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He is the 12th foal out of a 100 percent producer, but his harness racing owner and conditioner feel that Armbro Nectarine might very well have saved her best genetic contribution for last when it comes to 2015 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Ideal Jimmy. “Every foal she had was a winner,” said D R Van Witzenburg, the 3-year-old gelding’s owner/breeder. “They all could pace and this one is an absolute runt. He’s the smallest foal from her, but he has the heart. You can’t breed or train that into them. He is all desire and he just wants to win.” The son of Western Ideal is a full sibling to Enhance The Night ($561,117), Ideal Nectarine ($607,445), Ideal Danny ($424,998), Ideal Ike ($129,143), Ideal Ginny ($135,809) and Ideal Helen ($194,060). He is also a half-brother to Tommy’s Luck (Camluck, $200,125). Conditioned by Erv Miller, who also trained his older sisters Ideal Nectarine, Ideal Ginny and Ideal Helen, Ideal Jimmy demonstrated he was just as talented as the rest of the family by capturing his debut in a $30,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars contest at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 3. In his next two events, which were in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes company, the gelding came home fourth, before the hitting the winner’s circle in a $23,990 division of the Arden Downs on Aug. 1 at The Meadows and in a $28,942 division of the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs on Aug. 9. Ideal Jimmy was second at Harrah’s Philadelphia in PASS company on Aug. 20 and had his picture taken in a $71,114 Sire Stake at The Meadows on Sept. 1. That race proved to be the perfect prep for the $350,000 final which the gelding annexed very impressively on Sept. 11. After a trip where regular pilot Marcus Miller encountered all kinds of traffic, Ideal Jimmy looked to have no chance at the top of the lane, but with a very powerful turn of foot he reeled in world champion Spider Man Hanover with the greatest of ease. “He’s so little that when he won that $71,000 Sire Stake at the Meadows I thought he had broke,” Van Witzenburg said. “We took the hood on and off him throughout the season and there were times we did that and that was the result. I thought since I couldn’t see him coming around the last turn he was far back, but then all of a sudden I saw him spurt out to the lead and he just kept going. I thought to myself, ‘That little horse just went and won himself a nice race.’” Miller had his doubts about how Ideal Jimmy would perform while he was training down. “He really does not have much size to him at all,” he said. “He just looked so different from the rest of them, as this mare always had foals with some scope and range. When we got him down to about 2:01 though we knew we had one on our hands with ability. He’s tiny but he has a long, gliding, beautiful stride to him and he has so much heart. He’s so willing and you can do anything with him. He is a very good racehorse.” Ideal Jimmy finished his freshman campaign with a second in a $35,000 division of the Liberty Bell at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sept. 24 and a third in a $36,400 division of the Keystone Classic at The Meadows on Oct. 2. He is currently back in training and is being aimed toward another season in Pennsylvania. “We did not really know what to think of him at the beginning of the year, so we really did not stake him to hardly anything,” Miller said. “That’s why we just stopped on him for the rest of the year and gave him some time to grow. He’s training great right now and although he has not grown taller, he has gotten stouter. We are looking forward to racing him this year and seeing how well he does.” Witzenburg has been in the business for five decades and considers himself very fortunate with the horses he has owned. “The first horse I bought in on, Real Speed, won more than $400,000 and we got to travel all over the country with him,” he said. “The next horse I got was Cumberland and he wasn’t a stakes horse, but I felt like a champion just watching him win at the fairs. After those two I was hooked. “I was so lucky to get this mare (Armbro Nectarine). In fact, when I went to pick her up at Hanover Shoe Farm I couldn’t take her because she started foaling right when we were getting ready to load her in the truck. They allowed me to just board her there. “Jimmy has already won (nearly) $300,000 and we think he has more to show us. There’s not a lot of people that have been as lucky as I have.” Despite the goal being to defend his Sire Stakes crown, Miller does not rule out other stakes appearances for Ideal Jimmy. “Pennsylvania is definitely our focus,” he said. “But I would not rule out supplementing him to a race like the Breeders Crown if the horse is doing well and does all season. He will have to earn it, but I think he’s capable of doing that. He is better than his older sisters, not that they were not talented, but he has such a terrific attitude and always has. That is what sets him apart from the rest of the family. He may be small, but that heart makes up for his lack of size.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Harrisburg, PA - Talks between the Governor Wolf administration and leaders of the General Assembly continued to yield progress this week on how to correct a long-standing structural deficit in the State Racing Fund, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said today. As a result of that progress and in light of an expected vote on Senate Bill 352 next week by the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Secretary Redding said the administration has decided to defer any decision on the suspension of live racing in Pennsylvania. Commenting on the state of negotiations, Secretary Redding offered the following statement: "This week's talks continued to produce positive steps forward. I appreciate the commitment by the chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and legislative leaders to schedule a committee vote in the House on Senate Bill 352. We continue to build on the framework agreement reached last week on that bill. No one is getting everything they want in this bill, but it will give us the long-term financial fix we need to maintain the integrity of this industry and the tools we need to modernize it for the first time in decades. "We'll keep working with the General Assembly in the coming days to put the finishing touches on the bill so a long-term solution can be enacted in the very near future. We appreciate the engagement and work of the agriculture committee chairs in both chambers -- Senators Vogel and Schwank and state Representatives Causer and Carroll. "Pennsylvania's equine industry is an important part of the state's agriculture sector. Preserving live horse and harness racing is imperative to keep this industry thriving. That was part of the rationale for legalizing gaming and casinos in Pennsylvania in 2004. We're going to stand behind that commitment." by Brandi Hunter-Davenport, PA Dept. Agriculture  

Harrisburg -- After two weeks of negotiations, the Wolf administration and the four legislative caucuses tonight reached an agreement in concept on how to fix a long-standing structural deficit in the State Racing Fund. The deal reflects significant compromise on the part of all of the parties, as well as the other stakeholders, including horsemen and breeder organizations and race track operators. In recognition of the agreement in concept, the administration said it is postponing any action on the suspension of racing for another week to allow the four chairs of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees to brief their members. Representatives of the five parties -- the administration and the four caucuses -- agreed to meet next week to continue finalizing details of the plan. "This was not an easy process, but in the end, it's been a productive process," said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. "Every discussion we have engaged in these last couple of weeks has been worth the effort. Everyone at the table recognizes the importance of racing to Pennsylvania's agriculture industry and the broader economy. "I am grateful to all of the stakeholders - the horsemen's groups; the track operators; and especially, our partners in the General Assembly, particularly the four chairs of the agriculture committees, Senators Vogel and Schwank and Representatives Causer and Carroll - for continuing to come to the table each day, negotiating in good faith, and ultimately, helping us to arrive at this framework for a deal. "We look forward to working with the General Assembly to continue moving Senate Bill 352, which Senator Vogel sponsored, through the legislature and to the Governor's desk." From the PA Department of Agriculture    

