Day At The Track
Bedroomconfessions

Second round of The Blue Chip Matchmaker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 24, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker offered up Round 2 Friday night (March 24th), with another trio of $40,000 divisions for top-flight harness racing pacing mares. The opening event saw Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley, $25) get encouraged to leave the gate, then trip out from the pocket to pick off Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) at the wire in 1:54. Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno), as the just-over-even-money favorite, was third. From post position No. 5, Empress Deo left to an immediate lead, then relented to pole-sitting Shesjustadelight N at a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a soft :56.4 half, series-debuting Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller) tried it first-up from fifth. She didn't threaten as 'Delight' led comfortably in and out of a 1:26 three-quarters, up a length-and-a-quarter entering the lane. A week ago, it was Empress Deo cutting the fractions and Shesjustadelight N beating her from behind. It was turnabout and fair play this time around, with Empress Deo ducking inside and getting the decision by a head. Diva's Image was beaten a length, with Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) and Sandbetweenurtoes rounding out the payees. For fourth choice Empress Deo, a 6-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover owned by Legacy Racing of Delaware and trained by Wayne Givens, it was her first win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $71, with the triple returning $146. Friday night's second Matchmaker grouping saw Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $6.80) win both the draw and the race (1:53.2). Giving it up early to Wrangler Magic (Dube), Mackenzie A then played a game of Ladies Leapfrog, making the lead just after a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. It was an equally-time second substation (:56.4 intermission), then Betabcool N (Mark MacDonald) moved from fifth. Mackenzie A was comfy through a 1:24.4 three-quarters as the miss opened a couple of lengths into the lane. She held off a good effort from Wrangler Magic, winning by a half-length. Betabcool N held third, with a from-last, 79-1 Medusa (Kakaley) and a never-in-it, 9-10 fave Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) settling for the minors. For Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Harry von Knoblauch & Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her first win in four seasonal/North American starts. The exacta paid $36.40, with the triple returning $205. The second round's final foray offered the fastest female, as it did a week ago. This time, it was odds-on Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron, $2.90) giving nothing else a shot (:27.3, :57, 1:25.2, 1:52.3). Leaving from the pylons, Bedroomconfessions toured the terrain with the ease of a qualifier. She stuffed Krispy Apple (Miller) in behind at the outset, then did as she pleased. The lead was three lengths in and out of the final turn and 3¼ lengths at the wire. Regil Elektra (Bartlett) was a solid, two-move second, with Kiwis Sell a Bit N (Stratton) and Change the Rulz N (George Brennan) earning the rest of the reward money. For Bedroomconfessions, a 5-year-old statebred daughter of American Ideal co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Riverview Racing, it was her third win in six '17 starts. The exacta paid $6.20, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $12.40. "She's a big horse, but she gets around a half (-mile track) so well," Zeron said. "They never tried her much on the small tracks before this season, but she's faster in these turns then she is in the straightaway. "The race couldn't have been easier. Everyone else was happy to line up behind us. Never showed her the whip, never pulled the plugs." Frank Drucker

Mystical Nectar

Donald Billings - first win first start

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 24, 2017) - Marcus Miller and Mystical Nectar had a lot left in deep stretch, but nowhere to go, until a narrow seem opened with 100 yards to go. Mystical Nectar exploded to win comfortably in 1:52.1 in the $18,000 pacing feature for harness racing mares on Friday night at the Meadowlands. The win is the 6-year-old daughter of Charley Barley's third straight victory after a pair of nose wins at Yonkers and provided trainer Donald Billings with his first Meadowlands win in his first Big M start. Billings is a 48-year-old Pennsylvania resident who recorded his first training win in 2014. Mystical Nectar raced on the pylons and was shuffled back to fifth turning for home in a seemingly impossible spot. Know It All (Tyler Buter) showed the field into the stretch while Our Els Dream (Bill Mann) challenged first over. With Icommandmyspirit (Jim Marohn, Jr.) looking to rally up the inside, Mystical Nectar was desperate for room. When Our Els Dream drifted slightly, it gave Mystical Nectar the room she needed. She responded with a :27.2 final quarter to win as the 7/2 second choice in the field of seven. 9/5 favorite Not Before Eight lacked her usual stretch kick and finished fifth. Earlier in the program, the multiple stakes placed mare Penpal made a smashing 4-year-old debut, defeating a talented group of conditioned pacers in 1:51.4 with a powerful first-over trip. Penpal earned more than $200,000 last year with on-the-board finishes in several major stakes including the Mistletoe Shalee, Matron, and Glen Garnsey. Penpal is owned by trainer and driver Pat Lachance and M&M Harness Racing. Andy Miller and Marcus Miller each won a pair of races on the 11-race card. Total handle was $2,410,948. Racing resumes next Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

