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This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Cane Pace eliminations and Kindergarten leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday (Aug. 23) when Mohawk Racetrack hosts two C$40,000 eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and a trio of C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. More information on those races can be found by clicking on this link. On Sunday (Aug. 24), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $100,000 eliminations for the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature second round action in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Complete entries for the races at Tioga are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway this past weekend with a pair of lucrative stakes for pacing males. All Bets Off used the passing lane to score in 1:50.3 in the Carl Milstein Memorial. All Bets Off, overlooked by the betting public at odds of 7-1, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (Aug. 15) at Northfield Park. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke as the son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope won for the seventh time in 10 season's starts, while his share of the purse took his 2014 earnings to $511,175. All Bets Off is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell. Kakaley steered All Bets Off ($16.60) into the passing lane and he easily went by the tiring leader, McWicked, to reach the finish line on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.3. McWicked and Luck Be Withyou finished in a dead head for second. Stevensville was fourth and Let's Drink On It finished fifth. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Aug. 16) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The time was the fastest ever for an older pacing stallion on a half-mile track, breaking the mark of 1:49 previously shared by Jet Laag and Ponder. It was also the fastest mile ever paced at Saratoga. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Dancin Yankee is a 6-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest, owned by Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. Amber Buter is the trainer and Tyler Buter was in the sulky. The victory was the 15th in 23 season's starts for the bay pacer who lifted his 2014 bankroll to $457,640. Dancin Yankee ($3.90) started from post position three and went right to the front and was never caught through fractions of :25.4, :53.4 and 1:21, before pacing home in :27.4 for the record mile in 1:48.4. Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) sat In The Pocket the entire mile and finished second, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made a first over bid for the front down the backstretch, but could never catch the leader and ended up third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 686; 2. Tim Tetrick - 512; 3. Ron Pierce - 386.5; 4. David Miller - 307.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,071.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 242.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 216; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 132; 5t. Robert Key - 105; 5t. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old male trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, along with the Crawford Farm Trot for older open trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will offer the finals in the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, along with Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and Simcoe Stakes events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and 3-year-old filly pacers. Tioga Downs will contest the final of the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Shady Daisy for sophomore filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

The harness racing driver-trainer combination of Randy Waples and Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh connected for victories in two of the seven $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (August 15) at Mohawk Racetrack. Their first winner was Big Moment, a colt by Camluck who just got up near the wire after a second-over trip to take the fourth Grassroots split by a neck in 1:55.1. Pan Street USA (Steve Condren) had taken the lead in the lane after a two-hole trip but just fell short at the finish, and heavy favourite Seaforth (Mike Saftic), the leader at the top of the stretch, had to settle for third.  Big Moment Big Moment, also a winner in Grassroots competition on July 21 at Grand River Raceway, is now three-for-five in the win column overall with earnings of $26,160 for McIntosh, who also bred the colt with C S X Stables. McIntosh’s stable of Windsor, Ontario, and partner Max Newham of Merlin, Ontario, own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter. Waples and McIntosh came right back to annex the fifth division with Thinkofagameplan. He moved to the lead before the :56.4 half, put away a first-over try from Supersonic Jet (Paul MacDonell) before the 1:25.2 three-quarters, and then paced a :28.4 final kicker to win by a length and a quarter in 1:54.1, which was the fastest of the seven Grassroots sections. Red Pine (Jody Jamieson) was up for second and Mac Raider (Mike Saftic) finished third. Thinkofagameplan Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his first win in four attempts and pushed his bankroll to $18,660, is a homebred for McIntosh and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. The excellent first season for sire Sportswriter also continued as he picked up two more victories. Sportsmanship was a 1:54.3 winner for driver Jody Jamieson in the third Grassroots flight, and Sports Lightning grabbed top honours in the six split, stopping the clock in 1:55.4 for driver Mike Saftic. Sportsmanship was sent out by trainer Dave Menary for the ownership group of Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown, Denis Breton of Welland, Tom Kyron of Toronto, and Parkinson Farms of Lucan, Ontario. Parkinson Farms also bred Sportsmanship, who broke his maiden in his fourth trip behind the gate. Now an earner of $12,500, Sportsmanship is the second foal out of the D M Dilinger mare Lady D M ($634,732), a two-time Ontario Sires Stakes Gold final winner. Sportsmanship Sports Lightning posted his second victory from four starts for co-owner/trainer Alvin Bowman of Markdale, Ontario. He shares ownership with Robert Nobes of Stayner, Ontario, Veral Robert Bowman of Deerfield Beach, Florida, and Donald Warden of Wasaga Beach, Ontario. Sports Lightning, who has now put away $19,600 for his connections, is the sixth foal out of the Camluck mare Cohenikova. Sports Lightning   Also winning in Grassroots action tonight were: Mybestolxfriendray (Cheyenne Rei-Baywatch-Keystone Raider), a 1:56.1 victor for driver Phil Hudon, trainer Kevin St. Charles, and owner Dr. Andrew Roberts of Lexington, Kentucky. The winner was bred by Bonley Farm Inc. Mybestolxfriendray Pair Of Deuces (Badlands Hanover-Pacific Dragonette-Dragon Again), who halted the clock in 1:55.3 for driver Rick Zeron, trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman, and owner/breeder Pinske Stables of Plato, Minnesota. Pair Of Deuces Twin B Scandal (Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue-McArdle), who tallied in 1:56.1 for co-owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon of Acton and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. Twin B Scandal The next Grassroots test for the rookie pacing colts and geldings is on August 24 at Georgian Downs. For full results of Friday night’s events at Mohawk, please click here. Ontario Sire Stakes

