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The first of the Dash For The "C" Notes mini-series this week at The Meadowlands got underway on Thursday night with the filly and mare pacers. It was contested in four divisions requiring a horse finish first or second to guarantee a spot in the $25,000 harness racing Final next week. The word of the night was upset. The first division saw a mild upset as SGT Molly Pitcher (9/2), who led early in the mile, yielded to pressure and re-rallied to score the win in a lifetime best 1:51.2 for driver Vincent Ginsburg. The winner was trained and owned by Robert Ginsburg Jr. Next up was another upset as Antigua Hanover overcame post 10 to score a sharp first over victory at 8-1. Forced to press the pace uncovered after leaving smartly from the outside post, Antigua Hanover just kept on coming wearing down favored Best Boss to win in 1:52.1. Antigua Hanover was driven to victory by Andy Miller for Amber Buter and owners Oldford Farms LLC and Tyler Buter. The third division was captured by 11-1 Weekend Getaway and Yannick Gingras. Entering the contest off a seven week layoff, Weekend Getaway went first over, wearing down Marty Party on the far turn and then holding that mare at bay through the stretch to win in 1:51.2, easily a lifetime mark. Weekend Getaway is trained by Phil Fluet who co-owns the mare with Keith Franklin. The final division also featured an upset winner as Deliciouslynaughty worked out a perfect second over trip to score the victory at 12-1. The race became wide open when 3/5 favorite, Bring Them Home, broke on the first turn. Deliciouslynaughty tracked cover and chased down Rhapsody Rose who did the work on the lead to score in 1:52.4 for John Campbell. The winner was trained by Mark Ford who also owns the mare. The $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 in both races went unclaimed. The fifth race carryover stands at $1,797.86 while the last race carryover has grown to $71,788.83. Post Time for the Friday program is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

January 24, 2015 - The Prix Ready Cash (€60,000 purse, 2850 meters, 18 European harness racing six year-old males and geldings) went to Rooibus (6m Rotation-Miss Tresami) ) in 1.14.6kr for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. Off at 5/1 the winner handled another 5/1 shot, Italy’s Paparazzi (6g Infinitif-Emily di Jesolo) with Adrian Kolgjini up. 2.3/1 favorite Princes di Paggio (6m Varenne-Moon Shadow) was third for Franck Nivard. The Prix Varenne (€55,000 purse, 2175 meters, monte with eight European starters) went to Scoot To Score (6g Quite Easy-Twilight Sund) at 19/1. Vincent Martens trains the winner and Jonathan Carre was up as he scored in 1.14.4kr to defeat Valentino Neige (6g Norman Jet-Notre Neige) and Mathieu Mottier. Viking Dream was third for Eric Raffin. Bjorn Goop teamed the Daniel Reden trainee Call Me Keeper (5m Pine Chip-Aliza Keeper), at 1.2/1 odds, to victory in the Prix de Chateaubriant (€50,000 purse, 2700 meters, 18 European starters). Stall Zet owns the winner. Lionel (5m Look de Star-Aurora Sign) was second for Frank Nivard, trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Goran Antonsen, ahead of Aventin Belri (5m Fortuna Fant-Kolarkie) at 13/1. Time was 1.14.5kr. The Prix Offshore Dream (€70,000 purse, 2700 meters, 11 European monte starters) went to 1.7/1 Argan du Loulay (5m Jam Pridem-Ma Bella Ile) with Alexandre Abrivard up for J-M Bazire, trainer. The winner scored in 1.14.1kr over As de Godisson (5g Gai Brillant-Deese de Godisson) and David Thomain. Astre Blanc was third at 26/1 for Mathieu Mottier and trainer Sebastian Guarato. The final of the sunny afternoon at Paris-Vincennes (Prix Moni Maker) was the second drive of the day for US reinsman Yannick Gingras and first at the volt start. Teaming Franck Anne’s Bahira Buissunay at 22/1, Gingras found an excellent starting spot and was away nicely until the false-start siren sounded. On the second start the mare was among a cluster of horses trying to depart from the inside and she was forced toward the back. The race developed with three tiers and when Gingras  sought to make a backside brush on the petite piste his mare made a miscue and was disqualified. At least he had two volt experiences and will likely have a bit more luck when it counts tomorrow. Thomas H. Hicks

January 24, 2015 - Erik Adielsson put Sweden’s veteran On Track Piraten (7g Kool du Caux-Monrovia) on the front early and led throughout to record a three length harness racing score timed in 1.12.2kr in this Gr. III Prix du Luxembourg (€110,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, Quinte+). The Stall Morkermassa owned campaigner is trained by H.R. Stromberg and he was off as 1.9/1 favorite. Un Fille d’Amour (7f Infant du Bossis-Never So Great) was second at 11.5/1 for David Thomain with Ru de l’Airou (10g Cygnus d’Odyssee) third at 31/1 for Pierre Levesque. Backfire was fourth for Jos. Verbeeck driving. The winner finished briskly after an even pace (fractions 1.11.2kr at 1500; 1.13.1kr at 1000l 1.13.1kr at 500 and 1.12.2kr at finish). The race record was set in 2011 by Rapide Lebel in 1.10.9kr. Turbo Jet took the 2014 edition. Yannick Gingras driven SHT’s Playmate raced well but finished eighth timed in 1.13.2kr for trainer Anders Lindqvist. This mare was in the Arqana Trot sale last evening but did not achieve reserve. Gingras first mount Pershing Bi was a scratch in the second race. Thomas H. Hicks  

