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LEXINGTON, KY--Off a decisive harness racing  victory in her Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) division last week, Ms Savannah Belle returned to The Red Mile with a pocket-rocket mile of 1:53.3 to take the first of three $30,000 third-preliminary KYSS divisions for two-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday, Aug. 31. Crucial protected position from the pylons while Ms Savannah Belle ducked for the pocket heading to a :28.4 opening quarter. Bange Bi raced wide from third and progressed towards the pacesetter nearing a :57.1 half but failed to clear. Crucial kept Bange Bi parked past three-quarters in 1:26.2 before the first-over challenger dropped anchor and opened room for Ms Savannah Belle to pounce. Driver Jimmy Takter sent the Muscle Hill filly after Crucial at the head of the stretch and kicked clear to a four-and-three-quarter length victory over Heaven. Crucial held third. A homebred for Al Libfeld, Ms Savannah Belle won her second race from five starts, earning $54,658. Per Engblom trains the $2.80 winner. Driver Chris Page circled 3-2 favorite Violet Stride to the front past the quarter and held firm on the lead in progress to a 1:55.2 victory in the second KYSS filly split. Page positioned the Trixton filly third behind early duelers Do You Wanna Dance and Julia C heading to a :28.3 first quarter. He then sent the Mark Harder trainee after Do You Wanna Dance and took control before a :57.4 half. From there she withstood minor first-over pressure from Julia C passing three-quarters in 1:27.1 while holding off that challenger by two-and-three-quarter lengths at the finish. Sequin rallied from a pylon trip for third. Bred by Kentuckiana Farms LLC and Jorgen Jahre Jr., Violet Stride won her second race from six starts, earning $34,250. Emilio & Maria Rosati own the $5.00 winner. Page also steered Cover Girl to a 1:56.3 victory in the final filly division of KYSS. Even-money favorite Caviart Eva cleared the front moving to a :29.3 opening quarter while Page had Cover Girl placed fourth. He soon pulled the Paul Kelley trainee first over past a :59 half and rushed to the helm circling the final turn. Cover Girl led Caviart Eva passed three-quarters in 1:28.2 and strode clear to a two-and-a-half length victory. Miss Kendra D, off a pylon trip, took second while Caviart Eva settled for third. Winning her first race from three starts, Cover Girl has earned $25,500 for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, T L P Stable, S R F Stable and Lawrence Thomases. The Muscle Hill filly--bred by Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband--paid $4.80 to win. Expectations topped the two KYSS colt dashes with a wire-to-wire victory as the 1-5 favorite. Driver Mattias Melander had the Marcus Melander trainee on the lead while Hit Show tracked from the pocket approaching a :28.4 opening quarter. The Muscle Hill colt endured no challenge from there, trotting a half in :58.3 and three-quarters in 1:27.3 in progress to a three-length victory in 1:55.3. Hit Show held second while Mcmatters rallied from off cover for third. Owned by Vicky Trotting Inc. and bred by Dunroven Stud LLC, Expectations won his second race from six starts, earning $76,899. He paid $2.60 to win. Ready For Moni ranged to the front from the outermost post in the other KYSS colt division and coasted clear of his rivals to win by five-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:57.3. Driver Jimmy Takter floated the Ready Cash colt towards the front when racing in the center of the course nearing the first turn. Ready For Moni crossed to the lead past a :30.4 opening quarter and slowly widened his lead through a 1:00.3 half and past three-quarters in 1:29.4. Ontopofthehill rallied from a pylon trip to chase the Per Engblom trainee for second while Legion Of Honor, pulling first over around the final turn, took third. Collecting his third victory from four starts, Ready For Moni has banked $36,500 for owners John Fielding, Herb Liverman, Bud Hatfield and Lindy Farms Of Connecticut. The Moni Maker Stable bred the colt who paid $3.20 to win. KYSS action resumes at The Red Mile on Sunday, Sept. 1 with two divisions for frosh pacing colts and a single split for frosh pacing fillies. The card will start at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).     By Ray Cotolo   for The Red Mile

MILTON, ON - August 27, 2019 - McWicked, the richest pacing stallion in harness racing history with over $4.5 million earned, returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park this Saturday's (August 31) to defend his title in the $525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Owned by Ed James' S S G Stables, McWicked sat atop the free-for-all pacing ranks last season with a campaign consisting of 12 wins from 19 starts and earnings of over $1.6 million. The son of McArdle also overcame a season-long challenge by besting the down-under wonder Lazarus N in progress to a horse of the year title--making him the oldest recipient of the honour in the sport's history. While Mcwicked won in his seasonal debut this year, he has since mostly only collected cheques in his division's top events--losing thrice to Canadian Pacing Derby favourite Lather Up. However, Coleman has only seen improvement from her stable's star. "He's always been a great horse, but I think the competition this year is the toughest it's ever been yet," Coleman said. "Lazarus was a good horse no doubt, but I was never one that lived up to how much they hyped that horse up--he was a very good horse but I always thought I was better than him. "Basically, I don't think Lather Up and Lazarus are in the same league," Coleman also said. "I think Lather Up is a complete freak and I am scared of him--I think on a smaller track I have a better chance to beat him if he doesn't pace the turns so well, but on a big track that horse is a beast. Whereas I never went to the gate thinking I couldn't beat Lazarus; I always thought I could beat Lazarus. And with Lather Up I realize that I need a lot of things to go my way and a lot of things to not go his way in order to beat him." Mcwicked, who Coleman said is training as good as he has ever trained, faces a field composed mostly of four-year-olds. He will rematch others who have beaten him this year, including This Is The Plan (PP1) and Jimmy Freight (PP4). Mcwicked starts from the outermost post in the field of nine with David Miller in the bike. "I wanted to get sick when I saw the draw," Coleman said. "The nine hole in that field... he's got his work cut out for him. That's going to be a tough race. If he had an inside post, I'd feel a whole lot more confident, but the nine hole is going to be tough, especially since Wicked doesn't normally leave a whole lot. He'll definitely be giving it all he's got. It's just that in this class of horses, everybody can come home in :25-and-a-piece and :26. So we need to hope he's not spotted too far off coming down the lane. "But saying that, the horse is in great shape," Coleman also said. "He's healthy, sound, feeling great, couldn't have trained any better this morning. Everything seems very, very good with the horse. I just really wish we could've drawn a little better but now we need a little bit of racing luck to work that way." While Mcwicked faces a challenge Saturday night, the aged dynamo could have a chance to claim stakes glory as a nine-year-old. "He's sound, healthy, sharp, you would never know the horse is eight-years-old," Coleman said. "As I've always said, if he was my horse, I would be taking one of these offers to go to stud because I just know how much money these horses make when they go to stud. "But his owner is bound and determined; if [McWicked's] racing top level and he's healthy, he wants to keep racing. It's great for harness racing that a horse like him can stay on the track this long." The Canadian Pacing Derby is carded as Race 8 on Saturday's $1.6 million card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $525,000 Maple Leaf Trot joins the 'Pacing Derby' as a co-main event. Post time is 7:10 p.m. No Training Saturday at Mohawk Park Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to inform all horsepeople of a trio of Saturdays when training will not be available at the track. The track and paddock will be closed on August 31, September 14 and 21. Only horses in retention for that evening’s stakes races will be allowed to use the track on those dates. By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Entertainment

