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Five years ago when Dave Palone became the leading driver in career wins in North American harness racing history, he looked to the man he surpassed with respect and awe. “When I was a kid,” Palone said, “Herve was my idol. In soccer, there’s Pele. In harness racing, there’s Herve. When you say ‘Herve’ everyone knows who that is. “I don’t think I could ever replace Herve as the legend that he is.” Herve Filion, a Hall of Famer in the U.S. and Canada who retired in 2013 with 15,179 career wins, passed away Thursday at the age of 77. Filion, a native of Quebec, was North America’s leading driver in wins 16 times, earning his first title in 1968 and final crown in 1990. The Filion family at midday Thursday posted on Facebook: “God saw you getting tired and a cure not meant to be. So he put his arms around you and whispered ‘come to me.’ Our dad, Herve Filion, crossed the finish line like the champion he is and became our angel today. “A true champion he will always be – doctors have told us this is one for the books for sure! We appreciate all the well wishes and the memories that have been shared these past few weeks. We thank you for giving us our privacy during this heartbreaking time.” Filion first came to the U.S. in 1961. At 21 he was racing at Vernon Downs before migrating to the Delaware Valley circuit, where he rewrote the books at both Brandywine and Liberty Bell while also establishing himself as a power at Freehold. When Filion left to go to New York in 1970, he became a fulltime doubleheader driver, racing at Freehold in the afternoon and the metropolitan New York tracks at night. A teenage Palone watched in 1979 when Filion drove Hot Hitter to victory in the Adios at Palone’s hometown track, The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. When he was in his 20s, Palone got to meet his idol while participating in a driving competition at Freehold. “He was just like people always said he was, bubbly and positive,” Palone said today. “He treated me just like he treated all the other drivers and it meant a lot to me. He told me, ‘All you need is power, kid.’ That’s what he would always tell me. I’ll just always remember the way he treated me. He always had a smile on his face.” Filion’s roots in racing traced back to his childhood in Angers, Quebec, a remote farming community. “We had work horses and road horses because we didn’t have a car,” Filion once said. “In those days my father would do anything to make a buck, to raise 10 kids – eight boys and two girls. My father started racing as a hobby in 1949. I raced for the first time when I was 12, and finished second. At 13, I won my first race, with Guy Grattan, at Rigaud, Quebec.” Record numbers of wins followed. In 1968, Filion became the first driver to surpass 400 wins in a year, recording 407 victories en route to his first North American title. He continued to raise the bar from there, with 486 wins in 1970, then 543 in 1971, 605 in 1972 and 637 in 1974. When Mike Lachance broke Filion’s record with 770 wins in 1986, Filion reclaimed the mark with 798 triumphs in 1988. He pushed the record to 814 wins a year later. “He was one of the greatest drivers our sport has ever had,” Palone said. “No one was smoother with a horse. I think horses felt that and responded to him. He could keep a horse going forever.” Palone became the winningest driver in North American harness racing history on July 5, 2012 at The Meadows. Filion was in attendance. “Having him there meant so much to me,” Palone said. “He was so supportive and so encouraging when I was getting near the record. He kept telling me I was going to do it. I thought it was cool to have him in my corner. He hugged me when I broke the record and I could feel he was as happy for me as I was. “To this day it doesn’t seem right to me that I have the record. There’s only one Herve.” In addition to his years as the sport’s leading driver in wins, Filion topped the purse standings seven times. He finished his career with $88.4 million in earnings. Top horses driven by Filion included Grades Singing, who won the 1986 Maple Leaf Trot, American Trotting Championship and Breeders Crown Mare Trot with Filion in the sulky. Filion was a two-time winner of the Little Brown Jug, with Nansemond in 1971 and Hot Hitter in 1979, and enjoyed multiple stakes victories with millionaire Dorunrun Bluegrass. In addition to winning a Breeders Crown with Grades Singing, he won a trophy with Caressable in 1985. Filion, who won the inaugural World Driving Championship in 1970, was the youngest person ever elected to harness racing’s Living Hall of Fame, when he was inducted at the age of 35 in 1975. (John Campbell was also inducted at age 35 in 1990.) In 1976, Filion became the youngest driver inducted into Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Other awards for Filion included the Lou Marsh trophy as Canada’s leading professional athlete; the Hickok Professional Athlete of the Month Award (the only individual in harness racing ever so honored); and the 1973 Proximity Award. “This is a sad day for harness racing,” Palone said. “There will never be another one like him.” Additional obituary information and information regarding services will be published when available. Ken Weingartner

Less than a week ago, harness racing trainer Julie Miller was uncertain whether she would send Devious Man to the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Devious Man's performance in last Sunday's Empire Breeders Classic made the decision easier. Devious Man won the EBC championship by four lengths over Bill's Man in 1:52.2, prompting Team Miller -- Julie and husband Andy -- to enter the colt in the Beal. The event for 3-year-old trotters attracted 23 horses, including award-winning filly Ariana G, so three eliminations will be contested Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Devious Man is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the second division. Giveitgasandgo, coming off a win in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, is the 5-2 favorite in the first elimination and New Jersey Sire Stakes filly champion Ariana G is the 2-1 choice in the third. The top three finishers from each elimination advance to the $500,000 final July 1. Eliminations for the Ben Franklin for older male pacers, Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers are also on the Saturday card at Pocono. Devious Man, owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable, is undefeated in three races this year. For his career, he has won 10 of 15 starts and earned $455,393. "We were on the fence about going to the Earl Beal, but that last start solidified that he deserved a chance," Julie Miller said. "We were really happy with that start. You couldn't have mapped it out any better; when Andy (came off cover from second over) he just scooted down the lane. "He didn't have to over-exert himself in his last couple starts, so we should have a nice fresh horse going to the Earl Beal. These starts this year have been confidence boosters. I'm really pleased with that." Of Devious Man's 10 lifetime wins, nine have come in races restricted to New York-bred horses. But the colt did win on the Grand Circuit last season, capturing a division of the International Stallion Stakes in 1:53.2 at Lexington's Red Mile. The clocking was the sixth-fastest win time of 2016 for a 2-year-old trotter. "He was solid last year and he won in Lexington so I thought he could maybe step up to the Grand Circuit level, but you don't want to put that kind of pressure on them," Miller said. "You don't want to over-stake them or over-train them trying to work on a schedule. We pretty much let him decide how he was going. "He trained down good this year. He gave me every indication we could enter him in these kinds of stakes races. I know he's only faced New York company so far this year, but he's raced really well. I think he deserves a chance against open company in the Earl Beal." Devious Man is among a group of 19 Beal participants eligible to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. Devious Man, a son of Credit Winner out of the mare Miss Garland, is a half-brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo. "If my horse can work it out, that's great for us," Miller said. "I think he's a smart horse and a very versatile horse. No matter the size of the track Andy can drive him the way the race develops for him. We don't always have to be on the front, we don't always have to have cover. "There are three (Beal) divisions, which shows there are a lot of nice horses. No one is bowing out. But I feel confident in our chances. He's given us no reason not to give him a chance." Ariana G, who received the 2016 Dan Patch and O'Brien awards for best 2-year-old female trotter in the U.S. and Canada, is bidding to become the first filly to win the Beal in its seven-year history. She is this year's fastest 3-year-old trotter, with a mark of 1:51.1. Her trainer, Jimmy Takter, has won the Beal three times. For a look at all the entries for Saturday at Pocono, click here. ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 6 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Lord Cromwell - Gustavo Fring - Southwind Cobra May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Long Tom - Yes Mickey - Deacon Tony May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - What The Hill - Southwind Cobra - New Jersey Viking May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Sortie - Giveitgasandgo - High Glider May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Andy M - Gustavo Fring - Stealth Hanover May 20 - Meadows - PASS - Common Parlance - Brown Bear - Brand New Key May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Stick With Me Kid - Bill's Man - Top Flight Angel May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Devious Man - Lord Cromwell - Aces And Eights May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Enterprise - Swell Chap - Meetmeinthemiddle June 2 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Long Tom - King On The Hill - What The Hill June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Fraser Ridge - Meme Hanover - Muay Hanover June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Moonshiner Hanover - Giveitgasandgo - Lars Perry June 3 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Sortie - Dover Dan - Always A Good Time June 9 - Mohawk - Goodtimes Elim - International Moni - Guardian Angel As - Jake June 9 - Mohawk - Goodtimes Elim - Enterprise - AWOL Hanover - Shake It Off Lindy June 9 - Vernon - EBC Elim - Bill's Man - Such An Angel - Stick With Me Kid June 9 - Vernon - EBC Elim - Devious Man - Swell Chap - Lord Cromwell June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Rubio - Muscles Jared - Di Oggi June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Dover Dan - Moonshiner Hanover - Sir John F June 10 - Pocono - PASS - Giveitgasandgo - President Lindy - Andy M June 17 - Mohawk - Goodtimes - International Moni - Mass Production - Seven And Seven June 18 - Vernon - Empire Breeders Classic - Devious Man - Bill's Man - Stick With Me Kid June 24 - Pocono - Earl Beal Jr. Elims - July 1 - Pocono - Earl Beal Jr. Memorial - July 9 - Pocono - PA All Stars - July 15 - Meadowlands - Stanley Dancer Memorial - July 22 - Meadowlands - Tompkins-Geers - July 29 - Meadowlands - Reynolds - Aug. 5 - Meadowlands - Hambletonian - Hambletonian eligible in bold Ken Weingartner

