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Nichols, NY - The $1 million(e) Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) stakes for harness racing 3-year-old New York sired trotters and pacers will be raced without eliminations in 2021. This format was implemented for the 2020 EBC trotting races and the 2020 EBC colt pace went straight to the final with ten declarations.   In 2021, should ten or fewer declare for any of the EBCs, the stake will go as a single division for the total purse. If eleven or more declare the stake shall be raced in divisions with the purse split equally and the entry fee reduced accordingly.   The EBC colt and filly trots are scheduled for Vernon Downs on Friday, June 18 and the pacers will race at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 29.   The 2021 $650,000(e) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial will be raced at Vernon on Sunday, August 28 using the "Main events/consolation" format as it has been for the past several years.   The W.N. Reynolds stakes for 2-year-olds will return to Tioga for 2021 and all divisions are scheduled for Friday, September 3.   Vernon and Tioga Downs are set to begin the 2021 live racing season at the customary starting dates for the pair of Upstate New York venues.   Vernon starts first on Saturday, April 17 while Tioga gets underway on Saturday, May 1.   Contact Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at or (607) 699-7688 for answers.          

When Robert Lindstrom saw the then-yearling Captain Corey in person for the first time, he quickly arrived at two conclusions. First, the harness racing colt was going to cost more than he originally anticipated. Second, he needed to be the one to buy him. Lindstrom was correct about the first assumption and successful in accomplishing the second, purchasing Captain Corey for $150,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. The trotter was the co-sales topper for the session. "It was very exciting," Lindstrom said. "I had some idea how much I could spend for him. When I saw him, I understood it would be impossible. I was much over my limit to buy him, but I couldn't let him go. To me, he was the best horse in the sale at that time." Captain Corey, who is undefeated in four races this year as he prepares for Friday's $61,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands, is by Googoo Gaagaa out of Luv U All. Googoo Gaagaa was a record-setting sensation at ages 2 and 3, with a career mark of 1:50.4 established at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 2012, best known for being the son of a pacing stallion, Cam's Rocket. Lindstrom long admired Googoo Gaagaa and last year brokered a deal with Richard Hans, who was the horse's breeder, owner, and trainer, to buy the stallion and bring him to Sweden. Googoo Gaagaa, through frozen semen transport, had already sired a small group of successful horses in Sweden prior to the move. They include Group 1 winners Bythebook, Hail Mary, and Power. "To pick a stallion, it's good if they have a good pedigree, but it's all about performance, that they are an exceptional horse," Lindstrom said. "Googoo had such a trotting technique, with the way he could go around turns, and he wanted to win. That is what I think you need for a great stallion. "If you're really a nerd about pedigree, if you follow his maternal line way back, he comes from the same maternal line as Muscle Hill. It's there. Some people say that he doesn't have the pedigree, but I don't think his pedigree is bad." Lindstrom's interest in Captain Corey, therefore, was not unexpected. The colt, named in honor of Googoo Gaagaa's driver Corey Callahan, was bred by Carter Duer and when Lindstrom visited the farm and saw Captain Corey in the paddock, he was immediately hooked. "He was such a tremendous horse," Lindstrom said. "Just when you saw him, not only his body, but when you saw him in the eyes, he looked intelligent. He looked right through you. I got such a feeling from the horse." Lindstrom partnered with S R F Stable and Knutsson Trotting Inc. on the purchase of Captain Corey and sent the horse to trainer Ake Svanstedt (who also became an ownership partner). Svanstedt, too, found it easy to admire Captain Corey. "From day one when we hooked him to the jog cart he was like an old horse," Svanstedt said. "He is a very smart horse, never nervous for a race. His gait is very good, a long stride. I don't think he needs to use too much energy to do his job. He has a long stride, and I can never feel the speed of him because he has such a nice gait. It feels like it is easy for him. I'm impressed with everything he does." Captain Corey's four wins this season all came in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, including a track-record 1:54.1 debut at The Meadows, a track-record-equaling 1:55 second start at Harrah's Philadelphia, and a 1:53.3 stakes-record score in the series championship at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "He was so big, I didn't think he was going to be this good so early," Lindstrom said. "Ake has done a tremendous job to make him so good and develop him in the right way." Captain Corey's start Friday will be his first since winning the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final Sept. 5. The colt battled a little sickness after the race and got an extended respite in preparation for the upcoming Breeders Crown. "I think it was good for him to have a break," Svanstedt said. "He was training the whole time and has trained good." Lindstrom said the plan was to limit Captain Corey to 10 or fewer races this season. "The most important thing this year was not to race too much," Lindstrom said. "Next year is important. The 3-year-old season is where we thought he would shine. This season is just a bonus. "We're very excited about what has happened so far, but even more for what could happen. It's very thrilling." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Just because Hambletonian Day is in the rearview mirror doesn't mean there isn't plenty of stakes action to come during the current Fall Meeting at The Meadowlands. When live racing resumes Friday (Oct. 16) at 7:15 p.m., the marquee event will be the $61,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot, featuring the Ake Svanstedt trained and driven Captain Corey, who is unbeaten in four lifetime outings. The Kindergarten Classic - also for juveniles - is up next with its final two legs on Oct. 23 (Leg Three) and Oct. 30 (Leg Four) before the series climaxes with four big-money finals worth approximately $800,000 on Nov. 7. Two weeks after that comes the third-biggest program - after the Hambo and Meadowlands Pace Night - on The Big M's yearly calendar, as eight big-time stakes events take place on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night on Nov. 21. Two-year-olds will be in the spotlight as the Governor's Cup (colt pace), Three Diamonds (filly pace), Valley Victory (colt trot) and Goldsmith Maid (filly trot) make up the Fall Final Four, with total purses of about $1.8 million. Year-end divisional honors - as well as Horse of the Year - could be determined by what happens in the four TVG Finals, which are the Mares Trot, Open Trot, Mares Pace and Open Pace, a fabulous four-pack which will see just over $1 million get doled out. A year ago, Six Pack locked up older male trotter honors by gunning down Manchego - at the time, the best horse in training - in 1:50 in the Open Trot. Despite being beaten in a stretch-battle thriller by Caviart Ally, Shartin N - who finished a nose behind in 1:48.3 - went on to be selected as HOTY. SIMULCAST HEAVEN: Two sets of year-end championships will be offered at The Meadowlands on its simulcast network, one for the star performers of harness racing and the other for the best in the thoroughbred game. Hoosier Park in Anderson, IN will play host to the 2020 edition of the Breeders Crown, harness racing's year-end 12-race extravaganza for horses of all gaits, sexes and age. More than $6 million will be on the table over the course of two race cards, as Friday, October 30 will see the four events for 2-year-olds, before a Saturday, October 31 eight-pack that will include four races for 3-year-olds and four more for open types. Post time each night is 6 p.m. Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY is the site for the 2020 Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will begin with five events on Friday, Nov. 6 and conclude on Saturday, Nov. 7 with nine more races, the last of which is the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic. The first Breeders' Cup race on Friday is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., while Saturday's opener goes at 12:02 p.m. The Classic has a post time of 5:13 p.m. LAST WEEKEND: Threes were wild over the course of last weekend (Oct. 9-10) at The Big M. Three drivers, Corey Callahan, Victor Kirby and George Napolitano Jr., and two trainers, Bruce Saunders and Jeff Cullipher, all won three times over the course of the two programs. Last Saturday's "bookend" 20-cent Pick-5s provided pleasing payoffs for players. The wager that spanned races one through five paid $887. With the exception of race four, where a 14-1 shot brought a challenge for the bettors, the other four winning horses' odds were just 6-5, 5-1, 4-1 and 4-5. The Late Pick-5 returned $13,654, yet, except for one race, the winning prices were not outrageous. The winners' odds for the sequence were 8-1, 9-2, 8-5, 21-1 and 8-5. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, go to, where one can access races nine through 13 for both Friday and Saturday's program. Those races include the 20-cent Late Pick-5, 50-cent Late Pick-4 and 10-cent Late Pentafecta, not to mention the Late Daily Double. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on this link to check out Friday's card: Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: As always look for the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. It begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m. If you want to watch all the action at home, go to to catch every race live. GET YOUR SPORTS ACTION: When at The Big M, be sure and visit the FanDuel Sportsbook, where you can watch and wager on all the NFL, NLCS, ALCS and college football action. The book is open for business from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday. From the Meadowlands Media Department

Harness Racing This Week: John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Courageous Lady, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week commences on Friday afternoon (Oct. 16) at Harrah's Philadelphia with two divisions in the $112,400 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters and three divisions in the $93,602 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Meadowlands on Friday will host the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old trotters. There will be one $61,500 division for 2-year-old colt trotters and one $55,600 division in the 2-year-old filly trot. On Saturday (Oct. 17), Northfield Park will feature the $120,000 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Driver Dexter Dunn secured a pocket seat for Amigo Volo and with several horses making breaks over the "good" surface, had open road to pop and power to a 1:51 victory in the $444,000 128th Kentucky Futurity on Sunday (Oct. 11) at The Red Mile. Amigo Volo posted a 1:51 victory in the $444,000 128th Kentucky Futurity. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Ready For Moni, the 3-1 second choice, lagged from his second-tier starting spot while Amigo Volo pushed for position to the inside. Beads, launching from post 10, swept to the lead before a :27 opening quarter while Amigo Volo settled into second with EL Ideal third and 4-5 favorite Back Of The Neck fourth. Back Of The Neck made his move after the leader passing a :54.2 half and drew closer to the pacesetter into the final turn. Moving towards three-quarters in 1:22.3, Back Of The Neck broke stride, giving Amigo Volo room to tip out of the pocket straightening for the finish. Beads began to gallop while EL Ideal chased Amigo Volo through the stretch, settling for second. Third Shift ripped from the backfield to take third while Chestnut Hill weaved through traffic for fourth. "He was really good here last week -- he was probably just a little bit short," Dunn said after the race of the Father Patrick-Margarita Momma gelding's second-place finish in the Bluegrass. "Nifty knew he was going to be better today and he was. Last year he used to shake his head bad and it cost him a couple of times. He didn't have as good of form when he came back as a 3-year-old -- he was a bit average. We were probably looking after him a little too much -- he just likes to race. You get off the gate hard, that's when he gets excited and puts in good performances. "I did attempt to go (for the lead) -- I came out for a little bit when we hit the back straight, but Beads was a little aggressive and took off so I ducked back into the two-hole there. Back Of The Neck came up outside of us around the last turn, and I was sort of 50-50 (on) whether I'd come out or stay in. And he ran, so that was probably a lucky trip in the last turn to get out, but the horse did a great job." Surpassing $1 million in earnings with the victory, Amigo Volo has won six races from 12 starts this season and 12 from 24 overall, banking $1,206,369 for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains the gelding bred by Kentuckiana Farms LLC and Jorgen Jahre Jr. He paid $10.00 to win. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, 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 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 915; 2. Dexter Dunn - 648; 3. Tim Tetrick - 526.5; 4. Andrew McCarthy - 484; 5. David Miller - 478. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 833; 2. Nancy Takter - 811.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 622; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 514; 5. Marcus Melander - 383. Owners: 1. Determination - 200; 2. Caviart Farms - 193.8; 3. Brad Grant - 192.3; 4. Burke Racing Stable - 178.7; 5. Courant Inc. - 154.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Harrah's Philadelphia, Harrah's Hoosier Park and The Meadowlands. Harrah's Philadelphia will host the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers and trotters; Harrah's Hoosier Park will have The Circle City for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; and The Meadowlands will feature the third leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

Per Engblom had high hopes for Synergy last year at age 2, and while the colt won the Champlain Stakes and eliminations of the Peter Haughton Memorial and Breeders Crown, the campaign failed to live up to his trainer's early expectations. "We really thought we had a great horse," Engblom said of last year, noting a bout of sickness hampered Synergy during the summer and impeded his development. But as the 2020 harness racing season kicks into gear, Engblom remains hopeful Synergy can emerge as a primetime player among 3-year-old male trotters. Synergy makes his second start Saturday (July 11) in the second of two divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings at The Meadowlands, where he leaves from post seven with Yannick Gingras and is the 3-1 morning-line favorite. The two Reynolds splits for the boys feature a total of 14 Hambletonian-eligible horses; Synergy is No. 6 in track announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian rankings. The Hambletonian, the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, is Aug. 8 at The Meadowlands. Synergy enters the Reynolds off a third-place finish in a 3-year-old open June 27 at the Big M, where he was timed in 1:52.1. It was the colt's debut, following a 1:54 qualifying