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Ron Burke says there will be times when 2-year-old filly trotter Mission Brief makes him exclaim with awe, "Oh my God, look what she did." He also says it's possible he will mutter the same phrase in disappointment. "It's going to be both ways," Burke said, laughing. "She's very, very fast. All along I've thought she's our most talented 2-year-old. She just has to get her brain settled down a little bit." Mission Brief was among 17 horses entered in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands. Two $20,000 eliminations will be held Friday, with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the $320,000 estimated final on Aug. 2 at the Big M. Also on Friday will be one elimination for the $280,000 estimated Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters. Three horses - Canepa Hanover, Guess Whos Back, and Honor And Serve - received byes to the final based on earnings, so the top seven finishers in the elimination will join them. Mission Brief, who so far has been the season's fastest 2-year-old trotter, is not the only Burke horse entered in the Merrie Annabelle. The sport's leading trainer also sends out Gatka Hanover, who is unbeaten in three starts. "I know there are people in my barn that think [Gatka Hanover] is better than the other filly, but I've been a Mission Brief fan the whole way," Burke said. "Hopefully they'll both make it through and they can settle it in the final." Mission Brief has won two of three races. She went off stride in her first start, but came back to win her next by 9-3/4 lengths in 1:55.1 and then captured the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship by 13-1/4 lengths in 1:53.3. A daughter of stallion Muscle Hill out of the 2007 Breeders Crown-winning mare Southwind Serena, Mission Brief was purchased as a yearling for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and J&T Silva Stables. Southwind Serena is a half-sister to Southwind Spirit, a Muscle Hill-sired colt that Burke also trains. Last year at age 2, Southwind Spirit won the American-National Stakes and Kindergarten Classic final. "It was the reason we looked at Mission Brief," Burke said of the family connection. "And she was beautiful. That [$150,000] was the most we ever paid for a yearling and we thought we got a bargain." Burke hopes Mission Brief's two wins are an indication she is settling down a bit. "She seems to be getting better about her behavior," he said. "You're just going to have to hope that she picks the right times to put it all together." Gatka Hanover has won all three of her races in Pennsylvania, capturing a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars and two divisions of the sire stakes. "She's never been even challenged," Burke said. "She's done everything wrapped up." Gatka Hanover is by stallion Muscle Massive out of the dam Girlie Tough. She was purchased for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a half-sister to Heaven's Door, who was winless in four races last year at age 2, but has won the 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship and finished second in the Del Miller Memorial. "We bought [Gatka Hanover] because last year I saw Heaven's Door make breaks and just go unbelievable miles after she ran," Burke said. "You were just hoping this one would be a little calmer, and she is. Heaven's Door has come back this year and been awesome so we're thrilled to have [Gatka Hanover]." Gatka Hanover is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Tracy Hendler. The remainder of Gatka Hanover's Merrie Annabelle elimination, the first of the two divisions, has Wordie Hanover, Demons N Diamonds, Lock Down Lindy, Lilu Hanover, Love Me Madly, Smexi, and Sweet Thing. Mission Brief's split is filled by Sarcy, Flirting Filly, Onda Di Mare, Hot Start, Livininthefastlane, Jolene Jolene, Whitney Hanover, and Crazy Beautiful. "You know there are horses that have not yet shown their best miles," Burke said. "I don't think Mission Brief has seen the bottom and [Gatka Hanover] has never even been challenged. But I'm sure mine aren't the only horses sitting on miles they haven't shown yet. It's just going to be how every horse adjusts to the track." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

If you look in the dictionary for harness racing lingo, there will be a photograph of Clear Vision under the expression, “grind it out”, as the tough and gritty pacer was able to come first-over on Northfield Park’s half mile oval and grind out an impressive win in the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie Saturday. Not only did the horse have to race overland to victory but his clocking of 1:49.3 surpassed the previous track mark of 1:49.4 for older geldings that was held by Maltese Falcon Driven by Brett Miller (who also had driven Maltese Falcon), Clear Vision waited as Night Pro (Peter Wrenn) outgunned Beach Memories (Josh Sutton) and forced them to take a backseat in second place as Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald) made a speed break trying for the lead. Going to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26.2, Night Pro set up command but before the half mile marker in :54.2, there was Brett Miller and Clear Vision coming first-over and giving stable mate Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) great second-over cover. Past the three-quarters in 1:22, Clear Vision was able to collar Night Pro and then as they started down the stretch, Clear Vision found another gear and pulled away from Night Pro to win by two open lengths. Night Pro held for second with Foiled Again third. “I drove this horse a lot last year,” Brett Miller said. “In my opinion his best racing is first over and when I got to be first over tonight I was lovin it because this horse is so game. He can go on the outside for so long and he showed it again tonight. “He is as good as any of them,” Miller said. “When Bolt The Duer made a break that changed the whole race. I felt that he was going to cut the mile and I was going to get away in fourth. His misfortune was my fortune because that left me first over the way he likes it.” Trained by Ron Burke, it was the third win this year for Clear Vision. The eight-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover is owned by the Burk Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the Panhellenic Stable Group and Jim Koran. He paid $10.80 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Five divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 2-year-old filly trotters were contested Friday, each carrying a purse of just over $57,000.   In the first division, it was Speak To Me (Muscle Massive) remaining undefeated, going on to an easy victory in a time of 1:55. It was the first of three training wins for Jimmy Takter, and one of four driving wins for Yannick Gingras. That's So Ironic finished second, while Matter Hatter was third. Speak To Me is owned by Brittany Farms.   