Jerseylicious

Jerseyliciuos, Tetrick shine at Miami Valley

LEBANON, OH. – Jerseylicious avenged a narrow defeat last week by capturing the $22,000 Mares Open at Miami Valley on Friday night (March 24).  Leaving alertly from an outside post, harness racing driver Trace Tetrick put the money-making machine on the front end early and dictated all the fractions before pulling away in the stretch to an impressive 1:51.1 triumph.  The 7-year-old daughter of Western Ideal now has 22 career wins in just 84 starts and surpassed the $700,000 earnings plateau with the victory.  Endeavors Fantasy (Mike Oosting) used the innermost post position to full advantage to finish second, while White Metro (Tyler Smith) also saved ground along the pylons to manage a show finish.  Jerseylicious is now owned by Emerald Highlands Farm and has been conditioned by Tim Lane to a 4-1-2 scorecard in eight 2017 starts. The victory was one of five on the program for Tetrick, who now leads the local dash derby by over 20 victories.  The defending Hoosier Park driving champion will be returning to Indiana for their opening card next Saturday, but does plan to return to Miami Valley on Sundays and Mondays through the end of the meet in early May. The Dr. Don Mossbarger Memorial late-closing series also kicked off on Friday in two divisions.  Twin B Honour (Tetrick) and Youlookhot (Josh Sutton) captured their respective $12,500 splits.  Twin B Honour topped Backwoods Barbie (Brandon Bates) and Clarebear (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:54.2.  The 5-year-old Sportswriter lass, owned by Wilbur Langacher and trained by Brett Selby, returned $21.00 to her $2 backers.  Youlookhot, racing for owner Charles Stovall and trainer Joseph Essig, bested Gypsy Bellevue (Aaron Merriman) and Stirling Euphoria (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:54.3, returning $19.80. Gregg Keidel

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.jpg

Three cards at Pocono Downs this week

WILKES-BARRE PA - After successfully getting to race on one of the two days planned for the first week of 2017 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - Tuesday's inaugural harness racing card followed a Saturday cancellation due to snow - the northeast Pennsylvania track will try for three cards of racing in this, its second week of the year, with racing planned for Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday (the bookend action starting at 6:30 p.m., the middle card an hour later).   The best race of the weekend appears to be Sunday night's $20,000 tenth race handicap trot, with the Revenue S gelding Melady's Monet assigned early 5-2 favoritism, and for good reason - he just may be the best trotter in North America right now. The winner of $1.06M, trained by Kevin McDermott for Melady Enterprises LLC, is undefeated in a pair of 2017 starts, both against top trotters at The Meadowlands, and he has Brett Miller, familiar to area fans and currently The Meadowlands' leading sulkysitter, coming in to drive.   Melady's Monet even got some luck at the post position draw for the handicap event, even though he'll be starting from post seven in a nine-horse field: the three highest moneywinners drew for the three outside posts, with Melady's Monet in the seven-hole thus the "innermost" of the "outermost" horses.   Saturday's top purse event is an $18,000 claiming handicap pace in race 5, with Crafty Master having to overcome the outside post eight after defeating the best horses on the grounds at Rideau Carleton in Ottawa in his last start. The co-features are a pair of $15,500 conditioned events for older performers, with the Amber Buter stable having a top contender in both - the $900,000 winner Zooming in the eighth race trot, and the hot City Hall, coming off two wins and a second in his last three starts, in the tenth race pace.   The focus of Tuesday's racing will likely fall on younger horses prepping for the $700,000 Bobby Weiss Series contests starting up in early April. The four Weiss Series, named after Pocono's famed trackman who was the main architect of the dark red oval becoming the favorite racing surface of countless top trainers, have been known to be a steppingstone to greatness - such was the case with J L Cruze, who won his 2015 Weiss Championship, then later that year went on to become one of only three trotters to ever beat 1:50 in a race, with a 1:49.4 triumph at The Meadowlands against the best in the sport.   PHHA / Pocono

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The Bronx Bumper was sent off at 1-to-5 odds on the tote board and he didn't disappoint on that proposition in easily taking down the field in the harness racing featured $8,200 trot at Buffalo Raceway on Friday night (March 24).   Drawing the rail and having the services of red-hot driver Jim Morrill Jr., The Bronx Bumper ($2.50) allowed Lucky Pablo and City Kid tussle for the lead before making a charge to take command just before the quarter pole.   Posting fractions of 30.0, 59.2 and 1:29.2, The Bronx Bumper enjoyed the fresh spring air down the stretch and easily cruised to the dialed down length victory over Lucky Pablo (Drew Monti) in a seasonal best 1:58.1 over the fast track. City Kid (Larry Stalbaum) held on for the show position.   Owned by Michael Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama, The Bronx Bumper (Ken Warkentin-Carolina Hall) has now won five times in 11 appearances in 2017. The win pushed his seasonal earnings to $23,160 and $176,755 lifetime.   Monti finished the evening with three victories while Morrill Jr. and Stalbaum had doubles. Steven Weaver had two training wins.   Racing will continue on Saturday night at 6 p.m.with 11 races scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

BATAVIA — Another round of capital improvements at harness racing's Batavia Downs will start where many visits to facility do — the vast parking lot across Park Road. Western OTB officials said they maintain ambitions for a grand porte-cochère entrance extending out from the Downs, over Park Road and into the parking lot. But no state approval is needed for the repaving work approved Thursday by the gaming corporation’s board of directors, making it the first priority. “We’re still going to move ahead with the lot, not knowing when the (other project’s approval) will be done, hopefully sometime this year,” said Western OTB Vice President Scott Kiedrowski “It’s paramount for a lot of our customers ... it’s reached its age, it’s time for a major capital improvement.” “We are definitely in most need of a parking lot — it’s bad,” said Western OTB Executive Vice President Mike Nolan later. “For safety and for everything.” Keeler Construction of Albion was awarded the parking lot project contract, which will amount to no more than $508,128, according to the resolution. Work is set to begin in May, with crews digging out problem spots and doing drainage repairs, before sealing a new layer over the entire lot in stages. Shuttles would run daily to aid customers forced to park farther from the gaming facility. Genesee County Director Dick Siebert said his colleague, Orleans County Director Ed Morgan, has volunteered to serve as the board’s liaison during the project. Morgan, who was not present Thursday, is the Town of Murray highway superintendent. “Ed certainly knows how to build roads,” Siebert joked. The project would end with striping the lot to roughly the same number of spots — Nolan said there’s around 1,040 now — but without the outline of a planned bus loop that would be added if the state gaming authority approves a project adding the covered entrance-way, an expanded fine dining restaurant, and a new cigar bar. Nolan said Thursday that the schedule to construct the shell of a new six-race paddock on the far end of the Downs’ harness racing track is behind the parking lot but scheduled to finish ahead of the 2017 racing season. “The plans have been submitted,” Nolan said. “There’s no bid date, but our plan is to put it out to bid, receive them back and proceed (to board approval) in May. We’ll start construction in June and July.” Live Racing General Manager Todd Haight said Thursday that the harness racing season will start July 26, with new regular post times of 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1:15 p.m. for late season Sunday matinees. There are 71 dates on the 2017 racing calendar. Construction of the paddock by the 2018 racing season was part of an agreement with the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association, which has been down to a four-race paddock since construction began on the Hotel at Batavia Downs in 2015. By JIM KRENCIK Reprinted with permission of The Daily News

