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Harness Racing This Week: The 2020 Grand Circuit season has come to a close. The 2021 schedule will be released in January. Last time: Nancy Takter trainee Fortify ($22.40) took the second-over route to a 10-1 upset over stablemate No Lou Zing in the 2020 season's final Grand Circuit stop for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the $325,000 Progress Pace, on Wednesday night (Nov. 25) at Dover Downs. Favorite No Lou Zing and driver Dexter Dunn were embroiled in a :25.2 first-quarter battle with Tattoo Artist (Yannick Gingras) and Captain Kirk (Andy McCarthy), prompting Tim Tetrick to ease Fortify into midfield to stalk comfortably. No Lou Zing worked hard to clear for control with a circuit to go, and Tetrick angled Fortify into second-over cover behind the advancing Cattlewash (David Miller) nearing a :53 half. Fortify rode that live outer flow into striking range up the far side, watching Cattlewash push No Lou Zing to three-quarters in 1:20.2 before swinging three-wide on the final turn. While No Lou Zing was able to shrug off the challenge of Cattlewash and open up a three-length lead in upper stretch, the punishing pace ultimately took its toll. Fortify charged down the center of the track to collar his stablemate by a half-length in 1:48.2, equaling Wiggle It Jiggleit's stakes record set in 2015. Catch The Fire (Mike Wilder) split rivals in deep stretch to finish third, another 2-3/4 lengths behind. "I think he has proven that he belongs," said trainer Nancy Takter. "He raced really well in the Kentucky Sire Stakes. He got a little bit sick during the Grand Circuit; he wasn't 100 percent perfect at The Red Mile, but still performed OK. He's definitely a nice colt and he does belong, and I think he'll show that next year, too. "Both colts raced really well. No Lou Zing obviously got stung from the seven-hole, but he raced super well. Fortify had to go three-wide but still finished really well - it's not easy to do on that track. I couldn't be happier with both horses tonight." "It worked out just like I thought it would," said winning driver Tim Tetrick. "The blueprint worked out perfectly for me; everything went to plan. "The horse was sharp and they had the speed up front for me to follow. I don't think I could have gotten a better trip. When I came off David's back - he didn't get me as close as I thought - (Fortify) was going forward. I knew it was going to be close, but once I got to (No Lou Zing), I felt like I had him." Fortify charged down the center of the track to collar his stablemate by a half-length in 1:48.2 Tetrick, who wore the colors of Fortify's owner, Diamond Creek Racing, has now won the last three renewals of the Progress after capturing the 2018 edition with This Is The Plan and the 2019 edition with Shake That House. It was Takter's first victory in Dover Downs' signature event. Fortify, a son of Sweet Lou-Can't Stop Me Now, has now won five of his 23 career races and has amassed $372,447 in purses. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) were once again tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the final standings: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,271; 2. Dexter Dunn - 1,172; 3. David Miller - 815; 4. Tim Tetrick - 765.5; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 606. Trainers: 1. Nancy Takter - 1,325.5; 2. Ron Burke - 1,303; 3. Ake Svanstedt - 734; 4. Tony Alagna - 682; 5. Marcus Melander - 492. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 273.9; 2. Caviart Farms - 243.8; 3. Determination - 230; 4. Brad Grant - 217.3; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 209.8. Looking ahead: The 2021 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. Paul Ramlow

Pompano Beach, FL…December 2, 2020…Prairie Westerngal and Northern Dali shared the harness racing spotlight as Pompano Park hosted twin Open events for mares on Tuesday (December 1). Prairie Westerngal  the sharp four year-old daughter of Western Ideal, stretched her winning streak to three at Pompano Park this fall with a two-move 1:53.4 win for Wally Hennessey, who was in the sulky for trainer Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin and Fritz Racing. Crisp Mane (Ricky Macomber, Jr.) was a fast closing second, though three lengths away, while Ask Me Ifi Care (Mike Micallef) finished third. The late charging Tempus Seelster was fourth with the early leader, Another Beach Day, picked up the nickel in this classy octet. At the outset, Prairie Westerngal used Pompano Park’s “winningest” post (5) to zip off the wings and take an early lead, only to be out-kicked by Another Beach Day (Braxten Boyd) at the :27.2 opener—but not for long. Hennessey immediately forged back to the front and was allowed a breather to reach the half in :57.2. A :27.3 backwside panel deterred any real threats as Prairie Westerngal reached the third station in 1:25 with a handy :28.4 finale sealing the deal. After the race, Hennessey remarked, “Mike (trainer Deters) has her very sharp now and she does anything asked of her. She knows how to relax and she knows how to sprint and she showed both qualities in her race tonight.” For Prairie Wrsterngal, it was her seventh win in 18 starts with her 2020 earnings now at $37,581. Lifetime, she has banked $131,563 to go along with her 1:52.1 mark set just a week ago. AS the 3 to 2 favorite, Prairie Westerngal paid $5.00 to win. In the companion $10,000 Open II event, Northern Dali, dismissed on the tote board to the tune of 33 to 1, used a ground saving journey to score a “lip” decision in 1:53.4 for Fern Paquet, Jr., who was in the bike for owner-trainer Gaston Lareau. Image Of A Dream (Rick Plano) was second in the photo with the winning margin just 1/100th of a second with Northern Dali timed in 1:53.86 and Image Of A Dream clocked in 1:53.87.   Cult Icon (John DeLong) was just a neck back in the picture, with her nose on the wire in 1:53.93. The action was hot start to finish as Persistent Bettor (Wally Hennessey), Image Of A Dream and Cult Icon all went in search of the top spot with Image Of A Dream taking charge just after the :sharp :27.1 opener, only to yield to Cult Icon a few strides later. Halfway through in :56, Persistent Bettor was on the move again from third to apply the pressure and Image Of A Dream sitting chilly along the inside. Meanwhile, Northern Dali was saving all the ground and stayed flush against the pylons as Image Of A Dream tilted out and Cult Icon drifted out. The three fanned across the track all the way home with the photo finish camera determining the winner. For Northern Dali, the now eight year-old daughter of Dali, it was her 51st career win—fourth this year—sending her lifetime bounty to $345,664. The faithful who bet $2 on Northern Dali were rewarded with a $69.60 stipend, which is the second highest win price ever for a Northern Dali win—the only other higher being a $70.00 win price at Saratoga on July 15, 2016. In the “better for the bettor” department, Pompano Park’s Pick-5 went unsolved on Tuesday and, as a result of a carryover of $11,965, the track will offer a $50,000 Guaranteed Pool on Wednesday’s Pick-5, which begins in Race 1. The Pick-4 Guarantees on Sunday through Wednesday racing programs will be bumped up to $15,000 beginning Sunday, December 6. Free programs will be continued to be available on the Pompano Park Racing website through the end of the year.   Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park

