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Georgian Downs rolled out the red carpet on Saturday night for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series with five $18,000 dashes going behind the gate. When the dust had cleared, it was Shadios who shined brightest, turning in a career-best 1:50.3 clocking in the fourth Grassroots flight. With Billy Davis Jr. in the bike, Shadios sat in second while Warrawee Phoenix (Scott Coulter) rattled off fast fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:22.2. Davis Jr. already had his charge out of the pocket at three-quarters and he took control entering the far turn. From there, Shadios set sail for the wire, which he reached five lengths to the good over runner-up Regal Babe (Mike Saftic). Twin B Spy (Robert Shepherd) finished in third. Tony Alagna trains Shadios, a Shadow Play gelding, for Great Britain-based owner Tom Hill. Shadios has won three times from six starts this year and he has four career victories. He has earned $26,860 in 2014 and $41,150 in his life. Davis Jr. also won the Grassroots opener with Some Major Beach, the Major In Art half-brother to the great Somebeachsomewhere. Making his first start for trainer Dave Menary, Some Major Beach worked out a second-over trip and then converted it into a 1:52.4 victory. He defeated Major Homer (Travis Henry) by two and three-quarters lengths with Allstar Seelster (Mike Saftic) back in third. Muscara Racing Trust of Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Robert Watson of Ashfield, Australia and Martinez Equine of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania own Some Major Beach. This was his second career win from 17 tries and he has banked $154,226. The other three divisions were all won by driver Scott Coulter. He guided Andreios Kardia to a 1:53.1 decision in the second split; Regal Son to a 1:54.1 tally in the third division; and Lucky King to a 1:53.1 triumph in the Grassroots nightcap. Andreios Kardia, a gelding by Badlands Hanover, is trained by Jeff Madill for owner/breeder Ina Madill of Innisfil, Ont. Unraced as a freshman, Andreios Kardia is four-for-16 this year with $55,350 in the bank. Regal Son, a Stonebridge Regal colt, is trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont, who also bred Regal Son with long-time partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. Gordon Wright of Charlotte, Michigan is also part of the ownership contingent. Regal Son is a four-time winner in his racing career and he has earned over $55,550. Andrew McCabe sent out Camluck colt Lucky King for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. This was the first Ontario Sires Stakes win this year for Lucky King, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. He has six career victories and he has stashed away $91,053 for his connections. The next event for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series is slated for August 3 at Hanover Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

 Three-year-old pacing fillies lined up in five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack, and it was a host of fillies who had yet to taste Ontario Sires Stakes success in 2014 emerging with victories. Mea Lilley Mark (Mike Saftic), who hadn’t been to the winner’s circle since last November, was the fastest winner, turning in a 1:52 spin of the seven-eighths mile oval in the Grassroots finale. After a first-over trip in the final three-eighths of the mile, Mea Lilley Mark wore down leader and favourite Artful Impulse (Steve Condren) to post the victory by half a length. An Angel Shes Not (Paul MacDonell) finished third. Sue Marie Gangell trains the victorious Whosurboy filly for owner/breeder Kimberly Mark of Simcoe, Ont. Mea Lilley Mark is a two-time winner from 21 career starts and she has earned $39,368. Driver Chris Christoforou scored a pair of off-the-pace wins, guiding Dana Dearest to a 1:53 triumph in the first Grassroots test and then overcoming post 10 to get a 1:54.4 tally with Shadows Wonder in the fourth split. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, was making her first start in the Casie Coleman stable for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ont. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going five-for-nine. She has a career bankroll of $48,148. Trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph, Ont. also bred and co-owns Shadows Wonder, a filly by Shadow Play, with partners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, N.B. and Hockey Hall of Famer Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, Que. Shadows Wonder, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing fillies and this year’s Kin Pace at Clinton Raceway, picked up her sixth career win and she has now put away $107,020.   Murrayfield (James MacDonald) and Badlyinclined (Jack Moiseyev) were the other winners, and both of them stopped the clock in 1:53. Murrayfield, who was positioned eighth at the half and sixth at three-quarters, rallied through the lane and got up in the final stride to nail leader Alibi Seelster (MacDonell) to win by a neck while Badlyinclined led through panels of :27, :55.3, and 1:24 on her way to a half-length decision over Nefertiti Bluechip (Jody Jamieson). Ben Wallace trains Murrayfield, a Jeremes Jet filly, for owner Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont. She has seven wins from 15 career tries and she has now pocketed $78,964. John Kopas handles the training of Badlyinclined, a daughter of Badlands Hanover, for co-owner/breeder Big Als Stables Inc. of Woodbridge, Ont., Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ont., and LLK Stable of Mississauga, Ont. She has won four times from 19 attempts in her racing career and she has banked $98,994. Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action for three-year-old pacing fillies will take place next on August 3 at Clinton Raceway.   From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Charlottetown PE- A newcomer to the Island racing scene was quick to leave his mark at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park Thursday night. Red Magician made his first start on red soil a winning one for owners Dale and Ronnie Rennie of Elmsdale. The four-year-old chestnut gelding laid down fractions of :28.4, 1:00.1, 1:30.4 before closing it out in 2:00 over a track carrying a four seconds variant. Kenny Murphy handled the driving duties for trainer Clarkie Smith. Shock The Rock was second and Windemere Express finished third. The 4-H Club of P.E.I were at Red Shores in full force Thursday night, as they cheered Hurrah right into the winners circle. The three-year-old Shadow Play colt was a winner in 2:01.2 for trainer - driver Mark Bradley. Hurrah is part of a new promotion this season at Red Shores called Hurrah 4 Island Charities, in partnership with Meridian Farms. It sees the horses entire earnings each month donated to charities across P.E.I. This months charity is the 4-H club of P.E.I, members from the Montague 4-H club joined he connections in the winner circle. Caliban Hanover notched another victory into his belt in the Open trot for trainer - driver Ronnie Gass. The nine-year-old picked up his 40th lifetime victory for his owner Wendell MacDonald of Cornwall in 2:03. Twelve different drivers picked up victories on the 12-dash card. Racing action returns to Red Shores' Charlottetown Saturday night with a 6 p.m. post time. by Bo Ford, for Red Shores

It was close to being “Denis St Pierre Night” on Tuesday at the Hippodrome 3R as the track’s hottest harness racing driver continued to add to his impressive season, steering in four winners on the ten-race program, including the feature pace with City Loft. Since the meet opened back in May, Denis St Pierre just keeps improving. He went into Tuesday’s program with a universal driving rating (UDR) or “batting” average of .450 and the driving triple will only add to his statistics. Denis St Pierre started out the program with his first win in the second race pace, coming from dead last in ninth place with Boogie Panic and with a bold three-wide move in the backstretch moved from ninth to fifth place by the three-quarters. And he did not stop from there, flying three-wide with Boogie Panic to grab the lead by the head of the stretch by two and one-half lengths. From there they were home free and went on to romp by five and one-quarter lengths in 1:59.3. And to top it off, they went off at nearly 8-1 and paid $17.50 to win. Then in the very next race for two-year-olds, it was Denis St Pierre again, this time with the race favorite, Sugarsam ($3.90). They started from the outside in post eight and left out from behind the gate to get away in third place, then quarter move to the lead, drawing off by the top of the stretch and breezing to a one and three-quarter length victory in 2:00.4. In the sixth race feature, Denis St Pierre was aboard City Loft and they were not about to let anyone get near them. From the start they got to the front and never looked back. Led every step of the way and pulled away from the field by the three-quarters and won in a romp by seven and three-quarter lengths. Not even Shagnghai Ben could look him in the eye coming first over. The time of race was a lifetime mark for City Loft of 1:57.1. The pocket sitting A R Éclair (Jean Lord) was second with Destino (Marie Claude Auger) third. It was the third straight win for City Loft, a three-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play, who is trained by Frances Richard. He paid $2.50 to win. To cap off the evening in the ninth race, Denis St Pierre sent Sophie’s Duke ($2.80) to the lead after the opening quarter mile and never looked back, also winning in a romp by five and one-quarter lengths in 1:56.4. Live racing resumes Sunday afternoon at the Hippodrome 3R with post time at 1:00 pm. For more information go to www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Chucaro Acero Blue Chip, a 3-year-old son of Shadow Play, was victorious in the elimination and final of the Nacional Cup at the Hipodromo de Cintra in Cordoba province, Argentina. He won the race in 1:56.2f and is undefeated in 15 lifetime starts. His mother, Animals Can Sing, was exported, in foal, with Chucaro Acero Blue Chip by Argentinean breeder/owner Haras El Ceibo and Blue Chip Bloodstock of Wallkill, N.Y. Due to the difference in breeding seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, he is racing against 3-year-olds that are about six months older. Harness racing began in Argentina in 1910, and has gained increasing popularity in the last 10 years. From Blue Chip Farms

