An early break put Windsong Geant behind the eight ball in the early stages of the Thursday evening feature at Mohawk Racetrack, but he regained his composure and used a last-to-first move to win the $28,000 feature race in 1:53. With Steve Condren in the bike, Windsong Geant rolled off stride past the quarter pole before landing back on the trot and chasing Mego Moss, Whiskey Tax and Bax Of Life through fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25. Windsong Geant was wheeled out wide coming out of the last turn, and his :26.3 closing kick worked to perfection as he drew clear to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Whiskey Tax. Catch The Dream rounded out the top three finishers in the six-horse affair. To view the rest of this story click here.
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 17 - Mister Herbie, a two-time harness racing O'Brien Award winner, will make his third appearance in the Maple Leaf Trot this Saturday night, at Mohawk Racetrack. Owned and trained by Jeff Gillis, the six-year-old millionaire son of Here Comes Herbie is overlooked on the morning line at odds of 15-1 with favoured Sebastian K, a decisive 2/5 mutuel favourite, capturing most of the attention. However, it was only two years ago that Mister Herbie, sent to post at 8-1, upset the heavily-favoured Chapter Seven to win the Maple Leaf Trot with a strong stretch run in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4. "I'd take a repeat of that," grinned Gillis. Stepping up against Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), on Saturday, Gillis knows that Mister Herbie will have to be at his best. In 2012, Chapter Seven was a well-backed favourite, but certainly not as touted as Sebastian K. "It's not to the same extent," agreed Gillis. "Sebastian K looks fairly invincible when you can leave as hard as he can, and then come some pretty wicked back halves. "It's pretty hard to figure out a strategy to beat that. But, that's why we run the race. Favourites go down. Horses are not machines and they can come up with a less than one hundred percent performance. Someone could take a run at him." Mister Herbie is lightly raced this campaign. He made his qualifying debut by trotting home a dominant 15-length winner in 1:55.3 on June 6, his first start since an even effort at Meadowlands Racetrack in late November. He's posted a trio of second-place runs since that qualifier including a runner-up effort to Market Share in last week's elimination, the very rival Mister Herbie chased home in the 2013 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. Gillis was intent on giving his champion gelding some time off this winter following a year in which Mister Herbie won just once, yet still banked $492,607 in purse earnings thanks to six runner-up finishes in stakes competition. "He spent eight weeks in Kentucky. We deliberately brought him back a little bit slower, in part, because of how late the season ran last year," explained Gillis. "We took our time with him and hopefully we'll finish strong. He's done everything on schedule so far and gotten a little bit better each time. He's heading into the race in good form." Gillis knows his charge will need to drop considerable time off his 1:53.2 elimination clocking on Saturday to win a second Trot final. In fact, Mister Herbie will likely need to equal or better his own Trot final performance of 1:50.4. "If they get a good track on Saturday, I suspect they're going to flirt with the track record, and I'd be just as happy if we held it when it was over too," he grinned. Steve Condren, who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image, will be charged with engineering a winning trip and Gillis has every confidence in the veteran driver. "Steve is a tremendous driver and very accomplished. He has a lot of experience and I think he suits the horse," said Gillis. As for the conditioner's idea of the perfect trip? "Ideally, we'll get away mid pack and someone would soften up Sebastian K and we'd be second over and pounce on tired horses," he offered. "It takes a lot of luck for something like that to unfold, but I think it's going to be an interesting race. I'm not sure everyone will lay back and let him (Sebastian K) get an easy half." And while the Maple Leaf Trot is certainly first and foremost for Gillis and Mister Herbie heading into Saturday's lucrative $603,000 event, the conditioner does have one other key date circled on the calendar later in the season for Canada's reigning champion aged trotter. "The race I'd really like him to win is the Breeders Crown," said Gillis. In 2012, Chapter Seven turned the tables on 'Herbie' to win the Breeders Crown at Woodbine and last year, at Pocono Downs, 'Herbie' dueled with Market Share to a furious finish only to lose by a nose. "I feel he deserved a better fate the last two years and that would be one that would mean a lot to me. It was heartbreaking (losing the photo)," said Gillis. Until then, its eyes on the prize for Gillis and a horse he clearly has a lot of respect for. "He's the perfect horse in every sense of the word. He does everything right, full of personality and I'm extremely fond of him," said Gillis. "We haven't really won a big one in a couple years. Herbie's Maple Leaf Trot was probably our last big win, so I feel like we're due for another." Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
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
The Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old trotters are currently underway at Mohawk Racetrack. Fresh off a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories, White Becomes Her ($3.50) kicked off the CBC eliminations for filly trotters with a 1:54.2 triumph as the 3-5 favourite for the driver and trainer team of Mario and Ben Baillargeon. O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie was scratched. After getting away third through a :27-second opening panel, Baillargeon made his move with White Becomes Her as they neared the half-mile mark in :57. White Becomes Her swept past early leavers Tosca (Chris Christoforou) and Muscle Babe (James MacDonald) down the backstretch and led the way to three-quarters in 1:25. Miss Aultsville (Jack Moiseyev) attempted a first over bid from fourth, but broke stride as she began to advance. Down the stretch, White Becomes Her drew away from her rivals to win by four lengths. Tosca followed in second with Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) coming on for third. Muscle Babe finished fourth and Belgravia (Ake Svanstedt) was fifth. To view the rest of the story click here.