Safe From Terror, surprise winner of the Pennsylvania Sires Stake championship at 45-1, abandoned her ambush tactics and made short work of the field in a division of Monday's $69,000 Keystone Classic at The Meadows. Somewhere Sweet captured the other division of the stake for harness racing 3-year-old pacing fillies. After her PASS triumph, Safe From Terror scored yet another upset with a late rally in the Nadia Lobell. In the Keystone Classic, however, Matt Kakaley switched gears and sent the daughter of Western Terror-In A Safe Place to the front at the quarter pole. She prevailed in 1:53.3, 1/2 length better than her stablemate, Southwind Roulette, with Dobre Povedane third. "She was the best in there, so I didn't want to take any chances," Kakaley said. "She was very good -- that was easy for her. She's a sweetheart to drive. She'll do whatever you want." Ron Burke trains Safe From Terror, who won for the 11th time this year and pushed her career bankroll to $482,742, for Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45 and J&T Silva Stables. Somewhere Sweet triumphed in 1:51.1, just a tick off Weeper's stake record, but couldn't separate herself from the stalkers, forcing Aaron Merriman to get after her late. "She paced strong into the stretch," Merriman said, "but when I pulled the plugs, she actually kind of sat down. She maybe didn't want me to pull them." Somewhere Sweet downed Angel Or Terror by a length while Kays Dragon Lady earned show. Brian Brown conditions the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Sweet Work Of Art, who soared over $200,000 in lifetime earnings, for Miller's Stable. $91,800 Keystone Classic -- 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters Kelsey's Keepsake and Smokinmombo each took a division of Monday's companion feature, a $91,800 Keystone Classic for sophomore filly trotters. Kelsey's Keepsake was fourth down the backside when Joe Bongiorno sent her after the leader, Murderers Row. Despite competing off a sickness scratch, she blew by and drew off to win by 5 lengths in 1:55.2 for trainer Robert Bongiorno and owner Carly Roman. Avalon Hall was second with Kirsi Hanover third. "First over is her best game," Joe Bongiorno said. "We knew she had this race coming up, and once she scoped a little sick after she trained, we wanted to scratch her, get her healthy and get her ready for the stake." Smokinmombo hadn't won since Aug. 20, but she quarter-poled to the top for Merriman and scored in 1:55.3, 2 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Matter Hatter. Global Ice completed the ticket. "She got a little rough on me in the Hambletonian Oaks and a few starts after that," said Chris Beaver, who trains the daughter of Explosive Matter-Horizontal Mombo and owns with Synerco Ventures and James Gallagher. "I think it's straightened out, but she's not great on a big racetrack. She'll go to a couple stakes at Hoosier Park." In the $24,800 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Better Caviar took advantage of a backside shootout between Tamarind and Monte Cristo Spur and zipped by in the stretch to win in 1:55.1 for trainer/driver David Wade. Sixteen Mikes rallied for second, a neck back, while Monte Cristo Spur saved show. Gerald Brittingham, Kelley Rogers, William Peel III and Wade own the 7-year-old son of SJ's Caviar-Better Credit, who now boasts $162,485 in career earnings. The Keystone Classic series concludes Tuesday at The Meadows with a pair of stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings -- a $69,750 pace and an $89,800 trot. Headliner is millionaire Wakazashi Hanover, who currently ranks third among all Standardbreds in seasonal earnings. First post is 12:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 16, 2015 -- When Safe From Terror surprised the field and harness racing bettors by winning the Sept. 5 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship at 45-1, some may have dismissed it as a fluke. They likely won't be saying that about her any longer, as she scored her second consecutive upset, this time at 5-1, in Wednesday's $170,000 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers at The Meadows -- and took the overland route to do it. Sassa Hanover wanted the lead from the rail, but she was pressured early by Divine Caroline and Storm Point, forcing her to step a lively opening half in 26.3/54.4. With all that early speed, winning driver Matt Kakaley knew the front end might collapse but wasn't sure third over was the place to be. "I was a little worried," Kakaley said, "but I wanted to get her out in the flow of the race anyway. It worked out perfect, really, because the front end kind of fell apart off the last turn." Safe From Terror moved four wide through the stretch to down another closer, The Show Returns, by a length in 1:50.4, a career best. Divine Caroline was full of pace but lacked room and had to settle for show. The back-to-back upsets by the daughter of Western Terror-In A Safe Place didn't surprise Kakaley. "I've won a lot of races with this filly, and she's always been very, very good," he said. "There was a point for a few starts where she was just okay, not great, but she was very good today." Ron Burke trains Safe From Terror, who now boasts $449,992 in lifetime earnings, for Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45 and J&T Silva Stables. In the $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Certified Ideal collected a front-end victory -- her third in the last four starts -- in 1:51.2 for Tony Hall, trainer Randy Bendis and owners Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack, James Walton and Bendis. Do Me Honor was second, 1/2 length back, with Jaded Dream third. The 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last soared over $400,000 in career earnings. It was one of four wins for Hall on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 11, 2015 -- Pure Country and Broadway Donna, a pair of harness racing's rising stars, remained undefeated Friday at The Meadows when each captured a Pennsylvania Sires Stake championship. Friday's program, which offered more than $1.72 million in purses, included all four $350,000 PASS finals (two actually were worth $351,000 thanks to starting fees for also-eligibles who drew in) for 2-year-olds as well as a $60,000 consolation in each division. Ideal Jimmy and Lagerfeld won the other championships. Trainer Jimmy Takter enjoyed a PASS championship double with Pure Country and Lagerfeld. A recap of the program, one of the richest in track history: $350,000 PASS Championship -- 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers Pure Country idled outside until the field settled, then grabbed the lead for Brett Miller past the quarter. "I didn't push her out of the gate -- I wanted to see how things were unfolding," Miller said. "I had so much confidence in her I felt like she could get beat only if I did something really stupid. I pulled her ear plugs in the last turn and hollered at her, and she took off. She's never felt as good as she did today." Diamond Creek Racing's homebred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana won handily -- as she did in her previous five starts -- in 1:51, a track record for freshman pacing fillies, a stake record and the fastest mile this year by a 2-year-old filly pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. Call Me Queen Be was a ground-saving second, 3-3/4 lengths back, with I Said Diamonds third. Takter