What she lacks in size and experience, little Kenzie Rattray makes up for in determination - and if she's any example, the future of harness racing in Tasmania will be in good hands! At "five years and one day" Kenzie is the newest recruit to a rejuvenated mini-trots scene in Tasmania - and although she just had her first race drives at the weekend, Kenzie's already built something of a cult following. And not without reason. The pint-sized reinswoman and her much more experienced pony Kitty Whiteface missed out at Kenzie's first drive at Devonport on Friday night, but then put together a string of three wins - at her second appearance at Devonport, then a double at Carrick on Sunday. "She's a world beater!" laughed Tas Racing Coordinator and Mini Trots enthusiast Wayne Yole. "In her first drive she was just finding her way, but she came back and told me she'd 'beaten five home'," he said. Kenzie was all smiles making her racing debut at five years and one day "Three weeks ago, before she had her approval to drive, she brought Kitty to the races and showed me how she could harness her up, all by herself. She definitely doesn't want anyone helping!" Kenzie is third-generation harness racing, the daughter of trainer-driver Gareth Rattray and trainer Melissa Maine. She's been driving ponies at home since she was three and has now followed older siblings Jackson Burke (13) and Lauren Rattray (7) into the mini trots. The Rattray kids are following in their dad's footsteps, and among an emerging second-generation of harness racing mini-trots participants. Gareth (who's had up to 100 wins in a season as a driver) also began his career in the pony trots at age 6. "She was ready to go a while ago, but she had to wait until she was old enough to get her licence," her dad Gareth said. "Her birthday was on Thursday and she drove her first race on Friday - and I definitely think she was more excited about driving!" he said. "She just loves it. She goes to school three days a week, and on the days she's not at school she trains Kitty every day - even through the winter," he said. "Both the girls are horse mad - we bought them a cubby house a couple of years back, thinking we were doing a great thing. But they run straight past the cubby to get to the stables." Yole said the Mini Trots in Tasmania was undergoing a welcome resurgence. "We've got at least eight ponies at every meeting in the North, and a fantastic bunch of kids are coming through. Especially in the past 12 months, we've had a real surge in interest and we have another three or four kids who are all just about to turn five and get their licence," he said. "We do make sure there is a bit of a preparation and training process involved - and at the end, they get their official plastic card to drive at the races, just like the senior drivers, which they love," Yole said the mini trots had been a great training ground for emerging drivers in Tasmania. "Bronte Miller has just started driving in the past few months, and she went through mini trots. Adrian Duggan's son Jacob has just got his licence. The oldest of our current mini trots drivers, Brodie Davis is certainly going to be a driver, and Makenna Hillier won't be far behind. "The pathway for these kids is just so important to the future of our sport," he said. "But really more important than that is that the kids and their families just get so much out of it. The skills they learn, the life skills they develop, and the fun of doing something together that they all love - it's what makes our sport great and it just gives me a great buzz to watch that." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Breeders Crown, harness racing’s annual $6 million year-end series of 12 championship events, returns to longtime partner track The Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for 2021. Bringing the championship series back to New Jersey was made possible through the efforts of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and New Meadowlands managing owner and CEO Jeff Gural, partners in what has long been considered the premiere harness racing product in North America.    “The Meadowlands is synonymous with championship racing,” said Gural. “Getting back in the Breeders Crown rotation makes sense for all involved and is good for the business. I’m happy we could make this happen.”   The Meadowlands is the leading host racetrack of Breeders Crown events, staging 91 events since the first Crown held there in 1987 and most recently holding all 12 Crown events in 2014 and 2016.  “All of us at the Meadowlands Racetrack are excited to host the Breeders Crown again in 2021,” said Jason Settlemoir, chief operating officer and general manager of the famed mile oval. “The Meadowlands has a long and rich tradition of hosting many of our sports top races so it’s fitting for the Crowns to come back to the Garden State. I would like to thank Mr. Gural, the Hambletonian Society and the SBOA of NJ for entrusting the team at the Meadowlands to showcase our sport’s best.”  The Breeders Crown will feature the four freshman events on Friday, Oct. 29.  The eight 3-year-old and open races will be held on Saturday, Oct. 30. Eliminations for all events, if needed, would be held the prior week, Oct. 22 and 23. “Securing the return of the Breeders Crown to The Meadowlands was a goal we worked with Jeff Gural to make happen,” said Mark Ford, president of the SBOA of NJ. “We are excited to accomplish that, and look forward to an incredible fall championship calendar.”  Since 2016, the Breeders Crown series enjoyed record-breaking runs at Harrah’s Hoosier Park (2017 & 2020), The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (2018) and Woodbine Mohawk Park (2019.) “The Hambletonian Society has partnered with The Meadowlands to present many extraordinary races over the last 40 years,” said John Campbell, president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the Breeders Crown. “The SBOA of New Jersey along with Jeff Gural and his management team have really pulled together over the last three years to strengthen and promote all factions of the harness racing industry in NJ, and bringing back the Breeders Crown continues that legacy.” Breeders Crown 2-year-old races are the richest stakes offered in the division, with $600,000 finals in each gait and gender. Payments for the 2021 Breeders Crown program commence February 15, and all information can be found at https://www.hambletonian.com/formsinfo The Breeders Crown Series was created in 1984 by the Hambletonian Society, one of the most influential sponsors of Standardbred racing. The 37-year-old series has typically crowned champions in every division for trotters and pacers and has been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors since its inception. More than $209 million in purse money has been disbursed over 430 events. Originally conceived and executed as a traveling series, the Crown has been hosted by racetracks across North America and been raced as single night or multiple events. For more information visit playmeadowlands.com or hambletonian.com.

