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Although he is still relatively new as an owner, Lindsey Rankin understands how rare it is to find a top racehorse. So he is trying to enjoy the ride with Lady Shadow to the fullest. Lady Shadow is among 22 horses in Wednesday's $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The field was divided into three eliminations, from which the top three in each will advance to the same-day final. The winner of 10 of 18 career races, Lady Shadow competes in the first elimination. She drew post No. 2 for the son-and-father team of driver Doug McNair and trainer Gregg McNair and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Beach Gal, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, is the 5-2 favorite in the second elimination. She starts from post four for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Dave Menary. Gettingreadytoroll, who has won three in a row including the Simcoe Stakes and Miss New Jersey, is the 5-2 choice in the third division. She will start from post two with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Lady Shadow has earned $426,753 in her career, racing to this point only in Ontario. "We've only been in it for five years, but I think she's probably our once-in-a-lifetime horse," said Rankin, a Michigan resident who owns Lady Shadow with his wife, Connie. "So we're going to try to enjoy it. It would be nice to make the final. We have family and friends coming to see her. "She's got a lot of ability. She's a really nice filly. She's got a big heart. It's been a lot of fun." Lady Shadow won five of eight races last year, including the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway, and finished second by a neck in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. So far this season, Lady Shadow has won five of 10 starts, including the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association final and two preliminary divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series. She won her elimination for the Canadian Breeders Championship by more than eight lengths in a career-best 1:49.2 on July 12 at Mohawk, but went off stride at the start of the final on a sloppy track and finished sixth. But even with the miscue, which left her trailing the early leaders by 27 lengths after the first quarter and 21 lengths at the halfway point, she missed by just 1-3/4 lengths. "We're not really sure what happened," Rankin said. "Doug said she was fumbly gaited and just started to run. Once he set her, she was fine, but he wasn't real sure what that was all about. She did that once earlier this year too. She's kind of a hot head sometimes. She's settled down as the season has gone on, but at the beginning of the year she was a lot to handle. "She's got a lot of speed, but sometimes she's hard to rate. She likes to be put up in the front, in contention, from the get-go." Rankin owned horses for three years beginning in 1979, but got out of the sport because of the demands of running a business that supplies graphic design equipment. Five years ago, he asked his then 11-year-old daughter Abby if she wanted to get a horse, and when the young girl's eyes lit up, he was back in the game. "Now we're kind of hooked back into it," said the now-retired Rankin, who owns six horses. He bought Lady Shadow for $19,000 at the Forest City Sale in Ontario. The filly is a daughter of 2008 Little Brown Jug winner Shadow Play out of the mare Lady Camella. The dam's family includes 1962 Little Brown Jug winner Lehigh Hanover as well as famed trotter Peter Volo. "I liked a lot about her; her conformation," Rankin said. "She's always been high strung. We had a lot of issues with her when she was a yearling. She was always trying to do something stupid, but we got through it all. "We've been real happy with her this year. She paces a half-mile track just as well as she does a big track, so we think she deserves a shot." Below are the elimination fields for the Jugette in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds. Elim One: 1. Shell Bell, Kurt Sugg, Kurt Sugg, 12-1; 2. Lady Shadow, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 5-2; 3. Color's A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 4. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1; 5. Ali Blue, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-1; 6. Beach Body, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 10-1; 7. Also Encouraging, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-2. Elim Two: 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1; 2. Allstar Rating, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 7-2; 3. Somethinincredible, Ron Pierce, Bob McIntosh, 8-1; 4. Beach Gal, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 5. Fits Well, Scott Zeron, Brian Brown, 12-1; 6. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 7. A La Notte Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 8. Sectionline Aqua, Brett Miller, Steve Bauder, 5-1. Elim Three: 1. Cut A Deal, Jim Pantaleano, Nick Surick, 12-1; 2. Gettingreadytoroll, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 3. Beautiful Lady, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 5-1; 4. Someislandsomwhere, Ron Pierce, Casie Coleman, 6-1; 5. Candy's A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 6. Sandbetweenurtoes, Brett Miller, Larry Remmen, 7-2; 7. Beach Story, David Miller, Kelvin Harrison, 8-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

A field of eight lined up behind the starter in the featured harness racing event on Sunday afternoon (September 14) at Harrah's Philadelphia, a pace for winner's over $25,000 lifetime. The wagering public made Wake Up Peter (Brett Miller) the post time favorite, starting from post position five. At the start, Emeritus Maximus (Ron Pierce) got the first call off the wings, but his lead was short-lived, as Scott Rocks (Geo Napolitano Jr) brushed just beyond the quarter, which went in :26.1. After a second split in :28.1, Scott Rocks faced a challenge from the first-over Speed Again (Yannick Gingras). They battled to three quarters, which went in 1:21.3 (:27.1). Just beyond that point, Speed Again overpowered Scott Rocks, who folded up and finished last with the pocket-sitter Emeritus Maximus picking up the chase. At the finish, Speed Again narrowly held on to win by a nose, stopping the clock in 1:49.2, returning $11.60 to win. Emeritus Maximus finished second, while favored Wake Up Peter rallied for third. The winner keyed a $32.40 exacta. The trifecta paid $190.20, while the Superfecta returned $1,045.20. Speed Again is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, and Ctc Stables, and was trained by Ron Burke. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 13 - Shake It Cerry, driven by Ron Pierce, destroyed nine harness racing rivals in the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A daughter of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Shake It Cerry continued her sensational season Saturday evening with arguably her best performance to date. Sent off as the 4/5 favourite, Shake It Cerry was parked around the first turn in fourth and eventually would clear to the front as the field approached the half-mile pole. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3, Shake It Cerry found another gear and opened up on the field under a hand drive from Pierce. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Shake It Cerry cruised to a 9¼ length victory in a Track, Stakes and Canadian record equaling time of 1:52.1. "I asked her to go a little bit turning for home and she responded well and was just full of trot," said Pierce following the race. "I never turned the whip around, I never pulled her ear plugs, I just sat there, I was just a passenger. Jimmy had her tuned up and I just had to sit there." Takter's other starter in the Elegantimage final, Scream And Shout, finished second in a photograph over Vanity Matters. Shake It Cerry has now won nine of her eleven starts this season and 17 of 21 career appearances. Following the race, Takter had high praise for his star trotting filly. "I always said this is the best three-year-old filly in this crop," said Takter. "Lifetime Pursuit is quite good too, but I know with this filly she had a tough run in the Hambletonian (Oaks), but she is just a fantastic horse and bounces back every time and I think she's earned all the respect she can get." Owned by Solveig Racing Partners, Shake It Cerry increased her career earnings to $1,427,880 with her victory Saturday night. She paid $3.60 to win. Mark McKelvie

