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Mission Brief returned to the races at Friday nights harness racing meeting at The Meadowlands where we expected to see her, in the winners circle. The fastest two year old trotter of all time made short work of her Sire Stakes competition in the lone $25,000 division for the filly trotters, winning in 1:53.4. The World Champion took off the speed early in the mile, but made a controlled move to the lead and cleared before the half-mile pole through fractions of 27.3 and 56.2. She led the field past three quarters in 1:25.3 and turned for home with a two length lead. Mission Brief drifted a touch in the stretch, but finished the mile well within herself while never being asked by her driver Yannick Gingras. It is worth noting that shortly after the finish, Mission Brief appeared to bobble and went off-stride, but she remained on-stride until the teletimer stopped. Her driver Yannick Gingras was pleased with her effort. "She had a ton of trot," said Gingras. "She went in 1:53.4 and it was a walk in the park for her. We still have some work to do before the second Saturday in August but she is on the right track." Mission Brief became the fastest two year old trotter of all time when she romped to a 1:50.3 performance at The Red Mile last year. She is conditioned by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J & T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. With the victory, Mission Brief's career earnings surpassed $600,000. On the colt-side of the Sire Stakes action, Guess Whos Back put forth a performance worth of his name, with a dominant 1:54 score in the first of two New Jersey Sire Stakes divisions for the three year old trotting colts. Sent off as the slight favorite over Canepa Hanover (both were 4/5), Guess Whos Back settled off the speed through the first quarter of a mile, before making a power move to the lead down the backstretch for Brian Sears. The Muscles Yankee colt would clear the top with ease, hitting the half-mile in just 58.1. He would face no pressure from that point of the mile all the way to the wire, sailing past three-quarters in 1:27, before leveling out in the stretch and drawing clear to a convincing 1:54 triumph. As a two year old, Guess Whos Back won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadowlands en route to earning $92,350 for Nikolas Drennan. Drennan expressed delight with how his Hambletonian hopeful performed. "Overall I was very happy with him," said Drennan. "It looked like he got a little steppy on the first turn, so we may make a few small changes going forward. But I was happy with him." Guess Whos Back sent his earnings past $100,000 with the winners share of $20,000 purse. He is owned by Davino, Shackman, T L P Stable and J&T Silva Stables. The other division for the sophomore colts pitted an intriguing matchup of Muscle Diamond and French Laundry. That pair finished second and third respectively in the Breeders Crown last year. Muscle Diamond was sent off as the 4/5 favorite with French Laundry the 3/2 second choice. The latter established the lead early on and took the Sire Stakes field through fractions of 28, 57.3 and 1:26.2. Muscle Diamond sat along the pylons in third, tracking the early speed and was guided off the pylons in the stretch and showed dramatic acceleration. However, nearing the wire, Muscle Diamond lost his momentum while getting a little steppy, seemingly because he was trotting so fast in the stretch and French Laundry was able to hold on for the win in 1:53.1. Both colts were very imopressive in their three year old debuts. French Laundry added to his lifetime earnings, which now stand at $323,119 for Jimmy Takter. Brett Miller drove the talented colt for Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding Al Libfield and Marvin Katz. There were some new faces that comprised the talented field in the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, but the result was one that we have come to know well. Radar Contact, who has not been worse than second since February 6th, was the 6/5 favorite and she would dictate the terms after wrestling the lead away from Inittowinafortune, who reached the opening quarter in a sharp 26.2. From there, Radar Contact would clear the lead and reached the half-mile in 55.2 with Inittowinafortune close behind in the pocket, a scenario we have seen week in and week out at The Meadowlands. These two mares remained that way through three quarters in 1:23.1 and the two sprinted away from the field, but this time Inittowinafortune was able to chase down Radar Contact to score in 1:49.4, a lifetime best effort. Radar Contact was a clear second with Jerseylicious third. The winner was one of two on the card for trainer Michael Russo, who conditioned the mare for Michael Pagonas. Scott Zeron was in the sulky. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed and the Jackpot swelled to $118,474 for the Saturday program. The last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 also carried over again, with that carryover pool now standing at $91,803. Total handle for the 12-race Friday card was $2,773,591. That marked a 15-percent increase from the same day in 2014 despite one less race. The on-track handle yielded a 20-percent gain as well. Saturday night features the $183,650 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, where Bee A Magician will attempt to become the first mare in the 17-year history of the race to emerge victorious. Also on the program is New Jersey Sire Stakes action for the three year old pacers, both colts and fillies. Last year's two year old pacing champion Artspeak will headline one of two divisions for the colts and geldings. There is a $50,000 TVG Invitational on the program as well. Post time for the Saturday program is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali  

