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The secret is out. Kayla Grace has quietly gone undefeated in 15 lifetime starts, racing under the radar in Michigan.   This Friday she will step onto the big stage in the first major stakes race of the season for three-year-old fillies, the $110,000 Courageous Lady at Northfield Park. She was supplemented at the last minute for $10,000 and stands as the morning line 3-1 favorite.   Kayla Grace is owned by long-time Michigan owners Ed and Cheryl Sayfie of Rockford, Michigan.  She was named for their two-year-old granddaughter. Kayla Grace is trained by renowned Michigan trainer Marie St. Charles. She will be driven on Friday by her regular driver, Brad Kramer.   Kayla Grace comes into the event with 15 wins, all in the state of Michigan. Most of the victories have been in Michigan Sire Stakes races. She was named Michigan's Two-Year-old Filly of the Year for 2013. Kayla Grace was the winningest  two-year-old filly in North America going 12-for-12 and banking $62,277.   Kayla's Grace was bought by partners Ed and Cheryl Mayfie and Marie St. Charles and her husband Kevin at a private horse sale. She was purchased for the now bargain price of $10,000.   "We took her to Hazel Park and schooled her once behind the gate," said her trainer, Marie St. Charles. "She acted like she went from kindergarten to college. We raced her in the Michigan Fair Circuit at the start, and she started beating everyone she faced. She is a nice little filly who loves to race.   "She is definitely one of the better fillies I ever trained," said St. Charles. "I trained Doc's Hope for Andrew Roberts. She was an awesome mare. We went in 1:50 with her at Woodbine. I don't know if Kayla Grace can fit in her category or not. We raced Kayla mostly at the fairs and Doc's raced mostly at the big tracks.    "We are going to learn a lot about this filly on Friday," said St. Charles. "I am either going to go home with a smile or wonder why I supplemented her for $10,000. We don't know where the bottom is since she has was won her races by so many lengths. The one thing I got going for me is she knows how to win. It's just an honor to be in a race like this.   "She has raced mostly on the front end to stay out of trouble," added St. Charles.  "She can race anyway. Kayla can race from behind. You don't teach a horse anything racing on the front. This will be a test. She is going to be in with top horses who know how to race. We can only wish for the best.   "Brad Kramer is going to drive the horse," explained St. Charles. "Brad was not going to go to Northfield, but now he is. I was going to put Ronnie Wrenn Jr. on to drive. Brad changed his mind. I love Ronnie but I am happier that Brad is driving the horse. Brad knows the horse and this makes it better for me."   "The owner, Ed Sayfie, and myself have been partners on many horses in the past," said Kramer. "These are the people who owned Admirals Express. I have been partners with them for twenty years.. I talked to Ed and decided to go.   "She is a very talented horse," said Kramer. "I didn't know how she stood as a really good horse until recently. The last couple of starts at Hazel Park she has done what real good horses do. She can leave hard, relax in the middle, and have an even faster quarter at the end. It takes a very special horse to be able to do that. Two starts back she really impressed me. She went a really big mile and still came home in 27.3 into a very strong headwind.   "She has raced mostly on the front end to stay out of trouble," explained Kramer. "Kayla raced from behind her very first start. She comes off the helmet so much better than she races on the front. When she gets in with better quality and she can follow, this will be a hell of a horse. She has all the things you need to be a great horse. She can relax but turn on that speed twice in a mile. We will know a lot more on Friday, in Cleveland."   "I have had people ask me if she is for sale," said St. Charles. "We really haven't put a price on her. We really don't know what her true value is right now. We have her nominated for the Cinderella at Maywood, the Circle City at Hoosier, and the Hanover at Balmoral.  She has the whole Michigan Sire Stakes Circuit. Maybe with all this publicity someone will call to buy the horse. Everything is for sale."   On Friday we will know if the Cinderella story continues. Will Kayla Grace go from racing for $3,000 a night on the Michigan Circuit to winning a $110,000 major race? The phone may be ringing off the hook with offers come Saturday morning.   by Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com

