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LEXINGTON, KY -- The final day in the harness racing Grand Circuit meeting at The Red Mile drew 12 sophomore colts to compete in two six-horse eliminations for the $620,000 Kentucky Futurity on Sunday, Oct. 7 while 16 fillies dropped into two eight-horse eliminations for the $320,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity. Elimination one gathers Crystal Fashion, who set a world record winning his Hambletonian elimination, against Tactical Landing, entering off a 1:51.1 lifetime-best performance when winning his division of the Bluegrass Stakes. Crystal Fashion, a Jim Campbell-trained gelding by Cantab Hall, has won nine races from 13 starts this season, including the $253,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship and the $512,050 Canadian Trotting Classic. Also finishing fourth in the $1,000,000 Hambletonian, the newly-minted millionaire will have Tim Tetrick in the bike from post two for owner Fashion Farms LLC. Tactical Landing, third in the Hambletonian, starts from post six with trainer Jimmy Takter at the reins. The Muscle Hill colt has won five races from nine starts this season, including an elimination for the Hambletonian, and earned $313,600 for The Tactical Landing Stable. Six Pack, the Ake Svanstedt-trained world champion by Muscle Mass, starts from post one in the second Futurity elimination. Owned by Ake Svanstedt inc., Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar Ff and Lars Berg, Six Pack, as well as post-six starter Fiftydallarbill, supplemented into the race for $63,700. Ake Svanstedt will drive the earner of nearly $900,000 as he makes his first start since winning an $86,750 division of New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) on Sept. 11. Fiftydallarbill, trained by William Crone for owner John Barnard, finished third in the Canadian Trotting Classic two starts ago. A Breeders Crown winner at two, he's collected 14 victories in 29 outings and approaches $700,000 in career earnings. Brett Miller gets the drive. Met's Hall, also in the second elimination, starts from post three off a 1:51.2 victory in his Bluegrass split. Also second in the Canadian Trotting Classic and the Hambletonian, the Zweig champion has nine wins from 20 starts and $964,754 in earnings. Andy Miller will sit behind the Cantab Hall colt for trainer Julie Miller and owners Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc. Supergirl Riley leads the first elimination for the Filly Futurity from post four with Marcus Miller driving. The Erv Miller-trained Muscle Mass filly enters on a three-race win streak, most recently taking her Bluegrass division in 1:52.2. A winner of nine races from 23 starts, she's earned $375,763 for owners Paymaq Racing, George Golemes and Harvey Eisman. Elimination two features a matchup between Atlanta, Plunge Blue Chip and Manchego. Atlanta, beating the boys in the Hambletonian, has since been toppled by Manchego (in the $103,360 Casual Breeze) and by Phaetosive (in the $261,800 Elegantimage). The Rick Zeron-trained Chapter Seven filly has won 10 races from 20 starts, earning $889,189 for owners Rick Zeron, Crawford Farms, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant. Scott Zeron will steer from post three. Plunge Blue Chip, the fastest three-year-old trotter ever with a 1:49.4 win in the Del Miller Memorial, competes from post six with trainer Ake Svanstedt driving. A winner of 15 races from 21 starts, she enters off a seven-length victory in the $225,000 NYSS championship. She has amassed $889,791 in earnings for owners Ake Svanstedt, Blue Chip Bloodstock, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables. Accruing over $1.5 million on her card, Manchego enters off a three-length victory in the $172,000 Moni Maker at Hoosier Park. The Jimmy Takter-trained filly by Muscle Hill has won 19 times in 23 tries, including a 1:50 stakes-record performance in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, and starts from post eight with Yannick Gingras driving for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. The top five finishers from each elimination of the filly futurity advance to the $224,000 final while the top five from each elimination for the futurity advance to the $434,000 final. The 53rd renewal of the Filly Futurity is sponsored by the Father Patrick Syndicate and Diamond Creek Farms while the 126th Kentucky Futurity is sponsored by Hunterton Farms, Stoner Manor Inc. and Menhammer Stuteri Ab. Sophomore pacing colts compete on the program in two divisions of the $450,000 Crawford Farms Tattersalls Pace, sponsored by Al and Michelle Crawford. Courtly Choice, off a 1:49.4 neck victory in the $436,560 Little Brown Jug final, contests millionaire Stay Hungry in the first division. The Blake MacIntosh-trained Art Major colt has 12 wins from 26 starts and is approaching one-million dollars in earnings. David Miller drives the Meadowlands Pace champ from post three for owners Hutt Racing Stable, Mac & Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe and Touch Stone Farms. A Breeders Crown winner at two, Stay Hungry starts from post five off a 1:48.2 win in his Bluegrass division. The Tony Alagna-trained Somebeachsomewhere colt has earned $1,239,459 and won 12 races from 22 starts for owners Brad Grant and the Irwin Samelman Estate. Doug McNair will sit in the bike. Adios winner and Jug runner-up Dorsoduro Hanover fronts the second Tattersalls split. The Ron Burke-trained Somebeachsomewhere gelding is nearing one-million dollars in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stable, Jerry and Theresa Silva, Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi and Wingfield Five. Matt Kakaley drives the winner of 10 races out of 29 starts from post four. The $72,000 Libfeld & Katz Breeding Partnership Allerage Farms Mare Trot, sponsored by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, opens the closing-day card. Broadway Donna, off a victory in the $107,000 Miss Versatility, the Jim Campbell-trained five-year-old mare by Donato Hanover has 22 wins from 43 starts and $1,430,985 in earnings for owner Fashion Farms LLC. David Miller pilots from post four. Winning 15 races from 20 starts this season, Jim King Jr. trainee Shartin N heads the $98,500 Fear The Dragon Allerage Farms Mares Pace, sponsored by Midland Acres. The Kiwi import, with 22 wins total from 33 starts and $847,728 on her card, has bested the mare-pacing division this season including in the $281,200 Roses Are Red, $197,400 Lady Liberty and $161,000 Artiscape Pace. Regular-driver Tim Tetrick will sit at the helms. Caviart Ally, off a 1:51.2 victory in the $196,350 Milton Stakes, races to Shartin N's left flank in post four. The Noel Daley-trained Bettor's Delight mare recently passed the million-dollar plateau for owner Caviart Farms and will have Andrew McCarthy driving. Racing gets underway on closing day with first-race post time slated for 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

Yonkers, NY --The $1 Million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino will be contested on Saturday afternoon,October 13, at Yonkers Raceway when 10 of the world's elite trotters converge on the historic harness oval for the 40th edition of the 1¼- mile global classic.   It will be the fourth straight year that the purse is the richest in the history of New York State harness racing, since Empire City president and CEO, Timothy J. Rooney, brought back the International in 2015 after a 20-year hiatus.   The 2018 Yonkers International Trot has attracted the world's best from seven countries: Canada, Italy, and Sweden with two entrants apiece, and the United States, Norway, Denmark, and France with single entrants.   First post time is at 1:00 p.m., and post time for the Yonkers International is at 3:40 p.m. for the spectacular card that also includes a pair of $250,000 Invitational races: the Harry Harvey Trot [10 starters, 1¼ miles, post time 2:40 p.m.] and the Dan Rooney Pace[8 starters, 1 mile, post time 3:10 p.m.].   The hopes of the U.S.A. rest on the shoulders of the only mare in the race, Ariana G., as she tries to become the ninth lady in history to accomplish the feat. Delmonica Hanover, Une de Mai and Roquepine each won a pair, and Classical Way, Armbro Flight, Fresh Yankee, Kit Lobell, and Peace Corps round out the exclusive distaff octet.   Ariana G. has 26 career victories in 37 starts, good for a 70 % win percentage. Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the homebred daughter of Muscle Hill comes off a track-record (1:52.1) effort in the Dayton Trotting Derby, beating the boys, on September 27th with catch-driver Brian Sears in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter. It was her fifth win in 11 seasonal starts to boost her career earnings to a lofty $2,367,709.   New England-born trainer Jerry Riordan, now an expatriate racing out of Sweden by way of Italy, will attempt a rare feat as he tries to win back-to-back Internationals with a different horse. Riordan conditioned last year's champ, the Italian Whirlwind Twister Bi, and will trigger the highly-regarded Ringostarr Treb postward this year.   