Columbus, OH --- Martiniontherocks, the 2010 Breeders Crown champion for harness racing 2-year-old filly trotters, died May 4, 2015, according to her owner, Thomas Cooke. She was in foal to Googoo Gaagaa. The daughter of Conway Hall-Inspired Society won four of 10 starts as a freshman in 2010 while under the care of trainer Dustin Jones. In addition to the Breeders Crown, she was victorious that year in a Champlain Stakes division and a Peaceful Way elimination. Martiniontherocks raced for three more seasons and compiled a career record of 51-8-10-8, with $498,658 in earnings. She took her mark of 1:55.3f as a 5-year-old at Rosecroft Raceway. from the USTA Communications Department
Stallion nominations (other than first-year stallions) for breedings of 2015 are due Thursday, January 15 for Breeders Crown No. 32. This payment makes the resulting foals of 2016 eligible to the sport's most prestigious year-end championship series, the $5.6 million Breeders Crown. Nominations must be postmarked by Friday night by midnight, January 16, 2015. For more information, please contact (609) 371-2211. This form is available here: http://www.hambletonian.org/resources/2015BCStallionNom32.pdf by Moira Fanning, for the Breeders Crown
Year after year, owner Marc Goldberg would feel a sense of warmth cut through winter's chill as he anticipated the return of star trotter Arch Madness. But this year, and beyond, Goldberg will rely on memories. Arch Madness, who turned 11 on Jan. 1, will not return to the races. Goldberg said the Trond Smedshammer-trained gelding, whose career wins included a Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot and Oslo Grand Prix en route to $4.28 million in purses, has been retired. "It's so bittersweet, I can't tell you," said Goldberg, who owned Arch Madness with Barry Goldstein's Willow Pond LLC. "I have such a letdown right now. Trond would be bringing him in anytime now off his layoff to start to get him ready for the spring. But I don't think he can handle the top rung and I just didn't think it was fair to him to put him through that. "In my mind, it was time to do right by the horse and it was time to let him live out his life the way he's supposed to. I'm going to miss him immensely when they start racing. It's going to be a tough spring and summer to go through without him. But he gave us his heart and soul for eight years and it's time for him to relax and love life." Goldberg, Goldstein and Steven Shapiro bred Arch Madness, a son of Balanced Image out of the mare Armbro Archer. Arch Madness stood a little crooked as a young horse, but matured into a multiple-stakes-winner. He raced only twice at age 2, but made headlines the following season when he upset eventual Horse of the Year Donato Hanover in the 2007 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. "We bought the mare and for some reason I decided to breed her to Balanced Image at the end of his (stallion) career," Goldstein said. "Why, I don't recall; probably for all the wrong reasons. David Meirs raised the horse and did a wonderful job. But he wasn't really an attractive horse at all. I told Trond to just stick with him and we'd see what happens. We just got very lucky. "It was a wonderful experience and I met a lot of nice people as a result. We had a lot of fun." Arch Madness ranks No. 6 in earnings among all trotters in history, and second to only Moni Maker among trotters that raced the majority of their careers in North America. He made a record seven appearances in the Breeders Crown and trotted a world-record 1:50.2 mile at age 7 - and equaled the mark at age 9. His top triumphs came in the 2007 Breeders Crown for 3-year-olds, 2008 Maple Leaf Trot, 2011 Oslo Grand Prix, 2011 Titan Cup, 2010 Cutler Memorial, 2009 Credit Winner, and 2013 Allerage Open Trot. He finished second in Sweden's Elitloppet in 2012 and 2013. He also finished second twice in the Breeders Crown Open, in 2008 and 2009, and twice in the Maple Leaf Trot, in 2009 and 2011. "There were so many high points to his career, it's hard to pick any one out," Goldstein said. "The Breeders Crown when he beat Donato (Hanover) was a highlight, and maybe the Oslo Grand Prix would also stick out. We were standing there and they're playing the national anthem, and I didn't know what to do with myself, so I started singing. Those would probably be my two high points." Said Goldberg, "The Maple Leaf Trot was really unbelievable. Just to see the look on Trond's face and how happy he was, I can still picture him running across the track. That was huge. Of course, beating Donato in the Breeders Crown was just amazing. Everyone thought the (elimination win) was a fluke and we came back and did it the exact same way. That was just great. "The durability of this horse, year after year, he was up to the challenge. There were new horses every year and he took them all on. He was an absolute warrior. That was his greatest attribute. He answered the bell for every single race against the best." Smedshammer agreed that Arch Madness' win in the Breeders Crown was among the most memorable, but said the horse's best performance came in winning the 2011 Titan Cup by eight lengths over Lucky Jim in 1:50.2. "He was vicious," Smedshammer said. "I've always said that was at least a (1):49 mile because the track was so deep that night. I would say that was his best race ever. The Allerage (in 2013) also was special. That was almost magical because we didn't expect it. "Every year he used to come up with a moment. Those Balanced Images are just iron-tough horses. He was always a fairly sound horse, he didn't have any major issues. I don't know what makes some horses last year after year. It's certainly inside of them. It's their mentality." Goldberg said Arch Madness' success was a team effort, from the time the horse was born through his final race. Among the many people Goldberg cited were driver Brian Sears, who guided Arch Madness to many of his biggest wins, Smedshammer and caretakers Maria Kristensen and Ida Nilsen. "He's got his demons, Arch," Goldberg said, laughing. "He's a crazy, crazy guy. Without Maria and Ida, he might have been really unmanageable. They adored him and did an unbelievable job with him. And he was managed very well. You have to give Trond the credit. He's a world-class horseman. "I can't thank people enough. There were so many people along the way that helped out." Arch Madness will stay in New Jersey for another week before heading to the farm of Mike Andrew in Maine, where he will be reunited with his old Smedshammer Stable buddy Likeabatoutahell. After the winter, Arch Madness will likely return to New Jersey so Goldberg can remain near the horse. "He gave me the memories of a lifetime," Goldberg said. "Whenever I'm down I just go on the computer and click on one of his races and bingo. "I was fortunate enough to say that I owned him. The experiences he afforded me and my family, you couldn't write a better script. I never thought anything like that would happen for me. It was a dream, an absolute dream. He took us for a great ride. I owe it all to him. "Trond said he checked in on Arch and he's loving life. That's the way we need it to be for the old man. "Now it's his time." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
