Day At The Track

A tall, powerful stallion with extraordinary conformation, named after a Presbyterian Minister, is about to make an impact on the harness racing breeding Industry throughout North America and the Southern Hemisphere. Pastor Stephen, the 2010 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year in North America, has been purchased from Europe for an undisclosed price by Taylor Made Stallions and will be standing in Indiana for the upcoming 2021 breeding season. His race record of 1.52.4 and $1,058,188 in earnings, together with his pedigree makes him one of the most impressive prospects available to Breeders in recent years. The fact that he is a full brother to the $2.6m winner Father Patrick is even more appealing.  Now standing at US$30,000 Father Patrick has been an instant hit at Stud in North America with the sensational trotter Greenshoe t3;1.49.4 emerging from his first crop. Pastor Stephen is by one of North America’s leading sires in Cantab Hall, the sire of winners of just under $100m in North America. Pastor Stephen is from the Broodmare gem Gala Dream, who in turn is a half-sister to World Champion trotter Chocolatier 1.53 ($1.3m). Pastor Stephen’s pedigree is loaded up with two year old speed, aside from his own record; Father Patrick  -  the USTA Two and Three Year Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Cantab Hall  -   the USTA Two Year Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Chocolatier  -   the USTA Two Year old Trotting Colt of the Year Pastor Stephen, the Dan Patch two-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year and a winner of more than $1m as a two and three year old was exported to Europe after his brilliant race career ended in his 3 year old season upon suffering a broken coffin bone.  Pastor Stephen Pastor Stephen has been very successful in the breeding shed all across Europe with a more than 70% rate of his foals making it to the races, all despite the fact that he was held up in a court case and losing two full breeding seasons. With his progeny making a good impact early on the European breeding scene American interests had fixed their eyes on the grand circuit super star Pastor Stephen. They entered into an agreement early 2018 to purchase the “Dan Patch two year old of the Year” and bring him back to North America. However, there were disagreements in connection with the purchase contract, and after almost two years of legal fighting, the case was finally heard in the Uppsala District Court, Sweden. The case has now been resolved with the American interests winning the case. Pastor Stephen has now arrived back in the USA!  “He was a really good gaited colt, easy horse to be around and to race. He was top three of his class as a three-year-old. Unfortunately he got injured in a transport incident before the Hambletonian where he finished third in his elimination and fifth in the final from post 10. After that a coffin bone injury put an end to his career in the USA and was sold to Europe. I am glad he is back in the USA. He will be a big asset to the Indiana Breeding Industry as he is the full-brother to Father Patrick, as a matter of fact I reserved two breeding rights to Pastor Stephen myself.” Jimmy Takter on Pastor Stephen Pastor Stephen was recently purchased by Taylor Made Stallions, adding to their exceptional group of Standardbred stallions, What The Hill, Lazarus and Lather Up, Pastor Stephen will no doubt enrich the Taylor Made Standardbred stallion portfolio with influence throughout the breeding world. Pastor Stephen will be standing at Premier Acres in Indiana for a fee of $7,500. Dennis Bontrager of Premier Acres says he is really excited about Pastor Stephen standing in Indiana. For the first time he says, Indiana breeders have a chance to breed to the best ever and most high profile stallion to stand in Indiana. For enquiries phone Dennis Bontrager (260) 585 4927 by Steve Wolf

Hanover, PA - It is with great excitement and pride that Hanover Shoe Farm’s announces the addition of three -year -old pacing colt phenom Tall Dark Stranger to its stallion roster for the 2021 harness racing breeding season. With a record of 1:49.1 at 2 and a current record of 1:47.1 at 3 and $1,741,645 earned thus far, Tall Dark Stranger has a remarkable slate of 16 wins and 1 second from 18 career starts.  Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin  and Lynn Katz, Caviart Farms, Marlene Taylor and Howard Taylor, trained by Nancy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras, Tall Dark Stranger is the only horse in history to win the Metro Pace and Breeders Crown as a two year old and return to racing as a three year old and win both the Meadowlands Pace and North American Cup. Tall Dark Stranger also won the International Stallion Stakes at 2 in route to being voted 2 -Year -Old Colt Pacer of the Year in both the United States and Canada. This year at three, in addition to the Meadowlands Pace and North American Cup he has also captured The Cane Pace and The Kentucky Sire Stakes Final. Tall Dark Stranger is scheduled to start next at The Red Mile and then go on to the Breeders’ Crown at Hoosier Park.  Seemingly destined for greatness from his birth, Tall Dark Stranger was a $330,000 purchase from the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale. He was considered by many to be the premier pacing colt offered at that venue that year. A stunning individual by the legendary stallion Bettors Delight ,Tall Dark Stranger hails from one of harness racing’s most prolific families. He is out of World Champion and Dan Patch and O’Brien Award Winning 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year Precocious Beauty p,2,1:50.1 ($838,004), she a sister to successful pacing stallion Sportswriter and out of a sister to Swinging Beauty P,1:49.4 ($893,268) and the grandam of Downbytheseaside P,2,1:49, 3.1:48.3f ($2,179,558) whose eagerly awaited first crop of yearlings sell this fall. “Russell and I are thrilled and honored to have been given the chance to add such an illustrious pacing stallion to our roster, we believe he is the most accomplished pacer to enter the stallion ranks since Captaintreacherous. This will be the our first partnership with Crawford Farms, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor ,which is exciting ,and  the third stallion we stand that Marvin Katz  owns part of, Captiantreacherous and Bar Hopping being the two others. It is a pleasure to work with Marvin ,he has vast knowledge of the breeding business and a  terrific band of broodmares to support his stallions”,  says Hanover Executive Vice President Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky.  Trainer Nancy Takter calls Tall Dark Stranger “One of the best pacers we have seen. A champion at two and three, he’s done things that no horse has ever done. He’s a pleasure to train and knows that his job is to win”. Driver Yannick Gingras says that Tall Dark Stranger is the best pacing colt he has ever driven. “He has all the tools needed for greatness. Speed, gait, and looks but above all his desire to win races is truly unbelievable to me. He’s a champion in every sense of the word”. Tall Dark Stranger will stand in Pennsylvania His service fee and details concerning the Syndication will be forthcoming. From Hanover Shoe Farms      

