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Roland Beaulieu, best known for his 1970s stars Columbia George, Skipper Walt and Romalie Hanover, passed away Thursday, April 10, at his home in Orlando, Fla. At the age of 98. A native of Lewiston, Maine, with a large population of French Canadians, Beaulieu didn't learn English until his teenaged years and then employed himself by opening a bar and snack shop, although he was a teetotaler. In his mid 20s, when he developed health issues, a doctor advised him to get more fresh air and he started spending time with harness horses on the Maine fair circuit, and harness racing became his life's work. Early in his career he developed the stakes winner Eileen Eden and the raceway notables Regal Pick and Adam Eden. In 1969, training horses for Dr. George Smith of Byram, Conn., Beaulieu became a fixture on the Grand Circuit with the two-year-old pacing colt Columbia George. Beaulieu knew the colt had talent, but he also had a couple of bowed tendons. He made a special leg paint to treat the affliction and with the help of his wife, Blondie, the Good Time colt won 12 races as a two-year-old and set seasonal, track and world records. As a three-year-old Columbia George won the American-National, a Hanover-Hempt, a heat of the Adios, a heat of the Little Brown Jug, and a heat of the Tattersalls Pace, but his nemesis Most Happy Fella was a tough adversary. To read the rest of the story click here.

Cam's Card Shark, one of the leading stallions of his generation, has just been retired from stud duty, but hopes are high in Ohio that one of his greatest progeny can carry on his dynamic legacy in the breeding shed. Shark Gesture, whose earnings in excess of $2.8 million are the most of the more than 1,700 racehorses that Cam's Card Shark sired and one of the fastest with a speed mark of 1:48.1s, will be represented by a crop of two-year-olds this season. Abby Stables in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is standing the big, dark brown stallion.  "Shark Gesture is the total package," Abby Stables' Teresa Maddox told Harness Racing Update."   Shark Gesture developed into a horse for the ages. A $110,000 yearling purchase by Norm Smiley, Shark Gesture raced from two to four, posting some impressive victories.  He was retired to the breeding shed due to an injury and stood as a stallion in Ontario for the 2008 season. Later that year, when the injury had fully healed and he trained excellently, Shark Gesture returned to the races and started three times. But it was as a six- and seven-year-old that he excelled, earning over $1.8 million. He beat some of the best aged pacers, including the likes of Foiled Again, Mister Big, Art Official, Boulder Creek, Artistic Fella, Shadow Play and Won The West 12 times, including by more than 10 lengths in the Hoosier Cup.  Maddox said because Shark Gesture disappeared from the breeding scene for three years people may be confused about his history.  "He really hasn't gotten a fair shake as a stallion," Maddox said. "If you go back and look at some of his races, he was phenomenal. He's well-mannered, he's intelligent and was a bear on the racetrack. It's just a breath of fresh air to have him in Ohio. We welcomed him with open arms." Shark Gesture can be seen in action on his page at . His web page comes complete with race footage, photos, pedigree, articles and both a downloadable and digital breeding contract.  "There is no reason because he had 44 foals that raced from his first and only crop as a stallion, standing in Ontario and bred to mostly Ontario-bred mares, that people should have forgotten about him because he went back to the races," said Smiley. "He is still a good horse.  This year he has two-year-olds that are training and I've got good reports on them. Trainer Fred Grant has a colt by Shark Gesture out of Boca Babe.  Fred owns the dam and owns a piece of the colt and said, 'he's very good-gaited, very sound, very willing and has lots of speed. I just love him.'" Trainer David Miller, currently training a two-year-old Shark Gesture filly named Hex, described her as a "big, strong, great-gaited, intelligent filly who is showing excellent speed." Another trainer, Jenny Melander, has a nice sturdy black filly named When Sharks Fly and echoed Miller's comments about Shark Gesture's offspring. "His foals are big and sturdy, with heart, speed, intelligence and strength," she said.   Shark Gesture is truly an anomaly. How many horses return to the races two years after retiring and earn almost twice as much, facing battled-hardened competitors? In total, he posted 31 sub-1:50 miles, 16 of those 1:49 or better and four of those sub-1:49. As a 2-year-old, he won the Bluegrass Stakes (recording a freshman mark of 1:51.3), the Simpson Stakes and an elimination of the Breeders Crown.  At three, he won the Breeders Crown, the Tattersalls Pace (with a sophomore speed mark of 1:49.1), the Bluegrass Stakes, the Simpson Stakes and the Progress Pace. In an abbreviated four-year-old season, he won the New Hampshire Sweepstakes. In his return to the races, he won the William R. Haughton Memorial two years in a row, the Canadian Pacing Derby Final (with a lifetime mark of 1:48.1), the Graduate Series twice, the Dan Patch Invitational Pace and the Bettor's Delight. He broke track records at Tioga Downs and Hoosier Park and tied the track record when he won the Canadian Pacing Derby. "He's won all the big races, beat all the good horses," Maddox said. "He beat Foiled Again (the top aged pacer last year) more than once. He beat Won The West. He's beat them all at one point or another. His owners believed in him so much, they told us the story (of why he retired and then returned to the races) and it was just a no-brainer for us." 2010 Graduate Final William R. Haughton Memorial Smiley recalled why he bought Shark Gesture. Even though he was big and growthy, Smiley liked him, viewing him six times. "There are certain horses you go to the auction and put a price on and you go to that price or a few bucks more," Smiley said. "With him I said I was buying him, period."  Smiley subsequently offered shares to his brother, Gerald, and Thomas and Louis Pantone. Typical of a Cam's Card Shark offspring, Shark Gesture grew into his body from two to three. He stood about 17 hands high and had a long stride. Early in Shark Gesture's two-year-old season, he won the Bluegrass in 1:51 3/5, but he was still developing and growing. As a three-year-old, he did some amazing things, none more so than winning the Breeders Crown only a week after he fell down in a mishap in his elimination race for the final. He finished third and was moved up to second, but Norm Smiley and trainer Erv Miller feared the colt might not survive the accident. Once the bike and equipment were removed, Shark Gesture stood up and walked off as if nothing had happened, although he did have some cuts and abrasions. Driver Brian Sears, Miller, Smiley and the horse's vet shook their heads in disbelief. "If that's not a tough horse, I don't know what is," Smiley said.   A week later, he won the Breeders Crown with George Brennan, who would become his principle driver, steering him in what was a clean trip, racing on or near the pace. "Nobody knew that horse like Georgie," Smiley said.  "George was tremendous with that horse from the first time he drove him." Shark Gesture raced only eight times in an abbreviated four-year-old season and was retired, his notable victory in the New Hampshire. Some of the notable offspring from the 32 starters from his first crop as a sire include stakes winner Piston Broke, 1:49.2s ($291,131) and Best Ears, 1:49.4f, ($188,483). After Shark Gesture recovered from his injury and trained solidly, Norm Smiley made the decision to bring the horse back to the races. It would prove to be a shrewd decision. In 2009 at the age of six, Shark Gesture came into his own, racing 29 times and winning seven, including the Haughton Memorial and Canadian Pacing Derby and topping all pacers with more than $900,000 in earnings. At age seven, he raced 12 times and winning seven, notably the Graduate, Bettors Delight, Dan Patch (by a whopping 10½ lengths), and repeating in the Haughton.  He finished second by a length in the Franklin. He was retired at the end of the season.  "He was just amazing," Norm Smiley said. "This horse never got the respect he deserved. He was a tremendous racehorse." By Perry Lefko, for Harness Racing Update

