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Southwind Chrome is still finding his way as a harness racing horse, but trainer Paula Wellwood likes the direction he is heading. Unraced at age 2 because of an injury, Wellwood has tried to expose the colt to a variety of racing styles in preparation for Saturday's appearance in the 93rd Hambletonian at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Southwind Chrome has won once in seven races and finished second on four occasions. One of his runner-up efforts came in the final of the Empire Breeders Classic, which was won by Six Pack by a half-length. Six Pack is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the second of Saturday's two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations. Southwind Chrome is in the same division and is 5-1. The top-five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final. Coverage of the Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters will air live from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on CBS Sports Network. First-race post time for Saturday's stakes-filled card at the Meadowlands is noon. "We're maybe not as seasoned as the other horses," said Wellwood, who won the 2016 Hambletonian with Marion Marauder. "It's only his eighth lifetime start. But what he did in the Empire Breeders (final) in his third start was unbelievable. He's a pretty quick study, but he is still a little green and trying to figure out his style of racing. We've tried to expose him to all different styles, so we'll see how that goes. "That's up to the driver." That would be Scott Zeron, who will drive Southwind Chrome in his elimination. Zeron, who won for Wellwood with Marion Marauder on their way to the Trotting Triple Crown, may not be available for the final as he also will be driving filly Atlanta in the first elimination. Atlanta, the lone filly in the race and 3-1 second choice in her heat, is trained and co-owned by Zeron's dad Rick. "If we get lucky enough to make the final I know we'll be looking for a driver, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Wellwood said. "(Zeron) likes Chrome, too. He commented that he's got two nice horses. He's not underestimating him." Southwind Chrome is owned by Dreamville Stable, which is Wellwood, her husband Mike Keeling, son Devin Keeling, and mom Jean Wellwood. Devin and Jean are the owners of Marion Marauder. Southwind Chrome, a son of Chapter Seven out of Counter Pointe, was purchased for $60,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. "We had some of the family and always liked the mare," Wellwood said. "We looked at (Southwind Chrome) and really liked him. He was our first Chapter Seven that we bought, and the fact he was a Chapter Seven was an added bonus." Southwind Chrome was lightly staked, but it was not because of a lack of talent. "We gave him a lot of time and brought him back and he struggled a little bit," Wellwood said. "That's why he's not heavily staked. He had a couple of struggles in the winter training down with his gait, but once he got to qualifying, he just changed. He started to excel. "We wanted to make sure the Hambletonian was on his card because he always showed a lot of ability. We started him out and he exceeded our expectations, he's never let us down." He also never gets down. "He's a very honest, happy horse," Wellwood said. "He's just a very pleasant horse. He's not a big horse but he's a very strong horse. He doesn't seem to get tired. That's one of his keys. He's just done everything right, so we thought we would take a chance. He's raced very well. We felt he deserved a shot." And hope he finds his winning style. * * * * * * Another horse that is still learning is Classichap, from the stable of 2004 Hambletonian winner Trond Smedshammer. Classichap, a half-brother to 2012 Hambletonian champ and two-time Dan Patch Award honoree Market Share, was winless in four races in 2017, but finished second to Fourth Dimension in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Saratoga. Three of Classichap's starts were on the New York circuit. "I knew he had a lot of talent," said trainer Smedshammer, who also drives Classichap for owner Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables. "He wasn't staked too much; I wasn't planning on racing him on the Grand Circuit. I raced him a few times in New York and he showed me enough to back off and give him some time to mature." Classichap is 6-1 in the second Hambletonian elimination. His most recent three races were at the Meadowlands in preparation for the event. He was third-placed-second in a conditioned race and then posted his first win with a gate-to-wire 1:51.1 triumph by a head over Tactical Landing in a conditioned race on July 6. His final start prior to the Hambletonian was a second-place finish to Wolfgang in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14. "He was good the start before the Dancer and he was pretty good in the Dancer," Smedshammer said. "I didn't think he was as good in that race, but he's getting some experience. I think the big track suits him better, the Meadowlands-style racing, than up in New York in his previous starts earlier in the year. "He's still green and learning, but he's got a big engine. If he gets the right trip and things work out, he's shown he can cut a mile in (1):51 on his own. Not every horse can do that. We'll see where he fits in with those top horses." In addition to Classichap, Smedshammer trains Hambletonian Oaks contender Phaetosive. The filly won her Oaks elimination and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind Manchego. Smedshammer trained 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi. * * * * * * Hat Trick Habit has raced four times for new connections, with mixed results. But trainer Scott DiDomenico is hoping the trotter has got it figured out after a second-place finish behind Crystal Fashion in his final Hambletonian prep, the Reynolds Memorial. The horse went off stride in his two prior races. "We're going to give it a shot," DiDomenico said. "I think he is on the way up again. We've been having trouble with his feet, they've been aggravating him some, and I think that's been part of the reason he's been jumping. That's been one of my biggest concerns and I think we've sort of got it under control. I hope it works out OK." Hat Trick