In 1978 and 1979, the immortal Billy Haughton trained back-to-back United States flag-carriers in Cold Comfort and Doublemint, both driven by his son Peter. Ironically the senior Haughton, one of the sport's great sulky stars, never drove an International winner.   A decade prior, Frenchman Jean-Rene Gougeon trained and reined consecutive International champs in the aforementioned French mares Roquepine and Une De Mai in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Ringostarr won both his elimination and the final of the prestigious Elitloppet at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden earlier this year, the time for the final was a flashy 1:51. Ringostarr Treb has 30 wins in 85 career starts.   Canada's Marion Marauder returns seeking International glory after a second-place finish last year. Now a five-year-old, Marion Marauder won the Yonkers Trot at Yonkers as a three-year-old en route to the Trotting Triple Crown, so he has an affinity for the sharp turns of the half-mile oval.   The five-year-old son of Muscle Hill is Canada-driven with Scott Zeron in the sulky, Canada co-owned (Marion Wellwood and grandson Devin Keeling) and Canada co-trained (Devin's parents, Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood, with Paula listed as stateside trainer).   Marion Marauder has made his $3,080,380 in only 48 career starts (20 wins, 15 seconds, 5 thirds), with six of those wins and four seconds this season ($544,680). His Yonkers resume reads three wins--including the 2016 Yonkers Trot en route to the Trotting Triple Crown--and a pair of seconds in five starts.   The field for the $1-Million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino includes:   Arazi Boko (Italy) Ariana G (United States) 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)   International History: The International Trot was launched in 1959 at now-defunct Roosevelt Raceway with the artichoke-eating French standout Jamin capturing the premiere. Tim Rooney brought the race to his historic half-mile oval in Westchester as host site in 1988 with the closing of Roosevelt, with that edition taken by the U.S.A.'s Mack Lobell.   In 2015, the 37th edition of the Yonkers International Trot marked the revitalization of the worldwide showcase after a 20-year absence, thanks again to Rooney's efforts. Papagayo E. became Norway's first International winner in taking the return. Yonkers' famous harness oval had last hosted the spectacle in 1995, when it was captured by Sweden's His Majesty.   The powerful, French flag-carrier Ideal du Gazeau, with his white blaze and an amazing burst of speed, was the only three-time International champion under the reins of Eugene Lefevre. Holding his head high in a unique and exciting trotting style, Ideal du Gazeau pulled off the Pat Riley-esque "three-peat" consecutively in 1981, '82 and '83, after finishing second to the American mareClassical Way (John Simpson, Jr.) in his debut in 1980.   Race Day Festivities:   The Trackside Beer Garden features 16 specialty craft beers and international concessions such as beer bratwurst and Bavarian pretzels. Food & drink tickets are available for purchase at the event, starting at 10 tickets for $10, with a beer sampling wristband available for $50, plus tax. For guests looking for a more traditional racing experience, the Empire Terrace restaurant, which overlooks the racetrack, will also be open starting at 12:00 p.m. with an a la carte menu available (reservations are encouraged: 914-968-4200 ext. 649) Throughout the event, enjoy a trackside performance by The Nerds, the New Jersey-based Rock & Roll fun-omenon band, presented by iHeartRadio. Q104.3, New York's Classic Rock radio station, will also be on-site with giveaways and promotions. Before the horses take off, Empire Club Members should be sure to visit a Promotions Booth between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to receive one free paper entry for the International Trot Cash Giveaway, featuring over $10,000 in cash prizes. The first 4,000 Empire Club Members to visit a Promotions Booth will receive a free commemorative International Trot hat. Guests can become a member of the free Empire Club by visiting any Promotions Booth on the casino floor.The 2018 Yonkers International Trot is free to attend and open to all ages. For additional information on each of the participating horses, visit www.InternationalTrot.com. by John Cirillo, for Yonkers Raceway  

Harness racing mare Dream About Me has secured her start in this years New Zealand Cup by winning the Inkwise Canterbury Classic on a wet old night at Addington Raceway. The Bettor's Delight mare had to be tough to win, having to lead all the way on a track made sticky by persistent rain during the evening.  In a punishing finish driver Tim Williams got the best out of the now millionare pacer and she held on to beat a fast finishing Forgotten Highway by half a head at the winning post. The Robert Dunn trained Alta Orlando also arrived quickly over the last 100m for driver Ross Houghton and he just nosed out stablemate Letspendanitetogetha for third right on the line. The first, second and third placegetters in the race were guaranteed a start in the 2018 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and the fourth placed runner Letspendanitetogetha is another guaranteed starter after winning the Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup three weeks ago. Over the last twelve runnings of the race the winning time of 3-20.6 for the 2600m stand was the slowest since the distance was lengthened from 1950m to a 2600m distance in 2007. The last 800m was where the action was as the leaders sprinted home off the front in a slick 55.5 for the last 800m with a closing 400m in 26.9 seconds. Tim Williams gave credit to the mares toughness after the race, "I was a bit worried when Forgotten Highway loomed up to me, but credit to this mare she is so genuine. "When I really asked her for an effort inside that last 50m, she stuck her head out and knew right where the line was," he said. As well as bringing up her 21st win in tonights race, Dream About Me has now clicked over the one million dollar mark in lifetime earnings in a racing career that started with a winning run in a 2yo fillies race at Timaru in 2015. Williams ended up with four wins and two seconds for the night and was an easy winner of the TAB Addington Drivers Challenge after opening a short priced favourite for the drivers option before the races had started.   Harnesslink Media

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, October 4, 2018- The fact that Marion Marauder found himself invited to participate in the 40th International Trot was unrelated to any new North American harness racing trade agreement. He's just pretty good. Three million dollars takes care of a lot of tariffs on any side of the border. The million-dollar Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino goes Saturday afternoon, Oct. 13th (first post 1 PM), and you couldn't legally assemble a field of 10 world-class trotters without including Marion Marauder. "He's made that money for a reason," driver Scott Zeron said. Actually, any number of reasons. "He's always resilient, has never thrown out a bad race, does his job, can take air and knows where the finish line is." The Great White North won three of the first dozen Internationals (Tie Silk-1962, mares Armbro Flight-1966 and Fresh Yankee-1970), but it's been a long time waiting for a fourth. "I wasn't even born when those happened," the 29-year-old Zeron said (Some of us were. Just sayin'). (Author's aside...The late addition of Will Take Charge gives Canada two legitimate chances in this International) Marion Marauder, a 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill, is Canada-driven, Canada co-owned (Marion Wellwood & grandson Devin Keeling) and Canada co-trained (Devin's parents, Mike Keeling & Paula Wellwood, with Paula listed as stateside trainer). "I have a great rapport with Paula and Mike," Zeron said. "They're laid back and love their animals." Despite bleeding all that Canadian, Marion Marauder had not once been in the penalty box. "I've never had to use him hard, go down to the half in 54 seconds or some crazy number," Zeron "His schedule (the International is just Marion Marauder's 11th race of the season) has always been planned to give him time off between starts," Zeron said. "He purposely skipped (the) Dayton (Trotting Derby) and didn't go to Lexington because Paula and Mike were hoping Yonkers would invite him. In fact, Marion Marauder has made his $3,080,380 in only 48 career starts (20 wins, 15 seconds, 5 thirds), with six of those wins and four seconds this season ($544,680). His Westchester resume reads three wins-including the 2016 Yonkers Trot en route to the Trotting Triple Crown-and a pair of seconds in five starts. He's come away with a pay envelope in 45 of those 48 starts. Marion Marauder enters the International 22 