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The recognition of the importance of the trotting sector to the overall health of the breeding and racing history by successive Harness Racing Victoria administrations paid a handsome dividend last breeding season. Five years ago there were 550 trotting mares bred from in Australia compared to 734 bred from in New Zealand, however, there has been a dramatic turnaround created by an increase in racing opportunities and split gender age classics in Victoria. Figures compiled from last season reveal that the numbers of trotting mares bred from in New Zealand had dropped 20.8% from 2009 to 581, while in Australia the situation was a mirror image with an increase of 11.8% to 615. Remarkably the percentage of trotting mares bred from in Australia in 1999/2000 represented just 4.8% (454 of 9,413) of the total mares bred from, however, the comparative figure for 2013/14 was 10.1% (603 out of a total 5,975). The figure for 2014/15 is expected to be marginally higher again. Headlining the numbers were Majestic Son USA with 97 mares, Yankee Spider with 56, Bacardi Lindy USA (43), Angus Hall USA (36), Great Success USA (28), Imperial Count USA (27), Fling It USA (25), Ready Cash (FRA) (23), Muscle Hill USA (23), Andover Hall USA (22), Victoria Trotters Derby winner Danny Bouchea (21) and La Coocaracha’s son Louey Louey Louey (20). A fascinating survey of the comparative numbers of mares served by stallions based in Australia, New Zealand, North America is illuminating, especially when looking at the situation in 1999/2000. Australian based stallions served 356 mares in the 2014/15 season (383 in 1999/2000), New Zealand based stallions served 10 mares in 2014/15 (8 in 1999/2000), North American based stallions 216 mares in 2014/15 (26 in 1999/2000) and finally European based stallions 33 mares in 2014/15 (16 in 2014/15). I think they call that internationalization. The news just keeps getting too as there is an impending announcement of the importation of a 1:53 2/5s winning son of 2007 USA Harness Horse of the Year and Hambletonian winner Donato Hanover.  Furthermore, after decades of spurning the trotter Alabar Farms will be offering the frozen semen of not only Majestic Son but also the Danish Derby winner Peak who distinguished himself by also winning the Group One NZ Trotters FFA at Addington (NZ). Peak is by French stallion Ganymede, the sire of 45 Classic winners in Europe as well the Vicbred Super Sires 4YO champion Vincennes, who won the Wagon Apollo FFA at Tabcorp Park (Melton) at his last racetrack appearance. And to think that 55 years ago there was not a single North American trotting stallion in Australia and the numbers of trotting foals being bred was less than one hundred. Thank heavens for the visionary Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Famer Chris Howe who stood Bank Note, the first American trotting stallion imported direct to Australia post WW2 in 1961, and later Mt Everest. Chris was a tireless evangelist for the trotter, however, his efforts would have counted for little had it not been for administrators such as Graeme Cochran who insisted that the Victoria Sires Stake feature three age trotting classics and furthermore under his watch the Inter Dominion Trotters Championship came to Victoria for the first time and the Victoria Trotters Oaks was inaugurated. Next Friday night at Tabcorp Park there will be a ten race all trotting programme headlined by six Group One Vicbred Super Sires Finals, a stunning endorsement of the vision of administrators who supported the never say die efforts of countless trotting breeders and enthusiasts. John Peck

Aldebaran Eagle has held his own against some of the best 3-year-old male trotters around and now harness racing trainer Jonas Czernyson is hoping the colt is ready to soar as he prepares for Saturday's Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot eliminations at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Beal elims are part of a jam-packed card at Pocono, where eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers, Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers also will be contested. Aldebaran Eagle, who has won only two of 15 career races but hit the board a total of 11 times, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line in the first of three Beal eliminations. He will start from post No. 1 in the six-horse field with driver Corey Callahan. Dexter Cup winner Habitat, who starts from post three with Jim Morrill Jr. driving for trainer Ron Burke, is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The division also includes Walter White, Cruzado Dela Noche, Southwind Mozart, and Boots N Chains. The top three finishers from each Beal elimination advance to the $500,000 final on July 4 at Pocono. Aldebaran Eagle enters his race off a 1:52.1 victory over older horses in a conditioned race June 12 at the Meadowlands. He also has one second-place finish and two third-place finishes in four starts this season. He finished third in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, behind Canepa Hanover and French Laundry, and was second to Guess Whos Back in a preliminary round of the NJSS. "He's been racing pretty nicely, so we can't complain there," Czernyson said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. Now we're kind of getting to the test to see what we have. He raced in a lot of the big dances (last year). He was always there, but he kind of stayed in the shadows of the best ones. "He was kind of big and growthy as a 2-year-old, but he kept it together pretty good. He spent the whole winter in the (resistance) cart and it muscled him up good. I think that's been paying off on him. So far he's been coming along pretty good." Aldebaran Eagle is a son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Letsjustalkaboutme. He was purchased under the name Ramblings for $70,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale and his family includes stakes-winners Ifhallscouldtalk, Armbro Hilary, and Armbro Marshall as well as Dan Patch Award winner Delmegan. Owned by Australian-based Aldebaran Park Inc., Aldebaran Eagle has earned $112,069 in his career. "I liked him from when we bought him at the sale pretty much," Czernyson said. "He was doing everything right. He's got very good owners on him. They're happy to branch out here and so far it's been working for them." Last year, Aldebaran Eagle won a division of the International Stallion Stakes at odds of 106-1. He defeated Whom Shall I Fear by a head and Peter Haughton Memorial winner Centurion ATM by a neck. "You can pretty much do whatever you want with him," Czernyson said. "He can leave pretty good, but he doesn't have to leave. If you don't want to leave with him, you don't have to. So he's pretty versatile that way." The second division of Beal eliminations features the Jimmy Takter-trained entry of Pinkman and Whom Shall I Fear, which