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Hightstown, NJ — Maple Leaf Trot winner Atlanta vaulted back into the top 10 in this week’s harness racing  Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, landing at No. 7 in the rankings. Atlanta was just outside the top 10 last week but added 101 points this week to make her big move. Ramona Hill, who won a qualifier Saturday at The Meadowlands, remained No. 1 for the third consecutive week. Tall Dark Stranger (idle) stayed at No. 2 and was followed by Maple Leaf third-place finisher Gimpanzee, who held a one-point edge over undefeated Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Party Girl Hill. Completing the top five was Shartin N (idle). Goodtimes Stakes winner Ready For Moni also moved up in this week’s rankings, going from eighth to sixth. Rounding out the top 10 were Sorella (idle) at No. 8, followed by Kentucky Sire Stakes leg winner Reflect With Me, and Maple Leaf fifth-place finisher Manchego. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 9 – 9/8/2020 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Ramona Hill (22) 3tf 5-4-0-1 $731,535 334 1 2 Tall Dark Stranger (13) 3pc 7-6-0-0 $879,131 323 2 3 Gimpanzee 4th 7-5-1-1 $643,464 231 3 4 Party Girl Hill 3pf 9-9-0-0 $482,181 230 5 5 Shartin N 7pm 6-5-1-0 $282,519 206 4 6 Ready For Moni 3tc 6-5-1-0 $575,670 136 8 7 Atlanta 5tm 7-3-2-0 $414,564 120 — 8 Sorella 3tf 7-5-0-0 $407,004 115 6 9 Reflect With Me 3pf 5-5-0-0 $213,630 62 9 10 Manchego 5tm 8-4-1-2 $276,201 57 7 ALSO: Captain Corey 25; Macho Martini 13; Tattoo Artist 11; Action Uncle 7; Century Farroh, Darlene Hanover, Southwind Tyrion 6; American Courage, Guinevere Hall 5; Bettor’s Wish, Ocean Rock, Papi Rob Hanover 4; Donna Soprano, Perfect Sting 3; Back Of The Neck, Caviart Audrey, Little Rocket Man, Warrawee Vital 2; Dorsoduro Hanover 1. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

MILTON, ON - September 5, 2020 - Atlanta bounced back from a miscue in her last harness racing start to win the $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot in 1:50.4 on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The five-year-old mare shot off cover for driver Yannick Gingras at the head of the stretch and powered by rivals for a four lengths score. The Ron Burke trainee matched the stakes record held by Guardian Angel As (2019) and Mister Herbie (2012). "All the credit goes to Ron Burke," said Gingras of Atlanta's bounce back performance off a break in last Saturday's Armbro Flight. "A guy like him with the brain he has, right away after the race last week he called me and said I know what the problem is. "We changed the shoes four starts back and it went good the first start, the next start it was a little worse and then a little worse and then last week she made a break, but the memory the guy has is unreal and all the credit to him tonight because she definitely bounced back big." Early action saw Crystal Fashion blast to the lead for a :26.3 opening-quarter. Lindy The Great ignored a rail spot and kept marching on, clearing to command quickly in the second-split. The new leader saw the front briefly, as Manchego and driver Louis Philippe Roy had their eyes on making the front despite a second-tier starting spot. Manchego hit the half in :54.3 and Roy kept his foot on the gas pedal, trotting a :27.2 third-quarter to reach that marker in 1:22. Guardian Angel As, last year's champion, moved to the outside racing to the half to lead the outside charge, while Atlanta and driver Gingras moved out from fifth and received a second-over tow around the final turn. In the stretch, Atlanta stormed by her rivals and off to her third win of the season and 23rd lifetime. Lindy The Great dug in and grabbed second, while Gimpanzee, the even-money favourite, finished third after following Atlanta. Crystal Fashion was fourth, while Manchego dropped back to fifth. "(Atlanta) felt so strong and I had a handful of trot in the last turn and when I tipped her she came off cover like a sports car," said Gingras. "I knew right then even though (Manchego) was up by five that I'd catch (her), she was tremendous." Atlanta adds the Maple Leaf Trot to her Hall of Fame career. The victory is not only redemption from last week's break, but also a runner-up finish in last year's Maple Leaf Trot. "She's a great mare and Ronnie said after last week not to worry, made a couple of adjustments and we'll win her," said co-owner Brad Grant. "I don't know what to say, but to do it here (at Mohawk Park), I wish it was crowded." Atlanta has now earned over $400,000 this season to bring her career total to $2,525,160 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Grant and Howard Taylor. She paid $7.60 to win. The Maple Leaf Trot has now seen a mare win three of the last six editions, as Atlanta joins Hannelore Hanover and Bee A Magician as recent winners. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

MILTON, ON - September 3, 2020 - Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to remind all harness racing horsepeople, fans and horseplayers of this Saturday's post time change. Post time for the 12-race Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot card has been pushed back to 7:20 p.m. The later post time is due to the Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled to be run at 7:01 p.m. Over $2 million in purses will be up for grabs on Saturday's stakes-filled program at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby headline the 12-race program, which features 10 stakes races. Post time is 7:20 p.m. Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

Guardian Angel AS will attempt to become only the third horse in three decades to win the Maple Leaf Trot in consecutive years when he faces nine foes in Saturday's (Sept. 5) C$560,000 event for older trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Ontario. A 6-year-old stallion, Guardian Angel AS heads to the Maple Leaf off a track-record 1:50.4 victory in the Crawford Farms Open Trot on Aug. 16 at Tioga Downs. For his career, he has won 25 of 61 races and $1.43 million for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owners ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson. In the Crawford, Guardian Angel AS handed the sport's then No. 1-ranked horse, Gimpanzee, his first loss of the season. A week earlier, Guardian Angel AS was in contention for the lead in the John Cashman Memorial at The Meadowlands but went off stride in the stretch and finished eighth. "I honestly said (the Crawford) was our race to lose when I saw the draw," Lorentzon said. "He raced really good at The Meadowlands and I thought he would have won or at worst been second when he made the break. He wanted to go a little bit too much, I believe, so when he got in the open in the stretch that's why he made a break. "I don't want to say too much because then he might do it again, but he usually never makes breaks. It was unlucky that he did it there. That stinks, but he raced really good at Tioga. He came out of that race really good and he feels really good." Guardian Angel AS, a son of Archangel-Provide AS bred by ACL Stuteri AB, has won two of five starts this year including the June 20 preferred at The Meadowlands in a career-best 1:50.1. He got sick in July and spent a little more than a month away from the races prior to the Cashman. "We wanted to give him some time and it looks like it's paid off so far," Lorentzon said. The Maple Leaf Trot is part of a Saturday stakes card at Mohawk that also includes the C$540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, C$215,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old trotters, and two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. Racing begins at 7:20 p.m. (EDT). Last year, Guardian Angel AS won the Maple Leaf with a Canadian-record-equaling 1:50.4 mile. His rivals this year include five horses from that race: runner-up Atlanta, third-place Marion Marauder, fourth-place Crystal Fashion, sixth-place Run Director, and seventh-place Manchego. Atlanta and Manchego both are 5-year-old mares. Four-year-old Gimpanzee, who has won five of six races this season, also is among this year's field, starting from post nine, which is the outermost spot on the gate. Completing the lineup are Soul Strong, Lindy The Great, and Marseille. "It's a very tough race," Lorentzon said. "It's all top horses and you can't count anyone out. It's all how the horses are that day, the