Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cinderalla He’s Watching Equals World Record in Meadowlands Pace

By Mike Farrell

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J -- He's Watching rallied to win the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace in record-equaling time on Saturday night at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.

It was the exclamation point in the storybook saga of a $3,000 yearling purchase who scaled the heights of the sport with The Pace victory.

The time was a dazzling 1:46 4/5, tying the fastest clocking in the history of harness racing. He joins Somebeachsomewhere, Holborn Hanover and Warawee Needy in that exclusive speed club.

Tim Tetrick was in the sulky for his fourth Pace victory in only eight drives.

“It’s just an honor to compete in these races,” Tetrick said. “He’s a great horse, and I was lucky to pick up the drive in a big race like this.”

He's Watching beat Always B Miki by 2 1-2 lengths, his 11th victory in 14 starts.

Racing second over while tracking North America Cup winner JK Endofanera, He’s Watching shifted into high gear in the lane, kicking home with a 25 3/5 second final quarter.

“I couldn’t ask for a better trip,” Tetrick said. “My horse really exploded, and he paced all the way to the wire.

He's Watching, trained by David Menary who made his Pace debut, paid $6.20, $3.80 and $3.40.

“I was hoping we’d get a second-over trip behind JK Endofanera,” Menary said. “He’s versatile. He likes it on the front and when horses come at him, he picks up the bit. He can explode off the helmet, too.”

Always B Miki, caught three wide all the way around, dug in gamely to get second, returning $5.80 and $4.60. Tellitlikeitis paid $8.20 to show.

He’s Watching is owned by Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust.

The Pace, contested before 10,786 on a warm night, was main event of a stakes-filled evening.

Stanley Dancer Memorial

Trainer Jimmy Takter holds all the cards heading into the $1.2 million Hambletonian here on Aug. 2, especially after his trio of talented colts swept the first three positions in the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old trotters.

Father Patrick was first to the wire, his 16th win in 17 starts for the Father Patrick Stable. He will undoubtedly be the solid favorite in the Hambletonian.

Yannick Gingras was at the lines for the 1:51 3/5 victory. Father Patrick, starting from post 9, took charge down the backstretch and held off Nuncio by three quarters of a length with Trixton third.

“He can race from the back and he’s probably a little bit better following horses,” Gingras said. “With the 9-hole in a 12-horse field, the last thing I wanted to do was get caught behind traffic.”

Given the lead, Father Patrick remained firmly in command.

“There was no excuse for anybody,” Gingras said. “Father Patrick beat them straight up.”

Father Patrick paid $2.80 to win.

The Takter dominance could limit the number of Hambletonian challengers. If there are 13 or fewer entrants, the field will go in one dash without preliminary heats.

“This was basically the Hambletonian,” Takter said. “I mean, who is coming?”

Takter struck again with Shake It Cerry in the $213,500 Del Miller Memorial, the companion event for 3-year-old trotting fillies and the prep for the Hambletonian Oaks.

Shake It Cerry and driver Ron Pierce won by 1-1/4 lengths over Heaven’s Door in 1:53. Designed To Be was third.

Shake It Cerry won for the fifth time in six starts this year and pushed her career earnings to more than $1 million. She has banked $217,338 this season for Solveig’s Racing Partners.

Shake It Cerry led from start to finish, hitting the halfway point in :57.4.

“When I saw we were getting our way going to the half, I figured I better try to get away from Designed To Be so we stepped on the gas the last half,” Pierce said.

“I think she’s coming into the Hambletonian Oaks just perfect. Today she got a good workout, so I would say she’s coming into the Oaks in real good shape.”

Shake It Cerry paid $9.60 to win.

Sweet Lou rocketed home in 1:47 1-5 in the $463,300 William Haughton Memorial, the sixth straight win for 5-year-old.

He had an ideal trip, perched second-over as Captaintreacherous and Thinking Out Loud slugged it out.

Ron Pierce turned Sweet Lou loose in the lane and he roared home to his 28th win in 64 starts, beating Bettor’s Edge by 1 1-4 lengths.

The first two finishers were trained by Ron Burke.

