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CAMPBELLVILLE, September 1 - Ariana G and Dream Together picked up harness racing 'Grand Circuit' victories Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 20 rookie trotting fillies were split into two $110,566 Champlain Stakes division. Ariana G has quickly stamped herself as arguably the top two-year-old trotter in the sport and Thursday night she continued her winning ways in her Mohawk debut. The Jimmy Takter trained filly left from post five with driver Yannick Gingras and after avoiding several early breakers, the daughter of Muscle Hill cleared to the front at the opening-quarter in :29.4. Ariana G coasted through the middle-half by posting fractions of :59.1 and 1:27.4. In the stretch, the daughter of Muscle Hill glided home effortlessly in :28 for a 1:55.4 victory. Takter's other starter, That's All Moni, finished 2¼ lengths back in second, while Stuck In My Spanks edged out Magic Presto for third. Owned and bred by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, Ariana G is now a perfect five for five following her Champlain victory. "This is really a special filly, but watching her makes me nervous because I know how talented she is," said Katz following his filly's victory. "It's a thrill and a pleasure to be able to say we bred her and we own her and she is part of our program and system." Thursday's start was the first for Ariana G since capturing the Doherty Memorial on August 6 at The Meadowlands in a stunning 1:53.1. "The first time I saw her she was about three months old and she was a weanling out in the fields of Kentucky," noted Katz. "We saw her periodically as she grew up. "She looked like she was talented as she was developing and growing and of course last year her full-sister, All The Time, was a top performer and won the Breeders Crown as a two-year-old, so we knew that we had terrific pedigrees to go with a top individual." Ariana G has now earned $270,870 through just five starts for Katz and Libfeld. The Takter trainee paid $2.20 to win. Katz noted that if Ariana G comes out of the Champlain well, she will be back at Mohawk next week for the Peaceful Way eliminations. Ariana G Dream Together extended her win streak to four with a 1:56.2 triumph in the first division. The daughter of Muscle Hill was sent to the front by driver Sylvain Filion and posted an opening-quarter of :28.4. Sianna Hanover, the 4/5 favourite, made a second-quarter move to the front from third and led the field through middle-half fractions of :58.2 and 1:28. In the stretch, Dream Together converted off the perfect two-hole trip by edging off the back of Sianna Hanover and rocketing by. The Luc Blais trainee stormed home in :28.1 to win by 1¼ lengths over Winter Sweet Frost. Sianna Hanover didn't have much trot in the lane and faded back to finish third. A $240,000 purchase at last year's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Dream Together now has four wins in five starts, with her only loss coming in her career debut on July 26. Following Thursday's race, Filion noted that Dream Together didn't exactly bring her 'A' game to the Champlain. "She was very powerful tonight, but my only concern was for some reason she wasn't trotting the turns very good," said Filion. "That's the first tonight that she kind of struggled in the turns, but Luc (Blais) will solve the puzzle." Dream Together swept the Pure Ivory Series before picking up a Grand Circuit victory Thursday. The daughter of Muscle Hill now has $89,463 earned for owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec and is eligible to next week's Peaceful Way eliminations. "I'm looking forward to the next start," said Filion. "She makes me very happy and excited to be driving her." Dream Together paid $5.30 to win. Dream Together Grand Circuit action continues Friday night at Mohawk with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 15 - The combination of harness racing driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais has been red hot lately at Mohawk Racetrack and Monday night was no different, as they teamed up to capture the Pure Ivory Series final and Preferred Trot. A field of seven two-year-old trotting fillies competed in the $37,000 Pure Ivory Series finale. Blais trainee Dream Together entered the final off a pair of victories in the preliminary legs. A daughter of Muscle Hill, Dream Together lived up to her 1/5 billing and went gate to wire for a 1:56.1 victory. The rookie trotting filly and driver Filion set fractions of :28.2, :58.2 and 1:28.2. Pure Kemp and trainer/driver Rick Zeron made a move to confront the heavy favourite heading to the three-quarter pole. The two fillies battled it out down the lane, but ultimately Dream Together pulled away in deep stretch to win by 2¾ lengths. Pure Kemp held on for second, while Southwind Tesla finished third. Dream Together now has three wins in four starts to begin her career. Owned by Determination of Montreal, Quebec, the Muscle Hill filly was purchased for $240,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. She now has $34,180 earned in four outings. Dream Together is eligible to the upcoming Champlain and Peaceful Way Stakes. A $2 win ticket on Dream Together returned $2.70. Dream Together Also on Monday, Lookslikechpndale came through with his third win of the season in the $34,000 Preferred Trot for Filion and Blais. The four-year-old son of Muscle Hill posted a big opening-quarter of :26.4, before surrendering the lead to Musical Rhythm, the 2/5 favourite, heading to the half. Lookslikeachpndale and Filion sat the two-hole behind Musical Rhythm through middle fractions of :55.4 and 1:25.1. In the stretch, Musical Rhythm tried to sprint away, but Lookslikeachpndale angled off his back and surged by in deep stretch for the 1:52.4 victory. Owned by Determination, Lookslikeachpndale now has three wins in nine starts this season and nine victories overall. The four-year-old has banked $79,582 this season to bring his career earnings to over $200,000. The clocking of 1:52.4 slashed almost a full-second off the Blais trainee's previous career-best. Lookslikeachpndale paid $9.50 to win. Lookslikechpndale Live racing continues Tuesday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m.   Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 8 - Dream Together followed up her 1:58.2 score last week with an impressive 1:57 triumph in the second leg of the harness racing Pure Ivory Series Monday at Mohawk Racetrack. A $240,000 yearling purchase, Dream Together defeated seven rivals in the second leg of the three-week series to set herself up for a potential sweep. The Luc Blais trainee was making her third career start and was made the favourite after her solid victory in the opening leg. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Dream Together got away third from the outside post-eight and made a move towards the front just before the half. A Doozy posted opening fractions of :28.4 and :59.1, but quickly surrendered the lead to the public's choice after the midway point. Dream Together marched the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:28.4 and finished off the mile with a comfortable 28.1 final-quarter to win by 2¼ lengths. Pure Kemp turned in a solid stretch rally to come from fifth to finish second. A Doozy was third. A daughter of Muscle Hill, Dream Together is owned by Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale graduate now has two wins in three starts to begin her career. Dream Together is the fifth foal out of 2007 Hambletonian Oaks winner Danae. A $2 win ticket on Dream Together returned $3.50. Dream Together The $37,000 final of the Pure Ivory Series will take place next Monday (August 15). Live racing continues Tuesday evening at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Jack Darling​ hauled five two-year-old pacing colts to the harness racing meeting Georgian Downs on Sunday evening and went home with two Grassroots trophies and two runner-up cheques. The Cambridge, ON trainer, who owns all five horses, paired up with driver Jody Jamieson to win the second $18,000 division with Continual Hanover and the final division with St Lads Moonwalk. Notetoself Hanover and King Of Sports were second in the third and fourth splits, with only Vegas Dream failing to earn a pay cheque in the first race. "Continual Hanover is the best Grassrooter, in my opinion." "He's right on the cusp of being a Gold colt," said Jamieson of the duo's first winner." "He was a very easy winner tonight, got a perfect trip." "St Lads Moonwalk also got a great trip and won very handily," added the Moffat, ON resident. Starting from Post 1, Jamieson settled Continual Hanover into second as fan favourite Derecho zipped through fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:24.4, then popped the colt out coming off the final turn and sprinted home to a five and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.2. Derecho settled for second and Instant Shadow finished third. "1:53.2 tonight is a pretty darn good mile on that track." "I thought it was a pretty impressive mile," said Darling. "He acts like he's kind of, he's almost borderline Gold, but he's had some bad luck." "This is actually the first Grassroots he's won." "These Grassroots this year are a very tough bunch," added the horseman. "By far the best that I've seen, and there's a lot of them." The win was Continual Hanover's first through six starts, with his previous best effort being a pair of seconds in the July 17 and Aug. 13 Grassroots events. Darling trained the colt's Sportswriter half-sister Code One Hanover to earnings of $182,325 last season and was willing to shell out $120,000 for the colt at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale based on that experience, but the trainer says Continual Hanover has little in common with his sister. "He does a lot of squealing at other horses and when you go on the track he likes to do a lot of bucking and rearing and he's a real pain," said Darling. "He's actually lazy when you're jogging him and training him, but he's just one of those horses, when you put him in a race he puts his game face on and he's just a different horse." "He's all racehorse, where his sister had huge talent but she doesn't try her hardest all the time." "This horse has lots of try when he gets in a race." Darling says desire is also St Lads Moonwalk's best trait. "He's just a real gamer, got all kinds of try to him," said Darling. "He got a nice trip tonight and he finished it off real well." The Mach Three colt got away fifth from Post 4 in the last Grassroots division and Jamieson was able to slide into the outer lane behind Gotti heading for the half and trail that colt through the three-quarters. Coming around the final turn Jamieson sent St Lads Moonwalk out three-wide and the colt accelerated down the stretch to a two length win in 1:56.2. Only Half Bad and Moot Court also closed well to be second and third. The win was the second straight for St Lads Moonwalk, with his first coming in the Aug. 13 Grassroots event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. In five lifetime starts the $47,000 yearling purchase has posted two wins, one second and one third. Darling did not earn a share of the $18,000 purse in the first division, which went to Sutton Seelster off a pocket trip behind Twin B Machniven. Sutton Seelster and driver Tyler Moore of Guelph, ON hit the wire one-half length ahead of Twin B Machniven in 1:55.3, with Day Trade Hanover three more lengths back in third. Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph trains Sutton Seelster, a Camluck colt acquired from the Forest City Yearling Sale for $31,000 by Nor Easter Stable of Guelph. Sunday's win was the pacer's first, and came in his third lifetime start and first Grassroots appearance. The third division trophy went home with Perseverant, who got a come-from-behind steer from the Ontario Sires Stakes program's leading reinsman Sylvain Filion. The Vintage Master son powered home to a one length victory in 1:55.1, besting Darling's Notetoself Hanover and Rockstar Dreams. The win was Perseverant's third straight and first in Grassroots action. Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC conditions the colt for owner-breeder Determination of Montreal, QC. Kokanee Seelster moved to the top of the two-year-old pacing colt division point standings with his second Grassroots win. The only colt to win on the front end, Kokanee Seelster and driver Phil Hudon of Guelph rang up fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:25.2 on their way to a 1:54.3 score in the fourth division. Darling trainee King Of Sports finished two lengths back in second and Three Truths was hot on his heels in third. Acton, ON resident Anthony Montini conditions Kokanee Seelster for Ming Siu of Richmond, BC and Edmund Lui of Parkhill. In three Grassroots outings the Camluck son has two wins and one second for a point tally of 125, 11 more than St Lads Moonwalk and Blue Zombie. The freshman pacing colts will make their fifth Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 31 and then wrap up their regular season at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 7. The top 20 point earners from the six regular season events will square off in a pair of Semi-finals at Mohawk on Sept. 17, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 26. Ontario Horse Racing

Ontario's elite trotting fillies continued to impress fans as they battled in their third Gold Series event at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. More than half of the fillies entered in the trio of $70,000 Gold divisions were sired by Kadabra and when the evening was over, all three trophies had been awarded to daughters of North America's leading trotting sire. Starting the sweep was Ready Any Time, who sprinted out of the back field to catch heavy favourite Caprice Hill in the stretch, halting the Mohawk teletimer at 1:56.4. Bested by one-half length, Caprice Hill settled for second and Krafty finished third, three and three-quarter lengths behind the leaders. All three fillies are by Kadabra. "It didn't really surprise me, I know this filly is a good filly," said driver Rick Zeron of the upset. "She was scratched her last start because she was sick, and the start before that she was second, Sylvain Filion, Luc Blais' trotting filly (Emoticon Hanover) nailed her at the wire up at Georgian Downs in 1:56.3." Oakville, ON resident Zeron drives Ready Any Time for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman, who felt the filly was back to herself after the bout of sickness, but expected her to be a bit shy of peak fitness after three weeks away from the racetrack. "I took her off the gate and let her settle," said Zeron, who lined up behind the number 5 on the Mohawk starting gate. "And when I moved her coming down the stretch, boy... well I didn't have to pull the plugs until halfway down the stretch." "Halfway down the stretch I knew I had (Tim) Tetrick dialed in and then this trotting filly just trotted right on by." "Nifty's done a great job with her," added Zeron. "He's always been high on this filly and she showed it tonight." The win was Ready Any Time's first in three starts and bumped her earnings to $49,805. A $62,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, the filly is owned by Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, breeder Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. "The connections of all these horses, I can't say enough about them," said Zeron. "They enjoy the sport and they like to see the sport, the racing, going forward and they do the best they can to keep it going forward by using their own broodmares and breeding horses to keep this industry alive." "They do a great job those guys." The second Gold division saw Sylvain Filion and Emoticon Hanover pick up their second win of the season after missing three weeks due to sickness. The duo cruised home four and one-quarter length winners in 1:58.2, besting Devils Advocate (Manofmanymissions) and High Heels (Kadabra). Milton, ON resident Filion pilots Emoticon Hanover for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC, who offered up $165,000 for the daughter of Kadabra and Emmylou Who at last fall's Harrisburg Sale. The talented youngster was also a winner in the Gold Series season opener at Georgian Downs on July 12, where she caught Ready Any Time in the stretch and hit the wire in 1:56.3. The final division also saw a repeat performance from a July 12 winner. Could It Be Magic and trainer-driver Wayne Henry fired directly to the front from Post 4 and never faced a challenge, rolling under the wire three and one-quarter lengths ahead of Levitator (Kadabra) and Northern Sweetie (Deweycheatumnhowe).   Arthur, ON resident Henry shares ownership of the Kadabra-In The Mean Time daughter with Fred Brayford of Alliston, ON. The partners acquired Could It Be Magic for a relatively modest $18,000 from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Through four starts the filly has tallied three wins and one fifth for earnings of $71,750. With her win, Could It Be Magic jumped into second spot in the division standings with 105 points, 20 behind leader Caprice Hill. Devils Advocate and Emoticon Hanover share third spot with 100 points and Ready Any Time rounds out the top five with 75 points. The two-year-old trotting fillies make their fourth Gold Series start at Georgian Downs on August 15. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday, Aug. 7 with three Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts. The colts will battle in Races 1, 2 and 6 on the 7:25 pm program with Race 1 featuring the debut of Bee A Magician half-brother Bee In Charge from Post 2. Ontario Horse Racing Video Oakville resident Rick Zeron and two-year-old trotting filly Ready Any Time catch favourites Tim Tetrick and Caprice Hill in the stretch to win their August 4 Gold division at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:56.4. https://youtu.be/EmC92wrMi9M

