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CAMPBELLVILLE, June 17 - Lindy Farms' International Moni captured the winner's share of the $251,000 Goodtimes Stakes purse on Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Driver Scott Zeron was able to engineer a second-over trip for the Frank Antonacci trainee to come through and win in 1:52.4. Enterprise, the 3/5 favourite, made a second-quarter move to the lead and posted middle-fractions of :56.1 and 1:24.3 to lead into the lane. International Moni, who was racing sixth in the early stages, caught the cover of stablemate Shake It Off Lindy heading around the far turn. International Moni surged to the lead in the lane and was able to hold off a late-rally from Mass Production, driven by Scott's father, Rick, to win by _ lengths. "I didn't mind where I got away, my horse is really handy," said Scott Zeron about getting away sixth. "I was very happy with where I was sitting...and when I angled him over I felt like I was an easy winner and I didn't even pull the plugs, but good thing I can hear my Dad screaming behind me, so I pulled them and he went on again." Seven And Seven came on to finish third, while Enterprise dropped back to finish fourth. A son of French Stallion Love You and former Horse of the Year Moni Maker, International Moni is now two for two this season to bring his career numbers to three wins and over $330,000 earned for owners Moni Maker Stable. International Moni paid $7.60 to win. Mark McKelvie / Ray Cotolo for WEG Communications  

WILKES-BARRE PA – Princess Fabulosa made her last start of the 2016 harness season on July 14, but the 11-month wait for her to come back to the races is now paying off in spades, as the Well Said mare is now 2-for-2 in the current campaign after taking a new lifetime mark of 1:51.2 despite a sloppy track Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Scott Zeron let the winner of $126,090 proceed frontward at her own pace, making the top past the 27.3 opening split, then backing off the half to 56.2. “Princess Fab” turned on the afterburners in the back half, coming home in 55 to be well clear of Family Roll Call, second to the winner for the second straight week. Mark Silva conditions the promising distaff (this was only her 19th lifetime start) for owners Lewis Whitaker and Charles Rowe. Just before the third race, the skies opened up over northeast Pennsylvania, with such heavy rain that the horses got as their chartcall at the half and 3/4s “RN,” for rain, so tough was the visibility. A near-gale-like stretch headwind developed, explaining fractions of 27.1, 57.3, 1:25, and 1:55.4 over the 5/8-mile track. As for driver Simon Allard, he figured that if he couldn’t see any horse in front of him, he was in good shape, so he sent Drivingthedragon N right to the top and went coast-to-coast at a $7.40 mutuel.   Jenn Starr was showing off her background in music by referencing The Doors' "Riders On The Storm" with the picture earlier. Maybe if The Lizard King had spent more time at Vincennes instead of other parts of Paris, the song would have been called "Drivers In The Storm."   And yes, that is a reference to a popular British TV show in the headline. ("Absolutely Fabulous," in case the reference was not there for you.)   PHHA / Pocono    

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - It is most certainly looking like the "Year of the Roy" as harness racing hottest new driver, Quebec's 27-year-old Louis-Philippe Roy, soundly defeated many of the top drivers in harness racing with an impressive victory in the second annual All-Star Drivers Tournament at the Hippodrome 3R. Roy was the only driver in the tournament able to score points in all eight tournament races. He ended the day totaling 192 points with Stephane Bouchard second with 144 points and Scott Zeron third with 118 points. "I was not that sure how I would do," Roy said after winning. "I was told that I was the morning line favorite and that the favorite has never won the tournament before and I am very happy with the victory. "I was fortunate to have some good horses today," Roy explained. "They kept me close to the action at the finish and I know that helped a lot with the points." Roy won the 4th race pace with Whitemountain Nemo in 1:55.2. That was his only victory in the tournament, but combined with five second place finishes, one third and one fifth place finish, put his point totals well ahead of the rest of the drivers. Also in the competition was defending champion, Jody Jamieson, Hall of Famer David Miller, Grand Circuit Champion Yannick Gingras, Trois-Rivieres native Daniel Dube and two-time O'Brien award winning driver Sylvain Filion. There was a $10,000 prize offered. Bouchard, who was making his first return to the Hippodrome 3R in 20 years, was the only driver to win two of the tournament races. Defending champion Jody Jamieson was the only driver not to win one of the races. Three horses took lifetime marks in the tournament. The Hippodrome 3R named the eighth race the "ALS Fight For The Cure" honoring Bouchard, whose son, Olivier, passed away last year in Montreal at age 26 from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). There was a special blanket presentation to the winning horse and 15 members and friends of the Bouchard Family were in the winner's circle. The management at Quebec Jockey Club donated the proceedings from the daily 50/50 drawing to the ALS Foundation in Olivier Bouchard's memory. Roy, the youngest of the eight drivers in the field, currently is the leading money winning driver in all of Canada and is second in dash victories. Last year he was the leading driver not only at the Hippodrome 3R, but also at Rideau Carlton. This year he moved his base of operations to Toronto. "After this afternoon," Roy said. "I will to go Quebec City and celebrate with my friends and then tomorrow fly back to Toronto to race at Mohawk. Then I will be coming back to the Hippodrome 3R next Sunday for the Quebec-Bred Series finals." It was Scott Zeron, who at age 28, the second youngster driver in the tournament, who had the early lead, winning the first race of the tournament with Rainbow Palace in a lifetime mark of 1:55.3. Zeron then was second in the next two races to lead the group with 100 points. But with Roy finishing second five times and Zeron then failing to get points in some of the later races, Roy was able to seal the victory after the eighth race and extended the lead with a second-place finish in the ninth and final race of the tournament. "We had superb weather, a sold-out dining room, good betting handle and great drivers competing," said Quebec Jockey Club president Claude Levesque. "We could not ask for anything more for the tournament. I want to thank all the drivers for taking the time from their schedules to come to H3R and what great gentlemen they are. We also want to thank the owners and trainers for entering their horses in this competition." Total point standings for the tournament were: Louis-Philippe Roy 192; Stephane Bouchard 144; Scott Zeron 118; Daniel Dube 103; Sylvain Filion 94; David Miller 74; Yannick Gingras 65 and Jody Jamieson 39. TRACK NOTES: Live racing resumes Tuesday evening at the Hippodrome 3R, post time 7:00 pm. Featured will be the second round of the $100,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotting mares and horses. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

