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After a slow start to her harness racing campaign, Manchego will try to resume her return to winning form when she heads to Woodbine Mohawk Park for Saturday's (Aug. 24) second of two eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot. The 4-year-old mare, who was a Dan Patch Award winner in 2017, has won two of her past three races, including a stakes-record 1:50 performance in the Steele Memorial earlier this month. "She needed a little bit of time to get back into herself, but I think history has showed that when she's on top of her game she's tough to beat," trainer Nancy Johansson said. "She's a super nice filly. She's nice and relaxed now and nice to be around and happy. Earlier in her life, she was always a little on edge. Now she's as cool as a cucumber. She's really confident in herself." Manchego was one of five mares entered in the Maple Leaf Trot, which attracted 13 horses. The mares joining Manchego in the second elim are Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 winner of the event, and Emoticon Hanover. They will meet male rivals Crystal Fashion, Marion Marauder, Run Director, and Six Pack. In the first elim, the mares are Atlanta and Dream Together. They are joined by males Speeding Spur N, Dancer Hall, Cruzado Dela Noche, and Guardian Angel AS. Guardian Angel AS is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first elimination, followed by Atlanta at 5-2. Crystal Fashion is the 5-2 choice in the second division, followed by Manchego at 3-1. The top five finishers from each elimination return Aug. 31 for the final. Manchego, whose career victories include a Breeders Crown in 2017 and the Hambletonian Oaks in 2018, was winless in her first five races this season. She was unlucky when it came to draws, getting posts seven, eight (twice) and 10 in her first four starts. She raced from off the pace in her first two starts, but it was too difficult to make up ground in the stretch. "People always say post position doesn't matter, that it's just a starting point, but it does matter because nowadays they go fast the whole mile," Johansson said. "If you're sitting eighth, you can't catch up. So, unless you're going to blast off the gate, which is what we ended up having to do." In the Graduate Series championship at The Meadowlands, when she started from post 10, she got to the front in an opening quarter of :26.2. She ended up finishing fourth, beaten only 1-1/2 lengths, in Atlanta's 1:49.1 world-record mile. Manchego was timed in 1:49.2. Two starts later, she picked up her first win of the season with a 1:50.1 triumph from post nine at The Meadowlands. She followed with her gate-to-wire triumph in the Steele Memorial on Hambletonian Day at the Big M and was the bettor's second choice in the Joie De Vie Stakes on Aug. 11 at Tioga Downs, only to get knocked out of contention by a horse that broke in front of her just after the start of the race. "It was a little disappointing she got wiped out last time because Dexter (driver Dexter Dunn) said she'd never scored down that good for him," Johansson said. "But she's very good and hopefully we can just keep her there." Manchego, by Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, has won 21 of 34 lifetime starts and earned $1.69 million. She is owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing. "It was a little frustrating early, but I was never overly concerned," Guariglia said about Manchego's start to this season. "They said just give her a little time and she'll come. And sure enough. "You always worry about desire. Once they throw it in mentally, then you're in trouble. But she's got the desire. She likes to do her work." Andrew McCarthy will drive Manchego on Saturday, sitting in for Dunn, who will be at Yonkers Raceway to race Bettor's Wish in his Messenger Stakes elimination. "That doesn't worry me," Johansson said. "Dexter has done a very good job with her, but I'm sure Andrew can do just as well of a job." The Maple Leaf Trot eliminations are races two and three on Saturday's card, which begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT). The night also includes two divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers and one division of the Nassagaweya for 2-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

MILTON, ON - August 5, 2019 - Tall Dark Stranger stormed into Mohawk Park to deliver an impressive 1:51.1 victory in Monday's second leg of the Dream Maker Series. An overflow field of 11 two-year-old pacing colts and geldings clashed in the second-leg of the three-week event. Round one winners Allywag Hanover and Captain Midnight sat out this week. Trainer Nancy Johansson rolled into town with a pair of freshmen, including $330,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase Tall Dark Stranger. The Bettors Delight colt won his season debut in 1:51.3 at The Meadowlands on July 26 and did not disappoint in his follow up race. Tall Dark Stranger and driver Yannick Gingras took their time in the early going after leaving from the middle of the gate and were a parked out fourth at the opening-quarter. The Johansson trainee powered ahead in the second-quarter and cleared to the top just before hitting the half in :55.3. After reaching three-quarters in 1:24.2, Tall Dark Stranger sprinted home impressively in :26.4 to win easily by three-lengths. Hes Watching colt One For Julius raced well to finish second after surrendering the lead to the winner in the second-quarter. Captaintreacherous colt Captain Kirk rallied from sixth at three-quarters to finish third by pacing a :26.2 final-quarter. Tall Dark Stranger is the second foal out of O'Brien Award winner Precocious Beauty and is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. He is now two for two and has earned $14,000. A $2 win ticket on Tall Dark Stranger returned $2.50. The $50,000 Dream Maker Series final will take place next Monday evening (August 12). Live racing continues Tuesday evening at Mohawk Park. The second leg of the Whenuwishuponastar Series headlines the action. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

