Day At The Track
Tyler Buter, harness racing

Tyler Buter reflects on memorable 2019 season

Tyler Buter is putting the finishing touches on a memorable harness racing season and looking forward to taking another step forward in 2020. The 34-year-old Buter has won a career-high $5.56 million in purses and driven in a career-high 34 races worth at least $100,000 this season. He also got the 3,000th win of his career in April. Among Buter's other triumphs this year were the $500,000 Messenger Stakes, the most lucrative victory of his career, with American Mercury and the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series championship for trotters with Rich And Miserable. He was second in the Matron and third in the Little Brown Jug with American Mercury and second in the Art Rooney Pace with Branquinho. In addition, he drove in the Hambletonian eliminations, Breeders Crown, Kentucky Futurity, Adios, Three Diamonds, and Progress Pace. Buter was named the Driver of the Year in U.S. Trotting Association District 8, which covers most of upstate New York. Entering Thursday, he had won 324 races this year, marking the fourth time he topped 300 in a season, and the first time since 2009. "I'm definitely happy with the way the year went," said Buter, who resides in Middletown, N.Y. "I made the decision early in the year that I was going to drive more and train less. Judging by the numbers, it definitely paid off. "It was a lot of 'firsts' for me this year (on the Grand Circuit). Being in the big races, that's where I want to be. Not everybody wants to travel and follow those horses around, but that's what I like to do. I like driving the 2- and 3-year-olds; I think that's the most fun to me." Buter, though, did enjoy a good bit of fun this season with a 4-year-old, Rich And Miserable, trained by his father Todd. The gelding has won 11 of 21 races this year, highlighted by his head victory over Hannelore Hanover in the Great Northeast final, and earned $277,000. He races Saturday in a conditioned event at The Meadowlands. "He was a fun surprise this year," Buter said. "He was just OK as a 2- and 3-year-old but he matured a lot between 3 and 4 and he had a great year. "Unfortunately, he wasn't staked to anything, but it might have been a blessing in disguise. We'll point him toward a couple bigger races next year. We won't go crazy, but we'll give him a chance to race with the top names." Buter grew up in Manchester, Mich., and got his first win at the Gladwin, Mich., fair before his 17th birthday. After successful stints in both Michigan and Illinois, he relocated to the East Coast in 2010. Despite his many years in the sulky, Buter is still evolving as a driver. "That's the crazy thing, I've been driving horses full time for 15 years almost, and you're always learning," Buter said. "I try to go through every night and drive every horse good. I'm my own worst critic; I'm pretty hard on myself as far as making mistakes. "It's still hard to go a whole night and not make one mistake, and I've been doing it a long time. Being mistake-free is everyone's goal and it's something I strive for, trying to be perfect, if I can." Over the years, Buter has realized the need to put any miscues behind him as quickly as possible. "I used to let it carry over and get upset," Buter said. "You can't let it get to you. Five minutes later, you're going to be driving someone else's horse that put in seven days of hard work to get ready for this race and you've got to give your undivided attention to that horse and not be thinking about the one you just drove." As for 2020, Buter has no specific goals. "I just want to keep getting better," Buter said. "If I can have a little better year next year, that would be great. You never really want to take a step backwards in this business." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Bit Of A Legend, harness racing