The world's fastest trotter is set to make his Canadian debut this Friday as Sebastian K is one of 12 horses entered in the 2014 Maple Leaf Trot. Sebastian K drew Post 6 in the first six-horse elim, Race 3 on Mohawk Racetrack's Friday night card. The European-bred superstar, owned by Knutsson Trotting of Vero Beach, Fl., has been unbeatable in his four North American starts, two of which have been in world record speed. Trained and driven by Sweden's Ake Svanstedt, Sebastian K's most recent effort was a scintillating 1:49 effort at Mohegan Sun Pocono -- the fastest trotting mile in harness racing history. Svanstedt's hope that Sebastian K could get another week's rest with no elimination divisions needed was not to be had with 12 entered in the rich stake. A number of O'Brien and Dan Patch Award winning trotters will look to knock off the top-rated horse in North America, including two in his elimination race. Wheeling N Dealin (PP1, Jody Jamieson), 2012's top two-year-old trotter looks to be returning to form and 2013 three-year-old O'Brien winner Flanagan Memory (PP5, Chris Christoforou) has solid recent form. Both, however, will have to up their game to knock off the Swedish superstar. In the second elim, back-to-back O'Brien Award winning Older Trotting Horse Mister Herbie (PP5, Steve Condren) is the fastest trotter ever on Canadian soil by virtue of his 1:50.4 effort in the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. Another O'Brien Award winner, Intimidate (PP1, Sylvain Filion) is no stranger to big stage heroics. His 2012 Breeders Crown win (over Market Share, also entered in this race) helped propel him to divisional honours two seasons ago at age three. Race 3 -- 1st Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Wheeling N Dealin - J. Jamieson - L. Blais 2. Creatine - M. Lachance - R. Stewart 3. Wishing Stone - To Be Announced - R. Burke 4. Archangel - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Flanagan Memory - C. Christoforou - R. Dion 6. Sebastian K - A. Svanstedt - A. Svanstedt Race 8 -- 2nd Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Intimidate - S. Filion - L. Blais 2. Market Share - Ti. Tetrick - L. Toscano 3. Modern Family - D. Palone - D. Bier 4. Dws Ny Yank - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Mister Herbie - S. Condren - J. Gillis 6. Undercover Strike - D. Miller - T. O'Sullivan Friday's card also features Canadian Breeders Championship elimination races for three-year-old trotters as well as an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg for two-year-old pacing fillies. (With files from Mohawk Raceway and Standardbred Canada)
The story of 4-year-old harness racing female trotter Perfect Alliance, who enters Saturday's $266,000 Armbro Flight Stakes with 11 wins in 11 starts this season after winning a total of just two of 18 races at ages 2 and 3, would seem farfetched if it didn't sound so familiar. Perfect Alliance races out of the stable of Julie and Andy Miller, who five years ago took an unheralded 4-year-old male trotter named Lucky Jim and helped lead him to an award-winning season. Lucky Jim joined Team Miller with a total of just two wins in 20 career races. He won his first eight starts that season, including two winter series at the Meadowlands, before tackling the sport's top older trotters. He didn't slow down, winning seven more races in a row before finishing the campaign with 17 victories in 18 starts. His triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Nat Ray, Maxie Lee Memorial and Cutler Memorial, and he received the 2009 Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. Whether Perfect Alliance can write the same ending as Lucky Jim remains to be seen, but the first few chapters of her story are strikingly similar. She won two winter series - one at the Meadowlands and one at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs - before challenging the top female trotters in the game. In her first try against the big girls, in a division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine, Perfect Alliance won in 1:51.2, equaling Classic Martine's world record for the fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter. Incidentally, Lucky Jim shares the world record of 1:50.1 for the fastest mile ever by any trotter on a one-mile racetrack. Last weekend, Perfect Alliance won her elimination for the Armbro Flight by 6-1/2 lengths in a track-record 1:51.4 at Mohawk. She starts the final from post four with Yannick Gingras at the lines and is the 6-5 morning line favorite. "It's hard to believe we could ever do that again - and she hasn't done it yet - but the way she started out is a lot like the way we campaigned [Lucky Jim] because she fit some of the winter series," Andy Miller said. "She got a lot of confidence out of those series and just kept progressing and getting better and better. "Now she's as brave as a horse can be. Now