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Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - The Invitational Trot at the Hippodrome 3R has been the toughest race to win this season and once again it was a newcomer that won the top trot Tuesday evening. This week the honors went to Denis Filion's Theregoesthegroom, who was able to take advantage of a misshape in the backstretch and turn it into a neck triumph. The sixth race feature saw Rocky Boy and driver Marc Belanger fly out to the early lead with last week's return winner, Commissioner Daley and trainer/driver Guy Gagnon grabbing the two-hole spot as they went to the opening quarter in a speedy :28.1. They raced Indian-style until the half mile marker in :57.4 as Caroluzzo and driver Stephane Gendron started up first-over from fifth place but was not gaining ground on the leader. But as Rocky Boy approached the three-quarter pole, he made an uncharacteristic break and driver Marc Belanger has to take him to the outside and out of the race. Guy Gagnon was moving to the outside with Commissioner Daley and was blind switched by both Theregoesthegroom and Filion on the outside and on the inside, it was Four Starz Speed and driver/trainer Kevin Maguire shooting up along the cones and taking the lead as they passed the three-quarters in 1:28.3. Then in a dramatic stretch drive, Theregoesthegroom battled head and head with Four Starz Speed with Theregoesthegroom getting up at the wire by a long neck in 1:59.4. Caroluzzo was third. It was only the second start and first win of the season for Theregoesthegroom, a five-year-old stallion by Muscle Mass, who is co-owned by Denis Filion with Sonia Moderie and Jules Sigler. He paid $12.00 to win. Live racing resumes at H3R on Sunday afternoon, first race post time at 12:30 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, June 18, 2017 - Westchester Sundays returned (June 18th), with an out-every-step Rubber Duck ($47) with harness racing driver Joe Bongiorno in the bike, winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. The Father's Day marquee trot was the first race of the afternoon, one of four 'French' trots going at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. It looked much different early as 3-4 choice Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) jumped it off from the pocket. Meanwhile, there were four different leaders through the first half-mile (:28.1, :57) including Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton), Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube), Not Afraid (Matt Kakaley) and Opulent Yankee (Ake Svanstedt). As for Rubber Duck from post position No. 7, he was quite wide into the first turn, then able to join the second tier from third-over after a rival broke. He sat outside Opulent Yankee in and out of a 1:25.4 three-quarters and 1:55.2 mile before wearing that rival down early in the lane. Rubber Duck had enough to hold Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammmer) at bay, winning by three-quarters of a length in 2:26 for the added distance. Red Hot Herbie lost the place photo, while Springbank Sam N and a recovering Hemi Seelster settled for the remainder. For eighth choice Rubber Duck, a 5-year-old son of Muscle Mass co-owned by Albertans Blair & Erna Corbeil and trained by Richard Johnson, it was his third win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $472, with the triple returning $2,494. The latest installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 2-Divine Miss Grey (Belmont's 3rd race) and 1-Jericho (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $10.20 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,390. Frank Drucker

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Slowly but surely harness driver Stephane Gendron has been nipping away at the wins during his career and on Tuesday evening at the Hippodrome 3R, he may very well achieve a special career milestone, win number 4,000. Gendron, who first started driving back in 1989, has been a popular figure in Quebec racing, especially at H3R, throughout his career. Come Tuesday, Gendron hopes to get his 4,000th career win in one of the two drives he has on the program. And his chances, based on last week's performance, look pretty good. Gendron will be driving the odds-on favorite, Carl Duguay's Y S Suzanne, in the sixth race, second division of the $100,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters. Y S Suzanne starts from post six and is on a three-race winning streak for owner/trainer Duguay. The four-year-old mare by Angus Hall is at her best with five wins already this season. Last week in the opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series, Gendron and Y S Suzanne were parked out going for the lead, but once on top she held the field at bay and pulled away in the stretch for a four and one-half length triumph. Other hopeful contenders in the field include Y A Jailhouse Jodi in post three for driver Guy Gagnon. They were second to Y S Suzanne last week, along with Grace And Claire (post eight) and Artemis Duharas (post seven). And if Y S Suzanne does not give Gendron his 4,000th win, then