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North American drivers participating in Saturday's (Oct. 13) $1 million Yonkers International Trot face several challenges as they prepare for the event, most notably learning about their rivals -- and in some cases their own horse -- in addition to contemplating the best path to victory in a 10-horse field going 1-1/4 miles. "My deal is to know the competition the best I can and make decisions as it plays out," said Brian Sears, who is driving in the International Trot for the third time since its renewal in 2015 at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. Sears will be behind Cruzado Dela Noche, starting from post six, on Saturday. "My job is to learn some of these horses, which is what makes this race so difficult to win. You don't really know the competition as well as you'd like. As the race unfolds, you'll see things happen and you try to make decisions to put your horse in the best spot. But I think you have to be aggressive. You have to be as aggressive as you can get away with." Winners of the three most recent International Trots each accomplished the feat in different ways -- one of which no longer exists. In 2015, Norway's Papagayo E got a ground-saving trip behind leader Creatine and used the passing lane to earn the victory. The passing lane has since been eliminated at Yonkers. In 2016, U.S. representative Resolve led virtually from start to finish en route to his triumph. Last year, Italy's Twister Bi raced on the outside and methodically chased down leader Resolve before powering away to win by 5-1/2 lengths. Marion Marauder, who is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday's race, finished second last year. He started from post No. 1 and got away in seventh place around the first turn. He will start again from post one on Saturday. "When I had the rail last year it was a learning experience," said Scott Zeron, who drives Marion Marauder. "I pushed him off the wings enough to get him well situated, but I had to have a lot of luck on my side as well with not being able to pull the right line and go to the outer flow. "It could end up like that again this year, but I know I have a horse that's capable of winning this race. I let him leave at his own comfort. It will be playing it by ear when I go off the wings. We'll see two steps off the gate where I'm going to get situated. Hopefully I have an opportunity to race him." Trotting races at the distance of 1-1/4 miles are nothing new at Yonkers and looking back at 37 such races on Sundays in July to September shows horses that were no worse than third at the half-mile point won nearly 84 percent of the time. Horses that led at the half won 18 times while horses that were second won seven and horses third won six. Posts one and six produced the most winners, with seven each, followed by post five with six. "It's a benefit," Zeron said about the extra experience of racing 1-1/4 miles at Yonkers. "The difference with this race compared to a regular Sunday is having 10 horses that all can win. There are no long shots. These are the best of the best." Jason Bartlett, who has won seven driving titles at Yonkers including the past four, is making his first appearance in the International Trot. He will drive France's Up And Quick, who counts the 2015 Prix d'Amerique among five career Group 1 wins in Europe. Up And Quick will start from post two. "I thought the draw was very good," Bartlett said. "It gives me options. I don't really know the horse, but I'll do a little homework on him and go from there. I've talked to Bjorn Goop who drove him three starts ago. I'll watch some replays on him. That's all I can really do. I'll get a feel for him going into the turn when I score him down and that's it. "I think the biggest part I've got to learn is a little bit about the competition, each horse in the race. It's the best trotters in the world, the best drivers; you can't really go in with a game plan. "For me, it's my first time in this race. Winning it would be very special to me being that it's my home track. I'm just thankful to have the opportunity. It's going to be an interesting race." Sears will be driving Sweden's Cruzado Dela Noche for the first time. Cruzado Dela Noche raced in the U.S. at ages 2 and 3, winning a division of the International Stallion Stakes and finishing third in the Peter Haughton Memorial. In Europe, his victories include the Group 1 Copenhagen Cup. "I just hope that he's on his toes and puts up a good race," Sears said. "(To win) would be a feather in your cap. It's one of the biggest races and it's very hard to get done. To be able to accomplish that would be quite a victory, no doubt." Yannick Gingras, with Ariana G, and Tim Tetrick, with Will Take Charge, are both making their second appearances in the International Trot and enter with horses they drive regularly. It will be the first time on a half-mile track for Ariana G, a two-time Dan Patch Award-winner who is the lone mare in the race. "She's very square gaited, she's two fingers to drive, so I don't see (the half) being any problem at all," Gingras said. "I think if anything it will work in her favor. She's got it all, honestly. She's got the speed, you can stop-and-go anytime you want, and she's great gaited. I keep saying about her being great gaited, I hope I don't jinx her. "She's just so smart," he added. "Maybe that's her best attribute. I think I've got as good a shot as anybody." Racing at Yonkers begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The International Trot is race No. 8 on the card and scheduled for 3:40 p.m. The day also includes the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot, featuring the fastest trotter in history, Homicide Hunter, plus the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace, featuring the continued rivalry between McWicked and New Zealand-bred Lazarus. Following is the field in post-position order for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1 2-Up And Quick-Jason Bartlett-Antoine Lherete-10/1 3-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/1 4-Ringostarr Treb-Wim Paal-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5-Pastore Bob-Johan Untersteiner-Johan Untersteiner-8/1 6-Cruzado Dela Noche-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-12/1 7-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-6/1 8-Arazi Boko-Alessandro Gocciadoro-Alessandro Gocciadoro-15/1 9-Lionel-Goran Antonsen-Daniel Reden-10/1 10-Slide So Easy-Flemming Jensen-Flemming Jensen-15/1 * Lionel and Slide So Easy start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has no hesitation in declaring Im Themightyquinn as the best horse he has prepared. The retired champion won 58 races, including three Inter Dominion Championships and earned $4,567,456 in prizemoney. But Hall was unable to win the prestigious Victoria Cup with three attempts with Im Themightyquinn. “He didn’t have any luck in his three Victoria Cup runs and now I’m hoping it will be fourth-time lucky with Chicago Bull in the Cup on Saturday night,” Hall said. Chicago Bull has won at 39 of his 59 starts and is in peak form after effortless wins at his past nine starts. He is handily drawn at the No. 3 barrier on the front line in this week’s $200,000 Victoria Cup over 2240m. He possesses excellent gate speed, but it is problematic that he will be able to cross the speedy Tiger Tara, who begins from the No. 2 barrier. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said “There’s a bit of speed on the inside and the outside and I’ll have a few decisions to make early. But he’s good enough to win.” Tiger Tara, trained by Kevin Pizzuto and to be handled by Todd McCarthy, appeals as the toughest for Chicago Bull to beat. Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull last clashed when they met in the final of the Inter Dominion Championship over 2936m at Gloucester Park last December. Tiger Tara led from the No. 1 barrier and was still in front on the home turn.  He fought on grandly to finish third behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Before that, he raced in the breeze when second to Chicago Bull in a 2536m qualifying heat, led and won a 2100m heat from Lazarus (at Bunbury) and had a tough run in the breeze when second to Lennytheshark over 2130m. Im Themightyquinn contested the Victoria Cup at Melton in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He was favourite at $3.50 in 2010 when he was in 11th place in the one-wide line, under lock and key with 500m to travel before getting clear approaching the home turn and thundering home, six wide, to finish third to Mr Feelgood. In 2011, Im Themightyquinn was the $4.20 second favourite from the No. 2 barrier. He raced in sixth position in the one-out, two-back position and was held up for most of the final circuit before finishing last behind Smoken Up. Then a year later he was the $1.60 favourite from barrier three. He led for the first 500m and then trailed the pacemaker Terrorway before getting clear 300m from home and after going three wide on the home turn and hitting the front 130m from the post he wilted slightly and finished third behind Caribbean Blaster. Ken Casellas

The time for talk is over. Following the departure of superstar pacer and reigning Grand Circuit champion Lazarus to the northern hemisphere earlier this year, the debate has raged. Who holds the mantle as the best pacer in this part of the world? And everybody has an opinion. Many believe pint-sized Perth based pacer Chicago Bull is the heir apparent, his form is without doubt sensational in his home state but he’s yet to prove himself on the eastern seaboard. Until now. The ‘Wonder from The West’ has arrived in Melbourne in preparation for Saturday night’s Gr.1 $200,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup, the opening leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series. Prepared by the masterful father/son combination of Gary Hall Snr and Jnr, the Bettors Delight six-year-old has won his past 9 starts - all at his home track of Gloucester Park. But history is against the millionaire pacer. Since first being staged back in 1974 when Kings Mead scored, only once has a sandgroper proven triumphant and that was the mighty Preux Chevalier back in 1984. And since the turn of the millennium, Perth trained pacers haven’t fired in the Garden State feature. That list also includes champion pacer Im Themightyquinn (58 wins - $ 4,567,456). Six runners have attempted to grab glory but the best result is a 6th placing (twice). 2015 - David Hercules - 6th behind Christen Me 2013 - Im Victorious - 12th behind For A Reason 2011 - Im Themightyquinn - 12th behind Smoken Up 2005 - Ohoka Ace - 8th behind Be Good Johnny 2003 - Baltic Eagle - 9th behind Young Rufus 2000 - Saab - 6th behind Breenys Fella So, can the ‘Bull’ etch his name into the record books? Can Snr and Jnr claim more Grand Circuit glory? As it stands, Snr has trained 26 Grand Circuit winners while Jnr has driven 22 Grand Circuit winners. Standing in their way is 11 rivals boasting outstanding credentials headlined by local ace Shadow Sax, prepared by record breaking Emma Stewart, fresh from her 309 win season last term. Triple Victoria Cup winning reinsman Chris Alford will partner Shadow Sax and aims for his 19th Grand Circuit victory. The late Vin Knight remains the most winningest driver of the Victoria Cup with 5 victories. Fellow Victorian based trainer David Aiken, a dual Cup winner with recently retired Lennytheshark, prepares both Im The Boss and Wrappers Delight. Im The Boss, a winner of the Cobram, Mildura, Shepparton and Kilmore Cups will be handled by Greg Sugars while Kima Frenning sticks with in-form pacer and last start Smoken Up Sprint winner Wrappers Delight. The last female driver to land success in the Victoria Cup was Kate Gath (Caribbean Blaster) back in 2012. Three female drivers have won the Victoria Cup – Kate Gath, Amy Tubbs and Natalie Rasmussen. Speaking of the fairer sex, both Carlas Pixel and Ameretto are both looking to become the first mare to win the Victoria Cup. The Dean Braun trained Carlas Pixel, the recently crowned Australian Mare of the Year; finished an eye-catching 5th last week while the Kerryn Manning prepared Ameretto finished a close-up second behind Wrappers Delight after sitting in the trail. But both mares have drawn awkwardly off the second-line. The state of New South Wales has a proud and strong history in the Victoria Cup and head south with strength in numbers this year. Winners that have come from north of the Murray River include Don’t Retreat (1976), Paleface Adios (1977), Koala King (1978, 79 & 80), Frosty Imp (1981), Jofess (2002), Double Identity (2003), Mr Feelgood (2010) and For a Reason (2013). Koala King remains the only pacer to have claimed three Victoria Cups. The team from the Harbour City this year has five representatives including a trio from the Shane and Lauren Tritton stable with Gotta Go Ya Hu, Franco Nelson and My Alpha Rock as they chase their biggest victory. Lauren Tritton will partner Franco Nelson and like Kima Frenning, is aiming to become the latest female to drive a winner of the Victoria Cup. Kevin Pizzuto is duly represented with millionaire Tiger Tara and last start Paul Fitzpatrick FFA winner Majordan stepping out while Craig Cross will start last start Les Chant Cup winner Mach Doro. Dual Victorian Cup winning driver Luke McCarthy will take the drive behind the speedy beginner. Surprisingly, there is no representation from New Zealand this year. The 2018 Victorian Cup field has won 263 races collectively while amassing more than $6.7 million in stakes. The Australian Pacers Grand Circuit began in 1977 and was designed to be the showpiece of the Australian Harness Racing Industry with horses competing from every State within Australia.  