Delray Beach, FL - Amidst the serenity of hundreds of horses training at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Center, the countless number of world class Dressage, Jumpers, Show, Pleasure and Standardbred Trotters and Pacers, there lurks a unique individual, a celebrity of sorts, and his name is Henry. Henry is not a horse, nor an owner, trainer or caretaker at Sunshine Meadows. He's a goat. But not your average, everyday, run of the mill goat. Henry is a celebrity! What makes Henry a celebrity? Well, first and foremost, Henry loves Doritos chips. Most goats do as most goats will eat just about anything. But how many goats can handle an agility course with near perfection? How many goats do you know that will sit on command, stand up on his hind legs, come when you call him and can also do a litany of other tricks? And how many goats do you know who nearly had his television commercial on the upcoming Super Bowl? Henry almost did. Owned by Kim Schmidt at Sunshine Meadows, Henry and the stable are doing what celebrities do, being snowbirds in beautiful south Florida for the winter months. Kim is an equestrian trainer and has her Grayson Farm Stable at Sunshine Meadows. She hails from Scottsville, Virginia where she has a farm that she trains and shows from. She is a registered nurse by trade, a dressage trainer, rider and is a breeder of warm blood horses. She teaches riding lessons, trains for owners and buys and sells horses. "Henry is just a one year old," Kim explained. "He is a dwarf Nigerian goat. I got him when he was one month old and have trained him to do an agility course. I have trained dogs for obedience and agility, so why not Henry too. "He was very easy to train," Kim said. "He has learned so much faster than my dogs. Goats love food and goats love to play. So by enticing Henry with food, and boy goats love to eat, he soon learned to jump through the tire, walk up and down the teeter totter, jump over a small fence, climb stairs and even go inside the little tunnel. "Henry loved it so much," Kim said, "that within two weeks he could do the entire course and he wasn't even two months old yet. "Then when I saw that Doritos was seeking commercials for their annual Doritos Crash The Super Bowl contest," Kim explained, "I thought that Henry was so good that we would make a commercial and enter it. "When children come to the farm, Henry loves to do tricks for them," Kim said. "He stands, can walk backwards on his hind legs, he will bow, push a skateboard and some cute other tricks too. "He is very dog-like and follows me everywhere," Kim said. "He is leash trained, and he will come when I call or whistle for him. He has been such a delightful pet to have." OK....Henry is totally awesome, but what about the Doritos Crash The Super Bowl commercial? Every year Doritos runs a world-wide contest for the best television commercials and hundreds are submitted, many done by professionals, but most are from amateur people like Kim Schmidt. The four top commercials selected get aired during the Super Bowl. Each winner gets two tickets to the Super Bowl and a check for $25,000. You can view Henry's commercial "How To Train A Goat" by clicking on this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz8N6szSDmE "It was great to hear from Doritos that they got the commercial and it was in the running," Kim said. "But we just heard back from them that we were not one of the four winners. This was our first time, I know we could have done much better and we will just start putting our thinking caps on now for next year!" Henry also has his own Facebook page at 'Henry The Goat' and people love it. Every time a new photo is posted, he gets more and more likes. Kim had first started putting up photos of Henry on her Facebook page but he became so popular she recently made up his own page. If anyone would like to come out to Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village in Delray Beach and meet Henry, you can contact Kim Schmidt at 434-962-8012. Her website is http://www.graysonfarm.net/ and her email is email@example.com. "Henry loves children and adults," Kim said, "and he is so tame and he loves for people to come out and play with him. Everyone is invited to come out to see Henry or talk with me about learning to ride, we just ask that you contact me first to set up an appointment so I can have Henry ready to receive guests." By Steve Wolf, for Sunshine Meadows
We closed out the 2014 season on a losing note so we will start off 2015 on a winning one. Action takes place Saturday night at Woodbine, Meadowlands, Balmoral and Pompano. Good Luck! $22,000 Pace NW 4 or $100,000 Life Woodbine 1st race SATURDAY - Having not seen the rail in quite some time I think that REGAL SON is in a great spot to take this field. He was a game third last time out and with inside post position will get needed cover to score from. Use Bugger Bruiser and Somewhere Fancy in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace B-2/B-1 Handicap Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY - Taking a minor shot in here that SHOOTER'S DREAM will be able to handle outside post. Been facing tougher but last time he started from this far out he wired the field at 3-1 and I think he is prime to do it again. Use Al's Hammered and Lindwood Player in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY - It looks to me that WARRAWEE NEEDY is returning to his winning ways and last week wired the field in 1:49.1 to closed out a dismal 2014 on a winning note. I look for him to handle hike in class and take another. Use Wake Up Peter and Doctor Butch in exotic plays. $13,500 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 7th race SATURDAY - Last week Prairie Jaguar surprised me by returning to winning ways on the front end. But I don't look for him to repeat. Better off betting the Peter Pellegrino entry of E Z NOAH/LYONS JOHNNY as despite outside posts they have the ability to get good position to score from and they have done it before. Use Prairie Jaguar and Duc Dorleans in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace B-1 H & G Meadowlands 8th race SATURDAY - This looks to be the most competitive race on the night and thus whomever can pick the winner will get a good price. I am going with TALKING BLUES as I feel he can handle the hike in class off his last mile, a lifetime record 1:49.4. In tough but has speed to get good cover or maybe even cut the mile. Use Odds On Equuleus and Gold Rocks in exotic plays. $15,000 Pace Invitational Handicap Balmoral Park 5th race SATURDAY - With a game 1:50.1 victory to close out 2014, I see no reason why FORT SILKY can't start off the 2015 with a win too. He has won three of his last four starts, both from on and off the pace so he deserves a shot to repeat in here. Use I'm An Athlete and Ice Scraper in exotic plays. $22,000 Pace NW $16,000 last 5 Woodbine 9th race SATURDAY - Half this field is dropping in class and I love to find one that is "dropping and popping" and I think that will be the case for GD AIRLINER. Was nowhere last start but now gets in with a group he should be able to defeat, even from an outside post. Could pay a nice price. Use In Commando and KG Dragonator in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Woodbine Racetrack 11th race SATURDAY - They save the best for last on Saturday night. May be a short field but very competitive. I am going with NICKLE BAG as he has been super sharp finishing first or second in last six starts. He has great closing ability and will be right in the hunt at the finish. Use Modern Legend and Camaes Fellow in exotic plays.