Habit debuted for new owners John McGill and Brian Carsey with a career-best 1:52.3 win at the Meadowlands on July 7. He was acquired by McGill and Carsey at the end of June. The horse was owned previously by Fred Monteleone, who passed away in October. For his career, Hat Trick Habit has won six of 17 races and earned $205,054. The colt is 12-1 in the first Hambletonian elimination, starting from post eight with three-time Hambletonian-winning driver Brian Sears. "All things considered, it's probably a little bit of a shot, but how many times are you going to have a shot to race a horse of this caliber in this kind of race," DiDomenico said about racing in the Hambletonian. "We're excited about it and getting the shot to make some money in there. That's a pretty neat feeling. It's cool. I've never been there before, never had a horse that I even considered putting in that race. Now that I do, it's special." * * * * * * Met's Hall, who is 10-1 in the first Hambletonian elimination, was slow to return to the races for his 3-year-old season, not making his debut until July 14. He qualified three times prior to that race, twice in June and once in July. "It's been challenging," trainer Julie Miller said. "He had a lot of health issues starting out the year that made my job difficult. But hopefully it's coming together at the right time. I'm very fortunate that (owner) Natalia Stroy has been patient with me and the horse. "We'll just point him toward next week and hope all our efforts pay off. We're going to need a lot of luck, too. Met's Hall was a stakes-winner in 2017, with his victories including a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile, where he trotted a career-best 1:52.4. He followed that win with a second-place finish behind Fourth Dimension in a track-record 1:54 mile in their Breeders Crown elimination at Hoosier Park and a week later was second to Fiftydallarbill in the $600,000 final. He made his 2018 debut in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands, where he finished fourth with regular driver Andy Miller, Julie's husband. His next start resulted in a third-place finish in the Tompkins-Geers at the Big M before notching his first win of the year in a division of last weekend's Reynolds Memorial. He won in 1:53 with a :26.4 final quarter and :55.2 back half after a :57.3 first half. "Off that slow half, I thought it was a good back half," Miller said. "When Andy had to kind of check him in the lane he was real handy there. "Every time Andy gets off the bike, after each qualifier, after each race, he says I'm getting there. Now if I can just shed three seconds in the next week," she added with a laugh. Met's Hall has won six of 14 career races and $311,908. The Millers have had consecutive top-three finishes in the Hambletonian, with Devious Man third-placed-second in 2017 and Sutton third, beaten only a neck, in 2016. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Brian Sears-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1  

East Rutherford, NJ --- Manchego and Phaetosive each won their respective eliminations Saturday (July 28) for the Hambletonian Oaks, with Manchego capturing her division by 3-3/4 lengths over Lily Stride in 1:51.1 and Phaetosive victorious in her division by 4-1/4 lengths over Live Laugh Love in 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The top-five finishers from each $50,000 elimination advanced to next week's $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks final for 3-year-old female trotters at the Big M. Hey Blondie, What A Knockout and Seviyorum advanced from the elim won by Manchego while Plunge Blue Chip, Blonde Magic and Nixie Volo advanced from the elimination won by Phaetosive. Phaetosive and driver Trond Smedshammer were in fourth place at the half-mile point of their elimination, with Plunge Blue Chip - who on July 14 trotted a world-record 1:49.4 mile at the Meadowlands - leading the field to that point in :56.1. Plunge Blue Chip, who started from post eight in the eight-horse field and was three-wide around the first turn before getting the lead, remained on top heading into the final turn, but Phaetosive was on the move and threatening. She took the lead at the top of the stretch and came home in :26.3 to win for the third time in four races this year. Her time of 1:51 was a career best. Phaetosive, a daughter of Explosive Matter out of Phaeton who is owned by Purple Haze Stables and trained by Smedshammer, has won seven of 11 lifetime starts and earned $377,358. She has never finished worse than third. "She was good," said Smedshammer, who trained 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi. "She's been good her whole life. She just keeps impressing me." Phaetosive finished second to Manchego in last year's Jim Doherty Memorial and Peaceful Way Stakes and was third behind Manchego in the Breeders Crown. The Hambletonian Oaks final will be their first encounter this season. "We haven't met up yet this year, so we will see next week," Smedshammer said. "She got the best of me last year every time they hooked up, but I think it's a little closer this year." When asked how Phaetosive compared to other great filly trotters Smedshammer trained during his career, the trainer responded, "It's tough to compare from different eras, but she is extremely talented." Phaetosive, the 4-5 favorite in her Oaks elimination, paid $3.60 to win. Manchego, who in her previous start finished second by a nose to Plunge Blue Chip in her world-record 1:49.4 mile, was guided to the lead in her Oaks elimination by driver Yannick Gingras on the backstretch and was unthreatened the rest of the way. Her time of 1:51.1 was a career best as she won for the fourth time in six races this year. The filly has won 15 of 17 career races and earned $986,170. "I don't think (she's ever been better)," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said. "It was a little upsetting to lose the last start and get such a nice record, but she did the dirty work. She went :54.3 (to the half) with a :27.1 second quarter and that kind of hurt her a little bit in the stretch, and maybe Yannick underestimated (Plunge Blue Chip) a little bit too. But I'm happy where we are right now." Takter and Gingras have teamed to win the past four editions of the Hambletonian Oaks. Takter holds the record for most training