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Royalty For Life Tr 3, 1:51.6 ($1,620,166), the 2013 Hambletonian champion, Canadian Trotting Classic winner and USA 3YO Trotting Colt of the Year, will be available for breeders in Australia and New Zealand for the first time this year. He is a striking individual in every respect. The frozen semen of the exciting, young sire – he was foaled in 2010 – is available through Stallions Australasia Pty Ltd whose lineup includes former champion racehorse and now highly successful sire Muscle Hill and international trotting star Wishing Stone. Royalty For Life recently completed his first northern hemisphere season at the prestige Tara Hills Stud, Ontario where he was fully booked for a fee of $6,000. His service fee in Australia will be $4,950 incl. GST and in NZ $4,500 plus GST. Royalty For Life raced only at 2 and 3 years, compiling the excellent record of 14 wins and seven placings from 30 starts for $1,620,166 – an average of $54,000 per start! As a two-year-old he displayed tremendous early speed, winning seven and being four times placed from 14 starts. He captured the $328,000 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington in 1:54.4, five New Jersey Sire Stakes event and finished runner-up in both the elimination and $600,000 final of the Breeders Crown. Royalty For Life really came into his own as a three-year-old, winning seven of his 14 starts and a whopping $1,277,130 in stakes. His victories included the $1.2-million Hambletonian in straight heats of 1:52 and 1:52.2, the $686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic in a stakes record equalling 1:54.4, the $360,000 Zweig Memorial, the $294,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial in 1:52 and an elimination of the $527,000 Kentucky Futurity. Champion USA driver Brian Sears, who handled Royalty For Life in all his major triumphs was high in his praise for the horse “He’s a beautiful horse, he just covers the ground." "He lets you know when he’s good." "He’s just so talented," Brian said. Royalty For Life is a most interestingly bred horse. He is the richest son of the former top young trotter RC Royalty (Tr 3, 1:55.2), one of the best of the progeny left by the champion American sire Credit Winner (Tr 1:54). Sons of Credit Winner are now coming to the forefront as sires in America such as Chocolatier and Crazed. Bourbon N Grits, the dam of Royalty For Life, has left three winners from four foals, while the grand-dam, Texas Winner ($128,323), produced six winners from six foals and the third dam, Texas Starlette, nine winners from 14 foals. Royalty For Life is a Super Bowl line horse – that which produced the leading Australian trotting sire RC’s Dee Jay – from a prolific winning family of trotters, and boasts a 3x3 cross to American Winner and three strains of Super Bowl blood. He should prove an ideal outcross to the host of mares by Sundon, Earl, Armbro Invasion, Dream Vacation, Keystone Salute and others. For further information contact Stallions Australasia manager Peter O’Rourke on phone 0011 64 21 346 401. Peter Wharton

Hall of Fame driver John Campbell prevailed in two of five $10,000 preliminary Kindergarten Classic events on Sunday (August 30) afternoon's harness racing program at Tioga Downs, while Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter scored a double-double--driving a pair of his own trainees to victory.   Campbell kicked off the card in style, brushing aggressively to the fore with Waitlifter K ($3.50) in the opener, edging clear on the backstretch and ultimately holding off a late challenge from pocket rival Macy's Big Boy (Jimmy Takter) for a 1:55.3 win. Chuck Sylvester trains the 2-year-old Muscles Yankee colt for Robert Key.   While Waitlifter K was the fastest of all 10 colts and geldings to take to the track, filly Celebrity Eventsy ($5.50) matched that 1:55.3 mark in the seventh race to be fastest of 19 fillies on the program. Campbell was also aboard the daughter of Manofmanymissions, sprinting through with her at the pegs to force Coco Truffles (David Miller) into the pocket, ultimately turning her aside off the far turn to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths. Staffan Lind trains Celebrity Eventsy for Celebrity Farms.   Trainer Jimmy Takter accounted for two of the five Kindergarten Classic winners at Tioga, and he drove them both to victory. He took the lead with Haughty ($2.40) through a :28.4 opening quarter in the day's fifth race, ultimately ceding control to Lookin Sharp (Mike Simons) through the middle stages before angling from the pocket on the far turn. After a brief duel, Haughty edged away to a three-quarters length win, prevailing in 1:56. Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, and Sam Goldband own the 2-year-old Donato Hanover filly.   Takter's other winner, Gifted Lady ($8.80) wasted no time assuming command in the ninth race, turning aside a mid first-over challenge from Dream Child (Mark MacDonald) before edging clear of pocket rival Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) for a two-length triumph in 1:56. Silver Linden Farms owns the daughter of Muscle Hill.   David Miller and Nik Drennan teamed up for the other Kindergarten winner on the day, as Labatt Hanover ($14.80) crossed and cleared for an easy lead before holding off a mild late challenge from pocket rival Hillman (Jimmy Takter) for a 1:57.3 victory. Joseph Davino, Brad Shackman, and the T L P Stable co-own the Muscle Hill gelding.