There were four divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday (May 14), each going for a purse of approximately $63,000. Solveig Racing Partner's Uncle Lasse checked in as the heavy favorite in division one. The son of Donato Hanover is coming off of a solid freshman campaign, banking $350,000 in 2014, including a tough loss to Pinkman in the Valley Vic at Woodbine. He showed solid early speed at the start, but had company in the form of Suit And Tie (Mike Simons) who took the lead by the quarter in :27.4. That lead was short lived however, as Uncle Lasse quickly went back on the offensive, re-taking the lead by the half in :57. After putting away a first-over challenge from Shoot The Thrill (Tony Hall), Uncle Lasse began to pull away at three-quarters 1:25.1. He went on to win easily from that point, stopping the clock in a lifetime's best 1:53. Bob Key's Cue Hall (Dave Miller) rallied up for second, while Explosiveday (Tim Tetrick) rallied for third. It was the fifth career win for Uncle Lasse out of fourteen starts. He is trained by Jimmy Takter, and was driven by Brett Miller. The second division went to another Jimmy Takter trainee, Whom Shall I Fear (Yannick Gingras). The son of Cantab Hall was one of three horses coming into the race undefeated in 2015. At the start, it was Real DJ Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) taking command. The favorite however quickly brushed to the front after the quarter (:28.2). They remained that way throughout the middle half, which went in :57.2. Consus Racing Stable's Pierre (Scott Zeron) mustered a lukewarm first-over bid, but began to stall rounding the final turn. In the stretch, it was down to Whom Shall I Fear and Real DJ Hanover, with the former winning the stretch duel. The final time was 1:54.1. Pierce Wave Hanover (Corey Callahan) finished a distant third. Whom Shall I fear is owned by The Whom Shall I Fear Stable. Trainer Jimmy Takter remained hot in the third division, as The Bank came from off the trot to win. The son of Donato Hanover finished second in a Breeder's Crown elimination last season, and was coming off of two sharp qualifiers in preparation for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. The Bank was taken off the trot at the start, as Sixteen Encores (Dave Miller) and Divisionist (Charlie Norris) left for the lead from the outside. Sixteen Encores made a break at the quarter, and that left Divisionist with a sizable lead. After the half, Boots N Chains emerged first over to challenge, with the eventual winner latched on to that cover. They fanned across the track at the top of the stretch, with The Bank kicking clear to win by a length, stopping the timer in 1:56. Wicker Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) finished second, while Boots N Chains finished third. The Bank is owned by Christina Takter and Goran Falk, and was driven by Jimmy Takter. The fourth division featured the heavily favored Pinkman. The Breeders Crown Champion of a year ago is coming off of two sharp qualifiers at the Meadowlands in preparation for his 3-year-old campaign. He went right to the lead at the start. After hitting the quarter in :28.1, Pinkman went into beast mode. He posted a :56.1 middle half, a back half in :55.3, and an impressive clocking of 1:52.2, a track record for 3-year-old gelding trotters. Bobs Hope (Corey Callahan) finished second, while Soboro Hanover (Brett Miller) finished third. Pinkman is owned by Takter, the Fieldings, Mc Clelland, and Liverman, and was driven by Yannick Gingras. Michael Bozich

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (May 13, 2015) - "She is her own woman, that is for sure," said harness racing trainer Ron Burke as he described his brilliantly fast, yet quirky world champion Mission Brief. Last year's champion two-year-old trotting filly, who set the world record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile, makes her official three-year-old debut Friday (May 15) in the opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands. Mission Brief earned $591,070 last year in nine wins including a season-ending victory in the Breeders Crown. She also broke stride in four races. "I have told the other owners that with this horse, the highs will be really high and the lows will be horrible," said Burke. "With her, I'm holding my breath and maybe getting ready to drive to the George Washington Bridge." Mission Brief made a break in her first qualifier on May 1, a miscue that Burke attributes to a shoeing change that the temperamental filly did not like. She stayed trotting in her second qualifier a week later, a victory in 1:56.2. "I tried to shoe her a little more aggressively like I shoe most of my other good trotters and she just didn't take to it so we switched her shoes back to how we had them last year," explained Burke. Mission Brief, owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi, faces nine other rivals in Friday's New Jersey Sire Stakes, which is carded as race eleven on the twelve-race card. Yannick Gingras will take his usual seat behind the daughter of Muscle Hill. She is the 3-5 morning line favorite and carries career earnings higher than the rest of her nine rivals combined. "She was great training this week and maybe she is just waiting for us to get aggressive with her," said Burke. "It seems that the hardest quarters for her are when she has to go medium speed. She can easily warm up in 35 second quarters and can go those big 27 second quarters in a race, but it's going that in-between-speed that seems to be the hardest." The Meadowlands will also host a pair of divisions in the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old male trotters. The first division, carded as race two, is headlined by last year's Sire Stakes champion, Guess Whos Back, and emerging Hambletonian contender Canepa Hanover, driven and trained by last year's Hambletonian winner, Jimmy Takter. The second division goes as race four and features Muscle Diamond and Takter's French Laundry, second and third, respectively, in last year's Breeders Crown. Friday's card also features a pair of growing carryovers in the Jackpot Super High 5 wagers. The fifth race carryover has grown to $112,844 and the twelfth race carryover sits at $87.837. Rachel Ryan