he comes right back in the 7th race Invitational Trot, where he will drive the always game Caroluzzo from post eight. He has won his last two starts at H3R in the top trot for Gendron. The older horses do battle in the Quebec-Bred Series in the 4th race, where track record holder Wildwild Men is the overwhelming race favorite after his impressive victory in the opening round last week. Driven by Robert Shepherd for trainer Isabelle Darveau, last week Wildwild Men posted his first win in three starts this year, looking super impressive in wiring the field by three and one-half lengths in 1:58.3. Bred by Chantal Gravel and co-owned with Catheline Pelletier, Wildwild Men is an entry with stablemate and older brother, Seeyou Men, who is age 5. Both brothers are sired by Muscle Mass. Wildwild Men starts from post four with his older brother starting alongside in post five for driver Guy Gagnon. Hoping to rebound from making a costly break at the start last week is Quebec-Bred Champion last year, Holiday Party. He starts from the rail for driver Pascal Berube while last week's second place finisher, KFM Amigo Cool, starts from post two for driver Stephane Brosseau. First race post time Tuesday evening is 7:00 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

June 3, 2017 - Saturday the V75 harness racing action was at Mantorp, Sweden, headed by the Ina Scots (300,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart). Victory was secured by 29/1 Muscle Hustle (4m Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel-Cantab Hall) driven by trainer Robert Bergh. Bergh co-owns this one with Ecurie des Charmes. Brittany Farms bred the 1.12.3kr timed winner. 3.3/1 Policy Of Truth (4g Explosive Matter-Champagne-Supergill) was second for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Reijo Liljendahl, with the third spot going to 15/1 Baron Gift (4m Gift Kronos-Countesse Photo-Fast Photo) for trainer/driver Rikard Svanstedt. Also at Mantorp was the V75 Gold (150,000SEK to the winner, 2640 meters autostart), taken by 1.12.3kr timed and 1.9/1 favorite Carabinieri (6m Wellino Boko-Dew Princess-JR Broline) with trainer Peter Untersteiner aboard. 9/1 Alfas da Vinci (9g Orlando Vici-Hilary Clinton-And Arifant) was second for trainer/driver Joakim Lovgren, and third was 7/1 Anna Mix (7f Ludo de Castelle-Ires-Tenor de Baune) with Ulf Ohlsson up for trainer Sofia Aronsson and owner Franck Leblanc. Billy Flynn, a US import, finished fourth. Thomas H. Hicks

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - The trotters were in the spotlight for the first live harness racing program of the 2017 season at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday night with the opening round of the $100,000 Quebec-Bred Series for trotters. There were two divisions of the series for four and five-year-old mares and horses Tuesday. There are three weeks of preliminary action with the top eight money earners returning on June 25 for the $30,000 finals. Both race winners were very impressive with the fastest division going to track record holder, Wildwild Men, in the fifth race for older horses. Driven by Robert Shepherd from post three, Wildwild Men shot to the early lead with KFM Amigo Cool (Stephane Brosseau) grabbing the two-hole spot to the opening quarter mile in :29.1. Second choice in the race, track record holder Holiday Party (Pascal Berube) made a costly break at the start of the race. To the half mile in :59.3 and the three-quarters in 1:29.3, Shepherd then let Wildwild Men pull away in the stretch to win with ease by three and one-half lengths in 1:58.3. KFB Amigo Cool was second with stablemate, Seeyou Men (full older brother to Wildwild Men) third for driver Guy Gagnon. It was the first win in three starts this year for Wildwild Men. The four-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass is trained by Isabelle Darveau for breeder Chantal Gravel, who co-owns the winner with Catheline Pelletier. He paid $2.70 to win. In the second race division for mares, it was all Y S Suzanne for driver Stephane Gendron. With EAU Naturelle (Simon Delisle) leaving from post seven to the early lead, Shepherd wasted no time retaking the lead before the opening quarter mile and then held the field at bay the rest of the one mile race, winning by four and one-half lengths in 2:00.4. Y A Jailhouse Jodi (Guy Gagnon) was second with Grace And Claire (Sylvain Lacaille) third. Trained and owned by Carl Duguay, it was the third straight win and fifth victory on the season for Y S Suzanne. The four-year-old mare by Angus Hall paid just $2.50 to win. TRACK NOTES: With his victory aboard Y S Suzanne, driver Stephane Gendron moved within one victory of scoring his 4,000th career win. Driver Richard Simard led all drivers Tuesday with three winners on the night including an impressive seven and one-half length romp with Raising Richard ($2.80) in the Invitational Trot in 1:59.1. The post-position draw for the second annual All-Star Drivers Tournament at H3R this Sunday takes place Wednesday afternoon. Featured will be Yannick Gingras, Daniel Dube, Scott Zeron, Sylvain Filion, Hall of Famer David Miller, last year's champion Jody Jamieson, Stephane Bouchard and H3R leading driver, Louis-Philippe Roy, all competing in eight races. There will be a special meet and greet autograph session with all the drivers at 11:30 am. And H3R's new Sunday post time of 12:30 pm goes into effect on Sunday. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Pompano Beach, FL...March 7, 2017...Explosive Muscles, driven by Dave Ingraham, definitely lived up to his name on Tuesday night (March 7) by using his explosive muscle power in the final stages to score a well-earned 1:55.3 win in Pompano Park's $10,000 harness racing trotting feature.   The seven year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass out-dueled Lugar, with Kevin Wallis in the bike, heading into the opening turn and went on to post panels of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:26.2 before a :29.1 finale held off Pocket Trip and driver Fern Paquet, Jr. by a neck.   Fleetwood Hall, with Rick Plano handling that gelding's lines, closed fastest of all in the classy octet to finish third, just a length off the winner, while Lugar was another three-quarters of-a-length in fourth.   Kabu finished fifth to pick up the nickel while My Revenuer, Commentary and Southwind Stryker completed the order of finish, with the latter, off at even money, making a miscue at the start.   After the race, driver Dave Ingraham related, "I didn't see much happening when the gate sprung and this horse likes to be in the hunt from the get-go, so I did what he likes to do and went for the top.   "He made is rather easily and he was nice and relaxed the middle part of the mile. We really didn't have much of a challenge on the backside so I thought we had a chance to get home tonight.   "Fern's (Paquet) trotter was going some at the end but the wire came and that was that!"   Owned by Rebecca Uppal along with trainer Casandra Uppal, the ultra-consistent Explosive Muscles sent his 2017 scorecard to 3-2-2 in 10 starts, good for earnings of $21,820. Lifetime,   Explosive Muscles has reached the winner's circle on 26 occasions and now has a career bankroll of $166,664.   As second choice at 9 to 5, Explosive Muscles paid $5.80 to win.   Mares were in the spotlight in the night's co-feature for the trotters and it was Bad Angel scoring a handy win for Wally Hennessey in a lifetime best 1:54.2.   The eight year-old daughter of Valley Victor, owned and trained by George Coblentz, won the early fist fight with She's All In (Rick Plano) and Celebrity Artemis (Marcello Spano) and posted subsequent fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.2 before her :29 sprint home left her nearest challenger, She's All In, 2½ lengths away. Celebrity Artemis did finish third while Total Freedom, saving ground all the way, snuck up the inside to finish fourth, just a nose better than McKenzie's Star, who picked up the minor award in the field of seven.   In a post race interview, Hennessey remarked, "I was in a race last week with Serendipitious and this mare was in there and, when I looked at the replay, noticed she had some good, strong trot at the end. I saw that she can leave a bit, too, so, with the five post, it was the perfect spot to send her.   "She was mighty strong tonight and never let up one ounce at any time during the mile.   "I'm happy to have done this for George (owner-trainer Coblentz). He's really done a great job turning this mare around to be what she is today."   Bad Angel now has three wins in nine starts this semester and earnings of $16,705. Career-wise, Bad Angel boosted her bounty to $107,341.   Off as the even-money tote-board favorite, Bad Angel paid $4.00 to her multitude of $2 faithful.   Racing continues on Wednesday night with pacing mares in the limelight as Sweet Bet, a $6,000 claim two months ago, steps up the ladder again to the top level in the $11,000 Open Pace for the ladies.   Wild Wanda, OK Heavenly, Goldstar Rockette, Godiva Seelster and Misssomebeach Blue complete a very talented sextet.   Godiva Seelster has been installed as the 9 to 5 morning line favorite and will have the driving services of Pompano Park's leading driver, Wally Hennessey.   Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 15, 2017- Harness racing favored Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno, $3.50) did not disappoint Sunday afternoon, handily winning Yonkers Raceway's $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Forwardly-placed from post position No. 6, in his featured trot debut (three of the 11 starters broke early), Rubber Duck was actually beaten to the early punch. Red Hot Herbie, starting directly outside of 'Duck,' had the first lead before yielding to the subject of this story. Rubber Duck made his lead just at a :29.4 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :59.3 half and 1:29.2 three-quarters. There was a minimal challenge from Luck O The Irish (Matt Kakaley) going toward the 1:58.2 milepost, but Rubber Duck disposed that and opened a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He widened in the lane, defeating 'Herbie' by 2¼ lengths in 2:27.3 for the mile-and-a-quarter. Lily's Swan Pond (George