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WILKES-BARRE PA -- With other drivers named "Miller" campaigning in the sulky regularly in eastern Pennsylvania, such as Hall of Famer David, Andy, and Brett (combined lifetime win total = 26,618), it might be easy to overlook 26-year-old Marcus Miller as a talented driver who brings in more than his share of longshots, as he proved again Friday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as he rallied Envious Hanover ($68.40) from last to take the $30,000 mares open handicap pace.   Marcus was actually in the pocket the first quarter with the daughter of Western Ideal, as inside-to-out Twin B Elite, Gianna's Delight, and Request For Parole were three-across arguing the 26.1 opener. Request For Parole finally made the front and put down a "moderate for Pocono" 56 middle half, with Miller and Envious Hanover first staying in and then backing out to follow first-up Scandalicious.   Sixth and last, four lengths back, swinging for home, Envious Hanover improved her position wide, but was still fourth with 100 feet to go; however, her late jet carried her to a nose decision over Gianna's Delight, rallying from the pocket, with Scandalicious holding gamely for third in the 1:50.1 mile. Brandon Todd trains the winner for A Piece Of The Action LLC.   The victory was the fourth of the meet with a horse paying $50 or more for Marcus Miller; no other driver has more than two. In 2014, he was the only driver to have two horses pay $100 or more at Pocono, and at Philly he had the longest-priced winner of the meet in $158.60 Boozy Suzy.   The fans should be catching on to Marcus Miller soon.   PHHA / Pocono  

Driver Luke Plano captured half of the eight races on the Tuesday night (July 21) harness racing program at Running Aces, including a triumph in the night's featured $8000 Open Pace. Plano worked out an ideal two-hole trip for Coopers Beach as he followed heavily-favored Headsup Yankee (Nick Roland) until the head of the stretch then held off fellow closers Quality Sport (Tony Succarotte) and It's Getting Hairy (Gerry Longo) by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.1. Coopers Beach, a six-year-old Western Ideal gelding, took a life mark of 1:50.2 at Pompano Park earlier this year, but had been languishing in claiming races at Hoosier Park of late until moving to Running Aces a month ago. Owned by Plano's mother Maryann and partners John Darrah and Lawrence Keethe, the winner now has two wins in addition to a place and a show finish in his first four starts in Minnesota. Plano also guided Forceful Gale to an impressive front-stepping 1:57 victory in a $5500 top condition trot, besting Margin Call (Rick Magee) and Evolution Of Dance (Dean Magee). Jeff Brewer trains the winning six-year-old Strong Gale gelding for owner Ann Wrobbel. Plano stablemates Stylemaster (1:56.1) and Up Town Watts (1:55.3) copped the final two races on the card, giving Luke four wins on the night and running his total to nine in the last four nights. Stylemaster is owned by Nikki Hudson, while K C Carvalho became new owner of Up Town Watts via the claim box one week ago. A single winning 50-cent Pick Six ticket was sold with the astute handicapper scoring a handsome $1,957.65 return on his astute half-dollar investment. Gregg Keidel

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - The big match-up between Wanda Bayama and Voodoo Charm never took place Sunday in the $200,000 third round of the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old pacers at the Hippodrome 3R. It wasn't that both fillies where there to race, but apparently Voodoo Charm was not at her best as she went on a wild break at the start of the race, thus allowing Wanda Bayama and trainer/driver Yves Filion to score an easy victory. With Voodoo Charm (Mario Charron) breaking stride and pulling back to last after the start of the second race, Filion sent Wanda Bayama to the front as HP Rubis Joyce (Louis Phiilippe Roy) left from post six and got the two-hole trip as they went to the opening quarter in :29. They breezed to the half in :59.4 with Wanda Bayama and Filion in command and then the race got interesting as Stephane Brosseau made a bold move with Miss Bro, coming first-over to challenge Wanda Bayama and pressed them to the three-quarters in 1:29.3. At the top of the stretch Miss Bro could not keep the pressure on as Wanda Bayama went on to win by two lengths in 1:59.1. HP Rubis Joyce was second with Miss Bro fading to third place. It was the second straight win and fourth victory on the year for Wanda Bayama. The daughter of Western Ideal was bred and is co-owned by Bayama Farms with Andre D'Argenteuil of QC. She paid $4.30 to win. In the third race, second filly division, driver Mario Charron had all the power with Big Bertha, who led from start to finish in an eight and onehalf length romp in 2:00.1. Leaving from post five, Big Bertha made the lead with ease and had everything go her way through fractions of :28.4, 1:00.4 and 1:30.4 before pulling away from the field, leading by lengths at the top of the stretch. No Panic (Gaetan Lamy) was second with Savannah Prestige (Denis St Pierre) third. Sired by Santanna Blue Chip, it was the second win this year for Big Bertha. She was bred and is owned and trained by Marie Claude Aird of St Basile Le Grand, QC. Big Bertha paid $2.50 to win. The colt division, due to multiple owner/trainer entries, was held as a non-wagering race. Horses winning on the front end was the order of the day as Mach On The Beach and driver Pascal Berube wired the field in 1:58. Cutting fractions of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:28.3 with some pressure from a first-over SOS Justified (Mario Charron), Mach On The Beach had things his own way, winning by two and one-half lengths. The pocket-sitting Antar Phil (Gaeton Lamy) was second with Western Bayama (Yves Filion) third. It was the first win this year for Mach On The Beach, a son of Mach Three who is trained by Dany Fontaine and co-owners Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. and Rejean Lassonde of QC. Live racing resumes on Wednesday at the Hippodrome 3R with first race post time at 7:00 pm. For more information visit From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Elimination winners Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker) and Do Over Hanover (Jason Bartlett) drew post position Nos. 3 and 8, respectively, for Saturday night's $107,500 final of one time honoured harness racing freshman races, the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace. Yonkers' premier event for "open" 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings honors the man who made Hanover Shoe Farms North America's leading standardbred breeding operation. Fittingly, both elim winners are Hanover-breds. "Tailgunner," a $50,000 Well Said colt co-owned (with Joe Sbrocco, Frank Baldassare and