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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   

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  

EL Ideal and driver Andy Miller led from start to finish in capturing the $505,050 Valley Victory Trot final for two-year-old harness racing colts at the Meadowlands Saturday. Trained by Ake Svanstedt for EMP Invest Oy, it was the third straight win for the son of Muscle Hill. He paid $8.00 to win. Ready For Moni was second with Chestnut Hill third. Race favorite, Amigo Volo, broke stride at the start. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

His arrival was delayed, but Southwind Fulton is ready for his first big dance. Southwind Fulton, who saw his season slowed by growth issues and throat surgery, will make his first stakes appearance on the Grand Circuit's final weekend when he competes in Saturday's $505,050 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands Racetrack. The Lucas Wallin-trained colt has only three starts but won his past two races by a total of more than 14 lengths. "Of course, I would like to have three more starts in him before racing against these guys, but it is what it is," said Wallin, who trains Southwind Fulton for owner Mazza Racing Stables. "The other horses have more races and faster times, but I think if he can follow a horse, he should be OK. "It's tough to say (what his potential is) when he only has three starts, but I think he's a Grand Circuit horse next year. He doesn't have the fastest miles, but the way he won his two races was very good. He did both very easy. It's good for him to race against these kinds of horses one time before we turn him out. It is a good learning experience." Southwind Fulton will face a well-tested group led by Breeders Crown and Matron Stakes winner Amigo Volo. The 10-horse field also includes Rome Pays Off, a state-bred stakes winner in Pennsylvania who was runner-up in both the Breeders Crown and Peter Haughton Memorial, plus Kindergarten Classic Series champion EL Ideal and Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Ready For Moni. Purchased for $95,000 at last year's Lexington Selected Sale, Southwind Fulton is a son of Muscle Hill out of Fillyanthrophy. His second dam (Filly At Bigs) and third dam (Mombasa) were both O'Brien Award winners. The family also includes stakes-winners Big Rigs and Miss Tezsla. "He's been good all the time," Wallin said. "We took him to the Meadowlands in May and he showed some speed already. But then he started to grow, and we had to take our time with him. When we started to bring him back to race, his throat started struggling. We had to take him to (Dr.) Patty Hogan and the throat seems to be good now, but he lost a month of training." Southwind Fulton heads to the Valley Victory off two qualifiers following his two conditioned wins in October at Harrah's Philadelphia. His most recent qualifier was Nov. 16, when he led for three-quarters of the mile before finishing fourth. He was timed in 1:55.3, with David Miller in the sulky. "He's an honest horse and normally has good stamina," Wallin said. "The last qualifier, Dave left a little with him and he got a little too grabby and went a :27.1 first quarter. We're going to try a couple of new things and see if we can calm him down. He's normally a very relaxed and calm horse. Dave asked him to go a little bit and he got a little too grabby. That's something we have to work on. But he should be fine." The Valley Victory is part of the Fall Final Four, with the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, Three Diamonds for 2-year-old female pacers, and Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters. In addition, Saturday's Meadowlands card includes the TVG championships for pacers and trotters. Matron Stakes winner Papi Rob Hanover headlines the Governor's Cup. The Brett Pelling trainee has finished no worse than second in his past nine races, winning five. Multiple Grand Circuit winner Lyons Sentinel got a bye into the Three Diamonds final, where her foes include elimination winner JK First Lady and Kindergarten champ Marloe Hanover. Kindergarten champ Senorita Rita and Breeders Crown runner-up and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ Sister Sledge lead the field in the Goldsmith Maid. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EST) Saturday at The Meadowlands. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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  