LEXINGTON, KY--Driver Andrew McCarthy pushed Dancin Lou to the lead through a quick tempo and widened his advantage through the stretch to win the fastest of two $30,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) second preliminary divisions on Sunday, Aug. 25 at The Red Mile.   Western Exposure left for the front from post 8 while Pyro tucked into the pocket. Even-money favorite Native's Sweetlou raced third before tipping off the pylons with Dancin Lou in tow heading to a :27.1 first quarter. Native's Sweetlou took the lead up the backside but yielded for the pocket as Dancin Lou marched by to control the pace past a :53.2 half.   Dancin Lou then withstood a minor late challenge from Native's Sweetlou past three-quarters in 1:20.4 in progress to an open-length victory in 1:48.3. Native's Sweetlou held second from Odds On Boca Raton rallying from last for third.   A son of Sweet Lou bred by Anvil & Lace Farm, Dancin Lou won his seventh race from 12 starts this season and his eighth from 22 overall, earning $105,203. Tahnee Camilleri conditions the $6.80 winner for owners David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd.   Odds-on favorite Can't Beach That swept to the front passing the half and maintained command in progress to a 1:49 victory in the $30,000 opening division of Kentucky Sires Stakes.   Captain Ahab cleared control from the outermost post with stablemate Major Deception securing the pocket and Can't Beach That, starting from post 1, moving into third. Captain Ahab took the field by the first quarter in :27.4 but yielded the lead as Can't Beach That blitzed to the top past a :54.3 half.   Skip To My Lou--under a tight hold--edged outside and advanced towards Can't Beach That moving to the final turn, pressing the pacesetter towards three-quarters in 1:21.4. Can't Beach That extended his lead through the stretch while Captain Ahab slid through an inside seam for second while Skip To My Lou finished third, but was placed fourth due to flattening the tire of Major Deception, who finished fourth but was placed third, past the half.   Winning his fifth race from 10 starts this season and his sixth from 19 overall, Can't Beach That has earned $99,104 for owner-breeder Melvin Segal and co-owners Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran. Chris Page steered the $3.00 winner for trainer Brett Pelling.   Beautyonthebeach brushed to the front and faced little challenge when taking the lone $30,000 KYSS split for three-year-old pacing fillies.   Driver Brett Miller placed Beautyonthebeach fourth while Summer Charm led the field towards a :27.4 opening quarter. Miller then angled the Gregg McNair-trained daughter of Somebeachsomewhere wide and rushed to the top before a :55.4 half.   Carousel pulled first over from sixth heading towards the final turn and approached the pacesetter moving to three-quarters in 1:23.3, but promptly retreated when straightening for the finish. Beautyonthebeach kicked clear of her competition by the eighth pole to win by open lengths in 1:50.4. Hydration weaved through competition off a pylon trip to take second while Margret Hill rallied through the center of the track for third.   A homebred for James Avritt Sr., Beautyonthebeach won her third race from 10 starts this season and her eighth from 23 overall, earning $334,873. She paid $2.60 to win.   KYSS action resumes at The Red Mile on Saturday, Aug. 31 with the third preliminary for two-year-old trotting colts and fillies. The card will start at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

LEXINGTON, KY--Off at odds of 120-1, Strip It Down As reeled in tempo-setter Asiago and nailed the 1-9 favorite on the wire to upset in the first of two $30,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) harness racing divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies at The Red Mile on Saturday, Aug. 24. Asiago took control early and faced little challenge while setting a clip of :28.4, :56.1 and 1:24. Driver Elliot Deaton had Strip It Down As positioned third and sent the son of Archangel after Asiago rounding towards the top of the stretch. Asiago led by open lengths into the sixteenth pole but Strip It Down As cut into the leader's margin and stuck a head in front at the finish in a 1:52.4 mile. Asiago settled for second while Back Splash gave chase a couple lengths back in third. Returning $242.80 to win, Strip It Down As won her second race from four starts this season and her fourth from 11 overall, earning $60,929. Anette Lorentzon conditions the filly for owner-breeder Acl Stuteri Ab and co-owner Kjell Johansson. Driver Andy Miller placed French Cafe on the front and set a slow tempo when going coast to coast with a 1:54.3 mile in the second KYSS filly division. The Julie Miller-trained daughter of Father Patrick took command from Whispering Oaks in second and Caterina Hall in third. French Cafe controlled the speed through fractions of :29 and :58 before enduring minor first-over pressure from Fade Into You circling the final turn. Race-favorite Queen Of Trixs sat second over passing three-quarters in 1:26.1 before angling towards the center of the track for a final-quarter sprint. French Cafe maintained the front through the lane while Queen Of Trixs gave pursuit from second, with Fade Into You holding third. Winning her second race from six starts this season and her fifth in 15 overall, French Cafe has earned $117,900. The homebred for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld returned $5.20 to win. Chin Chin Hall hustled off cover in the stretch drive to take the opening division of KYSS for sophomore trotting colts in 1:52.4. Sheer Muscle moved for the lead with Thunder venturing wide to take control past a :29 quarter. Pilot Discretion, sitting third, brushed for the front and cleared command while accelerating towards a :56.4 half. Super Schissel tipped first over and ranged forward to match strides with the leader nearing three-quarters in 1:25.2. Chin Chin Hall followed from second over and fanned wide at the head of the stretch. Pilot Discretion clung to command as Super Schissel stalled between horses before Chin Chin Hall kicked past the two in progress to a two-and-a-quarter length victory. Pilot Discretion held second while Super Schissel settled for third. A Walnut Hall Limited-bred gelded son of Cash Hall, Chin Chin Hall won his third race from five starts this season and his fifth from 12 overall, earning $259,680. Richard "Nifty" Norman conditions the $4.40 winner for owners Oldford Racing LLC and David McDuffee. Stalking dueling leaders around the final turn, driver Andy Miller sent Yankee Glide gelding Zack's Got The W towards the center of the track to grab victory in the second KYSS colt division. The Erv Miller trainee sat pocket to