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands has a long day in store for harness racing horseplayers on Saturday with the $30 million Dubai World Cup card simulcast from half-way around the world opening the doors at 8:30 in the morning, an important handicapping contest all afternoon and a dozen live races covering the evening hours.   The live races are a mixed bag with competitive fields and guaranteed horizontal wagers to hold the interest of the wagering faithful.   Pacing horses square off in the featured seventh for a purse of $18,000 where Millenium Wheel seeks his third straight since being shipped to The Meadowlands by trainer Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. Driver Andy Miller has worked out up close trips for Millenium Wheel in both prior Meadowlands scores and is back in the sulky from post eight for owners William Sartin and Mark Salerno on Saturday.   The competition is deep with Chevals Clivesdale who was third beaten just a neck in the class last week offering a price from post one, The Rock fits well against these, Winwood Mac is making his seasonal bow and brings a strong stakes resume from the mid-west and the accomplished New Zealand invader Our Sky Major makes his Meadowlands debut from the outside.   Throughout the day, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will provide horseplayers with one of their first opportunities to qualify for the 2018 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens and Treasure Island with a qualifying event. The Meadowlands qualifier will offer three guaranteed seats to the NHC .   You may enter for a shot at the 60 Second Wagering Spree by signing up at the Players Club.   Post time for the live is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi        

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica is excited to announce they will be having a George Morton Levy Bracket Buster harness racing challenge. The bracket buster challenge is completely free to enter and has a top prize of $100 to the winner and $50 to the person finishing second.  The contest is limited to the first 32 players who enter at www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com.  Each contestant will pick two horses in each leg of Saturday's Levy Stakes (1 top selection/ 1 alternate), and will earn points based off where the horse finishes. Points will be awarded for how the horses finish, entrants will get three points for first, two points for second, and one point if their horse finishes third. Selections for the contest must be in by Saturday at 6PM EST. Entrants will be heads up in a randomly seeded 32 man single-elimination tournament and the opponent will be determined by random draw. If you defeat your opponent, you move on. If you lose, you will be eliminated. Tiebreakers will be determined by total points of the entrants alternate selection. For more information visit www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

DOVER, Del.--- Mildred Ventriglio's Major Uptrend rebounded after missing by a nose last week to win the $30,000 Preferred Handicap while Blazing Bobby Sox made it two in-a-row winning the $27,500 Delaware Special, the two events on the Dover Downs big Thursday harness racing card on March 23. Major Uptrend recorded his fourth victory in his last five starts with red-hot driver Tony Morgan in the feature. The Somebeachsomewhere-Tricky Tooshie gelding, conditioned by Doug Lewis, held off a late charge by Bushwacker (Montrell Teague) to post a 1:49.4 triumph, his sixth of the yar and 29th lifetime advancing his total earnings to $313,833. Bad Gamer (Yannick Gingras) was the show finisher. Limelight Beach (Ross Wolfenden) did not leave and followed retreating cover on the backstretch and finished out-of-the-money. Rockeyed Optimist was scratched. In the $27,500 Del. Special, race favorite Emeritus Maximus left but has to back up to fourth coming out of the gate. After Yannick Gingras came out and took the lead after the quarter, the consistent pacer led until Blazing Bobby Sox following cover pulled three wide turning for home and sped past enroute to a 1:50.3 success, fifth this year and 19th lifetime. The Panderosa-Liamatters gelding build his seasonal earnings to $74,107 and $213,228 in his career. Captive Audience (Corey Callahan) closed well to finish second in front of Emeritus Maximus, who sustained his first loss since a second last month. He has won seven times in 2017. On the strong undercard; All The Cookie closed along the passing lane to nip Tip It On Back (Bret Brittingham) in a 1:50.4 phot to win the Ted Black 25 Years Kent News Racing Reporter $15,500 Male pace for young horses. Richard Stansbury owns the Rocknroll Hanover-Queen Otra gelding trained by Kenny Mitchell, a four-time winner this year. Velocity Stifler (Tim Tetrick) finished third. David Miller's Fashion Bythebeach won for the first time this year with trainer-driver Vince Copeland directing a 1:52 effort. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding won a $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Male pace. Somewhereonthebeach (Gingras) was a close runner-up. Suchasenseofhumor (Jim Morand) picked up show money. Cloud Speed, an altered son of Dragon Again-Cams Exotic, got up for driver Vic Kirby and owners trainer Ben Stafford and Bill Daggett in 1:52 to win a $15,000 Male pace, his fifth victory this year. Rangers Sureshot (Tim Tetrick) in his first start after being claimed for $30,000, led until deep in the stretch and finished second. Forty Five Red (George Dennis) was third. In addition to Tony Morgan's two wins giving his 10 in the last three days, George Dennis, Bret Brittingham and trainer Don Brittingham, Montrell Teague, trainer Clyde Francis and owner George Teague, also had a double. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission at Dover Downs is free. Reservations are suggested for the popular Winner's Circle Restaurant and its acclaimed Buffet. . For reservations, call 302-674-4600. The Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book features simulcasting of top harness and thoroughbred racing from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight daily. Marv Bachrad