Drew Bromac N paced home for his 50th career victory, winning the second race at Northfield Park on Wednesday (April 23). The 14 year-old classy veteran has 234 career starts, winning 50 times, and finishing second and third 37 and 38 times respectively. Drew Bromac N (OK Bye-Deana Bromac-Caprock) has career earnings of $294,096 and a lifetime mark of 1:54 at Harrington Raceway at age 10. The pacer's richest win was for a purse of $15,000 in an Open Pace at Saratoga Raceway in 2008. His 50 wins have been spread across eight different racing surfaces in five different states. Brew Bromac N started from post three and sat the pocket through fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:26.4. He entered the passing lane in the stretch and bested his competition by 1/2-length in 1:56.4. After winning eight times in 2013, Wednesday's victory was the first win in 13 attempts this year. Drew Bromac N returned $7.40 to win. Barry Armstrong of Northfield, Ohio owns and trains Drew Bromac N. Armstrong called upon Ronnie Wrenn. Jr. to drive for this milestone triumph. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Friday (April 25) offers harness racing fans great action on and off the racetrack. Grand Circuit racing is the evening's feature, as the $110,000 Courageous Lady has been slated as the eleventh event on the 14-race program. The undercard is also impressive, as it contains six Hard Rockin' Series Finals and the Fillies and Mares Open. Collectively, in excess of $250,000 in purses will be distributed throughout the night. Players Club members have been mailed a mystery voucher worth between $2 and $5,000. Vouchers can be redeemed between 6 and 10 p.m. From 5:30 until the start of race three, patrons will receive a Harness Racing Bingo card. $1,500 in cash prizes are ready to be distributed throughout the evening to Bingo winners. Friday night also features a free poster giveaway. Ronnie Wrenn Jr., the 2013 North American leading driver, will be trackside from 6 to 7 p.m. to meet fans and sign autographs. Lady Luck's Clubhouse Restaurant will be open with an impressive special menu offered for $25 a couple. Reservations are still being accepted. A special 6:30 p.m. first race post time has been set for the evening. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Courageous Lady, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Dexter Cup elimination, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features the $567,000 final and the $100,000 consolation of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers, as well as the $371,400 final and $75,000 consolation in the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. All four races will take place on Saturday (April 26). Northfield Park on Friday night (April 25) will hold the $110,000 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers. A field of six ladies will go to the post in the track’s 11th race. Meadowlands Racetrack’s first Grand Circuit event of the season will take place on Saturday night (April 26) with the $49,015 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers. Freehold Raceway will host on Saturday afternoon (April 26) a single $38,460 elimination for the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters. The $115,370 Dexter Cup final will be held on Saturday (May 3). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway hosted the fifth and final preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series this past weekend.       A pair of $40,000 Matchmaker divisions went postward. Series points leader Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) did nothing to diminish her reputation, winning the opening event with a solid, two-move effort. She tackled Scandalous Hanover just past the 1:25 three-quarters, taking a short lead into the lane. Yagonnakissmeornot never relinquished the baton, winning by a length in 1:53.2. Camille closed inside for second, with Ramalama third. Monkey On My Wheel (Yannick Gingras) authored the 13-1 upset in the second Matchmaker split, going by a tiring favorite Somwherovrarainbow in mid-stretch. Monkey On My Wheel then held off 75-1 rank outsider Summertime Lea by a head in 1:53.2. Somwherovrarainbow had to settle for third, beaten three-quarters of a length. Foiled Again, harness racing’s richest-ever pacer, added nothing to his $6.1 million bankroll, winding up a non-factor sixth in the third and final $50,000 division of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series this past Saturday. Starting outside his six rivals, he and driver Yannick Gingras had Mach It So leave directly inside of him. Foiled Again -- his place in this week’s final already secure -- took back to last and never reached contention. Meanwhile, stablemate Easy Again (George Brennan) won by a couple of lengths. Mach It So was a solid, first-up second, with Mr Hasani N third. The evening’s other two Levy events were won by P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) and Dancin Yankee (Ron Pierce). The former, from post No. 6, left for a seat, wound up in a three-hole, then angled wide in and out of the final turn. He picked a dueling Clear Vision and Apprentice Hanover for the victory. The final margin was a length over Clear Vision in a life best-matching 1:51.1. As for Dancin Yankee, he negated his outside seven-hole at the start, rebuffed a quarter-move from Bettor’s Edge and finished it off in 1:51, matching Foiled Again’s effort a week ago as the fastest mile of the series. The margin was 1-1/4 lengths, with Bettor’s Edge second and Texican N 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 at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 136; 2. George Brennan – 119.5; 3. Tim Tetrick – 85; 4. Daniel Dube – 50; 5. Brian Sears- 45. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 240.5; 2. PJ Fraley – 108; 3. Rene Allard – 50; 4. Joe Holloway – 27; 5. Josh Green – 22. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing – 93.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 61.75; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi – 61.75; 4. Brad Grant – 22.5; 5. M1 Stable – 22.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters on Friday (May 2) and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 3). Meadowlands Racetrack will host the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (May 2) and the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers on Saturday (May 3). The first ever Grand Circuit races at Miami Valley Raceway, the Chip Noble Memorial for older pacing mares and the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares, will take place on Sunday (May 4). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

