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Bee A Magician will try to return to her winning ways when she faces 13 male rivals - including last year's Hambletonian Stakes winner Royalty For Life - in Saturday's $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Last year, Bee A Magician won all 17 of her starts and was named Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada. This season, the mare is winless in three races and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. It was her first off-the-board finish since going off stride in her second lifetime start in July 2012. Trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman said Bee A Magician scoped sick following the Armbro Flight. Bee A Magician, who has won 27 of 33 career starts and $2.33 million, prepped for the Hambletonian Maturity with a 1:53.1 qualifier win on June 27, trotting her final quarter-mile in :26.3. She will start the Hambletonian Maturity, to be contested at 1-1/8 mile, from post No. 13 with regular driver Brian Sears. "She qualified really good and she's acting fine, so it looks good now," said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. "I was really happy with her qualifier and Brian thought she was back to her old self, so hopefully we're good. "It was a bit of a shock," he added about Bee A Magician's finish in the Armbro Flight. "I've never seen her stop before. But these things happen. She's never really had any setbacks before, so we weren't used to it. But she got over it, so we're OK. At least we knew there was something wrong." Joining Bee A Magician in the Hambletonian Maturity field are Your So Vain, Sweet Justice, Bambino Glide, Fico, Wheeling N Dealin, Royalty For Life, Flanagan Memory, Spider Blue Chip, High Bridge, Master Of Law, Major Athens, Possessed Fashion, and Creatine. Conditions for the Hambletonian Maturity allowed for up to 16 starters rather than the traditional 10. Royalty For Life, who is making his 2014 debut, won last year's Hambletonian Stakes while Spider Blue Chip was the Breeders Crown champion and Creatine captured the Kentucky Futurity. Wheeling N Dealin was the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. "I think it will be OK; I think we'll be alright," Norman said about facing the boys. "We'll see how some of those colts are." Also on Saturday's card at the Meadowlands are two eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and one elimination for the Mistletoe Shalee. The first elimination for the Meadowlands Pace features North America Cup winner JK Endofanera. The second division includes He's Watching, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, and last year's Breeders Crown champion Luck Be Withyou. The top five finishers from each elim advance to the July 12 final. As for Bee A Magician's future schedule, she is being pointed to the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands, which is for trotting mares, following the Hambletonian Maturity. "I think I'll try to keep her at home as much as possible, race her close to home," Norman said. "It's a long year and I don't want to over-race her. We'll see how it goes. If we can do some good on Saturday and get some money there, that's a big purse, it would make the rest of the year a lot nicer." Following is the field in post order for the Hambletonian Maturity with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Your So Vain, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 2. Sweet Justice, Corey Callahan, Bruce Saunders; 3. Bambino Glide, Marcus Miller, Julie Miller; 4. Fico, Tyler Smith, Staffan Lind; 5. Wheeling N Dealin, Jody Jamieson, Luc Blais; 6. Royalty For Life, David Miller, George Ducharme; 7. Flanagan Memory, Ron Pierce, Rene Dion; 8. Spider Blue Chip, Ron Pierce, Chuck Sylvester; 9. High Bridge, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 10. Master Of Law, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci; 11. Major Athens, John Campbell, Rich Gillock; 12. Possessed Fashion, Tim Tetrick, Tom Fanning; 13. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman; 14. Creatine, Mike Lachance, Bob Stewart. by Ken Weingarter, for Harness Racing Communications

After a lackluster performance in final of the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at The Meadowlands on May 17, Intimidate resurfaced and redeemed himself with a powerful performance in Tuesday’s $34,000 Preferred Trot at Mohawk Racetrack. Sylvain Filion was reunited with Intimidate, and he let the Luc Blais trainee settle off the speed while Fearless Man, Mego Moss and Slip Into Glide took turns on the lead through fractions of :26.3, :57 and 1:25.1. Filion got his charge into the flow in the back half of the mile, and when he cut the gelding loose in the lane he had no problem rolling past his foes in deep stretch. A :27-second closing quarter was good enough for him to win by three-quarters of a length over Mego Moss in 1:53.1. Third prize was earned by Slip Into Glide. To read the rest of the story click here.

