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WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 11, 2014 -- Ballare Hanover garnered her first harness rcing career stake victory by following cover and brushing through the slop late to score in 1:58.1, fastest division in Monday's $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for 3-year-old filly trotters was contested over three divisions, with Mariah De Vie and Silent Opera K taking the other splits. Tony Hall enjoyed a stake double behind Ballare Hanover and Silent Opera K among his five wins on the 16-race card. Although Ballare Hanover had won four of 11 previous starts, she had come up short in stakes. That ended Monday when she used the first-over cover of Czech It Out to get into striking position, then erased a 2-length deficit in the lane to overtake the leader, Steppin Out, and down her by a neck. Donato's Dream was third. "If you can get her through the first quarter, she's pretty versatile; she can take the air," Hall said. "Adios Day, I got her to the gate a step too quick, and she ran, so I really had to feed her in. She started to shorten up late -- I was worried halfway down the stretch -- but it all worked out." Marcus Marashian trains Ballare Hanover, a daughter of Broadway Hall-Box Of Dreams, and owns with Michelle Amric, and Lou DiPaolo. Mariah De Vie's cover wasn't quite so accommodating. She and Dave Palone were following Nitro Nittany when the 1-5 favorite tired suddenly into the final turn, forcing Mariah De Vie wide prematurely. "I thought, 'I can't screw up this game plan -- just follow Nitro Nittany because she looks to be the best,'" Palone said. "I loved the game plan at the quarter, I loved it at the half. When my cover stalled, I didn't know if my filly could handle it. But she gave me a good fight, and I was happy with her." The daughter of Cantab Hall-Nordicdish persevered and prevailed in 1:58.4 for trainer Henrik Lundell and owner Joie de Vie farm. The pocket-sitting Westfiftyfirst was second, 2-1/2 lengths back, while Passing Jetta earned show. Silent Opera K wore down Outsourced Hanover in a stretch-long duel and edged her rival by a nose in 1:58.2. Super Swifty rallied for show. "We were racing her in bigger races, and she needed a little class relief," said Rich Gillock, who conditions the homebred daughter of Broadway Hall-American Frost for Bob Key. "Fortunately today, the mile was to her liking, and everything worked out. We'll try to pick some spots and do some good with her." Dan Rawlings and Palone each fashioned a three-bagger on the program. Tuesday's card features a $199,994 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters headlined by the stablemates Lifetime Pursuit, upset winner of the Hambletonian Oaks, and Shake It Cerry, last year's Dan Patch Award winner who has banked more than $1 million in her career. First post  is 12:55 PM. Evan Pattak

This Week: Review Stakes, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Ill.; Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes, Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Ind.; Carl Milstein Memorial, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Joe Gerrity final, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ont.; and Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Monday (Aug. 11) at the Illinois State Fair with the $35,900 Review Stake for 2-year-old trotters, the $21,450 Review Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $18,800 Review Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Tuesday (Aug. 12) program features the $30,500 Review Stake for 3-year-old pacers and the $28,600 Review Stake for 3-year-old trotters. The Indiana State Fair will host one day of Grand Circuit racing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) with the feature being the $55,462 Fox Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers. The co-featured event is the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds will see two divisions each in the $26,920 2-year-old colt pace, the $26,632 2-year-old filly pace, the $25,928 2-year-old filly trot and the $22,404 2-year-old colt trot. The Horseman Stakes for 3-year-olds features single divisions in the $36,028 3-year-old colt pace, the $33,664 3-year-old filly pace, the $32,728 3-year-old filly trot and the $32,156 3-year-old colt trot. Then on Friday (Aug. 15), Northfield Park will host the $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers and a $100,000 (est.) consolation in the same event. Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host the C$60,000 (est.) Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers on Saturday (Aug. 16) and a C$20,000 (est.) consolation on Friday (Aug. 15). Also on Saturday, Saratoga Casino and Raceway will feature the $260,000 Joe Gerrity for open pacers and Mohawk Racetrack will contest the C$245,000 (est.) Nassagaweya for 2-year-old colt pacers and the C$215,000 (est.) Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Tioga Downs with Tompkins-Geers stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as the 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. These events carry purses estimated from $53,000 for the 3-year-old filly pacers to $85,000 for the freshman colt trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday (Aug. 8). Sweet Lou defeated stablemate Bettor's Edge in 1:47.2 in the Dan Patch. In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing, but stablemate Bettor's Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25. Carol's Comet and Aaron Merriman were well-placed In The Pocket second with the 1-5 favorite, Sweet Lou, next in line in third. Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4. Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader's wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field. Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a half-length to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor's Edge was a game second while Carol's Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window. Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 646; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 369; 4. David Miller - 290; 5. Brian Sears - 245.   Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,016.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 233.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 211.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. Mohawk Racetrack with contest eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Metro for 2-year-old colt pacers and the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old filly pacers on Saturday (Aug. 23). The Sunday (Aug. 24) card at Tioga Downs will offer eliminations for the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds and the second leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

