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Kneedeep N Custard went last-to-first in the hotly-contested last Open event of the Fraser Downs spring harness racing meet on Apr. 17, coming within two fifths of a track record.   Kelly Hoerdt pulled the five-year-old back to the trailing spot in the five-horse field early as odds-on favourite Tiempo Hanover (Brandon Campbell) took the lead. Armycaptin Hanover (Scott Knight) pressured the leader through a :27 opening split from the first-over spot and remained parked through the half in a blazing :54.   Tiempo Hanover continued to lead, and Armycaptain Hanover maintained the first-up bid to three-quarters in 1:21.2 as Kneedeep N Custard wound up from the backfield. He made up ground quickly and went three-wide around Armycaptin Hanover as they turned for home. Kneedeep N Custard then outsprinted the tired leaders to win going away by a length and a quarter in a lifetime-best 1:50.4.   Tiempo Hanover and Armycaptin Hanover held on for second and third, respectively. The winner paid $10.30.   KNEEDEEP N CUSTARD REPLAY     Kneedeep N Custard, a Custard The Dragon gelding, improved his record to 22-for-39 and surpassed a quarter million dollars in earnings with the win. Hoerdt trains and co-owns with Blair Corbeil of Beaumont and Fred Gilbert of Brandon. The horse's previous mark was 1:51.2 in his Western Canada Pacing Derby Final victory in 2019. This mile was two tenths off the track record for aged pacing geldings.   The battle for the drivers' title for the meet between Hoerdt and Campbell ended in stalemate, as both drivers landed on 32 wins. The former clutched the draw with a win in the ninth with Overactive (1:55.4) from post seven. Scott Knight won the battle for third with two wins on the night to bring his total to nine.   Fraser Downs' next scheduled dates are in September. The track ended its spring season early due to Covid-19.   "We have no choice - we've literally run out of money to operate at the track," said Nigel Holmes, the executive director of Harness Racing BC (HRBC) in a press release. "It means our regular spring racing meet will end early, and prospects are not good for our regular fall meet, unless we are able to negotiate some form of short term COVID financial support from the BC government."   Holmes also said that HRBC is committed to finding a way to survive the year. HRBC announced on Mar. 31 that the government of British Columbia was unable to offer funds to keep racing going. The status of Fraser's fall meet is currently uncertain.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Chase The Ace took the Filly and Mares Open Pace at the Fraser Downs harness racing circuit for the second straight week with a three-wide swoop.   Brandon Campbell tucked the mare into the four-hole early and followed through the quarter in :28.4 and half in :56.3. Campbell pulled the horse out behind cover, which immediately stalled, and then went three-wide as the field approached three-quarters in 1:24.   Chase The Ace then vanquished pocket-sitter Cusdmagicdragon (Kelly Hoerdt) and Rocket Mystery (Rod Therres) in the lane to win by a length and three quarters in 1:52.3.   CHASE THE ACE REPLAY     Chase The Ace, sent off at 3/5, shattered her lifetime best by two and four-fifths seconds with the win. The daughter of Armbro Baylor also increased her tally to 15 wins from 45 starts and improved her bankroll to more than $80,000. Campbell also trains for Jodi Loftus of Calgary.   Campbell won five of the evening's 12 dashes, surpassing Hoerdt in the drivers' standings with just one card to go in the meet. Hoerdt won three. Campbell now has 30 wins to Hoerdt's 29. Scott Knight and Rod Therres are tied for third with seven victories apiece.   Fraser Downs will return with 10 races on Apr. 16 for its final program until September. The action will kick off at 8 p.m. PDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Chase The Ace captured the Handicap Open Pace for harness racing fillies and mares at a muddy Fraser Downs on Apr. 7, 2021 while making her 2021 debut.   Driver Brandon Campbell tucked her into third through a first quarter in :29.3. They remained inside as consistent open contender Cusdmagicdragon (Kelly Hoerdt) carved out fractions of :58.3 and 1:27.1 on the front end.   Campbell triggered Chase The Ace's move coming around the final turn, and the pair easily stepped around the top two. She won by four and a half lengths in 1:55.4 going away. Rockin Mystery (Rod Therres) reached up for second over Cusdmagicdragon, who finished third.   CHASE THE ACE REPLAY     Chase The Ace has now won 14 of her 44 lifetime tries and earned more than $75,000. Campbell also trains the five-year-old Armbro Baylor mare for Jodi Loftus of Calgary. The horse went eight-for-23 last season and made just shy of $50,000.   Hoerdt and Campbell renewed their battle for the top of the drivers' standings, winning five and three races, respectively. Hoerdt holds a three-win advantage over Campbell after the Apr. 7 program. Scott Knight won two to improve his tally to six on the evening and jump Therres for third place.   Hoerdt also trained five winners and leads Jim Marino in the trainers' table by 11.   