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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shamderock Remains Undefeated In Sires Stakes Action At Cal Expo

Sunday, October 30, 2011 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo 

He has faced his peers nine times over the last two years in added money competition and once again Shamderock dominated his foes.

Two $15,000 divisions of California Sires Stakes for sophomore colts & geldings were contested at Cal Expo on Saturday night (October 29), on which Shamderock and Im So Sulky were much the best.

Luke Plano
In the division for the pacers, Shamderock and trainer Luke Plano left from post-seven in the field of the same number and raced four-wide until gliding down to two-wide position into the first-turn into a :28 opening quarter.  Not getting the lead until the field was just short of 5-16ths of a mile; did Plano have to use his gelding?

"It was a fairly quick quarter and I was out for all of it and definitely used him a bit, but it didn't concern me because I thought he could handle it," stated Plano.

Controlling the tempo once on the point, Shamderock reach the half-mile marker, timed in :57, then soon was under whip tap urgings to the five-eighths mile pole where he responded, then was chased after and responded more at the midway point of the final-turn. 

Now leading by 2-1/2 lengths at the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:26, then by three-lengths at the head of the lane, Plano encouraged his charge through the stretch and the issue was never in doubt.  Bred & owned by D & E Racing, Incorporated, Shamderock won ($2.80) by 4-1/2 lengths, in 1:55.  Millions (Scott Cisco) inherited second late to grab the place honors, while Live A Little (Lemoyne Svendsen), who made a place-costing break with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go, was another half of one-length back, in third.

"His gait hasn't been what we'd like it to be since he's returned from the east, but I made a few changes this week and it seemed to straighten him out quite a bit.  All in all I was very happy with his effort - - he raced very well and is a very nice horse," finished Plano, who had six winners on the 14-race card, of which the last four came in consecutive fashion.

In the Stake for the trotters, held prior to the betting card in a non-wagering event, Im So Sulky flashed his freshman form.

Steve Wiseman
Coming away third from post-position three in the field of five for driver Steve Wiseman into a :30.2 opening stanza, Wiseman moved his gelding to the outside at the 5-16ths mile pole and had the lead well after 7-16ths of a mile into a 1:00.2 first-half.

Opening up by 2-1/2 lengths past the half with Final Chapter (Rich Wojcio) in pursuit, that margin was down to 1-3/4 lengths at the three-quarter mile marker, timed in 1:31.2, with Final Chapter now on the move past the three-quarters.

"I saw him coming," said Wiseman.  "But I still had a lot of horse, plus I hadn't pulled the earplugs yet."

Getting whip tap urging with 3-16ths of a mile to go when it "appeared" that Final Chapter could put a nose up, Im So Sulky would have none of that as he responded for his pilot and started to draw clear, then opened up from mid-stretch on.  Bred in part by owner/trainer Alan Anderson, Im So Sulky won by 5-1/2 lengths.  Final Chapter was easily second best, and Lodi Nickolus (Pierre Girard) finished 8-3/4 lengths farther back, in third.

"He was great tonight and raced just like he did when he was winning as a two year-old," concluded Wiseman.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (November 3) at 5:30 p.m. (PDT) and continues through Saturday (November 5).  Post-time on Friday (November 4) & Saturday is at 6:00 p.m.  On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00.  Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well.

Cal Expo, in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee, will offer the Thursday Pick 4's with a 15% takeout and a $10,000 Guarantee on the Late Pick 4.  On Saturdays, Cal Expo will continue to offer a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both Pick 4’s.  In addition, the late Pick 4 will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool with a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made on track or at

Pierce Scores Crown Sweep With Filly Trotters

Driver Ron Pierce completed a sweep of the two and three-year-old trotting filly divisions on Saturday night when Cedar Dove captured the $500,000 Breeders Crown. Earlier in the card Pierce was called upon to drive Check Me Out in the $600,000 and he converted that opportunity into an easy score.

“Check Me Out was unbelievable. I let her trot on her own and only touched her late in the mile. She’s something special,” said Pierce about the daughter of the colt he made famous Donato Hanover. Check Me Out, who scored for the 12th time in 14 starts this year may not be done yet with her brilliant juvenile campaign. Trainer Ray Schnittker suggested following the 1:54.4 mile that there could be another stakes event around the corner. “I think we’ll supplement her to the Matron (Dover Downs) he said.