Harness racing fans could witness the first sub-1:50 trotting race on a mile track Saturday at the Meadowlands, but if not then, it is probably just a matter of time. Saturday's $175,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for older trotters features a speedy group of 10 horses, including newly minted world champion Sebastian K. The former Swedish star won his Cutler elimination last week, which was his North American debut, in a world-record-equaling 1:50.1. But the field also includes two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, who captured his Cutler elimination in 1:50.3, and Arch Madness, who holds the world record of 1:50.2 for an older gelding trotter on a mile oval. All totaled, the Cutler Memorial features six trotters to win in 1:51 or less at some point in their careers. Sevruga has a lifetime-best mark of 1:50.3, which he accomplished on a five-eighths-mile track while setting a world record. Intimidate and Modern Family each has a career-best time of 1:51. "It's going to be a good race," said Tim Tetrick, who drives Market Share for trainer Linda Toscano. "If it sets up right, someone could set the world record. There's got to be some speed up front; I don't think one horse can do it by himself. It will be a chess match in the middle of the race, but people will be putting horses in play. "These horses are fresh and happy and sprinting home good. There are five or six that can trot a quarter in 26 (seconds) on the end of it. Who knows how fast we can go." Elimination winners Sebastian K, who was Sweden's Horse of the Year in 2012, and Market Share have attracted much of the pre-race attention and were essentially made co-favorites for the Cutler. Market Share is 8-5 on the morning line; Sebastian K is 9-5. But any number of horses is capable of winning the Cutler. Sevruga won last year's race and Arch Madness, a 10-year-old who has earned $4.15 million in his career, captured the 2010 edition. Intimidate has a Breeders Crown triumph to his credit, Archangel won the 2012 Yonkers Trot, and Modern Family won last year's Meadowlands Maturity. "Everybody makes it seem like it's a two-horse race, but I think it's far from a two-horse race," said Yannick Gingras, who drives Archangel for trainer Ron Burke. "You have a lot of depth in this field. Sebastian K is definitely very fast, but the trip did set up for him (in his elimination). We Will See what he can do this week. "They have to go fast, but (Sebastian K and Market Share) might hook up, too. There are 10 horses in the race and I think they can do 1:51 or better. A lot of these horses are super sharp and my horse is only going to keep improving. We need a little luck at this point, but I don't think it's impossible." The top five finishers in Sebastian K's Cutler elim all trotted 1:51 or less, marking the second time in history that five trotters went that fast in the same race. The other occurrence came in Arch Madness' 1:50.2 win at Lexington's Red Mile in September. "If the fractions are right (they could go faster than 1:50)," said Bernie Noren, the assistant to Sebastian K's trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. "Of course it's a harder competition; you've got 10 good horses. It's all about the fractions; somebody has to put up the fractions to the half. "With this group (of older trotters) I'm a hundred percent sure we're going to see not one, but maybe a couple, under (1):50 this year." John Campbell, who drives Possessed Fashion for trainer Tom Fanning, was not surprised by the 8-year-old Sebastian K's performance in his debut. "I knew going in to the race that he was an excellent horse," said Campbell, who won the prestigious Elitlopp in Sweden with Mack Lobell in 1988. "When you have a horse that races at that top level over in Europe like he has for the last couple years, they're excellent horses. I wasn't that surprised that he won or was that impressive because I have so much respect for what those top free-for-allers do over in Europe and how grueling it is over there. "(Sebastian K) is definitely the horse to beat, but he's going to have to be at his best or somebody will beat him. At this level, if you're not at your very best, you're not going to win. "I think we're going to see someone trot under 1:50 in the very near future, whether it's Saturday or shortly after that. I think it will happen this year, and I think there's a good chance it will happen more than once." Following is the field in post order for the Cutler Memorial with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 9-5; 2. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 8-5; 3. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller, 8-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 15-1; 5. Intimidate, Vincent Ginsburg, Luc Blais, 10-1; 6. Undercover Strike, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 30-1; 7. Arch Madness, George Brennan, Trond Smedshammer, 8-1; 8. Possessed Fashion, John Campbell, Tom Fanning, 50-1; 9. Modern Family, David Miller, Daryl Bier, 6-1; 10. DW's NY Yank, Mike Lachance, Ron Burke, 30-1. by Ken Weingardner, for Harness Racing Communications

Sebastian K will return to the races a little quicker than usual, but doing things quickly might be the trotter's style. A week after winning his North American debut in 1:50.1 to equal history's fastest trotting race on a one-mile track, Sebastian K will start from post No. 1 in Saturday's $175,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. "Sebastian K never raced back-to-back weeks, he always had like two weeks between the races, so that's the only question mark," said Bjorn "Bernie" Noren, assistant to Sebastian K's trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt, about the Swedish-born star's previous schedule in Europe. "But when we trained him (Wednesday) he was very smooth and Ake is very happy with how he came out of the race. He'll get two days off in the paddock and we'll race him Saturday." Sebastian K, an 8-year-old sent off at 5-1 odds, won his Cutler elim by 1-1/4 lengths over Modern Family, who set the early fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.1. Sebastian K trotted his final quarter-mile in :27 to lead Modern Family, Intimidate, Archangel, and DW's NY Yank to the wire and advance to the Cutler final. Market Share, who was last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter, won the other Cutler elim in 1:50.3. Market Share, who also was making his seasonal debut, trotted his final quarter-mile in :26.4 to overcome runner-up Arch Madness by one length. Undercover Strike, Sevruga, and Possessed Fashion also reached the final. "We knew our horse was ready to race," Noren said. "Ake had him qualify very good and he knew he was going to do a good race, but he was surprised by the time too. He didn't expect him to go that fast right off the bat. He won and he won with some power left in the lines. He was not all out in that mile. "Of course (the final is) a harder competition; you've got 10 good horses. You've got Market Share and he's a tough horse, a game horse. You've got Arch Madness and I think he did a tremendous race too. It will be a good race." Sebastian K, by the stallion Korean out of the mare Gabriella K, has won 27 of 64 career races and $2.31 million for owner Knutsson Trotting. He raced last weekend without shoes, which is more common in Europe, as he equaled a world record already shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim and Chapter Seven. "He always raced without shoes in Sweden," Noren said. "He's a different horse without shoes. Of course, you have to look at the racetrack; the racetrack cannot be hard. You cannot race on a hard racetrack without shoes. Ake warmed the horse up and felt the track was very good, the track crew did a very good job to get a nice cushion, so he decided to race him without shoes. "If the track is OK, every time he races he's going to race barefoot." Sebastian K will get time off following the Cutler as he will not compete in the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational on May 25 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "The schedule we have planned out, we plan to race him at the Meadowlands," Noren said. "We like to support (New Meadowlands Racing Chairman) Jeff Gural and all they do for the harness racing and the racetrack at the Meadowlands is probably the best too with the kind of speed they have up there." Following is the field in post order for the Cutler Memorial with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 2. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano; 3. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais; 6. Undercover Strike, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson; 7. Arch Madness, George Brennan, Trond Smedshammer; 8. Possessed Fashion, John Campbell, Tom Fanning; 9. Modern Family, David Miller, Daryl Bier; 10. DW's NY Yank, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

