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Louis-Philippe Roy won his first Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday and then won two more to lay emphatic claim to the Lampman Cup title as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. A joyful group met the 28-year-old in the winner's circle after his first victory, as he guided two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:57.4 score over Champagne Jane and favourite Presto Change O. "Those owners are maybe not the first ones, but among the first people that got me stake drives in Quebec," said Roy of owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec. "So the fact that they put confidence in me and now they are kind of rewarded with that win, I am happy for them." Woodbine-Mohawk Park fans sent the division point leader off as the second choice from Post 5 and HP Titania Runner charged from seventh to first in the last quarter to secure the championship. The E L Titan daughter wrapped up her freshman season with a record of four wins in eight starts and earnings of $248,650. While his first victory paid tribute to the past, Roy's second Super Final win had him looking toward the future. The reinsman teamed up with Keystone Concrete to deliver a giant-slaying upset in the two-year-old pacing colt and gelding division, laying down a :26.3 final quarter to collar Bettors Wish and Metro Pace winner Stag Party in 1:52. All three colts are by sire Bettors Delight. "For a while I was saying to myself, 'I will be third' and I would have been happy with a third, but then I seen Stag Party get a little tired so I said, 'I will probably get there for second', but that horse -sometimes horses they'll fight until the last one to pass, they'll just get to their head and kind of hang on a little bit, but this one he just kept going and he even went by the last horse," said Roy. "He's a really nice horse. I can't wait, if I have the opportunity, to drive him again at three." Roy drove Keystone Concrete to his fifth win in seven starts for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, his wife Yolanda Fellows, and her co-owners Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. The win boosted the colt's earnings to $214,850 and Szabo was already looking forward to spending his share. "Maybe I can buy some more yearlings now because I am going to the sale tomorrow to spend the money I made. It's not going to stay in my pocket very long," said Szabo with a laugh, adding that Keystone Concrete had been something of a Cinderella story for his owners. "I never thought he was going to make it this far. He started in the Grassroots and he wound up in the Gold, and win the Gold, and beat a horse like Stag Party." Roy's third Super Final victory was the perfect end to his 2018 Ontario Sires Stakes season, coming with three-year-old pacing colt Jimmy Freight, who took him to open stake races across North America this summer. On Saturday night the pair battled harder than they had all season in the provincial program, using a late kick to nab stablemate and pacesetter Backstreet Shadow in the stretch for a one-half length victory in 1:50.2. St Lads Neptune was awarded third-place when The Downtown Bus was placed back to fifth for causing interference. "I knew I was going to float, I didn't want to rush him to go in the lead," said Roy of his strategy from Post 9. "Last start he raced really good, and the start before he got, I think, a little bit tired of racing on the front, and I really wanted not to end the season that way, like end it on a good note. He's been so much dominant in the Ontario Sires Stakes this year that I think he deserved that win." The soon-to-be Guelph resident drives Jimmy Freight for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, Ontario. The Sportswriter son went undefeated through the Gold Series this season, winning four legs and the Super Final. His sophomore record stands at nine wins, four seconds and three thirds in 17 starts for earnings of $691,239. Three-year-old trotting colt point leader Run Director also wrapped up his season with a Super Final victory and owners Tom and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario were delighted to be joined in the winner's circle by the colt's namesake, Rankin Cancer Run director Mary Ann Edwards. "He emailed me one day and said, 'Would you mind if I named a male horse after you?'" recalled Edwards. "So it was an honour to be here tonight for this and this man is unbelievable, it's unbelievable what he does in our community." "She keeps saying karma, you know you'll get repaid back, so I named the horse after her and he's done nothing but win," said Tom Rankin, who was certain the colt was going to finish second at the head of the stretch. After a breather behind pacesetter Stormont Ventnor around the final turn, Run Director and driver Sylvain Filion powered down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:54.2 Stormont Ventnor settled for second and Jula Downton was well back in third. Guelph resident Ben Baillargeon conditions the Kadabra colt for the Rankins. Three-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip repeated as Super Final champion, going gate-to-wire in 1:52 for driver Yannick Gingras. Kendall Seelster and Quints Dream finished one length back in second and third. "I wanted to race her on the front, I really did," said Gingras of the Shadow Play daughter. "That was the game plan." The New Jersey-based reinsman drove Percy Bluechip to the win for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA, Purnel And Libby LLC of Delray Beach, FL and Donald Emond of Taunton, MA. Gingras picked up a second Super Final victory with two-year-old pacing filly Summer Charm, who scored a 1:52.3 upset over division point leader Better Single and Quebec Blue Chip. Dave Menary trains the Bettors Delight daughter for Thomas Dillon of Anson, ME. Kadabra daughter Smoke And Mirrors kicked off the $1.8 million night with 1:55.3 victory in the three-year-old trotting filly division, hitting the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Superlative and Illusioneesta. Trevor Henry crafted the win for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Forbidden Trade claimed the two-year-old trotting colt and gelding crown with a 1:56.2 triumph over Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice. Bob McClure drove the Kadabra colt to the win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. "When you got a season like that you want to win the final," said Blais, who trained the colt to a division leading four regular season victories. "That's a lot of pressure believe me, but it is an amazing feeling." From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

Two years ago Louis-Philippe Roy watched the harness racing Super Finals on television, having made just four starts in the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes program. On Saturday, Oct. 13, when the very best in the province once again gather at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the $1.8 million season finale, the reinsman has a starter in all eight races and will be looking to secure his first Lampman Cup title as the program's leading driver. "What I find special is that I got a drive in all eight races and all eight horses are from different trainers," said Roy. "I think it kind of proves how much support I had from all the trainers here in Ontario through the year." After a breakout season in 2016 that saw him top the driving ranks at both Rideau Carleton Raceway and Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres and garner the Future Star title at the O'Brien Awards, Roy made the move to the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. The move not only served as a rocket-launcher for the Mont-Joli, Quebec native's career - he would finish 2017 as one of the top three drivers in all of Canada - it gave him the opportunity to drive a wide variety of young horses for the first time since he climbed into a race bike as an 18-year-old on the Quebec Fair Circuit. "Last year I got a lot of experience because, especially the two-year-olds, when you start driving them early in the season it's quite different than the older horse," explained the now 28-year-old. "So I think last year I got a lot of experience and this year I kind of proved that I adjust my driving style to whatever horses, and whatever are the needs for the horses, especially for their development." Last season Roy finished in the top 10 among Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) drivers, appearing in 120 races and driving 21 winners, 11 second-place finishers and 13 third-place finishers to earnings of $777,308. With that experience under his belt, Roy made a serious commitment to the program in 2018, even giving up his spot in the National Driving Championship to steer three-year-old pacing filly Shower Play in a Sept. 25 Gold Series event, and that dedication has paid off. Heading into Saturday's season finale the reinsman has made 150 OSS starts and produced 33 wins, 20 seconds, 15 thirds and earnings of $1,313,507. He sits atop the Lampman Cup race with 372 points, 21 points ahead of two-time winner Trevor Henry and 23 ahead of five-time winner and reigning champion Sylvain Filion. Among Roy's Super Final mounts are three division point leaders, freshman pacing filly Better Single, two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner and three-year-old pacing colt Jimmy Freight, and six of the eight head into Saturday night's test off wins in their most recent Gold Series start. "I will be disappointed if I