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Three of North America’s best harness racing catch drivers — Dexter Dunn, Andrew McCarthy and Doug McNair — were featured on Wednesday evening’s (April 15) episode of COSA TV. The trio of drivers, who have taken the driving scene by storm in recent years, revisited how they got their starts in the business, family ties, answered questions from fans and relived some memorable moments of their careers while racing continues to take a hiatus due to COVID-19. Early on in the conversation, Australian native Andrew McCarthy discussed how he mapped out his rise to the top and did so in quick fashion. “The last two or three years I have hit more of the Grand Circut scene, it’s always been my plan and I finally made the decision about four or five years ago to make the move over to the Meadowlands and that was the key,” McCarthy told Greg Blanchard. “I’ve had a lot of support along the way…Noel Daley really helped me get going and in the last two or three years things have just snowballed for me. I’ve gotten to do a lot of travelling and it’s been a hell of a lot of fun.” Dexter Dunn made the decision to move from New Zealand to North America on a whim, but also discussed his rise to the top while fulfilling his childhood dreams. “I grew up in horse racing and it was always a dream of mine to come here and race so I finally made the decision to come over here. The year I had last year was a huge surprise, I’ve been very lucky to have had the support that I’ve had and I’ve been lucky to drive some great horses. I really enjoyed last year and got to experience a lot of big thrills. Moving to the USA was something that was always in the back of my head, when I was here in 2011 for the World Driving Championship and I really liked the racing here. I actually just woke up one day on my way to qualifiers and decided it was now or never. I knew that if I didn’t do it while I was still young enough to do it then I would grow old someday and wish I did it. So I did it and here we are.” For Doug McNair, his rise to the top included a more local move from Ontario’s ‘B’ tracks to the WEG Circut. The big break for McNair, who has been heavily involved in the harness racing industry for as long as he can remember, came very close to home in the 2008 Battle Of Waterloo with his father’s trainee, Trail Boss. “My dad trained the horse and it was quite the thrill to win the race that day. At the time, I really didn’t even know how big of a deal it was until it really sunk in for me a couple years later. It’s a race that most people never get to win in their career and I won it in my first year of driving. My Grandmother and Father bred the horse, my dad doesn’t usually say much but I remember him telling me when he was training him down that he really liked him so I figured he would turn out to be a nice horse. I didn’t get the best trip that day but I had the best horse in the race. My dad’s farm is less than 15 kilometres from Grand River and I went to school just down the road and spent a lot of years there as a kid. We had a big party at the farm that night, it was a really big night for my family and it just really doesn’t get much better than that.” While McCarthy is coming off an astonishing 2019 season, one horse he holds close to him would be Tony Alagna trainee, Tall Drink Hanover, winner of the 2018 She’s A Great Lady. “She is such a terrific mare. As a two-year-old she would do anything you asked her to do. You can put her on the front, race her from behind. Tony did a great job prepping her for that race, she had been over the surface four or five times before this race and I think that really helped her a lot. For me and the horse it’s nice to know that the horse has been over the track before a big race. I am a big believer in trying not to use a horse very much in the first eighth of the mile, especially if you think you have the best horse in the race. I’m also a big believer that using a horse too much in that first eighth will catch up to you in the end. Obviously you have to leave a little bit to figure out where everyone is going to land but I try to manage them and then figure it out from there.” McNair holds fond memories of another recent Alagna trainee, pacing colt Stay Hungry. “He’s a horse that’s right up there as the best I’ve ever driven for sure. I won my first and only Breeders Crown with him and I got to race in races and win some that I have ever been in before. It makes your job a lot easier having a nice horse like that to drive in big races.” For Dexter Dunn, the list of great horses he had the pleasure of driving in his career year of 2019 would be long and plentiful. However, one that sticks the most would be Chris Ryder-trained Bettors Wish. “Coming into 2019 I thought to myself that if I just had one stakes horse to follow around all year, it would be pretty cool. I started driving Bettors Wish late in his two-year-old season and had some luck with him. I knew he was good enough to chase around and drive in big races. He didn’t disappoint me last year at all and was very special to drive. I’m really looking forward to driving him again this year. His races last year speak for themselves, he didn’t have a lot of easy races but you can drive him however you want and know he is going to give you 100 percent. He’s not a big horse at all but he’s muscular and takes a big stride, he gave me a very special year and I had a lot of fun with him. I’ve trained him a couple times and he feels bigger, better and stronger.” The elite group of drivers entertained fans with answers to lots of questions while providing a different perspective on harness racing with backgrounds coming from different hemispheres. While the trio reminisced on memorable moments throughout their career, all are ambitious and eager for their 2020 stakes seasons. The feature can be viewed below. Central Ontario Standardbred Association

