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YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 29, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 co-featured Opens--a handicap for distaff pacers and a blind draw for all trotters who passed initiation--were won by rank outsider Campanile (Eric Carlson, $58.50) and Obrigado (Brent Holland, $11). An early bystander from post position No. 4, Campanile had much to watch. Last week's victress, Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton) was in play, getting stung by pole assignee, the newly-sold Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett). No sooner did the just-above-even-money fave Robin Cruiser make the lead (:26.4 opening quarter-mile) than Monkey on My Wheel (Dan Dube) took her turn. Monkey on My Wheel found a :55.4 intermission and 1:24.2 three-quarters, with Montenegro (Greg Merton) offering a stern test first-up. Monkey on My Wheel opened to a length-and-a-quarter entering the lane, but was done soon after. Venus Delight closed deep in the passing lane, but it was Campanile-third-up--moving widest and fastest. Sixth in and out of the final turn, Campanile prevailed by a neck in 1:52.3. Robin Cruiser, Crazy on You (Holland) and Camille (George Brennan) rounded out the payees. For Campanile, a 5-year-old daughter of No Pan Intended trained by Allan Johnson for owner Michael Casalino Jr., it was her seventh win in 31 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $290.50, with the triple returning $789. The week's marquee trot saw upstate scourge Obrigado-which, as pointed out by track announcer/U-N interpreter John Hernan, translates to "thank you" in Portuguese-prevail from second-over. After Tober (Bartlett) and Lorenzo Dream (Jeff Gregory) led the way (:27.2, :57.1), Tober regained and found a 1:26.1 three-quarters. He had a 2¼-length lead turning for home, having disposed of both a stopping "Lorenzo" and an uncovered DW's NY Yank (Brennan). However, Obrigado-gradually advancing from post No. 5-snapped the leader late, winning by a neck in 1:55.3. Third went to Bingo Queen (Eric Goodell), with tepid 19-10 choice Somebody AS (Dube) and "DW" settling for the minor awards. For Obrigado, a 4-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, William Weaver III, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45, he's now 7-for-16 this season (28-for-39 lifetime). The exacta paid $44.20, with the triple returning $216.50. Friday's undercard saw the 7-year-old double millionaire Wishing Stone (Brennan, $3.70) beat up his rivals, setting a set track record for aged trotting horses (1:54.2). He (nearly a year ago to the day) and Archangel shared the old standard at a tick slower. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

It has been very hard lately to take the smile off the faces of Peter O'Rourke and David Shammall as the sires associated with their harness racing venture Stallions Australasia have been having such a golden run in North America. Muscle Hill and Lucky Chucky have both had big years so far and their new addition Wishing Stone only adds to the quality available to trotting breeders down under this season. Set up by David and Peter in 2013, Stallions Australasia was formed to fill a gap they saw in the sires market in Australasia for quality trotting stallions. Most of the top North American pacing sires shuttle to Australasia every season but few of the elite trotting sires were available to breeders. Deciding to target the elite horses just starting out in the siring ranks, Stallions Australasia quickly acquired the semen rights to both Muscle Hill and Lucky Chucky. This year they have added another champion going to stud in Wishing Stone. So we thought it was an appropriate time to do a bit of homework on the three sires that they are making available to breeders this season. Muscle Hill 1:50.1 ($3,273,342)  This son of Muscles Yankee is rated by many pundits as the greatest age group trotter to have ever raced in North America and his record supports that. He faced the starter 21 times for 20 wins and a second in a stellar career. Beaten on debut at two, Muscle Hill won his next 20 races before his retirement to stud. Amongst those wins were the $700,000 Breeders Crown at two in 1:53.3 while at three he won the $1,520,000 Hambletonian by six lengths in 1:50.2 -  $1,000,000 Canadian Trotting Classic in 1:53.1 - $617,000 Breeders Crown in 1:54 - $540,000 World Trotting Derby in 1:52.3 and the $384,000 Kentucky Futurity in 1:51.1. All up at three, Muscle Hill earned $2,456,041 which is a record for money won in a season by either a pacer or a trotter. Now his stud record is starting to resemble his racing record with his first crop half way through their three year old season. He currently sits third on the North American 3 year old sires list and has already sired a Hambletonian winner from this first crop with the brilliant Trixton1:50.3 $(852,838) taking out the time honoured classic last weekend. Other notable winners from this first crop include Southwind Spirit 1:54.1 ($370,295) and Muscle Network 1:53.2 ($314,350) to name just two. The second crop are two year olds this season and have started in great fashion with the outstanding filly Mission Brief 1:52.2 ($255,775) winning the $352,000 Merrie Annibeelle on Hambletonian day while another Muscle Hill filly in Jolene Jolene 1:54 pl ($94,812) finished second. Muscle Hill is presently first on the two year old sires list in North America. Lucky Chucky 1:50.4 ($2,099,973) This son of Windsongs Legacy was an outstanding two and three year old on the track, being crowned horse of the year at both two and three. His sire Windsong's Legacy, a son of Conway Hall only stood for four seasons before his untimely demise. Apart from Lucky Chucky the other one of his sons to really make his mark is world record holder Chapter Seven 1:50.1 ($1,954,966) Lucky Chucky won the $450,000 Valley Victory at two in 1:56 in his nine wins at that age but that was only a pipe opener to a great three year old year. Lucky Chucky won the $1,000,000 Canadian Classic in 1:52.2 - $500,000 Colonial Final in 1:53 and was an unlucky second in the $1,500,000 Hambletonian Final won by Massive Muscle 1:51 ($1,239,138) in 1:51 When retired to stud Lucky Chucky had faced the starter 23 times for 14 wins and 7 ploacings for $2,099,973 in stakes. His first crop hit the track this season in North America and though it is early in the season, Lucky Chucky has made a fine start as a sire. With the season just getting into full swing he is already the sire of such promising trotters as Gabe The Bear Dean 1:58.3 (H) ($56,186)  Lock Down Lindy 1:55 ($63,076) and Mambo Blue Chip 1:57.2 ($50,236). Lucky Chucky currently sits seventh on the North American Sires list for two year olds, ahead of such talented sires as Cantab Hall and Kadabra. Wishing Stone 1:51.2 ($2,255,603) The richest and fastest son of the great Conway Hall is available to breeders for the first time this season. His best wins at two were in the $84,600 Bluegraass Stakes in 1:55 and the $71,200 International Stallion Stakes in 1:55.3. At three Wishing Stone won the $237,000 Matron Final in 1:53.2 and the $200,00 Kentucky Futurity over Lucky Chucky in 1:51.2. Notable placings were his second in the $500,000 Breeders Crown in 1:52.4 and his third in the $1,500,000 Hambletonian behind Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky in 1:51.4 Racing in Europe at four and five, his best wins were in the $250,000 Copenhagen Cup 2000 meters in a 1:54.4 mile rate and the $200,000 Grand Prix Du Sud Quest over 2600 meters. Back to North America last season, the Wishing Stone's best win was in the $250,000 Maxi Lee in 1:52, defeating Uncle Peter 1:50.3 ($1,250,515) Wishing Stone goes to stud with a record of 75 starts for 22 wins and 17 placings for $2,255,603 in stakes with a best time of 1:51.1 He should appeal to down under breeders with his winning performances over 2000 and 2600 meters.  Everything considered, Stallions Australasia have a great line up of sires who are making the headlines now, not last year like some sires. Harnesslink media  

We have been on a roll as of late with winning weekends the last two weeks. I am confident we can make it three straight winning weeks and never have to leave the Meadowlands. It’s their closing weekend and that mean’s Hambletonian Day, one of the best days of racing in the sport of harness racing this Saturday, headlined of course by the Hambletonian Trot. The card is jamming with top stakes action. The only problem is something we have no control over and that is Mother Nature. I handicapped based on a fast track so here’s hoping the rain either ends early or does not stop until late in the day. Good Luck! $52,000 Trot Ima Lula Final 4YO Mares Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – With a serious case of seconditis after her championship season last year, we keep hoping for Bee A Magician to return to her unbeaten form of 2013 but it just isn’t happening. Perhaps they will change tactics here and go back to racing her off the pace and that she will be able take this field. Use Classic Martine and Ma Chere Hall in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace Miss New Jersey 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 3rd race SATURDAY – Seems that trainer Jimmy Takter may have solved the previous breaking problems of Gettingreadytoroll off her lifetime mark last week in 1:49.3 and that she is settled down to keeping her mind on business. Repeat of last winning effort will bring home the bacon in here. Use Act Now and Bliztra in exotic plays. $225,000 Pace New Jersey Classic 3YO Colts Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Western Vintage has had a rough 3YO season after many thought he would be one of the leaders in this division after his great two-year-old season. Seems he has not lived up to expectations but should go off the favorite here after decent qualifying win. I’m going with Doo Wop Hanover. He has had good success when not racing against the best in the country, drew well for this and could get the dream two-hole trip to score off of. Use Western Vintage and Bushwacker in exotic plays. $257,700 Pace FFA US Pacing Championship Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Too tough to even consider going against the best pacer in the sport. Sweet Lou is on a seven-race winning streak, last four in less than 1:48 and he is just a pacing machine. He is facing a strong field but he has beaten all of them before and can do it again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $352,050 Trot Merrie Annabelle 2YO Filly Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – This will be an interesting matchup as both Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover have yet to meet and both are hot fillies that race on the front end. Mission Brief gets the call with her blinding early speed but you never know how Gatka Hanover will handle getting a two-hole trip. Use Gatka Hanover and Lock Down Lindy in exotic plays. $355,500 Trot Peter Haughton 2YO Colt Final Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – It’s interesting that in this final there are four return winners of the ten starters. Ake Svanstedt’s Centurion ATM showed he is the horse to beat after coming off the pace in his elimination race last week and strolling to a 1:54.2 win in just his third lifetime start. Repeat of that mile will make him an easy winner once again. Use Canepa Hanover and Guess Who’s Back in exotic plays. $75,000 Trot FFA Vincennes Invitational Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – All the talk was that after Master Of Law won his qualifying race that he was on his way to taking on the best in the country. He lived up to performance with a 1:52 win last time out and now gets really tested against a good field and having to start from post nine. Use Wishing Stone and D’Orsay in exotic plays. $300,650 Trot John Cashman Memorial FFA Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – Whether it rains or not I think Sebastian K and Ake Svanstedt are too tough to get caught again at the wire. No one can out leave him and unless every horse in the field tries to go first-over against him, he has too much stamina to not hold them off. Use Uncle Peter and Market Share in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Hambletonian Oaks 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 12th race – Last week in prep race, Ron Pierce and Shake It Cerry held Designed To Be and Brian Sears at bay and were able to win. Now Shake It Cerry starts from second tier in post 11 and won’t be able to dictate early fractions to anyone. I still think that Shake It Cerry will “shake it loose” somehow and find a different way to beat Designed To Be once again. Use Designed To Be and Lifetime Pursuit in exotic plays. $1,066,125 Trot Hambletonian Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 13th race SATURDAY – Trainer Jimmy Takter has his heart set on finishing one, two, three in harness racing’s most prestigious race and he very well should get what wants as he has the best colts in racing. Father Patrick needs to just overcome starting from post ten as he is seconds faster than the rest of the field. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $177,750 Pace Lady Liberty Final Older Mares Meadowlands 14th race SATURDAY – Was super impressed with the three moves Drop The Ball made for driver Corey Callahan last week in winning elimination race. She will need that gusty performance once again to win the final as Rocklamation will be in the hunt this week. Drop The Ball gets the slim call in here. Use Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow in exotic plays.

