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The IRT $174,000 Breeders Crown final for three year old colts and geldings looked a two horse war on paper. In one corner was Menin Gate for Australia who has been in devastating form all season. In the other corner was Follow The Stars for New Zealand who had being going great all season as well but couldn't get the better of his arch foe when they have met. Mark Purdon worked Follow The Stars around the field early from barrier four before finding the lead after 600 metres. He was quickly joined in front by Menin Gate and Chris Alford who went to the front without any of the expected battle. My Kiwi Mate who was over racing badly back in the field worked to the chair with just over a lap to go and from there the speed was true. These three pulled clear at the 400 metres mark and turning for home a winner was hard to pick. My Kiwi Mate looked to have headed Menin Gate but like the true champion he is, he lifted and surged clear. Follow The Stars seemed to be full of running turning in but once in the passing lane he took an age to wind up. By the time he did Menin Gate had flown for a well- deserved victory. Follow The Stars was slightly disappointing in second while My Kiwi Mate was huge in running third. Menin Gate paced the 2240 metres in 2:40.6, a mile rate of 1:55.4 with closing sectionals of 55.9 and 27.3 It was the son of Somebeachsomewhere's 13th win from just 19 starts and took his stake earnings to $501,335 Chris Alford was fulsome in his praise of Menin Gate post- race. "We did plenty of work early but then so did Mark Purdon on Follow The Stars so I thought he would let me go when I went for the front." "Once in front he was really strong in the run and I was confident he would be hard to beat off the back. "My Kiwi Mate may have levelled with us as we straightened. But once I asked him he responded like the champion he is." "He is just a brute of a horse and I honestly think he will be better after a good break," Chris said. Harnesslink Media

The big harness racing weekend at Tabcorp Park Melton got under way tonight with several of the consolations for Sunday's finals being held. Most analysts were surprised that the well performed Lexus On The Beach missed a place in the final in his elimination last week and from barrier one tonight in the consolation he looked very hard to beat. And that was how it turned but not before Lexus On The Beach had been given a thorough examination by his opponents. Away a bit slowly from barrier one for driver Amanda Turnbull, Lexus On The Beach managed to hold the front but was a bit keen early. Keeping up a solid clip in front, Lexus On The Beach looked to be in a bit of trouble down the back straight the last time but grabbed the bit again and showed a bit of grit in the home straight to hold his challengers at bay. Lexus On The Beach paced the 2240 metre in a smart 2:42.8 in the windy conditions, a mile rate of 1:56.9 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 28.9. Amanda Turnbull was all smiles when talking to Harnesslink post race. " He was a bit slow out of the gate but managed to hold the front." "However he got very keen early but he did came back to me." "Then going down the back the last time he dropped the bit and I had to work on him a bit to get him going again." " In the home straight he really dug in and there was no way they were getting past him," Amanda said The son of Somebeachsomewhere still has a bit to learn as his run showed tonight but looks to have a bright future. Harnesslink Media

