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It is still very early days yet but Harnesslink always likes to have a look at this stage of the harness racing season in North America just to see how the first season sires are tracking. Several are putting their hand up early in the season and showing their potential and we thought we would review them. Shadyshark Hanover  A son of Cams Card Shark who was a really smart two and three year old without being a champion. One of his big pluses is that he is one of the best looking stallions you could ever lay eyes on. Stood his first season in Indiana and was late arriving so missed out on a few mares due to that. He has 87 two year olds in his first crop and 44 have made an appearance to date. The best of them without doubt is the very smart filly Ginger Shark 1:53 ($47,500). Her first two dams are non race winners and she only made $11,500 at last years Harrisburg Sale so Shadyshark Hanover  can take most of the credit for that one. His top four money winners at this early stage are all fillies Currently sits sixth on the national two year old sires list which is a great start and looks a stallion to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. Big Bad John A son of Western Hanover who was a smart two year old and a top three year old with a Little Brown Jug win in his resume. Like a lot of the Western Hanovers, Big Bad John is a very good looking stallion. Stood his first season in Ohio at Midland Acres and served a big book which resulted in 108 two year olds and 61 have made an appearance to date. No stars to date although Big Bad Cam was very impressive in winning his one and only start in 1:53.2 The dam of Big Bad Cam has three $100,000 winners from her first three foals so he can't take all the credit there. He has seven $20,000 winners at this early stage of the season so he has started like a top sire. Currently sits at the top of the national list which is a great way to announce your self to breeders throughout North America.  Another one to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Roll With Joe A nice enough two year old but nothing special who came out and was a sensational three year old. In many breeders eyes, being a full brother to a champion sire such as Bettor's Delight is a negative as a lot of breeders believe that lightning doesn't often strike in the same place twice when it comes to sires. Stood his first season in the ultra competitive state of New York which has resulted in 88 two year olds of whom 42 have made an appearance to date. Joe Larry N Curly 1:55.3 looked very smart in his only start to date and looks like a horse with a big future. The dam of Joe Larry N Curly has done an ok job at stud but Joe Larry N Curly only made $18,000 at Lexington last year so Roll With Joe must get a lot of the credit. Currently sits third on the national two year old sires list and as New York is only starting to really wind up now, that is a great start. Maybe lightning will strike twice in the same place. Harnesslink Media  

Gotmyredressontnit put up the fastest mile while Soft Idea and Encore Deo also found the winner's circle in their first career starts to highlight the action in the three $36,566 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers at the harness racing meeting at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday night (July 1).   The track record at Buffalo Raceway of 1:56.3 set by Silk Purse in 2011 and tied by Summertime Lea in 2012 will remain safe for another season.   The first division was the quickest as Gotmyredressontnit just missed the track record with a 1:56.4 clocking while Soft Idea and Encore Deo each went the mile in 1:57.3 over the fast track.   The favored Gotmyredressontnit ($4.10) toyed with the field in the first division.   Sitting third at the quarter pole, driver Jason Bartlett said it was time to go with Gotmyredressontnit and took command.   She was on cruise control from there, going 58.1 in the second half mile, including a 28.2 last panel to pull away from runner up Wishy Washy Girl (Jordan Stratton) by 2-3/4 lengths while Another Look (Tom Jackson) finished in third..   Bartlett said after the race, "This filly is really fast. She's high speed and has a great gait."   He added that he was confident when they passed the half-mile pole.   "The way she's been qualifiying, I knew we had it won at the half mile.   I still haven't pulled the plugs on her." Gotmyredressontnit won her two non-betting prep races by 3-1/2 and 4-1/2 lengths.   Owned and trained by Janice Connor, Gotmyredressontnit (Roll With Joe-Western Top Cat) is now a perfect 1-for-1 in her young career.   In the second division, a gutsy drive by Scott Zeron in the passing lane allowed Soft Idea (American Ideal-Walk Softly) to score a narrow victory over Vino And Formaggio and Angels Rockn Pink in an exciting blanket finish that was decided by a mere head.   Angels Rockn Pink (John MacDonald) set the fractions of 29.1, 59.0 and 1:28.1. They looked home free at the top of the stretch but things started to fall apart. The leg-weary Angels Rockn Pink was begging for the finish line but Soft Idea and Vino And Formaggio (Kevin Cummings) were pacing strong to the finish.   Soft Idea ($13.60) went as far down the passing lane as possible and managed to nose past the game Vino And Formaggio at the wire while Angels Rockn Pink was a head back.   Zeron admitted it was a tight squeeze down the stretch. He then added, "She was loaded the entire mile. I backed her off around the turns but down the stretch, I had a ton of horse."   Soft Idea is trained by Linda Toscano and is co-owned by the South Mountain Stable, the Bay's Stable, Radio Racing Stable and Little E LLC.   After losing a narrow decision in the second leg of the Sire Stakes, Cummings got his revenge in the third and final division aboard Encore Deo ($10.80).   Blasting to the top from the five post, Encore Deo, a $100,000 Lexington Sales purchase, played a game of catch me if you can and ended up wiring the field of seven. Putting up fractions of 30.1, 59.4 and 1:28.4, a 28.4 last quarter panel was enough to hold off any late threat. No Clouds Bluechip (Bartlett) finished 3/4 lengths back while Dime A Dance (Stratton) took the show spot.   "She handled the track really well," Cummings said of Encore Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven -Docdor Cameo). "I was a hair worried around the last turn, but once she straightened out in the stretch, she had a a lot left."   Encore Deo is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by the Burke Stable, Weaver Buscemi, Jason Melillo and Lawrence Karr.   In the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series, it was a clean sweep for Jim Morrill Jr. as he guided Amazon Ideal ($3.40) to a 2:00.3 win and was in the sulky with Roll Of Dreams ($4.00) who turned in a 2:00.1 time.   The $6,800 Excelsior 'B' Series went to Milky Way Rae ($4.20) who toured the Buffalo Raceway half-mile oval in 2:00.4 with Bartlett in the bike.   BZ Glide (Morrill Jr.) was victorious in the $10,500 Open Trot in 1:57.2 and returned $2.70 for the win. Morrill Jr. finished the night with four victories.   Country Delight ($4.00) went coast-to-coast in notching a 1:57.3 win in the $9,500 Open pace for the filly and mares. John Cummings Jr. handled the driving duties.   Racing will continue on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with 11 races scheduled to go to the post at 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   Brian J. Mazurek