Manatlas, who passed the first quarter in :27.4. Seven Hills, racing fourth, angled first over and marched towards his stablemate after a :56.1 half. The pair raced side by side when approaching three-quarters in 1:24.4 while Andy Miller moved Zack's Got The W from the pocket to the outside of the battling leaders when straightening for the finish. Zack's Got The W dashed to the lead nearing the finish while Guaranteed, also stalking the leaders, rallied even wider for second. Seven Hills held third. Owned by Ervin Miller Stable Inc, Greg Gillis and Harvey Eisman, Zack's Got The W won his second race from 11 starts, earning $34,120. Fredericka and Elizabeth Caldwell bred the $19.20 winner. KYSS action resumes at The Red Mile on Sunday, Aug. 25 with two $30,000 divisions for three-year-old pacing colts and a $30,000 single 12-horse dash for sophomore pacing fillies. The card will start at 7:00 p.m. (EDT). by Ray Cotolo, for the Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY--A pocket trip poised Catch The Fire for a 1:50.4 blowout mile in the fastest of two $30,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) harness racing divisions for two-year-old pacing colts on Thursday, Aug. 22 over a track rated "good" at The Red Mile.   Driver Mike Wilder placed the John Ackley trainee on the helmet of early leader Fortify heading to a :28.1 first quarter. Wilder then circled the Captaintreacherous colt to the front but yielded as Lottery Winner marched towards the top past a :55.3 half.   Starship tipped first over from fourth approaching three-quarters in 1:24, forcing Catch The Fire to vacate the pocket at headstretch. Catch The Fire then shot past Lottery Winner and opened four-and-a-half lengths on Starship giving pursuit from second while Fortify held third.   Winning his third race from six starts, Catch The Fire has earned $67,022 for owner CT Stables LLC. He paid $11.00 to win.   Moneyman Hill stalked from the pocket and inherited the front from a rough pacesetter to win the first division of KYSS in 1:51.2.   Driver Scott Zeron sent Moneyman Hill towards the front but yielded for the pocket as Its Showtime brushed to control heading to a :28 opening quarter and accelerated towards a :55.1 half.   However the pacesetter veered wide rounding the final turn, giving Moneyman Hill the lead approaching three-quarters in 1:23.1. The Somebeachsomewhere colt maintained command through the stretch while chased by Sea Of Life, pulling from the pocket for second. Roll With Jr, angling first over from fourth at the top of the stretch, took third.   A son of Somebeachsomewhere, Moneyman Hill won his first race from five starts, earning $34,730. Brian Brown conditions the Tom Hill homebred who paid $9.00 to win.   Sent the 2-5 favorite, Baby Your The Best swept to the front moving towards the final turn and cruised clear to a 1:52.2 victory in the first of two KYSS splits for two-year-old pacing fillies.   Ellagator took control heading to the first turn while Blood Red ground first over towards the top nearing a :28.4 opening quarter. Blood Red cleared to the cones and led briefly before driver David Miller angled Baby Your The Best from third to the top heading to a :56.4 half.   The Captaintreacherous filly continued to control the pace while pressured slightly by Sail By, stalled wide of the leader at the third station in 1:25.3. Sail By gave way through the stretch as Baby Your The Best kicked clear of her competition, with Blood Red finishing second and Ellagator third.   Owned by Richard and Joanne Young, Baby Your The Best won her first race from four starts, earning $68,720. The Linda Toscano trainee returned $2.80 to win.   Firefly pulled to the front past the quarter and went a slow clip when holding off a backfield blitz in a 1:54 mile to take the other KYSS filly division.   Pristine Beauty pushed for the front while Firefly floated for position from the pylon post rounding the first turn. Driver Andrew McCarthy then angled Firefly for the lead heading to a :29.2 opening quarter and led the field to a :57.2 half.   Wayside, racing third, edged first over moving into the final turn. Even-money favorite Gai Waterhouse tracked cover from second over while Shining Beauty raced third over in a flow nearing the pacesetter heading to three-quarters in 1:26.1.   Wayside retreated through the stretch while Gai Waterhouse and Shining Beauty fanned off cover and chased the drifting leader from the center of the track. However Firefly held on in the final-quarter sprint to win with Gai Waterhouse second and Shining Beauty third.   Returning $29.20 to win, Firefly won her second race from eight starts this season, earning $29,000. Richard "Nifty" Norman conditions the Somebeachsomewhere filly for owners Charles and Julie Nash.   Kentucky Sires Stakes action resumes at The Red Mile on Saturday, Aug. 24 with two $30,000 divisions each for three-year-old trotting colts and fillies. The card will start at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile    

LEXINGTON, KY--The Ready Cash colt Ready For Moni stalked the speed for the first half of the mile and then pounced on the final turn, surging to a four-length victory to trot the fastest mile of the three $30,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) divisions for two-year-old trotting colts on Sunday, Aug. 18 at The Red Mile.   The Per Engblom trainee sat in the pocket to a :27.4 first quarter while Father Figure protected position from the pylons to lead briefly. Hit Show parked when trying to take the lead around the first turn but promptly ducked to fourth as Father Figure maintained his speed towards a :56.2 half.   Ready For Moni pulled from the pocket rounding the final turn and edged past the pacesetter after three-quarters in 1:26.2. From there Ready For Moni scooted clear of Mcmatters rallying off cover to take second from Legion Of Honor holding third.   Winning her second race from three starts, Ready For Moni has earned $21,500 for owners John Fielding, Lindy Farms Of Connecticut, Herb Liverman and Bud Hartfield. Jimmy Takter drove the $2.80 winner.   Ontopofthehill vaulted off cover to take the first division of KYSS for two-year-old trotting colts, stopping the clock in 1:57.   Uncle Ed launched for the top from the outside while Father Dunn moved into second and Bold Moves into third. Ontopofthehill sat sixth past a :29.3 before catching cover from St Martins, who marched uncovered towards the leader through a :58.4 half and drew to equal terms by three-quarters in 1:28.1.   Driver Chris Page pulled Ontopofthehill off cover for the stretch drive while St Martins lost momentum and went on a gallop. Uncle Ed battled back at the pylons but managed only to hold second, three-quarter lengths behind the winner, while Hemisphere rallied from last to take third.   Owned by Elite Trotting, Ontopofthehill won his first race from six starts, earning $34,021. Ron Burke conditions the Brittany Farms-bred son of Muscle Hill who paid $4.20 to win.   Expectations protected the front and turned away a first-over challenge to take the final KYSS colt split in 1:55.4.   Driver Mattias Melander pushed the Marcus Melander trainee from the pylons but yielded the lead to Sheena Soldier heading to a :28.3 opening quarter. Melander then swung the Muscle Hill colt around Sheena Soldier to take command moving up the backstretch. Sermon, sitting third, tracked his move but got caught first over while matching strides with the leader past a :56.3 half.   Sermon stuck to Expectation's side passing three-quarters in 1:25.3 but soon faltered through the stretch. Rays The Limits, stalking the speed duel from fourth, angled towards the center of the course and rallied for second while Jax Reddy came from last for third.   