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MILTON, ON - September 21, 2019 - Undefeated rookie Tall Dark Stranger established a new harness racing stakes record with a 1:49.1 victory in Saturday's $750,000 Metro Pace.   The son of Bettors Delight angled from the two-hole and cruised home in :27, giving his driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Nancy Johansson each their first victory in harness racing's richest race for two-year-olds.   "He's just a great colt," said Johansson. "He looked strong the whole way and still had his plugs in at the wire. If they were coming harder at him I think he still had some left in the tank."   Tall Dark Stranger left from post-four and circled around Easi Hanover, who blasted from the outside, to lead at the opening-quarter in :27. Race-favourite Capt Midnight moved out from third and went after the lead racing up the backstretch, getting stretched out by Tall Dark Stranger before clearing after a :54.1 half.   Capt Midnight carried the lead around the far turn with Tall Dark Stranger and Gingras angling from the two-hole ahead of the three-quarter pole. Ys Mathis was first-up, three-lengths from the lead, with Papi Rob Hanover on his back. The three-quarter time was 1:22.   In the stretch, Tall Dark Stranger powered by Capt Midnight to a clear lead with an eighth of a mile to go. Papi Rob Hanover made things interesting late, ultimately coming up half a length short to a steady Tall Dark Stranger. Capt Midnight finished third, while Seeyou At Thebeach was fourth.   Tall Dark Stranger grinded away to narrowly defeated Papi Rob Hanover in last week's elimination. Gingras felt that performance made a big impact on the colt.   "(Last week) it took him a long time in the stretch, but today I stretched the other colt and in the last turn he knew what it was about this time," said Gingras. "When I came out of the two-hole he went right by Capt Midnight and that was without even me asking him at that point.   "He's got some learning to do, but he's got all the tools to be a great one."   Tall Dark Stranger is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. The son of Bettors Delight is now six for six with $499,533 earned after being purchased for $330,000 at last October's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.   The clocking of 1:49.1 shaved a fifth of a second off the previous stakes record set by Sportswriter in 2009. It also matches the track record set by A Rocknroll Dance in 2011.   Gingras and Johansson can now scratch the Metro Pace off their bucket list, as the duo teamed up in the 2011 edition to finish second with Western Vintage.   Johansson's victory with Tall Dark Stranger gives her a sweep of Mohawk Park's two richest races of the season, as she captured the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup in June with Captain Crunch.   "Not bad for a girl born in Sweden," laughed Johansson. "I'm very lucky that I have owners that support me with great horses and makes my job a lot easier having the material to perform at the highest level."   Tall Dark Stranger paid $5.40 to win.   by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - August 30, 2019 - The Father Patrick colt Synergy got up the rail to win by the narrowest of margins in Friday's $182,876 Champlain Stakes for harness racing two-year-old trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A full field of 10 rookies met up for the Grand Circuit contest. Per Engblom trainee Synergy went off as the slight favourite over Luc Blais' Port Perry and the two rookies would be connected throughout. Synergy and driver Yannick Gingras moved up to the top from second moving into the backstretch. Port Perry and driver Bob McClure followed and zipped up to lead the field by the half in :57.2. Horse Trader applied first-up pressure going to three-quarters, sitting a length away from Port Perry in 1:26.4. Port Perry put away the outside rival in the stretch, but drifted off the rail just enough that Synergy could shoot through in deep stretch. The rookies hit the line in a photo finish that saw Synergy reach up to win by a nose in 1:55.4. Horse Trader finished third, while Scamp and Nylander finished in a dead-heat for fourth. "I wasn't sure honestly, it was really tight," said Gingras of the photo finish. "I had the momentum going across, so I knew I had a chance, but it was too close to call. "When Bobby (McClure) came I was happy to let him go. My horse is really good, but he hadn't raced in a month and he's been on the front a few times, so I was definitely happy to follow somebody." Synergy was making his first start since finishing fifth in the Peter Haughton Memorial on August 3 at The Meadowlands. The Engblom trainee has now won three of four starts and earned $121,854 for owners Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and David Anderson. He was a $275,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. A $2 win ticket on Synergy returned $5.20. Friday evening's program also saw a jaw-dropping performance from Youaremycandygirl in the $30,000 Mares Preferred. The four-year-old mare was making her debut for trainer Richard Moreau and made an immediate statement. Driver Louis Philippe Roy angled Youaremycandygirl out from third approaching three-quarters and immediately surged up alongside Seaswift Joy N, who reached the third marker in 1:23.3. Youaremycandygirl was in full flight swinging into the lane and stormed away from her rivals with an incredible :25.3 final-quarter to win in 1:49.1. Owned by W Donovan, Youaremycandygirl picked up her second win in 10 starts this season. The career-earners of $1.5 million now has 20 career victories. She paid $19.20 to win. Live racing continues Saturday evening with the $1.6 million Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Pacing Derby card. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment              