East Rutherford, NJ - A beautiful Saturday evening provided a perfect setting for the 2017 edition of JerseyFest at The Meadowlands, with a packed house taking in the finest food trucks in the area and a fantastic twelve-race harness racing card. The featured $20,000 Preferred Pace lived up to top billing, with the classy eleven-year old veteran, Clear Vision, escaping with a nose victory after an epic four-way slugfest through the stretch, equaling his career best in 1:48.2. Clear Vision (Scott Zeron) left the gate aggressively from post four, before yielding to even-money favorite Mel Mara (Corey Callahan) just past the opening quarter in 26.3. Dealt a Winner (Andy Miller) settled in third in the early stages, while former New Zealand superstar, Christen Me (Victor Kirby), got away fourth from the outside post in the field of seven. They would continue to race like that through a half-mile in 54.1, and through the three-quarter marker in 1:22, before all three challengers fanned out off the cones turning for home to take their shot at the front-stepping Mel Mara. Ultimately, Clear Vision dug down to hit the line first, with only a neck separating the top four finishers. Mel Mara settled for second after putting up all the fractions, with Christen Me finishing just better than Dealt A Winner for third. It was a rebound win for Clear Vision after an impossible trip in last week's $109,500 Molson Pace at Western Fair resulted in a disappointing seventh place finish. It was the 38th win of his career, pushing his career bounty to just shy of $3 million. Total handle on the 12-race card was $2,995,672. Justin Horowitz

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - This Sunday afternoon, harness racing driver Jody Jamieson will be at the Hippodrome 3R racetrack, defending his title in the second annual All-Star Drivers Tournament. There will be eight championship races featuring the sports top drivers in races 2 through 9. First race post time is 12:30 pm. Jamieson will be joined by Grand Circuit Champion, Yannick Gingras, Hall of Famer David Miller, Trois-Rivieres native, Daniel Dube, the return after 20 years of Stephane Bouchard, Canada's leading driver the past two years, Sylvain Filion, 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winning driver, Scott Zeron, and the current leading money winning driver in Canada, Louis-Philippe Roy. "First off," Jamieson said. "I am tremendously grateful to be invited back to come back to Trois-Rivieres. The last couple of times I have been there it's been first class. They give me the best horses to drive, which I appreciate." (Jody won the last two tournaments at H3R) "I hope that trend continues," Jamieson explained. "because I'm going against some of the best drivers in the world." Last year Jamieson was the only driver to score points in all eight championship races that lead to his triumph over Sylvain Filion and John Campbell. "That's part of racing.," Jamieson said. "In order to get money or points, you have to finish in at least the top five every race. I've always prided myself on putting horses in the right spot so they can earn money or get the most points they can for me." How does Jody Jamieson feel, going into this Sunday's tournament? "I don't know if I am in the best of shape," Jamieson admitted, "but I'm feeling really good. "I'm pumped for this weekend," He stated. "I'm driving, in my opinion, the best I have driven in a while. My confidence in the sulky has all to do with the horses I am driving. I have been fortunate recently to drive some really good horses and helps build up your confidence." Jamieson also flecked on the "new kids on the block" in the tournament, Scott Zeron (28) and Louis-Philippe Roy (27). "I have raced against Scotty his whole career," Jamieson said. "He is a very tough, good young driver. He's going to have a great career, actually he has already won the trotting triple crown last year. He comes from a great family in racing, just as I have and he will be, if not already, a great driver. "This Louis-Philippe Roy sorta came out of nowhere," Jamieson added. "He raced a little in PEI last year for Old Home Week. I was kinda surprised to see him there and I did not know he had driven there in the past in some overnights. "I didn't realize he was friends with some of the great trainers and drivers in our sport," Jamieson said. "and he has really taken off after winning the Gold Cup and Saucer last year. "He's a force to be reckoned with," Jamieson added. "Given time he is another kid whose career has taken off extremely fast and he has already done a great job for the people he races for." Aside from harness racing, Jody Jamieson's other sporting passion is hockey. And he has always been outspoken about the Montreal Canadian's, even when being interviewed in the winner's circle at H3R a few times. And he spoke about the Canadian's. "It's typical of the Montreal Canadian's trading their best players away." Jamieson said. "They let on that they want to win the Cup every year, but they keep making mistakes like trading away P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. He was the only reason I tuned into the Canadian's games. To see what P.K. was up to and to watch the English commercials. "Now you see what P.J. has done to help the Predators. They are going for the Stanley Cup. I might even see if I can get a Predators tee-shirt to wear up there Sunday, just for the kicks." Jamieson laughed. It will be interesting to see what Jody Jamieson has to say in the winner's circle this Sunday at H3R, harness racing or hockey wise. From the Quebec Jockey Club

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 11, 2017 - A closing Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron, $11.80) tagged Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $50,000 Open Handicap Pace. Away fifth from post position No. 3, Guantanamo Bay saw Vegas Vacation (Jordan Stratton) work his way to the lead right at a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. After a :57.2 intermission, 25-1 outsider Sports Bettor (Brent Holland) made his second move, out from third. That didn't do much for those behind him, forcing 7-5 choice Blood Brother-who himself had been used earlier-wide by the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Meanwhile, Guantanamo Bay, from third-up, was gapping down the backside. It was Blood Brother taking a short lead off the final turn, but he wouldn't be able to close the sale as Guantanamo Bay rallied from fifth. That one made up more than three lengths, winning by a nose in a brisk 1:53.4. Vegas Vacation, Soto (Matt Kakaley) and a season-debuting Melmerby Beach (Tim Tetrick) rounded out the payees. For third choice Guantanamo Bay, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Daniel Renaud for co-owners Brian & Ira Wallach and Leonard Sorge, it was his third win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $37.80, with the triple returning $183. A reminder there is racing next two Sundays (March 12th and 19th), with first post each afternoon at 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