Friday's stakes-filled card at Harrah's Hoosier Park features many of harness racing's big names - including Top 10-ranked Gimpanzee and Atlanta - but it includes only one undefeated harness racing horse. That's Somethingbeautiful. Somethingbeautiful is 6-for-6 this season for trainer Dylan Davis and driver LeWayne Miller, winning every start by a minimum of a length. She has faced Indiana-sired foes exclusively to this point, but on Friday tries the Grand Circuit when she competes in the $220,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers. Test Of Faith, the once-beaten Brett Pelling-trained New York Sire Stakes champion, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Somethingbeautiful is the 5-2 second choice. "There are some nice fillies in there, but I think she can go with them," Miller said. "It will be a nice test for her. But she's been facing some good fillies here too. She's been very nice. Her versatility and her maturity for being a 2-year-old, she's very good that way." Somethingbeautiful is by Always A Virgin out of Summer N Sand. She is a half-sister to Shnitzledosomethin, a now 5-year-old who was a Breeders Crown runner-up in 2017 and has earned $778,503 in his career. She was purchased for $30,000 at the Hoosier Sale and is owned by Howard Taylor, Ed Gold, Abraham Basen, and Richard Lombardo. The same group owns Shnitzledosomethin. The filly opened eyes when she qualified for the first time, winning in 1:58.3 with a last quarter of :25.4. In her six races, Somethingbeautiful has won from both off the pace and gate-to-wire, and kicked home in 27 seconds or faster in every start. "She really impressed me from the start," Miller said. "The only thing that surprises me is how easily she does it sometimes. She's a fighter. Her last start, I thought she was going to get beat, but when those fillies came to her she just took off again. "I think her potential is very high. I feel like she can compete with the best fillies out there." In addition to the Kentuckiana for 2-year-old filly pacers, Hoosier hosts the $150,000 Caesars Trotting Classic for older trotters, the $140,000 Harrah's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, $100,000 Jenna's Beach Boy for 3-year-old male pacers, $105,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, $221,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, and $120,000 Elevation for 2-year-old male pacers. Atlanta, coming off her win in the Maple Leaf Trot, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the Caesars Trotting Classic. Gimpanzee, who has won five of seven starts and been no worse than third in any race this season, is 9-5. Gimpanzee is ranked No. 4 in the sport's current Top 10 poll while Atlanta is No. 6. Century Farroh, who won the Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier in August, is the 3-1 favorite in the Harrah's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Dorsoduro Hanover, who won the Canadian Pacing Derby earlier this month, is 7-2. Other stakes favorites are Elegantimage runner-up Sister Sledge (8-5) in the Moni Maker, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion No Lou Zing (2-1) in the Jenna's Beach Boy, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Southwind Gendry (8-5) in the Elevation, and New York Sire Stakes champion Iteration (3-1) in the Kentuckiana trot. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday at Hoosier. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

“She’s a lot more relaxed now. She used to over race,” said co-trainer John Price after Pearl Harbour impressively won the Mitre 10 Winton Mobile Pace today. Driver Brent Barclay settled the four year old mare at the tail of the field and she had eight lengths to make up as they turned for home but she stuck her ears back and stormed down the outside to beat Bridesdale Robyn by a head. Pearl Harbour is usually driven by Nathan Williamson but he was committed to his own runner Franco Santino which sat parked and finished five and half lengths from the winner. “Brent drove her really well today but you have to give Nathan a heap of credit. He’s been patient with her and has got her to settle. Now she’s just so much more settled even when she’s working at home. I think she’s matured a lot.” Price who trains the mare with his wife Katrina says Pearl Harbour’s next target is a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series at Addington on 8th October. “We’ll see how she goes in that and the next target will be the Southland Oaks. I hope we can qualify for the final of the Nevele R on Cup Day.” The Somebeachsomewhere mare is out of Arden Caviar and was bred by John and Katrina. “We’ve had a couple of good offers for her after her last couple of wins, but we’ve decided she’ll be a good addition to the broodmare paddock. She has so much high speed and she’s a beautiful pacer.” Today was her first run at the races this season. Prior to today’s success she’s been to two workouts and she won them both. “She’s been ticking over for a while but there’s been no races for her. It’s pretty hard when you’re racing in that 60 to 85 grade. The handicap system in my opinion is not good for mares. It’s too hard. We had a talk the other day. It might be better to get the Oaks out of the way and send her to Australia so she could get a good mile time at Menangle.” Pearl Harbour won three of her eight starts last season and today’s win was her fifth in her career.   by Bruce Stewart

Columbus, MN - The featured events on the Wednesday afternoon (September 23) Harness Racing program at Running Aces were the freshman trotting events with two divisions going for $11,500 each.    The colts and geldings division went to heavily favored Rush To The Bank (Nick Roland, $2.20) who was never in doubt while posting a gate-to-wire score by two lengths over Oh Danny Boy and Ice Titan in 2:02.1. The victory today made it five in a row for the clear leader in this division, and likely favorite for the Minnesota Day of Champions program on October 3.    The winner is a gelded son of Banker Volo, owned by Jeralene Roland and Vickie Rush and is trained by Dan Roland.    The filly division went to Coatofmanycolors ($27.40), who rallied from well back to get up for a one length tally in 2:02.1 for her first lifetime win in just her second career start. It's So Fluffy was home in second and The Royal Queen checked in third.    The winning filly is by Tymal Templar, owned and trained by driver Jenni King.    Justlikehim (Jacob Cutting, $14.80) trotted to a new career mark of 1:54 in the $8,500 Open Handicap Trot, converting a pocket trip into a 3/4 length tally over Magic Mvp and Pridecrest. The winner is a 5 year old gelding by My Mvp, owned by Orlando Nevarez and trained by Edwin Quevedo.    The 1:54 mile was just one-fifth of a second off of the track record.    Driver Steve Wiseman led the program with two winners and trainer Kathie Plested-Wiseman registered two winners as well.    The Pick-5 Jackpot now stands at $14,916.02 for Saturday (September 26).    Live Racing continues at Running Aces through October 4, with action four days a week at 1:00 pm CDT.    Photo: Rush To The Bank made it five in a row on the freshman trot      By Darin Gagné, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack

September 20, 2020 Cokstile (7m Quite Easy-Joystile-Coktail Jet) easily took the 220,000€ purse PR Costa Azzurra at Torino raced over the 1600 meter autostart sprint distance. Race time was 1.11.2kr for the Antonio Di Nardo harness racing reined performer. Zacon Gio (5m Ruty Grif-May Glade Font SM-Yankee Glide) was two lengths back second for Roberto Vecchione with Vitruvio (6m Adrian Chip-Tigre OM-Zebu) five lengths further back third handled by Alessandro Gocciadoro. The winning pedigree follows Gaet, Ippodromo Torino files/photos   Thomas H. Hicks

Delaware, OH — Minutes after watching Party Girl Hill win Wednesday’s Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fairgrounds with a performance that included a world record in her elimination and a 3-1/2 length score in the final, breeder/owner Tom Hill summed up his thoughts about the filly in simple terms. “She just proved what I’ve been telling everybody, that she’s the best horse I’ve ever owned,” Hill said from his home in Lancashire in the United Kingdom. “As we would say in England, she’s a Rolls Royce with hair.” Party Girl Hill, driven by Dexter Dunn and trained by Chris Ryder, won the $142,635 Jugette final in 1:50.3, with stablemate New Year finishing second and Peaky Sneaky third. Earlier in the day, she won her elimination in 1:49.3, the first sub-1:50 mile by a female pacer on a half-mile track in harness racing history.   Unraced at age 2, Party Girl Hill improved to 11-for-11 in her career with her two victories in the Jugette and pushed her lifetime bankroll to $577,270. “I don’t know how good she is,” Hill said. “I don’t know where the bottom is, I really don’t. “She can leave, she can come from behind, she can sit parked; it doesn’t make any difference. That’s when you’ve got a great one, when they can win from anywhere. She’s just a very special filly. She’s a gift from God, that’s what she is. I’ve had a lot of good horses, but I’ve had nothing like her. I’ve been blessed.” Party Girl Hill’s win gave owner Hill his second Jugette trophy. He won his first in 2010 with Western Silk. It also came four days after Hill celebrated his 70th birthday. “It’s near enough for a birthday present,” Hill said with a laugh. Party Girl Hill opened her march to the Jugette crown by beating Lyons Sentinel, last year’s Dan Patch Award divisional champ, by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.3 in the second of the event’s two eliminations.   