Greenshoe (Brian Sears) wins the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old harness racing trotters at Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 17). Front runner Marseille (Ake Svanstedt) jumped out to the lead and led to the first quarter in :27.1. Don't Let'em (Yannick Gingras) followed in second with Brian Sears content to put Greenshoe ($2.30) in the third spot. Marseille led to the half in :56.3. After the half Greenshoe made his move going first-over as they headed for the final turn. Marseille lead was just a head as they hit three-quarters in 1:25.1. Greenshoe, who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., Morten Langli, Hans Backe, and Lars Granqvist, blew right by as they made the turn for home. He looked like a rocket in the stretch as he won by six lengths in the end. The Melander trained Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) came up to finish second. Marseille held on for third. Greenshoe is a 3-year-old colt by Father Patrick. It was his sixth win in eight starts this season. He now has eight career victories. The Ice Dutchess (Yannick Gingras) captures the $135,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Starita (Dexter Dunn) jumped to the front out of the gate. The Ice Dutchess ($5.80) took control just before hitting the first quarter in :27.1. She continued to lead hitting the half in :56.2. Evident Beauty (David Miller) would be the first one to make a move going around the final turn but couldn't get to The Ice Dutchess who led the way to three-quarters in 1:25.1. The Ice Dutchess, who is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms and trained by Nancy Johanson, just breezed in the stretch. Evident Beauty gave one last charge in deep stretch but it was The Ice Dutchess winning in 1:52.4. Starita held on to finish third. The Ice Dutchess is a 3-year-old filly by Muscle Hill. It was her fourth win this season. She now owns nine career victories. American Rebel (Tyler Buter) wins the $53,000 first division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshmen pacing colts & geldings. Major Betts (Dexter Dunn) led to the first quarter in :27.2. Cigars And Port (Tim Tetrick) would soon take control and led to the half in :56.4 and to three-quarters in 1:26.2. American Rebel ($7.90), who is trained by Patti Harmon for the Harmon Racing Stable and Robert Robinson, went first over as they made the turn for home. As the hit mid-stretch Major Betts found an opening on the inside and battled American Rebel in deep stretch. American Rebel was too strong in the end to win in a lifetime best of 1:53.4. Major Betts earned second money with Cigars And Port settling for third best. American Rebel is a 2-year-old colt by American Ideal-Restive Hanover. It was his fourth career victory. Freedom Warrior (David Miller) wins the $54,000 second division of the NYSS. Teton Sunset (Tyler Buter) led to first quarter in :27.0. Stable mate Splash Brother (Tim Tetrick) then took over and led to the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. Freedom Warrior ($6.10), who is owned by Forrest Bartlett and trained by Kevin Lare, went first over just before three-quarters. He went to the front as they reached the stretch and held off the late charge by second place finisher Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) to win in a lifetime best of 1:52.3. Hurrikanekingjames (Yannick Gingras) fired late to finish third. Freedom Warrior is a 2-year-old gelding by American Ideal. It was his second win in six lifetime starts. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 23) at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

MILTON, ON - AUG. 16, 2019 - Tall Dark Stranger made his harness racing debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening and padded his growing resume with a seemingly effortless three length victory in 1:51.2. Lining up at Post 8 in the second $108,000 Gold Series division, driver Yannick Gingras eased Tall Dark Stranger away from the starting gate and settled in fifth as Bettor At Hightide rolled out to a :26.3 opening quarter. Heavy favourites Gingras and Tall Dark Stranger started their advance up the outer lane heading for the :56 half and at the 1:24 three-quarters they matched strides briefly with Bettor At Hightide before taking command and sailing home to a comfortable victory. Pocket-sitter Sports Obsession finished second and YS Mathis closed well to claim third-place honours. "He's been pretty easy to train and he's always kind of done what he's supposed to do, for the most part, so it makes my job a little bit easier for sure," said trainer Nancy Johansson of the colt, who is now perfect through two qualifiers and three races, with all three races clocked in 1:51.3 or faster. Tall Dark Stranger The son of Bettors Delight and $869,920 winner Precocious Beauty was a $330,000 purchase from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and Friday's win boosted his early career earnings to $68,000 for owners Marvin Katz of Toronto, ON, Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY, Caviart Farms of Vienna, VA and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Tall Dark Stranger started his career at The Meadowlands, near Johansson's Allentown, NJ base, but he has taken up residence at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch in preparation for the next Gold event and the Sept. 14 Metro Pace eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I have nine horses at Classy Lane, so I have a few up here and some of my staff stays up here with them. And I've been spending essentially Tuesday through Saturday in Canada," said Johansson. "I think we might race him in the Gold on the 31st, we'll race him that Gold and then he'll go to the Metro from there, most likely. Obviously he needs to stay healthy and sound and everything." Gingras, who also calls