Intimidate followed his most lackluster performance of the year with a stunning victory in the Maple Leaf Trot last weekend and trainer Luc Blais is hopeful the 5-year-old trotter can keep the momentum going in Saturday's first of two eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses, including world champion Sebastian K. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. Intimidate, who won the 2012 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters and the 2013 Credit Winner, edged previously unbeaten Sebastian K by a nose to win the Maple Leaf in 1:54.2 on a sloppy track. Intimidate was 47-1. "It was an amazing feeling again," said Blais, who trains Intimidate for Serge Godin's Determination stable and Judith Farrow. Blais and Farrow bred the son of stallion Justice Hall and mare Fabulous Tag. "That (Maple Leaf) was an amazing win. "He was just so-so in the elimination but came back good. I think Sylvain Filion gave him a perfect drive. I think everything was perfect that night. At that level, you need everything perfect." Intimidate finished fifth in his Maple Leaf elimination, losing 3-1/2 lengths in the stretch, but Blais says the horse was still feeling the effects of a quarter-crack on a front foot. "I think the foot wasn't right-right," said Blais, a native of Quebec. "We worked very much on his foot and the quarter-crack looked better (in the Maple Leaf final). That's time. You need time to repair that. Now he looks sound. I don't know if he's a hundred percent, but he looks better than before, that's for sure." Intimidate has won three of seven races this season and earned $326,070. For his career, he has won 24 of 36 starts and banked $923,628. His only off-the-board finishes this year came in his Maple Leaf elim and in the final of the Cutler Memorial, where he had a three-wide trip. "I think in the Cutler we had no luck," Blais said. "After that he came back and won the preferred at Mohawk. He hasn't raced a bad race, except maybe the elimination of the Maple Leaf. That was the only race that I think wasn't right." Ron Pierce will drive Intimidate on Saturday night, leaving from post four as the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. Market Share, from post one, is the 8-5 favorite. The remainder of the field, from the inside, is Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. The second division, from the rail, is Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, Appomattox, Arch Madness, and Creatine. The group has five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). "That's a nice bunch of horses this year," Blais said. "The competition is very high level. I think that's good for the game; it's good for the show. People want to see that." Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Arch Madness wasn't ill, but a victory in a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia last week might have been just what the doctor ordered. Now the 10-year-old gelding is returning to competition against the continent's best older trotters as he heads to Saturday's eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. Among the entrants are world champion Sebastian K, Maple Leaf Trot winner Intimidate, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, and 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. Arch Madness, who skipped the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario, enters his Cashman elim with one win in eight starts this season. Lifetime, he has won 35 of 115 races and earned $4.22 million, good for sixth place among all trotters in history and second to only Moni Maker among trotters that raced the majority of their careers in North America. "It's always nice to get an easy win in a horse," Trond Smedshammer said about Arch Madness' three-length victory in 1:52.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 16. "That's the best medicine for a horse, winning. I was very happy about that decision [not to go to the Maple Leaf Trot]. It worked out good. "You can't ask him to go everywhere; he's 10 years old. Canada was an easy decision to leave out." Arch Madness (a son of Balanced Image-Armbro Archer) was winless in two races at age 2, but won at least one race worth more than $170,000 in six of the next seven years. His top triumphs came in the 2007 Breeders Crown for 3-year-olds, 2008 Maple Leaf Trot, 2011 Oslo Grand Prix, 2010 Cutler Memorial, 2009 Credit Winner, and 2013 Allerage Open Trot. He finished second in the Elitlopp in 2012 and 2013. He also finished second twice in the Breeders Crown Open, in 2008 and 2009, and twice in the Maple Leaf Trot, in 2009 and 2011. "Arch is pretty much the same as he's been previous years," said Smedshammer, who trains the horse for owners Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. "It doesn't seem like he's lost much, it's just the competition is tougher. It's been brutally tough, especially [Sebastian K]. "I haven't been too worried about it because later in the year when the others seem to be getting tired, he usually gets better," Smedshammer added. Arch Madness will start from post seven in the second of the two Cashman eliminations. To his inside from the rail are Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, and Appomattox. To his outside is Creatine. The first division, from post one, is Market Share, Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Intimidate, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. They have five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

When harness racing trainer Ake Svanstedt announced he was leaving Sweden to compete in North America, the initial reaction of Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg, who had their star trotter Sebastian K in Svanstedt's care, was disappointment. As time passed, the brothers decided it was an opportunity. Rather than find a new trainer, they decided to send Sebastian K to the U.S. with Svanstedt. After watching Sebastian K win the first five starts of his North American campaign and trot the fastest mile in harness racing history, a 1:49 triumph in the Sun Invitational on June 28, they are happy they did. Sebastian K puts his perfect 5-for-5 record on the line in Saturday's C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack. The 8-year-old horse will start from post No. 1 with Svanstedt driving and is the 2-5 favorite on the morning line. Michael, 53, and Tristan, 43, race under the Knutsson Trotting Inc. stable banner. Their father, Bertil, who passed away in 2012, got the family started in harness racing some 50 years ago. Knutsson Trotting has 44 horses, counting racehorses, broodmares and foals. They have six horses in the U.S., including Sebastian K and the rare 2-year-old white pacing colt White Bliss. Four of the horses in the States are co-owned by Courant AB, including Peter Haughton Memorial hopeful Centurion ATM. The brothers operate gaming company TCS John Huxley and Knutsson Holdings AB, with Michael living in Sweden and Tristan in Singapore. They recently took time to speak and correspond with Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner about their passion for racing and Sebastian K. KW: What has the experience with Sebastian K been like so far? MK: It's been absolutely amazing. I'm not surprised with the speed, to be honest, but I'm surprised that he got into it so quickly; that he's been acclimatized so quickly. We knew about his capacity. Of course, 1:49 was absolutely a blast. But we knew he would have a good shot at the old record. It was a bit of a gamble for us to move him from a good environment in Sweden where there is good money and good races, but we're adventurous. We did the right