Bred by Dunroven Stud LLC, Expectations won his first race from five starts, earning $61,899. Vicky Trotting Inc. owns the $3.60 winner.   Odds-on favorite Ms Savannah Belle travelled overland to win the fastest of the three $30,000 KYSS filly splits by a one-and-a-quarter lengths when trotting a 1:55 mile in the opening division.   Driver Jimmy Takter positioned the Muscle Hill filly fifth while 117-1 shot Oblivion landed on the lead past a :29 opening quarter. Takter then tipped the Per Engblom trainee first over and gained on the leader past a :57 half while flushing cover from Fortune Telln Lady heading towards three-quarters in 1:26.2.   Ms Savannah Belle fanned towards the center of the course moving to the top of the stretch and slid to control as Guinevere Hall hustled through a seam at the inside to take second, one-and-a-quarter lengths behind. Caviart Guilia closed for third.   A homebred filly for Al Libfeld, Ms Savannah Belle won her first race from four starts, earning $39,658. She paid $3.20 to win.   With early leader Caviart Eva going on a break past the quarter, Crucial inherited the top and held command for the remainder of the mile to take the second filly split of the KYSS.   Caviart Eva cleared the front from post 7 circling the first turn while Crucial slid into the pocket ahead of Molto Bene racing third. Following a :29.2 opening quarter Caviart Eva began to gallop and retreated towards the rear of the field while Miss Kendra D angled first over to challenge the leader after a :59.2 half.   Miss Kendra D drew closer to the Ron Burke-trained daughter of Father Patrick and raced only a neck off the lead past three-quarters in 1:28.4 but began to stall when turning for the finish. Molto Bene went on a break from the pocket, which also knocked Sentebale, Hecate and Billie Claire off stride in the backfield all while Crucial clung to a slimming lead. She hit the finish a neck better than Shishito, who closed from second over to take second. Miss Kendra D settled for third.   Winning her third race from four starts, Crucial has accrued $67,623 in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, William Donovan, Jerry & Theresa Silva Stables, Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Chris Page piloted the $3.20 winner.   Violet Stride took the final KYSS filly division going coast to coast, trotting the mile in 1:56.   Driver Chris Page pushed the daughter of Trixton towards the front from the center of the gate, leading Julia C to a :28.1 opening quarter. The Mark Harder trainee faced little pressure heading to a :57.3 half while Do You Wanna Dance, positioned fourth, edged first over but stalled rounding the final turn.   Violet Stride continued to lead Julia C passing three-quarters in 1:27.2 as the pocket-sitter mounted her bid for the stretch drive. However Julia C broke midway through the stretch while Page dug into Violet Stride to hit the finish ahead of Cover Girl closing from last for second. Heaven, stalking the top two, took third.   Winning her first race from five starts, Violet Stride--bred by Kentuckiana Farms LLC and Jorgen Jahre Jr. of Norway--has earned $19,250 for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati. She paid $11.40 to win.   Kentucky Sires Stakes action continues at The Red Mile on Thursday, Aug. 22 with two-year-old pacing colts and fillies competing in $30,000 divisions for the second preliminary. The card will start at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY--Chris Ryder harness racing trainee Bettor's Wish--off five days rest--paced a meeting's best at The Red Mile when winning the third of three $30,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) opening-preliminary divisions for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:47.4 on Thursday, Aug. 15.   Driver Dexter Dunn darted Bettor's Wish to the lead while Captain Trevor floated towards the top nearing a :27 opening quarter and eventually crossed over to control the field into the backside. Dunn soon angled the son of Bettor's Delight from the pocket and retook the lead prior to a :54.2 half. From there Bettor's Wish paced to three-quarters in 1:21.4 and finished the mile under minimal encouragement with a :26 final quarter. Captain Trevor cut into the leader's margin late when finishing second while Backlight rode the pylons for the mile and finished several lengths behind in third.   Co-owned by Ryder with Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bettors Wish Partners, Bettor's Wish won his seventh race from 10 starts this season and his 12th from 22 overall, surpassing $1.1 million in earnings. The Brittany Farms-bred colt paid $2.10 to win.   Can't Beach That pounced on pacesetter Dancin Lou to take the opening KYSS division in 1:50.   Driver David Miller placed the Brett Pelling-trained Somebeachsomewhere colt in the pocket moving to a :27.1 opening quarter and stayed put at the pylons to a :55.3 half. Doc's Hooligan pulled first over from fifth moving to the far turn and progressed to apply pressure to Dancin Lou passing three-quarters in 1:23.4 but retreated through the stretch. Can't Beach That angled outside of Dancin Lou into the final eighth and powered past to win by three-quarter lengths. Dancin Lou held second from Skip To My Lou, who rode the pylons for third.   Owned by breeder Melvin Segal with partners Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran, Can't Beach That--out of the Kentucky-based broodmare Cannae Cammie--won his fourth race from nine starts this season and his fifth from 18 overall, earning $84,104. David Miller steered the $4.00 winner.   Trainer-driver Dan Noble swooped the field with odds-on favorite Native's Sweetlou to take the middle KYSS split in 1:49.2.   Egomania left for the front while Pyro sat pocket through an early clip of :26.3 and :54.2. Noble had Native's Sweetlou positioned seventh approaching the final turn and tipped the Allamerican Native gelding to race third over, gapping cover, as Western Exposure led the two-wide tier to three-quarters. Western Exposure pressed Egomania through the third station in 1:22 and took a narrow lead through the stretch. Noble fanned to the center of the course with Native's Sweetlou and brushed by tiring horses in progress to a length victory. Pocket-sitter Pyro snuck through a seam inside for second while Western Exposure, rough-gaited at the end, settled for third.   Leased by Chuck Grubbs, Native's Sweetlou won his fourth race from 11 starts this season and his sixth from 22 overall, crossing $100,000 in earnings. The Thomas Cave-bred gelding paid $3.40 to win.   Race-favorite and defending KYSS champ Beautyonthebeach managed slow fractions on the front while battling a far-turn blitz from Blue Ivy to take the sole split of KYSS for three-year-old pacing fillies.   Summer Charm charged for the front from the outside while Margret Hill tucked into the pocket and driver Doug McNair protected position from the pylon post circling the first turn in third. McNair then moved the Somebeachsomewhere filly off the pegs past a :28 first quarter and cleared control entering the backside. Blue Ivy sat fifth and pulled wide to venture uncovered through a :56 half with Alii Nui and Salutation in tow.   Blue Ivy accelerated towards the pacesetter and took a slim lead as the pace quickened towards three-quarters, timed in 1:23.3. Beautyonthebeach drifted from the pylons exiting the turn but quickly angled towards the cones straightening into the stretch. Blue Ivy backed through a wall of horses while Summer Charm attempted to pull pocket but threw several bad steps. Beautyonthebeach faced little challenge in the final strides to win in a lifetime-best 1:50.4 with Ali Nuii rallying from off cover to take second while Salutation paced widest of all to finish third.   A homebred filly out of Precocious Beauty for James Avritt Sr., Beautyonthebeach won her second race from nine starts this season and her seventh from 22 overall, earning $319,873. Gregg McNair conditions the $2.80 winner.   Kentucky Sires Stakes action resumes Sunday, Aug. 18 at The Red Mile with trotting freshmen contesting in the second preliminary of their events--three divisions for the colts and three for the fillies. The 15-race program starts at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).     By Ray Cotolo for The Red Mile