For the first time this harness racing meet, there was a back to back winner in the Free For All Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands and his name is Doctor Butch. Doctor Butch showed good speed early in the mile for Tim Tetrick, who elected to sit the pocket behind the hard-leaving Beach Memories. The pacesetter established an opening quarter of 26.3 and while not feeling any pressure on the lead, settled down and reached the half-mile in 54.4. From there Beach Memories picked up the pace, with Casimir Jitterbug stalling first over. Doctor Butch was able to stick with the leader through a third quarter of 27 seconds flat. Wake Up Peter kicked off dull cover and came with his rally in the stretch as Doctor Butch took dead aim from the pocket. The field closed in on Beach Memories nearing the wire, with Doctor Butch grabbing the lead and holding off the rally of Wake Up Peter to score in a sensational 1:48.4. A son of Art Major Doctor Butch is trained by Linda Toscano for Kenneth Jacobs. Major Uptrend may have been making his debut for the Ron Burke stable, but he picked up right where he left off, in the winner's circle, this time in the first round of The Escort pacing series. Sent off as the 2/5 betting choice, Major Uptrend settled just off the speed of Khan Blue Chip through an opening quarter in 27.2. Moving past the three-eighths pole, Major Uptrend made an aggressive move to the lead for new pilot Yannick Gingras and settled in through a half-mile of 56 seconds. Not feeling any pressure, Major uptrend coasted through a 28.2 third panel before sprinting to the wire in just 26.1 to score a compelling victory over Khan Blue Chip in 1:50.3, which established a new lifetime mark for the four year old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere. I Am Will shook free late to be third. Major Uptrend is owned by Howard Taylor. The second division of The Escort was a more competitive event on paper as it looked like a three-pronged battle between JK Patriot, Brick Bazooka and Company and it played out that way throughout the mile on the racetrack. JK Patriot showed speed and after briefly relinquishing the lead to Autobiographical, he would move back to the front past an opening quarter of 28 seconds. Big Bazooka was the next to move for John Campbell as he was launched past the three-eighths pole and cleared the lead past the half-mile in 56.3. Company Man was not far behind as he revved his engine and was the next to brush to the front and would clear the lead into the far turn, where he proceeded to widen the margin past three quarters in 1:24.3. Company Man put some daylight between himself and Big Bazooka in the stretch while JK Patriot searched for racing room. Company Man would take them all the way to the wire, winning in 1:51.4 for Tim Tetrick. JK Patriot shook free too late and was a fast-closing second with Brick Bazooka third. Company Man is trained and owned by Daniel Mitchell. The third division of The Escort featured a 3/5 favorite in What I Believe who worked on to earn the victory in 1:51.2.  What I Believe moved to the lead early, before relinquishing the lead briefly on the backstretch and then re-taking the advantage through fractions of 27.4 and 55.4.  He would lead the field through three-quarters of 1:24 before holding off the late charge of Blacktree to score in 1:51.2.  What I Believe gave Yannick Gingras his fifth victory of the night, his fourth teamed up with trainer Ron Burke. What I Believe is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Honorable mention tonight goes to Hurrikane Kingcole, widely known as one of the fastest horses this sport has ever seen.  He got back to his winning ways in a $10,000 C-1 event with a powerful first over performance, completing the mile in 1:49.4. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

Lindy's Tru Grit, who just one month ago was struggling to stay trotting at the C-1 level scored his third consecutive victory since the addition of trotting hobbles Friday night at The Meadowlands, defeating some of the best trotters on the grounds, winning the Free For All Handicap in a lifetime best 1:52.1. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, Lindy's Tru Grit left for position from his inside post and was allowed to sit the pocket behind the pace setting Odds On Amethyst who cut the mile through fractions of 27.3, 55.2 and 1:23.1. The outer flow never developed as Appomattox attempted to rally first over, but never got close to the leaders and Odds On Amethyst was able to lead the field all the way into the stretch. That enabled Lindy's Tru Grit to pull the pocket nearing the top of the stretch, then rallied to the outside of Odds On Amethyst who he wore down coming down to the wire and scored the victory with Andy Miller in the bike. Upfront Billy maintained his position in third throughout the mile. Lindy's Tru Grit is trained by Julie Miller for Lindy Racing Stable and Robert Rudolph. With Dali did it again in the first round of the Wordly Beauty series. Her trainer Tony Alagna said in a paddock interview with Meadowlands television personality Justin Horowitz that With Dali "spent a lot of the last year practicing for her return to the races." Practice makes perfect, literally. Witch Dali has not lost since returning from her year layoff, sporting a perfect five for five record since her first start back on December 5th. She was a dominant winner at The Meadowlands Friday night and looks like the horse to beat in the Worldly Beauty following her 1:51.1 lifetime best performance. Sent right to the lead by Tim Tetrick, the 1/5 prohibitive favorite Witch Dali established a strong pace, setting fractions of 27.1, 55.3 and 1:23.1 before turning for home and pulling away to an impressive 1:51.1 score over longshot Frame Worthy, who chased from the two-hole throughout the mile. Safe From Terror completed the trifecta. Witch Dali is owned by Alagna Racing L.L.C. and Bradley Grant. The favorite-trend continued in the second division of The Worldly Beauty with Donttellruss, sent off as the overwhelming 2/5 choice, scoring the victory in a lifetime best 1:51.2. Yannick Gingras elected to keep the favorite mid-pack while the leaders took turns battling for the front end through fractions of 27.2 and 55.4. It was at that point that Donttellruss made her move for the lead going into the far turn and she had little trouble clearing the front around the turn. Taking the field past three-quarters in 1:24, Donttellruss was feeling pressure from Impatience, who she fought off before fending off the challenge of Empress Deo through the lane, while drawing clear to win decisively. Donttellruss is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Karr and Baladchino. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers continued to carry over. The fifth race carryover now stands at $14,812.80 while the thirteenth race carryover is now $34,996. Total Handle for the Friday program was $2,901,128. Post Time for the Saturday program, featuring the first round of the Escort Series is set for 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