indicated Pure Country will be pointed to the Breeders Crown with a number of stake engagements before then. "She's as good as they come," Takter said. "I think she's the best. She has the look, and her gait is just fantastic. Do you remember the filly I had a couple years ago, American Jewel? She reminds me of American Jewel." Pure Country soared over $300,000 in career earnings and became the first freshman filly pacer in PASS history to sweep all her preliminary legs and the final. She also boosted her 2015 PASS earnings to $286,918 -- most ever in a single PASS season. $351,000 PASS Championship -- 2-Year-Old Filly Trotters Unbeaten in seven previous starts, Broadway Donna appeared to be in a pickle when she was trapped behind the tiring leader, the previously undefeated Whitelake Hanover, as Kathy Parker wrested away the lead. But neither winning driver David Miller nor the homebred daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner panicked. They blew by easily in the Lightning Lane, defeating Kathy Parker by 2 lengths in 1:55.4. Womans Will rallied for show. Broadway Donna, winner of the James Doherty Memorial final, lifted her lifetime bankroll to $466,536. Winning trainer Jim Campbell, who conditions Broadway Donna for Fashion Farms, said he feared she would not find daylight in time. "It was a concern," he said, "but I think, win or lose, David did the right thing. It would have been too early to pull. This filly finds a way to do it, and David did a terrific job with her. She's a professional. It's horses like her that make guys like me look better." Campbell indicated Broadway Donna will next race at the Red Mile. $351.000 PASS Championship -- 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Love Matters, the 3-5 favorite, opened his career with six straight wins and was purchased by the powerful Takter stable before his last start. He was rolling along to his seventh when he made an inexplicable break around the final turn. Three other contenders also jumped it off at some point in the mile. "He kind of lost his balance and was running in a little bit in the last turn," said his driver, Marcus Miller. "I'm sure Jimmy will figure it out." Takter's disappointment lasted about 25 seconds because it was his colt, Lagerfeld, who picked up the pieces. The son of Yankee Glide-Southern Senorita, dismissed at 11-1 because of a four-race losing streak, triumphed for Yannick Gingras in a career-best 1:55.3. Sliding Home was three-quarter lengths back in second while Dupree, an also-eligible who drew in, earned show. "I'll take it," Takter said of the unexpected victory. "He's been racing good. He got lost on the front last week when I drove him -- he never cut the mile, so he didn't know what to do." Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Jim Fielding campaign Lagerfeld. $350,000 PASS Championship -- 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers If they compete long enough, horsemen often get a chance to rebound from disappointments. Few, however, get that opportunity as quickly as Marcus Miller did. The very next race after the Love Matters blow-up, Miller guided Ideal Jimmy to victory in 1:51 for trainer Robin Cruise and owner D.R. Van Witzenberg. The first-over Spider Man Hanover was second, 1-1/4 lengths in arrears, with Manhattan Beach third. "You feel like you got kicked in the face and then get the biggest win in your career -- all in about 15 minutes," Miller said. The Western Ideal-Armbro Nectarine gelding erased a 9-length deficit at the half with his customary rally, a style Miller said he is reluctant to change. "It's just kind of the way it's been working out," he said. "I couldn't (leave with him) early because he was steppy, but I think he's over that -- I probably shouldn't say that. He's a little horse and he likes to run them down. I figured I didn't have to change anything today -- they were rocking it out of there." PASS NOTES: The consolations went to Twill Be Done (2ft), Newborn Sassy (2fp), Alexander Hanover (2ct) and I'm Some Graduate (2cp), whose time of 1:50.3 established a track record for freshman pacing colts . . . Newborn Sassy's outing was bittersweet, as she took home $30,000 but lost her stake and track records to Pure Country . . . Despite a demanding opening quarter, Easy Again took the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace for Gingras, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Panhellenic Stable and M1 Stable. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

2-year-old PA Stallion Series Championships were the main attractions on a rainy Thursday afternoon (Sept 10) at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia, each going for a purse of $40,000. The 2-year-old filly trot went to Jimmy Takter trainee Miss Tezsla (Yannick Gingras).   The daughter of Andover Hall wasted little time getting into gear, as she wrestled the lead away from Lady Athens (Andy Miller) at the quarter pole.   She was able to maintain a 1 length advantage until the top of the stretch, when she edged away to win by 4 lengths in the end, stopping the clock in 1:57.4.   Turn The Paige (Vic Kirby), who was part of a 3 horse entry, rallied for second, while Global Inspiration (Andrew McCarthy) was third.   It was the 4th career win for Miss Tezsla, who is owned by Christina Takter, Jim and John Fielding, Brixton Medical, And Herb Liverman. She paid $3.20 to win. It was a much more contentious affair in the 2-year-old colt trot, as Mr Right (Vic Kirby) needed every last inch of stretch real estate to assure victory.   The son of Donato Hanover had to work hard to secure pocket position, as he brushed past Petrossian As (Andrew McCarthy) at the quarter pole, only to be passed by race favorite Cufflink Hanover (Dave Miller).   It stayed that way until the stretch drive, when Mr Right emerged up the passing lane to win a tight 3 horse finish in 1:57.   Cufflink Hanover held place, while Petrossian As settled for third.   It was career win 4 out of 9 starts for the Leigh Raymer trainee, and his 4th win in 7 starts.   Mr Right is owned by his trainer, Stephen Moss, and Harold and Helene Solomon. He paid $10.40. In the 2-year-old filly pace, it was complete domination for Ron Burke trainee East Side Hanover (Yannick Gingras).   The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere made the top before the quarter, and it was all over from there.   She had a 4 length lead at three quarters, before going into "beast mode", drawing off to a 12 length victory in the end, stopping the clock in 1:54.2.   Burden Of Proof (Tim Tetrick) closed for second, while Foolish Terror (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) was third.   It was the 2nd career win for East Side Hanover, who is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Paul Treiber. She paid $3.20.   Rich Ringler trainee Nimble and Quick (Jim Morand) was dominant in the 2-year-old colt and gelding pace.   The son of Western Ideal brushed at the quarter, and went on to win easily by 4 lengths, stopping the timer in 1:52.1.   Beach Ogre (Andy Miller) rallied up the inside for second, while Owen Hanover (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) finished third.   It was the 5th straight win for Nimble and Quick, who is owned by Pat Lachance and M&M Harness Racing. He returned $2.80 to win.   Mike Bozich

