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MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25, 2019 - The trainer-driver harness racing team of Tony Alagna and Andrew McCarthy put forth a second-straight shocker when Reflect With Me, sent off at odds of 27-1 shocked the field in capturing the $600,000 (US) final of the Breeders Crown for juvenile pacing fillies at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night. Unlike the victory with Ramona Hill a race earlier McCarthy chose to sit back from post eight and let others do the work. He got exactly what he was looking for when Priceless and driver Brandon Bates cut the opening quarter in :26 4/5 and then made even money favorite Lyons Sentinel with driver Tim Tetrick work a bit extra hard before releasing her to the tune of a :53 3/5 first half clocking. The race got more interesting when elimination winner New Year took up the offensive without cover past the half towing Alicorn into the race. McCarthy for his trouble had managed to work out a fourth over trip with the Captaintreacherous-sired filly and once the field passed three quarters in 1:22 1/5 McCarthy sent his filly three and then four wide to begin the long trek towards the leaders. Lyons Sentinel was hanging in determinedly as New Year flattened out from her first-over challenge but the field was closing in on the leaders and Reflect With Me had the most energy and McCarthy kept her to her task getting there in the final strides in the 1:50 3/5 mile. The clocking was a fifth off the Crown record. Lyons Sentinel held the place spot with Marloe Hanover slipping between fillies for third. New Year and Looksgoodinaromper rounded out the top five. Reflect With Me, was bred by Brittany Farms who share ownership in the filly with Bradley Grant. It was the second straight trophy for Grant as well on the evening. It was the fifth victory in 11 starts on the season for Reflect With Me who returned a healthy $56.20 for the win mutual ticket. "She got a little tired near the wire but she kept on coming," said McCarthy following the victory. "I spoke with Andy before the race and we both felt there was a lot of speed inside," said Tony Alagna. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society      

Milton, ON - It hardly seems like 14 years has elapsed since Rocknroll Hanover captured the Breeders Crown sophomore pace at The Meadowlands in what at the time seemed like the final chapter in the ultra-successful North American harness racing training career of Brett Pelling. Pelling was a dominant force on the East Coast and beyond from 1998 through 2005, the year Rocknroll Hanover held the spotlight in the premier division. In the Crown alone he captured 10 trophies and more than $3.8 million in earnings, ranking him high on the all-time trainers list. That the New Zealand native chose to retire and return Down Under after that season caught some by surprise, but those that knew him and entrusted their horses to Pelling were not caught off guard. "About a year before I made the move I let all of the owners know my intentions," Pelling said, recalling the lead-up to his early retirement. "It was the right thing to do and Nifty (Norman) and Noel (Daley) ended up with a lot of the horses." When Pelling decided to return to North America in 2017 and re-launch his training career in New Jersey, he expected to find familiar faces and a reasonable opportunity to succeed. When that didn't immediately happen, Pelling was put in the position to purchase horses on his own or with minor partnerships to get up and running. That was two years ago and heading into this weekend's Breeders Crown finals Pelling may not be quite where he was when his stable averaged $5 million in earnings each year, but he still seems content. "It's about quality, not quantity," Pelling said this week. "When the stable was at full strength we had about 50 horses racing and I would say another 15 possible horses that people were looking to give me." Right now, Pelling trains 15 horses while hoping to add some yearlings in Harrisburg and perhaps lose a few at the mixed sale. "A lot of the owners that were with me back then have moved on and invested with others in partnerships. I understand that completely," said Pelling. One longtime owner, David McDuffee, won a Breeders Crown 3-year-old event some 23 years ago and hopes to again be in the winner's circle with Pelling this weekend. "We go way back to Armbro Operative," said Pelling. "He's just a great guy and someone who really appreciates what it's like to have a top horse." The top horse Pelling is referring to is Papi Rob Hanover. The Somebeachsomewhere-Panera Hanover colt captured the lone Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old male pacers last Friday, and in the process ended the unbeaten streak of Metro Pace winner Tall Dark Stranger. The victory, a mild upset for the bettors, offered Pelling and driver David Miller the results they were looking for. "We had a bad post in the Metro final," said Pelling. "I could have taken the bye (in the Breeders Crown) but I didn't want that to happen again." Papi Rob Hanover drew inside and landed post three for the final and that suits his trainer just fine. "He's just the perfect horse," Pelling said of Papi Rob Hanover. "He's now gone every kind of trip and just performs to the highest level. A lot of people don't realize how difficult it is for a horse to make the kind of move he made last week. You're going a second quarter in :26 and change and there's really no way to slow down. The turn doesn't save you." Papi Rob Hanover did continue at a torrid clip through three-quarters but unlike his Metro elimination race where Tall Dark Stranger sat in the pocket and rolled by, in the Crown elimination Papi Rob Hanover prevailed without being threatened in a career-best-equaling 1:50.2 clocking. While many in the division were chasing some of the early stakes races, Pelling had a plan for Papi Rob Hanover - to have him ready for the Metro and beyond for this year. "He's a good eater and was carrying a bit too much weight, I think, heading into the Metro. A lot of people were surprised when I shipped him home (to New Jersey) after the Metro elimination and then back for the final. The truth is I didn't want to have to work him very hard and I thought the ship would help him drop some weight," said Pelling. The routine was not repeated after last week's victory, with Papi Rob Hanover remaining in Canada. Rocknroll Hanover sired the dam of Papi Rob Hanover, and while there are some similarities between the two as juveniles, Papi Rob Hanover has been easier to deal with claims Pelling. "I think if the horse has been on the racetrack 100 times this year I've probably only sat behind him 15 times," said Pelling. "I sit behind the horses that are having problems or need changes." Winning this Crown is no doubt a big thing for the trainer. "It's something you look forward to and no doubt a race that means a lot to me to win," said Pelling. "But to be honest, I hope he wins it for Dave McDuffee." When Pelling left after 2005 many of his horses went to Norman and Daley. Last year when Noel Daley decided to go back home, he returned the favor in part and thus Pelling took over the training of Caviart Ally, second choice in Saturday's $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. It's been a solid season for the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight with seven wins and seven seconds in 16 trips to post. Caviart Ally has ended up on the short end of the stick against division leader and Horse of the Year contender Shartin N for most of the year. Pelling obviously doesn't see that much separating the two in talent, and recalls the battle the two waged in the Betsy Ross back in May at Harrah's Philadelphia as an epic struggle that perhaps left him and his mare frustrated for quite some time. Driver Andrew McCarthy left out aggressively in the Betsy Ross to the tune of a :25.2 opening quarter forcing Shartin N to tuck in behind. With that accomplished, Caviart Ally was able to back peddle the second quarter in :30 and put the pocket sitter in a tough position. Tim Tetrick vacated the pocket with Shartin N and the two mares kicked a third quarter in :26.1, with neither giving ground. The war continued right to the finish wire with Shartin N winning by a neck in a 1:49.2 mile. While Pelling always believed in Caviart Ally, the results week in and week out painted her as a bridesmaid until the two met again in the Allerage Farms Mare Pace at The Red Mile on Oct. 6. This time Caviart Ally drove past the pacesetting Shartin N to win in a 1:48.3 clocking. "I wouldn't call it getting a monkey off my back," said Pelling of Caviart Ally's victory. "It was a gorilla." Pelling has enormous respect for Shartin N and recognized the favorite on Saturday (post one) had not raced competitively in five weeks prior to the Allerage. Ironically the two mares met last Friday in a qualifier at The Meadowlands. Pelling didn't seem too concerned that Shartin N won that event. "I was happy with her qualifier," said Pelling of Caviart Ally's 1:51.2 clocking. "It just worked out well for me logistically to have her down here and get work in. I'll go with her and ship up on Thursday (Oct. 24)." Pelling hopes that it won't just be a two-mare battle in the Crown final. "I think Youaremycandygirl and Kissin In The Sand are both top mares that will want to get involved," Pelling said. Caviart Ally's last start at Woodbine Mohawk Park was a command performance victory in the Milton Stakes, where she scored in 1:48.3 with a final half in an eye-popping :53.3. A lot has changed in harness racing since Brett Pelling last trained a Breeders Crown winner. One thing that has not is his dedication to the details and preparation. He's come to the Crown with quality. Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown  