MILTON, ON -- Sent the 1-5 harness racing favourite, Shartin N strolled to the lead and faced little challenge when winning the $330,000 Roses Are Red final in 1:49 on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Driver Tim Tetrick sent the six-year-old Tintin In America mare to the top while Caviart Ally sat second into a :25.4 opening quarter. Tequila Monday sat third into the backstretch with Seaswift Joy N stalking fourth before getting flushed first over by Shartin N's stablemate Bettor Joy N. Shartin N continued on the front uncontested into a :54.4 half and passed three-quarters in 1:22.2 with Seaswift Joy N not advancing wide of pocket-sitter Caviart Ally. Through the stretch Shartin N kept course and cruised to a length-and-a-quarter victory over Tequila Monday sliding through the cones for second and Caviart Ally chasing in third. "I had a spot where I wanted to go in and get control, and she does the rest," Tetrick said after the race. "She's pretty easy to drive now; she'll let me relax on the lead and she just keeps going until somebody comes up on her she really likes to fight." Shartin N Now compiling $1,726,155 in earnings, Shartin N collected her 34th victory. The Jim King Jr. trainee races for owners Richard Poillucci, Joann Looney King and Tim Tetrick LLC. She paid $2.50 to win. By Ray Cotolo, for Woodbine Mohawk Park  

MILTON, June 15, 2019 --A fast pace by Warrawee Ubeaut set up pocket-sitter Treacherous Reign to power past the tiring leader late and win the $454,000 Fan Hanover harness racing final on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Stonebridge Soul surged to the top and yielded command to Powerful Chris moving into the first turn. Driver Dexter Dunn moved Treacherous Reign first over into a :27 opening quarter to take control before letting 1-2 favourite Warrawee Ubeaut brush to the lead. Through a :54.1 half and by three-quarters in 1:21.1, Warrawee Ubeaut clung to command through the stretch as Treacherous Reign popped pocket and room opened for Powerful Chris to slid through the cones. Treacherous Reign edged past Warrawee Ubeaut in the final strides to win by a nose while Powerful Chris finished a neck farther back in third. "I had to come into the race with confidence," Dunn said after the race. "She hasn't done anything wrong on the campaign she's had so far, so I sort of knew the way she was doing her runs before tonight she still had something left. Obviously [when] you go up against a great filly like Warrawee [Ubeaut] you don't know. It probably wasn't until the last hundred feet I might have a chance to get past Yannick [Gingras on Warrawee Ubeaut], so I waited to come out a little bit to keep my momentum up and I still didn't know...but she dug in." A three-year-old filly by Captaintreacherous, Treacherous Reign won her eighth race from 16 starts, earning $517,365 for owners Alagna Racing LLC, Big Als Stables, Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham. Tony Alagna conditions the $7.20 winner and collected his second stakes victory on Pepsi North America Cup night.                                                                                             --New Image Media "Last year when we started out at Pennsylvania she actually beat Warrawee Ubeaut at The Meadows," Alagna said after the race. "It wasn't out of her realm that I thought she could talent wise. We over raced her; she was tired [and] we put her away. The good thing about her is you can forgive and forget. She's come back great this year and has just been rock solid."   By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Mohawk Park

MILTON, ON--Driver Louis-Philippe Roy circled Jimmy Freight to the lead and held off a first-over bid from Mcwicked to coast to a 1:48.1 harness racing victory in the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup on Saturday, June 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Nirvana Seelster took the lead while Jimmy Freight tucked into the pocket and forced 1-5 favourite Mcwicked into third approaching a :26.4 opening quarter. Jimmy Freight soon brushed to the top and braced for a first-over move from Mcwicked heading to a :54.4 half. Mcwicked gained slight ground on Jimmy Freight around the final turn and paced by his wheel past three-quarters in 1:21.2 but flattened out through the stretch as Jimmy Freight maintained his speed through the stretch. Nirvana Seelster slipped from the pocket to give chase for second while Mcwicked settled for third. "My strategy was going to go with what Mcwicked did; having him right behind me," Roy said after the race. "I wanted him to come first up on me too. I know that [Mcwicked] is good that way too but that was the trip I imagined [I'd need] to beat him. It wasn't until the middle of the stretch I [thought] we were there. All the credit goes to my horse. On the last turn he wanted to go by himself when he heard that horse coming--he was feeling so strong and never wanted that horse to come to his wheel." An Iowa bred owned by Adriano Sorella, Jimmy Freight paced a lifetime-best mile to collect his 19th victory while pushing his earnings to $1,188,146. Richard Moreau trains the four-year-old son of Sportswriter and returned $11.90 to win.   By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Mohawk Park

MILTON, ON--Atlanta marched uncovered after her stablemate Hannelore Hanover moving to the final turn, ripped past moving into the stretch and trotted home to a harness racing stakes-, track- and Canadian-record 1:50.2 mile in the $256,000 Armbro Flight Final on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Emoticon Hanover launched to the top from post 9 with Top Expectations slipping into second and Hannelore Hanover progressing first over into third moving to a :26.3 opening quarter. Hannelore Hanover cleared control moving to a :54.1 half as driver Yannick Gingras angled Atlanta off the cones to charge her stablemate into the final turn. Atlanta swept to command past three-quarters in 1:23 and opened a lead which narrowed through the stretch as Atlanta drifted and Weslynn Dancer closed for second. Top Expectations held third. "In the last turn I had a handful of trot," Gingras said after the race. "She went from zero to 60 in three strides and she's an amazing mare. Hopefully we have a great year this year and I'm already looking forward to next year." Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, Atlanta's 1:50.2 mile lowers the previous Canadian mark of 1:50.3 set last week by Hannelore Hanover in the elimination. The four-year-old Chapter Seven mare won her 16th race from 28 starts and has earned $1,416,477. Ron Burke conditions the $2.50 winner. "She's as push-button as they get," assistant trainer Mickey Burke said after the race. "She's done everything we've asked of her and we don't see where her end is yet. [We were] a little worried [in the stretch]. It's racing; horses will catch you when you don't think they are and it's a miserable night but she responded and raced on her toes." Beating the boys in the 2018 Hambletonian, Atlanta has returned to the races to now mark herself as one of the best aged trotting mares currently racing. "When she's racing against the older mares she's just unbelievable; a freak," co-owner Brad Grant said after the race. "Most of her life she's raced close to the front or on the front, so to get her sitting for a bit and then cranking up like that is unbelievable." Atlanta paid $2.50 to win.   By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Mohawk Park