The time eclipsed the previous world record for a 3-year-old pacing filly on a half-mile track, 1:50.1, shared by Warrawee Ubeaut and Call Me Queen Be. It also lowered the all-time mark for any female pacer, 1:50, shared by Godiva Seelster and Tequila Monday. “She’s just an amazing animal,” Dunn said. “There seems to be no bottom to her, she does her work so easily. It’s truly a real pleasure to be lucky enough to sit behind her. I have to thank Tom Hill for that, for trusting me with the drive. “She’s exciting. She’s gone both heats today without the plugs being pulled or really being asked. She just does an amazing job.” The 31-year-old Dunn, who arrived in the U.S. in the summer of 2018 at the behest of fellow New Zealand native Ryder after a standout career Down Under, added the Jugette to his growing list of Grand Circuit victories. He won a total of six races Wednesday at Delaware. “I had a lucky day,” said Dunn, who was the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s 2019 Driver of the Year. “I got to drive really nice horses and they were all on top of their game today. This girl really topped the day off well. “This is a special moment for my lifetime because the Ryders have been family friends with the Dunns for 50-odd years. Chris and (his wife) Nicola have done so much to get me over here and support me. It’s a day I’ll never forget.” Dunn’s only concern following the eliminations was Party Girl Hill racing in the final off a world-record performance. “As soon as we stepped on the track, those worries went away because she had her ears pricked and she was happy as anything being out there,” Dunn said. In the final, Dunn let New Year (who won the first of the event’s two eliminations, also with Dunn in the sulky) and Lyons Sentinel battle in the first turn before launching Party Girl Hill to the lead. Party Girl Hill, the 1-9 favorite, was on top at the quarter and never looked back. “Many thanks to Tom Hill for giving me such an amazing horse,” Ryder said. “Many thanks to Dexter, he’s done a tremendous job driving her.” When reminded in the winner’s circle by track announcer Roger Huston about Hill’s birthday, Ryder quipped, “That’s great. Happy birthday. Anything else I can do for you Tom?” Back in Lancashire, Hill said winning was enough. While some speculated about how Party Girl Hill might have fared if she took on the boys in Thursday’s Little Brown Jug, both Ryder and Hill downplayed the idea. “I don’t want to hurt the filly,” Hill said. “I don’t want to do something and regret it. If she raced the colts and got beat, I know it’s no disgrace, but I don’t want to do that. She’s only had 11 races. She’s only a novice.” A novice assembling one heck of a resume. One that Hill thinks should get noticed at the end of the season if her current form holds. “She should have a shot at being Horse of the Year,” Hill said. “She’s never been beat and she’s raced on every size track. She’s never been beat and never looked like getting beat. What more could she do? She is the only one out there that’s undefeated. I think she should have a good push to be Horse of the Year. Not for me, but for her. She deserves it.” Party Girl Hill sets world record in elimination Trainer Chris Ryder and driver Dexter Dunn swept the two $47,545 Jugette eliminations on Wednesday, with 1-9 favorite Party Girl Hill winning the second in a world-record 1:49.3 after stablemate New Year won the first in 1:52. Joining those two horses in the $142,635 Jugette final were Peaky Sneaky, Blazin Grace, and Keystone Eureka from the first elimination and Lyons Sentinel, Perfect Storm, and Lady Lou from the second. Party Girl Hill was third through the first half of her elimination before launching a methodical attack on leader Lyons Sentinel. The two battled around the last turn and Party Girl Hill drew clear by three-quarters of a length as they neared the wire. The time of 1:49.3 eclipsed the previous world record for a 3-year-old pacing filly on a half-mile track, 1:50.1, shared by Warrawee Ubeaut and Call Me Queen Be. New Year, sent off as the 4-5 favorite, won the first elimination in 1:52. Peaky Sneaky finished second, followed by Blazin Grace and Keystone Eureka.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Delaware, OH - Harness racing driver Dexter Dunn swept both the elims and final of the Jugette. He also swept both divisions of the Buckette en route to a six-win afternoon at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. There were two divisions of the $82,200 (div) Buckette for three-year-old filly trotters and Dunn won them both. Caviart Eva took the first division by two lengths in 1:54 over Hannah (Andy Miller). Nancy Takter trains the Trixon lass for Caviart Farm.   The second $41,100 division went to another Trixon filly Spoiled Princess. Spoiled Princess defeated Deswanslittlelorie (Aaron Merriman) by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.2. Nifty Norman conditions the winner for Robert McNerney and Hauser Bros Racing. Dunn is the ten-time New Zealand champion driver, who started driving in the United States full time last year. Standardbred Filly Pace to Fighting Evil The Sweet Lou filly, Fighting Evil (Mike Wilder) took the $39,406 Standardbred filly pace in 1:54.2. Tava (Tim Tetrick) and Always B Laughin (Andy Miller) was second and third. Trainer Daniel Lee Snyder co-owns the filly with Jason Ash of Delaware, Ohio. Treasure Gems K Takes Standardbred Trot Treasure Gems K (Chris Page) broke her maiden in the $43,506 Standardbred two-year-old filly trot in 1:59. Josh Joshing (Andy Miller) and Gothic Girl (Dan Noble) rounded out the trifecta. The Encore Encore filly is trained by Paul Reid for Robert J. Key. World Mark Lower Twice in OBC Three-Year-Old Colt Trot A pair of world records were established in the Ohio Breeders Champioships for three-year-old colt trotters. In the opening division $48,421, It's Academic (Chris Page) lowered the world mark to 1:53.1 with a 3 ½ length victory over Stonefire Us (Dewayne Minor) and Big Box Hanover (Dan Noble). The Uncle Peter colt won for the fourth time in 10 seasonal starts and has amassed just short of $340,000 for Burke Racing Stable, William Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stables. The record stood for approximately two hours as Action Uncle (Brett Miller) lowered the world mark to 1:52.4 in the second division with 5 ¾ length score over Buxton (Dan Noble). Virgil Morgan, Jr. trains the Uncle Peter colt for Carl Howard, Joyce McClelland and Larry Wills.   Action Uncle has been ultra-consistent this season with eight wins and a second in nine 2020 starts. He has won $570,035 for his career. Action Uncle already owned the two-year-old world record that he established last year at the Delaware County Fair. Firsts  There will be a trio of trainers hitching up their first Jug starter in 2020. John Ackley, Carmine Auciello and Eric Mollor all look to make their first Jug start a winning one.  The 28 year-old Austin Siegelman will be driving in his first Jug. Siegelman is nearing 1,600 career wins and $12.7 million in career earnings.  Jug Post Times  The first elimination (Race #15) is scheduled for a 4:56 PM post time. The second elimination (Race #16) should go postward at 5:19 PM. The $335,400 second heat (Race #20) is expected to go at 6:50 PM.  Baldachino to “Perform” on Jug Day  Lexi Baldachino of Millstone, NJ has been selected to virtually perform the National Anthem during the Little Brown Jug’s “Jug Day” broadcast.  Baldachino, 22, studied dance and theatre at Penn State University and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.   She currently lives in NYC and her performing credits include roles in Flashdance: the Musical and The Wedding Singer.   by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