wins in the race with seven. The trainer said he did not consider bypassing the Oaks to try Manchego against the boys in the $1 million Hambletonian next week. The connections of filly Atlanta, who is undefeated in five races this year, took that route. "I don't blame them for taking a shot, but I've tried that and it's hard to do," said Takter, who raced filly Pampered Princess in the 2007 Hambletonian won by Donato Hanover. "Fillies go two heats and it's a little bit too tough, especially for Manchego because she is not a very big filly. Going two heats would be risking the future of her racing career." Manchego, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, was the 2017 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter. She is owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Sent off as the 1-9 favorite, Manchego paid $2.20 to win. Post positions for the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks final will be drawn and morning lines assigned on Tuesday (July 31) at 2 p.m. (EST) and shown on live on the Meadowlands Facebook page and Meadowlands YouTube channel. The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and $1 million Hambletonian will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 4. Hambletonian Day is closing day at the Meadowlands, with a post time of 12 noon. Fans can follow Hambletonian Day news at www.Hambletonian.com, www.meadowlandsracetrack.com and on Twitter at #Hambo18. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

WASHINGTON, PA, June 5, 2018 -- At 2, Donatover was so fractious that he managed only three races and a modest $2,400 bankroll. This year, the young trotter has hit the board in all five starts with a pair of victories, including a convincing win in his PA Sires Stakes opener. Donatover's newfound mannerliness will be tested in Wednesday's $110,260 Currier & Ives open division at The Meadows, where he's been installed as the morning line 7-2 second pick. The Currier & Ives goes as races 1 and 3, with Donatover leaving from the rail with Dave Palone in race 1. First post is 1:05 PM. Trainer Trond Smedshammer purchased the son of Donato Hanover-Anonyme Hanover as a yearling for $30,000 for Purple Haze Stables. A student of pedigree, Smedshammer liked what he saw in the youngster's lineage. "He wasn't an exceptionally good-looking horse, but there was something about his breeding that I liked," Smedshammer says. "If you look carefully at it, you'll see his pedigree doubles up on Amour Angus (dam of the ultra-successful Garland Hall full brothers Andover Hall, Angus Hall and Conway Hall). Sometimes if you do that, you can get something special." He looked anything but special as a freshman, breaking stride in two of his three outings and exhibiting a headstrong approach to his schooling. "He showed some speed, but he was erratic and hot at times," Smedshammer says. "He's definitely stating to mature a little bit mentally, but even this year, he was good one race, and I couldn't hold him back the next. I've had to change bits on him. Right now, it seems we have him halfway figured out. We'll see how long it lasts before he outsmarts us again." Smedshammer knows that the rail can be a tricky starting spot for a green, willful trotter. "I'm hoping that Dave can come first over with him rather than move to the front early," he says. "With aggressive horses, it's better to keep them in a hole as long as you can and make one big, long move with them." Even if his antics are behind him, Donatover has cost himself a shot at most of the richest events for 3-year-olds. "He'll race in Pennsylvania," Smedshammer indicates. "He didn't show me enough last year or this winter to stake him to Grand Circuit races. The way I look at it, I'd rather have a good horse that's under-staked than a bad horse that's over-staked. I can't stand wasting money on stake payments -- even if it's not my money. "A good horse will always make money, even if it's as an aged horse. I'm a realist, not an optimist." by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

Monticello, NY - Trackman Anthony Desimone worked hard the prior week and over the weekend to put the best possible racing surface together for the New York Sire Stakes first visit at Monticello Raceway on Monday June 1, but it was not to be. An overnight rain made the track slick for the first 3 races. As the day went on the track got better. The afternoon saw as Scott Zeron drive 3 winners, Ake Svanstedt and Trond Smedshammer each has 2 wins, Linda Toscano had 2 training wins and Ken Jacobs had 2 owner wins. Post time favorite Fury Road made an uncharacteristic break leaving the gate, in the short field of 6 and 2 others made miscues down the back side. Red Reign and Jordan Stratton inherited the lead and took the field thru soft fraction of 31,1:04, all the while Tribute To Seven was lurking in the 2 hole, at the 5/8 marker Scott Zeron had Tribute to Seven in high gear and had the lead at the ¾ in 1:31.0. From that point the son of Chapter 7 continued to open daylight on the field to win by 6 lengths in a pedestrian like 2:01. Tribute To Seven is trained by Linda Toscano for owner Richard Gutnink. Red Reign held on for second. The 2nd division of NYSS saw Lucky Ava destroy a field of her contemporaries as she cruised to an easy 11 length victory in 1:58.4 (LQ28.3) the fastest mile of the afternoon. The daughter of Lucky Chucky picked up her 3rd win of the young season for Co-owner - trainer - driver Ake Svanstedt and owners Little E LLC and Van Camp Trotting Corp, Lucky Ava was bred by co - owner Little E LLC. The win vaulted Lucky Ava over $250,00 in lifetime earnings, Jackie Newlands was second followed by Firm To Stay in the show spot Both Supergirl Riley (PP7) and Natalie Hanover (PP5) left the gate hard in the 3rd division of Sire Stakes, racing for a purse of $30,450, but it was Supergirl Riley who got there first, the duo cut fractions of 29.1, 1:00.2 1:29.2 and still remained 1-2 at the top of the stretch. Trond Smedshammer had Dew To Win in perfect position and overtook the leaders to prevail in 1:59 and returned $15.20. Dew To Win is owned by Purple Haze Stables LLC and picked up her 2 win of the year and is by Dewycheatumnhowe. Natalie Hanover hung on for second and Perfect Summer K was third. As Somedew Somedont cut the fractions of 30.4, 1:01.2, 1:31.1 Ake Svanstedt