WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 10, 2013 -- Snubbed by bettors in favor of her stablemate, Unefoisdansmavie brushed wide in the lane to capture Tuesday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows at an uncharacteristic 6-1. Unefoisdansmavie was the favorite in each of her last three races, but when she was matched Tuesday against the red-hot Summer Indian -- they raced as separate wagering interests -- players made him the 1-2 selection. But Summer Indian tired in the stretch on the "good" surface while the fresher of the Ron Burke trainees zipped by for Tony Hall to score in 1:55.4. Count Me In shot the Lightning Lane for second, a length back, with the first-over No Doze third. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt III own Unefoisdansmavie, a 6-year-old daughter of Revenue S-Peace To The World who now boasts $375,317 in career earnings. Dave Palone had five winners and Burke four on the 15-race card while Brett Miller and Mike Wilder each enjoyed a triple. by Evan Pattak for the Meadows
No matter the category, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras has enjoyed a career-best season in 2013. Entering Tuesday, the 34-year-old Gingras has established personal highs with 517 wins, $14 million in purses and a .368 driver rating. He captured the Grand Circuit driving title for the first time in his career and on Monday became the 15th driver to reach $100 million in lifetime earnings. Gingras surpassed $100 million when he won with Lucky House in the fifth race Monday at Harrah's Philadelphia. Lucky House is trained by Ron Burke, for whom Gingras drives regularly. "That was good," Gingras said. "After last year I figured it was going to be tough to do better, but I always want to try to do a little more each year. But I'm lucky. I've been getting to drive for the best connections, so it's hard not to do good. It's all kind of snowballed and I keep getting better horses to drive." Gingras' win total this year is ninth best in North America - he could finish in the Top 10 in the category for the first time in his career - and his purses are second to only Tim Tetrick's $16 million. He also finished second to Tetrick last season. He has driven a slew of contenders for year-end honors, including older male pacer Foiled Again, older female trotter Maven, 2-year-old male trotter Father Patrick and 2-year-old male pacer Western Vintage, not to mention stakes-winners such as Sunfire Blue Chip, Dedi's Dragon, Wishing Stone and Charisma Hanover. Gingras won Breeders Crown trophies with Foiled Again, Maven and Father Patrick. Foiled Again, at age 9, became the oldest horse to ever win a Crown and capped his year by winning the TVG Free For All Series Championship to push his career earnings to a North American-record $6 million. "Winning the Breeders Crown with Foiled Again was the highlight of the year," Gingras said. "A close second was getting to drive Father Patrick. I never had to sweat it in any of his races. Sure, there is some pressure being 1-to-9 and expected to win, but I knew if I lost it was because I messed up." Gingras was particularly happy to see Foiled Again win the Breeders Crown because he thought he might have cost the horse his best chance at a trophy two years ago. Foiled Again missed by a head against Bettor Sweet at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, with Gingras stuck in New Jersey because of a fluky October snowstorm. "I felt guilty about missing that year; that one was on me," Gingras said. "I knew (Foiled Again) wasn't getting any younger and he might not get many more chances. "To me, the Breeders Crown (this year) was the race of the year," he continued. "To get it done and the trip he went was incredible. That was the most thrilling race I've ever been in." Of course, at this stage nothing Foiled Again does surprises Gingras. Foiled Again won six of his final nine starts this year and was never worse than second during that span. He ended the campaign with 11 victories in 29 races and $1.4 million in purses. "He's shown year in and year out that he can outlast them," Gingras said. "He's resilient and just has that desire to win. When it's time to dig down deep, I haven't seen too many with as much as him." As Gingras ponders how to top this year's numbers in 2014, he is buoyed by the realization that all of his top drives are expected to return next season. "This year was great with so many great horses," Gingras said, referring not only to horses he drove, but the sport in general. "There are so many worthy candidates (for Horse of the Year) it's scary. And with maybe the exception of (injured) I Luv The Nitelife, all of them should be coming back. It should be another great year next year." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 7, 2013--Double-millionaire Sweet Lou (George Brennan) made a successful local debut Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $37,000 Open Handicap Pace. Ordered outside his seven rivals (though inside one notch after a defection), 3-5 choice "Lou" worked around Sapphire City (Eric Carlson), making the before a quick :26.3 opening quarter. It was a rated 30-second quarter (:56.3) with Ardyne Ace (Larry Stalbaum) moving from fifth. That one offered minimal grief in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters, with Sweet Lou taking a couple of lengths into the lane, The people's preference then held the gang at bay, whipping Sapphire City by a length in 1:52...snappy :27.2 final quarter. Third went to a three-hole Lumberjack Willie (catch-driver Jordan Stratton), with Pan from Nantucket (Eric Goodell) and Ardyne Ace rounded out the payees. For Sweet Lou, a 4-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Philip Collura, he returned $3.30 for his fourth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $10.60, with the triple returning $49. It should be noted that Sweet Lou's only half-mile experience prior to Saturday was the 2012 Little Brown Jug, when he won his heat before finishing second in the final. It is surmised he's going to join the Burke contingent in next season's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. 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 Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 6, 2013--Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $37,000 co-featured Open Handicaps--Pace for the ladies and Trot who all who passed initiation--were won by front-end Let's Go Higher (Jason Bartlett, $6.80) and double-millionaire Wishing Stone (George Brennan, $3.30). In play early from assigned post position No. 3, Let's Go Higher--as the tepid 2-1 choice--played leapfrog on the lead with Cocoa Beach (Matt Kakaley). After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :57.3 intermission, Cheyenne Miriam (Mark MacDonald) moved from third. However, that bid stalled before a 1:26 three-quarters, as Let's Go Higher owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. She held off a second-over Rock N Load (Jordan Stratton) by a half-length in 1:55.2. Third went to Cocoa Beach, with Sir Jillian Z Tam (Pat Lachance) and "Miriam" rounding out the payees. For Let's Go Higher, a 5-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler owned by Jesse DeLong and trained by Heidi Rohr, it was her 14th win in 37 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $26.40, with the triple returning $166.50. The week's marquee trot saw Wishing Stone end his season with a picture. Sent postward as the 3-5 choice from his ordered eight-hole, he was wide at the outset before wedging in fifth. It was Melady's Monet (Dan Dube) leading through sub-sections of :28 and :58.3 with Lorenzo Dream (catch-driver Kakaley) pocketed and Brando's Muscle Man (Eric Goodell) trying it first-up. Odds-on Wishing Stone was behind that one at the 1:27.2 three-quarters. An inside-the-cones Melady's Monet maintained the lead in and out of the final turn before Wishing Stone received the memo. He went by, with the margin a half-length in 1:57.1. Melady's Monet crossed the line second, but was set down to third for the above transgression. That moved Lorenzo Dream to second, with Zooming (Bartlett) and Elin (Larry Stalbaum) completing the cashers. For Wishing Stone, a 6-year-old son of Conway Hall trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Cowboyland Aalborg, Deo Volente Farms, J & T Silva and T L P Stables, it was his seventh win in 19 '13 tries. The exacta paid $13.80, the triple returned $43.40 and the superfecta paid $372.50. Next season, Wishing Stone begins a dual role as racehorse and stallion. 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 now available daily. Frank Drucker
WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 6, 2013 — Magic Starlight roared past her stablemate, Darena Hanover, in the lane to capture Friday’s $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Pace at The Meadows — her second straight victory and fourth in the last five starts. Magic Starlight and Dave Palone followed the live cover of Sissy Bar before making the decisive move around the final turn. The 4-year-old daughter of Real Desire-Starlight Justice prevailed in 1:54 on a sloppy surface, a length better than Darena Hanover. Early leader All Heart Gal saved show. Ron Burke trains Magic Starlight, who extended her career bankroll to $210,153, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Palone and Burke teamed for three winners on the 15-race card, and Tony Hall also enjoyed a triple. Evan Pattak
