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Let’s take a look at how some of the better known stallions made out at Sunday’s Canadian Yearling Sale. Bettor’s Delight is the top pacing sire in Ontario, but he took a two-year sabbatical in Pennsylvania when the OSS program came under duress. He sells his second crop from the Keystone State this year, so he didn’t play a role in this sale. That can only hurt. Muscle Mass also took flight, to New York, when the OLG put the sport through the wringer. The son of Muscles Yankee regularly goes toe to toe with Kadabra at the top of the provincial trotting ranks, so his absence from the sale also hurts. Muscle Mass has returned to Canada, but he won’t be an Ontario eligible factor at this sale again until 2018. Manofmanymissions, the sire of Celebrity Eventsy, has also moved on to Ohio. Like Muscle Mass, he sold his final Ontario crop last year. Only one yearling by him was offered at this year’s sale. In no particular order, this is the fifth crop Sportswriter has sent to the Canadian Yearling sale. It’s taken time for the buyers to zero in on exactly who he is, and they’re still struggling to find the answer. Is he a journeyman regional stallion, or something more? His freshman star Sports Column impressed in the OSS this year, but he wasn’t staked to the Metro or Nassagaweya, forget about the Breeders Crown. He’s been MIA for the Grand Circuit meet at Mohawk. Reluctance to stake to the GC on the part of buyers and breeders has been an issue for the penultimate crop son of Artsplace. In 2013, thirteen by Sportswriter averaged $11,269 at the CYS, while the following year five averaged $41,000. Last year he only sold two colts and three fillies here and they averaged $31,200. This was from a crop of 57. His stud fee jumped from $4,000 to $6,500, which is where it is today. This year, from a huge crop of 141, he sold ten colts and nine fillies for a $22,500 average, with the colts outdoing their paternal sisters by about $4,000 each. The gross for this group was $427,500, and the average is fine for this sale, but it falls well short of Mach Three and Shadow Play. Six colts and three fillies by Sportswriter will be offered in Lexington. Monday at Grand River his freshman daughter Windy Sport and son Yogi Bayama won $105,000 Gold splits. He’s second to Mach Three in the OSS right now. Sportswriter’s oldest are four, so his opportunity has been somewhat limited, but Reverend Hanover is his richest offspring, and he still hasn’t cracked $500,000, or won a stakes race outside the restricted program. Let’s hope Sports Column doesn’t go the way of the Rev next year. Shadow Play is a couple of years older than Sportswriter. His timing with regard to entering the Ontario Sire Stakes program was not impeccable. In 2012, when the end of SARP had been announced the previous March, he entered the marketplace with 11 yearlings averaging less than $12,000 at this sale. His fee dropped from a modest $5,000 to $4,000.  The following year a handful averaged $26,000. It was very helpful that first cropper Arthur Blue Chip won the Nassagaweya and was successful in the OSS that year. Five-year-old Lady Shadow has displayed wicked, world record speed this year in winning the Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty and Golden Girls. This year nine fillies and six colts averaged $27,746, down from $30,125 for eight in 2015. Brad Grant and Jack Darling each bought a couple, and Dr Ian Moore, who campaigned the black colt, bought one. So, Shadow Play’s average was about $5,000 more than Sportswriter for four fewer yearlings. Seventeen-year-old Mach Three, who is the leading OSS pacing sire right now, has been standing in Ontario for 14 years. During that stretch he gave us SBSW, Mach It So, Solar Sister, Monkey On My Wheel and a host of other good ones. His $7,500 cdn fee is second only to Bettor’s Delight in the pacing ranks. This year he averaged $30,681 for seven colts and nine fillies from a crop of 103 foals. Having sale topper Brunos From Mars in the fold helped pump up that average. Jack Darling paid $105,000 for him.  Last year five colts and six fillies averaged a shade under $39,000. This was Big Jim’s third trip to this sale. He received a lukewarm greeting in 2014 as six fillies and two colts averaged a shade over $13,000. Last year from a small crop of 41, he sold a filly for $29,000 and a gelding for $13,000. That was it. Things were looking up on Sunday as five colts and two fillies averaged $25,885, with one colt going to Brad Grant for $45,000 and another to Tony O’Sullivan for $44,000. His owner, the late Jim Carr, was deluged by cancellations for his Western Ideal stallion’s services when the Ontario program was fighting for survival: Big Jim bred 55 fewer mares his second year at stud. It’s been a difficult slog out of that hole, but successful offspring like Good Will Hanover, Magnum J, Streakavana and Soiree Seelster have helped define him for buyers. Jim ranks fourth in the OSS. Kadabra, who turns 18 in a few months, has always been a gynocentric stallion: Bee A Magician, Poof She’s Gone, Caprice Hill and Emoticon Hanover trump the likes of Daylon Magician, Flanagan Memory, Knows Nothing and Prestidigitator. The boys always seem to come up short in open company. That situation has always been reflected in Kadabra’s sale results: in 2014 at Harrisburg the colts averaged $22,000 while the fillies averaged $58,000. That trend started to shift last year when Kadabra averaged an eye opening $80,000 for 20 yearlings sold at Harrisburg and the colts averaged $68,000 and the fillies $62,000. Last year three colts and four fillies by Kadabra averaged $40,000 at the Canadian Yearling Sale. This year four colts and five fillies averaged about the same, with the colts averaging $46,000 and the fillies $34,000. Six colts and five fillies will be available in Lexington in a couple of weeks. Caprice Hill and Emoticon Hanover, a pair of fillies, led the way for Kadabra in the OSS this year, both earning the same $157,500 in sire stakes dollars, as well as lots of Grand Circuit money. Tony Soprano, on the other hand, is still searching for that first win. Flat seems to be the theme for sales held thus far in 2016. The loss of Bettor’s Delight, Muscle Mass and MOMM is certainly a mitigating factor in this case, but knowing that two of them will be back should inspire confidence. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink..