HARRINGTON, Del. - Harrington Raceway's 2014 harnes racing meet will resume on a Monday through Thursday schedule beginning August 18. Entries for the opening night program will be taken Tuesday August 12 with the entry box closing at 10 a.m. Online entries are currently open. Horsemen phoning in their entries may be greeted by a new voice as Kevin Mack was recently hired as the new racing secretary. Mack has been involved in racing for nearly 50 years and was most recently the racing secretary at Hoosier Park. He is also a licensed starter, judge, announcer and an auctioneer of 20 years at the Blooded Horse Sale. Mack attended Earlham College in Indiana where he obtained a teaching and physical education degree. Harrington's signature race, the Bobby Quillen Memorial (September 8, 15), will feature some of the sport's top aged pacers. A list of nominees can be found here. Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) stakes for 2-year-olds will begin October 6. Horsemen seeking to enter their horses are encouraged to enter online via the USTA's electronic entry system, or by contacting the race office at 302-398-5970. Matt Sparacino

Staffan Lind might have felt a little sick when he saw the result of the Peter Haughton Memorial earlier this month, but the harness racing trainer is hoping Billy Flynn's future is the remedy. Billy Flynn, a 2-year-old male trotter who is undefeated in four races, was not staked to the Haughton because of an injury he suffered soon after being purchased as a yearling for $120,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale. But in his second start, in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on July 15, Billy Flynn beat Haughton champion Centurion ATM by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4 at The Meadows. Haughton runner-up Uncle Lasse finished third. At first, Lind wondered what Billy Flynn might have accomplished if he was in the Haughton. But the trainer put such thoughts aside quickly. "It's better to have a good horse and have regrets that you couldn't race than the other way around," Lind said. "He has his whole life in front of him. I'm sure he can prove himself." Billy Flynn's next start is Thursday in the fourth of four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia. He will leave from post three with regular driver Brett Miller and is the 8-5 favorite on the morning line. So far this year, the colt has earned $78,505 for owner Bender Sweden Inc., thanks to wins in divisions of the Pennsylvania All Stars, Arden Downs and two rounds of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. "He's a big horse with a big gait, but the best thing about him is his attitude," Lind said. "He will give you a hundred percent every time. He showed it right away. He was just waiting for me to ask him to go a little bit more." Billy Flynn is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the Enjoy Lavec-sired mare Zeta Jones. Three of Cantab Hall's five richest foals - Father Patrick, Uncle Peter, and Pastor Stephen - were out of dams sired by Enjoy Lavec and Billy Flynn's full brother Mr Chicago was a winner in both the U.S. and Europe. "He was a big, strong colt with a nice pedigree," Lind said about Billy Flynn, who was named after the smooth-talking lawyer in the musical "Chicago," which co-starred Catherine Zeta-Jones in the film version. "I like the cross with Cantab and Enjoy Lavec. We went for it. I thought he would be right around ($100,000). You never know at a sale. You try to set a limit for every horse you're bidding on, and in his case we probably would have gone a little bit more." Billy Flynn's early development was put on hold for nearly a month because the colt suffered a strained ligament behind a knee while being shipped to Lind's winter base in Florida. "When he walked off the truck he was lame," said Lind, adding with a resigned laugh, "That's the life of a horse trainer. That's the reason we never paid him into the Peter Haughton. He wasn't supposed to be racing that early." But Billy Flynn got to the races on July 4 and won his debut, in the Pennsylvania All Stars, by 6-1/2 lengths. Three weeks later, he captured his Arden Downs division in 1:56.2, equaling the stakes record. He has won his four starts by a total of 11-1/4 lengths. His remaining stakes schedule includes the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes, Valley Victory, Matron, and Breeders Crown. "We like him a lot," Lind said. "I hope by the end of the year people know about him. I wouldn't trade him for anyone else." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

After his convincing Meadowlands Pace victory, Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and the Muscara Racing Trust's He's Watching ($2.50) cemented himself atop the three-year-old harness racing pacing division with an equally remarkable 1:49.1 victory in the $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 10) afternoon.   The son of American Ideal found himself in an early tussle with Twin B Speedo (Mark MacDonald) and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera (Brian Sears), pushing clear on the first turn before controlling the terms through a sensible :55.4 half mile. On the backstretch, Winds of Change (David Miller) advanced first-over into a narrow second, forcing He's Watching to accelerate to the far turn.   While He's Watching was able to withstand the added pressure of a :26.3 third quarter, Winds of Change could not, backpedalling off the far turn and ceding second to the pocket-sitting JK Endofanera.   He's Watching continued to pull away off the corner, drawing off to a four-length win in rein to Tim Tetrick by way of a torrid :53.2 back half. JK Endofanera was all-out while giving futile chase the entirety of the stretch, but remained a clear second over Twin B Speedo.   Winning trainer David Menary indicated plans for He's Watching to contend the Pacing Triple Crown, which commences at Tioga with the Cane Pace on Monday, September 1.     The $244,875 Empire Breeders Classic event for three-year-old pacing fillies saw James Avritt, Sr.'s Precocious Beauty ($10.40) sustain a first-over bid for the final half-mile of her 1:51.1 score, wearing down the pace-setting Delightful Dragon (David Miller) before pulling clear in the stretch.   Major Dancer (Brian Sears) couldn't rally off live cover, all-out to chase through the stretch, but finishing two lengths in arrears. Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) rallied off cover to just miss the fading Delightful Dragon in the photograph for third, but was elevated to third placing after Delightful Dragon was found guilty of a pylon violation on the far turn.   Doug McNair drove Precocious Beauty, a daughter of Art Major, for trainer Gregg McNair.   The Sunday undercard featured four $28,250 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, with The Spy (1:53.0, Tim Tetrick), Lone Survivor (1:52.4, David Miller), Americanprimetime (1:52.4, Tyler Buter), and Southwind Masimo (1:54.0, Patrick Lachance) prevailing in their respective divisions.   Racing returns to Tioga for a special Monday (August 11) evening card. The first of 13 races is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

