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Lyonssomewhere pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2014 harness racing season as he led from start to finish in capturing the first jewel of the pacing Triple Crown, the $437,325 60th annual Cane Pace at Tioga Downs on Labor Day Monday. Sent off at odds of 19-1, he paid $40.20 to win. A $35,000 supplement to the Cane Pace paid off for the three-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere who will now head out to Delaware, Ohio to go after the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Little Brown Jug, on September 18. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Lyonssomewhere left from post seven and went right to the front with Luck Be Withyou (Ron Pierce) taking the two-hole spot from the rail. They sped to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26 seconds. Lyonssomewhere and Gingras were hot on the lead and took the field to half mile marker in :53.3 as JK Endofanera (Brian Sears) started up first-over with race favorite He’s Watching (Tim Tetrick) second-over. But to the surprise of all, Luck Be Withyou and Pierce came first-over in front of JK Endofanera as they wanted to go first up again Lyonssomewhere to the three-quarters in 1:21.3. It was then that Gingras realized the good position he was in and started to open up his lead by the top of the stretch with Lyonssomewhere as Tetrick has swept three-wide with He’s Watching and started to gain ground with every stride coming down the stretch. But it was too little too late as Gingras kept his colt going strong to win by a half length in a lifetime best clocking of 1:49.4. Doo Wop Hanover (Corey Callahan) was third. Trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Brentford, Ontario, it was the fifth win in nine starts this year for Lyonsssomewhere.   “Ronnie (Pierce) tried a couple of time to come after us,” said Yannick Gingras, “And he was not one of the horses I wanted to follow. I really did not know what I wanted to do behind the starting gate. I would have followed He’s Watching. My horse is handy enough that I could make my decision once the gate left. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold him off (He’s Watching),” said Gingras, “He’s got an awesome kick. Around the last turn I knew he wasn’t in the top four so I wanted to get some separation between the two of us. It worked.” “We supplemented horse,” Takter said, “And when we got post seven I said to owner Jeff Lyons, Gosh we never get any luck with this horse. He had a great week going into this race. I had a feeling he could do it. I know how good he can be. He is a fantastic horse. “That is why we supplemented him to the Cane Pace,” Takter said, “Because he is so lightly staked we wanted to give him a chance in this race and now we will give him a shot in the Little Brown Jug.” “We are all over the moon and thumbs up after this race,” said owner Jeff Lyons, “We know he is a good horse. This time he got a good trip, a fantastic trainer and driver and so we made it.” The Labor Day card also saw Yannick Gingras triumph in the $25,000 Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, winning the sixth race on the card with Cabrera en route to his title. A pair of wins from Matt Kakaley propelled him into second place, while Ron Pierce finished third. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

CHARMED LIFE UPSETS IN MISS VERSATILITY

With race favorites winning most of the stakes races at Mohawk Raceway Saturday night, Modern Legend was the shocker of the evening as he won the $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby at odds of 66-1 Saturday and paid $135.70 to win. The 1/5 betting favorite, Sweet Lou, saw his ten-race winning streak come to an abrupt halt in the race as he was on the lead coming down the stretch but faded to sixth place at the finish. The race began with Bettor’s Edge (Matt Kakaley) beating out Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) to the early lead but once they reached the opening quarter mile in :26, Gingras came right out with Foiled Again and took command. Then by the half mile in :53, Ron Pierce came charging up first-over with Sweet Lou and cleared with ease to control the pace. And just as Sweet Lou was on the lead, up came Clear Vision (Brett Miller) to challenge first-over and following their cover was the long shot Modern Legend and driver David Miller. Past the three-quarters in a blazing 1:20.1, Clear Vision was about to collar Sweet Lou as they started down the stretch and Foiled Again and Gingras were already trying to squeeze by on the inside as everyone sensed that Sweet Lou had had enough. But it was David Miller and Modern Legend who proved to be much the best as they tipped three-wide on the final turn and mowed everybody by, pulling away for a three and one-half length triumph in 1:47.2. Foiled Again was second with Clear Vision third. The time of the race tied the track, stakes and Canadian record with A Rocknroll Dance in 2013. It was a lifetime mark and the fourth win this year for Modern Legend. The six-year-old gelding by Modern Art was bred and is owned and trained by Dave Drew of Catharines, Ontario. “This is the only horse I have right now,” said Dave Drew, “I had as many as five this year but now down to just this one. This is a horse of a lifetime for me and this was a race of a lifetime. He has been racing for me on the Grand Circuit the last couple of years and always coming close and never really putting it all together. But tonight David Miller gave him a perfect drive and he was on his game. Just a super night