A field of 22 filly pacers will compete for the $298,100 Jugette on Wednesday, September 17 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. In the first elimination Lady Shadow (Doug McNair) has been named the 5-2 morning line favorite. The Shadow Play lass has won two straight races in Ontario Sire Stakes action and has bankrolled $236,861 this season for Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, MI.  Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick) was tapped the top choice in the $39,746 second elimination. The Somebeachsomewhere filly owns a 1:49.3 mark at Mohawk Raceway and has limetime earnings of 358,096. Beach Gal is trained by David Menary for Kenneth Ewen, Hewvilla Farms, Denis Breton and Larry Menary all of Ontario. The final elimination is shaping up to be a battle between Gettingreadytoroll (Yannick Gingras) and Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller)  Gettingreadytoroll is coming into the Jugette off a 1:49.4 victory in the $191,074 Simcoe Stakes. Gettingreadytoroll is campaigned by John and Jim Fielding and the 2014 Lady Pace Honoree, Christina Takter. Jimmy Takter trains the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. Sandbetweenurtoes has won eight of nine seasonal starts and has won nearly $250,000 this year. Larry Remmen trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere for Bradley Grant of Milton, Ontario.  44th Jugette -- Three-Year-Old Filly Pace PP Horse (Driver/Trainer) Odds 1st Elimination $39,746    1. Shell Bell (Kurt Sugg/Kurt Sugg)    12-1    2. Lady Shadow (Doug McNair/Gregg McNair)    5-2    3. Color’s A Virgin (Trace Tetrick/Brian Brown)    4-1    4. Southwind Silence (Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke)      6-1    5. Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter)   5-1    6. Beach Body (Ron Pierce/Chris Oakes) 10-1    7. Also Encouraging (David Miller/Casie Coleman)   7-2 2nd Elimination $39,746    1. Uffizi Hanover (David Miller/Jimmy Takter)      4-1    2. Allstar Rating (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)      7-2    3. Somethinincredible (John Campbell/Robert McIntosh) 8-1    4. Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick/David Menary)      5-2    5. Fits Well (Scott Zeron/Brian Brown) 12-1    6. Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell/Jim Campbell) 10-1    7. A La Notte Hanover (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)  8-1    8. Sectionline Aqua (TBA/Steve Bauder) 5-1 3rd Elimination $39,746    1. Cut A Deal (Brett Miller/Nick Surick)     12-1    2. Gettingreadytoroll (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 5-2    3. Beautiful Lady (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)      5-1    4. Someislandsomwhere (Brett Miller/Casie Coleman) 6-1    5. Candy’s A Virgin (Trace Tetrick/Brian Brown)    4-1    6. Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller/Larry Remmen)   7-2    7. Beach Story (Yannick Gingras/Kelvin Harrison)   8-1 Top three finishers in each elimination will return for the $178,862 final. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

Lookslikeachpndale strutted winning form for the first time when he captured his elimination for Saturday's C$390,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at Mohawk Racetrack and driver Sylvain Filion thinks the colt can show even more. Trained by Luc Blais, Lookslikeachpndale starts Saturday's final from post two, one spot inside of last week's other Wellwood elimination winner, Uncle Lasse. The Wellwood is part of a stakes-filled card that also features the C$682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old trotters, C$409,000 Elegantimage for 3-year-old female trotters, and C$385,000 Peaceful Way for 2-year-old female trotters. Lookslikeachpndale has one win in five starts, but came into the Wellwood elims off two consecutive third-place finishes after twice finishing off the board. "He's been improving a lot of late," Filion said. "I feel he is still not the horse we think he'll become. He was pretty good last week and I think he is going to get better and better. There's still lots more to him than there is right now. He's still green. He doesn't really know what he's doing out there right now. That's why I think with a few more races he'll get better. He'll probably get the hang of it." A son of 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill out of the stakes-winning mare Poster Pin Up, Lookslikeachpndale was purchased for $185,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Serge Godin's Determination stable. The colt's second dam is stakes-winner Poster Princess and his third dam is Me Maggie, who was the 1990 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old filly trotter and is a half-sister to Lawn Tennis, the mother of standout racehorse and sire Credit Winner. Me Maggie's offspring include Prime Mistress, the dam of stakes winners The Chancellor and Beer Summit, not to mention grandmother of this year's Hambletonian Oaks winner, Lifetime Pursuit. "He's got a great family," Filion said. "He's got all the credentials for him. I know he will only get better, so that's pretty interesting." Lookslikeachpndale won his Wellwood elimination by a head over Jetpedia in 1:56.2. Uncle Lasse, who is a full brother to Shake It Cerry, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, won his division by 1-1/4 lengths over Habitat in 1:54.4. Filion also has drives in the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage and Peaceful Way. In the Canadian Trotting Classic, Filion will sit behind Harper Blue Chip. The Mark Steacy-trained colt has won four of 10 races this year and earned $335,320. He finished third in both the Hambletonian and Goodtimes stakes, both won by CTC contender Trixton. Harper Blue Chip will start from post two. Trixton, trained and driven by Jimmy Takter, leaves from post five while his stablemate, Father Patrick, is in post six. "He's been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post," Filion said. "But we've got a tough bunch of horses to race against. He's very good right now. I'm hoping for a good, close-to-the-front trip and hopefully some top horses won't be on their game, because we'll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It's a very high-quality group." Filion will drive Designed To Be in the Elegantimage, starting from the second tier in post 11. Trained by Julie Miller, Designed To Be has won three of eight races, never finished worse than third, and earned $366,299 this year. Filion has driven the filly once previously, winning the Simcoe Stakes on Aug. 29 at Mohawk. Designed To Be enters the Elegantimage off a second-place finish to Lifetime Pursuit in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship at Harrah's Philadelphia last weekend. "I was really impressed with her when I drove her," Filion said. "They told me to be careful behind the gate, which I did; maybe I was a little bit extra careful. She's got a huge engine and she can go all day. I watched her race (last week) and she raced huge. She was parked out the whole mile. "My only concern is she's going to be trailing (a horse at the start), but I guess that's better than drawing the 10 hole. I feel confident with her. I think she can overcome that. If everything goes well, there's no problem, but you're following someone leaving the gate and a lot of things can happen. That's my only concern." Million-dollar-earner Shake It Cerry, trained by Takter and driven by Ron Pierce, leaves from post seven in the Elegantimage. She enters the race off a victory in the filly division of the Zweig Memorial on Aug. 29 at Vernon Downs and has eight wins in 10 starts this season. In the Peaceful Way, Filion drives Dynamite Dame, who earlier this year won a division of the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs. Trained by Nifty Norman, she will start from post seven. Elimination winners Jolene Jolene and Mission Brief start from posts three and five, respectively. "She's a nice filly," Filion said. "She tries hard. She might not have the talent that the best ones have in there. But with racing luck we can go a long ways." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

