Batavia, NY - The first of eight visits by the lucrative New York Sire Stakes takes place Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs and for the local fans it's a chance to see some of the biggest names in harness racing. The 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers will be on hand and that means some very exciting action. There will be three legs of the NYSS and two of the Excelsior series and the entrants will be competing for combined purses in excess of $140,000. The first division goes for $39,200 and looks to be the main event as it is loaded with talent and speed. Perennial training leader Ron Burke will start 3-5 morning line favorite All Bets Off, who ships in with some impressive credentials. He won the $300,000 Art Rooney pace at Yonkers Raceway in May and after winning his elimination heat in 1:48.3, finished third in the $500,000 Hempt final at Pocono Downs behind McWicked last month. In that race, McWicked set a new world record for 3-year-old colts on a five-eighths mile track (1:47.3). This will be the third start in the NYSS for All Bets Off this year who won at Vernon Downs in 1:50.2 and just ten days ago finished second at Yonkers in 1:52.4 to Capital Account, who looks to be his toughest competition in today's race. He has earnings of $291,575 already this year. All Bets Off, who starts from post five and will be driven by Matt Kakaley, is part of an entry that includes stablemate Keystone Honor. Capital Account has competed in some high-profile stakes already but without positive results. He drew post eight in both the $69,000 Somebeachsomewhere and $45,500 North America Cup elimination at Mohawk and finished well beaten in both. But even though he does not sport the gaudy numbers of the morning line favorite, he certainly has beaten him. In his last start at Yonkers in NYSS action, Capital Account was pulled third over up the backside before tipping four-deep around the leader All Bets Off at the top of the stretch. He then outpaced the 1-5 favorite to the wire to win by a half-length. The 16-1 shot was overlooked last week but certainly won't be in here. Capital Account is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and will start from post three for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. The second $39,200 division is headed by Canadian conditioner Cassie Coleman's Twin B Tenacious. After getting 2014 off to an inauspicious start, Twin B Tenacious has now strung together four straight wins (the last a NYSS event at Yonkers) and registered a 1:50.3 lifetime mark at the Meadowlands in the process. Steve Smith, who has been at the helm for all four victories, will once again be in the bike and start from post four. Forty Five Red, who is another entry from the powerful Burke stable, comes in off two consecutive wins at Yonkers Raceway which includes his seasonal mark of 1:52.3 in his last outing. Although he hasn't missed a check all year, his most recent outings have probably been his best to date and indicate he will be a legitimate threat to the favorite. The third division is worth $38,500 and looks to be a wide-open affair. Stay Up Late has been made the morning line favorite but has yet to win in stake action at three. He has gone off the favorite in his last three starts but his sole victory this year came in an overnight event at Yonkers Raceway on July 8 in 1:53.3. He gets Jim Morrill Jr. up for the first time this year and starts from post four Neat draws the rail for trainer Erv Miller and is coming in off three very impressive starts. After just getting beat in 1:53.4 in a NYSS race at Buffalo on June 27, Neat finished second in an overnight at Pocono Downs in 1:50.1 over a sloppy track the following week. He was then back in Sire Stake action at Yonkers his last start where he got away sixth and chased a :56 flat last half parked out to finish third in 1:52.3. Neat is rated at 5-2 for driver Brent Holland. 3-1 third choice Sir Sam's Z Tam has the fastest seasonal mark and the most money earned of any other horse in this race, but also has the only NYSS victory this year. After hitting the board four consecutive times, he found himself parked out in a fast last half at Yonkers before finishing fifth. Sam's Z Tam will start from post three for trainer/driver the Pat Lachance. The undercard features two divisions of the Excelsior series and they are slated to go as race seven and ten. The first split goes for $12,600 and has two horses that have dominated the class; Cabbie's Delight and Murder He Wrote. 8-5 favorite Cabbie's Delight has not been worse than second in six Excelsior starts. In fact he is the point's leader to date in the series. He won four straight out of the gate before finishing two close seconds in his most recent starts. Trainer Sam Serianni has Jason Bartlett in the bike this week as he looks to get back in the winner's circle. 9-5 co-favorite Murder He Wrote has won his last two starts, including a NYSS event at Buffalo Raceway where he blew up the tote board at 45-1. The roan gelding drew immediate respect after that when he went off the prohibitive favorite the following week at Yonkers where he won wire to wire in 1:54.1. Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Murder He Wrote and starts from post five for conditioner Linda Toscano. The final $12,600 Excelsior contest is headlined by 2-1 choice Believeinthespirit. After having negligible success in four straight NYSS races, trainer Ed Lohmeyer reclassified his charge to the Excelsior and the change has proven fruitful. Believeinthespirit has won his last two starts in convincing fashion and looks to continue the streak from post two. 5-2 second choice Archetto Hanover is the second highest point getter in the Excelsior series behind Cabbie's Delight and has three wins and two seconds to show for his efforts. Trainer Erv Miller has Brent Holland up for this trip and will depart from post five. Post time for the first race is 1:15. For more racing information or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon to www.bataviabets.com and open an account. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
I Luv The Nitelife, who was named the best 3-year-old female pacer of 2013 in both the U.S. and Canada, is ready to return to action after being sidelined last November because of a fractured knee. She will compete in a qualifier Saturday morning at the Meadowlands, with the hopes of returning to stakes action in September. "Swim and train, that's been her program," said trainer Chris Ryder, adding happily, "Now we get to swim and race. That's better than training." I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million for Ryder and owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette and Mistletoe Shalee. Her 1:48.4 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a 3-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track. For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 25 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in history has won more money at ages 2 and 3. Ryder hopes to have I Luv The Nitelife, who suffered a minor setback because of atrial fibrillation in early June, ready for the Milton Stakes in mid-September. "She's going to qualify a couple times and then we'll look for an overnight or two," Ryder said. "She's training very well. Everything is good with her. "It's exciting. It's tough to get a horse like this. It's a little crushing when they go down. You get a little used to winning those big races; you can't take it for granted. When it's gone, you realize there's a hole there. And it's near impossible to fill." Father Patrick, who is 6-for-6 this year and will bring a 15-race win streak to the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands, also is entered to qualify on Saturday morning at the Big M. Other Hambletonian eligibles in the qualifier are Billy Ruffian, DD's Hitman, and Uva Hanover. On the pacing side, North America Cup winner JK Endofanera and Fan Hanover winner Uffizi Hanover are among 3-year-olds entered to qualify. Sweet Lou, the winner of six consecutive starts including the Ben Franklin Pace and William Haughton Memorial, is the 4-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $40,000 A-2/A-1/FFA handicap for pacers at the Meadowlands. The seven-horse field also includes Captaintreacherous, Thinking Out Loud, and Golden Receiver. Maven, the sport's top older female trotter in 2013, is the 2-1 favorite in Friday's $30,000 A-2/A-1/FFA handicap for trotters at the Meadowlands. Coraggioso is the 3-1 second choice in the field of seven, which also includes Maven's stablemate D'Orsay. Maven and D'Orsay are the only females in the race. Dancin Yankee, who sits just outside the Top 10 in harness racing's weekly poll, goes for his sixth win in a row Saturday night in the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He is the 5-2 morning line choice; Bolt The Duer is the 3-1 second pick. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
