CAMPBELLVILLE, August 1 - All eyes in harness racing will be on the Meadowlands this Saturday for the Hambletonian and local standout Harper Blue Chip will be one of eleven trotters vying for harness racing's highest profile trotting title. Trained by local conditioner Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip will start from post position nine with driver Brian Sears in the $1,006,125 Hambletonaian, which is carded as Race 13 on Saturday afternoon. Harper Blue Chip races for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin is coming off a 3 ¾ length victory in the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 19. In six starts this season, Harper Blue Chip has visited the winner's circle twice and has only missed the board once when he finished fourth to the Father Patrick in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs on June 28. Just like the Beal Memorial, Harper Blue Chip and the rest of the field will be gunning for Father Patrick, who enters the Hambletonian on a 15 race win streak. Father Patrick is just one of three starters (Nuncio and Trixton) sent out by trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's trio are the top three choices on the morning line. Harper Blue Chip is the fourth choice in the early odds of 12-1. Steacy admits that it will be a tough task defeating Takter's trio, but that his horse is on top of his game. "We've got our work cut out for us," said Steacy. "I was quite disappointed drawing the nine, it kind of made things a lot more difficult, but our horse is going into the race really good and healthy, so I expect a good effort from him as long as we have some race luck." Since the fourth place effort in the Beal, Harper Blue Chip has dominated locally and Steacy believes Harper Blue Chip is a better horse than the last time he faced the continent's very best. "I think with the trio of Jimmy Takter's it's a big step up, but he's raced against these horses before, never been able to beat them, but he's gone against them and he's been respectable," said Steacy. "I think my horse is better than the last time he raced against these horses and I think he's improved with every start and again a lot of racing luck and you never what might happen." Steacy has an idea of the trip he would like for his charge, but will leave the strategy up to defending and two-time Hambletonian winning driver Brian Sears. "It's going to be up to Brian Sears, but I'm hoping he will try to charge off the gate...obviously you want to be as close to Father Patrick or Trixton or one of those horses that you can be." Defeating Takter's trio will be a tough task for the Mark Steacy trainee, but Steacy knows what it takes to win a million dollar race with a three-year-old trotter. In 2006, Steacy captured the million dollar Canadian Trotting Classic with Majestic Son, the sire of Harper Blue Chip, overcoming favourites Chocolatier and Trotting Triple Crown winner Glidemaster. On Saturday afternoon, Steacy will be looking to recreate that million dollar magic with Harper Blue Chip. No horse has been hotter on the WEG circuit this season than State Treasurer and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee will take his talents south to the Meadowlands to battle with the sport's top free-for-all pacers on Saturday. State Treasurer will start from post two with driver David Miller in a field of nine for the $257,700 US Pacing Championship. The five-year-old son of Real Desire - Ideal Tresurer has won seven times in ten starts this season, including a victory last Saturday night in the Preferred at Mohawk in 1:48.3. State Treasurer has started in the WEG Preferred seven times this season and is currently riding a six race win streak in the circuit's top class. All six of those wins have been sub-1:50 miles. His biggest victory of the season was on May 30 in the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. State Treasurer's rivals on Saturday include Sweet Lou, who is currently on a seven race win streak, and Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup winner. Two starts back, State Treasurer tackled this group in the $463,000 William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and finished fourth, while only beaten 2 Â½ lengths. This Saturday, State Treasurer will need to bring his top game and the speed he has been putting on display. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
This Week: Maple Leaf Trot final, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Battle of Lake Erie, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Lawrence B. Sheppard final, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will be held this Saturday (July 19) at five different racetracks. Mohawk Racetrack will offer one of their most lucrative events, the C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot for open trotters, featuring world record holder Sebastian K and defending Maple Leaf Trot champion Market Share. Northfield Park's marquee race, the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers, will also be held this Saturday. Yonkers Raceway will host the $125,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard final for 2-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host a pair of W.N. Reynolds Memorial trots with two divisions in the $64,414 3-year-old male trot and a single division in the $47,915 3-year-old filly trot. Rounding out the Saturday night action, The Meadows will offer a trio of $50,000 eliminations for their signature event, the Devlin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Mohawk entries can be found at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack hosted seven lucrative Grand Circuit events this past Saturday, led by the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds. He's