Hightstown, NJ — After winning his elimination for the Valley Victory Stakes last week, Trix And Stones will try to close his harness racing season with a victory in Saturday’s (Nov. 24) $435,900 final for 2-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. The Carl Jamieson-trained colt, who passed through the Lexington Selected Mixed Sale auction ring in October but was bought back by Jamieson, is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. The Valley Victory is one of the Fall Final Four stakes for 2-year-olds at the Big M on Saturday. Captain Crunch is the morning-line favorite in the $469,300 Governor’s Cup for male pacers, Warrawee Ubeaut is the favorite in the $391,250 Three Diamonds for female pacers and Sonnet Grace gets the nod in the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid for female trotters. Also on Saturday, the Meadowlands hosts four finals for the TVG Series and welcomes soon-to-be-retired 14-year-old Foiled Again, harness racing’s all-time richest horse, for an invitational. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). Trix And Stones is a son of Trixton out of Baby Bella and a half-brother to stakes-winners Buen Camino and Victor’s Future. He was purchased as a yearling for $45,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. For the season, Trix And Stones has won two of 13 races, hit the board a total of seven times, and earned $114,262. “He’s been doing a pretty good job for us,” said Jamieson, who owns the colt with Joanne Morrison and Robert Boyce. “I’m really happy with him. He’s good mannered and clean gaited; he’s really good that way. For a colt, he’s very quiet and easy to handle. He’s just a nice horse.” Trix And Stones began his career in the New Jersey Sire Stakes series and finished second to Greenshoe in the championship. His first win came in a conditioned race at Woodbine Mohawk Park and was followed by second-place finishes in divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at Lexington’s Red Mile. After going through the mixed sale, Trix And Stones finished fourth in his Breeders Crown elimination to advance to the final, where he finished seventh but was found to be sick. “I had him in the sale but he didn’t bring his reserve so I bought him back for $190,000,” Jamieson said. “I don’t mind selling and taking the money, but I’m not going to give them away when I’ve got a good horse. He’s paid up to the Hambletonian next year and it looks like he’s racing with the best here and staying with them, so he should be all right. I think he will make a heck of a 3-year-old.” Last week, Trix And Stones led from gate to wire, beating Southwind Avenger by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.1 with Scott Zeron in the sulky. Zeron and Trix And Stones will leave from post six in Saturday’s final. “He raced excellent the other night and it looks like we have a good shot on Saturday,” Jamieson said. “We need a little luck, but I think he’s as good as any of them in there.” Seven Hills, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer John Butenschoen, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Valley Victory. Seven Hills finished second in his elimination, which was won by Chin Chin Hall in 1:54.4. Chin Chin Hall, with Peter Wrenn driving for Melanie Wrenn, is 9-2 on the morning line. For Saturday’s complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

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  

Driver Bob McClure and trainer Luc Blais have forged a strong relationship this year, winning 28 percent of their starts together. The partnership has helped McClure make a successful transition from Canada's "B" tracks to the main stage of Woodbine Mohawk Park, not to mention the harness racing Grand Circuit, and aided Blais' bid for career highs for wins and purses. The two will look to add to their accomplishments Saturday (Nov. 17) at the Meadowlands, where Ontario Sire Stakes champion Forbidden Trade takes on seven rivals in the second of two eliminations for the Valley Victory Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters. The top-five finishers from each elim advance to the $435,900 final on Nov. 24 at the Big M. Elimination winners will draw for posts one thorough six. Forbidden Trade, who has won seven of nine races, is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. He will start from post seven. Seven Hills is the 3-1 favorite, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer John Butenschoen. "He's been top notch all year," McClure said about Forbidden Trade. "He's pretty incredible for a 2-year-old. He looks like a 3-year-old and has the maturity of a 4-year-old. He's never given me any trouble. He's perfect to drive, a complete professional, no matter what kind of trip you give him. He's got the attitude of a good one. "The two races he lost were probably his two best races. One race (a preliminary leg of the sire stakes) he had a lot of bad racing luck and still raced huge. The other time (in a division of the Champlain Stakes) he had some traffic trouble. I didn't have him in good position and he got out of gear a little bit. He still came home :27.1, but he was in no position to win. He could have come home in :26.4 and he still wasn't going to win." Forbidden Trade, by Kadabra out of O'Brien Award-winner Pure Ivory, has earned $213,139 for owner Serge Godin's Determination stable. He brings a four-race win streak to his Valley Victory elimination. "I think the sky is the limit for him," McClure said. "He's been a professional from day one. He's made my job easy. If he's in any position to win he usually gets the job done. He's been fun to drive all year. I think he has the potential to be a top Grand Circuit horse." The 28-year-old McClure