Intimidate and harness racing driver Scott Zeron closed from seventh place at the top of the stretch in upsetting the field in the $500,000 TVG Trot Final at the Meadowlands Saturday. They use to call it the “Meadowlands Shuffle” and that was what Intimidate used to beat out many of the best trotters in North America at odds of 14-1. The classic race began with the race favorite Sebastian K and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt shooting to the lead out of the starting gate with Bee A Magician (David Miller) vying for the two-hole garden spot and leaving from the far outside from post ten was Maven (Yannick Gingras) looking for position. To the opening quarter mile in a quick :26.1, Sebastian K was on top as Maven was able to squeeze in front of Bee A Magician and take the two-hole spot. Creatine (Ron Pierce) came first-over with a charge, pushing Sebastian K to the half mile in :54.1 and then to the three-quarters in 1:23. Meanwhile Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) caught the outside flow from Creatine with Market Share (Tim Tetrick) third-over and then fourth-over in eighth place was Zeron and Intimidate. Starting down the stretch Sebastian K began to tire as Creatine pushed on. Fanning three and four wide were Market Share and Intimidate as Maven and Bee A Magician had no real clearance. Coming down to the wire, Zeron and Intimidate were the strongest and pulled away at the wire for a one and three-quarter length triumph in 1:51.2. Market Share was second with Creatine third. Sebastian K ended up ninth. “I saw how the draw come out,” said Scott Zeron, “And I knew I was going to half to follow Market Share and it worked out. I talked with trainer Luc Blais after last week’s race and he told me the horse tied up because I know if he is right he will give me a :26 last quarter. “What a great way to finish off the year,” Zeron said with a smile. “It feels great and I got to say hi to everyone up in Quebec. This horse represents Canada and this win is for everyone back home.” A five-year-old gelded son of Justice Hall, Intimidate was bred by Blais with co-owner Judith Farrow and the Determination Stable of Quebec, Canada. Intimidate paid $30.00 to win. It was his fifth victory this year and with the $250,000 winner’s share of the purse, has become harness racing’s newest million winner with earnings of $1,224,008. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Former Pepsi North America Cup and Maple Leaf Trot winners highlighted an action-packed qualifying session Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack. In the second qualifier, this year’s Maple Leaf Trot winner, Intimidate, looked strong in a 1:55.3 winning performance over the ‘fast’ track. Driven by Sylvain Filion for trainer Luc Blais, Intimidate sat mid-pack for the majority of the mile before coming first up to challenge the leaders at the three-quarters pole. In the stretch, Intimidate trotted home strong in :27.2 to win by three and a quarter lengths over Cool Guy. A five-year-old son of Justice Hall, Intimidate was making his second consecutive qualifying appearance since his last start in the Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon Downs on August 29. Back in July, Intimidate defeated Sebastian K by a nose to capture the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. The Blais trainee has won three of 11 starts this season for earnings of $388,300. He is approaching millionaire status, as his career earnings currently stand at $982,890. Intimidate is owned by Determination and Judith Farrow. In the next qualifier, Thinking Out Loud, the 2012 Pepsi North America Cup winner, looked sharp winning in 1:53.1. Driven by Randy Waples for trainer Bob McIntosh, Thinking Out Loud went straight to the lead and set fractions of :28.4, :57.1, 1:25.4, before cruising home in :27.2 to win by six lengths. A five-year-old son of Ponder, Thinking Out Loud was making his first appearance since winning the $179,000 American National at Balmoral Park on October 11. The McIntosh trainee has won four of 17 starts this season to add to his career bankroll of over $1.6 million. Thinking Out Loud is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. Another notable winner this morning was the Ben Baillargeon trainee White Becomes Her. The Ontario Sires Stakes gold winner took her qualifier in 1:57.1, with Mario Baillargeon in the bike. The three-year-old daughter of Angus Hall was putting in her first charted line since finishing fourth in the OSS Super Final on October 11. To view the harness racing results from the Friday qualifying session at Mohawk, click the following link: Friday Results – Mohawk Racetrack (Qualifiers). (From Standardbred Canada & WEG)

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 6 - It took a day longer than expected, but the William Wellwood Memorial eliminations took place Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Originally scheduled for Friday night, the eliminations were carried over to Saturday because of severe weather that caused the cancellation of Friday night's card after only one race. The two $30,000 eliminations were contested as non-wagering events before Saturday night's 12-race card. In the first elimination, Uncle Lasse led the field from gate to wire to win in a career best 1:54.4. Driven by Scott Zeron, Uncle Lasse set fractions of :27.4, :58 and 1:27 before trotting home in :27.4. Habitat trotted right behind Uncle Lasse the entire mile, but couldn't outkick the leader in the lane and lost by a length and a quarter. Big Rich finished third, while Don't Rush and Wheels Ah Smoking secured the final two spots in the final. Uncle Lasse is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Solveig's Racing Partners. A son of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Uncle Lasse has now won three times in six career starts and has earnings of more than $161,000. Lookslikeachpndale held off a late push from three rivals to win the second elimination. Driven by Sylvain Filion, the son of Muscle Hill - Poster Pin Up, Lookslikeachpndale led the field into the stretch after reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:28. Jetpedia, who was first up around the final turn, challenged Lookslikeachpndale the entire length of the stretch, but came up a half a length short at the wire. Aldebaran Eagle, who was only beat a length, won a show photograph over Southwind Stryker. Gifted Way finished fifth to pick up the final spot in next Saturday's final. Trained by Luc Blais, the Wellwood elimination victory was a maiden breaking score for Lookslikeachpndale. Owned by Determination, Lookslikeachpndale has now earned over $35,000 in five career starts. Following the eliminations, the post position draw was held for next Saturday's $390,000 final. Elimination winners earned the right to select their post for the final. Here is how they will lineup for the William Wellwood Memorial final. PP/Horse 1. Gifted Way 2. Lookslikeachpndale 3. Uncle Lasse 4. Don't Rush 5. Aldebaran Eagle 6. Habitat 7. Jetpedia 8. Southwind Stryker 9. Wheels Ah Smokin 10. Big Rich AE: Infiniti As by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

