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Driver Bob McClure and trainer Luc Blais have forged a strong relationship this year, winning 28 percent of their starts together. The partnership has helped McClure make a successful transition from Canada's "B" tracks to the main stage of Woodbine Mohawk Park, not to mention the harness racing Grand Circuit, and aided Blais' bid for career highs for wins and purses. The two will look to add to their accomplishments Saturday (Nov. 17) at the Meadowlands, where Ontario Sire Stakes champion Forbidden Trade takes on seven rivals in the second of two eliminations for the Valley Victory Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters. The top-five finishers from each elim advance to the $435,900 final on Nov. 24 at the Big M. Elimination winners will draw for posts one thorough six. Forbidden Trade, who has won seven of nine races, is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. He will start from post seven. Seven Hills is the 3-1 favorite, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer John Butenschoen. "He's been top notch all year," McClure said about Forbidden Trade. "He's pretty incredible for a 2-year-old. He looks like a 3-year-old and has the maturity of a 4-year-old. He's never given me any trouble. He's perfect to drive, a complete professional, no matter what kind of trip you give him. He's got the attitude of a good one. "The two races he lost were probably his two best races. One race (a preliminary leg of the sire stakes) he had a lot of bad racing luck and still raced huge. The other time (in a division of the Champlain Stakes) he had some traffic trouble. I didn't have him in good position and he got out of gear a little bit. He still came home :27.1, but he was in no position to win. He could have come home in :26.4 and he still wasn't going to win." Forbidden Trade, by Kadabra out of O'Brien Award-winner Pure Ivory, has earned $213,139 for owner Serge Godin's Determination stable. He brings a four-race win streak to his Valley Victory elimination. "I think the sky is the limit for him," McClure said. "He's been a professional from day one. He's made my job easy. If he's in any position to win he usually gets the job done. He's been fun to drive all year. I think he has the potential to be a top Grand Circuit horse." The 28-year-old McClure led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016, topping 500 both years, and was third in 2015. This season, with his focus on Woodbine Mohawk, he has won 285 races and a career-best $3.74 million (U.S.) in purses. He ranks third in Canada in both wins and purses. "I'm very happy," McClure said. "I have a lot of people to thank for that. I was really happy where I was (at the smaller tracks) and I was having a lot of fun. But I decided to commit to (Woodbine Mohawk). I wanted to be home with family more. I didn't anticipate picking up the stakes stables I did. I didn't anticipate having as good a year that I've had right off the bat. It's worked out significantly better than I thought it would." Among those on McClure's thank-you list is trainer Dean Nixon, who backed the driver from the earliest days of his transition. "I've driven for him for a long time and he's somebody I've had a really good working relationship with," McClure said. "He's happy with the work I do, and I respect the good job he does. We've always done really well together. It gave me the freedom of being able to make some mistakes during the transition and not worry about him being upset about it. He's always going to be in your corner. "When I picked up Luc Blais, that was the icing on the cake." Blais, who trains exclusively for Determination, is in the midst of his third consecutive million-dollar-season. His 66 wins this year are the third most of his career (his best came in 2000 with 77) and his $1.56 million in purses is also third (his best came last year with $1.85 million). In addition to winning the Ontario Sire Stakes championship with Forbidden Trade, Blais and McClure have captured the Steele Memorial and Joie De Vie with Dream Together. They finished second in the Armbro Flight Stakes with Emoticon Hanover and second in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship with Champagne Jane. "They asked if I wanted to be the driver for Determination stables and I jumped at the opportunity," said McClure, who has driven 163 of Blais' 236 starters. "Serge Godin and Luc Blais are very good people to work for. "I think everyone is real happy with the year we've had." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Custom Cantab brings a career-long streak of 28 on-the-board finishes to Thursday's $183,900 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Dover Downs, which will be the filly's first start at a harness racing track other than Hoosier Park. Custom Cantab, who is 6-1 on the morning line, heads to the event off a win in the Crossroads of America on Nov. 2. The triumph was her 12th in 16 races this season. Trained and co-owned by Chris Beaver, Custom Cantab has 14 wins, 10 seconds and four thirds in her career and earnings of $643,936. In addition to the Crossroads, her victories this year include a division of the Pegasus Stakes and the Indiana Sire Stakes championship. She finished second to Manchego in the Moni Maker Stakes and has not finished worse than second in 13 races since surgery to correct an entrapped epiglottis. Custom Cantab will start the Matron from post six with regular driver Peter Wrenn. Breeders Crown champion Lily Stride is the 2-1 morning-line favorite from post three, with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Mark Harder. Plunge Blue Chip is the 5-2 second choice from post one with trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. "We were up in the air whether to start her again, but everything checked out on her and I'd been anxious to see how she would race against a top field to get some perspective," Beaver said. "We plan on racing her next year. She's probably not as valuable as a broodmare as some of those fillies are, but she's a really nice racehorse. "I think she will be staked to some of the mare races and maybe some of the 4-year-old races. I wouldn't be staking to everything. I'd like to space out her starts. Maybe she won't be good enough, but the way she acts, she's never let a horse get away from her. She's always been competitive." Dover Downs host the four Matrons for 3-year-old trotters and pacers Thursday. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. (EST). Six Pack is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in the $210,150 colt and gelding trot, followed by Met's Hall at 8-5. Dorsoduro Hanover is the 2-1 choice in the $193,750 colt and gelding pace, which also includes Jimmy Freight (5-2) and Lather Up (7-2). Youaremycandygirl is the 5-2 favorite in the $159,350 filly pace, where she will see familiar rivals Alexa's Power (7-2) and Percy Bluechip (9-2). Custom Cantab is a daughter of Mr Cantab out of Custom Model. Beaver bought Custom Model's first foal, the Chocolatier-sired My Ghost Bi, for $3,000 at the 2011 Lexington Selected Sale and the gelding made $75,852 lifetime. Beaver bought Custom Cantab, the mare's third foal, for $6,000 at the 2016 Hoosier Sale. "I knew the family and thought she was something nicer than what the mare had thrown before," Beaver said. "I kind of studied crosses and I thought the mare would cross with Mr Cantab, but I can't say I had any idea she would turn out as good as this. I was just hoping to get a horse that was competitive in the sire stakes." Beaver, who owns Custom Cantab with Donald Robinson and R.B.H. Ventures, is not concerned about the filly going on the road for the first time and racing on a five-eighths-mile oval compared to Hoosier Park's seven-eighths track. "She trains on a little farm track, so she should be all right," Beaver said. "I think she would be good on any size track because even if she was struggling in the turns she would let you help her. She knows what she's supposed to be doing. "She's smart. She can leave all you want and let a horse go, settle in a hole, and follow without using any more energy than necessary. She's been racing on the front a lot lately because she's been the favorite, but she is great off a helmet. She knows how to take care of herself and put herself in position to stay close. She is an extremely professional horse." For Thursday's complete Dover Downs entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Hightstown, NJ — None of the horses in the harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll’s Top 10 were in action last week. Seven-year-old pacing stallion McWicked, the year’s richest horse with $1.39 million in purses, continues in the top spot and had 26 first-place votes. Shartin N is in second place and picked up seven first-place votes. They remaining two first-place votes went to Woodside Charm, who ranks fourth overall behind Atlanta. 