TORONTO, October 29 - The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to remind horsepeople and customers that post time this Saturday (November 1) at Woodbine has been pushed back to 7:55 p.m. The post time change is to accommodate Breeders Cup day at Woodbine. Saturday's 11-race card will be highlighted by a $34,000 Preferred trot. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
TORONTO, October 27 - Second round action of the Autumn Series got underway Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack and new faces found their way to the winner's circle. A pair of $14,000 divisions for both the two-year-old pacing and trotting fillies were contested. In the first division for pacers, Evas Girl and Jody Jamieson rebounded from a sixth place finish in the first leg to score a leg two victory in 1:53.3. A daughter of Rambaran, Evas Girl got away fourth and was sent first up around the final turn. In the stretch, Evas Girl powered to the lead and cruised to a 2 ¼ length victory. Little Miss Artist finished second, while Lady Hill took the show spot. Trained by Peter Core, the second leg victory was the second win in nine starts for Evas Girl and pushes her career earnings to over $17,000 for owner Nicolas Stoukas. Evas Girl paid $4.40 to win. In the second division, a big opening quarter might have been the turning point to allow Dublin Rose to score the victory. Tessa Seelster blasted off the gate to the front and hung up a wicked opening quarter of :25.4. As the field entered the backstretch, Dublin Rose came out and around to the lead for driver Paul Macdonell. In the stretch, Tessa Seelster came out of the two-hole, but didn't have enough to get by Dublin Rose, who scored a length and a half victory in 1:53.4. Marachere finished third. A daughter of Major In Art, Dublin Rose is owned and trained by Allen Tomlinson and had finished third in the opening leg. The second leg victory is the second win in eight starts for Dublin Rose and increases her career earnings to over $22,000. She returned $8.30 to win. Cum Laude Hall took the opening division for the two-year-old filly trotters. Trained and driven by Rick Zeron, Cum Laude Hall got away third and was pushed first up in the second quarter. After clearing to the lead just past the half, Cum Laude Hall never looked back and trotted clear to a 3 Â¼ length victory in 1:57. Magic Shelley finished second, while Battle Mage got up for third. The second round victory was a maiden breaking victory for Cum Laude Hall, who had finished third in the first leg. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Cum Laude Hall is owned by Walnut Hall Limited and now has career earnings of $24,353 in eight starts. She paid $6.40 to win. In the second division, Meadow Seelster was a gate to wire winner in 1:58.1. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Meadow Seelster set fractions of :27.4, :59 and 1:29.3, before digging in late to hold off a late surge from Hape to win by a length and a half. Yanks Ball Girl finished third, while leg one winner Mischief Smile had to settle for fourth. Trained by Bill Budd, Meadow Seelster, who finished second in the first leg, has now won three of 10 career starts. The daughter of Holiday Road is owned by William Dixon and has now earned $26,030 in her young career. She returned $6.30 to win. The Autumn Series is for Ontario sired two-year-olds, who were non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of September 30, 2014. The finals for both Autumn Series categories will take place next Monday, November 3rd. Autumn Series action continues Thursday night with second leg action for the two-year-old colts and geldings. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie, for WEG
TORONTO, October 27 - The Woodbine race office would like to advise horsepeople of a change to the draw schedule for the Woodbine Fall/Winter meet. Effective immediately, Saturday cards will now be drawn on Wednesdays, while the draw for Friday cards will remain on Tuesdays. Here is the full draw schedule for the Woodbine meet. Enter Monday for Thursday. Enter Tuesday for Friday. Enter Wednesday for Saturday. Enter Thursday for Monday. The entry box closes at 10:30 a.m. each day. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
TORONTO, October 25 - The finest two-year-olds in harness racing were on display Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack for the Fall Four Stakes. Consisting of the Governors Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid, the Fall Four Stakes has been an annual showcase of the best freshmen in the sport. A costly miscue and a giant upset got the action underway in the $464,000 Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies. Mission Brief, the 3/5 heavy favourite, made a break leaving the gate throwing the fate of the rich final up into the air. Capitalizing on the public's choice break was 70-1 longshot Smexi and driver Corey Callahan. A daughter of Explosive Matter, Smexi got a two-hole trip behind Stubborn Belle and driver Paul Macdonell and was able to come off the leaders back in the stretch and trot on to a length and a half victory. Stubborn Belle held on for second, while Juanitas Fury finished third. "Leaving out of there I looked over and saw that she (Mission Brief) had made a break," said Callahan following the race. "We got really lucky Paul and I, we just kind of got things on our own up there, nobody really moved and it worked perfect for me." Trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman, Smexi had only one victory in eleven starts heading into the Goldsmith Maid. Takter, who drove Smexi in her elimination last week, handed the lines over to Callahan and told the driver his filly was ready and to put her in the race. "Tonight before the race he (Takter) pulled me aside and told me listen she was a little rough on me last week," said Callahan. "But I warmed her up tonight and she was really sharp and on her toes." The Goldsmith Maid victory pushes Smexi's career bankroll to over $364,000. Smexi paid $159.30 to win, while a $2 exactor paid just under $1,200. Smexi Fall Four night quickly became the Takter show in the $521,000 Valley Victory for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Takter trainees finished first, second, fourth and fifth to almost take the entire purse home in the rich final Pinkman and driver Sylvain Filion were able to convert off a second over trip to narrowly defeat stablemate Uncle Lasse by a head in 1:55.4. The heavy 3/5 favourite, Habitat, finished third wedge between Takter starters, as The Bank and Walter White finished fourth and fifth respectively. A son of Explosive Matter, Pinkman was making only his sixth career start in the Valley Victory final, but has now won four of those starts for earnings of over $330,000. Following the race, Takter explained why Pinkman was a little late getting to the races. "We castrated him after his baby races, he kind of didn't pay attention where he was suppose to," said Takter. "He had a very complicated castration, so it took a little bit of a long time for him to get where he (is), but he has surprised me a lot." Takter also said the son of Explosive Matter wasn't on his radar as a superstar training down. "Average, he did everything right, but I had quite a few horses that I thought were a lot better, but these horses that have the good willing to want to do it, especially at this time of year, can get it all." Pinkman is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. He returned $16.60 to win. Pinkman Artspeak, this year's Metro Pace winner, bounced back in impressive fashion to win the $565,000 Governors Cup for the two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Leaving from post position six, Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron got away sixth and were able to get into the outer flow on the backstretch, as Lost For Words hung up a big half of :54.3. As the field rounded the final turn, Pierce Hanover cleared to the front leaving Artspeak second over on the back of Lyons Again, as the field ripped by the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4. In the stretch, Artspeak came off his cover and powered by his rivals to take the lead and score a solid length and a half victory in 1:50.4. Go Daddy Go got up to finish second, while Pierce Hanover held on for third. A son of Western Ideal, Artspeak is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The GYM Partners. Heading into the Governors Cup final, Artspeak had made a break in two consecutive starts for the first two losses of his career. Following the race, Alagna spoke about the recent miscues from the two-year-old and getting him ready for the final. "I came up Tuesday, trained him up Wednesday and he trained fantastic at the farm, so I thought we had the kinks worked out," said Alagna. "Most people know that if I didn't have confidence the horse was ok, with the connections that own the horse he would've never been here to race, so I was very happy that he showed us the redemption that everybody thought he should." After training Artspeak earlier in the week, Alagna said he told the connections at dinner that he had full confidence in the horse. "I told them that night at dinner, he's back on his game, we've got our horse back." By adding the Governors Cup to his resume that already includes the Metro Pace, Artspeak has now won the two richest events of the season for two-year-old pacers. His record now stands at eight wins from ten starts for career earnings of just over $805,000. Artspeak paid $3.50 to win. Jk Shesalady improved to a perfect ten for ten with another victory in the $424,000 Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies Saturday night at Woodbine. Sent off as the heavy 1/5 favourite, Jk Shesalady and Yannick Gingras got away fifth and sat along the rail until the midway point of the race. Around the final turn, Gingras sent Jk Shealady first up to challenge the leader, The Show Returns, as the fillies were on even terms at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. Jk Shesalady came off the turn and quickly created separation with the field and cruised home to an impressive looking length and a half victory in 1:52.1. Solar Sister took the place spot, while Ideal Nuggets finished third. The Three Diamonds victory was the tenth win in a row for the undefeated Jk Shealady. Following the race, Gingras talked about racing her first up once again Saturday night. "It seems to be working for her, so no sense in changing anything," said Gingras. "She likes to relax in the first half and she's got a huge brush for the second half." A daughter of Art Major, Jk Shesalady is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners 3 Brothers Stable. Jk Shesalady has now banked over $669,000 in her rookie season and has earned herself consideration in Horse of the Year talk. She returned $2.50 to win. Mark McKelvie