MILTON, June 15, 2019 --Tony Alagna-trainee Pilot Discretion soared by a pair of dueling leaders to remain unbeaten from six harness racing starts with a 1:52.4 mile in the $247,000 Goodtimes Final on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Driver Andrew McCarthy positioned the son of Muscle Hill fifth as Swandre The Giant powered to the top approaching a :27.3 opening quarter. Knight Angel, starting from post 10, got stuck wide and progressed towards the leaders before stalling towards a :55.2 half. Moving to the far turn, McCarthy then pulled off the pylons to race third over and fanned to the center of the track passing three-quarters in 1:24.3. From there Pilot Discretion slid past Swandre The Giant into the final sixteenth to win over pocket-popping Forbidden Trade. Super Schissel, catching cover fourth over, finished third. "I was having a little trouble seeing up the back," McCarthy said after the race. "I was looking up to see whether Sylvain [Filion on Knight Angel] made it or not and I ended up third over but it worked out. This horse loves a target...you just have to remind him after he clears." Owned by Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson and John Fodera, Pilot Discretion has now earned $164,500 from his six starts--two as a freshman and four as a sophomore. The Hambletonian hopeful returned $3.00 to win. "I always think its amazing for any colt so lightly raced at two can come back and step right into this level," Alagna said after the race. "My owners and I talked about it all the way and we always hoped our first stake race would be the Goodtimes because it'd be a nice flow into the stakes company without having to take on all the top colts like Greenshoe and Gimpanzee." With a win in the Goodtimes, Pilot Discretion has the potential to give Canadian-native Robert LeBlanc a shot at harness racing's biggest prize, the Hambletonian. "I've watched the Goodtimes for years and years and to even be part of it was great," LeBlanc said after the race. "[The Hambletonian's] a bucket-list item. If you can have a horse that can compete in the Hambo...as an owner that's the ultimate thing."   By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Mohawk Park

MILTON, June 7, 2019 --Making most of their living racing in Pennsylvania on the fair circuit and at its three tracks, Tony and Linda Schadel will now take their first steps onto the world's stage as their glamour-boy colt Aflame Hanover takes aim at a million-dollar prize in this Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup eliminations. "This is the first time I've ever entered a horse in another country," trainer Linda Schadel said. "It's just amazing; like a dream." The Schadel name has over the years rooted itself into Pennsylvania harness racing. Tony's brother Todd co-owned $3.2-million earner Vivid Photo, who thrived on the PA fair circuit prior to winning the 2005 Hambletonian. Tony and Linda, who met racing on the fair circuit, have only within the last few years shifted their operation's focus from racing claiming and older stock to purchasing and developing younger horses. "I'm just trying to get a horse to make money and make a living," Linda said. "I don't need to be off racing in a million other places. I have two kids, I want to raise my family and just do what we're used to and what's good by us. We're pretty happy in Pennsylvania but if these horses can lead us out of here, that's good too." Tony and Linda purchased their "Cup" contender, Aflame Hanover, for $6,500 at the 2017 Goshen Yearling Sale. The colt is by the Somebeachsomewhere sire Russell Hanover, who never raced but comes from a bloodline related to millionaires Royalflush Hanover, Red River Hanover and Rocknroll Hanover. "He just looked good," Linda said of Aflame Hanover as a yearling, "He's got a great looking head, put together nice. He looked like something we might be able to afford and he was put together nice." Aflame Hanover debuted on June 24 last year in a division of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) at the Hughesville Fair, winning in 2:04.2 with Tony driving. He went on to race 14 more times as a two-year-old, winning six races total and earning over $80,000. "When we were training him down, he was a nice colt--just could go as much as you wanted to go and we actually had to quit with him for a little while because he was just going too much and it was too early," Linda said. "Obviously we probably wished we paid [into] more but we didn't know how fast he was going to be for sure; we knew he was nice." Aflame Hanover went the quickest mile of his career in the Fair Final, posting fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:22.4 in progress to a seven-and-a-quarter length victory in 1:51.4. "When he did the mile he did last year [in the Fair Final] we paid him into a few extra things; the things we paid him into this year were things we could still get him into without payments last year." Aflame Hanover resurfaced as a three-year-old in late March to ready for the Bobby Weiss Series at Pocono. While he has not won a race from eight starts this season, he enters the Cup off a runner-up finish to top contedner Captain Crunch in a division of PASS at Harrah's Philadelphia. "From the beginning of this year [the Cup] was the goal because you could pay into it from the beginning of this year," Linda said. "It was never anything we thought about last year, maybe [not] until the end of the year when he won the Fair Final. We just kind of thought if he comes back nice and he has done everything right all along so far so we just kept paying the payments." Aflame Hanover will start from post-seven as the longest shot on the morning line in his elimination. At 15-1, he competes against Brian Brown-trainee and 8-5 favourite Workin Ona Mystery as well as Battle of Waterloo champ Bronx Seelster and Metro Pace winner Stag Party. "He's definitely an underdog," Linda said. "But I think he is compatible to be in there. The trip just has to work out [and] he just has to have luck--and that's half of horse racing to me: you need to have luck. I don't think we've seen the best of him yet." Aflame Hanover's start in the Cup elimination will also be his first without Linda's husband, Tony, in the sulky. Instead Andrew McCarthy, Linda's brother-in-law, picks up the reins. "I'm hoping [Andy] listens to everything me and Tony have to tell him and takes that all into consideration," Linda said. "Tony wanted to leave it maybe more to a professional. Not that he would not be scared to drive him--he's driven him all along--but maybe it's time to hand him over now." A pair of eliminations for the Pepsi North America Cup headline Saturday's card at Woodbine Mohawk Park, carded as Races 3 and 8. Two eliminations for the Fan Hanover and a $35,000 prep for the Roses Are Red also go on the card, with first-race post at 7:10 p.m. (EDT).   By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine.com