This Week: Kindergarten Series, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y; Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, William Wellwood Memorial final, Peaceful Way final and Milton Stake eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Bobby Quillen Memorial final, Harrington Raceway, Harrington, Del. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 11) at The Red Mile with four $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters and three $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Friday (Sept. 12) program at Tioga Downs features four divisions in the $91,908 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colt pacers and three divisions in the $77,309 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old filly pacers.   Grand Circuit action at Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 13) with the C$682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old open trotters, the C$409,000 Elegantimage for 3-year-old filly trotters, the C$390,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old open trotters, the C$385,000 Peaceful Way final for 2-year-old filly trotters, and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Milton Stake for older pacing mares. On Monday (Sept. 15), Harrington Raceway will host the $200,000 (est.) Bobby Quillen Memorial final for older pacing horses. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Mohawk Racetrack had several Grand Circuit races during the past week. Among the most noteworthy were a pair of Simcoe Stakes divisions for 3-year-old open pacers. Dancin Hill and Scott Zeron were 1:50.1 winners in a Simcoe division at Mohawk. In the first Simcoe Stakes division, Dancin Hill and driver Scott Zeron picked up the victory in a career-best clocking of 1:50.1. Dancin Hill powered by Western Vintage in the lane and paced strong to the wire to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Winds Of Change. Carracci Hanover took the show spot. A son of Rocknroll Hanover-Beyonce Blue Chip, Dancin Hill has now won two of his last three starts and improved his seasonal record to three wins in 12 starts. Dancin Hill is owned by Tom Hill of Lancashire, Great Britain and is trained by Tony Alagna. Melmerby Beach and Paul Macdonell scored their second victory in back-to-back weeks to take the second division. In the stretch, Melmerby Beach dug in and held off Play It Again Sam to win by a half-length in 1:50.2. Jet Airway couldn't find his best stride and finished third. A son of Somebeachsomewhere-Db Blue Chip, Melmerby Beach has now won three of his last five starts. Trained by Brent MacGrath for Schooner II Stable, Melmerby Beach has now won six of his 14 starts this year. The eighth annual Bobby Quillen Memorial stakes for older pacers commenced Monday (Sept. 8) at Harrington Raceway with a pair of $20,000 elimination divisions. Two-time Quillen champ Foiled Again was making his record sixth start in the Quillen, while 2013 champion Clear Vision was making his fourth. Those two rivals battled for a memorable finish in the 2013 event that resulted in a narrow win by Clear Vision over his stablemate. After Monday's eliminations, they appeared to be headed for a potential repeat duel as Foiled Again cruised to an effortless 1:51.3 triumph in his division, while Clear Vision was a 1:49.3 victor. Both horses are trained by Ron Burke. They will lead a field of eight into the Monday (Sept. 15) final at Harrington. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 966; 2. Tim Tetrick - 551; 3. David Miller - 471.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 423.5; 5. Brett Miller - 266. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,276.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 764; 3. Tony Alagna - 235: 4. Ake Svanstedt - 222; 5. Julie Miller - 210. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 274.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 246.55; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 182; 4. Robert Key - 175; 5. Bamond Racing - 156.5. Looking ahead: A busy schedule of Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at the Delaware County Fair, Balmoral Park, The Red Mile, Mohawk Racetrack, Hoosier Park and Hippodrome 3R. Delaware will be hosting ten Grand Circuit events, led by the Little Brown Jug, the second leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds; Balmoral will host American-National events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; The Red Mile will feature another leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; Mohawk will feature the final of the Milton Stake for pacing mares; Hoosier will host the Kentuckiana Stallion Management for freshman filly pacers and trotters and the Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers; and Hippodrome 3R will feature the Prix d'Ete for 4-year-old pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 9 - The $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic headlines an outstanding harness racing stakes filled card this Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Along with this year's 'Trotting Classic', the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial and the $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes are also carded for Saturday night. In total, over $2 million in purses are up for grabs on the 13-race card. The Canadian Trotting Classic is annually Canada's richest race for trotters. Established in 1976, the 'Trotting Classic' has been won by some of harness racing's greatest trotters, including Armbro Goal ('88), Yankee Paco ('00), Windsongs Legacy ('04), Donato Hanover ('07), Deweycheatumnhowe ('08) and Muscle Hill ('09). Leading the group of seven for this year's 'Trotting Classic' is the Jimmy Takter trained duo of Father Patrick and Trixton. Father Patrick (PP6), last year's Two-year-old Trotter of the Year on both sides of the border, has won 18 of his 21 career starts and is coming into the 'Trotting Classic' off victories in the $340,000 Zweig Memorial and the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. A son of Cantab Hall - Gala Dream, Father Patrick, who will be driven by Yannick Gingras, won last year's William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk and is undefeated in three starts over the Campbellville oval. Father Patrick enters the $682,000 'Trotting Classic' with career earnings of more than $1.5 million. Trixton (PP5), this year's $1 million Hambletonian winner, is looking to defeat his stablemate once again in a rich stakes event and continue his dominance at Mohawk. Driven by trainer Jimmy Takter, Trixton captured this year's Hambletonian on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but never got the chance to go head-to-head with his stablemate as Father Patrick made a break at the start. A son of Muscle Hill - Emilie Cas El, Trixton has had plenty of success at Mohawk this season. He won the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14 and most recently captured the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes on August 30. He also holds the Mohawk Track Record for a three-year-old trotter of 1:51.3. Trixton has