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 27 - The virtue of consistency is not easily attained in the world of harness racing. Week by week, horses are put to the test seeking to improve upon their previous efforts. Like any professional athlete, horses thrive when they get into a rhythm. This, too, is no simple task. Communication between the front and back of the sulky is pivotal. When talent, communication, and tempo all mesh together, they generate a consistency that can seem nearly invincible. This has been the case of veteran horseman Rick Zeron and his Mohawk Racetrack-based five-year-old pacing standout, Shamballa. Since the duo first teamed up in June of 2014, they have made it to the winners' circle an eye-opening 15 times in 23 starts. With Zeron accounting for 12 of the bay's lifetime wins, it's needless to say that the two have settled into quite a groove. It is accurate to describe Shamballa as a late bloomer, falling under the cliche of "humble beginnings." He made his career debut in May of 2013, breaking his maiden after two tries at the Pennsylvania-based Pocono Downs. Following that first career score, the five-year-old gelding found mild success in the northeast U.S. circuit, making the majority of his starts at Pocono with a few trips to Harrah's Philadelphia. His three-year-old campaign wrapped up after totaling four wins in 11 starts. It was five races into his four-year-old season when Shamballa was introduced to trainer/driver Zeron. Shipping north to Mohawk for the first time, the son of Somebeachsomewhere placed third in his Canadian debut. The newly acquainted Zeron returned Shamballa to the track two weeks later, guiding the explosive pacer to a dominating five-length win in a career best 1.49:2. A start on July 14was a game changer. The two kicked off what would be a four-race winning streak that lasted through the month. Making his way up through the ranks, Shamballa has been racing at the Preferred level since last October. Since then, he has been simply dominant. The bay has won seven of 13 Preferred races, posting sub-1:50 final times in the majority of those starts. What makes this star a fan favourite is his racing style. He is the epitome of a closer and has even been referred to as the Zenyatta of harness racing. This gelding saves his energy for a last minute surge. More times than not, racing fans will see him trailing the field, making it seem nearly impossible to get up in time at the wire. Time and time again, the betting public holds its breath as the heavily favoured closer decides when it's time to go. To no surprise, his timing is usually precise, nearly perfect, and nail biting to those in attendance. His speed down the stretch is exceptional, as he has continuously posted final quarter fractions of under 26 seconds throughout the summer. It is evident that this exciting pacer has found his rhythm. This weekend, Shamballa is taking his talents to the next level. Making his career stakes debut, the five-year-old pacer is aiming towards a bid in the $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby final on September 5. He has drawn the rail in Saturday's 2nd elimination (Race 7). With no stakes starts to his name, the gelding has already racked up 20 career victories, with earnings in excess of $260,000. Zeron will once again take the reins, as he attempts to become the first trainer to drive his own horse to a Canadian Pacing Derby win since Pat Lachance in 2004 with Casimir Camotion. "He's coming into the race really well," said Zeron, "I'm quite happy with the week he had off and he's coming in to the race just as good as I think he's going to be. I'm looking forward to letting Shamballa get a chance to race with the best horses in North America. He's a real nice horse and has worked quite well with the program that I have set up for him. Fans will get to see a lot of Shamballa on Saturday night." A son of legendary pacer Somebeachsomewhere, out of a stakes winning mare, Bolero Takara, Zeron shares ownership of Shamballa with Tao Racing LLC of Pompano Beach, Florida. Here is the field for Canadian Pacing Derby 2nd elimination PP. Horse - Driver -Trainer 1. Shamballa - Rick Zeron - Rick Zeron 2. Mach It So - Corey Callahan - Jeffrey Bamond Jr. 3. Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion - Richard Moreau 4. Melmerby Beach - Paul MacDonell - Paul MacDonell 5. Foiled Again - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke 6. Nirvana Seelster - Doug McNair - Bill Budd 7. JK Endofanera - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter 8. Limelight Beach - John Campbell - Ron Burke 9. Clear Vision - Andrew McCarthy - Ron Burke Tim Lawson for WEG Communications

In the last few weeks Harnesslink has begun to update all of our stallion reviews on the Stallion Sphere. Even though it is only twelve months since we did the initial stallion reviews, the changes in the statistics is quite pronounced with the four stallions we have updated to date.   Mach Three is a good example with the son of Matts Scooter having added over $15,000,000 to his bankroll in that time.   He has also added a couple more millionaires on the card in that period and all of a sudden the statistics from twelve months ago look terribly outdated.   That is often the way with the more established stallions who once they have reached the elite level at stud tend to get overlooked a bit with the emphasis mostly centered on newer stallions trying to get established.   The statistics we updated for the other three stallions had changed just as much.   Somebeachsomewhere continues to be the benchmark as a stallion with his first crop closing in on $19,000,000, which is an increase of nearly $6,000,000 in twelve months.   Shadow Play and Sportswriter are two young sires we have updated and again the changes in their averages and percentages are quite significant.   Both have made big strides in the last twelve months and the extent of that change did surprise us.   Harnesslink has two more updates on stallions in the next issue of Insider Access which is free to Harnesslink followers as long as you have signed up to receive it.   You can do so by signing up below; Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe

Wiggle It Jiggleit made it look easy, capturing Saturday's (Aug. 22) $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine for 3-year-old male pacers by three lengths over Wakizashi Hanover in 1:48 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Dude's The Man finished third and Artspeak was fourth. The winning time equaled Lucan Hanover's world record for a 3-year-old gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 16 of 18 races this year and pushed his seasonal earnings to $1.43 million. His previous stakes victories this season included the Hempt Memorial, also at Pocono, Meadowlands Pace and Milstein Memorial. For his career, the son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover has won 17 of 19 starts. "You're going to see a smile on my face for the rest of the year with this horse," said Montrell Teague, who drove Wiggle It Jiggleit for his father, owner George Teague Jr., and trainer Clyde Francis. "He's got 19 races under his belt and I can't pick one that makes me more happy." "He never has thrown out a bad mile." "You've got to be happy with that." Artspeak, who started from post eight, went to the early lead with Wakizashi Hanover, who started from post seven, following behind. After reaching the quarter in :25.4, Teague began to move Wiggle It Jiggleit from fourth place to the front. When Artspeak hit the half in :54.4, Wiggle It Jiggleit was 1-1/4 lengths behind, but gaining ground with every stride. By the time he reached three-quarters in 1:21.1, Wiggle It Jiggleit was in front by a length. "I looked over (at the start) and saw a couple of them leaving on the outside; I wasn't right up on them, so I wasn't going to try to retake," Teague said. "He's good from off the pace too, so I try to do that once in a while too. "I was happy. We weren't going enormous fractions. Once I got beside the other horse, he just swelled up. When he looked him in the eye he was determined to go by." George Teague Jr. was unconcerned about Wiggle It Jiggleit's early position and need to make a first-over charge to the front. "I liked his spot there," he said. "We always trained him off the pace and he's got a great set of lungs. If he's on his game, I don't care where he's at. He could be parked the whole mile and I think he could go a great mile from even out there." Wiggle It Jiggleit's schedule includes the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 24 at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. His connections could supplement to the Messenger Pace (eliminations Aug. 29 and final Sept. 5) at Yonkers, but Teague Jr. said he was not inclined to go to that race. "But I reserve the right to change my mind," he said with a laugh. Battle Consolations The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Blood Brother swung wide in the stretch after a cutthroat early duel involving four horses, sprinting clear late to take the $200,000 Consolation I in a personal best of 1:50. David Miller raced the normally-forwardly-inclined sophomore from behind tonight, and the change to second-over tactics worked perfectly as Blood Brother got the decision by a length for trainer Jimmy Takter (yes, this was a pace) and owners Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables LLC. Rollin Ring Afire, left uncovered as Rufo ducked into the pocket at the three-quarters, closed strongly to defeat that rival, who had gotten to the lead using the Pocono Pike passing lane, by a half-length while reducing his mark to 1:50.1 in Consolation II. The son of Rocknroll Hanover gave driver Tim Tetrick half of the first four races on the card while winning for trainer Charlie Norris and owners Leonard Buckner and Rebecca Ewing. (By the way, the phrase "rollin ring afire" does not appear in the famous song by Johnny and June Carter Cash -- but the check for the winner's share of the $100,000 purse will cash very nicely, thank you.) Ken Weingartner

The clash of two of the best harness racing three year olds in Australia was one of the many highlights of tonights Australasian Breeders Crown semi final meeting at Ballarat. Follow The Stars with Mark Purdon in the bike drew barrier two, a spot inside the brilliant Menin Gate driven by regular pilot Chris Alford. However Mark Purdon was not keen to get into a duel this week with Menin Gate after the son of Art Major missed a run last week and was keen to take a trail this week with a view to the final next Sunday. And that is exactly how it panned out early with Follow The Stars leading early before taking a trail behind Menin Gate after 200 metres. Robbie Morris aboard Hes Lightfingered quickly moved around to sit on Menin Gate's wheel and that was the order up front for the rest of the race. Menin Gate really upped the ante from the 800 metres and the leading three cut away from the rest of the field passing the 400 metres. Follow The Stars looked to have plenty to offer in the trail as they turned for home but with no passing lane at Ballarat, he had no where to go as Hes Lightfingered kept him pocketed. It wasn't until the leading trio got inside the final 100 metres that Follow The Stars pushed his way out and flew late to only go under by half a neck to Menin Gate. Hes Lightfingered showed real courage to stick on well for a great third. Menin Gate, a son of Somebeachsomewhere paced the 2200 metres in 2:39.6, a mile rate of 1:56.8 with smart closing sectionals of 55.6 and 27.8. The three year old colts and geldings final looks to be one race next Sunday where the barrier draw will play a big part in the outcome with both Sluggem and Hes Lighfingered a chance to push Menin Gate and Follow The Stars with a draw to suit. Harnesslink Media  

Star harness racing two year old Our Waikiki Beach was at microscopic odds to make it eleven straight in his semi final of the Australasian Breeders Crown for colts and geldings at Ballarat tonight and he didn't disappoint. The upstanding Australian bred but New Zealand owned and trained son of Somebeachsomewhere had drawn perfectly at barrier 4  and driver Mark Purdon didn't rush him early as Zee Dana with Nathan Jack in the bike burnt the gate from barrier 7 to lead early before taking a trail behind Waikiki Beach after 400 metres. Mark Purdon kept up a solid tempo without breaking any track records and everybody was still in touch with the hot favourite at the 400 metres mark. Mark Purdon gave his charge a little bit more rein as they straightened and he quickly shot clear and coasted down to the line an easy winner. The son of Tintin In America in Zee Dana battled on well for second after his early burn while Catcha Lefty (Village Jasper) made ground late for third. Mark Purdon was all smiles post race. " He was a bit fresh tonight and a bit keen so he will definitely improve off tonights run." " He felt really good and strong tonight so I am very happy heading into the final," Mark said When asked to compare Our Waikiki Beach with some of the other great two year olds he has trained Mark Purdon gave a very qualified reply. " I wouldn't say Our Waikiki Beach is the best two year old I have trained but he is right up there with the best ones I have had," Mark said On tonights performance It is hard to see how they beat Waikiki Beach in the Breeders Crown final next Sunday. Harnesslink Media