It is the place where dreams begin; it is the place where the top drivers and trainers of the future are born. It is the place where friends become family, and complete strangers become friends. This is the place where many trainers and drivers capture their first victories and dream of making it to the big leagues. These are the “B” tracks.  In the communities where these tracks are located, race nights are a time for family, friends, and neighbors to come together to laugh, enjoy each other’s company and create memories; and if they are lucky, maybe even cash a winning ticket or two. The people who race horses here, may not be racing for a million dollars, but to them, their horses are worth just that. Even though they may be racing in a claiming race, they are worth so much more to those that love them. For many fans, it is where they first experienced the thrill of betting and winning. For some owners like myself, it is where we got our first thrill of winning too.  Sometimes the trainer may have roles other than just a trainer. They may be the owner, as well as the driver, as well as the caretaker. In some rare cases, they have also bred the horse. I am going to share with you some of my favorite memories which were created at a “B” track.  There are many, and all of them mean something to me. Not every horse can race at an “A” track like Mohawk Raceway; that is precisely why there are “B” tracks. “B” tracks provide another place for horses to race and be successful. For example, Sydney Seelster (Pinky) liked the tight turns the smaller tracks have, in addition to the speed being a little more manageable for her. This was discovered after we tried racing her once at Mohawk Raceway and once at Woodbine, in both races she tried her very best, came fifth in one of those starts but she definitely raced more competitively on the “B” tracks. The majority of my experiences as an owner came from racing at Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, and Grand River Raceway- all “B” tracks. When Pinky won her first race for me on a Saturday afternoon, at Flamboro Downs, I felt like I had won a stakes race. I cried tears of joy. It is because of a “B” track my dream of being a winning owner came true. It is where my adventure with Pinky begins.  It is the place where I discovered the thrill of being an owner. Every track has their big day; their day to shine. It could be holding a stakes race or a track’s opening day for the season. This is one aspect of the sport which unites both “A” and “B” tracks. Whatever the occasion or event is, the ‘little’ tracks always make the occasion a big deal. I look forward to attending these special events and I do my best not to miss one.   Every year on the holiday Monday in August, Grand River Raceway, in Elora, hosts an annual event celebrating the harness racing industry in the province of Ontario. The day is called Industry Day. The day features the finals of the Battle of Waterloo for Ontario-sired colts and the Battle of the Belles for Ontario- sired fillies. The Industry Day of 2011 was my first time attending Industry Day. It is also the first time I recall going to another track other than Mohawk Raceway. Walking through the grandstand, I marveled at the new sights, it is a bee hive of activity. The atmosphere is lively and the passion is remarkable.  That day, driving stars Scott Zeron and Doug McNair were there to take pictures with fans, so I got mine taken with them. That was a highlight for me. The races were fast paced and action packed. The crowd was passionate and excited. There was clapping and cheering. The atmosphere was celebratory and made an impression on me. Many memories were made that day, and I will cherish them always. Since that Industry Day, I have attended every one. Like many people, going to Industry Day has become a tradition for me, and I look forward to going every summer. In the summer of 2012, I made the journey to Hanover Raceway for the Dream of Glory Stake and the fireworks which followed the races. It was time for me to experience another track. Hanover Raceway was a charming track. It was not fancy but that is what makes Hanover Raceway so special. The Dream of Glory may not be the most celebrated stakes race, but for fans in the small town of Hanover, they look forward to it every year. I was honored to be asked to present the trophy. After the races finished, everyone was anticipating the fireworks. The firework show was mesmerizing. To add to the colorful spectacle, snow-like flakes fell on me, they were ashes from the fireworks. In a strange way, it added charm to the night and was something unique, an experience I will always remember. Flamboro Downs holds the Confederation Cup and I look forward to going every year. It is a day where some of the best horses and drivers come to compete on the same track Pinky did. To think of it like that always makes me smile. I was given the signs which have the names of the horses in the Confederation Cup that are used when assigning post positions. I have the ones from 2015 and 2016 (with the exception of the winner, as that gets displayed). They are something I treasure. I have proudly displayed them in my room. My parents and I visit Flamboro Downs often. We go for dinner, to watch the exciting races and cheer on our friends who are racing. I always enjoy talking with the friendly staff. All levels of staff at Flamboro Downs always makes me feel special. Gary Guy is the announcer for Flamboro, as well as Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs. He is always sure to give me a shout out when he sees me sitting along the rail. I always feel so special when he does. I appreciate how he takes the time to do that. When Pinky won he always tried to play a song that mentioned pink as Pinky returned to the Winner’s Circle.  That made winning even more sweet. Every second-year Clinton Raceway holds an event which is like no other. Legendary drivers including Bill O’Donnell, Ron Waples, and Wally Hennessey, just to name a few, compete in one signature race. Although he did not drive, Keith Waples was also there. Hence, this day is called Legend's Day. The first time my parents and I went, every driver I wished good luck to in post parade won that race. My dad thought I was wearing horseshoes that day. After the Legend's Day race, all of the Legend's went to have a group photo taken.  I said hello to Wally Hennessey on his way to get his picture taken. He asked if I could watch his helmet and gloves. I agree and when he returned he gave his gloves and signed them. For the rest of the day, I wore those gloves with such pride. Later that afternoon it rained a lot. While we were taking cover [outside] from the rain, under an overhang at the end of the grandstand, we met a caretaker who had a horse in the last race on the card, we told her how ‘lucky’ I had been with telling drivers good luck. She told me “Trevor Henry is driving my horse is the last race, wish him good luck, and if we happen to win, come out for your picture”. Trevor Henry won that race. The rain was now teeming down. I raced through the rain to the winner’s circle. I was still wearing the gloves given to me by Wally Hennessey. I had to shield the signature from the rain, so the ink would not run. The drive home that afternoon was spent drying out.  I was drenched, but it added to the memories from that day. Today, those gloves have dried and are in a safe place for me to cherish. Two years later, I returned to Clinton Raceway for Legend's Day. I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the legends for a story a friend was doing. He is a journalist and was unable to make it. That was an experience which I was honored to have. This past October I made four-hour journey to Leamington Raceway. My parents thought it would be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I sat in the backseat, with my iPod and snacks, and we were on the road bound for Leamington Raceway. It was my first time visiting Leamington Raceway.  I love to visit new tracks and meet new friends. My dad was excited to be going too because Leamington was one of the few tracks he had not visited either. Before long, we are driving through small towns and countryside, soon we arrived at Leamington Raceway. I stepped out of my car and I was greeted by smiling faces. Then I received an awesome surprise, I was speechless. It was a sign which read “Stop! Parking for Sydney Weaver”. I felt so special, like a celebrity. It was just a small gesture that made my day even more special. I have always believed it is the little things in life that take up the most room in our hearts. That is something "B" tracks have in common. They add little personal touches, that make you feel welcome. For example, at Grand River, when you walk in the front doors, you are greeted by a gentleman, whose name is Tom, in a top hat and tails. He is happy and always smiling. That warm welcome is so special and has a big impact. The grandstand at Leamington was packed with people of all ages, and lots of kids. Everyone was having a grand time. Lawn chairs lined the fence. The day was picture perfect  We met up with friends and watched a few races, before being invited to take a tour of the new paddock. While in the paddock I had the opportunity to meet the people who were instrumental in getting the new paddock built.    