The harness racing action heats up on Saturday (August 16th) at Mohawk Raceway when the eliminations for the Eternal Camnation and Nassagaweya Stakes are held. There are three divisions for both the Eternal Camnation and The Nassagaweya and picking a standout in either series is tough at this point. In the first division of the Eternal Camnation, Happy Becky 1:53 looks a big chance from barrier two. The daughter of Cams Card Shark is trained by Casie Coleman and is to be driven by David Miller. In the second division of the Eternal Camnation, J K Shesalady 1:52 looks the toughest to beat although her draw of seven evens things out a bit. The daughter of Art Major is trained by Nancy Johansson and will have the brilliant Yannick Gingras in the bike. In the third division of the Eternal Camnation it is a very even field with perhaps A Plus 1:54.1 just getting the nod here. The daughter of American Ideal is trained by Tony Alagna and will have Scott Zeron in the bike on Saturday night. The most heavily represented sire in the Eternal Camnation elimanations is Art Major with four with Western Ideal next best with three. In the first division of the Nassagaweya Stakes, two of the smarter colts so far this season square off with The Wayfaring Man and Asap Hanover locking horns. The Wayfaring Man 1:52.2, a son of Dragon Again is trained by Nicky Comenga and will have the great Jack Moiseyev in the bike. Asap Hanover 1:52, a son of Somebeachsomewhere is trained by Linda Toscano and will have the outstanding Ti Tetrick in the bike. The second division of the Nassagaweya Stakes looks a bit more clear cut with the Battle Of Waterloo winner Go Daddy Go 1:54 looking the one to beat. The son of Ponder is trained by Bob McIntosh and will driven by the legendary John Campbell. The third division of the Nassagaweya Stakes contains the fastest horse in the three heats  and likely favourite in Artspeak 1:50.4. The son of Western Ideal is another one from the barn of Tony Alagna and will be driven by Scott Zeron. The most heavily represented sire in the three divisions of the Nassagaweya eliminations is Somebeachsomewhere with five with the next best being Western Ideal with four. All up we have six great races to look forward to on Saturday night. For the fields click here. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing two-year-old pacers of both sexes competed in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action on Sunday evening at Georgian Downs, and the top performance was turned in by Sportskeeper, who established a new track record of 1:52.3 for a rookie pacing colt. Each race went for a purse of $70,000. Sportskeeper (Jody Jamieson) competed in the first division for pacing colts and geldings, and he would be in the lead at the :27.1 opening quarter. He then yielded the front to Bob Ben And John (Chris Christoforou), and that one would go on to click off the half in :56.2 and the three-quarters in 1:24.4. Bob Ben And John brought the field into the stretch, but Jamieson angled his charge to the outside, and he would get up late in the mile to prevail by half a length. Bob Ben And John was the runner-up and Physicallyinclined (Jack Moiseyev) nabbed third. The time shaved a fifth of a second off the existing track record, which had belonged to Funny Bones since he won a Gold Series elimination in 1:52.4 on June 17, 2006. Trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ontario, also bred and co-owns Sportskeeper, a Sportswriter colt, with partner Merlin Howse of Langton, Ontario. Sportskeeper, who has won three times from four starts and earned $53,000, is the third foal out of the Nuclear Flash mare Keeper Flying, which means Sportskeeper is a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Keepers Destiny (Intrepid Seelster, $712,747). Coleman also won the second section for colt and gelding pacers with Southwind Indy (Christoforou). Southwind Indy led to the :27.4 opening quarter, the :57.3 half and the 1:25.2 three-quarters before he sprinted home in :27.4 to triumph by half a length in 1:53.1. Jamieson had a pocket trip again in this event with Make Some Luck, but he fell half a length short this time. Drachan Hanover (Mike Saftic) tried the eventual winner from first-over past the half, but wound up third. It was the second win in five tries for Southwind Indy, a colt by Sportswriter who is owned by West Wins Stable, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, Ontario, and Southwind Farms LLC. of Pennington, New Jersey. Southwind Farms also bred Southwind Indy, who was purchased for $45,000 out of the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Southwind Indy, who shows earnings of $88,497, is the first foal out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Its Only Rocknroll. Its Only Rocknroll’s dam is Armbro Wallflower (Village Jasper), a multiple-time OSS winner at two and three, including the Super Final for three-year-olds in 2002. Jamieson did return to win the final contest for the male pacers with Sporting The Look. He had Sporting The Look on the engine through splits of :28.3, :58.1, and 1:26.3, and although pocket-sitter Dialamara (Randy Waples) made things interesting late, Sporting The Look held sway to score by a quarter of a length in 1:54.2. Mikes Powerhouse (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Sporting The Look, who is trained by Carl Jamieson, finished off a siring sweep of the colt divisions for Sportswriter. The elder Jamieson of Rockwood, Ontario, also co-owns Sporting The Look, who has been victorious in half of his six starts, with breeder 30 Plus Stable of Trenton and Tom Kyron of Toronto, Ontario. Sporting The Look, the third foal out of The Panderosa mare Lyons Mandi ($162,482), did go through last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he brought $72,000. As for the pacing fillies, Cowgirl Tough (Moiseyev) won the first section in 1:54.2, brushing from fifth at three-quarters to a two length victory in 1:54.2. Heavy favourite Southwind Mischief (Christoforou) led through fractions of :27.1, :57.4, and 1:25.2, but had to settle for second in the end, and Betty And The Jets (Jamieson) grabbed third. Joanne Colville and Emma Christoforou of Moffat, Ontario, and Sigrid Velten of Hochheim, Germany, bred the victorious daughter of Ponder, and now Colville and Christoforou share ownership. Also trained by Moiseyev, Cowgirl Tough broke her maiden in her fourth try, and she has now earned $35,960. She’s the first foal out of the Astreos mare Almost A Lady ($185,980). Public choice Sports Chic (Jamieson) didn’t disappoint in the second filly flight, posting panels of :28.2, :58.3, and 1:27.1 on her way to a 1:54.2 victory. Capela (Waples) tracked the winner from the pocket but fell three-quarters of a length short and Northern Starlet (Filion) was up to finish third. Trainer Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario, also co-owns Sports Chic, a daughter of Sportswriter, with partner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sports Chic has a four wins from six trips behind the gate, and she has now earned $139,500. Sports Chic, a Winbak Farm-bred filly who fetched $35,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, is the 15th foal out of the On The Road Again mare Vesta Blue Chip, which means Sports Chic is a half-sister to the great Rainbow Blue ($1,600,012), the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year. In the final filly dash, Code One Hanover (Saftic) broke on the first turn, leaving I Wonder Why (Steve Condren) in the lead at the 29 second opening quarter. Code One Hanover then regained her stride and went back to the lead before the 57 second half. Code One Hanover had opened up a two length lead at the 1:25.2 three-quarters but then went on the gallop again, dropping the top spot back to I Wonder Why. She wouldn’t lose control this time, winning by two and three-quarter lengths in 1:53.4. Win The Gold (James MacDonald) was next, followed by Shesastarreporter (Jon Drury). Trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario, also co-owns I Wonder Why, another filly by Ponder, with partner Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario. I Wonder Why, who is now two-for-six in the win column with a bankroll of $42,440, was bred by Doug Ackerman Stables Inc. of Aberdeen, North Carolina, and sold for $12,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. She is the third filly out of the Magical Mike mare Model A. The next Gold Series event for rookie pacing colts and geldings will occur on September 16 at Mohawk Racetrack while the two-year-old pacing fillies will race the night before at Mohawk. For full results and charts of Sunday’s races at Georgian Ontario Sire Stakes

