I was on a pretty good roll last week, selecting 10 of 16 race winners and ending the weekend with a $19.00 profit plus some decent straight trifectas and exactas. So how best to cap a good weekend like that? To do even better this weekend! It all comes down to the Breeders Crown so we are totally focused on the 12 Breeders Crown Championship Finals Friday and Saturday at the Meadowlands. Many of these races may decide divisional honors for a lot of Dan Patch Horse of the Year award winners. Good Luck! $250,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final Mares Open 7th race FRIDAY - Usually I would jump all over Bee A Magician in here but something told me last week that CLASSIC MARTINE is back in prime shape and ready to cut loose for the Chris Oaks Stable. She has a good inside post to either try and wire the field or get great cover to score from. Use Bee A Magician and Handover Belle in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 2yo Fillies 8th race FRIDAY - Here is one of the races that could decide divisional horse of the year finals. Mission Brief has been super-fast but also very erratic with making breaks. Last week she was at her best in three length score. But WILD HONEY never makes breaks, has won ten straight races and should get perfect cover behind Mission Brief and beat her to the wire. Use Mission Brief and Danielle Hall in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 3yo Fillies 9th race FRIDAY - With eight straight wins and 14 scores in 16 starts there is no way I can pick against SHAKE IT CERRY. She has been nearly perfect all season long and has beaten most everyone in this field this season and should be able to do it again. Use Lifetime Pursuit and Cee Bee Yes in exotic plays. $593,750 Pace Breeders Crown Final 3yo Fillies 10th race FRIDAY - This could be the grand finale of a superb season for COLOR'S A VIRGIN. All she needs to do is have one more parked-first-over-and-grind-it-out victory in here. She's done it all since winning Jugette and seals the season with her eight straight win and 14th score of the year. Use Gallie Bythe Beach and Precocious Beauty in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 2yo Colts 4th race SATURDAY - This will be one of the top races of the weekend with Pinkman the favorite going against top colts French Laundry and Habitat. I am going with HABITAT as he drew a good inside post, figures to leave enough to insure great live cover from French Laundry or Pinkman and beat either one or both in a classic stretch drive. Use French Laundry and Pinkman in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Breeders Crown Final 2yo Fillies 5th race SATURDAY - This should be the chalk race of the evening. Undefeated JK SHE'SALADY goes for her 12th straight win in a nearly perfect season. Somewhat safe to say that if she can win tonight she could become the first two-year-old filly ever to be name Harness Horse of the Year and deservingly so. No one has been within a length of this top filly since early August. Use Sassa Hanover and Heart Major in exotic plays. $400,000 Pace Breeders Crown Final Open Horses 6th race SATURDAY - Sweet Lou or Bettor's Edge may end up being the race favorites in this good match-up but with the big money on the line I am looking to the class of the field to win, FOILED AGAIN. Three of his last five losses were by photo finishes and he needs just to get a good trip and he can beat his younger rivals. Use Bettors Edge and Sweet Lou in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Breeders Crown Final 2yo Colts 7th race SATURDAY - Provided Brian Sears can leave and get position and not stung to a :26 opening quarter, IN THE ARSENAL can overcome the outside post 10 and take this field. Before last week he had between two top undefeated colts in back-to-back stakes and last week he was still a game third place finisher. Use Go Daddy Go and Lyons Levi Lewis in exotic plays. $281,250 Pace Breeders Crown Final Open Mares 8th race SATURDAY - Wow is this a great match-up. Nearly every horse in this field has the ability to dig down deep and come up with a winning effort and not surprise me the least. I am going to go with YAGONNAKISSMEORNOT from post five. She can leave enough to get good cover and if need be also grind it out. She leads all mares in this field with 14 wins. Use Anndrovette and Somwherovrarainbow in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final 3yo Colts 9th race SATURDAY - This is where the slogan, "It All Comes Down To The Breeders Crown" really comes into play. If Nuncio beats his stable mate, Father Patrick here, he will sew up divisional Horse of the Year honors. If Father Patrick can win over Nuncio, then it will be a toss-up between the two horses. I think NUNCIO is just so consistently great that he will get to the front and not look back. Use Father Patrick and Harper Blue Chip in exotic plays. $531,250 Pace Breeders Crown Final 3yo Colts 10th race SATURDAY - Another classic battle will take place in here. Nearly every top sophomore colt in the sport is in this field. I see ALWAYS B MIKI continuing his winning ways with his 6th straight win. Winless in first six starts and now has won 12 of his last 13 starts. But he will have to be at his best once again to win in here. Use Let's Drink On It and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Breeders Crown Final Open Horses 11th race SATURDAY - Can the invading world champion from Europe come here and beat North America's best or can the lone lady of the field show her heels to the boys for a second straight week. I have to go with MAVEN to repeat. She won against good horses last week from post ten and draws much better in here. Use Commander Crowe and Your So Vain in exotic plays.