that she's facing the better mares, she thinks she can tackle anything." Miller drove Perfect Alliance in her first seven starts, but has been sidelined since mid-April because of injuries sustained in an accident. In her second race this year, Perfect Alliance won from post 10 at the Meadowlands despite being stuck on the outside for most of the mile and getting a flat tire on the final turn. "She still dug in and won the race," Miller said. "When she did that, I thought it was something special. I didn't know if she would go [onto record-setting performances] but I knew there was a lot there." Perfect Alliance is owned by New Meadowlands Racing Chairman Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Meadowlands Racetrack General Manager Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. She is a daughter of stallion Credit Winner out of the mare Yalta Hanover and was purchased for $75,000 under the name Perfect Deo at the 2011 Lexington Selected Sale. Her mother is a half-sister to stakes-winners Yursa Hanover, He's Spooky and Scary Good. She is a three-quarter sister to Thistle Dhu, who ironically edged Perfect Alliance last season by a nose in the $40,000 Zweig Memorial Consolation for 3-year-old filly trotters. "Last year [Perfect Alliance] was hot on the gate and had a few little issues, just immaturity," Miller said. "I think the time off and bringing her back this year she's just matured so much. The second time I qualified her, I covered her up a bit and put some earplugs on her and when I popped them she responded. I knew there was a lot there, but how far it would go, I didn't know. "It's worked out good. With these types of horses, you just hope you don't do anything wrong. She kind of takes care of herself. She does everything we ask and we just try not to mess it up." Following is the field in post order for the Armbro Flight with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lady Laker, Trevor Ritchie, Al Tomlinson, 20-1; 2. Bax Of Life, Chris Christoforou, Jerry Duford, 15-1; 3. D'Orsay, Sylvain Filion, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 4. Perfect Alliance, Yannick Gingras, Julie Miller, 6-5; 5. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 5-1; 6. Upfrontluckycarol, Steve Condren, Clark Beelby, 20-1; 7. Rockin With Dewey, Mario Baillargeon, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1; 8. Charmed Life, James MacDonald, Dave Menary, 12-1; 9. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman, 4-1; 10. Angies Lucky Star, Trevor Henry, Richard Moreau, 25-1. Andy Miller got a positive report from his doctors recently as he continues his recovery from vertebrae surgery, but still is several months from returning to action. "He said everything looks good," Miller said Monday while watching qualifiers at Gaitway Farm, where he and wife Julie Miller are stabled. "He said in six weeks I can probably get rid of the [back] brace, but as far as doing anything, it'll be a couple months yet. "I was hoping I could do a little bit of work. Hopefully in six weeks I'll get a little more clearance, but I'm sure it will be a couple months before I can really do much." Miller said it was "frustrating" to be on the sidelines, but he is still active in watching horses train and race and providing his input. Miller has won 8,054 races in his driving career and nearly $101 million in purses, with both totals ranking among the top 25 in North American harness racing history. "Eventually, I'll get back out there, but I'll just take my time," Miller said. "I'm so thankful that I can be here and watch them and give my input on them training. "There haven't been any setbacks and if I didn't have the brace on, you wouldn't know anything is wrong with me. I can get around pretty good; I'm not running sprints, but everything is as good as it can be." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Mohawk Racetrack hosted a compact five-race qualifying session on Friday morning under pristine conditions. A trio of upper echelon performers took to the Campbellville oval and recorded wins by large margins. Strictly in terms of winning margin, the biggest victory of the morning came in Race 5 when Sunshine Beach, who was in rein to Chris Christoforou, motored off to a 23-length win in Race 5. The mile was clocked in 1:51.3 and the four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere capped off his mile with a :25.2 final quarter. The morning effort was the second qualifying performance of the season for the career winner of $950,108 in purses. One race prior, two-time O’Brien Award winner Mister Herbie made his 2014 charted debut by trotting to a dominant 15-length win for trainer Jeff Gillis and driver Steve Condren in 1:55.3. The millionaire son of Here Comes Herbie was trotting his first charted mile since having last raced at the Meadowlands Racetrack in late November. To read the rest of the story click here.
