Schedule of events: Northfield Park will host the final Grand Circuit stake of the 2013 season this Saturday night (Dec. 14) when the 3-year-old pacing colts take to the track for the $126,000 Cleveland Classic. Complete entries for the race are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack featured the $48,878 W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stake this past Saturday evening and on this night Twilight Bonfire asserted his class, making a long move to the lead under pilot Tim Tetrick and they scored in a sharp 1:51.4. Twilight Bonfire was joined by 2012 Breeders Crown freshman champion Rockin Amadeus, who has re-found his form in his last few starts and was a solid second at the finish, just a neck behind the winner. Magic Tricks finished third. Twilight Bonfire is owned by Bob Key and trained by Paul Reid. The victory was his fourth of the season and lifted his 2013 earnings to $633,242. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,862; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,645; 3. David Miller - 1,233; 4. Brian Sears - 781.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 729.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,813.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,221.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 515.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 507.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 409.45; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 380; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 244. Looking ahead: This is the final Grand Circuit stake of the 2013 season. The 2014 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit
No matter the category, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras has enjoyed a career-best season in 2013. Entering Tuesday, the 34-year-old Gingras has established personal highs with 517 wins, $14 million in purses and a .368 driver rating. He captured the Grand Circuit driving title for the first time in his career and on Monday became the 15th driver to reach $100 million in lifetime earnings. Gingras surpassed $100 million when he won with Lucky House in the fifth race Monday at Harrah's Philadelphia. Lucky House is trained by Ron Burke, for whom Gingras drives regularly. "That was good," Gingras said. "After last year I figured it was going to be tough to do better, but I always want to try to do a little more each year. But I'm lucky. I've been getting to drive for the best connections, so it's hard not to do good. It's all kind of snowballed and I keep getting better horses to drive." Gingras' win total this year is ninth best in North America - he could finish in the Top 10 in the category for the first time in his career - and his purses are second to only Tim Tetrick's $16 million. He also finished second to Tetrick last season. He has driven a slew of contenders for year-end honors, including older male pacer Foiled Again, older female trotter Maven, 2-year-old male trotter Father Patrick and 2-year-old male pacer Western Vintage, not to mention stakes-winners such as Sunfire Blue Chip, Dedi's Dragon, Wishing Stone and Charisma Hanover. Gingras won Breeders Crown trophies with Foiled Again, Maven and Father Patrick. Foiled Again, at age 9, became the oldest horse to ever win a Crown and capped his year by winning the TVG Free For All Series Championship to push his career earnings to a North American-record $6 million. "Winning the Breeders Crown with Foiled Again was the highlight of the year," Gingras said. "A close second was getting to drive Father Patrick. I never had to sweat it in any of his races. Sure, there is some pressure being 1-to-9 and expected to win, but I knew if I lost it was because I messed up." Gingras was particularly happy to see Foiled Again win the Breeders Crown because he thought he might have cost the horse his best chance at a trophy two years ago. Foiled Again missed by a head against Bettor Sweet at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, with Gingras stuck in New Jersey because of a fluky October snowstorm. "I felt guilty about missing that year; that one was on me," Gingras said. "I knew (Foiled Again) wasn't getting any younger and he might not get many more chances. "To me, the Breeders Crown (this year) was the race of the year," he continued. "To get it done and the trip he went was incredible. That was the most thrilling race I've ever been in." Of course, at this stage nothing Foiled Again does surprises Gingras. Foiled Again won six of his final nine starts this year and was never worse than second during that span. He ended the campaign with 11 victories in 29 races and $1.4 million in purses. "He's shown year in and year out that he can outlast them," Gingras said. "He's resilient and just has that desire to win. When it's time to dig down deep, I haven't seen too many with as much as him." As Gingras ponders how to top this year's numbers in 2014, he is buoyed by the realization that all of his top drives are expected to return next season. "This year was great with so many great horses," Gingras said, referring not only to horses he drove, but the sport in general. "There are so many worthy candidates (for Horse of the Year) it's scary. And with maybe the exception of (injured) I Luv The Nitelife, all of them should be coming back. It should be another great year next year." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
It was six months ago when Twilight Bonfire burst on the scene with a runner-up performance in The Pepsi North America Cup. Since then, it has been a year of ups and downs. In fact, he entered Saturday's Reynolds Stake at the Meadowlands with just 1 win from his last 13 starts. On this night, he asserted his class, making a long move to the lead under pilot Tim Tetrick and scored in a sharp 1:51.4. Twilight Bonfire was joined by a Breeders Crown winner in the field, in Rockin Amadeus, who has re-found his form in his last few starts and was a solid second at the finish. The buzz of the night took place in race 7, where Bolder came from far back at the top of the stretch and rallied to a shocking 92-1 victory to kick off the Late Pick 4 sequence. That resulted in a Late Pick 4 that returned $11,968 for a $1 bet. Yannick Gingras was the star of the driving colony as he won four races on the card, while Ron Pierce, who recently won his 9,000th race bagged three. Compared to the last time the Meadowlands raced on this Saturday in December, which took place in 2010, the total handle reflected an increase of 25-percent. Victory Night Club opened at the conclusion of the live racing card and saw a packed house enjoying the brand-new, state of the art venue. Racing returns on Friday with first post time at 7:15 P.M. For all information regarding Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, head to www.playmeadowlands.com.
