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STONEBORO PA - The Pennsylvania Fair Circuit was in a total "split" situation this past Tuesday and Wednesday, with the racing for two-year-olds conducted at both the Erie County Fair in Wattsburg and the Indiana County Fair on Tuesday, and the three-year-olds going the following days at both places. Speed was achieved at both venues: the two track records for trotting fillies were rewritten at Wattsburg, while at Indiana the only 2:00 mile of the fair season outside of Bedford went into the books. And one young horseman accomplished an amazing feat linking both tracks both days. On Tuesday morning the two-year-old trotting filly Missive reset the Wattsburg track record for a/s/g to 2:08 in winning her division of the Fair Sire Stakes (and going faster than the boys did). Steve Schoeffel, Wattsburg's leading driver with six wins in the two days, trains and drove the daughter of Muscle Massive for Lander Stables LLC and Kathy Schoeffel. Within an hour of that performance, North America's winningest two-year-olds, the pacing filly Tropical Terror (now at 12) and gelding Nippy (10), both added to their victory total, and both did it in the same unusual way - they were both placed first in their events. Both the Western Terror filly Tropical Terror (who has now won in a dead-heat and by disqualification, and lost by a half-length in her only other start) and the Nuclear Breeze gelding Nippy are campaigned by Team Shaw - trainer Jason Shaw (Wattsburg meet leader with 4 wins over the two days), driver Chris Shaw, and owner Mason Shaw, Jason's 2YO son. On Wednesday Wattsburg altered another line in its record tables when the sophomore Straight Up Lindy filly Static Electricity made the stopwatch click at 2:05.2. The firm of Shaw, Shaw, and Shaw also profited from this trotter's victory. Tuesday's Indiana action saw Todd Schadel drive four winners, but he had to settle for second behind perhaps the most impressive winner of the day, the baby trotting filly by SJ's Caviar named HS Pearl, who won in 2:07.1 (also faster than either winning time posted by her colt counterparts, like Missive at Wattsburg), and with last quarter of 29.4. Wayne Long trains and drives the impressive miss, and he shares ownership with Joyce Lineweaver. On Wednesday at Indiana, the Yankee Cruiser gelding Fangled Hanover teamed with owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer to win a division of the 3PC event in 2:00, the only magic mile of the year on the Pennsy twicearounds other than at the speed show at Bedford, which produced six such times. There have only been a handful of clockings in even time or better at Indiana (the all-time fastest is 1:58.3 by Straight Character), and Fangled Hanover now joins that select group for Hammer, who was the meet's leading trainer with four and co-leading driver with four along with his Vivid Photo partner Schadel - and an up-and-coming horseman who deserves his own paragraph. 20-year-old Cory Kreiser has only 48 driving victories in his young career, and he had never trained a winner before this season. But Kreiser posted four sulky victories at Indiana to tie the veterans Hammer and Schadel - and even more impressively he trained a winner - each day - at each of the two tracks! Winning at Wattsburg Tuesday was Uber Doober Do (Schoeffel deputizing) and Julio Lauxmont (Brady Brown) Wednesday in Quaker State events; at his "base" at Indiana, Kreiser was the victorious trainer/driver in a Sire Stake with Allstar Ballet on Tuesday and a Quaker State with Acelia on Wednesday to complete the unique trainer quartet. Cory also had Indiana catch-driving Sire Stakes triumphs with Koi Lauxmont for trainer Ted Williams on Tuesday and Medoland Onyx for conditioner Pat Medors on Wednesday, thus achieving his sulky foursome. The circuit moves on to its final "Western stop" this Friday and Sunday at the Great Stoneboro Fair; freshman will start their races at 10 a.m. Friday, with sophomores set to go Sunday at high noon. The circuit then heads east for its final tour, at Port Royal, York, Gratz, and Bloomsburg, then goes back west to The Meadows on Saturday evening, October 5 for the $200,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship Night. From the PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

Billy Flynn won his sixth consecutive race to start his career, capturing a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were four divisions of the Sire Stakes held on Wednesday night for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings with purses ranging from $62,653 to $63,053. Billy Flynn (Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones), a two-year-old colt trained by Staffan Lind and driven by Brett Miller, took the lead on the first turn of his split and coasted from there to a win in 1:55:4, a new career-best on a track listed in good condition. In addition to the six-for-six start, Billy Flynn has now swept all four preliminary legs of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Other Sire Stakes winners on Wednesday night: Cruzado Dela Noche (Muscle Massive-Alidade), driven by David Miller and trained by Nancy Johansson, in 1:55:4; Hurrikane Jonny K (Andover Hall-Lavieenrose De Vie), driven by George Napolitano Jr. and trained by John McDermott, in 1:56:2; and Uncle Lasse (Donato Hanover-Solveig), driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Jimmy Takter, in 1:56:4. Week in Review On Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, we were lucky enough to have two $25,000 Preferred races on the card, one each for the trotters and pacers. As if often the case, those Preferred races, gathering such brilliant talent as they tend to do, produced thrilling outcomes and our three major award-winners for the week. That’s right, I said three. Read on and see how this is possible as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACERS OF THE WEEK: MACH IT SO and GOLDEN RECEIVER There are a lot of close finishes in harness racing, but relatively few dead heats. After all, the chances of two horses travelling the distance of a mile and arriving at the finish line at exactly the same time so that they inseparable when the finish line is viewed in a photo, is pretty rare. It’s always a kick when it happens, but, when it happens between two horses the caliber of Mach It So and Golden Receiver, it’s a special treat. On Saturday night, those two star pacers were lined up alongside each other in the Preferred pace. Golden Receiver, a former Pacer of the Year at Pocono, came in slumping a bit, but with career earnings of over $2.1 million, he’s always a major threat. Mach It So came in at the top of his game, having won two straight, including a Preferred at Pocono on August 2. It looked as though it would be the hot horse’s night when Mach It So, driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer PJ Fraley, took over the lead in the stretch with a huge first-over move. But Golden Receiver, with Simon Allard driving for trainer Jake Huff, suddenly surged on the inside. The two hit the line together and the photo couldn’t separate them, so they shared the victory in 1:49:4. In a bizarre twist, two other horses in the race, Word Power and Big Time Promise, finished in their own dead heat for fifth place. Wacky, wonderful stuff in the week’s featured race. Other top pacers this week include: Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley), the standout veteran who won his second straight condition pace on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:50; Giveittoemstaight (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who rolled to her second straight condition win on Friday night and matched her career mark of 1:50:4 in the process; and Flying Cowboy (Andrew McCarthy, Matias Ruiz), whose career-best win in 1:50:4 in a claiming handicap on Wednesday night was his third consecutive victory. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MAVEN In the trotting game, fillies of ages two and three usually get the chance to compete against each other a large majority of the time. Once they hit age four though and officially become mares, the opportunities to face their own gender exclusively start to dry out. Some stakes races still dot the schedule, but most tracks don’t offer overnight races for only distaff trotters over age four. That means they have to go up against the boys every once in a while. For a trotter as talented as Maven, a 5-year-old mare from the Jonas Czernyson barn who has pretty much conquered all comers to this point in her career, such a prospect isn’t all that daunting. Even in a race like Saturday night’s Preferred Handicap trot, which featured some tough veteran male trotters like Not Afraid and Sevruga, the mare raced with extreme confidence. With Mark MacDonald in the bike, Maven made a huge move on the outside late to take over the lead, holding off Waiting On A Woman by a length for the win. It was just her second victory of the year, coming in a scorching 1:52:3, but it pushed her career earnings up near $1.5 million. There’s a lot more money to be earned by this standout, probably some of it at the expense of her male counterparts. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Amigo Ranger (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), whose condition victory on Tuesday night in 1:52:3 was a career-best and matched the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Donatomite (Trond Smedshammer trainer and driver), who stayed unbeaten after three career starts as a 2-year-old with a Stallion Series win on Tuesday night in 1:54:4; and Billy Flynn ( Brett Miller, Staffan Lind), a two-year-old who now has six wins in six tries after a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:55:4. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: G NOTE This 2-year-old filly made quite an auspicious debut with Andrew McCarthy in the bike, upsetting the field in Tuesday night’s final race at 30-1 to pay off $62.60 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO With driving doubles on Sunday and Tuesday highlighting another fine week at the races, A-Nap became the latest driver to earn 100 victories in the 2014 meet at Pocono. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: NEAL EHRHART Ehrhart pulled off quite the training double on Tuesday night, scoring first with 14-1 shot Guilford and then adding Fool’s Revenue later in the night at 15-1. That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me atjbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

Donatomite rolled to the fastest winning time in Stallion Series action on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were six $20,000 divisions of the Stallion series held for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. Donatomite (Donato Hanover-Malvictorian), driven and trained by Trond Smedshammer, stayed unbeaten after three career races by winning his division by 6 ¼ lengths in an impressive 1:54:4. Other Stallion Series winners on the night: Tommy Bar (Cantab Hall-Spellyuptothebar), driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Bill Popfinger, in 1:58:2; Handover The Money (Andover Hall-CR Sister Suzie), driven and trained by Francisco Del Cid, in 1:59:1; Don't Mind Me (Andover Hall-Peace Of Mind), driven and trained by Jim Raymer, in 1:56:2; Wimborne Hanover (Muscle Massive-Wherley), driven by George Napolitano Jr. and trained by William Daugherty Jr., in 1:57:1; and Finish Line (Yankee Glide-Calchips Finisher), driven and trained by Trond Smedshammer, in 1:57:4. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs    

MEADVILLE, PA-- But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." - Matthew 19:14 In all of the centuries of exegesis of that famous Biblical passage, though, no one before the horsemen on the Pennsylvania fair circuit this week would have come up with the interpretation "The two-year-olds get to race, but rain could wash out some of the three-year-old contests." Racing at the Crawford County Fair in Meadville PA this week, the local freshmen got both of their days of racing in - they haven't missed a race yet in 2014. But the three-year-old trotters were washed out on Wednesday - the third time that the sophomores have missed part or the entirety of their action, some 27 races in all so far. The 3YO pacers, though, did get to race on Thursday, so the week "batted" 75%. The sophomores that did get to work, the pacers, made the most of their opportunity, with the fastest Sire Stakes mile of the week, 2:01.1, going to the Well Said gelding Wellsaidanddone, conditioned by Mike Gillock for owner Harry Locke. Wellsaidanddone's driver Brady Brown has come into his own this summer, the 21-year-old already having won 19 races at the fairs, good for fourth place in the current standings. Driver Chris Shaw, the circuit leader, took two of the three divisions of the 3PF event, the fastest being the Four Starzzz Shark miss Allstar Morning, home in 2:02 for trainer Gerald Lee Jr. and owners Kristen and Ethan Spahn. (This division thus had two youthful winning owners in 13YO Ethan and the redoubtable 2YO Mason Shaw, whose La Fiesta also triumphed for Team Shaw.) Both of the Meadville divisional track records this past week came on the trot - remarkable considering there was only one day devoted to trotters, Monday. The freshman Muscle Massive gelding Police Navidad set that division's race record with a 2:06.2 victory in the very first race of the meet for trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel and owners Kathy and Virginia Schoeffel, Lander Stables LLC, and James Reuther. (A quirk in the Meadville books also lists the 2T male Penn Monie Mosie in this category with a 2:05.1 mile, achieved in a qualifier.) The other track trot mark came on Tuesday in the FFA event, with driver Brady Brown again prominent as he hustled the Pegasus Spur gelding Wild Ride to a 2:03 victory to rewrite the line for older trotting males. Wild Ride beat by 1/5 the