trips; there's a lot that plays into it. I'm just hoping for a lot of racing luck and that he is in good form. That's all you can hope for." Jody Jamieson will drive Guardian Angel AS, subbing for regular pilot Tim Tetrick because of pandemic-related international travel restrictions. Guardian Angel AS will leave from post three. "I'm very happy with the draw," said Lorentzon, who also will remain in the U.S. for the race. "I wish we could go up there with him ourselves, but it is what it is. At least we are racing. Jody knows how to drive horses, so I'm not worried about that. I'm sure he's going to do a great job." The last horse to win the Maple Leaf in consecutive years was San Pail, who won three in a row from 2009 through 2011. The only other horse to accomplish the feat since 1990 was Mr Muscleman in 2004 and 2005. "Winning last year meant a lot," said the 37-year-old Lorentzon, who set career highs with 160 victories and $2.98 million in purses in 2019. "It's the biggest race that we've won. I spent a lot of time in Canada before and during the summertime and it's a huge race. I was super excited." For Saturday's complete Mohawk entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Harness racing this Week: Maple Leaf Trot, Canadian Pacing Derby, Goodtimes final, Simcoe Stakes, Peaceful Way eliminations and William Wellwood Memorial eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ont. and Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y. Schedule of events: Another busy weekend of Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park kicks off this Thursday (Sept. 3) with two C$30,000 eliminations in the Peaceful Way for 2-year-old filly trotters and two C$30,000 eliminations in the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Saturday (Sept. 5) Mohawk Park card is led by the C$560,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters, the C$540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, and the C$215,000 Goodtimes final for 3-year-old colt trotters. Also on the program will be two divisions in the C$227,023 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Goshen Historic Track on Sunday (Sept. 6) will feature eight Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-old male and female pacers and trotters. Complete entries for the Mohawk Park races are available at this link. Entries for the Landmark Stakes will be available later today at this link. Last time: Tall Dark Stranger looked like a million dollars in taking the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday night (Aug. 29) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Tall Dark Stranger pulled away down the lane for another impressive score in 1:48.2. New Image Media photo. Trained by Nancy Takter, Tall Dark Stranger and Yannick Gingras were content to let Tattoo Artist make his mark on the lead, as the latter powered from post seven to strike the front early in the proceedings. With Bob McClure in the bike, Tattoo Artist took his nine rivals through an opening quarter-mile carved out in a snappy :25.4, with Tall Dark Stranger settling in second. Longshots Moneyman Hill, in third, and Mayhem Hanover, sitting fourth, watched the pace-setting duo set the tone early. Soon after the quarter-mile mark, Gingras, contesting his ninth Cup, powered his 3-5 favorite to the outside and to the lead, as they cut a half in :53.3. It was Tall Dark Stranger still calling the shots as the field geared up for the stretch drive. McClure pulled Tattoo Artist to the outside looking to track down the front runner. For a brief moment, it appeared as though they were cutting into the lead of Tall Dark Stranger, but he pulled away down the lane for another impressive score in 1:48.2. Tattoo Artist was second, while 127-1 Moneyman Hill finished third. Odds On Osiris, leaving from post 10, rallied to take fourth. There was plenty of emotion in the aftermath of the victory, including a teary-eyed Gingras, and an elated Marvin Katz, who co-owns Tall Dark Stranger with Crawford Farms Racing, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. It was the second straight Cup title for Takter, who won last year with Captain Crunch. And it was also a historic triumph. "I'm overjoyed, I really am," said Katz. "I've been doing this for a very long time and I've been fortunate to have many great horses, but I think this guy really rates up with some of the greatest horses we've ever seen. This is historic. What he's done tonight has never been done before. He won the Metro as a 2-year-old, he won the Breeders Crown, he's come back to win the Meadowlands Pace and he's won the North America Cup. Somebeachsomewhere, Captaintreacherous... they couldn't do it, but he's done it." The enormity of the accomplishment wasn't lost on Takter, who wasn't able to watch the race in-person. "This is an extra-special colt in extraordinary circumstances," she told Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I'm so proud of the horse and my team." Gingras had ample praise for the competitive spirit shown by the sophomore superstar. "I rolled him to three-quarters pretty hard but he just never quits. He's just a tremendous horse - the best pacing colt I've ever driven, there's no doubt in my mind. He's just an amazing animal. I feel awesome, there's no doubt about it. This means so much. I couldn't be any happier right now." A son of 2001 Cup winner Bettor's Delight, Tall Dark Stranger, closing in on $2 million in earnings, is now 14 for 16 lifetime. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, 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 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 452; 2. Tim Tetrick - 284; 3. Andrew McCarthy - 257; 4t. Dexter Dunn - 239; 4t. Brian Sears - 239. Trainers: 1. Nancy Takter - 370; 2. Ron Burke - 336; 3. Tony Alagna - 267; 4. Marcus Melander - 228; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 224. Owners: 1. Brad Grant - 98.7; 2. Determination - 90; 3. S R F Stable - 87.5; 4. Courant Inc. - 82; 5. Crawford Farms Racing - 78.9. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park and The Meadowlands. Mohawk Park's week will feature the finals of the Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old colt pacers, Simcoe Stakes races for 3-year-old filly pacers and sophomore colt and filly trotters and Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers. The Meadowlands will host the fifth leg of the Miss Versatility for older female trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

MILTON, ON - September 1, 2020 - Fresh off a harness racing record-setting Pepsi North America Cup, Woodbine Mohawk Park continues "Grand Circuit Month" with an all-star $2 million stakes-filled card this Saturday night (September 5). The $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby bring the best older horses in the sport to Mohawk Park. Both events received a format change this year, removing eliminations and taking the 10 horses with the highest lifetime earnings. The Maple Leaf Trot will bring together one of the richest fields of all-time, as the 10 older trotters competing have combined lifetime earnings of $16.4 million. The field consists of six horses with over $1 million earned, four with over $2 million earned and one with over $3 million earned. Seven-year-old Marion Marauder is the oldest horse in the field and the richest at $3.6 million earned. The 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion will be making his third appearance in the Maple Leaf Trot after finishing third in last year's race and second in the 2018 edition. The Mike Keeling trainee enters off a win in the Mohawk Park Preferred on August 24. A driver has yet to be named for Marion Marauder. World champion trotting mares Atlanta and Manchego will each be looking for bounce back performances in the Maple Leaf Trot. Atlanta made a rare break in last Saturday's Armbro Flight, while Manchego has given up the lead late in each of her last two starts. Trained by Ron Burke, Atlanta finished second in last year's edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. The five-year-old is two for six this season and has earned $202,292 to bring her career earnings to $2.2 million. Regular pilot Yannick Gingras will steer. Manchego started her season red-hot and will enter her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot for trainer Nancy Takter. The five-year-old is four for seven this season with $254,921 earned, bringing her