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Party Girl Hill may have missed Kiss Me Onthebeach’s divisional world record by two-fifths of a second, but her 1:49 performance in the $154,450 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old harness racing pacing fillies landed her in the Dover Downs record books. The daughter of Captaintreacherous yielded to third to stalk Priceless (Andy Miller) and Lyons Sentinel (Tim Tetrick) through a blistering :25.4 first quarter before making her move up the far side. When Lyons Sentinel edged out of the pocket at the :54.2 midway stage, Dunn slid Party Girl Hill second-over to follow live cover. Lyons Sentinel put Priceless away with five-sixteenths to go, and after losing cover, Party Girl Hill continued on to strike the front midway on the far turn before winning by a measured 1-3/4 lengths. JK First Lady (Gingras) rode the winner’s cover to finish second; Rocknificent (Scott Zeron) also benefitted from the outer tier and gained into third.   Party Girl Hill, whose only defeat in 16 career starts to date came in the Breeders Crown, has amassed $880,345 in earnings — all this season. Chris Ryder trains the Tom Hill homebred. The retirement of Tall Dark Stranger made the $179,600 Matron Stake for sophomore male pacers far more wide open than most previous events within the division, and the late-blooming Cattlewash ($2.80) had to work for every penny of the winner’s share of the purse. The son of Somebeachsomewhere had to exert himself through a :26 first-quarter duel with Tattoo Artist (Gingras) before clearing shortly thereafter — but once in control of the terms, David Miller had little opportunity to ration Cattlewash’s speed. After only managing to rate the half to :53.4, Cattlewash faced first-over pressure from Little Brown Jug winner Captain Barbossa (Joee Bongiorno) up the far side. While Cattlewash shrugged off Captain Barbossa’s challenge on the final turn, another pair of challengers were waiting in the wings to take their shots in the final furlong: Tattoo Artist launched for the open stretch, and No Lou Zing (Dunn) vaulted off cover. Cattlewash was driven out to narrowly prevail in 1:48.3. No Lou Zing lunged late for second over Tattoo Artist, who was fully extended to stay on.   Ron Burke trains 10-time winner Cattlewash, who has now earned $799,777 for owner-breeder Bill Donovan. In the sub-featured $20,000 Open Handicap Pace, Goldberg ($3.40) earned his eighth win of the season with a 1:50.2 score over Robbie Burns N (McCarthy) and Itsrockandroll A (Callahan). Montrell Teague drove the winner for trainer Brenda Teague. From the USTA and Dover Downs

Dover, DE - The $163.050 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old harness racing trotting fillies at Dover Downs Thursday was won by Sorella.   Hypnotic AM was a late scratch and race favorite Ramona Hill made a break leaving. Her misfortune changed the entire complexion of the race.   Ab’sattitudexpress and Sorella both left aggressively. Gingras waited, parked out, then sent Sorella to the top. They cut fractions of 26.3, 56.1 and 1:25. Crucial offered only mild pressure parked 1st up down the backstretch to the ¾ pole. Sorella went on and won by one and one half lengths as the second choice in the wagering. The winning time was 1:53.1. The last quarter was trotted in 28.1.       In the winner’s circle, when asked about Ramona Hill’s misfortune Gingras replied “I did not know she (Ramona Hill) broke. All I wanted was the lead. My filly races well on the lead”.   Guinevere Hall closed to be second for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Melanie Wrenn. Ab’sattitudexpress, finished 3rd, from in the pocket. Tim Tetrick drove for trainer Lucas Wallin.   Sorella (Muscle Hill) is owned by Crawford Farms, Elmer and Brent Fanin and is trained by Nancy Takter.   In the $162,350 Matron for 3-year-old colts and geldings, a track record was established as Dexter Dunn put Amigo Volo on the point and down the road.   Dunn parked out Joe Bongiorno and Play Trix On Me the entire mile. The race fractions were 26.3, 54.4 and 1:23 with a final clocking of 1:50.2. Amigo Volo became the fastest male trotter and is tied with Mission Bried (2015) as the two all-age trotting track record holders at Dover Downs.        In the winner’s circle Dexter Dunn remarked “ I didn’t even have to pull his ear plugs out. She had plenty left. Nifty (Norman) has done a tremendous job of keeping her fit all season long”.   Amigo Volo won in a romp by six and a half lengths, and was sent off as the three to five race favorite. Amigo Volo ( Father Patrick) is owned by the Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.   Back Of The Neck trotted a rugged first over trip and finished 2nd for driver and trainer Ake Svandsedt. Coventry Hall was third with Andrew McCarthy in the bike for trainer Ake Svanstedt..   Alex Kraszewski, for Dover Downs

Harness Racing This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 12) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $179,600, the 3-year-old filly trotters will race for $163,050, the purse for the 3-year-old colt trot is $162,350 and the 3-year-old filly pacers will race for $154,450. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: On Saturday (Nov. 7), a week after Summa Cum Laude and Perfect Sting recorded the first dead-heat Breeders Crown win, Yannick Gingras steered Sunma Cum Laude to a 1:50.2 win in the $204,050 Kindergarten Classic final for freshman pacing colts and geldings at The Meadowlands. Summa Cum Laude soared home with Yannick Gingras at the reins to win the pacing Kindergarten Classic for colts and geldings at The Meadowlands. Lisa photo. Soaring to first off the gate was Shakespeare, followed by Captain Sleaze, with the Ron Burke-trained Summa Cum Laude in fourth behind Ilderton AM after leaving from the 10 hole. Shakespeare cut the first quarter in :26.4. Summa Cum Laude took to the outside and smoothly passed Shakespeare. With the lead, he was entirely in charge pacing to a 1:23.3 three-quarters. Simon Says Hanover came first over to make his bid but Shakespeare was still strong and still after the leader, while Always B Sweet came into the stretch picture. Without urging, Gingras drove Summa Cum Laude across the wire to a lifetime-best-equaling score by 1-1/4 lengths. Shakespeare held on for second, Captain Sleaze got third and Always B Sweet closed late to get fourth. "I just tried to get him in play," Gingras said after the race. "I wasn't going to take back to last, so I was able to get away fourth and from there I saw what the pace was going to be, though it didn't matter, because he can race any which what way. I had a ton of pace still when finishing." Summa Cum Laude is by Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate. Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi own the colt who took his fifth win in 14 starts and has accrued $440,325 in earnings. As the favorite, Summa Cum Laude paid $4 to win. Fresh from her Breeders Crown victory at Harrah's Hoosier Park, Fire Start Hanover and driver Dexter Dunn swarmed over her competition to win the $151,030 Kindergarten Classic final for freshman pacing fillies. Fire Start Hanover, the 1-5 favorite, was in no rush leaving the gate, and settled into fourth as High Minded and Lindy At The Beach rushed from the outside and Three Way Split held onto her rail position. As the first quarter was clocked in :26.3, High Minded gave up the lead to Classicist, who could not keep the top before the :55.2 half when Dunn guided Fire Start Hanover to the outside. With Off The Record at her back, Fire Start Hanover became the leader and never looked back. The Nifty Norman-trained filly glided into the stretch in total command, with Off The Record in futile pursuit, crossing the wire 1-1/4 lengths in front in a 1:51.1 mile. Off The Record was second and Classicist shifted into third over High Minded. Dunn said, "She bounced back okay. It's only a week since she raced in the Breeders Crown and though that was a tough mile she did it pretty easily." In the Kindergarten, he said, "The way she was traveling to three-quarters I was not worried because she was full of pace. She finished the mile with the ear plugs still in. She's strong." Fire Start Hanover is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, out of Fit To Frame. Pinske Stables, David Hoese and Lawrence Means own the filly who collected her eighth win in a dozen starts and has earned $589,326. She paid $2.40 to win. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 1,216; 2. Dexter Dunn - 1,012; 3. David Miller - 765; 4. Tim Tetrick - 715.5; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 581. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,228; 2. Nancy Takter - 1,175.5; 3. Ake Svanstedt - 684; 4. Tony Alagna - 662; 5. Marcus Melander - 492. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 268.8; 2. Caviart Farms - 227.2; 3. Determination - 220; 4. Brad Grant - 214; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 204.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands and Dover Downs. The Meadowlands will feature the four TVG finals for older pacers and trotters and the Fall Four stakes for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. Dover will host the Progress Pace eliminations for 3-year-old open pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Dover, DE — The Matron Stakes for 3-year-old harness racing trotters and pacers are in the spotlight Thursday (Nov. 12) at Dover Downs  There will be $659,450 in purses for the four divisions. Ramona Hill, who beat the boys in capturing the Hambletonian this year, returns to the racing wars and takes on Hypnotic AM and Sorella in the 3-year-old filly trot. Ab’sattitudexpress, who upset Ramona Hill in a Bluegrass division, is also declared in to race. The purse is $163,050 and is scheduled for the fourth race. The sixth race is for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters and will offer a purse of $162,350. Amigo Volo, who won the Breeders Crown, is the race favorite. Back Of The Neck, who upset Amigo Volo in a Bluegrass division at Lexington and Play Trix On Me are the main competitors. The 10th race Matron is for 3-year-old pacing fillies. The purse is $154,450. Party Girl Hill and Lyons Sentinel will renew their rivalry. The final Matron of the night is for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. The purse is $179,600 and will be the 12th race. Cattlewash, fastest in the race with a 1:46.4 clocking for trainer Ron Burke, takes on Tony Alagna’s trio of Captain Barbossa, the Little Brown Jug winner, Capt Midnight and Captain Kirk. For the complete entries for the races, click here. Post time is 4:30 p.m. by Al  Kraszewski, for Dover Downs

Dover, DE - Four Matron Stake races were held at Dover Downs on Thursday November, 5 In the $170,700 Matron for two year old pacing fillies, Continualou (Sweet Lou) broke the Dover Downs track record for two year old pacing fillies. At the start of the race, both Paulas Bet Hanover and Darby Hanover left aggressively.  Yannick Gingras won the early battle and sizzled the opening quarter in 26.4.  David Miller and Continualou, who tucked in fifth earlier, rushed to the lead before the half in 55.3.  The pair continued to pace to the three quarter in 1:23,  a 27.2 quarter.  Yannick Gingras pulled the pocket and rustled  Paulas Bet Hanover.  However, Continualou still possessed another gear and won in 1:50.2, breaking the Dover track record for two year old filly pacers.    When Dave Miller was asked if he was concerned with Gingras pulling the pocket on him, His response was “No I wasn’t concerned at all she was strong”. Continualou was sent off as the three to five favorite and is owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.  Ron Burke is her trainer. Paulas Bet Hanover held second for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke. Finishing third was Darby Hanover and driver Andy Miller for trainer Ron Burke. The opening leg of the Matron was for two year old colt and gelding trotters. The purse was $167, 200 Due to the unfortunate scratch of Magical Muscle Man, there were only four starters in the race. Yannick Gingras took advantage of the shortened field and hustled Type A to the top.  Incommunicado and driver Scott Zeron accepted the pocket.  The fractions were of 28.2 58.2 127. Gingras’s strategy proved the winning move and won the race in 1:55 flat. The last half was trotted in 56.2.  The last quarter was trotted 28 seconds flat. Type A (Southwind Frank) is owned by Nancy and Cristina Takter, as well as Frank Canzone. And paid $4.20 to win. Finishing second, off the pocket trip was Incommunicado driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Ake Svanstedt. Ethan T Hanover was third for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Per Engblom. The second Matron on the card was worth $189,800 for two year old filly trotters. Driver Ake Svanstedt duplicated the strategy from the earlier Matron by sending  IIluminata to the front.  David Miller with Frankly My Dear, found a seat in second. Illuminata set fractions of 27.2 57.3 126.1 and a winning time of 154.4. Miller saved all the ground staying on the rail, but could not reach the leader. Illuminata (Chapter Seven)  owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Little E LLC.  