former mark of S J Better Days; in the FFA pace, Rockabella posted the fastest overall mile of the week for owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer, with the 2:00.1 time only a fifth shy of Vesuvio Grande's local mark for the older pacing male set. Tuesday's pacing freshmen contests saw three frequent winners for Team Shaw again in Victory Lane, with the Western Terror filly Tropical Terror now the winningest 2YO in North America by two after her 11th victory, this one in 2:04.4. On the colt side, Marshmallow Pulse (at 2:01.4 the fastest division winner) and Nippy both crossed the wire first for the ninth time, putting them among joint leaders for most triumphs by a baby male in 2014. Next on the PA fair schedule are stops on Tuesday and Wednesday at both Indiana and Wattsburg, with freshmen set for Tuesday and sophomores ready to go Wednesday in both settings. Let's hope that at those two stops Genesis 8:4 is more appropriate: ... and the water receded steadily from the earth. From the PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

Four divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for freshman trotters were contested at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (August 14), each going for a purse of over $65,000. In the first division, the wagering public backed Tick Tok Tag (Broadway Hall-Tags Schooner) who was coming off two narrow defeats against similar at The Meadows. Off the gate, it was the Erv Miller trainee Ralph R (Muscle Massive-Aiken For Clay) going for the lead, but he quickly yielded to the favorite at the quarter, which went in :29 seconds flat. There was no change in position until the top of the stretch, when Ralph R emerged out of the pocket, and was able to out duel Tick Tok Tag in the late stages, winning by a nose, in a time of 1:57.2. Divisionist (Andover Hall-Only Lonely) finished third. Ralph R is owned by The Ervin Miller Stables and Paymaq Racing, trained by Erv Miller, and was driven by Marcus Miller. In Division two, undefeated Piercewave Hanover (Donato Hanover-Passionate Glide) was the one to beat, sent off as the public choice. As the wings closed, the favorite sprinted right out for the lead, with the Ake Svanstedt charge Colbert (Cantab Hall-Domestic Diva) securing the pocket spot, by the quarter in :28 seconds. After rating a :31 second quarter, Piercewave Hanover felt pressure from a first-over Honor And Serve (Donato Hanover-Honorable Daughter). As they turned for home, the two were on even terms, with Honor And Serve grinding to victory, stopping the clock in 1:57. Piercewave Hanover finished second, while Explosive Drama (Explosive Matter-Phillycityhall) rallied for third. In the third division, it was James Bafia and Eugene White's Shoot The Thrill (Explosive Matter-Fancy N Diamonds) picking up the victory. At the start, it was Special Action (Yankee Glide-Special Appeal) moving out for the lead, with Lima Pride (Muscle Massive-Pacific Legacy) In The Pocket, by a quarter in :29.1. The leader rated a :32.1 second quarter, before Ake Svanstedt vacated the pocket with Lima Pride. They battled for the lead until the top of the stretch, where Special Action made a break, allowing driver Tony Hall to split foes with Shoot The Thrill, springing the mild upset in 1:59.1. Lima Pride was second, while Chef Lee (Cantab Hall-Summer Savory) finished third. Shoot The Thrill is trained by Dirk Simpson. In the fourth and final division, the wagering was evenly split between unbeaten Billy Flynn (Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones) and Walter White (Cantab Hall-Muscaloosa). At the start, Billy Flynn and Walter White left in tandem for the lead, with Billy Flynn eventually re-taking after a quarter in 28.3. After a rated :30.2 second quarter, the leader faced a first-over challenge from Vintage Hall (Cantab Hall-Sweet Vintage) but was able to put him away just past three-quarters. Into the stretch, Billy Flynn squared off with Walter White, who attacked up the open stretch. They hit the line together, with the narrow win going to Billy Flynn in 1:57.4. Billy Flynn is owned by Bender Sweden Inc, trained by Steffan Lind, and was driven by Brett Miller. Wicker Hanover (Explosive Matter-Won An Done) finished third. Mike Bozich

Six divisions of Stallion Series action for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters were held at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (August 13) each going for a purse of $20,000. In the first division, it was Susan Daugherty's Wimborne Hanover going coast-to-coast for the victory. The son of Muscle Massive used a rated second quarter to his advantage, going on to win in a time of 1:58.3. Pocket-sitter Trust Fund Baby finished second, while Captian Trotterous was third. Wimborne Hanover is trained by Bill Daugherty Jr, and was driven by Yannick Gingras. In division two, it was Suit and Tie in a gate-to-wire performance, stopping the clock in 1:58.1. The son of Andover Hall set steady fractions, holding off a late challenge from Capt Serious, while favorite Master The Past finished third. Suit and Tie is owned by Bill Wiswell and M&L of Delaware Inc., trained by John Butenschoen, and was driven by Mike Simons. In the third division, Chuck Sylvester Trainee Old Oak came from off the pace to win. The son of Donato Hanover drafted behind the live cover of eventual second place finisher Flying Muscles, out closing him in the stretch, to win in 1:58.3. Favorite KY Lucky finished an even third. Old Oak is owned by Steve Jones, and was driven by John Campbell. Division four went to Longcat Hanover. The son of Muscle Massive drafted behind the speed of Don't Mind Me, and was able to barely get past in the final steps, stopping the clock in 1:57.4. Mercury Fashion was a distant third. Longcat Hanover is owned by the Pinske Stables and Enzed Racing, trained by Nifty Norman, and was held together by David Miller. In the fifth division, it was the Oyvind Hegdal trainee Explosiveday scoring an impressive win. The son of Explosive Matter fired quickly off the wings and never looked back, winning in an in-hand 200.1. Explosiveafternoon was second, while Handover The Money, who raced huge despite a tough trip, finished third. Explosiveday is owned by Camilla Hegdal and Kjell Anderson, and was driven by Oyvind Hegdal. The sixth and final division went to Donatomite. The son of Donato Hanover overpowered long shot leader, and eventual third place finisher Emotion In Motion just beyond the quarter pole, going on to a nine length win, in a time of 1:58.1. Plump Jack closed up for second. Donatomite is owned by Michael Andrew, and is trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