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- There's a lot of hope and promise on Wednesday night (July 1) at Buffalo Raceway as many of the 2-year-old filly pacers kick off their careers in three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes worth $36,566 each.   Of the 21 filly pacers entered, only four have had a pari-mutuel start. The remaining 17 have had a couple of 'baby' races or qualifiers but that's it. With the hours of preparation in getting them to the races now completed, it's time for the ladies to strut their stuff. And for those who are successful, they will find a large paycheck awaiting them at the finish line along with some happy owners, trainers and drivers.   The Sire Stakes will go off as the second, third and fifth races on the solid 12-race program that is scheduled for 5 p.m.   With nine records either broken or tied at Buffalo Raceway this season, the freshmen fillies will be taking dead aim on 1:56.3 standard set in 2011 by Silk Purse and tied in 2012 by Summertime Lea.   The sire Roll With Joe has nine off-spring entered in the stakes event while Art Major follows with five, Rock N Roll Heaven four and American Ideal three.   The first event features a field of six who not have a pari-mutuel start between them. Gotmyredressontnit gets the early nod at 5-2 after putting in a 1:55.3 time in a baby race at Pocono Downs over a sloppy track on June 19. Jason Bartlett gets the call aboard the Janice Connor-trained Gotmyredressontnit (Roll With Joe-Western Top Cat) and will start from the six post.   Rockin Date, a $47,000 purchase from the Lexington Sales last year, is the second choice at 3-1 with Sire Stakes leading driver Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike. Starting from the five hole, Rockin Date (Art Major-Rockin Beauty) is trained by Ron Burke and finished in fourth place behind Gotmyredressontnit in her last prep. Morrill Jr. has 13 victories this season on the Sire Stakes circuit and nearly $450,000 in purse earnings.   The second leg is a wide open affair with a field of seven heading to the post. Angels Rockn Pink is 3-1 morning line choice with John MacDonald to be in the sulky. Arriving from Vernon Downs for trainer Homer Hostetler, Angels Rockn Pink was impressive in winning her two qualifiers at Vernon. She last won by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:55.4 back on June 19.   Soft Idea, a $70,000 purchase at the Lexington Sales, draws the six post for trainer Linda Toscano and driver Scott Zeron. Soft Idea (American Ideal-Walk Softly) went 1:58.4 in her last tuneup, winning by 2-1/2 lengths.   Buffalo Raceway's leading driver Kevin Cummings gets the call on Vino And Formaggio off the rail. Sitting at 4-1 on the line, Vino And Formaggio (Art Major-Pasta LaVista) has gone wire-to-wire in her two qualifying victories at the Meadows.   The final division features Encore Deo, a $100,000 buy at Lexington. The Burke-trained Encore Deo, coupled with Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance), starts from the five post and gets the services of Cummings. Encore Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Docdor Cameo) hopes to start earning her keep begin what could be an solid career.   The main danger to the Burke entry could be Ghost Runner (Art Major-Spirit Of The West). She gets the pylons for trainer/driver Tom Jackson and is the 5-1 second pick. She finished sixth at Pocono Downs in 1:55.1 in her last appearance.   The card also will feature a pair of Excelsior 'A' Series races and a race in the Excelsior 'B' Series.   Also on tap on the stellar card includes the $10,500 Open Trot, the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace, and the $8,500 Fillies and Mares Open II Pace.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

It should come as no surprise that Jim Morrill Jr. continues to dominate the NYSS, much like Wally Hennessy and Jeff Gregory have done on the past. This afternoon at Monticello Raceway, Jim Morrill Jr won 5 of the 8 New York Sire Stakes Races. Blue Chip Farms Stallion, Roll With Joe had 4 sons enter the winners circle for the afternoon. In the first race, local favorite KJ Erich was well in hand for driver Jim Taggart Jr. as he won by 6 lengths in 1:59:1 for co-owner and trainer Gary Messenger. In the 2nd Division of the Excelsior's A's, is was the grey son of Roll With Joe, White Rolls scoring a wire to wire victory for Tracy Brainard, giving Morrill his first win of the afternoon Race 4 was the 1st division of Sire Stakes and this race had 3 lead changes before the half mile mark.  Roll With Fred had the lead going to the ¼ pole before the antsy Fine Diamond made his move to take the lead, Jim Morrill Jr was wrangling with Carlos Danger trying to keep him in the hole. Roll with Fred came right back to retake the lead and folllowing with live cover was Carlos Danger. Carlos Danger cleared and stayed there the rest of the way, taking them past the ¾ in 1:29:0. Fine Diamond made a weak attempt to challenge the leaders but his challenge stalled in the paddock turn. It appeared that Morrill was home free, but Brett Miller had Roll With Fred in high gear in deep stretch, to nip Carlos Danger by a head in 1:58:3 Tim Lanpher's One Summer Chance was the winner of race 5 Excelsior B in 2:01:3. In the other Excelsior B action in the 8th race. Zac and Forth broke his maiden in impressive fashion for trainer Thomas Merton and owner Gary Haas, winning in 1:59:4. The 2nd division of the NYSS, saw the heavy favorite Autotune Hanover work hard for the lead, only to go off stride coming out of the 1st turn. Skip Jive was in the 2 hole when the favorite broke and inherited the lead. He stayed there and won by 3 in 1:57:1 for trainer Paul Kelly and driver Mark McDonald. The most impressive individual performance of the day came in Race 13, last heat of the NYSS. Joe Larry N Curly shot out of the gate and carried the field thru fractions of 28:, 59:0 & 1:28:3. In the paddock turn HudsonandBernard made his move but was quickly dispatched as Morrill let his mount out a notch and quickly dispatched his competition. Joe Larry N Curly was too smart and went on to win to win by 3 lengths in 1:56:3, the fastest race of the day, last ¼ in 28.0. Joe Larry N Curly, a colt by Roll With Joe is trained by Mark Harder. In the winner's circle Jim Morrill Jnr, a man of few words, said "He is the real deal" This win gave Jim Morrill Jnr his 5th win on the afternoon. Total handle for the 13 race card was $602,921. Monticello Raceway is racing Mon - Fri this week, with a special Fireworks night card on Friday July 3, featuring more Sire Stake action when 2 Year Old Trotting Colts come to town. Shawn Wiles    