days between races, the last a come-from-behind win in Hoosier's $200,000 Caesars Trotting Classic. A year ago, Marion Marauder was runner-up in the International, some 5½ lengths behind stakes- and world-record-setting Twister Bi's 2:22.1 frolic for the mile-and-a-quarter distance. "He (Marion Marauder) was very good, but the winner was amazing," Zeron said. Last season's race did provide some teachable moments for Zeron. "I've driven a lot of the added-distance overnight races here (Yonkers), but that race was completely different," Zeron said. "In the overnights, guys want to find the pylons as quickly as possible to save ground. In the International, with the best trotters coming over, those drivers aren't looking for any shortcuts. They don't mind sitting outside. They won't leave anything to chance as far as getting locked in. "Honestly, if Marion Marauder wins (the International), it wouldn't mean as much to me personally as it would for people to say he's the best trotter in the world. Not bad for the one originally named Marion Monopoly, who sold for $37,000 at Lexington (2014) and, according to Zeron, "was so mentally not there when he started out, he'd get to the gate and try to bite the horse next to him. "Then, he figured it out. "The horse deserves all the credit," Zeron said. "Me, Mike and Paula, we're just along for the ride." by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

When 3-year-old filly harness racing pacers Kissin In The Sand, Youaremycandygirl, and Alexa's Power get together, the race has the potential to be memorable. And twice already this season, they've fulfilled that potential. The three fillies have met three times this year and finished 1-2-3 in each race. Their first encounter resulted in Kissin In The Sand's gutsy parked-out victory by a neck over Youaremycandygirl in the James M. Lynch Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The next was Kissin In The Sand's win by three lengths over Youaremycandygirl in the Mistletoe Shalee, at 1-1/8 miles, at The Meadowlands. Most recently, on the Aug. 4 Hambletonian Day card at the Big M, they finished three across the wire separated by a neck in the Shady Daisy Stakes at The Meadowlands. Youaremycandygirl won that encounter by a nose over Kissin In The Sand in a stakes- and track-record 1:48.2. Round four is Saturday at Lexington's Red Mile in the second of two divisions of the Glen Garnsey Stakes. "They're three exceptional fillies," said Jim Campbell, who trains Alexa's Power. "We're going to need our 'A' game. It's a very tough division, but at this time of the year you're going to race tough. It's just part of the game. She's an honest filly and she gives us a great effort every time we put her out there." Kissin In The Sand drew post No. 6 in the eight-horse field and is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Youaremycandygirl will start from post four and is the 2-1 second choice while Alexa's Power will start from post seven and is 3-1. "It's going to be an interesting matchup with me getting the middle of the three on the gate," said Scott Zeron, who drives Kissin In The Sand. "It's up to me because Kissin In The Sand is definitely as good as she's been all year. It will be interesting to see how it shapes up. We're in Lexington with a mile track and we're all going to get a fair shot." Kissin In The Sand leads all 3-year-old female pacers in purses with $673,620 thanks to nine wins and four second-place finishes in 13 starts. The Nancy Johansson-trained filly, owned by Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables, has won five of her past six races, including the Bluegrass Stakes last weekend at Red Mile and over older foes in the fillies-and-mares preferred Sept. 22 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "She's gotten better every start this year," Zeron said. "It's pretty exciting. A few of the times she's done it the hard way, too. It's not like everyone lays down for us and we go slow fractions and then take off late. Even beating the open mares was impressive. Everything is pointing toward a good weekend." Alexa's Power is the second-richest 3-year-old filly pacer this season, with $429,891. She has won nine of 16 races for owners Jeff Snyder and Michael Snyder and finished off the board only once. Since the Shady Daisy, she has won four of five starts, including the Jugette in her most recent outing Sept. 19 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Tim Tetrick will drive the filly Saturday, as he has for all but one of her races this season. "She came out of the Jugette really good and she acts good," Campbell said. Youaremycandygirl, the 2017 Dan Patch Award-winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, has won six of 12 races this season and earned $367,921 for owner Bill Donovan. She won five times and finished second twice during a seven-race span from mid-June to mid-August. She heads to the Garnsey after going off stride in the Jugette. "We just had a bad thing at the Jugette, but everything will be all right with her," trainer Ron Burke said. "She had a little tie-up incident, that's all it was. We knew exactly what was wrong with her. I thought I had gotten through it, but I didn't. You try to do the best you can, but sometimes it doesn't work out. "She's seems like she's gotten herself turned around now." Last year at Red Mile, Youaremycandygirl became the fastest 2-year-old filly pacer in history with a 1:50 win in a division of the International Stallion Stakes. In the first Garnsey division, New York Sire Stakes champion Wisdom Tree is the 8-5 morning-line favorite. Saturday's card also includes the Allerage Farms Open Pace, which features another clash between New Zealand-bred star Lazarus, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, and McWicked (5-2) as well as Dayton Pacing Derby champ Donttellmeagain (4-1); the Allerage Farms Open Trot, with International Trot-bound Will Take Charge as the 2-1 choice; and five divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. For Saturday's complete entries at Red Mile, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

LEXINGTON, KY--Kiwi harness racing sensation turned North American phenomenon Lazarus N will make his fifth start in the west of the Atlantic when he faces nine challengers in the $179,000 Mister Big Allerage Farms Pace, sponsored by Muscara Standardbreds, on Saturday, Oct. 6 at The Red Mile. A six-year-old stallion by Bettor's Delight, Lazarus N shipped to trainer Jimmy Takter towards the end of May. He paced his first mile on American soil in a qualifier at the Meadowlands on July 28, going in 1:48.3 with a :25.3 final quarter. He has since won the $325,000 Dan Patch Invitational and $177,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby and finished second in the $462,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and a $26,180 Preferred Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Taylor Made Stallions, a thoroughbred consignment, purchased Lazarus N in early May from trainer Mark Purdon with the intent of lowering Always B Miki's 1:46 world record, established in the Allerage at The Red Mile in 2016, in the same race as his stablemate. The winner of 37 races in 49 starts and over $3 million in earnings races from post five with Yannick Gingras in the bike. Will Take Charge, off an eighth-place finish in the $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby after losing stride, leads the field of seven racing in the $145,000 What The Hill Allerage Farms Trot, sponsored by Jeff and Paula Gural. A winner of nine races from 20 starts this season and 21 from 70 overall, the Jeff Gillis-trained five-year-old gelding by Kadabra has earned $840,866 for owner Mac Nichol. Tim Tetrick, who steered Will Take Charge to a second-place finish in the $286,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial and a 1:51.2 four-length victory in the $186,000 Crawford Farms Trot, will sit in the bike from post three. Wisdom Tree, entering off a 1:53.2 victory in the $225,000 New York Sires Stakes final, fronts the opening division of the $225,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial, sponsored by Diamond Creek Farms, from post four with Matt Kakaley in the bike for owner-trainer Jeff Cullipher and co-owner Thomas Pollack. Winning 11 races from 14 starts this year, including a lifetime-best 1:49.4 win in the $142,000 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park, the three-year-old filly by Betterthancheddar has earned $447,445. The big three sophomore pacing fillies, Youaremycandygirl, Kissin In The Sand and Alexa's Power, congregate in the other split of the Garnsey. In their last meetup, Youaremycandygirl, a millionaire filly by American Ideal trained by Ron Burke for owner William Donovan, won by a nose in the $96,600 Shady Daisy on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands. Youaremycandygirl will make her first start since breaking in the $230,700 Jugette, won by Alexa's Power, and will start from post four with Yannick Gingras behind. Kissin In The Sand won the