East Rutherford, NJ -- Pacing and trotting harness racing mares met at The Meadowlands on Saturday (Aug. 3) in respective stakes on the Hambletonian Day program.   In the mares trot, the $186,000 Dr. John Steele Memorial, Manchego won her second straight, taking her foes wire-to-wire in a stakes record 1:50.   Dexter Dunn took Manchego to the top off the gate, while Hannelore Hanover settled in second and Top Expectation followed in third. There was no movement behind the leader as Manchego cut fractions of :26, :55.2 and 1:23.1 and Darling Mearas S rushed up first-over, attempting a duel.   Manchego held strongly to pass the wire first, with Hannelore Hanover getting some late foot to finish second over Darling Mearas S.   Manchego is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners Black Horse Racing.   In the mares pace, the $183,000 Lady Liberty, Shartin N continued to dominate the division while setting a world record of 1:46.4 with Tim Tetrick in the bike.   It was never in doubt that Shartin N was in control, taking the top over a quick-leaving Apple Bottom Jeans and paving the path to victory with a :26 first quarter. Kissin In The Sand led the second tier with a slight challenge, as Youaremycandygirl made a move and swung three-wide as the half went in :53.4 and three-quarters was posted in 1:21.   Then, Shartin N sprinted away from the field, with Caviart Ally closing on the rest to follow, while Shower Play passed tired ones to pick up the third spot.   Shartin N is trained by Jim King Jr. for owners Richard Pollucci, JoAnn Looney-King and Tim Tetrick LLC.   by Frank Cotolo, for the Hambletonian Society

WILKES-BARRE PA - First-class harness racing will again be featured this weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono: a $30,000 leg of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for top pacers will highlight Saturday's card, which will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. after the Belmont festivities are over, while Sunday's 7 p.m. card will feature four $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old trotting fillies. The early favorite in the Great Northeast Open pace is Highalator, a son of Somebeachsomewhere starting from post six for trainer Jenny Bier, who is co-owner with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc. A winner of five of six starts since teaming with driver Rick Still, Highalator was victorious here in the first leg of the GNOS on Kentucky Derby Day, raising his lifetime record at the mountain oval to 11 for 18. In the fifth race first division of All-Stars competition on Sunday, early favoritism was assigned to Cloud Nine Fashion, starting from post one for red-hot trainer Jim Campbell and driver Tim Tetrick. Third in her Breeders Crown race last year, Cloud Nine Fashion broke in her only purse start so far in 2019, but she'll attract attention off a 1:56.1 qualifier at The Meadowlands, during which she flew home in a pulverizing :26.1. The seventh race second cut of the All-Stars finds The Ice Dutchess as the opening choice despite drawing the outside post seven. The Nancy Johansson trainee won her first start at The Meadowlands in 1:52, then finished third, beaten two lengths in a PA Sire Stakes event here - she was moving very strongly at the end of that mile, and she may again have to be a big closer to win from this spot. The tenth race third division of the trotting filly event will feature the only three-time Pennsylvania Sire Stakes preliminary winner, Millies Possesion, who begins from post two for trainer Jim Campbell and driver Dexter Dunn. Unraced at two, "Millie" has yet to taste defeat in four career outings, but she may get stiff opposition here from Beautiful Sin (post five, trainer Per Engblom, driver Tim Tetrick), a $480,000 yearling who finished only 1¼ lengths behind Millies Possesion in her only start of the season. Driver Yannick Gingras has another All Stars favorite in the twelfth race fourth division, Asiago, who like The Ice Dutchess will have to negotiate the outermost post seven. Asiago has two Sire Stakes victories for trainer Per Engblom, and overall is three-for-five in the young season, with her two defeats coming by a combined ¾ of a length.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Ron Burke leads all trainers in starters for Saturday's (June 8) Pepsi North America Cup harness racing eliminations at Ontario's Woodbine Mohawk Park, and although his three 3-year-old pacers are winless this season, the sport's leading conditioner is anticipating improved performances from his group. Burke, the 2018 Trainer of the Year in the U.S., sends out De Los Cielos Deo in the first of two C$50,000 eliminations and Captain Victorious and Semi Tough in the second. Nancy Johansson and Brian Brown are the only other trainers with multiple horses in the North America Cup elims, with two each. The top-five finishers from each nine-horse elimination will advance to the C$1 million final on June 15. The connections of the elimination winners will select their post positions for the final and the remaining eight horses will be put in an open draw. The draw will be Tuesday during a luncheon at Woodbine Mohawk Park. De Los Cielos Deo won his first five races last season before finishing second in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final and his elimination of the Metro. He was no better than fourth in three remaining starts but was dealing with a foot issue. So far this season, the colt is winless in three races, but he heads to his North America Cup elimination off a 1:48.4 win in a qualifier last weekend at The Meadowlands. "I knew he had that in him," Burke said. "Things have just gone terrible for him the first few races. I knew he was good, so I just told (driver David Miller) to stretch him a little bit in the qualifier to make sure I'm right. I was very happy with him." Semi Tough, who was second to Stag Party in last year's Metro Pace at Mohawk, is winless in four races this year, but has hit the board three times. Captain Victorious was a three-time winner last year on the Pennsylvania circuit for trainer Julie Miller. He was purchased by the Burke-led Captain V Stable in April and finished third in his debut for his new connections but was off the board in two starts since then. "We scoped Captain Victorious and his stomach has ulcers," Burke said. "I think that's led to his last couple bad performances. I'm hoping we'll have him ready to go. Semi Tough, every start he's gotten progressively better. He's heading in the right direction. "I think we're going to be all right." Semi Tough                                             -- Ken Weingartner photo The first elimination features Dan Patch Award winner Captain Crunch, who is one of Johansson's two entrants, along with Caviart Rockland in the second elim. The second elimination also includes O'Brien Award winner Stag Party in the nine-horse field. Captain Crunch is 2-for-2 this year and is among six horses entering the first elimination off a win (not counting De Los Cielos Deo's qualifier victory). The others include Art Rooney Pace winner Bettor's Wish, New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Hurrikane Emperor, and Somebeachsomewhere Stakes division winner Century Farroh. Bettor's Wish, Hurrikane Emperor, Century Farroh, and Shake That House join Captain Crunch as the field's undefeated horses this season, a combined 15-0. The second elimination has one unbeaten horse this year, Brown's Workin Ona Mystery, who is 2-for-2. Tyga Hanover brings a three-race win streak to the elim, including a victory in a Somebeachsomewhere division. Saturday's card at Mohawk also includes two eliminations for the Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers and a prep race for the Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers. Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) at Mohawk. For Saturday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

