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Hit The Lights had 28 starts before he emerged triumphant but as often is the case with horses that take forever to win a race just two starts later the Mark Geeves-trained gelding was back in the harness racing winner's circle. The gelded son of Shadow Play registered his second win in a C1 over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last Sunday night. With Adrian Duggan in the cart, Hit The Lights settled near the rear of the field but when the pace slackened the driver made the race-winning move to allow his charge to roll around the field and face the breeze from where he could help dictate the pace of the race. Hit The Lights stormed to the lead in the home straight and went on to score comfortably from Last Guy Standing and Pop The Cork. Hit The Lights is owned by Geeves and his long-time friend and fellow hobby trainer Eric Blomquist. Geeves purchased the gelded son of Shadow Play from Queensland about 16 months ago and when he arrived at his stables he immediately showed promise but a back ailment prevented him from realising his potential. "Because he showed so much when he first arrived (in Tasmania) we pushed on to try and win a three-year-old event but I discovered the back problem so I tipped him out and gave him a decent spell," Geeves said. Now that Hit The Lights has found form Geeves expects the gelding to remain competitive as he makes his way through the lower classes. Peter Staples  

So far she’s gone through the series unnoticed, but Black Silhouette is ready to step out of the shadows. That’s the call from harness racing trainer Sam Dimarco after his promising filly drew perfectly in Saturday night’s Ladbrokes Australian Pacing Gold Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Third in her heat at Menangle a fortnight ago, Black Silhouette was fourth in her semi won by unbeaten youngster Molly Kelly last weekend. With the daughter of Shadow Play to begin from the pole in the $322,000 decider, Dimarco is positive Black Silhouette is ready to surprise her more fancied rivals. “It’s great to get a draw like that with her,” Dimarco said. “Coming from there puts her right in the mix. “She has done a good job to get to the Final and has improved with every run. “Last week she pulled a little in the semi during that slow middle quarter, but with such a strong field this week, the pace should remain consistent, which will help her. “She’s come through the run in great order and has settled in well down here at Vince’s (Vallelonga) place. “I worked her this morning and she felt great. She’s ready to run a big race.” Owned by his wife Michelle, daughter Marissa, her partner Tim and his mother Norma, Black Silhouette found her way into Dimarco’s stable via prominent horseman Ricky Alchin. “Ricky bought her at the Sydney APG Sale and was preparing her for the Ready To Run Sale, but we bought her off him before that,” Dimarco explained. “Marissa picked her out and particularly liked her because she is by Shadow Play. “We won our first Group One with Shadow Runner, which is also by Shadow Play, so Marissa likes his stock.” APG Media

Hits the Lights finally delivered on the potential he showed when he first arrived in Tasmania by powering his way to an impressive harness racing win in the Green Electrical Pace over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. The Mark Geeves-trained four-year-old faced the breeze for over a lap but proved too strong for his rivals at the business end of the race to score by 5-1/2 metres from Peteri Mic with Really Frank a half-neck away third. Geeves purchased the gelded son of Shadow Play from Queensland about 16 months ago and when he arrived at his stables he immediately showed promise but a back ailment prevented him from realising his potential. "Because he showed so much when he first arrived (in Tasmania) we pushed on to try and win a three-year-old event but I discovered the back problem so I tipped him out and gave him a decent spell," Geeves said. "He's come back in good order and his runs leading up to this race were good but we had to drive him differently tonight to make sure it wasn't going to be a sit and sprint. "I'm not sure how many more wins he's got in him but we've got one at least." Geeves, who considers himself a boutique trainer these days with only one or two horses in work at any one time. Hit The Lights ($7.50) was well driven by Adrian Duggan who settled the gelding three-back in the one-out line but when the pace slackened 1200m from home he sent the gelding around the field to face the breeze. He forged to the lead leaving the back straight the last time and went on to score comfortably. "We wanted to make sure he was up on the speed so that we could play to his strength," Duggan said. "He's done a good job tonight and on that run he'll definitely win again." Peter Staples  