thing and we're enjoying the moment. KW: Why did you decide to send Sebastian K to the States? TS: For the adventure! And to break the world record. We knew he was fast enough to compete against the best in North America and win races, but the real carrot was breaking the world record. His best time in Sweden was 1:51 flat and that was on a five-eighths-mile track that is medium fast. We believed he could go sub-1:50 on a fast mile track so after a lot of soul-searching we decided to ship him to the States with Ake with the singular aim to break the world record. KW: Was it a tough decision? MK: That was a tough decision. It took us months. Automatically, when Ake Svanstedt declared he would move to the U.S., we thought 'Oh no, oh no,' who will train [Sebastian K]. We did not have any thoughts whatsoever to move him outside the Nordic countries because he was doing so well. But then he did a very good race during the summer and we started to speculate: How fast is he? That's what triggered the question whether to move him to the U.S. or not. Not to even try would have been cowardly. So we decided to go for it and we sure did make the right decision. We're very happy about it. KW: Was it an emotional decision? MK: It was very tough emotionally. Firstly, he's done very well in the North European races. And also not to be able to go to him anytime we want, not to see him as often and go to every race, that was emotionally very tough. KW: Did you expect to see Sebastian K do so well so quickly? TS: Yes and no. I did expect him to win races early on, but not in the effortless way he has done. He has really taken well to the U.S. climate and harness racing in general. He was always at his best in Sweden racing at sprint distance (one mile) and on fast tracks in the summer. So the racing conditions in the U.S. and Canada really suits him. KW: What do you think about the Maple Leaf Trot? TS: Apart from the Hambletonian, it is the most recognized North American harness race in Europe. We often see it as the "over there" equivalent of Sweden's Elitloppet. It is steeped in tradition, and after breaking the world record this is the race we really want to win. The younger horses do not have the same cachet here as they do [in North America]. We are drawn to the older horses, the personalities. We like personalities, even with our horses. MK: We have big, big hopes for him. So far everything looks good. He has a good history with five straight wins, so we truly hope he can pull it off. KW: How did you get started in harness racing? TS: It was the passion of our late father, Bertil, and we are carrying on his legacy. The success we are experiencing with Sebastian K is down to our father's hard work and investment over 30 years in harness racing. He started with trotters and he had immediate success with a stakes-equivalent winner in Sweden called Private Property, sired by The Prophet. From there, the barn grew every year as our father was a buyer of horses and not a seller. KW: Michael, you were with your father when Sebastian K won his first classic race [the Group I King's Trophy in Sweden] at the age of 4. What was that like? MK: That was fantastic. Deep inside, we knew there was something going with him, but he had never proven himself in a big race. That was the first big race he won and it was in our hometown of Gothenburg. It was an amazing feeling. It also was [validation] that he was a good horse. Only a few months later he was second in the European Derby for 4-year-olds. That in itself was amazing, too, to be the second best in Europe at that time. KW: What was it like to see Sebastian K win in 1:49? TS: One of the highlights of my life, save for the birth of my daughter. It was 9 a.m. in Singapore and my hand was trembling. When I calmed down I went to my wine fridge to pull out a bottle of champagne, but I realized that it was not going to be strong enough so I grabbed a bottle of 24-year old rum from Guyana instead. It was a good breakfast! My brother Michael was in Sweden and it was 3 a.m. there and we spoke for over half an hour on the phone. He told me later that he was so jacked up that he could not go to bed until 6 a.m.! It was a wonderful day for our family and our thoughts were with our father. It was very emotional. KW: What is Sebastian K's schedule for the rest of the year? TS: If he feels good after the Maple Leaf Trot we will enter him for the Cashman Memorial. After that he gets a well-earned break. The next race would tentatively be the Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs, followed by Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park and Allerage at The Red Mile. He is also staked to the American-National and Dayton Derby Trot, but we have to make a decision closer to the dates. Of course, the season finale is the TVG Championship at the end of November at the Meadowlands. KW: What do you plan to do with Sebastian K after this year? TS: That is the million-dollar question. Our preference would be to combine stud duties with racing, which is the norm in Europe. I know Wishing Stone is doing just that this year in the States so it can be done. We are investigating that possibility and I am already talking to one farm about that option. But no decision has been taken yet. Sebastian K acted as a stud for some of our broodmares and he has sired six yearlings. One of them, a filly, will go under the hammer at Sweden's most prestigious yearling auction, Kolgjini Sales, in September. The dam won close to U.S.$200,000. It will be very interesting to see what price she fetches. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

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. 

MARKET SHARE WINS HIS ELIM IN 1:53

The world's fastest trotter is set to make his Canadian debut this Friday as Sebastian K is one of 12 horses entered in the 2014 Maple Leaf Trot. Sebastian K drew Post 6 in the first six-horse elim, Race 3 on Mohawk Racetrack's Friday night card. The European-bred superstar, owned by Knutsson Trotting of Vero Beach, Fl., has been unbeatable in his four North American starts, two of which have been in world record speed. Trained and driven by Sweden's Ake Svanstedt, Sebastian K's most recent effort was a scintillating 1:49 effort at Mohegan Sun Pocono -- the fastest trotting mile in harness racing history. Svanstedt's hope that Sebastian K could get another week's rest with no elimination divisions needed was not to be had with 12 entered in the rich stake. A number of O'Brien and Dan Patch Award winning trotters will look to knock off the top-rated horse in North America, including two in his elimination race. Wheeling N Dealin (PP1, Jody Jamieson), 2012's top two-year-old trotter looks to be returning to form and 2013 three-year-old O'Brien winner Flanagan Memory (PP5, Chris Christoforou) has solid recent form. Both, however, will have to up their game to knock off the Swedish superstar. In the second elim, back-to-back O'Brien Award winning Older Trotting Horse Mister Herbie (PP5, Steve Condren) is the fastest trotter ever on Canadian soil by virtue of his 1:50.4 effort in the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. Another O'Brien Award winner, Intimidate (PP1, Sylvain Filion) is no stranger to big stage heroics. His 2012 Breeders Crown win (over Market Share, also entered in this race) helped propel him to divisional honours two seasons ago at age three. Race 3 -- 1st Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Wheeling N Dealin - J. Jamieson - L. Blais 2. Creatine - M. Lachance - R. Stewart 3. Wishing Stone - To Be Announced - R. Burke 4. Archangel - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Flanagan Memory - C. Christoforou - R. Dion 6. Sebastian K - A. Svanstedt - A. Svanstedt Race 8 -- 2nd Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Intimidate - S. Filion - L. Blais 2. Market Share - Ti. Tetrick - L. Toscano 3. Modern Family - D. Palone - D. Bier 4. Dws Ny Yank - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Mister Herbie - S. Condren - J. Gillis 6. Undercover Strike - D. Miller - T. O'Sullivan Friday's card also features Canadian Breeders Championship elimination races for three-year-old trotters as well as an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg for two-year-old pacing fillies. (With files from Mohawk Raceway and Standardbred Canada)