Milton, ON -- Harness racing super star Bold Eagle basked in the afternoon sunlight on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport last Saturday (Oct. 19) led by longtime caretaker and groom Hugues Monthule, who donned a neon-yellow safety vest. Despite a flashy black-and-red cooler draped over the trotter's back and bright red wraps around all four legs up to his knees, it was Bold Eagle's presence that proved eye-catching. Bold Eagle carried his head low and ears straight up under a gray hood. His eyes wide and gleaming, the French trotter took long, languid strides over the pavement. Despite emerging from an eight-hour journey over the North Atlantic Ocean, the French champion looked regal. After clearing customs, Bold Eagle and Monthule boarded a trailer bound for the Woodbine Mohawk Park backstretch. The track's backside would be Bold Eagle's home for the next week as the trotter prepares for his start in Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot. The race has been years in the making for owners Pierre Pilarski and Thomas Bernereau. "It dates from 2017 during our first participation in Elitloppet and our meeting with John Campbell. I promised him to come to the Breeders Crown as soon as it was possible," Pilarski said. "It has been two years since John Campbell has invited us to come and compete in this great event with Bold Eagle in North America," Bernereau said. "We had the opportunity between Pocono and Mohawk, and we decided on Mohawk because this race was very well-placed in the program of Bold Eagle. If we come to play this great event with Bold Eagle, it is largely thanks to John Campbell, who convinced us to come and who organized everything so that everything went well." Despite Pilarski's promise, Bold Eagle's voyage seemed unlikely to most until the jumbo jet carrying him lifted into the skies over Frankfurt, Germany bound for Canada. In 67 races, Bold Eagle has only competed outside of his home country six times. He won the Group 1 Grand Prix de l'U.E.T. at the Netherlands' Victoria Park Wolvega in 2015, captured an elimination of Elitloppet in 1:50 before finishing fourth in the Group 1 final in 2017, won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Wallonie in Mons, Belgium in 2017, made a break shortly after the start of the first Elitloppet elimination in 2018, and repeated in the Grand Prix de Wallonie this year. Despite his 4-for-6 record outside France, critics of Bold Eagle cite his Elitloppet defeats as evidence the trotter is not as strong abroad as at home. However, Pilarski and Bernereau reject the notion. "Bold Eagle's win that impressed me the most was his elimination from Elitloppet when he won over his opponents in (1:50). This performance is the most impressive in my eyes," Bernereau said. Bold Eagle's 2018 Elitloppet bid proved disastrous. Travel delays may have doomed the trotter's trip before it even began. However, a recall before the race and a long delay on the track saw Bold Eagle come unraveled. His connections could only look on in dismay as Bold Eagle galloped in the first 200 meters and failed to advance to the final. "In 2018, the plane had been sitting long hours on the tarmac and all the horses of this trip raced badly at Solvalla," Pilarski said. "And then there were these incidents with the autostart. He was not bad because we cannot say that he had a fair chance." "This day was the worst moment of my career as an owner. Everything that could happen to destabilize our champion did happen," Bernereau said. "Bold Eagle is a very nice horse, but when he is in competition mode, he is impatient to start and can quickly go up in pressure. That day, he stayed 20 minutes on the track after a false start, which completely destabilized our champion. Now it's the nature of the races and you have to accept it, but that day everything was against Bold Eagle." Bold Eagle's record in France remains impeccable. The Ready Cash son's career began in the stable of Jean Dubois, where he won eight of his first 10 starts in 2013 and 2014, including the Group 2 Prix Victor Regis. As Dubois looked to retire, Pilarski, Bernereau, and Encurie Fouquette purchased Bold Eagle. "When we bought Bold Eagle, he had shown great potential, he had an exceptional pedigree, but we did not think to buy such a champion," Bernereau said. "I did not think he would be so good, but I sensed he had a special character," Pilarski echoed. Bold Eagle joined the ranks of trainer Sébastien Guarato and his new connections quickly discovered the special horse they had purchased. In his third start for Guarato, Bold Eagle captured his first Group 1 in the Criterium des 3 Ans Dec. 7, 2014. In 2015, Bold Eagle added another three Group 1 successes in the Prix de Selection, Grand Prix de l'U.E.T., and the Criterium Continental. Bold Eagle's career reached new heights in the 2016 Grand Prix d'Amérique. With Franck Nivard in the sulky, Bold Eagle defeated Timoko in the 1,000,000€ French classic and became a household name among harness racing fans worldwide. "The biggest emotion with Bold Eagle was in his first win in the Grand Prix d'Amérique," Bernereau said. "The horse was the favorite, we were very stressed, and Sébastien had lost his father four days before the race, which added a lot of emotion to this great victory." Bold Eagle's Group 1 wins continued to pile up after the 2016 Prix d'Amérique. Entering his Breeders Crown bid, Bold Eagle is 45-for-67 with 21 Group 1 successes and $5,365,180 earned. His resume includes two wins and a second in four Prix d'Amérique appearances, two Grand Prix de France triumphs, and a win in the 2017 Grand Prix de Paris over 4,150 meters that capped a French Trotting Triple Crown. Now, Bold Eagle's connections seek North American success. "Bold Eagle has nothing to prove to us, he has won so many great events and we have so much joy that now all the races we play with him are for fun," Bernereau said. "We come to Mohawk to present him to the North American public. Bold Eagle is very good, but whatever the result, we are here for the pleasure of playing a big test with our great champion. "If we want Bold Eagle's popularity to cross the borders of Europe, it's important to come up against American champions like Une de Mai or Varenne did at their time." A Breeders Crown bid fit perfectly into Bold Eagle's 8-year-old campaign. Lightly raced, he finished sixth in the Prix d'Amérique to start the year before placing third in the Prix de France. However, after being parked the mile by Dijon and being eased to a distant finish in the Group 1 Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes sur Mer March 10, Pilarski doubted his champion. "After the performance in Cagnes sur Mer, I thought to stop racing him, and I was wrong," Pilarski said. "He was ill and was opposed by the future winner of the 2019 Elitloppet." Bold Eagle returned to the races May 5 and finished second in the Group 2 Prix des Ducs de Normandie with Björn Goop taking over the lines from Nivard. Bold Eagle and Goop earned their first victory together in their next start June 23, as Bold Eagle took the Group 1 Prix René Ballière at Vincennes for the fourth consecutive year. "For an old horse that has raced a lot in Vincennes, it is very difficult to be still very efficient on the racecourse of Paris Vincennes," Pilarski said. "Even the great Timoko could not win at the end of his career. This fourth Ballière was important. No horse, not even Ourasi and Bellino II had reached it." "It is always important to win a Group 1 at Vincennes, but this one was important to us because many people already announced the retirement of Bold Eagle while we knew he was very good, but we had to prove it in competition," Bernereau said. Bold Eagle earned another win on the season in the Grand Prix de Wallonie with Tony le Beller in the bike Aug. 4 before finishing third with Goop in the UET Trotting Masters Series Final Sept. 7. Bold Eagle enters the Breeders Crown off a troubled second-place finish in the Group 3 Grand Prix de la Fédération Régionale du Nord Sept. 18. In that start, Bold Eagle squeezed through a narrow opening in the stretch, briefly brushing with rival Anzi des Liards while stablemate Tony Gio stormed to victory with a clear path in the center of the track. After just nine seasonal starts, Bold Eagle shipped to Canada for his attempt at North American glory. His connections feel this is the right time to try it. "This year we have not been to Scandinavia, which allows us to have a fresh horse and in great shape at this time of the year," Bernereau explained. "In other years, Bold Eagle was resting in October after a busy spring and summer." "This year we did not make a great trip by plane because Bold Eagle has had problems with repetitive foot abscess which has prevented us from presenting him in Scandinavia as originally planned," Pilarski said. "Bold Eagle has raced very little this year, his foot problems are over, so let's say the planets are aligned." Bold Eagle trucked from Guarato's stable in Normandy to Frankfurt before flying to Toronto. It is the longest trip of Bold Eagle's