AUGUST 30, 2016 - When harness racing trainer Ben Wallace lost eight two-year-olds in the January 4 barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre, the Puslinch resident expected to spend the summer stakes season watching from the sidelines. Thanks to the support of his owners and other members of the harness racing industry, that has not been the case and on Tuesday evening at Mohawk Racetrack Wallace posted his first Ontario Sires Stakes victory of the season. In rein to Mississauga resident Roger Mayotte, who also lost four horses in the fire, three-year-old trotting gelding Muscle Ave made his way up the outer lane from Post 9 and then sprinted down the stretch to catch pacesetter Mass Balance by a neck. Mission Man finished third in the 1:56.1 mile. "It was a bit of a surprise to be honest. He's kind of been a bit of a disappointment for the last three or four races - and I don't put that all down to his fault, there were some things that I may have done that I shouldn't have and changed some things on him - but he's come around and he looks like tonight he's the horse that I actually bought into, so I'm pretty happy," said Wallace. "I mean he was out the whole mile and I think he came a pretty good quarter finishing too." The 1:56.1 clocking was a personal best for Muscle Ave, who has tallied two wins, two seconds and one third in 13 starts this season for earnings of $39,370. The victory, along with a pair of fourth-place finishes in his first two Grassroots outings, gives Muscle Ave 66 points and puts him among the division's top 20 with one regular season event remaining. The top 20 point earners at the end of the six regular season events will advance to the Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 16, with the top five from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. "He's got one more (Grassroots) start I guess next Wednesday (Sept. 7), I don't think he's even in the hunt to get in the final, but if he wins again I think he might be," said Wallace. "Another win and that would put him right into the mix, and then who knows what happens. We're pretty happy with him anyway, he'll be a nice useful for horse for a couple years to come I think, so we're looking forward to it." Wallace shares ownership of the Muscle Mass son with Petrolia, ON resident Larry Ainsworth, who moved the trotter into Wallace's barn as soon as the trainer resumed operations. "Larry's great, I mean I lost everything last winter and he was one of the first guys on board," said Wallace, who lost 17 horses in the fire, along with all of his equipment. "I'm very thankful to Larry Ainsworth for helping me out, to get started back up again. He was one of the very first phone calls I received, and I certainly appreciated it, and he dropped me off a couple of nice horses, and well, the rest is history, as they say." Thanks to the support of people like Ainsworth and long-time owner Brad Grant of Milton, among others, Wallace has built his stable back up to 15 horses and competed in both the Ontario and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes programs this summer. Tuesday's victory was one small milestone in the trainer's journey back to full operating capacity. Muscle Ave In addition to Muscle Ave, Golden Son, Gonna Fly and P L Jerico all posted Grassroots victories at Mohawk on Tuesday. Golden Son delivered his third Grassroots win and eighth victory of the season in the first $18,000 division, going gate-to-wire from Post 1 for driver Trevor Henry. The Majestic Son gelding stopped the teletimer at 1:55.3, reaching the wire one-half length ahead of Agent Dinozzo. Innovative Force was two more lengths back in third. Arthur resident Henry piloted Golden Son to the win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owners Gary and Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, NY. Golden Son Division point leader Gonna Fly sprinted from eighth to first in the final quarter of the third Grassroots division, hitting the wire in 1:57. Dynamic Edge and Zlatan were one length back in second and third. Milton resident Steve Condren drove Gonna Fly to his third Grassroots win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partner Earl Hill, Jr. of Ohsweken, ON. In 10 sophomore starts the Kadabra colt has four wins and two seconds for earnings of $44,900, and leads the three-year-old trotting colt standings with 175 points. Gonna Fly The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to P L Jerico, who took control before the half and cruised to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. French Bastille and JLs Bad Moon Risin completed the top three. It was the first Grassroots win for P L Jerico, who is trained by Matthew Dupuis for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. Campbellville resident Mike Saftic engineered the victory, the Manofmanymissions gelding's fourth. P L Jerico The three-year-old trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Sept. 1 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts. The colts will battle for a post season berth in Races 4, 7, and 9. Post time at the Campbellville oval is 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

Classy trotter Illawong Byron is due for a spell, probably overdue, says harness racing trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. But the Parwan horsewoman also says she’s never trained a horse with his constitution and she is hopeful the Redwood Classic winner can produce another grand performance on Breeders Crown Day. TAB.com.au has installed Illawong Byron $1.60 favourite to win the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown Final on Sunday at Tabcorp Park Melton for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings from gate two after his impressive heat win at Maryborough last week. “He was definitely not right in the Vicbred Final (when finishing second) and he took a couple of weeks to get over that,” Quinlan said. MARKETS: ILLAWONG BYRON IS $1.6 FOR THE BREEDERS CROWN AT TAB.COM.AU “He bounced back with a really good run in the Redwood and then he was probably even better in the heat last week. I just hope he didn’t run his race a week early. He'll go for a good break after Sunday.” Quinlan makes the point Illawong Byron has had a long season, literally given he ran in the very first two-year-old trot of the 2015-16 season. “I’ve never had a horse with a constitution like his.” Raced and bred by Martin and Kaye Hartnett, Illawong Byron – by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush – has won seven races from 11 starts and looks a shoe-in for Victorian two-year-old male trotter of the year. Quinlan has repeatedly expressed her appreciation for the Hartnetts, who she says are very loyal and supportive. “They’ve