It was like being on the set of a Hollywood movie, many of harness racing’s biggest stars all in one place. The sights, the sounds were all so fascinating, all more magical than my wildest dreams! I was in a state of true awe and pure joy, I was actually here for the first time at the Meadowlands Racetrack! It was genuinely thoughtful and kind hearted of the Meadowlands to invite me down for the Fourth of July weekend. On the Friday as my parents and I walked through the doors I was speechless, there was so much to see and I did not want to miss a single moment of the action. I was afraid to blink, worried I might miss something, it was as though I was stepping into another world and little did I know I really was. I could feel an overwhelming sense of true enthusiasm and it felt as though I was exactly where I belonged. Everyone was so genuinely kind to me and made me feel welcome and that is a feeling I will never forgot. A gentlemen name Gary greeted us at the door; from there I met Darin Zoccali who was a big part of making this trip happen. I also met Ken Warkentin and Bob “Hollywood” Heyden on the set of their show and that was an amazing experience. All I wanted was to see the track, but my mom reminded me of our reservations in Trotters which I was also excited for. As we walked in and took our seats, I was still trying to wrap my head around where I was and the day’s events. I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of racing’s top horses up close, all of which I had watched race on the computer, and now I had the unforgettable moments of telling them how pretty or handsome they are. I got to get up and close and personal with Somwhereovrtherainbow, Shebestingin, Market Share, and Captaintreacherous! Along with the people who make them the great racehorses that they are were Linda Toscano, Shelly Grieco and Joe Holloway. While visiting Alagna Racing and Captaintreacherous at Gaitway Farms, Mr. [Tony] Alagna gave me a gift certificate for Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies so I could get some more pink tack for Pinky! I got to give Captaintreacherous carrots, the only word to describe that experience is unforgettable. Captaintreacherous is the biggest and most majestic animal I have ever seen, he had this presence of power about him, and that has forever left a lasting impression on me. After eating some really good food and seeing and chatting to some friends it was time to see the track and watch some races! I was in total disbelief; here I was sitting along the rail of the Meadowlands Racetrack! I had this feeling of honor just looking at it`, this is where the champions raced both horses and drivers. While I was starring at the track in awe and looking at my program, my mom said to me, “who do like in the 7th race?” As I scanned the page looking at the contenders for the 7th race, my mom leaned over and pointed to the top of the page and it read ‘Sydney Weaver’s Big M Debut’. I was in shock, to see that was spectacular and something I was not expecting. Although I knew that tomorrow I would make the presentation for the 2014 Hambletonian Maturity Trot along with members of the Hambletonian Society, which was a true honor for me. As the races were called to post my heart raced with excitement, I still could not believe that I was at the Meadowlands. I watched the horses go by one by one, seeing the horses and their drivers’ parade was just ‘wow’ for me. I had dreamt this moment a thousand times but to actually be along the rail was pretty incredible. I am in awe during any race but these ones made me really in awe. Watching races on the computer of The Meadowlands never prepared me for the picturesque sight of the track and grandstand. I lost track of time being in admiration of everything around me, and before I knew it was time for 7th race. I had never presented a trophy before and I felt special being able to present my first one at the Meadowlands! As the horses crossed the wire my dad and I headed to the Winner’s Circle! A gentleman named Paul whom I had met earlier that evening handed me the trophy, subconsciously I was a little nervous but I was too excited to notice the butterflies I was feeling. After a very busy and exciting day with too many memories to even count, we headed back to our hotel. I was reviewing the day’s events in my mind, a lot of it seemed like a dream. I looked to my mom and said, “Pinch me! I want to make sure I didn’t dream today and everything that happened was real!” That night I fell asleep to the replaying of events that had taken place, so much had happened, all of which I did not want to forget. Tomorrow would be just as busy and filled with even more memories and with that I nodded off to sleep. That morning I woke with excitement, it was Saturday and my parents and I were going to the baby races and I was super excited because champions like Perfect Alliance were going to qualify and 2-year-olds were prepping to become champions. When we arrived back at the Meadowlands I was just as wide eyed as the night before, we ate a quick delicious breakfast. It was quick because today was my final day here and I could eat later; besides all the excitement was taking over my appetite. When we finally reached the rail in the sizzling heat of the July sun, I found the perfect spot and never moved until the baby races and qualifiers were over. I learned was a really bad decision, I got a severe bad sunburn. Now this was a fault of my own; I only got sunburned because I was unwilling to miss a baby race to go inside and apply sunscreen even though my mom insisted, this became known as the ‘baby race burn.’ Back at our hotel, I was all excited for tonight. My mom put Aloe Vera on my sunburn. Even though it did not really bother me because I was counting down the hours until we would back at the track. The time finally came and as we walked through doors and I got that giddy feeling again. Tonight we were eating in a restaurant called Pink, and it was! The food in pink was delicious and I left feeling full! We watched the races and I cheered for my friends, wishing winning trainers, drivers and owners congratulations as they passed me. Even some of my fellow Canadians were racing and I was glad I could be there to watch and cheer them on. After watching the races in their entirety my mom, my dad and I headed up to the rooftop to watch the fireworks and see some of my friends. On our way up there we just happen to meet up with Doug McNair, and Jody Jamieson, and that was an unexpected surprise. The firework show was simply mesmerizing and I was capturing their beauty with the bright lights of New York City in the background. The best part of it all was I was taking it all in surrounded by my friends and harness racing’s superstars and for me that was a memorable night filled with magic. That night I walked out of the doors with a heart filled with different emotions. It was a whirlwind of a trip, so much happened and everybody was so genuinely kind to me. The passion everyone had for horse racing down here was refreshing. But at the same time I was a little sad because I was leaving and I did not know when I would be back. I had created so many new friendships and so many memories, both will always be a part of who I am. I was leaving for the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and Museum in the morning; but those adventures are for another day. A few months later a friend of mine, Mary Christopher, posted on my Facebook ‘Well little Miss Weaver... you best get packed because myself and your mother are taking you to the BREEDERS CROWN! Have to watch my horse race and thought you would like to go watch Il Sogno Dreams.’ That is when I dropped my head into my hands and began to cry tears of pure happiness. We were going to leave in only a few days and I could not wait! I only had three days of school left and they felt like the longest three days of school ever, because all I could think about was going back to the Meadowlands and the Breeders Crown! I got a little nervous a couple days before, Buffalo, New York got a wicked snow storm and this made me worry because I knew we crossed into Buffalo last time. This meant we would either have to cancel or leave earlier, I hoped it was the latter of the two. My mom and Mary had planned a route that would allow us to avoid the storm. It would take us longer but it would get us there and that is all that mattered. The night before we would start our journey to the Meadowlands I did not sleep. I was anticipating being back at the Meadowlands, replaying the big moments that I remember like it happened yesterday. I was listening just in case in the wee hours of the morning when my mom knocked on my bedroom door and told me to get ready because we were going to start driving. When my mom came in it was not too early, I had all the energy as if it were Christmas morning. The drive took about 10 hours, that night we relaxed in our hotel room. The next morning we went shopping! I got a new outfit to wear that night for dinner in pink! By the time we returned to the hotel it was time to get ready to go the Meadowlands! Walking through the doors of the Meadowlands again made me feel full of bliss, seeing my friends that I had not seen since July was wonderful, and I also met new ones. Once again Gary greeted us at the door, and I asked him if Jason Settlemoir was available. He told me he was, and took us up to his office. I felt very special to be up in the office with, Jason and Mr. Jeff Gural. That night we three girls ate in Pink, and once again the food was excellent. After eating we went down to the rail and I found my spot, I was so happy to be back! The only way to describe how I was feeling was like returning home after a long time away! The races were still as heart stopping as they were in July. I was here to witness the finals of the Breeders Crown and as they say, ‘It all comes down to Breeders Crown’ and here I was a part of the action! The next day we went to the qualifiers, it made my heart skip a beat as we walked through the entrance of the paddock as I felt honored to be in the backstretch of the Meadowlands, as it was another memory that was wow for me! I got to meet the regal Golden Receiver, and the elegant Sebastian K who were both qualifying that day. That night the races continued to be magnificent as usual, my friend who was kind enough to invite us down, had her horse, Il Songo Dreams racing in the three-year-old colts and geldings division. As he stepped out on the track, all three of us became nervous and excited, all the way around we were hollering the loudest and jumping up and down. He raced tough and tried his hardest but finished seventh. All three of us were happy and proud of him, it did not matter where he finished, what matter was we had a great weekend. The Meadowlands is a special place to me, where my heart never beats normal, because it had either stopped because something unbelievable had happened or because I was so excited for something and it was beating out of my chest. There will always be a lot of things that I will remember about the Meadowlands, but one thing that left a lasting impression was the enthusiasm the fans had for horse racing and how kind the people were to me and everyone made me feel special and that is something I will always hold near and dear to my heart. I have so many wonderful memories, but not all of them made it into this story, and that does not mean they are any less important because I will always cherish all of them. Thank you to Darin, Jason and Mr. Gural for inviting for me down and for making the Meadowlands the wonderful place it is. Sydney Weaver is 14 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, owns a racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.
Wellington, FL – Leslie L. Ducharme, the wife of Standardbred owner/trainer John Ducharme, tragically died on Tuesday after falling from her horse. She was 72. The incident happened in Saddle Trail Park along Appaloosa Trail around 3:30 pm according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Ducharme suffered traumatic injuries, according to rescue crews at the scene. She was rushed to Palms West Hospital where she died. Leslie Ducharme was a member of the United States Trotting Association since 1996 and with her husband John, have co-owned and raced more than 50 Standardbred horses. She also owned and competed her jumper horses. Her husband John was the trainer of 1995 Breeders Crown winner, Abundance. More details will be announced when available. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Within a week or so hundreds of ballots will go out to the membership of the United State Trotting Association (USHWA) and race secretaries throughout North America. These journalists and communicators will have the duty of selecting the prestigious Dan Patch award winners for the 2014 race season. They are entrusted in voting for what will mean a lot of prestige and big bucks for both colts and fillies and horses and mares when it comes time for the stallion shed or broodmare ranks. So who will these USHWA members be voting for? After this weekend’s top notch racing some of the choices are just plain standouts but a lot are not. In fact, some voters will have to wait until next week’s TVG finals at the Meadowlands before they can sit down and make their final decisions. USHWA members are human being too and thus have to weigh-in all the facts and separate the statistical data they will review with the feelings in their heart when it comes voting time and look back on the long season and not just the last few weeks and then cast their ballots. Then on Thursday, December 18, once all the ballots have been counted, the USHWA membership will hold a press conference at the Meadowlands to announce the winners. Usually these announcements would be held up in suspense until the big Dan Patch Awards dinner February 22, 2015 at the DoubleTree Hilton Orlando by SeaWorld. The USHWA membership voted last year to announce all the winners ahead of time to try and glean the most publicity out of the winners this year instead of it being buried and not getting any newsprint until after the fact on the night of the dinner. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner will still be a major event and celebration of all the winners, both equine and human from the 2014 season and the first introduction of the newest inductees to the prestigious Hall of Fame. It is truly an event that everyone should consider attending. But it still leaves the question of who will everyone be voting for? Let’s do a little overview of each of the divisions and how they stack up after the Breeders Crown. Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies - If if if….Wild Honey could only have stayed on stride and have a shot against Mission Brief. She was as near perfect as you can get in a season. Mission Brief was super-fast both on track and in jumping off stride, but without Wild Honey being able to take real shot at her, looks to have given Mission Brief the nod of approval in this division. Also setting a world record along the way always helps too. Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies - No one in the world can argue that JK She’salady is the unopposed candidate in this division. Yes, Sassa Hanover is no slouch and Yannick Gingras chose wrong and it will be great to see these two tangle next year, but going undefeated at 12 for 12 is perfection at its best. Her pulling away from Sassa Hanover in the stretch in the Breeders Crown was very impressive after the great season she had. The only question is if the voting membership of USHWA can make her the Harness Horse of the Year in 2014. More on that to come later in this story. Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts - Now we really get into a tough category. Pinkman closes out the season with a flourish, winning four straight including the Breeders Crown in a lifetime mark on a cold night nearly rewriting the world record. But both Habitat and French Laundry also had super seasons. Pinkman did beat Habitat three of the four times they faced each other. French Laundry only faced Pinkman in the BC final and French Laundry never faced Habitat until the Breeders Crown. Can’t we just race the three of them against each other and winner takes the title? Two-Year-Old Pacing Colts - Throughout this season all the talk was Artspeak and rightly so. The colt was fabulous and beat all comers until he met up with In The Arsenal in Lexington and then things changes as the unbeaten was beaten. But Artspeak was able to come back to victory lane and close out his season with a big win in the Governor’s Cup before either getting too sore or enough is enough this year and skipping the Matron and Breeders Crown. Now comes along the dragon slayer, In The Arsenal. He puts an end to Artspeaks unbeaten streak, then he does the same to unbeaten Yankee Bounty two starts in a row. Here comes the Breeders Crown and not once, but twice drawing the 10 post and races super valiant but could not win but he should be a real terror next year. Three-Year-Old Trotting Fillies - All season long Shake It Cerry was the horse to beat in this division. And on just two occasions, one important one being the Hambletonian Oaks, Shake It Cerry did get beat. But that was it for the year. After the Oaks loss she rallied for nine straight wins to close out 2014 with 15 wins in 17 starts. Her Breeders Crown score after going three-wide on the final turn was a super dramatic way to end the season. Credit also must be given to her stable mate, Lifetime Pursuit, who also had a top notch season. Three-Year-Old Pacing Fillies - This was a topsy turvey division throughout the year. With last year’s top filly, Precocious Beauty unable to come back and dominate the division it became a question of who will win this week. Then a filly named Color’s A Virgin put on a dramatic showing in winning the Jugette in straight heats and slowly became a household name for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Brian Brown…until the Breeders Crown finale. After winning her BC elimination division for her seventh straight score and 13th win of the year, Color’s A Virgin was living up to her hype. Now comes the Breeders Crown final and low and behold here comes Sayitall BB. She wins very convincingly and when you look at her record she shows nine wins and over $500,000 earned. Three-Year-Trotting Colts - Father Patrick was tabbed early on to be the great one. And he was early on but after his went off stride in the Hambletonian, his stable mates, Trixton and Nuncio took over the spot light. And each time Father Patrick would rebound, he got beat again or made a break to set him back. Then Trixton went lame and ended his career and Mr. Consistency, Nuncio, emerged on the scene to reap two of the three trotting Triple Crown races and the only one of the three to step on and win on a half mile track. But then here comes Father Patrick in the Breeders Crown final. Beaten by E L Titan, beaten by Nuncio, the top rated colt at the start of the season comes back at the very end with stakes record 1:51.4 triumph to close out the 2014 season. Tale of the tape says Father Patrick beat Nuncio five times to Nuncio beating him three times, or at least beating himself by breaking. Both colts have near identical records so a strong case can be made on behalf or against either top candidate. Three-Year-Old Colt Pacers - All Always B Miki had to do was not go lame before the start of the Breeders Crown as if he had won there would be no contest in this division. Despite the lameness, Always B Miki has had a sensational season with 12 big scores, winning eight of his last nine starts. Now with Always B Miki going lame for the Breeders Crown, it brings to light the other top colts in the division. Jug winner Limelight Beach was going strong but scratched early from the Breeders Crown Final. JK Endofanera was third in the BC final and sports ten wins this year and over $1 million in earnings this season. Then there is McWicked, who was so hot in mid-season but failed to fire in the Jug and had not won a race since early September. Always game but could not win. He becomes the strong horse in the Breeders Crown and overpowers the field to win in a very impressive 1:49. He now leads all the colts with $1,300,00 won this year. Older Trotting Mares - USHWA members get a ton of statistical data to help them make their decisions in voting for horses of the year and this division needs those stats. Bee A Magician is the defending Harness Horse of the Year. She won’t have a shot at it again, but for her division she has to go up against Maven and Classic Martine. Bee A Magician was not her old self this year but came back to winning form in the Breeders Crown. She changed tactics and wired the field in 1:51.4. But only four wins this year vs a perfect 17 or 17 last year is not good. She was a game second place finisher in some big stakes six times this year. Maven has caught everyone’s eye and rightly so. She raced against the boys off and on this season and beat them here and in Europe. Her come from behind score from post ten last week at the Meadowlands was sensational. Her second place finish to Commander Crowe was top of the line against some very good horses. But once again only four wins and maybe not the world champion caliber she was last year. Classic Martine is most certainly the statistical favorite in here. Her 9 wins, 5 seconds and 2 thirds in 18 starts is the best record of anyone. She also has more earnings this year than anyone else in the group at $460,000 is tops too. Plus she did not skip many of the big dances. This is another toughie division. Older Trotter Horses - There was a lot of hype when Sebastian K first came over to the USA. Is he the great horse everyone in Europe had been talking for years? That question was answered in his first start for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. Then the next start and the next start and how fast can this guy go? How domineering can he be? Well, the answers were all age world record 1:49, numerous 1:50 and change miles, the barefoot wonder who was nearly unbeatable unless it rained and the track was off. No question what so ever that Sebastian K, regardless of his final appearance this year in the TVG finals this weekend, has been a true super star performer. The only question will be if Sebastian K is fit enough to win the TVG final and then go head and head with a little pacing filly and a duo of trotting colts for Harness Horse of the Year honors. Older Pacing Mares - For three straight years Anndrovette has dominated this division, but maybe not in 2014. She was a decent fourth in the Breeders Crown but had yet to win a race against these since late August. The new kid on the block this season has been Yagonnakissmeornot. With 14 wins in 30 starts she has been very good in both stakes and Opens and is the highest money earner among this group. Yet she could not hit the board in the Breeders Crown either. Somwherovrarainbow came into the Breeders Crown in good form but she could not muster a BC check. Rocklamation, when good is great, but she has just too many issues each season but she did rally hard to be second in the Breeders Crown. Shebestingin, Charisma Hanover, Voelz Hanover, even the Breeders Crown winner, Shelliscape, could have been considered but their inconsistent race patterns eliminate them. Older Pacing Horses - A win would have made it more convincing, but after yet another game effort, second in the Breeders Crown, Sweet Lou may just be able to end his career as he started it, with a Dan Patch award. His ten wins and $1.1 million in earnings this year plus the