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 24, 2017 - A pair of series finals share next week's harness racing marquee, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $61,000 Petticoat (Monday night, March 27) and $61,800 Sagamore Hill (Tuesday night, March 28). The series were open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers who are/were non-winners of four races or $40,000 through last Dec. 1. As luck-and the open draw-would have it, Cousin Mary (Jordan Stratton) partakes of the pylons as she goes after Petticoat series sweep in Monday's eighth race. The 4-year-old daughter of Camluck, Ontario-owned by Jeffrey Richardson and trained by Andrew Harris, was a sharp, two-move winner a week ago (series- and life-best 1:54.1) after a pair of solid, open-length winners. "She knows where the wire is," Stratton said of the lass who's 6-for-8 this season "She's surprised, me, but in a good way." Northern Soiree (Matt Kakaley, post 8) was the only other multiple-prelim winner, though she obviously needed better help with the pills. The 4-year-old Western Ideal miss, with four wins in eight seasonal starts, is owned by Seth Rosenberg Racing and trained by Scott Blackler. A Crafty Lady (Dan Dube, post 7), after missing the opening round of this series, drilled her foes last week. The 4-year-old Mach Three miss is owned by Bob Hamather and trained by Rene Allard. Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald, post 2), Vintage Babe (Yannick Gingras, post 3), Real Diva (George Brennan, post 4), Rei's Star Cross (Jim Marohn Jr., post 5) and St. Kitts (Jason Bartlett, post 6) round out the field. Tuesday night's finale of the Sagamore Hill, going as the sixth race, is a showdown among the troika of Prejudice (Stratton, post 1), Never Say Never N (Bartlett, post 2) and Awesomeness (Scott Zeron, post 5). While each swept their pair of series legs (one round was snowed out), Awesomeness may have been a bit more visually impressive than the other pair. The 4-year-old Mach Three gelding, owned by Martin Scharf and trained by Aaron Lambert, wired his foes (at 1-20) to begin this series, then won first-up a week ago in (1:53.3) "He's apparently been good from Day One," Zeron said. "There's no bottom to him, he seems to get over the track well and he's very simple to drive." Awesomeness enters Tuesday with six consecutive wins (all at odds-on), including a sweep of Woodbine's Snowshoe Series. The remainder of the Tribute to Teddy Roosevelt includes Sure Fired Bet (Gingras, post 3), Ideal Son (Brennan, post 4), Wishawasagigolo (Dube, post 6, coupled with Prejudice), Artmagic (Brent Holland, post 7) and Stirling Escort (Kakaley, post 8). Each series also includes its respective $30,000 consolation.     RACE 8 - Yonkers Raceway - NY - March 27, 2017  Conditions: PETTICOAT SERIES FINAL 3&4 YEAR OLD FILLIES & MARES  Gait: Pace     Purse: $61,000     Class: PETTIFINAL     Distance: 1 Mile     Planned Post Time: 9:30 PM     PP  Horse Med 2017 North America YTD  Driver  Trainer ML Base        Sts  W  P  S  Time  Earnings     Stable Odds Claim      1  Cousin Mary   8   6   1   0   1:54.1H   $67000   Jordan Stratton  Andrew Harris 9-5           2  Angels Rockn Pink L  3   1   1   0   1:56.1H   $16000   Mark Macdonald  John Butenschoen 7-1           3  Vintage Babe   9   5   2   2   1:52.2F   $49010   Yannick Gingras  Edwin Gannon Jr 5-2           4  Real Diva L  9   4   1   2   1:54.3F   $37530   George Brennan  Ron Burke 7-1           5  Rei`s Star Cross   7   2   2   2   1:55.0H   $28175   Jim Marohn Jr  Rob Harmon 10-1           6  St Kitts L  3   1   1   1   1:55.2H   $17400   Jason Bartlett  Richard Banca 6-1           7  A Crafty Lady L  7   3   1   1   1:55.2H   $23075   Daniel Dube  Rene Allard 15-1           8  Northern Soiree L  8   4   2   1   1:56.0H   $55250   Matt Kakaley  Scott Blackler 20-1           AE1  Family Roll Call L  7   0   3   1   -   $20000   Daniel Dube  Chris Ryder         RACE 6 - Yonkers Raceway - NY - March 28, 2017  Conditions: SAGAMORE HILL SERIES FINAL 3&4 YO C,H&G **$10 NYS STARTING FEE**  Gait: Pace     Purse: $61,800     Class: SAGAFINAL     Distance: 1 Mile     Planned Post Time: 8:50 PM     PP  Horse Med 2017 North America YTD  Driver  Trainer ML Base        Sts  W  P  S  Time  Earnings     Stable Odds Claim      1  Prejudice L  8   3   1   1   1:53.0H   $41850   Jordan Stratton  Joseph De Carlo             2  Never Say Never N   FOR: 0 0-0-0 $-   4   4   0   0   1:54.0H   $37000(i)   Jason Bartlett  Heidi Rohr             3  Sure Fired Bet L  6   1   0   0   1:54.2H   $12884   Yannick Gingras  Andrew Harris             4  Ideal Son   3   1   0   0   1:54.3H   $11210   George Brennan  Tom Fanning             5  Awesomeness   7   6   1   0   1:50.3S   $59404   Scott Zeron  Aaron Lambert             6  Wishiwasagigolo L  5   0   2   1   -   $13650   Daniel Dube  Joseph De Carlo             7  Artmagic L  6   2   2   0   1:54.1H   $32500   Brent Holland  Jeffrey Bamond Jr.             8  Stirling Escort L  7   1   3   1   1:54.1H   $36230   Matt Kakaley  Linda Kakaley             AE1  Dakota Jack L  9   4   2   0   1:53.4H   $49800   Daniel Dube  Matias Ruiz     YONKERS’ FRIDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $4,400 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Friday evening’s (March 24th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $4,467.45.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (for programs with at least 11 races…if not, then it goes as races 6 through 10).  It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Thursday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