August 10, 2014 - Perhaps with the Hambletonian in the rear view mirror the general opinion was it was time to swing for the fences in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, but whatever the reason, the Dan Patch Invitational leg of the handicapping contest turned into a survivor round. While Sweet Lou was an obvious key horse in the race, the handicappers for the most part were unable to construct a ticket which used both Bettor's Edge and streaking Carol's Comet in their exotic plays. As a result, the successful handicapper this past Friday was the handicapper who managed to get their head over the waterline. Three handicappers were successful in the effort with Brandon Valvo winning the week with a $50 net profit and regaining the overall lead ($2,774.50) from Bob Zanakis with a tenuous lead of $65.80. Other handicappers who managed to show positive results for the week were Earl Paulson ($30) and Brian McEvoy ($20). Obviously, the number of key wagers this week were minimal but Rusty Nash greatly reduced his potential deficit by wheeling Sweet Lou in the Superfecta for a dime investment ($33.60 total) and managed to collect $116.65. Earl Paulson managed his $30 profit with a $150 Win ticket on the race winner which paid $180 while weekly winner Brandon Valvo employed similar strategy by earning $50 with a $250 win ticket on the FFA pacer. Brian McEvoy managed his $20 profit with a combination of Win and Show wagers on the race winner. Bob Zanakis managed to stay close and within reach of the top spot by playing a $15 exacta partial wheel ($75) which grossed $193.50. The current standings are:   As of August 8, 2014 - Leg 21 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,774.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($56.50) $2,708.70 $65.80 3rd Derick Giwner ($237.00) $98.77 $2,675.73 4th Earl Paulson $30.00 ($55.10) $2,829.60 5th Mark McKelvie ($240.00) ($124.00) $2,898.50 6th Brian McEvoy $20.00 ($165.00) $2,939.50 7th Ray Garnett ($248.00) ($622.15) $3,396.65 8th Josi Verlingieri ($235.00) ($1,272.10) $4,046.60 9th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,400.30) $4,174.80 10th Ann Stepien ($238.00) ($1,509.11) $4,283.61 11th Rusty Nash ($45.35) ($1,642.63) $4,417.13 12th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($1,728.00) $4,502.50 13th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($1,888.00) $4,662.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,583.70) $5,358.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($4,048.40) $6,822.90                                                                                 This coming weekend, the Challenge picks up the tempo with races at several tracks.  Friday evening the contest stops at Northfield Park for the inaugural $400,000(Est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3yo pacing colts.  The contest then moves north Saturday with the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway before heading to the Canadian Maritimes for the popular $75,000 Gold Cup and Saucer at Red Shores Charlottetown.  Two year olds get their time in the spot light as well with Mohawk Raceway hosting the $215,000(Div.) Eternal Cammation for 2yo pacing fillies and the $245,000(Div.) Nassagaweya for 2yo pacers.  As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.    Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 9, 2014 -- Hammered down to 1-5 off his surprising fourth in the Hambletonian, Il Sogno Dream lived up to expectations Friday at The Meadows when he dominated his Currier & Ives division and scored in a stake-record 1:53.2. Wheelsandthelegman took the other split in the $120,000 stake for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Il Sogno Dream caught the public's attention with his Hambletonian rally at 90-1, and they deemed him much the best. So did winning driver David Miller, who moved the son of Cantab Hall-Le Reve to the front at the quarter. He jogged from there, lowering the previous Currier & Ives record of 1:54.1 established by Vivid Photo in 2005. "I was very impressed with him," Miller said. "He was very easy to get along with and just raced super. He felt strong in the stretch. He felt like he had enough to finish it off." Chris Beaver trains Il Sogno Dream, who vaulted over $300,000 in career earnings, for Bill Manes, Dan Manes. Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. Wheelsandthelegman had to work much harder for his victory, first repelling Amped Up Hanover and forcing him back to the pylons past the quarter, then thwarting him again when he challenged anew near the three-quarters. The Donato Hanover-Carmita gelding triumphed for Dick Stillings in 1:55.1, a neck better than the game Amped Up Hanover, with Frost Free Hanover third. It was the seventh win for Wheelsandthelegman in nine career outings. "He's a real tough guy, but there's something not quite right about him," said Walt Carroll, who trains Wheelsandthelegman for Beth Carroll. "He got bit by a spider or something after he raced here Adios Day. There's just something missing. But he's a real competitor. I thought he was beat a couple times today, and he hung in there and did what he had to do." He attributed much of the youngster's success to trainer/driver Jim Raymer, who helped develop him. Carroll said Wheelsandthelegman likely will remain in Pennsylvania stakes for the balance of the season. $231,260 PA Sires Stake, 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Yankee Bounty stretched his career unbeaten streak to five with his most impressive performance yet, a 1:50.4 mile that erased the stake record of Johns Polyview and is the fastest mile this year by a freshman pacing gelding on a five-eighths-mile track. Lyons Again was second, 3-1/4 lengths back, while Lost For Words earned show. Blood Brother and Tomy Terror captured the other splits in the event known as the Tyler B. Yannick Gingras enjoyed a PASS double behind Yankee Bounty and Blood Brother. Making his initial start in the Ron Burke stable, Yankee Bounty was under wraps late, making Gingras wonder how fast the son of Yankee Cruiser-Bootleg Yankee ultimately can go. "He can go faster than 1:50.4, that's for sure. He had plenty left," Gingras said. "He certainly is impressive. He's the best 2-year-old I've driven so far this year, probably the best 2-year-old in the country." Yankee Bounty Partnership and Frank Chick campaign Yankee Bounty, who soared over $100,000 in lifetime earnings. A three-race maiden entering the race, Blood Brother was dismissed at 18-1 but found the Lightning Lane in time to score in 1:51.3. Wakizashi Hanover, the 3-5 favorite, was second by a nose, while Dragon Eddy completed the ticket. "He always could go, but he shakes his head the whole race," Gingras said. "He has the ability, but he just doesn't pay attention. Today he was a little bit better as far as that goes, and he got a good trip and got it done. We're working with different bits, and hopefully someday we'll find one he likes." Jimmy Takter trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Blood Diamond for Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables. Tomy Terror snapped his bridesmaid streak of three consecutive seconds by shooting the Lightning Lane to down Cooperstown by 1/2 length in 1:52.2, with Badiou Hanover third. Mike Simons drove the Western Terror-Mib Hanover gelding for trainer John Butenschoen and owners William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, Eugene Schick and VIP Internet Stable. "He's been on the front the last two times and just got caught, but we always thought he would be better off a helmet," said assistant trainer Tyler Butenschoen. "He got the cover he needed and exploded through there real good." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

