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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – On Nov. 21, a filly defended her crown while a gelding of regal blood scored himself high honors in Fall Final Four harness rcing action at the Meadowlands. Anoka Hanover won the $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for freshman trotting fillies—sponsored by Hunterton Farms. Todd McCarthy drove the Noel Daley-trained filly to victory in 1:53.2. The Kindergarten Classic champion scored her seventh-straight win of the season and her 10th win in 14 starts. Beautiful Game was rushed to the front entering the first turn but settled for the pocket to a :28.1 opening quarter as Insta Glam cruised to the lead. Race-favorite Anoka Hanover, from the pylon post, protected position to race third, and stayed put at the pegs while Insta Glam sped to a :55.4 half. But, to the far turn and with the Breeders Crown champ Lady Chaos ranging uncovered, McCarthy moved his charge for the leader. Insta Glam began to feel the pressure of Anoka Hanover’s strong strides past three-quarters in 1:23.3 while Lady Chaos spun her wheels and gapped cover. Into the stretch, Anoka Hanover drew away from the field to score easily by two-and-a-quarter lengths. Soaring up the inside came Flawless Country, who finished second, passing Beautiful Game, third, and Wet My Whistle, fourth.    Noel Daley co-owns the daughter of Donato Hanover—Aunt Mel along with LA Express Stable LLC and Caviart Farms.  “She’s been phenomenal,” Todd McCarthy said after the race. “Noel’s done an unbelievable job managing her. The success we’ve had with her has been a dream come true for me. She’s been getting better and better all the time. I love her attitude; she wants to do the job every time.” Buck Chaffee of Caviart Farms said none of the connections thought Anoka Hanover was as classy as she raced this season. “She didn’t look great as a baby. We didn’t know she was good until she started racing,” he said. “As owners we’re happy. This is one of those pleasant surprises.” As the public’s choice, Anoka Hanover paid $2.80 to win. She increased her earnings to $599,053. Bee Forever, with Victor Kirby at the reins, pulled off an upset in the $398,650 Valley Victory for freshman trotting colts and geldings—sponsored by Kentuckiana Farms—closing with confidence down the stretch to win in 1:54.  Bee Forever was in no rush to leave, settling in ninth as Dees Red Delicous, race-favorite On A Streak, and Incommunicado stepped quickly off the gate. Incommunicado grabbed the top spot, but gave way past a :27.4 first quarter as Dees Red Delicous strode to the front. On A Streak, positioned fourth, then made his move for the lead, cruising by Dees Red Delicous through a :55.4 half before bearing a first-over charge from Zenith Stride to the far turn. Zenith Stride kept the pressure on the leader to three-quarters in 1:25.1, but grew leg weary off the turn. Storming three-wide from near last, Bee Forever found a clear path to aim at the finish line, and full of trot, Kirby did not have to urge the son of Muscle Hill—Bee A Magician to glide safely to victory by a neck. On A Streak held for second and Delayed Hanover followed to get third.   Richard “Nifty” Norman trains Bee Forever, who won his second race in nine starts.  “The first time I drove Bee Forever, Nifty told me the colt can trot really fast but he’s green and needs to be taught. Every week he got better.” Kirby said in Bee Forever’s Kindergarten Final performance two weeks ago, “if I shake free, he wins, so I knew if he gets open space it would work out.” Bee Forever has now earned $240,986 at two and Kirby feels there’s a lot more to come at three. “You’re going to hear from him next year,” he said. Bee Forever paid $30.60 to win. By Frank Cotolo, for The Meadowlands   

Harness racing driver Todd McCarthy is no fan of the cold, but the Australia native is a big admirer of good horses. And the latter will keep McCarthy in the U.S. through this winter and next year. The 27-year-old McCarthy moved to the U.S. in late August and already counts a handful of Grand Circuit stakes victories among his 80 wins sinceeries cham then. His biggest triumph came earlier this month with Anoka Hanover in the Kindergarten Classic Spionship for 2-year-old female trotters, and McCarthy will be back in action with the filly this weekend. Anoka Hanover is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday's $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters at The Meadowlands. She brings a six-race win streak to the event, including divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes. For the year, the Noel Daley-trained filly has won nine of 13 races and $373,153. McCarthy has been in the sulky for her past six starts. "She's been awesome," McCarthy said. "Noel has done a terrific job with her and certainly made my job easier. It's a tough race, but fingers crossed, hopefully everything goes well for us." Anoka Hanover was not eligible to the Breeders Crown last month at Harrah's Hoosier Park. On Saturday, she will face the top-three Breeders Crown finishers: winner Lady Chaos, runner-up Mazzarati, and Splash Blue Chip. Lady Chaos and Splash Blue Chip have not raced since the Crown. Mazzarati finished third in the Kindergarten two weeks ago, when Anoka Hanover won in a career-best 1:52.3. "Going to the Breeders Crown would have been cool but she might not have been the same horse going into the Kindergarten and the race this week," McCarthy said about Anoka Hanover, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Aunt Mel. "I'm a big believer that sometimes everything happens for a reason and that fortnight ago was perfect. "She's got such a good attitude for such a young filly; she handles herself so well. She's just a lovely little horse to drive. She's so honest. She's out there to do her best every time, you don't have to ask her too much; she's trying as hard as you can. When you come across a horse like that, it doesn't matter what age group, you just really appreciate them." McCarthy is the younger brother of top drivers Luke and Andy McCarthy and son of highly regarded trainer John McCarthy. His accomplishments Down Under included winning the 2016 Australasian Young Drivers Championship and multiple New South Wales state and metropolitan premiership driving