   Southwind Stryker (Muscle Hill x Soxeelady) was a winner for the very first time in the Bluegrass mile but is just shy of the $100,000 mark in earnings for the partnership of Millard, Van Camp, Taylor and trainer Brad Maxwell who gave $40,000 for him at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last fall. Driver Tim Tetrick gave him a good trip then said good things about the colt last week and has the return engagement this Friday.   It is by no means a two horse races as Haughton winner Centurion ATM and the highest priced yearling of 2013 Whom Shall I Fear (Father Patrick's little brother) are also a part of the talented field.   Friday post time is 1:00pm.   Nick Salvi

Columbus, OH --- Harness Racing Update is reporting that Hambletonian champion Trixton has been retired. Trainer/driver Jimmy Takter confirmed to HRU that the son of Muscle Hill-Emilie Cas El, who last raced in the Canadian Trotting Classic, where he broke stride, has had some nagging problems that finally caught up with the colt. To read the full story, click here. Trixton - Hambletonian from the USTA Communications Department 

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