With a total of 23 three-year-olds competing this Saturday in three $75,000 divisions of the Somebeachsomewhere plus the $159,000 and $178,000 finals of the SBOA Stakes for three-year-old pacing and trotting filly respectively, Mohawk Racetrack has a star-studded lineup for harness racing fans.. These will be the final tune-ups for the pacing colts and gelding heading towards the eliminations of the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup, set for Saturday June 7 with the final on June 14. The first division boasts multiple-sub-1:50 performer JK Endofanera (PP6, Brian Sears, and the 2013 Breeders Crown champ Luck Be Withyou (PP7, Ron Pierce). The second division features The Diplomat winner Somewhere In L A (PP2, Steve Condren, who is not N.A. Cup-eligible) and the horse that last beat him, Somestarsomewhere (PP7, Brian Sears) After his first lifetime loss last weekend, Hes Watching (PP5, Jody Jamieson) looks to atone for that loss against seven rivals, most notable 2013 Metro winner Boomboom Ballykeel (PP3, Sylvain Filion) and 2013 OSS Super Final winner Bugger Bruiser (PP7, Anthony MacDonald). Also in the limelight this year is Let's Drink On It (PP6) who has two straight impressive victories already this season. The Somebeachsomewhere divisions will go off as races 3, 8 and 10 on Saturday with a first race post time of 7:25 p.m. The colt pacers share the Saturday spotlight with finals of the SBOA Stakes for fillies. The sophomore pacers go for $159,287 in Race 2, while the trotting lasses will compete for a $178,287 prize in Race 5. Somebeachsomewhere - Division 1 1. Marco De Vie 2. Three Of Clubs 3. Play It Again Sam 4. Somewhere Fancy 5. Falcon Justice 6. JK Endofanera 7. Luck Be Withyou Somebeachsomewhere - Division 2 1. Here Comes William 2. Somewhere In L A 3. McWicked 4. Always B Miki 5. Silverhill Shadow 6. Roger Mach Em 7. Somestarsomewhere 8. Capital Account Somebeachsomewhere - Division 3 1. Melmerby Beach 2. Jet Airway 3. Boomboom Ballykeel 4. Thats My Opinion 5. Hes Watching 6. Lets Drink On It 7. Bugger Bruiser 8. Surprise Hanover by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
TORONTO, May 10 - Woodbine Racetrack played host to a pair of stakes events on Saturday evening featuring sophomore pacers. After handing National Debt his first career loss last week, Somewhere In L A proved that effort was no fluke as he captured Saturday's $59,800 final of The Diplomat Series. A pair of Hall of Famers, Steve Condren and Bob McIntosh, teamed up with the pacer to capture the event in 1:51.4. Condren guided the son of Somebeachsomewhere to command before the opening station in :26.1 with Silverhill Shadow (Jody Jamieson) In The Pocket. Heading towards the half, Silverhill Shadow pocket-pulled and cleared to lead past the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23. Heavily-favoured National Debt, who was rough-gaited and made a break in the early stages, was the first-over attacker around the final turn. Turning for home, Silverhill Shadow put away National Debt, but couldn't fend off a late rally from pocket-sitter Somewhere In L A. Big Surf (Jonathan Drury) finished third. National Debt faded to seventh. Trained and co-owned by McIntosh along with C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings, Somewhere In L A celebrated his biggest payday as his bankroll now sits at $115,792. The bay has crafted a 2-0-1 record from three starts this season.He paid $8.60 as the third choice. The Diplomat Series was for three-year-olds, who were non-winners of $100,000 in 2013. Rock N Roll Xample, driven by James MacDonald, redeemed herself after faltering last week with a 1:51.4 performance to take the $59,200 Princess Series final. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover sat In The Pocket throughout the mile as Bahama Blue (Jody Jamieson) laid down panels of :26.2, :55.3 and 1:24. Turning for home, Rock N Roll Xample angled to the outside and marched past the tempo-setter en route to victory. Take That Hanover (Mike Saftic) came on for second, over Bahama Blue. Trained by Shawn Robinson for owner/breeder Robert Hamather, Rock N Roll Xample celebrated her ninth win of the season as her lifetime earnings increased to $128,690. The talented lass has amassed a 9-3-1 record from 15 starts this season. She paid $5.00 to win. The Princess Series was for three-year-old fillies, who were non-winners of $100,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, May 3 - National Debt, who has captured all seven of his career starts, tasted defeat Saturday evening at Woodbine in the lone $20,000 division of The Diplomat Series. The defeat came courtesy of 30-1 shot