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CHESTER, PA - Trotter Shinkansen and pacer Bombshell Hanover were the winners of the co-featured $11,200 races on the Friday afternoon harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia. Shinkansen was brought to the race in prime form by trainer Kelvin "Red" Harrison despite last having raced 22 days ago. The Sebastian K S sophomore gelding strung out the field through early fractions of :28 and :56.2, then received a big challenge from Heat Wave Hanover to, through, and past a 1:24.1 three-quarter clocking. Shinkansen dug in for more under the urging of Andrew McCarthy and posted a 2¼ length victory over his game rival in 1:53.2, a lifetime best by two seconds, for owners LST Stables and William Devan Jr.   Bombshell Hanover, an altered three-year-old son of Somebachsomewhere, also found the front end conducive to visiting Victory Lane. Andy Miller pulled the winner of three of his last five on the lead in fractions of :27 and :55.4, absorbed hard first-over pressure from Buy In while passing the three-quarters in 1:22.4, then kept to task in defeating pocketsitter Win Not Lou, who came up the inside, by a length in 1:51.1, a lifetime mark. Julie Miller trains the improving sophomore for Pinske Stables, Andy Miller Stables Inc., and Curly Tall Curly Small.   Joe Bongiorno and David Miller each had three winners on the Friday card at Philly. Only two horses, both trotting fillies, have been both preliminary pointleader and divisional Champion in their Pennsylvania Sire Stakes campaigns at both two and three, and on Sunday at Philly Sister Sledge will look to add her name to those of Coulatine and Frau Blucher when she goes to the gate in one of four $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The sophomore gelding Saint Sebastian, sired by the late Sebastian K, scored not only his maiden victory but that of his 59-year-old trainer Mahlon Martin with a 1:57.4 win at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Monday afternoon, in the process lighting up the tote board to the tune of $118.60 to win. Tom Jackson got the winner away in the two-hole, watched 2-1 shots Tuff To Be Lindy and Gerard battle until the stretch, and then went into the Pocono Pike to score a half-length victory for the LCL Stable. Trainer Martin has only had his trainer's license since last Decembher, a little more than a month before Pocono had its last $100+ winner, the $171.40 bomber Ben Rockin, who won on February 9, the second night of the 2020 "meet" and obviously well before the pandemic hit. Saint Sebastian may be a good "poster boy" horse in these times - in the Catholic church, the faithful pray to Saint Sebastian to protect them in times of plague. Two races before Martin scored his first win, driver Kevin Wallis  had success with Sweetonthebeach, who also took advantage of a two-hole trip and the Pocono Pike to break her maiden in 1:56.3 while returning $68.60 for a $2 win wager. Emily Bost trains the winning sophomore daughter of Somebeachsomewhere for herself and co-owner Steve Salerno. The Napolitano brothers, Anthony and George Jr., each had three victories on the card to tie for the day's honors. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

It is with great sadness that Knutsson Trotting announces that Sebastian K. has passed away from colic. He arrived in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday morning 28th July to stand stud and he had seemingly taken the flight from USA well. The next few days he ate and drank as normal, but on Saturday 1st August he developed colic and whilst every effort was made at the Mickleham Quarantine and Veterinary Centre to save his life the attending physicians were unsuccessful in their endeavours. Given the time elapsed since the flight, it is unlikely the colic was caused by air travel, but the exact cause of the colic will most likely never be known. ‘ Sebastian’ won numerous Group I and Group II races around the world, but he will most probably be best remembered for that ‘command performance’ at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in July 2014 when he shattered the existing all-aged World Record in a blistering 1:49. It is still the fastest mile ever recorded on a 5/8ths track. He was voted Horse of the Year in Sweden in 2012 and won Dan Patch Horse Trotter of the Year in 2014. Sebastian K. was bred and owned throughout his career by Knutsson Trotting, who also bred his dam Gabriella K. Upon retiring from racing in 2015 he stood at Hanover Shoe Farms for 4 years before relocating to Abby Stables in Ohio for the 2020 North American breeding season. From his first North American crop, the filly Next Level Stuff (out of Nantab) 1:53.2F $221,461 will compete in the Hambletonian Oaks from post 2 on the 8th August at The Meadowlands. Needless to say, we will keep all our fingers crossed for her and her connections. Knutsson Trotting Further Information: 

CHESTER, PA - A trio of three-year-old harness racing trotting fillies, already dropped in to go in next Wednesday's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action here at Harrah's Philadelphia, got nice warm-ups six days in advance Thursday at the southeast Pennsylvania oval, with two winning and the other a bang-up second in mixed company overnights. Next Level Stuff won the day's $13,600 feature in 1:54 for driver Tim Tetrick. A daughter of Sebastian K, Next Level Stuff was spotted third early, and when his filly's most dangerous opponent, Bully Boy, made a break before the half, Tetrick could wait until late on the backstretch until starting forward to try to gain the lead. Grapple Hanover put up a brave showing on the front end, but Next Level Stuff was able to wear him down by a length, making her 2-for-2 this season and 8-for-12 lifetime. Jim Campbell trains the winner of $179,055 for the Runthetable Stables. The Donato Hanover miss Creature Of Habit also got help from miscuing opposition in lowering her mark to 1:54.2 earlier on the card. In fact, four different horses who were first or second at the time made a break during the race; the last one, Ava Kathryn, had a four-length lead at headstretch, but she tired and succumbed to the late onslaught of Creature Of Habit. Dexter Dunn was in the sulky for trainer Nifty Norman and the partnership of Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, and Diamond Creek Racing. Another well-regarded Sire Stakes entrant, last year's $300G+ winner Sherry Lyns Lady, was a very solid second to the developing Captain Krupnik in a 1:54.2 mile. Sherry Lyns Lady, in her seasonal bow, tucked from the outside post eight, then came uncovered as Captain Krupnik, a son of Conway Hall, got a :30 panel two breather to a :58.2 half for driver Dexter Dunn. The filly steadily trotted to "the Captain" for pilot Tim Tetrick but came up 1¼ lengths short as Captain Krupnik has now won three of his last four starts for trainer Jenny Melander and Belmar Racing And Breeding LLC. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Two-year-old harness racing fillies of both gaits contested the $178,600 in Liberty Bell series stakes action during a cool and blustery Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. Picking the winners of the two pacing sections was easy as selecting the 2-3 finishers behind the North American powerhouse Lyons Sentinel in recent Simpson Stakes competition. The faster winner was the Well Said - Lounge Act miss Drama Act, who cut the mile last week and finished second to Lyons Sentinel for her first career loss in four starts. On Thursday she was again sent to the front by driver Marcus Miller, but the competition was not quite as strong, and the developing filly powered home in :56.2 to complete a 1:54.2 seven length victory for trainer Krista Harmon and The OK Corral. Third in that Simpson contest, the Sweet Lou - Ideal Weather filly Ginger Tree Carey overcame a first-over trip in less-than-ideal weather, making the lead on the far turn and then withstanding the late rally of favored Dance Club by a neck in 1:55.4, gaining into a 56.3 back half. Like Drama Act a winner of a Keystone Classic division, Ginger Tree Carey was driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Steve Cook and the partnership of Sam Beegle, Ginger Tree Ventures LLC, Henlopen Stable, and Neil Chesen. Going into the first trotting division, 1-9 favorite Next Level Stuff had made eight starts in her career - four stakes victories, four breaks in stride. Here she managed to do both: challenging for the lead on the first turn, the daughter of Sebastian K S - Nantab (the fourth dam is Hambletonian winner Duenna) went offstride, but Tim Tetrick quickly got her back on the trot, though instead of first she was last, 7½ lengths off the pace at the quarter. But Tetrick got cover from second choice Hannah, followed that one as she grinded to the lead headstretch, then went by in 1:58, a length to the good as Next Level Stuff became the only two-year-old of either gait or sex to complete a Simpson - Liberty Bell local stakes double. Trainer Jim Campbell and the Runthetable Stables ownership were relieved to see the filly repair her error, as were those punters who put $8726 of a $9253 show pool on her. Not so fortunate were the punters who plunked down $10,070 of an $11,008 show pool on second division 1-5 favorite Dune Hill, who made a break in just about the same spot that Next Level Stuff did - outside challenging for the lead nearing the 3/16. Dune Hill caught the field, but she was not gaining when she made another mistake past the ¾. The contest went to the Cantab Hall - Podragos filly Miss Kendra D, whom David Miller raced in the pocket, then came out for the drive and went by pacesetting Drinking Money by 1¾ lengths. The freshman took a new mark of 1:58.3 for trainer Chris Beaver, who also co-owns with Donald Robinson and R.B.H. Ventures Inc. The 11-1 winner returned $17.00 to show; Drinking Money, 4-1, brought $23.80 for a show ticket, and 18-1 Spree, who finished third, returned $112.40 to her few show backers. The third division went to the Explosive Matter - Flyer Mel filly Queen Of The Hill, who shot to the front soon after the start, then was able to keep the only contender, pocketsitter Ginger Tree Bren, from getting closer than 1 1/4 lengths at the end of the 1:57.2 mile. Yannick Gingras, who had five winners on the card, guided the Per Engblom-trained miss, a three-time PA Sire Stakes winner who now has earnings of $114,792, for owner Al Libfeld. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

Goshen, NY -- Jack Parker, Jr.'s open trotting mare NF Happenstance 4,1:52:2f ($661,321) has been retired from harness racing for the second time and has been sent to Olive Branch Farm in North Carolina. The Breeders Crown elimination winner begins her second stint at motherhood after returning to the races in 2018 from the broodmare ranks to become the 4th richest older trotting mare in North America. During her second stint on the racetrack, the daughter of SJ's Caviar competed against the best mares in her division and earned over $361,000 in the last season...and she was in very good company. Only three trotting mares earned more that NF Happenstance in 2018: Dan Patch champion Ariana G, Breeders Crown champion Emoticon Hanover and 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover. Jack Parker, Jr., the 63-year-old veteran horseman bought her for the second time, in foal to Sebastian K at the 2016 Harrisburg sale. "I thought she would make a nice horse. As it turned out, she was much better than that." "My buddy Chip [Moore] owned her the first time around. We raced her with some success. She made some money and broke some track records. But then she started to make breaks so we sold her to Hall of Famer Bill Weaver. When he passed away, the mare was sold in-foal as part of his dispersal. We were excited to get her back," noted the Meadowlands hey-day regular. "As soon as Chris Coyle weaned that filly we put her back in training," Parker continued. "The mare never missed a beat once she got going again." A model of consistency, she was first or second in 24 of 36 starts with 13 wins. In fact, she only missed a check in a single start, or as her trainer would say, "She has exceeded all of our expectations." Her 2017 Sebastian K filly named Pure Happenstance is now stabled at Pinehurst and is enrolled in Gordon Corey's Institute of Equine Erudition. The Maine-native known for his talent for breaking babies and his no-nonsense demeanor stated that she was a, "typical filly with some rusty edges in the beginning but making good progress in smoothing those out." "Enthusiastic and ambitious, she makes good progress in her trotting attributes. She is pleasant to work with and intelligent on the track, despite her early filly traits." Perhaps Pure Happenstance will be sharp enough to participate in the annual Spring Matinee at Pinehurst Harness Track on Saturday, April 6, 2019. Meanwhile, her dam, NF Happenstance has a date for the 2019 breeding season with Diamond Creek Farm's Father Patrick. by Chris Tully for Olive Branch Farm