“Ronnie had been using the same move every week where he brushes up the backside and bottoms them out,” Burke said. “I was wondering what would happen if we couldn’t do that. What I liked best was at the wire he was just starting to stretch out. I was very happy with him and Bettor’s Edge.

Sweet Lou, owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura paid $4 to win.

Captaintreacherous, last year’s Meadowlands Pace winner, was third.

Sandbetweenurtoes gutted out a neck victory over Weeper in the $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old pacing fillies to extend her season-long unbeaten streak.

Brett Miller was at the lines for trainer Larry Remmen and owner Bradley Grant as Sandbetweenurtoes improved to 6 for 6 in 2014.

“She’s something else, for a filly who had only one start as a 2-year-old,” Miller said.

The time was 1:49 3/5. Sandbetweenurtoes paid $5.40 to win.

Rocklamation emerged from the pack in deep stretch to take the $183,450 Golden Girls Free-For-All for pacing mares in a career-best and stakes record 1:48 3/5.

The 6-year-old improved to 21 for 89 as she closes in on $2 million in career earnings. Gingras was in the sulky for his third stakes win of the night. Burke trains for the Our Horse Cents Stable, Stable 45 and J & T Silva Stables.

“My mare’s a hard knocker,” Gingras said. “She’s getting up there in age, but she’s such a sweetheart.”

Rocklamation beat Drop The Ball by three quarters of a length with Jerseylicious third. She paid $26.80 for the upset victory.

Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, got her first win of the year by capturing the third leg of the Miss Versatility Series by a neck over Charmed Life in 1:51 1/5. D’Orsay was third.

Bee A Magician and driver Brian Sears found a second-over trip behind D’Orsay, taking the front in mid-stretch and holding off a fast-closing Charmed Life.

Bee A Magician, who was 17-for-17 last season, had three second-place finishes among four starts prior to the Miss Versatility. She has won 28 of 35 career races for owners Mel Hartmann, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, and trainer Nifty Norman.

She paid $4 to win.

New Jersey Sires Stakes

Guess Whos Back fired off cover while Mission Brief exploded with a gate-to-wire stakes record performance in the trots.

Mission Brief, who paid $2.60 to win, broke her own stakes record of 1:55.1, with a 1:53.3 mile besting a field of six trotting fillies. The winning margin was an eye-opening 13 1-4 lengths.

The outcome was never in doubt as Gingras guided the Ron Burke trainee to her second win in three starts.

With the daughter of Muscle Hill, out of the Breeders Crown winner Southwind Serena, racing on an uncontested lead, the battle was for second and Dynamite Dame edged out Rules of the Road.

She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi.

Guess Whos Back tipped five-wide in the stretch and pulled away to a one-length victory in the event for trotting colts and geldings.

Guess Whos Back, driven by Brian Sears paid $6.40 to win. Canepa Hanover was second with 99-1 Mountain Top a length and three-quarters in third/

The 1:56.1 mile was a lifetime best for Guess Whos Back, trained by Nikolas Drennan and racing for Joseph Davino and Brad Shackman.

More Jersey Sires Stakes

A pair of Western Ideal youngsters, Artspeak and Stacia Hanover, scored in the $100,000 finals of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacers on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Meadowlands.

Artspeak [$3.40, $2.80, $2.40], a son of Western Ideal, captured the New Jersey Sire Stakes for pacing colts and geldings in 1:52.3, finishing a length and three-quarters ahead of Hurrikane Ali, by Rocknroll Hanover.

Dealt A Winner by Cam’s Card Shark was an early breaker who reconnected with the field and got up for third by two and a half lengths.

Artspeak, driven by Scott Zeron and trained by Tony Alagna, was sent off as the 3-5 favorite and did not disappoint, picking up his second win in two career starts. A $100,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase, he races for Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners.

In the 13th and final race of the night, Stacia Hanover took command early and held the lead at every call, extending her unbeaten streak to three with a career best 1:53.4 mile.

Scott Zeron guided the Western Ideal filly, who is trained by Steve Elliott and races for Ohioans David Van Dusen and Michael Ciamaglio, who purchased her for $35,000 at the Harrisburg Sale.