Fraser Downs will be back on Friday, Apr. 9 with 10 races starting at 8 p.m. PDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Dontpokethedragon remained undefeated in 2021 as he won the harness racing Open Handicap Pace at Fraser Downs with a late rail dive on Friday, Apr. 2.   Driver Brandon Campbell urged him fastest off the gate, reaching the top briefly before Kneedeep N Custard (Kelly Hoerdt) drove on to assume command. Kneedeep N Custard led through fractions of :27.2, :57, and 1:26.3.   Armycaptin Hanover (Scott Knight) lurked first-over turning for home and Dontpokethedragon remained in the pocket. Kneedeep N Custard fought on, but Dontpokethedragon unfurled his wings with a 1/16th to go and slid up the passing lane to win by half a length in 1:55.2.   Armycaptin Hanover just got up for second over Kneedeep N Custard, who finished third. The winner was a mild upset, paying $15.30.   DONTPOKETHEDRAGON REPLAY     Dontpokethedragon is a four-year-old Custard The Dragon gelding. He has won eight of his 30 lifetime tries and brought in just less than $100,000. Jim Marino trains and co-owns with Paul Sanders of Surrey and J J J Stables of Prince George.   Both Campbell and Hoerdt, the top two reinsmen at Fraser Downs, steered four winners on the evening. Hoerdt narrowly tops the drivers' standings with 18 wins over Campbell, who has 17. Rod Therres is a distant third with five winners so far this season.   Also on the card, the three-year-old Shadow Play gelding, Helter Skelter ($2.60), broke his maiden in the fifth race pace. He crushed a nine-horse maiden field in wire-to-wire fashion on his 14th start for owner/trainer/breeder Randy Rutledge of Aldergrove. Campbell drove that one to victory in 1:58.4.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Kneedeep N Custard forged to the front and jogged in the Fraser Downs open pace at 4/5 on Friday, Mar. 19.   The five-year-old gelding held an outside position coming through the first bend, and reinsman Kelly Hoerdt encouraged him on to take command of the race. The horse complied and cleared just past the quarter in 27.3. The shortened field of three others allowed Kneedeep N Custard a 56.2 half, but Paperback Thriller (Brandon Campbell) launched a first-over move going by three-quarters in 1:25.2.   Those two battled for a short period, but Kneedeep N Custard soon kicked away and extended to win by two and a quarter lengths under wraps. Cusdmagicdragon (Allan Molloy) came on for place, and Paperback Thriller was third. The winner paid $3.90.   Kneedeep N Custard's win started his 2021 campaign perfectly, and it brought his win total up to 21 from 36 starts lifetime. He's earned $245,822 for Hoerdt, who also trains, Blair Corbeil of Beamont, and Fred Gilbert of Brandon.   Hoerdt scored four in total on the card; Campbell had three.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

After a nearly three-month hiatus, racing is set to return to Fraser Downs on Wednesday (March 17), and as expected, perennial kingpins Jim Marino and Kelly Hoerdt have chances galore on the 10-race program. Marino, who has nine starters throughout the program, will send Sporty Dragon to post as the 8-5 morning line favourite in the evening's featured event, an $8,500 optional claiming pace carded as the ninth race. Like his five rivals, the four-year-old Custard The Dragon gelding will make his 2021 debut, and he does so after a 1:53.4 win in a Dec. 16 conditioned event, his fourth in 14 starts as a sophomore. Top Western Canadian reinsman Brandon Campbell has assumed the driving duties, and the pair will start from post three. His top competition in the opening night feature will likely come from Redneck Jim (post five, 9-5), who ended 202 with a string of minor placings in Open company. Trainer Dennis Johnson will drive the nine-year-old As Promised gelding. Marino also has starters in both sub-featured $8,000 conditioned events: Moosette (Campbell, post two, 3-1) will take on four distaff rivals in the second, and his tandem of Shales Storm (Scott Knight, post two, 4-1) and Dontpokethedragon (Campbell, post five, 8-5) will line up against a trio of male competitors in the eighth. Hoerdt's five starters on the program are led by Chazmichaelmichael, who has been installed the 2-1 favourite in the evening's final race, a $7,500 conditioned event. The four-year-old Custard The Dragon entire knocked heads with the tough Major Custard on the Alberta stakes circuit all season long in 2020, finishing fourth to him in the Western Canada Pacing Derby on Nov. 29 and third to him in the Brad Gunn at Century Mile on Dec. 12. Hoerdt, who will drive Chazmichaelmichael from post three, shares ownership with fellow breeder, Blair Corbeil. Earlier on the card, Hoerdt will look to extend Thankyaverymuch's current win streak to three in a $7,500 claiming pace, carded as race five. The five-year-old son of Betterthancheddar rallied off cover to win his last two starts — and three of his last four — over lower-level claiming company in December. To view entries for Wednesday, click here. From Standardbred Canada