On Wednesday, December 18, Standardbred Canada announced the finalists for the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. The winners will be announced at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala on Saturday, February 8, 2014. This year marks the 25th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Nine past O’Brien Award winners are looking to add to their trophy collections and are either defending titles or are nominated in a new division. These past winners include: Anndrovette, Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, I Luv The Nitelife, Intimidate, Mister Herbie, Sylvain Filion, Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms. Sylvain Filion will defend the Driver of the Year title against first-time nominee Doug McNair. Filion, 44, of Milton, ON, is currently the leading money winning driver on the WEG circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk and Woodbine. With 281 victories, he is closing in on Scott Zeron for the title as WEG’s top dash winning driver. He has a good shot of achieving that as Zeron has moved to The Meadowlands. A career winner of 7,477 races, Filion recently surpassed $6 million in earnings in 2013 in addition to going over $80 million in his career. He is also the regular driver for O’Brien finalist, Intimidate. Doug McNair, 24, of Guelph, ON, is enjoying a productive year as he’s driven 292 winners to go along with $5.6 million in purse earnings, his second best year on record ever for money. McNair was the regular driver for O’Brien finalists Precocious Beauty and Love Canal. There will be a new name beside the Trainer of the Year category as Gregg McNair and Richard Moreau are looking for their first National title. McNair, 52, of Guelph, ON, is en route to a career year and sits second in the Canadian trainer earnings standings. McNair conditions O’Brien finalist Precocious Beauty and to date has trained 109 winners and horses to $3.1 million in purse earnings. Moreau, 49, of Puslinch, ON, was a finalist in this category last year. The conditioner has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade. He leads the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Kelly Hoerdt, 47, of Beaumont, AB, receives his third nomination for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship and he is up against first time nominee Paul MacKenzie. Kelly Hoerdt is a successful horsemen who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. He’s been training in Alberta on and off for 25 years. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in earnings at Alberta Downs this year. He’s currently in the top five trainers at Northlands for both wins and money and sits in sixth at Northlands in the driving charts. Hoerdt has 66 wins and $487,528 in earnings as a driver and 81 wins and $616,517 as a trainer. Paul MacKenzie, 52, of Puslinch, ON, has been driving and training for over 35 years and has managed to be one of the top B circuit drivers for decades. The Charlottetown native is the all time leader in driving wins at Flamboro Downs. In 2013 he was the third leading dash winner at Grand River and in the top 10 drivers at Flamboro. Paul drove 169 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $1 million in 2013. He didn’t focus much on training. Unfortunately MacKenzie suffered some injuries at Grand River in late October and has not driven since. Precocious Beauty and Shes Da Bomb, both sired by Art Major, are the finalists in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly category. Precocious Beauty won 7 of 11 races, $462,912 and took a mark of 1:50.1 which happened to tie a World Record for the mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. Shes Da Bomb had 5 wins in 8 starts and earnings of $216,056. She paced to her season’s record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile. Both fillies captured divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and Champlain at Mohawk. Arthur Blue Chip and Luck Be Withyou didn’t battle each other much on the racetrack but the two will vie for the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt title. Arthur Blue Chip scored 6 wins in 11 starts, bankrolled $400,120 and took a mark of 1:51.2 in an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk before being scratched from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya. Luck Be Withyou’s victory in the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was the highlight of a 40 year partnership between owner John Craig and trainer Bill Cass. Luck Be Withyou had 5 wins in 11 races and $363,402 in purse earnings. He took a mark of 1:50 in an elimination of the Breeders Crown, and also scored a victory in a division of the Champlain at Mohawk. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore and looks to add another O’Brien to her trophy case. She is up against Love Canal in the three-year-old pacing filly division. I Luv The Nitelife boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner-up finish in the American National. Love Canal put together a record of 4-3-1 in 13 races, earned $344,693 and took a mark of 1:50.1 at Mohawk in the Canadian Breeders Championship one week after her win in the elimination. She also had victories in the final of the SBOA Stake and an Ontario Sires Stakes event. Sunshine Beach and Vegas Vacation are finalists in the sophomore pacing colt category. Sunshine Beach hit for 16 top three finishes, including eight wins in 20 starts for earnings of $913,702. He defeated Captaintreacherous in the Battle of the Brandywine in a 1:47.4 world record mile at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August and was a runner-up to the division leader in the Breeders Crown. He was also victorious in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Progress Pace. Vegas Vacation put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 in 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses with major wins in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Empire Breeders Classic, Simcoe Stakes, Little Brown Jug and the Matron Stakes. He was also a close runner-up in the Hempt Memorial, the Tattersalls Pace and the Adios. Anndrovette is looking to defend her crown as Canada’s Older Pacing Mare against the talented Rocklamation. Anndrovette is looking for her third consecutive trophy as the country’s top pacing mare following a season where she scored 7 wins and bankrolled $564,827. She took a mark of 1:48 at Mohawk in the Roses Are Red Final -- a Canadian record -- and also posted a win in the elimination. She won three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, an elimination of the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. Rocklamation won 5 of 21 races and earned $546,217 on the season while posting a mark of 1:49.3 in the Golden Girls at The Meadowlands. She won two legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and captured the Milton Stakes at Mohawk. A Rocknroll Dance and Foiled Again are the Older Pacing Horse finalists. Multiple World Champion A Rocknroll Dance was the first horse in harness racing history to pace three consecutive sub-1:48 wins. Those scores came this year in an invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1:47.4f) and in the elimination and final of the Canadian Pacing Derby (1:47.3-1:47.2). He established World Records as a four-year-old on both five-eighths and half-mile tracks. His 1:49.1 world mark on a half was taken winning the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield over Foiled Again, and his 1:47.4 world mark on a five-eighths came in an invitational race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He defeated the best older pacers of the year in winning the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in track and Canadian record time. A Rocknroll Dance has been retired from racing and will begin his stud career in 2014 at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final, for his third straight million-dollar campaign. Following Foiled Again's final start of the year, trainer Ron Burke noted that the iron tough pacer has exceeded his expectations with all of his accomplishments. He earned $1.4 million on the year, while surpassing the $6 million career marker and closed the season sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at The Meadowlands. Miss Aultsville and Riveting Rosie are nominees in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Miss Aultsville established a stakes, track and Canadian record of 1:59.2 for two-year-old trotting fillies on a half-mile track in an Ontario Sires Stakes event, one of her two season wins. She earned just over $151,000 on the season. Riveting Rosie closed out her 2013 campaign with six wins, one second and one third in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Riveting Rosie’s major victories were the Peaceful Way Final, The Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain. Father Patrick and Muscle Matters will face off in the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division. Father Patrick topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Stakes. Muscle Matters was lightly raced but earned $218,800 in 6 starts, half of which he won. He took his mark of 1:55.4 in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. Bee A Magician, who was perfect in her 2013 season, is up against Motown Muscle in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her 2013 races and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore season. The invincible filly took a mark of 1:51 at The Meadowlands and won the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Motown Muscle enjoyed a productive 2013 campaign, hitting for 6 wins in 14 races and $331,423 in purse money. She took a mark of 1:53.4 at Mohawk and racked up wins in a division of the Casual Breeze, Canadian Breeders Championship elimination and final, and several Ontario Sires Stakes events. Flanagan Memory and Your So Vain are the sophomore trotting colt nominees. Flanagan Memory won seven of 11 races for $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Your So Vain was a winner of 5 of 13 and $382,105. He posted a mark of 1:52.4 in winning an elimination of the Canadian Trotting Classic. He also added wins in the Simcoe Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, and a heat of the Kentucky Futurity to his resume. Bax Of Life and Maven are the Older Trotting Mare finalists. Bax of Life won 4 of 23 races and earned just over $155,000. She took a mark of 1:52.2 at The Red Mile. She was a nose winner in a Breeders Crown elimination and second in the Miss Versatility. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She swept the Miss Versatility Trotting Series including a 1:51.4 World Record in the final at Delaware. She also added wins in an elimination and the final of the Armbro Flight and Allerage to her credentials. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her coffers. Intimidate and Mister Herbie are the Older Trotting Horse finalists. Both horses were O’Brien winners in 2012 – Intimidate as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year and Mister Herbie as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse. Intimidate stepped up to the Older Trotting Horse ranks to win 7 of 9 on the year and bank $176,000. He won several Preferred events and took a mark of 1:51 in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in races including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067. Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms are nominated in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, and are both previous winners of this award. McIntosh’s 98 starters have accounted for 228 wins and just over $2 million in earnings in 2013, while Seelster-bred horses have posted 254 victories and $2.1 million in purse earnings. In the Future Star Category, the finalists for this first-time award are Travis Cullen and Patrick Shepherd. Horseman Travis Cullen, 21 of Edmonton, AB, closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the last day of racing while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year of over $366,000 in trainer earnings and over $577,000 in driving earnings, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. His 2013 total of 109 training wins in Canada places him fourth among all trainers while his .430 UTRS leads the nation. Patrick Shepherd, 21, of Lynden, ON, trained 112 winners and horses to $542,799 in earnings. His Canadian win total ranks as the third best among all conditioners, as does his .389 training average. One of the 24 horse nominees will be honoured as Canada’s Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, February 8, 20114, at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown, PE. The complete list of finalists and owners is as follows. 2013 O’Brien Award Nominees Pacers Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer Precocious Beauty - owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Shes Da Bomb – owned by F. Bellino And Sons LLC, Bronxville, NY   Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer Arthur Blue Chip – owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Luck Be Withyou – owned by John H. Craig, North York, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer I Luv The Nitelife - owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Love Canal - owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc – Robert Cooper Stables LLC, Boca Raton, FL - J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY   Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer Sunshine Beach - owned by Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc., Hudson- Conrad Leber, Montreal QC – Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB Vegas Vacation – owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON   Older Pacing Mare Anndrovette - owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Rocklamation - owned by J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY – Stable 45, Boynton Beach, FL- Our Horse Centre Stables, Clifton Park, NY   Older Pacing Horse A Rocknroll Dance - owned by A Rocknroll Dance Stable, Wauseon, OH Foiled Again - owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL   Trotters   Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Miss Aultsville - owned by Old Aultsville Stable, Mississauga, ON – Pealer Pen, Camp Hill, PA – John Kopas Stables Ltd. Milton, ON Riveting Rosie - owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON   Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Father Patrick - owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Muscle Matters - owned by Nunzio Vena, Bolton – Santo Vena, Brampton – Benoit Baillargeon, Rockwood – Richard Thompson, London, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Bee A Magician – owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Motown Muscle - owned by Bet Max Stables Inc., Casco – Benenati Inc., Clinton Twp, MI   Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Flanagan Memory - owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Your So Vain – owned by P G Van Camp Stables, Port Perry, ON   Older Trotting Mare Bax Of Life – owned by Jerry Duford – Joanne S Wray, Campbellville, ON Maven - owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL   Older Trotting Horse Intimidate – owned by Judith Farrow, Hemmingford – Luc Blais, Lochaber Ouest, QC Mister Herbie – owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY   People Awards   O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Paul MacKenzie, Puslinch, ON   Armstrong Breeder of the Year Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON   Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion, Campbellville, ON Doug McNair, Guelph, ON   Trainer of the Year Gregg McNair, Guelph, ON Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON   Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB Patrick Shepherd, Lynden, ON