For over a hundred years, standardbred breeders in North America have heavily patronized the Hanover Shoe Farms harness racing breeding operation. It has long had a reputation for quality and excellence and it is a reputation that they continue to build on to this day. To reach the summit in anything in life is the easier part of the equation. To stay there over a long period is the difficult thing to achieve which is why the longevity and strength of the “Hanover” brand is something to be marveled at. Every year pundits wonder aloud if this might just be the year that Hanover Shoe Farms slips from atop its pedestal in the North American breeding scene. Every year they are disappointed as the Hanover juggernaut rolls on. As is the norm every year, several two year olds with the Hanover name have been starring in some of the early stakes action. Three of those two year old horses have really taken our eye over the last few weeks and appear poised to bring further success to the Hanover brand. First up is the two year old gelding Piercewave Hanover who was sold at Harrisburg last year for $57,000. A son of Donato Hanover from the brilliant racemare Passionate Glide 1:52.2 ($2,131,377), he races out of the barn of Christopher Oakes. So far this season Piercewave Hanover is two for two and has banked $52,577 to date. His latest win at the Meadows on August 5th in a  $58,152 division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in 1:56.1 was very impressive and would suggest we are going to hear a lot more of Piercewave Hanover. The second two year old to have  impressed us this season is Aria Hanover who was sold at Harrisburg last year for $ 80,000. A daughter of Well Said from a half sister to All Speed Hanover 1:49.4 ($830,738), she races out of the Jimmy Takter barn. So far this season Aria Hanover has had four starts for three wins and a second and has banked $114,115 in stakes to date. Her recent win at Pocono Downs on August 6th in a $75,720 division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes in 1:53.1 was full of merit and signaled a big future for this freshman filly. The third two year old to have taken our eye is Sassa Hanover who was sold at the Lexington Select Sale last year for $50,000. A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven from a half sister to Shadyshark Hanover 1:47.4 ($771,172), she races out of the Ron Burke barn. So far this season Sassa Hanover is four from four and has banked $83,933 in stakes. Her recent win at Vernon Downs on August 7th in a $36,556 division of the New York Sires Stakes in 1:52.2 with a last quarter in 26.4 shows Sassa Hanover will be a major player when some of the bigger stakes race roll around. That is just three of the multitude of Hanover bred two year olds strutting their stuff all over North America this season. At the same time as the two year olds have been burning up the tracks, the Hanover based stallions have been having an outstanding year in all the age group divisions of the North American siring tables as the analysis below shows. In the two year old trotting division, first season Hanover based sire Muscle Massive is currently lying second on the North American sires table while Donato Hanover, Explosive Matter and Cantab Hall all sit within the first seven places on the sires table. In the three year old trotting division Cantab Hall leads the sires table from Donato Hall with Andover Hall at fifth and Explosive Matter at sixth which is a fantastic result for Hanover Shoe Farms. In the two year old pacing division, Well Said is currently lying second on the sires table with Somebeachsomewhere back in seventh due to a small third crop of just 67. In the three year old pacing division, Somebeachsomewhere has distanced the competition with Well Said just as clearly second on the sires table. As of today August 9th, horses bred by Hanover Shoe Farms have won 1498 races this season in North America for stakes totaling $15,456,084. The “Hanover” brand has always been synonymous with quality and this years results on both the track and in the stallion barn just add further kudos to the most successful breeding operation in North America.    Harnesslink media  

WAYNESBURG PA - The annual two-day harness racing meet at the Greene County Fair in this southwestern PA town (hometown of Dave Palone) saw two three-year-old trotters run their 2014 fair records to 7 for 8, and a two-year-old trotter make a very promising debut. Fly Past Hanover opened the sophomore action with a 2:07 win, last quarter 30.2, for driver Steve Schoeffel, who had three wins each day to lead the meet, trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., and owner Susan Daugherty. The altered son of Cantab Hall is a nose shy of an undefeated fair campaign, as it took Faust edging him by the smallest margin in a Bedford all-age trot record of 2:00.4 to spoil his sheet this summer. Another Cantab Hall offspring, the filly Cantabs Lightning, is also 7 for 8 at the Pennsy twicearounds after a tally in 2:05.3, last quarter 30, winning by 19¾ lengths - imagine what she might have done if she hadn't made a break before the quarter. Wayne Long owns, trains, and drove the impressive miss. Roger Hammer trainees produced the fastest miles of the day on both 3YO day (Friday) and 2YO day (Thursday). The sophomore Yankee Cruiser gelding Fangled Hanover went the fastest mile of the meet, 2:01.4, in winning a Fair Sire Stakes division, with owner Hammer also driving the winner. Hammer didn't have the sulky seat behind Thursday's fastest baby as he was racing at Honesdale, but Steve Schoeffel more than capably deputized, as he and Rustlercafe distanced a Quaker State field in 2:02-29.2. Hammer, as usual, got the big end of the money, as he owns and trains Rustlercafe, now 5 for 6 in Quaker competition. In the 2YO Fair Sire Stakes, three horses posted a 2:06.3 time for speed co-honors, two being the pacing filly Joltstheice and the pacing gelding Jed Kidd Squawking. But the third 2:06.3 baby winner, the one that made the fans sit up and take notice, was a trotter - the Muscle Massive filly Piano Rose, who won effortlessly, and in her career debut to boot. Steve Schoeffel got the call to drive the undefeated neophyte for trainer Fred Grant and owner Ralph Del Priore Jr. The racing at Waynesburg signaled the shift of the PA fair circuit back west for the rest of August, after several weeks of being based in the central and eastern parts of the state. Next stop is at the historic Arden Downs oval at the Washington County Fair, where they'll go to the gate on Monday and Tuesday at 10 a.m. TOP FIVE PA FAIR CIRCUIT DRIVERS AND TRAINERS AFTER THE RACING of AUGUST 8 DRIVERS TRAINERS Chris Shaw 60 Jason Shaw 44 Steve Schoeffel 54 Steve Schoeffel 32 Roger Hammer 25 Roger Hammer 27 (tie) Todd Cummings 15 Bill Daugherty Jr. 15 (tie) Wayne Long Bob Krenitsky Jr. 13 Publicity Office of the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association    

