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When harness racing driver John DeLong makes his Breeders Crown debut Friday, it will be special. Of course, such an occurrence would be exceptional under any circumstances, but the fact his appearance will come with a homebred horse at his adopted hometown track makes the moment even more extraordinary. DeLong will drive Seventimesavirgin on Friday in the second of two Breeders Crown Mare Pace eliminations at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Seventimesavirgin was bred by DeLong's father, Jay, and raised at his family's farm in Wisconsin. DeLong also trains the 4-year-old mare, who is 5-1 on the morning line. So, did he ever imagine anything like this when he was growing up? "No, not even remotely close," the 28-year-old DeLong said with a chuckle. "It's pretty exciting. Just to be part of it, to have a horse that's even considered good enough to put in the entry box, is the first thing. You sit and watch it on TV year after year and to have one that's good enough to think about putting in is pretty cool. "She's a pretty special horse, for us as a family. She's earned her right to compete against the top horses. She doesn't owe us a thing. (The Breeders Crown) is on her home turf and we're going to give her a shot. Not many people get that chance." Seventimesavirgin has won 23 of 39 career races and earned $566,110. Last year, she was the Indiana Sire Stakes champion after going undefeated in 11 races on the circuit. The mare is a daughter of stallion Always A Virgin out of the mare Mrs Grant Seven, who was a stakes winner in Illinois. "She does no wrong," DeLong said. "She's given me some of the biggest wins of my career. This year, she's had a few troubles, but she's worked through them and she always tries hard." DeLong's drive behind Seventimesavirgin will be the first of three drives this weekend in Breeders Crown eliminations. He also will drive Trent Stohler's 2-year-old female pacer Rock On Ladys on Friday and Jeff Cullipher's 5-year-old stallion Rock N' Roll World in Saturday's elims for the Breeders Crown Open Pace. Rock N' Roll World has won 18 of 77 career races and earned $705,477. He is 8-1 on the morning line in his elimination, where Sintra is the 5-2 favorite. "That's a tough division, but he's showed spots where he can go with them," DeLong said, noting a troubled-trip third-place finish in the Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park. "I thought I had a big shot in that race, but it just wasn't his night. He's not the top horse in that group, but he's a horse that can get a check." Rock On Ladys, who has won two of 11 races this year, is a 20-1 long shot in her elimination but finished third in the Indiana Sire Stakes championship. DeLong was 19 years old when he won the driving title at Running Aces in its inaugural season in 2008. In 2016, he set career highs with 375 wins and $4 million in purses. In August, DeLong got career win No. 2,000, which occurred at Hoosier Park, where he is this season's No. 3 driver in victories. His family, which operates a worldwide agricultural-distribution business based in Clinton, Wis., has been involved in harness racing for decades and is one of only two families enshrined in the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. DeLong, who now lives in Anderson, Ind., is looking forward to the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park, which is hosting the $6 million event for the first time. "There's a lot of excitement surrounding it," DeLong said. "The track owners are rolling out the red carpet. They're really trying to put on a spectacle and display what we have here in Indiana and really make it nice." Click here for Friday's complete Hoosier Park card. Click here for Saturday's complete Hoosier Park card. Ken Weingartner

Bob Key has been a longtime participant in the Breeders Crown and an ardent supporter of the harness racing Grand Circuit. He knows what it takes to win at the sport's top level and appreciates the opportunities for success. "This is what you're shooting for," said the 84-year-old Key, who has won twice in the Breeders Crown series and sends three horses to this year's event at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. "The Breeders Crown, look at how great it is to win it. I've been lucky to win (two) of them now. And with all the horses I have, it shows how difficult it is. "You're always looking for that champion. It's one of the great dreams to get one of those good ones." Key won his first Breeders Crown in the inaugural year of the event, 1984, as a member of the ownership group of 2-year-old female pacer Amneris. In 2010, he captured his second Crown with homebred 3-year-old male trotter Break The Bank K. In addition to his two victories, Key has finished second in a Breeders Crown final on seven occasions, including twice with homebred female trotter Win Missy B (in 2011 and 2012). This year, Key sends 2-year-old female trotter Looking For Zelda, 3-year-old female pacer Terrortina, and 4-year-old female trotter Flowers N Songs to the Breeders Crown. All three were bred by Key. Looking For Zelda and Terrortina race in eliminations Friday. All eliminations for female trotters and pacers will be contested that night, with the eliminations for male trotters and pacers to follow on Saturday. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. both nights. Flowers N Songs will advance directly to the final of the Breeders Crown Mare Trot, the only class in which eliminations were not required. "I'm not going in just to go in it," Key said. "With all these horses, I feel if it goes the right way we do have the possibility of winning. I'm not just going in there hoping I'm getting third or fourth. I'm hoping we can win it. "I'm looking forward to it." Looking For Zelda is a daughter of Key's Breeders Crown-winning Break The Bank K out of the mare My Winning Way K. She has won seven of nine races this year and finished second in the remaining two. She heads to her Breeders Crown elimination off a 1:54 win in a division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 6. "I'm really pleased with Looking For Zelda, no question about it," Key said about the filly, who has earned $221,675 this season while competing primarily on the Ohio Sire Stakes circuit. "She's one of the special fillies I've had. I've had some lucky ones and good ones, but right now you can't ask for much more. "There are some very good horses in there. I think we're definitely in it. I think we have a good chance of doing well in it. They're 2-year-olds; you never know what's going to happen. You just hope they're going the right way." Looking For Zelda is 5-1 on the morning line, with Tony Hall driving for trainer Norm Parker. Manchego, undefeated in 10 career races, is the 4-5 favorite. The top five finishers from each of the two eliminations for 2-year-old female trotters advance to the $600,000 final on Oct. 27. Basquiat is the 5-2 favorite in the other elim. The 39-year-old Hall, who has won 5,326 races in his career, will be making his Breeders Crown debut. "I know he wants to drive her; it's something special for him," Key said. "He really likes her and he's done a good job with her this year. We're going to stay with him. "I think he's one of the top drivers. The driver is important. They have to have confidence in a horse. He says (Looking For Zelda) is easy to drive and does what he wants. That's all you can ask." Terrortina, a daughter of Western Terror out of the mare Alladorable, has won three of 24 races this year and earned $121,024. She has hit the board a total of 13 times and picked up checks in several stakes including the Jugette, Courageous Lady and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. The Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female pacers got a field of 11. The connections of New York Sire Stakes champion Obvious Blue Chip and Lismore Pace winner Tequila Monday accepted byes to the final and the remaining nine fillies will compete in a single elimination. Terrortina is 20-1 on the morning line, with Hall driving for Parker. Blazin Britches is the 3-1 favorite, ahead of Caviart Ally at 7-2, Agent Q at 4-1 and Idyllic Beach at 5-1. The top eight finishers advance to the $500,000 final. "Norm feels good about her and so does Tony Hall," said Key, whose top career wins also include the 1993 Hambletonian with homebred American Winner. "I thought it was worth going in there." Click here for Friday's complete Hoosier Park card. Click here for Saturday's complete Hoosier Park card. Ken Weingartner  