Hightstown, NJ — Three-year-old male pacer Tall Dark Stranger finished the Grand Circuit season the No.1-ranked harness racing horse in the final Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, garnering 25 of 35 first-place votes. Tall Dark Stranger, who was retired following his Breeders Crown runner-up finish Oct. 31, won 11 of 13 races and $1.30 million. His earnings led all harness racing horses in North America. Tall Dark Stranger was ranked no worse than third at any point during the poll’s 21 weeks. He took over the top spot in Week 13 of the rankings and stayed there for the remaining nine weeks. There were no changes to the rankings in the poll’s top 10 this week. Party Girl Hill, Gimpanzee, Kissin In The Sand, and Perfect Sting completed the top five. Party Girl Hill received eight first-place votes while Gimpanzee and Perfect Sting split the remaining two. Rounding out the rankings were Bettor’s Wish, Amigo Volo, Manchego, Atlanta, and Ramona Hill. Gimpanzee led the rankings for the first six weeks before giving up No. 1 to Ramona Hill, who spent the next six weeks at the top of the poll. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association vote on all Dan Patch Award division winners plus Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 21 – 12/1/2020 – FINAL Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Tall Dark Stranger (25) 3pc 13-11-1-0 $1,302,681 334 1 2 Party Girl Hill (8) 3pf 16-15-0-1 $880,345 301 2 3 Gimpanzee (1) 4th 11-8-1-1 $980,964 245 3 4 Kissin In The Sand 5pm 12-8-1-0 $491,984 221 4 5 Perfect Sting (1) 2pc 10-10-0-0 $534,300 214 5 6 Bettor’s Wish 4ph 13-6-3-2 $685,432 142 6 7 Amigo Volo 3tg 15-9-1-2 $939,498 123 7 8 Manchego 5tm 13-6-2-2 $599,451 119 8 9 Atlanta 5tm 12-5-4-1 $749,014 82 9 10 Ramona Hill 3tf 10-6-1-1 $915,615 79 10 ALSO: Anoka Hanover 19; Shartin N 18; Test Of Faith 13; Action Uncle, Caviart Ally, Leonidas A, Sorella, Venerate 2; Charlie May, Major Custard, Peaky Sneaky, Plunge Blue Chip, Yall Beneath Me 1. Ken Weingartner

Goshen, NY - The Living Horse Hall of Fame Committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced the slate of six candidates for election into the Hall of Fame. The nominees are: ANDOVER HALL CHAPTER SEVEN FATHER PATRICK MISSION BRIEF PEACEFUL WAY YANKEE GLIDE Standardbred horses are elected into harness racing's Living Horse Hall of Fame by current members of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. SIX candidates will be presented to the Museum membership for consideration. Ballots were mailed to members the week of Thanksgiving and must be returned (postmarked) by December 31, 2020. The THREE top vote getters will be inducted into the Living Horse Hall of Fame on Hall of Fame Day - July 4, 2021 - in Goshen, New York. If you wish to participate in the Living Horse Hall of Fame election process and are not currently a Museum member, please contact the Museum to become a member. In July 2018, the Board of Trustees of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame approved a revised set of Living Horse Hall of Fame eligibility criteria. Those criteria are as follows: A racehorse must be retired from racing for two years and have had a drug-free career. In addition, racehorses must have been the winner of $2.5 million lifetime WITH 2 Dan Patch Awards, OR been the winner of $3 million lifetime, OR been named Dan Patch (U.S.) Harness Horse of the Year. Horses over the age of 12 that are still racing and meet the criteria are also eligible. A racemare must be retired from racing for two years and have had a drug-free career. In addition, racemares must have been the winner of $1.5 million lifetime WITH 2 Dan Patch Awards, OR been the winner of $2.5 million lifetime, OR been named Dan Patch (U.S.) Harness Horse of the Year. Mares over the age of 12 that are still racing and meet the criteria are also eligible. Stallions must rank among the 10 all-time leading moneywinning sires at their gait, OR have sired at least 100 $200,000 winners, OR been a leading moneywinning sire at his gait in three or more seasons. Annually on March 1st, a list of the broodmares that have produced two Dan Patch winners, OR two millionaires, OR one Dan Patch winner and one millionaire will be assembled for the Living Horse Hall of Fame Committee to review. Committee members can also nominate a broodmare that does not meet the criteria. Each of the committee members votes for his or her top 5 broodmares, voting results are tabulated and the top two vote getters are elected to the Living Horse Hall of Fame. The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, New York is temporarily closed to the public due to the pandemic. For information on the Museum, membership, special events, gift shop services and educational programs the Museum offers, please call (845) 294-6330 or visit www.harnessmuseum.com. Janet Terhune