In 1992 New Zealand was admitted and the Circuit was renamed the Australasian Grand Circuit.   The best horses available are brought together to race for very attractive prizemoney.  With the associated opportunities for promotion and marketing, this benefits owners and harness racing clubs as well as the industry overall.  In its first season in 1977, total stakemoney for the eight races forming the Circuit was $554,020.  Now, the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series is racing for total stakemoney of $3.65 million. Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. The horse with the greatest number of points is crowned Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit Champion. So, who will strike the first blow in the new season of Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit racing? Time will tell.   Chris Barsby

The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale was held this past week in Lexington Kentucky and set all-time new records grossing nearly $40 million for 702 yearlings sold - an increase of 9.2% over last year. Leading the charge on the pacing side were the father-son team Somebeachsomewhere and Captaintreacherous. “The Beach” was once again the number one pacing sire with 26 yearlings sold for a total of $2,763,000 and an incredible average of $106,269. “The Captain” had a phenomenal sale and was second behind his sire with total sales of $5,042,000 for 58 yearlings sold averaging $86,931. The highest priced pacing yearling of the was Treasure Trove by Somebeacsomewhere. Treasure Trove, the full brother to Captaintreacherous, provided some spirited bidding with the hammer being knocked down at $360,000 and was undoubtedly the highlight of the sale. Two Captaintreacherous yearling colts sold for $300,000 Hip# 41 Das Deo and Hip# 54 Force N Fury. Das Deo, is a full brother to the brilliant two-year-old De Los Cielos Deo p,2,1:51.3f-’18, winner of 5 races and $194,210 in stakes earnings this season. Hip # 54 Force N Fury was also sold for $300,000 and purchased by Tony Alanga – the trainer of Captaintreacherous. Force N Fury is a half-brother to the $500,000 Messenger Stakes & $281,000 Cane Pace Champion Stay Hungary p,3,1:47.3 ($1,295,709) by Somebeachsomewhere. Captaintreacherous also sold a filly, Hip #19 Emissary, for $225,000, two colts for $200,000 and 20 yearlings for $100,000+. Captaintreacherous leads all sires on the North American 2YO Money Winning Sires List from his first crop to race with 113 foals, 83 starters, 35 in 1:55 or faster and earnings of $2,587,674 to date.   TOP FIVE LEXINGTON PACING SIRE AVERAGES                 STALLION                                          SOLD                                        AVERAGE   Somebeachsomewhere                        26                                           $106,269   Captaintreacherous                              58                                           $  86,931   Bettor's Delight                                     21                                           $  70,095   American Ideal                                      30                                           $  49,933   Sweet Lou                                              26                                           $  49,462 Harnesslink Media

Diamond Creek Farm is pleased to announce that champion pacer Sweet Lou’s 2019 stud fee will be raised to $12,500. The combined sales and racing success of Sweet Lou’s offspring provides exceptional value to those who supported the horse in his first couple of crops.  With stakes winners like Blood Money, Pyro, Lyons Nighthawk, and She’s Alright, Sweet Lou is currently in the top 3 for leading money winning sires of two year olds in 2018 along with average earnings per foal. When the stud fee is taken into account, Sweet Lou is head and shoulders above the rest. During the recent Lexington grand circuit meet, the phenomenally talented Sweet Lou filly Warrawee Ubeaut crushed the world record for a 2 year old on a mile track.  Originally set by Sweet Lou himself, Warrawee Ubeaut paced an otherworldly 1:48.3.  Later that week, No Mas Amor won his ISS division in 1:49.1, just missing the world record for 2 year old colts. The Lexington sale provided another shining moment for the offspring of Sweet Lou as he sold 26 yearlings for an average of $46,462.  This comes to more than six times his stud fee, a huge return on investment for breeders. The loyalty breeders have shown has given Sweet Lou a firm foothold at the top of the sire lists. We expect this to continue into the future. The future looks bright, not only for Sweet Lou, but for the other stallions standing under the Diamond Creek Farm banner. All other stallions fees remain unchanged for 2019. A Rocknroll Dance: $5,000 Always B Miki: $12,500 Creatine: $4,000 (stands in Ohio at Sugar Valley Farm) Downbytheseaside: $6,000 (stands in Ohio at Sugar Valley Farm) Father Patrick: $20,000 Ponder: $3,000 (stands in Indiana at Schwartz Boarding Farm) Southwind Frank: $10,000 Sweet Lou: $12,500