titles. He represented Australia at the 2019 World Driving Championship and counts the Inter Dominion as his top victory. "I have to thank Noel for all he's done," McCarthy said. "He helped me come over here and got me going. He couldn't have been more helpful since I've come to the States, putting me down to drive. I can't thank him enough." McCarthy's original plan was to return to Australia during the U.S. winter and return next spring or summer. But with his newfound success in the States, he decided there was no reason to leave. McCarthy entered Friday with 80 wins in 565 drives, a 14-percent win rate, and $1.17 million in purses. "To be honest, I never thought I would stay this busy when I came over; I thought I'd be pretty quiet," McCarthy said. "But everyone has been so welcoming, and I've been getting a lot of great opportunities. I'm really enjoying it. "I don't like the cold too much, but I'm happy to stick it out and I'll do my best to enjoy the winter. I don't want to go home. I'm having too much fun." The Goldsmith Maid is part of the Fall Four events for 2-year-olds Saturday at The Big M. Breeders Crown champion On A Streak is the 3-1 favorite in the $398,650 Valley Victory for male trotters and Summa Cum Laude, who captured a Breeders Crown in a dead heat with Perfect Sting, is the 9-5 choice in the $371,900 Governor's Cup for male pacers. Fire Start Hanover, also a Crown winner, is the 2-1 favorite in the $323,600 Three Diamonds for female pacers. In addition to the Fall Four, the Saturday card includes TVG Series championships for trotters and pacers. Those races will feature the final career starts for Dan Patch Award winners Bettor's Wish, Kissin In The Sand, and Manchego. For complete Saturday Big M entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

East Rutherford, NJ - The 2020 Grand Circuit stakes season at The Meadowlands will conclude on Saturday, November 21 with the $1 million TVG finals for older horses and $1.5 million Freshman Fall Final Four (Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory & Governor's Cup).   While it seems a lifetime ago, when the live racing dates for 2020 were awarded by the NJRC last November they included the legislated right for Monmouth Park to run a Fall meet on the main track at The Meadowlands from October 2 through December 5, eliminating any possibility of a Fall harness meet.   Those dates were eventually revised through negotiations to end on November 21, the reason being to accommodate the Final Four and TVG finals. The issue remained that the earliest date the Standardbred meet could begin and those stakes raced would be November 28.   With such a late date for the Final Four and the fact that of the four stakes only the Three Diamonds required eliminations in 2019, a top money winning format was implemented for 2020. The conditions were amended to read "The eleven (11) highest 2020 money winners (USTA records) that are declared will race at one mile" . So, there will be no eliminations, just a single race composed of up to eleven horses with a provision for a consolation if enough are declared to warrant one.   Among the many COVID related changes this year was Monmouth's decision to not race at The Meadowlands at all, which has allowed the Standardbreds to continue through the Fall and the above mentioned stakes to be raced a week earlier.   The final two preliminary legs of the Kindergarten Classic Series will be raced the next two Fridays leading up to the $800,000e finals on Saturday, November 7. The current standings and conditions are available on the web.   Contact the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130 with any questions.   From The Meadowlands  

In a classic stretch battle, Senorita Rita and driver Scott Zeron nosed out pacesetter Sister Sledge at the wire to win the $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old harness racing trotting fillies Saturday at the Meadowlands. The time of the race was a lifetime mark of 1:53 for the daughter of Chapter Seven despite rains that started at the track. Senorita Rita posted her fourth straight victory for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, NY. She paid $4.20 to win. Finishing third was Hall Of AM S. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The final major date for big-time stakes racing in 2019 on the harness racing calendar is just nine days away as the sport's top venue, the Meadowlands Racetrack, will host eight events certain to have impact on many divisional honors - as well as Horse of the Year - on Saturday, Nov. 23. The lineup on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night is a stacked one. The four events for 2-year-olds are the $505,050 Valley Victory for trotting colts and geldings, $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for trotting fillies, $401,850 Governor's Cup for pacing colts and geldings and $411,000 Three Diamonds for pacing fillies. In addition, some of the sport's biggest names will be on the track in four TVG Finals. They include the $350,000 Open Pace, $175,000 Mares Pace, $350,000 Open Trot and $175,000 Mares Trot. Two of the stars expected to compete are presumptive Horse of the Year front-runner Shartin N (Mares Pace) and the top horse in training right now - the great mare Manchego - who is likely to get an invitation to the Open Trot as she seeks a seventh straight score in her quest to beat the boys. Purses for the eight races total $2,843,000. Not only will there be plenty of action on the track, but there will be off it as well. There will be a special early post time of 7 p.m. and they'll also be an enhanced wagering menu, which includes: 20-cent Survivor Pick-6 (Races 1-6) $40,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-5 (Races 3-7)  $75,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-4 (Races 8-11)  Rolling Pick-3s "All of us at the Meadowlands are looking forward to Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night," said Meadowlands' Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Our loyal fans are sure to enjoy our expanded wagering menu on what promises a spectacular card of racing, where divisional honors and Horse of the Year will be decided on the track. In addition, we'll expand our simulcast presence by adding Gabe Prewitt of Pompano Park and the Red Mile and Ft. Erie Racetrack's