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

Drivers Tim Tetrick and Brian Sears, who drove Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation to a one-two finish, respectively, in a Tattersalls division last Saturday, Oct. 5, at The Red Mile, have each been fined $500 for kicking their horses in the stretch. “While the race video that was shown to the public both live and immediately afterward showed a foot of both drivers leaving the stirrup, it was inconclusive as to whether or not contact was made with their horses,” Kentucky Racing Commission deputy executive director Marc Guilfoil told Wednesday afternoon. “Kentucky rules state that ‘removal of a foot from the stirrups in and of itself shall not constitute the act of kicking.’ “That said, we have since been able to watch video of the race from different angles, specifically the head-on stretch view as well as a lower-level camera angle that was not available at the time to the stewards, and have come to the conclusion that the right foot of Mr. Tetrick and the left foot of Mr. Sears struck their horse more than once. Thus, they have both been issued fines of $500 in violation of the rule that prohibits the kicking of a horse.” Guilfoil said earlier comments made by presiding steward Rich Williams that downplayed the actions of the two drivers were made prematurely and before the subsequent video angles revealed the severity of the kicking. “While Mr. Williams noted his initial reaction was that the contact with the horses’ hocks was not severe, and fell within the guidelines given drivers at the beginning of the meet that contact considered incidental would not be punished, after having time to watch the head-on videos he agrees sanctions against Mr. Tetrick and Mr. Sears are warranted,” said Guilfoil. Submitted by the Kentucky Racing Commission  

It was billed all week long as one of the classic match-ups of the year and harness racing fans were not disappointed as Captraintreacherous would not let Vegas Vacation get by him, scoring a neck victory in 1:47.2 to capture the $215,000 Tattersalls Pace at the Red Mile in Lexington, KY Saturday. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Captaintreacherous went right after the lead from the start and took it away from Beach Memories (Dave Miller) at the opening quarter mile in :26.4. They raced to the half mile marker in :53.3 and that was when the action began to heat up. Vegas Vacation and driver Brian Sears came first-over and started to grind their way towards the leaders by the three-quarters in 1:20.2. Vegas Vacation kept right on moving as they started down the stretch and had collared Captaintreacherous midway and looked to have him beat. But Captaintreacherous showed true grit and a big heart as he dug, found some inner strength and came back at Vegas Vacation and beat him to the wire. Beach Memories was third. “He is tough as nails,” Tetrick said of Captaintreacherous, “I give him all the credit. He was passed and he came right back. He’s like Dick Tracey, he just would not give up. This horse is funny, you have to keep him interested  to keep him going. He really does not feel like going until someone comes after him. “I saw at the draw gate that Vegas still had his ear plugs in,” Tetrick explain. “and I said holy crap this ain’t good but you never give up on the Captain and I never do. He makes me neverous in every race because he is so laid back but he knows how to win. That’s what he does.” It was the ninth win in eleven starts this year for Captaintreacherous. The son of Somebeachsomewhere is trained by Tony Alagna and is owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing Stable of Versailles, KY. He paid $2.60 to win. “I would say this was an exciting a race anyone has seen in a long time,” Said co-owner Marvin Katz, “These are great horses competing against each other, great athletes and we saw great efforts by both of them.” Sunfire Blue Chip takes second division Despite the clouds opening up and pouring rain for the post parade, Sunfire Blue Chip and driver Yannick Gingras were able to work out a two-hole trip and then come on in the stretch to win the $215,000 second Tattersalls Pace division in 1:49.4. Fool Me Once and Brian Sears were first to show from the gate with Sunfire Blue Chip taking the lead away at the opening quarter mile in :26.4, but Sears quarter moved to take back command with Fool Me Once and they raced that way to the half mile in :54.3. Then after the half mile marker Dave Miller came charging up first-over with Twilight Bonfire and nearly took the lead away from Fool Me Once as they raced into the final turn. Past the three-quarters in 1:23.1 it looked to be a two-horse race to the finish, but no one bothered to tell Gingras and Sunfire Blue Chip as they came on like gangbusters and passed the leader to draw off by two lengths in the victory. Dedi’s Dragon (Tim Tetrick) was second with Fool Me Once third. Trained by Jimmy Takter, it was the seventh win this year for the son of American Ideal who is co-owned by Christine Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical Ab and R A W Equine, Inc. Sunfire Blue Chip paid $8.80 to win. By Steve Wolf for  