Columnist Joe Fitzgerald took a look at how the drivers in this year’s top ten (money earned) fared compared with what they did last year. The figures for 2014 run through Saturday December 27, so they’re not perfect year-end numbers, but close enough. A few end-of-year drives by Corey Callahan at Dover Downs are all that’s missing. Nine drivers repeat from 2013, in a different order, of course. Andy Miller, who missed six months after breaking his back in an accident ay Yonkers Raceway in mid-April is out, replaced by Brett Miller, who had an excellent year, moving up nine spots. Six members of the top ten earned less this year than they did last, and eight of them made fewer starts during 2014. Jason Bartlett, who supplanted Sears as the top dog at Yonkers Raceway, and Brett Miller, who was a poor man’s Yannick Gingras with the Burke and Takter stock, were the only two who won more races this year than last. Yannick Gingras, the unanimous choice for USHWA’s Driver of the Year, had 18 fewer wins through Saturday but his earnings were up 18%, which amounts to more than $3 million. All of this with about 100 fewer starts than he made during 2013. The time spent in Sweden with Maven earlier in the year and the current trip to France with that same mare, would account for some of that. Burke and Takter both had spectacular years and Gingras, having first call for both, benefited greatly. Father Patrick, JK Endofanera, Mission Brief, Sassa Hanover, Limelight Beach, Pinkman, Foiled Again, Cartoon Daddy, Gural Hanover, Band Of Angels, Lifetime Pursuit and Maven were a few of his money makers. Tim Tetrick, who will drop down to second, missed the first five weeks of the year recuperating from hip surgery. He made 266 fewer starts through Saturday and won 63 fewer races. His earnings are down a whopping 26%, or $4.2 million. Captaintreacherous’s earnings dropped from $2 million to $175,000 and Market Share saw his 2014 bankroll cut in half. I Luv The Nitelife failed to rebound from an injury and was retired. He’s Watching won the Pace in record time in mid-July, but only won the EBC after that. Classic Martine was very good and Anndrovette was solid. He won some money with Clear Vision and Sayitall BB, and Horse of the Year JK She’salady fell in his lap late in the year. Still, for the most part, the stock wasn’t competitive with the lightning bolts Yannick was steering around the track. Ron Pierce, who turns 59 in June, jumped up from the fifth spot to number three on the earnings list. He made 442 fewer starts and won 89 fewer races, however, his earnings only dropped by 5%, or $581,000. Gingras’ success took some dough from the pockets of all the top guys, but Pierce, crafty dog that he is, managed to sidle in behind $1.2 million dollar earner Shake It Cerry from the Takter barn and $1.3 million dollar earner Sweet Lou from the Burke Barn. He also drove Uncle Lasse, Wild Honey, Yagonnakissmeornot, Lyons Levi Lewis and E L Titan. David Miller has maintained his hold on the four spot on the 2014 list, however, he took a 20% haircut, earning $2.5 million less than last year on 441 fewer starts. His win total dropped by 41. McWicked was second only to Father Patrick in overall earnings with $1.4 million. And even there Miller chose Always B Miki over that one for the Breeders Crown, which didn’t work out when Miki was injured prior to the race. He did get McWicked back for the Progress though. The Buckeye drove Holloway’s pair Shebestingin and Somwherovrarainbow, but neither one of them lived up to expectations. Jolene Jolene was good, but like Tetrick, Miller didn’t have the stock to compete with Gingras. Brian Sears, who straddled Yonkers Raceway and the Grand Circuit again, dropped from number three to number five this year. He had 66 fewer wins in 83 fewer starts and finished more than $4 million short of last year’s total—that’s 30% less. In 2013 he had the richest pair of trotters in the sport, Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, who earned $1.5 million, and Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life, who earned $1.2 million. The latter retired early while BAM disappointed; she earned $421,000 this year. Sears drove freshman hotshot In The Arsenal, and he lucked into the drive behind McWicked in the BC when David Miller only had eyes for Miki. As was the case with Tetrick and David Miller, the stock wasn’t there to compete on the Grand Circuit. Additionally, Jason Bartlett rose up at Yonkers. Corey Callahan, who missed time to the Great Southern Star Trotting Series and the Drivers Invitational in Australia in March, found the six spot again this year. He won last year’s USHWA Rising Star Award and hasn’t looked back. Like Ron Pierce, Corey kept his losses to a minimum. He had 40 fewer winners in 189 fewer starts but only backtracked 7%, or $693,000 in purse money. This constitutes an excellent year for any driver not sitting forward on the Burke-Takter Gravy Train. He picked away at it, winning a sixth consecutive driving title at Dover Downs and soaking up that Delaware sire stakes money; he took a $100,000 final with the filly pacer Totally Rusty three weeks ago. Callahan made 28% of his starts at Dover Downs and earned $2 million there.  Smexi, D’Orsay, Harley Momma, Resolve, Drop The Ball and Tomy Terror were a few of his drives this year. Jason Bartlett stayed close to home, racking up 94% of his more than $8 million in earnings at Yonkers Raceway, where he won a fourth driving title. Busting this year’s pattern, Bartlett made 194 more starts and won 174 more races this year. He earned almost a million dollars more than he did in 2013—that’s a 12% increase over last year. He won 485 times at his Westchester base, that’s 83 and 82 more races than Sears and Brennan won. Matt Kakaley, the only under 30 driver on the list, who handles the Burke horses Yannick passes over, drove in 193 fewer races and won 78 fewer times, but he upped his earnings 7% from 2013, banking an extra $560,000. All Bets Off gave him the biggest win of his career when he took the Messenger. And he won with Cartoon Daddy on the Night of Champions at Yonkers and also drove Bettor’s Edge, Handover Belle, Wishing Stone, Quick Deal, Gatka Hanover and Camille. Brett Miller, who is number nine on the list, had a breakout year in 2014. Like most of the drivers who did well, he was a regular behind Takter and Burke horses. He drove French Laundry, Clear Vision, Donatella Hanover and Krispy Apple, among others. He won eight in a row with Sandbetweenurtoes for Larry Remmen. Wake Up Peter has earned $250,000 this year with Brett driving him. Miller won only 15 more races from almost 400 more drives, but his earnings jumped 35%. He took in $2.7 million more than he did last year. George Brennan has been a regular at Yonkers Raceway since the fall of 2010. In 2011 he won the Hambletonian with Broad Bahn and the Oaks with Bold And Fresh, but over the course of the last three years he has become less inclined to venture out on the Grand Circuit. He gets quite a few drives on Burke’s stock at Yonkers and won the Sheppard with Cartoon Daddy. This year he dropped from number seven to ten. He drove in 44 fewer races, winning 10 fewer times and earning more than $2 million less than he did in 2013—that’s 20% of what he took in last year.  by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