After watching That Woman Hanover recover from a mid-season slump and finish 2013 with three consecutive wins, trainer Dan Altmeyer is looking forward to the filly's 3-year-old campaign. That campaign begins Friday when That Woman Hanover faces five foes in the $110,000 Courageous Lady Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers at Northfield Park in Ohio. That Woman Hanover, driven by Altmeyer's son-in-law, Mike Wilder, drew post No. 6 and is 4-1 on the morning line. Kayla Grace, a filly from Michigan who has won all 15 of her lifetime starts, supplemented to the Courageous Lady for $10,000 and is the 3-1 favorite from post three. Last year, That Woman Hanover won her first two races, including a $30,000 division of the Pennsylvania All Stars, before hitting a five-race skid during which she finished no better than fifth. Altmeyer said the slump was the result of equipment issues, not any physical ailments, and That Woman Hanover rebounded to win her final three starts. She capped the season with a victory in a $30,200 division of the Keystone Classic. "She started out great and then she hit some bumps in the road and it took us a while to get it figured out," said Altmeyer, who owns That Woman Hanover with Richard Kelson, Jack Piatt II, and Jeffrey Altmeyer. "It was frustrating, but as long as we don't hit those bumps again, we'll be OK. "I was kind of excited to train her back this year and so far so good. She trained great in Florida (at Reveille Farms) before coming north. Mike thinks she's the real deal. We'll see if she can step up." That Woman Hanover prepped for the Courageous Lady with two qualifiers, winning the second in 1:54.2 at The Meadows. Courageous Lady contender Sister Stroll, from the stable of trainer Brian Brown, was second in the qualifier and stakes-winner Allstar Rating finished third. "It was her second go-round and we wanted to test her a little bit and make sure she was tight for the Courageous Lady," Altmeyer said. "It would have been nice to draw inside on the half-mile track (at Northfield). This is her first time on a half, but she's handled all the tracks so far and the turns where we train in Florida are a little tight, so I don't think she will have a problem." That Woman Hanover, purchased for $40,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale, is a daughter of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Sub Rosa Hanover. Altmeyer trained Sub Rosa Hanover, who won divisions of the Reynolds Stakes at ages 2 and 3 and was a two-time runner-up in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships. The family also includes stakes-winners Historic, Digger Almahurst, Tyler's Mark, and Texas Shootout. That Woman Hanover's stakes schedule this year includes the James Lynch Memorial, the Adioo Volo, and a number of events for Pennsylvania-bred fillies. "Her mother was a very good racehorse and I think this one has a little more talent," Altmeyer said. "She's a great horse to be around. I've had several Somebeachsomewhere (offspring) and they all have had great attitudes. She does also." Courageous Lady favorite Kayla Grace was 12-for-12 last season, with wins that included the Michigan Sire Stakes and Great Lakes championships for 2-year-old filly pacers. A La Notte Hanover, who is 7-2 on the morning line and one of two horses from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, won a division of the New York Sire Stakes last season. Sister Stroll, trained by Brian Brown, was a multiple stakes winner last year and is 9-2 on the Courageous Lady morning line. The field for the Courageous Lady, with listed drivers, trainers and morning line odds: 1. Shell Bell, Aaron Merriman, Steve Carter, 6-1; 2. Sister Stroll, Ryan Stahl, Brian Brown, 9-2; 3. Kayla Grace, Brad Kramer, Marie St. Charles, 3-1; 4. A La Notte Hanover, Chris Page, Ron Burke, 7-2; 5. Fiyonce, Josh Sutton, Ron Burke, 10-1; 6. That Woman Hanover, Mike Wilder, Dan Altmeyer, 4-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

The $110,000 Courageous Lady goes postward this Friday evening, April 25. The race is an open event for North America's top three-year-old-filly pacers and is the first national stake of 2014. Kayla Grace is a late supplement to the field and has been named the 3-1 morning line favorite by Dave Bianconi, Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting. She enters this event with an unblemished 15 for 15 record, a mark of 1:55.1 at Hazel Park and earnings of $69,227. However, all 15 of Kayla Grace's races have been raced in the state of Michigan. This will be the first time she crosses state lines to compete on the national stage. "It is really hard to say how she will do," said her trainer, Marie St. Charles. "Michigan is not a real strong state and she has never been tested. All I know is that she knows how to race and she obviously knows how to win." St. Charles was reluctant to supplement to this race because of the rich $10,000 buy-in. "That is a lot