Watching (Tim Tetrick) watched and waited for a straight shot to the finish line as he won the Meadowlands Pace in an all-age world record-equaling 1:46.4. The time equaled the race mark for pacers on a mile track held by Somebeachsomewhere, Holborn Hanover and Warrawee Needy. He's Watching was content to take a back seat in fifth to early leader Lyonssomewhere, who led the field to the :25.3 quarter, with Luck Be Withyou pacing along in second and JK Endofanera third along the rail. The leader held his position to the :53.2 half when JK Endofanera came off the rail, attempting to improve his position and pressuring the leader around the turn. He's Watching was behind JK Endofanera second-over. It looked like Lyonssomewhere might bottom out the field at the 1:20.3 three-quarters, but horses were soon coming from everywhere. From the huddle of horses trailing Lyonssomewhere came He's Watching, fanned five wide across the track and making up ground with every stride. Behind him and even wider were Always B Miki and Tellitlikeitis. Those three battled down the stretch with He's Watching scoring by 2-1/2 lengths over Always B Miki while Tellitlikeitis was third. He's Watching is owned by Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Muscara Racing Trust. In what some observers predict could be a dress rehearsal for the August 2 Hambletonian, the Jimmy Takter Stable starters finished in a fanned-out constellation of three horses across the track, with 2-5 favorite Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) first to the wire in 1:51.3 in the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old trotting colts. The field was led off the gate by Nuncio, but he was soon overtaken by Father Patrick who hit the quarter-mile mark in :27.2 and led the field to the :56 half. Muscle Network was on the move on the outside, making progress toward the lead before making a break at the top of the stretch. Father Patrick was well within himself at the 1:24.3 three-quarters, with Nuncio inching closer to the leader and Trixton advancing on those two, but unable to get past. As the field hit the finish line, Father Patrick was three-quarters of a length in front, with Nuncio two lengths in front of Trixton. Father Patrick is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, N.J. Sweet Lou sailed down the homestretch for his sixth straight win to take the $463,300 William Haughton Memorial for open pacers in 1:47.1. When the field turned for home, Captaintreacherous held the lead at the 1:21 three-quarters, but was soon set upon on the inside by Bettor's Edge and on the outside by Ron Pierce and Sweet Lou. At the wire, it was Sweet Lou with stablemate Bettor's Edge second and Captaintreacherous held for third. Sweet Lou is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 432; 2. Tim Tetrick - 429; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 730.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 347; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 182; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 167.35; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 151.1; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadows and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host eight Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for six lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
He is the top pacer in harness racing right now as Sweet Lou rolled to his sixth consecutive victory with a two length triumph in the $463,300 William Haughton Memorial Pace for older horses. Driven by Ron Pierce, Sweet Lou benefited from a perfect second-over trip and used that to his advantage, sweeping by pacesetter Captaintreacherous (Tim Tetrick) and stable mate Bettor’s Edge in the stretch for the victory in 1:47.1. Bettor’s Edge edged Captaintreacherous for second place at the wire. “I am very happy with his win tonight,” said trainer Ron Burke. “He has been brushing to the lead every week and I thought what might happen if was to get a trip for once. What I liked best was that at the end of the mile he was full of speed and that was great.” Bettor’s Edge (Matt Kakaley) had left and took early command with Bold The Duer (Mark MacDonald) second to the opening quarter in :25.3. Then Tetrick came at the quarter with Captaintreachous and they took the lead before the half in :53. Then Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell) came first-over and that was the time that Peirce moved Sweet Lou and grabbed the outside over. They went by the three-quarters in 1:21 and as they turned for home was when Pierce came three-wide with Sweet Lou and it took him a few steps to gather up the speed needed to collar the race leaders and pass them by. A five-year-old son of Yankee Cruise, Sweet Lou posted his sixth straight win in nine starts this year for trainer Ron Burke. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and L P Collura. Sweet Lou paid $4.00 to win as the wagering favorite. Sweet Lou By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
