Day At The Track

As reported by the New Zealand Herald a Palmerston North man appeared in court on a match-fixing charge in relation to a police investigation into the harness racing industry. Brent Stephen Wall, 47, made a brief appearance in the Palmerston North District Court this morning, where he pleaded not guilty to deception by match-fixing. Court documents allege that between May 18 and 22 he caused a loss of more than $1000 to other people by assisting a horse named Sportscaster to win with the intention of influencing the betting outcome.   Read the full story here   Courtesy of Kurt Bayer New Zealand Herald

New Zealand harness racing leaders fall asleep at the switch!  There have been times, not many, in the 50 years or so that I’ve been associated with harness racing that I’ve had to admit to being ashamed of the sport I love, and the actions of figures central to it. This is one of those few times - but the shame is not because of the Operation Inca allegations! Rather it is because of the sterile and cowardly way our industry leaders are invisibly handling the controversy. Our leaders represent all harness racing participants; those now accused no less than the rest of us! Until complete facts come out, defences are heard, and decisions rendered, it is their job and moral responsibility to address the situation with delicacy but with reason, fairness, an open mind, and decency. While they must await judgement until all the facts are in, they should not stay silent and through their inaction facilitate both the general misrepresentation of the scandal’s scope and relevancy being blithely projected by police investigators and journalists, and allow individual reputations to be ruined by mere assertions. Arguably, a temporary stand down of the accused pending more information may be wise, but it should be clearly explained as a necessary self-protective gesture for an industry reliant on its image of integrity. It should be clearly said to be completely unrelated to any belief in individual innocence or guilt.  There has been no leadership voice protecting either the accused or the industry, itself, by slowing down public preconceptions, by reminding everyone of the foundation policy of innocence until guilt is proven, of clarifying the fact that police assertions to date do NOT present a picture of a scandal ridden, conspiratorial industry rife with corruption. The day of the hearing (11th of September) was interesting in that the Judge Raoul Neave was highly critical of the police for briefing the media before the hearing and he was also disapproving of the media for publishing the names of several individuals before the hearing took place. The counsel for some of the accused persons attacked the media for naming people early saying their clients have been effectively denied a right to fair trial. The next few sessions in court will possibly start to unlock the vault to see if we are really dealing with concrete evidence in some of these match fixing cases or just hearsay as has been rumoured by some. "Perhaps I am wrong perhaps I am right but I will be particularly interested to hear the evidence put forward by the police in this matter because after 18 months of investigations the more I keep hearing the more I keep thinking the police may have a lot of conspiracy theories to go on and not much else." The charges to date seem merely to throw a spotlight on what appears to be a sad proliferation of party drugs amongst some industry participants, including drivers who should be more aware of the increased potential for harm it creates in their workplace, and suggest that in a few minor races there might have been race fixing. While horrible, and deflating to affected punters, occasional race-fixing has always been assumed in thoroughbred, Greyhounds and harness racing and more recently many other first-past-the-post sports. Coordinated, endemic, large scale race fixing would, indeed, be a scandal that could bring down racing - but charges to date don’t come close to suggesting that exists! As Mark Purdon suggested in his article on his All-Stars site there is no reason to believe in an industry wide conspiracy to fix or drug race horses. Our industry leaders have done nothing to keep this asserted, self-pronounced “scandal” in perspective, a job they should be performing on a daily basis in protection of our industry! No one is asking publically what most of us are questioning privately - namely, why has this scandal been asserted by authorities now? Why a week or so after the “Messara” report, why after 15 to 18 months of investigation? This smells more like a conspiracy to harm harness racing by The Racing Minister and The Government! After attending the “Messara” report release in Hamilton (Attended by over 1,000 people from the three Codes) and watching first-hand how our harness racing bosses sat quiet throughout the public meeting in Hamilton, without a whimper, and their lack of public response to it, you have to wonder how the Harness Racing Industry is to survive much longer! It seems to me that harness racing administrators and leaders have no idea what to do next! One thing I do know is that they certainly know how to protect their jobs! As a previous Racing Minister (Mr John Carter) once told me, the only way Harness Racing in New Zealand has a chance to survive is through its own actions period. The Industry needs to replace the out-dated Club structure of running the Industry, as this has a proven record of taking the entire Industry down the slippery slope towards extinction. Now, what exactly triggered the start of this Operation Inca investigation? According to Newshub “The investigation was sparked by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU), which tipped off police with information of the alleged illegal activity“. Well, let us look at this “Integrity Unit”. It was formed on the 1st of February 2011. How was it formed? What was it formed for? Who formed it? Who employed the people running it?  Who checks them? Does it have its own internal Integrity for self investigation? Does any outside entity has supervisory authority with respecting RIU integrity? Who investigates the Investigators? Who runs the Integrity Unit? What is their background? Let us check each and every member’s credentials. Let us look at their background. Some of their decisions over the last few years have been very questionable. Let us see if there are any indiscretions with each and every one that works there. Does the management have any untoward vendettas against any of the Codes? Does the management have any personal vendettas against any individual? Is management competent enough to make its own decisions? After all it is ‘The Racing Integrity Unit” isn’t it? And regardless of how wonderful any of these members may be, including the head, shouldn’t they be required to stand down and be replaced on a staggered base to ensure both continuity and real maintenance as investigative integrity? There should be an absolute term limit of no more than six years for all employees and maybe four years for the head. What did racing’s investigative arm see 15 to 18 months ago that started all this? Would claims of race-fixing at Nelson or Manawatu justify a 15 to 18 month effort? In my opinion probably not! Presumably whatever it was did not end up being actionable at that time because all asserted race-fixing charges seem to point to specific incidents that are quite recent! Shouldn’t the Racing Integrity Unit now disclose what worried it 15 to 18 months ago to the point of getting a police investigation started? After all, they are answerable to the three Codes! Shouldn’t we be the slightest bit concerned that human, political, business pressures are pushing the police to find corruption, and to overpublicize and overstate the importance of their discoveries, to retrospectively justify and support their expenses, time, manpower and effort expended over 15 to 18 months of industry investigation? A massive race fixing and drugging problem linked to harness racing sells papers and justifies expenses. Arresting a few prominent individuals for drug possession, personal drug use, or selling of drugs for personal use would not! Why have the police conveniently presented charges in such a way that misinterpretation is so easy? Many just read headlines and probably assume that the charges relate to drug use on horses connected to race fixing. It is just incredible that industry leaders have not jumped to clarify this point!  Are the bosses at Harness Racing New Zealand complicit with the Racing Integrity Unit? When speaking to Harness Racing Chairman Ken Spicer today, he says "HRNZ were completely blindsided by last week’s police operation. “We had no knowledge that an investigation was going on”. HRNZ has sought more information and a briefing, but at this stage had no communication from the Police and very limited communication from the RIU. “The Industry’s image has been severely damaged by this, but we just have to follow due process and see where all this goes”. HRNZ made enquiries to the RIU when there was a suggestion from media back in February 2017 that an investigation had started, but consistent with RIU policy they would not comment on operational matters. HRNZ is the responsible for setting the rules of Harness Racing, with the RIU charged with enforcing those rules." In my opinion HRNZ needs to be vocal in protecting the due process of the defendants and the good name of harness racing. HRNZ needs to respect the principles of due process, but those principles do not require that HRNZ be silient or unable to speak on the issue to safe guard individual rights and the Industry's image. From its inception the general manager of the Racing Integrity Unit has been Mike Godber, who is an ex chief executive of harness racing Addington Raceway, ex chief executive of Harness Racing Queensland and was CEO of South Australian Harness Racing before taking the current job. How did he get this job? This should be investigated. What was his reason for leaving those previous harness racing jobs? In my view this man has a lot to answer for! What is wrong with our Harness Racing Leaders? Again, how was this Racing Integrity Unit formed? I can understand having a “Racing Integrity Unit” for Harness Racing but a combined one with the Greyhounds and Thoroughbreds is ridiculous. They are three separate Industries with NO relationship except Gambling. Can you imagine now that Sports Betting is a component of the TAB’s Gambling in New Zealand that for Integrity issues in the Sport we should now combine “Netball with Cricket and Soccer” in one Integrity Unit or “The All Blacks with Cycling and Rugby League” in another Integrity Unit, That is how ridiculous this has become. The “New Zealand Racing Board” has a lot to answer for too, but I will leave that for my next report. I write this editorial not to defend the accused in Operation Inca, but to defend our industry from scurrilous attack when others who should do so, are not! We must defend it with vigilance and fairness. And we must defend the accused from prejudice and premature characterizations until we force clear presentations of evidence! We still have every reason to love our sport but we and industry leaders must prove it every day by fighting for our sport with vigour, integrity and courage. John Curtin Harnesslink Media

