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MILTON, ON - August 16, 2018 - The Pure Ivory and Define The World Series resumed Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The second-leg of each event saw a single $14,000 divisions with six competitors. The Pure Ivory for fillies did not feature round one winner Dark As A Pocket, while Smart As Hill was attempting to repeat his first-leg score. Mark Steacy trainee Minor Obsession was a front-end winner in her Pure Ivory Series debut. The daughter of Muscle Mass and driver James MacDonald floated away before trotting on to secure the front entering the first-turn. Minor Obsession hung up fractions of :29.4, 1:02.1 and 1:32.2 before stepping home in :28 for a 2:00.2 victory. Grimmie Hanover finished a length and a quarter back in second, while Angel For Life was third. A $17,500 Goshen Yearling Sale purchase, Minor Obsession picked up her first-career victory in her third start Thursday. The Steacy trainee finished second in her debut on July 26 at Woodbine Mohawk Park before finishing sixth in a New York Sires Stakes leg on August 3 at Tioga Downs. Minor Obsession pushes her earnings to $10,500 for owners Mark Steacy and Salt Hill Farm Limited. She paid $5.10 to win. Smart As Hill may have won the first leg of the Define The World, but the Mike Keeling trainee didn't receive much respect at the windows and went off at odds of 10/1. Royal Rob entered Thursday's second leg undefeated in two starts, which included an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division score. The Bob McIntosh trainee was the talk of the toteboard at 1/5, but unfortunately for his connections made a break after the start. Steuben Hanover, who got nailed at the wire by Smart As Hill in round one, went off as the 3/1 second-choice. The Luc Blais trainee made a break at three-quarters when moving on the outside from fourth. Meanwhile, Smart As Hill and driver Roger Mayotte enjoyed a perfect two-hole trip behind Cesar Duharas, who posted fractions of :30, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4. Mayotte angled Smart As Hill from the two-hole just before three-quarters and proceeded to trot by the leader and go on to a 1:59 victory. Blazing Trail finished a length back in second, while Cesar Duharas was third. A son of Muscle Hill, Smart As Hill improved to two for four with his second leg score and will now have an opportunity at a series sweep. The Keeling trainee was a $70,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. Smart As Hill has earned $19,180 in four starts for owners Dreamville Stable and Harbor Racing Stable LLC. He paid $23.30 to win. The finals of the Pure Ivory and Define The World will take place next Thursday (August 23). Live racing continues Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

AUGUST 9, 2018 - Roger Mayotte has been expecting big things from Okeanos since the harness racing gelding arrived in his barn last October and on Thursday night the two-year-old trotter put all the pieces together and gave the Mississauga resident a trip to the Gold Series winner's circle for his birthday. "I was hoping," said Mayotte with a chuckle. "I was hoping. "He's very, very nervous, a high strung horse. He's been an ongoing project that way through the winter," the 62-year-old continued. "We had to get him over that stuff, but he's always showed us some speed and the gait." Okeanos showed off both his gait and speed in Thursday's victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Starting from Post 7 in the second $67,200 Gold division, Mayotte settled the gelding in seventh as Lifetime Royalty stormed out to a :27.4 opening quarter. The pair joined the parade up the outer lane heading for the :57.2 half and by the 1:26.3 three-quarters they were three-wide and Mayotte was reaching for another gear. Okeanos responded with a burst that saw him reel in the leaders and claim a one-half length victory in 1:56.4. Southwind Avenger also closed hard to claim second and fan favourite Dream Nation was third. The win was Okeanos' first, coming on the heels of a break in the July 16 Gold Series season opener and a hard-closing second in the July 31 Grassroots leg, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He's been showing a lot of promise all along and when he broke in that first Gold there, in my mind he was going to be first or second, the way he was starting to change gears. Unfortunately I think it was my fault, I might have just startled him a bit," reflected trainer-driver Mayotte, who also shares ownership of the gelding with his partners in the Just In Time Stable of Mississauga and R A W Equine of Burlington, Ontario. "We decided to go to the Grassroots instead of going to Georgian to keep him on the big track; he's a fairly big colt." Mayotte noted that the long-legged son of E L Titan will also miss the Sept. 24 Gold Leg over Grand River Raceway's half-mile, but is eligible to the Aug. 31 Champlain Stakes and the Sept. 8 William Wellwood Memorial eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. So long as he remains happy and healthy Okeanos will return to the Gold Series for the Oct. 4 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, hoping to score another top finish and tally enough points to land one of 10 berths in the season ending Super Final. Through his first two Gold starts the gelding, a $62,000 purchase from the London Selected Yearling Sale, has accumulated 51 points. Okeanos Forbidden Trade padded his point total with a 1:57.4 victory in the first Gold division, besting Cool Clifford by one and three-quarter lengths. Isnt He An Angel was seven lengths back in third. Bob McClure piloted the heavy favourite to his second Gold Series win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The Kadabra colt also triumphed in the July 16 season opener. "He's been a complete professional right from the start, he acts like an aged horse," said McClure, who felt the colt may have been at his most impressive in the July 29 Gold Leg at Georgian Downs, where he finished fourth. "Last week was probably his most impressive mile, he was just beat a head for second. Three of the previous week's winners were in together and he had the nine-hole and got away last," the Elora resident told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. "I think he showed he's one of the best, if not the best colt in the division right now." A $110,000 purchase out of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Forbidden Trade has accumulated 108 points and $65,076 in his first three starts. Forbidden Trade The final division saw Royal Rob make a successful transition from the Grassroots to the Gold, scoring a second straight victory in 1:56.3. Knight Angel was two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and pacesetter CT Conabra was third. "He's a nice colt. He's smart and has a great gait," said driver Trevor Henry, who also piloted Royal Rob to a Grassroots victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 31. "He has all the tools to be a good one." Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh of Windsor bred Royal Rob and shares ownership of the Royalty For Life son with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Ontario, Gordon Wright of Charlotte and Randy Liepa of Livonia, Michigan. Thursday's victory gives the trotter 50 points toward a Super Final berth with two regular season events remaining. Royal Rob On Friday evening Woodbine Mohawk Park will showcase the two-year-old trotting fillies in a pair of Gold Series divisions, scheduled as Races 5 and 9 on the 7:30 pm program. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