All Bets Off and Lets Drink On It scored impressive victories Sunday night at the harness racing meeting at Flamboro Downs in the eliminations for the Confederation Cup. A group of 16 four-year-old pacers were split into two $20,000 eliminations to determine the field for next Sunday's $226,575 Confederation Cup. The top four finishers from each elimination Sunday, plus one fifth-place finisher drawn by lot, qualified for the final. In the first elimination, All Bets Off established a new Flamboro Downs track record with a dominant 1:50.4 victory. Driven by Yannick Gingras, All Bets Off sprinted off the wings of the gate to hook up with Three Of Clubs in an early battle for the front. After being parked past the opening-quarter in :26.2, All Bets Off overtook the lead and cruised by the midway point in :55.1. National Debt came first up from third to challenge the leader, but All Bets Off turned aside the pressure and began to extend his lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:23. All Bets Off paced away from his competition in the final-quarter to score a 3 ½ length victory in 1:50.4. Bettorever, who was seventh at three-quarter pole, was able to split his way between rivals on the final turn to finish second, while National Debt and Big Boy Dreams finished third and fourth, securing spots in the final. All Bets Off clocking of 1:50.4 set a new track record for an aged pacer, shaving a fifth of a second off of the previous mark of 1:51 set in 2007 by Rare Jewel. A son of Bettors Delight, All Bets Off is trained by Ron Burke for the ownership group of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stb Corp and the Estate of Rosemary J Shelswell. Last year's Messenger Stakes winner, All Bets Off elimination victory was his first in two starts this season. The Burke trainee now has 16 career victories and earnings of over $1.1 million. All Bets Off returned $3.80 to win. Lets Drink On It got a perfect second-over to trip to score an impressive five-length victory in the second elimination. Trained by Joe Seekman, Lets Drink On It was scheduled to be driven by Tyler Smith, but a late driver change saw Billy Davis Jr. pick up and make the most of a live drive. Lets Drink On It got away sixth in the early stages, as Limelight Beach hustled out to the lead and posted an opening-quarter of :26.1. Heading to the half, Davis moved Lets Drink On It to the outside and was able to pick up the cover of Ideal Cowboy, who came out from third to challenge first up. Limelight Beach and Ideal Cowboy went toe-to-toe by the half in :54.1 and three-quarter pole in 1:22.3, while Lets Drink On It sat comfortably second-over. Davis sent Lets Drink On It three-wide at the three-quarter pole to sweep around the leaders and the Seekman trainee responded by pacing off to an easy five-length victory in 1:51.4. Somewhere Fancy came on late to finish second, while Ideal Cowboy and Limelight Beach qualified for the final by finishing third and fourth, respectively. A son of Art Official, Lets Drink On It now has two wins in four starts to start his four-year-old season. He is owned by Tina Seekman, Larry Bond, Hal Hewitt and Vincent Boido Jr. Sunday's elimination victory gives Lets Drink On It 15 career wins and pushes his bankroll over $630,000. A $2 win ticket on Lets Drink On It returned $10.70. A draw was held following the eliminations to determine which fifth-place finisher, Mattamerican or Nirvana Seelster, qualified for the final. Nirvana Seelster won the draw to qualify for the final, while Mattamerican will be the also eligible. The post position draw for the Confederation Cup final will take place Wednesday afternoon and will be broadcast live on CHCH News at Noon. The $226,575 Confederation Cup final will be contested next Sunday (May 17) evening. Post time for the Confederation Cup card at Flamboro Downs is 6 p.m. Mark McKelvie

With The Championship Meet upon us, The harness racing Grand Circuit took center stage on Friday night at The Meadowlands. The three year old filly pacers contested the $43,106 W.N. Reynolds Memorial. On paper it was a very competitive field of seven and it played out that way on the racetrack. Bettor Be Steppin, sent off as a very slight 8/5 favorite would dictate the terms establishing a tempo of 27, 55.4 and 1:24. She turned for home with the 9/5 second choice, Happiness right on her back. Bedroomconfessions was grinding away first over, with Divine Caroline riding her cover. With just an eighth of a mile to go, these four fillies lined up across the track. Happiness found room at the pylons and sprinted through to the tune of a 26.3 final quarter to win going away in the end. Divine Caroline rallied off cover to finish up second with Bedroomconfessions third. Happiness was driven to victory by Yannick Gingras for Ron Burke who co-owns the filly with Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C. The 1:50.3 clocking was a lifetime mark for the three year old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. The $39,816 John Simpson Memorial for three year old filly trotters was also a part of the Grand Circuit action on Friday night. Riley's Dream was bet down to 3/5 favoritism, but she would find herself locked in throughout the first three-quarters of a mile as Shaqline never found the pylons and remained parked out outside Riley's Dream throughout. In the meantime, Rules Of The Road showed tremendous early speed for Dave Miller as she reeled off fractions of 27.1, 56.1 and 1:25.1 while trotting unopposed on the lead throughout the mile. Turning for home, Rules Of The Road kicked away from the field and she was never threatened, winning in 1:54. The win was one of four on the night for Dave Miller and the winner is eligible to The Hambletonian Oaks for trainer Janice Connor who co-owns the filly with Arden Homestead Stable. A field of six top mares went to the gate in the $27,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace. Sayitall BB was the aggressor moving to the front and leading the charge around the track, reaching the half-mile in 55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.3. The Breeders Crown winner turned for home with the lead, but the field began to close in. With mares coming from anywhere, the mare coming fastest of all was the one closing from last, Weeper. She appeared on the far left of the screen and sprinted home to a sub-26 second final quarter to win. Weeper was driven by Brett Miller for Jimmy Takter and owners Bay Pond Racing Stable. Weeper is eligible to all the major stakes for the mare pacers at The Meadowlands, including the TVG Championships. Jerseylicious returned a winner on Friday night at The Meadowlands, winning an upper level condition event for fillies and mares pacers. Sent off as the overwhelming 1/5 favorite Jerseylicious secured a pocket trip behind the speedy That Woman Hanover. But Dave Miller decided it was time to move with three-eighths of a mile to go and he pulled the pocket with Jerseylicious, securing the lead prior to the three quarter pole. From there, the five year old daughter of Western Ideal opened up several lengths and