She is trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt and returned an illuminating $47.2 to win. Frankly My Dear finished 2nd. For driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke. Pub Crawl finished third for driver Andy Miller for trainer Julie Miller. The final Matron was the $193,000 Matron Stake for two year colt and gelding pacers. Southwind Gendry, the heavy favorite, lived up to his billing. Bayfield Beach and Andrew McCarthy posted fractions of 26.1 54.2 121.4 Southwind Gendry left and settled in fourth, then grinded first over. The Always B Miki colt eventually powered to the lead after pacing a 27.2 third quarter in the deep stretch and won by a decisive one and a half lengths. In the winners circle Yannick Gingras noted “ she was tweaking her ears and had plenty left” in amazement. Southwind Gendry is owned by Burke, J & T Silva-Purnell & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, Wingfield Five.  Yannick Gingras drove for trainer Ron Burke. Southwind Petyr shadowed second over and finished second for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Mark Harder. Bayfield Beach, the pace setter, finished third for driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Brian Brown. Goldberg wins the Blue Hen Open   In a race that showed tremendous early speed,  Goldberg was able to leave alertly and find a seat behind perennial speedster, Proper One. Slick Tony dared to leave from post 8 and paid the price.  He was parked the entire mile.  Proper One set fractions of 26.1 54.32 123. Q’s Cruise edged off the rail by driver Tim Tetrick and paced 1st over nearing the three quarter station.  Montrell Teague waited patiently, utilizing  the passing lane to his advantage, and won by one and a quarter lengths in 1:51 flat. Goldberg (Mr. Wiggles) is owned by Montrell’s  Mst Racing Inc. and trained by Brenda Teague.  Goldberg was the race favorite and returned $6.40. Robbie Burns and driver Andrew McCarthy finished second.  There was a dead heat for third between Calvin K and trainer Driver Art Stafford Jr. and pace setter Proper On and driver Yannick Gingras for   trainer Carlo Poliseno. Dover Downs post time is 4:30 pm.  Dover Downs races Monday thru Thursday.    

Harness racing this Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.; Carl Erskine, Monument Circle, Crossroads of America and USS Indianapolis, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Kindergarten Series finals, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 5) for four Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $193,000, the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $189,800, the purse for the 2-year-old filly pace is $170,700 and the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $167,200. On Friday night (Nov. 6), Harrah's Hoosier Park will host the $140,000 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old colt trotters, the $160,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $100,000 Crossroads of America for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $100,000 USS Indianapolis for 3-year-old filly pacers. The Meadowlands on Saturday (Nov. 7) will offer four Kindergarten Series finals for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old filly trot carries a purse of $252,340, the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $207,570, the purse for the 2-year-old colt pace is $204,050 and the 2-year-old filly pacers will race for $151,030. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Gimpanzee made it three Breeders Crown titles in a row by winning Saturday's (Oct. 31) $500,000 Open Trot by a length over Crystal Fashion in 1:51.3 at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Atlanta finished third. Gimpanzee captured the Breeders Crown Open Trot and became only the fifth trotter to win three Crowns. Dean Gillette Photography. Gimpanzee, a 4-year-old stallion, became the fifth trotter in history to win at least three Breeders Crown trophies, joining Peace Corps, Grades Singing, Mack Lobell, and Manchego - who accomplished the feat earlier in the night. Peace Corps, who leads the group with a record four Crowns, and Mack Lobell are the only others to win titles at ages 2, 3, and 4. In addition, Gimpanzee became the first trotter to win a Breeders Crown at age 3 and return to capture the Open Trot at 4 since his sire, Chapter Seven, did so in 2011 and 2012. "He's just an amazing horse and means a lot to me," trainer Marcus Melander said. "He's been with us from the start since we bought him at the Harrisburg sale, and it's just amazing what a journey it's been for us. "This is our third win together, and it's very tough to win these Breeders Crown races. I'm very happy. Doing it with this horse - taking his third straight Breeders Crown - just shows how good of a horse he is." Gimpanzee, out of the mare Steamy Windows, has won eight of 11 races this season and 25 of 34 in his career, with earnings of $2.70 million. He is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. He was bred by Order By Stable. Sent off as the even money favorite, Gimpanzee and driver Brian Sears paid $4.00 to win. Manchego sustained an uncovered attack and surged clear in mid-stretch to capture her third Breeders Crown title.  Earlier in the evening, Manchego captured the $300,000 Mare Trot in 1:52. Dispatched as the 4-5 favorite, Manchego (Dexter Dunn) won by 3-1/4 lengths over Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt). When Dovescry overcame a break at the start to rally for third. "It actually worked out good because I got on (Ake's) helmet for a while; he sort of beat me into the stretch there," winning driver Dexter Dunn said. "Once I moved her off Ake's helmet, she really exploded. "She's an amazing horse. She really did it easy. It was a good performance tonight. It's a pleasure to sit behind her." Manchego's previous Breeders Crown triumphs came at age 2 at Hoosier Park in 2017 and at age 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park last year. "It sure never gets old," said owner Barry Guariglia of Black Horse Racing. "She's an awesome mare. It's been a great ride." Manchego, a 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, is trained by Nancy Takter. Manchego has won five of 12 races this year and 32 of 55 in her career, with earnings of $2.56 million. She was bred by Brittany Farms. Manchego paid $3.80 to win. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 1,131; 2. Dexter Dunn - 932; 3. Tim Tetrick - 705.5; 4. David Miller - 705; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 566. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,103; 2. Nancy Takter - 1,090.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 662; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 654; 5. Marcus Melander - 492. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 242.5; 2. Determination - 220; 3. Caviart Farms - 217.2; 4. Brad Grant - 204; 5. S R F Stable - 202.3. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs. The Delaware track will feature the Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Dover, DE — The Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds harness racing Standardbreds returns to Dover Downs on Thursday (Nov. 5). The 2-year-old trotting colts compete in the first race. The purse is $167,200. Incommunicado carries a three-race win streak for trainer Ake Svanstedt and ships in from Plainridge Raceway. The 2-year-old filly trotters are in the sixth race. The purse is $189,800. Trainers Julie Miller (Pub Crawl) and Nancy Takter (Material Girl) share the spotlight. In the eighth race, 2-year-old pacing fillies vie for a purse of $170,700. The Ron Burke stable sends out three in Continualou, Uptown Hanover and Paulas Bet Hanover. Trainer Tom Fanning also starts three fillies, Doubleoffthewall, Mackie Hanover and Summer Rae. The 12th race is for 2-year-old pacing colts and offers a purse of $193,000. Southwind Gendry, who finished third in the Breeders Crown, has bankrolled $486,569 for trainer Ron Burke. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. (EST) Thursday at Dover Downs. For complete entries, click here.  by Alex Kraszewski, for Dover Downs

When colt Mysweetboymax races in Thursday's $193,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male harness racing pacers at Dover Downs, he carries not only his owners' hopes for a win but their memories of a dear friend. Bred and owned by the father-and-son team of Robert Horowitz and Brandon Horowitz, Mysweetboymax is named in memory of Max Liroff, the best friend of one of Robert's other sons, Casey. Max died two years ago at the age of 25 following a battle with cancer. "He fought the battle like none other but was just dealt a terrible blow," Robert Horowitz said. "He was the sweetest, nicest kid in the world. I knew him from the day he wore diapers. He was a wonderful person. When it came time to name this horse, this was something we wanted to do." Mysweetboymax, by Sweet Lou out of Faster Faster, has won three of 10 races this season and hit the board a total of six times. In July, he finished in a dead heat for win with eventual undefeated Breeders Crown champion Perfect Sting. In his most recent starts, both at Harrah's Philadelphia, Mysweetboymax won a division of the Liberty Bell and was second in a division of the Simpson Memorial. "He was a little immature and we kind of brought him along slowly," Horowitz said. "He's been getting better every week. We felt like this would be an opportunity for him. You never know. You have to be in it to win it." Mysweetboymax will start Thursday's Matron from post six and is 12-1 on the morning line. The colt is trained by Sam DePinto. "He's very handy, he makes no mistakes, and he loves his job," Horowitz said about Mysweetboymax. "The horse just loves what he does. He shows up and tries every week. He can race any way he has to. He's a pushbutton horse to drive. He can leave, come off the pace; that kind of horse is nice as a 2-year-old. "This is a very competitive race, but we feel like he's in a good spot and will give a good account of himself. He's never disappointed." Southwind Gendry, the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion who is coming off a third-place finish by a head in the Breeders Crown, is the 5-2 favorite in the Matron for colt-and-gelding pacers. The field also includes Metro Pace winner Exploit and Breeders Crown finalists Bayfield Beach and Literl Lad Hanover. There also are Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters and 2-year-old female pacers and trotters. Massachusetts Sire Stakes champion Incommunicado is the 3-5 favorite in the colt-and-gelding trot, Bluegrass division winner Pub Crawl is the 5-2 choice in the filly trot, and Breeders Crown finalist Continualou is the 2-1 favorite in the filly pace. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. (EST) Thursday at Dover Downs. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Dover, DE — Breeders Crown winner Gimpanzee and Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry each added another Grand Circuit harness racing title to their respective résumés with victories in the Matron Stakes for 3-year-old trotters on Thursday (Nov. 14) at Dover Downs. Gimpanzee proved a powerful 1:51.1 winner in the Matron on Thursday at Dover Downs. Fotowon photo. In the $208,300 Matron for sophomore trotting colts and geldings, Gimpanzee ($2.80) and Brian Sears sprinted to the early lead before yielding control to Chin Chin Hall (Dexter Dunn) at the completion of a :27 first quarter. The son of Chapter Seven was relegated to third as Don’t Let’em (Yannick Gingras) brushed aggressively from midfield to clear with a circuit to go, but angled first-over to attack soon after stalking a :54.4 half. On the backstretch, Gimpanzee sustained a strong attack on Don’t Let’em, taking charge effortlessly past three-quarters in 1:23 and drawing away at will for a 1:51.1 score. Chin Chin Hall emerged up the open stretch to take second, four lengths back, while Pilot Discretion (Andy McCarthy) rallied off cover for third. Marcus Melander trains 17-time winner Gimpanzee for Courant Inc. and the S R F Stable. The $176,150 Matron for 3-year-old trotting fillies saw Simon Allard send Breeders Crown runner-up When Dovescry ($7.60) clear of Beautiful Sin (Åke Svanstedt) and Only Take Cash (Tim Tetrick) into the first turn before controlling splits of :27, :56.1 and 1:23.4. With three-sixteenths to go, When Dovescry faced a bid from Evident Beauty (David Miller), who circled stalled cover to challenge on the final turn. The daughter of Muscle Hill successfully held her ground, holding off a late stand-side rally from Only Take Cash by a half length in 1:52.2. Evident Beauty stayed on between fillies to maintain third. Rene Allard trains 10-time winner When Dovescry for the Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh and Lawrence Dumain. For recaps of the Matron 3-year-old paces, click here. For recaps of the Matron 2-year-old divisions, which were contested on Nov. 7, click here. From the USTA