Talk about a battle right to the wire, harness drivers Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Aaron Merriman went at it neck and neck right down to the last of 16 races at Northfield Park Monday, but Wrenn emerged one win ahead of Merriman for the National Harness Racing Driving Title once the program was finished. Going into Monday’s card, Merriman held the national lead by one win, 834 to 833 over Wrenn. But Wrenn drew first blood and then some as he won three straight races, the 3rd, 4th and 5th races and then the tenth race to score a four-bagger on the night. Merriman still had some gas in the tank for the later races as he answered back with a driving double, winning the 13th and 15th races to close the margin to just one win in favor of Wrenn. Merriman had five second place finishes on the night to just one for Wrenn. Wrenn now has 837 victories to Merriman's 836 wins. Now the action resumes at Northfield Park on Tuesday night as both drivers will compete in all 16 races on the program. But it does not end there as Wrenn and Merriman will take it right down to the wire as both drivers will compete on the New Year’s Eve card at Sports Creek Raceway in Michigan with first post at 7 pm. The biggest winner on the card Monday at Northfield Park was Greg Grismore, who led all drivers with five winners. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The year 2014, just like every season in the history of harness racing, was jammed packed with special events, major stakes races and other points of interest that made the year super exciting and quite a bit controversial. We have highlighted the “Year In Review” as best possible with the top events and races that took place each month. We apology for any news items that were missed. 2014 got off to a terrible start when on January 10 the starting gate at Freehold Raceway went into a spin after the start of a race and came down upon the field and took out most everyone in the race. While all horses miraculously escaped without major injuries, five drivers, Catello Manzi, Debra Rucker, Vincent Ginsburg, Chris Scicluna and Jim Pantaleano were taken to the hospital to be checked out. The worst injured were Manzi and Rucker. The new Miami Valley Racetrack in Lebanon, Ohio tried opening up for live racing on Friday, February 9 but the lights failed to work and thus had to wait until the next night to officially get underway. Sydney Weaver was the at the epicenter of the most potent demonstration of social media as a positive force in harness racing in early February when her beloved mare Sydney Seelster was taken from her in a claiming race at Flamboro Downs. Trainer Guy Gagnon was pilloried on Facebook and Twitter for making the claim and soon cried uncle, agreeing to allow Sydney to claim her mare back. On March 28, two harness racing horses died on impact at Flamboro Downs after they collided head on in a tragic accident. The incident resulted in all tracks in Ontario having to install a siren alarm system by Jan. 1, 2015. April saw horseman Jack Darling take command when he heard that there was no funding to promote some of the sport’s biggest races on television and within a short time and through his own blog, helped raise over $100,000 and thus the Meadowlands Pace and the Little Brown Jug were able to be televised. In June a major tiff between harness driver Brian Sears and Meadowlands, Tioga, Vernon Downs owner Jeff Gural ended up with Sears being barred from competing in qualifying and overnight race events. After less than a week, Gural rescinded the ban. On June 28, harness racing fans saw the fastest trotting mile ever in history as the amazing European star, Sebastian K, win at Pocono Downs in 1:49, shattering the former record that was set on a larger track. With trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, Sebastian K took harness racing in North America by storm with his amazing speed and racing barefoot with no horse shoes. On July 13, He’s Watching tied the world record on a mile track in winning the Meadowlands Pace in an amazing clocking of 1:46.4. With Father Patrick making a costly break at the start of the race, stable mate Trixton and trainer/driver Jimmy Takter grabbed all the glory in winning the early August Hambletonian Trot. At the Little Brown Jug it was Limelight Beach in straight heats and the same for Color’s A Virgin in the Jugette. Wild Honey became the fastest two-year-old trotter ever on a half mile track with a 1:55.2 triumph. The Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, revived the great Prix D’Ete stakes race with a purse of $200,000 and saw Sunfire Blue Chip and driver Yannick Gingras lower the all-age track record by two seconds with a 1:50.3. October started off with a bang as Mission Brief became the fastest two-year-old trotter in history with her 1:50.3 clocking at the Red Mile for driver Yannick Gingras. On October 4, Dayton Raceway in Dayton, Ohio opened its doors for harness racing with a full house as thousands came out to check the new racetrack. Nuncio and driver John Campbell captured a one-heat $435,000 Kentucky Futurity in 1:51.3, beating stable mate Father Patrick and then went to Yonkers Raceway to take the Yonkers Trot, winning two of the three Triple Crown of Trotting races. Natural Herbie, at odds of 9-1, posted his fourth straight win with a world record performance at Yonkers Raceway Saturday, Oct. 25 in beating many of the best trotters in the world in the $250,000 International Preview. On Halloween, October 31, harness racing’s great second trainer, Quebec’s Ami Choquette, who worked for Delvin Miller for over 50 years, turned 100 years old. Maven brought $750,000 at the Harrisburg sale and became the highest priced racehorse trotting mare sold at public auction in November. She was purchased by Herb Liverman. Yonkers Raceway and the SOANY broke the simulcasting barrier overseas and began simulcasting five races to France/Europe early Sunday mornings with great success and millions wagered on the USA product. The simulcasts will continue in 2015. Harness driver Dave Palone did the unthinkable years ago and caught Germany’s Heinz Wewering to become the sports winningest driver ever as he recorded his 16,754th career victory. This took place at his home track, The Meadows, on Friday, November 14. Palone has now increased his lead, has no plans of an early retirement and his lead may never be bettered. The Breeders Crown helped seal up a number of Dan Patch divisional awards in late November but perhaps the most impressive was that of world champion Commander Crowe coming over to the USA and stealing the limelight with his stakes record 1:51 triumph. He surpassed the $5 million mark in career earnings at age 11 and gave North American fans a thrill to see this world class performer in action. In late November, early December, just one week after Harnesslink exposed to the harness racing social media fans about the abuse that trainer Monica Thors was inflicting on horses in her stable, all seven horses and one goat was taken away by the NJ SPCA. More than 14,000 people “liked” the Stop Monica Thors” page on Facebook and were relentless in going after state officials to do something. They are also raised money and services to care for the horses once they were taken away. In December Hall of Fame driver David Miller paid a $750 fine for dropping his foot and allowed McWicked to hit it numerous times around the final turn of the $301,000 Progress Pace final at Dover Downs. When asked about the penalty, Miller said he would do it again in trying to win the race. His comments set up major controversy in the harness racing social media venues and prompted Jeff Gural to issue a “no tolerance” rule at the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs against any driver who drops their foot other than to pop ear plugs. When Appomattox crossed the wire first in the Free For All Handicap Trot on December 12 at the Meadowlands, harness horse trainer Ron Burke's season earnings moved to $28,118,465, surpassing the mark set by Thoroughbred trainer Todd Pletcher seven years ago. By the end of the year, JK She’salady was sensational with her undefeated season and capped it becoming the first two-year-old pacing filly to ever be name Harness Horse of the Year. But her triumph was unique as top older pacer Sweet Lou was voted the Pacer of the Year by one vote over JK She’salady, but the tables were turned in the final voting for Harness Horse of the Year as the filly beat out Sweet Lou by five votes! Both occurrences have never happened in the history of voting. The year sorta ended on a sour note as Balmoral Racing Club, Inc. and Maywood Park Trotting Association, Inc., two of the oldest horse racing venues in the country and the only harness racing tracks in Illinois, announced Christmas Eve that each has voluntarily commenced Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization cases in Chicago. Let’s hope for a bigger and better racing season in 2015. Happy New Year to everyone! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