Bit Of A Legend N to retire

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, December 12, 2019— Harness racing trainer Peter Tritton, that fairly competent Down Under imported trainer, was asked about Bit of a Legend N, that fairly competent Down Under imported pacer. “We were coming off after a race one night and Jordan (Stratton) said to me, ‘Every driver should have a chance to sit behind a horse like this.’ ” Bit of a Legend N, who rarely ran out of real estate on the racetrack, has nonetheless run out of daylight as a racehorse. The 10-year-old double-millionaire is set to retire after a Yonkers Raceway winner’s circle send-off Saturday night (Dec. 14th). The son of Bettor’s Delight is off to Midland Acres in Bloomingburg, OH, to begin a stallion career. “I’m going to have to plan a road trip to go see him,” Stratton said. Bit of a Legend N and Stratton have gone down the road together, the number of memorable miles too numerous to mention. “He’s my favorite horse. No question,” Stratton said. Bit of a Legend N came over as advertised, having won Australian Breeders Crowns at ages 3 and 4. “Peter (Tritton) told me he was a getting a pretty nice horse,” Stratton said of the then 7-year-old who the late Harry Von Knoblauch purchased for $103,000. “I went to the farm to see him. He just looked good running in the paddock and in his first qualifier (Yonkers, January of 2016), I knew. “He didn’t go much (third, timed in 1:57.1), but the way he drove, the way he carried himself.” Rising through the overnight ranks with two wins and two seconds in four tries, it was time to wear the big-boy pants and the ’16 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Sweep. Bit of a Legend N won all five of his preliminary legs starts, including a stirring, track-record 1:51.2 dead-heat with Wiggle It Jiggleit. In the $609,000 final a week later, he drew well, took control early and won in a facile 1:51 (see accompanying photo). He was (and remains) the only Free-For-Aller to run the Levy table. The 2016 season saw Bit of a Legend N win 13-of-28 starts (with six seconds and one third), socking away $723,850. Proving he was no one-hit wonder, Bit of a Legend N threw down consecutive half-million-dollar seasons in 2017 and ’18. The 2017 Levy saw Bit of a Legend N win twice (with two seconds) during preliminary-round competition before a no-chance-trip fourth (to Keystone Velocity) in the final. He then hit the road, winning the $109,600 Molson (Western Fair, 1:51.3), $260,000 Gerrity Memorial (Saratoga, 1:50.3…at 15-1) and Quillen Memorial (Harrington, 1:52.1).  The next season saw another standout Levy-leg log (two wins, two seconds, one third) and yet another less-than-no-shot trip in the final. From post position No. 7, Bit of a Legend N charged home for second, again to Keystone Velocity. Bit of a Legend N eventually returned to Londontown, looking to defend his Molson (renamed to Camluck Classic) title. He wound up a flat, never-in-it fifth and “the only time he ever disappointed me,” Stratton said. “He’s had some EPM (parasite) issues throughout his career,” Tritton said. “We’ve been able to stay on top of it, usually, but I think that, and the ship up to Canada, was too much for him. His blood was no good, but he bounced back.” Indeed. A week later at Northfield, it was a first-up, life-best 1:49.4 effort in the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie, putting away the same horse—Rockin’ Ron—who had dusted his rivals in the Camluck. “Everyone was excited for him,” Stratton said. “There were people, wherever we went, who said he was their favorite horse.” Bit of a Legend N’s 2019 season was hampered by some poorly-timed quarter cracks, essentially costing him any shot of doing damage in the Levy. “It’s never a good time to get them, but this was a bad time for him, and us,” Tritton said. “It took about six or seven weeks to completely heal and the series doesn’t allow for any time off.”  “It not that he’s even slowed down that much, but the competition is just better,” Stratton said. “Before, you could win a race in 1:52. Now, it’s no better than third.” Stratton offered some of the same platitudes about Bit of a Legend N that were bestowed upon Foiled Again by his primary driver, Yannick Gingras. “He can relax and go a quarter in 30 (seconds), then sprint in :27. He won’t do more than what’s necessary. It’s just his way of taking care of himself. Look at his races. The margins are never that much. He knows what he has to do. That’s why he’s lasted so long.” The plan was for Bit of a Legend N to be racing Saturday nights through the end of the season, but after a second-place finish in late November, Tritton detected a bit of a problem with an ankle (“There was nothing to gain by having him go a couple of more weeks”), so the North American racing career ended with 33 wins in 99 starts and earnings of $1,909,935 (more than $2.5 million including foreign take-home). “I’ve had good horses before,” Tritton said, “but he’s different. To have the longevity he’s had and to produce in the big races the way he did, that’s what stands out.” …and they named him right, too. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Yankee Glide, harness racing

