MANALAPAN, NJ - November 19, 2014 - The dreaded 10-hole has landed on In The Arsenal like a 100 megaton bomb. It was the two-year-old pacing colt's fate in last week's Breeders Crown eliminations, and driver Brian Sears fired him off the gate, utilizing a 26.3 opening quarter to take the lead and cut the fractions. In the end, the 3-5 favorite tired and finished third by a length, snapping his winning streak at four. "It was a tough first quarter out of the 10-hole," trainer Kelvin Harrison said of the elimination race. "You get a lot of horses leaving, and it was a tough spot. He didn't really settle that well after that. He raced very well, considering. He was three-deep for most of it." So when the over-sized ping pong balls were pulled at Tuesday's post position draw, it was despair for Harrison, a long-time member of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey Board of Directors. Fate had stuck her finger in Harrison's eye. In The Arsenal will have to overcome post 10 again in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Colt & Gelding Pace, one of the eight divisions carded on Saturday night, November 22, 2014 at the Meadowlands. Four of the finals will occupy slots on the Friday night program. "When you draw a bad post, you have to depend on someone else's luck," Harrison said. "You've got to rely on the trip, the luck. You don't win the Breeders Crown from the 10." Occasionally, winners do overcome outside post positions, but everyone knew what Harrison meant. In The Arsenal, a son of American Ideal - LadyOTRA, was made the 4-1 third choice behind elim winners Go Daddy Go [5-2 from post five] and Traceur Hanover [7-2 from post two]. Bred by White Birch Farm of Allentown, NJ, In The Arsenal was bought back out of the Harrisburg Sale when he only drew $7,500 in the bidding. He was a smallish yearling, according to Harrison, and the 14th foal out of her 21-year-old dam. Michael Parisi's White Birch turned the colt over to Harrison to train and, thus far, it was fortuitous to be "stuck" with In The Arsenal as he has banked $271,318 this year. In The Arsenal has six wins in his 10 starts: the elims and final of the LB Sheppard at Yonkers in July, a division of the Bluegrass and the International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile in the early fall, a Goshen Cup division of the Historic Series at Harrah's Philadelphia on October 12 and the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs on November 7. In The Arsenal's 1:49.4 mile on September 27 in Lexington has made him the only sub 1:50 two-year-old this year. Harrison, 64, was born in Methuen, New Zealand, but is based in Bordentown, NJ and racing in New Jersey since the late 1970s. He is not new to this rodeo. He has had seven prior Breeders Crown entrants, including Born Storyteller, who was second in the Mares Pace Final in 2006, and Free, who was third in the Mares Pace Final in 2007. He is looking for his first Breeders Crown champion. Harrison trainees have earned nearly $12 million, including $560,419 this year, his best since 2008 when his stable exceed $900,000 in earnings for the second straight season. Some of his other top performers have included Direct Flight, 1991 Interdominion winner Dare You Too, 1989 Woodrow Wilson winner San Francisco Ben and Frightening P. White Birch Farm is no stranger to the Breeders Crown winner's circle. It bred two of the 2013 winners, Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and two-time Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous. In The Arsenal is driven by Brian Sears, who has a record of 24 Breeders Crown wins - 44 of 107 on-the-board -- for $9.7 million in purse money. The Two-Year-Old Colt Pace will be the seventh race on the 13-race card. The draw, with driver, trainer and morning line, prior to scratches and changes: 1-Cooperstown-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke- 20-1 2-Traceur Hanover-Andy Miller-Corey Johnson-7-2 3-Lyons Levi Lewis-Ron Pierce-Ron Burke-8-1 4-Franzo-Scott-Zeron-Jimmy Takter-20-1 5-Go Daddy Go-John Campbell-Robert McIntosh-5-2 6-Sicily-George Brennan-Nikolas Drennan-20-1 7-Tomy Terror-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8-1 8-Soto-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-30-1 9-Lost For Words-David Miller-Brian Brown-9-2 10-In The Arsenal-Brian Sears-Kelvin Harrison-7-2 By Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ
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.
Fred Hertrich III says he isn't a seller or a buyer. "I'm a trader," said Hertrich about his activities surrounding any horse sale. As the owner of Allamerican Harnessbreds Hertrich's yearlings go to auction every year and sell fairly well. "We had a great sale this year," Hertrich said. In 2009, after his yearlings had sold, Hertrich stayed a while longer to attend the Harrisburg mixed auction that included racehorses and breeding stock. From that large group he was able to come away with a $20,000 purchase by the name of Two Steppin Sally. "I liked the pedigree. She was from a Winbak Farm family that had done well. Robert Tribbett looks at all of the mares for me and he thought she had a solid family and stood correctly," Hertrich recalled. By Western Hanover, Two Steppin Sally was out of the Direct Scooter-sired mare Happy Doris. She had completed her racing career with a 1:55.2 mark taken at two with earnings of $44,910. Western Hanover leads all sires in Breeders Crown earnings with $7.2 million. "I own shares in about 90 percent of the major pacing and trotting stallions," said Hertrich, who left Tribbett in charge of selecting the right stallion to match with his newly acquired mare. Two Steppin Sally's first foal is Breeders Crown 3-year-old pacing filly finalist Major Dancer. A $47,000 yearling purchase by Casie Coleman for her clients West Wins Stable, Mac Nichol and Adriano Sorella, Major Dancer was lightly raced as a 2-year-old but blossomed this season, finishing first or second in 13 of 18 starts leading up to Friday's $593,750 final. Major Dancer's career earnings to date are a healthy $284,934. Major Dancer has shown the ability to tough it out and she may get a lot of that from a strong maternal line where a large majority of the foals blossomed into hard-hitting raceway stock. Two Steppin Sally was next bred to Bettors Delight, keeping the mare's foals eligible to the rich New York Sire Stakes program. Trainer Joe Holloway had to pay $70,000 to bring home Bettor Be Steppin for his ownership team of Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stable and Val D'Or Farms, but much like Coleman's purchase the year prior, that price appears to be a bargain. Holloway liked the filly from the start, and was hoping to take it easy with her early in the season and