Trainer Dave Menary is focused on getting He's Watching prepared for Sunday's $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old male pacers at Tioga Downs, but he's also looking forward to the colt's next probable challenge: A shot at the Pacing Triple Crown. The first jewel in the Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, is scheduled for Sept. 1 at Tioga Downs, with eliminations, if necessary, Aug. 24. He's Watching is not eligible to the Cane Pace, but Menary - who owns the horse with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust - is ready to pay the $35,000 fee to supplement to the race. "That's my game plan," Menary said. "I have a lot of goals. In the short term, I'm looking at Sunday. Right after Sunday, I'm concentrating on the Triple Crown. The Cane kicks it off. We've got to ante up and supplement to the Cane, and that's our plan. We plan on supplementing to the Cane. We plan on being there with bells on. "Hopefully things go well this week. We've got a decision to make and it's something I'll talk about with all my partners. But we're pretty confident in what we've got. You can't win the Triple Crown if you don't win the first leg of the Triple Crown." No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He's Watching has won four of seven races this year and brings a three-race victory streak to the Empire Breeders Classic final. For his career, the son of American Ideal-Baberhood, has won 12 of 15 starts and $856,207. Last Sunday, He's Watching won his EBC elimination by a half-length over JK Endofanera in 1:51.1 over a sloppy track. He's Watching, who was making his first start since winning the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4 on July 12, starts the EBC final from post three with driver Tim Tetrick. He is the 4-5 favorite on the morning line. "He's had a super week," Menary said. "He keeps making me look good. I'm pretty confident heading to the final. We were lucky to get the job done in the elimination and we got to pick our post. I couldn't be happier with what I see. I trained him very easy, but I loved the way he trained on Wednesday. He loves his work." Last year, He's Watching was 8-for-8 and received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer. Among his victories was a 1:50 triumph that established the track record for 2-year-old pacers at Tioga Downs, and at the time was the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old colt on a five-eighths-mile oval. "I think I have the fastest horse going, but I think I also have one of the freshest horses going," Menary said, referring to He's Watching having two three-week layoffs since the end of May. "I'm pretty confident. He ships well, he does well; he's a special horse." JK Endofanera, who won the North America Cup on June 14, is among two horses in the EBC final trained by Ron Burke. The entry is 2-1 on the morning line despite JK Endofanera and driver Brian Sears drawing post eight. JK Endofanera has won five of eight races this year and nine of 15 in his career, with total earnings of $941,642 for owner 3 Brothers Stables. Winds Of Change, who won the other EBC elimination, will start from post one for driver David Miller and trainer Linda Toscano. His victory last Sunday, with Tetrick driving, was his first in six starts this season. The son of American Ideal-Art's Temptress, has won three of 13 career races, including divisions of the Champlain and Tompkins-Geers stakes, and is owned by Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Part of an entry with Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account, Winds Of Change is 6-1 on the morning line. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Charlottetown PE- The much anticipated 55th running of the Gold Cup and Saucer will become a little more clear after Saturday night's race card at Red Shores Charlottetown. the 12-dash card gets started at 7 p.m. The Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer trial 1 will go in the evening finale race 12. Five of the six starters in Trial 1 have lifetime records better than 1:50. The connections of the 54th Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer winner are back to defend their title Saturday night. Trainer Ron Burke and driver Marc Campbell will install their hopes in Post 5 starter Aracache Hanover. Listed as the morning line choice, Aracache Hanover comes in showing blistering gate speed that is sure to be a factor in the compact field of six. The seven-year-old son of Dragon Again is owned by William Switala and James Martin. He is the richest starter of this year's Gold Cup entries with over $1.7 million in career earnings. A first time starter for trainer Rene Allard, Bigtown Hero, has drawn post 3. Now owned by Allard Racing and Yves Sarrazin of Quebec the son of American Ideal took his lifetime mark of 1:48.3 in his last start for trainer Trevor Stafford. Gilles Barrieau will handle the driving duties. Allard has two entries in trial 1 with his other entry right next door from post 4, Island Jet. Island native Robert Shepherd will be home to do the driving. Trainer Chris Oakes will make his training debut on red soil from post 2 when he sends out Shock It To Em for owners Hauser Bros Racing, Susan Oakes, Timothy Cable and Charles Oakes. Islander Walter Cheverie has been given the opportunity to drive. Shock It To Em finished fourth in his last start at Yonkers (half-mile) pacing his own mile in 1:52.2. The all important rail position on a half-mile track goes to the only Maritime starter in this year's field Astor. He is owned by one of Red Shores leading owners Foxyhall Racing and trained and driven by Red Shores' Charlottetown's top driver and trainer Jason Hughes. The outside post 6 has gone to the only starter from last year's Gold Cup and Saucer Up The Credit. The winner of over $1.3 million in career earnings will look to overcome the outside post for owners Thomas Kyron, Joanne Morrison and trainer Carl Jamieson. Jamieson is a former Gold Cup and Saucer winner, but will hand the lines over to Truro native Ryan Ellis. The second leg of the Spud Island Classic Series for Open Mares sponsored by the PEI Potato Board, starts in Race 6 with three divisions to line up behind the Metro Building Supplies starting gate. For All We Know will look to get back to her winning ways from post 4. Last week in the first leg she seen her three race win streak come to an end finishing second to Russian Kisses. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is owned by Bruce Wood. The Lobsterfest champion has paced he last three miles in 1:56 and change for the trainer - driver combo of Jackie Matheson and Barrieau. Last years princess of the Maritimes Ramblinglily will try her luck with the aged mares again. Absent from the first leg the four-year-old daughter of Articulator has picked up back-to-back victories for co-owners Allan Jones and Normand Leger. She'll reunite with her regular pilot Brodie MacPhee. Last season the duo enjoyed a near $60,000 year in earnings. 'Lily' has drawn post 3. Last years Spud Island Classic Champion, Dirt Track Momma has drawn the rail for Campbell and Moase. Ultimate Faith has drawn post 5 after her victory last week, Ryan Ellis will drive as the mare looks to pick up her fifth victory in sicx starts. Keystone Nobility and Bunny Mach round out the field. Last weeks show stealer and newcomer Russian Kisses will line up in the second division, Race 8, making her second start on red soil the daughter of Badlands Hanover will look to make it two-in-a-row after taking her first leg in 1:55. She is owned by Robert Shepherd, Joe Travis and Forrest Richards, Robert has handed the training duties over to his father Harold for her stay on P.E.I. and brother Steven will do the driving again this week. Firstclassflight, Veronicavermillion, There Paid For, Silky Britches, Brodys Leona and Miracleonthehudson complete the field. Stayoutofmyaffair draws the rail in the third and final division in Race 10. A going away winner in her last start by 11 and a half lengths in 1:55.1, trainer - driver Jason Hughes will look for some of that same momentum again this week. Owned by Robi Hughes, the defending Atlantic Aged Mare champion has five victories this season. Scotian Lass, Icandothat, General Luckypercy, J K Special, Dreaming and Andro Madi round out the competition. The race 11 feature will be the Ocean 100 pace. Eagle Jolt has been installed as the morning line favourite for owners Wilbur MacDonald and Marie Macdonald. The seven-year-old has two consecutive miles in 1:56 and change. Campbell, who is sponsored by Ocean 100 in the Drive For Charity will do the driving and the crew from Ocean 100 is sure to be pulling for the win. For each of Campbell's driving victories at Red Shores' properties Ocean 100 will donate $25 to the Olivia Ruth MacLeod memorial award. Bo Ford

The young hipsters dressed to the nines sipping cocktails while lounging on rooftop patio furniture was the first indication this was not your granddaddy's Hambletonian. That it was a surprisingly pleasant overcast August afternoon, and not a sauna, was another. In the end, the track belonged to imported Swedes -- Jimmy Takter and Ake Svanstedt, especially -- along with Ron Burke, of course. But the day? That belonged to the gleaming new $88 million grandstand that thrummed with youthful energy and passed its first big test with aplomb. Track owner Jeff Gural was pleased and, naturally, couldn't resist an "I told you so" dig at his critics. "I think if you go back to the weekend we opened, I think if you look at some of the blogs, they were all critical, 'Gural's an idiot. The place is much too small. What's he going to do for theMeadowlands Pace and Hambletonian?' We saw the place is just perfect. It was designed exactly right," he said of a building about a third the size of the behemoth across the pond. Give the man his due. On this Hambletonian, he wasn't wrong. The crowd, estimated at 20,700,was thick -- particularly in the new version of Paddock Pack now called The Backyard -- but not impenetrable. The queues -- for pari-mutuel or more ordinary refreshment -- moved withimpressive speed given the volume. The on-track wagering wasn't as strong as the Nouveau Big M folks would have liked to have seen, mind you, but then the young kids don't bet like their granddaddies, either. It's the cost of trying to introduce the business to a generation to which harness racing is as foreign as rumble seats. But out there in our hyper-connected world, from Hackensack to Helsinki to Sydney the bets poured in. With a few countries still to be heard from, the expectation is that the haul will be about $1 million higher than last year. The total handle of more than $8.7 million is already the third best Hambletonian Day in history and foreign wagering could still push this year's number to the top spot, exceeding some $9 million bet in 2005. "That's impressive in this day and age," Gural said. "That's a tribute to the card. We had full fields, a couple of big fields, almost all the major stars were there with the exception of the three-year-old (pacing) colts. But on the trotting side, we got a little lucky with Father Patrick drawing the 10-hole. It wasn't a walkover, as it turned out." The Ãber trotter, bet down to 2-5 despite starting from parking lot, was part of Takter's Terrific Trio instrumental in scaring off challengers in the main event and leaving the Hambletonian heatless just one year after returning to its old format. That Father Patrick made a jump at the gate immediately made for some interesting drama whether you watched on the huge high-definition infield screen from one of the outdoor grandstand seats or in the hinterland via the spectacular show on the CBS Sports Network that employed 13 cameras to great effect, including a wide-angle mounted on the starting gate. Takter's intact duo of Trixton and Nuncio got the job done, of course, with a neck-and-neck stretch battle to boot. When the stone dust finally settled, Takter celebrated his first Hambletonian victory in the bike (and third lifetime), nipping John Campbell for what would have been his seventh triumph in harness racing's premier race. You needed a cab ride to reach the rest of the field scattered by three breakers, which was particularly disheartening to driver Yannick Gingras and the rest of Father Patrick's connections. That it was likely Gingras' greatest day at the track was little consolation for the Quebec native who won four stakes -- including the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit -- and just shy of $600,000 in purses in all, but was crest fallen about losing the big one. "It's probably the best day I've had racing horses but it's also the most disappointing day. I scored (Father Patrick) down pretty hard because I've never left with him before, and I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for it. The gate opened, I just touched him on his tail with the whip and he took off running. It's so unfortunate. Knock on wood, I'll have another chance, but you never know," Gingras told the ubiquitous Bob Heyden, one of the few things about the new place that thankfully was not traded in for a newer model on Hambletonian Day. That Kevin Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame was tabbed to present harness racing's Stanley Cup to Takter and Co. speaks to that youth movement again -- unless you're referring to that glorious silver bowl that now has 90 of the sport's greatest trotters inscribed in silver discs on its wedding cake base. Dear Lord, let's hope no one ever entertains trading that in for a newer model, because newer isn't always better. Progress isn't always positive. Sorely missed in the new digs is the old front paddock that radiated with equine and human stars and served as the annual meeting place for the sport's far-flung