of money to put up to be able to race. We have been considering this move for quite some time, then I just had a horse claimed off me for $10,000 and felt is was a sign that we should do it." Kayla Grace is far from St Charles' only good horse that she has conditioned. She had a lot of success in Michigan, having trained 13 Michigan Sire Stake Champions. "My horses have won big races at Woodbine and Hawthorne, too," added St. Charles. "But we are definitely excited, because this race is a big step for us." Some of the fillies staked and expected to race in this year's Courageous Lady did not enter, according to Dave Bianconi. "Two or three of the anticipated fillies came up sick. I wish the field size was seven or eight, but what we lack in quantity, we have made up in quality," said Bianconi. "The undefeated filly coming down from Michigan definitely makes for an intriguing story." The Complete 2014 $110,000 Courageous Lady Field: PP HORSE TRAINER DRIVER M/L 1 Shell Bell Steve Carter Aaron Merriman 6-1 2 Sister Stroll Brian Brown Ryan Stahl 9-2 3 Kayla Grace Marie St. Charles Brad Kramer 3-1 4 A La Notte Hanover Ron Burke Chris Page 7-2 5 Fiyonce Ron Burke Josh Sutton 10-1 6 That Woman Hanover Dan Altmeyer Mike Wilder 4-1 by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Driver Josh Sutton dominated at Northfield Park on Monday (April 21), posting seven winners on the 14-race program. Sutton, 31, began driving in 2000 and has since garnered 2,373 career victories and is in excess of $13,000,000 in purse earnings. He has posted 140 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, ranking him first in the local driving ranks. Chasing Sutton are: Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (136), Aaron Merriman (101), Robin Miller (53) and David Lake (50). Sutton has been driving at Miami Valley on Northfield Park's nights off and he has been winning there as well. He has 177 driving wins so far in 2014, ranking him as the fourth winningest driver so far this year in North America. Only Aaron Merriman (211), Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (197), and Corey Callahan (191) have driven more winners this year than Josh Sutton. Suttons richest win of the night was with Mybrothergeorge, who captured the $9,500 Open Handicap Pace in the evening's eighth race. Barry Langley trains the five year-old for Sagamore Hills, Ohio owner Kathleen Wallace. Mybrothergeorge (Rocknroll Hanover-Armbro Ophelia-Cam Fella) started from post three and was fourth through the :27.3 opening quarter. Sutton pulled first over and sustained a successful bid despite battling for the lead through middle splits of :56 and 1:24.1. Mybrothergeorge secured the lead at the top of the stretch and bested his competition by ¾-length in 1:53.1. Completing the race were Western Churchill, Nathan Feelsgood, Goodnite Goodluck, Lyons JosephJNR, MA Roy and Aligned Hanover. Monday's triumph increased Mybrothergeorge's lifetime win tally to 20 and his earnings to $317,500. He returned $7.00 to win. In the evening's co-feature, Kirty Dream trotted to victory in the $9,500 Open Trot. He is trained by Jeff Hochstetler for Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio owner Mario Caponi. Aaron Merriman was aboard for the winning drive. Kirty Dream (Cantab Hall-Klelia-Cezio Josselyn) started from post seven and sat fourth through the :27.2 opening quarter before moving first over approaching the half. He remained outside through fractions of :57 and 1:25.2, then took the lead in the stretch and completed the mile in 1:55.1. He was an uncontested 2 ¼-lengths in front at the wire. Completing the race were Pembroke Snapshot, Mythical Hall, Sand Royal Blu, Kahoku, Norma's Rose and Credit Score. Kirty Dream now has 14 career successes and has bankrolled $208,418. He was the race favorite and paid $3.00 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Northfield Park is pleased to announce an approximate 15 percent overall harness racing purse increase beginning with the Thursday (April 24) race program. This is the third increase since the opening of the $265 million Hard Rock Rocksino in December, 2013. "This is another step in the right direction as we continue to make improvements in our racing program," said Dave Bianconi, Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting. "We have implemented gradual increases to maximize the benefit to our local horsemen who supported our racing program throughout the pre-VLT era." The new purse structure allows for increased claiming and condition events, as well as $12,000 Opens. "It is certain that Northfield's race program is on the right track and are executing a specific game plan over the next 18 months to insure we make the most of the opportunity the state of Ohio has afforded us," explained Brent Reitz, Northfield Park's General Manager. "It is gratifying to see the positive changes taking place in Ohio, especially at our facility where we continue to offer year-round racing four and five nights a week." by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