Ashley Mailloux, who has also done work for TVG, the Breeders' Cup and 'Post Time with Mike and Mike' to our TV team that night." BUILD YOUR BANKROLL: This weekend, the Big M will have its usual live race cards on Friday (Nov. 15) and Saturday (Nov. 16), with post time at 7:15 p.m. Faithful players will have plenty of opportunities to hit big throughout the 26-race weekend, as 17 of the races will have full 10-horse fields, while six others will have nine behind the gate. The three remaining races will have eight-horse fields. The average field size, assuming there are no scratches, will be 9.54 horses per race. BUILD YOUR HAND: "Free Poker Fridays" at the Big M continue Nov. 15. The event, which is sponsored by World Free Poker, begins trackside at 7 p.m. Players must be 21 years of age. GOBBLE, GOBBLE: On Saturday (Nov. 16), enter to win one of 25 vouchers (worth $20) to get a Thanksgiving turkey. Entry forms will be in the live racing program. TOYS FOR TOTS: Come on out to the track on Monday, Dec. 2 and bring an unwrapped toy for a child at Harlem Grown. Not only will you help a youngster have a happy holiday, but you will also get to greet New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa - the honorary Captain of the 2019 Toys for Tots Campaign - as the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Annual Holiday Toy Drive Reception takes place at the Meadowlands. FOX5 sportscaster Tina Cervasio will host the event, where some of Enunwa's Jets teammates are expected to attend. For those who cannot make it but would like to help, they can bring a new, unwrapped toy to the track between Friday (Nov. 15) and the night of the event. MORE ACTION: In addition to the world's best harness racing, Big M fans can also bet all NFL, NBA, NHL and college basketball and football games in the track's FanDuel Sportsbook. This weekend's local gridiron action finds the Jets traveling to take on the Washington Redskins on Sunday (Nov. 17) at 1 p.m. while the Giants have a bye week. From the Meadowlands Media Department

East Rutherford, NJ - Entries were taken at The Meadowlands this morning for the Fall Freshman Final Four Grand Circuit stakes. With ten or fewer horses declared in three of the four races, eliminations became unnecessary for those and all horses that were entered in those harness racing stakes will move directly to the final.   Only the Three Diamonds filly pace with a dozen declared will require a single elimination. The stakes conditions call for byes to be offered the the leading money winners and the connections of Lyon's Sentinel and Looksgoodinaromper accepted direct passage into the final.   The remaining ten fillies will race in a $20,000 elimination on Saturday night with the top eight finishers in the official order of finish joining those that accepted the bye in final.   Those finals will be raced on Saturday, November 23 along with the TVG Finals as part of a $2.8 million stakes card.   Here are the horses entered for all divisions of the stakes, listed alphabetically.   The $411,000 Three Diamonds Final (12): Baby Your The Best Hen Party JK Finendandy JK First Lady Looksgoodinaromper* Lyons Sentinel* Marloe Hanover Perfect Storm Rapunzel Blue Chip Rocknificent Shouldabeenatd The Bethinator *Accepted bye into the final   $401,850 Governor's Cup (6) Captain Groovy Cattlewash Father Nuno Lake Charles Mac's Big Boy Papi Rob Hanover   $475,100 Goldsmith Maid (8) Common Sense S Hall Of Am S Musclesandmascara Queen Of The Hill Senorita Rita Sister Sledge Tricky Sister Winter Olympics   $505,000 Valley Victory (10) Amigo Volo Book Seven Chestnut Hill EL Ideal Moveoutofmyway K Patriarch Hanover Ready For Moni Rome Pays Off Southwind Fulton St Martins   by Nick Salvi, for The Meadowlands  

East Rutherford, NJ - Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron tipped three wide coming off the final turn and powered through the stretch to win the $469,300 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers by 3-3/4 lengths over Mac's Power in 1:50.3 on a wet Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Blood Money finished third. The Governor's Cup was one of the Fall Final Four events for 2-year-old pacers and trotters at the Big M. Southwind Avenger won the $435,900 Valley Victory for male trotters while Sonnet Grace captured the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid for female trotters and Prescient Beauty claimed the $391,250 Three Diamonds for female pacers. All of the races were contested over a sloppy track as the result of persistent rain. In the Governor's Cup, Captain Crunch was fifth through the first half of the race as Escapetothebeach and Mangogh each took a turn on the lead. Captain Crunch followed the cover of Semi Tough around the final turn before moving to the front in the stretch and cruising to victory. Captain Crunch, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, has won six of 10 races this year and earned $616,113 for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. The colt, who last month won the Breeders Crown, is trained by Nancy Johansson. He was bred by Walnridge Farm and Sherri Meirs. "We really took our time with him," Johansson said. "He's a big growthy colt and there is a lot of money to be made toward the end of the season. We just figured we would take our time and let him come into his own." Johansson purchased Captain Crunch, then known as Captain Bean, for $85,000 at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale at the urging of her then 12-year-old daughter, Ella. "She said, 'Whatever you do, you have to buy Captain Bean,'" Johansson said, adding with a laugh, "Great. No pressure. "Luckily I have a good group of owners behind me and we were able to put together a group and purchase the colt and it's been a fairy tale story ever since." Captain Crunch, the 9-5 favorite, paid $5.80 to win. In the Valley Victory, Southwind Avenger upset at odds of 15-1, defeating Chin Chin Hall by a half-length in 1:55.3. Reign Of Honor finished third. Seven Hills, the 2-1 favorite, went off stride entering the final turn. Southwind Avenger, a Southwind Farms-bred son of E L Titan out of Auvergne, has won two of 11 races and earned $355,067 for owners Mel Hartman, David McDuffee, and Little E LLC. The gelding is trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman, who also