ELORA, ON - Upsets stole the show in both of the biggest races of Grand River Raceway's 24th annual Industry Day celebration on August 4. The afternoon card featured 12 races worth $655,640, including the 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo. BATTLE OF WATERLOO Legendary Hall Of Fame driver John Campbell made his Grand River Raceway debut in last week's elimination races for the Battle Of Waterloo. This afternoon, the New Jersey based Ontario native posted a 7-1 win with Go Daddy Go in the $217,140 final. The score also gave fellow Hall Of Famer, trainer Robert McIntosh, his first Battle Of Waterloo victory. McIntosh bred and co-owns the chestnut colt by Ponder with Dave Boyle. Go Daddy Go finished nearly two lengths ahead of race favourite Sporting The Look with Jody Jamieson in the bike for five-time Battle Of Waterloo winning trainer Carl Jamieson. Trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge had four horses in the race, which finished third through sixth. The Battle Of Waterloo is contested by two-year-old Ontario-sired pacing colts. Go Daddy Go BATTLE OF THE BELLES In the fillies' sixth annual Battle Of the Belles, it was Guelph, ON driver James MacDonald at the helm in a 20-1 whopper with Win The Gold for trainer Tony O'Sullivan and owner/breeder Emerald Highlands Farm. Leaving from post two, the Sportswriter daughter moved first-over at the halfway marker and powered home in the stretch to overtake betting favourite Sports Chic and Jody Jamieson, winning by a neck. Capela and John Campbell rounded out the top three. The $138,000 race marked Win The Gold's maiden win in three career starts. Win The Gold ONTARIO SIRES STAKES Jet Airway set a new track record for sophomore pacing colts with a 1:51.1 score in the first of three $70,000 divisions of sophomore pacing colts in a Gold Leg of the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS). Driven by Randy Waples for trainer Tony Alagna, it was the colt's fifth win from 11 starts this year. The former record of 1:52.1 was set by Champagne Phil in August 2013. Play It Again Sam and James MacDonald were the even-money favourites in the second division where the Shadow Play colt led at every step in the mile, holding off to finish a neck over Speckled Door (with Doug McNair) and Falcon Justice (with Paul Macdonell) in 1:53.1. Play It Again Sam is a winner of two races this season for trainer Ian Moore and owners Wayne Eric Whebby and R G McGroup Ltd. Moore was back in the winners circle for the final OSS dash with Silverhill Shadow who cruised gate-to-wire to win by two lengths in 1:53.2. Last year's Battle Of Waterloo champ Three Of Clubs was the runner-up with driver Doug McNair, followed by Victor Bayama and Sylvain Filion. CONSOLATION RACES The Industry Day race card also featured a $30,000 consolation race for the Battle Of Waterloo and the $25,000 consolation for the Battle Of The Belles. In the Battle Of The Belles Consolation, Billy Davis Jr. steered Delightful Hill to her second career win with a half-length margin over Northern Starlet and Akissfromtheart in 1:56.1 for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Tom Hill. Seaforth made a strong comeback after last week's break in stride in his elimination division for the Battle Of Waterloo. He won the $30,000 Battle Of Waterloo Consolation dash by one-and-three-quarter lengths over Lyons Jimmydean and Jet Settin Mitt. Mike Saftic steered the homebred Eric Adams trainee for Millar Farms. It was the colt's first career win in four starts. RACING UNDER SADDLE The International Trot presented by Racing Under Saddle (RUS) Ontario featured riders from Canada, Sweden, US, Finland, Norway and Belgium. Saara Jalasti of Finland was the champ, scoring her first Canadian win. She rode eight-year-old Tragically Shipp to a four-length win over Angies Lucky Star (Philippe Masschaele of Belgium) and Hetties Honey (Anna Humphris of Canada). The Monte Trot was Tragically Shipp's first win of the season for trainer Lee Watson and owners Lynne and David Magee. BOUNCY PONY STAKES Other Industry Day highlights included the tenth annual Drivers' Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes. Boldly predicting a huge win during a pre-race interview, James MacDonald won for the fourth consecutive year, finishing a mere nose over his brotherly rival, Anthony Macdonald. Ryan Holliday and RUS rider Sarah Town rounded out the field Bouncy Pony Stakes HALL OF FAME PRESENTATION The Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame made a special presentation to Grand River Raceway General Manager Dr. Ted Clarke, who will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame in the Builders Category on August 6. The congratulatory banner was signed by hundreds of fans and horsepeople and was presented by Linda Rainey of the Hall Of Fame, and Paul Walker, President of the Grand River Agricultural Society. OHHA'S BEST OF SHOW The Ontario Harness Horse Association held their annual Industry Day Best Of Show Competition, awarding $500 in prize money to the top horses and caretakers racing on Industry Day. The winners were: Best Of Show Head-To-Toe: 1st: Maria Flink ($100) | 2nd: Kathy Edwards ($50) | 3rd: Amy Cruise ($25) Horse & Groom: 1st: Linda Coleman ($100) | 2nd: Stacey Reinsma ($50) | 3rd: Amy Turcotte ($25) Harness Shine: Amy McNair: $75 Above & Beyond (bling):  Tiffany Stein: ($75) The Industry Day on-track handle was $102,773 - an increase of 11 percent over 2013. Photos from the afternoon can be viewed on the Grand River Raceway Facebook page: Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Monday afternoon at Grand River Raceway, John Campbell will attempt to scratch one more stakes race off the very short list of ones he's never won when he goes to post in the 17th edition of the Battle of Waterloo behind Go Daddy Go. The Ailsa Craig, ON native is considered by many to be the greatest driver in harness racing history. His $287 million in earnings is far and away the most by any driver in the sport. He is a Hall of Famer in both Canada and the United States and he is one of only 10 people with more than 10,000 career wins. Yet, the 59-year-old, who has lived and worked in New Jersey since the late-1970s, has never won the Battle of Waterloo. In fact, he had never even been to Grand River Raceway until he drove in the eliminations last week and qualified homebred Go Daddy Go for the $217,000 Battle of Waterloo for trainer Bob McIntosh, a man who shares Campbell's distinction of being a Hall of Famer on both sides of the border. "Bob McIntosh called me about Go Daddy Go. I raced him in a Sires Stakes at Mohawk and he raced very well. He wanted to know if I would come up and try him in (the Battle of Waterloo) and I said, 'Sure.' We're not that busy through the week in New Jersey and he's a nice colt," Campbell said. Last Monday, before driving Go Daddy Go (Ponder-Sanfrancine) to a second-place finish in the first of two Battle of Waterloo eliminations - and also qualifying filly Capela for the $138,000 final of the Battle of the Belles - Campbell took a tour of Grand River and answered questions submitted by fans via social media. Asked what race he'd most like to win that he hasn't, yet, added to his long resume, Campbell told winner's circle interviewer Greg Blanchard, "right now my focus is on the Battle of Waterloo. I haven't won that and I want to next week." Go Daddy Go finished behind Sporting The Look in the first of two Battle of Waterloo eliminations. Sporting The Look was driven to victory by three-time Battle of Waterloo champ Jody Jamieson for his father, Hall of Fame trainer Carl Jamieson, who has won the Battle of Waterloo a record five times. Jody also won the other Battle of Waterloo elimination with a horse named Sportskeeper the same day his wife, Stephanie, gave birth to their daughter, Siara June Jamieson. "We just barely made it to the hospital for her to come out, but it was all good in the end," Jamieson said. "It was a trying morning, but she's here, she's healthy and I got