career earnings to $2.5 million. Louis-Philippe Roy will drive Manchego for the first time in the Maple Leaf Trot. Guardian Angel As is back to defend his Maple Leaf Trot crown. The Anette Lorentzon trainee captured last year's final in 1:50.4, which was part of a seven-win and $879,788 season. The six-year-old is a 25-time winner, including two this season, and has earned $1.5 million over 61 starts. Jody Jamieson has picked up the driving assignment. Four-year-old Gimpanzee returns to the site of his Breeders Crown score for his first crack at the Maple Leaf Trot. The Marcus Melander trainee is five for six on the season and is the top earning older horse in the sport at $592,392. The career earner of $2.3 million will team with driver Doug McNair for the first time and will have to overcome the outside post nine. Completing the rest of the field is the Ake Svanseted duo of Soul Strong ($398K) and Marseille ($516K), Julie Miller's Lindy The Great ($813K), Ben Baillargeon's Run Director ($629K) and 2018 Canadian Trotting Classic winner Crystal Fashion ($1.8M) for Jim Campbell. A total of 12 horses were entered in this year's Maple Leaf Trot. On The Ropes ($303K) and Steuben Hanover ($140K) did not make the top 10 for lifetime earnings. The Maple Leaf Trot has been carded as Race 5. Post time is approximately 9 p.m. The $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby is the oldest stakes race in Canadian harness racing. A total of 19 older pacers were entered with the top 10 lifetime earners qualifying for the final, while the next nine will compete in a consolation. Double millionaire Bettors Wish is the top earner in this year's 'Pacing Derby' and will start from the rail for trainer Chris Ryder. The four-year-old cut his teeth as a rookie at Mohawk Park and also won an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup before finishing second in last year's final. Paul MacDonell will reunite with the winner of $2.3 million for the first time since his two-year-old campaign. Trainer Ron Burke will send out four starters in the 'Pacing Derby', as Backstreet Shadow, Dorsoduro Hanover, Filibuster Hanover and This Is The Plan represent the "Burke Brigade". Backstreet Shadow and Filibuster Hanover enter off victories in their most recent starts. Backstreet Shadow finished second to Bettors Wish in the Sam McKee Memorial on August 8, while Filibuster Hanover won the consolation on that day. Yannick Gingras is listed on all the Burke horses and will have his choice of which one to drive. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Century Farroh returns to his home track for the first time since June. The four-year-old most recently captured the Dan Patch on August 14 at Hoosier Park. The former Ontario Sires Stakes champion has hit the board in seven of eight starts this season, posting two wins. Seven-year-old Sintra will be looking for his second Canadian Pacing Derby title and comes in off a strong Preferred score at Mohawk Park. The Tony Beaton trainee captured the 2017 edition and has won six of 13 starts this season. Breeders Crown champions Dancin Lou and American History will look for another marquee victory at the Campbellville oval. Tahnee Camilleri trainee Dancin Lou is three for eight in his four-year-old campaign, while Tony Alagna's American History is two for seven in his five-year-old season. Alagna will also send out Shake That House to complete the field of 10. The Canadian Pacing Derby will go as Race 9 and has an approximate post time of 10:40 p.m. The $65,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Consolation will feature a field of nine, including The Devils Own N. The Anthony Montini trained six-year-old is currently the fastest horse in Canada this season with a mark of 1:48 taken in his Mohawk Park debut on August 22. The consolation event goes as Race 7 with a post time of 9:50 p.m. LET THE GOODTIMES ROLL The $215,000 Goodtimes for three-year-old trotters will also take place on Saturday evening. All eyes will be on Ready For Moni, who is four for five on the season and was a 1:51.4 winner in last week's elimination. The Nancy Takter trainee captured the Zweig Memorial two weeks ago and was the runner-up in this year's $1 million Hambletonian. Ready For Moni races for the Pepsi North America Cup winning-duo of driver Gingras and trainer Takter. Trainer Ben Baillargeon sends out a strong one-two punch with elimination winner HP Royal Theo and Canadian record-holder Hayek. HP Royal Theo won last year's William Wellwood Memorial and last week cruised to a 1:53.1 victory for driver Louis-Philippe Roy, improving to four for seven on the campaign. Hayek finished third in his elimination, coming in off a Canadian record 1:53.3 victory at Grand River in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event. Sylvain Filion guides Hayek, who is also four for seven this season. A field of 10 will battle in the Goodtimes final, which is carded as Race 3 (8:10 p.m.) CUP HORSES RETURN FOR SIMCOE The $227,023 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers has attracted 13 combatants, split into two divisions. A quartet of last Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup starters will compete in Saturday's Grand Circuit contest. Beaumond Hanover narrowly missed making the final of the Pepsi North America Cup, finishing sixth in his elimination. The Jack Darling trainee returns to action after a week off with an opportunity at some redemption. He lines up from the rail for driver Jody Jamieson in a field of seven for the first division. Pepsi North America Cup starter Mayhem Hanover, who finished ninth in the $1 million race, will also compete in the opening split for the driver/trainer team of Doug and Gregg McNair. The second division will see a field of six compete, including Cup starters Tattoo Artist, Captain Barbossa and Capt Midnight. Tattoo Artist finished second in the Pepsi North America Cup to Tall Dark Stranger. The Dr. Moore trainee is five for eight on the season and will have his regular driver Bob McClure steering once again. The Alagna duo of Captain Barbossa, seventh in the Cup, and Capt Midnight, fifth in the Cup, will look to make things difficult for Tattoo Artist. The Simcoe Stakes divisions have been carded as Races 8 (10:15) and 11 (11:30 p.m.). ONTARIO SIRES STAKES ACTION The stakes-filled program Saturday also includes OSS Gold events for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings and three-year-old pacing fillies. The rookie male pacers will have two $105,600 divisions, each with seven-horses. The sophomore pacing fillies will have two $104,800 divisions, each with a field of six. SPECIAL POST TIME Due to the Kentucky Derby, Woodbine Mohawk Park has pushed its start time for Saturday's card back to 7:20 p.m. To download early program pages for the $2 million card, click here. Below are the fields for the $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby. Race 6 - $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot 1 Soul Strong - Sylvain Filion - Ake Svanstedt 2 Marion Marauder - TBA - Mike Keeling 3 Guardian Angel As - Jody Jamieson - Anette Lorentzon 4 Atlanta - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 5 Lindy The Great - James MacDonald - Julie Miller 6 Run Director - Sylvain Filion - Ben Baillargeon 7 Marseille - Trevor Henry - Ake Svanstedt 8 Crystal Fashion - Bob McClure - Jim Campbell 9 Gimpanzee - Doug McNair - Marcus Melander 10 Manchego - Louis-Philippe Roy - Nancy Takter AE On The Ropes - Jonathan Drury - Carmen Auciello Race 9 - $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby 1 Bettors Wish - Paul MacDonell - Chris Ryder 2 Dancin Lou - Doug McNair - Tahnee Camilleri 3 Backstreet Shadow - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 4 Sintra - Jody Jamieson - Anthony Beaton 5 American History - Bob McClure - Tony Alagna 6 Shake That House - Doug McNair - Tony Alagna 7 Century Farroh - Sylvain Filion - Dr. Ian Moore 8 Dorsoduro Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 9 Filibuster Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 10 This Is The Plan - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke AE Western Joe - Doug McNair - Christopher Choate by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