been fantastic supporters of mine through good times and bad and they put a lot of money into the game, so they deserve every success they get,” Quinlan said. VIDEO: ILLAWONG BYRON WINS THE REDWOOD CLASSIC AT MARYBOROUGH Mark Purdon-trained Custodian ($2.90 with TAB) has drawn barrier nine and will trail Illawong Byron out. “With Custodian following me I’ll probably have to do a bit to hold the front,” Quinlan said. Quinlan also puts the polish on three-year-old trotting filly Sky Majesty in the Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown Final (Race 1) on Sunday. Raced by passionate trots owners Michael Taranto, Rob Merola and Sam Godino Sky Majesty has drawn gate six and is a $61 outsider according to TAB.com.au. “She has had a fantastic year but she just can’t snag a decent barrier in a big race. From the draw Wilmas Mate looks unbeatable on paper, but they are three-year-old trotters so anything can happen.” Already a Breeders Crown winner in the sulky behind Ladyinred in 2005, Quinlan said the day held a special place in her heart. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Breeders Crown as a driver. If I could win one as a trainer that would definitely be special.” BOOK NOW: SECURE YOUR BREEDERS CROWN DINING PACKAGE BEFORE THEY SELL OUT Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016

Hanover Raceway plays host to its 12th annual Balanced Image Trot championship this Saturday and the harness racing night will be packed with entertainment. 24 horses will compete for 8 spots in the $61,400 dollar final on Saturday August 27th, meaning the top 2 in each of 3 divisions will advance as well as 2 of the top 3 third place finishers. This year's field includes a diverse and talented field of both top OSS and local horses. In Race 3, Mass Production is part owned trained and driven by Rick Zeron of Oakville. This 2 year old Muscle Mass Gelding has already earned over 100,000 dollars and has yet to finish out of the money in 5 starts, including a 1:56.3 mile at Mohawk in his last OSS Gold Elimination. Julie Walker, formerly of Owen Sound part owns and trains Rosberg in the same race. This 2 year old colt has 2 wins in his last 5 starts both of which were in OSS Grassroots eliminations. There are also 2 horses in that race with Hanover connections. Charmbo Chrome is co-owned by Jack and Randy Rier of Hanover, and former Hanover native Mark Etsell has partnered with Bob Newtown of Walkerton and Chuan Tan of Cambridge on Mister Muscle who gets post 8 and will start behind Mass Production on the starting gate. Race 5 includes Expose Yourself part owned by the Henry stable of Arthur and trained and driven by Wayne Henry, as well as Parkhill Nocredit who is owned and trained by John Bax, and driven by Steve Byron, who have won Hanover's Dream of Glory title multiple times, but have yet to win the Balanced Image. The 3rd division includes another OSS Gold competitor in Mister Bianco. This Muscle Mass Colt won his only start in 1:57.2 for trainer Bill Budd and owner Brad Gray of Dundas and will be driven by Rick Zeron. The Bax-Byron duo have post 1 with Majestic Wanda who won her OSS grassroots start at Hanover on August 6th, and Wayne Henry co-owns, trains and drives Lady Justice from post 7. One of 3 filly's in that race, this daughter of Justice Hall has some impressive finishes in the OSS Gold this season and will have to use her early gate speed to find a good position early. Also taking place Saturday night will be a Racing under Saddle race which is always very popular in Hanover, as well as the 42nd annual Walker Memorial Trot. The Walker trot is named after Allan and Viola Walker of Owen Sound, who had success with many great horses in the past, particularly trotters. Allan was inducted into the Hall of Fame and his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are keeping up the great Walker tradition in the industry. Hanover will also host the Deep Run Danny Pace named after a horse owned and trained by Ted and Alma McLean of Goderich, and 7 contestants are still alive in the Survivor contest which was held on August 6th and they will compete for 3 great prizes including a 55 inch Sony TV starting in Race 3. If that's not enough, the Grey Bruce Paraplegic Association will be on hand conducting a 50-50 draw, which has come close to 700 dollars for the winner in the past. Post time Saturday night is 7:15pm. Gord Dougan

Harness racing driver Robin Bakker teamed 12/1 Muscle Scott (3m Muscle Mass-What A Spirit-Defy d’Aunou) to a 1.12.5kr victory in Sunday’s 121st Deutsches Traber Derby held at Berlin-Mariendorf. The lightly raced Paul Hagoort trainee recorded his third win in four starts. The classic carried a purse of €238,192 and was raced over 1900 meters autostart. The winner’s second dam is the Pine Chip mare Pine Spirit, she dam of Unforgettable 1:52.2 (US$982,002), a German Derby winner with 25 career victories. 2/1 Orlando Jet (3m Orlando Vici-Chicolina) was second this day for Rudolf Haller and trainer Peter Busch. Third was 31/1 Mr. Shorty (3m Here Comes Joey-Escape) with Thomas Panschow up for trainer Thorsten Tietz. The Derby replay and program links follow. 2016 Traber Derby For the Berlin Mariendorf 8-7-16 Program click on this link. The undercard also showcased the Gr. II Super Trot Cup for €70,000 over 2500 meters autostart. The winner was Stark Bi (5m Toss Out-No Reason Bi) clocked in 1.12.8kr for trainer/driver Rudolf Haller and owned by Stall Team Neuhof. Thomas H. Hicks  

Harness racing trainer / driver Jodi Quinlan and two of her biggest fans, Dr Martin Hartnett and his wife Kaye, picked up the win they wanted most today at Maryborough. In front of a huge crowd Quinlan guided two-year-old gelding Illawong Byron to a memorable victory in the $50,575 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic. “This is very special to be standing here on this stage,” she said. “I’ve always said with this horse that this is the race I wanted to win.” Illawong Byron’s owner, Dr Hartnett, whose wife Kaye bred the horse, concurred. “This is the one we always wanted. We’re very pleased with Illawong Byron,” he said. Illawong Byron (Muscle Mass-Illawong Blush) began like a pro from the 2190-metre stand start to lead from outside the front row. Once in front Quinlan rated the Tatlow Stakes winner and Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series runner-up a treat, Illawong Byron notching a 63.3 first half before taking the sting out of her rivals down the back (28.8secs). It was a winning move. “His manners today were the best they have ever been. We ran that quarter down the back and  got them off the bit,” Quinlan said. Illawong Byron then held off a late challenge by Mark Purdon’s odds-on favourite Custodian, digging deep to score by a half-neck with Quinlan drawing a rapturous applause from the crowd. The final quarter was trotted in 29.3secs for a mile rate of 2:04.4. Our Regal Love for Nicole Molander and Chris Alford ran third, beaten 15m, while Lance Justice guided Carnera to fourth at huge odds ahead of Truscott Hall. Quinlan mooted a long-range plan for one of Australasia’s rising star squaregaiters. “He’s very immature and with a bit of extra size about him in 12 months I hope we’re back here at Maryborough for the Derby,” she said. Quinlan also thanked Illawong Byron’s owners for their ongoing support. “Martin and Kaye have always been fantastic support for me. They’re 100 per cent behind me no matter what.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