keep her primed for a long and prosperous campaign. The plan has worked out well with Bettor Be Steppin, a finalist in Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown for juvenile filly pacers. "She was really sharp at Hoosier (Kentuckiana Farms Stallion Management Pace) and raced very well at the Red Mile," said Holloway. "I wasn't happy with her race in the Matron but I believe she choked down in that race. Sometimes it takes a few races to get over that." With $238,643 banked in 2014, Bettor Be Steppin appears to have a very bright future that could exceed her half-sister. "I think she's in the top three or four fillies in the country," said Holloway. Interestingly, Two Steppin Sally's third foal, a Roll With Joe-sired colt named Roll With Fred, sold earlier this month at the Harrisburg sale and created quite a stir. "He was a very good looking colt," said Hertrich. "Probably the best looking Roll With Joe [of the ones I saw]," Hertrich stated. The bidding was fast and furious when Roll With Fred came into the ring and by the time the horse was hammered down it was Holloway "in the back" with the final bid of $135,000. "I had looked at the colt a few times and I was kind of torn," said Holloway. "He had this bow in his neck and I was kind of concerned about what his attitude would be like." Perhaps Holloway had also done his homework and noticed that there were plenty of geldings in the pedigree and very few, if any, colts. "I usually stay in the front at Harrisburg to see who I'm bidding against," said Holloway, "But in this case I wanted to see the colt in the back." As it turns out, Holloway was in the right place at the right time. "This other yearling in the back ring was acting out, a real bully. When he came up to Roll With Fred, he just held his ground and acted like if the colt wanted to start something he would take care of him." Holloway was no longer concerned about Roll With Fred's attitude and bid aggressively to get him. "Casie (Coleman) came up to me after the sale and said 'How much would you have bid on that colt if you had liked him?'" said Holloway. Val D'or Farms, Rojan Stables and Ted Gewertz, all owners of Bettor Be Steppin now also own Roll With Fred. Sadly, Hertrich revealed that Roll With Fred will be the last foal from the mare. Two Steppin Sally's life ended, along with the foal she was carrying by Bettors Delight, earlier this year during the foaling process. No doubt her name will live on with two fillies of Breeders Crown quality on the racetrack and as future broodmares, along with a pacing colt who already appears to have the toughness required to excel on the racetrack. By Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown
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
East Rutherford, NJ - As part of the continuing effort to insure a level playing field for those horsemen racing at The Meadowlands, samples have been taken from many of the horses competing in Breeders Crown races this weekend and will be sent to various labs equipped with the most current testing equipment available at the expense of The Meadowlands. A number of trainers that ordinarily would not be competing at The Meadowlands will race in the Breeders Crown due to the rules for paid in events that govern these races. Their horses will be tested, along with a cross-section of all other trainers. The Meadowlands requires all trainers to complete and sign a racing application that provides for out-of-competition testing at the request of the track before they participate at the meet. "I'd like to be crystal clear on this issue. My partners and I did not make the financial investment, nor do we intend to endure the endless parade of headaches associated with running the Meadowlands in order to provide a place for dishonest people to race their horses," was Chairman Jeff Gural's statement on the topic. "We thank the horsemen for being cooperative in the testing procedures as we continue to try and level the playing field for all of the participants. We wish safety and success to everyone," said Meadowlands General Manager / CEO Jason Settlemoir. From The Meadowlands Media Relations Department
Two of the trademark harness racing crystal trophies that have graced the Breeders Crown championship series since 1984 will bear additional etching from this year forward - in memory of two men whose influence on the creation of the series and on the greater sphere of harness racing cannot be understated. The Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Pace trophy has been named the Max C. Hempt Memorial Trophy and its trotting counterpart has been named in memory of John Simpson Sr. Max C. Hempt was a director of the Hambletonian Society from 1957-1989 and president of the Society from 1966-1984. The creation of the Breeders Crown series in 1983 evolved under his administration, and he was the original chairman of the first Breeders Crown committee. The renowned Hempt breeding farm produced many champions bearing the prefix "Keystone" to reflect their Pennsylvania origins, including two Horse of the Year winners in Stenographer and Keystone Ore. In addition to being a major breeder, Hempt was a successful amateur driver, a U.S. Trotting Association director for 21 years, and a vice-president and trustee of The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 1979. He was also co-owner of the great Fancy Crown, who was "Crowned" in the inaugural sophomore filly trot in 1984. The Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Trot Trophy will be entitled the John F. Simpson Sr. A successful driver-trainer of his era, in 1951 Simpson was designated by Lawrence Sheppard of the dynastic Hanover Shoe Farms to guide the fortunes of the "Shoe" Farms breeding, racing and training interests for many years. Simpson Sr. served as a director of the Hambletonian Society from 1971 until his death in 1995, and was on the original Breeders Crown committee that helped shape and direct the Breeders Crown championship series. Hanover Shoe Farms is the longest-running sponsor of both the Hambletonian and the Breeders Crown, and created the Simpson Stakes for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. The list of champions trained and driven by Simpson Sr, and those bred by Hanover under his direction are too long to list, but encompass every major race around the globe. These trophies join the H. A. Grant Jr. Memorial Three-Year-Old Colt Pace Trophy and the John Cashman Jr Memorial Three-Year-Old Colt Trot Trophy. The Hambletonian Society, which owns and administrates the Breeders Crown races, will continue to designate Breeders Crown memorial trophies annually, as a tribute to the legacies of those who have guided the 30-year-old series so successfully. Crystal Apex Awards and Design of Sheridan, Ontario, handcrafts the winner's trophies that feature 12-inch high crystal monoliths individually deep-etched to carry the ornate Breeders Crown logo. Each crystal piece is mounted atop a tiered, ebonized wood base upon which a plaque is hand engraved with the name of the Breeders Crown champion. by Moira Fanning, for the Breeders Crown