AUGUST 30, 2016 - When harness racing trainer Ben Wallace lost eight two-year-olds in the January 4 barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre, the Puslinch resident expected to spend the summer stakes season watching from the sidelines. Thanks to the support of his owners and other members of the harness racing industry, that has not been the case and on Tuesday evening at Mohawk Racetrack Wallace posted his first Ontario Sires Stakes victory of the season. In rein to Mississauga resident Roger Mayotte, who also lost four horses in the fire, three-year-old trotting gelding Muscle Ave made his way up the outer lane from Post 9 and then sprinted down the stretch to catch pacesetter Mass Balance by a neck. Mission Man finished third in the 1:56.1 mile. "It was a bit of a surprise to be honest. He's kind of been a bit of a disappointment for the last three or four races - and I don't put that all down to his fault, there were some things that I may have done that I shouldn't have and changed some things on him - but he's come around and he looks like tonight he's the horse that I actually bought into, so I'm pretty happy," said Wallace. "I mean he was out the whole mile and I think he came a pretty good quarter finishing too." The 1:56.1 clocking was a personal best for Muscle Ave, who has tallied two wins, two seconds and one third in 13 starts this season for earnings of $39,370. The victory, along with a pair of fourth-place finishes in his first two Grassroots outings, gives Muscle Ave 66 points and puts him among the division's top 20 with one regular season event remaining. The top 20 point earners at the end of the six regular season events will advance to the Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 16, with the top five from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 24. "He's got one more (Grassroots) start I guess next Wednesday (Sept. 7), I don't think he's even in the hunt to get in the final, but if he wins again I think he might be," said Wallace. "Another win and that would put him right into the mix, and then who knows what happens. We're pretty happy with him anyway, he'll be a nice useful for horse for a couple years to come I think, so we're looking forward to it." Wallace shares ownership of the Muscle Mass son with Petrolia, ON resident Larry Ainsworth, who moved the trotter into Wallace's barn as soon as the trainer resumed operations. "Larry's great, I mean I lost everything last winter and he was one of the first guys on board," said Wallace, who lost 17 horses in the fire, along with all of his equipment. "I'm very thankful to Larry Ainsworth for helping me out, to get started back up again. He was one of the very first phone calls I received, and I certainly appreciated it, and he dropped me off a couple of nice horses, and well, the rest is history, as they say." Thanks to the support of people like Ainsworth and long-time owner Brad Grant of Milton, among others, Wallace has built his stable back up to 15 horses and competed in both the Ontario and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes programs this summer. Tuesday's victory was one small milestone in the trainer's journey back to full operating capacity. Muscle Ave In addition to Muscle Ave, Golden Son, Gonna Fly and P L Jerico all posted Grassroots victories at Mohawk on Tuesday. Golden Son delivered his third Grassroots win and eighth victory of the season in the first $18,000 division, going gate-to-wire from Post 1 for driver Trevor Henry. The Majestic Son gelding stopped the teletimer at 1:55.3, reaching the wire one-half length ahead of Agent Dinozzo. Innovative Force was two more lengths back in third. Arthur resident Henry piloted Golden Son to the win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON and owners Gary and Fay Clark of Oriskany Falls, NY. Golden Son Division point leader Gonna Fly sprinted from eighth to first in the final quarter of the third Grassroots division, hitting the wire in 1:57. Dynamic Edge and Zlatan were one length back in second and third. Milton resident Steve Condren drove Gonna Fly to his third Grassroots win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partner Earl Hill, Jr. of Ohsweken, ON. In 10 sophomore starts the Kadabra colt has four wins and two seconds for earnings of $44,900, and leads the three-year-old trotting colt standings with 175 points. Gonna Fly The final Grassroots trophy was awarded to P L Jerico, who took control before the half and cruised to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.4. French Bastille and JLs Bad Moon Risin completed the top three. It was the first Grassroots win for P L Jerico, who is trained by Matthew Dupuis for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON. Campbellville resident Mike Saftic engineered the victory, the Manofmanymissions gelding's fourth. P L Jerico The three-year-old trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Sept. 1 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts. The colts will battle for a post season berth in Races 4, 7, and 9. Post time at the Campbellville oval is 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

TORONTO, January 30 - Nickle Bag turned in a tremendous harness racing effort to win a thrilling $34,000 Preferred Pace Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The Bill Robinson trainee got away seventh in the field of eight for driver Trevor Henry, as Nirvana Seelster rejected a two-hole trip to take command for driver Rick Zeron. After a first-quarter of :27.1, Nirvana Seelster marched down the backside to the half in :55.4. Meanwhile, Henry tugged on the right line and blasted Nickle Bag from seventh towards the front to engage with the leader. Nirvana Seelster was forced to pace a :26.4 third-quarter, as the leader slugged it out with the first-over Nickle Bag. Nirvana Seelster held a narrow lead for the majority of the lane, but Nickle Bag refused to lose and grinded by in the final strides to win in 1:50.4. The Rev finished third at 25/1. Sent off as the 1/2 favourite, Nickle Bag now has two consecutive wins and victories in three of five starts this season. The six-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover pushed his career earnings over $500,000 with his 22nd career victory Saturday for owners Linda and Harry Loyens. Nickle Bag paid $3 to win. Nickle Bag Also on Saturday's card, Roger Mayotte made his first visit to the winner's circle since losing several horses in the tragic fire at Classy Lane Stables. The veteran driver steered Kenneth Switzer trainee Machal Jordan to victory in a $22,000 overnight event. The seven-year-old pacer showed his class by digging in to hold on for his 21st career victory in 1:52.2. Mayotte, who has won over 3,500 races and $52 million as a driver, now has two wins in 10 drives this season. He will look for his first training victory since the Classy Lane fire on Monday night with six-year-old trotter Kinetic King. Machal Jordan Post time Monday is 7:30 p.m.   Mark McKelvie

Grand Circuit week continued Friday night at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack with the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters A group of 12 three-year-old trotting fillies contested a rich $223,193 division of the Simcoe Stakes. Roger Mayotte trainee Elegant Serenity was sent off as the 3/5 favourite from post six, as she entered Friday's contest on a two-race win streak. Driven by Mayotte, Elegant Serenity and several fillies flashed early speed heading into the first turn. The public's choice was parked around the first turn, but quickly cleared to the front ahead of Danielle Hall in the second-quarter. Lock Down Lindy pressed at Elegant Serenity in the middle-half, but Mayotte put away the challenger in the third-quarter and took his filly by the station in 1:25. In the stretch, Elegant Serenity showed plenty of determination and trotted home in :28.2 to win by a length over a hard-closing Speak To Me. Bee The Queen finished third, while Danielle Hall was fourth. A daughter of Kadabra and out of the great Elegantimage, Elegant Serenity is owned and bred by Doug Millard. Following the race, Millard talked about his homebred star filly. "She's really come on strong the last two or three starts," said Millard. "Middle of winter I was about ready to breed her because she was quite a handful. Sandra (Burns) had to really work at her to get her right. She got her right and we turned her over to Roger and he's done the rest." Elegant Serenity now has five victories from seven starts this season after going winless in seven starts last season. The sophomore trotter increased her bankroll to over $288,000 with the victory. The clocking of 1:53.2 was a new career-best for the Mayotte trainee and she paid $3.20 to win. Elegant Serenity will now head to the race named for her mother, the Elegantimage Stakes. Elegant Serenity A total of 19 two-year-old trotting colts were split into two divisions of the Champlain Stakes Friday. In the $117,406 first division, Southwind Frank continued his dominance of the rookie trotting division with a 1:54.1 victory. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Southwind Frank got away third, but was quickly moved to the front in the second-quarter and reached the half in :57.1. The Ron Burke trainee trotted his third-panel in :29, before drawing away from his rivals with ease in the stretch to score a 4 ¼ length victory. Brooklyn Hill, who got a two-hole trip, held position for second, while Zlatan was third. A son of Muscle Hill, Southwind Frank added the Champlain Stakes to his impressive resume, which includes the Peter Haughton Memorial and the New Jersey Sires Stakes. Southwind Frank is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and J And T Silva Stables LLC. He was purchased for $100,000 at last year's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Southwind Frank's record now sits at five wins from six starts and earnings of over $310,000. The Burke trainee paid $2.50 to win. Southwind Frank Dominion Beach capitalized on breaks by the favourites to win the $118,907 second division. Driven by Brett Miller, Dominion Beach showed good early speed to grab the front heading into the first turn. Tony Soprano, the 3/2 second-choice, got away second, but made a break in the first turn. Deep Impact, the 6/5 favourite, inherited the second spot following the break, but he made a miscue of his own in the second-quarter. Dominion Beach was able to take full advantage of the situation by posting middle-fractions of :59.2 and 1:28, before trotting home in :28 to score a maiden breaking victory by a length and half in 1:56. Lean Hanover finished second, while Dreamliner rounded out the top-three. A son of Muscle Hill, Dominion Beach is trained by Nancy Johansson for owner Courant Ab and was purchased for $90,000 as a yearling at Harrisburg. The rookie trotting colt was making his sixth career start Friday and bumped his earnings to over $86,000 with the victory. Dominion Beach paid $15.50 to win. Dominion Beach The three-year-old trotting fillies and two-year-old trotting colts will return to Mohawk Racetrack next Friday (September 11) for more Grand Circuit action. Up next for the fillies is the Elegantimage Stakes eliminations, while the rookie trotters will contest the eliminations for the William Wellwood Memorial. Grand Circuit action continues Saturday night with over $2.4 million up for grabs. The $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and $685,000 Metro Pace headline the rich card. Post time is 7:05 p.m. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 28 - Many of harness racings finest three-year-old trotting fillies took centre-stage at Mohawk Racetrack Friday night for the Casual Breeze Stakes. A total of 15 sophomore trotting fillies were split into two divisions of the Grand Circuit event. In the $91,475 first division, Doug Millard's homebred, Elegant Serenity, went gate to wire for 3½ length victory. Starting from post position six, trainer/driver Roger Mayotte immediately took the filly to the lead, opening up by as much as two lengths by the half. Elegant Serenity controlled the tempo throughout, posting fractions of 27:4, 57:2, and 1.25:4. She opened up her lead down the stretch by up to five lengths, being chased late by Lilu Hanover to close the gap. Smokinmombo, the odds on favourite, stalked the pace to the half, made a brief bid at the top of the stretch and eased out to a sixth place finish. Second place finisher Lilu Hanover trailed the field down the stretch, making a late surge in the final eighth to pass Piscean three wide. Juanitas Fury was fourth by 5¼ lengths. "She had no real races over the last month" said Mayotte, following the race. "We knew she has a big plate ahead of her over the next six weeks, so we thought it was a good chance to give her a freshener". Owner/breeder Doug Millard later added that Elegant Serenity will likely be aimed towards the Elegantimage Stakes, which is fittingly named in honour of her dam. Friday's score was Elegant Serenity's fourth out of her six starts in 2015. She has now bumped her lifetime earnings to over $150,000 after Friday's stakes victory. Elegant Serenity paid $4.90 to win. Elegant Serenity Ontario Sires Stakes star Muscle Baby Doll scored her sixth consecutive victory with another dominating effort in the $92,475 second Casual Breeze split. Muscle Baby Doll, the 2/5 favourite, and driver Doug McNair left from the rail and got situated third, before making a quick second-quarter move to overtake the lead from Danielle Hall. The public's choice posted a half-mile time of :56.3 to take the field into the final turn. Lock Down Lindy, a Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner, picked up cover around the final turn and was placed second-over. After trotting by the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4, Muscle Baby Doll waved goodbye to her rivals and quickly extended her lead. Lock Down Lindy was unable to fire off her cover in the lane, leaving Danielle Hall to chase the favourite and finish second by two-lengths, as Muscle Baby Doll stopped the timer in 1:53.3. Speak To Me trotted up to get third, while Tymal Illbthere was fourth. A daughter of Muscle Mass, Muscle Baby Doll is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owner F Bellino And Sons Llc. The sophomore trotting filly was making her first start since a 6¾ length victory in the Duenna Stakes at The Meadowlands on August 7. "What she did at The Meadowlands was pretty spectacular and she was good again tonight," said O'Sullivan, following the race. "She's a beautiful filly, she's a professional and she does everything good and she just wants to win." Muscle Baby Doll improved her record to seven wins from eight starts in 2015 with her 11th career victory Friday. The Casual Breeze score increases her earnings to over $390,000. Following the race, O'Sullivan confirmed that Muscle Baby Doll is being pointed towards the Elegantimage eliminations in two weeks. Muscle Baby Doll paid $2.90 to win. Muscle Baby Doll   The sophomore trotting fillies will have a final opportunity to prep for the Elegantimage Stakes next Friday (September 4) in the Simcoe Stakes. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 15 - Favourites struggled early, but Artistic Fusion turned the tide and made another bold statement in the Blizzard Series Thursday night at Woodbine. Just like round one, three $16,000 divisions of the three-week series for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares were contested. In the first division, Bettim Jenny got up at 22-1 to pull off the upset in 1:56.3. Driven by Roger Mayotte, Bettim Jenny got away fifth and would pace along in that position for the majority of the mile. Mappos Moenhay, a leg one division winner, left hard to get the lead, but would duel with Tango Bayama to the half-mile before finally clearing to the front. Bettim Jenny got into the outer flow just after the midway point and was situated second over behind the favourite Wildcat Magic around the final turn. In the stretch, Wildcat Magic took the lead at the top of the lane, but Mappos Moenhay battled back on the inside. However, Bettim Jenny would surge by the top two in the final eighth of the mile to score the upset win by three-quarters of a length. Mappos Moenhay took the place spot, while Wildcat Magic had to settle for third. Bettim Jenny is trained by Jeffrey Lilley, who shares ownership with Rodney McGrath, and was coming off a fifth place finish in last week's opening leg. The four-year-old daughter of Largo won four of 24 starts last season, racing primarily in the Maritimes. Thursday night's victory is her fifth career win and pushes her bankroll over $32,000. The clocking of 1:56.3 is also a new career speed badge for Bettim Jenny. She paid $46.10 to win. Deuces For Charity was all heart to win the second division in 1:55.3. Driven by Paul Macdonell, Deuces For Charity flashed good early speed to grab the front and posted an opening quarter of :28. MacDonell decided to drive on in the second quarter and did not allow Sweet Princess, who was at the leaders saddle pad, to clear to the front and posted a half of :56.2. After putting away Sweet Princess, Deuces For Charity hung up a three-quarter time of 1:25.1 to bring the field into the lane. In the stretch, P L Hurricane, was first over around the final turn, paced up along side Deuces For Charity and took a neck advantage at the eighth-pole. However, Deuces For Charity dug in along the rail and fought back to retake the lead and defeat P L Hurricane by half a length. Onyourmarknatava, the slight 8/5 favourite over P L Hurricane, got up for third. Deuces For Charity is owned and trained by Kelly Goodwin and was coming off a second place finish in a division of the opening leg. The four-year-old daughter of Armbro Deuce won three of 15 starts last year and is now one for two in 2015. The leg two victory gives Deuces For Charity four career wins and more than $30,000 in career earnings. The mile of 1:55.3 lowered her career mark by close to two seconds. She returned $14.90 to win. In the final division, Artistic Fusion went off at 2/5 and turned in another easy-looking victory to set herself up for a chance at a Blizzard Series sweep. Artistic Fusion came in Thursday's second leg off a close to eight length victory in the first round a week prior. However, another first leg winner, A Fearless Affair, took a bit of support away from the heavy favourite, but ultimately was no match. Artistic Fusion and driver Sylvain Filion got away in fourth, but quickly surged to the front in the second-quarter and never looked back. After posting fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.3, Artistic Fusion accelerated away from rivals Badlands Love, who was first up, and A Fearless Affair, who got a two-hole trip, to win by 2¾ lengths in 1:55.2. A Fearless Affair ended up finishing second, while Badlands Love took the show spot. A four-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote and is now two for two this year after winning five of 19 starts last season. Artistic Fusion now has eight career victories and earnings of over $86,000. The final of the Blizzard Series will take place next Friday (January 23) along with the final of the Snowshoe Series. Round two of the Snowshoe Series is set for Friday night with three divisions on the card. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

TORONTO, December 19 - A long shot and a repeat winner prevailed in round two action of the Valedictory Series Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Two $15,000 divisions of eight starters were contested in the second leg of the three-week series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. In the first division, Verbalize and Roger Mayotte pulled off a 66-1 shocker in 1:53.1. American Island sprinted to the lead, but a parked out Major Deagan would over take him for the front at the opening quarter in :26.3. American Island wasted no time going right back to the lead in the second quarter and would carry the lead into the stretch after posting fractions of :54.3 and 1:23.1. In the stretch, the outer flow around the final turn would close in on American Island and Verbalize, who was seventh and third over at the three-quarter pole, had the most speed to sprint by them all to score a two length victory. Ransom Demand took the place spot, while Mittcent Van Gogh finished third. A son of Tell All, Verbalize is trained by Edward Galinski for owner Ronald Dale Randall of Berlin Center, Ohio. Verbalize now has four career victories and four wins in 21 starts this season. The winner's share of the purse boosts his career earnings to over $23,000. Sent off as the longest shot on the board, Verbalize returned $134.40 to win. The second division featured a matchup between the two leg one winners Kindofabigdeal and Company Man. A showdown between the two never materialized, as Kindofabigdeal went straight to the front and never looked back. A son of No Pan Intended, Kindofabigdeal was put on the front by driver Sylvain Filion, while Company Man got away last and over 14 lengths from the lead. Kindofabigdeal posted fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:24, before sprinting home in :28.2 to score a two length victory over Rural Art in 1:52.2. Company Man got into the outer flow down the backstretch and was third over around the final turn. The son of American Ideal paced a strong last quarter of :27.2 to finish third. Kindofabigdeal is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. The three-year-old has now won five of nine starts this year in his first season racing. His bankroll currently sits at just under $50,000. Kindofabigdeal paid $4.50 to win. The top ten money earners from the first two legs to enter the final will contest the $35,000 Valedictory Series finale next Friday afternoon (December 26) at Woodbine. Post time for the Boxing Day card is 1 p.m. Live racing continues Saturday night with an 11-race card beginning at 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

Mohawk Racetrack offers a stakes laden harness racing card Saturday evening anchored by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic which has two top Ontario-sired colts taking on five very talented sophomores. The card also features the $385,000 Peaceful Way final with several OSS fillies in contention, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial with one lone Ontario-sired colt, and the $409,000 Elegantimage final with four OSS girls vying for their turn in the winner’s circle. In addition to those great trotting races, the program will also headline the top pacing mares in North America in two eliminations for the Milton Stakes which feature three OSS graduates including a Breeders Crown winner. In the showcase event Harper Blue Chip will attempt to duplicate his sire, Majestic Son’s, 2006 Canadian Trotting Classic victory. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario, trained Majestic Son, who won the ’06 CTC by more than six lengths over a very talented field, and also conditions Harper Blue Chip. A son of Angus Hall, Majestic Son was a dominant force in the OSS during his sophomore season, winning seven of 10 OSS events. In total, he won $622,000 in the provincial program during his career. Majestic Son now stands at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ontario, and Harper Blue Chip, with $547,000 in earnings, is his second richest performer to date, behind only Charmed Life ($592,000). So far this year Harper Blue Chip has a summary of 4-2-2 in 10 starts and although he’s won two OSS Gold events and swept the Canadian Breeders, he’s best known for finishing third in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian last month at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian winner, Trixton, is also slated to start in the CTC final, with post five. Trainer Jimmy Takter will drive the colt who has won eight of 10 starts this year. Tatker’s other talented colt in this division, Father Patrick (also eight for 10) is right alongside in post six. It’s a formidable duo facing Harper Blue Chip whose driver Sylvain Filion is cautiously