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This Week: Monument Circle, Carl Erskine Trot, Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, Nadia Lobell and Moni Maker, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind. and Artiscape, Muscle Hill and Kindergarten finals, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 31) at Hoosier Park with five stakes races on the card. Leading the way is the $275,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old colt pacers. Also on tap will be the $230,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old colt trotters, the $211,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, the $193,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $176,500 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. The Saturday (Nov. 1) card at Vernon Downs features the $250,500 Kindergarten Series final for 2-year-old trotting fillies, the $240,500 Kindergarten Series final for 2-year-old trotting colts, the $178,000 Artiscape for older pacing mares and the $178,000 Muscle Hill for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway, Woodbine Racetrack and Hollywood Dayton Raceway all had major stakes last weekend during an extremely busy Grand Circuit weekend. Natural Herbie grinds out win the International Trot   In an already long race -- at the nontraditional distance of 1-1/4 miles -- Natural Herbie went even longer to win Saturday's $250,000 International Trot Preview Invitational at Yonkers Raceway. Racing on the outside much of the way, Natural Herbie battled through a field of international stars to win in 2:24.4 at odds of 9-1. European standout Commander Crowe finished second, three-quarters of a length behind, and Bee A Magician, the lone female in the eight-horse field, was third. Obrigado was fourth and Arch Madness fifth. Natural Herbie, purchased by trainer/driver Verlin Yoder just prior to the start of his racing career as a 2-year-old, has won 12 of 23 races this year and 24 of 46 lifetime, with earnings of $749,841. Nuncio won Saturday's $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway, giving trainer Jimmy Takter a sweep of the Trotting Triple Crown. Sent off at odds of 1-9, Nuncio (Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle) and driver John Campbell won the Yonkers Trot by 2-1/4 lengths over Datsyuk in 1:56. Resolve finished third. Takter, who won the Hambletonian Stakes with Trixton, picked up the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot with Nuncio. Owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ Inc., Nuncio has won 10 of 15 races this year and earned $1.29 million. He finished second in the Hambletonian. All Bets Off went to the front as soon as the gate opened and never was challenged on his way to winning Saturday's $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Ron Burke, All Bets Off (Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope) won by 2-3/4 lengths over Luck Be Withyou in 1:51.1, with McWicked third. The time was the fastest ever for a Messenger Stakes at Yonkers. The finest 2-year-olds in harness racing were on display Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack for the Fall Four Stakes. Made up of the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid, the Fall Four Stakes has been an annual showcase of the best freshmen in the sport. Leading the winners of the four stakes was JK She'salady, who improved to a perfect ten for ten with another victory in the $377,360 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Sent off as the heavy 1-5 favorite, JK She'salady and Yannick Gingras got away fifth and sat along the rail until the midway point of the race. Around the final turn, Gingras sent JK She'salady first up to challenge the leader, The Show Returns, as the fillies were on even terms at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. JK She'salady came off the turn and quickly created separation with the field and cruised home to an impressive looking 1-1/2 length victory in 1:52.1. Solar Sister took the place spot, while Ideal Nuggets finished third. A daughter of Art Major-Presidential Lady, JK She'salady is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners 3 Brothers Stable. She returned $2.50 to win. On Friday at Hollywood Dayton Raceway, the night was supposed to belong to Foiled Again and Creatine, but although each raced very creditably neither was able to capture a Grand Circuit Dayton Derby. Instead stablemate Clear Vision literally nosed out Foiled Again in the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby, lowering the track record to 1:49, and Market Share pulled a mild upset in the $162,000 Dayton Trotting Derby, establishing a new track trot standard with the 1:52.4 clocking. 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 - 1,925; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,062; 3. David Miller - 894.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 635.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 613. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,122.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,599; 3. Erv Miller - 441.