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East Rutherford, NJ -- The first round of payments are in for the major Grand Circuit stakes to be raced in 2014 at The Meadowlands and the big news is the dramatic increase in the number of horses nominated to the $750,000e Meadowlands Pace. A total of 58 three year old colt pacers were named to the race, nearly double the 2013 figure of 30, and boast the most accomplished freshmen from last season and a few upstarts among the nominees.   The eligibles include the recently named 2013 Dan Patch Award winning two year old colt pacer He's Watching, Breeders Crown winner Luck Be With You, Metro hero Boomboom Ballykeel and Governor's Cup champ JK Endofanera. Both colts that won divisions of the Buddy Gilmour series so impressively on Saturday, Capital Account and National Debt, have been paid in as well.   Several tweaks in the payment formula resulted in greater participation by nominators. The most noticeable change was the reduction in the nomination fee from $1,000 to $500. Another is the inclusion of a tiered entry fee replacing a flat fee of $6,000 to enter the elimination round to $2,500 to start in the elimination race and then $5,000 to continue on into the final.   Other changes are being implemented going forward which include for the first time a two year old payment of $400 due March 15 on foals of 2012 which will result in a reduction of $2,000 in the sustaining payments for the 2015 Pace. The goal is to maintain and eventually increase the purse of the race while at the same time reducing the burden on the nominators   By mere association the Mistletoe Shalee filly companion stake leaped nearly 40%from 29 to 41.   Meadowlands General Manager and CEO Jason Settlemoir voiced his approval, "It's gratifying to see our signature race experience such a resurrection. It took some thought by the racing department Pete Koch, Darin Zoccali and Nick Salvi to revise a payment plan that was no longer working. The improvement is welcome and appreciated.   "With better weather ahead and the stakes season on the horizon, there is certainly cause for optimism. Saturday past the place felt alive, the crowd was not only large but also engaged. There was definitely the type of buzz in the building that we are expecting for the new grandstand."   Across the board on the stakes menu results were mixed. Substantial increases were realized in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Merrie Annabelle, a few more trotters were nominated to the Cashman Memorial and the TVG Trotting Championship. Those names include two noteworthy mares, Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and world record holder Maven. The older pacing mare stakes were up a bit as well.   The Del Miller for sophomore filly trotters took the biggest hit, down a third and several of the stakes for open older pacers also declined appreciably while the quality of the nominees held up nicely.   Nominations for all the races are now posted on The Meadowlands website. Keep in mind that these lists are subject to omission/correction.http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/StakesNominations.aspx From the Meadowlands Media Relations Dept.

