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Tuesday, October 30, 2012


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 30, 2012—The latest from Yonkers Raceway and Empire City regarding the Hurricane Sandy-related cancellations, closures and schedule amendments…

Live racing (and evening simulcasting) had already been cancelled for both Monday and Tuesday nights.

Live racing (and evening simulcasting) is scheduled to resume Thursday night (Nov. 1), with the usual 7:10 PM first post. 

Afternoon simulcasting is scheduled to resume Friday, with the beginning of the Aqueduct meet.

Horsemen are reminded that there is a double draw (for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3) scheduled for today (Tuesday), with the entry box for both days closing at 4 PM. For more information, please contact the race office at 914-457-2627.

Also note that Empire City's casino hours have been amended once again. The casino is now scheduled to re-open Wednesday morning at 9 AM. It was originally scheduled to reopen today (Tuesday) at 2 PM.

Further updates shall be announced should they be warranted.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, October 29, 2012—A reminder from Yonkers Raceway and Empire City regarding the Hurricane Sandy-related cancellations, closures and schedule amendments…

Live racing (and evening simulcasting) has been cancelled for both Monday and Tuesday nights, Oct. 29-30.

Live racing (and evening simulcasting) is scheduled to resume Thursday night (Nov. 1), with the usual 7:10 PM first post. 

Afternoon simulcasting is scheduled to resume Friday, with the beginning of the Aqueduct meet.

Horsemen are advised that since the race office was closed Monday, there is an altered draw schedule. As of now, a double draw (for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3) is scheduled for Tuesday, with the entry box for both days closing Tuesday at 4 PM. For more information, please contact the race office at 914-457-2627.

Also note that Empire City's casino hours have been amended. The casino, which closed at 12 midnight Sunday, remains closed Monday and is scheduled (weather permitting) to reopen Tuesday at 2 PM.

Tuesday's hours are scheduled from 2 PM-4 AM, with normal (9 AM-4 AM) hours scheduled to resume Wednesday. Further updates shall be announced should they be warranted.

Monday, October 29, 2012

M1 - Meadowlands Racetrack, Winners Bayonne Closed Monday And Tuesday

East Rutherford, NJ [Oct. 29, 2012] -- Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners Bayonne are closed Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30 due to Hurricane Sandy.

Customers are advised to call 201-THE-BIGM or go to for updates about simulcasting on Wednesday, October 31.

VD7/8 - Vernon Downs closes simulcast operations on Monday and Tuesday

Due to the impending weather forecast in the New York area, Vernon Downs has closed simulcast operations for Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30. Casino and Hotel operations remain open at this time and simulcast operations are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, October 31.

For more information on Vernon Downs please visit us online at .

Sunday, October 28, 2012


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, October 28, 2012--Yonkers Raceway has cancelled live racing and evening simulcasting for both Monday and Tuesday nights, Oct. 29-30, due to Hurricane Sandy.

Live racing (and evening simulcasting) is scheduled to resume Thursday night (Nov. 1), with the usual 7:10 PM first post. 

Afternoon simulcasting is scheduled to resume Friday, with the beginning the Aqueduct meet.

Horsemen are advised that the race office is to be closed Monday, thus altering the draw schedule. As of now, a double draw (for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3) is scheduled for Tuesday, with the entry box for both days closing Tuesday at 4 PM. For more information, please contact the race office at 914-457-2627.


MONTICELLO, NY-  Due to the impending Hurricane which is forecasted to  impact the Mid- Atlantic States, Monticello Raceway has cancelled racing on both Monday, October 28 and Tuesday, October 29.

Weather permitting, racing is scheduled to be resumed on Wednesday, October  31 with first post at 12:50pm.

Beginning Thursday, November 1st  raceway post times will revert back to 12:25pm and continue at that time until February 2013.

M1 - Meadowlands Racetrack, Winners Bayonne Closed Monday

East Rutherford, NJ [Oct. 28, 2012] -- Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners Bayonne will be closed Monday, October 29 in expectation of Hurricane Sandy's arrival to the area.

Customers are advised to call 201-THE-BIGM or go to for updates about openings or closures on Tuesday, October 30.

Takter named Breeders Crown Most Valuable Trainer

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Toronto --- Jimmy Takter, who entered Saturday’s $6.2 million Breeders Crown as the all-time leader in purse earnings in the history of the championship series, exited the festivities at Woodbine Racetrack with three trophies and the Breeders Crown Most Valuable Trainer Award, sponsored by Walsh Products.

Takter, who had $6.3 million in Breeders Crown earnings entering Saturday, won titles with American Jewel in the 3-year-old filly pace, To Dream On in the 2-year-old filly trot and Rockin Amadeus in the 2-year-old colt pace. He also finished second with Little Brown Fox in the 3-year-old colt trot.

With his three victories, Takter moved into a tie with Bob McIntosh for most wins in Breeders Crown history. Both Hall of Fame trainers have won 15 Crowns.

Takter totaled 53 points with his eight entries, three wins, one second and 10 of the 15 subjective points. Linda Toscano, who won trophies with Chapter Seven in the Open Trot and Heston Blue Chip in the 3-year-old colt pace, finished second with 35 points. Ron Burke, who won last year’s inaugural award, was third.




BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 27, 2012--Odds-on favorite Real Nice (Jordan Stratton, $3.30) worked out a pocket trip Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace.

Leaving from post position No. 3, Real Nice made the lead before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. He then relinquished that role to eight-hole assignee Great Vintage (Dan Dube), who negotiated a :55.3 half. Rock 'Em (Larry Stalbaum)  then moved from fifth, prompting through a :28.1 third quarter (1:23.4). That one gave way grudgingly as Great Vintage owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane.

However, his advantage in the polls was about up, as Real Nice ducked inside and edged by, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52. Or (Jason Bartlett), who had slipped out behind Rock ‘Em, slipped into second, with a from-last Sapphire City (Brent Holland), Rock 'Em and Eagle All (Eric Goodell) rounding out the payees. Great Vintage faded to seventh.

For Real Nice, a millionaire 7-year-old Real Artist gelding co-owned by Gary & Beverly Paganelli and Anthony Scussel and trained by Rich Banca, it was his ninth win in 23 seasonal starts (41st career victory) . The exacta paid $15.40, with the triple returning $166.50.

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.



Bettor Sweet wins BC Open Pace

It appears as if October at Woodbine is the perfect season for Bettor Sweet. The seven-year-old gelding made it back-to-back Breeders Crown Opens with an awesome 1:49 1/5 score in the $500,000 contest closing out the dozen race Crown card.