is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Pinkman was the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter and Whom Shall I Fear is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick. Whom Shall I Fear starts from post four with driver David Miller and Pinkman starts from post five with driver Yannick Gingras. Nik Drennan-trained and Brian Sears-driven Guess Whos Back is the 5-2 second choice in the division, which also includes Donatomite, Honor And Serve, Centurion ATM, and Wicker Hanover. The third Beal elimination is led by Crazy Wow, who captured the Empire Breeders Classic on June 21 at Vernon Downs in a track-record 1:51.1. Crazy Wow is the 2-1 favorite from post two with Gingras driving for trainer Burke. Sharing honors as second choice at 5-2 are Shoot The Thrill and Uncle Lasse. Shoot The Thrill will leave from post one with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Dirk Simpson. Uncle Lasse, who brings a three-race win streak to the Beal and a mark of 1:51.4, starts from post six with Brett Miller at the lines for trainer Takter. Completing the field are Code Ben, Divisionist, and Billy Flynn. "The 3-year-old colts this year, there's one (good one) after another, after another, after another," Czernyson said. "There are tough horses out there. I don't think I can remember seeing so many good 3-year-old colts that have been out this early. They're just taking turns at who wants to be the fastest. It's tough to throw out anyone and say they're not good enough to be here." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Manalapan, NJ --- Training down, 2-year-old harness racing male trotter Southwind Frank didn't act like much of a race horse. But ever since getting a taste of more speed, he's come around. Southwind Frank was one of four Ron Burke-trained 2-year-olds to win qualifiers Monday at Gaitway Farms. A son of Muscle Hill out of the mare Flawless Lindy, he won in 1:55.3 over a track labeled "good" to lead all trotters. Last week, Southwind Frank finished second by a nose in 2:00.1. "He was very good and he was very good in his first qualifier," Burke said. "He's funny. He was a horrible colt all the way until 2:30, but he's just gotten better and better. The faster you go, the better he gets. He couldn't trot in three minutes to save his life. He was horrible gaited and didn't have a great attitude. But every time we trained him he got a little better and then at like 2:30 it clicked. "He's been a completely different horse since then. Either we were doing a very bad job at first or we're doing a great job now. Horses learn at their own rates. You can push them all you want; some of them are going to do it quick, some you're going to have to wait on." Southwind Frank was purchased as a yearling for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, which was to the colt's benefit. "He was a $100,000 baby so we didn't just cut him loose," Burke said. "I thought I had to give him a chance and I kept making stakes payments, and worried I was throwing just good money after bad, but for once it worked out." Burke-trained male trotter Southwind Flash (Muscle Hill-Friendly Amigo) followed his stablemate onto the track and won his qualifier in 1:58.4. Burke also won with 2-year-old male pacers Lyons Snyder (Well Said-Armbro Cachet) in 1:55.1 and Viceroy Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Vasmajorty Hanover) in 1:56. Both were winners a week ago, Lyons Snyder by 9-1/2 lengths in 1:56.2. "He's a real horse too I think," Burke said. "He's just got to mind his manners. Today was good. He let somebody go, he came back; he had multiple moves. He did everything you're looking for in a horse." Female pacer Skinny Dipper (Somebeachsomewhere-Xhilaration) posted the day's fastest mile for the 2-year-olds, winning the morning's first qualifier in 1:54.2 with a :56.1 final half-mile. It was her first time qualifying. "I didn't want that kind of mile, but they went those fractions up front and she seems like she did it real easy, and that's the main thing," trainer Ross Croghan said. "All winter she had a beautiful, big, loping gait. She looked like a 4-year-old training down, and sometimes that's what you want to see. "She'll qualify one more time, a little slower I hope." Tony Alagna captured two qualifiers, the first with female pacer Call Me Queen Be (Somebeachsomewhere-Preppy Party Girl) in 1:56.3 and the second with male pacer Craftship (Art Major-Capri Hanover) in 1:56.4. "(Call Me Queen Be) is a really nice filly," Alagna said. "She's been nice all along. She acts like a really nice filly and I'm real happy with her today. "I'm really happy with the group I've got overall. We're having a good day. And we qualified some nice colts (at the Meadowlands) on Saturday and last week here." Alagna also was happy with Dr J Hanover, a colt named in honor of Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, the farm manager at Hanover Shoe Farms. Dr J Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-So Perfect) was purchased under the name Stepenwolf Hanover for $300,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. His mother was a stakes winner and his family includes stakes-winners Perfectionist, Lifetime Member and Copywriter as well as millionaire Image Of Dawn. Dr J Hanover, making his debut, finished fourth in his qualifier, which was won by Troyce Thomas' Whata Twist (Quik Pulse Mindale-Passage) in 1:56.2. "I was very happy with his first go," Alagna said. "They paced the back half in 55 seconds and he closed into it and was right there at the wire. "He's got a lot of pressure on him with his namesake," he added with a laugh. "She texted me first thing this morning wishing good luck. We're very happy with him." No other trainer sent out more than one winner among the 2-year-olds. Other female pacers posting victories were Gerard Malanga's Sail To The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Sail Away) in 1:55 and Tom Fanning's Burden Of Proof (Western Terror-Dragonfest) in 1:57.2. Other male pacers winning were Aaron Lambert's Biggie (Somebeachsomewhere-Wenditions) in 1:55.2. Notching triumphs among the female trotters were Chris Ryder's Muffin Hanover (Andover Hall-Mayday Hanover) in 2:01.3 and Jimmy Takter's Keep It Classy (Yankee Glide-Classical Girl) in 2:02.1. For complete charts of all of Monday's qualifiers at Gaitway, click here. Ken Weingartner      