The lovely people of Leamington Raceway were kind and gave me a Leamington Raceway sweater and baseball cap. I helped with on track draws too. Overall it was a fun day, and the day passed quickly. Before I know it, my parents and I are on the road again.  This time headed for home. As we drove, we reminisce about the memories that were created. “B” tracks might not be as well-known as the major tracks, but we need to embrace and support them. “B” tracks make our industry what it is. They are the foundation of our industry.  It is because of the smaller tracks that major tracks are able to prosper.  “B” tracks provide strength and support which is vital to the success of our sport. That is the beauty of a “B” track. Sydney Weaver is 16 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 17, 2017 - Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron, $8.70) gave nothing else a shot Friday night, easily winning the harness racing Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Bedroomconfessions threw down an early gauntlet, making the lead-from post position No. 7-before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. From there, she zipped the modern way, finishing her foray with intervals of :55.4, 1:24 1:52.1. Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) yielded for the pocket and watched the winner get away as Bedroomconfessions opened a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin was a never-in-question length-and-a-quarter. Empress Deo was second, with a season-debuting 6-5 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett), Regil Elektra (Jordan Stratton) and Bettor N Better (Brent Holland) rounding out the payees. For third choice Bedroomconfessions, a repeating 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Riverview Racing, it was her second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta (same combination as a week ago) paid $74.50, with the triple returning $189. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 10, 2017- Harness racing favored Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron, $4.30) was first home from second-over Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 4, Bedroomconfessions watched as pole-assigned Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) was the lone leaver. The other lasses quickly demurred through soft early intervals of :28.2 and :57.1. Passing the intermission, Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) took out of third, giving the people's choice a lass to latch onto. Empress Deo maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, after buried alive a week ago, Bedroomconfessions had no issue finding an open lane here. She powered past the leader, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2. Empress Deo held second, with Delightful Dragon, Motu Moonbeam N (Mark MacDonald) and a pocketed Arielle Lynn (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For Bedroomconfessions, a 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Riverview Racing, it was her first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $6.80, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $22.80. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 6, 2017 - Pine Tab ($19) with harness racing driver Scott Zeron aboard did something Monday night he hadn't done since April Fool's Day of 2013. He won a race. No foolin'. Chasing odds-on choice Madhatter Bluechip (Jason Bartlett) around Yonkers Raceway's oval in the $11,500, second race, Pine Tab-from post position No. 5--snapped the fave at the wire. He prevailed by a nostril in a life-best 1:57.2 while snapping a pesky 108-race losing streak (final 22 starts of '13, 0-for-32 in 2014, 0-for-20 in 2015, 0-for-31 in 2016, 0-for-3 to start 2017). "I knew it had been a while, but I had no idea it was that many races," Zeron said. "He was due," Raceway crack statistician Fred Opper said. The victory was Pine Tab's seventh in 152 career starts, with that previous win coming at the Meadows. The 9-year-old Cantab Hall gelding is owned by Domino Stable and trained by Doug Rothlein. Frank Drucker

East Rutherford, N.J. - October of 2016 has been quite a month for harness racing driver Scott Zeron--first, a Trotting Triple Crown with Marion Marauder, and now his first ever Breeders Crown title. Zeron sustained a first-over push through the far turn with Call Me Queen Be ($27.80) to duel down Jugette winner L A Delight for a 1:49.4 score in the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday (October 29) at The Meadowlands. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was forced to change tactics from a post 9 dispatch, settling into midfield on the first turn while Pure Country (Brett Miller) won a :27.2 first-quarter duel before yielding to L A Delight (John Campbell) midway up the far side. With just over half the journey remaining, Zeron moved Call Me Queen Be first-over and applied heavy pressure to L A Delight with three-eighths remaining. Of the new strategy, Zeron was pleased things worked out as well as they did. "I'm happy she was on her game tonight," he remarked. "That's not her style [going first-over], but things really worked out to her advantage, getting a soft third quarter and then just turn it into a sprint to leave [out] some of those horses that were following behind." While able to stick a head in front upon reaching head-stretch, Call Me Queen Be faced heavy resistance the length of the straight, forced to duel L A Delight through a :26 closing quarter to ultimately prevail by three-quarters of a length. Glen Garnsey Memorial winner Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) stayed on for third after directly tracking the winner's cover off the far turn. Ross Croghan trains Call Me Queen Be, now a 10-time winner, for the Let It Ride Stables and Mr. Dana Parham. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

It's been a great year for Rick and Scott Zeron and what would make it even better is winning a Breeders Crown race, something the father-and-son have yet to do in their illustrious harness racing careers. Rick Zeron, one of the sport's best all-around horsemen, has driven in 39 Breeders Crown races, his best finishes a couple of seconds with Armbro Rosebud in the 1997 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and Soulful Hanover in the 2000 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot. Soulful Hanover also represented his best finish in 13 starts as a trainer. Scott has driven in 44 Breeders Crown races, his best result a second-place finish with Cee Bee Yes in the 2014 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot. If the racing gods are co-operative, the Zerons will celebrate their first Breeders Crown wins with Shamballa in the Open Pace in this year's event at the Meadowlands, a track which has been kind to both members of Team Zeron in 2016. Scott drove Shamballa to victory for his father in August in the U.S. Pacing Championship, upsetting a field that included the likes of Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki. Both are entered in the Open Pace. On the same card that he steered Shamballa to victory, Scott won the Hambletonian with Marion