a text today saying I was a prolific sire. I'm not really sure how to take that, actually." Speaking of prolific sires, Sporting The Look and Sportskeeper are both sons of red-hot sire Sportswriter, who also fathered two of the three winners of the eliminations for the Battle of the Belles. In all, 10 of the 18 finalists for the two stakes are sons or daughters of Sportswriter - with five Sportswriters in each race. Casie Coleman of Cambridge owns and trained Sportswriter. Monday, she will send out four Battle of Waterloo finalists and two fillies for the Battle of the Belles. Sportswriter sired all but one. "Right now it's unreal how every one of them are just like their old man," Coleman said. "I've trained a lot of babies and some of them have similarities of the stallions, but not every similarity. I've got nine Sportswriters and every one of them has a great attitude, great gait, great temperament. They want to win, they don't like being beat. It's just unreal." The Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Belles are all part of Grand River Raceway's annual Industry Day Celebration that gets underway on the Civic Holiday Monday with a 1:30 post time. The 12-race, $655,000 card will also feature a Racing Under Saddle event and a wide variety of family-friendly activities, including: a $5 all-access Kid's Pass for face painting, balloon artists, bouncy castles and pony rides (1-5 p.m.) the 10th annual drivers edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes (after race 5) a chance to meet race mare Paula Seelster and her foal and participate in a contest to name that foal (1-3 p.m.) Standardbred Canada's I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club will present an online handicapping challenge Cheerleading squads presenting $250 to the fan selected to represent the winning Battle of Waterloo horse and $250 for the patron who helps cheer the Battle of the Belles winner to victory. Parking and admission are free. For more information, visit www.IndustryDayCelebration.com To hear our conversation with John Campbell, Jody Jamieson and Casie Coleman check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

The $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie has drawn an impressive field of eight horses [field summary below] and goes postward this Saturday evening, July 19 as Northfield Park's twelfth race. Approximate post time for this event is 11:00 p.m. The Battle is a contest for North America's top open pacers. Superfecta wagering has been added to Saturday's twelfth race, the Battle feature. Saturday's first race post time is 6:00 p.m. Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the best veteran pacers the sport has to offer. Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip and Maltese Artist. Foiled Again has drawn post 7 in Saturday's feature and has been named the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting, Dave Bianconi. Foiled Again will appear in the Battle an unprecedented six times, and Saturday will reveal if he is successful in becoming the first horse in Northfield Park history to win this event three times. The 10 year-old son of Dragon Again (2000 Battle Champion) won in 2009 and 2011, joining Jaguar Spur (winner in 1988-89), Peruvian Hanover (winner in 2002-03) and Maltese Artist (winner in 2005 and 2007) as the only four horses to win the Battle of Lake Erie twice. Age does not seem to be slowing Foiled Again. He has paced his last four races in under 1:50. Foiled Again is trained by Ronald Burke and has garnered 80 career victories and sports earnings of $6,313,068. Those career earnings rank him as the richest pacer in the history of harness racing. The 2014 $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie Field: #1 - Night Pro enters this race with a six-race win streak, the last four all being paced sub-1:50, and earnings of $308,929. He is the son of Pro Bono Bests (Sire of Bono Bests, 2008 Battle of Lake Erie champion). His dam, Midnight Jewel was a standout race mare at Northfield Park and throughout the Midwest. This four year-old has won 21 of 28 career starts and is 9 of 11 this year. He makes his second local appearance. He won his career debut here in a $2,000 NW1 in 1:57.4 in March of last year. Dale Decker of Temperance, Michigan owns and trains this horse, who has been terrorizing his competition in Michigan and Indiana. He has a career best of 1:49 (HoP 7/8) and Peter Wrenn, who won the Battle with Dare You To in 1991, has been given the driving assignment with a morning line of 4-1. #2 - Beach Memories is one of two sons of Somebeachsomewhere in this year's edition of the Battle of Lake Erie. He has won 11 of 39 career races, taking a 1:48.3 (ScD 5/8) mark and bankrolling $450,214. This four year-old is owned by the partnership of Strollin Stables of Marion, Ohio, AWS Stables of Lima, Ohio, King McNamara of Naples, Florida and Country Club Acres of Findlay, Ohio. Beach Memories is the winner of last year's $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Final. He is conditioned in Delaware, Ohio by Brian Brown and was victorious in his most recent effort in the Buckeye State in a $20,000 Open at Scioto Downs in June. Brown has enlisted Northfield Park's leading driver, Josh Sutton, to drive this 15-1 morning line contender. #3 - Bolt The Duer sports career earnings of $1,770,095 and is one of three millionaires in this year's Battle of Lake Erie field. He has 54 lifetime starts and 20 career victories. He is a five year-old son of Ponder with a lifetime mark of 1:47.4 (Mea 5/8). Bolt The Duer is owned by All Star Racing, Inc. of Towaco, New Jersey and is trained by Peter Foley. This is the second local appearance for Bolt The Duer, who won the $130,000 Cleveland Classic here is 2012. His richest win came in the $500,000 Adios Final at The Meadows in 2012. He has been assigned a morning line of 7-2 and is scheduled to have the driving services of Canadian Mark Mac Donald. #4 - Clear Vision is one of two starters from the powerful barn of Ron Burke. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and The Panhellenic Stable Corp. of Oyster Bay, New York. He has won 25 and has been on the board in 80 of 151 career races, taking a 1:48.2 (TgDn 5/8) mark and bankrolling $1,912,868. 2014 marks Clear Vision's second Battle of Lake Erie appearance, finishing third in last year's edition. His richest victory was in the $223,500 Bobby Quillen Memorial Harrington Raceway in 2013. Burke has named Ohio-native Brett Miller to drive this 9-2 morning line competitor. #5 - Fool Me Once will start for Canadian owners Mark Austin Stables of Fergus, Ontario and Daniel Smith of London, Ontario. He has 16 career victories in 32 lifetime starts. This four year-old son of Art Major has career earnings of $654,371 and enters this race off of two straight wins at Mohawk, where he took his 1:48.1 lifetime mark. Fool Me Once is last year's New York Sires Stake Champion, winning the $225,000 final at Yonkers Raceway. This 6-1 morning line selection is trained by Mark Austin and is scheduled to be driven by North American leading driver, Aaron Merriman. #6 - Twilight Bonfire is owned by Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania. This four year-old has 49 career starts, winning 10 races. He has earned a 1:50.1 (Mea 5/8) lifetime mark and has career earnings of $965,140. Twilight Bonfire makes his second local appearance. He started as the favorite, but ended as the runner-up in last year's $126,000 Cleveland Classic. This Richard Gillock trainee's biggest win was at Dover Downs in the $165,975 Matron Stakes in 2012. Buckeye-native Tony Hall has been called upon to drive this 12-1 morning line starter #7 - Foiled Again is attempting to become the first horse to win this even three times and makes his sixth Battle of Lake Erie appearance. He won this event in 2009 and 2011, finished third in the 2010 and was second in this event in 2012. Ron Burke trains foiled Again for owners Burke Racing Stable of Fredricktown, PA, Weaver Bruscemi of Canonsburg, PA and JJK Stables of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Foiled Again has garnered 80 career victories and has been in the money 161 times in 210 career starts, earning a mark of 1:48 (PcD 5/8) and earnings of $6,313,068. Those career earnings rank him as the richest pacer in history. Yannick Gingras is scheduled to pilot this 3-1 slight morning line favorite. #8 - Apprentice Hanover is the 2013 Cleveland Classic Champion and makes his second local appearance. The $126,000 Classic also represents his richest triumph. He has 43 lifetime starts and 17 career victories. He is a four year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere with a lifetime mark of 149.4 (Mea 5/8) and career earnings of $824,675. Apprentice Hanover is owned by Bradley Grant of Milton, Ontario, Canada and is trained by Benjamin Wallace. He has been assigned a morning line of 10-1 and is scheduled to have the driving services of Dan Noble. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Every year some of North America's best three-year-old harness racing pacers come together and compete for one race; The Pepsi North America Cup! For on this night; records are broken, victories are celebrated and the price of glory is high! And where the list of champions grows and grows... This night is one of harness racing’s most anticipated events. It’s the event of the year that top trainers, owners, drivers, and fans alike come together to watch history being made!     You can feel the atmosphere of the grandstand change as the crowds begin to file in with spectators young and old; first time enthusiasts and experienced pros, as they all wait to catch a glimpse of the harness racing’s superstars. The races are always more intense on this night, and you can feel it as the trumpets blare and the race is called to post. The horses don’t know that it’s a bigger night; all that they know is that they are here to win! And the driver’s feel the pressure; because they know what glory lies beyond the finish line. The horse’s line up behind the gate, all of them ready to take one of the many champion titles to on the card. The gate lets the horses (and drivers) go, my heart begins to pound in time with the horse’s hooves hitting the dusty track.  I undo my seatbelt, getting ready to stand up when they turn for home! I don’t want to miss a second of the action. But for now I’m on the edge of my seat. I watch the horses race past me, I’m in awe. I tune everything else out. At the same time, I’m also watching the fractions go up on the toteboard. As they come off the turn I know the time has come! I grip the rail, the blood rushing through my body. I look to my mom, and she knows that means I’m going to be standing up. I stand up as my eyes are locked on the stretch. I fight the urge to sit; my legs begin to shake, but I tell myself I’m not going to sit until they cross the wire. I grip the rail tighter. I begin to scream louder than I have all of the race as they draw near. My lungs begin to feel dry because I’m screaming so loud. The horses make a final graceful dash for the wire; all of them wanting to be number one; with one trying to outstretch the other.  My concentration only breaks when I hear the announcer say with great excitement “...and that’s a new track record! After the winner returns to the Winner’s Circle. I watch attentively as the blanket is draped over him like the cape of a king. I watch as the winning connections hold the trophy high with pride and joy, as the cameras click and flash away! No matter how many North America Cups I attend, the same magic, wonder, and awe still exists; it never gets old and never will! Each year the horses get faster and faster, but the fierce competition remands the same. I have actually had the honor of being in the 2011 North America Cup Winner’s Circle. It was such an amazing experience, and one of which I will never forget. It all started a week before at the eliminations. I was along the rail when a gentleman came up to me and said “Sydney, if my horse wins next week, you can come out and have your picture taken.” I was so honored and excited. Then a few minutes later another gentlemen came up to me and said “No, no Sydney; if my horse wins next week, you make sure come out and get your picture taken with my horse!” Now I was even more excited! Now I wanted to know who was going to win the final! Was I going to have the honor of being in the Winner’s Circle? All of these questions would be answered next week. But next week seemed so far away. As I sat along the rail dreaming of next week, another gentleman named Carl Jamieson came  up to me and said “ Sydney, don’t listen to those two” (referring to the gentlemen I had just been speaking to.) “When my horse wins next week make sure you come out for your picture!” So now I had three invites to the Winner’s Circle! Now I was really looking forward to the final! I could hardly wait to see who would be crowned the 2011 champion! A week later the final of the 2011 North America Cup was here! It was a beautiful summer evening and there was a warm breeze blowing through; and the air was buzzing with excitement. As everyone pondered the same thought, who will win the 2011 North America Cup? The entire night I was looking forward to that one race- The North America Cup! Would I have the honor of being in the Winner’s Circle? If so who would it be with? These were all the questions floating through my mind. But before I could find out any of the answers, someone had to win the North America Cup!  The race was making my heart pound faster than it ever had before! The anticipation and excitement was growing with every turn they passed. I was also cheering for three horses at the same time; which as I learned that day is easier said than done. I had my seat belt undone, ready to stand when the horses rounded the final turn. As they turned for home I was practically jumping up and down. One of the horses I could go to the Winner’s Circle with was going to win! Up The Credit would be crowned the 2011 winner of the North America Cup! I quickly sat back down in my chair, buckled my seat belt the fastest I ever have, and my dad and  I ran to the gate of Winner’s Circle waiting for Jody Jamieson to turn Up The Credit into the Winner’s Circle! Once there I met Carl Jamieson, I wished him a big congratulations on his win and gave him a hug! And then we all packed into the Winner’s Circle; all overjoyed with the evenings events!   After the majority of pictures had been taken, Carl Jamieson came over to me and said “Sydney! Here hold it, and we’ll take a picture!” I replied “No, but thank you!” I was so nervous and I did not want to drop the North America Cup!  So Carl (Jamieson) held it on my lap, and we had our picture taken holding the North America Cup! It was a pretty amazing feeling. And to this day that picture hangs on the wall in my living room... After I was back at my spot on the rail, Jody ( Jamieson) was walking back to the paddock signing autographs, as he walked by me I stuck my hand through the bars in the rail and said “ congratulations Mr. Jamieson!” He stopped, shook my hand, and said to the gentleman standing beside my mom and me, “Can I borrow your marker?” The gentleman agreed. My mom turned to grab our program for him to sign. Jody (Jamieson) said “that’s okay! I can do better then that!”  He took off his North America Cup baseball cap, signed it, and placed it on my head; and he continued to walk back to the paddock. I was in shock; I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I lowered my head and the tears began to fall, not because I was upset, but because I was so genuinely touched but what Jody Jamieson had done! For the rest of the night I wore that hat with such pride! I will forever treasure that hat. In fact that night I slept with it like a teddy bear!  And I kept waking up because I didn’t want to lose it!  Today, that baseball cap hangs on a rack above my bed. And every night before I fall asleep, I look up at that very special baseball cap. And it brings me to that very special night and all the lasting memories that were created... This story is a collection of only a few of the memories I have from the North America Cup! Each year new memories are created; all of which I will always hold near and dear to my heart! Sydney Weaver is 14 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, co-owns a racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