lone split of the Bluegrass filly pace as the 1-9 favorite under wraps in the 1:50 mile. The Nancy Johansson-trained filly by Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables, was second to Youaremycandygirl in the Shady Daisy but outfinished her when Shower Play stormed home to take the $114,757 Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 8. Scott Zeron gets the drive from post six behind the winner of 16 races in 27 starts and $904,795 in earnings. Alexa's Power, third by a neck in the Shady Daisy, races from post seven with Tim Tetrick driving for owners Jeff and Michael Snyder and trainer Jim Campbell. The Somebeachsomewhere filly, with nine wins from 16 starts this season and 12 from 29 overall, as amassed $520,545 in earnings and enters off a 1:51.2 win as the favorite in the Jugette. Freshman pacing colts occupy most of the Saturday program with five divisions of the $312,000 Captaintreacherous International Stallion Stakes (ISS), sponsored by the Captaintreacherous Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms, on tap. Brian Brown's undefeated Captaintreacherous colt Workin Ona Mystery goes for his fifth-consecutive win when starting from post eight in the opening division. Racing for James Stambaugh, Alan Keith, Milton Leeman and Wingfield Brothers LLC, Workin Ona Mystery enters off a two-and-a-half length 1:50.3 victory in his division of the Bluegrass, which pushed him towards $70,000 in earnings. Tim Tetrick sits at the reins. Runner-up to Stag Party in the $685,300 Metro Pace, Semi Tough ships to Lexington and starts from post one in the second ISS split. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stable, Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi, the colt by Somebeachsomewhere has only one win to his credit from eight starts--a 1:51.1 win in a division of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes--and $264,464 in earnings. Matt Kakaley will drive. Formerly-undefeated Captain Ahab, handed his first loss with a last-place finish in the Metro Pace, returns to the track in the third ISS division, starting from post six with Andrew McCarthy in the bike. The Tony Alagna-trained colt by Captaintreacherous entered the Metro unbeaten in seven starts, with wins including a $70,938 division of the Nassagaweya, a $53,982 division of the Champlain and his Metro Pace elimination, all good for over $100,000 in earnings. He races for owners Brittany Farms, Brad Grant, Vincent Barbera and Captain Ahab Racing. Losing as the 1-9 favorite in his Bluegrass division, Proof comes back to Lexington in the fourth ISS division. A winner of five races in eight starts, the Brian Brown-trained A Rocknroll Dance colt has accrued $278,495 in earnings mostly on the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes circuit--including from his 1:51 upset in the $253,000 championship. David Miller gets the drive for owner Diamond Creek Racing. Covered Bridge leads the final ISS split after shooting off cover in his Bluegrass division and pacing home in :25.4 to post a lifetime-best 1:52 victory. Competing for owners David Smith and James Giannuzzi, the Jessica Okusko-trained American Ideal gelding has three wins overall from 11 starts and $116,259 in earnings. David Miller will sit in the sulky from post four. Saturday's Grand Circuit program, the penultimate of the fortnight meeting, gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile    

Lexington, KY --- For the second consecutive year, session No. 2 of the Lexington Selected Sale produced a new No. 1. And this year it did it twice as reported by the USTA. Bellareina Dolce, by Muscle Hill out of stakes-winner Bella Dolce, had supplanted the $360,000 paid during Tuesday’s opening session for pacing colt Treasure Trove. Lina Alm signed for Bellareina Dolce as agent for owner Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable.Chestnut Hill, a trotting colt by Muscle Hill out of Dan Patch Award-winner Poof She’s Gone, sold for $410,000 on Wednesday night (Oct. 3) at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion to Richard “Nifty” Norman as agent. The price established Chestnut Hill as the event’s top seller, surpassing the $400,000 for trotting filly Bellareina Dolce earlier in the second session. Last year, filly trotter Beautiful Sin sold for $480,000 during the second session to become the event’s top seller. Wednesday’s second session, which ended at midnight, continued the 2018 sale’s strong start. The second session saw 163 yearlings sell for a total of $13.65 million, a record for single-day gross. The average of $83,748 was a record for a second session and an 8.9-percent increase from last year’s previous-record average of $76,873. Through two days, the five-day sale grossed $26.55 million for 265 horses. The average of $100,192 was a 10.4-percent increase from last year’s average of $90,757. A total of 110 horses sold for at least $100,000 in the two sessions, already breaking the record of 103 for the entire 2017 sale. Chestnut Hill is the fourth foal out of Poof She’s Gone. Norman trained Poof She’s Gone during her racing career and also trained two of her previous foals, He’s Gone and Poof Of Credit. Chestnut Hill was bred by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee and consigned by Peninsula Farm as agent. McDuffee also bred Bellareina Dolce, who is from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Pizza Dolce. McDuffee was among the breeders of Bella Dolce, by Kadabra, and raced the filly during her career. He also co-owned Pizza Dolce during her racing career. Marcus Melander will train Bellareina Dolce for Agren. “I bought Deepdish (a winner in Europe by Muscle Hill out of Pizza Dolce) six years ago and I love the filly and the family -- now with Kadabra in the maternal line,” Agren said. Of the remaining seven yearlings to sell for at least $200,000 on Wednesday, four were purchased by Ken Jacobs. Jacobs bought Seven Links, a trotting filly by Chapter Seven out of Lindys Head Nurse, for $285,000; American Lindy, a pacing colt by American Ideal out of Think Pink, for $245,000; Realdeal Blue Chip, a trotting colt by Chapter Seven out of Southwind Catlin, for $205,000; and trotting filly Seventh Wonder, by Chapter Seven out of L Dees Maggie, for $200,000. “I wanted to get the ones I really liked, and unfortunately they were high,” Jacobs said. “But everybody liked the same ones, so you’re going to pay more money for them. I’m very happy. Those were the four I was going to try to get and I got them. I had to pay more than I hoped, but that’s part of the game.” Linda Toscano will train American Lindy, whose family includes Dan Patch Award-winner Big Jim, and Seven Links. George Ducharme will train Realdeal Blue Chip, who is a half-brother to millionaire Spider Blue Chip, and Seventh Wonder. Seven Links was the third-highest seller Wednesday and American Lindy was fifth. Sandwiched between them was trotting colt Father Jonathon, by Father Patrick out of Sleep Tight My Luv, who sold for $275,000 with agent Jim Glass signing for the purchase. Father Jonathon’s family includes Dan Patch Award-winner Pampered Princess and O’Brien Award-winner Was It A Dream. Among sires with multiple yearlings sold during the two sessions, trotter Muscle Hill led with an average of $132,310 for 42 horses. Pacer Bettor's Delight was second with an average of $116,333 for nine horses followed by pacer Somebeachsomewhere with $111,500 for 24 and trotter Father Patrick with $110,063 for 32. Trotter Chapter Seven averaged $104,313 for 16 and pacer Captaintreacherous averaged $102,690 for 42. The yearling sale continues through Saturday, with each session beginning at 7 p.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. For complete results, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