trains Reign Of Honor, and was driven by Dexter Dunn. "We were looking for something for Canada that we thought would maybe step up there," said McDuffee, who also co-owns Chin Chin Hall. "We've had a lot of luck racing up in Canada. He was a beautiful colt out of a very nice mare. The rest is history, I guess. Nifty has done a wonderful job bringing him along. "One thing about Nifty, he's not in any hurry. He takes his time and lets them develop. When they're ready, he's ready. He just does a really nice job." Southwind Avenger paid $32.40 to win. In the Goldsmith Maid, second favorite Sonnet Grace took the lead on the backstretch and fended off challenges from Evident Beauty and Princess Deo to win by a half-length in 1:54.2. Princess Deo was second and Evident Beauty was third. Yannick Gingras drove Sonnet Grace for trainer Ron Burke. Sonnet Grace, a daughter of Muscle Massive out of I Believe, has won seven of 12 races this year and earned $402,597. She is owned by the Sonnet Grace Stable, which purchased the filly from former owner-trainer-driver Rod Allen in late September. Allen also bred the filly. "Rod Allen is a hell of a horseman and I give a shout out to him because he did a great job getting her broke and trained down," said the ownership group's Howard Taylor. "We got lucky." Sonnet Grace paid $6.40 to win. In the $391,250 Three Diamonds, Prescient Beauty rallied in the stretch to overtake battling leaders Zero Tolerance and Warrawee Ubeaut to win by a half-length in a career-best 1:50.4. Zero Tolerance finished second and even-money favorite Warrawee Ubeaut was third. Doug McNair drove Prescient Beauty to the victory for his dad, trainer Gregg McNair. Prescient Beauty had finished third behind Warrawee Ubeaut and Zero Tolerance in last month's Breeders Crown. Prescient Beauty, a daughter of Art Major out of Precious Beauty, has won five of 13 races this year and earned $439,971 for breeder-owner Jim Avritt Sr. Gregg McNair also trained fourth-place finisher Beautyonthebeach, another Avritt-owned homebred. "They've raced good," McNair said. "They've had a few problems here and there, but they've kept going. They're a good pair of mares." Sent off at 9-2, Prescient Beauty paid $11 to win. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

This Week: Fall Four and TVG finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Hap Hansen Progress Pace elimination, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Wednesday (Nov. 21) for a $35,000 elimination in the Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old open pacers. A field of 10 will compete for eight spots in the final slated for Nov. 29. On Saturday night (Nov. 24) Meadowlands Racetrack will host finals in each of the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters and the TVG series for open pacers and trotters. The Fall Four features the 435,900 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $469,300 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the $391,250 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. The TVG finals consist of the $350,000 Open Pace, the $350,000 Open Trot, $175,000 Mare Pace and the $175,000 Mare Trot. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: A pair of longshots in This Is The Plan and The Downtown Bus stole the show in the $193,750 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Thursday (Nov. 15) at Dover Downs, tag-teaming in deep stretch to nose out Jimmy Freight in a 1:49.1 dead heat. This Is The Plan and The Downtown Bus emerged in the final stride to simultaneously nose out Jimmy Freight in a dead heat. Fotowon photo. After Ontario standout Jimmy Freight was tasked with the heavy lifting through strenuous fractions and sternly dismissed the challenge of 4-5 local favorite Lather Up, This Is The Plan ($17.00, Tim Tetrick) and The Downtown Bus ($20.60, Corey Callahan) emerged in the final stride to simultaneously nose out Jimmy Freight in a dead heat in the glamour boys' division of the Matron. Jimmy Freight and driver Scott Zeron let This Is The Plan clear before taking charge midway on the first turn and reeling off a :25.3 initial quarter. A determined advance from Lather Up (Montrell Teague) out of fourth with a circuit to go kept the pace hot through a :54.4 half, but Jimmy Freight remained undeterred with three-eighths to go and shrugged off that rival. Meanwhile, This Is The Plan remained close from the pocket and The Downtown Bus followed the three-wide cover of Breeders Crown winner Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) past three-quarters in 1:22.1. Turning for home, Dorsoduro Hanover stalled and Jimmy Freight was driven out to maintain a two length lead, but it began to shrink in the final sixteenth. This Is The Plan lunged up the open stretch and The Downtown Bus surged widest of all, and they both reached the winning post simultaneously in 1:49.1, a nose better than Jimmy Freight. Dorsoduro Hanover found more in the stretch, but missed by a neck to finish fourth. Ron Burke trains This Is The Plan, a six-time winner by Somebeachsomewhere, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Silva Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. Trainer Jeff Gillis co-owns 11-time winner The Downtown Bus with Ellen Ott. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 1,487.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,480; 3. David Miller - 1,209.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 724; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 658.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,399.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,170; 3. Tony Alagna - 726.5; 4. Julie Miller - 481; 5. Jim Campbell - 442. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 294.6; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 293.1; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 271.6; 5. Bill Donovan - 241.2. Looking ahead: The 2018 Grand Circuit season comes to a close on Nov. 29. Dover Downs will host the final stake of the season in the $260,000 (est.) Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

