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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.

LONDON, Ontario . . .Noted Canadian trainer Dr. Ian Moore is looking to replace his recently retired champion harness racing pacer State Treasurer and he took the first steps this afternoon at the Forest City Yearling Sale as he purchased the two sale toppers, both sired by another one of his outstanding performers, Shadow Play. Dr. Moore shelled out $110,000 for Percy Bluechip who was consigned by Preferred Equine as agent for breeder Blue Chip Farms of New York. Percy is a full brother to Arthur Blue Chip who earned more than $550,000 for Moore and his partners a few years back. The colt is also a half-brother to $1.5 million winner Kenneth J. The second highest price at the sale was the $100,000 Moore paid for Atomic Seelster. Consigned by breeder Seelster Farms of Lucan, Ontario, the colt is a half-brother to two $100,000+ winners including Aniston Seelster ($193,000). It was announced last week that State Treasurer, last year’s Horse of the Year in Canada, would begin stud duties at Seelster starting in 2017. A great crowd was on hand to watch a total of 133 colts and fillies go through the sales ring today at Western Fair’s Metroland Media Agriplex in London for an average of $26,308 which is up approximately 11 per cent from last year’s $23,507 average for 136 sold. “I think the sale reflected a show of optimism for the industry and confidence in the product.  The industry seems to be turning a corner especially with the incentives now being offered,” noted sale manager Ann Straatman. “It appears that breeders are looking at offering quality over quantity. “I’d like to thank auctioneers Ryan Dorran Marketing, now in their fourth year with FCYS, all of the staff of the sale and Randy Manges and Bruce Brinkerhoff for assisting with inspections,” she added. In addition to the sale of many of Ontario’s best bred yearlings, the weekend also included The Forest City Preview at The Raceway which were four divisional races open to three-year-old trotters and pacers who raced in the Ontario Sires Stakes this season. Thanks to the sponsorship from Ontario Lottery and Gaming and Ontario Racing, Forest City Yearling Sale and Western Fair District put together an innovative Info Zone for fans and owners. A number of organizations presented information on fractional ownership, horse registration and licensing, pedigree interpretation, Ontario's new owners' bonus and life after racing for our equine athletes. Complete sales results are available here.

Last season's premier harness racing trainer and Halwes Medalist Ben Yole is already on target to deliver the same result in 2016-17. As well as being voted the Halwes Medal for his outstanding achievements through the season Yole prepared 108 winners to easily win his first trainer's title and on Sunday night he was at it again with three winners on the nine-event card. While most of Yole's winners end up starting favourite because of the strong wagering support for his stable, his trio of winners were all outsiders on Sunday. Regmondo ($18 into $12.20) was making his debut and after settling fifth his driver Mark Yole sent him around the field at the bell to face the breeze outside of The Village Thief. When Yole called on Regmondo (Shadow Play-Cher Mon Amour) for the big effort he forged to the lead and held out all challengers in the straight to easily score from What Went Wong and Augural. The long shots continued to roll in when Yole's seven-year-old Sir Dasher Dee made light of an outside second-row draw to salute at good odds. Sir Dasher Dee, with Todd Rattray in the cart, came from well back to outgun Palmisano that faced the breeze throughout with Barooga Buster flashing home late to grab third ahead of the favourite Ebonyallstarzzz ($2.80) that is a stablemate to the winner. Yole brought up his treble when Roxburgh Way ($13.30), that settled one-out-two-back, powered home to score an impressive win by three metres from Su You Too. Yole has already taken a stranglehold on the 2016-17 trainer's premiership with 10 winners to be six ahead of Todd Rattray while Gareth Rattray leads the way in the driver's premiership with nine wins to be two clear of Ricky Duggan and Mark Yole who is the reigning premier reinsman. Peter Staples  

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 24 - Lady Shadow continued her outstanding harness racing season with a powerful 1:50 victory in the $311,000 Milton Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A strong group of 10 older pacing mares, with more than $8.3 million in combined career earnings, battled it out for the Milton Stakes crown. Lady Shadow has been at the top of the division all season and to no surprise was wagered down to 2-5 in Saturday's rich final. The five-year-old pacing mare showed early speed to get away near the front for driver James MacDonald. Wrangler Magic sprinted off the wings of the gate to grab command and forced a charged up Frost Damage Blues into the two-hole. After a :26.4 opening-quarter, Wrangler Magic continued to motor along down the backstretch for driver Sylvain Filion. MacDonald gave Lady Shadow her cue to move out from third at three-eighths and the heavy favourite sprinted up to take a slight lead at the half in :54.4. Filion did his best to stretch out the favourite, but Lady Shadow would clear to the front entering the far turn and ripped off a :27 third-panel to reach three-quarters in 1:21.4. In the stretch, Lady Shadow created some separation on her rivals and paced home in :28.1 for a 2¼ lengths victory. "I know with Sylvain (Filion) he wanted to stretch me out a little bit, but it doesn't matter to her" said MacDonald, who also won last year's Milton Stakes with Venus Delight. "I've seen her go some of the craziest trips you could ask a horse to go this year and she got stung pretty hard tonight and she's just such a good mare, she overcame it." Yagonnakissmeornot was able to finish second after getting away fourth and staying inside until three-quarters. Waasmula charged home for third, while Bedroomconfessions closed well from the back for fourth. Wrangler Magic faded back to finish ninth. A five-year-old daughter of Shadow Play, Lady Shadow has now won nine of 16 starts and earned over $700,000 this season for trainer Ron Adams and owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and BFJ Stable. "She's definitely having a career year," said Adams. "She's just been tough and stayed tough the whole year and she's just getting better I think every start." Lady Shadow became the first mare Saturday since Moving Pictures in 2007 to win both the Milton Stakes and Roses Are Red Stakes in the same season. She now has 25 career wins and career earnings of over $1.5 million. Adams noted in the winner's circle that Lady Shadow will now head to Lexington, Kentucky to race on Sunday, October 9th during the Grand Circuit at The Red Mile. "Hopefully it's a nice day and we can maybe go a big mile." A $2 win ticket on Lady Shadow returned $2.90, while the $2 Exacta with the winner and Yagonnakissmeornot paid $46.80.   Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 23, 2016-Tessa Seelster (George Brennan, $7.70) again proved best Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from her 'inside' post position No. 5 (posts 5 thru 8 were drawn), Tessa Seelster easily worked around pole-sitting, slight 2-1 favorite Devil Child (Eric Goodell). After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile, a :29.1 second substation (:56.4 intermission) served her well. Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) took out of fourth and was originally pacing in place. She did eventually make steady advances in and out of a 1:24.1 three-quarters, though the leader maintained a length-and-a-quarter advantage entering the lane. 'Tessa' found the wire a half-length before Devil Child in 1:51.3. Secret's Out N held third, with Rock N Roll Xample (Dan Dube) and Tipitina (Brent Holland) settling for the minors. For third choice Tessa Seelster, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, it was her ninth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $121. Saturday's card is enveloped by the 27th New York Night of Champions, the $1.8 million culmination of the sire stakes season. The Empire State's richest night of racing features eight, $225,000 NYSS, for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. They go as the first eight races during the 13-race card, with first post the usual 7:10 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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