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There are some important changes in the 2015 harness racing stakes schedule, as racetracks embrace the mega program model and move away from carding isolated stakes races. Perhaps the most significant change is the return, after a one-year hiatus, of what came to be known as “Super Sunday” when it was held at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The Battle Of Brandywine, Colonial Trot, and the Valley Forge for sophomore pacing fillies, which were an essential mid-August component of the calendar, return to Pocono Downs on Saturday, August 22. Last year Northfield took advantage of the gap created by their absence by carding the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial on the same weekend. The race was a big success as All Bets Off beat Luck Be Withyou and McWicked. It will be great to have the Battle, which has been a fixture since 1960 and the Colonial, since 1968, back in play. And the Milstein will be held a week earlier than last year, on Friday, August 14. The Dan Patch, which sees a $50,000 bump to $300,000, and will be raced as an early closer, will also be raced on August 14. The Whata Baron and Artistic Vision, both for three and up pacers, will be carded at the Meadowlands on May 2, two weeks later than last year. That same day the Lady Suffolk, which has been raced on Fridays, joins the Dexter Cup on Freehold’s Saturday card. And the following day, Sunday, May 3, the Miami Valley Distaff Trot and Pace will be raced. Last year Shebestingin won the pace, named for Sam ‘Chip’ Noble, while Maven won the trot—both in track record time. The purse for each has been doubled to $100,000 this year. The first TVG pacing series leg has been dropped back a week to Saturday, May 7. Last year it was a stand-alone race, but in 2015 it will be paired with the Cutler, which serves as the first TVG trotting leg.  The Graduate series for four-year-old trotters and pacers will kick off at Tioga Downs on Memorial Day with a $50,000 leg for each gait. Subsequently four legs, carrying $75,000 and $100,000 purses, will be raced at the Meadowlands in June. Actually, even before Memorial Day, the latter group will be able to get going on May 17, when Flamboro offers the reconstituted Confederation Cup for four-year-old pacers. That one carries $200,000 in purse money. So, when you add in the $250,000 Graduate finals on July 3 and July 11, plus the $200,000 Prix d’Ete for four-year-old pacers on August 23, there will be plenty of opportunities for those crossing the bridge to the aged class. On Sunday, May 24, Harrah’s Philadelphia is offering the inaugural $150,000 Jerry Taylor Open pace, named for Howard Taylor’s father. Harrah’s will also card the Maxie Lee and Betsy Ross that day. The SBSW and North America Cup will both be a week later in 2015. The former will offer richer splits as the purse has jumped $75,000 to $225,000. Last year David Menary had to decide whether to start He’s Watching in the SBSW or the Rooney, as they were on the same day. This year the Rooney, and companion Lismore, will be raced a week before the SBSW. Last year WEG shuffled their stakes lineup so as to add strength to Cup night; finals for the Roses Are Red, Armbro Flight and Fan Hanover were all held that day. This year the finals for those three have been moved to the following week, June 20, and the eliminations for those stakes will be relied on to make the Cup program compelling. The Mohawk Gold Cup, in which upset winner Evenin Of Pleasure paid $164.30 last year, will also be raced on June 20. The Battle Of Lake Erie has been dropped back five weeks to June 12. That’s the day before the elimination round for the NA Cup. Last year the Battle was sandwiched between the Haughton and the USPC. This year two legs of the Graduate series bookend it. The Roll With Joe has leaped ahead almost two months to Sunday August 23—the same day as the Prix d’Ete. The purse lost $25,000 during the move; the Joe now goes for $175,000. Eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby are six days later. The $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity moves ahead two weeks on the schedule in 2015. Last year it was by itself, but in 2015 it joins the Stanley Dancer, Del Miller and Miss Versatility on July 18. The Hambletonian falls one week later this year, on August 8. The Oaks, Peter Haughton, Merrie Annabelle and Cashman are back, but instead of the Ima Lula for four-year-old trotting mares, the inaugural $200,000 Fresh Yankee for three and up mares joins the ticket. Opportunities for this class are scarce, so this is a plus move on the part of the Meadowlands. The Ima Lula will be raced on the previous Saturday. And the Cane Pace, which has been raced at Tioga the last three years, will be moved back two weeks and slotted into the Hambletonian Day program. The Yonkers Trot was pushed ahead three months to October 25 last year, but in 2015 the Yonkers Trot and the Messenger head back to Saturday, September 5. The Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot will now be raced the previous week. Last year the Messenger and Yonkers Trot butted heads with the Fall Four at Woodbine; this year they take on the Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro, She’s A Great Lady and Simcoe. The Maple Leaf Trot, in which Intimidate upset Sebastian K, jumps ahead almost two months to September 19, where it joins the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, Wellwood and Peaceful Way. This sets up a situation where the Chip Noble Memorial Trot at Scioto Downs, the Maple Leaf, the Centaur at Hoosier Park and the Dayton Trotting Derby will be raced on successive weeks. The latter, like the Distaff stakes at Miami Valley, benefits from Ohio’s infusion of slots money; the purse has jumped $50,000 to $150.000. The Breeders Crown moves back a month to October 24 at Woodbine, with the Erskine, in which E L Titan upset Father Patrick, going six days later. The Fall Four move up a month to November 21 and 22 at the Meadowlands. The Governor’s Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid will be augmented by the Tarport Hap, which has been out of the rotation since See You At Peelers won in 2011, and the Continentalvictory, a new race for three-year-old trotting fillies. The TVG finals will be raced one week earlier than last year. (Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.com)

The introduction of graded stakes races to harness racing is an issue that has gnawed away at owners, trainers, drivers and fans for a half-century, but we’re no closer to making it a reality today than we were back in the sixties. A survey that Tom White, one-time publicity director at The Red Mile and the Little Brown Jug, conducted on the topic more than three decades ago offers us some perspective. White concedes that his audit would not stand up to scientific scrutiny, but it certainly holds much anecdotal value. He wanted opinions on how to grade the slightly more than 2% of races that were not specifically for claimers or conditioned by earnings, age or sex. He sent a list of all unrestricted races—except by age and sex—to “40 knowledgeable harness racing representatives,” asking those folks to designate them as Grade 1, 2 or 3. He also allowed for a No Grade option. And 80% of them responded. The powers that be in Thoroughbred racing formulated a list of 330 graded stakes for 1973 and 1974; it was reduced to 276 in 1980. White used 69 races from the Standardbred calendar for his survey. Only 35 of 100 Thoroughbred tracks in North America carded graded stakes in 1981. Last year’s precept that every open stakes race—regardless of how insignificant it is—come under the Grand Circuit umbrella, works against any sort of graded stakes paradigm in harness racing. Every track and publicity director’s race in the Standardbred world is a Grade 1 as far as they’re concerned. Four races, the Hambletonian, Jug, Messenger and Wilson drew perfect Grade 1 scores. The Wilson went away after the 2012 edition; of the other three, the Hambletonian would no doubt still get a perfect score, but I’m not sure about the other two. There’s a great deal of resentment over the fact that two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown—the Jug and the Messenger—are raced over half-mile tracks. Also, the Messenger lost much of its