Marauder, who subsequently went on to sweep the Trotting Triple Crown. Scott will be driving Marion Marauder in the Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot. He also has several other drives in the two-day championship event. Rick said Shamballa has a shot considering he has drawn the two hole in the field of 10, the same starting position in which he won the U.S. Pacing Championship, after drawing the outside post in his last three races. "Miki has the four hole and Wiggle It has the seven hole, so you're going to have some outside flow moving and the rail horse leaves so I'm looking for good things," Rick said. "Scott is really happy with the draw and, cross our fingers, we'll see if we can get our picture taken with a Breeders Crown trophy on Friday. That would be an extra boost if we can get this done. It would be a great achievement for Team Zeron. I'd be ecstatic to win a Breeders Crown. I have no words to describe it. I'd have to wait until it happens and then I could give you the words. Right now we're in the Breeders Crown and we drew good and I'm looking for good things. "I thought I was going to win it with Soulful Hanover. I came from about ninth at the head of the lane and finished second by 1½ lengths, beaten by Aviano. It was the shot that I thought I was going to win, and I think we've got a shot this week, too." Shamballa, a six-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, has won four of 16 races this season and almost $400,000 for an ownership group that includes Rick. "I got him late when he was a four-year-old," Rick said. "I raced him late at five. I trained him like the Europeans train their trotters to have them strong at six, seven and eight. He's done everything that I've asked of him. We came up light in the Canadian Pacing Derby (finishing seventh by five lengths). He got a little bit sick on me. I kind of let some money go out the door there, but he's made close to $400,000 this year and I'm happy with that. We've got two more races this year - the Breeders Crown and the TVG - so hopefully we can get some money in there and get him over the $1 million mark." Rick was originally scheduled to drive Windsun Revenge in the Open Trot, but the ownership group of Van Camp Trotting Corp., Robert Van Camp and trainer Jeff Durham asked the patriarch if he would allow his son to drive. Scott had been listed to drive to Il Sogno Dream. "My son has a great head on his shoulders," Rick said. "He's very confident in himself. He prides himself in looking good all the time. He works out more than most 27-year-olds. He keeps himself in as good a shape as a horse trainer can keep a top horse in shape. He handles himself extremely well and he holds in his nerves in big races. He analyzes things extremely well. He knows when he's got a shot to put his horse into the race and he knows when he doesn't have that good of a shot to fall off the gate and try and get the owner as much money as he can. "He's learning every day, which I'm extremely happy about because a lot of young drivers stop learning because they think they know it all. My son learns every day." Scott left the Ontario circuit three years ago to race full-time in the U.S., in particular at the Meadowlands, and he's become one of the top-10 earners, currently sitting in the top-five this season with more than $7.5 million. "It all comes down to the Breeders Crown," Scott said. "I've been close a couple times. I've had very good chances to do it and have come up just short. To me it's not the same thing as the Hambletonian where you get one race once a year. We have 12 Breeders Crown races, so I have a good chance of doing it - a very difficult one, too. It's missing on the resume, but I'll get the Breeders Crown win sooner rather than later. "It would be gigantic to win with Shamballa. A lot of the fact is it's my Dad's horse and we have such a great relationship. The other element is you're battling the Goliaths every single time we get behind the gate in that division with Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki. When I won the U.S. Pacing Championship, it was all the emotions of winning for my Dad and being a giant slayer. It's a big, big deal winning that division and the added incentive of winning it with my Dad." Scott is also excited about the prospect of winning with Marion Marauder, who would be in contention for Horse of the Year if the son of Muscle Hill won in the Breeders Crown. "I feel like there's a lot riding on this race in that respect," he said. "I want Horse of the Year just for the magnitude of the races he's won and what he's done. It's so hard to argue against Miki and Wiggle because they race 30 starts a year. They are in the box every week, racing non-stop in all their dances, whereas my horse will have 15 starts. It's so tough. I can't be the attraction that those horses are because they are always racing. "We pick our spots because we're only a three-year-old, but the magnitude and prestige of the races that my horse has won it's a big deal to get this last one." The complete field for the $421,000 Breeders Crown Pace is as follows: Race 7: post time 9:35 p.m. Post Position, Horse, Driver, Trainer, Morning Line 1 - Split the House - Brian Sears - Chris Oakes- 25-1 2 - Shamballa - Scott Zeron - Rick Zeron- 8-1 3 - Mach It So - Tim Tetrick - Jeff Bamond- 20-1 4 - Always B Miki - David Miller - Jimmy Takter-6/5 5 - Dealt a Winner - Andy Miller - Mark Silva-15-1 6 - All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke-15-1 7 - Wiggle It Jiggleit - Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis-8/5 8 - Luck Be Withyou - Brett Miller - Chris Oakes-12-1 9 - Melmerby Beach - Yannick Gingras - Ettore Annunziata-40-1 10 - Americanprimetime - Andrew McCarthy - Rick Dane-40-1 By Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown

The Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile is behind us, and it was a classic. Whether you privilege the breathtaking speed embodied in Always B Miki’s 1:46 world record win in the Allerage Open or the historical significance of the triumph by Marion Marauder in the Kentucky Futurity that capped the first Triple Crown season in a decade, nobody can cite a lack of drama. As one might expect, Muscle Hill and Somebeachsomewhere, the dominant forces at the Lexington Selected Sale that paralleled the meet, also rode roughshod over the competition on the track. Muscle Hill’s progeny won eight stakes races/eliminations, while SBSW’s get won 15 of the same. This is in addition to the success they had in the late closers that filled out the cards. Muscle Massive and Donato Hanover were second to Muscle Hill with four stakes wins each, while Art Major played second fiddle to SBSW, also with four. Appropriately enough, Marion Marauder, our new Trotting Triple Crown winner, is a son of Muscle Hill. He won for Scott Zeron and the extended Wellwood family. This was the young stallions first Kentucky Futurity credit.  