optimistic, especially given that the colt has finally drawn a decent starting position, post two, compared to post 10 in the Goodtimes final and post nine in the Hambletonian. “He’s been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post,” Filion noted earlier this week. “We’ve got a tough bunch of horses to race against, but he’s very good right now. I’m hoping for a good, close to the front trip and hopefully some top horses won’t be on their game, because we’ll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It’s a very high quality group.” The other OSS colt joining Harper in the CTC final is Muscle Matters, a son of Muscle Mass who will start beside Harper Blue Chip in post three. Mario Baillargeon will be at the lines for his brother Ben who handles the colt’s training. Yet to win a race this year, Muscle Matters has been close, with five second place finishes in six starts, three of those to Harper Blue Chip. The CTC final goes as race nine on the card. In the third race, the $385,000 Peaceful Way final, there are six OSS fillies in the mix including a pair trained by John Bax, Stubborn Belle (post one, Paul MacDonell) and Juanitas Fury (post nine, Steve Condren). Both fillies have two OSS wins to their credit this season and both finished second in their respective Peaceful Way elims. Stubborn Belle was aptly named according to Bax. “She’s always been a lot like her name, that’s why she was named Stubborn Belle. She’s been a little hard to get to do it the way we want her to.” Despite that the Taurus Dream daughter, owned by Bax of Peterborough and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario, has set two records so far this year – a track record at Rideau Carleton (1:55.4) in an OSS Gold event and a stakes record in a Champlain stake (1:54.2). Bax also starts the Muscle Hill filly Southwind Champagne in the Peaceful Way final. She has post six with Steve Byron at the controls. The other OSS rookies attempting to capture the event named for one of the greatest Ontario-sired trotting mares of all time, $3.2 million winner Peaceful Way, include Daneille Hall (post two, Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (post four, Roger Mayotte), Amoureuse Hanover (post eight, Doug McNair) and Lady Caterina (post 10, Phil Hudon). The dam of Elegant Serenity, Elegantimage, is the namesake for the seventh race on the program. A star of the OSS in the late 1990s, Elegantimage earned just shy of a million dollars during her impressive racing career. A quartet of three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies will attempt to capture the $409,000 event including Bax’s Riveting Rose (post three, Paul MacDonell), Tosca (post two, Per Henriksen), Sweetie Hearts (post eight, Randy Waples) and Muscle Babe (post 10, James MacDonald). The other major trotting stake on the program is named for one of Canada’s most respected horsemen of all time, the late William Wellwood, a member of Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a successful participant in the OSS since its inception 40 years ago. The only Ontario-sired rookie colt in contention for this event is a son of Infinitif, Dont Rush who has drawn post four with Chris Christoforou in the bike. The colt captured a division of the first Gold event for this group in early July which surprised his trainer/owner and breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario. “If you had told me in October he was going to win a Gold the first week of July I don’t think I would have believed you,” laughed Jones. “He’s exceeded my expectations since I brought him in the barn.” The OSS graduates competing in the two Milton eliminations are Monkey On My Wheel, a Breeders Crown winner at three and 10-2-6 in 24 starts this year for owner/breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ontario. The winner of $1.5 million to date in her career has post seven in the sixth race which also features the Camluck mare Camille ($1.1 million to date) in post four. Voelz Hanover ($1.5 million lifetime) is the lone Ontario-sired distaffer in the second Milton elim, race 10. In addition to all of the on-track action, Mohawk is also celebrating their fans with Fan Appreciation Night Saturday featuring a first bet on the house, giveaways after each race and a $5 food voucher to the first 1,000 fans. To view the full card please click Mohawk Entries - September 13.

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 9 - The $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic headlines an outstanding harness racing stakes filled card this Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Along with this year's 'Trotting Classic', the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial and the $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes are also carded for Saturday night. In total, over $2 million in purses are up for grabs on the 13-race card. The Canadian Trotting Classic is annually Canada's richest race for trotters. Established in 1976, the 'Trotting Classic' has been won by some of harness racing's greatest trotters, including Armbro Goal ('88), Yankee Paco ('00), Windsongs Legacy ('04), Donato Hanover ('07), Deweycheatumnhowe ('08) and Muscle Hill ('09). Leading the group of seven for this year's 'Trotting Classic' is the Jimmy Takter trained duo of Father Patrick and Trixton. Father Patrick (PP6), last year's Two-year-old Trotter of the Year on both sides of the border, has won 18 of his 21 career starts and is coming into the 'Trotting Classic' off victories in the $340,000 Zweig Memorial and the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. A son of Cantab Hall - Gala Dream, Father Patrick, who will be driven by Yannick Gingras, won last year's William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk and is undefeated in three starts over the Campbellville oval. Father Patrick enters the $682,000 'Trotting Classic' with career earnings of more than $1.5 million. Trixton (PP5), this year's $1 million Hambletonian winner, is looking to defeat his stablemate once again in a rich stakes event and continue his dominance at Mohawk. Driven by trainer Jimmy Takter, Trixton captured this year's Hambletonian on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but never got the chance to go head-to-head with his stablemate as Father Patrick made a break at the start. A son of Muscle Hill - Emilie Cas El, Trixton has had plenty of success at Mohawk this season. He won the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14 and most recently captured the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes on August 30. He also holds the Mohawk Track Record for a three-year-old trotter of 1:51.3. Trixton has won 12 of 18 career starts and is approaching millionaire status with $961,876 in career earnings. Takter is seeking his third Canadian Trotting Classic title as a trainer and second as a driver. He trained and drove Red Xing to victory in 1997 and conditioned the great Kadabra in 2002. While most of the fanfare will surround the Tatker duo, local standout Harper Blue Chip will be looking to steal the spotlight. Trained by Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip (PP2) has dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has held his own against Grand Circuit company. Harper Blue Chip finished third in the Hambletonian, won by Trixton, and fourth in the $500,000 Beal Memorial at Pocono, which was won by Father Patrick. Steacy will be looking for his second 'Trotting Classic' crown after he won the 2006 edition with Harper Blue Chip's sire, Majestic Son. Most recently, Harper Blue Chip made a rare appearance off the board when he finished fourth in the Simcoe Stakes, but driver Sylvain Filion was happy with the way his colt raced. "I thought he raced really well. He had a real bad post (post position ten)," said Filion. "He trotted large down the lane and had lots of trot at the wire." The luck of the draw was on Harper Blue Chip's side in the 'Trotting Classic', as he will start from post two and Filion hopes to build off that luck. "There's a lot of good horses in there, but we drew good and with a lucky trip you never know." As for what kind of trip Harper Blue Chip will need, Filion believes in a small field of seven the closer the better. "I think you've got to try and be close, especially in a short field like that. If you stay back there probably won't be a lot of early speed, so you will need to be close to the front." The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin has won eight of 18 career starts and has a bankroll of $547,749. The other four starters in this year's Canadian Trotting Classic are E L Titan (PP1 - Chris Christoforou), Muscle Matters (PP3 - Mario Baillargeon), Il Sogno Dream (PP4 - Aaron Merriman) and Damfoolrmillionair (PP7 - Randy Waples). The 'Trotting Classic' is carded as Race 9 this Saturday night. The $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, which has normally been contested in June, will be making it's Canadian Trotting Classic night debut. 