Cedar Dove’s trip was pretty similar to Check Me Out’s as Pierce allowed the Schnittker-trained and driven Jezzy get the top before him and then was able to hustle his favored filly to the front In a soft :57 opening half. From that point on the Noel Daley-trained filly just cruised to the wire posting a 1:25.3 three quarter clocking followed by a :28 second sprint finishing well clear of Crys Dream in the 1:53.3 mile.

A hard-luck story early in the season when she refused to relax, Cedar Dove has now scored two major divisional triumphs in a row. Prior to her victory in the Crown the Andover Hall-sired lass set a track record in her Crown elimination and scored a straight heat victory in the Kentucky Futurity filly division at The Red Mile.

Palone Flying High in Consecutive Crowns


Dave Palone had some live mounts entering Saturday’s 12-race Breeders Crown program but good fortune put him in the bike on a few more than expected and he made good on the opportunity. First Sweet Lou, the favorite in the $650,000 two-year-old colt pace put Palone on the board in a big way. The strapping son of Yankee Cruiser made a big move down the backstretch to secure the lead and never looked back posting a 1:49 world record mile while cruising away from runner-up A Rocknroll Dance across the wire. When asked to compare Sweet Lou to some of the other greats Palone has driven he deferred momentarily. “I’ve driven horses like Artsplace and The Panderosa. It’s a little early to start comparing him to them but the truth is they were all very intelligent horses.”

Sweet Lou pushed his record to 10 wins in 12 starts on the season with both losses in narrow photos with the colt cutting the pace. “You know I just think he’s a much better horse coming from off a helmet. In those two races I honestly don’t think he was tired at the wire.”

Palone found himself named to drive Uncle Peter in the very next Crown event, for juvenile colt trotters. With little time to study the program or for that matter get driving instructions Palone showed his natural flair putting the Cantab Hall-sired colt on the front before yielding the lead to race favorite Possess The Will before the half. Palone was poised off the hot fractions and when he turned the Jimmy Takter-trained colt loose he quickly disposed of the favorite and proved a very handy winner. The 1:55 mile was a few ticks shy of the colt’s speed mark.

“I’d never sat behind him before but he drove real nice. I let Possess The Will go and when I pulled at the head of the stretch he just took off,” said an elated Palone. While Dave had never driven the colt before he knew that trainer Takter was very high on the colt’s potential. “Jimmy told me he was very good early but then got sick and was just coming back to himself,” said Palone.

A consecutive hat trick eluded Palone when longshot Chancey Lady rallied from out of the clouds to complete a one-two Mark Kesmodel-trained finish in the $300,000 Breeders Crown mare pace. Anndrovette blew the field out on the front end scoring in 1:49.2, but Chancey Lady was absolutely flying in the stretch closing from eighth to second through the stretch.

For Palone who has started 61 times prior to this year in the Breeders Crown, the back-to-back victories were just his second and third Crown victories. His lone score prior to this year’s championships came in 2008 when In Focus scored the upset also for trainer Jimmy Takter.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

O'Sullivan's Army Poised For Breeders Crown Assault

By Perry Lefko for the Breeders Crown

Tony O’Sullivan probably won’t have time to catch his breath in this year’s Breeders Crown until it’s over.

O’Sullivan will send out a whopping 11 starters on the 12-race, $6 million card Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack, breaking the record of 10 set by fellow New Zealand native Brett Pelling in 2005. Pelling won the sophomore colt pace with Rocknroll Hanover and took home close to half a million in purses that year.

"That's pretty impressive to break a record like that," O'Sullivan said between morning training and getting ready for tonight's program.

"The earnings part is nice of course."

Eight of his charges (all girls) were resting comfortably at Mohawk retention, while the three "boys" were at Woodbine.

O'Sullivan has five alone in the Open Mare Pace: Maureen Rocks, On The Glass, Ticket To Rock, Blissful Smile and Laughandbehappy. His other starters include: Sing For Me George in the Two-year-old Colt Pace; Drop The Ball and Honky Tonk Woman in the Three-year-old Filly Pace; Hey Mister in the Three-year-old Filly Trot; Luckycharm Hanover in the Three-year-old Colt Trot; and Alsace Hanover in the Three-year-old Colt Pace.

"Eleven’s a lot," the 35-year-old native New Zealander said this week during a break. "It’s actually good to be busy because then you don’t have time to be nervous. We raced 12 horses last Saturday (in the eliminations) and it was go, go, go, so you really don’t have any time to stop and think. You just do it, which I think is almost better than having one or two and you sit around worrying what are you going to do with this many head. We just worked."