Harrisburg, PA --- It will be a white Christmas for the Sjoberg family. Tristan Sjoberg purchased the white colt named White Bliss for $240,000 on Tuesday on the second day of the Standardbred Horse Sale at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. White Bliss was the day’s top-priced yearling. Bjorn “Bernie” Noren signed for White Bliss, who is an early Christmas gift for Sjoberg’s mother, Eva. A son of stallion Art Major out of the mare Coochie Mama, both bays, White Bliss is a rare all white Standardbred. The last time two bays produced a white Standardbred in North America was in 1998. “(Sjoberg) wanted to buy this horse for his mom,” Noren said. “She has always been looking for a white Standardbred. She went to Russia to buy some white horses, but couldn’t find any really purely white. When this horse came up for sale, he got really excited and his mom got really excited. He wanted to go for it. He bought it for his mom as a Christmas present.” Ake Svanstedt, who is coming to the U.S. after a successful career in Sweden, will train the colt. “He’s going to take him to Florida and train him and race him in the New York Sire Stakes program hopefully,” Noren said. “Then he will go to Sweden and get the chance to breed some trotting mares.” Noren added with a laugh, “He’s not going to get castrated.” The colt was among three horses to sell for at least $200,000 on the second day and a total of 14 sold for at least $100,000. After two days, the average price was $50,486 for 515 horses sold; an increase of 14 percent compared to 2012. Last year, the average was $44,270 for 545 horses sold. On the pacing side, yearlings sired by Somebeachsomewhere were going for an average of $84,243 – the top mark of the sale. On the trotting side, Credit Winner-sired foals were leading with an average of $83,636. Mohegan Blue Chip and Apple Bottom Lindy were tied for the No. 2 seller, both bringing $215,000. Mohegan Blue Chip, a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Casino Miss, went to trainer Tony Alagna. Casino Miss finished second in the finals of the Tender Loving Care and Blossom series in 2003 and earned $431,698 lifetime. “I trained the first foal out of the mare, Ryder Blue Chip, and I liked her,” Alagna said. “She was just a nice sire stakes filly, but I liked her a lot. This was the first colt the mare had, the first Somebeachsomewhere, so he kind of fit the profile for what we were looking for. “There’s enough maternal pedigree to be a home run. He was a great individual with a lot of presence. He passed all the tests.” Apple Bottom Lindy, a daughter of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Lindy’s Got Back, was purchased by Robert Lindstrom for owner Lennert Agren. Paul Kelley will train the filly. “She’s got size, she’s got great conformation, she’s got a pretty darn good family, and she gets over the ground really good,” Kelley said. “Hopefully those are all the qualities you’re looking for to start out with.” Migrate Blue Chip, a son of stallion Rock N Roll Heaven out of the mare Gro sold for $180,000 to Synergie Montreal. Gro was second in the 2006 Tender Loving Care Series final and earned $454,135 in her career. He will be trained by Luc Blais. “I liked the animal, the conformation; he’s a nice looking horse,” Blais said. “We went to the farm a week before the sale. When we saw him, we just liked him. I liked what I see and what I feel about the horse. I report that to the owner and the owner looked at the video and made the decision after that. “Rock N Roll Heaven was a great horse and had a great attitude. That’s what I feel about this yearling. I think he’s got a nice attitude. I was impressed.” Following is the list of horses to sell for at least $100,000: Hip-Name-Sex-Sire-Dam-Price 305 – White Bliss – Colt – Art Major-Coochie Mama – $240,000 Rare white Standardbred; half-brother to Western Posse (1:50.4s; $155,818) 428 – Mohegan Blue Chip – Colt – Somebeachsomewhere-Casino Miss – $215,000 Half-brother to Ryder Blue Chip (1:50.3; $190,825) 504 – Apple Bottom Lindy – Filly – Cantab Hall-Lindy’s Got Back – $215,000 First foal for Lindy’s Got Back; third dam is world champion Anamosa Hanover 346 – Migrate Blue Chip – Colt – Rock N Roll Heaven-Gro – $180,000 First foal for Gro, who had a mark of 1:50.3 and earned $454,135 459 – Severine Hanover – Filly – Donato Hanover-Secret Credit – $175,000 First foal for Secret Credit, who had a mark of 1:59.2h and earned $133,811; half-sister to Berto Primo (1:54.2; $296,298) 390 – Mullet Blue Chip – Colt – American Ideal-Babe Watching – $160,000 Half-brother to Baberhood, who is the dam of New York Sire Stakes champ He’s Watching 480 – Whataworkout – Colt – Muscle Hill-Southwind Sofia – $155,000 First foal for Southwind Sofia, who is half-sister to Southwind Serena (1:55.2; $385,088) and Southwind Spirit (1:54.1; $310,925) 348 – Adama Hanover – Filly – Camluck-Always True – $140,000 Half-brother to Dynamic Youth (1:48.1f; $822,957) 499 – Mentzer Hanover – Colt – Donato Hanover-Mayday Hanover – $120,000 Dam is half-sister to Macaria Hanover (1:55; $292,337) 498 – Magic Marker – Filly – Andover Hall-Susie’s Magic – $110,000 Dam won 2006 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters; mark of 1:52.4 and earned $700,946 276 – Badiou Hanover – Colt – Well Said-Blind Ambition – $105,000 Dam is half-sister to Cheyenne Rei (1:51.1; $729,933) 279 – By Chance Hanover – Colt – Cantab Hall-Box Of Dreams – $105,000 First colt for Box Of Dreams, who had a mark of 1:58.1f and earned $86,100. 386 – Minix Hanover – Colt – Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch – $105,000 First foal for stakes-winner Madam Hooch, who had a mark of Q1:58.3s and earned $181,843. 478 – Sobti Hanover – Filly – Cantab Hall-Sounds Swell – $105,000 Half-sister to Spellbound Hanover (1:54.3; $962,395) and Up Front Ben (1:54f; $381,326); full sister to Symphonic Hanover (1:53.4; $265,116) 412 – Mypaparox Bluechip – Colt – Rock N Roll Heaven-Musical Tone – $100,000 Half-brother to Big Al’s Delight (1:52; $385,154) by Ken Weingartner for HRC