MILTON, June 4, 2019 - The 36th Pepsi North America Cup has attracted 18 entrants to compete in this Saturday's harness racing eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The group of 18 three-year-old pacers have been split into a pair of $50,000 eliminations. The top-five finishers from each elimination will advance to the $1 million final on June 15. The elimination winners will earn the right to select their post position for the final. Captain Crunch is the top contender heading into the eliminations. The Dan Patch Award winner will start from post-four in a stacked first division. Trained by Nancy Johansson, Captain Crunch sent a statement to his competition with a pair of stunning victories to start his sophomore campaign. The son of Captaintreacherous posted a 1:49.1 victory in his season debut over a sloppy track at Pocono on May 19 and followed it up with a 1:49.2 open-lengths score on May 26 at Philadelphia. His dominate start is no surprise after finishing his rookie season (six wins in 10 starts) with victories in the Breeders Crown and Governor's Cup. Captain Crunch                                    --Curtis Salonick photo Captain Crunch is from the first-crop of 2013 North America Cup winner Captaintreacherous, who was from the first-crop of 2008 winner Somebeachsomewhere when he captured Canada's richest race. Trainer Johansson is the daughter of now-retired Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. The Pepsi North America Cup is one of few signature races that Takter never won during his career. Regular driver Scott Zeron will be at the controls of Captain Crunch. Based in the United States the last several years, Zeron is a former leading driver at Woodbine and is searching for his first Pepsi North America Cup. The depth of the first Pepsi North America Cup elimination will likely mean a top contender will be on the outside looking in to the final. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Century Farroh (PP9, Sylvain Filion) is undefeated in four starts this season and will face his toughest challenge to date. The son of Mach Three was last season's Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots champion and most recently won his Grand Circuit debut in a Somebeachsomewhere division Century Farroh                       --New Image Media The first elimination also features Art Rooney winner Bettors Wish (PP1, Dexter Dunn), who is three for three this season. Regally-bred Best In Show (PP2, Bob McClure) has won two of his last three starts. New Jersey and Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Hurrikane Emperor (PP3, Daniel Dube) has won 10 of 12 career starts. De Los Cielos Deo (PP5, David Miller) recently posted a 1:48.4 qualifying victory. The field is completed by Air Force Hanover (PP6, Miller), Shake That House (PP7, Tim Tetrick) and Fixed Idea (PP8, Randy Waples). The first elimination has been carded as Race 3 (7:50 p.m. EDT) The second elimination will see former Cup winning trainer Brian Brown send out the almost-perfect Workin Ona Mystery. The Ohio-based trainer won the 2016 event with Fear The Dragon. A son of Captaintreacherous, Workin Ona Mystery is two for two this season to bring his career record to seven wins in eight starts. The Brown trainee posted easy victories in two Pennsylvania Sires Stakes events before most recently tuning up for the Cup with a 1:52.3 qualifier on May 29 at Hoosier Park. Tim Tetrick, who is a two-time North America Cup winner, will drive Workin Ona Mystery. The pair will start from the outside post-nine. O'Brien Award winner Stag Party will line up from post-five with driver David Miller in the second split. The Casie Coleman trainee has been off to a slow start by his standards this season, posting a pair of third-place finishes in two starts. A son of 2001 North America Cup winner Bettors Delight, Stag Party won six of nine starts as a rookie, including the Metro Pace. Reinsman Miller has won two of last three editions of the North America Cup, while trainer Coleman is seeking her third victory in the $1 million event. Local trainees Bronx Seelster (PP6, Trevor Henry) and Tyga Hanover (PP8, Sylvain Filion) will look to make the final for their Canadian connections. Wayne McGean trainee Bronx Seelster was an Ontario Sires Stakes standout as a rookie, winning seven of 12 starts. The son of Big Jim has a runner-up and fourth-place finish in two starts this season. Tyga Hanover surprised some with a victory in last Saturday's Somebeachsomewhere for trainer Ben Baillargeon. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere has won three of four starts this season after going winless in six as a two-year-old. The field for the second split is completed by Captain Victorious (PP1, Yannick Gingras), Lyons Night Hawk (PP2, Tetrick), Semi Tough (PP3, Matt Kakaley), Caviart Rockland (PP4, Scott Zeron) and Aflame Hanover (PP7, Tetrick). The second elimination is carded as Race 8 (9:30 p.m. EDT). The final for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup will take place on Saturday, June 15. The post-position draw is scheduled for next Tuesday (June 11) during a special luncheon at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The 2019 Pepsi North America Cup event on June 15 will feature over $2 million in live racing, live music, food trucks and a beer garden. The first 1,500 fans to arrive on Pepsi North America Cup night will receive a free commemorative hat. Tickets are now on sale at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Full details for the Pepsi North America Cup can be found on the official event page. Post time for this Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup eliminations card is 7:10 p.m. To download the early program pages for Saturday's card, click here.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park Manager, Communications  