Standardbred Canada has announced the winners of the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the event, the annual Black Tie Gala was held in Charlottetown, PEI, at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel and PEI Convention Centre. The awards are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. O’Brien was born in Alberton, PEI. Bee A Magician who was perfect in her 2013 season, was the unanimous choice in the Three-Year -Old Trotting Filly division and was also voted Canada’s Horse of The Year. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her races last season and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore campaign. The daughter of Hall of Fame sire Kadabra took a mark of 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The invincible filly’s stakes victories included the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Sylvain Filion successfully defended his Driver of The Year title. In 2013 he led all reinsmen in the nation in terms of purse earnings, as his mounts banked $6,111,736. Filion finished as the leading money-winning driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk Racetrack and Woodbine Racetrack. The resident of Milton, Ont. earned the Lampman Cup for the second straight year, as he topped the Ontario Sires Stakes standings for drivers. Filion celebrated his richest win of the season while steering Boomboom Ballykeel to a 10-1 upset victory in the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Richard Moreau was voted Trainer of The Year following an impressive season that saw his stable win 279 races and earn $3,623,805 in purses. The resident of Puslinch, Ont. earned training titles across Ontario at Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, The Raceway at Western Fair District and Woodbine Racetrack. Moreau topped the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. The 2013 season marked the 14th consecutive year that his stable has surpassed the $1-million mark in purse earnings. Alberta’s Kelly Hoerdt won the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. Hoerdt is a successful driver/trainer who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. The 2013 season was another productive year for Hoerdt, as he trained 82 winners and horses to $623,000, and drove 66 winners and horses that earned over $490,000. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in terms of earnings at Alberta Downs. His stable was led by sophomore pacing colt Premium Attaction, a multiple stakes winner that rattled off six wins in 11 races and over $111,000 Precocious Beauty was honoured as Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, $462,912 in purses and took a mark of 1:50.1 which tied a world record for a one-mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. The two-year-old pacing colt title went to Arthur Blue Chip, who scored six wins in 11 starts and bankrolled $400,120 for his connections. The son of Shadow Play took a mark of 1:51.2 in his Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk before being scratched ‘sick’ from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore in 2013 and added another O’Brien (Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year) to her trophy case. The talented filly boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner up finish in the American National. Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation took the hardware home as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of The Year. Vegas Vacation gave his connections the ride of a lifetime in 2013. Conditioned by Casie Coleman, the son of Bettors Delight put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 from 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses. He wheeled off victories in his first four races which included the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup. On September 19 he captured the Little Brown Jug in straight heats – both timed in 1:50. ‘Vegas’ finished his sophomore season with a win in the Matron Stakes to put his bankroll at just over $976,000. Anndrovette continued to dominate the pacing mare ranks in 2013, and, for the third consecutive year, was crowned Canada’s Older Pacing Mare of The Year. The daughter of Riverboat King was on the board in all but three of her 21 races. Some of her major wins included three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway along with the Roses Are Red and Breeders Crown eliminations. On July 20 at Mohawk Racetrack she captured the Roses Are Red final in a career best 1:48. The talented mare now has 35 lifetime wins and a career bankroll of almost $2.6 million. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again was voted Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of The Year. Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season, as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final, as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final for his third straight million-dollar campaign. He entered the year within reach of the all-time earnings record for pacers, and he managed to obliterate that mark by adding $1.4 million to his bank account while visiting 11 different racetracks along the way. He closed the season by sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at the Meadowlands. Riveting Rosie was the winner in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Riveting Rosie closed out her rookie campaign with six wins in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Her major victories included the Peaceful Way Final, her Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain Stakes. In the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division, it was Father Patrick who took the O’Brien trophy. He topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Series. Flanagan Memory was voted Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year after a productive season which saw him win seven of 11 races and $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning his Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Maven was voted Canada’s Older Trotting Mare of The Year. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She added wins in the Miss Versatility Trotting Series, an elimination and final of the Armbro Flight, and the Allerage. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her bankroll. For the second consecutive year, Mister Herbie captured the title as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse of The Year. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in stakes competition, including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067 in purses. Seelster Farms, of Lucan, Ont. was honoured as the Armstrong Breeder of The Year. In 2013, Seelster-bred horses scored 248 wins and $2.1 million in earnings. In the Future Star category, the winner of this first-time award was trainer/driver Travis Cullen. The 21-year-old Alberta-based horseman closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the final card of the meet while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. The complete list of winners follows. 2013 O’BRIEN AWARD WINNERS PACERS Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer - Precocious Beauty owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Arthur Blue Chip owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer - I Luv The Nitelife owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Vegas Vacation owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON Older Pacing Mare - Anndrovette owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Older Pacing Horse - Foiled Again owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL TROTTERS Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Riveting Rosie owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Father Patrick owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Bee A Magician owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Flanagan Memory owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Older Trotting Mare - Maven owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL Older Trotting Horse - Mister Herbie owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY PEOPLE AWARDS O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Armstrong Breeder of The Year Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON Driver of The Year Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON Trainer of The Year Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB STANDARDBRED CANADA MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARDS The Media Excellence Awards program, established by Standardbred Canada in 2008, is aimed at honouring exceptional work that covers Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal. Outstanding Written Work Paul Delean ’Reaching Improbable Heights’ 'Reaching Improbable Heights', written by Paul Delean, was published in the December, 2012 issue of Trot Magazine. It tells the story of trotter Intimidate’s incredible journey from obscurity to harness racing’s biggest stage and the ride of a lifetime that two smalltime owners from Quebec are still pinching themselves over. Outstanding Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group North America Cup HD Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group’s North America Cup broadcast aired across Canada on The Score television network on Saturday, June 26, 2013. The one-hour special of the $1-million North America Cup was the first live high definition broadcast of a standardbred race in Canada. The show featured live race coverage of the main event, a feature on Marvin Katz (co-owner of eventual winner Captaintreacherous) and a profile of a very special racing fan – Sydney Weaver. The broadcast was a production of WEG’s broadcast department, produced by Rob Platts and directed by Kris Platts. Outstanding Photography Clive Cohen Clive Cohen captured the sunset behind trainer Rene Dion warming up Ocean Mist Beauty on September 19, 2013 at Mohawk Racetrack. The image was published on WEG’s Facebook page later that night. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

January 25, 2014 -- The Ohio Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association will hand out its annual awards at the Ohio Harness Horseman’s Association banquet on Sunday, January 26, 2013 at the Columbus Marriott Northwest (Dublin). The Ohio Chapter has voted Brian Brown as the recipient of the Winner’s Circle Award for the Ohioan who has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the past year; named Joseph Essig as the Peter Haughton Memorial Award as the young Ohioan who is an “up-and-coming” star among harness horsemen; elected Eddie Wheeler into the Immortal Hall of Fame; selected Missouri Time into the Standardbred Hall of Fame; and will honor David Carr as the winner of the Rambling Willie Award for the Ohioan who has done the most for harness racing over the past two decades. 2013 was Brian Brown’s best year in terms of earnings ($1.5 million) and training wins (65), establishing a UTRS of .385. The native of Upper Sandusky, Ohio conditioned Limelight Beach (p,2,1:49.4 - $210,192), winner of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes, Color’s A Virgin (p,2,1:53.2s - $2111,700) and Beach Memories (p,3,1:48.3f - $429,739). Joseph Essig is the 21 year-old son of the 1986 Peter Haughton Memorial Award winner, Joe Essig, Jr. The younger Essig recorded 18 wins in 2013 and earned $97,106 in purse earnings, racing mainly at Hoosier Park and Lebanon Raceway. He is expected to be one of the top reinsmen at the new Miami Valley Raceway. Wheeler, a native of Troy, Ohio, was a highly respected by his peers as a horseman and driver. He trained and drove the great trotter Duke Rodney, winner of the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity, two of the Triple Crown legs in 1961. He later served as a second trainer for prominent horsemen such as Stanley Dancer, Tom Haughton and others. Missouri Time was one of the toughest distaffers ever to compete in the state of Ohio. The daughter of Race Time was bred by Billy Colson and campaigned by Dominic Staffery during her seven year career. She finished on the board in 90 of her 138 career starts and competed against the best mares in the country, including Silk Stockings, Handle With Care and Tarport Hap. She retired from racing in 1979 with $328,423 in earnings and a lifetime mark of 1:56.3f. Carr is a 30 plus year employee of the United States Trotting Association is the manager of the Information & Research Department for the USTA. Carr is an unsung hero to the publicists, writers and sales’ companies and was awarded the LeeAnne Pooler Memorial Award by the national U.S.H.W.A. in 2008. by Jay Wolf for Ohio Chapter USHWA