The final field of 18 is set for Sunday’s Prix de Bourgogne, the third “B” leading to the Prix d’Amerique. The lineup is shown (not in post-position order) below, in sequence by career earnings. Some drivers have not yet been listed The Gr. II UET Masters Series International event carries a €120,000 purse over 2100 meters autostart distance. The winner of the race gets an automatic invite to the prestigious Prix D'Amerique. (horse, driver, trainer, career earnings in euros) Viscaria,tbd, Gillot, 346,360 Oibambam Effe, Carro, Carro, 384,992 Viking de Val, Lambertz, Lambertz, 547,340 Solvato, Kihlstrom, Heiskanen, 596,686 Amour d’Occagnes, tbd, Rebiche, 635,180 Soleil du Fosse, tbd, Duvaldestin, 685,160 Talicia Bella, Barrier, J-P Marmion,685,250 Kadett CD, Locqueneux, Bergh, 814,722 Mosaique Face, Kolgjini, Kolgjini, 850,598 Uhlan du Val, C. Megissier, C. Megissier, 895,390 Severino, Bonne, Ch. Bigeon, 956,649 Texas Charm, tbd, Moulin, 1,070,530 Up And Quick, Vercruysse, Leblanc, 1,258,060 Maven, Gingras, J.W. Takter, 1,267,094 Tiego d’Etang, Ch. Bigeon, Ch. Bigeon, 1,394,280 Roxane Griff, E. Raffin, Guarato, 2,567,218 Timoko, Goop, Westerink, 2,824,278 Ready Cash, tbd, Duvaldestin,4,282,300 The richly-talented field should produce an exciting event and should solve questions such as the fitness of Ready Cash and Up And Quick, whether Solvato can handle this deep group, Maven’s ability to handle the ship from the US and Texas Charm’s form as he seeks to defend his victory last year in this race. Earlier it was announced that Bjorn Goop will rein Timoko in the Prix d’Amerique due to his experience versus Criterium Continental winner Tumble Dust. The traditional Christmas Day Quinte+ at Paris-Vincennes features the Prix Constant Herview (Gr. III European, €105,000 purse, 18 starters). This well-balanced group includes Lutfi Kolgjini trainee Olympic Kronos (Locqueneux), Vico du Petit Odon (Bonne), Osiride Grif (Pierre Levesque), Velleroi (Gelormini) and Rapay Merci (Barrier). by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

For the fourth time in his Hall of Fame career, Jimmy Takter is the Trainer of the Year as voted upon by the members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Also voted a Dan Patch Award, as Driver of the Year, was Yannick Gingras, who led all drivers in purses this season with more than $17 million. Takter received 84 of 140 votes for Trainer of the Year, finishing ahead of Ron Burke, who got 56 votes. Gingras was the only driver nominated for Driver of the Year by USHWA's chapters. Despite starting horses only 729 times through Dec. 21, Takter's stable earned a career-best $13.35 million, for an average of more than $18,300 per start. Takter, 54, won this year's Hambletonian with Trixton, a horse he also drove to the victory, and the Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit. Takter became only the second trainer to win both races in the same year, joining Jan Johnson from 1988. The Hambletonian was the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown and Takter-trained Nuncio swept the remaining two legs, the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot. In addition, Takter won three Breeders Crown trophies, with 2-year-old male trotter Pinkman, 3-year-old male trotter Father Patrick, and 3-year-old female trotter Shake It Cerry. Shake It Cerry was named the Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year while Pinkman and Father Patrick received divisional honors. Takter dominated the 3-year-old trotting ranks, as he had the top three money-earning colts (Father Patrick, $1.69 million, Nuncio, $1.45 million and Trixton, $893,370) and the top two money-earning fillies (Shake It Cerry, $1.23 million and Lifetime Pursuit, $795,216). Father Patrick and Nuncio made Takter the first trainer in history to have two million-dollar trotters in the same division in the same year. Among Takter's top pacers were 3-year-old male stakes-winners Lyonssomewhere, who captured the Cane Pace, Somewhere In L A and Tellitlikeitis, along with 3-year-old filly stakes-winner Uffizi Hanover. Takter's previous Trainer of the Year honors came in 2010, 2000 and 1996. The 35-year-old Gingras has established career highs in purses, with $17.29 million, and wins, with 555. His earnings led all drivers in North America and were more than $5 million ahead of second place. Never in history has a driver finished at least $5 million in front of his nearest competitor. In addition, Gingras' purses were fourth highest in history for a driver. Gingras won four Breeders Crown titles, victories that were among 15 triumphs worth more than $300,000 this year. Those 15 lucrative wins came with nine different horses and included the Canadian Trotting Classic, Hambletonian Oaks, Little Brown Jug and Cane Pace. A native of Quebec, Gingras was USHWA's 2003 Rising Star Award winner. Takter and Gingras will receive their awards at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, to be held Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Doubletree Hilton Orlando at Sea World. by Ken Weingartner, for the US Harness Writers Association    