A commanding performance on debut on Tuesday of last week by Play The Boys stamps the impressive colt as the winner of the $95,000 Clipsal By Schneider WA Sales Classic for harness racing two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Play The Boys, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was assured of favouritism when he drew ideally at barrier No. 2 on the front line in the 1730m classic. He looks set to lead or to race in a prominent position and should carry too many guns for the opposition. He overcame the disadvantage of a wide barrier (No. 8) in last week’s race when he settled in sixth position before starting a three-wide move to the breeze outside Hughey The Hammer, who had assumed control after 550m. Play The Boys got his head in front of Hughey The Hammer at the 100m mark and went on to win by a neck, but in good style, from that colt, rating 1.56.2 after final quarters of 28.7sec. and 28.5sec. Play The Boys, by American stallion Shadow Play, is out of Hello Boys, who raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and stakes of $89,541. Hello Boys, an elder sister to Party Date (111 starts for 25 wins, 27 placings and $256,003) is also the dam of Kiss Chasey, who has earned $146,358 from 16 wins and 15 placings from 59 starts. Kohli, trained by Bryan Cousins and to be driven by Kim Prentice, will have many admirers, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line. Kohli has finished second at each of his two starts (over 1730m at Gloucester Park) and shows excellent potential. He raced in the one-out, one-back position when second to Pocket More For Less and then raced without cover when a fighting second to Rock Me Over. He is bred to be a winner, being by former champion New Zealand pacer Courage Under Fire and out of Elegant Eyes, whose elder full-sister Innocent Eyes earned $421,875 from 18 wins and 17 placings from 62 starts. Innocent Eyes won four group 1 events --- the Victoria and Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in July 2005, the Chariots of Fire at Harold Park and the Vicbred Super Series for four-year-old mares the following year. Rock Me Over, a good winner at each of his past two starts for trainer Katja Warwick and reinsman Gary Hall jun., has drawn awkwardly at barrier six, but cannot be left out of calculations. He was untroubled to lead throughout from the No. 1 barrier and win by more than two lengths from Kohli on Tuesday of last week after racing in the one-out, one-back position and winning easily from Mistersandman at Pinjarra at his previous outing. Rock Me Over, by American sire Rock N Roll Heaven, is a half-brother to Handsandwheels, the winner of the WA Derby last Friday week. He is also closely related to several smart pacers, including Suave Stuey Lombo (110 starts for 33 wins, 23 placings and stakes of $587,032) and Miss Trick In Lombo (109 starts for 15 wins, 29 placings and $230,312). Ken Casellas

IT is often said that good things come to those who wait – and boy was Geoff Simpson’s wait rewarded with a good thing. Thirty-one years after the Lithgow trainer-driver took part in the first staging of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Gold Crown series, he got his hands on the coveted trophy. He did it with a $24.70 outsider called Castalong Shadow and the 1:55.2 winning mile rate was the fastest in crown history. It was far different expression on his face than Simpson wore after the inaugural Gold Crown Final for two-year-old colts and geldings in 1987.  In that decider his chance Too Rich finished 37 metres off the pace in ninth. “I waited long enough,” Simpson said. “Since Lithgow shut this has been my home track, so I am very grateful to win this race. It means everything to me.” While Simpson could not have dreamed of a better finish to the Group 1 final, the 1,730 metres trip was not all smooth sailing. His start from barrier six was not the best, but Simpson was able to duck across to the pegs. There he found himself in the trail behind Maximus Red. As the bell sounded hot $1.10 favourite Divine State – a horse who had already twice beaten Castalong Shadow – rolled up to take the lead, shuffling Simpson back into third. After a hot 56.4 seconds first half of the last mile, Divine State managed to put two lengths on the chasing pack. At that point Simpson thought the ‘Team Tritton’ gelding would go on to win. “I thought I might still battle on and get a place when I saw it go,” Simpson admitted. But Castalong Shadow did more than just snag a minor placing. Both Maximus Red and Castalong Shadow gave again and not only caught the favourite, but ran straight past him. Castalong Shadow continued to give and went on to win by 7¼m, the Shadow Play x Leslie Jay colt taking his record to three wins from five starts. In a local trifecta, the Bernie Hewitt trained, Mat Rue driven Mackeral ($50.70) found the line well to place second, with 4m back to Steve Turnbull’s Maximus Red ($9.50) with Amanda Turnbull in the gig. “I missed the start actually, he got out a little bit slow. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because Amanda’s horse and that one of Tritton’s went pretty hard in the first bit,” Simpson said. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Annabeth (Shadow Play) pulled off a mild harness racing upset in the Thursday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Melissa Beckwith-trained six year old was dismissed at odds of 8-1, the longest shot on the board in the field of five in the $12,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Annabeth was a beaten favorite in last week's Open and sat third on the rail on Thursday before surging up the passing lane to edge out front-runner Bye Bye Michelle (Dan Cappello Jr). Annabeth paid $19.80 while winning for the second time in five seasonal starts. The exacta with Bye Bye Michelle second returned $60. Milky Way Rae (Billy Dobson) finished third to extend her stretch of hitting the board to four. Annabeth, who stopped the timer in 1:54.1, was driven to victory by Mark Beckwith who piloted five winners on the matinee card, four for conditioner Melissa Beckwith. Live racing continues on Friday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 3, 2017 - Tessa Seelster (George Brennan $18.20) survived from first-up Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth from post position No. 4, 'Tessa' saw Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) and Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) want in early. The latter reclaimed from the former just after a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. It was a soft :56.4 intermission before the eventual winner moved. Tessa Seelster engaged toward a 1:25 three-quarters, while Apple Bottom Jeans (Matt Kakaley) was gapping that one's advances. This helped none of the outside assignees, notably just-over-even-money Mackenzie A (Joedan Straton), Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron). Only one of those would be heard from late. It was Lispatty taking a short lead into the lane, but Tessa Seelster was about to wear her down. 'Tessa' prevailed late, holding off a knifing-through Mach it a Par by a neck in 1:54.3. Shesjustadelight N, Lispatty and Apple Bottom Jeans came away with the remainder, with Bedroomconfessions sixth Mackenzie A a went-nowhere last among the octet. For fourth choice Tessa Seelster, a 5-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, it was her third win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $70.50, with the triple returning $300. Frank Drucker