“It’s all systems go,” declared champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr as he said that superstar Chicago Bull, Australasia’s best pacer, was spot on to contest rich feature events over the next three months. And he said that he had no concerns over the outstanding six-year-old’s ability to handle the standing start in the $800,000 New Zealand Cup over 3200m at Addington on Tuesday, November 13. The mighty little gelding has not contested a stand in a glittering career of 58 starts for 38 wins and 15 placings for earnings of $1,624,424. After predicting that Chicago Bull would extend his winning sequence to nine by beating his six rivals in the $50,000 J. P. Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night, Hall said that he was not worried about the gelding handling the standing start and beginning smoothly in the Group 1 New Zealand Cup. “I know that he hasn’t raced in a stand yet, but he’s a good pacer and we don’t have to worry about pins and all that,” he said. “His hopples are too small, anyway. We gave him a trial in a stand at Byford three months ago and he felt as though I could push him out as fast as I wanted.” That was Chicago Bull’s second standing-start trial. He also paced away faultlessly at Byford in a trial in July 2017. Chicago Bull will leave Perth by air for Melbourne on Wednesday of next week and Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr is sure to have him at his peak for the Victoria Cup, a 2200m mobile at Melton on Saturday, October 13. “If all goes well in the Victoria Cup, Chicago Bull will leave for New Zealand on the following Thursday (the 18th),” Hall Jnr said. “We then plan to run him in a 2200m stand at Alexandra Park on October 26 before travelling from Auckland down to Christchurch for the Cup. “All’s well with Chicago Bull and he’s had just two hoppled runs since winning the Navy Cup last Friday week. I expect him to win again this week and it would be good for him to have a relatively hard race before going away. I expect Talktomeurmattjesty to lead from barrier one and run along a bit. “I certainly would like Chicago Bull to keep the picket fence against his name, and that would give us a bit of extra confidence going into the big races away from home.” One of Chicago Bull’s main rivals in the New Zealand Cup looms as five-year-old Ultimate Machete, who is due to resume racing after an absence of nine months in a race at Addington on Friday night. His most recent appearance was at Gloucester Park last January when he finished fourth behind My Hard Copy, Lazarus and Chicago Bull in the 2536m Fremantle Cup. Earlier, in November and December last year Ultimate Machete won the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic and the Group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park. After contesting the New Zealand Cup, Chicago Bull will be set for the Inter Dominion championships series in Melbourne in December. The Hall father-and-son combination is no strangers to big-race successes in New Zealand, with Im Themightyquinn winning the $400,000 Auckland Cup in March 2011, the $800,000 Inter Dominion championship at Addington in April 2011 and the $250,000 Auckland Cup in March 2013. The Halls have combined to win the Stratton Cup with Bengeeman (2002), Alzona (2011) and Waylade (2015) and Chicago Bull is racing with such confidence and brilliance that it is extremely difficult to visualise him being beaten on Friday night. Chicago Bull will start from the No. 6 barrier in a field of seven and Hall Jnr will assess his tactics as the race unfolds. Busselton trainer Barry Howlett has the lightly-raced Talktomeurmattjesty working in good style and the even-year-old appeals as the likely leader. At his first outing since he had a tough run, three wide for much of the way, before fading to 11th behind Real Lucky at Gloucester Park on May 25. Talktomeurmattjesty will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won the Stratton Cup seven times with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1985, 1988, 1991), Ohoka Ace (2005), Sneakyn Down Under (2009) and Sensational Gabby (2014). The Michael Brennan-trained The Bucket List (Michael Grantham) has excellent place prospects after several strong efforts in recent starts. He was seventh (and last) at the bell before finishing fast, out four wide, to be a close fourth, less than a length behind the winner Motu Premier in the Media Guild Cup last Friday night. He sat behind the pacemaker Chicago Bull before running on gamely to finish second to that pacer in the Navy Cup the previous week. Tricky Styx, a fast-finishing winner last week, is likely to be engaged in a keen duel with Talktomeurmattjesty, Waylade, Runrunmjimmydunn and Argyle Red for third place. Ken Casellas

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, October 3, 2018-There has been a change in the cast of characters for the million-dollar Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino. Dreammoko, who was to represent the Netherlands, has been sidelined with a sore throat and won't make the trip. In his stead, the fleet Canadian Will Take Charge has been chosen. For Will Take Charge, it's the culmination of a career season. The 5-year-old Kadabra gelding, owned by Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ontario, and trained by Jeff Gillis of Mississauga, Ont., has won nine of his 20 starts and $409,965. His 1:53.2 Yonkers win in mid-September matched the Raceway's track record for an aged trotting gelding, while his life-best 1:50.3 was taken on late May's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational at Harrah's Philly. "I spoke with Jeff (Gillis) and he was tickled to death," race secretary Steve Starr said. "The horse showed his guts when he won here, and we're happy he's coming back for this race." Canada now has a pair of entrants in the International, with Will Take Charge joining last season's runner-up, triple-millionaire Marion Marauder. The 10 world-class trotters set to contest the mile-and-a-quarter 40th International are... Arazi Boko (Italy) Ariana G (United States) 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) First post for the special matinee program-which also includes the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot and $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace-is 1 PM. For more information, please visit the International Trot's dedicated site, www.internationaltrot.com. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Lexington, KY ---  As reported by the USTA, the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale got off to a strong start Tuesday night (Oct. 2) at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion, with five harness racing yearlings selling for at least $300,000 to spark a 10.6 percent increase in average price compared to last year’s record-setting event. An additional 12 horses sold for at least $200,000 and a total of 64 of the 102 horses sold reached six figures. Last year’s opening night saw 93 horses sell for $10.63 million, an average of $114,344. The 2017 sale set records for gross, at $36.41 million, and average, at $58,537. This year, the opening night’s 102 horses brought $12.90 million for an average of $126,471. “That’s not intentional,” Cancelliere said with a laugh, referring to buying the top-priced yearling. “But he’s a beautiful colt and we’re pleased we got him. He’s a beautiful animal, an absolutely beautiful animal. He really is. When they look that good and carry themselves that well, he was going to bring a good price tag. You knew that going in. We stretched a little more than we wanted to. We went for it.”The sales topper Tuesday was Treasure Trove, a full brother to two-time Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous. The colt, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Worldly Treasure, sold for $360,000 to John Cancelliere. Treasure Trove, who went through the ring as Hip No. 82, was bred by White Birch Farm and consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing as agent. Cancelliere also bought pacer Like Lightning Lou, who is a full brother to his 2-year-old Love Me Some Lou, for $150,000. Like Lightning Lou is by Sweet Lou out of Shark Lightning. “We desperately wanted him,” said Cancelliere, whose brother Tom trains their stable’s horses. “It worked out well on both occasions. We’re pleased.” Tall Dark Stranger, a pacing colt by Bettor’s Delight out of Dan Patch Award-winner Precocious Beauty, sold for $330,000 to Nancy Johansson as agent for Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, Crawford Farms and Howard Taylor. Precocious Beauty’s first foal, Beautyonthebeach, won the Kentucky Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old filly pacers on Sept 16. The family also includes Dan Patch Award-winner Sportswriter. Tall Dark Stranger was bred by Jim Avritt Sr. and consigned by Hunterton Sales Agency as agent. “I liked his pedigree and the individual,” Johansson said. “My dad (Jimmy Takter) really liked him too. Now that he’s stepping into his new phase in life as a consultant when he retires, he’s been looking at yearlings with both Per (Engblom) and I. He loved, loved, loved this colt as well. “It’s a great family. It’s a modern family. There is a lot of ‘now’ stuff happening in that family, which is nice. And Bettor’s Delight is solid. They show up and do their work.” Johansson also bought pacing colt Remember The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Memoir) for $140,000 as agent for 3 Brothers Stable and pacing filly Treacherous Act (Captaintreacherous-Act Now) for $100,000 as agent for Caviart Farms. “I thought I did really well,” Johansson said. “I was happy with all three purchases. I think all three could have brought more money than they did. The Somebeach colt is an absolutely gorgeous colt. The mare has already produced a world champion (Beach Memories) and he just had great charisma. I like that he has good size to him. I think pacing colts need to have some size because they race so tough nowadays. I felt he was the complete package. “The filly, Act Now was a tough race mare. Combine that with Captaintreacherous and I don’t think you can go wrong, especially with that price tag. She will be a great addition to Caviart Farms’ broodmare band.” The fifth horse into the ring, filly trotter