Driver Dave Miller had a mission from the start and it had to do with getting to the front. Despite leaving from post seven Bettor Sweet jetted out and tucked behind known speedster Golden Receiver. The dust had hardly settled after the :26 2/5 opening quarter before Miller elected to put the usual stalker on the front end.

Bettor Sweet had the lead in the :55 opening half and seemed more than well equipped to handle what would be next.

Yannick Gingras, looking for his fourth Crown winner of the night had the incredible veteran Foiled Again primed for a second move after finding a spot inside early. Foiled Again moved with purpose towards the winner on the final turn and locked horns with him through a spirited :27 4/5 third quarter.

The battle between those two warhorses didn’t pan out in the homestretch as Bettor Sweet, owned by John Cancelliere and trained by his brother Tom, sprinted away from the field with a slick :26 2/5 final quarter.

Early pacesetter Golden Receiver outdueled Foiled Again for the place spot with Foreclosure N finishing fourth.

“Nobody challenged him until the stretch and by that time he took off,” said winning driver Dave Miller.

For Bettor Sweet it was his third straight victory after losing his first 14 starts of 2012.

Put On A Show, attempting to become the first pacing mare to capture the Open, got away poorly from the rail and was unable to get into the race at any point.

Bettor Sweet, sent off as the 7-5 favorite returned $4.90 for a $2 wager.

The owner confirmed after the race that this would be Bettor Sweet’s last race of the season.

Intimidate Crushes Crown Rivals in Three-Year-Old Colt Trot

TORONTO, October 27 – The supplemented Intimidate used his late closing kick to capture the $555,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot on Saturday night at Woodbine.

Elimination winner Intimidate and driver Ron Pierce got away seventh behind Knows Nothing (Jody Jamieson), who marched past the first-quarter in 27-seconds. 

Hambletonian and Canadian Trotting Classic winner Market Share (Tim Tetrick) was parked out and taken to the front into the backstretch.  Before the half in :55.2, the other elimination winner Little Brown Fox (Yannick Gingras) was on the attack.  He clocked three-quarters in 1:24.4.

Favoured Intimidate vaulted off third-over cover into the stretch, unleashing a :27.1 final frame en route to scoring his fifth straight victory.  The gelding stopped the clock in a lifetime mark of 1:52.4.  Little Brown Fox was beaten three and a quarter lengths for second while Market Share faded to third.

“I never even pulled the earplugs and I just chirped at him a couple times,” said Pierce. “He did it all on his own. A monkey could’ve won with this horse.”

The homebred son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag has lifted his 2012 record to 13-3-0 from 17 starts. The 14-time career winner increased his lifetime earnings to $418,590 for trainer Luc Blais, who also shares ownership with Judith Farrow.

Intimidate returned $5, $3 and $2.40, combining with Little Brown Fox ($3.60, $2.40) for a $17.30 (3-4) exactor.  A 3-4-8 (Market Share, $2.50 to show) triactor was worth $31.80, while a $1 superfecta [3-4-8-2 (Prestidigitator)] paid $87.85.


Tetrick sets Crown Mark, Equals Another at Woodbine

TORONTO, October 27…Tim Tetrick became the first driver to win four Crown finals in one night, when he steered Anndrovette to victory in the $331,500 (US) Breeders Crown Mare Pace Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack.

Tetrick, who won earlier on the card with Chapter Seven (Crown Trot), American Jewel (Three-Year-Old Filly Pace) and Heston Blue Chip (Three-Year-Old Colt Pace), also joined Hall of Famers John Campbell (1985, 1993), Mike Lachance (2000) and Ron Pierce (2004, 2005) as the only four-time Crown race winners in a single year, when all 12 races were not combined into one evening.

Anndrovette, a five-year-old daughter of Riverboat King-Easy Miss, thus successfully defended her Crown title, after winning the same event last year at Woodbine.   It was her seventh win of the season in a busy 23-race campaign and the victory, worth $165,750, pushed her career bankroll to over $2 million.

After taking the field through an opening quarter in :26.1 Tetrick allowed Anndrovette to settle in third, as Rebeka Bayama cut out splits of 54 seconds for the half and 1:22.3 for three-quarters, before being challenged by Drop the Ball. 

The two favourites appeared poised for a stretch battle before Tetrick eased Anndrovette out for a late close, eventually scoring by one and one-half lengths in 1:50.1.    Drop the Ball outduked Rebeka Bayama for the place award by almost two lengths.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” said the 30-year-old Tetrick.  “I just feel very fortunate. I thank God, all the owners and trainers, my wife for standing behind me. It’s just been great.

“My mare is really tough. She likes to be forwardly placed.  She can either cut it or follow when it’s going plenty fast. Today,  (driver) Sylvain’s (Filion) mare (Rebeka Bayama) came and I let him go. I made him work at it a little bit. At the top of the lane I got lucky and squeezed out behind (driver) Yannick (Gingras) and Drop The Ball) and my mare did the rest of the work from there. She just took right off.

“She’s tough as nails. Last week she got parked and she came back with a vengeance. She’s very tough about that. She turns the page very quickly.”

Dismissed at 6-1, Anndrovette paid $14.90, $6.10 and $3.50, teaming with Drop the Ball ($3.60, $2.90) for a $55.70 (4-11) exactor.  A 4-11-9 (Rebeka Bayama, $2.80) triactor returned $152.80, while a $1 superfecta [4-11-9-3 (Camille)] came back $486.25.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rockin Amadeus Springs Major Upset in Two-Year-Old Colt Pace

TORONTO, October 27…Rockin Amadeus, a 17-1 shot with Yannick Gingras, got up in the final strides to take the $600,000 (US) Two-Year-Old Colt Pace on Breeders Crown night at Woodbine.

It was a three-horse photo at the wire, but Rockin Amadeus had prevailed by a half-length, with Wake Up Peter one-quarter length in front of the prohibitive choice Captaintreacherous for second, in the 1:51.2 mile.

Captaintreacherous, sent postward the 1-5 favourite, assumed command after an opening quarter by Urbanite Hanover in :26.3, leading his rivals to the half in :55.2 and was still comfortably in front by a length after three-quarters in 1:23.2.

But the Metro winner, who was coming off an easy 1:50 elimination win last week, began to tire slightly, as Rockin Amadeus and Wake Up Peter, the other elim winner, inched closer and eventually brushed passed the pacesetter just before the wire.

Trained by Jimmy Takter for owner-breeder Lothlorien of Cheltenham, Ontario, Rockin Amadeus, a well-bred son of Rocknroll Hanover-Kikikatie, was notching his third and biggest win in 10 starts.  He’d come into the final off a distant third place finish to Captaintreacherous in his elim.  With the $300,000 first place prize, Rockin Amadeus pushed his bankroll to over $450,000.

