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Three harness racing trotting winners on two continents in one day. That was the remarkable achievement of progeny from Yabby Dam Farms’ former Australasian Grand Circuit champion mare La Coocaracha this week. First out of the blocks at Bendigo was La Coocaracha son Mataderos, a 3YO Dream Vacation colt who was driven by Yabby Dam Racing’s Finnish track driver Anti Ruokenon in his first ever Australian race start. Trained by Anton Golino, and rated in front to perfection by Ruokenon, Mataderos cleared out to win by 8.5m to record his first win in impressive fashion, and also give the young Finn the perfect start to his Australian race driving career. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. The Golino stable’s star Dance Craze was the next up for La Coocaracha, competing in the first heat of the Lynn McPherson Breed for Speed Gold Series after her stunning win in the Great Southern Star. Glen Craven patiently drove the 5YO mare at the back of the field before unleashing a brilliant burst of speed in the home straight to claim the victory, the mare’s 16th in 26 starts. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. And then as the day turned night at the famous Yonkers track in North America, La Grange A won impressively in 1.56.3 on his American debut in a $20,000 conditioned event. Despite the dreaded eight pole, driver Yannick Gingras using his charge’s gate speed to get to the lead early and proved too strong for this conditioned field. La Grange, was sold in December through JC International’s John Curtin to Renee Spahr, and is a full brother to Dance Craze being a son of Muscle Hill out of La Coocaracha.  Like his two siblings, he was bred by Yabby Dam Farms and Haras des Trotteurs in Cardigan, Victoria and was a Group 2 winner during his 2- and 3-year-old seasons in Australia.  A November 2014 foal, La Grange is still a 4-year-old by Australian time, but is a 5-year-old in the U.S. because of the different breeding calendars and has now won seven of his 23 career races.     “He’s a nice horse,” trainer Per Engblom, told the US Trotting Association website prior to the race.  “From the way he feels when we’re training, that he’s a very strong horse. He can take a lot of air. He’s very clean gaited; I just hope he’s fast enough. He’s more of a grinder than a speed horse, but I think he’s OK.” Engblom’s feelings as it turned out were spot on.  “Hopefully we can get him into the Meadowlands in a class where he fits so we can get started there. He’s basically missing his 4-year-old year, so it’s going to be a big transition. We’ll see how he handles it. He was maybe a notch below the best ones Down Under, but he’s a real good horse. La Grange Is yet another product of the blossoming Australian trotting breeding program, which is now showing that it can produce trotters that can be competitive on the international stage, a path that has been successfully blazed by Down Under pacers for several years. Last year, another Muscle Hill colt Aldebaranwalkabout won two races, including a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, for owner and breeder Duncan McPherson’s Aldebaran Park Inc. Engblom also told the US Trotting website will point La Grange toward several upcoming series for older trotters and also made the stallion eligible to some stakes races. “I don’t know if he’s going to be ready for the early stakes, but by this fall I wouldn’t be surprised if he is,” Engblom said. “He’s got a series at Pocono, then we’ll see. We’ll see if he develops. He’s a big horse, so I think he’s going to be better with age. I think he’ll be OK.” Back at Yabby Dam Farms and Haras des Trotteurs in Australia, La Coocaracha is proving to be every bit the champion in the broodmare paddock as she was on the track.  She is also the dam of former Group one winner Reine Danzante (now in foal to Muscle Mass) while  a yearling colt by Andover Hall is breaking in beautifully and she also has a lovely filly by French sire Quaker Jet. Meanwhile La Coocaracha’s  9-win daughter La Biscuit is also the dam of a Group one winner in Royal Treat. The results are also in line with Yabby Dam Farms/Haras des Trotteurs mission to breed world class trotters while also continuing fellow breeder Duncan McPherson’s long stated ambition to internationalise trotting. Note: Yearling buyers should take notice of Lot 8, at the APTS Sale in Melbourne on March the 10th, a Dream Vacation colt from Meridith Castle, a half-sister to La Coocaracha, who has already produced Iona Grinner a trotting winner of over $217,000 and has a time of 1:55.1.   Harnesslink Media  

Dozens of harness racing pacers hailing from either Australia or New Zealand will compete at Yonkers Raceway in the next several days, which is a common occurrence. Less ordinary is the appearance of a trotter from Down Under, but that will be the case Thursday (Feb. 21) when Australian-bred La Grange makes his North American debut for trainer Per Engblom. La Grange, owned by Renee Spahr, is a son of Muscle Hill out of La Coocaracha. He was bred by Yabby Dam Farms in Australia and was a Group 2 winner during his 2- and 3-year-old seasons Down Under. Born in November 2014, he would be a 4-year-old back home, but is considered a 5-year-old in the U.S. because of the different breeding calendars. The stallion, who has won six of 22 career races and earned $68,723, drew post eight in Yonkers' sixth race, a $20,000 conditioned event, on Thursday and is 20-1 on the morning line with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Four-year-old Seven Iron, a stakes-winner at age 2, is the 9-5 favorite from post one. "He's a nice horse," said Engblom, who welcomed La Grange to his stable in December. "I've seen in replays from Down Under, and from the way he feels when we're training, that he's a very strong horse. He can take a lot of air. He's very clean gaited; I just hope he's fast enough. He's more of a grinder than a speed horse, but I think he's OK." La Grange qualified twice at the Meadowlands ahead of Thursday's debut. He finished second, timed in 1:58, behind In Secret with Engblom driving and more recently won in 1:59 with Gingras in the bike. Engblom hoped to race La Grange last week at the Meadowlands, but the class did not fill. Rather than send the horse against open-level trotters, Engblom opted for the conditioned event at Yonkers. "There he can race in a class where he belongs," Engblom said. "Hopefully we can get him into the Meadowlands in a class where he fits so we can get started there. He's basically missing his 4-year-old year, so it's going to be a big transition. We'll see how he handles it. He was maybe a notch below the best ones Down Under, but he's a real good horse. La Grange will not be the first Australian-born son of Muscle Hill to compete in North America. Last year, colt Aldebaranwalkabout won two races, including a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, for owner Aldebaran Park Inc. and trainer Jonas Czernyson. Engblom will point La Grange toward several upcoming series for older trotters and also made the stallion eligible to some stakes races. "I don't know if he's going to be ready for the early stakes, but by this fall I wouldn't be surprised if he is," Engblom said. "He's got a series at Pocono, then we'll see. We'll see if he develops. He's a big horse, so I think he's going to be better with age. I think he'll be OK." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Silverhill Volo is feeling awfully good these days, coming off back-to-back scores in the Open Trot over something other than a firm surface. The 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey and has accounted for the last two clashes at the head of the class for the trotting set, one over a sloppy track and the other over a course labelled good. "I've had him a little over two years," Lackey noted. "He's bred to be a good one. He's by Muscle Hill, his dam won the Hambletonian Oaks and he brought $170,000 as a yearling." Things didn't get off to the smoothest of starts when Chip bought the gelding back in November of 2016, but he's been a solid performer in the interim. "When I first brought him to Cal Expo from the Midwest, he had a real bad fever, but eventually he recovered and he's been a solid trotter for us. "One of the things that used to make my stomach churn is when we would turn to come to the gate and he would switch from the pace to the trot," Lackey informed. "It wasn't always smooth, but eventually it wasn't a problem. "Because of that, I was able to lighten him up front, which has allowed me to leave with him and gives us more options in the early part of the race." And what about his prowess on off tracks? "He's a strong horse. I think when the track gets tiring, it takes less of a toll on him and that's why he does so well." Lackey also related that Silverhill Volo has a secret weapon, something you won't see in the pedigree or past performances. "That would be his caretaker Fern Wald. She deserves a ton of credit for what this horse has been able to do here." Duly noted, Chip. Distaff Open Pace, Goudreau Prep featured A $6,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace that brings out Brighten Your Life and the Shelly Goudreau Prep are the main events on Saturday evening's Cal Expo program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races, with the Open going as the third race and the Goudreau Prep occupying the seventh-race slot, and things get under way at 6:10 p.m. Brighten Your Life is a 6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture out of the Falcon Seelster mare Our Inheritance who is owned, trained and driven by Nate Sobey. She came into last week's top dance for the pacing fillies and mares having finished second in six straight outings, including the Alan Horowitz Final, but returned to her winning ways with a huge effort over the sloppy going. Leaving from the outside post, Brighten Your Life brushed to command for Sobey with a big move before the half, took complete control of things from that point and came home with four and half-lengths to spare. The Kathie Plested shedrow will be strongly represented with Outrageiousdelightn and Dancingonthesand in the line-up. Steve Wiseman will chauffeur the former and Mooney Svendsen has the assignment behind Dancingonthesand. Rounding out the cast for the Open are Misspanderosajones, who will have the services of Dean Magee; and Lookslikewemadeit, who leaves from the cozy rail slot with James Kennedy guiding. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Champion Victorian harness racing driver Chris Alford admits he had his fingers crossed when he travelled to Maryborough on Thursday to drive exciting first-starter Kyvalley Chief. The three-year-old colt (Muscle Hill-Love Ya Doosie (Love You), raced by KPC Racing, had shown some Jekyll and Hyde tendencies at the trials – a touch unpredictable, but brilliant on his best behaviour. “There’s no doubting his ability – when he decides to put his best foot forward, he does it effortlessly,” Alford said. Punters sent Kyvalley Chief out as a $3 chance with the Gavin Lang-trained and driven Classy Spirit assuming favouritism at $2.10. With several of the youngsters not bringing their best manners and breaking at the start to cause interference, HRV starter Doug Gretgrix, officiating at his final meeting after 21 years, had no option but to call the first attempt of the race a false start. “I was a bit lucky because Kyvalley Chief was in a cranky mood. He galloped in the score-up, wouldn’t trot properly and was trying to go sideways, so I did have my hands full,” Alford said. “Without doubt, had they gone I’d have been 200 metres behind them. “But fortunately, in the second attempt he went up like a complete gentleman and we trotted to the lead.  He went fantastic.” Kyvalley Chief won by 19 metres from Classy Spirit, with a massive 51 metres back to Zarem in third spot with quarters of 30.8, 31.4, 29.5 and 31.3 for a rate of 2.03. “It was annoying that he played up the first time, but thankfully he made amends time and went similar to his Bendigo trial four days earlier.  He was on his best behaviour there and won in a jog and in a pretty handy time.” Alford said Kyvalley Chief, despite having a handful of trials and heaps of education, was probably still “a big immature boy”. “He’s certainly a work in progress, but he’s got heaps of raw ability so hopefully it will all come together for him soon.” To watch a video replay click here. Kyvalley Chief was bred by Breckon Farms, who have a full brother to Kyvalley Chief at this year's inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland, on the 18th of February. He is Lot 53, Doosie Do by Muscle Hill from Love Ya Doosie. For the catalogue pedigree click here. Doosie Do From the race winning Love You mare Love Ya Doosie (T, 2.7.5, 2 wins, $12,375) who is a half-sister to champion trotter, 9-time Group 1 winner and 4YO Trotter of the Year, Trotter of the Year (twice), Harness Horse of the Year and Australian Trotter of the Year I Can Doosit (T, 1.55.5; 36 wins, $1,445,774,), Group 3 winner and Group 2 placed Sno's Big Boy (T, 1.58.4, 15 wins, $215,309), Heezadoo Early (T, 2.06.9, 5 wins, $46,866) and Yankeedoosie (T.3, 2.05.2, 4 wins, $43,999). Second dam is the broodmare gem and dual Broodmare of the Year sheezadoosie (T, 2.04.2, 7 wins, $48,632) who is the dam of 6 foals to race, 6 winners and the granddam of the promising Forget The Price Tag (T, 2.04.9, 2700m, 2 wins & 2 placings from just 6 starts, $21,703). From the family of Golden Blend (T, 1.55, 33 wins, $294,630), Group 2 winner Aldebaran Ay M (T, 1.58.8, 9 wins, $72,419), Group 1 placed Aldebaran Southland (T, 2.00.1, 12 wins $67,332), Breena Almahurst, Brighton Lobell, Noble Hustle, American Hustle, Hardesty, Noble Traveller etc Kyvalley Chief was the first leg of a winning treble for master reinsman Alford at the Maryborough meeting. He followed with victories in the 4yo and older trot with Flash Kyvalley (Skyvalley-Cashel Dagha (Pine Chip) and a heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series with Bettor Be Sorry (Bettors Delight-Whos Sorry Now (Western Ideal). Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing stallion Muscle Hill has been a sensation from the time he set foot on the race track. He continues to break record after record and with the 2018 yearling sales complete in North America, you have to wonder what more can a stallion do? At the 2018 Lexington Selected Yearling Sales there was 48 yearlings sold by Muscle Hill for an average of $121,000 for a total of $5,808,000. At the Harrisburg Sales 16 yearlings by Muscle Hill sold for an average of $178,938 for a total of $2,863,008. A total of 64 yearlings by Muscle Hill sold for a total of $8,671,008 with an average of $135,484 over the two sales. From his first five crops to the races three-year-olds and over Muscle Hill has produced 259 winners from 439 foals eligible, nine millionaires, thirteen with earnings of more than $750,000, twenty-one $500,000 plus winners, thirty-three $250,000 winners, ninety-eight $100,000 plus winners with 56 trotting in 1:53 or better and with total earnings of $47,334,500 to date. That works out to be $107,823 average earnings for all foals eligible to race. This is a stunning record that will be very hard to surpass. Muscle Hill is probably the greatest producing stallion in history. With only those five crops racing he has already produced stallions, Trixton and E L Titan that are already proven producers of two-year-olds in 2018. Muscle Hill is the pinnacle of breeding, a trotting sire that has it all, a great race record, a great siring record and this is all with just the five crops three-year-old and older racing. God knows where Muscle Hill will end up with many crops to come. He is still a very young stallion, just 12 years old. Muscle Hill is fully booked out every year in North America and to be able to buy a breeding to this champion stallion you have to pay at least US$40 to US$50,000 if you are lucky enough to find one that is available to buy. New Zealand and Australian buyers have an great chance of buying a Muscle Hill yearling at the inaugural New Zealand National Yearling Sale at Karaka in February 2019, it is a chance of a life time for serious trotting buyers.  