The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series is one of the highlights of any harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, showcasing some of the best young horses not just in the state, but often in the entire country. The preliminary legs are held throughout the spring and summer, and although they boast pretty big purses themselves, the other lure of these prelims is that horses who wish to reach the state championships need to perform well in them. Last Saturday Pocono hosted the 3-year-old championships. Each of the four races held a purse of $350,000, which, in many cases, is the last time these horses will have the chance to go for a score that big. As always seems to be the case on Sire Stakes championships night, we saw a little bit of everything. Here is a look back at the four title races and the horses who can call themselves a state champion. THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES Despite the fact that she was crowned the Hambletonian Oaks champ just two starts ago, Wild Honey went off as a 5-2 second choice on Saturday night in her final. That was partly due to the fact that she was saddled with the outside post in the race, and partly because she showed a worrisome break of stride in her previous start. Livininthefastlane instead went off as an odds-on favorite. But Wild Honey, trained by Jimmy Takter, fought hard to overcome the outside post, making the lead shy of the half despite getting parked around the first turn. Driver Dave Palone opened up a nice lead from there, and a furious rally from Bright Baby Blues came up a length short of Wild Honey, who trotted the mile in 1:53. Adding the 3-year-old title to the 2-year-old crown she won a year ago, the filly went over $1 million in lifetime earnings and set a record for most money earned in two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes campaigns. THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES Momas Got A Gun, a consistent performer from the Virgil Morgan Jr. barn, was the even-money favorite in this field, but there seemed to be solid choices up and down the lineup. One exception appeared to be Safe From Terror, who, despite being the second-biggest earner in the field in 2015, went off as a 45-1 long shot for trainer Ron Burke. She also had an outside post, and, with the exception of back-to-back wins at the Meadows in the middle of the summer, had slumped since a fast start to the year. Imagine Dragon set the pace in the race, Momas Got A Gun was in a prime pocket spot, and Safe From Terror seemed hopelessly buried on the inside at the back of the back. Yet in the stretch, driver Tim Tetrick found some room for her at the very edge of the pylons, and she uncorked some serious late kick to speed by Momas Got A Gun and pull off the stunning upset by a head in 1:51:3. THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS It's easy to be overlooked when you're a young trotter in the barn of Jimmy Takter, simply because he always has a bunch of great ones for every division. The Bank faced just such a fate for much of the season, overshadowed by Hambletonian champ Pinkman and even Uncle Lasse, another Takter trainee who went off as the favorite on Saturday. The Bank, with the exception of a win in the Dancer at The Meadowlands, had been stuck with a lot of near-misses in big races. But the colt set out to change that in a big way on Saturday night, moving first-over aggressively with Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike to make a up a ton of ground after starting in the middle of the pack. At the top of the stretch, it seemed like anybody's race, with Uncle Lasse, Wicker Havover, and Honor And Serve all in good position. But it was The Bank who trotted by them all by a length in 1:53:1, earning the signature win of his career. THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS Speaking of overshadowed, Wakizashi Hanover knows that feeling well. The gelding from the barn of trainer Joann Looney-King has spent most of the summer battling it out with superstar Wiggle It Jiggleit and often coming up just short. Since his main rival wasn't a part of Saturday night's field, it seemed like it was Wakizashi Hanover's time to shine, and he went off as a 1-9 favorite. Lost For Words set a screaming pace early, trying to pace away and hide from the competition. But driver Tim Tetrick didn't panic, finding a spot in the pocket for the heavy favorite and staying close to the pacesetter. In the stretch, Wakizashi Hanover was ready to pounce on a tiring Lost for Words. He took over the lead and had to withstand a late challenge from closing My Hero Ron, holding on by a half-length. The winning time of 1:48:1 was the fastest ever in Pennsylvania championship history, a fitting way to close out another scintillating Sire Stakes season at Pocono. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at Jim Beviglia

Louisville, KY --- Harness racing trainer Brian Brown and his ownership group had their eye on Spider Man Hanover long before he went through the ring at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale, so they were thrilled to purchase him. Especially for the price. “We all really liked him and he was one of the top ones we wanted to bring home,” said Brown. “We loved his pedigree and then we were even more sold on him when we went to see him. We were prepared to go much higher for him as we thought he would go for at least $60,000, so we were very pleased we paid $40,000 for him. Actually we were in shock that’s all we had to give. The only reason I can think of that he didn’t go for more was he was on the smaller side, but he was very well built.” The son of Western Ideal and the Art Major mare Stolly Up Bluechip will seek to become a state champion when he competes on Friday (Sept. 11) in the $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. He will have the services of regular pilot David Miller in the ninth race on the card at The Meadows and will begin his mile from post position four. Owned by Country Club Acres, Kenneth Vaupel, Mike Mallett and Milton Leeman, Spider Man Hanover is the fourth choice on the morning line at 5-1 behind Check Six (3-1), Big Top Hanover (7-2) and Ideal Jimmy (9-2). There certainly is a lot to like about this colt’s family tree as his dam earned just shy of $200,000 during her racing career. His granddam, the Presidential Ball mare Stasia’s Girl amassed $142,774 on the track and she foaled another $100,000 winner in Cascata by American Ideal, p,1:51.2s, $145,414). Spider Man Hanover is also a full brother to Stacia Hanover p,3,1:49.2 ($238,746), who was last year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes final winner and this year’s Shady Daisy champion. He is also a half-brother to Seashell Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere, p,3,1:51.4f, $99,245) and an unnamed American Ideal weanling colt. “His family was what initially attracted our attention and then of course seeing how well his sister raced at two,” Brown said. “We knew he had ability right off and had high hopes for him right away.” Spider Man Hanover certainly has illustrated his potential. He won his first qualifying race at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on June 10 and was second in his second trip to the gate over the same oval on June 19. The colt made his career debut in a $30,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars contest at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 3 and was just out-finished for the triumph by the heavy favorite Allie’s Cruiser. He broke his maiden on July 15 at the same facility with David Miller at the lines for the first time in a $53,548 Sire Stakes event. Then it was on to The Meadows on July 25 where Spider Man Hanover collected his second career win in a $43,548 Sire Stake. He followed that up by coming home eighth and last in an $81,113 Sire Stakes race at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Aug. 20. The colt rebounded, however, with his third career triumph on Sept. 1 at The Meadows in a $70,714 Sire Stakes race. To date, he has banked $91,405, has a resume of 5-3-1-0 and a mark of 1:51.3f. “You can just throw that one race out,” Brown said. “He did not race well at all and David suggested some things after he came back with him, so we put a jaw cord on him and it was very helpful. Right from the start he tended to get a little aggressive when it was time to race and we have tried different things to help calm him down as well as focused on what he was doing. But with the jaw cord and him beginning to learn his job, we think he is headed in the right direction. He could tend to be pretty grabby and the equipment change helps David control him a bit better. We anticipate that he will race well on Friday.” After Spider Man Hanover’s championship engagement, he’ll begin his travels outside the Keystone State with Kentucky, Ontario and New Jersey on his itinerary. “We would like to race him twice in Lexington