DOVER, Del---- Tessa Seelster made her first Dover Downs appearance a winning one in the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap pace on Tuesday, Jan.31. Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras had a quartet of winners. With Yannick Gingras in the bike, the five-year-old Shadow Play-Titania Seelster brown mare made her local debut an impressive one turning back six foes in 1:51.2 in the week's top female pace. Gingras had to hold off a strong two horse challenge in deep stretch to beat Mischief Maker N (Ross Wolfenden) and Sweet Bobbie (Art Stafford Jr.) in the photo. Tessa Seelster is owned by Jonathan Newman, Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing Stable and won for the 19th time in her career. A $225-thousand winner last season, she now has banked $399,703 in her career. Elliesjet N was scratched. OTC Stables' Dismissal, reined by Corey Callahan) won her third in-a-row ending Vintage Babe's (Gingras') six straight winning streak in the secondary feature, $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Mares pace. Fresh from a six-length win last week, Dismissal, a four-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Her Mattjesty, won easily again with Vintage Babe second best. In The Shadows (Tony Morgan) took third. Gingras completed the day with four winners. Meet leader Vic Kirby and defending champ Corey Callahan had triples,, Ross Wolfenden won two races while trainer Clyde Francis and owner George Teague along with trainer Brain Malone and co-owner Carrie Malone also had two wins. MOONLIGHT COCKTAIL AIMS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WEDNESDAY Moonlight Cocktail puts her three-race win streak on-the-line in the Wednesday, Feb. 1 feature trot at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Tony Morgan drives Moonlight Cocktail, trained by Linda Toscano, from post 8 in the $13,500 4&5-Year-Old feature  for owners TLP Stable and Richard Gutnick, who is best remember for the outstanding !-million winner Chapter Seven, who completed his career winning the Matron Stake at Dover after winning the Hambletonian. The sharp Streamsong, owned and trained by Bobby Glassmeyer, with Jonathan Roberts in the bike finished second last time a two consecutive wins. Iron mine Branch’s Royal Surprise circled the field to win his previous start and will be driven by George Dennis. Barbara Kirby’s Myclaimtovictory and Kim Vincent has be solid in his last few races. Tom and Gregg Morris’ Doggone Slots handled by Roger Plante must start in the second tier from post 9.Eric Good and trainer Gary Simpson’s Nebraska Jack gets the services of Pat Berry in the bike. Howard and Linda Dege’s Five Below drew the rail with Art Stafford Jr driving. Marley’s Guy with  Vic Kirby driving for Steve Meltzer and Medinah Racing and Don Marine’s Luck Ten K and Ross Wolfenden leave from inside posts. Weekday post time for Monday through Thursday racing is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission are free. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant’s acclaimed Buffet and for the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Top harness and thoroughbred races are featured in the Racing and Sports Book daily for 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Marv Bachrad