effort that featured a :26.2 last quarter-mile. "I was really happy with those two efforts," Engblom said. "He needs to get racing, to get going; he's a big, heavy colt. But he's shown that he's a little stronger this year than last year, so I'm happy with that and I'm looking forward to these races coming up." A son of Father Patrick out of Southwind Sauna, Synergy is owned by Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and David Anderson. He was purchased as a yearling under the name Southwind Saranac for $275,000 at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes O'Brien Award winner Federal Flex. Synergy has won four of 11 career races and $164,888. "He had a little bit of trouble carrying his speed last year," Engblom said. "The last sixteenth of a mile he kind of flattened out, but this year so far, going (1):52, he seemed pretty good. Let's hope he can go (1):51 and (1):50 and a piece, too." Engblom also has a starter in the first Reynolds division. Beads, a newcomer to his stable this year, is the 4-1 third choice behind EL Ideal (2-1) and Capricornus (3-1). Beads went off stride in both of his starts this season, but heads to the Reynolds off a 1:52.2 win in a qualifier July 3. Jimmy Takter, who drove Beads in the qualifier, returns for Saturday's race. Last year, Beads won two of eight starts and $22,330. All but one of the horse's races were in Canada. The son of Archangel-Nepentha is owned by Renee Spahr. "He's a little bit of a funny horse, but he's got plenty of ability," Engblom said. "It's more mental issues with him, he gets a little nervous and stuff like that. He's not really stupid or hot or anything, it's just that he gets a little tense. "Going to the lead, so far, has been the model for him. If we can get him to mature, maybe he can race from behind a little bit. But he's showed plenty of ability so far." In addition to the two Reynolds divisions for the boys, there is a single Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters. Shishito is 6-1 on the morning line in a field that includes returning Dan Patch Award winner Ramona Hill (3-1 favorite) in her seasonal debut and 2-for-2 Sorella (7-2). Eight of the 10 fillies in the Reynolds are eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, including Shishito, Ramona Hill, and Sorella. Shishito won her only start of the season, beating male rivals including Hambletonian hopeful Capricornus, in 1:53.3 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Last year, she won four of 11 races and $240,512 for owners Black Horse Racing and John Fielding. "She was a money-maker last year," Engblom said. "She was a very tough girl. She was there the first baby race of the year and she raced in the Breeders Crown final. This year, I've been super happy with her so far. She trotted (1):53 last year and she's been in (1):51.2 (in a qualifier) already this year, so she's developed the right way." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Meadowlands. The 13-race card also includes $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters and a single elimination of the Meadowlands Pace. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Tioga Downs played host to five W.N. Reynolds Memorial races on Sunday (August 25). Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) captures the $38,650 first division of "The Solicitor" for 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Groovy Joe ($2.80) went right to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.1. He used a :30.4 second quarter to lead to the half in :58.0. Columbo (David Miller) went first-over and put some heat on the leader as they traveled down the back stretch. Groovy Joe put Columbo away as he hit the three-quarter mark in 1:25.2. Groovy Joe, who is owned by trainer Blake Macintosh and Hutt Racing Stable, led turning for home. Western Vacation (Andy Miller) popped out of the pocket and came flying in the stretch. Groovy Joe dug down deep and hung on to win in a career best of 1:52.4. Western Vacation had to settle for second money. Columbo finished third. Groovy Joe is a 2-year-old colt by Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk. It is his sixth win in eight career starts. Freedom Warrior (David Miller) wins the $38,650 second division of "The Solicitor". Level Up (Jim Morrill Jr.) was first to the quarter in :27.4. Bombshell Hanover (Andy Miller) took over with one lap to go. He led to the half in :56.2 and to three-quarters in 1:24.2. Level Up came out of the pocket and battled Bombshell Hanover all around the final turn. Freedom Warrior ($3.10), who is owned by Forrest Bartlett and trained by Kevin Lare, went second over after three-quarters. He then went three-wide in the stretch and blew right by to win in 1:52.4. Bombshell Hanover finished second with Level Up getting third place. Freedom Warrior is a 2-year-old colt by American Ideal-Chief Karen. He is three for seven in his career by winning his last three races. Back Of The Neck (Mattias Melander) goes gate-to-wire in "The Judge Moore" featuring freshmen trotting colts and geldings for a purse of $62,400. Back Of The Neck ($3.70) trotted first to the first quarter in :27.2. He slowed down the pace of the race with a second quarter of :31.3 by hitting the half in :59.0. He flew down the back stretch and hit three-quarters in 1:26.4. As they made the turn for home Moon Bridge (Jim Morrill Jr) was the only one with a chance. Back Of The Neck ($3.70), who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, and Judith Taylor, still led as they made the turn for home. Second place finisher Moon Bridge made a late charge but Back Of The Neck was too strong and won in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Coventry Hall (Tyler Buter) finished third. Back Of The Neck is a 2-year-old colt by Ready Cash-Big Barb. It was his second win in four career starts. Common Sense S (Jim Morrill Jr.) wins the "The Meda" for 2-year-old trotting fillies for a purse of $56,800. Common Sense S led to the first quarter in :28.0. Her lead was short lived as Heart N Soul Deo (David Miller) took control as they headed for the stands for the first time. Heart N Soul Deo was first to the half in :56.3 and first. to three-quarters in 1:25.3. Common Sense S, who is owned by trainer Ake Svanstedt and S R F Stable, popped out of the pocket as they reached the stretch and she won easily in a lifetime best of 1:55.4. Thankful For You (Tyler Buter) came up to finished second. Heart N Soul Deo held on for third. Common Sense S is a 2-year-old filly by Trixton-Opportunity. She won for the third straight time. She is three for six in her career. Ideal Dancer (Matt Kakaley) wins the non-betting "The Lorraine" featuring 2-year-old pacing fillies for a purse of $49,600. AP Emily's Dance (Andy Miller) controlled all the early fractions (:27.1, :58.1. 1:27.1). Ideal Dancer, who is trained by Scott DiDomenico for owners Triple D Stables, JFE Enterprise, D Robinson, and RBH Ventures, popped out of the pocket and flew on by to win in 1:57.1. AP Emily's Dance finished second with Bolt Of Speed (David Miller) getting third money. Ideal Dancer is a 2-year-old filly by American Ideal-Shawnee Dancer. It was her first career win in eight lifetime starts. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 30) with a nine race card starting at 6:15 p.m. No racing on Saturday (August 31) because of the Smash Mouth concert. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Downs  

