A field of six contested the $400,000 TVG Pacing Championship at The Meadowlands Saturday night. Off the wings of the gate, five of the six free for all pacers tried to leave for position. The only horse content to watch the action early was Bettor's Edge. That strategy by harness racing driver Matt Kakaley turned out to be the winning one as Bettor's Edge stormed down the center of the track, from dead last, to score a 19-1 upset in the TVG Pacing Championship. The first horse to the lead was Mach It So, who took all the late-money being released as the 4.5 favorite. He used every ounce of his speed to clear the lead from the widest post in the field, reaching the opening quarter in a sharp 26.1. But the second-choice in the wagering, JK Endofanera was already on the move and he quickly challenged for the lead down the backstretch and would clear the front before the half mile in 54 seconds. Meanwhile, Somewhere In L A was headstrong in the three-hole and Corey Callahan could not hold his gelding and was forced to commit first over. Foiled Again picked up the cover in the outer flow, while Bettor's Edge inched closer into the third over position. JK Endofanera led past three-quarters in 1:22.2 while facing pressure from Somewhere In LA. As the field turned for home, the free for all pacers spread across the track and all took their shots. Mach It So found room at the pylons, Foiled Again tried to kick off cover, JK Endofanera reached for the wire and Mach It So was rallying down the center of the track. In the end, Bettor's Edge out-sprinted the talented field to win going away in 1:50 with Matt Kakaley. Mach It So rallied up the pylons for the runner-up spot while Foiled Again finished third. Matt Kakaley was pleased to finally get a trip for his six year old getting. "He really has had a lot of bad luck," said Kakaley. "We have been trapped in a few times where he was finishing with pace, but we just had bad luck in those races. Tonight they were mixing it up early and it really set up well for us. It worked out absolutely perfectly." Trainer Ron Burke confirmed that both Bettor's Edge and Foiled Again will head to North Carolina for the winter and will return for the 2016 racing season. The win in the TVG Pacing Championship was the third stakes win on the night for trainer Ron Burke. The win was the 26th in the career of Bettor's Edge, sending his lifetime earnings to nearly $1.8 Million. Bettor's Edge Resolve Trots the Race of His Life in TVG Trotting Championship There have been a lot of questions regarding the older trotters and just who would assume command of the division. After Saturday night, Resolve answered all those questions and jumped to the head of the class, winning the TVG Free For All Trotting Championship in 1:51.4 for Ake Svanstedt. In similar fashion to his win in the final preliminary leg last week, Resolve moved to the lead shortly after the opening quarter, which was reached in 27 seconds by longshot DW's NY Yank. Once on the lead, Resolve was allowed to relax. The same could not be said for E L Titan who got caught in some traffic down the backstretch and ended up three wide, trotting toward the half mile. Tim Tetrick guided E L Titan to the first over position after racing three wide, crossing in front of Obrigado with The Bank in the outer flow. But Resolve was able to back the field down with a 29.3 second quarter, reaching the half-mile in 56.3. E L Titan, in the final start of his career was applying pressure, but Ake Svanstedt had plenty of horse in front of him and Resolve began to edge away, trotting past three-quarters in 1:25. The stretch drive was a mere formality as Resolve began to pour it on, winning by three lengths in the end, trotting a final quarter of 26.4 to complete the mile in 1:51.4. "He's a very good horse," said owner/trainer Ake Svanstedt. "He is getting closer and closer to Sebastian K with every start. He is just a four year old beating the older horses, he should be really good next year." Obrigado held the runner-up position while Flanagan Memory rallied from last to be third. The win was the fourth of the season for Resolve. He finishes his four year old campaign with earnings of $706,938 this season. Resolve was trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt for owner Hans Enggren. Resolve Boston Red Rocks makes his case for Divisional Honors Going into the Breeders Crown Final, Boston Red Rocks wasn't on anyone's radar in terms of the two year old pacing championship. It is safe to say that over the past month, that has changed. Sent off as the even-money favorite, Boston Red Rocks was allowed to settle mid-pack while elimination winner, Big Top Hanover established the pace through an opening quarter in 27-seconds. When the field straightened away in the backstretch, driver Tim Tetrick popped the plugs and Boston Red Rocks unleashed his turn of foot and flew to the lead, reaching the half-mile in a sharp 55-seconds. The outer flow was slow to develop, but that didn't prevent the race favorite from sprinting a 27.3 third quarter, with the 8/5 second choice Big Top Hanover on his back. Into the stretch, Boston Red Rocks got separation on the field and reached for the line, holding off the other elimination winner Katies Rocker to win in a lifetime best 1:50.3. The win was the fourth in nine starts for the two year old son of Rocknroll Hanover. Tim Tetrick has been impressed with the colt over his past few starts. "He doesn't do his best work on the front end, it's really not where he wants to be," said Tetrick. "But, I knew I had to go forward off the gate. He really likes to chase horses though." Looking ahead to next year, Tetrick said the upside is there. "He can shoot for the skies next year." Boston Red Rocks is trained by Steve Elliot for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Katies Rocker was second and Big Top Hanover held on to the show spot. Boston Red Rocks Win Photo Cannot Separate Winners of Valley Victory They say there are few moments in sports that can rival the photo finish and the $489,400 Valley Victory Final certainly was representative of that statement. In the end, the win photograph couldn't decide a winner, because the noses of Dog Gone Lucky and Make Or Miss hit the wire together, a dead heat in the richest race of the night. For Dog Gone Lucky, the win belonged to Chuck Sylvester and for Make Or Miss, the story was his young pilot Joe Bongiorno. The irony, Sylvester was winning Hambletonians before Bongiorno was born and now they both set their eyes on harness racing's greatest prize in 2016. Dog Gone Lucky made an aggressive move to the lead, after Mavens Way made a break after a quarter in 27 seconds. In the meantime, Make Or Miss had nearly 10 lengths to make up, trotting in eighth position down the backstretch. Then, the outer flow began to develop as Taco Tuesday committed first over passed the half in just 57 seconds, a 30-second second quarter. Marion Marauder picked up that