Said Lothlorien owner Susan Grange, “Not really (any pressure at 17-1). It was a lot easier this time.  We deliberately bought Kikikatie to breed with Rocknroll (Hanover). We’ve kept all the colts. This one made it work.  He (Gingras) has done an excellent job.

I’ve always liked (Rockin Amadeus). He’s had a bit of bad luck, but I always thought he had it. I’ve always thought he had a lot of heart.”

Grange also co-owned his sire, Rocknroll Hanover, who won the 2005 Crown Pace for three-year-olds en route to Horse-of-the-Year honours.

Rockin Amadeus lit up the toteboard, paying $37, $12.40 and $4, while combining with Wake Up Peter ($8.30, $3.30) for a $304.60 (2-4) exactor.  A 2-4-3 (Captaintreacherous, $2.10 to show) triactor was worth $586.20, while a $1 superfecta [2-4-3-5 (Twilight Bonfire)] returned $6,754.20.


Breeders Crown 3 Year Old Filly Trot-Purse $500,000

Maven gave driver Yannick Gingras back-to-back Breeders Crown victories with a powerful uncovered victory in the $500,000 Crown for sophomore trotting fillies.

The always alert driver had Maven, a daughter of Glidemaster, on the bit from the start and aggressively pushed to get a spot fourth right between favorite Check Me Out and second choice Win Missy B as the field sped into the first turn.

Check Me Out, the 4-5 favorite in the field of 11, pushed the pace forcing a :26 4/5 opening quarter before giving way to Maven’s stablemate Dorsay. No sooner had Dorsay gained the front before Cowgirl Hall and driver Jim Morrill pushed hard to secure the front. Cowgirl Hall had the top and kept the pace hot until Check Me Out made a second move before the halfway point.

Once Check Me Out had the top, Gingras came to the outside and moved Maven aggressively. With the half in :55 3/5 Check Me Out kept control of the race with Maven driving alongside her flank on the final turn. Win Missy B, the Kentucky Futurity filly winner, was following in close pursuit of Maven curling into the stretch. The three quarters of 1:24 2/5 appeared comfortable for the division leader and pacesetter.

In midstretch Maven just overpowered her rival and opened up a significant lead. Check Me Out weakened and Win Missy B rallied for the place spot while no serious threat to the winner.

Maven completed the mile in 1:54, her seventh win in 14 starts this year. This was her second win over Check Me Out. The two fillies battled in similar fashion in the Hambletonian Oaks with both going offstride in that race.

Winning trainer Jonas Czernyson was surprised with the outcome. “She raced very big tonight. When she went first up I thought it wasn’t going to work,” he said.

But for Czernyson and winning owner W. Donovan, the trip couldn’t have been any better.

For Czernyson, this was his first Breeders Crown victory. His Dorsay also finished fourth in this division.


To Dream On Equals Stakes Record in Crown Final

TORONTO, October 27 – To Dream On, driven by Yannick Gingras, equalled the stakes record with a 1:54.4 score in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Trot on Saturday night at Woodbine.

The Jimmy Takter trainee followed behind splits of :28.1 put up by Cupcake (Ron Pierce), and :57.3 clocked by Royal Assets (Tim Tetrick). To Dream On then advanced first-up from fourth where she easily took command. 

The trotting lass then opened up on the field and marched past the three-quarters in 1:25.3, before scoring a three and a half length win over Time To Kill (John Campbell). Bee A Magician (Rick Zeron) got up for third.

To Dream On equalled the stakes record, which set by Check Me Out in 2011 at Woodbine.

“She’s got a quarter of a mile where she can go as fast as any pacer,” said Gingras. “I was coming first up just sitting there and she kind of wanted to take off on me. I just turned her loose and she opened up 10 lengths in a matter of strides. She definitely has pacer like speed, there’s no doubt about that.”

The daughter of Credit Winner-Satin Pillows has a record of 8-1-0 from nine starts.

With the win, the black filly lifted her earnings to $719,377 for owners Marvin Katz and Al J Libfeld.

To Dream On returned $5.30, $4 and $2.70, combining with Time To Kill ($12.40, $5.40) for a $73 (8-7) exactor.  A 8-7-6 (Bee A Magician, $2.50 to show) triactor was worth $154.40, while a $1 superfecta [8-7-6-2 (Royal Assets)] paid $829.30.

Favoured American Jewel prevails in Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Pace

Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications

TORONTO, October 27…Favoured American Jewel, with Tim Tetrick at the controls, took over from Economy Terror in early stretch and went on to a one and one-quarter length win over a closing Shelliscape in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Pace, Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.

It was the eighth win in 15 starts this year for the daughter of American Ideal-Trim Hanover, as she completed the mile in 1:52.1.  Longshot Big Mcdeal also rallied late for third.

Despite a monster two-year-old campaign which saw her win eight of nine outings, American Jewel was the runner-up in year-end balloting for divisional honours to Crown winner Economy Terror.

Saturday night, she was able to best that rival and her other peers with a perfect trip from third, before being tipped out for the stretch drive, as she first went by Economy Terror and then had more than enough in reserve to hold the closers at bay.

Last week, American Jewel gutted out a nose decision over Economy Terror in her 1:52.3 elim to allow her connections a choice of post positions (post four) for the final, while Romantic Moment took the other elim in a slightly faster 1:52.1.    Both elim winners were trained by Jimmy Takter for Brittany Farms.

“(In last week’s elim) My mare needed a good braven-up trip and she got it,” explained Tetrick.  “She really responded well off that. I’m just really tickled with this mare. She deserves a Breeders Crown. She got hurt last year and didn’t make it, but she made up for it tonight.  I knew there were some good horses behind me and I was first up into the wind. You never know. My mare raced great. She held them off and she’s a champion.”

It was Romantic Moment who first burst to the front, taking the field through a :26.2 opening  quarter, before Economy Terror took over before the half in :54.4, and still led through a 1:23.3 three-quarters before being collared in early stretch and fading to seventh.

With the $250,000 winning pot, American Jewel now boasts career earnings of $1,771,773 for her owner and breeder, Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky.

Sent postward the 8-5 choice, American Jewel returned $5.30, $3.60 and $2.80, combining with Shelliscape ($7.50, $4.50) for a $33.20 (4-5) exactor.  A 4-5-2 (Big Mcdeal, $10.10 to show) triactor paid $355, while a $1 superfecta [4-5-2-3 (Romantic Moment)] came back $839.65.

Chapter Seven wins Breeders Crown $600,000 Open Trot

Nothing worthwhile should come easy, and it didn’t for Chapter Seven who despite being parked from the start, gamely wore down international star Commander Crowe to capture the $600,000 Breeders Crown Open trot at Woodbine.