SYDNEY — Thousands of angry demonstrators gathered outside the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday night to protest the use of its iconic roof to promote a horse race. Racing authorities projected 20 minutes of images of the draw for the starting positions for Saturday’s The Everest horse race at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse. Protesters yelled “Shame” and used lights to attempt to obscure the projected images. The New South Wales state government triggered a public backlash last week when it overturned a decision by the Opera House’s chief executive, Louise Herron, not to allow the World Heritage-listed building to be used to promote such a commercial event. Since last Friday, more than 250,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Herron’s decision to be upheld. Anti-gambling advocates say the controversy is evidence of the political sway of the horse racing industry. Racing NSW, the race organizer, had planned to project the draw live onto the Opera House. But it opted to conduct the draw hours earlier in case the protest disrupted the Opera House promotion. Betting was suspended between the time of the draw and when the result was projected. Demonstrators protest against the decision to project race results on the Sydney Opera House.AP Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres called on Sydney to end the bitter division over the Opera House’s use. “I think it’s been a little bit hysterical to be honest with you,” Ayres told reporters. “This is a good opportunity for New South Wales and Sydney to come together.” The NSW Heritage Council, an adviser to the government on heritage issues, said it was disappointed with the government’s decision to turn the “international architectural masterpiece” into a billboard. “The use of the Opera House for the commercial advertising of this event is completely unsatisfactory and is an inappropriate use of this significant heritage place,” council chair Stephen Davies wrote in a letter to state Premier Gladys Berejiklian delivered on Tuesday. The Everest has 13 million Australian dollars ($9 million) in prize money and is billed as the world’s richest turf race. By Associated Press  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Training wrapped up on a hot and humid morning Sunday at the Red Mile. There were few clouds to provide cover from the beaming sunshine; the old barns and trees in the backstretch providing a reprieve from the sweltering conditions.  Jimmy Takter brought a horse in off the track and returned to his barn around 10 a.m. Relaxed a day after sending Lazarus to a second-place finish in the Allerage Farms Open Pace and the morning before starting Manchego and Tactical Landing on the Kentucky Futurity Card, Takter joined assistant Per Engblom at a table on the patio at the end of his barn facing the racetrack.  Still in his black, white, and green driving colors, Takter sat back. Legs crossed and comfortable in the shade, he pulled up a replay on his phone of Great Vintage’s second-place effort in the $44,000 Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers the night before and smiled as he watched the 10-year-old battle with Bit Of A Legend in the stretch while pacing a 1:51.1 mile. “This is one of my favorite horses,” Takter said, his eyes glued to the screen. “To do what he’s done and still be going at 10 years old is amazing.” Although Takter’s Hall of Fame resume includes four Hambletonians, six Hambletonian Oaks, 33 Breeders Crowns, an Elitlopp and a Prix d’Amérique just to name a few, Takter still has items on his bucket list as the Grand Circuit season winds down in his final year of training. Namely, he has never won the International Trot. It’s a race he’s dreamed of winning since he started his career in Sweden.  “It was a race that I saw a lot before I even came here. The French horses came over and won. This was a classic, classic race. I’m really glad they brought it back. People love it,” Takter said. “This was long before I came over here that I knew about the race and then it unfortunately disappeared for a while and wasn’t on the radar. Now of course, we just have two $1 million races in the sport, the Hambletonian and this one. “It would mean a lot. I would be really, really excited,” he continued. “This is my last year of training and to end up winning, that’s another stripe on my shoulder. It would be something.” Takter has competed in the International Trot twice before. He trained and drove Whiteland Image to a sixth-place finish in the 1995 edition, the last before the race would be revived in 2015. Takter started Creatine in the Yonkers International Trot’s reappearance; the Andover Hall stallion returned from a European campaign to represent the United States, finishing third after setting the tempo. “Long, long time ago. I don’t even remember it to be honest with you. I don’t think my horse was any good that day. They used me in the last spot, they had an opening or whatever,” Takter said of his International debut with Whiteland Image. “That was the year Melander won, His Majesty. Then I raced Creatine three years ago. He was third, so it’s time to do it now.” This year, Takter will start Ariana G in the $1 million stakes. The 4-year-old mare will represent the United States for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. One of the last of the 10 competitors to be announced, Takter accepted the invitation from Yonkers Raceway race secretary Steve Starr just after her win in the Dayton Trotting Derby September 28. “I had it in the back of my head that it would be interesting to race her there,” Takter said. “I know she’s only 4 and you never know, but she showed she could compete against the aged horses. Especially now that she won at Dayton, I feel very good about it. “I talked to Steve before Dayton and I told him, I don’t want to go unless the filly is good,” Takter continued. “He actually called and invited me for the $250,000 (Harry Harvey Invitational), and I told him I’m not going to jeopardize the Breeders Crown for that race, but I’d do it for the International Trot. I waited to see how she raced at Dayton and when she won there, then I knew.” Ariana G entered the Dayton Trotting Derby off a third in the Maple Leaf Trot September 1 and a sixth in the Preferred at Mohawk September 11. She tipped three-wide off the turn in the $150,000 stakes, grinding down Guardian Angel AS and holding off Warrawee Roo to post a 1:52.1 victory and establish a new track record. “I thought she was going to race good, but we were a little bit nervous because we had sick horses up in Canada and she hadn’t raced good the start before, so we were really a little bit worried going into it that she wouldn’t be herself,” Takter admitted. “I think she was 90 percent and I think with this start in her, I think we’re going to be good.” Ariana G’s off-the-pace win in the Dayton Trotting Classic is the 26th of her 37-race career. Victories in the Doherty Memorial, Peaceful Way, Hambletonian Oaks, Elegant Image, the Breeders Crown at 2 and 3, the Graduate Final, and Hambletonian Maturity contributed to her $2.3 million bankroll.   “She’s been a World Champion from 2 years old and she’s just been phenomenal,” Takter remarked. “Every year, she just gets a little bit more mature. Now she’s a 4-year-old, she’s starting to look more professional, but she’s been a class horse from day one.” Despite her impressive record, Ariana G has never raced on a half-mile track and has never raced further than 9 furlongs. She will have to navigate the turns of Yonkers’ half-mile oval five times in the 1 ¼-mile International Trot.  Ariana G will face nine rivals in the Yonkers International Trot: Arazi Boko (Italy), Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden), Lionel (Norway), Marion Marauder (Canada), Pastore Bob (Sweden), Ringostarr Treb (Italy), Slide So Easy (Denmark), Up And Quick (France), and Will Take Charge (Canada). She drew post four and is a 5-1 morning line with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. “She’s never raced on a half-mile, but I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. She’s pretty handy,” Takter said. “I really don’t know the European horses too much. There’s a couple of horses who can really bust out of the gate good and I don’t know if they have the stamina. I think the two horses that are big contenders are ‘Ariana’ and Marion Marauder. Whoever gets the best trip is going to be close there. “I don’t think I want to see her do the dirty work too much,” he continued. “It’s a mile-and-a-quarter. If she’s sitting fourth or fifth with decent horses in front of her, maybe working out a second-over trip the last lap, would be the dream spot.” The $1 million Yonkers International Trot is slated for Saturday, October 13 at Yonkers Raceway. The card will also feature a pair of $250,000 invitationals, the Harry Harvey Trot and Dan Rooney Pace. For more information on the event and its participants, click here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

It's been six years since Wilhelm Paal competed in the U.S. and his return will not go unnoticed. Paal, a 58-year-old native of Germany, is back to drive European standout Ringostarr Treb in Saturday's $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. Ringostarr Treb, the winner of Sweden's prestigious Elitloppet in May, is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind Marion Marauder at 3-1. An 8-year-old stallion, Ringostarr Treb, a son of stallion Classic Photo, has won 30 of 86 career races and $1.57 million. He is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, who won last year's International Trot with Twister Bi, and will represent Italy for owners E.V.A.M. Racing. "It's always a big honor to have a horse invited to this kind of race," Paal said. "I think we have a shot. He is a hell of a horse. I'm really happy to be with him. Hopefully he can do good on Saturday. "We are just proud to be here. This is what makes life. Not only the sport, life. What they do here at Yonkers brings people together. We should do that much more often. It's unique. It's a big thing." Paal, who has enjoyed a 40-year career as a driver and trainer, is no stranger to the International Trot. He drove Every Way to a sixth-place finish in the 1987 edition of the invitational, which was won by Callit. It was the last year the race, which began in 1959, was held at Roosevelt before moving to Yonkers. The race was discontinued following the 1995 edition, but resurrected in 2015. In addition to their Elitloppet triumph, Ringostarr Treb and Paal won this year's Group 1 Olympiatravet. "He's stepped up in class every year," Paal said of Ringostarr Treb. "When he went to Jerry, he stepped up in class again. I must say, the horse is a very smart horse. He can handle every kind of track and can do it either from the lead or with cover. It doesn't make a big difference. If I have cover, and I have a horse that sets the pace where he can come out the last quarter (mile), I think he is best that way." Paal grew up on a farm near Dusseldorf and started riding ponies at a young age before going into show jumping. At the age of 15, he began working with trotters. He won his first race in 1977. "I grew up step by step with horses," he said. After working in Germany, he opened a stable in Italy in 1989. Four years later, he won the Gran Premio Lotteria and Gran Premio Renzo Orlandi with Embassy Lobell and in 1995 he won four Group 2 events in Italy with Toss Out. Following additional successes in Italy, Paal opened a stable in France in 1999. He moved to the U.S. in 2006, while maintaining stables in Europe, and remained a presence in the States until the middle of 2012. He has operated a stable in Sweden since 2015. "I enjoy coming back to the United States and New York City," Paal said. "I liked a lot being here. It was a good experience. I'm proud that I tried it because it gives me a good feeling to know how it works in the United States. Now I'm in Sweden and we have pretty good horses." Capturing Sweden's most renowned race, the Elitlopp, was a thrill for Paal, who competed in the race seven times prior to his victory with Ringostarr Treb. "For me it meant a lot," Paal said. "You know the best horses in the world are getting an invitation. I could make it thanks to a great horse and thanks to great work that Jerry did. We are proud. "I'm working three years now in Sweden and it helps a little bit when you win the biggest race in the country where you work," he added. All of his experiences have Paal feeling like a man half his age. "I'm 58, but I feel like 30," he said, smiling. "Things are going good right now." Racing at Yonkers begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The International Trot is race No. 8 on the card and scheduled for 3:40 p.m. The day also includes the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot, featuring the fastest trotter in history, Homicide Hunter, plus the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace, featuring the continued rivalry between McWicked and New Zealand-bred Lazarus. Following is the field in post-position order for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1 2-Up And Quick-Jason Bartlett-Antoine Lherete-10/1 3-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/1 4-Ringostarr Treb-Wim Paal-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5-Pastore Bob-Johan Untersteiner-Johan Untersteiner-8/1 6-Cruzado Dela Noche-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-12/1 7-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-6/1 8-Arazi Boko-Alessandro Gocciadoro-Alessandro Gocciadoro-15/1 9-Lionel-Goran Antonsen-Daniel Reden-10/1 10-Slide So Easy-Flemming Jensen-Flemming Jensen-15/1 * Lionel and Slide So Easy start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