Talent Soup was limited to a handful of races last year at age 2 because of sickness, but harness racing trainer Bruce Saunders saw enough of the colt to believe there was ability beyond the horse's name. Good looking, well gaited, quick, and professional, Talent Soup checked all the boxes. "He's a beautiful horse," Saunders said about Talent Soup, who will compete in the third of Saturday's three eliminations of the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "He's very athletic looking and he's got a brilliant head. That's a good start. That's part of the reason we have him in the barn. "He's very efficient with his gait. He usually does not get tired. Even though he didn't pass every horse in his last two starts he has a great capacity to take air and continue to go forward. He's got a will to win. He's a high-energy colt and very, very athletic. He likes his job a lot and that makes our job easier. He's happy to be on the racetrack." Talent Soup, owned by Charles "Cotton" Nash and Julie Nash, is 12-1 on the morning line in a seven-horse division that features world champion Downbytheseaside, who enters the race off a third-place finish in the North America Cup. The field also includes Heaven's Gait, Donttellmeagain, Eddard Hanover, Highalator, and Photobombr Hanover. Heaven's Gait, the 3-1 second choice behind 5-2 Downbytheseaside, goes to the Hempt elim off a 1:49 victory in New York Sire Stakes action at Vernon Downs. Every Way Out is the 2-1 favorite in the first Hempt elimination and North America Cup champion Fear The Dragon is the 8-5 choice in the second. The top three finishers from each elimination advance to the $500,000 final July 1 at Pocono. The July 1 card will also include the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older male pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Eliminations for those stakes also are Saturday. Talent Soup won one of five races last year, when he lost time in late spring because of sickness, and has one victory in seven starts this season. His lone triumph this year came in a leg of the Weiss Series at Pocono, when he stopped the clock in 1:51.1 with a final quarter-mile of :26.3. The colt heads to the Hempt elim off back-to-back second-place finishes where he was charging late, coming home in :26.4 in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon on June 18 and :26.2 in a conditioned race June 10 at the Meadowlands. For his career, Talent Soup has hit the board eight times and earned $38,507. "His last two efforts have been very good," Saunders said. "The owners decided he earned the right to be in here and I agree with them. I don't know how fast they're going to go, but I know this colt is capable of pacing a very fast mile with the right kind of trip. "We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hope they mix it up a little bit. There are a lot of horses in that race that like to be in a controlling position. Maybe they'll mix it up and we can save some ground and finish with vigor. Stranger things have happened than for him to win a race like that." Talent Soup, bred by the Nashes and Steve Stewart, is a son of American Ideal out of the mare Tessa Hanover. His family includes stakes winners Took Hanover and Triple V Hanover plus mare Trim Hanover, who is the dam of millionaires American Jewel and Luck Be Withyou (racing Saturday in a Franklin elimination). His fourth dam is multiple Dan Patch Award winner Three Diamonds, who is the dam of millionaire Life Sign. Talent Soup was purchased for $65,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. The Nashes and Stewart were the breeders of 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven, who was trained by Saunders for owner Frank Bellino. "With (Rock N Roll Heaven) it didn't matter where we drew or who we were in with; he could muscle his way into position," Saunders said. "That's what these races are all about, being in position at the top of the stretch and still having a lot of energy. "(Post position) really compromises your chances a lot, unless you're a dominant horse. So far we have not been a dominant horse. We'll have to be a little lucky and (Talent Soup) will have to be a little better than he's been, but those things can happen." Talent Soup, who was hampered by a bruised foot earlier this season, is eligible to a number of stakes including the Breeders Crown, Little Brown Jug, and Matron. "I think he got enough experience last year," Saunders said. "He didn't go as fast as the good 2-year-olds, but he got enough starts for us to evaluate his talent level. He went some nice miles. That impressed us enough to make some stakes payments for this year. "Now he'll have an opportunity to mix it up with what is pretty much the cream of the crop. We've got some obstacles to overcome on Saturday but if he puts in a good performance we'll continue to give him a chance." For a look at all the entries for Saturday at Pocono, click here. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Fear The Dragon roared into first place in this week’s Hambletonian Society / Breeders Crown poll. The 3-year-old harness racing male pacer won last Saturday’s North America Cup, where Huntsville finished second and previously top-ranked Downbytheseaside was third. Roses Are Red Stakes winner Lady Shadow remained No. 2 in the rankings while Armbro Flight Stakes champ Hannelore Hanover vaulted from seventh to third. Huntsville slipped a spot to fourth while idle Ariana G dropped a notch to fifth and Downbytheseaside fell to sixth. Goodtimes Stakes winner International Moni joined the rankings at No. 9. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December 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. Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Fear The Dragon (22) 3pc 6-6-0-0 $455,703 329 5 2 Lady Shadow (12) 6pm 4-4-0-0 $271,000 291 2 3 Hannelore Hanover (1) 5tm 4-3-1-0 $146,138 247 7 4 Huntsville 3pc 5-3-2-0 $238,529 224 3 5 Ariana G 3tf 2-2-0-0 $60,000 196 4 6 Downbytheseaside 3pc 5-4-0-1 $286,000 190 1 7 Crazy Wow 5th 5-2-3-0 $231,500 135 6 8 Resolve 6th 1-1-0-0 $93,000 74 8 9 International Moni 3tc 2-2-0-0 $102,565 50 -- 10 Dr J Hanover 4pg 12-2-1-1 $89,907 22 9 Also: Devious Man (21); Bit Of A Legend N, Mossdale Conner N (19); Barn Bella, Keystone Velocity (16); Somewhere In LA (15); Bettor’s Up (13); McWicked (11); Mel Mara (7); Marion Marauder, Western Fame (5); Clear Vision (4); Missile J, Jagersro (3); Last Gunfighter, Nirvana Seelster (2); All Bets Off, Charmed Life, Magic Presto, Safe From Terror, Tequila Monday, Western Joe (1).  North American statistics only. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Manalapan, NJ --- Dave Van Wart walked away from Gaitway Farm wearing a broad smile this morning, but that's not unusual. Van Wart, who grew up near the training facility and still lives in the area, has owned harness racing horses for the past six years and spends as much time as possible watching them prep for the races at trainer Tom Fanning's stable. "This is my stress relief," he said with a grin. "It's really enjoyable for me." But his smile was a little extra special Monday after watching his 2-year-old female pacer Zuluwarriorhanover win one of the morning's 10 qualifiers for freshmen at Gaitway. Zuluwarriorhanover, driven by Andy Miller, beat Step Beyond by a nose in 1:56.1 in her first qualifying try of the season despite a gusty headwind. "I thought she raced fantastic," said Van Wart, who owns a nursery and landscape business. "She was very good, very strong. Tom does an excellent job. I was excited to watch her. Anytime you buy a yearling it's nice to see them do that. We've staked her to a few nice races. I really enjoy the horses." Van Wart wasn't alone in having reason to smile. Trainer Ron Burke sent out six winning 2-year-olds, including colt pacer JK Wildfire, who won in 1:55.3 with driver Yannick Gingras to set the day's best time by a pacer. Trainer Julie Miller won two qualifiers, both with colt trotters, including day's best Met's Hall in 1:57. Trond Smedshammer, who won with filly trotter Chaperess, rounded out the list of trainers with wins. Zuluwarriorhanover is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Zellweger Bluechip. She was purchased for $52,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a full sister to stakes winner Zane Hanover. The family also includes millionaire Fashion Delight as well as 2016 Empire Breeders Classic 3-year-old filly champion No Clouds Bluechip. "Dave had her on a very short list of horses he liked," Fanning said. "It worked out well because we both liked her. She was a little small, but I loved her pedigree." Burke's JK Wildfire (Somebeachsomewhere-Bittorsweet Terror) won in 1:55.3 after finishing second in his first qualifier on June 5. He was purchased for $175,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by 3 Brothers Stables. He is a half-brother to stakes winner Chip Walther and his second dam, stakes-winner Swifty But Nifty, is the mother of millionaire Cam Swifty and multiple-stakes-winner Lonesome Day. Other winners for Burke were filly pacers Youaremycandygirl, Let's Fall In Love and