After the first leg of the long standing NAADA Trotting Series was snowed-out last Thursday at Monticello Raceway the 2017 edition got underway with two harness racing divisions at Yonkers on March 23 and when the dust had settled Hannah Miller and Bob Krivelin each emerged victorious in their respective $6000 splits. Off her award winning 2016 season "Hurricane Hannah" showed that she knows where the winners circle is by reining the Chris Marino-trained Winwood Scout to a gate-to-wire 2:00.1 victory in her division. That victory came on the heels of Hannah's stunning 1:52.4 triumph last week at the Meadowlands which established a new world standard for the fastest mile ever driven by an amateur driver. In tonight's contest Ms. Miller took no prisoners and set sails for the lead from the pole position. She and Linwood Scout were alone on the front-end in a :29.1 clocked first quarter and from there it was catch me of you can. And not surprisingly, nobody could as Winwood Scout rambled on to a 2-1/2 length victory in a 2:00.1 clocking over Dr. John Kokinos's Sim Brown. Bob Hechkoff took home the show dough with The Franchise. "Tonight was the second time that I drove Winwood Scout for Chris (Marino). Last year at Saratoga I finished second with him and tonight we got away with reasonable fractions and he was strong throughout the mile and we won rather handily," Hannah said via telephone after her driving victory. "He's a real nice horse to drive." The winner is owned by Howard Jacobs and for "Hurricane Hannah" it was her second driving victory of the fledgling season and her 75th in just 256 lifetime starts, The other division was also a wire to wire victory for Permanent Joy and driver Bob Krivelin. After stealing a 1:01 first half Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright kept the pressure on Permanent Joy but they fell a neck short at the wire and finished second in the 2:00.2 mile. Tropical Storm Bi was two lengths behind the leaders at the wire and finished third. Permanent Joy is owned by Krivelin's Hero Stables and trained by Krivelin. For the food purveyor it marked his 204th career driving victory. By John Manzi for NAADA