There were 3 divisions of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes action for freshman pacers on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 20) at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia, each going for a purse of just over $81,000 each. In the first division, it was Jt45 and Burke Racing's Big Top Hanover (Brett Miller) springing the upset. The son of Western Ideal latched on to live cover at the half, and was able to out close leader Ideal Jimmy (Marcus Miller) to pick up the win. Heavy favorite Spider Man Hanover dropped back sharply through the field and was distanced in the end. It was the first career win for the Ron Burke trainee, who completed the mile in 1:52.4. He paid $69.20 to win. In division two, another Ron Burke charge Check Six (Yannick Gingras) was victorious. The son of Somebeachsomewhere showed tactical speed from post 7, putting him in position for a quarter brush, which he utilized just after the quarter. He led the rest of the way, winning by two lengths in 1:53 I'm Some Graduate (Tim Tetrick) closed sharply to be second while Allie's Cruiser (Matt Kakaley) closed up the inside for third. It was the fourth straight victory for Check Six, who returned $5.00. He is owned by Weaver Bruscemi, Burke Racing, Bill Switala, and James Martin. Division three completed the Ron Burke sweep as JK Will Power took advantage of a perfect trip to win. The son of Somebeachsomewhere prevailed in a stretch duel over another Burke trainee Manhattan Beach (Yannick Gingras) to prevail in 1:53.1. JJ Flynn (Brett Miller) finished third. It was the second career win for JK Will Power, who is owned by 3 Brothers Stables. He paid $5.00. Michael Bozich

The undefeated Pure Country completed her sweep of four Pennsylvania Sires Stakes preliminary legs, and Newborn Sassy set track and stake records in Wednesday's PASS action at  the harness racing meeting at The Meadows. The $212,776 event for freshman filly pacers, known as the Meadow Cheer, was contested over four divisions, with Shezarealdeal and Call Me Queen Be taking the other splits. Pure Country was on top early in her split when Skinny Dipper made a nasty break that scattered the back markers and left I Said Diamonds, sitting on Pure Country's bumper, as the only real competition. "I heard the horse in the three hole make a break," said winning driver Brett Miller. "When I looked at the tote board, I saw there was a big gap, so I thought I should take advantage of that and go a slow second quarter." "I think she can go with anybody." "She doesn't have to be on the front." "In my opinion, she can race better off the pace." "I've been putting her on the front to stay out of trouble." Pure Country triumphed in 1:52.3, 3/4 lengths better than I Said Diamonds. Hug A Dragoness earned show. Jimmy Takter trains Pure Country, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana who's now perfect in five starts, for Diamond Creek Racing. After launching her career poorly in a July 9 PASS leg, Newborn Sassy retreated to the PA Stallion Series, where she gained confidence and put her game together. In the Meadow Cheer, she saved ground, then zipped home for Tim Tetrick in 1:51.1, fastest ever for a 2-year-old filly pacer at The Meadows. Weeper held the previous track and stake mark of 1:51.4. Early leader Shesasmokinlady was second, 3-3/4 lengths back, with Peachy third. "We started her out a little steep there -- she wasn't quite as ready as she should have been, perhaps," said Jim King, Jr., who conditions the daughter of Western Ideal-Sass Newton -- a $37,000 yearling acquisition -- and owns with CC Racing. "It was a tough winter in Illinois where she started, so we got a little bit of a late start." "She's developed very well." Shezarealdeal grabbed her second PASS win with an uncovered backside burst that carried her to victory in 1:52, 1-1/2 lengths better than Princess Fabulosa. Yankee Moonshine finished fourth-placed-third. "The horse on the front didn't look that good," winning driver Marcus Miller said, "so I thought if I could keep pacing hard when we hit the turn, I could get by her. "She's really quick, so I wasn't too surprised." "I put her on the front too many times in a row." "Today, just following for a half, she was brave." Robin Cruise conditions the daughter of Western Ideal-Shezarealcaesar for Nick Surick Stable and KDM Stables. In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Certified Ideal made it two straight when she found late racing room to score in 1:51, matching her career best. Angels Delight was a nose back in second while Just A Bee completed the ticket. Tony Hall piloted the 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last, who boosted her career bankroll to $391,283, for trainer Randy Bendis and owners Bendis, Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. It was one of three wins for Hall on the 15-race program. Friday's card at The Meadows features the $174,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, which has drawn Hambletonian runner-up Mission Brief and Hambletonian Oaks winner Wild Honey. The Moni Maker goes as race 3 on the program, which begins at 6:55 PM.                                                          Evan Pattak