Howard Taylor) by his trainer/driver, has won two of three career starts. He romped a week ago, never giving any of his rivals a shot in a 6¼-length victory. His life-best 1:56.1 effort was the exact same time as Do Over Hanover's maiden-breaking, 3¾-length win in the earlier elimination. The $25,000 Western Ideal colt is trained by Jim Campbell for co-owners Jeffrey & Michael Snyder and Robert Unice. The Sheppard, carded as the fifth of a dozen Saturday races (approximate post time 8:30 PM), drew out as such...1-Autotone Hanover (Tyler Buter), 2-War-N-Munn (Dan Dube), 3-Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker), 4-Artmagic (Mark MacDonald), 5-Rodeo Rock (Dube also listed), 6-Endeavor (Pat Lachance), 7-Gleneagles (George Brennan), 8-Do Over Hanover (Jason Bartlett). The Raceway's live season continues Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - The Hippodrome 3R and the Quebec Jockey Club hosted three divisions of the $250,000 third leg of the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old pacers Sunday with Sugarsam and driver Denis St Pierre stealing the show. The colts did battle in the sixth race co-feature with nine starters in the field. Mach On The Beach started off going to the early lead for Pascal Berube, but by the opening quarter mile in :28.3, Sugarsam with St Pierre and HP Rayan Art Jules (Francis Picard) both pulled to the outside to take the lead. But Sugarsam could not overtake Mach On The Beach while HP Rayan Art Jules dropped into third behind Mach On The Beach as they went to the half mile marker in :58.1. Then in the backstretch, Sugarsam held game on the outside, head and head with the determined Mach On The Beach and those two pulled away from the field, still racing as a team, through the three-quarters in 1:26.1 and neither of them giving an inch. As they started down the stretch, Sugarsam was the strong horse and he pulled away for a one and one-half lengths in 1:55. Mach On The Beach was second with Antar Phil (Gaetan Lamy) third. It was just the second win for the gelded son of Sportswriter who is trained by Helene Filion for owner/breeder Sotinios Anastasopoulos of Saints-Therese, QC. Sugarsam paid $13.10 to win. Denis St Pierre led all drivers Sunday with three wins. There is a classic match-up brewing in the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old pacing fillies as on Sunday as both Wanda Bayama and Voodoo Charm were both impressive winners. Voodoo Charm was first up in the first race division for driver Mario Charron and the daughter of Ponder was able to cruise from start finish with an easy four and one-quarter length triumph in 1:58.4. NP Rubis Joyce (Louise-Phillip Roy) tried a first-over challenge but could not collar the race winner in finishing second. No Panic (Gaetan Lamy) was third. It was the third straight win for Voodoo Charm, who is trained by Maxime Velaye for owners Yvan Mondoux, Guy Corbell, Alexandre Morin and Francois Laverdiere. She paid just $2.20 to win. Not to be outdone by Voodoo Charm, Wanda Bayama and trainer/driver Yves Filion put on a show in the third race second division of the series. It was Big Bertha and driver Mario Charron who shot out to the early lead with Kinnder Elegance (Justin Filion) grabbing the pocket-seat to the opening quarter mile in :28.4. But that fast opening fraction was nothing for Wanda Bayama, as Filion had already put her on the outside and they took over the lead right after the quarter and then held the field at bay through fractions of :59.1 and 1:29. Then Charron came on the outside with Big Bertha and went after Filion and Wanda Bayama down the stretch but to no avail as Wanda Bayama went on to win by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:58. Godiva Bella Oya (Louis Phillipe Roy) was third. Sired by Western Ideal, it was the third win this year for Wanda Bayama and her first start in the series. She is a homebred, owned and bred by Bayama Farms, Inc. of St Heri De Levis, QC. Wanda Bayama paid only $2.30 to win. Coming up on Wednesday at the Hippodrome 3R is the third preliminary round of the Quebec-Bred Series for three-year-old trotters featuring the unbeaten Intouchable. For more information visit From the Quebec Jockey Club  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 11, 2015 - Two-year-olds were prominent Saturday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting a pair of eliminations for the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace. A baker's dozen worth of plebes went it at in their $25,000 elims, with the first four finishers in each back for next Saturday's (July 18) $107,500 finale. Jason Bartlett, who won half the evening's dozen races, included wagering choice Do Over Hanover ($5) among that list. The pole-sitting, $25,000 Western Ideal colt won the evening's first elimination, defeating first-starter Gleneagles (George Brennan) by 3¾ lengths in a maiden-breaking 1:56.1. Second and third choices Autotone Hanover (Tyler Buter) and Rodeo Rock (Dan Dube) both survived breaks-and a judges' inquiry-to finish third and fourth, respectively. For Do Over Hanover, trained by Jim Campbell for co-owners Jeffrey & Michael Snyder and Robert Unice, it was that first career win in a couple of starts. The exacta paid $37.60, with the triple returning $143. The second elimination saw Joe Larry N Curly (Brennan), sent off at 1-10 odds and the reason show wagering was taken off the table, fail to get the memo. He jumped it off wildly leaving the gate, winding up distanced. That left Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker, $23.40) in a race by himself, doing his business-from post No. 6-from an open lead. He won by 6¼ lengths in an identical (and life-best) 1:56.1 Endeavor (Pat Lachance), Artmagic (Brian Sears) and War-N-Munn (Dube) also earned their way into the final. For third choice Tailgunner Hanover, a $50,000 Well Said colt co-owned (with Joe Sbrocco, Frank Baldassare and Howard Taylor) by his trainer/driver, it was his second win in three '15 tries. The exacta paid $130, with the triple returning $544. Note that since no one took down Saturday's Pick 5, Monday night's gimmick-already with a $10,000 guaranteed pool-begins with a carryover of $4,726.64 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (7:10 PM), a "French-centric" Tuesday matinee (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