The new speed king, Always B Miki, who won for David Miller and Jimmy Takter, is by the 12-year-old Indiana sire Always A Virgin, a successful regional stallion who has had limited exposure to the Grand Circuit. Miki broke the 1:46.4 race record shared by He’s Watching, Holborn Hanover, SBSW and Warrawee Needy as well as Cambest’s 23-year-old 1:46.1 time trial mark. Tim Tetrick won the most races at the meet: nine stakes and eight late closers. His most impressive win was Thursday’s 1:51.3 world record score by the impressive Chapter Seven freshman Walner for Linda Toscano and Ken Jacobs. This was only his fifth start, after taking two in the NYSS and a Kindergarten leg. He knocked a tick off of Southwind Frank’s 2015 mark. This colt is trending straight up. What Frank was to the 2015 meet, Walner was to this one. David Miller, who laid the foundation for his 2015 Driver of the Year award with a big closing day at last year’s Red Mile meet, may have done the same on Sunday with wins behind Darlinonthebeach in the Garnsey, Broadway Donna in the Filly Futurity and Always B Miki in the Allerage. Overall, he was second to Tetrick with seven stakes wins, in addition to scoring in a pair of late closers. Last year he sealed the deal with five wins on the Breeders Crown program at Woodbine two weeks after the Red Mile meet. Whether he recreates that feat at The Meadowlands this year or not, his numbers, in a season where he took the winter off, combined with the quality of his wins, make him the favorite to repeat as DOY. Andy Miller won five stakes, four of them for his wife Julie and one for Ross Croghan, as well as one late closer. Yannick Gingras also won five stakes, just as he did last year, but was blanked in the late closers this time. Corey Callahan, Brett Miller and Marcus Miller each had four stakes wins. The latter won three splits of the ISS on Saturday, all for his dad, with two of them, the SBSW filly Zane Hanover and the Art Major colt, Chip Walther, paying $189.80 and $84.80, respectively. Ake Svanstedt, Charlie Norris and Scott Zeron each had three stakes wins, with the latter also taking four late closers. Jimmy Takter topped all trainers with eight stakes wins, including that record mile by Always B Miki. Just as David Miller is primed to once again overcome Yannick’s earnings lead in the DOY contest, Takter may again overcome Ron Burke’s huge plurality in wins and money in the TOY race. Ron Burke had five stakes wins, including an upset in a Tattersalls split by the 20/1 Art Major colt, Stolen Glimpse, for Brian Sears. Last year Burke only won four of the high-dollar races, but he had eight second place finishes in them. On Sunday his Crazy Wow was second in the Allerage Open at 13/1, while Big Top Hanover was second in the Tattersalls Pace at 28/1. And Southwind Frank was nosed out by Marion Marauder in the Futurity. So the money was still rolling in. Julie Miller, Ake Svanstedt and Erv Miller each had four stakes wins, while Charlie Norris and Jim Campbell won three apiece. Tony Alagna, who had 5 stakes wins last year, including the Tattersalls Pace with Artspeak, had only 2 this time, although he did win 6 late closers. 54% of the stakes winners were bred in Pennsylvania, while 21% were from New York and 16% from New Jersey. Most of the latter are by Muscle Hill, who now stands in PA, and that must be taken into consideration. Ohio, Indiana, Florida and Ontario had one each, and one was by the French stallion, Love You. The Ontario SS Super Finals take place over the weekend so participation by that sector in Lexington is minimal. On the trotting side, there were eight for Muscle Hill, four each for Donato Hanover and Muscle Massive, three each for Cantab Hall and Credit winner, two for Andover Hall and the rest with one apiece. In 2015 Cantab Hall had 5 wins to 3 for Muscle Hill. As was the case this year three-quarters of the trot wins went to PA stallions. Somebeachsomewhere’s domination was more extreme than that of Muscle Hill. His progeny won 15 high-dollar stakes to four for Art Major and one each for all the rest. That amounts to a ridiculous 55% win rate for the 11-year-old son of Mach Three. This served as a marked contrast to last year when SBSW’s get had only three wins and New York pacing stallions dominated Pennsylvania by an 11 to 6 margin. American Ideal had no stakes credits this year, after accumulating four in 2015. Lots of juicy payoffs, aside from the pair from Marcus Miller and one from Sears/Burke already mentioned. The Crazed colt Shake It Off Lindy paid $29.60 for Tetrick and Antonacci in a Bluegrass split; the Yankee Glide filly Overdraft Volo paid $49.20 in another Bluegrass split for Andy and Julie Miller; the RNR Heaven colt Rock The Boat paid $38.20 in a Bluegrass division; the Credit Winner filly Bankette paid $73.60 for David Miller in a LC; the Donato filly Temple Ruins paid $30.60 in an ISS split for Brian Sears; and Gingras’ Cantab Hall filly Dancing IN The Hall paid $98.60 in a Filly Futurity elimination…. The most interesting winner was the Florida bred sophomore filly pacer Prairie Sweetheart, who was supplemented to the Allerage Mare and smoked her more accomplished foes in 1:49.1 for Matt Kakaley and Ross Croghan. Her sire, Royal Millennium, is an obscure 17-year-old son of Run The Table, whose granddam is a full sister to the great Sonsam. Prairie Sweetheart has won all 12 lifetime starts. There were some short fields, the Allerage Mare Trot had to be cancelled due to a lack of entries, and there was some wind and rain to contend with, but on the whole the record setting numbers at the sale were mirrored by some of the same on the track. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

The 124th Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile today was won by Marion Marauder who takes harness racing's Trotting Triple Crown. The time was 28.1  -  56.2  -  1:25.1  -  1:52.3   LEXINGTON, KY— In a stretch drive reminiscent of the Hambletonian, Marion Marauder lunged at Southwind Frank towards the center of the track to narrowly win the 124th running of the $431,000 Kentucky Futurity in 1:52.3, becoming the ninth horse to complete the Trotting Triple Crown.   Marion Marauder was wide for the entirety of the mile, managing to get cover from Bar Hopping while Blenheim trotted to the lead in :28.1. Love Matters was flushed first over heading to the half, carrying Southwind Frank and Bar Hopping on his back through a :56.2 half.   Love Matters engaged with Blenheim around the far turn. Southwind Frank began to edge three wide from second over, while Bar Hopping fanned wider of him and Marion Marauder wider of Bar Hopping. Blenheim held a narrow lead as a wall of horses stampeded towards him through a 1:25.1 third-quarter.   Southwind Frank swung to the lead in the stretch. Bar Hopping was moving down the center of the track, with Marion Marauder alongside. Marion Marauder accelerated by Bar Hopping and was trying to outsprint Southwind Frank towards the inside. The two had their noses extended heading to the line, with Marion Marauder inching to victory.   Winning his 11th race in 26 starts this season, Marion Marauder, by Muscle Hill out of the Donerail mare Spellbound Hanover, has compiled $1,755,268 for owners Devin Keeling and Marion Wellwood. Trained by Paula Wellwood and driven by Scott Zeron, he paid $9.20 to win.   “I had to had to have no game plan going into that race,” Scott Zeron said. “I had no clue what was going to happen; earlier there was a twelve-horse field and the eleven and twelve got away eleventh and twelfth. I wasn’t too optimistic, but the way it unfolded and Bar Hopping really pushed to get away up close, I just glued my horse to his helmet. We were able to get [Southwind] Frank out and it was a perfect train.   “I just had my eyes on Yannick’s and Timmy’s horses. I didn’t want to make a move too quick because I knew we’d be sprinting really hard down the lane. I was confident down the lane when I moved him over; probably watching the race, you might not have been as confident, but he dropped his head about two feet and just dug right through the wire. I was very confident he got up, but nobody else was, so thank God he got up. He was amazing.”   “All I can say is that my grandma was with me, the co-owner,” Devin Keeling said. “I’m just thinking about her right now.”   Marion Marauder wasn’t eligible to race in the Kentucky Futurity. However, after finishing second in the $522,120 Canadian Trotting Classic, his connections supplemented him for $47,261.   “I was a little leery [of supplementing him],” Paula Wellwood said. “But he showed after the Canadian Trotting Classic that he wanted to race, so we brought him.”   “It was the only way to go after he showed us how sharp he was with a week off,” Mike Keeling, who also trains Marion Marauder, said. “It has just been a tremendous year with a tremendous group of horses. I think we gave the fans a lot of thrills.”   Marion Marauder is the first winner of the Trotting Triple Crown since Glidemaster in 2006. He won the Hambletonian by a nose, the Yonkers Trot by a head, and the Kentucky Futurity by a nose.   “They don’t write down on the check how much you beat them by,” Mike Keeling said.    By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