It was a picture perfect night for Hanover Raceways 15th annual Dream of Glory. Close to 3,000 harness racing fans attended setting what may be a Dream of Glory record handle of almost 67,000 dollars. On the track, Hanover played host to 5 divisions of 3 year old Colt pacers competing in the Ontario Sires Stakes as well as the $67,500 dollar final of the Dream of Glory Trot. In the Dream of Glory, first elimination winner Wildwildmen jumped out to a quick lead heading into the first turn, while second elimination winner Smoke Monkey made a break from post 7. PC Cantore tucked in behind Robert Shepherd and Wildwildmen, while the rest of the field battled for position.   Wildwildmen hit the quarter pole first in 29.1 and the half in 59.4.  Chestnut Schofield with driver Keith Jones managed to get into second position ahead of Peter Clements and PC Cantore at the half, but couldn’t hold the pace on the outside and faded out of contention by the 3/4 pole, still led by Wildwildmen in 1:29.   Wildwildmen continued to lead past the finish line with Robert Shepherd holding his whip in the air, winning by 2 lengths in 1:58.2. PC Cantore and driver/trainer/owner Peter Clements was second, while Very Classy and Ross Battin finished third for part owner and trainer John Bax of Campbellville. Wildwildmen is owned by Catheline Pelletier and Chantal Gravel of Quebec who were part of a large entourage who chanted Wild Wild Men as their horse entered the Hanover winners circle. After the race, Driver Robert Shepherd credited his girlfriend Isabelle Darveau for getting the horse ready saying he was confident in what the horse and his trainer could do. Shepherd said the 3 year old son of Muscle Mass did just as he was expected, and was very happy with the outcome. In Sires Stakes action, the winners were Kokanee Seelster in 1:56 for driver Alfie Carroll and owners Ming Siu of Richmond,BC and Ed Lui,of Parkhill,ON. Division 2 was won by Daylight Rush in 1:55.4 for driver Billy Davis Jr and owner Trainer Blake Mcintosh and the Hutt Racing Stable. Leg 3 was won by Blue Zombie in 1:55.1 for driver Brad Forward and owners West Wins Stable and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia. Leg 4 was won by St Lads Moonwalk in 1:54.3 for driver Mike Saftic and owner/trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, and the final OSS dash was won by OK Iceman in 1:56.3 for driver Billy Davis Jr, and owners Hudson Stables and Conrad Leber of Quebec. GM Gord Dougan says it was an almost perfect night with a great crowd and handle, as well as a great band and fireworks and awesome team effort by all the staff. Hanover plays host to the Ontario Sires Stakes again next Saturday August 6th as 2 year old Trotting fillies hit the track on Country 93 Night at the races and the Survivor finale. One lucky fan will win a 55 inch Sony High Def TV courtesy of Country 93 radio and HDTV in Walkerton.   Post time is 7:15pm. Gord Dougan    

Saturday nights’ pari-mutuel monte handicap contest at Georgian Downs carried a C$5,000 purse and went to the Sarah Town ridden Muscle Matters (5g Muscle Mass-Sister Mary Lindy-Conway Hall), trained by Benoit Baillargeon and co-owned by the trainer with Nunzio Vena, Santo Vena and Richard Thompson. The winner prevailed in a solid 2:01.1f with a final half mile in 1:00,1 in a gate to wire score. Southwind Alice (5f Muscle Hill-Accountability-Pine Chip) closed well with a final :29.3 panel to be second for Evelyn Harms and Marit Valstad teamed Massive Muscles home third. C$8,435 was wagered on the monte event, off as race three on a ten race program on which C$78,391 was handled. by Thomas H. Hicks  

JULY 5, 2016 - Two-year-old trotting fillies were the stars of the show at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening, making their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts in a trio of $70,000 Gold Series divisions. Winter Sweet Frost kicked things off in the first race with an effortless front-end tour of the Innisfil oval, clocking fractions of :30.2, :59.3 and 1:29.4 on her way to a 1:59.3 victory. Lady Justice closed to within one-half length of the pacesetter to secure second-place honours and Gravitator was a length back in third. "She raced good tonight," said driver Doug McNair. "The track hasn't been that fast up there, so to go a mile in 1:59.3, I think that's a pretty good mile for a two-year-old trotting filly's first lifetime start." The Guelph, ON resident piloted Winter Sweet Frost to victory for trainer Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The Kadabra daughter was sent off as the fan favourite after winning a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 10 and 24, and McNair said he was impressed with the filly long before she made her public debut. "The main thing about her is she's nice gaited and she's smart," said McNair, who first sat behind Winter Sweet Frost in a spring training mile. "You can make a lot of money with one's like that, rather than a high speed one that's half crazy." After finishing third with Gravitator, driver Sylvian Filion found the winner's circle in the second Gold division, piloting On A Sunny Day to a come-from-behind victory in 1:59. The duo reeled in pacesetter Sweet Of My Heart and pocket sitter Im Peekers, reaching the wire one-half length the best. "She really impressed me," said Filion, who crafted the victory for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and Determination of Montreal, QC. "That was the first time I sat behind her, but Luc always told me he really, really liked her and you know what, he was right. She was real impressive tonight." Blais also bred the daughter of Muscle Mass, who prepped for her Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) debut with qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 16 and 24, finishing fourth and second, respectively. "Her last baby race she came a last quarter in :27.1," noted Milton, ON resident Filion. "She's a handy filly, she's pretty easy to drive, she's pretty mature for her age, and