WASHINGTON, PA, July 22, 2014--McWicked, projected as the favorite for Saturday's $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Lite at The Meadows, didn't hurt his chances when he pulled post position 2 in Tuesday's draw. Somewhere in L A and Let's Drink On it, who along with McWicked won Adios eliminations last Saturday, drew post positions 5 and 7, respectively. The draw was a mixed bag for horses with local connections. The Meadows-based trainer Ron Burke drew 3 and 9 for his Adios pair, At Press Time and Carracci Hanover, while Cammikey, campaigned by Cam Land Inc. of Washington County, will leave from the rail. No. 1 is the fifth-winningest post position this year at The Meadows. McWicked has won four of his last five starts--including the $500,000 final of the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs--faltering only in the final of the North America Cup. The son of McArdle-Western Sahara is owned by SSG Stables and conditioned by Casie Coleman, who is bidding to become the first female trainer to win an Adios final. Several others have a chance to write their way into Meadows history. A win by Somewhere in L A would give trainer Jimmy Takter his third blanket of orchids in the last six years--he won with Vintage Master in 2009 and Sunfire Blue Chip last year--while a victory by Let's Drink On It would make 21-year-old Tyler Smith the youngest final heat winning driver in the 48-year history of the race. The Pace for the Orchids will go as race 12 with an approximate post time of 4 PM. It anchors a powerhouse 16-race card that features a total of six Grand Circuit stakes. The Adios field from the rail out, with drivers and trainers: 1. Cammikey Brian Zendt Bill Zendt 8-1 2. McWicked David Miller Casie Coleman 7-5 3. At Press Time Matt Kakaley Ron Burke 6-1 4. Beat The Drum Tim Tetrick Staffan Lind 20-1 5. Somewhere In L A Brett Miller Jimmy Takter 5-1 6. Stevensville Mark MacDonald Ray Schnittker 20-1 7. Let's Drink On It Tyler Smith Joe Seekman 7-2 8. Bushwacker Dave Palone Chris Ryder 10-1 9. Carracci Hanover Yannick Gingras Ron Burke 15-1 by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Elora, ON --- It was a banner night for trainer Casie Coleman and driver Chris Christoforou as they teamed up to sweep the trio of C$70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Wednesday (July 16) at Grand River Raceway. All three winning colts – Bob Ben And John, Southwind Indy, and Rollwiththepunches – are from the first crop of Sportswriter, who Coleman also trained throughout his career, including his victory in the 2010 North America Cup. In the first Gold Series test Bob Ben And John and Christoforou moved from third to first before the :56.3 half-mile marker. From there, he would go on to reach three-quarters in 1:26.2 before he closed with a :28.2 final kicker to win by a length and three-quarters in 1:54.4, which was the fastest of the three divisions. Go Daddy Go (Randy Waples) challenged Bob Ben And John first-over in the final half but had to settle for second and early leader Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell) checked in third. West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario, own Bob Ben And John, who is a perfect two-for-two in his career, with both victories coming in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events. Bob Ben And John, who was bred by Frank Coleman and sold for $17,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, is the fifth foal out of the Cambest mare My Best Girl, making him a half-brother to the likes of Ohmybelle ($223,097). Odds-on favorite Sporting The Look (Jody Jamieson) was in control through stations of :28, :58.1, and 1:27.1 in the second section, but he would make a break in stride and leave the course just past three-quarters. With Sporting The Look out of contention, Southwind Indy and Christoforou inherited the lead from the pocket, and Southwind Indy would go on to win by a length and a quarter in 1:56.3. Sports Bettor (Randy Waples) was the runner-up and Windsong Lightning (Eddie Green) grabbed third. It was the first win in two tries for Southwind Indy, who is owned by West Wins Stable, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, Ontario, and Southwind Farms LLC. of Pennington, New Jersey. Southwind Farms also bred Southwind Indy, who was purchased for $45,000 out of the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Southwind Indy is the first foal out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Its Only Rocknroll. Its Only Rocknroll’s dam is Armbro Wallflower (Village Jasper), a multiple-time OSS winner at two and three, including the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for 3-year-olds in 2002. Deetzy (Randy Waples) showed the way through fractions of :29, :58, and 1:26.4 in the OSS Gold Series nightcap, but Christoforou fanned Rollwiththepunches wide for the drive following an off-the-pace trip, and Rollwiththepunches would take the lead at the top of the stretch. Once he was in control, Rollwiththepunches drew away to score by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:56.2. Win One Soon (Phil Hudon) finished second, followed by Lyons Jimmydean (James MacDonald). Like Bob Ben And John, Rollwiththepunches improved his record to two-for-two in his career and in OSS competition for owner West Wins Stable. Bred by Concord Stud Farm LLC., Paul Stromick, and Birnam Wood Farms, Rollwiththepunches was taken out of last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for $17,000. Rollwiththepunches is the first foal out of the Western Terror mare Terroronthebeach, a half-sister to Guestimate ($656,546) and Dinner Guest ($554,867). Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action for the rookie colt and gelding pacers will resume on August 10 at Georgian Downs. For full results and charts from Wednesday night’s events, please click - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0716grvrn.dat From the Ontario Sire Stakes
WASHINGTON, PA, July 15, 2014--Hempt winner McWicked and a quartet from the powerful Ron Burke stable will lead a competitive field of 18 sophomore colt and gelding pacers into the 48th edition of the $600,000 (est.) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Three $50,000 eliminations are set for the evening of Saturday, July 19 and will go as Races 3-5. The top three finishers in each split return for the final the following Saturday afternoon. Trained by Casie Coleman for SSG Stables, McWicked cruised home by 2-1/4 lengths in the final of the $500,000 Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, taking his lifetime mark of 1:47.3 and extending his career bankroll to $573,447. He also took one of the North America Cup eliminations, finishing fourth in the final. Off since the Hempt, the son of McCardle-Western Sahara goes from the rail in the third elimination, with David Miller driving. As might be expected, Burke, harness racing's leading conditioner, is well represented in the signature race of his home track. Perhaps the sharpest of Burke's four-pack is At Press Time, who chased McWicked home in the Hempt and came back with a facile score--at 1-9--in the PA All Stars at Pocono. Matt Kakaley will pilot the son of Western Terror-So Right from post 3 in the third elim for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Also part of the Burke quartet are Carracci Hanover, whose victory in a non-winners of 2 event is his only start this year; Somesizesomestyle, beaten a length while finishing fifth in the PA All Stars, and Limelight Beach, in whom Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and M1 Stable recently purchased an interest. Trainer Tony Alagna will send out a trio of Adios contenders--Journeyman, Maxi Bon, Bondi Hanover--while conditioner Jimmy Takter is seeking his third blanket of orchids in the last five years with Somewhere in LA. In addition to the Burke quartet, the banners of local owners will be carried by Cammikey, campaigned by Cam Land LLC, whose farm lies just down the road from The Meadows, and Mattamerican, owned by Bob Key. First post this Saturday is 6:55 PM. The elimination fields, in post position order, with trainers and tentative driver assignments: Race 3 1. Bushwacker Chris Ryder Brett Miller 2. Journeyman Tony Alagna Scott Zeron 3. Limelight Beach Ron Burke Yannick Gingras 4. Somewhere In LA Jimmy Takter Brett Miller 5. Carracci Hanover Ron Burke Yannick Gingras 6. Kingofthejungle Dirk Simpson Tony Hall Race 4 1. Maxi Bon Tony Alagna Scott Zeron 2. Somesizesomestyle Ron Burke Matt Kakaley 3. Let's Drink On It Joe Seekman Tyler Smith 4. Cammikey Bill Zendt Brian Zendt 5. Mattamerican Norm Parker Dave Palone 6. Beat The Drum Staffan Lind Brett Miller Race 5 1. McWicked Casie Coleman David Miller 2. Stevensville Ray Schnittker TBA 3. At Press Time Ron Burke Matt Kakaley 4. Some Playa Jennifer Sabot Jim Pantaleone 5. Brioni Robin Cruise Andrew McCarthy 6. Bondi Hanover Tony Alagna Aaron Merriman by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 14 - Recently retired WEG circuit driver Trevor Ritchie will be the special guest this Saturday on the Maple Leaf Trot edition of Mohawk Racing Live. Ritchie, who announced his retirement from driving two weeks ago, will reflect on his career and discuss the Maple Leaf Trot, a race he won three-times, on the pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Ritchie captured his three Maple Leaf Trot titles over a five-year span. (Rotation '03, Peaceful Way '06, Equinox Bi '07) His list of accomplishments also includes the Hambletonian, the North America Cup and six Breeders Crown titles. Along with an appearance on Mohawk Racing Live, Ritchie will be making the trophy presentation to this year's Maple Leaf Trot winner. Post time for this Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m. and fans unable to make it out to the track can watch a live stream of Mohawk Racing Live at www.mohawkracetrack.com. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