The Ontario Racing Commission on Monday, November 17, 2014 ordered an indefinite full suspension for harness racing trainer Corey Johnson and five of his horses scheduled to race Monday at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto were scratched from competing. According to sources, one of Johnson’s horses tested positive for a TCO2 (blood gas or “milk shaking”) level higher than allowed in a horses natural system. It was also reported that this is a second time offence for Johnson. He also had horses scheduled to race at Woodbine this Thursday and they have been scratched from the program. The positive test results could not have come at a worse time as Johnson, 24, of Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, has two horses scheduled to race this weekend at the Meadowlands in the Breeders Crown Championship Finals. Volez Hanover is scheduled to race Friday in the $281,000 Breeders Crown for Older Pacing Mares and Traceur Hanover is in to go on Saturday in the $500,000 final for two-year-old pacing colts. While both Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario and the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey have had reciprocal agreements in the past concerning honoring suspensions of harness racing trainers, drivers and owners, this situation presents a unique scenario. As of press time of this story, the New Jersey Racing Commission has not called for the scratching of the two horses from Corey Johnson’s stable. Scratch time is at 9:00 am Wednesday morning at the Meadowlands. Because the horses were entered for the Breeders Crown races well in advance of the positive test result for Johnson, the New Jersey Racing Commission and the Meadowlands may have no choice but to allow the two horses to compete. That final decision will not be known until 9:00 am Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, Corey Johnson has been having his greatest season as a trainer in 2014. The youngster first started officially training horses in 2010 and has amassed 339 wins from his stable and just over $5 million in purses won by his horses. In 2014 alone his horses have already earned over $2 million. According to the United States Trotting Association, Johnson had a post-race positive test back on March 29, 2014 for the presences of Pyrilamine, a Class 3 illegal drug and was given a 15-day suspension and a $500 fine that he has appealed. Attempts to contact Corey Johnson for a statement were unanswered. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
On Friday afternoon harness racing driver Dave Palone set the industry world ablaze by surpassing Germany's Heinz Wewering by one win, 16,754 to 16,753 as the sports winningest driver in the world. With his main track, The Meadows, outside Pittsburgh, PA, closed for live racing on both Saturday and Sunday, Palone was able to relax and maybe bask in the limelight of his major accomplishment. Well Mr. Palone, Heinz Wewering says you better get back to work, as Wewering, with seven drives Sunday afternoon at Berlin-Mariendorf in Germany, came away with 1 win and 3 third place finishes. So now the two world champion drivers are tied for the lead at 16,754 career wins, at least until Monday. That's when Dave Palone has 14 drives at the Meadows and four of them are the betting favorites. It is inevitable that Palone will surpass Wewering this week and build an insurmountable lead over time that no one may ever be able to come close too. Also noteworthy is that as a trainer, Heinz Wewering had another victory Sunday and now his world title as the winningest trainer ever in harness racing stands pact at 19,300 victories from his stable. Both Heinz Wewering and Dave Palone were unavailable for comment as of the writing of this story. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
After a bold three-wide move to get to the lead, Dune In Red and driver Austin Siegelman then wired the field in winning the $17,000 F&M Open Handicap Pace at Saratoga Raceway Sunday afternoon. Get Your Armor (Sam Schillaci) was first on the lead and battled with Ashlee’s Cool Gal (Shawn Gray) and Dune In Red to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. From there it was all Dune In Red and she cut fractions of :55.4 and 1:25 before barely holding on at the wire to win by a head in 1:54.3. Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) was second in the photo finish along with Cloris Hanover (Billy Dobson), who was third, also by a head. A four-year-old mare by Duneside Perch, Dune In Red is trained by Allan Johnson and is owned by the Hero Stables, of NY and paid $9.90 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Yagonnakissmeornot, the older half sister to top harness racing three-year-old, Always B Miki, was also a winner Saturday night at Pocono Downs in the $35,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace. Assigned outside her five rivals, Yagonnakissmeornot followed along in third before springing into action late in the mile and edging out another Breeders Crown hopeful, Krispy Apple, for the 1:50.4 victory. Krispy Apple had cut fractions of :27.2, :56 and 1:23.1 before being collared by the quick-closing favorite in the final strides. Spirit Of Desire finished one length behind off a pocket trip. Rounding out the finish order were Campanile, Western Empress and 'Crown' contender Regil Elektra. Simon Allard drove the winner of 14 races and over $500,000 this year for his brother, trainer Rene Allard. Yagonnakissmeornot is owned by Allard Racing Inc. of Saint-Esprit, Que., Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, Que. and Kapildeo Singh of Yorktown Heights, New York. She has drawn post five in the 11-horse field for next weekend's $281,250 Breeders Crown Mares Open Pace at Meadowlands Racetrack.whose connections anted up the $31,250 supplemental fee to enter next weekend's Breeders Crown. She is a five-year-old daughter of The Panderosa. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The $25,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts saw Go Daddy Go and Traceur Hanover take their repsective divisions in classic styles. Go Daddy Go and Lost For Words gave harness racing fans an exciting stretch drive in the first $25,000 division of the Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old pacing colts Saturday at the Meadowlands with Go Daddy Go winning the battle by a neck. Plenty of lead changes early on as Lyons Again (Yannick Gingras) took the early lead from Sicily (Corey Callahan) by the opening quarter mile in :27. Then driver John Campbell put Go Daddy Go first-up to take command and then it was Lost For Words and David Miller pressing and taking the lead at the half mile marker in :54.2. But the action would not end there as after the three-quarters in 1:23, Campbell came out again to go against Lost For Words. Those two then battled all the way down the stretch, neck and neck, right to the wire with Go Daddy Go just winning by a neck in 1:51.1. Franzo (Scott Zeron) was third with Sicily fourth and fifth and making it to the final next week. “He has been a nice colt since day one,” said trainer Bob McIntosh. “I campaigned his sire, Ponder, and this colt is doing great for having a long year. He is just really tough.” The chestnut colt sports four wins this year and tonight’s 1:51.1 score is his lifetime best performance. The homebred is co-owned by the Robert McIntosh Stable with Dave Boyle. He paid $7.20 to win. Go Daddy Go The biggest payoff in the Breeders Crown elimination weekend was set by Traceur Hanover and driver Andy Miller as they upset the field in the second division at 22-1 with a lifetime mark of 1:50.3. It was a super impressive victory as race favorite In The Arsenal (Brian Sears) left from post ten to take command to the first quarter in :26.3 and the half in :54.3 with Lyons Levi Lewis (Ron Pierce) getting the dream two-hole trip. Then here comes Traceur Hanover and Andy Miller first-over with grinding power and giving Arque Hanover (Tim Tetrick) great outside cover that they can't even keep up with to the three-quarters in 1:23. But Traceur Hanover did not know where the finish line was as he kept grinding it out down the stretch, collaring In The Arsenal and going on to win over Lyons Levi Lewis by one length. In the Arsenal held for third place and also making the final next week are Cooperstown in fourth and Tomy Terror in fifth. "Corey (Johnson) told me," said Andy Miller, " that this colts best starts were coming into this race. He told me the colt was feeling really good and that we had a shot. He felt good (scoring down). He went out there and went about his business and did it good. The trip was not what I expected. I really didn't want to be first-up but the way it ended up he took me right to the leader and then dug in." Trained by Corey Johnson, it was the fourth win this year for Traceur Hanover, who is owned by Richard Berthiaums of Quebec. He is sired by Western Ideal and paid $46.80 to win. Traceur Hanover By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Even being just an elimination division, both Always B Miki and Limelight Beach were not holding back at all as they both steamrolled their way to victory over stellar fields to win their respective $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination divisions at the Meadowlands Saturday. JK Endofanera (Ron Pierce) was first on the lead with Luck Be With You (Brian Sears) sitting the pocket trip to the first quarter in :27. Then David Miller came charging up first-over and scooted right to the lead before the half mile in :55. With the lead firmly in their control, Always B Miki raced along as He’s Watching (Tim Tetrick) came first-over with a brush at the three-quarters in 1:23.1 with Let’s Drink On It (Tyler Smith) grabbing the second-over cover. Then as Always B Miki make the turn for him, Miller urged him on and ate up some more track and held off KJ Endofanera to win by a half length in 1:50. Let’s Drink On It was third. Also making the final was Somesizesomestyle fourth and Luck Be Withyou fifth. “He’s been real sharp,” David Miller said. “He raced great again tonight. This was one of his biggest efforts and he keeps on coming. When I asked him he paced right off to the wire. He seems to be in good shape.” Paying $3.00 to win, it was the fifth straight win and eighth victory of the season for Always B Miki. The son of Always A Virgin is trained by Joe Holloway and co-owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D’Or Farms and the Roll The Dice Stable who also bred Always B Miki. Always B Miki Limelight Beach and driver Yannick Gingras were just as impressive in wiring the field in their elimination division, winning by one length in 1:49.3. Capital Account (Brett Miller) sat the pocket seat through fractions of :26.2 and :54.3 as McWicked (Brian Sears) was slowly moving up first-over. By the three-quarters in 1:23, McWicked nearly caught up with the leaders, giving Lyonssomewhere (John Campbell) live cover. But coming down the stretch Limelight Beach remained the strong horse, winning in hand with a :26.3 final quarter over a game McWicked with Doo Wop Hanover (Ron Pierce) third. Also making the final next week were Somestarsomewhere fourth and Capital Account fifth. “Just before he won the Little Brown Jug he has some good seconds and thirds,” Yannick Gingras said of Limelight Beach being 0 for 12 to start off the year. “He has just gotten better and better since then. Only hiccup was the race in Chicago. He (McWicked) gave me a good run in the stretch. I was confident that my horse had a good quarter left in him.” It was the fifth win on the year for Limelight Beach. The son of Somebeachsomewhere is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the M1 Stable and Wingfield Brothers. He paid $3.60 to win. Limelight Beach By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The Jimmy Takter Stable kicked off Day Two of the Breeders Crown eliminations at the Meadowlands Saturday in grand style, winning both $25,000 divisions for two-year-old trotting colts with Pinkman and French Laundry. Pinkman and Yannick Gingras took the early lead away from Guess Who’s Back (George Brennan) after an opening quarter mile in :27.3. Habitat (Brian Sears) was parked out and kept on going with Habitat and they cleared to the lead by the half mile marker in :57. Then Guess Who’s Back came back first-over with The Bank (Jimmy Takter) grabbing the live outside cover to the three-quarters in 1:26.3. Down the stretch Guess Who’s