East Rutherford, NJ (December 5, 2014) On a cold and rainy night at The Meadowlands, Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras ran the show. Tetrick was the early star on Friday night winning three of the first four races and four of the first six, but he passed the baton to Gingras who would go on to win three in a row in races 9 through 11, totaling four on the card himself. The Bionic Man guided Super Bowl hopeful Propulsion to a romp in the opener, a non-winners of 2 trot, scoring as the 1/9 favorite in 1:55.1 for trainer Tony Alagna. Propulsion was a 1:52.3 winner this fall at Lexington, was freshened up for the winter and appears to be a name we will come to know well at The Meadowlands this winter. Propulsion is owned by Brittany Farms, Katz, Libfeld, Goldband, Sbrocco and Little E L.L.C. Tetrick also guided Witch Dali to an impressive 1:53.1 score in a non-winners of 2 pace for fillies, despite making her first start in 13 months. Tetrick and Tony Alagna swept the early double as Witch Dali parlayed a pocket trip into a decisive score. Witch Dali looks like a nice fit for the upcoming Worldly Beauty series which begins on January 9th at The Meadowlands. She paid $4.40 to win and is owned by Alagna Racing L.L.C. and Aaron Waxman. Yannick Gingras guided Southwind Serenity to a rebound effort in the B-2/B-1 Handicap for three year old filly pacers. Backers who forgave last week's performance were rewarded as the filly returned $12.00 to win, while last week she was a 6/5 betting choice. Southwind Serenity and Gingras took no prisoners, whipping around the track labeled sloppy to win in 1:50.3. The rapid pace of 27-, 55- and 1:22.3 seemed to have little effect on the Ron Burke trainee as she kicked home in 28 seconds flat to win handily. The winner is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver, Bruscemi and Collura. The $22,500 B-1/A-2 Filly and Mare Handicap Pace went to Set Me Up at 3-1, who went straight to the lead and never looked back through fractions of 26.4, 56- and 1:24.4 to win in 1:52. It was the second Gingras/Burke winning connection on the card. The win was the eighth on the season for Set Me Up who went past $100,000 in earnings in the 2014 racing season for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver and Bruscemi. Upfront Billy gave Brett Miller a win in the B-2/B-1 Handicap Trot with Up Front Billy, who rallied boldly again, but this time got up rather easily to score in 1:54.1. Miller tracked cover from a position third over through strong fractions, including a 56.2 middle-half mile, angled out and powered home to win at 9/2. Super Manning was 2nd while the classy Mistery Woman who set the pace as the 4/5 betting choice faded to third. Upfront Billy is trained and co-owned by Mark Ford for Up Front Racing L.L.C. The total handle of $2,273,465 was a six-percent increase from the same Friday in 2013. Handle on harness racing at The Meadowlands has eclipsed $200 Million for the second consecutive year. For the second time in three nights, the jackpot super hi-5 was hit and returned $15,606.68 for the one winning ticket. The pool will start fresh again when racing resumes on Saturday with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

DOVER, Del. ---- It's D-Day at Dover Downs on Sunday, Dec. 7. On the anniversary date of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a harness battle on the racetrack is led by McWicked and JK Endofanera, headlining the $301,560 Progress Pace. Meanwhile, Remember Me VK is the one to beat in the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Male Pace Final. Post time is 5:30 for the 15-race program. Last week, McWicked, with David Miller driving, scored a 1:48.4 victory in a wire-to-wire victory in the Progress Pace Prevue, a week after winning the $531,250 Breeders Crown Final. SSG Stables' McWicked is conditioned by Casie Coleman and leaves from post 4. JK Endofanera and Yannick Gingras driving for the sport's leading trainer, Ron Burke, was third in the Breeders Crown, and finished second last Sunday for owners 3 Brothers Stable. The recent $186,550 Matron Final upset winner at Dover Downs, Dominick Rosato's Big Boy Dreams was a game third in the Prevue. An 11-time winner this year, Baldachino, Shelswell, Panhellenic and Burke Racing stable's $1-million winner ,All Bets Off, who scored impressive victories in the $500,000 Messenger Stake, $400,000 Carl Milstein at Northfield and the New York Sire Stakes championship, has the services of Matt Kakaley. J&T Silva, TLP stables and Deo Volente Farms' Somewhere In LA, trained by Jimmy Takter with driver Tim Tetrick, should profit moving from outside post 8 to post 5 this time. Completing the select field of six is National Debt, owned by Blair and Emma Corbeil, Kelly Hoerdt and J&T Silva Stables. The Ron Coyne-trainee will be reined by Dover Downs' leading driver Corey Callahan. Remember Me VK (Montrell Teague), after being scratched in the DSBF first leg prelim returned to score a decisive 1:51.4 victory, the all-time fastest win in the DSBF program. Bobby Wyatt trains the gelding for owners Ron Benton and Sharon Wyatt. A week ago, Sonofa Sizzle, owned by Mike White and trained by Gary Green, was a strong second. Hall of Famer David Miller will be in the bike. Howard Taylor's Smoking Joey brings a three-race win streak with Corey Callahan at the controls for meet leading trainer Doug Lewis. Art Stafford Jr. will pilot Scott Woogen's homebred KJ Ben who along with Dashboard racing for trainer Rich Ringler and owners Joann King and Maria Ringler are the only other starters to win prelims. The other contestants are Don Marine's Rigged To Go (Ross Wolfenden) from the rail, Art Season (Allan Davis) for owners S.I. White Nanticoke and Legacy racings and George & Tina Dennis and Ask SW Stables-bred and owned Roddy's Hot Again (George Dennis). Dover Downs races Sundays at 5:30 p.m. and weekdays, Monday through Thursday beginning at 4:30 p.m. It is suggested that those who would enjoy watching races from the Winners Circle restaurant should call for reservations, phone 302-674-4600. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs  

