Fiftyshadesdarker took the $12,500 Open Pace on Monday (October 20) at Northfield Park. Brian Loney owns and trains the winning four year-old and enlisted the driving harness racing services of Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. Fiftyshadesdarker (Bettor's Delight - Crystal Slipper - Artiscape) started from the rail and virtually led the field from start to finish through fractions of :27.4, :57, 1:25.2 and 1:54.1. He was 1/2-length in front at the finish. Completing the race were DJ Lance, Mybrothergeorge, Our McLovin, Hall Of Memories, Playin For Keeps, Master Stroke, Just Crowned and Aligned Hanover. Fiftyshadesdarker now has six wins in 30 starts this year, 10 career successes and a bankroll of $79,460. He was the race favorite and paid $3.00 to win. Kirty Dream was impressive in winning the evening's $12,500 Open Trot. Jeff Hochstetler trains the seven year-old for owner Mario Caponi of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Jason Thompson was aboard for the winning drive. Kirty Dream (Cantab Hall - Klelia - Cezio Josselyn) started from post seven. He was parked with cover through fractions of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:27 before taking lead in the stretch and besting his competition by 1 Â¾-lengths, in 1:57.1. Completing the race were Mythical Hall, Mary's Darvin, Wind Surfer, Mischievous Jesse, Zorgwijk Heavenly, Action SJ, Calling A Victory and Edit. Monday's triumph was the ninth win this year for Kirty Dream. It increased his lifetime win tally to 20 and his earnings to $271,709. He returned $7.00 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Sweetheart Dance was a repeat winner in Northfield's weekly top distaff event when she cruised to victory in the $12,000 Fillies and Mares Open on Friday (October 17) at Northfield Park. She is trained by Kent Sherman for Pittsburgh, PA owner Keith Pippi. Aaron Merriman, North America's leading driver this year, was in the sulky. Sweetheart Dance (Yankee Cruiser-Somkindasweetypie-Life Sign) was assigned the outside. She had to work in the first quarter to make the lead, but never experienced an anxious moment once she struck the front. Sweetheart Dance led her competition through fractions of :27.4, :56.3, 1:25.1 and 1:54.3, besting her competition by two lengths. Completing the race were Rockratese, Y Mach Me, Shes Glorious, Lady Ideal, JK Geronimo and Non Pareil. Friday's win was the 10th victory this year in 29 starts. It bolstered her career win tally to 22 and her lifetime earnings to $243,091. She was heavily favored and returned $2.60 to win. by Ayres Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Long shot players were ecstatic as the horses crossed the wire in the sixth race at Northfield Park on Monday (October 6), when (8) Tommy Two Shoes successfully kicked from the back to win at odds of 68-1. Fowlerville, Michigan's Jeg's Standardbreds Inc. owns the six year-old. Trainer Steve Main called upon Jason Merriman for the winning drive. It was the fifth win this year in 28 starts and represents Tommy Two Shoes' 23rd lifetime score. (8) Tommy Two Shoes (68-1) was followed across the wire by (7) Aligned Hanover (3-1) and (9) Gordieisanartist (8-1). Tommy Two Shoes returned $139.40 to win; the 8-7 Exacta paid $644.20; and the 8-7-9 Trifecta returned a whopping $5,049.40. Kirty Dream was impressive in winning the $12,500 Open Trot. Jeff Hochstetler trains the seven year-old for owner Mario Caponi of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Aaron Merriman was aboard for the winning drive. Kirty Dream (Cantab Hall – Klelia – Cezio Josselyn) was assigned outside. He was parked with cover through initial fractions of :28.1 and :56.4. Merriman tipped the trotter three-wide up the backstretch and was trotting the overland route through the 1:26.3 three-quarters. He secured the front in the final turn and trotted away from his competition by 4-lengths, stopping the timer at 1:56.1. Completing the race were Edit, Easy Strength, Mary’s Darvin, Calling A Victory, Wind Surfer, Lady Rev, Buckeye Man and Rose Run Logan. Monday’s triumph was the eighth win this year for Kirty Dream. It increased his lifetime win tally to 19 and his earnings to $265,459. He returned $5.40 to win. Fiftyshadesdarker took the evening’s $12,500 Open Pace. Brian Loney owns and trains the winning four year-old and enlisted the driving services of Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. Fiftyshadesdarker (Bettor’s Delight – Crystal Slipper – Artiscape) started from post six and virtually led the field from start to finish through fractions of :27.1, :56.1, 1:25.2 and 1:54.1. He was ¾-lengths