East Rutherford, NJ - The upcoming weekend of racing, featuring eliminations for the $1.8 million Freshman Fall Final Four and an overnight peek at a few of the sport's veteran stars looking forward to the $1 million Grand Circuit TVG Championships will serve as a hearty appetizer to nearly $3 million worth of finals on Saturday, November 24. Friday's headliners are a pair of $20,000 Open Handicap events both of which contain TVG eligible looking for a tightner before the final. The Open Mare Pace is led by Pure Country (Y. Gingras). The TVG Final will be the swan song for the great mare whose retirement following the TVG has already been announced. The triple Dan Patch award winner will race sans hopples for the first time on Friday as she closes in on $2.5 million in career earnings for owner/breeder Diamond Creek Racing and trainer Jimmy Takter. The Open Trot boasts the point leader in both the TVG Open and Mare division squaring off for $20,000. After a sparkling beginning to his season that placed him atop the TVG leaderboard, Will Take Charge (Tim Tetrick) has not had his finest form for the past few months and looks to reclaim that position in these late stages for owner Mac Nichol. Ice Attraction's campaign took an opposite course with early season struggles giving way to a successful fall including a World Record equaling performance at The Red Mile and a remarkable trip to gather the place in the Breeders Crown final. Andy Miller drives on Friday for owner/trainer Ake Svanstedt and partners Sipple, Burroughs and Little E, LLC. Saturday night brings a few elimination races for the Grand Circuit season's curtain call for the freshmen. Fifteen trotting colts entered the Valley Victory and after a pair of elimination races the top ten of those will pass through to next week's $435,900 final. It's an even group with the seasonal late bloomers making a last grab for the gold ring before winter training. The Governor's Cup drew 13 colt pacers and after three colts accepted a bye into the $469,300 final ten are left to battle over the seven remaining berths. Breeders Crown winner Captain Crunch (S. Zeron) brings the strongest resume to this one for trainer Nancy Johansson and the partnership of 3 Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stable and Caviart Farms. Both the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid and $391,250 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old trotting and pacing fillies respectively did not require elimination races and those two groups head directly into next week's finals. For good measure, the Saturday card also includes TVG Open Pace point leader and likely final favorite McWicked facing four others in an overnight Open Handicap. Post time for both nights is 7:15 pm. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Entries for the lucrative Freshman Fall Final Four stakes were taken today at The Meadowlands. Both filly races, the Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid required no elimination races, the Governor's Cup a single elimination and the Valley Victory with two elimination heats on Saturday, November 17.   All of the $1.8 million finals will be raced on Saturday, November 24.   The ten pacing fillies entered for the $391,250 Three Diamonds will go directly to the final and are listed in alphabetical order with driver and trainer:   Alkippe T.Tetrick L.Toscano Beautyonthebeach D. McNair G. McNair Love At First Bite A. McCarthy J. Takter Michelon's Filly M. Miller E. Miller Prescient Beauty D. McNair G. McNair Renaissance Lady K B. Sears N. Parker Summer Charm T. Tetrick R. Burke Sylph Hanover M. Kakaley R. Burke Warrawee Ubeaut Y. Gingras R. Burke Zero Tolerance D. Miller J. Holloway   The ten trotting fillies entered for the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid will go directly to the final and are listed in alphabetical order with driver and trainer:   Asiago B. Miller J. Takter Can't Touch It B. Sears J. Takter Caviart Jenny A. McCarthy N. Johansson Evident Beauty D. Miller R. Norman Fate Smiled M. Kakaley R. Burke Jezzy's Legacy R. Schnittker R. Schnittker Miss You Kelly T. Tetrick B. Lauer Princess Deo A. McCarthy N. Daley Sonnet Grace Y. Gingras R. Burke Stella Jane C. Callahan J. Butenschoen   The $469,300 Governor's Cup drew 13 declarations. The conditions require that byes to the final be offered to the top money winners in descending order. The connections of Captain Crunch and Reigning Deo declined the bye and will race in a single $20,000 10 horse elimination race with three colts to be eliminated from the final.   Accepting the three offered byes were the connections of Blood Money, Semi Tough and Sugar Factory. Those three will join the seven moving successfully from the elimination race to next week's final. The elimination winner will draw from posts 1-6 for the final.   The elim entrants are listed here in alphabetical order with the driver and trainer.   Artie's Ideal M. Miller E. Miller Captain Crunch S. Zeron N. Johansson Duddie's Lor A. McCarthy N. Daley Escapetothebeach T. Tetrick T. Alagna Lyons Johnnyjnr T. Tetrick J. Gillis Mac's Power D. Miller M. Silva Mangogh B. Miller B. Saunders Reigning Deo A. McCarthy B. Pelling Waterway B. Miller T. Alagna Yacht Week C. Lind S. Lind   The $435,900 Valley Victory took 15 declarations and will require 2 $20,000 elimination races. Elimination winners will draw from posts 1-6 for the final.   The elimination entrants are listed here in alphabetical order with the driver and trainer.   Battenberg C. Callahan J. Holloway Chin Chin Hall P. Wrenn M. Wrenn Divine Spirit A. McCarthy B. Pelling Forbidden Trade B. McClure L. Blais Gangham Style KS E. Abbatiello A. Svanstedt Hudson River B. Sears J. Takter No Drama Please A. Miller J. Miller Prospect Hill A. Miller J. Miller Quiksilvr Bluechip A. McCarthy L. Wallin Reign Of Honor D. Miller R. Norman Seven Hills C. Callahan J. Butenschoen Southwind Avenger D. Miller R. Norman Super Schissel Y. Gingras J. Takter Trix And Stones S. Zeron C. Jamieson Union Forces S. Zeron D. Cecere   The draw for the elimination races will be completed later today and available on the Meadowlands website.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands      