In Division two, it was Smexi (Explosive Matter) closing fast up the passing lane for the win. The Takter trainee drafted behind the speed of eventual third place finisher Kirsi Hanover, and won the sprint home in a time of 1:57. Favorite Kelsey's Keepsake was second. Smexi is owned by the Fieldings, Christina Takter, and Herb Liverman, and was driven by Yannick Gingras.   In the third division, it was Wild Honey (Cantab Hall) picking up her second career win. She was fast off the gate and never looked back, stopping the clock in 1:57. Love Me Madly finished second, while longshot Mercer County was third. Wild Honey is owned by the previous winners connections, and was also piloted by Yannick Gingras.   Division four went to Blessings Counted (Muscle Massive). The Beinhauer trainee brushed to the lead just shy of the half, and went on to a convincing win in a time of 1:57. She is owned by Regina and trainer Rick Beinhauer, and was driven by Dan Rawlings. Bright Baby Blues finished second, while Avalon Hall was third.   In the fifth division, it was heavily favored Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive) scoring an impressive victory. The Ron Burke trainee remains a perfect three for three, stopping the timer in 1:57. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, Hendler and Bruscemi, and was driven by Matt Kakaley.   by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia 

  Ohio Sires Stakes and Opens highlight the Friday night card at Scioto Downs Friday. The two and three year old fillies in their respective divisions went post ward for their share of the $40,000 purse. There were nine total divisions for the trotting and pacing fillies and many favorites prevailed. The Sire Stake action kicked off in race one on the 14-race card with two-year old pacing fillies. A field of eight went behind the wings, including the 1-9 favorite, Bell Flower. Bell Flower showed her talent and dominated the field in 1:55.3. She's a daughter of Fly Fly Buckeye and Our Lady Countess. She's trained and partially owned by Fred Huff Jr and John Fairchild. Coming off her impressive qualifier of 1:54.4, she didn't disappoint her supporters. Chris Page had the lines and started from post two. The pair left for command and were the uncontested pace setters. Page clicked fractions of 27.1, 57, 1:26.1 and cruised to a four and three quarter length victory. Zoey's Lemon Tart and Aaron Merriman closed for second and Medoland Kendolin was third. The second race on the program featured a field of seven two-year old trotting fillies. Student Of Life for trainer and driver Marty Wollam prevailed in an impressive 1:58.3. Student Of Life is by Full Count out Lynn's Slider. She's owned by Acadia Farms Inc and G&B Racing of Ohio. The filly started from post three and that's were they got away. The heavy favorite, Bet On Chip and Chris Page for trainer, Devan Miller set the fractions of 29.2, 58.2 and 1:27.4. Giving Sammy Star and Aaron Merriman a perfect pocket trip, but it wasn't enough to fend off the late brush of Student Of Life. Bet On Chip was second and Sammy star was third. Only a neck separated these three fillies. The third race was a mild upset in the three year old trotting fillies first division. Sandys Victory and Josh Sutton rallied in 1:57.2. Sandys Victory is the daughter of Victory Sam and Amessageforsandy. She's conditioned by Larry Tinch who also owns with John E Reames. The filly started from post eight in the field of eight and was the post time second choice. In The Grippers was the 3-5 favorite and she started from post one. Page used the inside to his advantage and clocked favorable fractions of 28.3, 59 and 1:27.4 with In The Grippers. He had company going to the three quarters in the form of Sandys Victory. The filly wrestled the lead away in the stretch and trotted on to a one and a quarter length victory. Majesty Dream and Kayne Kauffman rallied for place and In The Grippers completed the trifecta. Three year old filly pacer Crown Time Keeper kept her stellar season going with a career best effort of 1:54. Crown Time Keeper and driver Chris Page were the post time favorite at 2-5 and rightfully so. The three year old filly by Feelin Friskie out of Crowntime Noreturn is trained by Steve Carter for owner and breeder, Esther Crownover. The filly didn't have her usually front end spot, but it didn't derail her. The fractions of 28 and 56.2 flushed her and she started her first over grind. Crown Time Keeper hit the three quarters in 1:24.1 and finally cleared the game, Lady Julie in the stretch and paced clear by two lengths. Lady Julie for trainer Jim Dailey was a solid second and God Only Knows was a closing third. Novascotia Hanover and Aaron Merriman collar the $25,000 Filly and Mare Open pace in 1:51.3. A full field of 10 went behind the gate. Novascotia Hanover started from post three and used her lucky draw to her advantage. The four year old mare by Somebeachsomewhere out of Northern Sky received a perfect pocket trip behind the heavy favorite, Continual Velocity. She set the fractions of 27, 54.2 and 1:22.3 with the steady pressure from a parked, Betterluvnexttime and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Novascotia Hanover had some left in the tank when Merriman showed her racetrack and she responded by her one length victory over Continual Velocity and Better Think Twice for trainer Danny Collins who was a fast closing third. Karlee Sue and Josh Sutton took the second division of the two year old filly pace in 1:56. The daughter of Feelin Friskie is trained and partially owned by Al Tomlinson along with Dennis Stolz and Daniel Mitchell. Sutton and Karlee Sue stole the fractions of 28.3, 59.1 and 1:27 and fended off a strong rally by Friskie Lil Devil who was second and Hailstorm Grace for trainer Tom Blankenship was third. Its Complicated and Josh Sutton wired the field in the $25,000 Open Trot in 1:53.4. This win gives Its Complicated five wins in his last six starts. The four year old gelding by Sj's Caviar out of Before The Rain is trained by Brent Davis for breeder and owner Hatfield Stables. The upset minded Turbochargedroxie rallies in a division of the three year old filly trot in 2:00.4. The steady rain that continued to fall quickly turned the fast track into a sloppy one. The filly by Cayenne Turbo was driven by Danny Noble for trainer Danny Collins for owners, Joyce McClelland, DM Stables Llc, Dean Davis and William Rufenacht. She drew post nine in the field nine, but she had some luck and talent on her side. Getting away seventh in the full field as the heavy favorite, Anniesbluejeanbaby set the fractions of 29.3, 1:00.4 and 1:30.2.  Noble was unhurried in the early going and he finally started making his bid at the three quarters, but it was more than enough time. The filly caught Jim Lupton's, Dellou by a head and Anniesbluejeanbaby was a tiring third. Heavy favorite Paydaze On The Way and Josh Sutton got the job done in1:56 in her division of Sires Stakes. Paydaze On The Way is a three year old daughter by Look Sharp out of Shantytown Girl. She's trained by nation leading trainer Ron Burke for Howard Taylor,Edwin Gold,Richard Lombardo and Karen Rose Greg Grismore and A P P Panda was placed second and Shakin Friskie was second placed third for going inside the pylons in the last quarter. The final two divisions of the two year old filly trot rounded out the evening and the favorites prevailed. Lisa Jane for trainer Scott Cox and Driver Ryan Stahl took her division in 2:03.3. The filly by Neely Dunn is owned by Parent Racing Stable Llc and G.Peters of Ohio. After mild fractions of 30,1:02.1 and1:33, set by Talissa and Jonas Hershberger, Stahl angled the filly out and got her underway from the back. Lisa Jane swallowed up race track and beat Song Of The Valley by a neck. Bettys Sam was third. Sunrise Nibbles dominated her division for driver Chris Page and trainer, Chris Beaver. The two year old trotting filly by Iron Duke is owned by Chris Beaver, Synerco Ventures Inc, Steven Zeehandelar and David Lang. The perfect filly went to the front and never turned back. She drew clear by three and a half lengths from Dolly Dunn for trainer Brian Brown and Honey B for trainer Dan Ater took the show spot. From Scioto Downs Racino