Stacia Hanover returned $3.40, $2.40, $2.10, finishing a length and a quarter ahead of Cashaway, who was a half length ahead of Ideal Nuggets. All three are by Western Ideal.

Total handle for the 13-race program was $4,288,237, compared to the $4,311,546 wagered on the 14-race card in 2013. By comparison, handle through 13 races last year was $4,096,588.

Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Through the Meadowlands Pace Notebook

By Ken Weingartner

1. National Debt, Scott Zeron, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1

Last year, National Debt won all four of his starts while competing in Alberta for trainer/co-owner Kelly Hoerdt, who received Canada’s 2013 O’Brien Award for Horsemanship. He was sent to New Jersey-based trainer Ron Coyne Jr. for the start of this season and captured the Gilmour Memorial Series during the winter.

National Debt, who finished fifth in his Pace elimination, won by JK Endofanera, has won seven of 10 lifetime races and earned $76,073. Owned by Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil, and the J&T Silva Stables, National Debt had issues with allergies earlier this season while racing in Canada and missed nearly two months prior to his Pace elim.

“He had a couple good tighteners in qualifiers, and this was his first test for speed against these colts, but all in all it went well,” Coyne said. “He showed a good burst of speed at the end, he came home :26.2 and he finished up really nice, so I was really happy about that. It’s all a matter of the post and the trip and we’ll see if we get lucky.

“We missed a few of the big dances, but we’re ready to go again,” Coyne said.

2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1

JK Endofanera (Art Major-Presidential Lady) won his elimination in 1:48.2 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He is trying to become the 10th horse to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. For more, read here.

3. He’s Watching, Tim Tetrick, David Menary, 5-2

He’s Watching (American Ideal-Baberhood) won his elimination in 1:48.1 and is 5-2 on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For more, read here.

4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1

One of two horses in the race from the Takter Stable, Tellitlikeitis (Well Said-Kikikatie) is a son of 2009 Meadowlands Pace winner Well Said out of the million-dollar-earning mare Kikikatie. He led early in his Pace elimination, which was won by He’s Watching, but finished fifth.

Tellitlikeitis, owned by Lothlorien stable, has won four of 12 career races and $389,022. He finished second to JK Endofanera in the North America Cup.

“I expect him to be better,” Takter said. “He had three weeks off [prior to his Pace elim] and that’s a long time in this group. I had to play it like that with him, unfortunately. I cannot race him every dance because he has issues. But he’s got a perfect seat, the four post. If the pace is right, we know he can pace :25 the last quarter. If I get him a little bit better, he’s quick enough that he can give you something.”

5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1

The 2013 Breeders Crown champion finished third in his Pace elim, won by He’s Watching. Luck Be Withyou has won once in five starts this season and captured six of 16 career races, good for $404,827. He is owned by John Craig and trained by Bill Cass in Canada, with Oakes taking over in the U.S.

Luck Be Withyou is a son of Western Ideal out of the mare Trim Hanover. He is a three-quarter brother to millionaire female pacer American Jewel.

6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1

The colt tried to find room inside of JK Endofanera in the stretch, but was unable to get past the leader and finished third in his Pace elimination. Just three-quarters of a length separated JK Endofanera, runner-up Always B Miki, and Lyonssomewhere.

Geoffrey Lyons Mound owns Lyonssomewhere, who is a son of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Miss Kitty Hanover. He has won five of seven career races and $98,570.

“He didn’t have enough room, but I thought he raced really, really good,” Takter said. “He can step out of the gate extremely well. It’s hard not to take advantage of that, but by the same token, you pay a little bit for that.

“At the Meadowlands, it’s not necessarily the best spot to sit behind the leader unless he’s a very good leader. If you don’t get racing room, you’re playing with luck. With luck, yes he can win, without a doubt, and we need to be lucky in this race. It will be an interesting race.”

7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1

Erv Miller is hoping for big things from the big horse as the year goes on. Jet Airway opened 2014 with a second-place finish to JK Endofanera in the Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands.