EDMONTON, AB - The 2014/2015 Northlands Park Racetrack & Casino harness racing season came to close this afternoon with a 10-race card at the Edmonton oval. "Northlands Park is alive with action 363 days a year and the harness racing season captures some of the most exciting three months in the racing calendar," said Tim Reid, President and CEO, Northlands. "The 2014 and 2015 harness racing season was no exception, as some of the best Standardbreds, trainers and drivers in the nation came to the track to give our guests a great experience." The season's two biggest races at Northlands Park Racetrack & Casino were the Western Canada Pacing Derby on December 6, 2014 and the Northlands Filly Pace on December 13, 2014. Rummys Command trained and driven by Keith Clark won the $70,000 Northlands Filly Pace while Outlaw Gunpowder, driven by Philip Giesbrecht and trained by Kelly Hoerdt, took the $95,000 Western Canada Pacing Derby. The 2014/2015 harness season showcased the continued dominance of the 2013 O'Brien Award winner for Rising Star, Travis Cullen. He was the runaway winner in both the trainer and driver categories, never being challenged from the outset. A few career milestones were also set at the meet. Driver Brandon Campbell recorded his 1,000th victory in the sulky, and trainer Doug Shaw recorded his 1,000th win conditioning horses. Driver and trainer Jamie Gray recorded his 1,500th training victory while closing in on his 2,300th driving win. To round out the 2014/2015 harness racing season, Northlands Park Racetrack & Casino is proud to celebrate Alberta's champions for 2014 at the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Awards Night on Sunday, February 1 in the Paddock Theatre. Harness racing in Alberta will resume after a short break on March 28 at the all new Century Downs racing facility near Calgary. Horse racing returns to Northlands Park when the 77-day thoroughbred meet kicks off on Friday, May 1 with a 6:30 p.m. post time. Chris Roberts


Camaes Fellow persevered by a head over Wazzup Wazzup for the second week in a row to take the $34,000 Preferred Pace while Carmen Auciello had a training triple during the 2015 opening card at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night. Jonathan Drury sent Auciello and Stephen Klunowski's Camaes Fellow around early leaver Calgary Seelster (Doug McNair) heading to the first turn and reached the quarter pole in :26.4 over the sloppy track. The seven-year-old Mach Three gelding continued to lead the field, which was scratched down to six with Modern Legend out, through middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.2. As they passed the third quarter mark, Wazzup Wazzup (Randy Waples) launched his attack on the pacesetter and those two took off down the lane in a heated battle to the wire with Camaes Fellow hanging on for the 1:52.1 triumph. Calgary Seelster finished seven and a half lengths behind in third. Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) advanced from the back of the pack to finish fourth while 6-5 favourite Nickle Bag (Trevor Henry) earned the final paycheque in fifth. To view the rest of the story click here. 2,000th career win for Kelly Sheppard Making his first start of the New Year on Saturday night, Kelly Sheppard steered his own trotter Kdazzle to victory in the seventh race at Flamboro Downs and reached a special career milestone in the process. Sheppard sent favourite Kdazzle ($4.50) on the move near the half and advanced from fourth into the pocket spot behind the pacesetting Empire Strikesback. When the leader broke stride around the final turn, Kdazzle went on to win in 2:04.2 over the sloppy track by two and a half lengths with Audrey Pearl following in second. Sheppard's victory aboard Kdazzle was his 2,000th driving win. The Dundas, Ont. horseman trains and co-owns the five-year-old homebred gelding as part of the Sea Of Green Inc. stable. To view the rest of the story click here. Northlands feature to Blue Star Beauty Blue Star Beauty prevailed from the pocket in Northlands Park's first Open event of the year for distaffers on a frosty -23 degree Saturday afternoon. Driven by Kelly Hoerdt in the $10,000 feature, Blue Star Beauty followed pacesetter Crackers Hot Shot through fractions of :29.1, :59 and 1:29 before overtaking her in the stretch for the 1:59.4 victory over the frozen track. Blue Star Beauty paid $7.20 to win. Favourite American Passion abandoned an early attempt to leave after being caught wide and later closed from last in the compact field of five to edge out Crackers Hot Shot for second-place. Feelin Flush finished fourth and Clearly Best was fifth while Sing Like An Angel was scratched sick. To view the rest of the story click here.  Rod Donlevy loses fight with cancer at age 65 Surrounded by his family and friends, former Canadian Trotting Association President and longtime CTA director Rod Donlevy of Saskatoon, Sask. passed away on December 25, 2014 at the age of 65 after a heroic battle with cancer. Rod worked as a charter in the Western provinces during his university days and owned a number of horses through Ballantyne 17 Stable. During his time with the CTA, he helped negotiate the sale of the Evans Avenue offices, and was active in merging CTA and CSHS to become Standardbred Canada. In addition to his time with the CTA, Donlevy also started Central Program Register Ltd. with his father Urban and friend Gerry Cronin in the late 1960s. To view the rest of the story click here.