The race developed much as expected with Mister Herbie, Commander Crowe and Chapter Seven all leaving sharply for early position. Elitlopp winner Commander Crowe and driver Cristophe Martens showed their hand early gaining the front from Mister Herbie before the first turn. Chapter Seven and Tim Tetrick found out quickly that Martens had no intention of yielding the lead, at least in the early stages.

Tetrick took his medicine kindly keeping his horse interested on the outside while Commander Crowe marched to intense fractions of :27 2/5 and :55 4/5. During the battle Tetrick sat chilly while Martens continually went to the whip to urge his nine-year-old gelding on.

Despite the “good” surface the fractions remained strong on the far turn with Ccommander Crowe hitting the three quarters in 1:24 3/5 with Chapter Seven on his flank. Third-choice Mister Herbie was in the pocket without room while Arch Madness was second over struggling to keep with his cover.

In the homestretch Chapter Seven was still trotting and by midstretch he appeared to be wearing down the foreign-invader Commander Crowe.

Mister Herbie was able to squeeze in tight quarter between horses but his momentum was too late to get near Chapter Seven settling for second with a tired Commander Crowe finishing third.

The 1:52 3/5 effort was most impressive given the tiring nature of the racing surface.

Trainer Linda Toscano was jubilant in the winner’s circle following Chapter Seven’s second consecutive Breeders Crown title. “I can’t dream this big,” she said. “Without question he’s the best horse I’ve ever had. The trainer continued. “I didn’t know that he could do that (race parked the mile) but as long as he has a target he wants to go past.”

The victory for Chapter Seven was his seventh of the year in nine starts and elevated his four-year-old earnings to $927,700. Richard Gutnick, Southwind Farm and Jerry and Theresa Silva own Chapter Seven. Chapter Seven was bred by Richard Banca.

The victory was worth $3.50 to win on a $2 wager with the exacta with Mister Herbie for second paying $8.


Somwherovrarainbow delivers in Two-year-old Filly Pace

Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications

TORONTO, October 27 – Somwherovrarainbow, driven by Andy Miller, delivered an off-the-pace score for trainer George Teague Jr. in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Two-year-old Filly Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine.

The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Blue got away fifth behind UF Dragons Queen (David Miller), who clocked the opening panel in :27.  From third, L Dees Lioness (Scott Zeron) was the first to make a bid for command. As soon as L Dees Lioness cleared, a second-over I Luv The Nitelife (Jack Moiseyev) took the lead, putting up the half in :55.2.

Elimination winner Somwherovrarainbow, who was third-over, added pressure to the leader past the three-quarters in 1:23. Striking the front into the stretch, the 6-5 favourite was able to fend off I Luv The Nitelife to score the one and a half length victory in 1:52.2.  L Dees Lioness stayed for third.

“This one here seemed a little bit special right from the day of breaking her,” said Teague Jr. “She’s just an overall complete horse. Speed, mannerisms. She was a little bit harder early on, but corrected by different equipment. She set up well for the end of the season because she was a little bit aggressive early.”

Somwherovrarainbow has a record of 5-2-1 from nine starts. With the win, the bay lifted her earnings to $415,337 for owners George Teague JR Inc., K And R Racing LLC and Theodore Gewertz.

Somwherovrarainbow returned $4.50, $2.90 and $2.10, combining with I Luv The Nitelife ($3.30, $2.70) for a $14.90 (2-5) exactor.  A 2-5-1 (L Dees Lioness, $3.20 to show) triactor was worth $31.40, while a $1 superfecta [2-5-1-9 (Wherethegirlsare)] paid $225.25.

Check Me Out Ready To Make Her Bid For Horse of the Year in Breeders Crown Filly Trot

by Ken Weingartner for Breeders Crown

Toronto --- If her past is any indication, Check Me Out is out to conquer the world.

Or, perhaps more precisely, world records.

The 4-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, Check Me Out has set several world marks during her 30-race career. She has won 25 of those lifetime starts and finished worse than second only once.

Check Me Out is the fastest female trotter in history on a five-eighths-mile track thanks to her 1:51.3 win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 1 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also holds the record for fastest 2-year-old on a five-eighths-mile oval, an honor she achieved by winning her Matron Stakes elimination in 1:53.2 in 2011 at Dover Downs.

This year, she also set the record for fastest 3-year-old filly trotter on a mile racetrack. She first established the mark with her 1:51.3 triumph in the Delvin Miller Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. She equaled the record in winning the Zweig Filly Memorial on Aug. 26 at Vernon Downs. Then, she lowered the record to its current 1:51.2 in winning a Bluegrass Stakes division on Sept. 30 at The Red Mile.

In addition, her career earnings of $1.79 million are the most ever for a female trotter at ages 2 and 3 combined, breaking the previous record of $1.72 million set by Passionate Glide in 2005-06. (Passionate Glide won the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters in 2005.)

She enters Saturday trying to become the first filly trotter since Cameron Hall in 2001-02 to win Breeders Crown titles at ages 2 and 3. Her 1:54.4 victory in last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, held at Woodbine, set the stakes record.

Check Me Out, who is ranked No. 2 in harness racing’s Top 10 poll, will start from post one for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker, who owns the filly with Charlie Iannazzo.

“She looks real good; I expect her to race real well,” Schnittker said. “I haven’t done much with her lately, just jogged her. If they’re not tight now, they’ll never be tight. She drew an inside post, which is good. If she’s on her game, they won’t beat her.”

This year, Check Me Out has won the Elegantimage Stakes and Hudson Filly Trot in addition to the Miller, Zweig and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final.

She won her elim for the Hambletonian Oaks in 1:53.4, but disaster struck in the final, as she went off stride on the last turn, caught back trotting and finished third but ended up placed eighth for interfering with Maven.

On Sept. 14, Check Me Out defeated a field of older male rivals in the Open Trot at Tioga Downs. Her time of 1:54 over a surface labeled “good” set the track record.

“She’s the best horse I’ve ever been associated with,” Tetrick said. “She’ll go as fast as you’ll want to go with her.”

Iannazzo was one of the owners of one of Schnittker’s previous stars – 2008 Trotter of the Year and 2007 Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt trot champ Deweycheatumnhowe – and was interested initially in Check Me Out because both horses lost their mothers soon after being born.

Check Me Out’s second dam is millionaire No Nonsense Woman, who was a divisional champ at age 3 when she won the Breeders Crown, and her family also includes Napoletano (another millionaire and divisional champ) and, from the early 1900s, Hall of Fame trotter Peter Volo.