life, but he took the journey well according to his connections. "Everything has been very well managed very professionally by (Global Horse Transport's) Christian Rakshys and his teams," Bernereau said. "During this trip, Bold Eagle has always been accompanied by Hugues Monthule, his lad who knows him by heart. "I was in contact with John Campbell and his team who took care of everything. It's really a pleasure to work with people who are available, professional, and listening to horses." While Bold Eagle's biggest victories have come over 2,700 meters from a standing start around the Grande Piste at Vincennes, his start in the Breeders Crown will be one mile behind a mobile starting gate. "Bold Eagle knows how to race all the distances, but I prefer him on the mile," Pilarski said. "He has raced a lot over 2,700 meters and I think he's better going shorter." "To compare Vincennes and Mohawk is very difficult because the races do not run at all the same way," Bernereau said. "I think that on the mile, we cannot make a mistake because you have little time to give your horse a breather." Bold Eagle drew post one and will have Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears in the sulky. The pair are 4-1 on the morning line. Bold Eagle's 10 rivals are Will Take Charge, Mission Accepted, Fiftydallarbill, Guardian Angel AS, Atlanta, Lindy The Great, Dunbar Hall, Southwind Chrome, Six Pack, and Marion Marauder. "It's great to have in the sulky a crack driver who knows the track and the opponents," Pilarski said. "Regardless of what happens, it's going to be a great sporting moment." "It is essential to have one of the best drivers in North America to be competitive," Bernereau said. "In France John Campbell is seen as a legend of the American races. He advised me Brian, who has a lot of experience, who is calm, and who adapts to all the horses. "It would be wonderful, a great moment of joy to present Bold Eagle in his best light to the North American public," Bernereau continued. "Bold Eagle is part of the family and at every race I have a lot of stress and emotion. I hope to be able to share all my emotions with the public that I hope will be present in number." Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the Breeders Crown  

Hightstown, NJ - McWicked's accomplishments have already put him in rarefied air, and the 8-year-old harness racing pacing stallion has a chance this weekend to add to his achievements. On Saturday, McWicked competes in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park, where he is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. With a victory, he would join Jenna's Beach Boy as the only male pacers with three Breeders Crown trophies. The only other horses with three Crowns are female pacers Eternal Camnation and My Little Dragon as well as male trotter Mack Lobell and female trotter Grades Singing. Female trotter Peace Corps holds the record with four. In addition, McWicked is on the verge of surpassing $1 million in purses for a third time in his career. The only pacer with three million-dollar seasons is Foiled Again. McWicked will enter Saturday with C$990,198 (US$981,466). For his career, McWicked has earned C$5.03 million (US$4.87 million) and is second to only gelding Foiled Again among all pacers in history. Last year at age 7, McWicked became the oldest pacer in history to receive Horse of the Year honors from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He led the sport in earnings, with $1.57 million, and became the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. He also broke Foiled Again's earnings record for a 7-year-old, which was $1.40 million in 2011. Foiled Again holds the record for an 8-year-old with $1.20 million. "He's an amazing horse, no doubt," said Casie Coleman, who trains McWicked for Ed James' S S G Stables. "There are not too many horses that have done what he's done, and to keep doing it at his age. You really wouldn't know this horse is 8 years old. "And he's got a lot of big, tough miles under his belt; it's not too often he has an easy race. Every time he goes behind the gate, they're pacing (1):47, (1):48, (1):49. He's definitely an unbelievable horse." McWicked won his first Breeders Crown at the age of 3 in 2014. When he won his second in 2018, he became the first pacer to ever win Crowns separated by four years. He will try Saturday to become the first repeat Open Pace winner since Always B Miki in 2015 and 2016. He starts Saturday from post eight with regular driver Brian Sears. Jimmy Freight is the 4-1 second choice. "Everything has been great," Coleman said about the horse's preparation for the race. "I trained him (Tuesday) and he was awesome. He's sharp, sound, healthy. I'm very happy with how he is coming in. "I obviously would have liked a little bit better (post) but it's better than the nine and it's better than the 10. The way this horse has been racing, I'm not too concerned about it. Everybody wants to draw the inside more but it's a big track and the eight-hole at Mohawk really isn't terrible." McWicked, who has battled throat and foot issues throughout his career, has won 40 of 108 races lifetime. He has won six of 15 this year, hitting the board a dozen times, and enters the Breeders Crown final with back-to-back victories in the Dan Rooney Invitational and Allerage Farms Open Pace. McWicked is one of three horses attempting to win a third Breeders Crown. The others are trotting mares Hannelore Hanover and Emoticon Hanover. Hannelore Hanover, from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, won her first Crown in 2016 in the Mare Trot. She came back the following year and won the Open Trot, becoming the first mare to knock off the boys since Moni Maker in 1998. Emoticon Hanover, a Luc Blais trainee, has won the past two editions of the Mare Trot. She was the first to accomplish that feat since Buck I St Pat in 2009-2010. Manchego, the fastest female trotter in history, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the $325,000 Mare Trot. The Nancy Johansson-trained Manchego is a past Breeders Crown champion, having won the 2-year-old filly division in 2017. Johansson's Captain Crunch was a Crown winner in 2018 in the 2-year-old colt-and-gelding pace. He is the 5-2 second choice behind 9-5 Bettor's Wish in the $600,000 event for 3-year-old male pacers. The most recent male pacer to win a Crown at both 2 and 3 was Artiscape in 1997-1998. Burke trained three past champions in addition to Hannelore Hanover that are in action this weekend: Warrawee Ubeaut, Youaremycandygirl, and Dorsoduro Hanover. Warrawee Ubeaut won last year's 2-year-old filly pace and is the 4-5 favorite in the $550,000 3-year-old filly pace. The most recent filly pacer to win at Crown at both 2 and 3 was My Little Dragon in 2005-2006. Dorsoduro Hanover won last year's 3-year-old colt-and-gelding pace and is 6-1 in the $500,000 Open Pace. The most recent male pacer to win a Crown at ages 3 and 4 was Art Major in 2002-2003. Youaremycandygirl was a Breeders Crown champion at age 2 in 2017. Now trained by Richard Moreau, she is 6-1 in the $300,000 Mare Pace, where returning champion Shartin N is the 4-5 chalk. Shartin N, trained by Jim King Jr. and ranked No. 1 in the sport's Top 10 poll, is looking to be the first repeat winner since Shelliscape in 2013-2014. Marcus Melander-trained Gimpanzee is back after winning last year's 2-year-old colt-and-gelding trot. He is 8-1 in the $500,000 race for 3-year-old male trotters, where stablemate Greenshoe is the 3-5 favorite. There is one other past champion competing this weekend, Fiftydallarbill, who claimed his title in the 2-year-old colt-and-gelding trot in 2017. He is in the $500,000 Open Trot. Lindy The Great is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Guardian Angel AS at 7-2 and French star Bold Eagle at 4-1. Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Capt Midnight trainer Tony Alagna and Catch The Fire owner Charles Taylor were both happy their horses got byes into Friday's $600,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old harness racing male pacers, but it was Alagna who kept smiling after Tuesday's draw came out. Capt Midnight drew post five while Catch The Fire will start out of the nine hole. Ironically, Alagna's second horse in the final - Put To Right - drew the only spot outside Catch The Fire. "With Capt Midnight, we wanted to take the bye," Alagna said. "I've had bad luck; one time I (didn't take) a bye, had to beat one horse, and she made a break going to the gate. I said I'll never do that again and we'll just have to wait and see what the draw does. We got lucky enough to get the five hole." By the time the gate folds at Woodbine Mohawk Park, it will be 20 days between starts for the Captaintreacherous-It Was Fascination colt, but Alagna feels he will be ready. "On Saturday I brought Treacherous Reign, American History and Capt Midnight (to Mohawk) to train to the bike; it was a beautiful day and a great day to be able to do it," Alagna said, adding with grin, "The hardest part was getting (drivers) Dexter Dunn and Andy McCarthy out of bed to do it. "Once we got here, we trained them a pretty good mile and were very happy with all of them. I think it sets him up good for the final." Capt Midnight, who has earned C$328,194 this year, owns five wins at Woodbine Mohawk Park, including the Dream Maker Series final, Champlain, and Nassagaweya. He heads to the Breeders Crown final off a win in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile and is 3-1 on the morning line. Elimination winner Papi Rob Hanover is the 8-5 favorite followed by Tall Dark Stranger, who suffered his first defeat in the elim, at 2-1. "I thought he was a little flat the last eighth (of a mile)," Tall Dark Stranger's trainer, Nancy Johansson, said. "His blood work didn't come back perfectly, unfortunately; he's battling a little bit of sickness. Hopefully we can get that squared away. I changed his front shoes for the final, so hopefully we get a little more speed out of him. I think that he will be fine. He's a good horse. The way his blood work looked after the race, he actually put in a pretty good performance. "He trained a little bit (Tuesday) morning and he was just fine with the new shoes and everything. Hopefully he's going to have his best performance on Friday." Catch The Fire, a Captaintreacherous-Dream Outloud colt, was purchased for $15,000 as a yearling at Lexington and "showed talent right from the start," according to Taylor. Although the draw is not great, Taylor feels his horse is right in the mix. "I think we have a good shot," he said. "I think the top five or six in the class are so close with talent. I think it's going to come down to who gets the best trip. And if we can work out a good trip we've got just as good a shot as anybody in the race. "He's been a little tired the last couple starts so this extra week off getting the bye is going to help us quite a bit. It gives him a few extra days off." Catch The Fire has four firsts, three seconds and two thirds in 11 starts, good for C$252,547 in earnings. He won the Kentucky Sire Stakes final at Red Mile in 1:49.4. He also won a Kentucky Sire Stakes leg and a Pennsylvania All-Stars division. Trainer John Ackley is making his Breeders Crown debut. "Very rarely would you want to start a 2-year-old 12 times, but he (will have) 12 starts," said Taylor, who is seeking his first Breeders Crown win. "We said all year if he shows that he doesn't want to do it any more we'd shut him down. He's had a tough season and he just hasn't shown any signs. He hasn't lost any weight, his appetite is great. "There's very little training for him. He kind of maintains himself, he's easy on himself so we don't have to train him hard. He's just been all-around great. No ailments. He's a little smaller than the rest of them, I think that's actually worked to his advantage, that's why we were able to get 12 starts out of him, because he's a little smaller and not carrying as much weight as the rest of them." And while Taylor feels it's anybody's race, if he had to pick a favorite, it would be Papi Rob Hanover out of the three hole. "I just think he's raced tough throughout the year and he's raced against every single one of us and he's been first or second against every single one of us," Taylor said. "Whereas the rest of us have tended to race sporadically against each other, he's taken on all of us and the worst he's finished is second. He's just a tough horse." Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Mayhem Hanover-Doug McNair-Gregg McNair-20/1 2-Allywag Hanover-Tim Tetrick-Casie Coleman-15/1 3-Papi Rob Hanover-David Miller-Brett Pelling-8/5 4-Cattlewash-Louis Roy-Ron Burke-8/1 5-Capt Midnight-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-3/1 6-Major Betts-Dexter Dunn-Mark Harder-15/1 7-Tall Dark Stranger-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson-2/1 8-Freedom Warrior-Brian Sears-Kevin Lare-15/1 9-Catch The Fire-Mike Wilder-John Ackley-15/1 10-Put To Right-Bob McClure-Tony Alagna-20/1 By Rich Fisher, for the Breeders Crown  

Twenty years ago, Todd Clements was working as a network administrator in Toronto when his father got sick and asked his son to return home to Newfoundland. Clements resigned from his job and spent six weeks with his dad before Charlie passed from cancer at the age of 49. Their final days together changed the direction of Todd's life forever. "I'm a systems engineer by education," Clements said. "My dad was very proud of the work I did, but he knew my passion for racehorses. One of the last things he said to me was that life can be short, do what you love. Here I was in a three-piece suit, working in an office running a company. I really didn't like it. "My dad gave me the green light. I came back to Ontario and I went to work (in a harness racing stable) for $400 a week, which I was making a day, and it's all paid off." The 44-year-old Clements is in his first Breeders Crown, sending Fixed Idea to Saturday's $600,000 final for 3-year-old male pacers. Fixed Idea, who will be driven by Randall Waples, will start from post eight in a field of 10 that includes elimination winners Bettor's Wish and Dancin Lou as well as returning Breeders Crown champion Captain Crunch, Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi, and Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show. "As a Newfoundland kid growing up, you dream about being in those races," said Clements, who made several starts as a trainer in the years prior to leaving home for his network administrator job. "I'm extremely excited to be in the Breeders Crown." Fixed Idea, a son of Big Jim-Calchips Artist owned by Christopher Nicol, was unraced at age 2 and joined Clements' stable this year. All five of the horse's wins this season have come in conditioned races but he earned checks in three preliminary rounds of the Ontario Sire Stakes series as well as the series championship. He also was fifth-placed-fourth in the consolation of the North America Cup. "The best thing about him is his durability," Clements said. "He can take a long road trip and the best part of his mile is the last sixteenth. If races were a mile-and-a-sixteenth, a lot of those 3s and 4s would probably be 1s. He has heart. He tries and there's not much more you can ask." Prior to Fixed Idea's fourth-place finish in the Breeders Crown elimination, Clements' thoughts returned to his father. "I looked up and said, dad, please send me down some luck," Clements said. "I don't know if it was that, but we made it. We're going to be one of the longshots (Saturday) but it's a horse race. You've got to be in it to win it. We're just very humbled and just excited to have the opportunity to be in it." Clements is not the only trainer in the race who made a career change. Tahnee Camilleri, a native of Australia, gave up a career practicing law to pursue her passion by moving to the U.S. to train horses. The 32-year-old Camilleri conditions Dancin Lou for owners David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. Camilleri, who trained some horses in the States during a brief stay prior to completing her law degree, is in her first full season with her own stable. "There's definitely not going to be a lot of sleep this week," Camilleri said. "I'm so excited. I'm like a kid right before Christmas." Dancin Lou worked his way up through the conditioned ranks at Yonkers, putting together a five-race win streak, and won twice on the Kentucky Sire Stakes circuit. He was third in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes before winning a division of the Tattersalls over Southwind Ozzi. For the year, he has 10 wins in 17 starts. "I never thought initially when I got this horse that he was going to turn out like he has," Camilleri said. "It's been a gradual thing, but he's just gotten better and better. He got on a roll at Yonkers and it did wonders for his confidence. I still can't believe it's the same horse that I had at the start of the season. It's been unexpected, but a great ride along the way." Dexter Dunn drove Dancin Lou in his three most recent races but will sit behind Bettor's Wish in the Breeders Crown final. Andy McCarthy, who guided Dancin Lou to a career-best 1:48.3 victory in a division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes, picks up the drive. "He definitely can get the best out of him," Camilleri said. "Everything I've asked him to do, he's stepped up to the plate," she added about Dancin Lou, who is a son of Sweet Lou-Dancewiththebest. "There hasn't really been any pressure. It's just whether he was going to take the next step, and every step I've asked him to take, he's taken it. I'm really so proud of him." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Southwind Ozzi-Brian Sears-Bill MacKenzie 2-Captain Crunch-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Covered Bridge-James MacDonald-Blake MacIntosh 4-Dancin Lou-Andy McCarthy-Tahnee Camilleri 5-Bettor's Wish-Dexter Dunn-Chris Ryder 6-Best In Show-Bob McClure-Linda Toscano 7-Semi Tough-David Miller-Ron Burke 8-Fixed Idea-Randall Waples-Todd Clements 9-Bronx Seelster-Simon Allard-Rene Allard 10-De Los Cielos Deo-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown  