I love to take credit when I do something right. Those of you that read my column last week or saw me at the Meadowlands knew how much I thought that Your So Vain could win the Hambo Matturity and he did at 7-1 and that Bee A Magician was the play in exacta’s and that came back a very nice $71.00. Now the action is almost all at the Meadowlands on Saturday headed by the Meadowlands Pace and other top stakes event, but Friday there are eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot and thus we must see what magic Ake and Sebastian K can wow the crowd with. Good Luck! $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 3rd race FRIDAY – No place or show wagering and rightly so as Sebastian K is the premier trotting star in the world of harness racing this year. After his amazing 1:49 world record victory in his last start everyone will be wondering if he can surpass that at Mohawk. Maybe not this week but perhaps next week. Use Flanagan Memory and Wishing Stone in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Without Sebastian K in this field it becomes very competitive. Only Modern Family has been able to stay somewhat close to him so look for this good trotter to get out early to the lead and not look back. He usually can win when Sebastian K is not in the race. Use Market Share and Intimidate in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – Tough to go against a trotting colt from the Jimmy Takter Stable that has yet to face defeat and drops a few seconds every time he races. That’s the case in here with French Laundry who has been perfect early on and should reap some big rewards in here. Use Stonebridge Force and Canepa Hanover in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands 2nd race SATURDAY – Surprised at such a short field going for $100,000. Going with Mission Brief over Saturday Mornings as last week Mission Brief put on a trotting clinic for Ron Burke Stable in posting a ten length romp in 1:55.1. What a mile in only her second lifetime start! Use Saturday Mornings and Demons N Diamonds in exotic plays. $317,000 Trot Stanley Dancer Memorial Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Let’s see if this will be an early prep for the finish of the Hambletonian as Jimmy Takter has all three of his top colts in the race. I nearly selected Trixton as he is not a great leaver but once he gets going he is too tough to beat. But after Father Patrick’s world record mile I think he may be in a class by himself. Going to be a great race. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $213,500 Trot Del Miller Memorial Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Going to take a shot in here that trainer Ake Svanstedt has Heaven’s Door primed and ready to take on Shake It Cerry. Last two starts this filly has been awesome with a lifetime mark of 1:52. A repeat of that mile will make her a winner again. Use Shake It Cerry and Designed To Be in exotic plays. $212,150 Pace Mistletoe Shalee Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – Last week Sandbetweenurtoes showed true grit in grinding out a very impressive elimination division victory in 1:49.3. She is unbeaten in her five starts this year and same effort will get her back in the winner’s circle. Use Table Talk and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $178,450 Pace Golden Girls FFA Mares Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – Another classic match-up of the best open mares in racing. I am going with Shebestingin as she has seemed to return to her winning ways and last week popped a 1:50.3 score against lesser competition but sometimes a win like that will wake a horse up. Use Anndrovette and Somwherorainbow in exotic plays. $463,300 Pace William Haughton Memorial Meadowlands 8th race SATURDAY – Here comes the best open pacers in all the land and heading the lineup is none other than Sweet Lou. He has been unbeaten in his last five starts against the very best and once he gets rolling I don’t think anyone will be able to catch him once again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $776,000 Meadowlands Pace Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 9th race SATURDAY – Gentlemen, start your engines! This will be a classic race as it always is. JK Endofanera is the favorite and rightly so after his impressive win last week but He’s Watching impressed me the most. He showed that with any live cover he can beat the best and I think that is what is going to happen tonight. Either way it will be a great race. Use JK Endofanera and Lyonssomewhere in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Older Mares Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – What a great group of world class trotting mares in this race. I have to go with Bee A Magician after she wove her way around the best older trotters in the world last week and came away with a strong second place finish showed me she is back to winning form. Use Perfect Alliance and Maven in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – If Artspeaks continues to improve over his last two starts he will mop up this field once again. His late moves have been pretty sharp, especially last week when he scored in 1:53.3 for Scott Zeron. Use Dealt A Winner and Weapons Dealer in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands 13th race SATURDAY – When you show last quarters in :27.4 and :25.4 in just your first two pari-mutuel starts, then you are a force to be reckoned with. That’s what Stacia Hanover has done and she is undefeated in her early career and looks to stay that way for a while. Use Cashaway and Ideal Nuggets in exotic plays.
This Week: Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y.; and Hambletonian Maturity, Meadowlands Pace eliminations and Mistletoe Shalee eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit schedule gets underway on Friday afternoon (July 4) at Historic Track with a total of nine Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. On Saturday (July 5), the Meadowlands has the $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, a pair of $50,000 Meadowlands Pace eliminations for 3-year-old pacers and a lone $25,000 elimination in the Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries are available at this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was led by the Sun Stakes Saturday card at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Sebastian K opened the featured portion of Sun Stakes Saturday with the fastest trotting mile in history and McWicked, Sweet Lou, and Father