for him. “He has always raced well but has had some outside posts earlier this season,” Drew said. “Had some tough trips, was interfered with but he has been racing well and it was just a matter of putting it all together at the right time and in the right race and he did that tonight. It was just a superb night for me and my family.” “It worked out great tonight,” said winning driver David Miller, “I know the horse Clear Vision and I figured if I can get on his back and follow him and he would take us to where we needed to be in the race. I was real surprised around the last turn as I still had a lot of horse coming to the stretch so I fanned him out and he did the rest. He raced tremendous. He beat some great horses tonight. Hats off to the horse. He’s been racing against them the past couple of years and it was great to see him get the job done.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Unbeaten two-year-old pacing colt, Artspeak, stamped himself as the top freshman colt in harness racing as he strolled to a five length triumph in capturing the $667,000 final of the Metro Pace at Mohawk Raceway Saturday. The race began with Lone Survivor (David Miller) left from post nine and was able to get to the lead with Lyons Again (Yannick Gingras) also leaving from post eight and getting the two-hole trip as they went to the opening quarter mile in :26.3. They raced that way to the half mile marker in :55.3 and that was when the action began to heat up as John Campbell came first-over with Go Daddy Go and following their outside cover was the 1/9 race favorite Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron. To the three-quarters in 1:23.3 Lone Survivor was still in command but coming off the final turn, Zeron tipped three-wide with Artspeak and without raising his whip nor lifting his lines for encouragement, Artspeak took off and left the field in his wake, winning in a romp in 1:50.2. Lyons Levi Lewis (Sylvain Filion) was second with Lyons Again third. “When we had Captaintreacherous and his career and he was such an amazing horse and to come back right after that with this colt is amazing,” said winning trainer Tony Alagna. “I talked to Scott (Zeron) last fall and talked with him about making the change and coming to the United States to drive. I told him if he was willing to come down and drive that I was willing to give him a shot. He’s made the commitment. He comes to the farm to train, baby racing and training before qualifiers and he deserved this win.” Sired by Western Ideal, bred and co-owned by Brittany Farms with Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and The Gym Partners, it was the sixth straight win for Artspeak. He paid $2.30 to win. “The primary ownership group for this horse is the same as Captaintreacherous,” said co-owner Marvin Katz, who has won the Metro final three times now, “Tony had trained the mare (The Art Museum, dam of Artspeak) and he loved the family and thought the mare would throw a good one. He selected the colt in Lexington and we put together the same partnership as Captaintreacherous. This never gets old I was telling Tony (Alagna). When you can win these types of races, this is a thrill and to be enjoyed.” “I really stuck my neck out going all by myself to New Jersey,” said winning driver Scott Zeron, “I worked as hard as I could this year. It’s Tony Alagna and Myron Bell. The two of them together made it happen. They helped me with the move. And this is reason I did it. To come back home and win a race like this with a great horse like this. This is once in a lifetime. “To be second over was a perfect trip for this horse,” Zeron said. “He follows horses so well. I have always had to put him on the front because he is 1/9. Today I was able to trip him out behind this really good horse of John’s (Campbell) and coming down the lane he was game. He is a freak of nature. He probably came home in :26.2 and I didn’t even chirp to him.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The 3 Brothers Stable of New York and trainer Nancy Johansson have plenty to cheer about as their unbeaten harness racing homebred filly, JK Shesalady scored a romp in capturing the $480,000 final of the She’s A Great Lady Stakes final at Mohawk Raceway Saturday. Driven by Yannick Gingras, JK Shesalady’s time for the one mile race of 1:50.1 tied the world record for two-year-old fillies and rewrote the stakes record. The race started off with Happy Becky (David Miller) shooting to the early lead with Band Of Angels (Ron Pierce) sitting on their back and Bettor Be Steppin (Corey Callahan) trapped first-over. To the opening quarter mile in :26.4, Callahan went on with Bettor Be Steppin and took over the lead from Happy Becky. Right away Pierce pulled with Band Of Angels and they took the lead away from Bettor Be Steppin. They went to the half mile in :55 and John Campbell coming first-over with Divine Caroline were able to flush Yannick Gingras with race favorite JK Shesalady, who not only started up first-over but kept right on going and blew by Band Of Angels to take command before the three-quarters in 1:22.1. Campbell was able to continue to gain ground first-over with Divine Caroline but once the field reached the top of the stretch Gingras and JK Shesalady were up by two lengths and then never stopped going to the wire to win by four and one-half lengths. Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) was able to close for second place with Shakai Hanover (Jody Jamieson) grabbing third place. Her time of 1:50.1 tied the world record that is now co-held with I Luv The Nitelife (2013) and Precocious Beauty (2013). Sired by Art Major, JK Shesalady is a full sister to the top three-year-old colt and million dollar winner, JK Endofanera. She is undefeated in six career starts and paid $2.90 to win. “When I baby raced this filly I liked her,” Gingras said. “I didn’t think at that time she was this kind of filly but every start she just got better and better. Last week she really impressed me. It was a big mile last week and that’s when she really stamped herself as the best. She has a great move for 3/8th of a mile and puts me in a good position. I didn’t think the front was that good tonight but you have to close at all times. I didn’t want to get myself caught second or third over. I wanted to be first up. I then thought that Ronnie’s horse was not that strong so I made my move. “Selecting which horse I would drive in this race,” Gingras said, “Was the toughest decision I have ever had to make in harness racing. I drive for Ronnie Burke and I drive Maven for Mr. Donovan. Filly wise I knew JK is the better of the two but both Ron Burke and Mr. Donovan has been so great to me. It was so tough to pick as far as connections go. I am sorry but I had to pick one and I went for the win. But I am sure I will pay it back to Ronnie real soon.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Coral Springs, FL – It has been revealed to Harnesslink.com that the Isle Casino and Racing at Pompano Park has hired Brett Revington as the new Director of Racing. Revington hails from Prince Edward Island in Canada where he was the former Racing Manager for Red Shores, which runs both Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside Raceway. His duties there also included being the cage and count manager and overseeing the facility and maintenance. Prior to working at Red Shores, Revington was the Assistant Race Manager at Western Fair Raceway and for six years was the Stakes Manager at Woodbine Entertainment Group. He is also a licensed Associate Judge and worked for the Ontario Racing Commission where he was responsible for rule enforcement and hearing adjudication. Revington was voted as a Director of the Atlantic Region to the Standardbred Canada Board, serving for four years. A 1997 graduate of the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Revington also attended Fanshawe College with accreditation in their Canadian Securities Course. Before working full time in the Standardbred industry after graduation, Revington traveled overseas to manage a Domino’s Pizza chain in Dublin, Ireland. Revington will begin his new duties immediately. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The “barefoot wonder” did it again as Sebastian K was able to lead from start to finish and set a harness racing track record for older horses with his 1:53 triumph at Vernon Downs Friday in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot. Leaving like he was shot out of a rocket, trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt has Sebastian K on the lead just moments after leaving the starting gate. Also leaving and securing the two-hold trip behind him was Archangel and driver Yannick Gingras as they sped to the opening quarter mile in an easy :28.1. Then in typical fashion, Svanstedt backed off Sebastian K to the half mile marker in :57.3 with Archangel right on their backs. It was then that Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick began to move up first-over and following their outside flow was Quick Deal (Matt Kakaley). When they passed the three-quarters in 1:26.3, Market Share was still gaining ground on the leaders and as they started down the stretch Archangel looked as if he had plenty of trot but no place to go as he was locked in behind Sebastian K with Market Share on the outside. Then in the stretch, Svanstedt let Sevastian K have his head and the world champion trotters pulled away from the group and went on to win with ease by two open lengths. Archangel was second with Market Share third. His 1:53 clocking tied the track record for older trotters that was first set in 2013 by For You Almost Free. “It was a great race,” said Bjorn “Bernie” Noren, second trainer for Ake Svanstedt, “He got an easy first half and a pretty good second half. It was an easy race for him tonight. During the off time he does what he always does. He trains twice a week intervals on the sand track and then go in the paddock the rest of the week. “It is such a great experience to have a good horse like him,” Noren said. “It is good to bring a top horse like Sebastian K here and that the fans really appreciate him. He has so many fans now and that is great for harness racing. We need that in our sport. “His next race will be at Hoosier Park on September 20 and then he will go to Lexington,” Noren said. Then we will go to Yonkers for their new International Trot and then maybe if all is OK we will supplement him to the Breeders Crown.” For Sebastian K it was his third straight win and eighth victory in nine outings here in the USA. His only loss was by a neck. The eight-year-old son of Korean was bred and is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Inc. of Vero Beach, FL. Sebastian K paid $2.30 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