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 4) evening, with post time at 6:15 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Hambletonian champion Pinkman went off stride at the start, opening the door for his eight rivals in Saturday's (Aug. 22) $500,000 Colonial Trot for 3-year-old male trotters, and Crazy Wow was the one to take advantage. Crazy Wow, who was not eligible to the Hambletonian, won the Colonial by 1-1/4 lengths over The Bank in 1:52.3 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Uncle Lasse finished third and Wicker Hanover was fourth. Crazy Wow, sent off at odds of 9-1, was the third choice in the betting behind 1-5 favorite Pinkman and Uncle Lasse. The Bank and Uncle Lasse are from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, as is Pinkman. Uncle Lasse took the early lead and remained on top through fractions of :26.3, :55.1, and 1:23.3. Canepa Hanover made a first-over bid, but was unable to pass Uncle Lasse. Crazy Wow, who enjoyed a trip following the leader, took charge in the stretch and pulled away to victory. "I wanted to follow Pinkman, but it didn't work out that way," said Tim Tetrick, who drove Crazy Wow for trainer Ron Burke. "He made a break and I got a perfect trip out of it." "I sat the two hole and my horse responded well." "He felt good. He's a big strong horse and he's great to drive. He works at it, he's got a great attitude, and he likes to win." Crazy Wow has won five of nine races this year and earned $542,537. For his career, the son of Crazed-No Pan No Gain has won 10 of 20 starts and banked $775,465. He is owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, JT45, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. "It's a big win," Burke said. "He's a good horse that I think can go with them all the time when he gets the chances. In the big races, I think he will acquit himself well. He'll have some more chances to race against these." Crazy Wow's future schedule includes the Canadian Trotting Classic in September at Mohawk. Yannick Gingras, who drove Pinkman, was unsure why the gelding went off stride. Pinkman, the winner of 14 of 18 lifetime races, had never made a break in a pari-mutuel race in his career and wound up last in the nine-horse field. "I don't know," Gingras said. "I was just taking him to the gate and he made a break." Colonial Consolations If you backed Centurion ATM in the $200,000 Consolation I and saw driver Ake Svanstedt pull his horse out of the two-hole nearing the three-quarters to battle favored Whom Shall I Fear, you had to be encouraged, for Svanstedt is one of the best sulksyitters in the world. Centurion ATM went right to the lead and strode off to a 1-3/4 length win in 1:53.3, a tick off of his lifetime record. Svanstedt, whose world champion Sebastian K was retired to stud during special on-track ceremonies earlier in the card, is also the trainer of Centurion ATM, a son of SJ's Caviar, who is owned by Courant A B and Knutsson Trotting Inc. (Sebastian K's sponsors). Muscle Diamond, second in the Breeders Crown at the end of last year but slow to find top form this season, may have turned a corner in the $100,000 Consolation II, coming from second-over to win a five-horse across-the-track finish in 1:53.2, equaling his lifetime mark while defeating Cruzado Dela Noche by three-quarters of a length. Hall of Fame nominee Charles Keller III is a co-owner of the son of Muscle Hill with trainer Brett Bittle, Dan Bittle, and Charles Keller IV. Ken Weingartner

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 20, 2015 -- When Mission Brief demolished a field of 3-year-old fillies in Friday's $174,000 Moni Maker at The Meadows, it reinforced the notion gaining momentum across harness racing--when she's healthy and competing against fillies, the only horse that can beat Mission Brief is Mission Brief. Fresh off her second-place finish to Pinkman in the Hambletonian, Mission Brief waltzed to victory--winning driver Yannick Gingras never cut her loose--in 1:52.3 for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. I'm So Fancy finished second, 3-1/4 lengths back, while Gatka Hanover earned show, giving trainer Burke a 1-2-3 sweep. Hambletonian Oaks winner Wild Honey, the only filly in the field given a shot to challenge Mission Brief, stalked the winner from the pocket but broke stride in the stretch, finishing fourth-placed-sixth. From the gate, Gingras idled outside with Mission Brief, waiting for the dust to settle before pushing her to the front. "I thought the only way to get beat is to do something stupid," Gingras said. "Even if someone decided to go on, I thought I could trot by them. So I wanted to give her a chance to get her feet under her and go from there. She's faster, bigger, and stronger. She doesn't look like a filly; she looks like a colt." The daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena, who extended her career bankroll to $1,153,417, recorded even fractions of 28/56.1/1:24.1/1:52.3 in winning for the 14th time in 20 career outings. Burke, harness racing's perennial leading conditioner, showed no hesitation in calling Mission Brief "a special horse, the best horse I've ever trained." "There's no part of me that wavers on that--she's the best horse I've ever trained," he said. Prior to the race, Burke indicated he likely would keep Mission Brief in against fillies for the balance of the season, but what he saw in the Moni Maker has him considering other options. "I would like to maybe try it (racing against males)," he said, "but it won't be an easy sell to everybody else in our group. I'm a little bit gamer--maybe I believe more in her than anybody does. For a while, it's a decision we don't have to make." Burke said Mission Brief's next race will be the Peaceful Way at Mohawk, with a lot of "green" time for the filly between now and then as well as continuing medical treatments for her back. "We'll keep after that, but I don't think it's a chronic condition," he said. "It was something that came on. She got out of kilter like anybody else and had to work her way through it. When she warmed up tonight, she was as sound as she's been all year." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 20, 2015 -- When Mission Brief finished second in the Hambletonian and Wild Honey took the Hambletonian Oaks, they solidified their credentials as harness racing's top 3-year-old filly trotters. However, the two didn't face each other on Hambletonian Day. They'll take care of that little omission Friday at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino when they clash in the $174,000 Moni Maker. The event goes as race 3, with first post at 6:55 PM. Mission Brief long had been considered a candidate to take on males in the Hambletonian, but back problems put those plans on hold for a while. She responded well to medical treatment and turned in a memorable Hambletonian performance, losing to Pinkman by 3/4 lengths. Ron Burke, who trains the daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, said Mission Brief had treatment for her back and went two strong training trips in New Jersey before her mid-week ship to The Meadows. Although Burke is based here, Mission Brief has followed the Grand Circuit throughout her career and will be making her first lifetime start at The Meadows, perhaps erasing some of the home-track advantage. "I trained her here for about a month earlier in the year, so I know she gets around this track well," Burke said. "She's very comfortable here." He said he'll likely continue to race Mission Brief, whose Hambletonian check made her a millionaire, against fillies but that he'll play that by ear. "It would be a hard push for me to get everyone on board to do it (race against males) again, but I wouldn't rule it out," he said. Wild Honey, the 2014 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion who has won several times at The Meadows, has been a model of speed and consistency, winning 13 of 19 lifetime starts and $838,488. Trainer Jimmy Takter said he expects more of the same from the daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy. "I think we'll give Mission Brief a run for the money," Takter said. "You cannot beat that filly (Mission Brief) on the bigger tracks, so it depends how she gets over The Meadows' surface." In addition to the battle between Mission Brief and Wild Honey, the Moni Maker is yet another round in the long-running Burke versus Takter series; only one of the six fillies in the field, Mickey Peterson's Sistas, is conditioned by someone other than Burke or Takter, arguably the two most successful in the sport in recent years. The Moni Maker also features round two of Gingras versus Gingras, as Yannick Gingras, regular driver of Mission Brief and frequent driver of Wild Honey, was forced to choose between them, just as he had to pick between Mission Brief and Pinkman for the Hambletonian. For the Moni Maker, he's sticking with Mission Brief. "It's a great problem to have," Gingras said. "I picked Mission Brief over Jimmy's best colt, so this wasn't a tough call, even though it stinks because I love Wild Honey. She's a sweetheart. I think I only lost once with her. Obviously, Mission Brief is special." Mission Brief and Gingras will leave from post 4 while Wild Honey and Dave Palone go from post 3. The complete Moni Maker field, in post position order with drivers, trainers and morning line odds: 1. Sistas, Eric Goodell, Mickey Peterson, 3-1 2. I'm So Fancy, Tony Hall, Ron Burke, 10-1 3. Wild Honey, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter, 5-2 4. Mission Brief, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 8-5 5. Smexi, Dan Rawlings, Jimmy Takter, 5-1 6. Gatka Hanover, Mike Wilder, Ron Burke, 12-1 The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Sixteen stakes events comprised Sunday (August 16) afternoon's harness racing card at Tioga Downs, and while In the Arsenal ($3.50) and Divine Caroline ($6.90) punched their tickets for next week's Empire Breeders Classic finals by way of sub-1:50 miles, it was 2-year-old trotter Jack Vernon ($3.40) who stole the show with a 1:53.3 effort in his Arthur Tompkins Memorial division.   Jack Vernon, a freshman son of Muscle Hill and Vernon Blue Chip, drafted behind Staying Focused (Andy Miller) through the intermediate stages of the $18,788 stakes split, edging off the pegs midway on the backstretch to avoid being locked in by the then-uncovered Heightend Scrutiny (David Miller).   As soon as Corey Callahan pulled the pocket with Jack Vernon, the pair accelerated to the lead, drawing off from Staying Focused through a :57 final half.   Jack Vernon amassed an 8-3/4 length lead in the end, soundly defeating Treasure Keys K (Charlie Norris) and Staying Focused in a track record 1:53.3.   Randy Beeckman trains Jack Vernon for Miller's Stable, Inc.   Other notable Tompkins Memorial winners on the afternoon were 3-year-old Conway Hall colt Habitat ($2.30, Yannick Gingras), who pulled clear at will for a decisive 1:53 triumph in a lone $58,662 division, and 3-year-old Donato Hanover filly I'm So Fancy ($4.00, Gingras), a 1:54.1 pillar-to-post winner in her $33,832 event.   Sixteen New York-sired 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings contested two $12,500 eliminations for the Empire Breeders Classic, and Brian Sears swept both splits. In addition to his 1:49.3 win with Kelvin Harrison trainee In the Arsenal, he sustained a first-over trip with the Casie Coleman-trained Arque Hanover ($7.50) to just stave off Americanprimetime (Jason Bartlett) in 1:50.   The connections of In the Arsenal selected post 2 for next week's final, while the connections of Arque Hanover selected post 1. They will be joined by Artistic Major, A Bettor Hat, Rockin in Heaven, Americanprimetime, National Seelster, and Betting Exchange. Completing the field will be fifth-place finisher Sicily, who was drawn in by lot. Oneisalonelynumber--the other fifth-place finisher--is the lone also-eligible.   Of the 21 New York-sired 3-year-old pacing fillies split into three $12,500 Classic eliminations, Moremercy Bluechip ($7.20, Andy Miller) and Band of Angels ($2.50, Gingras) controlled the terms for at least the closing circuit of their victories, while Divine Caroline ($6.90, David Miller) pushed clear off a pocket trip in the final quarter-mile of her 1:49.4 triumph.   For next week's distaff final, Band of Angels will start from post 3, Divine Caroline from post 2, and Moremercy Bluechip from post 4, as selected by their connections. The trio of elimination winners will be joined by Devil Child, She's Heavenly, Rock Me Gently, Hipnumberone, Mosquito Blue Chip, and Beyonces Rockn. Heart Major and Single Me have been drawn as the two also-eligibles.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Monday (August 17) evening, with the first of 12 races due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

The Pure Ivory series continued Monday night at the harness racing meeting at  Mohawk Racetrack with two $12,000 divisions. The rookie trotting fillies had to deal with fog and a track rated two seconds off due to showers that started in the afternoon and carried into the evening's races. In the first division, Safekeeping went gate to wire to win her career debut for driver Jack Moiseyev and trainer Charalambos Christoforou. The daughter of Muscle Hill was sent to the front by Mosieyev to grab the early lead in the field of six. Rose Run Reanna, who finished second in the first leg, was pressing at the leader around the first turn, but made a break and left the ball in the court of Safekeeping. The Christoforou trainee posted fractions of :31.1, 1:03.1 and 1:33, over the track rated as "Good", before trotting home comfortably in :29 for the 1 ¼ length victory in 2:02. Hills Angel, who was third turning for home, trotted home in :28 to finish second, while Crazy Wild Desire sprinted home in :27.3 to get up for third. Safekeeping, who is owned and bred by Banjo Farms and Christoforou, had qualified twice before making her career debut Monday. The victory earned her a $6,000 pay day in her career debut, while the clocking of 2:02 was a fifth slower than her mark of 2:01.4 taken in a baby race. A $2 win ticket on Safekeeping returned $4.90. The second division featured Thisladysdynamite, the opening leg winner, in a scratched down field of five. Despite finishing third in the opening leg, the public made Dustin Jones trainee Pennies From Above the 3/5 favourite over Thisladysdynamite. Driven by Jones, Pennies From Above got away in third just behind Thisladysdynamite, but the opening leg winner made a quick move in the second-quarter to the front for driver Doug McNair. After posting panels of 1:01.2 and 1:32.1, Thisladysdynamite led the field into the lane with Pennies From Above coming to the far outside to take a shot at the leader. The Jones trainee powered her way up beside Thisladysdynamite in mid-stretch and pulled ahead in the final eighth to win by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.1. Sound Of Music finished third. A daughter of Cantab Hall, Pennies From Above is owned by Jean Pierre Barjon of Vanves, France. The rookie trotting filly is a full-sister to O'Brien Award winner Wheeling N Dealin and was purchased for $120,000 as a yearling at last year's Harrisburg Sale. Monday's maiden breaking victory came in just the second career start for Pennies From above and increases her earnings to $7,440. She paid $3.40 to win. The $35,400 Pure Ivory series final will take place next Monday (August 17). Mark McKelvie

East Rutherford, NJ --- Pinkman and Brian Sears, who got the drive on the horse less than an hour before the race, took control of the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-olds at the half and never gave it up as they cruised under the wire to be the 90th winners of the trotting classic in a world record time of 1:51 on Saturday (Aug. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack. Pinkman (Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster) is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. His winning time was the fastest ever by a sophomore trotting gelding on a mile track. The filly Mission Brief, who Yannick Gingras chose to drive after her win in the second elimination, gave futile chase in deep stretch and made up ground, but not enough to win. Uncle Lasse, also trained by Takter, was third after adding trotting hobbles between the elimination and the final. As the field trotted off the starting gate, it was Uncle Lasse (David Miller) who was first to the lead from post seven, hitting the quarter-mile mark in :27.2, with The Bank (Johnny Takter) outside and behind him and Pinkman in third. The Bank was on the move just past the quarter-mile mark, with Pinkman behind him. By the time they reached the half-mile marker in :55.2, Pinkman had the lead on the outside and The Bank was second. Mission Brief, who had been fourth, a few lengths from the leaders most of the way to the half, hustled to join the crowd and bore down on the leader, Pinkman, around the final turn, getting to his wheel as the field turned for home. She lost contact when they straightened out, but re-engaged under urging from Gingras as the wire drew closer. She got close, but not close enough, three-quarters of a length back. Uncle Lasse was third, The Bank fourth and Jacksons Minion got the final purse check. Trainer Jimmy Takter won both the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks for the second straight year. He won last year with Trixton in the Hambo and Lifetime Pursuit in the Oaks. “I was looking forward to try in the final with a couple that I did have (Habitat and Wings Of Royalty) and I managed to do that,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “But opportunity knocked and it’s just great that they gave me the call. “I didn’t hear much (about the chance to drive Pinkman if necessary). I heard a little bit from Herb (Liverman). I talked to Herb a little bit, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity. He (Pinkman) was pretty much push button and it was a pleasure.” Pinkman has now won eight times in nine season's starts, with earnings of $1,170,965. Lifetime he has been a winner in 14 of 17, with $1,737,925. “It’s very emotional and I just want to thank all the connections that were involved,” said co-owner John Fielding. “Brian Sears stepped in and did a great job and of course, my friend and partner Jimmy Takter and Christina, have done again an amazing job. We’ve been at this for 30 years trying to win this trophy and I’ll tell you, this is the greatest thrill you could ever want in this sport and I’m just blown away, very honored and happy to be in this situation. I’ve got a plane I’ve got to catch to go back to a party in Toronto tonight, but we’re going to have to stop at the windows (to cash bets). “We leave these decisions (about drivers) up to Jimmy and he always seems to make the right decisions. We’ve had Brian Sears, who everybody knows is a fantastic, great driver, one of the best there ever was when the money is on the line, so I wasn’t worried at all, very confident in Jimmy.” Of the filly runner-up Mission Brief, trainer and co-owner Ron Burke said, “She raced really good and I think if things would have shook out a little differently the result would have been different. She was the only one still going forward at the wire. She really gave it her all and at the wire she was still coming. I would never change anything that I did and I don’t regret anything about the conditioning. She’s still a super horse, some day we will be back and we are not going to give up. We are going to win the Hambletonian.” Mission Brief’s driver, Yannick Gingras, who picked her over the eventual race winner, said, “I’m still young and I’m blessed to have two great chances at the Hambo like I’ve had the last few years. I will have plenty more chances I hope. Everyone ignores Pinkman because he isn’t flashy, they want to talk about Uncle Lasse and Canepa Hanover, but Pinkman beats them every week, he was just a flat out winner. You have to give the horse all the credit in the world. “I’m not disappointed in her effort at all. She wasn’t quite as strong as the first heat. She wasn’t quite as good gaited as before, so I couldn’t make the moves I wanted to with her. I knew I didn’t have enough at the top of the stretch. You have to give it to Pinkman. He’s a great horse and he’s a winner. “I was happy with how the race went. Takter’s horses were being used and if she went her A1 effort, she might have won. My son joked with me this week and said don’t make a break (as with Father Patrick in 2014), Well, I got that accomplished at least and it’s still been a great day. Pinkman is Brian’s horse now, of course.” Hambletonian eliminations East Rutherford, NJ --- Pinkman (Yannick Gingras) won the first $100,000 elimination race for the Hambletonian for 3-year-old harness racing  trotters by a half-length in 1:51.2 over The Bank (Johnny Takter) on Saturday (Aug. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack. Donatomite (Trond Smedhammer) was third. The other two spots for the final went to Habitat (Brian Sears) and Jacksons Minion (Tom Jackson). Pinkman is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Gingras and Pinkman made it quite clear they wanted the lead from post ten as the two charged off the starting gate and went straight for the front, getting past the rail horse, Donatomite, to get to the lead just past the :26.2 first quarter. The Bank was out and moving at the three-eighths to get the lead and held it to the :54.3 half with Pinkman tucked in behind him. Jacksons Minion was on the move for the top when the field passed the half, while the lead horses remained unchanged at the 1:23.2 three-quarters. With the finish line in sight, Gingras went to work on Pinkman and they passed The Bank for the win and a chance to draw for posts one through five in the final. “I figured (Smedshammer) was going to try to get position and sit behind me,” said winning driver Gingras. “His horse (Donatomite) has got good gate speed. He’s not had much luck with his horse, but he’s a nice horse too. “It kind of worked out. I was hoping to cut it, but The Bank is a very good horse. If I was going to follow anybody, he was the horse to follow. “(Winning) is exactly what he does. In this race I had to get after him pretty hard in the stretch, but that’s Pinkman. All he does is win.” Trainer Ron Burke's filly Mission Brief set up the anticipated Hambletonian showdown against male rival Pinkman, winning her elimination by 4-3/4 lengths over Aldebaran Eagle in 1:51.3. French Laundry, Uncle Lasse and Wings Of Royalty also advanced to the $1 million Hambletonian final. Mission Brief is trying to become the first filly since Continentalvictory in 1996 to win the Hambletonian. Uncle Lasse (David Miller) led to the quarter in :26.3, with Mission Brief in fifth place. Yannick Gingras then moved Mission Brief to the front, hitting the half in :54.2 and three-quarters in 1:23. She drew off in the stretch for the easy win in 1:51.3. Gingras will drive Mission Brief (6-5 morning line) in the final and Brian Sears will take over behind Pinkman (5-2). “In the first turn it got a little crowded, she wasn’t anxious, I was,” Gingras said. “There were a lot of horses around us and she’s not used to that. But she acted very professionally. At the top of the stretch, I could hear Brett (Miller driving French Laundry) on my back and it sounded like he had some trot. I kicked the earplugs but she did it on her own.” Gingras added prior to making his decision, “It’s going to be a tough one. It’s two guys (Jimmy Takter and Ron Burke) that really helped my career, two horses that I started with from the beginning, so it’s very tough.” Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena, is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. Pinkman Mission Brief by Ellen Harvey and Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

East Rutherford, NJ --- Southwind Frank took the lead at the halfway point and was never threatened the rest of the way as he won Saturday’s (Aug. 8) $349,850 Peter Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands for 2-year-old male trotters by 2-1/4 lengths over Brooklyn Hill in 1:53.4. Earn And Burn (Johnny Takter) charged from post 10 to take the early lead in a :27.2 opening quarter-mile before Brooklyn Hill (David Miller) moved to the front on the backstretch. Yannick Gingras moved Southwind Frank to the top as the field reached the half in :56.2. Milligan’s School (Andy Miller) tried to overtake Southwind Frank with a first-over bid on the final turn, but it was to no avail as Southwind Frank, the 3-5 favorite, trotted to victory. Brooklyn Hill was second, Earn And Burn finished third and Bar Hopping was fourth. “For a colt that started out terrible, he really has blossomed into a very nice horse,” said winning trainer Ron Burke. Southwind Frank, a son of Muscle Hill-Flawless Lindy, has won four of five races and earned $244,925. He is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables, and J&T Silva Stables. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

The former harness racing trotting queen Escapee is back in full work. The former age group trotting queen was retired to stud in 2013 but she is now to attempt a comeback aimed principally at the Group 1 Dominion Handicap in November at Addington Raceway. She has been in work for some time at Rolleston under the direct eye of the All Star foreman Duane Marfisi who has taken a keen interest in her comeback which is a strong sign she can regain her peak form for owner Trevor Casey. Escapee had a filly foal in her absence to Muscle Hill but she is still only seven and at her best would be a match for nearly any open trotter about. Escapee was first or second in 20 of her 34 starts to date (11 wins) and has already won over $270,000. "It seemed worthwhile when you considered everything."  "She had a suspensory problem when I retired her but she is well over that and much more settled than she used to be now as an older mare as well." "She is still the only trotter around who has beaten Stent more times than he has beaten her." She has not been overraced and is still quite young as trotters go." " She is not that far away from the trials but if we have any problems with her I won't risk her, she can go straight back in the broodmare paddock," Trevor said Trevor's star trotter Stent is keeping his passport in the draw this year as far as North America goes. Invited to an  US$1,000,000 International trot at Yonkers on October 10th, Trevor has had to decline the invitation this year. " Stent has had a good break and there is just not enough time to get him ready for such a challenging race." "We would be taking on the best in the world and you can't do that on a rushed preparation." " I told the North Americans that if he continues this season to race as well as he did last season then we would love to come up and match him with the best next year," Trevor said Harnesslink Media

MANALAPAN, NJ - August 4, 2015 - Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill, was nurtured in the New Jersey Sire Stakes program and proved herself against the best of her age, gait and gender to win harness racing divisional honors at two. When she trotted a mile in 1:50.3 at Lexington's Red Mile on October 2, 2014, she posted a record that made her not only the fast two-year-old filly but the fastest two-year-old trotter of either gender. Now she will tackle the best three-year-old trotters in training in the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Saturday, August 8, 2015 at the Meadowlands, bypassing an easier challenge in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for fillies. Mission Brief will be the 161st filly since the debut of the Hambletonian in 1926 to take on the challenge. Thirteen have won the prestigious event, only two - Duenna in 1983 and Continentalvictory in 1996 - since the option of the Oaks debuted in 1971. Mission Brief drew post two in the second of two $100,000 elimination races on Saturday and was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite. She has three wins in four starts this year and 12 wins in 17 career starts for a bankroll of $791,417. "It's a perfect draw for her," trainer Ron Burke said. "She doesn't have to leave. She can get away where ever she wants to get away. That seems to be her favorite way, to fall in where she has to and then move from there." While she won the Dan Patch Award for Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of 2014, she was not without her flaws with ill-timed breaks in stride. She did win the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final and the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle [renamed the Jim Doherty Memorial this year] and the $500,000 Breeders Crown, all at the Meadowlands. This year, Mission Brief won her season's debut in a New Jersey Sire Stakes preliminary leg and annexed the $100,000 final on May 30. Battling some back issues, she did not make her next start until the $187,000 Del Miller Memorial on July 18, finishing second by a nose. After making her first three starts at the Meadowlands, she traveled to Vernon Downs for the $185,000 Zweig Memorial, winning by two lengths in 1:51.4. That victory punched her ticket to face the boys in the 90th edition of the Hambletonian. "It was 100 percent [the decision maker]," Burke said. "Without that race, I wasn't going to get all the owners on board to go. For her to show up and look like her old self, it was a pretty easy sell. Her best is as good as anybody's best. That's all we were looking for." The owners are Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA; Our Horse Cents Stables of Clifton Park, NY; J&T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA. Bred by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm and Andrea Lea Racing Stables, the Muscle Hill - Southwind Serena filly was hip number 98 at the Lexington Selected Sale on October 1, 2013 and sold for $150,000. She will need to finish in the top five of her elimination to return for the $1 million Hambletonian, race 13, which will be featured on CBS SportsNet. Coverage is from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Post time for the Hambletonian Final is 5:15 p.m. Her regularly driver, Yannick Gingras, will handle the filly, but he will also drive Pinkman, the divisional champion among the two-year-old colts of 2014, in the first elimination. The Jimmy Takter trainee is the 8-5 morning line favorite despite post 10 in his split. If both advance to the final, Gingras will have to make his pick. The Hambletonian stakes record of 1:50.1 was established in 2009 by Muscle Hill. Sharing the stakes-laden card with the Hambletonian are the $389,450 Jim Doherty Memorial [Race 2], $251,250 Lady Liberty [Race 3]; $215,250 US Pacing Championship [Race 4], $301,500 John Cashman Memorial [Race 5], $181,450 Fresh Yankee [Race 6], $349,850 Peter Haughton Memorial [Race 7], $319,400 Cane Pace [Race 11], $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks [Race 12] and $109,500 Shady Daisy [Race 14]. The program has a total of 16 races. Gates at the Meadowlands open at 10 a.m. with first race at 12 noon. Festivities include a commemorative baseball hat giveaway, with paid admission while supplies last; limited edition Foiled Again Breyer Stablemate giveaway for children, with paid admission while supplies last; live music by The Wild Ones; carnival games and pony rides in the Backyard; Horse Play Car Giveaway, and $850 Hambletonian Hat Contest [after the fifth race] with three prizes, including $500 for first place. 8th Race -- $100,000 Hambletonian Elimination 1. Donatomite by Donato Hanover, Trond Smedshammer, Trond Smedshammer, 15-1 2. The Bank by Donato Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 8-1 3. Workout Wonder by Conway Hall, Daniel Dube, Ake Svanstedt, 12-1 4. Habitat by Conway Hall, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 6-1 5. Total Darkness by Muscles Yankee, Tim Tetrick, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1 6. Fashion Creditor by Credit Winner, David Miller, Tom Fanning, 20-1 7. Jacksons Minion by Explosive Matter, Tom Jackson, Tom Jackson, 30-1 8. Centurion ATM by SJS Caviar, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 9-2 9. Canepa Hanover by Muscle Hill, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1 10. Pinkman by Explosive Matter, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-5   9th Race -- $100,000 Hambletonian Elimination 1. Billy Flynn by Cantab Hall, Tim Tetrick, Staffan Lind, 15-1 2. Mission Brief by Muscle Hill, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-5 3. Cruzado Dela Noche by Muscle Massive, David Miller, Nancy Johansson, 20-1 4. Aldebaran Eagle by Muscle Hill, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1 5. Wings Of Royalty by RC Royalty, Tim Tetrick, George Ducharme, 12-1 6. French Laundry by Muscles Yankee, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1 7. Uncle Lasse by Donato Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 5-2 8. Southwind Mozart by Muscle Hill, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 9. Muscle Diamond by Muscle Hill, Tim Tetrick, Brett Bittle, 8-1 By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ  

Winter Harbor will hope to make the most of the summertime stakes - and beyond - for harness racing trainer Tony Alagna and his ownership group. A $240,000 yearling purchase, the son of Muscle Hill will make his second career start in Friday's eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. A total of 19 horses entered the Haughton, so two eliminations will be contested Friday with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the $349,850 final on Hambletonian Day, Aug. 8, at the Meadowlands. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six for the final in an order determined by lot. The remainder of the finalists will be part of an open draw. Friday's card also includes three eliminations for the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old female trotters. Winter Harbor won his debut on July 24 at the Meadowlands, capturing a division of the Kindergarten Series by 2-1/2 lengths over Dog Gone Lucky in 1:56.1. His time was the fastest of three divisions. He will compete in the second of the two Haughton eliminations, starting from post nine with driver Scott Zeron. He is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, behind Jimmy Takter-trained Bar Hopping at 3-1. "We like him a lot," said Alagna, who trains Winter Harbor for owners Brittany Farms, John Cancelliere, Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, and Winter Harbor Partners. "He trained down good all winter." "He qualified really good and he was very good in his first start." "We've been really happy with him. He's been solid." Winter Harbor is the first foal out of the stakes-placed mare Spectacular Bay. The colt's family includes Dan Patch Award winner Casual Breeze as well as stakes-winner Epangeline. "We bought a horse looking for a stallion, like always with the group that bought the colt," Alagna said. "They're looking for future stallions, so we know we're going to have to spend some money to try to get one." "It doesn't guarantee success, but it sure doesn't hurt." "He was the whole package." "He is by the right stallion, Muscle Hill, and the first foal out of a mare with a good maternal pedigree." "He was a great individual." "He was fantastic in the paddock, great video." "He just had a lot of presence about him." "We were happy to get him." "I think great horses put off a little bit of an aura." "I think this horse had that kind of presence about him when we looked at him." Southwind Frank, from the stable of Ron Burke, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the first Haughton elimination. Southwind Frank has won two of three races and enters his elim off a 1-1/2 length victory over Bar Hopping in 1:53.4 in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. That time is the fastest of the season so far for a 2-year-old trotter. Following are the elimination fields for the Peter Haughton Memorial in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line odds: Elimination 1 1. Southwind Frank, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 2-1   2. Explosive Yankee, David Miller, D.R. Ackerman, 20-1   3. Brownie Hanover, Marcus Melander, Marcus Melander, 20-1   4. Sliding Home, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1   5. Earn And Burn, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 6-1   6. Alexander Hanover, John Campbell, William Popfinger, 7-2   7. Promise Delivered, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind, 12-1   8. Taco Tuesday, Tim Tetrick, Frank Antonacci, 8-1   9. Dominion Beach, Andy Miller, Nancy Johansson, 15-1   10. Dominus Hanover, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 12-1   Elimination 2 1. Southwind Flash, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 15-1   2. Celebrity Pilatus, John Campbell, Thomas Haughton, 20-1   3. Dupree, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 8-1   4. Lagerfeld, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 8-1   5. Milligan's School, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 6-1   6. Bar Hopping, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1   7. Waitlifter K, Tim Tetrick, Chuck Sylvester, 6-1   8. Brooklyn Hill, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1   9. Winter Harbor, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 7-2 Ken Weingartner

When Yannick Gingras makes an appearance at a harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, he has a strong tendency to be mightily successful on the racetrack.   Such was the case on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, when he swept the filly and colt divisions of the Harry M. Zweig Memorial stakes.   In the $185,000 Zweig for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Gingras settled Mission Brief ($2.60, part of entry) into the third spot out of her midpack post, tracking Wild Honey (John Campbell) and Magic Marker (Brian Sears) through a :27 initial quarter before brushing to the fore at race's midpoint.   Just as Wild Honey slackened through a :56.1 half mile, Mission Brief charged past, opening up her lead to two lengths on the far turn.   The daughter of Muscle Hill and Southwind Serena would hold that margin through a :55.3 final half, defeating Wild Honey in 1:51.4.   Magic Marker stayed on to be third, while Gatka Hanover (Brett Miller) rallied mildly off cover to take fourth.   Ron Burke trains Mission Brief for the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, the J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. Now a 12-time winner, Mission Brief has amassed $791,417 in career earnings.   Mission Brief     A mere hour after Mission Brief asserted herself in the $185,000 Zweig division for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Pinkman ($2.10, part of entry) found room up the inside to strike late from a pocket trip in the $370,000 Zweig event for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.   Beginning from post 7 as part of a four-horse Jimmy Takter-trained entry, Pinkman left strongly, stringing out Habitat (Brian Sears) in the early going before yielding to stablemate Canepa Hanover (Takter) after a :27.3 initial quarter.   The gelded son of Explosive Matter and Margie Seelster drafted comfortably behind his stablemate through a :56.1 middle half, but was boxed at the apex of the far turn when Habitat attempted a first-over bid.   With racing room at a premium in upper stretch, Pinkman found room up the inside, passing Canepa Hanover in the final sixteenth.   He prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:52, a stakes record.   Canepa Hanover held second, while Workout Wonder (Daniel Dubé) rallied late to take third past Wings of Royalty (Tim Tetrick).   Also taking career win number 12, Pinkman stretched his career bankroll to $1,187,139 for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman.   Pinkmam   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 31) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