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 5, 2014 -- Piercewave Hanover, who already owned the national season's record for 2-year-old gelding trotters on a five-eighths-mile track, lowered that mark with a facile front-end victory in 1:56.1 in Tuesday's Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The $233,008 event, known as the Florida Pro, was contested over four divisions, with Billy Flynn, Lima Pride and Walter White taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake double with Piercewave Hanover and Walter White among his five wins on the 16-race card. Piercewave Hanover established the former mark in a July 15 PASS split at The Meadows, when he was ahead at every call. He duplicated that feat Tuesday, meaning that he never has been behind in his two-race career. Will the son of Donato Hanover-Passionate Glide be as effective off the trot? Palone thinks he will be. "Every time you ask on him, he's got more trot for you," Palone said. "I think he'll be even better chasing. He's very lethargic on the lead -- you have to talk to him the whole way. But he's always willing to give you more. The first time he has to track down a really good horse, he'll love it. Big future, I think." Explosive Drama was 1-1/2 lengths back in second, with Keystone Bodacious third. Chris Oakes trains Piercewave Hanover for Hauser Brothers Racing and J&T Silva Stables. Billy Flynn extended his career unbeaten streak to four when he jogged on the front end for Brett Miller in 1:56.4, 3-1/4 lengths better than My Cousin Vinnie. Bighandsbiggloves earned show. As is his custom, Billy Flynn bore out in the stretch, but Staffan Lind, who trains the son of Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones for Bender Sweden Inc., continues to regard that as a non-issue. "He still had the ear plugs in. This was easy for him today," Lind said. "He trots perfect. When we get on a big track, we'll gear him a little bit differently, and he'll be straight." Lima Pride atoned for a break in the Arden Downs when he vaulted to the lead for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt and triumphed in 1:57.2. Shoot The Thrill was second, 1-1/2 lengths in arrears, with Pierre third. "I don't know why he broke last race," Svanstedt said, "but in his first race, he hit the sulky, and I thought he did the same last race. So today we had a higher and wider bike, and he didn't hit it." Top Ten Racing Stable owns Lima Pride, a son of Muscle Massive-Pacific Legacy who has captured both his PASS starts. In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, converted claimer Boytown made it four straight with a 9-1, Lightning Lane victory for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Chelsey Wibert in a career-best 1:52.4. Tall Cotton finished second, 1/2 length back, while Better Caviar completed the ticket. The 5-year-old American Winner-P Town Girl gelding now boasts $254,658 in lifetime earnings. Stake racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday with a $100,000 PA Stallion Series stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

The fact that trainer Nancy Johansson will make her Hambletonian debut against her dad, Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, is one of the big storylines entering Saturday's race. And while Johansson understands and appreciates the interest, it's not something that's really on her mind. Especially since, hey, there will be other trainers there too! "It's no different to race against him than anybody else," said Johansson, who trains Hambletonian starter Resolve, adding with a laugh. "It's a horserace, there has to be other horses in there. He's one of the top trainers with one of the biggest barns, so I expect him to be there." The two have teamed up for previous Hambletonian success, as Nancy was the caretaker for Takter's 2010 winner, Muscle Massive. She grew up learning the trade under Jimmy, who also won the 1997 Hambletonian with Malabar Man, having said in the past "I tell people that from going to my dad's 'school' I got a PhD in training." But neither wants to mix business with pleasure, especially when it comes to head-to-head competition. "We don't talk about it," Nancy said. "When we have family time, we talk about grandkids or other stuff. "But we're both very competitive. I think deep down inside, if somebody beats him he would want it to be me. But it's really deep down because he really wants to win first himself." And Takter has a good chance this year with favorite Father Patrick, along with two other highly regarded horses in the race - Trixton and Nuncio. This won't be the first time father and daughter pitted their Hambletonian horses against each other. On July 19, Resolve finished second to Nuncio in the Reynolds Stakes. Resolve has won two of seven races this year and hit the board six times. He has four wins in 19 career starts, earning $45,950. The horse is owned by Hans Enggren, who won the 1985 Hambletonian with Prakas. Enggren is looking for another shot at Hambletonian glory, which is why he bought Resolve just a few weeks ago. "He was pretty much purchased with the idea he was going to race in the Hambletonian," Johansson said. "Hans is getting up in age and he wants another go at the Hambletonian. He had seen the horse last year and liked him." Enggren saw him again early in the spring and liked him just as much, if not more, but Resolve was not for sale. When he was put on the market, Hans made his move. "We knew that if he raced good in the Reynolds he was going to the Hambletonian," Johansson said. "I didn't really expect him to race that good, so that was a good surprise. He's been solid all year. "He's a nice horse. I think he's going to mature into a nice older horse. He's not staked to a lot this year, so he's going to have a kind of low-key 3-year-old season." Winning the Hambletonian would certainly turn the key up a notch, and Johansson is happy with drawing the No. 1 post. But she was unhappy to see her dad's top horse get stuck in the difficult 10 hole. "The draw helped us, but I didn't like to see Father Patrick draw bad," Johansson said. "He deserves to win the Hambletonian because he's just such an extremely fine animal. With post 10, anything can happen. "I wouldn't be surprised if things shake out differently than expected, too." One of Takter's trademarks is trying new things with a horse entering a final. Nancy is unsure if that will be necessary with Resolve. "I don't know yet. We'll see," she said. "We changed a lot on the horse already. I think you have to be careful how much you change in a short amount of time. "I feel pretty confident we have him the way we want him. He trained absolutely fantastic (Wednesday) morning. I couldn't ask for a better training session than he had (that) morning. I don't really feel like there is anything we need to take care of. Everything feels very even keel right now. It's a good situation." And, as far as Johansson is concerned, a situation like any other when it comes to the trainers she will be facing in this race. Story by Rich Fisher for the Hambletonian Notes Team Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications  