Somewhere In L A and Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren. The Pepsi North America Cup eligible National Debt (Sylvain Filion) attempted to lead gate-to-wire as the son of Allamerican Native carved out fractions of :28, :56.3 and 1:25, but he was collared in the final stages of the mile. Somewhere In L A was sitting third-over turning for home, before Condren showed his pupil open road and Somewhere In L A brushed past the tempo-setter in deep stretch to score the win in 1:54.3. National Debt finished second as the 1/9 favourite, over Prince Clyde (Keith Oliver). "My guess is that National Debt was off his game," Condren quickly said following the win. "That's a pretty strong head wind out there tonight and he was on the lead. I didn't angle off cover with my horse until late because of that and he responded. It's just his second start back this season and he's certainly going in the right direction." Trained and co-owned by Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh along with C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc, Somewhere In L A enjoyed his first win of the season from two starts as his bankroll now sits at $85,892. The son of Somebeachsomewhere paid $64.10. by Greg Gangle, for WEG.
TORONTO, May 2 - The Princess Series continued on Friday evening at Woodbine as 15 sophomore pacing fillies showcased their talent in a pair of $20,000 second round divisions. Bahama Blue, driven by Jody Jamieson, captured the first split in 1:53.1 at odds of 9-1. Jamieson and Bahama Blue were first to the front to lead at the quarter in :27.3, but then found themselves In The Pocket heading towards the half as heavily-favoured Rock N Roll Xample (James MacDonald) took over command. Rock N Roll Xample would lead her six rivals past the half in :56.3 and 1:24.4. Down the stretch Rock N Roll Xample and Bahama Blue separated themselves from their rivals, but it was Bahama Blue getting the upper-hand in deep stretch to win by a length. Artful Impulse (Randy Waples) finished third. Trained and co-owned by Carl Jamieson along with David Shea and Thomas Kyron $88,540. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere posted her first victory in 2014 from four starts and enjoyed a new career best. She paid $20.70 to win. After finishing second in the opening round last week, Take That Hanover and Mike Saftic redeemed themselves to take the second division in 1:53.2. Saftic had the daughter of Well Said out quickest for command in the early stages, but allowed a parked-out Polk Dot Hanover (Jody Jamieson) to the lead at the opening quarter in :27. The lead wouldn't last long heading towards the half as Take That Hanover was on the move again to lead past the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. Polk Dot Hanover angled to the outside for Jamieson at the three-quarter pole, but Take That Hanover quickly opened up on her rival and was a going-away winner in deep stretch to win by four and three quarter lengths. Wildcat Magic (Chris Christoforou) finished second with Lasting Appeal (Steve Condren) third. Trained and owned by Jack Darling, Take That Hanover increased her career earnings to $62,909. She paid $4.70 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, April 26 - West Side Story, driven by Chris Christoforou, stormed home to win the $43,000 final of the Don Mills Series on Saturday evening at Woodbine. After capturing his division in the opening round of the series, the Per Henriksen trainee scored back-to-back wins and his fifth tally of the year. Mego Moss (James MacDonald) was quickly marched to the front well before the opening quarter in a quick :26.4 with post time favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) sitting In The Pocket. As the talented trotters headed towards the half, Crosbys Clam Bake (Paul Macdonell) was still parked on the outside, but would cross over to the position of command before the half in :55.4. West Side Story was on the outside in the backfield and was able to catch live cover as Hldontghttoyurdrms heading to the outside before three-quarters. Crosbys Clam Bake opened up on his rivals at three-quarters in 1:24, but West Side Story angled off cover at the top of the stretch and used his patented closing kick to wear down Crosbys Clam Bake to win by two and a half lengths. Hldontghttoyurdrms stayed for third. Owned by Steve Organ and Asa Farm, West Side Story celebrated his biggest payday of his career as his bankroll now sits at $140,157. The four-year-old son of Conway Hall enjoyed his 11th career tally and now has a 5-2-0 record from eight starts this season. He paid $8.30 to win. Henriksen confirmed that