powerbrokers on Hambletonian Day. The signs that once hung above the stalls on the facade of the old place honouring each of the Hambletonian winners since the race moved to New Jersey in 1981 seem out of place now lining the infield. Try as they might, even the Copacabana rum girls sporting huge feather headdresses and littleelse other than smiles, didn't make up for the loss. Though, they were a nice touch along with the fathead driver cutouts seen throughout the day, the appearance by Captain Bill Wichrowski from the Discovery Channel's show Deadliest Catch and old style pennants each bearing the name of a Hambletonian finalist. The bridge from old to new was the free Hambletonian hats, The Nerds bashing out loud, enthusiastic covers in the park and the track itself, of course, which yielded three more world record performances. "I've been coming to the Hambletonian since 1960's when it was staged in DuQuoin [IL], and appreciated its growth and renewed pageantry when it moved to New Jersey in the old grandstand setting. We're working to build on that great tradition.," said Tom Charters president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. "In a way it was similar to the first Hambletonian here in 1981 - a new experience entirely. This is a new venue and a wonderful new facility, a new era. We will work with the Meadowlands to establish some new traditions that underscore the Hambletonian's place as America's trotting classic and the most important harness race in the world." Classic Martine got things started in the first race, equaling the world mark for trotting mares with a 1:51.1 score in the $52,000 Ima Lulu Final. Five races later, Mission Brief equaled the global mark for two-year-old trotting fillies with a 1:52.2 score in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle. Barefoot speedster Sebastian K capped the record-setting parade in race 11 when he equaled the 1:50 record for older trotters while winning the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial the same day Cashman's 14-year-old granddaughter, Grace Cashman, sang the national anthem. None of which -- even the Hambletonian winner -- topped spectacular sightlines from multiple decks, a Hollywood-style sign on the roof that spells out Meadowlands in huge letters and a massive sports bar that transforms into a dance club at night -- all designed to lure the next generation critical for the sport's survival. "Everybody loved it. Everybody thought it was spectacular," said Gural, who is fond of wandering his plant to make himself available to his patrons. "The biggest compliments were from the people that had never been there. If you've never been there, you're really shocked when you pull up to the door." As the start of a new era for harness racing greatest day drew to a close, even the sky brightened and the Manhattan skyline materialized like a mirage out of the haze. The hipsters on the roof barely noticed, what with their iPhones, friends and cocktails to attend to, but the rest of us noticed them all right. They were completely foreign to the old place and a most welcome addition to the club. by Dave Briggs for the Hambletonian Society

There were three New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies at Vernon Downs on Thursday night and Yannick Gingras came in to win two of them and drive the second-place finisher in the other. In all, Gingras posted four winners on the 14-race harness racing program to win top driver honors for the extended card.   Band Of Angels (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) won the $36,566 first division of the New York Sire Stakes. She moved to the lead as the field entered the backstretch and held that edge until Sawyer (David Miller) made a nice move to take over the top spot entering the far turn. However, Band Of Angels (Gingras) reclaimed the lead as the field moved into the stretch and moved away to a nice victory in 1:52.2. Band Of Angels has now won four consecutive New York Sire Stakes races at four different racetracks (Monticello, Yonkers, Saratoga, and Vernon), the last three with Gingras at the controls. Band Of Angels is owned by W.J. Donovan of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and is trained by Ron Burke.   There was a 9-1 upset in the $35,866 second division, as My Little Delight (Bettor's Delight-My Little Dragon) charged past Bettor N Better (Yannick Gingras) and Bettor Be Steppin (David Miller) in the stretch to get the victory in 1:52.3. My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) got her first win in five lifetime starts in this spot and paid $21.60 in the process. Bettor Be Steppin was very stubborn throughout the stretch on the lead, only succumbing in the final strides, getting passed by both My Little Delight and Bettor N Better. My Little Delight is owned by Adam Victor & Son Stable LLC of New York, New York. Noel Daley is the trainer.   Yannick Gingras returned to the Winner's Circle in the $36,566 third division at the controls of Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover). Sassa Hanover went immediately to lead and never looked back, maintaining a strong edge throughout the race. She stretched her advantage to five lengths in the stretch before settling for a three-length win in 1:52.2. Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) closed well in the stretch and finished second. Sassa Hanover matched the accomplishment of Band Of Angels, picking up four straight New York Sire Stakes wins at four different racetracks (Monticello, Yonkers, Saratoga, and Vernon). Sassa Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York and Lawrence Karr of New Jersey. Ron Burke is the trainer.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday night with a 10-race program. First post time is 6:45pm.   Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity  

August 1-7, 2014; At this point in the season, it's typical for 3-year-old horses at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs to be battling against others of their own age in Stallion Series or Sire Stakes action. Yet our two top performers of the week that was at Pocono dared to take on older horses. Not only did they survive, but they thrived. Here are the details of both their exploits and those of the other top performers as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: LUCK BE WITHYOU This 3-year-old colt from the Chris Oakes' barn started the season in Canada but quickly found a home at Pocono with a condition win on June 28 in 1:50:1. He then battled his way to a 7th in finals of the prestigious Meadowlands Pace before returning for an even more impressive victory in a blistering 1:48 on July 19. On Saturday night, Luck Be Withyou faced his sternest test yet by going up against the non-winners of $22,500 in the last five races grouping. Among the competitors he would have to face were Meirs Hanover and Bolt The Duer, a pair of veterans as talented and as tested as there are in the sport. If the relative inexperience of Luck Be Withyou was ever going to be a factor, this was the race. At the top of the stretch, the 3-year-old was staring at the tail of Bolt The Duer, who had set the pace and done so in reasonable fractions. Yet Luck Be With You was ready for the challenge when driver George Napolitano Jr. asked for another gear. He sped by a stunned Bolt The Duer and held off fast-closing E Street Plan for the win in 1:49:2. Even though the time wasn't as flashy as his previous win, this victory was the best evidence yet of this sophomore's incredible talent. Other top pacers this week include: Show Runner (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), a mare whose victory in Friday night's featured condition pace in a career-best 1:50:3 was her second straight win; Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who powered to a win over $10,000 claimers on Saturday night in 1:50:4, a career-best and his Third Straight win; and Mach It So (Andrew McCarthy, PJ Fraley), who picked up a win in Saturday night's featured Preferred Handicap pace in 1:48:2, a new career-best and the fastest time posted this week at MSPD. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: REVRAC HARBOUR This award was probably a little overdue for this 3-year-old colt from the barn of trainer Tony Alagna. From June 3 to July 1, he ripped off four consecutive wins at Pocono, topping out with a back-to-back career-best miles of 1:54:1 in wins over the non-winners of four condition. He traveled to the Meadowlands after that and struggled against some of the top trotters in the country in a pair of stakes races. Revrac Harbour returned on Tuesday night to face all older horses in a non-winners of $13,000 in the last five starts condition trot. Back at Pocono again, he found his stride quickly by making a move to the front end early in the race. Yet Picture This, the race favorite, lurked behind him In The Pocket for much of the mile and enjoyed a much better trip. In the stretch, Picture This took to the inside passing lane and briefly seemed like he was about to get past. That's when driver Scott Zeron coaxed just a little extra effort from an already-taxed Revrac Harbour, who dug in and surged back in front in the final strides in 1:55:4 on a sloppy track. That makes it five wins in the last five races he's started at Pocono, with this maybe the gutsiest yet. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Zooming (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter),who shipped in from New York for a condition win on Saturday in 1:51:4, easily the week's fastest trotting time; Waldorf Hall (Corey Callahan, Jim Raymer), who churned through the slop for a condition win on Tuesday in 1:53:4; and Swiss Lightning (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Lare), who ripped off his fourth straight claiming victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:4, matching his career-best in the process. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RESCUE PLAN It's not often George Napolitano Jr., the meet's leading driver, pilots a long shot, but this condition pacer was at 42-1 when G-Nap steered him to victory on Tuesday night for a $87.60 win payout on a $2 ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. Who else could it be this other than George Nap, considering that he won seven of the thirteen races on the card on Saturday and nearly pulled off a 20-win week. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: CHRISTIE COLLINS Collins' barn has been steadily gaining momentum in the summer months, and her trainees picked up three more wins this week, including a double on Friday. That will do it for it this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia          

40-1 long shot Rumor Mill pulled off a stunning upset to highlight Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were three Sire Stakes divisions held with purses ranging from $75,320 to $75,720 for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Rumor Mill (The Panderosa-Chippie Gabby), trained by Jim King Jr., hadn't finished higher than fourth in her previous three starts coming into Wednesday night, but Tim Tetrick guided her from last early to rally in the stretch for the win by a length in 1:53:1. Macarena Mama finished second and Safe From Terror picked up the show. Form held in the remaining two Sire Stakes divisions, as a pair of favorites driven by Yannick Gingras delivered. Southwind Roulette (Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Rio), trained by Ron Burke, won a hard-fought split in 1:51 for her second straight Sire Stakes victory. Aria Hanover (Well Said-Allamerican Cognac), trained by Jimmy Takter, battled to her Third Straight Sire Stakes victory with a winning time of 1:53:3 in her division. Jim Beviglia

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 6, 2014 -- Parklane Eagle squeezed off the cones, roared through the stretch and scored in 1:53, fastest division in Wednesday's harness racing $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers was conducted over five splits, with UF Larry Alltheway, R N Nate, Lyons Geoff Jnr and Letsmakeawish taking the other divisions. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake triple behind Lyons Geoff Jnr, Letsmakeawish -- both for trainer Ron Burke -- and UF Larry Alltheway. Parklane Eagle got away first for Tony Hall but gladly accepted cover from PV Dragon. The son of Somebeachsomewhere - River Hanover was stronger in the lane, defeating his rival by a length, with Bee Happy Dan third. Hall had never before driven Parklane Eagle but got some advice from Peter Foley, who conditions the colt for Shirley LeVin. "He said to get him in the race if I could, so that's what I tried to do," Hall said. "Once I showed him racetrack, he really took off." Aaron Merriman, who piloted R N Nate to victory, also got some advice -- in the form of voicemails from Roger Hammer, the youngster's owner/breeder/trainer. "He told me, in effect, this is a stake race, so race him," Merriman said. "I was a little concerned that we wouldn't get room." Merriman had to wait for the Lightning Lane to implement Hammer's counsel, but he steered the Nuclear Breeze-R N Artist gelding to a 1-3/4-length victory over the rallying Wild Again in 1:54.1. Cabo Sunshine earned show. UF Larry Alltheway was a leisurely fifth before Palone edged him off the pylons to follow cover. Once he shed that cover, he drew off to triumph in 1:54, 6 lengths better than Final Gesture. Mandalay Spur completed the ticket. "He's a big, green, snaky horse," said Kelly O'Donnell, who trains the Dragon Again-Varbo gelding for Up Front Racing. "Last week in the Arden Downs, once he cleared, he didn't know where he was going. He ran in, he ran out and got beat. So we thought we'd teach him something today." Merriman drove five winners and Palone three on the 16-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday with a powerhouse card that includes a $231,260 PA Sires Stake for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, the $120,000 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters and the Midwest Series Final of the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Trot. Il Sogno Dream heads the Currier & Ives field on the strength of his fourth-place Hambletonian finish. First post is 6:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