Patrick followed by putting their names into the record book with stakes victories. Sebastian K won the Sun Invitational for older trotters in 1:49, setting the tone for a fast night of world-record efforts. McWicked captured the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers in 1:47.3, Sweet Lou won the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers in 1:47 and Father Patrick closed the stakes portion of the card with a 1:50.2 triumph in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. Fancy Desire won the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers in 1:49.2, which equaled the stakes record. Sweet Lou captured the Ben Franklin Pace by a neck over stablemate Bettor's Edge in a world record time of 1:47. Sweet Lou extended his win streak to five by capturing the Ben Franklin Pace by a neck over stablemate Bettor's Edge in 1:47, which broke the previous world record of 1:47.2 for the fastest ever by a pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. Foiled Again was third as trainer Ron Burke swept the top three spots. Father Patrick made a 1:50.2 mile look easy, as he was all alone at the wire to win the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot. The mile was a world record for 3-year-old trotting colts on a five-eighths-mile track and it was one-fifth of a second off the all size world record. Father Patrick was alone at the wire, finishing the mile in front by 2-3/4 lengths. Nuncio was second and Datsyuk third. McWicked was McBest in winning the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial in 1:47.3, a world record for 3-year-old pacing colts on a five-eighths-mile track. At Press Time made a mild rally in the stretch, but it was not enough to get past McWicked, who won by 2-1/4 lengths. At Press Time was second and All Bets Off was third. Fancy Desire and driver George Napolitano Jr. grabbed the lead early and held off Sayitall BB by a head to win the Lynch Memorial in 1:49.2. Uffizi Hanover finished third. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 390; 2. Tim Tetrick - 364; 3. Ron Pierce - 250; 4. Brian Sears - 170; 5. George Brennan - 164.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 628.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 285; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Joe Holloway - 137; 5. Julie Miller - 110. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 145.75; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 134.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 82; 5. Father Patrick Stable - 50. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at the Meadowlands, Mohawk Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Yonkers Raceway. Action begins on Friday at the Meadowlands with the third leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares and at Mohawk with eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older open class trotters. The power-packed Saturday card at the Meadowlands features the Meadowlands Pace final for 3-year-olds, the William Haughton Memorial for free for all pacers, the Mistletoe Shalee final for 3-year-old filly pacers, the Stanley Dancer for 3-year-old male trotters, the Delvin Miller for 3-year-old filly trotters, the Golden Girls for open pacing mares, and a leg of the TVG Series for open trotters. Also holding Grand Circuit Stakes on Saturday will be Balmoral Park (Hanover events for 3-year-old colt pacers and 3-year-old filly pacers) and Yonkers Raceway (Sheppard eliminations for freshman pacers). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
A harness racing pair of Meadowlands Pace contenders earned strong confidence builders Saturday night. First up was Beat The Drum, who showed early speed, caught a bit of a shuffle, moved first over as the 2-1 second choice and just kept on coming to win a non-winners of four event in 1:50.1. Beat The Drum will likely make his next start in a Meadowlands Pace elimination for Bender Sweden Inc and trainer Staffan Lind. Dan Rawlings guided the son of Tell All to his new lifetime mark. Not to be out-done was the Art Official colt Let's Drink On It, who faced seven older rivals in the sixth race B-2 event for $18,000. Moving to the half mile pole, the 4-5 betting choice made the lead through a sharp 54.2 half mile, then paced a 54.1 back half mile to win by over four lengths over the veteran Silent Swing in an extremely sharp, and lifetime best 1:48.3. Currently eighth on The Road to The Meadowlands Pace, Let's Drink On It is owned by Seekman, Bond, Hewitt and Boido Jr, trained by Joe Seekman and was driven to victory by his regular pilot, Tyler Smith, who had a career night, winning five races on the program. It's safe to say that Odds On Equuleus has left his 0 for 15 three year old campaign behind him. Tonight at The Meadowlands, he flashed the turn of foot that caught everyone's attention as a two year old, winning tonight's $30,000 Free-For-All Hanidcap in a lifetime best, 1:48.2. Leaving from post position three and sent off as the 2-1 second choice, Marcus Miller gathered Odds On Equuleus back towards the rear of the field, settling in next to last through an opening quarter of 26.2 and a rapid half-mile of 53.3, established by Aracache Hanover. He awaited the move of Wake Up Peter, who in turn flushed out Dovuto Hanover, positioning Odds On Equuleus third over through three-quarters of 1:21.3 Turning for home it appeared to be anyone's race, with Aracache Hanover grimly holding onto the lead, Dovuto Hanover grinding away first over and Wake Up Peter gathering momentum off cover. But then, seemingly in an instant, Odds On Equuleus appeared widest of all in deep stretch and accelerated dramatically to win going away, pacing the final quarter mile in 26 seconds flat. Wake Up Peter was a very solid