cachet when Roosevelt closed and the race embarked on a nomadic journey that now has it rooted at Yonkers Raceway. The purse is $500,000 but many owners and trainers keep their premium stock clear of half-mile tracks; All Bets Off, Ronny Bugatti and Bolt The Duer won the last three. The Jug doesn’t engender as much enmity as the Messenger, but there are plenty of harness racing aficionados who discount it as a post position crap shoot. Races that came within one or two votes of a perfect Grade 1 score in the 1981 survey are the Meadowlands Pace, Kentucky Futurity, Cane, Yonkers Trot, Adios, Oaks and Fox Pace. Only one individual labeled the Meadowlands Pace a Grade 2 stake, and certainly it would fall solidly in the Grade 1 column today. The same goes for the Kentucky Futurity. The Cane, which was shown the door by the Rooneys after the 1997 edition, and spent 14 uneventful years at Freehold, one at Pocono and the last three at Tioga, carries a shorter purse than the Messenger, but has escaped the twice-arounds. Lyonssomewhere beat He’s Watching and JK Endofanera in 2014; Captain T beat Vegas Vacation in 2013; and Dynamic Youth beat Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance in 2012. Switching to the bigger track has drastically improved the talent. This year the race will move to the Meadowlands where it will enhance the Hambletonian Day program. The Cane is a solid Grade 2, which has drawn better quality fields than the Messenger of late, and is striving to regain its Grade 1 status. The Yonkers Trot would also have more of a problem drumming up Grade 1 votes in 2015. Nuncio crushed a soft field in this year’s $580,000 edition. Six, or 17%, of the Hambletonian winners have also won the Yonkers Trot in the 35 years since Tom White conducted this review. Just as the better pacers tend to avoid the Messenger, the better trotters sit out the Yonkers Trot. The Adios, which was classified as a Grade 1 by 31 of the 33 respondents, is another race that has fallen somewhat out of favor. Only 14% of the Meadowlands Pace winners in the last 35 years also won the Adios; the last to do so was Davids Pass nineteen years ago. Only 13 % of the NA Cup winners have also won the Adios since the Cup was rebranded in 1984, and again, Davids Pass was the last to do it. This year the Adios will be held on Saturday, August 1. One assumes the Hambletonian—and the Cane—will be the following Saturday. McWicked, Sunfire Blue Chip, Bolt The Duer, Alsace Hanover, Delmarvalous and Vintage Master won the last six editions of the Adios. Needless to say, reputation notwithstanding, the race wouldn’t garner all those Grade 1 votes today. Thirty-one of the 33 respondents designated the Oaks as a Grade 1, and I assume the result would be equally one-sided today. The Fox Stake, on the other hand, has done a free fall from grace. Around since 1927, it was the richest race for freshman pacing colts at one time. Adios, Good Time, Bret Hanover, Romeo Hanover, Laverne Hanover and Albatross all won the Fox. Unfortunately racing at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds isn’t what it was, and in recent years the likes of Harfo Hanover and Blooming Genius won the race. Rating it a three would be too generous. Some of the stakes which garnered two-thirds of the votes in White’s survey have been eliminated. The Colonial, Holmes, Kentucky Pacing Derby, Prix d’Ete (3YO), Sweetheart and World Trotting Derby are all gone. The venerable Dexter and Lady Suffolk, which are raced at Freehold, are now Grade 3 stakes. The Peter Haughton Memorial Pace, which was raced at Roosevelt, is no more. The Adioo Volo is now a Grade 3; the Tattersalls Pace, which is now raced in divisions with no heats, is a Grade 2. Can’t have two winners and be a one. The Peter Haughton freshman trot is still around and noteworthy. The Tarport Hap has been eliminated, along with the Niatross, and previously mentioned Wilson. Sweetheart and Holmes as Jeff Gural gradually purges the calendar of colt and filly stakes so he can concentrate on series for the four and up group. The Breeders Crown, the most important addition to the stakes landscape in the last thirty-five years, had yet to be introduced when Tom White solicited these opinions in 1981. All of them would rate a Grade 1 designation today. A race needed 22 votes for Grade 1 status to qualify under White’s system. Eighteen, or 26%, made the cut. Less than half that number would warrant a Grade 1 designation today. With so many buying strictly for sire stakes racing, it apparently doesn’t matter. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

Nuncio and driver John Campbell ended up being just a half-length off of sweeping the harness racing Trotting Triple Crown as Nuncio captured the third jewel, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final, at Yonkers Raceway Saturday. It seemed nearly an effortless effort for the three-year-old son of Andover Hall, who got away in second place early as Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick) shot to the early lead from post seven. Once they reached the opening quarter mile in an easy :29 second, Campbell moved Nuncio to the front and it was pretty much a cake-walk from that point on. Nuncio led the field to the half mile in a leisurely :58.4 with no one coming up to challenge. In the backstretch Journey (Daniel Dube) was able to flush Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) to come first-over as they passed the three-quarters in 1:27.3. Then on the final turn the pocket-sitting Don Dorado went off-stride and it became a two-horse race to the wire. Nuncio went wide coming down the stretch but Datsyuk was unable to gain ground as Nuncio went on to win by two and one-quarter open lengths in 1:56. Datsyuk held for second place with Resolve (David Miller) finishing third. “Father Patrick has gotten a lot of accolades,” said John Campbell, “And Trixton deservingly so too. But this horse (Nuncio) is just so consistent. I have so much admiration and think so highly of this horse because he always gives me such a big effort. Horses like him are hard to find. “Any horse at this level has to have consistency,” Campbell added, They have to have speed, they have to have heart, but his consistency over two years has just been remarkable. He has never put in a poor performance for me at all.” “It takes a pretty good horse,” Campbell said, “to have never raced on a half mile before and put in two great miles like he has is unbelievable.” It was the 60th edition of the Yonkers Trot and the third time that Campbell has won the Triple Crown jewel. Trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Stall TZ of Vero Beach, FL, it was the tenth win in 15 starts this year for Nuncio. He now sports $1,297,096 in earnings this year. Nuncio paid just $2.10 to win was the 1/9 overwhelming favorite. Nuncio Last week All Bets Off and driver Matt Kakaley barely made it to the final of the $500,000 Messenger Stakes, the third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown. He tried to wire the field and ended up finishes fourth, beaten just one length. But with the first four official finishers returning for the final, All Bets Off was back in the hunt and drew post six for the final and this time Matt Kakaley made sure no one was able to catch them. Shooting to the early lead with Lyonssomewhere (Brett Miller) fighting off Stevensville (Mark MacDonald) for the two-hole spot, Kakaley made the lead with All Bets Off and cut the mile to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26.3 seconds. Kakaley and All Bets Off were then able to back down the speed slightly, going to the half mile in :55.1 as McWicked and driver David Miller, the 1-2 favorite, made their move first-over from fourth place with Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick) following their outside cover. All Bets Off was in full gear and took the field to the three-quarters in 1:23 and was not letting off the pace. By the top of the stretch, Kakaley and All Bets Off were up by four lengths and then breezed to the wire to win by two and three-quarter lengths in 1:51.1. Luck Be Withyou came on for second with McWicked third. “He wasn’t that good last week,” Matt Kakaley said, “He wasn’t himself. But I had all the faith in the world in Ronnie (Burke) that they would have him ready and they showed up tonight. “I was leaving tonight no matter what,” Kakaley said. “We were not doing to duck’em. He (All Bets Off) can leave so quick. I had him jammed on the car pretty good and he just sprinted right out of there. He was rolling along and had a pretty good hold on me. He was in the bits and felt pretty good and I was pretty confident. “This is huge,” Kakaley said. “This is the biggest win of my career. It’s been a great year for me. And Ronnie has been giving me great opportunities. Things have been going really well thanks to him.” The time of the race for the 50th edition of the Messenger, 1:51.1, was the fastest Messenger Stakes ever held at Yonkers. Sired by Bettor’s Delight, it was the 11th win in 15 starts this year for All Bets Off. Trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell, All Bets Off paid $11.80 to win. All Bets Off By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com 

