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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Atlanta tuned up for next week's TVG Mares Trot by winning the Saturday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands in dominant fashion. The fastest trotter in Big M history by virtue of her 1:49.1 clocking on July 6 of this year, Atlanta toyed with a talented field in the mile oval's featured $30,000 Preferred for trotters. Sent to the gate as the 3-5 public choice, driver Yannick Gingras put Atlanta on the early lead, hitting the quarter in :27.3. After a sleepy second fraction of :29.4 followed, it was all but over right then and there. The 4-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip never had an anxious moment, hitting the finish 2¼ lengths in front of the pocket-sitting-throughout Guardian Angel As in 1:52.2. Southwind Chrome rallied for third. The winner returned $3.40 to her backers. "I couldn't be happier with her," said Gingras. "She trotted right to the wire better than she has in a little while." "The track wasn't playing super fast," said winning trainer Ron Burke. "There might have been a bias against horses racing on the front end. It's the best performance Atlanta has had on the front this year. We could not have asked for anything more. She was straight all the way to the wire. I can't take anything bad out of the race." Atlanta has now won 20 of her 38 career starts and earned $1,866,889 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor. Atlanta's stablemate, Hannelore Hanover, raced first over at the half but never threatened before weakening and finishing last in the field of eight. The lifetime earner of more than $3 million, who will face Atlanta when she makes her final career start in the TVG Mares Trot on Nov. 23, had some problems in her next-to-last race. "She bled again," said Burke of Hannelore Hanover. "It happens intermittently. That's why she's not who she was before. She's not the same because of it. That's why it's time to call it quits. We'll treat her this week and she'll be better on Saturday." A LITTLE MORE: Tim Tetrick drove four winners on the card. ... Dexter Dunn stayed hot, as after winning three on the Friday card, he won three more on Saturday. ... Favorites ruled for a second straight night as eight post-time choices won Saturday after a half-dozen scored on Friday. ... The 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 paid $4,060.24 to the pair of players who lasted eight legs. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,412,658. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Warrawee Ubeaut had to work a bit hard to gain the front but the Sweet Lou-sired filly was again much the best in the $550,000 (US) Breeders Crown for her second consecutive harness racing Crown title. Yannick Gingras let others do the work early as he left with purpose with Warrawee Ubeaut and watched as Stonebridge Soul first sprinted to the lead and then released Treacherous Reign through a wicked :25 3/5 opening quarter. Warrawee Ubeaut then made a bold bid on the backstretch into a light wind to secure the front in :54 4/5. From there only Tall Drink Hanover made a race of it attacking at a distance from the winner through three quarters in 1:23 1/5. Gingras took nothing for granted as Warrawee Ubeaut bore out some in the homestretch keeping the Ron Burke-trained filly to task. Without question she was once again up to it in capturing her second straight Breeders Crown trophy while sprinting home in :27 1/5 final quarter. The mile was paced in 1:50 2/5 by Warrawee Ubeaut who was an overwhelming public choice at 1-5 paying $2.40 for the victory. Tall Drink Hanover kept her momentum through the homestretch to gain the place spot with Stonebridge Soul advancing late for third. Sunny Dee and Treacherous Reign completed the top five in the field. Bred in Ontario by Warrawee Farm of Rockwood, it was the 12th win on the season for Warrawee Ubeaut who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phil Collura, J & T Silva, Purnell & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. "I talked to Ron (Burke) before the race and we didn't want to have to go hard into the wind. It didn't work that way," said Gingras. "She relaxed so good in the third quarter and I think that's what won the race for her." To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25, 2019 - The $600,000 (US) Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Pace was expected to be a battle between elimination winner Papi Rob Hanover and Metro winner Tall Dark Stranger. That the two crossed the wire that way was just the beginning of a harness racing story that changed radically after the finish. Driver Yannick Gingras placed an objection on behalf of Tall Dark Stranger against David Miller on Papi Rob Hanover and after a long period the judges agreed, placing Tall Dark Stranger first and race-winner Papi Rob Hanover second in the final of four $600,000 juvenile Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night. Tall Dark Stranger left alertly going past Cattlewash into the first turn with 6-5 favorite Papi Rob Hanover settling in third for Miller. Tall Dark Stranger cut effective fractions of :27 3/5 and :55 1/5 for the opening half as the field was spread out with passing that station. Miller went on the offensive midway on the final turn with Papi Rob Hanover but by that time it appeared as if Gingras had gotten the fractions he needed crossing three quarters in 1:23 2/5 with Tall Dark Stranger. A bitter battled ensued in the homestretch as the two colts battled head to head right to the wire with Papi Rob Hanover getting his head in front at the wire in the 1:51 mile. The inquiry sign went up quickly and the judges determined that Papi Rob Hanover had made contact with Tall Dark Stranger causing that one to lose his momentum. "My colt was fighting back," said Gingras after the race. "I haven't made an objection since Yonkers in 2002." Sent off as the second choice in the field Tall Dark Stranger returned $5.80 while notching his eighth win in nine career starts for trainer Nancy Johansson. Marvin Katz, Crawford Farms, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor share ownership in Tall Dark Stranger who was bred by James Avritt Sr. Cattlewash finished third with original fourth place finisher Mayhem Hanover also getting disqualified for getting in the path of Capt Midnight in the late stages and causing that one to break. The judges placed Capt Midnight fourth with Mayhem Hanover revised back to fifth. A disqualification of a Breeders Crown race winner had only happened twice before (That Fabulous Face in 1998 and Corleone Kosmos in 2007) , with both being by trotters that made a break. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society        