1. National Debt, Scott Zeron, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1 Last year, National Debt won all four of his starts while competing in Alberta for trainer/co-owner Kelly Hoerdt, who received Canada's 2013 O'Brien Award for Horsemanship. He was sent to New Jersey-based trainer Ron Coyne Jr. for the start of this season and captured the Gilmour Memorial Series during the winter. National Debt, who finished fifth in his Pace elimination, won by JK Endofanera, has won seven of 10 lifetime races and earned $76,073. Owned by Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil, and the J&T Silva Stables, National Debt had issues with allergies earlier this season while racing in Canada and missed nearly two months prior to his Pace elim. "He had a couple good tighteners in qualifiers, and this was his first test for speed against these colts, but all in all it went well," Coyne said. "He showed a good burst of speed at the end, he came home :26.2 and he finished up really nice, so I was really happy about that. It's all a matter of the post and the trip and we'll see if we get lucky. "We missed a few of the big dances, but we're ready to go again," Coyne said. For a feature about National Debt from earlier this year, read here. 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1 JK Endofanera (Art Major-Presidential Lady) won his elimination in 1:48.2 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He is trying to become the 10th horse to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. For more, read here. 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, David Menary, 5-2 He's Watching (American Ideal-Baberhood) won his elimination in 1:48.1 and is 5-2 on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For more, read here. 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1 One of two horses in the race from the Takter Stable, Tellitlikeitis (Well Said-Kikikatie) is a son of 2009 Meadowlands Pace winner Well Said out of the million-dollar-earning mare Kikikatie. He led early in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching, but finished fifth. Tellitlikeitis, owned by Lothlorien stable, has won four of 12 career races and $389,022. He finished second to JK Endofanera in the North America Cup. "I expect him to be better," Takter said. "He had three weeks off [prior to his Pace elim] and that's a long time in this group. I had to play it like that with him, unfortunately. I cannot race him every dance because he has issues. But he's got a perfect seat, the four post. If the pace is right, we know he can pace :25 the last quarter. If I get him a little bit better, he's quick enough that he can give you something." 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1 The 2013 Breeders Crown champion finished third in his Pace elim, won by He's Watching. Luck Be Withyou has won once in five starts this season and captured six of 16 career races, good for $404,827. He is owned by John Craig and trained by Bill Cass in Canada, with Oakes taking over in the U.S. Luck Be Withyou is a son of Western Ideal out of the mare Trim Hanover. He is a three-quarter brother to millionaire female pacer American Jewel. 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1 The colt tried to find room inside of JK Endofanera in the stretch, but was unable to get past the leader and finished third in his Pace elimination. Just three-quarters of a length separated JK Endofanera, runner-up Always B Miki, and Lyonssomewhere. Geoffrey Lyons Mound owns Lyonssomewhere, who is a son of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Miss Kitty Hanover. He has won five of seven career races and $98,570. "He didn't have enough room, but I thought he raced really, really good," Takter said. "He can step out of the gate extremely well. It's hard not to take advantage of that, but by the same token, you pay a little bit for that. "At the Meadowlands, it's not necessarily the best spot to sit behind the leader unless he's a very good leader. If you don't get racing room, you're playing with luck. With luck, yes he can win, without a doubt, and we need to be lucky in this race. It will be an interesting race." 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1 Erv Miller is hoping for big things from the big horse as the year goes on. Jet Airway opened 2014 with a second-place finish to JK Endofanera in the Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands. Owned by Miller, Tangie Massey, Paul Sunderhaus, and Larry Agle, Jet Airway has won six of 18 career races and $130,834. He is a son of Jereme's Jet out of the mare Aromatic. He raced 10 times as a 2-year-old, winning three races, but was shut down in early October. Marcus Miller, who recently got career win No. 2,000, is Erv's 25-year-old son. "He's a really fast horse, a big horse," Miller said about Jet Airway. "I think, hopefully, from midseason on he'll just keep getting better. It just seems he needed the racing to get going. He went a big mile [in his elim]. Marcus did a good job and he had a lot of pace finishing. "I could tell last year he was a pretty nice horse. I wanted to shut him down because he was real immature. I think as time goes, he'll just keep getting better." 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1 Always in the hunt, Sometimes Said has won only twice but hit the board in 14 of 18 career races. He finished second by a neck from post nine in last year's Breeders Crown, which was won by Luck Be Withyou, and was second in the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Owned by Fashion Farms, Sometimes Said is a son of Well Said out of the mare Lady Sometimes. He has earned $341,254 lifetime. Sometimes Said finished second in his Pace elim, beaten 2-3/4 lengths by He's Watching. "He's had a good week," Campbell said. "It's hard to say whether post eight will help him or hurt him, it depends how the race unfolds. It would probably be in his best interest if they're rolling along up front and he can get cover in the outer tier. "It's a tough group of horses. He went a big trip last week and he'll have to come back and be better than that this week." 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1 Came home the fastest of all Meadowlands Pace finalists with a :26.1 final quarter-mile to miss by a neck to JK Endofanera in his Pace elim. Always B Miki has won five of 20 career races and earned $219,916. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or Farms, and Roll The Dice Stable. Always B Miki was disqualified from third to fifth for interference in his Hempt Memorial elimination and went off stride in his North America Cup elim. He has three wins, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, and two second-place finishes (by a neck and a nose) in the five starts this year in which he's minded his manners. "I was apprehensive coming into [the Pace elimination] because he's just been a problem horse that way," Holloway said. "He's got a lot of speed, but he's not the easiest horse to deal with. He steered fairly well [in his elim] and raced well. He can go a tough trip, he's probably one of the tougher ones that way, but he is tough to deal with. "He's got the speed to go wherever they want to go. As long as he gets a decent trip he'll work it out from there." Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin, who was trained by Holloway and won two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown (Cane Pace and Messenger) in 2007, out of the mare Artstopper. He is a half-brother to Yagonnakissmeornot, who finished second in this year's Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. 10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1 Elliott is the only trainer in the race to have won the Meadowlands Pace previously, having captured the trophy in 2006 with Artistic Fella and 2009 with Well Said. Only two trainers, Brett Pelling and Bill Robinson, have more Pace victories. Doo Wop Hanover finished fourth in his Pace elim, which was won by JK Endofanera. He is a son of 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Deer Valley Miss and is a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Knock Three Times. For his career, Doo Wop Hanover has won five of 19 races and $180,788. He won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in May and the Hempt Memorial Consolation in a career-best 1:49 on June 28. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski. Post 10 has produced four Meadowlands Pace winners, tied for the third most of any starting spot, but none since The Panderosa in 1999. "I've had better draws," Elliott said with a laugh. "But when [Doo Wop Hanover] gets on the lead or first over, he wants to rock and roll, and he's better with a trip. We should be able to get a trip from there, we'll just hope it's not a bad one. "He's been good all year. He's a nice colt. He might be a notch below the best ones, but there's so many times now when the trip dictates the outcome. We just want to be somewhere in the live flow. You've got to be in it. If you're not in it, you can't win it." * * * Tim Tetrick and Ron Pierce have enjoyed multiple successes in the Meadowlands Pace in recent years, combining to win six of the last seven editions of the race. Pierce has won the Meadowlands Pace a total of four times, second to only John Campbell's seven Pace victories for the most among all drivers in history. Pierce's victories were with Dream Away (1997), Art Official (2008), Well Said (2009) and Roll With Joe (2011). He drives Luck Be Withyou in Saturday's race. Luck Be Withyou, who starts from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line, finished third in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching. Pierce won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers with Luck Be Withyou. Tetrick has won the Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx (2007), One More Laugh (2010) and Captaintreacherous (2013). He drives He's Watching in Saturday's race, starting from post three. He's Watching, who won his Pace elimination in 1:48.1, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. "I sure would love to [win again]," Tetrick said. "I have a great horse to do it with. I like my chances. "There are some really nice colts in here and it's a tough group." Campbell will go for Meadowlands Pace win No. 8 with Doo Wop Hanover from post 10. Brian Sears, driving 2-1 morning line favorite JK Endofanera, tries for his second Pace triumph while Yannick Gingras, with Lyonssomewhere, also will be going for his second win. Scott Zeron (driving National Debt), Brett Miller (Tellitlikeitis), Marcus Miller (Jet Airway), Corey Callahan (Sometimes Said) and David Miller (Always B Miki) all are seeking their first Meadowlands Pace win. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Every year some of North America's best three-year-old harness racing pacers come together and compete for one race; The Pepsi North America Cup! For on this night; records are broken, victories are celebrated and the price of glory is high! And where the list of champions grows and grows... This night is one of harness racing’s most anticipated events. It’s the event of the year that top trainers, owners, drivers, and fans alike come together to watch history being made! You can feel the atmosphere of the grandstand change as the crowds begin to file in with spectators young and old; first time enthusiasts and experienced pros, as they all wait to catch a glimpse of the harness racing’s superstars. The races are always more intense on this night, and you can feel it as the trumpets blare and the race is called to post. The horses don’t know that it’s a bigger night; all that they know is that they are here to win! And the driver’s feel the pressure; because they know what glory lies beyond the finish line. The horse’s line up behind the gate, all of them ready to take one of the many champion titles to on the card. The gate lets the horses (and drivers) go, my heart begins to pound in time with the horse’s hooves hitting the dusty track. I undo my seatbelt, getting ready to stand up when they turn for home! I don’t want to miss a second of the action. But for now I’m on the edge of my seat. I watch the horses race past me, I’m in awe. I tune everything else out. At the same time, I’m also watching the fractions go up on the toteboard. As they come off the turn I know the time has come! I grip the rail, the blood rushing through my body. I look to my mom, and she knows that means I’m going to be standing up. I stand up as my eyes are locked on the stretch. I fight the urge to sit; my legs begin to shake, but I tell myself I’m not going to sit until they cross the wire. I grip the rail tighter. I begin to scream louder than I have all of the race as they draw near. My lungs begin to feel dry because I’m screaming so loud. The horses make a final graceful dash for the wire; all of them wanting to be number one; with one trying to outstretch the other. My concentration only breaks when I hear the announcer say with great excitement “...and that’s a new track record! After the winner returns to the Winner’s Circle. I watch attentively as the blanket is draped over him like the cape of a king. I watch as the winning connections hold the trophy high with pride and joy, as the cameras click and flash away! No matter how many North America Cups I attend, the same magic, wonder, and awe still exists; it never gets old and never will! Each year the horses get faster and faster, but the fierce competition remands the same. I have actually had the honor of being in the 2011 North America Cup Winner’s Circle. It was such an amazing experience, and one of which I will never forget. It all started a week before at the eliminations. I was along the rail when a gentleman came up to me and said “Sydney, if my horse wins next week, you can come out and have your picture taken.” I was so honored and excited. Then a few minutes later another gentlemen came up to me and said “No, no Sydney; if my horse wins next week, you make sure come out and get your picture taken with my horse!” Now I was even more excited! Now I wanted to know who was going to win the final! Was I going to have the honor of being in the Winner’s Circle? All of these questions would be answered next week. But next week seemed so far away. As I sat along the rail dreaming of next week, another gentleman named Carl Jamieson came up to me and said “ Sydney, don’t listen to those two” (referring to the gentlemen I had just been speaking to.) “When my horse wins next week make sure you come out for your picture!” So now I had three invites to the Winner’s Circle! Now I was really looking forward to the final! I could hardly wait to see who would be crowned the 2011 champion! A week later the final of the 2011 North America Cup was here! It was a beautiful summer evening and there was a warm breeze blowing through; and the air was buzzing with excitement. As everyone pondered the same thought, who will win the 2011 North America Cup? The entire night I was looking forward to that one race- The North America Cup! Would I have the honor of being in the Winner’s Circle? If so who would it be with? These were all the questions floating through my mind. But before I could find out any of the answers, someone had to win the North America Cup! The race was making my heart pound faster than it ever had before! The anticipation and excitement was growing with every turn they passed. I was also cheering for three horses at the same time; which as I learned that day is easier said than done. I had my seat belt undone, ready to stand when the horses rounded the final turn. As they turned for home I was practically jumping up and down. One of the horses I could go to the Winner’s Circle with was going to win! Up The Credit would be crowned the 2011 winner of the North America Cup! I quickly sat back down in my chair, buckled my seat belt the fastest I ever have, and my dad and I ran to the gate of Winner’s Circle waiting for Jody Jamieson to turn Up The Credit into the Winner’s Circle! Once there I met Carl Jamieson, I wished him a big congratulations on his win and gave him a hug! And then we all packed into the Winner’s Circle; all overjoyed with the evenings events! After the majority of pictures had been taken, Carl Jamieson came over to me and said “Sydney! Here hold it, and we’ll take a picture!” I replied “No, but thank you!” I was so nervous and I did not want to drop the North America Cup! So Carl (Jamieson) held it on my lap, and we had our picture taken holding the North America Cup! It was a pretty amazing feeling. And to this day that picture hangs on the wall in my living room... After I was back at my spot on the rail, Jody ( Jamieson) was walking back to the paddock signing autographs, as he walked by me I stuck my hand through the bars in the rail and said “ congratulations Mr. Jamieson!” He stopped, shook my hand, and said to the gentleman standing beside my mom and me, “Can I borrow your marker?” The gentleman agreed. My mom turned to grab our program for him to sign. Jody (Jamieson) said “that’s okay! I can do better then that!” He took off his North America Cup baseball cap, signed it, and placed it on my head; and he continued to walk back to the paddock. I was in shock; I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I lowered my head and the tears began to fall, not because I was upset, but because I was so genuinely touched but what Jody Jamieson had done! For the rest of the night I wore that hat with such pride! I will forever treasure that hat. In fact that night I slept with it like a teddy bear! And I kept waking up because I didn’t want to lose it! Today, that baseball cap hangs on a rack above my bed. And every night before I fall asleep, I look up at that very special baseball cap. And it brings me to that very special night and all the lasting memories that were created... This story is a collection of only a few of the memories I have from the North America Cup! Each year new memories are created; all of which I will always hold near and dear to my heart! Sydney Weaver is 14 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, co-owns a racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.