YONKERS, NY, - An important wagering/refund notice from Yonkers Raceway. Regarding the early Pick 4 wager from Saturday, Oct. 18th, Yonkers Raceway regrets any confusion caused by the late "barring" of two horses-Nuncio and Amped Up Hanover-from all wagering in the fourth race. Those horses should have been coupled as a wagering entry soon after the draw, but regrettably were not. Anyone who wagered on either of those horses in the Pick 4 was, by New York State Gaming Commission rules, given the wagering favorite as a "replacement." When Nuncio (racing for purse money only) won the race and would have gone off as the heavy favorite, customers in many instances were left with a horse they did not choose. While the rules state that a refund would also be available prior to the start of the wager (third race), we understand that this may not have been communicated to, or understood by, some guests either on track, at a simulcast location or on-line. Yonkers Raceway has decided to refund any Pick 4 wager that had either of those two horses (Nuncio or Amped Up Hanover) included in the bet....and if your wager was made at EmpireCityBets.com, we are going to double the refund. Please bring your ticket to the mutuel office (4th floor), or send the ticket, or a screen shot from your wagering site confirming the wager, to... From the Mutuel Department at Yonkers Raceway  

Last week we once again showed a minor loss on win bets (-$3.80) but made money with some decent exacta and tri hits. The action will be fast and furious this weekend as the Grand Circuit is in full swing around North America. We venture to Dayton Raceway Friday for their two opening season main events, the Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby for older horses and they have attracted some of the best in harness. Then Saturday its show time at Yonkers with the third jewel of the trotting Triple Crown, the Yonkers Trot, plus the Messenger Pace and the revival of the International Trot. Then over to Woodbine for the Big Four Finals, the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds. Great racing and good luck! $122,000 Pace Dayton Pacing Derby Dayton Raceway 11th race FRIDAY - After crushing much weaker opposition the last two weeks, Dancin Yankee gets back to taking on the big boys but I think he is ready for the challenge. It will be a slugfest for sure but based on his last two impressive wins I think that Dancin Yankee is up for the challenge. Use Foiled Again and Clear Vision in exotic plays. $162,000 Trot Dayton Trotting Derby Dayton Raceway 12th race FRIDAY - Racing fans at Dayton will get to see some good trottin action in here. Well matched field has some superstar performers but I think that Creatine has returned to his old self from last year as of late and will continue to dominate the older trotting ranks. His last two wins were super impressive and can take another in here. Use DW's NY Yank and Wishing Stone in exotic plays. $464,000 Trot Goldsmith Maid Final Woodbine Racecourse 3rd race SATURDAY - It's make it or break it and I mean that literally as Mission Brief has the race her own to win or lose. If she minds her manners she will take this field with trot to spare but if she jumps it off as she has in the past then the others will have a field day. I think this world champion has turned the corner on her bad manners off her past two starts and will wire the field again. Use Gatka Hanover and Jolene Jolene in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Yonkers Trot Final Yonkers Raceway 5th race SATURDAY -  Nuncio has now been barred from wagering on the race. So from a wagering perpsective, I will go to my second choice, Gural Hanover. So even if he finishes second to Nuncio, you still win. He won his elim with ease and has been super sharp all season with 10 wins. I still think Nuncio will capture the third jewel of the trotting triple crown. Nuncio has been razor sharp and with no Father Patrick or Trixton to go again I think he will wire the field for John Campbell to take two of the three jewels of the Triple Crown. Now use Datsyuk and Don Dorado in exotic plays. $521,000 Trot Valley Victory Final Woodbine Racecourse 5th race SATURDAY - No matter how hard you look at this field you just can't pick against Habitat. He has had an awesome season and is currently on a three-race winning streak for the Ron Burke Stable. His only loss in last two months was when he was not on the front end so figure that Gringras will be sending him in here. Win last week from post eight was very impressive. Use Uncle Lasse and Pinkman in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace Messenger Stake Final Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - It will be a real good race for the third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown here. I am going against the morning line and taking the entry of All Bets Off/Forty Five Red from the Ron Burke Stable. Despite outside posts they both have what it takes to win, one is all front end speed, the other great closing speed (at least last week) and combined they can win and pay a price. Use Luck Be Withyou and McWicked in exotic plays. $565,000 Pace Governor's Cup Final Woodbine Racecourse 7th race SATURDAY - Here is another situation where it is all up to the horse. If Artspeak has his head on straight and decides not to make a break and he returns to his former self he can take this field for fun. But he has not been right the last two weeks. I'm betting that he will put the past behind him and rise up in returning to his winning ways. Use Pierce Hanover and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $124,590 Trot Hudson Filly Final Yonkers Raceway 7th race SATURDAY - Disappointing short field for this Grand Circuit event and I think the Ron Burke Stable will finish one-two with their strong entry of Market Rally/Avalicious. Market Rally is the strong horse of the two and is the NYSS champion filly. Avalicious is coming off a lifetime mark of 1:53.2 at Pocono Downs. Too tough to go again. Use Highest Peak and Bambino Supreme in exotic plays. $150,854 Pace Lady Maud Final Yonkers Raceway 8th race SATURDAY - Last week in winning her elimination division for this final, Act Now showed her dominance and also that she can handle a half mile track with a very impressive 1:53.1 romp by three open lengths. All she needs to do in here is repeat that effort and she is home free. Use Fancy Desire and the entry of Beautiful Lady/A La Notte Hanover in exotic plays. $424,000 Pace Three Diamonds Final Woodbine Racecourse 9th race SATURDAY - Currently the only unbeaten star in North America, JK She'salady goes for her tenth straight win in here. She has just been perfect in every start all season long and continues to roll on by her opponents once again. Use The Show Returns and Band Of Angels in exotic plays. $250,000 Trot International Trot Preview Yonkers Raceway 9th race SATURDAY - Saving the best for last this weekend. Throw out the morning line on this race, it was done by a computer. This is real trotting action at its best. And the best in here is Sebastian K. While Commander Crowe and Arch Madness have nearly twice the lifetime earnings of Sebastian K, their best days are behind them. Sebastian K may be making his first start ever on a half mile oval but he will overcome it with little issue. The extra quarter mile in this distance race is the difference that Sebastian K will flourish on. Use Bee A Magician and Natural Herbie in exotic plays.