  Lincoln, CA --(PR.com)-- Despite its reputation, the American Standardbred is not just a horse for harness racing but is one of the best all-around ridden sports horse breeds. That’s the concept behind a new book by Kathleen Kirsan, released by Dog Ear Publishing, designed to be a reference for large and small breeders of sports horses as well as horse owners. In “Standardbred Sports Horses,” Kirsan explores the true origin of equine sport both worldwide and in American breeds, following the breeds’ ancestors to modern examples. The book delves into the real roots of sport power, including scientific information about traits such as speed, large hearts and genetic diversity. Sections on the American Trotter and the Standard Era precede the final section on the Standardbred in Olympic-style sport. Her focus is “to illustrate how the Standardbred is a great ridden sport horse and an important genetic source for the production of top sport horses – those that are ridden,” she writes in the book’s preface. This may be a hard pill to swallow because of the breed’s success as a harness racehorse thanks to its ability to trot or pace in harness. Kirsan also is passionate about genetics and how it affects sport horse performance, becoming a leader in pedigree, and she criticizes the monopoly the European Union has attempted in sport horse breeding. In the book she provides some simple solutions to the crisis American breeders of sports horses find in competing in the international arena of sport horse. With its more than 200 photos and illustrations and more than 200 full-page pedigrees, a full bibliography and three indexes, “Standardbred Sports Horses” is a valuable reference for anyone with a passion for horses and those who work with them. This is the third book on sport horses for author Kathleen Kirsan, who has been writing about sport horse breeding since 2003. Her others are “Legacy of Lexington” and “North American Sports Horse Breeders.” Her website, www.sport-horse-breeder.com, is well-respected. Breeders and breed associations frequently call on Kirsan for her knowledge of bloodlines, equine history and the Tesio Methods. Although she grew up in the Boston area, she now lives in California. For additional information, please visit www.kathleenkirsanbooks.com. The book is available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere. From PR.com Wire Services

The American dream for Sparkling Success and trainer John Meade is over before it began. Following his dominant Maori’s Idol Trotters Free win at Melton on Saturday night, John Meade has advised Harness Racing Australia that his star trotter has suffered a suspensory ligament injury and his future racing career is in doubt. It is shattering news for John and Mary Meade, as Sparkling Success was due to fly to New York later this week to compete in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on October 13. More to follow.   Harness Racing Australia

WILKES-BARRE PA - Trainer Mike Deters and driver Anthony Napolitano combined successfully for the second time on a dank (55 degrees, "sloppy +1" surface) Sunday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when Prairie Fortune won the $17,500 featured trot in 1:53.4. "Ant'ny Nap" used the rail to advantage and worked out a good two-hole trip behind pacesetter Crazshana with the victorious altered son of Arapa Victory, then pulled away in the lane to be 3½ lengths clear of that rival at the finish, coming his own last half in 56.3. Trainer Deters co-owns the winner of $398,495 with Laurie Lee Poulin. Earlier, the backers in the crowd were few but were loud, as 99-1 shot College Hanover overcame a first-over trip for driver Drew Chellis to hold off 85-1 shot Takethemoneyandrun by a head in 1:55, returning $336.40 for a $2 ticket. That number was the biggest win mutuel at Pocono since November 17, 2015, when Lady Of The Lake and driver Joe Antonelli returned $400.60 to win after a nose victory. College Hanover, trainer by Richard Dunn for the MBC Stables LLC, did have some license in his pedigree - he is a Well Said out of the $590G winner Castanet Hall, and his ¾ brother Cashendash Hanover pushed his earnings over $575G when he won at Philly last Sunday. But the crowd was discouraged by College Hanover's 0-for-32 lifetime record - not knowing that the 33rd time would be the charm for the sophomore. Pocono is scheduled for a "dark night" tomorrow, as the scheduled annual local golfing tournament is as rabidly followed and enjoyed as much as a Super Bowl or a Wrestlemania card. The weather gods just may smile on the golfers, although rain is the 2-5 favorite at the moment (but if a horse can pay $336.60, ...).   Jerry Connors Jr.