Freehold, NJ --- Yonkers International Trot winner Twister Bi made his one appearance in North America count, parlaying his harness racing victory last Saturday into a spot in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The 5-year-old male trotter received three first-place votes off his world-record performance and landed at No. 10 in the rankings. Otherwise, there was little change in the Top 10 ahead of this weekend’s Breeders Crown eliminations. Fear The Dragon, Ariana G, Manchego, Hannelore Hanover, and Downbytheseaside held their positions in one through five while Resolve remained sixth. Emoticon Hanover moved up one spot from eighth to seventh as recently retired Huntsville dropped a notch. 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 (19) 3pc 15-12-2-0 $1,264,391 317 1 2 Ariana G (10) 3tf 14-11-2-1 $873,690 303 2 3 Manchego (3) 2tf 10-10-0-0 $563,948 263 3 4 Hannelore Hanover 5tm 14-7-5-0 $677,254 242 4 5 Downbytheseaside 3pc 16-9-1-3 $1,072,235 169 5 6 Resolve 6th 11-4-2-1 $485,149 89 6 7 Emoticon Hanover 4tm 11-4-3-3 $248,166 79 8 8 Huntsville 3pc 14-8-4-1 $1,014,428 73 7 9 Blazin Britches 3pf 13-10-2-0 $290,424 65 9 10 Twister Bi (3) 5th 12-5-2-3 $1,028,768 55 -- Filibuster Hanover (45); Agent Q (26); Marion Marauder (22); Lost In Time, What The Hill (21); Caviart Ally (20); Alarm Detector (19); All Bets Off (14); Nike Franco N (13); Devious Man (11); Crazy Wow (9); Rainbow Room (8); Pure Country (7); Nutcracker Sweet (6); Blue Moon Stride, Youaremycandygirl (4); Barn Bella, Dealt A Winner, Idyllic Beach, On A Sunny Day (3); Funknwaffles, Keystone Velocity (2); Fourth Dimension, R First Class, Rockin Ron, Two AM (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Larry Karr remembers fondly his days as a teenager when his father, Allen, raced horses in the New York metro area. The names of those horses would mean little to most people today, Karr said, but he still can recall his favorites, such as hard-knocking harness racing pacer Jester J. On Saturday, Karr will head to Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway to watch a trotter that he hopes people might remember in the years to come. Karr is among the owners of 5-year-old gelding In Secret, who will face nine rivals in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. In Secret is one of two U.S. representatives in the 39th edition of the invitational event, which also includes trotters from Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The other U.S. contender is Resolve, who won last year's International Trot. The race was held from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected three years ago by Yonkers President and CEO Tim Rooney. The race is at the extended distance of 1-1/4 miles. "This is actually my home track," said Karr, who grew up in Rockland County, N.Y., about 20 miles from Yonkers Raceway. "(My dad) used to race horses at Yonkers, the Meadowlands, and Roosevelt. To have a horse, when my dad owned cheap claimers, that can race in a race like this is a dream come true." In Secret will be driven by George Brennan, whose stepfather Joe Ricco Jr. sometimes drove horses for Karr's dad. "It's an interesting connection," Karr said. Trainer Ron Burke bought In Secret for $140,000 at July's Tattersalls Summer Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The horse, a son of Deweycheatumnhowe out of the mare Secret Magic whose family includes million-dollar-earner Possess The Magic, is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, J&T Silva Stables, and Karr. Following the acquisition, In Secret and Brennan won five consecutive starts at Yonkers, with four coming in the open handicap. For his career, In Secret has won 21 of 75 races and earned $358,385. "We talked about the possibility that this could occur," Karr said of receiving an invitation to the International Trot. "We were hopeful that it would occur and that Yonkers would recognize the great races this horse has put in against home-track horses. It will be very interesting to see how he stacks up internationally." In Secret will have his work cut out for him. He drew post No. 8, the outermost spot on the starting gate, which has produced winners in only three percent of the track's races at the standard distance of one mile. However, In Secret and Brennan have a victory at Yonkers from post eight in a race that was contested at 1-1/4 miles on Aug. 13. "That was against much lesser company," Brennan said. "I've raced him both ways (from the front and off the lead). In a race like this, you're definitely going to have to try to move forward and try to get involved somehow. He's versatile. But he's going to have to be real versatile." Brennan is a two-time U.S. Driver of the Year Award winner and has twice led the Yonkers driving colony in seasonal victories. He is one of two drivers to win the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks on the same day, with Broad Bahn in the Hambletonian and Bold And Fresh in the Oaks in 2011, and sat in for an injured John Campbell to guide Glidemaster to victory in the 2006 Yonkers Trot and complete the colt's sweep of the Trotting Triple Crown. "(Winning the International Trot) would be terrific," Brennan said. "I thank Mr. Rooney for carrying it on, the legacy. And Yonkers being my home track, it would be icing on the cake. It would be great." In Secret is 6-1 on the morning line. Resolve is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Italy's Twister Bi at 4-1, Canada's Marion Marauder and Italy's Oasis Bi at 5-1, and France's Dreammoko at 6-1. "There's plenty in there to beat, that's for sure," Brennan said. * * * * * Marion Marauder is no stranger to Yonkers Raceway. Last year, the horse went 2-for-2 at The Hilltop, winning both the elimination and final of the Yonkers Trot. The Yonkers Trot win resulted in an invitation to last year's International Trot, but his connections turned it down to focus on the Trotting Triple Crown (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, and Kentucky Futurity) and Breeders Crown. Marion Marauder completed his sweep of the Triple Crown by winning the Futurity a week prior to the International. "Turning it down last year was tough," said Mike Keeling, who trains Marion Marauder with wife Paula Wellwood. "We always put a lot of thought into everything we do with him," he continued, discussing the decision to accept this year. "We had a schedule mapped out and we always knew this might come up. Once we talked to a few of our friends that have done this, they recommended it highly. They said Yonkers does a wonderful job and treats you like a king. We decided, not many people get this opportunity so we're going to do it." Marion Marauder is one of only two 4-year-olds in the race. The other is Dreammoko. "This means the world to us," Wellwood said. "He's the horse of a lifetime. He is very special and we're honored to have him. "This would be as exciting as winning the Hambletonian, for sure," she added. "It's a very prestigious race that my family has been in before. It would be a great honor." Marion Marauder, owned by Devin Keeling and Jean Wellwood, won this year's Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-olds at the distance of 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. He has won 14 of 35 lifetime races and earned $2.22 million. He starts the International Trot from post No. 1 with regular driver Scott Zeron. Zeron said he would spend this week taking a look at his competition, particularly from Europe. "That's what I have to do through this week, study those horses that are from overseas and figure out what kind of characteristics they have," Zeron said. "I know that so far I'm going to have the shortest distance to the wire, so I'm very happy with the draw and I'm happy with my horse." * * * * * Denmark's Tripolini VP comes to the International Trot with three wins in his last four races. The 7-year-old gelding drew post nine in the second tier, behind Marion Marauder, and is 15-1 on the morning line. He will be driven by trainer Jeppe Juel. For his career, Tripolini VP has won 21 of 56 races and earned $230,561. He is a son of stallion Archduke Kemp out of the mare Lady Magic D. His dam is by U.S.-bred Shane Scottseth and his sire, by Express Ride out of the mare Emilie Cas El, is a half-brother to 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton. "He's a very tough horse, that's what makes him special," said owner Niels Juel, the father of Jeppe. "He is in good shape. He's not won any very big races, but he's won a lot of them and worked very hard to make his money. "We are excited and happy to be here." * * * * * Oasis Bi, who finished second to Resolve in last year's International Trot and is making his third appearance in the event, will start Saturday from post No. 2. That post happens to be the starting spot of the two most recent International champions, Resolve and Norway's Papagayo. "It is difficult to win this race; there are a lot of good horses," trainer Stefan Pettersson said. "We think we've got a very good number behind the gate and he's in good shape, so we'll do our best." Added owner P.G. Svard, "We say the third time gives us luck." The International Trot is part of a New York harness-record $3.3 million card at Yonkers on Saturday. Racing begins at 1 p.m. and includes eight New York Sire Stakes championships plus two $250,000 invitationals, the Dan Rooney Pace and Harry Harvey Trot. Following is the field in post-position order for the International Trot with drivers, trainers and morning line odds. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 2. Oasis Bi-Kim Eriksson-Stefan Pettersson-5/1 3. Dreammoko-Gabriele Gelormini-Richard Westerink-6/1 4. Twister Bi-Christoffer Eriksson-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5. Shadow Woodland-Tim Tetrick-Reijo Liljendahl-12/1 6. Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3/1 7. Midnight Hour-Iikka Nurmonen-Ossi Nurmonen-10/1 8. In Secret-George Brennan-Ron Burke-6/1 9. Tripolini VP-Jeppe Juel-Jeppe Juel-15/1 10. On Track Piraten-Johnny Takter-Hans Stromberg-8/1 Note: Tripolini VP and On Track Piraten start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. Ken Weingartner