O’Sullivan has the help of his two assistants and grooms, but will employ some "outside" help, including his wife, Heather, a former caretaker now working as a mortgage consultant. He figures there will be 13 people in all for Team O’Sullivan.

"It’s going to be hard, but once the warmups are done, getting them to the track is no big deal," he added. "Getting five warmed up in the one race, that’s going to be the hardest things."

Not to mention working out pre-race strategy with his drivers, so that they give O’Sullivan and themselves the best chance to do well.

But O’Sullivan also admitted it’s a good problem to have.

"I’m very lucky," he said. "I personally have good horses. I’m very lucky to be sent some good horses. It’s a lot of hard work, but this is what we do it for; this is what’s it’s all about. To be lucky enough to have 11 and three or four with legit chances of winning, I’m pretty lucky."

Many of the horses he will send out come on loan from Eric Cherry’s Let It Ride Stables’ and partners’ that employ Ross Croghan as its conditioner in U.S. races. Croghan is an Australian whom O’Sullivan began working for 16 years ago when he came to U.S. to work in New Jersey. He travelled with the Croghan horses that were raced in Ontario. Croghan contacted O’Sullivan in February and told him he’d been receiving the Let It Ride horses that would be sent to Ontario for the summer stakes races and the Breeders Crown.

O’Sullivan’s only horse to win a Breeders Crown race so far is Susies Magic in the three-year-old Filly Trot in 2006 at Woodbine. O’Sullivan was sent the lass, who placed second at 13-1 odds in her elimination race and then pulled off a huge upset at 20-1 odds, leaving O’Sullivan shaking in the winners circle and for a good three days afterward. He had only begun training full-time on his own the previous season.

His strategy for taking on other horses, even if only for a race, is simple.

"You kind of just keep up what the other people are doing," O’Sullivan said. "You’re the caretaker. We’re training them and obviously I call the day-to-day shots, but overall the horses I train all year I do everything with. They’re my horses. The ones that get sent to us, it’s just a matter of trying to keep them in good form for the other connections. It’s tough. I don’t take a lot of credit for those ones. Having said that, I’m Johnny on the spot – we certainly don’t just line them up and not do anything with them. It’s different but we try to do our best with each one."

O’Sullivan has won in excess of $3 million in purses this year, more than double last year’s career-best, and his success has led to improved stock.

"I am lucky. I have wonderful owners and they play on the big leagues," he remarked. "Once you get into the big leagues and you have some success, it’s like any business – it starts to steamroll a little bit and you get recognized rather than being an also-ran. In the case of Croghan, it’s purely because I worked for him. The better you do the more you get recognized."

O’Sullivan listed Drop The Ball, who has a record of four wins in 12 starts this year and was a comfortable 3¼-length win in her elimination race, as his best chance to win. She is the 5-2 morning-line favourite to win her race.

"I said after the race we were lucky enough to race her in the Breeders’ Crown," he said. "If she’s anywhere near that, she’ll be awfully hard to beat."

He also fancies the Joseph Martinelli-owned Sing For Me George, who has won four of nine races and finished second by 2½ lengths in his elimination race.

"If he gets a trip, I think he may go close to winning," O’Sullivan said. "He's really coming into form right now and got a very tough trip last week."

Alsace Hanover, who has won seven of 14 races this year and $712,351 for owner John Fielding of Toronto, has a particular place in O’Sullivan’s heart because of his association all along with the colt. Alsace Hanover, winner of the $500,000 Delvin Miller Adios in a world-record time of 1:48 3/5 for three-year-old geldings, finished a fast-closing second by a head in his elimination. O’Sullivan said that The Panderosa colt has as good a chance as any horse on the card to win a race.

"The ones that I get sent to race in the Breeders Crown, it’s great that their connections put the trust in me, but the ones I have all year obviously mean a little bit more," he said. "It’s not to say we work any less on the others, but Alsace Hanover is an amazing horse. It’s amazing the miles he’s put up. He’s not perfectly put together in terms of his confirmation. He overco

Thatssomebracciola, Whip And A Prayer Take CSS At Cal Expo

Saturday, October 29, 2011 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo

Sophomore ladies, on both gaits, were featured at Cal Expo on Friday night (October 28) in a pair of $15,000 California Sires Stakes.

Luke Plano
In the first division, this for the trotters, Thatssomebracciola and trainer Luke Plano took advantage of the unluckiness of one of her main foes.