Allentown, NJ home, has been in the race bike for all of Tall Dark Stranger's appearances and Johansson does not expect the reinsman to miss any of the colt's starts, which she expects will number 12 or 13 by the end of the season. "We got lucky there were no conflicts tonight, so that he was able to come up, but I do really like to keep the same driver on a two-year-old, so that they get comfortable with each other and confidence in each other," said Johansson. "And obviously Yannick is one of the top drivers in our sport, so if he wants to come and drive him, I'm not going to fight him not to do it. "I think it will probably be in his best interest too, to keep showing up," she added with a chuckle. While Tall Dark Stranger has been straightforward to train and a gentleman to work with, that was not the case for the winner of the other Gold Series division. In the weeks after Examiner Hanover arrived at Casie Coleman's winter base in Florida last November the trainer was so unimpressed with the $80,000 yearling she suggested owners Brad Grant of Milton and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON should either send him back to breeder Hanover Shoe Farms or give him to another trainer. The son of Hes Watching was extremely difficult to work with and seemed physically unable to learn his early lessons. "He was so bad that I actually tried to give him back to Hanover Shoe Farms, saying this horse can't even, like I can't do anything with him, he can't function. I even told Brad Grant, 'If they won't take him back just try him with one of your other trainers or something, because I can't figure this horse out'," Coleman recalled. "He ended up having a lot of chiropractic issues basically, so I don't know if something happened on the ship or what, but they got fixed up and then he was training down like a beast. He couldn't have trained any better all winter once we figured that part out." Examiner Hanover continued to train well when Coleman returned to Ontario in the spring and delivered two sharp qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 14 and 22, but things went off the rails for a second time in July 6 Gold Series opener when the gelding's knee boots slid down his legs. "He went the entire mile with two knee boots down, and he got all hot and rattled up because of that," said Cambridge resident Coleman. "He qualified great, I was thrilled with him, then his first few starts weren't so good at all." After a fourth-place result in the second Gold Leg, Examiner Hanover rebounded with an overnight win at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 26 and then finished fourth to Tall Dark Stranger in the Dream Maker Series on Aug. 5. In Friday's Gold Series test driver Bob McClure settled Examiner Hanover in fifth through the :28.1 opening quarter and then sent the gelding up the outside heading for the :57 half. The pair was able to follow Wind Blown to the 1:24.4 three-quarters and then sprint home for a neck victory over Rhythm In Motion and Aneto in 1:52.3. Examiner Hanover "He went from a disaster, to awesome, to a little bit of a disaster again, to good again now," said Coleman with a chuckle. "Hopefully he's on the track right now." Complete results from Friday's program are available by clicking on this link. Next up on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule are four Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts on Saturday, Aug. 17. Post time for Saturday's program is 7:10 pm and the colts will compete in Races 3, 5, 7 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - August 5, 2019 - Tall Dark Stranger stormed into Mohawk Park to deliver an impressive 1:51.1 victory in Monday's second leg of the Dream Maker Series. An overflow field of 11 two-year-old pacing colts and geldings clashed in the second-leg of the three-week event. Round one winners Allywag Hanover and Captain Midnight sat out this week. Trainer Nancy Johansson rolled into town with a pair of freshmen, including $330,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase Tall Dark Stranger. The Bettors Delight colt won his season debut in 1:51.3 at The Meadowlands on July 26 and did not disappoint in his follow up race. Tall Dark Stranger and driver Yannick Gingras took their time in the early going after leaving from the middle of the gate and were a parked out fourth at the opening-quarter. The Johansson trainee powered ahead in the second-quarter and cleared to the top just before hitting the half in :55.3. After reaching three-quarters in 1:24.2, Tall Dark Stranger sprinted home impressively in :26.4 to win easily by three-lengths. Hes Watching colt One For Julius raced well to finish second after surrendering the lead to the winner in the second-quarter. Captaintreacherous colt Captain Kirk rallied from sixth at three-quarters to finish third by pacing a :26.2 final-quarter. Tall Dark Stranger is the second foal out of O'Brien Award winner Precocious Beauty and is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. He is now two for two and has earned $14,000. A $2 win ticket on Tall Dark Stranger returned $2.50. The $50,000 Dream Maker Series final will take place next Monday evening (August 12). Live racing continues Tuesday evening at Mohawk Park. The second leg of the Whenuwishuponastar Series headlines the action. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