won 12 of 18 career starts and is approaching millionaire status with $961,876 in career earnings. Takter is seeking his third Canadian Trotting Classic title as a trainer and second as a driver. He trained and drove Red Xing to victory in 1997 and conditioned the great Kadabra in 2002. While most of the fanfare will surround the Tatker duo, local standout Harper Blue Chip will be looking to steal the spotlight. Trained by Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip (PP2) has dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has held his own against Grand Circuit company. Harper Blue Chip finished third in the Hambletonian, won by Trixton, and fourth in the $500,000 Beal Memorial at Pocono, which was won by Father Patrick. Steacy will be looking for his second 'Trotting Classic' crown after he won the 2006 edition with Harper Blue Chip's sire, Majestic Son. Most recently, Harper Blue Chip made a rare appearance off the board when he finished fourth in the Simcoe Stakes, but driver Sylvain Filion was happy with the way his colt raced. "I thought he raced really well. He had a real bad post (post position ten)," said Filion. "He trotted large down the lane and had lots of trot at the wire." The luck of the draw was on Harper Blue Chip's side in the 'Trotting Classic', as he will start from post two and Filion hopes to build off that luck. "There's a lot of good horses in there, but we drew good and with a lucky trip you never know." As for what kind of trip Harper Blue Chip will need, Filion believes in a small field of seven the closer the better. "I think you've got to try and be close, especially in a short field like that. If you stay back there probably won't be a lot of early speed, so you will need to be close to the front." The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin has won eight of 18 career starts and has a bankroll of $547,749. The other four starters in this year's Canadian Trotting Classic are E L Titan (PP1 - Chris Christoforou), Muscle Matters (PP3 - Mario Baillargeon), Il Sogno Dream (PP4 - Aaron Merriman) and Damfoolrmillionair (PP7 - Randy Waples). The 'Trotting Classic' is carded as Race 9 this Saturday night. The $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, which has normally been contested in June, will be making it's Canadian Trotting Classic night debut. 11 of the sport's best sophomore trotting fillies will contest the rich final. Just like the 'Trotting Classic', Jimmy Takter sends out the favourite in the Elegantimage. Shake It Cerry (PP7) has won 16 of 21 career starts and banked over $1.2 million in career earnings. A daughter of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Shake It Cerry was a Breeders Crown champion as a two-year-old and this year has won events such as the Del Miller Memorial and Zweig Filly Trot. Takter will also send out Scream And Shout (PP6 - Brett Miller) and has already won the Elegantimage three times with Southwind Allaire ('03), Pampered Princess ('07) and Lantern Kronos ('08). Completing the field are Demanding Sam (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Tosca (PP2 - Per Henriksen), Riveting Rosie (PP3 - Paul Macdonell), Vanity Matters (PP4 - Scott Zeron), Chivaree Hanover (PP5 - Doug McNair), Sweetie Hearts (PP8 - Randy Waples), Heavens Door (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt), Muscle Babe (PP10 - James MacDonald) and Designed To Be (PP11 - Sylvain Filion). The Elegantimage Stakes is carded as Race 7. The top freshman trotters will also be on display Saturday night. The $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes, for two-year-old filly trotters, features a World Champion in the group of ten that will line up behind the gate. Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill, won her elimination last week in a World Record time of 1:52.1. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Brief had equaled the World Record in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but in her Peaceful Way elimination she took sole possession of the World Record with her 3 ¾ length victory. Following the elimination, driver Yannick Gingras said she could've gone even faster. "She had plenty left, she is scary scary fast," said Gingras. "When she raced in the Merrie Annabelle I told Ronnie (Burke) after the race I still have another second...believe me she could've won in 1:51 and change tonight." Mission Brief's connections selected post position five as her starting spot on Saturday night. The other elimination was won by Jolene Jolene, a daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jonas Czernyson, in a career best equaling 1:55.1. Driven by David Miller, Jolene Jolene has won three consecutive starts and finished second to Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle. She will start from post position three on Saturday evening. Completing the field for the Peaceful Way Stakes are Stubborn Belle (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Danielle Hall (PP2 - Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (PP4 - Roger Mayotte), Southwind Champane (PP6 - Steve Byron), Dynamite Dame (PP7 - Sylvain Filion), Amoureuse Hanover (PP8 - Doug McNair), Juanitas Fury (PP9 - Steve Condren) and Lady Caterina (PP10 - Phil Hudon). The Peaceful Way is carded as Race 3. Two eliminations were contested last Saturday to decide which ten two-year-old colts and geldings would advance to the final of the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial. Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Shake It Cerry, won the first elimination in a career best time of 1:54.4. Trained by Takter, Uncle Lasse has won three of six career starts and has never been worse than third. He will start from post position three with driver Ron Pierce. The second elimination went to Lookslikeachpndale, a son of Muscle Hill trained by Luc Blais, in a career best 1:56.2. The 'elim' victory broke the maiden of Lookslikeachpndale and allowed his connections to select their post for the final. Lookslikeachpndale will start from post position two with driver Sylvain Filion. Completing the field for the William Wellwood Memorial are Gifted Way (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Dont Rush (PP4 - Chris Christoforou), Aldebaran Eagle (PP5 - Doug McNair), Habitat (PP6 - Yannick Gingras), Jetpedia (PP7 - Mike Saftic), Southwind Stryker (PP8 - Steve Condren), Wheels Ah Smoking (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt) and Big Rich (PP10 - Steve Condren). The William Wellwood Memorial is carded as Race 5. Also on Saturday, two $35,000 eliminations for the Milton Stakes will be contested. 16 of the sport's finest pacing mares have been split into two eight horse eliminations (Races 6 and 10). The first elimination features millionaire pacing mares Drop The Ball (PP2 - Corey Callahan), Camille (PP4 - Yannick Gingras), Krispy Apple (PP6 - Tim Tetrick) and Monkey On My Wheel (PP7 - Chris Christoforou). Completing the field are Aunt Caroline (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Mattie Terror Girl (PP3 - Scott Zeron), Summertime Lea (PP5 - Yannick Gingras) and Jerseylicious (PP8 - Brett Miller). In the second elimination, Rocklamation (PP8 - Yannick Gingras), last year's Milton Stakes winner, is back to defend her title. Trained by Ron Burke, the six-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover has earned over $2 million in her career. However, Rocklamation is not the richest mare in the field as that honour is held by Anndrovette (PP7 - Tim Tetrick). Trained by PJ Fraley, Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes back in June for the third consecutive year, has career earnings of more than $3 million. The other seven mares in the field are Charisma Hanover (PP1 - Yannick Gingras), Radar Contact (PP2 - Jack Moiseyev), Voelz Hanover (PP3 - Randy Waples), Ferrari Sena (PP4 - Sylvain Filion), Yagonnakissmeornot (PP5 - Jody Jamieson) and Shelliscape (PP6 - Tim Tetrick). The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $286,000 final on Saturday, September 20. This Saturday night, Mohawk will also be holding 'Fan Appreciation Night' The first 1,000 fans on-track will receive a $5 food voucher and prizes will be given away after every race. More details are available at www.MohawkRacetrack.com Post time this Saturday is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