MILTON, June 6, 2019 - Trainer Brian Brown finished second in last year's Pepsi North America Cup with now four-year-old star Done Well and the Ohio-based conditioner is back to take another stab his second victory in Canada's signature race with Air Force Hanover and Workin Ona Mystery in this Saturday's harness racing eliminations. "I guess you'd say I'm kind of excited about coming up," said Brown, who won the 2017 Pepsi North America Cup with Fear The Dragon. "My post positions weren't great, but I still think we've got a good chance with both getting into the final. I think we're coming in better shape than I came into it last year with Done Well." In the first elimination Brown sends Air Force Hanover, a Somebeachsomewhere colt racing for Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and William Donovan. The earner of over $200,000 enters the "Cup" eliminations off two-weeks rest following a third-place finish from post-eight in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. "Our goal was to get the best trip we could and the most money we could," Brown said. "David [Miller] had intentions of leaving [but] when the two or three from the inside left hard, he decided to take him off. "Last year the horse would get really aggressive and for [David] to start him up and try to leave and be able to take him off, sit last--very relaxed and comfortable--was a plus for him. And then when he did move him, he was three or four wide [in the] last turn and still came home in :27.1--that's a pretty good last quarter at Yonkers. We were thrilled with the way we raced and we knew going into it we were in a bad spot." Brown has no concern about his horse being ready for Saturday's elimination. "He did train a mile in [1]:55 [Monday] pretty handily, so I'm not worried about him going in short. Sure you'd rather race the week before but that's not how it worked out." As a two-year-old, Air Force Hanover won three races from 12 starts and set a mark of 1:51 in a division of the Bluegrass at The Red Mile. The next week, in a division of International Stallion Stakes, he broke at the start and charged first over before faltering in a 1:49.3 mile. Of his four starts this year, he has two wins--one being a two-move victory in 1:50.1 at Pocono--and no miscues. "He's grown a lot," Brown said. "He was a June foal and has matured so much more--even more than my other two, Workin Ona Mystery and Proof. So far I think he's above what I even expected; how he's matured and handling himself. Air Force Hanover will start from post-six in the first elimination, Race 3, with Yannick Gingras catching the drive since regular-pilot David Miller opted to drive De Los Cielos Deo for trainer Ron Burke. "David made his decision. Sure you're disappointed [for] a driver you named [and] they choose off," Brown said. "That's his decision--we're fine with it--and we pick up Yannick. I mean, how can you be disappointed when we get Yannick. And it's hard to get Yannick--it used to be [with] Takter's barn and Burke's barn, very rarely did you get a chance to get Yannick. "I think he can leave and still put him in somewhere. So it's going to be up to Yannick. He's in charge; he'll figure it out." Brown's other Cup contender, Workin Ona Mystery, has only eight starts on his record entering the elimination. The son of Captaintreacherous did not make his debut until August 29 due to an early injury. "He had hurt a foot," Brown said. "He actually did it in the stall--he stuck his foot through the stall gate and when he pulled it back he ran one of the wire tines into his foot. Of course, it got infected. It took him quite a while to come out of it. His groom never gave up on him--she kept working when other people said the horse would not race last year. She kept working and got the horse pretty good and as soon as he got to the races, he showed he was a really nice horse." Workin Ona Mystery won in his first start, coming from off the pace to break his maiden with a 1:52.4 mile at Scioto. He then only lost one race from his six starts last year when he pulled first over in the Breeders Crown elimination but faded to sixth in the stretch. "That's probably more of what he has going for him is natural ability," Brown said. "Timmy [Tetrick] has been working with us and the horse to try and get him [manageable]. Like you'd be sitting in the hole and you'd have to take a hold of him and his head would want to go up. Well then he would get the brush in his knees and get out of balance, and sometimes Timmy would have to pull him quicker than he should have or maybe a bit quicker than he wanted. We got a tie down and cable head halter on him, and we finally got it set--with Timmy's help--to where I think he's pretty good now; I think he'll handle even better now." Since shutting down in October, Workin Ona Mystery has retained his freshman form and returned to the races with two starts, both victories. "He didn't get a lot bigger and stronger," Brown said. "Maybe he got a little taller. Today I just looked at him and I thought maybe he had gained some weight lately. He's always been a little on the taller, lankier side--not a real powerful horse. But today I thought he had actually gained some weight." Equaling his lifetime best of 1:49.3 in his most recent start, Workin Ona Mystery has not raced since May 19 as he heads to the Cup. However, he did pace a tightening mile on May 29 in a qualifier at Hoosier. "We could have raced him that week at Chester but decided not to ship him out there. That's why he wound up at Hoosier last week to qualify. He went a pretty good qualifier off a quarter in :30; he paced the last three-quarters in [1]:22.3. He trained light yesterday, so I think he's ready to go." Tim Tetrick, who drove Workin Ona Mystery for all his stakes starts, will sit behind. The pair will start from the outermost post in the nine-horse field for the second elimination, Race 8. "You never want the nine hole because you don't know the price you're going to have to pay to get into position out of the gate," Brown said. "But he has the speed that he can use that. Again, I leave that up to Timmy and he'll figure it out. He does race well from behind, too, so it's not like he has to be on the front." Saturday night's 12-race program starts at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) and features eliminations for the Fan Hanover--carded as Races 5 and 6--as well as a $35,000 prep for the Roses Are Red, Race 10.   By Ray Cotolo

MILTON, May 30, 2019 - Trainer Linda Toscano is hoping she's headed towards the top of harness racing's glamour boy division as she sends out the morning-line favourite Best In Show in the second division of the $160,000 Somebeachsomewhere Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Toscano, who hit career highs earlier in the decade with millionaires Chapter Seven, Market Share and Heston Blue Chip, once again has a shot at a million-dollar prize as she heads towards the Pepsi North America Cup with Best In Show off the heels of retiring Walner, who was considered the Hambletonian favourite in 2017, due to injury. "Walner broke my heart--I thought I had the best trotter in the world," Toscano said, "We kind of danced around a bit since then. We've had a couple of nice horses but for the most part I've had some pretty nice trotters recently and I haven't had a nice pacing colt in a while so this will be fun." Best In Show, a homebred son of Bettors Delight for Richard and Joanne Young out of their millionaire-mare Put On A Show, has only six starts on his record--three as a two-year-old and three so far this season. However, Toscano and the Youngs decided to send Best In Show to Tony O'Sullivan for his freshman season. "I just had a lot of horses," Toscano said. "I broke him, trained him and having one Ontario-sired horse that had to