TORONTO, November 19 – Sent off the 5-2 second choice, Magic Presto sat a pocket trip to 3-5 favorite Princess Aurora before edging off the pylons in the stretch and sweeping to a 1:55.4 harness racing victory in the $447,000 Goldsmith Maid Final Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack. Brian Sears guided Richard “Nifty” Norman trainee Magic Presto to the front before the first turn, with Temple Ruins tucking into second and Princess Aurora into third. After a :29.1 quarter, Princess Aurora pursued the front and struggled to clear to command. She managed to take the front before trotting a :58.1 half. Maintaining control through a 1:26.3 third-quarter, Princess Aurora was soon braced by Magic Presto emerging from the pocket. Within a matter of strides, Magic Presto trotted to the lead and clear of Princess Aurora to win by three and a quarter lengths. Temple Ruins chased the two for third and Cameron Hill finished fourth. Winning her fourth race in nine starts this season, Magic Presto, a two-year-old trotting filly by Kadabra from the Muscles Yankee mare In The Mean Time, returned $7.10 to win. “It’s a good way to end the year,” Norman said following the victory. “She gets put away in good shape and I think she’ll be a good filly next year.” Magic Presto finishes her rookie season with of $393,049 for owners Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee, and Little E LLC and could’ve made more had it not been for a sickness last month. “Brian [Sears] actually hasn’t driven her when she’s been at her best,” noted Norman. “She had some sickness troubles during the [Ontario Sires Stakes] Super Final and the Breeders Crown, but we assured [Brian] that she was on the way back and she qualified good, so he came up. “It was a shame she got sick for the Super Final. We tried to get her healthy, and she got healthy for the Breeders Crown, but she really wasn’t fit enough and it didn’t pay off. We got paid tonight, so it worked out good.” by Ray Cotolo for WEG Communications

TORONTO, November 15 - The 2016 Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) harness racing stakes season will come to a close Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack with nearly $1.8 million on the line in the Fall Four. The Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid will see many of the finest two-year-olds in the sport attempting to finish off their rookie seasons in style. The richest event of the Fall Four is the $520,000 Governor's Cup, which features a field of 11 pacing colts and geldings. Two of the fastest two-year-olds in harness racing history, Downbytheseaside and Huntsville, will go toe-to-toe in Saturday's main event. Huntsville is coming into the Governor's Cup off a sensational 1:49.1 Breeders Crown victory on October 29. The Ray Schnittker trained colt has won seven of 10 starts this season, including the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) Championship and a pair of Grand Circuit events at The Red Mile. Downbytheseaside has done his best to stay out of the shadow of Huntsville, despite finishing second to his rival on three different occasions, including the PASS Championship and Breeders Crown. The Brian Brown trained colt has won seven of 12 starts this season. With no eliminations necessary for the Governor's Cup, Downbytheseaside tuned up for Saturday's contest with a winning qualifier last Friday at Dayton Raceway. The parallels between Huntsville and Downbytheseaside's rookie seasons run deep. Both are sons of Somebeachsomewhere, both have seven victories this season, both have followed almost identical schedules and both have victories over each other, with Hunstville holding a three to one advantage. However, the deepest connection that will long be remembered between the two standouts is October 8th, 2016 at The Red Mile. On a breezy fall afternoon in Lexington, Huntsville and Downbytheseaside each captured a division of the International Stallion Stake and both did so by equaling the World Record of 1:49. Huntsville versus Downbytheseaside is becoming one of the hottest rivalries in the sport and anticipation is already building for potential classic showdowns next season at age three. However, one final two-year-old battle looms for the superstar rookies and it only seems right that they will lineup side by side in the Governor's Cup. Huntsville and driver Tim Tetrick drew post position two, while Downbytheseaside and driver David Miller landed post position three for Saturday's $520,000 event. While the two big dogs in Saturday's Governor's Cup will have a close eye on each other, they will also have their hands full with their nine other rivals, which includes Breeders Crown third-place finisher Miso Fast, Kindergarten winner Air Strike and Dream Maker Series winner Bettors Dream. The Governor's Cup certainly has the makings of a potential classic, but the three other Fall Four events are also loaded with talent. The $427,000 Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies features Breeders Crown champion Someomensomewhere and Shes A Great Lady champion Idyllic Beach. IdyllicBeach bested Someomensomewhere in last Friday's elimination by just a neck, while Caviart Ally came through with a strong effort to take the other split. Someomensomewhere has won three of her last five going into Saturday, while Idyllic Beach is undefeated in three starts north of the border. The $404,000 Valley Victory for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings could be the scene of a "Snowstorm". Ron Burke trainee Snowstorm Hanover turned in a dominating effort to win his elimination last week in 1:55.1. The son of Muscle Massive is red-hot going into the Valley Victory final with back-to-back wins, including a victory on November 3rd in the Matron at Dover Downs. Local standout Jake will look to get in the way of Snowstorm Hanover. The Luc Blais trainee captured his elimination last week in 1:55.4 and has never finished out of the money in nine career starts. Similar to the Governor's Cup, the Goldsmith Maid for rookie trotting fillies did not require eliminations. A competitive field of 10 is scheduled to compete for $447,000. Princess Aurora has quietly earned $212,676 in the shadow of stablemate Ariana G this season, but with no Ariana G in the Goldsmith Maid, the Jimmy Takter trained filly will have a chance to grab the spotlight Saturday. Princess Aurora has three victories this season and has hit the board in eight of 10 outings. Saturday's card will be the final million dollar card of the 2016 North American harness racing season, which has seen many classic moments. With nearly $1.8 million up for grabs in the Fall Four, more signature moments will