East Rutherford, NJ -- Mission Accepted and driver Yannick Gingras converted on a perfect pocket trip to capture the $60,000 Vincennes Trot on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands.   The 4-year-old by Manofmanymissions scored in a 1:50.2 clocking, his fastest in 16 career victories.   Mission Accepted left strongly from the start and cleared the lead before the :26.4 opening panel. Gingras allowed Lindy The Great to secure the top on the backstretch, and that one carved out middle fractions of :54 and 1:22.1 in front of a stalled outer tier.   Mission Accepted rallied from the pocket into the stretch and drew off from former Hambletonian winner Pinkman, who had to settle for second. World champion Homicide Hunter put in a solid late rally, just missing the place spot and settling for third.   Ron Burke trains Mission Accepted for owners Knox Services Inc. and David Willis. Sent off as a 5-1 offering, Mission Accepted returned $12.60.   Favorite Rich And Miserable made a break early in the race and was no factor.   Of note, the first- and third-place finishers -- both trained by Ron Burke -- raced without shoes in the Vincennes.   by Jay Bergman

CHESTER PA - Trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras each had three wins in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes second preliminary round harness racing action for two-year-old trotting fillies Friday afternoon on a hot day at Harrah's Philadelphia, with the pair combining twice, including with the fastest divisional winner, Sister Sledge. The Father Patrick - Behindclosedoors miss Sister Sledge won a Sire Stakes in his first purse start, then caught the eye of many when she followed by winning a Pennsylvania All-Stars division in 1:53.4 - the fastest time of the year by any baby trotter, regardless of sex or size of track. On Friday Gingras let her work her way to the top past a :28 opener, get a :58 rest to the half, pick up the pace to 1:26.4 at the three-quarters, then scooted home with her in :28.2 to complete the 1:55.1 package, holding off Sherry Lyns Lady, also a PaSS winner earlier, by a confident length. Sister Sledge won thee qualifiers before her three purse victories, and has already earned $53,020 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, along with #1 status in this section to date. The other Gingras-Burke team victory was with the debutante Crucial, another daughter of Father Patrick out of Jolene Jolene, who also raced on the lead, then was extended through the stretch by Word Of Honor. The latter popped out of the pocket at headstretch and fought hard only to miss by a nose, though Crucial was only under mild encouragement in her bow. The successful freshman, who had prepped with two winning qualifiers, is owned by much of the same team as Sister Sledge: Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, W J Donovan, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The third member of the Burke Brigade to get home first was the Muscle Hill - Flawless Lindy filly Sans Defaut, who had by far the toughest trip of the three, yet still was successful in 1:57 to follow up an All-Stars victory with another stakes triumph. Sans Defaut ("flawless" in French) was spotted fourth before the quarter by driver Matt Kakaley, then had to come first-over, but she grinded to the stretch lead, then held off 30-1 shot Decoy by ¾ of a length. The bulk of her ownership is a group of which you have already read quite a bit - Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms Racing, and J&T Silva - Purnel & Libby. Gingras' third Sire Stakes success came behind the Explosive Matter - Flyer Mel filly Queen Of The Hill, another two-time PaSS winner after leaving swiftly and controlling the tempo, then winning by 4¼ lengths while lowering her speed mark to 1:57.1, last half :58.1. Per Engblom trains the talented juvenile for owner Al Libfeld. The other stakes division produced a $64.40 upsetter in the Muscle Hill - Kadealia filly Sorella, a breaker in her purse bow, but here flat and coming her own last half in :57.2 to win in 1:58, two lengths clear of the opposition. Crawford Farms Racing, who was co-owner on an earlier Sires winner, partners with Elmer Fannin on this filly   In anticipation of the extremely high heat index forecast for Sunday, Harrah's Philadelphia announces that the card already drawn and finalized for Sunday will now be raced on Monday afternoon, with a post time of 12:25 p.m.   The Jackpot Hi-5 pool carryover will be at $47,222.38 for the Monday card's race five.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the harness racing line-up for Thursday morning (June 13) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Yannick Gingras, Ken Middleton, and Brian Brown Dave Brower from Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment will join Michael Carter as co-host this week with Mike Bozich having the week off. Gingras is set for a big night at Woodbine Mohawk Park this week as he preps for their stakes weekend. He will drive Captain Victorious who tried to pull off the upset at 61/1 last week. The pair will talk to Gingras about this colt by Captaintreacherous and also discuss the big decision he had to make between Atlanta and Hannelore Hanover. Middleton, the announcer at Woodbine Mohawk Park, joins to discuss his experiences calling the big race over the years. Middleton's staple call came in 2008 when the late Somebeachsomewhere powered down the track to win for Canada. The pair will discuss with Middleton what goes into preparing for a race call like this and who he likes in the big dance. Brown who trains Workin Ona Mystery in this year's race will discuss what it has been like leading up to the North America Cup. Brown, who won The Cup with Fear The Dragon, will attempt to win the race for the second time. Our Pacing for the Cure segment continues this week with Scarlett and Heather Wilder. Post Time would like to remind it's listeners they will be live from Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday night beginning at 8:00 p.m. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN.   Michael Carter Social Media and Publicity Coordinator U.S. Trotting Association