led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016, topping 500 both years, and was third in 2015. This season, with his focus on Woodbine Mohawk, he has won 285 races and a career-best $3.74 million (U.S.) in purses. He ranks third in Canada in both wins and purses. "I'm very happy," McClure said. "I have a lot of people to thank for that. I was really happy where I was (at the smaller tracks) and I was having a lot of fun. But I decided to commit to (Woodbine Mohawk). I wanted to be home with family more. I didn't anticipate picking up the stakes stables I did. I didn't anticipate having as good a year that I've had right off the bat. It's worked out significantly better than I thought it would." Among those on McClure's thank-you list is trainer Dean Nixon, who backed the driver from the earliest days of his transition. "I've driven for him for a long time and he's somebody I've had a really good working relationship with," McClure said. "He's happy with the work I do, and I respect the good job he does. We've always done really well together. It gave me the freedom of being able to make some mistakes during the transition and not worry about him being upset about it. He's always going to be in your corner. "When I picked up Luc Blais, that was the icing on the cake." Blais, who trains exclusively for Determination, is in the midst of his third consecutive million-dollar-season. His 66 wins this year are the third most of his career (his best came in 2000 with 77) and his $1.56 million in purses is also third (his best came last year with $1.85 million). In addition to winning the Ontario Sire Stakes championship with Forbidden Trade, Blais and McClure have captured the Steele Memorial and Joie De Vie with Dream Together. They finished second in the Armbro Flight Stakes with Emoticon Hanover and second in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship with Champagne Jane. "They asked if I wanted to be the driver for Determination stables and I jumped at the opportunity," said McClure, who has driven 163 of Blais' 236 starters. "Serge Godin and Luc Blais are very good people to work for. "I think everyone is real happy with the year we've had." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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      

After rebounding from a disappointing outcome in the Breeders Crown with a win in last week's Valley Victory Stakes elimination, 2-year-old trotter Fourth Dimension will try to wrap up his season with one more harness racing victory in Saturday's $464,650 final at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Valley Victory is one of the "Fall Final Four" stakes for 2-year-old trotters and pacers Saturday at the Big M. The Valley Victory, for male trotters, is joined by the $420,750 Goldsmith Maid for female trotters, $411,700 Governor's Cup for male pacers, and $381,200 Three Diamonds for female pacers. In addition, the card includes TVG Series championships for trotters and pacers. Fourth Dimension, trained by Marcus Melander, starts the Valley Victory final from post five after beating Kinda Lucky Lindy by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:55 last weekend. Brian Sears will drive the colt, who has won seven of 10 races and earned $176,700 for owner Courant Inc. In his start prior to the Valley Victory elimination, Fourth Dimension finished fifth in the Breeders Crown on Oct. 28 at Hoosier Park. He was the 1-2 favorite after winning his Breeders Crown elimination in a track-record 1:54, but was unable to find his footing in the final. "We were disappointed after the Breeders Crown," Melander said. "He had a lot of problems with the surface that day. It was the same for everyone, but my horse just had a lot of problems with it. He's a horse that really needs some grip and it was just slippery for him. It was too bad it was that day, but there is nothing we can do about it now. "(Last week) I was very happy with how he looked and how he trotted. He trained good after the Breeders Crown, otherwise I wouldn't have put him in there. He came out of the race good and I'm going to train him (Wednesday) a little bit. He seems very good." Fourth Dimension has won three of his past four starts, including a 1:52.4 victory in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile. That time is tied for the fastest race mile of the season by a 2-year-old trotter. In addition, the colt set or equaled track records four times this year. In the Valley Victory, Fourth Dimension's foes include Samo Different Day, who in October won a division of the Madison County at Hoosier Park in a then-track-record 1:54.4. Samo Different Day, who finished second in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Matron Stakes and was third in the Breeders Crown, received a bye to the final. Also in the field are Matron Stakes winner Wolfgang, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Fashionwoodchopper, Kentucky Sire Stakes winner Hat Trick Habit, and Kindergarten Series winner Tito. "I'm looking forward to Saturday," Melander said. "He's beaten these horses before. It's a nice group of colts, but I know my horse is