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 4, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 tri-featured Open Handicaps-a double dose for trotters and one for the pacing ladies-- were won by Coraggioso (Brian Sears, $7.60), Tober (Jason Bartlett, $12.80) and Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton, $30.40). Coraggioso, ordered outside his seven rivals, saw dysfunction erupt all around him. Half the field-You Rock My World (Eric Goodell), Harbor Point (Dan Dube) and Wishing Stone (George Brennan)-all jumped it off by the time the first turn was done. That left pole-sitting 8-5 favorite Zooming (Bartlett) on the lead through soft fractions of :28.3 and :59.1. Coraggioso, after settling fourth, engaged Zooming in and out of a 1:27.3 three-quarters. Coraggioso moved to a short lead entering the lane, then held off a stubborn, 41-1 The Triple Lindy (Stratton) by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.2. Zooming and pair of "recoverers"-My Love Bi and Harbor Point-grabbed the remainder. For third choice Coraggioso, a 5-year-old homebred/statebred son of Conway Hall co-owned by Tom Durkin & Joe Spadaro, and trained by Julie Miller, it was his seventh win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $104.50, with the triple returning $183 The week's other marquee trot unfolded with Tober-perfectly-pocketed from post position No. 2--watching as out-of-town scourge NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr.) grabbed the lead and threw down the gauntlet. "Happenstance," as the 17-10 choice, hung last week's Open Handicap winner Lorenzo Dream (Sears) for his life (:27.2; 56.3; 1:26.2) before that one gave up the ghost. NF Happenstance was able to win the battle, but lose the war. Tober eased from the two-hole and rolled by, winning by 3½ widening lengths in 1:56. Awesome Valley (Goodell) skimmed the cones for second, with a fading NF Happenstance, DW's NY Yank (Brennan) and Bound for Fame (Stratton) rounding out the payees. For fourth choice Tober, a 6-year-old statebred gelding co-owned by (co-breeder) Kristie Leigh Farm & Joseph Betro and trained by Ed Hart, he's now 7-for-19 this season. The exacta paid $103, the triple returned $348.50 and the superfecta paid $4,409. The lasses saw Robin Cruiser, from post No. 3, worked out a second-trip behind 13-10 fave Monkey on My Wheel (Sears). That one, from an assigned eight-ball, floated in fifth as Summertime Lea (Brennan) marched around Virgin Mary (Goodell). After some tepid times of :27.2 of :57.1, Monkey on My Wheel was out, and making steady inroads. "Lea" remained the leader at the 1:24.3 three-quarters, opening to 2½ lengths turning for home. However, she began to hit the wall, outgamed by a wide "Robin" in 1:53.1. The margin was a half-length. Summertime Lead photoed Monkey On My Wheel for second, with Virgin Mary and Fashion Mystery (Carlson) settling for the small change. For sixth choice Robin Cruiser, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Yankee Cruiser owned by Pinske Stable and trained by Ms. Miller, it was her seventh win in 16 seasonal starts (career earning just shy of $1.5 million). The exacta paid $307.50, with the triple returning $631. Note that Friday's 50-cent Pick 5, with its $25,000 guaranteed pool and $7,500 carryover, attracted $21,304 of Red, White and Blue green. The sequence of 3/8/3/2/5 returned a take-the-day-off $7,826 for each half-a-buck winner. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Goshen, NY -- Harness racing enthusiasts have been envisioning sub-1:50 trotting miles for a long time. Prognosticators are somewhat relieved that Sebastian K has finally eclipsed the previously held record by trotting in 1:49 last Saturday night over Pocono Downs' three-turn, five-eighths-mile track.   Immediately following this "monsters" 1:50.1 US debut on May 10, many suggested it was not a question of "if" the Swedish-bred superhorse would break the lofty barrier, but a matter of "when." No one, other than the competition, has been disappointed as Ãke Svanstedt has managed the horse perfectly since crossing the pond. With the help of Bernie Noren and staff, they look to make the Svanstedt Stable a household name in the states, as it is in their native Sweden.   Some have also suggested that the previous plateau-breaking record of 1:49.3 set at Colonial Downs should have an asterisk, as the Virginia oval is a one-turn track. Standardbreds racing over that 1¼-mile track, start from a chute on the backstretch and travel an entire half mile before they enter a turn. The fact that Colonial is the only pari-mutuel track in the United States that still has a hub rail is another anomaly.   Also, Colonial's 11/4 mile track is second only to Belmont in length, which is very telling about the propensity for horses to make speed over this oval. Nonetheless, for Harness Racing aficionados, Pocono Downs is still light years ahead. The last two Saturday nights provided the two fastest race cards in the history of the Standardbred.   Although all eyes were on Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley for Sun Stakes Saturday and the nearly $2.3 million in purses, 18 different US tracks had racing on Friday and Saturday nights. With the Friday night debut of 2-year-olds in New Jersey Sire Stakes competition at the Meadowlands, I found myself surrounded by fans on the apron. However, not all of them had their eyes fixed upon the racetrack.   $7,500 in total prize money was plenty of incentive to attract a couple dozen beautiful women to the Meadowlands for the annual Ms. Hot to Trot contest. Of course, to go along with all those perfectly proportioned gals in string bikinis was several hundred very inquisitive men of all shapes and sizes. Several M1 staffers got the call to perform the duty of judging these bevvy of babes, including Nick Salvi who may have been the most experienced of the panelists. Justin Horowitz, AKA M.C. J-Ho, provided the ladies with thought-provoking questions to ensure that the contestants had beautiful minds to go along with their ample tangible assets.   Even Yonkers Raceway's "The Manager" made a special appearance. More than likely it was to cheer for Brian Sears in the early sire stakes events. Taking the subway from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn to Port Authority, and then a bus to the Big M, he arrived early and was doing his iconic dance before each race. His plan was to catch the Route 120 bus after the third and be back to Yonkers by the eighth. Now that is dedication!   In between sessions of judging hotties, some great harness racing took place, with the babies having graduated from breakfast to supper time. Eddie Hart's Cam's Card Shark colt, Dealt A Winner, is now the fastest 2-year-old pacer in the country following a 1:52.4 romp with David Miller at the controls. The Jeffrey Snyner-owned, Hanover-bred lad was a $35,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase who looks every bit the bargain at this stage.   