WASHINGTON, PA, July 19, 2014 -- A filly and her driver may be asked to do many things to win a stake race, but finding a path through a flock of truculent geese typically isn't among them. That was the case Friday at The Meadows, however, when Southwind Roulette and Yannick Gingras avoided the geese and captured a division of the Sand Tart, an $227,160 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for freshman filly pacers. The event was contested over three divisions, with Aria Hanover and Shakai Hanover also taking splits. Gingras enjoyed -- if that's the word -- a stake double, as he also piloted Aria Hanover. The geese, perhaps 15 of them, had "honkered" down around the three-quarter pole; as the field approached, they seemed determined to maintain their newfound territory. To complicate matters, a deer outside the fence was trying to match strides with the field. Dave Palone, sitting In The Pocket with Gold Beach behind Southwind Roulette, vacated the two hole and went wide when he noticed the birds. "I don't think Yannick knew they were there at all," Palone said. "I'm following him and I'm like, I better not be dead on his back in case his horse sticks her toes in. So I moved out in the two path. I figured, if he fell inside and mine fell outside, at least we wouldn't trip over them. I think we went right through them." Gingras indicated that by the time he saw the geese, there was no way to change course. "I've never seen geese and a deer at the same time," he said. "David screamed behind me when he saw them, but it was too late to move. My filly didn't care one bit. She just went right through them." The birds reluctantly scattered, and there were no injuries to humans or animals. The judges stamped the race official only after speaking with the drivers involved. Southwind Roulette defeated the rallying Kays Dragon Lady by 2 lengths in 1:53.2, with the unlucky Gold Beach third. Ron Burke trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Rio for Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor. Gingras' other stake victory was more conventional, as Aria Hanover followed the cover of Doctor Terror and prevailed in 1:53.4 for her second straight PASS win. Doctor Terror fell a head short while Arielle Lynn was fourth-placed-third. "About five horses left inside me," Gingras said. "I figured, if they mix it up enough, I'll be okay. But when I saw the first quarter in 28.2, I was a bit worried and wondered if I should have left harder. But it worked out. If they're good enough, they'll get it done." Jimmy Takter conditions the daughter of Well Said-Allamerican Cognac for Brittany Farms. Shakai Hanover was shuffled to fifth approaching the final turn but found late room outside and stormed through the stretch to score in 1:53.2, a head better than Ginger Tree Alexis. Eloquently Stated completed the ticket. Mark MacDonald drove the daughter of Well Said-She's A Fan, who broke her maiden with the victory, for trainer Carl Jamieson, who owns with Winnipeg Racing and Vira Johnson. "I was a little worried I might be too far back to win," MacDonald said. "She really paced hard when I showed her some racetrack. They're not supposed to win from there -- maybe third. At the wire, she really wanted it. She was sticking her head out and digging hard." Palone drove four winners on the 15-race card. Saturday's program at The Meadows kicks off Adios Week with three $50,000 divisions (races 3-5) of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Lite. Also featured are two events for sophomore filly pacers -- a $208,846 PA Sires Stake and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series stake. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

It'll be a great afternoon of action on Monday, July 21 when Monticello Raceway features New York-bred 2 year old pacing colts and geldings. There will be five divisions of the $110,000 New York Sire Stakes which will be joined by five splits of freshmen colt pacers in the Excelsior Series who'll compete for total purses in excess of $50,000. The day will commence with arguably the best $21,800 NYSS division on the 13 race program when two speedy freshmen, Freedomformysoul and Rockntouch, clash in the first race on the card. Both were NYSS winners at Saratoga Raceway on July 12, and both with eye-opening performances. Freedomformysoul, a son of If I Can Dream-Hello Grin, in only his second lifetime start made a quarter pole move to the front and then bristled to a stunning 1:53.3 victory for driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. He'll start from the pole position again with Morrill in the bike. In his first lifetime start Rockntouch, sailed wire to wire for a splendid 1:55 triumph also with Morrill at the controls. However, on Monday Yannick Gingras will be in the pilot's seat when this son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Touch Of Bogart leaves from the two-hole Freedomformysoul is trained by Nancy Johansson for the Freedomformysoul Stable while Monte Gelrod conditions Rockntouch for Freddy Monteleone. In another NYSS division, race four on the card, the undefeated Oneisalonelynumber and Aimo Hanover will lock horns. Both pacers won their respective NYSS divisions at Saratoga in identical times of 1:57.3 Oneisaloneynumber, an altered son of Bettor's Delight-No One Is Alone is trained by Casie Coleman for the West Wins Stable and Adriano Sorella while Aimo Hanover, an Artiscape colt out of Allamerican Celeb, is owned by the Doug Ackerman Stable and trained by D.R. Ackerman. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. will drive the former while Jeff Gregory will handle the latter. In a third split, race eight, K Ryan Bluechip gets the nod as the early line favorite. He was a close second to Freedomformysoul at Saratoga officially timed in 1:54.1. The son of Art Major-Fool That I Am won a baby race at Pocono Downs in 1:54.2 on June 20. Joe Pavia, Jr. trains and drives K Ryan Bluechip for Steve Held, Joe Barbera, the AGC Stable, and Harbor Point Hospitality. They will leave from post four on Monday afternoon. Then fourth split, race 10, will feature K-Rock, a Rock N Roll Heaven-Sunduel A colt who was 1:55.1 NYSS winner at Saratoga for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. From the powerful Ron Burke Stable K-rock will be driven by Yannick Gingras when they start from post three. JD He's Da Bomb, who earlier this season won two baby races at Tioga Downs- the fastest in 1:57.1- will be the one to beat in the final NYSS division which will go as race 12. Blocked and beaten just a length in his NYSS split at Saratoga and individually timed in 1:55.4 the Art Major-Cherry Bomb colt will leave from the pole position with Corey Braden at the lines. Paul Bernardo trains JD He's Da Bomb for Joe Martinelli. "These sire stakes races appear to have some of the best pacing colts we've ever seen, especially at this time of the year," noted Eric Warner the track's Sr. Director of Racing. "Fans will be in for a pleasurable afternoon." The undercard also features some nice colts in three Excelsior "A" divisions and two Excelsior "B" divisions. They'll be joined by three overnight events. The 13-race card will get underway at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 17, 2014-The Empire's best 3-year-old colts and geldings-save for He's Watching-invaded Yonkers Raceway Thursday night for the $221,000 New York Sire Stakes Armand Palatucci Pace. The odds-on gelding Twin B Tenacious (Steve Smith, $3.90) won the first ($72,800) division from second-over. Unhurried from the pole, "Tenacious" chased Twin B Speedo (Mark MacDonald) through intervals of :27.2, :58 and 1:25.4. "Speedo" swung wide and whipped the leader by a half-length in 1:54. Third went to Keystone Honor (Matt Kakaley). Smith is now 4-for-4 since picking up the drive behind Twin B Tenacious. "To be honest, I had the drive the first time (Meadowlands) when a lot of the guys were out of town," Smith said. "He had some chicken lines (breaks) previously, and has doesn't always relax. "I learned you have to let him settle, but when I've asked him, he's finished very well. Twin B Tenacious, a son of Bettor's Delight trained by Casie Coleman for owner West Wins Stable, is 4-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $12, with the triple returning $114. The second ($74,100) statebred event was supposed to be fairly simple work night for Art Rooney Pace winner All Bets Off (Kakaley). However, despite a perfect tow from entrymate I'm All Heart (George Brennan), the 1-5 tandem found themselves run over. Capital Account (Yannick Gingras, $35.80), third-over from post position No. 4, snapped All Bets Off by a half-length in 1:52.4. Big Boys Dreams (Jason Bartlett) was third. Fifth choice Capital Account, a Brittany Farms homebred American Ideal colt trained by Jimmy Takter, is now 4-for-11 this season. The exacta paid $76, with the triple returning $336.50. "This was his best race so far," Gingras said. "Sometimes, he's been known to throw in steps, but tonight, this worked out. When I saw Matt (Kakaley) working (on All Bets Off), I knew I had him beat. "The last time he was here (NYSS last month), he was locked in. If I had come first-up, he'd have won but I had to use him leaving. It was a much better trip tonight." Thursday night's final ($74,100) sires soiree saw Forty Five Red (Brennan, $22.60)-last season's winner of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here-make the lead right at the half and hold sway. Forty Five Red, from post No. 4, took over from Sir Jake's Z Tam (Jordan Stratton) after that one's :27.3 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.3 intermission, it was a 1:24.1 three-quarters and a season's-best 1:52.3 finale, which found Forty Five Red a length better than Winds of Change (Tim Tetrick). Neat (Marcus Miller) was third, while 1-2 choice Stay Up Late (Brian Sears) was a never-in-it dead-heat for fifth. Forty Five Red, a son of If I Can Dream co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Our Horse Cents Stable, has won his last couple after beginning the season 0-for-6. The exacta paid $133, with the triple returning $379.50. "Last week (overnight here), he was all out to win and just didn't race well," Brennan said. "Tonight, I scored him down much harder he was a totally different horse...on the bit and alert." Forty Five Red's winning time Thursday was more than two seconds faster than his previous effort. After Saturday night's $125,000 final of the Sheppard Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings), New York Sire Stakes continue Tuesday night, with the $200,200 Clyde Hirt Pace for 2-year-old fillies colts and geldings. Four, $50,050 groupings go as races 2,4,5 and 6. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

On Saturday, July 19 Northfield Park will host nine $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stake racing action as part of the 15-race program. These nine races will feature the Buckeye State's best freshmen and sophomore colt pacers and trotters and will support the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie undercard. Freshman colt trotters will start Saturday's stake action in Race 1 for the $40,000 first division. Crowned With Glory (His Highness-Hey Kelsi-Humorous Harry) is the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite for Findlay, Ohio owners EG Trot, JB Arnold, MH Mallet and JE Paul. Ed Greeno Jr. is the filly's trainer and driver. Crowned With Glory makes her fourth lifetime start. She has two previous wins, at Scioto Downs and Ottawa Fair, and a place at Oak Harbor. Those finishes have yielded $23,705 and a lifetime mark of 2:03 (ScD 5/8). Crowned With Glory will start from post two. Also competing in the first division will be Ohio Chipster, Neely Dunn Super, Frisk The Town, Cooter Dunn and Marvelous Chip. Race 2 will be the $40,000 first division for three year-old colt Ohio-bred pacers. Trainer Doug Hinklin will start Big Bossman (Feelin Friskie-Lovely American-Matt's Scooter) as the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Big Bossman starts from post five and faces five rivals. Big Bossman has won six of 13 races. He has earnings of $93,193 and sports a lifetime mark of 1:53.1 (ScD 5/8). Greg Grismore is scheduled to drive for owner Parent Racing Stable LLC of Holland, Ohio. Feelin Speedy, Friskie AJ, Dibs, UF Fast Feelin and Lawyer Up complete the line-up. Trotters return to the stage in Race 3 for the $40,000 second division Ohio Sire Stakes for two year-old. I Know My Chip (Deep Chip-Madeline's Crown-Pegasus Spur) is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for owner Kimberly Dailey of Mechanicsburg, Ohio. Jim Dailey trains the undefeated colt. He has two wins in as many starts, earning $22,916 and earning a 2:02 (ScD 5/8) mark. Driver Jason Brewer will start the trotter from post-seven in a field that consists of My Friend Jim, Star Shef, Neely's Messenger, Lantern Chip, BK's Magic Man and Chips Starr. Freshman Trotters again compete in Race 5 for the $40,000 third division of the Ohio Sires Stakes. Kick A Lot (Deep Chip-Mac's Dream-BJ's