It was old hat for Dave Miller, as he found his way to the winners circle three times Friday night at the Meadowlands. But for Scott Zeron, it was a different story. After being shut out in his first three nights driving at the Meadowlands, Zeron broke through in a big way as he scored a driving double. Zeron put a perfect drive on Janie Bay in the second race, parlaying a second over trip into a dominant victory. "I guess a lot of people thought I would just pick up here where I left off in Canada," said Zeron in a post-race interview. "These guys are the best in the world and I am not going to get the best horses right away, but I am learning and I knew I had a big shot in this race, this is a nice mare." Zeron came back in the featured $20,000 Trot in race 7 as he steered the classy Appomattox to an off the pace win in a very competitive field. Zeron is starting to catch on at the Meadowlands, as he has 23 drives in the 26 races this weekend in East Rutherford. Zeron was joined by Trace Tetrick, who out-dueled older brother Tim in race 1, to earn his first Meadowlands victory with Acadia As. Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras added driving doubles as well. All three featured guaranteed pools at the Meadowlands required a signature as the Pick Five and both Pick Four's paid large dividends. The Pick 5 returned $1,580.65 for the $.50 minimum, the Early Pick 4 yielded a $3,632.80 return for a $1 ticket, while the Late Pick 4 returned $2,638.40 for the $1 minimum play. Compared to the last time this Friday was raced in 2010, total handle reflected a 32-percent increase, which remained in-line with the gains the Meadowlands has been realizing all season. Racing returns to the Meadowlands Saturday night with a 13-race card getting underway at 7:15 P.M.
This Week: W.N. Reynolds Memorial 3-year-old paces, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Meadowlands Racetrack will feature a pair of W.N. Reynolds Memorial stakes for 3-year-old pacers on the Saturday night (Dec. 7) card with the $58,000 (est.) contest for colts and the $50,000 (est.) race for fillies. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack featured a big stakes card last Saturday night (Nov. 30) led by the TVG FFA finals for pacers and trotters. Foiled Again, who will be 10 years old in less than a month, won the $512,000 TVG FFA pacing final by a head in 1:49.2 against a field with $17.7 million in collective earnings. The win pushed Foiled Again's lifetime earnings to $6,030,968. Golden Receiver and Corey Callahan were first off the gate, hitting the quarter-mile mark in :26 with Bolt The Duer on his back. Foiled Again was right up and at him at the three-eighths to take the lead away and took the field to the :53.1 half. Pet Rock made a bid for the lead past the half but could not get by Foiled Again through the 1:22 three-quarters. Throughout the deep stretch, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) faced relentless pressure from the 8-year-old Golden Receiver, second oldest horse in the race, who came up the rail, but Foiled Again maintained his march to the finish line for the win. Foiled Again, who paid $7.80 to win, is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. Market Share (Tim Tetrick) trotted hard and fast every step of the mile, bursting off the gate to get the lead and never relinquishing it to win the $500,000 TVG FFA Trot in 1:51 by three-quarters of a length. The win pushed his lifetime earnings to $3,115,011. Market Share and Tetrick came off the gate from the outside post seven to press for the front and made it there in :26.2 at the quarter and held that lead with Uncle Peter (David Miller) on his back to the :55 half. Arch Madness came off the rail from fourth after the half to make a bid on the outside for the lead, still held by Market Share at the 1:23.1 three-quarters. Market Share pulled off two lengths from the field at the head of stretch, but Uncle Peter charged hard in the final strides to be second with a fast closing Guccio (Jimmy Takter) out and moving three wide at the head of the stretch, but he could not pass the leaders and was third. Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, is trained by Linda Toscano and owned by Tom and Louis Pontone, Bill Augustine and Richard Gutnick. He is a 4-year-old son of Revenue S-Classical Flirt. Bee A Magician made it a perfect 17 for 17 with her one length victory in 1:53.3 in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands. The win put her over the $2.3 million mark in career earnings. Time To Kill (John Campbell) made it to the lead first at the :27.2 quarter mile-mark while Ma Chere Hall (Corey Callahan) overtook her briefly just past that marker, but Brian Sears had Bee A Magician just behind her on the outside. Those two made an unpressured move to take the lead just before the :55.3 half. Sears put 2-1/2 lengths between him and the field and trotted on to the 1:25 three-quarters with Ma Chere Hall at his back. As the field trotted down the stretch, Ma Chere Hall made a bid to get past Bee A Magician, got just to her wheel at the wire, but could go no further, as Bee A Magician cruised home to win No. 17 for 2013. Bee A Magician is trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman for owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman. Grand Circuit action also took place this past Sunday at Dover Downs. Sunshine Beach brushed to the lead heading to the half-mile marker and was never seriously challenged from there as he went on to capture the $284,160 Progress Pace final for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:50.3. Owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand, Sunshine Beach is trained by Mark Steacy and was driven to victory by John Campbell. The win was the eighth in 20 season's starts for the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Light Up, while his 2013 earnings climbed to $909,283. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,857; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,625; 3. David Miller - 1,228; 4. Brian Sears - 781.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 719.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,798.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,211.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 515.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 507.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 405.7; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 376.25; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 244. Looking ahead: The final Grand Circuit action of 2013 will take place next weekend at Northfield Park when the northeast Ohio oval hosts the Cleveland Classic for 3-year-old pacing colts. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit
E. Rutherford, NJ -- Perhaps the most anticipated night of racing over the entire year, the TVG FFA Finals and the Fall Final Four at the new Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, was just as exciting as the hype that lead up to the historic events. And, it was the fans of harness racing, a sometimes forgotten lot, who were the ultimate winners. While social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have taken the world by storm, harness racing enthusiasts were also quick to feed the digital platforms with comments and photos of their favorite equine heroes, as well as to champion the merits between Foiled Again and Captaintreacherous in the half million dollar pace for the ages. The crowd favorite, but second betting choice, Foiled Again wowed his rail bird supporters with a pre-race final score. Yannick Gingras blasted the 9-year-old by the stands in what appeared to be a 6 second, sixteenth of a mile, leaving the throngs of spectators buzzing with expectation and snapping pictures with their iPhones. Moments later, TV analyst Ken Warkentin aptly prepared the crowd, "Strap in and hold on!" When the dust settled from the 1:49.2 mile, a scant couple of lengths separated the new "Six Million Dollar Man," Foiled Again, from his 3-year-old challenger Captaintreacherous and several other rivals. Evident in slow motion on the massive infield tote board, Golden Receiver looked as if he got a head in front of Foiled Again, only to be thwarted at the wire. The crowd roared again as the replay reminded fans of how close the race really was. The Burke Brigade, led by trainer Ron Burke, posed for congratulatory photos holding up six fingers, honoring the sport's favorite seasoned warrior and his new plateau. Breaking records seem almost commonplace for this high-powered stable that just broke $20 million and 1,000 wins for the season. "Foiled leads us." Burke noted. "We go as he goes. When you have him as the starter for the barn, you are going to have a great year. I can't ask for more than for what he has done." The winner of the companion race, the TVG Trot was equally impressive in his victory. Market Share, "the little horse that could," won when he was on harness racing's biggest stage. Facing the challenge of the outer most post (7) in a tough field of older millionaire trotters, Tim Tetrick rushed the horse out of the gate to take the top in a :26.2 opening panel, cruising home in 1:51. The win put Market Share over a million dollars on the season, and also presented more questions than it did answers. Peppered with questions about the horse's future, trainer Linda Toscano was optimistic. "If he comes back as good as he finished up, or better, then we are certainly going to give it a shot. They have invited us [to the Elitloppet] and it would be one of those 'once in a lifetime' kind of things that would be difficult to pass up if the horse is good." Market Share's hard-working caretaker, Shelly Grieco quickly posted her feelings directly to her Facebook status. "Wow! There aren't any words left to describe just how proud I am of Market Share! Little man... You showed your true grit tonight with that win! Another million $ season to boot!" Fans and industry leaders alike are have also been quick to recognize the impact that social media has on our sport, and the possibilities and potential for the future. Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, an award winning social media agency, has been on the forefront of engaging harness racing fans through digital platforms. "I am very optimistic for 2014. We have two things that have never happened in harness racing before. We have a new showcase for harness racing to repackage the sport and the experience of the sport. Number two, we will have an innovative marketing program with the components that will be a platform for the entire sport." Meadowlands media mogul, Justin Horowitz agrees, "We have a beautiful new building that we can use to showcase the best racing the sport has to offer. We have a lot of people in place that are super passionate about the game. We have a lot of young people that have fresh ideas, a great work ethic, and the desire to utilize social media. And we have an owner [Jeff Gural] and general manager [Jason Settlemoir] who give us the freedom to explore new ideas. Hopefully we can find the right formula and put harness racing back on the map." If Saturday night's racing card was any indication, harness racing is alive and well and here to stay in East Rutherford, New Jersey! Check out Harnesslink.com on Facebook and Twitter (@Harnesslink) by Chris Tully for Harnesslink.com