in front at the finish. Completing the race were Hall Of Memories, Top Of The Mark, Playin For Keeps, T Red, True To Mach, Just Crowned, Our McLovin and Hare Craft. Fiftyshadesdarker now has five wins in 28 starts this year, nine career successes and a bankroll of $72,585. He was the race favorite and paid $5.40 to win. The Open Pace was one of six wins on the evening’s program for Northfield Park leading driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. Wednesday Action Returns Wednesday racing has returned to the Flying Turns. Northfield Park is now in action every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with a 6:00 p.m. post time. On Wednesdays throughout October, Northfield patrons are encouraged to "Spin N' Win" the Prize Wheel. The Wheel is FREE to spin - and everyone is a winner! by Ayres Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Aaron Merriman has more wins this year than any harness racing driver in North America. He continued his reign in both of the evening's features on Monday (September 29) at Northfield Park. Mythical Hall posted his third consecutive victory in the $12,500 Open Handicap Trot. Andy Rickert trains the six year-old for Mark Jakubik of West Seneca, New York. Mythical Hall (Andover Hall - Myth - Lindy Lane) started from the outside. He left alertly at the start, took the lead and was in complete control of his competition. He trotted fractions of :27.4, :56.3, 1:25.3 and 1:55.3. He bested his competition by a Â½-length. Completing the race were Kirty Dream, Zorgwijk Heavenly, Mary's Darvin, Sand Royal Blu, Calling A Victory, Bookem and Annie's Rocketman. Edit was scratched from the event. Monday's triumph was the ninth win this year for Mythical Hall. It increased his lifetime win tally to 27 and his earnings to $409,610. He returned $13.00 to win. The evening's $12,500 Open Pace was the "Arron Merriman Show" again, this time aboard Top Of The Mark. Tye Loy trains the winning five year-old for owner Harry Locke of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Top Of The Mark (Western Terror - Top Of The Hour - Abercrombie) started from post nine and was third throughout the initial :26.4 quarter. Merriman moved the pacer in the second quarter, made the lead approaching the half and never looked back. He continued on the lead through times of :54.4, 1:22.3 and 1:51.3. He was Â¾-lengths in front at the finish. Completing the race were Hall Of Memories, Chase The Sun, True To Mach, Our McLovin, Iwilldowhatido, Lite Me Up and Cullens Blue Jean. Cold Bath was scratched. Top Of The Mark now has seven wins in 23 starts this year, 25 career successes and a bankroll of $225,045. He was the race favorite and paid $5.00 to win. Ayers Ratliff
Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $25,000 Super High Five total pool guarantee to the Tuesday's (September 16) program. The Super High Five is offered in Race 13 and includes a carryover of $5,622.56. Tuesday's post time is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Northfield Park reminds horsemen of the Little Brown Jug Week draw schedule: DRAW DATE RACE DATE Monday (9/15) Friday (9/19) Tuesday (9/16) Monday (9/22) Friday (9/19) Tuesday (9/23) Please note that qualifiers will be on Friday (9/19) and will be drawn on Thursday (9/18). Box closes each day at 9:00 a.m. For more information, please contact the race office at 330/467-4101 ext. 2300. Northfield Park has announced the dates of three Fall Late Closing series. All of the newly added Late Closers carry a condition of: Non-winners of Two Pari-Mutuel Races (Ohio Breads N/W Three) or Non-Winners of $15,000 Lifetime (Through 8/31/2014). Tuesdays (October 7, October 14, October 21 and October 28) will host The Election Night Series for trotters. Each of the four legs will carry purses of $5,000. The $15,000 final (all purses guaranteed) will go to post on Tuesday (November 4). Thursdays (October 9, October 16, October 23 and October 30) will offer The Halloween Series for horse and gelding pacers. Each leg will be raced for a $5,000 purse. The final will be Thursday (November 6) for a purse of $15,000. Fridays (October 10, October 17 and October 24) and Thursday (October 30) highlight The Friday Night Lights Series for filly and mare pacers. Each of these legs will also carry a $5,000 purse. The $15,000 final will be Friday (November 7). A one-time $300 payment will be required of each entrant to be eligible. Payments are due by September 26. Conditions for the series can be found at www.northfieldpark.com. The link is near the bottom of Northfield’s homepage. Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $5,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee to Monday’s (September 15) program. Beginning in Race 3, the $5,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $1,117.03. Northfield’s Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3’s offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. Monday’s post time is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