Dover, DE — After Dancin Lou snapped his four-race win streak in the Breeders Crown, Bettor’s Wish ($3.20) got back in the win column with a 1:49.2 score in the $248,350 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old harness racing pacing colts and geldings on Thursday (Nov. 14) at Dover Downs. Bettor’s Wish worked clear of American Mercury (Tyler Buter) just beyond a :27 first quarter, but faced immediate pressure from Dancin Lou (Andy McCarthy) with a circuit to go and on toward a :53.2 half. With a quarter mile to go, Bettor’s Wish began to scamper away, turning aside Dancin Lou past three-quarters in 1:21.3.   The son of Bettor’s Delight was kept to task through the final furlong, and he maintained 1-3/4 lengths of clearance over American Mercury. Aflame Hanover (Corey Callahan) angled off the pegs at head-stretch to chase and just miss the runner-up spot. Trainer Chris Ryder co-owns Bettor’s Wish, an 18-time winner and an earner of over $1.8 million, with Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bettor’s Wish Partners. Bettor’s Wish has finished first or second in all 18 of his starts this season. Following a runner-up finish to Warrawee Ubeaut in the Breeders Crown, Tall Drink Hanover ($13.20) rode the pocket to victory in the $165,900 Matron for 3-year-old pacing fillies, reeling in her arch rival in the process. Andy McCarthy put Cin play from the outset to seize early control, only to yield to prohibitive favorite Warrawee Ubeaut (Yannick Gingras) just behind a taxing :26 first quarter. After stalking a :54.2 half, Tall Drink Hanover found herself boxed as Sunny Dee (Brian Sears) offered first-over pressure up the far side. Off the home turn, Tall Drink Hanover angled to the open stretch and eclipsed the dueling leaders, beating Sunny Dee by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.2. Treacherous Reign (Dunn) lifted from third-over to narrowly take third over the engulfed Warrawee Ubeaut, who missed the board for the first time this year in her Matron defeat. Tony Alagna trains 15-time winner Tall Drink Hanover, a daughter of Captaintreacherous, for Alagna Racing LLC, Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing LLC. For recaps of the Matron 3-year-old trots, click here. For recaps of the Matron 2-year-old divisions, which were contested on Nov. 7, click here. From the USTA

Wanda Polisseni is the type of person who, in her own words, prefers to fly under the harness racing radar. But after her Winndevie won last month's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, providing Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables with its first trophy, that became a little more difficult. Not that Polisseni has any complaints. "I was surprised at the number of people that congratulated me and follow my horses; I'm very appreciative," Polisseni said. "I'm not infatuated with the winner's circle. That's not what I'm all about. But I fully appreciate it. Winning a race like the Breeders Crown makes it all worth it. "There are so many people that have been in (the sport) so much longer than I have and I'd like to see these other people win too. I feel like I've had more than my share of blessings and good fortune. I just love to see my horses race, no matter where they end up, as long as they're healthy and happy." Winndevie returns to the races Thursday in the $176,150 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Dover Downs. In fact, all four 3-year-old Breeders Crown champions - with Dancin Lou, Gimpanzee, and Warrawee Ubeaut joining Winndevie in that group - will be in action in the Matron events for sophomore pacers and trotters. Trained by Trond Smedshammer and driven by Brian Sears, Winndevie is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field that includes Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, who was second in the Breeders Crown, as well as Crown third- and fourth-place finishers The Ice Dutchess and Only Take Cash, not to mention Elegantimage Stakes winner Evident Beauty. Winndevie, by Credit Winner out of Vida De Vie, has won six of 14 races this year and hit the board a total of 13 times. Her earnings of $559,804 lead all 3-year-old filly trotters. For her career, Winndevie has won 12 of 21 starts, including the 2018 New York Sire Stakes championship, and $787,682. Her trip to the Breeders Crown was her first Grand Circuit appearance after spending her career to that point on the New York circuit. Polisseni called the filly's Breeders Crown triumph at Woodbine Mohawk Park, "really a very nice surprise." It is probably fitting because her arrival in Smedshammer's stable was a surprise as well. Polisseni thought she had completed her shopping for yearlings at the Standardbred Horse Sale two Novembers ago until she looked over her list of purchases and realized she did not get a Credit Winner-sired filly. So, after a review of the remaining possibilities, she bought Winndevie (then named Hello Dolly De Vie) for $45,000 on the final day of the yearling auction. "I never told Trond I was going to buy her," Polisseni said, laughing at the circumstances surrounding the purchase. "I knew I wanted a Credit Winner filly and she was the best one that I liked that day. I liked the way she looked on the floor, the way she moved, and the video. I loved her. She's a beautiful filly. "I put her on the truck to go down to Trond's (stable). It was a surprise to him. But he's told me many times in the winner's circle that he's so glad I bought her." Polisseni, who lives in upstate New York, got her start as a harness racing owner about 15 years ago. Smedshammer has trained her horses for a decade. Her Purple Haze Stables has ranked among the top 10 in earnings for owners on multiple occasions, including in 2018 and 2019. "I feel really blessed with the success that I've had and having Trond as a trainer," Polisseni said. "He's the best. He knows how I want my horses treated and it's always the horse comes first. I never have to worry with Trond, there is no stress. That makes the racing so much more fun. "(The Breeders Crown) was all for Trond. That's how I felt. I wanted him to get all the attention and accolades. I was thrilled." Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Dover Downs. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. and Fall Four eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 14) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $248,350, the 3-year-old colt trotters will race for $208,300, the purse for the 3-year-old filly trot is $176,150 and the 3-year-old filly pacers will race for $165,900. On Saturday night (Nov. 16) Meadowlands Racetrack will host a single elimination in the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be one $20,000 elimination in the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Eliminations were not required in the Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: After being disqualified from first in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 25, David McDuffee's Papi Rob Hanover ($2.40) found redemption in the $186,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, held Thursday (Nov. 7) at Dover Downs. Papi Rob Hanover found redemption in the $186,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Fotowon photo. The son of Somebeachsomewhere and Panera Hanover eclipsed the $500,000 mark in career earnings with an effortless 1:50 win, the fifth of his career. "I was just waiting to be the last one to the front," said driver David Miller, who yielded to Cattlewash (Yannick Gingras) and Put To Right (Andy McCarthy) in a :27.1 quarter before brushing to the top with a circuit to go. After clearing the lead just before a :55 half, Papi Rob Hanover found