When you look up the word perfection in the dictionary after tonight's $253,000 Moni Maker Stake for three-year-old trotting fillies, you will see a photo of Bee A Magician. The grand young lady turned the trotting world on its ear in 2013 with her perfect season and capped it Saturday night at the Meadowlands with another sensational but easy victory. And the best news of all is that racing fans will get to see this fantastic filly come back next year to race again. The Moni Maker started out with Time To Kill (John Campbell) going to the early lead with Sheena's Shadow (Ron Pierce) in the two-hole spot to the opening quarter mile in :27.2. It was then that Corey Callahan came first-up with Ma Chere Hall, the 6-1 second choice in the race going for her tenth victory of the year and she was able to clear to the lead. It was then that Brian Sears came first-over with the 1/9 favorite, Bee A Magician and they cleared with ease to the front after the half mile in :55.3. Through the backstretch no one made a move until Southwind Cocoa (Tim Tetrick) started up first-over with Andie Sophia (Mark MacDonald) second-over but by the three-quarters in 1:25, they were not gaining much ground on Bee A Magician. Starting down the stretch Sears and Bee A Magician held the field at bay and strolled home an easy winner by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:53.3. Ma Chere Hall was second with Mistery Woman (David Miller) third. "I was a little nervous coming into the race," said trainer Nifty Norman. "It was her last start of the year and you always have to worry. She is not that hard to train and she does most of the work herself. She will get three months in the paddock now. I don't know where we will start her off next season. That's a whole another year again right now." In addition to being undefeated in 17 starts this year, Bee A Magician, who is sired by Kadabra, ended the season with $1,547,304 in earnings. She is co-owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. She paid just $2.10 to win as the 1/9 overwhelming favorite. "We have had an unbelievable year," Said McDuffee. "And I'll tell you that I have been in the business a long time and I've had some good horses but this is my first great horse. It is just an unbelievable feeling." By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Sometimes it really pays to be a late bloomer and that is the case for JK Endofanera as the son of Art Major won the $534,500 Governor's Cup final for two-year-old pacing colts at the Meadowlands Saturday in 1:51.4. It a three-horse battle royal for the early lead with Carracci Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras taking the early lead by the opening quarter mile in :26.2 but that lead was short lived as Stevensville and driver Tim Tetrick came charging up at they started up the backstretch to take command. But driver Brian Sears waited and then sent KJ Endofaneara first-over and they were able to take command in the backstretch and lead the field to the three-quarters in 1:23 with Arthur Blue Chip (Dave Miller) first-over and trying to look them in the eye before the charge down the stretch. Also in the hunt was Bushwacker (Ron Pierce) who was following the outside cover from Arthur Blue Chip. Starting down the stretch JK Endofanera had to dig in twice to hold off his competition to the wire to win by a half length with Arthur Blue Chip second and Bushwacker third. Lightly races, it was only the seventh start for JK Endofanera. Owned and bred by the 3 Brothers Stable of New York and trained by Ron Burke, it was his fourth victory on the year. He paid $3.60 to win. "It's a big win," Said trainer Ron Burke in the winner's circle. "It's great because I did not even have this horse in my stable until three months ago. It's nice to pick up these kinds of checks. When I first got him I really know if he would that good. Then the first time we raced him I thought that maybe he is better than we think. The second time we raced him I started to think this is a real horse." By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick took command early and gave no quarter in winning the $500,000 final of the TVG Series for older trotters Saturday at the Meadowlands. "I wanted to take things into my own hands." Said driver Tim Tetrick about the start of the race. Leaving from post seven, Market Share out trotted Uncle Peter (David Miller) to the early lead and then cut fractions of :26.2 to the first quarter and :55 to the half. It was then that driver/trainer Trond Smedshammer came first-over with Arch Madness and started working their way towards the race leaders with Guccio (Jimmy Takter) following the outside cover. But by the three-quarter mile marker in 1:23.1, Arch Madness could not collar Market Share who started to draw away starting down the stretch. Uncle Peter and Guccio were both able to give chase but Market Share was too strong, winning by one length in 1:51. Uncle Peter was second with Guccio third. "I don't do it very often with him (leave with Market Share)," Tetrick said. "but when I do he always pays me back and we got paid today. It's been tough this year. I give Linda (trainer Linda Toscano) all the credit. He's had some rough spots this year but they always bring him back. He's a good horse and he overcomes." A four-year-old stallion by Revenue who was the 2012 Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year, Market Share concludes his 2013 season with six wins for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable and Bill Augustine. The $250,000 winner's share of the purse put Market Share over the $1 million mark this year with $1,077,356 in earnings and lifetime at an impressive $3,015,011. Market Share paid $4.60 to win. "Mr. Gutnick and I sat down yesterday," trainer Linda Toscano said. "We talked about racing him next year. We decided that if he won tonight we would bring him back and race him again next year. He was really good tonight but he needs a rest now. I need a rest now too." "To use Linda's words, it's been surreal," Richard Gutnick said about the 2013 season with Market Share. "I can't believe this is really happening. I hope it keeps continuing. Right now we are leaning towards racing next year. We have been invited to compete in the Elitlopp (Sweden) next year. And we want Timmy (Tetrick) to have a shot at racing in the Elitlopp. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Muscles Network picked the perfect spot to win his second race of his young career as the 7-1 mild long shot beat the Â½ favorite Nuncio to win the $494,750 Valley Victory Trot final at the Meadowlands Saturday in 1:55.1. Odds On Amethyst (Tim Tetrick) was first to show with Southwind Spirit (Yannick Gingras) in the two-hole but that was short lived as Southwind Spirit moved right out to take the lead by the opening quarter mile in :27.2. Once settled on the front end, Southwind Spirit had to give way to the race favorite, Nuncio and driver John Campbell as they took command with a burst of speed well before the half mile in :56.2. It was then that driver David Miller came out of fifth place and started moving first-over with Muscle Network and slowly worked their way up the leaders by the three-quarters in 1:25.3. Muscles Network was not only able to collar Nuncio starting down the stretch, but looked him in the eye and went on by, winning by a half length with a late closing Southwind Spirit come on for third place. "I came out last week and trained him," Miller said of Muscles Network. "And he trained very well so I thought it had a shot. It looked like John had a lot of horse but my horse felt strong on the turn and he got by John's horse. It was not a huge last quarter but he got the job done." Sired by Muscle Hill, it was just the second lifetime win for Muscles Network. He is trained by Jonas Czernyson and owned by Frank Bellino and Sons, LLC of Bronxville, NY. He now has earnings in 2013 of $300,000. At odds of 7-1, Muscle Network paid $17.00 to win. "I have only had him for two weeks," said trainer Jonas Czernyson. "So I cannot take too much credit for this. We trained him and a couple of little changes. It worked out pretty good. I think he is going to be a pretty nice three-year-old. I think he could be in the Hambletonian. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Shebestingin and driver David Miller had little trouble holding off challenger Charisma Hanover (Yannick Gingras) in scoring a 1:50 victory to capture the $167,000 Nadia Lobell Pace for three-year-old fillies at the Meadowlands Saturday. Aunt Caroline (Scott Zeron) was first to show out of the gate and then stung Somwherovrarainbow (Brian Sears) who finally made it to the lead at the opening quarter mile in :27. Then it was Miller and Shebestingin coming after the race leaders first-over and she was able to clear to the lead by the half mile marker in :55.2. In the backstretch was when Gingras started up first-over with Charisma Hanover and she caught up with the leaders at the three-quarters in 1:23.1. But as they straighten out to come down the stretch it was all Shebestingin as Charisma Hanover could not keep up. Shebestingin coasted to the wire winning by two and three-quarter lengths over UF Dragon Queen (Tim Tetrick) with Somwherovrarainbow grabbing third place. "Over the year we have had our troubles," Miller said. "Her last few starts she has behaved really well. She is actually maturing into a horse that will be in the winner's circle a lot." It was the Third Straight win and 12th victory on the year for the daughter of Bettor's Delight. Trained by Joe Holloway and co-owned by Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz and L & L Devisser, LLC, Shebestingin ends her 2013 season with earnings of $638,126. "When she warmed up tonight she was bucking and playing," said trainer Joe Holloway, who also trains third place finisher Somwherovrarainbow. "She was really feeling good. They will both be back next year and should really be good." By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Anvil Raider N crossed the finish line in 1:55.3 winning the final race on Saturday (November 30) at Northfield Park. The win is the 21st time that Anvil Raider N has been triumphant in 2013 and ties him for the most wins of any horse this year in North America. Despite being tied for the winningest horse, this year will mark the final racing season for Anvil Raider N. The 14 year-old faces mandatory retirement on December 31 per the rules of the United States Trotting Association. Anvil Raider N (In The Pocket-Motu Sweet-Great Mann) is owned and trained by Will Johnson of Monroe, Michigan. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was in the sulky for the winning drive. Anvil Raider N has 93 career victories and has earned a bankroll of $337,312 with a lifetime mark of 1:51 as an eight year-old at Mohawk Racetrack. "It is amazing how good he still is for his age," commented Wrenn. "Most horses aren't still racing at 14, and the ones who make it to 14 are just not as solid as him." Despite 10 wins in 2012 and 21 so far this year, Anvil Raider N is still camera shy. He seldom gets his picture taken in the winner's circle. "He hasn't had a win picture taken for over two years," Wrenn explained. "He is the worst kicker I have ever seen." "I have learned to be really quick when taking the bike off after the race," stated Wrenn. "You would think by age 14 he would be over kicking like he does, but that's just how he is." Wrenn said that as bad as he is off of the track, Anvil Raider N is not always a terror. "He is wonderful to drive. I love driving him. He has a ton of gate speed and steers with two fingers." Anvil Raider N was one of five winners for Wrenn on Northfield Park's 14-race program. Wrenn's other winners included Lima Seduction ($11.60) in race one, Master's Sweetie ($4.00) in race five, Passionateprincess ($2.20) in race nine and Masked Lover ($2.80) in race 12. Anvil Raider N was Wrenn's biggest price of the night, returning $54.80 tin win. Wrenn, 27, began driving in 2008 and has since garnered 1,250 career victories and has earned $4,417,433 in purse earnings. David Palone (593), Bruse Aldrich Jr. (570), Tim Tetrick (564), and Corey Callahan (564) complete the top-five. Wrenn has been the customary driver for Anvil Raider N the last several years and is a combination that has proven results on the racetrack. by Ayers Ratliff for Northfield Park
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Sometimes long range plans do pan out. Myron Bell starting thinking in March and April about the inaugural $512,000 TVG Free-For-All Pacing Final on Saturday night at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment for the sensational 3-year-old colt Captaintreacherous. "There were four races we wanted to participate in this year: the North American Cup, The Meadowlands Pace, the Breeders Crown and the TVG Final," said Bell, manager of Captaintreacherous Racing. The Captain sailed through the first three missions with victories. Now comes the biggest challenge, in what could be the race of the year. By virtue of the Breeders Crown win, Captaintreacherous was invited to TVG Final where he faces a stellar lineup of nine older pacers, including Foiled Again and Pet Rock. The leading 3-year-olds in harness racing rarely step out of their division to tackle the older horses. In a very sporting gesture, Captaintreacherous team of Bell, trainer Tony Alagna and driver Tim Tetrick have embraced the challenge. "It's an honor and privilege to race a colt against the aged horses," Bell said. "Let the chips fall where they may." And the Captain will have to overcome an outside post, No. 8. "Naturally, we would like to draw better," Bell said. "That's the card dealt us. We'll make the best of it. It's now Timmy Tetrick's job. He's pretty high on the horse, as we all are. I'm sure he'll give a good account. We have a lot of confidence in our animal." The TVG Series is part of Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural's goal of enhancing opportunities for older horses. The series, split into pacing and trotting divisions, offered preliminary legs and major stakes bound together by a season-long point system. The top qualifiers advanced to the $500,000 guaranteed finals for both gaits. In what turned out to be a brilliant stroke, the series awarded invitations to the winners of the 3-year-old Breeders Crowns. That provision set the stage for this dramatic showdown. While Captaintreacherous is the baby in the field, the indomitable Foiled Again is the graybeard at 9. Harness racing's all-time money earner at $5.7 million looks as good as ever. "He couldn't be better," trainer Ron Burke said. "He's in career form. It's an awesome opportunity for him. It's going to be one of the better races of the year." Winner of the Breeders Crown for aged pacers last month, Foiled Again captured the final TVG leg last Saturday, opening night of the new Meadowlands grandstand. It was a typical Foiled Again effort: a game first-over grind under less than ideal conditions. "That's his kind of race," Burke said. "We need to turn it not into a test of pure speed but a test of will, of who wants it the most. I don't care who he is racing against. He will out try them." It was also an encouraging score at a track where Foiled Again has not excelled. He is only 2 for 33 at The Meadowlands. Like Old Man River, Foiled Again keeps rolling along. He is 10 for 28 this year, and no longer amazes Burke with his ability to defy the sands of time. "At one time I was surprised, but not now," Burke said. "We've almost come to expect it. He's such an unbelievable horse. He never shows us a reason to stop believing. Every time you ask him to do more, he goes out and does more." Foiled Again, from post 4 with Yannick Gingras at the lines, is one of three Burke trainees in the final. He also sends out Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou, fourth to Foiled Again last week. Burke feels Sweet Lou, with Matt Kakaley in the sulky, could be the sleeper in the field. "He's coming back into form," Burke said. "I love Matt on him. He was sneaky good in the Breeders Crown final. I think he's the one horse I've got that's rounding back into shape. He drew a great spot. He fits well with those horses. He'll never get embarrassed. I actually like his chances too." While most of the attention focuses on a Captaintreacherous vs. Foiled Again showdown, Pet Rock could easily upset this applecart. "To win the race, you first have to beat Pet Rock," Burke said. "Everyone is talking Foiled vs. Captain. Believe me, the first horse they have to beat is Pet Rock. That horse doesn't lay down for anybody." Dynamic Youth, Modern Legend, Golden Receiver, Warrawee Needy and Bolt The Duer complete the field. Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, has the outside post in the seven-horse final of $500,000 TVG Trot. Like Foiled Again, Market Share was a Breeders' Crown winner at Pocono Downs, one of his five victories from 13 starts this season. Just like the TVG Pace, the Trot also features a stellar 9-year-old in Arch Madness with over $4 million in the bank. Guccio, Uncle Peter, Wishing Stone, My MVP and Mister Herbie round out the lineup. The 13-race card that starts at 7:15 p.m. serves up eight stakes races, including an appearance by Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician, 16 for 16 on the season and a top contender for Horse of the Year honors, in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies. by Rachel Ryan for the Meadowlands