and then we plan on taking him to the Breeders Crown,” Brown said. “His last race will hopefully be the Governor’s Cup. We like that it’s at the Meadowlands and think that will be a great spot to end his season. “We really think a lot of him and are looking forward to how the rest of the year unfolds. He is not tremendously big, but he is well made and has the talent to be a very nice horse for us. We have high expectations for him and we think he will fulfill them.” Below is the field for the $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final for freshman pacing males, with drivers, trainers and morning line. 1 - Check Six by Somebeachsomewhere - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-3-1  2 - Manhattan Beach by Somebeachsomewhere - Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-8-1  3 - Big Top Hanover by Western Ideal  - Dave Palone-Ron Burke-7-2  4 - Spider Man Hanover by Western Ideal - David Miller-Brian Brown-5-1  5 - Yankee Artillery by Somebeachsomewhere -Corey Callahan-Aaron Lambert-6-1  6 - McDave by McArdle  -Andy Miller-Robin Cruise-10-1  7 - Ideal Jimmy by Western Ideal -Marcus Miller-Robin Cruise-9-2  8 - JK Will Power by Somebeachsomewhere  -Tim Tetrick-Ron Burke-10-1 by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 10, 2015 -- Friday's card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer more than $1.72 million in purses -- one of the richest harness racing programs in track history -- anchored by four Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championships for 2-year-olds. Each championship carries a purse of $350,000, with a $60,000 consolation also offered in each division. First post Friday is 12:55 PM. Much of the attention will be focused on the trotting finals, as Love Matters and two precocious fillies, Broadway Donna and Whitelake Hanover, look to extend their career unbeaten streaks and stake serious claims to divisional honors. Combined, the trio is 19-19. Love Matters caught the eye of Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, who purchased the colt from the Erv Miller stable before his sixth and most recent victory, a PASS win at The Meadows, for Christina Takter, Brixton Medical, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. Takter, who has been hands-on with the son of Explosive Matter-Lotsa Love for only a few days, indicated he's made no significant rigging or training changes, and that regular pilot Marcus Miller will retain the mount, guiding the colt from post 6 in the eighth race. "Marcus knows the horse," Takter said. "I don't see any reason to mess around with that." He said he was attracted to Love Matters while racing against him and coming up on the short end. "He looked very classy," Takter said. "I've seen him get better and better every time. I like to see a 2-year-old developing like that." Still, he refused to anoint Love Matters as the top Hambletonian hopeful in his barn. "We're a long, long way from that," Takter said. "We have to take the first steps first." Jim Campbell, who trains the homebred Broadway Donna for Fashion Farms, is similarly cautious about the upside for the daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner, even as she seeks her eighth straight win. "I would never predict what a horse can do," Campbell said. "Usually, predictions come back to haunt you. I can only call her professional because she's done everything we've asked of her and more." He said Broadway Donna, winner of the $389,450 James Doherty Memorial final, is eligible for stakes at the Red Mile but that her schedule thereafter is uncertain. Broadway Donna will be meeting a new foe nearly as accomplished as she. Though she's trotted under the radar without a signature win, Whitelake Hanover also is undefeated, having compiled a six-race winning streak for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Omar Beiler, Dennis Coons and Susan Oakes. Through a quirk of the draw, the two didn't meet in PASS preliminary legs. Hall of Famer David Miller, regular pilot for both, has chosen Broadway Donna, who leaves from post 6 in race 10, while Whitelake Hanover (Explosive Matter-Whispering Wind) goes from post 8 for Matt Kakaley. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WILKES-BARRE PA - Wakizashi Hanover became a seasonal and career millionaire while pacing the fastest mile ever in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship history, 1:48.1, while Wild Honey became a repeat harness racing champion, a millionaire, and the richest Sire Stakes career earner in history ($503,260), as the headliners in an outstanding night of racing during the $1.7M Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship Night for 3YOs on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE   Wakizashi Hanover showed a heart a mile wide in rallying for a half-length triumph in his Championship event while stopping the timer in 1:48.1, knocking 3/5 of a second off of McWicked's mark of last year to become the fastest PA Sires champion ever, and coming within a fifth of a second of the 3PG world record on "f"-tracks coheld by his archrival Wiggle It Jiggleit and also Lucan Hanover.   The altered son of Dragon Again was hustled out of the gate by driver Tim Tetrick, making the early lead then making seasonal pointsleader Lost For Words work for the lead to a 25.4 quarter. After a 54.3 half, Lost For Words tried to burn off his competition with a 26.4 panel down the back for a 1:21.2 34/s clocking, but Wakizashi vacated the pocket, grabbed the bit, and just set his mind to first passing Lost For Words and then holding off the Pocono Pikeshooting My Hero Ron, with Lost For Words lasting for third.   Wakizashi Hanover now has earnings of $1,019,238 in 2015 and $1,123,327 lifetime, and his share of the boosted Championship purse gave him PaSS earnings this year of $251,704, breaking the $232,136 mark set by McWicked. Joanne Looney-King trains the winner, who would be the divisional leader in most years not like this "season of the Wiggler," for the Tri County Stable, and "Wakizashi" also showed that "Wiggle" better bring his "A game" to any future matchups. The victory with the 1-9 favorite completed a Sires Championship double - with wildly-varying payoffs - for driver Tetrick (read on).   Cardiac Fashion survived a long first-over grind in the Consolation event, kept alive under the expert guidance of Pocono's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. to prove the best in a five-horse battle to the wire while taking a new mark of 1:50. Napolitano teamed yet again with trainer Gil Garcia-Herrera, second in the Pocono standings and the leader at Harrah's Philly (George Nap is atop the driver ranks at both tracks) and the victorious Well Said gelding for J M F Racing LLC.   THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT   Wild Honey repeated as Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, posted the biggest career Sires earnings figure ever with $503,260 while becoming a career millionaire, and started a Jimmy Takter sweep completed by The Bank in the trotting colt event, taking the divisional Championship in 1:53.   The fans let the Cantab Hall filly go off as the 5-2 second choice primarily because she drew the dreaded post eight, and indeed the trip she got would have defeated many a horse - parked with cover to the quarter, then uncovered the next quarter to make the top, with the favorite (4-5* Livininthefastlane) on her back. But Wild Honey was just too strong, powering off down the backstretch and through the turn, then coasting home late to give driver Dave Palone his 39th Sire Stakes Championship (his nearest rival in that category needs a telescope to see Palone in that regard - Yannick Gingras with 12).   The Hambletonian Oaks winner showed she is still in fine fettle running her lifetime tally to 14 for 21 and her earnings just over seven figures for owner Christina Takter, Herb Liverman, and John and Jim Fielding. She also broke the career Sire Stakes earnings record of $490,495 set by her fellow trotting filly Frau Blucher.   