Chester, PA --- After a first-over bid came up short in last week's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, Fashion Farms LLC's Patent Leather ($3.60) overcame the elements and proved dominant in the second of three $30,000 Liberty Bell splits for Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 9) at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Tim Tetrick floated the son of Broadway Hall forward from his outside post 6 to land in third behind early pacesetter Hill Street (Corey Callahan) and pocket sitter Stonebridge Gamble (Tyler Buter). After drafting patiently behind soft fractions of :29 and :57.2, Tetrick gave Patent Leather his first-over cue with three-eighths to go, and the Jim Campbell trainee's response was instant. He powered past Hill Street at the 1:26.1 three-quarter mark and drew clear at once. He amassed 7-3/4 lengths of clearance over eventual runner-up Stonebridge Gamble at the end of the 1:54 mile, while Hill Street faded to finish third.   Patent Leather, who finished second to Tactical Landing in a Hambletonian elimination, earned the sixth win of his career. For Tetrick, the win capped a Liberty Bell double on the card, as he also teamed up with Tom Fanning trainee Mississippi Storm ($10.60) for a 1:54.3 victory over Scirocco Rob (Callahan) in the first trotting division.   Toast Of Lindy ($9.00, 1:56.1) rounded out the winners of the trotting divisions, taking advantage of an early break from twos-on favorite Lindy's Big Bang (Dexter Dunn) and edging away late in rein to Andy Miller for trainer Julie Miller.   Liberty Bell - 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace   Hayden Hanover ($2.20), runner-up to Dorsoduro Hanover in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, won the last of four $30,000 Liberty Bell divisions for sophomore pacing colts and geldings convincingly, shrugging off a challenge from JK Wildfire (Dunn) en route to a 1:51.1 mile amid intensifying wind and rain. Andy Miller sent the son of Somebeachsomewhere to the lead at race's outset, and the pair controlled fractions of :27.2 and :56 before JK Wildfire emerged at their flank to press a :28 third sectional.   Despite his rival working to within a head a quarter from home, Hayden Hanover responded in kind, kicking on the afterburners at the eighth pole and edging away to a two-length win with plenty left in reserve. Daddyofemall (Mike Wilder) chased off cover to narrowly claim third.   Julie Miller trains four-time winner Hayden Hanover for the Pinske Stables, Andy Miller Stable, TLP Stable and Deo Volente Farms. For the Millers, Hayden Hanover capped a stakes double on the card.   Iluvtomakemoney ($51.00) opened the pacing proceedings with a major upset, circling four-wide from astern under Dexter Dunn to narrowly reach in 1:53.1 for trainer Mark Harder.   Messenger starter Winston ($10.60) followed in the second division by vaulting from the pocket to overtake odds-on pacesetter Terror Atthe Beach (George Napolitano Jr.) and stave off a late charge from Go West Go Fast (Matt Kakaley) by half a length in 1:53. Corey Callahan drove for trainer John Butenschoen.   After breaking in his two previous starts, Wheels On Fire ($10.80) and Matt Kakaley righted the ship in the third division with a 1:52.1 mile which saw him emerge late from the pocket to upend Macadoodledoo (Tetrick) by half a length. It was the seventh career win for the Ron Burke trainee.   Multiple players successfully hit the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 in the afternoon's fifth race, resulting in a carryover of $2,119.85 to Wednesday (Sept. 12). First post is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

Trois-Rivieres, QC - A packed house came out Sunday afternoon to the Hippodrome 3R for the tracks richest harness racing program of the season headed by eight Quebec Series Finals for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. For Super Sunday there was $512,000 in total purses over the 12-race program. Here is a breakdown of each of the eight championship divisions. $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - The fasted mile on the afternoon came in the colt division that turned out to be a two-hole race between Kinnder Jackson (Louis Philippe Roy) and track record holder Hudson Phil (James MacDonald). It was Kinnder Jackson that was first on the lead with Stock (Stephane Brosseau) in second place past the opening quarter in :27.3. MacDonald came first-over with Hudson Phil and going past the half mile in :56.4, nearly got the lead, but Roy kept them parked out. Then in the backstretch, the dogfight continues with Hudson Phil a head up on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:25. But on the final turn Kinnder Jackson took the lead back and was up over a length as they started down the stretch. It was then that Hudson Phil found another gear for MacDonald and they collared Kinnder Jackson before the wire to win by a half length in 1:54.1. Stock was third. Trained by Mark Steacy, it was the fifth win this year for Hudson Phil, who was bred and is owned by Tony Infilise's Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson. He paid $5.10 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - Driver Stephane Brosseau left quickly with All You Can Dream with race favorite Katniss S BG and driver Louis Philippe Roy sitting in second place as they went by the opening quarter mile in :27.2 and the half mile in :57.1. Then in the backstretch, Roy pulled the pocket and sent Katniss S BG to the front with Sharks Summershandy (Pascal Berube) following on the outside past the three-quarters in 1:27.2. Then in the stretch Katniss S BG was an easy winner by two lengths in 1:57. Sharks Summrshandy was second with Butterfly BG (Guy Gagnon) third. Sired by Mach Three, it was the fifth win this year for Katniss S BG. She is trained by Richard Moreau and was bred and is co-owned by Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. She paid $3.40 to win. $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - It was race favorite Nobodynojustice and driver Guy Gagnon who was not going to let anyone take the lead away from them. SOS Irresistable and driver Daniel Laflamme tried early on and those two played hardball, neck and neck, to the quarter mile in :29 and the half mile in :58 with neither horse giving way. Then in the backstretch, SG Goliath King and trainer/driver Sylvain Grenier got into the mix first-over and at the three-quarters in 1:29.4 they could not pass Nobodynojustice. As they came down the stretch Nobodynojustice could not maintain the lead and SG Goliath King came on to win by a half length in 2:02. SOS Irresistable was third. Owned and bred by Grenier of Saint-Rene, it was the fourth win this year for the son of Lucky Fool. SG Goliath King paid $7.20 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Montanaalaska and driver Guy Gagnon was first on the lead with Precieuse CC and driver/trainer Claude Beausoliel following in second place as they went to the quarter in :29.2, the half mile in 1:00.2 and the three-quarters in 1:32.1. With no one challenging from the back of the pack, Beausoliel waited until the final turn and pulled Precieuse CC from the pocket and came after Montanaalaska. Those two locked horns coming down the stretch with Precieuse CC the stronger horse, going on to win by one length in 2:03.3. Montanaalaska was second with Stand For Justice (Stephane Brosseau) third. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for Precieuse CC, who is sired by Angus Hall and is owned by Marie Andree Cournoyer of Chicoutimi. She paid $6.10 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - It was Ginness Panic and driver Louis Philippe Roy who shot out to the early lead and cut fast fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 with Dernier Essai (Sylvain Filion) trying to keep up in second place. Then in the backstretch Stephane Gendron came first-over with YS Sunshine and the not only collared Guinness Panic, but past them by before the three-quarters in 1:25.1. YS Sunshine then kicked in another gear for Gendron and pulled away in the stretch to win by three and one-quarter lengths in 1:55, a track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. GA Speed Gary (Guy Gagnon) was second with Guinness Panic third. It was the fourth win this year for YS Sunshine. The son of Sunshine Beach is trained by Michel Allard and was bred and is owned by Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. He paid $3.30 to win. The previous track record was 1:56.4 set by Sugarsam in 2014. $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - The biggest upset of the day came when Cooking The Speed and driver Stephane Gendron won at odds of 18-1. Hurryupatthebeach (Pascal Berube) cut the mile with Cooking The Speed sitting the pocket seat through fractions of :27.4 and :57.3. Jody Jamieson was already on the move with Better Now and as he approached the leaders in the backstretch, Gendron pulled the pocket with Cooking The Speed and the action heated up past the three-quarters in 1:27.3. All three horses were stacked three-wide around the final turn and as they started down the stretch, Hurrayupatthebeach began to fade as Cooking The Speed found another gear, winning by one length over Better Now in 1:57.3. Hurryupatthebeach was third. It was a lifetime mark for the daughter of So Surreal who is trained by Michel Allard and is co-owned and bred by Allard Racing of Saint-Esprit. She paid $38.90 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - The 1/5 favorite, Cesar Dunharas and trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby went right to the lead with Mister Sky (Francis Picard) trying to follow the live cover in second place to the opening quarter mile in :30. Then at the half mile marker in 1:01.1, Stephanie Brosseau came first-over with Only For Justice but was unable to gain ground as Cesar Dunharas went to the three-quarters in 1:31. On the final turn Only For Justice found another gear and gained on Cesar Dunharas, collared him in the stretch and came on to win by a quarter length in 2:01.3. Mister Sky was third. It was the second straight win and a lifetime mark for Justice For All. The gelded son of Justice Hall is trained by Dany Fontain for breeder/owner Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal. He paid $14.30 to win. $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Claudi P V and driver Pascal Berube were the only one in the field to stay trotting and thus was an easy winner by five and one-half lengths in 2:01.1. Stablmate My Lady Hall (Jocelyn Gendron) was second with the 1/9 favorite, Kenogami Darling (Guy Gagnon), who was going for her fourth straight win, broke at the start. My Lady Hall led the field through fractions of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:29.3 with Claudi P V in pursuit. Then coming down the stretch, My Lady Hall made a break and Claudi P V blew by her for the win by 15 and one-quarter lengths. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for the daughter of Holiday Road, who is trainer and co-owned and bred by Serge Nadeau with Marcel Brouillard of St-Marcel-De-Richelieu. She paid $9.70 to win. The Open Handicap Pace saw former Quebec Series Champion, Atomic Million AM ($3.80) and driver Guy Gagnon wire the field with ease in 1:54.2. Another Quebec Series Champion, Capteur De Reve ($6/90) and driver Pierre Luc Roy, were able to wire the field in winning the Open Handicap Trot in 1:59.1. Track Notes: Driver Stephane Gendron and trainer Michel Allard each had two wins in the championship finals and driver Louis Phillipe Roy has two wins, one in the finals. Live harness racing resumes at H3R next Sunday, September 16, first race post time at 12:50 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