City Loft and the red hot driver, Denis St Pierre, go for their third straight win in the sixth race feature at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday evening. A three-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play, City Loft was feeling his oats last time out as Pierre sent the youngster right to the front from post seven and they wired the field in a lifetime best clocking of 1:57.3. Pierre, who currently has an impressive Universal Driving Rating (UDR) or “batting average” of .450 at the Hippodrome 3R, will start with City Loft from post three. City Loft is trained by Francis Richard. Other contenders in the race are Shanghai Bem (post 7) for driver Pierre Luc Roy and F G L Rapide (post 5) for driver Francis Picard. On Tuesday’s program there are four horses making their 2014 debuts at 3R off winning qualifiers. Three of them are actually making their career debuts. Two of them are the two-year-old trotters Tia Maria Seelster in race one, post position one and the pacer, Windsong Lassie, in race three, post position three. The third is the pacer Boogie Panic, who is in race two starting from post seven. The fourth one making its 2014 is unique is Hay Hay Charlay, who has not lost a race in 378 days! He lost his 2013 debut on that day, then won on July 28, 2013 and hasn’t raced since then, and is making his comeback at 3R on Tuesday. Also of note, the trotter, Little Paco, who starts from post five in the first race, might not look like much with a second in a 2:02.1 mile in his last start, but the track trotting record at the regional track, Saint Esprit, was 2:03 at the start of the 2014 season. Now Little Paco, in his second heat of the day at Saint Esprit, carved out blazing fractions of :29.1; :59.4, and 1:30 before getting caught at the wire by Keystone Bounty. Thus he could well be a contender Tuesday at 3R. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Harness racing father and son trainer and driver teams combined to win the final two $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies this afternoon at Clinton Raceway. Both duos won their respective events with a daughter of Mach Three, the fastest of which was Wicked Speed. With Scott Young in the sulky for trainer, co-owner and dad Bob Young, the diminutive lass went gate to wire in :30, 1:00, 1:30.2 and stopped the clock in 1:59 over Brilliant Idea and Hurricane Trina. It was the second straight win in as many lifetime starts for Wicked Speed who made her debut in an overnight at Clinton last Sunday where she won by five lengths to earn $2,000. That effort combined with today’s winnings find the filly paid for as she cost $10,000 at last year’s Lexington Select Sale for Bob Young of Guelph, Ontario and partner Marsha Sugarman of Status Stables, Ma. Young noted that the filly’s price was likely as a result of her stature. “She’s grown quite a bit since we got her and I think she’ll grow more by the time she’s three. She has a big, powerful rear end on her. She wears a fairly long hopple, 57 1/2 inches and no boots. “She’s done everything right from day one. She’s got tons of brains and likes her work,” he praised. Doug McNair was at the lines for dad Gregg in the fourth division with Mach Denali who managed to win by more than two lengths despite suffering interference just past the three-quarters when the lead filly made a break. Mach Denali was home in 2:01 over Jinglewriter and Ok Heartbeat. Gregg McNair, also of Guelph, shares ownership of the filly with Tony Lawrence and William Brown of Hanover and Paul Kidd from Guelph. This was the first lifetime win for the filly in three tries. Doug McNair also piloted the fastest winner on this afternoon’s card, Kastie Snoops who tripped the timer in 1:58.4. Tony O’Sullivan trains the Sportswriter filly, a half-sister to $573,000 winner Dalhousie Dave, for owner/breeder John Fielding of Toronto. The other two divisions were captured by Stonebridge Quest (Camluck) and Trevor Henry in 2:00.4 and Chase The Shadows (Shadow Play) with Ryan Holliday up in 1:59. The next Grassroots test for this group will be at Mohawk on August 11. To view the complete results from today’s card, please click Clinton Results - July 20. Ontario Sire Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 19 - A quartet of Canadian Breeders Championships for the nation's finest three-year-old pacers and trotters highlighted the undercard for Maple Leaf Trot night at Mohawk. Harper Blue Chip, with Sylvain Filion at the controls, turned in another top notch performance to win the $121,958 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old colts and geldings trotters. After getting away in third, the son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin was sent to the lead approaching the half and never looked back winning by 3 ¾ lengths in 1:55.2. Muscle Matters, the early leader, finished second, while Jitterbug finished third by a nose over Entranced. Harper Blue Chip is trained by Mark Steacy for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald, David Reid and George Judson. Following the race, Howard Pearce, a member of the Landmark 6 Racing Sable, said it was a sweet victory. "It's a tough year to have a really nice horse like 'Harper' because of those three nice horses down south," said Pearce. "But he's proven that he is one of the best in Canada, so that's wonderful." Pearce also mentioned that it appears Harper Blue Chip will now head south to the Meadowlands to compete in the Hambletonian. The Breeders Championship victory was the second win in five starts this season for Harper Blue Chip and the fifth win of his career. His career earnings now jump more than $350,000. He paid $2.70 to win. White Becomes Her extended her win streak to four in winning the $118,090 Canadian Breeders Championship for the three-year-old filly trotters. Mario Baillargeon moved the daughter of Angus Hall - Pursuing Keagan from the two-hole to the lead in the second quarter. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:28.1, White Becomes Her trotted away from her rivals with a :28.3 last quarter to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:56.4. Margie finished in the place spot, while Mayberry trotted into third. White Becomes Her is trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Vince Mastrangelon. The Breeders Championship was the fifth win in eight starts this season for White Becomes Her. Following the race, Mario Baillargeon said we haven't seen the best of her yet. "I don't think so, I can't wait to race her with the American fillies and get a trip," said Baillargeon. "She loves to follow a lot more than racing on the front, so I would like to get her on a helmet behind Shake It Cerry and see what happens in the lane." White Becomes Her now has six wins and earnings of over $210,000 in her career. She returned $3.30. Silverhill Shadow repelled all comers with a smart front-end pace to win the $122,028 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Chris Christoforou blasted off the gate to demand the lead from pocket-sitting Shadowbriand marking a quarter in :27 and a half in :56.2 through a persistent drizzle over a sloppy track. Sylain Filion made a menacing move first over into the turn with Victor Bayama, but Silverhill Shadow had another gear and stepped away to a dominant win in 1:51.2. A ground saving Shadowbriand, efficiently steered by Paul MacDonnell, stayed on determinedly to earn the place photo over Victory Bayama. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, the Shadow Play colt earned his fourth win of the campaign from six starts. The conditioner noted a very important similarity to his champion sire. "Heart and desire for sure," said Moore. "He's a big strong colt and he gives you all he's got every time out." A front-end trip was always in the cards for the quick Silverhill Shadow. "Chris was asking him to get the front going the first quarter, and I thought I had him warmed up pretty good, but he was great the last half-mile and that's where it counted," said Moore. He paid $5.80 to win. Brescia Seelster pulled off a 60-1 upset in the $122,343 Canadian Breeders Championship final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Sudoku brushed to the lead under urging from Jody Jamieson down the backstretch in :56.1, but it was an amped up My Secret Belle, piloted by Joe Hudon, who took over into the turn. My Secret Belle and Sudoku battled to mid-stretch before a closing cavalry of filly pacers converged with the outside rally of Brescia Seelster the winning move for Mario Baillargeon. Performing Art, a 40-1 long shot, stormed up the rail to earn place money keying boxcar payoffs. It was the fourth win in eight starts this season for Brescia Seelster, improving on a 1-4-1 record from 10 starts a year ago. "She was a little slow in maturing and Mario has been telling us all along as this horse gets older it'll be better," said co-owner Norman Keyes. Co-owned and trained by David Keyes, Brescia Seelster paid $138.70 to win. by Mark McKelvie and Keith McCalmont, for WEG

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

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 12 - A quintet of Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old pacers were contested Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Lady Shadow turned in the performance of the evening with a sizzling 1:49.2 victory in the third and final $17,477 elimination for the pacing fillies. The Gregg McNair trainee was sent hard to the front by driver Rick Zeron and never looked back. Off a three-quarter time of 1:22.1, Lady Shadow paced home in :27.1 for a 8 ¾ length victory. The 1:49.2 clocking was a new lifetime best for the daughter of Shadow Play - Lady Camella and her third win in six starts this season. Nefertiti Bluechip finished in the place spot, while Justabit Mean was third. The elimination victory boosts Lady Shadow's career earnings to over $320,000 for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin. She paid $4.40 to win. My Secret Belle and owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon converted off a pocket trip in the first elimination. The daughter of Mach Three - Kindly Jenna grabbed the lead early and was able to take a seat in the two-hole when Brookedale Shadow cleared to the front as the field hit the backstretch. At the top of the lane, Hudon pulled the pocket and My Secret Belle paced by Brookedale Shadow for a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.1. Brookedale Shadow held on for second over Artful Impulse. The win was the fifth in 17 starts this year for My Secret Belle and it pushes her career earnings to more than $110,000. She paid $3.80 to win. In the second split, Sudoku and driver Jody Jamieson turned