He wore no boots and no shoes when he was racing in the United States and now the world's fastest trotter Sebastian K will be available in New South Wales this upcoming harness racing breeding season. The 2014 Dan Patch Trotter of the Year, who rated 1:49.0 on the 1000 metre track, Pocono Downs, will be available via frozen semen. Currently standing at Hanover Shoe Farms in America, Sebastian K's introductory service fee is $5280 (including GST) but members of the Harness Breeders NSW will be given a discounted fee of $4752. Head of Trump Bloodstock Anthony Perkins is excited by this new venture with Sebastian K for NSW trotting breeders. "He was just a natural gaited trotter that won over $2.9million," Perkins said. "Sebastian K is a European trotter with French and American bloodlines and started the beginning of his career in Sweden and then went to America and smashed records. "It is really exciting that we can have access to him in Australia and in particular NSW as trotting is growing there and with all the Breeders Challenge Bonuses, breeders can get a really good deal." Progeny of Sebastian K will be eligible for: The True Blue Bonus (if the mare is served in NSW and the foal is born and registered in NSW); NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Incentive - a $500 cash bonus paid to broodmare owner upon confirmation of a 42-day positive pregnancy test. Head to and click the Breeders Challenge link to see all bonuses related to NSW Breeders Challenge eligible and sustained horses. For more information on Sebastian K, contact Anthony Perkins on 0451 958 203 or head to AMANDA RANDO

While both of their harness racing careers have come to an end, world champions Sebastian K and Sweet Lou will be honored this weekend with unique giveaways at the tracks that hosted two of their signature wins. Friday night, fans at Vernon Downs will receive a Sebastian K travel mug (while supplies last), celebrating the world's fastest trotter's win in last year's Crawford Farms Open Trot. This year's $200,000 event is the highlight of a stakes-filled card at the Central New York oval that will also include the $177,000 Muscle Hill Mare Trot and the $194,000 Artiscape Open Mare Pace plus the New York Sire Stakes Two-Year-Old Filly Pace. The giveaway begins at 5:00 p.m. and a spectacular fireworks show will take place after the races. "Sebastian K superseded all our expectations during his North American adventure and we enjoyed bringing him to many different tracks around the region," said Tristan Sjoberg, who along with his brother own Sebastian K under the Knuttson Trotting banner. "His win in the Crawford Farms Trot at the picturesque Vernon Downs when he wired the field in effortless fashion was one of the highlights of a sparkling season." The nine-year-old Sebastian K was recently retired after a European and North American career where he earned $2,973,252. Sunday afternoon, fans at Tioga Downs will receive a Sweet Lou travel mug (while supplies last); celebrating the 2014 Pacer of the Year's win in last year's Roll With Joe Open Pace. This year's $155,000 renewal highlights Sunday's stakes-filled card that will also include the Empire Breeders Classic Finals and the Reynolds Stakes for freshman trotters. The giveaway begins at 12:30 p.m. with post time set for 1:30 p.m. Sweet Lou earned $3,478,894 during his four-year racing career for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. For more racing and promotional information, visit and Justin Horowitz

The brothers Tristan Sjöberg and Michael Knutsson (Knutsson Trotting Inc) are proud to announce that they have reached an agreement with Jim Simpson, the President of Hanover Shoe Farms to stand the World's fastest trotter Sebastian K at the world's most renowned Standardbred breeding Farms beginning with the 2016 breeding season. "Anybody who ever saw Sebastian K at his best had to be impressed with his breathtaking speed, his incredible gait and the charisma that shone from every hair on his coat. He brings to Hanover a perfect outcross and possesses the magic elixir of the combination of great French and American blood that has dominated the best of world trotting for the last several decades. Moreover he is a great individual, who I feel confident will produce beautiful yearlings and very fast racehorses" says Jim Simpson. Tristan adds "Michael and I are delighted to be given the opportunity to stand Sebastian K at the most prestigious stud farm in the world. We are convinced that Sebastian's flawless technique and excellent conformation will translate to his offspring". Sebastian K was a beacon of trotting in North American trotting from his very first start in 2014. He won eight of his first nine races on his way to a near unanimous choice as the older trotter of 2014. The apex of his astounding season took place at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on June 28, when he shattered the world record in taking an incredible record of 1.49f in defeating a host of North America's best trotters. Sebastian K comes to Hanover with lifetime earnings of $2,973,252, over two million dollars of it earned in Europe where he took on and often defeated the best Free For All trotters in the world including victories in the Oslo Grand Prix, UET Trotting Masters and Åby Stora Pris (twice).. Appropriately he will be officially retired in a special ceremony at the scene of his greatest triumph at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on August 22nd. The Open trot will be named in his honour - The Sebastian K Invitational. Meet World Record Holder Sebastian K. in his paddock at Legend Farm, Åke Svansted's training camp in New Jersey.  Murray Brown Hanover Shoe Farms, Inc.