Saturday's 89th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Trot at The Meadowlands has drawn a field of eleven 3-year-old trotters going a mile in harness racing's most prestigious race. The Hambletonian is the opening leg of the Trotting Triple Crown which also includes the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. Leading the field are Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton, all trained by Jimmy Takter, who is a two-time Hambletonian winner with Malabar Man (1997) and Muscle Massive (2010). Takter is looking to become the first trainer to sweep first, second and third in the modern era of the Hambletonian. Father Patrick is the 4-5 morning line favorite and will be driven by Yannick Gingras from post 10. Trixton is 7-2 and will start from post 7 with Takter driving and Nuncio is 9-2 with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell leaving from post 5. "At this point, I have three really good horses and they're racing scary good," Takter said. "I've got to keep them fresh and make sure nothing goes wrong. I have the three best horses, and I would be extremely disappointed if I don't win the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian. It's fun. The Hambletonian is the biggest race in our sport and something you work hard to win." Father Patrick, the 2013 Dan Patch award winning champion 2-year-old colt trotter, and is perfect this year in six starts for $510,931 in earnings and is ranked second in the current Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Top Ten Poll. "He's the best horse I've ever developed," Takter said. "He's just different. He has all the things I like in a horse. He's a good sound horse. You can't find any fault with him. You can do anything you want with him. He's so handy. Patrick, to me, is the perfect horse." Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, the colt has wins this season in the Earl Beal Jr. at Pocono Downs and the Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. He has won 15 straight starts since losing to Nuncio in his second career effort. Overall, Father Patrick has banked $1,254,988 with 16 wins in 17 starts. Co-owned by the trainer's wife Christina, Trixton has six wins this year in eight starts for $283,855 in earnings. He was third to Father Patrick in the Dancer Memorial and is coming off a victory in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands. Trixton, sixth in the harness poll, has career earnings of $337,542 with 10 wins in 16 starts. "He's the kind of horse with a big future as a 4-year-old. He's improving, getting more professional and very confident." the trainer/driver noted. Nuncio, owned by Stall TZ Inc., finished second to his stablemate in both the Earl Beal Jr. and Stanley Dancer Memorial, his only losses this year in seven starts. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "Jimmy trained him from behind all winter and we've qualified him that way, and raced him that way, and he's started to figure it out. Nuncio, 10th in this week's poll, has earned $342,003 in 2014 and has 10 wins and seven seconds from 17 lifetime starts for $803,077. John Campbell has won the Hambletonian a record six times with the most recent victory coming with Glidemaster in 2006. The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares. The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Here is the Hambletonian field in post position order: Note that Don Dorado starts from post 11, which is in the second tier. 1. Resolve, Corey Callahan, 20-1 2. JJ Alex, Francisco Del Cid, 50-1 3. Doncango, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 4. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, 12-1 5. Nuncio, John Campbell, 9-2 6. Royal Ice, Ron Pierce, 20-1 7. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 8. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, 50-1 9. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, 12-1 10. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, 4-5 11. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, 20-1. The 89th Hambletonian has an approximate post time Saturday of 5:11 p.m. ET. (With files from the Meadowlands & UPI)  

Three trotters from the sophomore class of 2010 have come online with their initial crops this year; Muscle Massive is standing at Hanover, Lucky Chucky at Winbak in New York and Holiday Road in Ontario. Pilgrim’s Taj is a fourth, but he only spent one year in Canada, after which he was relocated to Ohio and ultimately exported to Finland. That being the case, we’ll look at the first three. To this point restricted races have provided the only basis for judging them, but the open portion of the season commences this week with elimination rounds for the Peter Haughton and Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands as well as several splits of the Arden at The Meadows. Much of the focus has been on Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky, beneficiaries of generous state bred programs who finished one-two in the Hambletonion. The former was a $450,000 yearling who was lightly raced at two but managed to win the Hambletonion as well as the Dancer at three, while Chucky was a precocious freshman, showing wins in the Valley Victory, Matron, ISS and Bluegrass. He was the 3/2 favorite in the Hambletonion and appeared on his way to victory when 6/1 Muscle Massive, piloted by Ron Pierce, ruined his day. Regardless, Chucky did win the Canadian Trotting Classic and Colonial at three, and he earned more money than Muscle Massive both years. Both sold close to seventy yearlings last year, with Chucky’s brood averaging quite a bit more. Both have seen their stud fees fluctuate before their first crops hit the track. Muscle Massive started at $10,000, only to have his fee cut to $7,500 and $6,000 in successive years. Cantab Hall, Donato Hanover, Andover Hall and Explosive Matter all command higher fees than their younger stablemate at Hanover. Chucky, on the other hand, started at $7,500 in New York, was dropped to $5,000 during a year spent in Pennsylvania, and came back up to $7,500 when he returned to Winbak, where nineteen-year-old Muscles Yankee stands for $2,500 more. Muscle Massive has benefited from the success of his older brother, Muscle Mass, sire of O’Brien winner Riveting Rosie and the successful OSS colt Muscle Matters. Thus far Muscle Massive has given us some outstanding fillies. Gatka Hanover, a big rugged gal out of the Conway Hall mare Girlie Tough, from the Ron Burke barn, has left many wondering where her ceiling is. Gatka rolled through a couple of baby races and has now chalked up three wins in the PA Sire Stakes, one each at The Meadows, Pocono and Harrah’s. Matt Kakaley steered her to an effortless four length win in 1:57 in her latest. She leaves from the five for Matt K in Friday’s first Merrie Annabelle elimination. Gatka takes on Lucky Chucky’s daughter, Lock Down Lindy, who drew plenty of attention with a very strong first over win in a Merrie Annabelle Prep at the Meadowlands Friday for Scott Zeron and Tony Alagna. Another Muscle Massive star in the making is Jimmy Takter’s Speak To Me, an $80,000 Harness Breeders purchase by Myron Bell. She is also three-for three in the PA Sire