“I thought maybe somehow or another she’d turn out to be like Dewey,” Iannazzo said last year. “It was just a hunch. It was just a stroke of luck.”


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 26, 2012--Yonkers Raceway's Friday night pair of $44,000 co-featured Open Handicaps--for distaff pacers and everyone-welcome trotters--were won by odds-on choice Royal Cee Cee N (George Brennan, $3) and Tober (Jason Bartlett, $8.30).

It was Royal Cee Cee N making quick work of her outside starting venue. Hurdling over her six inside rivals (one defection), she easily found her way around P Note Blue Chip (Brian Sears), annexing the lead before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.1 intermission, Breakheart Pass (Bartlett), who had tucked into a five-hole, tried it first-up.

However, it was Royal Cee Cee N on display in and out of the 1:24.3 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. She then held a valiant Breakheart Pass at bay, winning by that same margin in 1:52.1. Best Boss (Pat Lachance), P Note Blue Chip and Naughtytiltheend (Brent Holland) completed the cashers.

For Royal Cee Cee N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Christian Cullen owned and trained by Mark Harder, it was her eighth win (3-for-4 since hitting town) in 24 seasonal starts (all-continent earnings now over $600,000). The exacta paid $27.80, with the triple returning $100.50.

The week's marquee saw Tober, in play from post position No. 6, take over from Take My Picture (Mark MacDonald), then hit early intervals of :28.3 and :58.2. Backstreet Hanover (Holland), the 17-10 favorite, moved from fifth going toward the 1:27.3 three-quarters, though Tober was more than comfortable.

He had three lengths leaving the final turn before winning by 3¼ lengths in 1:56.

Big Sky Storm (Jordan Stratton) rallied into third, with Take My Picture and Bank President (Dan Dube) grabbing the remainder.

For third-choice Tober, a 4-year-old statebred Credit Winner gelding trained by Ed Hart for co-owners Joseph Betro and (co-breeder) Kristie Leigh Farm it was his sixth win in 24 '12 tries. The exacta paid $17.40, the triple returned $178.50 and the superfecta paid $453.50.

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.


European Sensation Commander Crowe Lands In Toronto For $600,000 Breeders Crown Trot

Toronto --- Swedish star Commander Crowe is the first foreign horse to accept an invitation to the Breeders Crown in successive years and his connections hope to see Europe’s top trotter make the return trip memorable.

Commander Crowe is the 5-2 second choice in Saturday’s $600,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot. He will start from post four in the six-horse field, with Christophe Martens at the lines for trainer Fabrice Souloy. Chapter Seven, who won last season’s Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, is the 6-5 morning line favorite.

Last year, Commander Crowe finished third behind San Pail, the eventual Horse of the Year in both Canada and the U.S., and France’s Rapide Lebel despite racing outside for every step of the mile.

So far this year, Commander Crowe has won nine of 13 races, including the prestigious Elitlopp and Oslo Grand Prix, while earning $1.59 million.

For his career, the 9-year-old chestnut gelding – nicknamed Le Grand Blonde – has won $3.88 million and ranks eighth in purses among all trotters in history. Next on the list is Mack Lobell, who won Breeders Crown titles at ages 2, 3 and 4, and is the sire of Commander Crowe’s dam Somack.

“Last year he was good, but not at the level he is now,” Souloy said. “I think now he is much better than last year. The only negative point is that he might be a little down because it is the end of the season.

“(But) this year we changed his training; he trained in the deep sand and he gets so much better. He’s much better this year.”

The last invited foreign horse to win the Breeders Crown Open Trot was Italian sensation Varenne, who captured the trophy with a then-world-record 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands.

“It’s very important, if you can win a Breeders Crown,” Martens said. “It’s something like the Elitlopp. (Winning) the Elitlopp was a big moment, but after that race it’s the Breeders Crown in Canada, otherwise we don’t come back here. It was great last year. We were so happy with the third place, and I think this year I can do a little bit better.”

To watch a video with Commander Crowe and his connections, click here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Like Mother, like Son: Passion for horses runs in the family

By Kim Rinker for Breeders Crown

In the world of harness racing, there’s no better recipe for success than hard work, perseverance, knowledge and passion for the game.

Sprinkle in a bit of luck and as some would say, “it’s all good.”

Chicago-based trainer Donna Lee couldn’t agree more, especially when it comes to her son Tony Alagna, who will be harnessing six Breeders Crown starters on Saturday.  Much has been written about Tony and his first foray into the championships, but Donna says it’s no surprise to her that her son, at age 40, is in the spotlight.

“Tony isn’t an overnight success—it’s been years and years of hard work for him,” she said. “He was determined to go out on his own as a trainer before he turned 40, as he didn’t want to be a second-trainer for the rest of his life.  He had been assistant trainer for two large stables and knew what it takes to run a large operation.  I had been after him for a couple of years to go out on his own, and he was initially nervous about doing it, but it’s worked out super.”

Donna, 60, has been involved with Standardbreds since she was a 12-year-old, horse-crazy youngster staring over the fence at the Champaign County Fairgrounds in Urbana, IL.

“I was born in Fairfield, IL, and nobody else in my family had anything to do with horses,” she recalled. “I saw my first horse when I was five and just fell in love.  I used to go and watch a little bay horse and a mule in a neighbor’s yard.  I would just stare at them for hours.  One day I started watching this guy at the fairgrounds named Finny Thompson.  He had an old Standardbred pacer named Smash Key, and he asked me if I wanted to jog a horse, and that’s how I got started.

“The following summer Finny had 20 horses at the fairgrounds and offered me a job,” Donna continued. “Finny was a character.  He was a butcher by trade and got into trouble with the government for selling meat on the black market, and until the day he died he couldn’t have anything race in his name.  But he hired me and let me start fooling with the horses.  I was in heaven.”

Three years later, at age 16, Donna purchased her first horse for $200—a trotting yearling—from Geff, IL horseman Tom Tetrick, father of driver Tim Tetrick.

“That horse was Colonel’s Cara, and she dumped me out more times than I care to remember,” Donna said. “She never made it to the races but she tough me a lot.”

It was while working for Finny that Donna met and married her husband, Pete Alagna, when she was 19.  Tony was born in 1972 and son Petey was born in 1973.  When things didn’t work out for the couple a year later, Donna found herself raising two boys as a single parent.

“It really wasn’t difficult for me because the boys went to the track with me every morning and the school was right across the street, so they went with me before and after school,” Donna offered.  “Tony was always horse crazy and wanted to be at the barn more than he wanted to be in school, and Petey wasn’t as much into the horses then—although later he developed into an accomplished blacksmith and then began the “Elite Harness Racing” company, which manufactures race bike wheels.  He’s also became a Will Co. (IL) Sherriff after serving three years in Korea in the military.”