race [in the Sires Stakes] was a hard thing for me to do and try to do it right. We talked about it, the owner and I, and he didn't really want to ship him back and forth. "We had a horse or two with Tony before and he felt comfortable with Tony, so I was fine with that--Tony does a good job--so we shipped him up to Tony to race for us." Off two baby races in early July, Best In Show shipped north and debuted in a division of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold, where he finished fourth behind Bettors Wish, who recently won the $300,000 Art Rooney, and Stag Party, who went on to win the Metro Pace. He then won a preliminary of the Dream Maker series and finished second in the final. Rookie soreness developed and prompted Toscano to shut him down for the year by late August. "He was kind of following the plan exactly as we had hoped it was going to go but then he just came up sore after that last start," Toscano said. "I was up there for the Grand Circuit and went over him and made a decision that he was a quality horse and we thought we'd just shut him down and bring him back this year." The colt has since grown and developed enough to the point that the travel is no longer a concern. "He certainly didn't have a clue last year training down, and that's still an issue; he's a green colt," Toscano noted. "He's come a long way considering he's on a bit of a slow learning curve. I find with those Bettors Delights that's kind of the best part about them: they have good mouths and that Cam Fella line tends to get better and better. "The shipping is a funny thing. Back in the day, we didn't ship horses--we shipped them to the place and they stayed. Nowadays, the trailers are much more sophisticated, the roads are great, we know the traffic patterns for the most part and horses are used to shipping. Bottom line is if he had been a difficult horse to ship--if he'd been fractious or anything like that--he'd be here." Toscano isn't sure she will continue to ship Best In Show back and forth each week from her base in New Jersey. "If he does really well I might stay up there next week and go that route, so I'm going to take it week to week and decide what to do." Best In Show will start from post four in his division of the Somebeachsomewhere, carded as Race 6, with Bob McClure driving. He again faces Bronx Seelster and Stag Party, both of whom he beat last week with a career-best equaling 1:50.3 mile in a $108,800 division of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold. "With the field he's in against this week, he deserves a shot because he had a conditioning edge on those two colts last week, I knew that going in," Toscano said. "I knew this was a week he was going to beat them and I had a funny feeling he was going to have to do it on the lead because I figured Casie [Coleman] wasn't going to want to race [Stag Party] down the road and I figured the same with Bronx Seelster. Now you throw Captain Ahab into the mix and that's a pretty solid field of three-year-olds right there. If he can go with these then he deserves a shot at [the North America Cup]." Toscano has approached Best In Show's campaign going week to week, but the North America Cup has always been the goal for the inexperienced colt. "I think [that's] probably the case but you'll never get me to admit those kind of things," Toscano said with a laugh. "That's not who I am. I just try hard to let the horse tell me what to do and, God willing, he'll come out of it good and we'll take it to next week." Post time for Saturday's card at Woodbine Mohawk Park is 7:10 p.m.   By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Communications

The United States Harness Writers Association announced today that three outstanding indiviuals in the sport of harness racing will be honored with Dan Patch Awards. Michelle Crawford was voted the "Good Guy" award, journalist Ray Cotolo the Breakthrough Award and photographer Chris Gooden the Unsung Hero Award. Michelle Crawford may not keep quite as unremitting a schedule as Merriman, but she comes very close. An unbridled enthusiastic voice for harness racing, Michelle is foremost the co-operator with her husband Al of Crawford Farms, a midstate New York breeding facility, and his racing component Crawford Farms Racing, always looking to acquire the next big star and improve the overall quality of horses associated with Crawford. One giant step towards that goal in 2018 found Michelle in the winners circle of the sport’s biggest race, the Hambletonian, as a partner on the filly Atlanta, who upended the boys in the classic race for three-year-old trotters and then went on to a million-dollar season, and now looms as potentially a great broodmare. Crawford Racing also is co-owner of Homicide Hunter, whose 1:48.4 mile at Lexington earned him “World’s Fastest Trotter” honors. Michelle is aware of the “bigger picture” in harness racing, reflected in her serving as vice-president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, and especially as a board member of the newly-formed Standardbred Transition Alliance, where she will undoubtedly put into practice on a continental level the well-established programs to take care of former racing and breeding stock that she has established at Crawford. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her one of the more positive forces – a real Good “Guy” -- for the sport. Two other USHWA honorees serve the sport on a communications level, with one of them involved in the chronicling of the sport half his life – and he’s only 19! Ray Cotolo, winner of the Breakthrough Award as an up-and-comer on the non-training-driving side, started accompanying his journalist father Frank to the major races, and swiftly picked up the necessary knowledge to combine with his natural communications skills to become a source of knowledge for the industry and fans in several areas: a podcast called North American Harness Update, a pioneer (2012) project which went “on the road” for the first time in 2018; freelance work, mainly writing, for such important entities as the Hambletonian Society, The Meadowlands, Standardbred Canada, the Woodbine Entertainment Group, and the Red Mile; and as a budding announcer. And Ray is doing all this while enrolled at Elizabethtown (PA) College, as a communications major benefitting from the Harold Snyder Memorial Scholarship Fund of the late on-track television pioneer. Chris Gooden works as the photographer for the racing at The Meadows racetrack, in addition to “regular” jobs his business picks up in his southwestern Pennsylvania area. But what is “Unsung” – and remarkable – about Gooden is the amount of work he does gratis, of his own volition, to keep The Meadows at the forefront of the new forms of “social” communications media (and beyond). Facebook coverage of live racing? Check. Including “live-from-the-bike” camera photography? Double check. Keeping up a high profile on Twitter? Check. And there’s one above and beyond the call of duty. When illness hampered a local horseman’s finances a few months ago, Gooden posted a Facebook notice that he was selling a special photo of Foiled Again – the Bergstein/Proximity winner, and based at Gooden’s “home track” of The Meadows – and would donate the money minus shipping to the beleaguered family. And over $1500 has been raised so far. No fanfare, just results -- that’s why Chris Gooden is an Unsung Hero. Crawford, Cotolo, and Gooden will be honored at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers’ website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly. From the United States Harness Writers Association

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