You can tell from talking to trainer Luc Blais that he’s familiar with the old adage-If you take care of the horse the horse will take care of you. Blais, the trainer of last year’s sophomore Breeders Crown champion Intimidate, seems to have no set plans other than to let his horse dictate a course of action. After capturing the $214,000 Credit Winner at Vernon Downs on September 6 in 1:51, it appeared as if Intimidate would have the division at his mercy. “We had him entered at Mohawk (9-30) and I had to scratch him,” said Blais when Intimidate came up sick. It wasn’t until the eleventh hour that the Blais stable veterinarian cleared Intimidate to race, paving the way for entry this past Tuesday in the $600,000 Crown Final at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on October 19. There were no eliminations necessary for the race with just nine declared, so Blais has elected to race Intimidate on Monday (10-14) at Mohawk. “He needs the race,” said Blais who expects to ship Intimidate to Pocono on Wednesday and hopefully give him enough time to acclimate to the track surface. Last year Intimidate came on strongly towards the end of the season and capped it off with an awesome performance when supplemented to the Breeders Crown, taking down Hambletonian winner Market Share, among others, for driver Ron Pierce. This year the altered son of Justice Hall needed some extra time to get his act together and Blais has been more than willing to accommodate him. “He wasn’t ready for the big track (Mohawk or Woodbine) so we gave him some easier races on the small track starting out,” said Blais. It was August 19 when Intimidate finally made his debut at Mohawk, which meant missing some big races, including the Maple Leaf Trot, a race he surely would have been favored to win. It may have been late in the season, but Intimidate was set to go when he first raced at Mohawk, and fortunately was eligible to compete in a level below the top class in his first assignment. With Sylvain Filion in the bike Intimidate showed the same impressive late stride, scoring in 1:52 1/5  with a :26 3/5 final quarter. He followed that up by taking on the best horses at Mohawk and winning in 1:52. When Intimidate shipped to Vernon for the Credit Winner he was not only on foreign soil for the first time in his career, but was also pitted against some of the best and more seasoned older trotting performers in North America. Reunited with Ron Pierce, Intimidate was able to knife his way out of traffic and finish with incredible acceleration to post a track record 1:51 mile. What caught the attention of Pierce and many of those watching was the relative ease with which Intimidate accelerated and passed horses. But this year’s Breeders Crown will not be contested on a mile or seven-eighths mile track. Pocono’s circumference is a five-eighths mile and the track is known to favor speed horses as opposed to closers. Blais deflected any concern for race strategy. “I’ll leave that up to Ron (Pierce).  He showed speed last year in the Simcoe,” said Blais, recalling the first trip Pierce sat behind Intimidate. It was an awesome effort in which Pierce got Intimidate down to the three quarters in 1:22 4/5 only to get beaten on the wire in a 1:51 4/5 stakes record mile. Prior to that effort Intimidate had never gone a mile faster than 1:56 1/5. While the number of races under his girth this year have gone down, Intimidate continues to do what all trainers want most-win races. Last year he captured 13 of 17 starts and heading into Monday’s prep for the Crown Intimidate has won six of seven starts, losing one early after making a break. Other than the number of starts Blais sees Intimidate as a bigger and stronger horse. His careful management with the horse has set Intimidate up for the big miles and many experts in the field believe the horse is capable of trotting a mile in 1:50 or better. Given the track surface and the impressive number of world records already set this year at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, it’s within reason to expect this year’s Breeders Crown Trot to go in that neighborhood. “I definitely think he’s got the speed,” said Blais in the response to whether Intimidate could get that type of record. But Blais is not counting his money just yet. He admits that the group of horses Intimidate is in with in the Crown is much stronger than the field he beat in last year’s Breeders Crown. “This is a nice bunch of four-year-olds. It’s good that the fans will get to see so many good older trotters in one race. We’re lucky to have so many,” said Blais. Despite some bumps in the road Intimidate is likely to enter the Crown just as sharp as he was a year ago. Blais was fortunate that the gelding recovered from some minor ailments and has been cleared to attempt back-to-back Crown victories. After the Crown Blais doesn’t seem to have any specific goals in mind. He wouldn’t commit to sending the horse to Europe to race as a five-year-old or even whether he would continue to race him this season. No doubt he’ll let Intimidate tell him what the next move should be. by Jay bergman for the Breeders Crown