Caviart Ally finished last season with a flourish and owner Buck Chaffee hopes his mare can continue her winning ways when her 2020 campaign begins Friday at The Meadowlands. A 6-year-old pacer, Caviart Ally closed last season by winning four of her final five races, with three of the victories coming over eventual Horse of the Year honoree Shartin N. Caviart Ally's triumphs during that stretch came in the TVG Series championship for older female pacers, Breeders Crown, Allerage, and Milton. She makes her seasonal debut in Friday's $30,000 preferred for fillies and mares at The Big M, where she is the 3-1 morning-line favorite from post eight in a field of eight. She prepped for the start with two qualifiers, winning the second this past weekend in 1:52.3 with regular driver Andy McCarthy. "We're very hopeful she can pick up where she left off," said Chaffee, who owns Caviart Ally with his wife Judy under the Caviart Farms stable banner. "Andy said that when he qualified her, he didn't even ask her to go, she just wanted to go by herself. That's been the way she's been pretty much all along. She just really tries and wants to do it. "Physically, I always thought she looked like a linebacker. And she's always had that desire, which I think has been a real plus for her." Caviart Ally, by Bettor's Delight out of Allamerican Cool, has won 25 of 72 career races and $1.82 million. She was trained by Noel Daley at ages 2 through 4 before heading to Brett Pelling's stable when Daley took a year in Australia. Pelling believes he has a good understanding of Caviart Ally as she begins her second season with him. "I brought her back a little different than last year," Pelling said. "I think she's one of those mares that likes you to push the buttons and likes to work. If you let her have a bit of a vacation, it rears up in your face. She really showed us that. I've got a pretty good handle now on everything that makes her tick." Following this week's start, Caviart Ally will head to the six-week Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. It will be the mare's first appearance in the Matchmaker, which has been won each of the past two years by Shartin N. "She's 6 now, so there is no (concern about the) age thing," Pelling said. "There's no hiding from anyone. That's why we're in the Matchmaker. She's 6 and she's here to go race." Caviart Ally and Shartin N finished 1-2 in eight races last year, with Shartin N winning five. The emergence of their rivalry, which produced memorable finishes in the Betsy Ross and TVG final, was a big reason the Chaffees decided to race again this season rather than send Caviart Ally to motherhood. Shartin N got her season off to a winning start Wednesday with a 1:50 score in the fillies-and-mares invitational at Dover Downs. "I think it's great," Buck Chaffee said. "We had always said we were going to quit with her and breed her, that's always been our plan. But when she raced so good at the end of the year and that rivalry really kicked in, we decided that we had to bring her back. The sport needs rivalry. I think it's exciting. Hopefully it's the right decision." Racing begins at 6:55 p.m. (EST) Friday at The Meadowlands. The fillies-and-mares preferred is race four. For the night's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingarder, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Andy McCarthy put Elysium Lindy in play early, and the veteran trotter took care of the rest, pulling off a 10-1 surprise in the featured $31,250 high-end conditioned trot at the Meadowlands Friday night. The 7-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall-Olympic Lindy displayed a burst of speed at the start from post six and had the lead around the first turn before yielding the front to 3-5 favorite Misslarose, who has been doing good things of late against the likes of Pappy Go Go and JL Cruze, as the quarter was reached in :28.4. The second quarter saw little in the way of action, but on the way to three-quarters the outer flow developed with Winning Lyric, Kenziesky Hanover and Eye Ofa Tiger As gaining ground on the rim. At the head of the stretch, Misslarose looked strong on the point with Kenziesky Hanover still going well on the outside as McCarthy waited for just the right moment to move Elysium Lindy from the pocket. That moment came at the sixteenth pole, when Elysium Lindy split rivals - Misslarose to his inside and Kenziesky Hanover to his outside - and got up on the wire to win by a hard-fought half-length over a game Misslarose. Kenziesky Hanover finished third.   "Paul Gagne and Anthony MacDonald sent me this horse," said winning trainer Andrew Harris. "And I can't thank them enough. He's been so good and the only reason he threw a couple of clunkers in his last two starts was he was hitting the bike. We got that sorted out. Andy Mac is just a magician. I love that guy." Elysium Lindy, making his first appearance at the Meadowlands since March 8 of last year, returned $22.60 to his backers as the fifth choice in the wagering in the seven-horse field. He completed the mile in 1:53.3, equaling his lifetime best on a chilly night when the track variant was -2. He's now won 28 of 133 lifetime starts and earned $428,467 for owners Panic Stable. A LITTLE MORE: Corey Callahan and Yannick Gingras both recorded driving triples on the program while McCarthy guided two to victory lane. ... Ron Burke and Harris, the top two trainers in the Big M standings, each had a pair of winners. ... Despite 3-5 shot Caviart Jane, 6-5 Obrigado and Misslarose all tasting defeat, six favorites still emerged victorious on the program. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,187,146. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a second straight night, harness racing driver Andy McCarthy ruled the Meadowlands. The 33-year-old native of Australia followed up his five-winner Friday with another five-bagger Saturday night. All told, when you add in the two victories McCarthy had Thursday, you end up with one dozen winner's circle visits over the course of the three-card race week at the Big M. On Saturday, McCarthy got his night underway with Jims Perfect Ten in the second race, scoring in 1:51.4 as the 4-5 favorite in a low-end conditioned pace. McCarthy and Duddie's Lor overcame post 10 to take the fourth in 1:51 (a lifetime best) as the 9-5 second choice in a non-winners of four pace. Andy Mac then finished with a flourish, winning three straight, scoring in race eight with 2-1 public choice Drawing Dragons in 1:50.3 in a high-end conditioned pace, race nine in a mid-range conditioned pace with 6-5 favorite Odds On Lauderdale from post 10 in 1:52.3, before capping his big night - with his biggest price - by scoring in race 10 with 7-1 fourth-choice Reagan's Avenger in wire-to-wire fashion from post nine in 1:51.2 in a TrackMaster 85.5 or less pace. Reagan's Avenger NEW HANDLE HIGH: Andy McCarthy's hands were on fire this weekend, and so were those of the Meadowlands' faithful, who bet with both of their's early and often on the Saturday card, establishing a new Fall Meeting handle high of $2,913,163. The previous best of $2,907,339 was set on Friday. A LITTLE MORE: On a night that saw big pools, it's no surprise that the 50-cent Pick-4 had a huge one. A total of $107,485 was poured into the pot, only $3,000 or so less than the previous Fall Meet best of $110,502, which was established on Nov. 23. ... Joe Bongiorno and Pat Berry both had driving doubles. ... Once again, the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 played out like a jackpot wager, as one shrewd player wagering into the Catskills hub held the lone ticket to last eight legs and walked away with $8,659. ... Racing resumes Thursday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

For the third time this season, Caviart Ally has nosed out world champion Shartin N, this time in the $175,000 final of the TVG Series for old harness racing pacing mares. It took the photo finish camera to declare the winner at the Meadowlands Saturday. Shartin N and driver Tim Tetrick took the lead after the opening quarter mile while Caviart Ally and driver Andy McCarthy were content to sit in second place until the stretch drive. Going head and head to the wire, Caviart Ally came on to win by a nose in a stakes record clocking of 1:48.3. KIssin In The Sand was third. Trained by Brett Pelling for Caviart Farms of Vienna, VA, it was the ninth win this year for the five-year-old mare by Bettor's Delight. She paid $8.80 to win. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink ;

CHESTER, PA - Nutcracker Sweet, who has been in the harness racing headlines ever since he won his purse debut in 1:52 in June of his two-year-old year, won for the first time in 753 days - just over two years - as he took the pacing division of the $16,000 tri-features Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The four-year-old son of Bettor's Delight showed good speed in making the lead before the :26.4 quarter, then was used further to keep Major March outside most of the way to a :55.3 half. Cecil Casanova moved to challenge raw before the 1:23 three-quarters, but in the stretch driver Andrew McCarthy was able to find room up the inside and got past the tough first-over by 3/4 of a length - in 1:52. A full brother to $2.7M winner Bettor Sweet and a half brother to $3.4M winner and top sire Sweet Lou, Nutcracker Sweet danced almost all the major dances at both two and three, though he hadn't won since Lexington of his freshman campaign. Today's victory boosted his lifetime earnings to $404,294, with but five wins, for trainer Tom Cancelliere and owner John Cancelliere. In the first of the trotting features, Yannick Gingras was able to work out a pocket trip with the Donato Hanover sophomore gelding Crossfit, then came clear in the stretch to catch pacesetting filly Queen Of Trixs by 1½ lengths and reduce his mark to 1:54.2. Ron Burke conditions the winner for owner Joe Sbrocco. The other trot saw Take A Wish make an early move to the lead for driver Steve Smith, then withstand a long grind by SVF Cash Deposit by a neck in 1:55.4. The four-year-old daughter of Wishing Stone is owned by driver Smith, trainer Dawn Anderson, and Mark Schulstrom.  