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.
The Ontario Racing Commission on Monday, November 17, 2014 ordered an indefinite full suspension for harness racing trainer Corey Johnson and five of his horses scheduled to race Monday at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto were scratched from competing. According to sources, one of Johnson’s horses tested positive for a TCO2 (blood gas or “milk shaking”) level higher than allowed in a horses natural system. It was also reported that this is a second time offence for Johnson. He also had horses scheduled to race at Woodbine this Thursday and they have been scratched from the program. The positive test results could not have come at a worse time as Johnson, 24, of Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, has two horses scheduled to race this weekend at the Meadowlands in the Breeders Crown Championship Finals. Volez Hanover is scheduled to race Friday in the $281,000 Breeders Crown for Older Pacing Mares and Traceur Hanover is in to go on Saturday in the $500,000 final for two-year-old pacing colts. While both Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario and the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey have had reciprocal agreements in the past concerning honoring suspensions of harness racing trainers, drivers and owners, this situation presents a unique scenario. As of press time of this story, the New Jersey Racing Commission has not called for the scratching of the two horses from Corey Johnson’s stable. Scratch time is at 9:00 am Wednesday morning at the Meadowlands. Because the horses were entered for the Breeders Crown races well in advance of the positive test result for Johnson, the New Jersey Racing Commission and the Meadowlands may have no choice but to allow the two horses to compete. That final decision will not be known until 9:00 am Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, Corey Johnson has been having his greatest season as a trainer in 2014. The youngster first started officially training horses in 2010 and has amassed 339 wins from his stable and just over $5 million in purses won by his horses. In 2014 alone his horses have already earned over $2 million. According to the United States Trotting Association, Johnson had a post-race positive test back on March 29, 2014 for the presences of Pyrilamine, a Class 3 illegal drug and was given a 15-day suspension and a $500 fine that he has appealed. Attempts to contact Corey Johnson for a statement were unanswered. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
On Friday afternoon harness racing driver Dave Palone set the industry world ablaze by surpassing Germany's Heinz Wewering by one win, 16,754 to 16,753 as the sports winningest driver in the world. With his main track, The Meadows, outside Pittsburgh, PA, closed for live racing on both Saturday and Sunday, Palone was able to relax and maybe bask in the limelight of his major accomplishment. Well Mr. Palone, Heinz Wewering says you better get back to work, as Wewering, with seven drives Sunday afternoon at Berlin-Mariendorf in Germany, came away with 1 win and 3 third place finishes. So now the two world champion drivers are tied for the lead at 16,754 career wins, at least until Monday. That's when Dave Palone has 14 drives at the Meadows and four of them are the betting favorites. It is inevitable that Palone will surpass Wewering this week and build an insurmountable lead over time that no one may ever be able to come close too. Also noteworthy is that as a trainer, Heinz Wewering had another victory Sunday and now his world title as the winningest trainer ever in harness racing stands pact at 19,300 victories from his stable. Both Heinz Wewering and Dave Palone were unavailable for comment as of the writing of this story. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
After a bold three-wide move to get to the lead, Dune In Red and driver Austin Siegelman then wired the field in winning the $17,000 F&M Open Handicap Pace at Saratoga Raceway Sunday afternoon. Get Your Armor (Sam Schillaci) was first on the lead and battled with Ashlee’s Cool Gal (Shawn Gray) and Dune In Red to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. From there it was all Dune In Red and she cut fractions of :55.4 and 1:25 before barely holding on at the wire to win by a head in 1:54.3. Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) was second in the photo finish along with Cloris Hanover (Billy Dobson), who was third, also by a head. A four-year-old mare by Duneside Perch, Dune In Red is trained by Allan Johnson and is owned by the Hero Stables, of NY and paid $9.90 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Yagonnakissmeornot, the older half sister to top harness racing three-year-old, Always B Miki, was also a winner Saturday night at Pocono Downs in the $35,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace. Assigned outside her five rivals, Yagonnakissmeornot followed along in third before springing into action late in the mile and edging out another Breeders Crown hopeful, Krispy Apple, for the 1:50.4 victory. Krispy Apple had cut fractions of :27.2, :56 and 1:23.1 before being collared by the quick-closing favorite in the final strides. Spirit Of Desire finished one length behind off a pocket trip. Rounding out the finish order were Campanile, Western Empress and 'Crown' contender Regil Elektra. Simon Allard drove the winner of 14 races and over $500,000 this year for his brother, trainer Rene Allard. Yagonnakissmeornot is owned by Allard Racing Inc. of Saint-Esprit, Que., Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation, Que. and Kapildeo Singh of Yorktown Heights, New York. She has drawn post five in the 11-horse field for next weekend's $281,250 Breeders Crown Mares Open Pace at Meadowlands Racetrack.whose connections anted up the $31,250 supplemental fee to enter next weekend's Breeders Crown. She is a five-year-old daughter of The Panderosa. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The $25,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts saw Go Daddy Go and Traceur Hanover take their repsective divisions in classic styles. Go Daddy Go and Lost For Words gave harness racing fans an exciting stretch drive in the first $25,000 division of the Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old pacing colts Saturday at the Meadowlands with Go Daddy Go winning the battle by a neck. Plenty of lead changes early on as Lyons Again (Yannick Gingras) took the early lead from Sicily (Corey Callahan) by the opening quarter mile in :27. Then driver John Campbell put Go Daddy Go first-up to take command and then it was Lost For Words and David Miller pressing and taking the lead at the half mile marker in :54.2. But the action would not end there as after the three-quarters in 1:23, Campbell came out again to go against Lost For Words. Those two then battled all the way down the stretch, neck and neck, right to the wire with Go Daddy Go just winning by a neck in 1:51.1. Franzo (Scott Zeron) was third with Sicily fourth and fifth and making it to the final next week. “He has been a nice colt since day one,” said trainer Bob McIntosh. “I campaigned his sire, Ponder, and this colt is doing great for having a long year. He is just really tough.” The chestnut colt sports four wins this year and tonight’s 1:51.1 score is his lifetime best performance. The homebred is co-owned by the Robert McIntosh Stable with Dave Boyle. He paid $7.20 to win. Go Daddy Go The biggest payoff in the Breeders Crown elimination weekend was set by Traceur Hanover and driver Andy Miller as they upset the field in the second division at 22-1 with a lifetime mark of 1:50.3. It was a super impressive victory as race favorite In The Arsenal (Brian Sears) left from post ten to take command to the first quarter in :26.3 and the half in :54.3 with Lyons Levi Lewis (Ron Pierce) getting the dream two-hole trip. Then here comes Traceur Hanover and Andy Miller first-over with grinding power and giving Arque Hanover (Tim Tetrick) great outside cover that they can't even keep up with to the three-quarters in 1:23. But Traceur Hanover did not know where the finish line was as he kept grinding it out down the stretch, collaring In The Arsenal and going on to win over Lyons Levi Lewis by one length. In the Arsenal held for third place and also making the final next week are Cooperstown in fourth and Tomy Terror in fifth. "Corey (Johnson) told me," said Andy Miller, " that this colts best starts were coming into this race. He told me the colt was feeling really good and that we had a shot. He felt good (scoring down). He went out there and went about his business and did it good. The trip was not what I expected. I really didn't want to be first-up but the way it ended up he took me right to the leader and then dug in." Trained by Corey Johnson, it was the fourth win this year for Traceur Hanover, who is owned by Richard Berthiaums of Quebec. He is sired by Western Ideal and paid $46.80 to win. Traceur Hanover By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com