Stakes and has trotted in 1:55. Last time out, in a $57,000 sire stakes division at Harrah’s, Speak To Me gapped the field by ten on her way to an easy win at a stingy 1/5 price. Unfortunately this filly was not staked to the Merrie Annabelle and will be missing from the fray on Friday night. Blessings Counted is another talented filly by Muscle Massive. She was second to Speak To Me in a PASS race at The Meadows a couple of weeks ago and won a $57,000 race at Harrah’s in her latest start. She is not eligible to the Merrie Annabelle but is entered in a split of the Arden at The Meadows on Friday. Missive and Youth Gone Wild, both winners in the Stallion Series, will also race in the Arden. Jersey Strong, a talented filly with a win in the PA All Stars and a second in the PASS, isn’t entered at The Meadowlands or The Meadows on Friday. The top colt by Muscle Massive is Ake Svanstedt’s Lima Pride, who beat Jimmy Takter’s 1/9 favorite The Bank in a split of the Hickory Pride when The Bank went on a run at the three-quarters. Lima Pride, a $25,000 yearling purchase, was not nominated to the Peter Haughton. The priciest freshman trotter by any first crop stallion is Mr Lucky Luke, a $450,000 Lucky Chucky half- brother to Muscle Massive, Muscle Mass and 2010 Merrie Annabelle winner, Thatsnotmyname. The Cancelliere brothers, of Detour Hanover fame, purchased him at Lexington in the fall. He has yet to make a pari-mutuel start; let’s hope he generates a better ROI than Detour has. As for the Lucky Chucky colts and fillies that have raced, there is no eye popping Gatka Hanover out there, but there are plenty of good ones. I already mentioned Merrie Annabelle candidate Lock Down Lindy, who possesses the same rugged demeanor as Gatka. She is a half-sister to 2006 HOY in Canada, Majestic Son. He has sired Harper Blue Chip, Murmur Hanover and Charmed Life. Ray Schnittker has Gabe The Bear Dean, a $105,000 Harness Breeders buy, who has an impressive wire-to wire five length win in the NYSS at Buffalo. Jonas Czernyson has a few Lucky Chucky youngsters in his barn and he’s high on all of them. At the end of June Hot Start, a half-sister to Religulous, won a $27,000 NYSS split at Vernon Downs for Corey Callahan. Next time out, at Tioga, she cut most of the mile from the outside post only to lose to paternal sister My Twisted Sister, from the Paul Kelley barn. Hot Start is entered in the second Merrie Annabelle elimination on Friday. Nunkeri is another very promising Lucky Chucky filly from the Czernyson barn. She finished second to the Muscle Hill filly Josie’s Joy at the Meadowlands the other night, race timed in 1:57.2 as the second choice. Nunkeri won her start previous to that one, a $28,000 NYSS division at Tioga. George Ducharme’s sharp looking Conway Hall filly, Concentration, pressured her all the way home in a 1:59.3 mile. On the male side Mal and Janet Burroughs’ Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 Harness Breeders buy, won a $28,000 split of the NYSS in 1:57.2 at Tioga last time out. Holiday Road, a $115,000 yearling who is a full brother to Ken Warkentin, was lightly raced, making only ten lifetime stars. While staying on the track was an issue, speed wasn’t; he won the Peter Haughton at two and a split of the Dancer at three. He opened his stallion career for $4,500 at Seelster Farms and now stands for $3,500. This week the Holiday Roads started to turn heads and earn respect at Mohawk as they performed admirably on the various OSS platforms. John Bax’s Hemi Seelster was long and tough winning a Grassroots division in 1:58.4 at 2/1. It was noteworthy that the gelding engaged in a head to head battle the length of the stretch with Pilgrim’s Joy, a son of first crop stallion Pilgrim’s Taj. Tony Alagna’s filly Gee O’Keeffe logged a very strong second in a $53,000 OSS Gold leg at Mohawk for Jody Jamieson, losing a length to the highly regarded Kadabra filly Juanita’s Fury. And Keith Jones’ gelding, It’s Huw You Know, was an upset Grassroots winner in 2:00.3 on Monday at 75/1, paying $159.60. And Ontheroad De Vie made a very impressive brush on the back as he came from the 10 post to finish second for Rick Zeron in a Grassroots leg. The Holiday Roads are looking good. Rock N Roll Heaven and Sportswriter are lighting it up in the freshman pacing division, but it’s expected that the trotters will take a little longer to get their bearings and hit their stride. Muscle Massive, Lucky Chucky and Holiday Road will all be prospering when they do. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

Ron Burke says there will be times when 2-year-old filly trotter Mission Brief makes him exclaim with awe, "Oh my God, look what she did." He also says it's possible he will mutter the same phrase in disappointment. "It's going to be both ways," Burke said, laughing. "She's very, very fast. All along I've thought she's our most talented 2-year-old. She just has to get her brain settled down a little bit." Mission Brief was among 17 horses entered in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands. Two $20,000 eliminations will be held Friday, with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the $320,000 estimated final on Aug. 2 at the Big M. Also on Friday will be one elimination for the $280,000 estimated Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters. Three horses - Canepa Hanover, Guess Whos Back, and Honor And Serve - received byes to the final based on earnings, so the top seven finishers in the elimination will join them. Mission Brief, who so far has been the season's fastest 2-year-old trotter, is not the only Burke horse entered in the Merrie Annabelle. The sport's leading trainer also sends out Gatka Hanover, who is unbeaten in three starts. "I know there are people in my barn that think [Gatka Hanover] is better than the other filly, but I've been a Mission Brief fan the whole way," Burke said. "Hopefully they'll both make it through and they can settle it in the final." Mission Brief has won two of three races. She went off stride in her first start, but came back to win her next by 9-3/4 lengths in 1:55.1 and then captured the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship by 13-1/4 lengths in 1:53.3. A daughter of stallion Muscle Hill out of the 2007 Breeders Crown-winning mare Southwind Serena, Mission Brief was purchased as a yearling for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and J&T Silva Stables. Southwind Serena is a half-sister to Southwind Spirit, a Muscle Hill-sired colt that Burke also trains. Last year at age 2, Southwind Spirit won the American-National Stakes and Kindergarten Classic final. "It was the reason we looked at Mission Brief," Burke said of the family connection. "And she was beautiful. That [$150,000] was the most we ever paid for a yearling and we thought we got a bargain." Burke hopes Mission Brief's two wins are an indication she is settling down a bit. "She seems to be getting better about her behavior," he said. "You're just going to have to hope