was able to fend off the late brush of Beautiful Lady to score in 1:50.4, just three-fifths off her lifetime mark. Jerseylicious is well-staked at The Meadowlands, including eligibility to the TVG Championship for the Pacing Mares, Golden Girls and The Lady Liberty. Muscle Network made it back to back wins Friday. The former Valley Victory Champion made it five wins from 13 career starts with his 1:53.3 winning performance. His earnings are now past $335,000 lifetime and he is eligible to The Graduate series which gets underway on Memorial Day at Tioga Downs. Hambletonian Eligibles were prominent on the program Friday night and a couple of them won. Saboro Hanover won a maiden event for Nifty Norman and Dave Miller. The $75,000 Harrisburg yearling was equipped with trotting hobbles and responded by sprinting a visually impressive final quarter to score in a sharp 1:54.3. Additionally, Dapper Don, making his three year old debut, scored in impressive first-over fashion in 1:55.4. The connections have a Hambletonian-ring to them, being the same that won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share, including driver Tim Tetrick, who was very high on the colt. "He's come a long way," said Tetrick. "He let me drive him how I wanted, let me put him where I wanted. He's matured. Current Crisis and Robert Krivelin were victories in the $15,000 GSY Amateur Final. Despite a frenzy of action that saw trotters stacked three and four wide on the first turn, Krivelin was able to secure a position near the lead where he tracked Mr Ridgetaker who was very wide early and Bambino Hall. Kriven guided his trotter to the lead past the half-mile pole and Current Crisis opened up daylight from there, soaring past three-quarters and romping to an easy triumph. Hannah Miller was forced very wide behind stalled trotters coming off the bend and finished with a flourish to be second while Jenny Melander and All About Justice checked in third. Robert Krivelin trains and drives Current Crisis for the Hero Stables. The win was the 25th in the career of the six year old trotter, sending his earnings to nearly $240,000. On the wagering front, the 11th race on the program featured the fourth largest payout in the history of The Meadowlands and the second largest trifecta of all time. It was a perfect storm, as Two Hip Dip, Donnie Darko and Lock Down Lindy, the three favorites all broke stride. Battle Mage avoided any trouble and scored the 32-1 upset. Cutup Hanover was second at 34-1 and Silverhill Volo was third at 99-1. That combination resulted in a $2 trifecta return of $62,559.60. The largest trifecta of all time came nearly twenty years ago and returned over $88,000 for a $2 return. The only larger payouts were a pick-6 that yielded over a $100,000 return and the recent $200,000 jackpot that was paid out in the Super Hi-5. The total handle of $2,597,671 was a ten-percent increase over this same Friday in 2014. Racing resumes on Saturday, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. There are carryovers in both $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers, with the fifth race carryover now standing at $108,703 and the last race carryover growing to $83,532. Darin Zoccali

Freehold, NJ --- Habitat made life easy for harness racing driver Yannick Gingras in Saturday's $133,170 Dexter Cup, taking the lead after the first turn and cruising to a 3-3/4 length win over Divisionist in 1:56.4 at Freehold Raceway. "I like it that way; perfect for me," Gingras said about the uncontested trip. "I just had to worry about the first turn, but once he was through there I know there would be no catching him." The Dexter Cup, for 3-year-old trotters, is the first open stakes test on the road to the Hambletonian Stakes. The $1 million Hambletonian is Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands. Last year, Habitat won seven of 13 races and earned $534,407 in purses -- a total that ranked third among all 2-year-old trotters, behind only divisional Dan Patch Award winners Mission Brief (female) and Pinkman (male). Habitat's victories included the William Wellwood Memorial and Matron Stakes as well as divisions of the Tompkins-Geers, Champlain, and Bluegrass. A son of Conway Hall-Habit's Best, the colt is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. Habitat was making his seasonal debut in the Dexter Cup. He led the field through fractions of :28.2, :58.4, and 1:27.4 on his way to victory. "On the backstretch, I could tell they were coming a little bit so I just opened him up a little so I wouldn't have to rush him in the last turn," Gingras said. "He was never in doubt." Gabe The Bear Dean finished third, followed by Apostles Creed, Sixteen Encores, Ha Taylor, Broken Record, and Bavaro. Apostles Creed, Divisionist, Habitat, and Sixteen Encores are eligible to the Hambletonian. Habitat made one start on a half-mile track last year, going off stride in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Buffalo Raceway. This time, he completed his task without trouble. "It was a waltz around, which is great for his first start," said Burke's assistant trainer Shannon Murphy. "He didn't have to get stressed out at all and he did everything right. A half-mile track, he only raced once on it last year and he made a break and we were a little concerned, but once Yannick scored him down he gave me the thumbs up. "He filled out (last year to this) and didn't get really much bigger, but he's matured mentally and we're hoping for a big year with him." Earlier on the card, E L Love and Northern Obsession each won a $35,750 division of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. E L Love, driven by trainer Riina Rekila, won by 2-3/4 lengths over Riley's Dream in 1:58. Northern Obsession, driven by Eric Abbatiello for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, won by a half-length over Southwind Cartier in 2:01. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Habitat enters this harness racing season playing second fiddle to stablemate Mission Brief, but he will be the first 3-year-old trotter from trainer Ron Burke's stable to venture onto the road to the Hambletonian Stakes. A multiple stakes-winner in 2014, Habitat will get his campaign started Saturday when he faces seven foes in the $133,170 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old trotters at Freehold Raceway. Habitat, who is one of four Hambletonian eligible horses in the field, will start from post six with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Also in the Dexter will be four horses from the stable of trainer Ray Schnittker - Gabe The Bear Dean, HA Taylor, Bavaro, and Broken Record - along with Charlie Norris' Divisionist, Jimmy Takter's Apostles Creed, and Rich Gillock's Sixteen Encores. Apostles Creed, Divisionist, Habitat, and Sixteen Encores are eligible to the Hambletonian. Last year, Habitat won seven of 13 races and earned $534,407 in purses - a total that ranked third among all 2-year-old trotters, behind only division Dan Patch Award winners Mission Brief (female) and Pinkman (male). Habitat's victories included the William Wellwood Memorial and Matron Stakes as well as divisions of the Tompkins-Geers, Champlain, and Bluegrass. "I'm very happy with him," said Burke, who owns Habitat with Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. "I'm pleasantly surprised. He did improve (from last year) and I didn't think he would because he was smaller and so quick to learn last year. I'm thrilled." Burke was so pleased with Habitat's early work that he decided to enter the colt in the Dexter. Habitat, who won a qualifier in 1:56.3 at Harrah's Philadelphia on April 21, received a bye into the Dexter final based on career earnings. Broken Record, Gabe The Bear Dean, and Sixteen Encores also got byes while Apostles Creed, Divisionist, HA Taylor, and Bavaro reached the final thanks to finishing one-through-four in an eight-horse elimination last weekend at Freehold. "I wasn't planning on going to (the Dexter)," Burke said. "Then I trained him a week out and he was so good, I thought I would look it up and see what horses (were eligible). I threw him in at Philly and Yannick said he was vicious. I knew there was the chance I could get a bye and then it gave me 10 days to work him again in between. I was happy with it. "It's a nice purse for the level of competition. It's not going to be the hardest horses he's going to face all year and it will be a nice start to the year to get him going." Habitat, a son of stallion Conway Hall out of the mare Habit's Best, made one start on a half-mile track last year, going off stride in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Buffalo Raceway. Burke, though, believes Habitat will be alright on Freehold's half-mile oval. "Freehold is such a good track; they get around there so well," Burke said. "I don't really worry about it too much." Habitat would enter the year as the star of most stables, but Burke also is preparing Mission Brief for her 3-year-old campaign - and a chance to take on the boys in the Hambletonian. She is scheduled to qualify Friday morning at the Meadowlands. Last year, she trotted the fastest mile in history by a 2-year-old - 1:50.3. That time, on paper, was at least eight lengths better than any other 2-year-old trotter last season. Additionally, of the four fastest miles ever by a 2-year-old trotter, Mission Brief owns or shares three of the times. "If not for Mission Brief, I'd be falling all over (Habitat)," Burke said. "But they're not the same horse." Apostles Creed won the Dexter Cup elimination by one length over Divisionist in 1:59.4. Takter has trained four Dexter Cup winners during his career. Schnittker has five triumphs in the Dexter Cup. Following is the field for the Dexter Cup in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Gabe The Bear Dean, Jordan Stratton, Ray Schnittker 2. HA Taylor, Steve Smith, Ray Schnittker 3. Bavaro, George Brennan, Ray Schnittker 4. Divisionist, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris 5. Apostles Creed, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter 6. Habitat, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke 7. Sixteen Encores, David Miller, Rich Gillock 8. Broken Record, Ray Schnittker, Ray Schnittker Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, (April 18, 2015) - The Whata Baron series got underway Saturday night at The Meadowlands which featured a collection of thirteen talented harness racing pacers, split into two divisions. The first division for $22,500 was led by Rediscovery, the overwhelming 1/5 favorite in the field of six. As a three year old the son of Tell All, Rediscovery contested the Little Brown Jug and his four year old season began with a solid effort in the Sonsam series and a sharp win in the Sagamore at Yonkers. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Rediscovery was allowed to settle off the pace in the early stages, having only one horse beaten at the opening quarter. But Ideal Cowboy, fresh off the layoff was fired up and reached that quarter in 26-seconds. Sassy Hanover was the first horse to move and he made a sharp brush heading past the three-eighths pole, reaching the half-mile in 54-seconds. But at that point, Rediscovery was breathing down his neck and the favorite took over as the field moved into the far turn. Rediscovery paced the far turn in 26.4, reaching three quarters in an eye-opening 1:20.4 and turned for home with the advantage. Ideal Cowboy, the once leader who was shuffled back to third was guided back out and made his bid for the lead, trying to chase down the favorite. But he appeared to lean in several times and was unable to catch Rediscovery. JK Patriot, who saved ground throughout, shook free in the stretch and rallied well to finish third. For Rediscovery, the 1:49.2 mark was a lifetime best performance. Rediscovery is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Weaver, Bruscemi and Collura. The second division featured Panchester United off his impressive victory one week ago.  He was sent off as the 3/2 favorite in the field of seven and would dictate the terms, leading the field through fractions of 26.4, 54.2 and 1:22.3.  A challenge would come on the far turn as Corey Callahan guided Bettorever from third to the outside and they would draw on even terms at the top of the stretch with Rock Out locked in the pocket behind the leader.  Lord Of Misrule was tracking the cover and loomed into contention as well.  They lined up three across the track nearing the wire, with Rock Out crying out for racing room as the field swarmed in on Panchester United, but his clearance would come too late as Bettorever was able to wear down the favorite and score a gritty win in 1:50.4.  Panchester United was just a nose behind in second while Rock Out was a hard-luck third. Bettorever is owned by Bamond Racing LLC and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr.  