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

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

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

MILTON, ONT, October 18, 2019 - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras set up shop in the winner's circle to launch the Breeders Crown elimination weekend festivities on Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A pair of eliminations for the 2-Year-Old Filly Trot and a single elimination for the 2-Year-Old Colt Trot were contested. Gingras drove Synergy to a 1:55 win in the $32,500 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot elimination. The field left evenly except for Chestnut Hill, who galloped off the gate while mid-pack Beads went to the front as the rest of the field found early spots. Back Of The Neck sat behind the leader into a :27.2 first quarter while Synergy sat in fourth. Synergy was in a good spot going into the half as favorite Amigo Volo and outsider Horse Trader jumped, leaving a big lead for Beads and a clear path for Synergy on the inside through a half in :57. By the 1:25.4 three-quarters, Beads was being chased strongly by Third Shift, who went four wide into the stretch, along with Rome Pays Off charging up the middle and Synergy riding the rail. Those three left Beads behind and as Third Shift dueled with Rome Pays Off, Gingras glided by them to win by a length in 1:55. Synergy (Father Patrick--Southwind Sauna), is trained by Per Engblom. The colt was bred by Southwind Farms and is owned by Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and David Anderson. Third Shift nosed Rome Pays Off for the place. Chestnut Hill recovered from the early break and finished fourth. The top-seven finishers from the elimination advanced to the final to join the trio of Capricornus, Port Perry and Real Cool Sam, who all took byes to the final. Moon Bridge, Beads and Amigo Volo finished fifth through seventh to qualify for the next Friday's (October 25) $600,000 final. Synergy paid $36.90 to win. To watch the replay, click here. Sister Sledge regained her winning form and in the process ended the undefeated reign of Hypnotic AM in capturing the first of two $32,500 eliminations of the Breeders Crown for juvenile trotting fillies. Gingras guided Sister Sledge to the lead in the early stages and released 1-5 favorite Hypnotic AM and driver Brian Sears well before the :27 2/5 opening quarter marker. Those two continued in that order through middle fractions of :56 1/5 and 1:24 4/5 as only Violet Stride attempted to rally on the outside without cover but couldn't get reasonably close to the top pair. In the homestretch Gingras tipped the daughter of Father Patrick to the outside and Sister Sledge rolled right by the favorite to score by a length. Hypnotic AM entered the Crown elimination unbeaten in seven prior starts but had to settle for second here. Shishito saved ground most of the way and finished third with Violet Stride and Madame Sherry earning final berths. Burke Racing Stable, Jason Merillo, J & T Silva, Purnell & Libby and Weaver-Bruscemi LLC share partnership in Sister Sledge now an eight time winner in 10 starts as a freshman. "I rushed her a bit out of the two hole at The Red Mile," said Gingras, "And she got rough. Here I waited a bit and she was strong." Trainer Burke was frustrated with a second and third place finish in Grand Circuit action at The Red Mile but found the answers he was looking for. "We decided to change her bridle after the Pennsylvania Championship," Burke said of the mistake. "She's as good a filly as there is out there." Sister Sledge returned $13.80 to win. To watch the replay click here.  It was Gingras once again putting the end to another unbeaten streak in the second $32,500 Breeders Crown elimination for juvenile trotting fillies when he guided Ms Savannah Belle to victory with previously flawless Ramona Hill had to settle for third. Ms Savannah Belle started from post eight but Gingras was quick to energize her at the outset grabbing the early lead then yielding to Indiana-based filly May Baby before the :27 3/5 opening quarter was clocked. Ms Savannah Belle stayed close up in the pocket as May Baby carved out lively fractions of :56, 1:24 4/5 for James Yoder. Gingras wasted little time and angled Ms Savannah Belle to challenge into the homestretch and the daughter of Muscle Hill took off quickly rolling past the leader and drawing clear from other rivals to post a 1:53 2/5 clocking. Wine Rack Hanover rallied along the inside after a pylon-sitting trip for second just ahead of Ramona Hill who went a long way on the outside without cover in a difficult grinding effort. May Baby settled for fourth after doing the early leg work and Peaceful Way champion Dip Me Hanover rallied late for the final berth. Sent off as a 4-1 offering Ms Savannah Belle returned $10.60 winning for the fourth time in 8 career starts for owner-breeder Al Libfeld and trainer Per Engblom. "We decided to race her just the first week at The Red Mile and get her ready for this," said Engblom following the victory. "I think she'll be even better next week. "She had some bad luck early she drew outside (post 10) in the Doherty and raced well there." Ms Savannah Belle paid $10.60 to win. To see the replay, click here. Post positions for the 2-Year-Old Colt Trot and 2-Year-Old Filly Trot finals were drawn following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for inside post positions one through five. $600,000 2-Year-Old Colt Trot 1 Beads 2 Synergy 3 Moon Bridge 4 Amigo Volo 5 Chestnut Hill 6 Rome Pays Off 7 Third Shift 8 Capricornus 9 Real Cool Sam 10 Port Perry $600,000 2-Year-Old Filly Trot 1 Hypnotic Am 2 Sister Sledge 3 May Baby 4 Dip Me Hanover 5 Ms Savannah Belle 6 Wine Rack Hanover 7 