September 2, 2014 - The week off in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs gave the handicappers the opportunity to think over their handicapping strategy and by doing so, they came out guns a blazing with five instances of handicappers scoring net profits of over $1,000 on any given day. When the dust settled, Mark McKelvie was the big winner for the week showing a net profit of $2,586, leapfrogging from 8th to 3rd place. While McKelvie won the week, Bob Zanakis regained the lead over Brandon Valvo with a swing a $2,919.25 thanks to his weekly net profit of $2,094.75. Gordon Waterstone's weekly net profit of $2,103 moved him from 12th place to 6th. On Thursday, August 28, Bob Zanakis started the hit parade, playing a $6 price part wheel trifecta ($144 total) in the first division of the Champlain and it paid off handsomely as he received a dividend of $2,408.40. Other key hits on Thursday were Sally Hinckley's $10 trifecta key ($120l) in the third division of the Champlain which paid $301, Dennis O'Hara's $50 cold exacta in the same race which returned $260, and Ann Stepien's $2 four-horse trifecta box ($48) earned $143.60. On a typical day, Gordon Waterstone's $20 trifecta key ($120) in the third division would normally have been the talk of the town with its $602 return but alas, Zanakis' play overshadowed this accomplishment. On Friday, August 2, the handicappers gathered their collective breaths with no particular breakouts. While the day's action was sedate, there were some individual bets worth noting. Derick Giwner's $150 exacta in the Zweig Memorial returned $405 while in the same race, Hinckley's $25 trifecta key ($150) paid $307.50. Saturday saw three players with big nights. Mark McKelvie led the trio with a net profit of $3,226 thanks to a $20 trifecta part-wheel ($60) in the She's A Great Lady. Waterstone earned $1,403 as a result of a $10 trifecta part wheel ($200) in the same race and O'Hara's $1,097 evening was attributable to a $30 trifecta key ($360) in the Metro which grossed $1,497. Other solid plays were Ray Garnett's $14 trifecta key ($280) in the Metro paid a $698.60 dividend as was Hinckley's $10 trifecta key play, returning $499. In the first division of the Simcoe, Josi Verlingieri had two winning tickets, a $25 exacta box ($150) paid $317.50 and a $125 win, place wager which returned $943.75. With a one day break, the handicappers returned for a Labor Day stanza which belonged to Garnet Barnsdale with his hit in the Shady Daisy. While Barnsdale had listed a $1 superfecta part wheel ($42), his ticket was reduced to a $.30 ticket ($12.60) which paid $2,561.90, reflecting the size of the superfecta pool. Waterstone was the only other player who won on Sunday as his $30 exacta box ($180) paid $438. The current standings after the completion of four legs are: As of September 1, 2014 - Leg 27 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $2,094.75 $4,303.45 2nd Brandon Valvo ($824.50) $2,780.00 $1,523.45 3rd Mark McKelvie $2,586.00 $1,962.00 $2,341.45 4th Josi Verlingieri $937.40 $1,551.55 $2,751.90 5th Earl Paulson ($504.00) $240.90 $4,062.55 6th Gordon Waterstone $2,103.00 $202.70 $4,100.75 7th Brian McEvoy $67.50 ($110.00) $4,413.45 8th Derick Giwner ($715.00) ($759.23) $5,062.68 9th Garnet Barnsdale $1,331.30 ($894.70) $5,198.15 10th Ray Garnett ($480.40) ($1,102.55) $5,406.00 11th Sally Hinckley ($122.00) ($1,793.90) $6,097.35 12th Ann Stepien ($406.95) ($2,156.06) $6,459.51 13th Rusty Nash ($745.65) ($2,369.76) $6,673.21 14th Dennis O'Hara $467.00 ($2,579.70) $6,883.15 15th Ray Cotolo ($1,150.00) ($5,698.40) $10,001.85 This week, one leg of the contest will be held on Saturday, September 6 at Mohawk Racetrack with a trio of races scheduled, the Simcoe for 3yo open pacers and the Champlain for 2yo open pacers and 2yo filly pacers will be contested. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott for HANA