With the field in behind the starting gate, the morning-line favorite Flea Flicker (Rich Wojcio) jumped it off an eighth of a mile to the start and thus lagged the start roughly 20 lengths while now on her proper gait.  Certainly this worked to the advantage of Plano and his charge?

"It helped my chances a lot because I sort of thought Flea Flicker was the horse to beat, plus it also gave me a better opportunity to sit a two-hole to Claim Jumper (Steve Desomer)," said Plano.

Getting the lead into the first-turn from post-five in the field of seven, then yielding to Claim Jumper well after an eighth of a mile into a quick :28.4 opening quarter, Thatssomebracciola sat a very tight pocket through middle-half fractions of 1:00 & 1:32, all while under a very good hold midway through the final-turn.  Looking loaded and very anxious with a quarter of a mile to go, Plano was cautiously optimistic.

"She felt very strong at that point and I definitely thought she could win, but in her first couple of starts this meet (in October) off the summer break, she hasn't finished strong, so I wanted to wait as long as I could."

Moving first-over past the three-quarters with Flea Flicker now only 3-1/2 lengths back while fourth after a huge 22-3/4 length middle-half recovery, Plano showed respect for his competition.

"I knew Claim Jumper was done, but I still thought that Flea Flicker was the horse to beat despite her early miscue."

Quickly to the lead at the head of the lane and rolling out to a 2-1/4 length lead with an eighth of a mile to go, Plano still didn't feel he was home free.

"When I moved her out she took right off to the lead and felt real comfortable once I made the lead, but then I heard Wojcio yell at his filly which obviously indicated he was in range of possibly beating me.  So I urged my filly and she took right off again and finished strongly for me."

Bred and owned by Rick Plano, Thatssomebracciola, under minor urging until late, won ($8.80) by 3-3/4 lengths, thus notching her third straight Sires Stakes victory.  Flea Flicker, whose break EASILY could have cost her the win, finished in second, and Eggwhite Inmy Beer (James Kennedy) finished 2-1/2 lengths farther back, in third.

"I thought she raced very good and it was a solid improvement over her last two," concluded Plano.

Next on the program was for the pacers, on which Whip And A Prayer was fastest of all.

Richard Wojcio
Backed off the gate from post-position three in the field of six for driver Rich Wojcio, the pair came away fifth through first-half fractions of :28.3 & :58.  Now racing a loose second-over past the five-eights mile marker, the filly closed the gap and was third-over with "go" at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:27.

"I was happy at that point because I figured she was going to get a decent check," stated Wojcio.

Moving 4-wide into the lane and gaining at the seven-eighths, Wojcio had a bit of an issue to deal with at the same time Racetrack Diva (Tim Maier) shook loose and was coming on.

"In the stretch she kept on marching on like she did when she was two years-old, that is until mid-stretch when she put in a step and I almost lost her.  I knew it was going to be between me and Racetrack Diva, but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to recover and gain back the step I lost because she had lost her momentum.  But she did and did it on her own and got the job done - - I had nothing to do with it."

Taking over a slim lead with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go, Whip And A Prayer actually drew clear on the wire to win ($25.40) by 1-1/4 lengths.  Bred & owned by Frank Nevarez, the Gordie Graham trained lass stopped the timer at 1:56.4, a lifetime best.  Racetrack Diva finished in second, and Dine N Wine finished just a nose farther back, in third.

"Gordie did a great job of getting her ready for the Stakes race.  I was very, very happy for him and the owner.  It has been a pleasure and an honor to drive her throughout her career thus far," finished Wojcio.

Live racing continues at Cal Expo on Saturday (October 29) at 6:00 p.m. (PDT).  On Saturday, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Saturday, its Dollar Night, on which hot-dogs; beer, soda, and wine will be sold for one dollar from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.  Cal Expo is now offering a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on Saturdays for both Pick 4’s.  In addition, the late Pick 4 will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool and there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made on track or at

On Saturday, the entire 12-race Breeders Crown card from Woodbine card can be wagered on at Cal Expo as well as at all California wagering outlets.  Many of the top pacers and trotters will be in action on this outstanding program with $6 million in purses on the line.  There will also be a pair of $100,000-guaranteed Pick 4 pools.  First-race post-time is 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. 