cover and Make Or Miss tracked the pair on the far turn while Dog Gone Lucky reached three-quarters in 1:26. Dog Gone Lucky opened up a clear lead in the stretch after a 59-second middle half, but just as he did, Make Or Miss found his best stride and put that electric turn of foot on display as he began to reel in the favorite. However, the wire was also coming quickly and it came just as both noses hit the wire, a dead heat in 1:54. Joe Bongiorno was nearly speechless in the winner's circle. "This is beyond amazing, I can't believe it," said Bongiorno. "I just want to thank all the connections for giving me the opportunity, this is the best moment in my life." Not to be out-done, trainer Chuck Sylvester reminded that he isn't done yet. "I'm not retired yet," Sylvester joked. "These horses will get a well-deserved break and hopefully we'll back (for the Hambletonian) next year. The win was the first major stakes win for Bongiorno and the fifth win in the Valley Victory for Sylvester. It was the second victory for Make Or Miss, the son of Donato Hanover who now has earnings of over $223,000 while Dog Gone Lucky won for the seventh time and his fifth in a row, with his earnings now beyond a half-million dollars. Make Or Miss is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi and Jerry and Theresa Silva. Dog Gone Lucky was driven by Corey Callahan for trainer Chuck Sylvester and owners Amy Lynn Stoltzfus and Charles E Stansley. Dog Gone Lucky and Make Or Miss Mission Brief Concludes Season with a Statement The buzz around the $144,000 Continentalvictory was centered on two fillies, Mission Brief and Wild Honey, hoping to earn divisional honors with a compelling performance. Mission Brief seized that opportunity and performed like a champion. Sent off as the prohibitive 1/9 choice, Mission Brief was hustled to the lead early in the mile and it was a lead she would never relinquish. Sprinting past a quarter in 27.4, Mission Brief and her pilot Yannick Gingras kicked away from Wild Honey down the backstretch and Wild Honey felt whip taps from her driver John Campbell just to try to keep up. In the meantime, Mission Brief was trotting smoothly on the lead past the half-mile in 56 seconds and she began to open up on the field on the far turn, reaching three-quarters in 1:24.1 while leading the field by four lengths. From there, Mission Brief had the Meadowlands homestretch all to herself and she trotted a 27.2 final quarter under no urging to win the Continentalvictory in 1:51.3 in the final start of her season, a win that put Mission Brief past $1 Million this season. "She's the best trotter in training," exclaimed driver Yannick Gingras in a post-race interview. "No disrespect to any of the older trotters, but I wish she was in that race tonight. I don't think any of them want any part of her." Ron Burke was beaming with pride in the winner's circle as well. "She's the best horse I've ever had," said Burke. "Next year is going to be tough, she is going to face all the good ones and I am not going to duck anyone. We are going to find out if she is as good as we all think she is." With the win, Mission Brief concludes her season with 10 wins from 14 starts and earnings of $1,001,317. For her career, the star filly has 19 wins from 27 races and earnings of nearly $1.6 Million. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva and Weaver Bruscemi. Wild Honey completed the exacta with Kelsey's Keepsake and Lady Winona completing the field. Mission Brief Divine Caroline Triumphant in the Tarport Hap An overflow field of 12 contested the $173,500 Tarport Hap at 1 1/8th miles on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. The race was hotly contested with no less than five lead changes from start to finish. The last lead change belonged to Divine Caroline, who took over in the shadow of the wire and scored the victory in 2:05.1 after the mile was paced in 1:50.1. There was plenty of speed early, with Single Me launching from post 10 and reaching the first quarter in 26-seconds. From there, Rock Me Gently would move to the lead briefly, before Bettor N Better cleared the front past the half-mile in 54.4. Next to the lead would be the 9/5 favorite Bedroomconfessions, who guided the field past three-quarters in 1:22.2. That move left Sassa Hanover uncovered first over with Divine Caroline stalking from a second over position. It took the length of the stretch, but Divine Caroline would use the long Meadowlands stretch to wear down Bedroomconfessions to earn the victory. Bettor N Better finished third. The victory was the eighth on the season for the three year old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven for trainer Joe Holloway who was very pleased with the win. "I think that wrapped up the division for her with this win," said Holloway. "I thought she was in a good spot and it took her a while to get there but she got it done." Holloway confirmed that Divine Caroline would return to the racetrack in 2016 as a four year old. Divine Caroline is owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables and M.A. Ouriel. Her seasonal earnings conclude at $673,339. Divine Caroline It was worth sticking around for the last race for Wallington, New Jersey resident Joseph Bohnarczyk, whose $20 Win and $10 Place and Show Wager on Buckeye In Charge at 39-1 launched him to a win in the World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier that took place on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. He earned a berth into the Championship event on April 30, 2016 at The Meadowlands and took home $1,764 in prize money in addition to his bankroll which was over $1,100. Total handle for the 14-race program was $2,941,258. Racing resumes on Friday night, with first post time at 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 21, 2015 - Favored Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, $4.80) held off the other 7-5 shot Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. Assigned inside their four rivals, "Cowboy," then "Terry" both found front quickly. Take it Back Terry gained the lead right at the :27.1 opening quarter mile. From there, it was a 55.4 half and 1:23.3 three-quarters as Lucan Hanover (Brian Sears) took out of third. Take it Back Terry owned a length-and-a-half into the lane, then held Ideal Cowboy-chauffeur dropping whip and all-at bay by a half-length in 1:50.4. The Real One (Pat Lachance) rallied from last to grab third, with Lucan Hanover and E Z Noah (Brent Holland) settling for the remainder. Dream Out Loud N (Tyler Buter) was outrun. For Take it Back Terry, a 6-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, it was his 13th win in 29 seasonal tries. The exacta paid $10, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $27. Frank Drucker