In the Breckon Farms draft there are four outstanding, brilliantly bred Muscle Hill colts for sale by this amazing sire. They are the only colts for sale by Muscle Hill in the entire New Zealand sales this coming year. Lot 53 - Doosie Doo Doosie Do is from the race winning Love You mare Love Ya Doosie ( 2 wins, $12,375)  who is a half-sister to champion trotter, nine time Group 1 winner and 4yo Trotter of the Year, Trotter of the Year (twice), Harness Horse of the Year and Australian Trotter of the Year I Can Doosit  (T, 1.55.5; 36 wins, $1,445,774,), Group 3 winner and Group 2 placed Sno’s Big Boy (15 wins, $215,309),  Heezadoo Early ( 5 wins, $46,866) and Yankeedoosie ((4 wins, $43,999). Doosie Do’s second dam is the broodmare gem and dual Broodmare of the Year Sheezadoosie (7 wins, $48,632) who is the dam of 6 foals to race, 6 winners and the grand-dam of the promising Forget The Price Tag, two wins & t placings from just 6 starts to date. Lot 80 - Regal Attire Regal Attire is out of the Malabar Man broodmare gem Regal Volo (5 wins, $25,231), the dam of five foals to race for five winners, including four black type performers. This colt is a three-quarter brother in blood to four time Group 1 and Group 2 and 3 winner, Breeders Crown 2yof Trot Final winner, New Zealand and Australian two-year-old and three-year-old Trotting Filly of the Year, who set a New Zealand record High Gait (16 wins, $342,474) and two time Group 1 and three time Group 2 winner, double Breeders Crown Champion and Australian 3yo Trotter of the Year (Our) Twentyten (17 wins, $337,666), and a half-brother to Alannah Hall (6 wins, $38,928), three time Group 1 and Group 2 placed (Our) Regal Love ( 3 wins, $58,192) and a full-brother to Group 2 placed Girls On Film (3 wins, $32,708). The second dam of Regal Attire is Royal Jewel (12 wins, $218,343) is the dam of four winners including Winning Crystal (15 wins, $63,228) and One Chip (4 wins $8581), exported to Italy and dam of Il Capo Atc ( Italy winner l/e e43,187) and the family of Diamond Goal (T.3, 1.53.2m, 17 wins, $586,074). Lot 127 - Mr Muscle Mr Muscle is the first foal from the black type race winning Angus Hall mare Alannah ( 6 wins, $38,928) who is a half-sister to two time Group 1 and three time Group 2 winner, double Breeders Crown Champion and Australian three-year-old Trotter of the Year (Our) Twentyten (17 wins, $337,666)  four time Group 1 and Group 2 and 3 winner, Breeders Crown 2yof Trot Final winner, New Zealand and Australian two-year-old and three-year-old Trotting Filly of the Year, who set a NZ Record, High Gait (16 wins, $342,474, three time Group 1 and Group 2 placed (Our) Regal Love (3 wins, $58,192) and Group 2 placed Girls On Film (3 wins, $32,708). The second dam of Mr Muscle is the Malabar Man broodmare gem Regal Love (5 wins, $31,190), the dam of five foals to race for five winners including four black type performers. Lot 137 - I See Fire I See Fire is a  three-quarter brother in blood to Group 3 placed Sertorius (5 wins, $59,198) and a half-brother to Popcorn Sutton (1 win, $8,480), from a half-sister to five winners including Group 3 winner and two time Group 1 placed Sunny Elegant (14 wins $102,331). The second dam of I See Fire is the two time Group 1 winner, Rowe Cup, Dominion and the New Zealand National Trot winner and 4yo Trotting Mare of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Harness Horse of the Year Merinai (19 wins, $244,155) who is the dam of six foals to race for six winners. For the record here is an up date on Muscle Hill's Pedigree The first dam of Muscle Hill is the race winning daughter of the American Winner mare Yankee Blondie. Yankee Blondie was a minor winner of just $8,434 with a three-year-old record of 1:59.4f. Yankee Blondie is the dam of nine foals, for six winners. They are Muscle Hill 1:50.1 ($3,318,682), Diesel Don 1:55.3 ($247,117) who was exported to Finland, Manfromnantucket 1:57 ($152,857), Upfront Yankee 1:56.2 ($40,623), Winbak Blondie 1:57.4 ($16,545) and Eddiction ($14,420) who was exported to Sweden. Yankee Blondie is also the dam of the unraced Pine Chip mare Mets Rival who has produced five winners to date. They are Mets Inn 1:56.4 ($200,313) who is the dam of sensational 2018 three-year-old Mets Hall 1:51.2m ($1,349,176) and Mets Life ($31,880), Commando Queen ($124,941) dam of Order By Commander 1:55.1s ($184,763) and Winbak Maya 1:55.4 ($31,730) dam of three winners to date including a 2018 two-year-old The second dam of Muscle Hill is the Hickory Pride mare Yankee Bambi. From 16 foals she has produced 11 winners including the Speedy Crown stallion T V Yankee 1:56 ($572,024). T V Yankee is the sire of 136 race winners of $6,084,358 to date. Yankee Bambi is also the dam of the following good winners Yankee Yankee ($272,638), Yankee Bravado ($158,552), N Y Yankee ($125,080), Yankee Pinstripe ($73,799) and Elegant Yankee ($39,366). The last mentioned Elegant Yankee is the dam of Friendly Lover ($36,566) who has produced the good horse Good Friend 1:54.4f ($322,108) Yankee Bambi has left three unraced daughters that have produced well. They are Yankee Meme, who is the grand dam of Yankee Becall 1:57.1f ($106,328) who was exported to Sweden, Yankee Kitten who was also exported to Sweden left Kentucky Yankee 1:55.3 ($181,478) and Bashful Yankee who is the dam of Bamboo Yankee 1:54.2f ($379,797) and Yankee Benson 1:58f ($57,931) The third dam of Muscle Hill is the outstanding producer Yankee Duchess who was by Duke Of Lullwater. Yankee Duchess left 17 foals, 8 of those were winners. But it was not the winners that have made Yankee Duchess prolific. It was the three great mares by Hickory Pride that she left. Yankee Duchess produced five daughters by Hickory Pride and three of those daughters have become the grand dams of three super sires. Those three daughters of Yankee Duchess are Yankee Bambi, Yankee Scottie and Yankee Flight. Yankee Bambi, as detailed above is the grand-dam of Muscle Hill T,3, 1:50.1 ($3,266,835). Yankee Scottie is the grand-dam of Windsongs Legacy 1:53 ($1,921,088) and Yankee Flight is the grand-dam of Yankee Glide 1:55.1 ($506,904) It is interesting to note that these three mares and Yankee Duchess the dam of the three mares, have all produced between 15 and 17 foals each. Muscle Hill was from the third daughter of Yankee Bambi. Windsongs Legacy was from the eighth daughter of Yankee Scottie and Yankee Glide was foal number twelve from a daughter of Yankee Flight. Windsongs Legacy 1:53 ($1,921,088) was by Conway Hall and was the first foal of his dam Yankee Windsong. She left four foals for four winners. Windsongs Legacy bred 250 foals from just four crops before his untimely death but still produced 108 winners of $16,777,363. His progeny have averaged $67,109 per live foal and $109,656 per starter. Windsongs Legacy has produced two outstanding sons in Lucky Chucky 1:50.4 ($2,119,958) born in 2007 and Chapter Seven 1:50.1 ($1,952,853) born in 2008. Lucky Chucky has 120 race winners to date with earnings of $8,611,933 and Chapter Seven has become a siring sensation in 2018 with siring the top two-year-old colt and filly and also siring the 2018 Hambletonian winning filly Atlanta 1:50.3 ($1,171,477) Yankee Glide 1:55.1 ($506,904) was by the immortal Valley Victory and was the seventh of thirteen foals of his dam Gratis Yankee and he was the only one of any note. He was a great winner himself but his real claim to fame is his progeny. He has become a great sire. Yankee Glide has produced 1,419 foals eligible to race, 1036 raced, 737 winners of $97,146,785 in stakes to date. Yankee Glide has produced 10 millionaires including the great mare Passionate Glide 1:52.2 ($2,131,377) and the great racehorse and now stallion Glidemaster 1:51.1 ($2,038,575) to mention just the top two. COMMENT From a breeding