For all the harness racing fans that have been itching to see San Pail make his 2013 pari-mutuel debut, your wait will be over in mere days. The entries for Mohawk Racetrack’s Monday, September 30 program of live racing have been released, and San Pail (PP3, Randy Waples) and Intimidate (PP4, Sylvain Filion) are scheduled to go mano-a-mano in the $34,000 Preferred Trot (Race 2, 7:45 p.m.), which is set to host a field of six starters. The multiple stakes and O’Brien Award winning San Pail has prepped for Monday’s test by gearing up in four consecutive qualifying races, the last three of which were victories. The career winner of 51 starts and over $3-million in purses is trained by Rod Hughes and owned by Glenn Van Camp of Port Perry, Ont. and Hughes Stable Inc. of Dunsford, Ont. "We went four qualifiers instead of speed," Hughes recently told Trot Insider. "Instead of coming out and trying to crack off a mile in :53 or :54 with a blistering last quarter we took the route of putting the conditioning to him. If the speed is there, it's going to be there. We don't need to prove it in a qualifier." Fellow O’Brien Award winner Intimidate is in the midst of another standout campaign for trainer Luc Blais. The four-year-old son of Justice Hall has won six of his seven starts this season and is riding a four-race win streak. Intimidate was bred and is owned by Blais (of Lochaber Ouest, Que.) and Judith Farrow (Hemmingford, Que.). The field will be rounded out by Take My Picture (PP1, Jack Moiseyev), Windsong Geant (PP2, Rick Zeron), Knows Nothing (PP5, Jody Jamieson) and P L Daley (PP6, Keith Oliver). Mohawk’s first race on Monday will roll behind the gate at 7:25 p.m. To view the harness racing entries for Monday at Mohawk, click the following link: Monday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack. Reprinted with permission from www.standardbredcanada.ca