When trainer Anette Lorentzon enters a new year, her hope is to better her harness racing stable's previous season's results. She's accomplished that goal each of the past five years, but acknowledges it gets more difficult as the successes pile up. "You never know," the 36-year-old Lorentzon said. "It's tough. You've got to be lucky in the big races and the horses have to stay sound and not get sick. But I won't be happy if it's not a year like last year. I won't be happy. That's what you work for. You get more horses, people believe in you, you should do better and better. It's tough the better you do every year, but that's what I'm hoping for." Lorentzon established career highs for starts (843), wins (160), and purses ($2.98 million) in 2019. She began her career in 2005 and entered Wednesday with 1,022 lifetime victories. Her stable begins this year with nearly 70 horses, including her largest-ever group of 2-year-olds, a total of 29. Of course, the most recognizable name is a 6-year-old. Homebred male trotter Guardian Angel As has won 23 of 56 career races and $1.31 million. In 2019, the stallion won the Maple Leaf Trot (equaling a Canadian record for the mile), Spirit of Massachusetts (a track record at Plainridge), Cleveland Trotting Classic (world record at Northfield), and Maxie Lee Memorial. He was second in the John Cashman Memorial and third in the TVG Series championship and Caesars Trotting Classic. "I think he raced great," Lorentzon said. "He was in all the big races and he raced tough. He showed he is one of the best ones out there. We always had high hopes for him, and we brought him along slowly. I was very happy with him. "I'm hoping he's going to be as good as he was last year. I trained him for the first time (Tuesday), and he trained as good as always, so that was great." In addition to Guardian Angel As, Lorentzon plans to send male trotter Shake N Bake, a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Maven, out on the Grand Circuit in stakes for 4-year-olds in 2020. He has hit the board in 15 of 20 career races, winning three times, and earned $175,707. The horse joined Lorentzon's stable last summer and won a conditioned race and division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes before being sidelined by an injury. "I hope he can have a good year," Lorentzon said. "He's training back right now. He looks good, but you never know between 3 and 4 years old how they're going to turn out." Lorentzon also is hopeful 4-year-old female trotter Strip It Down As can put her best foot forward this season. Last year, she went off stride in three starts but posted three wins and a second in her remaining five races. "She's very fast," Lorentzon said. "I'm hoping that she will do some good this year. She will be staked lightly. We're still trying to figure her out. We never really found where anything was wrong, but she had issues with the turns. That's what we're still working on. If we can get her through the turns and get her going, I think she can be a nice one. If we can't figure her out, then we have no chance. They have to be perfect if they're going to go the speeds they have to go." Also back for another campaign is 6-year-old male trotter Eye Ofa Tiger As, who makes his seasonal debut in Saturday's open handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The gelding was limited to two starts (the first a win in Sweden) in 2018 because of throat surgery but banked $260,710 in 2019 and $268,746 in 2017. "He's a good horse, but he's not a big-track horse," Lorentzon said. "He's so handy, so that works out great for him at Yonkers." The majority of Lorentzon's younger horses will compete primarily in sire stakes programs. "I never had so many 2-year-olds, so I'm hoping I can have some good ones," Lorentzon said. "I'm very happy for it and I really thank my owners that I have now. I really like (the 2-year-olds). They have a lot to learn yet, but so far so good." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

MILTON, ON - August 31, 2019 - Guardian Angel As continued his dream harness racing season with a Canadian record equaling victory in Saturday's $600,000C Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Anette Lorentzon trained five-year-old was moved to the top in the second-quarter by driver Tim Tetrick and never looked back to win by half a length in 1:50.4. "I got away in a real good spot there early, and then I had to make a decision," said winning-driver Tetrick. "I thought my horse was the best tonight, I really did off last week's performance and he proved that he was." The betting public couldn't separate elimination winners Guardian Angel As and Crystal Fashion, sending the trotters off as co-favourites at 9/5. The opening-quarter action saw mares Manchego and Emoticon Hanover blast from the outside towards the lead. Manchego held top spot through an opening-panel of :26.4 before Guardian Angel As leaped from third to first and led by the half in :55. Crystal Fashion was angled out from fourth at the half and trotted first-up to the leader's wheel on the far turn. Despite never seeing the rail after starting from post-10, World champion Atlanta was situated second-over by driver Yannick Gingras and set to deliver another gritty performance. After a three-quarter clocking of 1:23, Guardian Angel As led the field into the lane and attempted to create separation on his rivals. Atlanta tipped off cover and did all she could to track down the leader. Fans roared as the trotters stormed home with Guardian Angel As recreating last week's elimination victory over Atlanta by refusing to budge for a Track, Stakes and Canadian record equaling time of 1:50.4. Guardian Angel As, who earlier this season set a World Record on a half-mile track, held off Atlanta in last Saturday's elimination by three-quarters of a length. "When he's on the front he relaxes a lot and then when he sees one coming, he keeps going," said Tetrick. "I can let him relax up there and when he sees one, he fights off and wants to go, so I was very confident." Triple-millionaire Marion Marauder spent most of the mile on the outside and rallied from fourth-over to finish third. Crystal Fashion crossed the line fourth. Guardian Angel As has led the older trotting division this season and now sports stunning numbers of seven wins and $699,434 earned in 10 starts. The Maple Leaf Trot victory pushes the now 23-time winner over $1 million in career earnings for breeder/co-owner Acl Stuteri Ab and co-owner Kjell Johansson. Trainer Lorentzon becomes just the second female trainer to win the Maple Leaf Trot, joining Hall of Famer Linda Toscano (2013, Market Share). Guardian Angel As returned $5.80, $3.00, $2.60. A $2 Exacta with Atlanta paid $28, while the $2 Trifecta including Marion Marauder returned $128.40. The Superfecta, completed by Crystal Fashion, paid $146 for a $1 winning ticket. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

Two horses in history have won the Canadian Trotting Classic at age 3 and Maple Leaf Trot at age 4. Crystal Fashion will try to add his name to the list this weekend. Crystal Fashion brings a three-race win streak to Saturday's C$600,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Jim Campbell-trained 4-year-old gelding won his Maple Leaf Trot elimination last week, following victories in the Cashman Memorial and Hambletonian Maturity. He will start the Maple Leaf final from post two with David Miller at the lines. Crystal Fashion, who won last year's Canadian Trotting Classic as part of a $1.08-million season, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 5-2 favorite Guardian Angel AS, who also was a Maple Leaf elimination winner. With a win Crystal Fashion would join Market Share and Mr Muscleman as the only horses to win the Canadian Trotting Classic, which is for 3-year-olds, and Maple Leaf Trot in successive years. Market Share accomplished the feat in 2012-13; Mr Muscleman in 2003-04. Mr Muscleman added a second Maple Leaf title in 2005. Ima Lula is the only other horse to win both the Canadian Trotting Classic and Maple Leaf, in 1977, but she captured both at age 4, prior to the CTC being restricted to 3-year-olds. "We've been very fortunate," Campbell said about Crystal Fashion. "He's come up big in some of the big races. He's always been the type of horse to give us a great effort every time we put him out there. "He definitely is more versatile this year. You can race him any way you want, which is a huge advantage when you're racing at this level. Even as a 2- and 3-year-old, being first over never bothered him, but he was always better chasing horses. This year, he can chase after them or he can go