she's got wicked speed, so it's a good combination." Filion, who was the leading reinsman in the OSS in 2015, was also impressed with Gravitator's third-place result. "I really liked the way she raced tonight, we got interfered with, were gapped, and she was still only beat a length and a half or something like that," said the reinsman. "She came a very good last half." Blais trains the Kadabra daughter, a full-sister to former OSS star and $870,153 winner Prestidigitator, for Determination. She was an $80,000 acquisition from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The final Gold division was captured by Janderson and driver Paul MacDonell, who swept by duelling leaders Mass Psychology and Majestic Kat in the stretch and pulled away to a three length victory in 1:59.3. "The race set up kind of nice for her, she got away third in a nice spot there, and then the first and second horses went at it kind of hard down the backstretch, which kind of made the race for her," said MacDonell. "In her only qualifier she did have a lot of trot on the end of her mile, so I was a little bit confident," added the reinsman, who tipped the filly out three-wide around the final turn to take clear aim on the finish line. MacDonell pilots the Muscle Mass filly for trainer Mike Keeling of Cambridge and owners Dr. Roly Armitage of Dunrobin and James Armitage of Carp, ON. A $14,000 purchase from the Canadian Open Yearling Sale, Janderson learned her early lessons from the Armitage's before making the move to Keeling's barn. "They trained her down in the Ottawa area and then they sent her to Mike just recently," noted MacDonell. "They did a good job with her, a very nice job. "They were pretty pumped, it was a big win for them," the Guelph, ON resident added. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Gold Series start on July 19 at Mohawk Racetrack. This Saturday, July 9, Georgian Down will welcome the two-year old trotting colts to Innisfil for their Gold Series debuts. The evening's first race gets under way at 7:15 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Track record holder Wildwild Men made a triumphant return to the Hippodrome 3R in capturing the third race first division of the opening round of the Breeders Cup Series with a 1:59 victory for driver Robert Shepherd. The series, for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies, features four weeks of preliminary competition with the top eight point earners returning Sunday, September 4 for their respective $65,000 finals. It was KFB Amigo Cool and driver Guy Gagnon battling with Shepherd and Wildwild Men for control of the early lead with KFB Amigo Cool winning the early battle to the opening quarter mile in a quick :27.4. Gagnon then backed back the speed, going to the half mile in :59 as Slyflex and driver Rheo Filion came first-over and boxed in Wildwild Men. They raced that way thru the three-quarters in 1:28.1. Then in the stretch, Shepherd moved Wildwild Men to the passing lane and they shot right by KFB Amigo Cool and went on to win by one and one-half lengths with Skyflex second and KFB Amigo Cool third. It was the first win in five starts this year for Wildwild Men. The gelded son of Muscle Mass is trained by Isabella Darveau for co-owners Catheline Pelletier and breeder Chantal Gravel of QC. He paid $3.10 to win. The second colt division was a non-wagering race that saw Chatemup Bill and driver Stephane Brosseau parked out Holiday Party and driver Pascal Berube to the opening quarter mile in :28. But once in command of the race, Berube and Holiday Party held the field at bay, cutting the mile to the half in :58.1 and the three-quarters in 1:29.2 before opening up on the field and scoring an eleven and one-half length romp in 1:59.1. Stablemate Andovers Choice (Guy Gagnon) was second with Chatemup Bill third. It was the third straight win and fourth victory in eight starts this year for Holiday Party. The Holiday Road gelding is trained by Dany Fontaine for Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC. In the sixth race filly division, Y A Jailhouse Jodi posted her third straight victory, but it was a nail bitter to the wire. The race started off with SOS Christina and driver Gaetan Lamy parking out Y S Suzanne and trainer/driver Carl Duguay to the opening quarter mile in :29.2 before letting Y S Suzanne take command. They led the field past the half mile in 1:01.1 and then in the backstretch, Stephane Gendron was on the move with Y A Jailhouse Jodi, who settled into second place behind Y S Suzanne to the three-quarters in 1:31.4. Then in the stretch, Gendron and Y A Jailhouse Jodi came after Y S Suzanne and Duguay and those two separated from the field and battled neck and neck, head and head to the wire with Y A Jailhouse Jodi getting up in the final strides to win by a neck in 2:02. Éclair Chocolat (Mario Charron) was third. Sired by Andover Hall, it was the third win in five starts this year for Y A Jailhouse Jodi. She is trained by Michel Allard for co-owners Yves Sarrazin and Rene Allard of QC and paid $3.00 to win as the betting favorite. Live racing resumes Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with the second rounds of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies, post time 1:30 pm. For a free race program and live video feed of the 3R races, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

A brief look at some of the happenings from the past week in the world of harness racing. POUTAMA CLOSES IN ON 100 Popular North Island junior driver, Andre Poutama moved to within striking distance of his 100th career winning drive with a victory on Reine Des Gitans on Friday night at Alexandra Park. The Pukekohe based junior took his season tally to 29, a personal best, in the process. Currently fourth on the national junior drivers’ premiership, Poutama is just two wins behind his closest rival, Craig Ferguson with less than a month of racing remaining in the season. MUSCLE MASS AVAILABLE DOWN UNDER Nevele R Stud were pleased to announce that they have secured the rights to provide frozen semen from outstanding trotting sire, Muscle Mass to New Zealand breeders this breeding season. The sire of the 2YO Ruby quinella last month in Custodian and Heavyweight Hero, Muscle Mass is expected to be in high demand and already Nevele R has insisted breeders book early as only a limited amount of semen is being made available to both New Zealand and Australia. LIVE TO TELL LEADING IRON HORSE Burnham pacer, Live To Tell, has one hand on the title of the 2015-2016 season’s Iron Horse. The Bruce Negus trained pacer, who raced twice at Forbury on Friday night, has lined up on 40 occasions so far this season - has won twice and placed on four occasions. She will race again on Thursday night