The race for divisional honors could become clearer, or further muddled, depending on the outcome of Saturday's $531,250 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male harness racing pacers at the Meadowlands. No fewer than eight horses in the 3-year-old male pacing division can claim at least one major open stakes triumph this season. The Pacing Triple Crown races - the Cane Pace, Little Brown Jug and Messenger - were won by Lyonssomewhere, Limelight Beach and All Bets Off, respectively. Among the richest remaining open stakes for 3-year-old male pacers, the North America Cup went to JK Endofanera, the Meadowlands Pace to He's Watching, the Max C. Hempt Memorial and Delvin Miller Adios to McWicked, the Monument Circle to Always B Miki, and the Matron to Big Boy Dreams. Always B Miki, JK Endofanera, Limelight Beach and McWicked are among the 10 horses in Saturday's Breeders Crown. So is Luck Be Withyou, who won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-olds, as well as Little Brown Jug runner-up Let's Drink On It. Limelight Beach and Always B Miki won their respective Breeders Crown eliminations last weekend. Always B Miki, who won by a neck over JK Endofanera in 1:50 for his fifth consecutive victory, drew post No. 4 and is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Limelight Beach, who won by a half-length over McWicked in 1:49.3, got post five and is the 3-1 third choice behind 5-2 JK Endofanera. Although the Progress Pace and Cleveland Classic follow the Breeders Crown, many will look to Saturday night to provide some clarity about the division picture. "I think Always B Miki has come on really good in the fall," said Yannick Gingras, who drives rival Limelight Beach. "If he wins, I think it gives him the division. The same thing for JK Endofanera. Limelight Beach, if he wins this, I think there will be talk there too. After that, I'm not sure." Always B Miki is a homebred son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper from Joe Hurley's Roll The Dice Stable and named in honor of Hurley's wife. Hurley owns the colt with Mitchel Skolnick's multi-partnered Bluewood Stable and Martin Granoff's Val D'Or Farms. His victories include his Crown elim, Monument Circle, Indiana Sire Stakes championship, and divisions of the Tattersalls Pace and Bluegrass Stakes. He has finished no worse than second in 12 consecutive starts, winning nine. For the season, he has won 12 of 19 starts and $791,482. One of his runner-up finishes came to He's Watching in world-record-equaling 1:46.4 in the Meadowlands Pace despite starting from post nine and racing on the outside - three to four wide at times - the entire way. "That was probably the biggest mile I've ever seen a horse go," said David Miller, who drives Always B Miki for six-time Breeders Crown-winning trainer Joe Holloway. "It was unbelievable." Always B Miki was supplemented to the Breeders Crown for $62,500. "It is unbelievably unexpressionable; that's all I can say," Hurley said about having the Breeders Crown favorite. "It's ecstasy." When Miller was asked if Always B Miki compared favorably to No Pan Intended, a 3-year-old colt pacer Miller drove to Horse of the Year honors in 2003, he replied with a grin, "Oh yeah, for sure." Always B Miki's half-sister, Yagonnakissmeornot, is the favorite in Saturday's $281,250 Breeders Crown Mare Pace. But family connections are not limited to Always B Miki as JK Endofanera's full sister, JK She'salady, is the favorite in Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly pacers. JK Endofanera is a homebred son of Art Major-Presidential Lady owned by Alan, Ron and Steve Katz's 3 Brothers Stables. He was named to honor the Katz's late father, Jack Katz, as well as veterinarian Dr. Stephen P. Dey II, who passed away the day the horse was foaled at the Dey family's Heritage Hill Farm. The colt is trained by six-time Breeders Crown winner Ron Burke and driven by Ron Pierce. JK Endofanera's wins this year include the North America Cup, American-National Stakes and a division of the Tattersalls Pace. He has won 10 of 17 starts this year and $956,145. "I couldn't be happier with the way the horse raced (in his elimination) or the way I raced him," Pierce said. "He had a lot of pace. I'm very happy with him and I feel very confident going into next week. I really feel good about him and the trip he got. Even though I was on top at the half, he was well within himself." Limelight Beach, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Benear, was winless in his first 12 starts this season before capturing his opening heat and the final of the Little Brown Jug in September. The gelding was purchased by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and M1 Stable in July, with one of the original owners, Wingfield Brothers, remaining on board. In seven starts beginning with Jug Day, Limelight Beach has five wins and a second-place finish. His only off-the-board finish came in the American-National Stakes when he went off stride and was fifth. "He jumped something," Gingras said. "I'm not sure what he saw. I didn't see anything, but he saw something." Limelight Beach has made 12 starts for Burke, finishing worse than third only twice. He finished fourth in his first race, was found to have bled, and added Lasix for subsequent starts. His wins include divisions of the Circle City and Bluegrass Stakes, plus his elimination for the Breeders Crown. "Even two weeks before the Jug you could tell he was coming around a little bit," Gingras said. "He was racing better and better every week, the addition of Lasix I think helped him, and he was finally healthy. It all came together in the Jug and he's been really good since." McWicked, who is 6-1 on the morning line, also could make a statement for year-end honors. The son of McArdle-Western Sahara has nine victories in 20 starts, including a world-record 1:47.3 mile in the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and a division-best $1.03 million in purses. He was first-time Lasix in his Breeders Crown elimination after three consecutive third-place finishes. "I've been real happy with him," said Casie Coleman, a three-time Breeders Crown winner who trains McWicked for owner Ed James' S S G Stables. "I'm not a big fan of Lasix, but I decided to try it. He seems to be bouncing back at the right time. He trained (Wednesday) and was real sharp. "This division has been wide open, it's been a different winner almost every big race. It's been good racing, and good betting races, because you never know what's going to happen with this group. I'm thinking if one of these horses like JK Endofanera, McWicked, Always B Miki, Limelight Beach ends up winning the Breeders Crown, division honors is looking pretty favorable in their direction." $531,250 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE 1. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman, 15-1; 2. Somesizesomestyle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 30-1; 3. McWicked, Brian Sears, Casie Coleman, 6-1; 4. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 8-5; 5. Limelight Beach, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1; 6. JK Endofanera, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 5-2; 7. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 20-1; 8. Somestarsomewhere, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 30-1; 9. Luck Be Withyou, Brian Sears, Chris Oakes, 20-1; 10. Capital Account, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 30-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The two night Breeders Crown format features 12 Breeders Crown races and all 12 of the Championship races will be a part of a guaranteed pool. On Friday with Breeders Crown races covering races 7 through 10, the standard Meadowlands wagering format will be in play. It includes: $30,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 5 (Races 1 through 5) $25,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Early Pick 4 (Races 3 through 6) $50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Late Pick 4 (Races 7 through 10) The Saturday Breeders Crown Program offers 8 Breeders Crown races that cover races 4 through 11. All Breeders Crown races are included in the Early and Late Pick 4 wagers and the guaranteed pools are enhanced as well. The Saturday guaranteed pool are as follows: $30,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 5 (Races 1 through 5) $50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Early Pick 4 (Races 4 through 7) $100,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Late Pick 4 (Races 8 through 11) Both racing programs include a $.20 Cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 with the low 8% takeout in the 13th and final race. The carryover into the Friday Program is $8,879.77. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
Mark Steacy has a pretty good batting average in the Breeders Crown. The harness racing trainer of Harper Blue Chip, who is entered in this year's Three-Year-Old male trotting final, has won three finals with 10 starters and narrowly missed a fourth. "I've been kind of lucky as far as the Breeders Crown," he said. "We haven't raced in a lot of them, but I guess we've made the best of what we've been in." He won with Majestic Son in the Three-Year-old Colt Trot in 2006, Stylish Artist in the 2007 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and Hana Hanover in the 2009 Open Mare Pace. She placed third the year before in her division. Steacy narrowly missed a fourth win last year, finishing second by only a neck with Sunshine Beach, who started eighth in the field of nine and was parked a good deal of the way. Asked to pick if any of his winners stand out from the rest, Steacy chose Majestic Son, who would go on to win Horse of the Year Honors in Canada that season. "By far my best horse was Majestic Son," he said. "He was a great horse, comparable to any of the three-year-old trotters that have raced. That's how I feel about him." Majestic Son, with Trottin' Trevor Ritchie handling the lines, won by a third of a length, beating odds-on favorite Glidemaster, who won the Hambletonian. Hana Hanover, driven by the Minister of Speed, George Brennan, registered a win at more than 13-1 odds in a time of 1:48 4/5, the fastest mile of her career. "Hana Hanover was a real gutsy mare, not so much blessed with talent, but she just had a big heart and tried real hard all the time," Steacy said. Stylist Artist, also driven by Brennan, went postward in her race at just under 5-1 odds, leaving from the rail. She sat in second for part of the race, dropped back to fourth, albeit by only a half length, and poured it on with a final quarter mile in 27 3/5 to prevail by 1½ lengths. "Stylish Artist was a nice filly, but she got lucky," Steacy said. "She got a very nice trip and it just worked out well. George Brennan drove her perfectly. She was a nice mare, but not a great mare." Harper Blue Chip, who finished third in the Hambletonian at 45-1 odds, is one of 10 entered in his Breeders Crown. He will face two of trainer Jimmy Takter's horses - Nuncio and Father Patrick - who are also entered. (Harper Blue Chip subsequently drew post nine, and was assigned a morning line of 12-1) "It's hard to compete against him when he has two real live horses like he has," Steacy said. "If his horses are 100 percent healthy and everything, realistically we're not going to be first or second in that race, but it's been a long year and Father Patrick is vulnerable now, and Nuncio beat (Harper Blue Chip) by three-quarters of a length last time out (in the Matron), where we were back four or five lengths at the start of the summer. So I think we're closing the ground on these horses. The horse that scares me a lot if Riina Rekila's (EL Titan, which won the Erskine in his last race). He's a nice horse and I think he's peaking at the right time. I'm quite worried about that one as well. Post position is going to mean a lot. (EL Titan subsequently drew post 10) "Finishing third (in the Hambletonian) was probably the best I expected to happen. There's nothing like winning the Hambletonian, which I'd like to do some day, but going up against (Takter's horses) and finishing third was like a win because we were such a long shot." Harper Blue Chip, a $40,000 yearling purchase, has won six of 14 starts this year and $657,029 after winning four of eight last year and $196,883. He is undefeated in four Ontario Sires Stakes races this season. He is owned by Landmark 6 Racing Stable that includes Steacy, David R McDonald, David K Reid and George R Judson. McDonald and Reid have been with Steacy since the early 1980s. Judson is another longtime client and the octogenarian is enjoying his Great Success in the business with Harper Blue Chip. "I knew George was looking for a nice horse and I felt this was going to be a nice one, so we swung a deal where I sold my 25% share to him in the horse's two-year-old year and it's worked out really well for him," Steacy said. Landmark 6, led by Howard Pearce of Kingston, is a syndicate that owns one quarter of the horse. Steacy and Pearce started putting together syndicates six years ago