LEXINGTON, KY-- Supplementing to the Kentucky Futurity for $47,621, Hambletonian and Yonkers Trot-winner Marion Marauder will attempt to be the ninth champion to claim the Trotting Triple Crown amid a stakes-packed harness racing card to close out the Grand Circuit meeting at The Red Mile on Sunday, October 9. The draw for the 124th Kentucky Futurity was conducted during The Red Mile's Thursday afternoon program. A field of 12 is slated to go in a single dash for $431,000, carded as race 12 on a 14-race program. Marion Marauder, by Muscle Hill out of the Donerail mare Spellbound Hanover, drew post 11.   "It's not [a great draw], but it should be a great race for the fans," Scott Zeron, Marion Marauder's driver, said. "I hope I can drive a nice race and have a little luck. I think I have the horse that can win it, I just have to make sure I drive him that way."   "I would trade places with literally anyone else," Zeron said jokingly on the draw. "[Jimmy] Takter's [has the] one, two, and twelve, so not only am I boxed in at the beginning but I'm boxed in by the Takter crew, too. It's going to take some nifty-stick handling."   A winner of 10 in 25 starts and $1,539,768 for owners Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling, Marion Marauder is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Southwind Frank, who bested Marion Marauder through most of last season and recently in the $500,000 Colonial Trot, is the 3-1 second choice. Bar Hopping, beating Marion Marauder in the $522,120 Canadian Trotting Classic and winning recently an $81,250 Bluegrass division, is 4-1, and Sutton off a 1:52 win in an $82,250 Bluegrass division is 6-1.   The Kentucky Filly Futurity goes as two heats, with two eliminations set for the first heat. Heat two will go for $218,400 and is the final race on the program.   Broadway Donna goes for redemption after breaking in a $62,400 Bluegrass split as the 1-5 favorite. Owned by Fashion Farms LLC and trained by Jim Campbell, the Donato Hanover filly, out of the Broadway Hall mare Broadway Schooner, Broadway Donna starts from post one. She has won 12 of 18 starts, earning $800,894.   Ginny Weasley, the Andover Hall filly out of the Donerail mare Donepunk who won a Bluegrass split in 1:53.1, neighbors Broadway Donna from post two. Ake Svanstedt trains the winner of six races in 19 starts, earning $128,563 for owner Torp Trotting Inc.   Celebrity Eventsy will try to rebound in the second elimination. Finishing fifth as the 2-5 favorite in a $62,400 Bluegrass division, trainer Staffan Lind sends the daughter of Manofmanymissions, from the American Winner mare Little Ms Queenie, from post four for owner Celebrity Farms. A winner of eight in 22 starts, she has earned $456,803 in her career.   She competes against Side Bet Hanover, by Donato Hanover out of the Muscles Yankee mare Sea Level Hanover, starting from post three. Jonas Czernyson trains for owner Srf Stable. Winning five of 18 starts in her career, she has compiled $175,336 in earnings.   Pacing fillies will congregate for two divisions of the $213,500 Glen Garnsey Memorial.   Off a second-place finish to Darlinonthebeach as the 4-5 favorite in 1:50.2, Pure Country races in the first division. The Jimmy Takter-trained daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, out of the Western Hanover mare Western Montana, has won 17 of 27 starts and earned $1,596,948 for owner Diamond Creek Racing. She races from post six.   Darlinonthebeach, by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Bettor's Delight mare Darlin's Delight, races from post seven in the second division for trainer Nancy Johansson. A winner of 11 in 27 starts, she has earned $776,823 for owner White Birch Farm.   From post one, Blue Moon Stride enters the second division off a 1:50.1 win in a $73,000 Bluegrass split. The filly by Rocknroll Hanover, out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Classic Star, has won 10 of 26 starts, earning $658,886 for owners Emilio & Maria Rosati. She has finished third to Darlinonthebeach in both the $94,675 Shady Daisy and the $350,000 Valley Forge.   Sophomore pacing colts and geldings were divided into two divisions for the $416,000 Tattersalls Pace.   Division one draws Check Six, Western Fame, and Lindy Beach, all of whom are entering off wins in the Bluegrass. Check Six, by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Artsplace mare Southwind Vanna, won his $57,300 Bluegrass division in 1:50 as the even-money favorite. Winning 12 of 26 starts, he has earned $903,804 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, William Switala & Joe Martin. Trainer Ron Burke sends him from post six.   Western Fame, winning a $58,300 Bluegrass division as the 2-5 favorite in 1:50.3, starts from post seven. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the colt by Western Ideal, from the Artiscape mare Shyaway, has won five of 22 starts, earning $316,156 for owner Brittany Farms.   Trying for his fifth-straight win this season, Lindy Beach, off a 1:50.3 win in the Bluegrass, races from post nine. By Somebeachsomewhere out of the Real Desire mare Real Appealing, he has won four of 13 starts, earning $64,912 for owners Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Frank Baldassare and trainer Frank Antonacci.   Racing Hill, after scratching from the $276,960 Little Brown Jug, headlines the second division from post seven. Trained by Tony Alagna, the colt by Roll With Joe, from the American Ideal mare Chasing Ideals, finished third in the first heat of the Little Brown Jug in a 1:50.1 mile. With wins in the $500,000 Messenger Pace and $400,000 Adios Pace, he has 10 victories to his credit in 22 starts, earning $1,358,876 for owner Tom Hill.   Tony Alagna also trains American Passport, by American Ideal out of the Four Starzzz Shark mare Star Of The Show. He draws post two after nearly going wire to wire in his Bluegrass split, instead finishing second by three-quarters of a length to Check Six. A winner of five in 25 starts, he has earned $298,016 for owners Brittany Farms, Riverview Racing, Alagna Racing, and Jody Siamis.   The aged racing divisions will also compete in their respective splits of the Allerage Farms stakes.   Older pacing fillies and mares will contest in the $100,000 Allerage Farms Stakes. Division speedster Lady Shadow races from post two off a 1:50 win in the $236,360 Milton Stakes. The mare by Shadow Play, out of the Camluck mare Lady Camella, has won 25 of 51 starts, earning $1,354,042 for owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and the Bfj Stable.   The $101,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot attracts Obrigado as he readies for the $1,000,000 International Trot at Yonkers Raceway. Recently winning the $160,00 Dayton Trotting Derby in 1:53.2, Obrigado will start from post three. Trained by Paul Kelley, the gelding by Boy Band, from the Malabar Man mare Malimony, has won 40 of 76 starts, amassing $1,362,019 in earnings for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, Srf Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45.   With the announcement that Always B Miki will stand at Diamond Creek Farms in 2017, the all-time world record could be at stake in the $138,000 Allerage Open Pace. By Always A Virgin out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, Always B Miki, a winner of 26 in 49 starts, has dazzled across the country all season and has demonstrated a talented amount of speed. With a mark of 1:47 at Pocono Downs taken in both the elimination and final of the Ben Franklin and then equaled in the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial, Always B Miki has earned $2,227,368 for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. The five-year-old will start from post three.   Post time for the final day of the Grand Circuit fortnight at The Red Mile is set for 1:00pm.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

In four days Scott Zeron will attempt to become the youngest driver to win a harness racing Triple Crown, for either trotters or pacers. Throw in the fact his horse's owners are paying a hefty supplemental fee of around $50,000, and that could make for a lot of pressure as Zeron gets set to drive Marion Marauder in the Kentucky Futurity at Lexington's Red Mile on Sunday (Oct. 9). But a laidback, understanding group -- consisting of trainers Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling and owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling -- have made things easy for the 27-year-old Canadian since this journey started at the Hambletonian and continued with the Yonkers Trot. "They're not hanging over me going, 'This is the end all, be all, we want this,'" Zeron said. "Heading into the Hambo they told me, 'It's a long year, we've got a lot of races to race,' and not saying, 'Listen, this Hambletonian is all we want, it's all we care about.' That would make it pressure filled. They just want the horse to race well. "(Pressure) varies for every horse and every trainer. The connections I'm driving for are just the nicest, greatest, most appreciative people you could ever drive for. I know that they're confident in me, without a doubt, and I'm confident in my horse. I really think it hasn't been a pressure filled year." It has been nothing but an enjoyable year. Having a horse as talented as Marion Marauder also helps calm the nerves. "This is the kind of horse that both the connections and myself have never been able to be a part of, so it's all taken in stride," Zeron continued. "The nerves would be different if I had a horse that broke every other week, things like that. But this horse is a true gentleman and the connections are just a pleasure to drive for." The last Trotting Triple Crown winner was Glidemaster in 2006. He became the eighth horse to sweep the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, and Kentucky Futurity. Marion Marauder won the Hambletonian in August and Yonkers Trot in September. Since then, his connections hedged on attending the Kentucky Futurity, with the original plan to skip the event. Ironically, it was after Marion Marauder was beaten by Bar Hopping at the Canadian Trotting Classic in his most recent start that thoughts began to differ. Mike Keeling had wanted to hit the Red Mile all along, and he finally convinced the rest of the group it was the right thing. "As far as I know, right after the Canadian Trotting Classic, they didn't want to have a five-week break until the Breeders Crown elimination; it was just a little too long," Zeron said. "We went over the list of who we felt could be going to the Futurity, and the rule is that if there's 12 they go straight to the finals." The draw is not until Thursday, so it will not be known until then whether there is just one race. If not, the eliminations and final will both be contested Sunday. "I think for them it was a matter of praying we don't go two heats, only in the best interest of the horse not having to go two heats twice in the year," Zeron said. "And I think, if you ask them, it was a case of Marion feeling really well the last two weeks, and they just wanted to race him." Zeron admitted he would have been disappointed, but understanding, about losing his shot at history. "For sure, but I would have supported whatever decision they made," he said. "The Breeders Crown is another one I haven't won. If we go straight to the final, the plan will work out brilliantly." Marion Marauder has won nine of 12 races this year and earned $1.25 million. His victories include the Hambletonian, which also contested eliminations and the final on the same day, Yonkers Trot, Goodtimes Stakes and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He finished second in the Canadian Trotting Classic and Colonial. The driver admitted he could never script a season like this. "When things are going right, they're just going right," said Zeron, who has been the horse's lone driver since the middle of his 2-year-old season. "If you really break it down, Marion has been a phenomenal animal for me. "Those two major critical (Triple Crown) stakes we had coming into the Futurity, we won by a nose and a head. The roles could have been reversed either way. I'm grateful to just have a horse like him to take me on this kind of trip. He's a pleasure to drive. He makes me confident when I'm out there with him. I just have to put him in a spot to have a chance to win the race. That's really my only job, he does the rest." Marion Marauder is coming off a three-week layoff since losing the Canadian Trotting Classic and Zeron feels it was a necessary respite after an extremely busy schedule. "He was coming off a stretch of (racing) five consecutive weeks," Scott noted. "All the races prior to that, he had layoffs. He had three weeks between the Stanley Dancer and the Hambo. He's always had nice comfortable breaks except for those five weeks straight. By the end of it they just wanted to assess the way he came out of the Trotting Classic, and I think he's been more than feeling well which is why they made the decision to come to Kentucky." Zeron, who has finished second in the Futurity twice, would supplant Trond Smedshammer as the youngest driver of a Trotting Triple Crown winner. Smedshammer was 37 when he trained and drove Windsong's Legacy to the Triple Crown in 2004. On the pacing side, George Sholty was 33 when he guided Romeo Hanover to complete the Pacing Triple Crown in 1966. William Myer drove Romeo Hanover in the Cane Pace with Sholty winning the Little Brown Jug and Messenger. Although seeking his first Futurity win, Zeron has won the Tattersalls so he has had some success in big 3-year-old races at the Red Mile. He is already the youngest driver to win the Little Brown Jug (with Michael's Power in 2012) and the second youngest to win the Hambletonian. As a Canadian, he still yearns to win the Canadian Trotting Classic, but a win on Sunday would take away the sting of that setback. "It would take ALL of the pain away from that, no doubt," Zeron said. "I would forget about the Trotting Classic by winning the Futurity and getting that Triple Crown." The list of drivers to be part of a Trotting Triple Crown-winning campaign includes Hall of Famers Joe O'Brien, Ralph Baldwin, John Simpson Sr., Stanley Dancer (twice), Howard Beissinger, and Campbell. To join that list at all would be impressive. To be the youngest man on it makes it even more notable. "It's a big deal for me," Zeron said. "I'm here for the whole Grand Circuit two weeks. It all leads up to that last day. I'm excited about it, I'm confident my horse can do it. "It's a lot for a horse to do. But hopefully we draw well, hopefully I drive well and the horse is on his game." One thing that's not on is the pressure. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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