on the front end; he can do it from either way. It gives the driver options." Crystal Fashion, owned by Fashion Farms, has won 18 of 38 career races and finished worse than third only six times. Only once has he been worse than fifth. In addition to his aforementioned victories, his triumphs last year included the Beal Memorial, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, and an elimination of the Hambletonian. He finished fourth in the Hambletonian final. "The biggest change (from last year) is that he's grown and filled out a lot," Campbell said. "But his mannerisms are the same as they have been the last couple years. He's just a nice horse to be around. He's a real pleasure. He's just got a great personality. He's always got his head out (of his stall) and is looking for someone to come up and say hi to him." Crystal Fashion is part of a talented field in the Maple Leaf. The 10-horse group includes three Trotter of the Year recipients - Atlanta and Marion Marauder in the U.S. and Speeding Spur in New Zealand - as well as divisional award-winners Emoticon Hanover in Canada and Manchego and Six Pack in the States. Earlier this year, Atlanta trotted the fastest mile in Canadian history when she won the Armbro Flight Stakes in 1:50.2 at Mohawk. Guardian Angel AS became the fastest male trotter in a race on a half-mile track when he won the Cleveland Trotting Classic in 1:52 at Northfield Park. "This has got to be one of the best races of the year," Campbell said. "I think it sets up for a good betting race. The way it looks, anything could happen. I'm sure there is going to be a lot of action in there. "You could make a point for a lot of horses in there. There are a lot that have been on their game lately and a couple that are maybe starting to come back into form. For a trainer with a horse in there, it's a tough race; it's hard to say which way it'll go. But on the other hand, for somebody that loves watching horse racing, they're going to see a really good race." Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Mohawk. The Maple Leaf Trot is race five on the card, which also includes the C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers (race eight) and C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers (race nine). For complete entries, click here. Following is the field for the C$600,000 Maple Leaf Trot. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-M/L 1 - Six Pack - Muscle Mass - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 4/1 2 - Crystal Fashion - Cantab Hall - David Miller - Jim Campbel l- 3/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS - Archangel - Tim Tetrick - Anette Lorentzon - 5/2 4 - Speeding Spur N - Pegasus Spur - Jody Jamieson - Linda Toscano - 10/1 5 - Dancer Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe - James MacDonald - Rod Boyd - 20/1 6 - Dream Together - Muscle Hill - Randy Waples - Luc Blais - 15/1 7 - Manchego - Muscle Hill - Andy McCarthy - Nancy Johansson  -8/1 8 - Marion Marauder - Muscle Hill - Scott Zeron - Mike Keeling - 8/1 9 - Emoticon Hanover - Kadabra - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 20/1 10- Atlanta - Chapter Seven - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 9/2 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

This Week: Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Maple Leaf Trot, Canadian Pacing Derby, Simcoe Stakes, and Champlain Stakes, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: A busy holiday weekend of Grand Circuit action is led by a pair of Triple Crown events at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Aug. 31). The Hilltop oval will host the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. These races will be the second legs in the Triple Crown for their respective gaits. Also on the Saturday program will be the $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-olds and the $122,224 Lady Maud for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk commences on Thursday (Aug. 29) with two divisions in the C$195,597 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Aug. 30) program is highlighted by a single division in the C$128,876 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Saturday (Aug. 31) program features the C$600,000 Maple Leat Trot for older trotters and the C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on the program will be a single division in the C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Complete entries for the races at Yonkers are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: It was a 'non-Bettor's Wish' Saturday night (Aug. 24) during Yonkers Raceway's eliminations for the 64th Messenger Stakes. Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, summarily disposed of his five rivals in a non-wagering elimination. A pole-sitting second early in the $40,000 off-the-card elimination, Bettor's Wish took over from American Mercury (Tyler Buter) before a :28 opening quarter-mile. After a pedestrian :58 intermission, Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) tried it first-up from fourth. Bettor's Wish led through a 1:26.1 three-quarters, eventually holding off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2. Escapetothebeach backed away but held third, with Branquinho (Jason Bartlett) fourth. That quartet goes into this Saturday night's (Aug. 31) $500,000 finale of the Messenger. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt, has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, seven seconds, two thirds, $1,131,600). He now has eight wins and three seconds in 11 '19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ryder co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners) and trains. "He was just so great, so easy to drive," Dunn said. "I can't wait for next week." The on-the-card, $40,000 elimination saw Aflame Hanover (Callahan, $6) finish what he started. From post position three, he never had an issue (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24, 1:52), beating pocketed pole-sitter U S Captain (Bartlett) by 1-1/2 lengths. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), paired with the runner-up as the 17-10 wagering choice, was a closing third, while 37-1 rank outsider Reigning Deo (George Brennan) was a ground-saving fourth to advance. For second choice Aflame Hanover, a Russell Hanover gelding co-owned by trainer Linda and Tony Schadel, it was his fourth win in 16 seasonal starts. "He was super," Callahan said. "He did everything I asked. His hobble hanger broke, but that didn't bother him." Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 776; 2. Yannick Gingras - 581; 3. David Miller - 486; 4. Dexter Dunn - 419; 5. Brian Sears - 374. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 713; 2. Tony Alagna - 366; 3. Jim King Jr. - 299; 4. Marcus Melander - 279; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 233. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 192; 2. Brad Grant - 137.5; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 134.6; 4. Courant Inc. - 122.5; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 122.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Scioto Downs, and Tioga Downs. Woodbine Mohawk will feature eliminations of the Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-olds (filly pacers, filly trotters and colt trotters) and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old pacers; Scioto will host the Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers and the Charlie Hill for older trotters; and Tioga Downs will feature a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