After bragging two weeks ago about a winning weekend, we took quite an unenjoyable bath last week with just three wins in nine races so our goal this Saturday will be to rebound with some profits! Good Luck! $12,500 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 1st race SATURDAY - Trying to trip handicap in here is difficult this week as Prairie Jaguar did not go to the front last week and was no factor in the race. Thus I am sure he will be gunning for the top this week and am going with THAT'LL BE THE REI to also leave a bit and get the two-hole trip that he can win off of. Will be a good race and whoever wins should pay a decent price. Use Duc Dorleans and the entry of Fancyfeeshark/E Z Noah in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Woodbine Racetrack 2nd race SATURDAY - There is no way you cannot go with CHARMED LIFE in here. She has shown her heels to her male rivals in this class the last two weeks as wagering favorite and has been awesome with her powerful late kick for the Menary/Jamieson combo and should do it again. Use Fearless Man and Daylon Magician in exotic plays. $11,000 Trot WO $30,000 Balmoral Park 3 race SATURDAY - Despite being handicapped most of the time with outside posts, FOX VALLEY VETO has been able to overcome them and has won three of his last four starts and the loss last week was just by a head. Not a cakewalk by any means but his late kick ability should aid him in winning again. Use Justice Jet and Surclasser in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap The Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY - With three wins in his last five starts in this class WAKE UP PETER has been sharp for the Remmen Barn and I think he can once again overcome outside post with or without live cover for driver Brett Miller. This one can grind it out with the best right now. Use Golden Receiver and Handsome Henry K in exotic plays. $27,000 Pace NW $28,000 Woodbine Racetrack 7th race SATURDAY - Lots of movement both up and down in class for this race. I like the fact that MACHAL JORDAN is dropping in class and draws the rail. He was a decent fourth in top class last week so the theory of him dropping and popping in here should come true. Two starts back he was a strong winner in 1:51. Use Avatartist and Camaes Fellow in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace B1 The Meadowlands 7th SATURDAY - It seems that WARRAWEE NEEDY is going to close out the 2014 season with a flourish after a very dismal season. Million dollar career winner has come back to life versus less and after game neck loss last week he should still be able to handle hike in class and take this group for the Mark Ford Stable. Use Rockin Wizard and Fool Me Once in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace B1 The Meadowlands 9th race SATURDAY - Being the only one in this field that is moving up in class, K-LEES SHAKENBAKE should be able to handle the hike in class coming off two straight wins. Last week he was able to close from eighth place on the final turn to nail down a lifetime mark in 1:49.3 and looks to end 2014 on a winning note. Use Sweet Rock and National Debt in exotic plays. $11,000 Pace F&M WO $30,000 Balmoral Park 7th race SATURDAY - Very well matched field of mare will do battle in here and I am going with JUST BY DESIGN. Has Hall of Fame Dave Magee in the bike, has been sharp in last two starts and with the action up front looking to be tough I like the fact that this mare is in perfect spot to get great cover to score from again. Use Ryleigh's Lilly and Party Hangover in exotic plays.
Last weekend ended up on a winning note with a $1 profit on the nine races selected. It's never a bad weekend when you can show a profit. We will try to do it again this Saturday night. Good Luck! $14,000 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 1st race SATURDAY - The Peter Pellegrino entry of LYONS JOHNNY/E Z NOAH looms too tough against this short field. Poor Prairie Jaguar keeps cutting mean miles for someone else to win from, losing last three starts by a nose and neck. Both Lyons Johnny and E Z Noah have won their last starts and one of them is likely to get the dream trip behind Prairie Jaguar to win off of. Use Prairie Jaguar and Cadillac Phil in exotic plays. $10,000 Pace NW last 5 Pompano Park 3rd race SATURDAY - With a drop in class from the Open Pace, RAJI'S BLUE LINE may just be able to make the most of once again drawing a good inside post. Last week he could do nothing from the rail and gets a driver change to Ed Hensley, who has been the hottest driver at Pompano this meet. Prior lines show he should be able to win in here. Use Rage N Ryan and That'll Be The Rei in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap The Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY - This is going to be a great race. Top performers going head and head for a good purse. I am taking a shot in here that ODDS ON EQUULEUS, despite being off for two months is ready to pop in first starts back. He was decent in qualifying race and was very sharp when given a good rest but faces some formidable foes in here. Use Wake Up Peter and Handsome Henry K in exotic plays. $27,000 Trot NW $27,000 last 5 starts Woodbine 6th race SATURDAY - Whomever this marewins this close match-up will pay a good price, even the favorite. I am going with INTENSE AMERICA as this mare, one of only two taking on male rivals, is on a roll with two straight wins and thus I feel she can handle the hike in class. She has shown in her last two starts that she can win from either on or off the pace and get a slim call. Use Nowucit Nowudon't and Zeus Lightning in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace B-1 Horses & Geldings The Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY - Another well matched group in here. I like return winners and thus am going with ROCKIN WIZARD. He has won his last two starts with impressive scores at both the Meadowlands and Yonkers, coming from off the pace and also wiring the field. And with him drawing the rail he should be game right to the finish wire again. Use Tye Seelster and Dedi's Dragon in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Handicap Woodbine 7th race SATURDAY - I kept reviewing this race, trying to find a reason to not pick MODERN LEGEND. Despite being the class of the field and having drawn the far outside post ten I am worried about his time off from racing and if he could be sharp enough in here to overcome outside post. Looking at the rest of the field I really could not find someone who would beat Modern Legend provided he is back in shape and sharp from his last outing, which was not great. But I couldn't find anyone I felt can beat him. Use Machal Jordan and Nickle Bad in exotic plays. $20,000 Pace 3YO Handicap The Meadowlands 8th race SATURDAY - With a two month rest and some strong qualifying wins coming into this race I really like WINDS OF CHANGE. Hails from the Linda Toscano Stable and looks to be ready for a strong effort despite going against some strong competition. This horse is fresh and should be strong to the wire. Use National Debt and Gold Rocks in exotic plays.
Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Associations president, Steven Wolf, has announced the award winners for the 2014 harness racing season. They will be honored at the association’s 24th annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the Elks Lodge in Pompano Beach. Elected to the chapter’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years and who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, are owner, breeder, trainer, Tom Audley of Bell, owner/breeders Anthony Amante & Christine Garrity of Amante Standardbreds of Delray Beach and owner/trainer Lou Rapone of Pompano Beach. Also being inducted on the equine side into the Hall of Fame is Amante Standardbred’s great Florida-sired pacer, Hearty Fellow. He raced only at Pompano Park his entire career, nine straight years with 50 career victories and earnings of over $380,000. Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing reflects dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport, goes to former harness racing driver Lucien Fontaine of Margate. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of young trotters, goes for the second time to trainer Lou Ginesi of Deerfield Beach. The William Popfinger Award for developing outstanding juvenile pacers goes to trainer Mike Deters of Coconut Creek. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport, goes to Carol Macomber of Fort Lauderdale. The winner of the Allen J. Finkelson Award recognizes an individual in the sport who has contributed to the positive promotion of the Standardbred industry and being honored this year is Victoria Howard of Boca Raton. Winner of the R.D. Ricketts Award, presented to an owner whose contributions to Florida racing have been outstanding, is Laurie Poulin of Okeechobee. The winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding excellent juvenile performers in 2014 are Kim and Jay Sears of Osteen. The Peter Haughton Award for the best newcomer to Pompano Park goes to Aaron Byron of Canada who is now one of the leading drivers at Pompano this season. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award, presented annually to an outstanding individual who has always contributed positively to the sport, goes to Dr. Marah Lee of Lauderdale By-The-Sea. The Florida USHWA Chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime owner Heddy Nelson of Tamarac. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award will be presented to an outstanding individual who, over his or her career, has dedicated untiring time and efforts caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year’s honoree will be announced shortly. In addition to the Florida USHWA chapter’s awards, presentations will also be made by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association to the owners of the top 2 and 3-year-old state-bred trotters and pacers from the 2014 season and the annual Breeder of the Year Award. The Florida Amateur Driving Club will also present their year-end awards. Tickets are $65 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:00 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Rosie Huff at the Florida Standardbred Breeders Office at 954-972.5400, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757, email@example.com. From the Florida Chapter USHWA
We did not fare that well last weekend with my selections but we shall move forward. First time since back in April that there are no stakes races in our handicapping column. Will just make my job a little harder but hopefully financially rewarding. Good Luck! $34,000 Trot Preferred Woodbine Racetrack 2nd race SATURDAY - Thought I had it nailed down last week but Daylon Magician folded late in the stretch. So this week I am going to go with CHARMED LIFE. He made a terrific three-wide move and closed well in the stretch to beat this group and I think he can do it again. Use Daylon Magician and Charlie Is A Joker in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - Despite burning up a lot of win tickets in his last two starts, I still like BEACH MEMORIES in here. I think with a good inside post and showing good gate speed he can work out a perfect cover trip and with that will win against this field. Use BJ's Guy and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $26,000 Pace WO $25,000 last 6 Yonkers Raceway 8th race SATURDAY - While he may have finished off the board in his last two outings, MICKEY HANOVER drops and should be able to pop from the rail. Something wasn't right last week and hopefully they got him good to go in here at a price. Use Orillia Joe and Santanna One in exotic plays. $12,000 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 7th race SATURDAY - Lately it has been PRAIRIE JAGUAR cutting the mile for someone else to win off of. But each week he is game to the wire, losing both in photo finishes. I think that Wrenn can rate him better in here and hold on all the way. Use Cadillac Phil and Duc Dorleans in exotic plays. $27,000 Pace NW $28,000 last 5 Woodbine Racetrack 10th race SATURDAY - Four return winners and three others hit the board last week. Makes for a very competitive race so as long as you can pick the winner you will get a nice return. I am going with CAMAES FELLOW. Won last week with ease and is actually dropping down in class for this race. Loves the front end and has won three of last five starts that way. Use Nickle Bag and Calgary Seelster in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap The Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY - Having won and lost here the last two starts by a head and nose, I have to come back with SPEED AGAIN. Shows he can do first-over or on the front end and can work his way up front so outside post should not hinder his efforts. He missed by a head last week from farer out than he is in here. Use Wake Up Peter and Shooter's Dream in exotic plays. $46,000 Trot Open Handicap 1¼ Mile Yonkers Raceway 1st race SUNDAY - Great way to start off the morning with 12-horse extra distance trot. The action is always interesting with a different winner every week. This week I am going with DW's NY YANK. He is the class of the field having won the one mile Open last week and has won in extra distance mile earlier. Tough enough to grind it out if necessary. Use Sevruga and Crazy About Pat in exotic plays. $28,000 Trot NW $25,000 last 6 1¼ Mile Yonkers Raceway 3rd race SUNDAY - Pick the winner in here and you will make money for sure. Tough field going extra distance is tough to handicap. I ended up going with HOORAYFORVACATION. Having the rail is good and with his front end speed he can take a shot at wiring the field or getting great cover. He was no factor from post 11 last week and prior he had won two of his three starts. Use Stir Me Up and Bentley Karan in exotic plays.