Owned by Miller, Tangie Massey, Paul Sunderhaus, and Larry Agle, Jet Airway has won six of 18 career races and $130,834. He is a son of Jereme’s Jet out of the mare Aromatic. He raced 10 times as a 2-year-old, winning three races, but was shut down in early October.

Marcus Miller, who recently got career win No. 2,000, is Erv’s 25-year-old son.

“He’s a really fast horse, a big horse,” Miller said about Jet Airway. “I think, hopefully, from midseason on he’ll just keep getting better. It just seems he needed the racing to get going. He went a big mile [in his elim]. Marcus did a good job and he had a lot of pace finishing.

“I could tell last year he was a pretty nice horse. I wanted to shut him down because he was real immature. I think as time goes, he’ll just keep getting better.”

8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1

Always in the hunt, Sometimes Said has won only twice but hit the board in 14 of 18 career races. He finished second by a neck from post nine in last year’s Breeders Crown, which was won by Luck Be Withyou, and was second in the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.

Owned by Fashion Farms, Sometimes Said is a son of Well Said out of the mare Lady Sometimes. He has earned $341,254 lifetime.

Sometimes Said finished second in his Pace elim, beaten 2-3/4 lengths by He’s Watching.

“He’s had a good week,” Campbell said. “It’s hard to say whether post eight will help him or hurt him, it depends how the race unfolds. It would probably be in his best interest if they’re rolling along up front and he can get cover in the outer tier.

“It’s a tough group of horses. He went a big trip last week and he’ll have to come back and be better than that this week.”

9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1

Came home the fastest of all Meadowlands Pace finalists with a :26.1 final quarter-mile to miss by a neck to JK Endofanera in his Pace elim. Always B Miki has won five of 20 career races and earned $219,916. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D’Or Farms, and Roll The Dice Stable.

Always B Miki was disqualified from third to fifth for interference in his Hempt Memorial elimination and went off stride in his North America Cup elim. He has three wins, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, and two second-place finishes (by a neck and a nose) in the five starts this year in which he’s minded his manners.

“I was apprehensive coming into [the Pace elimination] because he’s just been a problem horse that way,” Holloway said. “He’s got a lot of speed, but he’s not the easiest horse to deal with. He steered fairly well [in his elim] and raced well. He can go a tough trip, he’s probably one of the tougher ones that way, but he is tough to deal with.

“He’s got the speed to go wherever they want to go. As long as he gets a decent trip he’ll work it out from there.”

Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin, who was trained by Holloway and won two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown (Cane Pace and Messenger) in 2007, out of the mare Artstopper. He is a half-brother to Yagonnakissmeornot, who finished second in this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final.

10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1

Elliott is the only trainer in the race to have won the Meadowlands Pace previously, having captured the trophy in 2006 with Artistic Fella and 2009 with Well Said. Only two trainers, Brett Pelling and Bill Robinson, have more Pace victories.

Doo Wop Hanover finished fourth in his Pace elim, which was won by JK Endofanera. He is a son of 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Deer Valley Miss and is a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Knock Three Times.

For his career, Doo Wop Hanover has won five of 19 races and $180,788. He won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in May and the Hempt Memorial Consolation in a career-best 1:49 on June 28. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski.

Post 10 has produced four Meadowlands Pace winners, tied for the third most of any starting spot, but none since The Panderosa in 1999.

“I’ve had better draws,” Elliott said with a laugh. “But when [Doo Wop Hanover] gets on the lead or first over, he wants to rock and roll, and he’s better with a trip. We should be able to get a trip from there, we’ll just hope it’s not a bad one.

“He’s been good all year. He’s a nice colt. He might be a notch below the best ones, but there’s so many times now when the trip dictates the outcome. We just want to be somewhere in the live flow. You’ve got to be in it. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.”

* * *

Tim Tetrick and Ron Pierce have enjoyed multiple successes in the Meadowlands Pace in recent years, combining to win six of the last seven editions of the race.