Mac) starts from post-two and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. He is owned by Pius Soehnlen of Canton, Ohio. Trainer, Jeff Cox has calls upon Kurt Sugg to drive. This gelding has a win and a second in two lifetime starts. He has earned $21,875 and a 2:01.2 (ScD 5/8) lifetime mark. Kick A Lot has a host of rivals consisting of Mischievous Chip, Super Sheff Frosty, Chips A Million, Really Deep Chip, Guns For Fun and Birthday Chip. Race six will host the $40,000 second division OSS for three year-old colt pacers. Friskie Adam (Feelin Friskie-Lottery Fever-Falcon Almahurst) is the heavy 7-5 morning-line favorite for owner Dr. Jerry Maloon Stable of Dublin, Ohio. Dan Ater trains the colt and uses Kyle Ater to drive. This sophomore is undefeated in five starts this year. He has career earnings of $122,971 and mark of 1:52.4 (ScD 5/8). Friskie Adam starts from the rail in a field consisting of Chance I Might, Diamondkeeper, Hawks Cry Hoboken, Feel The Heat, Player's King and Upfront Clays Boy. Race 7 is the $40,000 first division for freshman pacers. Cornerback (Feelin Friskie-Cornerstand-Stand Forever) is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for owner Stephen Sexton of Xenia, Ohio. Brian Brown is the gelding's trainer and calls upon Chris Page to drive. Cornerback has one start under his belt, a win at Scioto Downs in 1:56.4 in a $40,000 OSS event. Cornerback will start from post three. Also competing in the first division will be Indian Spirit, Latenight Trick, Fire Valley, Knight Stryker, Nobles Finesse, Warrior Spirit, Western Coby and All Aces Osborne. Freshman pacers return in the eighth race for the $40,000 second division OSS. Trainer Ron Burke sends out Gray Camo (Pine Valley-CG's Gem-Shady Character) as the heavy 7-5 morning-line favorite. Gray Camo starts from post five and faces five eight. He is undefeated in two starts, earning $23,750 and earning a 1:56.1 (ScD 5/8) career mark. Chris Page is scheduled to drive for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, R Suda and J Melillo. Born Villain, RC Friskie, Ranger Returns, Big Bang Cam, Lynyrd, Nashville Bound, Ollie Pop and UF Kellies Awinner complete the eighth race line-up. Buckeye-bred sophomore trotters take to the stage in the evening's ninth race for the $40,000 OSS first division. Soul Train (Trainforthefuture-Dances On Air-Muscles Yankee) is the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite for owners Parent Racing Stable of Holland, Ohio, RS Crynick of Strongsville, Ohio and JE Novak of Olmstead Township, Ohio. Scott Cox calls upon Chris Page to pilot this gelding who has six wins in 17 starts, trotting in 1:57.2 (ScD 5/8) and earning $121,787. Soul Train starts from post-8 in a field that consists of Noah Count, Stanley Begonia, Neely's Boy, Mainstreet Willy, Master Mighty, Star Chip and Happy Go Jamie. Race 11, the final OSS event of the evening, is the $40,000 second division for sophomore trotters. Rompaway Galaxy (Rompaway Wally-Rompaway Wynona-Mr Vic) starts from post-three and is the 8-5 morning-line favorite. He is owned by Rompaway Farms LLC of Battle Creek, Michigan. Trainer Krista Harmon has listed Mike Micallef to drive. This gelding has nine wins in 11 lifetime starts, earning $201,550 and posting a best 1:55.4 (ScD 5/8). Rompaway Galaxy has a host of rivals consisting of Miko Begonia, Lady's Dude, Ohwhatacount, Can'tcutthatchip, Hooray For Willie, Fridayscomin and Bradymeister. In addition to superior racing action, Battle night will also offer guests a sumptuous buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The special priced buffet is just $15.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330-467-4101. Guests who want to be down close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to sample several of northeast Ohio's most popular food trucks. Live music by Unknown Reason will be part of the apron scene from 5-10 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

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

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, July 16, 2014-Elimination winners In the Arsenal (Eric Goodell, post 2) and Cartoon Daddy (George Brennan, post 5) lead eight 2-year-old colts into Saturday night's $125,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace. In the Arsenal won the first of last weekend's two, $25,000 elims in a maiden-breaking 1:56.2. The White Birch Farm homebred son of American Ideal, caught three-wide early, nonetheless strode out by 2¾ lengths. "(The Sheppard) was always on our schedule," trainer Kelvin Harrison said. "He's a smallish horse, and we thought the half-mile track would suit him." Cartoon Daddy was a tick faster in his elimination, prevailing in 1:56.1. The $60,000 son of Art Major, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Joe DiScala Jr., hit town after a New York Sire Stakes win at Buffalo. "He was looking around (in his elimination), the way 2-year-olds tend to, but once I pulled the plugs, he was all business," Brennan said. The Sheppard goes as the fifth race (approximate post 8:50 PM) on the 12-race card. After the open draws, the roster is... 1-Rock N' Roll World (Pat Lachance), 2-In the Arsenal (Eric Goodell), 3- Perfect Bet (Jeff Dauplaise), 4-Mystical Pacer (Brent Holland), 5-Cartoon Daddy (George Brennan), 6-Parklane Eagle (Jordan Stratton), 7-Lone Survivor (Brian Sears), 8-Byby Landon (Jason Bartlett). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

At this point many two-year-olds have a couple of starts in them, so it’s time to marry personal observations with wild speculation and project which ones will be stepping up to win the Cup, Jug and Hambletonion next year. This is by no means a definitive list of the best of the best; as a matter of fact I’m going out of my way to include some by off-brand stallions. That being said, here are a few early standouts. Artspeak is a Western ideal colt out of the Artsplace mare, The Art Museum. The Western Ideals have fallen on hard times at the sales of late, relatively speaking, but Brittany threw $100,000 at this guy, which matched the top price for any of his paternal brothers in North America. He has won both of his NJSS starts for Scott Zeron and trainer Tony Alagna, in dominant fashion. On Pace Day he came first over to win in 1:52.3 at odds of 3/5 at the Meadowlands. Western Ideal has given us the outstanding performers and game changing sires Rocknroll Hanover and American Ideal, as well as Always A Virgin and Big Jim. His 2013 crop moves on to the slugfest that is the PASS next year. Stacia Hanover, the winner of the $100,000 NJSS final for freshman pacing fillies, is also by Western Ideal. The $35,000 Harness Breeders purchase is trained by veteran Steve Elliott and, like Artspeak, driven by Scott Zeron. She has two other wins in the restricted class, aside from the high-dollar final which she won in 1:53.4 at odds of 3/5. Yankee Bounty is a two-year-old gelding by the enigmatic Artiscape stallion, Yankee Cruiser. His dam is the Allamerican Native mare Yankee Bootleg. This isn’t a combination that screams