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, October 23, 2014--Yonkers Raceway's stakes-stuffed Saturday night program has all the required-by-law ingredients. There's the more than $1.5 million in purses for the five features, a $20,000 guaranteed all-stakes-race Pick 5 pool...and the obligatory free t-shirt (while supplies last). First post for the baker's-dozen buffet is 7:10 PM, and a gentleman who figures to have say in the soiree is one David Miller. The Harness Hall of Famer (Class of 2013), he of the more than 11,100 career wins and $185 million in purses, has drives in four of the five events. Toward that end, he offered some insights... Race 5 - $500,000 YONKERS TROT NO. 60 (3-year-old colts/geldings) -- Revolve (post position No. 5) --"I've never driven him before. I spoke with Timmy (Tetrick, who drove him last week but opted for Don Dorado here) a bit last week, but with (elimination winners) Gural Hanover and Nuncio drawing inside (post Nos. 1 and 2), we're going to have a few breaks." Miller goes with a third Trot victory. Race 6 - $500,000 MESSENGER STAKES NO. 59 (3-year-old colts/geldings) --McWicked (head number 5, post position 4) -- "Just a very pleasant horse to get along with. He's held his form for just about the entire year, though I thought he was a bit flat at Delaware (OH). The last couple of weeks (a "Messenger prep" and last week's nine-to-get-rid-of-one elimination), the plan was just to race him conservatively get him ready for this race. I was very happy with his race last week (closing stoutly for third in a paceless event) and I expect him to race very well (Saturday). He's coming into it in good shape." (Note that McWicked becomes a seasonal millionaire with just about any payday here, while Miller has won this race three times, but has never won it here.) Race 7 -- $150,874 HUDSON FILLY TROT (3-year-olds) -- no drive. Race 8 -- $124,590 LADY MAUD (3-year-old pacing fillies) -- Fancy Desire (head number 6, post position 5) -- "I've never driven here before, either, but I've seen enough of her in Pennsylvania. I have driven for (trainer) Kevin (Carr) quite a bit, and I know she has talent. She won the Lynch (Pocono) and beat some good fillies. I'm not surprised George (Brennan, who drove both elim winners) stayed with Act Now (HN 3, PP 2), but I think that mine has a shot." Race 9 -- $250,000 INTERNATIONAL TROT PREVIEW (1¼ miles) -- Bee a Magician (post position 2) -- "Again, she's another I've never driven before, and I was so happy to get a chance (Miller is her first driver not named Brian Sears or Rick Zeron). I love the draw, because I'm not sure how much early movement there's going to be and she should be close. Sure, the added distance is a concern with a mare going against older males, but not as much on a half as it would be on a big track for her." Please be advised that program pages for Saturday's Pick 5 (50-cent base) wager are now available for perusal at www.yonkersraceway.com. Yonkers Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

A half-length loss in the Hambletonian Stakes prevents Nuncio from a chance at history, but the 3-year-old male trotter can add to his credentials with a win in Saturday's $500,000 Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway. The Yonkers Trot is the third jewel in harness racing's Trotting Triple Crown. Nuncio finished second to stablemate Trixton in the first leg, the Hambletonian, and defeated stablemate Father Patrick by 1-1/4 lengths in the second leg, the Kentucky Futurity. Nuncio, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by John Campbell, will start the eight-horse Yonkers Trot from post No. 2. The colt has won nine of 14 races this year, including his Yonkers Trot elimination last week, and earned $1.04 million for owner Stefan Melander's Stall TZ Inc. The most recent horse to win the Trotting Triple Crown was Glidemaster in 2006. The last horse to capture two jewels and finish second in the remaining leg was Mack Lobell in 1987. Takter has won the Yonkers Trot three times; Campbell has won twice. "John was very pleased with him (last week)," Takter said about Nuncio, who brings a three-race win streak to Yonkers. "He was very strong in the stretch. He's in great form. The horse is sharp." Nuncio has never finished worse than second in any of his 24 career starts, posting 14 victories while earning $1.50 million. Eight of Nuncio's 10 lifetime second-place finishes have come behind Father Patrick, who leads all harness racing horses in purses this season with $1.38 million. Takter did not enter Father Patrick in the Yonkers Trot. "That's very difficult, especially racing in all the major stakes," Takter said, referring to Nuncio finishing first or second in all his starts. "He's got a fantastic resume. He's a really hard worker. "Father Patrick, he's (Wayne) Gretzky or Michael Jordan. There's no effort. Nuncio really has to work at it to be what he is. The other one, he's just got it. But Nuncio has got a hell of an attitude; a great attitude." New York Sire Stakes champion Gural Hanover, who won the other Yonkers Trot elimination, starts from post No. 1 with Jim Morrill Jr. driving for trainer Ron Burke. Saturday's card at Yonkers also includes the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers and the $250,000 International Trot Preview Invitational, along with the $150,854 Lady Maud for 3-year-old female pacers and $124,590 Hudson Trot for 3-year-old female trotters. The Messenger is the third leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Takter's Lyonssomewhere won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, and starts the Messenger from post No. 3. Limelight Beach, who won the second leg of the Crown, the Little Brown Jug, did not enter the Messenger. Lyonssomewhere went off stride while leading his elimination in the Little Brown Jug and failed to advance to the second heat. "He could have won the Jug if he didn't do whatever he did in the last turn," Takter said. "It was like the biggest shock of the year. If he won his elimination, he would have had a hell of a shot at it. It's the small details. You've got to click. That's why it's tough to win it." Luck Be Withyou, who won the Messenger elimination last week, starts from post five with Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Chris Oakes. The field also includes multiple-stakes-winners McWicked and All Bets Off. The last horse to win the Pacing Triple Crown was No Pan Intended in 2003. Sebastian K, history's fastest trotter with a mark of 1:49, headlines the International Trot Preview, which also features European star Commander Crowe and 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, who is the only female trotter in the eight-horse event. Commander Crowe is making his first start in North America since the 2012 Breeders Crown. He will stay in the U.S. to compete in this year's Breeders Crown in November at the Meadowlands. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