Tim Tetrick added a Consolation victory to his two Championship wins with Muscle Massive miss Gatka Hanover in 1:53.1 - just a tick off Wild Honey's time, and a lifetime mark. "Gatka" had had breaking problems in the Sires prelims, but she looked flawless here in winning for Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stable, Tracy Hendler, and Weaver Bruscemi - one of two collaborations on the night between Tetrick and Burke.   THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT   Only thirteenth in the Sire Stakes standings and thus relying on the generosity of others to make the final, The Bank proved to be money in the bank once on the track, wearing down stablemate Uncle Lasse heading into the stretch and then withstanding three-time prelim winner Wicker Hanover's inside rally to complete a "double-double" for trainer Jimmy Takter, as the combo of Wild Honey and The Bank join the 2014 Sires Championship duo of Father Patrick and Lifetime Pursuit.   Jim Morrill Jr. was tapped to handle the son of Donato Hanover, and he moved from midpack to retuck around a gapper early in the backstretch, then came again uncovered with the winning move to stop the timer in 1:53.1, only 2/5 off of Father Patrick's Championship mark. The Bank, whose deposits now exceed $675,000, is owned by Christina Takter, and the "two Gorans" - Goran Falk and Goran Anderberg.   With his Peter Haughton-winning colt Centurion ATM having to be scratched due to sickness, owner/trainer Ake Svanstedt still made hay in this group's Consolation, as AE scratch-in Ice O Late is also from his barn, and the late-developing Yankee Glide gelding had the necessary late rally to get the tally in a personal best of 1:55.1. Fourth, beaten only ¾ of a length, in his only Sires start, Ice O Late may be a late-season prospect for owner Courant A B and Knutsson Trotting Inc. of Sebastian K S fame.   THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE   Second-leading pointwinner in the four prelims, and one of only two fillies to win two prelims. Driven by Tim Tetrick, and trained by Ron Burke.   Logical conclusion: $92.20 to win. Right?   The Western Terror filly Safe From Terror, stuck behind the 8-ball at the positional draw, rallied from last at the half and the dreaded fourth-inside position at the ¾,coming deep up the Pocono Pike to win her Championship by a head in 1:51.3. Momas Got A Gun, the betting favorite who had raced in the pocket, got a momentary lead past midstretch, but she was outrushed by the winner, with divisional defending champion Southwind Roulette a rallying third, her best race in a while, as the first seven finishers were just a length apart in the wild across-the-track scramble.   Safe From Terror set a new Sire Stakes record for three-year-olds with the triumph, having earned $262,263 solely in the state competition for the our Horse Sense Stables, Stable 45, and the J&T Silva Stables LLC. (And a few of her scattered backers just might retain a $2 win ducat, maybe framing it and ganging it on a wall just to constantly see a Tetrick/Burke horse that generated $92.20 win ticket.)   In the Consolation, the Somebeachsomewhere filly Triple V Hanover quarter-moved for driver David Miller and bottomed out her field with a 54.2 middle half, winning by open lengths in 1:50.4, a tick off her mark and quicker than the Championship, though it came much earlier on the card. Brian Brown conditions the winning miss, who sent her earnings over $120,000 for Donald Robinson, King Mcnamara, and the Strollin Stable.   PHHA / Pocono        

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 4, 2015 -- Sold earlier in the week, Love Matters bade his old connections a fond farewell when he extended his career unbeaten streak to six in Friday's $208,577 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for harness racing freshman colt and gelding trotters at The Meadows. Not to be outdone, Sutton broke the stake record -- and Love Matters' track record -- in his division, scoring in 1:54.1. Hititoutofthepark captured the third split of the event known as the Florida Pro. On Friday, Sept. 11, The Meadows will host all four $350,000 PASS championships and $60,000 consolations for 2-year-olds. First post that day is 12:55 PM. Robin Cruise prepared Love Matters for the Florida Pro, but he moved after the event to the powerful stable of Jimmy Takter, where he'll race for Christina Takter, Brixton Medical, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. Marcus Miller, the winning driver Friday and the regular pilot for the son of Explosive Matter-Lotsa Love, said the victory was bittersweet. "It's a little sad," Miller said. "He's as good now as he's ever been -- maybe better. He's really a simple horse to drive and train. What advice would I have for the new connections? Jimmy Takter will be training. That's enough said." In the Florida Pro, Love Matters moved to the lead past the quarter and poured it on, downing the first-over Marion Gondolier by 4 lengths, with Heightend Security third. His time of 1:55.1 knocked a tick from the track record for 2-year-old colt trotters held jointly by Keystone Activator, Pilgrims Taj and Dontyouforgetit. That mark was fleeting, though, as Sutton moved first up from third for Andy Miller and triumphed in 1:54.1, shattering the stake record of 1:55 set by Correctamundo in 2009. Truemass Volo, forced to idle while awaiting the Lightning Lane, was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while early leader Iron Mine Bucky earned show. "He just needed things to go his way a little bit," Andy Miller said. "He's been very consistent. He has some Pennsylvania races left. Then maybe we'll try him in some of the bigger stakes." Julie Miller conditions the son of Donato Hanover-I Wanted Wings for Andy Miller Stable, Jason Allen and Douglas Allen. The third division became confusing and messy when four horses -- including the winner -- jumped it off approaching the quarter. Corey Callahan quickly settled Hititoutofthepark and guided him back to the rail, where he launched an uncovered move that carried him to victory in 1:56.2 -- slowish but impressive under the circumstances. Lagerfeld, who inherited the lead after the break-fest, was second, 3/4 lengths in arrears, with Desert Runner third. "He doesn't want to run, but he got jammed up," Callahan said. "He trotted a big back half after that. I was really happy with him." In the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Easy Again powered up from third down the backside and scored handily in 1:50.4, 2-1/4 lengths ahead of Seventh Secret. Visible Gold completed the ticket. Aaron Merriman drove the 6-year-old Dragon Again-Kuklapanandollie ridgling, who soared over $800,000 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable and Panhellenic Stable. Tony Hall collected four wins on the 13-race card. After a Labor Day break, live racing at The Meadows resumes Tuesday, first post 12:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

We busted into the month of September this past week at Pocono with temperatures that still felt a lot like we were in the midst of the summer season instead of the tail end of it. Next week in this column we'll be detailing all the exploits on Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Saturday, featuring the state championships for all 3-year-old divisions. This week we feature some excellent overnight harness racing as we dole out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: MAYTIME TERROR This 6-year-old gelding has put together quite a nice streak of racing the past few weeks, and, in doing so, has earned the respect of the handicappers. On August 15 at Pocono in a $20,000 to $25,000 claiming handicap, he went off at odds of 27-1, which was understandable since he went into the race winless in 14 2015 starts. But he rallied from far back with Joe Pavia Jr. in the bike for the upset victory. When he raced the following week in the same class at Harrah's at Philadelphia, he was made the favorite and delivered the victory in 1:51:3. On Saturday night, the gelding, trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, returned to face the $25,000 claimers at Pocono and went off as the even-money betting favorite. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike this time around, he hustled to the lead at the quarter-pole from a #6 post position. The fractions were rapid, but Maytime Terror sustained them with relative ease. In the stretch he had a nice lead built up and coasted to a 3½-length victory in a sharp 1:50:1. Not only has we won over the bettors, but the gelding has salvaged what seemed like a lost season just a month ago. And, with three straight wins under his belt, the near future looks as promising as his recent past. Other top pacers this week include: Ontario Success (Marcus Miller, Ron Burke), who stepped up in class and still motored to his second straight condition win on Saturday night, this one in 1:50; K Ryan Bluechip (Joe Pavia Jr. driver and trainer), a 3-year-old gelding who blitzed a condition field on Tuesday night in 1:51:1 for his second straight victory; and Sudoku (Andrew McCarthy, Ross Croghan), a mare who moved up in class to win her third straight condition pace, the last two coming at Pocono and this one in a career-best time of 1:50:4. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PANAMANIAN HANOVER Sometimes a change of scenery is all a horse needs to get going. Panamanian Hanover came to Pocono for a start on August 21 off a string of mediocre performances at Vernon Downs. Joining the barn of trainer Scott DiDomenico upon his arrival at Pocono, the 5-year-old gelding promptly built up his confidence with a victory over an $8,500 condition group in a career-best 1:54:1. There was little time to get carried away with that success though. He was back at it on Tuesday night in a $13,000 condition group, which is a full three steps up the condition ladder from the class he beat in his first Pocono test. With the inside post in a field of eight, Panamanian Hanover got away fourth and watched as the heavy favorite Marion Monaco set the pace. Panamanian Hanover's driver Joe Bongiorno decided to roll the dice and attempt to collar the leader first-over. Marion Monaco was game, fighting hard and parking his rival around the last turn. But Panamanian Hanover was relentless and finally wore down his foe, crossing the line a comfortable 2¼ lengths in front in 1:54, which reset his career mark. The gelding seems to like his new home, although his competitors at the track are probably wishing he keeps moving. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Sistas (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), a three-year-old filly who beat a condition group of mostly older horses on Saturday night in 1:55; Crazy About Pat (Anthony Napolitano, Paul Kelley), who followed up back-to-back wins at Saratoga with a condition win at Pocono on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:53:3; and Wisneheimer (George Napolitano Jr., Jenny Melander), who followed up a condition win at Harrah's with another here at Pocono on Wednesday night, matching a career-best of 1:53:1 in the process. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CRAZZYCRAZZY Despite an outside post, this gelding with Andrew McCarthy in the bike shocked a field of claiming trotters on Friday night at 27-1, paying off $57.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANDREW MCCARTHY McCarthy drove elsewhere on Saturday and Sunday night, but he made the most of the time he had at Pocono this week, ripping off driving triples on Friday and Tuesday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: MARK FORD With a training double on Friday night and another victory on Sunday night, Ford continued yet another fine campaign at Pocono. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at Jim Beviglia          

I'm Some Graduate, who began his career in softer company, took another step upward when he scored the fastest win in Tuesday's $212,142 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at the harness racing meeting at  The Meadows. The event for freshman colt and gelding pacers, known as the Tyler B, was contested over three divisions, with Ideal Jimmy and Spider Man Hanover taking the other splits. Trainer Tom Cancelliere and owner John Cancelliere often start their youngsters off slowly, allowing them to gain confidence and experience before testing them. That's the case with I'm Some Graduate, an $80,000 yearling acquisition. "He's on the schedule we wanted for him," said Tom Cancelliere of the son of Somebeachsomewhere and Jugette winner Western Graduate. "I start everything in the stallion series." "If they're good enough, they'll go to the sires stakes." "Then, with a little prayer and a little help, they'll go wherever they can go." In the Tyler B, I'm Some Graduate made the front with a quarter-pole move for Tim Tetrick, was shuffled back to third and roared through the stretch to triumph in 1:51.1, lowering his lifetime mark by 4.3 seconds. Yankee Artillery was second, 2 lengths back, with Big Top Hanover third. "He's real smart and does everything the way you want him to do it," Tom Cancelliere said. "He doesn't look like the rest of the "Beaches," he doesn't act like the rest of the "Beaches." But he races great." Ideal Jimmy has made a living coming from well back, and he was true to form Tuesday, launching a relentless first-over bid that carried him to victory in 1:52.1, 6 lengths better than Sam McSmith. Genovese rallied for show. "He was a little bumpy in the first turn in his early starts," said winning driver Marcus Miller. "But (taking him back) has been working good enough that I've been letting him do it." Robin Cruise conditions Ideal Jimmy, a homebred Western Ideal-Armbro Nectarine gelding who vaulted over $100,000 in lifetime earnings, for D.R. Van Witzenberg. Speaking of coming from well back, Spider Man Hanover was last by 9 lengths at the half before getting into gear third over for David Miller. The son of Western Ideal-Stolly Lip Bluechip was widest and fastest in the lane, tripping the timer in 1:53. McDave was second, 1/2 length back, with early leader JK Will Power third. It was the third PASS win for Spider Man Hanover, and it followed a troubling performance in the most recent leg, when he missed by 45-3/4 lengths. "He raced really, really bad last week," David Miller said. "When you take off the gate, you're taking a chance, but my main concern was trying to make sure he finished with pace." Brian Brown trains Spider Man Hanover for Country Club Acres, Kenneth Vaupel, Mike Mallett and Milton Leeman. Elsewhere on the card, Cowgirl Hall was racing off a layoff of nearly a month, and she was parked twice in the mile. Nevertheless, she dominated the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot, scoring in 1:53, 4-1/4 lengths ahead of Kandian Klub. Dough Dough completed the ticket. Dave Palone piloted the 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Centerfold Hall, who captured her third straight and boosted her career bankroll to $763,428, for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jack Piatt III and Michael Rosenthal. It was one of three wins on the 15-race program for Palone. Wednesday's card at The Meadows features a $100,000 PA Stallion Series stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 12:55 PM. Evan Pattak

