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Smorgasbord Of Stakes At The Big M

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Published: August 15, 2009 7:23 pm ET

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Another stakes-filled program was offered in New Jersey on Saturday evening as The Meadowlands hosted preps and eliminations for this year’s Breeders Crown events for the older stars of the sport, while fans of the freshmen set were treated to eliminations for this year’s Sweetheart and Woodrow Wilson.

Here is Trot Insider's recap of tonight’s marquee events:

Woodrow Wilson – Eliminations

Race favourite Im Gorgeous took advantage of a perfect second-over trip behind wild fractions of :26.4, :54.2 and 1:22 to win the $25,000 opening elimination in a career-best clocking of 1:50.4 for driver Brian Sears and trainer George Teague, Jr. The son of Bettors Delight-Joy defeated Paynes Landing and Foreign Officer to improve his record to 4-1-0 in five starts. The final cheques went to Arts Shadow (4th) and Shoobees Place (5th), who will also advance to next Saturday’s $400,000 Woodrow Wilson final.

I didn’t want to get away last, I just floated out of there a little bit and eventually ducked in for a few steps and ended up getting some live cover,” said driver Brian Sears. “He’s a very nice horse and he knows why he’s out there and what he’s supposed to be doing and he’s got the motor to do. George [trainer/co-owner George Teague, Jr.] has him ready.”

Elmer Fannin and George Teague Jr. Inc share ownership on the career winner of $47,559, who was a $35,000 purchase fro the 2008 Lexington Select Yearling Sale.

The tandem of trainer Teague and driver Sears also clicked in the second elimination with Windfall Blue Chip, who brushed to the top past the quarter-pole and laid down fractions of :54.4 and 1:23 en route to posting a career-best clocking of 1:51. Sent off as the 7-5 favourite, son of Art Major-Beach Dancer defeated Relaxed Fit and Fashion Heart. The final spots in next week’s final went to Lord Terror (4th) and Jo Pas Fod (5th).

“He’s a big, good-looking colt,” said driver Brian Sears. “He kind of took a bit of breather going to the three-quarter pole, but when I asked him he responded well.”

The $22,000 Harrisburg Yearling Sale purchase is now a perfect 3-for-3 for the partnership of Kovach Stables LLC, George Teague Jr. Inc and Ted Gewertz. The rookie has banked $33,902 in the process.

Sweetheart Elimination

Western Moonlight led the field through fractions of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:24.4 before tacking on a :28.1 closing panel to win the elimination in a personal best clocking of 1:53 for driver David Miller and trainer Jim Campbell. Sent off as the 6-5 favourite, the daughter of Western Hanover-Light Up was a comfortable winner over Lover Of Art and Harley Girl.

“I’ve raced her three times and she’s put in three good efforts,” said driver David Miller. “I’ve raced her on the lead the first time I raced her and she raced real well, and I took her from off the pace last time and she raced good. She’s a little green still when you have to maneuver around other horses. I thought if I could get to the lead easy enough and give her the easiest trip I could. She went right to the wire well in hand. We get to pick our post which always helps, and hopefully things work out.”

Owned by Fashion Farms LLC of New Hope, PA, Western Moonlight has put together a 3-2-0 record in her first five starts while stashing away $63,585 in earnings. She was a $75,000 purchase from last year’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

JK Sure I Can (4th), Camsamericangirl (5th), Ladybones (6th), One Last Kiss (7th), By Your Side (8th) and Full Picture (9th) will join the top three finishers plus BJs Canouan, who received a bye, in next Saturday’s $350,000 Sweetheart final.

Breeders Crown Pace Prep

Last year’s Meadowlands Pace winner Art Official went down the road for driver Ron Pierce in a sizzling clocking of 1:47.4, which missed Jennas Beach Boy and Lis Mara’s World Record of 1:47.3. The four-year-old son of Art Major-Naughty Shady Lady sliced out splits of :27.1, :55 and 1:21.2 before out-sprinting his foes to the line. Shark Gesture was a solid runner-up and Mister Big, who went first-over, held on for third prize. Won The West and Bettor Sweet rounded out the field.

Joe Seekman trains the 16-time winner, who is now 3-for-8 this season for owners Sawgrass Farms LLC of Lockport, IL. The pacer has banked $1,884,985 to date. He and the foes he faced in Saturday’s prep will join Shadow Play, who opted to skip the prep, in next Saturday’s final.

$500,000 Breeders Crown Pace
1. Won The West
2. Shadow Play
3. Bettor Sweet
4. Art Official
5. Mister Big
6. Shark Gesture

Breeders Crown Mare Trot elimination

Moni Maker’s track record for trotting mares was erased by Maid For Tag, who pulled off a 27-1 upset in a sparkling clocking of 1:51.4. Yannick Gingras worked out a three-hole trip with the Oyvind Hegdal pupil, who defeated fellow longshot Spice Queen and race favourite Buck I St Pat. Lantern Kronos (4th), Falls For You (5th), Stage Show (6th), Classic Lane (7th) and Diana Hall (8th) will join the top three finishers from tonight’s elimination plus Lavec Dream and Autumn Escapade, who received byes, in next Saturday’s $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot final.

“Oyvind [trainer Oyvand Hegdal] told me just to put her on the gate because she can leave real quick and then choose who to follow from there,” said driver Yannick Gingras. “I got away in the three-hole between two good horses – Up Front Hotsey and Spice Queen – so I was happy with that because the rolled along pretty good and my mare felt comfortable. I tipped her at the top of the stretch and she just took off. I wasn’t surprised at the time after three-quarters in 1:24, but I was surprised how much trot I had when I pulled.”

The eight-year-old daughter of Tagliabue-Meter Maid Missy, who is now a 21-time winner in her career, is owned by Per Arne Claussen of Setskog, NOR. She has stashed away more than $470,000 in career earnings.

$250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot
1. Lavec Dream
2. Buck I St Pat
3. Maid For Tag (selected post)
4. Autumn Escapade
5. Stage Show
6. Falls For You
7. Classic Lane
8. Diana Hall
9. Spice Queen
10. Lantern Kronos

Breeders Crown Mare Pace Prep

John and Mary Lamers’ homebred, Dreamfair Eternal, was a brave winner from first-over against many of the sport’s speediest distaffers in a $30,000 prep. The mare, who was supplemented for $37,500 to her Breeders Crown event, fended off Darlins Delight and Tidewaterdragonfly in a career-best clocking of 1:49 for driver Tony Kerwood. The effort missed Frightening P’s World Record of 1:48.4, which was set in 2002, by a fifth of second.

Pat Fletcher trains five-year-old daughter of Camluck-J Cs Nathalie, who now owns a10-3-2 record in 18 starts this season. The 22-time winner has banked in excess of $540,000 to date.

The mares that raced in tonight’s prep will join Btwnyurheartnmine, Southwind Tempo, Cuz She Can and Hana Hanover in next Saturday’s final.

$331,500 Breeders Crown Mare Pace
1. Tidewaterdragonfly
2. Go On BB
3. Darlins Delight
4. Dreamfair Eternal
5. Btwnyurheartnmine
6. Hana Hanover
7. Tug River Princess
8. Cuz She Can
9. Southwind Tempo
10. A And Gs Confusion

Breeders Crown Trot

There were no eliminations necessary for this year's older male trotters as a result of just six names being dropped in the box on entry day. There was no prep race on tap tonight, but the post position draw was completed and is as follows:

$600,000 Breeders Crown Trot
1. Misterizi
2. Lucky Jim
3. In Focus
4. John Pauls Legacy
5. Lanson
6. Arch Madness

To view Saturday’s harness racing results, click here.

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