that she picks the right times to put it all together." Gatka Hanover has won all three of her races in Pennsylvania, capturing a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars and two divisions of the sire stakes. "She's never been even challenged," Burke said. "She's done everything wrapped up." Gatka Hanover is by stallion Muscle Massive out of the dam Girlie Tough. She was purchased for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a half-sister to Heaven's Door, who was winless in four races last year at age 2, but has won the 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship and finished second in the Del Miller Memorial. "We bought [Gatka Hanover] because last year I saw Heaven's Door make breaks and just go unbelievable miles after she ran," Burke said. "You were just hoping this one would be a little calmer, and she is. Heaven's Door has come back this year and been awesome so we're thrilled to have [Gatka Hanover]." Gatka Hanover is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Tracy Hendler. The remainder of Gatka Hanover's Merrie Annabelle elimination, the first of the two divisions, has Wordie Hanover, Demons N Diamonds, Lock Down Lindy, Lilu Hanover, Love Me Madly, Smexi, and Sweet Thing. Mission Brief's split is filled by Sarcy, Flirting Filly, Onda Di Mare, Hot Start, Livininthefastlane, Jolene Jolene, Whitney Hanover, and Crazy Beautiful. "You know there are horses that have not yet shown their best miles," Burke said. "I don't think Mission Brief has seen the bottom and [Gatka Hanover] has never even been challenged. But I'm sure mine aren't the only horses sitting on miles they haven't shown yet. It's just going to be how every horse adjusts to the track." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Overcast skies this morning to go with the coffee and chocolate babka for Breakfast With The Babies at The Meadowlands. John Campbell took a pair of trots, most notably with the regally bred Muscle Diamond. The son of Muscle Hill from the very accomplished Windylane Hanover added trotting hopples this morning for trainer Brett Bittle and the result was a 1:58.4 win with a 27.2 final quarter. He was a $40,000 buy from the Lexington sale by the Kellers and Bittles who enjoyed such success with his dam. John won right back with the Lucky Chucky lass A List Lindy for Chuck Sylvester. She took over past the quarter and finished the 2:01 mile with a 29 flat final quarter. She's owned by Chuck and long-time partner Neal Goldman along with Pinstripe Stable and her breeder, Lindy Farms who sold her at Harrisburg for $60,000 last fall. Shaqline made her first start for Takter in this one and caught some eyes with her finishing kick. The $450,000 first crop topper for Lucky Chucky, Mr Lucky Luke made his debut today and was second in 2:02 with Campbell driving for the Cancelliere brothers. The winner there was Keystone Bodacious, an $85,000 Muscle Massive colt from Balanced Action. He was driven by Corey Callahan for the Jonas Czernyson barn and owners Arden Homestead, Mal & Janet Burroughs, LST Stables and W. Devan, Jr. Campbell and the Cancelliere boys paired up later with Rock N Roll Heaven colt Raylan Givens for a 1:54.2 score. Raylan set most of the pace and held off the late charge of Shades Of Bay for the win. He's $135,000 Harrisburg buy from Lisheen, thus a half-brother to the champion older pacer of a few years back Lis Mara. A Plus opened the pacing action and the American Ideal filly from Has An Attitude was impressive taking over from Better Said passing the half and sprinting home in 27 flat to close the 1:57.4 mile. Scott Zeron and Tony Alagna picked up where last night left off (they paired for a triple on the card) here with the flashy, blaze faced filly owned by Alagna in partnership with In The Gym Partners, Tangie Massey and Joe Sbrocco. She's A Hot Mess was making her fourth morning appearance and the speedy daughter of American Ideal x Sure Fun Tryin' flaunted her speed today for Alagna and Zeron with an effortless 1:54 win. With the field scratched down to three, She's A Hot Mess was left to set the pace and does wander a bit without a target but she sure covers the ground. She's a homebred owned by the trainer along with the Bell's Riverview Racing and John Fodera. Asap Hanover also turned heads this morning with his stretch sprint to win in 1:54.1 for Tim Tetrick. Making his second morning start following up an impressive 1:56.4/26.2 six length win last week, Asap ranks high on the list of colt prospects seen this summer. He's a $150,000 product of the Lexington yearling sale, sired by Somebeachsomewhere from Allamerican Coed. The colt is owned by John Mehlenbacher and trained by Linda Toscano. Live racing resumes tonight at 7:15 as we continue with Corntastic weekend. The race feature is a pair of eleven horse divisions of the $65,000 Reynolds Memorial stake featuring Hambletonian contenders Nuncio and Trixton making their final preparations for that classic two weeks hence. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands  

Five divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 2-year-old filly trotters were contested Friday, each carrying a purse of just over $57,000.   In the first division, it was Speak To Me (Muscle Massive) remaining undefeated, going on to an easy victory in a time of 1:55. It was the first of three training wins for Jimmy Takter, and one of four driving wins for Yannick Gingras. That's So Ironic finished second, while Matter Hatter was third. Speak To Me is owned by Brittany Farms.   In Division two, it was Smexi (Explosive Matter) closing fast up the passing lane for the win. The Takter trainee drafted behind the speed of eventual third place finisher Kirsi Hanover, and won the sprint home in a time of 1:57. Favorite Kelsey's Keepsake was second. Smexi is owned by the Fieldings, Christina Takter, and Herb Liverman, and was driven by Yannick Gingras.   In the third division, it was Wild Honey (Cantab Hall) picking up her second career win. She was fast off the gate and never looked back, stopping the clock in 1:57. Love Me Madly finished second, while longshot Mercer County was third. Wild Honey is owned by the previous winners connections, and was also piloted by Yannick Gingras.   Division four went to Blessings Counted (Muscle Massive). The Beinhauer trainee brushed to the lead just shy of the half, and went on to a convincing win in a time of 1:57. She is owned by Regina and trainer Rick Beinhauer, and was driven by Dan Rawlings. Bright Baby Blues finished second, while Avalon Hall was third.   In the fifth division, it was heavily favored Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive) scoring an impressive victory. The Ron Burke trainee remains a perfect three for three, stopping the timer in 1:57. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Hendler and Bruscemi, and was driven by Matt Kakaley.   by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia 

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