point of view you could say that Muscle Hill has ticked all the right boxes. He is by one of the all-time great sires in Muscles Yankee and is from a prolific producing dam family of stallions, such as Yankee Glide, Windsongs Legacy, Glidemaster, T V Yankee, and now Muscle Hill. No need to say no more, this is just a tremendous family and I believe that it will produce many more champions in the future Muscle Hill was sold as a yearling in 2007 at the Harrisburg Sale as Hip# 199 for $55,000. Interesting to note here that I have seen a catalogue reference page of Muscle Hill by one of the buyers that show a list of leading trainers comments written on the page prior to sale that showed these leading trainers thoughts that Muscle Hill was not a very good prospect on type. All the comments shown were negative comments. Point here is that I believe every buyer at a sale is equal. No one formula works all the time. You just cannot tell which horse is going to be the fastest at the yearling stage. Nobody can in my opinion. RACE RECORD Muscle Hill trotted a world record equalling mile as a three-year-old in 1:50.1 and won 20 of 21 lifetime starts for stakes of $3,318,682. Muscle Hill now has seven crops racing and full details are below. North American Stallion Record Muscle Hill started his stud career in sensational fashion. From his first crop to the races he has produced the outstanding Resolve 1:50.4 ($2,749,545) the O'Brien Older Trotting Horse Of The Year in 2015 and exported to Sweden in 2017, the Hambletonian winner and now proven two-year-old sire Trixton 1:50.3 ($968,696) who finished third on the money winning sires list with his first crop, E L Titan 1:51.2f ($726,344) also now a proven sire of two-year-olds in 2018 with his first crop of just 24 foals finishing tenth on the money winning list overall but on the average earnings list E L Titan finished fourth, a great result as he stood in Canada. Muscle Hill - North American Statistics First crop of 82 foals from 139 bred resulted in 47 colts and 35 fillies. Eligible to race - 77 Winners - 46 $1,000,000+ - 1 $750,000+ - 2 $500,000+ - 4 $250,000+ - 6 $100,000+ - 18 Sub 1:53 - 9 Average earnings per starter $160,977 Average earnings per eligible horse - $114,984 Total earnings to date $8,853,738 ......................................................... Muscle Hill hit the headlines again with his second crop producing the sensational world champion filly Mission Brief 1:50.2f (27 starts for 19 wins with $1,657,399 in earnings), Muscle Diamond 1:50.1 ($810,706) and Pasithea Face S 1:50.4f ($591,473). Second crop of 83 foals from 139 bred resulted in 46 colts and 37 fillies. Eligible to race - 77 Winners - 42 $1,000,000+ - 1 $750,000+ - 2 $500,000+ - 4 $250,000+ - 7 $100,000+ - 20 Sub 1:53 - 11 Average earnings per starter $155,337 Average earnings per eligible horse - $106,920 Total earnings to date $8,232,852 ......................................................... Muscle Hill hit the headlines again with his third crop which has produced an unbelievable four millionaires. They are Marion Marauder 1:51.2 ($3,322,177) now standing at Hanover Shoe Farms, Southwind Frank 1:52.1 ($2,115,999) now standing at stud at Diamond Creek Farm, Bar Hopping 1:51.4 ($1,385,293) standing at Hanover Shoe Farms as well and the very good mare All The Time 1:52.1 ($1,026,356) Third crop of 80 foals from 130 bred resulted in 42 colts and 38 fillies. Eligible to race - 80 Winners - 52 $1,000,000+ - 4 $750,000+ - 4 $500,000+ - 4 $250,000+ - 7 $100,000+ - 23 Sub 1:53 - 7 Average earnings per starter $197,816 Average earnings per eligible horse - $153,307 Total earnings to date $12,264,582 ......................................................... Muscle Hill did it again with his fourth crop which has produced another three millionaires. They are the sensational filly Ariana G 1:50.2 ($2,600,995) and the Hambletonian winner (Then disqualified) What The Hill 1:51.4s ($1,345,999) now standing at stud. Fourth crop of 106 foals from 140 bred resulted in 58 colts and 48 fillies. Eligible to race - 101 Winners - 59 $1,000,000+ - 2 $750,000+ - 3 $500,000+ - 5 $250,000+ - 9 $100,000+ - 25 Sub 1:53 - 12 Average earnings per starter $158,421 Average earnings per eligible horse - $111,365 Total earnings to date $11,247,873 ......................................................... Muscle Hill did it again with his fifth crop producing another filly millionaire Manchego 1:50 ($1,609,480) who was unbeaten as a two-year-old 12 for 12. He also produced the outstanding late season sensation Tactical Landing 1:50.2 ($812,300) and now to stand at stud in 2019. Fifth crop of 105 foals from 141 bred resulted in 62 colts and 43 fillies. Eligible to race - 104 Winners - 60 $1,000,000+ - 1 $750,000+ - 2 $500,000+ - 4 $250,000+ - 4 $100,000+ - 12 Sub 1:53 - 12 Average earnings per starter $87,473 Average earnings per eligible horse - $64,764 Total earnings to date $6,735,455 From his first five crops to the races three-year-olds and over Muscle Hill has produced 259 winners from 439 foals eligible, nine millionaires, thirteen with earnings of more than $750,000, twenty-one $500,000 plus winners, thirty-three $250,000 winners, ninety-eight $100,000 plus winners with 56 trotting in 1:53 or better and total earnings of $47,334,500. That works out to be $107,823 average earnings for all foals eligible to race. This is a stunning record that will be very hard to surpass. Muscle Hill is probably the greatest producing stallion in history. With only those five crops racing he has already produced Stallions, Trixton and E L Titan that are already proven producers of two-year-olds in 2018. Muscle Hill is the pinnacle of breeding, a trotting sire that has it all, a great race record, a great siring record and this is all with just the five crops three-year-old and older racing. God knows where Muscle Hill will end up with still many crops to come. He is still a very young stallion, just 12 years old. What a future Muscle Hill has. Australian Stallion Statistics Muscle Hill has bred by frozen semen a total of 81 mares that have three-year-olds or older progeny to date. He has produced 19 starters for 15 winners with total earnings of $725,681. That is a good average per starter of $38,194. His two best progeny are the fillies Glenferrie Burn 1:55.5 ($234,430) and the rising star Dance Craze 1:56.9 ($180,240) 14 wins from 21 starts. His next best is the good three-year-old from last season La Grange ($91,540) a recent export to North America. New Zealand Stallion Statistics Muscle Hill has bred 67 mares in New Zealand all by frozen semen that have produced 46 live foals that are three-year-old or older. He has had 24 starters for 15 winners of $386,669 to date the best of which is Luby Lou ($94,000), One Muscle Hill ($57,637) and Kings Landing ($35,060) Europe We have no statistical data on progeny bred in Europe for this review although we know that the exported Propulsion has been a very good horse there. Muscle Hill, who raced only as a two and three-year-old, is the champion trotter of his era. Possessed of brilliant speed, great stamina and a magnificent flowing gait, Muscle Hill became the idol of all American trotting fans. Beaten at his debut, Muscle Hill won the last 20 of the 21 races he contested, setting two world records and a string of stakes and track records. His average winning margin was four lengths! As a two-year-old he won eight of his nine starts for $817,301 including the $700,000 Breeders Crown in a world record 1:53.6, $500,000 Peter Haughton Memorial, New Jersey Sire Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, International Stallion Stakes and the Simpson Memorial and was named USA 2YO Trotter of the Year. He took his record of 1:50.1 at three years, winning the $1,520,333 Hambletonian at The Meadowlands by six lengths. He also captured the $617,880 Breeders Crown at Woodbine, $540,000 World Trotting Derby, $1,000,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity, netting $2,501,381, a season's record for a trotter or pacer. Undefeated in 12 starts at 3, Muscle Hill was the unanimous choice for Horse of the Year and 3YO Trotter of the Year in both USA and Canada. The fastest son of thrice premier sire and champion sire of sires Muscles Yankee 3, 1:52.2, Muscle Hill belongs to a family replete with champion trotters. Harnesslink Media  

