Weekend Harness Preview for 7/19/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

July 19th, 2014

by Ted Black

While harness racing fans still might need to take a deep breath after viewing last Saturday's stakes-filled card at the Meadowlands, many standardbred enthusiasts will find their interests spread across several states and even two countries tomorrow evening.

Saturday evening offers stakes races at Mohawk Racetrack in Canada, Yonkers Raceway in New York, Norhtfield Park near Cleveland, Ohio and the Meadowlands in New Jersey. But garnering center stage is the feature at Mohawk, which should again shine the spotlight on the top trotter on the continent.

Since arriving in the United States from Sweden during the spring, Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) has more than made an immediate impact on the sport. Sebastian K has not only won all five of his starts on the continent, he has obliterated the record books along the way topped by a spectacular 1:49 triumph in a $100,000 Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28.

On Saturday night, Sebastian K will put his win streak and burgeoning reputation on the line when he contests the Grade I, $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot final at Mohawk. Last week the eight-year-old stallion toured the Mohawk oval in a modest 1:52.2 en route to a four-length score in his Maple Leaf elim as the 1-20 favorite and tonight he will likely be much closer to 1-9 than even-money when he leaves from the rail in the lucrative final.

Starting just to his outside is Market Share (Tim Tetrick) who also won a Maple Leaf elim last week in 1:53 for trainer Linda Toscano and is no stranger to Grade I triumphs. Market Share, a five-year-old Revenue S gelding with 24 lifetime wins and career earnings of over $3.2 million, has tallied in some of the sport's biggest events, including the Hambletonian and the Breeders Crown and now is getting second billing thanks to the presence of Sebastian K.

There are also two other millionaires in the field, Wishing Stone (Randy Waples) and Mister Herbie (Steve Condren) and two others on the verge of reaching that plateau. Archangel (Jody Jamieson) is less than $4000 shy of reaching the seven-figure mark, while Creatine (Mike Lachance) is just past $920,000 lifetime. Modern Family (Ron Pierce) will start from post 10, but has the ability to get into the fray at any point.
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Saturday evening at Yonkers Raceway the focus shifts to the two-year-old colt pacers, with eight of them lining up behind the gate for the $125,000 Lawrence B Sheppard final. Much of the attention will focus on the two elim winners from a week ago, while a third freshman could get plenty of consideration.

In The Arsenal (Eric Goodell) led throughout to capture his Sheppard elim in 1:56.2 for trainer Kelvin Harrison, while Cartoon Daddy (George Brennan) prevailed as the odds-on choice in his elim in 1:56.1 for trainer Ron Burke. In The Arsenal drew favorably this weekend, getting post two, while Cartoon Daddy will leave from post five and will likely do so as the 6-5 favorite.

Last week in the elim won by In The Arsenal, Rock N' Roll World (Brian Sears) was a nondescript fourth as the 3-2 choice, but the Rocknroll Hanover colt draws the rail for the final and will likely be prominent throughout.

Saturday night's card at the Meadowlands will look considerably scaled down from last weekend, but there are several trotters on display who have grand goals ahead in the very near future at the New Jersey miler.

Nuncio (John Campbell) has never been worse than second in 16 lifetime tries for trainer Jimmy Takter and has finished second in each of his last two starts behind his talented stablemate, Father Patrick. Last week in the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Nuncio displayed plenty of early speed for the first time and sat a pocket trip behind Father Patrick and settled for second behind that one again, having done so two weeks earlier in the $500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial at Pocono Downs.

But tonight in his final tuneup for the August 2 Hambo, Nuncio will be the much stronger half of an entry with Amped Up Hanover and the Andover Hall trainee should stroll home much the best as the 1-5 choice in the first $32,000 W.N. Reynolds Memorial split for sophomore trotting colts.

Much later in the 12th, the second Reynolds division, another Takter trainee will have the chance to garner the spotlight. Trixton (Takter), not to be confused with the inferior Truxton (Marcus Miller) who will start alongside him, has won five of seven starts this year and had his five-race win streak snapped last weekend while third behind stablemates Father Patrick and Nuncio in the Stanley Dancer. He will likely regain his winning ways tonight as the 2-5 choice in the second Reynolds division.

Last, but certainly not least on the stakes horizon this weekend is the latest renewal of the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie for aged pacers at Northfield Park in Ohio.

Among the eight starters are two very familiar faces from the Burke brigaid - Clear Vision and Foiled Again. Clear Vision (Brett Miller), who owns a 2-6-2 slate and $160,000 bankroll from 15 starts this year, will start from post four while the ageless wonder, Foiled Again, the sport's all-time winningest pacer with career earnings of over $6.2 million bolstered by 80 wins, will face a tough task leaving from post seven.

Among those looking to topple the Burke tandem are Night Pro (Peter Wrenn) who has won nine of 11 starts this year and gets both the coveted rail and the acid test in this group; Bolt The Duer (Mark Macdonald), Twilight Bonfire (Tony Hall) and Apprentice Hanover (Dan Noble) a regular in the lucrative George Morton Levy series at Yonkers during the spring who was burdened with post position eight in his bid for 'Battle' glory.