Brennan), Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the payees. For Rubber Duck, a now-5-year-old son of Muscle Mass co-owned by Albertans Blair and Erna Corbeil and trained by Richard Johnson, he's won both of his season starts. The exacta paid $17.80, the triple returned $65.50 and the superfecta paid $405. Sunday's Pick 5 wager, beginning with a double-carryover of $6,426.84, attracted $11,029 of fresh investments. The winning quintet (1/2/2/7/3) returned $14,698.75 for the single winning half-a-buck selector. Sunday also offered the first 'New York, New York Double' of the season, with the winning combination of 5-Lockdown (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 1-Lo Rail Crossing (Yonkers' 6th race) returning $14.70 for every correct $1 wager (total pool $6,553) Frank Drucker

K D Muscles proved her toughness yesterday at Gunbower when she scooped up a second harness racing win in three days, having won at Melton on Friday and then Sunday’s Cohuna Car Sales Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup over 2630m. The Muscle Mass six-year-old mare, who lead throughout in Friday night’s Haras Des Trotteurs Trot, received a penalty from her Melton win and in the Cup started outside of the 20m mark, instead of the inside. After stepping safely, she worked forward into the box seat before Kate Gath came three-wide at the bell. After pressuring 2015 winner Dead Cat Bounce at the 1200m, K D Muscles found the lead but copped pressure from Aleppo Sunrise and Tenno Dance. In Gath’s hands she found some breathing space with a 28.2 third quarter, holding off second-placed  Aleppo Sunrise in the straight to win by 6.1m in a 2:03.4 mile rate. Trainer Andy Gath heaped praise on his “really nice mare”. “She has a good turn of speed with a really good gait about her,” Gath said. “(She) has come a long way in a short space of time since we’ve had her, and just about every run she has had has been pretty good. “She’s a really strongly built mare with a really good constitution and recovers well all the time, so she’s a perfect racehorse really”. New Zealand born K D Muscles, who was bred by Grant Beckett, joined the Gath stable in February this year. “She came on the market, took a lot of persuading for my owner, Norm Jenkin, to buy as she only had the one win in New Zealand and he was put off by that a bit, but she was up against nice horses,” Gath said. “We were able to purchase her for a pretty reasonable price and she’s earned some nice money since and she has more to offer.” Gath mentioned her next run is likely to come at Melton on Saturday week in a TM1-M3 mobile in favour of the The Weekly Advertiser Stawell Trotters Cup the following day. Gath’s other runners  at Gunbower were Star Of Dionysis in the Gunbower Family Hotel Gunbower Pacing Cup, who finished last as an odds-on favourite, and Yackandandah, who finished third in the Easy Ride Sulky Gunbower Club Pace. “At this stage Star Of Dionysis has pulled up all right, there are no alarm bells going off to say there’s something wrong, but maybe the hot weather got to him,” Gath said. “Yackandandah had to come quite wide and I was happy with him, he’s a good honest horse.”  Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Harness racing trainer Per Henriksen is old enough to know that you're never too old to take a shot in the Breeders Crown. The 70-year-old native of Norway, who is based out of Norwood, Ontario, is back in this year's Breeders Crown presented by Mullinax Ford at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on Saturday night, seven years since he last raced in the championship event. He sends out Muscle Hustle in the $500,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot, a race stacked with some solid contenders, including Bar Hopping, Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder, each of whom has won some prominent stakes races this season. Muscle Hustle has been a topnotch horse this season on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit, including setting a Canadian and OSS record on a five-eighths mile track, banking almost US$200,000 in 14 starts. The horse was sent to Henriksen as a two-year-old by Robert Bergh, Sweden's top trainer, who was having some issues with the son of Muscle Mass. Henriksen is considered somewhat of a horse whisperer because of his ability to figure out the head cases. In the case of Muscle Hustle, Henriksen decided to put trotting hopples on the colt early in his career. This will the last time Henriksen harnesses the colt, who is scheduled to be sent back to Sweden after the Breeders Crown. "If I didn't think my horse had a shot to win, I would not spend $7,500 for to go in the race," he said. "It's always a pleasure going back to the Breeders Crown when you have horses that you think are good enough to compete. I thought I had three that were good enough to compete, but I got one to the final and he qualified really good (with driver Chris Christoforou) and Chris said he's as good as any of these horses with the right trip. We drew the five hole, which is good, so we're optimistic." Henriksen has had 22 previous starters in the Breeders Crown for $1.2 million in