Roger Huston, the iconic voice of harness racing, will call the action Thursday (August 28) at Northfield Park. The 15-race program will add to the tally of races he has announced, which currently stands at 167,200. Huston has been the voice of The Meadows since 1976 and will be calling his 47th Little Brown Jug on September 18. In addition, he has announced at 127 other venues. These include locations all over the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Wales and Australia. Huston, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, has enjoyed an amazing career in the sport -- and it is a career that will continue -- as he has no plans on retiring from the job he still immensely enjoys. First race post time on Thursday is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Ardyne Ace and Randy Tharps grind out a win in the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:50.4. Ardyne Ace is an 8-year old gelded son of Ace's N Sevens. He's trained by Jim Pollock Jr.for David Ehrenberg II and Daniel Fawcett of Ohio. Ardyne Ace started from assigned post five in the scratched down field of eight and Randy Tharps had the lines. Tharps was content to take off the gate and race from off the pace when a slew of leavers left hard for command. Santa Fe Beachboy and Josh Sutton landed on the front after the opening quarter that was paced in :26.4. The Indiana invader, Paco Labrook and Brad Hanners got the pocket ride behind the betting second choice. Before the half that was paced in :54.2, Ardyne Ace and Tharps were underway in their first over bid. The pressed the pace down the backside and hit three quarters in 1:22.2. Even after the :27.3 parked third quarter Ardyne Ace was far from tired. He have a game effort to win by a 1-length over a late charging Lucky Lime and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. J's Six Pak Attack and Dan Noble completed the trifecta. A mere 5-lengths covered the entire field of talented pacers. Scioto Downs continues the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge General Manager of Racing Operations,Stacy Cahill was joined by drivers, Aaron Merriman, Kayne Kauffman,Zach Mogan, Tyler Smith and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. who were challenged by Friday nights supporters of ALS. The Ice Bucket Challenge was carried out prior to first race post time. The group made donations and challenged drivers and executives at Northfield Park. Racing continues on Wednesday (August 20) First race post time is 6:30. From Scioto Downs Racino
Sorry that I had to skip a week due to my trip to Canada and Ireland but we are back in action once again. Hambletonian Day was my third straight winning weekend so as I am on a roll we will lay it all on the line for this weekend. Plenty of top flight racing around the country starting Friday with the Milstein Memorial and consolation Friday at Northfield Park, then Saturday’s action is mainly at Mohawk Raceway for their two-year-old stakes plus some top Preferred events. Saratoga has their Gerrity Memorial and to cap it all off is the Gold Cup & Saucer at Charlottetown Driving Park. Good Luck! $100,000 Pace Carl Milstein 3YO Consolation Northfield Park 8th race FRIDAY – National Debt was an undefeated early season sensation who seems to be coming back to life again. Off his last two starts he shows game finishes and should be able to take advantage of inside position to win in here. Use Limelight Beach and Western Vintage in exotic plays. $400,000 Pace Carl Milstein Memorial 3YO Northfield Park 11th race FRIDAY – With his five-race winning streak on the line, McWicked is in prime form and has beaten most of this field in the past. He is super sharp for trainer Casie Coleman, draws the rail on a half mile and should wire the field once again. Use All Bets Off and Tellitlikeitis in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Undefeated in her early career with four straight wins Happy Becky should have things her own way against this field. She has yet to be defeated on the front end and last start she romped by more than six lengths with ease. Use Bedroomconfessions and The Show Returns in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – Super well-bred JK Shesalady is undefeated in three starts and two back saw her win with ease in 1:52. She has drawn an outside post but that should hinder her ability to win once again. Use Cashaway and Wicked Little Minx in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - This is the weakest of the three divisions but A Plus should be able to take full advantage of that fact despite making only her second pari-mutuel start. She has already shown she can win from on and off the pace and will be tested well in here. Use Ideal Nuggets and Moonlit Dance in exotic plays. $89,924 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – The Wayfaring Man nearly made it a clean sweep in the Dream Maker series, winning last leg and the final. Logical choice in here provided he can continue to improve as