at Addington as will her closest rivals, Hudson Sally who has had 38 starts. Hudson Sally is also nominated for the Oamaru meeting on Sunday. DUAL ROLE FOR ONE OVER DA MOON Brilliantly bred trotter, One Over Da Moon will be available to breeders this season. The highly talented square gaiter who won the Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile earlier this season will serve a dual role for his owners Lex and Heather Williams. As well as spending time in the breeding barn, he will also continue to race - initially with Paul Nairn before returning to the the North Island and into the care of Tony Herlihy. A son of brilliant mare, One Over Kenny, One Over Da Moon lacks for nothing in the breeding department and will hold strong appeal for breeders across Australasia. DJOKOVIC CHASING FOUR IN A ROW While his namesake might have bowed out of Wimbledon earlier this week, it’s full steam ahead for Djokovic on Friday night. The Luk Chin trained trotter will be looking to go one step further than the usual game, set and match when he shoots for his fourth consecutive win against a handy field of trotters at Alexandra Park. The son of Sundon will have his 80th start on Friday night. MILESTONE WATCH A number of horseman around the country are currently sitting close to notable milestones in their careers. Jimmy Curtin is just two wins shy of 1500 driving wins in New Zealand, Phil Williamson is four wins short of 500 while Dean Taylor is currently on 492 training wins. In the North Island, Steven Reid is on 990 career wins. On Friday night at at Forbury Park, popular Southland horseman, Brent Barclay reached 600 driving wins for his career with a double. He reached the target when he won the Forbury Sprint Series with Risk Factor before Bettor Go Hurry took him to 601 wins. SOUTH OF THE WAITAKI SERIES KICKS OFF Nominations for the first heat of the Macca Lodge Trained South of the Waitaki Series which is this Friday night at Addington are strong. 14 horses have been nominated for the event, which is open to horses who are three-year-old and older and handicapped at C1 and below prior to nominations closing for the first heat provided they were trained south of the Waitaki river prior to May 1 this year. There are three rounds of heats held over the month of July with an $11,000 final at the end of the month. The first ever series, held last season, was won by Tact Tate.   HRNZ MEDIA

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 4, 2016 - The trotters claim the stage at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday night with the opening round of the Breeders Cup for three-year-old colts and fillies. There are four weeks of preliminary round competition with the top eight point earners from each division returning on Sunday, September 4 for their respective $65,000 finals. The colts start off the stakes action in the third race where track record hold and last year's two-year-old champion, Wildwild Men, returns to 3R for trainer Isabelle Darveau and driver Robert Shepherd. Last year Wildwild Men tore up the 3R half mile oval, sweeping the series and setting a track record 1:58.2 in the Quebec-Bred series finale. He ended 2015 with five wins and one second place finish in nine starts and will start from post six Tuesday. Co-owned by Catheline Pelletier of Mirabel with breeder Chantal Gravel of St-Cyrille-De-Wendover, QC, this son of Muscle Mass is not off to the greatest of starts this year. He is winless in four tries, even won in 2:00.1 at Grand River Raceway, only to be placed sixth by the judges. He will be put to the test on Tuesday, having to face some stiff competition in KFB Amigo Cool (post five), who ships in from Ontario Sire Stakes action at Georgian Downs where he was second for $18,000, timed in 1:59.2. Skyflex (post 4), invades from Rideau Carlton where he has been first or second in seven of his eleven starts this year, the fastest a 2:00.1 triumph. Between the fifth and sixth race is a non-wagering second division for the colts. The race was taken off the betting card due to the entry from the Dany Fontaine Stable of Andovers Choice and Holiday Party. Holiday Party starts from post four for driver Pascal Berube and ships in from Georgian Downs where last week he won an $18,000 division of the Ontario Sire Stakes in 1:58. The start before the gelded son of Holiday Road took his lifetime mark with a 1:57 triumph. Andovers Choice will start from post two for driver Guy Gagnon and comes to 3R from Mohawk Raceway where he has been facing older rivals and has two second place finishes in both his starts this year, the fastest timed in 1:57.1. The fillies do battle in the sixth race where last year's series champion, Y S Suzanne starts from post four for trainer/driver Carl Duguay. This daughter of Angus Hall was winless last year until her final start of the season when she won the $55,000 final. She is winless in three starts this year but has been racetimed in 2:00.2-2:01 recently. Other contenders in the field include Y A Jailhouse Jodi from post two, who has won her last two starts for trainer Michel Allard, Eau Naturelle (post 5) and Éclair Chocolat (post 6). Post time Tuesday evening is 7:00 pm. For a free race program and live video feeds of the race card visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Nevele R Stud, in conjunction with Kentuckiana Stallion Management, is pleased to announce that Muscle Mass - the stallion currently taking juvenile trotting by storm in both NZ and Australia - will be available to Australasian breeders for the first time since 2012 this coming harness racing breeding season. Currently the leading sire of 2-year-old trotters in both NZ and Australia, Muscle Mass has had a sensational season with his first crop of any real size, siring the first two runners home (Custodian and Heavyweight Hero) in the Group  1 Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby last month and across the Tasman Group 1 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic winner Illawong Shimmer, as well as the exciting Group 2 Tatlow Stakes winning youngster and recent Vicbred Super Series Final runner-up Illawong Byron, along with the Group 1 place-getter Sval Queen. Available just the once previously (through frozen semen in 2009), Muscle Mass's first Australasian crop of only nine live foals has produced six winners to date including the current season Tontine Trotters Series winner K D Muscles 1:56.8 ($98,760, 6 wins) and the Group 2 Bacardi Lindy Mares Trot runner-up Zhenya ($69,607, 10 wins).   