Charlottetown Driving Park hosted a double-header of PEI Colt Stakes on Saturday with the two-year-olds featured during the afternoon card and three-year-olds front and center in the evening. Gilles Barrieau, Clare MacDonald and Mike Stevenson each won three of the stakes divisions, which ranged in purses of $5,400 to $6,300. Barrieau pulled off the biggest upset of the day when he catch-drove Landed Alien to a 1:57.4 triumph, converting from the pocket to defeat heavy favourite Lovineveryminute at odds of 11-1. Jackie Matheson trains the sophomore filly, who earned her first stakes victory and a new lifetime mark. Barrieau also drove two-year-old winners Dixeland Band (1:59) for trainer Kevin MacLean and filly Jann Down (1:59.3) for trainer Stephen Mason. To view the rest of the story click here. Emotional win at Kawartha Downs It was an emotional night at Kawartha Downs tonight for the Boyd family, who buried family patriarch Ross Boyd this afternoon. They then travelled to the track to watch grandson Nick record two victories on the card including one with a horse he owns and trains. Boyd went gate-to-wire with his own colt, two-year-old Rise Against, who won in 1:58.3. Boyd, of Guelph, Ont., also trains the youngster, who was notching his first lifetime win in just two starts. Boyd was also in the winner’s circle following the third race thanks to a 1:57.2 effort by Lucky Regal. “We buried my grandpa this afternoon and tonight down the lane it was like he was helping me across the wire,” Nick said following the win. To view the rest of this story click here.  Accident mars Alberta stakes Mothers Melody and Shark Festival were victorious in the $10,000 Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Filly Stakes for three-year-olds on Saturday afternoon at Alberta Downs, but the final division was marred by an accident at the top the stretch. Charismatic Art (J.F. Gagne) was leading the fillies around the final turn in the second division when she broke stride causing interference to Rummys Command (Jim Marino) in behind and Blue Star Escape (Kelly Hoerdt), who fell in the backfield. The rest of the field was able to get around the breaker with Shark Festival (Keith Clark) closing off cover for the 1:56.3 victory. Favourite Rollin Deep (Travis Cullen) finished one and a quarter length behind in second with Great Desire (Philip Giesbrecht) back in third. Marino was up on his feet quickly after being dumped from the sulky. Hoerdt told Trot Insider he was doing okay after the race, but headed to hospital to have his left ankle x-rayed. Both drivers booked off their remaining assignments after the 10th race accident. To view the rest of this story click here. Hat Trick for Sparling at Leamington Hockey season may not have started yet, but Rob Sparling Jr. scored three wins on the Saturday afternoon card at Leamington Raceway. Starting in the third race with an impressive two-year-old Bettors Delight filly, Passion Delight ($3.70), "Spar" made it look easy, winning in 2:04.3 over the "good" track for trainer Andrew McCabe and owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. The time of the mile was a track record for freshman fillies. His next win with DS Surprise ($4.10) wasn't so easy as he battled tooth and nail with St Lads Top Model and Alfie Carroll, ending up in a dead-heat for win in 2:00.3. DS Surprise is owned by Archie and Janice McEachern of Alvinston, Ont., with Janice handling the training chores. Sparling's third win was memorable as well, as he drove three-year-old filly Blissfullannmarie ($25.10) to a maiden win in 2:04 for trainer Catharine Gaudreau and owner Don Wilkins of Bothwell, Ont. With the 2014 election campaign just underway, Lakeshore mayor Tom Bain didn't need the winner's circle platform to announce his candidacy as no one in Lakeshore dare run against the popular mayor. Still, he was in the winner's circle with his trainee Wallet Sniffer, catch-driven by Alex Lilley for owner Don McMurren of South Woodslee, Ont. and parked the mile in 2:02.3. The handle for the Saturday afternoon card was $9,153. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Leamington Raceway. (With files from Leamington Raceway)

Bestinthebusiness proved to be the best on Sunday evening at Flamboro Downs, winning the $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace for horses and geldings. Leaving from post seven, Bestinthebusiness ($14.80) out-sprinted outside assignee Adkins Hanover to the lead during a :26.4 opening panel. He continued on to the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:25 and then cruised home for the 1:54.3 triumph. Adkins Hanover followed one length behind while the hard-charging Tendtowin rallied wide from the backfield to show. Ryan Holliday was the winning driver behind the six-year-old Another Mile gelding, who is trained by Stephen Davis and owned and bred by the Mighican-based Brett Boyd Racing Inc. Eat Me Up ($14.50) left from outside her five rivals and went wire-to-wire to win the $10,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 2 in 