Luc Blais was pleased when Forbidden Trade received a bye to advance directly to Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. After the Hambletonian winning colt drew post eight, he was less enthused. "I was happy when they asked about the bye," Blais said. "After the draw, I said oops. But it's part of the game. A race is a race. All the time you need luck." Twelve horses entered the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, which resulted in Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe receiving byes while the remaining 10 horses competed for the eight remaining spots in the final. Don't Let'em won the elimination with a Canadian-record-equaling 1:51.3 performance. His reward as an elim winner was being guaranteed a post in positions one through five. He will start Saturday from post two. Greenshoe, the winner of 10 of 12 races and C$1.16 million this season, will start from post four. He is one of three finalists for trainer Marcus Melander, with returning Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S. Forbidden Trade defeated Greenshoe by a neck in the Hambletonian. Since then, Greenshoe has won five in a row, including the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6 at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt's 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Sept. 29 at Red Mile is the fastest mile of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a 3-year-old in history. "He's doing great," Melander said about Greenshoe, a son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be. "I was happy to take the bye. He's been on the road for a long time, so it was nice for him to be at home. I'm very happy with how he feels. I'm confident going into the race, he feels as good as he can. I think he'll be good." Green Manalishi S and Gimpanzee finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Crown elimination. Green Manalishi S (Muscle Hill-Naga Morich S) has two wins at Mohawk this year, in the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes. Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) was last year's Dan Patch Award winner and counts the Yonkers Trot and New York Sire Stakes championship among his 2019 victories. "There are good horses there," Melander said. "It's going to be a tough race to win, but I'm happy with my three horses. We drew good; I'm confident going into the race. It will be exciting." Forbidden Trade has won eight of 13 races and C$1.07 million. In his most recent start, he won his second Ontario Sire Stakes championship. The son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory was the 2018 O'Brien Award winner. "It's going to be a tough race," Blais said. "He feels good. He raced good in the Ontario final and he's in good shape right now. I hope everything goes well in the race." The fun-loving Don't Let'em was once described as "a class clown" by trainer Nancy Johansson but he got an 'A' for his elimination performance. The colt, a son of Muscle Hill-Passageway, has finished first or second 12 times in his career. He's gone off stride in his remaining nine races. "His mind is his own worst enemy," driver Yannick Gingras said. "A couple times in the middle of the summer he'd wheel around in the post parade for no reason, but he's doing none of that stuff now. It seems like he's got his mind on his business." Chin Chin Hall finished second to Don't Let'em in the elimination. The colt, by Cash Hall out of Canland Hall, had hit the board in seven consecutive starts before an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Futurity. But that race over a 'good' track on a rain-filled afternoon did nothing to dampen trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's good feelings. "I don't even count that race; you have to throw it out," Norman said. "I was really happy with his run (in the Crown elimination); why wouldn't you be. He's been good every start the last couple of months. He actually feels like he's getting better and better. I think he drew pretty good (post five). It's a tough group, it'll be hard enough to just get a check, but I think he's good enough to be top five." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the corporate sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 2-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 4-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Chin Chin Hall-Peter Wrenn-R. Nifty Norman 6-Gimpanzee-David Miller-Marcus Melander 7-Goes Down Smooth-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 8-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 9-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 10-Super Schissel-Louis Roy-Per Engblom By Ken Weingartner for the Breeders Crown  

MILTON, ON - October 22, 2019 - Today's post position draw and press conference for the 2019 Breeders Crown, presented by Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, will be live streamed at www.WoodbineMohawkPark.com. The press conference is slated to begin shortly after Noon. A direct link to the live stream is available at https://woodbine.com/mohawk/events/breeders-crown-post-position-draw-live-stream/. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Harness racing driver Dexter Dunn completed a night to remember Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park by capturing both 3-Year-Old Colt Pace Breeders Crown eliminations for a six-win night. A group of 15 sophomore pacing colts were split into two $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the field for next Saturday's (October 26) $600,000 final. Sent the 1-2 favourite, Bettors Wish sat second to a :27.1 opening quarter set by Cant Beach That, who yielded command as Southwind Ozzi marched to the top from third moving to the backstretch. Southwind Ozzi took the field by the half in :56.3 while Dunn angled Bettors Wish first over from third moving to the final turn. Bettors Wish drew alongside Southwind Ozzi passing three-quarters in 1:24.2 and powered past entering the stretch. Through the lane Bettors Wish expanded his lead on Southwind Ozzi as he clung to second in the 1:51 mile with Covered Bridge, De Los Cielos Deo and Bronx Seelster rounding the finalists. "You can't help but love him," Dunn said of Bettors Wish after the race. "He's such a cool horse. He's had a great year and I think tonight was probably the best he's actually felt post parading and that. I've given him some pretty hard runs too the poor wee fella and he just keeps bouncing back. It's a credit to Chris [Ryder] and the team for the job they do--he's just sublime." Collecting his 12th win from 16 starts this season and his 17th from 28 overall, Bettors Wish has amassed over $1.7 million in earnings for owners Chris Ryder, Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bettors Wish Partners. "Coming into this week [he] had two good weeks in Kentucky and after that I thought 'Well, it's my job that he's not messed up this week,'" Ryder said after the race. "I just kept my fingers crossed for another week. It's been a great year...I just love having him; he's a beautiful horse. We actually had a bit of a hiccup with a foot this week but it came right and he's an easy keeper." Bettors Wish returned $3.00 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. Dancin Lou darted through a seam at the pylons and past tiring leaders to take the first Breeders Crown elimination. Stag Party pushed for the front heading to the first turn while 4-5 favourite Captain Crunch sat second to a :26.1 first quarter. Captain Crunch soon circled to the lead entering the backstretch while Century Farroh raced anxiously from third before angling off the pegs and brushing to command. Past the half in :55.4, Century Farroh faced first-over pressure from Air Force Hanover circling the final turn. Captain Crunch fanned three wide through a gap in cover passing three-quarters in 1:23.2 and slid past the dueling and drifting leaders into the stretch. Dancin Lou stuck towards the pylons and had a straight shot to the front in the final eighth, hitting the finish in 1:50.1. "[The trip] worked out pretty good really," Dunn said after the race. "There was a bit of action in that race. He was really good last out at Lexington but he was better tonight. We took our shot, took a bit of luck and he got around the inside there and really exploded." Owned by David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd., Dancin Lou won his 11th race from 27 starts, earning $284,756. Tahnee Camilleri conditions the Sweet Lou colt who advances to the final along with Best In Show, Captain Crunch, Fixed Idea and Semi Tough. "That was a really good field tonight--I'm just so proud of that little colt," said Camilleri, who made the decision to try Dancin Lou in the Breeders Crown after his win at Lexington two weeks ago. "I'm very thankful it's panned out so far with the owners. I haven't come from a racing background and it's just been a uphill struggle to get recognized. To have a horse like this is great for my career and I'm very thankful the owners gave me a shot." Dancin Lou paid $12.20 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. Post positions for the $600,000 final will be drawn on Tuesday at a press conference. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through five. From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Odds-on favourite Warrawee Ubeaut took command midway through the mile and scooted away from her competition under minimal encouragement on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park to take the lone $32,500 (CAD) Breeders Crown elimination for three-year-old harness racing pacing fillies. Beautyonthebeach blasted to the front from post 10 while Tall Drink Hanover floated into second but then circled to the lead passing a :26.4 first quarter. Warrawee Ubeaut tracked Tall Drink Hanover to the backside and swept past the brief pacesetter before a :55.3 half. Rolling to the far turn Warrawee Ubeaut faced little pressure as she decelerated to three-quarters in 1:24.3. Queen Of The Pride tipped first over into the final turn but stalled through the stretch as Warrwee Ubeaut sprinted to the finish while widening her lead on Tall Drink Hanover in progress to a 1:50.2 win. "She's great--there's no other words to describe her," winning driver Yannick Gingras said after the race. "She's perfect to drive and when I called upon her at the top of the stretch she was like coming out of her skin pacing so strong." Warrawee Ubeaut races for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phillip Collura, Jerry & Theresa Silva Stables, Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. Ron Burke conditions the Sweet Lou filly who collected her 18th victory from 28 starts--her 11th from 16 this year--and earned $1,329,555. "Now we've got her pretty much dialed in that we just keep doing what we're doing," Burke said after the race. "When we were teaching her to become this mare it was a little bit harder. Sometimes she took losses that you were thinking maybe you should just roll her all out and she can hang on. But we knew it would come to the day where she would learn to do this or at least we hoped. And now she's become a complete horse." Warrawee Ubeaut returned $2.50 to win. To see the race replay, click here. The top eight finishers from the 10-horse elimination advance to the final. Sunny Dee and Treacherous Reign took byes while Warrawee Ubeaut gets to draw between posts 1 through 5 after winning the elimination. 1 Beautyonthebeach 2 Sunny Dee 3 Treacherous Reign 4 Tall Drink Hanover 5 Warrawee Ubeaut 6 Ideation Hanover 7 Philly Hanover 8 Stonebridge Soul 9 Queen Of The Pride 10 Best Seller Hanover From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn cleaned up in the Mare Trot eliminations on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park to add to his big night in the Breeders Crown eliminations. A total of 15 older trotting mares were split into a pair of $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the Breeders Crown final field. Dexter Dunn found a seam late in the stretch and was able to knife through and catapult Darling Mearas S to victory in the first elimination. Darling Mearas S left alertly then yielded willingly into the first turn to Custom Cantab who cut the opening fraction in :27 3/5. David Miller put the breaks on in the short field and had Custom Cantab in control through a half in a pedestrian :57 clocking. The pace picked up as Dream Together moved to the outside on the turn followed by Hannelore Hanover and race favorite Plunge Blue Chip second and third over respectively. Custom Cantab had all of the rating required to get the job done but turning into the homestretch off the 1:26 1/5 mile the field was closing in. Dream Together was holding her ground first-over and Plunge Blue Chip had rallied wide for Ake Svanstedt and flanked Hannelore Hanover as those continued to grind up towards the leader. Yet it was Dunn who found room at the right time and Darling Mearas As, a daughter of Cantab Hall had the explosive speed necessary in the final sprint to get the job done in a 1:53 2/5 clocking. Plunge Blue Chip rallied brilliantly for second with Custom Cantab holding on for third. Hannelore Hanover and Dream Together also advance into next week's final. Supergirl Riley made a break well before the start and lost her chance at the final. Bettors were given a refund as the mare was declared a "non-starter." Darling Mearas As paid $17.40 winning for the third time in 12 starts this year for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owner-breeder Snogarps Gard of Sweden. "She got herself in good position," Dunn said. "We really got lucky half way down the stretch. Looks like we're in good shape for next week." To see the race replay, click here. Manchego got the respect one would expect from a 1-5 betting choice and had little difficulty in strolling down the road to capture the second Mares trot elimination for Dunn. It was the fourth straight victory for the 4-year-old by Muscle Hill. Only Manchego and Emoticon Hanover left in the field of eight and Manchego had control before the :27 opening quarter with Emoticon Hanover content to race in the pocket for Bob McClure. With no challengers Dunn cruised to the half in :56 4/5 and waited for challengers to come. Hey Livvy was flushed out on the final bend by Weslynn Dancer but couldn't make a dent in the leaders margin as Manchego controlled the pace through a three quarter clocking of 1:25 2/5. In the homestretch Dunn looked around to see where the competition was coming from but there was none to be found. Manchego did drift a bit off the pylons but at no point did the Nancy Johansson-trained mare need any assistance from her driver and she scored comfortably in 1:52 3/5 with a :27 1/5 final quarter. Emoticon Hanover held on for the place spot with Weslynn Dancer closing well to finish third. Ice Attraction became the third Ake Svanstedt-trained mare to qualify for the final and Highland Top Hill rounded out those advancing. Manchego won for the sixth time in 2019 and returned $2.40 as the prohibitive favorite. She's trained by Nancy Johansson for owner Black Horse Racing. "She's exceptional," said Johansson. "There's no other way to describe her." "She felt great again tonight," said Dunn referring to her consecutive world record performances at The Red Mile and Dayton. As far as the mare drifting out some. "You just let her do her thing. She was full of run at the line." To watch the race replay, click here. Post positions for the $325,000 Mare Trot final were drawn following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for posts one through five. 1 Weslynn Dancer 2 Ice Attraction 3 Plunge Blue Chip 4 Manchego 5 Darling Mearas S 6 Hannelore Hanover 7 Highland Top Hill 8 Dream Together 9 Custom Cantab 10 Emoticon Hanover From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Yannick Gingras drove Dont Letem to a 1:51.3 win in the $32,500 (CAD) Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot elimination on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A field of 10 competed with the top-eight finishers advancing to next Saturday's $600,000 final. Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe received byes to the final. The Nancy Johansson-trained Dont Letem fired early for the lead and made the rest of the field chase him through fractions of :28.1, :56.4, 1:24.2 and matched the track record for sophomore trotters with a 1:51.3 mile. Green Manalishi S sat in second for three panels and Chin Chin Hall rolled along in third. Soul Strong came out to lead a second tier that stalled down the stretch. Chin Chin Hall took his best steps late to get second, with Green Manalishi S holding third, those three a few lengths ahead of the rest of the pack. Gimpanzee closed strongly to pick up fourth. "They all left so slow out of the gate," said Yannick Gingras, "I had to take him to the front." Dont Letem (Muscle Hill--Passageway)was bred by Brittany Farms, which co-owns with John Fielding. His win price was $9.10. Spots fifth through eighth to qualify for the final were secured by Soul Strong, Goes Down Smooth, Marseille and Super Schissel. The post position draw for next Saturday's final took place following the elimination. Dont Letem drew first for posts one through five based on winning his elimination. 1 Green Manalishi S 2 Dont Letem 3 Marseille 4 Greenshoe 5 Chin Chin Hall 6 Gimpanzee 7 Goes Down Smooth 8 Forbidden Trade 9 Soul Strong 10 Super Schissel From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Sophomore harness racing trotting fillies launched the second night of Breeders Crown eliminations on Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of 16 three-year-old trotting fillies were split into a pair of $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the field for next Saturday's (October 26) $600,000 final. Yannick Gingras picked up where he left off a night earlier sending The Ice Dutchess to the front shortly past the quarter pole and rolling to an easy 1:53 score in the first elimination. Grimmie Hanover left alertly to gain control into the opening bend for Corey Callahan with The Ice Dutchess getting looped initially and then driving forward. Grimmie Hanover cut the quarter in :28 1/5 but yielded to The Ice Dutchess in short order and then followed from a distant pocket. Evident Beauty, the 3-2 betting choice sat third and was patient past the half in :57 flat and it wasn't until midway on the final turn as The Ice Dutchess drew clear from Grimmie Hanover that David Miller sent Evident Beauty out on the offensive followed closely by Only Take Cash. The Ice Dutchess passed three quarters in 1:24 3/5 and had a sizable advantage heading into the homestretch when Evident Beauty appeared to be closing the gap but in midstretch Evident Beauty made a miscue that she wouldn't recover from and Gingras sat idly in the bike and allowed his filly to march home in a :28 2/5 final quarter to complete the mile. Only Take Cash was a solid closing second as Winndevie with Brian Sears made up a huge amount of ground in the late stretch to finish third. Early leader Grimmie Hanover held on for fourth while Seaside Bliss closed out the qualifiers from this division. The Ice Dutchess is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms and trained by Nancy Johansson. It as the fifth win in 2019 for The Ice Dutchess who paid $8.80 for the win. "Nancy (Johansson) has got her figured out. When she's on her game she can do it any way," Gingras said of The Ice Dutchess. "We've had trouble getting her around this track," said Johansson. "I think we've found the right shoe combination." To watch the race replay, click here. Millies Possession and driver Dexter