win streak and the sub 1:48 miles every week make him just about too strong to think twice about. Foiled Again had another great season, State Treasurer too and Bettor’s Edge. It was a great season again for the older pacing ranks with so many good competitors who would step up and score big, like Thinking Out Loud in the Breeders Crown, Clear Vision too. Trotter of the Year - It is just about too tough to call in here. Sebastian K quietly came into the United States and then set the sport on fire this summer, set track and world marks nearly every other start. Then he faced some losses on sloppy tracks and sorta sored up at the end of the season. But now he looked great in his qualifier and voters will be watching the TVG finals this weekend at the Meadowlands to see how he rebounds. But what about Father Patrick and/or Nuncio? Throw out the two major breaks and he is nearly perfect all season long and was on cruise control in winning the Breeders Crown. Nuncio is Mr. Consistency all season long, no breaks, won two of three Triple Crown jewels and won with ease on a half mile too. His third place finish in the Breeders Crown was the only time he was worse than second all season. Both horses have nearly identical records, Father Patrick beat Nuncio five times, Nuncio beat Father Patrick three times. And let’s talk about Shake It Cerry! With 15 wins in 17 starts, $1,230,000 in earnings. Three-wide on the final turn and trots away in the Breeders Crown. She had nearly done it all except for her Hambletonian Oaks fourth place finish. You can’t make a case for the other three without having her join in too! Anyone have a four-sided coin we can flip? Pacer of the Year - JK She’salady was perfect this year, 12 for 12. She never shied from any major stakes race. She took on all comers and in the Breeders Crown was looked in the eye by Sassa Hanover and dug in to score in a romp. But she is a freshman filly and more than likely going against a seasoned veteran in Sweet Lou, who for months was unbeatable against the best in the sport. Harness Horse of the Year - With nearly 200 members of USHWA voting for the horse of the year honors this season, it’s impossible, maybe, to read everyone’s minds. From a statistical point of view, provided JK She’salady can beat Sweet Lou, then harness racing history could be made as no two-year-old filly has ever been named Harness Horse of the Year. But that could very well change in 2014 as the little lady had a sensational season, sorta like last year’s Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician. From the trotting side perhaps because of the boost to harness racing’s moral from his sensational season, should Sebastian K beat out Shake It Cerry, Father Patrick’s and Nuncio, then it will be a real contest between the world champion trotter and the little lady. But that’s not to say it could also happen with most any of the possible finalists. It’s been that great a racing season. It is actually too close to even try and make a pick, and with so many great possible scenarios to consider, we’ll just have to wait and see who the USHWA Membership votes for. We will all know before Christmas. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Winner: Jimmy Takter won three Breeders Crown races and is already an amazing $5.4 million ahead of last year’s $7.8 million earning’s figure. Shake It Cerry was already assured of a division win, while Father Patrick and Pinkman probably won their divisions last night. Loser: Always A Virgin came into the BC poised to have two winners and, if that happened, two division titles. This would have given the ten-year-old stallion, and the Indiana program he spearheads, a huge boost. Unfortunately, Always B Miki scratched out of the sophomore colt pace and his filly counterpart, Color’s A Virgin, was too far back in her race and finished fourth. Winner: McWicked stepped up and seized control of a floundering division with his BC victory. Neither the Adios nor the Hempt would rate grade one status in today’s environment, so McWicked needed a top shelf win to bolster his resume. That combined with his earning’s lead should give him a solid shot at division supremacy. Casie Coleman said he may have one more start in him. That would no doubt be the Progress Pace, which he can supplement to for $25,000. A win in the Progress should secure division honors. Loser: Joe Holloway had a clear path to a division title and a start in the lucrative TVG with Always B Miki, but that one was a late scratch when he injured a leg in his stall just prior to post time. Beyond that, Holloway came into the season positioned to dominate the aged pacing mares with four-year-old hotshots Shebestingin and Somwherovrarainbow. However, Rainbow finished tenth in the BC while the world record holder, Shebestingin, has only started three times since the end of July—all losing efforts. Winner: Yannick Gingras added $1.5 million to his earning’s pile over the past week. He has now handily eclipsed Tim Tetrick’s $16.1 million winning total from last year and Gingras is already $2.2 million up on what he earned in all of 2013. He won four BC races, and no doubt would have had five if he maintained his relationship with JK She’salady. Loser: Tony Alagna, the third leading trainer last year and currently ranked seventh, didn’t have any starters in the dozen BC finals. Captaintreacherous has been retired and Artspeak was shut down for the season. It’s unusual for a trainer like Alagna, who specialized in high-end stock, to be a bystander come BC weekend. Last year he won with Captain T and was second to Nitelife with Authorize. Erv Miller, who is the third ranked trainer on the earning’s list, also had no starters, but that’s not really his field of play. Winner: John Campbell’s off the pace wins with 4-1 Thinking Out Loud and 10-1 Shelliscape give him a record 47 Breeders Crown wins. Winner: Father Patrick has won 22 of his 28 lifetime starts and earned $1.6 million this year—$235,000 more than any other NA trotter or pacer. Yet, as was the case with Captaintreacherous during his sophomore season, Patrick seems to take a lot of heat. Going into last night’s race it was understood that a win by Nuncio would give him the division as well as serious Horse of the Year consideration. But now Patrick owns the division for good and will be given an opportunity to further his redemption for losses in the Hambletonion, Matron and Erskine when and if he takes on his elders in the TVG. Winner: JK She’salady probably secured Horse of the Year honors with her BC win in track and stakes record time. She completed a perfect 12 win season. The daughter of Art Major would be the first freshman filly ever to win that award. Loser: Jeff Gural had to be pleased that the weather cooperated and business was good over Breeders Crown weekend. However, BC wins by Traceur Hanover, trained by the indefinitely suspended Corey Johnson, and the PJ Fraley trainee Shelliscape, had to leave him with a sour stomach. Fraley, along with Rene Allard, whose Yagonnakissmeornot finished fifth as the favorite in the aged mare pace, were both deemed persona non grata by Gural last year. Legal precedent and BC staking rules left him with no choice but to allow the trio to compete. After Traceur won the freshman pace Johnson, who towered over everyone else in the winner’s circle, drew all eyes. The fact that good guy Andy Miller drove Traceur and handled the post-race interview offered some relief for Meadowlands and Breeders Crown execs. Winner: Hanover Shoe Farms had a very good weekend. Nineteen-year-old Western Ideal, who had grown out of favor with the buyers as his New Jersey eligibility lingered on, has turned that around of late. His son Always A Virgin has generated plenty of