Last week we once again showed a minor loss on win bets (-$3.80) but made money with some decent exacta and tri hits. The action will be fast and furious this weekend as the Grand Circuit is in full swing around North America. We venture to Dayton Raceway Friday for their two opening season main events, the Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby for older horses and they have attracted some of the best in harness. Then Saturday its show time at Yonkers with the third jewel of the trotting Triple Crown, the Yonkers Trot, plus the Messenger Pace and the revival of the International Trot. Then over to Woodbine for the Big Four Finals, the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds. Great racing and good luck! $122,000 Pace Dayton Pacing Derby Dayton Raceway 11th race FRIDAY - After crushing much weaker opposition the last two weeks, Dancin Yankee gets back to taking on the big boys but I think he is ready for the challenge. It will be a slugfest for sure but based on his last two impressive wins I think that Dancin Yankee is up for the challenge. Use Foiled Again and Clear Vision in exotic plays. $162,000 Trot Dayton Trotting Derby Dayton Raceway 12th race FRIDAY - Racing fans at Dayton will get to see some good trottin action in here. Well matched field has some superstar performers but I think that Creatine has returned to his old self from last year as of late and will continue to dominate the older trotting ranks. His last two wins were super impressive and can take another in here. Use DW's NY Yank and Wishing Stone in exotic plays. $464,000 Trot Goldsmith Maid Final Woodbine Racecourse 3rd race SATURDAY - It's make it or break it and I mean that literally as Mission Brief has the race her own to win or lose. If she minds her manners she will take this field with trot to spare but if she jumps it off as she has in the past then the others will have a field day. I think this world champion has turned the corner on her bad manners off her past two starts and will wire the field again. Use Gatka Hanover and Jolene Jolene in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Yonkers Trot Final Yonkers Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - Nuncio has now been barred from wagering on the race. So from a wagering perpsective, I will go to my second choice, Gural Hanover. So even if he finishes second to Nuncio, you still win. He won his elim with ease and has been super sharp all season with 10 wins. I still think Nuncio will capture the third jewel of the trotting triple crown. Nuncio has been razor sharp and with no Father Patrick or Trixton to go again I think he will wire the field for John Campbell to take two of the three jewels of the Triple Crown. Now use Datsyuk and Don Dorado in exotic plays. $521,000 Trot Valley Victory Final Woodbine Racecourse 5th race SATURDAY - No matter how hard you look at this field you just can't pick against Habitat. He has had an awesome season and is currently on a three-race winning streak for the Ron Burke Stable. His only loss in last two months was when he was not on the front end so figure that Gringras will be sending him in here. Win last week from post eight was very impressive. Use Uncle Lasse and Pinkman in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Messenger Stake Final Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - It will be a real good race for the third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown here. I am going against the morning line and taking the entry of All Bets Off/Forty Five Red from the Ron Burke Stable. Despite outside posts they both have what it takes to win, one is all front end speed, the other great closing speed (at least last week) and combined they can win and pay a price. Use Luck Be Withyou and McWicked in exotic plays. $565,000 Pace Governor's Cup Final Woodbine Racecourse 7th race SATURDAY - Here is another situation where it is all up to the horse. If Artspeak has his head on straight and decides not to make a break and he returns to his former self he can take this field for fun. But he has not been right the last two weeks. I'm betting that he will put the past behind him and rise up in returning to his winning ways. Use Pierce Hanover and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $124,590 Trot Hudson Filly Final Yonkers Raceway 7th race SATURDAY - Disappointing short field for this Grand Circuit event and I think the Ron Burke Stable will finish one-two with their strong entry of Market Rally/Avalicious. Market Rally is the strong horse of the two and is the NYSS champion filly. Avalicious is coming off a lifetime mark of 1:53.2 at Pocono Downs. Too tough to go again. Use Highest Peak and Bambino Supreme in exotic plays. $150,854 Pace Lady Maud Final Yonkers Raceway 8th race SATURDAY - Last week in winning her elimination division for this final, Act Now showed her dominance and also that she can handle a half mile track with a very impressive 1:53.1 romp by three open lengths. All she needs to do in here is repeat that effort and she is home free. Use Fancy Desire and the entry of Beautiful Lady/A La Notte Hanover in exotic plays. $424,000 Pace Three Diamonds Final Woodbine Racecourse 9th race SATURDAY - Currently the only unbeaten star in North America, JK She'salady goes for her tenth straight win in here. She has just been perfect in every start all season long and continues to roll on by her opponents once again. Use The Show Returns and Band Of Angels in exotic plays. $250,000 Trot International Trot Preview Yonkers Raceway 9th race SATURDAY - Saving the best for last this weekend. Throw out the morning line on this race, it was done by a computer. This is real trotting action at its best. And the best in here is Sebastian K. While Commander Crowe and Arch Madness have nearly twice the lifetime earnings of Sebastian K, their best days are behind them. Sebastian K may be making his first start ever on a half mile oval but he will overcome it with little issue. The extra quarter mile in this distance race is the difference that Sebastian K will flourish on. Use Bee A Magician and Natural Herbie in exotic plays.
TORONTO, October 23 - Thursday night was the two-year-old boys turn for round one action of the Autumn Series at Woodbine Racetrack. Three $14,000 divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings and four $14,000 splits for the two-year-old pacing colts and geldings were completed. In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, two-year-olds must be Ontario sired and be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of September 30, 2014. In the opening division for the trotters, One Direction broke his maiden with a 1:58.3. Trained and driven by Dustin Jones, One Direction got a two-hole trip and trotted by Numbers Game, who cut the mile, to score an easy 5 Â¾ length victory. Numbers Game held on for second, while In Secret finished third. A son of Deweycheatumnhowe, One Direction is owned by Ernst Gerbaulet and has now $7,800 earned in five career starts. He returned $6.30 to win. Olympic Son went gate to wire to take the second division in 2:00.1. Sent off as the 2/5 favourite, Olympic Son and driver Trevor Henry charged off the gate to take the lead and never looked back to win by 2¼ lengths over Baudron. William Star finished third. Trained by Paul Reid for owner Robert Key, Olympic Son has now won three of eight career starts for earnings of $41,420. The clocking of 2:00.1 was a new lifetime best for the son of Majestic Son. Olympic Son paid $2.90 to win. In the third division, Namesmuscle prevailed in a win photograph over Muscles All Over. Driven by Trevor Henry, Namesmuscle sat in the two-hole for most of the mile behind Muscles All Over. In the stretch, Muscles All Over tried to kick away from his rivals at the top of the stretch, but Namesmucles grinded him down on the inside and got up to win by a nose in 1:59.1. Jayport All Muslce took the show spot. A son of Muscle Mass, Namesmuscle is trained by Mike Brealey for owner John Patterson. The leg one victory was a maiden breaking score in his seventh start for Namesmuscle and increased his career earnings to $22,000. He paid $12.10 to win. A total of 33 two-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into four first round divisions. In the first division for the pacers, Sugarsam showed plenty of grit to hold off his rivals and pick up the victory in 1:54.2. Touching down on the lead as the field entered the backstretch, Sugarsam would not relinquish the lead and dug in down the stretch to hold off His Boy Elroy by three-quarters of a length. J Js Delivery finished third. Trained by Corey Johnson, Sugarsam has now won four of ten starts and lowered his lifetime mark by more than two seconds. The son of Sportswriter is owned by Sotirios Anastasopoulos and has now earned $25,475 in his young career. Sugarsam paid $3.90 to win. Making only his second career start, Machnificent reached up late to take the second division in 1:55.4. Trained and driven by Roger Mayotte, Machnificent was second over on the final turn and was just able to get by a trio of his rivals on the outside to win by half a length. Midnight Play finished second, Frankie Boy took the show spot and The Battle Begins finished fourth. All three horses were only beat half a length. A son of Mach Three, Machnificent had finished third in his career debut last week and was the most lightly raced horse in the field of eight. The maiden breaking score pushes his career earnings to $8,680 for owners Just In Time Stable, The Fine Whine Stable and Big Als Stables Inc. Machnificent paid $6.50 to win. In the third division, Halton Hurricane did not disappoint as the 6/5 winning in 1:56.2. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Halton Hurricane got a two-hole trip behind Antar Phil, who made an early break at the eighth pole, but regrouped to pace on to the lead. In the stretch, Halton Hurricane had to wait for the first up challenger, Art Of Luck, to fade away, before finding clear sailing to pace by Antar Phil and win by half a length. Art Of Luck held on to finish third. Owned and trained by Robert Robinson, Halton Hurricane has now won twice in 11 starts career starts for earnings of over $23,000. The son of Santanna Blue Chip lowered his lifetime mark by three seconds with the victory. Halton Hurricane paid $4.40 to win. Robert Hill lived up to his 1/5 billing in the fourth and final division. Driven by James MacDonald, Robert Hill was second over on the final turn and came off his cover to pace by his rivals and on to victory in 1:55.4. Regal Sight made a late charge to finish second by half a length, while Strong Profile finished third. A son of Jeremes Jet, Robert Hill is trained by Tony Alagna for owner Thomas Hill. The leg one score was the third win from ten starts for the two-year-old pacer and pushes his career earnings to $39,150. He returned $2.70 to win. The second leg for the two-year-old boys will go next Thursday, October 30. Autumn Series action continues Monday night with the second leg action for the two-year-old fillies. Post time each night of racing is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Over the past few weeks one of harness racing’s top young performers, Artspeak, has seemed to have fallen apart to a degree. The two-year-old son of Western Ideal had been enjoying a perfect season, was unbeaten in seven starts and everyone in the industry was talking about him becoming the second “Captaintreacherous” for trainer Tony Alagna. Then came the second week in Lexington. Artspeak made his big move in the backstretch, cleared to the lead after the half mile marker and as they started down the stretch he did something he never did before. He made a break. He went off-stride for driver Scott Zeron, was able to regroup but it was too late as In The Arsenal won the race and Cartoon Daddy was second and Artspeak had to settle for third place. OK, Artspeak is not a machine, he is flesh and blood and he is still a somewhat green young horse that can have a “bad day” so you don’t look back and move forward to the next race. Remember this is the colt that romped in the Metro Final. That next race was the following week, the eliminations at Woodbine Racecourse for the prestigious Governors Cup. Drawing the outside post eight, Zeron gets away in fourth place with Artspeak, can’t seem to follow any cover, then gets rough gaited and makes a break before the three-quarter pole. But once again he regroups for Zeron and finishes third to make this Saturday’s $565,000 final. But what is going on with Artspeak? Why is he breaking? What happened to this unbeaten colt that was all the talk of harness racing? Since Artspeak isn’t speaking to anyone about what happened we went to the next best source, trainer Tony Alagna. “The day he raced at Lexington,” Alagna said, “We chalked that up to the way the track was that day. A few horses made breaks that normally don’t make breaks. We took him home and he was fine. Trained great and then we race him again and he breaks again. “We were really taken by surprise when he broke again,” Alagna said. “I was just happy that he was able to come back and finish third and make the final. We are not really sure why he did it again. I came up early to Canada and trained him today and all systems are good for the weekend.” Artspeak drew post six in the 7th race Governors Cup final. He will be facing nine rivals, most of whom he had handily beaten in the past. “He is still green in many ways,” Alagna explained. “Even when we baby raced him he showed some tendencies to want to make a break on the final turn, but once he started racing that was a thing of the past. He has matured over the summer and he was a good this morning as he has been all season and we are going into the race this weekend in top form. “When you look at his lines,” Alagna said,” in both races where he made the breaks, he still was able to come back and pace his last quarters in :27 and change to finish third. Horses usually don’t come back from breaks and do that. Even with his bobble last week he still paced as fast as the other elimination winner.” Provided that Tony Alagna is correct and Artspeak is back to form, then the rest of the field had better watch out. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
This Week: Messenger Stakes, Yonkers Trot, International Trot Preview, Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Fall Four Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Dayton, Ohio; Circle City and Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and John Simpson Stakes, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 24) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway with the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for older trotters and the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on Friday, Hoosier Park will offer Circle City races for 3-year-old trotters and pacers, There will be three divisions in the $90,000 3-year-old colt pace, three divisions in the $82,200 3-year-old filly trot, two divisions in the $74,300 3-year-old colt trot and two divisions in the $71,000 3-year-old filly pace. On Saturday (Oct. 25), Hoosier will race Madison County events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Each of the four divisions carries an estimated purse of $75,000. Rounding out the busy Friday of Grand Circuit racing, Vernon Downs will contest the John Simpson Stakes for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be three divisions in the $31,005 2-year-old colt trot, two divisions in the $26,816 2-year-old filly trot and single divisions in the $26,503 2-year-old colt pace and $25,616 2-year-old filly pace. Yonkers Raceway will offer five Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday night led by two Triple Crown events, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger for 3-year-old pacers. Also on tap will be the $250,000 International Trot Preview for older trotters, the $150,854 Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies and the $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Woodbine will offer the Fall Four Stakes on Saturday featuring the C$565,000 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$521,000 Valley Victory for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$464,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, and the C$424,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Woodbine entries can be seen at this link. Last time: The Windy City Pace at Maywood Park was the featured event this past weekend on the extensive Grand Circuit schedule. Big Boy Dreams and Tim Tetrick won the Windy City Pace. Big Boy Dreams won the $180,000 Windy City Pace on Oct. 17 in wire-to-wire fashion for driver Tim Tetrick in 1:51. The Ron Burke trainee and New York Sire Stakes competitor notched his fourth win of the year in 10 starts. Big Boy Dreams took the field to a brutal :25.4 first quarter and a :54.1 half, with Let's Drink On It challenging the leader going to the 1:22.2 three-quarters. But Big Boy Dreams just continued to draw away in the stretch to win by 2-1/2 lengths. He now has $168,495 in seasonal earnings for owner Dominic Rosato. It was "Elimination Saturday," on Oct. 18, with Yonkers Raceway hosting elims for three stakes events. Fifteen 3-year-old colts and geldings turned into eight for Yonkers Trot No. 60, as standouts Nuncio (John Campbell) and Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) were comfy winners in the pair of $40,000 eliminations. Nuncio, in play early from post position No. 5, waited his turn before finally making the lead. He parked Skates N Plates, then strode home by 3-1/2 lengths through fractions of :28.4, :58, 1:26.4 and 1:56.2. Don Dorado was second, with Journey and Expressive Action third and fourth, respectively. Gural Hanover, New York Sire Stakes champion and the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into this season's Trot, won the draw in the second elim. He retook from a breaking-soon-after Flyhawk El Durado before finishing his four turns though panels of :28.4, 58.1, 1:27.2 and 1:56.3, a length faster than Resolve. Third went to King City, with Datsyuk getting the final place at the table. The $40,000 elim for the 59th Messenger -- nine sophomore colts/geldings to end up with eight -- was won by a pocket-sitting Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick). From post No. 2, he whipped a cone-skimming Forty Five Red by a neck in 1:53 with McWicked a belated third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,890; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,002; 3. David Miller - 869.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 625.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 523. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,957.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,519; 3. Erv Miller - 396.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 349; 5. Tony Alagna - 312. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 431.4; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 386.4; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 277; 4. Brittany Farms - 254.45; 5. Robert Key - 232. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs. Hoosier will feature the Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-olds, the Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers, the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers and the Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters. Vernon will offer the Artiscape for older pacing mares, the Muscle Hill for older trotting mares, and a pair of Kindergarten finals for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
