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East Rutherford - With the Breeders Crown approaching, The Meadowlands would like to announce some of the options those in attendance will have to enjoy the Championship event. Those looking to dine at The Meadowlands can join us in our heated trackside tent for an elegant buffet-style dining experience on our track apron, while enjoying and up close and personal experience with the world's greatest standardbreds for a price of $44.95 per person. The menu is available at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedFiles/2014BCTent.pdf . Another option is Victory Sports Bar which will offer it's a la carte menu and a dining experience surrounded by 11 massive high-definition screens where customers can enjoy all the championship racing. Check out the Victory menu at http://playmeadowlands.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/VICTORY_V6_Menu_8_29_14-2.pdf. Horsemen looking to dine at The Meadowlands for The Breeders Crown can reserve a table in Pink, which will be reserved for horsemen with horses competing in The Breeders Crown. Those horsemen looking to reserve seating in Pink should contract Andrea Caswell at (201) 460-4214. The Pink Breeders Crown Menu can be accessed at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedFiles/2014Breederscrownpinkmenu.pdf. Both nights of the Breeders Crown Finals are "blackout dates" at Trotters. Therefore on Friday November 21st and Saturday November 22nd, Trotters will be reserved for members only. Those members who wish to attend should contact Marianne Rotella at (201) 842-5059. Racing fans looking for a seat close to the action can reserve an inside grandstand seat at a cost of $15 per seat, per day. The grandstand seats are located on the second floor and overlook the racetrack. Advanced purchasing of indoor grandstand seating can be obtained by calling (201) 460-4079. Seating is limited. The Breeders Crown Finals will be contested at The Meadowlands on Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd and the dining options listed above are available for both championship nights. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

The connections of Swedish star Commander Crowe have officially accepted an invitation to the $500,000 Breeders Crown Trot for the third time and the chestnut champion will make his first star on U.S. soil this fall. Commander Crowe raced in the Breeders Crown Trot in 2011-2012 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, finishing third to San Pail and third to Chapter Seven in his respective events. Since moving to the stable of French trainer Fabrice Souloy in 2010, Commander Crowe, now 11, is still going strong. He earned a Breeders Crown invitation by winning the Aby Stora Pris, a Grade 1 event in Gothenburg, Sweden, in August. Owned by Snogarps Gard AB (Barbro Wihlborg, Ulf Wihlborg & Joakim Wihlborg) the gelded son of Juliano Star-Somack-Mack Lobell has won 60 races in 103 starts, for earnings of $4.7 million. "We are delighted to accept your kind invitation for our horse Commander Crowe in order to participate in this years Breeders Crown for older trotters," said Joakim Wihlborg via emial. "We are fully aware of the conditions and we are looking forward to be a part of the big event." The last invited foreign horse to win the Breeders Crown Trot was Italian sensation Varenne, who captured the trophy with a then-world-record 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands. Trainer Fabrice Souloy reports that Commander Crowe will arrive in the U.S. in mid-October. The $500,000 Breeders Crown Trot is one of 12 championship events worth a total of $5.6 million to be raced at The Meadowlands over the weekend of Friday, Nov.21 and Saturday, Nov. 22. For more information visit www.themeadowlands.com or www.hambletonian.org    

The Meadowlands has unveiled its supporting feature races for The Breeders Crown. There will be four (4) separate mini-series for three year olds of both sex and gait. The conditions for these series will be horses that have not earned $100,000 in 2014. Purses for the eliminations will be $20,000, with an estimated $50,000 Final. The races will include a one-time $500 starting fee. The three year old colt and filly trotters will compete in their eliminations on Friday, November 14th with the finals to be contested on Friday, November 21st. The three year old colt and filly pacers have eliminations on Friday, November 21st and the finals on Saturday, November 29th, which is the night of the TVG Free For All Championships. In addition, there will be four (4) separate four year old open events for pacers, trotters, mare pacers and mare trotters carrying a $40,000 purse on Saturday, November 22nd. Lastly, any overnight events that are used on either Friday, November 21st or Saturday, November 22nd will carry a 20-percent increase above the standard purse. Any horsemen with questions can contact Director of Racing Operations, Darin Zoccali at (201) 460-4041 or dzoccali@playmeadowlands.com. Click here for the undercard Darin Zoccali