The Living Horse Hall of Fame nominating committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced the results of recent balloting to determine the 2014 inductees into the Harness Racing Living Horse Hall of Fame. Annual members (in good standing) voted for the two horses they felt best exemplified greatness. Their choices are racehorses Donato Hanover and Precious Bunny.   The other nominees were Fool's Goal, Real Desire and S J's Photo.   Also entering the Living Horse Hall of Fame in 2014 will be broodmare Hattie, having met the required criteria for induction (see below).   Donato Hanover, Precious Bunny and Hattie will be inducted on Hall of Fame Day, Sunday, July 6th, 2014. The ceremonies honoring these extraordinary Standardbred horses will take place during the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's annual dinner. For information on the Hall of Fame weekend and other festivities surrounding this important occasion visit www.harnessmuseum.com from April 2014 onward or call or write the Museum at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. Phone: 845-294-6330.   Standardbreds are only eligible for nomination to harness racing's highest accolade if they comply with the following strict criteria:   They must be retired from racing for five years and had a drug-free career. In addition, racehorses must have won 75% of their lifetime starts, or gone undefeated in a single season campaign of 12 or more races, or been the winner of $3 million lifetime or named Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada).   Stallions must rank among the 10 all-time leading money-winning sires at their gait or have sired at least 100 $200,000 winners or been a leading money-winning sire at his gait in three or more seasons.   BROODMARES are automatically elected if they have produced a $1 million winner and two other winners of $500,000 OR produced a Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada) and another $500,000 winner.   The 2014 LIVING HORSE HALL OF FAME INDUCTEEs   Donato Hanover (Nominated as Racehorse) 3,1:50.1 ($2,998,777) Bay Horse, 2004 (Andover Hall - D Train - Donerail)   2007 Hambletonian Stake winner and Horse of the Year Donato Hanover was the first trotter in history to earn more than $2 million in a single season. Foaled on May 3, 2004, he raced in 2006-2007 and never finished off the board, compiling a career record of 22-19-1-2. He is currently the fourth-leading single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time.   In 2006, two-year-old Donato Hanover finished third in his career debut, but would win his remaining 8 starts. The freshman earned $662,587 and was voted Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Major victories included the Peter Haughton Memorial (in a stakes record 1:55) and Breeders Crown.   As a three-year-old in 2007, Donato Hanover would extend his winning streak to 19, remaining undefeated until his last 2 races in November. Major victories that year included the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Hambletonian Stake, World Trotting Derby, Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity. Donato Hanover earned $2,336,190 that year, and became the first trotter in the history of the sport to surpass career earnings of $2.5 million during his three-year-old season. He broke the single-season moneywinning record for a trotter by well over $400,000 and was voted 2007 Horse of the Year. At the time of his retirement, Donato Hanover held the record for the fastest trotting mile on a mile track (1:50.1) and co-owned the record for fastest two-heat trotting race on a mile track (3:41.2).   As a sire, Donato Hanover has produced winners of over $12.6 million, including 2011 Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year and Breeders Crown winner Check Me Out 3,1:51.2 ($1,903,795).   Precious Bunny (Nominated as Racehorse) p,3,1:49.4 ($2,281,142) Bay Horse, 1988 (Cam Fella - Bunny's Wish - B.G's Bunny)   1991 Horse of the Year Precious Bunny was foaled on May 6, 1988. At the time of his retirement, he ranked as the number one single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time (currently ranked ninth) and the fifth-leading moneywinning pacer of all time. Precious Bunny raced from 1990-1991 and had a lifetime record of 39-21-5-4.   As a two-year-old in 1990, Precious Bunny had 14 starts, winning a New Jersey Sire Stakes event and finishing the season with a record of 1:57.2 and $63,920 in earnings.   In 1991, three-year-old Precious Bunny won 20 of 25 starts, including the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace (setting the stakes record in the second fastest race mile in harness racing history and fastest mile ever under the lights), Art Rooney Pace (stakes record), Adios (tying the stakes record and the world record for fastest mile by a Standardbred on a 5/8-mile track, and setting the world record for a second heat by a Standardbred on a 5/8-mile track - 1:50.4), Little Brown Jug (in straight heats with an electrifying start in the first), Cleveland Classic (stakes record), NJSS final and Windy City Pace.   With his Cleveland Classic victory, Precious Bunny became only the second Standardbred to earn over $2 million in a single season (Immortal Beach Towel 1990). He was the first to win two $1 million races in one season (North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace). Precious Bunny was voted Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt and Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada.   As a sire, Precious Bunny has sired North American winners of over $50 million, with 181 in 1:55, 141 $100,000 winners and three millionaires, including 2001 Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Bunny Lake. Precious Bunny was elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.   HATTIE (Broodmare) p,2,1:55.3 ($266,623) Bay Mare, 1992 (Abercrombie - Albaquel - Albatross)   Sired by 1978 Horse of the Year Abercrombie, pacer Hattie was bred by Richard Staley and was foaled on February 9, 1992 in Wallkill, New York. Hattie raced from 1994-1996 and compiled a record of 57-8-13-17 with earnings of $266,623. Her major career victories included a division of the 1994 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington, and a second-place finish in the 1994 Breeders Crown.   The progeny that qualified Hattie for the Hall of Fame are 2004 Meadowlands Pace winner Holborn Hanover p,5,1:46.4 ($2,070,648); 2006 Western Canada Pacing Derby winner Hyperion Hanover p,6,1:49.1s ($1,156,789) and Hillbilly Hanover p,4,1:49.3 ($592,218).   To date, Hattie has produced six fillies and seven colts, with thirteen starters and earnings of over $5,313,000. She is currently performing her broodmare duties for Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pennsylvania.   (USTA statistics as of January 2014)   Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame                    