JK She’salady and Mission Brief turned heads in 2014. Will one or both prove to be an all-time great? Will the former win HOY honors again? Will Mission Brief take on the boys and win the Hambletonian and outshine her pacing counterpart? Will the surgical repair of a fractured pastern that followed Always B Miki’s late scratch from the Breeders Crown be successful? David Miller chose the Always A Virgin colt over eventual division winner McWicked in that race. Will Miller be proven correct if he stays with Miki as the pair, along with JK Endofanera, All Bets Off and Limelight Beach move into the aged ranks? What about He’s Watching? In contrast to his undefeated freshman campaign in the NYSS, he won just five of 13 starts at three, accomplishing little during the second half of the season. Will David Menary get him back to the record breaking speed delivered in the Meadowlands Pace? Sweet Lou has been retired and Foiled is now eleven years old. There should be ample opportunities for the four-year-old group to step up. Last year they fell on their faces. Will Nuncio turn the tables on stablemate Father Patrick and dominate the four year old set? There was quite a drop off after the big three in the sophomore colt division during 2014. Trixton has been retired while Patrick and E L Titan are doing double duty this year and will probably miss the early season Graduate Series for four year olds at the Meadowlands as well as the Hambletonian Maturity? Things seem to be setting up nicely for Nuncio; it would be a shame to see him head for Europe and miss those early season opportunities. Last year most expected Bee A Magician to challenge Maven for division leadership, however, Classic Martine outdid the pair with wins in the Armbro Flight, Miss Versatility and Ima Lula. Where will Shake It Cerry slot into this group? Herb Liverman, who purchased Maven for $750,000, doesn’t want to race her against his other mare, BAM. Aside from Maven remaining in Europe, I don’t see how the two mares can avoid each other. Opportunities for aged trotting mares are scarce. Will her early season European campaign set Maven back again this year? Is Cerry better than BAM? Will Lifetime Pursuit and Designed To Be turn into players? What’s going to happen with Breeders Crown winner Traceur Hanover? Jeff Gural has banned owner Richard Berthiaume from his tracks for not disavowing Corey Johnson earlier. Traceur is staked to the Meadowlands Pace, and if precedent prevails he will be allowed to race. The same would hold true for the Cane Pace, which has been moved to the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day. Corey Johnson won’t be present this year but Traceur will serve as an embarrassing reminder of the Cobalt Crown on the two premier days of racing at the Meadowlands. Artspeak and In The Arsenal are expected to dominate that division, but Traceur may serve as a season long embarrassment, or much worse, the champ. The sophomore filly pacers were a less than impressive group in 2014. In the past we’ve expected the likes of Peelers and Jewel to step up and dominate their elders, but it didn’t happen. Watch, some of the 2014 softies will morph into Amazons. Last year it was Somwherovrarainbow and Shebestingin who failed to take the crown from the co-winners of the Dan Patch, Rocklamation and Anndrovette. Will the likes of Color’s a Virgin, Sayitall BB and Precocious Beauty get it done? Will Pinkman, Habitat, Uncle Lasse, Billy Flynn, Muscle Diamond and other now sophomore trotters assert themselves, or will they be overshadowed by Mission Brief, Wild Honey, Jolene Jolene and the other fillies? Will we get early season record breaking Sebastian or a second half, not so good, Sebastian? Are the connections of TVG winner Intimidate going to toss him into the FFA mix from the get go, or play around with him for much of the season as has been their custom? Will Allerage and American National winner Creatine build on that and become a full time member of the FFA set? What about Natural Herbie? Along the same lines as the Intimidate inquiry, will Verlin Yoder hang around Hoosier Park with Herbie, occasionally joining the FFA fray, or will he join the club full time? Will all those therapy sessions pay off for Master Of Law? Does he finally have his head screwed on straight? Lots of questions in this division. by Joe Fitzgerald for

The year 2014, just like every season in the history of harness racing, was jammed packed with special events, major stakes races and other points of interest that made the year super exciting and quite a bit controversial. We have highlighted the “Year In Review” as best possible with the top events and races that took place each month. We apology for any news items that were missed. 2014 got off to a terrible start when on January 10 the starting gate at Freehold Raceway went into a spin after the start of a race and came down upon the field and took out most everyone in the race. While all horses miraculously escaped without major injuries, five drivers, Catello Manzi, Debra Rucker, Vincent Ginsburg, Chris Scicluna and Jim Pantaleano were taken to the hospital to be checked out. The worst injured were Manzi and Rucker. The new Miami Valley Racetrack in Lebanon, Ohio tried opening up for live racing on Friday, February 9 but the lights failed to work and thus had to wait until the next night to officially get underway. Sydney Weaver was the at the epicenter of the most potent demonstration of social media as a positive force in harness racing in early February  when her beloved mare Sydney Seelster was taken from her in a claiming race at Flamboro Downs. Trainer Guy Gagnon was pilloried on Facebook and Twitter for making the claim and soon cried uncle, agreeing to allow Sydney to claim her mare back. On March 28, two harness racing horses died on impact at Flamboro Downs after they collided head on in a tragic accident. The incident resulted in all tracks in Ontario having to install a siren alarm system by Jan. 1, 