Wishing Stone, the double-duty sire/racehorse removed any doubt that his particular style of breeding and breezing suits him. Going off at 10-1, the betting public was clearly not anticipating this kind of opening-night performance as the 7-year-old son of Conway Hall cruised wire-to-wire from post 10. Yannick Gingras drove the $2.23 million earner like he was the best in a 1:52.4 rout for the powerful Ron Burke stable.   And when it comes to vintage horse power, Burke Racing may have cornered the market!   Sweet Lou, Bettor's Edge and Foiled Again finished 1-2-3 in the $500,000 Ben Franklin at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Saturday night. 5-year-old Sweet Lou's 1:47f performance was the fastest pacing mile ever on a 5/8-mile track and only a fifth off the mile-track mark. This was the most exciting horse race of the night, as Sweet Lou appeared headed by stable mate Bettor's Edge down the stretch. Dead game, he fought back like a champion and regained the lead in a mere two steps before the wire. Captaintreacherous finished fifth in that event. Leaving from post 8 he had a rough voyage, parked nearly every step of the way and still paced in 1:47.3.   Overall, the Sun Stakes card produced 5 world records and 11 horses set new lifetime marks. Needless to say, the awesome display of horsepower in a span of a just few hours was breathtaking. A horse that we are sure to hear a lot more about is the McArdle colt, McWicked. Trained by Casie Coleman and driven by David Miller, he set a new world mark for 3YO pacers in 1:47.3f and looks to start the "Jug three-peat" dialog.   Max J. Hempt and his wife Amy were on hand to present the Max C. Hempt trophy to the winning connections. A product of the "Keystone" legacy, Max C. runs the family's PA state-wide construction business, is an aspiring pilot, and was recently elected to the Vice President's post of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. One would be hard-pressed to meet nicer people in all of racing.   Although winning the Beal proclaimed Father Patrick as the evening's shining star of the Hambo hopefuls, it seems that his shed row disciples will be in close proximity. Perhaps Jimmy Takter has cornered the market on 3YO trotting colts this year as Trixton and Nuncio (who was second) both seem equally capable of sipping from the Hambletonian challis. Despite el Padre' lowering his seasonal mark by a full two and half seconds to 1:50.2f, it appears that the 'anointed one' has been blessed with enough speed to break the 1:50 barrier at three!   Ready to take on Godzilla himself, Sebastian K had the crowd buzzing all night following his track crushing performance. Now the talk is how fast he may trot on a hot Hambo day at The Meadowlands. Regardless of what transpires in racing between now and then, it will most likely captivate the trotting conversation until the first Saturday in August.   Speaking of New Jersey, Sunday's trek down the NE ext. of the PA pike brought this scribe to Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge for an open house featuring veterinary clinic tours with Dr. Patti Hogan, and another Svanstedt stable favorite, White Bliss. The rare 'white colt' returned to his place of foaling to dash around his paddock, much to the delight of onlookers young and old. It was a fun afternoon under clear blue skies that made the industry proud.   The festivities began with several local leaders addressing the crowd about their intentions to promote and garner support for New Jersey agriculture and the horse business. Assemblyman Ron Dancer has worked tirelessly for years to ensure that Trenton pays attention to harness racing. He plans on putting forth a resolution to bolster agricultural education in the Garden State through the Future Farmers of America.   Former mayor of Millstone Township, Nancy Grgelja, owned no horses when she originally took the oath of office. Subsequently she caught the bug, and ten years later she has had 10 Standardbreds, several of which are still racing. Lillian Burry, whose resume reads like a lady who never stops moving, is now the director of the Monmouth County Freeholders. Of course the always active Dr. Karen Malinowski of the Rutgers Equine Science Center helped coordinate the day's events, along with the gracious hosting of Mark Mullen.   With construction on the NJ Turnpike around exit 8, and Jersey shore traffic reaching epic proportions, it was my intention to complete the final leg of my 539 mile journey and make it back to the Catskills before nightfall.   by Chris Tully for Harnesslink.com

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 27, 2014 - French Laundry took the rest of the field to the cleaners, coasting to a five and three-quarter length victory in the $39,000 opening round of the New Jersey Sires Stakes for two-year-old harness racing trotting colts and geldings, the first race on Friday, June 27, 2014 at the Meadowlands. The Muscles Yankee colt, out of the Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi, trotted the mile in 1:56 flat, equaling the stakes record set by Yankee Glide in 1996. The 3-5 favorite, under a confident hand-drive by Yannick Gingras, won his pari-mutuel debut, paying $3.20, following up on a two-for-two record in baby races. The Jimmy Takter trainee was a $115,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase by Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ and Ontario-based John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. In the battle for second, True Blue [Muscle Hill], with Tim Tetrick driving, got up and Broken Record [Muscles Yankee], with Ron Pierce, held on for third by nine lengths. Saturday Mornings, driven by David Miller, collected top money in the $38,500 New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies in the fifth race. It was a wire-to-wire effort for 6/5 Saturday Mornings [$4.40] who trotted the mile in 1:57.2, finishing a length and three-quarters ahead of Demons N Diamonds. Southwind Cartier was third by two and three-quarter lengths. Trained by Joe Holloway, Saturday Mornings was a $32,000 Lexington Selected Sale yearling purchase for Bluestone Farms of Hopewell, NJ. Mission Brief, the 4/5 favorite broke early and finished last. All seven of the starters were daughters of Muscle Hill NJSS PACING DIVISIONS TO STACIA HANOVER, DEALT A WINNER, CASHAWAY & WEAPONS DEALER Stacia Hanover by Western Ideal popped out of the pocket in the stretch and out-sprinted the pacesetter The Show Returns for a half- length victory in the $25,500 first division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies in the third race. Driven by Scott Zeron and trained by Steve Elliott, Stacia Hanover paced the mile in 1:59.1, with a last quarter in 25.4 seconds, after The Show Returns [Rocknroll Hanover], with Brian Sears driving, cut slow, unpressured fractions. Rocknroll Allnight [Rocknroll Hanover], rough in the stretch, survived an inquiry, finishing third by nine lengths. Stacia Hanover, sent off at 3-5, paid $3.20. She was a $35,000 Harrisburg Sale purchase for David Van Duse of Madison, OH and Michael Cimaglio of Lyndhurst, OH. In the second $25,500 filly pacing division, the 11th race, 3-5 Cashaway [$3.40] held off challenges from Ideal Nuggets [Western Ideal] and Smart Zone [Rocknroll Hanover] to win in 1:55 flat. Tim Tetrick guided Cashaway, a daughter of Western Ideal out of the proven producer CPA, to the neck victory with a half-length to Smart Zone in third. The Tony Alagna trainee was a $105,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase. She is owned by her co-breeder, Brittany Farms of Versailles, KY, in partnership with Marvin Katz of Toronto, Ontario. Dealt A