11 of the sport's best sophomore trotting fillies will contest the rich final. Just like the 'Trotting Classic', Jimmy Takter sends out the favourite in the Elegantimage. Shake It Cerry (PP7) has won 16 of 21 career starts and banked over $1.2 million in career earnings. A daughter of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Shake It Cerry was a Breeders Crown champion as a two-year-old and this year has won events such as the Del Miller Memorial and Zweig Filly Trot. Takter will also send out Scream And Shout (PP6 - Brett Miller) and has already won the Elegantimage three times with Southwind Allaire ('03), Pampered Princess ('07) and Lantern Kronos ('08). Completing the field are Demanding Sam (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Tosca (PP2 - Per Henriksen), Riveting Rosie (PP3 - Paul Macdonell), Vanity Matters (PP4 - Scott Zeron), Chivaree Hanover (PP5 - Doug McNair), Sweetie Hearts (PP8 - Randy Waples), Heavens Door (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt), Muscle Babe (PP10 - James MacDonald) and Designed To Be (PP11 - Sylvain Filion). The Elegantimage Stakes is carded as Race 7. The top freshman trotters will also be on display Saturday night. The $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes, for two-year-old filly trotters, features a World Champion in the group of ten that will line up behind the gate. Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill, won her elimination last week in a World Record time of 1:52.1. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Brief had equaled the World Record in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but in her Peaceful Way elimination she took sole possession of the World Record with her 3 ¾ length victory. Following the elimination, driver Yannick Gingras said she could've gone even faster. "She had plenty left, she is scary scary fast," said Gingras. "When she raced in the Merrie Annabelle I told Ronnie (Burke) after the race I still have another second...believe me she could've won in 1:51 and change tonight." Mission Brief's connections selected post position five as her starting spot on Saturday night. The other elimination was won by Jolene Jolene, a daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jonas Czernyson, in a career best equaling 1:55.1. Driven by David Miller, Jolene Jolene has won three consecutive starts and finished second to Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle. She will start from post position three on Saturday evening. Completing the field for the Peaceful Way Stakes are Stubborn Belle (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Danielle Hall (PP2 - Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (PP4 - Roger Mayotte), Southwind Champane (PP6 - Steve Byron), Dynamite Dame (PP7 - Sylvain Filion), Amoureuse Hanover (PP8 - Doug McNair), Juanitas Fury (PP9 - Steve Condren) and Lady Caterina (PP10 - Phil Hudon). The Peaceful Way is carded as Race 3. Two eliminations were contested last Saturday to decide which ten two-year-old colts and geldings would advance to the final of the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial. Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Shake It Cerry, won the first elimination in a career best time of 1:54.4. Trained by Takter, Uncle Lasse has won three of six career starts and has never been worse than third. He will start from post position three with driver Ron Pierce. The second elimination went to Lookslikeachpndale, a son of Muscle Hill trained by Luc Blais, in a career best 1:56.2. The 'elim' victory broke the maiden of Lookslikeachpndale and allowed his connections to select their post for the final. Lookslikeachpndale will start from post position two with driver Sylvain Filion. Completing the field for the William Wellwood Memorial are Gifted Way (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Dont Rush (PP4 - Chris Christoforou), Aldebaran Eagle (PP5 - Doug McNair), Habitat (PP6 - Yannick Gingras), Jetpedia (PP7 - Mike Saftic), Southwind Stryker (PP8 - Steve Condren), Wheels Ah Smoking (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt) and Big Rich (PP10 - Steve Condren). The William Wellwood Memorial is carded as Race 5. Also on Saturday, two $35,000 eliminations for the Milton Stakes will be contested. 16 of the sport's finest pacing mares have been split into two eight horse eliminations (Races 6 and 10). The first elimination features millionaire pacing mares Drop The Ball (PP2 - Corey Callahan), Camille (PP4 - Yannick Gingras), Krispy Apple (PP6 - Tim Tetrick) and Monkey On My Wheel (PP7 - Chris Christoforou). Completing the field are Aunt Caroline (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Mattie Terror Girl (PP3 - Scott Zeron), Summertime Lea (PP5 - Yannick Gingras) and Jerseylicious (PP8 - Brett Miller). In the second elimination, Rocklamation (PP8 - Yannick Gingras), last year's Milton Stakes winner, is back to defend her title. Trained by Ron Burke, the six-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover has earned over $2 million in her career. However, Rocklamation is not the richest mare in the field as that honour is held by Anndrovette (PP7 - Tim Tetrick). Trained by PJ Fraley, Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes back in June for the third consecutive year, has career earnings of more than $3 million. The other seven mares in the field are Charisma Hanover (PP1 - Yannick Gingras), Radar Contact (PP2 - Jack Moiseyev), Voelz Hanover (PP3 - Randy Waples), Ferrari Sena (PP4 - Sylvain Filion), Yagonnakissmeornot (PP5 - Jody Jamieson) and Shelliscape (PP6 - Tim Tetrick). The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $286,000 final on Saturday, September 20. This Saturday night, Mohawk will also be holding 'Fan Appreciation Night' The first 1,000 fans on-track will receive a $5 food voucher and prizes will be given away after every race. More details are available at www.MohawkRacetrack.com Post time this Saturday is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

The first leg of the Town Pro Pacing Series got underway on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack, with two $18,000 divisions taking place. In the first division, heavy favourite Major Dancer lived up to expectations with a two and three-quarter length victory in 1:53. Driver Chris Christoforou dropped the Casie Coleman trainee in sixth early and got a second over trip on the back of Unique Rock N Roll (Doug McNair). At the top of the stretch, Christoforou brought her off that cover and never looked back with the daughter of Art Major-Two Steppin Sally. Major Dancer used a :26.3 last quarter to draw away from her competitors. In a tight four-horse photo for place, Poppies Pride (Randy Waples) and Sam (Roger Mayotte) finished in a dead-heat for second, while Polk Dot Hanover (Rick Zeron) was fourth. To read the rest of the story click here.