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

Lindys Tru Grit will be seeking his second consecutive victory on a Chicago oval when he steps behind the gate in Friday’s $110,000 Galt Stake for sophomore trotting colts. Last week the son of Cantab Hall took a career record of 1:53.3 en route to capturing the $235,000 American National Three-Year-Old Colt Trot at Balmoral Park. Tim Tetrick steered the brown colt to his fifth seasonal victory for trainer Frank Antonacci, who conditions the youngster for his family’s Lindy Racing stable of Enfield, CT. “That was my first American National win and very exciting,” said Antonacci. “We love racing in Chicago and I think it’s a great test for a horse to go to different venues, different sized racetracks and do well. It’s a good opportunity for us this late in the year.” A winner of $291,924 in his career, Lindys Tru Grit came out of his American National victory in fine shape, Antonacci acknowledged. “He seemed fine after the win,” Antonacci confirmed. “There’s only six days in between starts and he’s plenty fit, so all week we’ve just concentrated on keeping him happy and jogging.” Lindys Tru Grit made only one start at two, but did take a qualifying mark of 2, Q2:00.1 in Lexington in late fall with his trainer at the lines. “Last year he was always battling bad allergies,” Antonacci explained. “He had terrible skin allergies and then would get sick. He battled back and forth with this problem all year long and it was a real struggle to keep him healthy. When he was feeling okay, he would show quarters in :28, and those sparks of speed were enough for us to keep him over the winter and try him again this year as a three-year-old.” In the end, Antonacci used an aggressive treatment to “de-sensitize him to his allergies.” “Him getting better could just be a natural function of the aging process, too,” Antonacci admitted. “It’s hard to say. But it was really a troublesome issue to deal with.” With his allergy problem behind him now, this year Lindys Tru Grit has secured victories in the $121,737 Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk; in the $75,000 Zweig at Vernon; and in a pair of Pennsylvania overnights—one at Pocono Downs and the other at Harrah’s Philadelphia — in addition to his Am-Nat triumph last week. “He’s great gaited, doesn’t wear (trotting) hobbles, and goes with a low head,” Antonacci said. “He’s got a little attitude — but just the kind that you like to see a horse have. He’s a very comfortable horse to be around and to have around in the barn.” Antonacci said he focused on getting Lindys Tru Grit confidence up early in the season, before sending him in against better horses. “For a horse like him that didn’t race at two, I look at the first half of this season like I would a horse’s freshman season,” he stated. “I let him run through the ranks at Pocono and let him progress there. It wasn’t until the third or fourth leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes that we started to get serious with him and he started to get confidence under his belt. He was also just a touch below the top horses but now is really coming into himself. He’s pretty fresh, especially for this late in the season. Lindys Tru Grit has drawn post six for the Galt Stake, but Antonacci thinks his versatile sophomore will be able to handle the task over the twice-a-rounder. “He’s got plenty of gate speed or can race off the pace,” Antonacci stressed. “I think whatever David (driver Miller) wants to do with him, he‘ll be able to with him. He can win on the front, be first-over, or race from off the pace. If he’s good, he’ll do it anyway he can.” Antonacci, 30, has conditioned 307 winners to $7,233,078 in earnings, and driven 100 winners to $906,022. His family’s name is synonymous with the trotting gait, as they have owned some of harness racing’s finest diagonally-gaited specialists, including Speedy Crown, Lindys Pride and $5.5 million dollar earner Moni Maker, to name just a few. A Boston College graduate, Antonacci first stepped into the spotlight in 2008 with the world champion Crazed, who earned more than $1 million at age three and won a Hambletonian elimination and finished second in the final. His other noteworthy trotters include Peter Haughton Memorial winner The Lindy Reserve and world champion filly Highscore Kemp. His father “Sonny” Antonacci established Lindy’s Farm in 1965, and to date the Antonacci family has assembled one of the finest trotting broodmare bands in North America. by Kimberly Rinker for Maywood Park