publicity this year and now Hanover has Traceur Hanover to join Artspeak at the vanguard of the freshman pacing ranks. The latter was a winner because In The Arsenal, who finished second behind Traceur Hanover, did not wrestle the division away from him. Also, Pinkman, winner of the two-year-old colt trot, gives the young stallion Explosive Matter the potential star performer he’s been searching for. Hanover also got wins from Father Patrick, a son of their premier trotting stallion Cantab Hall, and Donato’s daughter Shake It Cerry. Winner: With Thinking Out Loud, who is not a viable candidate for division honors, winning the BC open pace, Sweet Lou, who was second, set himself up nicely for division honors. Winner: Marginal pacing stallions stepped to the fore over the weekend. McArdle is trying to establish himself in slots rich Ohio and having McWicked, his number two son after One More Laugh, win the BC and in so doing pave the way for a division title, helps immeasurably in that regard. And ten-year-old Tell All has failed to light it up thus far in the stallion ranks, but that win by supplemental entry, Sayitall BB, certainly helps. Bob McIntosh would probably scoff at the notion that Ponder is a marginal stallion, but the volume has been so thin that it sometimes seems like they all belong to him. Diamond Creek is currently addressing that issue in Pennsylvania. Adding a BC trophy to Thinking Out Loud’s hardware collection will give the effort a boost. And while Artiscape’s great daughter Rainbow Blue has a BC trophy on the mantle; paternal sister Shelliscape now has two of them. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J./ Older trotters were overwhelmed by international star Commander Crowe in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot at the Meadowlands on Nov. 22. The 11-year-old gelding showed his heels to his younger rivals and won in a stakes-equaling 1:51. Driven by Orjan Kihlstrom, Commander Crowe, who left quickly with Arch Madness (George Brenna) and Creatine (Ron Pierce), took over after a first quarter of :27 and a half of :54.4. It was the mare, Maven (Yannick Gingras), who began a major challenge to Commander Crowe, coming after him from the second tier with Creatine on the pylons looking for room to make a passing bid. But Commander Crowe was tough on top and would not be denied the Breeders Crown win he has attempted twice before and was unsuccessful. Maven held for second and Creatine settled for third. "I don’t know why he hasn’t been to the U.S before" Orjan Kihlstrom said., "you have to ask the trainers. He has a lot of races in Europe, he raced in Canada twice, he’s quite old now so it was about time (retirement). He shipped very good this time, he had some problems with that before but this time was good. I tried to keep them behind me, he’s a very tough horse, and still at this age can do a lot of work, he’s just a fantastic horse. I don’t know what’s next for him, you’ll have to ask Fabrice (trainer.) I don’t know for sure if he’ll keep going, this might be the end, but I don’t know what they have decided." Fabrice Souloy trains Commander Crowe, who was bred in Sweden by Peri Puro. Snogarps Gard owns the winner, who with the victory surpassed the $5 million mark in lifetime earnings at $5,099,590. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Commander Crowe paid $12.00 to win. by Frank Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown
November 23, 2014 - As with several Breeders Crown champions this past weekend, Garnet Barnsdale opened up a commanding lead in Legs 50 and 51 of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest thanks to his weekly net profit of $2,446.10. With his tally this week, Barnsdale's overall net profit is $5,007.40, giving him a lead of $3,231.40 over second place Mark McKelvie. With three legs (four races) remaining in this year's contest, it would seemingly take a monster hit by one of his opponents and a collapse on his part for someone to take the lead away from him. While first place appears safe, there is a real battle for second and third place as the finishers in those positions will also have donations made to their rescues of choice. Second place McKelvie has an overall net profit of $1,776, roughly $1,430 ahead of third place Bob Zanakis' $346.95. While not in a cashing position, Brian McEvoy is sitting in fourth place within stalking distance as he is less than $240 behind Zanakis, On Friday night, Derick Giwner came out $883.20 to the plus side thanks to his plays in the Breeders Crown 3yo filly pace as a $72 win ticket earned him a $756 payout. In addition to the win wager, Giwner had a $1 Trifecta partial wheel ticket (total of $42) which paid $505.20. In the same race, Barndsale earned $806.40 thanks to his $1010.40 payoff on a $2 Trifecta key ($168). Saturday evening, was all Barnsdale with a daily profit of $1,659.70, followed by Dennis O'Hara's $605 and Rusty Nash's $440. Barnsdale's profit came primarily thanks to a $1 Trifecta wheel ($72) in the Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace which returned $1,998. O'Hara managed to hit a $132 Trifecta partial wheel ($390) in the 2yo filly trot which paid $975 while in the Open Mare Pace, Nash's $200 Place wager (part of a Win, Place combo; $400) returned a $840 dividend. The current standings with three legs remaining in the competition are: by Allan Schott, for HANA
MCWICKED TAKES BREEDERS CROWN COLT PACE
SHELLISCAPE UPSETS IN MARES BREEDERS CROWN
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – One of two namesakes of the popular AMC drama Breaking Bad, the Jimmy Takter-trained Pinkman took the lead into the backstretch and held off all foes to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot in 1:53.2. Guess Whos Back gained control, while Uncle Lasse loomed closer to his outside. Through a :27.4 first quarter, Uncle Lasse (Ron Piere) took the lead. Pinkman soon followed the move of his stable mate, and gained the lead before the half. Once in front, Pinkman was left uncontested through fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.3. French Laundry (Brett Miller) led the two-wide charge, with Muscle Diamond (John Campbell) riding his back. Pinkman was drifting off the cones through the stretch, allowing French Laundry to dive to the inside and attempt to gain ground. Muscle Diamond put in his final charge towards the center of the course, and could only finish second to Pinkman, doing so in a track and stakes time. French Laundry was third, and Habitat (Brian Sears) was fourth. "I qualified him two starts ago, Gingras said, "and he was so good on the front in the qualifier. Last week in the eliminations, Brian came and I let him go, but tonight I felt it was his race to lose and I wanted him up on the front." "You know I love the Breeders Crown," said co-owner John FIelding. "We didn’t have much confidence in Pinkamn in the early stages, but boy has he come on since September, he’s just really turned into a different horse. We had him for sale and the magical Jimmy Takter got him figured out and he just went straight forward since then; he’s just been a real great surprise." Bred by O Narutac Equine Nursery, he’s owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joe Mc Clelland, and Herb Liverman. Pinkman paid $4.00 to win. He closes out the 2014 season with six wins in just eight starts with earnings of $566,000. Pinkman by Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown
Canadians were prominent at the 2014 Breeders Crown championships at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey with two wins, two seconds and three thirds in four Breeders Crown races on Friday. The good Breeders Crown form held on Saturday night as Canadian-connected horses added five wins, two seconds and two thirds for a championship total of seven wins, four seconds and five thirds. Also, John Campbell, originally from Ailsa Craig, Ontario, drove Shelliscape to a win in the Mare Pace (Race 8). Here are the results for the Canadian connected horses from Saturday races: Race 11 - $500,000 Open Trot #4 Maven SECOND - Owner: Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC). #5 Flanagan Memory FOURTH - Trainer: Rene Dion (Saint-Lazare, QC). - Owners: Liette Flanagan (Repentigny, QC) and Rene Dion (Saint-Lazare, QC). #10 Intimidate SIXTH - Driver: Sylvain Filion (Milton, ON) - Trainer: Luc Blais (Lochaber Ouest, QC) - Owners: Determination (Westmount, QC) and Judith Farrow (Hemmingford, QC). Race 10 - $531,250 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace #3 Mcwicked WON - Trainer: Casie Coleman (Cambridge, ON). #9 Luck Be Withyou FIFTH - Owner: John Craig (North York, ON). Race 9 - $500,000 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Trot #5 Il Sogno Dream SEVENTH - Owners: Bill Manes (Rockwood, ON), Dan Manes (Erin, ON), Leonard Christopher (Acton, ON) and Randy Christopher (Rockwood, ON). #6 Father Patrick WON - Co-Owners: John Fielding (Toronto, ON), Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON), Sam Goldband and Marvin Katz (Toronto, ON). #9 Harper Blue Chip FOURTH - Owners: Landmark 6 Racing Stable (Kingston, ON), David McDonald (Cornwall, ON), David Reid (Glenburnie, ON) and George Judson (Athens, ON). #10 E L Titan SECOND - Trainer: Riina Rekila (Campbellville, ON). Race 8 - $281,250 Mare Pace #3 Voelz Hanover NINTH - Trainer: Corey Johnson (Guelph, ON). - Owner: Richard Berthiaume (Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC). #5 Yagonnakissmeornot SIXTH - Co-Owners: Allard Racing Inc (Saint-Esprit, QC) and Yves Sarrazin (La Presentation, QC). Race 7 - $500,000 2-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace #2 Traceur Hanover WON - Trainer: Corey Johnson (Rockwood, ON). - Owner: Richard Berthiaume (Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC). #4 Franzo TENTH - Co-Owner: Lothlorien (Cheltenham, ON). #5 Go Daddy Go FIFTH - Trainer: Bob McIntosh (Windsor, ON). - Owners: Robert McIntosh Stables Inc (Windsor, ON) and Dave Boyle (Bowmanville, ON). #6 Sicily FOURTH - Trainer: Nikolas Drennan (Burlington, ON) - Co-Owners: Brad Shackman (Calgary, AB) and Nikolas Drennan (Burlington, ON). #8 Soto NINTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and R A W Equine (Burlington, ON). Race 6 - $400,000 Open Pace #2 Modern Legend FOURTH - Trainer: Dave Drew (St. Catharines, ON). - Owner: Dave Drew Associates Inc (St. Catharines, ON). #3 State Treasurer THIRD - Trainer: Dr. Ian Moore (Guelph, ON). - Owners: Sally MacDonald (Souris, PE) and Paul MacDonald (Regina, SK). #4 Thinking Out Loud WON - Trainer: Bob McIntosh (Windsor, ON). - Co-Owners: Robert McIntosh Stables Inc (Windsor, ON) and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc (Leamington, ON). Race 5 - $500,000 2-year-old Filly Pace #1 Southwind Roulette NINTH - Co-Owner: Brad Grant (Milton, ON). #8 Heavenly Bride EIGHTH -Trainer: Casie Coleman (Cambridge, ON). Race 4 - $500,000 2-year-old Colt & Gelding Trot #1 French Laundry THIRD - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON), Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON) and Marvin Katz (Toronto, ON). #2 Walter White SEVENTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and R A W Equine (Burlington, ON). #5 Pinkman WON - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC). #7 Guess Whos Back TENTH - Trainer: Nikolas Drennan (Burlington, ON). - Co-Owner: Brad Shackman (Calgary, AB) #8 Uncle Lasse FIFTH - Co-Owner: John Fielding (Toronto, ON). Here are the results for the Canadian connected horses from Friday races: Race 10 - $593,750 3-year-old Filly Pace #1 Major Dancer SECOND - Trainer: Casie Coleman (Cambridge, ON). - Owners: West Wins Stable (Cambridge, ON), Mac Nichol (Burlington, ON) and Adriano Sorella (Milton, ON). #2 Beach Gal THIRD - Trainer: David Menary (Rockton, ON). - Owners: Kenneth Ewen (Georgetown, ON), Hewvilla Farms Inc (Mount Forest, ON), Denis Breton (Welland, ON) and Menary Racing Inc (Rockton, ON). #3 Gettiggreadytoroll NINTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON). #6 Uffizi Hanover SEVENTH - Owners: Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON), Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband (Toronto, ON). #10 Precocious Beauty FIFTH - Driver: Doug McNair (Guelph, ON). - Trainer: Gregg McNair (Guelph, ON). Race 9 - $500,000 3-year-old Filly Trot #3 Shake It Cerry WON - Co-Owner: John Fielding (Toronto, ON). #4 Stuck By Lindy THIRD - Co-Owners: Melvin Hartman (Ottawa, ON) and R A W Equine Inc (Burlington, ON). #5 Cantabs Fortune FIFTH - Driver: Rick Zeron (Oakville, ON). - Trainer: Rick Zeron (Oakville, ON). - Owners: Rick Zeron Stables (Oakville, ON), Paul Marion (Marionville, ON) and Ferme Rico Limitee (Vars, ON). #8 Riveting Rosie SEVENTH - Driver: Paul Macdonell (Guelph, ON). - Trainer John Bax (Cavan Monaghan, ON). - Owners: Parkhill Stud Farm (Peterborough, ON), Don Allensen (Wyoming, ON), Joseph Parkinson and John Hayes (Sharon, ON). Race 8 - $500,000 2-year-old Filly Trot #2 Wild Honey TENTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC). #3 Danielle Hall SECOND - Driver: Jody Jamieson (Moffat, ON). - Trainer: Carl Jamieson (Rockwood, ON). - Owners: Carl Jamieson (Rockwood, ON) and Thomas Kyron (Toronto, ON). #6 Stubborn Belle FIFTH - Driver: Paul Macdonell - Trainer: John Bax (Cavan Monaghan, ON). - Owners: Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON) and Parkhill Stud Farm (Peterborough, ON). #7 Lilu Hanover EIGHTH - Co-Owners: Marvin Katz (Toronto, ON) and Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON). #9 Livininthefastlane THIRD - Owners: Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband (Toronto, ON) and Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON). #10 Smexi FOURTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC) Race 7 - $250,000 Mare Trot #1 Intense America SIXTH - Trainer: Rene Dion (Saint-Lazare, QC). - Owner: Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. (Montreal, QC) #3 Bee A Magician WON - Co-Owners: Melvin Hartman (Ottawa, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC). #6 Charmed Life FOURTH - Driver: Jody Jamieson (Moffat, ON). - Trainer: David Menary (Rockton, ON). - Owners: Menary Racing Inc (Rockton, ON), Brad Gray (Dundas, ON) and Michael Guerriero (Puslinch, ON) by John Siscos, for WEG
He has raced more than 100 different horses in the Breeders Crown, earned $6 million in purses and collected 15 trophies over the past 30 years, but for trainer Bob McIntosh the opportunity to add to his remarkable Crown ledger means more to him with every passing year. On Saturday night at the Meadowlands, McIntosh will race two homebred sons of Ponder in the Crown, two-year-old colt pacer Go Daddy Go and aged pacer Thinking Out Loud. "These chances are more special as you get older, and also because more of them are my own (homebreds). Years ago I was buying yearlings or being sent yearlings... but when you raise your own, and you look out into the field, that's what you've got, said McIntosh, 62, with a laugh. "You don't get to pick them and that's when it's special getting them here. I have homebreds with a lot of history with me, going back a few generations. This is not like the '80s or '90s for me. I had to reinvent myself a little bit." Thinking Out Loud, the 2012 North America Cup winner, is a son of Ponder and the Camluck mare Los Angeles, all of which were campaigned by McIntosh, who shares ownership with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. and C S X Stables. The five-year-old