WILKES-BARRE PA - 2018 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year Captain Crunch makes his 2019 harness racing debut in the middle of three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes second preliminary for the glamour division, to be held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night in races nine through eleven - and he couldn't have found a more challenging spot in which to open his season. Captain Crunch, a Captaintreacherous colt trained by Nancy Johansson for the 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, the Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms, won six of ten starts, including the Breeders Crown here at Pocono and the Governor's Cup, en route to divisional honors while winning the most money among baby colts, $616,113, and coming within a fifth of his division's world record by winning in 1:49.1 at Lexington. Prepping for 2019, Captain Crunch has qualifying wins in 1:50.1 and 1:51.2 (the latter on a "good +1" track). The draw was kind to Captain Crunch in one respect, as Scott Zeron will be guiding him from post three in the field of nine (all three divisions have nine starters). But the draw also gave Captain Crunch a real challenge, in that many of the section's top colts, at both two and three, will be lining up against him Sunday. One example would be Proof (post eight, trainer Brian Brown, driver David Miller), second behind Captain Crunch in last year's Breeders Crown, the 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, and a good second at The Meadows in the Sire Stakes' opening leg in his first start of the year; also in this cut is the horse who conquered Proof in that event in 1:50.4, Southwind Ozzi (post one, trainer Bill MacKenzie, one of four "calls" for driver Tim Tetrick). There's Lyons Night Hawk (post five, trainer Gareth Dowse, Tetrick also listed), who was just edged in 1:50.1 in a PA All-Stars event in his seasonal bow, and Prince Of Tides (post two, trainer Ross Croghan, driver Eric Carlson), 1:49.4 winner of the Wiggle It Jiggleit final at The Meadowlands. But not all of the good horses will be facing Captain Crunch. In the eleventh race third division, two Sire Stakes winners at The Meadows will attract a good deal of attention: Workin On A Mystery (post two, trainer Brian Brown, driver Tim Tetrick), who won the fastest Sires section in 1:50.1, and Love Me Some Lou, undefeated in two starts this year and a 1:50.4 Sires winner, who will have to negotiate the difficult post eight for trainer Tom Cancelliere and driver David Miller. While the ninth race first division may not have horses who have some of the paper credentials of the other two divisions, it has some nice developing horses of its own, including Major Deception (post one, trainer Tony Alagna, driver Tim Tetrick), the easiest kind of winner at Philly over sloppy going in his 2019 return; Wild Wild Western (post two, trainer Norm Parker, driver Mike Wilder), who was second to Workin On A Mystery in the fastest PaSS division at The Meadows; and 2018 PA Fairs champion Aflame Hanover (post eight, trainer Linda Schadel, driver Tony Schadel), who has shown that he can be competitive with the most select of the state's three-year-olds. There will also be four Pennsylvania Stallion Series divisions at Pocono Sunday, including first round StS winners Captain Koine, Skip To My Lou, and Under Paid, plus Captain Panko, the 2018 Stallion Series champion who will be making his 2019 debut. First post for Sunday's 14 race card is set for 7 p.m.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - This Sunday promises some spectacular racing at the two tracks served by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), with the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) staging a trio of $30,000 events, for open pacers at Harrah's Philly in the afternoon and for mare open pacers and open trotters at Mohegan Sun Pocono at night. In the open hanress racing pacing event at Philly, Rodeo Rock has been installed as a tight 7-2 favorite in a well-matched field of nine which will be the fifth race. The Robert Cleary pupil, to be driven by Andrew McCarthy, is one of only four North American horses to have earned over $200,000 already this year, the bulk of his bankroll coming when finishing second in the $664,000 Levy Final at Yonkers. Starting just to his outside will be Donttellmeagain for trainer Jim King Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick. A state favorite since winning the PA Stallion Series Championship in 2017, Donttellmeagain holds the distinction of being the last horse to win against 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked, and he comes off a 1:49 victory at The Meadowlands. The two GNOS races at Pocono will come consecutively, in slots ten and eleven. The ladies will come first, with the 1-2 finishers from last week's first GNOS group for this group, Tequila Monday and Kissininthesand, ready to bump heads again and vie for favoritism. This will be the second start of the year for Kissininthesand (post one, trainer Nancy Johansson, driver Scott Zeron), last year's three-year-old champion, and she might be just that much better with a race under her girth. But knocking off Tequila Monday (post six, trainer Chris Oakes, driver Tyler Buter) has never been an easy task throughout that mare's career, and might be even more hard to bring off this year, as Tequila Monday has started the year with five consecutive victories, and she has shown she can win on, off, or near the pace. The World's Fastest Trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington last year), is entered in the open trotting event, and he returns to the races both for a new stable, the Burke Brigade, and off two fine qualifying wins, the latter a photo victory over 2018 sophomore champion Six Pack. One big obstacle facing Homicide Hunter and driver Yannick Gingras will be the outside starting spot in the field of eighth, but he is still the early favorite. Guardian Angel AS (post five, trainer Anette Lorentzon, driver Tim Tetrick) won a Breeders Crown elimination at Pocono last year, and in his seasonal debut last week at The Meadowlands he came from ninth at the three-quarter call to miss less than two lengths. Pappy Go Go, who has two of the four fastest North American trotting miles of the year, a pair of 1:52 wins both here and at Philly, has the advantages of post one and Pocono's top driver George Napolitano Jr. Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