Shebestingin fastest pacing female of all time in 1:47 Shebestingin became the fastest female pacer in the history of harness racing Saturday, capturing a $122,500 division of the Tattersalls Stakes at the Red Mile in Lexington, KY in 1:47. Driven by Dave Miller, Shebestingin surpassed the former world mark of 1:47.3 set by Put On A Show in 2012 by three fifths of a second. After an opening quarter mile in :26.4 by 10-1 long shot Authorize, Miller sent Shebestingin to the lead and was on top by the half mile marker in :53.1. Scandalous Hanover and driver Tim Tetrick then challenge first-over to the three-quarters in 1:20. As those two fillies were neck and neck starting down the stretch, Shebestingin just pulled away and won by three open lengths in her world record time. Scandalous Hanover was second with Authorize third. “She has always been a really fast horse,” Dave Miller said, “Obviously she has learned to carry it. The conditions were right, the track is perfect and she worked out a great mile. When I was getting around the last turn it was 1:19 on the clock and I thought we are going too fast. But she still had a hold of me all the way through the stretch. I was surprised she went that much. She is such a good horse.” Trained by Joe Holloway and owned by the Val D’Or Farms, Ted Gewertz and L & L Devisser, it was the ninth win this year for three-year-old Shebestingin, who is sired by Bettor’s Delight. Shebestingin paid $3.20 to win as the betting favorite. And at the start of the race, Shebestingin caused a recall as she had refused to get behind the starting gate but once regrouped she was fine. Carols Desire wins second division In the 8th race $122,500 second division of the Tattersalls it was Carols Desire and driver Yannick Gingras who had the early lead by the opening quarter mile in :27.2, then sat the pocket trip to pacesetter Parlee Beach and came back on in the stretch to win in 1:49.4. Tim Tetrick had Parlee Beach in front before the half mile in :53.4 and led to the three-quarters in 1:21.2 before anyone in the back of the back started first-over. Belle Boyd (Jody Jamieson) tried a late first-over move but could not collar the leaders. But Carols Desire had the perfect trip and used it well to victory lane. Parlee Beach was second with Mattie Terror Girl (John Campbell) third. It was the seventh win this year for Carols Desire and a life time for the daughter of Real Desire. She is trained by Ron Burke and is co-owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Brucemi, R Ringer and P Collure. She paid $7.40 to win. By Steve Wolf for  