second and Dovuto Hanover a game third. The winner is owned by Odds On Racing and trained by Tony Alagna. For the second consecutive night, live handle at The Meadowlands showed slight gains over the previous year, gathering momentum into the strongest month of the meet. Next weekend begins the Championship stretch at The Meadowlands. Friday night features New Jersey Sire Stakes for the two year old trotters, while Saturday night carries the freshmen pacers as well as eliminations for The Meadowlands Pace, Mistletoe Shalee and William Haughton Memorial. Also on the card is the $450,000 est. Hambletonian Maturity for four year old trotters at one mile and one eighth, with a field that could hold up to 16 entrants. The intriguing matchup in that event is that of 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life pitted against the 2013 Hambletonian Oaks Winner (and Horse of the Year), Bee A Magician. Please note that while the Friday July 4th program will begin at 7:15 P.M., Saturday July 5th will carry a special 6:30 P.M. post time, with fireworks to follow the live racing program. For more information, go to playmeadowlands.com. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands
This Week: Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial finals, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and Miss Versatility, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs this Saturday night (June 28) 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 trotters, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Mohawk will host a $40,000 (est.) leg of the Miss Versatility for older female trotters on Monday (June 30). Complete entries for the Pocono 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 20) at Meadowlands Racetrack with a $50,000 TVG Free For All Trotting Series leg and Sebastian K scored another dominating win in 1:50.3, leaving an accomplished field in his wake. Sebastian K posted another dominating win in 1:50.3. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt sent his stable star away fast from post five and he had the front instantly, crossing over and taking up by the quarter in :27.3. Left alone on the lead, Svanstedt rated Sebastian K through a :56 half and 1:24.1 three panels before sprinting again with a 26.2 close to the mile. Archangel drafted along In The Pocket and held the place while Market Share tried to advance on the outside from the half to no avail and stayed on for third. This was his third win in as many tries since landing on U.S. soil for Sebastian K, owned by Knutsson Trotting, Inc. of Vero Beach, Fla. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs hosted 10 Grand Circuit races on Saturday, all eliminations for this week's Sun Stakes Saturday card. Grabbing the headlines were the older pacers in the Ben Franklin eliminations. The first of two $25,000 eliminations was billed as "Captaintreacherous vs. Foiled Again," as the two-time defending Pacer of the Year squared off against the richest horse of all time for the first time in 2014. But nobody told Domethatagain. Driven perfectly by Simon Allard, Domethatagain, a son of Bettor's Delight, rallied up the inside to just catch Captaintreacherous by the scantest of margins in 1:48, ahead of Bettor's Edge, the game first-over Foiled Again, and fifth-placed Sunshine Beach, the faster of the Franklin fifth-place finishers and thus a Franklin finalist. Track geometry was never proven more important as Domethatagain (post one), Bettor's Edge (post two), and Captaintreacherous (post four) left in tandem, with Bettor's Edge forced to retreat to the inside and Captaintreacherous forced to go up past the :26 opener to get the lead, posting splits of :53.2 and 1:21 as he resisted the raw bid of Foiled Again. Turning for home, Captaintreacherous seemed to have clear sailing, but Allard rallied Domethatagain up the Pocono Pike to just catch the favorite in the shadow of the wire, returning $60.20 to his scattered backers. Rene Allard conditions the upsetter for Allard Racing, Robert Hamather, and Bruce Soulsby. Sweet Lou won his fourth straight race, scoring in a time of 1:47.4. In the second Franklin elim, Sweet Lou, who has been the most consistent free-for-all pacer lately, restored order to the handicapping universe as the 1-2 favorite by crushing his field in 1:47.4, equaling his life mark. Sweet Lou tucked before the :26.4 quarter, then moved frontward and had reached the lead by the :54 half. The son of Yankee Cruiser smoked a :26.4 backside, then cruised home in :27 unurged by driver Ron Pierce to win by four lengths over earlier leader Bolt The Duer, Captive Audience, and Allstar Legend for the ownership of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Carr, and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the other eight Pocono stakes eliminations, 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. Tim Tetrick - 354; 2. Yannick Gingras - 345; 3. Ron Pierce - 230; 4. Brian Sears - 170; 5. George Brennan - 164.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 568.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 250; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Joe Holloway - 137; 5. Julie Miller - 110. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 124.5; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 114.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 82; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Historic Track and Meadowlands Racetrack. Historic Track will host eight Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-olds on Friday (July 4). The Meadowlands will contest the $400,000 Meadowlands Maturity for trotters, along with eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace, William Haughton Memorial and Mistletoe Shalee on Saturday (July 5). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