be added to the 2016 yearbook. The full draw for the Fall Four card will take place Wednesday. Post time Saturday is 7:30 p.m. Here are the post position draws for the Fall Four Finals. $520,000 Governor's Cup 1. Miso Fast by Roll With Joe 2. Huntsville by Somebeachsomewhere 3. Downbytheseaside by Somebeachsomewhere 4. Blood Line by Somebeachsomewhere 5. Some Attitude by Somebeachsomewhere 6. Who Said Not To by Well Said 7. Filibuster Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere 8. Western Hill by Western Ideal 9. Tuxedo Bay by Somebeachsomewhere 10. Air Strike by Always A Virgin 11. Bettors Dream by Bettor's Delight   $447,000 Goldsmith Maid 1. Princess Aurora by Cantab Hall 2. Southwind Tesla by Chapter Seven 3. Gravitator by Kadabra 4. Temple Ruins by Donato Hanover 5. Myammie Drama by Muscle Hill 6. Magic Presto by Kadabra 7. Winter Sweet Frost by Kadabra 8. Cameron Hill by Muscle Hill 9. Cool Cates by Yankee Glide 10. Blinded By Lindy by Crazed   $427,000 Three Diamonds 1. Someomensomewhere by Somebeachsomewhere 2. Bettors Up by Bettor's Delight 3. Idyllic Beach by Somebeachsomewhere 4. Caviart Ally by Bettor's Delight 5. Candlelight Dinner by American Ideal 6. Thats The Ticket by Roll With Joe 7. Rockette by Rocknroll Hanover 8. Black Jack Pat by Well Said 9. Obvious Blue Chip by Roll With Joe 10. Happy Hannah by Well Said AE: Bid Writer by Sportswriter   $404,000 Valley Victory 1. Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill 2. Andy M by Andover Hall 3. Jake by Muscle Hill 4. Moonshiner Hanover by Andover Hall 5. Snowstorm Hanover by Muscle Massive 6. Quadrangle by Muscle Hill 7. International Moni by Love You 8. Fraser Ridge by Triumphant Caviar 9. What The Hill by Mucsle hill 10. Sir John F by Donato Hanover AE: Lindy The Great by Crazed Mark McKelvie

EAST RUTHERFORD - All The Time was last seen in The Breeders Crown winner's circle at Woodbine three weeks ago. The Muscle Hill filly picked up right where she left off winning in authoritative fashion in the $20,000 elimination for the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid Final, which will be contested next Friday, November 20th at The Meadowlands. All The Time left for position, while Ultimate Shopper appeared intent on the lead in the early stages. Yannick Gingras guided the 4/5 favorite, All The Time, to the pylons briefly through a 29-second opening quarter before showing her racetrack as the field turned down the backstretch. The Breeders Crown champion easily cleared the lead before the 58.1 half-mile and the lead would only grow from there. All The Time powered away to a three length lead on the far turn, while Double Exposure assumed the daunting task of trotting first over against the favorite. All The Time reached three-quarters in 1:56.2 and poured it on to win by a geared down two and three-quarters lengths, tripping the timer in 1:54.4. Double Exposure trotted home well despite the first over trip to finish second with Haughty third. The top nine finishers qualified for the Final, therefore all but Lindy's On Fire will move on to that Final next Friday night. All The Time is a homebred of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and is trained by Jimmy Takter. She has now won seven of 11 starts this season with earnings of $452,240. The mares got their final tune-ups for the $200,000 TVG Free All Championships for both the pacing and trotting mares tonight. In the $25,000 Mare Trot, Shake It Cerry, adding Lasix for the first time, made a powerful first over move on the far turn and quickly trotted past pace-setter Classic Martine and drew clear to win convincingly in 1:53.3. Longshot Handover Bell was second while Classic Martine faded to third. Favored Bee A Magician was fourth. The 2014 Trotter of the Year won for the fourth time this season and she inched closer to $2.4 Million in her career. Shake It Cerry was driven by Dave Miller for Jimmy Takter and the champion is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. The pacing mares also went in the final TVG preliminary leg for $25,000. Sandbetweenurtoes was compromised by traffic in the stretch of the Breeders Crown, but she faced no such issue on this night winning in wire to wire fashion in 1:52 with Brett Miller in the sulky. Skippin By, a 24-1 longshot sat the pocket and stalked the winner throughout and mounted a strong challenge up the pylons through the stretch, but Sandbetweenurtoes was dead-game and held off the challenge for the fourth win of the season as she closes in on $500,000 lifetime. In his 40th season racing a horse at The Meadowlands, fittingly trainer Larry Remmen earned a victory on opening night for owner Bradley Grant. In other action, Penpal put forth a fine effort in her tune-up for the $385,250 Three Diamonds Final with a three and a half length victory over Albany Girl in a condition event for younger filly pacers. She scored for Pat Lachance in 1:54.2. Radar Contact returned to her favorite location, winning for the seventh time in 15 starts at The Meadowlands in a condition event for pacing mares in 1:52.3. It was not an easy victory as Radar Contact was headed in mid-stretch by Sir Jillian Z Tam, but the battle-tested mare fought back tenaciously to earn the victory for John Campbell and trainer Noel Daley. The driving star of the night was Dave Miller, winning three races, including the late Daily Double. Total Handle for the opening night program was $2,127,362, a slight increase from this same night in 2014. That is despite two less races and being up against a 13-race card that featured six Breeders Crown elimination races. The Late Pick 4 was well-received in its new eighth race slot, handling over $76,000. Racing resumes on Saturday with a 13-race program that includes eliminations for the Governor's Cup and Valley Victory as well as the final preliminary legs for the TVG Pacing and Trotting Championships. Post time for the Saturday program is 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali  