Favourite Cougar Hall earned his second consecutive win over the game Machal Jordan in the featured $34,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Driven by Jack Moiseyev, Cougar Hall matched his 1:51.4 season's mark that he established while winning the top class by half a length over Machal Jordan last Saturday. In this evening's Preferred, J J Shark (Sylvain Filion) forced the leaving post eight starter Lucky Terror (Jonathan Drury) to settle for the pocket spot during a :26.3 first quarter battle. Dali (Luc Ouellette) got away third with 6-5 favourite Cougar Hall following in fourth. As the field headed into the backstretch, Dali moved underway from third and took over the lead before hitting the half-mile marker in :55.3. The stallion was then confronted by Cougar Hall, who cleared to command past the 1:23.4 third quarter station and began to open up multiple lengths on the field to secure the victory. The late-closing Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) narrowed the winning margin to one and a quarter lengths. In Commando (Chris Christoforou), a half-length winner over Cougar Hall in his last outing two weeks ago, finished third.   Cougar Hall now has four wins in six starts during his four-year-old campaign and a seasonal bankroll totalling $60,100. The grey son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by trainer Jeff Gillis, Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol, Thomas Kyron and Carl Jamieson. Cougar Hall paid $4.40 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

TORONTO, January 24 - A pair of $15,000 divisions of the second round of the Blizzard Series highlighted the Friday evening programme at Woodbine. Rock N Roll Xample and Murrayfield provided victories in their respective divisions. In the first split, Rock N Roll Xample and Randy Waples got under the wire first in 1:56.2. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover laid parked on the outside at the opening quarter in :28.1, before clearing to the front and allowing post time favourite Miss Poppycock (Chris Christoforou) to brush to command in the second quarter. Miss Poppycock would continue to lead past the half in :58 with Stonebridge Classy (Phil Hudon) parked on the outside. Rock N Roll Xample would continue to enjoy a pocket trip through three-quarters in 1:26.3, before making her move down the stretch. Miss Poppycock was still in command turning for home, but in deep stretch the talented mare began to drift off the rail allowing Rock N Roll Xample a clear passing lane. Rock N Roll Xample continued her ground-saving trip and edged by her rival to win by one and three quarter lengths. My Victorino (Roger Mayotte) came from off-the-pace to finish third. Trained by Shawn Robinson for owner/breeder Robert Hamather, Rock N Roll Xample enjoyed her third career victory and a new lifetime best. Her career earnings now sit at $16,340. She paid $10.10 to win. After finishing second by a neck in last week's first leg of the series, even-money favourite Murrayfield and Keith Oliver went gate-to wire in 1:55.1 to take the second division. The daughter of Jeremes Jet led through panels of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:26.2, before fending off a challenge from pocket sitter Lyonsaura (Randy Waples) to win by one and a quarter lengths. Lyonsaura finished second, with Winbak Ella (Sylvain Filion) third. Trained by Murray Brethour for owner/breeder Dr. Huw Llewellyn, Murrayfield enjoyed her fifth career victory as her bankroll climbed to $50,860. She paid $4.10 to win. The Blizzard Series is for three- and four-year-old fillies and mares, who are non winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime as of November 30, 2013. The $30,000 (added) final is scheduled for Friday, January 31. Videos of all races are attached. Greg Gangle - WEG Communications  

TORONTO, January 13 – Woodbine Racetrack played host to a trio of Snowshoe Series divisions as the opening round got underway for three and four-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Monday evening. Hopiesdragninthedo kicked off the 12-race programme with a 1:55 score in the first $15,000 division. Driven by Anthony Macdonald, the son of Dragon Again sat In The Pocket before the opening station in :26.4, set by Lucky Nadotremblay (James MacDonald), before taking over command. Hopiesdragninthedo continued to lead his seven rivals past the half in :56.2. Post time favourite, Brother John (Jody Jamieson), angled out from fourth to begin the first-over attack around the final turn and was stalking on the outside of Hopiesdragninthedo past three-quarters in 1:25.1. Down the stretch, the pair separated themselves from the field, but it was Hopiesdragninthedo getting the edge over Brother John in deep stretch to win by three quarters of a length. Greystone Moe (Sylvain Filion) came from off-the-pace to finish third. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owners Carolyn Jarrell and Arlene MacIntyre, Hopiesdragninthedo earned his second career tally and increased his bankroll to $28,975. The gelding has started off his 2014 season in fine form with a 1-1-0 record from two starts. He paid $5.90 to win as the second choice. Even-money favourite Ontario Success started off the Pick 4 in the second division with a 1:56 victory. Driven by Chris Christoforou, Ontario Success was in no hurry at the start as Machin Money (Jonathan Drury) was quickest to the front past the opening station in :27.3. With the field well strung out, Machin Money continued to set the pace past the half in :57. Ontario Success found himself sitting well back in sixth, 13 and a half lengths off the pace, with second-choice KG Dragonator (Phil Hudon) on his helmet. Ontario Success began a first-over attack heading towards three-quarters, while Zark (Doug McNair) angled out of the two-hole attacking Machin Money before three-quarters in 1:26.1. Turning for home, Machin Money began to tire as the backfield was quickly closing in. Ontario Success was able to split between horses and fended off challenger KG Dragonator on the outside to win by one and three quarter lengths. Meetyouatmidnight (Billy Davis, Jr.) came on for third. Trained by Tony O’Sullivan for owner/breeder Emerald Highlands Farm, Ontario Success earned his third career victory as his lifetime earnings now sits at $37,384. The four-year-old son of Lis Mara paid $4.10 to win. In the final division, heavily favoured Littlebitaclass and Jody Jamieson clicked in 1:54.4. Jamieson and the son of Santanna Blue Chip settled away in third as Tex (Roger Mayotte) quickly gained control before the opening quarter in :27.3. Heading towards the half, Littlebitaclass was pulled to the outside and marched to the front at the half in :56.4. From there, the six-time winner led his eight rivals past three-quarters in 1:25.3 and fended off a late challenge from Tex to win by half a length. Dreydl Hanover (Keith Oliver) finished third. Trained by David Menary for owner Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Howard Taylor, Littlebitaclass increased his bankroll to $25,925. He paid $4.40 to win. The Snowshoe series is for three and four-year-old colt and gelding pacers, who are non winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime as of November 30, 2013. The second $15,000 leg of the series will take place on Monday, January 20 with the $30,000 (added) final on Monday, January 27. Videos of all races are attached Greg Gangle WEG Communications 