1:56.3 with Insincerity following two and a half lengths behind from the pocket and Shellace rounding out the top three finishers. Bob McClure steered the five-year-old Mach Three mare down the road for trainer Richard Moreau and owner L. David Ratchford of North Sydney, N.S. To view the rest of this story click here. Wire to wire victory for Oakmont at Truro Oakmont went wire-to-wire to win the top class at Truro Raceway for the third consecutive week during Sunday afternoon's harness racing card. Oakmont held a commanding lead in the $1,275 Winners Over Pace through fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:26 and cruised home for the season's best 1:55.4 triumph with pocket-sitter Sf Razamatazz following one and three-quarter lengths behind under the wire and Electric Syl closing from the back of the five-horse field for third. Danny Romo trains and drove Oakmont for his last two wins -- one of which was a dead-heat -- while Robert Laffin took the lines for Sunday's score. Oakmont now has six wins in 15 starts this year in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. after a winless seven-race 2013 campaign in Ontario. The seven-year-old I Am A Fool gelding is owned by Grayland Farm of Pugwash, N.S. To view the rest of the story click here. Johnny Gun shoots his way to Alberta win Two-year-old pacing colt Johnny Gun won the fastest of the three Alberta Sires Stakes Lonestar divisions on Sunday afternoon at Alberta Downs while Darryl Cutting trainees Pablos First and undefeated Urcutoff were victorious in the other races. The Sires Stakes divisions carried purses ranging from $16,800 to $17,100. Favourite Johnny Gun ($3.40) was first up and first home to equal his lifetime mark of 1:56.2 in Sunday's middle split. Johnny Gun and driver Travis Cullen settled off the pace in sixth place from post five and began to chip away at their 14-length deficit after the :27.1 opening panel. They advanced into second by the half in :59.4 and took over command from Chillinlikeavillin (Kelly Hoerdt) approaching the final turn. Johnny Gun then began to open up on top by the 1:28 third quarter station and extended that lead to fourth lengths as he kicked home in :28.2 to secure the victory. Withflyingcolours (Keith Clark) finished second off a pocket trip while early trailer Senga Shaganappi (Ryan Grundy) followed the winner's cover and finished third. To view the rest of the story click here. Make it two straight for Carrera Angel at Summerside Carrera Angel made it back-to-back victories taking the Sunday feature race for the second week in a row at Red Shores Summerside. The time of the mile was 1:59 flat. Owner/driver Rocky Schurman hustled the nine-year-son of Camluck off the gate to the lead into the turn and then released Say It Again Sam (Jason Hughes) en route to the opening quarter in :28-seconds flat. Carrera Angel tracked the pacesetter through splits of :58.3 and 1:28.4 before unleashing a powerful finishing kick to notch his fifth score from 18 starts this season. Cambest Kisser (Kenny Arsenault) found racing room in the stretch to finish second with Van Zant (Ron Matheson) rallying late to complete the triactor. Action O So Royal edged out Paphos to claim the Peter Coughlin Memorial in 1:59. Brian MacPhee did the driving for owner/trainer Wayne Pike of Winsloe, P.E.I. MacPhee came right back in the next race with Jarretts Jet to record a driving double. Garth Cole was the winning trainer. Bakardi Arti posted the fastest mile of the afternoon going right to his lifetime mark of 1:56.4 for Walter Cheverie, trainer Jonah Moase and owners Neal Moase of Cornwall, P.E.I. and Heather Neill of North Milton, P.E.I. Driver Todd Walsh enjoyed a great weekend competing in the Billings Driving Challenge. The Charlottetown resident won another division of the Billings with In Cahoots for owner Leon Stewart of Summerside, P.E.I. Jason Hughes, Walter Cheverie and Kenny Arsenault also recorded driving doubles on the program. From Red Shores  

Three-year-old harness racing pacing fillies faced off in three $6,666 eliminations for the Alberta Sires Stakes Diamond leg on Saturday afternoon at Alberta Downs. Favourite Barona Mercedes romped to an open length victory to kick off the elimination round for trainer/driver Kelly Hoerdt. Firing from post five, Barona Mercedes set up shop on the front end and powered through quarter panels of :27.4, :56.2, 1:25 while extending her lead to five lengths en route to a personal-best 1:53.4 victory. Freesia (Gerry Hudon) and G Ts Jamie (Bill Tainsh Jr.) were the best of the rest. Hoerdt shares ownership of the Brandons Cowboy-Insurance Fee filly with Amy Henry of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. After just one pari-mutuel start as a two-year-old, Barona Mercedes boasts a career record including five wins in 11 outings and $28,897 in purses. She was also a stakes winner in the Wild Rose earlier this year and came within a head of the Alberta Princess champion Nighttraintovegas in her first Sires Stakes leg. To read the rest of this story click here.