Latham, NY---As the Manhattan skyline provides the backdrop for the start of the 2014 edition of the Meadowlands Pace, the Empire state will also supply the favorites for the marquee event. JK Endofanera and He's Watching are both products of the standardbred breeding program in New York. 2-1 favorite JK Endofanera (1:48.2, $938,517) was bred and is owned by Alan Katz's 3 Brothers Stable. He is a son of Art Major (1:48.4, $2,727,224) out of the Presidential Ball mare, Presidential Lady (1:54, $291,651). JK Endofanera started his two-year-old career late after developing slowly early in the year. He didn't make his first lifetime start until September, getting his first victory at Lexington. Following his third race the colt was placed in the Ron Burke Stable for the remainder of the year and continued to progress from there. After a win in an overnight and a second in the $49,300 Madison County stake, JK Endofanera closed out his campaign with identical 1:51.4 victories in the $157,000 Elevation Stake at Hoosier Park and the $534,500 Governors Cup at the New Meadowlands. Last year's late bloomer came out swinging this year capturing three consecutive stake victories. Then after finishing third in his elimination, JK Endofanera took the final of the $920,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway and earned a new lifetime record of 1:48.4 after being parked out for the bulk of the mile. Last week in the Meadowlands Pace elimination he quickly eclipsed that mark in a gutty performance, fending off deep stretch charges by Always B Miki and Lyonssomewhere to notch a 1:48.2 victory and position himself as the morning line favorite for the pacing classic. In his career, JK Endofanera is 9 of 13 lifetime with three seconds and one third. 5-2 second choice He's Watching (1:48.1 $461,957) was bred by Brittany Farms, Bob Burgess and Karin Olsson-Burgess and is owned by his trainer, David Menary, along with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. He is a son of American Ideal (1:47.4 $786,055) out of the Real Desire mare, Baberhood (1:55 $7,905). He's Watching was a $3,000 yearling purchase that turned out to be more than anyone could have imagined. Because of his low purchase price, the colt was not staked to anything except the New York Sire Stakes last year, but it was in New York that he made his mark on the sport. He's Watching was a perfect eight for eight during his freshman campaign and his blistering speed led him to be named the Dan Patch two-year-old champion for 2013. He set two world records and six track records during his domination across the state and gained much national attention without ever hitting the Grand Circuit. His freshman seasonal mark of 1.50 was achieved twice; once at Tioga Downs that made him the fastest two-year-old ever on a five-eighth's mile track and once at Vernon Downs, which was a new track record at the 7/8-mile track there. He's Watching then closed the year with an exclamation point when he scorched Yonkers Raceway's half-mile track in a world record tying time of 1:52.2. He's Watching's 2014 debut was less than stellar. Sent off as the 1-9 favorite in the $40,000 Art Rooney elimination at Yonkers, the colt finished a distant sixth in the six horse field. But after suffering his first defeat ever, the wagons were circled and he coasted to a lifetime best 1:49.3 victory in the $69,000 Somebeachsomewhere at Mohawk Raceway in wire to wire fashion. He's Watching had gallant efforts in the North America Cup elimination and final at Mohawk where he got caught in late stretch both times, and was in top form last week as a gapped winner in the Meadowlands Pace elimination in a new lifetime mark of 1:48.1. Tim Tetrick followed live cover from the half before tipping He's Watching three deep around Sometimes Said in mid-stretch to clear for the victory. He's Watching is 10 of 13 lifetime with one second and one third. JK Endofanera and He's Watching will leave from post two and three respectively and both come into the race at the top of their game. They are excellent examples of the quality standardbreds being produced each year in New York State to compete with the best in the world. By Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of NY State
R I P Tony Chiaravalle. He owned the 1993 Pace winner Presidential Ball and was the original owner of the third place finisher that year Riyadh. R I P Matts Scooter-1988 Meadowlands Pace winner-sire of Mach Three 2002 Pace winner. Grandsire of Somebeachsomewhere-THE most prohibitive Pace favorite of the 21st century/ R I P Joe Muscara. He owned the 2002 Pace winner Mach Three and his Muscara Trust co-owns elim divisional winner He's Watching, one of the favorites in this Saturday's race. $776,000 Pace Purse. Not counting the two years with a supplemental entry, (2000 and 2008), this is the first time since 1990 that the purse is at least $100G higher than the previous year: 1989 $852,000 Dexter Nukes 1990 $1,153,500 Beach Towel Sire Well Said looks to do-with two chances-what has been done SEVEN TIMES in Meadowlands Pace history. Win the Pace with his first crop. (Sometimes Said, Tellitlikeitis) 1984 Happy Motoring sired On The Road Again 1985 Niatross sired Nihilator 1997 Artsplace sired Dream Away 1998 Life Sign sired Day In A Life 2005 Western Ideal sired Rocknroll Hanover 2008 Art Major sired Art Official 2013 Somebeachsomewhere sired Captaintreacherous If you're betting either He's Watching or Luck Be Withyou, you have recent history on your side. Tim Tetrick and Ron Pierce have won 6 of the last 7 editions of the Meadowlands Pace, THE most dominant TWO-driver run in the races 37 year history. (Of those 6 wins between them, 3 each, 4 of those 6 were NOT favored) Ron Burke will try and do what has been done THREE TIMES before. Be the Leading trainer at the Meadowlands for the meet AND win the Meadowlands Pace. J K Endofanera 1993 and 1994 Bill Robinson did it with Presidential Ball and Cams Card Shark 1997 Brett Pelling did it with Dream Away 2004 Mark Harder did it with Holborn Hanover, who was 2-22 lifetime coming into the race and lit up the board at 58-1 "MILLER TIME?" Maybe. There are three driving "MIllers" in the race-Dave and Brett and Marcus. That doesn't even count trainer Erv. The first ever TRAINER named Miller to be in the Pace-as well as the first ever drive-BOTH finished 3rd. Del Miller trainer 3rd 1980 Tyler B Jim Miller driver 1979 3rd with Tijuana Taxi THROWBACK TIME? Some Pace participants in 2014 were prominent at the Meadowlands in the 1980s. Val D'Or Farms (Always B Miki) 3 times made a 1980s Pace final. 4th with Masquerade in 1986, 7th and 11th with Ringaleevio and Paladium Lobell in the 1988 edition Steve Elliott was 10th with Souffle in the 1986 final of the Pace, and was 3rd and then 2nd in the 1988 and 1989 Trainer Standings here Joe Holloway won FOUR races at the Meadowlands in the 1970s-including twice with a pacer named Pentagon as a DRIVER. In the 1980s, Joe became the first ever Meadowlands trainer to win as many as 106 races in a singe meet-1988 Jim Campbell was the 1989 Meadowlands Training Leader. He also started in the Pace with a pair in 1987-3rd with Run The Table and 12th with Dictionary Peter Blood is one of the owners of Doo Wop Hanover. As a trainer here-he was second in the 1988 Wilson-the LAST one to go for $1 Million-with Nukes Image to Kassa Branca. The following year, he went 1-2 in the Wilson conso. Pierce Pace Potpourri Ron Pierce drove the shortest priced Pace winner of the new millennium-$2.80 Well Said 2009. Ron Pierce UPENDED the shortest priced Pace STARTER of the new millennium-Somebeachsomewhere-10 cents on the dollar-in 2008 with Art Official. (Art Official-incidentally-sold as a $4,000 WEANLING at a Meadowlands January sale) NUMBERS 17 of the 37 Pace winners were sired by a horse who himself raced in the Pace final. ONLY ONE-Real Desire is the ONLY horse to win $3 Million-be Horse Of The Year and win the Meadowlands Pace and NOT be in the Hall Of Fame ONLY ONE Pace winner won from the second tier-On The Road Again 1984 Post 12 THREE Homebreds in the Pace final field. The 2013 Hambletonian had three homebreds win all three eliminations and then the final. Creatine, Smilin Eli and Royalty For Life 20-1 or better-Tellitlikeitis will surely be one of the longshots in the 2014 Pace final field. Rarer than rare for the North America Cup FAVORITE-ALSO the Meadowlands Pace elimination FAVORITE, to be an also-ran in the wagering in the Pace final. FIVE catch-drivers have gone into the Hall Of Fame the past TWO decades. Only five. ANNIVERSARY 23 years to the day of Precious Bunny winning the 1991 Meadowlands Pace. July 12, 1991. That marked the first time in history a horse won TWO million $ races in the same year (Nihilator did it in 1984 and 1985) John Campbell drove him in the North America Cup to victory, but opted off for Artsplace in the Pace final and Jack Moiseyev won with the Cam Fella colt. HOY. It was also the first of four STRAIGHT Pace winners for Cam Fella as a stallion-ironic when you consider that Cam Fella finished his career 57 straight times on the board-the last time he MISSED the board? 