The Red Mile showcased the top two-year-old colt trotters and filly pacers on their Friday matinee, with the $223,900 International Stallion Stakes for the fillies and the $260,500 International Stallion Stakes for the colts.Muscle Network broke Muscle Hill’s world record mark of 1:53.3 in the first International Stallion Stake of the day, trotting his mile in 1:53.2.   Master Kemp left fast for command, with Shift Into Glide at his flank and Odds On Amethyst tracking the duo from third. Shift Into Glide cleared the lead just before the quarter and was soon challenged by a parked Odds On Amethyst at the quarter, in :28.1.   Odds On Amethyst cleared the lead shortly into the backstretch. From seventh, Muscle Network tipped first over and began a furious bid two wide. Odds On Amethyst was bracing for the challenge of Muscle Network at the half in :55.4 (:27.4).   Master Kemp, having been shuffled to fourth, tracked the cover of Muscle Network around the far turn. At three-quarters, Jody Jamieson pulled the plugs on Muscle Network and passed that station in 1:24.4 (:29).   With a couple taps of the whip, Muscle Network lifted flight upon the field. He was 4 lengths in front on his way to the wire and grew that margin to 4-and-a-quarter lengths to win the first International Stallion Stake in 1:53.2 (:28.3). Monkey Man closed to finish second, Shift Into Glide was third and Odds On Amethyst faded to fourth.   Muscle Network ($12.40) is a two-year-old colt by Muscle Hill, out of the mare India Hall by Garland Lobell. He is owned by Frank Bellino, trained by Tony O’Sullivan and Jody Jamieson was the pilot.   “It probably never happens [breaking your maiden in a world record,” trainer Tony O’Sullivan said. “You would have to check the record books, but I don't think it's ever happened.”   “I went a slow trip with him down in Vernon; he qualified and he seemed like such a natural trotter with speed. We hit some bumps at Vernon and we brought him down here to see what he could do. All week he just kept getting better and better.”   “He's been enjoying jogging on this track all week and he has looked sharp. He's a beautiful horse and he certainly has everything to suggest, maybe not a world record, but that he would be a talented individual. We will take him to the farm down in New Jersey and then take a shot at the Breeders Crown.”   The fillies broke an international standard as well in their stakes competition. Precocious Beauty, the division’s current leader, completed the act, equaling the world record of 1:50.1, set by I Luv The Nitelife last year.   Precocious Beauty got the lead, with I Need Hotstuff getting away in second and Delightful Dragon in third. Precocious Beauty passed the quarter in :27.2. She cantered her way to the half unpressured, yet clocking that station in a speedy :54.4 (:27.2).   Uffizi Hanover came first over from fifth and was applying a challenge to Precocious Beauty heading to three-quarters. Unthreatened by the pressure, Precocious Beauty passed three-quarters in 1:22.3 (:27.4).   Doug McNair kept Precocious Beauty to her task, as she continued her mile-sprint into the stretch. Uffizi Hanover was left to give chase, while Lasting Appeal was closing from second over into third and I Need Hotstuff trying to hold on to fourth. Precocious Beauty shortened in stride entering the sixteenth pole, but managed to stop the clock in 1:50.1 (:27.3). Uffizi Hanover finished second, Lasting Appeal was third and Delightful Dragon got fourth.   Precocious Beauty ($2.80) is a two-year-old filly by Art Major, out of the mare Precious Beauty by Jate Lobell. She is owned by James Avritt, trained by Gregg McNair and son Doug McNair sat in the bike.    “I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic or anything in the back,” driver Doug McNair said. “I floated out and guys were just getting organized, so I revved it up into the first turn and she did everything from there. She’s versatile. There are a lot of good horses out there and very few great ones; she’s definitely one of the great ones. It’s great to be down here and be part of [the Grand Circuit] and to get to drive a filly like that is the cherry on top.”   “I started out over 50 years ago in this business with a $300 mare, and we’ve come from there,” owner James Avritt said. “I could get used to this.”   “My dad was high on her all winter,” Doug McNair said. “The first time I drove her was when she qualified and I couldn't really tell about how good she was, but I knew in her first start. She is very talented, but lazy. She likes to wait on them. Today she had her head to the side and did the same thing, so you have to watch her but she is a very nice horse.”   Two more divisions were contested for the freshmen trotting colts, with the second going to Outburst, returning from his world record mile last week to score in 1:54.4.   Muscle Midas got the lead, while Outburst tucked into the pocket and Gangio was racing in third. Muscle Midas led by the quarter in :28. Outburst soon took to the outside and cleared the lead just before three-eighths. He was left unchallenged at the half in :56.3 (:28.3).   Il Sogno Dream pulled first over from fifth at the half. It Really Matters was tracking his move into the far turn. Il Sogno Dream had marched his way to Outburst’s wheel, but soon began to retreat as Outburst was accelerating. Muscle Midas remained prime in the pocket as Outburst passed three-quarters in 1:26 (:29.2).   Outburst had a stampede ready to contest him into the stretch. Muscle Midas edged out of the pocket and began narrowing in on the leader. It Really Matters tipped three wide and began his charge. Outburst dug in through the wire, holding on to win by half-a-length in 1:54.4 (:28.4). Muscle Midas was second, It Really Matters was third and Auspicious Hanover rallied for fourth.   Outburst ($3.00) is a two-year-old colt by Explosive Matter, out of the mare Exquisite Lady by Supergill. He is owned by Adam Victor and Son Stable, Mirva Bogucki and Noel Daley, trained by Noel Daley and Ron Pierce was in the bike.   “This will set him up perfectly for the Kindergarten [Series], as he has two weeks before that race," trainer Noel Daley said. “He trains funny on the front at home and that's one of the reasons I had to geld him. I didn't really want him out there [on the lead], but I didn't tell Ronnie [Pierce] that because I figured it would probably happen, as he was 1-2. I was pleased with him today, he was good.”   The final colt division was won by E L Titan, fighting off a game Trixton to nip him at the wire in 1:53.4   Speak The Truth launched off the gate, but made a break entering the first turn. Hillustrious took command, while Trixton refused to tuck into the pocket. E L Titan was racing in third and Raise The Curtain was in fourth. Hillustrious led by the quarter in :29.1.   Trixton cleared the lead into the backstretch. He was left unchallenged as he passed the half in :57 (:27.4). E L Titan popped out of third and began a charge towards the leader. Hillustrious was keeping up in the pocket and Raise The Curtain entered the two wide flow heading to three-quarters. E L Titan and Trixton were stride-for-stride at three-quarters in 1:26.1 (:29.1).   The tussle on the lead continued into the stretched. Trixton was all-out, as was E L Titan on the outside. The two gained instant separation on Hillustrious entering the final eighth as the pace quickened. In the final quarter sprint, E L Titan emerged better over Trixton, with Hillustrious finishing third and Raise The Curtain was fourth. E L Titan ($5.20) is a two-year-old colt by Muscle Hill, out of the mare Courtney Hall by Garland Lobell. He is owned by Erkki Laakkonen and is trained and driven by Riina Rekila.   "He is big, strong and a nice horse," trainer Riina Rekilla said. “It's very special to win here; all my friends from Finland are here. We will take him to the Valley Victory if he comes out of this well, but will skip the Breeders Crown because two weeks is too soon. He's usually very quiet in the paddock at home, but he has been wound up here. Also he was wide for most of the mile and I'd like to give him some time. He is a special horse to me.”   A duo of filly pace divisions for the International Stallion Stakes were contested on the card, as well. The opening division crowned Allstar Rating a Grand Circuit champion, pacing a 1:51.2 effort.   Beach Body got the lead, while Allstar Rating tucked into second and The Beach Nextdoor paced into third. Beach Body led by the quarter in :28.1. Allstar Rating did not hesitate in the pocket, pulling to the outside and was slightly stretched out by Beach Body before the half. She cleared command and the two wide flow remained non-existent at the half in :55.2 (:27.1).   