After leaving strong from behind the starting gate, one could realize that Father Patrick and driver Yannick Gingras were not going to be passed by and that held to be true as the top colt wired the field in winning the $340,00 Harry M Zweig Memorial for three-year-old colt trotters Friday at Vernon Downs. With stable mate and entry Nuncio and driver John Campbell also leaving at the start it was a formidable duo that took control of the early lead to the opening quarter mile in a blazing :25.4 seconds. They raced indian-style to the half mile in an easy :56 and that was when Skates N Plates (Jim Morrill, Jr.) decided to the try coming first-over to no avail as they passed the three-quarters in 1:25.2. It was then that driver John Campbell moved out of the pocket and started to get Nuncio into high gear to mount a challenge against Father Patrick. But it was not to happen as Gingras urged Father Patrick on and he trotted a :27 second last quarter mile to win with ease by two lengths in 1:52.2. Nuncio was second with Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald) third. The time of the race was one-fifth of a second off of tying the stakes record for the Zweig Memorial. “In the post parade he felt really sharp,” said Yannick Gingras, “He was on the bit and this was one of his best races all year, the way he is supposed to be. When they popped the plugs (Nuncio) you have to worry as he is a great horse too. He tried hard too and never gives up. But once he came alongside my horse then my horse latched on even more. I was really confident with him and did not have to get after him tonight and that’s a good thing.” For Father Patrick, the son of Cantab Hall posted his seventh win in nine starts this  year for trainer Jimmy Takter. It was a sweep of the Zweig Memorial as Taker’s Shake It Cerry earlier captured the Zweig filly division. Father Patrick is owned by the Father Patrick Stables of East Windsor, NJ and he paid $2.10 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com 

At the three-quarter pole it looked as if the 1/5 favorite, Shake It Cerry, after being passed by two horses, that she might be out of the hunt in the $150,000 Harry M Zweig Memorial for three-year-old harness racing fillies at Vernon Downs Friday. Then came the dramatic comeback in the stretch as driver Ron Pierce beared to the outside and then ducked back to the inside, shot up the rail and won going away by a length in 1:53.4. The race started off with Pierce and Shake It Cerry leaving from post six only to get three-wide early as Broadway Socks (Dan Rawlings) left from the rail as did Ake Svanstedt with Heaven’s Door. The end result was Broadway Socks holding the lead with Heaven’s Door dropping into the pocket seat and Shake It Cerry floating first-over to the opening quarter mile in :27.2. Then Pierce sent Shake It Cerry to the lead until the half mile marker when Avalicious and driver Jim Morrill, Jr. came charging up first-over at the half in :57.2 and blew right by Shake It Cerry. Heading to the three-quarters, Svanstedt came first-over with Heaven’s Door and they were also able to pass Shake It Cerry in 1:24.3. But then Pierce and Shake It Cerry weaved their way around and came back with a dramatic brush at the finish to win. Heaven’s Door was second with Bikini So Teeny (Charlie Norris) closing well to be third. It was the second straight win and eighth victory in ten starts this year for Shake It Cerry. The daughter of Donato Hanover is trained by Jimmy Takter and was bred and is owned by the Solveig’s Racing Partners, Inc. of East Winsor, NJ. She paid $2.40 to win. “The pace was pretty decent and that other horse came right at them,” Jimmy Takter said. “Ron decided to let her go. You never know what will happen when you sit behind another horse. She raced good at the Meadows after the Hambletonian Oaks. She looks now like she has come back to herself.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

It was announced yesterday by owners Richard and Joanne Young and trainer Chris Ryder that the party is over for world champion pacer I Luv The Nitelife as she has been retired from racing. After attempting to come back from an injury sustained at the end of the 2013 season, owners Richard and Joanne Young made the decision to quit with I Luv The Nitelife on Tuesday. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover - Lisjune was winless in two starts this year after recovering from a slab knee fracture and atrial fibrillation. "[She] has a few issues we didn't feel she deserved to race with," trainer Chris Ryder confirmed to Trot Insider. "Just a great mare, all heart. Very saddened by her retirement but it is the thing to do." Richard Young purchased I Luv The Nitelife, a daughter of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Lisjune, for $60,000 under the name Hard Rock Deo at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2011. Richard Young loves to name his yearlings with something unique and came up with "I Luv The Nitelife" as he has done with other top horses he and Joanne own including Put On A Show.  Now according to the Young's, I Luv The Nitelife will go to the breeding shed next season. "We are going to miss you racing sweet girl!," Joanne Young said, "Oh, but the babies you will make!" As a two-year-old, 'Nitelife' put together a record reading 4-4-1 in 10 freshman starts to bank $682,574 in purses for the Youngs and trainer Chris Ryder. In addition to setting a world record of 1:50.1 in an elimination of the She's A Great Lady at Mohawk Racetrack, she also won the final along with divisions of the Eternal Camnation and Bluegrass Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife was also a runner-up in the Champlain Stake, International Stallion Stakes and Breeders Crown. The O'Brien voters gave her the nod as their choice for Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 2012. The voters had no doubt who was the best three-year-old pacing filly in 2013. I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million en route to divisional honours as Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in Canada and capturing USHWA's Dan Patch Award in the U.S. Her sophomore triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette, Mistletoe Shalee and Miss New Jersey Pacing Classic. Her 1:48.4 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a three-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track.   