Dunn made a bold move on the backstretch to gain control and then easily held off Hambletonian Oaks champion When Dovescry in the stretch to post a 6-1 upset in the second elimination. When Dovescry and driver Simon Allard left alertly from post two to gain control and managed to force a host of leavers into holes with Cambridge Kate taking a seat and Kentucky Futurity filly champion Beautiful Sin dropping in fourth before entering the first turn. Millies Possession got away in fifth and after When Dovescry hit the quarter in :27 flat Dunn wasted little time and sent the homebred Millies Possession and a brisk backstretch bull rush that saw her take command well before the :56 1/5 opening half clocking. Dunn kept Millies Possession engaged on the front end and had her hit three quarters in 1:24 as Ake Svanstedt and Beautiful Sin languished on the rim unable to make up ground on the leaders. It was a two-filly race in the homestretch and Dunn kept Millies Possession to her task as When Dovescry angled and drifted out through the stretch but didn't make up ground. Sweet Chapter held her ground inside and finished third ahead of a solid closing Asiago with Miss Trixton gaining the final berth. Millies Possession trotted the mile in 1:53. Millies Possession was a winner for the 11th time in 14 career starts all in 2019 for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Jules Siegel's Fashion Farm LLC. "She's a great filly," said Dunn following the race. "She felt good when I warmed her up. That move down the backstretch was the best she's felt all year." Millies Possession bounced back from her worst performance of the year, a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Filly Futurity. "She had a legitimate excuse," said Campbell for The Red Mile disappointment. "She scoped sick after the race. We got her back to New Jersey and on antibiotics and she bounced back." To watch the race replay, click here. The post positions for the $600,000 final were drawn following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for post one through five. 1 The Ice Dutchess 2 Millies Possesion 3 Miss Trixton 4 Asiago 5 Sweet Chapter 6 When Dovescry 7 Winndevie 8 Grimmie Hanover 9 Seaside Bliss 10 Only Take Cash Dorsoduro Hanover, with Matt Kakaley in the bike, won the $34,000 Preferred for trainer Ron Burke at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday in 1:49.4, topping four others eligible to next week's Breeders Crown Open Pace. Youaremycandygirl and Courtly Choice left alertly, with the mare taking a short lead until Courtly Choice got the lead, followed by favorite Geez Joe and Dorsoduro Hanover in a first quarter of :26.1. Geez Joe took to the outside and rushed to the top, keeping the pace through a :55.1 half. Dorsoduro Hanover came out and fired first over, reaching Geez Joe around the second turn in three-quarters timed in 1:23.1. Dorsoduro Hanover plowed ahead to take command as Geez Joe was overtaken by a closing Jimmy Freight and a persistent Youaremycandy girl, crossing the wire in 1:49.4. Dorsoduro Hanover (Somebeachsome--Deer Valley Miss) was bred by Hanover Shoe Farm, is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Dorsoduro Hanover paid $22.50 to win. Post positions for the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace were drawn on Saturday evening. 1 Easy Lover Hanover 2 Jimmy Freight 3 American History 4 Geez Joe 5 Courtly Choice 6 Always A Prince 7 Dorsoduro Hanover 8 McWicked 9 Filibuster Hanover 10 This Is The Plan To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society            

MILTON, ONT, October 18, 2019 - Earlier in the evening harness racing driver Yannick Gingras upended two unbeaten juveniles in capturing Breeders Crown eliminations. Gingras was on the other side of the fence in the lone $32,500 (CAD) Crown elimination for juvenile pacing colts and this time his unbeaten Tall Dark Stranger tasted defeat for the first time as Papi Rob Hanover and driver Dave Miller turned the tables in capturing the event in 1:50 2/5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday. Tall Dark Stranger was sent off as the odds-on choice in the field of 10 necessary to find eight horses for the final. Gingras sent him to the front early and he seated Cattlewash in the pocket and cut the opening fraction in :27 4/5 as Papi Rob Hanover and Major Betts both found spots along the pylons. Tall Dark Stranger appeared to be cruising on the lead until Miller made a sudden move and engaged the leader. The two hooked up for an extended duel but Papi Rob Hanover overtook the favorite just past the :55 1/5 opening half. Miller kept the pace lively and did not allow an outer tier flow to develop kicking his third quarter in :27 1/5 with the teletimer flashing 1:22 2/5. Papi Rob Hanover, sent off at 3-2 was second in the Metro to Tall Dark Stranger but on this night it was his rival that failed to engage in the final eighth of a mile as Miller worked on Papi Rob Hanover and got the desired result. A final quarter of :28 flat snapped Tall Dark Stranger's seven race win streak and assured the winner a decent draw for the final. Cattlewash finished third followed by Mayhem Hanover in fourth. Rounding out those headed for next Friday's final are Freedom Warrior, Allywag Hanover, Major Betts and Put To Right. To see the race, click here. David McDuffee owns Papi Rob Hanover a son of Somebeachsomewhere and Brett Pelling trains the colt who returned $5 to win. "I knew we had to finish in the top eight so I asked Brett before the race what the strategy was," Miller said. "He said 'I came here to win' so we accomplished that," said Miller. "I was going to sit and just come late but when I saw the quarter in :27 4/5 I figured I better go. He was strong." "He's the real deal," said Pelling. "He's never done anything wrong. He had post 9 in the Metro final and got beat and I didn't want to take a chance drawing outside again." The post positions for the Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Pace will be drawn at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. By winning his elimination, Papi Rob Hanover is guaranteed to draw anywhere from post one to post five. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONT, October 18, 2019 - Trainer-driver Brandon Bates will make his Breeders Crown harness racing debut following a 1:50.2 blowout victory on Friday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the opening elimination for two-year-old pacing fillies with his Rockin Image filly Priceless. A group of 21 rookie pacing fillies were split into three $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the field for next Friday's (October 25) $600,000 final. The first elimination saw Bates blast Priceless to the front while Gai Waterhouse secured pocket to a :26.3 opening quarter. Priceless raced uncontested to a :55 half and faced far-turn pressure from Baby Your The Best tipping first over from third. Past three-quarters in 1:22.4, Priceless opened her lead through the stretch chased by Reflect With Me closing from third over for second while Baby Your The Best settled for third. "Actually she did it pretty easy," Bates said after the race. "She's got more in the tank. I thought all year that she belongs in the conversation." Winning her seventh race from 10 starts, Priceless has earned $344,912 for owners Kevin Miller and Bert Hochsprung. She paid $6.50 to win. To see the race replay, click here. Lyons Sentinel delivered as the 1-5 favourite in the second fastest elimination on the night to hold off a pocket move from Marloe Hanover. Betalady launched from the outermost post in the field of seven to take the lead with Marloe Hanover sitting second to a :26.4 opening quarter. Marloe Hanover soon popped pocket to take control as driver Tim Tetrick sent Lyons Sentinel towards the front approaching a :55.1. Lyons Sentinel led the field to the final turn, speeding to three-quarters in 1:22.4, and maintained command through the stretch as Marloe Hanover angled wide but only gave pursuit from second. Looksgoodinaromper closed from last for third. "She just keeps impressing me more and more every time I sit behind her," Tetrick said after the race. "I wasn't [planning on] going to the front but I didn't want to get away too far back and let some of the better [fillies] get away from me. I put her on the lead, which I don't think that's her best game, but she paced all the way to the wire today and the plugs were still in." Collecting her seventh-consecutive victory in her 11th start, Lyons Sentinel has finished no worse than second in her career. The daughter of Captaintreacherous--racing for owner Threelyonsracing--has surpassed $600,000 in earnings. The division leader heads into the final facing a firm challenge from other elimination winner Priceless. "I followed Brandon Bates' filly in the Kentuckiana," Tetrick said. "I had a filly I thought was okay but he blew my doors off there." "As it stands we're really looking forward to next week, but it's going to be a horse race," winning trainer Jim King Jr. said after the race. "I hope we're ready for them. [Priceless] was impressive; that was I really good mile tonight. I hope she was watching us too. I think she has a little in reserve and I hope we don't have to use it all up yet." Lyons Sentinel paid $2.50 to win. To see the replay, click here. New Year ground down 1-5 favourite Alicorn to take the second elimination, stopping the clock in 1:52. Driver Corey Callahan floated New Year into fourth while