I went four for nine last week, some of my favorite horses got beat, which is bound to happen every now and then. I lost -$3.40 (based on $2 win bet each race). We are still in the minus earning column at -$39.70 going into this weekend and we will try once again to bring that number down more. We start off the weekend at the Meadowlands Saturday with one of the final stakes races of the season, the Reynolds for three-year-old colt pacers. We also have some good feature events at both the Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway and taking shot at the Open Pace at Pompano Park too since that is in my backyard. $48,878 Reynolds Stake 3YO Colt Pace 2nd race Saturday, Meadowlands – While Twilight Bonfire is rightly the 6/5 favorite and class of the field with $608,000 in earnings in 2013, I am going with Rockin Amadeus from post six in this very short field. He has been in the money most every start as of late, hails from the Jimmy Takter Stable and has the speed to get out early and find great cover to score from. $37,000 Open Handicap Pace 6th race Saturday, Yonkers Raceway – Tough call here as Sweet Lou looms over this field on just about any size track but this one. Have never seen him race on a half mile oval but Burke Stable will have him fit and ready to go plus he gets George Brennan in the sulky. I’m banking that George can get him to leave a bit and secure good position to score from. $30,000 Winners Over Pace 8th race Saturday, Yonkers Raceway – Very competitive field here will make whomever wins pay a decent price. I am going with Real Special. He just missed by a head in his last start in this class at Yonkers. Driver switch to Matt Kakaley is not a problem as he is aggressive enough to keep him in the action all the way to the finish wire. $25,000 A-2/A-1 Handicap Pace 11th race Saturday, Meadowlands – While the Ron Burke Stable entry of Southwestern Dream and Meirs Hanover looms the favorite in here I am taking a shot with Great Vintage from post two. Hails from the Jimmy Takter Stable and they would not be messing around with a six-year-old overnight pacer if he was not worth. Has won $200,000 this year with eight wins and should be able to surprise this group from inside post position. $10,000 Open 1 Pace 7th race Saturday, Pompano Park – While Cruizin K C won this class last week and Next Flight In is on a three-race winning streak, I still think that Thebestofjoel can upset tonight. Despite having to start from post seven this newcomer gave notice in his first start at Pompano Park last week that he is for real, wiring the field in 1:50.3 with a last quarter mile in :27.2. He has shown the ability to get to the front from outside posts and should either be able to cut the mile again or get decent cover to strike from.
There's a forgotten part of the Foiled Again story, buried under the mountains of money he's made these last several years and the many big races he has won. It's the first few chapters of his career, a story that begins well before Ron Burke and Yannick Gingras arrived on the scene, well before Foiled Again got his first headline. And it's the story of maybe the most lopsided sale in harness racing history. Foiled Again began his career for owner Patrick Lacey and trainer Herman Heitman. Following a June 29, 2008 race at Harrah's, his record stood at 8 for 46 and his career earnings were less than $80,000. There wasn't any reason to believe the hrose was going to amount to much, so Lacey sold him -- for $62,500. For his new owners, the nine-year-old son of Dragon Again has made more than $5.9 million. To read the rest of the story click here.
This Week: W.N. Reynolds Memorial 3-year-old paces, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Meadowlands Racetrack will feature a pair of W.N. Reynolds Memorial stakes for 3-year-old pacers on the Saturday night (Dec. 7) card with the $58,000 (est.) contest for colts and the $50,000 (est.) race for fillies. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack featured a big stakes card last Saturday night (Nov. 30) led by the TVG FFA finals for pacers and trotters. Foiled Again, who will be 10 years old in less than a month, won the $512,000 TVG FFA pacing final by a head in 1:49.2 against a field with $17.7 million in collective earnings. The win pushed Foiled Again's lifetime earnings to $6,030,968. Golden Receiver and Corey Callahan were first off the gate, hitting the quarter-mile mark in :26 with Bolt The Duer on his back. Foiled Again was right up and at him at the three-eighths to take the lead away and took the field to the :53.1 half. Pet Rock made a bid for the lead past the half but could not get by Foiled Again through the 1:22 three-quarters. Throughout the deep stretch, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) faced relentless pressure from the 8-year-old Golden Receiver, second oldest horse in the race, who came up the rail, but Foiled Again maintained his march to the finish line for the win. Foiled Again, who paid $7.80 to win, is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. Market Share (Tim Tetrick) trotted hard and fast every step of the mile, bursting off the gate to get the lead and never relinquishing it to win the $500,000 TVG FFA Trot in 1:51 by three-quarters of a length. The win pushed his lifetime earnings to $3,115,011. Market Share and Tetrick came off the gate from the outside post seven to press for the front and made it there in :26.2 at the quarter and held that lead with Uncle Peter (David Miller) on his back to the :55 half. Arch Madness came off the rail from fourth after the half to make a bid on the outside for the lead, still held by Market Share at the 1:23.1 three-quarters. Market Share pulled off two lengths from the field at the head of stretch, but Uncle Peter charged hard in the final strides to be second with a fast closing Guccio (Jimmy Takter) out and moving three wide at the head of the stretch, but he could not pass the leaders and was third. Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, is trained by Linda Toscano and owned by Tom and Louis Pontone, Bill Augustine and Richard Gutnick. He is a 4-year-old son of Revenue S-Classical Flirt. Bee A Magician made it a perfect 17 for 17 with her one length victory in 1:53.3 in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands. The win put her over the $2.3 million mark in career earnings. Time To Kill (John Campbell) made it to the lead first at the :27.2 quarter mile-mark while Ma Chere Hall (Corey Callahan) overtook her briefly just past that marker, but Brian Sears had Bee A Magician just behind her on the outside. Those two made an unpressured move to take the lead just before the :55.3 half. Sears put 2-1/2 lengths between him and the field and trotted on to the 1:25 three-quarters with Ma Chere Hall at his back. As the field trotted down the stretch, Ma Chere Hall made a bid to get past Bee A Magician, got just to her wheel at the wire, but could go no further, as Bee A Magician cruised home to win No. 17 for 2013. Bee A Magician is trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman for owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman. Grand Circuit action also took place this past Sunday at Dover Downs. Sunshine Beach brushed to the lead heading to the half-mile marker and was never seriously challenged from there as he went on to capture the $284,160 Progress Pace final for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:50.3. Owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand, Sunshine Beach is trained by Mark Steacy and was driven to victory by John Campbell. The win was the eighth in 20 season's starts for the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Light Up, while his 2013 earnings climbed to $909,283. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,857; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,625; 3. David Miller - 1,228; 4. Brian Sears - 781.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 719.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,798.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,211.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 515.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 507.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 405.7; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 376.25; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 244. Looking ahead: The final Grand Circuit action of 2013 will take place next weekend at Northfield Park when the northeast Ohio oval hosts the Cleveland Classic for 3-year-old pacing colts. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit
WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 3, 2013 — Parked past the quarter in a wicked 26.3, Itrustyou still was much the best Tuesday at The Meadows, capturing the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace in a sharp 1:51.2 for his second straight victory and third in the last four. Sam Hill charged to the early lead and stung Itrustyou, but the 5-year-old Third Straight-Dynamic Lady gelding shrugged off the demanding panel, defeating Sam Hill by 2-1/2 lengths for Dave Palone. PL Dragon finished third. Ron Burke trains Itrustyou, who now boasts $552,196 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables. Palone drove five winners — three for Burke — on the 15-race card while Aaron Merriman and Brett Miller each fashioned a triple. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 2, 2013 -- Unefoisdansmavie, the only mare in the field, stalked patiently from the pocket, then roared by in the Lightning Lane to capture Monday's $18,000 Preferred Trot at The Meadows. Unefoisdansmavie, the 3-5 favorite, let Count Me In do all the heavy lifting on the lead before brushing late for Dave Palone and downing Count Me In by 1/2 length in 1:53.3. The ground-saving Redder Than Red was third. A 6-year-old daughter of Revenue S-Peace To The World, Unefoisdansmavie has been a model of excellence and consistency for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt III. In 2012, she won nine races and $148,667; this year, she's won nine races and $148,001. Mike Wilder drove five winners and Palone four on the 15-race card while Burke enjoyed a triple.