earnings and has won three times, all in the Three-Year-Old Filly Trot: Expressway Hanover in 1993, Oolong in 1999 and Southwind Serena in 2007. Expressway Hanover and Oolong won at short prices, Southwind Serena at 50-1. She is notable for being Yannick Gingras' first Crown win and is also the dam of the world champion and Breeders Crown freshman winner Mission Brief. "Any time you can win a Breeders Crown it means a lot, there's no doubt about that," Henriksen said. "That's something special. Yes, I'll take a new owner if they pop up with a good horse, don't misunderstand me. Not that I need it, that's not the point. I'm 70 years old. I just don't want to live in a tent when I'm done doing this. "I just had a (physical) and the doctor said he couldn't find anything wrong with me. He said, 'Per, you're like a 55-year-old - your heart rate, everything. You don't have any aches or pains. You're so lucky, you don't know how lucky you are.' "If I can win the Breeders Crown, it will be such a pleasure, most of all for the people around me who support me all the time - my owners, my support staff. It's not going to change my lifestyle, let's put it that way, but it's a joy. "It would mean a lot to me to win, especially with Robert Bergh," he added. "He's my friend. I've sent horses to him in Sweden as four-year-olds when I thought they were better off there than in North America. Muscle Hustle struggled with an allergic problem all summer and all fall. He was supposed to go to the Hambletonian and I thought I had a really good shot, but he got an allergy. We got him on some serum but it didn't help him enough. I think this horse is good enough to go with any of them. If he's 100 percent and on his game and gets the right trip, he can beat any of them." This has been an interesting year for Henriksen. He won the Ahlsells Invitational driver championship for legends of the sport in Sweden. "That's a sign that you're getting old when you get invited to a legends' race," he quipped. He also posted his 1,000th career training win in North America. "It feels good (winning 1,000). At my age, everything feels good," he said. "I had the two best three-year-old trotting colts in Ontario this year with Muscle Hustle and Bee In Charge. I had another one, Blenheim, that was knocking on the door in the Grand Circuit. How often do you get a trio of three-year-old trotting colts that can compete on the Grand Circuit? One won $300,000 and the other one about $200,000. I can't complain. "To get those kind of horses to train is just a pleasure. Two of those horses were ones that other people couldn't get going and that gave me even more joy." Henriksen came to North America from Europe in the 1980s and won the 1986 Hambletonian with Nuclear Kosmos. He was voted the O'Brien Award for Horsemanship in Canada in 2009 when he won more than $1.6 million as a trainer - his third $1 million season in a row - and almost $700,000 as a driver. He has been cutting back on his drives in the last two years, steering young horses to figure them out and then turning them over to catch drivers. "I like to drive my two-year-olds for awhile to take care of them," he said. "In my opinion a horse is like a bar of soap. There's only that many washes in it. If you use it too hard early, there's nothing left at the end. Anybody can correct me if they think I'm wrong, but I think I can keep some of these horses trotting when they may break stride with catch drivers. I might not be able to make them go that fast. I might lose a fifth of a second, but most of the times you're better off going a fifth of a second slower and keep them trotting." The complete field for the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot with named driver and trainer is as follows: 1 - Waitlifter K - Muscles Yankee - Kakaley - Harris 2 - Marion Marauder - Muscle Hill - S. Zeron - Wellwood 3 - Bar Hopping* - Muscle Hill - Tetrick - Takter 4 - Sutton* - Donato Hanover - A. Miller - J. Miller 5 - Muscle Hustle - Muscle Mass - Christoforou - Henriksen 6 - Double L Lindy - Muscles Yankee - Svanstedt - Svanstedt 7 - Love Matters - Explosive Matter - Sears - Takter 8 - Winter Harbor - Muscle Hill - D. Miller - Alagna 9 - Southwind Frank - Muscle Hill - Gingras - Burke 10 - Lagerfeld - Yankee Glide - D. Miller - Takter AE1-Blenheim- J. Campbell - Henriksen AE2-Southern Cross - A. Svanstedt-Svanstedt *Designates elim winner By Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown

OCT. 6, 2016 - After finishing third in five straight Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series starts, stretching back to September 2015, three-year-old trotting gelding Dia Monde grabbed a win in the last regular season harness racing event of his career at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. In rein to Milton resident Randy Waples Dia Monde left smartly from Post 6 and landed second behind early leader Dunvegan Don, who led the field to a :27 opening quarter. Waples continued to sit on the rail as fan favourite Bee In Charge took control heading for the :57.1 half, and then tipped Dia Monde into the outer lane heading by the 1:26.1 three-quarters. With a clear look at the finish line, Dia Monde shifted into overdrive and powered under the wire a one and three-quarter length winner in 1:54. Tony Soprano also closed well to be second, leaving Bee In Charge the third-place finisher's spoils. "He raced good, we're pretty tickled with him finally getting that win," said Puslinch resident June Durand, who shares ownership of Dia Monde with her husband, trainer Tom Durand, and Allan Smith of Oakville, ON. The victory boosted Dia Monde into fourth spot in the division standings, with 98 points, heading into the Oct. 15 Super Final. Through all 13 of his sophomore starts the son of Deweycheatumnhowe and Lady Bar has three wins, two seconds, five thirds and earnings of $163,612. Dia Monde is the second foal out of Lady Bar - a half-sister to former Durand trainee Clarice Marie ($313,400) - that Smith and the Durand's have owned, and it was their long familiarity with the family that first drew the partners to Dia Monde. "We had Littlejack Hanover and he was small, he was a Donato (Hanover), and then when we went to look at this colt he was twice the size, a big, strong colt," recalls June Durand. "And the thing we liked about him is, Looking Hanover ($1,125,136) was the other good horse out of the family and he's a Muscles Yankee and Deweycheatumnhowe is out of Muscles Yankee, so it's kind of going back to that same cross, and he's a big beautiful horse. We paid lots for him, but I think he was worth it." The gelding was a $70,000 purchase at the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, and Smith says he has repaid their investment in ways that cannot be reflected on a balance sheet. "We've been fortunate enough we've had some good stakes horses and done well financially, but it's more the fun of winning," said Smith. "Being with Tom and June - all the work they do to pick out the right horses and get them where they do with a small stable - I'm pretty impressed with what they do and I've always supported it and always will." Dia Monde The partners will be hoping Dia Monde can continue his winning ways into the $250,000 Super Final, where he will face division point leader Muscle Hustle, the winner of the other $105,000 Gold division on Thursday. Sent off as the fan favourite, and also in rein to Waples, Muscle Hustle took control just after the :28 opening quarter and rolled through a :58.1 half and a 1:26.3 three-quarters without facing a challenge. Muscle Hustle hit the wire one length ahead of Holiday Party and two more up on Will Take Charge in 1:54.1. "Muscle Hustle, he was awesome, last quarter :27.3, won fairly handy, and everything is good with him," said trainer Per Henriksen of the division point leader. "He's healthy and everything." Thursday's outing was Muscle Hustle's first in just over a month, he was sidelined with his second bout of sickness this season following a third-place result in the Sept. 3 Simcoe Stakes, but Norwood resident Henriksen expects the colt to be in top shape for next week's finale. "He didn't race for four weeks, but his race here should make him even better," said the horseman, who conditions the son of Muscle Mass and Crown Laurel for Ecurie Bergh Inc. of Norwood. In his five Gold Series starts Muscle Hustle logged three wins, one second and one fifth for 180 points, and trotted to an Ontario Sires Stakes record 1:52.2 over the five-eighths mile surface at Georgian Downs. Through 12 starts this season he has tallied seven wins, two seconds and one third for earnings of $239,832. Henriksen also trains Bee In Charge, who finished third behind Dia Monde, and said the fan favourite tested sick after the race. "Bee In Charge didn't race as good as I thought he was gonna do, and we scoped him and he had some mucous so he is obviously a little sick," said Henriksen. "We've just got to get him healthy for the Super Final." Muscle Hustle Heading into the Super Final off wins aboard both Muscle Hustle and Dia Monde puts Waples in the difficult position of choosing between two horses that appear to be prime shape for the post season. "They're both really nice horses. I really haven't made up my mind. It'll probably just go by post position, I think that's the way it will go anyways," said Waples. "We'll see what happens, see how they come out of it. "I was really happy with the pair of them you know. I thought Muscle Hustle was the best in his class as long as things went his way and he was healthy," the reinsman continued. "And Dia Monde, I know that horse can beat anybody out there, but he just hasn't really been putting it all together his last couple, but tonight he really showed up, he put a big, big effort in tonight." Waples is also the regular reinsman for superstar sophomore pacing filly L A Delight and trotting filly Caprice Hill. Both fillies were victorious in their freshman Super Finals and both head into this year's test undefeated in regular season Gold Series action. With a total of $2 million up for grabs in eight divisions, Super Final night gets under way at 7:30 pm at Mohawk on Saturday, Oct. 15.. Ontario Racing

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)

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