MILTON, June 7, 2019 - Records were matched and broken in Friday evening's Armbro Flight harness racing eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of 16 star trotting mares clashed in a pair of $35,000 Armbro Flight eliminations with Ron Burke trainees Atlanta and Hannelore Hanover putting on a show. Superstar Atlanta delivered possibly the easiest-looking Canadian record-equaling performance in recent memory with a dazzling 1:51 victory in the first split. The clocking equaled Hannelore Hanover's record set in the 2016 Armbro Flight. Not one to share the spotlight, Hannelore Hanover went out and broke the record in the second elimination by posting a 1:50.3 mile. The clocking was not only a record for trotting mares, but also the fastest trotting mile in Canadian racing history. The previous record of 1:50.4 was set in 2012 by Mister Herbie. Yannick Gingras steered both mares to the record miles on Friday evening. "I'm going to talk to Ronnie," said Gingras when asked which mare he will select for the final. "It's going to be a team decision, I've got to talk to him and see what he thinks and go from there." In the first elimination, Atlanta circled around Dream Together entering the backstretch to grab command. The four-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven reached the half in a modest :56.4 before ramping things up for the back-half. Atlanta                                --New Image Media Appearing to never break a sweat, Atlanta trotted a :27.2 third-quarter followed by a :26.4 final-quarter to win by 7 ¼ lengths in 1:51. "She was unreal tonight," said Gingras following the victory. "Last week I didn't think she was a hundred percent, but tonight she was definitely back in form. I had a lot left." Gingras felt that Atlanta could've broke the record with ease. "There is no doubt she could've gone in (1):50 really easily. I still think there is room for improvement. I wouldn't be surprised if she goes under (1):50 soon, but we will worry about that when we get there." Plunge Blue Chip finished second, while P L Jill was third. The top-five was completed by Highland Top Hill and Royal Witch. Atlanta is now undefeated in three starts this season with $117,000 earned for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor. The 2018 Hambletonian champion sports impressive career numbers of 15 wins and nearly $1.3 million earned. Atlanta paid $2.20 to win. Hannelore Hanover came into the Armbro Flight elimination as the three-time defending champion. Gingras hustled Hannelore Hanover out to the top, clearing after a :27.2 opening-quarter. The seven-year-old cruised by the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:23.4. In the stretch, Hannelore Hanover trotted home in :26.4, the same final-quarter as Atlanta, to win by 4 ¼ lengths in a historic time of 1:50.3. Top Expectations finished second, while Emoticon Hanover was third. The top-five was completed by Weslynn Dancer and The Erm. "She's back," said Gingras. "She's sound as a dollar right now. She was really sharp in the post-parade, but once she hit the last turn she was trotting real strong and felt like her old self." A winner of over $3 million, Hannelore Hanover has been dominating the aged trotting ranks for several seasons. The daughter of Swan For All came into the elimination off a seventh-place finish in her lone start this season. Her victory Friday gives her 43 for her career. A $2 win ticket on Hannelore Hanover returned $6.50. Sophomore trotters were also in action Friday for the eliminations of the Goodtimes. A group of 18 were split into a pair of $30,000 divisions. Forbidden Trade angled out of the two-hole late for a 1:53.1 victory in the first elimination. Driven by Bob McClure, Forbidden Trade showed early speed to grab the lead and post a :27.2 opening-quarter. Favourite Swandre The Giant moved from third to first in the second-quarter and posted middle-half fractions of :56.2 and 1:26.1. In the stretch, Swandre The Giant put away rivals pressuring on the outside and tried to sprint away. However, McClure angled Forbidden Trade out in the final-eighth and the son of Kadabra responded to clear racetrack by charging up along side and picking off Swandre The Giant to win by a neck. "I didn't have him until the wire," said McClure following the victory. "I figured if I could get to the front he would be coming, and it worked out good. "He grew up a lot, matured a lot and has always been really fast. He got a nice trip and took advantage of it." Smart As Hill, who came first-up in the third-quarter, finished third. The top-five was completed by Super Schissel and Only For Justice. Forbidden Trade was making his second start of the season Friday after finishing second in his season debut. The Blais trainee won seven of 11 starts and earned $300,436 last season to earn an O'Brien Award for owner Determination. A $2 win ticket on Forbidden Trade returned $12.80. Pilot Discretion kept his perfect record alive with a career-best 1:52 mile in the second Goodtimes split. Pilot Discretion                        --New Image Media Driven by Andrew McCarthy, Pilot Discretion was quickly moved out from fourth entering the backstretch but had to spend the next quarter on the outside before finally clearing at a sizzling half of :55.1. The Tony Alagna trained Pilot Discretion wasn't bothered and proceeded to hit three-quarters in 1:24 before trotting home in :28 to secure a 3 ½ lengths score. Southwind Avenger finished second, while Dream Nation was third. Jumpshot and Knight Angel completed the top-five. A son of Muscle Hill, Pilot Discretion is now five for five in his young career. The Alagna trainee was racing for the third time this season and has now earned $41,000 for owners Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson and John Fodera. "He's just been really good this year coming back," said Alagna. "We were so high on the colt last year, but he just wasn't ready to go. We raced him twice at Lexington for experience and had hoped to race him in the Valley Victory and he got sick on us, so we put him away