MILTON, ON - August 27, 2019 - Harness racing's heavyweights will clash this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby. Over $1.6 million in purses will be up for grabs on a stakes-filled program, including the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers and Ontario Sires Stakes Gold for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings joining the co-main events. The Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters has been carded as Race 5, while the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers will go as Race 8. The Canadian Pacing Derby is the oldest stakes race in Canadian harness racing and this year's edition will feature a field of nine with $14.2 million in combined career earnings, including the defending champion and the co-fastest Standardbred of all-time. Casie Coleman trainee McWicked is returning to defend his 'Pacing Derby' title. The eight-year-old captured last year's edition in convincing fashion en route to being named the Horse of the Year in both Canada and the US. McWicked continues to add to incredible legacy with over $500,000 earned this season to bring his career earnings to $4.5 million for owner Ed James' S S G Stables. The superstar pacer led all Standardbreds in earnings last season, becoming the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. He is also the oldest horse in harness racing history to receive Horse of the Year honours. David Miller, who steered McWicked to victory in last year's race, will sit behind the Coleman trainee for the first-time this season. The duo will start from the outside post-nine. Lather Up, the co-fastest Standardbred of all-time, will return to the site of his richest victory and attempt to add another lucrative victory to his dream season. The four-year-old captured last year's $1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Park and earlier this season matched Always B Miki's world record of 1:46 at The Meadowlands. Trained by Clyde Francis, Lather Up is undefeated in six career starts at Mohawk Park. The son of Im Gorgeous is currently riding a four-race win streak, which includes victories in the Dan Patch, Sam McKee Memorial, Haughton Memorial and Graduate Series, to bring his season record to eight wins in 11 starts and career record to 23 wins in 36 starts. Montrell Teague will team up with the career-earner of $1.7 million to start from post-five. The Canadian Pacing Derby field also includes This Is The Plan (PP1, Yannick Gingras), Done Well (PP2, Andrew McCarthy), Western Fame (PP3, Louis Philippe Roy), Jimmy Freight (PP4, Scott Zeron), Courtly Choice (PP6, James MacDonald), Filibuster Hanover (PP7, Gingras) and Casimir Richie P (PP8, Sylvain Filion). The Maple Leaf Trot will feature an 'All-Star' field of ten older trotters, including four mares, competing for a purse of $600,000. Eliminations winners Crystal Fashion and Guardian Angel As carry the momentum into Saturday's final. Jim Campbell trainee Crystal Fashion will be looking to pull off the Canadian Trotting Classic-Maple Leaf Trot back-to-back. The four-year-old captured last year's marquee event for sophomore trotters and returned to Mohawk Park to win his elimination last Saturday by a pair of lengths in 1:52. Crystal Fashion is currently on a three-race win streak to bring his four-year-old record to five wins and $450,775 earned in nine starts. His career numbers sit at 18 wins and $1.7 million earned for owner Fashion Farms. David Miller will guide the Campbell trainee from post-two. Anette Lorentzon trainee Guardian Angel As has been putting together a fantastic five-year-old season and enters the Maple Leaf Trot final off a game 1:51.4 elimination score. The five-year-old has won six of nine starts and earned just shy of $400,000 this season. Guatdian Angel As has competed in many marquee events over his career. A victory in the Maple Leaf Trot would mark his first classic victory and push him over $1 million in career earnings for owners Acl Stuteri and Kjell Johansson. Driver Tim Tetrick has the assignment behind Guardian Angel As and the duo will start from post-three. A quartet of accomplished mares will compete in Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot. World champion Atlanta was just short to Guardian Angel As in last Saturday's elimination and will now have to overcome post-ten. The Ron Burke trainee captured the Armbro Flight earlier this year at Mohawk in Track Record fashion. Luc Blais trainee Emoticon Hanover will compete in her second Maple Leaf Trot final. The two-time Breeders Crown champion is the second-richest horse in the field with over $1.7 million earned. She will start from post-nine. Blais will also send out mare Dream Together, a career-earner of $835,250, from post-six. Manchego completes the mare quartet and will start from post-seven. The Nancy Johansson trained four-year-old has a pair of victories this season and will be looking to add to her career-earnings of $1.7 million. The richest horse in the Maple Leaf Trot field is six-year-old Marion Marauder at $3.3 million. The Mike Keeling trainee is winless in five starts this season but rallied in his elimination to finish second. The Maple Leaf Trot field is completed by millionaire Six Pack (PP1, Ake Svanstedt), Speeding Spur N (PP4, Jody Jamieson) and Dancer Hall (PP5, Bob McClure). Saturday's program also includes the return of Pepsi North America Cup winner Captain Crunch to Mohawk Park for the $171,503 Simcoe Stakes. Captain Crunch will tackle Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show and five other rivals in the Grand Circuit contest. Trained by Nancy Johansson, Captain Crunch will be making his first start since winning the Cane Pace on August 3. The son of Captaintreacherous has won five of seven starts this season and earned $777,027 for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. The Simcoe Stakes is carded as Race 9. A trio of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will also take place on Saturday's program. The second division will see the undefeated Johansson trained colt Tall Dark Stranger search for his fourth consecutive victory. The OSS Gold divisions are carded as Races 2, 3 and 6. Post time for Saturday evening's $1.6 million card is 7:10 p.m. Visit for full event details. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

MILTON, ON - August 24, 2019 - The harness racing field is set for next Saturday's $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot after a pair of eliminations were contested Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of 13 older trotters, including five mares, competed in a pair of $40,000 eliminations. The top-five finishers from each punched their ticket to next Saturday's (August 31) rich final. Guaradian Angel As fought off Atlanta with a :27.1 final-quarter to win the first elimination in 1:51.4. The five-year-old and driver Tim Tetrick rejected a seat in the first-turn, worked up to the top and never looked back for his sixth win nine starts. "I was thinking about (tucking), but Atlanta I thought would want to follow my horse and lucky it worked out that way," said Tetrick. "My horse has raced good every start this horse is strong." Atlanta cut an opening-quarter of :28 before Guardian Angel As moved to the lead. The Anette Lorentzon trainee got a favourable half time of :57.1, which allowed Tetrick to pull the plugs and put his charge into sprint mode for a back-half of :54.3. Guardian Angel As fended off Atlanta in the lane to win by three-quarters of a length. Speeding Spur N finished third, while Dream Together and Dancer Hall rounded out the top-five. Guardian Angel As has banked $399,434 this season to bring his career earnings to $921,116 for owners Acl Stuteri Ab and Kjell Johansson. The Lorentzon trainee picked up his 22nd career victory with the elimination score. A $2 win ticket on Guardian Angel As returned $3.70. Crystal Fashion rushed to the top at the half and kept the momentum going to win the second elimination in 1:52.1. David Miller guided the four-year-old gelding to his fifth win in nine starts this season. "I feel very good about this horse (going into the final) because he's been such a good horse, we've been blessed to have a horse like him," said trainer Jim Campbell. "He gives it a good effort every time we put him out there. He's a very versatile horse, you can race him any way you want." Marion Marauder made a rally from fifth to finish second by two-lengths. Six Pack, who was the favourite, didn't fire off a second-over trip and finished third. The top-five was completed by Manchego and Emoticon Hanover. Hannelore Hanover, who won the 2017 Maple Leaf Trot, sprinted out to be the early-leader and made a rare break when sitting on the winner's back going to three-quarters. Crystal Fashion has banked $450,775 this season to bring his career totals to 18 wins and $1.7 million earned for owner Fashion Farms. The Campbell trainee's only other start at Mohawk Park prior to Saturday was a victory in last year's Canadian Trotting Classic. A $2 win ticket on Crystal Fashion returned $6.40. The draw for next Saturday's $600,000 took place following the eliminations. The connections of Crystal Fashion and Guardian Angel As were able to select their post. 1. Six Pack 2. Crystal Fashion 3. Guardian Angel As 4. Speeding Spur N 5. Dancer Hall 6. Dream Together 7. Manchego 8. Marion Marauder 9. Emoticon Hanover 10. Atlanta AE: Run Director REPLAYS: (Races 2 and 3) by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment      