they will be flying in here. Use ASAP Hanover and Edison in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Mohawk Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – Here we have the top two three-year-olds of last year going head and head. Both have had it rough going against seasoned stars but now face each other one again. I am giving the slight edge to Sunshine Beach over Captaintreacherous mainly because Sunshine Beach finally won a couple of starts and that should game him up for big mile. Use Captaintreacherous and Bestofbest Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Saratoga Harness 9th race SATURDAY – A great slugfest here with top horses going to post. While the Burke Stable has their big guns in Foiled Again and Clear Vision, I am going with Dancin Yankee. He suffered his first loss in six starts last out against Sweet Lou but should be able to come right back with good inside post to beginning winning streak again. Use entry of Foiled Again/Clear Vision and entry of Fat Man’s Alley and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 9th race pace SATURDAY – Despite having finished second in his last four starts Amora Beach still looms as the betting favorite in here and rightly so. He is a game performer and should be able to take this division either from on or off the pace. Use Traceur Hanover and American Legend in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – If anyone can wire the field in this race it will be Daylon Magician. He did it in his last start with a sharp 1:52.1 triumph, last quarter mile in :27.2. He is facing some tough local foes but can get the job done again. Use Mister Herbie and Wheeling N Dealin in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Even drawing the outside post eight should not stop Artspeak from remaining undefeated. Talented son of Western Ideal has been perfect in his first three starts and last time out scorched the track at the Meadowlands in 1:50.4 for trainer Tony Alagna. Use Pierce Hanover and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Gold Cup & Saucer Charlottetown Driving Park 14th race SATURDAY – This is really the place to be in North America. It’s the Little Brown Jug of Canada and after last year it looks like the Ron Burke Stable wants to win it again. Aracache Hanover was super strong on the front end in his elim win last week and with post two I see him wiring the field and not looking back. Use Wazzup Hanover and Bigtown Hero in exotic plays.
All Bets Off benefited from a perfect trip to score in the inaugural harness racing $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial on Friday, August 15, 2014. The event was in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. It was the richest horse race ever conducted in Northeast Ohio. All Bets Off (Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope-Dexter Nukes) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, Frank Baldachino of Clarksburg, New Jersey, Panhellenic Stable of Oyster Bay, New York and Rosemary Shelswell of Cookstown, Ontario, Canada. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Matt Kakaley to drive. All Bets Off started from post two and led the field early before yielding to heavily favored McWicked just past the :26.1 opening quarter. He remained in the pocket through middle fractions of :54.1 and 1:22.1, before diving into the passing lane in the stretch and besting his competition by Â¾-length in 1:50.3. "I got the trip I wanted -- everything worked out perfect," said Matt Kakaley. "I needed room around the last turn and once I got it, he just exploded." All Bets Off is relatively lightly staked this year. "This is his [All Bets Off] biggest race of the year -- he really came through tonight," stated an elated Ron Burke. The win pushes All Bets Off's earnings to $697,842. Following in succession after All Bets Off were Luck Be Withyou and McWicked (dead heat), Stevensville, Let's Drink On It, Seventh Street and Boomboom Ballykeel. Tellitlikeitis did not finish. All Bets Off returned $16.60 to win. All Bets Off's Earlier in the evening, National Debt and Ron Pierce broke Northfield's track record for three year-old colt pacers in the $100,000 Carl Milstein Memorial Consolation in 1:49.4. The clocking was only the fifth ever sub-1:50 mile in the history of the half-mile oval. National Debt was the benefactor of sizzling :25.1, :53.2, and 1:21.2 fractions before winning by a neck in the record performance. Completing the field for the Milstein Consolation were Limelight Beach, Three Of Clubs, Western Vintage, Wicked Business, Bondi Hanover and Allstar Partner. Always At My Place was scratched.