don't win one Super Final this weekend because I think I've got a lot of good chances, maybe not big favourites, but a lot of horses that can do it," said Roy, who recently purchased a townhouse in Guelph, Ontario. "So I sure hope to get my first Super Final win on Saturday." Jimmy Freight was the heavy favourite in all four of his Gold Series starts this season and that is unlikely to change in spite of the colt's outside post. Roy will steer the Sportswriter son from Post 9 for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, Ontario and is hoping the division leader can maintain his flawless record in OSS action. "I would have liked for sure to be inside of Backstreet Shadow because Yannick (Gingras) raced him on the front I think the four times he drove him," said Roy of Jimmy Freight's stablemate, who will start from Post 5. "Jimmy can do it from wherever, he doesn't really mind, but it sure is a little more work going from the Post 9 and trying to figure a trip." In addition to Backstreet Shadow and Gingras, Roy expects The Downtown Bus and driver Tim Tetrick to be tough from Post 4. The driver also anticipates that the $225,000 contest, slated as Race 10 on Saturday's program, will serve as an impressive closing act for the 2018 OSS season. "Jimmy Freight, like a few months ago, was, I would say, the king of the division and you couldn't expect almost anybody to beat him," said Roy. "But the way The Downtown Bus and Backstreet Shadow have been racing lately I think is going to give us a good show for the last race." Roy also expects the two-year-old pacing colts and trotting colts to serve up an exciting show for fans. With the favourites in both divisions drawing advantageously, the talented youngsters will be free to show off the full range of their skills. "Stag Party (Post 1), Bronx Seelster (Post 5), Bettors Wish (Post 6), they all drew good positions," said Roy of the freshman pacing colt contest, where he will steer Bettors Delight son Keystone Concrete from Post 3 for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, his wife Yolanda Fellows and her co-owners Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. "Dream Nation, the whole year, has been very good and especially lately, the last two starts. He keeps improving a little bit, but I also know it's a good class of two-year-old trotters this year that they have in Ontario," said the driver of his two-year-old trotting colt mount, who will start from Post 4. "And the two other ones that I think are two of the best, Forbidden Trade (Post 2) and Okeanos (Post 5), they both drew good too. All of us three drew good, so I think it's going to be a good race." Roy steers Archangel gelding Dream Nation for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2005inc of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, Quebec. Dupont and the owners of two-year-old trotting filly HP Titania Runner (Post 5, Race 6), Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec, are people that gave Roy opportunities to drive stakes horses when he was still developing his skills on the Quebec Fair Circuit, so a Super Final win with either of those horses would be especially meaningful for the driver. "They've been with me for a longer part; I've been racing for them in Quebec in stakes races," said the reinsman. "All the times you win with, like I would say smaller connections, it makes it a little more, not more exciting, but more rewarding." Roy's other shots at Super Final glory will come with three-year-old trotting filly Collateral Beauty from Post 7 in Race 2, three-year-old trotting gelding Barney Mac from Post 7 in the seventh race, and three-year-old pacing filly Big Thong from Post 2 in Race 9. Roy had expected to drive Fan Hanover and Simcoe Stake champion Shower Play in the sophomore pacing filly final, but her connections chose not to enter when she did not train as well as expected earlier this week. "Rene (Dion) called me on Tuesday morning when it was time to put her in and said he wasn't going to put her in because she wasn't exactly how he expected her to be," explained Roy. "He didn't want to take any chances. He wanted to make sure she was 100 per cent before they race her again." In spite of the filly's absence from his roster of mounts, Roy is hopeful that he will be able to strike 'Driving a Super Final Champion' off his bucket list on Saturday. Woodbine Mohawk Park's Saturday, Oct. 13 program gets under way at 7:10 pm and the eight $225,000 Super Finals will go postward in Races 2, 3 and 5 through 10. From the Ontario Sire Stakes  

There was very little movement in the point standings as the two-year-old trotting colts and fillies gathered at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening for their last regular season Gold event. Three of the four Gold Series divisions were captured by the favourites and the fourth went to the fans' second choice, Presto Change O. Starting from Post 3 driver Sylvain Filion eased the often fractious Presto Change O away from the starting gate and settled in third behind Cambridge Kate, who led the field of trotting fillies to a :28.4 opening quarter. Filion continued to sit third with Presto Change O as Cambridge Kate carried on to a :58.3 half, but heading toward the 1:28.1 three-quarters the veteran reinsman tipped his charge into the outer lane. Presto Change O stayed focussed on the wire and sailed home to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.1. Pocket-sitter Mercedes Talma was second and Tommi Canu Hearme completed the top three. "Sometimes she loses her focus and she just jumps it off. She's learning, but she's a slow learner," said Filion. "She's full of potential though. If she stays at it and she keeps her focus she's probably the best in there, but it's always a question if she behaves you know. She keeps me on my toes." The Milton resident drives Presto Change O for trainer Paul Reid and owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The pair was also victorious in the July 27 Gold event at Woodbine Mohawk Park and picked up a third in the Aug. 10 event at the Campbellville oval. As a result the Kadabra daughter heads into the Oct. 13 Super Final ranked third in the division with 115 points. "Paul Reid did a heck of a job to have her still going," said Filion. "I wouldn't think at the beginning of the year she'd be still going at this time, she was so big and immature, but he worked hard with her and it paid off." Driver Louis Philippe Roy captured the other $96,400 trotting filly division with fan favourite HP Titania Runner. Like Filion, Roy eased his filly away from Post 2 and settled in the middle of the pack as Petro Hall recorded a :28.1 quarter and :58.3 half. Roy send HP Titania Runner up the outside behind Teddys Littleangel and the challengers had overtaken the pacesetter by the 1:27.1 three-quarters. A strong finishing kick propelled HP Titania Runner to a narrow 1:56.4 victory over Teddys Littleangel, with Petro Hall five lengths back in third. "She's got as much talent as Dream Nation, for example, but she's always had something that happened to her that meant she couldn't show that talent," said Roy of the E L Titan daughter. "She win her two first Gold and then she got some breaking issues so Rene (Bourassa) finally decided to go with the trotting hopples, so I think that's what makes her a little bit safer." After the filly made breaks in three of her last four starts trainer Rene Bourassa added hopples to HP Titania Runner's equipment bag and qualified her on Sept. 27. The filly was flawless in the qualifier and Thursday's effort lowered her personal best by almost one second. Bourassa conditions HP Titania Runner for owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec. The filly will lead her peers into the $225,000 Super Final with 151 points. Roy also piloted two-year-old trotting gelding Dream Nation to a 1:55.3 personal best in the first $98,800 Gold division for the gents. As he did with HP Titania Runner, Roy settled the gelding in mid-pack from Post 5 and then made his way up the outer lane as Southwind Avenger and Only For Justice traded blows through the :27.2 quarter and :56.2 half. By the 1:26 three-quarters Dream Nation had drawn level with Only For Justice and he trotted down the stretch to a three-quarter length win in 1:55.3. Southwind Avenger finished second and Okeanos closed hard to be third. "From Day 1, from the first time I was at Jacques Dupont's farm training him, he never did anything wrong," said Roy. "He's actually I think as good, or probably the best he's been so far over the year, so he's not tired yet." Thursday's victory was Dream Nation's third in Gold Series action and puts him in second in the standings with 187 points. In nine starts the son of Archangel has finished no worse than third, scoring six wins and banking $187,290 for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2005Inc. of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, QC. The last trotting colt Gold division went to Forbidden Trade, who also travelled up the outer lane and reeled in the pacesetters to record his fourth Gold Series win in 1:58.2. Fingals Wave and CT Conabra were two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and third. Bob McClure piloted Forbidden Trade to his sixth win in eight starts for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The Kadabra son sits atop the division standings with 208 points and McClure is looking forward to taking on the best-of-the-best in the Oct. 13 Super Final "I couldn't feel better," said the driver. "He's in tip-top form and is a real professional." The top 10 point earners from both the trotting colt and trotting filly divisions will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their lucrative Super Finals on Oct. 13. Joining the trotters in the season finale will be the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies, who wrap up their regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 6. The colts will compete in Races 2 and 8, while the fillies battle in Races 3 and 6. Post time is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Ten sophomore trotting fillies made the trip to The Raceway at Western Fair District on Tuesday evening to compete in a pair of $94,000 Gold Series divisions, and both races featured upsets as the favourites failed to live up to fan expectations. Apprentice M scored her first win of the season in the first division, inheriting the lead around the final turn when pacesetter Zorgwijk Sophia and fan favourite Illusioneesta made breaks as they battled for control. Unfazed by the chaos, the steady Apprentice M and driver Paul MacDonell simply carried on down the stretch to a 2:01 victory. Miller Time also delivered a flawless effort to finish three-quarters of a length back in second and Illusioneesta recovered quickly enough to claim third. "That's why they race horses," said the philosophical MacDonell. "She's pretty solid gaited, which helps on the half-mile track, and then as you saw, things worked out." MacDonell steers Apprentice M for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, Ontario and owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, Kentucky. In her four previous Gold Series starts the Kadabra daughter had recorded one second, one third and two fifths. Tuesday's victory pushed her point total to 97 and puts her in fourth spot in the standings heading into the Oct. 13 Super Final. "She just hasn't really kicked in like she probably should have, but again I think she's got $100,000 made, so it's hard to knock her," said Guelph, Ontario resident MacDonell. "It's late in the season and a few of the fillies are getting tired and stuff, so you can take advantage of that sometimes." Tuesday's victory pushed Apprentice M's 2018 earnings to $109,253 and put her less than $10,000 shy of $200,000 lifetime. MacDonell finished second with Bax trainee Magical Lady in the other division, following Collateral Beauty and driver Louis Philippe Roy as they went gate-to-wire in 1:59.2. Pocket-sitter Town Hall Justice settled for third, well ahead of favourite Smoke And Mirrors, who took herself out of contention with an early break. The win was Collateral Beauty's second in the Gold program. The Kadabra daughter was also victorious at Georgian Downs on July 21 for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She's a little bit of a lazy filly, but looking at her lines, it seems like she takes her job a little more seriously when there's big money on the line," said Roy, who was making his first appearance in the filly's race bike. "Herb told me she's better when you put her into play right off the gate, so that was the plan today and it worked good." With two wins, one second and one seventh in four Gold Series starts, Collateral Beauty heads into the $225,000 Super Final tied for second with 127 points. Tuesday's win bumped the filly's sophomore earnings to $123,800. The top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will now head to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Oct. 13 Super Final. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

It is not every day a driver can win Gold Series events at two different racetracks, but Louis Philippe Roy accomplished the harness racing feat on Tuesday evening, steering two-year-old trotting filly Blue Magic to a win at Flamboro Downs and three-year-old pacing filly Shower Play to a victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Roy kicked off his winning evening at Flamboro Downs, guiding Blue Magic to a gate-to-wire victory in 1:59.4. The win was the freshman trotting filly's first in Gold Series action and moved her into contention for a post-season berth. "Most of the time I drive for Susie Kerwood and Rene Dion I'm happily surprised with the result," said Roy, who drove Kadabra daughter Blue Magic to the win for trainer Kerwood and owner Tommy Andersson of Rockwood, Ontario. Roy's comment would prove prophetic as the reinsman teamed up with trainer Rene Dion in the three-year-old pacing filly event at Woodbine Mohawk Park a few hours later. Starting from Post 1, Roy and Dion trainee Shower Play got away in the middle of the 10-horse field, content to watch Write Me A Song and driver Jody Jamieson ring up a :28.1 quarter. Heading for the :56.1 half Roy sent the fan favourite up the outer lane, enjoying a brief wind break from pocket-sitter Percy Bluechip and driver Yannick Gingras just before the 1:24 three-quarters. As the fillies squared up in the stretch Percy Bluechip was leading the way, but Shower Play shifted into another gear and had a neck in front of last year's division champion by the 1:52.3 finish. Kendall Seelster was three and one-half lengths back in third. "She was simply the best, one more time," said Roy. Tuesday's win was the filly's third straight and her second in Gold Series action. In 16 lifetime starts the daughter of Shadow Play and Alice Emily has tallied nine wins, five seconds, one third and one fourth for earnings of $516,800. Rockwood residents Dion and Kerwood share ownership of Shower Play with Martin Leveillee of St-Blaise-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, who was on hand for Tuesday's victory. "I've been excited since last year," said Leveillee when Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema asked if he was looking forward to racing Shower Play in the Oct. 13 Super Final. "I was at Georgian Downs last year with Sylvain (Filion) when he drove, he said she can fight in the Gold and we kept her in the Grassroots, but from that day she never did a bad race. She did not always win, but she always threw good races and that is pretty phenomenal. "Other horses do this too, Kendall (Seelster) and Percy (Bluechip) and Write Me A Song, too, but I own this one," added Leveillee with a laugh. With their regular season complete, Shower Play and her three-year-old pacing filly peers will now begin preparations for the $225,000 Super Final. The top 10 point earners will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the lucrative season finale on Oct. 13. Roy, who currently has a narrow lead in the Lampman Cup race for the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, will have three more opportunities this week to pad his point tally as Woodbine Mohawk Park hosts the three-year-old trotting colts in Gold action on Thursday, the second last Gold event for the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies on Friday and the $400,000 Grassroots Championships on Saturday evening. Post time for all three programs is 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

After making waves in open harness racing stake action in recent weeks, the two-year-old trotting fillies returned to Gold Series competition at Flamboro Downs on Tuesday for the second last event of the regular season. Blue Magic captured the first $96,400 division, rocketing away from Post 4 and playing catch me if you can with the field of eight. On top by three and one-half lengths at the :27.4 quarter, driver Louis Philippe Roy kept his foot on the accelerator to the :57.1 half and the 1:27 three-quarters. Pocket-sitter Witches N Angels started to close on Blue Magic around the final turn and looked like she would storm by the pacesetter in the lane, but Blue Magic dug in for a neck victory in a personal best 1:59.4. Fan favourite Teddys Littleangel was eight lengths back in third. "I don't know much about the filly, I sat behind her only twice, but she's well-gaited and goes around turns perfectly. She likes the half-mile track," said Roy. "Most of the time I drive for Susie Kerwood and Rene Dion I'm happily surprised with the result." Susie Kerwood trains Blue Magic for Tommy Andersson of Rockwood, Ontario. The win was the Kadabra daughter's second this season - she was also victorious in the Aug. 7 Grassroots event at Woodbine Mohawk Park - and boosted her earnings to $68,221. With one regular season event remaining, Blue Magic sits in tenth spot in the division standings with 53 points, 50 more than she had on Tuesday morning. The top 10 point earners advance to the season ending Super Final. Tommi Canu Hearme also bolstered her point total with a 2:01.2 win in the second $96,400 division. Starting from Post 8, driver Chris Christoforou dropped the filly into fourth on the rail as Petro Hall rolled out to a :29.4 quarter and a :59.4 half, opening up a six length lead on the field of eight. Heading for the 1:29.3 three-quarters pocket-sitter Champagne Jane and Tommi Canu Hearme started to narrow Petro Hall's lead and the fillies turned for home ready to battle. Champagne Jane attacked on the outside and Christoforou sent Tommi Canu Hearme up the inside and on to the one length victory. Petro Hall hung on for second and Champagne Jane was third. "Chris is so good, he's just so calm out there. He just got her away out of the eight-hole into the four-hole and then went up the passing lane," said trainer Dustin Jones. "It worked out good, because we needed a win for points." Tommi Canu Hearme won her Champlain Stakes division at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 30, but before Tuesday she had not enjoyed much luck in the Gold Series, finishing fifth in the first two legs and eighth in the third. "What happened was, she had two fifths and then she had the rail and made a break, and then I qualified her with the trotting hopples," explained Jones. "I should have probably had the trotting hopples on her sooner, but she just kept showing that she could go good without them and I just figured that she would get going, but then it was getting too late in the year. We couldn't take any more chances." Jones shares ownership of Tommi Canu Hearme with Hebert Horses Inc. of Saint Sauveur, Quebec and Sjoblom Stable of Jakobstad, Finland. The Waterdown, Ontario resident went to last year's London Selected Yearling Sale specifically to purchase the daughter of Royalty For Life and Tommi My Girl and has never regretted that decision. "I went back on the Sunday and I waited all day to buy her because she was (hip number) 300 and something," recalled Jones. "I was hoping to buy her around $35,000 and somebody was bidding against me $1,000 a shot up until $41,000. Forty-one thousand was my last bid, and I was stretching myself then, but then I ended up selling pieces of her after. "She trained great all winter, she was my best trotting filly all winter, my best trotter actually I thought, the one that had the most speed," he added. "I'm pretty proud of that little trotter." With 61 points Tommi Canu Hearme currently sits eighth in the division standings and will be looking to add to that in the regular season finale on Oct. 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

As reported by Standardbred Canada, Doug McNair, Canada’s Driver of the Year in 2017, will take the spot of Louis-Philippe Roy in the National Driving Championship on Wednesday, September 26 at Grand River Raceway. McNair, who finished third in the Ontario Regional Driving Championship on May 16 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, was automatically offered the spot when Roy, who finished second, withdrew from the event on Friday afternoon. Upon receiving the offer, McNair immediately jumped at the opportunity. “It’s my first National Championship,” said McNair. “It is a tough way to earn the spot, and I do feel for Louis. I haven’t seen the horses I’ll be driving yet but I’m excited and pretty sure I’ve got a good shot. “It’s a good rebound of my bad day yesterday,” McNair said, referring to the placing (from first to fourth) of Stay Hungry in the second elimination of yesterday’s Little Brown Jug. Stay Hungry was ultimately scratched from the final. Roy’s withdrawal was the result of racing commitments he felt he had to fulfill on Tuesday, September 25. In addition to other drives, he will drive Shower Play in the $125,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Drivers are required to participate in all promotional, charitable and media events related to the National Driving Championship, on both Tuesday and Wednesday. “Unfortunately I’ll have to give up my chance to represent Canada in Sweden,” said Roy. “It’s not an easy decision, but I think it’s the best thing to do for my career and my business.” Roy’s withdrawal came shortly after the draft took place for National Driving Championship horses. Because of that, McNair has agreed to drive the horses originally selected by Roy. In addition to being the O’Brien Award winner as Canada’s top driver last year, McNair currently has 242 wins and $4,384,381 in earnings this season. He will join the seven other drivers competing in Wednesday’s NDC, including Trevor Henry who won this year’s Ontario Regional Driving Championship. From Standardbred Canada

MILTON, ON - September 14, 2018 - Caviart Ally stole the show Friday with a career-best 1:48.3 victory in one of two Milton Stakes eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of 12 older pacing mares and a three-year-old filly were split into a pair of $35,000 eliminations to determine the field for next Saturday's (September 22) $255,000 final. The term 'easy-looking' isn't used often to describe a 1:48.3 mile, but Caviart Ally did exactly that in the second Milton split. Driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, Caviart Ally rushed out to the lead and posted a :27.2 opening-quarter. The four-year-old rolled right along in the second-quarter to reach the half in :55 and then proceeded to post a :26.4 third-quarter to reach that marker in 1:21.4. McCarthy sat motionless in the bike as Caviart Ally left her rivals behind and cruised home in :27.4 for the career-best 1:48.3 victory. "Extremely easy, it was surprising," said McCarthy of Caviart Ally's performance. "I was watching the half come up in :55 and I was hoping it was going to be a tick or two slower. "In the last turn she started to rev up and I couldn't really get her down there any slower than 1:21.4. Even finishing up, still had the bits up in her mouth. It was a huge mile, but she did it so easy." Bettors Up finished 4 ¾ lengths behind the winner in second, while Ella Christina was third. L A Delight and three-year-old filly Kendall Seelster completed the top-five. A daughter of Bettors Delight, Caviart Ally recorded her fifth win of the season and 14th overall. She now has $134,011 earned in 13 starts this season to bring her career earnings to $956,264 for owners Caviart Farms. Friday's victory also earned Caviart Ally's connections the opportunity to select her post, which comes as a big help after drawing the nine-hole in her last two stakes finals. Caviart Ally paid $3.80 to win and enters next week's final with two wins and two runner-up finishes in her last four starts. Chris Oakes trainee Tequila Monday held off Pure Country to win the first-elimination by the slimmest of margins in 1:50.1. Driver Louis Philippe Roy fired Tequila Monday out to the lead and got to call the shots, posting fractions of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24. Pure Country and driver Yannick Gingras enjoyed a two-hole trip behind the leader and came to the outside turning for home. In the stretch, Tequila Monday and Pure Country sprinted home with powerful strides with the finish line coming just in time for Tequila Monday to hold off Pure Country by a nose. Twinkle finished third, while Nike Franco N and Frost Damage Blues were fourth and fifth, respectively. "Even after the wire I was a little disappointed because I thought Yannick (Gingras) beat me by a nose and even he thought he won too," said Roy following the victory. "She got easy fractions and we were both sprinting at the end. I think both mares will be good for next week because they didn't have to be used much in the first-half." A four-year-old daughter of American Ideal, Tequila Monday is now five for 15 this season with $158,720 earned this season. Her elimination victory improves her career numbers to 17 wins and $771,922 earned for owners Northfork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. Tequila Monday paid $5.10 to win. The post-positions for next week's $255,000 final were drawn immediately following the eliminations. The Milton Stakes final is part of the September 22 Metro Pace card. 1. Twinkle 2. Tequila Monday 3. Nike Franco N 4. LA Delight 5. Caviart Ally 6. Bettors Up 7. Frost Damage Blues 8. Ella Christina 9. Kendall Seelster 10. Pure Country AE: Artistic Madison by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

There were few surprises at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday night as the top two-year-old trotting colts and geldings padded their point totals in the last Grassroots event of the regular season. After finishing second twice and third once, Cousin Peter finally found the winner's circle in the first $18,450 Grassroots division. Starting from Post 1 driver Louis Philippe Roy settled Cousin Peter in the pocket behind Priceless Ruler and followed the pacesetter through fractions of :28.4, :59.3 and 1:29.4. In the stretch Roy slid Cousin Peter into an open lane and the colt reeled in Priceless Ruler and first-up challenger Magical Journey to score a neck victory in 1:59.2. Fan favourite Magical Journey was second and Priceless Ruler settled for third. "He's a horse that doesn't really look fluid when you sit behind him, but he wants to try and has a big heart that makes him forget his little issues," said Roy. "I might be wrong, but he's a horse that I expect to improve a lot between two and three years old." Roy steers the Johnny William son for trainer Richard Moreau and owners Sergis Racing Stable LLC of Canton, NY and Saverino Spagnolo of Ottawa, Ontario. With a total of 122 points the consistent Cousin Peter finished the season in third spot and will be among the favourites in the Sept. 20 Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The second division saw point leader Royale Elite get a pocket trip behind Archway, who led the field to fractions of :29.4, 1:02.1 and 1:33.2. Coming off the final turn driver James MacDonald tipped Royale Elite out from behind the pacesetter and the colt powered home to a two length win in 2:02.4. Archway finished second and fan favourite Judge Ken recovered from an early break in stride to be third. "The trip worked out great; no stress," said trainer Mark Steacy. "We'll keep to the same schedule for next week and hope to stay sound and healthy." Wednesday's win was Royale Elite's fourth in Grassroots action. He was also victorious at Georgian Downs, Hiawatha Horse Park and Woodbine Mohawk Park. His only loss came at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the July 31 event where he finished third behind two colts that are ranked among the top 10 Gold Series competitors. With his near perfect record, Royale Elite leads his peers into the post-season with 212 points. Steacy trains Royale Elite for owner-breeders Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec and the conditioner's concerns about keeping the Royalty For Life son healthy are more than just lip service. His stablemate Rap Royalty, ranked fifth in the standings, was scratched out of Wednesday's first division due to sickness. "We're hoping Rap can rebound to race next week," noted Steacy, who currently leads all trainers in the Ontario Sires Stakes standings in pursuit of his third straight Johnston Cup title. The final division saw LA Magic record his first victory in just his second lifetime start. The Kadabra son and driver Jody Jamieson stormed away from Post 2 and never looked back, reeling off fractions of :29.2, 1:00.3 and 1:30.3 on their way to a one and one-half length win in 2:01.2. Lightly rated Fitzgibbons trotted into second, leaving fan favourite A Royal Line the third-place spoils. "I've schooled him and qualified him and he is naturally gifted with a flawless gait," said Jamieson. "I really thought he could ambush them off the gate tonight and win, and that's exactly what he did." Jamieson crafted the win for trainer Duane Marfisi and owner Gary Morritt of London, Ontario. With a fifth-place result in his Sept. 3 debut, LA Magic finishes the season with a total of 55 points and heads into the Semi-Final tied for ninth spot, but Jamieson is expecting him to be a serious player. "He'll be the freshest horse in the Semis next week," pointed out the driver. "Hopefully he'll use the light schedule to his advantage." The top 20 points earners with at least two starts in the Grassroots program will advance to next week's Semi-Final. The top five finishers from each $20,000 Semi-Final will earn a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 29. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Trois-Rivieres, QC - A packed house came out Sunday afternoon to the Hippodrome 3R for the tracks richest harness racing program of the season headed by eight Quebec Series Finals for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. For Super Sunday there was $512,000 in total purses over the 12-race program. Here is a breakdown of each of the eight championship divisions. $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - The fasted mile on the afternoon came in the colt division that turned out to be a two-hole race between Kinnder Jackson (Louis Philippe Roy) and track record holder Hudson Phil (James MacDonald). It was Kinnder Jackson that was first on the lead with Stock (Stephane Brosseau) in second place past the opening quarter in :27.3. MacDonald came first-over with Hudson Phil and going past the half mile in :56.4, nearly got the lead, but Roy kept them parked out. Then in the backstretch, the dogfight continues with Hudson Phil a head up on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:25. But on the final turn Kinnder Jackson took the lead back and was up over a length as they started down the stretch. It was then that Hudson Phil found another gear for MacDonald and they collared Kinnder Jackson before the wire to win by a half length in 1:54.1. Stock was third. Trained by Mark Steacy, it was the fifth win this year for Hudson Phil, who was bred and is owned by Tony Infilise's Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson. He paid $5.10 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - Driver Stephane Brosseau left quickly with All You Can Dream with race favorite Katniss S BG and driver Louis Philippe Roy sitting in second place as they went by the opening quarter mile in :27.2 and the half mile in :57.1. Then in the backstretch, Roy pulled the pocket and sent Katniss S BG to the front with Sharks Summershandy (Pascal Berube) following on the outside past the three-quarters in 1:27.2. Then in the stretch Katniss S BG was an easy winner by two lengths in 1:57. Sharks Summrshandy was second with Butterfly BG (Guy Gagnon) third. Sired by Mach Three, it was the fifth win this year for Katniss S BG. She is trained by Richard Moreau and was bred and is co-owned by Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. She paid $3.40 to win. $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - It was race favorite Nobodynojustice and driver Guy Gagnon who was not going to let anyone take the lead away from them. SOS Irresistable and driver Daniel Laflamme tried early on and those two played hardball, neck and neck, to the quarter mile in :29 and the half mile in :58 with neither horse giving way. Then in the backstretch, SG Goliath King and trainer/driver Sylvain Grenier got into the mix first-over and at the three-quarters in 1:29.4 they could not pass Nobodynojustice. As they came down the stretch Nobodynojustice could not maintain the lead and SG Goliath King came on to win by a half length in 2:02. SOS Irresistable was third. Owned and bred by Grenier of Saint-Rene, it was the fourth win this year for the son of Lucky Fool. SG Goliath King paid $7.20 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Montanaalaska and driver Guy Gagnon was first on the lead with Precieuse CC and driver/trainer Claude Beausoliel following in second place as they went to the quarter in :29.2, the half mile in 1:00.2 and the three-quarters in 1:32.1. With no one challenging from the back of the pack, Beausoliel waited until the final turn and pulled Precieuse CC from the pocket and came after Montanaalaska. Those two locked horns coming down the stretch with Precieuse CC the stronger horse, going on to win by one length in 2:03.3. Montanaalaska was second with Stand For Justice (Stephane Brosseau) third. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for Precieuse CC, who is sired by Angus Hall and is owned by Marie Andree Cournoyer of Chicoutimi. She paid $6.10 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - It was Ginness Panic and driver Louis Philippe Roy who shot out to the early lead and cut fast fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 with Dernier Essai (Sylvain Filion) trying to keep up in second place. Then in the backstretch Stephane Gendron came first-over with YS Sunshine and the not only collared Guinness Panic, but past them by before the three-quarters in 1:25.1. YS Sunshine then kicked in another gear for Gendron and pulled away in the stretch to win by three and one-quarter lengths in 1:55, a track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. GA Speed Gary (Guy Gagnon) was second with Guinness Panic third. It was the fourth win this year for YS Sunshine. The son of Sunshine Beach is trained by Michel Allard and was bred and is owned by Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. He paid $3.30 to win. The previous track record was 1:56.4 set by Sugarsam in 2014. $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - The biggest upset of the day came when Cooking The Speed and driver Stephane Gendron won at odds of 18-1. Hurryupatthebeach (Pascal Berube) cut the mile with Cooking The Speed sitting the pocket seat through fractions of :27.4 and :57.3. Jody Jamieson was already on the move with Better Now and as he approached the leaders in the backstretch, Gendron pulled the pocket with Cooking The Speed and the action heated up past the three-quarters in 1:27.3. All three horses were stacked three-wide around the final turn and as they started down the stretch, Hurrayupatthebeach began to fade as Cooking The Speed found another gear, winning by one length over Better Now in 1:57.3. Hurryupatthebeach was third. It was a lifetime mark for the daughter of So Surreal who is trained by Michel Allard and is co-owned and bred by Allard Racing of Saint-Esprit. She paid $38.90 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - The 1/5 favorite, Cesar Dunharas and trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby went right to the lead with Mister Sky (Francis Picard) trying to follow the live cover in second place to the opening quarter mile in :30. Then at the half mile marker in 1:01.1, Stephanie Brosseau came first-over with Only For Justice but was unable to gain ground as Cesar Dunharas went to the three-quarters in 1:31. On the final turn Only For Justice found another gear and gained on Cesar Dunharas, collared him in the stretch and came on to win by a quarter length in 2:01.3. Mister Sky was third. It was the second straight win and a lifetime mark for Justice For All. The gelded son of Justice Hall is trained by Dany Fontain for breeder/owner Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal. He paid $14.30 to win. $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Claudi P V and driver Pascal Berube were the only one in the field to stay trotting and thus was an easy winner by five and one-half lengths in 2:01.1. Stablmate My Lady Hall (Jocelyn Gendron) was second with the 1/9 favorite, Kenogami Darling (Guy Gagnon), who was going for her fourth straight win, broke at the start. My Lady Hall led the field through fractions of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:29.3 with Claudi P V in pursuit. Then coming down the stretch, My Lady Hall made a break and Claudi P V blew by her for the win by 15 and one-quarter lengths. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for the daughter of Holiday Road, who is trainer and co-owned and bred by Serge Nadeau with Marcel Brouillard of St-Marcel-De-Richelieu. She paid $9.70 to win. The Open Handicap Pace saw former Quebec Series Champion, Atomic Million AM ($3.80) and driver Guy Gagnon wire the field with ease in 1:54.2. Another Quebec Series Champion, Capteur De Reve ($6/90) and driver Pierre Luc Roy, were able to wire the field in winning the Open Handicap Trot in 1:59.1. Track Notes: Driver Stephane Gendron and trainer Michel Allard each had two wins in the championship finals and driver Louis Phillipe Roy has two wins, one in the finals. Live harness racing resumes at H3R next Sunday, September 16, first race post time at 12:50 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

MILTON, ON - September 8, 2018 - Grand Circuit harness racing week concluded Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park with three divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers. A group of 14 sophomore pacing colts and geldings were separated into a pair of $83,342 splits, while a talented field of six pacing fillies battled for a purse of $150,996. Just a week after winning the Messenger, Stay Hungry brought his 'A Game' to win a tough battle in the second Simcoe division. Driven by Doug McNair, Stay Hungry was unhurried in the beginning and got away fourth. Backstreet Shadow and driver Yannick Gingras circled from second to first at the opening-quarter and rolled the field by the half in :55. McNair gave Stay Hungry his cue to charge first-up going to the three-quarter pole and was almost three-lengths from the lead when Backstreet Shadow reached the third-station in 1:23.1. In the stretch, McNair dropped Stay Hungry onto the back of Gingras briefly before coming back out for an exciting stretch duel. Stay Hungry paced home in :25.4 and was able to edge a game Backstreet Shadow by a nose in 1:49.3. Hidden Delight was third. "The way the draw set up I figured that was the way the race would go," said McNair following the victory. "I would be a late first-over and Yannick's horse would be sprinting home hard." Trained by Tony Alagna, Stay Hungry is being pointed towards potential history at the Little Brown Jug on September 20. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has captured the opening-two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown, Cane Pace and Messenger, and is now five for 11 with $683,031 earned this season for owners Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman. "The Jug is in a couple weeks and that's what they are aiming at, but it was great to get a win back home," said McNair. "That's all they are going to be talking about from now until the Jug is the Triple Crown, but he's won two of the first three legs and that's special." Stay Hungry's career numbers now sit at 11 wins and over $1.2 million earned. He paid $2.90 to win. Jeff Gillis trainee The Downtown Bus continued his run of stops at the winner's circle by posting a 1:50.2 victory in the first division for colts and geldings. Driven by Tim Tetrick, The Downtown Bus shot out to the lead and got to call the shots, posting fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:23.1 to lead into the stretch. Tetrick pulled the plugs on The Downtown Bus at the three-quarter pole and the Gillis trainee was able to last on the lead, finding the line in time to hold off a charge from Torrin Hanover was _ length score. Babes Dig Me finished third, while Dragon Time was fourth. The Simcoe victory extends The Downtown Bus' current win streak to three. "He's turned the corner and Jeff has done a great job with him," said Tetrick, who has driven the gelded son of Mach Three throughout his current win streak. "Last week he trained around there pretty good in (1):49 and today he was up in little more open class and some better-bred horses and he still got the job done. I was pretty proud of him." A homebred for Gillis and Ellen Ott, The Downtown Bus now has eight wins and $218,354 earned in 19 starts this season. The Grand Circuit victory increases his career earnings to $238,700. A $2 win ticket on The Downtown Bus returned $4.20. Shower Play continued her flare for the dramatic by delivering another stunning final-quarter rally to win the Simcoe Filly Stakes in 1:52. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Shower Play got away fifth in the field of six and appeared to have a mountain too big to overcome when Youaremycandygirl got her own way on the front, posting fractions of :26.4, :56.4 and 1:24.1. Youaremycandygirl opened up a lead of nearly four-lengths at three-quarters, while race-favourite Kissin In The Sand was second-over and Shower Play third over with more than seven-lengths to overcome. Kissin In The Sand and Shower Play both delivered furious stretch rallies to track down Youaremycandygirl in the final-eighth with Shower Play unleashing a :26.3 kicker to reach the line first. Kissin In The Sand finished second, beat a length and a quarter, while Youaremycandygirl crossed in third. "It's always fun to win races on the front, but to go by everybody is a better feeling for sure," said Roy following the race. "I give credit to Rene and Susie because in the middle of the summer we had some steering issues with her, so they worked a lot on her and did some changes and I think she's come back better than she was at the beginning at the season." Trained by Rene Dion, Shower Play also defeated Kissin In The Sand in June's $415,000 Fan Hanover. The daughter of Shadow Play has now earned $415,563 in 10 starts this season for owners Dion, Susie Kerwood and Martin Leveillee. The Simcoe victory gives Shower Play five wins this season and eight overall. Her career earnings jump to $454,300 with the victory. A $2 win ticket on Shower Play returned $14.10. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Nirvana Seelster becomes newest millionaire Bill Budd trainee Nirvana Seelster grinded out a third-place finish in Saturday’s $34,000 Preferred Pace to become harness racing’s newest millionaire. The seven-year-old gelding entered Saturday’s card just a little over $300 away from $1 million in career earnings. Nirvana Seelster and driver Trevor Henry did the heavy-lifting in the Preferred and despite surrendering the lead early in the lane, the Budd trainee battled hard to the line for a third-place finish, beat only three-quarters of a length. American Wiggle, driven by Louis Philippe Roy for trainer Richard Moreau, captured the $34,000 top-class in 1:49.4. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster is a 39-time winner with a mark of 1:48 taken last season at Mohawk Park. The Budd trainee has made 176 of his 178 career starts at either Woodbine Racetrack or Mohawk Park. Nirvana Seelster recently competed in his fourth consecutive Canadian Pacing Derby. The fan-favourite has seven wins, 20 top-three finishes and $191,170 earned in 27 starts this season. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

Trois Rivieres, QC - It's Super Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday, September 9 with the tracks richest harness racing program of the year, $512,000 in total purses headlined by eight Quebec Championship Finals. The Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters and pacers has four finals, each with a purse of $65,000. The two-year-old's also will compete in four finals, each with a purse of $55,000. Plus, there are two $8,000 Invitational events, one for trotters and one for pacers. For this rich days of racing, world class drivers Sylvain Filion, Jody Jamieson, Louis Philippe Roy and James MacDonald are coming in from Ontario to compete with H3R's top drivers. Here is a brief overview on each of the special races on Sunday. 2nd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - Cesar Duharas is the race favorite and rightly so. Last week the son of Muscle Massive tied the track record for colts at H3R with a 2:01.3 triumph in the third round of the Future Stars Series. He will start from post five for trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby and breeder/owner Haras De Estrie, Inc. of Dunham. Cesar Duharas has three wins this season, the fastest a 1:58.3 record at Mohawk Park. Competition will come from Yves Filion's Money Hill (post eight), who has his son, Sylvain, driving the son of Muscle Hill and the entry of Only For Justice (post one) and Clevisse (post four) for trainer Dany Fontaine. 3rd Race $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - YS Sunshine (post six) gets the call in here off his last start, a very impressive 1:53.4 lifetime mark last week at Mohawk Park. The Sunshine Beach geldings other two wins this season came in legs of the Future Stars Series with driver Stephane Gendron back in the sulky for trainer Michel Allard and breeder/owner Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. Second choice is the undefeated D Gs De Vito (post eight) with driver Jonathan Lachance. This unbeaten son of Sportswriter is going for his fifth straight win, all at H3R and he has a record of 1:58 taken last week. Other contenders include Guinness Panic (post five) and GA Speed Gaby (post three). 4th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Provided they can stay on stride, Montanaalaska (post four) and Kinnder Prediction (post three) both have good chances of winning. Montanaalaska won two starts back for driver Guy Ganon 2:00.2 and 2:02.4 the prior week, but also shows tendency to break stride too. Sired by Angus Hall, Montanaalaska is trained by Alain Martin for owner Michel Grenier of Gastineau. Kinnder Prediction broke last week for driver Justin Filion. The prior week was first placed ninth and the week before won in 2:02.4 over Montanaalaska. The daughter of Northern Escort is trained, owned and bred by Denitza Petrova of Melbourne. 5th Race $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - The entry of BG (post four) and Katniss S BG (post 8) loom over the field. Katniss S BG is the stronger of the entry. This daughter of Mach Three has four wins this year, the fastest in 1:53 for driver Louis Philippe Roy and has won three of her last four starts for trainer Richard Moreau and co-breeders and owners Sylvain Desvheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. Lit De Rose (post seven) might have been made the betting favorite if not for her starting from an outside post. This daughter of Leader Bayama has been first, second or third in her last six starts with a record of 1:57 taken two starts back. She will be driven for the first time by Sylvain Filion. 6th Race $8,000 Invitational Pace - Hard to believe that four of nine horses in this race, Cee Pee Panic, HP Patriote, Atomic Million AM and Wildriverbumblebee, are all prior Championship winners. Cee Pee Panic (post three) is the oldest at age 9 and Wildriverbumblebee (post nine) the youngster at age 4 and the race favorite with Sylvain Filion in the sulky. Wildriverbumblebee is coming off a 1:54 triumph at H3R in his last start for trainer Francis Richard. UFdragons Rocket (post two) is the fastest return winner in the field, coming off a 1:52.1 triumph for driver Louis Philippe Roy. Other contenders include Atomic Million AM (post five) and Windsun Cheyenne (post eight). 7th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Kenogami Darling (post four) has dominated this division with back to back wins in the series and is going for her fourth straight win. The daughter of Justice Hall has been super for trainer Dany Fontaine and driver Guy Gagnon. Her record this year is 1:59.2 taken at Mohawk Park. She was bred and is co-owned by Jean Francois Reid of Anjou with Claude Reid of Jonquiere. Although Kenogami Darling has beaten everyone else in the field, watch for Kinderunbelievable (post five) and Claudi P V (post six) to be on the board. 8th Race $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - Better Now (post 3) is the race favorite having won two of the legs at H3R and also coming off a strong second in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots last week at Clinton Raceway for trainer and co-owner Pierre Ouellette. The filly by Betterthancheddar has Jody Jamieson in the sulky and can race well from on or off the pace. Second choice is the top filly Hurryupatthebeach (post five). This daughter of Up The Credit was undefeated in her first five wins for trainer Pierre Leclerc, getting beaten for the first time in the third leg of the series. She will again be driven by Pascal Berube. Also watch for Flower Sena (post eight), who was able to beat Hurryupatthebeach in her last start for driver Jocelyn Gendron, but the outside post position will hinder her chances somewhat. 9th Race $8,000 Invitational Trot - What a top-notch race this will be. There are three Quebec Series Champions in the field, Capteur De Reve (post five), who just won his second straight title, former track record holder Seeyou Men (post seven) and Holiday Party (post eight). Capteur De Reve with Pierre Luc Roy in the sulky is the race favorite, having won the Open Handicap last week and with a record of 1:58.4 at H3R for trainer Maxime Velaye. Seeyou Men has Guy Gagnon in the sulky after they won last week at Rideau Carleton in 1:58.4. Others to watch include the return of Rocky Boy (post three), Broadway Maija (post four) and Windsun Hugo (post nine). 10th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - Great field of competition headed by race favorite Kinnder Jackson (post four) who has seven wins in ten starts, all at H3R for breeder, owner and trainer Deniza Petrova. This son of Allamerican Native has two wins in the series and will be driven for the first time by Louis Philippe Roy. Hudson Phil (post six) may show poor finishes last three starts for driver James MacDonald, but this son of Shanghai Phil was raced timed last week in 1:51.4 and has a record of 1:51.3 for trainer Mark Steacy. Play Jet Play (post seven) is part of an entry for trainer Dany Fontaine with last year's Champion, Stock (post five), who won a leg of the Series back in July in 1:54.2. 11th Race $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - SG Goliath King (post two) could be part of a double ­on the day for Hall of Fame trainer Yves Filion. This son of Lucky Fool has three wins in his last six starts and will have son Sylvain in the sulky. Other contenders include Yankee Photo (post four) for trainer Gerald Woodberry and driver Pascal Berube, Orlys Fury (post three) and Nobodynojustice (post one). Post time is 12:50 pm Sunday and for a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The Quebec Jockey Club will host the richest day of harness racing in 2018 at the Hippodrome 3R this Sunday with C$512,000 in purses headlined by the championship finals of both the Breeders Cup and Future Stars Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. World renowned harness drivers Sylvain Filion, Jody Jamieson and Louis Philippe Roy will be leaving Toronto for Quebec to compete in the rich Super Sunday afternoon program. First race post time is 12:50 pm. Of the 12 races on the program, eight are the finals of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old's and the Future Stars Series for two-year-old's. Each of the four Breeders Cup finals go for C$65,000 each and the four Future Star final races for a purse of C$55,000. In addition, there is an $8,000 Invitational Trot and Pace, and for the first time there are two $8,000 consolation races, one for the Breeders Cup and one for the Future Stars. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Batavia, NY --- There is a lot at stake for all the entrants of the $117,600 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 5) as this is the last race for that group before the $225,000 final at Yonkers on Saturday (Sept. 22). But the one division all eyes will be on features a heavyweight match between Springsteen and Hitman Hill who both need to win for the opportunity to make that final. Currently Springsteen is 10th in points with 100 while Hitman Hill is sitting behind him in 12th with 75. The majority of the horses currently in position to make the final are also competing on Wednesday so it all depends on how well everyone does. There are three $39,200 divisions of the NYSS carded as race one, five and six. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m. Springsteen (Rock N Roll Heaven-American Charm) has had a huge year. He won the $500,000 Hempt at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a lifetime best 1:48.3 in June along with two NYSS divisions this year. But he failed to make the $400,000 Adios final and more recently finished seventh in the $400,000 Milstein. And this past Saturday (Sept, 2) he had a rough outing finishing last in the $500,000 Messenger Stake at Yonkers. He currently sits eighth in North America among all 3-year-olds for earnings with $341,175 and has the sixth fastest win time for that same group of 1:48.3 Louis Roy has been tabbed by trainer Rene Allard to drive Springsteen and they are the morning line choice at 8-5 from post three. Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) has had a full dance card this year as well and has put in stellar efforts in each one of his outings. He finished third in the Hempt (behind Springsteen), third in the Adios final and fourth in the $272,025 Empire Breeders Classic. He finished one-two in his pair of NYSS events and returns to Batavia Downs as the reigning track record holder for 2-year-old pacing geldings with a mark of 1:52.4 taken here in 2017. For the year, Hitman Hill has three wins and $200,387 in earnings with a seasonal and lifetime best mark of 1:49.3. Akron, New York native Chris Oakes trains Hitman Hill and has Brett Miller in the bike as usual. They will depart from post six listed at 5-2. The first division's early 8-5 favorite is Topville Olympian (American Ideal-Our Sophia) who just finished a close third behind Stay Hungry and Jimmy Freight in the Messenger Stake at Yonkers on Saturday. He has one NYSS win this year but has never missed the board while competing in that series. He's the top money earner in this race with $129,170 and picks up the services of Brett Miller for this outing. His main rivals appear to be Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven) who scored his best win at Tioga Downs this year in the Geers Stake going 1:50.2 and the NYSS points leader Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe-Wild Retreat) who has 180 and is 55 points ahead of his nearest rival. Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) gets the track handicapper's nod in the second division as he is listed at 2-1. After taking an early season mark of 1:51.3 at Tioga, Ideal Feeling acquitted himself well in an elimination of the Meadowlands pace in July that went in 1:49, although he missed the final. Then he finished a strong second to Courtly Choice in an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic before drawing post seven in the final, finding himself chasing a 1:48.3 mile from the back of the pack. He draws post four in a short field here and has Jason Bartlett up for the ride. Also looking to get the win are Real Surreal (So Surreal-Armbro Wallflower) who finished third in the Empire Breeders Classic, pacing in 1:50 in defeat while Ostro Hanover (Betterthancheddar-Ozmopolitan) makes his fourth start for his new trainer after winning a 1:52.4 NYSS race at Saratoga Raceway. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

After a track-record performance in his Messenger Stakes elimination last week, Jimmy Freight will need to overcome the most unfavorable harness racing starting position at Yonkers Raceway -- post No. 8 -- in Saturday's $500,000 final. While that presents a degree of uncertainty regarding the colt's prospects in the race, owner Adriano Sorella is hopeful his horse possesses the skills to get the job done. Jimmy Freight, who won his Messenger elimination in 1:50.3 to become the fastest 3-year-old pacing colt in the track's history, will have regular driver Louis-Philippe Roy in the sulky for trainer Andrew Harris and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Horses win from post eight at Yonkers at a rate of 4.1 percent. Posts one-through-five at the half-mile oval produce winners at a minimum 15.4-percent clip. "What are you going to do? You draw the eight-hole, you draw the eight-hole," Sorella said. "I'm not thrilled about it, but Louis knows what he's doing and the horse has been super, super sharp. He's a great half-mile horse and we know he can come from off the pace. We'll see how it plays out this weekend." Sorella, who paid $30,000 to supplement Jimmy Freight to the Messenger, would like to see the open draw for eliminations winners eliminated in the future. A number of stakes finals already permit the connections of elim winners to pick post positions for the final or allow elim winners to draw for inside positions prior to the open draw for the remainder of the field. "I knew going into (the Messenger) that it was an open draw, so it's not like it was a big shock to me," Sorella said. "I don't think you should be able to pick your post, but I think elimination winners should draw one-through-five, or something along those lines. If you want competitive eliminations, the elimination winners should get compensated in some way. "I know people will say it's only because we drew the eight-hole, but we've had this conversation all year when we've talked about these half-mile tracks." The Messenger is one of four stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Yonkers. The card also includes the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, which is the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown, as well as the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot and $112,904 Lady Maud. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) with the stakes events going in succession -- Hudson, Lady Maud, Yonkers Trot, Messenger -- as races four through seven. Stay Hungry, who won the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, will start the Messenger from post six. The final jewel in the Crown, the Little Brown Jug, is Sept. 20 at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. Springsteen, who drew post one, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, followed by Stay Hungry at 4-1. Babes Dig Me, who won the other Messenger elimination in 1:52.2, is 8-1 from post five. Jimmy Freight, a son of Sportswriter out of Allamerican Summer who was born in Iowa and raced the early part of his career in the Hawkeye State, has won 15 of 25 career races and hit the board a total of 24 times. He has earned $519,274, with all but $6,120 coming since Sorella bought the colt in July 2017. Jimmy Freight won twice in Ontario last year and finished second in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. He was lightly staked to races at the beginning of this season, leaving Sorella to supplement if he wanted to see Jimmy Freight compete in some of the sport's big events. Sorella paid $61,690 to get Jimmy Freight into the Meadowlands Pace and the horse finished in a dead-heat third in his elimination and fourth in the final. If Jimmy Freight wins the Messenger, he would be eligible to supplement to the Little Brown Jug in September. "We knew he would be good, we just didn't know how good he would be," Sorella said. "Training back, he was in Anthony Beaton's barn. I asked him what he thought when it came time for staking. I watched him train down and he looked good to me. I think we were a little more concerned about the horses coming back that were so strong at (age) 2 that we kind of left him out of a little bit and staked him more toward the end of the year. That kind of bit me. "It's been a fun ride, but it could have been a lot cheaper, that's for sure. But at the end of the day the horse deserves to be in those races and he's showed us that he's one of the top 3-year-olds. This is why you buy horses and you race them, to try to get a good one like this. When you have one, you don't want to think twice about some of the stuff you want to do with them. You want to go to those races so you're not kicking yourself afterwards for not trying." Jimmy Freight's wins this year include four divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes and a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. He finished third to older rivals Sintra and McWicked in the Gold Cup, where he rallied from eighth place with a :26.3 final quarter-mile. "Maybe he shouldn't have been in there, but we put him in there anyway to give him a race," Sorella said. "He was trying the whole way and closing hard. I like the fact that he's got gate speed or can come from behind. We've seen him on the lead, but some of his better races have come from off the pace. "This horse has got a big heart and nothing really fazes him. He went a big mile the other night. We knew it was coming because he likes the half and he's a pretty handy horse. I don't know if we've seen the bottom to him yet, but I don't think we have." Following is the field for the Messenger in post-position order. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Springsteen-Brian Sears-Rene Allard-3/1 2-Winston-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-20/1 3-Topville Olympian-Jim Morrill Jr.-Chris Oakes-7/1 4-JK Wildfire-Jason Bartlett-Brett Pelling-7/1 5-Babes Dig Me-George Brennan-Tony Alagna-8/1 6-Stay Hungry-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-4/1 7-Nutcracker Sweet-Jordan Stratton-Jimmy Takter-20/1 8-Jimmy Freight-Louis Roy-Andrew Harris-5/2  by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 25, 2018- Owner Adriano Sorella paid $30,000 for the privilege of Jimmy Freight entering the 63rd Messenger Stakes. We're surmising the other connections would be glad pay at least twice that much the privilege of Jimmy Freight exiting the 63rd Messenger Stakes. That's because Jimmy Freight (Louis-Phillipe Roy, $3.30) made Yonkers Raceway his very own veranda Saturday night (Aug. 25th), rolling in an elimination race while setting a track record in the process. The second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown began with a pair of $40,000 elims, five- and six-horse fields to determine the eight finalists for next Saturday night's (Sept. 1st) half-million-dollar finale. 'Jimmy,' making his-and his driver's-local debut, made short work of the second soiree. From post position No. 4, he waltzed around Westchester (:27.4, :56.2, 1:23.4, 1:50.3) with the greatest of ease. That :26.4 kicker gave Jimmy Freight the track record for 3-year-old colts, a tick faster than Source of Pride (2013). Pole-sitting Springsteen (Brian Sears) was out from third down the backside, moved to within a length-and-three-quarters in the final turn before being rebuffed. Jimmy Freight widened to 3¾ lengths and a place in the annals. Stay Hungry (Doug McNair) tried his luck from off-the-pace, rallying for third without ever threatening. A loosely-pocketed Winston (Corey Callahan) wound up fourth, with Decoy (Mark MacDonald) and Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton) both outrun. For Jimmy Freight, a son of Sportswriter trained stateside by Andrew Harris, it was his eighth win in 13 seasonal starts (career earnings now over $519,000). The exacta paid $10, the triple returned $17.80 and the superfecta paid $50.50. "He's just perfectly suited for the half-mile track," Roy said. "I never had to pull the plugs. When we were in the third turn, he wanted to go even more." The opening elim for the Messenger saw polester Babes Dig Me (George Brennan, $6.30) retake from Topville Olympian (Sears), then hold both that one and a first-up JK Wildfire (Jason Bartlett) at bay (:26.3, 56.1, 1:24.3, life-best 1:52.2). Babes Dig Me defeated JK Wildfire by a hard-fought head, with Topville Olympian beaten a neck. The battle for fourth was equally interesting, as 7-10 favorite Nutcracker Sweet (Stratton) was poor but had just enough to photo longshot Wild Bill (Ray Schnittker). For second choice Babes Dig Me, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by Brad Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Robert Leblanc & In the Gym Partners and trained by Tony Alagna, he's now 2-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $58.50, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offer due to the abbreviated assemblage. "Cat Manzi, who works for Tony (Alagna) said I'd like him and he was right," Brennan said. "I learned he's handy and he can fight one off." The open draw is Monday afternoon (Aug. 27th) for the Sept. 1st card, featuring the Messenger, $500,000 Yonkers Trot No. 64 (second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown), the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot & $112,904 Lady Maud Pace. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by favored Scott Rocks (Eric Goodell, $6.40) in 1:52.1. As for Sears, he won twice Saturday night, bringing the milestone-in-waiting career count to 9,998. Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 26th), latest "French' foray offers a first post of 12:45 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

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