After two successful years in the USA, the Oscarsson family has decided to return home to Sweden again. Their new home track will be the Åby, outside of Gothenburg. In the fall of 2011, Jim and Susanne Oscarsson sold their racehorses in Sweden and left their training base in Eskilstuna to start a new life with their two children on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean with young horses they purchased at American sales. Career-wise, their move was a huge success. The Oscarsson-stable kicked off by winning the Peter Haughton Memorial with Aperfectyankee in 2012, a success which was followed by a fourth place in the Hambletonian earlier this summer. Another highlight this season was Nuncio’s second place in the Peter Haughton Memorial. ”We’ve been here for two years and a lot of has worked well," Jim Oscarsson said. "It’s been good times with very nice horses and many good owners, who I must thank. We had the possibility to increase our stable with many more nice horses at the auctions this fall, but sometimes you need to make a choice. The family has discussed it all and decided to return home." The Oscarsson’s are going to bring back around ten horses from the United States to compete with in Sweden and Åby. ”We will head home with the horses after the Breeders' Crown-finals, October 19th," Oscarsson explained. "We hope to have a few of our own qualified. Aperfectyankee and Nuncio both have many good races in Sweden next year, and there is a lot of money to race for at Åby Racetrack.” Reprinted from AGT Sweden at www02.atg.se

Grand Circuit racing continues on Friday at The Red Mile with three divisions each of the Bluegrass Stakes for two year old colt trotters and filly pacers.   Those freshmen will compete for total purses well in excess of a half million dollars and the "top of the crop" for each group are among the entrants.   The colt trotters will compete in the Walnut Hall Limited Cup, carded as races five, seven and ten, each a seven colt field for a purse of $90,100.   Father Patrick has been nothing short of sensational this season. The Cantab Hall colt has won the Peter Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands by ten lengths and more recently the William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk, where he established a new Canadian record for baby trotters of 1:53.4 in a five length romp. A winner of $436,507 this year, the only loss in Father Patrick's eight start career was a photo out in an overnight at The Meadowlands.   Jimmy Takter trains the colt for the Father Patrick Stable and Yannick Gingras will steer him as he has in every start this season.   On the distaff side, the fillies will race for just shy of $260,000 split three ways, race eight, nine and eleven. The "Belle of the Ball" thus far has been Jim Avritt's homebred Art Major filly Precocious Beauty. From his mare Precious Beauty, who produced North America Cup champ Sportswriter, Jim kept the filly he has described as "a perfect specimen" and she has lived up to his vision and then some. A winner of four straight in Ontario including the She's A Great Lady final and Eternal Camnation stakes, Precocious Beauty has amassed just shy of $360,000 on the strength of five wins and a pair of seconds from seven starts. Her 1:50.2 speed badge puts her just a fifth off the current world record for the division.   Top Canadian conditioner Gregg Mc Nair developed the filly and sends her out on Friday with her regular pilot, one of racing's brightest young stars, his son Doug.   Friday post time will be 7pm. The Red Mile is available at a simulcast venue near you or you may view the races by opening an account with their account wagering platform.   by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit

Royalty For Life’s winning performance in the Hambletonian was majestic enough for the 3-year-old colt to reign as the big winner in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Royalty For Life gained 214 points and vaulted into the Top 10, landing at No. 4. The top three horses remained unchanged, with idle Captaintreacherous at No. 1 followed by Bee A Magician and I Luv The Nitelife. Bee A Magician, who won the Hambletonian Oaks, added four first-place votes to her total and moved within 19 points of the top position. Also joining the Top 10 this week were John Cashman Jr. Memorial winner Sevruga and Peter Haughton Memorial winner Father Patrick. Pet Rock, Foiled Again and Wishing Stone dropped out of the Top 10. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 11 – 8/6/2013                                                               Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Captaintreacherous (26) 3pc 6-6-0-0 $1,126,168 338 1 2 Bee A Magician (9) 3tf 9-9-0-0 $773,206 319 2 3 I Luv The Nitelife 3pf 9-8-0-1 $574,547 263 3 4 Royalty For Life 3tc 7-4-1-0 $694,850 225 -- 5 Market Share 4th 4-3-0-0 $319,272 164 4 6 Maven 4tm 7-5-1-0 $203,370 103 5 7 Sevruga 5tg 16-9-4-2 $410,275 89 -- 8 Father Patrick 2tc 4-3-1-0 $168,375 69 -- 9 Anndrovette 6pm 14-6-6-1 $463,295 68 9 10 Warrawee Needy 4ph 15-7-3-0 $252,394 51 6 Also: Sunfire Blue Chip 43, Pet Rock 38, Foiled Again 30, Vegas Vacation 24, Shake It Cerry 17, Western Vintage, Wishing Stone 12, Smilin Eli, Thinking Out Loud 11, Drop The Ball 9, D’Orsay 6, Corky, Uncle Peter 5, Bolt The Duer 4, Feeling You, Razzle Dazzle 3, Hill I Am 2, Abelard Hanover 1. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