VERNON, NY—Friday night’s “End of the Summer Showdown” program at Vernon Downs was one of speed and substance. Intimidate captured the $214,000 Credit Winner Open Trot with a 1:51 performance that becomes the fastest mile by a trotter in the 60-year history of the track, and it serves as a new standard for 4-year-old geldings on the diagonal gait. D’Orsay powered to a 1:52 triumph in her first U. S. A. start to win the $202,000 Muscle Hill contest and become the swiftest 4-year-old trotting mare here ever. The season’s standard for 2-year-old pacing fillies locally was lowered twice, finally settling on a 1:52.1 clocking by JK Molly. I’m The Pied Piper sped to a 1:50.2 victory in the night’s $10,000 Open pace that missed the track mark for 4-year-old pacing horses by just two ticks of the timer. Hall of Famer Ron Pierce did the teaming behind Intimidate in Friday’s 11th event, closing from fourth in a :27.4 final quarter to catch and defeat the game Sevruga by ½-length. The time trimmed 1/5th-of-a-second off the previous all-time track trotting mark, set by the great San Pail in 2011. It was the fifth win in six current outings for the bay son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag, who is trained by Luc Blais and owned by Canadians Judith Farrow and Les Ecuries Luc Blais, Inc. The gifted gelding is now a career winner of more than $564,700. One race earlier, D’Orsay, competing as part of a two-trotter Jonas Czernyson stable entry, led early, caught a breather in second-place during the middle portion of the mile, and then rallied in the final stages of the contest to defeat the pace-setting Beatgoeson Hanover by three lengths, and secure her fourth victory in 10 current outings. It resulted in the seventh career victory for the bay daughter of Yankee Glide-Danae, now an earner of $302,085 for the Consus Racing Stable. It was one of three victories during Friday’s 12-race card for driver Corey Callahan. JK Molly improved her season’s summary line to 4-1-1 after a career-quickest 1:52.1 effort in Friday’s ninth race, second and final flight of a $106,124 New York Sires Stakes test for 2-year-old filly representatives of the lateral-gait. Tim Tetrick teamed the bay daughter of Art Major-Heather’s Western for noted trainer Linda Toscano and the 3 Brothers Stable. The l-1/2-length tally improved the frisky filly’s career winnings to more than $111,200. Friday’s first NYSS showdown was won by Sweetnsinful (American Ideal-Ali Badali), who reigned as the season’s swiftest frosh distaff sidewheeler locally for a few minutes after posting a career-fastest 1:52.2 score in the seventh race. Jimmy Whittemore did the steering for trainer Homer Hochstetler, an owner along with his wife, Connie, and James B. Michels. The sprightly filly now sports a 3-2-0 performance line and winnings in excess of $106,700 after six official trips to the track. Making just his second Vernon appearance in Friday’s second race, I’m The Pied Piper took the lead after the opening quarter and was never seriously challenged thereafter, winning by three-quarters of a length and authoring one of the faster miles of Vernon’s 60th anniversary season. It was the fourth season’s score and 12th lifetime win for the fast-stepping son of Western Ideal-Lisjune, who reached the $200,000 plateau in career earnings for the Ron Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, JJK Stables and the Panhellenic Stable. Callahan did the chauffeuring for conditioner Ron Burke. Friday’s stellar line-up also included three divisions of a $38,500 Excelsior series match-up for New York-bred first-year female pacers, the fastest of which was won by Spreester in 1:52.3. It was the second local tally for the bay daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree, who currently owns a 6-1-1 performance line after eight career outings. Frank Coppola, Jr. did the sulky-sitting for trainer Paul Zabielski and owner Kimberley Zabielski in the eighth event. The evening’s other Excelsior series first-place finishers were Carlota Blue Chip (American Ideal-Bet Your Life), who earned her “maiden” 1:55.4 victory with Rick Plano piloting for trainer Trond Smedshammer and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables in race 12, and Hay Stacked (Art Major-Monique’s Legacy), who scooted to a 1:56.3 win-mark and her second season’s score in the sixth session, with Callahan at the controls for conditioner Ray Schnittker, an owner along with Theodore Gewertz. DOWNS DOINGS More than $584,000 in prize money was dispersed during Friday’s 61st racing program of 2013… The Regina Dewhurst-owned trotter Ziegler Hanover hustled up his seventh score of the local campaign in Friday’s fourth race and is currently tied with fellow square-gaiter Ulay Boko and the pacer Hot Cowboy for most equine victories through Sept. 6… The Downs will present a 13-race program starting at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday night… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.  Jim Moran

Both Intimidate and D’Orsay set track records at Vernon Downs Friday night in winning their respective Grand Circuit Stakes. Intimidate and driver Ron Piece wove between horses and come on with a burst of speed at the end of the mile to capture the $214,000 Credit Winner Open Trot. And in doing so in 1:51 he became the fastest trotter in the history of Vernon Downs. Sevruga and driver Andy Miller flew out of the gate and took the early lead in forcing Wishing Stone (Yannick Gingras) to take the two-hole trip past the opening quarter mile in :26. As they straighten out and headed down the backstretch, Tim Tetrick made his move with Market Share and they were able to take command at the half mile marker in :54.4. Intimidate and Pierce rejected the outside flow and ducked to the rail and was able to gain up on the leaders as the field passed the three-quarters in 1:22.2. Then in the stretch Piece was able to weave his way out to find clearance and got after Intimidate just as Sevruga and Andy Miller collared Market Share and looked to be able win the race but Piece and Intimidate mowed them down by the wire to win by a half length. Mister Herbie (Jody Jamieson) closed well to be third with Market Share fading to fourth place.  “I knew if we could find some room we have a chance,” said Ron Pierce. “We kind of thread the needle between a couple of horses. The only tough decision I had to make was at the quarter pole. Do I stay in the outside flow that could take me nowhere or go up the inside and I decided to duck inside and I was lucky to get through later.” It was the third straight win and fifth of only six starts this year for Intimidate, a four-year-old gelded son of Justice Hall. He is trained by Luc Blais and is owned by Judith Farrow and Les Ecurles Luc Blais, Inc. both of Quebec. His time of 1:51 surpassed the former all age mark of 1:51.1 set by San Pail in 2011. Sent off at odds of 5/2, Intimidate paid $7.00 to win. “I talked with Sylvian Filion last night,” Pierce said, “and he told me the horse should be very good.  He told how he was doing, that he was ready and what to expect. I figured if they mix it up a little on the front end then we would be able to pick up the pieces. D’Orsay was given a perfect drive by Corey Callahan in posting her track record 1:52 in the $202,000 Muscle Hill Mare Trot. Callahan and D’Orsay started off the race by exploding from post nine and grabbing the lead by the first turn with Cedar Love (Ron Pierce) also leaving and taking the two-hole spot. They raced that way to the opening quarter panel in :26.4. Then Beatgoeson Hanover, fresh off her world record mile last week at Pocono Downs in 1:51.4, pulled out for driver Dave Miller and they shot to the lead in the backstretch with D’Orsay content sitting the pocket as the field rolled down the backstretch past the half mile in :56. Meanwhile, Maven and driver Yannick Gingras were sitting in fifth place trying to get momentum to come first-over, which they finally did with a lack-luster effort by the three-quarters in 1:24.2. As they started down the stretch, Maven began to fade as Callahan made his move with D’Orsay and they not only collared pacesetter Beatgoeson Hanover, but passed them by and drew off on the field to win by three open lengths in 1:52. Beatgoeson Hanover was second with Cedar Dove third. Maven was able to finish fifth. The time of race was a track record for four-year-old trotting mares. It beat the former mark by a full second of 1:53 set in 2010 by Southwind Wasabie. “Jonas and I are lucky,” Callahan said, “that the owner decided to bring her back this year instead of breeding her. After she finished fourth last year in the Breeders Crown he said why don’t we bring her back this year. I’m really glad he did and I am sure he is too after tonight.” It was the fourth win in ten starts this year for D’Orsay. The daughter of Yankee Glide is trained by Jonas Czernyson for the Consus Racing Stable of Delray Beach, FL. Sent off as the 6/5 favorite, D’Orsay paid $4.50 to win. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com  