Twister Bi enters Saturday's $1 million Yonkers International Trot as Europe's top-rated harness racing contender in the invitational event and U.S.-born trainer Jerry Riordan believes his 5-year-old stallion is primed for a strong performance at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. A son of Varenne, Twister Bi represents Italy in the 10-horse field. Twister Bi has won four of 11 races this year, including the Oslo Grand Prix and Ulf Thoresen Grand International - both Group 1 events - and has finished off the board only twice this season. Twister Bi, owned by Pasquale Ciccarelli, is No. 4 in the European Trotting Union (UET) rankings, behind only Bold Eagle, Timoko and Propulsion. Twister Bi heads to the International Trot, which is contested at the distance of 1-1/4 miles, off a third-place finish in the UET Trotting Masters championship on Sept. 9. He drew post No. 4 for the International Trot and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind favorite Resolve, the race's defending champion. He will be driven by 30-year-old Christoffer Eriksson, who ranks sixth in wins among all drivers in Sweden. "He has raced against the best, and he's raced really hard races against the best horses," Riordan said about Twister Bi. "He was arguably the best horse on the track in his last three races and he's been racing against Propulsion, Bold Eagle; the very best. We're confident. We really believe in the horse." Twister Bi has won 20 of 49 career races and earned $708,328. The bulk of his earnings - $528,768 - have come this season. He will try to become Italy's second International Trot champion, joining 1977 winner Delfo in the history books. The 39th International Trot features horses representing the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The race was held from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected three years ago by Yonkers President and CEO Tim Rooney. Riordan, a New England native based in Sweden after a long stint in Italy, is making his second appearance in three years in the International Trot. He finished eighth with Rod Stewart in 2015. His personal history with the event goes back to his days as a groom at Roosevelt Raceway, which hosted the International Trot before it moved to Yonkers in 1988. One reason for Riordan's optimism with Twister Bi is the horse's ability to handle racing on a half-mile track, such as Yonkers. "He's a lefty by nature," said Riordan, who received the 1990 Rising Star Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. "He takes the left line, cocks his head to the left, and you can just send him into the turn. That's one of the reasons I was pretty confident about coming over to race him. "I think at this point with this horse, whatever the results are Saturday is the result of the last three months of work. What we're going to do at this point is try not to do anything dumb and just bring him in as fresh as we can possibly make him." Click here for a video of Riordan and Twister Bi. * * * * * The connections of Sweden's 9-year-old On Track Piraten, who joins Italy's Oasis Bi as a three-time International Trot participant, are hoping for better luck in this year's event. In 2015, On Track Piraten finished seventh after an early three-wide move left the gelding parked first over for a lengthy distance. Last year, On Track Piraten was the fastest horse by a full second over the race's final quarter-mile, but had too much distance to overcome after starting from post eight. He finished fourth, beaten by 2-1/2 lengths. "With a good trip I think he can beat almost anyone," said John Backlund, representing the ownership group of Stall Morkermasse and Stall CK HB. "He's a very tough horse. He just keeps going." On Track Piraten has won 37 of 116 career races and earned $1.99 million. He will start the International Trot from post No. 10, in the second tier behind No. 2 Oasis Bi. On Track Piraten, who will be driven by Johnny Takter and is trained by Hans Stromberg, is 8-1 on the morning line. "He was not as good this summer, he had some allergy problems, but I think now he is in good shape," Backlund said. "We are enjoying the hospitality. It's been amazing every year. We are just happy to be here." * * * * * With Timoko having retired earlier this year, France turns to his 4-year-old son Dreammoko in the International Trot. Timoko, whose career accomplishments include two wins in the Elitlopp, finished second in the 2015 International Trot. Dreammoko will start from post No. 3 with Gabriele Gelormini driving for trainer Richard Westerink, who also conditioned Timoko. Dreammoko, who has won three of 13 races and $293,802 this year, is 6-1 on the morning line. He is owned by Jan Stins. French horses have won the International Trot on 13 occasions. "I think he is a very fast horse and a very tough horse," Westerink said. "He likes tough races. We will see if he can take a little place. That will be nice. "He's not raced on a half-mile track. That's not a problem for him. He will take the turns good, I think." Click here for a video of Westerink and Dreammoko. The International Trot is part of a New York harness-record $3.3 million card at Yonkers on Saturday. Racing begins at 1 p.m. and includes eight New York Sire Stakes championships plus two $250,000 invitationals, the Dan Rooney Pace and Harry Harvey Trot. Following is the field in post-position order for the International Trot with drivers, trainers and morning line odds. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 2. Oasis Bi-Kim Eriksson-Stefan Pettersson-5/1 3. Dreammoko-Gabriele Gelormini-Richard Westerink-6/1 4. Twister Bi-Christoffer Eriksson-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5. Shadow Woodland-Tim Tetrick-Reijo Liljendahl-12/1 6. Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3/1 7. Midnight Hour-Iikka Nurmonen-Ossi Nurmonen-10/1 8. In Secret-George Brennan-Ron Burke-6/1 9. Tripolini VP-Jeppe Juel-Jeppe Juel-15/1 10. On Track Piraten-Johnny Takter-Hans Stromberg-8/1 Note: Tripolini VP and On Track Piraten start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. Ken Weingartner

New York, NY --- Defending champion Resolve on Tuesday drew post No. 6 and was made the 3-1 morning-line harness racing favorite for Saturday's $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. The 6-year-old stallion will be driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt in the 1-1/4 mile invitational for older trotters. The 39th International Trot features a field of 10, with horses representing the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The event's press conference and draw was held at Manhattan's 21 Club. Resolve, owned by Hans Enggren and one of two U.S. representatives, has won four of 10 races this year and earned $485,149. Two of his wins this season have come at distances greater than one mile; the Cutler Memorial and Cashman Memorial, both at 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. He faced international competition in Sweden's Elitloppet, where he finished third. For his career, Resolve has won 18 of 62 races and earned $2.61 million. "I would rather have seen him draw from (post) one through four, but you could have four other bad numbers too," said Sarah Svanstedt, the wife of Ake Svanstedt, who missed the draw because of driving commitments elsewhere. "He's in the middle. He's a versatile horse, so it's not too big of a problem." The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected three years ago by Yonkers President and CEO Tim Rooney. Resolve will attempt to join Roquepine (1967-68), Delmonica Hanover (1973-74), Ideal Du Gazeau (1981-83) and Lutin D'Isigny (1984-85) as horses to win the event in consecutive years. Resolve enters the International Trot off a seventh-place finish in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot on Sept. 8 at Mohawk Racetrack. He was found to be sick, possibly from a tick bite. "We trained him and everything looks normal," Svanstedt said. "He looks happy and fresh. He will do his best to defend it. He's a fighter. I'm looking forward to Saturday." In Secret, the remaining U.S. representative, drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line. George Brennan will drive the Ron Burke trainee, who has won six of his past seven starts, all at Yonkers. The 5-year-old gelding has won 21 of 75 career races and earned $358,385. He is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, J&T Silva Stables, and Larry Karr. "He gets around (Yonkers) really good," Brennan said. "It's unfortunate he's got the eight hole. That puts us up against it. I think he fits in real good, if he drew good. "But it's still a horserace. It doesn't matter where you draw, it matters where you finish." Canada's Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winner and Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, drew post No. 1 and is 5-1 for driver Scott Zeron and the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling. "I looked over at Scott and he said anything but the one (post) was going to be a disappointment, so he's happy," Keeling said. "We're pleased. Our nose is on the gate and that's the most important part." Marion Marauder, owned by Devin Keeling and Jean Wellwood, won this year's Hambletonian Maturity at the distance of 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. The 4-year-old stallion has won 14 of 35 lifetime races and earned $2.22 million. Last year he won his elimination and final of the Yonkers Trot in his only career starts at Yonkers Raceway. He heads to the International Trot off a 1:53.4 win in a qualifier Oct. 3 at Mohawk Racetrack. His most recent race was Sept. 8, when he was eighth in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot. "He's healthy now," Keeling said. "He's trained great and he qualified great. We're just hoping for some good weather and a good day." Italy's Twister Bi, who won this year's Oslo Grand Prix and is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, drew post four and is 4-1. France's Dreammoko, a son of 2015 International Trot runner-up and 2017 Elitloppet winner Timoko, will start from post three and is 6-1. Oasis Bi, another representative of Italy, drew post No. 2 and is 5-1. Oasis Bi finished second in last year's International Trot and is joined by Sweden's On Track Piraten as a three-time participant in the event. On Track Piraten, who finished fourth last year, starts this year from post 10 and is 8-1. Midnight Hour, a Diesel Don-sired 6-year-old gelding with two Group 1 wins under his belt this year, drew post seven and is 10-1. He is one of two horses representing Finland in the race. The other, Shadow Woodland, will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky and starts from post five at 12-1 on the morning line. Denmark's Tripolini VP drew post nine and is 15-1. The International Trot is part of a New York harness-record $3.3 million card at Yonkers on Saturday. Racing begins at 1 p.m. and includes eight New York Sire Stakes championships plus two $250,000 invitationals, the Dan Rooney Pace and Harry Harvey Trot. Following is the field in post-position order for the International Trot with drivers, trainers and morning line odds. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 2. Oasis Bi-Kim Eriksson-Stefan Pettersson-5/1 3. Dreammoko-Gabriele Gelormini-Richard Westerink-6/1 4. Twister Bi-Christoffer Eriksson-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5. Shadow Woodland-Tim Tetrick-Reijo Liljendahl-12/1 6. Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3/1 7. Midnight Hour-Iikka Nurmonen-Ossi Nurmonen-10/1 8. In Secret-George Brennan-Ron Burke-6/1 9. Tripolini VP-Jeppe Juel-Jeppe Juel-15/1 10. On Track Piraten-Johnny Takter-Hans Stromberg-8/1 Note: Tripolini VP and On Track Piraten start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Fear The Dragon, who won a division of the Tattersalls Pace this past Sunday, regained the top harness racing spot in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Fear The Dragon was second the last two weeks after being ranked No.1 for 14 consecutive weeks. Ariana G, the top ranked horse the past two weeks, slipped to second following her second place finish in the Kentucky Filly Futurity. Emoticon Hanover, who won the Allerage Farms Mare Trot, joined the rankings, at No. 8. 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 20 – 10/10/2017 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Fear The Dragon (16) 3pc 15-12-2-0 $1,264,391 314 2 2 Ariana G (12) 3tf 14-11-2-1 $873,690 310 1 3 Manchego (3) 2tf 10-10-0-0 $563,948 268 3 4 Hannelore Hanover (4) 5tm 13-7-4-0 $659,754 256 5 5 Downbytheseaside 3pc 16-9-1-3 $1,072,235 172 4 6 Resolve 6th 10-4-2-1 $485,149 114 7 7 Huntsville 3pc 14-8-4-1 $1,014,428 104 6 8 Emoticon Hanover 4tm 11-4-3-3 $248,166 73 -- 9 Blazin Britches 3pf 13-10-2-0 $290,424 62 8 10 Filibuster Hanover 3pg 16-4-6-1 $580,279 55 9 Caviart Ally (24); Alarm Detector (20); What The Hill (19); Agent Q (17); Lost In Time, Nike Franco N (15); Rainbow Room (11); Devious Man, Youaremycandygirl (10); Fourth Dimension (7); Nutcracker Sweet (6); Marion Marauder (5); Blue Moon Stride, Dealt A Winner, Pasithea Face S, Pure Country, Walner (4); Barn Bella (3); Bettor’s Up, Bit Of A Legend N, Idyllic Beach, International Moni, Keystone Velocity, Sintra (2); Ice Attraction, Snowstorm Hanover, Two AM (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Kim Eriksson's trip to the U.S. for Saturday's $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino will be different from the harness racing driver's previous experiences in the States. "I wanted to work there around six years ago, but since I wasn't good enough I didn't get to drive anything but the wheelbarrow," Eriksson said in an email. "So the return is definitely something I'm going to enjoy." Rest assured Eriksson will not be driving a wheelbarrow Saturday at Yonkers. The 33-year-old Swede will sit behind Oasis Bi, who finished second to Resolve in last year's edition of the International Trot. Oasis Bi, trained by Stefan Pettersson, is making his third appearance in the 1-1/4 mile invitational. He finished fourth in 2015. "It's a great honor as well as a privilege to participate in the International Trot," Eriksson said. "To drive in the race is amazing to begin with, and to do it with a gentleman and professional like Oasis Bi is even better. "He had a phenomenal season last year, when everything clicked. He hasn't had as much luck this year, but still has been racing on top level. Perhaps his biggest strength is his technique, which he has shown off the previous years at Yonkers." Eriksson's career started slowly, but he has become one of the top drivers in Sweden, where he is No. 10 in wins this year. On Sunday, Eriksson made headlines when he filled in for trainer/driver Robert Bergh to guide Diamanten, owned by former NHL star Peter Forsberg, to victory in the $176,000 Grosser Preis von Deutschland in Hamburg. "I started at a 'harness-racing school' when I was 16, but then I didn't know much about anything," Eriksson said. "I got my driver's license when I was 18, but didn't drive much at all the first years. In fact, I think it took about five years before my first win. "Despite that, I've never lost track of my dream, and that is to be able to compete at the highest level. And it doesn't get much higher than this. This year, especially, I've gotten to drive great horses that have raced for a lot of money, but this (International Trot) definitely tops it all." Oasis Bi, a 9-year-old stallion, has won 18 of 80 career races and $2.06 million in purses. Owned by Sweden's Frackstad Lantbruks AB, the Italian-born Oasis Bi is a son of Toss Out, a stakes-winner in the States, out of the Self Possessed mare Up Front JM. His family includes millionaire Million Dollar Bye and Dan Patch Award winner Firm Tribute. Last year, Oasis Bi's wins included the Group 1 Gran Premio Lotteria. He finished second to Nuncio in the UET Trotting Masters championship and finished third in the Prix d'Amerique. At ages 2 and 3, Oasis Bi was in the stable of Per Engblom. When Engblom moved to the U.S., eventually landing a spot as Jimmy Takter's top assistant, Oasis Bi was transferred to Pettersson. "During the last five years he's meant a lot to us," Pettersson said in a video produced by Kristin Riise Ødegård for the SOA of New York. "He's a great guy. He's a bit spoiled by his groom at home and he can be playful but once he knows it's time for work he becomes a true gentleman. He loves training and he's always happy and ready to go. He's a fantastic horse to work with. "This year hasn't been as good as last year, but that record is tough to beat. I think he's in as good from now as he was then but the competition is very tough this year and the races haven't really panned out to his advantage. The horse feels great and he still races well every time. I'm sure he'll do a great race in Yonkers." The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected three years ago by Yonkers President and CEO Tim Rooney. Oasis Bi and On Track Piraten are the only horses in this year's field to appear in every Yonkers International Trot since its return. The draw for the International Trot, part of a New York harness-record $3.3 million card at Yonkers on Saturday, is Tuesday afternoon. Racing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Yonkers. "Our trips to Yonkers have been fantastic experiences," Pettersson said. "They're memories for life. We can't wait to go back. It's going to be good fun. We were ready to go before we even got the invitation." The complete field for the 39th International Trot (with country of representation) is Dreammoko (France), In Secret (U.S.), Marion Marauder (Canada), Midnight Hour (Finland), Oasis Bi (Italy), On Track Piraten (Sweden), Resolve (U.S.), Shadow Woodland (Finland), Tripolini VP (Denmark), and Twister Bi (Italy). For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com.  ‘INTERNATIONAL TROT DAY’ TO INCLUDES $10,000 GUARANTEED PICK 5 POOL Included in the wagering buffet for this Saturday’s (Oct. 14th) $3.3 million, all-stakes “International Trot  Day’ program, Yonkers Raceway—in conjunction with Standardbred Owners of New York and the U-S Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program—is offering a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 5 pool. As usual, the sequence goes as races 7 through 11 (card is 11 races), with the order as such… No.-Race                                                                                             Post time             7-Dan Rooney Invitational Pace                                                         3:00             8-Harry Harvey Invitational Trot                                                        3:30             9-Yonkers International Trot @ Empire City Casino                         4:00             10-NYSS Morrisville Coll. Equine Inst. 3YO Colt/Gelding Trot      4:30             11-NYSS Allerage Farm 3YO Filly Trot                                            5:00             Note races 8 and 9 offer 10 horses and the mile-and-a-quarter distance. “The guarantee is just another reason for fans to watch and wager as we present the richest program ever in the history of New York harness racing,” Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. There is also a special ‘New York, New York Pick 4’ involving Yonkers’ 8th and 9th races along with a pair of Belmont Park stakes (8th race, $150,000 Futurity [post time 4:46 PM] and 9th race, $200,000 Pebbles [post time 5:19 PM]). A reminder of Yonkers’ special 1 PM first post, with the first six races (prior to the Pick 5) all $225,000 finals of New York Sire Stakes events.     Ken Weingartner

Jean Goehlen never expected to be here. Fifty years ago, her father, George Alexander, won the Kentucky Futurity with a filly named Speed Model. And now on Sunday, Goehlen will try to win the 125th edition of the trotting classic for harness racing 3-year-olds at Lexington's Red Mile as an owner of colt Dover Dan. "I'm getting nervous already," Goehlen said Thursday afternoon from The Red Mile. "I'm excited, especially to be able to bring a horse down here that looks like he's going to be competitive. I've got my fingers crossed, my toes crossed. "Dad won the Futurity 50 years ago and just to have a horse in it is exciting. Who would ever think I would end up here? It's a far cry from where I started, but here I am. Surprise, surprise. "It's pretty damn cool." Dover Dan, trained by John Butenschoen, heads to the Kentucky Futurity off a nearly nine-length win in a division of last week's Bluegrass Stakes. He was timed in a career-best 1:51.3 for the mile. "That doesn't happen very often, but boy is it exciting when it's your horse," Goehlen said about the colt's romp. He has won three of his past four starts, including the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, and his only loss during that span was a second-place finish to What The Hill in the Canadian Trotting Classic. "I'm just hoping he races like he usually does," said Goehlen, who owns Dover Dan with Bill Wiswell and Gene Schick. Goehlen's father was known as "a trotting man." Alexander bred and raced only trotters, Grand Circuit-caliber horses, but Goehlen got her start as an owner with pacers and competed at the county fairs in her home state of Illinois. She got more involved with trotters when she joined with Butenschoen about a dozen years ago. "I had to work up a little bit," Goehlen said. "Starting with Illinois-bred pacers to this kind of stuff is a big jump." Alexander, a Yale graduate with a degree in economics, was first involved with cattle and show horses at his Chestnut Farm in Sugar Grove, Ill., before breeding Standardbreds. His knack with trotters was seemingly immediate and he became a fixture at the sport's prominent sales. In 1967, Alexander not only owned Kentucky Futurity winner Speed Model, trained by his good friend Frank Ervin, he was the breeder of Dan Patch Award-winning 3-year-old trotter Flamboyant. It was the filly's second trophy; the previous season she was voted harness racing's best 2-year-old. Alexander's goal was to breed a Hambletonian winner. He nearly fulfilled his dream in 1981 when Super Juan won a heat of the Hambletonian in its first year at the Meadowlands before losing a three-horse race-off by a neck to Shiaway St Pat. Seven years later, Alexander bred a mare, Highland Bridget, to the stallion Speedy Somolli. Alexander, unfortunately, never saw the resulting colt that was born in 1989. Alexander passed away in October 1988, soon after watching a group of his yearlings sell at Lexington, at the age of 76. Highland Bridget was sold in foal in 1988 and ended up with owner Karl-Erik Bender. The colt born the following spring was named Alf Palema, who went on to win the 1992 Hambletonian on his way to Trotter of the Year honors. "That was his big goal, to breed a Hambletonian winner. He did it, but he never knew it," Goehlen said. "That was the first Hambletonian I didn't watch on TV, and if I had, I would have never guessed that Alf Palema was a horse my dad bred. That certainly wouldn't have been a name he would have picked. "I knew some people who had taped the race and they sent it to me. I still have it. It's too bad he never was here to see it happen." Alexander's career in harness racing went beyond the racetrack. He was active on the administrative side of the sport as well. He was a director of the Hambletonian Society, as well as other organizations, and counted among his accomplishments writing the original conditions for the Breeders Crown. In 1990, Alexander was elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in the Immortal category. "He liked the paperwork and most horse people don't," Goehlen said, laughing. "Dad was a real stickler for detail. Everything had to be perfect. "He was quite a guy. He didn't say much. But before he made any decisions he would check with everybody that was involved. He thought those that were involved needed to have input. He always liked other people to voice their opinions, and yet he was very quiet about anything he said. "They used to call him 'Silent George' because he very seldom spoke much at home. But at the track, he and (Ervin) were like two little kids, giggling and carrying on. Dad liked to work behind the scenes. A lot of people didn't know who he was." Goehlen, a retired schoolteacher, was unable to attend the 1967 Kentucky Futurity because she had a child just several months earlier and was living in Indiana. But she was a frequent visitor to Lexington in the ensuing years, helping her father prep yearlings and attending the sales and races. "It's awful cool being down here again," Goehlen said. "I hope Dad is watching. I wish he were here. He would be pretty proud." Seventeen 3-year-old male trotters entered the Kentucky Futurity. Two $90,000 eliminations will be contested, with the top-five finishers from each division advancing to the $420,000 final later in the afternoon. The field includes Hambletonian winner Perfect Spirit, Canadian Trotting Classic winner What The Hill, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial champion Devious Man, Goodtimes winner International Moni, and Stanley Dancer Memorial division winner Long Tom. The Kentucky Futurity is the third jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. The first was the Hambletonian and the second was the Yonkers Trot, which was won by Top Flight Angel. Ariana G, the No. 1-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, leads a group of 13 female trotters in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, which also will be raced in an eliminations-final format Sunday. The first Kentucky Futurity elimination is race nine and the second is race 10. The final is race 13. Following are the elimination fields in post-position order with named drivers and trainers. Elimination 1 PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1. Stealth Hanover-Brian Sears-Francisco Del Cid 2. King On The Hill-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter 3. Long Tom-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander 4. Di Oggi-Tim Tetrick-Archie Kohr 5. Snowstorm Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke 6. International Moni-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci 7. Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen 8. Perfect Spirit-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 9. Giveitgasandgo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen Elimination 2 PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1. Dover Dan-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen 2. Yes Mickey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 3. Sortie-Andrew McCarthy-Noel Daley 4. Jake-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais 5. Devious Man-Andy Miller-Julie Miller 6. Enterprise-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 7. Lindy The Great-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci 8. What The Hill-David Miller-Ron Burke Click here for Sunday's complete Red Mile card. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- With a horse named This Is The Plan, it stands to reason that harness racing trainer/co-owner Chris Ryder would have a plan for the 2-year-old male pacer. He does. Stay healthy, race well, and head to the Breeders Crown. Of course, the plan is the same for Ryder’s 2-year-old male pacer I’m A Big Deal. “That’s what we’re hoping as we speak,” Ryder said. “We’ll see what transpires. They’re in a good spot, they’re doing well.” Both horses won Bluegrass Stakes divisions last week and return Saturday to Lexington’s Red Mile for divisions of the International Stallion Stakes. There are four International Stallion divisions for colts and geldings and three for fillies. Saturday’s Red Mile card also includes the $136,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot and $119,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace. Maple Leaf Trot winner Hannelore Hanover, who is making her Lexington debut, leads a group of nine in the trot. The 5-year-old mare is one of three former Dan Patch Award honorees in the race, with JL Cruze and Pinkman. Rounding out the field are Crazy Wow, Mambo Lindy, Centurion ATM, Crescent Fashion, Homicide Hunter, and I Know My Chip. All Bets Off, coming off his win in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, is among the 10 horses in the pace. He drew post No. 10 in a field that includes former Dan Patch Award winners McWicked and Boston Red Rocks. Completing the field are Manhattan Beach, Split The House, Easy Lover Hanover, Dealt A Winner, Mel Mara, Check Six, and Wakizashi Hanover. This Is The Plan is in the first International Stallion division. The gelding has won two of nine races and earned $149,149 for Ryder and co-owner Robert Mondillo. He has hit the board a total of seven times, including four second-place finishes. Purchased for $90,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, This Is The Plan is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare That’s The Plan. His dam is a half-sister to stakes-winner Loving Caroline, who is the mother of Dan Patch Award winner Divine Caroline, and his family also includes Hall of Famer Western Hanover. “We didn’t really want to geld him, but we had to,” Ryder said. “He was jumping all over the place.” I’m A Big Deal has won three of eight races and earned $55,010 for Ryder, Mondillo and Craig Henderson. The colt’s three wins have come in his most recent five starts. “He just took a while to come around, even though he’s doing fine now,” Ryder said. “He just took a while to become a racehorse. He just needed a little time. I believe he will keep improving. He’s still getting a few things together. He’s a bigger, heavier horse. It just took him a while to get his ducks in a row.” I’m A Big Deal is a son of Somebeachsomewhere and the first foal out of the stakes-winning mare Big McDeal. He was purchased for $300,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. “He was a lot of money, but that’s OK,” Ryder said. “Those were good races last week. We drew well again (for Saturday) and they’re staying healthy here. We’ll see how it goes.” In addition to the Breeders Crown later this month at Hoosier Park, both horses are eligible to November’s Matron Stakes and Governor’s Cup. Click here for Saturday’s complete Red Mile card. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Jules Siegel’s successes as an owner and breeder led to his recent selection for enshrinement in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, but the 89-year-old proprietor of Pennsylvania’s Fashion Farms hopes to continue adding to his list of harness racing accomplishments. On Thursday, Siegel will watch three of his stakes-winning 2-year-old male trotters -- Crystal Fashion, Fashionwoodchopper and Patent Leather -- compete in International Stallion Stakes divisions at Lexington’s Red Mile. Crystal Fashion is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the second of five International Stallion splits while Patent Leather is the 5-2 second choice in the first division and Fashionwoodchopper is the 3-1 second choice in the final division. All three horses are owned by Siegel’s Fashion Farms and trained by Jim Campbell. “I love them,” Siegel said of the three trotters. “They’re all in the same category. After having a couple years with (two-time Dan Patch Award winner) Broadway Donna, to come up with something like that, it’s a pleasure. “That’s Jimmy. He was training them (Tuesday) morning and he said they’re such a pleasure to sit behind. And he deserves it. He’s put in so much work and so much effort to come up with three good colts.” Hambletonian Society photo Jules Siegel will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 1, 2018. Siegel, who will be 90 on Nov. 5, knows about good horses. He received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association in 2002 and 2009, an honor he shared with his wife Arlene, who passed away in 2010. In addition, Siegel was Standardbred Canada’s Owner of the Decade for the 2000s and the Pennsylvania chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Breeder of the Year in 2008 and 2009. He was named to the Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame in 2007. The Siegels and Campbell won the 1995 Hambletonian with Tagliabue. He was the first of the Siegels’ Dan Patch Award-winning horses, followed by two-time recipient Galleria, Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, Possess The Will, and two-time honoree Broadway Donna. Broadway Schooner, a daughter of stallion Broadway Hall bred by the Siegels, won the 2009 Hambletonian Oaks and is the dam of Broadway Donna. Siegel’s induction into the Hall of Fame will take place July 1 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. “I’m ecstatic,” Siegel said. “I never imagined anything like that would happen. I thought it was reserved for people who really accomplished something. But I’m very happy it all came about this way.” Arlene, a retired nurse, and Jules, a retired pharmacist who had founded and sold a chain of drugstores, worked together at Fashion Farms. Arlene was among the people who guided Jules through the early years of the farm’s operation, even getting him to assist with the mares when their foals were born. “She was the real inspiration,” Siegel said of Arlene, his wife of 55 years. “She bought the farm. She was great. When I was a pharmacist, I didn’t even know what a horse looked like. I became familiar by being with people who taught me everything. It’s a wonderful thing, to really be associated with so many people that I look forward to, that were my inspiration. “It’s not so much me, it’s the people in the industry. There are so many good people who have helped me and given me direction. Not only is it them, it’s the people who work on the farm back home. I’m just a cog. There are a lot of people on the farm who have been with me for over 20 years. I’ve got an extended family. It’s a great feeling. I just hope it continues for a while.” The trio of trotters racing Thursday could help it continue for a while. All three were involved in photo finishes in last week’s Bluegrass Stakes divisions, with Crystal Fashion winning by a nose, Fashionwoodchopper prevailing by a head, and Patent Leather finishing second by a nose. “Two out of three ain’t bad,” trainer Campbell said. “There are a lot of good trotters out there. Those three races, they were noses apart, and it could have gone either way. There is a lot of tough competition out there, that’s for sure.”   Nigel Soult photo Fashionwoodchopper prevailed by a head in his Bluegrass division. Fashionwoodchopper (by Donato Hanover out of Woodshopper) has a four-race win streak that includes the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. He was purchased as a yearling under the name Big Wood for $100,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. He has earned $204,618 in seven starts. “He’s a colt we liked all winter training down,” Campbell said. “He just needed a little extra time to find his way at higher speed. I still think he’s going to be a better 3-year-old; he’s grown a lot since he started racing. But he’s the type of horse that knows how to win, and I’ll take that type of horse any day.” Crystal Fashion (Cantab Hall-Window Willow) is from the same family as millionaire Lolique and world-record-holder Farmer Jones. He was purchased for $100,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, under the name Watteau Hanover. A gelding, Crystal Fashion has won three of nine races, hit the board a total of eight times, and earned $130,442. “He’s been coming along really nicely,” Campbell said. “He’s gone some really good races. Even when he hasn’t won he’s been coming the right way at the wire. He’s gotten better with more racing. He’s kind of a big colt and he’s starting to put everything together.” Patent Leather (Broadway Hall-Designable) has two wins and has finished worse than second only once in six races. The colt has earned $63,142. “He’s been an overachiever,” Campbell said. “He’s a colt that’s got a lot of great determination. He’s not the prettiest looking when he goes slow, but when he goes behind the gate, he throws everything away. He reminds me a lot of Broadway Hall. He looks a little bit like him and he’s got the same attitude. He just loves to race. I have to give Jules all the credit; Jules bought him privately all on his own.” All three horses are eligible to the Breeders Crown later this month at Hoosier Park. Click here for Thursday’s complete Red Mile card. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Bluegrass Stakes division winners Ariana G, Manchego, Filibuster Hanover and Caviart Ally all enjoyed gains in this week’s harness racing Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Ariana G remained No. 1 and added four first-place votes to her total, giving the 3-year-old female trotter 25. Manchego won for the ninth time in nine starts and moved from fifth to third in this week’s rankings, behind idle Fear The Dragon in the No. 2 spot. Filibuster Hanover and Caviart Ally joined the Top 10, at positions nine and 10, respectively. 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 Ariana G (25) 3tf 12-10-1-1 $813,690 337 1 2 Fear The Dragon (9) 3pc 14-11-2-0 $1,161,391 304 2 3 Manchego (1) 2tf 9-9-0-0 $534,948 227 5 4 Downbytheseaside 3pc 15-9-1-2 $1,048,235 205 4 5 Hannelore Hanover 5tm 12-6-4-0 $591,754 194 3 6 Huntsville 3pc 14-8-4-1 $1,014,428 122 6 7 Resolve 6th 10-4-2-1 $485,149 109 7 8 Blazin Britches 3pf 12-10-2-0 $271,704 70 8 9 Filibuster Hanover 3pg 15-4-6-0 $555,559 67 -- 10 Caviart Ally 3pf 16-7-4-3 $496,395 47 -- Emoticon Hanover (40); Agent Q (34); What The Hill (26); Rainbow Room (20); Alarm Detector (19); Marion Marauder, Walner (16); Dover Dan (10); Devious Man (9); Pasithea Face S (7); International Moni (6); Blue Moon Stride, Nutcracker Sweet, Pure Country (5); Barn Bella, Bit Of A Legend N, Fourth Dimension, Keystone Velocity (3); Lost In Time, Rockin Ron, Sintra, You Know You Do (2); Carmensdaleyapple, Nike Franco N, Pedro Hanover, R First Class, Two AM (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras is no stranger to driving successful filly trotters. In the past six years alone, the list of such horses includes Maven, Mission Brief, Lifetime Pursuit, All The Time and Ariana G. And now there is Manchego. Manchego is a perfect 8-for-8 this year for Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter. Her next start is Friday in the fifth of five $66,000 Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old female trotters at Lexington's Red Mile and she is 3-5 on the morning line. Her wins this season include the Jim Doherty Memorial, Peaceful Way, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. She has earned $501,948 for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. She was purchased under the name Whispering Hills for $120,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. "She's a very special filly," Gingras said. "She's not the biggest thing, but she's got a long, long gait to her. She doesn't trot like a little filly. She's very efficient in her gait." Manchego's best win time is 1:52.4, which is tied for seventh fastest by a 2-year-old filly trotter in history. Among the horses ahead of her: Mission Brief -- whose record of 1:50.3 is one full second faster than the next best time by a 2-year-old -- Ariana G and Lifetime Pursuit. "All of them had one thing in common - speed," Gingras said about the aforementioned filly trotters he has driven. "They all have really high speed and all of them could carry it a long way. "After that, they're different. Mission Brief had the most pure speed of the six of them, but she was hard on herself. The rest of them were all pretty handy, you could do whatever you wanted with them. They had more speed than anyone else they competed against, but you could race them any way you wanted, which made it easier on them and made them the fillies that they are." Gingras worked with Manchego in May and was impressed with the filly from the beginning. "I trained her in May and I really liked her then," Gingras said, adding with a laugh, "Jimmy qualified her the first time, and I was hoping he didn't decide to drive her himself. But I got her the following (qualifier). "Right from the beginning she showed that she had this kind of talent. Obviously, they have to keep improving, and some of them do and some of them don't. But she's got the pedigree and the attitude. You could tell from the beginning that she had that desire, that extra little push that great horses have." Manchego is a daughter of stallion Muscle Hill, the 2009 Horse of the Year, out of the stakes-winning mare Secret Magic. Her family includes multiple-stakes-winner and world champion Possess The Magic. Gingras has worked to teach Manchego not to get too revved up in races, and with the exception of her elimination of the Peaceful Way, the filly has been a good student. In her Peaceful Way elim, Manchego trotted away from the field to lead by as many as 10 lengths, but a bridle change had her back to herself for the final. "She was perfect," Gingras said. "She had never been like (she was in the elimination) before. Credit goes to Jimmy, he does a great job. "She's getting better and better, no doubt." In the first division of the Bluegrass, Ron Burke-trained Front Circle, a two-time winner on the Pennsylvania circuit, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Mooshka Stride, from the stable of trainer Mark Harder, is the 2-1 choice in the second division. She has a win and a second from three starts in the Kindergarten Series. The favorite in the third division, at 2-1, is Harder's Lily Stride, who has won four of seven races and never finished off the board. She finished second by a neck to Top Expectations in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. Top Expectations, trained by Erv Miller, is 3-1 in the same division. Julie Miller-trained Seviyorum, a two-time Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winner, is the 8-5 favorite in the fourth division. Click here for Friday's complete Red Mile card. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Harness racing driver Marcus Miller enjoys driving at Lexington's Red Mile. It is not all related to the success he enjoyed there a year ago, but that probably doesn't hurt. Last year, Miller won three divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and a division of the Bluegrass. He also finished second in three divisions of the Bluegrass and in a division of the Glen Garnsey. For the track's entire Grand Circuit meet, Miller hit the board in 12 of 23 starts for a .338 driver rating. "It's a big, fast track; that's my favorite part about it," Miller said about racing at The Red Mile. "It's such a fun track. You can kind of come from all over the place. The trip really matters, the pace really matters. It's just a lot of fun." Miller hopes to continue the fun when this year's Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile begins at 7 p.m. Thursday with five divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters. Miller will drive in three of the divisions with horses trained by his father, Erv. None of the three colts are at odds longer than 6-1 on the morning line. Leading the way for the Millers is Keystone Apache, who won last week's Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters on Little Brown Jug Day (Sept. 21) at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio. Keystone Apache raced on the outside the entire mile and went three wide heading to the final turn to win by a neck over Can't Afford It in 1:56.2. For the year, the son of Explosive Matter-Found An Angel has won three of nine races and $65,527. All three of his victories have come in his past four starts. "If he can keep racing like he did on Jug Day, I think he can go with a good bunch of them," Miller said, adding with a laugh, "It wasn't the trip I was planning on. But I did think he was the best horse in the race. He definitely performed as good as he could. "(My dad) has always liked him and I think in the last few starts we're really getting to see why. He's really got a good attitude. I think he's just gotten a lot more sure-footed. I think the attitude was always there, but now you're able to use him a little bit without having to worry so much." Keystone Apache is 7-2 on the morning line in the first Bluegrass division. He is the second choice behind You Know You Do from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter. You Know You Do, a son of Muscle Hill-You Want Me, won the Peter Haughton Memorial and finished second in the William Wellwood Memorial. He has finished no worse than second in seven of eight starts, winning four. Miller's next Bluegrass drive will come with Farsetti Hanover in the fourth division. Farsetti Hanover has won two of nine races this year and $75,139. He has won two of his past three starts, including a division of the Reynolds Memorial, and finished third in the Haughton. "He's a really nice colt," Miller said. "I think the last start at the Meadowlands (a fourth-place finish) I really didn't want to be on the front. He came up a little bit empty late. But he's a handy horse and good gaited. I like him. He's really grown a lot right now and I think he'll keep getting better also." Farsetti Hanover, a son of Donato Hanover-Finesse Hanover, is 4-1 on the morning line. Jim Campbell-trained Crystal Fashion, by Cantab Hall out of Window Willow, a two-time winner on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit, is the 5-2 favorite. In the fifth and final Bluegrass division, Miller will drive Tito. The last time Miller drove the colt was in August. He was driven most recently by Miller's uncle, Andy, on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and heads to the Bluegrass with two wins in his past three starts. Overall, Tito, a son of Muscle Mass-Stonebridge Encore, has won two of nine races and $77,173. Tito is 6-1 on the morning line. The favorite is Takter's Maxus, who is 2-1. Maxus, by Muscle Hill out of Gerri's Joy, heads to the Bluegrass off a third-place finish in the Wellwood. "When they're 2-year-olds they change so much from week to week, so when it's a solid month from the last time I drove them they're usually quite a bit different," Miller said. "But I really like (Tito). He's a really nice colt too." All three of the Millers' horses are eligible to the Breeders Crown in October. "I think they all have a shot at it, it will just depend how these next few starts shake out," Miller said. "They're all good horses, that's for sure." The favorite in the second Bluegrass division is New Jersey Sire Stakes champion U Need Stones, a son of Wishing Stone-Sequin Hanover from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. The favorite in the third division is Julie Miller-trained Met's Hall, a son of Cantab Hall-Met's Inn who has won four of six races. Click here for Thursday's complete card at The Red Mile. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- After seven weeks in the second spot, Ariana G is No. 1. The harness racing 3-year-old female trotter was idle last week, but took over the top position in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll following Fear The Dragon’s fourth-place finish in the Little Brown Jug final. Fear The Dragon was No. 1 for 14 consecutive weeks. Huntsville, who won the Jenna’s Beach Boy Stakes, moved up two spots in the rankings, from eighth to sixth. Emoticon Hanover, who won the Miss Versatility championship, joined the rankings, at No. 10. 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 18 – 9/26/2017 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Ariana G (21) 3tf 11-9-1-1 $783,040 330 2 2 Fear The Dragon (13) 3pc 14-11-2-0 $1,161,391 318 1 3 Hannelore Hanover 5tm 11-6-4-0 $591,754 230 4 4 Downbytheseaside 3pc 15-9-1-2 $1,048,235 204 3 5 Manchego (1) 2tf 8-8-0-0 $501,948 180 5 6 Huntsville 3pc 13-8-3-1 $996,078 127 8 7 Resolve 6th 10-4-2-1 $485,149 122 6 8 Blazin Britches 3pf 12-10-2-0 $271,704 90 7 9 Agent Q 3pf 12-7-2-1 $481,066 56 9 10 Emoticon Hanover 4tm 10-3-3-3 $214,666 50 -- What The Hill (39); Marion Marauder (31); Filibuster Hanover (21); Caviart Ally (19); Alarm Detector (15); Walner (13); Devious Man (11); All Bets Off, Rainbow Room (10); Homicide Hunter (7); Bit Of A Legend N, Blue Moon Stride, Crazy Wow, Lost In Time, Pure Country (5); Keystone Velocity, Sintra (4); Nike Franco N, Pedro Hanover, Youaremycandygirl (2); Carmensdaleyapple, Mach It So, Two AM (1).  by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Delaware, OH --- Cool Cates beat Satin Dancer to the front on the first turn and it proved decisive as she marched to a 1:56 win in Wednesday’s (Sept. 20) $80,575 Buckette Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old female trotters at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Satin Dancer was second, beaten by 1-1/4 lengths, and Maewegonow was third. Feed Your Head, the morning-line favorite from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, was scratched. Cool Cates, driven by Andy McCarthy, and Satin Dancer were quickest off the starting gate, but Cool Cates got the lead from post two on her way to an opening quarter-mile of :27.2. The field reached the half in :57.3, at which point Maewegonow was making a first-over bid and nearing Satin Dancer in second place. The group held those positions to three-quarters, in 1:26.4, and Cool Cates trotted home from there. “I sort of thought we would end up on the front today; on paper once Takter’s horse was scratched I sort of thought we were the best,” said Noel Daley, who trains Cool Cates for owner All Laid Out Stable. “She’s no champion, but she’s a nice filly. She’s been on her game of late. She’s a lot more controllable now in the races. “I did sort of expect her to be pretty good today.” Cool Cates (Yankee Glide) has won five of 12 races this year and seven of 20 in her career, good for $251,379 in purses. She has three wins and two second-place finishes in her last five starts. She was the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship runner-up on Sept. 3. “She will go to Lexington next,” Daley said about Cool Cates’ schedule. “We just hope we can dodge some of the good ones there in the Bluegrass. If she’s good enough we’ll drop her in (the Kentucky Filly Futurity). Obviously, we’re not beating Ariana G, but if she has a good week we’ll put her in there. “They’re going to breed her to Muscle Hill next year, so we’ll do what we can in between,” he added. Cool Cates, the even-money second choice behind 4-5 favorite Satin Dancer, paid $4.00 to win. It was both Daley’s and McCarthy’s first win in the Buckette. "We bought her for $35,000 down in Lexington and she's a nice filly but as a 2-year-old she was a little tough to manage," said Daley. "She was this year too early on but she really has been coming around. Adding Lasix helped her and she's also begun to mentally mature." -- Kim French contributed to this report by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

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