LEBANON, OH. - Kiss Of Terror was crowned as the first of seven "Claim To Fame Series" harness racing champions that will be decided over the next five days at Miami Valley Raceway. By winning the $27,100 final in 1:53.4 the 5-year-old Western Terror gelding is the king of the $12,500 male pacing division. Driver Chris Page pushed Kiss Of Terror hard off the gate before briefly yielding to John Jay (Simon Allard) on a quarter pole 'give and go'. Just past the halfway point longshot Poison Oak (Kayne Kauffman) was angled outside and launched a strong first-up challenge, but provided cover for even money favorite Splended Party (Mike Oosting) who was drafting right behind him. When it looked like the two challengers might swallow up Kiss Of Terror at the head of the stretch the winner found another gear and managed to hold them at bay. Kiss Of Terror, who was claimed in each of the two preliminary legs of the series, raced for new owner Eric Prevost and trainer Charlie Stewart in the final. With 14 career wins she now sports $160,000 in lifetime earnings. A $22,000 Mares Open pace was also featured on the Friday program. Cast No Shadow (Tyler Smith) upset the elite nine-horse field with a come-from-behind 1:55 tally over Aniston Seelster (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Safe From Terror (Chris Page). It was the 13th lifetime victory for owner-trainer Millard Adams pride and joy, boosting her total bounty to $242,569. Smith had Cast No Shadow in second-over position at the half, then swung three-wide at the three-quarter pole. Gradually passing foes around the final bend and through the stretch, the daughter of Shadow Play just got up in the final strides to return a $31.00 win mutuel. Racing resumes Saturday night at Miami Valley with the $34,500 championship leg for $20,000 claimers on tap as well as a $22,000 Open. Post time is 6:05 p.m. Gregg Keidel

A $6,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace heads the harness racing  marquee Saturday night at Cal Expo with stablemates Shark Festival and Party Hangover Two among the major players. There will be 13 races under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The main event will go as the third race on the evening. Both Shark Festival and Party Hangover Two hail from the Kathleen Plested shedrow with Shark Festival leaving from the No. 5 slot with Mooney Svendsen, while Party Hangover Two has the outside post in the field of six with Steve Wiseman at the controls. Shark Festival is a 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Shark Fest who is owned by Medinah Racing and Scott Ehrlich. She established here 1:53 3/5 mark over this track last year and is coming off a victory at this level two weeks ago. Leaving from the demanding No. 9 post that evening with Wiseman in the sulky, she left for a spot early and then started her move with cover on the backside. When the question was asked, the mare responded and prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Window Wiper in that affair. Party Hangover Two hits hard with these and looms large with her top effort, while the Gene Vallandingham-trained Game Of Dreamers is coming off an Open II score last weekend and has to be given plenty of respect with Tony Succorote at the controls. Completing the field are Poorlittlerichgirl, who has the cozy rail slot with William Hernandez giving directions; Stable Eyes for Tim Clevenger; and the Gerry Longo-conditioned Magnifique. Reduced takeout wagers offer true value There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, affording players the chance to get some real value. They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races of the evening; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which covers the penultimate four contests on the program. To give you some idea of the value, last Saturday night's Pick 5 saw four winners between even-money and 6-5, with the upset of the sequence coming in the opener when Twomickeytrip got the job done at $18. For each 50-cent ticket, there was a return of a healthy $462, enriched by the fact that there was a reduced takeout rate. Last Saturday night's program concluded with winners that went off at 3-5, 2-1, 5-2 and 18-1 and the winning Pick 4 tickets were worth a cool $244 each for 20-cent investment. By Mark Ratzky