one of the best out there. He's showed a lot. He's a very nice colt." The Goldsmith Maid features elimination winner Plunge Blue Chip, who has won eight of nine races for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Plunge Blue Chip's victories this season also include the Matron Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters. Among the horses joining her in the Goldsmith Maid are stakes-winners Hey Blondie, who received a bye to the final, and Seviyorum, who finished second in the Breeders Crown. Breeders Crown champion Stay Hungry, who received a bye, leads the group for the Governor's Cup, which also includes elimination winner Springsteen as well as stakes-winners Lost In Time, Closing Statement, and Nutcracker Sweet. The Three Diamonds features a field that includes Breeders Crown winner Youaremycandygirl and fellow stakes-winners Kissin In The Sand, Rainbow Room, Majorsspeciallady, Strong Opinion, and Reign On Me. Youaremycandygirl, Rainbow Room and Majorsspeciallady received byes. Kissin In The Sand was the elimination winner. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

TORONTO, November 19— Snowstorm Hanover grabbed control early in the mile and coasted around the Woodbine harness racing oval to a 1:55.1 win as the 7-5 public choice in the $404,000 Valley Victory Final on Saturday evening. The Ron Burke-trained colt by Muscle Massive out of the Andover Hall mare Snow Angel Hanover was sent to the front by driver Matt Kakaley, trotting splits of :28.1 and :57.3. Into the final turn, Snowstorm Hanover gained three lengths of separation from pocket-rider Moonshiner Hanover, as well as from first-over pursuer Jake and International Moni on his back. Trotting three-quarters in 1:25.3, Snowstorm Hanover still held a sizable lead through the stretch. International Moni fanned off cover and narrowed in on the leader while Jake chased them from third, but Snowstorm Hanover remained in front by a length. “I got to the front, just like in the elimination, and he held them off,” said Kakaley. “There was [a tense moment] in about the last sixteenth or so when I heard them coming, and he was getting a little tired, but he was still good.” Returning $4.90 to win, Snowstorm Hanover won his sixth race in 14 starts, amassing $395,919 in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stables LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Phillip Collura. by Ray Cotolo for WEG Communications

Columbus, OH --- Despite Walner’s dominance of the 2-year-old male trotting division, Moonshiner Hanover is prepared to step out from the harness racing shadows and demonstrate he possesses the power to sparkle in his C$25,000 Valley Victory elimination on Friday (Nov. 11) at Woodbine Racetrack as he makes his bid for 2017 Hambletonian glory. “He has really turned around since the (Pennsylvania) Sire Stakes final,” said Chris Beaver, the colt’s co-owner and conditioner. “It would seem like he has speed because he has been leaving off the gate, but it takes him some time to get into gear. In that race (second to Giveitgasandgo) I took the hood off and the mini-bit out of his mouth to allow him to put the driver into the race. It seemed to work because he has turned the corner since then.” Fresh off five consecutive second place finishes to the likes of world record holders Walner and Don Dream, as well as Sortie and Shake It Off Lindy, in contests such as the $600,000 Breeders Crown final, a $55,250 division of the Bluegrass Stake and a $32,050 division of the Standardbred Stake, Moonshiner Hanover seeks his second career triumph on Friday evening. The son of Ad-Madam Hooch will leave from post position seven in the second of two Valley Victory eliminations with the smoking hot Scott Zeron holding the lines. The card also includes two C$25,000 eliminations for the Three Diamonds for freshman pacing fillies. A $27,000 purchase at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale, Moonshiner Hanover is owned by Beaver, Synerco Ventures Inc. and Bill Manes. He is the 9-2 fourth choice on the morning line in his Valley Victory elimination (race eight) and will compete against the likes of $294,450 Peter Haughton Memorial victor What The Hill (post position two, 5-2, David Miller) and $266,000 William Wellwood Memorial second place finisher Jake (post position one, 3-1, Sylvain Filion). “Hopefully his last start of the season will be in the final,” Beaver said. “He’s been battling OCDs in his ankles this year and we are going to take them out, so he might have a late start to next year. He will be staked to everything though.” Sporting a slate of 10-1-6-1 and banking $258,631 from his first season of campaigning, Moonshiner Hanover is the second foal from his dam, who is by Credit Winner. Madam Hooch collected $181,843 during her time competing and foaled New York Sire Stakes winner Gabe The Bear Dean to the cover of Lucky Chucky as her first offspring. That gelding has earned $224,521 while performing primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and went through the 2013 edition of the Standardbred Horse Sale to Ray Schnittker for $105,000. “We were very