"Patience is a virtue" penned William Langland in the 14th century - and the words of the noted poet could certainly have been written with a Victorian Western District square-gaiter in mind! Four-year-old Fremarkspoetry (Majestic Son-A Poem Kept (Safely Kept) has returned from an 18-month layoff, rewarding connections for their patience with a perfect comeback record. "She's an absolute ripper...a real beauty," said Courtney Slater, who trains under the banner of Goodtime Racing at Beeac, with husband Mark Driscoll. The titan bay mare showed she'd lost none of her x-factor in her long layoff, making it two-from-two this campaign, with her latest being a faultless exhibition at Maryborough on Monday afternoon. "We didn't have too many worries with her-she was a little fractious for a few moments before scoring up and that was it. She ended up getting the job done nicely," Slater said. "Her previous winning effort at Stawell, despite breaking in the score-up and later galloping in the run, was strong, but it showed us that she needs a bit of room and we'll be looking toward the bigger tracks where possible." Fremarkspoetry, raced by former dairy farmers Fred and Maree Clarke, of Terang, has now raced eight times for an awesome record of six wins, a second placing and an unplaced run for over $55,000 in stakes. "She has pulled up super. We haven't got any particular races in mind and we'll just take her one step at a time. Obviously toward the end of the year we'll be chasing the features and looking at going through her grades," Slater said. After finishing second at Melton in early March of last year, the co-trainers and connections made a gut-wrenching decision and turn the horse out. "It was devastating to miss a lot of the feature events, but she was such a big filly back then. We just had to look at the big picture," Slater said. "She was sound as a bell. It was just that she was going through a growth spurt and there were a few minor issues as she was growing out. "It was a real bummer, but we think in the long run it was the best decision. She's just a big girl and we put her in our swim a fair bit now as a precaution to take the pressure off her legs." Slater said Fremarkspoetry, a homebred mare, had always shown massive potential. "Mark broke her in and did the majority of her early preparation. He was always telling me she had exceptional ability as well as being strong-minded. They've had a fair journey together!" she said. Both Mark and Courtney have harness racing in their blood, each being third generation participants. Courtney's parents, Ian and Judi, conduct the highly regarded Goodtime Lodge, while Judi's late father Allan Anderton had a very good horse in Als Court, a winner of 25 races. Mark has followed in the footsteps of his parents Allan and Margi, who still have at least one going around, while his grandfather was also involved. "I'm a qualified hairdresser, while Mark was a builder for 20 years. It was probably five years ago when we decided to have a red-hot crack at harness racing," Slater said. "We bought a farm and set it up. There's an 850-metre track, a swim, 20 boxes, paddocks and a eight horse walker. While we've both driven in races, we're concentrating on the training aspect now. "I still drive at the trials and I drove at a Wagga Wagga meeting last year, but we're both enjoying taking a backseat. "Our usual driver Glen Craven, a thorough professional, has been sidelined with a knee injury so we've been using Michael Stanley, who we've found to be terrific and a great thinker." There's 35 in work at the Goodtime Racing stable, which includes quite a lot of youngsters. But those racing have been in super form. Apart from the brilliance of their star on the horizon Fremarkspoetry, others stamping their authority have been Goodtime Floyd (three from three), G1 winner Goodtime Heaven (two wins and a second from last three runs) and Luvyoubabe (a recent Stawell winner). "It's been a handy month. Hopefully we can keep it ticking along," Slater said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing traner Luc Blais will have two horses in Saturday's inaugural Mohawk Million for 2-year-old trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park, so he is understandably excited about the event. But the trainer knows he is not alone in being pumped up about Canada's richest race since 2012. The Mohawk Million is the first million-dollar buy-in race in harness racing history. Nine spots in the 10-horse field were available for purchase for $110,000 (U.S.), with the final slot in the race given to the winner of the William Wellwood Memorial. Blais-trained On A Streak won the Wellwood to earn his place in the Mohawk Million. The colt is owned by Serge Godin's Determination stable, which also had purchased a spot in the race. Donna Soprano, the Blais-Determination tandem's undefeated filly, was selected by her connections to fill that spot. "It's very exciting," Blais said. "At the beginning, you've got a slot, but you don't know what horse will be there. Now, we're in. We are lucky, our horses have been racing well. You need luck in this game, and I think everything is going well right now. I hope it keeps going in that direction. "But we all feel the same this week. We all feel excited. This is something new and I think people are interested to see it. That is good for the game." The Mohawk Million carries a Canadian purse of $1.32 million, which converts to $1 million U.S. dollars. The winner of the race will receive the traditional 50-percent purse payout and all starters will receive at least one percent of the purse. Donna Soprano, undefeated in five races this year, will start the Mohawk Million from post three with regular driver Bob McClure. Her victories include the Peaceful Way Stakes, a division of the Champlain Stakes, and the Pure Ivory Series final. She has won every race by a minimum of one length and average of nearly three lengths. "I think she has a lot of character," Blais said. "She was not easy to bring here, but we figured her out, the way she wanted things. Every start is better and better, and she is more handy on the racetrack. Her last couple starts, she looks like a real professional. She acts like a special horse." Donna Soprano is a daughter of Donato Hanover out of the O'Brien Award winning mare Windsong Soprano. She was purchased for $190,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. She has earned $210,820 this season. Blais and Determination selected Donna Soprano for the Mohawk Million over stablemate Macho Martini, a colt who won his first seven races before finishing third in the Wellwood Memorial and then suffering interference and going off stride in the stretch of an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold division. "It was a good problem," Blais said about having to make a choice. "Macho Martini already has nine starts this year and he raced very big in the Wellwood. He had a rough mile. Donna has only five starts and she looks very hot right now." On A Streak, a son of Cantab Hall out of Habit's Best, is a half-brother to O'Brien Award winner Habitat and was purchased for $155,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He got his first win in the Wellwood, where he bested previously undefeated Southwind Tyrion by a head. A week earlier in their Wellwood elimination, On A Streak suffered a nose defeat to Southwind Tyrion. "He was second that day, but he raced big," Blais said. "I was not really surprised (when he won the Wellwood). He is getting better and better every start. It seems he is more mature and he knows what to do now, more than in the beginning. He is a nice horse, a very strong horse. He just needed a little maturity and now I think he's there." On A Streak will start the Mohawk Million from post seven with driver Scott Young. The Mohawk Million is race 10 on Saturday's card. Post time is approximately 10:45 p.m. (EDT). The full field for the Mohawk Million is listed below: Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Slot Owner 1. Iznogoud AM S (Doug McNair/Marcus Melander) - Courant Inc. 2. Warrawee Whisper (Jonathan Drury/Shawn Steacy) - Glengate Farms 3. Donna Soprano (Bob McClure/Luc Blais) - Determination 4. Full Of Muscles (Trevor Henry/Brad Maxwell) - Dreamland Farms 5. Altar (Jody Jamieson/Per Engblom) - Diamond Creek Racing 6. Tokyo Seelster (Sylvain Filion/Richard Moreau) - Jeffrey Snyder 7. On A Streak (Scott Young/Luc Blais) - Wellwood Winner 8. Bravado Fashion (Louis-Philippe Roy/Jim Campbell) - Fashion Farms 9. Insta Glam (Yannick Gingras/Nancy Takter) - John Fielding 10. Venerate (Andrew McCarthy/Julie Miller) - Brad Grant In addition to the Mohawk Million, Saturday's card at Mohawk includes the She's A Great Lady final for 2-year-old filly pacers, Milton Stakes final for pacing mares, and Metro Pace final for 2-year-old male pacers. For more about the Mohawk Million and Saturday's stakes, click here. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Harness racing this week: Delaware Grand Circuit, Delaware County Fair, Delaware, Ohio; Caesars Trot, Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, Jenna's Beach Boy, Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, Moni Maker, The Elevation and The Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; Mohawk Million, Metro, She's A Great Lady and Milton, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks into full gear on Wednesday (Sept. 23) at Delaware with the $237,725 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the $82,200 Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $39,406 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly pacers and the $43,506 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday (Sept. 24) card at Delaware is highlighted by the $559,000 Little Brown Jug for 3-year-olds. Also on tap that day is the $87,500 Miss Versatility final for older trotting mares, the $83,800 Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old open trotters, the $54,206 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $47,006 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt trotters. Grand Circuit racing at Hoosier Park will be held on Friday (Sept. 25) with the $221,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $220,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $150,000 Caesars for Open trotters, the $140,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for Open pacers, the $100,000 Jenna's Beach Boy for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $105,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $120,000 Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $40,000 Madison County for 2-year-old colt trotters. Also on Friday, The Meadowlands hosts the second leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. There will be two $20,000 divisions for all four classes - colt and filly trotters and colt and filly pacers. Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 26) with the US$1 million Mohawk Million for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$720,000 Metro final for 2-year-old open pacers, the C$455,000 She's A Great Lady final for 2-year-old filly pacers and the C$215,000 Milton final for older pacing mares. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk Park races are available at this link. Last time: A scramble finish with multiple breakers saw Chestnut Hill at 60-1 shoot up the rail to a stunning victory in the C$560,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on Saturday night (Sept. 19) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Chestnut Hill at 60-1 shot up the rail to a stunning victory in the C$560,000 Canadian Trotting Classic at Woodbine Mohawk Park. New Image Media photo. All eyes were on heavy-favorite Ready For Moni (Yannick Gingras) in the rich event for 3-year-old trotters. The Nancy Takter trainee made the front in the second quarter and appeared poised to close out the victory coming down the lane, but a rare miscue in the final eighth opened the door for several closing rivals. Chestnut Hill (Andrew McCarthy) had been following along sixth and had dived down to the rail for his late bid. The Nifty Norman trainee was full of trot late and somehow was able to avoid losing all momentum when squeezing by the breaking Ready For Moni, reaching up by a half-length in 1:53.2. "Pretty close," laughed McCarthy when asked about how close he was to danger when avoiding the breaking horse. "I kind of yelled out to let Yannick (Gingras) know there was someone on the inside of him. "It worked out that he heard me and didn't want to crash into me, so he did a good job getting that horse out of the way safely and it worked out good for me and I got to sneak up there." Play Trix On Me (Jody Jamieson) made the first-up bid on the far turn and nearly came through for the victory, finishing second in the middle of several rivals. HP Royal Theo (Louis Philippe-Roy) was charging on the outside in the lane when he also made a break, finishing third placed sixth for a lapped on break. Jula Trix Treasure (Chris Christoforou) was moved up to third, while Threefiftytwo (Bob McClure) jumped up to fourth. A son of champions Muscle Hill and Poof She's Gone, Chestnut Hill was coming into Saturday off a win in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes consolation and now has three wins in 11 starts this season and five wins overall. He is owned by Mel Hartman, David McDuffee and Little E LLC. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 615; 2. Andrew McCarthy - 389; 3. Tim Tetrick - 306.5; 4. Bob McClure - 297; 5. Dexter Dunn - 266. Trainers: 1. Nancy Takter - 459.5; 2. Tony Alagna - 416; 3. Ron Burke - 403; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 289; 5. Marcus Melander - 263. Owners: 1. Determination - 185; 2. Brad Grant - 152.6; 3. S R F Stable - 115.3; 4. Caviart Farms - 98.6; 5. Crawford Farms Racing - 97.3. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. There will be eight Bluegrass stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Hollywood Dayton Raceway will also be hosting a trio of Grand Circuit events for older Standardbreds - the Dayton Pacing Derby, the Dayton Distaff Derby and the Dayton Trotting Derby. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

MILTON, SEPT. 22, 2020 – The 2020 Grassroots regular season came to a close on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a quartet of $22,800 divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts. Lovedbythemasses kicked off the finale in impressive fashion, taking command at the half and sailing home to a three length victory in a personal best 1:53.4. Crossfit Mouse finished second and Charmbo Prince was third. “He doesn’t leave real good, we don’t get away great with him, but we had a good post today and I thought if I could just get away close I would try to re-move him to the front, so it kind of worked like that,” said Mike Saftic, who piloted the fan favourite from Post 4. “Scott Young (with Crossfit Mouse) went first and then I just kind of followed to the front, and when he made front he felt good. He swelled up and made a good effort. “A nice clean trip and he trotted real good, finished up strong. It was a good mile, a lifetime mark, so hopefully we’re going into the Semis in good shape.” Campbellville resident Saftic steers Lovedbythemasses for trainer Ed Peconi of Peterborough and his co-owners Nicholas Peconi of Lakefield, ON and Wade Peconi of Stanchel, PEI, who also bred the son of Muscle Mass. The reigning Grassroots champion, Lovedbythemasses was a two-time winner in 2020 while also squaring off on several occasions against Gold Series and open stake colts, and he heads into the postseason ranked eighth with 112 points. Leading the three-year-old trotting colts into the Oct. 2 Semi-Finals is Mikey Mass, who picked up his third Grassroots win in the second $22,800 division on Tuesday. Starting from Post 1, the fan favourite got away fifth and then stalked Ripped And Ready up the outer lane as Remember Titans put up fractions of :28.2,:57.4 and 1:25.4. Slipping out in the stretch, Mikey Mass sprinted home to a two length victory in a personal best 1:54.2. Ripped And Ready was second and Remember Titans third. “He seems like he’s going into the Semis very well right now. I was happy to see him race off a helmet the way he did today. It was nice to see him follow cover. He did everything right today and Jonathan really drove him well,” said trainer Nick Gallucci of the second-over trip carved out by driver Jonathan Drury. “I like how he finishes his miles, he seems like he’s as strong at the end as he is at the start.” Gallucci shares ownership of the Muscle Mass son with Vince Gallucci of Brantford, Frank Cirillo of Kleinburg and Bruno Didiomede of Hamilton, ON. The Stouffville resident said his girlfriend Karoline Nielsen handles the majority of the gelding’s care and has him in an excellent state of mind heading into the postseason. “Right now he’s really sharp, he’s enjoying life, he seems like he’s thriving on whatever she’s doing with him,” said Gallucci. “She does a lot of the track work with him, looks after him, the odd time I’ll train him, but mostly everything that happens with him is her doing. She’s doing a good job with him.” Joining Mikey Mass and Lovedbythemasses