Toledo, OH — The ownership group of Tactical Landing (Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena-Varenne) 2,Q1:56; 3,1:50.2 ($812,300) has made the bittersweet decision to retire him to stud duty as a result of an injury he sustained while harness racing. From the day he was born, through the time he sold as the second highest priced yearling for $800,0000 and throughout his racing career, the full brother to world champion Mission Brief 2,1:50.3; 3,1:50.2f ($1,599,587) has created a buzz within the industry. His unmatched regal pedigree, conformation, size, speed and appearance set him apart from all others. All the promise and anticipation surrounding Tactical Landing came together this year at three. In just his fourth start this year, he won a heat of the $1.2 million Hambletonian and finished a strong third in the final. After a victory in the Bluegrass Stakes, he set his lifetime mark of 1:50.2 easily winning a heat of the Kentucky Futurity. Tactical Landing finished up the year with spectacular performances in the Breeders Crown eliminations and $500,000 final and the $350,000 TVG Open Trot final, dominating the best trotters in North America. Jimmy Takter said it best about this generational trotter: “What a wonderful experience it was to work with this horse. He has everything that very few horses have…class, speed and strength. I have been here for 36 years and I cannot say that I have seen any better than him.” Tactical Landing’s pedigree is the finest in the world. He is a son of the greatest living trotting sire in the sport, Muscle Hill, and his Breeders Crown champion mother, Southwind Serena, is the daughter of arguably the greatest trotter of all time, Italy’s Varenne. Laura Young, Farm Manager at Southwind Farms, expressed their enthusiasm to stand Tactical Landing: “Our family at Southwind is honored to stand the most charismatic son of Muscle Hill. Tactical Landing has had a buzz about him since he was born. He is a very special horse. Southwind has always stood the best of the best. His royal pedigree, stellar conformation and unprecedented good looks will produce some outstanding and highly sought after foals. This is the son of Muscle Hill we’ve been waiting for!” Tactical Landing is currently being syndicated and a limited number of shares are now available for purchase. He will stand for an introductory service of $15,000. For more information on syndication shares contact R. Kevin Greenfield, Syndicate Manager, 419.346.0609; or email kgreenfield@gkflaw.com. from The Tactical Landing Stable & Southwind Farms

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 18, 2018-Dan Dube does not discriminate. He and Jack Vernon ($8.40) went the distance Sunday afternoon (Nov. 18th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $54,800 Open Handicap Trot. The previous evening, Dube and Gokudo Hanover wired 'em in the week's marquee pace. Back to 'Jack,' who won a several-horse harness racing scrum for the early lead, then gave nothing else a shot. The nine-horse feature (one came up ill) served as the opener of seven added-distance 'French' trots. From post position No. 4, Jack Vernon stuffed Gruden (Brian Sears) in behind, setting up shop before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. It was a :57.1 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters before invading 3-2 favorite I Know My Chip (Jim Marohn Jr.) made his second move. Wide early into a four-hole, I Know My Chip came first-up, but the bid was both brief and ineffective. Meanwhile, Jack Vernon was gone, widening past the 1:55.3 milepost and opening four lengths in and out of the final turn. He finished\ it off by 2¼ lengths, getting the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:25. Andy Ray (Jason Bartlett) offered late foot to wind up second, with Gruden, Lean Hanover (Jordan Stratton) and Lord Cromwell (Matt Kakaley) settling for the minors. I Know My Chip backpedaled to last. For second choice Jack Vernon, a 5-year-old Muscle Hill gelding owned by Mr. (Andy) Miller Stable and trained by Mrs. (Julie) Miller, it was his 10th win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $66, the triple returned $466.50 and the superfecta paid $2,828. Technical difficulties resulted in the cancellation of the 'New York, New York Double' for Sunday afternoon. The next Sunday matinee is Nov. 25th (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

An excellent V75 card was the menu Saturday at Bjerke (NO) included the Big Noon (Gold division, 200,000 NOkr to the winner, 2100 meters autostart). The 1.9/1 Global Trustworthy (5m Muscle Hill-Trophy Stand-Garland Lobell) scored for driver Jorma Kontio and trainer Timo Nurmos. Race time was 1.11.7kr as the winner bested internationally respected and 2.3/1 Lionel (8m Look de Star-Aurora Sign-Smok’n Lantern) that owner Goran Antonsen drove for trainer Daniel Reden. The 57.8/1 Deep Sea Dream (10g Offshore Dream-Nightlight-Super News) was third for Tom Erik Solberg. Probo OK was seventh and Donatomite and Spitcam Jubb were dq’s. On the undercard was the V7 Silver Flaata Elendom As (purse to the winner 150,000Nokr, 2100 meters autostart) with that victory to The Last Ticket (7m Thai Tanic-One Way Ticket-Diamond Way) handled by Dag-Sveinung Dalen. Race time was 1.12.5kr. Vasterbo Exact (7g Racer Bourbon) was second for Thomas Uhrberg and third went to Gigant Invalley (8m Gigant Neo-Fachi-JR Broline). The four year olds mares contested the Axel Jensens Minelop (150,000NOkr to the winner, 2100 meters autostart) with the 1.13.3kr timed victory earned by Denmark’s 3.1/1 Carna Sensei (4f Prodigious-Line Sensei-Mr. Flirt) with Thomas Uhrberg aboard for trainer Steen Juel. The 6.5/1 Normandie Royal (4f Orlando Vici-Lamitech Monique-Sugarcane Hanover) took second for trainer/driver Frode Hamre, and third was 4.1/1 Tropicana As (4f Manofmanymissions-Tropical Breeze As-Striking Sahbra) that was steered by Carl Johan Jepsopn for trainer Jerry Riordan. The race record for this stake was set in 2016 by the Jerry Riordan trained and Christoffer Eriksson reined Treasure Kronos at 1.11.7kr. The day’s featured event was the Axel Jensens Minnelop (300,000NIOkr to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, ten starters), a race that began in 1944 and has been raced annually ever since exceot for 1994 and 1996. The stake record was set in 2015 by Buzz Mearas at 1.11.5kr with Adrian Kolgjini up. Ferrari BR won last year’s edition in 1.11kr for Per Oleg Midtfjeld. This year the winner was 3/1 Vainqueur RP (4m Infinitif-Global Affair-Broadway Hall) with Ulf Ohlsson up for trainer Frode Hamre. He defeated 5.3/1 Enterprise (4m Chapter Seven-Shes Gone Again-SJs Caviar) that was piloted by Carl Johan Jepson for Courant AB and trainer Stefan Melander. 6.1/1 Giveitgasandgo (4g Yabkee Glide-Mazda Hanover-Andiver Hall) was third for driver Kevin Oscarsson and trainer Hamre. 13/1 Snowstorn Hanover finished fourth. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Harrisburg, PA — Bidders were active at Monday’s (Nov. 5) opening session of the Standardbred Horse Sale from beginning to end, resulting in a 24.2 percent increase in the average purchase price compared to the first day in 2017. A total of 170 yearlings sold for a gross of $15.9 million and average of $93,541, up from $75,305 last year. Eight horses sold for at least $300,000 led by Muscle Hill-sired trotting filly Fifty Cent Piece, who was acquired for $500,000 by Lennart Agren’s SRF Stables. She was one of three horses to sell for at least $400,000, joined by Trixton-sired trotting filly Krickan ($415,000 to John Floren’s Coyote Wynd Farms) and Captaintreacherous-sired pacing colt Honorat Hanover ($400,000 to Myron Bell as agent for the Captain’s Court ownership group). Overall, 21 horses sold for at least $200,000 and 56 reached six figures. The totals for those two categories in 2017 were 11 and 42, respectively. Last year’s top sellers for the first day, Sheer Muscle and The Ice Dutchess, were $320,000. “It was a fantastic sale, top to bottom; trotters, pacers, colts, fillies,” Standardbred Horse Sale President and CEO Pete Spears said. “I looked down preliminarily through the consignors and it looks like they all did well. Everyone I’ve talked to is very excited and pleased, so obviously I am too. “I was hoping to get (a day like this). There is always the possibility things won’t work out the way you hope, but we really felt we had a very strong catalogue and that this type of day was possible. We’re very happy the buyers recognized the strength of the entries and have bought a bunch of good horses.” Fifty Cent Piece, out of the mare Thatsnotmyname, is a half-sister to stakes-winner Basquiat and the family also includes 2010 Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive. She was bred by Order By Stable and consigned by Concord Stud Farm. “It was great that we got her,” said agent Lina Alm, who bid on the filly for Agren. “I got a text from Lennart right before (the bidding closed) — $500,000. It was at the last moment. “We do the same thing every time we pick out horses. They have to have the pedigree, which she has obviously, and they also have to make a good video. We know the fact that some horses do not make good videos and still are good, but we like to see at least a tiny bit of what we want to have in a horse in the video. And then the last thing is me looking at them and feeling energy and (that they have good) conformation.” Agren’s other purchases on Monday included $335,000 Swiss House Onfire, a trotting colt by Muscle Hill out of Brooklyn from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Pizza Dolce and stakes-winner Creamy Mimi. He also was bred by Order By Stable and consigned by Concord Stud Farm. “He was by far the most athletic and most good-looking horse in the sale,” said agent Robert Lindstrom, who handled the bidding on Swiss House Onfire. “That was the colt we liked most.” The Trixton filly Krickan is out of Hall of Fame mare Solveig and a half-sister to Dan Patch Award-winner Shake It Cerry and international millionaire Uncle Lasse. She was bred by Solveig’s Breeders and consigned by Concord Stud Farm. “I’m in the breeding business and you don’t get to buy out of that type of mare very often,” Floren said. “She’s a very nice filly as well. One of the nicest ones out of that mare from what (Jimmy Takter) just told me, and I think he’s trained them all. “I expected her to go for $400,000. I’m happy about this one. (The sale) is very strong.” The Captaintreacherous colt Honorat Hanover is out of the millionaire mare Hana Hanover and a three-quarter brother to stakes-winner Hayden Hanover. The horse was bred and consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms. Bell also signed for $350,000 In Reality Hanover, a colt by Captaintreacherous out of It Was Fascination. He is a full brother to stakes-winner Captain Trevor. He also was bred and consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms. “Whether they were (sired by Captaintreacherous) or not, we felt these were the two best colts that Hanover Shoe Farms had,” Bell said. “We were very fortunate to be able to buy them.” Captaintreacherous is the leading sire of 2-year-old pacers this year, with his first crop totaling $3.07 million in purses. His 21 yearlings that sold Monday in Harrisburg averaged $119,333, which was the best among pacing stallions. “When you get on stage, you better perform,” Bell said. “The Captain is under pressure because now everybody expects that every Captain out there is going to be a world champion, which we know cannot happen. But when you breed a good mare to Captain and they present themselves like these two colts, I think we have a fighting shot.” Muscle Hill led trotting stallions, with 14 yearlings selling for an average of $185,429. Father Patrick was not far behind, with seven horses averaging $182,143. Trotting colts led the first day with an average of $108,667 for 33 horses. Trotting fillies were next with $100,561 for 41 followed by pacing colts with $96,569 for 51 and pacing fillies with $72,622 for 45. The yearling portion of the sale resumes Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex. The final day for yearlings is Wednesday, also beginning at 10. “We hope for a strong day tomorrow and Wednesday,” Spears said. “We have a very good catalogue tomorrow and a good catalogue Wednesday. I think there will be more strong days to come. The economy is good, people are feeling good; they’re having a lot of fun.” Day One Top 10 Hip–Sex–Gait–Name–Sire–Dam–Buyer–Consignor–Price 144-F-T-Fifty Cent Piece-Muscle Hill-Thatsnotmyname-SRF Stables-Concord Stud Farm, agent-$500,000 133-F-T-Krickan-Trixton-Solveig-Clark Beelby, agent-Concord Stud Farm, agent-$415,000 47-C-P-Honorat Hanover-Captaintreacherous-Hana Hanover-Myron Bell, agent-Hanover Shoe Farms-$400,000 170-F-T-Hello Tomorrow-Muscle Hill-Armbro Deja Vu-Marvin Katz, Brixton Medical, Bud Hatfield-Fair Winds Farm-$380,000 60-C-P-In Reality Hanover-Captaintreacherous-It Was Fascination-Myron Bell, agent-Hanover Shoe Farms-$350,000 13-C-T-Swiss House Onfire-Muscle Hill-Brooklyn-Robert Lindstrom, agent-Concord Stud Farm, agent-$335,000 118-F-T-Quadrille Hanover-Father Patrick-Queen Of Grace-Jeff Snyder-Hanover Shoe Farms-$300,000 127-C-T-Shadrack Hanover-Muscle Hill-Shared Past-Elite Trotting, agent-Hanover Shoe Farms-$300,000 45-C-T-Gangster Hanover-Father Patrick-Global Desire-Ake Svanstedt-Hanover Shoe Farms-$275,000 145-F-T-Queentrix-Trixton-The Ice Queen-David McDuffee-Preferred Equine, agent-$260,000 To view the full results of the Monday session or the upcoming catalogue, please click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When it comes to the Meadowlands, Muscle Diamond is very much a horse for the course. The 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill-Windylane Hanover thrashed five overmatched opponents in the Friday night feature at the mile oval, the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters. Winning driver Andy McCarthy did not rush the 1-9 favorite to the top, opting instead to make his way steadily to the lead while racing on the outside at the three-eighths before hitting the half in :55.4. A sleepy :29.1 fraction followed as Pappy Go Go - seeking his third straight win - put up a fight from first over, but the Brett Bittle-trained Muscle Diamond rebuffed that challenge before hitting the wire 1¾ lengths in front of a fast-closing Tyson. Pappy Go Go held on for third. Muscle Diamond, who set his lifetime-best of 1:50.1 at the Big M in late June before taking the Vincennes on Hambletonian Day in 1:51, completed his mile Friday in 1:52.2 to stay perfect in three Meadowlands starts this year. He paid $2.20 to his backers in winning for the 17th time in 51 lifetime starts while upping his earnings to $755,199 for owners C. Keller III, C. Keller IV, E. Bittle and B. Bittle. A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy had the hot hand all night, taking four races on the card. ... One lucky simulcast player at Pompano Park had a huge night. He or she was the only player to have all 10 winners in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $10,221. ... Six favorites hit the winner's circle on the 10-race card, and in two of the races where the public choice lost, the winner's odds were 6-5 (race four) and 2-1 (race eight). ... All-source handle on the program totaled $1,723,596. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Four finals of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-olds sit atop the marquee, with purses that total almost $900,000. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations    