2015. April saw horseman Jack Darling take command when he heard that there was no funding to promote some of the sport’s biggest races on television and within a short time and through his own blog, helped raise over $100,000 and thus the Meadowlands Pace and the Little Brown Jug were able to be televised. In June a major tiff between harness driver Brian Sears and Meadowlands, Tioga, Vernon Downs owner Jeff Gural ended up with Sears being barred from competing in qualifying and overnight race events. After less than a week, Gural rescinded the ban. On June 28, harness racing fans saw the fastest trotting mile ever in history as the amazing European star, Sebastian K, win at Pocono Downs in 1:49, shattering the former record that was set on a larger track. With trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, Sebastian K took harness racing in North America by storm with his amazing speed and racing barefoot with no horse shoes. On July 13, He’s Watching tied the world record on a mile track in winning the Meadowlands Pace in an amazing clocking of 1:46.4. With Father Patrick making a costly break at the start of the race, stable mate Trixton and trainer/driver Jimmy Takter grabbed all the glory in winning the early August Hambletonian Trot. At the Little Brown Jug it was Limelight Beach in straight heats and the same for Color’s A Virgin in the Jugette. Wild Honey became the fastest two-year-old trotter ever on a half mile track with a 1:55.2 triumph. The Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, revived the great Prix D’Ete stakes race with a purse of $200,000 and saw Sunfire Blue Chip and driver Yannick Gingras lower the all-age track record by two seconds with a 1:50.3. October started off with a bang as Mission Brief became the fastest two-year-old trotter in history with her 1:50.3 clocking at the Red Mile for driver Yannick Gingras. On October 4, Dayton Raceway in Dayton, Ohio opened its doors for harness racing with a full house as thousands came out to check the new racetrack. Nuncio and driver John Campbell captured a one-heat $435,000 Kentucky Futurity in 1:51.3, beating stable mate Father Patrick and then went to Yonkers Raceway to take the Yonkers Trot, winning two of the three Triple Crown of Trotting races. Natural Herbie, at odds of 9-1, posted his fourth straight win with a world record performance at Yonkers Raceway Saturday, Oct. 25 in beating many of the best trotters in the world in the $250,000 International Preview. On Halloween, October 31, harness racing’s great second trainer, Quebec’s Ami Choquette, who worked for Delvin Miller for over 50 years, turned 100 years old. Maven brought $750,000 at the Harrisburg sale and became the highest priced racehorse trotting mare sold at public auction in November. She was purchased by Herb Liverman. Yonkers Raceway and the SOANY broke the simulcasting barrier overseas and began simulcasting five races to France/Europe early Sunday mornings with great success and millions wagered on the USA product. The simulcasts will continue in 2015. Harness driver Dave Palone did the unthinkable years ago and caught Germany’s Heinz Wewering to become the sports winningest driver ever as he recorded his 16,754th career victory. This took place at his home track, The Meadows, on Friday, November 14. Palone has now increased his lead, has no plans of an early retirement and his lead may never be bettered. The Breeders Crown helped seal up a number of Dan Patch divisional awards in late November but perhaps the most impressive was that of world champion Commander Crowe coming over to the USA and stealing the limelight with his stakes record 1:51 triumph. He surpassed the $5 million mark in career earnings at age 11 and gave North American fans a thrill to see this world class performer in action. In late November, early December, just one week after Harnesslink exposed to the harness racing social media fans about the abuse that trainer Monica Thors was inflicting on horses in her stable, all seven horses and one goat was taken away by the NJ SPCA. More than 14,000 people “liked” the Stop Monica Thors” page on Facebook and were relentless in going after state officials to do something. They are also raised money and services to care for the horses once they were taken away. In December Hall of Fame driver David Miller paid a $750 fine for dropping his foot and allowed McWicked to hit it numerous times around the final turn of the $301,000 Progress Pace final at Dover Downs. When asked about the penalty, Miller said he would do it again in trying to win the race. His comments set up major controversy in the harness racing social media venues and prompted Jeff Gural to issue a “no tolerance” rule at the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs against any driver who drops their foot other than to pop ear plugs. When Appomattox crossed the wire first in the Free For All Handicap Trot on December 12 at the Meadowlands, harness horse trainer Ron Burke's season earnings moved to $28,118,465, surpassing the mark set by Thoroughbred trainer Todd Pletcher seven years ago. By the end of the year, JK She’salady was sensational with her undefeated season and capped it becoming the first two-year-old pacing filly to ever be name Harness Horse of the Year. But her triumph was unique as top older pacer Sweet Lou was voted the Pacer of the Year by one vote over JK She’salady, but the tables were turned in the final voting for Harness Horse of the Year as the filly beat out Sweet Lou by five votes! Both occurrences have never happened in the history of voting. The year sorta ended on a sour note as Balmoral Racing Club, Inc. and Maywood Park Trotting Association, Inc., two of the oldest horse racing venues in the country and the only harness racing tracks in Illinois, announced Christmas Eve that each has voluntarily commenced Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization cases in Chicago. Let’s hope for a bigger and better racing season in 2015. Happy New Year to everyone! By Steve Wolf, for