TORONTO, October 21 - The finest two-year-olds in harness racing will take centre stage this Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack, as the Fall Four Stakes highlight a $2.1 million card. The $565,000 Governors Cup, the $521,000 Valley Victory, the $464,000 Goldsmith Maid and the $424,000 Three Diamonds make up the Fall Four Stakes, which star the best youngsters in the sport. The Fall Four Stakes were established during the mid to late 1980's at Garden State Park in New Jersey. This Saturday will be the sixth time that the Woodbine Entertainment Group plays host to the Fall Four. Multiple World Champions and divisional leaders will be on display in the four rich finals this Saturday evening. The Governors Cup for two-year-old pacers was established in 1985 and over the years many of the sport's greats have won the prestigious event, including Artsplace, Western Hanover and Life Sign. This year's edition of the Governors Cup is headlined by Metro Pace winner Artspeak. The son of Western Ideal made a break on the final turn in his elimination, but recovered to make up ground in the stretch and finish third. Artspeak (PP6), who will be driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Tony Alagna, is a seven-time winner from nine starts and has earned $523,227 in his rookie season. Lyons Again (PP3) and Pierce Hanover (PP2) were both upset winners in last Saturday's eliminations. Lyons Again broke his maiden with his 14-1 upset victory, while Pierce Hanover was a 13-1 surprise winner in his split. A son of Dragon Again, Lyons Again will be driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Ron Burke. Despite having only one victory on his resume, Lyons Again has a bankroll of over $174,000 from eight starts this season. Pierce Hanover is a four-time winner from ten starts for career earnings of $62,688. The son of Cams Card Shark will be driven by Jody Jamieson for trainer Ken Sucee, who shares ownership with his brother, Ralph. The Governors Cup will take place as Race 7 Saturday night. The Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies was first contested in 1990. CR Kay Suzie, Peaceful Way and Passionate Glide are just some of the top trotters to have captured the event. Looking to add her name to the impressive list of champions is World Champion Mission Brief (PP4) The Burke trainee captured her elimination last Friday in 1:54.4 and was making her first start since becoming the fastest two-year-old trotter of all-time when she won at The Red Mile in 1:50.3 on October 2. The daughter of Muscle Hill will be driven by Gingras, who was happy with her performance in the elimination. "She was very good, wrapped up and had plenty of trot left," said Gingras. "She had been off a few weeks, so I think next week will be even better and she will be at her best." Mission Brief has won seven of 10 starts for earnings of $327,400. Gingras and Burke also teamed up in the other elimination to win with Gatka Hanover. A daughter of Muscle Massive, Gatka Hanover (PP3) turned in arguably her best performance to date in her elimination and impressed her driver. "She beat a great filly in Jolene Jolene rather easily so I was impressed with her." Gatka Hanover has won five of 11 starts for earnings of $160,068. The Goldsmith Maid has been carded as Race 3 Saturday evening. Established in 1990, the Valley Victory for two-year-old trotters has been captured by top trotters Donerail, Lindy Lane and Deweycheatumnhowe. The team of Gingras and Burke will once again team up in the Valley Victory, this time with William Wellwood Memorial winner Habitat. A son of Conway Hall, Habitat (PP4) won his third consecutive race in last Saturday's elimination by almost three lengths. Habitat has won six of nine starts for career earnings of just under $350,000. The other elimination winner, Whataworkout (PP3), is also the most lightly raced trotter in the field. A son of Muscle Hill, Whataworkout will be making only his fifth career start this Saturday. The Frank Antonacci trainee has two wins in four starts for earnings of over $27,000. Scott Zeron will be at the controls of Whataworkout. The Valley Victory will take place as Race 5. The Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies was first held in 1989 and has been won by top fillies such as Miss Easy, Immortality and Worldly Beauty. Arguably the top two-year-old in all of harness racing, Jk Shesalady, headlines the field of ten for the Three Diamonds. A daughter of Art Major, Jk Shesalady won her elimination last Friday to improve her career record to a perfect nine for nine. Trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by Gingras, Jk Shesalady's biggest victory of the season came in the $480,000 Shes A Great Lady final at Mohawk on August 30. The undefeated filly has banked $457,350 this season. Looking to hand Jk Shesalady her first defeat is the other elimination winner, The Show Returns. Trained by Chris Ryder and driven by Zeron, The Show Returns won her elimination last week for her fourth win in nine starts this season. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, The Show Returns biggest victory of the season was in a division of the Champlain Stakes at Mohawk on September 6. The Show Returns has earned just over $106,000 this season. The Three Diamonds has been carded as Race 9 Saturday evening. Post time for the 13-race card Saturday evening is 7:25 p.m. Here are the full fields for Saturday night's Fall Four Stakes finals. PP/Horse/Driver Race 3 - Goldsmith Maid - Purse: $464,000 1. Jolene Jolene - Brian Sears 2. Demons N Diamonds - Scott Zeron 3. Gatka Hanover - Yannick Gingras 4. Mission Brief - Yannick Gingras 5. Flirting Filly - Ron Pierce 6. Smexi - Corey Callahan 7. Stubborn Belle - Paul Macdonell 8. Juanitas Fury - Paul Macdonell 9. Tymal Illbthere - Trevor Henry 10. Danielle Hall - Jody Jamieson AE: Lilu Hanover - Scott Zeron Race 5 - Valley Victory - Purse: $521,000 1. Pinkman - Sylvain Filion 2. Uncle Lasse - Ron Pierce 3. Whataworkout - Scott Zeron 4. Habitat - Yannick Gingras 5. Aldebaran Eagle - Corey Callahan 6. Jetpedia - Mike Saftic 7. The Bank - Jimmy Takter 8. Walter White - Brian Sears 9. Big Rich - Randy Waples 10. Iron - Brian Sears AE: Lookslikeachpndale - Sylvain Filion Race 7 - Governors Cup - Purse: $565,000 1. Lancaster Park - James MacDonald 2. Pierce Hanover - Jody Jamieson 3. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 4. Arque Hanover - Steve Condren 5. Lost For Words - Doug McNair 6. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 7. Go Daddy Go - Corey Callahan 8. Migrate Blue Chip - Rick Zeron 9. Blood Brother - Sylvain Filion 10. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples AE: Lyons Levi Lewis - Sylvain Filion Race 9 - Three Diamonds - Purse: $424,000 1. Happy Becky - Chris Christoforou 2. The Show Returns - Scott Zeron 3. Jk Shesalady - Yannick Gingras 4. Float On By - James MacDonald 5. Solar Sister - Scott Zeron 6. Ideal Nuggets - Sylvain Filion 7. Rock Her World - James MacDonald 8. Band Of Angels - Yannick Gingras 9. Zip Code Envy - Ron Pierce 10. Shakai Hanover - Jody Jamieson AE: Storm Point - Ron Pierce by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