The 1:50.4 clocking was a new lifetime mark for the Bettor's Delight four year old gelding. The Spring Preview for pacers also commenced on Saturday night.  The first division for the maiden colts and geldings went to Edward Teach, a Meadowlands Pace and Cane Pace-eligible Rocknroll Hanover colt in 1:52.1, giving Yannick Gingras a sweep of the early daily double. Edward teach made a first over bid, gained separation on the field and won convincingly.  Gratian Hanover rallied late to finish second with Devils Cut third.  The second division saw Rock Of The Ages, a Rocknroll Hanover son of the great Galleria, pull off the 9-1 upset with Andy Miller in the bike in 1:51.3.  Bobby The Greek, the prohibitive favorite was trip-compromised, forced three wide and could not catch the winner in the stretch, forced to settled for second with American Messenger third.  The Spring Preview for the sophomore pacers meeting the non-winners of two condition featured a match-up of Gokudo Hanover vs. Revenge Shark and the race did not disappoint as Gokudo Hanover cut the mile and turned for home with the lead and Revenge Shark made a menacing move on the turn to challenge the leader, but drifted slightly in the stretch and Gokudo Hanover was able to hold on for the win in 1:51.  Colorful Speech earned the show spot. On the filly side, the spotlight was on Gweneeee J, the sister to Heston Blue Chip.  For the second consecutive week, she had to do the work, grinding it out first over, this time chasing her stable-mate Lady Spartacus and for the second week in a row, she could not go by the leader.  Lady Spartacus earned her second victory of the season, holding off the favorite to win in 1:53.4. On the wagering-front, both Jackpot Super Hi-5 pools went unclaimed again, with the fifth race Jackpot climbing to $87,136 and the last race carryover growing to $58,172. Racing resumes on Friday at The Meadowlands, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

EAST RUTHERFORD, (April 17, 2015) - Whom Shall I Fear, the full-brother to Father Patrick and a $475,000 yearling, served notice that he is a three year old trotter to watch in 2015 with a compelling harness racing performance in his 2015 debut at The Meadowlands. Released from the gate as the 1/5 prohibitive favorite, Yannick Gingras guided Whom Shall I Fear towards the rear of the field while following what would turn out to be a live outer flow. Danish Durango would establish the early lead through a 28.2 opening quarter, but quickly felt a challenge from Clifton Beach who he released going past the three-eighths marker. But, Whom Shall I Fear was tracking that trotter every step of the early stages and Gingras guided his three year old to the lead past the half-mile in 57.3. From there, the race was over as Whom Shall I Fear created separation on Clifton Beach and all the rest, gliding past three quarters in 1:26.2. The lead would expand from that point with the final margin listed as 10 lengths in the end. The final time was an impressive 1:53.3, including a 27.1 final quarter under no pressure. Starzinner was a distant second with Madman Hall third. Whom Shall I Fear is trained by Jimmy Takter for Whom Shall I Fear Stable. He is eligible to both The Hambletonian and The Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. There is a new kid on the block when it comes to the open trotters at The Meadowlands and his name is Wind Of The North.  The Daryl Bier trainee has gone back to back at the top trotting level after his win Friday night. Surprisingly dismissed at 5-1, Wind Of The North left for position and sat third on the pylons early in the mile as Lindy’s Tru Grit, the overwhelming 1/5 favorite (coupled with Master Of Law) established a rapid 26.2 opening quarter.  The favorite would continue to dictate the tempo through fractions of 55.4 and 1:24.3 while turning for home with a diminishing lead.  Appomattox mounted a challenge from out of the pocket while Master Of Law ranged up off a live cover trip.  As Lindy’s Tru Grit tired, Wind Of The North quietly began to rally up the pylons and he powered through the stretch to grab the victory in the final strides in 1:52.  Appomattox finished second with Master Of Law third. Wind Of The North was driven to victory again by Dave Miller for Daryl Bier and Joann Dombeck. There was no single winner in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5, that carryover has grown to $83,210.  The last race Jackpot Hi-5 also went unclaimed and that carryover will be $52,142 into the last race on Saturday. The 13-race Saturday program will feature the opening round of the Whata Baron series.  In addition the Spring Preview debuts for the pacing colts and fillies.  Post time is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

Last season's harness racing driver standings were pretty much a one driver race for a big part of the season. The Canadian superstar Yannick Gingras set a lot of personal bests on his way to claiming the North American driving premiership. His drives won over seventeen million over the season which pushed his career earnings over the one hundred million mark. The thirty four year old native of Quebec first arrived at the Meadowlands in 2004 and has worked his way to the top. Last season Yannick won his third straight drivers premiership at The Meadowlands and during the season passed the 5000 wins mark to boot. One of the first drivers to have a really large media profile, the "Green Hornet" as he is known looks set for many more record breaking seasons in front of him.  Harnesslink Media

A field of seven squared off in the featured harness racing event at Harrah's Philly on Friday, a upper- conditioned level pace for fillies and mares. The purse was $22,000. The favorite at post time was Ron Burke trainee Bazooka Terror (Yannick Gingras). At the start, it was Fast and Fiesty (Dave Miller) showing her familiar early speed. Her lead was short-lived however, as long shot Breathtaking (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) brushed to the front, by an opening quarter of :27.3. After a rated :29 second quarter, business picked up as Star Keeper (Tim Tetrick) moved first-over to challenge. They battled by three-quarters in 1:24.3 (:28). Breathtaking drew clear at the top of the stretch, barely holding off the late charge of Marty Party (Brett Miller) to win by a head, stopping the clock in 1:53.2. She paid $22.60 to win. Breathtaking is owned by trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. Michael Bosch