in a 2 ½ length victory in 1:51.1. The daughter of Badlands Hanover - Mind Boggling was situated third over on the final turn and unleashed a :26.4 last quarter. Performing Art, who was second over in front of Sudoku, finished second, while Badlyinclined rallied for third. The 1:51.1 clocking was a new lifetime best for Sudoku, who is now undefeated in two starts this season for trainer Tony O'Sullivan.The victory boosts her career earnings to over $225,000 for the ownership group of Let It Ride Stable Inc, Mentally Stable Inc, Dana Parham and Howard Taylor. Sudoku returned $3.70 to win. The first $26,149 elimination for the colts and geldings went to 2013 Metro Pace winner Boomboom Ballykeel and driver Jonathan Drury in 1:50.3. The son of Mach Three - Teig N Riley took the lead approaching the half and dug in through the stretch to hold off a late charging Hunch Man by half a length. Victor Bayama finished third. The victory was the third in five starts this season for Boomboom Ballykeel and it equaled his career mark. He is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Ballykeel Racing Inc. Shadowbriand and Roger Mach Em finished fourth and fifth to secure the last two spots for next week's final. Boomboom Ballykeel now has careers earning exceeding $478,000 and he paid $7.80 to win. The second and final elimination went to the Dr. Ian Moore trained Silverhill Shadow and driver Chris Christoforou. The son of Shadow Play - Ruthie Jane made a brush to the lead down the backstretch and paced away from the field in the stretch to Prince Clyde finished second, while Speckled Door was third. The elimination victory was the second win in ten starts this season for Silverhill Shadow and increased his career earnings to over $85,000 for owner Silverhill. Lucky King and Titus Seelster clinched the last two spots in the final with fourth and fifth place finishes. Silverhill Shadow returned $4.30 to win. The finals for both divisions will be held next Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk as part of the Maple Leaf Trot card. Following the eliminations, the post positions for both finals were drawn in the paddock. Elimination winners were able to select their own post position. Here is how they will lineup for next week's finals. Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Filles - Purse: $122,343 1. Performing Art - Billy Davis Jr. 2. Sudoku - Jody Jamieson 3. My Secret Belle - Joe Hudon Jr. 4. Lady Shadow - Rick Zeron 5. Badlyinclined - Jack Moiseyev 6. Justabit Mean - Jonathan Drury 7. Brookedale Shadow - Chris Christoforou 8. Brescia Seelster - Sylvain Filion 9. Nefertiti Bluechip - Jody Jamieson 10. Artful Impulse - Steve Condren AE: Mea Lilley Mark - Mike Saftic Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Colts and Geldings - Purse: $122,028 1. Shadowbriand - Paul Macdonell 2. Speckled Door - Phil Hudon 3. Silverhill Shadow - Chris Christoforou 4. Boomboom Ballykeel - Jonathan Drury 5. Roger Mach Em - Jack Moiseyev 6. Lucky King - Billy Davis Jr. 7. Prince Clyde - James MacDonald 8. Hunch Man - Mike Saftic 9. Titus Seelster - Sylvain Filion 10. Victor Bayama - Sylvain Filion AE: High Flier - Billy Davis Jr. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - A number of Island charities will be rooting for Hurrah to cross the finish line first all year long. The three-year-old pacer will be racing for the Hurrah for Island Charities promotion, a joint venture between Meridian Farms and Red Shores that will see an Island charity selected each month and all purse money earned by the horse will flow directly to them. Owned by Island native William Andrew, owner of Meridian Farms, and George Rogers, both of Calgary, Hurrah is trained and driven by Mark Bradley in Charlottetown. The partnership will see seven charities receive the horses earnings, with a different recipient each month from June until December. "It's going to be a nice venture that we want to do," said Brian Andrew of Meridian Farms. "The people that are responsible for the charity, we hope they will come out to the race track and become fans for us as well." Hurrah was bred by Windemere Farms of North Wiltshire, then purchased by his current owners for $8,100 at the 2012 Atlantic Classic yearling sale in Crapaud. The Shadow Play colt banked $3,977 as a two-year-old, while he has already earned $885 in his first two starts of his three-year-old campaign, all while never missing a cheque. "He's looking fit and ready so I'm hoping with a little bit of luck we'll have a good season," Brian said. Hurrah will be teamed up with the Autism Society of P.E.I. for the month of June, while in July his proceeds will switch to the 4-H Council of P.E.I., with a number of other charities lined up afterwards. There will be a cheering section set up for members of the charities to cheer on Hurrah on race day. William Andrew is more than happy to support local charities, after doing a similar promotion in Alberta the past few years with horses like Starring Role, Polka Dot and Shaker Boy. He says he saw the charities getting excited over the horses racing, bringing upwards of 40 people to see them compete. "We'll look after the training bills and 100-per cent of the purse earnings, not just the profits, will go to the charity," William said. The horse owner and former UPEI Chancellor says he selected Hurrah partly because he was a honest racehorse that was always in the money and because he has faith in Bradley and his girlfriend Melissa Rennie to embrace what is trying to be accomplished. "In tough times the racing community is there," William said. "We are involved in the community and give back to the community. There are a lot of more than capable trainers. I just thought Mark and Melissa would be a good fit. This is a very transparent way to show we are doing some good." Hurrah is entered to race Saturday night in race 4 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park, leaving from post 2 with a $1,000 purse on the line. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