Jim Simpson, the president of Hanover Shoe Farms and the members of the the Captaintreacherous racing group have announced that The Captain will be officially retired at Lexington's famed Red Mile during the races on Thursday October 2. Tony Alagna, the colt's trainer said "Captain just hasn't been himself for the last several weeks. He's been fighting a low respiratory bug and we just haven't been able to overcome it. Rather than take the chance of doing irreparable harm to this great horse, I think it would be wise for everybody concerned to have him retired at Hanover Shoe Farms. I have no doubts that he is destined to become a great sire. I very much look forward to the day when I will be looking at, buying and training his babies". Jim Simpson said that he looks forward to having the greatest son of the sport's supersire Somebeachsomewhere stand at Hanover. "Captaintreacherous was one of the greatest two and three year old pacers in the sport's history. It's now time for him to excel in the next stage of his remarkable career." Myron Bell, the colt's racing manager throughout his career said "I've been involved in Harness Racing for half a century. I've seen all of the greats during that time. Captaintreacherous has to rank right up there among the very best. In my entire career in the sport I've only predicted two horses as being "can't miss" sires. Those two were Artsplace and Western Ideal. The one quality that all three horses share is extreme courage. I have no doubt whatever that Captaintreacherous will follow in their footsteps in the stallion ranks. I look forward to buying and training a large number of his yearlings". Captaintreacherous was voted "Pacer of the Year" at both two and three. At 2, he won 8 of 10 starts and earned $918,253. At 3, he won 13 of 16 starts and earned $2,055,033 winning almost all of the Classic events including the three richest, the North American Cup, the Meadowlands Pace and the Breeders Crown. Captaintreacherous retires with earnings of $3,148,657. Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky in whose hands the Captain will be literally be in at Hanover can't wait until the horse gets to his next home. "I don't think I've ever been more excited about an incoming stallion. The Captain has it all, great performance on the racetrack, great courage, a fantastic pedigree and perhaps most important of all, he's drop dead gorgeous and correct, something that I'm certain he will transmit to his foals." Captaintreacherous will begin his stallion career in February of 2015. Captaintreacherous 2013 Captaintreacherous (Tim Tetrick) fighting the bit to win the Crown Murray Brown Hanover Shoe Farms, Inc.

Ross Payne made a good fist of his temporary return to Victoria aiding All Stars to one of its biggest campaign successes of the season at the Breeders Crown. He was full of praise for the facilities at the property of Vince Vallelonga where the team was based. "It's all modern, right up to date and the track is really quick. Maybe too quick even because Follow The Stars and Major Crocker ran their last quarter there in better than 27 on the eve of the Crown " Ross rates Major Crocker, who won the three year old Breeders Crown for Vallelonga  to give the property a great Breeders Crown day, as a potential New Zealand Cup winner. "Another year on him and he will be a top stayer for Vince and a race like the Cup would suit him fine" Vince also gave Ross several drives during his stay. "I didn't win one but I had a couple of seconds and wasn't further back than fourth on any of them" Ross hasn't been letting the grass grow under his feet since coming home either. He trialled Young American trained by his brother, Greg, and after an initial deal to Australia was delayed Luke McCarthy stepped in and bought the three year old after trialling him. "He didn't hesitate" Ross said " He will probably race out of here to try for a Sires Stakes start before he goes to Australia which would make some sense. Even though it is shaping up as a hot race to get into I am convinced he is good enough" Courtesy Of All Star Racing

Paris-Turf reported today that Commander Crowe could race in the September 14th UET Masters Series Final in Copenhagen and then may fly to New Jersey and the barn of trainer Trond Smedshammer. The 11-year-old chestnut son of Juliano Star-Somack-Mack Lobell could then appear in three USA events, the Red Mile's Allerage, the Yonkers International and the Breeders Crown at the new Meadowlands. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