1982 Meadowlands Pace elimination!! 7th Ron Pierce is on top in North America in $$$. 58 Years of age. This stat is especially interesting when you consider that-in 2006-he was and is the ONLY 50 Years Old to EVER lead the way, and now at 58 is threatening to do the same Golden Receiver's barn change-AFTER winning $2 Million-brings back memories of possibly the two greatest horses to ever undergo a barn change. Seatttle Slew and Artsplace. WIDE OPEN PACE?-2013 TOLD US EXACTLY THAT Many live candidates to win the 2014 Meadowlands Pace. And why not. In 2013-the LEADING 2 YO colt pacing earner made $390G-Arthur Blue Chip. This marked the first time since 1977 that the leading $$-winning freshman pacing colt did NOT have at least $400G on his card. No No Yankee had $211G in 1977 (Ironically-the FIRST year of the Pace) Dave Miller-John Campbell Dave Miller-6 days after entering the Hall Of Fame, hopes to do what only John Campbell has done prior. Go into the Hall Of Fame and win either the Hambletonian or the Meadowlands Pace the SAME year. 1990-John Hambo Harmonious. Dave handles Always B Miki IF Marcus Miller wins the Meadowlands Pace-he WILL become the YOUNGEST driver ever to do so. Tetrick also did it at 25 in 2007 with Southwind Lynx, Marcus a few months younger. Canadian Influence 5 of the 6 inside posts in the 2014 Meadowlands Pace have Canadian ownership. 6 of the first 12 Meadowlands Pace winners (1977-1986) had Canadian ownership. "Hall" Pass-OOPS Pace Five of the first 10 winners of the Meadowlands Pace had trainers who were Hall Of Famers. BUT-only ONE of the last 27 training winners of the Meadowlands Pace did it. Ray Remmen 1990 Beach Towel. Jimmy Takter has two shots at ending that 24 year 0-fer. Coyne-Operated Ron Coyne (National Debt) has been in the Pace before. 1999 with Washington VC. 8th. That colt then sired a $3 Million career earner by the name of Themightyquinn If either John Campbell or Ron Pierce win the Meadowlands Pace, they will be the oldest to do so. 59 and 58. Cat Manzi at 56 in 2006 with Artistic Fella currently holds than distinction. Steve Elliott is the ONLY trainer in the 2014 Meadowlands Pace field who has won this race before. And he did it twice. 2006 and 2009. There are only two trainers in Meadowlands Pace history who have won the Pace multiple times and were FAVORED in all of their wins: Elliott, Billy Haughton Billy Did it with Falcon Almhurst in 1978-9/5 choice over eventual HOY Abercrombie-and with Nihilator at 1-9 in 1985 heading a prohibitive 5 horse entry. "Starter" Kit NO 2014 Pace finalist has more than 8 starts in 2014. Yet 16 of the first 24 Meadowlands Pace winners had at LEAST NINE starts on the season entering the Pace final. Jimmy Takter (Tellitlikeitis and Lyonssomewhere) will try and do what Brett Pelling did last. Go 1-2 in the Pace. Pelling did it with Rocknroll Hanover in 2005 and Village Jolt second. He's Watching's June 13 foaling date would be THE latest ever for any Meadowlands Pace winner. (TWO of the more famous JUNE foals of all time used to be stablemates-Art Major and McArdle) SLOW STARTS? NO PROBLEM IN THE PACE Your year isn't going the greatest going INTO the Meadowlands Pace? This doesn't mean a whole lot-or at least it didn't to these brand names: 2001 Real Desire 1 for 5 going into the Pace 2000 Gallo Blue Chip 5 for 10 entering the Pace 2010 One More Laugh 2 for 6 going into the Pace 1988 Matts Scooter Just 2 for 9 entering the Pace (NOTE-the 2 YO Champion (He's Watching 2-5)-and the 2YO Breeders Crown winner (Luck Be With You 1-5)-are a combined 3/10 entering the 2014 Pace) The "OUTSIDERS?" The three outside horses in the Pace were all sired by a Pace favorite: Post 8 Sometimes Said (Well Said 2009) Post 9 Always B Miki (Always A Virgin 2007) Post 10 Doo Wop Hanover (Rocknroll Hanover 2005) Takter's Pace Breakthrough? NO Trainer in the 21st century who's campaigned a Horse Of The Year has made it to the Hall Of Fame. Jimmy Takter is the last trainer to do both-having won the HOY titles in 1997-1998-1999. Bob McIntosh went into the Hall Of Fame in 2002-and a full decade later-won his first MILLION $ race going 1-3 in the 2012 NA Cup. Jimmy Takter is looking for his very first Pace score. Ron Burke just scored his first Million $ win taking the NA Cup with J K Endofanera. The Two oldest drivers to hit the board in the Meadowlands Pace? 1978 Joe O'Brien 59-thid with Flight Director 1982 Billy Haughton 58 3rd with McKinzie Almahurst John Campbell is 59 and Ron Pierce 58 Campbell-Meadowlands Pace-Post 10 The man is amazing. Post 10 in the Meadowlands Pace in 2014 with Doo Wop Hanover. His history from post 10 in the Pace is almost beyond belief. ALL of the following are from Post 10-IN The Meadowlands Pace: 1982 Hilarion winner-first ever catch-driver to win a Million $$ race. 1997 At Point Blank second at 14-1 the colt was WINLESS (0-15) on the year!! 1999 The Panderosa got post 10 initially-AND on the redraw-and still dominated with a 26 flat final quarter in 1:49.3-then a record mile in the Pace and thus becoming the first horse ever to win TWO million $$ races BOTH in sub 1:50) 2004 3rd with Metropolitan from post 10 2007 third with Artriverderci from post 10. 5 different trainers from post 10-five times on the board. Consider that in the other 30 times any driver raced in the Pace from post 10-combined-those drivers were 3-30 ON THE BOARD! OTHER Post 10 notes...... Dave Miller's Pace debut-1995-Cinder Lane Sam came from post 10-5th-flying home in 26.1.....Pat Crowe drove exactly once in the Pace-from post 10-in 1984 12th with a colt by the name of Greener Pastures.....Brett Pelling made his Pace debut in 1993 from post 10 (No check)....Pinocchio raced in the Pace-from post 10 for Neal Shapiro... 15 times in history the Meadowlands Pace winner has been THAT YEAR'S Leading $$ winner among ALL Pacers.(MOST common of any race of the leaders) Just HOW tough is it to WIN The Meadowlands Pace? This stat might tell it best. The last THREE Triple Crown winners in the sport-NONE of those three finished first OR second in the Meadowlands Pace!! 2003 No Pan Intended 4th 1999 Blissful Hall 7th 1997 Western Dreamer 3rd Who are the three richest ever horses to have participated in the Meadowlands Pace final and NOT gotten a check? Boulder Creek $3,425,853 8th 2003 Red Bow Tie $2,673,920 9th 1997 Western Hanover $2,541,647 7th 1992 Super Tough Quiz: Can you name the three colts who led all pacers in year end earnings but did NOT compete in the Meadowlands Pace final? 1977 Governor Skipper $522,148 1998 Shady Character $1,070,569 2002 Art Major $1,562,779 Compiled by Bob "Hollywood" Heyden
Trot Insider has learned that O'Brien Award winning driver Trevor Ritchie, one of the most respected and accomplished drivers in Canadian harness racing, is handing over the reins and retiring from active competition. Ritchie, who cut his teeth driving at Western Fair before moving to the Ontario Jockey Club, has won both the prestigious North America Cup (Quite A Sensation, 1986) and Hambletonian (Yankee Paco, 2000) in his long and illustrious driving career. "Driving horses gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people and go to a lot of places that I would not have otherwise visited and I consider myself lucky," Ritchie told Trot Insider on Monday. "I have been very fortunate in my career to have driven some great horses and I would like to thank all the trainers and owners that trusted me to drive for them. I would also like to thank all the caretakers who as we all know were a very important part in any success I've had." To view the rest of this story click here.