August 4, 2013 – While all eyes were centered on the Meadowlands in the afternoon, Handicapper Anne Stepien was able to take advantage of the three Hanover Colt Stakes at Balmoral Park in the evening to take the week’s top honors from Garnet Barnsdale in HANA Harness’ 2013 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Chicago Harness, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs.  At the end of the nine races conducted at the Meadowlands, Barnsdale led Stepien, but where Barnsdale was shut out at Balmoral Park, Stepien managed to pick up $162 in the Hanover Stakes turning her $109 deficit to a $53.10 victory for the week showing a weekly net profit of $446.60 to Barnsdale’s $393.50.  Perhaps more importantly, Stepien managed to move this week from fifth place to second place in the overall standings, behind leader Richard Scott who was idle this week and leads by $647.  Besides Stepien’s weekly net profit of $446.60 and Barnsdale’s profit of $393.50, Dennis O’Hara joined the duo with a weekly profit of $144.20.    The contest standings are:     Standings as of August 3, 2013   Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind Last Pos Days Missed 1st Richard Scott $0.00 $792.29   1st 4 2nd Ann Stepien $446.60 $145.45 ($646.84) 5th 0 3rd Rusty Nash ($11.22) $20.03 ($772.26) 2nd 1 4th Dennis O'Hara $144.20 ($159.45) ($951.74) 3rd 2 5th Earl Paulson $0.00 ($435.35) ($1,227.64) 8th 2 6th Mark McKelvie ($36.00) ($607.24) ($1,399.53) 4th 0 7th Ray Garnett ($67.20) ($1,044.15) ($1,836.44) 6th 1 8th Gordon Waterstone ($205.90) ($1,225.60) ($2,017.89) 9th 3 9th Garnet Barnsdale $393.50 ($1,487.00) ($2,279.29) 10th 6 10th Sally Hinckley ($287.10) ($1,584.90) ($2,377.19) 7th 0   Ten grace days permitted.  After ten days, there is a penalty of $30 per race.     Key Hits (Hanover Stakes at Balmoral Park, all others at Meadowlands)  Garnet Barnsdale – Peter Haughton Memorial - $15 Trifecta Box ($30 Ticket) paid $109.50, U.S. Pacing Championship - $30 Win Wager paid $744.00; Ray Garnett – Hanover 2yo Filly Pace 1st Division $5 Exacta Box ($30) paid $160.00; Mark McKelvie – Hanover 2yo Filly Pace 1st Division $10 Win, Place, and Show ($30) paid $106.00; Rusty Nash – U.S. Pacing Championship - $2 Exacta Wheel ($18) paid $259.00; Dennis O’Hara – Hambletonian 2nd Elimination - $8 Exacta Partial Wheel ($24) paid $176.00; Hambletonian Oaks - $4 Trifecta Key ($48) paid $168.40; Anne Stepien – Hambletonian 2nd Elimination - $10 Win, Place ($20) paid $98.00, Hambletonian Oaks - $5 Trifecta Key ($30) paid $210.50, U.S. Pacing Championship - $1 Exacta Box ($12) paid $192.50, $9 Place and Show ($18) paid $124.20,  Hanover 2yo Filly Pace 1st Division - $10 Win, Place, and Show ($30) paid $106.00. Contest Schedule This Week Wednesday, August 7, 2013 – Harrah’s Philadelphia - $97,323(Divided) E.H. Harriman Cup (2yoC&G Trot) by Allan Schott  

East Rutherford, NJ – Things just continue to get better for the Jimmy Takter Stable as his top two-year-old trotting colt, Father Patrick, was an impressive winner in the $280,000 Peter Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands Saturday. Great Society and driver Mike Lachance started off the 5th race on the lead from post six but gave way to Well Built (Ron Pierce) at the opening quarter mile in :27.4. And then it was Father Patrick and driver Yannick Gingras shooting to the lead but once they settled in, John Campbell came charging on the outside with Nuncio and they cleared to the lead after the half mile in :55.1. By the three-quarters in 1:24.4, Gingras was not content with sitting in the two-hole and they came right after and collared Nuncio at the top of the stretch and looked as if they were shot out of a cannon as Father Patrick pulled away in a romp to win by ten lengths in 1:54.1. Nuncio held for second with Southwind Spirit (Brian Sears) third. Sired by Cantab Hall and owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, NJ, it was the third win in four starts for Father Patrick, who paid $4.80 to win. Steve Wolf