gelding will compete in the Crown against a field of seven open pacers with more than $17 million in purses between them, including all-time richest standardbred and defending champion Foiled Again. "I've been in the business 40-some years and I've never seen a year like this for aged horses. There are a bunch of monsters in here, that's for sure," said McIntosh. "He's capable of beating them if he gets the right trip. He's as good as he could be. There's not a horse in the world who can pace a quarter mile better than him," he said of Thinking Out Loud, who came home in :26.1 in last week's prep race, finishing fourth by a neck, after tinkering with his bridle. McIntosh's other homebred colt, Go Daddy Go, one of 13 Ontario-sired horses competing in the Crown Finals, has earned $373,000 as a freshman. McIntosh shares ownership of the eye-catching chestnut with Ontario's Dave Boyle. "Daddy, he had kind of a tough trip in the elimination (a winning effort in 1:51.1), but I jogged him on Tuesday and he was back in and kicking, fresh as a daisy. He's like his dad, Ponder, just tough." Both of McIntosh's starters will be teamed up with all-time leading Crown driver John Campbell, who has been handed the reins from McIntosh on hundreds of occasions, winning dozens of stakes through the years. Despite all of their individual success in the series, the trainer-driver combination have only won two titles together --Western Shooter (2001) and Artsplace (1992), which still stands as one of the most memorable performances in the Crown's 30-year history. "John and I go way back to when we were kids at Western Fair. He started driving for me 30-some years ago and I always say, when you've got John, you've got AllState -- you're in good hands," said McIntosh, who last won the Breeders Crown in 2005 with Belovedangel. The trainer, a Hall of Famer in both the U.S. and Canada, fondly remembers his first Crown winner, Sunset Warrior at Garden State Park in 1986. "That goes down as one of the special races of my career. We weren't expected to win it and it was just great to be there. I had Bill Gale driving for me and it was his first Breeders Crown, my first Breeders Crown and it's right in the top five or six races of my life." From there, McIntosh won Crowns with a dozen other horses including Camluck, Artsplace, Staying Together, Artiscape, Armbro Affair, Western Shooter Delinquent Account. "The Breeders Crown has meant an awful lot to my career. Basically, many of my horses have gotten really good in the fall so it's been a great stage for me. You know, some of them are slow starting but they finish up well in the fall and I like to think that's about conditioning," he said. "I remember Bill Wellwood saying the same thing about his horses and any time you are in the same breath as Bill Wellwood, it's a good place to be." by Lauren Lee, for the Breeders Crown
Thirty years ago, on a similar fall Saturday afternoon, Marcia Hamilton was doing what so many caretakers around the country are doing right now: getting their horses ready to race. But in her case, she took care of the morning-line favorite in the inaugural $481,000 Breeders Crown sophomore trot, one in a three-horse Nordin Stable entry, named Baltic Speed. No one knew at the time whether the fledgling Breeders Crown would achieve what its creators hoped, and no one would have guessed that Baltic Speed would subsequently go on to galvanize the Standardbred breed by siring Valley Victory and Peace Corps in his first crop. This is Marcia Hamilton's first-person account of Saturday, November 16, 1984, when the brand new Breeders Crown series rolled into Pompano Park, Florida. Tonight is the big night! The Breeders Crown for 3-year-old trotting colts at Pompano Park. Adding to the excitement is the fact that it's the one big race, the highlight of the year, and the big draw of the evening's TV show on ESPN. Baltic hadn't raced since Kentucky due to a cold, but he was fine, fit and ready to go. That morning I was told that the dentist was going to come by to check Baltic's teeth and just smooth off any rough edges that he might have. I had already given Baltic a good bath, cleaned his stall and tossed him some hay first thing that morning. I always gave him his hay first thing on a race day, which he eventually realized the meaning of, and so after eating that hay, he would lie down and rest almost the entire day, very race savvy. Later in the morning the dentist arrived and started to do a bit of filing on Baltic's teeth, I was in the next stall putting away my last horse. After that, I walked into Baltic's stall and saw blood running down the dentist's arm and blood all over Baltic's mouth. I was shocked and said "What did you do?" "You were just supposed to smooth off the rough edges"! The dentist had pulled Baltic's front, upper and lower, 3-year-old baby teeth, which were barely ready to come out! I was shocked that he would do that! Baltic had one of the most important races of the year that night and this guy has blood running down his arm and I'm sure Baltic was in pain. [Head trainer] Soren [Nordin] was livid and that dentist was never allowed in the barn again. I did what I could to make Baltic comfortable but I was seething the whole time. The big evening arrived, my mother and some of her friends were coming to watch, adding to the excitement. She had never seen Baltic race before, live, so it was a big treat for her. I got him all ready, everything shined and polished, walked him to the main track across the street from the training side, some of the grooms waving us on and wishing us luck. I had made sure that I brought a clean sponge with some salt water to rinse out his mouth to try and help a little, anyway. The first heat went well, and I got him bathed and ready for the final. Jimmy Takter and Jan Nordin stood there those last minutes before being called out for the race and Jimmy asked me if I thought Baltic Speed could win. I told Jimmy I was pretty sure he could and I smiled, "That's if he isn't last at the half!" referring to his position in the Hambletonian a few months earlier. That got a laugh out of Jimmy laughed and even Jan smiled. Baltic did his usual trick of staying off the pace then making his move coming around the final turn and winning with Sandy Bowl and Giorgio D - the other Nordin horses - finishing second and third. It was a tremendous night for Team Nordin. It was also very exciting and more than a little poignant as I knew this would be Baltic's and my last race together so I savored every moment of it, from the Winners Circle presentations to the walk back to the paddock, enjoying every wave and shout of the crowd. After all was done in the paddock, we walked back to the barn and I took a little longer time than usual putting him away. I gave him long hugs, told him how much I loved him and what a great horse he was, and that my life story would never be complete without him being in it. Then I left him to eat his dinner and hay and have a well-deserved rest. I had been invited to the Greenbriar Pub afterwards and when I walked in I was greeted by a round of applause and lots of shouts of "congratulations." I stood there for a moment with my head down, very touched by this show of support, then went in with a huge smile on my face and had a very nice evening with good food and good friends. Later I went back to check on Baltic, rinsed his mouth out one more time, then stood holding his sweet face in my arms, him gently holding onto my forearm as he did every night when I went to do his night check. Another great memory with this wonderful, tiger on the track, kitten in the barn, stallion... and friend. by Marcia Hamilton, for the Breeders Crown
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.