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 25 – 11/13/2018 Rank Name (First Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 McWicked (26) 7ph 17-10-3-2 $1,393,864 340 1 2 Shartin N (7) 5pm 23-18-1-0 $968,361 306 2 3 Atlanta 3tf 14-8-5-1 $1,017,278 246 3 4 Woodside Charm (2) 2tf 7-7-0-0 $521,658 214 4i 5 Kissin In The Sand 3pf 15-10-5-0 $845,495 183 5 6 Gimpanzee 2tc 9-9-0-0 $591,358 141 6 7 Dorsoduro Hanover 3pg 19-10-5-1 $1,229,112 95 7 8 Six Pack 3tc 13-10-1-1 $970,573 80 8 9 Courtly Choice    3pc 16-10-1-0 $910,603 68 9 10 Tactical Landing 3tc 13-8-2-2 $642,800 67 10 Also: Homicide Hunter 59; Warrawee Ubeaut 39; Manchego 18; Jimmy Freight, Marion Marauder 12; Lather Up 11; Captain Crunch, Crystal Fashion, Emoticon Hanover 7; Met’s Hall 6; Plunge Blue Chip 3; Caviart Ally 2; Foiled Again, Lily Stride 1. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Harrisburg, PA — Gallie Bythe Beach, a 7-year-old pacing mare in foal to Always B Miki, was the top seller Thursday (Nov. 8) during the first session of the Standardbred Horse Sale’s two-day mixed sale. She was purchased for $280,000 by Hanover Shoe Farms. A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Galleria, the stakes-winning Gallie Bythe Beach earned $749,898 during her career in harness racing. She retired in 2016. Her dam was a Dan Patch Award-winner in 1998 and 1999 and added an O’Brien Award in 2000. The family also includes mares Gallic Sea and Gallie Beach, who joined Gallie Bythe Beach on Thursday’s top-sellers list. Gallic Sea, a full sister to Gallie Bythe Beach, was purchased by Shmuel Farhi for $157,000, which was the day’s third-highest price. The 4-year-old mare is in foal to Always B Miki. Gallie Beach, a 4-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere out of stakes-winner Western Gallie, sold for $110,000 to Fair Winds Farm. She also is in foal to Always B Miki. Her dam is a half-sister to Gallie Bythe Beach. Gallie Beach’s price tied for the day’s fourth highest. Coming in at No. 2 on Thursday was 3-year-old trotting filly Danish Girl, who was purchased for $170,000 by Karen Carroll. Danish Girl is a daughter of Credit Winner out of Steamy Windows and a half-sister to undefeated Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee. She is in foal to Muscle Mass. Rounding out the top five at $110,000 was 4-year-old pacing mare Kate Is Well Said. The mare is a daughter of Well Said out of stakes-winner Just Wait Kate. The family also includes Dan Patch Award-winner Kikikatie. Kate Is Well Said is in foal to Captaintreacherous. One other mare, 4-year-old trotter Pure Kemp, reached six figures. She was purchased for $100,000 by agent Bjorn “Bernie” Noren. Pure Kemp is a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Ally Hall. The family includes O’Brien Award-winner Amigo Hall. Pure Kemp is in foal to Walner. All of the six-figure sellers were consigned by Preferred Equine. Among stallion shares sold Thursday, two shares in Muscle Hill were purchased for $150,000 and $135,000 by Steve Stewart and Fair Winds Farm, respectively. Both shares were consigned by Preferred Equine. One Chapter Seven stallion share sold for $140,000 to Steve Jones and one Captaintreacherous share sold for $125,000 to Tim Klemencic. The Chapter Seven share was consigned by Steiner Stock Farm and the Captaintreacherous share was consigned by Preferred Equine. A stallion share for pacer Lazarus N sold for $50,000 to Urie Byler. The share was donated to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation by Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made Sales and Stallions and Mike Gulotta of Deo Volente Farms. Lazarus N will stand at Deo Volente for the 2019 breeding season. The Standardbred Horse Sale concludes Friday with the second session of the mixed sale at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex. For complete results visit The Black Book. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Harrisburg, PA — Chapter Seven-sired trotting colt Book Seven sold for $157,000 to lead Wednesday’s (Nov. 7) sellers at the Standardbred Horse Sale, which concluded its three-day yearling auction with a record average of $42,675 for 830 horses sold. The average topped the previous high set in 2007, when 1,048 yearlings sold for $40,824. This year’s average was 7.56 percent better than 2017, when 851 horses sold for an average of $39,675. This year’s gross was $35.42 million, which surpassed last year’s $33.76 million. “I’m very happy with such a successful sale,” Standardbred Horse Sales President and CEO Pete Spears said. “Despite the fact we sold 21 fewer horses than last year the gross is way up. I thought today the sale was a little spotty, it was up and down, but there were still some very strong sales. People were still active and enthusiastic and the figures reflected that. “It was a fabulous yearling sale and now we go on to the mixed sale tomorrow. Breeders should have a little bit of money in their pockets to reinvest in mares and race fillies. “Hanover Shoe Farms went over $12 million today for the sale, and I know Mr. Simpson (Jim Simpson, Hanover Shoe Farms president and CEO and Standardbred Horse Sales vice president) is extremely happy about that as well.” Book Seven was purchased for $157,000 by Stroy Inc. The colt, out of the mare Tantalizing Donna, is from the family of stakes-winners Triumphant Caviar, Prayer Session, and Centurion ATM. He was bred and consigned by Winbak Farm. Next on Wednesday’s top-sellers list was Sportswriter-sired pacing colt Sports Style, purchased for $100,000 by Adriano Sorella. Sports Style, out of the mare Nothing But Style, is from the family of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere. He was bred and consigned by Spring Haven Farm. Tony Alagna bought filly pacer Pure Essence and colt pacer Radiant Blue Chip for $90,000 apiece. Pure Essence, by Western Ideal out of My Little Artist, is a full sister to stakes-winner Mangogh, who races Thursday in the Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. The family also includes Dan Patch Award-winner My Little Dragon. Pure Essence was bred by White Birch Farm and consigned by Preferred Equine. Radiant Blue Chip, by Roll With Joe out of Incredible Beauty, is from the family of Dan Patch Award-winners Sportswriter and Precocious Beauty as well as stakes-winner Prescient Beauty. Radiant Blue Chip was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock and consigned by Blue Chip Farms. Nine yearlings sold for at least $80,000 on Wednesday. Pacing colts led the yearling sale with an average of $49,465 for 226 horses. Trotting fillies were next with an average of $47,215 for 177 followed by trotting colts at $41,265 for 185 and pacing fillies at $34,091 for 242. Muscle Hill led trotting stallions with an average of $178,938 for 16 yearlings followed by Father Patrick at $119,000 for 12. Captaintreacherous led pacing stallions with an average of $81,091 for 44 yearlings followed by Somebeachsomewhere at $72,235 for 51. The Standardbred Horse Sale’s mixed sale begins at 10 a.m. (EST) Thursday at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex. For complete sale results, visit The Black Book. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Erv Miller thinks Artie's Ideal has his best harness racing days ahead of him. Miller hopes that includes Thursday when the colt visits Dover Downs for the $213,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. Artie's Ideal was a two-time winner on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and finished third in the series championship before trying the Grand Circuit for the first time at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt was second to Workin Ona Mystery in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, pacing a :26.1 final quarter-mile, before a seventh-place finish in a division of the International Stallion Stakes. After a three-week respite, Artie's Ideal qualified in 1:54.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on Oct. 30 to prep for the Matron. He won the qualifier by 10-1/2 lengths. "He was a real green colt getting started and he's just been getting better all the way through," said Miller, who trains Artie's Ideal for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. "He had a little setback the second week at Lexington, his blood was a little messed up, but as far as getting more mature he's gotten better every time we went to the gate. "He qualified really well at (Philly) and I look for him to put in a good effort." Artie's Ideal and driver Marcus Miller, Erv's son, will start the Matron from post four. He is 10-1 on the morning line. Metro Pace runner-up Semi Tough, with Matt Kakaley driving for trainer Ron Burke, is the 5-2 favorite. "He got the four hole, that's a good spot, and if things work out for him he should be right there," Miller said. Dover Downs host the four Matrons for 2-year-old trotters and pacers Thursday. Racing begins at 4:15 p.m. (EST) with a non-betting race, the Matron for colt and gelding trotters, followed by the regular card at 4:30 p.m. Breeders Crown runner-up When Dovescry is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $177,800 filly trot and Breeders Crown finalist Queen Of The Pride is 5-2 in the $179,100 filly pace. Artie's Ideal is a son of American Ideal out of Midnight Art. The colt has earned $114,508 in nine starts and is Midnight Art's third six-figure-earner. The family also includes Grand Circuit winners Good News Lady and Ideal News. Miller said the colt was immature physically to begin the season, but has developed nicely. "I think he's going to be a nice colt," Miller said. "He's easy to drive, an easy trainer. He handles well. You can tell he's got a great attitude. He's so handy and he's a smart little horse. I really look forward to next year with him." Artie's Ideal is eligible to the Governor's Cup later this month at the Meadowlands, but the Matron could be his final start of the year. "We'll go off how he races," Miller said. For Thursday's complete pari-mutuel entries at Dover Downs, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

Harrisburg, PA —- Ken Jacobs arrived at Tuesday’s second session of the Standardbred Horse Sale with the intention of buying one horse. He departed several hours later with his objective fulfilled. Jacobs bought pacing colt Rodeo Blue Chip, out of the family of his Dan Patch Award-winning Heston Blue Chip, for $250,000. The price topped the 303 yearlings sold on Day 2. “I was going to get him,” Jacobs said. “He looked good. He looked a lot like (Heston Blue Chip). I didn’t think I would have to pay that much, but if you’ve got one guy who likes him beside yourself, you’re going to pay. “I’m done,” he added with a laugh. “I’m going home.” Linda Toscano will train Rodeo Blue Chip. The colt was among three yearlings to sell for at least $235,000 on Tuesday. Last year, the second session’s top-seller went for $180,000. Through two sessions this year, a total of 473 horses sold for $27.99 million. The average of $59,182 was 11.9 percent better than last year’s $52,847 for 483 horses ($25.5 million gross). On Tuesday, 19 horses sold for at least six figures, which was an increase of two from 2017. Rodeo Blue Chip is by Sweet Lou out of Lotsa Matzah and his family also includes millionaire Sunfire Blue Chip and Dan Patch Award-winner Kikikatie. He was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock, Daniel Zucker, Christine Sallee, and Stephen Demeter. The colt was consigned by Blue Chip Farms. Following Rodeo Blue Chip on the top-sellers list were Chapter Seven-sired trotting colt Third Shift and Muscle Hill-sired trotting filly Hilly Holbrook. Both yearlings sold for $235,000. Third Shift was purchased by trainer Ake Svanstedt. The colt, bred and consigned by Winbak Farm, is out of the mare Overnight Command. “He is a very nice horse and good gaited,” Svanstedt said. “I like his conformation and that he is a Chapter Seven.” Hilly Holbrook was purchased by trainer Julie Miller for a group headed by Marvin Katz. Also in the partnership are Brixton Medical and Bud Hatfield. The filly is out of the mare Winky Dink, from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Winky’s Goal. She was bred by Julie Meirs and consigned by Concord Stud Farm. “We’re super excited,” Miller said. “We loved her at Concord. She was great in the field, she just had a racy, athletic way of moving. She is a strong filly. You can’t help but love the (pedigree) page and her being a Muscle Hill filly. I don’t know if we can go wrong. Getting her was our goal and we were successful.” Rounding out the top five Tuesday were Chapter Seven-sired trotting filly Robin Blue Chip and Andover Hall-sired trotting colt Amstel Hanover. Robin Blue Chip, out of the Swedish-bred mare Richesse Oblige, sold for $175,000 to trainer Per Engblom for a yet-to-be-completed partnership. She was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock, Herbert Burns III, and Jacob Kiefer and consigned by Blue Chip Farms. “She was solid and very correct, I thought,” Engblom said. “The Chapter Seven fillies are doing great, so we want to get on the train. She’s out of a Swedish family I know pretty well. It’s a good, solid Swedish family.” Amstel Hanover, out of the mare Angel Pie from the family of Hambletonian champion American Winner, sold for $170,000 to agent Lina Alm. The colt was bred and consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms. Through two days, trotting fillies led the sale with an average of $67,570 for 100 yearlings sold. Pacing colts were next with an average of $64,254 for 138 sold followed by trotting colts at $58,529 for 104 and pacing fillies at $47,954 for 131. Muscle Hill led trotting stallions with an average of $178,938 for 16 yearlings sold while Captaintreacherous led pacing stallions with an average of $84,146 for 41. The yearling portion of the Standardbred Horse Sale concludes Wednesday. The final session begins at 10 a.m. (EST) at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex. For complete results, visit The Black Book. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Harrisburg, PA — Bidders were active at Monday’s (Nov. 5) opening session of the Standardbred Horse Sale from beginning to end, resulting in a 24.2 percent increase in the average purchase price compared to the first day in 2017. A total of 170 yearlings sold for a gross of $15.9 million and average of $93,541, up from $75,305 last year. Eight horses sold for at least $300,000 led by Muscle Hill-sired trotting filly Fifty Cent Piece, who was acquired for $500,000 by Lennart Agren’s SRF Stables. She was one of three horses to sell for at least $400,000, joined by Trixton-sired trotting filly Krickan ($415,000 to John Floren’s Coyote Wynd Farms) and Captaintreacherous-sired pacing colt Honorat Hanover ($400,000 to Myron Bell as agent for the Captain’s Court ownership group). Overall, 21 horses sold for at least $200,000 and 56 reached six figures. The totals for those two categories in 2017 were 11 and 42, respectively. Last year’s top sellers for the first day, Sheer Muscle and The Ice Dutchess, were $320,000. “It was a fantastic sale, top to bottom; trotters, pacers, colts, fillies,” Standardbred Horse Sale President and CEO Pete Spears said. “I looked down preliminarily through the consignors and it looks like they