The first over cavalcade commenced into the far turn, with Barefoot Beauty taking the bait from Beach Gal behind her. Barefoot Beauty made slow progress towards Allstar Rating on their way to three-quarters. Beach Gal was carried into the race and Beach Body was caught with no racing room at the pylons. Allstar Rating still held command at three-quarters in 1:23.2 (:28).   Allstar Rating had pressure on her march to the wire. Barefoot Beauty appeared to be stalled first over, as was Beach Gal in her three wide bid. Beach Body tried to sneak up the pylons, but soon pulled back in a jerk. Barefoot Beauty and Beach Gal were left to give chase into the sixteenth pole, as Allstar Rating crossed the wire in 1:51.2 (:28). Barefoot Beauty finished second, Beach Gal was third and Beach Body was fourth.   Allstar Rating ($4.80) is a two-year-old filly by Four Starzzz Shark, out of the mare Credit Rating by Western Hanover. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and the JJK Stables, trained by Ron Burke and Yannick Gingras was the driver.   “She’s learning,” driver Yannick Gingras said. “She was a little bit green on the front today, but I was happy with the way she raced. If they were moving along faster [early in the mile], I would have been content to sit there, but you can’t get away with easy fractions. I thought on paper it was a two-horse race, so I thought if I could steal it, I might as well take it.” The second division was referred to by announcer Sam McKee as “the closest finish in Grand Circuit history,” as a quintet of freshmen fillies were only separated by a nose in their International Stallion Stake. My Lady Day emerged an upset winner, somehow splitting horses with little room to win in 1:52.1.   My Lady Day sprinted off the gate and was at the pylons before the first turn. A La Notte Hanover was up to pressure and grabbed the lead before the quarter. Somethinincredible was racing third and Rosie De Vie was in fourth, as A La Notte Hanover passed the opening panel in :28.1. She had no interaction heading to the half, strolling by in :56 (:27.4). Rosie De Vie was prepared to take her shot, tipping first over into the far turn. Anegada was racing second over and in fourth, while My Lady Day was getting a pocket ride. Rosie De Vie was on equal terms with A La Notte Hanover at three-quarters in 1:24.2 (:28.2).   After her fierce first over journey, Rosie De Vie continued to pressure A La Notte Hanover on the lead. Anegada tipped three wide, while My Lady Day had no room to pace. Instant Respect fanned off her cover from third over and was five wide coming after the leader. A La Notte Hanover within a matter of strides began to slow down into the sixteenth pole. In a miraculous bid, My Lady Day practically played bumper cars to weave her nose in front, just as the shine of the wire was with them. A fast closing Instant Respect was second, Anegada finished third and Rosie De Vie was fourth.   My Lady Day ($19.80) is a two-year-old filly by Western Ideal, out of the mare Economic Clout by Artsplace. She is owned by Val D’or Farms, trained by Joe Holloway and Andy Miller sat behind.   “I always have a little confidence, but it was a good race and at the wire there were five of them across; I couldn’t separate them,” driver Andy Miller said. “It was very tight until right down late and then I got my wheels pushed through. She went a really good effort today. She put her nose out today.”.   “We always knew she had plenty of pace and that was never a problem,” trainer Joe Holloway said. “She was lightening up the last eighth of a mile and Kentucky has that new rule on Lasix, so I figured why not try her on it? She definitely improved. She might race once more this year, we will see. I can't take her to the Breeders Crown because Pennsylvania allows Lasix for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, but not for Standardbreds. So we are going to keep her on the Lasix and just race her in the states that allow it. She is sound and doesn't have a breathing problem.”   Live racing continues tomorrow at The Red Mile, with Captaintreacherous matching up with rivals Vegas Vacation and Sunshine Beach in a division of the Tattersalls. The Glen Garnsey Memorial and International Stallion Stakes also headline tomorrow’s racing action, with a matinee post of 1 PM.   by Ray Cotolo for The Red Mile