was content to sit the pocket with $300,00 yearling Ciao Dolce. The daughter of Credit Winner - Pizza Dolce popped out of the 2 hole in mid-stretch to notch the victory in 1:59.4, to score her maiden win, giving Ake Svanstead a driving and training double. Somedew Somedont finished a game second. The Excelsior A Abbie Hall (Conway Hall - Armbro Archer) made a hugh brush down the backside and won by 5 in 1:59.4 - $2.40 Pittstop Emerald tried to wire the field, but Girl Crush (Conway Hall) had other plans and won by a neck in 2:00 for driver Scott Zeron. Girl Crush is trained by the young Swede Lucas Wallin. Sassy Massy and Mark Whitcroft dodged traffic to take their division in 2:02.2 and returned a healthy $35.40 win ticket. The daughter of Muscle mass earned her 3rd consecutive win. Seven Karats went wire to wire in this field of 7 for trainer Linda Toscano in 1:59.1. The daughter of Chapter Seven is owned by Kenneth Jacobs and picked up her first pari mutual win of the year. Seven Karats was bred by Diamond Creek Farms LLC. Jordan Stratton and A Gift For You (Credit Winner) visited the winners circle after holding off White Cheetah in1:59.4, to give owner Ken Jacobs his double for the day Excelsior B Local Reisman Bruce Aldrich wired the field and skipped away by 4 lengths with Executive Decision (Conway Hall) in 2:02.2 for trainer Homer Hochstetler, she was followed by Byway and Coastie in the place and show position. Chasing Stardom (Deweycheatumnhowe) picked up her first lifetime win in 2:03.3, she is trained by Howard Okusko and was driven by Mark MacDonald. The Sire tally was Chapter Seven and Conway Hall both had 3 winners each on the afternoon. The 11-race card was well received as $689,836 was wagered on the afternoon. By Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

CHESTER, PA - The only mare in the field, the four-year-old Archangel distaff Celebrity Ruth, showed her heels to the field in the $18,000 feature on "Trottin' Thursday" at Harrah's Philadelphia, taking a new lifetime best of 1:53.3. David Miller sent Celebrity Ruth charging after the lead first-over down the backstretch, and the mare responded with a 26.4 individual back split to clear before the ¾ and open a sizable lead on the far turn. She maintained a 1 ¾ length margin at the wire over Watkins, who escaped a shuffle and came back on. Celebrity Ruth, unraced at two, now has a career record of 17-8-8-0-$427,613 for trainer Trond Smedshammer and White Birch Farm. Another four-year-old trotter went even faster, 1:53.1, in the $17,000 co-featured event, as Top Flight Angel made a successful 2018 bow, leading every pole to tally by 3 ¼ lengths. The product of Team Orange Crush - trainer Julie Miller and husband-driver Andy - equaled the lifetime mark he set in a preparatory qualifier here at Philly for the Legendary Standardbred Farm. On a day where favorites won the first six races (though one was a dead-heat), Izoh sent the chalkplayers scrambling for cover with a pocket rocket rally over pacesetter Classic Belisima in 1:54.2, the Crazed gelding's fastest ever, while returning $104.60 for a $2 ticket. Another wife-and-husband team, driver Jackie and trainer Frank Ingrassia, got the job done with Izoh, whom Jackie co-owns with the Arden Homestead Stable, Donna Franchetti, and Thomas Doran.  From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Harness racing trainer Trond Smedshammer is going against his philosophy not once, but twice this week. So far, it seems to be working out. Smedshammer has qualified two Purple Haze Stables horses for the $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, as Chezatter and Hillarmbro will both compete in this Saturday’s final at the Meadowlands. “We usually don’t race 2-year-olds at this time of year, but this filly has been good all year,” Smedshammer said of Chezatter. “Hillarmbro is just good. She’s not as experienced as Chezatter, but she’s good. The breed has changed a little bit the last few years; they get to their speed so quickly.” Chezatter, a filly by Explosive Matter out of the Malabar Man mare Chez Lucie, has hit the board in nine of 10 starts, with four firsts and four seconds. She has won $175,062 and has had David Miller in the sulky for eight of her last nine races. Smedshammer has driven her other races. “This filly is very talented, so I didn’t see a reason not to give her a chance,” Smedshammer said. In the Oct. 21 Breeders Crown elimination. Chezatter sprinted from the pocket down the stretch to overtake Ariana G for first place in a career best 1:53.4. Smedshammer was not surprised at her late burst. “Not with that kind of trip,” he said. “I thought if their positions were reversed in the Doherty, she might have gone by then (in a second-place finish). She just loves to chase down horses. She’s been good all year.” Hillarmbro, a Muscle Hill filly out of the Dream Vacation mare Armbro Emma, has not been good all year, but has certainly come on strong after the first month. Her first two races produced one fourth, but she won her next three, took second in Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes divisions at Lexington, and was third in her Breeders Crown elimination. The filly has earned $50,187. “She just needs to learn a little bit,” said Smedshammer, who has been Hillarmbro’s only driver.” She’s gotten a little bit too aggressive. She wants to beat horses, but she wants to beat them right away. She’s got to learn to cool down a little bit.” Smedshammer said he was happy with her in the elimination, despite the face she did not steer completely straight in the stretch. “I had to keep checking her a little bit and it was tough for me to go by,” he said. “But she had a lot of trot and she’ll be good (in the final).” Thats All Moni was the other elimination winner, even lthough driver Tim Tetrick didn’t feel the race worked out the way he thought. “But that’s horse racing,” Tetrick said. “She’s got enough talent to go with anybody. She just has to get the right trip. I think she’s going to get better every start.” Trained by Jimmy Takter, Thats All Moni is a daughter of Cantab Hall out of the Pine Chip mare Mom's Millionaire. She has hit the board in each of her 10 career starts with five wins and earnings of $220,773. She lowered her mark to 1:54.1 with the Breeders Crown elimination victory. Another driver who didn’t get the