Whose Blues, sold for $300,000 to Serge Godin’s Determination Stable. Whose Blues, by Cantab Hall, is the first foal out of stakes-winning mare Bright Baby Blues and her second dam, Bar Slide, was a Dan Patch Award-winner. The family includes Sliding Home, a stakes-winner in the U.S. as well as a winner in Europe. Whose Blues was bred by Bluestone Farms and Fredericka Caldwell and consigned by Cane Run Farm as agent. Das Deo, a pacing colt by Captaintreacherous out of Lisjune, sold for $300,000 to Dana Parham. He is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award-winner I Luv The Nitelife and the family also includes Dan Patch Award-winner Lis Mara. Das Deo was bred by Deo Volente Farms and Louis “Andy” Willinger and consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing as agent. Force N Fury, a pacing colt by Captaintreacherous out of My Little Dragon, sold for $300,000 to Tony Alagna as agent for Brad Grant, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Force N Fury is a three-quarter brother to O’Brien Award-winner Stay Hungry, whose wins this year include the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes. Force N Fury was bred by White Birch Farm and consigned by Preferred Equine Marketing as agent. Burke Racing Stable was the night’s top buyer, purchasing seven horses for $935,000. Trotting fillies led the night’s average, with 24 selling for an average of $141,542. Pacing colts followed, with 27 for $137,481, and then trotting colts, with 31 for $124,065. Twenty pacing fillies sold for an average of $97,250. Muscle Hill and Father Patrick led the trotting sires in gross, with 25 Muscle Hill yearlings totaling $3.16 million ($126,680 average) and 13 Father Patrick yearlings totaling $1.69 million ($130,077). Captaintreacherous and Somebeachsomewhere topped the pacing sires in gross, with 19 Captaintreacherous yearlings totaling $2.29 million ($120,632) and 13 Somebeachsomewhereyearlings totaling $1.88 million ($144,615). The five-day yearling sale continues through Saturday, with each session beginning at 7 p.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. For complete results, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, N.Y. – The prestige and rich harness racing history of the International Trot can rear its head in many places. For Anders Ström, the race’s lineage materialized before him as he studied the yearling catalog of the recently concluded Arqana Trot Select Yearling Sale. Ström paused on hip no. 47, a colt out of Sirene de Mai, whose great, great, great grand dam, Une de Mai, along with her countless European feats, won the International Trot in 1969 and 1971.  “The race has seen many great winners, and I actually watched the 1969 edition on YouTube recently,” Ström said. “It was when French super mare Une de Mai beat Nevele Pride, as I was in the process of buying a Ready Cash yearling colt in Deauville from the Une de Mai maternal line.” Ström bought the colt for €170,000 and he will have a chance to make history of his own in this year’s renewal of the Yonkers International Trot. His stable, Stall Courant AB, will start Cruzado Dela Noche as a representative of Sweden in the $1 million stakes. “It would be (my) biggest win so far. Only Elitloppet, Prix d’Amérique, Hambletonian and the Swedish 4-year-old Derby can match it, in my book,” Ström said. “But this horse’s character makes it extra special. As he already has qualified as a sire in the Swedish system with high grades, a win here would boost his credentials for that as well. That would be very nice.” Ström bought Cruzado Dela Noche sight unseen out of the 2013 Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $28,000. The Pennsylvania-bred son of Muscle Massive out of the Credit Winner mare Alidade, then known by the name Arusa Hanover, looked the part, but it was something intangible that piqued Ström’s interest.  “I wasn’t at the sale because of business in Australia, but ‘Cruzado’ was one of five lower-priced yearlings that I bought on the back of advice from friends and agents who were at the sale inspecting horses,” Ström explained. “Cruzado was the one that had the extra special attitude which is why I renamed him with a name I had kept for a really good horse. The name comes from the Spiderman movie, when Peter Parker comes up with the idea for his suit.” Despite his early promise and standout spirit, Cruzado Dela Noche struggled to stay trotting in his 2- and 3-year-old campaigns; he made breaks in stride in 10 of his 28 races and qualifiers. Despite those setbacks, Cruzado Dela Noche finished third in the Peter Haughton Memorial and posted wins in a division of the International Stallion Stakes and a leg of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes as a freshman in Nancy Johansson’s stable. “He was slightly immature and whimsy to begin with, but tremendously talented,” Ström said. “We felt that he would mature over time, so we weren’t especially worried. Nancy and Marcus Johansson took good care of him in the early days which we are thankful for now that the horse is sound and makes a good career as an older trotter.” After a 3-year-old campaign that produced just two wins in 11 starts, Ström sent Cruzado Dela Noche across the Atlantic to trainer Stefan Melander and Courant Managing Director Sabine Kagebrant. The calculated move would allow Cruzado Dela Noche to take advantage of the 4-year-old stakes in Sweden and give him time to develop.  “We stake all our U.S. purchases to the rich 4-year-old program in Europe. It doesn’t cost much and they add a lot of purse money, so it is an easy business decision,” Ström explained. “Stefan Melander also has a great track record when it comes to the older American horse. “Melander’s training regime suits him perfect. He also has an ‘extra groom’ in Sabine Kagebrant, who has great experience with older star trotters, having worked with Stefan Melander, Björn Goop and Jörgen Westholm horses all over Europe,” Ström continued. “When Sabine is out of the office, she spends a lot of time with ‘Noche,’ makes him feel special and that works well for him.” At 4, Cruzado Dela Noche won the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Deutschland and the Group 2 Norrlands Grand Prix. He also placed third in the Group 1 Sprinter Mästaren Final. At 5, Cruzado Dela Noche captured the Group 1 Copenhagen Cup. “He always does his best, I can think of only one or two races when he failed and there were good excuses,” Ström said. “One was in Elitloppet 2017, when he made a break at the gate in the elimination which otherwise likely would have given him the same trip as Resolve, who eventually was second in the final.  “That was hard to take. I think he could have matched Timoko on the day, he was in such good shape,” he continued. “But overall this horse gives us tremendous joy, just to see his attitude makes me wonder sometimes. He is so much more than just the average good racehorse.” Now a 6-year-old Cruzado Dela Noche has been lightly raced this season. The stallion was sixth in the Group 1 Olympiatravet Final April 28, third in the Copenhagen Cup May 13, scored his lone win this year in the listed Gösta Bergengrens Minneslopp May 30 before finishing fifth in the Group 1 Oslo Grand Prix. His short campaign was by design as Cruzado Dela Noche returned to the United States early to settle into a new chapter of his career. “We got invited in May and then we decided to give the horse the best preparation possible, with proper quarantine so he could get acclimatized to his new-old life in the U.S. Our dream race to target this season is the International Trot so we didn’t want to leave anything to chance,” Ström said.  “European races are run in a different way which isn’t ideal for ‘Cruzado.’ He likes the high, even pace better, which is why we staked him for the fall season in the U.S.A. just in case,” he continued. “Any which way, he raced really good in the spring, so we felt he was going upwards in form all the time.” Cruzado Dela Noche reemerged in a qualifier at Pocono Downs September 12 for trainer Marcus Melander. He led wire-to-wire in 1:55.2. The stallion got another trial under his belt at the same venue September 26, crossing the wire first in 1:54.2. “He has done quarantine, then two light qualifiers at Pocono, which he made look very easy,” Ström said. “He likes his life at Marcus Melander’s farm and he will get another sharper workout, like an ‘eye-opener,’ a few days before the race which I believe will be enough to take him to top form.” Cruzado Dela Noche, who will pair with driver Brian Sears for the first time in the International, will face nine rivals: Arazi Boko (Italy), Ariana G (United States), Dreammoko (Netherlands), Lionel (Norway), Marion Marauder (Canada), Pastore Bob (Sweden), Ringostarr Treb (Italy), Slide So Easy (Denmark), and Up And Quick (France). Although the field is one of the deepest in recent memory, Ström likes his chances. “I think this year’s field is absolutely fantastic, given the challenge with trans-Atlantic transport of international horses. All races in this class are tough. But ‘Noche’ has beaten Twister Bi, last year’s winner, fair and square before, from second-over in a Swedish record time over the same distance as the International Trot, on a slow five-eighths-mile track. That says he can compete with anyone on the day,” Ström said. “Now I hope Brian Sears up first time will give him an extra gear as well. From posts one to five he is a real contender, otherwise a decent chance to show anyway. I respect the competition and I believe the winner will be the horse that is best on the day and has racing luck.” 