Canadian Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh celebrated his 4,000th training win on an electric Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack as his millionaire homebred pacer Thinking Out Loud slipped up the pylons to take the $30,000 Free For All Handicap Pace in the final strides. Driven by another Hall of Famer, John Campbell, even-money favourite Thinking Out Loud left from the outside post six and settled into a pocket spot behind All Star Legend (Yannick Gingras) through a :26.1 opening panel. All Star Legend led the way to the half in a rated :55.3 with Wake Up Peter (Mike Lachance) moving first over and up to pressure at the 1:23.1 third quarter mark. That left Thinking Out Loud boxed in and searching for room at the pylons down the lane. He eventually squeezed through in deep stretch and prevailed in a three-way photo finish over the quick-closing Ultimate Beachboy (Brett Miller) and All Star Legend. The five-year-old gelding is by the sire Ponder and Camluck mare Los Angeles, all of which McIntosh campaigned. Thinking Out Loud, who was a 1:47.2 winner in The Meadowlands' U.S. Pacing Championship last year, previously provided the Windsor, Ont. conditioner with another major career accomplishment in winning his first Pepsi North America Cup title in 2012. The pacer is owned by the Robert McIntosh Stables along with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont., and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. McIntosh's milestone win came in front of a large crowd estimated to be in excess of 14,000 in attendance as Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment played host to JerseyFest. This year the event included a competition between 17 food trucks competing for prizes and recognition, as well as vendors and artisans from all over the Garden State on-site sampling and selling their wares. The weather finally cooperated with a pleasant, dry evening. The festival began around 5 p.m. Saturday evening and the track apron and outfield park filled quickly. A portion of the crowd crept into the grandstand as the evening wore on with many drawn to the racing by the visual displayed on the high definition infield video screen. The design of the new grandstand nicely integrates the racing with events held outside with the track and horses in close proximity to the fans. An added attraction was the appearance by Victor Espinoza, the jockey set to ride California Chrome in his date with destiny next week in the Belmont Stakes as he tries to be the first winner of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing since 1978. Espinoza greeted fans and signed autographs, joined in a winner's circle ceremony that included WNBC sportscaster Bruce Beck and spoke with Sam McKee about the upcoming race. by Darin Zocalli, for the Meadowlands

London, May 29, 2014 -- A familiar face, and former leading driver at The Raceway at Western Fair District, is coming back to London for the Molson Pace. Mark MacDonald has been one of North America's top pilots for many years, but this is one race he has yet to win. "I've been in The Pace with some very nice horses," he said. "Tigerama set the track record there (1:50.4 in 2008) in his elimination, but he drew the outside post in the Final and things didn't work out." "I finished second with Dr No to Our Lucky Killean (2006) and I've been there with Sand Olls Dexter (2004) and others... Having lived in London and driven there lots - it's just one of those marquee events that a guy like me would love to win." There's a 'tank' of a horse from south of the border that goes by the name of Bandolito, co-owned, trained and driven, for the most part, by Daryl Bier. He's a son of Ponder and MacDonald has yet to sit behind this 'tank', but he's very familiar with the Ponder family. "I know them well," he stated. "I've driven Ponder and I've driven his stakes champ son's Thinking Out Loud and Bolt The Duer - they're both world class and I think Bandolito is ready for his coming out party too. He hasn't beaten the big boys yet, but The Pace would be a nice spot to start." Bandolito is a lightly raced 4-year-old with just 19 career starts, but he has 13 wins, a mark of 1:48 F and he's banked over $250,000. Charles Dombeck, Dave Bier and brother Daryl all share in ownership and they've recruited MacDonald to pilot this speed demon is this year's edition of the $150,000 Molson Pace taking place Friday, May 30. "I was at Yonkers watching a race from Dover Downs, in April, and I was like 'Who is this pacing out of his harness?'" Turns out it was Bandolito, with Daryl Bier in the bike, cruising to a gate-to-wire 1:48.2 win - his 3rd quarter in 26.2 and final quarter in 25.4 - that's a final half in 52.1 after cutting it! So it is evident that Bandolito has tremendous speed over the five-eighths ovals, but how will he respond to his first test over the half-miler? "He's a very slick pacer and he doesn't wear a boot," said MacDonald. "His speed is just crazy... The half mile track should be just fine for this guy." Some say Bandolito rolls along on the lead like the late Riyadh. A front-end, half-mile track specialist who took on the best there was back in the early to mid 90's. "We'll see how he draws and go from there," added MacDonald. "I know he'll be a serious contender... I know he's ready for the big boys in London... They'll need their 'A+ Game' to beat him!" A confident Mark MacDonald will join London track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle on Friday's Molson Pace pre-game show to discuss his return to the London oval and offer more insights into this year's Molson 'Dark Horse'. First post on Friday night is 7:05 p.m. and fans will receive a commemorative Foiled Again post card with program purchase. There will also be contests, giveaways, the Molson 'Party on the Patio' and much more happening throughout the night. Full-card coverage will be available on HPItv. On the Wagering side, the early Super Hi-5 will offer an 'Instant Guarantee' of $15,000 while the late Super Hi-5 (Molson Pace) has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. Both Pick-4 wagers offer guaranteed pools - the early at $7,500 and late at $10,000. For more information, including free programs and live streaming video, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway                                  

Delaware, OH---The crowd was large and they stayed until the very end hoping to snag a horse to race this summer. Monday (May 12) was the second-strongest Blooded Horse Spring Sale in 15 years.  Burke Racing Stable LLC brought a nice consignment of raceway horses that contained the saletopper, PL Fighter. A competitive conditioned pacer at Harrah's Philadelphia, the Jereme’s Jet gelding was purchased by Rene Allard for $23,000. Allard was also the consignor of the classy Yonkers trotter MMs Lucky Boy that was purchased by Shirley Halas of Michigan for $19,000. The 4-year-old NW4 pacer KRs Power Surge excited the crowd, with Les Givens of Delaware getting the final bid at $22,000.  The Village Jolt son was consigned by Karen Fread. Another consistent pacing gelding that got a lot of attention was Camarrow, a fast son of Ponder that leaves Krista Harmon of Michigan on a $19,000 bid from Tony Schadel of Pennsylvania. Two Notch, a fancy NW1 Cam's Card Shark filly from the Baron Racing Stable dispersal was purchased by Candy O’Brien, also from Pennsylvania, for $16,000.  In addition to the saletopper the Burke Racing Stable consignment produced several other appealing horses including the winning Northfield Park $8,000 claiming trotter Mr. Jesse that sold for $14,000 to Jim Sisk to race in New York. Also, in that consignment was the $10,000 Pennsylvania claiming pacer Ulshootureyeoutkid that went to Wayne Givens of Delaware for $12,000. The next Blooded Horse Sale is August 25 and 26 and will feature black-type yearlings in addition to racehorses and breeding stock.  For more information, visit www.bloodedhorse.com.