Springhill, N.S. native Teesha Symes has been around race horses her whole life. Now 25, she finds herself looking after the top aged pacer, in Canada, for trainer Dr. Ian Moore.  “Three days after I was born we made a stop at the local track - on the way home from the hospital - and ever since then I’ve been around the horses,“ said Symes. The daughter of Charles (Chuck) and Shirley has been all over the continent working with horses and she’s had her hands on some good ones over the years. “I spent about six months working with Shadow Play back in 2008,” she says. “I’ve also looked after Royal Becquet (2009 Gold Cup and Saucer starter), Mr Perseverance (2013 Paul Bunyan Invitational winner in Bangor) and now I’m enjoying my time with State Treasurer (two-time winner of the Molson Pace in London).” State Treasurer, owned by Sally MacDonald of Souris, PE and Paul MacDonald of Regina, SK, has got to be the number one-ranked aged pacer in Canada, right now, with his four straight wins - including his latest victory - a stunning last-to-first swoop, of the field, after making a bobble at the start of the $150,000 Molson Pace. “After he made that break at the start - I found it hard to even watch the race... Especially at the half when he was still sitting last,” Symes explains. “Then he began to pick them off and I made my way closer to the TV to get a better look. For him to get up to win that race was just awesome and to do it beating Foiled Again was just mind-blowing!”   Teesha recalls the second-place finish by Shadow Play to Somebeachsomewhere, in The 2008 Messenger at Yonkers, as one of her most favourite moments in racing. “That race was just so exciting... It was so close and it was a real thrill for me to be a part of that. ” It’s a horse by the name of Anybunny that will forever hold a special place in Teesha’s heart. “He was my favourite,” she says proudly. “I used to kill for the ‘BOOM’ call (Vance Cameron’s Boom! Just like that...) when racing on P.E.I... Sadly we had to put him down last season. He was sixteen then and he just wasn’t going to make it another winter.” Symes spent last summer working with her Dad in Bangor before heading to Dr. Ian Moore’s Florida operation in late October. Now in Ontario, working full-time for Moore, a normal day for Teesha consists of getting up around 5:30 am and heading to the barn - where the work normally finishes up around noon. “We’ve got an awesome team here and Ian is great to work for.” Working as a groom Symes likes to play it day by day. “It’s a lot of hoping for the best and living for the moment,” she says. “I’ve been lucky to have been mentored by my Dad,” she continued. “Guys like Mark Ford, Heath Campbell and Ian have been very good to me along the way too... Ian asked me the other day where he could get two of me, so it’s a nice feeling to get a compliment like that.” So what’s it like to look after the best aged pacer in Canada? “That question makes me nervous,” she replies. “I do my best to look after him like the other horses, but maybe he does get an extra piece of licorice or a few extra carrots now and then.” Another special horse out of the Moore camp this season is the P.E.I.-owned pacing colt Silverhill Shadow. And he’s special for Symes in a unique way too. “My Dad bought his mom (Ruthie Jane) from the Amish back in 2009. We raced her a few times in Charlottetown, PE and then sold her to Casey Gavin - who then bred her to Shadow Play. And from that came Silverhill Shadow.” Teesha likes her basketball, softball and hockey and had once worked with correctional services and the jail in Amhert, N.S., but her heart is and always has been with the horses. ”Growing up working next to Dad... Working with the horses is what I know and it’s what I love. It’s not even work for me...” So any advice to pass along to an aspiring groom? “I’d say work hard and always do your best,” she says. “Sure there are going to be some long days, but this job is so worth it.”   by Shannon "Sugar" Doyle, for Western Fair District

The Graham and Paul Court trained two-year-old Brilliant Strike credited Alabar’s Shadow Play with his first siring success when winning impressively at Winton yesterday. After taking up a handy position early, in form driver Jonny Cox sent the brown colt forward down the back straight. He then went to the front on the home bend before dashing away for an emphatic 4 & ¾ lenghts. Brilliant Strike, who finished a tidy third on debut, will now be spelled before being set for his three-year-old season. Jonny Cox also combined with Graham and Paul Court for success with speedy three-year-old Explosive Art, who notched up his third win in a row, while he also co-trained and drove Pay Me Quick to victory in the Maiden Claimers’ Final, giving him three winners on the card. Shadow Play, who won in excess of $1.5 million and paced a time of 1:47.8 during his racing career, has a further two qualifiers in New Zealand, while he has sired 8 winners to date in Australia including  the unbeaten Spot Ona  Shadow. Interestingly, he is out of a Christian Cullen mare as is yesterday’s winner, Brilliant Strike. By Mitchell Robertson