East Rutherford, NJ - The 2014 Championship Meet at The Meadowlands will offer over $9 Million in harness racing purses for its stakes races, headlined by the $1.2 Million Hambletonian on Saturday August 2nd. Carrying a $1.2 Million total purse, The Hambletonian is the richest Standardbred race in North America and will be the first jewel of the trotting triple crown in 2014. Hambletonian Day will also include a wide array of other stakes races, with total purses for the day being approximately $3.5 Million, the richest day of racing in the state of New Jersey. The Hambletonian program will also include The Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, Peter Haughton Memorial, Merrie Annabelle, Lady Liberty and more. "Hambletonian Day is always the greatest day of racing for our sport each year and we are thrilled to be the home of such a historic event," said Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali. "It is an event like the Super Bowl for us, where as soon as Hambletonian Day is over, we begin working on the next one." This year's Hambletonian will be the first in the new $100 Million Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment facility. "We are excited to give The Hambletonian a brand new, state of the art facility to call home," said General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The experience for our customers will be better than ever, with more activities and a wide array of options for our customers to enjoy the day how they want, from fine dining, a gorgeous sports bar, skyboxes, a rooftop terrace and The Backyard which will be an enhanced version of the old paddock park. In addition, the day is sure to have a more intimate connection to the racing than ever before, as we have been feeling that energy all season long here at The Meadowlands." Post time for The Hambletonian Day program is scheduled for 12:00 P.M. The Meadowlands signature event, The Meadowlands Pace will take place on Saturday July 12th. Thanks to proactive changes made to the payment structure of the race, The Meadowlands Pace is showing promising growth through the sustaining payments and will carry a purse of an estimated $750,000 for the 2014 edition. "We worked very hard on improving The Meadowlands Pace," said Zoccali. "We implemented an altered payment structure which will continue to evolve going forward and we are already seeing the results through the sustaining payments. This year's Meadowlands Pace is trending toward a substantial increase in the purse for the Final over 2013." The Meadowlands Pace program will also offer a huge card of racing, including such races as The Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Del Miller Memorial, William Haughton Memorial, The Golden Girls, The New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for two year olds and more, producing a near $3 Million night of stakes action. Meadowlands Pace Night will feature a special start time of 6:30 P.M. New to the 2014 Stakes Calendar is The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for four year old trotters, to be contested at 1 1/8th Miles on Saturday July 5th which is Meadowlands Pace Elimination night. A maximum of 16 horses will be on the gate for the $400,000 event. "This is a unique event," added Zoccali. "It would be great to see upwards of 12 or 13 horses entered as the race would have a European-style feel to it and I think is something we will all enjoy. It also provides a major race for the four year old trotters to target as their stakes season kicks off." Other major events are the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, to take place on Saturday May 17th and will coincide with Roosevelt Raceway Legacy Night. The New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for three year olds will be on Saturday May 31st and The Meadowlands Maturity Pace on Friday June 13th, which is likely to mark the 2014 debut of Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pacer of the Year. While not a part of the summer Championship Meet, The Breeders Crown makes its return to The Meadowlands in the fall, with the Finals taking place over two championship nights of racing, Friday November 21st and Saturday November 22nd. The standardbred stakes season will end the following Saturday night, November 29th, with the second annual $1 Million TVG Free For All Championships. The 2014 Meadowlands stakes program will offer an estimated $16 Million in purses and the full stakes schedule can be found at http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedfiles/2014_Meadowlands_Stakes_Schedule.pdf. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands
Apaches Fame, the pacer that many would consider to be the Standardbred that helped elevate the Ontario Sires Stakes program to a world-class producer of harness racing talent, has passed away at the age of 26. Bred by Robert Chapple of Chatham, Ont., the son of Apaches Circle - Dovers Skip turned heads from the moment he stepped onto the racetrack in 1989. In his first pari-mutuel start at Greenwood Raceway, Apaches Fame and trainer-driver Bud Fritz reeled off a win in 1:57.4 in the Kindergarten Series. He moved onto the OSS ranks and dominated his foes there, finishing his rookie season with 10 wins in 14 starts and a mark of 1:54.1 taken at Windsor Raceway. That mile was just one-fifth of a second off the world record at the time. Expectations were high for his three-year-old season as Apaches Fame stepped up to race against North America's best three-year-old pacers in Grand Circuit competition - a rarity for a horse from the OSS program. Against open opposition that year he tied the track record at Greenwood in winning the Burlington Stakes in 1:52.4, and also