Whether you're a horseman from Canada or the USA, one major sport the harness racing community enjoys is the National Hockey League. With the NHL All Star game roughly 7 weeks away, I thought it would be interesting to find out some opinions on who will win the Stanley Cup and who will win the Hart Trophy. One thing is for certain, if a horseman's favorite team loses, he will be razzed, that's for sure! PJ Fraley who hails from Michigan has a soft spot for the Detroit Red Wings. That being said, PJ is a massive Rangers fan and believes Rick Nash will win the Hart. There are many horsemen who are fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs... ''for better or worse'' says Greg Blanchard who hasn't lost faith in his Buds but think Stamkos has a good chance at the Hart Trophy. You can add Doug McNair, Bob McClure, Taylor Spitzig, Bruce Richardson and Carmen Auciello as fans of the Maple Leafs. Carmen Auciello adds, "I bleed blue!! This is the Leafs' year! Phil Kessel will be the MVP". Carmen isn't alone in his belief that Kessel earns the Hart Trophy, Doug McNair agrees! Everyone knows the Maple Leafs haven't won since 1967, Leafs fans are constantly reminded by those who favor recent winners or those who simply enjoy taunting fans of the Maple Leafs for fun. Enter Anthony Haughan and Bern Lavigne! Bern is a diehard Ottawa Senators fan and thinks Erik Karlsson will be league MVP and is enjoying the play of the Nashville Predators as his Senators are not looking too good. Bern adds, "I think the Leafs are the weakest team in the NHL!!!" "I'm not a big hockey fan" says Anthony Haughan, "but I still like to torture the rest of the poor Leafs fans around here." Anthony Haughan continues, "I guess I like the Blackhawks and they seem to be tough every year. I think Toews is the best player in the league." Bob McClure agrees with Anthony that Toews will win the Hart Trophy. Sugar Doyle is also impressed with the Blackhawks play and Sugar adds his favorite player is Bryan Bicknell. "I'll be sticking with them come playoff time for a Stanley Cup run." Sugar's favorite team growing up was the NY Islanders and they are looking good. When it comes to league MVP, Sugar agrees it's tough to go against Crosby however he believes Tyler Seguin and Filip Forsberg could be long shot entries. Duane LeBlanc, a Montreal Canadiens supporter, favors the Blackhawks to win as well. Duane adds, "It's tough to say for the MVP so early but I would go with Crosby." There are quite a few horsemen who believe Crosby has a good chance at holding the Hart Trophy for the 2014-15 season. James MacDonald, a diehard Penguins fan is "very confident" Sid the Kid will win it all! You can count Michael Burke and Harnesslink's Steve Wolf in on that sentiment too, though Steve still loves his NJ Devils, though he has not forgiven the Devils management for trading away Martin Brodeur. Travis Henry thinks it will be either Crosby or Ryan Getzlaf who wins the Hart Trophy. Though Travis's favorite team is the Washington Capitals, he likes either the St Louis Blues or the Anaheim Ducks to raise Lord Stanley's Cup. Anthony Macdonald, Scott Young and Bob McClure share the same thought that the Boston Bruins will be skating around the rink hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2015. Anthony Macdonald sees the big Z, Zdeno Chara raising the Hart Trophy eight feet into the air by season's end. I can't wait for the playoffs to start, though every week in the NHL is a rush in itself. Just like going to the races. We're coming up to the half mile marker and anything can happen! By Roderick Balgobin, for Harnesslink.com
Last weekend we came up a little short, losing -$5.60 on the 12 races. But that's in the past and we have a strong weekend of racing ahead of us. Headlining the weekend is Sunday's Progress Pace Final at Dover Downs. Sadly, only six are in the final but it's still a very strong field with McWicked and JK Endofanera heading the lineup. We also travel to Yonkers, Meadowlands, Woodbine, Saratoga and Pompano Park. Good Luck! $35,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - Last week McErlean was the tough horse, going first-over giving Beach Memories great cover and holding him off to the finish. If McErlean can repeat that effort it can beat them all again. Use Beach Memories and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap Meadowlands Racetrack 6th SATURDAY - Looks like this race will be another slugfest between last week's winner Speed Again and Golden Receiver. I think with a start under his belt since layoff, Golden Receiver should be able to hold Speed Again off this time around. Use Speed Again and Aslan in exotic plays. $12,000 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 9th race SATURDAY - Program reads that Duc Dorleans should be able to take this field with ease. Last time out he just got up in 1:49 in one of the fastest miles in track history. Draws in against less in short field and should score again. Use Don't Tell Rusty and That'll Be The Rei in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Woodbine Racetrack 10th race SATURDAY - With $1.7 million in career earnings, Daylon Magician is truly the class of the field and after popping last week at Woodbine in 1:53.1 I think his back class will shine once again in here. Use Charmed Life and Riveting Rosie in exotic plays. $44,000 Trot Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 5th race SUNDAY - Back to plain old mile racing so to me that says that back class will come through and that means DW's NY Yank should be able to prevail. He is usually very consistent and likes to win. Use Crazy About Pat and Dancehall Mistress in exotic plays. $17,000 Trot Open Handicap Saratoga Raceway 7th race SUNDAY - Slugfest has been the local favorite here and is on a two-race win streak that will come to an end today. Banco Solo invades for trainer Rene Allard and ships in off a 1:53.4 score at Pocono Downs. Any effort close to that in here should make him a winner. Use Slugfest and Traverse Seelster in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace DSBF Final 2YO Colts Dover Downs 8th race SUNDAY - Very competitive field here but even starting from the outside in post eight, Remember Me VK looms very tough to beat. Late bloomer is super sharp in just four starts and has blazing untapped speed. Use Sonofa Sizzle and Smoking Joey in exotic plays. $301,560 Progress Pace Final 3YO Colts Dover Downs 10th race SUNDAY - Short field but power packed. McWicked is the hot horse and off his last two wins looks ready to take another as he looks to wrap-up the season and a possible Dan Patch award with a win in here. Use JK Endofanera and Big Boy Dreams in exotic plays.