This Week: Messenger Stakes, Yonkers Trot, International Trot Preview, Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Fall Four Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Dayton, Ohio; Circle City and Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and John Simpson Stakes, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 24) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway with the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for older trotters and the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on Friday, Hoosier Park will offer Circle City races for 3-year-old trotters and pacers, There will be three divisions in the $90,000 3-year-old colt pace, three divisions in the $82,200 3-year-old filly trot, two divisions in the $74,300 3-year-old colt trot and two divisions in the $71,000 3-year-old filly pace. On Saturday (Oct. 25), Hoosier will race Madison County events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Each of the four divisions carries an estimated purse of $75,000. Rounding out the busy Friday of Grand Circuit racing, Vernon Downs will contest the John Simpson Stakes for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be three divisions in the $31,005 2-year-old colt trot, two divisions in the $26,816 2-year-old filly trot and single divisions in the $26,503 2-year-old colt pace and $25,616 2-year-old filly pace. Yonkers Raceway will offer five Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday night led by two Triple Crown events, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger for 3-year-old pacers. Also on tap will be the $250,000 International Trot Preview for older trotters, the $150,854 Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies and the $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Woodbine will offer the Fall Four Stakes on Saturday featuring the C$565,000 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$521,000 Valley Victory for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$464,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, and the C$424,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Woodbine entries can be seen at this link. Last time: The Windy City Pace at Maywood Park was the featured event this past weekend on the extensive Grand Circuit schedule. Big Boy Dreams and Tim Tetrick won the Windy City Pace. Big Boy Dreams won the $180,000 Windy City Pace on Oct. 17 in wire-to-wire fashion for driver Tim Tetrick in 1:51. The Ron Burke trainee and New York Sire Stakes competitor notched his fourth win of the year in 10 starts. Big Boy Dreams took the field to a brutal :25.4 first quarter and a :54.1 half, with Let's Drink On It challenging the leader going to the 1:22.2 three-quarters. But Big Boy Dreams just continued to draw away in the stretch to win by 2-1/2 lengths. He now has $168,495 in seasonal earnings for owner Dominic Rosato. It was "Elimination Saturday," on Oct. 18, with Yonkers Raceway hosting elims for three stakes events. Fifteen 3-year-old colts and geldings turned into eight for Yonkers Trot No. 60, as standouts Nuncio (John Campbell) and Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) were comfy winners in the pair of $40,000 eliminations. Nuncio, in play early from post position No. 5, waited his turn before finally making the lead. He parked Skates N Plates, then strode home by 3-1/2 lengths through fractions of :28.4, :58, 1:26.4 and 1:56.2. Don Dorado was second, with Journey and Expressive Action third and fourth, respectively. Gural Hanover, New York Sire Stakes champion and the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into this season's Trot, won the draw in the second elim. He retook from a breaking-soon-after Flyhawk El Durado before finishing his four turns though panels of :28.4, 58.1, 1:27.2 and 1:56.3, a length faster than Resolve. Third went to King City, with Datsyuk getting the final place at the table. The $40,000 elim for the 59th Messenger -- nine sophomore colts/geldings to end up with eight -- was won by a pocket-sitting Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick). From post No. 2, he whipped a cone-skimming Forty Five Red by a neck in 1:53 with McWicked a belated third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,890; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,002; 3. David Miller - 869.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 625.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 523. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,957.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,519; 3. Erv Miller - 396.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 349; 5. Tony Alagna - 312. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 431.4; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 386.4; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 277; 4. Brittany Farms - 254.45; 5. Robert Key - 232. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs. Hoosier will feature the Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-olds, the Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers, the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers and the Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters. Vernon will offer the Artiscape for older pacing mares, the Muscle Hill for older trotting mares, and a pair of Kindergarten finals for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 21, 2014—All together now…”The pills are alive with the sound of stakes draws…” Post positions have been procured for Yonkers Raceway’s stakes-stuffed Saturday night program, which features more than $1.5 million in purses for the five features, a $20,000 guaranteed all-stakes-race Pick 5 pool and a free t-shirt (while supplies last).  First post for the baker’s-dozen buffet is 7:10 PM. Race 5 – $500,000 YONKERS TROT NO. 60 (3-year-old colts/geldings) approximate post time 8:50 PM, with approx. 20-25 minutes between these races 1-Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) 2-Nuncio (John Campbell) 3-Expressive Action (Jason Bartlett) 4-Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) 5-Resolve (Tim Tetrick) 6-King City (George Brennan) 7-Journey (Dan Dube) 8-Don Dorado (Tetrick also listed) Race 6 – $500,000 MESSENGER STAKES 1-Stevensville (Mark MacDonald) 2-National Debt (Bartlett) 3-Lyonssomewhere (Brett Miller) 4-McWicked (Dave Miller) 5-Luck Be Withyou (Tetrick) 6-e-All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) 7-Western Conquest (Brent Holland) 8-e-Forty Five Red (Brennan) e-Ron Burke owner/trainer entry Race 7 – $150,874 HUDSON FILLY TROT  1-Highest Peak (Ake Svanstedt) 2-e-Market Rally (Morrill Jr.) 3-Mistresswithmuscle (Driver TBA) 4-e-Avalacious (MacDonald) 5-Bambino Supreme (Brennan) 6-Yoga (Brett Miller) e-Ron Burke owner/trainer entry Race 8 – $124,590 LADY MAUD  1-Do Your Job (Eric Carlson) 2-Act Now (Brennan) 3-Scandalicious (Dube) 4-Anagada (Campbell) 5-Fancy Desire (Brennan also listed) 6-Tyra (Tetrick) 7-e-Beautiful Lady (Kakaley) 8-e-A La Notte Hanover (Kakaley also listed) e-Ron Burke owner/trainer entry Race 9 – $250,000 INTERNATIONAL TROT PREVIEW (1¼ miles) 1-Commander Crowe (Orjan Kihlstrom) 2-Bee a Magician (Dave Miller) 3-Archangel (Kakaley) 4-Obrigado (Bartlett) 5-Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) 6-Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) 7-Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) 8-Not Afraid (Brett Miller) Program changes are to be made Wednesday morning. Please be advised that program pages Saturday’s Pick 5 (50-cent base) shall be available for perusal no later than Wednesday afternoon at www.yonkersraceway.com. As always, the guaranteed pool is a joint venture of the Raceway, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the US Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program.      Yonkers Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.  