Additionally this Saturday, there will be second leg action of the Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series.  The Amateur series is being sponsored by Lou Pena and some of his owners.  Between their generosity and the driver fees, a total of $7,000 beyond the purse monies will go to the Bronte Foundation.  In addition, driver George Brennan has pledged an additional donation that will significantly augment that figure.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Commander Crowe and Rapide Lebel Arrive in Toronto

On a cold, damp Thursday night, the Air Canada Animal Cargo area of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport was bustling with horse trailers, caretakers, anxious owners and even the odd photographer.

The weekly planeload of horses from Amsterdam to Toronto carried some driving ponies, a Haflinger and a young trainee for equine show Cavalia. The last and most attended pallet carried priceless cargo -- trotters Rapide Lebel and Commander Crowe, two French-sired competitors with combined earnings of $4.2 million.

Rapide Lebel and William Tillet
The European horses are in town for the $6.2 million Breeders Crown championships on Saturday in Toronto. They will race in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Trot, carded as race seven (post time 9 p.m. ET), one of the nine races carried live on the Score in Canada and on MAVTV in the U.S.

They are superstars in the international trotting community, with Facebook pages, Twitter followers and a traveling entourage. Though foreign classic winners are invited every year to participate in the Breeders Crown, they rarely accept due to cost, rigorous quarantine regulations and date and timing conflicts. To have two of the best trotters on the European circuit eagerly accept the challenge is unprecedented.

Once cleared through customs, the pair was shipped to the Mohawk backstretch in Campbellville. They are separated from the general populace but seemed bright-eyed though slightly bushy-tailed after their long journey.

Commander Crowe
Accompanied by caretaker William Tillets (Rapide Lebel) and Karollina Oinonen (Commander Crowe)  the trotters enjoyed some paddock time and hand walking in preparation for the big race.

Their task is made formidable by the presence of the No. 1-ranked harness racing horse in North America. Rod Hughes and Glenn Van Camp’s  San Pail, who is riding a six-race win streak has dominated the top trotting ranks this year.

Despite the time difference, racing fans across Europe will be awake and watching to see how their champions fare. Honour, trophies and a lot of cash is on the line.

Kandor Hanover May Have Last Laugh in Breeders Crown

With two-time defending Breeders Crown champ Buck I St Pat retired, the 11 mares entered in the $300,000 Mare Trot, the first of 12 championship races on Sat., Oct. 29 at Woodbine, may represent the most difficult handicapping challenge of the night.

It’s the one division Crown leading driver John Campbell has never won. That could change if Yursa Hanover (post 2, 8-1) gets to the wire first. A win would also move the five-year-old mare into millionaires row.

The morning line favourite is Action Broadway (post 6, 7-2) driven by Canadian Mark MacDonald.

Autumn Escapade (post 9, 9-2), driven by David Miller, who recently became just the tenth driver in history to accrue 10,000 victories.      

Kandor Hanover
Kandor Hanover (post 1, 15-1), trained by Breeders Crown veteran John Burns, may have the last laugh.

“You can’t count any of these mares out, said Burns from the Mohawk stable area. “The trip will be everything  and they are guaranteed to be storming at the wire.”

Small Breeder Has Major Influence in Breeders Crowns

By JAY BERGMAN for Breeders Crown

Seth Rosenfeld has been in the harness game pretty much his entire life. His parents owned some champions in the 1970s and his uncle Alan Leavitt ran Lana Lobell Farms, which his family shared ownership in.

Rosenfeld learned a lot during those days and scored a major success when he and a couple of buddies purchased Beach Towel as a yearling in 1988. That champion colt, by French Chef, won the 1990 Breeders Crown on his way to Horse of the Year honors, and pretty much set the tone for Rosenfeld as he embarked on a career building a broodmare band first for his Uptown Stable and now as Birnam Wood Farms.

Sweet Lou - Iron Horse Photo
On Saturday night, two colts Rosenfeld bred, half-brothers Sweet Lou and Bettor Sweet, could be major players in the $650,000 Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt pace and the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace, respectively. They are both out of the Falcons Future-sired mare Sweet Future.

Rosenfeld's eye for a good horse and incredibly deep knowledge of bloodlines has to be obvious considering few breeders were backing Falcons Future as a stallion prospect.

“I thought he was a great horse that never really got his due,” Rosenfeld said. “He was always racing against two- and three-horse entries and was simply outnumbered at times. I loved everything about him and bred Sweet Dahrlin to him.”