After guiding Lyons Again to his first career win in his Governor's Cup elimination at Woodbine last weekend, driver Yannick Gingras believes it is just the start for the 2-year-old male pacer. Gingras arrived at Woodbine last Friday and Saturday with plenty of firepower for the Fall Four Stakes for 2-year-old pacers and trotters, and it all fired. He drove horses in all eight Fall Four eliminations, posting five wins, two second-place finishes and one fourth. In addition to winning with Lyons Again, Gingras picked up victories in both eliminations for the Goldsmith Maid, with female trotters Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover, a win in the Three Diamonds with female pacer JK She'salady, and a triumph in the Valley Victory with male trotter Habitat. He finished second with Three Diamonds contender Band Of Angels and runner-up with Governor's Cup hopeful Blood Brother. His fourth-place finish was with Pinkman in the Valley Victory elims. The Fall Four Stakes finals, worth a total of nearly C$2 million, are Saturday at Woodbine. Lyons Again was the longest shot driven by Gingras, at 14-1, but his Governor's Cup elimination win from post nine by three-quarters of a length over Traceur Hanover in 1:52.4 was not a complete surprise. "He was a longshot for everybody (else) but I've really, really liked this colt," Gingras said. "He's really been a bridesmaid, always finishing second or third, but he ran into a really sharp horse in Artspeak early in the year. There's no shame in finishing second to him, as sharp as he was." A son of Dragon Again-A Filly To Fear owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound, Lyons Again has one win, four seconds and two thirds in eight starts. Three times he hit the board in races won by Artspeak, with two runner-up finishes, and once he finished second to Yankee Bounty. Artspeak and Yankee Bounty are harness racing's two richest 2-year-old male pacers and have combined to win 15 of 18 races. Lyons Again, who finished third in the Metro Pace and has earned $161,687 this year, was not eligible to the Grand Circuit races at The Red Mile in Lexington, so the colt enjoyed a six-week layoff following his second-place finish in a division of the Champlain Stakes on Sept. 6 at Mohawk. "It's not very often that you'll have a horse at that level getting a six-week break in the middle of the summer when they're healthy," Gingras said. "I think it's going to help him. I think this week he should be even tighter; it will be his second start off the layoff." Lyons Again, trained by Ron Burke, will start the C$565,000 Governor's Cup from post three. Pierce Hanover, who won the other elimination, leaves from post two with Jody Jamieson at the lines for trainer Ken Sucee. Artspeak, who finished third after going off stride in his elim, won by Pierce Hanover, is in post six for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Tony Alagna. "After this we move onto the Breeders Crown," Gingras said. "I think (Lyons Again) could have a big fall. He's a big, strong horse and I think he's going to keep getting better." In addition to speaking about Lyons Again, Gingras provided some insights regarding the seven remaining horses he drove in the Fall Four Stakes elims. Blood Brother: Trained by Jimmy Takter, he finished one length behind Pierce Hanover last weekend. He will start the Governor's Cup final from post nine with Sylvain Filion listed to drive. A son of Somebeachsomewhere-Blood Diamond, his family includes millionaires If I Can Dream, Western Terror, Delinquent Account and Artiscape. He has one win in eight starts and $68,731 for owners Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables. "He's a nice little horse," Gingras said. "He always fusses with his head. The day he decides that he's going to pay attention to racing and forget about all the other stuff he'll be an even better horse. He's got a lot of ability, but his mind is not always on racing. "Last week he raced really good. I used him a little bit early and then had to come out around the last turn because the horse in front of me didn't carry me as far as I'd have liked. He gave (Pierce Hanover) a good run in the stretch; it was a horserace. He'd been off for a few weeks, so I think he'll be even better. But he didn't draw very good, so that's going to be a little harder for him." Mission Brief: Trained by Ron Burke, she won her Goldsmith Maid elimination by 1-1/4 lengths over Danielle Hall in 1:54.4. She starts the C$464,000 final from post four. She is the fastest 2-year-old trotter in harness racing history, with a mark of 1:50.3, and winner of seven of 10 races for $324,440. She went off stride in all three losses. The filly is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. "She was really good last week," Gingras said. "She might have been the most relaxed she's ever been. She was two fingers to drive, maybe a little bit on the lazy side if anything. I think she's getting to understand what we're trying to do with her. Obviously, she had plenty left. I came the last quarter in 28 and change and the earplugs were still in her and I never asked her. She was wrapped up. "She's her own worst enemy. If she's going to get beat, it's because she's going to go back to her bad habits. But knock on wood, she was solid last week and should be good again this week." Gatka Hanover: Trained by Burke, she won her Goldsmith Maid elim by 4-1/2 lengths over Jolene Jolene in 1:55.4. She starts the final from post three. A daughter of Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough, Gatka Hanover has won five of 11 races and $158,693. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents, Tracy Hendler, and Weaver Bruscemi. "She proved game last week," Gingras said. "She was a little bit too grabby; I went to the half fairly quickly (:56.4) and it was more her than me that was making that happen. But then when Jolene Jolene came at her, she still was strong. "I think she's second best in this race. Mission Brief is going to have to beat her to win, but I don't think they're quite in the same league." Habitat: Trained by Burke, he won his Valley Victory elimination by 2-3/4 lengths over Jetpedia in 1:55.4 and starts the C$521,000 final from post four. Habitat made breaks in his first two starts, but has won six of seven races since then, including the William Wellwood Memorial. He has earned $323,078. The son of Conway Hall-Habit's Best is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents, and Weaver Bruscemi. "Early in the year he had a couple little glitches behind the gate, but ever since he got over that stuff, he's been absolutely perfect," Gingras said. "He does everything you ask of him, and more. He's got perfect manners and is beautiful to drive. He makes my job really easy. "He's been racing on the front quite a bit, but he really doesn't need to. When he baby raced, he did it from the back and just stormed home, going by a lot of horses. He's very handy; you can do whatever you want with him. He showed that he's got a lot of speed and he's game, so he's got all the qualities that you're really looking for in a racehorse. He's very complete." Pinkman: Trained by Takter, he finished fourth in his Valley Victory elimination, which was won by Frank Antonacci's Whataworkout, snapping a three-race win streak. Pinkman, named after a character from the television series "Breaking Bad," starts the final from post one, with Filion listed to drive. A son of Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster, Pinkman has won three of five races and $72,615 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. "He's a very nice horse too," Gingras said. "He got locked in last week, otherwise I think he would have won too. I never had daylight. I tried to go up the inside, but there was no room there. "He's done nothing wrong. He's a little bit of a late-bloomer, but I've raced him his last four starts and he's won three of them, and he beat good horses doing it. He's a little bit on the lazy side, but once you get him to go, he can go a long way and he doesn't seem to get tired. He'll give you a hundred percent. "No doubt, he's one of the horses to beat. This race, there are five or six horses that can win. Whoever can trip out the best will be the winner." JK She'salady: Trained by Nancy Johansson, she won her Three Diamonds elimination by one length over Solar Sister in 1:53.3. She will start the C$424,000 final from post three. Undefeated in nine starts and ranked No. 3 in the current Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10 poll, behind trotters Sebastian K and Father Patrick, JK She'salady has earned $432,150 for owner 3 Brothers Stables. She is a homebred daughter of Art Major-Presidential Lady and her mark of 1:50.1 is tied for the fastest in history by a 2-year-old female pacer. "She hasn't done anything wrong," Gingras said. "She's got a crazy brush in her. I don't think she necessarily has to race (from off the pace) but why change something that's working? We'll see how this week plays out. Maybe we'll put her in play a little bit earlier than we have been. In an ideal world, they'll mix it up a little bit up front and I get to race her again first or second over and I think she'll get the job done from there." Band Of Angels: Trained by Burke, she finished second by a neck to The Show Returns in her Three Diamonds elimination. She starts the final from post eight. A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again, and half-sister to millionaire Romantic Moment, Band Of Angels has won six of nine races and $177,487 for owner Bill Donovan. "I think she might have been a little bit short last week," Gingras said. "She felt really good turning for home and got outpaced in the last little bit. Not by much, but a little bit. She hadn't raced in a few weeks; I think she needed the start. I think she'll be even better this week, so there's no doubt in my mind that if I'm going to win (with JK She'salady) she's one of the major contenders I'm going to have to beat." Gingras is North America's leading driver in purses, with $13.42 million, and No. 1 in the Grand Circuit standings. He has won 29 races worth at least $100,000, with 14 coming with horses trained by Burke and 13 by Takter. Burke leads all trainers with a record $22.88 million in purses this year while Takter is second with a career-best $10.19 million. "It's been a great year, no doubt, but I'm only as good as the trainers I'm driving for," Gingras said. "Ronnie and Jimmy getting along and letting me do my thing and pick the best horse definitely helps tremendously. They really have been understanding. "It's definitely the hardest part of my job to tell one of them that I'm not driving their horse. But I've been honest with both of them. If I say to one of them I'm going with theirs, I'm going with theirs. I think they're both appreciative of that, that I'm up front. All three of us, nobody is playing games. They respect each other, and I think that makes it a lot easier. Hopefully there's more success to come for all of us." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