After a slow start to her harness racing campaign, Manchego will try to resume her return to winning form when she heads to Woodbine Mohawk Park for Saturday's (Aug. 24) second of two eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot. The 4-year-old mare, who was a Dan Patch Award winner in 2017, has won two of her past three races, including a stakes-record 1:50 performance in the Steele Memorial earlier this month. "She needed a little bit of time to get back into herself, but I think history has showed that when she's on top of her game she's tough to beat," trainer Nancy Johansson said. "She's a super nice filly. She's nice and relaxed now and nice to be around and happy. Earlier in her life, she was always a little on edge. Now she's as cool as a cucumber. She's really confident in herself." Manchego was one of five mares entered in the Maple Leaf Trot, which attracted 13 horses. The mares joining Manchego in the second elim are Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 winner of the event, and Emoticon Hanover. They will meet male rivals Crystal Fashion, Marion Marauder, Run Director, and Six Pack. In the first elim, the mares are Atlanta and Dream Together. They are joined by males Speeding Spur N, Dancer Hall, Cruzado Dela Noche, and Guardian Angel AS. Guardian Angel AS is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first elimination, followed by Atlanta at 5-2. Crystal Fashion is the 5-2 choice in the second division, followed by Manchego at 3-1. The top five finishers from each elimination return Aug. 31 for the final. Manchego, whose career victories include a Breeders Crown in 2017 and the Hambletonian Oaks in 2018, was winless in her first five races this season. She was unlucky when it came to draws, getting posts seven, eight (twice) and 10 in her first four starts. She raced from off the pace in her first two starts, but it was too difficult to make up ground in the stretch. "People always say post position doesn't matter, that it's just a starting point, but it does matter because nowadays they go fast the whole mile," Johansson said. "If you're sitting eighth, you can't catch up. So, unless you're going to blast off the gate, which is what we ended up having to do." In the Graduate Series championship at The Meadowlands, when she started from post 10, she got to the front in an opening quarter of :26.2. She ended up finishing fourth, beaten only 1-1/2 lengths, in Atlanta's 1:49.1 world-record mile. Manchego was timed in 1:49.2. Two starts later, she picked up her first win of the season with a 1:50.1 triumph from post nine at The Meadowlands. She followed with her gate-to-wire triumph in the Steele Memorial on Hambletonian Day at the Big M and was the bettor's second choice in the Joie De Vie Stakes on Aug. 11 at Tioga Downs, only to get knocked out of contention by a horse that broke in front of her just after the start of the race. "It was a little disappointing she got wiped out last time because Dexter (driver Dexter Dunn) said she'd never scored down that good for him," Johansson said. "But she's very good and hopefully we can just keep her there." Manchego, by Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, has won 21 of 34 lifetime starts and earned $1.69 million. She is owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing. "It was a little frustrating early, but I was never overly concerned," Guariglia said about Manchego's start to this season. "They said just give her a little time and she'll come. And sure enough. "You always worry about desire. Once they throw it in mentally, then you're in trouble. But she's got the desire. She likes to do her work." Andrew McCarthy will drive Manchego on Saturday, sitting in for Dunn, who will be at Yonkers Raceway to race Bettor's Wish in his Messenger Stakes elimination. "That doesn't worry me," Johansson said. "Dexter has done a very good job with her, but I'm sure Andrew can do just as well of a job." The Maple Leaf Trot eliminations are races two and three on Saturday's card, which begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT). The night also includes two divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers and one division of the Nassagaweya for 2-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

This Week: Messenger eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation, and Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: This Saturday (Aug. 24), Yonkers Raceway will host a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the Messenger Stakes for sophomore pacers, the second leg of the sport's pacing Triple Crown. The top four horses in each elimination will return for the $500,000 final on Aug. 31. Also on Saturday, Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature a single division in the C$228,100 Nassagaweya for 2-year-old pacing colts, two divisions in the C$224,478 Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacing fillies; and a pair of C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters. On Sunday (Aug. 25), Tioga Downs will card four sets of W.N. Reynolds Memorial events for freshman pacers and trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Greenshoe (Brian Sears) rebounded from his defeat in the Hambletonian to win the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday night (Aug. 17) at Vernon Downs. Greenshoe rebounded from his loss in the Hambletonian to win the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. Fotowon photo. Marseille (Ake Svanstedt) assumed the lead heading to the first quarter in front of Don't Let'em (Yannick Gingras) who took up position in second, with Sears waiting patiently in third with Greenshoe ($2.30). Mareseille set a modest first quarter of :27.1 before rationing out the speed to the half in :56.3, where Greenshoe made his move first-over heading into the final turn. Turning for home Marseille had a short lead past three-quarters in 1:25.1, but he could not fend off the pressure from Greenshoe who powered past through the stretch to a convincing six length victory. Greenshoe's stablemate, Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) finished second, while Marseille held on for third. Greenshoe is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., Morten Langli, Hans Backe, and Lars Granqvist. For the Father Patrick sired 3-year-old, it was his sixth win in eight starts this season. The Ice Dutchess (Yannick Gingras) scored a victory in the co-featured $135,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Starita (Dexter Dunn) jumped to the front out of the gate parking The Ice Dutchess ($5.80) to the first quarter of :27.1. After seizing the lead, The Ice Dutchess controlled the tempo to the half in :56.2. Evident Beauty (David Miller) was the first to make a move on the leader heading to the three-quarter pole (1:25.1), but that challenge was repelled by The Ice Dutchess who was two lengths in front turning for home. The Ice Dutchess faced no other challengers through the stretch and won by a decisive 1-3/4 lengths in 1:52.4. Evident Beauty held on for second, while Starita had to settle for third. The Ice Dutchess is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms and is trained by Nancy Johansson. The Muscle Hill sired filly now has four wins on the season and nine career victories. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 731; 2. Yannick Gingras - 566; 3. David Miller - 444; 4. Dexter Dunn - 409; 5. Brian Sears - 344. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 673; 2. Tony Alagna - 282; 3. Marcus Melander - 279; 4. Jim King Jr. - 274; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 231. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 182; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 127.1; 3. Courant Inc. - 122.5; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 114.6; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 101.2. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway and Woodbine Mohawk Park. Yonkers will feature the Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. Woodbine Mohawk will offer the Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot, as well as Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