WILKES-BARRE PA - Imagine Dragon and Momas Got A Gun both punched their tickets to the $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on September 5 with strong victories in $191,609 fourth and final round preliminary action Saturday at The Downs.   Imagine Dragon lowered her mark a tick to 1:51.1 for trainer Frank Antonacci and Lindy Farms of Connecticut in taking the first division. Driver Scott Zeron had three pieces of luck with the daughter of Dragon Again, and the first two did not augur well: he had to tuck third early, and he had to rethink a quarter-move when pacesetter Better Said showed no sign of wanting to give up the lead. But his third piece of luck was good - for victory: pocketsitting Triple V Hanover moved outside for the drive, and Zeron was able to guide Imagine Dragon to the famed Pocono Pike, winning easily late with a strong finishing kick. 31-1 Doll Fins, the longest shot on the board, shot through deep in the Pike for second, 1½ lengths behind the winner and a neck ahead of favored Better Said. Safe From Terror, one of two horses with two prelim wins coming to tonight (the other, Serious Filly, was absent here), was photoed out of third, and Triple V Hanover completed the checkgetters.   Momas Got A Gun had not raced at the mountain oval since July 4, where she had a stretch lead and missed just a neck in the $300,000 Lynch Final. Saturday the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was on the right side of a neck decision, as she made two moves to control the pace, coming her last half in 54.2 to stop the timer in 1:50.1, a national season's mark and a personal best. Somewhere Sweet came at the winner late directly to her left, but Jim Morrill Jr. kept his filly going to win by a neck for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and Albertan owner Geoffrey Martin. Slight betting favorite Doctor Terror, first-over here, was 1¼ lengths further back in third; Well Hello There and Southwind Roulette, the defending divisional Champion, getting the last two paydays.   The official pointstandings are tabulated by the PA Harness Racing Commission, with money earned in the prelims used as a tiebreaker if the need arises, but an initial tabulation after tonight's two races showed the following: the eight spots available for the Championship were earned by Safe From Terror (88 points on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 basis), Imagine Dragon and Somewhere Sweet (tied at 85), Serious Filly (78), Momas Got A Gun and Storm Point (tied at 73), Arts Jem (60), and Southwind Roulette (58); spots in a 9-horse $60,000 Consolation were earned by Doctor Terror (56), Better Said (48), Triple V Hanover (47), Doll Fins (42), Deli Beach (32), Seeking Nirvana (27), Ginger Tree Alexis and Macarena Mama (tied at 25), and Well Hello There (24).   (Again, these are unofficial numbers; also, the race of participation depends on who drops in: if one declares in for Saturday, one declares for both races as eligible - you can't refuse the Championship for the Consolation, and those with fewer points, if declared, may make the Consolation if horses listed above don't drop in.   In the $30,000 Open pace, the Always A Virgin 4YO gelding Always At My Place came with a 1/5 of a second of the divisional world record when he won in 1:48.1, just off Mach It So's world and track record, stamping himself as a force to be reckoned with on a national level. Winning for the fifth time in succession, Always At My Place did it despite taking the first-over route, pacing his back half in an incredible 53.1 to tally for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and the owning partnership of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr, and Phillip Collura while taking a new mark and equaling Rockeyed Optimist's season's record.   FINISHING LINES - A reminder for those planning to attend or watch the $2M+ Super Stakes Saturday card next week are reminded that the first race is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., as there is a giant fireworks show planned for after the races.   PHHA / Pocono

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - "There is no way that I am not sending a horse to the Hippodrome 3R and try and win the Prix D'Ete again," said Hall of Fame harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter. Last year Takter sent Sunfire Blue Chip for the inaugural revival of the Prix D'Ete. Despite drawing the far outside eight post, Sunfire Bluechip and driver Yannick Gingras were able to overcome the bad post and the top competition plus a rainy track surface in setting the all-age track record with a 1:50.3 triumph. This year the Prix D'Ete race, which is restricted to four-year-old pacers only and is part of the national Grand Circuit, is on Sunday, August 23, a month earlier than last year. A total of 19 horses have remained eligible to the race and the top eight money earners in 2015 that enter will get behind the starting gate for the $200,000 race. "I am sorry that I cannot come up for the race again this year," Takter explained, "the race day is in conflict with the stakes races at Tioga Downs and I have more entered there so I must be there that day." But just like last year, Takter is sending another outstanding pacer to Quebec in Somewhere In L A. The son of Somebeachsomewhere is a career winner of $642,000 and has been racing against the best in the sport week in week out. Two starts back he was second in the Roy Davis Memorial at The Meadows and in his prior start he won at Yonkers Raceway, wiring the field in 1:52 for driver Daniel Dube. The Prix D'Ete is one of the richest races of the year for four-year-olds at $200,000 and there are some other trainers and owners who would like to win it. "We will see how Ideal Cowboy races this Saturday night," said owner Jeff Bamond. "I think if he comes out of the race OK then we will send him to the Prix D'Ete. We had a wonderful time last year when Mach It So finished fourth." Ideal Cowboy goes at Yonkers Raceway Saturday in their four-year-old open pace. The Ron Burke Stable has two top horses eligible for the Prix D'Ete in All Bets Off and Limelight Beach. "They are both racing tonight in the $300,000 Dan Patch Stake at Hoosier Park," said co-owner Mark Weaver. "If everything goes well I would think we would send both of them to the Prix D'Ete." It will be interesting after this weekend's racing action to see who will be traveling up to Trois-Rivieres in Quebec for the Prix D'Ete. "My only question about the Prix D'Ete," said trainer Jimmy Takter, "is who will drive my horse? That will be an interesting decision next week as I usually use Corey Callahan or Daniel Dube with Somewhere In L A." That decision and a few more will all have to be made by next Wednesday, August 19 before noon when they close the entry box for Sunday's program on Prix D'Ete Day. Other top contenders eligible to the Prix D'Ete include Luck Be Withyou, Big Boy Dreams, Mattamerican and National Debt. First race post time on Prix D'Ete Day is 1:30 pm. Also on the race program will be the final leg of the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series for two-year-old pacing colts. From The Quebec Jockey Club  