ONKERS, N.Y. - Since taking over the training of his father’s Bamond Harness Racing Stable, two years ago, Jeff Bamond Jr. has reached the sport’s greatest heights. His starters have won a host of Grand Circuit stakes across the country and have achieved overnight success at Yonkers Raceway; last year, Bamond finished fourth in the Yonkers trainer standings with 98 victories and $2,118,162 in purses earned. Despite his success, the 32-year-old maintains a humble attitude. “I’ve been blessed. I have a good opportunity and I’m fortunate to make the most of it,” he said. “There’s not much I can say about it. I’ve been very blessed and not a lot of people have that opportunity.” Three of Bamond’s biggest stars will be on display this weekend at Yonkers. Krispy Apple will start in Friday’s second leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series while Mach It So and P H Supercam are set to race in Saturday’s George Morton Levy Series second leg. Krispy Apple made her first start of the season March 10 when she finished seventh in the $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap from post position eight. While she didn’t make an impression, Bamond felt the start was valuable. “I think you always get something out of it. Unfortunately when you get fractions that let really good mares come home in 27 seconds, you’re not really going to go anywhere when you’re 7 or 8 lengths away. It can help you when you finally do draw inside,” he said. Krispy Apple is 9-years-old and last week, began contesting the Matchmaker Series for the sixth consecutive year. She won the $75,000 consolation as a 4-year-old in 2012 and has made the final every year since. While her work in the series has been strong, luck has worked against the earner of $1.86 million. In her four tries in the Matchmaker final, she’s started from posts eight, seven, five, and six. “It’s about time she gets lucky at some point,” Bamond joked. “Maybe this will be her year. Some of these horses, the series takes a lot out of them. That’s the hardest part about the series. It’s so hard to make the final, but then when you get there, you have to make sure you have some horse left.” Krispy Apple concluded her 2016 campaign December 16 and enjoyed a month long break from training. The easy-going daughter of Western Ideal out of Apple Krisp trained back as willingly as ever ahead of her first start. “There’s not much to her in a sense. She’s pretty low maintenance and does a good job of taking care of herself. You wouldn’t know she’s even there,” Bamond explained. “She jogs pretty much every day and trains once or twice a week. She’s pretty easy to bring back.” Last week, Krispy Apple finished fifth behind Mach It A Par and Bedroomconfessions in the first leg of the Matchmaker. While she started from post seven and was 10 1/4 lengths behind at the quarter, Krispy Apple closed with a :27.0 final quarter to finish just 3 1/4 lengths back. She earned 5 points for her finish and another 25 for starting, bringing her point total to 30. This week, Krispy Apple is set for a rematch with Bedroomconfessions and she finally drew a post position she can work with. She’ll start from post three as a 7-2 morning line while Bedroomconfessions is 9-5 from the pylons. Brett Miller will drive Krispy Apple for the second straight week. “(Brett Miller) was willing to come over. He’s done a really good job in the last couple years with some stakes horses,” Bamond said of his choice of driver. “Jason (Bartlett) had a real big drive in Mach It A Par; I knew that would be risky whether we would get him or not because that mare has been really good. I figured you might as well bring somebody in and maybe it will work out. “Hopefully she can get away somewhere good. Whatever Brett wants do, whether he leaves. Either way, she should be a lot closer this week than before. Hopefully it works out in that regard.” Bamond will send out Mach It So and P H Supercam in Saturday night’s second and third division of the Levy, respectively. Mach It So is in his third year of Levy competition and like his stablemate, has bad luck at the draw of the final. The past three years, the $1.7 million-earning son of Mach Three has started from post seven twice. The other time, he drew post eight. Mach It So made his first start of the season in last week’s series opener. He finished third beaten a neck while chasing the streaking ProvocativeprinceN and Rockin Ron. “I thought he was good. There was definitely some sharp horses that finished first and second. They had raced a couple more times,” Bamond said of the competition. “I was happy with him. I though he finished up good.” Although Mach It So had two qualifiers to prepare for his seasonal debut, Bamond says there’s no substitute for the real thing. He expects Mach It So to race even better this week. “I think a lot of times you see horses qualify even three times and sometimes you’ll see horses go a really fast qualifier, like 1:50. In their first start, they still look like they need a start. I don’t think you can really duplicate a race whether you qualify once, twice, three times, or whatever it is,” he reasoned. Mach It So is the 5-2 favorite in his Levy division and will employ the services of regular driver Tim Tetrick. From post four, he will start just to the outside of his main rivals, including last year’s champion Bit Of A Legend, Soto, winner of a Levy division last week, and Rockin Ron. “He’s in with some good horses again. Obviously it’s a tough series. You’re always going to get one or two really good horses and the rest are competitive too,” Bamond said. “I think he can do anything Timmy wants. He can leave, he can come off the pace. That’s what I think it’s the best thing for him, he can make a game plan as he goes along there. He’s a little bit of a trip horse in the sense that I think Timmy will try to find a good trip for him. If you want to get a good trip, Tim’s a good man to get.” While Krispy Apple and Mach It So represent his best chances, Bamond will also send out one of the stable’s veterans, 10-year-old P H Supercam, in the third Levy division Saturday night. The son of Million Dollar Cam is a 53-time winner from 213 starts. His victory in the 2014 Levy Series Final contributed to his $1.5 million bankroll. “I think maybe age is catching up to him a little bit, but I felt like we owed it to him to put him in there just because I know he’s been so good in there,” Bamond said, alluding to P H Supercam’s recent form. The gelding is winless in nine starts this year, but looks to turn the tables this week with a favorable draw. Still, he’s a 15-1 outsider on the morning line. “He didn’t have a good post last week. He’d been leaving out of there a couple weeks in a row. I wanted to give him another shot to come off the pace and see if he can regain what he does best, which is chase down some horses.” Friday’s card at Yonkers features three divisions of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series while Saturday’s card features four Levy divisions. First post time is 7:10 p.m. each night. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Annabeth (Shadow Play) pulled off a mild harness racing upset in the Thursday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Melissa Beckwith-trained six year old was dismissed at odds of 8-1, the longest shot on the board in the field of five in the $12,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Annabeth was a beaten favorite in last week's Open and sat third on the rail on Thursday before surging up the passing lane to edge out front-runner Bye Bye Michelle (Dan Cappello Jr). Annabeth paid $19.80 while winning for the second time in five seasonal starts. The exacta with Bye Bye Michelle second returned $60. Milky Way Rae (Billy Dobson) finished third to extend her stretch of hitting the board to four. Annabeth, who stopped the timer in 1:54.1, was driven to victory by Mark Beckwith who piloted five winners on the matinee card, four for conditioner Melissa Beckwith. Live racing continues on Friday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Barbarian, in razor-sharp form with a harness racing hat trick in tow, will now be asked to do his work from the assigned No. 10 post position in Saturday night's Open Pace at Cal Expo. There will be 12 races decided under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and things will get underway at 6:15 p.m. The Open Pace occupies the eighth-race slot on the card and there will also be a pair of California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers going as non-betting contests before the regular card. Barbarian is a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Ideal mare Rightous Renee who carries the banner of Robert Orr, is conditioned by Sparky Clarke and will once again have Luke Plano at the controls. The hard-hitting performer was 7-2 when he made every pole a winning one in the February 24 Open as Plano was able to carve out the fractions without challenge and came to the line with four and a half-lengths on his nearest rival in a sparkling 1:52 4/5 mile. In his March 10 tally, Barbarian left from the outside slot in a field of seven and was dispatched as the 6-5 favorite. Once again they were able to set the tune up front, this time with fairly modest splits, and held safe by a neck over a fast-finishing Doc's Deal that evening. In his most recent appearance, the Clarke colorbearer was dispatched as the even-money choice and once again did no disappoint as he made every pole a winning one in a 1:53 2/5 mile. It will be interesting to see how things shake out now that he has the testing No. 10 slot. Taking him on this weekend are Allymx'sliventexas from the Bob Johnson barn, the Chip Lackey-trained pair of Why Ask Why and Doc's Deal; Lodi Machette Man from the Kathleen Plested barn; and the Lino Pacheco-conditioned Bettormeboy. Reduced takeout wagers offer great value There are two bets here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 50-cent Pick 5 on the first five events and the 20-cent Pick 4 on the penultimate four races on the program. The latter also features a $40,000 guaranteed gross pool. Last Friday night, despite the Pick 4 kicking off with Barbarian proving a punctual even-money favorite in the Open Pace, three nice-priced winners followed and the 20-cent ticket returned a whopping $32,756. To put things in perspective, using the normal takeout rate, the Pick 4 would have returned $29,246, a difference of a cool $3,510. Now that's value. Driver Chip Lackey had a lot to do with that healthy payoff, as he piloted Cenalta Diesel ($29) and Cantholdmebackmack ($17) for trainers Edwin Quevedo and Lino Pacheco, respectively in the two middle races. The icing on the cake came when David Siegel guided V Mack to a $46 upset for trainer George Reider in the final leg, also triggering a large exacta, trifecta and superfecta in the process. Whether favorites, longshots or a mix of those complete the Pick 4 and Pick 5, you are assured of getting maximum value with that reduced takeout in place. Jump right in, the pool is fine. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, March 23, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway and its ADW portal, Empire City Bets, are offering advance wagering for Saturday's (March 25) Dubai World Cup program. Beginning Friday (March 24), the Raceway shall accept wagers for the last four races (see schedule below) of the World Cup program. Those same four races, culminated by the $10 million Cup (featuring Arrogate), are available for in-house wagering Saturday, with selected mutuel windows opening at 10 AM (and free coffee). Empire City Bets is offering advance wagering for the entire World Cup program, again beginning Friday. Please visit www.empirecitybets.com for details. The entire roster of races includes...   Race Post Time Dubai Post Time UK Post Time ET Race 1 Godolphin Mile (Group 1) 3:45pm 11:45am 7:45am Race 2 Kahayla Classic (Group 1 Arabian) 4:15pm 12:15pm 8:15am Race 3 Dubai Gold Cup (Group 1) 4:50pm 12:50pm 8:50am Race 4 UAE Derby (Group 2) 5:25pm 1:25pm 9:25am Race 5 Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1) 6:00pm 2:00pm 10:00am Race 6 Dubai Golden Shaheen (Group 1) 6:35pm 2:35pm 10:35am Race 7 Dubai Turf (Group 1) 7:30pm 3:30pm 11:30am Race 8 Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1) 8:05pm 4:05pm 12:05pm Race 9 Dubai World Cup (Group 1) 8:45pm 4:45pm 12:45pm Frank Drucker