During the winter, harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter said 3-year-old trotter Canepa Hanover could be "a Trixton kind of horse." As summer approaches, Canepa Hanover is doing his best to prove Takter correct. Canepa Hanover is the 2-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's C$233,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old trotters at Mohawk Racetrack. Last week, the colt won his Goodtimes elimination by 11-1/2 lengths over Iron in 1:51.3. The time equaled Trixton's track record set in last year's Goodtimes final. But the similarities don't end there. Both Trixton and Canepa Hanover are sons of stallion Muscle Hill, the 2009 Horse of the Year, and hail from highly regarded families. Trixton is out of the mare Emilie Cas El, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1994 and sister to stars Conway Hall, Angus Hall and Andover Hall. Canepa Hanover is out of the mare Cressida Hanover, who also produced 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster. Trixton sold as a yearling for $360,000; Canepa Hanover for $300,000. Both trotters were limited by growing pains at age 2 and were overshadowed by some of their stablemates heading into their 3-year-old seasons. Trixton emerged early in his 3-year-old campaign and went on to capture the Hambletonian Stakes; now it is up to Canepa Hanover to write the rest of his story. "He's going the same path," Takter said about Canepa Hanover, who has won two of five races this year and hit the board in every start. "A lot of these Muscle Hills, they have tons of ability, but it just takes time sometimes. "Both Trixton and Canepa were among the better horses early (at age 2) but both are very big horses and they couldn't hold the speed together. They just weren't ready for it. You have to have a little patience with them." Canepa Hanover won one of six races last year. His victory came in a Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes prep race in 1:58.1 at the Meadowlands and he finished second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. He went off stride in three races, including the Haughton final. This year, the colt posted two second-place finishes and a third in his first three starts, then captured the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands and his Goodtimes elim in 1:51.3. Those are the two fastest win times of any 3-year-old trotter this season. "He's definitely a fantastic horse," said Takter, who trains Canepa Hanover for owners Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical Inc., Christina Takter, and the partnership of Sam Goldband, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. "His ability is unbelievable, as good as I ever saw. "You always worry when you have horses climbing this kind of speed staying sound. He already has two (1):51 miles and a couple (1):52 miles. It's tough racing. But he's a beautiful horse." Canepa Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras will start the Goodtimes final from post four. He's not Takter's only hope in the Goodtimes, either. French Laundry won the other Goodtimes elimination, beating stablemate The Bank by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:53.3. He will start from post three in the final with driver Brett Miller and is 2-1 on the morning line. French Laundry, a son of Muscles Yankee-Creamy Mimi, has won nine of 15 career races and earned $360,269 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Katz, and Libfeld. "He's not the best gaited horse, but he never gives up," Takter said. "He's a warrior. I like him." Following is the Goodtimes field in post order with sires, drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Hemi Seelster by Holiday Road, Stephen Byron, John Bax, 30-1 2. Caulfield by Kadabra, Trevor Henry, Chris Beaver, 30-1 3. French Laundry by Muscles Yankee, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 2-1 4. Canepa Hanover by Muscle Hill, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 2-5 5. Covert Operative by Deweycheatumhowe, Randy Waples, Per Henriksen, 30-1 6. Rubber Duck by Muscle Mass, Sylvain Filion, Julie Walker, 20-1 7. The Bank by Donato Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 10-1 8. Win The Day by Deweycheatumhowe, Chris Christoforou, Paul Reid, 20-1 9. Olympic Son by Majestic Son, John Campbell, Paul Reid, 30-1 10. Iron by Cantab Hall, Tim Tetrick, Frank Antonacci, 12-1 11. AE - Infiniti AS by Infiniti, Richard Zeron, Anette K Lorentzon by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 12 - Canepa Hanover put the entire three-year-old trotting colt division on notice with another dominant harness racing performance Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 13 sophomore trotting colts and geldings were split into two $30,000 eliminations for the Goodtimes Stakes. The first elimination featured New Jersey Sires Stakes champion Canepa Hanover and the Jimmy Takter trainee more than lived up to the hype. Sent off as the 1/9 choice, Canepa Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras trotted out to the lead and posted an opening-quarter of :27.1. The middle-half saw the son of Muscle Hill hang up panels of :55.3 and 1:23.2 before trotting home under cruise control to win by an incredible 11½ lengths in 1:51.3. The impressive clocking equaled the track record of set by Trixton, also a Takter trainee, in last year's Goodtimes final. "He's got crazy power," said Gingras following the race. "He was even better tonight than he was in the sires stakes. Tonight he got over this track very good. At the quarter in :27.1 I felt like I was going :30." The Frank Antonacci trainee Iron finished second, while Rubber Duck finished third. Hemi Seelster and Olympic Son finished fourth and fifth to secure spots in next week's final. Canepa Hanover is owned by Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical Inc., Christina Takter and the partnership of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. He now has two wins this season and has not missed the board in five starts. Canepa Hanover, who was a $300,000 yearling purchase, pushed his career earnings to $112,150 with the victory. He paid $2.10 to win. Canepa Hanover The combination of Gingras and Takter teamed up to also take the second elimination with French Laundry. A son of Muscles Yankee, French Laundry followed stablemate The Bank in the second-quarter to the front. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, French Laundry said goodnight to his rivals and trotted away for an easy 3 ½ length victory in 1:53.3. The Bank finished second to make it a Takter exactor. Win The Day, Covert Operative and Caulfield rounded out the top-five to advance to the final. French Laundry is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The sophomore trotting colt now has two wins from three starts this season. Last season, French Laundry had seven wins from 12 starts. The Takter trainee's career earnings now sit at over $368,000. French Laundry paid $2.30 to win. French Laundry The $233,000 Goodtimes final will take place next Saturday (June 20) as part of the Pepsi North America Cup card. The post positions for the final were drawn following the eliminations. Here is how they will lineup. 1. Hemi Seelster 2. Caulfield 3. French Laundry 4. Canepa Hanover 5. Covert Operative 6. Rubber Duck 7. The Bank 8. Win The Day 9. Olympic Son 10. Iron AE: Infiniti As Mark McKelvie