HARRISBURG PA— In harness racing, and often within its media organization the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), it’s usually impossible to get a unanimous verdict on anything, even whether the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. But in 2014, harness racing and USHWA are unanimously embracing one fact: Yannick Gingras is the Driver of the Year, based on his handling of the winners of over $16.5 million and a record-tying four triumphs in the recent Breeders Crown series. For the annual Dan Patch awards given to humans, the chapters of USHWA send in their variousnominees, and balloting is conducted among eligible voters of its 220 members, plus a select group of racing secretaries. This year, every chapter sending in a Driver nomination selected Gingras, and so no further balloting is needed. For the 35-year-old Gingras, a native of Quebec, 2014 saw him handle many of the sport’s stars, and perhaps most tellingly, he was the “first call” driver for the two barns who have dominated much of the stakes scene this year, those of Ron Burke and of Jimmy Takter. Of his four Breeders Crown wins, two were from Burke (Mission Brief and Sayitall BB), and two were for Takter (Pinkman and Father Patrick). 2014 also saw Gingras help the 10-year-old Foiled Again further his world record career earnings mark, which currently stands at $6,769,531. Yannick was the leading driver for the 2014 season at The Meadowlands, a track which features what many consider the best driving colony in the world. Another highlight for Gingras was returning to his native Quebec and winning the $200,000 Prix d’Ete at his “home track,” Hippodrome 3R (Trois-Rivieres), where his victory with the Takter-trained Sunfire Blue Chip in 1:50.3 – over two seconds faster than the previous mark – was cheered by many members of his family, a group which plays as important a part of Gingras’s life as harness racing does, according to him. Gingras will receive his Driver of the Year award at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Sunday, February 22, 2015 at the Doubletree Hilton Orlando (FL) at Sea World. Information on hotel reservations, tickets, and ads in the souvenir Journal will be distributed shortly. by Jerry Connors, for USHWA

Winner: Jimmy Takter won three Breeders Crown races and is already an amazing $5.4 million ahead of last year’s $7.8 million earning’s figure. Shake It Cerry was already assured of a division win, while Father Patrick and Pinkman probably won their divisions last night. Loser: Always A Virgin came into the BC poised to have two winners and, if that happened, two division titles. This would have given the ten-year-old stallion, and the Indiana program he spearheads, a huge boost. Unfortunately, Always B Miki scratched out of the sophomore colt pace and his filly counterpart, Color’s A Virgin, was too far back in her race and finished fourth. Winner: McWicked stepped up and seized control of a floundering division with his BC victory. Neither the Adios nor the Hempt would rate grade one status in today’s environment, so McWicked needed a top shelf win to bolster his resume. That combined with his earning’s lead should give him a solid shot at division supremacy. Casie Coleman said he may have one more start in him. That would no doubt be the Progress Pace, which he can supplement to for $25,000. A win in the Progress should secure division honors. Loser: Joe Holloway had a clear path to a division title and a start in the lucrative TVG with Always B Miki, but that one was a late scratch when he injured a leg in his stall just prior to post time. Beyond that, Holloway came into the season positioned to dominate the aged pacing mares with four-year-old hotshots Shebestingin and Somwherovrarainbow. However, Rainbow finished tenth in the BC while the world record holder, Shebestingin, has only started three times since the end of July—all losing efforts. Winner: Yannick Gingras added $1.5 million to his earning’s pile over the past week. He has now handily eclipsed Tim Tetrick’s $16.1 million winning total from last year and Gingras is already $2.2 million up on what he earned in all of 2013. He won four BC races, and no doubt would have had five if he maintained his relationship with JK She’salady. Loser: Tony Alagna, the third leading trainer last year and currently ranked seventh, didn’t have any starters in the dozen BC finals. Captaintreacherous has been retired and Artspeak was shut down for the season. It’s unusual for a trainer like Alagna, who specialized in high-end stock, to be a bystander come BC weekend. Last year he won with Captain T and was second to Nitelife with Authorize. Erv Miller, who is the third ranked trainer on the earning’s list, also had no starters, but that’s not really his field of play. Winner: John Campbell’s off the pace wins with 4-1 Thinking Out Loud and 10-1 Shelliscape give him a record 47 Breeders Crown wins. Winner: Father Patrick has won 22 of his 28 lifetime starts and earned $1.6 million this year—$235,000 more than any other NA trotter or pacer. Yet, as was the case with Captaintreacherous during his sophomore season, Patrick seems to take a lot of heat. Going into last night’s race it was understood that a win by Nuncio would give him the division as well as serious Horse of the Year consideration. But now Patrick owns the division for good and will be given an opportunity to further his redemption for losses in the Hambletonion, Matron and Erskine when and if he takes on his elders in the TVG. Winner: JK She’salady probably secured Horse of the Year honors with her BC win in track and stakes record time. She completed a perfect 12 win season. The daughter of Art Major would be the first freshman filly ever to win that award. Loser: Jeff Gural had to be pleased that the weather cooperated and business was good over Breeders Crown weekend. However, BC wins by Traceur Hanover, trained by the indefinitely suspended Corey Johnson, and the PJ Fraley trainee Shelliscape, had to leave him with a sour stomach. Fraley, along with Rene Allard, whose Yagonnakissmeornot finished fifth as the favorite in the aged mare pace, were both deemed persona non grata by Gural last year. Legal precedent and BC staking rules left him with no choice but to allow the trio to compete. After Traceur won the freshman pace Johnson, who towered over everyone else in the winner’s circle, drew all eyes. The fact that good guy Andy Miller drove Traceur and handled the post-race interview offered some relief for Meadowlands and Breeders Crown execs. Winner: Hanover Shoe Farms had a very good weekend. Nineteen-year-old Western Ideal, who had grown out of favor with the buyers as his New Jersey eligibility lingered on, has turned that around of late. His son Always A Virgin has generated plenty of publicity this year and now Hanover has Traceur Hanover to join Artspeak at the vanguard of the freshman pacing ranks. The latter was a winner because In The Arsenal, who finished second behind Traceur Hanover, did not wrestle the division away from him. Also, Pinkman, winner of the two-year-old colt trot, gives the young stallion Explosive Matter the potential star performer he’s been searching for. Hanover also got wins from Father Patrick, a son of their premier trotting stallion Cantab Hall, and Donato’s daughter Shake It Cerry. Winner: With Thinking Out Loud, who is not a viable candidate for division honors, winning the BC open pace, Sweet Lou, who was second, set himself up nicely for division honors. Winner: Marginal pacing stallions stepped to the fore over the weekend. McArdle is trying to establish himself in slots rich Ohio and having McWicked, his number two son after One More Laugh, win the BC and in so doing pave the way for a division title, helps immeasurably in that regard. And ten-year-old Tell All has failed to light it up thus far in the stallion ranks, but that win by supplemental entry, Sayitall BB, certainly helps. Bob McIntosh would probably scoff at the notion that Ponder is a marginal stallion, but the volume has been so thin that it sometimes seems like they all belong to him. Diamond Creek is currently addressing that issue in Pennsylvania. Adding a BC trophy to Thinking Out Loud’s hardware collection will give the effort a boost. And while Artiscape’s great daughter Rainbow Blue has a BC trophy on the mantle; paternal sister Shelliscape now has two of them. by Joe FitzGerald for   http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com  