Muscle Mass was himself a world champion 2-year-old trotter, winning all seven of his juvenile starts including the Final of the American-National Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and International Stallion Stakes,  before injury curtailed his career at three. A real trotting blue-blood, Muscle Mass is a son of the breed-shaping, champion stallion Muscles Yankee out of the multiple juvenile stakes-winning Pine Chip mare Graceful Touch, who has also left the Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive 1:51 ($1,245,297) and Merrie Annabelle Trot and New Jersey Sires Stakes winner Thatsnotmyname 1:55 ($340,730) to date. His second dam Act Of Grace 1:52.6 ($403,525) was a top flight race-filly from the same crop as the freakish Continentalvictory and like her also raced the top colts and geldings on numerous occasions. From just two foals Act Of Grace left World Trotting Derby and Zweig Memorial winner Cobol 1:54 ($417,457), along with Graceful Touch. With four crops of racing age in North America, Muscle Mass has established himself as the leading trotting sire in Ontario and has sired multiple Ontario Sires Stakes Gold champions including the O'Brien 2YO and 3YO Trotting Filly of the Year Riveting Rosie 1:52.8 ($973,336) and Muscle Matters 1:53.2 ($487,972). Muscle Mass's service fee for the coming season is NZ$7,000 + GST (AU$7,700 incl. GST) and in good news for breeders, and a first for a Nevele R frozen semen sire,  Muscle Mass will be included in the Stud's standard multiple mare discounts. His service fee is payable on positive test. Nevele R General Manager Ged Mooar encourages breeders to book early as there is limited semen available in both countries.  Bookings will be taken on a first-in-first-served basis and can be made online through the Nevele R website – nevelerstud.co.nz or alternatively by emailing admin@nevelerstud.co.nz, phoning the office 03 349 8627, Nikki Reed 0274 346 401 or Freephone 1800 150 855 from Australia.  

JULY 1, 2016 - Driver Steve Byron provided the fireworks on Dresden Raceway's Canada Day harness racing program Friday, winning four of five Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions. The Thornton, ON resident opened the afternoon with an effortless score aboard Magical Steph, cruising along on the front end to a 1:58.1 victory, just one-fifth of a second off the all-age track record for trotters. The fan favourites hit the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Devils Advocate and Traviata. "I drove her some last year and she always had lots of go. Today Gary had her good and she win that race pretty handy," said Byron, who piloted the three-year-old trotting filly for trainer Gary Lance and GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry. "She's a very talented mare." Byron piloted Magical Steph to four Grassroots wins last season in a freshman campaign that saw the Kadabra daughter post a record of five wins, two seconds and earnings of $72,400. Friday's victory was the filly's first in three sophomore starts. In the second $18,000 Grassroots division Byron teamed up with P C Cantore for the first time and the duo popped out of the pocket in the stretch to reel in local favourite True Muscle, who had carved out fractions of :29.3, :1:01.2 and 1:33.1. P C Cantore hit the wire in 2:01.4, one-half length ahead of True Muscle, to claim her second straight Grassroots trophy. The Power Of Many completed the top three. "I didn't know what to expect, I'd never driven her before, but she raced great," said Byron of P C Cantore. "We got a good trip and she finished up strong. She's definitely one of the better ones too, I believe." Byron crafted the win for trainer, owner and breeder Peter Clements of Dobbinton, ON. The daughter of Cornaro Dasolo and former Grassroots winner Balladeer now boasts a record of five wins in eight starts and has sole ownership of top spot in the Grassroots point standings. Byron sat out the third Grassroots division and Jody Jamieson guided Myretirementticket to a 1:58.3 score, going gate-to-wire from Post 3. Haileysgonedancing finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second and fan favourite Moonlight Cocktail was four more lengths back in third. Moffat, ON resident Jamieson engineered the win for trainer, owner and breeder Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON. It was the first in six sophomore starts for the Cornaro Dasolo daughter, who won three Grassroots events at two, including her Semifinal. Back out on the Dresden half-mile for the fourth division, Byron guided Windsongmusclelady to an 11 and one-half length win over Malia and Its All About Sam in 2:01. The race was marred by an accident that saw driver Per Henriksen unseated, but fortunately resulted in no significant injuries to either Henriksen or his mount Smash Hit. It was the second win of the season for Byron and Windsongmusclelady, who is trained by John Bax of Campbellville, ON for his partners The Brabant Stable of London, ON. "She was real good today and she's just a great mare, she tries all the time," said Byron of the Muscle Mass daughter. Another Bax trainee carried Byron to his fourth win of the afternoon. Starting from Post 4 Byron put Miami Magic on cruise control and the Kadabra filly sailed through fractions of :30, 1:01.4 and 1:32.2 on her way to a 2:02.2 score, five and one-quarter lengths ahead of Onatopp and P L Jade. "I really like her, she's just a handy mare and when the favourite (Magical Valentine) made a break, she win pretty easy after that," said Byron of Miami Magic. "She's as good as any of them as far as I'm concerned." Bax, Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Gaelic Stable of Sharon and Don Allensen of Wyoming, ON share ownership of the filly, who bumped her sophomore record to four wins, two seconds, two thirds and earnings of $41,540 through 14 starts. "They all raced great," summed up Byron. "I liked their chances going in to tell you the truth. I wasn't surprised in any of them winning. "It was just a great day." Byron's next opportunity to sit behind his talented three-year-old trotting filly mounts will come on July 14 when the fillies make their third Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