Wellington, FL – Leslie L. Ducharme, the wife of Standardbred owner/trainer John Ducharme, tragically died on Tuesday after falling from her horse. She was 72. The incident happened in Saddle Trail Park along Appaloosa Trail around 3:30 pm according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Ducharme suffered traumatic injuries, according to rescue crews at the scene. She was rushed to Palms West Hospital where she died. Leslie Ducharme was a member of the United States Trotting Association since 1996 and with her husband John, have co-owned and raced more than 50 Standardbred horses. She also owned and competed her jumper horses. Her husband John was the trainer of 1995 Breeders Crown winner, Abundance. More details will be announced when available. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Slugfest and driver Jay Randall were able to beat up the field, forcing his way to the front after the half mile and then pulling away at the finish in capturing the $17,000 Open Handicap Trot feature at Saratoga Raceway Sunday afternoon. It was Political Desire (Austin Siegelman) first on the lead with Pay The Winner (Stephane Bouchard) sitting the two-hole trip from the rail. They went by the opening quarter mile in :27.4. It was then that Randall sent Slugfest first-over and they were able to grind it out and take command right after an easy :58 half mile. Zooming, the race favorite for driver Billy Dobson, came first-over and all but collared Slugfest by the three-quarters in 1:26.4. Slugfest was then able to dig down and pull up some reserve as he put away Zooming in the stretch to win hy one and one-half lengths in 1:55.4. Zooming held for second place with You Rock My World (Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) third. It was the second straight win and ninth victory of the year for Slugfest. The five-year-old gelding son of Conway Hall is trained by Maureen Salino for co-owners Tom Vassiliou and Nicholas Tallerico. He paid $8.70 to win. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Sweet Lou made the final start of his illustrious career a memorable one as he dominated a field of world class harness racing pacers in capturing the $500,000 final of the TVG FFA Series at the Meadowlands Saturday night. Moving first-over to take command from Bettor’s Edge (Matt Kakaley) at the first quarter in :26.2, driver Ron Pierce put Sweet Lou on the lead for good in his final race. They led to the half mile in :54 as stable mate Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) came first-over and those two battled to the three-quarters in 1:21.3, but Sweet Lou was the strong horse as he was able to pull away down the stretch to win with ease by three and one-half lengths in an eye-popping 1:48 mile. Foiled Again held for second with Clear Vision (Tim Tetrick) third. The first three finishers all trained by Ron Burke. A five-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruise, Sweet Lou was a world champion at age 2 and is still the fastest two-year-old in history at 1:49 and was the winner of the Dan Patch Horse of the Year award in his division. He will now retire from racing to become a breeding stallion in 2015. Sweet Lou closed out his career with 11 wins in 2014, a total of 33 career wins and lifetime earnings of $3,478,894 for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. He paid $3.60 to win. Sweet Lou In the third race $49,000 three-year-old colt pace mini-series, Journeyman and driver Yannick Gingras powered their way to the front after the half mile marker and then held the field at bay, winning by one length in 1:50.1. Caviart Chase (Ron Pierce) was first on the lead, then Hall Bro (Matt Kakaley) took command after an opening quarter mile in :26.3. Journeyman then burst to the lead by the half mile in :54.1, leading to the three-quarters in 1:23 as Caviart Luca (Brett Miller) charged up first-over and then held game through the stretch to be second. Gold Rocks (Tim Tetrick) closed well to be third. Sired by American Ideal, it was the fifth win this year for Journeyman, who is trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura. He paid $2.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
After four straight weeks of pickin'em pretty good, I finally ran into a brick wall Breeders Crown weekend. But you can't win'em all so back to the drawing board. Sadly the stakes season is drawing to a close this weekend with the TVG finals at the Meadowlands and then next week the rich Progress Pace at Dover Downs. Then we get into tough winter overnights and some good late closing series throughout the county. Good Luck! $49,000 Pace 3YO's n/w $100,000 in 2014 Meadowlands 3rd race SATURDAY - It is too tough to try and go against the triple entry of Hall Bro, Lord Of Misrule and Journeyman. Both Hall Bro and Journeyman are coming off very strong winning efforts and with good inside post position they will be very tough to beat in here. Use Caviart Chase and Caviart Luca in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - Beach Memories or P H Supercam....I nearly flipped a coin to decide in here but came away going with Beach Memories. He has the better inside post and the gate speed to insure good positioning to score from. Has been first and second twice in photos last three starts. Use P H Supercam and Holdallthecards in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace TVG FFA Final Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY - This is the last big bang for the older pacers and it's a great field to close out the season with. Sweet Lou and Foiled Again do their swan song for the end of their great racing careers. I'm going with Sweet Lou as in his last two starts he seemly had the race won only to get nipped at the wire. I don't think this world champion will get caught tonight. Use Thinking Out Loud and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot TVG FFA Final Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY - It didn't "All come down to the Breeders Crown" last week as it does in here. Sebastian K could sew up Harness Horse of the Year honors with a convincing victory in here but both Maven and Bee A Magician will be all out to not let that happen. Don't look for a super-fast mile as it will be clear but only in the low 30's at post time. But I think if the "old" Sebastian K shows up he will take this field and then maybe beat out JK She'salady for top honors in the Dan Patch Voting. He has truly been a champion this year. Use Maven and Bee A Magician in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY - Everyone will lead toward Aslan as he has been the strong horse with two straight convincing wins in this class. But I like Wake Up Peter who last week was strong on the front end and may be able to turn the tables on Aslan in here. Use Aslan and Speed Again in exotic plays. $46,000 Trot Open Handicap 1¼ mile Yonkers Raceway 1st race SUNDAY - It's the France Handicap with a super full field of 12 trotters going the extra distance in the Yonkers-France matinee. Great to see such full fields going the extra quarter mile. Thus I have no fear in promoting Dancehall Mistress, one of four mares in the field against male rivals. She beat the pants off everyone last week with a four length romp at 11-1 and can do it again. Use Somebody AS and Super Manning in exotic plays. $17,000 Trot Open Handicap Saratoga Raceway 7th race SUNDAY - After having his head handed to him the last couple of starts against the best at Yonkers, Zooming takes a big drop in class and switch to Saratoga. This should aid him big time, even if he did get the far outside post eight. Still have the class to overcome the post problem as he did before trying his luck at Yonkers. Use You Rock My World and Slugfest in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Winners over $25,000 Harrah's Philadelphia 11th race SUNDAY - With six of the eight starters in here all coming off wins in their last start it makes for a great competitive race. I don't think Dial Or Nodial can repeat because of outside post. Thus I am going with Mach It So. He was a game second from post eight last week but draws better in here and can win as long as he can grab some live cover. Use Dial Or Nodial and Voice Of Truth in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Progress Preview 3YO Colts Dover Downs 10th race SUNDAY - This will be a great preview towards next weeks $300,000 final. Superb field of colts will do battle big time. I like McWicked to repeat after his impressive Breeders Crown victory. He flashed his brilliant early season form last week with big 1:49 effort and draws the rail