Donna says that Tony was super focused on learning about horses, even as a toddler.

“When Tony was three, I bought him a small welsh pony that he rode everywhere around the track.  When he was a few years older I got him a quarter horse and he started jumping him bareback over the racetrack hub rail in the afternoons. He always had a bond with horses. When other kids were out playing ball or running around the playground he wanted to be in the barn. “

At 9-years-old, Tony’s favorite books were Donna’s collection of Sires & Dams that sat on the family’s shelves.

“We’d be watching TV and Tony would be reading the Sires & Dams, and ask me questions like, ‘who was Victory Song by?’  He was unreal about wanting to study bloodlines, and was always focused on the horses even when he was that little; he never had any outside interest, and he always seemed like an older soul, like an 8-year-old going on 25.  He was like me, he had the passion for these animals since day one.”

“I just loved being in the barn from day one,” Tony acknowledged. “Our school was very close, and we’d head right to the barn as soon as school was out.  Mom would still be at the fairgrounds, and Petey and I would go there to help put horses away right after school.”

Tony agreed with his mom that in his mind, the horses always came first.

“The first horse I ever took care of, that was my full-time responsibility, was a filly pacer named Kay Rick,” Tony remembered.  “One day, mom went out to train her to the race bike and I was watching from the backside.  I watched her go by and I’m looking and looking but I don’t see her coming down the front side, down the homestretch.  I wait but I still don’t see my mom—so I go running across the infield, and I see my mom sitting on Kay Rick’s head, who is lying on the racetrack.

“I’m nearly out of breath and there’s my mom sitting there—covered in dust , bloody and dirty, and the only thing I say is, ‘Is Kay alright?’

“As you can imagine, the look on my mom’s face was priceless, because I didn’t ask about her, just about the horse,” Tony laughed. “To this day, we always  laugh about this story.”

Tony was ten at the time.

After high school, Tony worked with Morgan horses at the Springfield, IL-based Cotton Hill Farms for several years before joining his mother at Quad City Downs, where he helped her condition her stable of pacers and trotters for another six years.  He then joined trainer Brian Pinske as an assistant for several years, before finishing up his college degree at Florida’s Seminole College in 1997.

After college, Tony worked for Pat and Ken Walker’s Fox Valley Standardbreds in Sherman, IL as their private trainer for three years, before going to work for conditioner Erv Miller for six years.  Tony helped to train such standouts as Lisa Mara, Shark Gesture, Classic Photo, and Muscle Mass, to name a few.

“The biggest advantage to working for top trainers like Erv and Brian is that you learn to manage a large stable, and you learn how to maintain consistency week-in and week-out with racehorses . Both Erv and Brian were very good at managing their horses and running a large stable.”

Those years definitely paid off for Tony, who will harness favorite Captaintreacherous in the 2-year-old colt pace; Nikki Beach in the 2-year-old filly pace;  Rockaround Sue in the 3-year-old filly pace; Handover Belle in the 2-year-old filly trot; Mel Mara in the 3-year-old colt pace; and Mr Chicago in the 3-year-old colt trot.

“Tony said he didn’t want to have over 35 horses and that’s how it worked out his first year,” Donna offered. “Then it went up to 50 horses and now he’s at 65.  It can make the book keeping a little tough, but it works out.”

Donna does the book-keeping for the Alagna Stable and also takes horses from her son to freshen up.

“The competition in Chicago is a lot softer than what they face out East, so Tony will send me some of his that need a little break from time to time,” Donna said. “It works out well for both of us.”

He said he didn’t want over 35 horses and that’s how it was the first year, then 50 the second, and now 65.

“I definitely get my work ethic from my mom,” Tony stressed. “She instilled in me that if you don’t work hard, you’re not going to be successful.   Mom always told me that if you don’t take care of the horse, the horse won’t take care of you.”

Prior to this year, Alagna did not start a horse in the Breeders Crown. This year, he has six in the finals. Mel Mara (3-year-old colt pace), Captaintreacherous and Wake Up Peter (2-year-old colt pace), Rockaround Sue (3-year-old filly pace), Mr Chicago (3-year-old colt trot) and Handover Belle (2-year-old filly trot).



MANALAPAN, NJ – October 26, 2012 – Melady’s Monet extended his winning streak to three and trotted a stakes record 1:57.3, capturing the $25,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes – Green Acres Final for three-year-old trotting colts on Friday, October 26, 2012 at Freehold Raceway.

Trained by Taylor Gower and driven by Hall of Famer Cat Manzi, the gelded son of Revenue eclipsed the Green Acres gelding record of 1:58 set by Spat One in 2002. 

Melady’s Monet had won all three of his New Jersey Sire Stakes preliminary legs for a clean sweep of the series.  He finished a length and three quarters ahead of Muscolo in second and five lengths ahead of Kingstone in third.  Both are sons of Muscles Yankee.

Melady’s Monet now has seven wins, four seconds and three thirds from 20 starts this year.  His career bankroll for owner-breeder Luca Balenzano of Pompano Beach, FL is $62,223.

This was the final New Jersey Sire Stakes of the 2012 season.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ


Intimidate Intends To Live Up To His Name in $555,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Colt

Toronto --- Even though Intimidate still has work ahead of him, trainer Luc Blais feels the toughest job is completed.

Intimidate is the 5-2 morning line second choice in Saturday’s $555,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters. His connections – Blais and co-owner Judith Farrow – paid $62,500 to get the colt into last weekend’s eliminations, so advancing to the final was of paramount importance.

Especially considering the supplemental fee represented nearly 47 percent of the colt’s then $134,078 in lifetime earnings.

Intimidate not only advanced to the final, but won his elimination race by 1-1/4 lengths over multiple-stakes-winner Market Share in 1:53.1, which equaled his career-best time.

“It was exciting last week to make the final,” said Blais, a 50-year-old from Quebec who bred Intimidate with Farrow. “When you’re in the final, it’s not like the elimination; I think there is a little less pressure. We supplemented, and we’re not a big outfit, and you want to make the final.

“The elimination is a big part in a big race like this. You need a good performance.”

A son of Justice Hall out of the mare Fabulous Tag, Intimidate has won 12 of 16 races and finished second on three occasions while earning $143,285 this year. His only previous stakes race was a second-place finish to Little Brown Fox, in 1:51.4, in the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 1 at Mohawk.

In his Breeders Crown elimination, Intimidate was sixth at the midway point, 10 lengths behind leader Archangel. He was seventh entering the last quarter-mile, still nearly seven lengths from the front, before trotting home in :26.3 to overtake Market Share, who had opened a two-length lead on the field at the top of the stretch.