by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, October 20, 2014-If more than $1.5 million in stakes money up for grabs Saturday night isn't enough incentive to watch and wager, Yonkers Raceway has added a bit more. There is a $20,000 guaranteed Pick 5 pool, comprised of all the featured events, as in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, $500,000 Messenger Stakes, $250,000 International Trot Preview, $150,854 Lady Maud and $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot. Please be advised that the order of the races is TBA as of this writing (open draw for all is Tuesday afternoon), and the Pick 5 (for this night only) may be moved from its customary slot of races 5 through 9. It does remain a 50-cent base wager with no consolation payoff. Program pages shall be available for perusal no later than Wednesday afternoon at www.yonkersraceway.com. "Saturday is going to be the best race card anywhere. We're very proud Yonkers Raceway is hosting these classic events, and we invite everyone to see these world-class pacers and trotters," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. As always, the guaranteed pool is a joint venture of the Raceway, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the US Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. Yonkers Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY,  -It was "Elimination Saturday," with Yonkers Raceway hosting paring events for three harness racing stakes events. Fifteen 3-year-old colts and geldings turned into eight for Yonkers Trot No. 60, as standouts Nuncio (John Campbell, barred from wagering) and Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.30, part of entry) were comfy winners in the pair of $40,000 elims. Nuncio, in play early form post position No. 5, waited his turn before finally making the lead. He parked Skates N Plates (George Brennan), then strode home by 3 ½ lengths (:28.4, :58 1:26.4, 1:56.2). Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick), the wagering "winner ($6.20), was second, with Journey (Dan Dube) and Expressive Action (Jason Bartlett) third and fourth, respectively. The wagering exacta paid $81, with the wagering triple returning $221. For Kentucky Futurity champ Nuncio, a millionaire Andover Hall colt trained by Jimmy Takter for owner Stall Tz, it was his ninth win (third consecutive) in 14 seasonal starts. Note that he and sixth-place finisher Amped Up Hanover (Matt Kakaley) raced for purse only, as the latter, co-owned by Takter's wife, Christina, were not made a parimutuel entry. "He didn't have to show me anything," Campbell--eying a third Trot title--said of Nuncio. 'I just took my time with him getting the lead, then I let him do it all by himself." Nuncio New York Sire Stakes champion Gural Hanover, the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into this season's Trot, won the draw in the second elim. He retook from a breaking-soon-after Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald) before finishing his four turns (:28.4, 58.1; 1:27.2; 1:56.3) a length faster than Resolve (Tetrick) in 1:56.3. Third went to King City (Brennan), with Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) getting the final place at the table. For Gural Hanover, a Crazed gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables, he's now 10-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $7.10, with the triple returning $24.40. Gural Hanover The $40,000 musical chairs elim for the 59th Messenger--nine soph colts/geldings to end up with eight--was won by a pocket-sitting Luck Be Withyou (Tetrick, $23). From post No. 2, he whipped a cone-skimming Forty Five Red (Brennan) by a neck (:27.2; :57, 1:25 1:53) with McWicked (Dave Miller) a belated third. All Bets Off (Kakaley), the NYSS champ and strongest third of the 4-5 favored entry, tired noticeably on the lead despite cheap fractions, winding up fourth. Western Conquest (Brent Holland), Lyonssomewhere (Brett Miller), National Debt (Campbell) and Stevensville (Ray Schnittker) completing the qualifying octet, while Double Your Bet (Jason Bartlett) was outrun. For fourth choice "Luck," a Western Ideal colt owned by John Craig and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fifth win in 13 '14 tries. The exacta paid $41.40, with the triple returning $84.50. "I just wanted to be able to be in a position to chase (All Bets Off)," Tetrick said. "He obviously was no goof tonight, and we were able to take advantage." "Flat, very flat," Kakaley said. "I was cruising at the five-eighths, then in the final turn, I knew I was in trouble. "I don't know if he's sick, but he was not nearly the same horse tonight." Luck Be Withyou Saturday night's pair of $20,000 eliminations for the Lady Maud (3-year-old pacing fillies) were won by Fancy Desire (Brennan, $2.70) in 1:54, and Act Now (Brennan again, $4.90) in 1:53.1. The other lasses returning for the final are Beautiful Lady, Tyra, Do Your Job, Scandalicious, A La Notte Hanover and Anagada. Also Saturday, the Raceway honored the recently-retired Cat Manzi with a video tribute, a winner's circle presentation and a meet-and-greet autograph photo session with fans. Next Saturday's (Oct. 25) five stakes finals...$500,000 Yonkers Trot, $500,000 Messenger Stakes, $250,000 International Trot Preview, $150,854 Lady Maud and $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot (no elims-only six entered) shall be "open drawn" Tuesday afternoon. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

For much of his career, trotter Way Outta Here has driven trainer Noel Daley way outta his mind. But a strong performance in the Yonkers Trot could go a long way to smoothing things over. Way Outta Here competes in the first of two $40,000 Yonkers Trot eliminations Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. He is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line in his division, which features Kentucky Futurity winner and Hambletonian Stakes runner-up Nuncio. The Ron Burke-trained entry of New York Sire Stakes champion Gural Hanover and Hillustrious is the morning line choice in the second division. The top four finishers from each elimination advance to the $500,000 final Oct. 25. Since the beginning of August, Way Outta Here has been mostly on his best behavior, winning four consecutive starts and five of his last six. His only loss came when he went off stride, which probably tips one off to Daley's frustration. All of Way Outta Here's defeats in 10 lifetime starts have come when the horse made a break. In fact, Way Outta Here has spent more time qualifying (11 times) than racing. "It's been very frustrating," Daley said, laughing. "But if he can get a piece of (the Yonkers Trot), I'll forgive him a few of his past indiscretions. If he gets a good piece of it, we'll call it square." Daley bred Way Outta Here, who is a son of stallion Broadway Hall out of the mare I'm A Pearl. Daley bought I'm A Pearl, who is from the same family as past-Daley star Mr Muscleman, with the intention of breeding her to another of the stable's former standouts, stallion Explosive Matter. Explosive Matter's book was already full the first year Daley owned I'm A Pearl, so he bred the mare to Broadway Hall. The following year, he was able to breed I'm A Pearl to Explosive Matter, but the mare passed away before giving birth. Although Daley's plan failed to produce an offspring of Explosive Matter, he ended up with a talented horse in Way Outta Here. The struggle has been finding a way to get