The much anticipated Harness Horse of the Year announcement will be made live at 1 pm today (Thursday). Don't miss out. Will it be JK She'salday,Sweet Lou or maybe even McWicked? Could Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry or Sebastian K steal top honors? The Dan Patch Awards for Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year will be announced at 1 p.m. (EST) Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar. Thursday’s announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack’s website, From the United States Harness Writers Association

The fastest trotter of all time and the richest Standardbred of the year were among the six trotters to receive divisional honors in Dan Patch Award voting announced Tuesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Divisional honors for pacers will be revealed Wednesday, followed by the live announcements of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack's Victory Sports Bar. Thursday's announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack's website, Sebastian K, an 8-year-old who won in 1:49 in June to become the fastest trotter in history, was voted harness racing's best older male trotter of 2014. Father Patrick, who earned $1.69 million this season to lead all Standardbreds, was named the sport's best 3-year-old male trotter. Father Patrick is from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, who also conditioned Pinkman, the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, and Shake It Cerry, who was one vote shy of being the unanimous selection for best 3-year-old female trotter. Shake It Cerry and Father Patrick also were honored last year at age 2. Completing the list of this year's award winners were 2-year-old female trotter Mission Brief and older female trotter Classic Martine. A total of 157 ballots were returned. Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Sebastian K joined Shake It Cerry in exceeding 89 percent of the vote in their respective divisions. Father Patrick received 60 percent and Classic Martine garnered 58 percent. Yannick Gingras was the primary driver for three of the trotters to receive Dan Patch honors: Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Father Patrick. Classic Martine won nine of 18 races this year and hit the board a total of 16 times to lead all older female trotters in purses with $438,912. Her victories included the Armbro Flight Stakes, Miss Versatility Series championship and the Ima Lula Series final in a then-world-record-equaling performance. Trained by Chris Oakes and driven primarily by Tim Tetrick, Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Edwin Gold. No harness racing horse earned more money this year than Father Patrick, who banked $1.69 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, Canadian Trotting Classic, Beal Memorial, Zweig Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, American-National Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. His 1:50.2 win in the Beal Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by any 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. Father Patrick joins Lucky Chucky, Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe, and Donato Hanover as male trotters in the last 10 years to receive a Dan Patch Award at both ages 2 and 3. Mission Brief trotted the fastest mile ever by any 2-year-old, stopping the clock in 1:50.3 in winning her division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 2 at The Red Mile. It was the third time Mission Brief either equaled or lowered the world record. She finished her campaign by winning the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters in a stakes-record 1:51.4. For the year, Mission Brief won nine of 13 races - she went off stride in all four losses - and earned $591,070 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She won eight of her starts by at least three lengths and had a combined margin of victory of 65-3/4 lengths - an average of more than seven lengths per triumph. In addition to the Breeders Crown, her wins included the Merrie Annabelle Stakes and New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Pinkman, who was entered in November's Standardbred Horse Sale's Mixed Sale before Takter reconsidered, won six of eight races and earned $566,960 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Named after a character from the television series, "Breaking Bad," the gelding's victories included the Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record-equaling 1:53.2, and Valley Victory Stakes. Takter-trained horses have been named best 2-year-old male trotter three times in five years, with Pinkman following Father Patrick in 2013 and Pastor Stephen in 2010. Sebastian K arrived in the U.S. this season after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born stallion trotted a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 in his debut at the Meadowlands and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50.3 or faster with his 1:49 triumph at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Sebastian K was driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt and finished the year with eight wins in 13 races and $663,853 in purses. His victories included the Cashman Memorial, Crawford Farms Open Trot, and Cutler Memorial. Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races this year, earning $1.23 million for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group and driver Ron Pierce. The Takter-trained filly finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes- and track-record 1:52.4 over a "good" surface at Dover Downs, the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2 and equaled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage. Both of Shake It Cerry's parents were Dan Patch Award winners. Donato Hanover was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007 and Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Solveig also was trained by Takter, who named the filly in honor of his mother. Shake It Cerry joins Passionate Glide and Pampered Princess, both also trained by Takter, and Check Me Out as female trotters to receive Dan Patch Awards at ages 2 and 3. Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER PINKMAN (144 of 157 votes) Explosive Matter - Margie Seelster - Angus Hall Yearling Price: $77,000 under name Traffic Jam at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeder: O Narutac Equine Nursery. Owners: Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, Herb Liverman. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras, Sylvain Filion. Races: 8-6-1-0. Purses: $566,960. Mark: 1:53.2 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $463,690 Valley Victory. 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER MISSION BRIEF (150 votes) Muscle Hill - Southwind Serena - Varenne Yearling Price: $150,000 at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeders: Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 13-9-0-0. Purses: $591,070. Mark: 1:50.3 at The Red Mile (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $352,050 Merrie Annabelle. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER FATHER PATRICK (94 votes) Cantab Hall - Gala Dream - Enjoy Lavec Yearling Price: $105,000 under name Royal Press at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: Father Patrick Stable. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 17-12-3-0. Purses: $1.69 million. Mark: 1:50.2 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Beal Memorial. 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER SHAKE IT CERRY (156 votes) Donato Hanover - Solveig - Yankee Glide Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Solveig's Breeders. Owner: Solveig's Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 17-15-0-1. Purses: $1.23 million. Mark: 1:51.2 at The Red Mile. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $368,100 Elegantimage; $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity. OLDER MALE TROTTER SEBASTIAN K (141 votes) Korean - Gabriella K - Probe Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Knutsson Trotting AB. Owner: Knutsson Trotting Inc. Trainer: Ake Svanstedt. Driver: Ake Svanstedt. Races: 13-8-2-0. Purses: $663,853. Mark: 1:49 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $300,650 Cashman Memorial; $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot; $175,000 Cutler Memorial. OLDER FEMALE TROTTER CLASSIC MARTINE (91 votes) Classic Photo - Drinking Days - Andover Hall Yearling Price: None (sold privately at age 3). Breeders: Todd Schadel, Christine Schadel. Owners: Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Edwin Gold. Trainer: Chris Oakes. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 18-9-5-2. Purses: $438,912. Mark: 1:51.1 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $244,720 Armbro Flight; $121,500 Miss Versatility. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

Freehold, NJ --- Undefeated 2-year-old female pacer JK She’salady is the No. 1-ranked horse in the final Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll for 2014. She is followed by 3-year-old female trotter Shake It Cerry and 3-year-old male trotters Father Patrick and Nuncio. Shake It Cerry, Father Patrick and Nuncio are from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter; JK She’salady is from the stable of trainer Nancy Johansson, who is Takter’s daughter. Eight-year-old male trotter Sebastian K completes the top five. Sweet Lou won last weekend’s TVG Free For All Series Championship for pacers and received four first-place votes. The 5-year-old male pacer moved up a spot to sixth in the poll. Also winning was 3-year-old male pacer McWicked, who captured the Progress Pace Preview. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes this month on all divisional winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. All winners will be announced on Dec. 18. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 29 – 12/2/2014 Rank Name (1st Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 JK She’salady (26) 2pf 12-12-0-0 $883,330 330 1 2 Shake It Cerry (3) 3tf 17-15-0-1 $1,230,411 293 2 3 Father Patrick (2) 3tc 17-12-3-0 $1,693,081 249 4 4 Nuncio 3tc 17-11-5-1 $1,458,071 198 5 5 Sebastian K 8th 13-8-2-0 $663,853 194 3 6 Sweet Lou (4) 5ph 19-11-3-1 $1,361,433 185 7 7 Mission Brief 2tf 13-9-0-0 $591,070 157 6 8 McWicked 3pc 22-11-5-4 $1,322,157 81 8 9 Trixton 3tc 11-8-1-1 $893,370 52 10 10 Always B Miki 3pc 19-12-4-0 $791,482 50 9 Also: Artspeak (39), Commander Crowe, Pinkman (25), JK Endofanera (11), Limelight Beach, Maven (10), Intimidate (3), Color’s A Virgin, In The Arsenal, Modern Family, Wild Honey (2), Creatine, E L Titan, Freaky Feet Pete, Lifetime Pursuit, Natural Herbie (1). by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

If you have followed Sebastian K at all you can't help but feel good about racing as you read about the love for this horse and the sport by his owners, Swedish brothers Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjorberg. One can see why they pledged 1% of the 8 year old's earnings this year to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) Sjoberg and Knutsson stepped into every moment of excitement this horse has given them, and it's pretty clear to see when you read Sjoberg's tweets that he gets a whole lot more out of having a horse like Sebastian K than most of our U.S. owners might. He mentioned the enjoyment of morning jogs at the farm; photographs comical moments his trainer, Aka Svendstadt, has with Sebastian; jokes about entering his well noted horse, White Bliss in to race on the same night to keep Sebastian company; and thanks the Meadowlands spectators who broke into spontaneous applause when Sebastian K exited the Winner's Circle after another great victory. When Sjoberg tweeted about paying tribute to Valley Victory noting that his