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YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 24, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker offered up Round 2 Friday night (March 24th), with another trio of $40,000 divisions for top-flight harness racing pacing mares. The opening event saw Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley, $25) get encouraged to leave the gate, then trip out from the pocket to pick off Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) at the wire in 1:54. Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno), as the just-over-even-money favorite, was third. From post position No. 5, Empress Deo left to an immediate lead, then relented to pole-sitting Shesjustadelight N at a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a soft :56.4 half, series-debuting Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller) tried it first-up from fifth. She didn't threaten as 'Delight' led comfortably in and out of a 1:26 three-quarters, up a length-and-a-quarter entering the lane. A week ago, it was Empress Deo cutting the fractions and Shesjustadelight N beating her from behind. It was turnabout and fair play this time around, with Empress Deo ducking inside and getting the decision by a head. Diva's Image was beaten a length, with Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) and Sandbetweenurtoes rounding out the payees. For fourth choice Empress Deo, a 6-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover owned by Legacy Racing of Delaware and trained by Wayne Givens, it was her first win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $71, with the triple returning $146. Friday night's second Matchmaker grouping saw Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $6.80) win both the draw and the race (1:53.2). Giving it up early to Wrangler Magic (Dube), Mackenzie A then played a game of Ladies Leapfrog, making the lead just after a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. It was an equally-time second substation (:56.4 intermission), then Betabcool N (Mark MacDonald) moved from fifth. Mackenzie A was comfy through a 1:24.4 three-quarters as the miss opened a couple of lengths into the lane. She held off a good effort from Wrangler Magic, winning by a half-length. Betabcool N held third, with a from-last, 79-1 Medusa (Kakaley) and a never-in-it, 9-10 fave Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) settling for the minors. For Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Harry von Knoblauch & Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her first win in four seasonal/North American starts. The exacta paid $36.40, with the triple returning $205. The second round's final foray offered the fastest female, as it did a week ago. This time, it was odds-on Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron, $2.90) giving nothing else a shot (:27.3, :57, 1:25.2, 1:52.3). Leaving from the pylons, Bedroomconfessions toured the terrain with the ease of a qualifier. She stuffed Krispy Apple (Miller) in behind at the outset, then did as she pleased. The lead was three lengths in and out of the final turn and 3¼ lengths at the wire. Regil Elektra (Bartlett) was a solid, two-move second, with Kiwis Sell a Bit N (Stratton) and Change the Rulz N (George Brennan) earning the rest of the reward money. For Bedroomconfessions, a 5-year-old statebred daughter of American Ideal co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Riverview Racing, it was her third win in six '17 starts. The exacta paid $6.20, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $12.40. "She's a big horse, but she gets around a half (-mile track) so well," Zeron said. "They never tried her much on the small tracks before this season, but she's faster in these turns then she is in the straightaway. "The race couldn't have been easier. Everyone else was happy to line up behind us. Never showed her the whip, never pulled the plugs." Frank Drucker
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 24, 2017) - Marcus Miller and Mystical Nectar had a lot left in deep stretch, but nowhere to go, until a narrow seem opened with 100 yards to go. Mystical Nectar exploded to win comfortably in 1:52.1 in the $18,000 pacing feature for harness racing mares on Friday night at the Meadowlands. The win is the 6-year-old daughter of Charley Barley's third straight victory after a pair of nose wins at Yonkers and provided trainer Donald Billings with his first Meadowlands win in his first Big M start. Billings is a 48-year-old Pennsylvania resident who recorded his first training win in 2014. Mystical Nectar raced on the pylons and was shuffled back to fifth turning for home in a seemingly impossible spot. Know It All (Tyler Buter) showed the field into the stretch while Our Els Dream (Bill Mann) challenged first over. With Icommandmyspirit (Jim Marohn, Jr.) looking to rally up the inside, Mystical Nectar was desperate for room. When Our Els Dream drifted slightly, it gave Mystical Nectar the room she needed. She responded with a :27.2 final quarter to win as the 7/2 second choice in the field of seven. 9/5 favorite Not Before Eight lacked her usual stretch kick and finished fifth. Earlier in the program, the multiple stakes placed mare Penpal made a smashing 4-year-old debut, defeating a talented group of conditioned pacers in 1:51.4 with a powerful first-over trip. Penpal earned more than $200,000 last year with on-the-board finishes in several major stakes including the Mistletoe Shalee, Matron, and Glen Garnsey. Penpal is owned by trainer and driver Pat Lachance and M&M Harness Racing. Andy Miller and Marcus Miller each won a pair of races on the 11-race card. Total handle was $2,410,948. Racing resumes next Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz
LEBANON, OH. – Jerseylicious avenged a narrow defeat last week by capturing the $22,000 Mares Open at Miami Valley on Friday night (March 24).  Leaving alertly from an outside post, harness racing driver Trace Tetrick put the money-making machine on the front end early and dictated all the fractions before pulling away in the stretch to an impressive 1:51.1 triumph.  The 7-year-old daughter of Western Ideal now has 22 career wins in just 84 starts and surpassed the $700,000 earnings plateau with the victory.  Endeavors Fantasy (Mike Oosting) used the innermost post position to full advantage to finish second, while White Metro (Tyler Smith) also saved ground along the pylons to manage a show finish.  Jerseylicious is now owned by Emerald Highlands Farm and has been conditioned by Tim Lane to a 4-1-2 scorecard in eight 2017 starts. The victory was one of five on the program for Tetrick, who now leads the local dash derby by over 20 victories.  The defending Hoosier Park driving champion will be returning to Indiana for their opening card next Saturday, but does plan to return to Miami Valley on Sundays and Mondays through the end of the meet in early May. The Dr. Don Mossbarger Memorial late-closing series also kicked off on Friday in two divisions.  Twin B Honour (Tetrick) and Youlookhot (Josh Sutton) captured their respective $12,500 splits.  Twin B Honour topped Backwoods Barbie (Brandon Bates) and Clarebear (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:54.2.  The 5-year-old Sportswriter lass, owned by Wilbur Langacher and trained by Brett Selby, returned $21.00 to her $2 backers.  Youlookhot, racing for owner Charles Stovall and trainer Joseph Essig, bested Gypsy Bellevue (Aaron Merriman) and Stirling Euphoria (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:54.3, returning $19.80. Gregg Keidel
WILKES-BARRE PA - After successfully getting to race on one of the two days planned for the first week of 2017 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - Tuesday's inaugural harness racing card followed a Saturday cancellation due to snow - the northeast Pennsylvania track will try for three cards of racing in this, its second week of the year, with racing planned for Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday (the bookend action starting at 6:30 p.m., the middle card an hour later).   The best race of the weekend appears to be Sunday night's $20,000 tenth race handicap trot, with the Revenue S gelding Melady's Monet assigned early 5-2 favoritism, and for good reason - he just may be the best trotter in North America right now. The winner of $1.06M, trained by Kevin McDermott for Melady Enterprises LLC, is undefeated in a pair of 2017 starts, both against top trotters at The Meadowlands, and he has Brett Miller, familiar to area fans and currently The Meadowlands' leading sulkysitter, coming in to drive.   Melady's Monet even got some luck at the post position draw for the handicap event, even though he'll be starting from post seven in a nine-horse field: the three highest moneywinners drew for the three outside posts, with Melady's Monet in the seven-hole thus the "innermost" of the "outermost" horses.   Saturday's top purse event is an $18,000 claiming handicap pace in race 5, with Crafty Master having to overcome the outside post eight after defeating the best horses on the grounds at Rideau Carleton in Ottawa in his last start. The co-features are a pair of $15,500 conditioned events for older performers, with the Amber Buter stable having a top contender in both - the $900,000 winner Zooming in the eighth race trot, and the hot City Hall, coming off two wins and a second in his last three starts, in the tenth race pace.   The focus of Tuesday's racing will likely fall on younger horses prepping for the $700,000 Bobby Weiss Series contests starting up in early April. The four Weiss Series, named after Pocono's famed trackman who was the main architect of the dark red oval becoming the favorite racing surface of countless top trainers, have been known to be a steppingstone to greatness - such was the case with J L Cruze, who won his 2015 Weiss Championship, then later that year went on to become one of only three trotters to ever beat 1:50 in a race, with a 1:49.4 triumph at The Meadowlands against the best in the sport.   PHHA / Pocono
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