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 349; 5. Tony Alagna - 332. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 478.55; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 428.55; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 317; 4. Robert Key - 272; 5. Brittany Farms - 258.45. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs with eight Matron Stakes for 2- and 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters set for Thursday (Nov. 6). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Top older mares of both gaits and two-year-old trotters of both sexes will vie for over $800,000 in purses on a blockbuster closing night card this Saturday (November 1) at Vernon Downs.   Triple millionaire Anndrovette headlines the $178,000 Artiscape Mares Pace (race six), and the seven-year-old veteran will square off against seven rivals in the first leg of an all-stakes Pick 4. Trainer PJ Fraley listed Tim Tetrick to drive the 41-time winner, and she'll line up in post 3, just outside her entrymates Krispy Apple (Brett Miller) and Shelliscape (John Campbell).   Double millionaire Rocklamation also figures to be among the standouts, having won the Lady Liberty and the Golden Girls at the Meadowlands this summer. Yannick Gingras is listed to drive the six-year-old for trainer Ron Burke. In all, the Artiscape field boasts 200 career wins, along with combined earnings in excess of $11.9 million.   Races seven and eight are the culmination of the Kindergarten Classic series, with nine two-year-old trotting colts and geldings competing for a $240,500 purse in the seventh race. Indiana standout Airman Batten (Marcus Miller, post 1) has won 10 of 13 career races, and the Erv Miller-trained Swan For All colt figures to be prominent along with the Jimmy Takter-trained French Laundry (Yannick Gingras, post 5). The son of Muscles Yankee has won five of his nine career races, taking a 1:54.4 lifetime mark in his Kindergarten preliminary at the Red Mile on September 18.   Freshman fillies contest a $250,000 purse in the eighth race, with five-time winner Bee the Queen (Brian Sears, post 9) coming in off multiple Kindergarten preliminary wins. While she consistently shows speed, the George Ducharme-trained daughter of Donato Hanover has a number of four-time winners lining up to her inside, including Allerage Star (Corey Callahan, post 1), Josie's Joy (Tim Tetrick, post 5), Lady Clarabella (David Miller, post 6), and Sweet Thing (Charlie Norris, post 8).   Ten top distaff trotters square off in the $178,000 Muscle Hill, carded as race nine on the 11-race program. Bee a Magician, fresh off her third-place finish to Natural Herbie and Commander Crowe in the Yonkers International Trot Preview, has drawn post 9 in the full field. Usual driver Brian Sears is listed to drive the 30-time winner for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. The other millionaire in the field is 27-time winner Maven (post 7), making her debut from the Ron Burke stable off a sharp 1:54 qualifier at Pocono. Yannick Gingras has been nominated to retain his drive aboard the five-year-old Glidemaster mare.   The closing night card is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. EDT start time, with a long-sleeve T-shirt giveaway to commence an hour earlier (while supplies last). A fireworks display over the Central New York Sky will take place following the evening's final race.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs 

John Macdonald was the star of the show at Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 25) evening, winning four of 13 races on the harness racing card--three of them with his own trainees.   He kicked off his driving grand slam in the featured second race, a $6,500 upper-level conditioned pace. Dragon Fever ($7.60), a four-year-old Dragon Again gelding from the MacDonald stable, sprinted to the front from race's outset, set sensible fractions of :27.3 and :56.3, turning aside a bid from the pocket-sitting Barbarian (Fern Paquet, Jr.) on the far turn before kicking clear to a 2-1/2 length victory in 1:53.1.   In the fourth race, a $3,000 second-level conditioned pace, MacDonald pounced from the pocket in mid-stretch with Firethorn ($6.10), beating the pacesetting Donna's Scape in a 1:52.3 mile. MacKenzie's Bliss ($16.20) gave MacDonald a training and driving hat trick in the eighth race, also kicking to the fore to take the $5,100 fifth-level conditioned pace in 1:53.1.   In the ninth race, a $4,000-$5,000 claiming handicap trot, MacDonald teamed up with the Arnold Marks-trained Windsun Galliano ($9.60), working clear through a :28.1 first quarter before rating a more conservative tempo on the backstretch. After dismissing a first-over challenge from Funny Photo (Lems), Windsun Galliano drew clear in the stretch for a 1:57.1 triumph, ending up five lengths in front at the line when the pocket-sitting Nineanddivine (Claude Huckabone, III) broke stride in deep stretch.   Only three nights of racing remain in the 2014 season at Vernon Downs. Closing week kicks off on Thursday (October 30) with a 10-race program, due to start at 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite

Tomy Terror ($2.70) took more than two seconds off the Vernon Downs track record for two-year-old pacing geldings with his 1:50.2 effort in the John Simpson Memorial on Friday (October 24) evening.   The son of Western Terror and Mib Hanover tracked entrymate Gold Coast Muscle (Mike Simons) through sizzling middle fractions of :54.1 and 1:22, pulling the pocket off the far turn and vaulting to the fore. Chased home by Bet You (Brett Miller) and Hall of Terror (Mark MacDonald), Tomy Terror and Corey Callahan prevailed by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:50.2.   John Butenschoen trains Tomy Terror for owners William Wiswell, Jeah Goehlen, Eugene Schick, and the VIP Internet Stable.   Two other Butenschoen trainees were victorious in their Simpson divisions, both in divisions for freshman trotting colts and geldings. Boots N Chains ($4.60, Callahan, 1:54.4) and Explosive Drama ($36.60, Simons, 1:56.1) rounded out the Butenschoen training hat trick.   Butenschoen's attempt to sweep the trio of male trotting divisions with Suit and Tie was thwarted by none other than Centurion ATM ($2.10). After rated patiently by trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt off the top pair through a :56.4 half mile, the son of SJ's Caviar and Ens Tag Session began is move in the final three-eighths, taking over in upper stretch and holding off a late closing Sixteen Encores (Callahan) in 1:54.2. Centurion ATM, the Peter Haughton Memorial winner, was well in hand approaching the post, winning by 1-1/4 lengths with much in reserve.   Rounding out the Simpson winners for the evening were trotting fillies Model Behavior ($44.60, Simons, 1:55.1) and Deli Royal ($32.00, Jimmy Whittemore, 1:57.2) who both proved upset winners, while the lone event for pacing fillies ended in a 1:52.1 dead heat between Deli Beach ($4.60, John Campbell) and Heart Major ($4.50, Joe Pavia, Jr.).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 25), with the first of 13 races scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs      

Despite finding herself in constant battle, Southwind Trini ($8.00) proved unwavering in Thursday (October 23) night's $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open-Preferred Pace at Vernon Downs, capping a driving hat trick for Jim Marohn, Jr.   Coming off victories in her last two Vernon appearances, the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare was hard used to clear JK Letitgo (Jimmy Whittemore) through a :26 first quarter.   The two were joined off the gate by 1-4 favorite Let's Go Higher (Chris Lems), who retreated to a tracking position before commencing her first-over bid on the backstretch. After forcing a :54.4 half mile, Let's Go Higher turned up the pressure on the far turn, gaining a narrow lead briefly, but Southwind Trini would not relent.   Off the far turn, she fought back to a 1-1/4 length lead, holding sway by three-quarters of a length for a 1:52.3 score over sloppy going. Thats My Dream (Claude Huckabone, III) finished third off a ground-saving trip, while JK Letitgo tired through the stretch after chasing the contested pace.   Patti Harmon trains Southwind Trini for Karma Racing, Inc.   Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers with three wins on the night, teaming up with Flying Fish ($13.60, 1:57) and Ace of Pace ($2.80, 1:53.4) in addition to his victory in the evening's featured event.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (October 24) evening, with the first of 13 races slated for 6:45 p.m.    by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

VERNON, NY - On Friday, October 24, world champion colt Centurion ATM travels to Vernon Downs to headline three divisions of the Simpson Stakes for two-year-old trotters. Four other divisions featuring freshman filly trotters and colt and filly pacers make up the thirteen-race card that features purses totaling more than $140,000. Racing begins at 6:45 p.m. This year, Centurion ATM has been carving his path to stardom. In just his fourth career start on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands, the two-year-old son of SJ's Caviar set a world record when he won the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial by more than three lengths in a time of 1:53.2. Centurion ATM, trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, finished a close second and third most recently in a pair of starts during the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile in Lexington. "He hasn't raced in three weeks and we needed to get a race into him because we didn't want to take him up to Canada," stated assistant trainer Bernie Noren. "He's our best two-year-old and we are pointing him for the Breeders Crown. We think Vernon Downs is a great track, especially for young horses." Owners Knutsson Trotting and Courant A B purchased Centurion ATM at the Harrisburg Sale last fall for $100,000. His siblings include Triumphant Caviar, a winner of nearly $800,000 and former Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Prayer Session. "He has the right look, the right conformation, and we knew we'd have to pay that much for a horse as good looking and with as good of a family