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Quite An Avenger (4g Quite Easy-Nobes Hanover-Prakas), with trainer Markku Nieminen driving, held off Venice (4f Quite Easy-Vivace-Express Ride), handled by Mika Forss, to win today's 221,000 euro, 2600 meter, Suuri Suomalainen Derby test for four year-olds at Vermo Racecourse (Helsinki, Finland). The winner, a son of young and successful sire Quite Easy, was timed in 1.13.73kr in the victory, his sixth in nine 2013 appearances. Quite Easy (Andover Hall-Marita's Victory-Valley Victory) was a $125,000 yearling at 2005 Harrisburg Sale and winner, at age two, of the Champlain and the International Stallion Stake. Cherry Chapstick (4f Orlando Vici-Summer Sisu-Victor Victor) took the third spot in the twelve horse field with Pearls For Girls (4f Striking Sahbra-Ussania Boko-SJs Photo) landing fourth. Brad de Veluve won the 2012 edition of the Derby which began in 1970. Thomas H. Hicks  

Six eliminations were conducted tonight at Jagersro for tickets to the Derby Final on September 1st, when the 12 best will battle for 2 million SEK. The top two finishers from today’s battles advance to the final. Post positions were drawn/selected after the action. The chart below summarizes the elimination results and shows post positions for each contestant in the final. Lutfi Kolgjini qualified three and Orjan Kihlstrom two as drivers. The more impressive victors were Quid Pro Quo, El Mago Pellini, Viking America, Porthos Amok and Increased Workload, in our opinion. Today’s program ifor readers’ further analysis and picks for the final click here.. Sweden's Trotting Derby Eliminations for mares Like their male counterparts, the mares battled Monday for entry to the September 1st Trotting Derby for four year-old Swedish mares. Four eliminations took place with the top three finishers in each earning a place in the final worth 1 million SEK to the winner. Robert Bergh (trainer driver of 2013 Elitloppet winner Nahar and Adrian Chip) won two today and Ake Svanstedt drove three to the final. The mares contested their eliminations over 2140 meters autostart for 100,000SEK first money to each winner. Impressive winners included the fastest elimination victor Kiss Me Kemp along with highly regarded Fascination (she won last year’s Oaks at Solvalla in September) and Hankypanky Pagan. Bailey Sweet Grim, a daughter of Quite Easy, will be worth a watch in the final as she closed strongly to get within a neck of Fascination on the line. She defeated a fine group of mares on May 25th at Solvalla in 1.12.5kr over 2140 meters. From a sire’s perspective only Quite Easy (9m Andover Hall-Marita’s Victory-Valley Victory) sired two entrants to the mares final. He was a 2005 Harrisburg yearling at the $125,000 price tag. Post positions are shown below with entrants and their trainers. Derbystoet – first prize 1 million SEK 2.140 meter autostart Post Position/Horse/Trainer 1. Hankypanky Pagan – Robert Bergh 2. Your Highness – Ulf Stenströmer 3. Kiss Me Kemp – Robert Bergh 4. Fascination – Lars I Nilsson 5. M.T.Harmony – Peter Untersteiner 6. Rica Neo – Åke Svanstedt 7. Alchemilla Rich – Åke Svanstedt 8. Technology – Stefan Melander 9. Baily Sweet Grim – Åke Svanstedt 10. Fashion Diva – Stefan Erlandsson 11. Caviar's Goldcard – Björn Röcklinger 12. Monas Invercote – Hans Östberg by Thomas H. Hicks  