Within a week or so hundreds of ballots will go out to the membership of the United State Trotting Association (USHWA) and race secretaries throughout North America. These journalists and communicators will have the duty of selecting the prestigious Dan Patch award winners for the 2014 race season. They are entrusted in voting for what will mean a lot of prestige and big bucks for both colts and fillies and horses and mares when it comes time for the stallion shed or broodmare ranks. So who will these USHWA members be voting for? After this weekend’s top notch racing some of the choices are just plain standouts but a lot are not. In fact, some voters will have to wait until next week’s TVG finals at the Meadowlands before they can sit down and make their final decisions. USHWA members are human being too and thus have to weigh-in all the facts and separate the statistical data they will review with the feelings in their heart when it comes voting time and look back on the long season and not just the last few weeks and then cast their ballots. Then on Thursday, December 18, once all the ballots have been counted, the USHWA membership will hold a press conference at the Meadowlands to announce the winners. Usually these announcements would be held up in suspense until the big Dan Patch Awards dinner February 22, 2015 at the DoubleTree Hilton Orlando by SeaWorld. The USHWA membership voted last year to announce all the winners ahead of time to try and glean the most publicity out of the winners this year instead of it being buried and not getting any newsprint until after the fact on the night of the dinner. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner will still be a major event and celebration of all the winners, both equine and human from the 2014 season and the first introduction of the newest inductees to the prestigious Hall of Fame. It is truly an event that everyone should consider attending. But it still leaves the question of who will everyone be voting for? Let’s do a little overview of each of the divisions and how they stack up after the Breeders Crown. Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies - If if if….Wild Honey could only have stayed on stride and have a shot against Mission Brief. She was as near perfect as you can get in a season. Mission Brief was super-fast both on track and in jumping off stride, but without Wild Honey being able to take real shot at her, looks to have given Mission Brief the nod of approval in this division. Also setting a world record along the way always helps too. Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies - No one in the world can argue that JK She’salady is the unopposed candidate in this division. Yes, Sassa Hanover is no slouch and Yannick Gingras chose wrong and it will be great to see these two tangle next year, but going undefeated at 12 for 12 is perfection at its best. Her pulling away from Sassa Hanover in the stretch in the Breeders Crown was very impressive after the great season she had. The only question is if the voting membership of USHWA can make her the Harness Horse of the Year in 2014. More on that to come later in this story. Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts - Now we really get into a tough category. Pinkman closes out the season with a flourish, winning four straight including the Breeders Crown in a lifetime mark on a cold night nearly rewriting the world record. But both Habitat and French Laundry also had super seasons. Pinkman did beat Habitat three of the four times they faced each other. French Laundry only faced Pinkman in the BC final and French Laundry never faced Habitat until the Breeders Crown. Can’t we just race the three of them against each other and winner takes the title? Two-Year-Old Pacing Colts - Throughout this season all the talk was Artspeak and rightly so. The colt was fabulous and beat all comers until he met up with In The Arsenal in Lexington and then things changes as the unbeaten was beaten. But Artspeak was able to come back to victory lane and close out his season with a big win in the Governor’s Cup before either getting too sore or enough is enough this year and skipping the Matron and Breeders Crown. Now comes along the dragon slayer, In The Arsenal. He puts an end to Artspeaks unbeaten streak, then he does the same to unbeaten Yankee Bounty two starts in a row. Here comes the Breeders Crown and not once, but twice drawing the 10 post and races super valiant but could not win but he should be a real terror next year. Three-Year-Old Trotting Fillies - All season long Shake It Cerry was the horse to beat in this division. And on just two occasions, one important one being the Hambletonian Oaks, Shake It Cerry did get beat. But that was it for the year. After the Oaks loss she rallied for nine straight wins to close out 2014 with 15 wins in 17 starts. Her Breeders Crown score after going three-wide on the final turn was a super dramatic way to end the season. Credit also must be given to her stable mate, Lifetime Pursuit, who also had a top notch season. Three-Year-Old Pacing Fillies - This was a topsy turvey division throughout the year. With last year’s top filly, Precocious Beauty unable to come back and dominate the division it became a question of who will win this week. Then a filly named Color’s A Virgin put on a dramatic showing in winning the Jugette in straight heats and slowly became a household name for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Brian Brown…until the Breeders Crown finale. After winning her BC elimination division for her seventh straight score and 13th win of the year, Color’s A Virgin was living up to her hype. Now comes the Breeders Crown final and low and behold here comes Sayitall BB. She wins very convincingly and when you look at her record she shows nine wins and over $500,000 earned. Three-Year-Trotting Colts - Father Patrick was tabbed early on to be the great one. And he was early on but after his went off stride in the Hambletonian, his stable mates, Trixton and Nuncio took over the spot light. And each time Father Patrick would rebound, he got beat again or made a break to set him back. Then Trixton went lame and ended his career and Mr. Consistency, Nuncio, emerged on the scene to reap two of the three trotting Triple Crown races and the only one of the three to step on and win on a half mile track. But then here comes Father Patrick in the Breeders Crown final. Beaten by E L Titan, beaten by Nuncio, the top rated colt at the start of the season comes back at the very end with stakes record 1:51.4 triumph to close out the 2014 season. Tale of the tape says Father Patrick beat Nuncio five times to Nuncio beating him three times, or at least beating himself by