Alan Katz was hesitant to go to Ontario for the North America Cup last month, but he is glad he made the trip. It is unlikely he will have any similar reservations about crossing the Hudson River from New York and heading to Saturday's Meadowlands Pace. Katz and his brothers, Ron and Steve, bred and own JK Endofanera, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. The colt won his Pace elimination by a neck over Always B Miki in 1:48.2 last weekend and will start the final from post two with Brian Sears driving for trainer Ron Burke. In his previous start, June 14, JK Endofanera won the $920,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He will try to become the 10th horse in harness racing history to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. The Meadowlands Pace and $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers will be shown live on CBS Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday. The card also includes the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series. JK Endofanera's win in the North America Cup came from post nine at odds of 12-1 and followed a third-place finish in his Cup elimination. Katz drove eight hours from New York City to Mohawk, staying on the ground because other family members do not care to fly. "I asked Ron if the horse was going to be OK and told him I would be thrilled just to get a check," Katz said. "He said, 'I'm not.' Once I heard that, I figured I had to drive up there because I'd promised my brother. I thought it might be a long weekend, but everything worked out really good. Brian drove him super. "Once in a while, you get lucky. I was thrilled. The trip home seemed a lot shorter." JK Endofanera is a son of stallion Art Major out of the 3 Brothers Stables' mare Presidential Lady, who was a homebred multiple stakes winner. The 3 Brothers Stables' horses are named with the initials JK in memory of late family patriarch Jack Katz. JK Endofanera was named to honor Jack Katz as well as veterinarian Dr. Stephen P. Dey II, who passed away the day the horse was foaled at the Dey family's Heritage Hill Farm. Last year, JK Endofanera won four of seven races and finished second three times. He finished the campaign by winning the Governor's Cup at the Meadowlands. This season, he has posted wins in the Simpson Memorial Stakes and divisions of the Historic-Pocono Cup and Somebeachsomewhere in addition to his North America Cup triumph. In his Meadowlands Pace elimination, Sears and JK Endofanera sat in fourth place for the opening quarter-mile before bursting up the backstretch to take the lead at the halfway point. They then held off challenges from Always B Miki on the outside and Lyonssomewhere on the inside to win in a career-best 1:48.2. "I thought he was going to get beat, but he showed a lot of class and held them all off," Katz said. "He's probably better following horses than he is cutting the mile, but when you're the favorite every week you've got to be on the front. "We're tickled pink about him. I wish we had more like him. In this business, you never take anything for granted; they have to get a lot of good things to happen. It's a race. Anything can happen. But he's been giving us a thrill." Here is the field in post order for the Meadowlands Pace, with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. National Debt, Ron Pierce, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1; 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1; 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1; 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1; 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1; 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1; 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1; 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1; 10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Bee A Magician will try to return to her winning ways when she faces 13 male rivals - including last year's Hambletonian Stakes winner Royalty For Life - in Saturday's $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Last year, Bee A Magician won all 17 of her starts and was named Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada. This season, the mare is winless in three races and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. It was her first off-the-board finish since going off stride in her second lifetime start in July 2012. Trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman said Bee A Magician scoped sick following the Armbro Flight. Bee A Magician, who has won 27 of 33 career starts and $2.33 million, prepped for the Hambletonian Maturity with a 1:53.1 qualifier win on June 27, trotting her final quarter-mile in :26.3. She will start the Hambletonian Maturity, to be contested at 1-1/8 mile, from post No. 13 with regular driver Brian Sears. "She qualified really good and she's acting fine, so it looks good now," said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. "I was really happy with her qualifier and Brian thought she was back to her old self, so hopefully we're good. "It was a bit of a shock," he added about Bee A Magician's finish in the Armbro Flight. "I've never seen her stop before. But these things happen. She's never really had any setbacks before, so we weren't used to it. But she got over it, so we're OK. At least we knew there was something wrong." Joining Bee A Magician in the Hambletonian Maturity field are Your So Vain, Sweet Justice, Bambino Glide, Fico, Wheeling N Dealin, Royalty For Life, Flanagan Memory, Spider Blue Chip, High Bridge, Master Of Law, Major Athens, Possessed Fashion, and Creatine. Conditions for the Hambletonian Maturity allowed for up to 16 starters rather than the traditional 10. Royalty For Life, who is making his 2014 debut, won last year's Hambletonian Stakes while Spider Blue Chip was the Breeders Crown champion and Creatine captured the Kentucky Futurity. Wheeling N Dealin was the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. "I think it will be OK; I think we'll be alright," Norman said about facing the boys. "We'll see how some of those colts are." Also on Saturday's card at the Meadowlands are two eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and one elimination for the Mistletoe Shalee. The first elimination for the Meadowlands Pace features North America Cup winner JK Endofanera. The second division includes He's Watching, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, and last year's Breeders Crown champion Luck Be Withyou. The top five finishers from each elim advance to the July 12 final. As for Bee A Magician's future schedule, she is being pointed to the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands, which is for trotting mares, following the Hambletonian Maturity. "I think I'll try to keep her at home as much as possible, race her close to home," Norman said. "It's a long year and I don't want to over-race her. We'll see how it goes. If we can do some good on Saturday and get some money there, that's a big purse, it would make the rest of the year a lot nicer." Following is the field in post order for the Hambletonian Maturity with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Your So Vain, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 2. Sweet Justice, Corey Callahan, Bruce Saunders; 3. Bambino Glide, Marcus Miller, Julie Miller; 4. Fico, Tyler Smith, Staffan Lind; 5. Wheeling N Dealin, Jody Jamieson, Luc Blais; 6. Royalty For Life, David Miller, George Ducharme; 7. Flanagan Memory, Ron Pierce, Rene Dion; 8. Spider Blue Chip, Ron Pierce, Chuck Sylvester; 9. High Bridge, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 10. Master Of Law, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci; 11. Major Athens, John Campbell, Rich Gillock; 12. Possessed Fashion, Tim Tetrick, Tom Fanning; 13. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman; 14. Creatine, Mike Lachance, Bob Stewart. by Ken Weingarter, for Harness Racing Communications
After a stint in the breeding shed, 7-year-old trotter Wishing Stone is ready to make his 2014 harness racing debut in a conditioned handicap Friday at the Meadowlands. Wishing Stone received post 10 in the race and is 9-2 on the morning line. He enters the race off one qualifier, a 1:55.2 effort on June 20 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Undercover Strike is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Mistery Woman at 7-2 and Spider Blue Chip at 4-1. Wishing Stone stood as a stallion at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. He fulfilled contracts for 331 doses of frozen semen overseas as well as being bred to some 30 mares in North America. Although it is common for trotters overseas to breed and race in the same season, that is not the case in North America. Some well-known successes abroad include Ready Cash, who is France's richest trotter in history in addition to being a popular sire, and Coktail Jet and Mack Lobell, who both won the prestigious Elitloppet after performing stud duties. "It's a fun experiment and I think it's going to work," said Mike Gulotta, the CEO of Deo Volente Farms and head of the Wishing Stone Syndicate ownership group. "Actually, the first part of it has worked. We're excited." Gulotta hopes to see Wishing Stone get a boost as a stallion thanks to a new bonus program at the Meadowlands for New Jersey-sired horses. "I think now that people see that things will be changing in New Jersey, there will be a lot more interest in him and other Jersey stallions next year," Gulotta said. "Sometimes people need to see that something is actually happening in order to commit." Wishing Stone is well known in Europe, having competed there at ages 4 and 5. In 2011, he won the French trotting race Grand Prix du Sud Ouest at 1-5/16 mile and also the King's Trophy in Sweden. He was second in the Gran Premio Continentale in Italy. A year later, he captured the Copenhagen Cup in Denmark at a distance of 1-1/4 mile. He finished his European campaign with a second-place finish in the Jubilee Trophy for 5-year-old trotters in Sweden. He returned to the U.S. in August 2012 to continue his career in North America. Lifetime, Wishing Stone has won 21 of 69 races and earned $2.23 million, making him the richest offspring of