McWicked is not the most energetic harness racing horse when enjoying an uncontested lead, but his lackadaisical manner can change in a hurry when necessary. The colt's determination is one of the attributes that impresses trainer Casie Coleman as she prepares McWicked for Friday's inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at Northfield Park. McWicked was not eligible to the Milstein, but the colt's connections paid $34,000 to get into the race. McWicked, who brings a five-race win streak to the Milstein, will start from post No. 1 with driver David Miller. For the year, McWicked has won seven of 10 races, including the Max C. Hempt Memorial and the Delvin Miller Adios, and earned $654,271 for owner Ed James' SSG Stables. During his string of victories, McWicked has not once lost ground in the stretch. In fact, he has won by no less than a length during that span and increased his advantage in the lane by a total of 8-1/2 lengths. "It's just his desire to win, how much guts he has," Coleman said. "Because he's a lazy colt, sometimes I look at him at the three-quarters pole and I'm a little worried that he's getting tired. As soon as Dave hits the head of the lane and a horse comes up to look at him, boom he's just gone. "There's hardly been a race that Dave's had him where he's been all out. He's been quite in hand coming to the finish in most of his races. I've been real happy with that." McWicked, a son of McArdle-Western Sahara, heads to the Milstein off a 4-1/4 length win over Let's Drink On It in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on Aug. 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. The final preliminary leg of the series is Aug. 29 at The Meadows and the $260,000 championship is Sept. 7 at Philly. The three-week gap between McWicked's previous start and the next round of the sire stakes is the reason Coleman was searching for a race for McWicked. Following the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, the colt is expected to head to the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. "This race came up and it's a one-shot go for $400,000," Coleman said. "I talked it over with Ed James and we decided that it fits in pretty nicely, so we decided to go this route. I don't see why he wouldn't be good on a half(-mile track), but it's also a good test on a half before we go to the Jug. "Win, lose or draw it still gives me a couple weeks to freshen him up and get him ready for the sire stakes after this." For his career, McWicked has won 10 of 20 races and earned $833,888. He has finished worse than third only twice, most recently in the North America Cup on June 14 at Mohawk. He was fourth in that start, behind JK Endofanera, Tellitlikeitis, and He's Watching. It was the last time he lost a race. "He's been just superb every time he races," Coleman said. "Usually you'd think they'd start to get a little tired at this time of year with all the big miles they've been going, but this horse just seems to be thriving off it. "Every time I race him, I like him more and more. He seems to get stronger and stronger every time I put him behind the gate. I've been just thrilled with him." Following is the field in post order with drivers and trainers: 1. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman; 2. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 3. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter; 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 6. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman; 7. Boomboom Ballykeel, Aaron Merriman, Virgil Morgan Jr.; 8. Seventh Secret, Mike Wilder, Dan Altmeyer. By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA
This Week: Review Stakes, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Ill.; Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes, Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Ind.; Carl Milstein Memorial, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Joe Gerrity final, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ont.; and Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Monday (Aug. 11) at the Illinois State Fair with the $35,900 Review Stake for 2-year-old trotters, the $21,450 Review Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $18,800 Review Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Tuesday (Aug. 12) program features the $30,500 Review Stake for 3-year-old pacers and the $28,600 Review Stake for 3-year-old trotters. The Indiana State Fair will host one day of Grand Circuit racing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) with the feature being the $55,462 Fox Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers. The co-featured event is the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds will see two divisions each in the $26,920 2-year-old colt pace, the $26,632 2-year-old filly pace, the $25,928 2-year-old filly trot and the $22,404 2-year-old colt trot. The Horseman Stakes for 3-year-olds features single divisions in the $36,028 3-year-old colt pace, the $33,664 3-year-old filly pace, the $32,728 3-year-old filly trot and the $32,156 3-year-old colt trot. Then on Friday (Aug. 15), Northfield Park will host the $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers and a $100,000 (est.) consolation in the same event. Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host the C$60,000 (est.) Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers on Saturday (Aug. 16) and a C$20,000 (est.) consolation on Friday (Aug. 15). Also on Saturday, Saratoga Casino and Raceway will feature the $260,000 Joe Gerrity for open pacers and Mohawk Racetrack will contest the C$245,000 (est.) Nassagaweya for 2-year-old colt pacers and the C$215,000 (est.) Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Tioga Downs with Tompkins-Geers stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as the 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. These events carry purses estimated from $53,000 for the 3-year-old filly pacers to $85,000 for the freshman colt trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday (Aug. 8). Sweet Lou defeated stablemate Bettor's Edge in 1:47.2 in the Dan Patch. In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing, but stablemate Bettor's Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25. Carol's Comet and Aaron Merriman were well-placed In The Pocket second with the 1-5 favorite, Sweet Lou, next in line in third. Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4. Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader's wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field. Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a half-length to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor's Edge was a game second while Carol's Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window. Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48. Complete recaps of all the 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. Yannick Gingras - 646; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 369; 4. David Miller - 290; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,016.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 233.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 211.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. Mohawk Racetrack with contest eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Metro for 2-year-old colt pacers and the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old filly pacers on Saturday (Aug. 23). The Sunday (Aug. 24) card at Tioga Downs will offer eliminations for the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds and the second leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director
August 10, 2014 - Perhaps with the Hambletonian in the rear view mirror the general opinion was it was time to swing for the fences in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, but whatever the reason, the Dan Patch Invitational leg of the handicapping contest turned into a survivor round. While Sweet Lou was an obvious key horse in the race, the handicappers for the most part were unable to construct a ticket which used both Bettor's Edge and streaking Carol's Comet in their exotic plays. As a result, the successful handicapper this past Friday was the handicapper who managed to get their head over the waterline. Three handicappers were successful in the effort with Brandon Valvo winning the week with a $50 net profit and regaining the overall lead ($2,774.50) from Bob Zanakis with a tenuous lead of $65.80. Other handicappers who managed to show positive results for the week were Earl Paulson ($30) and Brian McEvoy ($20). Obviously, the number of key wagers this week were minimal but Rusty Nash greatly reduced his potential deficit by wheeling Sweet Lou in the Superfecta for a dime investment ($33.60 total) and managed to collect $116.65. Earl Paulson managed his $30 profit with a $150 Win ticket on the race winner which paid $180 while weekly winner Brandon Valvo employed similar strategy by earning $50 with a $250 win ticket on the FFA pacer. Brian McEvoy managed his $20 profit with a combination of Win and Show wagers on the race winner. Bob Zanakis managed to stay close and within reach of the top spot by playing a $15 exacta partial wheel ($75) which grossed $193.50. The current standings are: As of August 8, 2014 - Leg 21 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,774.50 2nd Bob Zanakis ($56.50) $2,708.70 $65.80 3rd Derick Giwner ($237.00) $98.77 $2,675.73 4th Earl Paulson $30.00 ($55.10) $2,829.60 5th Mark McKelvie ($240.00) ($124.00) $2,898.50 6th Brian McEvoy $20.00 ($165.00) $2,939.50 7th Ray Garnett ($248.00) ($622.15) $3,396.65 8th Josi Verlingieri ($235.00) ($1,272.10) $4,046.60 9th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,400.30) $4,174.80 10th Ann Stepien ($238.00) ($1,509.11) $4,283.61 11th Rusty Nash ($45.35) ($1,642.63) $4,417.13 12th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,728.00) $4,502.50 13th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($1,888.00) $4,662.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,583.70) $5,358.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($4,048.40) $6,822.90 This coming weekend, the Challenge picks up the tempo with races at several tracks. Friday evening the contest stops at Northfield Park for the inaugural $400,000(Est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3yo pacing colts. The contest then moves north Saturday with the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway before heading to the Canadian Maritimes for the popular $75,000 Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Charlottetown. Two year olds get their time in the spot light as well with Mohawk Raceway hosting the $215,000(Div.) Eternal Cammation for 2yo pacing fillies and the $245,000(Div.) Nassagaweya for 2yo pacers. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator
Eight local legends will do battle in a race that will turn back the clock for many harness racing fans at Northfield Park on Friday night, August 15. The "Legends Driver Challenge" will pit Northfield leading drivers of days gone by in a trotting event that will serve as a warm-up for the inaugural $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial, a Grand Circuit event for three-year-old colt pacers later in the card. Gerry Bookmyer, Doug Hamilton, Don Irvine, Jr., William Irvine, Keith Kash, Dan Ross, Don McKirgan and Bill Zendt will battle in a conditioned trot that will be part of the Milstein undercard. The eight veteran reinsmen have combined to win driving titles at Northfield from a span that covered the 70's, 80's and 90's. Also on Milstein night, freshman Ohio Sires Stakes pacers and trotters will square off for purses of $40,000 per division. Northfield's V.P. of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi is also attempting to fill an Open Pace, a Filiies and Mares Open Pace and and Open Trot, each with an improved purse of $20,000, on Milstein Memorial Night. Entries for all of the races to be contested on Friday night, August 15 at Northfield are due by 9 AM (Eastern) on Tuesday morning, August 12. Ayers Ratliff
This Week: Dan Patch Invitational, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind., Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. and Gold Cup and Saucer trials, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (Aug. 8) at Hoosier Park with the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational for older pacers. On that same evening, The Meadows will host two $60,000 divisions in the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters. Then on the weekend, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host two days of trials for the Gold Cup and Saucer for older pacers. Twelve horses have been nominated, thus setting the stage for trials on Saturday (Aug. 9) and Monday (Aug. 11). The top finishers in the trials will advance to the final on Saturday (Aug. 16). Complete entries for the Hoosier Park and Meadows races are available at this link. Entries for the Red Shores Racetrack & Casino races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack closed out their Championship Meet this past Saturday with several lucrative Grand Circuit races led by the $1,006,125 Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Trixton edged stablemate Nuncio to win the Hambletonian. Trixton and trainer/driver Jimmy Takter bested a stubborn stablemate Nuncio (John Campbell) in a stretch drive down the lane to win the Hambletonian in 1:50.3. The time was the second fastest in the history of the race, behind his sire Muscle Hill, who won the 2009 Hambletonian in 1:50.1. With three horses making breaks at the gate, including the favorite at 3-5, Father Patrick, the picture changed abruptly as the field turned in to the :26.3 first quarter with Nuncio (John Campbell) in the lead, with Royal Ice (Ron Pierce) behind him. Those two led the field to the :54 half when Royal Ice and Pierce tipped out alongside Nuncio past the half-mile mark. Royal Ice could not get by and when the field entered the turn, following the 1:23 three-quarter clocking, Trixton was three wide around a tiring Royal Ice and was up to engage Nuncio and Campbell. Those two went stride for stride down the stretch, with Nuncio not giving ground until the final strides, when Trixton got a half-length in front for the win. Trixton is owned by Brixton Medical Ab of Sweden and Christina Takter. The Muscle Hill-Emilie Cas El colt won for the seventh time in nine starts this year and increased his season's bankroll to $786,917. The $360,000 yearling has now banked $840,604 lifetime. A Jimmy Takter-trained filly won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, but not as expected. Lifetime Pursuit, sent off at odds of 10-1 with driver Yannick Gingras, won the Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters by 2-1/2 lengths over favorite Designed To Be in a world-record 1:50.4. Take The Money finished third, followed by Lifetime Pursuit's better-known stablemate Shake It Cerry, who was the second choice in the betting. Lifetime Pursuit, leaving from post seven, got the early lead and led the field to the first quarter in :26.3. Shake It Cerry, who started from the second tier in post 11, took the top spot on the backstretch as the group reached the halfway point in :55.1. Coming off the final turn, Shake It Cerry led, with Lifetime Pursuit sitting behind her and Heaven's Door on the outside. Lifetime Pursuit powered to the front and pulled away, with Gingras punching the air triumphantly well before the finish line. The time broke the world record for a 3-year-old filly trotter, which was 1:51, set in 2013 by Bee A Magician. Takter became the second trainer to win the Oaks and Hambletonian in the same year. Armbro Goal and Nan's Catch were trained by Jan Johnson in 1988. Complete recaps of all 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. Yannick Gingras - 626; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 349; 4. David Miller - 270; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 961.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 220.55; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 201.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield with the Review Stakes; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes; at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial; at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino with the Gold Cup and Saucer final; at Saratoga Raceway with the Joe Gerrity final; at Mohawk Racetrack with the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation; and at Tioga Downs with the Tompkins-Geers. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director