breaking. Both colts have near identical records so a strong case can be made on behalf or against either top candidate. Three-Year-Old Colt Pacers - All Always B Miki had to do was not go lame before the start of the Breeders Crown as if he had won there would be no contest in this division. Despite the lameness, Always B Miki has had a sensational season with 12 big scores, winning eight of his last nine starts. Now with Always B Miki going lame for the Breeders Crown, it brings to light the other top colts in the division. Jug winner Limelight Beach was going strong but scratched early from the Breeders Crown Final. JK Endofanera was third in the BC final and sports ten wins this year and over $1 million in earnings this season. Then there is McWicked, who was so hot in mid-season but failed to fire in the Jug and had not won a race since early September. Always game but could not win. He becomes the strong horse in the Breeders Crown and overpowers the field to win in a very impressive 1:49. He now leads all the colts with $1,300,00 won this year. Older Trotting Mares - USHWA members get a ton of statistical data to help them make their decisions in voting for horses of the year and this division needs those stats. Bee A Magician is the defending Harness Horse of the Year. She won’t have a shot at it again, but for her division she has to go up against Maven and Classic Martine. Bee A Magician was not her old self this year but came back to winning form in the Breeders Crown. She changed tactics and wired the field in 1:51.4. But only four wins this year vs a perfect 17 or 17 last year is not good. She was a game second place finisher in some big stakes six times this year. Maven has caught everyone’s eye and rightly so. She raced against the boys off and on this season and beat them here and in Europe. Her come from behind score from post ten last week at the Meadowlands was sensational. Her second place finish to Commander Crowe was top of the line against some very good horses. But once again only four wins and maybe not the world champion caliber she was last year. Classic Martine is most certainly the statistical favorite in here. Her 9 wins, 5 seconds and 2 thirds in 18 starts is the best record of anyone. She also has more earnings this year than anyone else in the group at $460,000 is tops too. Plus she did not skip many of the big dances. This is another toughie division. Older Trotter Horses - There was a lot of hype when Sebastian K first came over to the USA. Is he the great horse everyone in Europe had been talking for years? That question was answered in his first start for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. Then the next start and the next start and how fast can this guy go? How domineering can he be? Well, the answers were all age world record 1:49, numerous 1:50 and change miles, the barefoot wonder who was nearly unbeatable unless it rained and the track was off. No question what so ever that Sebastian K, regardless of his final appearance this year in the TVG finals this weekend, has been a true super star performer. The only question will be if Sebastian K is fit enough to win the TVG final and then go head and head with a little pacing filly and a duo of trotting colts for Harness Horse of the Year honors. Older Pacing Mares - For three straight years Anndrovette has dominated this division, but maybe not in 2014. She was a decent fourth in the Breeders Crown but had yet to win a race against these since late August. The new kid on the block this season has been Yagonnakissmeornot. With 14 wins in 30 starts she has been very good in both stakes and Opens and is the highest money earner among this group. Yet she could not hit the board in the Breeders Crown either. Somwherovrarainbow came into the Breeders Crown in good form but she could not muster a BC check. Rocklamation, when good is great, but she has just too many issues each season but she did rally hard to be second in the Breeders Crown. Shebestingin, Charisma Hanover, Voelz Hanover, even the Breeders Crown winner, Shelliscape, could have been considered but their inconsistent race patterns eliminate them. Older Pacing Horses - A win would have made it more convincing, but after yet another game effort, second in the Breeders Crown, Sweet Lou may just be able to end his career as he started it, with a Dan Patch award. His ten wins and $1.1 million in earnings this year plus the win streak and the sub 1:48 miles every week make him just about too strong to think twice about. Foiled Again had another great season, State Treasurer too and Bettor’s Edge. It was a great season again for the older pacing ranks with so many good competitors who would step up and score big, like Thinking Out Loud in the Breeders Crown, Clear Vision too. Trotter of the Year - It is just about too tough to call in here. Sebastian K quietly came into the United States and then set the sport on fire this summer, set track and world marks nearly every other start. Then he faced some losses on sloppy tracks and sorta sored up at the end of the season. But now he looked great in his qualifier and voters will be watching the TVG finals this weekend at the Meadowlands to see how he rebounds. But what about Father Patrick and/or Nuncio? Throw out the two major breaks and he is nearly perfect all season long and was on cruise control in winning the Breeders Crown. Nuncio is Mr. Consistency all season long, no breaks, won two of three Triple Crown jewels and won with ease on a half mile too. His third place finish in the Breeders Crown was the only time he was worse than second all season. Both horses have nearly identical records, Father Patrick beat Nuncio five times, Nuncio beat Father Patrick three times. And let’s talk about Shake It Cerry! With 15 wins in 17 starts, $1,230,000 in earnings. Three-wide on the final turn and trots away in the Breeders Crown. She had nearly done it all except for her Hambletonian Oaks fourth place finish. You can’t make a case for the other three without having her join in too! Anyone have a four-sided coin we can flip? Pacer of the Year - JK She’salady was perfect this year, 12 for 12. She never shied from any major stakes race. She took on all comers and in the Breeders Crown was looked in the eye by Sassa Hanover and dug in to score in a romp. But she is a freshman filly and more than likely going against a seasoned veteran in Sweet Lou, who for months was unbeatable against the best in the sport. Harness Horse of the Year - With nearly 200 members of USHWA voting for the horse of the year honors this season, it’s impossible, maybe, to read everyone’s minds. From a statistical point of view, provided JK She’salady can beat Sweet Lou, then harness racing history could be made as no two-year-old filly has ever been named Harness Horse of the Year. But that could very well change in 2014 as the little lady had a sensational season, sorta like last year’s Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician. From the trotting side perhaps because of the boost to harness racing’s moral from his sensational season, should Sebastian K beat out Shake It Cerry, Father Patrick’s and Nuncio, then it will be a real contest between the world champion trotter and the little lady. But that’s not to say it could also happen with most any of the possible finalists. It’s been that great a racing season. It is actually too close to even try and make a pick, and with so many great possible scenarios to consider, we’ll just have to wait and see who the USHWA Membership votes for. We will all know before Christmas. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
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.