TORONTO, October 25 - The finest two-year-olds in harness racing were on display Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack for the Fall Four Stakes. Consisting of the Governors Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid, the Fall Four Stakes has been an annual showcase of the best freshmen in the sport. A costly miscue and a giant upset got the action underway in the $464,000 Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies. Mission Brief, the 3/5 heavy favourite, made a break leaving the gate throwing the fate of the rich final up into the air. Capitalizing on the public's choice break was 70-1 longshot Smexi and driver Corey Callahan. A daughter of Explosive Matter, Smexi got a two-hole trip behind Stubborn Belle and driver Paul Macdonell and was able to come off the leaders back in the stretch and trot on to a length and a half victory. Stubborn Belle held on for second, while Juanitas Fury finished third. "Leaving out of there I looked over and saw that she (Mission Brief) had made a break," said Callahan following the race. "We got really lucky Paul and I, we just kind of got things on our own up there, nobody really moved and it worked perfect for me." Trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman, Smexi had only one victory in eleven starts heading into the Goldsmith Maid. Takter, who drove Smexi in her elimination last week, handed the lines over to Callahan and told the driver his filly was ready and to put her in the race. "Tonight before the race he (Takter) pulled me aside and told me listen she was a little rough on me last week," said Callahan. "But I warmed her up tonight and she was really sharp and on her toes." The Goldsmith Maid victory pushes Smexi's career bankroll to over $364,000. Smexi paid $159.30 to win, while a $2 exactor paid just under $1,200. Smexi Fall Four night quickly became the Takter show in the $521,000 Valley Victory for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Takter trainees finished first, second, fourth and fifth to almost take the entire purse home in the rich final Pinkman and driver Sylvain Filion were able to convert off a second over trip to narrowly defeat stablemate Uncle Lasse by a head in 1:55.4. The heavy 3/5 favourite, Habitat, finished third wedge between Takter starters, as The Bank and Walter White finished fourth and fifth respectively. A son of Explosive Matter, Pinkman was making only his sixth career start in the Valley Victory final, but has now won four of those starts for earnings of over $330,000. Following the race, Takter explained why Pinkman was a little late getting to the races. "We castrated him after his baby races, he kind of didn't pay attention where he was suppose to," said Takter. "He had a very complicated castration, so it took a little bit of a long time for him to get where he (is), but he has surprised me a lot." Takter also said the son of Explosive Matter wasn't on his radar as a superstar training down. "Average, he did everything right, but I had quite a few horses that I thought were a lot better, but these horses that have the good willing to want to do it, especially at this time of year, can get it all." Pinkman is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. He returned $16.60 to win. Pinkman Artspeak, this year's Metro Pace winner, bounced back in impressive fashion to win the $565,000 Governors Cup for the two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Leaving from post position six, Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron got away sixth and were able to get into the outer flow on the backstretch, as Lost For Words hung up a big half of :54.3. As the field rounded the final turn, Pierce Hanover cleared to the front leaving Artspeak second over on the back of Lyons Again, as the field ripped by the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4. In the stretch, Artspeak came off his cover and powered by his rivals to take the lead and score a solid length and a half victory in 1:50.4. Go Daddy Go got up to finish second, while Pierce Hanover held on for third. A son of Western Ideal, Artspeak is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The GYM Partners. Heading into the Governors Cup final, Artspeak had made a break in two consecutive starts for the first two losses of his career. Following the race, Alagna spoke about the recent miscues from the two-year-old and getting him ready for the final. "I came up Tuesday, trained him up Wednesday and he trained fantastic at the farm, so I thought we had the kinks worked out," said Alagna. "Most people know that if I didn't have confidence the horse was ok, with the connections that own the horse he would've never been here to race, so I was very happy that he showed us the redemption that everybody thought he should." After training Artspeak earlier in the week, Alagna said he told the connections at dinner that he had full confidence in the horse. "I told them that night at dinner, he's back on his game, we've got our horse back." By adding the Governors Cup to his resume that already includes the Metro Pace, Artspeak has now won the two richest events of the season for two-year-old pacers. His record now stands at eight wins from ten starts for career earnings of just over $805,000. Artspeak paid $3.50 to win. Jk Shesalady improved to a perfect ten for ten with another victory in the $424,000 Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies Saturday night at Woodbine. Sent off as the heavy 1/5 favourite, Jk Shesalady and Yannick Gingras got away fifth and sat along the rail until the midway point of the race. Around the final turn, Gingras sent Jk Shealady first up to challenge the leader, The Show Returns, as the fillies were on even terms at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. Jk Shesalady came off the turn and quickly created separation with the field and cruised home to an impressive looking length and a half victory in 1:52.1. Solar Sister took the place spot, while Ideal Nuggets finished third. The Three Diamonds victory was the tenth win in a row for the undefeated Jk Shealady. Following the race, Gingras talked about racing her first up once again Saturday night. "It seems to be working for her, so no sense in changing anything," said Gingras. "She likes to relax in the first half and she's got a huge brush for the second half." A daughter of Art Major, Jk Shesalady is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners 3 Brothers Stable. Jk Shesalady has now banked over $669,000 in her rookie season and has earned herself consideration in Horse of the Year talk. She returned $2.50 to win. Mark McKelvie

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