"I felt good in January, and that part hasn't changed," Teague said with a grin Saturday (July 4) after watching Wiggle It Jiggleit capture the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono by 1-1/2 lengths over Artspeak in 1:48.2. "He doesn't disappoint. Even in his loss, I wasn't jumping off the bandwagon. He's a good horse. I still think he's one of the best 3-year-olds I've ever had." Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 13 of 14 career races for owner Teague, trainer Clyde Francis and driver Montrell Teague. His only loss came June 20 in the North America Cup, where he was defeated by Wakizashi Hanover by three-quarters of a length. On Saturday in the Hempt, Wiggle It Jiggleit took the lead following a :26 opening quarter-mile, fought off a first-over challenge from Pierce Hanover on the backstretch, and then pulled away down the stretch. Artspeak finished second, followed by In The Arsenal and Wakizashi Hanover. "When he cleared to the front I knew he had a pretty good shot at it," Francis said. "Wakizashi has a big kick on the end of it but he wasn't making up much ground. Halfway down the lane nobody got close to him and I knew they weren't going to catch him then." Montrell Teague, who won the Hempt in 2011 with Custard The Dragon, was taking nothing for granted. "I was looking everywhere; I was looking for anybody," he said. "I saw Timmy (Tetrick with Wakizashi Hanover) pull three wide and that's when I popped the earplugs and stepped on the gas because I know how good his horse is coming off cover." Wiggle It Jiggleit, a son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover, gave George Teague Jr. his fourth Hempt trophy. He trained Custard The Dragon as well as 2009 winner Johnny Z and 2008 champ Badlands Nitro. The gelding's next assignment will be the Meadowlands Pace. With the triumph, Wiggle It Jiggleit pushed his career earnings to $607,242. But the most important thing for Teague was the two people with whom he is sharing the ride. "Montrell and Clyde Francis are the best part for me," Teague said, adding about Francis, "We're like brothers. He works his (butt) off." Wiggle It Jiggleit  Luck Be Withyou overcomes post nine in Franklin triumph                               The $500,000 Ben Franklin free for all pace turned out to be as thrilling as a front-end win can be as Luck Be Withyou held on by the shortest of noses over Domethatagain in 1:49 on Saturday (July 4) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Domethatagain, driven by Simon Allard, left from the rail off the gate, but Luck Be Withyou and George Napolitano Jr. took command before the turn from post nine. Luck Be Withyou led through a quarter in :26.2 and the half in :55, which were favorable fractions in the eyes of the 4-year-old horse's owner, John Craig. "I didn't think it was so bad when it was :26.2, because he got the lead in :26 last week in the slop, with a half in :53 and change," he said. "When I saw :55 at the half, I said 'There are good horses back there like Foiled Again and State Treasurer and they are going to come at him. I hope he has enough.'" Luck Be Withyou kept on chugging through three-quarters in 1:21.4. He was a length clear at the top of the stretch, with only Domethatagain coming at him up the rail. It took a long look at the photo before Luck Be Withyou was declared the winner, with favored State Treasurer third. Luck Be Withyou paid $10 to win as the public's second choice. "He had just enough," Craig said with a grin. "It's hard to explain to people the adrenaline rush you get when you see a race like that." Luck Be Withyou, by Western Ideal-Trim Hanover, is trained by Chris Oakes, who got some credit from his owner. "All the credit goes to those who work on the horse," he said. "I just watch and pay the bills." Luck Be Withyou Pinkman bounces back to win Beal in world record score                                           Pinkman rebounded from his first loss of the year by posting a gate-to-wire win in Saturday's (July 4) $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, holding off stablemate Uncle Lasse by a head in a world-record 1:51.3 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Pinkman, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, and driver Yannick Gingras got the lead with a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and then controlled the race from there, going to the half in :56.2. Centurion ATM made a first-over bid on the backstretch, getting within a head of the leader, but was unable to get to the front. In the stretch, the Jimmy Takter-trained Pinkman held off Uncle Lasse to his inside to post his fourth victory in five starts this season. Pinkman's time was the fastest-ever mile by a 3-year-old gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. Crazy Wow finished third followed by Centurion ATM. Last week, Pinkman finished second to Wicker Hanover in his Beal elimination and was found to be sick. "I can't complain about the trip, the fractions, everything went his way," Gingras said about Pinkman's performance in the Beal final. "He's got that intimidating speed; he can leave the gate so good. Last week leaving the gate I knew he wasn't quite right because he didn't leave the gate like he did today. Usually the first couple steps he just snaps right out. "Today he was back to himself and I don't even think he's a hundred percent. I'd say last week he was 50 or 60 percent and he was probably like 90 today. I think Jimmy can get him even better than this." For his career, Pinkman has won 10 of 13 races and earned $924,300 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. "I saw him open up at like 5-1 (odds) tonight and Crazy Wow was 3-5 or something," Gingras said. "They've got to start giving him credit. He doesn't do it flashy, he does it the way he did it today, but he gets it done. He's a winner." Pinkman  Bettor Be Steppin wins wild Lynch Memorial  What was a wide-open race on paper became a wide-open finish as Bettor Be Steppin and Corey Callahan got up to win the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies Saturday night (July 4) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.4. The race was heated from the start as The Show Returns gunned to the lead from post nine for driver Tim Tetrick. Favored Stacia Hanover (Scott Zeron) cleared to the lead in a first quarter in :26, with the outer flow setting up going to the half. Bettor Be Steppin wasn't a part of that forward flow, however, as she was shuffled back to last. According to her connections, stablemate Divine Caroline (David Miller) was getting the better trip "At the half I thought we were dead," said trainer Joe Holloway. "She was fourth on the rail, fourth or fifth, just totally boxed. Divine Caroline was on the outside, loaded with pace, so I was hoping to see her go. I was trying to watch them both and at the half I thought the only shot I had was Divine Caroline." Wicked Little Minx (Brett Miller), a 50-1 longshot, came first-over with Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras) third-over through a half in a swift :54.1. They paced through three-quarters in 1:21.4 before the leaders began to struggle and the closers came closing. Momas Got A Gun (Jim Morrill Jr.) was sitting third on the rail and somehow found room inside. She stuck a head in front before Single Me (Brian Sears) and Bettor Be Steppin came from way out. From the far outside, Bettor Be Steppin stuck a nose in front of Single Me at the wire. Momas Got A Gun finished third by a neck. The win was the fourth in seven starts this year for Bettor Be Steppin. She paid $33.60 to win. The 1-7 exacta paid $895.60 and the 1-7-6 trifecta paid $10,958.10. "This was a good horse last year," said Ted Gewertz, who co-owns the Bettor's Delight-Two Steppin' Sally filly with Val D'Or Farms and Rojan Stables. "She was having a little trouble earlier in the year. [2014 Horse of the Year] JK She'salady didn't make the final, so that helped." Bettor Be Steppin T.J. Burkett and Ken Weingartner / U.S. Trotting Association  