Tim Tetrick will try to do what no driver has done in 25 years – win the Hambletonian in consecutive years. John Campbell, who has won a record six Hambletonians, was the last driver to accomplish the feat. He won in 1987 with Mack Lobell and in 1988 with Armbro Goal. Billy Haughton, who won with Steve Lobell in 1976 and Green Speed in 1977, is the only other driver to pull off wins in back-to-back Hambletonians in the last 70 years. Two other drivers won in consecutive years, Henry Thomas in 1937-38 and Ben White in 1942-43. Ron Pierce is trying to become the sixth driver with at least four Hambletonian wins. Pierce, who drives Spider Blue Chip in the Hambo, would join Campbell, White, Haughton, Stanley Dancer and Mike Lachance on the list. He also would give trainer Chuck Sylvester his fifth trophy, which would tie the record for most wins among trainers. The last trainer to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years was Per Eriksson in 1991 with Giant Victory and 1992 with Alf Palema. Linda Toscano, who won last year’s Hambo with Market Share, is without a starter in this year’s event. She will send Market Share into the John Cashman Jr. Memorial (see note below). This year’s Hambletonian features five trainers who have hoisted the trophy previously. They are Sylvester, Jimmy Takter, Noel Daley, Greg Peck and Ray Schnittker. The Hambletonian returns to the format it used from 1991 through 1996 with the eliminations and final on the same day and a horse only needing to win the final to be declared the champion. Elim winners, though, came back to win the final in five of those six years. The only exception was Alf Palema in 1992; he was second in his elimination. Market Share, last year’s Hambletonian winner, is back on Hambo Day in the $318,350 John Cashman Jr. Memorial (formerly Nat Ray Invitational) for older trotters. The 4-year-old is undefeated in three races this season and is coming off a victory in the Maple Leaf Trot. Market Share, who is the 6-5 morning line favorite, will try to become the first Hambletonian champ to win this event since Mack Lobell in 1988. Of course, as DRF Harness’ Derick Giwner pointed out earlier this week, only one other Hambo winner has competed in the race since then: gelding Vivid Photo. This year’s Cashman has six former Hambletonian finalists in the field, with Guccio, Uncle Peter, Hot Shot Blue Chip, Luckycharm Hanover and Wishing Stone joining Market Share. Only two horses in 32 years have won the Maple Leaf Trot and Nat Ray in the same year: San Pail (2011) and Rotation (2003). Five horses share the all-time record of 1:50.1 for trotting on a mile track. Two of those horses accomplished the feat in the Nat Ray: Chapter Seven in 2012 and Lucky Jim in 2009. While on the subject of fast times, Warrawee Needy, who earlier this year equaled the time for the fastest race mile in history (1:46.4) is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the $213,650 U.S. Pacing Championship for older male pacers. Sweet Lou, who in 2011 became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in history, and Bolt The Duer, the fastest horse ever on a five-eighths-mile track, are 3-1 and 4-1, respectively. Father Patrick and Nuncio, who have traded head victories the last two times out, are the top choices in the $280,500 Peter Haughton Memorial. Father Patrick, from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, is 6-5 on the morning line and Nuncio is 8-5. Jim Oscarsson, who trained last year’s Peter Haughton winner Aperfectyankee, trains Nuncio. Aperfectyankee will appear later on the card in the Hambletonian, along with Takter’s Corky, Dontyouforgetit and High Bridge. Corky was second in last year’s Peter Haughton. Takter sends four 2-year-old filly trotters into the $321,700 Merrie Annabelle final. Lifetime Pursuit, who is 3-for-3 this season for the Takter Stable, is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Another Takter trainee, Shake It Cerry, is 2-for-2 and a half-sister to Hambletonian starter Dontyouforgetit. She is the 5-2 second choice. Anndrovette, the two-time defending Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $217,100 Lady Liberty. Anndrovette, coming off a half-length victory over Drop The Ball in the Roses Are Red Stakes, set the pace in last year’s Lady Liberty before finishing third as Put On A Show set the record for fastest time ever for a female pacer (1:47.3). Drop The Ball is second choice at 5-2. The $55,000 Ima Lula Series final for older female trotters features five of last year’s Hambletonian Oaks competitors: winner Personal Style, runner-up Win Missy B, Real Babe, Maven and Check Me Out. Maven, who has won five of six races this season, is the 9-5 morning line favorite from post nine. Two-time divisional champ Check Me Out, who was the favorite in last year’s Oaks but went off stride on the final turn and was subsequently disqualified from third to eighth, is 5-2. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- When the Rev. Patrick McDonnell found out there was a 2-year-old named after him, he was flattered. He also was a little perplexed. The 2-year-old in this case was a racehorse. Hall of Fame harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter, who lives in East Windsor, named a colt trotter Father Patrick in honor of the Rev. McDonnell, who is the pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Hightstown. “A lot of people have babies named after them, but how many people have a 1,000-pound 2-year-old named after them? That’s kind of cool,” the Rev. McDonnell said. “It was a surprise and it’s an honor. I’m thankful for that. “But I don’t know what you do,” he added, laughing. “When you have a 2-year-old or someone has a birthday you buy them a little toy. I guess I have to buy him 60 pounds of carrots or something.” Father Patrick has seen his racing career get off to a strong start. He has won two of three races and will likely be the favorite in Saturday’s $280,500 Peter Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Father Patrick will start from post three with driver Yannick Gingras in a field of 10 2-year-old male trotters. The Peter Haughton Memorial is one of harness racing’s top stakes races for 2-year-old trotters. The premier race for 3-year-old trotters, the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes, also will be contested Saturday at the Meadowlands. Takter has three horses -- Corky, Dontyouforgetit and High Bridge -- in the Hambletonian. He has won the race twice, with Muscle Massive in 2010 and Malabar Man in 1997. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 3:30-5 p.m. Saturday. Father Patrick is a full-brother to stakes-winning trotter Pastor Stephen, who was named after the Rev. Stephen Heinzel-Nelson, the pastor of Allentown Presbyterian Church. Pastor Stephen won 10 of 22 lifetime races and earned $1.04 million before seeing his career cut short by injury. “I know of Pastor Stephen,” the Rev. McDonnell said, referring to both the man and the horse. “Hopefully we’ll be as successful as he was.” Father Patrick’s father is Cantab Hall, who won $1.44 million in his career and finished second in the 2004 Hambletonian. His mother is Gala Dream, who was unraced but is a half-sister to stakes-winners Sugar Trader and Chocolatier. Father Patrick was purchased for $105,000 as a yearling (under the name Royal Press) at the Lexington Selected Saleand is owned by a group headed by Takter’s wife, Christina. “I don’t think I’ve had a more gifted 2-year-old trotter at this point in his career,” Takter said about Father Patrick. “He has all the things I like in a horse. He’s a good sound horse. You can’t find any fault with him.” Takter became friends with the Rev. McDonnell through attending early morning services at St. Anthony. The two have known each other for a little more than a year. “It was nice that it started off with him coming to morning prayer when he could,” the Rev. McDonnell said. “The door was open and we got to know each other. “We know there is a little community here of people working with the horses and maybe someday we can work with them a little bit. We have a lot of people in our parish that are from Central and South America and they work in the stables. They’re kind of forgotten and sometimes fall through the cracks. This may be a way to begin ministering to them. ” The Rev. McDonnell, who grew up in Elizabeth and knew little about racing prior to following Father Patrick’s career, has been a priest for 40 years, the last 13 of which have been spent at St. Anthony. “He’s such a great guy and I think this is a really, really, really special horse,” Takter said. “It’s a big congregation and hopefully we’ll get some people interested in the races. It’s a lot of fun.” Following is the field for the Peter Haughton Memorial with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jim Oscarsson; 2. Derby, Ray Schnittker, Schnittker; 3.. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 4. Southwind Spirit, Brian Sears, Ron Burke ; 5. Kapow Hanover, Ron Pierce, Staffan Lind; 6. Great Society, Mike Lachance, Tony Alagna; 7. Well Built, Ron Pierce, Chris Ryder; 8. Song In My Heart, David Miller, Linda Toscano; 9. Quikwit, Tim Tetrick, Stefan Lind; 10. Donato’s Wish, George Brennan, Ray Schnittker. by Ken Weingartner  