Freehold, NJ --- Trainer Nifty Norman might not be expecting his star mare Bee A Magician to beat the sport’s top male trotters in Friday’s $236,000 Crawford Farms Open at Vernon Downs, but he’s not shying from the challenge, either. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, will face nine male rivals in the Crawford. The field includes world champion Sebastian K, who was Sweden’s Horse of the Year in 2012 and is harness racing’s No. 1-ranked horse this season, plus major stakes-winners Archangel, Intimidate, Market Share, Mister Herbie, and Spider Blue Chip. “I’m not intimidated,” Norman said. “We’ve got to do it at some point, anyway, and I think she seems really good right now. I don’t expect to win, but I expect her to be good. She looks fantastic, nice and sound.” Bee A Magician, a 4-year-old mare who was undefeated in 17 races last season, has won two of eight starts this year and finished second on five occasions. She enters the Crawford off a track-record 1:55 victory over the boys in the open on Aug. 22 at Yonkers Raceway. “That had some bearing on our decision, although that was not the same quality field,” Norman said. “But I liked the way she raced there. “Basically, we’ve got to race and it was either against the mares for $40,000 (in Monday’s Miss Versatility Series leg at Tioga Downs) or the boys for $240,000. Getting a piece of $240,000 is better than winning for $40,000. We figured we’d give it a shot. “Plus Classic Martine is racing as good as anybody right now. It’s not like facing the mares was going to be easy.” Prior to the win in the Yonkers open, Bee A Magician finished second twice to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands. Classic Martine captured the final by a neck in 1:51.1, equaling Bee A Magician’s world-record time for a 4-year-old female trotter. Three of Bee A Magician’s second-place finishes this year came in miles of 1:51.2 or faster. Another came in the Hambletonian Maturity, contested at 1-1/8 mile, against 4-year-old male rivals. “I haven’t been disappointed with her at all this year,” said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. “I’ve thought she’s gone some great trips. “People keep asking what’s wrong with her because she’s not winning every race. I didn’t expect her to. It’s tough at this age (4). This year is really a learning curve to see how she handles the step up. It’s more to help plan for next year.” Bee A Magician, who has won 29 of 38 races and $2.49 million, will start the Crawford from post three with regular driver Brian Sears. Sebastian K, who has won seven of eight races this year, his first season in North America, starts from post five for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. He is the fastest trotter in history thanks to his 1:49 win in the Sun Invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 28. Intimidate is the only horse to defeat Sebastian K this year, winning the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose. Intimidate, who starts from post eight, won last year’s edition of the Crawford, then called the Credit Winner. Market Share, who has won 24 of 49 races and $3.43 million in his career, was last season’s Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. He will start Friday from the trailing position, post 10. “It’s a very good field, that’s for sure,” Norman said. “(Bee A Magician) has got a good spot. There’s lots of speed in there, and if she winds up getting a good enough trip, she should be good enough to get a piece.” The field for the Crawford in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 2. Spider Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Chuck Sylvester; 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman; 4. Flanagan Memory, Brett Miller, Rene Dion; 5. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 6. Master Of Law, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 7. Mister Herbie, Brian Sears, Jeff Gillis; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais; 9. Quick Deal, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 10. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano. Spider Blue Chip and Bee A Magician will race as an entry. Market Share will start from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 1 - All eyes in harness racing will be on the Meadowlands this Saturday for the Hambletonian and local standout Harper Blue Chip will be one of eleven trotters vying for harness racing's highest profile trotting title. Trained by local conditioner Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip will start from post position nine with driver Brian Sears in the $1,006,125 Hambletonaian, which is carded as Race 13 on Saturday afternoon. Harper Blue Chip races for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin is coming off a 3 ¾ length victory in the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 19. In six starts this season, Harper Blue Chip has visited the winner's circle twice and has only missed the board once when he finished fourth to the Father Patrick in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs on June 28. Just like the Beal Memorial, Harper Blue Chip and the rest of the field will be gunning for Father Patrick, who enters the Hambletonian on a 15 race win streak. Father Patrick is just one of three starters (Nuncio and Trixton) sent out by trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's trio are the top three choices on the morning line. Harper Blue Chip is the fourth choice in the early odds of 12-1. Steacy admits that it will be a tough task defeating Takter's trio, but that his horse is on top of his game. "We've got our work cut out for us," said Steacy. "I was quite disappointed drawing the nine, it kind of made things a lot more difficult, but our horse is going into the race really good and healthy, so I expect a good effort from him as long as we have some race luck." Since the fourth place effort in the Beal, Harper Blue