TORONTO, December 19 - Fifteen harness racing sophomore pacing fillies made their way to Woodbine Racetrack on Thursday ev ening to contest two divisions of the $15,000 second leg of the Niagara Series. The Niagara Series is for three-year-old fillies, who are non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31. After skipping the opening round of the series, U.S. invader Joe Bongiorno guided Solid Queen to victory in 1:53.3. In doing so, Bongiorno celebrated his first career win on Canadian soil. Bongiorno elected to use off-the-pace tactics as race favourite Wonderful Charm (Jody Jamieson) was first to the opening quarter in a quick :26.4. Wonderful Charm would continue to lead past the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:26.2. Dance Hall Girl (Mario Baillargeon) began the first-over attack heading to three-quarters giving live cover to Solid Queen. As the fillies turned for home, Wonderful Charm was still the leader, but Bongiorno showed Solid Queen open racetrack and the daughter of Riverboat King responded with a :27 final quarter en route to a three and three quarter length victory. Wonderful Charm stayed for second, over D Gs Pesquero (Sylvain Filion) third. Trained by Mike Russo for owner Scott Irwin, Solid Queen enjoyed her sixth career victory as her bankroll now sits at $60,667. She paid $7.70 to win. In the other split, Hands Off Hanover pulled off the 3-1 minor upset for Sylvain Filion. Putmeintogo (Roger Mayotte) was quickest to the front, but allowed Lyonssweetie to command at the quarter in :26.2. Heading towards the half, Putmeintogo retook command and laid down middle-half speed of :56.2 and 1:25.1. Turning for home, Putmeintogo was still in command, but the backfield was quickly closing in on the tempo-setter. Hands Off Hanover, who was fourth along the rail turning for home, found open racetrack in deep stretch and was able to pick up all the pieces to score the narrow victory in 1:54.1. Both Miss Poppycock and Lyonssweetie finished second in a dead heat, while Bad Girl Vegas (Jonathan Drury) finished fourth. Trained by Victory Puddy for owner Percy Elkins, Hands Off Hanover earned her fifth career victory as her lifetime earnings increased to $60,865. The daughter of Western Ideal paid $8.80 to win. The $30,000 (added) final will take place on Boxing Day (December 26), which holds a special 1:00 p.m. first-race post time.  by Greg Gangle for WEG    

TORONTO, November 29 – Woodbine Racetrack was the host of four Autumn Series finals on Friday evening, featuring sophomores of both gaits and sexes. In the $34,700 glamour boy final, Thorn In Your Side and Anthony Macdonald got the jump on their rivals down the stretch to score in a career-best clocking of 1:51. MacDonald and Thorn In Your Side were the first leaders, but allowed Grantor Hanover (Randy Waples) to command at the quarter in a quick :26. The lead wouldn’t last long as Thorn In Your Side quickly retook command and laid down middle-half speed of :55 and 1:22. Turning for home, MacDonald and Thorn In Your Side appeared to get the jump on co-favourite Alexas Jackpot (Jody Jamieson), who had stalled cover from the half on. Down the stretch, MacDonald was in an all-out drive on Thorn In Your Side as he got the jump on his rivals to win for the tenth time on the year. Alexas Jackpot closed well to finish second, with Sea Harrier (James MacDonald) finishing third. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owner High Stakes Stable Inc, Thorn In Your Side earned his sixth win in seven starts as he increased his lifetime earnings to $98,327. Thorn In Your Side finished first and second in both preliminary rounds. The son of Mach Three paid $4.60 to win. Be Winnin, driven by Chris Christoforou, posted the 35-1 upset as she defeated heavily-favoured Samira Hanover in the final strides to take the $33,600 final for sophomore trotting fillies. The daughter of Angus Hall sat In The Pocket throughout the mile as Samira Hanover laid down panels of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:27.3, before Be Winnin angled out to wear down the tempo-setter to score in 1:55.4 - a new stakes record. Fathers Amiga (Mike Saftic) finished third. Trained by Glenn Lalonde for owner/breeder Bob Key, Be Winnin increased her bankroll to $55,448 as she celebrated her fourth career tally. The trotting lass enjoyed a new career best in the process before returning $61.80 to her backers. In the $33,600 trotting colts and geldings division, Popeda and Sylvain Filion provided the 5-1 minor upset in 1:55.3. Popeda was in no hurry off the start as heavily-favoured Doubledown Gass (Reg Gassien) was the first leader through the opening quarter in a quick :26.4. Doubledown Gass continued to lead past the mid-way point in :56.4, before Popeda angled out of fourth and began the first over attack around the final turn. Doubledown Gass continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:27, but Popeda quickly surged to command down the stretch and held off a late challenge from Lets Leavem (Chris Christoforou), who enjoyed a pocket trip throughout the mile. Doubledown Gass stayed for third. Owned by Overseas Farms Ltd and trained by Richard Moreau, Popeda enjoyed his fourth career victory as his lifetime earning now sit at $58,676. The son of Ken Warkentin celebrated a new lifetime best as he returned $13.60. Machnbyrd Princess and Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren clicked in the $35,300 pacing filly final in 1:53.1. Putmeintogo (Roger Mayotte) was the leader throughout most of the mile as she laid down panels of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:25.2. Condren used first-over tactics with Machnbyrd Princess around the final turn and was within striking range of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, Machnbyrd Princess, Putmeintogo and Lyonssweetie (Randy Waples), who enjoyed a pocket trip, were all heads apart with Machnbyrd Princess getting the upper hand on her rivals in the final strides. Post time favourite Lyonssweetie finished second, with Putmeintogo completing the triactor. Shawn Robinson trains the six-time winner for owner Canamerica Capital Corp and Hyatt Holdings. The daughter of Mach Three increased her bankroll to $91,360. She paid $9.50 to win as the third choice. Videos of all races are attached. Greg Gangle WEG Communications 

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