Artic Byrd produced a very impressive victory in a speedy time of 1:50.2 in the $8,000 feature race at Vernon Downs on Thursday night. The win was the second straight for Artic Byrd, owned by Donn Lewandrowski and Gail Farrell of Poland, New York. Artic Byrd had picked up a win on May 1 over a sloppy track, but the fast going on Thursday night also appealed to the roan mare. Trainer-Driver Truman Gale was very patient through the first three-quarters of a mile, sitting in behind the pace-setter, Elleofnxample. Elleofnxample set strong fractions in front, covering a quarter in 26.1, a half in 54.3, and three-quarters in 1:22.3. It appeared that Elleofnxample was going to go all the way to victory, but those fast fractions might have cost her in the stretch as she drifted away from the inside of the track into the two-path. This allowed Gale to send Artic Byrd right through on the inside and up in time for a victory by a length. The remainder of the finishers in the Thursday feature were Market Dynamics, Day To Ponder, and Steuben Ruthless in finishing order.   Three drivers shared top honors on the Thursday night program with two winners. Aaron Byron, John Macdonald, and Jimmy Whittemore all had two victories on the evening. Live racing resumes at Vernon Downs with a nine-race program on Friday night, May 9, at 7:15pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

Bandolito might not be the biggest of horses, but Daryl Bier expects him to stand tall when he takes on some of the best older pacers in the world in Saturday night's $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The 4-year-old sensation, who owns the fastest mile of any pacer so far this season, faces eight rivals in the third edition of the Van Rose Memorial. Bandolito's foes include 2013 Van Rose winner Golden Receiver, who has earned $2.13 million during his career, as well as Sweet Lou, Dynamic Youth, and Warrawee Needy. Unraced at age 2, Bandolito has won 13 of 17 career races and $241,315. Last year, he captured the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, but it was earlier this month that he really turned heads thanks to a 1:48 win at Dover Downs. His time equaled the fastest mile ever by a horse of any age at five-eighths-mile Dover Downs and is the fastest mile of this year. He followed that victory with a 1:48.2 triumph on April 10 at Dover Downs in which he covered the final half-mile in :52.1, with a :25.4 last quarter. On Saturday at Pocono Downs, he raced first over to win the preferred handicap by a neck over Dynamic Youth in 1:50.2. "I think he will be better than he was last week," said Bier, who trains and drives Bandolito. "He was coming off a 16-day layoff and I thought he might be a little short. I was thrilled with his race. I think the field last week was a step up from what he had been facing. I expect him to race very well (in the Van Rose)." Bier, who won the inaugural Van Rose in 2012 with Special T Rocks in a world-record-equaling performance, owns Bandolito with his brother Tommy and Charles Dombeck. Tommy Bier was listed as the sole owner when the horse was purchased privately from breeder/trainer Warren Harp last May after the colt won a qualifier in 1:56 at Spring Garden Ranch. With Daryl Bier handling the training and most of the driving, Bandolito won nine of 11 races last season. He was given time off following his Kentucky Sire Stakes victory in September and returned to action in December, but Bier thought the horse was not himself in three starts that culminated with a third-place finish in an open for 5-year-olds and younger on Jan. 9 at Dover Downs. Bier discovered Bandolito was suffering from a foot abscess, which kept the horse out of action until late March. "He's been awesome since he came back," Bier said. "I've never had a horse like him. He can go a quarter in 26 (seconds) and still have another gear. He's got gears I've never seen." Bandolito is a son of the stallion Ponder out of the mare Sody's Home Brew. Bier has been impressed particularly with two Ponder offspring - millionaires Bolt The Duer and Thinking Out Loud - which contributed to his interest in Bandolito. "I really like Ponder; I bought (Bandolito) because he was a Ponder," Bier said. "He was kind of small, but I really like when a horse doesn't race at (age) 2. I think they make better racehorses; I think there's a lot more left in there." Bandolito will start the Van Rose from post six in a race that should offer no shortage of speed, or talent. Warrawee Needy won in 1:46.4 last year, which equaled the fastest race mile in harness racing history. Golden Receiver, Sweet Lou, Dynamic Youth, and Dovuto Hanover all are open stakes winners. "Everything is going to be a test," Bier said. "These are the best horses in the world. But I don't think we're in a bad spot. I'm excited about it. I'm thrilled with him, no matter what. I just hope I can get a clear shot. I don't know how fast he can go." The field in post order for the Van Rose Memorial with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Golden Receiver, George Napolitano Jr., Mark Harder; 2. Dancin Yankee, Ron Pierce, Josh Green; 3. Dovuto Hanover, Ron Pierce, Darran Cassar; 4. Dynamic Youth, Andrew McCarthy, Carl Cito Jr.; 5. Abelard Hanover, Jonathan Roberts, Donald Billings; 6. Bandolito, Daryl Bier, Daryl Bier; 7. Emeritus Maximus, Ron Pierce, Tom Cancelliere; 8. Sweet Lou, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 9. Warrawee Needy, Mark MacDonald, Mark Ford. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (April 28, 2014) - The first responders of the March 28th barn fire at Saratoga Casino and Raceway were honored during yesterday's race card. The ceremony recognized the heroism of the casino employees as well as local police and fire departments that arrived first on the scene and saved the lives of 30 horses. On March 28th around 6am, Mark Harrington, Security Manager at Saratoga Casino and Raceway smelled smoke coming from somewhere in the backstretch of the property. He was approached by Earl Bean, a trainer at the harness track, who alerted Harrington to a fire that had started in barn number 15. Harrington, along with groom Mickey Block, began to evacuate the horses that were still inside the burning barn. The Saratoga Police and Fire Departments were alerted as soon as security at the casino detected the fire, and arrived within minutes. They immediately began assisting with rescuing the remaining horses still trapped in the barn. A total of 30 horses were successfully saved and unharmed as a result of their rapid response. The fire was completely extinguished by 6:30AM. Saratoga Springs Fire Department Captain, Tom Knight and his squad were the first to arrive on the scene. "When we entered the barn the smoke was extremely black and very thick," said Knight. "We crawled along the ground and actually crawled into barns to feel around for horses. The horsemen and firemen worked very well together to get halters on the horses and get them out of harm's way. We got really lucky." "This could have been a lot worse had it not been for the heroic efforts of the first responders," said Jamie Hartman, General Manager of Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "We truly cannot thank them enough for their incredible act of bravery." The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and was believed to be started by an oat cooker that was left on inside the barn. Inspections of the structures located at the facility are conducted regularly by local fire officials, most recently in May 2013. Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen was on hand Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to present a plaque honoring the heroic efforts of horsemen and members of the Saratoga Springs Fire Department. Saratoga Casino and Raceway's backstretch includes 34 horse barns with 1,040 stalls. There are currently 600 horses housed at the facility. All horses that were displaced by the fire have been relocated to another stall on the property. From Saratoga Raceway