Madame Sherry 8 Shishito 9 Violet Stride 10 Ramona Hill From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 1, 2019--"She passed." That was driver Yannick Gingras' post mortem after the harness racing trotting mare Atlanta worked out over Yonkers Raceway for the first time. The world champion 4-year-old trotter went through her paces prior to Tuesday night's (Oct. 1st) regularly-scheduled program, doing so in preparation for $1 million Yonkers International Trot here a week from Saturday (Oct. 12th). "I was very happy with her," Gingras said, adding Atlanta's negotiated her mile-and-a-quarter International Trot distance "in 2:26 or so". "She did everything I wanted, especially around the turns. I made sure to buzz her around the turns." The statebred daughter of Chapter Seven, who has never raced over a half-mile oval, has seven wins and three seconds in 11 seasonal starts ($658,400). Her last purse try was a win in the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto (1:51.4) about four weeks ago. Gingras and trainer Ron Burke took Atlanta to Westchester in part having learned from not-too-ancient history. "We didn't bring Hannelore Hanover here before the (2016) International, and that was a mistake," Gingras said of the fast miss who broke in the turns. "I know (the International) is going to be tough, but (Atlanta) has held her own against some very good older horses. "At the end of the day, there aren't many million-dollar races in the sport," Gingras said. "I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't want to win it." Here is the video of her work out. https://www.dropbox.com/s/w0ngsmp098hcg07/yannick%20ruff2.mp4?dl=0 Post time for the International Trot matinee card is 1 PM. Post positions for 10-horse, nine-nation field shall be drawn Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8th. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Yannick Gingras will head to Hollywood Dayton Raceway looking to sweep Friday's harness racing Grand Circuit stakes at the Ohio oval with morning-line favorite Mission Accepted in the Dayton Trotting Derby and second choice This Is The Plan in the Dayton Pacing Derby. It will be Gingras' first time behind Mission Accepted since the duo lost the Crawford Farms Open Trot by a nose on Aug. 11 at Tioga Downs. The 4-year-old stallion has not won since the Vincennes on Aug. 3, Hambletonian Day, at The Meadowlands, but Gingras has been impressed with the horse's efforts in his recent starts. Mission Accepted enters the Dayton Trotting Derby off a second-place finish to Lindy The Great in last week's Caesars Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park. Mission Accepted was eighth in the outer flow for the first three-quarters of a mile before fanning four-wide off the final turn and rallying for the place spot. Two weeks earlier, he was third, beaten only a half-length, in the Charlie Hill Memorial won by Atlanta. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Accepted is 2-1 on the morning line in the $171,250 Dayton Trotting Derby. "He's been super sharp," Gingras said. "Last time, he was loaded with trot finishing. I was really impressed with how much trot he had. And the race before, he was loaded that day too. He couldn't be coming into the race in better form. I think he's coming into the race in the right way." For the season, Mission Accepted has won four of 17 races, hit the board a total of 11 times, and earned $244,345. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, breeder Knox Services Inc., David Wills, and the Weaver Bruscemi partnership. "He's very versatile and sweet to drive," Gingras said. "He's not the biggest horse, he's not the most powerful horse, but you know he's going to go on the track and give you everything he's got." This Is The Plan enters the $151,750 Dayton Pacing Derby off a win in last week's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. After racing from the front in most of his starts this season, Gingras decided to race This Is The Plan from off the pace at Hoosier and got a second-over trip behind favorite McWicked en route to victory. "I did go into the race wanting to change tactics," Gingras said. "He had several tough starts in a row, and I figured it would be nice to try to get him covered up. You always have to respect McWicked and I thought that maybe if I could get McWicked in front of me, that might work out. Usually it doesn't work out that way, but for one time the plan worked out to perfection." McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year, is the 5-2 favorite from post one in the Dayton Pacing Derby. This Is The Plan is 3-1 from post five. This Is The Plan has won three of 16 races this year and finished second on six occasions, earning $743,598. He ranks third in purses among all older pacers in North America, trailing only Shartin N and Lather Up. For his career, the 4-year-old gelding has won 10 of 49 races and earned $1.38 million. He is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. Gingras hopes last week's change in style and subsequent victory results in more versatility down the road. "He's been super consistent," Gingras said. "He's got crazy gate speed and puts himself into the race. I really didn't know how he would race from behind. Heading to the Breeders Crown and the other big races coming up, I wanted to see how he would respond. Hopefully now he will be a little more well-rounded. Last week he showed he was able to do it. Hopefully he can continue in that direction." Racing begins at 6:15 p.m. (EDT) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. For complete Friday entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

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

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