elimination race he was expecting was Charlie Norris, who managed to get a game Treviso into the final when she finished second to Thats All Moni. “I had to use her pretty hard in the second quarter to get to the lead, but she hung in there,” said Norris, also the horse’s trainer. “It wasn’t much of a last quarter, but being off a couple weeks, she fought back at the wire. She raced really well, I thought.” By Muscle Massive out of the Taurus Dream mare Valbonela, Treviso has won five of 10 starts with two seconds and a third for $149,569. She won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes before taking second in her Breeders Crown elimination. “She was very good in Lexington,” Norris said. “She’s minding her manners now and she seems pretty good. I re-rigged her a little bit and she seems to be fine. She’s driving two fingers in the race. I couldn’t ask for anything more, she’s absolutely perfect to drive.” In looking at the final, Norris is cautiously optimistic. “Both of Trond’s fillies are tough, they’re on top of their games,” he said. “Jimmy (Takter) has got a couple nice fillies (Thats All Moni and Ariana G). It’s tough. It’s going to depend on the draw and the first three-eighths of a mile. “I feel really good going into the final. She trained good the last few weeks and hopefully we can get one more good week out of her.” by Rich Fisher

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ-- Yielding to Ariana G for the pocket in the backstretch, Chezatter, a filly by Explosive Matter out of the Malabar Man mare Chez Lucie, sprinted out of the pocket in the stretch, advancing to a 1:53.4 victory in the first of two $20,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for harness racing two-year-old trotting fillies on Friday, October 21 at the Meadowlands. Claiming the lead through a :28 first quarter, Chezatter led into the backside as Ariana G tipped first over from fourth. She brushed to the lead, setting fractions of :57.1 and 1:26 before being pursued by Chezatter mid-stretch. Ariana G held on for second, while Princess Aurora, Sunshine Delight, and Broadway Idole also qualified for the final. Trained by Trond Smedshammer, Chezatter races for owner Purple Haze Stable LLC. She has earned $175,062 and won four races out of 10 starts this year. Going off the 4-1 second choice to 1/9 favorite Ariana G, she returned $10.60 to win. "This filly has been good all year," Smedshammer said. "She just loves to chase down horses." Thats All Moni wins second Crown elim Thats All Moni, a Jimmy Takter-trained daughter of Cantab Hall from the Pine Chip mare Mom’s Millionaire, grinded first over to the front and maintained control in a 1:54.1 mile to take the second of two $20,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands on Friday, October 21.   Clearing the lead in :27.4, Thats All Moni was shuffled to third as Cameron Hill brushed to the lead, followed by Treviso, who led to the half in :55.3 She was pressured by Thats All Moni around the far turn and past three-quarters in 1:24.4 before settling for second in a stretch-long duel. Hillarmbro, Cameron Hill, and Evelyn also qualified for the final.   Owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld, Thats All Moni won her fifth race in 10 starts, earning $220,773. She was driven by Tim Tetrick and paid $5.60 to win.   “[The race] definitely went the way I thought it was going to work out,” Tetrick said. “That was one of her gamer efforts. She’s still green and has the talent to go with anybody, but she has to get the right trip. She raced really well.” By Ray Cotolo  

Fad Finance shattered the track record for harness racing  three year old trotting fillies at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night. Jim Morrill Jr. piloted the Trond Smedshammer-trained filly who was the race's 3-5 betting favorite in her division of the $89,950 New York Sire Stakes. Morrill moved Fad Finance out to the lead and despite being pressured almost every step of the way, the sophomore highstepper had enough left to secure her fifth victory of the year. Fad Finance stopped the timer in 1:54.1 crushing the previous track mark for sophomore fillies of 1:55.3 set by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory) in NYSS action last year. Fad Finance had just enough to hold off the late charge by Goosebump Hanover (Stephane Bouchard) who had to settle for second despite trotting in 1:54.2. Swinging Royalty (Jason Bartlett) earned the show spot. Ake Svanstedt's Non Stick (Lucky Chucky) prevailed in the other $89,950 Sire Stake on the night as the filly overcame being parked out throughout the entire first half of the race before scoring in 1:56. For Non Stick, the win was the fifth in eight seasonal tries and the eleventh in fourteen lifetime starts. Just as Fad Finance was in the earlier NYSS race, Non Stick was her race's 3-5 betting favorite. New York Sire Stakes action returns to Saratoga on Wednesday night when two year old trotting fillies are featured. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

With just a week before the eliminations for the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, Broadway Donna and All The Time have emerged as the top contenders to capture one of the most treasured prizes in harness racing for 3-year-old fillies, but there is a lass in the Empire State that might very well travel to New Jersey to stake her claim to divisional honors. She is Fad Finance. “She is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks,” said Trond Smedshammer, her conditioner. “But she would have to win the Zweig (this Sunday) impressively for me to think about entering her. Vernon Downs is a nice track and it looks like we will have nice weather for the race this weekend, so they should be able to go in 1:54 to win. She would need to trot in the area of 1:53 for me to send her there so it is up to her.” A daughter of Credit Winner and the Sierra Kosmos mare Armbro Vanity, Fad Finance was purchased for $60,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg by Purple Haze Stables, Marc Goldberg and Rojan Stables. The filly, who sports a career record of 14-7-3-1 and has quietly amassed $129,988 in purse money, will face eight rivals in the $140,000 Zweig Memorial Filly Trot at Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 24). Fad Finance will leave from post