Columbus, MN.  The featured event on the Saturday night (Sept. 8) Harness Racing program at Running Aces was the $13,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses & geldings with a good field of seven squaring off behind the gate. Bestinthebusiness (James Yoder) was the race favorite, coming in fresh off a huge first-over mile in this event last week where he just missed by half a length to stablemate Whatchyastarinat in a 1:51.3 mile. Again this week Whatchyastarinat (Lemoyne Svendsen) fired right off the gate from post seven to take command after an early battle with Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee), the fractions were solid with a :26.4 quarter, followed by :56.0 and 1:24.1. Bestinthebusiness launched his first-over attack near the 5/8 marker and the two Gene Miller trainees were once again going head to head for the final quarter mile in the top event. Whatchyastarinat was dead-game but Bestinthebusiness and Stuckey Dote were firing on both sides in the final yards and Besinthebusiness would get up to prevail by a neck on the line over Stuckey Dote and Whatchyastarinat was just a half-length back in third in a 1:52.1 mile. Bestinthebusiness ($4.20) is owned by Brett Boyd Racing and trained by Gene Miller, the feature win tonight was the 46th career tally for the winner of $431,130 lifetime. The $14,000 Minnesota-Sired 3 year old pace event went to Giggle Monster again tonight, for two wins in a row in this division. Driver Dean Magee fired up Giggle Monster much earlier than usual and they cleared the lead just before the 3/8 pole and faced heavy pressure from Frewil Dakota Sven (Corey Larson) through the middle stages, producing a :56.3 middle half. After turning back that challenge near the top of the lane, Giggle Monster ($3.60) cruised home a winner by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:54.3 for his fourth win in fourteen starts this season. The impressive son of Wind Me Up has now won $73,580 in 23 career races for owners Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and trainer Justin Anfinson. Steve Wiseman led the Saturday card with three wins, with Dean Magee picking up a double. Live Racing returns on Sunday (Sept. 9) with first post at 6:00 pm CDT and a carryover in the 20 cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $36,161.20.   By Darin Gagne  

Police have today made another arrest as part of an investigation into alleged race-fixing. A 71-year-old man is due to appear in Christchurch District Court on Tuesday 11 September on one deception charge. Eleven people have now been charged in relation to Operation Inca — the National Organised Crime Group investigation into alleged corruption in harness racing. Anyone who may have relevant information is urged to contact Police by emailing harness@police.govt.nz or calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.   Harnesslink Media