1. National Debt, Scott Zeron, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1 Last year, National Debt won all four of his starts while competing in Alberta for trainer/co-owner Kelly Hoerdt, who received Canada's 2013 O'Brien Award for Horsemanship. He was sent to New Jersey-based trainer Ron Coyne Jr. for the start of this season and captured the Gilmour Memorial Series during the winter. National Debt, who finished fifth in his Pace elimination, won by JK Endofanera, has won seven of 10 lifetime races and earned $76,073. Owned by Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil, and the J&T Silva Stables, National Debt had issues with allergies earlier this season while racing in Canada and missed nearly two months prior to his Pace elim. "He had a couple good tighteners in qualifiers, and this was his first test for speed against these colts, but all in all it went well," Coyne said. "He showed a good burst of speed at the end, he came home :26.2 and he finished up really nice, so I was really happy about that. It's all a matter of the post and the trip and we'll see if we get lucky. "We missed a few of the big dances, but we're ready to go again," Coyne said. For a feature about National Debt from earlier this year, read here. 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1 JK Endofanera (Art Major-Presidential Lady) won his elimination in 1:48.2 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He is trying to become the 10th horse to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. For more, read here. 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, David Menary, 5-2 He's Watching (American Ideal-Baberhood) won his elimination in 1:48.1 and is 5-2 on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For more, read here. 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1 One of two horses in the race from the Takter Stable, Tellitlikeitis (Well Said-Kikikatie) is a son of 2009 Meadowlands Pace winner Well Said out of the million-dollar-earning mare Kikikatie. He led early in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching, but finished fifth. Tellitlikeitis, owned by Lothlorien stable, has won four of 12 career races and $389,022. He finished second to JK Endofanera in the North America Cup. "I expect him to be better," Takter said. "He had three weeks off [prior to his Pace elim] and that's a long time in this group. I had to play it like that with him, unfortunately. I cannot race him every dance because he has issues. But he's got a perfect seat, the four post. If the pace is right, we know he can pace :25 the last quarter. If I get him a little bit better, he's quick enough that he can give you something." 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1 The 2013 Breeders Crown champion finished third in his Pace elim, won by He's Watching. Luck Be Withyou has won once in five starts this season and captured six of 16 career races, good for $404,827. He is owned by John Craig and trained by Bill Cass in Canada, with Oakes taking over in the U.S. Luck Be Withyou is a son of Western Ideal out of the mare Trim Hanover. He is a three-quarter brother to millionaire female pacer American Jewel. 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1 The colt tried to find room inside of JK Endofanera in the stretch, but was unable to get past the leader and finished third in his Pace elimination. Just three-quarters of a length separated JK Endofanera, runner-up Always B Miki, and Lyonssomewhere. Geoffrey Lyons Mound owns Lyonssomewhere, who is a son of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Miss Kitty Hanover. He has won five of seven career races and $98,570. "He didn't have enough room, but I thought he raced really, really good," Takter said. "He can step out of the gate extremely well. It's hard not to take advantage of that, but by the same token, you pay a little bit for that. "At the Meadowlands, it's not necessarily the best spot to sit behind the leader unless he's a very good leader. If you don't get racing room, you're playing with luck. With luck, yes he can win, without a doubt, and we need to be lucky in this race. It will be an interesting race." 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1 Erv Miller is hoping for big things from the big horse as the year goes on. Jet Airway opened 2014 with a second-place finish to JK Endofanera in the Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands. Owned by Miller, Tangie Massey, Paul Sunderhaus, and Larry Agle, Jet Airway has won six of 18 career races and $130,834. He is a son of Jereme's Jet out of the mare Aromatic. He raced 10 times as a 2-year-old, winning three races, but was shut down in early October. Marcus Miller, who recently got career win No. 2,000, is Erv's 25-year-old son. "He's a really fast horse, a big horse," Miller said about Jet Airway. "I think, hopefully, from midseason on he'll just keep getting better. It just seems he needed the racing to get going. He went a big mile [in his elim]. Marcus did a good job and he had a lot of pace finishing. "I could tell last year he was a pretty nice horse. I wanted to shut him down because he was real immature. I think as time goes, he'll just keep getting better." 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1 Always in the hunt, Sometimes Said has won only twice but hit the board in 14 of 18 career races. He finished second by a neck from post nine in last year's Breeders Crown, which was won by Luck Be Withyou, and was second in the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Owned by Fashion Farms, Sometimes Said is a son of Well Said out of the mare Lady Sometimes. He has earned $341,254 lifetime. Sometimes Said finished second in his Pace elim, beaten 2-3/4 lengths by He's Watching. "He's had a good week," Campbell said. "It's hard to say whether post eight will help him or hurt him, it depends how the race unfolds. It would probably be in his best interest if they're rolling along up front and he can get cover in the outer tier. "It's a tough group of horses. He went a big trip last week and he'll have to come back and be better than that this week." 