in the Semi-Final will be Life Is A Feast, who needed a win on Tuesday to extend his Ontario Sires Stakes season. The Royalty For Life gelding and driver James MacDonald left well from Post 2 and shadowed pacesetting favourite Blue Cupertino through fractions of :28.4, :58.1 and 1:28 before shifting into a big gear in the stretch and snaring a one-half length victory in 1:55.4. Blue Cupertino settled for second and Your Still Up was six lengths back in third. “He pretty much had to do something tonight to get in the Semi-Final,” said Puslinch, ON resident Ben Wallace, who trains the gelding for Paul Fontaine of North Smithfield, RI. “We dropped him out of the other bunch, the Gold level, maybe we should have done it right off the bat, but he had a real good two-year-old year down in the Massachusetts Sires Stakes. Mind you it’s a different world up here and it worked out that he’s better suited in this group, so hopefully he keeps putting it together and behaves himself and goes forward.” Tuesday’s win and a Sept. 10 runner-up finish to Blue Cupertino give Life Is A Feast 75 Grassroots points and put him in a tie for twelfth, with none other than Blue Cupertino. The final $23,150 division saw Kenogami Coco post his second straight Grassroots win with a 1:56.2 personal best that saw him leave well from Post 5, sit third and then power home one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Tymal Riggs and Lexus Markus. “He was way better tonight than he was in the last Grassroots he won,” said driver Louis-Philippe Roy of Guelph. “He was quiet in the post parade, he cleared easily early in the stretch and then was just waiting for them. I know it wasn’t the fastest division of the night, but the way he raced tonight I like his chances for the Semi-Finals.” Roy drives the Wheeling N Dealin son for trainer Dany Fontaine and breeders Jean-Francois and Marie-Claude Reid of Anjou, QC. The Grassroots Semi-Finals go postward next Thursday and Friday at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with the two-year-olds battling on Oct. 1 and the three-year-olds on Oct. 2. The top 20 point earners from each division will compete in their respective Semi-Finals with the top five finishers then advancing to the Oct. 10 Grassroots Championships. Complete results from Tuesday’s program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Grassroots point standings can be found on the Ontario Sires Stakes Leaderboard.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park

MILTON, September 22, 2020 – The inaugural Mohawk Million headlines Canada’s richest night of harness racing with over $2.8 million on the line this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.  The $1,320,000 (CAD) Mohawk Million, $720,000 Metro Pace, $455,000 Shes A Great Lady and $215,000 Milton Stakes are the marquee races on a 12-race card.  The Mohawk Million will see a field of ten two-year-old trotters under the bright lights for harness racing’s newest million-dollar race. The event is the first million-dollar “buy-in” race in harness racing history. A total of nine slots in the race were available for purchase at a cost of $110,000 (USD). The tenth and final slot was awarded to the winner of the William Wellwood Memorial.  Serge Godin’s Determination will send out a powerful one-two punch in the Mohawk Million. Undefeated filly Donna Soprano races in Determination’s purchased slot, while On A Streak won the Wellwood Memorial to secure a second starter for Godin. Both horses are trained by Luc Blais.  Donna Soprano is a perfect five for five and most recently won the Peaceful Way in dominant fashion. The regally bred daughter of millionaires Donato Hanover and Windsong Soprano has earned $278,082 to date and holds a mark of 1:53.3. She will be driven by Woodbine’s leading driver Bob McClure.  On A Streak was winless in five starts prior to upsetting in the William Wellwood Memorial. The son of Cantab Hall is five for six in the top-three and sports the highest earnings in the field at $312,601. Scott Young will make his million-dollar race debut when he sits behind On A Streak.  Woodbine’s leading owner Brad Grant has negotiated with the connections of Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Venerate to race in his slot. The Julie Miller trained son of French stallion Love You won the state final at The Red Mile last Sunday in a dazzling 1:51.4. He is now three for six with $186,766 earned for owners Pinske Stables and Andy Miller Stable. Andrew McCarthy, who recently won both the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantinage, will steer.  Donna Soprano will be joined by two other fillies in the race. Insta Glam, racing in John Fielding’s slot, and Altar for Diamond Creek Racing will take their shot in a year that has seen fillies have big success against the boys.  Insta Glam is trained by Nancy Takter for Goran Falk and Christina Takter. The daughter of Father Patrick is four for seven and earlier this season set a new track record of 1:54 at Harrah’s Philadelphia.   Diamond Creek Racing kept it all in the family with their Mohawk Million entry of Altar. The daughter of Muscle Hill is a homebred for Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek. She sits with a record of two wins in five starts and was this season’s New Jersey Sires Stakes champion   Anders Ström’s Courant Inc. entered their own Muscle Hill colt Iznogoud AM S. The Marcus Melander trainee is winless in six starts but has been knocking on the door with runner-up finishes in legs of the New Jersey and Kentucky Sires Stakes.  Jules Siegel’s Fashion Farms will send out Bravado Fashion from the Jim Campbell barn. The son of Bar Hopping is looking to build off a maiden-breaking victory in his most recent start at The Red Mile.  The remainder of the field saw slot owners do some private negotiating to secure their Mohawk Million starter.  Warrawee Whisper from the Shawn Steacy barn will race in the slot of Jim Bullock’s Glengate Farms. The son of Trixton is winless in six with three runner-up finishes, including seconds in the Wellwood Memorial elimination and Champlain.  Brad Maxwell trainee Full Of Muscles has been secured to race in the slot of Gina Ghent’s Dreamland Farms. The son of Muscle Mass just missed a victory in last Saturday’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold at Mohawk Park and has four runner-up finishes in six starts.  Tokyo Seelster from the Richard Moreau barn is an OSS Gold winner with three wins in nine career starts. The son of Kadabra has been secured to race in the slot of Jeffrey Snyder.  The Mohawk Million is Race 10 on Saturday’s $2.8 million card. Post time is approximately 10:45 p.m.  The full field for the Mohawk Million is listed below:    1 Iznogoud AM S (Doug McNair/Marcus Melander) – Courant Inc. 2 Warrawee Whisper (Jonathan Drury/Shawn Steacy) – Glengate Farms 3 Donna Soprano (Bob McClure/Luc Blais) – Determination 4 Full Of Muscles (Trevor Henry/Brad Maxwell) – Dreamland Farms 5 Altar (Jody Jamieson/Per Engblom) – Diamond Creek Racing 6 Tokyo Seelster (Sylvain Filion/Richard Moreau) – Jeffrey Snyder 7 On A Streak (Scott Young/Luc Blais) – Wellwood Winner 8 Bravado Fashion (Louis-Philippe Roy/Jim Campbell) – Fashion Farms 9 Insta Glam (Yannick Gingras/Nancy Takter) – John Fielding 10 Venerate (Andrew McCarthy/Julie Miller) – Brad Grant     ROOKIE PACERS READY FOR METRO PACE AND SHES A GREAT LADY   The spotlight will be bright Saturday for two-year-olds with the Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady joining the Mohawk Million.  Abuckabett Hanover will have all eyes on him in the $720,000 Metro Pace. The Tony Alagna trainee is on a four-race win streak and posted a strong 1:51 elimination score for driver McCarthy.  A son of Betting Line, Abuckabett Hanover is a perfect three for three at Mohawk Park with all three wins coming in Grand Circuit races. The rookie has displayed tremendous speed, finishing off each of his last two wins in :26.1.  Alagna will be searching for his third Metro Pace victory after winning the event in 2012 with Captaintreacherous and 2014 with Artspeak.  Amanda Fine trainee Highlandbeachsbest is the other elimination winner in the field. The Somebeachsomewhere colt pulled off a 14-1 upset in his elimination, stopping the clock in 1:51.4 for driver Trevor Henry.  Highlandbeachsbest is finding his best stride at the right time, as he’s won two of his last starts after going winless in his first five outings.  