From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Oct. 31) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Tahnee Camilleri, Andy McCarthy, John Hensley, and Elizabeth Cheesman Camilleri, who got her first Breeders Crown trophy this past Saturday in the 3-year-old pace with Dancin Lou, will talk about that experience, as well as her career in the sport of harness racing. McCarthy, who drove Dancin Lou to victory, will talk about his memorable Breeders Crown weekend. The Australian native had four driving wins this past weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Hensley, who is the Director of Racetrack Operations at Dover Downs, will talk about the upcoming meet, which gets underway on Monday, November 4th. Cheesman, who is part of the Pacing For The Cure Team, will talk about the upcoming Pacing For The Cure Annual Dinner Party on Monday, November 4th at 6:00 PM in Harrisburg, PA. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. From Post Time with Mike and Mike  

Andy McCarthy was looking for his first Breeders Crown trophy when he arrived at Woodbine Mohawk Park this past Friday. By the time the weekend was completed, he had put himself among a small group of drivers to win four or more finals in a year. He set himself apart by doing it without the benefit of a favorite. McCarthy became the eighth driver with at least four Crowns in a year, joining record-holder David Miller (five in 2015), John Campbell, Yannick Gingras, Mike Lachance, Ron Pierce, Brian Sears, and Tim Tetrick. Campbell, Gingras, Pierce, and Sears accomplished the feat twice. But none sans chalk until McCarthy scored with 2-year-old filly trotter Ramona Hill (14-1), 2-year-old filly pacer Reflect With Me (27-1), pacing mare Caviart Ally (5-2), and 3-year-old male pacer Dancin Lou (5-1). "It's surreal," the 33-year-old McCarthy said. "It makes me feel pretty good about where I'm at right now. You want to give yourself a little pat on the back after hearing something like that. It's a pretty nice little niche to be in." McCarthy, a native of Australia who has raced regularly in North America since 2007, has seen his purse earnings increase annually since the start of 2013, reaching a career-best $6.56 million this season. For his career, he has won $44 million in purses and nearly 2,400 races. He got Breeders Crown triumph No. 1 in the first of the event's 12 races, capturing the 2-year-old filly trot from post 10 with Tony Alagna-trained Ramona Hill. "I was quietly confident going into the weekend; I didn't expect four, but I knew I had four or five decent chances," McCarthy said. "Ramona Hill, even though she had the 10-hole, I still considered her one of the better shots I had throughout the weekend because I know how talented she is. She wasn't herself the week before, but I knew Tony would get on top of that and have that figured out. I hold her in high regard as one of the better horses I've ever driven. I think she's that talented." McCarthy was happy to get his first trophy quickly. "It's always really nice to break the ice," he said. "Winning the first of anything, it's always nice to get that out of the way, then you can kind of relax and move on and not have that monkey on your shoulder. Just being able to concentrate on your job without any added pressure as the weekend goes on is definitely nice." He was back in the winner's circle again in the very next race with another Alagna trainee, Reflect With Me. Then on Saturday night, he again got off to a fast start when Brett Pelling-trained Caviart Ally upended her nemesis, Shartin N, in the mare pace. Caviart Ally had finished second to Shartin N on five occasions this season before winning their most recent two outings. "She's been terrific all year, I just haven't been able to get the better of Shartin until now," McCarthy said. "It does feel good. That rivalry, I think it's a good rivalry as much as any rivalry. Even though Shartin has had the better of us all year, it still is a rivalry. When people turn on that race, they're wondering how it's going to go down. I think we put on good racing. I think it's very good for racing. It's very cool to watch and even more to be a part of it." McCarthy wrapped up his four wins with Dancin Lou, trained by another Aussie import (and first-time Crown winner) Tahnee Camilleri. "That was special because I'm good friends with Tahnee," McCarthy said. "She's a special person. She's so happy and emotional. She was crying in the winner's circle and couldn't stop hugging the horse and I just love to see that. That worked out really cool. It was a lot of fun." The weekend was also cool because McCarthy's younger brother Todd, an accomplished driver in Australia, came to visit for the Breeders Crown. The two spent