Chip has dominated locally and Steacy believes Harper Blue Chip is a better horse than the last time he faced the continent's very best. "I think with the trio of Jimmy Takter's it's a big step up, but he's raced against these horses before, never been able to beat them, but he's gone against them and he's been respectable," said Steacy. "I think my horse is better than the last time he raced against these horses and I think he's improved with every start and again a lot of racing luck and you never what might happen." Steacy has an idea of the trip he would like for his charge, but will leave the strategy up to defending and two-time Hambletonian winning driver Brian Sears. "It's going to be up to Brian Sears, but I'm hoping he will try to charge off the gate...obviously you want to be as close to Father Patrick or Trixton or one of those horses that you can be." Defeating Takter's trio will be a tough task for the Mark Steacy trainee, but Steacy knows what it takes to win a million dollar race with a three-year-old trotter. In 2006, Steacy captured the million dollar Canadian Trotting Classic with Majestic Son, the sire of Harper Blue Chip, overcoming favourites Chocolatier and Trotting Triple Crown winner Glidemaster. On Saturday afternoon, Steacy will be looking to recreate that million dollar magic with Harper Blue Chip. No horse has been hotter on the WEG circuit this season than State Treasurer and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee will take his talents south to the Meadowlands to battle with the sport's top free-for-all pacers on Saturday. State Treasurer will start from post two with driver David Miller in a field of nine for the $257,700 US Pacing Championship. The five-year-old son of Real Desire - Ideal Tresurer has won seven times in ten starts this season, including a victory last Saturday night in the Preferred at Mohawk in 1:48.3. State Treasurer has started in the WEG Preferred seven times this season and is currently riding a six race win streak in the circuit's top class. All six of those wins have been sub-1:50 miles. His biggest victory of the season was on May 30 in the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. State Treasurer's rivals on Saturday include Sweet Lou, who is currently on a seven race win streak, and Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup winner. Two starts back, State Treasurer tackled this group in the $463,000 William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and finished fourth, while only beaten 2 ½ lengths. This Saturday, State Treasurer will need to bring his top game and the speed he has been putting on display. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

Intimidate followed his most lackluster performance of the year with a stunning victory in the Maple Leaf Trot last weekend and trainer Luc Blais is hopeful the 5-year-old trotter can keep the momentum going in Saturday's first of two eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses, including world champion Sebastian K. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. Intimidate, who won the 2012 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters and the 2013 Credit Winner, edged previously unbeaten Sebastian K by a nose to win the Maple Leaf in 1:54.2 on a sloppy track. Intimidate was 47-1. "It was an amazing feeling again," said Blais, who trains Intimidate for Serge Godin's Determination stable and Judith Farrow. Blais and Farrow bred the son of stallion Justice Hall and mare Fabulous Tag. "That (Maple Leaf) was an amazing win. "He was just so-so in the elimination but came back good. I think Sylvain Filion gave him a perfect drive. I think everything was perfect that night. At that level, you need everything perfect." Intimidate finished fifth in his Maple Leaf elimination, losing 3-1/2 lengths in the stretch, but Blais says the horse was still feeling the effects of a quarter-crack on a front foot. "I think the foot wasn't right-right," said Blais, a native of Quebec. "We worked very much on his foot and the quarter-crack looked better (in the Maple Leaf final). That's time. You need time to repair that. Now he looks sound. I don't know if he's a hundred percent, but he looks better than before, that's for sure." Intimidate has won three of seven races this season and earned $326,070. For his career, he has won 24 of 36 starts and banked $923,628. His only off-the-board finishes this year came in his Maple Leaf elim and in the final of the Cutler Memorial, where he had a three-wide trip. "I think in the Cutler we had no luck," Blais said. "After that he came back and won the preferred at Mohawk. He hasn't raced a bad race, except maybe the elimination of the Maple Leaf. That was the only race that I think wasn't right." Ron Pierce will drive Intimidate on Saturday night, leaving from post four as the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. Market Share, from post one, is the 8-5 favorite. The remainder of the field, from the inside, is Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. The second division, from the rail, is Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, Appomattox, Arch Madness, and Creatine. The group has five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). "That's a nice bunch of horses this year," Blais said. "The competition is very high level. I think that's good for the game; it's good for the show. People want to see that." Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