The $214,000 Credit Winner (open) and $202,000 Muscle Hill (mares) trotting stakes offer a look at the finest trotting talent on the continent in Grand Circuit action on Friday, September 6 at Vernon Downs.   The Credit Winner offers an All-Star field of eight boasting career earnings of nearly $13 million.    The talented group includes Arch Madness (a win would put him over the $4 million mark), 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share, 2012 Breeders Crown 3YO winner Intimidate, 2012 Kentucky Futurity champ My MVP, International winner Wishing Stone, Canadian superstar Mister Herbie, the season's top earner in the division in Sevruga and Guccio, who goes over the $1 million mark with a win.   Intimidate is making his first start against the top of the crop after a quiet summer in Quebec. Trainer Luc Blais kept his prize pupil on the junior circuit before unleashing him at the WEG tracks in August with a pair of impressive wins in the 1:52 range. The Vernon Downs configuration mirrors that of Mohawk Racetrack and should suit Intimidate's closing style. Ron Pierce will drive the altered son of Justice Hall for Blais and his partner Judith Farrow in Friday's eleventh race.   The fairer sex will perform a race earlier with ten mares facing the gate including the division leader Maven. The competition includes all the players, with Beatgoeson Hanover fresh off her world record 1:51.4 effort at Pocono, Real Babe finished right on the aforementioned mare's heels last week and last year's top filly Check Me Out, who flashed some of her speed in a 1:55.3 win at Saratoga in her last.   Maven has won six of eight this season and is the leading money winner in the group. She has rebounded from a mid-summer swoon with a sharp 1:53.3 win in the Miss Versatility at Tioga in her last, adding Lasix. The winner of over $1 million in her career, Maven starts from post six for regular driver Yannick Gingras. Jonas Czernyson has conditioned the daughter of Glidemaster throughout her career for owner W J Donovan of Ft Lauderdale.   Horses for both races must report to the Retention Barn by noon on Friday.   The fields are as follows:   by Nick Salvi   TENTH RACE Condition: "MUSCLE HILL" Mare Trot Gait: Trot Purse: $202,000       HN PP Horse   Driver Trainer             1 6 MAVEN   Ya Gingras Jo Czernyson             1A 9 D'ORSAY   Co Callahan Jo Czernyson             2 1 BEATGOESON HANOVER   Da Miller Ri Norman             3 2 INTENSE AMERICA   Jo Jamieson Su Kerwood             4 3 PEMBROKE HEAT WAVE   Jo MacDonald Ma Ford             5 4 CEDAR DOVE   Ro Pierce No Daley             6 5 REAL BABE   Ja Morrill Jr Ma Harder             7 7 PERSONAL STYLE   An Miller Ri Norman             8 8 BAX OF LIFE   Jo Campbell JE DUFORD             9 10 CHECK ME OUT   Ti Tetrick Ra Schnittker           ELEVENTH RACE Condition: "CREDIT WINNER" Open Trot Gait: Trot Purse: $214,000       HN PP Horse Meds Driver Trainer       1 2 MY MVP   Co Callahan To Alagna       1A 3 MARKET SHARE   Ti Tetrick Li Toscano       1B 5 WISHING STONE   Ya Gingras Ro Burke       2 1 ARCH MADNESS L T. Smedshammer Tr Smedshammer       3 4 SEVRUGA L An Miller Ju Miller       4 6 GUCCIO   Ji Takter Ji Takter       5 7 INTIMIDATE   Ro Pierce Lu Blais       6 8 MISTER HERBIE   Jo Jamieson Je Gillis  

Takes On Best Trotters In North America

Frankies Dragon, driven by Sylvain Filion, took no prisoners in the $43,500 Beat The Heat Pacing Series final as the swift pacer got under the wire first in a harness racing stakes record time of 1:48.4.

Harness racing horses are usually not named something such as 'Speedy' -- with due respect to Speedy Crown or Green Speed, a couple of exceptions to the rule -- because horses with names like Speedy, so it seems, rarely have much speed.

The supplemented Intimidate used his late closing kick to capture harness racing's $555,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot on Saturday night (October 27) at Woodbine.

Even though Intimidate still has work ahead of him, harness racing trainer Luc Blais feels the toughest job is completed. Intimidate is the 5-2 morning line second choice in Saturday's $555,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. His connections - Blais and co-owner Judith Farrow - paid $62,500 to get the colt into last weekend's eliminations, so advancing to the final was of paramount importance.

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