Harness Racing This Week: Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial finals, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Cleveland Trotting Classic, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Graduate Series final, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Miss Versatility, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Hanover Stakes, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill.; and Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday night (July 4) as the track will host four lucrative stakes finals in the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. A trio of Friday night (July 3) stakes kick-off the Grand Circuit action this week with the $170,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic for older trotters, the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers and a C$40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Also on Saturday, Balmoral Park will host $35,000 (est.) divisions of the Hanover Stake for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters, while Historic Track will card eight Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Complete entries for the U.S. races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries are available at this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action opened up on Friday night (June 26) at Meadowlands Racetrack with a $50,000 TVG Free For All trotting series leg and Obrigado made his debut in the series a winning one, scoring in impressive fashion in 1:51.3, a lifetime best performance. In his previous start, Obrigado found himself locked in throughout the mile while crying out for racing room in the stretch in a Meadowlands Open. Driver Mark MacDonald made sure that wouldn't happen this time, putting his gelding in the game early. But Obrigado had to work hard early on, parked out by DW's NY Yank, the 9-5 favorite, and the two raced in tandem past the quarter in :26.3. Shortly after the trotters turned into the backstretch, Obrigado cleared the lead and it was a lead he would not relinquish. MacDonald effectively backed his trotter down to a :55.3 half-mile before reaching three-quarters in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Obrigado simply out-sprinted the field, kicking home in :26.2 to complete the triumph. Flanagan Memory rallied to finish second with Melady's Monet overcoming traffic trouble in the stretch to finish third. Obrigado is co-owned by his trainer Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, William Weaver III and Stable 45. The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted 11 Grand Circuit races on Saturday, all eliminations for this week's Sun Stakes Saturday card. Grabbing the headlines were the 3-year-old male pacers in the Max Hempt eliminations as Artspeak, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Wakizashi Hanover each posted victories. Artspeak set an evenly-rated pace, looked to be threatened at head-stretch, but responded gamely late to withstand Pocono Pike challenger In The Arsenal for a 1:50 triumph. The son of Western Ideal showed his class to dig down and preserve a head margin at the wire, with Pierce Hanover only another three-quarters of a length behind and also advancing. Artspeak is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms (also co-breeder), Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners. Wiggle It Jiggleit bounced back nicely after his first career loss, making a move in front of the stands to the front nearing the five-eighths and going on to an in-hand four length victory for driver Montrell Teague in 1:50.1. National Seelster, 67-1, had the good fortune of the Wiggle It Jiggleit cover for a quarter-mile, then the bad luck to be left raw, but he fought home gamely to beat early pacesetter Betting Exchange by a neck for place. The winning altered son of Mr Wiggles is now 12-for-13; Clyde Francis handles the training for George Teague Jr. Inc. North America Cup champion Wakizashi Hanover completed a Hempt elim sweep for the favorites, rallying in the Pocono Pike to catch Lost For Words by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:50.4. A Bettor Hat finished third. The victorious Dragon Again gelding was guided by Tim Tetrick for trainer Joanne Looney-King and the Tri-County Stable. Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the other eight Pocono stakes eliminations, are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 223; 2. Brian Sears - 218; 3. Tim Tetrick - 213; 4. David Miller - 177; 5. Daniel Dube - 157. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 335; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 188; 3. Jimmy Takter - 160; 4. Rene Allard - 146; 5. Nifty Norman - 90. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 165.5; 2. Burke Racing - 87.5; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 79.3; 4. Allard Racing - 46.9; 5. Jeff Snyder - 42.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Yonkers Raceway. The Meadowlands will host the Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters, Reynolds divisions for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters, Meadowlands Pace and Mistletoe Shalee eliminations for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers, respectively, and William Haughton Memorial eliminations for older pacers; Balmoral will card Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers; and Yonkers features Lawrence Sheppard eliminations for 2-year-old colt pacers. Paul Ramlow