Manalapan, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Ron Burke was happy with all the 2-year-olds he sent out for qualifiers Monday morning at Gaitway Farms, and particularly pleased with Muscle Hill-sired trotters Silvia, Southwind Flash, and Southwind Frank. Burke-trained horses were entered in eight of the qualifiers for 2-year-olds, and won seven. Southwind Frank missed by a nose in the final qualifier for the rookies, preventing a sweep. In the same race, stablemate Edinburgh was leading in the stretch but went off stride when several birds on the track took flight in front of him. Yannick Gingras drove all seven of Burke's winners on a morning that featured early occasional rain, gusty wind and later sunshine. Horses trained by Julie Miller won the two qualifiers for the 2-year-olds that did not go to the Burke Brigade. Southwind Flash (Muscle Hill-Friendly Amigo) won by 1-3/4 lengths over Miller's Stayin Strong (Muscles Yankee-Loch Katrine) in 1:58.1 with a :57.1 final half-mile. Southwind Flash, a colt purchased for $85,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, is the first foal out of Friendly Amigo, who was an Ontario standout and captured the 2011 Allerage Farms Mare Trot. Silvia (Muscle Hill-My Favorite Chip) won by 2-1/2 lengths over Miller's Best Of Dreams (Donato Hanover-Lunar Dream Om) in 2:01.4 with a final quarter-mile of :29.1. Silvia, a filly purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, is a half-sister to millionaire Adrian Chip, who was second to Donato Hanover in the 2007 Hambletonian. The colt Southwind Frank (Muscle Hill-Flawless Lindy) trotted his back half in :57 and missed by a nose to Miller's Staying Focused (Yankee Glide-Raising The Bar), who won in 2:00.1. Southwind Frank was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and comes from a family that includes stakes-winners Cayster, Giant Hit, Program Speed, and Rockaroundtheclock. "All three of the Muscle Hill trotters were very good," Burke said. "I think Muscle Hill is going to change the breed; they're just better than other horses." Burke's pacing winners all were sired by Somebeachsomewhere. The colt Manhattan Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Benear) produced the fastest mile of the day for the 2-year-olds, winning by 15-1/4 lengths over Linda Toscano's Rocket J (Rock N Roll Heaven-Must See) in 1:55.2, back half in :55.4. Manhattan Beach was bought for $100,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a full brother to 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach. Rocket J was purchased for $155,000, also at Harrisburg, and is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Well Said. His family also includes $2-million-earner Glowing Report. JK Will Power (Somebeachsomewhere-Whats New Pussycat), another colt, won by 4-3/4 lengths over Nancy Johansson's Marcus N Max (American Ideal-Lady Of Lust) in 1:56.1. JK Will Power, purchased for $110,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, is the first foal out of stakes-winner Whats New Pussycat, whose mother was Breeders Crown champion Molly Can Do It. Viceroy Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Vasmajorty Hanover) won by 1-1/4 lengths over Miller's Headforthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere-Head Of The House) in 1:58.3. Viceroy Hanover, a colt bought for $47,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, is from the same family as millionaire Voelz Hanover. Burke-trained female pacer Lyons River Pride (Somebeachsomewhere-Mississippi River) won by 3-1/2 lengths over Ivan Llopez's LL Jackpot (Philos Hanover-Wygant Rose) in 1:57.4 and stablemate East Side Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Edra Hanover) won by a half-length over Gerard Malanga's Sail To The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Sail Away) in 2:01.2, with a :27.1 final quarter-mile. "It's a very good group," Burke said. "Everybody was super. I'm very happy. "We knew they were nice, but it's nice to see them matched up against other people and see that they're at least decent." Miller, in addition to winning with Staying Focused, won with female trotter Womans Will (Donato Hanover-Will Of A Woman). She bested Cozette McAvoy's Zette Starlet (Credit Winner-Scottish Starlet) by 16-1/4 lengths in 1:59, with the final half-mile in :57.1. Staying Focused was purchased for $47,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a full brother to stakes-winner Raising Rachel. The family also includes Dan Patch Award winner Casual Breeze. "We were happy with all of ours that went today," driver Andy Miller said. "The trotters all stayed at it, that was the main thing, and got some good miles in them. "The trotting filly, Womans Will, I think she could be like a stakes filly. All four of the trotting colts - Open Road Hanover, Staying Focused, Stayin Strong and Milligan's School - all performed really good today and did what we asked." Also in action Monday morning were Joe Holloway's 3-year-old stakes filly pacers Divine Caroline and Bettor Be Steppin. Divine Caroline won her qualifier in 1:53 and Bettor Be Steppin won her qualifier in 1:52.4. For Monday's complete charts from Gaitway, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA      

June 8, 2015 - Spartan Kronos (4m Muscle Hill-Dame Kronos-King Conch) secured today’s Ina Scots Ara (200,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart, four year-olds) at Mantorp with harness racing trainer Conrad Lugauer driving. He scored in 1.12.8kr for a length verdict over Explosive de Vie (4g Explosive Matter-Ava-Pine Chip) with Jim Oscarsson up. Origo Tilly (4g Super Arnie-Regina Tilly-Speedy Crown) took third for teamster Torbjorn Jansson. The winner has a 2-1-2 slate in five 2015 appearances for owner Thomas Berchtold et.al. and breeder Allev. Kronos Srl. This day, also at Mantorp, Guiding Solo (3m Yankee Glide-Sole Mate-Self Possessed-Sole To Sole-Royal Prestige) took a 1640 meter autostart event for Peter Untersteiner timed in 1.14.4kr. This Kentuckiana Farms pedigree has been consistently productive. The dam Sole Mate was a US$145,000 yearling and was third at age two in the Lexington Filly and Johnston Memorial. She produced Flashback and Mr. Jim Dandy and this maternal family produced Duke Rodney (from Duke’s Dutchess), Courtly, Jermyn Street and Trapped (from Kimberly Dutchess) and other top performers including Justice Hall, Springboard, All About Justice, Just A Con Man, Diva Diva and Top Chef. Thomas H. Hicks