The resulting foal was Sweet Future, a classy juvenile in the year 2000 who finished a solid second behind champion Cathedra Dot Com in an elimination of the Lou Babic at Freehold.  Sweet Dahrlin had clicked with her first foal when bred to Dragons Lair, producing Sweet Dragon, who finished a nose behind Magical Mike in the 1993 Woodrow Wilson. Ironically, Rosenfeld bred the mare to his own Beach Towel five times in a row and couldn't match the success, eventually switching to Falcons Future and breeding the cornerstone to his broodmare band.

After her racing days were over Rosenfeld bred Sweet Future to Artiscape.

“The Abercrombie line was very successful,” he said. “He produced very correct horses. But I used to joke with (breeder) George Segal about how he was a rich man's horse. I mean if you had Three Diamonds (Life Sign) or Miss Elvira (Artsplace) you could breed a champion.”

Artiscape was a third-generation Abercrombie stallion and the pairing produced a filly named Sweet Paprika. She earned $211,189 pretty much staying under the stakes radar enough but managing to win 12 races and post a career-best 1:51.1 mile as a 4-year-old.

Bettor Sweet - Lisa Photo
Rosenfeld tried the Cam Fella-line with Bettors Delight and the resulting foal is the near-$2 millionaire Bettor Sweet. After an abbreviated 2-year-old season, Bettor Sweet showed plenty of ability racing in overnights during much of his 3-year-old season. Late in the year he pulled off a 32-1 shocker in the Progress Pace at Dover and he's been a staple in the older pacing ranks ever since. Current owner John Cancelliere purchased the now 6-year-old gelding midway through his sophomore campaign.

When Rosenfeld elected to breed his mare to Yankee Cruiser, he thought the timing was just right.

“The stallion had done well in Ohio and it was his first year at Hanover. He was from the Abercrombie line and I thought the cross would work well with my mare,” he said.

Indeed Yankee Cruiser's first crop in Pennsylvania has been vintage and there is none better than Breeders Crown elimination winner Sweet Lou.

“You know he's been really impressive,” said the proud breeder. “To race in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program and then go to Indiana to race and then to the Red Mile and back to Mohawk, that's a lot of races and a lot of miles to still be this good.”

The $38,000 yearling has but two narrow blemishes in an otherwise perfect 11-race juvenile campaign. Anyone who watched last week's trial where he won going away in 1:50, knows the colt could be set up for the mile of his life Saturday night in the $650,000 final.

Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Karr and Phillip Collura share ownership in the $361,647 winner.

And while Rosenfeld was not the breeder of Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly pace favorite Drop The Ball, he and his family have owned and raced her dam and seven generations of foals from this family. The grandest-granddam from this family is Pammy Lobell, much like her contemporary Drop The Ball, Pammy routinely raced against and defeated the best aged male pacers on the Yonkers-Roosevelt circuit between 1973-75.

Drop The Ball, is out of Mattcheck Girl, a mare Rosenfeld eventually gave away to the Morrisville College.

“I paid $10,000 for her as a yearling,” Rosenfeld said. “She was out of Pensive Princess (Pammy Lobell's family) and it was worth taking a chance. Did I think she would throw a horse like Drop The Ball? Actually, I told the college that I thought she could be a good broodmare.”

According to Rosenfeld, he believes the key was breeding the family back to a No Nukes-line stallion.

“I've wanted to breed Pensive (a daughter of No Nukes' son Jate Lobell and third dam of Drop The Ball) back to that line but it was always too close,” he said referring to the possibility of having an inbred foal.

Pensive has been a solid producing mare with credits that include the $750,000-plus winning mare Ubetterthink Think.

“We have an American Ideal yearling colt out of her selling at Harrisburg,” he noted. Stay Thirsty, a name borrowed from the Dos Equis commercial, is what the colt is called.

Rosenfeld is looking forward to selling a Well Said colt half-brother to Sweet Lou and Bettor Sweet next year.

“I was really happy with the way this colt looks,” he said. “I wasn't going to breed the mare back to Well Said but with the way the first foal looked I decided to go back to Well Said.”

It took a certain amount of intuition and a certain amount of courage for Seth Rosenfeld to breed to certain unrecognized stallions along the way. But for those lovers of the breed you have to be thankful he stuck with his convictions and we get to enjoy watching horses like Sweet Lou and Bettor Sweet in action.

DePinto Could Double Down in Crown

by JAY BERGMAN for Breeders Crown

Sam DePinto is harness racing's proof that size doesn't matter.  Stable size.

In DePinto's case less has become more.

"I have to be able to sit behind every one of my horses in order for them to do well," said the trainer and part-owner of Breeders Crown finalists We Will See and I Fought Dalaw.