for the year. "He trained back great in Florida this winter. We were high leaving Florida and hoping he would do what he's doing right now. Alagna pegged the Goodtimes as a perfect spot for Pilot Discretion's Grand Circuit debut. "David Anderson owns the colt with Robert LeBlanc and they're from Canada originally and of course in partnership with John Fodera. It's a fun group to have a horse for of this caliber and we thought it would be a great time to try the stakes trail with this horse." A $2 win ticket on Pilot Discretion returned $3.20. The post-position draws for the $256,000 Armbro Flight and $247,000 Goodtimes took place following Friday's eliminations. $256,000 Armbro Flight 1. Royal Witch 2. Weslynn Dancer 3. Hannelore Hanover 4. Atlanta 5. The Erm 6. Top Expectations 7. Highland Top Hill 8. P L Jill 9. Plunge Blue Chip 10. Emoticon Hanover AE: Dream Together   $247,000 Goodtimes 1. Only For Justice 2. Swandre The Giant 3. Pilot Discretion 4. Forbidden Trade 5. Super Schissel 6. Smart As Hill 7. Dream Nation 8. Southwind Avenger 9. Jumpshot 10. Knight Angel AE: Trix And Stone   Replays available at www.YouTube.com/WoodbineReplays (Races 3,5,6,8)   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park Manager, Communications

After a second-place finish in last week's World Driving Championship, U.S. representative Yannick Gingras was left to wonder "what if." But there was no doubt in his mind about the harness racing competition, held at five racetracks across Sweden, and the opportunity to participate. "It was a blast," said Gingras, a two-time Driver of the Year in the U.S. who was making his first appearance in the World Driving Championship. "It was a great experience. I knew I would have fun, that wasn't a question. The question was more about adapting to racing there and learning their system, and I think it was mission accomplished." Gingras had raced in Sweden previously, but only at Solvalla Raceway. The initial two rounds of the WDC, a total of four races, were at Solvalla before the competition visited four other tracks for the remaining 20 races. "It was nice to see all of them," Gingras said. "They were all really nice tracks." Gingras won three races in the WDC and also had three second-place finishes and three thirds. He won the event's final race, but it was not enough to overtake The Netherlands' Rick Ebbinge for the title. Ebbinge collected 199.5 points in the competition, followed by Gingras with 193.5 and Sweden's Ulf Ohlsson with 191.5. Canada's Doug McNair and Norway's Eirik Hoitomt rounded out the top five, which was separated by a total of 12.5 points. "I couldn't win (the championship) going into the last race, so finishing second was actually a home run for me," Gingras said. "Of course, I'm a little disappointed because you start looking back at the competition and you wonder what might have happened if you'd done things differently in some of the races. On the other hand, I won with long shots that maybe other drivers are thinking the same thing too; that if they had done something different, they could have beat me. "I think the competition was really good. It was a great group of guys. We were there to compete, but I made good friendships. All of the guys were really nice guys. Racing wise, I think people were impressed. We didn't do anything crazy, but there was good action throughout all the races. I think people enjoyed it." Drivers from the U.S. have finished in the top three at the WDC in four of the last five editions. In addition to Gingras in 2019, Marcus Miller was third in 2017, Tim Tetrick third in 2015, and Corey Callahan second in 2011. Dave Magee was the most recent U.S. representative to win the championship, in 1995. The World Driving Championship began in 1970 and is now held every two years. The final 2019 WDC standings appear below.   1. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) - 199.5 points 2. Yannick Gingras (USA) - 193.5 3. Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) - 191.5 4. Doug McNair (Canada) - 189.5 5. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) - 187 6. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) - 181.5 7. Mika Forss (Finland) - 177 8. Franck Nivard (France) - 162 9. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) - 154 10. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) - 151.5 11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) - 142 12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) - 136   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

WILKES-BARRE PA – If you’re The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and on Saturday night you have the world’s fastest two-year-old, the filly Warrawee Ubeaut (1:48.3), among the harness racing entrants in four $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars race for three-year-olds – what can you do for an encore on Sunday? Here’s the answer – you turn to the Hambletonian-class types, the three-year-old colt trotters, stage three $56,868 divisions of the second preliminary leg of their Pennsylvania Sire Stake, add five more $20,000 divisions of the group’s Stallion Series action, then also card two $30,000 races in the Great Northeast Open Series, one for mare pacers and one for trotters. That’s what you do. The three Sire Stakes races are slotted in races three, five, and eleven, each having seven entrants, and each section has a winner from the first preliminary round, held at The Meadows on May 11. In race three Ginger Tree Skyr is the PaSS winner already, having posted a 1:55 upset at 26-1. Dan Rawlings will come east to drive the Explosive Matter colt for trainer Steven Cook as they begin from post two. Also highly-regarded in this division is Gerry (post six, driver Brian Sears), who broke at The Meadows in his seasonal bow but who won in 1:54.3 last year, and Marseille (post four, driver Åke Svanstedt), a