OK, you’re driver Daryl Bier, known from Cal Expo to Dover and Pocono, from Pompano to The Meadowlands. You’ve had experience with really good horses before, as you currently guide the top FFA trotter Modern Family, and have had former world champion Special T Rocks, $900,000+ winner Higher And Higher, and others. You’re sitting behind a four-year-old who only has six months of actual racing experience and you are in the $36,000 Open Handicap feature race at Dover on closing day, April 10, but you know he’s a very fast horse who’s getting better. Your even-money main opposition broke early, so you decided to go to the point with the 6-5 second choice, and you rate the half in 56.1. Then it gets fun. You open him a notch to get away from your remaining rivals, and he responds instantly – he’s not a big horse, but he’s quick as can be. You whiz past the ¾ (“I didn’t think to look at the time; I was thinking about my $18,000 winners share); then, early on the final turn, you kick the earplugs out on your horse, test him a little more. He visibly downshifts on the TV monitors, and Daryl feels it in the bike – we’re going FAST! Through the lane, Bier takes him in hand, but he still destroys his field that has collective earnings of $1.9 million lifetime, by six (or more) lengths. Daryl gets to look at the timer past the finish – it says 1:48.2. Quick math tells him that’s a last half, on a five-eighth-mile track, in 56-degree temperatures, with nobody around him, for a horse in his 16th career start, in 52.1. He gets a chance to look at the ¾ time – it was 1:22.3, which means he paced in 26.2 down the back, and then when he downshifted, his horse came the last quarter (on a 5/8-mile track) in 25.4! Daryl returns to the Dover winners circle with a big smile. His brother Sean, a veteran of the racetrack game, is jumping and hollering – “DID YOU SEE THAT?” (probably not intended at Daryl, who of course did see that). The Dover paddock is abuzz after the race. Oh, did we mention that in his previous start, coming from behind wicked fractions, he had tied the all-time Dover record of 1:48, first set by his year’s 3YO champion, Heston Blue Chip? Meet Bandolito. Unraced at two in  2012, the son of Ponder-Sody’s Home Brew was brought to the races by veteran Florida horseman Warren Harp, and Daryl got a call from an agent he had worked with, Gary Brown. The horse fit a pattern Daryl has used with much success – buy promising horses who didn’t race or didn't race much at two: Modern Family didn’t start as a freshman, and Special T Rocks only raced twice at 2 – and the price was right. So he was brought into the Bier stable, with Daryl’s brother David making the initial purchase while agreeing that if the horse was good enough to make the Kentucky Sire Stakes in the summer, Daryl and longtime stable patron Charles Dombeck would join the ownership. Bandolito came north, where he came under the care of Team Bier, which includes caretaker Brad Sawyer (“He has Modern Family, too, so he’s a top man”) and horseshoer Chuck Crissman Jr., the father-in-law of Daryl’s brother Sean (Crissman comes more into the story later, and then again right at the very end). Third in his first northern start, the unheralded sophomore then rips off six straight between Harrah’s and Pocono, including a 1:51.3f-27 triumph (in his fourth lifetime start). Off to Kentucky under the new Bandolito partnership. The Ponder colt wins his two prelims with ease at the famous Red Mile, both with sub-27 last quarters, and Bandolito is 1-10* in the final. “I decided to use Tim Tetrick that night,” Daryl said, “because Tim obviously knows good horses, and I wanted to see what he thought of the horse, whether he was for real.” 1:49.4 later (26.2 on the end), Tetrick turns to Bier and says, “I like him. He’s a real good horse.” And thus basically ended Bandolito’s first campaign. Oh, the calendar will say he started back in December 2013, but this was really round two for Bandolito. And he didn’t come out of his corner strongly. A hard-closing fifth in a 1:51 mile at Dover just six days before Christmas was a good start, but then Bandolito caused some concern – while winning a race. “He was second-over, but won by only a head in 1:52.3, and I was worried,” Bier recalled – his people were considering nominating him for the Levy Series around then, but that kind of mile wouldn’t do. “And then he quarter-moved in his next race, for $18,000, and was caught and beaten almost two lengths.” The answer came quickly. Bandolito was dead lame the next day, one foot obviously distressing him. “But Chuck (Crissman) saved us right then and there. He figured out the foot problem, got him straightened away. He didn’t walk for three weeks after the lameness,” but things progressed well for Bier/Crissman/Sawyer and the other owners, so well that with their careful nurturing Bandolito qualified on March 19. Two weeks later he equaled the all-time Dover record of 1:48 on April 3 – his 15th lifetime start. Came home in 52.1-25.4 a week later – start #16. “We were more excited about that race, because nobody was pushing us and because of the sheer speed.” What’s next for Bandolito? Good question. Perhaps the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial on Kentucky Derby Day (a race in which Bier and Special T Rocks equaled a 1:48.2 world record two years ago) at Pocono, where Bier recently re-established his base, maybe after an overnight start this weekend if Daryl can get one for him. Afterwards? … But they are fun question marks to have! Daryl: “We got a copy of the race, and I watched it with Chuck on his big screen TV. And you can see things pretty good on it, and the eighth, just into the turn, from when I kicked the earplugs, we timed him in 12 seconds. We both timed that, and did it a couple of times. A 12-second eighth … that’s a 24-second quarter…” How good IS Bandolito? By Jerry Connors, for Harnesslink.com    

DOVER, Del.---- Casino Bags Carlo swept to victory in the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Three-Year-Old Male pace, the last of four $100,000 DSBF finals this week on the closing day of the 45th harness racing season at Dover Downs, Thursday, April 10 at Dover Downs. Bandolito romps in 1:48 winning $36,000 Preferred pace and Just A Jolt takes $33,000 Delaware Special. When front-pacing favorite Elite Awards suddenly broke stride on the final turn, Vince Copeland, sitting second with Casino Bags Carlo, shot into the lead and rushed home a 1:52.4 winner of the final DSBF three-year-old championships. The win was the third straight victory of an unbeaten campaign for Cavalli Pazzi Stables,. Copeland has trained and driven the Roddy's Bags Again-Casino Bus gelding now a winner of eight of 12 races and only once farther back that third while winning $70,000 this year and $168,911 lifetime. West Star Director (Ben Stafford Jr.) finished second for the third consecutive start. Forced Passage (Ross Wolfenden) was third. Driver George Dennis said he and Elite Awards saw a lose horseshoe shining brightly on the track along a pylon and the pacer was startled and broke stride, finishing out of the money for the first time in 12 races with 10 of them easy wins. Bandolito, a 1:48 winner last week, currently the fastest time of 2014, won even more impressively this week stepping up to the $36,000 Preferred Handicap. Trainer-driver Daryl Bier, co-owner with Charley Dombeck and David Bier, the Ponder-Sody's Home Brew brown four-year-old was never trouble chalking up his third win in four starts this year while winning $48,977 and $228,815 in his 16 race career. Tarpon Hanover (David Miller) ended a two-race win streak finishing second with Take It Back Terry (Ross Wolfenden) the show horse. When Nova Artist (Allan Davis) became involved in trouble in front of the grandstand when he received a broke race wheel, the $33,000 Delaware Special Handicap became a toss up. Feel Like a Fool (Dennis) took over the lead and led into the stretch when Tim Tetrick steered Just A Jolt to the front nearing the wire for a 1:50.2 triumph. Feel Like A Fool and Full Of Sand (Corey Callahan) were second and third respectively. Nova Artist pulled up before the clubhouse turn. Corey Callahan drove Joan Hamstead's homebred Lewiebyalength scooted to a 1:53.2 success in the $20,000 DSBF consolation. A 13-1 shot Three Day Forecast (Jonathan Roberts) was second with By Noggin (Tony Morgan) third. Callahan also guided Gateway Racing's Lollipop Kid to a 1:49.1 conquest in an $18,000 Male Winners-Over pace. The Dylan Davis-trainee is an altered son of Shady Character-Saly Pansen and won for the third time in 10 outings this year. Manhattan Rusty N (Ron Pierce) finished a strong second with Poker Hat (Tetrick) finishing third. In the $17,500 3,4&5-Year-Old Male Winners-Over pace, Troy and Todd Tribbett's Alittleaintenough notched his fourth win of the season with Ron Pierce driving, a 1:51 lifetime mark. The Artiscape-Mayland Beauty gelding trained by Joe Hunterpfund was followed home by Chesapeake Bay (David Miller) and Totally Kissed (Montrell Teague), the only sophomore in the field, who was third. Bret Brittingham drove the other $17,500 division winner, Leslie Betts' Teresa's Beach. The Somebeachsomewhere-GE's Jen four-year-old is trained by Johnny Waite and won #4 this year in 11 starts. Sea Harrier (Tetrick) accepted his first loss after two wins. Varsity Hanover (Kim Vincent) closed strongly to finish third. In between races ceremonies, Corey Callahan was presented the Leading Driver award. Dylan Davis won the Leading Trainer title, while Nova Artist, for the second time in three seasons, won Horse of the Meet honors. Dover Downs says 'so long' to its 45th season and thanks all who participating in making the 2013-14 meet successful. Thanks for being an important part of the banner season. Racing will resume next Fall. In the meantime, harness racing resumes on Monday, April 21 at Harrington Raceway. There is no charge for parking or admission when visiting Dover Downs. Leading harness and thoroughbred simulcasts are featured from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight daily in the Dover Downs Race and Sports Book. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

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