MILTON, ON - September 8, 2018 - Grand Circuit harness racing week concluded Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park with three divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers. A group of 14 sophomore pacing colts and geldings were separated into a pair of $83,342 splits, while a talented field of six pacing fillies battled for a purse of $150,996. Just a week after winning the Messenger, Stay Hungry brought his 'A Game' to win a tough battle in the second Simcoe division. Driven by Doug McNair, Stay Hungry was unhurried in the beginning and got away fourth. Backstreet Shadow and driver Yannick Gingras circled from second to first at the opening-quarter and rolled the field by the half in :55. McNair gave Stay Hungry his cue to charge first-up going to the three-quarter pole and was almost three-lengths from the lead when Backstreet Shadow reached the third-station in 1:23.1. In the stretch, McNair dropped Stay Hungry onto the back of Gingras briefly before coming back out for an exciting stretch duel. Stay Hungry paced home in :25.4 and was able to edge a game Backstreet Shadow by a nose in 1:49.3. Hidden Delight was third. "The way the draw set up I figured that was the way the race would go," said McNair following the victory. "I would be a late first-over and Yannick's horse would be sprinting home hard." Trained by Tony Alagna, Stay Hungry is being pointed towards potential history at the Little Brown Jug on September 20. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has captured the opening-two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown, Cane Pace and Messenger, and is now five for 11 with $683,031 earned this season for owners Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman. "The Jug is in a couple weeks and that's what they are aiming at, but it was great to get a win back home," said McNair. "That's all they are going to be talking about from now until the Jug is the Triple Crown, but he's won two of the first three legs and that's special." Stay Hungry's career numbers now sit at 11 wins and over $1.2 million earned. He paid $2.90 to win. Jeff Gillis trainee The Downtown Bus continued his run of stops at the winner's circle by posting a 1:50.2 victory in the first division for colts and geldings. Driven by Tim Tetrick, The Downtown Bus shot out to the lead and got to call the shots, posting fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:23.1 to lead into the stretch. Tetrick pulled the plugs on The Downtown Bus at the three-quarter pole and the Gillis trainee was able to last on the lead, finding the line in time to hold off a charge from Torrin Hanover was _ length score. Babes Dig Me finished third, while Dragon Time was fourth. The Simcoe victory extends The Downtown Bus' current win streak to three. "He's turned the corner and Jeff has done a great job with him," said Tetrick, who has driven the gelded son of Mach Three throughout his current win streak. "Last week he trained around there pretty good in (1):49 and today he was up in little more open class and some better-bred horses and he still got the job done. I was pretty proud of him." A homebred for Gillis and Ellen Ott, The Downtown Bus now has eight wins and $218,354 earned in 19 starts this season. The Grand Circuit victory increases his career earnings to $238,700. A $2 win ticket on The Downtown Bus returned $4.20. Shower Play continued her flare for the dramatic by delivering another stunning final-quarter rally to win the Simcoe Filly Stakes in 1:52. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Shower Play got away fifth in the field of six and appeared to have a mountain too big to overcome when Youaremycandygirl got her own way on the front, posting fractions of :26.4, :56.4 and 1:24.1. Youaremycandygirl opened up a lead of nearly four-lengths at three-quarters, while race-favourite Kissin In The Sand was second-over and Shower Play third over with more than seven-lengths to overcome. Kissin In The Sand and Shower Play both delivered furious stretch rallies to track down Youaremycandygirl in the final-eighth with Shower Play unleashing a :26.3 kicker to reach the line first. Kissin In The Sand finished second, beat a length and a quarter, while Youaremycandygirl crossed in third. "It's always fun to win races on the front, but to go by everybody is a better feeling for sure," said Roy following the race. "I give credit to Rene and Susie because in the middle of the summer we had some steering issues with her, so they worked a lot on her and did some changes and I think she's come back better than she was at the beginning at the season." Trained by Rene Dion, Shower Play also defeated Kissin In The Sand in June's $415,000 Fan Hanover. The daughter of Shadow Play has now earned $415,563 in 10 starts this season for owners Dion, Susie Kerwood and Martin Leveillee. The Simcoe victory gives Shower Play five wins this season and eight overall. Her career earnings jump to $454,300 with the victory. A $2 win ticket on Shower Play returned $14.10. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Nirvana Seelster becomes newest millionaire Bill Budd trainee Nirvana Seelster grinded out a third-place finish in Saturday’s $34,000 Preferred Pace to become harness racing’s newest millionaire. The seven-year-old gelding entered Saturday’s card just a little over $300 away from $1 million in career earnings. Nirvana Seelster and driver Trevor Henry did the heavy-lifting in the Preferred and despite surrendering the lead early in the lane, the Budd trainee battled hard to the line for a third-place finish, beat only three-quarters of a length. American Wiggle, driven by Louis Philippe Roy for trainer Richard Moreau, captured the $34,000 top-class in 1:49.4. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster is a 39-time winner with a mark of 1:48 taken last season at Mohawk Park. The Budd trainee has made 176 of his 178 career starts at either Woodbine Racetrack or Mohawk Park. Nirvana Seelster recently competed in his fourth consecutive Canadian Pacing Derby. The fan-favourite has seven wins, 20 top-three finishes and $191,170 earned in 27 starts this season. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