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1 Came home the fastest of all Meadowlands Pace finalists with a :26.1 final quarter-mile to miss by a neck to JK Endofanera in his Pace elim. Always B Miki has won five of 20 career races and earned $219,916. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or Farms, and Roll The Dice Stable. Always B Miki was disqualified from third to fifth for interference in his Hempt Memorial elimination and went off stride in his North America Cup elim. He has three wins, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, and two second-place finishes (by a neck and a nose) in the five starts this year in which he's minded his manners. "I was apprehensive coming into [the Pace elimination] because he's just been a problem horse that way," Holloway said. "He's got a lot of speed, but he's not the easiest horse to deal with. He steered fairly well [in his elim] and raced well. He can go a tough trip, he's probably one of the tougher ones that way, but he is tough to deal with. "He's got the speed to go wherever they want to go. As long as he gets a decent trip he'll work it out from there." Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin, who was trained by Holloway and won two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown (Cane Pace and Messenger) in 2007, out of the mare Artstopper. He is a half-brother to Yagonnakissmeornot, who finished second in this year's Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. 10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1 Elliott is the only trainer in the race to have won the Meadowlands Pace previously, having captured the trophy in 2006 with Artistic Fella and 2009 with Well Said. Only two trainers, Brett Pelling and Bill Robinson, have more Pace victories. Doo Wop Hanover finished fourth in his Pace elim, which was won by JK Endofanera. He is a son of 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Deer Valley Miss and is a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Knock Three Times. For his career, Doo Wop Hanover has won five of 19 races and $180,788. He won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in May and the Hempt Memorial Consolation in a career-best 1:49 on June 28. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski. Post 10 has produced four Meadowlands Pace winners, tied for the third most of any starting spot, but none since The Panderosa in 1999. "I've had better draws," Elliott said with a laugh. "But when [Doo Wop Hanover] gets on the lead or first over, he wants to rock and roll, and he's better with a trip. We should be able to get a trip from there, we'll just hope it's not a bad one. "He's been good all year. He's a nice colt. He might be a notch below the best ones, but there's so many times now when the trip dictates the outcome. We just want to be somewhere in the live flow. You've got to be in it. If you're not in it, you can't win it." * * * Tim Tetrick and Ron Pierce have enjoyed multiple successes in the Meadowlands Pace in recent years, combining to win six of the last seven editions of the race. Pierce has won the Meadowlands Pace a total of four times, second to only John Campbell's seven Pace victories for the most among all drivers in history. Pierce's victories were with Dream Away (1997), Art Official (2008), Well Said (2009) and Roll With Joe (2011). He drives Luck Be Withyou in Saturday's race. Luck Be Withyou, who starts from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line, finished third in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching. Pierce won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers with Luck Be Withyou. Tetrick has won the Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx (2007), One More Laugh (2010) and Captaintreacherous (2013). He drives He's Watching in Saturday's race, starting from post three. He's Watching, who won his Pace elimination in 1:48.1, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. "I sure would love to [win again]," Tetrick said. "I have a great horse to do it with. I like my chances. "There are some really nice colts in here and it's a tough group." Campbell will go for Meadowlands Pace win No. 8 with Doo Wop Hanover from post 10. Brian Sears, driving 2-1 morning line favorite JK Endofanera, tries for his second Pace triumph while Yannick Gingras, with Lyonssomewhere, also will be going for his second win. Scott Zeron (driving National Debt), Brett Miller (Tellitlikeitis), Marcus Miller (Jet Airway), Corey Callahan (Sometimes Said) and David Miller (Always B Miki) all are seeking their first Meadowlands Pace win. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Three-year-old pacing fillies were in the spotlight on Saturday afternoon at Alberta Downs as they faced off in three Wild Rose Stakes divisions. Barona Mercedes circled a field of seven to win the first $13,333 division in a career-best 1:56.1 clocking by four lengths for trainer/driver Kelly Hoerdt and his partners Amy Henry of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alta. Favourite Rummys Command (Keith Clark) battled three-wide early on for the lead before carving out fractions of :28, :58.3 and 1:27. Meanwhile, second choice Barona Mercedes advanced from the back of the pack and ducked into the pocket around the final turn before re-emerging to wear down the pacesetter in the stretch. Triple Action (Jamie Gray) finished nearly nine lengths back in third. To read the rest of this story click here.