Sunday's Morrisville Sale featured overall numbers close to last year’s; five more yearlings were sold for a similar average of more than $10,000. Still, the number sold is down about 37% from 2011. Last year the first crop sales of high profile New York stallions Rock N Roll Heaven and Lucky Chucky created some buzz, while this year it was 2011 sophomore division winner Roll With Joe who was experiencing his first auction. Only five by that stallion sold at Morrisville, for a very modest $8,700 average. Most of the initial action on RWJ will come at Lexington, where nine fillies and eight colts will be sold, and in Harrisburg, where nineteen fillies and eighteen colts will be hammered down. Last year only six from Lucy Chucky’s first crop sold at Morrisville, for an encouraging $22,000 average—high for this sale. The $450,000 the Cancelliere brothers paid for a brother to Muscle Massive and Muscle Mass skewed the results at Lexington, but at Harrisburg 32 averaged more than $32,000. Overall, the Chuckys were well received. Lucky Chucky ranked third behind Conway Hall and Crazed on the NYSS 2-year-old earnings list; Nunkeri, who finished second in the Championship Final, was his top filly and Gabe The Bear Dean and Mambo Blue Chip were two of the better colts. All in all Chucky was competitive in the program but hasn’t made his mark on the Grand Circuit. Granted, opportunities for the latter have been limited. Twice as many sold at Morrisville this year—13—and they averaged about half of what they did last year--$12,423. A dozen Lucky Chuckys will sell in Lexington and 17 will be available at Harrisburg. Like Lucky Chucky, Rock N Roll Heaven keeps a low profile at the Morrisville Sale. Five sold for a $15,000 average last year while three averaged almost $13,000 today. What happened at Morrisville gave no clue about Heaven’s future sale prospects in 2013: 33 of them averaged a hefty $48,000 at Harrisburg. Twenty-five will be available there this year and 30 will sell at Lexington. Heaven ranked third in his division, behind Bettor’s Delight and Art Major, on the NYSS 2-year-old pacing money list. His daughters Sassa Hanover and Band Of Angels were dominant players in the division for Ron Burke, but in the Championship final at Yonkers, the leader in both age groups, Bettor’s Delight, stepped up for the win in the form of his daughter Mosquito Blue Chip. Heaven was a decidedly gyno-centric stallion; his colts were no factor. Prediction: nobody will be writing a $450,000 check for one this year. RC Royalty stands at Morrisville and topped the sale in the number available, as 17 brought an average of more than $13,000. This was down 27% from last year when 20 sold on the wave of Royalty For Life’s division championship. RC Royalty ranked fourth on the 2-year-old money list and fifth on the 3-year-old list. The sophomore filly Avalicious and the freshman colt Royal Deceptor were probably his best. There were no budding Royalty For Life’s in the mix. He sells one at Lexington and none at Harrisburg. His brush with fame did not propel the eleven-year-old beyond his regional stallion status. But the sales topper on Sunday was one of his daughters, Royal Encore, who brought $85,000. Cash Hall, the Self Possessed stallion who now stands in Ohio for $3,000, raised his profile markedly in the NYSS with his outstanding freshman filly Market Rally and her paternal brother Buen Camino. The former crushed the opposition on the Night of Champions. Premium performers will always garner a stallion more love than healthy averages. Last year Cash Hall, who still has NYSS eligibility, had 13 sell at Morrisville for an $8,800 average. This year only four sold, but they averaged three times that. Cash Hall is in a no man’s land between New York and Ohio right now. The young Credit Winner stallion, Crazed, is about to stand his third season at Hanover in Pennsylvania. His fee was dropped from $6,000 to $4,000 last year. Crazed, who still has NYSS eligibility, sold seven for $16,571 today, up from the 12 he sold for an average of $9,200 in 2013. He was second to Conway Hall among two and three-year-old trotters in the NYSS this year. Gural Hanover and Crazy Wow, both winners of their respective finals, were crazy good this year. Nineteen by Crazed sell at Harrisburg. The buyers haven’t been particularly receptive up until now, but we should see more enthusiasm for him this year. Credit Winner, Art Major and Bettor’s Delight play a very limited role in this sale.  The latter, who now resides in Pennsylvania, has exhausted his two-year-old eligibility which will transfer to Ontario next year. He won’t be missed by the other stallions. We’ll find out at Lexington and Harrisburg whether or not the buyers consider his little brother, Roll With Joe, a suitable substitute. Conway Hall, leader of both the two and three-year-old divisions, and the most underrated stallion in the sport, sold seven for a $19,000 average, just like last year. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com

Standardbred Horse Sales Company has posted the 2014 Black Book 1 Yearling Sale catalog on its website at www.theblackbook.com/catalog-downloads.php. You can download the catalog and other handy PDF packets, or create and track your own yearling lists with our “My Black Book” program. QR codes on individual yearling pages will link your Smart Phone or iPad to yearling videos when available. Download a “QR reader” application from your Smart Phone’s “App Store”, and scan the QR code on the printed catalog page with your Smart Phone. The yearling video will soon appear! We hope you enjoy this handy innovation closer to the Sale. This year’s Harrisburg Sale proudly presents 1125 fabulous yearlings, including yearlings by first year sires Roll With Joe (37), Manofmanymissions (21), Big Jim (17), Broad Bahn (9), Up The Credit (5), Vintage Master (3), Delmarvalous (3), and Big Bad John (2). Our iPad formatted catalog can now be downloaded using the Equineline.com Sales Catalog app – follow the link from the Black Book website DOWNLOADS page. The Black Book offers great yearlings for everyone’s needs, from Grand Circuit to Fair racing. Find your champion today! From the Standardbred Horse Sales Company