MILTON, ON - September 8, 2018 - Rookie trotters had their moment in the spotlight Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the eliminations of the William Wellwood Memorial and Peaceful Way. Each event required two $30,000 eliminations with the top-five finishers in each split advancing to next Saturday's (September 15) rich finals. Green Manalishi S posted a personal best 1:54.4 while making his Canadian debut in the first elimination of the William Wellwood Memorial. Trained by Marcus Melander and perfectly handled by Tim Tetrick, Green Manalishi S found the point with little effort as CT Conabra went off stride into the first turn allowing the Muscle Hill colt to notch an opening quarter in :28.2. Green Manalishi S cruised through splits of :57.4 and 1:26.2 under no pressure from a chasing Hudson River who showed some energy late in the final turn, but a smooth moving Green Manalishi S easily powered away from the field with Kings County chasing in vain and the late trot of Smart As Hill providing little threat. "It looked very good. It was three weeks ago that he raced last time and he looked beautiful out there," said Melander. With three wins from five starts, the Melander charge has proven to be a successful purchase. "He was bought in Sweden as a yearling in August of last year. We shipped him over here in September or October and since we broke him, we've had him," noted Melander. With wins already in the All-Stars at Pocono Downs and the Kindergarten Classic at The Meadowlands, as well as a strong second behind Dont Letem in the Peter Haughton Memorial when hampered with an outside post, Melander was pleased to see his charge find an easier path on this night. "He was very good in the Peter Haughton. He was parked the entire mile. He has a lot of speed and a lot of stamina, so he can do whatever he wants," said Melander. "It was very good that he could be on the lead today. He had a tough trip in the Haughton." Green Manalishi S, bred by Ab Svensk Reklamfinans of Sweden, paid $3.60 to win. Union Forces wrestled the lead away from Swandre The Giant late in the lane to post a shocking 33-1 upset in the second elimination of the William Wellwood Memorial. The previously undefeated Swandre The Giant, sent to post as the prohibitive 1/5 mutuel favourite, was purchased privately and making his first start for trainer Jimmy Takter and new owners Diamond Creek Racing, J and T Silva Stables LLC and Howard Taylor. However, the Domenico Cecere conditioned Union Forces, recently third in the Champlain after a pair of easy scores to start his career south of the border, proved to be a worthy adversary for owners Lindy Farms, Robert Rudolph, David Anderson and John Fielding. A talented field of rookie trotters went topsy turvy early as Trix And Stones went offstride and Gerry followed suit into the opening turn as Scott Zeron sent Union Forces to an uncontested lead through an opening quarter in :27.4. Yannick Gingras sent Swandre The Giant to challenge the leader down the backstretch and swept to the point to mark the half in :57.3 as While Your Up, White Tiger, and Royal Rob chased from a distance. Swandre The Giant continued to lead into the final turn with While Your Up making his move allowing White Tiger to follow his cover as three-quarters ticked by in 1:27.2. A precarious lead for the heavy favourite tumbled as upset-minded Union Forces put a strangle hold on Swandre The Giant to reign victorious in 1:55.3. "To me, it's not a surprise. I know he's 33-1 but I know the horse and it's no surprise," said Cecere. "He's a classy horse. Great horse, great gait, great head and it was perfect. Perfect trip. When I saw him in the two-hole I said, 'they're going to be careful'." Cecere is cautiously optimistic after the second elimination score noting that first elim winner Green Manalishi S looked strong. "He's a great horse and was great tonight. He took off good," said Cecere of Green Manalishi S. Union Forces, bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. of New York, paid $68.90 to win. Doherty Memorial winner The Ice Dutchess got back on track with a 1:55.4 score in the first Peaceful Way elimination. The Jimmy Takter trained daughter of Muscle Hill was making her first start under the lights with trotting hopples following back-to-back breaks. Driven by Yannick Gingras, The Ice Dutchess circled from second to first heading up to the half and never looked back. She posted fractions of :58.4 and 1:27.2 before trotting home in :28.2 for the victory. "Just a matter of keeping her on stride and getting around the track and she was well-behaved tonight," said Gingras. "(Hopples) definitely make her a little safer...it's definitely a plus, but the way she was tonight she could've done it without." Evident Beauty finished second, beat a length and three-quarters, while Presto Change O was third. The top-five was completed by Angies Luckeylady and Hp Titania Runner. The Ice Dutchess improved to three for six with her elimination victory and will have an opportunity next week to make a significant add to her impressive bankroll of $204,790. Coyote Wynd Farms owns The Ice Dutchess, who was a $320,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase. She paid $3.10 to win. Father Patrick filly Sisters Promise powered to a 1:55.4 victory in the second elimination. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Sisters Promise came first-up from fourth on the far turn to battle with Susy, who posted fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26.3. In the stretch, Sisters Promise muscled by Susy and trotted home in :29.1 to defeat her rival by a length and a half. Speed Titan finished third, while Tommi Canu Hearme was fourth. The final spot in next week's final was secured by Teddys Littleangel. Sisters Promise turned the tables Saturday, as she finished second to Susy in last week's Champlain Stakes. "Last week we just got away too far back," said Tetrick about the previous meeting. "We were an easy second last week and today (Susy) had to leave and remove and got a half of :57 and from there I thought I had a good shot." Trained by Linda Toscano, Sisters Promise picked up her second in four starts. She is owned by Brittany Farms and has now earned $42,216. A $2 win ticket on Sisters Promise returned $8.30. The draws for the $385,000 Peaceful Way and $400,000 Wellwood Memorial finals took place following Saturday's elimination. The $665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $340,000 Elegantimage were also drawn Saturday. The fields for each final are listed below. $385,000 Peaceful Way #1 Presto Change O #2 Susy #3 The Ice Dutchess #4 Sisters Promise #5 Evident Beauty #6 Angies Luckeylady #7 Teddys Littleangel #8 Tommi Canu Hearme #9 Speed Titan #10 HP Titania Runner AE: Fraulein Blucher $400,000 William Wellwood Memorial #1 White Tiger #2 Okeanos #3 Green Manalishi S #4 Union Forces #5 Hudson River #6 Smart As Hill #7 Swandre The Giant #8 Kings County #9 Southwind Avenger #10 While Your Up AE: CT Conabra $665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic #1 Missle Hill #2 Mets Hall #3 You Know You Do #4 For A Dreamer #5 Lawmaker #6 Alarm Detector #7 Run Director #8 Fiftydallarbill #9 Winning American #10 Crystal Fashion #11 Zephyr Kronos $340,000 Elegantimage #1 Phaetosive #2 Manchego #3 Alloveragain #4 Blonde Magic #5 Jordan Blue Chip #6 Atlanta #7 Sneeker Hanover From Woodbine Communications

The three-day Arqana-Trot Deauville Sale is complete and quite an event it was, particularly in the first and third sessions. The sale topper at 400,000 euro ($462,000US) was hip 377, the 2017 foaled filly by Charly du Noyer-Reethi Rah Jet, the dam (bred by Jean Etienne Dubois) having produced the champion Bold Eagle. This one and several other sales leaders appeared Friday. Another late sale top 20 was hip 436 Haut Brion (colt, 2017 by Bold Eagle-Christa Maris) at 240,000 euro ($277,000US). A great looker he is. The Top 20 follow along with total sale results that illustrate growth in the demand for FR trotting stock. Top 20 1. Lot 0377 : HUNTER VALLEY CHARLY DU NOYER / REETHI RAH JET Vendeur : Etre, Acheteur : SAS LANGLAIS BLOODSTOCK 0377 400 000 € 2. Lot 0093 : HERE I AM READY CASH / COME ON JET Vendeur : Etre, Acheteur : SAS LANGLAIS BLOODSTOCK 0093 320 000 € 3. Lot 0108 : HEROE WINNER READY CASH / ALTESSE WINNER Vendeur : Ecouché, Acheteur : Anonyme 0108 240 000 € 4. Lot 0436 : HAUT BRION BOLD EAGLE / CRISTA MARIS Vendeur : Ecouché, Acheteur : ECURIE THOMAS BERNEREAU 0436 240 000 € 5. Lot 0067 : HAVILAH READY CASH / ULZHANE Vendeur : Ecouché, Acheteur : SAS LANGLAIS BLOODSTOCK 0067 180 000 € 6. Lot 0047 : HAND FULL READY CASH / SIRENE DE MAI Vendeur : Madrik, Acheteur : Stall Courant AB 0047 170 000 € 7. Lot 0423 : HARPER DU FER BIRD PARKER / VICTORY PRIDE Vendeur : Ecouché, Acheteur : BRINI RACING TEAM 0423 160 000 € 8. Lot 0117 : HIGH LIFE READY CASH / BUSY BEE JET Vendeur : Etre, Acheteur : SAS LANGLAIS BLOODSTOCK 0117 150 000 € 9. Lot 0437a : HAVANA MARCEAUX VERY NICE MARCEAUX / COSMIC GIRL Vendeur : Brun Jean, Acheteur : FONTEYNE Florent-Henri 0437a 150 000 € 10. Lot 0472 : HERA D'ATOUT BOLD EAGLE / TOPAZE D'ATOUT Vendeur : Sassy, Acheteur : ECURIE THOMAS BERNEREAU 0472 140 000 € 11. Lot 0342 : HOLD ON WILLIAMS BOLD EAGLE / MISS WILLIAMS Vendeur : Trois Rivières, Acheteur : ECURIE THOMAS BERNEREAU 0342 120 000 € 12. Lot 0037 : HAKA READY CASH / UNE FILLE D'AMOUR Vendeur : Ecouché, Acheteur : DREAM HORSE AGENCY 0037 110 000 € 13. Lot 0066 : HAVANE JULRY READY CASH / SENSATION JULRY Vendeur : Julry, Acheteur : REGOURD Gérard 0066 110 000 € 14. Lot 0449 : HEAVEN'S PRIDE BRILLANTISSIME / QUEENLY PRIDE Vendeur : Madrik, Acheteur : SAUQUE Frédéric 0449 110 000 € 15. Lot 0459 : HELIOS DES CHAMPS BOLD EAGLE / REBECCA DES CHAMPS Vendeur : Champs, Acheteur : LEBLANC Franck 0459 110 000 € 16. Lot 0071 : HEART JEWEL PRODIGIOUS / TOPAZE BOURBON Vendeur : Madrik, Acheteur : BIGEON William 0071 100 000 € 17. Lot 0112 : HEROS DE LA COTE READY CASH / SPICY JET Vendeur : Madrik, Acheteur : BIGEON Jean-Luc 0112 100 000 € 18. Lot 0068 : HAWAIENNE MAZA READY CASH / AVENTURA Vendeur : Etre, Acheteur : SAS LANGLAIS BLOODSTOCK 0068 90 000 € 19. Lot 0370 : HOUSTON DE BLARY BIRD PARKER / ANNABA DE BLARY Vendeur : Blary, Acheteur : SAUQUE Frédéric 0370 90 000 € 20. Lot 0505 : HIGH ROCK DE LOU BOLD EAGLE / AOSTA DE LOU Vendeur : Lou, Acheteur : ECURIE THOMAS BERNEREAU 0505 90 000 € Segments Total   Type Présentés Vendus % Vente Enchères Ench. + Am. Prix moyen Médian Top Price ► 2018   496 344 69,35 % 10 216 500 € 10 324 500 € 29 699 € 19 000 € 400 000 € ► 2017   468 335 71,58 % 8 237 500 € 8 237 500 € 24 590 € 16 000 € 300 000 € ► 2016   455 308 67,69 % 6 203 500 € 6 281 500 € 20 141 € 15 000 € 190 000 € ► 2015   459 298 64,92 % 6 035 000 € 6 055 000 € 20 252 € 15 000 € 155 000 € The catalog link follows: http://www.arqana-trot.com/catalogue-listing/ventes-de-yearlings-selectionnes-2018 Next year at this time we will see glimpses of performance and possible careers in the spotlight. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