TORONTO, April 26 - West Side Story, driven by Chris Christoforou, stormed home to win the $43,000 final of the Don Mills Series on Saturday evening at Woodbine. After capturing his division in the opening round of the series, the Per Henriksen trainee scored back-to-back wins and his fifth tally of the year. Mego Moss (James MacDonald) was quickly marched to the front well before the opening quarter in a quick :26.4 with post time favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) sitting In The Pocket. As the talented trotters headed towards the half, Crosbys Clam Bake (Paul Macdonell) was still parked on the outside, but would cross over to the position of command before the half in :55.4. West Side Story was on the outside in the backfield and was able to catch live cover as Hldontghttoyurdrms heading to the outside before three-quarters. Crosbys Clam Bake opened up on his rivals at three-quarters in 1:24, but West Side Story angled off cover at the top of the stretch and used his patented closing kick to wear down Crosbys Clam Bake to win by two and a half lengths. Hldontghttoyurdrms stayed for third. Owned by Steve Organ and Asa Farm, West Side Story celebrated his biggest payday of his career as his bankroll now sits at $140,157. The four-year-old son of Conway Hall enjoyed his 11th career tally and now has a 5-2-0 record from eight starts this season. He paid $8.30 to win. Henriksen confirmed that West Side Story and stablemate Frisky Magic will head to France to compete overseas. Earlier on the card, the undefeated National Debt extended his win streak to seven as he cruised to victory in the lone $20,000 division of The Diplomat Series. Driven by Sylvain Filion, the heavily-favoured son of Allamerican Native led from start-to-finish through panels of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.3, before coasting to victory in 1:52.2 Roget Mach Em (Jack Moiseyev) finished second, with Somewhere In L A (Steve Condren) third. National Debt, who recently entered the Bob Young stable from previous trainer Ron Coyne, is owned by Kelly Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil and J and T Silva Stables LLC. "That's exactly what we wanted to see tonight," Young said following the race. "He went to the lead, got a nice second quarter breather and brushed home strong. He looked well within himself at the wire and we couldn't ask for more." The bay increased his bankroll to $70,750, while returning $3 to his backers. National Debt remains eligible to the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup scheduled for June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. The Diplomat series is for three-year-olds, who are non-winners of $100,000 in 2013. The second $20,000 leg of the series will take place on Saturday, May 3, with the $50,000 (added) final on Saturday, May 10. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

TORONTO, April 24 - The undefeated National Debt will no doubt get the bulk of attention from the betting public on Saturday evening when he contests the lone division of The Diplomat Series. The son of Allamerican Native-Our Inheritance remains a perfect six-for-six in his career and is fresh off an eye catching 1:50.3 winning effort in the $60,500 Buddy Gilmour Memorial at The Meadowlands on March 8. The career winner of $60,750 in earnings recently shipped north to Canada from the US and into the care of veteran conditioner Bob Young from previous trainer Ron Coyne. "I've had him roughly a month today (Wednesday)," Young said. "He's trained once at Woodbine and schooled twice and it's all systems go for Saturday. He's had a really good month and settled in well." The youngster was a $17,000 yearling purchase for Kelly Hoerdt and Blair and Erna Corbeil of Edmonton. After going a perfect four-for-four last year in Alberta, Hoerdt and Corbeil elected to send their stable star to Ron Coyne in New Jersey at the start of this season to prepare for the Buddy Gilmour Memorial series at The Meadowlands. Prior to the series sweep, Jerry and Theresa Silva joined the ownership group following a private purchase. After his impressive victory in the rich final, National Debt was then sent to Young in Ontario to prepare for The Diplomat Series before aiming for the North America Cup. Although National Debt will make his first appearance on Ontario soil, it isn't the first time Young has laid eyes on the bay. "I saw him as a yearling after he was bought because he shipped to Mohawk then onto Edmonton to Kelly and Blair's," Young said. "I thought he looked a lot like his brother, Grin For Money ($476,632 - 1:49.4), but was a taller horse with more leg. Same type of head and stood well and very well built like his brother." After getting acquainted with the speedy pacer over this past month, Young admits that he likes what he sees in the North America Cup prospect. "He's very easy on himself and looked after himself very well," he said. "I wanted to train him this morning at 9 a.m., but he was sleeping so we waited for him to get up. That's just the type of horse he is. He's very laid back. "He gets over the ground very easy; he has a great attitude and is versatile," Young continued. "He doesn't need to be put on the front; he tracks cover really well and has a great kick to him." With the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup less than two months away, Young certainly has the June 14 date marked on his calendar. "It's a very exciting time of the year," Young said. "Piece Of The Rock was third in the North America Cup out of the 10-hole at 98-1 (2010 edition), so it just goes to show anything can happen in a race and that was a thrilling moment. To have a top horse like National Debt in the barn is really something special. All we can do is take it week-by-week and do out best to make sure he's at his best." "It said a lot about him when he won the Gilmour in (1):50," Young continued. "The question remains if he can go in (1):47 or (1):48 and be an elite three-year-old. We know he can go in (1):50 and hopefully there is another two seconds or so in him. Until he does it, we don't know." Following the North America Cup, National Debt will once again return to the US. "After The Diplomat he doesn't have anything to the Somebeachsomewhere then the North America Cup. After that he'll go back to Ronnie (Coyne) in the US and get ready for more stakes down there." National Debt will begin from post seven in the lone $20,000 division of The Diplomat in race three on Saturday evening. Sylvain Filion is scheduled to drive. The field will line up as follows: 1. Weather Hanover 2. Highland Tartan 3. Pop Pop Joe 4. Somewhere In L A 5. Roger Mach Em 6. Prince Clyde 7. National Debt 8. Account Rollover 9. Big Surf Also on Saturday, the $43,000 final of the Don Mills Series will take place in race seven. The field will line up as follows: 1. Its Payday Friday 2. Flight Of The Kiwi 3. Hldontghttoyurdrms 4. Crosbys Clam Bake 5. Our Mojo 6. Enough About You 7. West Side Story 8. Tough Mac 9. Mego Mossgal. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

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