early speed. Yes, Yankee Cruiser did give is the current king of the pacing ranks, Sweet Lou, who held world records at two and three, as well as the rejuvenated speed demon Dancin Yankee, but for the most part this stallion was up against it in Pennsylvania. Yankee Bounty, a $21,000 Harness Breeders purchase, has won both of his starts in impressive fashion. He won splits of the Pennsylvania All Stars and the Albatross for Corey Callahan and trainer Kevin Lane. Yankee Cruiser stands his first year in Ohio in 2014. Bob Ben And John is one of the wave of impressive colts from the first crop of 2009 two-year-old division champ Sportswriter. Casie Coleman, who trained the son of Artsplace, and has been the leading cheerleader for his initial offering, plucked him from the Lexington sale for a modest $17,000. His dam is the Cambest mare, My Best Girl. This colt made his first pari-mutuel start last week in a $70,000 OSS-Gold leg at Mohawk. He was an easy winner by three in 1:53 at odds of 2/1 for Chris Christoforou. Sportswriter is absolutely killing it in the freshman pacing division of the Ontario Sire Stakes; he’s taking all the air; none of the others are on the same planet. SBSW shook the Pennsylvania program to its foundation with his first crop, but what’s happening with Sportswriter in his restricted program may be more dramatic. Shadow Play impressed us last year with his first crop, but he hasn’t gone on to be a factor in the open realm with his sophomores. We’ll wait and see if Sporty, a key player from the stressed Adios line, makes his presence felt outside of Ontario. Sassa Hanover is a filly from the first crop of Rock N Roll Heaven. Ron Burke bought her at Lexington for $50,000. Sassa’s dam, Sayo Hanover, is half to the very fast Shadyshark Hanover. Jim Morrill drover her to an easy two length win in a NYSS race at Monticello on the July 4. She won in 1:56.3 with plenty to spare. And two of her paternal sisters—She’s Heavenly and Band Of Angels—also won top dollar splits of the sire stakes that day. Heaven was held in high esteem at the sales, and thus far he is fulfilling his promise.   Dragon Eddy is a two-year-old gelding—aren’t they all—by Dragon Again, a stallion known more for throwing rugged long lasting types like Foiled Again, Atochia and Aracache Hanover than he is as a sire of early speed. My Little Dragon won her division at two, but she was an exception. Well, Eddy is something of an outlier himself. He brought $42,000 at Lexington, which is on the pricey side for Dragon Again, who now stands in Ohio. John Buttenschoen trains and Mike Simons drives. At the end of June Eddy won a split of the Pennsylvania All Starts in 1:54.3 at Pocono, and he went on to win a division of the Albatross in an eye opening 1:52.4 at odds of 2/5 at the Meadows on July 8. Mission Brief is a brown Muscle Hill filly who opened a lot of eyes when she took her $100,000 final of the NJSS by 13 lengths in 1:53.3 for Yanick Gingras and Ron Burke. This was an improvement on her previous start, where she only won by ten. Her dam Southwind Serena is by the great trotter Varenne. Mission Brief was a $150,000 Lexington purchase. Look out! The Bank is a Donato Hanover colt out of 2008 three-year-old division winner, Lantern Kronos. He won a split of the Pennsylvania All Stars for Jimmy Takter on July 4th and broke stride while leading on the last turn as the 1/9 favorite in a division of the Hickory Pride at The Meadows this week. Again, Takter drove. Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Shake It Cerry and Solvato, is another very promising Donato colt in the Takter Barn. He also won on July 4. Yesterday he was beaten in a quick 1:56.3 split of the Hickory Pride by the Cantab Hall colt Billy Flynn, driven to perfection by Brett Miller. Possess The Will and Your So Vain notwithstanding, Donato has pretty much been all filly no colt to this point. If this pair is turned over to Gingras or Pierce they could change that in a hurry. Honor And Serve, a Donato colt out of 2008 freshman division winner and world record holder Honorable Daughter, is another who might turn the tide. He just took a split of the Hickory Pride for Dave Palone and Jim Campbell. Royal Deceptor is one of numerous offspring of the New York stallion RC Royalty that sold at the Morrisville sale. The success of last year’s Hambletonion winner, Royalty For Life, inspired many to look favorably upon the eleven-year-old siring son of Credit Winner. Cheryl and Michael McGivern took this brown colt home for $11,000. Royal Deceptor won all three of his qualifiers, then went out and won a split of the NYSS in a track record 1:59.3 at Buffalo Raceway for Michael McGivern. Gatka is a big, rugged filly from the first crop of seven-year-old Hambletonion winner Muscle Massive, whose big brother Muscle Mass met with success in Ontario and has since been relocated to New York. Gatka is a sister to Ake Svanstedt’s Muscle Hill filly Heaven’s Door, who won the $100,000 NJSS sophomore final and finished second behind Shake It Cerry in the Del Miller. She won a division of the PA All Stars at The Meadows in 1:56 at 2/5 and last week she took a split of the Meadow Gladys with ease in 1:57.1 at 1/5.  Billy Flynn, a $120,000 Lexington purchase by Steffan Lind, is by Cantab Hall, arguably the best trotting stallion in North America. Another brown colt—there seems to be a run on them—he is out of the Enjoy Lavec mare Zeta Jones and was bred by Brittany farms. Billy took a split of the PA All Stars by six lengths in 1:57.2 at Pocono earlier this month and he beat the highly regarded Centurion ATM and Uncle Lasse in a division of the Hickory Pride. Brett Miller drives. Wild Honey is proving to be a $35,000 bargain for Jimmy Takter. The daughter of Cantab Hall was a close second to Gatka Hanover in that one’s first start and, like Gatka, won a split of the Meadow Gladys at The Meadows, for Yanick Gingras. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

This Week: Maple Leaf Trot final, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Battle of Lake Erie, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Lawrence B. Sheppard final, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will be held this Saturday (July 19) at five different racetracks. Mohawk Racetrack will offer one of their most lucrative events, the C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot for open trotters, featuring world record holder Sebastian K and defending Maple Leaf Trot champion Market Share. Northfield Park's marquee race, the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers, will also be held this Saturday. Yonkers Raceway will host the $125,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard final for 2-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host a pair of W.N. Reynolds Memorial trots with two divisions in the $64,414 3-year-old male trot and a single division in the $47,915 3-year-old filly trot. Rounding out the Saturday night action, The Meadows will offer a trio of $50,000 eliminations for their signature event, the