East Rutherford, NY - The buzz around the $144,000 Continentalvictory was centered around two fillies, Mission Brief and Wild Honey, hoping to earn divisional honors with a compelling performance. Mission Brief seized that opportunity and performed like a champion. Sent off as the prohibitive 1/9 choice, Mission Brief was hustled to the lead early in the mile by driver Yannick Gingras and it was a lead she would never relinquish. Sprinting past a quarter in 27.4, Mission Brief kicked away from Wild Honey down the backstretch and Wild Honey felt whip taps from her driver John Campbell just to try to keep up. In the meantime, Mission Brief was trotting smoothly on the lead past the half-mile in 56 seconds and she began to open up on the field on the far turn, reaching three-quarters in 1:24.1 while leading the field by four lengths. From there, Mission Brief had the Meadowlands homestretch all to herself and she trotted a 27.2 final quarter under no urging to win the Continentalvictory in 1:51.3 in the final start of her season, a win that put Mission Brief past $1 Million this season. "She's the best trotter in training," exclaimed Gingras in a post-race interview. "No disrespect to any of the older trotters, but I wish she was in that race tonight. I don't think any of them want any part of her." Trainer Ron Burke was beaming with pride in the winner's circle as well. "She's the best horse I've ever had," said Burke. "Next year is going to be tough, she is going to face all the good ones and I am not going to duck anyone. We are going to find out if she is as good as we all think she is." With the win, Mission Brief concludes her season with 10 wins from 14 starts and earnings of $1,001,317. For her career, the star filly has 19 wins from 27 races and earnings of nearly $1.6 Million. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva and Weaver Bruscemi. Wild Honey completed the exacta with Kelsey's Keepsake and Lady Winona completing the field. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 16, 2015 -- The lone 3-year-old in the field, Barn Girl took it to her elders Tuesday at The Meadows when she captured the $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot. Barn Girl quarter-poled to the lead for Dave Palone but was under serious siege around the final turn. The daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie found another gear, clicking off the final quarter in 28.1 to score in 1:55.1. Mistress Valentine was 3/4 lengths back in second, with Whata Donato third. Ron Burke trains Barn Girl, who extended her career bankroll to $217,716, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phil Collura. Tony Hall collected four wins and Palone three on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Anderson, Ind.-November 14, 2015-Hoosier Park Racing & Casino concluded their 2015 harness racing season with a 14-race card in front of a packed house on Saturday, November 14. In addition to the racing action, Trace Tetrick and Ron Burke secured leading driver and trainer titles, respectively. Ron Burke, who took home Hoosier Park's top training honors in 2013 and 2014, was officially recognized as the 2015 leading trainer of the season at Hoosier Park. The Burke barn had an impressive 96 trips to the winner's circle and amassed over $2.1 million in purse earnings throughout the 160-day season. The Trent Stohler Stable finished second in the leading trainer standings with 60 trips to the Hoosier Park winner's circle this season. Burke, who in 2013 became the first trainer in the sport of harness racing to eclipse $20 million mark in a single season, campaigns a large stable of horses throughout the country. The sport's leader in both wins and earnings in North America for the past seven seasons romped to his fourth straight Hoosier Park training title this season. Jamie Rucker, Burke's assistant trainer, oversees all training operations in Indiana and was present in the winner's circle to accept the award from Jim Brown, Centaur Gaming's president and chief operating officer, and Rick Moore, Hoosier Park's vice president and general manager of racing. "It's a great racing program, great horses, great people and a great team behind everything here at Hoosier Park so we appreciate being a part of things," Rucker noted. "I don't want to sound like a broken record but we have a great team at the Burke Stable and that has made for a great year of racing. I know I speak on behalf of everyone involved with the Ron Burke Stable, it is always a pleasure racing at Hoosier Park. We had another great season this year and at the end of the day, this makes it all worth it." In the driving ranks, Trace Tetrick, who led the driver standings from start to finish, earned his fourth leading driver title at Hoosier Park in 2015. Tetrick scored 323 wins and earned over $3.6 million in purse earnings to secure the title over Tyler Smith, who finished second with 166 victories. Tetrick also earned a spot in Hoosier Park's record books as he re-established the record for most wins in one season, a record that he established during the 2014 season with 289 victories. The Southern Illinois native started driving in 2003 and has since surpassed the $30 million mark in purse earnings in the bike. With multiple stakes wins to his credit, Tetrick is on track to record his best season to date in 2015 with over $4.7 million in purse earnings and counting. Tetrick also celebrated his 3,000 career driving win at Hoosier Park this season. "I would like to thank all the owners, trainers, and grooms for the opportunity to drive great horses all season, without them, I wouldn't be here," Tetrick noted in the winner's circle. "It's been a dream. This year has been a great ride and I really appreciate all the support from everyone. I've had the opportunity to drive some great horses this year and it really has been a dream." The Saturday night program wrapped up an extremely successful season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino would like to thank all of the fans and horsemen who helped make the 2015 season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino an overwhelming success. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park
WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 13, 2015 -- Allbeef N Nobull waited patiently for the Lightning Lane, then poured through for Dave Palone to capture Friday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. While Sam Hill and the first-over Southern Allie battled for the lead from the three-quarters on, Allbeef N Nobull saved ground and energy in the pocket. The son of McArdle-She Likes It All, the lone 3-year-old in the field of accomplished veterans, found the Lightning Lane in time to nip Sam Hill by a nose in 1:52.3, with Southern Allie third. Ron Burke trains Allbeef N Nobull, who extended his career bankroll to $197,507, for Burke Racing Stable, Donald Emond, Howard Taylor and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Mike Wilder collected four victories on the 15-race card while Tony Hall and trainers Randy Bendis and Norm Parker each fashioned a triple. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