Growing up in a big city there were few things to be envious of.  We had it all.  Well, as harness fans we had two of the sport’s most iconic tracks in Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways, but when it came to the sport’s signature event, The Hambletonian, we were miles from where it was happening. In the fall of 1976 The Meadowlands ushered in a new era for the sport. For those of us “half-milers” the one-mile strip had the allure of all of those speedy tracks in the Midwest that annually held State Fairs accompanied by the greatest the sport had to offer. The Grand Circuit’s mile tracks gave the sport’s stars the opportunity to race in heats and generally race faster than they would anywhere else. It just seemed natural that industry leaders would find a way to blend our rich tradition with our obvious future. In 1981 the Hambletonian arrived at the Meadowlands under less than ideal weather conditions. It arrived with many of the same faces that graced the Grand Circuit. It also came with an advanced purse structure more befitting the character the sport had attained in the New York City region.  It would be simple to start the history lesson with Shiaway St. Pat’s victory. It’s nice that Ray Remmen, the winning driver remains one of the most respected horsemen at the Meadowlands to this day.  Yet my story begins with a man who never won a Hambletonian. However, Carl Allen was hardly a loser that afternoon. He guided longshot Olaf to victory in one heat of the Hambletonian and also guided Pams Key to victory in a heat of the Hambletonian Oaks.  Allen’s saga in the Hambletonian is similar to most trotting horsemen. He wanted to win the race more than any other. In 1995 most people thought his time had finally arrived. The homebred C R Kay Suzie was the best filly of her generation and an odds-on favorite to beat the boys in the Hambletonian after capturing the Yonkers Trot. Sure there was a genuine family story line with Carl’s son Rod driving the filly. There was also some dissent because C R Kay Suzie would race with trotting hopples. Purists far and wide (and most Europeans) believed that no true trotter should wear hopples and that they should be prohibited from use in the sport’s most elite race. Maybe like all great inventions, 1995 was too soon for the gear Carl Allen had modified and maximized to be fully accepted. That’s the only plausible reason I can imagine as to why C R Kay Suzie made a break that day as the 1-10 favorite in her Hambletonian elimination. Over the 32 years at the Meadowlands the race has evolved when necessary to more accurately resemble challenges of the day. What has never changed is the openness and availability of the race to those from North America and overseas. The universal appeal of the Hambletonian is something that was nurtured and grew at the Meadowlands. It’s hard to imagine another race having the same allure that would draw a Ulf Thoresen (Nuclear Kosmos 1986) or a Stefan Melander (Scarlet Knight 2001) to come to these shores and succeed.  One would have to think that location, location, location is a major reason why Canadians based in Ontario made the pilgrimage to East Rutherford and enjoyed the ultimate prize in 2000 (Yankee Paco), 2003 (Amigo Hall) and again in 2006 with Glidemaster. It is this type of diversity that has set the Hambletonian apart in its stay in New Jersey. In DuQuoin the greats of the sport were prominent with the Dancers and Haughtons winning with regularity. The canvas has been spread much wider since the race arrived in the Metropolitan New York area. While the race isn’t going anywhere for some time, the 2013 edition marks the last time the horses will cross the wire in front of the current grandstand. With building fast reaching its completion the 2014 Hambletonian’s finish wire will be on the current backstretch. Much like the Hambletonian, however, the shift in grandstand will do little to shift the drama and excitement the race creates for the sport each and every year. It’s hard not to look back and recall some of the greatest moments in the sport’s long history taking place in the Hambletonian or on Hambletonian Day. It’s a race that has been filled with epic drama. In 1983 for example Hall of Famer Stanley Dancer’s stable would suffer a crippling blow in July when likely Hambo favorite Dancers Crown would succumb to severe intestinal issues. Dancer enlisted his brilliant filly Duenna to fill the void and her victory was bittersweet to all. The 1983 Hambletonian was the first to offer a $1 million purse putting it on similar footing with many of the Meadowlands other signature events. It was hard to argue with the Meadowlands brass when they called upon the Hambletonian Society to shift eliminations to a week before the final. That move took place in 1997 and it was in response to the creation of a week-long Hambletonian Festival, adding Breeders Crown races, maximizing betting and attracting international simulcasting. Still it was sad at the time to see an end to what appeared to be a time-honored tradition of heat racing. One of the most exciting periods for the race in New Jersey came in the mid-90’s with the emergence of Valley Victory as a unique and powerful presence in the stallion ranks. Valley Victorys hit the ground trotting and changed the landscape dramatically with Victory Dream (1994), the filly Continentalvictory (1996) and Muscles Yankee (1997). But 1999 may stand out as one of, if not the greatest, crop of trotters the sport has seen. At least that’s the way it appeared to be shaking out leading up to the Hambletonian that year. Self Possessed’s (by Victory Dream) 1:51 3/5 record-setting performance on that afternoon still stands out not just for the final time but for the quality of the horses that the colt left in the dust that afternoon. Vivid Photo and Roger Hammer winning the 2005 edition was a moment in time few will forget. For me Roger Hammer seemed the least likely candidate to emerge from the fairs of Pennsylvania onto the big stage. What made this race special is the obvious miscalculation of the experts. Hammer had been known for most of his career as a driver who liked the front end. When he employed the opposite strategy in the first $1.5 million Hambletonian (of his or any other driver’s career) it fulfilled the “No Guts, No Glory” prophecy. It certainly seemed fitting that horses bred in New Jersey would be good enough to take on the world. Muscles Yankee had a streak of his own with his sons Deweycheatumnhowe (2008), Muscle Hill (2009) and Muscle Massive (2010) distinguishing themselves for varied reasons. Deweycheatumnhowe became the first colt to win the race wearing the trotting hopples Carl Allen had mastered. Muscle Hill set the world record of 1:50 1/5 in a dynamic performance that winning trainer Greg Peck still hasn’t stopped talking about. And Muscle Massive became the most expensive yearling ($425,000) to win the race. The race returns to eliminations and final on one afternoon, for two trips around the course this Saturday afternoon. Though the Hambletonian has moved venues in the past, the next chapter in the race’s rich history remains on sound footing. In an era were few things remain the same for long, it’s refreshing that in this case tradition has triumphed with New Meadowlands home sweet home for the Hambletonian. by Jay Bergman for the Hambletonian Society  