This Week: Delvin Miller Adios final, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Lady Liberty, Peter Haughton Memorial and Merrie Annabelle eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit actions kicks off this Friday (July 25) at The Meadows with four divisions in the $80,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters and three divisions in the $60,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (July 26) card at The Meadows features the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios final and $30,000 Adios consolation for 3-year-old colt pacers, a single division in the $114,175 Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, three divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the $65,310 Arden Downs for 3-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the $54,952 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. Meadowlands Racetrack will offer four sets of elimination races this week, with all the finals slated for the Hambletonian card of Saturday (Aug. 2). On Friday, the Meadowlands will host two $20,000 eliminations in the Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old filly trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Saturday the program will feature two $50,000 eliminations in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters and a single $40,000 elimination in the Lady Liberty for older pacing mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Intimidate, trained by Luc Blais and driven by Sylvain Filion, pulled off a 45-1 upset over the heavily favored Sebastian K in the $560,790 Maple Leaf Trot this past Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Intimidate won the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose over Sebastian K. Sent postward as the 1-5 favorite, Sebastian K got away in second behind post ten starter Modern Family who was sent hard to the lead over the 'sloppy' track to post an opening quarter of :26.4. In the second quarter, trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt sent Sebastian K to the lead and controlled the race through the middle half with fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.4. Intimidate got away in sixth and picked up cover in the second quarter behind Flanagan Memory and was towed around the final turn second-over and just a few lengths away from Sebastian K. In the stretch, Sebastian K continued to dig in and tried to hold off his challengers, but Intimidate in the final stride nailed the heavy favorite to win the 63rd edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in 1:54.2. Market Share, the 2013 Maple Leaf Trot winner, came off the rail and made a late charge on the far outside to finish third. The Maple Leaf Trot victory was the third win in seven starts this season for Intimidate, a 5-year-old son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag, owned by Determination and Judith Farrow. In other Grand Circuit action over the weekend, Clear Vision broke the Northfield Park track record for older pacing geldings, posting a 1:49.3 win in the 29th edition of the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie. Clear Vision (Western Hanover-Artistic Vision) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, The Panhellenic Stable and James Koran. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Brett Miller to drive. Clear Vision started from post four and immediately advanced a position when Bolt The Duer made an uncharacteristic break to his inside. He was still sitting third at the :26.2 opening quarter. Miller pulled Clear Vision in the second panel and he remained first-over through times of :54.2 and 1:22. Clear Vision locked horns with pacesetter Night Pro in the last turn and bested him by two lengths in the stretch, stopping the timer at 1:49.3. Foiled Again finished third. In The Arsenal (Eric Goodell) never had an anxious moment this past Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $125,000 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace in 1:56.4. In the Arsenal opened 2-3/4 lengths on the field in and out of the final turn. A pocketed Rock N' Roll World cosmetically cut the final margin down to three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4. Third went to a stubborn Parklane Eagle. Second choice In the Arsenal, a White Birch Farm homebred son of American Ideal-Ladyotra trained by Kelvin Harrison, returned $6.30 for his second win in three seasonal/career starts. Complete recaps of all the weekend 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 - 437; 2. Tim Tetrick - 434; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 767.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 397; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 184; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 177.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 160.3; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Tioga Downs. Meadowlands Racetrack will host nine Grand Circuit events, led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Balmoral Park will contest Hanover Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters. Tioga Downs will race Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit        

The unthinkable became a reality Saturday night in the $603,000 final of the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Raceway as the 45-1 long shot Intimidate was able to collar and beat undefeated Sebastian K by a head. It was a rainy night and the track condition was sloppy at Mohawk Raceway when the ninth race feature got underway with both Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) and Modern Family (Ron Pierce) both vying for control of the early lead. It was Modern Family who won the early battle to the opening quarter mile in :26.4 as Svanstedt quarter moved and took command in the backstretch, leading the field to the half mile marker in :57.3. It was then that Flanagan Memory (Chris Christoforou) starting up first-over and immediately grabbing the second-over cover was Intimidate and driver Sylvain Filion. They went by the three-quarters in 1:26.4 as Sebastian K and Svanstedt held control of the field. Then as they came down the stretch, Filion tipped out with Intimidate and slowly they began to gain ground on Sebastian K with Market Share (Tim Tetrick) also on the move after being trapped along the rail in fourth place. To the finish they flew with Intimidate collaring Sebastian K at the wire to win in the final strides by a narrow head in 1:54.2. Market Share was third. Intimidate litup the tote board paying $96.50 to win. It was the first Maple Leaf Trot victory for Filion. “I had a lot of confidence in my horse,” Filion said. “He has not been exactly 100% this year. Luc (Blais) his trainer had him ready for tonight. This is just amazing. We had a perfect trip. I just wanted to keep my cover and keep focused. “I knew he would kick home for me,” Filion added, “I didn’t know if we could get by Sebastian K.” A five-year-old gelded son of Justice Hall, Intimidate is trained by Luc Blais and is owned by the Determination Stable of Woodmount and Judith Farrow of Hemmingford, Quebec. It was his third win in seven starts this year and raised his career earnings to $945,000. For Sebastian K, it was his first defeat after six starts since coming to the USA this season. Despite the inclement weather and sloppy track, Sebastian K did race barefoot in the Maple Leaf Trot. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 18 - On the eve of the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot, one door has been shut for a 'Trot' hopeful, while a door has opened for a new challenger. Undercover Strike, trained by Tony O'Sullivan, was to start from post position eight in tomorrow night's Maple Leaf Trot, but has been scratched. The scratch to Undercover Strike has given a second opportunity to the Luc Blais trainee Wheeling N Dealin, who did not qualify for the final, but was the also eligible. Wheeling N Dealin will now start from post position eight in tomorrow night's final, but will wear saddle pad number eleven. A driver has not yet been named for Wheeling N Dealin as Jody Jamieson, who drove the horse in the elimination and is listed in the program, will be driving Archangel from post position four. Wheeling N Dealin has won eleven times in 27 career starts and has earnings of over $865,000. This season, the four-year-old son of Cantab Hall - Quick Credit has won twice in eight starts. Pop Writer and Sports Chic, who were winners in the first round of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series competition for two-year-old pacing fillies on July 11 at Mohawk Racetrack, backed up those efforts by winning again at the same level on Friday (July 18) night at Grand River Raceway. Four $70,000 Gold Series tilts went postward in all, with Northern Starlet and Code One Hanover taking the other two splits. That meant another sweep in the Gold Series for first crop sire Sportswriter as his incredible run with his rookies continued. Pop Writer (Doug McNair) was placed the winner in the opener after the judges determined that original first-place finisher Palette Tina (Trevor Henry) had committed interference to Fiftyshadesofbay (Rick Zeron) before the field reached three-quarters. Win The Gold (Jody Jamieson) was moved up from third to second in the official order and Fiftyshadesofbay got elevated from fourth to third. Posted by Pop Writer, the fractions were :28.4, :58.2 and 1:28.3 with the final time of the mile clocked in 1:57.1. Tony Alagna trains Pop Writer for owners Alagna Racing of Steger, Illinois, and John Carver of Bettendorf, Iowa. Pop Writer is now a perfect two-for-two in her career and in OSS competition with earnings of $70,000. Diamond Creek Farm-bred Pop Writer, who is out of the Cambest mare Pop Or Tonic. The biggest upset of the night was posted by Northern Starlet (Yves Filion), who rallied by the leaders in the stretch following a second-over trip to prevail by two and a quarter lengths in 1:56. Missy Tap Tina (Trevor Henry) finished in second and public choice Lady Hill (McNair), who was in front through fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:25.4, had to settle for third. Northern Starlet is trained by Stephane Larocque for owner Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, Que. She broke her maiden in her second attempt and she has now earned $38,500. Northern Starlet, who was bred by Dr. John McKnight, was plucked out of the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for $45,000. She is the first foal out of the Western Ideal mare Casino Nights, an earner of over $278,000 in her career and a half-sister to five other six-figure earners including Allamerican Captor ($986,982). Code One Hanover (Paul MacDonell) went right down the road in the third Gold Series tilt, hitting the opening quarter in :29.1, the half in :59.4, and the three-quarters in 1:28.3. In the stretch there was a battle between Code One Hanover and first-over challenger Southwind Mischief (Chris Christoforou), with the former able to beat the latter by a quarter of a length in a final clocking of 1:56.4. Shes A Pansation (McNair) collected third. Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ont owns and trains Code One Hanover, who won for the first time after a pair of runner-up efforts to start her career. Code One Hanover, an earner of $55,500, was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. and was purchased for $75,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Code One Hanover is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Current Hanover ($380,248) and a half-sister to the likes of Muscle Beachboy ($116,198). Sports Chic turned in the fastest clocking in the four divisions after she won the nightcap in 1:55.3 for driver Jody Jamieson. Her win was accomplished in similar fashion to Code One Hanover as she was on top through stations of :27.1, :56, and 1:25.4 before she kicked out a :29.4 final panel to seal the deal. Delightful Hill (Billy Davis Jr.) was up for second, beaten half a length by the winner, with Solar Sister (McNair) back in third. Trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, Ont. also co-owns Sports Chic with partner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sports Chic has a pair of wins from three trips behind the gate and she has now earned $73,000. Sports Chic, a Winbak Farm-bred filly, is the 15th foal out of the On The Road Again mare Vesta Blue Chip, which means Sports Chic is a half-sister to the great Rainbow Blue ($1,600,012), the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year. In addition to the on track action, Grand River Raceway also hosted a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes on Friday night. Fans at the track were able to participate in merchandise giveaways, trivia contests, and also got cupcakes. For the full list of upcoming celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes at other Ontario tracks, click here. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event for the freshman pacing fillies takes place at Georgian Downs on August 10. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

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