This Week: Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; Simcoe Stakes, Champlain Stakes, William Wellwood Memorial eliminations and Peaceful Way eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Bobby Quillen Memorial eliminations, Harrington Raceway, Harrington, Del. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 4) at Tioga Downs with three divisions in the $86,006 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $82,008 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. Grand Circuit action at Mohawk commences on Thursday (Sept.4) with two C$30,000 eliminations in the Peaceful Way for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Sept. 5) Mohawk card features two C$30,000 eliminations in the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old open trotters. The Saturday (Sept. 6) program is highlighted by two divisions in the C$246,240 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the C$235,114 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the C$213,576 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Grand Circuit action heads to Delaware on Monday (Sept. 8) at Harrington Raceway with two $20,000 eliminations in the Bobby Quillen Memorial for open pacers. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Vernon Downs this past Friday (Aug. 29) with a trio of lucrative events, led by the $340,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters, which featured the return of Father Patrick (Cantab Hall-Gala Dream) to his winning ways. Father Patrick was a 1:52.2 winner in the Zweig Memorial. Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) assumed the lead almost immediately and led all the way home to win in an impressive time of 1:52.2. His entry-mate, Hambletonian runner-up Nuncio (John Campbell), tracked Father Patrick all the way but could never get the upper hand on him and had to settle for second. Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald), who had scored wins in four consecutive New York Sire Stakes races entering the Zweig, finished third after tracking the entry pretty much throughout the event. Superstar trotter Sebastian K also came to Vernon Downs on Friday night to score in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot. While it was anticipated that Sebastian K (Korean-Gabriella K) might just blaze to the front and set a new track record time, it was a far more tactical performance from the Ake Svanstedt trainee. He did seize the lead immediately after the start, but then driver Svanstedt settled the horse in nicely to go through a quarter in :28.1, the half in :57.3, and three-quarters in 1:26.3. This relatively unhurried pace allowed Archangel (Yannick Gingras) and Market Share (Tim Tetrick) to make challenges to the leader, but Sebastian K had plenty left in the tank to win in a final time of 1:53, which did equal the older horse track record time set by For You Almostfree in 2013. Archangel settled for second and Market Share was third. The $150,000 filly division of the Zweig was also held on Friday night and was won by Shake It Cerry (Donato Hanover-Solveig), who rallied up the inside in the stretch to pass rivals Heaven's Door and Bikini So Teeny. Her victory came in a time of 1:53.4. Shake It Cerry was driven to victory by Ron Pierce for trainer Jimmy Takter. Artspeak won the Metro Pace for driver Scott Zeron. Mohawk Racetrack's Saturday (Aug. 30) program featured a trio of major stakes. Proving that he is indeed the continent's best 2-year-old colt pacer, prohibitive favorite Artspeak demolished his opponents in the $613,640 Metro Pace, the richest race in North America for juvenile pacers. Driven by Scott Zeron and trained by Tony Alagna, Artspeak had entered the Metro final off a similarly easy win in his elimination. In fact, his smallest margin of victory has been 1-3/4 lengths. Longshot Lone Survivor took the field through an opening quarter in :26.3 and the half in :55.3. However, Hall of Famer John Campbell had Go Daddy Do, the other elim winner, on the march from fourth, while Zeron followed him. Go Daddy Go took over at the three-quarters in 1:23.3, but was no match for the winner down the stretch, eventually fading to fifth. Lyons Levi Lewis came on for second, with Lyons Again third. Modern Legend, a 66-1 shot with David Miller in the sulky for trainer David Drew, mowed down a field of the finest older pacers in North America to win the $583,280 Canadian Pacing Derby. His final time of 1:47.2 equaled the stakes, track and Canadian record. Modern Legend, second-over turning for home, blew by the leaders and pulled away to score by three lengths over Foiled Again, with Clear Vision third and Captive Audience fourth. Favored Sweet Lou, who had taken over before a half in :53, got to the three-quarters in a sizzling 1:20.1, but could not sustain the pace, eventually fading to sixth. Heavy favorite JK She'salady tied the track, Canadian and world record of 1:50.1 when she coasted to a four length win in the $441,600 She's A Great Lady Stakes. Driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Nancy Johansson, the daughter of Art Major-Presidential Lady thus kept her record unblemished, now a perfect six-for-six after her dazzling display in this year's renewal of the rich stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. JK She'salady, coming first over from fourth, blasted by another unbeaten filly, Band Of Angels, after the half in :55, got to the three-quarters in 1:22.1 and kept cruising through the lane to win in dominant fashion. Lyonssomewhere held off the late charging He's Watching to take the 60th Cane Pace. Tioga Downs held one of its banner days of the 2014 racing season on Monday (Sept. 2) with the $437,325 Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, in the spotlight. Geoffrey Lyons Mound's Lyonssomewhere led from start to finish and posted an upset at odds of 19-1 with a 1:49.4 score. Yannick Gingras was in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter as the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Miss Kitty Hanover posted his fifth win in nine season's starts, lifting his 2014 earnings to $370,892. Turning for home, Lyonssomewhere was never seriously challenged until the very end of the mile, when prohibitive favorite He's Watching finally made a valiant charge, only to fall short at the wire by a half-length in the 1:49.4 clocking. Doo Wop Hanover rallied to finish third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 931; 2. Tim Tetrick - 536; 3. David Miller - 441.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 421.5; 5. Brett Miller - 266. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,231.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 729; 3. Tony Alagna - 205; 4. PJ Fraley - 204; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 202. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 269.85; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 242.35; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 182; 4. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 5. Robert Key - 135. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Balmoral Park, The Red Mile, Tioga Downs, Mohawk Racetrack and Harrington Raceway. Balmoral will host American-National eliminations for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; The Red Mile will feature a leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; Tioga will host W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers; Mohawk will feature the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, William Wellwood Memorial and Peaceful Way, as well as the Milton Stake eliminations for pacing mares; and Harrington will host the final of the Bobby Quillen Memorial. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