Hanover, PA --- The Standardbred Horse Sales Company is proud to announce that our 76th annual Harrisburg Yearling Sale Preview is now posted on our website, www.theblackbook.com. Individual yearling pedigrees will soon follow, with yearling video links posted closer to the Sale. Yearling Sale dates are Monday (Nov. 3) through Thursday (Nov. 6), featuring 1,123 yearlings, 531 by Pennsylvania sires, 275 by Ontario sires, 230 by New York sires, 78 by New Jersey sires, five by Indiana sires, two by Ohio sires, and two by Delaware sires. First year sires Roll With Joe (37), Manofmanymissions (21), Big Jim (17), Broad Bahn (9), Up The Credit (5), Vintage Master (3), and Big Bad John (2) are well represented. Printed catalogs will be mailed Sept. 12. Standardbred will again offer catalogs formatted for the iPad through the Equineline.com Sales Catalog app. As always, Standardbred provides multiple “Search” functions and downloadable PDF packets on our website to help you find your champion. Our convenient “My Black Book” feature allows customers to store lists of yearling prospects with pedigrees, video links, and personal notes in a confidential format that is accessible from any Internet-capable device. From the Standardbred Horse Sales Company 

It would be easy for trainer Ron Burke to be confident as he prepares Sweet Lou for Friday's $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park. After all, his 5-year-old pacer brings an eight-race win streak to the event, with an unprecedented stretch of speedy miles to go with it. But Burke knows Sweet Lou isn't the only horse streaking into the Dan Patch. Dancin Yankee, the last horse to defeat Sweet Lou, also is among the pacers in the nine-horse field. Dancin Yankee, racing out of the stable of trainer Amber Buter, brings a six-race victory streak to the Dan Patch. It will be the first meeting between the two horses since Dancin Yankee won the Van Rose Memorial Invitational on May 3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Sweet Lou finished third, but since then has gone undefeated. "I think Lou is running into another horse that is racing as good as anyone in the country," Burke said. "I'm actually nervous. I think that horse is super sharp, career sharp, too. "There are other horses that could win too, but both those horses are on long win streaks. I think that's going to be a great race." Sweet Lou has won eight of 11 races this year and earned $791,500 for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. His wins include the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and Roll With Joe. His 1:47 victory in the Ben Franklin is the fastest ever on a five-eighths-mile track, breaking the previous mark of 1:47.2 that was shared by Dancin Yankee and Pet Rock. Sweet Lou has won each of his last five starts in less than 1:48, which is a record. He has been driven during his win streak by Ron Pierce. For his career, the son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future has won 30 of 66 races and $2.90 million. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and earned $1 million at age 3, but picked up only four wins and $348,638 at 4. "I'm just so happy he's winning," Burke said. "It's enjoyable to watch him race right now. I've been such a believer all along and for him to do what we thought he could, nothing feels better." Burke, who on Saturday moved past Virgil Morgan Jr. to become the winningest trainer in harness racing history, also sends Bettor's Edge to the Dan Patch. The 5-year-old gelding has won six of 19 races this season and earned $421,781. He was second to Sweet Lou in the Franklin and Haughton and fourth in the U.S. Pacing Championship. Dancin Yankee has won 14 of 21 races this year and $315,140 for owners Baron Racing Stable and Rich Lombardo. The 6-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest won the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in each of his last three starts. The remainder of the field is Thinking Out Loud, Night Pro, Carol's Comet, Heston Blue Chip, State Treasurer and Our Lucky Chip. "It ended up being a really good field," Burke said. Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Dancin Yankee, Tyler Buter, Amber Buter, 8-1; 2. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 6-1; 3. Night Pro, Peter Wrenn, Dale Decker, 20-1; 4. Carol's Comet, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 15-1; 5. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 4-5; 6. Heston Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Linda Toscano, 15-1; 7. Bettor's Edge, Ricky Macomber Jr., Ron Burke, 10-1; 8. State Treasurer, Jody Jamieson, Ian Moore, 4-1; 9. Our Lucky Chip, Trace Tetrick, Jason Miller, 30-1.  By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Sweet Lou and driver Ron Pierce have teamed to win seven consecutive races, but Pierce believes he deserves none of the credit for the hot streak. He also believes the best is yet to come. Sweet Lou, who has won 29 of 65 lifetime races and $2.78 million in purses, is enjoying the best stretch of his award-winning career as he heads into Saturday’s $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship at Meadowlands Racetrack. Sweet Lou, who starts from post seven, faces eight foes, including Captaintreacherous, State Treasurer, Golden Receiver, and Ron Burke-trained stablemates Foiled Again, Bettor’s Edge, and Clear Vision. The race is part of a stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card at the Big M. Among the other highlights are the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters, and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. Coverage of the card will air throughout the afternoon on TVG and from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. “It’s just unbelievable how good they have him right now,” Pierce said about Sweet Lou. “The Burke crew really has him sharp. “It’s not me, believe me, it’s the horse. The horse is doing everything pretty much on his own. I’m just a passenger. I think if any of the top guys would’ve gotten on this horse he’d be doing the same thing. I’m giving all the credit to the Burkes and their crew. They’re doing all the work. All I do is sit there.” Pierce started driving Sweet Lou in May and the two have teamed to win the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, and Roll With Joe stakes during their seven races together. It is Sweet Lou’s longest win streak, topping his six consecutive victories bridging his 2- and 3-year-old seasons. Sweet Lou was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner as harness racing’s best 2-year-old male pacer and earned more than $1 million at age 3, but endured a stretch of just four wins in 31 starts prior to his recent surge. “I wasn’t sure [what to expect],” Pierce said, looking back to when he started driving Sweet Lou. “I’d raced against him plenty, but no I didn’t really think he was going to be winning these kinds of races so easily. I just happened to get on him at the right time. “It’s such a pleasure to race this horse because he’s so good. You can do anything you want to do. If you want to take back, you take back; if you want to go forward, all you have to do is feed him racetrack. And then he’ll come right back to you once he gets to the top. It’s just a pleasure. It’s a thrill.” Sweet Lou, owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura, still holds the world record of 1:49 for a 2-year-old pacer and this season became the fastest horse ever on a five-eighths-mile track when he captured the Ben Franklin in 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The fastest race mile in history is 1:46.4, a mark shared by Holborn Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Warrawee Needy, and He’s Watching. But Pierce thinks Sweet Lou could take down that mark sometime in the future. “If Ronnie tells me to shatter the world record, I will,” Pierce said. “He could do it, no problem. But I want to keep him within himself for as long as I can. It’s better for him. The longer I can go without stretching him out, the better off he’s going to be in the long run. I’m not going to be showboating or anything like that. “But I’m sure Ronnie is going to come to me one of these days under the right conditions and say to go ahead and shatter the world record. And then I will.” Following is the U.S. Pacing Championship field in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Golden Receiver, Corey Callahan, Jake Huff; 2. State Treasurer, David Miller, Ian Moore; 3. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh; 4. Sunfire Blue Chip, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 5. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 6. Bettor’s Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 7. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna; 9. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained  the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

They’re on their way. The powerful New South Wales harness racing stable of Belinda and Luke McCarthy were to the fore at Menangle on Tuesday, winning three Breeders Crown heats, and the Cobbitty yard is sure to be strongly represented at next month’s semi-finals in Victoria. Ominous Warning captured the first race at Menangle, the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings Heat 6, defeating Francisco De Gore by a half-neck in a 1:59.1 mile rate with a last quarter of 26.8 seconds and a last half of 55.1. The son of Four Starzzz Shark found the lead easily early in the 2300m race before churning out comfortable early sectionals. Driver Luke McCarthy got busy on Ominous Warning late in the home straight as Francisco De Gore ascended down the outside, the $1.10 favourite holding on for a narrow win over the fast-finishing $40.10 outsider. Another few strides and the result probably went the other way, so punters won’t be sacking the second horse in a hurry. Lettucerockthem showed in Race 2, the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown 3YO Colts and Geldings Heat 5, that he’s in seriously good form. The son of Art Major scored an easy victory, the final 5.4m winning margin not a true indicator of the dominance with which Lettucerockthem handled Tuesday’s competition. Luke McCarthy kept peeping over his shoulder time and again in the straight aboard Lettucerockthem to see Ideal Legacy’s driver hard at work, while the rest of the field might as well have been in another race. Consequently, Lettucerockthem never had to leave second gear, clocking a mile rate of 1:58.3 and a last quarter of 28.4. Flying filly Bamako Mali then gave the McCarthys a third crown heat win for the day in a blistering 1:57.9 in heat six of the two-year-old fillies’ division. McCarthy took Bamako Mali to the front at the top of lane and she dashed clear before late challengers came from all corners in the last 50m. The race commentator commented “she was no good thing” but as is her style Bamako Mali lifted when challenged and held on by a head over Ameretto with a similar distance to Butterfly Princess in third. “Someone told me it was only 0.7 seconds outside the track record,” McCarthy said (Sheezallattitude holds the two-year-old fillies’ record for the 2300m start with a 1:57.2 set in 2010). “She’s got a great will to win. The other one almost headed her. I’d say it levelled up but she fought back. She’s a great trier.” Bamako Mali has won nine of 13 starts and been placed second or third at the other four. On Ominous Warning McCarthy said the gelding had pulled up “a little bit sick” after his recent Breeders Challenge defeat. “We were disappointed not to win that,” he said. “Luckily we were able to get him right in time for yesterday. “Ominous Warning is pretty good. He was still probably a bit underdone yesterday.” McCarthy said Lettucerockthem was potentially in career-best form. “He’s probably in the best form he’s been in since he was a two-year-old,” he said. “I felt he travelled really good throughout yesterday.” Other Breeders Crown heat winners at Menangle were Saloon Passage for Nathan Hurst in the three-year-old boys’ sixth heat, winning by 10.5m in a rate of 1:55.7, and Ocean Diva for trainer Paul Fitzpatrick and driver Blake Fitzpatrick by a short half-head over Starzzzinthenight in 1:59.5 in the three-year-old fillies’ fifth heat. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

1. National Debt, Scott Zeron, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1 Last year, National Debt won all four of his starts while competing in Alberta for trainer/co-owner Kelly Hoerdt, who received Canada's 2013 O'Brien Award for Horsemanship. He was sent to New Jersey-based trainer Ron Coyne Jr. for the start of this season and captured the Gilmour Memorial Series during the winter. National Debt, who finished fifth in his Pace elimination, won by JK Endofanera, has won seven of 10 lifetime races and earned $76,073. Owned by Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil, and the J&T Silva Stables, National Debt had issues with allergies earlier this season while racing in Canada and missed nearly two months prior to his Pace elim. "He had a couple good tighteners in qualifiers, and this was his first test for speed against these colts, but all in all it went well," Coyne said. "He showed a good burst of speed at the end, he came home :26.2 and he finished up really nice, so I was really happy about that. It's all a matter of the post and the trip and we'll see if we get lucky. "We missed a few of the big dances, but we're ready to go again," Coyne said. For a feature about National Debt from earlier this year, read here. 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1 JK Endofanera (Art Major-Presidential Lady) won his elimination in 1:48.2 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He is trying to become the 10th horse to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. For more, read here. 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, David Menary, 5-2 He's Watching (American Ideal-Baberhood) won his elimination in 1:48.1 and is 5-2 on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For more, read here. 