“It was an amazing performance,” Blais said. “In the last turn, I hoped he was going to finish two or three, but he was strong at the end. He showed that (kick) the last two or three races. When you keep him for the end, he’s got a good kick. He’s always had that.”

Sylvain Filion drove Intimidate in his elimination, but will sit behind Prestidigitator – who was second to Little Brown Fox in last weekend’s other Breeders Crown elim – on Saturday night. Ron Pierce, who drove Intimidate in the Simcoe, will go with Intimidate from post three.

Pierce has won 25 Breeders Crown titles in his career, third most in the history of the series.

“I think for this kind of race, he’s a good guy to have; he’s a pro,” Blais said. “He knows that game.”

Market Share, who with driver Tim Tetrick has won the $1.5 million Hambletonian and the $1.03 million Canadian Trotting Classic on his way to a national-best $1.77 million in purses, is the 2-1 favorite in the race and will start from post eight for trainer Linda Toscano.

Toscano’s Chapter Seven won last season’s 3-year-old colt trot and she is bidding to join Chuck Sylvester as the only trainer to win this division in back-to-back years. Sylvester did it with Pine Chip in 1993 and Incredible Abe in 1994.

Little Brown Fox, who starts from post four for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Tatker, is 3-1 on the morning line. Takter is the all-time leader in Breeders Crown purses, with $6.36 million, and is tied for second in victories, with 12.

Despite Intimidate’s limited stakes credentials, Blais was impressed enough with the colt’s performance in the Simcoe and three subsequent wins by a total of six lengths to suggest to Farrow, a 71-year-old who raised Intimidate at her farm in Quebec, they enter the Breeders Crown.

“After the Simcoe, his next three races he did very easy,” said Blais, who set a career high in earnings of $1.22 million in 2001; a year that saw him occasionally listed as the trainer of that season’s Breeders Crown Open Pace champion Goliath Bayama. “It helped me to make the decision.”

Now it is looking like a wise investment and reaching the Breeders Crown final with a win last weekend is already a special moment for Blais.

“I’ve been in the business for 30 years,” he said, “and it’s the biggest thrill of my life.”


M1 - Breeders Crown Challenge Set For Saturday At Meadowlands; Walk-Ups Welcome

Bet the Breeders Crown simulcast from Woodbine and win big in the Breeders Crown Challenge on Saturday, October 27 at the Meadowlands. 

The top two finishers in the tournament will earn spots in the 2013 World Harness Handicapping Championship, courtesy of Woodbine.  Prize money will be paid out to the Top 10 finishers, plus players keep their bankroll.  There will also be drawings for Breeders Crown merchandise throughout the night, and each player will receive a Breeders Crown commemorative pin. 

The cost to enter the tournament is $200 ($100 entry plus a $100 real-money bankroll).  The format requires players to bet a minimum of $10 ($100 maximum) on 10 Woodbine races.  Complete rules and entry form are available at

Registration begins at 5 p.m. in Raceworld Teletheater on the Paddock Level.  Woodbine has a special early post time of 6:30 p.m.

The 2013 World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC) will bring together horseplayers from across North America to compete for $100,000 in prize money on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Meadowlands.  Players may earn a seat in the WHHC through a qualifying event at a partner wagering outlet or through direct buy-in ($1000) should enough spots remain as of April 1, 2013. will also host a 2-seat WHHC Qualifier on Breeders Crown Night, while Northlands Park in Canada has set a date for a qualifier on January 19, 2013.  The Meadows and Red Shores also plan to announce WHHC qualifiers. 

For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Amy Silver, Meadowlands Racetrack ( in the U.S. or Kathy Wade Vlaar, Standardbred Canada ( in Canada.



Bob Krivelin scored his second consecutive victory in the North American Amateur Drivers Association’s Trotting Series when he again guided High Pan Tolerance to 2:01.3 victory, this time at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening October 25th . Last week the pair was victorious in 2:00.2 at Monticello Raceway.

In a non-wagering event before the first race on the nightly card, Krivelin and High Pan Tolerance  were looped on the first turn by Peter Gerry and  Drill Sergeant Sam  but as the field headed to the quarter pole Krivelin gunned his trotter to the front and once on top they were never seriously challenged .
High Pan Tolerance had two lengths on the field  at the third stanza  and it was opened to three lengths when the photo-finish camera snapped as they finished ahead of runner-up Winterleebrook and driver  George Newell. Third place went to Guiding Light driven by Dave Yarock.

“He’s a Caddy (Cadillac) to drive,” Krivelin said of High Pan Tolerance, “He can leave or race from behind. He’ll do whatever is asked of him and he’s got a pretty good motor, too.”
The two-track NAADA trotting series returns to Monticello Raceway next Thursday November 1. Drivers in the series earn points according to their placings in each preliminary leg. The top eight get a chance to compete in the $12,00 series finale in mid-November.

M1, Tgdn5/8, VD7/8 - Text Messages Regarding Race Office Info Available at Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon

Consistently on the cutting edge of the ever evolving technology scene, Jeff Gural's three tracks have entered into a agreement with Sumotext to offer instant updates on race office information through mass text messaging.

The intended use is to get time sensitive information on upcoming deadlines, overnights and stakes into the hands of trainers and perhaps most interestingly, make them aware of what classes are short on entries for the day's draw.

As an example, if the 3YO NW 2PM or $25,000 life has only six entrants and may be discarded, the racing office will be able to send a text blast that will reach all horsemen subscribed to the service with that information. A trainer with a horse that fits the class may then call the office and enter the horse to help fill the race.

We will also be able to reach horsemen at a moment's notice with any pertinent information, such as postponements or cancellations. Though the impetus for the service is racing, the uses are limitless and may well be applied to other facets in time.

Subscribing to the service is quite simple. You may follow this link; and fill in the required fields, then respond positively to a confirmation return text; that's it. You will then receive all text messages generated by the race offices at all three tracks. There will not be a respond by text option.

Please take a moment to sign up for the text service and take advantage of the opportunity to receive these instant and important messages from our three racetracks. There is no charge to subscribers from the tracks or Sumotext for this service. Standard message & data rates charged by your carrier may apply.

VIP InfoAlerts (20msg/mth). Text STOP to opt out or HELP for help. T/Cs & Privacy Policy Msg&Data rates may apply.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trainers Making Breeders Crown Debut Hope to Make Prescence Felt In $600,000 Two-Year-Old Colt Pace

by Ken Weingartner for Breeders Crown

Toronto --- John Williamson has been in the harness racing business for more than 40 years, so it will be a special occasion when he watches his first Breeders Crown finalist -- Urbanite Hanover -- go behind the starting gate in Saturday’s $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers at Woodbine Racetrack.