West Side Story and stablemate Frisky Magic will head to France to compete overseas. Earlier on the card, the undefeated National Debt extended his win streak to seven as he cruised to victory in the lone $20,000 division of The Diplomat Series. Driven by Sylvain Filion, the heavily-favoured son of Allamerican Native led from start-to-finish through panels of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.3, before coasting to victory in 1:52.2 Roget Mach Em (Jack Moiseyev) finished second, with Somewhere In L A (Steve Condren) third. National Debt, who recently entered the Bob Young stable from previous trainer Ron Coyne, is owned by Kelly Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil and J and T Silva Stables LLC. "That's exactly what we wanted to see tonight," Young said following the race. "He went to the lead, got a nice second quarter breather and brushed home strong. He looked well within himself at the wire and we couldn't ask for more." The bay increased his bankroll to $70,750, while returning $3 to his backers. National Debt remains eligible to the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup scheduled for June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. The Diplomat series is for three-year-olds, who are non-winners of $100,000 in 2013. The second $20,000 leg of the series will take place on Saturday, May 3, with the $50,000 (added) final on Saturday, May 10. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO, December 18 - At the age of 10, Kindly Poet is hard not to consider the ultimate war horse on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit. The veteran pacer has been a star at the Rexdale oval and has gone on to earn 44 career victories and is a mere $7,640 shy of surpassing $1 million in career earnings. On top of that great accomplishment, the talented pacer etched a new 1:49.4 career best this season at age 10. Kindly Poet will look to become harness racing's newest millionaire with a victory in Saturday's sixth race at Woodbine. Sylvain Filion will guide veteran from post six in the $16,000 condition event. Trained throughout his career by Murray Brethour, who also owns a piece with Scarff Legacy Stables, Donald Varcoe and Daniel Sarafian, Kindly Poet has raced 214 career starts with all but 12 of them on the WEG Circuit (Woodbine & Mohawk). Not bad for a horse that was never supposed to set hoof on the racetrack. "He had a broken shoulder as a weanling and the veterinarian said that he would never race," Brethour, a resident of Sunderland, recalled. "As a yearling, we just broke him and turned him out. We brought him in the barn at two, but only started to come around at three. To this day he still has a fairly large bump on his shoulder, but he races with it." Kindly Poet quickly overcame all odds and made his qualifying debut on March 6, 2006 at Kawartha Downs. The result was a victory in 2:00.1 with Brethour in the bike. "At the time, I was just happy he made it," Brethour said, with a chuckle. "He gradually got better and better and climbed the ladder." Kindly Poet began his racing career two weeks later at Georgian Downs with a third place finish before finishing second in the next three dashes. He won his first race when he shipped into Woodbine and got up in time in 1:53.4 with Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren in the bike. Since then, Kindly Poet has made 40 more trips to the winner's circle either at Woodbine or Mohawk with multiple victories at the Open/Preferred level. "He's just tough and has a lot of class to him," Brethour said. "At home, he knows he is king. He's very set in his ways and knows when it's time to race. When he makes the type of money he does, he can do whatever he wants," Brethour said, with a laugh. Looking back on Kindy Poet's career, he has certainly overcome all odds and provided many thrills for Brethour. "He just loves to win and did it all the hard way," he said. "His largest payday was winning the Cam Fella final back in 2007 when the purse was $67,000. "He's just a warhorse and there's really no better way to describe him," Brethour continued. "He's raced pretty much his entire career at Woodbine or Mohawk and was your typical Saturday night horse. As a trainer, you can't ask much more than that." Randy Waples, who was a frequent pilot behind Kindly Poet, agrees with Brethour. "He was just a gentleman to drive," Waples said. "He was very accommodating to drive. He had a big motor, terrific manners and an absolute pleasure to drive. He left it all on the racetrack every night and always put forth a terrific effort." As for the future of Kindly Poet, he isn't going too far from home. "He'll race at Woodbine and Mohawk until he's no longer competitive," Brethour said. "Once he's done racing, he'll have a home for life on the farm. My daughter rides him so he's certainly a pet and part of the family." It's been hard work, good fortune and a personal touch from his trainer that has certainly paid off for Kindly Poet. No one can ask for more than that. by Greg Gangle for WEG