no further challengers, coasting to three-quarters in 1:22.4 before drawing away by 5-1/4 lengths with plenty in reserve. "He's very sharp; he's ending up the year very well," concluded Miller. "He was strong tonight, and just a real nice horse." Cattlewash gave futile chase to protect second, while Father Nuno (Brian Sears) emerged off cover to take third. In the $181,600 Matron for juvenile male trotters, Breeders Crown winner Amigo Volo ($2.20) proved a similarly easy winner, clearing from the outside post six under Dexter Dunn and controlling splits of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.3 before drawing away to a 6-1/2 length victory over Patriarch Hanover (Matt Kakaley) and Moveoutofmyway K (Gingras) in 1:52.4, a new world record for a freshman trotting gelding on a five-eighths-mile track. Richard 'Nifty' Norman trains the gelded son of Father Patrick and Margarita Momma for the Pinske Stables and David J. Miller. Tim Tetrick swept the Matrons for 2-year-old fillies, taking the $176,400 pace with Lyons Sentinel ($2.40) and the non-wagering $147,600 trot with Next Level Stuff. In the filly pace, Lyons Sentinel stalked a blistering :26.1 first quarter from third behind Lady Lou (McCarthy) before brushing to the fore with a circuit to go. After out-sprinting Lady Lou through a :54.2 half and keeping a first-over attack from Hen Party (Gingras) at bay through three-quarters in 1:22.3, the Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover filly worked clear to a 1:50.3 victory. Perfect Storm (Sears) rallied into second, 2-1/4 lengths back, while Hen Party faded to third. Jim King Jr. trains Lyons Sentinel for Threelyonsracing. Next Level Stuff coasted to a pillar-to-post 1:53.2 win in the filly trot. The daughter of Sebastian K S and Nantab cleared Queen Of The Hill (Gingras) through a :27.2 first quarter and remained unchallenged through middle splits of :56.1 and 1:25.1. Next Level Stuff began to edge clear on the final turn, and she defeated Queen Of The Hill by 2-1/2 lengths. Luv U Bye Click (Steve Smith) finished third, beaten by 25-1/4 lengths. Jim Campbell trains the Runthetable Stables homebred. 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 - 1,356.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,268; 3. Dexter Dunn - 984; 4. David Miller - 930; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 783. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,292; 2. Tony Alagna - 847; 3 Nancy Johansson - 662; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 637; 5. Marcus Melander - 603. Owners: 1. Courant Inc. - 274.5; 2. Brad Grant - 267.1; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 238.7; 4. Robert Key - 226; 5. Fashion Farms - 224.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands with the finals for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds - the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid - along with the TVG finals for older trotters and pacers of both sexes. In addition, Dover Downs will host eliminations for the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

All four 3-year-old Breeders Crown champions -- Dancin Lou, Gimpanzee, Warrawee Ubeaut, and Winndevie -- return to action for the first time since their Crown triumphs when Dover Downs hosts the Matron Stakes for harness racing sophomore pacers and trotters on Thursday. A total of 19 Breeders Crown finalists will be racing in the Matrons, including the top-six finishers from the 3-year-old filly pace (won by Warrawee Ubeaut) and the top-four finishers from each the 3-year-old filly trot (won by Winndevie) and 3-year-old colt-and-gelding pace (won by Dancin Lou). Gimpanzee, who won the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, faces four Breeders Crown finalists, including recent Carl Erskine Trot winner Don't Let'em and Erskine runner-up Chin Chin Hall. Gimpanzee is a two-time Breeders Crown champion and was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He starts Thursday's $208,300 Matron for 3-year-old male trotters from post five with Brian Sears driving for trainer Marcus Melander. He is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. "He's doing great," Melander said. "He came out of (the Breeders Crown) really well and he's been training good ever since. I'm confident going into the race. He's raced good all year, never done a bad race really. There are some nice horses in there, of course, but he's pretty good himself too." Gimpanzee has won seven of 12 races this year and earned $997,163. In addition to the Breeders Crown, his wins include the Yonkers Trot, New York Sire Stakes championship, and Empire Breeders Classic. He finished third in both the Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity. The colt could join recently retired 3-year-old colt stablemate Greenshoe with more than $1 million this year, which would make Melander only the second trainer ever to have two million-dollar-earning trotters in the same division in the same season. Jimmy Takter accomplished the feat in 2014 with Father Patrick and Nuncio. "That's cool," Melander said. "(Gimpanzee) has had a great year. He couldn't have done too much more. "I think he will be as good as he's been all year on Thursday. He's feeling great here at home. He really feels like he has all year. He's happy, so I'm happy." For his career, Gimpanzee has won 16 of 21 races and $1.58 million for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. If all goes well, the son of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows could finish this season by facing older foes in the TVG championship on Nov. 23 at The Meadowlands. "Hopefully he does a good race Thursday and then we'll probably race in the TVG," Melander said, adding the plan is to bring back Gimpanzee next year at age 4. "It feels like he could be a good aged horse too. He only had nine starts last year and 12 so far this year. I think that's perfect if we want to continue to race him. He feels like a horse that's not been pushed too hard. If nothing happens, it's a big chance he comes back." In the $248,350 Matron for 3-year-old male pacers, Bettor's Wish is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. The Chris Ryder-trained colt leads the sport with $1.43 million in purses. He was beaten by a head by Dancin Lou in the Breeders Crown. He has won 12 of 17 races and finished no worse than second in any start, with each of his last four runner-up finishes coming by no more than a neck. Dancin Lou is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. He brings a three-race win streak to the Matron. "I'm so proud of that horse, my heart could burst," trainer Tahnee Camilleri said about Dancin Lou, who has won 11 of 18 starts this season. She added about his Breeders Crown victory, where he rallied from fourth with a quarter-mile to go, "I was in