to give relative new owners in the business a chance to be involved in a group with minimal financial risk. Some of the original syndicate members have reinvested in the subsequent Landmark groups. "Fortunately for Landmark 6, they got the ultimate horse in Harper Blue Chip," Steacy said. "That's made it even more rewarding for the Landmark groups. He's been our best horse, by far, but we've had a couple nice ones, but nothing like Harper Blue Chip. When we cash out at the end of the year, they're all going to make money in this group." As part of the process of creating the syndicates, the members have to relinquish their investment after the horses' three-year-old seasons. The members pay up front to cover all the costs through to the end of the three-year-old year. "That quarter will probably be sold, we'll just have to figure out a price," he said. "If a good enough offer came along, we'll sell the whole horse. It would have to be a decent offer because I think this horse can make a very nice aged horse as well. I know it's tough for four-year-olds but there's a few more opportunities next year for four-year-olds. And the Majestic Sons have shown they can go on as four-year-olds." Steacy's 2013 three-year-old pacing star, Sunshine Beach was recently retired to stand stud at Seelster Farms. He had a tough four-year-old campaign winning only one of 10 races and a mere $27,330 after winning eight of 20 last year and $913,702. He was one of the few to pin a loss on Captaintreacherous. Sunshine Beach battled with a bladder stone problem all of his three-year-old season, which was not publicized, and this year he had to endure a kidney stone issue. "It took its wear and tear on this poor horse," Steacy said. "He was a very talented horse and he got off to a slow start because he had a few complications early at two, and once we got that figured out he matured into a nice three-year-old." "He was parked every step of the mile from the eight hole (in the Breeders Crown) and just got beat," Steacy said. "He was a champion three-year-old, maybe a half a step behind Captaintreacherous." By Perry Lefko, for the Breeders Crown
This Week: Breeders Crown finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will be at Meadowlands Racetrack this Friday (Nov. 21) and Saturday (Nov. 22) for 12 Breeders Crown championships. The Friday card features four of the Breeders Crown events: the $593,750 3-Year-Old Filly Pace, the $500,000 3-Year-Old Filly Trot, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Filly Trot and the $250,000 Mare Trot. The Saturday card offers eight Breeders Crown races: the $531,250 3-Year-Old Colt Pace, the $500,000 Open Trot, the $500,000 3-Year-Old Colt Trot, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Colt Trot, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Colt Pace, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Filly Pace, the $400,000 Open Pace and the $281,250 Mare Pace. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Seven classes competed in Breeders Crown eliminations this past weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. Let's take a look at some of the highlights: On Friday, JK She'salady increased her unbeaten streak to 11 with new driver Tim Tetrick, winning a $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old filly pacers in 1:51.1. JK She'salady did it the hard way, with a prolonged first-over grind. She faced Sassa Hanover in the stretch, than pulled away to a 2-3/4 length victory. Color's A Virgin captured her 3-year-old filly pace Breeders Crown elimination, finishing in 1:51, 1-1/2 lengths ahead of second place finisher Precocious Beauty. Color's A Virgin extended her winning streak to seven with the victory. The Jugette winner is coming into the final in top form following this first-over victory with Trace Tetrick in the sulky. On Saturday at The Meadowlands, the Breeders Crown eliminations continued with Maven and driver Yannick Gingras finishing on top in a $25,000 Open Trot elimination race in 1:52.2. Maven was the only mare in the race, starting from post ten to win by a neck over Your So Vain and driver Ake Svanstadt. Maven, who was purchased for $750,000 earlier this month at the Standardbred Mixed Sale, was making her first start for new owner Herb Liverman and trainer Jimmy Takter. Always B Miki ran his winning streak to five as he and driver David Miller captured their $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination race on Saturday at The Meadowlands, finishing in 1:50. This win means that Always B Miki has earned a chance to win back his $62,500 supplement fee this Saturday in the $531,250 final. JK Endofanera and driver Ron Pierce moved to the lead early but ended up finishing second, a neck behind Always B Miki. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 2,157; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,127; 3. David Miller - 988.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 797.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 642. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,345.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,828; 3. Erv Miller - 446.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 406; 5. Tony Alagna - 332. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 514.23; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 464.23; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 332; 4. Brittany Farms - 294.45; 5. Robert Key - 272. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next week at Meadowlands Racetrack with the TVG Series championships for older pacers and trotters, while Dover Downs will host eliminations in the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - A once-in-a-generation harness racing horse will race at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Friday night November 21 at 7:15 p.m. White Bliss, a registered white Standardbred, will make his second career start in Friday's first race. The race kicks off a championship weekend at "The Big M" featuring the $5.5 million Breeders Crown, a 12-race series that annually helps determine harness racing's year-end champions. White Standardbreds make up less than one-percent of the entire breed. In fact, the odds of White Bliss being born completely white was a 1 in 200,000 longshot since his parents were both bay or brown in color. White Bliss is the first white standardbred born to bay-colored parents in North America since 1998. "We are delighted that White Bliss can make his final start of the season at The Meadowlands," said Swedish owner Tristan Sjoberg. "Due to a bout of colic and then illness he has made his debut very late in the season, but he has improved with each qualifier." White Bliss was purchased at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, PA for an impressive $240,000 by Sjoberg, who bought the horse as a Christmas present for his mother. Trained by fellow Swede Ake Svanstedt, White Bliss finished third in his first career race on November 11 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. "He was boxed in for most of his debut race, but showed an impressive turn of speed in the lightning lane on the home stretch," explained Sjoberg. "We are hoping that he can develop further over the winter months and we have set our sights on most of the major stakes races in 2015. After Friday he heads down to Florida to work on his tan for a few months before training for the 3YO season starts in earnest. In the stable at Legend Farm, he is placed right next to Sebastian K so I hope 'Seabass' has given Bliss some tips how to run fast." The $5.5 million Breeders Crown championships will also be raced at "The Big M" this weekend. From the Meadowlands Press Box