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, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Trainer Gary Hall Snr is in firm agreement with the TAB Inter Dominion handicappers. Chicago Bull is No.1. The Peth superstar pacer owns the rare air of being top-ranked horse for Australasia’s premier harness racing series after Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) announced the first round of rankings today. Last season’s Inter Dominion runner-up has won 11 of his last 12 starts and is about to embark on a monster campaign that will take in the $200,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on Saturday night October 13, the $800,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington in November, and ID18 in Victoria, which kicks off on December 1. “He ran second to Lazarus (in the Inter Dominion final) and never got a crack at him; he won two heats and was third in the other. He’s won 11 out of 12 races since … you can’t fault his form,” Hall Snr said. “They keep saying he hasn’t beaten anything but that’s just not true. Lazarus, San Carlo, Tiger Tara … he was racing all those horses over here. I know he was on his home track … but they’re grossly underrating him.” Pressed on where Chicago Bull ranks right now among Hall Snr’s all-time top horses, the trainer was a mix of circumspect and audacious, if it’s possible to be both.  “Right now, he’s the second best horse I’ve ever had,” he said, “But, saying that, he’s also better than Quinny (Im Themightyquinn) was at this stage in his career.” Any suggestion therefore that Chicago Bull requires a coming out party against the best is erroneous; he’s been there and done that in the Inter Dominion. Are travel questions fair? Sure.  “I think he’ll handle that. He’s a pretty laid back fella,” Hall Snr said. “The only thing is you never quite know I suppose. He’s always got a paddock mate, so he needs the right company, that’s all.” The Bulls’ Michael Jordan was always the best, but Scottie Pippen helped. On the New Zealand Cup Hall Snr said it was a race he’d tried to win three times before. “Fourth time lucky hopefully,” he said. “I tried to win it with Quinny but he fibrillated, bled, broke a leg… it just didn’t work out. It’s a great meeting. I went 12 years in a row and would love to win it.” Meanwhile, Tim Butt-trained rising star Let It Ride, who produced a slashing run to win the Grand Circuit Blacks a Fake classic in Queensland, is second on the ID18 pacing rankings, ahead of New South Wales’ Tiger Tara. Kiwi superstar Speeding Spur is top ranked in the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, with Andy Gath-trained Tornado Valley number two, ahead of Temporale, Kyvalley Blur and Glenferrie Typhoon.   Cody Winnell

The first rankings for Victoria’s TAB Inter Dominion pacing and trotting championships were released today, with a West Australian speed machine and New Zealand Group 1 winner installed on top. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) handicappers named Gary Hall Snr’s six-year-old on top of the TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship rankings ahead of a huge first campaign out of Chicago Bull’s home state. He is a winner of 38 of his 58 starts, but all have to date been staged in Western Australia, host of the previous three Inter Dominion editions. Chicago Bull’s first big trip has dates with the October 13 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup and NZ Trotting Cup before December’s ID18. Let It Ride (NSW), recent winner of Queensland’s Grand Circuit classic the Blacks A Fake, has been installed second, with Tiger Tara (NSW), Our Dream About Me (NZ) and Cruz Bromac (NZ) filling the top five. Shadow Sax is the first of the Victorians at number six, and will fly the flag for the home state and trainer Emma Stewart. In the first TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship rankings, handicappers believe Kiwi Speeding Spur, who ventured to Tabcorp Park Melton in 2016 and captured the $300,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star, is well placed to bring more joy to New Zealand connections John (trainer) and Josh (driver) Dickie. The Pegasus Spur seven-year-old has been ranked on top ahead of Victorian trainer Andy Gath’s dominant former Kiwi Tornado Valley and New Zealand entrant Temporale, who has placed but not saluted in his five previous Victorian starts, including a second in this year’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star. Brent Lilley’s Kyvalley Blur (Vic) and former Victorian now WA trotter Glenferrie Typhoon, the 2017 Great Southern Star winner, complete the fop five. The second lot of rankings will be released on October 17, the third on October 31 before the fourth and final rankings on November 21. The focus then turns to the TAB Inter Dominion heats on December 1 (Tabcorp Park Melton), December 4 (Ballarat) and December 8 (Cranbourne) before the December 15 Grand Finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. Details: www.ID18.com.au CLICK HERE FOR THE TAB ID18 PACING RANKINGS CLICK HERE FOR THE TAB ID18 TROTTING RANKINGS   Michael Howard Trots Media

The ladies have been champions of women's rights to win in the famed International Trot, indelibly etching their names among the greatest performers in the history of the global classic.   The American standouts, two-time winner Delmonica Hanover and Classical Way; and the French flag-carriers Une de Mai and Roquepine, both two-time titlists. The names ring true to rank among the greatest of International Trot champions. Canadian stalwarts Armbro Flight and Fresh Yankee, are part of that history, too. These mares dominated the boys, an assault on the best male trotters in the world by winning six in a row and eight of nine International titles from 1966-74, before the six-year gap to Classical Way in 1980. Upon the move of the International to Yonkers Raceway in 1988, Kit Lobell (1989) and Peace Corps (1991) added their signatures to the ladies tour de force. This sets the stage for this year's United States flag-carrier Ariana G., the four-year-old mare who shoulders the hopes of America in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Saturday afternoon, October 13th. The millionaire twice-over has 26 career victories in 37 starts, good for a 70 % win percentage. Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the homebred daughter of Muscles Yankee and grand-daughter of Muscles Yankee comes off a track-record (1:52.1) effort in the Dayton Trotting Derby, beating the boys, on September 27th with catch-driver Brian Sears in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter. It was her fifth win in 11 seasonal starts to boost her career earnings to a loft $2,367.709. Empire City Casino's historic oval at Yonkers Raceway becomes the 11th venue where Ariana G has raced, but her first attempt on the half-miler. She's a two-time Breeders Crown champ, two-time Dan Patch Award recipient, and a Hambletonian Oaks victory leading her gaudy resume. Now, she prepares to meet the elite trotters in the world. As Sinatra musically put it: "That's why the lady is a champ," and "luck be a lady, tonight." Ariana G. will try to beat the boys again while carrying the U.S.A. flag on October 13th. Most recently, since the return of the Yonkers International following a 20-year hiatus, the mares Hannelore Hanover (2016) and Bee A Magician (2015) were both thwarted in their attempts to join the ladies brigade of champions. More history: The powerful, French flag-carrier Ideal du Gazeau, with his white blaze and an amazing burst of speed, was the only three-time International champion under the reins of Eugene Lefevre. Holding his head high in a unique and exciting trotting style, Ideal du Gazeau pulled off the Pat Riley-esque "Three-peat" consecutively in 1981, '82 and '83, after finishing second to the American mare Classical Way (John Simpson, Jr.) in his debut in 1980. Legendary U.S.A. standard-bearers, the gelding Su Mac Lad (1961 and '63/Stanley Dancer) and the Del Miller-trained mare Delmonica Hanover (1973-74/Johnny Chapman), and the French champions Roquepine (1967-68) and Un de Mai (1969 and '71), both mares from France driven by JeanRene Gougeon, were the quartet of two-time International titlists during the late sixties and early seventies. Mares won six in a row and eight of nine International titles from 1967-74. Speedy Crown, driven by Howard Beissinger, interrupted the distaff dominance in 1972. The alphabetical field for the mile-and-a-quarter International Trot, with country of representation... Arazi Boko (Italy) Ariana G (United States) Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden) Dreammoko (Netherlands) Lionel (Norway) Marion Marauder (Canada) Pastore Bob (Sweden) Ringostarr Treb (Italy) Slide So Easy (Denmark) Up and Quick (France) By John Cirillo, for Yonkers International Trot