It's hard to believe but today harness racing's www.harnesslink.com celebrates its 16th birthday.  Harnesslink is the brainchild of international horse agent, John Curtin (J.C. International), who 16 years ago saw a need for a world-wide harness racing website that put online the latest harness racing news from around the globe. John says, "Our policy is to keep improving every single day - 365 days of the year. We have staff working every day of the year to bring you all the latest harness racing news from every corner of the world. When Harnesslink launched in 2002 there were only four harness racing websites on the internet, so we've been in a unique position to have watched the harness racing community embrace the technological world during this time. It has been our pleasure to keep harness racing fans around the world informed of what is happening within our sport. We are projected to have over 3 million unique IP users in 2018, which will make Harnesslink the world’s most read harness racing site. We are still looking for ways to improve and provide you, our customers, with better coverage throughout the world, we continously strive to do this! If any of our readers have a worthy news item, please feel free to send it to news@harnesslink.com and we will do our best, as always, to print your article. We'd like to thank all of you for coming back regularly to read Harnesslink, if you're reading this you're obviously one of our faithful followers and we thank you. Harnesslink Media

A tragedy avoided could bring triumph to Shane Tritton's team with Franco Nelson, only months from a near-death illness, well-placed for a mighty tilt at Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. The New South Wales' trainer joined Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden on RSN 927's Gait Speed ahead of yesterday's barrier draw, when Franco Nelson drew barrier six, outside Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull but still rated by some to make a forward running. This will be the Christian Cullen nine-year-old's 13th start for Tritton, all in 2018, a year of a significant up - his first Group 1 win in the Bohemia Crystal - and a significant down, which Tritton outlined on Gait Speed. "He's had an interesting year since he won his Group 1 at Miracle Mile time, we gave him a little let up and brought him up for the Len Smith," Tritton said. "We didn't know that he was racing and training with pneumonia. We didn't find this until he got crook and he actually had his intestines turned toxic and almost died." Having been first up from a two-month spell before the July 1 Len Smith Mile, Franco Nelson wouldn't return again until the September 29 Les Chant Cup, when he was fourth, 3.8m behind Victoria Cup contender Mach Doro. "We've taken our time, he's probably feeling the best I've ever had him - he's screaming at all the mares and is certainly on the top of his game," Tritton said. "I'm confident that, he's obviously going to improve with racing, but if he gets the right trip I wouldn't be swapping him for any in the race. "Someone asked me the other day what's the best horse you've ever trained. I think Nelson is a horse that can race under any conditions and if you have got to do the bullocking work he's still there at the end." While Franco Nelson's gate 6 draw and My Alpha Rock's gate 11 draw are tricky, stablemate Gotta Go Ya Hu claimed the polemarker and is well placed. "I'm very happy with all three of them, I think Nelson's a proven horse. I think Lauren will stick with him to drive, which says a lot. If you are going to take one into a battle you want one that's done it plenty of times before." Trots Media

New York, NY --- Marion Marauder, who finished second in last year's $1 million Yonkers International Trot, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday's (Oct. 13) 40th edition of the invitational, which will be raced at 1-1/4 miles at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. The 5-year-old stallion, representing Canada, was made the top choice after getting post No. 1 on Tuesday at the event's draw and press conference at Manhattan's 21 Club. Scott Zeron will drive Marion Marauder for trainer Paula Wellwood. Marion Marauder has won six of 10 races this year and finished no worse than second in any start. He heads to the International Trot off a win in the Caesars Trotting Classic on Sept. 21 at Hoosier Park. Other victories in 2018 include the John Cashman Memorial and Cleveland Trotting Classic. He was second in the Maple Leaf Trot and Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational. "It beats the heck out of the seven or eight hole, that's for sure," said Mike Keeling, who shares the training duties on Marion Marauder with his wife, Paula Wellwood, about drawing the rail. "At least we won't be parked. "He loves three weeks between races and this works out perfectly from his last start. I think he's probably a touch better than he was for the Hoosier race. We're really pleased with him right now. As long as he's in good shape and the race sets up for him, we'll be fine. "I follow the Europeans a little bit. I know Lionel, I know Ringostarr Treb. The other horses I'm not so familiar with. We'll look at the program pages. We can only do what we can do, it's up to Scott to figure out the rest." For his career, Marion Marauder has won 20 of 48 races and earned $3.08 million for owners Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. He was the 2016 Trotter of the Year after winning the Trotting Triple Crown and captured another Dan Patch Award in 2017 as best older male trotter. Marion Marauder has enjoyed success at Yonkers, with three wins and two seconds in five career starts. One of the victories came in the Yonkers Trot on his way to the Triple Crown. Ariana G, the U.S. representative and lone mare in the field of 10, drew post three and is 5-1 on the morning line. The International Trot has been won by a mare 11 times, most recently by Peace Corps in 1991. The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected in 2015. A Dan Patch Award divisional champion at ages 2 and 3, the 4-year-old Ariana G has won five of 11 races this year and heads to the International Trot off a win over male rivals in the Dayton Trotting Derby on Sept. 28. Other victories this season include the Hambletonian Maturity and Graduate Series championship. She also won her elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot and finished third in the final. For her career, Ariana G has won 26 of 37 races and earned $2.36 million for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Yannick Gingras will drive the mare for trainer Jimmy Takter. "You have to be happy with the draw," said Gingras. "But I think most of the good horses got good spots too. It will be a tactical race, but we can't complain about where we'll start. "I think she's super sharp. She raced really good in Ohio in her last start. Jimmy skipped Lexington pointing toward this race. I think it was a smart move, no doubt. I think she's got as good a shot as anybody." Will Take Charge, a second Canadian representative as a late replacement for the Netherlands' Dreammoko, drew post seven and is 6-1. The Jeff Gillis-trained 5-year-old gelding, who will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky, has won nine of 21 races this year, including the Crawford Farms Open Trot and Maxie Lee Memorial, for owner Mac Nichol. For his career, he has won 21 of 71 starts and $848,116. Elitloppet winner Ringostarr Treb, one of two horses representing Italy, leads the international contingent. The 8-year-old stallion is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, who conditioned last year's International Trot champion Twister Bi. Ringostarr Treb, who has won 30 of 86 career races and $1.57 million, will start from post four with driver Wilhelm "Wim" Paal and is 4-1. The stallion is owned by E.V.A.M. Racing. "I'm very happy about the post," Paal said. "It keeps me a little bit out of the traffic in the first turn. I can choose my own race. I think there are four or five horses that have a good shot in this race --- Marion Marauder, Up And Quick, Ariana G. For me, Lionel is a horse you should not underestimate because he shows his best at a mile-and-a-quarter and he is a classy horse. "I think the small track gives a big opportunity to the four (inside) horses. They are all good horses and were lucky in the draw." Up And Quick, who won the 2015 Prix d'Amerique, drew post two and is 10-1 with top Yonkers driver Jason Bartlett in the sulky for trainer Antoine Lherete. The 10-year-old stallion, representing France, has won 16 of 74 career races and $2.81 million. He is owned by Ecurie Quick Star. Lionel, representing Norway, drew post nine in the second tier and is 10-1 with owner Goran Antonsen set to drive. The 8-year-old stallion, trained by Daniel Reden, won his Elitloppet elimination and finished fifth in the final. He has won 23 of 69 races and $1.67 million. The remaining International Trot participants are Italy's Arazi Boko, Sweden's Cruzado Dela Noche and Pastore Bob, and Denmark's Slide So Easy. For video of the post draw click here. Racing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. The International Trot is race No. 8 on the card and scheduled for 3:40 p.m. Following is the field in post-position order for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1 2-Up And Quick-Antoine Lherete-Jason Bartlett-10/1 3-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/1 4-Ringostarr Treb-Wilhelm Paal-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5-Pastore Bob-Johan Untersteiner-Johan Untersteiner-8/1 6-Cruzado Dela Noche-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-12/1 7-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-6/1 8-Arazi Boko-Alessandro Gocciadoro-Alessandro Gocciadoro-15/1 9-Lionel-Goran Antonsen-Daniel Reden-10/1 10-Slide So Easy-Flemming Jensen-Flemming Jensen-15/1 For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today conducted the barrier draw for the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup at the Amora Hotel in Richmond. The race will be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The final field for the Group 1, $200,000 race to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night is:   1: Gotta Go Ya Hu (Shane and Lauren Tritton / Lachie Manzelmann) 2: Tiger Tara (Kevin Pizzuto / Todd McCarthy) 3: Chicago Bull (Gary Hall Snr / Gary Hall Jnr) 4: Im The Boss (David Aiken / Greg Sugars) 5: Mach Doro (Craig Cross / Luke McCarthy) 6: Franco Nelson (Shane and Lauren Tritton / Lauren Tritton) 7: Wrappers Delight (David Aiken / Kima Frenning) 8: Majordan (Kevin Pizzuto / Chris Geary) 9: Shadow Sax (Emma Stewart / Chris Alford) 10: Carlas Pixel (Dean Braun / Gavin Lang) 11: My Alpha Rock (Shane and Lauren Tritton / Josh Aiken) 12: Ameretto (Kerryn Manning / Kerryn Manning) 13: Three Ways (EM) (Andy Gath / Kate Gath)   CODY WINNELL EDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER      

Having to choose between two live chances - and personal favourites - in a Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup is a nice problem to have, but it also brings a tinge of heartbreak. For rising star driver Kima Frenning, who less than four years ago relocated to Australia from Sweden as a monte rider, she never fathomed being in such a pleasant predicament. But this morning she made the call after seeking counsel from her team, siding with Wrappers Delight over Im The Boss for Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton and beyond. "It was a very, very hard decision but I'll be driving Wrappers," she said. "I talked with Aik (trainer David Aiken) and the owners of both horses, and that's the decision we've come up with. He's done so much for me that horse (Im The Boss), but you've got to pick one."  Five-year-old Wrappers Delight heads into the Victoria Cup having taken out last weekend’s Group 2 TAB Multiplier Smoken Up Sprint, finishing ahead of three of his Vic Cup rivals on that occasion. He also won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and Hygain Breeders Crown finals last season. “He’s the up-and-comer,” she said. “I’d say there will be improvement (from last weekend). This will be his third run back and the way he raced through the Vicbreds he just kept improving. The earplugs never came off in the Smoken Up Sprint, so he should have a bit left.” Im The Boss has been a revelation since joining the Aiken stable after being claimed for $11,000. He’s since won the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Cup, Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup and the Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup. Both horses will target the TAB Inter Dominion, which kicks off in Victoria on December 1. WA star Chicago Bull is the hot favourite for the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. Frenning’s own rise in the