TORONTO, October 20 - On Monday evening at Woodbine Racetrack, harness racing driver Mike Saftic recorded his 5,000 career driving victory behind trotter Magic Shelley. Saftic, 52, entered the evening only one win shy of the career milestone. In the evening's third race, Saftic worked out the perfect trip with Magic Shelley to not only record his 5,000 victory, but also captured a division of the first leg of the Autumn Series. Saftic began his driving career in 1981 at his hometown track, Sudbury Downs, before moving to the Woodbine Entertainment circuit a few years later. Since joining the circuit, Saftic has consistently put up solid numbers each season and has driven top horses such as, Hall of Fame pacing mare Ellamony, Armbro Cruiser, Luck Of Michelle and 2002 Metro Pace champion Sir Luck. A resident of Milton, Saftic has earned more than $1 million in each season since 1989 and has career earnings of more than $93 million. This season, the veteran reinsman has recorded 96 victories and earnings of just under $2 million. The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to congratulate Mike on his accomplishment and wish him continued success throughout his career. The Autumn Series for Ontario sired two-year-old fillies of both gaits got underway Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Two $14,000 divisions of the opening leg were contested for both pacers and trotters. In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, two-year-olds must be Ontario sired and be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of September 30, 2014. In the opening division for the filly trotters, Mischief Smile moved from second to first in the second quarter and never looked back en route to a 3 ¼ length victory in 1:58.4. Trained by Paul Reid and driven by Trevor Henry, the daughter of Majestic Son broke her maiden with the victory and has now earned over $46,000 in nine career starts. Battle Mage finished second, while Mets Life and Cum Laude Hall finished third and fourth respectively. Mischief Smile returned $6.20 to win. In the second division, another Reid trainee was first to the wire to give the conditioner a sweep of round one action. Magic Shelley grinded her way first up and trotted away from her rivals in the stretch for a 3 ¼ length victory in 1:57.4. The victory was extra special for driver Mike Saftic, as it was his 5,000th career driving victory. The leg one triumph was a maiden breaking score for the daughter of Majestic Son. Magic Shelley has now earned over $13,000 in eight career starts. Meadow Seelster took the place spot, while Tymal Fireitup and Mass Rail rounded out the Superfecta. Magic Shelley paid $11.50 to win. The first division for the two-year-old pacing fillies saw another filly break her maiden. Little Miss Sporty, who was last at the three-quarter pole, was shown racetrack in the stretch by driver Steve Condren and blew by her rivals with ease for a 1 ¼ length victory in 1:55.1. Trained and co-owned by Stacey Reinsma, Little Miss Sporty had a pair of second place efforts in four starts heading into Monday evening, including a second place finish in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg. A daughter of Sportswriter, Little Miss Sporty now has career earnings of $36,250 for owners Reinsma and John Patterson. Caviart Cari Ann finished second, while Dublin Rose took the show spot. Amazing Control rounded out the Superfecta. Little Miss Sporty paid $35.90 to win. In the final division, Tessa Seelster went gate to wire for a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:55.4. A daughter of Shadow Play, Tessa Seelster was blasted to the lead by driver Mario Baillargeon and never looked back to pick her up second victory in five career starts. Trained by Ben Baillargeon, Tessa Seelster has now earned $15,760 in her young career for owner Richard Berthiaume. Southwind Luna finished second over Maralika, while Lady Jen finished fourth. Tessa Seelster returned $7.00 to win. The second round of the Autumn Series for two-year-old fillies will take place next Monday night (October 27). Autumn Series action continues Thursday evening with the opening round for two-year-old colts and geldings of both gaits. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
If her recent results are any indication, The Show Returns has arrived. But harness racing owner Richard Young says the reason the filly was slow to find the spotlight had more to do with unfortunate luck than lack of performance. The Show Returns heads into Saturday's $424,000 Three Diamonds Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers at Woodbine off a neck win over Band Of Angels in 1:53.1 in their elimination division, giving the Chris Ryder-trainee three victories in a row. She will start the Three Diamonds from post No. 2, with Scott Zeron listed to drive. A daughter of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of Stienam's Place, The Show Returns is a full sister to previous Young female pacing star Put On A Show, who earned $2.4 million in her career and was the 2010 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old female pacer. The Show Returns, who was purchased for $180,000 under the name Hey There Delilah, at last year's Lexington Selected Sale, has won four of nine races and earned $98,738 for Richard and Joanne Young. "We thought she was quite good from the get-go, so to speak, but she just had unfortunate situations," Richard Young said. "People are saying she kind of tailed off in the middle (of the year) but she didn't really tail off. Some things happened. It wasn't that she got bad; if she had gotten bad, I'd have turned her out." The Show Returns finished second by a half-length to Stacia Hanover in her debut in a preliminary round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes, then finished a troubled-trip fifth in the final. She bounced back to win a round of the Whenuwishuponastar Series at Mohawk Racetrack, then finished fifth-placed-fourth in the final. After the race, The Show Returns was diagnosed with synchronous diaphragmatic flutter; spasms of the diaphragm in synchronization with the heartbeat more commonly called "the thumps." The Show Returns was off-the-board in her next two races, but has been unbeaten since. Among her wins were the She's A Great Lady Consolation and a division of the Champlain Stakes, both in 1:52. "She's a nice filly," said Young, who in addition to Put On A Show owned I Luv The Nitelife, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old filly pacer. "I don't know if she'll ever be as good as the other two; I think that's asking a lot. But she's competitive and she has good speed. "Anytime you have speed, you can get position. And when you get position, something (good) can happen. I like her." The Show Returns is Young's only racehorse at the current time. "If you look at her on the track, she's a peanut," Young said, laughing. "I don't generally buy peanuts, I like the bigger horse. But she was a June foal, so I thought she might grow. I don't think she's grown an inch. But she has speed, she has an ability to get position, and it looks like she will fight. I can always hope." The Show Returns will face - for the first time - undefeated JK She'salady in the Three Diamonds. JK She'salady won her elimination on Saturday by one length over Solar Sister in 1:53.3 for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Nancy Johansson. The filly, who in August won the She's A Great Lady Stakes by four lengths in a world-record-equaling 1:50.1, is 9-for-9 this year. "I've been touting 'Lady' for Pacer of the Year, and I think if she stays undefeated, she should be," Young said. "I don't know if very many people are going along with me, but the fact is she does have the best record out there. She's undefeated and she's won them all easily. "Of course, I want to beat her and prove me wrong. I wouldn't bet my horse with your money, but that doesn't mean I can't hope that we beat her. I think she's untouchable right now, but I'm hoping that she's not. "I'm a little spoiled. In the last six years or so, I had the horse that was supposed to win. I have to get used to not being the best one. But she could in fact be the second-best one. That's OK, too." The Show Returns in her Three Diamonds Elimination The full field in post order for the Three Diamonds is 1 Happy Becky 2 The Show Returns 3 JK She'salady 4 Float On By 5 Solar Sister 6 Ideal Nuggets 7 Rock Her World 8 Band Of Angels 9 Zip Code Envy 10 Shakai Hanover. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