Belle's Delight, colt pacer Go West Go Fast, and filly trotter D'Bomb. Bill Donovan owns Youaremycandygirl, Let's Fall In Love, Belle's Delight, and D'Bomb. Youaremycandygirl, driven by Gingras, won her second qualifier of the month, this in 1:55.4 after going 1:58.4 on June 5. Youaremycandygirl (American Ideal-Sweet Lady Jane) was purchased for $150,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. The filly's second dam is Sweet Future, who is the mother of Pacer of the Year Sweet Lou (a former Burke Stable star) and multiple-stakes-winner Bettor Sweet. Let's Fall In Love (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) and Gingras won in 1:56.3. She was purchased for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is a full sister to New York Sire Stakes champion Band Of Angels and a half-sister to millionaire Romantic Moment. Go West Go Fast (Western Ideal-Female Champs) and driver Joe Bongiorno won in 1:56.4. He was purchased for $32,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Silva Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. He is a full brother to stakes winner Ideal Champ. Belle's Delight (Bettor's Delight-Sanabellevalentine) won in 1:58.3 with driver Matt Kakaley. She was purchased for $50,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and her second dam is millionaire Sanabelle Island. D'Bomb (Explosive Matter-Machita) and Gingras won in 1:59.1. She was purchased for $65,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is a half-sister to stakes winner Blue Porsche. "It was another good day," Burke said. "It's tough to get a read because of the headwind today. It's hard for babies to come off a turn and face a 20-mph wind and just keep hammering through it. Any that hung in are good horses. I think it was a little easier to sit and try to slingshot past late. But whatever they're getting home is legit. It's not wind-aided, it's wind-impaired. "Now it's race time." Met's Hall (Cantab Hall-Met's Inn) won in his first qualifier of the year. He was purchased for $132,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Racing Stable. His family includes 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill. Can't Afford It also won in his first qualifier, stopping the timer in 1:59. The son of Cantab Hall-Nothing But Moni was purchased for $120,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Stable Why Not. His second dam is two-time Horse of the Year Moni Maker and his family includes newly-minted Goodtimes Stakes champion International Moni. Both horses were driven by Andy Miller. "Met's Hall has been a nice horse training down the whole time, a model of consistency," Julie Miller said. "We have high hopes for him and so far so good. I've liked him since the word go. He's got an aura about him. He's built well and he's got a good head on him. He's got that 'it' factor. "Can't Afford It trained down in the Netherlands, so he came to us a little late. He's not staked until later in the year and we're really taking our time with him. Andy said he was super today. He's a really nice colt." Chaperess (Chapter Seven-Wedding Dress) won in 1:59.1 for driver David Miller and owner Purple Haze Stable. The filly trotter was purchased for $55,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. "It was her first time behind the gate and she was very good, very professional," Smedshammer said. "She was training good all winter, but she got set back three weeks because we found out she had a chip in a hind ankle and we had to operate in March. That's why she is a little bit behind the other ones. But I like her." For the complete charts from Monday's qualifiers, click here. Ken Weingartner

Columbus, OH --- She and her husband already have Delaware champion Logan’s Girl, stand-out Newborn Sassy, the top-class Purrfect Bags, the 2015 North America Cup winner in Wakizashi Hanover and a former New Zealand Horse of the Year in Christen Me, but there is one other horse in the care of Jo Ann Looney-King and Jim King Jr. who is intent on accumulating her own accolades rather than linger in the shadows of her harness racing barnmates and that is Nike Franco N. The New Zealand-bred, who competed in Australia, collected $321,393 from 33 trips to the post, with 18 victories, established several track records and has defeated males on multiple occasions. She has yet, however, to capture her first stakes final on her new continent and will seek to accomplish that task on Saturday (June 17) in the C$365,000 Roses Are Red final at Mohawk Racetrack. “She is just her own woman,” said Looney-King. “That is about the best way to size her up and she knows she is her own woman. She just takes everything as it comes and goes about her business.” Like Christen Me, Nike Franco is owned by Richard Poillucci and will be steered by her regular reinsman, Tim Tetrick, on Saturday. The duo will leave from post position three in the field of 10. Although the formidable Lady Shadow is the morning line favorite at 6-5, Nike Franco is the second selection at 2-1 off her powerful 1:49.2 performance in her elimination last week. “We knew she would race well like she always does, but we did not expect that,” said Looney-King. “Just watching her was impressive and Timmy always puts her, like he does with all the horses he drives, in the right spot to win. She certainly was ready last week and we hope to see that again from her, but this is a tough group of mares, especially with Lady Shadow in there, so she will need to be at her best. Nike raced great at Chester against her (second in the Betsy Ross Invitational) but she just could not catch her.” In fact, one of the reasons Tetrick is so enamored with this mare is directly related to the determination she demonstrated in that event to finish a swiftly-charging second. “I love Nike Franco,” he said. “I think she’s a great mare. I don’t think people in America have seen what she can do yet. I’m a very firm believer in her and I don’t think anybody knows (how good she can be). All I know is when I ask her to do something, she does it. Even at Chester when I was in a terrible spot she kept digging. She made up five lengths at Chester in a (1):49 mile being three-wide around the last turn. I race there all the time and horses do not do that.” Since her intercontinental transition, Nike Franco has compiled a record of 10-7-2-0 and earned $131,625. The only time she has failed to hit the board was a seventh place finish in the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on March 17, but she certainly had an excuse. “We were really looking forward to racing her in that series, but she ended up being pretty sick and we just weren’t going to push her,” Looney-King said. “It’s a long season and that’s what we try to do is keep the horses happy and healthy as they go through it.” Nike Franco also has regal blood flowing through her veins as the daughter of McArdle's dam, Nearea Franco, was a New Zealand champion and her granddam No Paba, is a half-sibling to 1990 Horse of the Year Beach Towel. King claims the 7-year-old mare even has her own fan club. “She attracts attention wherever she goes,” Looney-King said. “In fact, there are still people in Australia that are watching her over here and the girl who used to take care of her, Amanda Grieve, makes sure she is plugged in to her every move. She’s just a bay mare with her own way about her. Jim and I are just very lucky to have horses like her and all our horses this year. We remind ourselves every day how fortunate we are with them and for our family.” As her fans prepare to witness Nike Franco's second performance North of the Border, her driver is counting on her to illustrate just why those that come in contact with her become so attached. “Last week she won in (1):49 just as easy as you would want a horse to win,” Tetrick said. “It’s a very tough group. Lady Shadow is the horse to beat, but in my heart, if I can keep close to her, I think mine (this mare) can out-kick her; if I can just stay close to her.” * * * * * * Two-time defending champion Lady Shadow heads to this year’s Roses Are Red final off a 1:50.2 victory in her elimination last week, pushing her win streak to six races dating back to last year. She has won 14 of her last 16 races, a stretch that began with her triumph in her Roses Are Red elim last June. She won last year’s final in 1:48.1, just one-fifth of a second off Anndrovette’s stakes record. With a victory Saturday, Lady Shadow would join Anndrovette as the only three-time winners of the Roses Are Red. Anndrovette accomplished the feat from 2012-14. “She’s vicious,” said Lady Shadow’s driver Yannick Gingras. “I think she’s the one to beat. I’m very confident in her. She’s got big lungs. She can go those :27 quarters all day long. She’s got six of them in her. She never gets tired.” Lady Shadow was fifth at the opening quarter of her elimination before embarking on a first-over march to victory. “Sometimes you over-think stuff,” Gingras said. “I was trying to race her easy and get her a covered-up trip and it kind of worked against me. She had to work harder coming first up than if I’d just put her on the front. She was really good.” Lady Shadow, a 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella, has won 31 of 58 career races and earned $1.72 million. She is owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Ed Gold, and BFJ Stable and trained by Ron Adams. “Let’s face it, Lady Shadow has been tremendous,” said Tom Fanning, who trains Frost Damage Blues, the winner of the first of last week’s three eliminations. “Nike Franco is really good. I think there are a couple other ones, us included, that if things work right can be very competitive in there. It’s a competitive bunch this year.” Frost Damage Blues, owned by blueberry magnate Bill Augustine, won her elimination in 1:50.1 with a rally from mid-pack at the race’s midpoint. James MacDonald handled the driving and will be back in the sulky for the final. “She got a great trip,” Fanning said. “She likes those trips; she’ll fire off of that for sure.” A 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Art Matters, Frost Damage Blues has won 14 of 28 career races and earned $180,938. She finished third in last year’s Breeders Crown Mare Pace. “She’s been good,” Fanning said. “She’s filled out. I’m happy with how she is. The best thing about her is she just tries hard. Most of them don’t try as hard as they can. She is one of the few that does.” Following is the field for the Roses Are Red. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Bernadette-David Miller-Ron Adams-20/1  2-Frost Damage Blues-James MacDonald-Tom Fanning-6/1  3-Nike Franco N-Tim Tetrick- Jo Ann Looney King-2/1  4-Lady Shadow-Yannick Gingras-Ron Adams-6/5  5-Wrangler Magic-Louis-Philippe Roy-Rene Allard-8/1  6-Call Me Queen Be-Scott Zeron-Tony O'Sullivan-10/1  7-Witch Dali-Doug McNair-Richard Moreau-20/1  8-Penpal-Patrick Lachance-Patrick Lachance-15/1  9-Pure Country-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-8/1  10-Prairie Sweetheart-Matt Kakaley-Tony O'Sullivan-20/1 by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor  Ken Weingartner also contributed to this report

Idyllic Beach spent a lot of time near the front of a lot of races last year, but harness racing driver driver Yannick Gingras says the filly doesn't need to be setting fractions to be successful. "I really like her versatility," said Gingras, who will drive the award-winning Idyllic Beach in Saturday's C$440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers at Mohawk Racetrack. "As a 2-year-old maybe she was a little ahead of the other ones early on. I think I maybe got caught up racing on the front too many times and at the end of the year she was a little tired. "But she can do it either way. She's got huge speed, but you can use her anytime you want. If I can race her from behind I think she's better chasing down horses. But if it's a slow pace we'll take it." Last year Idyllic Beach won eight of 14 races and never finished worse than third on her way to $647,678 in earnings for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., and Marvin Katz. She received Dan Patch and O'Brien awards for best 2-year-old filly pacer in the U.S. and Canada. Idyllic Beach led at the first quarter of six races last year and was in front at the half-mile point 11 times. Only once was she worse than second at the half, when she rallied from sixth to win her elimination for the She's A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk. A week later she captured the final to join her dam, Idyllic, as a winner of the event. This year, Idyllic Beach is unbeaten in two starts. She won her Fan Hanover elimination by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:51. She was fourth at the half. "She was very good," said Gingras, who won the 2006 Fan Hanover with Darlin's Delight. "She needed the start. I think it will do her a lot of good and she'll be even better this week." Idyllic Beach, a daughter of stallion Somebeachsomewhere, is the 9-5 second choice on the morning line behind favorite Tequila Monday at 8-5. Takter has won four of the last six editions of the Fan Hanover, including last year's with Pure Country. He has five Fan Hanover trophies overall. Tequila Monday won her Fan Hanover elimination in 1:50.4 with Brian Sears driving for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. Tequila Monday has won seven of 10 career races, including last year's New York Sire Stakes championship and this year's Lismore Pace, and never finished worse than second. She has earned $303,853. "The race could go a lot of different ways; I'm not really sure," Gingras said, adding with a laugh, "If it's a slow pace I'm racing on the front, if it's a fast pace I'm racing from behind. So we'll see how that goes. "Tequila Monday was really good too last week, but I'm confident in my horse. She's got a big-time shot in there." Saturday's card at Mohawk also includes the C$1 million North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, C$365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers, C$253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters, and C$251,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. Following is the field for the Fan Hanover Stakes. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Bettor's Up-Doug McNair-Scott McEneny-6/1 2-Al-Mar-Got A Fever-Trevor Henry-Mike Weller-10/1 3-She's Watching-Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna-12/1 4-Idyllic Beach-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-9/5 5-Tequila Monday-Brian Sears-Chris Oakes-8/5 6-Action Majesty-Sylvain Filion-Gregg McNair-15/1 7-Agent Q-David Miller-Aaron Lambert-10/1 8-Future Headlines-Tim Tetrick-Colin Johnson-25/1 9-Roaring To Go-Brett Miller-Kevin Lare-15/1 10-Dancing Shadows K-Randy Waples-Rod Boyd-25/1   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Tim Tetrick knows Huntsville will face challenges in Saturday’s C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup. His goal is to make the race even more challenging for those that oppose him. “It’s like a chess match,” said Tetrick, who will drive 8-5 morning line favorite Huntsville in the season’s first major open stakes event for 3-year-old male pacers. “I try to drive three or four horses in a race all the time. I know where everyone is, and where I can put them. I always try to put them where they don’t want to be. That’s the name of catch driving. “And you’ve got to think about speed and time and who’s leaving and who you want to follow. You’re looking for a little bit of an edge, where you can get a jump on somebody or keep them locked in.” Huntsville is trying to become the fifth horse this century to receive a Dan Patch Award at age 2 and capture the North America Cup the following year. He would join Captaintreacherous, Sportswriter, Somebeachsomewhere and Bettor's Delight. All but Sportswriter, who retired midseason because of injury, went on to claim a Dan Patch Award at 3. The 35-year-old Tetrick won the North America Cup with Captaintreacherous in 2013 and Wakizashi Hanover in 2015. In addition to the 34th edition of the North America Cup, Saturday’s card at Mohawk Racetrack includes the C$440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, C$365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers, C$253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters, and C$251,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters. Post time for the first of the 15 races Saturday is 6:30 p.m. Huntsville, a son of  Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Wild West Show, has won 10 of 15 career races and never finished worse than second. Last year he enjoyed a six-race win streak that included victories in the Breeders Crown, divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. His 1:49 mile in the International Stallion equaled the world record for a 2-year-old pacer. He is trained by Ray Schnittker, who bred the colt with Charlie Iannazzo and owns the horse with Iannazzo, Ted Gewertz, and Steven Arnold. Huntsville has earned $764,093 in his career. Last week Huntsville won his North America Cup elimination by 4-1/4 lengths over Classic Pro in 1:49.1. Fear The Dragon, the 2-1 second choice, won his elim by 1-1/2 lengths over Filibuster Hanover in 1:50 and Downbytheseaside, who is 3-1, won his elim by two lengths over Western Hill in 1:50.4. Four of Huntsville’s second-place finishes have come to either Fear The Dragon or Downbytheseaside. The other, in his first career start, was to Filibuster Hanover. In fact, three of Huntsville’s five lifetime runner-up finishes came in his first four races. “I think I’ve got one of the best horses, if not the best,” Tetrick said. “I’m very confident. He was super last week and I think I’ve got a great shot. When he’s on his game he’s very hard to catch. “He’s a big strong horse and he can take air and he’s very, very fast. He’s had some (steering) issues, but other than that he’s got all the attributes of a great horse. He’s got tons of speed. I’ve never gotten him tired. He’s been beaten, but never tired. Once you get him in high gear he can carry his speed a long way.” Huntsville will start the North America Cup from post No. 3, with Fear The Dragon and driver David Miller in post four and Downbytheseaside and driver Brian Sears in post two. Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside are trained by Brian Brown. Jimmy Takter’s Ocean Colony, with driver Yannick Gingras, in post No. 1 completes the list of horses with inside starting positions. “It’s all going to play out there in the first eighth (of a mile) or first quarter and we’ll see what happens,” Tetrick said. “I think the best four horses are 1-2-3-4. I’m sure someone on the outside is going to take a flyer. “Mohawk is a very fair track; you can win both ways (from the front and from behind). But I’m just really super happy with my colt. It should be a great race.” Following is the field for the Pepsi North America Cup. The race, scheduled for 10:40 p.m., will be part of a live broadcast from 10-11 p.m. on TSN3 and TSN5. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Ocean Colony - Somebeacsomewhere - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-10/1 2 - Downbytheseaside - Somebeacsomewhere - Brian Sears-Brian Brown-3/1 3 - Huntsville - Somebeacsomewhere - Tim Tetrick-Ray Schnittker-8/5 4 - Fear The Dragon - Dragon Again - David Miller-Brian Brown-2/1 5 - Sports Column - Sportswriter - Chris Christoforou-Blake MacIntosh-25/1 6 - Classic Pro - Shadow Play - Trevor Henry-Ian Moore-20/1 7 - Ozone Blue Chip - Bettor's Delight - Brett Miller-Ron Coyne Jr.-25/1 8 - Filibuster Hanover - Somebeacsomewhere - Louis-Philippe Roy-Ron Burke-15/1 9 - Western Hill - Western Ideal - Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-20/1 10  - Miso Fast - Roll With Joe - Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-20/1 by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- When he first began racing, Enterprise sometimes looked for the quickest way to exit the track. Over time, though, he seems to have settled for the fastest way to the harness racing winner’s circle. Enterprise is 5-for-5 in his career as he heads to Saturday’s C$251,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. Last week the Marcus Melander-trained colt won his Goodtimes elimination by two lengths over AWOL Hanover in a lifetime-best 1:53.1. The Goodtimes is one of the major stakes on the road to August’s $1 million Hambletonian. Last year’s Goodtimes winner, Marion Marauder, went on to win the Trotting Triple Crown (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity) and received awards for Trotter of the Year in the U.S. and best 3-year-old male trotter in Canada. Nine of the 10 Goodtimes finalists are eligible to the Hambletonian: Enterprise and fellow elimination winner International Moni as well as Shake It Off Lindy, Jake, Southwind Woody, Seven And Seven, Southwind Cobra, AWOL Hanover, and Guardian Angel As. Saturday’s card at Mohawk also includes the C$1 million North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, C$440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, C$365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers, and the C$253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. Enterprise will start the Goodtimes from post four with driver Tim Tetrick. The colt, owned by Courant Inc., raced only once last year, winning by 9-1/2 lengths in 1:58.1 at Harrah’s Philadelphia in December, and worked his way through conditioned-level competition before facing stakes-caliber foes. “He was very immature,” said Melander, who began training Enterprise in late summer last year. “When he saw an exit (from the track) he wanted to go out. I trained him on the straight track all fall and in November he felt great and ready to go. He felt like a good horse but I wanted to race him once to see how he was. He was still very immature in that race. If you take a look at it, you’ll see he was going like a snake down the stretch. But he had plenty left.” A son of Chapter Seven out of the mare Shes Gone Again, Enterprise is a half-brother to New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Guess Whos Back and his family includes Dan Patch and O’Brien awards winner Poof She’s Gone. Enterprise was purchased for $100,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. Enterprise prepped for the Goodtimes with wins in conditioned races at the Meadowlands before capturing a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. “I didn’t mind that he didn’t race much last year,” Melander said. “If he wasn’t ready, he wasn’t ready. It was good in a way because he didn’t have to race against the best ones right away, even if he probably could. He needed the experience, that’s for sure. He’s behaving pretty good; at Mohawk (last week) he was perfect. I’m very happy with how his races have been going so far. It’s exactly how we planned. “He moves so easy, even though he’s a pretty big horse. He’s got speed, but he never gets tired. Of course that will happen when he faces tougher horses; maybe it will happen in the final on Saturday. But he’s a very strong horse. He’s got the tools to be a good horse.” The 25-year-old Melander trains 30 horses in central New Jersey. In addition to Enterprise, he has a Hambletonian hopeful in colt Long Tom, who earlier this season won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Melander’s uncle, Stefan, won the 2001 Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight. “It’s still several weeks until the Hambletonian and anything can happen,” Melander said. “But I wouldn’t trade either of my horses for anyone. I couldn’t be happier right now. We’ll see what happens. I try to not think about the Hambo, I just try to think about the next race. I feel pretty calm about that. We just take one race at a time because I know a lot of things can happen on the way. Of course, that’s what we’re aiming for. But you never know what will happen. It’s a long road.” Following is the field for the Goodtimes with listed drivers and trainers. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1 - Shake It Off Lindy - Crazed - Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci 2 - International Moni - Love You - Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci 3 - Jake - Muscle Hill - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais 4 - Enterprise - Chapter Seven - Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 5 - Southwind Woody - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 6 - Seven And Seven - Chapter Seven - David Miller-Tom Durand 7 - Mass Production - Muscle Mass - Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron 8 - Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 9 - AWOL Hanover - Donato Hanover - James MacDonald-Luc Blais 10 - Guardian Angel As - Archangel - Brett Miller-Anette Lorentzon ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date – Track – Event – First – Second – Third May 6 – Freehold – Dexter Cup – Lord Cromwell – Gustavo Fring – Southwind Cobra May 19 – Meadowlands – NJSS – Long Tom – Yes Mickey – Deacon Tony May 19 – Meadowlands – NJSS – What The Hill – Southwind Cobra – New Jersey Viking May 20 – Meadows – PASS – Sortie – Giveitgasandgo – High Glider May 20 – Meadows – PASS – Andy M – Gustavo Fring – Stealth Hanover May 20 – Meadows – PASS – Common Parlance – Brown Bear – Brand New Key May 29 – Vernon – NYSS – Stick With Me Kid – Bill’s Man – Top Flight Angel May 29 – Vernon – NYSS – Devious Man – Lord Cromwell – Aces And Eights May 29 – Vernon – NYSS – Enterprise – Swell Chap – Meetmeinthemiddle June 2 – Meadowlands – NJSS Final – Long Tom – King On The Hill – What The Hill June 3 – Meadows – Currier & Ives – Fraser Ridge – Meme Hanover – Muay Hanover June 3 – Meadows – Currier & Ives – Moonshiner Hanover – Giveitgasandgo – Lars Perry June 3 – Meadows – Currier & Ives – Sortie – Dover Dan – Always A Good Time June 9 – Mohawk – Goodtimes Elim – International Moni – Guardian Angel As – Jake June 9 – Mohawk – Goodtimes Elim – Enterprise – AWOL Hanover – Shake It Off Lindy June 9 – Vernon – EBC Elim – Bill’s Man – Such An Angel – Stick With Me Kid June 9 – Vernon – EBC Elim – Devious Man – Swell Chap – Lord Cromwell June 10 – Pocono – PASS – Rubio – Muscles Jared – Di Oggi June 10 – Pocono – PASS – Dover Dan – Moonshiner Hanover – Sir John F June 10 – Pocono – PASS – Giveitgasandgo – President Lindy – Andy M June 17 – Mohawk – Goodtimes – June 18 – Vernon – Empire Breeders Classic – June 24 – Pocono – Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Elims – July 1 – Pocono – Earl Beal Jr. Memorial – July 9 – Pocono – PA All Stars – July 15 – Meadowlands – Stanley Dancer Memorial – July 22 – Meadowlands – Tompkins-Geers – July 29 – Meadowlands – Reynolds – Aug. 5 – Meadowlands – Hambletonian – Hambletonian eligible in bold by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

After watching Hannelore Hanover win her Armbro Flight Stakes elimination last Friday, harness racing trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras believe the award-winning female trotter is back to her old self. The 5-year-old mare captured her elim by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:52.2 and is ready to defend the crown she won a year ago with a Canadian-record performance. "It's the first time I thought that she looked like herself," Burke said. "I think she's back to being sharp. She's ready to go. The other horses look good in there, but they're going to have to trot in (1):51 to beat her." Hannelore Hanover, who received 2016 Dan Patch and O'Brien awards as the best older female trotter in the U.S. and Canada, enters Saturday's C$253,000 Armbro Flight final at Ontario's Mohawk Racetrack off back-to-back wins following a half-length loss to Charmed Life in her seasonal opener. "She's vicious right now," Gingras said. "The first start she wasn't a hundred percent; the second start she was better. Last week she was on cruise control. She couldn't have done it any easier. She's sound, she's happy; all systems are go." The Armbro Flight is part of a stakes-filled card Saturday at Mohawk. The lineup also includes the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, C$440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, C$365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers, and C$251,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters. Last year Hannelore Hanover won 17 of 20 races and earned $1.11 million in purses, leading all female trotters in earnings. Her victories included the Breeders Crown Mare Trot and the Hambletonian Maturity, where she defeated male rivals. She also beat the boys in the Centaur Trotting Classic in addition to winning the Armbro Flight Stakes, TVG Series championship for female trotters, Fresh Yankee, Muscle Hill, and Miami Valley Distaff. Her mile time of 1:51 in winning the Armbro Flight equaled the world record for a 4-year-old trotting mare and established the all-age Canadian record for a female trotter. A daughter of Swan For All out of High Sobriety, Hannelore Hanover has won 28 of 44 career races and earned $1.47 million. She is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. "She's a freak," Gingras said. "She's got big-time speed and she can carry it forever. Last year she was a little sore, but she's sound right now. The sky's the limit for her." Hannelore Hanover is trying to become the first horse to win the Armbro Flight in consecutive years since Peaceful Way in 2005-06. Hannelore Hanover won last year's race by 6-1/2 lengths over Shake It Cerry. The connections of the Armbro Flight's two elimination winners got to pick starting spots for Saturday's final. Hannelore Hanover and Gingras will leave from post No. 4. Charmed Life, who won the other elim in 1:53.1 with Louis-Philippe Roy driving for trainer Rene Allard, will begin from post three. Among the other horses in the field, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Broadway Donna starts from post seven after finishing second to Charmed Life last week. Two-time O'Brien Award winner Caprice Hill, who was third behind Charmed Life and Broadway Donna, got post nine. Emoticon Hanover, who finished second to Hannelore Hanover in their elimination, is in post eight. Emoticon Hanover was last season's 3-year-old Ontario Sire Stakes champion and the Breeders Crown runner-up to Broadway Donna. "There are good horses in there," Burke said. "This group is tougher than last year, I think. But (Hannelore Hanover) is ready. If there's somebody better, then they're better." Following is the field for the Armbro Flight in post order with listed driver and trainers. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1 - Flowers N Songs - Deweycheatumnhowe - Randy Waples-Paul Reid 2 - Kestrel - Triumphant Caviar - Scott Zeron-Chris Beaver 3 - Charmed Life - Majestic Son - Louis Philippe Roy-Rene Allard 4 - Hannelore Hanover - Swan For All - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 5 - Majestic Presence - Majestic Son - Chris Christoforou-Dagfin Henriksen 6 - Renegade Magic - Kadabra - Trevor Henry-Jeffrey Thomson 7 - Broadway Donna - Donato Hanover - David Miller-Jim Campbell 8 - Emoticon Hanover - Kadabra - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais 9 - Caprice Hill - Kadabra - Doug McNair-Tony Alagna 10 - Ready Any Time - Kadabra - Jack Moiseyev-Dagfin Henriksen Ken Weingartner

Manalapan, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Jeff Smith liked 2-year-old female pacer Presto Blue Chip as she trained down during the winter and the filly's first trip around the track in race conditions had Smith smiling as well. Presto Blue Chip, a full sister to stakes-winner Missile J purchased for $150,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, won her first qualifying try of the season in 1:55.4 Monday morning at Gaitway Farm. Brett Miller drove Presto Blue Chip for Smith and owners Howard Ouriel and Michael Ouriel. "I was very impressed," Smith said. "She showed the class I think she's got. She trained down like that; I think she's a real horse. You never know yet. But nothing bothers her. Everything that she's done has been professional. She's well-bred and very smart." Presto Blue Chip is a daughter of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Cantor's Daughter, who was a Kentucky Sire Stakes champion. In addition to Missile J, Presto Blue Chip is a full sister to stakes-winner Brownsville Bomber and her second dam, stakes-winner Swifty But Nifty, is the mother of millionaire Cam Swifty and multiple-stakes-winner Lonesome Day. "The owners are enthusiasts," Smith said. "They love the game. It would be nice to have a nice horse for them." Gaitway hosted 10 qualifiers for 2-year-olds Monday. Gaitway-based trainer Ron Burke won five of the events, including the fastest trot with colt Quality Kemp (1:56) and pace with colt Dorsoduro Hanover (1:55.1) on a steamy morning that saw temperatures near 85 degrees at the 10 a.m. start of the card. "I was very happy," said Burke, who sent out 19 freshmen at the qualifiers. "I thought a couple of them separated themselves from the others. But overall, I was thrilled with the whole group." Dorsoduro Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss) finished second in a qualifier last week, when he was timed in 1:55.2. He is a half-brother to stakes-winners Doo Wop Hanover and Knock Three Times. He was purchased for $100,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Silva Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, and Wingfield Five. Quality Kemp (Muscle Hill-Impressive Kemp) also was out for his second qualifying effort. He finished fourth last week at Gaitway, timed in 2:00.2. He was purchased for $175,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Silva Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, and Michelle Yanek. The colt's dam, Impressive Kemp, was a multiple-stakes-winner (including a Breeders Crown) out of Emilie Cas El, a Horse of the Year Award winner in Canada and the mother of Hambletonian champion Trixton as well as world champion Highscore Kemp. The family also includes trotting stars Andover Hall, Angus Hall and Conway Hall. Other 2-year-old winners for Burke were colt pacer Tixnstones, colt trotter U Need Stones, and filly pacer Sansovina Hanover. U Need Stones (Wishing Stone-Sequin Hanover) won last week in 1:59 and triumphed today in 1:59.2. He is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura, who all bred the colt. Tixnstones (Betterthancheddar-Ticket To Rock) won his qualifier in 1:56.4 for owners Burke Racing, Silva Purnel & Libby, Phil Collura, and Weaver Bruscemi. Out of a dam who earned $1.11 million on the racetrack, Tixnstones was a $37,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale. Sansovina Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Shacked Up) was making her second start in a qualifier and won in 2:00 after finishing second, timed in 1:58.1, last week. Sansovina Hanover paced her final quarter in :26.4 on Monday following a half in 1:03. She paced out an additional quarter mile in :27, Burke said. "Yannick knew that wasn't enough work for her," Burke said, referring to driver Yannick Gingras, who also won with U Need Stones. "That's what I like to see. When they've got another quarter in :27 left in them at the end of the mile, you know they're a decent horse." Sansovina Hanover, out of a $1.39-million-earning mare, was purchased for $70,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. She is owned by Burke Racing, Silva Purnel & Libby, Yanek, and Weaver Bruscemi. Matt Kakaley drove Quality Kemp, Dorsoduro Hanover, and Tixnstones for Burke. Trainer Julie Miller won two qualifiers with 2-year-olds, both with Andy Miller in the sulky. Endless Flirt, a filly trotter, won in 1:59.1 and Ideal Deal, a colt pacer, won in 1:58.4. Endless Flirt (Andover Hall-Flirtin Victory) is a half-sister to Breeders Crown champions Flirtin Miss and Pick Me Up as well as three-quarter sister to stakes-winner Flirtin Man. She is owned by breeder Al Libfeld. Ideal Deal (American Ideal-Flirtwithedealer) won in 1:58.4. He was purchased for $31,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Nick Surick Stable, Andy Miller Stable, and Harvey Eisman. Filly pacer Lady Day (Always A Virgin-Island Blush) won in 1:59.3 for trainer Joe Holloway and driver Andy Miller. She was third last week, timed in 1:59.2. Purchased for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, her family includes two-time Dan Patch Award winner My Little Dragon. She is owned by Val D'Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz. Bob Key homebred filly trotter Baby Wants (Conway Hall-Baby American) won in 1:59.4 for trainer Andrew Harris, also with Miller in the bike. The final Monday of qualifiers at Gaitway is June 19. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager  

Freehold, NJ --- Obrigado might have a little Alfred E. Neuman in him. One gets the feeling after talking with the 7-year-old trotter’s regular driver, Mark MacDonald, that an appropriate caption under the horse’s photo would be “What -- me worry?” just the same as the cartooned Neuman on the cover of MAD magazine. Going back to July 2014, Obrigado has won 18 races. Excluding one victory in which he was second-placed-first, the gelding has won 11 of the remaining 17 by a half-length or less. And the vast majority of those triumphs, nine to be exact, were by a neck or less. Those 17 wins, by the way, were worth nearly $1 million. “He never overdoes it,” MacDonald said with a laugh. “He takes care of himself. He makes you kind of sweat it out a little bit. Me, not so much now, because I know him and I’m confident he’s always going to give you that last little lunge at the end. But I’m sure for Paul and the other owners watching it probably makes them a little nervous.” Paul is trainer Paul Kelley, who owns Obrigado with Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and the multi-partner Stable 45. The group is preparing for more edge-of-your-seat excitement as Obrigado makes his seasonal debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot at Eldorado Scioto Downs in central Ohio. Hill was the founder of Scioto Downs and president of the track from 1959-1989. Obrigado, who received the 2016 Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter, is the 5-2 morning line favorite and will start from post one with MacDonald in the sulky. Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational winner Crazy Wow, starting from post eight with Chris Page at the lines for trainer Ron Burke, is the 4-1 second choice while 2015 Dan Patch Award honoree JL Cruze is 9-2 from post five with Ronnie Wrenn Jr. driving for Eric Ell. “That’s a pretty good group,” MacDonald said. “It should be a good race.” Last year, Obrigado won eight of 17 races and earned $873,300. He hit the board a total of 13 times and his victories included the Hill Memorial, TVG Free For All Series championship, Dayton Trotting Derby, Crawford Farms Trot, John Cashman Memorial, Cleveland Trotting Classic, and Maxie Lee Memorial. For MacDonald, the win in the Crawford Farms Trot exemplified Obrigado’s toughness and determination. Obrigado was in the outer flow in an opening quarter-mile of :26, cleared to the lead at the halfway point and then battled stride-for-stride with Resolve for nearly the final three-eighths of a mile before winning by a quarter-length in 1:51.2. “I think that was the best race last year, maybe the best race of his life since I’ve been driving him,” said MacDonald, who took over the driving duties behind Obrigado at the beginning of the horse’s 5-year-old season. “Man, that was a great race. They fought all the way down the stretch. Getting down by the wire Obi came back on and won. That was just a crazy mile. “He brings his lunch pail every night and goes to work. He’s tough. He’s got no quit in him. It’s kind of hard to give him a bad trip; I’ve been parked with him, I’ve been in bad spots with him, but he always gives 120 percent. He’s just a good horse. You look forward to his races. He’s always made a good account of himself.” MacDonald was happy to see Obrigado honored with a Dan Patch Award last year. Obrigado, who has won 42 of 79 career races and earned $1.62 million, was a star in Maine at ages 2 and 3 before being sold to the New York-based Kelley and partners in November 2013. “That was cool,” MacDonald said. “I was really happy for Paul and the owners. He was so good all year. I think maybe winning the TVG at the end of the year put him over the top, but to me he had such a great year. He won so many big races and he showed up to work every night. “You have to give Paul credit. I think he protected (Obrigado) a lot as a 4-year-old. He kept him out of the spotlight, away from the Grand Circuit horses. He kind of aimed for him to peak as an older horse and the patience paid off. He let him mature and grow into his own and he turned into a great aged racehorse.” Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. at Scioto Downs and the Hill Memorial is race eight, with an 8:50 p.m. estimated post time. Following is the field for the Hill Memorial. Post-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Obrigado - Boy Band - Mark MacDonald-Paul Kelley-5/2  2 - Natural Herbie - Here Comes Herbie - Verlin Yoder-Verlin Yoder-8/1 3 - Musical Rhythm - Cantab Hall - Peter Wrenn-Benoit Baillargeon-15/1   4 - Hemi Seelster - Holiday Road - Brent Holland-Richard Banca-10/1   5 - JL Cruze - Crazed - Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Eric Ell-9/2   6 - Centurion ATM - SJ's Caviar - Aaron Merriman-Ake Svanstedt-10/1   7 - Muscle Diamond - Muscle Hill - John Campbell-Brett Bittle-15/1   8 - Crazy Wow - Crazed - Chris Page-Ron Burke-4/1   9 - Homicide Hunter - Mr Cantab - Tyler Smith-Chris Oakes-12/1   10 - Major Athens - Andover Hall - Jody Jamieson-Jeffrey Gillis-6/1  Major Athens starts in the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci is excited about hitting the Hambletonian trail with two horses this weekend, but he figures he won't be alone in feeling enthused. "There are a lot of good horses out there," said Antonacci, the trainer of International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy in Friday's eliminations of the Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at Ontario's Mohawk Racetrack. "Everybody only talked about (returning Dan Patch Award winner) Walner, but there are a lot of nice horses. This is a nice field. "It'll be a fun year to be a racing fan." The Goodtimes attracted 17 horses, which were split into two divisions. Last year's Wellwood Memorial winner, Seven And Seven, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first division and lightly raced but undefeated Enterprise is the 5-2 choice in the second. The top five finishers from each division will return June 17 for the C$251,000 final. Ten horses in the Goodtimes are eligible to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, which is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian hopefuls in the first elimination are Jake, Snowstorm Hanover, Seven And Seven, Guardian Angel As, Southwind Woody, and International Moni. In the second they are Shake It Off Lindy, Enterprise, AWOL Hanover, and Southwind Cobra. Friday's card also includes two eliminations of the Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. Returning Dan Patch Award winner Hannelore Hanover is the 1-2 morning line favorite in the first division followed by Emoticon Hanover at 4-1. The second group finds Broadway Donna at 8-5, Caprice Hill at 9-5 and Charmed Life at 2-1. The top five finishers advance to the C$253,000 Armbro Flight final June 17. The June 17 card at Mohawk also will feature finals of the Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, and Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers. Eliminations for those events are Saturday. Antonacci's International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy were stakes-winners last season. International Moni won a division of the International Stallion Stakes in 1:53.1 at Lexington's Red Mile and Shake It Off Lindy captured a division of the Bluegrass Stakes in 1:55 over the same track. International Moni's win time was tied for fourth best by a 2-year-old trotter while Shake It Off Lindy's was tied for 21st. International Moni won one of 12 races last year, but earned a check 11 times on his way to $154,387. He finished second in the Valley Victory Stakes and was third in the Wellwood. The colt is a son of successful French stallion Love You out of two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Moni Maker, who was a star for the Antonacci family and owned by its Moni Maker Stable until her passing in 2014. "He was a very good horse last year and he's an even bigger, stronger, better version of that," Antonacci said about International Moni, who remains with the Moni Maker Stable, an amalgamation of members of the Antonacci family and David Reid. "He's come back very good. We're looking forward to a really good year with him." Moni Maker, trained much of her career by Jimmy Takter, was Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and Trotter of the Year in 2000. She was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Love You is the sire of 2013 Elitlopp winner Nahar. "(International Moni) is by far Moni Maker's best offspring; I think that's exciting to see. I think he poses one of the most interesting breeding and racing prospects we've seen in a long time. The horse is really 20 years in the making. He's all class. He never had a bad race last year and gives you everything he's got every time he's out there. He's a gentleman. He's a professional. He's just an absolute pleasure." Shake It Off Lindy is a son of stallion Crazed out of the Love You-sired mare Nashville Lindy. Crazed was co-owned by the Antonacci family's Lindy Racing Stable and trained by Antonacci. A multiple-stakes-winner, he finished second to Deweycheatumnhowe in the 2008 Hambletonian. Last year, Shake It Off Lindy won two of nine races and earned $53,976. "He reminds me a tremendous amount of his dad," Antonacci said about Shake It Off Lindy, bred and owned by the Antonaccis' K R Breeding LLC. "He's got incredible quick speed. For a sixteenth of a mile he could skip off faster than most pacers. That's an exciting burst of speed he's got. He's got a lot of upside." International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy both enter the Goodtimes off two qualifiers. In their most recent efforts, Shake It Off Lindy finished second by a head to older Dan Patch Award winner Obrigado in 1:54.1 while International Moni was fourth. "They both qualified twice and both qualified really well," Antonacci said. "It's hard to game plan for these kinds of races this early in the year. You just have your horses ready to go and let the races come to them and don't force it. I think our horses, based on last year's performances and how they've qualified and trained going into the race, are good for this time of year. "It's just hard to tell where everybody else is on their readiness scale. The only horses we can control are the ones in our shed row. They shipped up and should be there in good order. As long as they're healthy we're ready." Post time is 7:30 for Friday's first race. Below are the fields for the Armbro Flight and Goodtimes eliminations. Armbro Flight - Elimination 1 (Race 3) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Hannelore Hanover - Swan For All -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-1/2 2. Emoticon Hanover - Kadabra - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais-4/1 3. Non Stick - Lucky Chucky - Brett Miller-Ake Svanstedt-20/1 4. Oho Diamond - Ken Warkentin - Chris Christoforou-Renaldo Morales III-15/1 5. Ready Any Time - Kadabra - Jack Moiseyev-Dagfin Henriksen-20/1 6. Kestrel - Triumphant Caviar - Scott Zeron-Chris Beaver-6/1 7. Renegade Magic - Kadabra - Trevor Henry-Jeffrey Thomson-5/1   Armbro Flight - Elimination 2 (Race 6) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Broadway Donna - Donato Hanover -David Miller-Jim Campbell-8/5 2. Caprice Hill - Kadabra - Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-9/5 3. Lady Ping - Muscle Mass - Jack Moiseyev-Dagfin Henriksen-15/1 4. Flowers N Songs - Deweycheatumnhowe - Randy Waples-Paul Reid-12/1 5. Charmed Life - Majestic Son - Louis Philippe Roy-Rene Allard-2/1 6. Pink Pistol - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick-Peter Shody-20/1 7. Majestic Presence - Majestic Son - Chris Christoforou-Dagfin Henriksen-15/1   Goodtimes - Elimination 1 (Race 5) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Ice Hockey Hanover - Donato Hanover - Paul MacDonell-Mike Keeling-12/1 2. Jake - Muscle Hill - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais-3/1 3. Snowstorm Hanover - Muscle Massive - Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-8/1 4. Seven And Seven - Chapter Seven - David Miller-Tom Durand-5/2 5. Guardian Angel As - Archangel - Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-6/1 6. Scene A Magician - Daylon Magician - Jack Moiseyev-Jennifer Pinkerton-10/1 7. Southwind Woody - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-12/1 8. Dunbar Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe - Jody Jamieson-Carl Jamieson-8/1 9. International Moni - Love You - Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-8/1   Goodtimes - Elimination 2 (Race 8) Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Shake It Off Lindy - Crazed - Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci-6/1 2. Manssive - Muscle Mass - Jody Jamieson-Howard Okusko Jr.-15/1 3. Mass Production - Muscle Mass - Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron-4/1 4. Resita - Manofmannymissions - Randy Waples-Per Henriksen-15/1 5. Enterprise - Chapter Seven - Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-5/2 6. AWOL Hanover - Donato Hanover - James MacDonald-Luc Blais-7/2 7. Dancer Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe - Sylvain Filion-Paul Reid-3/1 8. Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1 Ken Weingartner

It will be a busy weekend for Hambletonian-eligible horses, with a total of 31 in harness racing action at three different North American racetracks. The $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, for 3-year-old trotters, is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. Ten horses in Friday's Goodtimes Stakes Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack are eligible to Hambletonian. The Hambletonian hopefuls in the first elimination are Jake, Snowstorm Hanover, Seven And Seven, Guardian Angel As, Southwind Woody, and International Moni. In the second they are Shake It Off Lindy, Enterprise, AWOL Hanover, and Southwind Cobra. Seven horses in Friday's eliminations of Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs are eligible. They are Bill's Man, Money Macintosh, Top Flight Angel, Such An Angel, and Another Chapter in the first division and Devious Man and Shivered in the second. Bill's Man is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the first group while Devious Man is the 9-5 choice in the second. On Saturday, three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters will be contested at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with a total of 14 Hambletonian eligibles going behind the starting gate. They are Sortie, Di Oggi, Muscles Jared, Lucky Matter, and Rubio in the first; Thisguyisonfire, Dover Dan, Moonshiner Hanover, Meme Hanover, and Sir John F in the second; and President Lindy, Perfect Spirit, Giveitgasandgo, and Don Dream in the third. Sortie (2-1) and President Lindy (5-2) are the morning line favorites in their divisions. Dover Dan is the 7-2 third choice in the remaining division, behind Meteoric (5-2) and Common Parlance (3-1). ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 6 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Lord Cromwell - Gustavo Fring - Southwind Cobra May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Long Tom - Yes Mickey - Deacon Tony May 19 - Meadowlands - NJSS - What The Hill - Southwind Cobra - New Jersey Viking May 20 - The Meadows - PASS - Sortie - Giveitgasandgo - High Glider May 20 - The Meadows - PASS - Andy M - Gustavo Fring - Stealth Hanover May 20 - The Meadows - PASS - Common Parlance - Brown Bear - Brand New Key May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Stick With Me Kid - Bill's Man - Top Flight Angel May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Devious Man - Lord Cromwell - Aces And Eights May 29 - Vernon - NYSS - Enterprise - Swell Chap - Meetmeinthemiddle June 2 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Long Tom - King On The Hill - What The Hill June 3 - The Meadows - Currier & Ives - Fraser Ridge - Meme Hanover - Muay Hanover June 3 - The Meadows - Currier & Ives - Moonshiner Hanover - Giveitgasandgo - Lars Perry June 3 - The Meadows - Currier & Ives - Sortie - Dover Dan - Always A Good Time Ken Weingartner

Beckhams Z Tam is the type of horse that likes to have fun. But when it comes time to work, the colt is all business. And after watching Beckhams Z Tam take care of business in his most recent start, his harness racing connections are ready to send the Indiana-bred pacer on a business trip --- to the Pepsi North America Cup at Ontario's Mohawk Racetrack. Beckhams Z Tam was among 25 horses entered in the North America Cup, which is for 3-year-old pacers and features a C$1 million final on June 17. The 25 horses were divided into three eliminations, to be contested Saturday, with the top three finishers from each division plus one fourth-place finisher drawn by lot advancing to the final. The connections of elimination winners earn the right to select their post position for the final. Post time is 7:30 p.m. for Saturday's card. Beckhams Z Tam is in the second of the three North America Cup eliminations. The division also includes returning Dan Patch Award winner Huntsville and Metro Pace winner Beyond Delight. Beckhams Z Tam will start from post three with driver Ricky Macomber Jr., who is making his first appearance in the North America Cup. Jamie Macomber, Ricky's wife, trains Beckhams Z Tam, who is 4-for-4 this year but will be stepping up in competition at Mohawk. All of the colt's wins have been against conditioned-level horses at Hoosier Park, but Beckhams Z Tam's most recent triumph in 1:51 is tied for the 12th fastest win time of the season by a 3-year-old pacer. The victory followed a nearly one-month layoff because of sickness. Following the win, the Macombers consulted with owner Bill Matz of Z Tam Stables and Beckhams Z Tam's former trainer Wilbur Eash regarding the trip to the North America Cup. "Ricky said when he came off the track after his last start that he thought we should enter him," Jamie Macomber said. "I asked Mr. Matz what he was leaning toward and he said he was always game to take a shot. We have nothing to lose. He's not going to miss any racing in Indiana if we're fortunate enough to be up there for two weeks. "Wilbur said all along this is a nice colt. When it came to staking him this winter, we all talked and came up with a little schedule for him. Wilbur made a comment earlier this season that he'd been waiting on a horse like this for 40 years. Wilbur knew he was special." Macomber is in her first year of running her own stable after spending the past 10 years handling trainer Ron Burke's Indiana-stabled horses. She received support, as well as horses, from the 61-year-old Eash, who was looking to slow down with an eye toward retirement. Macomber took over the training of Beckhams Z Tam in March. "He's a really nice colt," Macomber said. "Unfortunately he hasn't faced the competition that the others we're racing against have faced. So far he's done everything we've asked of him." Last year, Beckhams Z Tam was winless in six races, but finished second on three occasions. Two of his runner-up finishes came in $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes finals at Hoosier Park. Macomber was able to bring the horse along slowly this year because he fit in low-level conditioned races. The horse romped in his four victories, with no margin of triumph less than 1-1/2 lengths. "He's matured a lot," Macomber said. "Ricky likes him and has confidence in him, so that's a good thing. "Off the track, I love his personality. He's always happy. In the barn he acts like a good horse; he rests a lot, he eats well and he loves to play. He's a ham. He's always got his head out the gate when he's awake. On the track, he's fun and playful when we first go out, but when it's time to go to work he gets down to business. There's really nothing to dislike about him." Beckhams Z Tam is a son of stallion Always A Virgin out of the mare Sara's Lucky Charm. His second dam is Modern Bobbi, who is the mother of last season's Indiana Sire Stakes 2-year-old male pacing champion On The Virg. Interestingly, On The Virg and Beckhams Z Tam finished 1-2 in one of the $75,000 finals at Hoosier last year. In addition to being staked to the North America Cup, Beckhams Z Tam is eligible to the Breeders Crown, which will be held at Hoosier Park in October, as well as the Jenna's Beach Boy and Monument Circle stakes. Beckhams Z Tam hopes to follow in the hoof prints of Indiana-bred horses that have enjoyed success on the Grand Circuit in recent years, including the past two Horse of the Year Award winners, Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit. "They've really stepped up a lot in the last few years, so that's very encouraging," Macomber said. "It's fun to think we could possibly have a good one on our hands." For more information on the Pepsi North America Cup and all the festivities, visit www.NorthAmericaCup.com Here are the full fields for the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations. Elimination 1 (Race 3) (Post – Horse – Sire - Listed Driver) 1 – Lawrencetown Beach – Somebeachsomewhere - Paul MacDonell 2 – Ideal Wheel – American Ideal - Louis-Philippe Roy 3 – Western Hill – Western Ideal - Doug McNair 4 – Downbytheseaside – Somebeachsomewhere - David Miller 5 – Some Attitude – Somebeachsomewhere - David Miller 6 – Eddard Hanover – Dragon Again - Matt Kakaley 7 – Sports Column – Sportswriter - Chris Christoforou 8 – Stealth Bomber – Rocknroll Hanover - Brett Miller Elimination 2 (Race 8) (Post – Horse – Sire - Listed Driver) 1 – Arsenal Seelster – Artistic Fella - Jonathan Drury 2 – Huntsville – Somebeachsomewhere - Tim Tetrick 3 – Beckhams Z Tam – Always A Virgin - Richard Macomber 4 – Classic Pro – Shadow Play - Trevor Henry 5 – Ozone Blue Chip – Bettor's Delight - Tim Tetrick 6 – Normandy Beach – Somebeachsomewhere - Yannick Gingras 7 – Beyond Delight – Bettor's Delight - Sylvain Filion 8 – Miso Fast – Roll With Joe - Matt Kakaley 9 – Richard Hill – Mach Three - Doug McNair Elimination 3 (Race 9) (Post – Horse – Sire - Listed Driver) 1 – Mac's Jackpot – Somebeachsomewhere - David Miller 2 – Hurricane Beach – Somebeachsomewhere - Louis-Philippe Roy 3 – Filibuster Hanover – Somebeachsomewhere - Yannick Gingras 4 – Mc Mach – Mach Three - Paul MacDonell 5 – Darling's Dragon – Dragon Again - Donald Dupont 6 – Ocean Colony – Somebeachsomewhere - Yannick Gingras 7 – Fear The Dragon – Dragon Again - David Miller 8 – Streakavana – Big Jim - Sylvain Filion Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Returning Dan Patch Award winners Ariana G and Huntsville made upward moves in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society / Breeders Crown poll thanks to impressive wins over the weekend. Ariana G won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters by 3-1/4 lengths in a stakes-record 1:51.1 and rose from ninth to third in the rankings. Huntsville won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series for 3-year-old male pacers by 7-1/4 lengths in 1:49 and moved from unranked to No. 7 in the poll. Fear The Dragon also gained in the rankings, jumping from 10th to fifth following his 1:49.1 triumph in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. Three-year-old male pacer Downbytheseaside, who was idle, remained No. 1 in the poll. Lady Shadow, a 6-year-old pacing mare, also was idle and remained second. The Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll does not determine Horse of the Year. The U.S. Harness Writers Association votes in December 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 2 – 6/6/2017 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Downbytheseaside (22) 3pc 3-3-0-0 $188,910 313 1 2 Lady Shadow (6) 6pm 2-2-0-0 $125,000 227 2 3 Ariana G (2) 3tf 2-2-0-0 $60,000 185 9 4 Bit Of A Legend N 8ph 10-3-2-3 $193,170 145 3 5 Fear The Dragon 3pc 4-4-0-0 $72,453 119 10 6 Resolve (1) 6th 1-1-0-0 $93,000 113 7 7 Huntsville (1) 3pc 3-2-1-0 $56,029 112 -- 8 Somewhere In LA (1) 6pg 17-7-4-2 $346,500 103 5 9 Crazy Wow 5th 4-1-3-0 $131,500 96 4 10 Mossdale Conner N (1) 8pg 4-4-0-0 $126,000 90 6 Also: Dr J Hanover (55); Hannelore Hanover (43); Keystone Velocity (36); All Bets Off (35); Missile J (33); Clear Vision (29); Rock N’ Roll World (22); Long Tom (18); Broadway Donna (15); Rockeyed Optimist (12); Highalator (10); Medusa, Sintra (9); Mackenzie A, Split The House, Western Fame (8); Tequila Monday (7); Deerfield Beach, Safe From Terror (6); Caviart Wonder, Darlinonthebeach, Sortie (5); McWicked, Red Hot Herbie (4); Barn Girl, Enterprise, Every Way Out, Soto, Treviso (3); American Virgin, Charmed Life, Gustavo Fring, Mel Mara (2); Dayson, Freeze Out, Hurricane Beach, Keystone I Wish, Knocking Around, Lord Cromwell, Magic Presto (1). Dr J Hanover received 1 first-place vote. North American statistics only. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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