fortunate to pay what we did for this colt,” Beaver said. “He’s a beautiful horse and one we thought would go for $60,000, but he went early in the sale. Sometimes when a horse like that goes on the first day, which he did, sometimes they are overlooked.” Moonshiner Hanover’s ownership contingent was aware he had OCDs removed from his hocks prior to the sale, but it took them some time to discover the colt was suffering the same issue in his hind ankle. “We did a lot of work on his stifles when he was training down, but it took us some time to discover the OCDs,” Beaver said. “We x-rayed his left hind ankle and it came up. We think he has also improved because he has learned how to work through a little pain. We don’t think it is anything serious and were not aware of it at the sale, it is just something he has learned to manage.” The talented colt is only one member of Beaver’s burgeoning stable of quality stock. His roster includes world record holder Muscle Up The Goal, the swift and reliable Il Sogno Dream, Ohio champion Kestrel and state standouts Kanthaka, Buckeye Boss, Evanora, Kerfuffle Cookie, Fraser Ridge and Andy M (the latter two will both start in the first Valley Victory elimination on Friday). Beaver, a long-time trotting bastion in his home state of Ohio, is the reigning Trainer of the Year in that state, and in 2016 has amassed $2.16 million in purse money, the most ever in his career. Moonshiner Hanover may just very well be the horse that captures the prize he most covets -- the Hambletonian -- as world recorder holder and 2009 participant Triumphant Caviar sustained a bug bite prior to the final. The stallion, who now stands at Abby Stables, was eighth in that year’s edition of the classic and went on to finish second to Muscle Hill in the $600,000 Breeders Crown later that fall. “Over the last three years my stable has certainly grown,” he said. “I owe that to Triumphant Caviar. From just his foals alone I have made over $1.2 million and he is receiving some recognition for his achievements. I have breeders out east talking to me about him and already filling out applications. “We spent all summer building a new farm. We sold our other one and after buying seven yearlings here at Harrisburg this week, it looks like we will already need to expand it. He has allowed me to buy more expensive horses like this one that are not under the $15,000 range. Our recent success really is because of him.” The complete entries for the Nov. 11 Woodbine races are available at this link. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

A field of six contested the $400,000 TVG Pacing Championship at The Meadowlands Saturday night. Off the wings of the gate, five of the six free for all pacers tried to leave for position. The only horse content to watch the action early was Bettor's Edge. That strategy by harness racing driver Matt Kakaley turned out to be the winning one as Bettor's Edge stormed down the center of the track, from dead last, to score a 19-1 upset in the TVG Pacing Championship. The first horse to the lead was Mach It So, who took all the late-money being released as the 4.5 favorite. He used every ounce of his speed to clear the lead from the widest post in the field, reaching the opening quarter in a sharp 26.1. But the second-choice in the wagering, JK Endofanera was already on the move and he quickly challenged for the lead down the backstretch and would clear the front before the half mile in 54 seconds. Meanwhile, Somewhere In L A was headstrong in the three-hole and Corey Callahan could not hold his gelding and was forced to commit first over. Foiled Again picked up the cover in the outer flow, while Bettor's Edge inched closer into the third over position. JK Endofanera led past three-quarters in 1:22.2 while facing pressure from Somewhere In LA. As the field turned for home, the free for all pacers spread across the track and all took their shots. Mach It So found room at the pylons, Foiled Again tried to kick off cover, JK Endofanera reached for the wire and Mach It So was rallying down the center of the track. In the end, Bettor's Edge out-sprinted the talented field to win going away in 1:50 with Matt Kakaley. Mach It So rallied up the pylons for the runner-up spot while Foiled Again finished third. Matt Kakaley was pleased to finally get a trip for his six year old getting. "He really has had a lot of bad luck," said Kakaley. "We have been trapped in a few times where he was finishing with pace, but we just had bad luck in those races. Tonight they were mixing it up early and it really set up well for us. It worked out absolutely perfectly." Trainer Ron Burke confirmed that both Bettor's Edge and Foiled Again will head to North Carolina for the winter and will return for the 2016 racing season. The win in the TVG Pacing Championship was the third stakes win on the night for trainer Ron Burke. The win was the 26th in the career of Bettor's Edge, sending his lifetime earnings to nearly $1.8 Million. Bettor's Edge Resolve Trots the Race of His Life in TVG Trotting Championship There have been a lot of questions regarding the older trotters and just