posted wins in the Motor City Pace, Confederation Cup, Little Brown Jug Preview, as well as and the Provincial Cup and Prix d’Ete eliminations. But his biggest win was a win for the province, if not the country. Facing divisional standout Beach Towel, Apaches Fame made harness racing history by becoming the first Ontario-bred and sired colt to win the prestigious $1 million North America Cup. Busloads of fans from Southwestern Ontario flocked to Greenwood that day to take in the race and witness history, and the winner's circle celebration harkened back to the days of the Cam Fella Express in popularity. Apaches Fame ended his season with 20 wins in 26 starts, which earned him the O'Brien Award as the best three-year-old colt in the country. Returning to the races at age four for Dovers Venture II Stable (Chapple, Dr. Jan Venclik, Ross Cushman, Tom Lightbody and Gary Nolte) Apaches Fame won the Grand Prix Quebec, Blue Bonnets Challenge, Des Smith Memorial and William Haughton Memorial Series at Yonkers before being retired in January 1992 at the age of five. After 67 career starts, Apaches Fame amassed a record of 39-11-9, a mark of 1:51.4 and earnings in excess of $1.76 million. Apaches Fame stood for stallion duty in Ontario and produced the winners of more than $38 million. With 777 foals, 612 made it to the races with 81 per cent of those horses taking race records. Among his most notable performers are the 1998 O'Brien Award winning Horse of the Year Odies Fame, 2000 O'Brien Award winner Legacy Of Fame as well as Twin B Champ, Stonebridge Galaxy and more recently, Twin B Warrior. In 2000, Apaches Fame was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame for his contributions to Canadian horse racing both as a standout racehorse and sire. In June 2013, Standardbred Canada honoured Apaches Fame with a special video tribute to commemorate his historic North America Cup victory by visiting the stallion at his Chatham, Ont. home, where he resided at the farm owned by breeder Robert Chapple's son Rob and his wife Becky. The Chapples were joined by Venclik and Doug Nash, who helped manage Apaches Fame through his stallion career at Glengate Farms. "Apaches Fame was the horse that legitimized the Ontario Sires Stakes program of being worthy of producing horse that were world class," said Nash. "When he won the North America Cup, it changed things around forever within the industry, where trainers and owners recognized the Ontario-breds as being capable of campaigning on the world stage." Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. _ The sensational Bee A Magician puts her perfect 7-for-7 record this season on the line in a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks elimination on Saturday night at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Bee A Magician, the leader in the 3-year-old trotting filly division, has her eyes squarely on the big prize: the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks on Aug. 3. To get there, she must first pass Saturday's elimination test. The Oaks drew 14 entrants. They were evenly divided into a pair of eliminations with the top five from each advancing to the final on the undercard for the $1.2 million Hambletonian. In addition to the Oaks eliminations, the 13-race card starting at 7:15 p.m. also includes a pair of $50,000 eliminations for the U.S. Pacing Championship, two $25,000 Opens for 3-year-old trotters pointing to the Hambletonian and the prep races for the Thomas D'Altrui SBOA Miss New Jersey and the Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic.. And bring an appetite. There will be free admission, and all the grilled corn you can eat, on Corntastic Night with competitions for husking, carrying and eating corn. Bee A Magician has the rail with Ron Pierce set to drive in the first Oaks elimination, her return to action following a world record victory in the Delvin Miller Memorial on July 13 at The Meadowlands. She trotted the mile in 1:51, fastest ever by a 3-year-old trotting filly. The overpowering score sparked speculation she might tackle the boys in the Hambletonian. After weighing the pros and cons, trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and the ownership team of Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee opted for the Oaks. "We just feel that going two heats against the boys might be too much," Norman said. "All the owners are on board with it." Norman still marvels at Bee A Magician's record-setting win. "The last performance was obviously her best," he said. "Even I was surprised. She's a good horse but that was phenomenal. I don't think it's a one-time thing. I think we'll see more of that. She acted like she was a little short after that mile and I think she might actually improve off that." Bee A Magician is currently ranked #2 behind Meadowlands Pace winner Captaintreacherous in the latest Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Hartman and Norman are looking for an Oaks double. They captured the race last year with Personal Style in a $116.40 upset. The price will obviously be much lower if Bee A Magician comes through for them. She is the 3-5 favorite in her elimination. The other contenders in the first Oaks elimination, in post position order, are: Fashion Athena, Miss Steele, Ma Chere Hall, Frau Blucher, Handover Belle and Déjà Vu Too. To Dream On, last season's Dan Patch Award winner as the division champion, tops the second Oaks elimination as the 5/2 choice. That full field, in post position order: Time To Kill, Southwind Cocoa, Raring To Go S, To Dream On, Coffeecake Hanover, Mistery Woman and Classic Martine. The top Free-For-All Pacers are back in action for the U.S. Pacing Championship eliminations with the top five returning for the $213,650 final on Hambletonian