as he has," continued Noren. "But his greatest asset is that he has the desire to win and a great set of lungs." While Centurion ATM's stable mate and trotter of the fastest mile in history, Sebastian K, didn't gain notoriety until he was an older horse, Noren said he sees at least one similarity between the two horses: "Centurion ATM broke the world record at the Meadowlands and also raced in Lexington barefoot, just like Sebastian K does." Sebastian K has earned nearly $3 million in purses in his lifetime. Noren said he looks forward to racing Centurion ATM this Friday at Vernon Downs to prepare for the $5.4 million Breeders Crown, harness racing's championship event. After the Breeders Crown on November 21-22 at the Meadowlands, Noren said his young trotter will spend the winter in Florida to prepare for a run at The Hambletonian in August of 2015. Vernon Downs is a 61-year-old harness racing track in beautiful Vernon, New York, 40 minutes east of Syracuse. The racing season continues on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through November 1. For more information please visit vernondowns.com. by Justin Horowitz, for Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs is looking to conduct an all grey race on Friday, October 31 (Halloween night). Anyone interested should contact the Vernon Downs race office at (315) 829-6825 or email Director of Racing Scott Warren at swarren@vernondowns.com. The entry box will close Tuesday, October 28 at 9 a.m. The condition sheet will be available on Friday, October 24. Grey or roan horses are acceptable. With multiple grey horses stabled on the backstretch we are hopeful the race will be able to go and make Halloween night an exciting one in Central New York. From the Vernon Downs Race Office  

This Week: Messenger Stakes, Yonkers Trot, International Trot Preview, Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Fall Four Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Dayton, Ohio; Circle City and Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and John Simpson Stakes, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 24) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway with the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for older trotters and the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on Friday, Hoosier Park will offer Circle City races for 3-year-old trotters and pacers, There will be three divisions in the $90,000 3-year-old colt pace, three divisions in the $82,200 3-year-old filly trot, two divisions in the $74,300 3-year-old colt trot and two divisions in the $71,000 3-year-old filly pace. On Saturday (Oct. 25), Hoosier will race Madison County events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Each of the four divisions carries an estimated purse of $75,000. Rounding out the busy Friday of Grand Circuit racing, Vernon Downs will contest the John Simpson Stakes for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be three divisions in the $31,005 2-year-old colt trot, two divisions in the $26,816 2-year-old filly trot and single divisions in the $26,503 2-year-old colt pace and $25,616 2-year-old filly pace. Yonkers Raceway will offer five Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday night led by two Triple Crown events, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger for 3-year-old pacers. Also on tap will be the $250,000 International Trot Preview for older trotters, the $150,854 Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies and the $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Woodbine will offer the Fall Four Stakes on Saturday featuring the C$565,000 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$521,000 Valley Victory for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$464,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, and the C$424,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Woodbine entries can be seen at this link. Last time: The Windy City Pace at Maywood Park was the featured event this past weekend on the extensive Grand Circuit schedule. Big Boy Dreams and Tim Tetrick won the Windy City Pace. Big Boy Dreams won the $180,000 Windy City Pace on Oct. 17 in wire-to-wire fashion for driver Tim Tetrick in 1:51. The Ron Burke trainee and New York Sire Stakes competitor notched his fourth win of the year in 10 starts. Big Boy Dreams took the field to a brutal :25.4 first quarter and a :54.1 half, with Let's Drink On It challenging the leader going to the 1:22.2 three-quarters. But Big Boy Dreams just continued to draw away in the stretch to win by 2-1/2 lengths. He now has $168,495 in seasonal earnings for owner Dominic Rosato. It was "Elimination Saturday," on Oct. 18, with Yonkers Raceway hosting elims for three stakes events. Fifteen 3-year-old colts and geldings turned into eight for Yonkers Trot No. 60, as standouts Nuncio (John Campbell) and Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) were comfy winners in the pair of $40,000 eliminations. Nuncio, in play early from post position No. 5, waited his turn before finally making the lead. He parked Skates N Plates, then strode home by 3-1/2 lengths through fractions of :28.4, :58, 1:26.4 and 1:56.2. Don Dorado was second, with Journey and Expressive Action third and fourth, respectively. Gural Hanover, New York Sire Stakes champion and the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into this season's Trot, won the draw in the second elim. He retook from a breaking-soon-after Flyhawk El Durado before finishing his four turns though panels of :28.4, 58.1, 1:27.2 and 1:56.3, a length faster than Resolve. Third went to King City, with Datsyuk getting the final place at the table. The $40,000 elim for the 59th Messenger -- nine sophomore colts/geldings to end up with eight -- was won by a pocket-sitting Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick). From post No. 2, he whipped a cone-skimming Forty Five Red by a neck in 1:53 with McWicked a belated third. 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 - 1,890; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,002; 3. David Miller - 869.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 625.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 523. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,957.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,519; 3. Erv Miller - 396.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 349; 5. Tony Alagna - 312. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 431.4; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 386.4; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 277; 4. Brittany Farms - 254.45; 5. Robert Key - 232. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs. Hoosier will feature the Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-olds, the Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers, the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers and the Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters. Vernon will offer the Artiscape for older pacing mares, the Muscle Hill for older trotting mares, and a pair of Kindergarten finals for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

USTA Directors from District 8 will be conducting their annual meeting and Awards Dinner Sunday, October 26th at Vernon Downs. The event is hosted by Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and the United States Trotting Association. USTA directors who will be on hand are District 8 Chairman Shawn Wiles, Jason Settlemoir, Mike Kane, Kim Crawford, Ray Schnittker Mark Ford and Bruce Tubin. At the meeting the attending members will review this years Proposed Rule and Bylaw changes. On the slate are nine proposed changes, three of which pertain to the Racing Under Saddle (RUS). No Director elections are due this year. The dinner will honor District 8 horses and the district's Horse of the Year will be named that evening. Also being recognized is John Manzi, who is honored by being named this year's recipient of the prestigious Bruce Hamilton Memorial Award. The meetings will get underway at 5pm followed by a Cocktail Party at 6:30pm. The Banquet and Awards Dinner program will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets for the Dinner are $30 and anyone interested in attending should call Betty Holt at the Harness Horse Breeders at 518-785-5858.  

While he employed different tactics from last week, the result was the same for owner-trainer-driver John Macdonald's Dragon Fever ($11.80), who held narrowly for a 1:54 win in Saturday (October 18) evening's featured $6,500 top-level conditioned pace at Vernon Downs.   MacDonald sent the four-year-old Dragon Again gelding straight to the lead, working clear of Celebrity Scandal (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :26.3 quarter over sloppy going.   After rating a :29.3 second-quarter breather, Dragon Fever found himself nudged along by UF Bettors Hanover (Justin Huckabone) on the far turn. Still maintaining control of the terms through three-quarters in 1:24.4, Dragon Fever repelled the challenge of UF Bettors Hanover, drawing off by two in mid-stretch--but bracing for Celebrity Scandal's late kick. Dragon Fever prevailed by a scant neck, just holding off Celebrity Scandal.   The favored Moonlight Ransom (Truman Gale) was forced wide off stalling cover, rallying to take third.   Roman Lopez led all drivers with three wins on the 13-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (October 23) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Not only was Lady Clarabella ($5.90) the fastest among five $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary winners on Friday (October 17) evening at Vernon Downs, but she also established a new track record for two-year-old trotting fillies.   The daughter of Lear Jetta proved a handy winner in 1:54.2, protecting the lead early from A List Lindy (Charlie Norris), and controlling the terms through stout early fractions of :27.1 and :56.3. On the far turn, she faced some pressure from Gold Cora (Mike Simons), who circled three-wide en route to the far turn before challenging.   Lady Clarabella responded well, kicking clear by four in mid-stretch before she was taken in hand by David Miller for a 2-1/2 length triumph. Sarcy (Marcus Miller) rallied late to take second, while Gold Cora faded late.   