For the second straight year Dresden Raceway's annual Canada Day celebrations will feature some of Ontario's most talented three-year-old trotting fillies as the half-mile oval hosts five $18,000 Grassroots divisions. "People really look forward to the OSS," said Dresden Agricultural Society President Lucille Laprise. "And for them to come on Canada Day makes it that much more special." The trotting fillies will kick things off at 1:30 pm on Friday, July 1 and will also be featured in Races 2, 3, 5, and 7. In addition to the on-track excitement Dresden fans will enjoy a variety of give-aways, the Ontario Sires Stakes "Be A Winner" contest and the raceway's traditional eight foot long Canada Day cake. "We're encouraging people to wear their red of course, and we'll have our cake and our great give-aways - we've got red and white t-shirts that we're giving away," added Laprise. "And the drivers are going to be doing some tossing of the OSS t-shirts." Fans have an opportunity to win even more OSS apparel by entering the "Be A Winner" contest. Each finalist receives an Ontario Sires Stakes shirt, ball cap and lanyard badge, along with a $15 win-place-show wager on their selected horse, while the grand prize winner will take home a trophy, an official OSS jacket and golf shirt, a winner's circle photo with their chosen horse, and a $50 wagering voucher. Among the trotting fillies hoping to take home an OSS trophy is locally-owned True Muscle. The Muscle Mass daughter is owned by Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, ON and will benefit from Post 1 in the second Grassroots division. True Muscle scored her first lifetime win in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on June 14, circling the seven-eighths mile oval in 1:57.1. She heads into Friday's test off a third-place finish in the Alliance Series Final at Georgian Downs on June 19. Keith Jones of Barrie, ON conditions True Muscle and the winner of $19,040 will be driven by the Ontario Sires Stakes program's leading reinsman, Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON. "We're quite grateful for the community support, and for all the great horses that come to race here in Dresden, and the drivers and the trainers and everybody," said Laprise. Dresden Raceway's Canada Day program gets under way at 1:30 pm, with the three-year-old trotting fillies featured in Races 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7. In addition to the Grassroots battles, contests, give-aways and cake, the final race of the afternoon will introduce fans to Racing Under Saddle (RUS), capping off another memorable Canada Day celebration at the Dresden oval. "We're hoping to have great weather and great horses and great fans and a great Canada Day," summed up Larprise. "You can't ask for any better." ched: True Muscle, pictured in her June 14 Grassroots win, will be hoping to earn a second trophy for owner Randy Zhok of Dover Centre when the Ontario Sires Stakes program stops at Dresden Raceway on Canada Day. (New Image Media photo) From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 27 - A return to his local track turned into yet another convincing harness racing victory for Musical Rhythm Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Ben Baillargeon trainee was a four-length winner in Monday's eight-horse $34,000 Preferred Trot. Musical Rhythm is now six for six at Mohawk this season and a perfect 11 for 11 on the WEG Circuit in 2016. The four-year-old son of Cantab Hall was making his first start Monday since finishing sixth in a leg of the Graduate Series at Tioga Downs on June 12. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Musical Rhythm trotted along in mid-pack until getting his cue to march on first up around the final turn. Fearless Man, who had made a second-quarter move to the lead, led the field around the far turn and held a narrow advantage over the first over challenger at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. In the stretch, Musical Rhythm powered right on by Fearless Man and pulled away from his rivals with ease. The Baillargeon trainee trotted home in :28.2 for the comfortable victory. Whiskey Tax, who led at the opening-quarter, finished second, while Olympic Son was third. Musical Rhythm now has 11 wins from 13 starts this season for earnings of just under $200,000. He is owned by Santo & Nunzio Vena, Claude Hamel and Ben Baillargeon. Monday's victory is the 20th career score for Musical Rhythm and pushes his career earnings over $295,000. He paid $3.20 to win. Musical Rhythm Top trotters were the main attraction Monday evening, but it was a pair of overnight performances that caught the attention of many. Five-year-old gelding Domitian Hall won the evening's fifth-race, a $20,000 overnight event, by just over 10 lengths in a stunning 1:51.2. The clocking was a new career-best for the son of Justice Hall and became the nation's fastest trotting mile of the season by an older male trotter. However, the same class was split into two races and four-year-old Rubber Duck would match Domitian Hall's mark with his own 1:51.2 mile later in the evening. The son of Muscle Mass knocked more than three-seconds off his previous career-best with the national season's record-equaling mile. In the fifth race, Domitian Hall and Jonathan Drury got away seventh and marched their way towards the front in the middle-half, ultimately grabbing command at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3. The five-year-old finished off his mile with a :26.4 final-quarter for the blow out victory. In the ninth race, Rubber Duck sat in the three-hole until making a move to the front around the final turn for driver Jack Moiseyev. The five-year-old had to deal with Cash For Gold pressing him throughout the lane, but the Julie Walker trainee was game and held him off with a :28 final-quarter. Domitian Hall was making his debut for new trainer Carmen Auciello Monday night. He now has five wins in 21 starts this season and 14 throughout the course of his career. Rubber Duck picked up his second win in six starts this season Monday. His impressive mile gives him six career victories. Musical Rhythm held the previous season's mark for an older male trotter of 1:52, taken on March 7th at Woodbine. The fastest trotting mile overall this season in Canada is 1:51, posted by Hannelore Hanover in the Armbro Flight Final on June 18th at Mohawk. Monday's card also featured three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. Bee In Charge took advantage of a stretch break by the leader to win the first division in a career-best 1:54.3. The gelded son of Manofmanymissions is a half-brother to the great Bee A Magician. Chris Christoforou guided the Per Henriksen trainee to his third win of the season. Zagster was able to convert off a second over trip from driver Trevor Henry to win the second split in 1:55.2. The gelded son of Muscle Mass is trained by Shannon Henry and now has two wins on the season. The final division featured a trio of horses (Will Take Charge, Dia Monde and Tony Soprano) coming out of the Goodtimes Final. Will Take Charge, who finished second in the Goodtimes, grabbed command in the second-quarter and never looked back en route to a career-best 1:53 score. The gelded son of Kadabra was driven to his third win of the season by Paul MacDonell for trainer John Bax. Live racing continues Tuesday night at Mohawk with another 10-race card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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