WILKES-BARRE PA -The cream of the crop of this year's Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old trotters and pacers will gather together this Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for their $1,240,000 Championships Night program. The horses,in both the $260,000 finals and the $50,000 consolations, earned their way into these races by having the highest pointtotals based on finish position in four PaSS preliminaries raced at the state's tracks over the last two months. The four Championship events are slotted for races nine through twelve on Saturday's 16-race card at Pocono; here's a look at them in the order they will be conducted: TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:51.1, Economy Terror, 2007) These fillies have been very competitive among themselves, as this is the only of the four divisions that will find no four-time prelim winner looking for a sweep in the Championship. (In fact, there has never been a "sweeper" in the 2PF class since a record of prelim points was started in 2002, a fact which will obviously stay intact in 2014; what's more, the prelim pointleader has not won the 2PF Championship since Lady Annie in 2007.) Aria Hanover (post two, driver Tim Tetrick listed) and Southwind Roulette (post five, Yannick Gingras) figure to be the focal points of attention after showing three wins and a third in their prelims to be tied for the top in this group. Southwind Roulette was third in her first PaSS start, then has taken her last three; among the conquered in her final prelim was ... Aria Hanover, who had won three straight going into that event. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:54.3, Sand Violent Blu, 2011, and Designed To Be, 2013) In contrast to their pacing counterparts, two 2TFs have swept their four prelims and their Championship: Coulantine in 2004, and Fashion Feline in 2009. And the leading pointwinner has won their Championship in each of the last three years (the stake speed setters with Frau Blucher in between). Looking to add herself the "sweeper" ranks is Wild Honey (post seven, Yannick Gingras). In keeping her record unblemished in the prelims last time out, Wild Honey defeated Gatka Hanover (post eight, Ron Pierce), who had also won her three prelims heretofore, by a half-length. Neither filly will particularly benefit from their outside post draw, making this shape up as a very tough affair. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS (stakes record - 1:54.3, Stormin Normand, 2011) In setting this division's speed mark, Stormin Normand also completed the "Sire Stakes sweep," the only 2TC to have accomplished the feat. Attempting to emulate the "Storm" will be Billy Flynn (post four, Brett Miller), 6 for 6 in his young career. But there are three two-time Sire Stakes prelim winners in this field - Honor And Serve, Lima Pride, and Piercewave Hanover - plus Walter White, a horse who came within a head of Billy Flynn two starts back, so no one is conceding the honors to the unbeaten horse going in. TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS (stakes record - 1:50.2, One More Laugh, 2009) Like his colt counterpart on the trotting side, Stormin Normand, One More Laugh became his division's only sweeper when he set the stakes mark five years back. (The leading prelim pointleader has won the 2PC in three of the last five years, including Allstar Partner last year.) Probably set to draw the majority of the focus here is Yankee Bounty (post three, Yannick Gingras), who like Billy Flynn is both 6 for 6 lifetime and unbeaten in the Sires prelims. But also like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty had a horse who gave him a scare - Wazikashi Hanover came within a neck of an upset last time -- and again like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty faces three opponents with multiple PaSS prelim wins: McArdles Lightning (who had three) along with Dragon Eddy and Lost For Words (two each). THE UNDERCARD There will be $50,000 consolations for each of the four Sire Stakes divisions' horses who came up just shy in trying to earn themselves a place in the final. It does seem strange to call a contest an "undercard" event when the field of eight has combined earnings of $12,112,270, especially when the first three horses in the post parade have bankrolled $9,956,663 among them. But this is a special field, for a special race - the $50,000 Modern Family Trot, honoring the recently-deceased free-for-aller who was based with the Daryl Bier stable right at Pocono, and who was competitive with this national group the last two years. Those "first three horses," by the way, are Wishing Stone, Market Share, and Arch Madness, and when mixed with Sevruga and four other hard-hitters they should give a fit tribute to their fallen fellow competitor. There will also be a $50,000 Invitational Pace, the Adieu to the Almost Summer Pace (no doubt if this race were held in the western part of the state, it would be called the Adios to the Almost Summer Pace, but that's another story). Millionaires Golden Receiver and Bolt The Duer will draw attention here, along with two sharp four-year-olds on three-race winning streaks: Sunfire Blue Chip and Mach It So. The first of Saturday's 16 races is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (And of course on Sunday afternoon, the $1,240,000 PA Sire Stakes 3YO Championships Day will be held at Harrah's Philadelphia, likely to feature a few horse you may have heard of -- Father Patrick and Nuncio, McWicked and Smewhere In L A, Shake It Cerry, Sandbetweenurtoes, horses like that. The draw for those races is tomorrow [Wednesday].) From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association         

For the next two weeks Jay Wolf, Little Brown Jug Publicity Director, will rank the top 10 eligibles for the Little Brown Jug presented by Fazolis. Week #5 September 2, 2014 1. McWicked (1:47.3f; $957,883) Owner: SSG Stables (NY) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: David Miller Won a $99,990 leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at the Meadows (8/29) in 1:48.3. 2. He's Watching (1:46.4; $1,093,300) Owner: Menary Racing (ONT), Brad Gray (ONT), Michael Guerriero (ONT) & Muscara Racing (PA) Trainer: David Menary  Driver: Tim Tetrick He was upset by Lyonssomewhere by a half length in the $437,325 Can Pace Final (9/1). 3. Somewhere In LA (1:50f; $342,133) Owner: J & T Silva Stables (NY), Deo Volente Farms (NJ) & TLP Stable (NJ) Trainer: Robert McIntosh and Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller/Tim Tetrick Finished second to McWicked by a nose in the leg of the PA Sire Stake (8/29). 4. Sometimes Said (1:50.0f; $433,390) Owner: Fashion Farms (PA) Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: John Campbell/David Miller The son of Well Said won a $99,990 leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at the Meadows (8/29) in 1:50. 5. Lyonssomewhere (1:49.4f; $386,812) Owners: Geoffrey Lyons Mound (ONT) Trainer: Jimmy Takter  Driver: Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter He now becomes Jug eligible with his win in the $427,325 Cane Pace Final. His owner must now commit to the $45,000 supplemental entry fee. 6. Limelight Beach (1:49.4; $297,950) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA), Weaver Bruscemi (PA), M1 Stable (PA) and Wingfield Brothers (OH) Trainer: Ron Burke Drivers: Yannick Gingras and Matt Kakaley He finished third by a neck to McWicked in the PA Sire Stake (8/29). 7. At Press Time (1:48.2f; $330,902) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA) and Weaver Bruscemi (PA) Trainer: Ron Burke  Driver: Matt Kakaley and Yannick Gingras Finished fifth to McWicked in the PASS at the Meadows (8/29). 8. Cammikey (1:49.4f; $217,788) Owner: Cam Land LLC (PA) Trainer: William Zendt Driver: Brian Zendt The son of Somebeachsomewhere was fourth to Sometimes Said in the PA Sire Stake (8/29). 9. On Golden Ponder (1:52.2h; $177,465) Owners: Robert McIntosh Stable (ONT), CSX Stable (OH) and Michael Kohler (MI) Trainer: Robert McIntosh Driver: John Campbell The world record holder as a freshman last season sweep the legs and $175,000 final of the Kentucky Sire Stakes at the Red Mile (8/31). 10. Beat The Drum (1:49.2f; $290,274) Owner: Bender Sweden Inc. (FL) Trainer: Staffan Lind Driver: Ron Pierce He was parked the entire mile in the Cane Pace Final (9/1) fading to seventh. This weeks expert ranking is courtesy of Hall of Fame track announcer Roger Huston. The Voice has called every LBJ since 1967. 1. McWicked 2. Hes Watching 3. Lyonssomewhere 4. Somewhere In LA 5. Limelight Beach 6. Sometimes Said 7. Lets Drink On It 8. Cammikey 9. At Press Time 10. Mattamerican  