Randy Beeckman trains Lady Clarabella for Paul Kinnear and Dreamland Farms.   Lady Clarabella's 1:54.2 trotting mile was one-fifth of a second faster than that of prior record holder Ma Chere Hall, who was the evening's $10,000 Open Trot winner.   Now a four-year-old, Ma Chere Hall ($2.50) pushed clear of Pounce K (John Macdonald) in a :26.3 first quarter, controlling the pace throughout before edging clear to a 2-1/4 length win under David Miller. The Jonas Czernyson trainee beat A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) and Helios (Claude Huckabone, III) in a powerful 1:52.4 effort.   The other four Kindergarten Classic winners on the evening were colts True Blue Stride ($14.00, John Campbell, 1:56.4) and Dapper Don ($47.00, Campbell, 1:56), while fillies Lindy Land ($18.40, Campbell, 1:56.1) and Sweet Thing ($3.70, 1:55.3, Charlie Norris) proved victorious.   The top point-earners through the five preliminary legs of the Kindergarten Classic series are eligible to the finals, to be held on Saturday, November 1.   Live racing returns to Vernon on Saturday (October 18) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Tracking a pressured pace from the pocket, Asset Management ($7.60) found room up the pegs to strike the front just in time, scoring a narrow win in Thursday (October 16) evening's $7,300 featured upper-level distaff pace at Vernon Downs.   The six-year-old Western Hanover mare settled right behind pacesetter Spotlight On (John Macdonald), but found herself locked in with three-eighths to go as newcomer Ace of Pace (Chris Lems) began a first-over push through a :55.4 half mile.   With racing room at a minimum after Spotlight On was nudged past three-quarters in 1:23.3, driver Fern Paquet, Jr. was force to find a seam up the inside off the turn with Asset Management. Asset Management responded as soon as room was available, taking a narrow lead in mid-stretch and holding off a late stand-side charge from Always Flash-n (Frank Davis). Spotlight On and Ace of Pace finished in a dead heat for third, just three-quarters of a length away from Asset Management's 1:52.4 victory.   Allie Berube trains Asset Management for J&M Racing.   While unable to convert in the feature with Ace of Pace, Chris Lems registered a driving grand slam on the evening. After a 9-3/4 length win with Paltrow Blue Chip ($6.40), he teamed up with Peanutbutternhoney ($15.40), Sweet Bettor ($10.20), and Kyler's Valentine ($5.70).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs tomorrow evening, with a 13-race card headlined by the final preliminary round of the Kindergarten Classic trotting series. Post time is 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs 

The fifth and last leg of the Kindergarten Classic series for freshman trotters will be raced on Friday, October 17 at Vernon Downs. Declarations must be made by 9:00am on Tuesday, October 14.   You may reach the Racing Office by calling 315-829-6825 and all pertinent info, including current point standings, is available on the Vernon Downs website.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs    

Charlene Long's Oh No Three O ($4.30) withstood a strong challenge from A Penny Earned, extending his winning streak to three with a 1:54.1 triumph in Friday (October 10) evening's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Vernon Downs.   Assigned the outside post in a field of seven, Howard Okusko, Jr. sent the seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding right to the front, pushing clear of Helios (Claude Huckabone, III) and Aruba Vacation (Aaron Byron) to establish an uncontested lead through a rated :56.4 half mile.   On the approach to the far turn, Oh No Three O saw his lead slip to a half-length, as A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) commenced a stout first-over challenge. The two were heads apart past three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Oh No Three O would not be denied a Third Straight win, edging clear to a 1-1/2 length win. Helios chased at the pegs to hold second off his pocket trip, while A Penny Earned flattened to third.   Paul Long trains Oh No Three O, and the featured win was one of three driving scores for Okusko. Fern Paquet, Jr. also tallied a driving hat trick on the evening's 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 11) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs    

Karma Racing, Inc.'s Southwind Trini ($4.60) overcame a post 9 assignment en route to a decisive 1:51.2 triumph in Thursday (October 9) evening's $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs.   The six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare wasted no time achieving the lead, pushing clear of Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) through a :26.3 initial quarter before settling the pace down a bit. After a :55 half mile, the 6-5 favorite faced mild pressure from the first-over Carobbean Pacetry (Chris Lems). Southwind Trini kicked clear at will off the turn, drawing clear of Carobbean Pacetry to win by 3-3/4 lengths. Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) stayed even from second-over to hold third over a ground-saving Always Flash-n (Aaron Byron).   Jim Marohn, Jr. handled the driving duties aboard Southwind Trini for trainer Patti Harmon.   Aaron Byron led all drivers on the evening with three wins, teaming up with Elizabeth Bluechip ($7.20, 1:54.3), Sukura ($15.20, 1:56), and Got the Munchies ($16.00, 1:54).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (October 10) evening, with the first of 11 races scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