Day. Bolt The Duer and Sweet Lou, the second and the third place finishers in the Big M's William Haughton Memorial final, square off again in the first elimination. The second elimination is loaded, with a lineup that includes: Haughton winner Pet Rock, world-record holder Warrawee Needy and Foiled Again, the richest pacer ever with $5.1 million in the bank. The U.S. Pacing Championship is another key event in the inaugural TVG Free-For-All Series that culminates with a $500,000 final at The New Meadowlands Racetrack on Nov. 30. The 3-year-old Open Trots give Hambletonian hopefuls one last chance to compete over the track before the main event next weekend. Corky, the new leader in Ken Warkentin's "Road to the Hambletonian" rankings, gets his final Hambo tune-up in the first Open. Hambletonian Day is closing day, and the zenith of the Championship Meet. Fans can follow the next two action-filled weekends at meadowlandsracetrack.com and on Twitter at #Hambo13. by Rachel Ryan
Freehold, NJ --- Jim Mulinix believes A Rocknroll Dance still will make noise in the older male pacer division this season. He hopes the sweet music begins in Saturday’s $120,500 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park in Ohio. The 4-year-old A Rocknroll Dance entered this season with 11 wins in 33 starts and $1.93 million in purses. He struggled to begin 2013, but last weekend picked up his first victory in six races when he captured a $26,400 winners-over event at Hoosier Park. A Rocknroll Dance won by 3-1/4 lengths over Time To Roll in 1:48.2. A Rocknroll Dance and driver Kayne Kauffman will start the Battle of Lake Erie from post No. 5 and are 4-1 on the morning line. Foiled Again, the all-time money-winning pacer in harness racing history with $5.17 million, is the 2-1 favorite from post two with Tony Hall in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke. Foiled Again won the Battle of Lake Erie in 2009 and 2011. He was second in 2012 and third in 2010. “I think before the year is over he’ll do some good things,” said Mulinix, who owns A Rocknroll Dance with Diamond Creek Farm, Denny Miller, J&T Silva Stables and the Muscara Racing Trust under the A RockNRoll Dance Stable banner. “I think he’s been pretty good this year, he just hasn’t had any luck. It seems wherever he drew he always ended up in a bad place.” During the early part of his campaign, A Rocknroll Dance also was bothered by a sore mouth that affected him getting on the bit. Mulinix had the issue resolved prior to the William R. Haughton Memorial eliminations on July 6 and his horse responded with a 1:47.4 mile -- which was only good enough for seventh place (he missed advancing to the final by a half-length), but gave Mulinix an improved outlook for the future. “He seems much happier with his mouth and hasn’t been fussing with his head and is driving good,” Mulinix said. “Before he was throwing his head going to the gate and turning his head and I think it might have affected his breathing too. He seems much better now.” A Rocknroll Dance’s career wins include the 2011 Governor’s Cup and 2012 Meadowlands Pace, Hempt Memorial and Battle of the Brandywine. He was second in the 2011 Breeders Crown and Metro Pace. In his win at Hoosier Park last weekend with Trace Tetrick driving, A Rocknroll Dance battled for the lead in the opening quarter-mile and got the top spot prior to the halfway point, which was reached in :53.3. He paced the last two quarters in :27.2 each. “That was really no indication because it was like a training mile,” Mulinix said. “He got to the front and no one could really come at him.” Still, with his mouth issues in the past and a win under his belt, the future appears brighter for A Rocknroll Dance. “This group is so tough, but he seems as good as ever,” Mulinix said. “But who knows if as good as ever is good enough with this bunch of horses. You have to get better. I’ve been working him a little harder, trying to pick up a step here or there. I think he will be OK. We’re just going to take it one week at a time.” Following is the Battle of Lake Erie field with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Aracache Hanover, Greg Grismore, Gregg McNair; 2. Foiled Again, Tony Hall, Ron Burke; 3. Rockin Finish, Wyatt Irvine, Virgil Morgan, Jr.; 4. Thinking Out Loud, Dan Noble, Robert McIntosh; 5. A Rocknroll Dance, Kayne Kauffman, Jim Mulinix; 6. Clear Vision, Chris Page, Ron Burke; 7. State Treasurer, Aaron Merriman, Dr. Ian Moore; 8. Versado, Ryan Stahl, Nick Surick. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
Harness racing driver Dave Miller drove the fastest mile of his career Saturday at the Meadowlands as he guided Pet Rock to a very impressive 1:47 victory in the $471,800 final of the William R. Haughton Memorial Free-For-All Pace.
It may be difficult to teach old dogs new tricks, but the father-and-son team of harness racing trainer Carl Jamieson and driver Jody Jamieson seem to have been effective teaching an older horse a new way to race.
Ok harness racing fans, after seven weeks I have picked horses in 44 races with only 19 winners, not that good. I had two out of five winners last week which made for a $3.00 overall loss. We are in the minus earning column still at (-$4.30) going into this weekend.
In the 8th race second $50,000 elimination division of the Haughton Memorial FFA Pace, Sweet Lou and harness racing driver Yannick Gingras was able to regain his winning form the hard way, grinding out a first-over parked the mile victory by a slim neck over Pet Rock in 1:48.4.
Warrawee Needy ($4.80) tied the all age world record as the fastest Standardbred ever in harness racing Saturday at the Meadowlands, scoring a 1:46.4 victory in winning his $50,000 elimination division for the William H. Haughton Memorial Free-For-All Pace.