Tioga Downs plays host to the W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for freshmen harness racing trotters and pacers on Sunday (August 25). The Blake Macintosh trained Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) is the 7-5 morning line choice in the $38,600 first division of "The Solicitor" for 2-year-old colts & geldings. The 2-year-old colt by Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk is owned by Macintosh and Hutt Racing Stable. He has won five legs of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) this season in seven starts. In the $38,650 second division of "The Solicitor" the 6-5 morning line favorite is Freedom Warrior (David Miller). The 2-year-old gelding by American Ideal-Chief Karen is owned by Forrest Bartlett and trained by Kevin Lare. He has won twice in six career starts. His victories were NYSS wins at Yonkers and Vernon Downs. The 2-1 morning line choice in the $62,400 "The Judge Moore" for freshmen trotting colts & geldings is Back Of The Neck (Mattias Melander). Marcus Melander trains the 2-year-old colt by Ready Cash-Big Barb for owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, and Judith Taylor. His lone win in three career starts came in the Kindergarten series at the Meadowlands. The Ake Svanstedt trained entry of Winter Olympics (Ake Svanstedt) and Common Sense S (Jim Morrill Jr.) are the morning line even money favorites in the $56,000 "The Meda" for 2-year-old trotting fillies. Winter Olympics (Muscle Mass-Olympic Dreams) is owned by Svanstedt. She is one for two in her career with a win in the Ontario Sire Stakes at Mohawk. Common Sense S (Trixton-Opportunity) is owned by Svanstedt and S R F Stable. She owns two wins in five career starts including a win last time out in a Tompkins Memorial race at Tioga Downs. The $49,600 "The Lorraine" for 2-year-old pacing fillies will be a non-betting race. The only filly with a win so far in the four horse field is the Nik Drennan trained AP Emily's Dance (Andy Miller). AP Emily's Dance (A Rocknroll Dance-Emily Car) is owned by J Davino, Anthony Perretti Farm, and the Drennan Stable. She is one for two lifetime. The 11 race card (plus non-betting race) will start at 1 p.m. For more information go to John Horne, for Tioga Downs

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although Jay Hochstetler works alongside his father training a stable of 22 harness racing horses, it’s rare that he purchases one for himself. However, when Hochstetler was shopping at the 2017 Harrisburg yearling sale, he came across an attractive pedigree in Bro, a Rock N Roll Heaven son out of the Pro Bono Best mare Gro. When Hochstetler laid eyes on the colt, he did a double take.  “I actually watched his mom race a lot. She raced in New York and Chicago and so did the rest of her family. I really liked her. I knew the maternal line was strong from a speed standpoint,” Hochstetler said. “When he came out of the stall, he was just a big, strong, black colt. He just had that presence that people talk about when they first walk out, you take a second look at them because they just have a look to them. There was nothing wrong with him, he had a good conformation, but when he took those first few steps out of the stall, he just had that big, strong look to him.” But Bro’s presence also came with an attitude. He quickly developed a dangerous reputation at the sale and after the hammer fell for $22,000, Hochstetler was surprised to find the staff would no longer enter Bro’s stall. However, when considering Bro’s pedigree, Hochstetler wasn’t put off by the colt’s temper. “He was really mean; the girls at the sale were scared of him,” Hochstetler recalled. “He wouldn’t let you in the stall, he was really territorial. He would try to kick you if you came in his stall. When I went to put him on the trailer, they wouldn’t go in and get him, I had to get him myself. The girl was having a lot of problems walking him to show him to people. He was a rambunctious, tough, big, strong colt. He’s still got an imposing figure; he’s had that since day one. When he is angry, he can toss you around. “The Rock N Roll Heaven’s tend to have that temperament, so it didn’t really phase me,” Hochstetler continued. “I’ve had a few that were alright horses that had that same disposition. I don’t mind my pacing colts being nasty once in a while. They have to have a mean streak in them to go the miles that they have to go.” Hochstetler hoped Bro’s disposition would improve after the sale, but at first, Bro didn’t relent. After some time, however, he acclimatized to his new surroundings and came out of his shell. “I thought maybe he was just being a jerk that day at the sale, but no, he meant it. He took a little getting used to when we first had him,” Hochstetler said. “Once he finally figured out you were the person that fed him and weren’t going to hurt him, he was really good. He hasn’t given me a problem ever since.” Bro proved to be a promising 2-year-old in training and was ready to qualify June 8, 2018. He finished second in his pari-mutuel debut nine days later, pacing a 1:57.0 mile with a :27.1 final quarter with Jay’s father Homer in the sulky. But after another runner-up finish in a New York Excelsior Series “A” split at Yonkers June 26, Hochstetler shut Bro down. “I really liked him last year. He had a little bone cyst that was really hurting him after his second start, so we stopped with him and just let that heal up,” Hochstetler said. “It was one of those things where think if I did a bunch of vet work, I could have pressed him on that year. But from day one, I knew he was a big colt, so I wasn’t afraid to stop with him from that standpoint because he needed time regardless. For his long-term future, I think it’s best that I didn’t race him a lot at 2. He didn’t tear himself up much. If I want a horse for the long run, that might have been the best thing that could have happened.” Bro filled out and matured during his time off. After x-rays came back clean last winter, Bro was ready to begin training back in early December. Sharp from his first training mile, Bro cruised through the winter in Pinehurst, North Carolina. With Hochstetler in the bike, Bro turned heads with a 1:54.4 qualifier at the training facility April 10. “That’s probably my favorite thing about him. Even when he was just a yearling, he’s always been a nice horse to drive,” Hochstetler said. “He’s never loose-lined, but he never pulls too hard. He drives straight. A 1:54.4-mile at Pinehurst is really a big mile, especially with a strong back half. It’s a good track, but you never usually see that type of speed down there.” After shipping back to Hochstetler’s base at Vernon Downs, Bro earned his maiden-breaking win April 27, again with his owner in the sulky. Although the 5 ½-length score in 1:57.0 doesn’t stand out on paper, given the slow conditions that evening, Hochstetler was impressed. “I really enjoy the training side a lot more than the driving side, but I had trained him all year myself. I figured, especially at my home track, I was OK with driving him,” Hochstetler said. “That race at Vernon, I was pretty confident I would win it and it was 1:57, but the wind was absolutely howling that night and it was still pretty sloppy. To come a back half like that, that was a deceivingly fast mile.” Hochstetler hoped for a good learning experience in Bro’s last start in a $15,000 overnight at the Meadowlands. But after being parked from post eight, Hochstetler’s hopes faded. Despite the 1:51.3 clocking with a :26.2 final panel, the eighth-place finish made the 4-hour ride back to Vernon agonizing. “He got thrown to the fire there a little earlier in his career than I wanted him too,” Hochstetler said. “The mile that he went was still pretty impressive to pace that fast for home afterwards. He had every excuse to just call it off and he still came a pretty good back half and last quarter. His own performance wise, I was encouraged.” With two starts under his belt this season, Bro will vie for his first stakes victory Saturday night (May 11) at Yonkers in a $24,250 division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial. The colt drew the inside post and is a 9-1 morning line for driver Brent Holland. “I had a choice between here and the first Sire Stakes leg at Monticello and I chose Yonkers,” Hochstetler said. “It’s seven days back from when he was raced before, and I like that I can go over a good surface like Yonkers. Especially since he had an injury last year, I didn’t want to risk anything, so I figured I’d go to the best surface I could. I thought it was the right way to go, and I got the rail. So far, luck’s on my side, so hopefully it’s the same way when we go to post.” Although Bro hasn’t shown a penchant for a particular style of racing in his four career starts thus far, Hochstetler thinks the 3-year-old can be aggressive from the inside if needed.  “I’ve never really left with him hard, but he has quick speed, so I think he has that in his arsenal. It’s definitely something he’s going to have to learn if he’s going to race in New York,” he said. “This is a spot where if you have to, I wouldn’t be hesitant to try it. He’s going to try no matter what you do. He isn’t one that needs a specific trip from what I can tell. He’s still green, but the way he trained, there wouldn’t be a problem with either way he would have to race.” Saturday night’s card features two divisions of the Reynolds for fillies and two divisions for colts and geldings, along with the regular $44,000 pacing and trotting co-features.  First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Tioga Downs hosted the W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for freshman trotters and pacers on Sunday (August 26). Starita (David Miller) wins the first of two divisions of The Meda ($37,250) for 2-year-old trotting fillies. Starita ($2.80) pranced out to the lead and never looked back. She set down all the fractions (:28.3, :58.3, 1:27.2, 1:55.4). Trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz. she had a two length lead after three-quarters and turned on the after burners in the stretch to win going away by more than five lengths. Fashion Rachel (Corey Callahan) finished second with Cardinale (Andy Miller) taking third money. Starita is a filly by Trixton-Morningstar. It was her second win in seven career starts. Unbeaten Cloud Nine Fashion (Tim Tetrick) took the second division of The Meda ($37,750). After leader Sabrina Deo (Corey Callahan) and follower Explosive Mel (Marcus Miller) each went on breaks, Cloud Nine Fashion ($2.10) led the group to the first quarter in :30.3. Southwind Percy (David Miller) took over the pocket. It was then a two horse race. Cloud Nine Fashion led to a half of 1:00.1 and to three-quarters in 1:28.1. South Percy put on the pressure around the final turn but when they reached the top of the stretch, Cloud Nine Fashion had a lot in the tank and won easily in 1:57.0. Southwind Percy settled for second best while Chardonnay Nay (Tom Jackson) finished third. Cloud Nine Fashion is a filly by Muscle Hill-I'm On Cloud Nine. Owned by Fashion Farms LLC and trained by Jim Campbell, she is now a perfect four for four in her young career. No Drama Please (Andy Miller) easily wins The Judge Moore ($69,300) for 2-year-old trotting colts & geldings. No Drama Please ($8.70) charged straight to the front and never looked back. He hit all the stations first (:28.3, :58.0, 1:26.2, 1:56.0). The betting favorite Holiday Hangover (Tim Tetrick) looked like he had a chance just before the three-quarter mark but he went on a break. No Drama Please then breezed home to get his first career victory by over two lengths in the end. Cheap Tricks (Jim Taggart Jr.) finished second. Sheena's Boy (Marcus Miller), who was racing for purse only was third. No Drama please is a colt by Trixton-Female Drama. Owned by Stoy Inc., and trained by Julie Miller. It was his first win in six starts. Zero Tolerence (David Miller) gets impressive win in The Lorraine ($56,300) featuring freshman pacing fillies. Zero Tolerence ($2.10) went to the front and led from gate-to-wire (:28.1, :57.4, 1:26.0, 1:53.2). She never let them get close in winning her fourth straight race. Prairie Westerngal (Jim Taggart Jr.) finished a distant second with Simone (Homer Hochstetler) getting third. Zero Tolerence is a filly by Heston Blue Chip-feelinglikeastar. Trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz, she won for the fifth time in six starts. It was an owner-trainer-driver double for them on the afternoon. Mangogh (Tim Tetrick) hangs on to win The Solicitor ($66,600) for 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Mangogh ($7.20) went to the front followed by Sweet Troy (Marcus Miller). He led them to the first quarter of :28.0 and then to a half of :56.0. One half of the betting favorite entry, Captain Panko went on a break at the halfway mark. Trained by Bruce Saunders for owners M&L Of Delaware LLC., and M&M Harness Racing LLC., Mangogh was pressured by Saronno (Andy Miller) as he hit the three-quarter mark in 1:24.3. As they were in the stretch, Sweet Troy finally was able to find racing room and charged at Mangogh in deep stretch but it was too late and Mangogh won in a career best time of 1:53.4. Sweet Troy settled for second. Sarrono ended up third best. Mangogh is a colt by Western Ideal-My Little Artist. It was his second win in six career starts. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 31) starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Downs  

Tioga Downs will play host to five W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for freshman pacers and trotters on Sunday (August 26). In the first of two divisions of "The Meda" ($37,250) for 2-year-old trotting fillies, the morning line choice is Starita (David Miller) at 9-5. Trained by Joe Holloway, the filly is by Trixton-Morningstar. She has a win and a second in six starts so far in her career. Mimi'spearloflinday (Mattias Melander) is the second choice in at 5-2. Trained by Marcus Melander, the daughter of Cantab Hall-Lindy's Showgirl has one win in four starts. In the second division of "The Meda" ($37,750), the unbeaten Cloud Nine Fashion (Tim Tetrick) is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The filly by Muscle Hill-I'm On Cloud Nine is trained by Jim Campbell. She is three for three in her young career. Matter Of Fact (Mattias Melander) has been deemed as the second choice at 5-2. Trained by Marcus Melander, the filly by Explosive Matter-Chips N Caviar has a second place finish in three starts. The 2-year-old trotting colts & geldings will participate in "The Judge Moore" ($69,300). The 9-5 morning line favorite is an entry of three colts trained by Ake Svanstedt. The trio is led by Lindy Express (Jim Meittinis) a colt by Trixton-Nashville Lindy. The second part of the entry is Sheena's Boy (Marcus Miller) by Trixton-Sheen's Shadow. The last part of the entry is Galixton (Corey Callahan). He is by Trixton-Spring Gala. Freshman pacing fillies will compete in "The Lorraine" ($56,300). The overwhelming morning line favorite at 8-5 is Zero Tolerance (David Miller). The filly by Heston Blue Chip-Feelinglikeastar is trained by Joe Holloway. She has already earned over $60,000 in her career with four wins in her five lifetime starts. The second choice in "The Lorraine" is Simone (3-1), who is trained and driven by Homer Hochstetler. The filly by American Ideal-Ritascape has reached the winner's circle twice in four lifetime starts. Freshman pacing colts & geldings will vie for a purse of $66,600 in "The Soliciter". The 9-5 morning line favorite is an entry trained by John Butenschoen. The first part of the entry is Captain Panko (Corey Callahan), a colt by Captaintreacherous-P Note Blue Chip. He has won two of five starts so far this season. The second part of the entry is Scirocco Mistysaid (Tom Jackson). The gelding by Well Said-Cold Mist has a second an two thirds in six career starts. The second morning line choice for "The Soliciter" is the Erv Miller trained Sweet Troy (Marcus Miller) at 5-2. The gelding by Sweet Lou-Magestic Blue Chip has a second and two thirds in his four lifetime starts. The 12 race card on Sunday (August 26) starts at 1 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Down    