For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 27 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in harness racing history has won more money at ages two and three. "‎Very appreciative of the honors she accumulated," added Ryder. "Very special. She will be impossible to replace." With two world records and multiple stakes under her belt, one of her losses stands out to her co-owner as the race that shows her guts and determination. "Her last race [at three] in the American National," Richard Young told Trot Insider. "She should have lost by 10 and just got beat. One of the most memorable races of my life, and more than likely the race that ended her career." ‎"A mare like 'Nitelife' is as good as it gets, all business," continued Young. "She gave all she had in every race. She didn't wait for things to set up. She forced everyone to alter their style to race her. "If she passes her will to compete, she will be the ultimate broodmare." by Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com with files from Trot Insider

His list of horses the he has either owned or been involved with racing, breeding or otherwise, reads just about like a Who’s Who of harness racing greats. There is Nihilator, World Champion, Horse of the Year and still the richest pacer of all time with $3.2 million...Camtastic—Pacer of the Year and winner of over $2 million...these horses are closely associated with Northwood Bloodstock owner and president Bob Boni, who selected the horses and managed the racing stables that campaigned these great superstars and many other prime-time players in the Standardbred industry. Bob manages his Northwood Bloodstock Agency, Inc. with a "hands-on" approach and experience gleaned from over 35 years in nearly all facets of the Standardbred industry. “The way the cycle is now in my business,” said Bob Boni, “there is no “down time” except maybe during Christmas week. We just finished working with the Standardbred Sales Company and their Meadowlands sale and now we move on to getting all the yearlings set for Harrisburg. Stall assignments, catalog has gone to press, videos being done and before you know it’s sale time and once that is over then there is the January sale at the Meadowlands coming right up. It keeps going and going. “Then between all the sales,” Bob explained, “There are stallion deals, broodmares and racehorses in private sales that also needs to be handled. It’s never ending.” Bob started out at Pine Hollow Stud Farm and continuing with management roles at Dreamaire Stud, the Wall Street Racing Stable and North American Sales Co., Bob has lent his expertise to both the breeding and racing industry on many fronts. He has also served as a consultant to the Tattersalls Sales Co. in inspecting yearlings for their annual Select Sale. Bob's strong background in the study and evaluation of both pedigrees and conformation, coupled with his marketing and promotional skills, has helped propel Northwood Bloodstock into its position as one of North America's largest and most respected bloodstock agencies. There are not many major or minor race events, sales, qualifiers or social gatherings that Bob is not in attendance at throughout North America. “I try not to miss many major events,” Boni explained, “But because of computers I can watch any race live or via replay so I don’t have to jump in my car and drive to Harrah’s or Pocono as much as I use to. “What I see now that has changed the way we do business over the past 15 to 20 years,” Bob explained, “is the way we can do business due to technology. We use to labor over the Sire and Dams books, looking up and researching horses. Now we can do it with the click of a mouse. We can watch any race replay and we do not have to wait for the mailman to bring us our horse magazines so we can catch up on events from the prior week or call the USTA’s hotline for race results every morning like the old days. “Now I think we have even a bigger workload due to advance technology,” Bob said. “Everyone thrives on information and now you have to make sure you have it ready at your fingertips if someone asks. If you are not electronically set up to get this information ASAP then you can’t do your job properly. It has created more of a workload but it is worth the effort. “If you are the first one to do something unique and give special access to your customers,” Bob explained, “You will always do well in this business. Back in 1976 I remember in that same year both Hanover Shoe Farm and myself, working for Pine Hollow, started shooting video tape of yearlings for the sales. “I went to a company called Edwar Video and gave them a $10,000 deposit,” Bob said, “Because they were worried if we broke their equipment. I also learned to really appreciate those news cameramen of the times because carrying that camera on your shoulder was like carrying a piece of furniture. And then you had a battery pack strapped around the waist. But boy did it make a difference at the sales. It revolutionized how we sell horses. “It was amazing that both I and Hanover came to Harrisburg with the first yearling videos,” Bob said. “We both had video of our yearlings and no one else had it. You would have had to go to the farms to these