shock. He did it the hard way. It's just unbelievable. What a little champion." Camilleri, a native of Australia, gave up a career practicing law to pursue her passion by moving to the U.S. to train horses. She is in her first full season with her own stable. The 32-year-old Camilleri conditions Dancin Lou for owners David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. "I didn't appreciate how hard it was going to be to come over here," Camilleri said. "I got terribly homesick and I'd lie in bed at night and wonder if I made the right decision. I toughed it out. For something like this to happen, I know in my heart I made the right decision. I'm so glad I'm here and so glad I did this. "I've had a lot of help, and I'm thankful to the owners for picking me to train their horse. They could have picked a bigger name, but they gave me a shot. I'm tickled pink that I could get such a good result for them." The field for the Matron colt-and-gelding pace also includes 2018 Dan Patch Award winner Captain Crunch and recent Monument Circle Stakes winner De Los Cielos Deo. In the $176,150 Matron for 3-year-old filly trotters, Trond Smedshammer-trained Winndevie is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. The field includes Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, who was second in the Breeders Crown, as well as Crown third- and fourth-place finishers The Ice Dutchess and Only Take Cash, plus Elegantimage Stakes winner Evident Beauty. Warrawee Ubeaut, from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, is the 2-1 favorite in the $165,900 Matron for 3-year-old filly pacers. Tall Drink Hanover, who was second in the Breeders Crown, is 3-1. The remaining fillies from the Crown final are Stonebridge Soul, Sunny Dee, Treacherous Reign, and Queen Of The Pride. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Dover Downs. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Standardbred Canada reports that a talented group of two-year-olds was in the spotlight Thursday evening at Dover Downs, as the oval hosted a quartet of Matron Stake Finals for the freshman set. Next Level Stuff kicked off the proceedings with a 1:53.2 triumph in the $147,600 final – a non-wagering tilt held prior to the pari-mutuel program – for the tandem of driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim Campbell. Tetrick hustled Next Level Stuff to the lead from Post 4 and together they led the field through fractions of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:25.1 before using a :28.1 closing quarter to seal the deal. It was 2-1/2 lengths in arrears to runner-up Queen Of The Hill. Luv U Bye Click took home the show dough and Rebecca Clark, who was distanced after an early break, rounded out the four-filly affair. Runthetable Stables of Montvale, NJ bred and own the daughter of Sebastian K-Nantab who improved her freshman record to six wins from 10 trips to the track. The clocking was a new lifetime mark for the career winner of $158,075. To read the rest of the story, click here.

This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 7) for four Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $186,000, the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $181,600, the purse for the 2-year-old filly pace is $176,400 and the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $147,600. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Grand Circuit racing action was back in the spotlight at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (Nov. 1), as some of the sport's brightest stars ventured to Hoosier Park for the final night of Grand Circuit racing this season. Don't Let'em rebounded from his Breeders Crown miscue to win the Carl Erskine in track-record fashion at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Linscott Photo. After making a costly break in the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt trot last week, Don't Let'em was out for redemption and rebounded with authority in the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The cold temperatures didn't seem to deter Don't Let'em and Yannick Gingras as they stopped the timer in 1:51.4 to re-establish the track record for 3-year-old colt trotters. The previous mark of 1:52.1 was set by What The Hill in Breeders Crown action in 2017. Sent off as the heavy betting favorite, Don't Let'em left alertly from post two but Mass Fortune K (Matt Kakaley) was a step quicker through the opening quarter in :27.4. Gingras moved Don't Let'em to the front just before the half in :55.1 and was immediately joined on the outside by Pilot Discretion (Andrew McCarthy). Don't Let'em was able to turn back Pilot Discretion through the three-quarters in 1:23.2 and was on top with a two-length lead turning for home. Using a :28.2 final quarter, Don't Let'em stayed on task and trotted strong to the wire, finishing five lengths in front of late-closing Chin Chin Hall (Peter Wrenn). Pilot Discretion held on for third. "He's going to drive me crazy," trainer Nancy Johansson noted with a smile after the victory. "It's just whatever horse shows up. He obviously has tremendous speed. He has tremendous speed and the talent, he just needs to behave. I never know what horse is going to show up but when he is on his game, he's incredible." With the win, the son of Muscle Hill-Passageway recorded his fourth win from 13 outs this season and sports a 23-8-5-0 lifetime record. Owned by Brittany Farms, Christina Takter, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, Don't Let'em has amassed $569,967 in lifetime purse earnings. Don't Let'em was bred by Brittany Farms. One of the biggest upsets of the night came in the very next race on the program as De Los Cielos Deo (Matt Kakaley) got up in the final strides of the mile to upset the heavily favored Hickfromfrenchlick in the $225,000 Monument Circle Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. De Los Cielos Deo stopped the timer in 1:49.2. With an eight race-win streak on the line, Hickfromfrenchlick (Trace Tetrick) went to the front from post eight to dictate fractions of :26.4, :54.3 and 1:22.1 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. De Los Cielos Deo sat patiently in third for much of the mile but was in perfect striking position turning for home. Kakaley tipped De Los Cielos Deo and he found a :26.3 closing kick to track down Hickfromfrenchlick late in the lane. Dealer's Table and Sam Widger utilized a ground-saving trip to round out the trifecta. De Los Cielos Deo returned $10.40 to his backers at the betting windows. "I was confident coming into tonight," Kakaley said in the winner's circle. "He was good last week in the Breeders Crown. He's been pretty inconsistent but I knew if he showed up tonight he'd be good. I've only driven him a couple times but he's got the speed. The way the trip worked out for him tonight was beautiful." With the win, De Los Cielos Deo recorded his second win from 17 outs this season for trainer Ron Burke. The son of Captaintreacherous-Lisjune has now earned $425,080 in lifetime purse earnings and is owned in partnership by Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. De Los Cielos Deo was bred by Louis Willinger and Deo Volente Farms. 