Delaware, OH – Diamond Creek announced Tuesday (Dec. 1) that 2017 harness racing 'Pacer of the Year', Downbytheseaside, has a full and closed book for 2021.  Downbytheseaside‘s book was inundated with applications after making a splash at the sales this fall. Downbytheseaside‘s first crop of yearlings were extremely well received by the buyers this year.  At the Ohio Jug Sale, an average of more than $44,000 for 37 horses sold with 3 colts going for over $100,000.  He repeated that success again in Lexington where 26 yearlings were sold for average over $61,000, more than 10 times his initial stud fee.  Success continued at the Standardbred Horse Sale, where 10 sold for an average of $47,000 with top prices of $95,000 and $97,000. “The yearlings looked the part and I think that people in Ohio, and outside of Ohio, are looking for this kind of horse, ” said Diamond Creek’s Adam Bowden, “The sale results show that you can’t consider him simply a regional stallion.” Diamond Creek and the Downbytheseaside syndicate would like to sincerely thank all the breeders who supported and backed the stallion in his first year at stud. Some of the breeder success stories from Downbytheseaside’s first crop include: Lexington – Hip 836 Sea Lioness, filly out of Lionness Hanover, bred by Hickory Lane Farm and sold by Spring Haven for $200,000 to Greg Luther. Lexington – Hip 730 Coastal Front, colt out of She’s Poison, bred and sold by Winbak Farm for $115,000 to Don Robinson, agent. Lexington – Hip 721 Nola Blu, filly out of Catharsis, bred and sold by Crawford Farms for $100,000 to Greg Luther of Ohio. Lexington – Hip 737 Gulf Shores, colt out of Western Drag, bred by Sugar Valley Farm and sold by Diamond Creek for $100,000 to Brian Brown, agent. Ohio Jug Sale – Hip 103 Fire By The Sea, colt out of Wildfire Princess, bred by Enos Weaver and sold by Spring Haven Farm for $100,000 to Brian Brown. Diamond Creek Farm  

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    Reigning US Horse of the Year Shartin has a new Bettor's Delight half sister. Canterbury breeder Grant Crabbe, who bred Shartin in 2013, has a new filly out of the same mare, Bagdarin. “She was born at home at 8-35 am on Saturday 21st November. Caught me by surprise as she came seven days early.” She’s Bagdarin’s sixth foal but the first by the super sire Bettor’s Delight. “She’s a great looking filly,” says Grabbe, “with big ears just like her sister and she was up and drinking within twenty minutes.” Shartin was sired by Tintin In America, as was her third foal Knockawarwon, while the other sires have been Changeover, A Rocknroll Dance, Sweet Lou and Gold Ace. Last year Shartin N made history by becoming the first pacing mare to win the US Horse of the Year title as well as the first horse bred outside North America to win the top award. Her season netted 15 wins from 19 races and US$982,177 in stakes as a six-year-old. 2020 hasn’t been as successful, with five wins from 12 starts and she has been overshadowed by the Nancy Takter-trained Dexter Dunn-driven Kissin In The Sand. The five-year-old mare has won eight from 12 including four straight victories over Shartin N. Shartin is 31st on the list of stakes earners for the year with $444,099. That compares to the top five earners - Tall Dark Stranger ($US1.302m), Gimpanzee ($980,964), Amigo Volo ($939,498), Ramona Hill ($915,615) and Party Girl Hill (15 wins – 16 starts - $880,345). Shartin’s outstanding achievements in 2019 resulted in Crabbe given an award at this year’s harness racing awards for his special contribution to racing. Now he has Bagdarin back in foal again to Bettor’s Delight and a young filly to look after. “I'm undecided as to what to do with her yet but will see how things progress and will probably break her in and go from there.”

NZB Standardbred’s third annual National Standardbred Yearling Sale catalogue can now be viewed online, with printed copies due to arrive in letterboxes in early December.    Showcasing some of New Zealand’s brightest talent, this week has kicked off the countdown to the Australasian standardbred industry’s highlight sale event.   2021 Auckland Sale Dates at the Karaka Sales Centre Saturday 13 February - Sunday 14 February   2021 Christchurch Sale Dates at Canterbury Agricultural Park Monday 15 February - Wednesday 17 February   The Sale will debut an extended format in the Christchurch session and as with the highly successful recent New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale of thoroughbreds, online bidding services will be available for all registered buyers who are unable to physically attend the Auckland and Christchurch Sale sessions.    Despite a restricted 2020 racing schedule, NZB Standardbred’s first crop of graduates lit up racetracks on both sides of the Tasman headed by Group One winners Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous), Always An Angel (NZ) (Art Major), Jett Star (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal).   The catalogue is bountiful with proven, emerging and first season sires representing both gaits including Champion sire Bettor’s Delight, Art Major, Captaintreacherous, Majestic Son and Muscle Hill.   Also included is a quality selection of progeny by freshmen Downbytheseaside, Vincent and What the Hill. The three stallions were introduced into the market at NZB Standardbred’s 2020 All Age Sale, proving popular amongst buyers.   With 134 yearlings to go under the hammer in Auckland and a further 296 in Christchurch, the action-packed week of inspections, parades and selling is set to appeal to buyers and investors, both locally and internationally.    Buyers can purchase confidently with all yearlings available to inspect during on-farm parades. NZB Standardbred and New Zealand based-agents and trainers will be available to inspect on behalf of prior to the Sale and on the grounds at the Karaka Sales Centre and Canterbury Agricultural Park.   International buyers are encouraged to participate via NZB’s new user-friendly online bidding platform, while all New Zealand-based buyers and agents are welcome to attend the physical Sale sessions in person in Auckland and Christchurch.   View the full catalogue online at nzbstandardbred.co.nz

MILTON, November 30, 2020 – Sophomore trotting colt Its Academic shot up the inside of the streaking Oney Hall to win the $36,000 Preferred Handicap Trot on a snowy-rainy Monday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.  Searching for a seventh consecutive harness racing win, Oney Hall saw his streak snapped when he made a break nearing the wire. Its Academic and driver Doug McNair were coming up the inside on Oney Hall when the miscue happened. The race-winner appeared poised to power by even before the break, but took full advantage for a three-quarter length score in 1:55.4.  Perfetto and P L Jill were also attacking Oney Hall on the outside and came by to finish second and third, respectively. Oney Hall broke through the wire, finishing fourth.  A three-year-old colt, Its Academic was making his debut for new connections of owner Brad Grant and trainer Richard Moreau. The son of Uncle Peter raced in the Ohio Sires Stakes during the summer months and most recently tackled Grand Circuit company, picking up victories in the Bluegrass and Pegasus.  Monday evening’s contest saw Its Academic move to the lead before the opening-quarter and stretch out a parked Oney Hall, who didn’t clear to command until nearing the half. Oney Hall’s efforts for the front took him to the half in :56.3 before he led to three-quarters in 1:27.1 with Perfetto first-up at his wheel and P L Jill second-over.  Sylvain Filion did his best to keep Oney Hall together down the lane prior to the break. The four-year-old gelding was undefeated in six starts since joining the McIntosh barn prior to Monday’s start.  Its Academic is now seven for 14 on the season and 13 for 24 overall. His Woodbine debut victory pushes him to $326,232 in seasonal earnings and $455,234 in career earnings.  A $2 win ticket on Its Academic returned $17.  Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7 p.m.      Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park

Down Under Trotter wins a nice race at the Meadowlands. 7yo Down Under gelding Deltasun A was back in the harness racing winners circle on Friday night when getting up to win a $25,000 pace in the last stride and in the process taking his American race record to 3 wins from just 5 starts. It was a perfectly timed drive from Geo Napolitano Jr who bought the son of Tenotrump first over just passing the half to start a searching run from deep in the field. Still a good 4 lengths off the leader at the top of the straight the pair inch by inch wore back the margin to get up to win in 1:53.2 for trainer Andrew Harris. Deltasun A had an outstanding Down Under racing career winning 19 races and over $250,000 in prize money. He won at Group 3 level on 3 occasions and placed in Group races a further 8 times, most notably winning two Group 1 races in the Home Grown Classic and the 3yo Vicbred Trotting Final, both with the legend Gavin Lang in the race bike.   Monday 23rd November Dover Downs DE Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $7,000 Mako Banner N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $10,000   Northfield Park OH Persistent Threat A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $9,000   Plainridge Park MA Stihl N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $18,000   Pompano Park FL Risk N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $3,200   Saratoga Harness NY Mr Cool Seaeyre N – Time: 1:58.3, Stake: $7,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Statesman N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $9,500 Three Ways N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $9,500 One Off Delight A – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $14,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Majestic Sunrise N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $20,000   Tuesday 24th November Dover Downs DE Need Luck N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $7,000   Saratoga Harness NY Hereslooknatyou N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $5,200   The Meadows PA Hedges Avenue A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $10,400 Shezlimitless N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $9,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Millwood Bonnie N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $11,000 Demeter N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $16,000   Flamboro Downs CA Firebby A – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $8,500   Wednesday 25th November Batavia Downs NY Blacknsweet Adda A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $7,500   Dover Downs DE Anytime N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $12,000   Harrahs Philadelphia PA English Rose N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $7,000 My Kiwi Lady N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $11,600   Friday 27th November Freehold Raceway NY Princess Holly N – Time: 1:58.2, Stake: $4,200   Hollywood Dayton Raceway OH Montana Pablo A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $4,150 Miss You N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $17,250   Meadowlands NJ All American N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $12,500 Deltasun A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $25,000   Plainridge Park MA Rock Diamonds N – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $25,000   The Meadows PA Cocosfella A – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $10,400 Salty Robyn N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $8,100 Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $9,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Gunpowder N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $9,500 Major Crocker A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $9,500 Zach Maguire N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $9,500   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Better Be Donna N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $20,000 Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $16,000   Saturday 28th November Batavia Downs NY Rainbow Romance N – Time: 1:59.1, Stake: $3,200 Sir Richie N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $5,000   Freehold Raceway NY Machiatto N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $9,000   Meadowlands NJ Franco Totem N – Time: 1:49.3, Stake: $21,000   Northfield Park OH American Empress N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $13,500   Scarborough Downs ME Holy Grail N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $4,400 The Bus A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Kerford Road A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $14,000 Alta Leroy N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $17,500   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Mongolian Hero N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $24,000   Sunday 29th November Harrahs Philadelphia PA Polak A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,800 Thatswhatisaid N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $14,400   Click here for previous weeks articles     by Carter Dalgety  

Former South Australian harness racing trainer-driver Scott Ewen has every reason for relishing the thought of a trip back home. Ewen, who moved over the border to be based at Cranbourne 15 months ago, has his stable star Bulletproof Boy (Art Official-My Riviera Girl (Red River Hanover) firing on all chambers at the moment. "We'll keep poking along for a bit and give him a few weeks off after Christmas," Ewen said. "Then our aim will be the South Australian Cup in March-I've had one crack at it with another horse before and finished midfield, but it will be exciting to go back there with 'Bullet'," he said. There's no doubt the horse is racing in his career-best form - but there might yet be some improvement left. "It might sound silly to say, because he's a five-year-old, but he can still be green in his races," Ewen said. "I've made a few small gear changes and he's certainly been putting his best foot forward. He was pulling in his races and doing things wrong, but I've got him in an open bridle with no head check and now he drops the bit and doesn't engage." In consecutive weeks at TABcorp Park Melton, Bulletproof Boy has blasted his opposition out of the water with long-priced wins in feature events. He took out the $30,000 Breeders Crown Graduate Cup (G3) at 60/1 last Friday week and followed up with a super win in the $24,000 TAB Blacks A Fake FFA as rank outsider at 45/1. To watch the video replay 20th November clck here To watch the video replay 28th November clck here Bulletproof Boy has now won 26 races with 18 placings from 84 starts for stakemoney of over $171,000. Ewen said he always had a high opinion of "Bullet" who showed plenty of potential with "such a good turn of foot." "But I guess there was always a tendency to be very wayward. Twelve months ago I told the boys who are in him that one day he could be a country cups horse and might even go to the next level," he said. "I sort of compared him to a talented footballer who would just keep jogging along in the lower grades, but once he got promoted to the A Grade team would step up and shine. "Bullet can pick up on things quickly when he wants to and racing at Melton consistently has done him the world of good." Ewen, who trains out of the Cranbourne Training Centre, says he "pulled the right rein" after talking to Cranbourne club officials at last year's Mildura Cup Carnival and then making the move in September. "It took a little getting used to like anything does because the rest of the family was back home in SA. But we had a bit of success early which helped, and then later my partner Kylie was able to move across," he said. "We both do the horses together. There's seven in work with two others out in the paddock. The Training Centre is a first-class facility with everything you need from three training tracks, a swimming pool, walking machine and treadmill." Ewen has been training for nearly 30 years, but says the last 15 have been in a more professional capacity. "I've always been working at something else while I've been doing the horses-the family has tagged me as a Jack of all trades," he laughed. "I guess they are spot on because over the years I've done concreting, worked for a shed construction company, changed tyres, drove a Tip Top bread delivery van and a few other things" The couple will be taking a well-earned short rest later this week as 21-year-old daughter Courtney, who is forging a successful dancing career, graduates this Friday after completing a scholarship in Sydney. "We are really looking forward to the little break. It will be great," he said. "Then we'll be back home chasing our next winner-you have to keep at it because you can go from hero to zero very quickly in this game!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Plainville, MA --- The 2020 Plainridge Park meet concluded on Friday (Nov. 27) and despite starting over two months late due to the global pandemic, the harness racing track enjoyed a successful and productive year. With stringent safety protocols in place and the strict adherence to them by all racing personnel from day one of live racing, the meet was run in its entirety without any Covid-related incidents. That is a reflection of the hard work put in by the track's staff and all of the horsemen and horsewomen to ensure the safety of everyone and protect their livelihoods as all worked through difficult times. "We are happy with the meet we had given the circumstances we had to deal with. But the only way we were able to operate successfully centered around my incredible staff. Each and every one of them went above and beyond their responsibilities, doing whatever it took to get thru the toughest season we have ever faced in regards to operations,"said Steve O'Toole, Director of Racing at Plainridge Park. "We tried to accommodate the horsemen as best we could, especially the regulars and those local. The $7 million in purses distributed in the shortened season should give them stability until we start next year." On the track, Shawn Gray was the top dash driver with 111 wins, $1,081,476 in earnings and a UDR of .436 followed by Drew Monti in second with 94 wins, $899,901 in earnings and a UDR of .302 and Bruce Ranger a very close third with 93 wins, $907,748 in earnings and a UDR of .300. Shawn Gray (Tim Bojarski Photo) Melissa Beckwith was the winningest trainer with 39 victories in only 89 starts which gave her a win percentage of 44% and a UTR of .541. She also bankrolled $249,700 in earnings. Jimmy Nickerson was right behind her in second with 32 wins, $323,515 in earnings and a UTR of .401. Best Honey Hanover was the most productive horse, visiting the winner's circle eight times during the meet and earning $48,300 while splitting time between barns through claims. There were eight track records broken and one tied during the year. Two of those occurred on Spirit of Massachusetts Trot day in July when Manchego scorched The Ridge in 1:49.3 to set the all-time trotting mark and Shartin N paced in 1:48.1 to break the all-time pacing mark she set just one year ago. Manchego scorched The Ridge in 1:49.3 Shartin N paced in 1:48.1 to break the all-time pacing mark The Massachusetts Sire Stakes held at Plainridge in October also showed how far the state-bred Standardbreds have come as seven stake records were broken and another tied during the four week run of that series. Plainridge Park will kick off their 2021 on April 12 and feature 110 days of love racing. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Pompano Beach, FL...November 30, 2020...The FSBOA sponsored Florida Stallion Stakes for two year-olds highlighted the Sunday harness racing festivities at Pompano Park contested in four divisions with KK's Dream Girl, Prairie Virtue, Mister David C and Shulda Hada Drink were victorious in their respective classes and taking their major shares of $102,000 in purses. But after the completion of those events, the fireworks continued with a pair of Open pacing events and a 1:49.3 performance by the invader Bell I No in a conditioned event with optional claimers. First, here's a recap of the Stallion Stakes events. KK's Dream Girl, who suffered a broken hobble and had to be pulled up in last week's Sunshine State Stakes Final, redeemed herself on Sunday night with a lifetime best performance of 1:54.4--leading every long stride of her mile off panels of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:26.1 and finishing 2½ lengths up at the wire. The beautiful roan daughter of Mysticism was handled by Corey Braden for trainer Maggie Audley and the Gold Star Farm as this 2 to 1 second choice put the highly regarded 2 to 5 favorite, Prairie Sweetness Kevin Wallis), in the garden spot much of the way, never threatening the winner. Sparkyfareyouwe (Bryce Fenn), saving ground all the way around, rallied to finish third. Dice Dice Baby finished fourth while Rocks Stormyd picked up the final check in the quintet after a mild threat three-eighths into the mile. After the mile, a humble Corey Braden remarked, "Well, she kept her pants (hobbles) on tonight and she had a pretty easy journey. I decided to not take any chances and put her on the front since we drew inside of Kevin's (Wallis) filly, (Prairie) Sweetness. It worked out well and I am very happy for Maggie (trainer Audley), who works so hard on her horses. Paying $6.00 to her many faithful, KK's Dream Girl, earning $13,500 of the $27,000 purse, sent her career bankroll to $16,425 for the first five weeks of her racing career. KK's Dream Girl The $27,500 Stallion Stakes for trotting fillies went, as advertised, to the 1 to 20 favorite, Prairie Virtue, driven by Mike Simons. The daughter of Shibboleth Hanover took charge a few strides after the wings opened and had daylight at every pole, clocking panels of :29.1, :59 and 1:29.1 before an effortless :29.3 finale took her to the line 1¾ lengths ahead of the pocket-sitting Ciao Bella (Alessandro Spano). Prairie Trinket (Dave Ingraham) rallied for third, 7¼ lengths away and a neck better than West Haven. Prairie Ginger picked up the nickel in the field of six. Prairie Virtue is trained by Lisa Martin for Mary Martin and Laurie Poulin and this win, her second lifetime in five starts, sent her bounty to $19,675 since beginning her career about two months ago. With a multitude of backers, she paid $2,10 to win. Prairie Virtue In the $22,000 Stallion Stakes for pacing geldings, Mister David C, the son of Royal Millennium, was driven by Wally Hennessey for trainer Tony Dinges and owners Fred Grant and the Birnam Wood Farm and let Theflyingrock (Mike Simons) cut panels of :27.3, :57.1 and 1:25.3 before his individual :28.2 finale was more than enough to score a handy 5½ length win in a lifetime best mile of 1:54.2 in this match race of sorts with only two starters. Now with a scorecard of 2-1-1 in four career starts, Mister David enjoyed a payday of $14,300 of the $22,000 purse to send his bounty to $18,510. The $25,500 Stallion Stakes attracted a quartet consisting of three geldings and one colt and it was the gelding Shulda Hada Drink winning his third race in four starts, surviving a nasty miscue at the start, spotting his foes several lengths. But driver Mike Simons got his charge composed and went on to score a 2:02.1 win measuring 1½ lengths over Seeking Matthew (Sergio Corona) with Jo Jo Jet and Prairie Lazuli way, way back at the end of the mile. After the race, driver Simons commented, "Believe me, I held my breath for a few seconds when he skipped but he calmed down and put in a nice rally after that. Indeed he did. Away last after the miscue, Shulda Hada Drink reached third on the outside at the opening station in :31.3, was a length away from the leader Seeking Matthew half way througb in 1:01.1, stuck his head in front past the third station in 1:31 and drew off in the final stages. Trained by George Coblentz for owner Nick Coblentz, Shulda Hada Drink has banked $22,897 since his racing career began five weeks ago. Bell I No, the eight year-old invader from the north, scorched the Pompano oval in 1:49.3 for John MacDonald--the fastest mile of the meeting. The altered son of Rock N Roll Heaven, trained by Tee Wine for the Jemaxpo Racing Stables, sprinted off the wings from his outside post, took command a few strides prior to the opening eighth, and recorded sizzlers of :27, :54.3 and 1:22 with a :27.3 finale sealing the issue by 6½ lengths over the pocket sitting Hot Art (Rick Plano) with Rockntouch (Wally Hennessey) next over Perkins and Autotune Hanover in the septet. For Bell I No, it was his ninth win of the season in 26 starts, good for $105,454 this semester and $365,375 lifetime. He paid $3.80 as the 4 to 5 tote-board favorite. Bell I No About 25 minutes later, Loud Splash, also driven by John MacDonald for trainer Tee Wine, took top honors in the $11,500 Open Handicap Pace, stopping the tele-timer in 1:50. This four year-old son of Thinking Out Loud, got picture perfect handling in stalking Mach West (Wally Hennessey) through panels of :27.1, :55.1 and 1:22.2 before leaving the coziness of his pocket to roll by late on the strength of his :27.2 finale to score by three-parts-of-a-length. Skip To My Lou (Joe Chindano, Jr.) was third followed by Maxdaddy Blue Chip. Plus One got the minors in the classy sextet. Loud Splash, owned by Samuel Abdoo, took a new lifetime mark with the win and sent his 2020 earnings to $55,476 and $97,651 career-wise. Lightly regarded in the wagering as fifth choice, Loud Splash paid $19.80 to win. Loud Splash That win, by the way, gave trainer Tee Wine and driver John MacDonald a consecutive triple on the card as When You Dance won in 1:52.2 immediately prior to Bell I No and Loud Splash. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Seeing Eye Single, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr. This five year-old gelded son of Dragon Again scored a handy three length win in 1:50.4 for trainer Devan Miller and owners Burke Racing Stable and Purnel & Libby LLC. Caviart Reagan (Wally Hennessey) was second while Mac Anover (Kevin Wallis) was next. Dash Of Danger and Rock On Moe got the last two checks in the field of nine. Seeing Eye Single vaulted his lifetime bankroll of $434,552 and paid $7.40 to win. Seeing Eye Single Finally, Pompano Park's Pick-6, with three chalks, a 5 to 2 shot and an 8 to 1 outsider in the mix, paid $3,172.95 for the 50 cent ticket. Racing resumes Monday night as the track moves to a five day schedule--Sunday through Thursday--with a million dollar field going to the gate in the Open Handicap Trot. The finals of the Florida Stallion Stakes will also be contested in four non-wagering events. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Notching up his 300th career win as a driver at his home track steering a horse trained by his father - it was certainly a fitting moment for harness racing driver Mitch Turnbull. Eight years after he made his driving debut, Turnbull brought up the milestone at the Bathurst Paceway last Wednesday aboard $1.20 favourite Major Braken. From barrier six aboard the two-year-old gelding trained at The Lagoon by his father Steve, Mitch Turnbull hunted forward and easily found the lead. He eased the pace off in the middle stages before asking the favourite to give, Major Bracken clocking a 27.6 seconds final sectional to win by 3.3 meters. The run reminded Turnbull of his first winning drive at the old showground paceway on November 14, 2012 aboard Rainbow Thunder. "That win was pretty similar to the 300th drive because I led easy, went slow then sprinted home and no-one could get near me," Turnbull said. With his grandfather Tony 'AD' Turnbull Australia's leading trainer six times, his uncles, aunties, cousins, parents and older siblings involved in harness racing, Mitch Turnbull always aimed to follow in their footsteps. He's in the main driven for his father Steve - 203 of his wins coming aboard his horses - so that win 300 came with a member of the Radiant Lodge team was fitting. "Steve has supported me right through and a majority of my wins have been for Steve as a trainer, so it was good to get done there," he said. "I left school earlier, at the end of Year 9, to work for Steve and have worked for him right through. Usually every year I like to get away from about a month, I've travelled to Perth, Victoria and Queensland, but I've always come back to Steve and he's always looked after me, he's taught me everything I know." While Turnbull rates his Group 2 win aboard Warrawee Drinking in a NSW Breeders Challenge True Blue Series final as one of his favourite moments thus far, in the main he enjoys any success on his home track. He's had 121 of them. "I was fortunate about a month ago to win a Group 2 race at Menangle, so that was a nice surprise, but I do really enjoy driving at Bathurst on a Wednesday night and getting wins there because it's home," he said. "I had a horse, Courtsinsession, that I was driving for 12 months straight and it was just a super horse and that helped me out a lot because he was so competitive. "It gave me a lot of confidence because he had some good wins and I was able to travel him down to Melbourne, which was a good trip. He only run fourth [in the Free For All], but it was good to do something different." As for whether or not he intends to follow in the footsteps of his siblings Nathan, Josh and Amanda and train his own team, Mitch thinks that will probably happen in time. But for now he's more than happy to keep driving for his father. "I probably will [train] one day, but the moment I'm flat out with Steve and helping him, that's how how I'd rather it be anyway," he said. "I'd rather work for Steve rather than have the pressures of training, I can enjoy and learn from him." Pressure is something Turnbull said he doesn't really feel and he's happy enough with his siblings being more in the spotlight than himself. "None of that really bothers me, I only really feel pressure if I have a nice horse in a big race, but Amanda has always been the number one and it hasn't really fazed me if I'm number two or three as long as I get the odd winner," he said. "It is nice to beat them, but in saying that Amanda and Nathan and Josh have supported me and taught me a lot." By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Hes Watching three-year-old filly Belladonna Girl proved she is the one to beat in next Saturday’s Group 2 $50,000 Southern Cross Series Final at Globe Derby Park with a devastating win in her heat. Despite a difficult draw and a wide passage, Belladonna Girl soundly trounced her rivals by 24 metres in a 1:58.2 rate over 2230 metres with the closing 800 in 57.7. To watch the video replay click on this link A close fourth in the Breeders Crown Final, she has won three of her last six starts. Another talented three-year-old daughter of Hes Watching in Silent Rapture NZ made it four on the bounce on Australian soil when she scored in runaway fashion at Cobram, rating 1:59.1. Hes Watching was also represented by two winners in NSW last week in the two-year-old Major Bracken, who became his 14th individual juvenile winner, and the three-year-old filly Watching You Dream.  In North America, the NZ bred filly Hereslooknatyou posted her eighth success from 17 starts in her adopted country when she prevailed in 1:56.4 at Saratoga Raceway, New York. Other recent northern hemisphere winners by Hes Watching were the three-year-olds Illbewatchingu (1:57.4, Yonkers), Saulsbrook Flashy (1:58.8, Flamboro Downs), Panerai (1:59.6, Western Fair Raceway) and She’s Magic (2:00.6, Western Fair). Hes Watching stands at the Tipperary Equine stud, Young (NSW), of Luke Primmer.   Peter Wharton  

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