Louisville, KY --- Like most of us, he has a very specific outlook on life and throughout the duration of Stacia Hanover’s career harness racing trainer Steve Elliott has adhered to his primary philosophy. “It’s the same whether it walks on two legs or four,” he said. “The colts you can bull them down a little bit, but not the fillies. You need to let them do what they want to do, because if you don’t they will make you pay for it. There’s just no sense in fighting with any woman. All you can do is say, ‘Thank you honey’ then try again the next day.” That’s why if Stacia Hanover decides to buck and generally just be high maintenance while being harnessed for her $20,000 James Lynch Memorial elimination at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday (June 27) the filly will most certainly have her way. Once she is prepared for her mile, Scott Zeron will guide her to the sixth spot on the gate in the evening’s fourth race where she is the 7-2 morning line third selection behind Nancy Johansson's Wicked Little Minx (5-2) and Joe Holloway’s Bettor Be Steppin (3-1). “It’s been a battle with her, but Scott has done a great job with teaching her how to race,” Elliott said. “She just wanted to go 100 mph and would not relax in a hole, but now she is much more comfortable racing that way. We’ll see what we have this weekend. The goal is to have a nice, consistent horse that goes on next year. I think she has the ability to do just that.” Stacia Hanover is a daughter of Western Ideal and the Art Major mare Stolly Up Bluechip. She is the second foal out of her dam and a half-sister to Seashell Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere, p,3,1:51.4f, $99,245). Owned by David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio, Stacia Hanover was a $35,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. She definitely showed promise as a 2-year-old as one of her three triumphs was in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final. From five starts she amassed earnings of $94,225 and a mark of 1:53.4. “She is a tiny thing,” Elliott said. “We stopped on her last year because she was sick and then I tried to qualify her when I should not have. She just was not over that illness. That is when I realized my mistake and figured we would just get her ready for this year. She is still very small, but she is much stronger.” The filly returned to work this season with her fourth visit to the winner’s circle after reigning victorious by a head in a $15,500 non-winners contest on April 24 at the Meadowlands. She was then fourth in a $16,000 event under similar conditions, but her last quarter was in :26. Her next three races resulted in second place finishes in a pair of New Jersey Sire Stake legs and the $100,000 final. The Show Returns is the filly who beat Stacia Hanover by a neck in the NJSS final and showed her performance at 40-1 odds that day was no fluke as she finished second in the $387,990 Fan Hanover final on June 20 at Mohawk. “We are just being patient and taking our time with her,” Elliott said about Stacia Hanover. “TheWestern Ideals seem to improve as they get older so that is also what we are keeping in mind. The owners are having fun and bringing people to the races to see her. They are happy and the situation with this filly is what harness racing is really all about as people are enjoying themselves with friends as well as family.” Although, Van Dusen and Cimaglio are reveling in their filly’s accomplishments they were a little shocked at the balance on the stakes sheet after Elliott plotted her course for 2015. “They were like, ‘Geez, when did you get so high on her?’” Elliott said. “Those stakes payments can really put things in perspective, but with each race she improves as she continues to learn. We have to give her the opportunity to prove herself. I think she belongs and that she will be worth the wait. There is an old saying, ‘If you don’t wait on them, they will make you wait.’ I’m just fortunate I have owners like this that allow me to have patience with a horse like her.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

It was a homecoming fit for a queen. Natalie Rasmussen, aka Miss Inter Dominion returned to the feature race stage at Albion Park tonight (Saturday) and claimed two feature harness racing events. Rasmussen landed the Gr.2 $50,000 Seymour Premiers Cup with race favourite Gentle Western who led throughout while she guided star filly Fight For Glory to victory in the Gr.3 $30,000 UBET Gold Coast Oaks. The winning Oaks drive was tactically brilliant. Fight For Glory (Art Major) defeated stablemate Linda Lovegrace while local filly Bettor Promise ran a brave third in a mile rate of 1;55.9 for the 2138m with the final half covered in 56.3 seconds. Gentle Western, a lightly raced stayer with enormous potential stepped safely before leading his rivals a merry dance in the 2647m stand-start marathon defeating Corporal Luna and Raring To Go in a race record time of 1;57.7. The last half was covered in 55.7 seconds. The Western Ideal – Gentle Audrey stallion is raced by Natalie’s mother, Cheryl Rasmussen and Trevor Titcomb. The All Stars stable of Rasmussen and Mark Purdon will aim their runners at several features in the coming weeks during the Brisbane winter carnival which will be staged on July 4, 11 and 18. Rasmussen is based in Christchurch with Purdon. The Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic 2yo Finals were also staged and provided thrilling finishes in both finals with Catcha Lefty and Get In The Groove proving victorious. Catcha Lefty was the punters elect and scored narrowly from New South Wales visitor Roarn after locking wheels over the concluding stages while Make A Statement finished third in a time of 1;55.1. The Village Jasper – Lefty gelding has now won 6 of his 7 starts and will head to the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Final on July 18. He is raced by his breeder and trainer, Cristina Monte and was handled by leading reinsman Shane Graham. In the Fillies division, Get In The Groove sprintlaned to defeat Covert Beauty and Firebby in a time of 1;57.0. Get In The Groove trailed race favourite Reds Jet Star before sprinting quickly over the concluding stages. The Mach Three – Get Happy filly is raced by her breeders Kevin and Kay Seymour. Trista Dixon took the winning drive; the filly is trained by her husband Grant. The Dixon stable struck in the feature trotting event, the $15,000 Statewide Taxation Services Marathon when former New Zealand Sharons Millicent led throughout in the 3157m event. Unbeaten in six Australian starts prior to tonight, the Monkey Bones – Black Onyx mare kept her perfect record in place scoring comfortably from Mister Malakye and Its Three By Two. The winning mile rate for the stand-start feature was 2;06.7. Handled by trainer/driver Grant Dixon, Sharons Millicent is raced by Sharon Mitchell. And reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova made a successful return when he led throughout in the Garrards Horse & Hound Open defeating Forever Gold and Caesars Folly. The free legged pacer was resuming since competing in the Inter Dominion Grand Final on March 1, Avonnova recorded a winning mile rate of 1;57.3 for the 2647m. Co-owner and trainer Ian Gurney is aiming his ‘stablestar’ at several features next month including the $100,000 Sunshine Sprint (July 4) and the $125,000 Blacks A Fake (July 18). Fight For Glory Gentle Western