This Week: Bluegrass Stakes and Allerage eliminations, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 26) at The Red Mile with three divisions in the $287,600 Bluegrass for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Sept. 27) card features three divisions in the $270,300 Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt trotters and three divisions in the $259,700 Bluegrass for 2-year-old filly pacers. On Saturday (Sept. 28), The Red Mile will offer a trio of Bluegrass events in the $400,000 (est.) 2-year-old colt pace, the $200,000 (est.) 3-year-old colt pace and the $200,000 (est.) 3-year-old filly pace. The opening week concludes on Sunday (Sept. 29) with $200,000 (est.) Bluegrass races for 3-year-old colt trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, as well as $10,000 eliminations in the Allerage for open pacers and open trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on the Delaware (Ohio) County Fair this past week, with the $552,551 Little Brown Jug leading two days of exciting stakes races. Vegas Vacation and trainer Casie Coleman hit the jackpot on Sept. 19, winning the 68th edition of the Little Brown Jug in straight heats. Vegas Vacation, driven by Brian Sears, won his first heat in 1:50 and captured the second heat with the identical time, beating Urbanite Hanover by two lengths. Coleman’s Lucan Hanover finished third. Vegas Vacation’s combined time of 3:40 established the two-heat world record for 3-year-old gelding pacers on a half-mile track. Coleman won last year’s Jug with Michael’s Power and became the first trainer since Tom Artandi in 1988-89 to win the race in consecutive seasons. Owned by West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella, Anthony Beaton and Phyllis Saunders, Vegas Vacation has won nine of 15 races this year. He is a son of Bettor's Delight out of the mare Don’t You Smile. In other Grand Circuit action over the weekend, the defending champion Rocklamation did it once again as she posted the 12-1 upset in this year’s $275,480 Milton Stakes final for pacing mares on Sept. 21 at Mohawk. The pacing miss equaled her own stakes record of 1:49.4 taken last year at odds of 23-1. Rocklamation and driver Brett Miller were sitting eighth, 10-3/4 lengths off the tempo setter Androvette turning for home. Down the stretch, Anndrovette was still in command, but the backfield began to fan across the racetrack. Swinging Beauty came from off the pace and was closing hard on the outside, but couldn’t match strides with Rocklamation, who unleashed a punishing late kick in deep stretch to score the one length victory. Swinging Beauty finished second with Anndrovette third. The sport’s top trotters were showcased in the $230,000 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino during an action-packed 14-race card on Sept. 21. Uncle Peter, with David Miller at the lines, became the sport’s newest millionaire and shattered the track record for older horses on the trot when he powered home a winner in 1:52.3. Leaders Wishing Stone and Market Share matched strides down the homestretch in that contest, while Uncle Peter loomed large in the background. Using a :26.4 final panel, Uncle Peter saved his best for last and was able to get a nose in front of Market Share at the wire. My MVP held on gamely for the third place finish, while Wishing Stone was fourth. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 1,116; 2. Tim Tetrick – 1,002; 3. David Miller - 687; 4. Brian Sears - 563.5; and 5. Andy Miller – 525. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,145.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 767.5; 3. Linda Toscano – 436.5; 4. Julie Miller – 284; and 5. Jonas Czernyson – 262.5. Owners: 1. Burke Racing – 249.75; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 232.05; 3. Brittany Farms – 178.85; 4. Frank Bellino – 168.5; and 5. WJ Donovan – 148.25. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again be taking place next week in one location, Lexington’s historic Red Mile. Featured will be the Kentucky Futurity, the third and final leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Also on tap will be the companion Kentucky Filly Futurity for the sophomore fillies, the Tattersalls Pace and the Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, four International Stallion Stakes races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, and four Allerage contests for open pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit

Sweet Lou lived up to his name as he posted a 1:48.1 score in the $510,300 Tattersalls Pace for harness racing 3-year-old pacing colts on Saturday (Oct. 6) at The Red Mile.

Harness racing's top money-winning driver, Tim Tetrick, will be driving some of the sport's top horses Saturday as the Grand Circuit meet continues at Lexington's Red Mile with the $510,300 Tattersalls Pace for 3-year-old male pacers, two $111,000 divisions of the Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers and four $86,000-plus divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers.

Saturday's eleven race Grand Circuit card at The Red Mile is laden with talented harness racing pacers vying for over $1.1 million. The $510,300 Tattersalls Pace drew a flat dozen entries and many of the titans in the division are counted among them.

The Grand Circuit will conclude its 2011 campaign at The Red Mile on Sunday (Oct. 9) with a pair of $243,000 divisions in the Tattersalls for harness racing 3-year-old colt pacers.

Gifted harness racing driver Daniel Dube can't split Gallo Blue Chip and Rock N Roll Heaven when asked to assess the top horse he has driven. "They are definitely the two best horses I have sat behind, but it's almost impossible for me to say which one was the more talented.

It was a picture perfect late October afternoon for harness racing at The Red Mile with record highs reaching nearly 80 degrees in Lexington, and a magnificent closing day card to cap off a stellar two-week Grand Circuit meet.

Rock N Roll Heaven enhanced his claim to harness racing 'Horse of the Year' honors as he captured the $604,000 Tattersalls Pace, the richest event on the Saturday (Oct. 23) card at The Red Mile, in a time of 1:48.1.

The nine race Saturday (Oct. 23) harness racing card at The Red Mile could be described as a who's who in the sport of harness racing, as 16 trotting and pacing millionaires will take to the track to compete in the all stakes program.

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