LEBANON, OH. - Up Front Kellie Jo hopped into Miami Valley Raceway on Easter Sunday and hopped out with her fifth straight open mares harness racing victory in the Buckeye state, the first four coming at Northfield Park. The eight-year-old Bettor's Delight mare is obviously as sharp as ever, despite her advanced age of eight, as she prevailed over Y Mach Me (Kyle Ater) by a head in 1:52 and Bazooka Terror (Randy Tharps) who was a half-length away at the wire. Driver Josh Sutton left like a bunny who had backed into a porcupine and got the lead in less than an eighth of a mile despite being assigned the outside nine-hole. The favored winner raced unchallenged through moderate fractions before stepping on the gas at the three quarters station.   Although she responded well, the others did make the race quite interesting and were closing furiously at the finish. Up Front Kellie Jo is owned by Ed Mullinax and Mark Ford and trained by Rob Harmon.   The triumph was one of three for Sutton on the holiday program. Jeremy Smith and Dan Noble also fashioned driving doubles on the nine-race card.   From the Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Department

Aaron Merriman drove six winners on Thursday (April 17) at Northfield Park. Merriman's winners included Common Creed ($14.40) in race two, Hula Lu ($6.00) in race four, Addys Secret ($10.00) in race six, Cams Van Go ($3.40) in race eight, Ride A Cowboy ($4.40) in race 10 and Mount Joy ($3.20) in race 12. Merriman, 35, began driving in 1998 and has since garnered 6,328 career victories and is in excess of $32,000,000 in purse earnings. He has posted 99 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, ranking him third in the local driving ranks. Only Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (134) and Josh Sutton (133) have more local driving wins this year than Aaron Merriman. Merriman also drives at The Meadows in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he has also been winning races at an impressive rate. To date, Merriman has garnered 204 wins so far in 2014, more than any driver other in North America. Although Merriman has more wins than any other driver this year he says that he is not pushing himself to win the 2014 Dash Title. "It would be great if it would happen," said Merriman. "But, I have not set any goals for myself to chase." Instead of chasing career goals by driving other venues on his days off, Merriman balances being a successful driver with being a successful father. Kristopher Merriman, Aaron's 11 year-old son and Tessa Koran, Aaron's girlfriend, take precedence. "They are the most important part of my life," stated Merriman. Among various family activities, Merriman helped coach Kristopher's basketball team to a third-place finish in their league. "Things are just going really well right now and I hope that continues," offered Merriman. "I love winning races. The winner's circle is always a happy place and it is very gratifying to make people happy." by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Power Everywhere captured the $9,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace on Thursday (April 17) in Northfield Park's opening race. She is trained by Calvin Hollar, Northfield Park leading harness racing conditioner so far in 2014. Robin Miller drove the victory for owner Edwin Harwood of Monroe, Michigan. Power Everywhere (Kilowatt-Imagine Anywhere-Camluck) started from post three and sat the pocket through fractions of :28, :57 and 1:26. Miller pulled in the stretch and called upon Power Everywhere. She responded and bested her competition by a full length in 1:55.1. Completing the race were It Must Be Magic, Blows Me Away, Eradikate, Make A Call and Jolting Kate. Thursday's win was the sixth victory this year, and 20th career score for Power Everywhere and it bolstered her lifetime earnings to $63,467. She was the race favorite and returned $5.00 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park    

The following official statement is from Paul Fontaine, president of Harness Tracks of America   Harness Tracks of America (HTA) is embarking on a new chapter in its storied history. Our executive committee and directors have decided to repatriate our office to East of the Mississippi, bringing our focus and manpower closer to our membership, geographically. We will be closing our offices in Tucson, Ariz., and henceforth will be operating at Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio.   Our executive vice president, Paul Estok, is anchored in Tucson and will regrettably be leaving his executive position at HTA due to our relocation.   This is an exciting time at HTA as our membership is close to an all-time high and our services continue to be sought by our tracks and the entire Standardbred industry. We will continue to be available to provide the resources to which our industry has become accustomed and we look forward to the new experiences and challenges occasioned by our move to Northfield.   HTA wishes to thank Mr. Estok for his 20 years of service during which he served as Stan Bergstein's right hand and then continued on as the steward of our association after Stan's passing. His work, dedication and loyalty to HTA has always been exemplary and well appreciated by our members.   We invite not only our track members but all who toil in our Standardbred vineyard to partake of our new experience and share with us the excitement and enthusiasm generated by our relocation.   Please do not hesitate to call me with any questions, comment or information or you may reach out to Brock Milstein, Northfield Park, Northfield Road, Northfield, Ohio , phone #330-467-4101 or bmilstein@northfieldpark.com. You may also contact Tom Aldrich at taldrich@northfieldpark.com for any HTA matters or HTA scholarship questions.  