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – The Hippodrome 3R hosted four $35,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters and pacers Sunday and the action was fast and furious from the start. In the third race first division for older pacing horses, Atomic Million AM made the most of an ideal two-hole pocket trip from race favorite Champagne Phil, sliding out from second at the top of the stretch for driver Sylvain LaCaille and out gunning them to the wire in a track record time of 1:52.3. Driver Denis St Pierre sent Champagne Phil out for the lead from post five but LeCaille and Atomic Million AM had other ideas, stinging Pierre and Champagne Phil to the opening quarter in :26.2 before letting them take command. Separating from the rest of the field, Champagne Phil led with Atomic Million AM sitting right on his back through the half mile in :55.2 and the three-quarters in 1:24.2. Then sling-shotting from the pocket, Atomic Million AM collared Champagne Phil and going on to win by a half-length. Bali (Shane Weber) was third. The time of 1:52.3 was the second fastest mile in Hippodrome 3R history. It rewrote the track record for older geldings of 1:53.1 that was set by Duc D’Orleans in 2014. Atomic Million AM is also eligible for the $200,000 Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R on August 23. For Atomic Million AM, it was the four-year-old son of Million Dollar Cam’s fourth win in seven starts this year. He has yet to finish worse than second in a race. He is trained and owned by Alan Martin of Gatineau, QC and bred by Ferme Alain Martin. He paid $4.40 to win. There were no surprises in the fourth race finale for older trotting horses as the prohibited favorite, unbeaten Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron scored with ease in 1:57.3. It was the fastest trotting mile this season at the Hippodrome 3R, but a “walk in the park” for Maximuscle. SOS Ticket Master (Pascal Berube) was first out of the starting gate with Maximuscle and Charron floating on the outside in second place. Then after the opening quarter mile in :28.1, Maximuscle has taken command from SOS Ticket Master. Only SOS Ticket Master was able to stay somewhat close to Maximuscle as he cut easy fractions of :58 and 1:28. Then by the top of the stretch, SOS Ticket Master moved to the outside and was looming closer to Maximuscle. But Mario Charron just raised the lines and Maximuscle easily trotted to a two length triumph. SOS Ticket Master was second with Somoli E (Jerome Lombart) third. A four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall, it was the fourth straight win for Maximuscle this season. He is trained by Maxme Velaye and owned and bred by Ecurie Provoguante of Mirabel, QC. Maximuscle paid the mandatory $2.10 to win. Over the past three years Maximuscle has made a clean sweep of the Quebec-Bred Series. My Tallia Ideal and driver Stephane Gendron took full advantage of the late scratch by Champagne Shower, and were not only able to leave and get to the lead, but cut torrid fractions and set a track record in the sixth race finale for older pacing mares. After getting stung early by Victoria Semalu (Stephane Brosseau) to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. My Tallia Ideal settled on the lead but kept motoring to the half mile in :56.3 and the three-quarters in 1:25.4. It was then that Brosseau moved to the outside with Victoria Semalu but they could not collar My Tallia Ideal who crossed the wire a winner by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. Chaleurs Fantasy (Gaetan Lamy) was third. The time of the race reset the track record for older pacing mares that was previously co-held by not only My Tallia Ideal two starts back, but also Champagne Shower (2015) and Sans Frontiere (2013). Trained by Michel Allard, My Tallia Ideal is a five-year-old mare by Western Ideal. She is owned and was bred by Gestion Mario Audet, Inc. and Yves Sarrazin, QC. She paid $2.80 to win. Viva Bayama and driver Denis St Pierre, despite being parked out three-wide from the start of the backstretch to the top of the stretch, was still able to pull away for a three length triumph in the eighth race finale for older trotting mares. Canbec Kangourou and driver Jocelyn Gendron out early but challenged right away by Kim Sorel (Martin Gingras) who took the lead at the opening quarter mile in :28.4. Then Gendron came right back with Canbec Kangourou to retake the lead. They raced to the half mile in :59 as Pierre came to the outside with Viva Bayama, but they faced road traffic as Lucyll Bro (Stephane Gendron) came to the outside and that forced Viva Bayama three wide down the backstretch. Hoping to clear and be first-over was out of the question for Denis St Pierre and Viva Bayama as Kim Sorel and Gingras came out again and kept Viva Bayama parked out three-wide past the three-quarters in 1:29.1 and around the final turn. But the classy mare Viva Bayama was up to the talk, collaring the leaders by the top of the stretch and then pulling away at the finish in 2:00.2. Kim Sorel was second with Sexy P V (Yves St Jacques) third. It was the third straight win for the four-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass. She is trained by Sebastien Groux and owned by Richard Dinelle and Andre St Laurent. She was bred by Bayama Farms and paid $3.20 to win. It was her seventh victory in ten starts this year. Live racing resumes Wednesday at the Hippodrome 3R. First race post time 7:00 pm. For more information visit From the Quebec Jockey Club

Pompano Beach, FL...June 13, 2015...No Bad Dreams, given a picture perfect drive by Bruce Ranger, gave his harness racing competition a nightmare of sorts on Saturday night at Pompano Park, virtually wiring a classy field in the $9,500 Winner's Over Pace in 1:52.1.   The four year-old son of Dream Away, trained by 81 year-old Marc Aubin for Dan and Jacalyn Boddie, earned his seventh win of the year in 11 starts, defeating Raji's Blue Line, handled by Ben McNeil, by a half length.   Northern Companion and driver Tom Sells teamed up to be third while Who's Your Maddy finished fourth. G P S Legacy made a miscue early on and picked up the nickel in the quintet.   No Bad Dreams, leaving from the advantageous five post, zipped out of the gate and joined Raji's Blue Line around the first turn with No Bad Dreams assuming the lead shortly thereafter and clocking an opening panel of :27.2.   With positions remaining stagnant through the next quarter, Ranger was able to rate his charge through a :29.4 panel, reaching the half in :57.1. On the backside, Ranger chirped once to No Bad Dreams and he was off on a :27.4 tangent and then sealed the deal with a :27.1 finale.   In a post race interview, Ranger said, "Last week, Ben's horse (Raji's Blue Line) cut some hellish fractions so I was hoping he wouldn't try that again and opt for a two hold trip. Once I got to the half in :57 and change, I felt very confident that No Bad Dreams could go all the way from there. He's a very nice horse...VERY nice!"   In winning for the 10th time career-wise, No Bad Dreams pushed his lifetime earnings to $43,962--$29,310 this year in only 11 starts.   