Back collared and started to pass Habitat, but Sears came back with Habitat but it was all in vain as Gringras weaved Pinkman to clearance and came charging down to the wire to beat The Bank by a half length in 1:54.1. Guess Who’s Back and Habitat finished in a dead heat for third with Walter White (Scott Zeron) grabbing fifth place and making it to next week’s final. It was the fifth win in just seven starts for Pinkman, a gelded son of Explosive Matter who paid $4.40 to win. He was a $70,000 yearling purchase and is co-owned by Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, J McClelland and Herb Liverman. Pinkman French Laundry got an uncharacteristic second over trip and used it for well for driver Brett Miller in winning the second Breeders Crown elimination division for freshman trotting colts. Uncle Lasse (Ron Pierce) was first on the lead but after the opening quarter in :28 it was Whataworkout and driver Scott Zeron pressing to the lead at the half mile in :56.4. That moved flushed out Stonebridge Force (Ake Svanstedt) first-over and they gave French Laundry the needed outside cover past the three-quarters in 1:27.1. Racing down the stretch Miller was able to get French Laundry into gear late and as he started to pull away, John Campbell with race favorite Muscle Diamond came charging at them but it was too late as French Laundry held on to win by a neck in 1:55.1. Suit And Tie was third with Piercewave Hanover fourth and Uncle Lasse fifth to complete the finalists for next week. It was the second straight win and seventh victory on the year for French Laundry. The son of Muscles Yankee paid $9.80 to win for co-owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding and Marvin Katz. French Laundry By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
All the action this weekend takes place at the Meadowlands with numerous elimination divisions in all age groups plus some nice FFA events. Many of the best pacers and trotters in racing will be battling it out to insure a spot in next week's rich finals. A lot of these races will be super competitive and not walkovers. Weather looks to be clear and cold so don't be looking for any track records, just some great racing action. Good Luck! FRIDAY NIGHT $25,000 Trot Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Fillies 2nd race - If the real Mission Brief shows up tonight the race will be over after the start. All she has to do is mind her manners and stay on gait around the first turn, but you never know what's going on inside her head, so it's 50/50 she stays on stride or runs like a deer. Use Danielle Hall and Smexi in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Fillies 3rd race - She's a perfect 10 going into this race, but JK She'salady does not know it. All she knows is how to race when asked and how to win. Undefeated filly will stay that way for trainer Nancy Johannson. Use Sassa Hanover and The Show Returns in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Breeders Crown elimination 3yo Fillies 4th race - Will be a good test in here if Act Now can rebound after poor showing in Matron Stakes last week. I think she is tailing off from some great mile and that it's a perfect opportunity for Sayitall BB to continue her winning ways for the Ron Burke Stable. Already has eight wins this year. Use Act Now and Major Dancer in exotic plays. $30,000 Trot A-1/FFA Handicap 5th race - I'm looking for the mares to show up their male rivals. Bee A Magician may only have three wins this year off perfect season in 2013, but she is still the class of the field and can return to her winning ways in here. Use Classic Martine and Opening Night in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Fillies 6th race - Looks like a wide-open affair in here with JK She'salady not in the field. Well Hello There looks to be in a perfect spot to win at a decent price. Draws the rail, has the ability to either try and wire the field or work out great cover to score from. Use Divine Caroline and Heart Major in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Breeders Crown elimination 3yo Fillies 7th race - After showing the harness racing world she could be the best in the nation by getting parked out and winning the Jugette first-over in each heat, Color's A Virgin has yet to lose. Top filly has 12 wins this year and should not lose. Use Sandbetweenurtoes and Precocious Beauty in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Fillies 12th race - Should be a walk in the park for Wild Honey. Superb filly has won nine straight losing only her first start. She is all trot on the front end (except once) and with the rail will take off from the field and not look back. Use Sarcy and Stubborn Belle in exotic plays. SATURDAY $25,000 Trot Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Colts 2nd race - What a great matchup that hopefully will be duplicated next week in the final. Pinkman, Habitat and Centurion ATM in same elimination division. All are having great seasons and can trot up a storm. I am going with Habitat as he can not only leave, but can be controlled enough to sit a pocket-trip to score from while I think the others cannot. Use Pinkman and Centurion ATM in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace A-2/FFA Mares Handicap 3rd race - Top pacing mares to do battle in here. Voelz Hanover, despite having to start from post seven, has tempted me off a rest and a nice qualifying effort. She has the class to overcome post and beat this group. Use entry of Anndrovette/Shelliscape and Rocklamation. $25,000 Trot Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Colts 4th race - Well matched field here should see French Laundry take this elimination division. He is always in the money, can race well from on and off the pace and with a week's rest should be raring to go. Use Muscle Diamond and Cruzado Dela Noches in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Breeders Crown elimination 3yo Colts 5th race - Such a well matched field of sophomore colts it is a shame that three won't be able to advance to the final. I have to stay with Always B Miki as he has been the sharpest of all and is on a four race winning streak where no one can stay close to him. Use He's Watching and JK Endofanera