DePinto's other nine horses have been turned out and a few more could head his way after Harrisburg, but his philosophy is not going to change.

"I feel in order for me as a trainer to make money in this business I have to own a piece of every horse I train.

We Will See - New Image Media photo
In the case of We Will See, the likely favorite in Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown Pace final at Woodbine, the returns have been significant.  The four-year-old son of Western Hanover has doubled his bankroll this year as one of the dominant aged pacers in training.  He's a durable horse and DePinto deserves much of the credit for bringing him along properly. 

"I try not to overstake my colts as two-year-olds," he said.  "That way I can get about 10 starts into them and have them fully staked at three."

We Will See was a good two-year-old, a solid three-year-old, and now could be considered Best-in-Class at four.

Obviously Saturday's contest is the primary focus for DePinto and We Will See, but certainly there has been talk about the horse's future plans.  "We'll see what offers develop.  I would love to race this horse as a five-year-old," said Sam who says with the exception of We Will See he will only train two and three-year-olds in the future.

A winner in half of his 22 starts this year, We Will See enters Saturday's pivotal contest at the top of his game.  Earlier in the year DePinto had to put more training miles into him, but now that they are pacing in 1:48 and 1:49 with regularity he has wisely backed away.

Owned by Shannon DePinto, Earl Smith and Jerry Silva, We Will See looks for his third successive stakes score having captured the Allerage and Canadian Pacing Derby over the last six weeks.  The "Derby" contested at Mohawk, was an epic performance as We Will See outdueled Won The West and Foiled Again in a 1:47.4 mile clocking.

As nice as the post position Gods were in granting We Will See the pole position in his $500,000 Crown final, they looked the other way for DePinto and company in the frosh colt pacing final.  I Fought Dalaw, a $22,000 Western Ideal-sired colt, drew post 10 after finishing third in last Friday's elimination heat.  "I thought he raced super.  I wasn't very happy with his qualifier or his start in the Futurity at Freehold," said the trainer, "but he scoped clean and when he arrived in Canada he was feeling strong and I told Dave (Miller) he was feeling like his old self again."

I Fought Dalaw - Iron Horse Photo
Indeed I Fought Dalaw put in a huge mile considering he posted a :26.1 opening quarter into the wind and still was pacing strongly at the end of the 1:50 mile.  DePinto wondered whether his colt had become a handful with the early fractions, but Miller told him the colt was a complete gentleman.

A full brother to the extremely fast Western Glory (1:49.4), a colt DePinto paid $105,000 for as a yearling, but never quite lived up to his own expectations. 

"If he didn't hit his knees I'm sure he would have paced in 1:48," said the conditioner about Western Glory.

In I Fought Dalaw, DePinto has what he considers a better individual than the older brother and obviously a much bigger upside.  "He's a bit wider in front and doesn't interfere," Sam said of the colt who will be making his final two-year-old start on Saturday in the $600,000 Breeders Crown two-year-old colt pace.

For the Crown final Ron Pierce will take the reins behind I Fought Dalaw, replacing Dave Miller who opted for Hillbilly Hanover, a frosh with a few more stakes opportunities ahead this year.

"Ronnie has done very well for us this year and I couldn't be happier to have him drive this colt," said the trainer from his Ontario-base at Rob Fellows farm.  "Rob really rolls out the red carpet for us when we come to town."

DePinto's selectivity at yearling sales is an incredible feat. The trainer who cut his teeth in the business breaking in at the tender age of 14 at White Birch Farm (then Joe-Mar) when his dad asked him to train three horses (the senior DePinto was the farm manager), knows what he's looking for.

"I like the Western Hanover-line.  With him gone I like the Western Ideals and definitely the Western Terrors," said the now-56-year-old trainer.  He purchased a Western Ideal colt for $80,000 at the recently concluded Lexington Select sale. He was from the same family as Artesian, a runner-up in the North America Cup in 2003 that DePinto conditioned. 

DePinto is good friends with George Berkner and helped campaign the half million-winner B Gs Folly during his three-year-old season in 2010.  The two will share ownership on a yearling DePinto will train this winter.  DePinto is quite pleased with the relationship he has forged with owner Jerry Silva.

"He took a chance when he bought into We Will See before he qualified this year," said Sam.  "Then after I Fought Dalaw won an early race he asked if he could buy a piece.  I think Jerry is very good for the business, he likes to be associated with good horses."