Lady Lou led Alicorn to a :27 first quarter. Alicorn soon circled to the front moving to the backside and strolled to a :56.1 half while Callahan edged New Year first over heading to the far turn. New Year ranged closer to Alicorn pacing to three-quarters in 1:24.4 and drew alongside the Ontario Sires Stakes champ in the stretch. Alicorn tried to stay straight through the lane as New Year dug into the pacesetter before pushing past in the final eighth to win. Lady Lou--off a pocket trip--finished third while Shouldabeenatd, with the highest earnings of the fourth-place finishers, coming from second over to qualify for the final in fourth. "She's like the perfect combination of Drop The Ball and Somebeach[somewhere]," Corey Callahan said after the race. "Drop The Ball [her dam] was really quick and this filly just carries her speed a long ways. You don't really feel her change gears but she hits it. It's a good feeling." A filly by Somebeachsomewhere, New Year--a homebred for Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham--made her career debut in early September. She has since won four races from five starts and earned $99,930. "She's really fresh," Callahan also said. "She's gone a couple of big heats--that heat at Lexington was huge. Today she didn't have to work quite as hard as she did down there, so I think we have fresh legs going into the final." New Year returned $6.40 to win. To see the replay, click here. The post position draw for the $600,000 2-Year-Old Filly Pace final took place following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for post positions one through five. 1 Lyons Sentinel 2 Alicorn 3 Priceless 4 New Year 5 Lady Lou 6 Looksgoodinaromper 7 Marloe Hanover 8 Reflect With Me 9 Baby Your The Best 10 Shouldabeenatd From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ON - October 18, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park-based harness racing trainer Blake MacIntosh sends a four-pronged contingent into the Breeders Crown eliminations as he attempts to get his first shot to compete in the year-end championship. MacIntosh, whose stable has strengthened into a Grand Circuit force, rides a career-best season entering the Breeders Crown eliminations. Though he has started many in the Breeders Crown eliminations, MacIntosh has yet to send one in a final. "It'd just be a cherry on top of the sundae for the year," MacIntosh said on potentially winning a Breeders Crown. "We're close to a hundred wins and $2.6 million so winning a Breeders Crown would just be something special, especially at Mohawk--it's our home track. Winning the [Canadian Pacing] Derby this year was my biggest thrill but winning a Breeders Crown at Mohawk would probably be a little bit bigger of a thrill. They're all big wins but it'd be very special." Team Best opens MacIntosh's 'Crown' contingent on Friday (October 17) in the lone elimination for the Two-Year-Old Colt Pace. The son of Somebeachsomewhere--racing for owners Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Touchstone Farms Inc. and Daniel Plouffe--debuted a winner at Mohawk in late June but missed some of the summer due to sickness, with which MacIntosh had to deal most of the summer. "It wasn't just the Canadian barn or the American barn--both barns seemed to get [sick] at the same time," MacIntosh said. "It was an obstacle, we worked around it [and] the horses all seem to be coming around right now. The last six weeks everything's seemed to have just gone the right way and we're pretty happy with it." Finishing seventh in the $750,000 Metro Pace final, Team Best shipped to Lexington where he finished second in a division of the Bluegrass but tried racing first over the next week in the International Stallion Stakes and folded in the final quarter. He moves into the Crown off a 1:52.1 runner-up mile in a preliminary for the Kindergarten at the Meadowlands. "We were trying to decide if we were going to go to the Breeders Crown or stay in the Kindergarten with him," MacIntosh said. "But after he raced last week, I decided to give him a shot against the top colts this week. "He doesn't like a lot of air--like if you can keep him on a helmet he will follow all day long," MacIntosh also said. "If you give him a little too much air he gets a little sulky [but] he's learning more and more every start. If he gets the right trip, there's no doubt in my mind he'll be right there at the end of the mile. James MacDonald will drive Team Best--who's 15-1 on the morning line--from post 2 against Metro Pace winner and the 7-5 morning line favourite Tall Dark Stranger. Metro Pace runner-up Papi Rob Hanover is also in the field. Sweet Chapter starts MacIntosh's Saturday-night duties as she competes against the top four competitors in the Three-Year-Old Filly Trot. Her regular pilot Matt Kakaley stays in the bike as the daughter of Chapter Seven starts from post 1 against Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, runner-up Millies Possesion, third-place finisher Asiago and Kentucky Filly Futurity winner Beautiful Sin. "She can trot with them," MacIntosh said of Sweet Chapter, "and she's always right there; always gets you a cheque. I just thought that she deserved a shot to prove it again. Like in the Hambo Oaks--she was going to get a cheque but then Dave [Miller and Evident Beauty] broke and took her out and that cost her fourth or fifth. We'll hope she [can] draw well and if she can get away the way she can then she'll be right there." Earning over $200,000 from 24 starts for owners Hutt Racing Stable, Blake MacIntosh and Mortgage Boys Stable, Sweet Chapter has one other Grand Circuit mile this season: a wire-to-wire 1:54.2 victory in a $30,000 division of the Simpson Memorial. "I always thought she was a nice filly--that's why she got paid into so much because I had faith in her," MacIntosh said. "She's right on track where I think she should be and [I'm] very, very happy with her." Covered Bridge completes MacIntosh's Crown-elim starters as he competes in the second elimination for the Three-Year-Old Colt Pace. The American Ideal colt--owned by David B. Smith and James Giannuzzi--makes his second start in the MacIntosh barn after racing his other 28 starts for the Okuskos. "They just called me--they wanted him to come up to Canada and see if he's good enough for the Breeders Crown," MacIntosh said on acquiring the colt. "I trained for Jim and Dave for the last couple years. I was the underbidder on this colt as a yearling. I trained him down at Lexington before I brought him home--I made a shoeing change on him. He's a nice colt--Howie and Jessica [Okusko] did a great job with him training down and racing him for the last two years. It's made my job easier. While MacIntosh did not tinker much with equipment on Covered Bridge, the colt rebounded in his first start for the barn last week against conditioned horses at Mohawk. He popped pocket to pull a 19-1 upset in 1:50.4 under wraps and convinced MacIntosh to try the colt in the Breeders Crown. "It's a $7,500 (CAD) stake payment so it's not something cheap," MacIntosh said on deciding to try the colt in the Crown. "So I was very happy with him and I called the owners after the race and said 'I think we can go--it's up to you guys but I think at this point this group looks a little tired. At this point right now there's no standout other than Ryder's horse [Bettors Wish] and I think he can go with the rest of them so let's give it a shot.'" Covered Bridge will race against 7-5 morning line favourite Bettors Wish from post 5 with James MacDonald in the sulky. Crown supplement and Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi also competes in the second elimination from post 3 as the 9-5 second choice on the morning line. Though not entered in an elimination, Courtly Choice will prep for the Open Pace on Saturday when he starts from post 8 in the $34,000 Preferred. The four-year-old son of Art Major also battled sickness during the summer but returned to form with a 34-1 upset in the Canadian Pacing Derby. Yet he comes into Saturday making his second start after scratching sick from the Dayton Pacing Derby. "When he shipped into Lexington [for the Dayton Pacing Derby] I don't know what happened--he caught a fever of 102.5 so we scratched him," MacIntosh said. "He probably could've raced at Dayton but we wanted to race him the following week for sure. He just wasn't right that week--it's totally separate from [his earlier sickness]. His blood's back to normal now--at least back to where we want it. I don't know if he just caught something shipping from Harrington to home to Lexington--these aged horses do a lot of travelling, so they're bound to pick something up every now and then. Prior to Saturday's start Courtly Choice returned to the track in the $186,000 Allerage but faltered through the stretch in a 1:47.2 mile to finish eighth. "We wanted to make sure we had him tight for next week," MacIntosh said. "He seems to race better when he's at least had a little prep before the races like for the Canadian Pacing Derby--he raced two weeks before that." Woodbine Mohawk Park hosts two nights of eliminations for the Breeders Crown with the freshmen racing on Friday (October 18) and the sophomores and aged horses competing on Saturday (October 19). Friday's 12-race card starts at 7:50 p.m. (EDT) while Saturday's 13-race card gets underway at the regular post time of 7:10 p.m. (EDT). by Ray Cotolo for Woodbine.com    

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