in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace A-1/FFA Handicap 6th race - This is sorta of a prep race for the Breeders Crown Older Horse Pace final next week. State Treasurer looks the best in here as he has been sensational all season long with eight wins. He may even surprise this field and leave to get great position to score from. Use Wake Up Peter and Clear Vision in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Breeders Crown elimination 3yo Colts 7th race - It may be an elimination race but in this division you can't take anything for granted like making the final. Thus I am going with Limelight Beach from post eight. Has the speed to get out front and control the pace and when he does he wins. Draws into easier of two divisions, rested and should be ready for action. Use McWicked and Doo Wop Hanover in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Colts 8th race - Almost a waste that Go Daddy Go has drawn the rail as he never shows any leaving ability. But I think Go Daddy Go is the class of this field and after decent second place finish last start and a brief rest, he may be ready to spring back into the limelight. Use Lost For Words and Rich Wisdom in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Breeders Crown elimination Open 10th race - If this is the elimination race then wait until next week's final. Great field here and I have to go with the lone mare in the race. Maven may be starting from the far outside in post ten but that should not stop her from overpowering male rivals as she looks to be back to her winning ways. Use Archangel and Arch Madness in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Breeders Crown elimination 2yo Colts 11th race - Saving the best for last. What a good group of colts here. I can't pass up on In The Arsenal even from the far outside in post ten. He has been super winning his last four starts and beating some great colts. He has the ability to grind it out early and overcome post ten against a very tough field. Use Lyons Levi Lewis and Hall Of Terror in exotic plays.
In The Arsenal has stamped himself as a contender to challenge Artspeak for top harness racing honors in 2014 as the two-year-old pacing colt notched his fourth straight win with an impressive 1:51 triumph in the $193,200 Matron Stake at Dover Downs Thursday. It was the longest shot on the board, 99-1 Lyons Levi Lewis and driver Ron Pierce who shot out of post seven to take early command. But then In The Arsenal and driver Brian Sears was grinding it out and after the opening quarter mile in :26.4 they took command for good. No one was willing to take a shot at In The Arsenal as he sped to the half mile in :55.1. Then Tomy Terror (Corey Callahan) came first-over with Cartoon Daddy (Yannick Gingras) following their cover but they could gain no ground on In The Arsenal. After the three-quarters in 1:22.4, Cartoon Daddy tried coming three-wide and Yankee Bounty (David Miller) four-wide but their moves were to no avail as In The Arsenal sped away to a two length triumph. Lyons Levi Lewis held for second with Bet You (Brett Miller) third. “He’s got a lot of go in his engine,” said Brian Sears, “He may still be a little green but he is figuring it all out. He will fight you a little but when he throws that engine into another gear he can go.” Sired by American Ideal, In The Arsenal posted his sixth win of the year in nine starts and now heads to the Breeders Crown as the race favorite. He is trained by Kelvin Harrison and was bred and is owned by White Birth Farm of Allentown, NJ. He paid $4.80 to win. In The Arsenal Yannick Gingras put on a driving clinic at Dover Downs as he made it three-for-three early on the program in the Matron Stakes, winning the $199,600 division for two-year-old pacing fillies with Sassa Hanover. Gringras took no chances having to start from the far outside with Sassa Hanover in post eight and left after the lead. Bettor Be Steppin and driver Corey Callahan were the first on the lead to the opening quarter mile in :26.2. But Gingras had Sassa Hanover already on the move and then on the lead. With the track upgraded from sloppy to good, Sassa Hanover led to the half mile in :55 as Ideal Nuggets (David Miller) came first-over, flushed out by Heavenly Bride (Brian Sears). By the three-quarters in 1:23.4, Gingras and Sassa Hanover still held the field at bay as Heavenly Bride came three-wide on the final turn to try and mount a challenge. But Sassa Hanover proved to be the tough horse, holding off all contenders to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:52.3 Bettor N Better (Ron Pierce) closed well to be second with Well Hello There (Matt Kakaley) third. The first three finishers in the race are all trained by Ron Burke, who had four of the eight starters in the race. Southwind Roulette was fifth for the Burke Stable. “I had my options opens at the start,” said Yannick Gingras,” but I was not going to get away in last place from the eight hole. I knew the move we had to make was to go to the front and she was great.” Sired by Rock N Roll Heaven, Sassa Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Brucemi and Larry Karr. She paid $8.40 to win in scoring her ninth victory on the year in just eleven starts. Sassa Hanover By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Despite pouring rain that delayed the start of the first race by a half hour, Habitat and Wild Honey did not mind the “off-track” as they both cruised to half-length victories in winning their respective divisions of the Matron Stakes Thursday afternoon at Dover Downs. Both were strong wins in the daily double for driver Yannick Gingras. Wild Honey started off the show in capturing her $203,600 Matron Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. The track was labeled good despite constant rain. Bright Baby Blues (David Miller) was the first to show but by the opening quarter mile in :27.4, driver Yannick Gringas had Wild Honey, the 1/5 favorite, on the move and took over the lead. From that point on the field raced Indian-style past the half mile in :57.4 before the action began to pick up. Corey Callahan was sitting third with Smexi and then came first-over with Gold Gora (Tim Tetrick) following the live cover in the backstretch and past the