MCWICKED TAKES BREEDERS CROWN COLT PACE

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – One of two namesakes of the popular AMC drama Breaking Bad, the Jimmy Takter-trained Pinkman took the lead into the backstretch and held off all foes to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot in 1:53.2.   Guess Whos Back gained control, while Uncle Lasse loomed closer to his outside. Through a :27.4 first quarter, Uncle Lasse (Ron Piere) took the lead. Pinkman soon followed the move of his stable mate, and gained the lead before the half.   Once in front, Pinkman was left uncontested through fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.3. French Laundry (Brett Miller) led the two-wide charge, with Muscle Diamond (John Campbell) riding his back.   Pinkman was drifting off the cones through the stretch, allowing French Laundry to dive to the inside and attempt to gain ground. Muscle Diamond put in his final charge towards the center of the course, and could only finish second to Pinkman, doing so in a track and stakes time. French Laundry was third, and Habitat (Brian Sears) was fourth. "I qualified him two starts ago, Gingras said, "and he was so good on the front in the qualifier. Last week in the eliminations, Brian came and I let him go, but tonight I felt it was his race to lose and I wanted him up on the front." "You know I love the Breeders Crown," said co-owner John FIelding. "We didn’t have much confidence in Pinkamn in the early stages, but boy has he come on since September, he’s just really turned into a different horse. We had him for sale and the magical Jimmy Takter got him figured out and he just went straight forward since then; he’s just been a real great surprise." Bred by O Narutac Equine Nursery, he’s owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joe Mc Clelland, and Herb Liverman. Pinkman paid $4.00 to win. He closes out the 2014 season with six wins in just eight starts with earnings of $566,000.   Pinkman       by Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown  