DOVER, Del. ----The Progress Pace, the signature event of Dover Downs' impressive month-long "Novemberfest" of stakes racing, is the $284,164 feature of more than $500,000 in events on a big Sunday, December 1 program. Last Sunday, in the Progress Pace elimination and with race favorite Vegas Vacation scratched, Twilight Bonfire, owned by Bob Key, pulled a stunning upset at 20-1 odds on a cold and windy night. Tim Tetrick urged the three-year-old from off the pace to nip Sunshine Beach in the last step. Hall of Famer John Campbell drives Sunshine Beach, a Matron elim winner and second in the final, for trainer Mark Steacy and owners Conrad Leber, Diane Bertrand and Hudson Standardbred. Dedi's Dragon, who owns a victory over Captaintreacherous this season, finished third in the elim but makes a big change in post positions leaving from the rail this time with Yannick Gingras driving for P. Collura, T Hendler, Mark Weaver, Mike Bruscemi and Burke Racing. Another rival, Wake Up Eagles Soar and Wake Up Peter Partners, L.Willinger and Brittany Farms' Wake Up Peter is teamed with Scott Zeron. They were a fourth-place finisher last week. Emeritus Maximus reined by Simon Allard got a fifth-place check in the elim for owners Alan Alber, Eagle Soar Partners and Cheap Speed Stable. The other contenders in the $100,000 test are Messenger Stake-winner Ronny Bugatti, owned by E.A. Prevost, B.T. McNeese and T.L.Houghton, who cut out most of the early pace for driver Jason Bartlett a week ago, Clint Westwood, owned by Weaver-Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, Ed Smith and Burke Racing with meet leading driver Corey Callahan and Good Day Mate, with Matt Kakaley in the bike for Good Day Mate Partnership, Also on the strong Sunday card are two $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) finales for two-year-old pacers. In the DSBF Filly Final, the program favorite is Garnet O'Mara's homebred Seboomook Fool Yah. Her competitors are The Wiz Kids Stable's Jonigold (Bart Dalious), Treasure Valley (Corey Callahan), George & Tina Dennis and The Wiz Kids Stable's I'm Won Rum Wiser, and Jeff Bartels' Crushed Again (Vic Kirby), all winners in previous prelim divisions among the eight starters. Karen Walls' Elite Awards (George Dennis) a winner of seven straight races in eight lifetime outings is the one to beat in the $100,000 colt and gelding pace. Cavalli Pazzi Stables' Casino Bags Carlo (Vince Copeland) and Joan Hamstead's Lewiebyalength (Corey Callahan), from post 8, won both their prelims and Winbak Farms' Hawker (Jeff Fout), has post 1. There is a Dover Downs Progress Pace cap giveaway in the track's Simulcasting. Show your Capital Club card, or get one free, to pick up your all blue 2013 Progress Pace cap. Sunday post time is 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; post time is 4:30 p.m. There is no live racing on Fridays and Saturdays. For those planning to watch racing from the Winner's Circle Restaurant, reservations are suggested. Call 302-674600. There is no charge for parking or admission at Dover Downs. by Marv Bachrad for Dover Downs
This Week: Meadowlands fall stakes finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Progress Pace final, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: Meadowlands Racetrack will feature eight stakes on the Saturday night (Nov. 30) card led by the $512,000 TVG FFA Series final for older pacers and the $500,000 TVG FFA Series final for older trotters. Also on tap will be the $534,500 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, the $494,750 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $456,150 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $394,950 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $253,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $167,500 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. On Sunday night (Dec 1), Dover Downs will feature the $284,160 Progress Pace final for 3-year-old male pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack's new season got underway this past Saturday night, with many of the top free for all trotters and pacers in the sport competing in the TVG FFA Series. The team of trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras swept both contests as Wishing Stone captured the trot and Foiled Again the pace. In the $50,000 final preliminary leg of the TVG FFA Trotting Series, Wishing Stone and Yannick Gingras led at every quarter, hitting the first quarter in :28.3, stalked by Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) and Uncle Peter (David Miller). That trio stayed in the same order through the :56 half and 1:24.4 three-quarters. With about an eighth of a mile to go, Market Share was out and moving, but could not overtake the late leaders, Arch Madness, who came off the rail to challenge and the winner in 1:54 by 1-1/4 lengths, Wishing Stone. Arch Madness was second and Market Share was third. Wishing Stone is trained by Ron Burke for owners Cowboyland Aalborg, TLP Stable, J & T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms. "Foiled Again will not be passed." Announcer Ken Warkentin summed up the mile as Foiled Again won the $50,000 TVG FFA Pace at the Meadowlands in 1:49.3. The last chance to gain points for this week's final saw Golden Receiver (Corey Callahan) first on the lead at the opening quarter in :27.1, only to be overtaken by Sweet Lou and David Miller, who held the lead to the :53.4 half. Just past the half, Yannick Gingras had Foiled Again out and poised to advance on the stubborn Sweet Lou, who was still on the lead at the 1:22 three-quarters. As the field paced down the stretch, the advancing duo of Warrawee Needy (Tim Tetrick) and Foiled Again wore down Sweet Lou, and the battle was on between those two. Foiled Again inched ahead and would not yield to Warrawee Needy to win by a neck in 1:49.3. Modern Legend (John Campbell) was third and Sweet Lou was fourth. Foiled Again is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. The $35,000 Progress Pace elimination for 3-year-old males was held on Sunday night at Dover Downs and 20-1 Twilight Bonfire got his picture taken. In a two-colt battle down the lane, Twilight Bonfire finally passed the favorite, Sunshine Beach, in the final strides to win by a head. Dedi's Dragon closed to finish third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,827; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,580; 3. David Miller - 1,143; 4. Brian Sears - 726.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 692.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,751.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,166.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 495.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 472.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 396.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 367.35; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 242.75. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadowlands will host W.N. Reynolds Memorial contests for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit
Whether you are a devoted harness racing fan, a purist of the Standardbred sport, a gambler or just someone who likes to watch a great event, then look no further than the Meadowlands Racetrack this Saturday, November 30. It’s a once in a lifetime match-up as Captaintreacherous, the three-year-old pacing machine, looks to close out his 2013 race season going against nine of the best older pacers in harness racing in the $512,000 final of the TVG Series. Voted the 2012 Pacer of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), Captaintreacherous has lived up to those standards again in 2013. He has competed in 15 races this season, won 13 of them and lost the other two in photo finishes. He has a record at a mile of 1:47.1 and earnings this year of $2,055,033. Trained by Tony Alagna and owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing Stable out of Versailles, KY, the son of Somebeachsomewhere was a yearling purchase for $250,000 and worth every penny and then some as he now sports career earnings of $2,973,286. Now on Saturday he will be all out to prove once again he is the best pacer in the world for the second straight year. But it will not be an easy task as he faces nine opponents, many of whom have years of experience and tons of speed. Leading the way is Foiled Again, the richest pacer in the history of harness racing with more than $5.7 million in earnings. With a victory he will be challenging Captaintreacherous for the votes in the Pacer of the Year balloting in December by the membership of USHWA and the race secretaries. For three straight years world champion Foiled Again has earned over $1 million for trainer and co-owner Ron Burke. The nine-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again never seems to know where the finish line is. He continues races first-up on the outside and if he can’t get to the lead he just grinds it out against opponents with great success. Also in the race is Pet Rock, whose displays of raw unbridled speed saw him score world records on two different sized tracks in 2013, the fastest a dazzling 1:47 mile. Other standouts in the race include the 2011 Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year, Sweet Lou, Warrawee Needy, Golden Receiver, Bolt The Duer, Modern Legend, Dynamic Youth and Bettor’s Edge. “Of course we would be happier with post four than post eight,” said Myron Bell, spokesman for Captaintreacherous Racing. “But the racing gods of the post position draw did not hear me. I promise everyone that Captaintreacherous will be heard from in this race. Our goals this year were to win the Meadowlands Pace, win the North America Cup and win the Breeders Crown so we could get an invitation to race in the TVG Final. Now it is up to Captaintreacherous and our driver Tim Tetrick to put the icing on the cake with a win this Saturday. “I am looking to have a great night on Saturday, win or lose,” Bell said. “He’s (Captaintreacherous) record speaks for himself. Of course I think he can beat these horses and I know he could lose too. But I am also happy because this race is for the fans. Anyone who loves a good horse race has to come to the Meadowlands on Saturday.” In addition to the TVG Pace Final, the 13-race program also features the $500,000 TVG Final for trotters headlined by Market Share, Arch Madness and Wishing Stone. There is the $534,500 final of the Governors Cup for two-year-old pacing colts, the $494,750 final of the Valley Victory for two-year-old trotters, the $465,150 final of the Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies, $394,950 Final of the Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies and the $167,700 Nadia Lobell Pace for three-year-old fillies. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com