Sunday August 4th the 99th Hungarian Trotting Derby field faces the starter at Kincsem Park, Budapest. Vying for a purse of 9 million HUf (forints), 11 three year-old HU bred trotters will face the starter going 1900 meters. The widely promoted race and accompanying trotting card is expected to fill the modern 10,000 capacity facility. The well balanced field includes eight offspring of the well-traveled Wall Street Banker (1998, Baltic Speed-Valley Victoria-Bonefish). The full-brother to legendary Valley Victory was bred by Valley High Stables and successfully campaigned by Doug Ackerman before stud duty in Michigan, export to Sweden in 1999 and various stallion travels throughout Europe. In Hungary he stood at the fine commercial breeding establishment Kabala Menes Ltd., breeder of five Derby starters. Radium Boy, colt, Wall Street Banker-Golden Lady, Kabela Menes Kft, 1.16.5kr Royal Flash, colt, Wall Street Banker-Tameways Sweet L, AMMA Rt,1.17kr Racing Athlete, colt, Wall Street Banker-Atletano, Kabala Menmes Kft, 1.18.2kr Remeny Sugar, filly, Wall Street Banker-Flamma, Kabala Menes Kft, 1.18,.2kr Reine Fille, filly, Wall Street Banker-Jungfrau, AMMA Rt, 1.18.4kr Rubin Lady, filly, Wall Street Banker-Vas Lady, Kabala Menes Kft, 1.18.4kr Raffaello, colt, Superior Dream-Inzulin, Kulik Ferenc, 1.18.7kr Rozsakert, filly, Wall Street Banker-Viragos, Kabala Menes Kft, 1.19kr Rimella, filly, Fantastique-Ulla, Kulik Ferens, 1.19.1kr Rubino TIM, colt, Wall Street Banker-Pamira, Milan Tisma 1.19.4kr Red Stone, colt, Wall Street Banker-Astalavista, AMMA Rt, 1.19.2kr Wall Street Banker is no fluke as a stallion and for good reason. His dam produced only five foals, all colts by Baltic Speed, all stallions that produced winning trotters and that pedigree carries on today through their broodmares. Valley Victory, 1986, 3,1:55.3, $485,307 Bostonian, 1987, 6, 1:59.2, $2,492 Wall Street Banker, 1988, 3,1:57.4, $322,471 Valley Boss Bi, 1989, 3,1:56.3, 163,122 Valley Valiant, 1991, stallion at Pickwick Farm Kabala Menes was established as a horse breeder in 1912, as profiled below.  Rádiháza - Kabala Ménes Kft. Rádiháza is located in South-West Hungary, in county Zala, 50 km far from Lake Balaton, 26 km far from Zalaegerszeg, between the villages Tófej and Gutorfölde. The pastures surrounded by forests and gently sloping hills are exquisitely adequate for keeping and breeding horses.Horse breeding was started here by László Bartha in 1912 with 7 mares, and Kabala Ménes Ltd follows this tradition. KabalaThe name of the company was taken from the black trotter Kabala (Uli-Babona), who was born in Rádiháza in 1960. He had excellent talents and success at the time. He made 58 starts and won 30 times. The HU Trotting Derby can be viewed through the Kincsem Park live simulcast feed at www.nlkft.hu. It’s always a race worth watching. by Thomas H. Hicks  