the week together and got to hang out in Toronto the day prior to the Breeders Crown's opening night. "I had a quiet week back home, so I thought I'd jump on a plane and come over and cheer him on," Todd said. "It's pretty awesome to be here and experience it with him. These races are so hard to win. I think that's what we're all here for, to try to win these sorts of races. To be here is pretty special. I called home and mom and dad were buzzing. It's great." Also cheering on Andy was his wife Katrina. "It was even more special having her there as well," Andy said. McCarthy was grateful to all the trainers and owners that gave him the chance to drive horses in the Breeders Crown. "Without them, none of this would be possible," McCarthy said. "Everybody always remembers these nights. As far as winning big races, this is right up there. I know there's a lot of them, but still it's nice to have at least one of those trophies on your cabinets." After a moment, he said with a laugh, "I might even have to buy a trophy cabinet now." * * * * * * McCarthy was not the only driver from Down Under to get his first Breeders Crown at Mohawk. New Zealand native Dexter Dunn, in his first full season of racing in North America, got two trophies. His first came with 2-year-old male trotter Amigo Volo for trainer Nifty Norman and the second with trotting mare Manchego for trainer Nancy Johansson. "I probably have to pinch myself a little; really, it's hard to believe," Dunn said in a winner's circle interview. "Back in New Zealand, I followed the American races, like (Hambletonian) Day and Breeders Crown, and I'd be back in New Zealand watching them on TV and now I'm here. It's pretty cool. It's very exciting. "I've been extremely lucky with the support I've gotten since I've been here. I have a lot of people to thank. It's been a great ride and I'm enjoying it thoroughly." Dunn has won 336 races and $10 million in purses this year. His earnings rank third in North America. "It's been a great year," Dunn said. "(Trainers) Chris Ryder and Nifty Norman were two of the first ones to jump on me and supported me when I got over here and got me kickstarted. Without their huge support I wouldn't be here. "I've been very fortunate this year with the horses I've gotten to sit behind. It's been a pleasure." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Dancin Lou displayed tremendous determination to track down and nail Bettors Wish at the finish line to win the $786,000 (CAD) Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Pace on Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Driver Andrew McCarthy angled out uncovered from fourth with Dancin Lou entering the far turn, while Bettors Wish rolled the field to three-quarters in 1:23. The stretch drive saw Bettors Wish ahead and with victory in sight, but Dancin Lou and McCarthy came with a final push to make up a couple lengths late and steal the victory by a head in 1:50.2. Captain Crunch finished third, while De Los Cielos Deo was fourth. "I thought I did (win), I had the momentum on the outside and I was hoping I did," said McCarthy. "I had a little trouble in the last turn getting his momentum going, but once I got him rolling there what a tough horse, he digs and digs." The victory gave driver McCarthy his fourth Crown trophy of the weekend. "I was quite confident coming into this weekend," said McCarthy. "I didn't expect four, but I was definitely hoping for a couple." A son of Sweet Lou, Dancin Lou is trained by Tahnee Camilleri for owners David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Limited. Camilleri was making her Crown debut and was overcome with emotion in the winner's circle. "I just won the Breeders Crown," said Camilleri, "To come here on one of the biggest nights of the year and to be a competitor was such an honour and then to win the race, I'm the luckiest girl in the world." Dancin Lou has now won 11 of 18 this season, earning $677,756. The sophomore paid $12.80 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Caviart Farms' Caviart Ally ($7.00) sustained a first-over push out of midfield to duel down harness racing divisional standout Shartin N en route to a going-away 1:49.3 score in the $300,000 (U.S.) Breeders Crown Mare Pace on Saturday night (Oct. 26) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Caviart Ally stalked patiently in fourth while Kissin In The Sand (Yannick Gingras) and Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) dueled through a :25.4 first quarter. Odds-on favorite Shartin N vacated the pocket and brushed to the lead on the first turn before pulling the half back to :55.4. Andy McCarthy angled Caviart Ally out from fourth on approach to the final turn, and the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight motored alongside Shartin N nearing three-quarters in 1:22.3. Caviart Ally stuck a head in front past Shartin N with an eighth of a mile to go, and accelerated away to a clear 1:49.3 score. Shartin N was all-out to narrowly hold second over Kissin In The Sand. Brett Pelling trains 24-time winner Caviart Ally, who also defeated Shartin N in the Allerage at The Red Mile on Oct. 6. The Breeders Crown victory lifts Caviart Ally's career earnings to over $1.7 million. "It’s pretty awesome after last night," Brett Pelling said. "I was halfway across the track last night, so this time I’ve made it the whole way. It’s great. It’s an awesome event. Breeders Crown, it’s the ultimate for us in the game and I couldn’t be happier. She’s a great tough mare. She’s got a beautiful nature about her and is one tough girl."     From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25, 2019 - The trainer-driver harness racing team of Tony Alagna and Andrew McCarthy put forth a second-straight shocker when Reflect With Me, sent off at odds of 27-1 shocked the field in capturing the $600,000 (US) final of the Breeders Crown for juvenile pacing fillies at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night. Unlike the victory with Ramona Hill a race earlier McCarthy chose to sit back from post eight and let others do the work. He got exactly what he was looking for when Priceless and driver Brandon Bates cut the opening quarter in :26 4/5 and then made even money favorite Lyons Sentinel with driver Tim Tetrick work a bit extra hard before releasing her to the tune of a :53 3/5 first half clocking. The race got more interesting when elimination winner New Year took up the offensive without cover past the half towing Alicorn into the race. McCarthy for his trouble had managed to work out a fourth over trip with the Captaintreacherous-sired filly and once the field passed three quarters in 1:22 1/5 McCarthy sent his filly three and then four wide to begin the long trek towards the leaders. Lyons Sentinel was hanging in determinedly as New Year flattened out from her first-over challenge but the field was closing in on the leaders and Reflect With Me had the most energy and McCarthy kept her to her task getting there in the final strides in the 1:50 3/5 mile. The clocking was a fifth off the Crown record. Lyons Sentinel held the place spot with Marloe Hanover slipping between fillies for third. New Year and Looksgoodinaromper rounded out the top five. Reflect With Me, was bred by Brittany Farms who share ownership in the filly with Bradley Grant. It was the second straight trophy for Grant as well on the evening. It was the fifth victory in 11 starts on the season for Reflect With Me who returned a healthy $56.20 for the win mutual ticket. "She got a little tired near the wire but she kept on coming," said McCarthy following the victory. "I spoke with Andy before the race and we both felt there was a lot of speed inside," said Tony Alagna. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society      

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25 - Leaving from the farther-most post 10, Andrew McCarthy made two big moves with harness racing trotter Ramona Hill to easily win the $600,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Trot Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday (October 25) over favorite Hypnotic AM by 2 ½ lengths in 153.2. McCarthy wasted no time as the field left the gate, firing Ramona Hill to the top confidently with Sister Sledge directly behind her, followed by Ms Savannah Belle and Hypnotic AM, cutting the first quarter in :27. Keeping the field chasing, Ramona Hill, at 14-1, drew away a few lengths, getting to the half in :56 when Brian Sears charged first over with Hypnotic AM to get the lead. May Baby inherited the first-over spot while Tim Tetrick kept Ms Savannah Belle third on the inside. Hypnotic AM cut the three-quarters mark in a fiery 1:23.4 but it did not take long for McCarthy to pull from second and easily take over Hypnotic AM's lead. Ramona Hill shot away from the field to win in 1:53.2. Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras) closed on Hypnotic AM to take second. Madame Sherry (Matt Kakaley) finished in fourth at 99-1. Tony Alagna trains Ramona Hill for owners Bradley Grant and Robert Leblanc and as bred by Crawford Farms. "She's so talented and she was so slick tonight," said McCarthy. "Leaving from the 10 hole I said I'm going to step her out to the front and I was not surprised she could leave so quickly." Co-owner Robert Leblanc, in the Breeders Crown winners circle for the first time, said, "When we got the 10 hole we were still positive, we thought she could still get it. We think she is just goint to get better." Romana Hill (Muscle Hill--Lock Down Lindy) paid $31.80 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

LEXINGTON, KY--A season-long bout of runner-up finishes to division leader Shartin N ended on Sunday, Oct. 6 at The Red Mile as Caviart Ally upended the star pacing mare with a 1:48.3 mile in the $87,000 Fear The Dragon Allerage Farms Mare Pace--sponsored by the Fear The Dragon Syndicate and Midland Acres. Shartin N, sent the 1-9 favorite, pushed for the front to lead the field of six through a :27.2 first quarter with Kissin In The Sand sitting second and Caviart Ally third and raced uncontested on the front to a :54.3 half. Driver Andrew McCarthy moved Caviart Ally first over entering the final turn and blitzed Shartin N heading to three-quarters in 1:22. Shartin N drifted from the cones entering the stretch and tried to fend off Caviart Ally but the five-year-old Bettor's Delight mare overpowered the 2018 Dan Patch winner into the final eighth and drew away to victory. Kissin In The Sand chased the pair in third. Shartin N was on a 14-race winning streak. "We've been waiting for her to beat Shartin," said Judy Chaffee, co-owner of Caviart Ally. "Finally, it happened." "We tried [to beat Shartin] all different ways," said winning trainer Brett Pelling after the race. "We tried to seat her in behind us, we've tried the two hole and today--this mare's really, really good when the weather's cooled off. Everything about her--she's right on her game right now." Winning her 23rd race from 69 starts, Caviart Ally--bred by Hanover Shoe Farms--has earned $1,585,716 for owner Caviart Farms. "My biggest battle right now is to talk Judy and co. into racing her next year," Pelling also said, jokingly, "so we can do it all over again. It's been a great thrill; she's a great mare. She's just one of those horses you love to have in your barn." Buck Chaffee, co-owner of Caviart Farms, commented on bringing Caviart Ally back as a six-year-old, saying "Things are possible, who knows what will happen. But for her to come and finally beat Shartin--they've raced super all year, and just two fabulous mares." Buck also confirmed Caviart Ally will race next in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

LEXINGTON, KY--Sent the 1-5 favorite, Ramona Hill sat second through the mile before tipping from the pocket and striding to a 1:52.4 victory under a hand drive in the final of four harness racing divisions for the $330,000 Norman Woolworth Memorial Bluegrass Stakes on Friday, Sept. 27. Panem pushed for the front moving to a :28 opening quarter with Ramona Hill floating into the pocket. Madame Sherry sat third up the backstretch as the field raced single file towards a :55.4 half. Ramona Hill then edged from the pocket passing three-quarters in 1:24.4 and lunged to the lead through the stretch as Madame Sherry gave chase in second and Panem settled for third. "We trained the mare, Lock Down Lindy, and this filly had a very similar frame to Lock Down Lindy, but she was an end-of-May foal so she was very immature at the sale but had a great look to her," trainer Tony Alagna said after the race on purchasing Ramona Hill for $70,000 at the Lexington Yearling Sale last fall. "Knowing how fast the mare was, I thought I'd take a shot at that number. "I didn't stake her to the [Jim] Doherty at the Meadowlands because she was a late foal and I told the partnership that I think this filly's special, but I don't want to push her early because I want to make sure we have a great three-year-old. That's what we've done by design and so far she's paying us off." Co-owned by breeder Crawford Farms with Brad Grant, Robert LeBlanc and In The Gym Partners, Ramona Hill has won in all four of her starts, earning $66,000. Andrew McCarthy drove the $2.40 winner. Shishito took the lead early and strode to a 1:53 victory in the opening division of the Bluegrass filly trot. Dune Hill dashed to the front moving to a :28 first quarter before yielding command to even-money favorite Shishito moving to the backside. Second-betting choice Senorita Rita angled first over from fifth passing a :56 half and ranged towards the pacesetter nearing three-quarters in 1:24.3. Senorita Rita continued to dig into Shishito through the stretch but could only manage second while Dune Hill gave pursuit from third. Bred by Diamond Creek Farm LLC and owned by Black Horse Racing and John Fielding, Shishito won her fourth race from eight starts, earning $222,776. Dexter Dunn drove the $4.00 winner for trainer Per Engblom. Common Sense S handed 1-2 favorite Sister Sledge her first loss when wining the second Bluegrass split. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt snagged the pocket with Common Sense S while Hello Tomorrow led the field to a :28.1 first quarter. Sister Sledge slid first over from fourth passing a :56.2 half and drew alongside Hello Tomorrow approaching three-quarters in 1:25.2. Hello Tomorrow kept Sister Sledge at bay through the lane but drifted from the pylons enough to create a seam for Common Sense S to shoot through late in the mile to win in 1:53.3. Sister Sledge settled for third. "I bought her in Sweden on a sale," Svanstedt said after the race. "It was because I trained her mother and grandmother and they were very successful--they made around a half- to two-million Swedish kronas. [Coming from the small tracks], it's good for them to come here and stretch out here on the big track." Co-owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc. with S R F Stable, Common Sense S won her fifth race from nine starts, earning $122,600. The Menhammer Stuteri Ab-bred Trixton filly paid $12.20 to win. Love A Good Story surged past 3-5 favorite Ms Savannah Belle late in the stretch to take the third Bluegrass split. In control through a :28.1 first quarter, Love A Good Story settled for the pocket past a :55.4 half after Ms Savannah Belle pushed first over for the front nearing the final turn. Seventimesalady floated first over approaching three-quarters in 1:26 but forced Love A Good Story to pop pocket heading for the top of the stretch. Seventimesalady lost ground and gave chase as Love A Good Story and Ms Savannah Belle matched strides towards the finish, with the favorite giving way in the final sixteenth to the Julie Miller-trained Chapter Seven filly in a 1:52.2 mile. Winning her seventh race from nine starts, Love A Good Story--bred by Celebrity Farms--has earned $216,187 for owners Pinske Stables, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Daniel Plouffe. Andy Miller piloted the $17.80 winner. Each division of the Norman Woolworth Memorial was sponsored by Arden Homestead Stables, Et Gerry & Peter Gerry, Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, Stoner Manor Inc., Menhammar Stuteri Ab, Jorgen Jahre Jr., LST Stables and Lawrence S. Devan. Grand Circuit action resumes at The Red Mile on Saturday, Sept. 28 with four divisions of the $324,800 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt Pace and a single $163,100 Bluegrass division for three-year-old pacing fillies. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

MILTON, ON - September 21, 2019 - Caviart Ally defended her Milton Stakes title with a harness racing stakes record 1:48.3 victory in Saturday's $250,000 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   The five-year-old pacing mare shot to the front for driver Andrew McCarthy and never looked back, pacing a :53.3 back-half to secure her second Milton Stakes victory.   "I knew in the post parade she was going to be good," said McCarthy of Caviart Ally. "She usually tells me and she was very focused and had her mind on the job."   A model of consistency, Caviart Ally started from post-eight in the nine-horse field and went off at odds of 4/1. She posted opening fractions of :26.4 and :55, before race-favourite Youaremycandygirl started first-up from fourth.   McCarthy stomped on the gas pedal in the third-quarter, posting a :26.3 split. The duo proceeded to say goodnight to their rivals and sprinted home in :27 to win by a length and three-quarters. Kissin In The Sand finished second, while Seaswift Joy N and Apple Bottom Jeans completed the Superfecta. Youaremycandygirl finished eighth.   Owned by Caviart Farms, Caviart Ally joined the barn of trainer Pelling this season after former trainer Noel Daley returned to his home-country of Australia.   "She's so consistent," said Pelling, noting he was confident when his mare turned for home with the lead. "I just didn't think coming first-up on her and it was the favourite first-up and I said 'that's a big ask' and I was pretty confident. He hadn't pulled the plugs and I thought she was doing it tonight."   Caviart Ally is now six for 15 this season and has hit the board in every start. Her 22nd career victory gives her $432,064 earned this season, bringing her career earnings to $1.5 million for Caviart Farms.   A $2 win ticket on Caviart Ally returned $10.70.   by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

CHESTER, PA - A trio of $16,000 contests shared the spotlight on a special Friday evening card at Harrah's Philadelphia with driver Andrew McCarthy, who won four races, including the featured pace and the faster of the two featured trots. The Captaintreacherous sophomore filly Tarryn A Strip is now two for three since coming to the local oval and joining the barn of trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, winning Friday in 1:52, just a tick off her lifetime mark. Tarryn A Strip did not have an easy path to Victory Lane, being caught very wide early and not making the lead until the 3/8 for McCarthy, yet she still had enough to withstand the wide late burst of Ponder The Odds by a half-length for Glenview Livestock LTD and Cheryl Cherry. The Trixton sophomore filly Princess Deo, fifth in the Hambletonian Oaks final, was patiently sent up to command early in the frontstretch by driver McCarthy, cut the pace, then held off pocketsitting Smooth Acceleration by a half length in taking the first of the two trots in 1:55.2. The Lucas Wallin-trained Princess Deo took advantage of the break from stakes competition to post her first seasonal score, raising her lifetime bankroll to $336,314 for Deo Volente Farms LLC, Thomas Pontone, and John Fodera. In the other trot division, the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Oberto had been moved early to the lead by driver George Napolitano Jr. and looked to be in good shape at the ¾, with both the pocket horse and the first-over laboring to stay with him. However, the horse in the two-hole broke early on the turn, freeing Remarkable De Vie, who had been stuck third-in, but that one's rally could only carry him to within a head of Oberto by the end of the 1:58.1 mile. Jeffrey Weiner trains the four-time winner for Thomas and Pamela Herbst Maloney. The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for two-year-olds will be hosted on Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia, with $1.3 million on the line on the rich card. The gelding Real Cool Sam and the filly Sister Sledge are the ones to beat in the trotting sections; the pacing divisions will have no such clear-cut favorites. Accompanying the $252,000 Championships will be $50,000 consolations in each of the four divisions of freshman competition. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

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