DOVER, Del. --- Mission Brief stole the thunder while Wiggle It Jiggleit was dominant in Thursday harness racing highlights of the Matron Stakes Series Finals at Dover Downs on Nov. 12. Crazy Wow and Mosquito Blue Chip won the other Matrons on a balmy 60-degree night. In the $187,400 Matron Mission Brief got back in winning form establishing a 1:50.2 world record over a five-eighth mile track. Yannick Gingras took the Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena brown filly past Wild Honey (John Campbell) after the opening panel and set sail to her ninth win of the season in 13 starts, along with three seconds, drawing off for a 5¾ -length conquest. Trained by Ron Burke, she now has $929,317 this season and $1,520,387 lifetime for Weaver Bruscemi, Our Hrs Cents and Burke Racing stables. Wild Honey (Campbell), who set a world record winning last year's freshman Matron, was second best with Speak To Me (Brett Miller) third. I'm So Fancy (Matt Kakaley) and Juanitas Fury (Tim Tetrick) took the fourth and fifth place checks. Mission Brief Wiggle It Jiggleit continued his assault on sub 1:50 miles for a sophomore\e pacer annexing a 1;49.4 triumph in the $201,900 Matron Male pace. Montrell Teague , who drove his second win on the program, permitted Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) to set the early tempo before pulling out in front of the grandstand and annexed command at the half. The George Teague Inc.-owned and Clyde Francis trainee, then roared down the backstretch and came home in :27.4 for a 2½-length score. The win was the 20th of 2015 for the Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover gelding, who in 25 lifetime races has 21 wins and 3 second-place finishes. The dark bay pacer has now won $2,014,495 this campaign with two more starts to go later this month in the $350,000 (estimated) Hap Hansen Progress Pace at Dover Downs. Dealt A Winner (David Miller) was second and Artistic Major (Scott Zeron), third, as second-favorite Wakizashi Hanover back up and finished eighth for the first time in his career. Badiou Hanover (Andy Miller) and Dude's The Man (Corey Callahan) got the fourth and fifth place payoffs. Wiggle It Jiggleit Tim Tetrick sent the sharp Crazy Wow to the front after the opening quarter and never looked back enroute to a 7-length victory in the $243,550 Matron Male trot giving the sport's leading trainer Ron Burke a double. The win was the ninth this season for the Crazed-No Pan No Gain colt who now goes into seven-figure earnings, $1,027,612 this season and $1,260,540 lifetime. He is owned by Deo Volente Farms, Our Hrs Cents and J&T Silva stables. Crescent Fashion (Scott Zeron) was best of the rest with French Laundry (B. Miller) third. The other purse earners were Bluebird Reverend (D.Miller) and Southwind Mozart (Ake Swanstedt). Crazy Wow In the $205,150 Matron Filly Pace, Daniel Dube went right to the front with Mosquito Blue Chip and took no prisoners chalking up a 1:49.2 success, only one-fifth-of-a-second off the track record set last year by Shebestinging. Owned by Falcicchio, Jessup and Our Three Sons Stable, the Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover distaff conditioned by Rene Allard, racked up her sixth win of the year for $373,535. She has now earned $614,086 in her two years of racing. Race Favorite Devil Child (Tetrick) saw her three race win streak come to a close finishing second. Bedroomconfessions (Gingras) was the show horse. Single Me (A.Miller) was fourth and Divine Caroline (D.Miller) fifth. Mosquito Blue Chip There were two Matron $25,000 consolations. The trot was taken by Synerco Venture's Muscle Up The Goal. It was Yannick Gingras second winning drive making good use of post-1 for a 6¾ length victory. Chris Beaver trains the Muscle Mass-Taps Goal brown colt, now a three-time winner this year for $122,766, Cue Hall (D.Miller) was second, Olympic Son (A.Miller) third. The rail also paid off for Black Horse Racing's Storm Point and driver John Campbell. It wasn't easy, as 44-1 Girlofyourdreams (Montrell Teague) was only a nose away at the wire in the 1:50.2 Matron Filly consolation. Luck Be A Lindy (Tetrick) was third. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are dark live racing days at Dover Downs Two $20,000 DSBF freshman colt 2nd leg pace prelims and an $18,000 Open trot tops the Monday card. A $5,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 Pool is now featured daily. By popular request, the Winner's Circle Buffet is back for those dinning in the Winner's Circle Restaurant. At Dover Downs, there is no charge for parking and admission. Harness and thoroughbred simulcasts is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad
Trainer Ron Burke is seven weeks from completing his seventh consecutive season on top of North America's harness racing standings for both wins and purses and will have several opportunities to add to his totals in Thursday's Matron Stakes at the harness racing meeting at Dover Downs. Burke's Crazy Wow is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the $243,550 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and his Mission Brief is the 2-1 second choice in the $187,400 event for 3-year-old female trotters. He also will send out 9-2 contender Sassa Hanover in the $205,150 Matron for 3-year-old female pacers. Crazy Wow heads to his Matron engagement off a win in the Carl Erskine on Oct. 30 at Hoosier Park. He has won eight of 16 races and earned $905,837 this year for owners Our Horse Cents Stables, JT45, J&T Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms. His victories also include the Colonial Trot and he finished second in the Canadian Trotting Classic. "He's super," Burke said. "He's as good as anybody right now. He's a very good horse and I think he's going to be a very, very good 4-year-old. He's really has just continued to progress all year and just gets better and better. I really think it will continue down the road." Mission Brief is the second choice behind Wild Honey, who is 9-5 on the morning line, in the Matron for the 3-year-old female trotters. Mission Brief went off stride while leading in the stretch in her most recent start, the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack. Wild Honey seized the opportunity to capture the Crown, which was the Jimmy Takter-trained filly's third consecutive victory since finishing second to Mission Brief in the Elegantimage Stakes. "As long as she maintains her manners and trots, she's tough to beat," Burke said about Mission Brief, who has won eight of 12 races and earned $835,617 this season for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. "She trained super and hopefully she will be very good. She wasn't that good that night (in the Breeders Crown). I don't know why. I don't know if she didn't like the track. She wasn't good warming up and she tipped over in the race. I don't think it was much of anything, she just wasn't good." Wild