legacy is enduring, it was obvious that his passion is complete; it is a love of the animals and the sport hand in hand that makes the difference for him. A pledge to support SRF's work with a gift of 1% in honor of Modern Family, another great horse that recently past was truly admirable of Knutsson and Sjoberg. Maybe it's the different attitude of the people toward their horses and racing in Sweden where they are commonly applauded, they race longer, and claiming races just don't work for them. Maybe Sjoberg relates better as he too is an athlete, a runner. SRF President, Paula Campbell and Executive Director and co-founder, Judith Bokman expressed their gratitude to the brothers. "It is very special when someone gives back to the horses that have served well; we are so appreciative," says Campbell. "This is such a commendable gesture and a great story. We hope their passion for the horses and the sport is infectious here, they truly share a love and respect for them," Bokman said. Sebastian K earned more than $600,000. this year and set a world record of 1:49. SRF is presently caring for 197 Standardbreds all in need of a home, of which 121 may be under their care for life as they are either aged or injured and are passed over by adopters. Unique in its mission, SRF is helping these horses for 25 years, taking in not just those who are adoptable but the old campaigners who are the backbone of racing, some of which are now nearing their 30s retired in pasture. Gifts to SRF are tax-deductible. From the Standarbred Retirement Foundation

After four straight weeks of pickin'em pretty good, I finally ran into a brick wall Breeders Crown weekend. But you can't win'em all so back to the drawing board. Sadly the stakes season is drawing to a close this weekend with the TVG finals at the Meadowlands and then next week the rich Progress Pace at Dover Downs. Then we get into tough winter overnights and some good late closing series throughout the county. Good Luck! $49,000 Pace 3YO's n/w $100,000 in 2014 Meadowlands 3rd race SATURDAY - It is too tough to try and go against the triple entry of Hall Bro, Lord Of Misrule and Journeyman. Both Hall Bro and Journeyman are coming off very strong winning efforts and with good inside post position they will be very tough to beat in here. Use Caviart Chase and Caviart Luca in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - Beach Memories or P H Supercam....I nearly flipped a coin to decide in here but came away going with Beach Memories. He has the better inside post and the gate speed to insure good positioning to score from. Has been first and second twice in photos last three starts. Use P H Supercam and Holdallthecards in exotic plays. $500,000 Pace TVG FFA Final Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY - This is the last big bang for the older pacers and it's a great field to close out the season with. Sweet Lou and Foiled Again do their swan song for the end of their great racing careers. I'm going with Sweet Lou as in his last two starts he seemly had the race won only to get nipped at the wire. I don't think this world champion will get caught tonight. Use Thinking Out Loud and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot TVG FFA Final Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY - It didn't "All come down to the Breeders Crown" last week as it does in here. Sebastian K could sew up Harness Horse of the Year honors with a convincing victory in here but both Maven and Bee A Magician will be all out to not let that happen. Don't look for a super-fast mile as it will be clear but only in the low 30's at post time. But I think if the "old" Sebastian K shows up he will take this field and then maybe beat out JK She'salady for top honors in the Dan Patch Voting. He has truly been a champion this year. Use Maven and Bee A Magician in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY - Everyone will lead toward Aslan as he has been the strong horse with two straight convincing wins in this class. But I like Wake Up Peter who last week was strong on the front end and may be able to turn the tables on Aslan in here. Use Aslan and Speed Again in exotic plays. $46,000 Trot Open Handicap 1¼ mile Yonkers Raceway 1st race SUNDAY - It's the France Handicap with a super full field of 12 trotters going the extra distance in the Yonkers-France matinee. Great to see such full fields going the extra quarter mile. Thus I have no fear in promoting Dancehall Mistress, one of four mares in the field against male rivals. She beat the pants off everyone last week with a four length romp at 11-1 and can do it again. Use Somebody AS and Super Manning in exotic plays. $17,000 Trot Open Handicap Saratoga Raceway 7th race SUNDAY - After having his head handed to him the last couple of starts against the best at Yonkers, Zooming takes a big drop in class and switch to Saratoga. This should aid him big time, even if he did get the far outside post eight. Still have the class to overcome the post problem as he did before trying his luck at Yonkers. Use You Rock My World and Slugfest in exotic plays. $25,000 Pace Winners over $25,000 Harrah's Philadelphia 11th race SUNDAY - With six of the eight starters in here all coming off wins in their last start it makes for a great competitive race. I don't think Dial Or Nodial can repeat because of outside post. Thus I am going with Mach It So. He was a game second from post eight last week but draws better in here and can win as long as he can grab some live cover. Use Dial Or Nodial and Voice Of Truth in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Progress Preview 3YO Colts Dover Downs 10th race SUNDAY - This will be a great preview towards next weeks $300,000 final. Superb field of colts will do battle big time. I like McWicked to repeat after his impressive Breeders Crown victory. He flashed his brilliant early season form last week with big 1:49 effort and draws the rail

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