three-quarters in 1:26.3. Then coming down the stretch Gingras held the field at bay with Wild Honey. Bright Baby Blues came up the passing lane to try and mount a challenge but it was too little too late as Wild Honey won in 1:55.2. “She’s just a fantastic filly,” said trainer Jimmy Takter in the winner’s circle, “Despite the conditions she was just on cruise control.” It was the eighth straight win and ninth of the year in only ten starts for Wild Honey. The freshman daughter of Cantab Hall is co-owned by Christina Takter, John Fieldings, Herb Liverman and Jim Fieldings. She paid just $2.20 to win. Wild Honey The $237,500 Matron Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts saw Habitat and Gringras go to the early lead over Uncle Lasse (Ron Pierce) with the first quarter mile in :28. Then it was Cruzado Dela Noche and driver David Miller quarter moving to the front before the half mile marker in :56.1. As they hit the backstretch Pierce came back first-over with Uncle Lasse and trying to follow their outside cover was Billy Flynn (Brett Miller) but to no avail as they could not close the gap. Past the three-quarters in 1:25 saw Uncle Lasse in contention but then he began to tire and at the top of the stretch, Gingras left the pocket with Habitat to come after Cruzado Dela Noche and all the while, sitting in fourth place along the race was David Miller with Muscle Diamond and they shot up the passing lane. But it was not enough as Habitat was the strong horse, winning by a half length in 1:54.2 with Muscle Diamond nosing out Cruzado Dela Noche for second place. “He (Habitat) is a very consistent horse,” said trainer Ron Burke, “and he can do it all. I was glad to see Yannick give him a trip today. I think he will be in great shape for the upcoming Breeders Crown.” Sired by Conway Hall, it was the seventh win this year for Habitat. He is owned by the Hauser Brothers Racing, and J & T Silva Stables and paid $6.20 to win. Habitat By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Last week was pretty good with a $5.00 profit on my eleven win wagers plus some minor exactas and one trifecta for a nice winning weekend. Now we have a special early addition as Dover Downs hosts the Grand Circuit Matron Stakes on Thursday with not just eight world class races but a pretty nice Delaware Special too. Plus we will travel to Yonkers on Saturday for their Open Handicap Pace. Good Luck! $203,800 Trot Matron Stakes 2YO Fillies Dover Downs 1st race THURSDAY - Tough to even consider picking against this nearly unbeaten to trotting filly. Wild Honey is on eight race winning streak and a contender of horse of the year honors in her division. She has beaten most of these before and will do it again. Use Lilu Hanover and Smexi in exotic plays. $237,500 Trot Matron Stakes 2YO Colts Dover Downs 2nd race Thursday - Really good matchup in here with five real contenders to consider. I am going with Uncle Lasse who has been super competitive as of late, losing last two stakes by a head and neck and before that three of four wins. In tough but figures to get great cover to score from. Use Billy Flynn and Habitat in exotic plays. $199,600 Pace Matron Stakes 2YO Fillies Dover Downs 6th race Thursday - Without JK She'salady in this race it becomes quite a wide-open affair. I am going with Bettor Be Steppin as she was sharpest in qualifying win after nice rest from Lexington and she was hot before her mini vacation. Use Sassa Hanover and Ideal Nuggets in exotic plays. $193,200 Pace Matron Stakes 2yo Colts Dover Downs 7th race Thursday - With Artspeak done for the year this becomes a very tough race to choose. I have to go with In The Arsenal as he has come about with an intense three-race win streak where he put an end to unbeaten streak of both Artspeak and Yankee Bounty. From good inside post he will either wire the field or get great cover to score from. Use Yankee Bounty and Tomy Terror in exotic plays. $160,950 Trot Matron Stakes 3YO Fillies Dover Downs 8th race THURSDAY - With Shake It Cerry back to her old self there is little doubt that she can handle this field as she has now done in her last seven starts, all wins. Razor sharp for Jimmy Takter Stable and can win from on or off the pace. Use Lifetime Pursuit and Donatella Hanover in exotic plays. $26,000 Pace Delaware Special Dover Downs 9th race THURSDAY - While only one return winner in this field it is still a super competitive group. The hometown favorite I'm going with is Bandolito. Looks like he needed a few starts to get back in gear after layoff. Last start he was a game second at Rosecroft Raceway in 1:49.3. A repeat of that effort will make him a winner against this group for trainer/driver Daryl Bier. $200,350 Trot Matron Stakes 3YO Colts Dover Downs 10th Thursday - After easily winning the $500,000 Yonkers Trot last week, I can see Nuncio leaving from post eight and either cutting the mile or getting perfect cover to defeat stable mate Father Patrick in here. Father Patrick was not his old self last week and Nuncio is "Mr. Consistent" according to John Campbell and Nuncio is on a four-race win streak to boot. Use Father Patrick and Sumatra in exotic plays. $186,550 Pace Matron Stakes 3YO Colts Dover Downs 11th race THURSDAY - After he won for me last week in the Messenger Stakes at a decent price I have to come back once again with All Bets Off in here. Not only does he draw the rail but has the ability to get out front and never look back for the Ron Burke Stable. Loves smaller tracks and has 11 wins this year. Use Luck Be With You and McWicked in exotic plays. $179,200 Pace Matron Stakes 3YO Fillies Dover Downs 12th race THURSDAY - Currently the best of the three-year-old fillies this year, Act Now is first or second every week. Has won last two with ease on the front end and I don't think anyone else in this field can take her. Use Fancy Desire and Weeper in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - Strong Open at Yonkers goes to the handicapped horse, P H Supercam, who only has to start from post seven. Tough as nails owns Yonkers Raceway this year for driver Jason Bartlett and trainer P J Fraley. Has won six of last eight starts and can do it either on the front end or from behind. Use Lucan Hanover and Aslan in exotic plays.