YONKERS, N.Y. – The sun inched toward the horizon in the western Paris skies around 4:30 p.m. January 25, 2015, casting a soft golden glow over harness racing's Hippodrome de Vincennes. The crystal horse trophy Philippe Delon cradled in his arms captured the rays and it too gleamed in a golden hue as Delon raised it over his head. From atop the podium in the winner’s enclosure, Delon smiled as he looked into the stands at the thousands of fans who cheered, waved flags, and smiled back at him before lowering the prize back into his arms, staring down at it in disbelief.  Moments earlier, Delon watched as his homebred star Up And Quick streaked into the stretch with the lead in the Grand Prix d’Amérique. After grinding leader Mosaique Face into submission, Up And Quick kicked away from late threat Voltigeur de Myrt. Ahead by 3 lengths nearing the finish, driver Jean-Michel Bazire took both lines in his left hand, blew a kiss with his right, and turned to the crowd to give a thumbs up as he and Up And Quick passed the finish. In that moment, Up And Quick rose to the top of the trotting world. The Prix d’Amérique was the third Group 1 win of the Buvetier d'Aunou son’s career after taking the Critérium des Five Ans in 2013 and the Grand Prix de Paris in 2014. The victory improved on Up And Quick’s second-place effort to Maharajah the year before. Nearly four years later, the curtain is about to close on the final act of Up And Quick’s racing career and Delon hopes his trotter can deliver one more thrill on the world’s stage. Up And Quick will reach the mandatory retirement age in France when he turns 11 in 2019 and will no longer be able to target France’s biggest trotting spectacle. Instead, Delon set his sights on New York, sending his star across the Atlantic to compete in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. The representative of France would be the first Prix d’Amérique winner since Lutin d'Isigny in 1985 to win the International Trot. “He’s given us everything a breeder and an owner can dream of,” Delon said. “We would love to see him finishing his last season with a bang in New York.” Up And Quick’s journey to the Yonkers International Trot has been rife with struggles. Although he scored a fourth Group 1 in the 2015 Grand Prix de Paris, Up And Quick’s attempt to defend his Prix d’Amérique title in 2016 proved disastrous. After finishing fourth in the Prix de Bourgogne and 10th in the Prix de Belgique, Up And Quick was up the track when 14th in the Prix d’Amérique after attending the pace. He pulled up with a fractured ilium, one of three bones that comprise a horse’s hip. "As after every major race, a battery of tests were conducted and now the verdict is in: a fracture of the ilium was detected,” Delon’s Écurie Quick Star posted on it’s website after the race. “It is very surprising that Up And Quick could deliver such a beautiful race. He must be a brave and sacred competitor to trot as he did when he was injured.” Although he did not require surgery, Up And Quick needed months of stall rest and would not compete again until returning a winner in the Grand Prix de Noël at Hippodrome de Wallonie December 29, 2016. He didn’t make it back to the French classics, but Up And Quick proved himself competitive on the track, winning a pair of Group 2 races in 2017, the Critérium de Vitesse de Basse-Normandie at Argentan April 29, 2017 and the Prix de la Communauté de Communes Thiérache du Centre at La Capelle July 9. Soon though, Up And Quick would suffer another setback. “He suffered from a small fracture in July last year and had to stay two months in his (stall). Before that, he’d broken a hip bone and had to stay four months locked in,” Delon said. “It takes a real champion to come back the way he did after that. Jean-Michel Bazire said that’s the true mark of a wonder horse, coming back to do what he does best.” After covering 82 mares in the winter, Up And Quick returned to the track again in March and successfully defended his title in the Critérium de Vitesse de Basse-Normandie, posting a nose win over Un Mec d’Héripré and Ave Avis in a scrambling finish. Although he rides a nine-race losing streak into the Yonkers International Trot, the €2.1-million earner finished third in an elimination of the Elitlopp, second in the Group 1 Hugo Åbergs Memorial, and third in the Group 2 Grand Prix du Département des Alpes-Maritimes.  Up And Quick was fifth last time out in the Group 1 UET Trotting Masters Series Final September 16 after getting pinned inside three back along the pylons in the 12-horse field. Facing a wall of horses in the stretch, Up And Quick finished 3 ¾ lengths behind Propulsion. Delon chalked it up to a tactical mistake; driver Wim Paal chose to follow Pastore Bob and expected a pocket trip behind the speedy rival, but ended up buried at the inside instead. “We chose the wrong leader. Wim Paal and I thought Pastore Bob was the one to follow, but he got us nowhere,” Delon said. “Propulsion was the one to beat and we never had a live chance. Just throw that race away. The horse is absolutely fine. He loves to work and to race. That’s what kept him going all these years despite a few health issues that belong to the past now.” Since the Trotting Masters Final, Up And Quick has prepared for the Yonkers International Trot at Haras De Sassy, about 130 miles west of Paris. His days are easy at the stud farm with trainer Antoine Lhérété. Delon fears the quiet lifestyle can’t be replicated at Yonkers. “He’s out all day in his paddock. He loves it. He works in the pool, too. He only gets in his (stall) at night,” Delon said. “That was a bit of a problem for us because he won’t be able to relax like that while staying at Yonkers. That’s my main concern today. At least he’ll be able to get out twice a day, but that’s not exactly the same. I hope they will lodge him in a good (stall) because like Dreammoko, he’s a stud, full of energy.” Up And Quick will face nine rivals in the International: Arazi Boko (Italy), Ariana G (United States), Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden), Dreammoko (Netherlands), Lionel (Norway), Marion Marauder (Canada), Pastore Bob (Sweden), Ringostarr Treb (Italy), Slide So Easy (Denmark). 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, visit www.internationaltrot.com. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY with Manu Roussel

Before Some Excusesomewhere had even crossed the finish line at Albion Park last Friday, he had a new stablemate. Prepared by husband and wife team of Pete McMullen and Chantal Turpin, the former New Zealand pacer is raced by Craig Whiteoak and the trio has combined again to bolster their stocks. Some Excusesomewhere has looked sharp since arriving in the Sunshine State winning two of his five starts and looks destined to return the winners circle a little more often judging by the ease of his latest victory. Starting from a trick second-line draw over the 1660m, McMullen positioned him nicely in the moving line before easing three-wide entering the back straight and then allowing him to stride freely over the concluding stages. The winning margin was a widening 18.5m while stopping the clock at a respectable 1:54.2. “It was a good performance and he felt really strong in the final half, I had no hesitation in letting him slide down the back and he quickly put them away passing the 400m peg. He certainly looks like he’s going to get through his grades with little fuss.” McMullen said. Purchased from the Canterbury stables of Mark Jones, the Patrick Estate couple has enjoyed good success over the years buying from this stable with the likes of Mattgregor and Croft Bay doing good jobs while handy maiden Morroch Bay looks like being a handy money spinner. Naturally, the latest addition to the stable also hails from the Jones team. Itz Major Look, a last start winner at Oamaru has been purchased by Whiteoak and will join his stablemate in Brisbane. The three-year-old Art Major – Itz Got The Giggles gelding scored his maiden victory at only his second start in impressive fashion when rating 2:04.4 for the 2600m standing start event. Starting favourite, he led throughout and scored comfortable while finishing off in 57.2 seconds. “He looks like a progressive type and should do a nice job; I thought there was plenty of merit in his victory last start because a number of rivals had a look at him mid-race. “We’ve had some luck with some of Mark’s horses and he believes he’s an up and comer.” McMullen scored his maiden Albion Park Metropolitan Drivers Premiership last season and continues to lead the way this term with 6 winners after the first month.   Chris Barsby

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