TORONTO, October 18 - The Fall Four Stakes eliminations were completed Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Two $25,000 eliminations were contested for the Governors Cup for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings and the Valley Victory for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The top five finishers from both eliminations advanced to next Saturday's finals. Lyons Again and Yannick Gingras pulled off a 14-1 upset in the first elimination of the Governors Cup. Leaving from post nine, Lyons Again showed good early speed to grab the lead past the opening quarter in :26.3, but quickly took to the two-hole and allowed Lyons Levi Lewis to clear to the front. Lyons Levi Lewis carved out fractions of :56.1 and 1:23.3 to bring the field to the top of the stretch, while Lyons Again sat patiently In The Pocket and Rufo challenged first up with the favourite, Lost For Words, second over. In the stretch, Rufo could not sustain his pressure and faded back allowing Lyons Again to come off the rail and over take the lead from Lyons Levi Lewis. Lyons Again would hold off Traceur Hanover and Lost For Words to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.4. Go Daddy Go finished fourth, while Migrate Blue Chip got up for fifth to advance to the $565,000 final. The Governors Cup elimination victory was a maiden breaking score for Lyons Again, who is trained by Ron Burke for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound. The son of Dragon Again finished third in the $667,000 Metro Pace on August 30 at Mohawk and had only missed the board once in seven career starts heading into his elimination. Lyons Again has now earned of over $174,000 in eight career starts. He returned $30.50 to win. Lyons Again In the second elimination, Pierce Hanover scored a 13-1 upset victory in 1:52.1. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Pierce Hanover sat third entering the final turn and edged to the outside to come first up, allowing the heavy favourite, Artspeak, to pick up second over cover. However, Artspeak would make a quick break on the turn and lost enough ground to take him out of contention. Pierce Hanover would capitalize on the break by the favourite and paced by the three-quarter pole leader, Arque Hanover, in the stretch and would go on to win by a length in 1:52.1. Blood Brother, who got a two-hole trip, finished second, while Artspeak regrouped and rallied to finish third. Arque Hanover held on to finish fourth and advanced to the final, along with fifth place finisher Lancaster Park. A son of Cams Card Shark, Pierce Hanover is trained by Ken Sucee, who shares ownership with Ralph Sucee. Pierce Hanover has now won four times in ten career starts and carries a bankroll of over $62,000. He returned $28.10 to win. Pierce Hanover In the first elimination of the Valley Victory, Whataworkout and Scott Zeron got up in the final stride to defeat seven other rivals in 1:56.3. Trained by Frank Antonacci, Whataworkout angled out from fourth on the final turn and was first up to challenge the leader Uncle Lasse, as the field reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.4. In the stretch, Whataworkout grinded away at the leader and got up in the final steps to pull off a 21-1 upset. Uncle Lasse finished second by a neck, while Big Rich took the show spot. A son of Muscle Hill, Whataworkout is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and has now won twice in four career starts for earnings of over $27,000. The clocking of 1:56.3 is a new lifetime best for the Antonacci trainee. Pinkman finished fourth, while The Bank finished fifth to lock up a spot in next week's final. Whataworkout paid $44.20 to win. Whataworkout There was no upset in the second elimination, as Habitat, the 1/5 favourite, did not disappoint. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Habitat was parked to the opening quarter in :27.3, before touching down on the lead. The son of Conway Hall would set fractions of :58 and 1:26.4 to lead the field into the stretch, where he cruised home under a Gingras hand drive to win by 2 Â¾ lengths in 1:55.4. Jetpedia, who was second over on the last turn, got up for second, while Aldebaran Eagle prevailed in a show photograph over Walter White. Trained by Ron Burke, Habitat has now won six of nine career starts, including the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk on September 13. Habitat has now earned over $349,000 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. He returned $2.90 to win. Iron finished fifth to punch the last ticket into next week's $521,000 final. Habitat Following the eliminations, the post positions for the finals were drawn. Elimination winners earned the right to select their post. Here is how they will lineup next Saturday night. PP/Horse/Driver $521,000 Valley Victory Final 1. Pinkman - Yannick Gingras 2. Uncle Lasse - Ron Pierce 3. Whataworkout - Scott Zeron 4. Habitat - Yannick Gingras 5. Aldebaran Eagle - Corey Callahan 6. Jetpedia - Mike Saftic 7. The Bank - Jimmy Takter 8. Walter White - Scott Zeron 9. Big Rich - Randy Waples 10. Iron - Brian Sears AE: Lookslikeachpndale - Sylvain Filion $565,000 Governors Cup Final 1. Lancaster Park - James MacDonald 2. Pierce Hanover - Jody Jamieson 3. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 4. Arque Hanover - Steve Condren 5. Lost For Words - Doug McNair 6. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 7. Go Daddy Go - Corey Callahan 8. Migrate Blue Chip - Rick Zeron 9. Blood Brother - Sylvain Filion 10. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples AE: Lyons Levi Lewis - Sylvain Filion The Fall Four Stakes finals will take place next Saturday, October 25 at Woodbine Racetrack. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
TORONTO, October 17 - Two-year-old fillies were in the spotlight Friday night for their Fall Four Stakes eliminations at Woodbine Racetrack. A pair of $25,000 eliminations were contested for both the Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies and the Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies. The top five finishers from each elimination advanced to next week's finals. In the first elimination of the Three Diamonds, JK She'salady improved to a perfect nine for nine to start her career with a 1:53.3. victory. The daughter of Art Major got away in third as Happy Becky set a soft opening half of :58.3. In the third quarter, JK She'salady made a first over bid and would take over the lead as they reached the third station in 1:26.3. In the stretch, JK She'salady would cruise home under a confident drive from Yannick Gingras to win by a length. Solar Sister finished second, while Happy Becky took the show spot. Trained by Nancy Johansson, JK She'salady's biggest victory to date was in the $480,000 She's A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk on August 30. She is owned by the 3 Brothers Stable of New York, New York and has now earned over $456,000 in her young career. Float On By and Shakai Hanover finished fourth and fifth to earn the last two spots in next week's final. Jk Shesalady paid $2.10 to win. JK She'salady In the second elimination, The Show Returns converted off a two-hole trip to win in a tight three-horse photo. Driven by Scott Zeron, The Show Returns took a seat in second as Band Of Angels and Yannick grabbed the early lead. Band Of Angels carved out fractions of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:25 to bring the field into the stretch without any challenge. In the stretch, The Show Returns came off the rail and battled with Band Of Angels to the wire, as Ideal Nuggets made a bid on the outside to make it a tight three-horse finish. At the wire, The Show Returns prevailed by a head over Band Of Angels and a neck over Ideal Nuggets in 1:53.1. Rock Her World and Zip Code Envy secured the final two spots in the final by finishing fourth and fifth. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, The Show Returns is trained by Chris Ryder for owners Richard and Joanne Young. The Show Returns The Three Diamonds elimination victory was her fourth win in nine starts and boosts her career earnings to over $100,000. She returned $5.40 to win. The first elimination of the Goldsmith Maid saw Gatka Hanover pull off a 6-1 upset over the 1/5 favourite Jolene Jolene. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Gatka Hanover was parked past the first quarter in :27.4 and cleared to the front as the field entered the backstretch. Trotting along in fourth, Sylvain Filion sent Jolene Jolene first up as the field was approaching the half. Gatka Hanover posted fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.1 to bring the field into the stretch, with Jolene Jolene edging closer to the leader. In the stretch, Gatka Hanover responded to urging from Gingras and turned aside Jolene Jolene to win by 4 Â½ lengths in 1:55.4. Jolene Jolene held on to finish second, while Juanitas Fury finished third. Smexi and Flirting Filly finished fourth and fifth respectively to advance to the final. A daughter of Muscle Massive, Gatka Hanover is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, Tracy Hendler and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The elimination victory was Gatka Hanover's fifth win in 11 starts and boosts her earnings to over $160,000. She paid $14.00 to win. Gatka Hanover In the second elimination, Gingras and Burke teamed up once again, this time with World Champion Mission Brief. Sent off as the 2/5 favourite, Mission Brief cleared to the front after an opening quarter of :27.3. After setting fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.1, the daughter of Muscle Hill fought off an inside challenge from Danielle Hall to win by length and a quarter in 1:54.4. Tymal Illbthere finished third, while Stubborn Belle and Demons N Diamonds grab the last two spots in the final. Owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stable, J and T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Mission Brief was making her first start since setting a World Record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile on October 2. Mission Brief has now won seven of ten career starts and carries a bankroll of over $327,000. She returned $2.80 to win. Mission Brief The $464,000 Goldsmith Maid final and the $424,000 Three Diamonds final will be contest next Saturday, October 25 as part of the Fall Four Stakes Night. The post positions for both finals were drawn after the eliminations. Elimination winners were able to select their post for the final. Here is how they will lineup next week. PP/Horse/Driver Three Diamonds Final 1. Happy Becky - Chris Christoforou 2. The Show Returns - Scott Zeron 3. JK She'salady - Yannick Gingras 4. Float On By - James MacDonald 5. Solar Sister - Scott Zeron 6. Ideal Nuggets - Sylvain Filion 7. Rock Her World - James MacDonald 8. Band Of Angels - Yannick Gingras 9. Zip Code Envy - Ron Pierce 10. Shakai Hanover - Jody Jamieson AE: Storm Point - Ron Pierce Goldsmith Maid Final 1. Jolene Jolene - Sylvain Filion 2. Demons N Diamonds - Sylvain Filion 3. Gatka Hanover - Yannick Gingras 4. Mission Brief - Yannick Gingras 5. Flirting Filly - Ron Pierce 6. Smexi - Jimmy Takter 7. Stubborn Belle - Paul Macdonell 8. Juanitas Fury - Paul Macdonell 9. Tymal Illbthere - Trevor Henry 10. Danielle Hall - Jody Jamieson AE: Lilu Hanover - Scott Zeron The eliminations for the Governors Cup and Valley Victory will take place tomorrow evening. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie,for WEG