The richest harness racing Sire Stakes Championship series begins Saturday night.   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will host four $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship for three-year-olds.   Each of the four divisions will also have a $60,000 Consolation race; the total program on Saturday at Pocono will distribute purses of $1,770,000.   COLT PACERS $350,000 Championship - race 12 $60,000 Consolation - race 5   Championship record: 1:48.4, McWicked, 2014 (fastest Championship in PA history)   Defending champion from 2YO year: Yankee Bounty   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Lost For Words   Most of the attention in the "glamour division" will be focused on Wakizashi Hanover, already a winner of over $840,000 this year, including the North America Cup Final, and regarded as second-best on the North American scene to the amazing Wiggle It Jiggleit.   Wakizashi has driven post five for the Championship, and as usual trainer Joann Looney-King has tapped Tim Tetrick to drive the altered son of Dragon Again for the Tri County Stable of Nova Scotia.   The sophomore has experience over the track, winning a Hempt elimination and then finished fourth from a difficult draw, and following that outing up with a second to "Wiggle" in the Battle of the Brandywine.   It's unusual to see a defending champion and a leading prelim pointswinner regarded as "outsiders" in the field, but Yankee Bounty and Lost For Words, respectively, are not only figurative outsiders, but the literal outsiders as well in the field of eight.   Yankee Bounty, starting from post seven for all-time Sire Stakes driving champion Dave Palone,does come off a 1:49.3 win in a Sire Stakes prelim, while Lost For Words (post eight, David Miller) was the only three-time winner in the Sires prelims.   COLT TROTTERS   $350,000 Championship - race 11 $60,000 Consolation - race 4   Championship record: 1:52.4, Father Patrick, 2014   Defending champion from 2YO year: Billy Flynn (the only 3YO who did not qualify for these finals)   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Wicker Hanover   Wicker Hanover and Uncle Lasse were both three-time Sires prelim winners.   Wicker Hanover, an Explosive Matter colt who has done well on or off the pace, will start from post six for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Ross Croghan, and the Christer Haggstorm Racing Stable Inc., while the Donato Hanover colt Uncle Lasse, third in both the Hambletonian Final and the Colonial, drew post two for driver David Miller, trainer Jimmy Takter, and owners Solveig's Racing Partners and Goran Falk.   A horse conspicuous by his absence is Pinkman, #2 in the prelim pointstandings while achieving three victories, but when he won the Hambletonian trainer Takter chose the Triple Crown road for him, and he goes Saturday night at Yonkers in the Yonkers Trot, the second Crown leg.   But even with two recent losses to Crazy Wow, in the Colonial and Yonkers Trot elim, Pinkman likely would have been a big favorite here, and using the "glass is half full" theory, the race is much more competitive this way.   FILLY PACERS   $350,000 Championship - race 10 $60,000 Consolation - race 3   Championship record: 1:49, Economy Terror   Defending champion from 2YO year: Southwind Roulette   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Somewhere Sweet   Perhaps the best testimony to the contentiousness of this division all year, and in theory here Saturday, is the fact that prelim pointleader Somewhere Sweet won only once in the prelims.   But the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Brian Brown for Miller's Stable, has been a very consistent miss, winning half her ten seasonal starts and never finishing worse than fourth, and she draws the favorable post two for driver David Miller.   There were two two-time prelim winners in this division, but for Saturday they had the misfortune of drawing the two outside spots on the gate: Serious Filly (PP7, also trained by Brown, Tim Tetrick listed) and Safe From Terror (PP8, trainer Ron Burke, also listing Tetrick on the early sheet).   FILLY TROTTERS   $350,000 Championship - race 9 $60,000 Consolation - race 14   Championship record: 1:51.3, Check Me Out, 2012 (fastest trot Champion ever)   Defending champion from 2YO year: Wild Honey   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Sarcy (not entered), Smokinmombo #2   Last year's divisional champion Wild Honey has come back sharply in 2015, with a win in the Hambletonian Oaks Final and two Sire Stakes wins.   The Cantab Hall filly is likely to be held as the horse to beat despite drawing post eight for driver Dave Palone, trainer Jimmy Takter, and the ownership combine of Takter, Fielding, Liverman, and Fielding.   Jimmy Takter is also the trainer of Sarcy, who was #1 in the prelim points, but that filly has not raced since finishing fifth in the Oaks Final on August 8 and has not won since June 25, so she is not entered in the Championship.   But Wild Honey is certainly a fine "backup plan."   FINISHING LINES   Dave Palone has 38 career wins in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships, and the driver in second needs a telescope to see him even though winning five Championships last year - Yannick Gingras, with a total of 12.   We know Yannick will not duplicate that output in 2015, as he will be driving Pinkman at Yonkers on Saturday.   Palone, however, has a call in three of the four Championships, and there are two to-be-resolved double calls in the race he currently is not listed on.   The PA Sire Stakes Championship series for two-year-olds will be held on Friday, September 11, at The Meadows, with the same $350,000/$60,000 purse structure. In between, Harrah's Philadelphia will host the eight $40,000 Championships of the PA Stallion Series - the three-year-olds on a special card this Monday, Labor Day, and the two-year-olds the following Thursday.   Jerry Connors

Trailling by 11 lengths at the half, Biggie stormed past the weary leader and broke his maiden in a stake-record 1:51.4 in Monday's $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series event at The Meadows. The event for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers was conducted over five divisions, with Toddler Tantrum, Nimble And Quick, Beach Ogre and Art's Dragon taking the other splits. Aaron Merriman fashioned a stake double with Toddler Tantrum and Nimble And Quick. Biggie was 0-4 entering the stake and off his worst race, which was marred by an early break. But when the front-ending Tailgunner Hanover tired after a swift 1:22.1 three-quarters, Biggie blitzed by him for Tony Hall and kept on rolling, lowering by three ticks the previous stake mark of Somewhere In LA. Arthur Pendragon shook loose for second, 11-1/2 lengths back, with On The Gogh third. "I figured we'd be following, and if everything worked out we'd be top three," Hall said. "But when the fractions got mixed up like that, I figured that would definitely help him. I really didn't expect him to have that much left. I don't think he's seen numbers like that." Ron Burke trains Biggie, a Somebeachsomewhere-Wenditions gelding, for J&T Silva Stables, TLP Stable and Deo Volente Farms. It was one of five wins for Hall on the 15-race card. Toddler Tantrum lost a disagreement with Merriman in the stretch, yet it helped him score a 1/2-length victory over Playlist Hanover in a career-best 1:53, with Cheapskate Hanover third. "I wore a Murphy blind on him all year but took it off after the last start," explained Tim Twaddle, who trains the son of Western Terror-Ubetterthink Think for Don Tiger and Birnam Wood Farms. "It looked to me like he wouldn't come off that line -- he wanted to go inside -- but once Aaron got him out, he was perfect." Nimble And Quick captured his third straight stallion series win -- he was second a neck in the opening leg -- with a front-end jaunt in 1:53.1, fastest in the career of the Western Ideal-Cam Swifty gelding. The pocket-sitting Owen Hanover was second, 3-1/4 lengths back, while Twinspeak Hanover earned show. "He was very little, and he was a little behind the other colts early," said winning trainer Richard Ringler. "So we accomplished a lot more with him than we thought we would three or four months ago. He's turned into quite a little racehorse, so he'll probably have a little more on his plate next year." Pat Lachance and M&M Harness Racing own Nimble And Quick. In the $15,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life Trot, Monte Cristo Spur quarter-poled to the lead for trainer/driver Dick Stillings and sailed home in 1:53, fastest ever by a 4-year-old trotting horse at the Meadows. The time eclipsed the previous mark of 1:53.2 held by Chips And Wings. Call To Post was 3-3/4 lengths back in second, with Summer Indian third. Richard Davis owns the son of Cantab Hall-Sweet-Gabriella. Tuesday's program at The Meadows features the Tyler B, a $212,142 PASS for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM.                                                                                                                          Evan Pattak

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