yearling and now you see them in action right at the sales. “Tony Leonard, the world class equine photographer,” Bob said, “Was the one who first suggested it. He would come to Pine Hollow to take photos for us and he told me how at a party for some Thoroughbred people he saw someone made up a video tape of their horses racing and that I should consider doing it for the yearlings in action. “We became the very first outfit to ever do it for the Standardbred Industry for races too. The very first horse was Destin Grade and he was bought by Vic Sobolewski of Vijo, Inc. We brought in a TV and the VCR and the horse had won the night before at Roosevelt Raceway. We showed that tape and turned up the sound and everyone came to see where the race call was coming from. We had lots of people watch this horse win the night before and he brought more money that I thought he was worth. “So today it is not uncommon for someone to come and have already watched ten yearlings on video online,” said Bob, “They may ask to take them out of the stall to see them close up and then watch the video again. Information plays such a big role in today’s market and you must be up on everything to stay ahead of the game.” If you are interested in purchasing any horse or seek information about a stallion or broodmare prospect, make sure to visit www.northwoodbloodstock.com or give Bob Boni a call anytime at (201) 863-2082. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

BURKE WINS SECOND DIVISION WITH CLEAR VISION

Only eight three-year-old pacers, three of whom were supplemented to the race at a cost of $35,000 each, have entered the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, that will now feature just a final at Tioga Downs on Monday September 1 (Labor Day). The connections of He's Watching, Luck Be Withyou and Lyonssomewhere, all paid the $35,000 to be in the Cane Pace. The eight entered will race for a purse of $437,325 in the final. World champion He's Watching looms the early race favorite while rival JK Endofanera is also a major contender. Here is the field in alphabetical order: Beat The Drum Bushwacker Doo Wop Hanover He's Watching (supplement) JK Endofanera Luck Be Withyou (supplement) Lyonssomewhere (supplement) Stevensville‎ by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Dancin Yankee is now the fastest harness racing horse in the 70-year history of Saratoga Raceway as he sped to an amazing 1:48.4 triumph in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Pace. Driven by Tyler Buter, there was little doubt what he had in mind as Dancin Yankee was on the lead moments after the starting gate pulled away. He sent Dancing Yankee to an amazing :25.1 opening quarter mile on Saratoga’s half mile oval as Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) grabbed the pocket trip. Looking comfortable but aggressive on the lead, Buter had a determined Dancin Yankee on the lead to the half mile marker in :53.4. It was then that Foiled Again and driver Matt Kakaley came first-over to challenge and they gave outside cover to P H Supercam (Jason Barlett). But there was no denying that Dancin Yankee was on a mission as they passed the three-quarters in 1:21, a :27.1 third quarter and once they straighten out for the stretch drive, Dancin Yankee was still full of pace. He pulled away from the field in the stretch to win by three open lengths with a dazzling :27.4 last quarter mile. Heston Blue Chip was able to hold on for second with a game first-over Foiled Again third. The 1:48.4 clocking erased the previous all age track record at Saratoga by one-fifth of a second as Bolt The Duer went in 1:49 just last year. It was the 15th victory this year for Dancin Yankee. The son of Yankee Cruiser is trained by Amber Buter and is owned by the Baron Racing Stable of Horshem, PA and Richard Mombardo of Solon, OH. He paid $3.90 to win. With his victory and winners share of the purse at $130,000, Dancin Yankee became harness racing’s newest millionaire. He now has career earnings of $1,043,462. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

If the weather forecasters were paid by their accuracy most would be pretty much broke as we awoke Sunday morning to sunny skies and a strong breeze when the forecast was for rain all day. It was shaping up to be a picture perfect day for the big races at Portmarnock Trotting Track. After a hearty Irish breakfast we all prepared for the big day of racing and piled into the shuttle for the track. Our gracious host, Derek Delaney and his family were dressed to impress for their special memorial day to their late brother Vincent. Derek took head counts to make sure everyone was accounted for and off we went. And everyone had to have a good look at my specially designed Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial pith helmet hat that my wife Stephanie helped me make for the occasion. It was unique, the only one in the world, and it featured the flags of all the nations that were racing that day, the band around the brim was the logo for the race and atop the hat was a racehorse. Throughout the day everyone had to comment and check out my special hat. I must have taken two dozen photos with people and the children all laughed and wanted to try it on. It was a big hit. As we drove to the track we saw plenty of horse trailers of all shapes and sizes entering the grounds and everyone had great big smiles as it was a special racing day. The race paddock area was jammed with trailers and horsemen and women preparing for the races. There are no “race paddock” like they have in North America for harness racing. Here at