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The “barefoot wonder” did it again as Sebastian K was able to lead from start to finish and set a harness racing track record for older horses with his 1:53 triumph at Vernon Downs Friday in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot. Leaving like he was shot out of a rocket, trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt has Sebastian K on the lead just moments after leaving the starting gate. Also leaving and securing the two-hold trip behind him was Archangel and driver Yannick Gingras as they sped to the opening quarter mile in an easy :28.1. Then in typical fashion, Svanstedt backed off Sebastian K to the half mile marker in :57.3 with Archangel right on their backs. It was then that Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick began to move up first-over and following their outside flow was Quick Deal (Matt Kakaley). When they passed the three-quarters in 1:26.3, Market Share was still gaining ground on the leaders and as they started down the stretch Archangel looked as if he had plenty of trot but no place to go as he was locked in behind Sebastian K with Market Share on the outside. Then in the stretch, Svanstedt let Sevastian K have his head and the world champion trotters pulled away from the group and went on to win with ease by two open lengths. Archangel was second with Market Share third. His 1:53 clocking tied the track record for older trotters that was first set in 2013 by For You Almost Free. “It was a great race,” said Bjorn “Bernie” Noren, second trainer for Ake Svanstedt, “He got an easy first half and a pretty good second half. It was an easy race for him tonight. During the off time he does what he always does. He trains twice a week intervals on the sand track and then go in the paddock the rest of the week. “It is such a great experience to have a good horse like him,” Noren said. “It is good to bring a top horse like Sebastian K here and that the fans really appreciate him. He has so many fans now and that is great for harness racing. We need that in our sport. “His next race will be at Hoosier Park on September 20 and then he will go to Lexington,” Noren said. Then we will go to Yonkers for their new International Trot and then maybe if all is OK we will supplement him to the Breeders Crown.” For Sebastian K it was his third straight win and eighth victory in nine outings here in the USA. His only loss was by a neck. The eight-year-old son of Korean was bred and is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Inc. of Vero Beach, FL. Sebastian K paid $2.30 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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

The winners over trot and the PA Stallion Series headlined the harness racing action at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday as Classic Martine set a track record. Race ten was the winner's over $25,000 lifetime trot. The wagering public put their faith behind nineteen time winner Classic Martine. As the wings closed, it was the Ron Burke trainee Quick Deal firing to the top, while the favorite ducked into the pocket. They remained in that order until three quarters, when Opening Night emerged out of third, but his bid was short lived. In the stretch, Quick Deal and Classic Martine dueled, with Classic Martine narrowly winning in 1:52, a track record for 4-year-old trotting mares. Uncle Peter finished third. Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Oakes, Zurich, and Gold, trained by Chris Oakes, and was driven by Tim Tetrick. There were also four divisions of Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers, each going for a purse of $20,000. In the first division, it was Phil Peavyhouse's PV Dragon (Dragon Again-Jin Millie) living up to his favorite status. At the start, it was long shot Rock Springs (Well Said-Dolphins Can Talk) sprinting away for the lead, arriving at the quarter in :27. Shortly after, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent PV Dragon out of third, forcing the lead change just before the half. He received mild first-over pressure from May I Cruise West (Yankee Cruiser-Maewest Hanover), but kicked away in the stretch, stopping the clock in 1:53.4. Sambestmckee (McCardle-Jackie's Cammie) came charging hard up for second, while Pennyforurthoughts (Western Terror-Find A Penny) finished third. PV Dragon is trained by Amber Buter. In division two, Kevin Switzer's Letsmakeawish (Western Terror-Dynamite Donna) made it three straight with an easy victory, stopping the timer in 1:54.1. He brushed to the lead just past the quarter, which went in 27.2. He was unchallenged until three-quarters, when eventual third place finisher Redneckyachtclub (Real Artist-Fast Ruffles) attacked first-over. In the stretch, Letsmakeawish drew clear, holding off a late rally from B Well (Well Said-Ms Amanda B) who went on to finish second. Letsmakeawish is trained by Ron Burke, and was driven by Yannick Gingras. In the third division, Up Front Racing's UF Larry Alltheway (Dragon Again-Varbo) lived up to his 4/5 favorite status. Off the wings, it was This Time (Well Said-Finishing Touch) driving for the lead, with the favorite settling into fourth. The fractions were pedestrian (:28.3, :59.3) before things picked up in the back half. UF Larry Alltheway drove up first over, and was on even terms with the leader at the top of the stretch, before pulling away under Tim Tetrick taps in 1:54.3 (:55 last half) for the win. My Hero Ron (Well Said-Erma La Em) rallied for place, while This Time held show. UF Larry Alltheway is trained by Kelly O'Donnell. In the fourth and final division, Erv Miller trainee Hall Of Terror (Western Terror-Maytime Hall) upset the field for his third career win. At the start, Mcjagersonthemove (McArdle-Grand Fancy) drove up to take the lead, with Cabo Sunshine (Well Said-Make Mine Hall) dropping into the pocket. Just before three quarters, Parklane Eagle (Somebeachsomewhere-River Hanover) moved first over to challenge for the lead. In the stretch, Hall Of Terror swung off cover, and swept by for the win, stopping the clock in 1:53.1. He is owned by Ervin Miller Stables, Paymaq Racing, R. Michelon, and L. Willinger, and was driven by Marcus Miller. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 25, 2014- Yonkers Raceway Friday night hosted the $197,500 Milt Taylor Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings, drawn and quartered. Odds-on Gabe the Bear Dean (Jordan Stratton, $2.90), leaving from post position No. 4, sat the loosest of pockets in the first ($49,150) division. He then held off Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) by a length in a snappy 1:58.3. They were both watching Commentary (Jim Meittinis) lead through fractions of :29, :58.1 and 1:28.4 before being tackled passing the three-quarters. The leader did easily hold third, as the other three entrants broke. For "Gabe," a son of Lucky Chucky co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker and Minix Stable, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $9.80, with the triple returning $71.50. "It's the first time I've driven him, but I've driven enough trotters for Ray (Schnittker) that I know always has them rigged correctly," Stratton said. "That was a very solid mile (previous life-best was a sloppy 2:03)." The second ($49,150) had another odds-on number, Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory, $3.50) do his work from first-up. Unhurried from post No. 2, he moved past a soon-to-break Azucar (Gates Brunet) after that one's early fractions of :30.4 and 1:01.2. "Mambo" hit three quarters in 1:31, before finishing his evening in a flat two minutes. He defeated Pier Ho Exotic (John Cummings Jr.) by a half-length, with Titanium (Bartlett) third. For Mambo Blue Chip, a Lucky Chucky colt trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Mal and Janet Burroughs, it was his second win in three '14 tries. The exacta paid $23.20, with the triple returning $58.50. "He's reminds me a of tint Budweiser Clydesdale," Gregory said. "He's big and strong. Once we were able to get around the first turn, that was my biggest concern. I figured we'd be alright after that." The evening's third ($49,150) statebred sojourn took on a different look when 1-5 fave Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) jumped it off in the first turn. That left 49-1 Tango Pirate (Truman Gale) giving the longshot legion fan club a shout-out through weight stations of :30.1, 1:00.1 and 1:30. However, Andy Ray (Brent Holland)-pocketed from post No. 5--closed ranks, then went by early in the lane. He held sway, beating Elusive Action (Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half in a maiden-breaking 2:00.2. Wings of Royalty recovered from his misdeed to finish third, beaten nearly eight lengths. For "Andy," a Crazed gelding trained by Erv Miller for co-owners Paymaq Racing, Ronald Michelon and Harvey Eisman, he returned $28.80 (fourth choice) for that first win in a couple of starts (first in NYSS competition). The exacta paid $198.50, with the triple returning $547. "I baby-raced him (Pocono) and he was alright," Holland said. "He's a solid-footed horse and he raced well tonight. I wasn't worried him getting over the track at all." The final ($50,050) sire stakes grouping saw pole-sitting 3-10 choice Royal Deceptor (Mickey McGivern) seemingly with his rivals under control (:29.4, 1:00.2, 1:29.3). He owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, then came down with a case of the staggers. He was passed late by both Credit Creation (Bartlett) and Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), with the latter on the outside getting the nod by a neck in 1:59.1. Royal Deceptor settled for third, beaten a length. For third choice Buen Camino, a Cash Hall gelding trained by his driver for Purple Haze Stables, he returned $16.40 for a successful parimutuel debut. The exacta paid $149, with the triple returning $360. "I was able to get away third (from post No. 4), and he was very comfortable," Smedshammer said. "The colt on the lead (Royal Deceptor) has been racing well, but turning for home, I thought we had a shot. I was all the way on the outside, and I really wasn't sure I beat Jason (Barlett, with Credit Creation) until I heard the starter say my number. "He was supposed to race last week (Tioga), but there was a race office error and we didn't get in. Since he's a Cash Hall, we gelded him right away. I'm happy with the way he's come along." Friday night's pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps-for distaff pacers and all-permitted trotters-were won by Robin Cruiser (Stratton, $5.20) in 1:52.3, and all-age track record holder Quick Deal (George Brennan, $4) in 1:54...fastest local trot mile of the season. New York Sire Stakes continue Monday night, with the $226,200 Art Watson Pace (3-year-old fillies). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