TORONTO, April 14 - After failing to find the winner's circle in both preliminary legs, Reasonable Force found his best stride when it counted the most as he captured this year's edition of the $36,200 Youthful Series final Monday at Woodbine. In doing so, the Doug McNair-driven sophomore returned $33.00 to his backers. McNair and Reasonable Force were in no hurry off the gate as Account Rollover (Randy Waples) cleared to the lead past the opening station in :27.1. Account Rollover, who found the wire in the first leg of the series, continued to lead his nine rivals past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. McNair began the first-over attack around the final turn and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, McNair asked his charge for more pace and the three-time winner responded with a two length win. Post time favourite Andreios Kardia (Steve Byron) finished second, with Dragon Seelster (Paul Macdonell) finishing third. Trained by Tony Montini for owners Doug Dunbar and Steve LeBlanc, Reasonable Force lifted his career earnings to $44,840. The son of Shadow Play now has a 2-2-1 record from eight starts this season. Also on Monday's program, the second round of the Lifetime Dream series continued with two $18,000 divisions. Rose Run Oriana (Randy Waples) kicked-off the 10-race programme with a 1:54.2 score in the first division. The daughter of Trainforthefuture enjoyed a new career best in the debut for trainer Corey Johnson. Waples led gate-to-wire with the 15-time winner through panels of :28, :57 and 1:25.3, before fending off 3/5 favourite Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) in deep stretch to win by one and a half lengths. Samira Hanover (Paul Macdonell) finished third. Owned by Rolling Hills Racing Stables, Rose Run Oriana will look for the series sweep next week as her bankroll increased to $134,717. She paid $4.90 to win. One race later, Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) enjoyed her fifth career score at odds of 3-1. The daughter of Majestic Son laid parked on the outside at the quarter in :28.2, before clearing to the lead before the half in :57.2. From there, the trotting miss led her five rivals past in 1:26.1 before fending off a late challenge from Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) to win by a nose. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Trained by Russell Bax for Baxmar Holsteins Ltd, Her Name Is Lola increased her bankroll to $85,560. She paid $8.70 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

Last year's O'Brien Award winning two-year-old colt pacer Arthur Blue Chip has been sidelined and will miss the 2014 Pepsi North America Cup. In a conversation with Trot Insider on Monday, the colt's trainer and co-owner Dr. Ian Moore reported from Florida that the son of Shadow Play suffered an unspecified stall injury a few weeks back, and that injury will keep Arthur Blue Chip off the track for an undetermined amount of time. "He incurred a stall injury and he's off the track for a little while right now. The prognosis is pretty good for full recovery." To read the rest of the story click here.

Cam's Card Shark, one of the leading stallions of his generation, has just been retired from stud duty, but hopes are high in Ohio that one of his greatest progeny can carry on his dynamic legacy in the breeding shed. Shark Gesture, whose earnings in excess of $2.8 million are the most of the more than 1,700 racehorses that Cam's Card Shark sired and one of the fastest with a speed mark of 1:48.1s, will be represented by a crop of two-year-olds this season. Abby Stables in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is standing the big, dark brown stallion.  "Shark Gesture is the total package," Abby Stables' Teresa Maddox told Harness Racing Update."   Shark Gesture developed into a horse for the ages. A $110,000 yearling purchase by Norm Smiley, Shark Gesture raced from two to four, posting some impressive victories.  He was retired to the breeding shed due to an injury and stood as a stallion in Ontario for the 2008 season. Later that year, when the injury had fully healed and he trained excellently, Shark Gesture returned to the races and started three times. But it was as a six- and seven-year-old that he excelled, earning over $1.8 million. He beat some of the best aged pacers, including the likes of Foiled Again, Mister Big, Art Official, Boulder Creek, Artistic Fella, Shadow Play and Won The West 12 times, including by more than 10 lengths in the Hoosier Cup.  Maddox said because Shark Gesture disappeared from the breeding scene for three years people may be confused about his history.  "He really hasn't gotten a fair shake as a stallion," Maddox said. "If you go back and look at some of his races, he was phenomenal. He's well-mannered, he's intelligent and was a bear on the racetrack. It's just a breath of fresh air to have him in Ohio. We welcomed him with open arms." Shark Gesture can be seen in action on his page at www.abbystables.com . His web page comes complete with race footage, photos, pedigree, articles and both a downloadable and digital breeding contract.  "There is no reason because he had 44 foals that raced from his first and only crop as a stallion, standing in Ontario and bred to mostly Ontario-bred mares, that people should have forgotten about him because he went back to the races," said Smiley. "He is still a good horse.  This year he has two-year-olds that are training and I've got good reports on them. Trainer Fred Grant has a colt by Shark Gesture out of Boca Babe.  Fred owns the dam and owns a piece of the colt and said, 'he's very good-gaited, very sound, very willing and has lots of speed. I just love him.'" Trainer David Miller, currently training a two-year-old Shark Gesture filly named Hex, described her as a "big, strong, great-gaited, intelligent filly who is showing excellent speed." Another trainer, Jenny Melander, has a nice sturdy black filly named When Sharks Fly and echoed Miller's comments about Shark Gesture's offspring. "His foals are big and sturdy, with heart, speed, intelligence and strength," she said.   Shark Gesture is truly an anomaly. How many horses return to the races two years after retiring and earn almost twice as much, facing battled-hardened competitors? In total, he posted 31 sub-1:50 miles, 16 of those 1:49 or better and four of those sub-1:49. As a 2-year-old, he won the Bluegrass Stakes (recording a freshman mark of 1:51.3), the Simpson Stakes and an elimination of the Breeders Crown.  At three, he won the Breeders Crown, the Tattersalls Pace (with a sophomore speed mark of 1:49.1), the Bluegrass Stakes, the Simpson Stakes and the Progress Pace. In an abbreviated four-year-old season, he won the New Hampshire Sweepstakes. In his return to the races, he won the William R. Haughton Memorial two years in a row, the Canadian Pacing Derby Final (with a lifetime mark of 1:48.1), the Graduate Series twice, the Dan Patch Invitational Pace and the Bettor's Delight. He broke track records at Tioga Downs and Hoosier Park and tied the track record when he won the Canadian Pacing Derby. "He's won all the big races, beat all the good horses," Maddox said. "He beat Foiled Again (the top aged pacer last year) more than once. He beat Won The West. He's beat them all at one point or another. His owners believed in him so much, they told us the story (of why he retired and then returned to the races) and it was just a no-brainer for us." 2010 Graduate Final William R. Haughton Memorial Smiley recalled why he bought Shark Gesture. Even though he was big and growthy, Smiley liked him, viewing him six times. "There are certain horses you go to the auction and put a price on and you go to that price or a few bucks more," Smiley said. "With him I said I was buying him, period."  Smiley subsequently offered shares to his brother, Gerald, and Thomas and Louis Pantone. Typical of a Cam's Card Shark offspring, Shark Gesture grew into his body from two to three. He stood about 17 hands high and had a long stride. Early in Shark Gesture's two-year-old season, he won the Bluegrass in 1:51 3/5, but he was still developing and growing. As a three-year-old, he did some amazing things, none more so than winning the Breeders Crown only a week after he fell down in a mishap in his elimination race for the final. He finished third and was moved up to second, but Norm Smiley and trainer Erv Miller feared the colt might not survive the accident. Once the bike and equipment were removed, Shark Gesture stood up and walked off as if nothing had happened, although he did have some cuts and abrasions. Driver Brian Sears, Miller, Smiley and the horse's vet shook their heads in disbelief. "If that's not a tough horse, I don't know what is," Smiley said.   A week later, he won the Breeders Crown with George Brennan, who would become his principle driver, steering him in what was a clean trip, racing on or near the pace. "Nobody knew that horse like Georgie," Smiley said.  "George was tremendous with that horse from the first time he drove him." Shark Gesture raced only eight times in an abbreviated four-year-old season and was retired, his notable victory in the New Hampshire. Some of the notable offspring from the 32 starters from his first crop as a sire include stakes winner Piston Broke, 1:49.2s ($291,131) and Best Ears, 1:49.4f, ($188,483). After Shark Gesture recovered from his injury and trained solidly, Norm Smiley made the decision to bring the horse back to the races. It would prove to be a shrewd decision. In 2009 at the age of six, Shark Gesture came into his own, racing 29 times and winning seven, including the Haughton Memorial and Canadian Pacing Derby and topping all pacers with more than $900,000 in earnings. At age seven, he raced 12 times and winning seven, notably the Graduate, Bettors Delight, Dan Patch (by a whopping 10½ lengths), and repeating in the Haughton.  He finished second by a length in the Franklin. He was retired at the end of the season.  "He was just amazing," Norm Smiley said. "This horse never got the respect he deserved. He was a tremendous racehorse." By Perry Lefko, for Harness Racing Update

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