Yankee Glide sons take co-features

CHESTER, PA - The Yankee Glide gelding Max was very strong on the front end in winning the $18,000 featured harness racing trot at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday, completing a 1:54 victory by coming home in :27.4 in 38-degree temperatures. Max headed right to the lead in front of Infiniti As under the command of Yannick Gingras, but it looked as if he might have to surrender the lead after the :27.4 quarter to the brushing Rubber Duck, the classy veteran who was seeking his fourth straight triumph. However, Infiniti As made a break before the finish line the first time, allowing Rubber Duck to take the pocket behind Max as he went on to splits of :57.1 and 1:26.1, towards the latter call coming under pressure from the mare Kenziesky Hanover. Kenziesky Hanover and Max went at it head-to-head through the stretch, with Rubber Duck making it a competing threesome up the inside, but Max proved the best over Kenziesky Hanover by ¾ of a length in the brisk finisher, with Rubber Duck another neck back in third. Ron Burke trains the winner, who went over six figures in 2019 earnings with the victory, for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Frank Baldachino. P L Ketchup posted hot fractions in the $17,000 co-featured trot, but he could not hold off the late kick of the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Yankee Beast, who won his second straight by ¼ lengths while posting a new lifetime best of 1:55.4. Marcus Miller drove the fast-closing three-year-old for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owner Anna Kristina Lorentzon. Driver George Napolitano Jr. had three winners on the afternoon, as did trainer Christie Collins. Also, driver Pat Berry scored career victory #3999 when he won with Sortie Hanover; he's listed on seven horses tonight at The Meadowlands in pursuit of the milestone 4000th win, and if it eludes him there, Berry listed on nine horses here Friday afternoon. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  

Robyn Camden, harness racing

Robyn Camden takes final F & M Open

Invader Robyn Camden (Art Professor) added one to her already bulky win total for the 2019 harness racing season as she prevailed in the Thursday feature for fillies and mares at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard trainee was assigned post position five in the five-horse Open which went for a purse of $18,000. Robyn Camden got away last in the feature but with the grueling pace being set wound up getting a nice trip to come from off-the-pace. Billy Dobson piloted the four year old mare who was the 6-5 second choice in the wagering as she circled the compact field before drawing away in 1:54.1 to record her fourteenth victory of the season. The race's favorite The Charging Moa N (Jay Randall) wound up first-over in a 27.4 third quarter and that trip took its toll on the talented New Zealand invader who wound up finishing third after being passed in the stretch by Bye Bye Felicia (Mark Beckwith). Robyn Camden became the third Allard-trained distaffer to win the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga in 2019 as she won the season's final ladies' feature on Thursday. She paid $4.60 to win and led an exacta with Bye Bye Felicia second that returned $36.80. The win in the feature was one of three on the afternoon for Dobson who will own seven driving titles at the Spa at the conclusion of the meet this weekend. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Race caller Larry Lederman and professional football player Quincy Enunwa will be visiting the Meadowlands this weekend. Lederman will be doing what he does best, while Enunwa will be spreading Christmas cheer to children who could really use some. Lederman is second in the 'batting order' tonight (Dec. 12) as the second season of "Borrow Ken's Binoculars" - which brings in guest announcers to call the Thursday night race cards during December while regular voice Ken Warkentin steps aside - continues. A week ago, Pete Kleinhans was on the microphone, while the last two weeks of the month will feature the USTA's Michael Carter (on Dec. 19) and the Big M's own Dave Little (Dec. 26). "So many of our regular customers are Larry Lederman fans," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "And so are all of us at the Meadowlands. Larry has always been one of the best announcers around and it's great to hear his unique calls at the Big M." Enunwa, the New York Jets wide receiver, will be at the track on Saturday (Dec. 14) night and visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Big M's annual toy drive. Enunwa and the U.S. Marine Corps will be collecting for the annual 'Toys for Tots' drive from 6:30-8:30 p.m. All collected toys will be donated to Harlem Grown, helping make the holiday season brighter for area children. FOX5 sportscaster Tina Cervasio will serve as master of ceremonies for the event and fans who bring a toy for the drive will be able to take a selfie with Enunwa. "This is my favorite time of the year," said Settlemoir. "The toy drive is near and dear to my heart. It feels great to be able to give back to those in need, especially during the holiday season." HOT STARTS: Last weekend (Dec. 5-7) saw a handful of drivers get off to a quick start for the final month of 2019, during which there will be 12 race cards. Through the first three cards of December, Dave Miller and Tim Tetrick top the driver colony with six wins apiece, with Dexter Dunn and Yannick Gingras in hot pursuit with five victories each. Richard Johnson has three wins to lead all trainers in December, while Trish Adams, Jeff Cullipher, Harry Landy and Nick Surick all have two apiece. DECEMBER SCHEDULE CONTINUES: During the month of December, live racing at the Meadowlands will be conducted on a three day a week basis, Thursday-Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. HIT BIG WITH FREE PPs: The 50-cent Pick-4 is one of the more popular wagers at the Big M, and players can get the past performances for free. Program pages are available for the bet - which sports a $50,000 guaranteed pool on Fridays and Saturdays and a low 15 percent takeout always - at playmeadowlands.com and ustrotting.com. Last weekend's pools were solid, as $75,915 and $86,478 were wagered on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Twenty-cent Jackpot Super High-Five players are no doubt looking forward to Thursday's 10th race, which will offer a $47,222 carryover on the bet that requires one to have the only winning ticket to rake the pot. BET WITH BROWER: For help with every race on all Big M cards, be sure to check out Big M morning-line oddsmaker Dave Brower's analysis on the Meadowlands website (playmeadowlands.com). Click on the 'handicapping' tab, then 'race reviews'. FUN ON FRIDAY: On Dec. 13, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. ... Holiday shoppers can give their bankrolls a boost by entering the Big M's "Holiday Gift Card Sweepstakes", where $1,500 in major department store gift cards will be given away. Entry forms are available in the live racing program. MEADOWLANDS HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: Here is the holiday operating schedule for simulcasting at the Big M: December 15: Closed December 22: Closed Christmas Eve: Closed Christmas Day: Closed December 29: Closed New Year's Eve: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. For more information, go to playmeadowlands.com. FANDUEL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: Here is the holiday operating schedule for the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook: Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Christmas Day: Closed New Year's Eve: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. New Year's Day: 10 a.m. - 1 a.m. For more information, go to playmeadowlands.com/fanduel. From the Meadowlands Media Department    