Canadians were prominent at the 2014 Breeders Crown championships at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey with two wins, two seconds and three thirds in four Breeders Crown races on Friday.   The good Breeders Crown form held on Saturday night as Canadian-connected horses added five wins, two seconds and two thirds for a championship total of seven wins, four seconds and five thirds.   Also, John Campbell, originally from Ailsa Craig, Ontario, drove Shelliscape to a win in the Mare Pace (Race 8).   Here are the results for the Canadian connected horses from Saturday races:   Race 11 - $500,000 Open Trot   #4 Maven SECOND - Owner: Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC).   #5 Flanagan Memory FOURTH - Trainer: Rene Dion (Saint-Lazare, QC). - Owners: Liette Flanagan (Repentigny, QC) and Rene Dion (Saint-Lazare, QC).   #10 Intimidate SIXTH - Driver: Sylvain Filion (Milton, ON) - Trainer: Luc Blais (Lochaber Ouest, QC) - Owners: Determination (Westmount, QC) and Judith Farrow (Hemmingford, QC).   Race 10 - $531,250 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace   #3 Mcwicked WON - Trainer: Casie Coleman (Cambridge, ON).   #9 Luck Be Withyou FIFTH - Owner: John Craig (North York, ON).   Race 9 - $500,000 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Trot   #5 Il Sogno Dream SEVENTH - Owners: Bill Manes (Rockwood, ON), Dan Manes (Erin, ON), Leonard Christopher (Acton, ON) and Randy Christopher (Rockwood, ON).   #6 Father Patrick WON - Co-Owners: John Fielding (Toronto, ON), Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON), Sam Goldband and Marvin Katz (Toronto, ON).   #9 Harper Blue Chip FOURTH - Owners: Landmark 6 Racing Stable (Kingston, ON), David McDonald (Cornwall, ON), David Reid (Glenburnie, ON) and George Judson (Athens, ON).   #10 E L Titan SECOND - Trainer: Riina Rekila (Campbellville, ON).   Race 8 - $281,250 Mare Pace   #3 Voelz Hanover NINTH - Trainer: Corey Johnson (Guelph, ON). - Owner: Richard Berthiaume (Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC).   #5 Yagonnakissmeornot SIXTH - Co-Owners: Allard Racing Inc (Saint-Esprit, QC) and Yves Sarrazin (La Presentation, QC).   Race 7 - $500,000 2-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace   #2 Traceur Hanover WON - Trainer: Corey Johnson (Rockwood, ON). - Owner: Richard Berthiaume (Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC).   #4 Franzo TENTH - Co-Owner: Lothlorien (Cheltenham, ON).   #5 Go Daddy Go FIFTH - Trainer: Bob McIntosh (Windsor, ON). - Owners: Robert McIntosh Stables Inc (Windsor, ON) and Dave Boyle (Bowmanville, ON).   #6 Sicily FOURTH - Trainer: Nikolas Drennan (Burlington, ON) - Co-Owners: Brad Shackman (Calgary, AB) and Nikolas Drennan (Burlington, ON).   #8 Soto NINTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and R A W Equine (Burlington, ON).   Race 6 - $400,000 Open Pace   #2 Modern Legend FOURTH - Trainer: Dave Drew (St. Catharines, ON). - Owner: Dave Drew Associates Inc (St. Catharines, ON).   #3 State Treasurer THIRD - Trainer: Dr. Ian Moore (Guelph, ON). - Owners: Sally MacDonald (Souris, PE) and Paul MacDonald (Regina, SK).   #4 Thinking Out Loud WON - Trainer: Bob McIntosh (Windsor, ON). - Co-Owners: Robert McIntosh Stables Inc (Windsor, ON) and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc (Leamington, ON).   Race 5 - $500,000 2-year-old Filly Pace   #1 Southwind Roulette NINTH - Co-Owner: Brad Grant (Milton, ON).   #8 Heavenly Bride EIGHTH -Trainer: Casie Coleman (Cambridge, ON).   Race 4 - $500,000 2-year-old Colt & Gelding Trot   #1 French Laundry THIRD - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON), Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON) and Marvin Katz (Toronto, ON).   #2 Walter White SEVENTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and R A W Equine (Burlington, ON).   #5 Pinkman WON - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC).   #7 Guess Whos Back TENTH - Trainer: Nikolas Drennan (Burlington, ON). - Co-Owner: Brad Shackman (Calgary, AB)   #8 Uncle Lasse FIFTH - Co-Owner: John Fielding (Toronto, ON).   Here are the results for the Canadian connected horses from Friday races:   Race 10 - $593,750 3-year-old Filly Pace   #1 Major Dancer SECOND - Trainer: Casie Coleman (Cambridge, ON). - Owners: West Wins Stable (Cambridge, ON), Mac Nichol (Burlington, ON) and Adriano Sorella (Milton, ON).   #2 Beach Gal THIRD - Trainer: David Menary (Rockton, ON). - Owners: Kenneth Ewen (Georgetown, ON), Hewvilla Farms Inc (Mount Forest, ON), Denis Breton (Welland, ON) and Menary Racing Inc (Rockton, ON).   #3 Gettiggreadytoroll NINTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON).   #6 Uffizi Hanover SEVENTH - Owners: Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON), Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband (Toronto, ON).   #10 Precocious Beauty FIFTH - Driver: Doug McNair (Guelph, ON). - Trainer: Gregg McNair (Guelph, ON).   Race 9 - $500,000 3-year-old Filly Trot   #3 Shake It Cerry WON - Co-Owner: John Fielding (Toronto, ON).   #4 Stuck By Lindy THIRD - Co-Owners: Melvin Hartman (Ottawa, ON) and R A W Equine Inc (Burlington, ON).   #5 Cantabs Fortune FIFTH - Driver: Rick Zeron (Oakville, ON). - Trainer: Rick Zeron (Oakville, ON). - Owners: Rick Zeron Stables (Oakville, ON), Paul Marion (Marionville, ON) and Ferme Rico Limitee (Vars, ON).   #8 Riveting Rosie SEVENTH - Driver: Paul Macdonell (Guelph, ON). - Trainer John Bax (Cavan Monaghan, ON). - Owners: Parkhill Stud Farm (Peterborough, ON), Don Allensen (Wyoming, ON), Joseph Parkinson and John Hayes (Sharon, ON).   Race 8 - $500,000 2-year-old Filly Trot   #2 Wild Honey TENTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC).   #3 Danielle Hall SECOND - Driver: Jody Jamieson (Moffat, ON). - Trainer: Carl Jamieson (Rockwood, ON). - Owners: Carl Jamieson (Rockwood, ON) and Thomas Kyron (Toronto, ON).   #6 Stubborn Belle FIFTH - Driver: Paul Macdonell - Trainer: John Bax (Cavan Monaghan, ON). - Owners: Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON) and Parkhill Stud Farm (Peterborough, ON).   #7 Lilu Hanover EIGHTH - Co-Owners: Marvin Katz (Toronto, ON) and Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON).   #9 Livininthefastlane THIRD - Owners: Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband (Toronto, ON) and Al Libfeld (Pickering, ON).   #10 Smexi FOURTH - Co-Owners: John & Jim Fielding (Toronto, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC)   Race 7 - $250,000 Mare Trot   #1 Intense America SIXTH - Trainer: Rene Dion (Saint-Lazare, QC). - Owner: Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. (Montreal, QC)   #3 Bee A Magician WON - Co-Owners: Melvin Hartman (Ottawa, ON) and Herb Liverman (Montreal, QC).   #6 Charmed Life FOURTH - Driver: Jody Jamieson (Moffat, ON). - Trainer: David Menary (Rockton, ON). - Owners: Menary Racing Inc (Rockton, ON), Brad Gray (Dundas, ON) and Michael Guerriero (Puslinch, ON)   by John Siscos, for WEG  

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