maiden but who comes in for his 2019 debut off a good second in a qualifier. Goes Down Smooth will start from post six in the fifth race for the formidable team of trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras, who will be freshly-returned from the World Driving Championship in Sweden. In addition to winning in 1:54.3 in his PaSS contest at The Meadows, the Muscle Hill gelding won two starts back in the final of the Walner series at The Meadowlands, and he also shows a 1:53.4 victory at the Jersey miler. White Tiger, who won his seasonal debut at The Meadowlands in 1:54.2, could be the major danger, starting from post two for driver David Miller. In the third Sire Stakes cut, Gingras appears to have a good chance to add a second feature tally as he steers the Cantab Hall colt Osterc from post five for trainer Per Engblom. He is undefeated in two starts this year, preceding his 1:55.1 win at The Meadows with a victory in the Dexter Cup at Freehold, and he is also the defending Sire Stakes champion this division. Guaranteed (post two, driver Tim Tetrick) has a 1:53.4 victory at The Meadowlands this year and certainly could contend on his best outing. The Stallion Series events go gateward in races 1, 4, 7, 9, and 12, and they are full of young horses who are developing now – 17 horses in the five races show a win within their last two starts. All three winners in The Meadows StS races are here – Kate’s Massive (race 4), Raceace (race 7), and Lapped By Lindy (race 12); Kate’s Massive may be the most interesting in that he followed his StS win with a victory in the Currier And Ives Trot at The Meadows, and he is luring the winningest driver of all-time, Dave Palone, for an infrequent visit to Pocono. The Great Northeast Open Series has divisional leader Tequila Monday in the mare pace and Crystal Fashion, winner of the Earl Beal Final here in 2018, in that gait’s open event; these two races will be further examined in a release tomorrow, along with the GNOS open pace at Harrah’s Philly earlier on Sunday.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

 Kiwi reinsman Matthew Williamson is within striking distance of the lead in the World Driver's Championship in Sweden after driving a dead heat winner yesterday. Williamson is just four points behind series leader Ulf Ohlsson after the third day of the championships was held at Fornaboda, a day which included a race for cold bloods. Williamson had a second early before he deadheated in the next race with US rep Yannick Gingras, the man who became so well known to Kiwi harness racing fans as the regular pilot of Lazarus last year. "It was a good day and I think I drove pretty well," said Williamson.  "We are getting up the leader board now and probably have a chance. "But none of my horses for tomorrow seem to be near the top of the market so we will have to drive them well. "It has been a wonderful experience, there are some great people here and I am loving getting to know everybody. And we will keep doing our best for the silver fern." Nine out of the competition's 24 races have now been decided, and the next five races will take place at Sundbyholm racetrack in Eskilstuna.   by Michael Guerin   Leaderboard 1.Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) – 76.5 2. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) – 74 3. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) – 72.5 4. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) – 72 5. Mika Forss (Finland) – 67 6. Doug McNair (Canada) – 64.5 T7. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) – 64 T7. Franck Nivard (France) – 64 9. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) – 62 10. Yannick Gingras (USA) – 61.5 11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) – 58 12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) – 49  

Chester, PA -- Despite being strung out early by rival Top Flight Angel, Crawford Farms Racing's Homicide Hunter ($4.40) had enough energy to fend off a late charge from All Champy in Great Northeast Open Series action on Sunday afternoon (May 19) at Harrah's Philadelphia, taking the day's featured $30,000 trot in 1:52.4. In their first meeting since the 2018 harness racing Breeders Crown, Homicide Hunter (Yannick Gingras) and Top Flight Angel (Marcus Miller) -- one-two in last year's season-ending classic -- threw down immediately from the outset. The pair sprinted well clear of Scirocco Rob (David Miller) on the first turn, and Homicide Hunter battled to force Top Flight Angel into the pocket through a :27 first quarter. After pulling the half back to :56.2, Homicide Hunter again accelerated up the far side, inching away from Top Flight Angel past three-quarters in 1:24.3 but also preparing for the first-over challenge of All Champy (Simon Allard). All Champy, who angled out from fifth at race's midpoint, worked to within a half length of Homicide Hunter at the eighth pole, but could get no closer at any point in the homestretch. Homicide Hunter earned the 40th win of his career by that same half-length margin over All Champy, while even-money choice Top Flight Angel finished third another 2-1/2 lengths in arrears. Ron Burke trains Homicide Hunter, whose 1:48.4 effort at The Red Mile last October is the fastest ever from a trotter. Tim Tetrick, who took the $14,500 pacing sub-feature with Rockeyed Optimist ($2.60, 1:51.1), led all drivers with a grand slam on the 14-race program. The Jackpot Hi-5 carryover eclipsed the $30,000 mark after odds-on choice Crockets Cullen N ($3.80, Larry Stalbaum) won the fifth race and keyed an 8-3-5-4-1 combination which returned $98.90 on a 20-cent ticket. With multiple winners, the jackpot carryover for Wednesday's (May 22) fifth race has increased to $30,463.50. First post for Wednesday's 13-race card is 12:25 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite  Harrah's Philadelphia racing media.