Then 1.2/1 favorite Propulsion (7m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) led throughout to score in Saturday evening’s Jagersro featured C.L. Mullers Memorial (Gr. II International, V75 Gold, purse 74,368€, 2640 meters autostart).  Orjan Kihlstrom piloted the Daniel Reden trainee that Stall Zet owns, to his eighth 2018 victory in 12 starts. His career earnings is 22,585.317SEK after the 400,000SEK first prize earned with this victory. Race time was 1.12.6kr. Propulsion now has 32 career wins in 63 starts. 11/1 Cyber Lane (5g Raja Mirchi-Sybaris Hanover-Cantab Hall) was a pocket sitting second for trainer/driver Johan Unterste iner and 36/1 Carabinieri (7m Wellino Boko-Dew Princess-JR Broline) took the third heck for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner. Veteran On Track Piraten (10g Kool du Caux) took a run at the leader and held on for fourth ahead of Racing Mange The solid card also included the Final Breeders Course for 2018 Two Year Olds, with nine starters vying for 600,000SEK first prize in this 1640 meters autostart contest. Amelie Grif (2f Varenne-Sunrise Grif-Andover Hall) scored in that event timed in  1.13.8kr for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop and owner Ronald F. Nooteboom. Osoma (2f Trixton) took second for Peter Ingves and third was Hill Of Fame F (2m Muscle Hill) driven by Orjan Kihlstrom. Fourth was Goofy Sisu (2m Even Better Odds-Siren Hall-Striking Sahbra) driven by trainer Per Nordstrom. A small field of monte specialist battled in the Certego Stora Montepris 2018 and that went to 1.13.7kr timed Shadow Gar (7f Pine Chip-Lady Killer Gar-Varenne). Leo Abrivard was in the irons for trainer Pietro Gubellini and trainer Jerry Riordan. Shogun DK and Nantucket chased the winner home. By Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Wilkes-Barre, PA - The $500,000 three-year-old Breeders Crown Filly Trot figured to be a battle among Atlanta, currently top-ranked in the sport's top ten poll, Manchego (seventh), and Phaetosive. However, longshot Lily Stride, at 31-1, had other ideas and pulled the upset in the $500,000 event, winning in 1:53.2. Lily Stride paid $65.40 to her backers. Plunge Blue Chip pressured favored Atlanta early, but she cleared to the lead at the 26.4 quarter. She was immediately pressured by Manchego, who was followed by Phaetosive in the outside flow. Atlanta posted fractions of 54.2 and 1:23.4 as Manchego tired and Phaetosive moved three-wide. Meanwhile, Plunge Blue Chip moved outside, opening up the passing lane for Lily Stride and Tim Tetrick, who posted his second consecutive Crown win on the evening. The win over the sloppy surface did not surprise driver Tim Tetrick, who said, "Ever since the first week of Lexington she's really been charging. She got taken out in the (Kentucky) Futurity Final, or she would have been second or third, and last week came home in 27.1. I thought she was setting on a good race. I'm really surprised she paid 31-1. They all went to the outside and we took a shortcut, which I have been doing with her the last few starts. The track is holding up really well. The footing is good." Harder, who posted his first Breeders Crown win, said the filly's season is not over. "The monkey off my back is great. You know, I am really happy to do it with this filly because the group she hit this year are great, great fillies. I thought I had a great, great filly until I qualified her and these other ones started showing up and they are vicious, they're really tough. She's going to go down under and the owners will race her down there, which will be, you know, a feather in their cap, to race a Breeders Crown winner." Owned by Emilio and Maria Roasti of Condell Park, New South Wales, Australia, Lily Stride is a bay filly by Muscle Hill from the Donato Hanover mare Sterling Volo. Bred by Kentuckiana Farms and Jorgen Jahre, Jr., Lily Stride posted her 12th career victory as she claimed the John Simpson Memorial Trophy, sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farms, and pushed her career earnings over $700,000. by Keith Gisser, For The Breeders Crown

Wilkes-Barre, PA - The track at Mohegan Sun Pocono may have been sloppy but the effort from Tactical Landing was pretty neat as he took the $500,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Trot in a speedy 1:52.1. Harness racing driver Brian Sears got Tactical Landing away second as Met's Hall took the field to the quarter in 27.1, but he cruised to the front en route to the 55.4 half mile marker. Tactical Landing hit three-quarters in 1:23.4 and drew off from Met's Hall and Crystal Fashion in the stretch, winning by open lengths. Met's Hall and Crystal Fashion were second and third, respectively. The presumptive favorite, Six Pack, was scratched from the race due to sickness. Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, who is retiring at the end of this season, trains Tactical Landing for the Tactical Landing Stable of Perrysburg, Ohio. An $800,000 yearling, the son of Muscle Hill from the Varenne mare Southwind Serena, was bred by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm and Andrea Lea Racing Stables. He has now earned $644,300 in his career as he won for the eighth time. The win was the second Crown title of the night for driver Sears. Takter was pleased, but philosophical in the winner's circle. "This horse, he's been battling a lot of issues. I have trained a lot of great horses, but the way he carries himself in this weather, I know he's by far the best three-year-old out there. I know Six Pack is a good horse, and it's too bad he got sick, but he would not have a shot with this horse. This horse is a level above anything. This was number 34 (Breeders Crown win), and I was very nervous going into it. This is my last year so I'd like to get at least one Crown before I get out of here." In taking home the John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trophy, sponsored by Brittany Farms, favored Tactical Landing paid $2.80 to win. by Keith Gisser, for The Breeders Crown

Trainer Paula Wellwood doesn't mind Smart As Hill's playful streak. His speed more than makes up for it. "He is improving," Wellwood said. "He's still very coltish. He does little colt things. He doesn't really have a care in the world, he's like that. But that's OK -- if they can go fast." "And," she added with a laugh, "he can do that." That speed has gotten Smart As Hill into Saturday's $600,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old male trotters, where he drew post No. 4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. All 12 Breeders Crown championships, with $6.4 million in total purses, will be raced Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Post time is 5:30 p.m. (EDT) for the first race. Smart As Hill, another in a long line of quality Muscle Hill offspring, out of Smarty Pants, has hit the board in all but one of his nine starts, taking three firsts, three seconds and two thirds for $105,491 in earnings. Owned by the Wellwood family's Dreamville Stable and Steve Organ, the horse was a surprise winner in his elimination, rallying from fifth in the stretch in a lifetime-best 1:53.4 to return $36.80. He was driven by Bob McClure, who had never participated in a Breeders Crown until last weekend. Bettors were surprised, but did Smart As Hill surprise Wellwood? "Yes. Yes he did," she said. "In the last turn I thought, uh oh, we're not too good. Then he got clear sailing. But he's done that before. He did that in the Wellwood too (finishing second). He was just a little far back but he was flying at the end." His effort in the elimination was typical of how the season has gone, as Smart As Hill continues to do the unexpected. "He's been a nice surprise," Wellwood said. "He always was a good training colt, but we didn't know he was going to come to this level. He's just an all-around nice horse. He's got a lot of good attributes -- size, strength, speed, all those things you need." The trainer noted that Smart As Hill was on the small side upon purchase, but had a rapid growth spurt that had to be accounted for. "It took a lot of months to get him to finally fill out and grow