This Week: Messenger eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation, Casual Breeze and Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and W.N. Reynolds Memorial divisions, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: This Saturday (Aug. 25), Yonkers Raceway will host a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the Messenger Stakes for sophomore pacers, the second leg of the sport's pacing Triple Crown. The top four horses in each elimination will return for the $500,000 final on Sept. 1. Also on Saturday, Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature three divisions in the C$276,381 Nassagaweya for 2-year-old pacing colts, three divisions in the C$251,347 Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacing fillies and a pair of C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters. On Friday (Aug. 24) Woodbine Mohawk will host a single C$136,000 division in the Casual Breeze for 3-year-old filly trotters. On Sunday (Aug. 26), Tioga Downs will card four sets of W.N. Reynolds Memorial events for freshman pacers and trotters of both sexes. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Met's Hall (Andy Miller) won an exciting $350,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot for 3-year-olds at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 17). Met's Hall won by a nose in a personal best time of 1:52. Met's Hall ($27.60) went straight to the lead from the eight hole. He took the first quarter in :26.4. Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt) followed in the pocket with Manchego (Yannick Gingras) following along in third. Andy Miller slowed the second quarter to a crawl of :30.1 as Met's Hall hit the half in :57. Six Pack would pull the pocket just before the half. The two would then battle nose to nose and wheel to wheel all around the final turn. Neither horse would give an inch as they hit three-quarters in 1:25.2. Manchego, who was the only filly in the race, sat in third watching the other two battle it out around the turn. She then went three-wide at the top of the stretch. In an amazing stretch drive, Met's Hall would dig in and get ready for the late charge from Manchego. In the end Met's Hall would win by a nose in a personal best time of 1:52. Magnificent as she was, Manchego had to settle for second best. The gutsy Six Pack would finish third. Met's Hall is a 3-year-old colt by Cantab Hall. Trained by Julie Miller for owners Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc., it was his second win in six starts this season. He now owns seven career victories. Super Girl Riley (Marcus Miller) shocked the field in the $180,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies. The big favorite Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) carved out all the early fractions (:28, :57.2, 1:26.3). Basquiat (Yannick Gingras) followed in the pocket before going on a break at the three-quarter pole. Perfect Summer K (David Miller) would then inherit second. Super Girl Riley ($17.20) came first-over from third in the stretch. She ran down Plunge Blue Chip to win in a career best of 1:54.3. Plunge Blue Chip had to settle for second money. Perfect Summer K finished third. Owned by Paymaq Racing, George Golemes, and Harvey Eisman and trained by Erv Miller, the 3-year-old filly by Muscle Mass won for the second time in 2018. It was her sixth career victory. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 703.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 693.5; 3. David Miller - 374.5; 4. Jordan Stratton - 288; 5. Corey Callahan - 273.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 660.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 504; 3. Tony Alagna - 271; 4. Erv Miller - 220; 5. Jim Campbell - 216. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 144.9; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 139.9; 3. Fashion Farms - 129; 4. Vonknoblauch Stable - 117; 5. Robert Key - 115. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway and Woodbine Mohawk Park. Yonkers will feature the Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. Woodbine Mohawk will offer the Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot, as well as Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A pair of talented trotters hit the winner's circle in two divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot at the Meadowlands Saturday night. In the first division of the final Hambletonian prep, Met's Hall was bet down to 3-5 and made the quarter on the point in a leisurely :28. Another rated fraction followed and Met's Hall was cruising past the half in :57.3. Hockey Hanover, the only non-Hambo eligible in the field of nine, then shocked the favorite (not to mention the bettors), using an authoritative brush to grab the lead, hitting three-quarters two lengths to the good in 1:25.4 at odds of 49-1. But despite closing in :27.2, Hockey Hanover couldn't complete the job. Met's Hall had a burst of speed left in his arsenal, and he used it, battling back along the inside, closing in :26.4, to record a neck win over a fast-closing Fashionwoodchopper. Hockey Hanover held third. With the Hambletonian just a week away, the timing was ideal for Met's Hall (Cantab Hall-Met's Inn) to record his first win of the year in just his third start. The heavy favorite, who was driven by Andy Miller and trained by Julie Miller, completed the mile in 1:53 and paid $3.40 in winning for the sixth time in 14 lifetime outings. Beal Memorial champion Crystal Fashion was a dominant winner of the second Reynolds division. Tim Tetrick had the gelded Cantab Hall-Window Willow product sitting an unhurried sixth in the early going before opting to race in a third-over flow down the backstretch. With an eighth of a mile to go, Crystal Fashion was tipped off his cover and stormed home to record a 1-length victory over Hat Trick Habit in 1:52.4. For A Dreamer was third. As the 1-5 public choice, Crystal Fashion returned $2.60 to win, scoring for the ninth time in 20 lifetime outings while upping his lifetime bankroll to just over $523,000. JL AND JOE CRUZE TO VICTORY: JL Cruze went right to the top and never looked back in the overnight co-feature, the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters. The 7-year-old gelded son of Crazed-Topcat Hall stopped the clock in 1:51.2 and paid $11.40 as the fourth choice in the wagering. Western Joe sat off a speed duel where Miso Fast and Highalator went toe-to-toe to three-quarters in 1:20.3, then used a final quarter of :26.3 to win the $20,000 Preferred for pacers in a sizzling 1:47.3. In lowering his previous lifetime best by two seconds, Western Joe (Western Ideal-Ante Fay) paid $12.60 as the fourth betting choice. A LITTLE MORE: All-source wagering on the 12-race program totaled $2,335,364. ... Next weekend marks the final two race cards of the 2017-18 Meadowlands meeting. Friday's first race gets underway at 7:15 p.m. Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 4, has a special early post time of noon. ... Go to the Meadowlands Facebook page and check out the Hambletonian post position draw live at 2 p.m. Tuesday. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