As the 2 to 5 favorite, No Bad Dreams rewarded his many followers with a $2.80 mutuel.   That win, incidentally, proved to be a "double" for trainer Aubin and the Boddie's, as their Abreathofreshart captured the opener on the Saturday card in a conditioned pace in 1:52, a new lifetime mark. This four year-old son of Artistic Fella also wired his foes, using a :27.4 finale to pin a defeat measuring 1 3/4 lengths on Histoire Eternelle, handled by Dan Harvey. Zavan was third for Andy Santeramo after applying some pressure on the leader around the final turn.   As the 3 to 5 favorite, Abreathofreshart paid $3.40 to win.   The track also hosted the Chris Valkanoff Memorial Pace, honoring one of the most respected owners at the track who passed away some months ago.   Ranger also won that one, too, guiding Twenty Four Carrot Racing and Ciro Gentile's Freeneasy Hanover to his 25th lifetime win--2nd this year--in 1:51.2.   The Jim Mc Donald trainee, a seven year-old son of Western Ideal, also was a gate to wire winner, clocking panels of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.1 along the way for the win measuring nearly four lengths.   He, too, was the overwhelming favorite--1 to 5 on the board--and returned $2.60 to win.   After the event, the vast number of friends and family gathered in the winner's circle celebrating Mr. Valkanoff's life.   Racing continues Wednesday night at Pompano Park with post time set at 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park      

The All Stars have arrived in Brisbane. The all-conquering Christchurch stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have turned their attention to the riches of the Queensland harness racing winter carnival which takes place over the next six weeks. A team of four high powered equine athletes arrived safely last week and set up camp at the stables of Darren Weeks at Caboolture, just north of Brisbane, under the watchful eye of Rasmussen and Shaun McNaulty. Open class ace Smolda will join the team after competing in Sydney this weekend. The first runner to step out for the All Stars is emerging stayer Gentle Western, a giant Western Ideal – Gentle Audrey four-year-old who will contest the Premiers Cup series. The $50,000 final is scheduled for next Saturday night (June 20). “He’s a lovely big horse with many great qualities; he’s sensible, strong and fast while he’s deliberately been set for this campaign. This is his first major trip away but he’s handling it very well and he’s thriving in the warmer climate.” Rasmussen said. After being involved in a nasty race fall in the 2014 Southern Supremacy Final at Invercargill, Gentle Western was sidelined owing to injuries sustained from the crash. Gentle Western will sport saddlecloth number two in what shapes as his first stand-start experience but Rasmussen is confident he will handle it well. “We were very happy with his comeback effort at Ashburton the other week and he continues to improve. Tim (Williams) drove him and stated that he felt good and would sharpen-up considerably following that effort. “His work here the other morning was pleasing and we’re expecting a forward showing this week which will have him peaking for the final. This is his first race from the tapes but it shouldn’t be an issue, he’s very sensible and he’s been given plenty of practice. “This horse has a good profile for this carnival, he’s loosely assessed and we’ve got some nice races picked out for him here including these heat/final series plus the 4yo Championship next month. He will race very well in anything he contests.” The All Stars are no strangers to success in the Premiers Cup after scoring in 2012 with Best Deal Yet while they also claimed the Queensland Derby (Best Deal Yet) and Oaks (O Baby) that same year. Meanwhile, star fillies Fight For Glory and Linda Lovegrace will start next week in the Gr.3 $30,000 Gold Coast Oaks at Albion Park while crack colt Hug The Wind is expected to trial next week in preparation for a host of features next month including the Gr.1 $150,000 Queensland Derby on July 18. No decision has been made on who will drive the fillies next week at this stage. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Gold Coast at Albion Park, Friday 12 June 2015 Form guide for Gold Coast at Albion Park, Friday 12 June 2015

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Champagne Phil will put his four-race winning streak on the line Sunday afternoon at the Hippodrome 3R. The five-year-old harness racing gelding headlines one of two divisions of the final elimination round of the $125,000 Quebec-Bred Series for older pacing horses and mares. Sired by Shanghai Phil, Champagne Phil is the 5/2 morning line favorite in the third race Sunday. He starts from post four for driver Denis St Pierre and trainer Frances Richard. In his last four starts Champagne Phil has won at three different tracks, twice at The Raceway in London, once at Mohawk Raceway and then last week’s track record tying performance at the Hippodrome 3R. In that mile, with Denis St Pierre in the sulky, Champagne Phil led every step of the one mile pace, pulling away in the stretch to win by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:53.1 for his sixth win on the year. That mile tied the track record for older gelding set by Duc D’Orleans in 2014 and shattered the Quebec-Bred Series record for his age and gait. Other contenders in the race include McKinney (post 5), Bali (post 6) and Victor Bayama (post 7). “He was very strong last week,” said driver Denis St Pierre. “If the conditions are right this Sunday he could break the record. He is a very nice horse.” The first race division for mares is headlined by last week’s track record tying performer, My Tallia Ideal, from post four for driver Stephane Gendron. Last week the five-year-old mare by Western Ideal was at her best, wiring the field by two lengths in 1:54.3. That tied the track record for older mares with Sans Frontiere set in 2013. It was the fourth win on the year for the Michel Allard trainee. But it will not be a “walk in the park” for My Tallia Ideal as she takes on a very formidable foe in Champagne Shower in post three for driver Denis St Pierre. A four-year-old mare by Santana Blue Chip, Champagne Shower is on a three-race winning streak for trainer Yves Tessier. She has won the first two rounds of the series and seeks to make it a clean sweep. Another game performer in the race is Victoria Semalu (post one) for driver Stephane Brosseau. She won an opening round of the series and was second last week to My Tallia Ideal. The Quebec-Bred Series for older horses and mares culminates on Sunday, June 14 with the top eight pointer earners in each division returning for the $35,000 finals.  For more information go to From the Quebec Jockey Club