One of the shining lights of the Southern Harness scene, Mr Kiwi scored his second career win when he got up to beat a tenacious Honey Cullen by half a length at Winton today. The four year old gelding showed plenty of class at times in his three year old season but maturity and consistency just weren't there. “He won first up last season and he was so green. We had a wee few issues this season but he went super at Gore. He’s just been a bit more 'with us' this season. He’s got a big motor and he’s really matured,” said trainer Brett Gray. Gray says the American Ideal gelding has been a bit of ‘a trick’ at home but says he’s turned a corner this time round. “He was so lazy, then he’d get quite keen but this time in he’s been really good.” There have also been issues this week with a minor injury but the horse was good enough to overcome them today. “We got a stone bruise during the week so that was my only worry. We were under the pump but he still did it which was pretty cool.” Saluting the judge                                                  -  photo Bruce Stewart This was Mr Kiwi’s second win in five starts and Gray says he’s got a bright future. “I think he could go a wee way actually. He’s a bright hope. I’m not too sure what I’m going to do with him. We might give him a wee spell and have a go at the South of the Waitaki at Addington.” Out of the In The Pocket mare Wanaka Bay, Mr Kiwi was bred by Ben and Karen Calder who now reside in Wanaka. The Calders race the gelding with Gina Gray, Earl Shannon and Mrs J Bajnoczi-Shannon. “Ben and Karen have been great to me and my wife Ginny. Love winning races for them.” Mr Kiwi is a half brother the Mr Mojito which won seven of it's ten starts in New Zealand and a further four races in Australia including the Group Two Garrard Horse and Hound Four Year Old Championship at Gloucester Park in December 2016.   Bruce Stewart