TORONTO, November 29 â€“ Woodbine Racetrack was the host of four Autumn Series finals on Friday evening, featuring sophomores of both gaits and sexes. In the $34,700 glamour boy final, Thorn In Your Side and Anthony Macdonald got the jump on their rivals down the stretch to score in a career-best clocking of 1:51. MacDonald and Thorn In Your Side were the first leaders, but allowed Grantor Hanover (Randy Waples) to command at the quarter in a quick :26. The lead wouldnâ€™t last long as Thorn In Your Side quickly retook command and laid down middle-half speed of :55 and 1:22. Turning for home, MacDonald and Thorn In Your Side appeared to get the jump on co-favourite Alexas Jackpot (Jody Jamieson), who had stalled cover from the half on. Down the stretch, MacDonald was in an all-out drive on Thorn In Your Side as he got the jump on his rivals to win for the tenth time on the year. Alexas Jackpot closed well to finish second, with Sea Harrier (James MacDonald) finishing third. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owner High Stakes Stable Inc, Thorn In Your Side earned his sixth win in seven starts as he increased his lifetime earnings to $98,327. Thorn In Your Side finished first and second in both preliminary rounds. The son of Mach Three paid $4.60 to win. Be Winnin, driven by Chris Christoforou, posted the 35-1 upset as she defeated heavily-favoured Samira Hanover in the final strides to take the $33,600 final for sophomore trotting fillies. The daughter of Angus Hall sat In The Pocket throughout the mile as Samira Hanover laid down panels of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:27.3, before Be Winnin angled out to wear down the tempo-setter to score in 1:55.4 - a new stakes record. Fathers Amiga (Mike Saftic) finished third. Trained by Glenn Lalonde for owner/breeder Bob Key, Be Winnin increased her bankroll to $55,448 as she celebrated her fourth career tally. The trotting lass enjoyed a new career best in the process before returning $61.80 to her backers. In the $33,600 trotting colts and geldings division, Popeda and Sylvain Filion provided the 5-1 minor upset in 1:55.3. Popeda was in no hurry off the start as heavily-favoured Doubledown Gass (Reg Gassien) was the first leader through the opening quarter in a quick :26.4. Doubledown Gass continued to lead past the mid-way point in :56.4, before Popeda angled out of fourth and began the first over attack around the final turn. Doubledown Gass continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:27, but Popeda quickly surged to command down the stretch and held off a late challenge from Lets Leavem (Chris Christoforou), who enjoyed a pocket trip throughout the mile. Doubledown Gass stayed for third. Owned by Overseas Farms Ltd and trained by Richard Moreau, Popeda enjoyed his fourth career victory as his lifetime earning now sit at $58,676. The son of Ken Warkentin celebrated a new lifetime best as he returned $13.60. Machnbyrd Princess and Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren clicked in the $35,300 pacing filly final in 1:53.1. Putmeintogo (Roger Mayotte) was the leader throughout most of the mile as she laid down panels of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:25.2. Condren used first-over tactics with Machnbyrd Princess around the final turn and was within striking range of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, Machnbyrd Princess, Putmeintogo and Lyonssweetie (Randy Waples), who enjoyed a pocket trip, were all heads apart with Machnbyrd Princess getting the upper hand on her rivals in the final strides. Post time favourite Lyonssweetie finished second, with Putmeintogo completing the triactor. Shawn Robinson trains the six-time winner for owner Canamerica Capital Corp and Hyatt Holdings. The daughter of Mach Three increased her bankroll to $91,360. She paid $9.50 to win as the third choice. Videos of all races are attached. Greg Gangle WEG Communications