On the racetrack, the Saturday harness racing program at The Meadowlands featured four $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for three year olds, with big names making big headlines. On the track apron, over 15,000 patrons enjoyed the Jerseyfest festivities and the Food Truck Mash-up at the East Rutherford oval. There are certain performances in any sport that warrant somebody standing up and saying "wow, did you see that?" That is the best way to explain the turn of foot shown by Artspeak in the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three year old pacing colts on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Sent off as the 3/5 favorite, Artspeak was allowed to settle well off the speed off the gate and into the first turn as the 8/5 second choice, Hurrikane Ali sprinted to the lead past the opening quarter in 26.3. As the field turned down the backstretch, Artspeak appeared to be nearly 10 lengths off his main competition, a margin that Scott Zeron acknowledged in a post-race interview "seemed to be too far back." But, that didn't last long. As soon as Zeron showed his champion colt racetrack, Artspeak grabbed the bit and "took off all on his own," showing a turn of foot that you don't see every day, to say the least. In just an eighth of a mile, Artspeak made up all the ground on Hurrikane Ali and blew past him, taking the lead past the half in 54.3, while settling into a high-cruising speed. At this point, Hurrikane Ali was asked to keep up with the favorite, but Artspeak was well within himself as ripped through three-quarters in 1:21.3 while opening up on the field. The lead continued to expand through the stretch and Artspeak reached the wire in a lifetime best 1:48.4. Gokudo Hanover finished well to be second with Revenge Shark third. Winning trainer Tony Alagna spoke to how well his champion wintered. "When he came off the truck from Brittany Farms, he looked like a million bucks," said Alagna. "When I saw him, I knew we made the right move skipping the Breeders Crown. Those extra 30 days really helped him." Artspeak's driver Scott Zeron was very impressed with his effort tonight. "That move was vicious," claimed Zeron. "He did it all on his own. He was always professional, but now as a three year old, he is bigger and stronger." In addition to being trained by Alagna and driven by Zeron, the colt by Western Ideal is owned by Brittany Farms, Katz, Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners. With the win, his career earnings have surpassed $800,000. Two weeks from the North America Cup eliminations, Artspeak is the presumptive favorite. Artspeak The other star on the program was Mission Brief, who was making her second start of her three year old campaign. Ron Burke reported to Harness Racing Update that Mission Brief is "not perfect right now," but that did not prevent the betting public from sending her to the post as the 1/5 favorite. Yannick Gingras allowed his world champion to float away to the gate and ease her way on the outside of horses as Marion Millionair established a tepid 28.4 opening quarter. As the field straightened up on the backstretch, Mission Brief assumed command and led past the half-mile in just 58.2. A challenge would soon follow as Tim Tetrick launched Model Behavior after the favorite as the field reached three-quarters in 1:27.1. Model Behavior put a head in front under strong urging, while Gingras remained motionless behind Mission Brief, not asking her for any more speed than he had to. Mission Brief fought back to win by a measured length in 1:54.3. Model Behavior was a very good second with Riley's Dream third. Driver Yannick Gingras was happy to win, but recognized there is room for improvement for his filly. "She warmed up really good," said Gingras. "But honestly, I was going as fast as I could with her on the turn. She wasn't having it. Time is on our side, but there is work to do." The daughter of Muscle Hill is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J & T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. With the victory, her earnings have now eclipsed $650,000. Mission Brief While the favorites did what was expected in the first two Sire Stakes finals, there was an upset by a familiar name in the three year old filly pace. At post time, the bettors had a difficult time separating Stacia Hanover and Happiness, with less than $600 separating them in the win pool. Happiness would get the first call as she led the field past the quarter in 27.2, but she relinquished that lead to Lindys Old Lady down the backstretch, who reached the half-mile in 56.1. At that point, Stacia Hanover committed first over and she launched a move around the far turn, challenged for and assumed the lead past three quarters in 1:23.4. From there, Stacia Hanover opened up a lead in the stretch, but an upset was looming as The Show Returns who was well-back early hit her best stride and showed the kind of speed we saw from her at times last year and she rolled through the stretch to nail Stacia Hanover on the wire to spring the 40-1 upset for John Campbell. Stacia Hanover was second with Wicked Little Mix third. John Campbell spoke about the acceleration his filly showed. "Chris (Ryder) made some changes to her bridle and some shoeing changes tonight and it definitely worked," said Campbell. "Obviously that's the best finish she has shown this year." The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is a sister to world-champion Put On A Show who also raced for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Richard and Joanne Young. The 1:51 clocking was a new lifetime mark. The Show Returns The New Jersey Sire Stakes for the trotting colts looked like a bit of a Hambletonian preview with the big three, Guess Whos Back, French Laundry and Canepa Hanover taking center stage. However, one of the three, Guess Whos Back wouldn't survive the first turn as he made a break while pressing the pace nearing the first quarter. That pace was established by Canepa Hanover who reached the lead in a 28-second opening panel, with French Laundry four lengths off the speed in third. Canepa Hanover would hit the half-mile in 56.2 before stretching his legs around the far turn and trotting a back half-mile in 54.4 to dominate the Sire Stake Final, hitting the wire in 1:51.1, a lifetime mark for Yannick Gingras, who replaced Jimmy Takter in the bike as Takter conditions Maven for her Elitlopp attempt in Sweden. French Laundry was second with Aldebaran Eagle third. Gingras was very impressed with his colt. "Last year training down he (Canepa Hanover) looked like the best one. Everyone liked him," said Gingras. "Before Jimmy left for Sweden he told me he had this horse as good as he could be. He got a little playful in the stretch, so I popped the plugs just to give him a reminder and he found another gear." It will be interesting to see if Gingras continues to drive Canepa Hanover, of if Takter will get back in the sulky upon his return from Sweden. Gingras also drives Mission Brief who is being pointed to The Hambletonian as well but while speaking about Canepa Hanover he stated that with Mission Brief "there are concerns for sure, but she's go trot and she wants to do it." It could be an interesting 10 weeks leading up to The Hambletonian. Canepa Hanover Handle for the Saturday program was $3,053,853 with over 15,000 people attending the Jerseyfest Foodtruck Mash-up event. Both Jackpots in the Super Hi-5 went unclaimed. The fifth race Jackpot carryover grew to $141,175 while the last race carryover will be $115,348 into the Friday program, when racing resumes at 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