Lyonssomewhere pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2014 harness racing season as he led from start to finish in capturing the first jewel of the pacing Triple Crown, the $437,325 60th annual Cane Pace at Tioga Downs on Labor Day Monday. Sent off at odds of 19-1, he paid $40.20 to win. A $35,000 supplement to the Cane Pace paid off for the three-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere who will now head out to Delaware, Ohio to go after the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Little Brown Jug, on September 18. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Lyonssomewhere left from post seven and went right to the front with Luck Be Withyou (Ron Pierce) taking the two-hole spot from the rail. They sped to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26 seconds. Lyonssomewhere and Gingras were hot on the lead and took the field to half mile marker in :53.3 as JK Endofanera (Brian Sears) started up first-over with race favorite He’s Watching (Tim Tetrick) second-over. But to the surprise of all, Luck Be Withyou and Pierce came first-over in front of JK Endofanera as they wanted to go first up again Lyonssomewhere to the three-quarters in 1:21.3. It was then that Gingras realized the good position he was in and started to open up his lead by the top of the stretch with Lyonssomewhere as Tetrick has swept three-wide with He’s Watching and started to gain ground with every stride coming down the stretch. But it was too little too late as Gingras kept his colt going strong to win by a half length in a lifetime best clocking of 1:49.4. Doo Wop Hanover (Corey Callahan) was third. Trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Brentford, Ontario, it was the fifth win in nine starts this year for Lyonsssomewhere.   “Ronnie (Pierce) tried a couple of time to come after us,” said Yannick Gingras, “And he was not one of the horses I wanted to follow. I really did not know what I wanted to do behind the starting gate. I would have followed He’s Watching. My horse is handy enough that I could make my decision once the gate left. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold him off (He’s Watching),” said Gingras, “He’s got an awesome kick. Around the last turn I knew he wasn’t in the top four so I wanted to get some separation between the two of us. It worked.” “We supplemented horse,” Takter said, “And when we got post seven I said to owner Jeff Lyons, Gosh we never get any luck with this horse. He had a great week going into this race. I had a feeling he could do it. I know how good he can be. He is a fantastic horse. “That is why we supplemented him to the Cane Pace,” Takter said, “Because he is so lightly staked we wanted to give him a chance in this race and now we will give him a shot in the Little Brown Jug.” “We are all over the moon and thumbs up after this race,” said owner Jeff Lyons, “We know he is a good horse. This time he got a good trip, a fantastic trainer and driver and so we made it.” The Labor Day card also saw Yannick Gingras triumph in the $25,000 Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, winning the sixth race on the card with Cabrera en route to his title. A pair of wins from Matt Kakaley propelled him into second place, while Ron Pierce finished third. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

CHARMED LIFE UPSETS IN MISS VERSATILITY

Vernon, NY --- Labor Day weekend harness racing began with a bang at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 29) night as the opening leg of the Tioga-Vernon All-Star Drivers' Championship shared the spotlight with the Zweig Memorial, the Jack Bailey Memorial and the Crawford Farms Trot. All drivers advance to Tioga today (Sept. 1) for round two and the Cane Pace. Following the first four legs of round one of the drivers 'race for the cup' the lead is shared by Yannick Gingras and Ron Pierce with 20 points each. But it was not solely the lure of a $10,000 first prize that drew the top reinsmen to Vernon. With over three-quarters of a million dollars of purse money on the card, and some of the best racehorses in the country, the big guns were happy to be in town. For trainers, the day began with a noon check-in at the detention barn for the top stakes horses. Many horsemen made the most of the opportunity to attend the inaugural Open House at Crawford Farms in Durhamville, just 10 minutes north on route 31 near Verona. With plenty of yearlings to inspect, several trainers like Ron Burke, Linda Toscano, Charlie Norris, Homer Hochstetler and Gates Brunet got a head start on their evaluation rounds. Al and Michelle Crawford put out an elaborate spread of barbecue and refreshments and most attendees spent the sunny afternoon socializing and looking at colts. The crew at Vernon also had a fun-filled evening planned at the Downs, which started with an autograph session with the top drivers and included a T-shirt giveaway as well as the Jim Marohn Jr.bobblehead. Fans lined up along the apron to get the T-shirts and Marohn dolls which were individually emblazoned with the nine different drivers competing. Even the boss himself, Jeff Gural, was on-hand to greet the drivers and fans, and could be seen along the outside fence chatting with the Green Hornet before the card began. Following the third race was the ever popular Racing Under Saddle series $5,700 final. The race was won by Heather Reese who opened up a city block on the rest of the field by the time they rounded the final turn. Team Crawford packed the winner's circle to help celebrate with their colleague and farm manager who was the winning rider in 2:04 with Tymal Oh So Nice. Both Zweig finals went to Takter stable all-stars. Filly Shake It Cerry rallied in 1:53.4 with Ron Pierce driving and improved her seasonal stats to 8 wins in 10 starts and $395,036. Colt Father Patrick got back to his winning ways and eclipsed $700,000 for the season with regular pilot Yannick Gingras in 1:52.2. Despite all the 3-year-old trotting talent on tap, the elixir that the crowd was truly thirsty for was Sebastian K and the rest of the field in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot. The number one horse in North America went off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite and did not disappoint, winning strategically for Svanstedt USA in 1:53, equaling the track record. The Crawford-sponsored purse put the collective earnings of the talented field just over the $15 million mark, and included Archangel (2nd), Market Share (3rd), and 2013 Dan Patch Horse of the Year Bee A Magician (4th). Gingras and Pierce will be reunited today (Sept. 1) at Tioga along with Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Matt Kakaley, Scott Zeron, Jody Jamieson, Jim Marohn Jr. and Chris Lems for the final round. Along with the drivers challenge, the Miss Versatility and the Shady Daisy fill-up the Southern Tier's holiday menu. Highlighted by the $437,325 Cane Pace, first leg of the pacing triple crown, the historic event features glamour boys He's Watching and JK Endofanera. Labor Day in central New York will assuredly go out with a bang as well. by Chris Tully