sport in a short time has been nothing short of remarkable. She has transitioned from saddle to sulky with an ease that only comes from having an innate knowledge of standardbred horses. “It feels amazing. It’s just so special. I didn’t think I’d even be driving this much, let alone in the big races. I’ve got so many good people around me supporting me and I’m pinching myself,” she said. “It feels unreal. I’m loving it and just trying to take it all in.” Frenning hadn’t even heard of the Inter Dominion before moving Down Under, but now explains it to those back in Sweden as “the Australian version of the Elitlopp” “It’s clearly the biggest race here and to have four horses from the (Aiken) stable nominated, it’s crazy,” she said. Book your ID18 tickets today The confirmed starters for the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup in alphabetical order are: AMERETTO CARLAS PIXEL CHICAGO BULL NZ FRANCO NELSON NZ GOTTA GO YA HU NZ IM THE BOSS MACH DORO MAJORDAN MY ALPHA ROCK NZ SHADOW SAX TIGER TARA NZ WRAPPERS DELIGHT THREE WAYS NZ (Em 1)   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

YONKERS, NY, Monday, October 8, 2018--Post positions have been drawn for Saturday afternoon's (Oct. 13th) pair of Yonkers Raceway $250,000 Invitationals, the Harry Harvey Trot and Dan Rooney Pace (program pages accompany). The card will also feature the rivalry of McWicked and Lazarus battling again. The Harry Harvey goes as the seventh race (post time 3:10 PM), immediately before the $1 million Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino. Both are 10-horse fields (eight on the gate, two in the second tier) carded at the mile-and-a-quarter distance. Here's the field for the Harvey..1-Warrawee Roo (Dan Dube), 2-Top Flight Angel (Andy Miller), 3-Guardian Angel AS (Matt Kakaley), 4-In Secret (George Brennan), 5-Yes Mickey (Jason Bartlett), 6-Gruden (Tim Tetrick), 7- NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr.), 8-Sortie (Trond Smedshammer), 9-DW's NY Yank (Yannick Gingras), 10-Homidice Hunter (Brian Sears). The Rooney, going the penultimate 11th race (post time 5 PM), drew out as such..1-Nuclear Dragon (Tetrick), 2-McWicked (Sears), 3-Endeavor (Tetrick also listed), 4-Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton), 5-Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno), 6-Lazarus N (Gingras), 7-Mach it So (Bartlett), 8-Always at My Place (Brennan). Saturday's race schedule... Race 1 - 1 PM Race 2 - 1:20 PM Race 3 - 1:40 PM Race 4 - 2 PM Race 5 - 2:20 PM Race 6 - 2:40 PM Race 7 - 3:10 PM $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot (1¼ miles) Race 8 - 3:40 PM $1 million Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino (1¼ miles) Race 9 - 4:10 PM Open Trot (1¼ miles) Race 10 - 4:40 PM Trot (1¼ miles) Race 11 - 5 PM $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace Race 12 - 5:20 PM The 40th International Trot is to be drawn Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 9th) at a midtown luncheon. A reminder that races 7 and 8 are part of a special all-stakes Pick 4 with Belmont Park (Pebbles and Floral Park). Races 7 through 10 are simulcast to the French-hubbed audience. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, October 8, 2018-It wasn't quite the same as Christopher Columbus landing in the new world, but right around 9:30 Monday morning (Oct. 8th), an oversized horse trailer discovered Yonkers Raceway. The contents of said trailer were six overseas trotters set to compete in Saturday afternoon's (Oct. 13th) $1 million Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino. The three stallions-Lionel (Norway), Ringostarr Treb (Italy) and Up and Quick (France)-set up shop in the Raceway's Old Glory Building-getting the lay of the land. Video can be seen at... https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p8opx31ub8zsm2w/AAB3SLVB3MkRZIxXn7ChuvHDa?dl=0 The three geldings-Arazi Boko (Italy), Pastore Bob (Sweden) and Slide So Easy (Denmark)-said good-bye to their friends and were headed to New Jersey farms. All 10 of the participants in the 40th International-the others being Ariana G (United States), Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden), Marion Marauder (Canada) and Will Take Charge (Canada)-are due at the Raceway by 9 AM Friday (Oct. 12th) The mile-and-a-quarter trotting classic is augmented by a pair of $250,000 Invitationals, giveaways, contests, international-themed food and drink, live music, etc. There's also a special all-stakes Pick 4 wager with Yonkers (races 7 and 8) and Belmont (Pebbles and Floral Park). Note the change from the original race layout, with the Dan Rooney Invitational---led by Bit of a Legend N, Lazarus N and McWicked-moved from the sixth race to race 11. None of the previously-sent post times have changed... Race 1 - 1 PM Race 2 - 1:20 PM Race 3 - 1:40 PM Race 4 - 2 PM Race 5 - 2:20 PM Race 6 - 2:40 PM Race 7 - 3:10 PM $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot (1¼ miles) Race 8 - 3:40 PM $1 million Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino (1¼ miles) Race 9 - 4:10 PM Open (Handicap?) Trot Race 10 - 4:40 PM Trot Race 11 - 5 PM $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace Race 12 - 5:20 PM The Saturday card shall be drawn Monday afternoon, save for the International, which is to be drawn Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 9th) at a midtown luncheon. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

The post positions for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot will be drawn Tuesday October 9 at noon at the famed 21 Club in New York City. The Standardbred Owners Association of New York will be streaming the draw live on their facebook page www.facebook.com/soaofny. Tuesday's activities are scheduled to begin at 12 noon. Fans can expect the live draw on Facebook to start as soon as all of the drivers, trainers and owners have assembled. This year marks the 40th edition of the International Trot and Yonkers will be hosting the historic trotting championship on Saturday, October 13. Ten trotters will be racing and representing seven different countries: Arazi Boko - Italy Ariana G - USA Cruzado Dela Noche - Sweden Lionel - Norway Marion Marauder - Canada Pastore Bob - Sweden Ringostarr Treb - Italy Slide So Easy - Denmark Up And Quick - France Will Take Charge - Canada The Yonkers International Trot will have a 3:40pm post as race eight on a 12 race card. First post is at 1pm. From the SOA of NY

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