There were five divisions of Stallion Series action for harnss racing  3-year-old colt and gelding pacers contested at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, each carrying a purse of $20,000. In the first division, it was Winchester Baye Acres' Spaghetti Eddie utilizing a well-timed move to score the victory. The son of The Panderosa was guided to the outside by hall of famer Dave Miller just beyond three-quarters, and went on to win by one length, for his third career victory, in 1:51.3. Hemingway finished second, while race favorite Brioni finished third. In the second division, it was Sean Liam Q scoring the victory. The son of McCardle seized command quickly after the quarter, and never looked back, stopping the clock in 1:52.2. Long shot Workandplayhard was second, while Jins Shark finished third. Sean Liam Q is owned by Steve Stewart, Don & Michael Robinson, and the Bourbon Creek Stables, trained by Ross Croghan, and was driven by George Napolitano Jr. In Division three, it was The Lunch Pail living up to favorite status. The son of Yankee Cruiser brushed to the lead passed the quarter, and was strong on the lead, finishing the mile in an in-hand 1:53.1. He is owned by Michael Ouriel, trained by Joe Holloway, and was driven by Dave Miller. Bristol Bay finished second, while A Plus Hanover was third. In the fourth division, it was the Chris Oakes trainee War Front going on to an easy victory. The son of Somebeachsomewhere went right to the front end, making every call a winning one, stopping the clock in 1:52.1. Long shot Sweet Beach rallied well for place, while Dragon Tattooteen overcame an early break to be third. War Front is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, C. Pompey, and S. Oakes, and was driven by George Napolitano Jr. In the final division, it was Stevensville scoring an impressive win. The Ray Schnittker trainee quarter-moved to the top, and went on to a sharp victory, stopping the clock in 1:50.1, the fastest time of the day. Invictus Hanover was second, while Verbal Assault was third. Stevensville is owned by Paul Bordogna, Ryan Miller, and trainer Ray Schnittker, and was driven by Tim Tetrick. Three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers will headline the Thursday afternoon card, each going for approximately $70,000. 2014 Adios champion McWicked will be in action along with several other talented PA sired pacers. First Post is scheduled for 12:40 PM. Harrah's Philadelphia

This Week: Dan Patch Invitational, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind., Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. and Gold Cup and Saucer trials, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (Aug. 8) at Hoosier Park with the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational for older pacers. On that same evening, The Meadows will host two $60,000 divisions in the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters. Then on the weekend, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host two days of trials for the Gold Cup and Saucer for older pacers. Twelve horses have been nominated, thus setting the stage for trials on Saturday (Aug. 9) and Monday (Aug. 11). The top finishers in the trials will advance to the final on Saturday (Aug. 16). Complete entries for the Hoosier Park and Meadows races are available at this link. Entries for the Red Shores Racetrack & Casino races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack closed out their Championship Meet this past Saturday with several lucrative Grand Circuit races led by the $1,006,125 Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Trixton edged stablemate Nuncio to win the Hambletonian. Trixton and trainer/driver Jimmy Takter bested a stubborn stablemate Nuncio (John Campbell) in a stretch drive down the lane to win the Hambletonian in 1:50.3. The time was the second fastest in the history of the race, behind his sire Muscle Hill, who won the 2009 Hambletonian in 1:50.1. With three horses making breaks at the gate, including the favorite at 3-5, Father Patrick, the picture changed abruptly as the field turned in to the :26.3 first quarter with Nuncio (John Campbell) in the lead, with Royal Ice (Ron Pierce) behind him. Those two led the field to the :54 half when Royal Ice and Pierce tipped out alongside Nuncio past the half-mile mark. Royal Ice could not get by and when the field entered the turn, following the 1:23 three-quarter clocking, Trixton was three wide around a tiring Royal Ice and was up to engage Nuncio and Campbell. Those two went stride for stride down the stretch, with Nuncio not giving ground until the final strides, when Trixton got a half-length in front for the win. Trixton is owned by Brixton Medical Ab of Sweden and Christina Takter. The Muscle Hill-Emilie Cas El colt won for the seventh time in nine starts this year and increased his season's bankroll to $786,917. The $360,000 yearling has now banked $840,604 lifetime. A Jimmy Takter-trained filly won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, but not as expected. Lifetime Pursuit, sent off at odds of 10-1 with driver Yannick Gingras, won the Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters by 2-1/2 lengths over favorite Designed To Be in a world-record 1:50.4. Take The Money finished third, followed by Lifetime Pursuit's better-known stablemate Shake It Cerry, who was the second choice in the betting. Lifetime Pursuit, leaving from post seven, got the early lead and led the field to the first quarter in :26.3. Shake It Cerry, who started from the second tier in post 11, took the top spot on the backstretch as the group reached the halfway point in :55.1. Coming off the final turn, Shake It Cerry led, with Lifetime Pursuit sitting behind her and Heaven's Door on the outside. Lifetime Pursuit powered to the front and pulled away, with Gingras punching the air triumphantly well before the finish line. The time broke the world record for a 3-year-old filly trotter, which was 1:51, set in 2013 by Bee A Magician. Takter became the second trainer to win the Oaks and Hambletonian in the same year. Armbro Goal and Nan's Catch were trained by Jan Johnson in 1988. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 626; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 349; 4. David Miller - 270; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 961.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 220.55; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 201.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield with the Review Stakes; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes; at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial; at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino with the Gold Cup and Saucer final; at Saratoga Raceway with the Joe Gerrity final; at Mohawk Racetrack with the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation; and at Tioga Downs with the Tompkins-Geers. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director  

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