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1 One of two horses in the race from the Takter Stable, Tellitlikeitis (Well Said-Kikikatie) is a son of 2009 Meadowlands Pace winner Well Said out of the million-dollar-earning mare Kikikatie. He led early in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching, but finished fifth. Tellitlikeitis, owned by Lothlorien stable, has won four of 12 career races and $389,022. He finished second to JK Endofanera in the North America Cup. "I expect him to be better," Takter said. "He had three weeks off [prior to his Pace elim] and that's a long time in this group. I had to play it like that with him, unfortunately. I cannot race him every dance because he has issues. But he's got a perfect seat, the four post. If the pace is right, we know he can pace :25 the last quarter. If I get him a little bit better, he's quick enough that he can give you something." 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1 The 2013 Breeders Crown champion finished third in his Pace elim, won by He's Watching. Luck Be Withyou has won once in five starts this season and captured six of 16 career races, good for $404,827. He is owned by John Craig and trained by Bill Cass in Canada, with Oakes taking over in the U.S. Luck Be Withyou is a son of Western Ideal out of the mare Trim Hanover. He is a three-quarter brother to millionaire female pacer American Jewel. 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1 The colt tried to find room inside of JK Endofanera in the stretch, but was unable to get past the leader and finished third in his Pace elimination. Just three-quarters of a length separated JK Endofanera, runner-up Always B Miki, and Lyonssomewhere. Geoffrey Lyons Mound owns Lyonssomewhere, who is a son of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Miss Kitty Hanover. He has won five of seven career races and $98,570. "He didn't have enough room, but I thought he raced really, really good," Takter said. "He can step out of the gate extremely well. It's hard not to take advantage of that, but by the same token, you pay a little bit for that. "At the Meadowlands, it's not necessarily the best spot to sit behind the leader unless he's a very good leader. If you don't get racing room, you're playing with luck. With luck, yes he can win, without a doubt, and we need to be lucky in this race. It will be an interesting race." 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1 Erv Miller is hoping for big things from the big horse as the year goes on. Jet Airway opened 2014 with a second-place finish to JK Endofanera in the Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands. Owned by Miller, Tangie Massey, Paul Sunderhaus, and Larry Agle, Jet Airway has won six of 18 career races and $130,834. He is a son of Jereme's Jet out of the mare Aromatic. He raced 10 times as a 2-year-old, winning three races, but was shut down in early October. Marcus Miller, who recently got career win No. 2,000, is Erv's 25-year-old son. "He's a really fast horse, a big horse," Miller said about Jet Airway. "I think, hopefully, from midseason on he'll just keep getting better. It just seems he needed the racing to get going. He went a big mile [in his elim]. Marcus did a good job and he had a lot of pace finishing. "I could tell last year he was a pretty nice horse. I wanted to shut him down because he was real immature. I think as time goes, he'll just keep getting better." 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1 Always in the hunt, Sometimes Said has won only twice but hit the board in 14 of 18 career races. He finished second by a neck from post nine in last year's Breeders Crown, which was won by Luck Be Withyou, and was second in the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Owned by Fashion Farms, Sometimes Said is a son of Well Said out of the mare Lady Sometimes. He has earned $341,254 lifetime. Sometimes Said finished second in his Pace elim, beaten 2-3/4 lengths by He's Watching. "He's had a good week," Campbell said. "It's hard to say whether post eight will help him or hurt him, it depends how the race unfolds. It would probably be in his best interest if they're rolling along up front and he can get cover in the outer tier. "It's a tough group of horses. He went a big trip last week and he'll have to come back and be better than that this week." 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1 Came home the fastest of all Meadowlands Pace finalists with a :26.1 final quarter-mile to miss by a neck to JK Endofanera in his Pace elim. Always B Miki has won five of 20 career races and earned $219,916. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or Farms, and Roll The Dice Stable. Always B Miki was disqualified from third to fifth for interference in his Hempt Memorial elimination and went off stride in his North America Cup elim. He has three wins, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, and two second-place finishes (by a neck and a nose) in the five starts this year in which he's minded his manners. "I was apprehensive coming into [the Pace elimination] because he's just been a problem horse that way," Holloway said. "He's got a lot of speed, but he's not the easiest horse to deal with. He steered fairly well [in his elim] and raced well. He can go a tough trip, he's probably one of the tougher ones that way, but he is tough to deal with. "He's got the speed to go wherever they want to go. As long as he gets a decent trip he'll work it out from there." Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin, who was trained by Holloway and won two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown (Cane Pace and Messenger) in 2007, out of the mare Artstopper. He is a half-brother to Yagonnakissmeornot, who finished second in this year's Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. 10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1 Elliott is the only trainer in the race to have won the Meadowlands Pace previously, having captured the trophy in 2006 with Artistic Fella and 2009 with Well Said. Only two trainers, Brett Pelling and Bill Robinson, have more Pace victories. Doo Wop Hanover finished fourth in his Pace elim, which was won by JK Endofanera. He is a son of 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Deer Valley Miss and is a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Knock Three Times. For his career, Doo Wop Hanover has won five of 19 races and $180,788. He won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in May and the Hempt Memorial Consolation in a career-best 1:49 on June 28. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski. Post 10 has produced four Meadowlands Pace winners, tied for the third most of any starting spot, but none since The Panderosa in 1999. "I've had better draws," Elliott said with a laugh. "But when [Doo Wop Hanover] gets on the lead or first over, he wants to rock and roll, and he's better with a trip. We should be able to get a trip from there, we'll just hope it's not a bad one. "He's been good all year. He's a nice colt. He might be a notch below the best ones, but there's so many times now when the trip dictates the outcome. We just want to be somewhere in the live flow. You've got to be in it. If you're not in it, you can't win it." * * * Tim Tetrick and Ron Pierce have enjoyed multiple successes in the Meadowlands Pace in recent years, combining to win six of the last seven editions of the race. Pierce has won the Meadowlands Pace a total of four times, second to only John Campbell's seven Pace victories for the most among all drivers in history. Pierce's victories were with Dream Away (1997), Art Official (2008), Well Said (2009) and Roll With Joe (2011). He drives Luck Be Withyou in Saturday's race. Luck Be Withyou, who starts from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line, finished third in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching. Pierce won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers with Luck Be Withyou. Tetrick has won the Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx (2007), One More Laugh (2010) and Captaintreacherous (2013). He drives He's Watching in Saturday's race, starting from post three. He's Watching, who won his Pace elimination in 1:48.1, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. "I sure would love to [win again]," Tetrick said. "I have a great horse to do it with. I like my chances. "There are some really nice colts in here and it's a tough group." Campbell will go for Meadowlands Pace win No. 8 with Doo Wop Hanover from post 10. Brian Sears, driving 2-1 morning line favorite JK Endofanera, tries for his second Pace triumph while Yannick Gingras, with Lyonssomewhere, also will be going for his second win. Scott Zeron (driving National Debt), Brett Miller (Tellitlikeitis), Marcus Miller (Jet Airway), Corey Callahan (Sometimes Said) and David Miller (Always B Miki) all are seeking their first Meadowlands Pace win. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Victorian gelding Major Crocker made the road trip from Bolinda to Port Pirie in South Australia worthwhile on Friday night, the son of Art Major winning the first heat of the 2014 Roll With Joe Breeders Crown 3YO Colts and Geldings series. With David Harding aboard, Major Crocker found the lead early and dictated terms to win by 3.2m over Glenferrie Affair (Ryan Hryhorec). Third placegetter Vaevenca was a further 14.4m away for Scott Ewen. Major Crocker’s winning mile rate was 2:02.0 after a lead time of 33 seconds for the 2050m journey. In the first heat of the 2014 Alabar Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies series, Globe Derby-trained Helens Bonus from the Ray Holberton stable posted a victory for driver Mark Webster in a blanket finish, defeating Daniel Jack trained-and-driven Call Her Julie by a half-neck, with a further half-neck back to Theeyeshaveit in third place for Jake Webster. Helens Bonus’s mile rate was 2:02.1 for the 1609m trip. The Breeders Crown heats will continue at Globe Derby in South Australia and Addington, New Zealand, this Friday night. HRV Media  

The 2014 Breeders Crown series kicks off tomorrow night at Port Pirie with the running of the Alabar Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Heat 1 and the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown 3YO Colts and Geldings Heat 1. Five fillies will battle it out followed by six colts and geldings in the last two races on the card at the South Australian track, with the ultimate goal a spot in the rich Breeders Crown finals on August 24 at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. Following Port Pirie, fillies heats will be run at Albion Park in Queensland (July 1), Cambridge and Addington in New Zealand (July 10 and 11), Launceston in Tasmania (July 13), Menangle in New South Wales (July 22), Ballarat in Victoria (July 26) and Gloucester Park in Western Australia on July 28. The series repechages will he held on August 6 at Geelong before semi-finals are contested at Ballarat’s Bray Raceway on August 16. The consolation finals for the fillies will be run and won on August 22. The 3YO colts and geldings’ heats will head to Hobart in Tasmania on July 14, Auckland and Addington in New Zealand on July 18, Menangle on July 22, Albion Park on July 25, Gloucester Park on July 28 and Bendigo on July 31. The colts and geldings repechages will be run at Kilmore on August 7, with semi-finals on the same program as the fillies on August 16 at Ballarat, while the consolation races will be held on August 21 at Tabcorp Park. In the fillies’ first heat, Theeyeshaveit, Helens Bonus, Jasperama, Call Her Julie and Secret Agenda will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of former 2YO fillies’ Breeders Crown champions including Whereibylong (2013), Glenferrie Shuffle (2012), Cowgirls N Indians (2011) and Passions Promise (2010). The 3YO colts and geldings’ first heat consists of Fivehundredbart, Vaevenca, Kenneth The Menace, Glenferrie Affair, Kingsup and Major Crocker. Champion reinsman Gavin Lang has an extraordinary record in the 2YO fillies’ division finals, having driven four of the last six winners, and five overall since the inaugural Crown final back in 1998. In the 3YO colts and geldings the Kiwis have won the last two finals, with Bit Of A Legend saluting for Dexter Dunn last year and Fly Like An Eagle prevailing for Mark Purdon in 2012. By Cody Winell (Harness Racing Australia)

This Week: Currier & Ives filly division, The Meadows, Washington, Pa; Armbro Flight, Goodtimes, North America Cup, Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Charlie Hill Memorial, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; and Hanover Stakes (3-year-old colt and filly trot), Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this week. Action begins on Wednesday (June 4) at The Meadows with three divisions in the $93,860 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will host Grand Circuit racing on Friday (June 6) with two C$35,000 eliminations in the Armbro Flight for trotting mares and two C$30,000 eliminations in the Goodtimes for 3-year-old trotting colts. The Saturday (June 7) card at Mohawk features a trio of C$50,000 eliminations for the North America Cup for 3-year-old pacing colts and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Roses Are Red for pacing mares and the Fan Hanover for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Scioto Downs will offer its second Grand Circuit stake of the season on Saturday, with the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for open trotters, while Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit events on Saturday with the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old colt trotters and the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the Meadows, Scioto Downs and Balmoral Park races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Molson Pace for older pacers at The Raceway at Western Fair District, the Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway and the Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs. State Treasurer (#1) gets up on the outside to narrowly defeat Apprentice Hanover (#4) and Foiled Again (#7) in the Molson Pace. In one of the most exciting editions of The Raceway at Western Fair District's signature race, the $138,000 Molson