who would assume command of the division. After Saturday night, Resolve answered all those questions and jumped to the head of the class, winning the TVG Free For All Trotting Championship in 1:51.4 for Ake Svanstedt. In similar fashion to his win in the final preliminary leg last week, Resolve moved to the lead shortly after the opening quarter, which was reached in 27 seconds by longshot DW's NY Yank. Once on the lead, Resolve was allowed to relax. The same could not be said for E L Titan who got caught in some traffic down the backstretch and ended up three wide, trotting toward the half mile. Tim Tetrick guided E L Titan to the first over position after racing three wide, crossing in front of Obrigado with The Bank in the outer flow. But Resolve was able to back the field down with a 29.3 second quarter, reaching the half-mile in 56.3. E L Titan, in the final start of his career was applying pressure, but Ake Svanstedt had plenty of horse in front of him and Resolve began to edge away, trotting past three-quarters in 1:25. The stretch drive was a mere formality as Resolve began to pour it on, winning by three lengths in the end, trotting a final quarter of 26.4 to complete the mile in 1:51.4. "He's a very good horse," said owner/trainer Ake Svanstedt. "He is getting closer and closer to Sebastian K with every start. He is just a four year old beating the older horses, he should be really good next year." Obrigado held the runner-up position while Flanagan Memory rallied from last to be third. The win was the fourth of the season for Resolve. He finishes his four year old campaign with earnings of $706,938 this season. Resolve was trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt for owner Hans Enggren. Resolve Boston Red Rocks makes his case for Divisional Honors Going into the Breeders Crown Final, Boston Red Rocks wasn't on anyone's radar in terms of the two year old pacing championship. It is safe to say that over the past month, that has changed. Sent off as the even-money favorite, Boston Red Rocks was allowed to settle mid-pack while elimination winner, Big Top Hanover established the pace through an opening quarter in 27-seconds. When the field straightened away in the backstretch, driver Tim Tetrick popped the plugs and Boston Red Rocks unleashed his turn of foot and flew to the lead, reaching the half-mile in a sharp 55-seconds. The outer flow was slow to develop, but that didn't prevent the race favorite from sprinting a 27.3 third quarter, with the 8/5 second choice Big Top Hanover on his back. Into the stretch, Boston Red Rocks got separation on the field and reached for the line, holding off the other elimination winner Katies Rocker to win in a lifetime best 1:50.3. The win was the fourth in nine starts for the two year old son of Rocknroll Hanover. Tim Tetrick has been impressed with the colt over his past few starts. "He doesn't do his best work on the front end, it's really not where he wants to be," said Tetrick. "But, I knew I had to go forward off the gate. He really likes to chase horses though." Looking ahead to next year, Tetrick said the upside is there. "He can shoot for the skies next year." Boston Red Rocks is trained by Steve Elliot for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Katies Rocker was second and Big Top Hanover held on to the show spot. Boston Red Rocks Win Photo Cannot Separate Winners of Valley Victory They say there are few moments in sports that can rival the photo finish and the $489,400 Valley Victory Final certainly was representative of that statement. In the end, the win photograph couldn't decide a winner, because the noses of Dog Gone Lucky and Make Or Miss hit the wire together, a dead heat in the richest race of the night. For Dog Gone Lucky, the win belonged to Chuck Sylvester and for Make Or Miss, the story was his young pilot Joe Bongiorno. The irony, Sylvester was winning Hambletonians before Bongiorno was born and now they both set their eyes on harness racing's greatest prize in 2016. Dog Gone Lucky made an aggressive move to the lead, after Mavens Way made a break after a quarter in 27 seconds. In the meantime, Make Or Miss had nearly 10 lengths to make up, trotting in eighth position down the backstretch. Then, the outer flow began to develop as Taco Tuesday committed first over passed the half in just 57 seconds, a 30-second second quarter. Marion Marauder picked up that cover and Make Or Miss tracked the pair on the far turn while Dog Gone Lucky reached three-quarters in 1:26. Dog Gone Lucky opened up a clear lead in the stretch after a 59-second middle half, but just as he did, Make Or Miss found his best stride and put that electric turn of foot on display as he began to reel in the favorite. However, the wire was also coming quickly and it came just as both noses hit the wire, a dead heat in 1:54. Joe Bongiorno was nearly speechless in the winner's circle. "This is beyond amazing, I can't believe it," said Bongiorno. "I just want to thank all the connections for giving me the opportunity, this is the best moment in my life." Not to be out-done, trainer Chuck Sylvester reminded that he isn't done