May 29, 2015 - The prestigious ASVT Elitauktionen took place this evening before a big crowd. 62 head sold from 94 cataloged and 84 presented net of outs. The average sold was 231,129SEK (US$27,181), with the gross total being over 14.3SEK million. The top four sold all brought above US$70,000.  The sale leader was Coys Rain (male, Muscle Hill-Savvy Yankee) to Reijo Liljendahl for 1,260,000SEK (US$148,176). The maternal family produced US$300,000 plus winners Rocky Balboa and Muscles To Spare. Thomas H. Hicks

East Rutherford, NJ - A quartet of $100,000 Finals bring the harness racing sophomore division of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) to a conclusion on Saturday night (May 30) at The Meadowlands.   The trotting fillies come up first in the fourth race with the defending champion Mission Brief starting from the far outside in post ten. The fastest freshman in trotting history by virtue of her 1:50.3 tour of The Red Mile last fall and Breeders Crown champ, the daughter of Muscle Hill won the first leg in a measured 1:53.4, then stayed home last week while Rules Of The Road took the second leg.   Yannick Gingras takes his regular position behind Mission Brief for trainer Ron Burke, who owns her in partnership with Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva and Weaver Bruscemi.   Race six is the glamour boy division, the pacing colts. Artspeak (Western Ideal) was the winner of last season's NJSS Final for this group on his way to year end honors while his main for here, Hurrikane Ali (Rocknroll Hanover) has an abbreviated five start freshman campaign in which he was winless.   What a difference a year can make, for as they come into the Final Hurrikane Ali has won all three of his 2015 starts including two NJSS legs in 1:50 and 1:50.1 with relative ease for young trainer John McDermott, Jr. Gingras has the drive here as well for the ownership group of Kuhen Racing, Jonathan Klee Racing, Dr Ken Rucker and Robert Pucila.   Artspeak spoke toward his potential for a big season via his effortless 1:49 romp in leg one. Trainer Tony Alagna then held him out of last week's with an eye toward the long campaign, setting up this interesting match-up on Saturday. Artspeak won eight of ten last season, among those the Metro and Governor's Cup trophies. Scott Zeron has been his constant companion in all races for the owners, Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners (John Fodera and Steve Wienick).   The pacing fillies (race 8) shapes up to be the most contentious of the four Finals.   Lindy's Old Lady (Rocknroll Hanover) didn't race at two, but is quickly gaining notice by virtue of a pair of wins in as many starts. She was a leg one NJSS winner in 1:51, then stayed home at Lindy Farm last week as trainer Frank Antonacci carefully manages the frequency of his trips to the well with the talented filly.   Happiness (Rocknroll Hanover) also skipped leg two after a comfortable 1:50.4 win in leg one for Gingras and Burke. She has a Grand Circuit win on her résumé via the Simpson Memorial stake in 1:50.3 earlier this season for Burke Racing & Weaver Bruscemi.   Wicked Little Minx (Rocknroll Hanover) took the lone division of leg two, holding off the furious late charge of Stacia Hanover in 1:51.1. Nancy Johansson conditions Wicked Little Minx for Courant AB and Brett Miller is back in the driver's seat for the Final.   Stacia Hanover (Western Ideal) won this division last year and has the as the look of a filly on the verge of a big mile for her trainer driver combo of Steve Elliott and Zeron and owners David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio of Ohio.   Bringing the NJSS curtain down on the 2015 season in the eleventh race will be the sophomore trotting colts and a powerful group they are.   Guess Whos Back (winner of this division's final in 2014) has won both preliminary legs including a hard-fought 1:52.4 decision over Canepa Hanover last week. Driver Brian Sears used the entire stretch to eke out the half-length tally with Canepa Hanover never giving in. Nik Drennan trains Guess Whos Back for owners Joe Davino, Brad Shackman, TLP Stable and J&T Silva.   The potent duo of Canepa Hanover (Muscle Hill) and French Laundry (Muscles Yankee) represent the Jimmy Takter barn and both are top colts.   Canepa has been third and second in the two legs and last week's effort was a gritty one after being used hard to get to the front then facing a strong wind in the homestretch. With Takter off to Sweden for the Elitlopp, Yannick Gingras will drive for the interests of Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld, Brixton Medical and Christina Takter.   French Laundry was a winner in the first leg, his only 2015 start to this point. He has been rock solid throughout his career for owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Katz and Libfeld. Brett Miller is his regular driver and will be aboard on Saturday night.   Both Hi-5 Jackpots remain intact going into Friday night's live card with the totals now at $131,037 (race 5) and $105,195 (race 12). Saturday night promotions include the chance to win a first class trip to the June 6 Belmont Stakes and JerseyFest which features the NJ vs Philly Food Truck Mash-Up. The thirteen race program starts at 7:15.   From Meadowlands Media Relations Dept  

In his own words, harness racing owner Duncan McPherson OAM is “living the dream” with his three-year-old colt Aldebaran Eagle, who will race in the New Jersey Sires Stakes Final at the Meadowlands on Sunday morning Australian time. The son of Muscle Hill / Letsjusttalkaboutme ran third in his heat in 1:52.4 and will come out the five gate in the $US100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old colts and geldings over a mile. “It’s an incredible experience,” a beaming McPherson said. Aldebaran Eagle will be driven by Corey Callahan and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. McPherson, the Principal at Aldebaran Park, has a passion for harness racing that has no bounds and will also get a huge thrill out of having Excellent Boku competing at Sweden’s Solvalla racetrack on the Elitlopp program on Sunday. Raced in conjunction with Michael Taranto, who also has a big week ahead with Australian and international runners – including Livin The Life in the New South Wales Trotters Derby – Excellent Boku was purchased to ultimately be exported to Australia. And as if the weekend wasn’t going to be jam-packed enough for McPherson, he will also line up Aldebaran Ay in the 2YO Ruby at the rich Harness Jewels program at Ashburton. The Colin De Filippi trained and driven filly has drawn outside the front line in the $100,000 race. By Cody Winnell