Pace, last year's winner State Treasurer defended his title despite a terrible start and an inquiry on May 30 at the London half-mile track. Driver Chris Christoforou had State Treasurer three wide down the backside and picked up the cover of Apprentice Hanover and Jody Jamieson heading into the stretch. It was a great race to the finish with State Treasurer getting up on the outside to win by a neck in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a close second followed by the always game Foiled Again, just a half-length back in third. The winning connections, trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald, had to wait out an inquiry regarding the start before the race was declared official. "I sweated a little bit last year too, but this is a little different this year," noted Moore. "He's a real good little horse, he tries his heart out and he showed that tonight for sure." Odds-on favorite All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, $2.60) was both anxious and effective on May 31, winning the $300,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. All Bets Off was a 1:52.2 winner in the Art Rooney Pace. All Bets Off collared leader Maxi Bon early in the lane, then held off a rallying Some Playa by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.2. Maxi Bon held third. All Bets Off, a son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stables and Rosemary Shelswell, is now three-for-four this season with earnings of $180,250. "Oh, yeah, I was worried," Kakaley said. "I thought giving up the lead (to Stevensville) was the right thing to do. Then I saw Danny's (Dube, with Maxi Bon) coming fast and I knew I was in trouble. I was lucky to get out. If I don't, I'm shuffled out, and probably last. "He's (All Bets Off) handy enough for the half-mile, but I think he can carry his speed to bigger tracks, too. Every start (All Bets Off) has been on his toes. Give Ronnie (Burke) and his crew an A-plus. I'm just fortunate to have the drive." Utilizing a powerful push clear in the far turn, Sweet Lou could not be caught in the $160,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace at Tioga Downs on June 1, turning in an impressive 1:48.3 victory. The 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser floated forward to track Bolt The Duer in the early stages, brushing to the front after a :26.2 first quarter and keeping the pace solid en route to a :53.4 half-mile. On the backstretch, Ron Pierce pushed clear with Sweet Lou, putting four lengths on the field in a :26.3 third quarter. Approaching the final 200 yards, it seemed the pace may have been too taxing, as Sweet Lou was all-out through the stretch and Heston Blue Chip found room to chase after being locked in. Sweet Lou dug in late, staving off Heston Blue Chip to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths. Bolt The Duer stayed on to be third. Ron Burke trains Sweet Lou for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 291; 2. Tim Tetrick - 255; 3. George Brennan - 164.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 143: 5. Brian Sears - 121. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 485.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 117; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller- 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 111.05; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 103.55; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 60; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Mohawk and the Meadowlands next weekend. Mohawk will host its five stakes finals, led by the C$1 million North America Cup, on Saturday night (June 14), while the Meadowlands will card the Meadowlands Maturity for 4-year-old open pacers and a leg of the TVG Free For All series for open trotters on Friday (June 13). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

June 2, 2014 – Prior to this week, Brandon Valvo had a tenuous lead in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs as two handicappers were within $50 of him. What a difference a week makes.  Thanks to Valvo’s week-leading profit of $1,103.50 (overall lead of $1,983.50), he has a solid lead of $1,310.50 over his nearest competitor over this past week’s three-leg stretch of the contest; his most successful leg of the weekend being the Molson Pace at Western Fair District.  While Valvo may have been nervous with State Treasurer’s rocky start in the race, he was rewarded on a $100 win ticket paying $245, a $30 exacta key ticket good for $117.50, and a $120 trifecta ticket grossing $741.  While not as impressive Valvo also had winning days on Saturday’s Somebeachsomewhere at Mohawk, and Sunday’s Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs.  Another performance of note was Mark McKelvie’s, whose $362.50 weekly net profit moved him from 5th place to 2nd, just $62.50 in front of Bob Zanakis.  Some other big hits from the handicappers this weekend were on the Molson Pace; Garnet Barnsdale’s $250 place bet on State Treasurer which paid $400; Ray Garnett’s $20 exacta box ($120 total) paid $235; Sally Hinckley’s $2 trifecta box ($48) paid $148.20; Mark Mckelvie’s $50 win and place ticket ($100) paid $202.50; Dennis O’Hara’s $30 exacta box ($60) paid $352.50; Anne Stepien’s $5 trifecta box ticket ($120) paid $370.50 and $1 superfecta box ($24) paid $251.70.  On Saturday, Mark McKelvie scored a $372 trifecta with a $20 partial wheel ticket ($160) on the 1st division of the Somebeachsomewhere and a $385 payoff on a $50 straight exacta on the Yonkers Trot.  Gordon Waterstone scored a $204 payoff with a $120 win ticket on the second division of the Somebeachsomewhere.  On Sunday’s Roll With Joe, Rusty Nash scored a $219 profit on a $15 partial trifecta wheel ($45).   Standings as of June 1, 2010 - Leg 10 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $1,103.50 $1,983.50   2nd Mark McKelvie $362.50 $673.00 $1,310.50 3rd Bob Zanakis ($222.25) $610.50 $1,373.00 4th Earl Paulson $45.50 $390.50 $1,593.00 5th Derick Giwner ($575.00) $267.20 $1,716.30 6th Brian McEvoy ($117.50) $80.00 $1,903.50 7th Josi Verlingieri ($249.75) $18.05 $1,965.45 8th Sally Hinckley ($219.40) ($311.30) $2,294.80 9th Garnet Barnsdale ($350.00) ($398.00) $2,381.50 10th Gordon Waterstone ($309.50) ($629.50) $2,613.00 11th Rusty Nash ($160.20) ($805.20) $2,788.70 12th Ann Stepien $61.10 ($815.10) $2,798.60 13th Ray Garnett ($261.00) ($1,298.20) $3,281.70 14th Dennis O'Hara ($78.90) ($1,511.20) $3,494.70 15th Ray Cotolo ($548.00) ($1,761.00) $3,744.50 This week, it is a Saturday night contest night with a return trip to Scioto Downs for the $200,000 (Est.) Charlie Hill for older trotters.  The following week features racing at the Meadowlands (Friday) and Mohawk Racetrack for North American Cup Night (Saturday) where the handicapper’s bankroll is increased from $250 to $400 (all days with 5 or more stakes races will trigger the higher bankroll). by Allan Schott, for HANA

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