With race favorites winning most of the stakes races at Mohawk Raceway Saturday night, Modern Legend was the shocker of the evening as he won the $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby at odds of 66-1 Saturday and paid $135.70 to win. The 1/5 betting favorite, Sweet Lou, saw his ten-race winning streak come to an abrupt halt in the race as he was on the lead coming down the stretch but faded to sixth place at the finish. The race began with Bettor’s Edge (Matt Kakaley) beating out Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) to the early lead but once they reached the opening quarter mile in :26, Gingras came right out with Foiled Again and took command. Then by the half mile in :53, Ron Pierce came charging up first-over with Sweet Lou and cleared with ease to control the pace. And just as Sweet Lou was on the lead, up came Clear Vision (Brett Miller) to challenge first-over and following their cover was the long shot Modern Legend and driver David Miller. Past the three-quarters in a blazing 1:20.1, Clear Vision was about to collar Sweet Lou as they started down the stretch and Foiled Again and Gingras were already trying to squeeze by on the inside as everyone sensed that Sweet Lou had had enough. But it was David Miller and Modern Legend who proved to be much the best as they tipped three-wide on the final turn and mowed everybody by, pulling away for a three and one-half length triumph in 1:47.2. Foiled Again was second with Clear Vision third. The time of the race tied the track, stakes and Canadian record with A Rocknroll Dance in 2013. It was a lifetime mark and the fourth win this year for Modern Legend. The six-year-old gelding by Modern Art was bred and is owned and trained by Dave Drew of Catharines, Ontario. “This is the only horse I have right now,” said Dave Drew, “I had as many as five this year but now down to just this one. This is a horse of a lifetime for me and this was a race of a lifetime. He has been racing for me on the Grand Circuit the last couple of years and always coming close and never really putting it all together. But tonight David Miller gave him a perfect drive and he was on his game. Just a super night for him. “He has always raced well but has had some outside posts earlier this season,” Drew said. “Had some tough trips, was interfered with but he has been racing well and it was just a matter of putting it all together at the right time and in the right race and he did that tonight. It was just a superb night for me and my family.” “It worked out great tonight,” said winning driver David Miller, “I know the horse Clear Vision and I figured if I can get on his back and follow him and he would take us to where we needed to be in the race. I was real surprised around the last turn as I still had a lot of horse coming to the stretch so I fanned him out and he did the rest. He raced tremendous. He beat some great horses tonight. Hats off to the horse. He’s been racing against them the past couple of years and it was great to see him get the job done.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The 3 Brothers Stable of New York and trainer Nancy Johansson have plenty to cheer about as their unbeaten harness racing homebred filly, JK Shesalady scored a romp in capturing the $480,000 final of the She’s A Great Lady Stakes final at Mohawk Raceway Saturday. Driven by Yannick Gingras, JK Shesalady’s time for the one mile race of 1:50.1 tied the world record for two-year-old fillies and rewrote the stakes record. The race started off with Happy Becky (David Miller) shooting to the early lead with Band Of Angels (Ron Pierce) sitting on their back and Bettor Be Steppin (Corey Callahan) trapped first-over. To the opening quarter mile in :26.4, Callahan went on with Bettor Be Steppin and took over the lead from Happy Becky. Right away Pierce pulled with Band Of Angels and they took the lead away from Bettor Be Steppin. They went to the half mile in :55 and John Campbell coming first-over with Divine Caroline were able to flush Yannick Gingras with race favorite JK Shesalady, who not only started up first-over but kept right on going and blew by Band Of Angels to take command before the three-quarters in 1:22.1. Campbell was able to continue to gain ground first-over with Divine Caroline but once the field reached the top of the stretch Gingras and JK Shesalady were up by two lengths and then never stopped going to the wire to win by four and one-half lengths. Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) was able to close for second place with Shakai Hanover (Jody Jamieson) grabbing third place. Her time of 1:50.1 tied the world record that is now co-held with I Luv The Nitelife (2013) and Precocious Beauty (2013). Sired by Art Major, JK Shesalady is a full sister to the top three-year-old colt and million dollar winner, JK Endofanera. She is undefeated in six career starts and paid $2.90 to win. “When I baby raced this filly I liked her,” Gingras said. “I didn’t think at that time she was this kind of filly but every start she just got better and better. Last week she really impressed me. It was a big mile last week and that’s when she really stamped herself as the best. She has a great move for 3/8th of a mile and puts me in a good position. I didn’t think the front was that good tonight but you have to close at all times. I didn’t want to get myself caught second or third over. I wanted to be first up. I then thought that Ronnie’s horse was not that strong so I made my move. “Selecting which horse I would drive in this race,” Gingras said, “Was the toughest decision I have ever had to make in harness racing. I drive for Ronnie Burke and I drive Maven for Mr. Donovan. Filly wise I knew JK is the better of the two but both Ron Burke and Mr. Donovan has been so great to me. It was so tough to pick as far as connections go. I am sorry but I had to pick one and I went for the win. But I am sure I will pay it back to Ronnie real soon.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

At the three-quarter pole it looked as if the 1/5 favorite, Shake It Cerry, after being passed by two horses, that she might be out of the hunt in the $150,000 Harry M Zweig Memorial for three-year-old harness racing fillies at Vernon Downs Friday. Then came the dramatic comeback in the stretch as driver Ron Pierce beared to the outside and then ducked back to the inside, shot up the rail and won going away by a length in 1:53.4. The race started off with Pierce and Shake It Cerry leaving from post six only to get three-wide early as Broadway Socks (Dan Rawlings) left from the rail as did Ake Svanstedt with Heaven’s Door. The end result was Broadway Socks holding the lead with Heaven’s Door dropping into the pocket seat and Shake It Cerry floating first-over to the opening quarter mile in :27.2. Then Pierce sent Shake It Cerry to the lead until the half mile marker when Avalicious and driver Jim Morrill, Jr. came charging up first-over at the half in :57.2 and blew right by Shake It Cerry. Heading to the three-quarters, Svanstedt came first-over with Heaven’s Door and they were also able to pass Shake It Cerry in 1:24.3. But then Pierce and Shake It Cerry weaved their way around and came back with a dramatic brush at the finish to win. Heaven’s Door was second with Bikini So Teeny (Charlie Norris) closing well to be third. It was the second straight win and eighth victory in ten starts this year for Shake It Cerry. The daughter of Donato Hanover is trained by Jimmy Takter and was bred and is owned by the Solveig’s Racing Partners, Inc. of East Winsor, NJ. She paid $2.40 to win. “The pace was pretty decent and that other horse came right at them,” Jimmy Takter said. “Ron decided to let her go. You never know what will happen when you sit behind another horse. She raced good at the Meadows after the Hambletonian Oaks. She looks now like she has come back to herself.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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