Trainer Brian Brown has no problem articulating his feelings about Lost For Words. "As a racehorse, he just does everything the way you want it done," said Brown, who is preparing the 2-year-old male pacer for the Governor's Cup eliminations at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday. "He's just a nice little horse that never disappoints you. "Those kinds are nice to have, but hard to get." Lost For Words brings a three-race win streak to his Governor's Cup elim. He competes in the first of the two divisions, starting from post six with driver Doug McNair. The elim also includes stakes-winners Lyons Levi Lewis, Go Daddy Go, and Traceur Hanover. Another Brown trainee, Talking Points, is in the second elim, where the spotlight will be on Metro Pace champion Artspeak. Talking Points is winless in nine races, but has earned $72,811. Woodbine also hosts two eliminations for the Valley Victory Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters on Saturday. The top five finishers in all the elims advance to the finals of the Fall Four Stakes on Oct. 25. For the year, Lost For Words has won five of nine starts and earned $186,337 for owners Country Club Acres, William Robinson, Richard Lombardo, and Strollin Stable. His most recent three races were victories in the Standardbred Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. "That little guy has raced good almost every start, he just had a couple tough trips here and there," Brown said. "Otherwise that colt has raced perfect every week." Lost For Words has finished off the board only twice. The first time came in his debut, from post eight at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The second also was at Pocono Downs, when he was stuck on the outside the entire mile from post seven in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. He has not lost since. "I think it says a lot about the horse's courage and his desire to be a racehorse, to get roughed up and come right back and race as good as he can," Brown said. "And he wasn't all out in any of those (most recent) races. He just has a great attitude. You can do whatever you want with him." Lost For Words is a son of stallion Well Said out of the stakes-winning mare Thou Shalt Not. He was purchased for $50,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes 1998 Breeders Crown champion Juliet's Fate. "I generally look at every Pennsylvania horse in the book and pick out the ones I want to look at," Brown said. "His pedigree looked fine and when I went and looked at him, I just fell in love with him. He wasn't a tall horse, but he had an extra little bit of length to him. At that time, when he was a yearling, he was a nice, thick, stout horse. He's just a good looking horse with a good pedigree. "The best thing about him is that he's either improved as the year went on, or he hasn't lost anything where some of the others are starting to tail off. But he's been great the last month. He still feels good, he's still out there playing when he jogs. I trained him (Tuesday) and he was great. I expect him to be OK." Talking Points finished third in the Standardbred Stakes and earned checks in divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. Another son of Well Said, out of the mare Bikini Bottom, he is owned by Country Club Acres, AWS Stables, William Robinson and Milton Leeman. "He's banged around and gotten checks in most of his starts," Brown said. "He's just a nice horse. He's getting to be a little bit of a bully. He probably needs to be a gelding. He gets a little too grabby and a little hard to handle, so he does wind up on the front some. "We're going to try to rig him so they can handle him and come from behind hopefully. Get him to calm down a little bit." Lost For Words and Talking Points both are eligible to the Breeders Crown in November. "As long as Lost races well, he will go," Brown said. "Talking Points would probably have to be really good the next two weeks for him to go." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communciations
Last week we came up short on the win bets at $-2.90 for the weekend but more than made up for it in some decent exotic scores that totaled more than $350.00. This week there are tons of racing action Friday and Saturday with the Windy City Pace Friday at Maywood Park, the Indiana Sire Stakes finals at Hoosier Park Saturday, Woodbine is back in action with the elims Friday and Saturday for the top freshman stakes, Governors Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds & Goldsmith Maid, Yonkers has the eliminations for the Messenger Pace and Yonkers Trot and we even stop at Batavia Downs for the Robert Kane Memorial Pace. Good Luck! $25,000 Pace Three Diamonds 2yo Filly elim Woodbine 1st race FRIDAY - She is the "little darling" of harness racing. Unbeaten JK She'salady is a perfect 8 for 8 going into her elimination division. She has beaten everyone in this field already this season and continues her domination of the freshman pacing filly ranks. Use Happy Becky and Solar Sister in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Goldsmith Maid 2yo Filly elim Woodbine 3rd race FRIDAY - World record holder Mission Brief either wires the field or runs like a deer. Temperamental filly is super-fast and should be able to win in here. Use Danielle Hall and Stubborn Belle in exotic plays. $37,600 Pace Cinderella Stake 3yo Fillies Maywood Park 8th race FRIDAY - Last week this filly was gutted trying to get to the front and never making it. Lady Shadow has been great for most of the season and has the speed and ability to get the jump on the field and return to winning ways. Use Major Dancer and Kayla Grace in exotic plays. $180,000 Windy City Pace 3yo Colts Maywood Park 9th race FRIDAY - Top stakes race has drawn a very competitive field. After last week's great closing effort in American-National from post 10, I have to go with Somewhere In L A. He is never out of the money and from good inside post he is due to get some great cover to score from. Use Big Boy Dreams and Let's Drink On It in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Messenger Stake 3yo Colts elim Yonkers 2nd race SATURDAY - This is the prelude to next week's finale as only one will be eliminated from this race. I think the Ron Burke entry of All Bets Off/Forty Five Red will be very tough to beat. All Bets Off has been awesome all season with ten wins. He draws inside and is on a five-race win streak. Use McWicked and National Debt in exotic plays. $25,000 Trot Valley Victory 3yo Colt elim Woodbine 3rd race SATURDAY - Having won five of his last six starts makes Habitat the big favorite in here and rightly so. Has beaten almost everyone he has faced this year on the front end and can overcome outside post to do it again. Use Whom Shall I Fear and Noble Power in exotic plays. $40,000 Yonkers Trot 3yo colt elim Yonkers Raceway 4th race SATURDAY - Being the class of the field does not hurt Nuncio's chances in here, but having only once qualified on a half mile track (won in 1:58.4) at age two makes this a tough start. Draws into easier of two divisions but questionable if can take the turns but Jimmy Takter would not have entered him if he can't handle it. Use Way Outta Here and Don Dorado in exotic plays. $40,000 Yonkers Trot 3yo colt elim Yonkers Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - The Ron Burke entry of Gural Hanover/Hillustrious looms very tough in here with their 1-2 post positions. Well matched field has to be dwindled down to just four to advance to the final so the action will be fast and furious. Use Flyhawk El Durado and Datsyuk in exotic plays. $200,000 Trot Indiana Sire Stakes 2yo Colt Final Hoosier Park 7th race SATURDAY - This race should belong to Airman Batten as he has won ten of his twelve starts this year and had beaten everyone in the field this season and has done it from on and off the pace. Use Steal N Gas and Homicide Hunter in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace Robert Kane Memorial Invit Batavia Downs 7th race SATURDAY - Changed my mind a couple of times on this race which only shows how competitive the field is. I decided to go with Aracache Hanover off his two straight wins at Yonkers, wiring the field in extra distance races. Use Easy Again and Apprentice Hanover in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Governors Cup 2yo Colt elim Woodbine 8th race SATURDAY - We Will See tonight if the break by Artspeak was a fluke two weeks ago or if he is getting tired from the tough season. Outside post not much help but with a week's rest if he is fit he will work his magic, get to the front and return to winning ways. Use Dudes The Man and Pierce Hanover in exotic plays. $200,000 Pace Indiana Sire Stakes Final 3yo Fillies Hoosier 11th race SATURDAY - Winner of the Jugette has not missed a beat since her impressive victories in Delaware. Color's A Virgin has won 10 of 14 starts this year and is on a four-race win streak that she should be able to add another triumph to. Use Candy's A Virgin and Always Wearable in exotic plays. $200,000 Pace Indiana Sire Stakes Final 3yo Colts Hoosier 13th race SATURDAY - Having ruled in the Indiana Sire Stakes this season, Always B Miki returns for the rich final for Joe Holloway Stable. Has won five of last six starts, rested a week and should be primed to lay over this field. Use Bluehourpower and If I Lose in exotic plays.