E. Rutherford, NJ -- Perhaps the most anticipated night of racing over the entire year, the TVG FFA Finals and the Fall Final Four at the new Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, was just as exciting as the hype that lead up to the historic events. And, it was the fans of harness racing, a sometimes forgotten lot, who were the ultimate winners. While social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have taken the world by storm, harness racing enthusiasts were also quick to feed the digital platforms with comments and photos of their favorite equine heroes, as well as to champion the merits between Foiled Again and Captaintreacherous in the half million dollar pace for the ages. The crowd favorite, but second betting choice, Foiled Again wowed his rail bird supporters with a pre-race final score. Yannick Gingras blasted the 9-year-old by the stands in what appeared to be a 6 second, sixteenth of a mile, leaving the throngs of spectators buzzing with expectation and snapping pictures with their iPhones. Moments later, TV analyst Ken Warkentin aptly prepared the crowd, "Strap in and hold on!" When the dust settled from the 1:49.2 mile, a scant couple of lengths separated the new "Six Million Dollar Man," Foiled Again, from his 3-year-old challenger Captaintreacherous and several other rivals. Evident in slow motion on the massive infield tote board, Golden Receiver looked as if he got a head in front of Foiled Again, only to be thwarted at the wire. The crowd roared again as the replay reminded fans of how close the race really was. The Burke Brigade, led by trainer Ron Burke, posed for congratulatory photos holding up six fingers, honoring the sport's favorite seasoned warrior and his new plateau. Breaking records seem almost commonplace for this high-powered stable that just broke $20 million and 1,000 wins for the season. "Foiled leads us." Burke noted. "We go as he goes. When you have him as the starter for the barn, you are going to have a great year. I can't ask for more than for what he has done." The winner of the companion race, the TVG Trot was equally impressive in his victory. Market Share, "the little horse that could," won when he was on harness racing's biggest stage. Facing the challenge of the outer most post (7) in a tough field of older millionaire trotters, Tim Tetrick rushed the horse out of the gate to take the top in a :26.2 opening panel, cruising home in 1:51. The win put Market Share over a million dollars on the season, and also presented more questions than it did answers. Peppered with questions about the horse's future, trainer Linda Toscano was optimistic. "If he comes back as good as he finished up, or better, then we are certainly going to give it a shot. They have invited us [to the Elitloppet] and it would be one of those 'once in a lifetime' kind of things that would be difficult to pass up if the horse is good." Market Share's hard-working caretaker, Shelly Grieco quickly posted her feelings directly to her Facebook status. "Wow! There aren't any words left to describe just how proud I am of Market Share! Little man... You showed your true grit tonight with that win! Another million $ season to boot!" Fans and industry leaders alike are have also been quick to recognize the impact that social media has on our sport, and the possibilities and potential for the future. Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, an award winning social media agency, has been on the forefront of engaging harness racing fans through digital platforms. "I am very optimistic for 2014. We have two things that have never happened in harness racing before. We have a new showcase for harness racing to repackage the sport and the experience of the sport. Number two, we will have an innovative marketing program with the components that will be a platform for the entire sport." Meadowlands media mogul, Justin Horowitz agrees, "We have a beautiful new building that we can use to showcase the best racing the sport has to offer. We have a lot of people in place that are super passionate about the game. We have a lot of young people that have fresh ideas, a great work ethic, and the desire to utilize social media. And we have an owner [Jeff Gural] and general manager [Jason Settlemoir] who give us the freedom to explore new ideas. Hopefully we can find the right formula and put harness racing back on the map." If Saturday night's racing card was any indication, harness racing is alive and well and here to stay in East Rutherford, New Jersey! Check out Harnesslink.com on Facebook and Twitter (@Harnesslink) by Chris Tully for Harnesslink.com
Sometimes it really pays to be a late bloomer and that is the case for JK Endofanera as the son of Art Major won the $534,500 Governor's Cup final for two-year-old pacing colts at the Meadowlands Saturday in 1:51.4. It a three-horse battle royal for the early lead with Carracci Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras taking the early lead by the opening quarter mile in :26.2 but that lead was short lived as Stevensville and driver Tim Tetrick came charging up at they started up the backstretch to take command. But driver Brian Sears waited and then sent KJ Endofaneara first-over and they were able to take command in the backstretch and lead the field to the three-quarters in 1:23 with Arthur Blue Chip (Dave Miller) first-over and trying to look them in the eye before the charge down the stretch. Also in the hunt was Bushwacker (Ron Pierce) who was following the outside cover from Arthur Blue Chip. Starting down the stretch JK Endofanera had to dig in twice to hold off his competition to the wire to win by a half length with Arthur