MILTON, ON - September 1, 2018 - Crazy Wow, piloted by Jody Jamieson, posted a barefoot 31-1 upset over favoured Marion Marauder in Saturday's $651,000 Maple Leaf Trot, at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Trained by Marcus Melander for owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J And T Silva Stables LLC and Deo Volente Farms LLC, the six-year-old son of Crazed was first off the gate and first when it mattered most in the Canadian classic. Will Take Charge overtook the speedy Crazy Wow and Emoticon Hanover to make the quarter in :27.1 and the half in :55.1. Ariana G moved first over with Marion Marauder following her cover, but it was Crazy Wow, sitting second late in the turn, that had the most to offer down the lane to spring the upset in 1:51.1. While the public was surprised, Jamieson, who previously won the Maple Leaf Trot in 2012 with Mister Herbie, was not. "I thought I was even-money," joked Jamieson when asked what he thought of his chances going into the race. "I talked to Marcus (Melander) and he said he was real confident in the horse. We actually hooked up jogging (in the warm ups) with St Lads Neptune and this horse, Crazy Wow, and he said, 'look at him. Look how happy he is.' I couldn't argue with him, the horse looked amazingly happy. When the horse saw the gate tonight he was just a different animal." Although it was Jamieson's first time piloting the six-year-old, the veteran driver performed with confidence. "I've watched him race plenty of times, but I didn't realize what kind of horse he was," said Jamieson. "That was a big trip tonight and he made it look real easy." Jamieson made the winning move at the top of the lane, when squeezing inside of Will Take Charge. "I wasn't sure I was going to get through. Around the last turn, I was following what I figured was the best horse in the race, Will Take Charge," said Jamieson. "And with Ariana G out there I figured maybe I'm going to be third, maybe at the very worst, and a little slim lane opened up and I jammed myself through there like I get in trouble sometimes for doing, but he just trotted right through there. Once I got through there clean it was never in doubt that he was going to win." Melander made the key decision to pull Crazy Wow's shoes for the lucrative final. "I've been thinking about that since I got the horse eight weeks ago," said Melander. "We trained him our way and then he qualified good at Pocono. He was a little short last week, of course, after just one qualifier after eight weeks break. "We were actually supposed to race barefoot last week," continued Melander. "But, there were two scratches in the race and we only had to beat one horse, so we kept the shoes on and saved the feet on him. The track was amazing today and it was an easy decision." Like Jamieson, Melander approached the Maple Leaf Trot final with confidence noting that he wasn't surprised at all with the winning effort. "Not really when we got the one-hole. He showed that he's been beating these horses before and the horse felt so sharp going into the race," offered Melander. "He needed a race last week and I was very happy with him this week and he warmed up great. I know he has an extra gear when I pull the shoes, that's for sure." Crazy Wow, bred by Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Ohio, paid $64.20 to win. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Ron Burke is hoping to see a change in Hannelore Hanover for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot final. Mike Keeling is hoping to see no change in Marion Marauder. Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada, enters the C$651,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park off three consecutive third-place finishes after beginning her campaign with six straight wins. She was beaten by 2-3/4 lengths by Ariana G in her Maple Leaf Trot elimination. A 6-year-old mare, Hannelore Hanover is one of three mares in the final, with 4-year-old Ariana G and 5-year-old Emoticon Hanover. Hannelore Hanover won last year's Maple Leaf Trot and is trying to become the first repeat winner of the event since San Pail, who captured three consecutive trophies in 2009 through 2011. Hannelore Hanover, who has won 42 of 67 career races and $2.75 million, will start from post seven with regular driver Yannick Gingras and is 4-1 on the morning line. She is one of only two horses returning from last year's race. Warrawee Roo is the other. "My horse hasn't been good; I need a big turnaround," said Burke, who trains Hannelore Hanover and owns the mare with the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. "We haven't gotten a handle on it yet. She's gone through little lulls before in her career and we've always figured it out. She's a good horse. We'll figure it out. She'll come back around. It's just that I want her to be back by Saturday and I don't know yet what it's going to be. "Post seven doesn't bother me. She can put herself in position, but she needs to be better. End of story." Marion Marauder, trained by the Canadian-based husband-and-wife team of Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood and owned by Devin Keeling and Jean Wellwood, won his Maple Leaf Trot elimination by a length over Dancer Hall in 1:53.1. He will start the final from post three with regular driver Scott Zeron and is the 3-1 morning-line favorite. "He's having a great week," Mike Keeling said. "He's happy, he's sharp, he's healthy. The weather has been up and down, and that always scares you. We've had some extreme heat and now we've chilled right off. But we can only control what we can control and we're really pleased with how he's going into it." Following Marion Marauder's elimination, Zeron said in the winner's circle he let his horse "coast" to the finish. "It was not a stressful race for him," Keeling said, adding with a laugh, "It was probably more stressful for us to watch than it was for the horse. Scott is so relaxed with him. "He came out of the race fantastic. When you don't have to go to the bottom of the well just to win an elimination it certainly bodes well going into a final." Marion Marauder's appearance in the elimination was the 5-year-old stallion's first race in Canada since an eighth-place finish in last year's Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, when he failed to advance to the final. He has competed in Canada only five times in 30 starts since winning the Goodtimes Stakes at age 3. "He doesn't get to perform as much at home," Keeling said. "It means a lot to win at home. It would be kind of special to do that. This is a great race with a great history. I think only great horses have ever won it. It's a race that means a lot historically and personally. It's not an easy race to win. None of the top ones are, but this one seems really difficult. "This is a really good bunch of trotters. There's early speed, late speed, everything in there. It's interesting for sure." Ariana G, a two-time Dan Patch and O'Brien awards-winner, won her Maple Leaf Trot elimination in 1:52.4 by a neck over Will Take Charge. She is one of two horses in the race for trainer Jimmy Takter, with 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman. Saturday's card at Woodbine Mohawk Park also includes the C$600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, where New Zealand-bred sensation Lazarus is the 7-5 morning-line favorite. Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT). The Canadian Pacing Derby is race eight, set for 9:45 p.m., and will air on TSN GO during a 9:30-10 p.m. broadcast. The Maple Leaf Trot is race 10, with a 10:35 p.m. post time. Following is the field in post-position order for the Maple Leaf Trot. The connections of elimination winners selected their starting spots. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Crazy Wow-Jody Jamieson-Marcus Melander-10/1 2-Dancer Hall-Sylvain Filion-Paul Reid-5/1 3-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Mike Keeling-3/1 4-Ariana G-David Miller-Jimmy Takter-9/2 5-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-7/2 6-Warrawee Roo-James MacDonald-Luc Blais-10/1 7-Hannelore Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4/1 8-Emoticon Hanover-Bob McClure-Luc Blais-12/1 9-Guardian Angel AS-Brett Miller-Anette Lorentzon-12/1 10-Pinkman-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-20/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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