A field of seven conditioned trotters squared off in the featured harness racing event at Harrah's Philadelphia on a cold and cloudy Thursday afternoon. The wagering public placed their support behind Reima Kuisla's Appomattox (Yannick Gingras). The 6-year-old son of Yankee Glide is coming off of a second place finish against open trotters at the Meadowlands. At the start, Appomattox fired quickly off the wings, securing the lead before the quarter (:28.1). Four-year-old Razor Ramone (Dave Miller) settled in behind, with the races lone mare Photosavvy getting away third. After rating a :29.2 second quarter, Appomattox faced a first over challenge from Photsavvy, but was able to sprint clear in the stretch and win by two lengths, stopping the clock in 1:53.4. It was the twelfth career win for the Ron Burke trainee, with career earnings just under the $500,000 mark. Photosavvy was second, while Possessed Fashion (Brett Miller) finished third. The winner paid $3.40. Harrah's Philadelphia  

A field of seven lined up behind the starter for the featured event of the day from Harrah's Philadelphia, a trot for non-winners of $25,000 in their last 5 starts or non-winners of 9 races or $90,000 lifetime. Three horses were making their 2015 debuts after solid 3-year-old campaigns. Linda Toscano trainee Uva Hanover, Chris Ryder trainee Madewell Hanover, and Walter Carroll trainee Wheelsandthelegman each made over $100,000 as 3-year-olds. At the start however, it was favored Il Mago (Yannick Gingras) going right to the front, and making every call a winning one, stopping the clock in 1:55. Spider Blue Chip (Dave Miller) closed up the inside to finish second, while millionaire trotter Sevruga (Andy Miller). It was the 24th career win for the 6-year-old horse by Kadabra, who was making his 99th start. The winner paid $4.00. Michael Bozich

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – The richest and fastest harness racing pacing colts of the 2014 season in North America have been nominated to the second annual revival of the $200,000 Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R. The $200,000 Prix D’Ete is restricted to four-year-old pacers only and the race will be held on Sunday, August 23. It is the richest harness horse race in all of Quebec and one of the richest races for four-year-olds in the sport. Headlining the list of the 28 four-year-olds that features six of the top ten money winning three-year-olds from last year is $1,472,937 winner McWicked. He was voted the Dan Patch award and the O’Brien award as North America’s top three-year-old pacing colt of the year in 2014. Last year he was victorious in the Breeders Crown, the Hempt Memorial, the Adios Pace and the Progress Pace for trainer Casie Coleman and Ed James SSG Stable. He is joined by other world class performers All Bets Off, He’s Watching, Always B Miki, Limelight Beach and Somewhere In L A among the top ten money winners from 2014. Three of the horses nominated are million dollar lifetime winners, McWicked, He’s Watching and All Bets Off. And if speed counts for anything, then the Prix D’Ete eligibles for 2015 have that too, as five of the six fastest three-year-old pacing colts last year were also nominated. There are 12 horses nominated with a race record of 1:50 or faster. He’s Watching, with his amazing 1:46.4 world record performance in the Meadowlands Pace final, which ties him as a co-fastest harness race horse ever, heads the lineup followed by McWicked’s  1:47.3 world record mile at Pocono Downs, Always B Miki (1:47.4), Luck Be With You (1:48) and All Bets Off (1:48.3). “With this caliber of horses nominated,” said 3R General Manager Vincent Trudel, “the Hippodrome 3R track record set last year by Sunfire Blue Chip in 1:50.3 in the Prix D’Ete could easily be broken. What a great group of horses we have that have been nominated.” Jimmy Takter trained Sunfire Blue Chip, who was driven in the Prix D’Ete by local favorite, Yannick Gingras. Takter hopes to return once again to vie for the Prix D’Ete trophy as his stable has nominated Somewhere In L A, who last year won over $500,000 with a record of 1:50. The top four leading money winner trainers in 2014 all have horses nominated to the Prix D’Ete. They are Ron Burke, Jimmy Takter, Erv Miller and Casie Coleman. “We could not be more pleased with such top horses nominated to the Prix D’Ete,” Trudel added, “There are still two more nomination payments that must be made in April and May, but I am sure that most of these horses will remain eligible. It will also be exciting as this season we have purchased a new starting car with a slated gate that will make the races even more competitive.” There is also a local flavor to the race as seven of the horses entered have Quebec-based connections. They are Atomic Million AM, Bettorever, Big Boy Dreams, Boomboom Ballykeel, Electric Western, Titus Seelster and Vance Bayama. “It is shaping up that we can look forward to an exciting live race meet at 3R,” Trudel said. “The race fans will not only get to see the best horses compete in the Prix D’Ete, but with the new starting gate, our $1 million Quebec-bred series, the drivers tournament and the special promotions we have planned throughout the season, opening day on Sunday, May 3 cannot arrive fast enough.” From the Quebec Jockey Club Here are the 28 horses nominated in alphabetical order: All Bets Off Always B Miki Arthur Blue Chip Atomic Million AM Best Said Bettorever Big Boy Dreams Boomboom Ballykeel Electric Western Fort Knox He’s Watching Jet Airway Limelight Beach Luck Be Withyou Mattamerican McWicked Melmerby Beach National Debt Roger Mach EM Silverhill Shadow Somewhere In L A Speckled Door Three Of Clubs Titus Seelster Unlocked Vance Bayama Whiskey N Pie Winds Of Change