Portmarnock, just like most tracks in Ireland and the United Kingdom as many fairs do back home, your trailer is your paddock area. You tie your horse up on the side and harness them, bath them between warmups and throw a “rug” over them and walk them around to cool out. Everyone is prepared and they bring coolers with sandwiches and drinks and make a day of it. After your horse races and is put away then you head over to the main track for the festivities. The bounce house and tenting for the children’s area was already filled with tyke’s ripping off their shoes to have a go and allow their parents a little time to check out their race programs. The bookies were setting up their stands, the bar was already open and I was offered my first Guinness of the day, which I had to refuse…too early and too long an afternoon with work to do for a late breakfast stout to start off the afternoon. But there was plenty of people already in the bar getting prepped for the day’s events. As the crowds come in you get your racetrack fixtures of people just like every track around the world. You have your hard core punters, your average fans, your die hard regulars who immediately head to their favorite spot to lay claim for the day. But today was extra special and with that came the ladies dressed for the Royal Ascot or perhaps the Kentucky Derby of harness racing in Ireland. There was a contest of the best dressed man and women at the races. And there were many women dressed up beautifully along with many of the younger daughters of the horsemen. There was also a special exhibition by world champion Irish Dancers and music throughout the afternoon between the race announcements. The bookies had a field day at the track. Everyone wanted to get a bet in. Here at Portmarnock there is win wagering only, no exactas or trifectas or any gimmick bets, no place or show, just the win bets. But the action was feverish before the start of the first race. It was amazing as the “punters” were known by every “bookie” by first name or a nickname. They would place their wager, the bookie would shout it out to his teller, who wrote it done and then the punter was given a special card with a number on to verify the wager. I placed my bets with Dan Carlin of Belfast, Ireland. He was the main bookie who set the early wagering odds on the races last Monday once the fields were drawn. But what is so unique with bookie wagering at a track like this in Ireland and the UK is that as the wagers are made the odds can change. You can bet way ahead of time on fixed odds but as post time draws near and more wagers are made, the bookies change the odds to reflect the wagering. Sometimes they will shave a fraction of a point just to draw more attention. On Saturday in the second elimination heat of the Delaney Memorial, Carmel Camden had received so many wagers that most of the bookies stopped taking bets on her with two minutes to post. Dan Carlin called me out as “Steve the Yank” when I made my bets, never said how much someone wagered except after he counted the wagered cash and dropped into the cash holder he would say it in some sort of code to his teller to keep the record of it. The bookies would shout out new odds to encourage punters to wager a few more euros and it all added up to a lot of excitement. I figured just from watching a few races that the average bookie at the track, with 1,000 people at Portmarnock this Sunday, handled at least 40 or more wagers per race x 7 bookies x 10 races would be near 200,000 euros ($267,000) in total wagering going back and forth between winners and losers for the day. Dan Carlin would not say how things were going except that everyone was having a good time. Mother Nature cooperated as best it could and it seemed that when the rain clouds came over the skies would open up and it would pour for five minutes and then the sun would come back out and dry everything up. It was raining hard for a few minutes before the start of the feature race and then as if Vincent Delaney himself made it stop before the finish of his memorial race. After the racing was over the track pub was filled to the brim with race fans, owners, trainers, drivers and everyone’s children, all have a grand time. And the Guinness stout and Irish whiskey, mainly Jamieson’s as both are produced right in Dublin, were enjoyed quite a lot, even by this reporter, for the two nights in a row. Between the superb hospitality of everyone I met for my five day venture to Dublin and their deep rooted passion for the sport of harness racing, I can honestly encourage anyone and everyone to make their plans well in advance to come to Portmarnock Trotting Track next year for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series. The Delaney brothers, Derek and James, who were the best of hosts to the visiting guests, Roger Huston, Wally Hennessey, Anthony Butt, Heather Vitale, myself and my wife Stephanie, have already promised that the race weekend will be bigger and better with richer purses for next season and more special events. It’s the Irish version of the Little Brown Jug and they have already gotten a commitment from Roger Huston who said he will be back to call the races once again. It’s a weekend of “grass roots” fair racing that will keep you smiling and having a great time in a country that thrives on friendliness and first-class hospitality from the minute you arrive. Only there is no Little Brown Jug waiting at the finish line at Portmarnock, but there will be a glass of good strong Guinness stout! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Portmarnock, Ireland – For the second straight year, owner/driver Vicky Gill showed why she is the best female driver in all of Ireland as she again drove the winner of the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series Final for two-year-old pacers Sunday at Portmarnock Trotting Track. Last year it was Vickie and John Gill’s Camden Tino winning the final, this year belonged to their colt, Titanium, who on Saturday won his elimination heat in a track record 2:01.2, coming from off the pace and blowing away the field. Today it was complete form reversal as Vicky Gill was not going to race from behind on the track labeled good after some hard rain earlier in the afternoon. USA/Canada’s Wally Hennessey was first on the lead off the starting gate with Carmel Camden, who was one of two fillies in the final and had won her elimination heat the day before. But before the opening quarter mile was reached in :29.8, Vicky Gill had Titanium on the move and in command. Hennessey was content to sit the pocket trip with Carmel Camden. Once Titanium settled in on the lead, Gill backed down the pace and then they were challenged first-over by Coalford Tetrick and driver Stevie Lees to the half mile in a slow 1:03.1. Then Alexander Camden (Mick Lord) got into the battle as he come up on the outside as they reached the three-quarters in 1:34, but it was too little too late as Vicky Gill asked Titanium for more and the colt responded, pacing the last quarter mile in :27.7 and drew off from the field at the finish to win by four open lengths in 2:01.7. Alexander Camden was second with Coalford Tetrick third. “We had raced him once before on the front end,” said Vicky Gill after the race, “But he was not brilliant, he is young and still learning but I always knew once he settled on the front he would get us home and he did.  He has been remarkable since we first started training him. I can’t believe now that I’ve won this race two years in a row.” Sired by Hasty Hall from the mare, Another Mattie, Titanium is owned by Vicky Gill and was a 3,400 euro ($4,500US) yearling purchase. He has now won four of his five lifetime starts. The total purse for the race was 18,000 euros and the winner’s share of the purse was 12,000 euros ($16,000), making it the richest pacing series ever in all of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Titanium was selected at the yearling sales last year by John Gill, Vicky’s father, who trains the stable. Vicky owns Titanium. “I do everything my daughter tells me to do,” said John Gill smiling from ear to ear after the race. “That’s the secret. We have been fortunate to have some good stock. You are nothing unless you have good stock. I picked this colt out at the sales and I knew we had something special the very first time I jogged him. He just braved up and went about his business and I thought ‘could be, could be’ and here we are today. “When you can come home in :58 on a sloppy track, that’s pretty good.” John Gill said. “I’m very proud of Vicky. She drove him right and now she has won this great stake two years in a row.” The Vincent Delaney Memorial was created by Derek and James Delaney of Dublin as a tribute and in memory of their younger brother Vincent, who tragically passed away in 2011 at age 27. He was very active in the family breeding and racing operations at Oakwood Stud. In the 7,000 euro Paul Murtagh Derby for four-year-old pacers going 1.5 miles, a track record was set by Tarawood Messi and driver Noel Ryan as they traveled the course in 3:03.5. Ryan had set patiently as Stamphill (Rocker Laidler) set the early pace fractions and after they went the mile in 2:00.7, came first-over with Tarawood Messi and wore down the pacesetter, then held off a game No Regrets with driver Anthony Butt from New Zealand for the victory. Trained by W. Flanagan and owned by C. Bennett, Tarawood Messi is by Arts Conguest from the mare One Mile Meg. In the very next race, the 5,000 euro Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-old pacers saw Rhyds Rainbow and driver Richard Haythornwaite set a course record for that age group going 1.5 miles with a 3:04.2 record. Sired by Hasty Hall, Rhyds Rainbow is from the mare Kentucky Sunshine. He is owned and trained by S. Howard. North American driver Wally Hennessey scored his second win on Irish soil in the Delaney Free For All Trot with Caminetto and nearly tied the track record for trotters. Starting from post two, Hennessey sent Caminetto right to the lead and never looked back. They cut fractions of :28.2 to the opening quarter, :58.6 to the half mile and started then to draw away from the field at the three-quarters in 1:28 before cruising home to win by more than eight lengths in 2:00.8. They missed the track mark by two fifths of a second. Owned and trained by John Foy, Caminetto is by Gidde Palema from the mare Shy Lady. “All I had to do was get him off the gate trotting and he really did the rest,” Hennessey said. “He just wanted to trot as fast as he could go and I really had to lean back on him to try and rate the mile. I am sure if I had let him have his head we would have broken the track record.” “This was one of the great weekends of my life,” said Derek Delaney, who promoted the special weekend of racing and arranged for world renowned and Hall of Fame drivers Wally Hennessey and Anthony Butt along with track announcer Roger Huston, to come to Ireland for the race. “Everything and everybody was so great. Words cannot express how wonderful and special this event is to my brother James and myself and our families.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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