In a sport that at times seems dominated by large stables with big money to spend, it's refreshing to see a trainer with a small, but select group of horses, qualify two horses for the Breeders Crown final.  In We Will See and I Fought Dalaw DePinto and company have a legitimate chance to do what only a select few have done–win two Crowns in one night.

Putoneonnetformom Proves "Best" At Cal Expo

Friday, October 28, 2011 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo

He hadn't been able to get the better of his archrival Franks Best the last three times they faced each other, but on this night, Putoneonnetformom was the better horse.

Winners-Over trotters, racing for a purse of $4,500, were featured at Cal Expo on Thursday night (October 27), on which Putoneonnetformom continued his 1st-2nd cycle, for the fourth straight time - - this being the win cycle.

Prior to starting from post-five in the field of five, with Franks Best (Lemoyne Svendsen) starting from post-six (there was a scratch and post-positions were assigned), the race clearly appeared to come down to strategy.

James Kennedy
"I really wasn't sure what I was going to do strategy wise, I wasn't sure at all - - it all depended upon what Franks Best was doing," said driver James Kennedy.  "I knew, however, at worst, that I'd be second - - but as far as winning - - that depended on what happened behind the gate."

Firing out for the lead while Franks Best lagged the start one-length, Putoneonnetformom got an easy lead into the first-turn, but a looped out of the gate D Man (Jim Lackey) was front-end minded.

"I had multiple thoughts - - should I leave him out there or let him go.  Since I wasn't sure, I did hang him out there a little because I was weighing my choices as to what to do."

Pushing a little at the quarter-mile pole, time in :30, D Man wasn't able to clear until the three-eighths mile pole.  Was this because of Kennedy or because D Man wasn't going forward enough?

"It was a little bit of both.  I was kind of pushing and he was just kind of hanging out there - - but I wanted him to clear because if he stayed out there he'd end up battling and killing my horse."

Content to sit in the pocket and not reclaim, Kennedy, at the half-mile juncture, timed in 1:00, was prepared  to make sure there were no problems.

"I was just watching my back for anybody to come to possibly lock me in - - which I wasn't going to let happen."

Pulling the pocket at the five-eighths mile marker while Franks Best advanced very quickly up the inside after sitting in at the 9-16ths mile pole, Kennedy edged up his in-hand charge to the three-quarters, but now had company at the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:30.

"I didn't have to look back, I knew it was Franks Best breathing hard down my neck and I was nervous because I know he can out-kick me down the lane.  Having said that, I was coming real slow and wasn't using my horse because I was saving everything for the end."

Taking a parked out lead at the head of the stretch, then drawing clear seconds later when his earplugs were popped and when urged, the seven year-old was under an all-out drive at the seven-eighths with Franks best only 1-1/2 lengths back.

"I just said to myself, 'Keep driving son because you can beat him.'  I went to work on him and he was responding every step of the way.  In deep-stretch I thought I had it because Franks Best didn’t look like he could get to my horses head and he didn't - - he got to his neck and that was as far as he got."

Refusing to let Franks Best reach, the gelding won ($3.80) by a long neck.  Bred & owned by Jeff, Gerald & Diana Cimini, the Rocky Stidham trainee stopped the timer at 1:58.2, equaling a seasonal mark.  Franks Best has his three-race win streak come to and end while finishing in second, and D Man finished 4-1/2 lengths farther back, in third.

"It was a fun race that was a little challenging because I had to do a little bit of thinking - - but it was a great win," finished Kennedy.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (October 28) & Saturday (October 29) night at 6:00 p.m. (PDT).  On Friday, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m.   Also on Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour between 6:00-8:30 p.m., where $2 Beer, $2 Wine & $2 Buffalo Wings an order is offered. 

On Saturdays, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early & Late Pick-4 with the Late Pick-4 having a $10,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick-4 online at or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.

On Saturday (October 29), the entire 12-race Breeders Crown card from Woodbine card can be wagered on at Cal Expo as well as at all California wagering outlets.  Many of the top pacers and trotters will be in action on this outstanding program with $6 million in purses on the line.  There will also be a pair of $100,000-guaranteed Pick 4 pools.  First-race post-time is 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. 

Additionally this Saturday, there will be second leg action of the Bronte Epilepsy Research Foundation Amateur Series.  The Amateur series is being sponsored by Lou Pena and some of his owners.  Between their generosity and the driver fees, a total of $7,000 beyond the purse monies will go to the Bronte Foundation.  In addition, driver George Brennan has pledged an additional donation that will significantly augment that figure.