Nancy Johansson was a fan of Blood Money before she ever got to train the horse. Now that the 3-year-old male pacer is in her stable, she is an even more ardent admirer. Blood Money, who in 2018 was in the harness racing stable of Johansson's father, the now-retired Jimmy Takter, won last year's Matron Stakes on his way to $347,744 in purses for owner Diamond Creek Racing. His earnings ranked fourth among all 2-year-old male pacers last season, when he captured five of 13 races and hit the board 12 times. He was second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship and third in the Governor's Cup. On April 27, Blood Money made his seasonal debut for Johansson by defeating older horses in 1:50 at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Starting from post eight, the colt was in ninth place at the half-mile point, more than 10 lengths behind the leader, but rallied for a two-length victory at odds of 7-5 with Scott Zeron in the sulky. Blood Money's next start is Saturday in the first of three $30,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars divisions at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. "I always liked him a lot last year when my dad had him," Johansson said. "I always had my eye on him. I told him that Blood Money is a good horse. I said he would be his best one." She added with a laugh, "It worked out good for me that my dad retired." Bred by Diamond Creek Farm, Blood Money is a son of Sweet Lou out of Blood Diamond. He is a half-brother to stakes-winners Blood Brother and Blood Line and hails from the family of Hall of Fame broodmare Arterra (dam of O'Brien Award-winner Western Terror and millionaire If I Can Dream) and Dan Patch Award-winner Delinquent Account (dam of Dan Patch Award-winner Artiscape). Blood Money joined a Johansson stable that was already home to last season's top 2-year-old male pacer, Dan Patch Award-winner Captain Crunch. The two colts possess similar dispositions. "He's very laid back, not fussy," Johansson said about Blood Money. "He's very easy to be around. I took him out jogging the other day and he stood still in the same spot for like 20 minutes just looking at the environment around him. I thought, oh, OK, I guess we're enjoying the view today. He's just super relaxed and nice. He's showed some high speed too, so we'll take that. "The mental part is huge. That's one of Crunch's biggest assets too, he's just so mentally chill. Nothing bothers him. You have to keep them together physically, obviously, but half my job is to make sure these horses are mentally there. If they're naturally relaxed, it's easier to do that." Following the Pennsylvania All-Stars, Blood Money will be pointed toward the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway (May 25 final; eliminations if necessary May 18) while Captain Crunch will make his seasonal debut on May 19 in the second leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, which will be at Pocono. Both horses are eligible to a number of Grand Circuit stakes, including the North America Cup (June 15 final), Max C. Hempt Memorial (June 29), Meadowlands Pace (July 13), Adios (July 27), the Little Brown Jug (Sept. 19), and Breeders Crown (Oct. 26). "The plan is to keep them separated as much as possible," Johansson said. "I like Blood Money. He's been really nice all along. I think he grew up a little bit from last year; he filled out a lot. I think that will help him carry himself a little better. He's really good looking. I think he's going to make a lot of his own noise this year too." Lyons Night Hawk is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday's second Pennsylvania All-Stars division at Pocono and Air Force Hanover is the 3-1 choice in the third. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com  

East Rutherford, NJ - Foul weather caused the postponement of today's Meadowlands qualifiers until 3:00 pm. By then, despite overcast skies and a slight helping breeze in the stretch, the harness racing track was fast and dry with a temperature of 64f at post time. The session quickly turned into Nancy Johansson day as she brought big power to the table and got the results she and driver Scott Zeron were hoping for from several potential stars of the 2019 Grand Circuit season. Nancy unveiled the sophomore edition of her Dan Patch award and Breeders Crown winning freshman pacing sensation Captain Crunch (Zeron) and he was absolutely fabulous. Moving comfortably on the lead through a 56.1 half and 1:24.4 three quarters, "Crunch" sprinted home in a sizzling 25.2 under his own power to win by 4 or 5 lengths over Major March (Tim Tetrick) in 1:50.1 with Zeron motionless in the sulky. The Captaintreacherous colt won more than $600,000 at two for owners 3 Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stable and Caviart Farms who plucked him from the Standardbred Horse Sales (SHS) for the bargain price of $85,000. Walnridge Farm and Sherri Meirs are the breeders. The 2018 Doherty Memorial winner The Ice Dutchess (Yannick Gingras) returned to the racing wars today for Johansson and looked fantastic in her debut. Gingras sat in third with the filly as stable mate Can't Touch It (Zeron) rated even fractions while Speed Titan (Mattias Melander) ground up uncovered. As they trotted home, the rail opened and The Ice Dutchess bolted through to score an four length win moving away from her rivals unasked in a 26.1 close to the 1:54.4 mile. Speed Titan was second while Can't Touch This stayed on for third. The Muscle Hill lass was a $320,000 Standardbred Horse Sales (SHS) purchase by Canyon Wind Farm from breeders Stephen Dye and David Reid. She paid for herself as a 2-year-old and appears ready to add to that booty at age three. Six Pack is back! The Dan Patch award winner and fastest 3-year-old trotter in history by virtue of his KY Futurity win was awesome in his returning qualifier for Ake Svanstedt. The pair sat a pocket to an old rival in Fashionwoodchopper (Gingras) past the 1:28.3 six panels and roared by that rival when tipped out at that station to a 1:55.2 mile easily. The Muscle Mass 4-year-old is owned by Svanstedt in partnership with Little E; LLC, Knutsson Trotting, Stall Kalmer and I. Berg this season. Svanstedt also won with Galixton in 1:59 for himself, Little E and Joe Sbrocco. Kissin In The Sand may have looked better this week than last, if that's even possible. Zeron sat behind the early pace of Izzy Hanover through a 56.1 half, passed that rival and the three quarters in 1:24.3 with top pacing mare Caviart Ally (Andy McCarthy) following up and dropping in behind as they sprinted home in 25.3 for a 1:50.1 mile. Both mare had plenty left and were well ahead of the others. Marvin Katz and Bud Hatfield own the exciting Somebeachsomewhere 4-year-old returning divisional award winner and Nancy Johansson trains. Blood Money (Zeron) closed in 25.2 to run down Buddy Hill (Brian Sears) the mile in 1:52.2. Johansson trains last year's Matron Stakes winning homebred for Diamond Creek Racing. Johansson and Zeron capped their memorable afternoon with Thinkbig Dreambig zipping around the oval in 1:52.2, holding American History (McCarthy) at bay with a 26 flat final stanza while both were in hand. This imposing Bettor's Delight 4-year-old was a winner of multiple Grand Circuit stakes in 2018 including a division of the Tattersalls Pace in 1:48.2 for Brixton Medical, Fielding, Anderberg and Falk. Sharp Action Money (Gingras) won the last of the day's races, ending a 1:52.4 mile with a 25.3 final quarter for the Burke barn. Charted results may be found on the Meadowlands website. Nick Salvi