Three-year-old fillies found themselves in the spotlight Thursday evening at Woodbine Racetrack, as the Rexdale, Ontario oval hosted the opening leg of the Autumn Series for pacers and trotters. A pair of divisions for trotters and a trio of splits – each of them worth $15,000 - went postward on the 12-race card, and wind was a hindrance to those fillies in the final quarter of their respective assignments. Samira Hanover, who made breaks in her last two pari-mutuel outings, was forced to requalify on October 30 for trainer Mike Keeling. She was on her best behaviour that morning at Mohawk Racetrack, and she was just as much of a professional in this evening’s pari-mutuel assignment under the lights. The daughter of Kadabra-Southern Puff got away sixth from her Post 7 starting spot, and that allowed Alluring K to hustled to the front and chop out splits of :28.2, :59 and 1:28.2. Samira Hanover tipped out to catch cover in the backstretch before making a three-wide moving at the mid-way point of the final turn for driver Paul MacDonell. She kicked home in a :29-second clip to win by 2-1/2 lengths over Candida in 1:58.3. Fathers Amigo trotted home late to finish third. P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc, William B Weaver III, Steve D Organ and A K Malik Stable share ownership on the photogenic filly who improved this year’s record to 4-2-4 from 13 starts with the win. Her share of the $15,000 purse lifted her lifetime loot to $59,980. Be Winnin also used an off-the-speed approach to winning her division for the tandem of driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Glenn Lalonde. The daughter of Angus Hall-Brenda B Winnin got away fourth and watched Ocean Mist Beauty sail through fractions of :29, :59.1 and 1:28. Be Winnin was third at the half, and improved to be second on the outside at the three-quarter pole before using a :30-second kicker to win by 1-1/2 lengths over I Like My Kaddy in 1:58.1. Ocean Mist Beauty faded late and settled for third. Owned and bred by Robert J Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania, Be Winnin won for just the second time this season in 14 starts. The three-time winner has banked $37,448 to date. In the first division for the pacing fillies it was Lutetia Semalu pulling off a 10-1 upset for the team of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Richard Moreau. The daughter of Million Dollar Cam-Signature Semalu powered to the lead from Post 6 and threw down an opening quarter of :29.3 before taking a brief tuck into the two-hole behind Stonebridge Adore. Filion came right back around that foe for the re-take and after clearing she led through middle panels of :56.3 and 1:25.4 before using a :28.2 closing quarter to win by 2-3/4 lengths over Parade Route. Race favourite Stonebridge Adore had to settle for third. Zoom And Fish Stable Inc of Laval and Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc of Montreal, Quebec own the sophomore who won for just the second time in her career. She’s 2-for-24 in her career, but those two wins have come in her last four starts since moving to Moreau’s outfit. Machnbyrd Princess was 1-9 on the toteboard, and she proved to be 1-9 the best in the second division for driver Steve Condren. He got away fourth with the Shawn Robinson pupil while D Gs Pesquero blasted to the lead and laid down a :27.3 opener. Condren had Machnbyrd Princess on the move in the backstretch and she cleared without a fight shortly past the half in :56.3. She was in charge at the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4 and used a :29.1 closing quarter to win by 6-1/4 lengths over Call It Courage in 1:53. D Gs Pesquero weakened late and settled for the show dough. The Mach Three-Respectednbeloved homebred races for Canamerica Capital Corp and Hyatt Holdings Inc of Milton, Ontario, and so far this season she’s put together a sterling record of 5-2-0 from just seven trips to the track – a far cry from the 0-for-7 record she established last year. The filly, who clearly was worth waiting on, has potted $73,710. Panstakingly and trainer/driver Donald Jobin clicked for an 18-1 upset in the final division. The daughter of No Pan Intended-Pantathlon was nowhere to be found in the early stages of the mile, but she had plenty of speed to chase thanks to Hippie Chic, Its No Secret and Putmeintogo who took turns on the engine through fractions of :27.2, :57.1 and 1:25.1. Panstakingly kicked off cover turning for home and used a :28.4 closing panel to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Mach It A Par. Race favourite Putmeintogo was third. Jobin shares ownership on the four-time winner with Danielle Belisle of Clarence Creek, Ontario. Together, they’ve watched the filly put together a 4-7-4 record from 22 trips to the track this season. The lion’s share of the purse bumped her cash stash to $43,853. To view results for Thursday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission from www.standardbredcanada.ca