Devlin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Mohawk entries can be found at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack hosted seven lucrative Grand Circuit events this past Saturday, led by the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds. He's Watching (Tim Tetrick) watched and waited for a straight shot to the finish line as he won the Meadowlands Pace in an all-age world record-equaling 1:46.4. The time equaled the race mark for pacers on a mile track held by Somebeachsomewhere, Holborn Hanover and Warrawee Needy. He's Watching was content to take a back seat in fifth to early leader Lyonssomewhere, who led the field to the :25.3 quarter, with Luck Be Withyou pacing along in second and JK Endofanera third along the rail. The leader held his position to the :53.2 half when JK Endofanera came off the rail, attempting to improve his position and pressuring the leader around the turn. He's Watching was behind JK Endofanera second-over. It looked like Lyonssomewhere might bottom out the field at the 1:20.3 three-quarters, but horses were soon coming from everywhere. From the huddle of horses trailing Lyonssomewhere came He's Watching, fanned five wide across the track and making up ground with every stride. Behind him and even wider were Always B Miki and Tellitlikeitis. Those three battled down the stretch with He's Watching scoring by 2-1/2 lengths over Always B Miki while Tellitlikeitis was third. He's Watching is owned by Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. In what some observers predict could be a dress rehearsal for the August 2 Hambletonian, the Jimmy Takter Stable starters finished in a fanned-out constellation of three horses across the track, with 2-5 favorite Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) first to the wire in 1:51.3 in the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old trotting colts. The field was led off the gate by Nuncio, but he was soon overtaken by Father Patrick who hit the quarter-mile mark in :27.2 and led the field to the :56 half. Muscle Network was on the move on the outside, making progress toward the lead before making a break at the top of the stretch. Father Patrick was well within himself at the 1:24.3 three-quarters, with Nuncio inching closer to the leader and Trixton advancing on those two, but unable to get past. As the field hit the finish line, Father Patrick was three-quarters of a length in front, with Nuncio two lengths in front of Trixton. Father Patrick is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, N.J. Sweet Lou sailed down the homestretch for his sixth straight win to take the $463,300 William Haughton Memorial for open pacers in 1:47.1. When the field turned for home, Captaintreacherous held the lead at the 1:21 three-quarters, but was soon set upon on the inside by Bettor's Edge and on the outside by Ron Pierce and Sweet Lou. At the wire, it was Sweet Lou with stablemate Bettor's Edge second and Captaintreacherous held for third. Sweet Lou is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 432; 2. Tim Tetrick - 429; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 730.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 347; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 182; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 167.35; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 151.1; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadows and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host eight Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for six lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Night Pro won the first race of his career at Northfield Park, but the stakes will be a little higher when the pacer returns to the Cleveland-area oval for the first time since his March 2013 debut. The purse for Night Pro's first victory was $2,000. On Saturday night, the 4-year-old competes in the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park against some of the best older pacers in harness racing. The field also includes Foiled Again, who is a two-time winner of the race and the richest pacer in North American history, plus stakes-winners Apprentice Hanover, Beach Memories, Bolt The Duer, Clear Vision, Fool Me Once, and Twilight Bonfire. Night Pro, an Indiana Sire Stakes champion and winner of six consecutive starts heading into the Battle of Lake Erie, will start from post one with driver Peter Wrenn and is 4-1 on the morning line. Foiled Again, who will leave from post seven with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke, is the 3-1 favorite. "I'm excited, to say the least," said Dale Decker, a Michigan resident who owns and trains Night Pro. "It's nice to let the rest of the country see him. I know people will be watching because of Foiled Again and the rest of them. "I think he can go with them. I just have to make sure he's healthy going in. That's the important part." Night Pro has won 21 of 28 lifetime races and $308,929. Decker, who attended the U.S. Trotting Association's Driving School in 2000 and has won 171 races as a driver and 180 as a trainer, purchased the son of Pro Bono Best-Midnight Jewel for $14,000 as a yearling at the Hoosier Sale, although he had no intention of buying the horse when he attended the sale. Decker, who runs a homebuilding company in addition to training horses, raised Night Pro for breeder Linda Marckel and expected the horse to sell for much more. "I was in a state of shock, so I started bidding," Decker said. "I didn't even have a truck or trailer there. But I had high expectations for the colt and thought he would bring more than that, so I ended up buying him." For a while, it appeared Decker's expectations would be unfulfilled. Night Pro was unraced at age 2 because he had a bone chip removed from his left-hind ankle and did little to encourage Decker until the end of February 2013. "He started back at [age] 3 and I didn't think he would make it to the races because he just couldn't seem to get over that ailment," Decker said. "He was just going through the motions. Then it was like the light switch turned on. It was like overnight he turned into a racehorse. Then, I thought I might have something." Night Pro won his first eight starts and 10 of his first 12 without ever finishing worse than second. His last victory during that span came in the July $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male pacers at Hoosier Park. When the fall championship arrived in September, Night Pro was battling illness and finished sixth. "He was a little sluggish in the last leg [of the sire stakes] and he was just no good in the final," Decker said. "It just took too much out of him. That was his last race of the year and he's come back strong this year." Now Decker will get to see if Night Pro is strong enough to handle the likes of Foiled Again, who has earned $6.31 million in his career, world champion Bolt The Duer, and 2013 Cleveland Classic winner Apprentice Hanover. Night Pro enters the Battle of Lake Erie off four straight wins in the invitational handicap at Hoosier Park, with the last three coming over 2012 American-National Stakes winner Our Lucky Chip. "I've been interested in getting outside of Indiana and seeing if he could compete with the rest of them," Decker said. "This means a lot to me." Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Night Pro, Peter Wrenn, Dale Decker, 4-1; 2. Beach Memories, Josh Sutton, Brian Brown, 15-1; 3. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 7-2; 4. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke, 9-2; 5. Fool Me Once, Aaron Merriman, Mark Austin, 6-1; 6. Twilight Bonfire, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 12-1; 7. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1; 8. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Ben Wallace, 10-1. By Ken Weingartner for, Harness Racing Communications    