There had been six divisions of the first preliminary of Pennsylvania Stallion Series action for two-year old harness racing pacing fillies.   After the second prelim, which went in seven divisions, there were no repeat winners -- 13 different Stallion Stake winners.   Twelve of that baker's dozen came to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday to contest the $120,000 third preliminary leg over six divisions.   No previous winner won on Tuesday.   And thus there are nineteen different Stallion Series winners after three rounds. Talk about parity!   Only two of Tuesday's winners were not breaking their maiden, and one of the previous visitors to Victory Lane was the only favorite in the Stallion Series and also had the fastest time.   That would be Western Ideal-Sass Newton miss Newborn Sassy, who followed up on a 1:54 score in a Philly overnight with a 1:53.1 victory here, drawing off by 7 1/2 lengths in a 28.1 kicker for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim King Jr. of Team Wakizashi, the latter co-owner with CC Racing LLC.   Tetrick, who had the only Stallion driving double, also won with the other non-maiden who was victorious, the Yankee Cruiser-Noble Marty filly Marty Party Two, who followed up on an earlier 1:55.3 score at Scioto with a quarter-move to triumph in 1:54.4 for trainer Ron Steck, the latter co-owner with Gary Condit and Bruce Soulsby.   Sire Yankee Cruiser got another credit from Shesjustcruising (out of the mare Shes Just Rockin), who made every pole a winning one in 1:53.4 for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer John Marshall, and owner Susan Marshall.   Somebeachsomewhere also had a siring double, producing Sixoclocksomewhere (out of She's My Belle), who quarter-moved after a 26.4 opener and won for the first time in 1:55.1 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Doug Lewis, and ubiquitous owner Howard Taylor, along with East Side Hanover (out of Edra Hanover), who overcame a recent sick scratch in fine style while triumphing in 1:54, back fractions 56 - 27.3, for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and the combine of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Paul Treiber.   The sixth Stallion winner also had the smallest margin of victory -- and the biggest price -- as the Dragon Again - Ty's Artist filly Notagain proved most photogenic by a head in 1:55.3, making her 13-1 backers happy, along with driver Howard Parker, trainer Bucky Angle, and owner Richard Mannon.   Nineteen different preliminaries, nineteen different winners.   When these fillies meet again next Tuesday afternoon at The Meadows, in their final chance to earn spots in their division's $40,000 Championship September 10 at Harrah's Philadelphia, you think the competition just might be spirited?   Jerry Connors

As another harness racing season gets underway in New Zealand, we are about to see the first stock of three of the more promising young sires in North America grace our tracks for the first time. By Western Ideal, Big Jim 1:49.2 ($1,541,924) has made a really good start with his first crop in Canada. That crop numbers 72 eligible to race and 16 have already qualified, with six already winners and the two year old season is only really getting into top gear now so his numbers to date are fine. His best performer to date is Magnum J 1:54.3 (H) ($126,798) who recently won the first big stakes race in Canada this season when he took out the final of the $227,500 Battle Of Waterloo. In New Zealand, Big Jim has 55 two year olds to represent him this season and judging by their good start in Canada, he looks sure to make an impact here with his two year olds. The other sire who will have a lot of eyes on him this season in New Zealand is the son of Cam's Card Shark in Roll With Joe 1:48.4 ($1,805,102) A full brother to the champion sire Bettor's Delight, Roll With Joe has made a fantastic start to his siring career in North America. Standing in the ultra competitive state of New York against the likes of Art Major, American Ideal and Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll with Joe has 88 two year olds in North America and currently has his nose in front of those three on the sires premiership. Roll With Joe currently sits third overall on the sires premiership so looks to have a big future with the start he has made. In New Zealand he only has nine two year olds to represent him but you would imagine a couple of those will show up this season judging by how they are running in New York. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Roll With Joe cover a big book in New Zealand this coming season on the back of the performance of his two year olds in North America. Another stallion that will have plenty of people watching him this year is Somebeachsomewhere, who after three crops in New Zealand totalling just nine live foals by frozen semen, will have 56 two year olds to represent him this season from the one season when his fresh semen was available in the Southern Hemisphere. Somebeachsomewhere's two year olds are having a great season in North America and he is comfortably the number one sire in that age group at this point of the season and with 56 two year olds in New Zealand, you would expect him to have a few standouts this season downunder as well. Another sire to have his first crop hit the tracks this season in New Zealand is the well performed son of Western Hanover in Well Said 1:47.7 ($2,569,342) His oldest stock in North America are half way through their four year old season and already have nearly $7,000,000 on their card while his overall earnings are closing in on $11,000,000 with 5 in 1:50 already. Well Said has just 14 two year olds to represent him in New Zealand this season but it wouldn't be a surprise to see a couple make their mark. Harnesslink Media