All set and ready to compete, the contingent of harness racing Irish drivers competed today at the Hippodrome d’Argentan in Normandy, France, but the outcome was not what they had hoped for. Alan Wallace, Martin Loughran, John Richardson, Patrick Kane, Joseph Caffrey, Billy Roche, Sean Kane & Anthony Malone raced for Team Irish but only Patrick Kane could muster a fifth place finish in the big race. The Irish Team were treated royally by their French hosts. The president of the Hippodrome de Argentan racecourse in France addressed the Irish delegation and its drivers. In that address he extended a very warm welcome to all from Ireland and said what a great success the day was. He also wants to have a similar event next year but to build on this year’s event and make next year a bigger and better experience for everyone. A large contingent of Irish delegates went to Argentan not only for the friendship competition named the Prix Pierre Coulombe, but also to purchase trotters on Monday at the Trotteur Francais Sale. Hopefully adding 40 horses to supplement the current stock for the 2015 season. The French invasion has now spread to the regions of Cork and Northern Ireland with owner joining the queue for a slice of the action. The leading Irish owned Trotter Francais Horse Romalus Augenaise’s owner Joseph Caffrey will be guest of honour at a Le Trot Gala Awards ceremony in Vincennes on the weekend of 28th/30th November in Paris. Leading Irish Trotteur Francais Driver Alan Wallace will wear the specially commissioned Irish driving colours at an international drivers race at Vincennes in Paris on the same weekend. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
For the second straight week I lost money (-$4.10) on win bets but with the cold exactas and trifectas in the Messenger Stakes and Valley Victory, we made decent money for the weekend. This weekend we have super cards Friday at Hoosier Park and Saturday at Vernon Downs plus we travel north of the boarder to Woodbine Racetrack for their good Preferred Trot. Good Luck! $50,000 Pace Monument Circle consolation 3yo colts Hoosier 6th race FRIDAY - May only be the consolation race but still a very good match-up. I am going with Capital Account. Early season sensation has been putting in decent efforts except for his last outing against tougher. Draws well, rested and should be able to regain winning form against this field. Use Somestarsomewhere and Somesizesomestyle in exotic plays. $193,000 Trot Moni Maker 3yo fillies Hoosier Park 8th race FRIDAY - Best fillies in the nation will go out at it in here but the smart money has to go with Shake It Cerry. Won't be a walk in the park as she faces four other return winners in the field but she has beaten most of them throughout the season and can do it again. Use Lifetime Pursuit and Riveting Rosie in exotic plays. $176,500 Pace Nadia Lobell 3yo fillies Hoosier Park 9th race FRIDAY - Since winning the Jugette and rolling through five straight wins, Color's A Virgin has been sensational in Indiana for two years. She really gets tested once against facing the best in the nation. But even from post eight she is rightly the morning line favorite to win it all. Use Precocious Beauty and Katie Said in exotic plays. $230,000 Trot Carl Erskine 3yo colts Hoosier Park 10th race FRIDAY - Will be really interesting to see how Indiana's top colt, Rose Run Parker, who is going for his eighth straight win, will fare against the number one rated colt in the nation, Father Patrick. I am going to have to stick with Father Patrick as has beaten the best all season long. Use Rose Run Parker and Il Sogno Dream in exotic plays. $211,500 Pace Hoosier Park Pacing Derby FFA Hoosier Park 11th race FRIDAY - Half of the field are return winners but I am going with the horse who has lost his last three starts, only by a nose and a head. That's Foiled Again. Game class master can still show his heels to younger rivals and from outside post he might even be able to work out a trip to take this field. Use Sweet Lou and Clear Vision in exotic plays. $275,000 Pace The Monument Circle Final 3yo colts Hoosier 12th race FRIDAY - Wow...Limelight Beach, JK Endofanera, Always B Miki, Let's Drink On It, nearly all the best colts in the country going head and head for big money. I am taking a shot that Always B Miki got a week's rest after his big win at Hoosier where he romped by 8 Â½ lengths and can do it again. Use JK Endofaneara and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Woodbine Racetrack 5th race SATURDAY - Great matchup here between the return of Intimidate against Daylon Magician. When he is right he can beat any trotter there is and I think that Intimidate is ready to fire it up after good rest and very sharp qualifying win last week. Outside post is only hindrance. Use Daylon Magician and Slip Into Glide in exotic plays. $178,000 Pace Artiscape older mares Vernon Downs 6th race