Blue Chip second and Bushwacker third. Lightly races, it was only the seventh start for JK Endofanera. Owned and bred by the 3 Brothers Stable of New York and trained by Ron Burke, it was his fourth victory on the year. He paid $3.60 to win. "It's a big win," Said trainer Ron Burke in the winner's circle. "It's great because I did not even have this horse in my stable until three months ago. It's nice to pick up these kinds of checks. When I first got him I really know if he would that good. Then the first time we raced him I thought that maybe he is better than we think. The second time we raced him I started to think this is a real horse." By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Sometimes long range plans do pan out. Myron Bell starting thinking in March and April about the inaugural $512,000 TVG Free-For-All Pacing Final on Saturday night at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment for the sensational 3-year-old colt Captaintreacherous. "There were four races we wanted to participate in this year: the North American Cup, The Meadowlands Pace, the Breeders Crown and the TVG Final," said Bell, manager of Captaintreacherous Racing. The Captain sailed through the first three missions with victories. Now comes the biggest challenge, in what could be the race of the year. By virtue of the Breeders Crown win, Captaintreacherous was invited to TVG Final where he faces a stellar lineup of nine older pacers, including Foiled Again and Pet Rock. The leading 3-year-olds in harness racing rarely step out of their division to tackle the older horses. In a very sporting gesture, Captaintreacherous team of Bell, trainer Tony Alagna and driver Tim Tetrick have embraced the challenge. "It's an honor and privilege to race a colt against the aged horses," Bell said. "Let the chips fall where they may." And the Captain will have to overcome an outside post, No. 8. "Naturally, we would like to draw better," Bell said. "That's the card dealt us. We'll make the best of it. It's now Timmy Tetrick's job. He's pretty high on the horse, as we all are. I'm sure he'll give a good account. We have a lot of confidence in our animal." The TVG Series is part of Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural's goal of enhancing opportunities for older horses. The series, split into pacing and trotting divisions, offered preliminary legs and major stakes bound together by a season-long point system. The top qualifiers advanced to the $500,000 guaranteed finals for both gaits. In what turned out to be a brilliant stroke, the series awarded invitations to the winners of the 3-year-old Breeders Crowns. That provision set the stage for this dramatic showdown. While Captaintreacherous is the baby in the field, the indomitable Foiled Again is the graybeard at 9. Harness racing's all-time money earner at $5.7 million looks as good as ever. "He couldn't be better," trainer Ron Burke said. "He's in career form. It's an awesome opportunity for him. It's going to be one of the better races of the year." Winner of the Breeders Crown for aged pacers last month, Foiled Again captured the final TVG leg last Saturday, opening night of the new Meadowlands grandstand. It was a typical Foiled Again effort: a game first-over grind under less than ideal conditions. "That's his kind of race," Burke said. "We need to turn it not into a test of pure speed but a test of will, of who wants it the most. I don't care who he is racing against. He will out try them." It was also an encouraging score at a track where Foiled Again has not excelled. He is only 2 for 33 at The Meadowlands. Like Old Man River, Foiled Again keeps rolling along. He is 10 for 28 this year, and no longer amazes Burke with his ability to defy the sands of time. "At one time I was surprised, but not now," Burke said. "We've almost come to expect it. He's such an unbelievable horse. He never shows us a reason to stop believing. Every time you ask him to do more, he goes out and does more." Foiled Again, from post 4 with Yannick Gingras at the lines, is one of three Burke trainees in the final. He also sends out Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou, fourth to Foiled Again last week. Burke feels Sweet Lou, with Matt Kakaley in the sulky, could be the sleeper in the field. "He's coming back into form," Burke said. "I love Matt on him. He was sneaky good in the Breeders Crown final. I think he's the one horse I've got that's rounding back into shape. He drew a great spot. He fits well with those horses. He'll never get embarrassed. I actually like his chances too." While most of the attention focuses on a Captaintreacherous vs. Foiled Again showdown, Pet Rock could easily upset this applecart. "To win the race, you first have to beat Pet Rock," Burke said. "Everyone is talking Foiled vs. Captain. Believe me, the first horse they have to beat is Pet Rock. That horse doesn't lay down for anybody." Dynamic Youth, Modern Legend, Golden Receiver, Warrawee Needy and Bolt The Duer complete the field. Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, has the outside post in the seven-horse final of $500,000 TVG Trot. Like Foiled Again, Market Share was a Breeders' Crown winner at Pocono Downs, one of his five victories from 13 starts this season. Just like the TVG Pace, the Trot also features a stellar 9-year-old in Arch Madness with over $4 million in the bank. Guccio, Uncle Peter, Wishing Stone, My MVP and Mister Herbie round out the lineup. The 13-race card that starts at 7:15 p.m. serves up eight stakes races, including an appearance by Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician, 16 for 16 on the season and a top contender for Horse of the Year honors, in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies. by Rachel Ryan for the Meadowlands