Spanning the end of this racing week and the beginning of the next one, two-year-old pacing fillies will be coming to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the third preliminary leg of Pennsylvania-sired action, with four divisions of a $253,980 Sire Stakes contest on Sunday and six divisions of $120,000 Stallion Series action at the harness racing meeting on Tuesday.   These baby fillies have shown remarkable competitiveness - there will be eight winners from the first two legs of the Sire Stakes, and no fewer than twelve previous Stallion Series winners, competing in the two days, and of those 20 fillies, only one has won in both legs so far - Pure Country, a Sire Stakes filly who gives every indication that she could be headed for national stardom.   Pure Country is a filly who is pure pedigree on both sides - her sire is newly-installed Horse Hall of Famer Somebeachsomewhere, and her dam, Western Montana, is a Western Hanover who earned $175,000 at the races. And Western Montana's bloodlines include two full brothers, Allamerican Ingot and Allamerican Inca, who won $2M between them, and a Jate Lobell $900,000-winning half-brother in LCB.   Trained by the ubiquitous Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter for owner/breeder Diamond Creek, Pure Country is perfect in three purse starts, winning a PA All-Stars race here before her Sires wins at Philly and The Meadows.   All three have been in 1:54.1 or better, the best the 1:53.1 in her last start at The Meadows, but what is truly special about her ability is that in each race - each on a 5/8-mile track, remember - Pure Country has beaten 27 seconds home.   And what's really scary?   Potentially , she just might not be the best one - not only of this Sires group or North America - but even under Takter's own shedrow.   Takter also trains Ivy League, another Somebeachsomewhere out of the champion filly he campaigned, See You At Peelers (who is also now owned by Diamond Creek).   Ivy League had two seconds and a parked-the-mile outing in her first three starts, but Takter got an "A+" for "Ivy League horsesense" when he entered this golden-pedigreed miss in the Stallion Series' first leg, so that she could continue her development without being overpressed.   Stepping up to the Sire Stakes at The Meadows in her next start, she had a devastating victory, coming from dead last, 10 lengths behind, to win in 1:52.2, in hand, with her own last half in 54, looking like a mature campaigner shifting into overdrive coming off the last turn. (In breaking her maiden, no less.)   Ivy League, bred by Christina Takter and John and Jim Fielding and owned by Christina, John, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, has post five in race five while Pure Country has post two in race ten.   Takter has these two fillies in the Sire Stakes and three more in Tuesday's Stallion Series while his co-occupant of the top of the training world, Ron Burke, has six Sire Stakes fillies and one in the Stallion Series (for a 7-5 edge at Pocono, reversing the preliminary 21-19 quantity edge [that could change, remember] Takter has on the Hambletonian card the day before the Sire Stakes).   As noted, there will be twelve winners from the first two Stallion Series legs - including six who have a second complementing their first - but no repeat winners when they face the gate on Tuesday.   They should produce very competitive contests, and might point some direction as to whom may be among the leaders in this class.   Jerry Connors