Friday and Saturday Kincsem Park (Budapest) hosted the FEGAT Men’s Amateur Drivers Championship, raced over five events, two Friday and three Saturday. The final results revealed a close contest with Christian Nissen (Denmark) the winner with 47 points, Niclas Benzon (Sweden) next with 46 and third went to Thomas Royer (Austria) with 44. Italy’s Filippo Monti was fourth with 39 points. The photos below tell the story as Nissen sealed the deal with a second in the fifth event handling Szacharin. Thomas Royer won that race with Under World (5g Racino-Zaba) for trainer Emil Csordas to garner the third leading points total. That event was raced over 1900 meters autostart for a 600,000Huf purse, the same purse that applied to the earlier four events. The “Heat” winners were Tiko Time (6m Belami) for VM Kangasluoma at 56/1, Tengelic (6f Incredible Cole) for Filippo Monti at 11/1, Trendy Girl (6f What A Man) at 7/1 for Christian Nissen, 4.7/1 odds Beatrix Galindo AT (5f Tony Oaks) again for Filippo Monti and the 8.4/1 Under World (5g Racino) for Thomas Royer. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Trois Rivieres, QC - It's Super Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday, September 9 with the tracks richest harness racing program of the year, $512,000 in total purses headlined by eight Quebec Championship Finals. The Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters and pacers has four finals, each with a purse of $65,000. The two-year-old's also will compete in four finals, each with a purse of $55,000. Plus, there are two $8,000 Invitational events, one for trotters and one for pacers. For this rich days of racing, world class drivers Sylvain Filion, Jody Jamieson, Louis Philippe Roy and James MacDonald are coming in from Ontario to compete with H3R's top drivers. Here is a brief overview on each of the special races on Sunday. 2nd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - Cesar Duharas is the race favorite and rightly so. Last week the son of Muscle Massive tied the track record for colts at H3R with a 2:01.3 triumph in the third round of the Future Stars Series. He will start from post five for trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby and breeder/owner Haras De Estrie, Inc. of Dunham. Cesar Duharas has three wins this season, the fastest a 1:58.3 record at Mohawk Park. Competition will come from Yves Filion's Money Hill (post eight), who has his son, Sylvain, driving the son of Muscle Hill and the entry of Only For Justice (post one) and Clevisse (post four) for trainer Dany Fontaine. 3rd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - YS Sunshine (post six) gets the call in here off his last start, a very impressive 1:53.4 lifetime mark last week at Mohawk Park. The Sunshine Beach geldings other two wins this season came in legs of the Future Stars Series with driver Stephane Gendron back in the sulky for trainer Michel Allard and breeder/owner Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. Second choice is the undefeated D Gs De Vito (post eight) with driver Jonathan Lachance. This unbeaten son of Sportswriter is going for his fifth straight win, all at H3R and he has a record of 1:58 taken last week. Other contenders include Guinness Panic (post five) and GA Speed Gaby (post three). 4th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Provided they can stay on stride, Montanaalaska (post four) and Kinnder Prediction (post three) both have good chances of winning. Montanaalaska won two starts back for driver Guy Ganon 2:00.2 and 2:02.4 the prior week, but also shows tendency to break stride too. Sired by Angus Hall, Montanaalaska is trained by Alain Martin for owner Michel Grenier of Gastineau. Kinnder Prediction broke last week for driver Justin Filion. The prior week was first placed ninth and the week before won in 2:02.4 over Montanaalaska. The daughter of Northern Escort is trained, owned and bred by Denitza Petrova of Melbourne. 5th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - The entry of BG (post four) and Katniss S BG (post 8) loom over the field. Katniss S BG is the stronger of the entry. This daughter of Mach Three has four wins this year, the fastest in 1:53 for driver Louis Philippe Roy and has won three of her last four starts for trainer Richard Moreau and co-breeders and owners Sylvain Desvheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. Lit De Rose (post seven) might have been made the betting favorite if not for her starting from an outside post. This daughter of Leader Bayama has been first, second or third in her last six starts with a record of 1:57 taken two starts back. She will be driven for the first time by Sylvain Filion. 6th Race $8,000 Invitational Pace - Hard to believe that four of nine horses in this race, Cee Pee Panic, HP Patriote, Atomic Million AM and Wildriverbumblebee, are all prior Championship winners. Cee Pee Panic (post three) is the oldest at age 9 and Wildriverbumblebee (post nine) the youngster at age 4 and the race favorite with Sylvain Filion in the sulky. Wildriverbumblebee is coming off a 1:54 triumph at H3R in his last start for trainer Francis Richard. UFdragons Rocket (post two) is the fastest return winner in the field, coming off a 1:52.1 triumph for driver Louis Philippe Roy. Other contenders include Atomic Million AM (post five) and Windsun Cheyenne (post eight). 7th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Kenogami Darling (post four) has dominated this division with back to back wins in the series and is going for her fourth straight win. The daughter of Justice Hall has been super for trainer Dany Fontaine and driver Guy Gagnon. Her record this year is 1:59.2 taken at Mohawk Park. She was bred and is co-owned by Jean Francois Reid of Anjou with Claude Reid of Jonquiere. Although Kenogami Darling has beaten everyone else in the field, watch for Kinderunbelievable (post five) and Claudi P V (post six) to be on the board. 8th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - Better Now (post 3) is the race favorite having won two of the legs at H3R and also coming off a strong second in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots last week at Clinton Raceway for trainer and co-owner Pierre Ouellette. The filly by Betterthancheddar has Jody Jamieson in the sulky and can race well from on or off the pace. Second choice is the top filly Hurryupatthebeach (post five). This daughter of Up The Credit was undefeated in her first five wins for trainer Pierre Leclerc, getting beaten for the first time in the third leg of the series. She will again be driven by Pascal Berube. Also watch for Flower Sena (post eight), who was able to beat Hurryupatthebeach in her last start for driver Jocelyn Gendron, but the outside post position will hinder her chances somewhat. 9th Race $8,000 Invitational Trot - What a top-notch race this will be. There are three Quebec Series Champions in the field, Capteur De Reve (post five), who just won his second straight title, former track record holder Seeyou Men (post seven) and Holiday Party (post eight). Capteur De Reve with Pierre Luc Roy in the sulky is the race favorite, having won the Open Handicap last week and with a record of 1:58.4 at H3R for trainer Maxime Velaye. Seeyou Men has Guy Gagnon in the sulky after they won last week at Rideau Carleton in 1:58.4. Others to watch include the return of Rocky Boy (post three), Broadway Maija (post four) and Windsun Hugo (post nine). 10th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - Great field of competition headed by race favorite Kinnder Jackson (post four) who has seven wins in ten starts, all at H3R for breeder, owner and trainer Deniza Petrova. This son of Allamerican Native has two wins in the series and will be driven for the first time by Louis Philippe Roy. Hudson Phil (post six) may show poor finishes last three starts for driver James MacDonald, but this son of Shanghai Phil was raced timed last week in 1:51.4 and has a record of 1:51.3 for trainer Mark Steacy. Play Jet Play (post seven) is part of an entry for trainer Dany Fontaine with last year's Champion, Stock (post five), who won a leg of the Series back in July in 1:54.2. 11th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - SG Goliath King (post two) could be part of a double ­on the day for Hall of Fame trainer Yves Filion. This son of Lucky Fool has three wins in his last six starts and will have son Sylvain in the sulky. Other contenders include Yankee Photo (post four) for trainer Gerald Woodberry and driver Pascal Berube, Orlys Fury (post three) and Nobodynojustice (post one). Post time is 12:50 pm Sunday and for a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

CHESTER, PA - Shebang N, guided by "countryman" Dexter Dunn, won the $16,000 distaff pacing feature on a special Friday evening card at Harrah's Philadelphia, gaining into a 27.4 last quarter to win in 1:53.2 in weather that forced three short delays in the races due to hard rain and lightning. Dunn and the victorious daughter of Mach Three went up to the lead shortly out of the first turn, then yielded to race favorite Rob Them Blind. Shebang N was content to sit until the stretch sprint, then showed sharp acceleration to get by the favorite by a neck for trainer Nifty Norman and the Robert Cooper Stables LLC. The victory was the fourth in a row for Shebang N, and her driver Dexter Dunn has also been hot as well at Philly. After not getting the best of stock upon returning to the southeast Pennsylvania oval (he won two races here in 2011) and not tasting success in his first 20 local drives, the 29-year-old New Zealander certainly has turned things around -- his win in the feature was his seventh in 19 starts here since that unremarkable beginning. In the $14,500 co-featured pace for distaffs, the Artzina mare Use Your Noodle and driver Victor Kirby also found a pocket trip the route to the winners circle, catching millionaire pacesetter Regil Elektra to also win by a head in 1:52.1, last quarter 28 in the off going. Use Your Noodle, trained by DeShawn Sample for Nanticoke Racing Inc., Henry Faragalli III, Arthur Feeney, and Trevor Johnson, now has earned $285,315. In a $14,000 trot, the Muscle Hill colt Fleet Admiral, a full brother to Ariana G, was handled patiently by driver Josert Fonseca, moving from midpack at the ¼ and grinding his way to the lead by the half, then stepping home safe from his opposition in a 1:55.2 mile. Fleet Admiral has now won three in a row for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and the S R F Stable. The Liberty Bell stakes series returns on the Sunday card, which begins at 2:05 p.m., as will the remainder of the cards raced on Sunday through meet's end on December 16. Three-year-old colts of both gaits will contest half of the 14 races set for Sunday in Liberty Bell series racing, with four divisions for the pacers and three for the trotters. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs