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MILTON, ON - October 22, 2019 - The harness racing post positions for all 12 of this weekend's Breeders Crown Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park are set following a press conference Tuesday afternoon. A strong turnout, including over a dozen drivers and trainers, attended the press conference to find out the starting spots for the 2-Year-Old Colt Pace, 3-Year-Old Colt Pace and Open Trot finals. Foreign classic invitee Bold Eagle drew the rail for the $500,000 Open Trot. The legendary eight-year-old trotter will make his North American debut, teaming with reinsman Brian Sears. The Sébastien Guarato trainee has done it all in Europe, winning countless classic events and earning over $5 million. Superstar trotters Atlanta, Guardian Angel As, Marion Marauder and Six Pack are just four of the 10 trotters that will go up against Bold Eagle. Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion, will start directly behind Bold Eagle from the second-tier post 11. The six-year-old is winless in nine starts this season, but has recorded 20 wins and over $3.5 million in earnings through 60 career starts. Four-year-old mare Atlanta has earned the confidence of her connections to take another crack at the boys. The 2018 Hambletonian champion and winner of nearly $2 million will attempt to claim the Open Trot title for a 20th career victory. She starts from post-six. This season's highest earner in the Open Trot is Anette Lorentzon trainee Guardian Angel As, who scored the biggest victory of his career earlier this season at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The five-year-old stallion captured the Maple Leaf Trot on August 31 and will start from post-five. World champion Six Pack did not have luck on his side during Tuesday's post position draw. The Ake Svanstedt trained four-year-old drew the far outside, post position 10. The Open Trot field is completed by Will Take Charge (PP2), Mission Accepted (PP3), Fiftydallarbill (PP4), Lindy The Great (PP7), Dunbar Hall (PP8) and Southwind Chrome (PP9). Saturday evening's Crown finals will also include the $600,000 3-Year-Old Colt Pace. Elimination winners Bettors Wish and Dancin Lou were guaranteed of a starting spot from post one to five. Bettors Wish drew post-five, while Dancin Lou drew post-four. The Chris Ryder trained Bettors Wish has been the model of consistency this season, winning 12 of 16 and never finished outside the top-two. The son of Bettors Delight will look to add a Crown trophy to his collection that includes the Art Rooney, Carl Milstein, Kentucky Sires Stakes, Bluegrass and Tattersalls. Tahnee Camilleri trainee Dancin Lou is red-hot entering the Crown final. The son of Sweet Lou broke through with an upset score in a division of the Tattersalls on October 6 and proved it was no fluke by storming home in :25.4 to win his Crown elimination. The sophomore holds a record of 10 wins in 17 starts. Little Brown Jug champion and supplement entry Southwind Ozzi, who finished second to Bettors Wish in last Saturday's elimination, will start from the rail. The Bill MacKenzie trained son of Somebeachsomewhere has won nine of 13 this season, which includes scores in the Adios and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship. Pepsi North America Cup champion Captain Crunch drew post-two for Saturday's rich event. The Nancy Johansson trainee is two for eight since winning the Cup, but has finished top-four in all of those starts. Meadowlands Pace champion Best In Show was the fast-closer in last weekend's eliminations, pacing a :25.3 kicker to finished second to Dancin Lou. The Linda Toscano trainee will start from post-six, which has the highest winning percentage of any starting spot at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The 3-Year-Old Colt Pace field is completed by Covered Bridge (PP3), Semi Tough (PP7), Fixed Idea (PP8), Bronx Seelster (PP9) and De Los Cielos Deo (PP10). The $600,000 2-Year-Old Colt Pace will be the main event for Friday's quartet of Breeders Crown events. Elimination winner Papi Rob Hanover drew post-three at Tuesday's draw and rolls into the final off a major statement victory for trainer Brett Pelling. The son of Somebeachsomewhere handed previously unbeaten Tall Dark Stranger a 1:50.2 defeat, winning by a little over a length. Papi Rob Hanover has hit the board in each of his nine starts this season, posting four victories. The Pelling trainee finished runner-up to Tall Dark Stranger in last month's Metro Pace. Tall Dark Stranger drew post-seven at Tuesday's draw, a post position he has won from before at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Nancy Johansson trainee is seven for eight with over $542,000 earned. Capt Midnight and Catch The Fire took byes into the $600,000 final. The Tony Alagna trained Capt Midnight drew post-five, while John Ackley trainee Catch The Fire landed in post-nine. The 2-Year-Old Colt Pace final field is completed by Mayhem Hanover (PP1), Allywag Hanover (PP2), Cattlewash (PP4), Major Betts (PP6), Freedom Hanover (PP8) and Put To Right (PP10). The full cards for this weekend's $6 million Breeders Crown, presented by Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, will be released later today. Post time for Friday and Saturday's Breeders Crown cards is 7 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

Twenty years ago, Todd Clements was working as a network administrator in Toronto when his father got sick and asked his son to return home to Newfoundland. Clements resigned from his job and spent six weeks with his dad before Charlie passed from cancer at the age of 49. Their final days together changed the direction of Todd's life forever. "I'm a systems engineer by education," Clements said. "My dad was very proud of the work I did, but he knew my passion for racehorses. One of the last things he said to me was that life can be short, do what you love. Here I was in a three-piece suit, working in an office running a company. I really didn't like it. "My dad gave me the green light. I came back to Ontario and I went to work (in a harness racing stable) for $400 a week, which I was making a day, and it's all paid off." The 44-year-old Clements is in his first Breeders Crown, sending Fixed Idea to Saturday's $600,000 final for 3-year-old male pacers. Fixed Idea, who will be driven by Randall Waples, will start from post eight in a field of 10 that includes elimination winners Bettor's Wish and Dancin Lou as well as returning Breeders Crown champion Captain Crunch, Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi, and Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show. "As a Newfoundland kid growing up, you dream about being in those races," said Clements, who made several starts as a trainer in the years prior to leaving home for his network administrator job. "I'm extremely excited to be in the Breeders Crown." Fixed Idea, a son of Big Jim-Calchips Artist owned by Christopher Nicol, was unraced at age 2 and joined Clements' stable this year. All five of the horse's wins this season have come in conditioned races but he earned checks in three preliminary rounds of the Ontario Sire Stakes series as well as the series championship. He also was fifth-placed-fourth in the consolation of the North America Cup. "The best thing about him is his durability," Clements said. "He can take a long road trip and the best part of his mile is the last sixteenth. If races were a mile-and-a-sixteenth, a lot of those 3s and 4s would probably be 1s. He has heart. He tries and there's not much more you can ask." Prior to Fixed Idea's fourth-place finish in the Breeders Crown elimination, Clements' thoughts returned to his father. "I looked up and said, dad, please send me down some luck," Clements said. "I don't know if it was that, but we made it. We're going to be one of the longshots (Saturday) but it's a horse race. You've got to be in it to win it. We're just very humbled and just excited to have the opportunity to be in it." Clements is not the only trainer in the race who made a career change. Tahnee Camilleri, a native of Australia, gave up a career practicing law to pursue her passion by moving to the U.S. to train horses. The 32-year-old Camilleri conditions Dancin Lou for owners David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. Camilleri, who trained some horses in the States during a brief stay prior to completing her law degree, is in her first full season with her own stable. "There's definitely not going to be a lot of sleep this week," Camilleri said. "I'm so excited. I'm like a kid right before Christmas." Dancin Lou worked his way up through the conditioned ranks at Yonkers, putting together a five-race win streak, and won twice on the Kentucky Sire Stakes circuit. He was third in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes before winning a division of the Tattersalls over Southwind Ozzi. For the year, he has 10 wins in 17 starts. "I never thought initially when I got this horse that he was going to turn out like he has," Camilleri said. "It's been a gradual thing, but he's just gotten better and better. He got on a roll at Yonkers and it did wonders for his confidence. I still can't believe it's the same horse that I had at the start of the season. It's been unexpected, but a great ride along the way." Dexter Dunn drove Dancin Lou in his three most recent races but will sit behind Bettor's Wish in the Breeders Crown final. Andy McCarthy, who guided Dancin Lou to a career-best 1:48.3 victory in a division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes, picks up the drive. "He definitely can get the best out of him," Camilleri said. "Everything I've asked him to do, he's stepped up to the plate," she added about Dancin Lou, who is a son of Sweet Lou-Dancewiththebest. "There hasn't really been any pressure. It's just whether he was going to take the next step, and every step I've asked him to take, he's taken it. I'm really so proud of him." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Southwind Ozzi-Brian Sears-Bill MacKenzie 2-Captain Crunch-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Covered Bridge-James MacDonald-Blake MacIntosh 4-Dancin Lou-Andy McCarthy-Tahnee Camilleri 5-Bettor's Wish-Dexter Dunn-Chris Ryder 6-Best In Show-Bob McClure-Linda Toscano 7-Semi Tough-David Miller-Ron Burke 8-Fixed Idea-Randall Waples-Todd Clements 9-Bronx Seelster-Simon Allard-Rene Allard 10-De Los Cielos Deo-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown  

Harnessracing.com has reported that harness racing trainer Jim Campbell confirmed Monday afternoon that Millies Possesion has been scratched out of Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown final at Woodbine Mohawk Park after suffering a broken coffin bone in her left front foot. To read the rest of the story, click here.

Luc Blais was pleased when Forbidden Trade received a bye to advance directly to Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. After the Hambletonian winning colt drew post eight, he was less enthused. "I was happy when they asked about the bye," Blais said. "After the draw, I said oops. But it's part of the game. A race is a race. All the time you need luck." Twelve horses entered the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot, which resulted in Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe receiving byes while the remaining 10 horses competed for the eight remaining spots in the final. Don't Let'em won the elimination with a Canadian-record-equaling 1:51.3 performance. His reward as an elim winner was being guaranteed a post in positions one through five. He will start Saturday from post two. Greenshoe, the winner of 10 of 12 races and C$1.16 million this season, will start from post four. He is one of three finalists for trainer Marcus Melander, with returning Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S. Forbidden Trade defeated Greenshoe by a neck in the Hambletonian. Since then, Greenshoe has won five in a row, including the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 6 at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt's 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Sept. 29 at Red Mile is the fastest mile of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a 3-year-old in history. "He's doing great," Melander said about Greenshoe, a son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be. "I was happy to take the bye. He's been on the road for a long time, so it was nice for him to be at home. I'm very happy with how he feels. I'm confident going into the race, he feels as good as he can. I think he'll be good." Green Manalishi S and Gimpanzee finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Crown elimination. Green Manalishi S (Muscle Hill-Naga Morich S) has two wins at Mohawk this year, in the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes. Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) was last year's Dan Patch Award winner and counts the Yonkers Trot and New York Sire Stakes championship among his 2019 victories. "There are good horses there," Melander said. "It's going to be a tough race to win, but I'm happy with my three horses. We drew good; I'm confident going into the race. It will be exciting." Forbidden Trade has won eight of 13 races and C$1.07 million. In his most recent start, he won his second Ontario Sire Stakes championship. The son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory was the 2018 O'Brien Award winner. "It's going to be a tough race," Blais said. "He feels good. He raced good in the Ontario final and he's in good shape right now. I hope everything goes well in the race." The fun-loving Don't Let'em was once described as "a class clown" by trainer Nancy Johansson but he got an 'A' for his elimination performance. The colt, a son of Muscle Hill-Passageway, has finished first or second 12 times in his career. He's gone off stride in his remaining nine races. "His mind is his own worst enemy," driver Yannick Gingras said. "A couple times in the middle of the summer he'd wheel around in the post parade for no reason, but he's doing none of that stuff now. It seems like he's got his mind on his business." Chin Chin Hall finished second to Don't Let'em in the elimination. The colt, by Cash Hall out of Canland Hall, had hit the board in seven consecutive starts before an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Futurity. But that race over a 'good' track on a rain-filled afternoon did nothing to dampen trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's good feelings. "I don't even count that race; you have to throw it out," Norman said. "I was really happy with his run (in the Crown elimination); why wouldn't you be. He's been good every start the last couple of months. He actually feels like he's getting better and better. I think he drew pretty good (post five). It's a tough group, it'll be hard enough to just get a check, but I think he's good enough to be top five." Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday at Mohawk. The finals for 2-year-olds are Friday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the corporate sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 2-Don't Let'em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson 3-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 4-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Chin Chin Hall-Peter Wrenn-R. Nifty Norman 6-Gimpanzee-David Miller-Marcus Melander 7-Goes Down Smooth-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 8-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 9-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 10-Super Schissel-Louis Roy-Per Engblom By Ken Weingartner for the Breeders Crown  

MILTON, ON - October 22, 2019 - Today's post position draw and press conference for the 2019 Breeders Crown, presented by Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, will be live streamed at www.WoodbineMohawkPark.com. The press conference is slated to begin shortly after Noon. A direct link to the live stream is available at https://woodbine.com/mohawk/events/breeders-crown-post-position-draw-live-stream/. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

In discussing his horse, Sister Sledge, trainer Ron Burke gave a simple but accurate assessment of Friday's $600,000 Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly harness racing trot final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "Moving forward, I think she's as good as any filly out there, but there are a couple real good ones," Burke said. "The 2-year-old trotting fillies are very solid - a bunch of them actually." This past Friday, Yannick Gingras showed just how deep the field is by driving horses to victory over undefeated opponents in both elimination races. Gingras guided Sister Sledge past previously perfect Hypnotic AM, a 1-5 favorite, in the first elim. He followed by driving Ms Savannah Belle to victory and keeping Ramona Hill out of the winner's circle for the first time. Hypnotic AM was second while Ramona Hill finished third. Gingras will drive Sister Sledge, a daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors, in the final. The horse, who drew the two-post, has eight wins and has hit the board in all 10 starts this year, winning C$308,852. She will go off right next to Hypnotic AM, who drew post one. A repeat of their exciting elimination battle would be interesting, as Gingras went outside in the homestretch to pass the favorite and win by 1-1/4 lengths. "When I got alongside of her I could tell I had more trot," Gingras said. "It was just a matter of getting to the wire. But I was definitely confident, throughout really. She's a nice filly. The other one is nice too, but I had all the confidence in the world in my filly. With the trip, I thought she would give her a really good run anyway." It was the first setback in eight starts for Hypnotic AM, who has won C$394,582 this season with Brian Sears in the sulky. "She raced good (in the elim)," trainer Marcus Melander said. "She got a little fresh on the lead and Brian had to hold her a little too much. Maybe we need to do some changes for this week, but I think she raced good. You always want to win so you know you're going to draw (post) one to five. She just got a little too fresh on the lead. It was just too much." Hypnotic AM had last raced Sept. 14 in winning the New York Sire Stakes championship. The Chapter Seven-Daydream AM S miss qualified in 1:54.2 in advance of her Crown elimination. "She was very good in her qualifier and I thought she was going to be ready," Melander said. "Maybe this will put her a little bit forward. I still think we have a great filly even if she got beat, and (Sister Sledge) is a good horse. I really like my horse and think she will have a big chance in the final. She gets over the ground so easy. She can do anything; race on any sized track, she's got speed, she's got stamina. She's got everything that a good horse has got to have." In the second elim, not winning proved costly for Ramona Hill, who drew post 10 in the final. Driven by Andy McCarthy, the Muscle Hill-Lock Down Lindy freshman lost for the first time in six starts. "I didn't think she was tracking as good as she has been, so we're going to make a couple of adjustments for the final, but she went a monster trip after Andy got her settled," said trainer Tony Alagna, whose filly has earned C$106,300 this year. "He tried to press out of there a little bit with her, but she wasn't as comfortable, so he just waited on her. She was parked the entire mile first over, so she went a huge mile just to be third. "We'll regroup, but we're very pleased with her. She's a filly we were very high on, but she was very immature and we didn't even know if we'd make it to the Breeders Crown with her at one stage. To be here, and to be in the final, speaks volumes to her quality. She just needed some time. As the year's gotten longer, she's gotten better. We gave her a nice break after the Kindergarten (leg on July 19) and that really seemed to help her. All those things helped her for sure." Winning for the fourth time in eight starts allowed Ms Savannah Belle to earn a post five Friday, setting up what could be a fierce final. As he did with Sister Sledge, Gingras rallied his horse down the homestretch. The filly has hit the board in seven races and won C$216,658 this year. "She was super down in Lexington; we only raced her the first week there, we skipped the second week just to aim her for this and I think she'll be even sharper (in the final)," trainer Per Engblom said of the daughter of Muscle Hill-Stubborn Belle. "I think my filly will do good. She hadn't raced in three weeks; she'll be a little sharper next week. "She's a darling. She's good every time. She had a couple (1:52 miles) in a row. I worried she might be a little short, but Yannick worked out the perfect trip for her, so it was no problem." Engblom has two horses in the final, as Shishito (Father Patrick-Yoga) will go off from the eight hole. "She was third in the first elimination and I think she'll step up and be a little better this week too," the trainer said. "She was very good. She was leaning in the turn a little bit so (driver Dexter Dunn) lost a little ground in the last turn, but then she finished really good in the stretch. We'll try to change her bridle up a little bit to keep her a little straighter. She's such an honest little filly, I just love her. She's nice." Rounding out the final are May Baby (post three), Dip Me Hanover (four), Wine Rack Hanover (six), Madame Sherry (seven) and Violet Stride (nine). Trainer Nifty Norman feels Wine Rack Hanover may be calming down at just the right time. "She's got a big motor, she's just had trouble with her manners all year," Norman said of the Kadabra-Winbak Maya miss. "But she's getting better and better all the time. She was really tough to hang on to; she was really hot. She's starting to work it out. She's got a great attitude. She never gives in. I'm pretty happy with her." Trainer Jim Campbell felt Madame Sherry, a daughter of Father Patrick-Celebrity Angel, "raced OK" in her elimination but echoed most everyone's thoughts about the final. "It's a tough group," Campbell said. "It's a real tough group. She's going to have to step her game up to be better for next week to get money in there, but she's got a chance to go for it, which is better than not being in it." Below is the field for the Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly trot final. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Hypnotic AM-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 2-Sister Sledge-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 3-May Baby-James Yoder-James Yoder 4-Dip Me Hanover-David Miller-Linda Toscano 5-Ms Savannah Belle-TBA-Per Engblom 6-Wine Rack Hanover-Sylvain Filion-R. Nifty Norman 7-Madame Sherry-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell 8-Shishito-Dexter Dunn-Per Engblom 9-Violet Stride-Tyler Buter-Mark Harder 10-Ramona Hill-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna By Rich Fisher, for the Breeders Crown

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Harness racing driver Dexter Dunn completed a night to remember Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park by capturing both 3-Year-Old Colt Pace Breeders Crown eliminations for a six-win night. A group of 15 sophomore pacing colts were split into two $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the field for next Saturday's (October 26) $600,000 final. Sent the 1-2 favourite, Bettors Wish sat second to a :27.1 opening quarter set by Cant Beach That, who yielded command as Southwind Ozzi marched to the top from third moving to the backstretch. Southwind Ozzi took the field by the half in :56.3 while Dunn angled Bettors Wish first over from third moving to the final turn. Bettors Wish drew alongside Southwind Ozzi passing three-quarters in 1:24.2 and powered past entering the stretch. Through the lane Bettors Wish expanded his lead on Southwind Ozzi as he clung to second in the 1:51 mile with Covered Bridge, De Los Cielos Deo and Bronx Seelster rounding the finalists. "You can't help but love him," Dunn said of Bettors Wish after the race. "He's such a cool horse. He's had a great year and I think tonight was probably the best he's actually felt post parading and that. I've given him some pretty hard runs too the poor wee fella and he just keeps bouncing back. It's a credit to Chris [Ryder] and the team for the job they do--he's just sublime." Collecting his 12th win from 16 starts this season and his 17th from 28 overall, Bettors Wish has amassed over $1.7 million in earnings for owners Chris Ryder, Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bettors Wish Partners. "Coming into this week [he] had two good weeks in Kentucky and after that I thought 'Well, it's my job that he's not messed up this week,'" Ryder said after the race. "I just kept my fingers crossed for another week. It's been a great year...I just love having him; he's a beautiful horse. We actually had a bit of a hiccup with a foot this week but it came right and he's an easy keeper." Bettors Wish returned $3.00 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. Dancin Lou darted through a seam at the pylons and past tiring leaders to take the first Breeders Crown elimination. Stag Party pushed for the front heading to the first turn while 4-5 favourite Captain Crunch sat second to a :26.1 first quarter. Captain Crunch soon circled to the lead entering the backstretch while Century Farroh raced anxiously from third before angling off the pegs and brushing to command. Past the half in :55.4, Century Farroh faced first-over pressure from Air Force Hanover circling the final turn. Captain Crunch fanned three wide through a gap in cover passing three-quarters in 1:23.2 and slid past the dueling and drifting leaders into the stretch. Dancin Lou stuck towards the pylons and had a straight shot to the front in the final eighth, hitting the finish in 1:50.1. "[The trip] worked out pretty good really," Dunn said after the race. "There was a bit of action in that race. He was really good last out at Lexington but he was better tonight. We took our shot, took a bit of luck and he got around the inside there and really exploded." Owned by David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd., Dancin Lou won his 11th race from 27 starts, earning $284,756. Tahnee Camilleri conditions the Sweet Lou colt who advances to the final along with Best In Show, Captain Crunch, Fixed Idea and Semi Tough. "That was a really good field tonight--I'm just so proud of that little colt," said Camilleri, who made the decision to try Dancin Lou in the Breeders Crown after his win at Lexington two weeks ago. "I'm very thankful it's panned out so far with the owners. I haven't come from a racing background and it's just been a uphill struggle to get recognized. To have a horse like this is great for my career and I'm very thankful the owners gave me a shot." Dancin Lou paid $12.20 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. Post positions for the $600,000 final will be drawn on Tuesday at a press conference. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through five. From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Odds-on favourite Warrawee Ubeaut took command midway through the mile and scooted away from her competition under minimal encouragement on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park to take the lone $32,500 (CAD) Breeders Crown elimination for three-year-old harness racing pacing fillies. Beautyonthebeach blasted to the front from post 10 while Tall Drink Hanover floated into second but then circled to the lead passing a :26.4 first quarter. Warrawee Ubeaut tracked Tall Drink Hanover to the backside and swept past the brief pacesetter before a :55.3 half. Rolling to the far turn Warrawee Ubeaut faced little pressure as she decelerated to three-quarters in 1:24.3. Queen Of The Pride tipped first over into the final turn but stalled through the stretch as Warrwee Ubeaut sprinted to the finish while widening her lead on Tall Drink Hanover in progress to a 1:50.2 win. "She's great--there's no other words to describe her," winning driver Yannick Gingras said after the race. "She's perfect to drive and when I called upon her at the top of the stretch she was like coming out of her skin pacing so strong." Warrawee Ubeaut races for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phillip Collura, Jerry & Theresa Silva Stables, Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. Ron Burke conditions the Sweet Lou filly who collected her 18th victory from 28 starts--her 11th from 16 this year--and earned $1,329,555. "Now we've got her pretty much dialed in that we just keep doing what we're doing," Burke said after the race. "When we were teaching her to become this mare it was a little bit harder. Sometimes she took losses that you were thinking maybe you should just roll her all out and she can hang on. But we knew it would come to the day where she would learn to do this or at least we hoped. And now she's become a complete horse." Warrawee Ubeaut returned $2.50 to win. To see the race replay, click here. The top eight finishers from the 10-horse elimination advance to the final. Sunny Dee and Treacherous Reign took byes while Warrawee Ubeaut gets to draw between posts 1 through 5 after winning the elimination. 1 Beautyonthebeach 2 Sunny Dee 3 Treacherous Reign 4 Tall Drink Hanover 5 Warrawee Ubeaut 6 Ideation Hanover 7 Philly Hanover 8 Stonebridge Soul 9 Queen Of The Pride 10 Best Seller Hanover From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn cleaned up in the Mare Trot eliminations on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park to add to his big night in the Breeders Crown eliminations. A total of 15 older trotting mares were split into a pair of $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the Breeders Crown final field. Dexter Dunn found a seam late in the stretch and was able to knife through and catapult Darling Mearas S to victory in the first elimination. Darling Mearas S left alertly then yielded willingly into the first turn to Custom Cantab who cut the opening fraction in :27 3/5. David Miller put the breaks on in the short field and had Custom Cantab in control through a half in a pedestrian :57 clocking. The pace picked up as Dream Together moved to the outside on the turn followed by Hannelore Hanover and race favorite Plunge Blue Chip second and third over respectively. Custom Cantab had all of the rating required to get the job done but turning into the homestretch off the 1:26 1/5 mile the field was closing in. Dream Together was holding her ground first-over and Plunge Blue Chip had rallied wide for Ake Svanstedt and flanked Hannelore Hanover as those continued to grind up towards the leader. Yet it was Dunn who found room at the right time and Darling Mearas As, a daughter of Cantab Hall had the explosive speed necessary in the final sprint to get the job done in a 1:53 2/5 clocking. Plunge Blue Chip rallied brilliantly for second with Custom Cantab holding on for third. Hannelore Hanover and Dream Together also advance into next week's final. Supergirl Riley made a break well before the start and lost her chance at the final. Bettors were given a refund as the mare was declared a "non-starter." Darling Mearas As paid $17.40 winning for the third time in 12 starts this year for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owner-breeder Snogarps Gard of Sweden. "She got herself in good position," Dunn said. "We really got lucky half way down the stretch. Looks like we're in good shape for next week." To see the race replay, click here. Manchego got the respect one would expect from a 1-5 betting choice and had little difficulty in strolling down the road to capture the second Mares trot elimination for Dunn. It was the fourth straight victory for the 4-year-old by Muscle Hill. Only Manchego and Emoticon Hanover left in the field of eight and Manchego had control before the :27 opening quarter with Emoticon Hanover content to race in the pocket for Bob McClure. With no challengers Dunn cruised to the half in :56 4/5 and waited for challengers to come. Hey Livvy was flushed out on the final bend by Weslynn Dancer but couldn't make a dent in the leaders margin as Manchego controlled the pace through a three quarter clocking of 1:25 2/5. In the homestretch Dunn looked around to see where the competition was coming from but there was none to be found. Manchego did drift a bit off the pylons but at no point did the Nancy Johansson-trained mare need any assistance from her driver and she scored comfortably in 1:52 3/5 with a :27 1/5 final quarter. Emoticon Hanover held on for the place spot with Weslynn Dancer closing well to finish third. Ice Attraction became the third Ake Svanstedt-trained mare to qualify for the final and Highland Top Hill rounded out those advancing. Manchego won for the sixth time in 2019 and returned $2.40 as the prohibitive favorite. She's trained by Nancy Johansson for owner Black Horse Racing. "She's exceptional," said Johansson. "There's no other way to describe her." "She felt great again tonight," said Dunn referring to her consecutive world record performances at The Red Mile and Dayton. As far as the mare drifting out some. "You just let her do her thing. She was full of run at the line." To watch the race replay, click here. Post positions for the $325,000 Mare Trot final were drawn following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for posts one through five. 1 Weslynn Dancer 2 Ice Attraction 3 Plunge Blue Chip 4 Manchego 5 Darling Mearas S 6 Hannelore Hanover 7 Highland Top Hill 8 Dream Together 9 Custom Cantab 10 Emoticon Hanover From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Yannick Gingras drove Dont Letem to a 1:51.3 win in the $32,500 (CAD) Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot elimination on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A field of 10 competed with the top-eight finishers advancing to next Saturday's $600,000 final. Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe received byes to the final. The Nancy Johansson-trained Dont Letem fired early for the lead and made the rest of the field chase him through fractions of :28.1, :56.4, 1:24.2 and matched the track record for sophomore trotters with a 1:51.3 mile. Green Manalishi S sat in second for three panels and Chin Chin Hall rolled along in third. Soul Strong came out to lead a second tier that stalled down the stretch. Chin Chin Hall took his best steps late to get second, with Green Manalishi S holding third, those three a few lengths ahead of the rest of the pack. Gimpanzee closed strongly to pick up fourth. "They all left so slow out of the gate," said Yannick Gingras, "I had to take him to the front." Dont Letem (Muscle Hill--Passageway)was bred by Brittany Farms, which co-owns with John Fielding. His win price was $9.10. Spots fifth through eighth to qualify for the final were secured by Soul Strong, Goes Down Smooth, Marseille and Super Schissel. The post position draw for next Saturday's final took place following the elimination. Dont Letem drew first for posts one through five based on winning his elimination. 1 Green Manalishi S 2 Dont Letem 3 Marseille 4 Greenshoe 5 Chin Chin Hall 6 Gimpanzee 7 Goes Down Smooth 8 Forbidden Trade 9 Soul Strong 10 Super Schissel From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONT, October 19, 2019 - Sophomore harness racing trotting fillies launched the second night of Breeders Crown eliminations on Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of 16 three-year-old trotting fillies were split into a pair of $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the field for next Saturday's (October 26) $600,000 final. Yannick Gingras picked up where he left off a night earlier sending The Ice Dutchess to the front shortly past the quarter pole and rolling to an easy 1:53 score in the first elimination. Grimmie Hanover left alertly to gain control into the opening bend for Corey Callahan with The Ice Dutchess getting looped initially and then driving forward. Grimmie Hanover cut the quarter in :28 1/5 but yielded to The Ice Dutchess in short order and then followed from a distant pocket. Evident Beauty, the 3-2 betting choice sat third and was patient past the half in :57 flat and it wasn't until midway on the final turn as The Ice Dutchess drew clear from Grimmie Hanover that David Miller sent Evident Beauty out on the offensive followed closely by Only Take Cash. The Ice Dutchess passed three quarters in 1:24 3/5 and had a sizable advantage heading into the homestretch when Evident Beauty appeared to be closing the gap but in midstretch Evident Beauty made a miscue that she wouldn't recover from and Gingras sat idly in the bike and allowed his filly to march home in a :28 2/5 final quarter to complete the mile. Only Take Cash was a solid closing second as Winndevie with Brian Sears made up a huge amount of ground in the late stretch to finish third. Early leader Grimmie Hanover held on for fourth while Seaside Bliss closed out the qualifiers from this division. The Ice Dutchess is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms and trained by Nancy Johansson. It as the fifth win in 2019 for The Ice Dutchess who paid $8.80 for the win. "Nancy (Johansson) has got her figured out. When she's on her game she can do it any way," Gingras said of The Ice Dutchess. "We've had trouble getting her around this track," said Johansson. "I think we've found the right shoe combination." To watch the race replay, click here. Millies Possession and driver Dexter Dunn made a bold move on the backstretch to gain control and then easily held off Hambletonian Oaks champion When Dovescry in the stretch to post a 6-1 upset in the second elimination. When Dovescry and driver Simon Allard left alertly from post two to gain control and managed to force a host of leavers into holes with Cambridge Kate taking a seat and Kentucky Futurity filly champion Beautiful Sin dropping in fourth before entering the first turn. Millies Possession got away in fifth and after When Dovescry hit the quarter in :27 flat Dunn wasted little time and sent the homebred Millies Possession and a brisk backstretch bull rush that saw her take command well before the :56 1/5 opening half clocking. Dunn kept Millies Possession engaged on the front end and had her hit three quarters in 1:24 as Ake Svanstedt and Beautiful Sin languished on the rim unable to make up ground on the leaders. It was a two-filly race in the homestretch and Dunn kept Millies Possession to her task as When Dovescry angled and drifted out through the stretch but didn't make up ground. Sweet Chapter held her ground inside and finished third ahead of a solid closing Asiago with Miss Trixton gaining the final berth. Millies Possession trotted the mile in 1:53. Millies Possession was a winner for the 11th time in 14 career starts all in 2019 for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Jules Siegel's Fashion Farm LLC. "She's a great filly," said Dunn following the race. "She felt good when I warmed her up. That move down the backstretch was the best she's felt all year." Millies Possession bounced back from her worst performance of the year, a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Filly Futurity. "She had a legitimate excuse," said Campbell for The Red Mile disappointment. "She scoped sick after the race. We got her back to New Jersey and on antibiotics and she bounced back." To watch the race replay, click here. The post positions for the $600,000 final were drawn following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for post one through five. 1 The Ice Dutchess 2 Millies Possesion 3 Miss Trixton 4 Asiago 5 Sweet Chapter 6 When Dovescry 7 Winndevie 8 Grimmie Hanover 9 Seaside Bliss 10 Only Take Cash Dorsoduro Hanover, with Matt Kakaley in the bike, won the $34,000 Preferred for trainer Ron Burke at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday in 1:49.4, topping four others eligible to next week's Breeders Crown Open Pace. Youaremycandygirl and Courtly Choice left alertly, with the mare taking a short lead until Courtly Choice got the lead, followed by favorite Geez Joe and Dorsoduro Hanover in a first quarter of :26.1. Geez Joe took to the outside and rushed to the top, keeping the pace through a :55.1 half. Dorsoduro Hanover came out and fired first over, reaching Geez Joe around the second turn in three-quarters timed in 1:23.1. Dorsoduro Hanover plowed ahead to take command as Geez Joe was overtaken by a closing Jimmy Freight and a persistent Youaremycandy girl, crossing the wire in 1:49.4. Dorsoduro Hanover (Somebeachsome--Deer Valley Miss) was bred by Hanover Shoe Farm, is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Dorsoduro Hanover paid $22.50 to win. Post positions for the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace were drawn on Saturday evening. 1 Easy Lover Hanover 2 Jimmy Freight 3 American History 4 Geez Joe 5 Courtly Choice 6 Always A Prince 7 Dorsoduro Hanover 8 McWicked 9 Filibuster Hanover 10 This Is The Plan To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society            

MILTON, ONT, October 18, 2019 - Earlier in the evening harness racing driver Yannick Gingras upended two unbeaten juveniles in capturing Breeders Crown eliminations. Gingras was on the other side of the fence in the lone $32,500 (CAD) Crown elimination for juvenile pacing colts and this time his unbeaten Tall Dark Stranger tasted defeat for the first time as Papi Rob Hanover and driver Dave Miller turned the tables in capturing the event in 1:50 2/5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday. Tall Dark Stranger was sent off as the odds-on choice in the field of 10 necessary to find eight horses for the final. Gingras sent him to the front early and he seated Cattlewash in the pocket and cut the opening fraction in :27 4/5 as Papi Rob Hanover and Major Betts both found spots along the pylons. Tall Dark Stranger appeared to be cruising on the lead until Miller made a sudden move and engaged the leader. The two hooked up for an extended duel but Papi Rob Hanover overtook the favorite just past the :55 1/5 opening half. Miller kept the pace lively and did not allow an outer tier flow to develop kicking his third quarter in :27 1/5 with the teletimer flashing 1:22 2/5. Papi Rob Hanover, sent off at 3-2 was second in the Metro to Tall Dark Stranger but on this night it was his rival that failed to engage in the final eighth of a mile as Miller worked on Papi Rob Hanover and got the desired result. A final quarter of :28 flat snapped Tall Dark Stranger's seven race win streak and assured the winner a decent draw for the final. Cattlewash finished third followed by Mayhem Hanover in fourth. Rounding out those headed for next Friday's final are Freedom Warrior, Allywag Hanover, Major Betts and Put To Right. To see the race, click here. David McDuffee owns Papi Rob Hanover a son of Somebeachsomewhere and Brett Pelling trains the colt who returned $5 to win. "I knew we had to finish in the top eight so I asked Brett before the race what the strategy was," Miller said. "He said 'I came here to win' so we accomplished that," said Miller. "I was going to sit and just come late but when I saw the quarter in :27 4/5 I figured I better go. He was strong." "He's the real deal," said Pelling. "He's never done anything wrong. He had post 9 in the Metro final and got beat and I didn't want to take a chance drawing outside again." The post positions for the Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Pace will be drawn at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. By winning his elimination, Papi Rob Hanover is guaranteed to draw anywhere from post one to post five. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONT, October 18, 2019 - Trainer-driver Brandon Bates will make his Breeders Crown harness racing debut following a 1:50.2 blowout victory on Friday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the opening elimination for two-year-old pacing fillies with his Rockin Image filly Priceless. A group of 21 rookie pacing fillies were split into three $32,500 (CAD) eliminations to determine the field for next Friday's (October 25) $600,000 final. The first elimination saw Bates blast Priceless to the front while Gai Waterhouse secured pocket to a :26.3 opening quarter. Priceless raced uncontested to a :55 half and faced far-turn pressure from Baby Your The Best tipping first over from third. Past three-quarters in 1:22.4, Priceless opened her lead through the stretch chased by Reflect With Me closing from third over for second while Baby Your The Best settled for third. "Actually she did it pretty easy," Bates said after the race. "She's got more in the tank. I thought all year that she belongs in the conversation." Winning her seventh race from 10 starts, Priceless has earned $344,912 for owners Kevin Miller and Bert Hochsprung. She paid $6.50 to win. To see the race replay, click here. Lyons Sentinel delivered as the 1-5 favourite in the second fastest elimination on the night to hold off a pocket move from Marloe Hanover. Betalady launched from the outermost post in the field of seven to take the lead with Marloe Hanover sitting second to a :26.4 opening quarter. Marloe Hanover soon popped pocket to take control as driver Tim Tetrick sent Lyons Sentinel towards the front approaching a :55.1. Lyons Sentinel led the field to the final turn, speeding to three-quarters in 1:22.4, and maintained command through the stretch as Marloe Hanover angled wide but only gave pursuit from second. Looksgoodinaromper closed from last for third. "She just keeps impressing me more and more every time I sit behind her," Tetrick said after the race. "I wasn't [planning on] going to the front but I didn't want to get away too far back and let some of the better [fillies] get away from me. I put her on the lead, which I don't think that's her best game, but she paced all the way to the wire today and the plugs were still in." Collecting her seventh-consecutive victory in her 11th start, Lyons Sentinel has finished no worse than second in her career. The daughter of Captaintreacherous--racing for owner Threelyonsracing--has surpassed $600,000 in earnings. The division leader heads into the final facing a firm challenge from other elimination winner Priceless. "I followed Brandon Bates' filly in the Kentuckiana," Tetrick said. "I had a filly I thought was okay but he blew my doors off there." "As it stands we're really looking forward to next week, but it's going to be a horse race," winning trainer Jim King Jr. said after the race. "I hope we're ready for them. [Priceless] was impressive; that was I really good mile tonight. I hope she was watching us too. I think she has a little in reserve and I hope we don't have to use it all up yet." Lyons Sentinel paid $2.50 to win. To see the replay, click here. New Year ground down 1-5 favourite Alicorn to take the second elimination, stopping the clock in 1:52. Driver Corey Callahan floated New Year into fourth while Lady Lou led Alicorn to a :27 first quarter. Alicorn soon circled to the front moving to the backside and strolled to a :56.1 half while Callahan edged New Year first over heading to the far turn. New Year ranged closer to Alicorn pacing to three-quarters in 1:24.4 and drew alongside the Ontario Sires Stakes champ in the stretch. Alicorn tried to stay straight through the lane as New Year dug into the pacesetter before pushing past in the final eighth to win. Lady Lou--off a pocket trip--finished third while Shouldabeenatd, with the highest earnings of the fourth-place finishers, coming from second over to qualify for the final in fourth. "She's like the perfect combination of Drop The Ball and Somebeach[somewhere]," Corey Callahan said after the race. "Drop The Ball [her dam] was really quick and this filly just carries her speed a long ways. You don't really feel her change gears but she hits it. It's a good feeling." A filly by Somebeachsomewhere, New Year--a homebred for Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham--made her career debut in early September. She has since won four races from five starts and earned $99,930. "She's really fresh," Callahan also said. "She's gone a couple of big heats--that heat at Lexington was huge. Today she didn't have to work quite as hard as she did down there, so I think we have fresh legs going into the final." New Year returned $6.40 to win. To see the replay, click here. The post position draw for the $600,000 2-Year-Old Filly Pace final took place following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for post positions one through five. 1 Lyons Sentinel 2 Alicorn 3 Priceless 4 New Year 5 Lady Lou 6 Looksgoodinaromper 7 Marloe Hanover 8 Reflect With Me 9 Baby Your The Best 10 Shouldabeenatd From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONT, October 18, 2019 - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras set up shop in the winner's circle to launch the Breeders Crown elimination weekend festivities on Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A pair of eliminations for the 2-Year-Old Filly Trot and a single elimination for the 2-Year-Old Colt Trot were contested. Gingras drove Synergy to a 1:55 win in the $32,500 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot elimination. The field left evenly except for Chestnut Hill, who galloped off the gate while mid-pack Beads went to the front as the rest of the field found early spots. Back Of The Neck sat behind the leader into a :27.2 first quarter while Synergy sat in fourth. Synergy was in a good spot going into the half as favorite Amigo Volo and outsider Horse Trader jumped, leaving a big lead for Beads and a clear path for Synergy on the inside through a half in :57. By the 1:25.4 three-quarters, Beads was being chased strongly by Third Shift, who went four wide into the stretch, along with Rome Pays Off charging up the middle and Synergy riding the rail. Those three left Beads behind and as Third Shift dueled with Rome Pays Off, Gingras glided by them to win by a length in 1:55. Synergy (Father Patrick--Southwind Sauna), is trained by Per Engblom. The colt was bred by Southwind Farms and is owned by Brittany Farms, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and David Anderson. Third Shift nosed Rome Pays Off for the place. Chestnut Hill recovered from the early break and finished fourth. The top-seven finishers from the elimination advanced to the final to join the trio of Capricornus, Port Perry and Real Cool Sam, who all took byes to the final. Moon Bridge, Beads and Amigo Volo finished fifth through seventh to qualify for the next Friday's (October 25) $600,000 final. Synergy paid $36.90 to win. To watch the replay, click here. Sister Sledge regained her winning form and in the process ended the undefeated reign of Hypnotic AM in capturing the first of two $32,500 eliminations of the Breeders Crown for juvenile trotting fillies. Gingras guided Sister Sledge to the lead in the early stages and released 1-5 favorite Hypnotic AM and driver Brian Sears well before the :27 2/5 opening quarter marker. Those two continued in that order through middle fractions of :56 1/5 and 1:24 4/5 as only Violet Stride attempted to rally on the outside without cover but couldn't get reasonably close to the top pair. In the homestretch Gingras tipped the daughter of Father Patrick to the outside and Sister Sledge rolled right by the favorite to score by a length. Hypnotic AM entered the Crown elimination unbeaten in seven prior starts but had to settle for second here. Shishito saved ground most of the way and finished third with Violet Stride and Madame Sherry earning final berths. Burke Racing Stable, Jason Merillo, J & T Silva, Purnell & Libby and Weaver-Bruscemi LLC share partnership in Sister Sledge now an eight time winner in 10 starts as a freshman. "I rushed her a bit out of the two hole at The Red Mile," said Gingras, "And she got rough. Here I waited a bit and she was strong." Trainer Burke was frustrated with a second and third place finish in Grand Circuit action at The Red Mile but found the answers he was looking for. "We decided to change her bridle after the Pennsylvania Championship," Burke said of the mistake. "She's as good a filly as there is out there." Sister Sledge returned $13.80 to win. To watch the replay click here.  It was Gingras once again putting the end to another unbeaten streak in the second $32,500 Breeders Crown elimination for juvenile trotting fillies when he guided Ms Savannah Belle to victory with previously flawless Ramona Hill had to settle for third. Ms Savannah Belle started from post eight but Gingras was quick to energize her at the outset grabbing the early lead then yielding to Indiana-based filly May Baby before the :27 3/5 opening quarter was clocked. Ms Savannah Belle stayed close up in the pocket as May Baby carved out lively fractions of :56, 1:24 4/5 for James Yoder. Gingras wasted little time and angled Ms Savannah Belle to challenge into the homestretch and the daughter of Muscle Hill took off quickly rolling past the leader and drawing clear from other rivals to post a 1:53 2/5 clocking. Wine Rack Hanover rallied along the inside after a pylon-sitting trip for second just ahead of Ramona Hill who went a long way on the outside without cover in a difficult grinding effort. May Baby settled for fourth after doing the early leg work and Peaceful Way champion Dip Me Hanover rallied late for the final berth. Sent off as a 4-1 offering Ms Savannah Belle returned $10.60 winning for the fourth time in 8 career starts for owner-breeder Al Libfeld and trainer Per Engblom. "We decided to race her just the first week at The Red Mile and get her ready for this," said Engblom following the victory. "I think she'll be even better next week. "She had some bad luck early she drew outside (post 10) in the Doherty and raced well there." Ms Savannah Belle paid $10.60 to win. To see the replay, click here. Post positions for the 2-Year-Old Colt Trot and 2-Year-Old Filly Trot finals were drawn following the eliminations. Elimination winners drew for inside post positions one through five. $600,000 2-Year-Old Colt Trot 1 Beads 2 Synergy 3 Moon Bridge 4 Amigo Volo 5 Chestnut Hill 6 Rome Pays Off 7 Third Shift 8 Capricornus 9 Real Cool Sam 10 Port Perry $600,000 2-Year-Old Filly Trot 1 Hypnotic Am 2 Sister Sledge 3 May Baby 4 Dip Me Hanover 5 Ms Savannah Belle 6 Wine Rack Hanover 7 Madame Sherry 8 Shishito 9 Violet Stride 10 Ramona Hill From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ON - October 18, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park-based harness racing trainer Blake MacIntosh sends a four-pronged contingent into the Breeders Crown eliminations as he attempts to get his first shot to compete in the year-end championship. MacIntosh, whose stable has strengthened into a Grand Circuit force, rides a career-best season entering the Breeders Crown eliminations. Though he has started many in the Breeders Crown eliminations, MacIntosh has yet to send one in a final. "It'd just be a cherry on top of the sundae for the year," MacIntosh said on potentially winning a Breeders Crown. "We're close to a hundred wins and $2.6 million so winning a Breeders Crown would just be something special, especially at Mohawk--it's our home track. Winning the [Canadian Pacing] Derby this year was my biggest thrill but winning a Breeders Crown at Mohawk would probably be a little bit bigger of a thrill. They're all big wins but it'd be very special." Team Best opens MacIntosh's 'Crown' contingent on Friday (October 17) in the lone elimination for the Two-Year-Old Colt Pace. The son of Somebeachsomewhere--racing for owners Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Touchstone Farms Inc. and Daniel Plouffe--debuted a winner at Mohawk in late June but missed some of the summer due to sickness, with which MacIntosh had to deal most of the summer. "It wasn't just the Canadian barn or the American barn--both barns seemed to get [sick] at the same time," MacIntosh said. "It was an obstacle, we worked around it [and] the horses all seem to be coming around right now. The last six weeks everything's seemed to have just gone the right way and we're pretty happy with it." Finishing seventh in the $750,000 Metro Pace final, Team Best shipped to Lexington where he finished second in a division of the Bluegrass but tried racing first over the next week in the International Stallion Stakes and folded in the final quarter. He moves into the Crown off a 1:52.1 runner-up mile in a preliminary for the Kindergarten at the Meadowlands. "We were trying to decide if we were going to go to the Breeders Crown or stay in the Kindergarten with him," MacIntosh said. "But after he raced last week, I decided to give him a shot against the top colts this week. "He doesn't like a lot of air--like if you can keep him on a helmet he will follow all day long," MacIntosh also said. "If you give him a little too much air he gets a little sulky [but] he's learning more and more every start. If he gets the right trip, there's no doubt in my mind he'll be right there at the end of the mile. James MacDonald will drive Team Best--who's 15-1 on the morning line--from post 2 against Metro Pace winner and the 7-5 morning line favourite Tall Dark Stranger. Metro Pace runner-up Papi Rob Hanover is also in the field. Sweet Chapter starts MacIntosh's Saturday-night duties as she competes against the top four competitors in the Three-Year-Old Filly Trot. Her regular pilot Matt Kakaley stays in the bike as the daughter of Chapter Seven starts from post 1 against Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, runner-up Millies Possesion, third-place finisher Asiago and Kentucky Filly Futurity winner Beautiful Sin. "She can trot with them," MacIntosh said of Sweet Chapter, "and she's always right there; always gets you a cheque. I just thought that she deserved a shot to prove it again. Like in the Hambo Oaks--she was going to get a cheque but then Dave [Miller and Evident Beauty] broke and took her out and that cost her fourth or fifth. We'll hope she [can] draw well and if she can get away the way she can then she'll be right there." Earning over $200,000 from 24 starts for owners Hutt Racing Stable, Blake MacIntosh and Mortgage Boys Stable, Sweet Chapter has one other Grand Circuit mile this season: a wire-to-wire 1:54.2 victory in a $30,000 division of the Simpson Memorial. "I always thought she was a nice filly--that's why she got paid into so much because I had faith in her," MacIntosh said. "She's right on track where I think she should be and [I'm] very, very happy with her." Covered Bridge completes MacIntosh's Crown-elim starters as he competes in the second elimination for the Three-Year-Old Colt Pace. The American Ideal colt--owned by David B. Smith and James Giannuzzi--makes his second start in the MacIntosh barn after racing his other 28 starts for the Okuskos. "They just called me--they wanted him to come up to Canada and see if he's good enough for the Breeders Crown," MacIntosh said on acquiring the colt. "I trained for Jim and Dave for the last couple years. I was the underbidder on this colt as a yearling. I trained him down at Lexington before I brought him home--I made a shoeing change on him. He's a nice colt--Howie and Jessica [Okusko] did a great job with him training down and racing him for the last two years. It's made my job easier. While MacIntosh did not tinker much with equipment on Covered Bridge, the colt rebounded in his first start for the barn last week against conditioned horses at Mohawk. He popped pocket to pull a 19-1 upset in 1:50.4 under wraps and convinced MacIntosh to try the colt in the Breeders Crown. "It's a $7,500 (CAD) stake payment so it's not something cheap," MacIntosh said on deciding to try the colt in the Crown. "So I was very happy with him and I called the owners after the race and said 'I think we can go--it's up to you guys but I think at this point this group looks a little tired. At this point right now there's no standout other than Ryder's horse [Bettors Wish] and I think he can go with the rest of them so let's give it a shot.'" Covered Bridge will race against 7-5 morning line favourite Bettors Wish from post 5 with James MacDonald in the sulky. Crown supplement and Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi also competes in the second elimination from post 3 as the 9-5 second choice on the morning line. Though not entered in an elimination, Courtly Choice will prep for the Open Pace on Saturday when he starts from post 8 in the $34,000 Preferred. The four-year-old son of Art Major also battled sickness during the summer but returned to form with a 34-1 upset in the Canadian Pacing Derby. Yet he comes into Saturday making his second start after scratching sick from the Dayton Pacing Derby. "When he shipped into Lexington [for the Dayton Pacing Derby] I don't know what happened--he caught a fever of 102.5 so we scratched him," MacIntosh said. "He probably could've raced at Dayton but we wanted to race him the following week for sure. He just wasn't right that week--it's totally separate from [his earlier sickness]. His blood's back to normal now--at least back to where we want it. I don't know if he just caught something shipping from Harrington to home to Lexington--these aged horses do a lot of travelling, so they're bound to pick something up every now and then. Prior to Saturday's start Courtly Choice returned to the track in the $186,000 Allerage but faltered through the stretch in a 1:47.2 mile to finish eighth. "We wanted to make sure we had him tight for next week," MacIntosh said. "He seems to race better when he's at least had a little prep before the races like for the Canadian Pacing Derby--he raced two weeks before that." Woodbine Mohawk Park hosts two nights of eliminations for the Breeders Crown with the freshmen racing on Friday (October 18) and the sophomores and aged horses competing on Saturday (October 19). Friday's 12-race card starts at 7:50 p.m. (EDT) while Saturday's 13-race card gets underway at the regular post time of 7:10 p.m. (EDT). by Ray Cotolo for Woodbine.com    

Considering Bob McIntosh has been training for 48 years, and considering he is tied with Ron Burke for second place among harness racing trainers in Breeders Crown wins, one almost has to heed McIntosh's statement about filly trotter Only Take Cash as a warning. "This one's kind of special," said McIntosh, whose 16 Breeders Crown victories place him behind only Jimmy Takter. McIntosh realizes, however, that it's unknown how "special" will translate on the track in Saturday's Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-old filly trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Only Take Cash is in the first of the two $25,000 eliminations, where she is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 2-1 favorite Evident Beauty. When Dovescry is the 9-5 favorite in the second elimination. The top five finishers from each elim advance to the $500,000 final Oct. 26 at Mohawk. Evident Beauty edged Only Take Cash by half a length in September's Elegantimage Stakes at Mohawk while The Ice Duchess won the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. "Evident Beauty sat on (Only Take Cash's) back and just nailed us at the wire," McIntosh said about the Elegantimage. "When you race against the good ones it just comes down to the trip sometimes. I don't see anybody in the field just that dominant. It looks like a pretty close race to me. There's some very, very nice horses in there." McIntosh feels Only Take Cash is right up there with the best of them. She has won 15 of 19 career races, earned $648,561, and is a two-time Ohio Sire Stakes champion. This year she has hit the board in all 10 starts with seven wins and $376,421 in earnings. The homebred filly, by Cash Hall out of Armbro Affair, is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables, Dave Boyle, and Marv Chantler's Mardon Stables. "She's been amazing," McIntosh said. "She hasn't had that many starts but she's come up big every start. She's just been a dream come true. She's been special from day one and has a good attitude. She had an amazing 2-year-old year and this year just as good." The trainer is especially impressed by her gait and her grittiness. "She's not big, but she has no wasted motion in her gait," he said. "The biggest thing about her is, she'll give you 120 percent. She wants to win. You can't train that into them. They're either born with it or not." The best news for McIntosh is how Only Take Cash looks heading into the race. "I trained her a little bit this morning and she was as sharp as she can be," he said on Thursday. "When I came in this morning I was very pleased. She's healthy, she's sound, ready to go. The rest is up to her and the driver. It's just going to come down to trips, but I couldn't be happier with how she's going into it -- knock on my wooden head she stays healthy." If she gets the trips her trainer wants, McIntosh could add to his Breeders Crown wins, which is a source of pride for him. "I was in front for a while and then Jimmy came along," said McIntosh, who is in the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. "But it's been a great series for me. I love the Breeders Crown. It all comes down to the Breeders Crown, and I think that's a good thing. It's at the end of the year, you're going against the best, and if you can pull that one off you stamp yourself as one of the best of the year." Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Mohawk. The card features Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-old male and female trotters and pacers plus older female trotters. Eliminations were unnecessary for the Open Trot, Open Pace and Mare Pace. For complete entries, click here. Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-olds are tonight, with a 7:50 p.m. post time. For entries, click here. By Rich Fisher, for the Breeders Crown    

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