Charisma Hanover has charmed driver Yannick Gingras with her recent form as he gets ready to race the 3-year-old filly pacer in Saturday’s $167,500 Nadia Lobell Stakes at Meadowlands Racetrack. Gingras and Charisma Hanover will leave from post seven in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, which also includes world-record-holder Shebestingin from the stable of trainer Joe Holloway. Charisma Hanover has won 13 of 19 races this season, including seven of her last eight starts. Saturday’s stakes-filled card at the Meadowlands also includes the $534,500 Governor’s Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, $494,750 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, $456,150 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, and $394,950 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Also in action is 3-year-old colt Captaintreacherous, who takes on older foes including Foiled Again and Pet Rock in the $512,000 TVG Free For All Series Championship for pacers, and 3-year-old filly trotter Bee A Magician, who looks to complete a perfect season in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stakes. There also is the $500,000 TVG Free For All Series Championship for older trotters. Charisma Hanover enters the Nadia Lobell off a 1:51.4 win in the 3-year-old open Nov. 23 at the Meadowlands. In her previous start, she beat I Luv The Nitelife by a head to capture the American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park. I Luv The Nitelife, the richest filly pacer in harness racing history, was expected to compete in the Nadia Lobell, but will miss the race because of a knee injury that will require surgery. “I think she’s gotten better as the season has gone on, but she’s raced really well all year,” Gingras said about Charisma Hanover, who is trained by Ron Burke and has earned $555,729 this season. “We’ve been racing her a little differently than early in the year. She would get a little too fired up early in the year.” Charisma Hanover got a little fired up in the Valley Forge Stakes at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August, finishing seventh, but has been simply on fire in her eight starts since then. Her wins included the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, the Lady Maud and American-National in a stakes- and track-record 1:49. Her only loss during that span came when she suffered broken equipment and was pulled up in a Keystone Classic division at The Meadows in September. “She got the right trip behind I Luv The Nitelife in the American-National, but she never saw the rail either,” Gingras said. “She’s a very good horse herself, really a top horse in my mind.” Charisma Hanover, owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, is a daughter of stallion Dragon Again out of the mare Caught The Bouquet. She is a half-sister to 2004 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Runover Feeling, who finished third in the 2005 North America Cup and has earned nearly $900,000 in his career. The Nadia Lobell field, in addition to Charisma Hanover and Shebestingin, includes UF Dragon’s Queen, Mattie Terror Girl, Aunt Caroline, Jerseylicious, Somwherovrarainbow and Authorize. Shebestingin is the fastest female pacer in history thanks to her 1:47 win in a division of the Glen Garnsey at The Red Mile in October. “There are some good fillies in there that can go real fast as well,” Gingras said. “It should be a great race.” by Ken Weingartner for HRC
This Week: Meadowlands fall stakes finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Progress Pace final, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: Meadowlands Racetrack will feature eight stakes on the Saturday night (Nov. 30) card led by the $512,000 TVG FFA Series final for older pacers and the $500,000 TVG FFA Series final for older trotters. Also on tap will be the $534,500 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, the $494,750 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $456,150 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $394,950 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $253,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $167,500 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. On Sunday night (Dec 1), Dover Downs will feature the $284,160 Progress Pace final for 3-year-old male pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack's new season got underway this past Saturday night, with many of the top free for all trotters and pacers in the sport competing in the TVG FFA Series. The team of trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras swept both contests as Wishing Stone captured the trot and Foiled Again the pace. In the $50,000 final preliminary leg of the TVG FFA Trotting Series, Wishing Stone and Yannick Gingras led at every quarter, hitting the first quarter in :28.3, stalked by Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) and Uncle Peter (David Miller). That trio stayed in the same order through the :56 half and 1:24.4 three-quarters. With about an eighth of a mile to go, Market Share was out and moving, but could not overtake the late leaders, Arch Madness, who came off the rail to challenge and the winner in 1:54 by 1-1/4 lengths, Wishing Stone. Arch Madness was second and Market Share was third. Wishing Stone is trained by Ron Burke for owners Cowboyland Aalborg, TLP Stable, J & T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms. "Foiled Again will not be passed." Announcer Ken Warkentin summed up the mile as Foiled Again won the $50,000 TVG FFA