Honey's wins during her current victory streak include a triumph over Mission Brief in the Kentucky Filly Futurity. She also won the Hambletonian Oaks on the same afternoon Mission Brief finished second to Pinkman in the Hambletonian. For the year, Wild Honey has won seven of 14 starts and $1.06 million for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Jim Fielding. The battle for divisional honors could be decided by the Matron Stakes and Continentalvictory Stakes on Nov. 21 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Mission Brief and Wild Honey are both eligible to the Continentalvictory. Mission Brief, who defeated Wild Honey in the Zweig Memorial filly division and also won the Moni Maker Stakes, was last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter. "She could have to win both of them now to have any chance," Burke said about Mission Brief. "It's (Wild Honey's) to lose. We've got to win this and we've got to win the Continentalvictory. I have faith in her. I've never lost faith in her. She's just got to do it." Sassa Hanover's wins this year include the Jugette and the 3-year-old filly pacer is entering her Matron event off second-place finishes in the Breeders Crown and USS Indianapolis Memorial. She has won six of 18 races this season and earned $449,970 for owners Burke Racing, The Panhellenic Stable, Larry Karr, and Weaver and Bruscemi. "The last couple races have been very good," Burke said. "She's been in tough spots and raced hard and just came up short both times." The 2-1 morning line favorite in the Matron for 3-year-old female pacers is supplemental entry Devil Child, who brings a three-race win streak to the race. Her triumphs include the USS Indianapolis Memorial and American-National Stakes. Divine Caroline, who sports a four-race win streak including the Breeders Crown, is the 5-2 second choice after drawing post seven to Devil Child's post four. Burke, who has won 875 races and $22.5 million in purses this year, also sends I'm So Fancy (7-1 on the morning line) to the Matron Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters and Yankee Bounty (10-1) to the $201,900 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. Burke leads all trainers in wins by nearly 500 and in purses by more than $10 million. He set records last year with 1,092 triumphs and $28.4 million in purses. "It's been an up-and-down kind of year," Burke said. "There have been highlights, but there have been some disappointments too. (Breeders Crown champion 2-year-old male trotter) Southwind Frank has probably been the biggest highlight. He is probably the best horse we've got right now." Thursday's first race post time at Dover Downs is 4:30 p.m. and the full card can be found here. Ken Weingartner
WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 10, 2015 -- Dismissed at a juicy 16-1, Unefoisdansmavie followed live cover into the final turn, then zipped through the sloppy stretch to capture Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Unefoisdansmavie trailed her stablemate, Barn Girl, by 2-1/2 lengths at the top of the lane, but the 8-year-old daughter of Revenue S-Peace To The World responded to Eric Goodell's urging and nailed Barn Girl by a head in 1:56. The first-over Mistress Valentine raced well for show. Ron Burke trains Unefoisdansmavie, who extended her career bankroll to $539,687, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt III. Tony Hall notched three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, $2.30) did his damage inside at the harness racing meeting on Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. After pole-assigned E Z Noah (Brent Holland)-himself chased along to catch gate-stuffed everyone in behind, "Terry", from post position No. 5, and Mach it So (Jason Bartlett), were nestled second and third, respectively. "Noah" led through intervals of :27, :55.3 and 1:23.1 before Mach it So took his shot. E Z Noah maintained a short lead into the lane, but Take it Back Terry had a rare rendezvous with the passing lane and went by. The final margin was a length in a season's-best 1:50.3. E Z Noah held second, with Mach it So, Alberto Contador N (Tyler Buter) and Big N Bad (Eric Carlson) coming away with the remainder. Mach's Beach Boy (Pat Lachance) was outrun. For Take it Back Terry, a 6-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, it was his 12th win in 28 seasonal tries. The exacta paid $10.20, with the triple returning $26. Brennan's pair of wins Saturday raised his career number to 8,997. Sunday racing returns today/tomorrow (Nov. 8), with first post at 11:15 AM. Frank Drucker
TORONTO - Southwind Frank made it look easy for harness racing driver Yannick Gingras clearing to the lead by the quarter pole and never looking back to capture the $600,000 U.S. ($778,440 Cdn) Breeders Crown event for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Woodbine Racetrack. The son of Muscle Hill has been a dominant force in the division all season long and the Crown performance was no exception as he cruised over the rain-soaked Woodbine oval in a 1:54.2 clocking under wraps. Owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables and J & T Silva Stables, Southwind Frank is out of the Cantab Hall-sired Flawless Lindy. Sent off as the prohibitive 1-10 favorite, Southwind Frank left alertly but Gingras waited for Sliding Home inside of him to clear the lead before hustling his colt to the front before the :27.1 opening quarter. With little movement behind him, Gingras took the second quarter to shut down the pace with Southwind Frank trotting a :30.2 second quarter while in complete command. The first horse to pull was Marion Marauder and Scott Zeron. Also by Muscle Hill the colt grinded up towards the winner through the third quarter as Gingras let a notch out and Southwind Frank hit three quarters in 1:26.2. With Marion Marauder in pursuit, Gingras allowed Southwind Frank to hit his best stride and the colt opened ground effortlessly cruising a final quarter in :28 and winning with ease. Marion Marauder was a determined second-place finisher, the fifth time this year in 11 starts he finished in the bridesmaid role. Early leader Sliding Home earned the final board spot. The victory was win number 11 in a dozen starts for the impressive colt trained by leading conditioner Ron Burke, who celebrated his ninth Breeders Crown victory. "He was a bit more aggressive behind the gate this week," said Gingras, who won his 12th Breeders Crown and 11th in the last three years. "Once I settled him down he was all business... From the first time I sat behind him he's been all business." Deep Impact and Milligans School earned the final checks. Southwind Frank returned $2.20 as the third consecutive Crown odds-on winner on the Woodbine program. QUOTES; Yannick Gingris driver; Any anxious moments? YG: Maybe a few moments behind the gate. He was a bit more aggressive than he has been the last few weeks. He was like that in the beginning of the year. So, I just wanted to get him off on the right foot, because he was not sure footed then. The rest of the way I had no problem. From the first time that I sat behind him, at Gaitway, he has been all business. Every time that I have raced him, he has been a perfect professional. Jerry Silva: I think that he may have surpassed his father, Muscle Hill, and that is saying a lot. No one knows until next year how good he is going to be. I had this conversation with Ron Burke, trainer, He should be able to do a lot. This is his last race for the year. We are not going to do anything else with him now. Hambo: There is something in August that we like to go to. The Hambo. This year we tried it, but we were not good enough. Next year we will try it again with Southwind Frank. Nights that make it all worthwhile? It makes it all worthwhile. 1to9 makes me nervous, trotters make me nervous. Everything makes me nervous. You saw how relaxed he was out in the Woodbine winner’s circle. He is just the picture-perfect horse. You love them more when they are that way. By Jay Bergman
Foiled Again, mired in one of his worst seasons when it comes to harness racing victories turned the tables on Saturday night capturing the first of two US$35,000 preliminaries in the Breeders Crown Open pacing division at Woodbine as an 8-1 outsider. The richest Standardbred of all time, Foiled Again entered the contest with nearly $7.2 million banked throughout his storied career but this year had just one victory in 17 starts prior to Saturday night. The lack of wins didn't stop driver Yannick Gingras from giving Foiled Again a good steer as he got away third in the early stages as Melmerby Beach and Paul MacDonell sprinted out through a :26 1/5 quarter to take control. Arthur Blue Chip was a distant second in the opening quarter with Foiled Again third. Gingras waited until the :54 2/5 half had been clocked before setting Foiled Again, an 11-year-old son of Dragon Again to the outside. The gelding knew exactly what to do as he grinded his way up to the leader through a 1:22 1/5 three quarter clocking and then shifted into high gear in the homestretch scoring quite safely in 1:50 flat. The victory was number 85 in the career of Foiled Again, trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. JK Endofanera was sent off as the heavy favorite but he trailed from the start and closed briskly for second as the 6-5 choice. Arthur Blue Chip squeezed in late for third with pacesetter Melmerby Beach and McWicked also advancing to the final. "Every win is special with him," said Yannick Gingras the winning driver. "He's the greatest horse I've every driven." The driver suggested that the wins have come with more spacing this year in parts due to Foiled Again's age and an abundance of poor post positions. "When he draws outside you have to use him too much early and he just can't finish after that. Usually I know how good he's going to be when we come through the final turn," said Gingras. "Tonight he latched on to me and I knew they weren't going to beat him." Foiled Again
TORONTO, ON-- Sent off the public choice at odds of 1-5, the Ron Burke-trained Southwind Frank floated to control entering the first turn and set mild fractions in his wire-to-wire performance of 1:55.2 to take the lone $20,000 Breeders Crown elimination for harness racing two-year-old colt and gelding trotters on Friday, at Woodbine Racetrack. Taking the lead and setting an opening quarter in :28.2, Southwind Frank led Milligan's School, Will Take Charge, and Deep Impact around the first turn. He was unchallenged when passing the half in :58.3, which was when Dupree initiated the two-wide flow and supplied cover to Marion Marauder. Southwind Frank extended his lead to four lengths around the far turn, due in part to Milligan's School becoming rough gaited in second. With Milligan's School faltering, Will Take Charge pulled to the outside from third and circled by into the second spot as Southwind Frank passed the third panel in 1:27.1. Will Take Charge was the lone threat to Southwind Frank, who was under wraps in the stretch regardless. Marion Marauder fanned around Dupree and rallied late in the stretch with Milligan's School, who recovered from his gait issues around the turn. Southwind Frank led to the wire about two and a half lengths clear of Marion Marauder sniping second from Milligan's School, with Will Take Charge claiming fourth. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stable, and Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, Southwind Frank collected his 10th win in 11 starts this year, pushing his career earnings to $552,591. He paid $2.40 to win, and was driven by Yannick Gingras. The Muscle Hill colt, out of the Cantab Hall mare Flawless Lindy, was bred by Southwind Farm. "He was good here at Mohawk about a month ago [in the $373,000 William Wellwood Memorial], but Ronnie [Burke] thought he was getting a little tired," Yannick Gingras said. "He gave him a few weeks off and freshened him up before the second week of Lexington. He was vicious there last week, and he was just as good here tonight. He completely wrapped up; he could not have done this any easier." Southwind Frank With the late scratch of Southern Cross, Jimmy Takter's Lagerfeld and Bob McIntosh's Tony Soprano received byes into the final next week, Oct. 24. The post positions for the $600,000 final were drawn after the elimination, with Andovers Choice not qualifying due to finishing ninth in the elimination. Here are the posts for the final: Post Position-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Muscles For Life-Doug McNair-Gregg McNair 2-Deep Impact-Steve Condren-Bradley Maxwell 3-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Michael Keeling 4-Sliding Home-John Campbell-Jonas Czernyson 5-Southwind Frank-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 6-Lagerfeld-Johnny Takter-Jimmy Takter 7-Tony Soprano-John Campbell-Robert McIntosh 8-Dupree-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 9-Milligan's School-Andy Miller-Julie Miller 10-Will Take Charge-Paul MacDonell-John Bax AE-Andovers Choice-Sylvain Filion-Dany Fontaine Ray Cotolo Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown
Following two consecutive second-place finishes, the daughter of Yankee Cruiser won the first $25,927 Breeders Crown division for harness racing two-year-old filly pacers Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. With Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke, Yankee Moonshine emerged from far back and unleashed a furious kick down the stretch, seizing control late and emerging with a two-length victory in a time of 1:53 4/5. It marked the third win in 11 starts for the $42,000 Harrisburg graduate. Given the fact that she has been facing the undefeated Pure Country several times in her first season, including a week ago in the International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile in Lexington, Yankee Moonshine has done quite well. The fact Pure Country drew in the second division, didn't hurt her chances. Yankee Moonshine was the race favorite at just under 8-5, but she had work hard for the win. "She's a really nice filly," Gingras said. "She was good in (Pennsylvania) and then she tailed off a little bit, but the last three weeks she's been really good. She was good in Indiana. She was vicious last week in Lexington. She was first up against a really good filly, but she never quit. She was still trying in the stretch. She proved tonight she belongs with the top of the class." The race featured several lead changes, but it was Yankee Moonshine, seemingly emerging from nowhere, that finished on top. "I was in a pretty back spot there," Gingras said of his position heading into the stretch. "But she was running in pretty hard around the last turn, so it was hard for me to get her out three wide around (Rock Me Baby), so I took a chance to go back to the inside and hoping to be fifth. "But they weren't pacing that strong up front and she was loaded with pace, so once I got daylight she did the rest." Call Me Queen placed second, followed by Soft Idea. Blue Moon Stride and Skinny Dipper rounded out the top five that will move on the final. Yankee Moonshine paid $5.50, $2.60, $2.60. Call Me Queen Be paid $2.60, $2.50. Soft Idea paid $3.80. With her third win in 11 starts, Yankee Moonshine raised her career earnings to just shy of $140,000. Call Me Queen Be led at the opening quarter in 27 flat, then Soft Idea made an outside move to inherit first place. But Blue Moon Stride then made a move and had the lead after three quarters in 1:24 flat. Yankee Moonshine Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown
Brett Miller won eight stakes races at the Grand Circuit meet in Lexington, as well as one late closer. He took splits of the Bluegrass and ISS with top filly Pure Country and came from off to win the Allerage Open with JK Endofanera, all for Jimmy Takter. JK End won a split of the Tattersalls Pace last year. And David Miller, who finished with a rush on Saturday, with wins in the Allerage Mare Pace with Color’s A Virgin, Allerage Mare Trot with D’One, and both splits of the Tattersalls Filly Pace, with the Rock N Roll Heaven fillies Rock Me Gently and Divine Caroline, was second in stakes wins with seven. He also won four late closers. Tim Tetrick, who won eleven late closers, had six stakes wins, including Bluegrass splits with Split The House, Crazy Wow and Bedroomconfessions. Tim won eleven late closers two years ago, in addition to nine stakes. Last year Yannick Gingras won an incredible sixteen stakes races and four late closers at The Red Mile. This year that dropped off to five stakes wins and a single late closer. On the other hand, Yannick did take the most lucrative race at the meet, the $527,000 KY Futurity with the Explosive Matter gelding, Pinkman. He also steered the Muscle Hill colt Southwind Frank to a 1:52.2 world record performance in a split of the ISS. Scott Zeron also had five stakes wins, including the Tattersalls Pace with Artspeak and the Allerage Open with Il Sogno Dream on closing day. Scott won five late closers. John Campbell drove the diminutive Cantab Hall miss, Wild Honey, to a win over 1/9 trotting queen Mission Brief in the Filly Futurity. He also had three other stakes wins. Upstart Muscle Hill has been looking down his nose at Cantab lately, including at the Lexington Selected Sale, but the latter took his measure in the Futurity. In 2011 Campbell won 13 late closers but no stakes. The following year it was only two late closers, but four Bluegrass splits and one ISS. He also got bilked out of an ISS win with Odds On Equuleus. This year JC took four stakes and three late closers. Ake Svanstedt and Andy Miller each drove three winners. The late blooming Andover Hall colt Dupree beat Takter’s highly regarded Muscle Hill colt, Bar Hopping, in both the Bluegrass and ISS for Ake. Andy doubled with the Yankee Glide freshman Milligan’s School. Ake also took a pair of late closers, and Andy one. Jimmy Takter led all trainers with seven stakes wins. This is down from 13 last year. He has back to back wins in the KY Futurity and three in a row in the Filly Futurity, with To Dream On, Shake It Cerry and Wild Honey. Pure Country and Wild Honey were both double winners. Tony Alagna was next with six winners. He took the Tattersalls Pace with Artspeak, who was his only stakes winner in 2014. The American Ideal colt, American Passport, and the Roll With Joe colt Racing Hill were both double winners in Lexington. Steffan Lind, who saw his sophomore trotter Billy Flynn go cold in his second year on the track, won four stakes. The Manofmanymissions freshman Celebrity Eventsy won twice for him, helping raise his sire’s profile in the process. Ron Burke, who won nine stakes in 2014, only captured four this time around. Burke had eight second place finishes in Red Mile stakes, one of which he also won. Mission Brief disappointed, while Crazy Wow was beaten up by Takter and The Bank in the early part of the Futurity. Horses bred in Pennsylvania won three-quarters of the trotting stakes at The Red Mile. There were three New Jersey wins for Muscle Hill—less than one would expect—who is now in Pennsylvania. And MOMM, who is now in Ohio, had two wins from Ontario sired Celebrity Eventsy. There was only one win for a New York bred trotter, that being Crazy Wow, who took a Bluegrass split. Cantab Hall topped the Pennsylvania list with five wins, followed by Yankee Glide with four and Donato with three. The Empire State fared much better in the pacing stakes, with eleven wins to six for PA. New Jersey had five, four of them by the late Rocknroll Hanover. And one of Western Ideal’s three winners was bred in the Garden State. Indiana had one—Allerage Mare Pace winner, Color’s A Virgin. SBSW, like his trotting counterpart Muscle Hill, only had three wins. None of the major stakes on the last day of the meet went to sons or daughters of either of these high dollar stallions. American Ideal had four wins, as did Rocknroll Heaven. Racing Hill put the spotlight on his successful first year sire, Roll With Joe, with wins in the Bluegrass and ISS. The weather was awful the first week of the meet, and didn’t really reach its peak until the final day. The $150,000 guarantee on Thursday’s Super High Five sparked interest, but too many fields were short, and the pari-mutuel prices reflected that. Participation from Ontario and Indiana, which were in the middle of carding their sire stakes programs, was very weak. The Keystone Classic in Pennsylvania hurt the Red Mile meet, and was hurt by it; that series and the Liberty Bell featured too many five and six horse fields. Ohio added very little. Will the Grand Circuit gradually fade away as casino enhanced restricted racing offers bigger prizes for much less effort? Perhaps. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.