May 22, 2015 - Friday harness racing action in Sweden of interest (US pedigrees) was the victory at Romme by Romeus (3m Muscles Yankee-Giulie Bi-Supergill with Daniel Reden up. The 1.13.9kr winner earned 50,000SEK for the score over 2140 meters autostart. This one is owned by Stall Zet, bred by Willow Pond Asset Corp. and now has a 4-1-0 slate in five career starts all this year. At Solvalla in a 1640 meter autostart contest Avatar Accelerator (4m Muscle Hill-Southwind Agnes-Malabar Man) scored for Stefan Melander and Stall TZ in 1.13.4kr. The winner has two 2015 wins in five starts. At Kincsem Park was conducted their second Friday night festival and a good crowd was on-hand despite heavy rains. Racing consisted of trots, gallop and greyhounds at this modern European equestrian facility that includes an 1800 meter trotting track circled by a gallop dirt course (used for greyhounds too on extreme nights) and a gallop turf course. Trots rules were changed (extreme racing) in terms of direction (clockwise), start (“repulostart” = catch the start) and the super sprint (200 meters, five heats of two horses each with win awarded to fastest heat winner). Also one race was heat one of a two heat event with heat two the next day. Winners were as follows: Jotallo Handicap (heat one, 1800 meters, repulostart) – Jonathan (12g Valley Guardian-Szerena) for Viktoria Nemeth Tripszin DIF (1800 meters repulostart) – Henrik Ibsen AT (3m Worship-Her Own Child) for Sandor Varadi Super Sprint (200 meters repulostart) – Kisasszony (11f Yankee Yankee-Calorina) for Lazslo Kolozsi Thomas H. Hicks

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday night at the Meadowlands featured the second leg of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for harness racing three-year-old trotters with the fillies and colts each competing in a single $25,000 race with next week's $100,000 finals as their target.   Nine fillies went to the post absent last week's winner Mission Brief who remained in the barn with her final berth secure and Rules Of The Road took full advantage of that circumstance.   The Muscle Hill filly from Right On Renee led all the way for David Miller through comfortable fractions and held off a serious bid from Model Behavior to win in 1:55. Riley's Dream was third. Arden Homestead Stable and trainer Janice Connor share ownership of Rules Of The Road.   Guess Who's Back took another step on the Hambletonian trail with a measured 1:52.4 win over a game Canepa Hanover in the colt division. Sent for the front early, Guess Who's Back led by the 55:3 half where Brian Sears deferred to the Jimmy Takter driven Canepa Hanover who was working his way up through a wind-aided sub 27 second quarter. Using the cover as a breather for his colt, Sears fanned his mount for the drive off the last turn and went by for a narrow win under is own power with a 29.2 final stanza into the wind. Aldebaran Eagle gained some late to be third.   Guess Who's Back moves onto the final as the horse to beat for trainer Nik Drennan and owners Joe Davino, Brad Shackman, TLP Stable and J&T Silva.   Weeper won the $27,500 Mare Open Pace again, this time in a front-running effort for Yannick Gingras. Allowed uncontested fractions, Weeper responded with a 26.4 close to the 1:50.3 mile. Inittowinafortune held second after a pocket ride and Coffee Addict was a gallant third after an uncovered charge at the winner around the final bend. Jimmy Takter trains the winner for the Bay Pond Racing Stable.   Live racing resumes tomorrow night at 7:15pm.   From Meadowlands Media Relations

Mission Brief returned to the races at Friday nights harness racing meeting at The Meadowlands where we expected to see her, in the winners circle. The fastest two year old trotter of all time made short work of her Sire Stakes competition in the lone $25,000 division for the filly trotters, winning in 1:53.4. The World Champion took off the speed early in the mile, but made a controlled move to the lead and cleared before the half-mile pole through fractions of 27.3 and 56.2. She led the field past three quarters in 1:25.3 and turned for home with a two length lead. Mission Brief drifted a touch in the stretch, but finished the mile well within herself while never being asked by her driver Yannick Gingras. It is worth noting that shortly after the finish, Mission Brief appeared to bobble and went off-stride, but she remained on-stride until the teletimer stopped. Her driver Yannick Gingras was pleased with her effort. "She had a ton of trot," said Gingras. "She went in 1:53.4 and it was a walk in the park for her. We still have some work to do before the second Saturday in August but she is on the right track." Mission Brief became the fastest two year old trotter of all time when she romped to a 1:50.3 performance at The Red Mile last year. She is conditioned by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J & T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. With the victory, Mission Brief's career earnings surpassed $600,000. On the colt-side of the Sire Stakes action, Guess Whos Back put forth a performance worth of his name, with a dominant 1:54 score in the first of two New Jersey Sire Stakes divisions for the three year old trotting colts. Sent off as the slight favorite over Canepa Hanover (both were 4/5), Guess Whos Back settled off the speed through the first quarter of a mile, before making a power move to the lead down the backstretch for Brian Sears. The Muscles Yankee colt would clear the top with ease, hitting the half-mile in just 58.1. He would face no pressure from that point of the mile all the way to the wire, sailing past three-quarters in 1:27, before leveling out in the stretch and drawing clear to a convincing 1:54 triumph. As a two year old, Guess Whos Back won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadowlands en route to earning $92,350 for Nikolas Drennan. Drennan expressed delight with how his Hambletonian hopeful performed. "Overall I was very happy with him," said Drennan. "It looked like he got a little steppy on the first turn, so we may make a few small changes going forward. But I was happy with him." Guess Whos Back sent his earnings past $100,000 with the winners share of $20,000 purse. He is owned by Davino, Shackman, T L P Stable and J&T Silva Stables. The other division for the sophomore colts pitted an intriguing matchup of Muscle Diamond and French Laundry. That pair finished second and third respectively in the Breeders Crown last year. Muscle Diamond was sent off as the 4/5 favorite with French Laundry the 3/2 second choice. The latter established the lead early on and took the Sire Stakes field through fractions of 28, 57.3 and 1:26.2. Muscle Diamond sat along the pylons in third, tracking the early speed and was guided off the pylons in the stretch and showed dramatic acceleration. However, nearing the wire, Muscle Diamond lost his momentum while getting a little steppy, seemingly because he was trotting so fast in the stretch and French Laundry was able to hold on for the win in 1:53.1. Both colts were very imopressive in their three year old debuts. French Laundry added to his lifetime earnings, which now stand at $323,119 for Jimmy Takter. Brett Miller drove the talented colt for Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding Al Libfield and Marvin Katz. There were some new faces that comprised the talented field in the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, but the result was one that we have come to know well. Radar Contact, who has not been worse than second since February 6th, was the 6/5 favorite and she would dictate the terms after wrestling the lead away from Inittowinafortune, who reached the opening quarter in a sharp 26.2. From there, Radar Contact would clear the lead and reached the half-mile in 55.2 with Inittowinafortune close behind in the pocket, a scenario we have seen week in and week out at The Meadowlands. These two mares remained that way through three quarters in 1:23.1 and the two sprinted away from the field, but this time Inittowinafortune was able to chase down Radar Contact to score in 1:49.4, a lifetime best effort. Radar Contact was a clear second with Jerseylicious third. The winner was one of two on the card for trainer Michael Russo, who conditioned the mare for Michael Pagonas. Scott Zeron was in the sulky. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed and the Jackpot swelled to $118,474 for the Saturday program. The last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 also carried over again, with that carryover pool now standing at $91,803. Total handle for the 12-race Friday card was $2,773,591. That marked a 15-percent increase from the same day in 2014 despite one less race. The on-track handle yielded a 20-percent gain as well. Saturday night features the $183,650 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, where Bee A Magician will attempt to become the first mare in the 17-year history of the race to emerge victorious. Also on the program is New Jersey Sire Stakes action for the three year old pacers, both colts and fillies. Last year's two year old pacing champion Artspeak will headline one of two divisions for the colts and geldings. There is a $50,000 TVG Invitational on the program as well. Post time for the Saturday program is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali  

Freehold, NJ --- El Diablo BR is getting thrown into the fire. A Norwegian-born son of Muscle Hill, El Diablo BR makes only his fourth career start Friday (May 15) when he faces six rivals in the second of two New Jersey Sire Stakes divisions for harness racing 3-year-old male trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The field consists entirely of Hambletonian Stakes-eligible horses and includes stakes-winners Muscle Diamond and French Laundry. “That’s like the Hambletonian right from the get-go,” trainer Trond Smedshammer said. “I would have rather not found out this way what I’ve got, but that’s the way it is with the New Jersey Sire Stakes. “He showed some ability trotting in (1):55 and a piece as a 2-year-old and now in (1):54.4 this year. I know he’s going to trot in (1):52, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good enough for the bigger stakes here. You see people qualifying in (1):52.” El Diablo BR was bred by Norway’s Bjorn Rishaug and is out of the stakes-winning mare Fiery Chip. Last year, the colt was limited to two starts because of sickness and soreness. He finished fifth in his debut, a preliminary division of the Kindergarten Series in which Habitat defeated The Bank by a neck, and was timed in 1:55.4. He then went off stride in a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres Series at Freehold and Smedshammer decided to turn out the colt for the rest of the year. El Diablo BR came back this season and began his campaign with a second-place finish from post nine in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands. The race was won by Soboro Hanover, who also is eligible to the Hambletonian. In addition to the Hambletonian, El Diablo BR’s stakes schedule includes the Goodtimes Stakes in June and Canadian Trotting Classic in September. “He trained good all winter,” Smedshammer said. “He’s been a little bit of a bully at the Meadowlands. He comes on the track and he wants to be a tough guy and kick and stuff like that. Hopefully by racing every week he’ll settle down and learn. He’s going to be going a few weeks in a row now and if he’s any good he’s got the Goodtimes right after. He’ll get plenty of races in the next five weeks, that’s for sure. “He’s also got stakes back there (in Norway). The Norwegian stakes competition level is like night and day compared to here. If he’s not good enough here, he’ll go back there.” El Diablo BR will leave from post four with driver Tim Tetrick in his New Jersey Sire Stakes division. He is 6-1 on the morning line. Muscle Diamond, who finished second in last year’s Breeders Crown, is the 6-5 favorite followed by French Laundry at 2-1. The eight-horse first division -- also consisting entirely of Hambletonian-eligible trotters -- is led by last year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, Guess Whos Back. The Nik Drennan-trained colt is making his seasonal debut and is the 6-5 morning line favorite. Canepa Hanover is the 2-1 second choice. Also debuting Friday is Mission Brief, who is the 3-5 morning line favorite in the first round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

FREEHOLD, NJ - May 2, 2015 - EL Love went wire-to-wire winner and Northern Obsession tipped out three-wide in the stretch to win their respective $35,750 divisions of the Lady Suffolk for harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. Riina Rekila, driver and trainer of EL Love, sent the Yankee Glide filly to the lead off the gate and repelled challenges throughout the mile to score a two and three-quarter length victory over 3-5 favorite Riley's Dream in the fifth race. It was four and a half back to Rules of the Road in third. EL Love [$8.20], who won both of her starts at two, is now two-for-two at three for a bankroll of $28,453. The mile in 1:58 flat was a career best for Finnish owner and breeder Erkki Laakkonen. Two races later, the seventh, 2-5 Jewels In Hock and 9-5 Blk Thai Optional broke stride in the first turn, leaving it to a trio of longshots to battle with 22-1 Northern Obsession [$46.20] who was a half-length winner over Southwind Cartier, the Muscle Hill filly who won the 2014 Marion Dancer Trot. Jewels In Hock recovered from her early break to finish third by a length and a quarter. Northern Obsession, driven to victory by Eric Abbatiello, picked up her second straight win for trainer Gilberto Garcia-Herrera of Columbus, NJ, who co-owns the daughter of Conway Hall with Barbara and Donald Arnstine of Sacramento, CA. Overall, the filly has two wins, three seconds and five third from 14 starts for career earnings of $50,813. By Carol Hodes for SBOANJ      

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