What The Hill and harness racing driver David Miller didn't get to celebrate his win aboard Fear The Dragon in the $400,000 Adios on Saturday afternoon for long, as he was back to work on Saturday night with a full slate at The Meadowlands. Luckily for him, the good day continued, as he piloted What The Hill to a gate-to-wire victory in the $49,580 Reynolds Memorial. What The Hill darted right to the top from post seven in the big field of eleven, with his stablemate Southwind Cobra (Yannick Gingras) coming away on his back from post one. Those two continued sitting one-two through reasonable splits of 28.2, 56.2, and 1:24.2, and looked poised for a Burke barn battle down the lane, but Southwind Cobra jumped it off stride when angling to the outside at the top of the stretch. What The Hill would inherit a 3 1/2 length lead after the break in stride of Southwind Cobra, and he had plenty left to coast home in 27.4 to win by 3/4 of a length in 1:52.1, in a race that was closer on paper than in reality. Yes Mickey (Ake Svanstedt) had to negotiate heavy traffic from the second tier post eleven, and rallied up to finish second, narrowly besting 6-5 favorite Bill's Man who was first over and held third. What The Hill a Muscle Hill colt now has four wins in six seasonal tries, for the ownership group of Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. What The Hill Giveitgasandgo Picks Up Win What The Hill wasn't the only three-year old trotting colt with an impressive Hambletonian tuneup, as Giveitgasandgo (Corey Callahan) parlayed a perfect pocket trip to edge by Jake (Daniel Dube) to win in 1:52.1 earlier on the card in a $15,000 trot earlier on the card. The winner, a ridgling by Yankee Glide, was adding lasix for the first time, but the medication is not permitted for use in the Hambletonian by rule. Giveitgasandgo Jackpot Super High 5 pays $1,306.34 The mandatory payout of the last race jackpot super high 5 returned $1,306.34 after attracting a total pool of $171,449. Total handle on the 12-race card was $2,570,369. By Gabe Prewitt for the Meadowlands  

Nichols, N.Y. -- Solar Sister ($9.50) stole the show in the final 150 yards of Sunday (August 28) afternoon's stakes-laden harness racing card at Tioga Downs, dueling down prohibitive favorite Lady Shadow for a 1:49.4 triumph in the $200,000 Artiscape distaff pace. Favorites were upended in the Empire Breeders Classics as well, as No Clouds Bluechip ($7.00) and Fresh Cut ($36.00) both took top honors in their respective events for New York-sired 3-year-old pacers. On the undercard, trainer-driver Ãke Svanstedt swept a trio of W. N. Reynolds Memorial events for 2-year-old trotters. Tasked with a second-row start in a field of 10, Solar Sister sat just of a contested pace in the initial stages of the Artiscape, working into fifth early as Lady Shadow (Yannick Gingras) pushed clear of Table Talk (Andy Miller) after a :26.2 first quarter. On approach to the clubhouse turn, Doug McNair angled Solar Sister first-over, only offering mild progress into a :54 half mile. The 4-year-old Mach Three mare did her best work up the far side, working to within a length of Lady Shadow through a :27.2 third quarter and subsequently dueling with the 1-1/8-mile world record holder. The two drew off from a fading Table Talk, and Solar Sister dueled to the fore in mid-stretch. Solar Sister's 1:49.4 mile time gives her a share of the track record for 4-year-old pacing mares that was established by Anndrovette five years ago. Lady Shadow would have to settle for runner-up honors as the 2-5 favorite, while Devil Child (David Miller) sustained a massive three-wide bid off the far turn to capture third. Gregg McNair trains the homebred Solar Sister for Ontarians David Willmot and Clay Horner. Favorites were upended in both Empire Breeders Classic events as well, with No Clouds Bluechip and Fresh Cut both prevailing off cozy stalking trips. In the $239,225 Filly Classic, Brett Miller pushed No Clouds Bluechip into play with just over a quarter mile to go, overtaking a fading Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) before engaging Wishy Washy Girl (Jim Morrill, Jr.) on approach to the far turn. The Roll With Joe filly edged clear authoritatively, sprinting off by 4-3/4 lengths en route to a 1:50.1 triumph as the second favorite. Wine Snob (John Campbell) posted belated uncovered gains to take second at 59-1, while even-money favorite Penpal (Pat Lachance) could only overcome stale early cover enough to save third down the grandstand side. John Berger trains No Clouds Bluechip for owners Richard Carney, Farrell Carney, and Barbara Berger. The development of the $240,475 Classic for colts and geldings came as no surprise, but the outcome stunned. Marcus Miller pushed forward early with Fresh Cut and ultimately established a cozy pocket trip with a circuit to go after yielding to 1-4 favorite American Passport (Scott Zeron) at the winning post. While the shape of the race held true to expected form, Fresh Cut's strong turn of foot from the pocket in the final eighth of a mile proved plenty to reel in American Passport and also stave off a late bid from 41-1 runner-up Stolen Glimpse (Yannick Gingras) for a 1:51.1 victory. American Passport ultimately faded to third after he was gathered in. Erv Miller trains Fresh Cut, a son of American Ideal, for the Bay Pond Racing Stable. Svanstedt and Muscle Hill sweep Reynolds Already renowned for his mastery in the kingdom of trotting, Svanstedt revealed why that contention possesses such veracity as he conditioned and steered New Jersey Viking (Muscle Hill-Hall Of Wishes), Ice Attraction (Muscle Hill-The Ice Queen) and Evelyn (Muscle Hill-Viva Las Lindy) to victory in their respective splits. While both New Jersey Viking ($2.90) and Ice Attraction's journeys ($3.10) to the wire in their contests, which are relegated solely to 2-year-old colts and fillies, were quite straightforward, Evelyn's ($5.20) provided a much more extensive amount of drama. Commencing his mile from post position eight, New Jersey Viking went right to the fore and was never threatened as he cruised around the Nichols oval. Owned by Knuttson Trotting and Little E LLC, the colt collected his second career triumph from five trips to the post. Two of his previous engagements were fourth-place finishes in the Peter Haughton Memorial and New Jersey Sire Stakes final. New Jersey Viking tripped the timer in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark, and increased his bankroll to more than $69,268. Southwind Moody (Yannick Gingras) and Bill's Man (Corey Callahan) were second and third respectively. While not quite as dominant as her male counterpart, Ice Attraction demonstrated why she merits respect. The public's selection was content to sit in the pocket while Overdraft Volo (Andy Miller) cut the mile, until Svanstedt pulled his charge on the far turn. There was never a doubt who would be appearing in the winner's enclosure as the filly always had her rival measured. Owned by her trainer, Douglas Sipple, Mal and Janet Burroughs and Little E LLC, Ice Attraction strode across the finish line in 1:56, a new lifetime best, and scored her second career win to improve her resume to 6-2-1-1. Her earnings now stand at $35,300. Overdraft Volo and Caviart Wonder (Matt Kakaley) came home second and third, respectively. Although Evelyn's trip around the track was not without its impediments, the filly persevered after being shuffled back to fourth from second. Once pulled three-wide at the three-quarter pole, Evelyn passed her dueling colleagues Southwind Avanti (Marcus Johansson) and Treviso (Charlie Norris) to break her maiden in her sixth attempt. The filly, owned by Svanstedt, Little E LLC, Borge Nasstrom and JT45, equaled the track standard for her age, sex and gait with a final clocking of 1:55.2. Her record now stands at 6-1-1-1 and she has earned $47,310. Despite not winning prior to today, Evelyn had displayed talent with a sixth in the James Doherty Memorial and a second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final. Southwind Avanti outlasted Treviso for second. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Monday (August 29) evening, with the first of nine races scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (July 7, 2016) - Few trainers have dominated the Hambletonian Oaks like Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter. The 55-year-old has won the filly classic five times including the past two editions with Wild Honey and Lifetime Pursuit. Takter will have a contender in both divisions of the $56,486 Reynolds on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, which also features a pair of $250,000 Graduate Series Finals for four-year-olds and a single Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace elimination. Takter's Breeders Crown champion All The Time is the 7/5 morning line favorite in the first Reynolds division which goes as race two on the program. The daughter of Muscle Hill defeated aged horses last week in a conditioned race in a lifetime-best 1:52.3 over a sloppy track. It was a major bounce back effort after a defeat as the 1/5 favorite in the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final in early June. "That was really something weird that happened in the Sire Stakes when she was off in her right hind leg," explained Takter. "She basically raced on three legs that night and still finished second. But she has since come back very well and I think is a big contender on Saturday night and in the Oaks." Takter added that she compares very favorably to his two most recent Oaks winners. As accomplished as All The Time is, Takter's other Reynolds starter is a virtual unknown. Unica Steed makes just her second North American start after compiling a perfect three-for-three record racing in Italy for top French trainer Fabrice Souloy. Unica Steed is by 1998 Hambletonian winner Muscles Yankee and the first foal out of the $1.6 million earning mare Premiere Steed, who set a world record on a five-eighths mile track of 1:52 when winning a race in Finland in 2009. "She is a beautiful looking filly and I like her a lot," said Takter. "I got her about six or seven weeks ago and she was really good in her second qualifier with Yannick driving. I thought she was handled too carefully last week in her first race at the Meadowlands. Time will tell how well she fits because it's hard to tell off of her two-minute wins in Italy, but she shows ability." Unica Steed is a homebred owned by Ecurie Ab Trot. Takter explained that the filly really had nowhere to race in Italy and the owners decided to send her to North America to compete. After the Reynolds, she is also eligible to next weekend's Del Miller Memorial ahead of the Hambletonian Oaks on August 6. Saturday's Graduate Pace features a highly-anticipated matchup between Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit and Indiana sensation Freaky Feet Pete who headline the full field of ten. "Having these two superstars compete in the Graduate Final is exactly the reason I think it is so important to keep our stars racing on the track," said Meadowlands chairman Jeffrey Gural. "Obviously, Wiggle It Jiggleit is a gelding, but both he and Freaky Feet Pete built tremendous fan followings last season and it would have been a major loss for the fans and our sport if they were retired. Now we are treated to matchups like this one and hopefully another showdown with Always B Miki next week in the Haughton." Post time for Saturday's 13-race card is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands

This Week: Graduate Series finals, Meadowlands Pace elimination, and W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit races will be contested this Saturday (July 9) at the Meadowlands. The stakes heavy card features the $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters; two divisions in the $56,486 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters; and a $50,000 Meadowlands Pace elimination for 3-year-olds. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: This past weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by four lucrative events on the Sun Stakes Saturday (July 2) program at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Trainer Jimmy Takter says Always B Miki is a horse that will be long remembered in the future. For now, Takter and the 5-year-old pacer's connections are more than enjoying the stallion's present. Always B Miki won his highly anticipated showdown with Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete in Saturday's $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Always B Miki defeated Freaky Feet Pete by three-quarters of a length in a stakes- and world-record-equaling 1:47, with Wiggle It Jiggleit finishing third. The time equaled the fastest mile in history on a five-eighths-mile racetrack. Always B Miki, who also won in 1:47 last week at Pocono, shares the record with Sweet Lou. Always B Miki has won five of seven races this year and nine of 11 since returning from injury last October. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. For his career, Always B Miki has won 23 of 42 starts and earned $1.56 million. Driver Yannick Gingras tucked his whip and breathed a sigh of relief at the wire as he and Southwind Frank won the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial in 1:52.4. Southwind Frank led the field through the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4 before coming home in :28 to win by 2-1/4 lengths. Trolley was second with Bar Hopping third. A son of Muscle Hill out of Flawless Lindy, Southwind Frank is trained by Ron Burke for Southwind Frank Partners. As fireworks popped overhead, Racing Hill made some fireworks of his own in winning the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial final in a rated 1:49. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite off a 1:49.1 elimination win last week, Racing Hill took the lead from Boston Red Rocks shortly before the quarter in :25.4. Driver Brett Miller then took the son of Roll With Joe-Chasing Ideals through a second quarter in :29. No one was catching Racing Hill as he led the field to the three-quarters in 1:22 and sprinted home to win by 2-1/2 lengths. JK Will Power was second with Boston Red Rocks third. Tony Alagna trains Racing Hill for owner-breeder Tom Hill. He now has two wins, three seconds and a third in six starts this year, good for $450,340 in seasonal earnings. Pure Country and driver Brett Miller made their way to the front near the midway point and never relinquished the lead from there, winning Saturday's $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers by a half-length over Blue Moon Stride in a stakes-record-equaling 1:49.2. I Said Diamonds led the field to the opening quarter-mile in :27, but soon gave up the top spot to Darlinonthebeach. Pure Country was on the move ahead of Blue Moon Stride in the outside flow and made her way to the lead as the group reached the half in :54.2. Darlinonthebeach slowed on the backstretch and did not finish. Pure Country reached three-quarters in 1:22.1 and paced home from there to win for the fourth time in seven starts this season. Blue Moon Stride was followed by Lindwood Beachgirl in third and I Said Diamonds in fourth. It was Pure Country's third major victory of the campaign, having captured the Miss Pennsylvania and Fan Hanover earlier this year. A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Western Montana, Pure Country has won 14 of 17 career races and earned $1.19 million. She is owned by Diamond Creek Racing. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 221.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 202; 3. David Miller - 190; 4. Tim Tetrick - 176; 5. Matt Kakaley - 165. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 318; 2. Jimmy Takter - 188; 3. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 170; 4. Peter Tritton - 139.5; 5. Rene Allard - 125. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 139.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 112; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 80.9; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 66.15; 5. Courant A B - 60. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway. The massive Meadowlands card will feature the Meadowlands Pace final, the William Haughton Memorial, the Hambletonian Maturity, the Stanley Dancer Trot, the Del Miller Memorial, the Mistletoe Shalee, the Golden Girls and a leg of the Miss Versatilty. Yonkers will host the Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old pacing colts. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit  

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