position two with Jim Morrill Jr. holding the lines. She is the 7-2 second selection on the morning line behind Julie Miller’s charge Womans Will (5-2) and will face stiff opposition from Paul Kelley’s Straight A Student (8-1), as well as Paul Reid’s Flowers N Songs (9-2), and George Ducharme’s Swinging Royalty (5-1). Fad Finance has won three of her six starts this year, with earnings of $83,038. She defeated 2015 New York Sire Stakes champion Non Stick in their $12,500 Empire Breeders Classic elimination on June 10 at Vernon Downs. Non Stick returned to dominate the $225.000 final the following week, but Fad Finance got the measure of her again on July 10 at Tioga Downs in a $40,600 New York Sire Stakes contest. Fad Finance followed that performance with a track-record-equaling 1:58.2 spin around Buffalo Raceway’s oval on July 17 in a $60,200 sire stakes split. It was a gritty effort, as the filly was locked in for most of the stretch and was able to put her nose down on the wire for her third win of the season. “I raced her in the Excelsior Series last year so she would learn some manners,” Smedshammer said. “She was on the line of being hot and I would try to keep her in the pocket to teach her some lessons. If you look at her lines you can see where she was on the front because she was aggressive and then would tire in the last quarter coming home. I think she is a better horse off the helmet and this year she is minding her manners. The only race we were not pleased with was the Empire Breeders Classic final (fifth). She was on the lead and went some fairly fast fractions before getting tired late. That’s when the other fillies passed her.” Despite Smedshammer’s admission that Fad Finance could be a bit headstrong, as many fillies can be, he was drawn to her because of his affiliation with her pedigree, which is excellent. This filly is a half-sister to Vanity Plates (Conway Hall, $164,878), who competed in the 2007 Matron final (sixth) and was eighth in that year’s eliminations for the Breeders Crown. Another half-sibling, Monkey Man (Glidemaster, $92,220) was talented enough to finish second to world champion Muscle Network in an $86,500 division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile in 2013 and was the runner-up to the very talented Rose Run Parker in a $45,250 division of the Madison County Stake at Hoosier Park 22 days later. “I trained her mother,” Smedshammer said. “I actually picked her out as a yearling and bought her, then sold her to her current owners. She had ability and was very well-mannered, unlike many Sierra Kosmos horses. Unfortunately she had some soundness issues, but I knew she had some foals that had done well. I think Chris Ryder did well with one of her first fillies (Vanity Plates) so when this one was available (Fad Finance) I was looking forward to the opportunity to train one of her foals. The pedigree on her female side is very good.” Although Armbro Vanity only earned $63,365 on the racetrack and her dam, Armbro Haughty, collected $375 in her racing career, these mares hail from the tremendous Armbro Flight. In fact, Armbro Haughty was that Canadian superstar’s final foal. That blood courses through Fad Finance’s veins and demonstrates she may just very well belong with the elite in her division as 2016 draws to a close. “We will see what happens with her,” Smedshammer said. “She is eligible to things outside of New York, such as the Breeders Crown, and if she shows us she can mind her manners, we will allow her the opportunity to take on those kinds of fillies. She has improved this year and we hope she will continue to improve.” Below is the field for the $140,000 Zweig Memorial Filly Trot, in post position order, with listed drivers and trainers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Earn Your Wings-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-8/1  2. Fad Finance-Jim Morrill Jr-Trond Smedshammer-7/2  3. Lindylicious-Chris Lems-Gilbert Garcia-Herrera-8/1  4. Straight A Student-Mark MacDonald-Paul Kelley-8/1  5. Open Access-Matt Kakaley-Robert Baggitt Jr.-6/1  6. Womans Will-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/2  7. Spicedbourbongirl-Jeff Gregory-Jeff Gregory-10/1  8. Flowers N Songs-Yannick Gingras-Paul Reid-9-2  9. Swinging Royalty-Tim Tetrick-George Ducharme-5/1 Earn Your Wings and Straight A Student will race as an ownership entry. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Nichols, N.Y. -- Empire Breeders Classic winner Non Stick was handed a harness racing defeat for the second time of her career in a $40,600 New York Sire Stakes event on Sunday (July 10) afternoon at Tioga Downs, unable to make any impact behind Fad Finance ($7.20), the very filly who evaded Non Stick at Vernon last month.   Fad Finance made an early push to the fore, clearing Earn Your Wings (Jason Bartlett) upon straightening after a :27.4 first quarter. The 3-year-old Credit Winner filly faced no pressure to speak of through the final circuit, edging away after rating a :57.1 middle half. Fad Finance evaded her six foes en route to a 1:54.3 mile, keeping two lengths clearance on Earn Your Wings up to the winning post. Gin and Lindy (Scott Zeron) rallied off cover to take third in the last yards, while Non Stick failed to make any impact from first-over, finishing fourth.   Jim Morrill Jr. drove Trond Smedshammer trainee Fad Finance, now a 6-time winner, for the Purple Haze Stables, Marc Goldberg, and the Rojan Stables.   In the other $40,600 Sire Stakes events, odds-on favorites prevailed. Swinging Royalty ($3.20, Chris Lems) made all the pace en route to an easy 1:56.2 win, and Open Access ($3.40, Matt Kakaley) dueled clear of Goosebump Hanover (Morrill) before holding off a belated three-wide bid from Monarchs Sequel (Mark MacDonald) to prevail in 1:56.   In the afternoon's sub-featured $11,000 Open Pace, Believe This Bob ($9.50, Mike Simons) held sway of Clear Vision's late push for a narrow 1:50.2 triumph, while Its Payday Friday ($3.90, Dan Clements) outlasted a late bid from Prairie Fortune in the $11,000 Open Trot.   Racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (July 15) afternoon, with first post slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Cree [Muscle Hill] overcame heavy rain and a sloppy track to win the $25,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres Final for two-year-old trotting fillies on Friday, October 2, 2015 at the harness racing meeting at Freehold Raceway. George Brennan drove the Trond Smedshammer trainee to her second win with two seconds and one third in eight starts. She trotted the mile in 2:03 in the non-wagering event. It was nine lengths back to Jazebel De Vie [Muscles Yankee] in second, nine and three-quarter lengths to Casino Cutie It [Muscles Yankee] in third and 10 ½ lengths to Heal The World [Muscle Hill] in fourth. Southwind Hope [Muscle Hill] broke stride at the start and finished last in the field of five. Cree, bred and owned by Michael D. Andrew of Gorham, ME, had a win and two seconds in the three preliminary legs of the Green Acres and overall earnings of $27,300. Swedish-born Lucas Wallin, 22 years old and based in Wrightstown, NJ, guided Blue Muse [Muscles Yankee] to a half-length victory in a $7,000 preliminary leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres for three-year-old trotting fillies, also contested prior to the betting program. Blue Muse held off Marion Millionair [Muscle Hill], who broke stride near the wire. Riley's Dream [Muscle Hill] was distanced in third-place in the field of three, taking missteps at the start. Blue Muse trotted the mile in 2:00.1 and posted her fourth win with one second and three thirds in 10 starts this year. Lifetime, she has finished on-the-board in 10 of 16 starts, banking more than $43,000. Blue Muse is owned by her trainer, Ake Svanstedt, in partnership with Little E LLC of New York City. Carol Hodes  

Artmagic (Art Major) set a track record for two year old gelding pacers on Thursday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as he scored in the $45,000 co-featured New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series Final. The Trond Smedshammer-trained freshman sat the pocket and pounced in the stretch with driver Jim Morrill Jr in the sulky. Morrill piloted Artmagic to his first career victory just two weeks ago at Saratoga and followed it up with a lifetime best and track record-setting performance on Thursday as he stopped the timer in 1:54.1. Morrill drove another track record-setter on Thursday as the veteran reinsman sat behind upset winner Boxall (Credit Winner) in the Excelsior Final for freshman trotting colts. The Jessica Okusko-trained Boxall, dismissed at odds of 15-1, came from off the pace to record his win in 1:58.1, a track record for two year old trotting colts. Outsidecourt (Conway Court) upset the big favorite in the two year old trotting filly division of the Excelsior Finals. The freshman filly charged past the favorite to prevail in 1:58.4 for trainer Gary Messenger and reinsman Bruce Aldrich Jr. Lyra (American Ideal) scored in the Excelsior Final for freshman filly pacers, winning on the front end for driver John Cummings Jr and conditioner Jean Drolet. Lyra's fifth victory of the campaign came in 1:56. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 18, 2015 - Cree collected her first career victory in the $7,000 first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres for two-year-old trotting fillies, the third race on Friday, September 18, 2015 at Freehold Raceway. Trainer Trond Smedshammer drove the daughter of Muscle Hill - Firstclassprincess to a three-quarter length victory over Southwind Hope [Muscle Hill], who captured the opening leg of the Green Acres division. It was four and a quarter lengths to Heal The World [Muscle Hill] in third. Cree [$3.60], bred and owned by Michael Andrew of Gorham, ME, was on the front at every call in the 2:02.1 mile. She now has a win, a second and a third in six starts and earnings of $8,050. With only three entrants, the $7,000 opening leg of the Green Acres for three-year-old trotting fillies, Riley's Dream [Muscle Hill] was a three-quarter length winner in 2:00.3. Last week the Julie Miller trainee won the $30,000 Helen Smith Final. Steve Smith was in the sulky as Riley's Dream improved her record to three wins, with 12 of 16 in-the-money finishes. She has banked $88,651 for Jason, Douglas and Ronald Allen. Blue Muse [Muscles Yankee] was second with Demons N Diamonds [Muscle Hill] was third by eight and three-quarter lengths. By Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ

Harness racing driver Trond Smedshammer and his horse Buen Camino will hope to finish Saturday's $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters the same way they start it -- No. 1. Buen Camino drew post one for the Yonkers Trot and will try to use the advantageous starting position, from which horses win at a 20.3-percent rate at Yonkers, to upset powerful entries from the stables of trainers Jimmy Takter and Ron Burke. Buen Camino, who is trained by Smedshammer, is 6-1 on the morning line. Takter's entry of French Laundry, who drew post two, and Pinkman, from post seven, is the even-money favorite in the race. Burke's entry of Yonkers Trot elimination winners Habitat, from post five, and Crazy Wow, post six, is 6-5. The Yonkers Trot is the second leg of the Trotting Triple Crown. Pinkman, who finished second to Crazy Wow in his elimination, won the first jewel, the Hambletonian Stakes, on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands. It is the first time the Hambletonian winner is competing in the Yonkers Trot since Glidemaster capped the sport's most recent Trotting Triple Crown sweep by winning the event in 2006. The final leg of this year's Trotting Triple Crown is the Kentucky Futurity, Oct. 10 at The Red Mile in Lexington. In addition to the Yonkers Trot, Yonkers on Saturday hosts the $500,000 Messenger Stakes, which is the second leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Dealt A Winner, who won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, will start the Messenger from post five with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer Mark Silva. Post time is 7:10 p.m. for the first race. The Yonkers Trot is race six, at 8:50 p.m. approximately, and the Messenger is race eight, at 9:30 p.m. approximately. Buen Camino finished third in his Yonkers Trot elimination, behind Crazy Wow and Pinkman. He also started from post No. 1 in the elimination. "The draw couldn't have been better," said Smedshammer, who won the Trotting Triple Crown with Windsong's Legacy in 2004. "Obviously, a couple of those horses (in the Yonkers Trot) have a little