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 1, 2015 -- Promising 2-year-olds competed for more than $151,000 in a pair of Arden Downs stakes Saturday as part of the Adios Day card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Here are the highlights: $71,170 Governor Lawrence -- 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Ideal Jimmy, bet down to 3-5 despite making breaks in his previous two starts, stormed home in 54.3 from second over to catch Big Top Hanover and Whata Twist in 1:53.2 in the first division. The altered son of Western Ideal-Armbro Nectarine, who had recovered with sub-28 quarters after his recent pair of errors, continued that streak of late speed with a 27.4 kicker in winning for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Robin Cruise, and owner D. R. Van Witzenberger. "They've been working hard on him -- I think he had a little soundness thing," Miller said. "It got in his head, where he would look for a way out. He still threw in a couple steps, but he worked through it. I was happy to make it through the first turn." Second-over tactics also proved successful for the Somebeachsomewhere-Mouse Hanover colt Mr Right Hanover, who scored his first victory in 1:54 after circling to the lead approaching the head of the stretch. Tim Tetrick handled sulky duties for trainer Brian Brown and owners James Stambaugh, Wingfield Brothers, Alan Keith and Milton Leeman. 1:53.3 may be only an "average" time for these baby colts, but 1:24/55.4/27.4 back numbers are impressive, and that's what the quarter-moving Check Six stormed home in to take his third win in five starts. Another Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Southwind Vanna, Check Six followed up two straight sire stakes wins with this Grand Circuit triumph for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Ron Burke yet again, and Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, William Switala and James Martin. $80,000 Mary Lib Miller -- 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers Yankee Moonshine inherited the lead when early leader Graceful Vision made a miscue, then threw back fractions of 55 - 27.2 in defeating Corona Again to take the first division in 1:53.4, a personal best. The daughter of Yankee Cruiser-Bootleg Yankee, bred by Hall of Fame nominee Charles Keller III, broke her maiden in style for Gingras, Burke and owners Burke Racing, JT45, Weaver Bruscemi and Lawrence Karr. Another getting her first victory was the McArdle-Smokin Pistol filly Shesasmokinlady, who set the pace, then withstood a stern Lightning Lane challenge by Hug A Dragoness to earn a 1:53 triumph by a head. Tony Hall kept the baby game nearing the wire to bring success to trainer Kelly Paver and owner Iris Horowitz. And as if Ron Burke weren't winning enough races, he almost found a way to get two wins in one race; his fillies Danika P and Eloquent Grace were separated by inches at the end of another division, with the Yankee Cruiser-Danika Hanover miss Danika P getting the nod in 1:56.1. The winner stepped home in 27.2 for driver Matt Kakaley and the Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi / M1 Stables combine. Blue Moon Stride was in full stride during 55.3 - 27.2 back fractions in catching Lyons River Pride to capture the final Mary Lib division while taking a mark of 1:53. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Classic Star showed an impressive turn of late foot in running her record to 3 for 4 for driver Andy McCarthy, trainer Mark Harder and owners Emilio and Maria Rosati. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 1, 2015 -- Harness racing trainer Ron Burke swept both divisions of Saturday's $125,000 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers with Storm Point and Sassa Hanover. The Grand Circuit stake was part of the Adios Day card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Black Horse Racing's Storm Point launched a relentless first-over move from fourth for Dave Palone. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Limestone Cowgirl wore down the leader, Bettor Be Steppin, and defeated her by 1/2 length in a career-best 1:50.2, a national season's mark. Bedroomconfessions rallied for show. Sassa Hanover made the lead with a quarter-pole move and held off Better Said, downing her by a length in 1:50.4. Southwind Roulette, also from the Burke stable, earned show. "When she's good, she's good from anywhere," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "She hasn't been on her game for a little while. Her blood wasn't right -- everything was messed up. But it seemed like she was back today. She can race any which way when she's good." Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Larry Karr campaign Sassa Hanover, who soared over $600,000 in lifetime earnings. In other Adios Day Grand Circuit action: $65,142 James Manderino -- 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trotters Jacksons Minion, a Hambletonian eligible, made it three straight wins in grand style, rolling to a front-end win in 1:53.1. That knocked a tick from Lady's Dude's track record for sophomore geldings and erased the stake mark of 1:54.1 jointly held by SJ's Caviar and Wheelsandthelegman. Chef Lee was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Shoot The Thrill third. "I didn't know he'd go in 1:53, but I thought he could go 1:54 plus anyway," said trainer/driver Tom Jackson, who owns the son of Explosive Matter-Armbro Espionage with Howard Taylor and Judith Taylor. "That's about all he had at the wire, but I didn't give him his head until halfway through the last turn." In the other Manderino split, Suit And Tie looked much the best on paper -- he was hammered down to 1-9 -- and he looked just as sharp on the track, notching a front-end victory in 1:56. Only The Brave closed well for second, a length in arrears, while the pocket-sitting Simeon earned show. Corey Callahan piloted the son of Andover Hall-Warrawee Krisp -- a Hambletonian eligible -- for owners William Wiswell and M&L of Delaware. "He wasn't quite himself when he raced here last week," said Tyler Butenschoen, assistant to winning trainer John Butenschoen. "He had a good week training, and he raced like he was supposed to. We added some cups, and we went to aluminum shoes up front. He's eligible to the Townsend Ackerman as well as the Hambletonian, so it's the owners' call." $65,000 Ned McCarr -- 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters Sky Hanover meandered to the front from the gate, but she was strong enough on the lead to hold off Meadowbanch Wendy by a nose in 1:56.2. Pad Princess completed the ticket. "I took my time getting there, made sure she behaved herself," said winning driver Andy Miller. "After that, it was a matter of keeping her attention. She's made breaks of and on, but she's been pretty honest lately." Julie Miller trains Sky Hanover for Little E LLC, Westminster Road LLC and Banyan Farms. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

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