Gural Hanover's victory in his $59,100 division of the New York Sires Stakes for sophomore colts and geldings on Tuesday afternoon (July 15) was an eye-opening one when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. guided the big altered son of Crazed-Givemearing to a new all age trotting track record of 1:55.2. It was the fastest trotting mile in the 58-year history of the Mighty M and it erased the former standard of 1:55.4 set by Man About Town in 2007. In doing so Gural Hanover set a new standard for 3 year-old trotters expunging the 1:57.1 mark co-held by Green Day (2007) ,Gaelic And Garlic (2012) and Ex King (2013). Morrill also won the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie in 1:57.3 and he was victorious in three Excelsior Stakes which gave him five winners on the card. But Gural Hanover was the overwhelming star of the day. In against his arch rival Expressive Action (Mike Simon) Morrill chose to send Gural Hanover to the lead from the four-hole on the hot and humid afternoon. They gained command on the first turn and cruised by the first quarter in :28.2. From there Morrill let the big fellow ramble past the half in :57.2 two full lengths ahead of Expressive Action and that was as close as Mike Simon's trotter could get to Morrill's. At the third stanza Gural Hanover had a three- length lead which was opened to four at the wire. Expressive Action finished second with Hallanet and Trond Smedshammer another length back in third position. "He's push button," Morrill said of Gural Hanover in the winner's circle after the race. "You can leave with him, put him in a hole or do whatever you want and you can drive him with two fingers. He's a monster and a real pleasure to sit behind real pleasure to sit behind." Lightly raced Gural Hanover only had one start as a freshman and was victorious in 2:00 at Balmoral Park in late September. This far this season the big bold-going gelding now has four wins; one second and one third in six seasonal starts and his bankroll has swelled to over $104,000. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables and trained by Ron Burke the winner returned a $2.30 win mutuel. Morrill, unquestionably the dominant force on the NYSS circuit, also copped the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie, a Conway Hall-Pauls Wink gelding trained by Heidi Rohr. In that contest Flyhawk El Dorado and driver Mark MacDonald seemed to have everything under control as they led Zoey De Vie and odds-on favorite Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern) through fractions of :28.3; :59; and 1:28.4. However, as Flyhawk El Dorado rounded the final turn the trotter went off stride which opened an easy path to the finish for Zoey De Vie who rallied and kept Cash Me Out at bay to score a one length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.3. "He's a good colt who has had some bad luck but we got good luck today." Morrill said referring to Flyhawk El Dorado making a break as the field turned for home. "We were in the right place at the right time but we still trotted a :28.3 last quarter to win it." Owned by Jesse and John De Long, Zoey De Vie paid $8.10 for win. All the 3 year olds in Excelsior Series performed also admirably. Winners -with drivers--were: JL Cruze (1:59.4-Jimmy Marohn, Jr.); Crazzy Crazzy (1:58- Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); Winbak Glory (1:59.2-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); General Bill Brown (1:57.3-Mark MacDonald); Flyhawk Thriller (1:58.1-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) and Consumer Rate (2:01.1-Mark MacDonald) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Hall Of Terror posted the fastest winning time among six $20,000 divisions of the Stallion Series on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The races were for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the pace. Hall Of Terror (Western Terror-Maytime Hall), driven by Mark MacDonald and trained by Erv Miller, won in 1:53:1, his second straight Stallion Series victory. Other Stallion Series winners on the night: R N Nate (Nuclear Breeze-R N Artist), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Roger Hammer, in 1:54; Royaltyhasarrived (Western Terror-Her Mattjesty), driven by Dan Rawlings and trained by Steve Schoeffel, in 1:55:2; Final Gesture (Shark Gesture-Real Girl), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Linda Toscano, in 1:54; My Hero Ron (Well Said-Erma La Em), driven by Mark MacDonald and trained by Erv Miller, in 1:54:4; and Letsmakeawish (Western Terror-Dynamite Donna), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, in 1:53:4. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, July 15, 2014 -- McWicked, the winner of the Hempt final, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite to win his division in Saturday's eliminations for the $600,000 (est.) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Lite at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Also favored in the morning line to win their eliminations are Limelight Beach and Cammikey, each at 2-1. First post Saturday evening is 6:55 PM. The top three finishers in each elimination return for the final the afternoon of Saturday, July 26. The elimination fields, in post position order, with trainers, tentative driver assignments and morning line odds: Race 3 1. Bushwacker Chris Ryder Brett Miller 10-1 2. Journeyman Tony Alagna Scott Zeron 5-1 3. Limelight Beach Ron Burke Yannick Gingras 2-1 4. Somewhere In LA Jimmy Takter Brett Miller 7-2 5. Carracci Hanover Ron Burke Yannick Gingras 4-1 6. Kingofthejungle Dirk Simpson Tony Hall 8-1 Race 4 1. Maxi Bon Tony Alagna Scott Zeron 5-1 2. Somesizesomestyle Ron Burke Matt Kakaley 8-1 3. Let's Drink On It Joe Seekman Tyler Smith 7-2 4. Cammikey Bill Zendt Brian Zendt 2-1 5. Mattamerican Norm Parker Dave Palone 4-1 6. Beat The Drum Staffan Lind Brett Miller 10-1 Race 5 1. McWicked Casie Coleman David Miller 8-5 2. Stevensville Ray Schnittker TBA 10-1 3. At Press Time Ron Burke Matt Kakaley 5-2 4. Some Playa Jennifer Sabot Jim Pantaleone 12-1 5. Brioni Robin Cruise Andrew McCarthy 3-1 6. Bondi Hanover Tony Alagna Aaron Merriman 5-1 by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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