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 18) in the fifth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 19) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: As has been the case throughout the 2014 edition of the George Morton Levy series, Foiled Again was once again at the top of the headlines this past weekend at Yonkers. The 10-year-old sauntered around the half-mile oval in 1:51 this past Saturday night. "That's what he's supposed to do," said driver Yannick Gingras after the gelding's fourth win in as many Levy series/season starts. Foiled Again was a narrow winner in his Levy division on April 12. Leaving from post position No. 3 as the stronger half of a 1-20 entry, Foiled Again had to work to get around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). He did so before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and found a :56.3 intermission with Bettor's Edge (George Brennan) away third and A J Corbelli (Tim Tetrick) fourth. It was Dancin Yankee (Ron Pierce) then moving from fifth, engaging Foiled Again toward a 1:24 three-quarters. Soon after, Bettor's Edge -- who, as with Foiled Again, was three-for-three in this series entering the evening -- slipped out to race second-over. However, Bettor's Edge became very rough very quickly, soon jumping it off. Foiled Again owned a half-length lead entering the lane. His pesky rival wouldn't go away, but wouldn't go by, either. Foiled Again won by a head in 1:51, the fastest local mile of the season. Third went to P H Supercam, beaten a half-length. Mach It So (1:52.1) and Clear Vision (1:52.1) won the other two Levy divisions. Last Friday night's fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open mare pacers saw three $40,000 divisions go postward. The first event saw Breeders Crown champ Shelliscape (Tim Tetrick, $7.20) get her first series win with a handy, down-the-road effort (:27.3, :57, 1:24, 1:52). Ramalama (Matt Kakaley) was unable to sustain a first-up bid, while Monkey On My Wheel (Brian Sears) could only match strides from the pocket. Monkey On My Wheel did get second, beaten three-quarters of a length, with Ramalama third. Defending Matchmaker champion Feeling You was also flying under the radar until Friday evening. Leaving from post four with Tyler Buter doing the honors, Feeling You operated from second-over. That didn't seem so opportunistic when pole-sitting Rocklamation (Gingras) rated a cheap half (:28, :57.3). Rocklamation maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters, taking a half-length lead into the lane. Feeling You, left to fend for herself, continued her assault on the leader. She outgamed Rocklamation by a head in 1:53.1. The third and final Matchmaker had Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) throw down the gauntlet with the fastest mile of the series to date. Leaving from post five, Yagonnakissmeornot made the first lead before yielding to the 4-5 favorite in Somwherovrarainbow (Sears). After a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.4 intermission, it was Krispy Apple (Tetrick) trying her luck first-up. That one couldn't sniff the leader before a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with Somwherovrarainbow owning a 1-1/2 length lead into the lane. However, she was powerless to deny Yagonnakissmeornot, who edged from the pocket and rolled away. That final margin for the second choice was 2-1/2 widening lengths in a season's-best 1:51.4. 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 at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 116; 2. George Brennan - 104.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 80; 4. Brian Sears- 41; 5. Daniel Dube - 40. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 210.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 93; 3. Rene Allard - 40; 4. Joe Holloway - 25; 5. Kevin Carr - 20. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 78.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 53.8; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 53.8; 4. Brad Grant - 20.5; 5. Joe Pennacchio - 20. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Northfield Park, Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway. Northfield will host the Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (April 25); Freehold has eliminations scheduled for the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old colt trotters on Saturday (April 26); also that day the Meadowlands will feature the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers; and action at Yonkers will continue that Saturday with the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy finals and consolations. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

It has been such a downward spiral for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs that this latest lowest of lows has harness racing driver Jody Jamieson contemplating switching allegiances to another NHL team. As for which team Jody might start cheering for, nothing has been decided but all of us Maple Leafs fans understand that at some point we must all move on or do we become the Chicago Cubs of the National Hockey League. "It's in my blood" says Jody, "I'm a diehard fan but this is getting out of hand." Jody's career in harness racing has been remarkable, with some comparing his success to the likes of hockey greats Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby. As flattered as Jody is by the comparison, in no way does he consider himself to be painted with the same brush as the hockey legends. "It's a lofty comparison, and it's not something I am not comfortable with" Jody notes. Admittedly, Jody feels he was able to jump start his career thanks to his father, legendary trainer Carl Jamieson. "My father is a hall of fame horseman and I had probably one of the best starts anybody could have in this business, by having him back me up." Jody says. A key piece of advice given to Jody by his dad is to always be respectful, regardless of whom that person is. It doesn't matter if it's a groom or a racing official, everyone matters. Jody Jamieson's name is up there with drivers such as Tim Tetrick, Mike Lachance, Chris Christoforou and Brian Sears and even after all the wins and accolades, Jody's focus hasn't changed. There's never a race he takes for granted and Jody admits he's human and makes mistakes, like everyone else. "I'm out to win every possible race I'm in... it's never