The $720,000 Metro Pace is carded as Race 8 (9:55 p.m.).  The $455,000 Shes A Great Lady is headlined by star pacing filly Caviart Audrey for Caviart Farms, trainer Takter and driver Gingras. The Somebeachsomewhere filly is four for five and would be undefeated if not for a disqualification in her second lifetime start.  Caviart Audrey has dazzled in three starts at Mohawk Park, most impressively winning the Eternal Camnation on August 29 in 1:51.2. She won her elimination last Saturday in 1:52.4.  Scarlett Hanover is red-hot going into the Shes A Great Lady. The daughter of Bettors Delight has won three in a row and is five for nine overall. Ashleigh Hensley trains for the rookie pacing filly in Ontario for Ron Burke.  McCarthy lands the drive behind Scarlett Hanover after Gingras opted to remain with Caviart Audrey.  The $455,000 Shes A Great Lady is carded as Race 5 (8:40 p.m.).    PACING MARES MEET IN WIDE OPEN MILTON  The Milton Stakes has the ability to be the race of the night if the final is anything like last Saturday’s eliminations. Both eliminations saw thrilling three-across finishes.  Kissin In The Sand and Trillions Hanover prevailed in the eliminations and earned the right to select their post for the final, choosing post three and four, respectively.  Six-year-old Caviart Ally is looking for a three-peat in the Milton after winning the last two editions. The Brett Pelling trainee was third by a head in her elimination, which was her first in seven weeks. She starts from the second-tier Saturday.  Roses Are Red winner Warrawee Ubeaut will look to rebound after hitting a wall late and getting picked off by Kissin In The Sand in her elimination. The Burke trained four-year-old has had an up and down year, but has enjoyed major victories in the past at Mohawk Park.  Local stars Boadicea, So Much More and Lit De Rose are also part of the ten-horse field.  The $215,000 Milton Stakes is carded as Race 7 (9:30 p.m.).    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW  Post time for Saturday’s rich card is 7 p.m. Early program pages can be downloaded by clicking here.  Fans and horseplayers can watch and wager on the Mohawk Million card through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse App. The marquee stakes events will also be broadcast live on COSATV through their YouTube channel and various social media accounts.    Mark McKelvie

Harness racing can be a famously fickle career path - but accomplished reinsman Paul Diebert has every reason to make the leap to full-time race driver with some confidence. Queensland-based Diebert has left behind the security of paid employment to give freelancing a go and could not be happier with his decision. "I just love the sport and I'm loving being in Queensland - there's not really a winter here, and even when it's wet it's still warm," Diebert said. "I think the time's right for me, because Queensland racing is looking good, the betting turnover is improving and there's more money coming into the industry," he said. "You hear a lot about the negatives, but I really think racing here is good, and we might see a few more stables shifting up here to give it a crack, or at least setting up satellite stables because the sport is going ahead." The well-travelled horseman has worked most recently for the powerful Grant Dixon team, but finished up three weeks ago, after 16 months at the Tamborine stables. "The racing here (in south east Queensland) is Tuesday to Saturday, and I was getting 15 or 20 drives a week, so it was pretty busy," Diebert said. "If you are working full time and trying to do the race driving as well, you're working of a morning, then going to races in afternoon and getting back pretty late. You don't have much of a life outside that," he said. "I was starting to get some nice drives and opportunities on some Kiwi-bred horses and the racing prizemoney and driver percentages went up a bit, and driving fees came in for the Marburg meetings as well, so I thought I'd give it a go." Raised in the Riverina and Victoria, the son of Norm Diebert Jnr and grandson of Norm Diebert Snr has harness racing pedigree on both sides of his family (the Dieberts and the Maguires). So it would be reasonable to expect a harness racing career was inevitable for Paul - but it's been a long journey to self-employment. "Mum and Dad were in the sport, I had a lot of family involved and I had a passion for it growing up. I was always helping out around the stables, but mum and dad really didn't really want me to do it, probably because of the money side of things," he said. "But when I was 15, I got a sports injury and I really couldn't do much but sit in the gig. So that's when I really got into it. I wasn't that keen on school and finally mum and dad agreed that if I had a job I could leave. "I'd helped (Bendigo trainer) Glenn Douglas out at school holidays, and I asked him if he would give me a job, and he did and ever since then, I've been working for others full time." Along the journey, though, Diebert credits some valuable mentors and experiences, working in four states and with numerous successful stables. "I started off with Glenn and Eric (Anderson), and I had stint in WA with Ross Olivieri and Michael Brennan. In Queensland I've worked for Shannon Price and Scott Miller, Jack Butler and Ian Gurney," he said. "They all have their ways of doing things and from a driving perspective, it's great that people are willing to help anyone who looks like they are in the game for the long run. Even the better trainers will talk to you about what you should have done or could have done to try to help you get better. "I remember asking Daryl Douglas very early on about how he did his form. He told me 'you've got to worry about the drivers, before you worry about the horses!' I've never forgotten that!" Over the past 18 months, Diebert has enjoyed some of the best form of his career and some unforgettable career highlights. He collected his first Group One success in July last year (Ohoka Punter for Team Dixon in the Garrards Sunshine Sprint); achieved his 500th career win about two months ago and most recently notched up 100 winners in a season (within normal season rules) for the first time. "It's definitely an exciting time for me and it's early days, but I am loving it," he said. "In terms of career goals, at the moment, I'd just like to go back-to-back with the 100! Longer-term, once COVID-19 is gone, I've got an ambition to drive a winner in every State and I've got South Australia and Tasmania to go. "But for now, my goal is just to keep enjoying it and hopefully be able to make a career out of this sport."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Trainer Jim King Jr. knows what it's like to bring the belle of the ball to the big dance. Last year, his Lyons Sentinel led all 2-year-old harness racing pacers in earnings and was crowned the Dan Patch Award winner among the age group's fillies. This year, Lyons Sentinel has finished worse than second only once in seven races, but King knows it is a different filly turning heads at the dance now. Party Girl Hill has been the life of the party for trainer Chris Ryder and breeder/owner Tom Hill. The filly, unraced at age 2, is 9-for-9 as she heads to Wednesday's $237,725 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. She competes in the second of two Jugette eliminations, where she is the 7-5 morning-line favorite with driver Dexter Dunn. Lyons Sentinel, with Tim Tetrick in the sulky, is the 3-1 second choice in the same elimination. The top-four finishers from each elimination advance to the final, which will be held later in the afternoon. "I think Party Girl is at the top of her game," King said. "In fact, it looks like she's going to keep on getting better. She's definitely the one to deal with. She looks kind of special. I'm not without a chance, but she's definitely the queen of the ball at the moment." Lyons Sentinel won nine of 14 races last year and earned $801,809 for owner Threelyonsracing. For her career, she has won 10 of 21 starts, missed the board only once, and banked $1 million. The filly has five second-place finishes this year, including in the Mistletoe Shalee, where she started from post nine at The Meadowlands, and in the Adioo Volo, where she left from post eight at The Meadows. "She hasn't done bad work," King said. "She's not a front-end horse and