July 5, 2015 - Today’s Ulf Thoresens Minnelopp (500,000Nok to winner, three year-olds, 2100 meters autostart) at Jarlsberg went to Italy’s Tuonoblu Rex (3m Cantab Hall-Eternity Rex-Lindy Land-CR Kay Suzie) with Robin Bakker teaming. The 1.8/1 favorite scored in 1.13.4kr in a driving finish over Italy’s Tango Negro (3m Infinitif-Lisetta Real-Lemon Dra) teamed by Bjorn Goop for trainer Jerry Riordan and owner Ceccaroni Graziano. US-bred RG’s Thunderbolt (3m Yankee Glide-Lady In The Wind-Windsong’s Legacy-Dreamland’s Oolong) was third for Frode Hamre. The Anders Jahres Pokallopp (four and five year-olds, 300,000Nor to winner, 2100 meters autostart) at the same venue went to Norway’s Papagayo E (5m Coktail Jet-Ann Speedy T-Speedy Tomali) for Vidar Hop at 2/1 and clocked in a speedy 1.10.6kr. Italy’s Rod Stewart (5m Love You-Valley Lane-Lindy Lane) was second for Bjorn Goop, trainer Jerry Riordan and owner Ceccaroni Graziano. US-bred and owned (Adam S. Bowden) Creatine (5m Andover Hall-Berry Nice Muscles-Muscles Yankee) was third for Johnny Takter in his first start for the Takter team. The 1.3/1 odds US-bred Windy Ways (5f Conway Hall-Southwind Flanders-Lindy Lane) comfortably won the Yarrah Boko Stolopp (100,000Nok to winner, 2100 meters autostart) clocked in 1.12.9kr for teamster Erik Adielsson and trainer Daniel Reden. Stall Zet owns this one, now showing a slate of 14-4-1 in 28 starts for 1,076,000Nok earned. On Saturday at Halmstad US-breds performed well. The StoSprintern Final (1609 meters autostart, 564,576SEK to winner) went to the 1.11kr winner Heaven’s Door (4f Muscle Hill-Girlie Tough-Conway Hall) with Ulf Ohlsson up. Diamond River (4f Ready Cash-First Out-Lemon Dra) was three-length behind in second for Stefan Soderkvist. The same day at Halmstad the V75 Gold (2140 meters autostart, 150,000SEK to winner) went to El Mago Pellini (6m Chocolatier-My Intuition-Andover Hall) for Adrian Kolgjini timed in 1.11kr. Nothing But Class (6m Andover Hall-Bold Dreamer-Donerail) took second for Peter Untersteiner, three lengths from the winner. The AM Bloodstock (1609 meters autostart, 100,000SEK to the winner) went to the quick 1.09.7kr winner Your Highness (6f Chocolatier-La Belle Lady-Conway Hall) with Bjorn Goop driving. Fleetfoot Hanover (8f Andover Hall-Firefly Annie-SJ’s Photo) was second for Peter Untersteiner and timed in 1.09.9kr. Thomas H. Hicks  

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 3, 2015 - Veteran harness racing driver John Campbell expertly guided a trio of first-time starters to victory in first round New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-olds on Friday night, July 3, 2015 at the Meadowlands. Hall of Famer Campbell won with filly pacer Rock My Girl in the $25,000 first race, colt trotter Jack Vernon in the $20,000 fourth race and colt pacer Boston Red Rocks in the $25,000 fifth race. Rock My Girl [$9.20] was a length and a half winner over Blue Moon Stride. It was three and a half lengths to Show Time Hill in third. All three fillies are daughters of Rocknroll Hanover. Trained by Casie Coleman, Rock My Girl paced the mile in 1:53.3, tossing in a last quarter in 27.1. Owned by West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella and Ron Broadstone, she was a $20,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase. Jack Vernon [$6.60], a Muscle Hill son of Vernon Blue Chip, trotted his mile in 1:57.2, finishing a half-length ahead of Dominion Beach [Muscle Hill]. Southwind Flash [Muscle Hill], who won both of his baby races and was the betting favorite, was third by three quarters of a length. Racing in the name of Miller's Stable Inc. of Leburn, KY, Jack Vernon is trained by Randy Beeckman and was purchased out of the Lexington Selected Sale for $50,000. Boston Red Rocks [$5.80] was a two and a quarter length winner over Katies Rocker. It was two and three-quarter lengths to Ideal Rocky in third. All three are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. The Steve Elliott-trainee paced the mile in 1:53.2. Purchased for $50,000 out of the Harrisburg Sale, Boston Red Rocks races in the name of Rick Berks of Boca Raton, FL. In other New Jersey Sire Stakes divisions for trotters, Southwind Frank [$3.00] won the $20,000 second race for colts and Hollywood Hill [$14.40] captured the $20,000 sixth race for fillies. Southwind Frank, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Ron Burke, prevailed by a head over Brooklyn Hill in a stretch duel that featured a 26.3 final panel in a 1:56.3 mile. It was two and a half lengths to Bar Hopping in third. All three are sons of Muscle Hill. Southwind Frank, a $100,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase, belongs to the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables and J&T Silva Stables. Hollywood Hill, driven and trained by Jimmy Takter, coasted to a two and a half-length tally over Southwind Adele. It was three and three-quarter lengths to Silvia in third. The three fillies are all daughters of Muscle Hill. The mile was timed in 1:56.2. The winner is owned by breeder Goran Falk of Allentown, NJ. In the last division, the $20,000 ninth race for trotting fillies, Gifted Lady [$4.40] was a length winner over Dream Child in 1:57.4. Skara Brae was third by five and a half lengths. All three fillies are daughters of Muscle Hill. Jimmy Takter drives and traines Gifted Lady, for owner-breeder Silver Linden Farms of Woodburn, IN. The two-year-olds have another week of prelims before meeting in $100,000 finals on July 17, 2015 at the Meadowlands. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

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

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