Veteran Commander Crowe (11g Juliano Star-Somack-Mack Lobell) will reportedly end his storied career in the US at the November 22nd Meadowlands hosted Breeders Crown, so says Snoparps Gard's Barbro Wihlborg as reported by ATG. He last raced in North America in 2012 when he finished third in the Breeders Crown held that year in Ontario. The prior year 2011 he was also third in the Breeders Crown to San Pail and Rapide Lebel. He may also race in the September 28 Allerage at Lexington’s Red Mile and if so he would pass on the UET Masters at Charlottenlund on September 14. Commander Crowe has won 60 times from 102 races in his career for earnings of 32 million SEK and he set the European record at Hugo Ãbergs Memorial in 2012, 1.08.9kr/1609 meters. Yesterday at Eskilstuna there were several interesting winners. Explosive de Vie (3g Explosive Matter-Ava-Pine Chip) won in 1.14.5kr for Jim Oscarsson over 2640 meters autostart. He won 70,000SEK with the win over Great Society (3m Muscle Hill-Natashas Kiss-Balanced Image), second for Erik Adielsson. Bar Plombier (6g Tony Oaks-Francine Bar-Foreign Office) won the ATG to earn 60,000SEK over the 2140 meter autostart course. Jorma Kontio piloted this winner to the 1.13.2kr score, his 13th win in 27 starts. A four year-old event was also held over 2140 meters autostart for 70,000SEK to the winner. Charrua Forlan (4g Up Front Larry-Friska Bar-Frisky Frazer) won it for Hans-Owe Sundberg, his ninth in 23 starts. Recently imported Hamdalla (4m Taurus Dream-Loire-Daguet Rapide) was a close second for Jorma Kontio. The field included Aperfectyankee and Order By Keeper that were both disqualified. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

East Rutherford - Despite a relentless winter that seemed to never want to end and an interruption in racing due to the Super Bowl being held at MetLife Stadium, the early returns on the 2014 Meadowlands season, the first in the new state of the art facility are promising. Through 67 live racing dates, the on-track handle stands at $19,231,729, an average of $287,040 per card. That figure will increase through the final 14 dates of the season which include The Breeders Crown and TVG Free For All Championships. All-sources export handle through the same 67 live racing dates is $168,020,021, an average of $2,507,761 per-card. With 14 racing dates remaining, export is trending toward surpassing $200 Million for the entire season. Hambletonian Day was a tremendous success. While some international figures continue to trickle in, the current handle of $8,693,869 is an increase of over $1 Million from 2013 and is the third highest handle in Hambletonian history, behind only 2002 ($8.8 Million) and 2005 ($9 Million). "I am very pleased with the first year in our new facility," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "First and foremost, the new racetrack is absolutely stunning and I don't believe there is a racetrack like it in the country. The most common comments I hear from our guests speak to how beautiful the racetrack is. "I think the summertime and better weather allowed people to spread out more" Gural added, "enjoying all the outside amenities and as Hambletonian Day proved, any concerns that the new racetrack would not be able to handle the crowds on our biggest days were put to rest. The outside decks and the rooftop terrace offer some of the best views in racing and those locations are in very high demand in the warmer months. They seem to be attracting new and younger people to our facility which is critical to not only our future, but the future of this industry." Meadowlands General Manger and C.E.O. Jason Settlemoir looks back at the 2014 season with a great deal of pride and optimism. "I want to thank our horsemen for supporting us in this pivotal year at The Meadowlands and we look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with the SBOANJ going forward," said Settlemoir. I also want to thank The Meadowlands employees. It took a herculean effort by each of them to put together the season we had and I couldn't be prouder of the team at The Meadowlands. Last but certainly not least, a great many thanks to our customers who have embraced the changes at The Meadowlands. Without them, none of this would have been possible." Looking forward to the Fall and 2015, The Meadowlands will continue its event-marketing strategy and providing its customers with events like Jerseyfest and Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night that proved to be a huge success. On the wagering front, beginning in the fall, there will be an exciting new low-takeout wager that The Meadowlands is confident when at its zenith will provide the largest pool in harness racing history. More details on the wager will come shortly. Harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday November 14th. That first weekend features the eliminations for The Breeders Crown, with the 12 Championship Finals to be contested on Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd. Prior to the return of harness racing, thoroughbred racing will return to The Meadowlands on Thursday September 18th and will run through Saturday, November 1st. For the first time in several years, thoroughbred racing will be conducted at night, with a post time of 7:00 P.M. "I hope people come out to see the thoroughbreds," Gural added. "This is a great facility for a night-time thoroughbred event and I look forward to seeing how it is received. I think it will expose the facility to an entirely new group of people and hopefully they will come back for the harness racing as well." There will be six races each night during the thoroughbred meet, with all races conducted on the turf course. The racing dates for the Thoroughbred meet can be found at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/calendardates.aspx. The 2015 Standardbred dates will be announced in the coming weeks. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