Harness racing driver David Miller and breeder William Weaver will be on this summer's ballot for election to the Living Hall of Fame, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Monday.

When the two-year-old trotting fillies kick off their Ontario Sires Stakes season at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday, July 5, the third Gold Series leg will feature a rare family reunion.

The Lindy Treaty, a two-year-old colt by Conway Hall, out of the Valley Victory mare Peace A Pie, won his $38,562 division of the harness racing New York Sire Stakes in 2:01.2 here at Buffalo Raceway Sunday afternoon (June 30).

Peace Corps 3,1:52.4 ($4,137,737), the five-time (1988-1992) divisional trotting champion, died in Mallorca, Spain, in November 2012 at the age of 26, it was learned today from her harness racing owner, John Bootsman.

Matthieu Abrivard, a leading international and French harness racing driver, was seriously injured in a pre-race accident Monday at Chartres.

Elitloppet officials today completed the 16 horse 2013 lineup with the addition of Amaru Boko (Timo Nurmos), Friction (Stefan Melander) and Nahar (Robert Bergh) to the field for May 26, now shown below:

Aby hosted seven divisions of the Euro Classic for harness racing four year-olds today Friday the 3rd of May at Aby, three divisions for fillies and four for males.

The Evictor made fast work of seven high-stepping Open harness racing rivals, while Hold On Tightly became the first three-time winner of the season at Vernon Downs on Friday night (April 26). With Marcus Miller doing the teaming for trainer John Butenschoen in race 10, The Evictor took over from Yankee Manny in the stretch drive and powered to an impressive 1:54.3 victory.

Prominent Florida sire Arapa Victory, whose harness racing sons and daughters have made a solid impact in the Florida Stakes program, has died at age 13, according to owner Laurie Lee Poulin.

He's Spooky was never headed in a 1:52.1 victory in the $23,000 Open Handicap trot, breaking his own track record for an older trotting horse by a full second, on Wednesday, March 20 at Dover Downs.

One of harness racing's great and rare spectacles, a match-race, has been carded for Saturday evening, July 28,as ahighlight of the closing program of the 2011-2012 meet at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.

It was a beautiful evening in South Florida dominated by a promising group of 2 year old State-bred prospects hitting the track for their first career starts on Wednesday, July 11 at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. Harness racing urses ranged from $4,500 to $6,000 in the Florida Standardbred Breeders And Owners Association (FSBOA) Sunshine State Stakes.

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