yet. "I'm not retired yet," Sylvester joked. "These horses will get a well-deserved break and hopefully we'll back (for the Hambletonian) next year. The win was the first major stakes win for Bongiorno and the fifth win in the Valley Victory for Sylvester. It was the second victory for Make Or Miss, the son of Donato Hanover who now has earnings of over $223,000 while Dog Gone Lucky won for the seventh time and his fifth in a row, with his earnings now beyond a half-million dollars. Make Or Miss is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi and Jerry and Theresa Silva. Dog Gone Lucky was driven by Corey Callahan for trainer Chuck Sylvester and owners Amy Lynn Stoltzfus and Charles E Stansley. Dog Gone Lucky and Make Or Miss Mission Brief Concludes Season with a Statement The buzz around the $144,000 Continentalvictory was centered on two fillies, Mission Brief and Wild Honey, hoping to earn divisional honors with a compelling performance. Mission Brief seized that opportunity and performed like a champion. Sent off as the prohibitive 1/9 choice, Mission Brief was hustled to the lead early in the mile and it was a lead she would never relinquish. Sprinting past a quarter in 27.4, Mission Brief and her pilot Yannick Gingras kicked away from Wild Honey down the backstretch and Wild Honey felt whip taps from her driver John Campbell just to try to keep up. In the meantime, Mission Brief was trotting smoothly on the lead past the half-mile in 56 seconds and she began to open up on the field on the far turn, reaching three-quarters in 1:24.1 while leading the field by four lengths. From there, Mission Brief had the Meadowlands homestretch all to herself and she trotted a 27.2 final quarter under no urging to win the Continentalvictory in 1:51.3 in the final start of her season, a win that put Mission Brief past $1 Million this season. "She's the best trotter in training," exclaimed driver Yannick Gingras in a post-race interview. "No disrespect to any of the older trotters, but I wish she was in that race tonight. I don't think any of them want any part of her." Ron Burke was beaming with pride in the winner's circle as well. "She's the best horse I've ever had," said Burke. "Next year is going to be tough, she is going to face all the good ones and I am not going to duck anyone. We are going to find out if she is as good as we all think she is." With the win, Mission Brief concludes her season with 10 wins from 14 starts and earnings of $1,001,317. For her career, the star filly has 19 wins from 27 races and earnings of nearly $1.6 Million. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva and Weaver Bruscemi. Wild Honey completed the exacta with Kelsey's Keepsake and Lady Winona completing the field. Mission Brief Divine Caroline Triumphant in the Tarport Hap An overflow field of 12 contested the $173,500 Tarport Hap at 1 1/8th miles on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. The race was hotly contested with no less than five lead changes from start to finish. The last lead change belonged to Divine Caroline, who took over in the shadow of the wire and scored the victory in 2:05.1 after the mile was paced in 1:50.1. There was plenty of speed early, with Single Me launching from post 10 and reaching the first quarter in 26-seconds. From there, Rock Me Gently would move to the lead briefly, before Bettor N Better cleared the front past the half-mile in 54.4. Next to the lead would be the 9/5 favorite Bedroomconfessions, who guided the field past three-quarters in 1:22.2. That move left Sassa Hanover uncovered first over with Divine Caroline stalking from a second over position. It took the length of the stretch, but Divine Caroline would use the long Meadowlands stretch to wear down Bedroomconfessions to earn the victory. Bettor N Better finished third. The victory was the eighth on the season for the three year old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven for trainer Joe Holloway who was very pleased with the win. "I think that wrapped up the division for her with this win," said Holloway. "I thought she was in a good spot and it took her a while to get there but she got it done." Holloway confirmed that Divine Caroline would return to the racetrack in 2016 as a four year old. Divine Caroline is owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables and M.A. Ouriel. Her seasonal earnings conclude at $673,339. Divine Caroline It was worth sticking around for the last race for Wallington, New Jersey resident Joseph Bohnarczyk, whose $20 Win and $10 Place and Show Wager on Buckeye In Charge at 39-1 launched him to a win in the World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier that took place on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. He earned a berth into the Championship event on April 30, 2016 at The Meadowlands and took home $1,764 in prize money in addition to his bankroll which was over $1,100. Total handle for the 14-race program was $2,941,258. Racing resumes on Friday night, with first post time at 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali

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