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

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

On harness racings big day at the Breeders Crown finals at Tabcorp Park Melton yesterday, there were six pacing races up for decision. There was a great mixture of stock by all the sires in great demand by breeders in Australia. Bettors Delight, Mach Three and Sportswriter all had representation but by the end of the days racing, one stallion stood head and shoulders above the competition - Art Major His stock won three of the six pacing finals and sent breeders a clear message with the breeding season just around the corner. If anything this season, the gap in Australia between Art Major and the chasing pack  at  the age group level has grown larger and more pronounced. As the season draws to a close Art Major is $368,000 ahead of Bettors Delight on the 2 year old sires list and $1,166,000 ahead on the 3 year old list and that really confirms what a spectacular season he has had in Australia. Yesterday the two year old and three year old sections of the Breeders Crown finals were dominated by Art Major. Follow The Stars was outstanding in the 2 year old colts/geldings final, burning to the front from the outside of the gate and giving nothing else a chance from that point. But for being wiped out in the Harness Jewels in New Zealand, Follow The Stars would have been unbeaten at two. Being bred the way he is, if Follow The Stars can kick on at three then he certainly has all the credentials to be given a chance in the stallion barn. Major Crocker was a super winner of the 3 year old colts /geldings final. Used up big time early to hold the lead on two occasions, Major Crocker still found enough in the straight to pick up the outstanding Bling It On. It was a real statement from Major Crocker and he looks to have the all round game to be a "major " player next season and beyond. The third winner on the day was Just Cala  in the 3 year old fillies final who has stepped up to another level in her last few starts. A brilliant winner of her semi final, Just Cala showed that was no fluke with another outstanding performance against the best fillies going around in Australia. The Alabar team would have been smiling at those results but the cherry on top for them would have been the run of Jk Shesalady in the eliminations of the She's A Great Lady at Mohawk in Canada. She was the fastest of the elimination winners yesterday in a time of 1:51.1 and by over seven lengths and looms as the filly to beat in the $480,000 final next weekend. Art Major has always been an elite sire but right at the moment his stock worldwide are on an unbelievable run. Harnesslink Media

A month ago mighty mare Spidergirl made it a clean sweep of harness racings Vicbred Super Series with a brilliant win in the four-year-old trotting division. She’d won the Vicbred finals at age two and three but had come up short in the previous Breeders Crown finals. But today the daughter of Yankee Spider netted the Breeders Crown win that had so far eluded her, taking out the four-year-old trotters’ final. Trained by David Aiken – bringing up a race to race Group 1 double for the Avenel horseman – and driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, Spidergirl led easily in the 2240-metre race from pole before proving too tough for runner-up Glenferrie Typoon, who had a great trip leader’s back in the run, and tough trotter Blitzthemcalder, who sat parked. Paris Pepperell finished fourth. Spidergirl’s winning mile rate was 1:58.7 and the margins were 2m x 10m. “Getting to drive great horses like her makes it easy to get out of bed each morning,” winning driver Alford said post-race. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