Where he watches the race, though, might be up in the air.

Williamson is scheduled to have hernia surgery on Friday. He hopes to be in attendance for the Breeders Crown the following evening.

“I don’t know how, but I plan to sneak over,” the 65-year-old Williamson said, laughing. “It’s OK. (Urbanite Hanover) is doing the racing, not me.”

Williamson is among four trainers in the race who are making their Breeders Crown debuts on Saturday. The others are Tony Alagna, who has 2-5 morning line favorite Captaintreacherous and Wake Up Peter, Corey Johnson with Captive Audience and Mark Austin with Fool Me Once. Danny Collins, with Twilight Bonfire, is making only his second trip to a Breeders Crown final.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Williamson, who lives in Waterdown, Ontario and shares ownership of Urbanite Hanover with Daniel Haist of Ridgeville, Ontario. “But it’s all for him. The nice thing for me is just having a horse of this caliber. I’ve really enjoyed him this year.”

Urbanite Hanover is winless in nine starts, with three second-place finishes, and $56,130 in purses. He finished fourth in his Breeders Crown elimination, which was won by Wake Up Peter in 1:51.1. Urbanite Hanover was beaten by 3-1/2 lengths and timed in 1:51.4, with a :26.3 last quarter-mile split.

He was driven by Tim Tetrick in his elim, but Tetrick will handle Captaintreacherous in the final. Ron Pierce picks up the drive on Urbanite Hanover.

“Tim really liked him; he said he was full (of pace) but just had nowhere to go,” Williamson said. “That’s happened to him a few times this year, where he’s been locked in.

“If he’s right, he can come home good. The ‘Captain’ might not be beatable, but I’d like to get behind him and take a shot.”

Prior to the Breeders Crown elim, Urbanite Hanover finished second in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile, with Pierce at the lines. A week earlier in a Bluegrass division, he went off stride because of broken equipment. He also had a rough trip in the Champlain Stakes on Sept. 8 at Mohawk, racing on the outside for the entire mile.

Urbanite Hanover is a son of Western Ideal, who won the Breeders Crown Open Pace in 2000, out of the mare Up Front Sassy. A bay colt, Urbanite Hanover sold for $11,000 at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale. His third dam is the mother of stakes-winners Tarport Hap, Tyler B and Cheery Hello, who was the Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly pace champion in 1989.

“He has a real strong family and he’s a nice individual,” Williamson said. “It’s really hard to fault him. He wasn’t in the harness for three weeks when I thought I had something special. He’s been easy from the get-go.”

Nicknamed “Shaggy,” Williamson hopes Urbanite Hanover, who is 20-1 on the morning line, looks sharp on Saturday night.

“Someone gave him the nickname because he was late losing his baby hair,” Williamson said. “But he’s anything but shaggy; he’s a gorgeous colt. He’s the nicest looking colt in the barn.”


Austin’s first trip to the Breeders Crown also has a medical angle, but this time it is for the horse.

Fool Me Once was fifth in his elimination last week. Afterward, Austin found the colt was sick. He trained Fool Me Once on Thursday morning and was hoping for the best.

“I just blew him out and he’s got a little more life to him,” the 52-year-old Austin said. “I hope we got it cleaned up. He didn’t really fire on the end of (the mile) last week and he had a perfect trip and a chance up the rail. But (as sick as he was) he should’ve been worse.

“I’d feel better if he was healthier and we didn’t draw the best post. But it’s still exciting. You take what you can get and hope for a little racing luck.

“Captaintreacherous looks like he’s in a league of his own. It looks like the rest of us are racing for minor shares.”

Fool Me Once headed to his Breeders Crown elimination, which was won by Wake Up Peter, off two stakes wins at The Red Mile during the Grand Circuit meet.

Racing for the first time out of Canada, Fool Me Once captured his division of the Bluegrass Stakes by a half-length over Sir Richard Z Tam in 1:51.3 on Sept. 29 and then won his division of the International Stallion Stakes by a half-length over Twilight Bonfire in 1:51.3 on Oct. 6.

A son of Art Major-Fool That I Am, Fool Me Once has won four of nine starts this season and earned $127,226. He is owned by Austin and Daniel Smith, both from Ontario.

Fool Me Once is a full-brother to multiple-stakes-winner Feel Like A Fool and was purchased under the name Foolish Fishman for $70,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. His family also includes millionaire I Am A Fool, who won the 2003 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers.

Austin typically trains a stable of 15 to 18 horses. He was introduced to harness racing by his uncle, Bud, and got into the sport full time after high school. He has averaged $586,000 in purses over the last seven seasons, including $605,944 this year.

“My uncle had one horse; he was a fireman and I used to go out and help him on the weekends,” Austin said. “That’s how I caught the horse bug. I finished high school and went to work for a couple guys. I struck out on my own when I was 21 and I’ve been on my own ever since.”


Corey Johnson is in his first full season as a trainer, but is become accustomed to big-money stakes thanks to Captive Audience, who will leave from post 10 with Brian Sears in the 2-year-old colt pace. Captive Audience, who was third to Wake Up Peter in his elim, is 15-1 on the morning line.

Already this season, Captive Audience has won the $267,066 Champlain Stakes at Mohawk on Sept. 8 and competed in the $1.01 million Metro Pace, finishing ninth, on Sept. 1.

The 22-year-old Johnson trains Captive Audience for his father, Colin, and Mac Nichol.

“It’s great,” Johnson said about his Breeders Crown appearance. “I’ve been lucky enough to come across this colt. Dad broke him and when he was ready to race, sent him to me for the finishing touches. He liked him from the get-go and as soon as I got him, I loved him. He’s got that power and he loves to do his job. He wants to be a good horse.”

Captive Audience has won two of nine races, hit the board seven times total, and earned $179,154. Like Fool Me Once, he is a son of two-time Breeders Crown winner Art Major. He is the first foal out of stakes-winner Captiva Island and his second dam is millionaire Sanabelle Island. Captive Audience was purchased for $95,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale.

“It’s a little bit of a nervous time because it’s a big race, but I feel more nervous once the horse gets on the track,” Johnson said. “Right now, things are in my control. Once he leaves my control, I’m more nervous.

“But he always leaves it on the track. He’s a good horse that way. He makes my job easy.”

The $600,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Pace has been raced 28 times, but the favorite has only won three times: Sweet Lou in 2011, I Am A Fool in 2003 and Camtastic in 1987. Village Jiffy win in 1992 over Life Sign resulted in the longest pay-off in this division – a $58.00 score.