Way Outta Here to focus, an issue that failed to improve even with gelding the horse. "He's always had ability, even at 2," Daley said. "He's a perfect gaited horse. It's a concentration thing with him. I had him paid up to a lot of (stakes) but he drove me nuts. He kept disappointing me." Daley was ready to throw in the towel when Tom Hampton, a blacksmith who also works for Daley, and caretaker Emma Pettersson asked to have a chance with Way Outta Here. Daley credits the duo for the horse's improvement. "Tom and Emma have actually taken over with him," Daley said. "They do everything with him. Emma has been riding him and that seems to have been the key." Way Outta Here, owned by Blair Blanchet-Hampton since the end of June, got his first win in decisive fashion on Aug. 1 in a maiden race at Harrah's Philadelphia. He won by 15-3/4 lengths in 1:56.1 with driver David Miller. He made a misstep in his next start, but won his next three races, all in conditioned classes, by a total of 11-1/4 lengths, including a career-best 1:53.3 victory at Philly. He heads to the Yonkers Trot elims off a 2-1/4 length win in a division of the Keystone Classic on Sept. 30 at The Meadows. "I was a little pie-in-the-sky putting him in (the Yonkers Trot), but that was the last thing we had left," Daley said. "Dave said he had more in the tank. It was worth a shot. "If he wants to do it, he's got enough talent. He's not going to beat Nuncio, but if he picks up a piece in there we'll be happy. If we can't get through (the elimination) then we don't belong in the final. But he has enough ability to go with everyone other than Nuncio." As for Way Outta Here's future, Daley is optimistic. "He might just get better, it's not like he's been raced a lot," Daley said. "He's basically a racehorse now. If he keeps behaving himself, he could whack away a living." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

This Week: Maywood Park Grand Circuit, Maywood Park, Melrose Park, Ill.; Lady Maud, Messenger Stakes and Yonkers Trot eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Fall Four Stakes eliminations, Woodbine Racetrack, Toronto, Ontario; and Kindergarten Classic leg, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 17) at Maywood Park with the $180,000 Windy City Pace for 3-year-old open pacers, the $92,300 Galt for 3-year-old open trotters, two divisions in the $75,200 Cinderella for 3-year-old filly pacers and the $57,100 Abe Lincoln for 2-year-old colt pacers. The fifth and final preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Series will be held on Friday night at Vernon Downs, with three $10,000 divisions for the 2-year-old filly trotters and two $10,000 divisions for the 2-year-old colt trotters. Woodbine will offer a pair of C$25,000 eliminations on Friday for the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers and the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (Oct. 18) card at Woodbine will also feature a pair of C$25,000 eliminations in the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers and the Valley Victory for 2-year-old colt trotters. Yonkers Raceway will offer three sets of eliminations on Saturday night, with two Triple Crown events. Sixteen horses have entered the Yonkers Trot for 3-year-olds and a pair of $40,000 eliminations will be held. Only nine entered the Messenger for 3-year-old male pacers and a single $40,000 elimination will be contested, with the top eight horses advancing to next week's final. Also on tap will be a pair of $20,000 eliminations in the Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Woodbine entries can be seen at this link. Last time: Eight American-National stakes were in the Grand Circuit spotlight this past Saturday night (Oct. 11) at Balmoral Park. Creatine trotted the fastest mile ever at Balmoral Park, 1:51.3, in winning the American-National Open Trot. Creatine captured the $166,300 American-National Open Trot in a new Balmoral track record time of 1:51.3 with Dan Noble at the lines. The previous time of 1:51.4 was set by Sand Vic in 2006. In the lane, Creatine (Andover Hall-Berry Nice Muscles) finally shook loose behind Archangel and charged through the inside. Wishing Stone came flying late on the outside to get up for second, while Archangel held on for third. The 4-year-old stallion, trained by Bob Stewart, is owned by Diamond Creek Racing of Wellsville, Pa., and now has $322,571 in seasonal earnings from three wins, three seconds and one third in 13 starts. Lifetime, he's amassed 14 wins, nine seconds and three thirds in 37 trips postward, with $1,189,730. Shake It Cerry trotted to a new stakes and track record clocking of 1:52.2 in the $150,000 American-National 3-year-old filly trot. The previous record was 1:54, set in 2010 by Springtime Volo and in 2000 by Armbro Temple. Turning for home, Shake It Cerry began to open up on her rivals, being challenged only briefly by Lifetime Pursuit, but to no avail as the former brushed in :26.4 to extend her win streak to six. Lifetime Pursuit notched runner-up honors, with the hard-trying Cee Bee Yes grabbing the show money. Reined by Ron Pierce for trainer Jimmy Takter and the Solveig's Racing Partners of East Windsor, N.J., the daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig notched her 20th career victory and pushed her career earnings to $1,631,205. Father Patrick added another feather to his illustrious cap by simply cruising to a five length victory in 1:52.2 in the $203,000 American-National for 3-year-old male trotters at Balmoral Park. The son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream led at every post for driver Yannick Gingras, comfortably trotting through fractions of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:24.4. That final time equaled the Balmoral track record for sophomore trotting colts. E L Titan finished in second for driver Ron Pierce and trainer Riina Rekila, while Rompaway Galaxy got up for third with John Campbell in the sulky for trainer Krista Harmon. Trained by Jimmy Takter for the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, N.J., Father Patrick upped his seasonal earnings to $1,385,581 and his career earnings to $2,129,638. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,815; 2. Tim Tetrick - 885; 3. David Miller - 835.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 620.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 521. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,840.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,477; 3. Joe Holloway - 349; 4. Erv Miller - 326.5; 5. Tony Alagna - 310. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 405.9; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 363.4; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 267; 4. Brittany Farms - 253.95; 5. Robert Key - 230. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Yonkers Raceway, Woodbine Racetrack, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs. Yonkers will feature the finals of the Messenger, the final leg of Pacing's Triple Crown, and the Yonkers Trot, the final leg of Trotting's Triple Crown, along with the Lady Maud for pacing fillies and the Hudson Filly Trot for trotting fillies; Woodbine will offer four finals for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits (the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds for fillies and the Governor's Cup and Valley Victory for colts); Hollywood Dayton will feature the inaugural Dayton Pacing Derby and Trotting Derby for older horses; Hoosier will offer Madison County events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and Circle City races for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; and Vernon will offer John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 14, 2014-A total of sixteen 3-year-old colts and geldings, led by Kentucky Futurity winner Nuncio, have been entered for Yonkers Raceway's Yonkers Trot, final jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown. The number, which also includes New York Sire Stakes champ-and $30,000 supplemental entrant---Gural Hanover-necessitated a pair of eliminations this Saturday night. The Trot offers a total purse of $580,000, with each of this weekend's elims going for $40,000 each. The first four finishers in each qualify the final. First elim (alphabetical, not in post position order)--Datsyuk (Charlie Norris), E L Titan (Ron Pierce), Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald), Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.), Hillustrious (Dave Miller), King City (Dave Miller also listed), Muscles and Spice (Brett Miller), Resolve (Corey Callahan). Second elim (alphabetical, not in post position order)-Amped Up Hanover (Matt Kakaley), DD's Hitman (Ake Svanstedt), Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick), Expressive Action (Jason Bartlett), Journey (Dan Dube), Nuncio (John Campbell), Skates N' Plates (George Brennan), Way Outta Here (Dave Miller) Speaking of Triple Crowns, the pacing version of same wraps up with the $540,000 Messenger Stakes, which saw nine 3-year-old pacers enter. Leading the way are stakes winning All Bets Off (Art Rooney, NYSS, Millstein), Lyonssomewhere (Cane) and McWicked (Hempt, Adios, PA Sire Stakes) This Saturday night, there's a $40,000 "musical chairs" elim, with all but one horse returning for the $500,000 final. The nine, again alphabetically, are...All Bets Off (Kakaley), Double Your Bet (Kakaley also listed), Forty Five Red (Brennan), Luck Be Withyou (Tetrick), Lyonssomewhere (Brett Miller), McWicked (Dave Miller), National Debt (Brett Miller also listed), Stevensville (Tetrick also listed),Western Conquest (Brent Holland). This is the 60th edition of Yonkers Raceway's premier trotting event, while it's Messenger No. 59. The distaff companion stakes to the Trot and the Messenger-the $124,590 Hudson Filly and $190,854 Lady Maud-attracted six and 11 ladies, respectively. The Hudson is a single-dash finale, while the Maud offers two $20,000 elims this Saturday to extract the eight finalists. All four stakes finals, plus the $250,000, mile-and-one-quarter International Trot Preview, are scheduled for Saturday night, Oct. 25. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

This Week's Harness Racing: Historic Series, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa., and American-National finals, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Thursday (Oct. 9) at Harrah’s Philadelphia with four divisions in the $100,680 Historic – Acorn for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Oct. 10) card at Philadelphia will feature a trio of divisions in the $104,178 Historic – Debutante for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Sunday (Oct. 12) card at Philadelphia offers three divisions in the $102,878 Historic – Goshen Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers and two splits in the $102,380 Historic – Harriman Cup for 2-year-old colt trotters. Balmoral Park will host eight American-National Grand Circuit stakes events on Saturday (Oct. 11). The card will feature the $227,000 3-year-old colt pace, the $203,000 3-year-old colt trot, the $179,000 open pace, the $173,500 3-year-old filly pace, the $166,300 open trot, the $150,000 3-year-old filly trot, the $86,000 2-year-old colt pace and the $61,150 2-year-old filly pace. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: The Kentucky Futurity, the second leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown, capped off two exciting weeks of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile.   USTA/Mark Hall photo Nuncio and John Campbell captured the Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile. Team Takter provided Red Mile fans with a thrilling stretch duel between stablemates Nuncio and Father Patrick who slugged it out to the wire, with Nuncio emerging victorious by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51.3 in the 122nd edition of the $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for sophomore trotting colts. Hall of Famer John Campbell steered Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle, to his eighth win of the season and his 13th career victory for owner Stall TZ, Inc. He now has $1,488,970 in career earnings. Nuncio had the lead from start to finish, trotting through splits of :27.2, :54.1 and 1:22.2 before Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) began to challenge him. It appeared that Father Patrick was going to trot right past Nuncio, but the latter dug in hard and held off his stablemate. Shake It Cerry put forth a dominating performance in the 49th edition of the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, stopping the timer in 1:52.2 for driver Ron Pierce and trainer Takter. The 1-5 public’s choice, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig, pushed her career earnings to $1,562,205 for the Solveig’s Racing Partners. Shake It Cerry took the lead handily in rein to Pierce, trotting comfortably through fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25.1 before drawing off in the stretch by 4-1/2 lengths. Vanity Matters (David Miller) made a bid first over going to the three-quarters and held on to be second, while Scream And Shout (Yannick Gingras) got up for third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 1,685; 2. Tim Tetrick – 850; 3. David Miller – 780.5; 4. Ron Pierce – 565.5; 5. Corey Callahan – 501. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,735.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,367; 3. Joe Holloway – 329; 4. Erv Miller – 311.5; 5. Tony Alagna – 310. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 388.85; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 346.35; 3. 3 Brothers Stable – 247; 4. Robert Key – 230; 5. Brittany Farms – 223.95. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Maywood Park, Woodbine Racetrack, Vernon Downs and Yonkers Raceway. Maywood Park will feature four races led by the Windy City Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Cinderella for 3-year-old filly pacers, the Abe Lincoln for 2-year-old colt pacers and the Galt for 3-year-old trotters; Woodbine will offer eliminations in four events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits (the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds for fillies and the Governor’s Cup and Valley Victory for colts); Vernon will offer the fifth leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; and Yonkers has four sets of eliminations in stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gats, led by the Messenger, the final leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown, and the Yonkers Trot, the final leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown, along with the Lady Maud for pacing fillies and the Hudson Filly Trot for trotting fillies. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

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