up," Wellwood said. "Once he did, he just got stronger and stronger. If you look at his lines, we raced him in (the Define The World Series) and brought him along very slowly. He's typical of what we do, where two or three weeks between races is not an issue. That's just how we're going to approach it." New York Sire Stakes champion Gimpanzee won the division's other elimination to remain unbeaten in eight career starts, and drew post five in the final. He overcame a four-week absence and the difficult tuck-then-first-over trip to finish in 1:54.4. Trainer Marcus Melander was not surprised at how his horse, who has earned $291,358 this year, handled the first-over situation with Brian Sears in the sulky. "He has a lot of stamina, he's a very strong horse," Melander said. "He can do a lot of work in the races. The eight hole (in the elimination) is never good, so that was a little concern because you never know what kind of trip you will get. But it worked out good." As it has all season. "I'm very happy with him," the trainer continued. "He's got a great attitude. He goes out there like an older horse. You can leave with him and then you can just sit with him two fingers and he never gets overanxious. His technique is amazing. If you look at those half-mile tracks in New York, he just lays down in the turns like a car. I like everything about him. He's just a very nice horse." The son of Chapter Seven out of Steamy Windows, Gimpanzee served notice of his abilities with a track-record 1:55.4 win in a New York Sires Stakes event at Saratoga's half-mile track July 31. "If you go (1):55 at Saratoga as a 2-year-old, it's a special horse," Melander said. "Of course, like always, the New York horses don't get as much credit as the other ones. But I've been feeling he's a very nice horse. He just does it very easy out there. He's very strong, he's got a lot of speed, he's got a great attitude, and he's been fresh and sound all year." Gimpanzee is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. "He feels very sharp," Melander said. "I'm very confident in my horse. The final will be tougher, of course, but I'm very confident in him." Melander has a second horse in the final with Green Manalishi S, a Swedish-bred colt that Anders Strom purchased for a Swedish auction-record 3 million kroner ($265,000 U.S.). Named after a Fleetwood Mac song, Green Manalishi S has five firsts and four seconds in his nine starts, earning $372,557. Tim Tetrick drove him to a second behind Smart As Hill in his elimination. "He was very good," Melander said. "I was very happy with him. He was a little grabby, so we went a little fast on the backside there, but I was very happy with him." He hopes to be just as happy on Saturday. "I think he will be much sharper (this) week," Melander said. "He had some sickness problem when he got home from Lexington, so I was very happy with how he raced. We could have drawn a little better (post eight for the final). But he's a very good horse. It will make things more difficult, of course, but he's good enough to win anyway." For Saturday's complete card, click here. Following is the draw for the Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old male trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Hudson River-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter 2-Chin Chin Hall-Peter Wrenn-Melanie Wrenn 3-Prospect Hill-Andy Miller-Julie Miller 4-Smart As Hill-Bob McClure-Paula Wellwood 5-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 6-Super Schissel-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter 7-Trix And Stones-Scott Zeron-Carl Jamieson 8-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 9-Kings County-Brian Sears-Domenico Cecere by Rich Fisher, for the Breeders Crown

CHESTER, PA -Jack Vernon had to overcome the tough first-over journey in the $18,000 featured trot at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, but the fast Muscle Hill gelding not only did so, but came within a fifth of his lifetime best in stopping the timer in 1:53.2. Race favorite Tyson took command early, then submitted to a brushing move to control the pace by New Jersey Viking past the 27.3 opener. The new leader got a breather to the half in 57, but then Jack Vernon got underway under Andy Miller's handling, getting even with the pacesetter near the 1:24.4 ¾ pole, edging away on the turn, then withstanding the late comeback bid of Tyson by a half length. The victory was the third in a row for the Julie Miller trainee, who now has earnings of $191,248 for the Andy Miller Stable Inc. A pair of $14,500 diamondgaited events were also conducted on the "Trottin' Thursday" card at Philly. In the first, the Andover Hall mare Casa Palmera regained her winning ways, able to outclose Zlatan and Band's Houdini to win in 1:54 for her sixth win in 15 starts during 2018. George Napolitano Jr. handled sulky duties for trainer Ed Lohmeyer, who shares ownership with Dr. Patricia Hogan. Napolitano's trip in the other $14,500 event was much more adventurous -- you don't see a line like this too often: PP2 / x2oo / 3o / 2o / 2|1 / 4|2T. But such was the fate of the Napolitano-driven favorite Yuge, who broke on the lead late on the first turn, then recovered and pressured pacesetting second choice Crazy About Pat, who refused to surrender the lead under Eric Carlson's handling en route to a 1:55.1 triumph. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera trains and owns the veteran Crazed gelding, who in winning for the 36th time in his career boosted his earnings to $818,510. Tim Tetrick drove four winners on the Thursday card, cutting Napolitano's lead to 192-184 at the top of the Harrah's driver standings. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

LEXINGTON, KY--The Ake Svanstedt-trained Muscle Hill mare Ice Attraction reeled into a fast pace late in the mile and slid clear of competition in progress to a 1:50.1 harness racing world-record victory in the $72,000 Libfeld & Katz Breeding Partnership Allerage Farms Mare Trot, sponsored by Al Libfeld & Marvin Katz, on Sunday, Oct. 7 at The Red Mile. Positioned sixth to the quarter, Ice Attraction sat off a :27.2 opening quarter set by Royal Witch asserting herself to the lead over Checkmate Time showing speed but settling into second. Broadway Donna, the 4-5 favorite, pulled from third entering the backstretch and circled to the top heading to a :55 half. Caprice Hill, from fourth, tipped first over heading into the far turn carrying Dream Baby Dream second over and Charmed Life third over. Dream Baby Dream broke stride, placing Charmed Life second over and Ice Attraction, shuffled to last in the pack, had room to angle third over. Caprice Hill and Broadway Donna drew away from the field to three-quarters as they matched strides in 1:23. Svanstedt fired Ice Attraction to the center of the track turning into the stretch. Caprice Hill continued to dig into Broadway Donna and inherited the lead midstretch when the favorite began to gallop. Ice Attraction continued to roll widest of all and swept to the front late in the mile to win. Caprice Hill held second from Charmed Life closing for third. Broadway Donna, finishing fourth, was disqualified to sixth for violating the breaking rule, placing Royal Witch fourth. "Last year [winning the Kentucky Filly Futurity] was a real shock. This year was just a nice suprirse," co-owner Jeff Gural said. "She's been racing good but she's had bad luck--she's just been shuffled too far back. And of course with a seven-horse race and a horse breaking that makes it a lot easier." Winning her second race in 13 starts this season and her 11th in 42 overall, Ice Attraction has accrued $613,500 for owners Ake Svanstedt, Douglas Sipple, Mal & Janet Burroughs and Little E LLC. She paid $22.80 to win. The 1:50.1 mile lowers the previous world record for four-year-old trotting mares on a mile track of 1:50.2 set by Ariana G at the Meadowlands this year. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile          

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