Eliminations for the important two year old trotting stakes, the Merrie Annabelle and Peter Haughton Memorial, were contested at the Meadowlands on Friday night and the meet's leading driver and defending champ Yannick Gingras swept all three races. With a dozen fillies entered in the Merrie Annabelle, byes were offered to and accepted by top money winners Cee Bee Yes and Shake It Cerry. That left ten fillies to pare down to eight and Lifetime Pursuit continued to impress and remain unbeaten with a comfortable 1:55.2 score, matching her record. Yannick moved her to the front by the three eighths and the race, for all intents and purposes, ended there. Cooler Schooner held the place and Heaven's Door raced well to be third after an early miscue. By winning the elimination, Lifetime Pursuit gains the advantage of having her connections select her post position for the $321,700 final on Hambletonian Day. She is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, who holds a very strong hand for the final. The Cantab Hall - Queen Of Grace filly is a homebred, owned by Hall of Famer George Segal's Brittany Farms. The Peter Haughton Memorial drew fourteen entrants, so two fields of seven went postward with ten advancing. Southwind Spirit, one of the more visible representatives of Muscle Hill's successful first crop, rebounded from a narrow defeat in the NJSS final to win the first division. Gingras set him out in the passing lane up the backstretch and ground up uncovered, moving away to a clear 1:57.3 win. Derby rallied in the stretch but could cut into the margin, while Quikwit held for third. Ronnie Burke trains the colt, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi, LLC and Stable 45. The second elimination shaped up as a rematch between two very good colts and Father Patrick avenged his only career loss by nipping Nuncio in the shadow of the wire, trotting the fastest mile in the history of the stake, 1:53.4, albeit in an elimination. The Cantab Hall colt from Gala Dream will also have the opportunity to settle an old score for his brother, Pastor Stephen, who won the Haughton final in 2010 but was disqualified. Father Patrick, also a Brittany bred, is owned a group that is identified by the colt's name. He is trained by Takter and was driven by Gingras. Yannick will have a pair of choices going into the $280,500 Haughton final, deciding between winning colts for his mount and then the starting point for his selection. Betting handle was solid once again, total handle topped $2.4 million, an increase of 46-percent. In addition, live handle was up 25-percent on pleasant evening in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Rachel Ryan  

Swedish harness racing trainer Jim Oscarsson moved to Florida a few years ago to escape harsh winters and chase his Hambletonian dream. Oscarsson may have found the perfect storm in Aperfectyankee, currently ranked third on the Road to the Hambletonian top ten list.

Aperfectyankee had a perfect day at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday, winning the $387,250 Peter Haughton Memorial in 1:54.1 for harness racing Swede Jim Oscarsson, who owns, trains and drives the 2-year-old colt trotter.

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