lack of trying or being prepared but I make mistakes. Thank God there is another race right after that one where I can try and redeem myself." Jody says. With any sport, competition is extremely fierce and the guys who lead the standings are always battling between themselves and new comers. The saying goes, if you're going to win, you want to beat the best and Jody acknowledges everyone on the track wants to make a name for themselves. "That's what makes this game so fun, in one moment you're king of the castle but twenty minutes later you're knocked off." Jody adds, "It's very competitive, every twenty minutes, every night of the week." All drivers and trainers have been through dry spells, going through stretches of time without positive results. A piece of advice Jody was given is you need to learn to lose well before you learn to win well. "Don't get to high with the highs and don't get to low with the lows" is Jody's approach to keeping a level head to remain mentally grounded. "If you look at my record, I have way more losses than I do wins and I've learned to deal with it and keep it on the track as much as possible." With people having hard days or rough spells, it's amazing how well the horsemen are able to cope and still keep it classy amongst them. "I find in Canada and Ontario, it's the kind of people we are." Jody says. "We all try to get along off the track; there is no reason to be enemies off the track and not like each other. But when we go to the gate, it's on! I think that's taken for granted in other places, with people taking issue of being beat in a race." "Not only is life too short, our careers are too short to be hung up on every last thing, so you have to keep it light." Jody says. "I think I can relate to almost anybody, I enjoy busting (chops) and I can handle having my (chops) busted as well." Speaking with Jody, the biggest take away I got would be understanding how tough it is to mature in such a highly competitive sport. Yet in an odd way it can still be very easy. Yes I am aware there is a contradiction to what I have just written but the difficulties I perceive is being young with an ego. At this point I am not speaking for a driver, I am thinking of myself as a young one who is 18 or 20 and all I focus on is me and my success. If something were to come in between, I can honestly admit I would of taken issue from the get go. However, through it all in any sport, life hands you a constant wave of highs and lows and the earlier you notice these waves, the easier it is to 'ride it out' so to speak. Things can't always go your way, if they did, how would anyone learn? Over the last couple of years, Jody admits there have been some up and downs and this year he is more driven because of that. "Last year it took me until December to win a Classic race. It was the Cleveland Classic with Apprentice Hanover." Apprentice Hanover is trained by Benjamin Wallace and won the race in a time of 1:52.1 at Northfield Park. "There were big races where I came in second or third, but it wasn't the win." Jody admits. Jody is happily married to Stephanie and Jody has a daughter Hailey who is 11, a son Jett who is 2 and a baby girl on the way who is due in July. As much success as Jody's had over the years, he is now racing for his family, not just for him and this means ensuring his family can live happily. "I have a young family and I am recently married and I want to be a part of their lives to... I'm going to spend the best time with my family and I am not going to change anything. I'm going to be prepared as ever, more prepared than I've ever been to go on the race track every night." Jody says, "Before it was about wins and putting up big numbers, now it's about making a great living and being able to provide for my family down the road." "I had the one year where I broke the wins records in Canada. I drove right until the end of the year and then I quit for a month and just relaxed, it gets really stressful.... I had that one (great) year and I thought I want to treat myself a little bit." Jody adds, "I want to be the top guy and make enough money to enjoy life." Jody also missed some time away from the track to attend the O'Brien awards and Jody flew to Finland to be the ambassador of Canadian harness racing. To add to Jody's time away was the volcano eruption in Finland where the dust had to settle before Jody could fly back home. So at what point did Jody change his outlook? Or at what point did a light go off where Jody realized it was more than just about him? "When you're in it, running from track to track winning races and having some success, you don't think of anything until you're laying on a beach in Mexico... you don't think of it until then." Jody points out. Throughout his career, Jody has grown close to many people who have supported him and who always believe in his talents. "Mark MacDonald and I used to be thick as thieves and as best friends off the track and fierce enemies on the track." Jody continues, "We'd do anything to beat each other and Mark moved away and we haven't kept in touch as much, but definitely Mark was a huge influence in my career. He helped me learn my craft and have a better mindset on the race track for sure." Jody loves what the new Meadowlands racetrack is doing, "they're doing incredible work" he says and at one point in Jody's career, the idea to go to the big M did cross his mind, but home is where the heart is. "I'm from Moffat, Ontario, Canada and this is where my family is and this is where my family's family is. This is where I'll be unless something worse happens like what is happening with this Liberal government." "In 2011 the Standardbred industry received $176 million dollars to operate harness racing in Ontario. In 2014 harness racing will be lucky to have $70-$80 million." Jody points out. The money the racing industry received is from an agreement between the racetracks and the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation, (OLG) which is a Government entity, based on revenues brought in from the creation of the SLOTS programs at each racetrack. With the racetracks already established, the OLG agreed to give a percentage of all revenue to the racetracks so the OLG could put in slot machines and the money given to the tracks would go towards purse money to create a higher level of competition within the province. Anthony Macdonald, who is a horseman, is running as a PC provincial candidate