Talented young harness racing driver Maddison Brown will have a big following when she drives the promising five-year-old Machrihanish in the 2130m Retravision Westbred Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be the first time the 21-year-old Brown has handled Machrihanish in a race. She replaces Aiden de Campo who drove the gelding to an impressive victory over Shirlz Sensation and Sir Slick last Friday week. De Campo will drive Khun Ratha, who is resuming after a spell for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo. Machrihanish, prepared in Bunbury by Stephen de Campo, is a versatile pacer who will start from barrier four on the front line. The Shadow Play gelding raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly to win at his most recent appearance. Khun Ratha, the solitary runner off the back line, will be making his first appearance since finishing seventh behind Shardons Rocket over 2185m at Pinjarra on October 17. He has a losing sequence of 12 and his most recent success was over 2150m at Bunbury early in November 2015. Major Rush, a standing-start specialist for Myalup trainer Graham Gilbert, will make a rare appearance in a mobile event in Friday night’s event. He is a good frontrunner and is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Major Rush’s past five starts have been in stands and he has run in only one mobile event in his past ten outings. Aiden de Campo has each-way prospects with his other drives at the meeting --- Scoobys Delight, Bettor Pack A Pistol, Ultimate Major and Onunga. His main prosects will be Scoobys Delight in the Choices Flooring Pace and Ultimate Major in the Slater Gartrell Pace. Scoobys Delight, trained at Pinjarra by Gary Elson, was last driven by de Campo when he started from the back line and dashed to the front in the first lap on his way to winning by three lengths from Stroganoff. Scoobys Delight has raced 38 times for five wins and 18 placings. Ultimate Major has won at three of his past eight starts and looks one of the main chances in Friday night’s 2536m event in which he will start from barrier four on the front line, with the promising Gaz Wannabet at barrier No. 6. Ultimate Major started out wide at barrier eight in a 2130m event last Friday night and did well to finish solidly from tenth at the bell to be sixth behind The Trilogy. He was an easy all-the-way winner in modest company over 2258m in Albany at his previous outing. Punters should disregard Gaz Wannabet’s eleventh placing in the Northam Cup last Saturday night. He locked wheels and broke into a gallop 200m after the start before trailing his rivals. At his previous outing he started off 40m and raced wide early before taking up the running and scoring an easy victory over Hear It Now in a 2631m event at Pinjarra. Ken Casellas

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 3, 2017 -- Skippin By overwhelmed the leader with a first-over blitz in the slop and went on to a comfortable victory in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Skippin By was in third place when Dave Palone sent her after Medusa, who was unchallenged on the lead to that point. The 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Southern Magnolia cleared into the final turn and drew off to score in 1:52.2 geared down. Tipitina found late racing room to finish second, 3/4 lengths back, with Spreester third. Ron Burke trains Skippin By, who now boasts $688,504 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Wall Bros. Stable and Bruce Soulsby. Palone piloted six winners -- giving him 10 over the last two programs -- including three for Burke while Aaron Merriman fashioned a driving quadruple on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadowlands

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 21, 2016 -- Skippin By had to work hard for the early lead but never was threatened thereafter as she coasted to a 1:53 harness racing victory in Monday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Skippin By hadn't won since an Aug. 29 triumph at The Meadows, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Since then, she's faced a steady diet of elite mares and grabbed a fifth-place check in the Breeders Crown final. On Monday, she dominated the field for Dave Palone after wresting the early lead from Spreester, downing the first-over Classic Carpet by a length. Spreester finished third. Ron Burke trains Skippin By, a 5-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Southern Magnolia who boosted her career bankroll to $670,604, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Wall Bros. Stable and Bruce Soulsby. Palone and owner Bob Key enjoyed triples on the 14-race card while Shawn Johnston collected two wins as a driver and another as a trainer. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

East Rutherford, N.J. -- After patiently tracking an exacting pace, odds-on harness racing favorite Tessa Seelster ($3.00) was able to chase down pocket rival Inittowinafortune to capture Friday's (November 18) featured $17,500 top-level distaff pace at The Meadowlands.   Tessa Seelster was anxious to move forward when the gates folded in, but Yannick Gingras was able to wrangle the 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play into a tracking spot behind pacesetter Nat a Virgin (David Miller) and the pocket-sitting Inittowinafortune (Corey Callahan) through early splits of :26.3 and :53.4. With five-sixteenths to go, Tessa Seelster angled second-over behind Inittowinafortune, who powered clear of a taxed Nat a Virgin approaching head-stretch. While Inittowinafortune edged away by nearly four lengths in upper stretch, she too began to tire in the final sixteenth, just nosed out in the last yards of a 1:50 mile by Tessa Seelster. Icommandmyspirit (Jim Marohn, Jr.) rallied belatedly to save third, 2-3/4 lengths in arrears of the top pair.   Ron Burke trains Tessa Seelster for the Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Jonathan Newman.   Always B Miki retired in trackside ceremony   World champion Always B Miki made one final visit to the Big M winner's enclosure for a special retirement ceremony after he capped his career with a resounding win in the $400,000 TVG Free-For-All Pace last weekend. The fastest Standardbred to ever set foot on a racetrack concluded his career with 30 wins in 53 career starts, over $2.7 million in earnings, and a career mark of 1:46 taken at the Red Mile in October. Always B Miki will transition from the Jimmy Takter stable to assume stud duty at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania.   Live racing returns to The Meadowlands with an 11-race card slated for Saturday (November 19) evening, and a last-race Jackpot Super Hi-5 carryover of $38,181.74. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands

East Rutherford, N.J. - Lady Shadow ($2.40) asserted her superiority in the $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at The Meadowlands, pushing clear of arch rival Solar Sister early and evading her foes en route to a 1:49.4 harness racing victory, her 11th of the season. The 5-year-old Shadow Play mare stalked the top flight from the two-path on approach to the first turn before pushing to the fore after Solar Sister (Doug McNair) won an early duel with Frost Damage Blues (Brett Miller) through a :27 first quarter mile. Once clear, Yannick Gingras maintained a strong and consistent pace with Lady Shadow through middle sectionals of :54.2 and 1:21.4, in fact edging away upon approaching the home straight. Despite all-out encouragement in the final eighth while now contending with a prevailing headwind, Lady Shadow maintained 2-1/4 lengths clearance over Sassa Hanover (Matt Kakaley), who rallied off stalled cover to claim the runner-up spot. Frost Damage Blues found room to vacate traffic in mid-stretch to save third over the tiring Solar Sister. Trainer Ron Adams was more than pleased with how Lady Shadow has matured from her 4-year-old campaign. "She's had a good year this year, a career year, actually," remarked Adams. "She had issues when she was younger, made miscues behind the gate, and it cost her a lot of money early on in her career. But she's put that behind her, she's turned in to a really nice mare. She likes the big track and she likes the speed. Speed is her game and she gets to use it here." Lady Shadow, now a 27-time winner, is owned by the partnership of Kryway, Atley, Gold, and the BFJ Stable. For Gingras, the winning drive earned him his second Breeders Crown title of the night. In July, Lady Shadow set the world record for pacers at 1-1/8 miles, winning the Golden Girls in a scintillating 2:00.3. by James Witherite, Meadowlands  