Winner [$8.20} paced a New Jersey Sire Stakes record for two-year-old geldings when he stopped the clock in 1:52.4 in the ninth race, the $27,000 first division for pacing colts and geldings. David Miller brushed the Cam's Card Shark gelding from sixth to the lead down the backstretch, taking command from Western Pioneer, the 4/5 favorite, and would not be caught, winning by a length and a quarter. Hurrikane Ali gained ground in the stretch to finish second while Ticket To Roll was three and a half lengths back in third. Both are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. Dealt A Winner, trained by Edward Hart and owned by Jeff Snyder of New York City, was a $35,000 Harrisburg Sale yearling purchase. The 1:52.4 mile eclipsed the gelding mark of 1:53 shared by Fancy Creek Storm [1997] and Western Ace [2005]. In the 12th race, the $27,000 second division for pacing colts and geldings, Weapons Dealer by Western Ideal had the ammunition in the stretch to post a length and a half victory over Too Darn Hot [Rocknroll Hanover] in 1:54.2. Mr Censi [Cam's Card Shark] was four and a half lengths back in third. Brett Miller was in the sulky for the victory. Isaac Waxman trains for Brenda Waxman of Dundas, Ontario and Aaron Waxman of Burlington, Ontario, who acquired the White Birch Farm-bred colt for $10,000 at the Harrisburg Sale. By Carol Hodes, SBOANJ and Darin Zoccali  

After a six month hiatus in the breeding shed, world champion trotter Wishing Stone made a triumphant return to racing at the Meadowlands Friday, winning the sixth race handicapped trot in a sharp 1:52.4. It was December 6, 2013 the last time that Wishing Stone had raced, winning the Open Handicap Trot at Yonkers Raceway and he has now picked right up where he left off with his 22nd career victory. Trained by Ron Burke and driven to victory by Yannick Gingras, Wishing Stone left from his far outside post ten and was parked to the opening quarter mile in :27.2 by Il Mago (Scott Zeron). From that point on, Wishing Stone would not let anyone pass him by as the led to the half mile in :57.1 and the three-quarters in 1:25.1. Mistery Woman (John Campbell) the lone mare in the field, came first-over and gave outside cover to Undercover Strike (David Miller). As they started down the stretch, Miller came after Wishing Stone with Undercover Strike but it was too little too late as Gingras kept his trotter game to the wire, winning by one half of a length. Deweycolorintheline (Ray Schnittker) was third. Wishing Stone surprised the field with his victory, going off at odds of 10-1 and paying $22.40 to win. The race also featured $1 million winner last season, Spider Blue Chip, making his 2014 debut but he was no factor in the race. Owned by the Wishing Stone Syndicate of Flemington, NJ, Wishing Stone is one of the few stallions in the USA that are breeding mares in the off-season and racing through the summer and fall. This was his first season at both breeding and racing and from his winning effort tonight it looks like his owners have made the right move. A seven-year-old son of Conway Hall, Wishing Stone has won major stakes races during his career throughout North America and in Europe. He is a career winner of $2,242,000. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

It’s another great weekend of super star racing at Pocono Downs. Four major stakes finals, two $100,000 Invitations plus two big purse consolation races. Let’s just hope the weather is perfect like last week. So the majority of the handicapping this weekend is all at Pocono Downs. We also go to the Meadowlands on Friday night for their $22,500 overnight trot, seems that it’s the debut of world champion Wishing Stone and the debut of $1 million winner last year, Spider Blue Chip and the return of Mistery Woman, the lone mare in the field against nine male rivals. It’s not everyday you have such top quality horses racing in an overnight event AND also in the field are top notch trotters Undercover Strike, Yonkers Trot winner Deweycolorinthelines Il Mago and more. Good Luck! $22,500 Trot B-2/B-1/A-2 Handicap The Meadowlands 6th race FRIDAY – Excellent overnight race with real top class trotters. I think Spider Blue Chip should be in prime shape to cut loose in his debut for trainer Chuck Sylvester and pay a price. He was so good, ten wins last year, going against some very good trotters. Use Mistery Woman and Wishing Stone in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace James Lynch 3Y0 Filly Consolation Pocono Downs 5th race SATURDAY – Despite finishing fourth last week to Weeper in her big mile, Someislandsomewhere looks to stand out again this field. Two starts back she was on a three-race winning streak and now looks ready to win again. Use Tyra and Allstar Rating in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Max Hempt 3Y0 Colt Consolation Pocono Downs 6th race SATURDAY – Another foal of Somebeachsomewhere heads this consolation race. Somestartsomewhere has not returned to form of last year but now draws into a race where he should be able to dominate like he did back in May when he won a PASS division. He should be primed to dominate in here. Use Some Playa and Doo Wop Hanover in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace Invitational Pocono Downs 7th race SATURDAY – Well matched field here will provide plenty of racing action. I think Dancin Yankee, even for new barn and driver, can lay over this field despite outside post having won four of his last five starts. Use Clear Vision and Meirs Hanover in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot Invitational Pocono Downs 8th race SATURDAY – After last week amazing performance I am convinced that Sebastian K is the second coming of Greyhound. Have not seen a horse with such fire and desire to win he seems to be daring the others to even consider coming after him. Despite being handicapped with post seven, the “Barefoot Wonder” should rewrite Market Share’s world record on a five-eighths mile oval of 1:50.2. Use Modern Family and Market Share in exotic plays. $300,000 Pace James Lynch 3YO Filly Final Pocono Downs 9th race SATURDAY – Although beaten last week as betting favorite, I look for Uffizi Hanover to come back stronger today from the rail. She is the class of the field and does her best racing from off the pace, which she will have to come from in this strong final. Use Weeper and Fancy Desire in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Max Hempt 3YO Colt Final Pocono Downs 10th race SATURDAY – They will be flying in this final as everyone wants the winners share of the rich purse. I see McWicked making his big move after the opening quarter like he did last week and rolling on the rest of the mile. Use All Bets Off and At Press Time in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Ben Franklin Final FFA Pocono Downs 11th race SATURDAY – Beaten by the passing lane last week, I know that Captaintreacherous will come back with a vengeance in here despite having to start from post eight. Figure on him leaving and then getting two-hole trip behind Sweet Lou, which will make for a classic matchup in here. Use Sweet Lou and Foiled Again in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Earl Beal, Jr. 3YO Colt Final Pocono Downs 12th race SATURDAY – This is will be a great showdown between Jimmy Takter’s two top trotters. I have to give the edge to Father Patrick despite his outside post as he is the reigning champion and undefeated this season just as his stablemate Nuncio. Only difference is that Father Patrick has yet to be really tested, which could be tonight and when pushed he should score with ease. Use Nuncio and Datsyuk in exotic plays. 