Pierce has won the Meadowlands Pace a total of four times, second to only John Campbell’s seven Pace victories for the most among all drivers in history. Pierce’s victories were with Dream Away (1997), Art Official (2008), Well Said (2009) and Roll With Joe (2011).

He drives Luck Be Withyou in Saturday’s race. Luck Be Withyou, who starts from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line, finished third in his Pace elimination, which was won by He’s Watching.

Pierce won last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers with Luck Be Withyou.

Tetrick has won the Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx (2007), One More Laugh (2010) and Captaintreacherous (2013). He drives He’s Watching in Saturday’s race, starting from post three.

He’s Watching, who won his Pace elimination in 1:48.1, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer.

“I sure would love to [win again],” Tetrick said. “I have a great horse to do it with. I like my chances.

“There are some really nice colts in here and it’s a tough group.”

Campbell will go for Meadowlands Pace win No. 8 with Doo Wop Hanover from post 10. Brian Sears, driving 2-1 morning line favorite JK Endofanera, tries for his second Pace triumph while Yannick Gingras, with Lyonssomewhere, also will be going for his second win.

Scott Zeron (driving National Debt), Brett Miller (Tellitlikeitis), Marcus Miller (Jet Airway), Corey Callahan (Sometimes Said) and David Miller (Always B Miki) all are seeking their first Meadowlands Pace win.

Harness Racing Communications/US Trotting Assn.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

For JK the Beginningofanera

By Ken Weingartner

Alan Katz was hesitant to go to Ontario for the North America Cup last month, but he is glad he made the trip. It is unlikely he will have any similar reservations about crossing the Hudson River from New York and heading to Saturday’s Meadowlands Pace.

Katz and his brothers, Ron and Steve, bred and own JK Endofanera, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. The colt won his Pace elimination by a neck over Always B Miki in 1:48.2 last weekend and will start the final from post two with Brian Sears driving for trainer Ron Burke.

In his previous start, June 14, JK Endofanera won the $920,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He will try to become the 10th horse in harness racing history to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace.

The Meadowlands Pace and $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers will be shown live on CBS Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday. The card also includes the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series.

JK Endofanera’s win in the North America Cup came from post nine at odds of 12-1 and followed a third-place finish in his Cup elimination. Katz drove eight hours from New York City to Mohawk, staying on the ground because other family members do not care to fly.

“I asked Ron if the horse was going to be OK and told him I would be thrilled just to get a check,” Katz said. “He said, ‘I’m not.’ Once I heard that, I figured I had to drive up there because I’d promised my brother. I thought it might be a long weekend, but everything worked out really good. Brian drove him super.

“Once in a while, you get lucky. I was thrilled. The trip home seemed a lot shorter.”

JK Endofanera is a son of stallion Art Major out of the 3 Brothers Stables’ mare Presidential Lady, who was a homebred multiple stakes winner. The 3 Brothers Stables’ horses are named with the initials JK in memory of late family patriarch Jack Katz. JK Endofanera was named to honor Jack Katz as well as veterinarian Dr. Stephen P. Dey II, who passed away the day the horse was foaled at the Dey family’s Heritage Hill Farm.

Last year, JK Endofanera won four of seven races and finished second three times. He finished the campaign by winning the Governor’s Cup at the Meadowlands. This season, he has posted wins in the Simpson Memorial Stakes and divisions of the Historic-Pocono Cup and Somebeachsomewhere in addition to his North America Cup triumph.

In his Meadowlands Pace elimination, Sears and JK Endofanera sat in fourth place for the opening quarter-mile before bursting up the backstretch to take the lead at the halfway point. They then held off challenges from Always B Miki on the outside and Lyonssomewhere on the inside to win in a career-best 1:48.2.

“I thought he was going to get beat, but he showed a lot of class and held them all off,” Katz said. “He’s probably better following horses than he is cutting the mile, but when you’re the favorite every week you’ve got to be on the front. javascript:nullo()

“We’re tickled pink about him. I wish we had more like him. In this business, you never take anything for granted; they have to get a lot of good things to happen. It’s a race. Anything can happen. But he’s been giving us a thrill.”

Harness Racing Communications US Trotting Assn.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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