When harness racing trainer Nancy Johansson answered her father's call, she was more than happy to hear she would be receiving a new horse in her barn. Her pleasure, however, escalated into sheer delight when the impending arrival's identity was revealed. "When my dad (retired Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter) called, he said, 'Get ready for a new horse in your barn,'" said Johansson. "He said to begin preparing because the horse was on the way and then he said, 'Oh, the horse is Manchego.'" It was announced shortly after her seventh-place finish in the $500,000 Breeders Crown on Oct. 27, 2018, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, that Manchego would be retired to become a broodmare. Owned at the time by John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, the daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic was conditioned by the recently retired Takter for the duration of her two-year career. Guariglia, who is now Manchego's sole owner, intended to breed his 4-year-old mare to Walner after a winter vacation. His plans, however, were immediately altered after Takter's inspection of her physique subsequent to her return. "I think people are going to be really surprised when they see her," said Johansson, who manages an operation of 47 to 48 head with her husband Marcus. "She has really filled out and grown. She looks terrific and we are very excited to have the opportunity to race a horse like her." As a freshman, Manchego rewrote the history books with a perfect 12-for-12 season. Her major wins included the $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial, the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, the $307,500 Peaceful Way final, and the $600,000 Breeders Crown final. She is the only undefeated 2-year-old filly trotter to win the Breeders Crown and the only unbeaten 2-year-old filly trotter to win a Dan Patch Award. "She is one of the greatest 2-year-old filly trotters of all-time," Johansson said. "She is a very special horse." Manchego's talent was again on display as a sophomore in one of the deepest divisions in recent memory. Not only did she have to contend with the likes of Trotter of the Year Atlanta, but world champion Plunge Blue Chip and the ever dangerous Phaetosive. Like Atlanta, Manchego also took on male rivals and acquitted herself admirably. In fact, she defeated Crystal Fashion by a nose in her $25,000 Earl Beal Memorial elimination, broke stride in the $500,000 final of that contest for the first loss of her career and was second by a nose to Met's Hall in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. "That was a very talented group of 3-year-old trotting fillies," Johansson said. "She also raced against the boys, too, and it's quite possible she ran out of steam by the end of the season." Nancy Johansson In addition to her participation in those open events, Manchego captured the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, was nosed out by Plunge Blue Chip in world record time (1:49.4) in a $128,500 Delvin Miller Memorial division, and won the $172,000 Moni Maker. For her career, the mare has banked $1.53 million and compiled an impressive record of 26-19-3-2. She sports a lifetime mark of 1:50. Manchego's surprise return adds even more excitement to an already stellar division as Atlanta, Plunge Blue Chip and Phaetosive remain in training, as do 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, dual Breeders Crown winner and O'Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover and the talented Dream Together. "I make it a special point to spend some time with her every day," Johansson said. "I feel like I am living in a dream; it's surreal. We are so very thankful." Ken Weingartner

From the moment Ella Johansson saw him, there was a connection. The colt's name was Captain Bean and Ella spotted him as soon as she and her parents, harness racing trainer Nancy and driver Marcus Johansson, arrived in Harrisburg to look at yearlings the day before the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale. Ella, who accompanied her parents only because it seemed a better option to sitting at her brother's baseball tournament, implored her mother to buy him. Nancy also liked the colt, but knew acquiring him might be easier said than done. She put together a group of owners interested in buying the horse, set a budget, and on the opening day of the sale waited for Captain Bean to enter the auction ring. Ella, watching the live stream of the sale at home in New Jersey, waited too. Ella knew what the group was prepared to spend and when Captain Bean eventually sold for $85,000 she knew who had the winning bid. "We got him!" she exclaimed to Marcus in the kitchen. And a year later, her enthusiasm for the colt, now known as Captain Crunch, is undiminished. "He was the first horse that I saw," 13-year-old Ella said, recounting her initial moments with Captain Crunch. "We walked in and he was there. He was big, he was pretty; a very sweet horse. I petted him. "He's sweet and he's nice. He's just fun to be around." Said Nancy, "He's big, but he's gentle with her. He lets her pet him and he plays with you. He's as nice as a 2-year-old colt can be. If you spend a couple minutes with him you can't help but to like him. He's got unbelievable charisma." Captain Crunch, who was renamed by Ella and Nancy's mom Christina Takter, has won five of eight races this year. His most recent start came Oct. 27 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he won the $600,000 Breeders Crown championship for 2-year-old male pacers on a cold, rainy night. Ella greeted him in the winner's circle with a kiss. "He