This Week's Harness Racing: Historic Series, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa., and American-National finals, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Thursday (Oct. 9) at Harrah’s Philadelphia with four divisions in the $100,680 Historic – Acorn for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Oct. 10) card at Philadelphia will feature a trio of divisions in the $104,178 Historic – Debutante for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Sunday (Oct. 12) card at Philadelphia offers three divisions in the $102,878 Historic – Goshen Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers and two splits in the $102,380 Historic – Harriman Cup for 2-year-old colt trotters. Balmoral Park will host eight American-National Grand Circuit stakes events on Saturday (Oct. 11). The card will feature the $227,000 3-year-old colt pace, the $203,000 3-year-old colt trot, the $179,000 open pace, the $173,500 3-year-old filly pace, the $166,300 open trot, the $150,000 3-year-old filly trot, the $86,000 2-year-old colt pace and the $61,150 2-year-old filly pace. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: The Kentucky Futurity, the second leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown, capped off two exciting weeks of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile.   USTA/Mark Hall photo Nuncio and John Campbell captured the Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile. Team Takter provided Red Mile fans with a thrilling stretch duel between stablemates Nuncio and Father Patrick who slugged it out to the wire, with Nuncio emerging victorious by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51.3 in the 122nd edition of the $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for sophomore trotting colts. Hall of Famer John Campbell steered Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle, to his eighth win of the season and his 13th career victory for owner Stall TZ, Inc. He now has $1,488,970 in career earnings. Nuncio had the lead from start to finish, trotting through splits of :27.2, :54.1 and 1:22.2 before Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) began to challenge him. It appeared that Father Patrick was going to trot right past Nuncio, but the latter dug in hard and held off his stablemate. Shake It Cerry put forth a dominating performance in the 49th edition of the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, stopping the timer in 1:52.2 for driver Ron Pierce and trainer Takter. The 1-5 public’s choice, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig, pushed her career earnings to $1,562,205 for the Solveig’s Racing Partners. Shake It Cerry took the lead handily in rein to Pierce, trotting comfortably through fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25.1 before drawing off in the stretch by 4-1/2 lengths. Vanity Matters (David Miller) made a bid first over going to the three-quarters and held on to be second, while Scream And Shout (Yannick Gingras) got up for third. 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 – 1,685; 2. Tim Tetrick – 850; 3. David Miller – 780.5; 4. Ron Pierce – 565.5; 5. Corey Callahan – 501. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,735.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,367; 3. Joe Holloway – 329; 4. Erv Miller – 311.5; 5. Tony Alagna – 310. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 388.85; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 346.35; 3. 3 Brothers Stable – 247; 4. Robert Key – 230; 5. Brittany Farms – 223.95. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Maywood Park, Woodbine Racetrack, Vernon Downs and Yonkers Raceway. Maywood Park will feature four races led by the Windy City Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Cinderella for 3-year-old filly pacers, the Abe Lincoln for 2-year-old colt pacers and the Galt for 3-year-old trotters; Woodbine will offer eliminations in four events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits (the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds for fillies and the Governor’s Cup and Valley Victory for colts); Vernon will offer the fifth leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; and Yonkers has four sets of eliminations in stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gats, led by the Messenger, the final leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown, and the Yonkers Trot, the final leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown, along with the Lady Maud for pacing fillies and the Hudson Filly Trot for trotting fillies. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

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