Pace at the Meadowlands in 1:49.3. The last chance to gain points for this week's final saw Golden Receiver (Corey Callahan) first on the lead at the opening quarter in :27.1, only to be overtaken by Sweet Lou and David Miller, who held the lead to the :53.4 half. Just past the half, Yannick Gingras had Foiled Again out and poised to advance on the stubborn Sweet Lou, who was still on the lead at the 1:22 three-quarters. As the field paced down the stretch, the advancing duo of Warrawee Needy (Tim Tetrick) and Foiled Again wore down Sweet Lou, and the battle was on between those two. Foiled Again inched ahead and would not yield to Warrawee Needy to win by a neck in 1:49.3. Modern Legend (John Campbell) was third and Sweet Lou was fourth. Foiled Again is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. The $35,000 Progress Pace elimination for 3-year-old males was held on Sunday night at Dover Downs and 20-1 Twilight Bonfire got his picture taken. In a two-colt battle down the lane, Twilight Bonfire finally passed the favorite, Sunshine Beach, in the final strides to win by a head. Dedi's Dragon closed to finish third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,827; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,580; 3. David Miller - 1,143; 4. Brian Sears - 726.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 692.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,751.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,166.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 495.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 472.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 396.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 367.35; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 242.75. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadowlands will host W.N. Reynolds Memorial contests for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit
Whether you are a devoted harness racing fan, a purist of the Standardbred sport, a gambler or just someone who likes to watch a great event, then look no further than the Meadowlands Racetrack this Saturday, November 30. It’s a once in a lifetime match-up as Captaintreacherous, the three-year-old pacing machine, looks to close out his 2013 race season going against nine of the best older pacers in harness racing in the $512,000 final of the TVG Series. Voted the 2012 Pacer of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), Captaintreacherous has lived up to those standards again in 2013. He has competed in 15 races this season, won 13 of them and lost the other two in photo finishes. He has a record at a mile of 1:47.1 and earnings this year of $2,055,033. Trained by Tony Alagna and owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing Stable out of Versailles, KY, the son of Somebeachsomewhere was a yearling purchase for $250,000 and worth every penny and then some as he now sports career earnings of $2,973,286. Now on Saturday he will be all out to prove once again he is the best pacer in the world for the second straight year. But it will not be an easy task as he faces nine opponents, many of whom have years of experience and tons of speed. Leading the way is Foiled Again, the richest pacer in the history of harness racing with more than $5.7 million in earnings. With a victory he will be challenging Captaintreacherous for the votes in the Pacer of the Year balloting in December by the membership of USHWA and the race secretaries. For three straight years world champion Foiled Again has earned over $1 million for trainer and co-owner Ron Burke. The nine-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again never seems to know where the finish line is. He continues races first-up on the outside and if he can’t get to the lead he just grinds it out against opponents with great success. Also in the race is Pet Rock, whose displays of raw unbridled speed saw him score world records on two different sized tracks in 2013, the fastest a dazzling 1:47 mile. Other standouts in the race include the 2011 Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year, Sweet Lou, Warrawee Needy, Golden Receiver, Bolt The Duer, Modern Legend, Dynamic Youth and Bettor’s Edge. “Of course we would be happier with post four than post eight,” said Myron Bell, spokesman for Captaintreacherous Racing. “But the racing gods of the post position draw did not hear me. I promise everyone that Captaintreacherous will be heard from in this race. Our goals this year were to win the Meadowlands Pace, win the North America Cup and win the Breeders Crown so we could get an invitation to race in the TVG Final. Now it is up to Captaintreacherous and our driver Tim Tetrick to put the icing on the cake with a win this Saturday. “I am looking to have a great night on Saturday, win or lose,” Bell said. “He’s (Captaintreacherous) record speaks for himself. Of course I think he can beat these horses and I know he could lose too. But I am also happy because this race is for the fans. Anyone who loves a good horse race has to come to the Meadowlands on Saturday.” In addition to the TVG Pace Final, the 13-race program also features the $500,000 TVG Final for trotters headlined by Market Share, Arch Madness and Wishing Stone. There is the $534,500 final of the Governors Cup for two-year-old pacing colts, the $494,750 final of the Valley Victory for two-year-old trotters, the $465,150 final of the Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies, $394,950 Final of the Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies and the $167,700 Nadia Lobell Pace for three-year-old fillies. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com