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 - 1,316.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,238; 3. Dexter Dunn - 964; 4. David Miller - 910; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 783. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,272; 2. Tony Alagna - 847; 3. Nancy Johansson - 662; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 637; 5. Marcus Melander - 603. Owners: 1. Courant Inc. - 274.5; 2. Brad Grant - 267.1; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 236.2; 4. Fashion Farms - 224.5; 5. Robert Key - 221. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs and The Meadowlands. Dover will host the four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds, while The Meadowlands will have eliminations for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds - the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid. by Paul Ramlow, for the the Grand Circuit

YONKERS, N.Y. – A few hours before the start of the Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, trainer Jeff Gillis found himself stuck in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike. Sleet, snow, and freezing rain made the typical 3 ½-hour drive to Dover Downs a 5 ½-hour ordeal and Gillis was in a race against the clock to get The Downtown Bus to the track in time to avoid scratching out of the $193,750 stakes. “The turnpike was a disaster,” Gillis said. “I wasn’t even sure I was going to make Lasix. Anything after that was a bonus.” Gillis and The Downtown Bus arrived at the track with just 30 minutes remaining in his window to receive the race day medication. Three hours later, Gillis stared up at a television screen in the paddock as his 19-1 longshot charged into a blistering pace and ended up on the far outside in a three-way photo finish with This Is The Plan along the pylons and Jimmy Freight between horses.  “The announcer called the two on the inside, (This Is The Plan) and Jimmy Freight, so I said to someone under the TV, ‘is there an inside bias here,’ because to the naked eye, I thought he might have gotten up,” Gillis said. “And then, when the announcer called it that way, I thought we were third.” The Downtown Bus did get up in time, but so did This Is The Plan. The pair tied for a dead heat victory in 1:49.1 over the sloppy track, a lifetime mark for both horses. The victory improved The Downtown Bus’s record to 11-for-25 with $287,837 earned. Gillis bred The Downtown Bus with longtime owner Ellen Ott and was overjoyed to see the Mach Three gelding win his first start outside Canada. “I was ecstatic,” he said. “We go back a couple generations with this horse and it was a big thrill.” The Downtown Bus is out of Slimsplace, a mare who has special meaning to Gillis. She is named after his father, Raymond “Slim” Gillis, who was killed in a car accident in June 2007. The mare by Artsplace out of the Jennas Beach Boy mare She’s Beachy earned $139,019 on the track for Gillis and became a part of the family. “I don’t desire to be in the breeding industry, but there’s some sentimental value. She was born six weeks before my dad was tragically killed in a car accident,” Gillis explained. “I always liked her, I liked the family, she’s quality, so it made it easier as well.” The Downtown Bus is Slimsplace’s second foal to race and the first to win a stakes race. The gelding is similar to his dam in temperament and complexion. “She was kind of relaxed. He’s got kind of a hair-trigger almost. To jog him, you have to take a whip or pack a lunch, one or the other because he mopes along as slow as can possibly be,’ Gillis explained. “He wears earplugs in a race because once you stir him up, he’s gone. He’s a little bit funny like that. Build-wise, they’re a little bit similar. They’re not very tall, but they have a lot of substance to them, they’re thick and muscular.” Gillis kept The Downtown Bus in Canada at 2 and 3, racing in Ontario Sire Stakes. He was winless in seven starts last year after suffering a series of minor setbacks, but put everything together this season. After finishing third in the Ontario Sire Stakes Final in October, Gillis tried his luck abroad. “I would have to be absolutely, supremely over-the-moon, in love with a horse that’s Ontario bred to pay him into stakes in the United States prior to the Super Final in Canada,” the trainer said. “You almost have to bypass a goal and I don’t particularly see the value in it, so I didn’t stake him that way.” After his successful stateside debut in the Matron, The Downtown Bus will test the waters on the half-mile track at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (November 24) in the $35,000 3- and 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace. He drew post seven and with Tyler Buter in the sulky, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The start worked out as Gillis is in the area to start Yonkers International Trot participant Will Take Charge in the TVG FFA Trot at the Meadowlands. “He’s not an overly big horse, he should get over a half pretty good and I do plan on racing him there in the future. This is intended to be his final start of the year,” Gillis said. “I thought it was worthwhile to see how he liked the track and whether there was something there for him in the future, just to see how he gets over it and have a bit more info before I put him away for the year.” The Downtown Bus’s rivals include Mac’s Jackpot, a winner of two straight including a wire-to-wire score in this class last time out. He is the 7-2 second choice from post eight. Air Strike finished second to Mac’s Jackpot two weeks ago and is 5-1 from post five for Brent Holland and Erv Miller. Machiavelli, The Wall, Pretty Boy Swag, Maroma Beach, and Avatar J complete the field. “I don’t really know a lot of those horses very well. The seven-hole on a half is never ideal, but he is the morning line favorite,” Gillis reasoned. “He looks like he should be competitive in there, we’ll see how it turns out. He’s pretty versatile. Tyler can leave with him or take back. If we take back, obviously we’re at the mercy of the pace, so we’ll see. “I am curious to see how he gets over the track,” Gillis continued. “It’s maybe something that we’ll look to down the road, maybe he’ll be a Levy-type horse. Who knows?” Saturday’s 12-race card also features a $44,000 Open Handicap Pace and a $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

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