hoping if an election takes place, the standardbred industry will have a stronger voice at Queen's Park, (the provincial legislator). Jody is a strong advocate and supporter of Anthony and his efforts to bring more awareness to the standardbred community and Jody is willing to help anywhere he can. "Anyone who knows Anthony, you can't tune him out and I am going to campaign hard to help get him elected." Jody states. "We have 3 or 4 candidates who are pro harness racing on the Conservative side." Jody feels strongly that the Liberal government has messed up several industries outside of harness racing, such as the gas industry, the powers sector and even the teachers union. "Horses don't speak" says Jody, "they are nice to look at and people love them but they don't speak. We need to do a better job speaking for them.... The OLG's revenue was around a billion dollars and we were only getting around 20 percent, maybe less. Now the OLG is taking in the full 100 percent in revenue. We are in trouble and this money, (the $500 million/5 year proposal from the Liberals), it has kept racing open but we are on a life line and we are bleeding badly." Away from the politics and the tracks, Jody is the type of guy who likes to help others where and when he can. Jody would love to help the Toronto Maple Leafs, maybe try and get them a Stanley Cup sometime soon! "I'm so aggravated with this season, I like Randy Carlyle. He's a horse guy who started in the horse racing business before he was drafted." As you can tell, Jody is a massive hockey fan and aside from the Leafs, his favorite team is the Jamieson Jets, an adult men's hockey team. One thing to point out is Jody's son Jett was not named after the hockey team, even though some people make that connection. However if the dad who named the son said it wasn't, there's nothing to discuss. If Jody had a man cave, it would be filled with Toronto Maple Leaf paraphernalia and his entire top win photos including the North America Cup pictures, the Battle of Waterloo and Breeders Crown pictures. To date, the second heat of the 2007 Little Brown Jug is Jody's most memorable race. In that race he was driving great horse Tell All. "I could remember my heart beating the whole time."Jody says. "The half was in 56.1... I kicked the ear plugs on him around the last turn and he dug in, but he really didn't dig in like I thought. Brian Sears slipped off of David Miller's back going three wide in the stretch and I didn't know half way down the stretch if I could hang on. So I hit the wire not knowing if you have a clear cut win. It was the best ever (feeling)... I'll never forget him." "I would love to win the Hambletonian. I've been fortunate to win big races and I'd love to win them all again. Just because I won them, doesn't mean they're off my bucket list." Jody adds, "It would mean a lot to me to win any of those races again, they're special, special races." Jody enjoys interacting with fans. "I love meeting fans...they message me of Facebook and Twitter. I think its wild and I thrive on it, I love meeting with the fans and doing whatever I can to meet fans." Jody says. A few summers ago, Woodbine asked Jody to go to a Jack Astor's opening in Toronto as the restaurant was doing simulcasting. "I went in my driver suit, not a soul knew who I was, not a soul and I had my suit on and they knew what I did at the end of the day they loved it. I loved it and meeting people who want to get to know me. Like I said, horses can't talk but I can and I want this industry I love to survive and prosper." By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova  

Rose Run Logan crossed the finish line as the winner for the eighth time this year in just nine starts when he was victorious in the $10,000 Open Trot on Monday (April 14) in the evening's 11th race at Northfield Park. He is owned and trained by Jeff Hochstetler of Urichsville, Ohio. Josh Sutton was aboard for the winning drive. Rose Run Logan (Armbro Laser-How Miraculous-Baltic Speed) was assigned post eight and was parked every step through fractions of :28.2, :57.3, 1:26.2 and 1:56.2 He was ½-length in front of his nearest competitor at the wire. Completing the race were Action-Broadway, Mary's Darvin, Life Long Hanover, Norma's Rose, Hello Carlo, Julians Caesar and Edit. Rose Run Logan now has 14 career successes and a bankroll of $45,198. He was the race favorite and paid $4.40 to win. Earlier in the evening, Rockin Finish narrowly captured the evening's co-feature, the $9,500 Open Pace in the ninth race. Virgil Morgan Jr. trains the five year-old for Canadian owner, Gerrie Tucker. Morgan called upon Ronnie Wrenn Jr. to drive. Rockin Finish (Rocknroll Hanover-Please Me Please-Camluck) started from post five and was parked through the initial :27.1 opening quarter before sitting the pocket through fractions of :55.1 and 1:24.1. Wrenn called upon the pacer in the stretch and Rockin Finish bested his competition by a head in 1:53.4. Completing the race were Justified, Nathan Feelsgood, Hallin, Goodnite Goodluck and Kiasma. Jolly Jubiter was scratched. Monday's triumph increased Rockin Finish's lifetime win tally to 14 and his earnings to $259,632. He was the race favorite and returned $3.00 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

For the fourth consecutive week, Up Front Kellie Jo was up to the task in the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace on Thursday (April 10) in Northfield Park's 10th race. The harness racing mare is trained by Rob Harmon for owners C. Ed Mullinax and Mark Ford. Josh Sutton has been in the bike for all four of her consecutive victories. Despite being assigned the outside, Up Front Kellie Jo (Bettor's Delight-Life's Highway-Life Sign) fired off the gate and went to the lead. She stayed well in hand and never experienced an anxious moment, while posting fractions of :27.2, :56.4, 1:24.3 and 1:52.3, just 2/5 of a second off of the track record. She was an uncontested 2 ¼-lengths in front at the wire. Completing the race were Power Everywhere, Y Mach Me, Sweetheart Dance, It Must Be Magic, Special Lady D, Here And Now and Seascape Hanover. Clear Character was scratched. Thursday's win was the 43rd career victory for Up Front Kellie Jo and increased her lifetime earnings to $846,097. She was the race favorite and returned $3.60 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park      

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