stood like a perfect gentleman, like he always does," Nancy said. Captain Crunch's next start is Saturday at the Meadowlands in the sole $20,000 elimination for the Governor's Cup, which is one of the Fall Final Four stakes for 2-year-olds at the Big M. The top-seven finishers will join bye recipients Blood Money, Semi Tough, and Sugar Factory in the $469,300 final on Nov. 24. The elimination winner will draw from posts one through six for the final. Scott Zeron will drive Captain Crunch, who starts from post eight in the field of 10. Prior to each race, Ella offers words of encouragement to Captain Crunch via FaceTime. "I just tell him good luck," Ella said. "Win." "When they FaceTime he's paying attention to what she's saying, like he's listening," Marcus added. "It's kind of funny." Captain Crunch is a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Sweet Lou and $2.78-million-earner Bettor Sweet. In addition to the Breeders Crown, his wins include divisions of the Nassagaweya and International Stallion Stakes (in a career-best 1:49.1). His only off-the-board finish was in his Metro Pace elimination in September, when he came up sick. The colt is owned by 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "He's a good-looking horse," Marcus said. "He's got a great personality. He's happy all the time. He's always in a good mood. I like horses like that. If you walk into work and see someone who is miserable, you become miserable even if you were happy. He's the first horse on the end (of the stable). I park my car there so I can go and see him. It starts out the day good." And while one might expect Ella to be a horse-crazy kid given her environment, it is not the case. "As much of a horse girl that I am, she's not," Nancy said, laughing. "She doesn't care about the horses much at all." Captain Crunch is the exception, which has made his season all the more special. "We live a crazy life, on the road a lot," Nancy said. "It's almost like joining the circus. So it's nice when (our kids) see we're working hard and it's paying off and they feel involved in that." For the record, Ella's brother, Marcus Jr., has a favorite horse as well. His is also a 2-year-old colt pacer, Caviart Rockland. "They each have a horse that they follow," Marcus said. "It's 'their' horse. It makes it fun for all of us." The stakes in addition to the Governor's Cup that make up the Fall Final Four are the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old female pacers, Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, and Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters. Eliminations were unnecessary for the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds. There will be two eliminations Saturday for the Valley Victory. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

CHESTER, PA - When archrival Bettor Trix N was scratched from the $17,000 distaff featured pace at Harrah's Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon, the A Rocknroll Dance filly Scuola Hanover looked like she would have fairly smooth sailing to her fifth straight harness racing victory. But the favorite came up short in the stretch, and Jaye's A Lady sprang a $23.40 upset for driver Andy Miller in 1:52.3. Big City Betty gunned away to the lead in 26.2 despite the outside post seven; early pocketsitter Cuts Like A Knife moved and gained the lead well before the cutthroat 54.3 half. Scuola Hanover led the outer tier, with Jaye's A Lady and Believe In Me behind her, and when Big City Betty tired from her early efforts, Scuola Hanover was able to tuck into the pocket before the blistering 1:22.2 3/4s. Jaye's A Lady, covered to this point, grinded up to take the lead in the lane, then held off Believe In Me by a half-length, with Cuts Like A Knife another length back and a neck ahead of Scuola Hanover. The victory was the first of the year for the McArdle mare after a $100,000+ season turned in during 2017. Nancy Johansson trains the winner for Caviart Farms. The Camluck gelding Feeling Cam Lucky turned in the fastest mile of the day in a $12,500 pace for driver George Napolitano Jr., going wire-to-wire in 1:50.4, but it's just as likely that people were talking about the second-place finisher afterward. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Duplicated N, another of the "New Zealand pipeline horses" for Team King/Looney King/Poillucci of Shartin N fame, got away second-last from his outside starting position, was ten lengths out at the half, then negotiated his own back half in 53.4 while also shifting stretch course to avoid the drifting winner to finish second, beaten 1¼ lengths. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who owns and trains Feeling Cam Lucky, had three conditioning wins on the day, using three different drivers. Tim Tetrick topped the sulkysitters with a trio of successes. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (October 3) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by owner/trainer, Nancy Johansson; Joe Faraldo, from the SOA of NY; and Kurt Becker, from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Owner/Trainer Johansson, joins the program this week to talk about the recent purchases from the Lexington Selected Sale. She will talk about what went into the decision to purchase the horses, and some of the things that she looks for when at the yearling sales. Faraldo, from the SOA of NY, will discuss the upcoming 2018 International Trot. Faraldo will discuss what goes into selecting and getting the horses to the United States for the big race. Post Time will be live from Yonkers Raceway next Saturday to cover the $1 million dollar race.   Becker, an announcer at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, discusses what goes into being the announcer at such a big event. He will talk about what kind of research goes into the position and what he looks forward to each year. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 23, 2018 -- With her victories in the Lynch final and the Mistletoe Shalee, Kissin In The Sand soared to the top of the 3-year-old filly pacing division. On Friday at The Meadows, she'll try to lock up a berth in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stake championship set for Sept. 2 at Pocono. In Friday's PASS, a $160,238 stake known as the Romola Hanover, she'll go from post 6 in race 8, with Dave Palone driving for trainer Nancy Johansson and owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. Special post time for the twilight card is 5:30 PM. Kissin In The sand has finished first or second in all eight starts this year, lifting her career bankroll to $634,997. She's tied for fourth in PASS standings; with nine of the Top 10 in PASS points competing in the Romola Hanover, it might not be a day at the beach for the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Kiss Me Kate. Speaking of days at the beach, that's pretty much how she's been prepping for the stake. Johansson is a proponent of interval training, which involves brief, intense bursts of speed followed by long, slow jogs. The workouts take place on the straight, in deep sand, and can last an hour. Trainers who use interval training say it builds foundation while increasing the capacity for quicker, faster brushes. "About 95 percent of European trainers use it," Johansson says. "Speed is tough on the joints, and this allows you to work the heart without having to go very quickly. We're very diligent about checking heart rates after training, and she always has a very low heart rate." Johansson believes Kissin In The Sand is well positioned to finish the season strongly and win the divisional Dan Patch award. "I think that's everybody's goal, although now that she's at the top, everybody's coming after her," she says. "I see no reason why she couldn't do it. She's been super all year, and she's gad good breaks between her tough races." Johansson indicated she's had preliminary discussions with Katz about the direction for Kissin In The Sand once this season ends. "Marvin is a successful breeder, and she would do great in the breeding shed. But if she can make money on the track, that option is still there. She'd be competitive with aged mares. A lot of them will be bred, so there may be fewer of them next year." The card also features a $40,000 PA Stallion Series stake for sophomore filly pacers and many fan-centric activities. As part of the "Corks and Kegs Weekend," fans may enjoy a variety of specialties from food trucks on the apron. Nearby, fans 12 and older can participate in a virtual reality exhibit that will give them the experience of driving a Standardbred. Radio station 93.7 FM The Fan will broadcast live from the track and kick off the program with a match race between on-air personalities Joe Starkey and Chris Mueller. The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will offer "Family Fun Night" festivities that include a bounce house, a stilt walker, a face painter and a balloon artist. In addition, the MSOA will invite fans to play Plinko, and eight of the track's regular drivers will compete in a "Pony Hop Charity Challenge," with all prize money donated to the drivers' designated charities. For more information or to participate, stop by the MSOA table in the Racebook. Drivers and their charities include: Mike Wilder -- Pacing for the Cure Dave Palone -- Standardbred Retirement Foundation Jeremy Indof -- American Cancer Society Dan Rawlings-- Asperger and Autism Network Jim Pantaleano -- Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center Brady Brown -- St Jude Hospital Shawn Johnston -- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Western Pennsylvania Wilbur Yoder -- New Vocations by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

Hightstown, NJ ---Given her background, it is no surprise L A Delight is something of a professional. And that delights her new harness racing trainer, Nancy Johansson. Johansson began working with the 5-year-old female pacer following her private purchase last month by Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek Racing. She was trained previously by Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh, earning $1.32 million and capturing divisional O’Brien Award honors in Canada at ages 2 and 3. “She’s a lovely mare to be around,” Johansson said. “She does her work. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about her, which is extraordinary, I guess, in some kind of way. She knows exactly what she’s supposed to do.” L A Delight is a daughter of Bettor’s Delight out of stakes-winner West Of L A. She was bred by McIntosh, C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc., and is a half-sister to millionaire Somewhere In L A. Her family also includes 2012 North America Cup champion Thinking Out Loud and stakes-winning You See L A. She enters 2018 with 23 wins and 36 total top-three finishes in 47 career starts. Her victories include the 2015 She’s A Great Lady Stakes, the 2016 Jugette, and two Ontario Sire Stakes championships. “It’s a tough act to follow,” Johansson said with a laugh. L A Delight, who has won two qualifiers this month for Johansson, is being prepped for the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, which begins March 16, at Yonkers Raceway. The six-week event concludes April 21 with a $125,000-added final. “She’s a little hard to gauge, because she’s one of those horses that does enough to win,” Johansson said. “But she was well in hand and not stressed at all by either qualifier. “The Matchmaker is a tough series. It’s a lot of weeks in a row and I want her peaking for the legs and final there, not for qualifiers. Hopefully with a little bit of racing she’ll find her form.” Johansson, a previous winner of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Rising Star Award, has enjoyed success with female pacers, most notably with 2014 Horse of the Year JK She’salady. Last year, Johansson set career highs for wins, with 36, and trainer’s rating, with a .310 mark. Among her top returnees from 2017 is 3-year-old filly pacer Kissin In The Sand, who won seven of 14 races last season including the Kindergarten Series championship and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. “She’s coming back nicely,” Johansson said. “She’s just training on the straight track right now, getting some conditioning into her. She’s always been a good-sized filly and she filled out a little bit during turnout. The time off was good for her. “She’s probably the fastest filly I’ve ever trained, like quick speed. She’s got high speed to her. If she could put it all together and mature a little bit and grow a little bit from last year, I think her speed can take her a long way this year.” Johansson’s stable also includes 17 2-year-olds. “I’d say overall that this is the best group I’ve ever had,” Johansson said. “We’ve had one or two standouts every year, but this year as a whole group, I’d say it’s probably the best. We have some nice trotters. We have a couple really nice Father Patrick-(sired) fillies that I like a lot and two Cantab Hall-(sired) fillies that are very nice.  “Hopefully they can do some damage on the track.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

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