sire Conway Hall. He has won multiple stakes in the U.S., including the 2010 Kentucky Futurity in straight heats at Lexington's Red Mile. "We'll see now how he races," Gulotta said. "He looks good. I think he's gained weight and grown up a little, actually, which may be helpful to him. We're happy." To read a Hoof Beats magazine story about Wishing Stone's double duty, click here. * * * JK Endofanera, the No. 1-ranked horse on the Road to the Meadowlands Pace, is entered in Friday's qualifiers at the Meadowlands. The colt, which captured the North America Cup on June 21, has won eight of 12 career races and never finished worse than third. The Ron Burke-trainee has earned $913,517 for owner 3 Brothers Stable. He is not the only Meadowlands Pace eligible in the qualifier. He is joined by Jimmy Takter-trained Lyonssomewhere, who was fifth in the North America Cup, as well as Joe Holloway's Always B Miki, Tracy Brainard's Big Boy Dreams, and Ron Coyne Jr.'s National Debt. Lyonssomewhere is No. 4 and Always B Miki is No. 7 in the Meadowlands Pace rankings. Big Boy Dreams, who was second to He's Watching in last year's New York Sire Stakes championship, has not raced in 2014. Eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace will be held July 5 and the $650,000 final is July 12. Elsewhere, Boomboom Ballykeel, who won last year's Metro Pace, is in the first of three divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday. Boomboom Ballykeel has one win, which came in the sire stakes in May, in three starts this season. He is trained by Richard Moreau. The second division includes Meadowlands Pace eligibles Bugger Bruiser, trained by Carmen Auciello, and Erv Miller's Jet Airway while the third division has Ian Moore's Play It Again Sam. Three horses eligible to the Meadowlands Pace are competing in the same New York Sire Stakes division Friday at Buffalo Raceway - Patrick Lachance's Sir Sam's Z Tam, Mark Ford's Twin B Speedo, and P.J. Fraley's Ideal Cowboy. * * * In addition to the previously mentioned horses qualifying Friday at the Meadowlands, Bee A Magician, Royalty For Life, Shebestingin, and Cee Bee Yes will be among others in action. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is winless in three starts this season and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk. Trainer Nifty Norman told Trot Insider the mare scoped sick following the Armbro Flight and would start next against her male counterparts in the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters on July 5 at the Meadowlands. Last year, Bee A Magician's wins included the Hambletonian Oaks. Also being pointed to the Hambletonian Maturity is 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life. * * Levy Memorial Series champion P H Supercam will look to snap a four-race losing streak in Saturday's open handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The race also includes Heston Blue Chip and last week's winner Digital Z Tam. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications U.S. Trotting Association
CAMPBELLVILLE, June 18 - JK Endofanera's victory in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup was a popular one for many fans attending Mohawk's showcase evening. The Ron Burke trainee returned $26.30 for a $2 win wager in the 31st renewal of the race. Woodbine Entertainment Group was also pleased with the business results of the event billed as Ribs, Racing and Rivalries on Saturday. Fans and horseplayers wagered $3,437,037 on the 14-race card, up 14.5% compared to the $3,001,036 figure recorded in the 2013 edition of the race. The overall handle was the highest since the race moved to Mohawk in 2007. A figure of $474,023 was wagered on the Pepsi North America Cup race itself. "It was a good evening," said WEG's Executive Vice-President of Racing, Jamie Martin. "There was a definite positive vibe at Mohawk on Pepsi North America Cup night, felt by both the casual fan and the core horseplayer. We're determined to continue our mission of offering a high quality horse racing experience for fans while growing wagering across the province. That was seen by many on Saturday." Many fans showed up three hours before the first race to get their "First Bet on Us", a commemorative Pepsi North America Cup hat and to secure a great spot to enjoy the evening. They enjoyed award winning ribs from Silver Bullet BBQ and Blazin BBQ and unique brands of beer at "Beerville." Fans were also entertained between races all night with live music from the River Junction Band and Amy Rose. This Friday, June 20, Mohawk will offer a Fireworks Show following the races to celebrate the 100th birthday of Campbellville. A special first-race post time of 7:05 p.m. is slated. by John Siscos, for WEG
This Week: TVG Free For All Trot, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial eliminations, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will shine on Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday (June 20) with a $50,000 leg of the TVG Free For All Championship Series for older trotters. A field of seven will go to the post in race 11. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will host four sets of stakes eliminations on Saturday (June 21). There will be two eliminations in the Ben Franklin for older pacers and the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters and three eliminations in the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the $920,000 Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack. JK Endofanera, with driver Brian Sears, roared down the stretch to take the Cup, Canada's richest harness race, in 1:48.4. It was the second Cup win for Sears, who took the 2005 edition with Rocknroll Hanover, but the first for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables (Alan, Steven and Ronnie Katz) of New York City. Dismissed at 12-1 odds, JK Endofanera, leaving from post nine, came from well out of it, collaring He's Watching and favored Tellitlikeitis deep in the lane. The winning margin was 1-1/2 lengths over Tellitlikeitis, with He's Watching third and McWicked fourth. Mohawk also hosted four other lucrative stakes events on the Saturday evening program. Trixton, the 1-9 choice in the $250,332 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old trotters, kicked off the evening and lived up to his billing with another facile triumph. Trained and driven by Jimmy Takter, Trixton romped as his odds reflected, scoring by six lengths in a stakes, track and Canadian record time of 1:51.3. Trixton took over from Harper Blue Chip after a half in :55, got to three-quarters in 1:22.4 and floated home in record time. Il Sogno Dream wound up second and Harper Blue Chip was third. Classic Martine snapped Perfect Alliance's attempt at a perfect season by capturing the $244,720 Armbro Flight Stakes for older trotting mares. After following in third, Classic Martine found open racetrack at the top of the stretch. The Chris Oakes trainee dug in, trotting past Perfect Alliance just strides before the wire to win by a length. The mare stopped the clock in 1:52.1, which was a fifth of a second off the stakes record. Perfect Alliance finished second and Rockin With Dewey was third. The classy veteran pacing mare Anndrovette showed she was all heart by completing the three-peat in the Roses Are Red stakes. Anndrovette was pushed hard off the gate by driver Tim Tetrick and got to the front near the quarter pole. Leading the group of mares in the $303,600 event, Anndrovette took the field down to the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4 with Somwherovrarainbow and driver Brian Sears pressuring first-over. The two mares would then hook up in the stretch with Somwherovrarainbow taking a slight lead, but Anndrovette was dead game, fighting back on the inside to retake the lead and win the Roses Are Red in 1:49.1. Rocklamation wound up third in the mile. Trainer Jimmy Takter scored his second stakes wins on the card with Uffizi Hanover in the $420,900 Fan Hanover final for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Into the lane, Uffizi Hanover was angled out of the pocket spot by driver David Miller. Nat A Virgin and Uffizi Hanover battled for the lead and it was Uffizi Hanover who was victorious by 1-1/4 lengths. The 8-5 favorite stopped the timer in 1:50.4. Nat A Virgin was second and Take That Hanover was third. The $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity Pace was the feature of last Friday night's card at the Meadowlands and served as the stage for the successful return to the races of two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous. Saddled with post ten for his seasonal debut, Captaintreacherous was sent away from the gate by Tim Tetrick, improving to a mid-field tuck in fifth as first Word Power and then Apprentice Hanover led past the opening quarter in :26. Tetrick tipped Captaintreacherous at about the three-eighths mark and within a few strides had the lead at the half in :54. A :28.2 breather in the third panel was all he needed to get home as Captaintreacherous responded to Tetrick'a urging when Sunfire Blue Chip approached head-stretch and then held stablemate Odds On Equuleus safe by a length in 1:49.2. Dovuto Hanover was third. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 341; 2. Yannick Gingras - 328; 3. Ron Pierce - 215; 4. Brian Sears - 165; 5. George Brennan - 164.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 527.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 225; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Joe Holloway - 132; 5. Julie Miller- 110. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 112.3; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 104.8; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 82; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Next weekend Grand Circuit action will be taking place at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and Mohawk Racetrack. Pocono will have the finals for the Ben Franklin (older pacers), Earl Beal Memorial (3-year-old male trotters), Max Hempt Memorial (3-year-old male pacers) and James Lynch (3-year-old filly pacers) on Saturday (June 28). On Monday (June 30), Mohawk will host a leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit