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Pompano Beach, FL...December 21, 2020...Muscles For Life, the brilliant seven year-old son of Muscle Mass, scored a hard-earned 1:54.2 win for harness racing driver Wally Hennessey in Pompano Park's $11,500 Open Handicap Trot on Monday night (December 21) holding the fast closing Explosivebreakaway (Tom Jackson) and The Lionking AS (Kevin Wallis) at bay at the wire in 1:54.2. The winning margin was a half length earning Muscles For Life his third win in four fall starts this semester in South Florida. Sooo Handsome finished fourth while Bucketlist Hanover picked up the final two awards in the field of eight. Muscles For Life was forced to draw one of the two outside posts in this field and Hennessey was forced to change strategy here as there was plenty of speed off the wings, especially from BJ Lorado, who zipped an opening panel in :26.3 and half in :55.4 with The Lionking AS in the garden spot, Sooo Handsome third and Muscles for Life, who left from post seven but found a spot in fourth around the opening turn with Explosivebreakaway, leaving from post eight, finding a nice spot right behind Muscles For Life. Around turn two, Hennessey tilted his charge outside and, once they straightened away on the backside, Muscles For Life motored sup strongly to take charge past the third station in 1:24.3 with Explosivebreakaway now looming a length away. In the lane, Muscles For Life held firm enough in the final stages for the win, his seventh of the year in 17 starts for trainer Steve Oldford, who conditions the trotter for owner Jerold Hawks. The win sent his 2020 earnings to $54,630 and $345,220 career-wise. Reflecting on the win, driver Hennessey said, "We seemed to be going pretty good leaving so I decided to try and find a spot a bit closer up because I knew it would take too much out of him to press the quick pace. He was nice and relaxed once we found the good spot and, when I asked him, he responded big time. He's a very impressive racehorse!" Off as the 6 to 5 tote-board favorite, Muscles For Life paid $4.40 to his multitude of faithful. Muscles For Life The $10,000 Open II Trot went to Mighty Surf with Mike Simons in his sulky for the win. The brave six year-old daughter of Prayer I Am, trained by Jake Huff for the Beauty Bridle RacingStable, got up in the final stride to nail Burn Notice (Peter Wrenn) right on the wire in 1:56. Keegan Ho (Rick Plano) rallied to be third while the early leader, Kellie's MVP, finished fourth. Dragin The Wagon grabbed the nickel in the full field of 10. For Mighty Surf, it was her fifth win of the year in 27 starts, vaulting her bankroll for 2020 to $44,037 and $240,872 lifetime. Off as fourth choice at 5 to 1, Mighty Surf paid $12.20 to win. Mighty Surf Racing continues on Tuesday with post time set for 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Three months have passed since When Dovescry and Plunge Blue Chip clashed at The Meadowlands in a Steele Memorial thriller. Saturday night (Nov. 21), both million-dollar mares returned to settle the score in the $140,000 TVG Series Mares Trot. The 2019 Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, a 4-year-old mare by Muscle Hill-Cedar Dove, set a career best mark of 1:50.0 in the Steele this past August. The Brett Pelling trainee entered off a second-place finish in her local prep race last week. She left from the outside post (6) as the even-money favorite taking on five rivals, with her adversary, Plunge Blue Chip, drawing post position three. Plunge Blue Chip, the daughter of Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato, finished second to When Dovescry when the two last met locally in the Steele. Ake Svanstedt, who trains, drives and owns the 5-year-old mare in partnership with Blue Chip Bloodstock, Inc., got away well at the sound of the bell, sending Plunge Blue Chip to the early lead. Around the first turn, she relinquished the top to long-shot, Felicityshagwell S, who made the opening quarter in :27.1. Sensing a slow pace, Svandstedt pulled the pocket and brushed to the point with Plunge Blue Chip as the field linked up with the backstretch. She progressed unhurried to the half-mile marker, catching a :29.1 breather, clipping the beam in :56.2. With plenty in reserve and no serious threats, Plunge Blue Chip showed the field her heels in the stretch, kicking clear to a 1½-length victory. Pat Matters advanced from last to finish second from When Dovescry who disappointed, settling for third.   Plunge Blue Chip stopped the clock in 1:51.4, matching a stakes record jointly held by Hannalore Hanover and Emoticon Hanover. She paid $5.80 to win as the 9-5 second choice. "The best position for her today was in the front, and she made it," Svanstedt said. "She came home fast and felt good." On a night that celebrated the retirements of Manchego, Bettor's Wish and Kissin In the Sand, Svanstedt revealed in a surprise post-race announcement, that Plunge Blue Chip has made her final trip around the Big M oval. According to Svanstedt, "[Plunge Blue Chip] sold as a broodmare and she is going to Anvil and Lace farm in Kentucky." With her win in the TVG Mares Trot, Plunge Blue Chip improved her record to 23 wins from 48 career starts. She retires with $1,576,251 in earnings. By Shades Demsky, for the Meadowlands

MILTON, ON - November 5, 2020 - Harvest Series finals for two-year-olds continued Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park with male pacers and trotters in the spotlight. A full field of 10 clashed in the $48,100 Harvest Series final for pacing colts and geldings, while over on the trotting side it was a field of seven in a $45,100 contest. Rau Ru powered by No Free Launch in deep stretch to complete the sweep of the pacing colts and geldings series. Driven by Paul MacDonell, Rau Ru quickly brushed from fourth to first in the second-quarter. The lead was short-lived, as 4/5 favourite No Free Lunch got away fifth and followed that move, clearing to command at a :56.1 half. No Free Lunch reached three-quarters in 1:25.1 and looked to sprint home for the victory. Rau Ru angled out of the two-hole with an eighth of a mile to go and muscled by to complete the series sweep, stopping the clock in 1:53.2. No Free Lunch finished second by a length and a half, while Mustang Beach was third. Trained by Clark Beelby, Rau Ru improved his numbers to four wins and $54,008 earned in eight starts with the Harvest Series victory. The son of Bettors Delight was a $105,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale graduate and is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms. A $2 win ticket on Rau Ru $8.20. There was little drama in the trotting final, as Publicity Seeker trotted strongly to the top in the second-quarter and marched to a career-best 1:55.2 score for driver Doug McNair and trainer Stephen Bossence. A gelded son of Muscle Mass, Publicity Seeker made it a Harvest Series sweep with the strong performance and now sits at five wins and $62,410 earned in eight starts for owners Bossence, Richard Thompson and Derek Reid. Publicity Seeker put up solid fractions of :57 and 1:26.4 before a :28.3 final-quarter sealed the victory. Mystic finished 2 ¾ lengths back in second, while Arlanda was third. A $2 win ticket on Publicity Seeker returned $2.50. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario sired two-year-olds who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2020 as of September 30. Live racing continues Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The first leg of the Harvest Series for Ontario sired three-year-old colts and geldings makes up half of the 12-race card. Post time is 7 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment            

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Wrangler Cash proved to be the strong horse at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday, grabbing the lead after the opening quarter mile and then wiring the field in the Preferred Pace. The ninth race feature was raced over a good track due to rain with a two second allowance. Farmers Tan (Carol Voyer) went right to the early lead and was then taken over by Wrangler Cash and harness racing driver Pascal Berube in :28.1 to the first quarter. Wrangler Cash then had it easy on the front end, going to the half mile in :59.2. Dreydl Hanover (Samuel Fillion) was going for his fourth straight win and came first-over but to avail by the three-quarters in 1:28.1. Wrangler Cash went on to win by two lengths in 1:58 with the pocket-sitting Farmers Tan second and Atomic Million Am (Sylvain Lacaille) third. Atomic Million Am was part of an entry with Wrangler Cash. He got away third after the start and was never really in the hunt, sitting on the rail for third place. It was the seventh win this year for Wrangler Cash. The seven-year-old gelding by As Promised is trained and owned by Alain Martin of Gatineau and paid Capteur De Reve ($2.40) and driver Stephane Gendron took full advantage of an early speed duel between Precieuse CC and Voodoo Man, coming first-over late for an easy triumph in the sixth race Preferred Trot. Precieuse CC (Claude Beausoleil) went right to the lead, Jocelyn Gandron also left with Voodoo Man and got parked out first-over to a :28.2 first quarter and :57.4 half mile. Then in the backstretch Gendron came first-over before the three-quarters in 1:27.4, continued to gain ground on Precieuse CC and breezed to a one and one-half length triumph in 1:58.3. Precieuse CC was second with Sir Chopin (Carol Voyer) third. It was the second straight win and sixth victory of the year for Capteur De Reve. The six-year-old gelding by Muscle Mass is trained by Maxime Velaye the Provoquante Stable of Mirable, who also bred the winner. The second race trot saw track record holder Kinnder High Class ($3.40), the lone filly racing against older horses and mares, get parked first-over from the half mile marker against pacesetter Aworthy Bi (Jocelyn Gendron), and with a well-rated drive by Samuel Fillion, pulled away in the stretch to win by two lengths in 1:59.2. Aworthy Bi was second with Bonfire Bash (Stephane Brosseau) third. It was the fourth straight win and eighth victory in eleven starts for Kinnder High Class. The three-year-old filly by Royalty For Life is owned, bred and trained by Denitza Petrova of Melbourne. Track Notes: There were four drivers who all scored doubles on Sunday. They were David Pilon, Samuel Fillion, Francis Picard and Pascal Berube. The lone trainer that sent out two winners was Alain Martin. Live racing resumes at H3R next Sunday, first race post time at 1:00 pm. For more information, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

DUNDAS, ON - OCT. 8, 2020 - Macho Martini returned to the Ontario Sires Stakes  winner's circle on Thursday, Oct. 8 at Flamboro Downs with an effortless 1:58.1 score in the lone $157,200 two-year-old harness racing trotting colt Gold Series division. "I was actually a little bit concerned. I've never gone with him over a half. Luc's (Blais) got a tight half-mile turn on his training track at the farm and he was confident, but I just didn't know," said driver Bob McClure. "Two-year-old trotters are a little tough to get around those tracks and then you throw in the rail, that's one of the last spots I would have wanted with him, but he never missed a beat, just one-two-three-four. We just got away safe, and sat in the hole, and moved when they moved and he did the rest." From Post 1 McClure settled the fan favourite in second, sitting behind Sweet Soul David as that trotter led the field of nine to a :29 quarter. Macho Martini continued to track Sweet Soul David through the :59.1 half and when McClure tipped him to the outside heading by the 1:29 three-quarters the pair were in no rush to get around the pacesetter. As the leaders squared up in the stretch McClure asked Macho Martini for a bigger gear and the colt easily opened up a one and one-quarter length margin on his peers. Master Grand slipped up the passing lane to be second and Sweet Soul David stayed game for third. "He's quite the professional," said Rockwood, ON resident McClure. "And I would say that he's as fresh as he was when he started the year, which is typical of Luc Blais horses. They're as good at the end as they are at the start. He's very good at managing them that way." Campbellville, ON resident Luc Blais trains Macho Martini for Determination of Montreal, QC. Thursday's win was the colt's fourth in Gold Series action and his eighth in 10 lifetime starts. The only blemish on the Muscle Mass son's Ontario Sires Sakes record came in the Sept. 19 Gold leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park when he made a break in the stretch after another colt made a break and veered into his path. "I was worried when he made the break. You always worry they will jump on their legs and hurt themselves you know, but we're lucky, he came back very well. He looks good tonight," said Blais. "That's a good feeling." With 200 points, Macho Martini leads the two-year-old trotting colts into the Oct. 17 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The top 10 point earners will compete in the $250,000 season finale and Blais said the colt's performance in that event will determine whether his freshman campaign comes to a close or carries on for a few more starts. "We're going to see after that, how is he after that. He'll have almost 11, 12 races this year. It's lots of races for a two-year-old," said the trainer. "It just depends how he feels. We don't decide, he decides if he wants to race again." Complete results from Thursday's program are available at Flamboro Downs Results. Gold Series point standings can be found on the Ontario Sires Stakes Leaderboard. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Trois-Rivieres, QC - With the 2020 harness racing stakes season over at the Hippodrome 3R the main focus in the province of Quebec is now on the overnight racing cards and there is a real slugfest Friday in the Preferred-Handicap Trot. Post time Friday has been switched to 1:00 pm and will remain at that time for the rest of the racing season. The 7th race feature has seven starters and a good case can be made for any of the horses to be able to win the race. New to the line-up from the USA is Northfield Park invader, Chuckiesweetdream (post 3) for trainer Jean Beaulieu and owner Fannie Saul-Beaulieu of Margate, FL. The four-year-old gelded son of Pilgrims Chuckie makes its Canadian debut and will be driven by Francis Picard. Chuckiesweetdream comes into the race off an impressive 1:57.4 victory at Northfield Park by three and one-half lengths. The 5/2 favorite is none other than Capteur De Reve (post 5) for trainer Maxime Velaye and driver Stephane Gendron. The four-time Quebec-bred championship winner was given a perfect second-over drive last week by Gendron and the six-year-old Muscle Mass gelding responded with a 2:00.1 triumph over a good track with a two second allowance. Owned and bred by The Provoquante Stable of Mirable, Capteur De Reve sports four wins this year. Keepall (post 7) renews its rivalry with Capteur De Reve and will be driven by Pascal Berube. In their last two meetings, both horses have won against each other. Completing the field are Bucketlist Hanover (post 6) with Jocelyn Gendron driving, Eau Naturelle (post 1), who is coming off a 2:00.3 triumph last week for driver Steeven Genios, Sir Chopin (post 2) with Samuel Fillion and Severus Hanover (post 4) for driver Stephane Brosseau. In the 8th race pace, special mention goes to the ageless warrior, Onyx A V (post 7), who at the age of 14, must retire from regular pari-mutuel racing come January 1, 2021. The gelded son of Electric Stena has nearly $300,000 in career earnings and a record of 1:53.2. Two starts back he was a winner at H3R in 1:58. He is trained and driven by Claude Beausoleil for owner Andre Larocque of Lourdes-De-Joliette. Onyx V A will still be able to race next year in the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit. For more information and a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Captuer De Reve, one of the only horses to have won four Quebec Championship Finals, showed his winning form again Friday at the Hippodrome 3R with an easy victory in the Preferred Trot. Racing over a slow track due to rain with a two second allowance, the seventh race feature started off as expected with race favorite Keepall (Pascal Berube) going out and taking the early lead. He led the field past the opening quarter mile in :29.2 and then the half mile in 1:00.1 before Bucketlist Hanover (Jocelyn Gendron) came first-over with Capteur De Reve following the outside flow second-over. Then before the three-quarters in 1:29.3, Gendron took Capteur De Reve three-wide and they were able to clear Bucketlist Hanover and come after Keepall. As they started down the stretch, Capteur De Reve proved to be too much for Keepall as he went on to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 2:00.1. Keepall was second with Precieuse CC (Claude Beausoleil) third after sitting the two-hole trip. It was the fourth win this year for Capteur De Reve. The six-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass. He is trained by Maxime Velaye for owner-breeder Provoquante Stable of Mirabel. He paid $6.30 to win. Track Notes: Driver Stephane Brosseau had a driving triple and trainer Carl Duguay a training double on Friday. Live racing resumes at H3R on Sunday with post time at 1:00 pm. Featured will be the annual Lucien Bombardier Memorial Pace for two-year-old fillies. Bombardier was a pioneer of harness racing in not only Quebec, but all of Canada. The purse is $33,800 and the stake is co-sponsored by Standardbred Canada. Headlining the field is Game Of Shadows (post 4) in the seventh race. She is co-owned by Louis-Philippe Roy, who will be driving in most of the 11 races Sunday. For a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Delaware, OH — Plunge Blue Chip on Thursday trotted the fastest harness racing trotting race mile in history on a half-mile track, winning the $87,500 Miss Versatility Series championship for trotting mares in 1:51.3 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Pure Chance finished second, followed by Grand Swan and Manchego, the 3-5 favorite who went off stride in the second turn while in second place behind Plunge Blue Chip. Following Manchego’s break, Plunge Blue Chip was never pressured. She set all the fractions — :27, 54.4, and 1:22.3 — on her way to eclipsing Maven’s previous all-time race best on a half-mile oval, 1:51.4 set at Delaware in 2013. Plunge Blue Chip’s winning margin was 5-1/4 lengths.   “She did it on her own,” driver-trainer Ake Svanstedt said. “I didn’t feel her pick up the speed after the first quarter, but that’s good when you don’t feel the speed on a horse. She raced without shoes, and that made her faster.” Plunge Blue Chip was bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock, which shares ownership of the mare with Svanstedt and Tomas Andersson. She has won three of eight races this year and 22 of 46 in her career, with earnings of $1.43 million. Plunge Blue Chip is a 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

DUNDAS, ON - Flamboro Downs opens its 2020 Ontario Sires Stakes season this Thursday, Sept. 17 with three Grassroots divisions of two-year-old trotting fillies competing for a total of $67,000. Trainer John Bax will start a pair of fillies in the Grassroots regular season finale, Doing It All from Post 5 in the second $22,450 split and Lifeintheslammer from Post 7 in the third. Doing It All heads into the Flamboro event off a Grassroots win at Hanover Raceway on Aug. 29 and Bax is hoping the filly can continue her forward momentum. "She's getting a little more racy every start, and she's handy on a half-mile, so we're hoping she keeps improving. We're kind of looking for next year, but we'd like to end this year on an upbeat note," said the Campbellville, ON resident, who trains Doing It All for Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY. "We're progressing in the right direction." The Kadabra filly's results have improved with every Grassroots outing, starting with a seventh in the season opener and followed up by a fifth, a fourth and then the Aug. 29 win. With a total of 65 points, Doing It All currently sits tied for fifth in the division point standings and will advance to the Oct. 1 Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Lifeintheslammer started her Ontario Sires Stakes career with two starts at the Gold Series level before joining Doing It All in the third Grassroots leg. The Royalty For Life daughter was victorious in that Aug. 17 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but then made a break and finished sixth in the fourth leg at Hanover Raceway. "With her there's something every time. Fortunately she went that one good race and showed us that the potential is there," said Bax. "She's got a mind of her own, but talent, definitely, definitely talent enough to be a player, and next year I'm hoping that she's a little easier to live with and grows up mentally, and a little bit physically." With 53 points, Lifeintheslammer is tied for eleventh in the standings, so owners Bax Stable of Campbellville, Glengate Farms of Erin, Brad Grant of Milton and Gaelic Stable of Sharon, ON are hoping she can pad that total on Thursday. Among the fillies hoping to prevent Lifeintheslammer from adding another win to her resume is division point leader Tipsy In Dixie, who will be looking for her third straight Grassroots victory from Post 6 in the third $22,450 division. "She's just fun, it's great," said Katherine Hedley of Canfield, ON, who owns one per cent of Tipsy In Dixie through fractional ownership group TheStable.ca. "We have watched all of her races that have been open. We've been to Grand River twice to watch her and two weeks ago when she was in Hanover." With spectators unable to attend the races in person on Thursday, Hedley and her fellow owners will be tuning in to watch the Flamboro Downs live stream and hoping Muscle Mass daughter Tipsy In Dixie can extend her Grassroots win streak. In addition to the Grassroots divisions, which go postward in Races 1, 5 and 6, Flamboro Downs is also hosting two $7,000 Prospect Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies, which are programmed as Races 8 and 10. All of the action gets under way at 6:35 pm and fans can download a program and watch the live stream on the Flamboro Downs website. From the Ontario Sire Stakes Flamboro Downs Race Date Post Time Age/Sex/Gait Race Type           Thursday, Sept. 17 6:35 pm 2-year-old Filly Trot Grassroots Series           Thursday, Sept. 17 6:35 pm 3-year-old Filly Trot Prospect Series           Sunday, Sept. 20 6:55 pm 3-year-old Colt Pace Grassroots Series           Sunday, Sept. 27 6:55 pm 3-year-old Filly Trot Gold Leg           Sunday, Oct. 4 6:55 pm 2-year-old Colt Pace Gold Leg           Thursday, Oct. 8 6:35 pm 2-year-old Colt Trot Gold Leg                                  

Two years ago, when owner Doug Paul asked trainer Susanne Kerwood if she wanted to join him in the purchase of a harness racing trotting filly named Js Miracle Mass at the London Selected Yearling Sale, Kerwood said yes. When the horse sold for a price that exceeded what she believed Paul intended to spend, she thought it was the end of the story. Until Paul said, "Hello, partner." "I thought we didn't get her," Kerwood said. "Doug said, 'We really liked her, and she's got a great family.' So, that's how we became partners. "That's one thing about Doug and (his mother) Rosalind, they buy quality horses, horses that are out of great families. They have good people look at them, like Abe Stoltzfus and Larry Rathbone, who know what they're looking at when they're looking at yearlings. They're a very good team, that's for sure." Doug and Rosalind race as M And L of Delaware. They typically change the names of the horses they buy, with the colts getting a name that includes "man" and the fillies getting one that includes "lady." Js Miracle Mass became Susie's Lady. On Friday, Susie's Lady faces the most difficult challenge of her career, meeting Ramona Hill in the second of two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ramona Hill is the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing's weekly poll and counts the Hambletonian Stakes, where she beat the boys, among her four wins in five starts this season. "I would say we're racing for second," Doug Paul said with a laugh. "I think the whole field is racing for second." Ramona Hill is the 1-5 morning-line favorite. Susie's Lady is 15-1. Susie's Lady, purchased for $65,000, is a daughter of Muscle Mass out of I Am Special. Her family includes High Sobriety, the dam of 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, as well as Marla Bar, the dam of Dan Patch Award winner Bar Slide. "She's got a lot of good qualities," Kerwood said about Susie's Lady. "She's a really good-gaited filly and she's got a pretty good head on her shoulders. You can leave with her one week and the next week if you want to take her off the gate, you can take her off the gate. In a trotter, I find that a really good quality. She's easy on herself, let's put it that way." Susie's Lady has won seven of 18 career races and hit the board a total of 13 times, earning $69,296. She was found to be sick following a fourth-place finish in a conditioned race on Aug. 8 but returned to action eight days later with a win in an Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots division at Georgian Downs. The filly heads to the Simcoe off a second-place finish in a division of the Casual Breeze Stakes on Aug. 28 at Mohawk. Susie's Lady finished one length behind McKee's Angel but made up more than four lengths in the stretch with a :28.1 final quarter. "She raced super," Kerwood said. "(Driver) Scott (Coulter) had to check her a couple times down the lane and lost some momentum, but she was closing hard. "She's a nice filly. And she's got a wonderful name. I love the name." Kerwood also trains a 3-year-old filly pacer, Betalady, for the Pauls. The daughter of Bettor's Delight-Lady Jake is 9-2 on the morning line in the first of two Simcoe Stakes divisions Saturday at Mohawk. Betalady is a two-time career winner on the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold circuit and has earned $143,019 lifetime. She was seventh in her Fan Hanover Stakes elimination on Aug. 22, her only off-the-board finish in a span of six races, but returned with Lasix for a Gold start Sept. 5 at Mohawk and won in 1:50.4. "She's a super tough little filly," Kerwood said. "You can race her every week and she keeps coming back. I'm so disappointed we didn't make the final in the Fan Hanover, that's probably the first time she didn't race to our expectations. She wants to be a good horse, that's for sure. She's got a great mentality. I think she's a good horse." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

HANOVER, ON - AUG. 29, 2020 - Locally owned freshman trotting filly Top Of The Bar delivered an impressive performance at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 29 to earn her second  Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots victory of the season. Starting from Post 2 with driver Bob McClure in the race bike, Top Of The Bar settled in third as A Blue Blood led the field to a :31 opening quarter over a rain-soaked and wind-battered oval rated three seconds slower than normal. As A Blue Blood carried on to a 1:04 half, McClure sent Top Of The Bar up the outside and the filly continued to stalk the pacesetter through a 1:35.2 three-quarters. In the stretch Top Of The Bar finally reeled in A Blue Blood, getting up for a one-half length victory in 2:06. A Blue Blood settled for second and fan favourite Flanagan Destiny was third. "She's such a solid filly," said McClure. "One thing about Mark Etsell, his horses can trot, so when you go to a track like Hanover you can stand on them pretty good and know they can take it." McClure engineered the win for Rockwood resident Etsell and his co-owners Robert Newton of Walkerton, Graham Hopkins of Chesley and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. The Muscle Mass daughter was also victorious in Grassroots action at Grand River Raceway on July 29 and finished third in the July 13 season opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "She raced good. When she raced it was pretty muddy, windy and muddy, and she did it, I guess the hard way, first up, and Bob said she was good," said Hanover native Etsell. "He was confident. He knows that she's kind of a rugged little girl." Top Of The Bar will make her fourth lifetime start in the last regular season Grassroots leg at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 17 before heading to the Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 1. With a total of 112 Grassroots points, the filly currently sits second in the division point standings. The top 20 point earners advance to the Semi-Finals. Doing It All made a leap into the top 10 with her first Grassroots victory in the second $22,100 division. From Post 1 the Kadabra daughter and driver Stephen Byron got away second behind early pacesetter Snowfalla, who rang up a :31.3 quarter and a 1:04.3 half. Tribeca Seelster tallied the 1:35 third fraction and duelled Doing It All down the stretch, but Doing It All got a head in front at the wire for the 2:07.2 score. Kadillac Girl recovered from an early break to be third. "They weren't going much today, but it rained pretty good up there. It rained until just about post time," said trainer John Bax. "She's a big, big, good gaited filly who just doesn't know how to race yet and hasn't filled out. I think she's going to be more of a three-year-old." Campbellville resident Bax conditions Doing It All for owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY, who offered up $100,000 for the filly at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. In her three previous Grassroots starts Doing It All had finished seventh, fifth and fourth, giving her a total of 65 points. The final $22,100 division saw Tipsy In Dixie claim her second Grassroots victory with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 3 that saw her trot under the wire in 2:07.2, four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Movin To The Top and Fortune Tellers K. James MacDonald piloted the fan favourite to the win for trainer Harry Poulton and fractional ownership group TheStable Tipsy In Dixie of Guelph, ON, and the reinsman said he was confident in the filly from the start. "She just buzzes around the farm track, and she got around Grand River like a hoop on a barrel. I would have been thoroughly, thoroughly shocked if she didn't handle Hanover well. I was pretty confident going in," said MacDonald. "She's just a little beauty. She's just a good gaited, nice little filly, she doesn't do anything wrong. She's a little sweetheart." With two wins and a second in three Grassroots starts, Muscle Mass daughter Tipsy In Dixie leads the two-year-old pacing fillies into the final leg with 125 points. Click the links to see complete results and replays of the afternoon's program. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Hanover Raceway next weekend, Saturday, Sept. 5, with the final Grassroots leg for the three-year-old pacing fillies. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

INNISFIL, ON - AUG. 16, 2020 - Trotters were the stars at Georgian Downs on Sunday, Aug. 16 as the Innisfil oval hosted six $23,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old harness racing trotting fillies and the $75,000 Earl Rowe Invitational Trot for older horses. Profound Paragon delivered the quickest mile of the Grassroots divisions, powering around the Georgian Downs oval to a four and three-quarter length in a personal best 1:56. Fan favourite Moana finished second and early pacesetter Eternal Jewel finished third. "With Moana in there we were definitely concerned with the seven-hole," said trainer Julie Walker of the filly's Post 7 starting position. "There's always good horses, so you kind of always have to just hope you don't get any road trouble and it works out, so it did, it worked out." The win was the third in Grassroots action and the sixth straight for Profound Paragon, who sits atop the division standings with a perfect 150 points. Jean Bernard "Bert" Renaud drives the daughter of Muscle Mass for Carlisle, ON resident Walker and her co-owner Steven Titus of Manalapan, NJ. Off Sunday's impressive performance, Profound Paragon may have earned a promotion to the Gold Series for the September event. "The next Gold is on a half. The Gold is tough competition, everyone knows that, but maybe being on a half we might give it a shot. We'll have to discuss," said Walker with a laugh. "We've kind of stayed away from Mohawk, because we've stayed away from the speed train to let her learn speed on her own and not push her. I think tonight was the first night that, you know, the speed keeps coming." Trainer Susanne Kerwood captured two $23,150 Grassroots divisions with fan favourites Brinys A Flight and Susies Lady. In the fourth division Brinys A Flirt and driver Robert Shepherd took command before the half and made it look easy from there, cruising along to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:58.3. Oh Lina finished second and Golden Gavel was third. The win was the Holiday Road filly's first in 12 lifetime starts. She started her sophomore Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) campaign at the Gold Series level, finishing sixth in the July 2 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and then delivered a runner-up result in the second Grassroots leg at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 26. "She's not easy, I'm telling you, she's a tough cookie. Rene (Dion), he's worked with her pretty much all winter and just tried to get her to settle down, so every time she behaves it's like, 'Phew'," said Kerwood. "She is getting better and better and better, she's learning how to go faster and she's learning how to behave, so it's all good. I mean she's out of a great mare, so if she just is a quarter as good as her we'll be all right." Brinys A Flirt is owned by breeder Terry Devos and Clarence Devos of Langton and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. The filly is out of the Devos' great race mare Snazzy Millie, who earned $1.1 million in her nine-year career. One race later Susies Lady started from Post 7 and spent most of the mile leading the charge up the outer lane. The Muscle Mass daughter had a head in front of pacesetter Highland Foxytrotr at the top of the stretch and managed to fend off Pier Ho Kado in the stretch to secure a neck victory in 1:57.4. Scott Coulter engineered the win for Acton, ON resident Kerwood and her co-owner M And L Of Delaware LLC of Wilmington, DE. The win was the filly's first in OSS action this season. Susies Lady battled the Gold fillies in the first two legs, finishing fifth in the track, OSS and Canadian record mile by P L Notsonice at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 26. "She's a nice filly, that's for sure, and she's got a great name," said Kerwood with a chuckle. "In Rideau there she had a super tough trip. And I raced her in Georgian here last week and she come up super flat and I drew blood on her and sure enough she had a high white (count). I said to the owner, 'I can't get her good in four days, it's impossible, but I may be able to get her good for Sunday and that's a Grassroots so why don't we just try her in there and we'll go from there'. I took another blood on her yesterday and she was good to go. I think the next Gold is in Flamboro, so we may try her there again. I'll talk to the owners and we'll go from there, but she was very good tonight." The three-year-old trotting fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 1 and their fourth Gold Series start at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 27. The other three Grassroots divisions went to Rockadero, Protostar and Letstaketothesky. Muscle Mass daughter Rockadero toured the Innisfil oval in 1:58.1 for driver Jonathan Drury, trainer Carmen Auciello and owner Bedrock Stables of Stouffville, ON. Favourite No Angel Here was second and Ride To Justice finished third. Protostar delivered a 1:59.2 effort for driver Ryan Desroche, trainer Dustin Jones and owner-breeder Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. She Must Be Magic and Chelseas Magic finished second and third behind the fan favourite, making it a Kadabra-sired sweep. Letstaketothesky and driver Anthony Haughan stopped the teletimer at 1:59.2, besting favourite Alexa Blue Chip and Peppas Angel. Trainer David Holliday and Ben Holliday of Mount Forest, ON bred and own the Wheeling N Dealin daughter. In the $75,000 Earl Rowe Invitational Trot, reigning champion P L Jill defended her title with a front-end effort from Post 9. The Kadabra mare held off a charging Free Willy Hanover in the stretch, keeping a head in front for the 1:53.2 victory. Majestic Son gelding Perfetto completed the top three. Mike Saftic guided P L Jill to her second Earl Rowe Invitational title for trainer Ben Baillargeon and owners Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON, Jill Coleman of New York, NY and Alan Christensen of Calgary, AB. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - AUG. 13, 2020 - Thursday night marked the midway point in the three-year-old trotting filly Gold Series season and it was a pair of first-time Ontario Sires Stakes winners who emerged from the fray at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In the opening $108,000 division Trina hustled away from Post 10 behind division point leader Warrawee Vicky and followed that filly through the fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:24.3 rung up by pacesetter GP Dreamin. When Doug McNair swung Warrawee Vicky into the outer lane around the final turn, Robert Shepherd and Trina were hot on their heels and soon overtaking the two-time Gold winners. Down the stretch Trina opened up a three and three-quarter length margin on her peers, trotting under the wire in 1:53.4. Warrawee Vicky finished second and She Rocks Kemp closed well to be third. "Shep gave her a great drive. He didn't give up the three-hole and it was just a perfect drive for her," said trainer Blake MacIntosh of St. George, ON. "I was really worried about the 10-hole because she can get real grabby on the gate, and then she wants to leave a thousand miles out of there. That's why we opened her up a little bit, just to try and keep her a little calmer, and it seemed to help her a lot. And Shep did a great job getting her out right behind Dougie (McNair) and sitting in the three-hole the whole way. Not a lot of guys can get them away well out of the ten-hole, trailing." MacIntosh made the switch from a blind bridle to Swedish blinds after Trina delivered a lacklustre performance in an Aug. 6 overnight at Woodbine Mohawk Park. That effort came as a surprise to the trainer and his co-owners Stan Klemencic and 30 Plus Stable of Trenton, ON, because the Muscle Mass daughter had finished second in the track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record mile recorded by P L Notsonice in the July 26 Gold leg at Rideau Carleton Raceway. "She qualified great, both times (July 14 and 21), we took her up to Ottawa and she finished second in that record mile up there and last week we raced her in non-winners of two and she just had no fire, she just had nothing," said MacIntosh. "I'm not too sure what happened, we pulled her blood, but everything came back good, she just had nothing, so we were really concerned about it." Thursday's victory, a personal best, certainly allayed her owners' concerns. The win was Trina's first for the group, who offered up $59,000 for the filly at last fall's Harrisburg Mixed Sale, her first win of 2020 and her first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. In the second $108,000 division driver Louis-Philippe Roy rolled Royalty Deal away from Post 6 and landed in second behind Talahasse Seelster as that filly rang up a :27.4 opening fraction. Roy and Royalty Deal continued to sit behind Talahasse Seelster heading by the :56 half, but had stepped into the outer lane by the 1:24.4 three-quarters. Royalty Deal found another gear in the stretch and was able to keep a neck in front of Magic Cape at the 1:53.4 finish. Modern Mass completed the top three. "I didn't know much about how the filly was until Clark (Beelby) told me before the race that she could be aggressive on the track. I just made sure she stayed quiet during the post parade and going on the gate, and then everything developed for her," said Roy. "She's a big and fast filly." Roy engineered the win for trainer Clark Beelby and owners Coyote Wynd Farms of Vancouver, BC, who purchased the daughter of Royalty For Life and Cha Cha Glide for $50,000 at the 2018 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale from breeder Stan Klemencic, giving the Trenton, ON resident an interest in both division winners. Thursday's appearance was Royalty Deal's first in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. The filly made just one start at two and developed her skills in six starts against conditioned competition at Woodbine Mohawk Park this season before joining the Gold Series fillies for Thursday's third leg. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their fourth Gold Series start at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 27. Complete results from Thursday's program, which also featured the finals of the Millard Farms and Pure Ivory Series', are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Milton oval on Friday, Aug. 14 with five Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies. The fillies open the program at 7 pm and will also compete in Races 4, 6, 8 and 9. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

DRESDEN, ON - AUG. 3, 2020 - One week after making their debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle, two-year-old trotting colts Stonebridge Armour, Tymal Chrome and Arch Hall collected their second provincial victories on Monday, Aug. 3 as Dresden Raceway hosted a trio of $22,000 Grassroots divisions. Fan favourite Stonebridge Armour opened the Grassroots action with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 5, cruising home a three and one-half length winner in 2:04.1. Lovin Life Hanover finished second and Showme Some Muscle was third in the $22,800 test. "The gate was a little bit tricky with him in Sarnia, but I kind of knew him a little more today and he seemed to be a little more mature about it today too. He handled the gate really well and after that it was pretty much just a cake walk from there. I never pulled the plugs or nothing, I just sat on him the whole way," said driver Tyler Moore, who piloted the colt to his first Grassroots victory at Hiawatha Horse Park on July 25. "It was my 500th win too, so that was nice." Campbellville, ON resident Moore drives the Muscle Mass colt for trainer Jacques Dupont's Les Ecuries D'Orleans Inc. of Repentigny, Gestion C. Levesque 2005 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe, Mario Bourgea of Stanbridge East and Marc Camirand of Montreal, QC. A half-brother to $1.2 million winner Manofmanymissions, Stonebridge Armour was a $45,000 acquisition from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. With wins in both of his Grassroots starts Stonebridge Armour currently sits third in the freshman trotting colt standings with 100 points. Tymal Chrome earned his second Grassroots win with a gritty first-over trip, reeling in pacesetter Daylon Midnight and advancing down the stretch to a one length victory in 2:04.4. Doro Sogno tracked fan favourite Tymal Chrome from start to finish to secure the runner-up's share of the $22,450 purse and Diehard Seelster rounded out the top three. "He's been a nice horse all along. He just goes out, he just trots, it's like he refuses to make a mistake. He just wants to be a nice horse," said trainer Anthony Beaton. "He did the same thing in Sarnia, he went a big mile there first-up. He just seems like he wants to make you happy and not make mistakes, and that's great." Waterdown resident Beaton trains Tymal Chrome for Larry Menary of Branchton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON and George Harrison of Wanes Walton, England. The partners purchased the Muscle Mass son for $22,000 from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. With two wins and one third in Grassroots action, Tymal Chrome currently sits second in the division standings with 112 points. Division leader Arch Hall delivered his second Grassroots win off a pocket trip behind early pacesetter Insanity, who rang up fractions of :30 and 1:01.2 before being collared by Arch Hall heading by the 1:33 three-quarters. Once he was in command, fan favourite Arch Hall sailed home to a two and three-quarter length win in 2:03.1. Insanity settled for second with Willywin well back in third. "He just left out and that horse (Insanity) wanted to be on front so he just sat there. Down the backstretch he pulled him and just made sure he got through the turn fine, and then he asked him the top of the lane and he just took off again," said trainer Blake MacIntosh. "He's a nice colt and anybody can drive him, he's pretty childproof right now. For a two-year-old trotting colt he's really smart." St. George, ON resident MacIntosh shares ownership of Arch Hall with Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. The Archangel colt has been no worse than fourth in four lifetime starts, with his two wins and one second putting him at the top of the Grassroots standings with 125 points. All three of Monday's winners are eligible to the Aug. 15 Balanced Image Eliminations at Hanover Raceway. The colts that make the Balanced Image Final on Aug. 22 will miss the fourth Grassroots event, which is slated for Aug. 25 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Dresden Raceway also hosted a pair of $7,000 Prospect Series divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts on Monday. Los Ballykeelamigo scored his second Prospect Series win with a gate-to-wire effort from Post 5 in the first division. The Amigo Hall son and driver Tyler Borth bested fan favourites The Reins Of Titan and driver Brett MacDonald and local colt Magnitude Ten and driver John Sullivan with the 2:02.4 effort. Cam McKnight trains Los Ballykeelamigo for his Ballykeel Racing Inc. of Tillsonburg, ON. The second Prospect Series division saw pacesetting Northern Flame hang on for a neck victory over fan favourite Royal Jewels in 2:05.3. Goaltender rounded out the top three. Phil Hudon piloted the Muscle Mass colt to his first Prospect Series win for trainer Jodie Cullen and owner Gestion J Y Blais of Montreal, QC. The three-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Prospect Series start at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 6. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - JULY 30, 2020 - Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted a pair of $108,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts on Wednesday, July 30 and Macho Martini and Tokyo Seelster both made their third straight harness racing appearance in the Milton oval's winner's circle. First off the gate was Macho Martini, starting from Post 8 with regular reinsman Bob McClure in the race bike. The pair had to dodge a breaking Royal Tyrone heading into the first turn and were six lengths off the pace when Rookie Season reached the :28.2 quarter, but Macho Martini had caught the leaders by the :58.3 half and established a comfortable lead before the 1:28.2 three-quarters. Heading for home the fan favourite opened up a four and one-half length margin on his peers and hit the wire in 1:56.4. Master Grand overcame a bobble at the start and interference at the half to finish second and Rookie Season was four more lengths back in third. "What a fun horse to be a part of. Every week he just goes out and does his job," said Rockwood, ON resident McClure. "His personality off the track too, he's just a big, cocky kid, just a lot of fun." Campbellville, ON resident Luc Blais conditions Macho Martini for Determination of Montreal, QC, who offered up $37,000 for the Muscle Mass son at the 2019 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Blais said the colt demonstrated talent all winter and has already developed into a professional racehorse. "He was always the best colt in the winter, training. He's a mature horse, he looks like a three-year-old, strong and mature," said Blais. "He's very professional. He's got a nice presence. He's a proud horse, you know. What you see on the track, he's like that in the barn." With a full slate of stakes events on his calendar, including the Champlain and William Wellwood Memorial, Blais said Macho Martini will enjoy a mini-vacation next week after winning the first two Gold legs and the first leg of the Millard Farms Series. "He had three big weeks now and we're going to give him a week off," said Blais. "The season is going to be long now, the big race coming in a couple weeks. We're going to try to make him fresh as we can." In the second division Tokyo Seelster left smartly from Post 7 and was sitting third when Highland Mowgli reached the quarter in :29. Regular reinsman Sylvain Filion soon had Tokyo Seelster on the move and the fan favourite hit the half in :58.2. Harry mounted a challenge heading for the 1:29.1 three-quarters and got a head in front of Tokyo Seelster, but the colt kicked it into another gear and powered away to a three and one-half length victory in 1:57. Highland Mowgli finished second and Harry was third. "Leaving the gate I was just being careful to avoid breakers and stuff like that and once we turned on the backside, I pulled to go to the front, decided to control the pace," said Milton, ON resident Filion. "Once he got there he relaxed really good, he relaxed almost too much, he kind of fell asleep on me, until Paul Walker came alongside with his trotter (Harry) and then he took off again. He was really, really strong at the wire. "That's what I like about him, he's going to probably last longer that way," said Filion of the colt's laidback approach to racing. "I'd rather have him like this than the opposite, too rammy and stuff like that, no, that's a good quality in a two-year-old trotter." Richard Moreau trains Tokyo Seelster for Michael and Sam Sergi of Canton, NY, who purchased the Kadabra son for $52,000 at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. The Sergi's watched the race from home and were impressed with the youngster's third effort. "At the top of the stretch they were all coming pretty good at him and I thought, 'Geez', but when he found that extra gear then we were all like, 'Wow'. He could be the real deal," said Michael Sergi. "It's sort of bittersweet that we can't come there to watch, because we can't cross the border, but we'll cheer from home I guess." Sam Sergi bought his first Standardbred four decades ago and has shared his love of harness racing with son Michael over the years, from driving and training to breeding mares and standing stallions. They typically start their young horses at their Canton farm before handing them over to trainers, but Tokyo Seelster remained in Ontario after the sale last fall. "My dad usually breaks them but he was having some health issues so we just decided to leave him there to be broke. We were actually going to bring him home and train him but we live in New York, our track was really bad, it was pure ice for most of the winter, so that's when we decided to send him to Robbie," said Sergi, noting that Tokyo Seelster learned his first lessons from Moreau and his staff, moved to the barn of Ottawa horseman Robbie Robinson for his winter conditioning, and then returned to Moreau in time for the Gold Series season opener on July 9. "Every time we would call and talk he (Robinson) was like, 'Yeah, he's doing great, feeling good'. And a couple of times he was even like, 'You know, I really don't want to jinx him, I just don't want to say, but he is special'." Sergi said Tokyo Seelster looks to be the best two-year-old trotting colt the family has owned, and they look forward to watching him battle in the remaining Gold events, as well as the Champlain and William Wellwood Memorial. The freshman trotting colts will make their third Gold Series start at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Aug. 20. Complete results from Thursday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Milton oval on Friday, July 31 with three Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies will compete in Races 1, 4 and 8, with the first race getting underway at 7 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CHESTER, PA - TW Lauxmont, taking a big step up in class upon coming to Harrah's Philadelphia from Pocono, nonetheless made it two straight harness racing victories in winning the $13,600 featured trot on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. Trainer/driver Tom Jackson put the victorious altered son of Oh So White in play early, securing a pocket tuck behind favored Grapple Hanover, who overcame the outside post eight to put up fractions of :27.2, :56.3, and 1:24.4. At the last-named station the pacesetter was joined by first-over Macmorris Hanover, who battled hard and went to the lead in the stretch, only to see Jackson rally up the inside with TW Lauxmont to take a neck victory over him in 1:54.3, just a tick behind the mark he set at Pocono for owner LCT Stable. There were also a pair of $11,600 trots for the fast-class seasoned performers in the sub-feature category, In one, the Yankee Glide gelding Max imitated TW Lauxmont by winning just a fifth shy of a recent recordtaking Pocono mile while winning in 1:53.3 staying safe over Tight Lines late in 1:53.3. Yannick Gingras drove the winner, who led from the quarter onward, as he raised his bankroll to $199,600 for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Frank Baldachino. The other subfeature trot saw the Muscle Mass gelding Clive Bigsby lower his record to 1:52.4 in posting his second straight win. "Clive" grabbed the early lead, yielded it to Winning Shadow to sit the pocket, then wheeled out an eighth of a mile from home and easily overtook the leader for driver Dexter Dunn, trainer Jim Campbell, and Runthetable Stables while raising his lifetime earnings to $283,450. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

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