Illinios native Tony Alanga has come a long way in the world of harness racing in the last few years with a string of headline horses. Since tying up with Myron Bell of Brittany Farms, the Alanga barn has stamped its mark on age group racing in North America. The first horse to really make his mark from the partnership between Alanga and Bell was the brilliant son of Somebeachsomewhere in Captaintreacherous who was a star from the time he hit the track as a two year old. Capotaintreacherous won eight of ten at two on the way to earning $911,277 and earned pacer of the year honours. He came back even better at three winning thirteen of sixteen for $2,065,533 while taking a mark of 1:47.1 and was again horse of the year at three. Now retired and standing at Hanover Shoe Farms at a fee of $15,000, Captaintreacherous could rightly be said as the horse that really put Tony Alanga on the map. Just to prove that they weren't a one horse partnership, Tony and Myron combined once again to produce last season's outstanding two year old Artspeak. Artspeak, a son of Western Ideal  produced a two year old record very similiar to Captaintreacherous in that he won eight of ten starts for $805,727 while taking a record of 1:50.2. Artspeak has come out at three in dominant form and is two from two at this early stage of the season and has lowered his best time to 1:48.4. Recently Tony Alanga spoke to In The Sulky and we post that video below. Harnesslink Media  

The USTA website provides periodic glimpses at some of harness racing’s stars throughout the season. Today, they look at award-winning 3-year-old male pacer Artspeak. ARTSPEAK Western Ideal – The Art Museum – Artsplace Owners: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners  Breeders: Brittany Farms, Melvin Hartman Trainer: Tony Alagna Driver: Scott Zeron 2015 Record: 2-2-0-0; $60,000; 1:48.4m 2014 Record: 10-8-0-2; $742,185; 1:50.2s Career: 12-10-0-2; $802,185; 1:48.4m Honors: Dan Patch and O’Brien awards for best 2-year-old male pacer in 2014. Top wins: 2014 Metro Pace, 2014 Governor’s Cup, 2015 and 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes championships. The last time: Artspeak won the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male pacers from post eight at the Meadowlands in a career-best 1:48.4 on May 30. Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron settled into fifth place on the first turn, then made up a double-digit deficit in lengths in less than a quarter of a mile to take the lead just beyond the halfway point. Wrapped up in the stretch, Artspeak went on to win by three lengths. “His first start he was wrapped up in (1):49 and that was really visually impressive to see,” trainer Tony Alagna said. “But the other day he made a huge move with the (earplugs) still in. That was a monster effort for his second start back. He came out of the race great. He actually put weight on this week, which after a mile like that is phenomenal. It means he’s on a good program right now. I’m very happy with him. He’s in good shape; we just have to keep him that way.” The next time: Artspeak will get the weekend off before heading to Ontario to compete in the June 13 eliminations for the C$1 million North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack. The final is June 20. It could be the start of a six-week stretch that brings Artspeak to the Max C. Hempt Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Meadowlands Pace at the Meadowlands. Former Alagna Stable star Captaintreacherous swept all three events in 2013, but received a bye to the Meadowlands Pace final and avoided having to race six consecutive weeks. “If you can save yourself a start now, hopefully you can make it through that series of races,” Alagna said. “That’s why I’m so glad to give him this week off. He’s fit, I just have to keep him fresh and happy and he’ll take care of the rest. If the horse seems like he’s in good shape, we’ll certainly take (all three races) into consideration. He’s going to tell us if he’s ready to do it.” No regrets: Alagna and Artspeak’s owners decided to skip last year’s Breeders Crown in late November in favor of an extra month of rest for the colt to prepare for this season. “Of course I think he could have won the Breeders Crown if we went, and I didn’t want to turn down the chance for $250,000 for the owners, but I really felt in my heart it was the right thing to do. I knew he’d lost weight; he’d been going since June and I thought enough was enough. I knew if I put him away he’d get an extra 30 days at Brittany (Farms) in the green grass. “When he came off the truck from Brittany, I said we did the right thing. Win, lose or draw, the horse looked amazing. He wouldn’t have gotten that with five weeks. It was that extra month that really did the trick. I’m really happy with how he’s come back this year.” Stride right: Artspeak made breaks twice last year, finishing third on both occasions, and went off stride in his first qualifier this year. Alagna attributed the break in the qualifier to the length of the colt’s hobbles, which he believes he corrected by resetting them to last year’s length. “I’m never going to say it will never happen again, but he’s been phenomenal,” Alagna said. “We trained him after he made the break -- before I qualified him back (the second time) -- and I knew that we were set. From that point on, I didn’t give it a second thought. “He qualified fantastic (finishing fifth in 1:53.4). Everyone thought the line wasn’t that impressive but nobody saw what he did after the wire. After the wire he circled the field and was up by five (lengths) by the time I walked outside from the paddock. Then his first start told the tale. He was exactly where I told everybody he was at. And he came back with an even more incredible performance in the (New Jersey Sire Stakes) final.” In focus: Artspeak lacks the personality of Captaintreacherous, but he seems to know what it is all about when it comes to racing. “Captaintreacherous had personality plus. He was like a big clown,” Alagna said. “(Artspeak) is a great-feeling horse, but he doesn’t have the big kid mentality that Captain did. This horse has got a lot more focus, even in the barn. But he’s got a really good personality. He doesn’t have bad days in the barn. He doesn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed. He’s very cut and dry. He’s not a quirky horse. He really takes care of himself.” Looking out for No. 1: “Everyone wants to be No. 1,” Alagna said. “That’s understandable. But all I do is focus on my horse. I know if I bring my horse ready to race he’ll take care of the rest. I don’t have to worry about the other horses. I just have to worry about doing my job with mine and what’s going to be will be. There are plenty of horses out there that look good, but as long as I do my job and he does his thing on the track, then I feel like we’re in good shape.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications   

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