The All Stars team  pleased Mark Purdon with their work on Wednesday as they have pleased him all week.   All but Big Lucy were sent over a steady 3200m with a quickening last half and  Friday's work is likely to be shorter and sharper.   BIG LUCY is the exception. "I kept her on a Tuesday/Thursday work option and I haven't been doing a lot with her.   She is fine but she has done a lot in a short time so I don't want  to be too hard on her" Mark said   I am just as happy with the trotter (My) Arya as I am with the pacers   "Arya is going very well actually and if she keeps going on like this I think she could be hard to beat"   "Happy enough" was Natalie's report from Mark on the draws for Sunday's final.   "You don't really want an inside second row draw like Linda Lovegrace has but we will just have to find a way out of there.   Follow The Stars is wide out on the front line but  he is out of trouble and he's strong so that's all good"   Natalie flies out on Saturday after some strong hoppled work  with the team in the morning and she and Mark will take a break in sunny Queensland after the big day.   "All good" was Mark's summation of how the Breeders Crown finalists came through their semis on Saturday by Sunday morning.   "They all licked the bowl and seem happy so I am happy as well"   Mark made a brief appearance in the stewards room after handing up the lead on Big Lucy to Katy Perry (Dexter Dunn) after getting to the front.   "I was mindful it was a strong fillies field and that Lucy had had quite a hard run at her previous start.   I thought if I tried to stay in front there were other good fillies who would be around to attack and it would just keep going on.   There was no problem with the stewards"   "I still don't know how Kept Under Wraps didn't get wiped out early.   I was sure he was going to get caught up in it but somehow he didn't so his was a big run"   Breeders Crown Finals Tips   Best Bet - Arya   Each Way - Linda Lovegrace   Value Bet - Kept Under Wraps   Courtesy Of All Stars Racing    

Here at Harnesslink, we thought we would be brave and offer our opinion on the Breeders Crown Finals as we head towards one of the seasons biggest harness racing days at Melton on Sunday. Our first preview is of the 2 year old trotters division.  2 year old Trotting Fillies Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park final for 2 year old fillies looks to be a battle between three fillies that are all sired via frozen semen and are all by stallions that are at the top of the siring charts in North America. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained daughter of Angus Hall in Arya looks very hard to beat here after an outstanding season in New Zealand which was followed up by a great second to the leading Australian male trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix in the Redwood Classic. Arya has been foolproof all season which in the 2 year old trotting ranks is a major plus and with no Endsino in the field she looks to have a class edge as well. Arya should come into five on the front line which is the perfect draw for here as she can stay out of the early rush and work to the lead without having to burn from the gate. The two main dangers to Arya have both drawn nicely on the front line and are both beautifully bred trotters. Glenferrie Burn who has drawn one is a daughter of the brilliant Muscle Hill from the 16 win Sundon mare in Adellas Dash ($102,626). She has developed as the season has progressed and looks a real chance from the draw to get a soft run. Val Gardena who has drawn three is a daughter of leading North American sire Kadabra from an Andover Hall mare. She has only missed a placing once this season in ten starts and comes into this race a last start winner. From her handy draw Blake Fitzpatrick has plenty of options with Val Gardena and she looks a major player here. Of the others Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty have both shown enough to be serious place chances but its hard to see them as genuine winning chances. Selections Arya clearly on top, followed by a combination of Val Gardena, Glenferrie Burn, Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty. 2 year old Trotting Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park Final for 2 year old colts/geldings has drawn a cracking field and the draw has only evened out the contest even more.  All the top contenders have drawn the front line with the favourite Eljaykay Phoenix fearing the worst with barrier seven. A son of champion sire Sundon, Eljaykay Phoenix has looked a class above them for most of the season but his recent defeat by Shared Interest has thrown this division wide open. Throw in his draw and the fact that all the real challengers have drawn inside him means if Eljaykay Phoneix and Joshua Aiken are going to win the final, they are going to have to do it the hard way. His main challenger is the son of Angus Hall in Shared Interest who has drawn beautifully at barrier two which gives Nathan Jack plenty of options Weather he tries to park Eljaykay Phoenix or takes a sit on his back, Shared Interest has the all round game to win the final. The chances don't end there with both Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck capable of toppling the favoured duo if things go their way. Illawong Armstrong finally gets a good draw and Jodi Quinlan will be hoping that the favoured pair go to war which then brings her horse right into play. The enigma of the field is The Pres gelding Primz Luck whose ring craft has let him down lately but who has ability to burn as he showed in New Zealand several times. Now in the Kerryn Manning barn and to be driven by her in the final, Primz Luck threw it away on his Australian debut in the Redwood Classic. Kerryn has had five weeks since then to iron out those kinks and if he gets around on Sunday they will all know they have been to the races. Selections. Can't split the two favourites in Shared Interest and Eljaykay Phoenix due to the draws but lean a bit towards Eljaykay Phoneix on his overall record. Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck are both live chances depending how the race is run. Throw in Kyvalley Boomerang, Fabrication and Hadrians Phoenix for trifectas and first fours.  Harnesslink Media    

Bigga trainer Dennis Picker has spent the past ten weeks in Queensland enjoying the warmer weather and has won nine races during his stay north of the border. Picker arrived home midweek but will be back on the road this weekend to put the finishing touches on his talented filly Just Cala after she won a semi final of the Breeders Crown last weekend. "Just Cala has done a really good job for us since arriving from New Zealand and hopefully she can run another good race this weekend before she goes to the paddock for a well earned spell," Picker said. "I think she had only been in the country six or seven days when she had her first run in Brisbane and then she raced on August 2 at Redcliffe before I sent her to Victoria to race at Kilmore five days later, she has just taken everything in her stride." Just Cala has drawn barrier one in Sunday's Gr. 1 final and Picker is confident she has got enough speed if driver Amanda Turnbull wants to use it. "I haven't spoken to Amanda yet about what she thinks but I have used Just Cala out of the gate in Queensland and she raced really well so if she wants to go forward at the start it isn't too much of a worry." The daughter of  Art Major is raced by Picker's brother Joe who is a member of the South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league squad. "Joe wants to start selling some at the sales but to do that he has realised that he has to start buying some well bred fillies and this is why he bought her, to turn her into a broodmare at the end of her career." "I've been watching a fair bit of the Rabbitohs since Joe joined them after he left the Raiders, they're going really well and hopefully they keep playing well with the finals just around the corner." Picker splits his time between training and shearing sheep. "I have been doing less shearing each year and I think that trend is going to continue again with such a big team at home." Greg Hayes - Harness Racing New South Wales  

Multiple Gr. 1 winner Frith has drawn the inside of the second row in Sunday's Breeders Crown Final for 4 Year Old Mares and while trainer Bruce Harpley is concerned by the barrier he would not be swapping his horse for any of their rivals this weekend. Frith won the Breeders Crown for three year old fillies last season but drew the front row and pounced on the lead from gate two. "Fellow trainer Danny Thackeray drew the barrier for us on Sunday and before the draw I told him to get anything except barrier eight," Harpley said. "He rang me straight after the draw and I said what did we get, and he said eight, then I said no seriously what did we get so it took a while to sink in but I have come to terms with it now." Harpley acknowledges Frith is going to have to do her fair share of work from the gate and thinks some of the other drivers may be inclined to make an early move. "I think a few drivers would love to sit on our back so it wouldn't surprise me if a few wanted to make a move early and hope that we get around there to the death and give them some cover." "The beauty of my mare is that she is so versatile, she has that mix of speed and strength so even if she does more than her fair share of the work I still think she will be in the finish." Frith will head to the paddock after Sunday's run with her main aim next season being the Ladyship Mile. "I've done some quick calculations and if I give her six or seven weeks off I should have her right to go by early in the new year which would give me the chance to get a few runs under her belt before the Ladyship." "There are no easy races for her anymore, if she happens to win on the weekend I think she becomes a C19 M4 so she will need to be pretty fit when she resumes." Greg Hayes - Harness Racing New South Wales    

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