After a stint in the breeding shed, 7-year-old trotter Wishing Stone is ready to make his 2014 harness racing debut in a conditioned handicap Friday at the Meadowlands. Wishing Stone received post 10 in the race and is 9-2 on the morning line. He enters the race off one qualifier, a 1:55.2 effort on June 20 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Undercover Strike is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Mistery Woman at 7-2 and Spider Blue Chip at 4-1. Wishing Stone stood as a stallion at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. He fulfilled contracts for 331 doses of frozen semen overseas as well as being bred to some 30 mares in North America. Although it is common for trotters overseas to breed and race in the same season, that is not the case in North America. Some well-known successes abroad include Ready Cash, who is France's richest trotter in history in addition to being a popular sire, and Coktail Jet and Mack Lobell, who both won the prestigious Elitloppet after performing stud duties. "It's a fun experiment and I think it's going to work," said Mike Gulotta, the CEO of Deo Volente Farms and head of the Wishing Stone Syndicate ownership group. "Actually, the first part of it has worked. We're excited." Gulotta hopes to see Wishing Stone get a boost as a stallion thanks to a new bonus program at the Meadowlands for New Jersey-sired horses. "I think now that people see that things will be changing in New Jersey, there will be a lot more interest in him and other Jersey stallions next year," Gulotta said. "Sometimes people need to see that something is actually happening in order to commit." Wishing Stone is well known in Europe, having competed there at ages 4 and 5. In 2011, he won the French trotting race Grand Prix du Sud Ouest at 1-5/16 mile and also the King's Trophy in Sweden. He was second in the Gran Premio Continentale in Italy. A year later, he captured the Copenhagen Cup in Denmark at a distance of 1-1/4 mile. He finished his European campaign with a second-place finish in the Jubilee Trophy for 5-year-old trotters in Sweden. He returned to the U.S. in August 2012 to continue his career in North America. Lifetime, Wishing Stone has won 21 of 69 races and earned $2.23 million, making him the richest offspring of sire Conway Hall. He has won multiple stakes in the U.S., including the 2010 Kentucky Futurity in straight heats at Lexington's Red Mile. "We'll see now how he races," Gulotta said. "He looks good. I think he's gained weight and grown up a little, actually, which may be helpful to him. We're happy." To read a Hoof Beats magazine story about Wishing Stone's double duty, click here. * * * JK Endofanera, the No. 1-ranked horse on the Road to the Meadowlands Pace, is entered in Friday's qualifiers at the Meadowlands. The colt, which captured the North America Cup on June 21, has won eight of 12 career races and never finished worse than third. The Ron Burke-trainee has earned $913,517 for owner 3 Brothers Stable. He is not the only Meadowlands Pace eligible in the qualifier. He is joined by Jimmy Takter-trained Lyonssomewhere, who was fifth in the North America Cup, as well as Joe Holloway's Always B Miki, Tracy Brainard's Big Boy Dreams, and Ron Coyne Jr.'s National Debt. Lyonssomewhere is No. 4 and Always B Miki is No. 7 in the Meadowlands Pace rankings. Big Boy Dreams, who was second to He's Watching in last year's New York Sire Stakes championship, has not raced in 2014. Eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace will be held July 5 and the $650,000 final is July 12. Elsewhere, Boomboom Ballykeel, who won last year's Metro Pace, is in the first of three divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday. Boomboom Ballykeel has one win, which came in the sire stakes in May, in three starts this season. He is trained by Richard Moreau. The second division includes Meadowlands Pace eligibles Bugger Bruiser, trained by Carmen Auciello, and Erv Miller's Jet Airway while the third division has Ian Moore's Play It Again Sam. Three horses eligible to the Meadowlands Pace are competing in the same New York Sire Stakes division Friday at Buffalo Raceway - Patrick Lachance's Sir Sam's Z Tam, Mark Ford's Twin B Speedo, and P.J. Fraley's Ideal Cowboy. * * * In addition to the previously mentioned horses qualifying Friday at the Meadowlands, Bee A Magician, Royalty For Life, Shebestingin, and Cee Bee Yes will be among others in action. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is winless in three starts this season and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk. Trainer Nifty Norman told Trot Insider the mare scoped sick following the Armbro Flight and would start next against her male counterparts in the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters on July 5 at the Meadowlands. Last year, Bee A Magician's wins included the Hambletonian Oaks. Also being pointed to the Hambletonian Maturity is 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life. * * Levy Memorial Series champion P H Supercam will look to snap a four-race losing streak in Saturday's open handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The race also includes Heston Blue Chip and last week's winner Digital Z Tam. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications U.S. Trotting Association

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