A track record fell today (Wednesday)  as James Moore's NF Happenstance stopped the clock in 1:52.2, which is the fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old mare trotter over the Harrah's Philadelphia five-eighth's oval. The featured event of the day was a Winners Over 25k Lifetime for trotters on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. NF Happenstance blasted off the wings at the start, only to find early pressure from the Ron Burke trainee Quick Deal. She would not concede the lead however, as she battled through swift fractions, and held off the pocket sitter Bambino Glide in the stretch to win by a narrow margin. The daughter of SJ's Caviar picked up her thirteenth career win for trainer/driver Jack Parker Jr. Driver Tim Tetrick at five wins on the card. Bambino a Glide was second, while Opening Night finished third. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Father Patrick, the three-year-old trotting colt who in many people's minds is the early favorite for 2014 Harness Horse of the Year, takes his personal Pennsylvania barnstorming tour to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Saturday night to contest the fifth race, one of three divisions of a $216,900 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event. The son of Cantab Hall, owned by the Father Patrick Stable of New Jersey (and named for a local Catholic priest), won his first two starts of this campaign in Sire Stakes action at tracks near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and Saturday he will take his overpowering act to northeast Pennsylvania. A pupil of Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, who calls this horse "potentially one of the greatest-ever trotters," Father Patrick has drawn post six in the seven-horse field, and Takter has selected 28-year-old Matt Kakaley, currently battling George Napolitano Jr. for the top rung in the Pocono drivers standings, to handle Father Patrick, as regular driver Yannick Gingras will be in Toronto Saturday, with many mounts on the big North America Cup card. A race earlier, the Takter-Kakaley team will send out Nuncio as the favorite in a Sires division for Stall TZ Inc of Florida. Like his stablemate, Nuncio is two-for-two this year, with wins in Sire Stakes action at The Meadows and Harrah's Philadelphia, and the son of Andover Hall will start from the middle of Saturday's seven-horse field. The third race Sires opener appears to be wide-open, with Wheelsandthelegman accorded a slight edge starting from the rail for trainer Walter Carroll, driver Jim Raymer, and owner Beth Carroll. The Donato Hanover gelding, unraced at two, had won his first four career races before finishing third behind Nuncio at The Meadows. (No, there's no Takter horse in the third race - but worry not for Jimmy, as he has yet another powerhouse sophomore trotting colt, Trixton, heavily favored in the $272,500 Goodtimes Trot on the big Saturday card in Toronto.) Also featured at Pocono Saturday are a pair of $25,000 Preferred events. The tenth race pace marks the return of Bolt The Duer (post three, driver Mark MacDonald), who equaled the then-alltime five-eighth mile track record of 1:47.4 here last year. Trotters grab the spotlight two races later, with Quick Deal, coming off a 1:51.4 tally at The Meadowlands, dealing with the outside post six for Kakaley and Pocono's leading trainer, Ron Burke. FINISHING LINES - It's likely that after this weekend Father Patrick and Nuncio will both be racing at Pocono the following two Saturdays, in the eliminations and (hopefully) final of the $500,000 Earl Beal Trot, the latter part of the $2.3 million Sun Stakes Saturday card June 28. Father’s Day is a great day to spend with your dad, and taking him to the racetrack is a great way to spend the evening!  This Sunday night, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is celebrating dads with a special giveaway.  The first 250 dads in the door, starting at 6:00 pm, will get a $10 live racing voucher, good for Pocono racing that night.  The line may form starting at 5:30 in the Pacers Clubhouse lobby. “We have so many great fans here at Pocono”, said Dale Rapson, Vice President of Racing Operations, “And a good number of them are fathers.  We did something special on Mother’s Day, so we had to make sure that our guests that are fathers get a treat also.” From the PHHA, for Pocono Downs

  The Friday night feature at The Meadowlands was a $20,000 B2/B1 handicap won by Quick Deal in 1:51.4.   Now six years old, Quick Deal still struggles with clean starts but when he gets away on the trot he is deadly. Driven for the first time by Ake Svanstedt for Meadowlands leading trainer Ron Burke, the win was the back end of Svanstedt's catch driving double for Burke,.Quick Deal went straight to the front and shook off a middle half challenge from Lauderdale through honest numbers of 27-, 54.4 and 1:23.4. Once clear of that rival around the final bend, the final quarter was an in hand 28 flat sprint for the winner.   Our Horse Cents Stables and Rossie Smith have endured the peaks and valleys associated with sharing the ownership of Quick Deal, tonight was a peak. The former $1,000 yearling has earned well in excess $300,000 in his racing career with tonight's mile a career best.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

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