more power. He's going to have to get lucky with a trip, but he certainly can get a nice piece of it from the rail. "He'll have to be better than he was last week. I think he can be. I thought he was better in his last two starts than he was in the elimination. We'll see if we can get him on his toes a little more for the final. But it would be a little bit of a shocker if he could pull it off." Buen Camino, owned by Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables, entered his Yonkers Trot elimination off New York Sire Stakes victories at Yonkers and Saratoga. The triumphs followed a lengthy layoff because of sickness and ulcers. "It was a little bit of a rough time for him in midsummer, but he's bouncing back now," Smedshammer said. Buen Camino, a son of stallion Cash Hall out of the mare Baby Bella, has posted three wins, two second-place finishes and a third in seven races this season. His only off-the-board finish came on a big track, at Vernon, and his two runner-up efforts -- to Habitat and Workout Wonder -- were by a head and a nose, respectively. For his career, Buen Camino has won seven of 14 starts and finished among the top three a total of 12 times, earning $296,021 in the process. He was third in last year's New York Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male trotters at Yonkers, behind Crazy Wow and Wings Of Royalty. He has three lifetime victories on Yonkers' half-mile oval. "I don't know if he can go with them on a big track; a small track, that's his advantage," Smedshammer said. "Anything can happen on any race on a half. At least I have a horse that's used to a half and is quick out of the gate and quick around the turns." Pinkman, who was the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, heads to the Yonkers Trot with 14 career wins in 19 starts. He has earned $1.74 million lifetime, thanks in part to victories this year in the Hambletonian, Beal Memorial, and Zweig Memorial. His stablemate, French Laundry, has won 10 of 22 career races and earned $443,017. He was the 2014 Kindergarten Classic champion. Crazy Wow, who was not eligible to the Hambletonian, brings a three-race win streak to the Yonkers Trot final. His victories this year include the Colonial and Empire Breeders Classic. He has won 11 of 21 lifetime races and earned $795,465. Habitat, who won this year's Dexter Cup and last year's Wellwood Memorial and Matron Stakes, has captured 13 of 26 career starts and earned $854,841. Following is the field in post order for the Yonkers Trot with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Buen Camino, Trond Smedshammer, Trond Smedshammer, 6-1 2. French Laundry, Corey Callahan, Jimmy Takter, 1-1 3. Southwind Mozart, Daniel Dube, Ake Svanstedt, 10-1 4. Billy Flynn, Jason Bartlett, Staffan Lind, 20-1 5. Habitat, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 6-5 6. Crazy Wow, George Brennan, Ron Burke, 6-5 7. Pinkman, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 1-1 8. Workout Wonder, Mark MacDonald, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA      

Locally based trotter Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty) scored a front running victory in one of the two top flight New York Sire Stakes races on Wednesday night at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga. Mickey McGivern pilots the sophomore Cheryl McGivern trainee and moved the three year old out to the early lead in his $79,687 division of the NY Sire Stakes for colt and gelding trotters on Wednesday. The public's third choice in the wagering at odds of 5-2 in the five horse field, Royal Deceptor felt only mild pressure after setting soft fractions on the front end before kicking away from his rivals in the stretch to win by four lengths in a career best 1:57. The talented trotter earned over $70,000 in eight starts as a freshman in 2014 and moved his seasonal bankroll to over $114,000 with Wednesday's front-running romp for owners Foster, Sentiwany and James. Buen Camino (Cash Hall) was the faster of the two stakes winners on the evening as Trond Smedshammer piloted his trainee to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:56. Buen Camino recorded his third win in six starts this year and did so while holding off the late challenge of rival Wings Of Royalty (Chris Lems) whose previous start took place in the $1 million Hambletonian on August 8th. Buen Camino earned the winner's share of the $81,187 purse for colt and gelding trotters in the NY Sire Stakes. Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm. Melissa Simser

The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway on Monday night hosted the $163,874 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event, honoring the memory of a popular New York Knickerbocker (and avid horseplayer), produced a pair of popular parimutuel winners, with members of the McGuire family making the presentations. The opening ($81,187) division was, in the words of driver Yannick Gingras, "a walk in the park" for Crazy Wow ($2.10). Leaving from post position No. 2, last season's statebred fresh champ stuffed second choice Apostle's Creed (Dan Dube) in behind, then waltzed through intervals of :28.3, :57.3, 1:27 and 1:56 The final margin was five lengths, with Maestro Blue Chip (Trond Smedshammer) closing for second and "Apostle" third. For Crazy Wow, a son of Crazed trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Our Horse Cents, JT45 and J&T Silva Stables & Deo Volente Farms, it was his fourth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15.20, with triple wagering cancelled due to the short (five-horse) field. Monday night's second ($82,687) event saw Smedshammer and Buen Camino ($3.20) also run away and hide. In play from post No. 6, he worked around Royal Deceptor (Mickey McGivern), with subsections of :29.1, :59, 1:28.3 and 1:56.2. This margin was four lengths, with Home'n Dry (Brian Sears) snapping Royal Deceptor for second. For Buen Camino, a Cash Hall gelding trained by his driver for owner Purple Haze Stables LLC, he's now 2-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $27.20, with the triple returning $66.50. "He's been battling sickness for a while, but as long as he can stay away from Habitat and Crazy Wow, he can go with the rest of them," Smedshammer said. Frank Drucker

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