Jim Campbell was happy to see Gallie Bythe Beach repeat as a Breeders Crown elimination winner, but the trainer will be even more delighted if the parallels to last year end right there. Last season as a 2-year-old, filly pacer Gallie Bythe Beach was found to be sore in the days following her Breeders Crown elimination, which she won with a world-record-equaling performance at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and was scratched from the final. It ended a campaign in which Gallie Bythe Beach won six of 10 races, never finished worse than third, and earned $338,229 for Campbell and owner Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms. "You could have taken a chance on it, but it wouldn't have been the right thing to do," Campbell said. "We did the right thing for her, and anytime you do that, you don't regret the decision. But it was really unfortunate because she was really good in her elimination." The good news for Campbell and Co. is that Gallie Bythe Beach was really good in her elimination again this year. She won from post eight by two lengths over Major Dancer in 1:50.4, guaranteeing an inside starting spot for Friday's $593,750 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old female pacers at the Meadowlands. She received post four and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind favorite Color's A Virgin. "It felt good and it looked like she was her old self again," Campbell said. "It was a good win for all of us." Gallie Bythe Beach is a homebred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Galleria. Somebeachsomewhere won the 2008 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers on his way to Horse of the Year honors and Galleria, who also was trained by Campbell, won the 1998 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female pacers on her way to the Dan Patch Award for divisional honors. This year, Gallie Bythe Beach has won three of 17 races and earned $188,989. All three of her victories have come in her most recent six starts and she has finished off the board only once in her last seven races. "The season didn't start off very well," Campbell said. "She was getting some rough trips and racing hard and not getting paid very well for it. We kind of started back from zero again, racing her from off the pace a little bit, and she seemed to respond that way. "There are a lot of fillies out there that can go fast and if you get sped up a little bit early there are some waiting to get you on the end. But the way she was the other night, I think she could race any way you wanted to race her." If Gallie Bythe Beach is to win this year's Breeders Crown, it will require beating a field that includes multiple-stakes-winner Color's A Virgin, who brings a seven-race win streak to the final. Color's A Virgin, who defeated Gallie Bythe Beach by 2-1/4 lengths in the Nadia Lobell Stakes on Oct. 31, won her Breeders Crown elimination by 1-1/2 lengths over Precocious Beauty in 1:51. Color's A Virgin, who began a sustained first-over bid from fifth place prior to the halfway point of her elim, starts the final from post five with regular driver Trace Tetrick and is the 6-5 favorite on the morning line. Trace's brother, Tim, drives Gallie Bythe Beach. "(The early fractions in the elimination) had me a little worried," said Brian Brown, trainer of Color's A Virgin. "And when Trace came, I was hoping tonight we could be second over, but you want to be second over behind the right horse. I'd rather be first over with her than second over behind the wrong one. "In the last turn, I saw Trace tapping her a little. Generally he doesn't have to do that. Tonight he had to tap her a little earlier than normal. He blew it off and didn't think it meant anything. I was a little worried for a while, but it worked out well." Trace Tetrick and Color's A Virgin have teamed for 13 wins and a second-place finish in 14 starts together. "Even though we've had a lot of those first-over grinds, Trace has been so easy with her," Brown said. "He hasn't tried to win the race at the half or on the last turn, he's waited until the stretch and then chased her home. He's done a great job managing her. I have to give Trace credit because he doesn't get in a hurry. When you're forcing her to the front, she doesn't like it. She just loves to pass horses." The Breeders Crown final also includes Uffizi Hanover, who won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers. Color's A Virgin and Sayitall BB were supplemented to the Breeders Crown for $62,500, as was Weeper, who failed to advance to the final. Following is the field in post order for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female pacers: 1. Major Dancer, Brian Sears, Casie Coleman, 8-1; 2. Beach Gal, David Miller, Dave Menary, 15-1; 3. Gettingreadytoroll, Corey Callahan, Jimmy Takter, 9-2; 4. Gallie Bythe Beach, Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell, 3-1; 5. Color's A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 6-5; 6. Uffizi Hanover, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 20-1; 7. Beach Story, David Miller, Kelvin Harrison, 30-1; 8. Allstar Rating, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 20-1; 9. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 10-1; 10. Precocious Beauty, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 20-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Victory Sports Bar at the Meadowlands was the scene today of the final draws for the Breeders Crown races this Friday and Saturday. The press conference featured the post position draws for the final four divisions for the $5.4 million Breeders Crown championships. Many of the world’s top trotters and pacers will do battle in hope decent weather with a dry forecast and temperatures to be in the 30’s both nights. On Friday there are four finals and then eight on Saturday Here are the fields and early morning line odds. Friday Night $500,000 Two-Year-Old Filly Trot Post - Horse 1. Love Me Madly 50-1 2. Wild Honey 5-2 3. Danielle Hall 8-1 4. Wiclet Hanover 30-1 5. Mission Brief 4-5 6. Stubborn Belle 12-1 7. Lilu Hanover 30-1 8. Hot Start 50-1 9. Livininthefastlane 8-1 10. Smexi 15-1 AE1. Sarcy AE2. Scented Roses $500,000 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot Post - Horse 1. Market Rally 8-1 2. Lifetime Pursuit 5-2 3. Shake It Cerry 4-5 4. Struck By Lindy 15-1 5. Cantabs Fortune 20-1 6. Heavens Door 20-1 7. Vanity Matters 12-1 8. Riveting Rosie- 30-1 9. Cee Bee Yes 8-1 $593,750 Three-Year-Old Filly Pace Post - Horse 1. Major Dancer 8-1 2. Beach Gal 15-1 3. Gettingreadytoroll 9-1 4. Gallie Bythe Beach 3-1 5. Colors A Virgin 6-5 6. Uffizi Hanover 20-1 7. Beach Story 30-1 8. Allstar Rating 20-1 9. Sayitall BB 10-1 10. Precocious Beauty 20-1 AE1. Weeper AE2. Table Talk $281,250 Mares Open Pace Post - Horse 1. Camille 15-1 2. Charisma Hanover 20-1 3. Voelz Hanover 9-2 4. Somwherovrarainbow 5-1 5. Yagonnakissmeornot 5-2 6. Shelliscape 10-1 7. Krispy Apple- 12-1 8. Anndrovette 7-2 9. Rocklamation 6-1 10. Regil Elektra 30-1 11. Venus Delight 20-1 Saturday Night $500,000 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace Post - Horse 1. Southwind Roulette - 15-1 2. Divine Caroline - 12-1 3. JK Shesalady 3-5 4. Heart Major 8-1 5. Bettor Be Steppin 20-1 6. Well Hello There 12-1 7. Bettor N Better 30-1 8. Heavenly Bride 20-1 9. Sassa Hanover 5-1 10. Ideal Nuggets 12-1 AE1. The Show Returns Race 7 - $500,000 Two-Year-Old Colt Pace Post - Horse 1. Cooperstown 20-1 2. Traceur Hanover 7-2 3. Lyons Levi Lewis 8-1 4. Franzo 20-1 5. Go Daddy Go 5-2 6. Sicily 20-1 7. Tomy Terror 8-1 8. Soto 30-1 9. Lost For Words- 9-2 10. In The Arsenal 4-1 Race 10 - $531,250 Three-Year-Old Colt Pace Post - Horse 1. Lets Drink On It 15-1 2. Somesizesomestyle 30-1 3. McWicked 6-1 4. Always B Miki 8-5 5. Limelight Beach 3-1 6. Jk Endofanera 5-2 7. Doo Wop Hanover -20-1 8. Somestarsomewhere 30-1 9. Luck Be Withyou 20-1 10. Capital Account 30-1 $400,000 Open Pace Post - Horse 1. Bettors Edge 7-2 2. Modern Legend 8-1 3. State Treasurer 12-1 4. Thinking Out Loud- 6-1 5. Foiled Again 9-2 6. Clear Vision 5-2 7. Sweet Lou 3-1 $500,000 Two-Year-Old Colt Trot Post - Horse 1. French Laundry 3-1 2. Walter White 50-1 3. Habitat 9-2 4. Suit And Tie 30-1 5. Pinkman -2-1 6. Muscle Diamond 4-1 7. Guess Whos Back 8-1 8. Uncle Lasse 12-1 9. Piercewave Hanover- 15-1 10. The Bank 15-1 Race 9 - $500,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot Post - Horse 1. Datsyuk -20-1 2. Hillustrious 50-1 3. Nuncio 6-5 4. Don Dorado 20-1 5. Il Sogno Dream 20-1 6. Father Patrick 7-5 7. Odds On Amethyst 20-1 8. Sumatra 50-1 9. Harper Blue Chip- 12-1 10. E L Titan 8-1 $250,000 Mares Open Trot Post - Horse 1. Intense America 30-1 2. Classic Martine 5-2 3. Bee A Magician 9-5 4. Handover Belle 4-1 5. Ma Chere Hall 20-1 6. Charmed Life 6-1 7. Dorsay 20-1 8. Mistery Woman 8-1 Race 11 - $500,000 Open Trot Post - Horse 1. Your So Vain 8-1 2. Market Share 7-2 3. Arch Madness 12-1 4. Maven 4-1 5. Flanagan Memory 30-1 6. Archangel 10-1 7. Creatine 9-2 8. Wishing Stone 20-1 9. Commander Crowe 3-1 10. Intimidate 8-1 By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The drawing of post position for the final divisions of the Breeders Crown this weekend at the Meadowlands Racetrack took place this afternoon at the Meadowlands. For the $525,000 Older Horse Trot division, European world champion, Commander Crowe drew the outside post position nine but was still make the 3-1 morning line favorite. Market Share drew post two and is the second choice at odds of 7/2. In the $550,000 final of the Breeders Crown for two-year-old pacing colts, it was Go Daddy Go who drew post position five and was installed as the 5/2 race favorite while for the second straight week, In The Arsenal drew the far outside ten post. The $581,250 Breeders Crown final for three-year-old pacing colts saw Always B Miki draw post four and then be made the 8/5 favorite while JK Endofanera drew post six and was made the 5/2 second choice in the race. For the $500,000 final of the Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotting colts, it was Nuncio drawing post position three and he was made the 6/5 morning line favorite over stable mate Father Patrick, who drew post six and is the 7/5 second choice in the race. By Chris Tully , for Harnesslink.com
Entering this year, no 4-year-old female trotter had ever won a race with a time quicker than 1:51.4. This season, five 4-year-old mares went faster in victorious miles and another one equaled 1:51.4. On Friday night, four of those six horses compete in the $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot at the Meadowlands. Mistery Woman, who is the current world-record-holder for a 4-year-old female trotter thanks to her 1:51 triumph in the Allerage Farms Mare Trot at The Red Mile, is joined by fellow fleet-footed "fours" Classic Martine and Bee A Magician, both with marks of 1:51.1, and Handover Belle, who has won in 1:51.4. It could produce a wide open, not to mention quick, Breeders Crown event, particularly when 5-year-old D'Orsay, who was one of the previous world-record-holding 4-year-olds, Ma Chere Hall, Charmed Life and Intense America are added to the equation. "No one has really said anything (about this division), but it's been unbelievable," said Jonas Czernyson, who trains Mistery Woman, Ma Chere Hall and D'Orsay. "Everybody in there can do it, it's anybody's race. It's whoever gets the best trip, I think. "I think (Mistery Woman) could do it with the right trip. She's done it before. Hopefully we can get her to bounce back to that again. It would be a good way to end the season." Mistery Woman finished third behind Handover Belle and Classic Martine in a Breeders Crown prep race last Friday. Handover Belle won by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. That time was only two-fifths of a second off Buck I St Pat's Breeders Crown Mares Trot stakes record set in August 2009. "We got a great trip, so I didn't have to move her until the top of the stretch," Matt Kakaley said after driving Handover Belle to victory in the prep race. "She got home pretty easy and did it pretty easy too. It's just kind of a prep for (the final), but I think she's got the talent. If the trip works out next week the way it did tonight, I don't see why she couldn't win next week too. "Hopefully we'll get a little luck and things will go our way." Classic Martine, Bee A Magician and Charmed Life are the three richest trotting mares heading into the Breeders Crown final. The winner of nine of 17 starts this season, Classic Martine has earned $376,412. Her victories include the Armbro Flight Stakes, Miss Versatility Series championship, and Ima Lula Series final. "She was awesome, very good," driver Tim Tetrick said after the prep race. "I was very happy with her effort. My cover kind of backed up, if anything, and I had to go three wide early. Otherwise I catch (Handover Belle). She got to slide out and got the jump on me, but I was super happy with her effort. "They're good mares. My mare has made the most money and she's been able to be on top in a lot of these. Hopefully it keeps going that way." Bee A Magician, who was the 2013 Horse of the Year and won the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters in a stakes-record 1:52.4 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, finished fourth in the Mare Trot prep after leading at the top of the stretch. "She was a bit flat, probably a little short maybe," trainer Nifty Norman said. "It was good to get a prep. I was probably a bit easy on her (last) week, but she needs to improve quite a bit. It's a good bunch, a good field. "But it's wide open next week, I think." Following is the field in post order for the Breeders Crown Mare Trot: 1. Intense America, John Campbell, Rene Dion; 2. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes; 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman; 4. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 5. Ma Chere Hall, Brett Miller, Jonas Czernyson; 6. Charmed Life, Jody Jamieson, Dave Menary; 7. D'Orsay, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson; 8. Mistery Woman, Andrew McCarthy, Jonas Czernyson. Rene Dion knows he is sending a longshot in Intense America into Friday's $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot at the Meadowlands, but the Quebec-based trainer is hopeful the 6-year-old daughter of Taurus Dream-Intensite can give a good account of herself. Intense America has won one of 13 races this year and earned $18,387 for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc., and won eight of 49 lifetime starts for $273,475. In 2010, she won her elimination of the Peaceful Way Stakes and finished second in the final. She has gone off stride in five races this year, although she rallied to finish third in one of them by trotting the second half of the mile in :55.3 over a "good" track at Woodbine. "This year she has been struggling a little," Dion said. "She's a mare with speed; she just sometimes does not behave herself. If she does, I think she can get a piece of the pie. This year she is struggling, but in the years before, last year, she got a few good times (including a career-best 1:53 win at Mohawk Racetrack). "We think she has speed and the owner wanted to put her in. I know it's a big step up and I told that to the owner. We realize it's not going to be easy, but if she behaves herself she could be a contender. I don't think she can beat Bee A Magician or something like that. If she behaves herself, in the stretch she is usually pretty strong." In her most recent start on Nov. 7, a conditioned race at Woodbine, Intense America took the lead from post nine in a :27.2 opening quarter-mile and remained in front until the stretch before getting beaten by a length. "Last time out she was in front by four or five (lengths) and finished second, but I think she is better off the pace than on the front, so We Will See how it's going to go Saturday," Dion said. "She's strong willed, but she can be grabby and can be a handful behind the gate, but after that she's usually pretty good." Dion is not limited to one Breeders Crown starter. He sends Flanagan Memory, a 4-year-old male trotter he owns with Liette Flanagan, into Saturday's $500,000 Open Trot. Last year, the son of Kadabra-Classy Stacy won seven of 11 races and earned $396,855. His victories included the Goodtimes Stakes and Ontario Sire Stakes championship and he received the O'Brien Award as Canada's best 3-year-old male trotter. This year, he has won two of 17 races and earned $135,060. He finished third in the single Breeders Crown Open Trot elimination, behind Maven and Your So Vain, timed in 1:52.4. "At the half I was quite nervous," Dion said, referring to Flanagan Memory being in seventh, and then later eighth, place. "He was pretty much locked in. I was very happy in the stretch when he came down the lane and it opened up for him." Although he has only picked up two wins, Flanagan Memory was third in the Hambletonian Maturity, which was restricted to 4-year-olds, and earned checks in the Maple Leaf Trot and Crawford Farms Open Trot. "I think he's been racing OK," Dion said. "He's a 4-year-old racing against the top trotters. They're tough trotters. He's been holding his ground I guess for a 4-year-old. "We gave him a month off to kind of refresh him. The last two races he did at Woodbine, he raced pretty good. He finished fourth in the preferred, but he was locked in with nowhere to go, so we were happy with that one. The following week, he won by like four lengths. He's fresh, so that's why we decided to give this a go." by Ken Weingartner & Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications
In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance. Subscribe using the below form and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at www.stallionsphere.com Name Email Subscribe This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Heinz Wewering & Dave Palone; two class acts - When harness driver Dave Palone scored his 16,754th career victory on Friday and surpassed Germany’s Heinz Wewering as the winningest driver in the history of the sport, it also brought to light two great people in our sport. It all comes down to the Breeders Crown! - Whomever coined the phrase, “It all comes down to the Breeders Crown” never said it any better. The year-end major stakes weekend takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Meadowlands and once again many “yearend awards” in North America will be decided by the outcome of these races. AU: Incident at Melton - Harness Racing Victoria stewards have concluded their case into a post-race incident at Melton recently. NZ: Trackside Coverage - One of the real bugbears in watching harness racing in New Zealand is the coverage provided by Trackside. Most of the coverage is world class from pre-race interviews through to having knowledgeable commentators fronting each race meeting. NZ: The "Met Multiplier" - A lot of industry participants are only to keen to criticize the major clubs and their management over how they program and run their meetings but praise is a lot harder to find. Stallion Review – ART OFFICIAL - Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Art Official p,1:47m ($2,085,185). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).