all did well. Everyone I’ve talked to is very excited and pleased, so obviously I am too. “I was hoping to get (a day like this). There is always the possibility things won’t work out the way you hope, but we really felt we had a very strong catalogue and that this type of day was possible. We’re very happy the buyers recognized the strength of the entries and have bought a bunch of good horses.” Fifty Cent Piece, out of the mare Thatsnotmyname, is a half-sister to stakes-winner Basquiat and the family also includes 2010 Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive. She was bred by Order By Stable and consigned by Concord Stud Farm. “It was great that we got her,” said agent Lina Alm, who bid on the filly for Agren. “I got a text from Lennart right before (the bidding closed) — $500,000. It was at the last moment. “We do the same thing every time we pick out horses. They have to have the pedigree, which she has obviously, and they also have to make a good video. We know the fact that some horses do not make good videos and still are good, but we like to see at least a tiny bit of what we want to have in a horse in the video. And then the last thing is me looking at them and feeling energy and (that they have good) conformation.” Agren’s other purchases on Monday included $335,000 Swiss House Onfire, a trotting colt by Muscle Hill out of Brooklyn from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Pizza Dolce and stakes-winner Creamy Mimi. He also was bred by Order By Stable and consigned by Concord Stud Farm. “He was by far the most athletic and most good-looking horse in the sale,” said agent Robert Lindstrom, who handled the bidding on Swiss House Onfire. “That was the colt we liked most.” The Trixton filly Krickan is out of Hall of Fame mare Solveig and a half-sister to Dan Patch Award-winner Shake It Cerry and international millionaire Uncle Lasse. She was bred by Solveig’s Breeders and consigned by Concord Stud Farm. “I’m in the breeding business and you don’t get to buy out of that type of mare very often,” Floren said. “She’s a very nice filly as well. One of the nicest ones out of that mare from what (Jimmy Takter) just told me, and I think he’s trained them all. “I expected her to go for $400,000. I’m happy about this one. (The sale) is very strong.” The Captaintreacherous colt Honorat Hanover is out of the millionaire mare Hana Hanover and a three-quarter brother to stakes-winner Hayden Hanover. The horse was bred and consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms. Bell also signed for $350,000 In Reality Hanover, a colt by Captaintreacherous out of It Was Fascination. He is a full brother to stakes-winner Captain Trevor. He also was bred and consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms. “Whether they were (sired by Captaintreacherous) or not, we felt these were the two best colts that Hanover Shoe Farms had,” Bell said. “We were very fortunate to be able to buy them.” Captaintreacherous is the leading sire of 2-year-old pacers this year, with his first crop totaling $3.07 million in purses. His 21 yearlings that sold Monday in Harrisburg averaged $119,333, which was the best among pacing stallions. “When you get on stage, you better perform,” Bell said. “The Captain is under pressure because now everybody expects that every Captain out there is going to be a world champion, which we know cannot happen. But when you breed a good mare to Captain and they present themselves like these two colts, I think we have a fighting shot.” Muscle Hill led trotting stallions, with 14 yearlings selling for an average of $185,429. Father Patrick was not far behind, with seven horses averaging $182,143. Trotting colts led the first day with an average of $108,667 for 33 horses. Trotting fillies were next with $100,561 for 41 followed by pacing colts with $96,569 for 51 and pacing fillies with $72,622 for 45. The yearling portion of the sale resumes Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex. The final day for yearlings is Wednesday, also beginning at 10. “We hope for a strong day tomorrow and Wednesday,” Spears said. “We have a very good catalogue tomorrow and a good catalogue Wednesday. I think there will be more strong days to come. The economy is good, people are feeling good; they’re having a lot of fun.” Day One Top 10 Hip–Sex–Gait–Name–Sire–Dam–Buyer–Consignor–Price 144-F-T-Fifty Cent Piece-Muscle Hill-Thatsnotmyname-SRF Stables-Concord Stud Farm, agent-$500,000 133-F-T-Krickan-Trixton-Solveig-Clark Beelby, agent-Concord Stud Farm, agent-$415,000 47-C-P-Honorat Hanover-Captaintreacherous-Hana Hanover-Myron Bell, agent-Hanover Shoe Farms-$400,000 170-F-T-Hello Tomorrow-Muscle Hill-Armbro Deja Vu-Marvin Katz, Brixton Medical, Bud Hatfield-Fair Winds Farm-$380,000 60-C-P-In Reality Hanover-Captaintreacherous-It Was Fascination-Myron Bell, agent-Hanover Shoe Farms-$350,000 13-C-T-Swiss House Onfire-Muscle Hill-Brooklyn-Robert Lindstrom, agent-Concord Stud Farm, agent-$335,000 118-F-T-Quadrille Hanover-Father Patrick-Queen Of Grace-Jeff Snyder-Hanover Shoe Farms-$300,000 127-C-T-Shadrack Hanover-Muscle Hill-Shared Past-Elite Trotting, agent-Hanover Shoe Farms-$300,000 45-C-T-Gangster Hanover-Father Patrick-Global Desire-Ake Svanstedt-Hanover Shoe Farms-$275,000 145-F-T-Queentrix-Trixton-The Ice Queen-David McDuffee-Preferred Equine, agent-$260,000 To view the full results of the Monday session or the upcoming catalogue, please click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Verlin Yoder raced the best horse of his career this season, the undefeated Breeders Crown champion Woodside Charm, but the filly was not alone in helping the 45-year-old owner/trainer/driver to the best season of his career. Yoder established highs of 31 wins and $1.38 million in purses as a trainer to go with a career-best $1.15 million as a driver. His 26 victories in the sulky were two shy of his career mark of 28 set last season. And while 2-year-old female trotter Woodside Charm contributed $521,658 in purses to this year's totals, Yoder still would have surpassed his previous highs of $571,162 as a trainer and $571,903 as a driver without her. "We just had the right horses in the right classes," Yoder said. "It worked out great." Yoder had three Indiana Sire Stakes champions: 2-year-old male trotter It's A Herbie, 2-year-old female trotter Kissesforall, and 4-year-old female trotter Compelling. Three-year-old male trotter Katkin American finished second to Fiftydallarbill in his Indiana Sire Stakes final. Those four horses combined for 18 wins, hitting the board 43 times in 50 starts, and $749,440. Compelling, claimed by Yoder last year, came back from a suspensory injury to find success. Katkin American was unraced at 2, but showed potential last winter while training with Yoder's millionaire trotter Natural Herbie. Driven by Yoder's son James, Katkin American was a Hoosier Park track-record-setter and finished worse than second only once in 12 starts. "I knew we had some decent ones coming out of Florida," said Yoder, who lives in the Sunshine State during the offseason and returns to Indiana to race. "We knew (Katkin American) was pretty nice. It was nice to have him and watch my son do well with him. "The Herbie colt, about the middle of March he showed me he had some real talent. We just took our time with him. He's a big growthy colt and I stuck to my guns and kept on trying to teach him. Every start, he got smarter about things. I was really excited about him. "Compelling was a very nice addition. I was going for a Hail Mary (when I claimed her last year) because I was kind of soft in the 3-year-old fillies. I took the gamble of keeping her and rehabbing her. I tried to do all the right things and she came back a hundred percent. It was the middle of February and the boys kept on telling me they're going to read about her. The farther we got down, the stronger she got." And then there was Woodside Charm, who on Oct. 27 capped a 7-for-7 campaign with her win in the Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. It was Yoder's first trip to the Breeders Crown. She joined Manchego as the only 2-year-old filly trotters to be undefeated Breeders Crown champions. "The way she did it is what impressed me about her," Yoder said about the filly's season. "She went to so many tracks and shipped all over, and every time I went to a different track she adjusted. She let me do what I had to do. "She's a fast, smart horse." Woodside Charm won her Breeders Crown final by 1-3/4 lengths over Simon Allard-driven When Dovescry, covering the mile distance in 1:54.1 on a cold rainy night. "I was going up the backside and she was cruising and I'm thinking, man, it can't be this easy," Yoder said. "I thought I better grab into her a little bit to make sure I had plenty left. Then when Simon pulled, I was waiting on him, I squawked at her and she was gone. "You're pinching yourself in the race. And then when you get done and get home and start thinking about what you did in the last couple weeks, it's pretty amazing. "It takes a lot of focus and a lot of hard work to pull something like that off. The biggest thing is staying focused on your work. To stay focused and do your job every day, and stay religious about it, that's the tough part. You set up a plan to lead to one direction. I wouldn't say that I'm proud of myself, but I was happy with myself to stay focused." Yoder also credited his wife, Rachel, with being instrumental to the stable's success. "This was the first year that my wife was able to help me in Indiana and it made a big difference," Yoder said. "We've always been a team, but the boys always went to school and she had to be in Florida and I was always trying to do it myself. When you have somebody that thinks the same way that you do and it's a team, it just works better." Yoder is already resettled in Florida, giving his horses some time off and contemplating next season. "Things went right; we did the right things and stuck to the plan," Yoder said. "Now we have to go back through the motions again. Hopefully we come back and do all right again." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Chris Lakata hopes it's best to be "Lucky" this weekend at The Meadowlands. Lucky Weekend, trained by Lakata, starts from post eight with driver Vincent Ginsburg in Saturday's $221,540 Kindergarten Classic Series championship for 2-year-old male harness racing trotters at the Big M. The gelding, purchased last month by Richard Mishkin for $45,000 at the inaugural Lexington Selected Mixed Sale, has won five of nine races and is among the season's 10 fastest 2-year-old male trotters, with a mark of 1:54.2. He went off stride in his first start for his new connections on Oct. 12, but rebounded with a Kindergarten win a week later. He was scratched last week because of sickness. "There are a lot of horses that are sick now; it seems to be going around," Lakata said about Lucky Weekend, a son of Lucky Chucky-Weekend Vacation who was trained previously by Chuck Sylvester. "He seems to be better now. "He seems like a nice solid horse. He's got a great attitude and is a very happy horse. I really like everything about him. He was already on his way to looking good before we got him. He made a break the first week we raced him so we changed a couple things and he was really good his last start." The Meadowlands hosts four Kindergarten championships on Saturday. In addition to the final for 2-year-old male trotters there is the $236,060 final for 2-year-old female trotters, $173,800 final for 2-year-old male pacers, and $148,700 final for 2-year-old female pacers. Post time is 7:15 p.m. (EDT) for the program's first race. Lakata, a former longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Ron Gurfein, is in his fourth year operating his own stable. His barn at Joie De Vie Farm in New Jersey typically numbers five to 10 horses. Lucky Weekend's appearance in the Kindergarten championship is Lakata's first trip to a Grand Circuit final with his own stable. "Some weeks are great, and some are not so great," said a laughing Lakata, who grew up near Saratoga and began working with horses there after graduating from high school. "Sometimes you think you're a genius, and other times you look in the mirror and ask yourself if you know what you're doing. I've been doing it all my life, so I'm used to it. "I don't think I could work indoors in an office. As soon as I started (with the horses) I liked it. You're around all kind of people and they all blend together. It's a lot of fun." Lucky Weekend faces a field that includes 4-for-4 Seven Hills, trained by John Butenschoen, and Divine Spirit, trained by Brett Pelling. The horses, which were tied atop the Kindergarten standings, both enter the final off back-to-back wins in the series. This will be Lucky Weekend's final start of the year. "I think (Lucky Weekend) is as good as the others in there," Lakata said. "We'll find out. I hope he's as good this week as he was in his last start. He should be OK." For Saturday's complete entries, click here. For the Kindergarten standings, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

After skipping the Breeders Crown at Pocono, Always A Prince will have the Breeders Crown come to him. Sort of. Always A Prince is among the 10 horses in Friday's $190,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers at Hoosier Park. The field features four of the top-five finishers from last Saturday's Breeders Crown final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, including champion Dorsoduro Hanover and runner-up Lather Up. For the season, the Hoosier Park-based Always A Prince has won 18 of 21 races and $397,875. His victories include the Jenna's Beach Boy at Hoosier, where he defeated Breeders Crown fourth-place finisher Shnitzledosomethin and Jimmy Freight. The gelding also has the Indiana Sire Stakes championship to his credit. "We were thinking of taking him to the Breeders Crown, but we decided to wait," said Carl Atley, who owns Always A Prince with his wife Melanie. "Now they all come here to Hoosier to race. That's his home ground, so maybe it's a little bit of an advantage for us. "But it's tough, tough horses coming to race against you. That's part of the game. If you have the purses, the horses will show up. It's nice that Hoosier has got this race. I'm just glad the horse is sound and ready to go in a race like this. We gave him a break last week so we would be prepared for this race." Always A Prince is trained by Tyler George, but was selected and developed by James "Bill" Dailey, who passed away unexpectedly in May at the age of 57. Each time Always A Prince races, it is a tribute to Dailey. "Absolutely," said Atley, who was a friend of Dailey's since childhood. "This is really special because this is his. "Bill was the greatest guy, the hardest worker, always great to be around. He was always so nice to everybody. He treated everybody with respect. It was fun to be around him." Always A Prince was unraced at age 2 because of soreness, but returned this year and won his first seven races, all in conditioned classes, before tackling the Indiana Sire Stakes circuit. He finished second in his series debut, but has lost only once since in Indiana. His remaining defeat came in the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park, where he was sixth from post eight. "As an owner, you always hope to get a horse like this," Atley said. "It's a dream come true. "His best quality is he takes care of himself. Some horses are so wild and crazy, they kick and carry on, but he goes in and lies down and takes care of himself. He's a well-mannered colt. We're very, very fortunate. He's had a great year. Just unbelievable." The Monument Circle will be Always A Prince's final start of the year. "He'll be turned out and come back next year as a 4-year-old," Atley said. "He'll probably go to some of the (stakes) events they have for just the 4-year-olds. There is a tough bunch of 3-year-olds this year. It's not just one or two horses dominating, there are three, or four, or five of them that are really good." Friday's Hoosier Park card also features the $256,000 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old male trotters, the $137,000 Crossroads of America for 3-year-old female trotters, and the $113,000 USS Indianapolis for 3-year-old female pacers. In addition, Foiled Again, harness racing's all-time richest horse with $7.60 million, will be in action in a division of the Dick Macomber Memorial, with Ricky Macomber Jr. in the sulky. The 14-year-old Foiled Again will retire at the end of the year and has won five of his past seven races, upping his career total for victories to 105, on his Farewell Tour. The Ron Burke-trained gelding has raced in Delaware, Ohio, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Maine during that span and been driven by six different drivers - Montrell Teague, Chris Page, Chris Shaw, Jim Morrill Jr., George Brennan, and Mitchell Cushing. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). For Friday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Hightstown, NJ —– For the first time this year, a male pacer or trotter is No. 1 in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Seven-year-old pacing stallion McWicked, fresh off his win in Saturday’s Breeders Crown Open Pace, moved from No. 2 to the top spot following No. 1 Atlanta’s second-place finish in her Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old female trotters. McWicked is the year’s richest horse, with $1.39 million in purses. Prior to this week, the No. 1 position was held by trotting mare Hannelore Hanover (weeks 1 through 10), Atlanta (weeks 11 through 16 and weeks 20 through 22) and 3-year-old filly trotter Manchego (weeks 17 through 19). Atlanta dropped to third in the rankings as Breeders Crown Mare Pace winner Shartin N moved from No. 3 to No. 2. Shartin N set the record for the richest season ever by a pacing mare with her victory. She has earned $968,361. Undefeated 2-year-old filly trotter Woodside Charm jumped from ninth to fourth following her Breeders Crown triumph. Kissin In The Sand, a parked-out second in the Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old filly pacers, rounded out the top five. Breeders Crown champs Gimpanzee (2-year-old male trotter), Dorsoduro Hanover (3-year-old male pacer) and Tactical Landing (3-year-old male trotter) were newcomers to the Top 10. The remaining two horses in the Top 10, Six Pack and Courtly Choice, did not race last weekend. 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 23 – 10/30/2018 Rank Name (1st Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 McWicked (26) 7ph 17-10-3-2 $1,393,864 340 2 2 Shartin N (7) 5pm 23-18-1-0 $968,361 306 3 3 Atlanta 3tf 14-8-5-1 $1,017,278 243 1 4 Woodside Charm (2) 2tf 7-7-0-0 $521,658 214 9 5 Kissin In The Sand 3pf 15-10-5-0 $845,495 186 4 6 Gimpanzee 2tc 9-9-0-0 $591,358 120 — 7 Dorsoduro Hanover 3pg 18-10-4-1 $1,181,612 91 — 8 Six Pack 3tc 13-10-1-1 $970,573 85 5 9 Courtly Choice    3pc 16-10-1-0 $910,603 81 6 10 Tactical Landing 3tc 13-8-2-2 $642,800 67 — Also: Homicide Hunter 62; Warrawee Ubeaut 40; Manchego 23; Jimmy Freight, Marion Marauder 12; Crystal Fashion 10; Emoticon Hanover, Lather Up 9; Captain Crunch 7; Plunge Blue Chip, Stay Hungry 3; Lily Stride, Met’s Hall 1. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Matt Kakaley's drive to his first Breeders Crown winner's circle was as memorable as the stretch drive to victory, and even more emotional. Kakaley entered last Saturday's Breeders Crown finals at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in search of his first trophy. He ended the night with two. The second, not unexpectedly, came with favorite Dorsoduro Hanover in the 3-year-old colt and gelding pace. The first, though, was something of a surprise. It came six races earlier with 52-1 longshot Percy Bluechip in the 3-year-old filly pace. As the 30-year-old Kakaley returned to the winner's circle with Percy Bluechip, he could not help but think back to last March when he was injured in an accident at Yonkers. Kakaley was sidelined for two months and required three surgeries, including one for a broken orbital bone and another for a fractured collarbone. "The winner's circle was a little overwhelming for me, just full of emotion," Kakaley said. "Coming back, I was just thinking, man, seven months ago I was on the sidelines not even sure if I was going to be able to drive anymore. My eye was really bad. I don't think people really understand how bad it really was. The people that were around me were a great support system. Obviously everything came back and I'm OK, but at the time I was really worried. "It was a rush of emotions going back to the winner's circle. My grandparents were there, my parents, my daughter, my girlfriend, all my friends that I've hung around with that live here. It meant a lot." Kakaley, who has competed regularly at Pocono for the past eight years and won a driving title there in 2011, was winless in 42 Breeders Crown finals prior to breaking through with Percy Bluechip. Kakaley positioned the filly second on the outside behind favorite Kissin In The Sand, who was engaged in a battle with Youaremycandygirl through torrid early fractions. As the field turned for home, Kakaley dropped his whip but was still able to sweep by the leaders in the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length over Kissin In The Sand. "Everything went perfect for that filly," Kakaley said. "It's nice for the horse when things go the right way for them to get the job done in the big race. They were rolling up front, big numbers, and she felt strong down the backstretch. In the last turn I had a lot of go. I thought I could get there. I lost my whip, but she just powered through and got up. She raced super." It was somewhat fitting Kakaley's first Breeders Crown win came with a longshot. Of his 42 previous drives in finals, 27 were at odds of 40-1 or longer and nine of his 11 on-the-board finishes were at odds of at least 27-1. Of course, the odds mattered little to Kakaley. "It's unexpected, so a little bit of a surprise factor maybe makes it a little bit better, but just winning a Breeders Crown race is amazing," Kakaley said. "I'm just so thankful for the opportunities I've gotten. It happened. Thank God. I finally got one." And then he got two. Dorsoduro Hanover, Kakaley's first favorite in a final, took the lead after three-eighths of a mile and cruised to victory by 3-1/2 lengths over Lather Up. The gelding has finished no worse than second in seven consecutive races, winning five. His victories in addition to the Breeders Crown include the Adios and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. He was second in the Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug. "I was very confident with him," Kakaley said. "That was as good as he's been all year. Ronnie has done an amazing job keeping that horse fresh. He's danced every dance and showed up every time. He's a gamer, that's for sure." Ronnie is trainer Ron Burke, for whom Kakaley drives on a regular basis. Kakaley's two wins were part of a three-Crown night for the Burke Brigade. "I was fortunate to pick up the right horses at the right time and the horses were sharp going into the Breeders Crown," Kakaley said. "I was confident coming in. Ronnie has put me in these big races. I'm happy to get a couple tonight." And as the rain-soaked and mud-covered Kakaley turned to walk away on a 41-degree Pocono night, he flashed a big smile. "I can tell you this much," he said. "I'm not cold anymore." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

After driving Plunge Blue Chip to victory in her Breeders Crown elimination last weekend, and then watching rival Atlanta win hers, Ake Svanstedt seemed as intrigued as anyone by the possibilities in Saturday's $500,000 championship for 3-year-old female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "She won easy," Svanstedt said about Plunge Blue Chip, then added with a smile, "but Atlanta won easy also. "We'll see how it goes in the final." All 12 Breeders Crown finals, with $6.4 million in total purses, will be raced Saturday at Pocono. Post time is 5:30 p.m. (EDT) for the first race. Svanstedt has top contenders in each the 3-year-old filly trot and $500,000 final for 3-year-old male trotters. Plunge Blue Chip is 4-1 on the morning line, the third choice behind 5-2 favorite Atlanta and 3-1 returning champion Manchego while colt Six Pack is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in his event. Plunge Blue Chip won her elimination by 3-1/4 lengths over Impinktoo in 1:53.3 over a sloppy rain-soaked track. The win came on the heels of her two-heat performance in the Kentucky Filly Futurity on Oct. 7, when she won her elimination in a world-record equaling 1:49.4 but went off stride in the same-day final, which was won by Atlanta. "She was dehydrated," Svanstedt said about the miscue. "But (Saturday) she was OK again, normal." Plunge Blue Chip has won eight of 14 races and $521,601 this year for Svanstedt, who owns the filly with breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock, Tomas Andersson, and Rick Zeron Stables. Rick Zeron co-owns, and trains, two other 3-year-old filly trot finalists in Atlanta and Courtney Hanover. Zeron will drive Courtney Hanover, a 20-1 shot, in the final while his son Scott will be behind Atlanta. Atlanta, who has won eight of 13 races this year including the Hambletonian Stakes against the boys and banked $902,278, captured her Breeders Crown elimination gate-to-wire by three-quarters of a length over Lily Stride in 1:53.1. "I was not surprised how easy I got away," Scott Zeron said. "I'm sure Yannick (Gingras with Manchego) was being a little conservative and at the same time I wanted to be conservative as well just to make sure my filly bounced back after the double heats in the (Filly) Futurity. I was able to command the lead early...and from there on when there was nobody power moving, I didn't think there would, I was able to control the race even more. "It worried me about bouncing back after the two heats because she didn't bounce back after the Hambletonian and it took her a little bit to get back into form. It's nice to see her come :27 on the end (Saturday)." Manchego finished third in her elimination, won by Atlanta. The Hambletonian Oaks champ has won seven of 13 races and $658,994 this year for trainer Jimmy Takter, driver Yannick Gingras, and owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. In her start prior to the Crown elim, Manchego finished third in the first heat of the Kentucky Filly Futurity and was scratched from the final. "In her last start I was very concerned because she really didn't have any kick at all," Takter said. "Her blood work was (no good). Her blood work is on the way up and I needed this start in her. "Yannick said he had plenty of horse, but on this track here she had a little problem finding her gear really. They were going plenty, the last half in :55.2, so how are you going to make up ground? You don't make up ground on that. I've got a week to figure her out. But I was happy." Phaetosive, who topped Atlanta and Manchego in the Elegantimage Stakes, finished fourth in Atlanta's Breeders Crown elimination and is 5-1 on the morning line. The filly has won seven of 10 races and $564,764 this year for owner Purple Haze Stables. She has been driven throughout her career by trainer Trond Smedshammer, but George Brennan will be in the sulky Saturday. "I'm just trying to mix things up a little bit," Smedshammer said. "It's the last race of the year, so I figured it was time to try something. George is more aggressive than me (and) he is 40 to 45 pounds lighter than me, which I think could be a factor also on a muddy off-track. I think Atlanta is going to try to do the same thing this week that she did last week. That's what we've got to try to stop. "This track favors certain horses over others and I think Atlanta has a bit of an advantage because of her style of racing on that type of track. Hopefully she won't have it as easy this week as last week." On the colt side, Six Pack enters the Breeders Crown final with a five-race win streak including the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot. He won the Futurity final in 1:49.1, the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old trotter. Six Pack has won 10 of 13 races and $970,573 this year for owners Svanstedt, Little E, Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg. Six Pack won his Breeders Crown elimination by three-quarters of a length over returning champion Fiftydallarbill in 1:53.3. "He was good, but he is so lazy," Svanstedt said. "He slows down and takes it easy and I must push him. If I relax, he can feel everything, and he takes his chance to be lazy. He can also feel when I'm serious, and then he is a different horse. He is a smart horse. He is a nice horse." Tactical Landing, with Brian Sears driving for trainer Takter, won the other elimination by 4-3/4 lengths over Met's Hall in 1:52.2. He is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. The colt has won seven of 12 races and $392,800 for owner The Tactical Landing Stable. "He's got a hell of a set of lungs and he covers a lot of ground," Takter said. "He's a fantastic horse." Canadian Trotting Classic winner Crystal Fashion is 4-1 and Fiftydallarbill is 5-1. For Saturday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown  

At the end of this season, Noel Daley will return to his native Australia to begin a new chapter in his career as the trainer for prominent owners Maria and Emilio Rosati at the couple's new facility near Sydney. On Saturday night, Daley-trained Caviart Ally will try to deliver an appropriate going-away gift - a Breeders Crown trophy. Daley, who started his own stable in the U.S. in 1998, has already won eight Breeders Crown finals in his career, including three with pacer My Little Dragon and two with trotter Mr Muscleman. Caviart Ally will start from post nine in the $270,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Caviart Farms-owned 4-year-old is 8-1 on the morning line with Andy McCarthy in the sulky. She finished third in her Breeders Crown elimination last weekend, won by Shartin N, but has hit the board in seven consecutive starts, including a win in the Milton Stakes, and earned $1.06 million lifetime. "We didn't get the best post in the world, but she's still capable of winning it," Daley said. "It just depends whether she's having a good day. She wasn't very good (in her elimination), I don't know if it was the track or whatever, but she came out of it all right. "Andy always says he knows when he's scoring down whether he's going to be all right or not. She's in it up to her ears if she has a good night; she just needs to have a good night." Caviart Ally is Daley's only Breeders Crown finalist, but not the only finalist to which he has a connection. In the 2-year-old filly trot, favorites Woodside Charm and When Dovescry both are out of mares that were trained by Daley. When Dovescry is the first foal out of Cedar Dove, who won a Breeders Crown for Daley in 2011, and Woodside Charm is out of Fireworks Hanover and a half-sister to Daley's millionaire Explosive Matter. Plunge Blue Chip, one of the contenders in the 3-year-old filly trot, is from the family of Mr Muscleman. "It's fun to see," Daley said. In his career, Daley's horses have earned $61.1 million in purses, which ranks sixth among all trainers in harness racing history, and his 2,564 wins rank 20th. Daley worked eight years for trainer Brett Pelling before launching his own stable and credits the relationship he forged with owner Adam Victor and his son Adam Jr. in the late 1990s as a springboard to success. "He wanted to get into the game and never had a horse at that stage," Daley said. "We had a bit of luck with (pacer) Perfect Son and then we bought Mr Muscleman (in 2002) and that just set things on a roll. I went from having five or six horses and he went to having none to within a couple of years I had 125 horses and 100 were his." Four of Daley's five Breeders Crown-winning horses - My Little Dragon, Mr Muscleman, Cedar Dove, and All Speed Hanover - were owned in whole or part by the Victors. In addition to his success in the Breeders Crown, Daley enjoyed winning the Hambletonian with Broad Bahn in 2011. Still, nothing equaled the feeling of racing Mr Muscleman, who was a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, including Trotter of the Year in 2005, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. Since 2009, the gelding has resided in the Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions. "Muscleman is still the best horse I ever had," Daley said. "He was my highlight. Obviously winning the Hambo with Broad Bahn was special, but Broad Bahn was a long way from being the best horse. He was the right horse at the right time. Everything went right for him that year. That's what you need to win one of those races. "(Mr Muscleman) was such a tough horse. He had a lot of issues, but was just a good horse. You don't realize what a good horse he was until you look back on it. It's fun to go see him at the Horse Park. They love him there too. Even there he is sort of a favorite. He's such a nice little horse." How good was he? It goes beyond his two Breeders Crown titles, two Maple Leaf Trot triumphs, and wins in the Kentucky Futurity, Canadian Trotting Classic, Titan Cup, and Cutler Memorial, to mention a few. "He was the second trotter I ever had; I had a cheap claimer before him," Daley said, laughing. "We did everything wrong with him. He was a great horse in spite of us, not because of us. He overcame our inexperience, put it that way." Now a much more experienced Daley is ready for a new adventure and challenge. He has talked for years about returning to Australia, but now the time seems right. "All my family is there and I've been looking to do it for a while," Daley said. "America has been good to me. I have no regrets. I never imagined I would be here this long and I always wanted to go home, it was just a matter of finding a way of going home where I could still make a living. "I met with Emilio and we came to the decision that it was going to work for both of us. It's a different racing game over there and I'll have to get used to the way things are done there. But I'm going to have a great setup to work with and well-bred horses to do it. I'm really looking forward to it." He then added, again with a laugh, "I've been telling my staff for years that I was going home. I had to make sure they knew this year that this one is for real." And regardless of the outcome of Saturday's Breeders Crown, he will leave satisfied. "We've had a lot of fun," Daley said. "It was a great run. It's time for the next chapter." by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown

Matt Kakaley hopes to make a memorable year with Dorsoduro Hanover even better. Dorsoduro Hanover, trained by Ron Burke, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday's $530,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The 30-year-old Kakaley, who is among the leading drivers at Pocono, will enter the night aiming for his first Breeders Crown trophy. The duo will start from post one in the field of nine. All 12 Breeders Crown finals, with $6.4 million in total purses, will be raced Saturday at Pocono. Post time is 5:30 p.m. (EDT) for the first race. Kakaley will drive in 10 of the 12 finals Saturday. Dorsoduro Hanover won his Breeders Crown elimination last weekend by 1-1/4 lengths over Thinkbig Dreambig in 1:50.1 over a sloppy track. The 3-year-old gelding has won nine of 17 races this year and earned $916,612. His wins include the Adios, when he delivered Burke and Kakaley their first victory in the event at Burke's home track of The Meadows, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. He was second in the Little Brown Jug, beaten by a neck, and in the Meadowlands Pace from post 10. "He's had some close calls and a few big wins and it's been a lot of fun," said Kakaley, who has driven Dorsoduro Hanover in all but three of his 31 lifetime starts. "He's had a solid season. I think he likes Pocono too. He usually gives a good effort every time he's at Pocono." Dorsoduro Hanover has won five of six starts at Pocono this year. His victory in his Breeders Crown elimination followed a second-place finish to Grand Teton in a division of the Tattersalls Pace at Lexington's Red Mile. "I was a little disappointed with Lexington, to be honest, because when he cleared (leader) This Is The Plan off the last turn I thought he was going to pace away and hide," Kakaley said. "He eased up on me a little late and Grand Teton got him at the wire. But he was really good (Saturday). When Thinkbig Dreambig got to his bridle he just took off again. I was really happy with him." Dorsoduro Hanover's recently-added stablemate This Is The Plan, also an elimination winner last weekend, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's final. He won his elim by 3-1/4 lengths over I'm A Big Deal in 1:51 in his second start for the Burke stable and driver Yannick Gingras. "He was really good," Gingras said. "I fired him up too much in Lexington and he was loose on the lead. He was way more relaxed (Saturday) and when I called on him he was there. It is going to be an interesting final. I think there are nine horses that can win this race. It's wide open." Dorsoduro Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Silva Purnel & Libby, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Wingfield Five. This Is The Plan is owned by Burke Racing, Silva Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, and Larry Karr. Shnitzledosomethin, last year's Breeders Crown runner-up, won the third of the three eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers with David Miller in the sulky. He was three-quarters of a length better than Grand Teton in 1:51.1. It was his third win in 15 races this season for trainer Dylan Davis and owners BFJ Stable, Tom Lazzaro, Ed Gold, and Abe Basen. The colt is 12-1 on the final's morning line. "I'm tickled to death with him," Davis said. "He had a little bit of a dry summer, but he seems to be turning the corner. After (second-place finishes in the Indiana Sire Stakes final and Jenna's Beach Boy) that's when we made up our minds to come. He just didn't seem like the Shnitzle of last year until his last three or four starts. We added Lasix and that seemed to make a big difference." North America Cup champion Lather Up went off stride in his elimination, won by Shnitzledosomethin, but rallied to finish third and advance to the final. He is 5-1 on the morning line. Driver Montrell Teague expects Lather Up, who has won 11 of 15 races this year for owners Barbara and Gary Iles, to be better with an equipment adjustment. "We know what (the issue) is, and we'll figure it out for this week," Teague said. "It is what it is. But he's in. He went one hell of a mile, out the whole way. It can only improve. He's capable, we know that." * * * * * * * The Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female pacers required only a single elimination, which was won by returning champion Youaremycandygirl by a head over Alexa's Power in 1:52. The top-seven finishers from the nine-horse elim advanced to join bye recipients Kissin In The Sand and Baron Remy in the final. "I was really happy with her," driver Gingras said about Youaremycandygirl, who is trained by Burke and owned by Bill Donovan. "I thought she raced real good. It turned into a sprint, and she's not really much of a sprinter, so (Alexa's Power) was gaining on her a little bit. But I think she is coming back to her own and I was really, really happy with her." Kissin In The Sand drew post nine for the final and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Kissin In The Sand has won 10 of 14 races this year and finished no worse than second in any start for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. The Nancy Johansson-trained filly's wins include the James M. Lynch Memorial at Pocono from post nine. Youaremycandygirl, who has won seven of 14 races this year, is the 3-1 second choice followed by Alexa's Power, the winner of nine of 18 starts for owners Jeff and Michael Snyder and trainer Jim Campbell, at 4-1. For Saturday's complete card, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown

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