Freehold, NJ --- The USTA website provides periodic glimpses at some of harness racing’s stars as they prepare for harness racing action this year. Today, we look at ageless record-setting pacer Foiled Again. FOILED AGAIN Dragon Again – In A Safe Place – Artsplace Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables Breeder: Barbara Matthews Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras 2014 Record: 26-6-8-5; $863,563; 1:50.2h Career: 224-83-56-32; $6.90 million; 1:48f Honors: Dan Patch Award for best older male pacer in 2013, 2012, 2011. Dan Patch Award for Pacer of the Year in 2011. O’Brien Award for best older male pacer in 2013, 2011. The road back: The 11-year-old Foiled Again qualified in 1:54.3 at the Meadowlands on March 7 and will return to the Big M on Friday for another qualifier as he prepares for the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. The Levy begins March 21. Foiled Again won the series in 2010 and 2009. He finished second in the final in 2013 and 2012 and was third in 2014 and 2011. “It was good,” trainer Ron Burke said about Foiled Again’s first qualifier of the year. “He did everything we asked of him, so we were happy with him. “We lost some time with the weather, but he’ll be fine. He couldn’t be any better. He’s training back as good or better than any other year. He’s an incredible horse. He just gets better and better all the time.” Bittersweet: Last year, Foiled Again finished second to now-retired stablemateSweet Lou in earnings among older pacers. Sweet Lou, who set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, was named best older male pacer and Pacer of the Year. Sweet Lou won six of the races in which Foiled Again competed, with Foiled Again finishing second on three occasions. Overall for the year, Foiled Again’s second-place finishes included the TVG Free For All Series Championship, Canadian Pacing Derby, Dayton Pacing Derby, American-National, Allerage, and Mohawk Gold Cup. “Foiled’s schedule this year is basically the same as in the past,” Burke said. “I decided to have him be one of my top two horses for the big races. I don’t think anybody has his consistency. I’m going to have to stay the course and hope the races are a little weaker this year. Without (Sweet) Lou being in it should help him a little bit. Lou hurt him because he just couldn’t pace as fast as Lou. No matter what he did, he couldn’t get to him. If Foiled can get to a horse, he’ll usually beat him. But he just could never get to him.” Oh, that’s rich: No horse in harness racing history has banked more money than Foiled Again’s $6.90 million in lifetime North American purses. Foiled Again is the richest 7-year-old in history ($1.40 million in 2011), richest 8-year-old ($1.20 million in 2012), richest 9-year-old ($1.40 million in 2013) and richest 10-year-old ($863,563 in 2014). Combine the earnings of the next three richest 10-year-olds on the all-time list and they fall nearly $66,000 short of Foiled Again’s 2014 campaign. One in a million: Foiled Again is the only horse in North American harness racing history to have three million-dollar seasons. “I don’t know if there will be another one that can do it for so many years at the top level,” driver Yannick Gingras said. “He’s one of a kind. I know at this point that he’s got less ahead of him than he has behind him, so I’m enjoying him a lot more. I know every race is a privilege. He’s a very special horse and I’m thankful I get to drive him.” As easy as 1-2-3: For his career, Foiled Again has hit the board 57 times in races worth at least $100,000. Size doesn’t matter: Foiled Again has won at least one race worth more than $450,000 on every sized racetrack in North America -- half, five-eighths, seven-eighths and mile. “I hate to say it, but it’s almost now where we take him for granted,” Burke said. “It’s just because he’s so consistent. You never have to worry about him. You never have to worry that he’s going to race bad this week. He’s not going to; he races good every week.” Rambling on: The only older male pacers to receive three consecutive Dan Patch Awards are Foiled Again and Rambling Willie (1975-77). Interestingly, until Silent Swing’s $155,270 season in 2013, Rambling Willie was the sport’s richest 11-year-old pacer of all time, with $151,599 earned in 1981. “I think the most remarkable thing about Foiled is that he’s an 11-year-old and we’re still talking about him,” Burke said. “You just don’t see horses that are even ages 8 or 9 that are a major factor in their class. He’s 11 years old and nobody can say they’re definitely going to beat him this year. He’s got as good a chance as anybody at the end of the year to be talked about for aged pacer of the year.” Crowning moment: Foiled Again won the 2013 Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs by a nose over Pet Rock in the slop to become at age 9 the oldest Breeders Crown champion in history. “I really believe that race sums his career up,” said Gingras, who pumped his fist three times in celebration that night when the photo-finish result was posted on the tote board. “Doing it the way he did, roughing it up; he never had a breather at any point during the race. He was able to beat the best there was and no one had any excuse. He just refused to lose.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, March 5, 2015 - The Hippodrome 3R management team wants every horse owner and trainer in North America to not miss the March 15 nomination payment for the 2015 $200,000 Prix D'Ete. The race is only eligible to four-year-old pacers with the top eight money earners in 2015 at time of entry going into the rich final. The race will be held on Sunday, August 23. Last year's revival of the one-time richest stakes event in all of Canada saw trainer Jimmy Takter's Sunfire Blue Chip rewrite the all-age track record at 3R with an amazing 1:50.3 mark over the 3R half mile oval. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Sunfire Blue Chip's clocking erased the prior record by nearly two full seconds and he started the race from post eight. "Not only was it great to come back to my home track and win the Prix D'Ete with Sunfire Blue Chip," said Gingras, but it was so special to win in front of my family and friends. I can't want to come back and compete in the Prix D'Ete again this year." There is a big resurgence of major stakes for four-year-old pacers in 2015 with the new formats for the Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs and the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands and Tioga Downs. They will take place in May and June. Last year the Prix D'Ete was the richest race in North America for four-year-old pacers. To get the nomination form and for the payment schedule, rules and regulations for the Prix D'Ete go to www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

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