Looking at where drivers and trainers rank now, a week into October, for wins and money as compared with this point in the season last year, we see mixed results. Ron Burke’s high end aged stock has disappointed; perhaps that’s one of the reasons he’s about 100 wins and $2.6 million behind his record setting pace of 2014. He needs about $9.5 million in the last quarter of the season to reach his $28.4 million record; that would represent a third of what his stable earned in all of 2014. We still have the second week of the Lexington meet, the Breeders Crown, the Fall Final Four, Matron and others, but December is pretty much a dead month, so it will be a chore to make up all that ground over the course of the next seven weeks. Number two Jimmy Takter is having another great year, but he’s still more than $960,000 short of where he was a week into October in 2014. Patrick has been retired, Cerry isn’t herself and Nuncio is racing in Europe. Since the leader on the driver board, Yannick Gingras, works primarily for those two trainers, it’s no surprise that his bottom line is suffering. Like Burke, Yannick is down about 100 wins, and he’s light $3 million. He needs almost $7.5 million to reach last year’s record total. That 43% shortfall would be very tough to make up in such a short period of time. Rene Allard, who is not a major presence on the Grand Circuit, is ahead of last year by 65 or so wins and up more than $1.4 million. His brother Simon is also up by almost 50 wins and a million dollars. Jeff Bamond is fourth on the trainers list, but PJ Fraley was the trainer of record for that stable last year. Jeff is $390,000 ahead of what PJ had banked to this point. Second place driver David Miller has 40 more wins but he’s upf $1.3 million, while third place Tim Tetrick is right about where he was—showing 17 fewer wins but only $3,300 or so off what he had a week into October of 2014. Many of the Yonkers drivers are ahead of last year in the money column. Jason Bartlett only has a handful more wins, but he’s ahead $1.7 million; Sears is down more than 50 wins, but he’s still up more than $330,000; George Brennan is down 60 wins, but ahead $9,000. Dan Dube has 100 plus more wins than he had last October and he’s ahead of the game a nifty $2.6 million. Tyler Buter has 80 more wins and is up more than $2 million. Mark MacDonald is short 25 wins but he’s ahead $330,000. Sylvain Filion is the only WEG based driver with more money than MacDonald. That’s a telling stat. Filion is up more than 100 wins, but he only has an extra $350,000 to show for it. Doug McNair is up more than 50 wins and $340,000. Randy Waples has about the same number of wins, but he’s short $320,000. Jody Jamieson is down almost 80 wins and $940,000. While James MacDonald is off 100 wins and more than $650,000. So, for the most part, the WEG drivers aren’t faring very well in comparison to 2014. Trainer Tony Alagna is down a dozen wins, but up about $50,000. He’s currently in fifth and with Casie Coleman and Erv Miller dropping back, he’s in a position to improve on last season’s seventh place finish. Miller is off about 50 wins and $1.3 million, while Coleman, who is also short 50 or so wins, is short $2 million. Steve Elliott, the trainer of four-year-old star Doo Wop Hanover, is already 29 wins and $960,000 ahead of what he did in all of last year. Ake Svanstedt is ahead of his 2014 pace, as he has won 37 more races and his charges have earned a half million more to this point. George Napolitano Jr, who is only a half dozen wins from the top in the dash race, continues to have a tremendous year. He’s 75 wins ahead of last year and up more than $890,000. Scott Zeron is also thriving; his win total is up by 24 and his money by more than $840,000. Brett Miller, on the other hand, is down $840,000 and 100 wins. As Burke and Takter have cooled off, so have their regular drivers. Matt kakaley is down a million dollars and more than 70 wins. Some criticize Ronnie Wrenn Jr for racking up the wins but not earning a commensurate amount of money. Well, he’s only 7 wins ahead of last year right now, but he’s got an extra $825,000 in the piggy bank. Corey Callahan, who is fifth in the dash race and sixth in dollars, has more than 70 extra wins and $1.1 million beyond what he had on this day last year. The King of the NYSS, Jim Morrill Jr, is up a little more than that, despite 17 fewer wins. A couple of more trainers who are killing it are Brian Brown, who has 43 more wins than he did one year ago and has banked $1.1 million more, and Virgil Morgan Jr, who has earned $950,000 more than last year on 31 more wins. BAM’s trainer Nifty Norman is $720,000 ahead on 17 more wins. And Jim Campbell is plus $280,000 on 17 more wins. So the guys at the top of the totem pole, Burke, Takter and Gingras are still wildly successful, but for one reason or another not to the degree they were in 2014. One or all may get hot over the next several weeks and catch up to themselves, but it won’t be easy. In addition, there are plenty of success stories from across the spectrum, from the likes of Steve Elliott, Jeff Bamond, Jim Campbell, Dan Dube, Tyler Buter and Scott Zeron. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.