she got stuck on the front end a couple times. Straight out of the box, she raced really hard and a horse just slid by her at the end. That doesn't do much for a horse's spirits, for their attitude. Last year, she could kind of handle them and it kept her spirits a lot better. "She certainly had her glory last year. Some of the other girls have stepped up." Lyons Sentinel qualified at Harrington Raceway on Sept. 16 and won in 1:54.2. Harrington is a half-mile oval, as is the track at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The Harrington qualifier was Lyons Sentinel's first time on a half. "She qualified real good," King said. "I'm satisfied she'll get around the corners just fine. If she trips out, we'll see what happens. I'm not ruling her out. I think we have a good chance, but Party Girl has the very best chance. He then added with a laugh, "I've been wrong lots of times. I hope I am again." Party Girl Hill enters the Jugette off a Sept. 6 win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Her victories this season also include the Fan Hanover Stakes and Adioo Volo. She has earned $482,181 in 2020, the top figure among all 3-year-old filly pacers. Ryder also will send out the morning-line favorite in the first elimination in 9-5 New Year. She enters the event off a win in a conditioned race Sept. 16 at Harrah's Philadelphia. It was her first victory in eight races this year. She is owned by Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing. Second choice in the first elimination is Nancy Takter-trained Peaky Sneaky. She most recently won a Fan Hanover elimination and finished third in the final. She is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and Order By Stable. Racing begins at noon Wednesday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The card also includes two divisions of the Buckette for 3-year-old female trotters, one division of the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers, and one division of the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters. For Wednesday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

MILTON, SEPT. 21, 2020 – Trotting fillies were in the harness racing spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, Sept. 21 with the freshmen competing in a pair of $106,000 Gold Series divisions and the sophomores in four $23,000 Grassroots splits. You Will Be Queen captured the first $106,400 Gold division with a personal best 1:55.2 effort. Starting from Post 5, with Chris Christoforou in the race bike, You Will Be Queen left smartly and led the field to a :28.2 opening quarter. Up And Ready swept to the front heading for the :57.2 half, but just before the 1:26.3 three-quarters Christoforou tipped You Will Be Queen to the outside and the fan favourite powered down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:55.2. Up And Ready finished second and Pixies Lady was third. “She’s been good all year. She got sick on us there after the first leg of the Pure Ivory (July 23), we had to give her some time off, but she’s come back good,” said trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON. “She raced good in the Peaceful Way Final (Sept. 12) and got beat by two really good fillies, and then she raced really good tonight. She raced actually tonight like she did in her win in the Pure Ivory where Chris left with her, let a guy go and then came back out, so real happy with her.” Monday’s victory was the first Gold Series win of You Will Be Queen’s career, but not her first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. The Royalty For Life filly won a division of the Grassroots season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 13. She finished second in her Gold Series debut on Aug. 19 at Grand River Raceway and then posted three straight third-place finishes behind Donna Soprano in the Champlain Stakes and the elimination and final of the Peaceful Way at Woodbine Mohawk Park. “She’s very nice filly,” said Jones, who bred and owns the filly in partnership with Hebert Horses Inc. of Montreal, QC. “She’s a pleasure to come to the track with.” In the second $107,200 two-year-old trotting filly Gold division, Imextraspecial and driver Trevor Henry left well from Post 3 and watched from third as Dashing Muscle reached the quarter in :28.2 and then yielded to fan favourite Dicentra. As Dicentra rolled toward a :58.1 half, Henry sent Imextraspecial after the lead and once the filly reached the front she opened up a four length lead on her peers, reaching the  three-quarters in 1:26.2. Imextraspecial cruised home to a personal best 1:55 clocking, three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Dashing Muscle and Dicentra. “She raced really well,” said trainer Paul Walker of Owen Sound, ON. “I think maybe a those couple races at Elora kind of turned her around and she’s been getting better ever since.” Like You Will Be Queen, Imextraspecial started her provincial career in the Grassroots, winning a division of the July 13 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park and the July 29 leg at Grand River Raceway in Elora. The Muscle Mass daughter went back to Elora for the Aug. 19 Gold event and added a third win to her resume. Imextraspecial also tested her skills against the Grand Circuit fillies in the Champlain and Peaceful Way. She finished fifth, placed fourth in the Champlain, second in her Peaceful Way elimination and fourth in the final. “She raced a really good race in the Peaceful Way (final), we were really pleased. She put in a real gutsy effort there. She got a bad shuffle and then come again in the stretch, so it takes a pretty good two-year-old to do that,” said Walker, who trains the filly for Keith Coulter of Mono, ON. “Her mother was a very tough mare and I think she’s passed it on.” The two-year-old trotting fillies have one Gold event remaining on their schedule, Oct. 6 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, before the top 10 point earners compete in the Oct. 17 Super Final. Imextraspecial and You Will Be Queen currently sit third and sixth in the point standings, respectively. In the three-year-old trotting filly Grassroots action, Sonadora Deo kicked things off with a 1:55.4 score in the first $23,150 division. The fan favourite held off a hard-charging Moana for the half-length victory. Noblesse Duharas was five lengths behind the leaders in third. “Dora should have been a Gold filly, but just had a lot of bad luck,” said Bob McClure, who piloted the Kadabra daughter to her second Grassroots win for trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. “We’re trying to end on a good note in the Grassroots. She’s a very solid filly.” McClure, who is in a battle for top spot in the Ontario Sires Stakes driver standings with five-time Lampman Cup winner Sylvain Filion, returned to the Grassroots winner’s circle in the last division, scoring an upset with Th Present when favourite Profound Paragon skipped offstride in the stretch. Th Present sprinted by to a six length win in a personal best 1:55.1. Scorched Romance was second and Highland Foxytrotr was third. “She’s been super in her last two since Marcel changed some gear on her,” said McClure, who steers the Royalty For Life filly for trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge and Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueil, QC. “She’s very sharp right now, which is good timing.” The top 20 point earners will compete in the Oct. 2 Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Th Present heads into the postseason in second with 163 points, while Sonadora Deo is sixth with 100. The other two winners, Yen and No Angel Here, also finished in the top 20. Yen got her first Grassroots win of the season in 1:56.2 for driver Sylvain Filion, trainer Julie Walker and owner-breeder Overseas Farms Ltd. of Cambridge, ON. The E L Titan filly bested Goddess De Vie and Magic Wanda. No Angel Here clocked a personal best 1:57.4 for driver Paul MacDonell, trainer Peter Core and owner-breeders Bet Max Stables Inc. of Casco and Benenati Inc. of Clinton Township, MI. The Archangel miss edged out Emotions Durables and Protostar for her first Grassroots win. Complete results for Monday’s program can be found at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Gold and Grassroots point standings are available on the Ontario Sires Stakes Leaderboard.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park