The Forest City Sale took one to the gut when the Ontario Liberal Government leaked its intention to terminate SARP by March, 2013. The 2012 sale saw 257 yearlings average $10,519. The previous year 263 averaged more than $18,000. As contingency plans for the industry were assembled and assurances of continuity dished out from above, things began to settle down: in 2013 32 fewer head were sold but the average increased to $13,524. And in 2014 it kicked up to $15,294. Last year the average stepped up again to $23,207, although the number sold dropped by almost half since 2011. On Sunday 133 yearlings sold for an average of $26,308. That’s an increase of almost 12% from last year and 60% from the deep, dark days of 2012. And the gross was up $302,000 on three fewer yearlings sold. Let’s look inside. Shadow Play, who outdid Sportswriter at the Canadian Yearling Sale, managed to do so again—on a grander scale. The 11-year-old is selling his fifth crop, and up until Sunday his only $100,000 plus yearling was Arthur Blue Chip, from crop number one. He was a big time outlier at $135,000. On Sunday that one’s full sister brought $110,000 while a colt sold for $100,000. And another colt brought $82,000. The sire of world champion Lady Shadow saw 28 average $33,786, up 19% from last year and up 54% since 2013. Five, or 18%, topped $50,000; 14, or 48% beat $25,000 and 19, or 65.5% exceeded $20,000. So, while the son of The Panderosa, who has seen his fee hold steady at $4,000 (cdn) the last three years, made a splash at the top, almost half of his offering failed to beat $25,000. Sportswriter, the two-year-old division champ in the US and Canada, had more of a presence at Forest City than he has had in the past; he sold eleven for an average of $29,091. This after only selling a pair each in 2014 and 2015. This year’s sale crop is very large at 141 yearlings. Contrast that with last year when there were only 57. He had a good year in the OSS, finishing second on the leader board with the likes of Yaris Bayama, Yogi Bayama and Sports Column. Sportswriter stands for $6,500 (cdn). Nineteen by the son of Artsplace averaged $22,500 at the Canadian Yearling Sale. Seventeen-year-old Mach Three, who was selling his twelfth crop, has seen younger stallions come and go in Ontario but he still rules the roost—until next year when Bettor’s Delight starts selling Canadian breds again, anyway. Fourteen averaged $40,286. That’s up 14% from 2015 and up 22% since 2013. There were no $100,000 sales; the highest was a roan colt that went for $74,000. However, his prices were good across the board. More than 28% topped $50,000; 86% broke $25,000; and none of them dropped below $20,000. There are 103 in this crop. He shows no sign of slowing down. Camluck, who retired in the fall of 2014 and passed in August of 2015, had been a key figure in Ontario racing for decades. And the sire of Michael’s Power, Dreamfair Eternal, Burning Point and Giddy Up Lucky, finished strong with his final crop. Eight averaged $31,375, down only 6% from the 15 he sold last year. Badlands Hanover stood for eight years in Delaware before relocating to Ontario. He’s selling his sixth Canadian crop. Seven sold for a $16,000 average, up almost 4% from last year when he sold 14 at Forest City. Only two cracked $20,000 and four of them sold for less than $15,000. This offering is from a crop of 61 registered foals. There were 44 last year. Twnty-year-old Badlands bred more than 150 mares in each of his first four years in Ontario. Royal Mattjesty is another wheel-spinner. Eleven averaged $15,545. And that’s up more than 16% from last year. Beyond that, his average is up almost 53% since 2014, when four averaged $7,375. There are only 16 registered foals in the crop selling this year. There were 10 in the crop that sold last year and 12 in 2013. He’s not exactly a high volume stallion. Royal Mattjesty stands for $3,500 (cdn). The Western Ideal stallion, Big Jim, sold six for a $25,167 average—up 27% over last year when 11 sold. His average is up 29% since his first crop sold in 2014. Seven averaged $25,885 at the Canadian Yearling Sale, where Brad Grant paid $45,000 for a colt and Tony O’Sullivan paid $44,000 for another. Three at Forest City topped $25,000 while three failed to break $15,000. He’s number four in the OSS thanks to Streakavana and Magnum J. Big Jim stands for $4,000 (cdn). Vintage Master sold seven for a $10, 857 average. That’s down 25% from his $14,667 average for six sold last year. Eight averaged under $10,000 in 2014. Six sold for less than $15,000 at Forest City. Freshman filly Thatsoveryverynice won a split of the Eternal Camnation and a couple of Golds last year, but she’s been no factor at three. Trotters only represented 24% of the yearlings sold at Forest City. Muscle Mass is selling for the NYSS market this year and Kadabra is not a big Forest City guy: he only sold two Sunday, none last year and three in 2014. The sire of Caprice Hill, Emoticon Hanover, Winter Sweet Frost and Will Take Charge sold a filly for $80,000 and another for $29,000. Twenty-year-old Angus Hall, who saw his fee drop from $10,000 to $6,000 in the face of the SARP crisis in 2013, sold nine for a $23,333 average, up 28% from 2015 and up 45% from 2014. One topped $50,000; four of the nine broke $25,000; and 5, or 55%, fell short of $20,000. Triple Crown winner Glidemaster was shipped to Canada a couple of years ago after standing for seven years in Pennsylvania. Maven is his crown jewel, and the drop-off is precipitous after that. Blue Porsche closed his freshman season in promising fashion but wasn’t healthy enough to go on and the ill-fated Punxsutawney was killed in an accident. Glidemaster’s last two crops in Pennsylvania consisted of 17 and 14 foals. He sold a dozen for a $17,167 average at Forest City. Only one topped $25,000. Eight brought less than $20,000. Holiday Road sold five for a $23,600 average from a crop of 31 registered foals. Last hear he only sold one from a crop of 18. Majestic Son sold a pair of fillies for $36,000 and $26,000. Again, there are only 29 in the crop they came from. Let’s hope Muscle Mass, E L Titan and Archangel are going to turn out large numbers, because these small crops that sell at reduced prices are a problem. 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.

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