SATURDAY - Trainers PJ Fraley and Ron Burke seem to have the deck stacked, each with a three-horse entry. Doesn't matter because I am going with Joe Holloway's Somwherovrarainbow. She showed her former self last week with impressive win at Harrah's. All she needs is come live cover and she can score again. Use Fraley entry of Krispy Apple, Shelliscape, Anndrovette with Burke entry of Rocklamation, Summertime Lea and Camille in exotic plays. $240,500 Trot Kindergarten Final 2yo colts Vernon Downs 7th race SATURDAY - While the Erv Miller entry of Airman Batten and SS Poseidon are the race favorite, I am going with French Laundry. He has the gate speed to get good position and has shown great closing speed, :27.3 in his last start. Yannick will work his magic to get this one home. Use Airman Batten/SS Poseidon entry and Boots N Chairns/Suit And Tie entry in exotic plays. $251,100 Trot Kindergarten Final 2yo fillies Vernon Downs 8th race SATURDAY - Jimmy Takter's entry of Sarcy and Lil U Hanover have not been world beaters this season but have drawn well and have both shown good trot in recent action and gets a slim call in here over Allerage Star. Use Allerage Star and Queen The Bea in exotic plays. $178,000 Trot Muscle Hill older mares Vernon Downs 9th race SATURDAY - Great field of trotting mares featuring numerous world champions and a Horse of the Year! Who to pick? The class of the field is Bee A Magician, who last week was a game third in the International Trot against the world's best. Despite drawing outside post nine I think she is in a perfect spot for Brian Sears to work out a great trip to score from. Use Classic Martine and Perfect Alliance in exotic plays.
It was announced today via Harness Racing Update, that Artspeak will not race in the Breeders Crown and is done for the 2014 race according to spokesman Myron Bell for Brittany Farms. Before the Governor’s Cup, Harnesslink interviewed trainer Tony Alagna, who explained that they did not know why Artspeak made breaks in his prior two starts but that he was ready to go in the Governor’s Cup and that he has traveled up to Woodbine early just to train the colt himself and to make sure he was 100% ready to race. Alagna said he would not speculate before the race what the plans were for Artspeak after the Governor’s Cup. Artspeak was at his best and put in a tremendous effort in the Governor’s Cup. But right after the race, Alagna was off to Harrisburg to inspect yearlings for the upcoming sales and would not return any phone calls about the future of Artspeak. Now Myron Bell is stating that “The horse is weak in his stifles and that's why he made two breaks. He has already raced 10 times this year and we don't believe in racing two-year-olds more than 10 times. "That's what Captaintreacherous did. We want a 3-year-old and the best way to do that is to not burn them out as 2-year-olds.” Repeated attempts to reach Tony Alagna for more details have gone unanswered to both Harnesslink and Harness Racing Update. So now with Artspeak put out to pasture for the rest of the 2014 season, that leaves an opening for In The Arsenal to step up and steal some of Artspeaks “thunder” by sweeping the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs and then the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands. It’s sort of the same route that Heston Blue Chip took in defeating Michael’s Power for three-year-old honors in 2012. Sired by American Ideal, In The Arsenal has won his last three starts and has five wins in his eight starts this season for trainer Kelvin Harrison. One of those wins was against undefeated Artspeak and ended his seven-race winning streak in the International Stallion Stake at Lexington’s Red Mile. Then in his next start, In The Arsenal brought an end to undefeated Yankee Bounty’s eight-race winning streak in the Historic Series Goshen Cup at Harrah’s Philadelphia. “Since his last win at Harrah’s,” said trainer Kelvin Harrison, “He (In The Arsenal) has been really feeling good. We are looking forward to racing in the Matron at Dover Downs next week and if all goes well then we will go next in the Breeders Crown.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Brian Sears, Jody Jamieson and Chris Christoforou, three of harness racing’s top reinsmen, are nearing major milestones in their career dash totals. With their busy race schedules, all three drivers should be able to hit their milestone marks by this coming weekend. Sears leads the way with 8,994 wins as of today and thus is just six away from #9,000. When he hit that milestone, Sears will become only the 16th driver in the history of harness racing in North American to achieve 9,000 wins. Jody Jamieson currently has 6,995 career wins and is just five away from #7,000 while Chris Christoforou is at 5,994 wins and six away from #6,000. Good luck to all three drivers this week! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com