CREAM RIDGE, NJ - May 17, 2019 - On Wednesday, May 15th the SBOANJ and TrotPAC sponsored a successful fundraiser for New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. The event was held at Fair Winds Farm and Hogan Equine Clinic to support his 2019 campaign.   Assembly Speaker Coughlin was greeted by directors from the SBOANJ, TrotPAC trustees, and many horsemen. Mark Mullen led a tour of his Fair Winds Farm breeding facility, while Patricia M. Hogan, VMD gave him a behind the scenes look at Hogan Equine Clinic.   The Meadowlands General Manager Jason Settlemoir and Freehold Raceway's General Manager Howard Burno and Director of Racing Karen Fagliarone were on hand to answer the Speaker's questions about the New Jersey tracks improvements since the appropriations were awarded.   Drivers Yannick Gingras, Andy Miller, and Hall of Famers David Miller and John Campbell, among others, also took time to discuss the Standardbred industry with him. This was his first visit to any New Jersey equine facility, and Speaker Coughlin was able to mingle with the many horsemen and Equine Industry Supporters in attendance before leaving the function.   Photo: Craig Coughlin speaking to Trainer Nancy Johansson.   New Jersey horseman's lobbyist AJ Sabath answered questions and explained how the appropriations would be awarded in the future. He also expressed the importance of our industry providing proof that the funding received has indeed bolstered New Jersey racing.   TrotPAC would like to thank everyone for their contributions and all of those who were able to attend. It is extremely important that we, as an industry, continue to support the various legislators that will be involved with the annual renewal of our appropriation.     Courtney Stafford PR Consultant SBOANJ

CHESTER PA - The Rocknroll Hanover mare Rock N Shard N seems headed for Open company as she won for the third time in her four-race United States career, a 1:51.3 mile over a "sloppy +1" surface in the $17,000 distaff pacing feature during a Friday evening harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia. Driver Art Stafford Jr. patiently guided Rock N Shard N on her uncovered grind from sixth while Newsday went to the front and set fractions of :27, :55.4, and 1:23.1. These two were close to being on even terms as they turned for home, but despite the overland journey Rock N Shard N proved the stronger late, two lengths to the good of Newsday, with pocketsitting Ghosttothepost third. The Kiwi mare is another of a long line of successes for trainer Joshua Parker over the last couple of seasons; Parker also owns Rock N Shard N with Nanticoke Racing Inc. and Barry Spedden. There were a pair of $16,000 co-features on the card, one for the distaff sidewheeling set on the "Filly And Mare Friday" card. In that contest, the Captaintreacherous sophomore filly Treacherous Reign proved ready to go from the word "go," taking her 2019 bow in 1:52.2. Driver George Napolitano Jr., a five-time winner on the night, surrendered early control to Stonebridge Soul, but was on the move with the winner past the quarter to reassert command, and Treacherous Reign rocketed home in :54.4 - :27.12 over the off going to be well-clear of Stonebridge Soul at the line for trainer Tony Alagna and the ownership of Alagna Racing LLC, Big Als Stables, Let It Ride Stables Inc., and Mr. Dana Parham. In the co-feature for trotters, the Lucky Chucky mare Lucky Sheila swung wide off of cover late on the far turn, then just had enough to catch pacesetter Spee Club by a neck in a lifetime best 1:56.2. Pat Berry did the driving for trainer Chris Marino and Robert Weinstein. The World's Fastest Trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington last year), drew post one for a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series contest for trotters on Sunday. He has to have better luck than he did last week in his 2019 bow at Pocono, where he drew the outside post eight, tucked in, then got shuffled back and could not enter contention. A better trip seems likely for Homicide Hunter and driver Yannick Gingras in the horse' second trip for trainer Ron Burke, though first leg winner Melady's Money may have something to say about that.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) will have $30,000 events for open-caliber harness racing horses on both gaits this weekend, with the pacers going during a post-Preakness Saturday night program at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the trotters getting their turn the next afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The three morning line choices in the GNOS pace will be starting in inverse order from the rail in their Pocono event. Sweet Rock (post three, driver Eric Carlson, 5-2) was second to first-leg GNOS winner Highalator in a 1:48.3 mile at The Meadowlands last week; Dealt A Winner (post two, driver George Napolitano Jr., 3-1) was a close fifth in that race as he rounds into top form; and Rodeo Rock (post one, driver Eric Goodell), gets a big improvement in post as he makes his second start since being second in the Levy Final on April 20. Not to be overlooked, but a bit of an outsider in more than one sense of the word, is the winner of last week's GNOS event at Philly, Tiger Thompson N. The import has won four of his last five races, including his last start when he rode a perfect pocket trip to victory in 1:50.3 over a sloppy track. Driver Pat Berry may need more than a bit of racing luck for his "Tiger," as they start from post six in the field of seven, with an early quotation of 9-2. On Sunday afternoon at Philly, the $1.4M winner Melady's Monet has been named the 2-1 morning line choice, beginning from the track's winningest post position, the five-hole, for driver Jordan Stratton. Melady's Monet won the first leg of the GNOS here in 1:52.4, then took last week off, but this 10-year-old has been known to hold his form for long stretches at a time. He'll need to be on his game, because the next two rated rivals are Top Flight Angel (post three, driver Marcus Miller, 5-2) and Homicide Hunter (post one, Yannick Gingras, 7-2). Top Flight Angel comes in from Yonkers and a second behind Philly divisional track record holder Will Take Charge, while Homicide Hunter, the World's Fastest Trotter by virtue of his 1:48.4 win at Lexington last year, couldn't have had worse luck in his 2019 debut last week, tucking in from post eight, then getting stuck inside and never getting into the flow of the race. An improved race is very likely to result from Homicide Hunter on Sunday afternoon. These two classes, plus the mares open pace, will all have a chance to race for GNOS points next Sunday, May 26, at Philly, as the track presents its three showcase $100,000 Invitationals: the Maxie Lee Open Trot, the Commodore Barry Open Pace, and the Betsy Ross Mares Open Pace. To make that day even more thrilling for race fans, there will be Sire Stakes and Stallion Series action for the best Pennsylvania three-year-old pacing colts mixed into the blockbuster card on the 26th.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia racetracks Jerry Connors  

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