The $10,000 Joe Lighthill Free-for-All Trot headlines Friday night's Cal Expo card with Its A Horse and Scramble Camp among the major players. Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Joe Lighthill Trot is named for the outstanding driver/trainer who was a mainstay in California for decades and passed away at the age of 78 in 2006. Lighthill, who began his career in the mid-1940s, drove 2,272 winners for purse earnings just shy of $7 million and reined and/or trained some of the most outstanding performers of their generation. Included in that illustrious group were Meadow Skipper, Countess Adios, Tender Loving Care, Hickory Pride, Peter Lobell, Try Scotch and BC Count. It's A Horse is a 6-year-old son of Full Count who is owned by Ray Alan Miller, trained by Marco Rios and will be guided by Dean Magee. The long-fused trotter stormed from well back to get the job done on November 23 while registering his 15th victory from 77 career outings. Scramble Camp accounted for his Cal Expo debut last month in a coast-to-coast performance for owner Jeralene Roland and driver/trainer Nick Roland. The Iowa-bred sidewheeler was a 1:54 4/5 winner earlier this year at Hawthorne. Taking on this pair, from the rail out: Majestic Lady Jo, Flameon, Kristy'sgingergal, Windsun Galaxe, Pridecrest and Mandeville. Looking ahead to Saturday's program, the rescheduled Dave Goldschmidt Free-for-All Pace headed by Allmyx'sliventexas and the Robert Staats for pacing fillies and mares featuring Rue Hanover will be in the spotlight. A tip of the cap to Ed Burgart Cal Expo is proud to name Friday night's 10th race for Ed Burgart, who is retiring after being the voice of Los Alamitos for the past 39 years. Ed's final call will be the Los Alamitos Two Million on Sunday night. In addition to calling Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Mules and of course Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos, Ed was also the announcer for harness racing at the Orange County oval for one season. "I called harness racing at Los Alamitos in 2000, which was the final year it took place here," Burgart related. "Going from 350 yards to a mile required a different tempo and I quickly learned that harness racing had its own terminology. "What I found most interesting about harness racing was the strategy involved, especially over a five-eighths mile track like Los Alamitos. Top drivers knew when to make the proper brushes and how to take advantage of inside and outside post draws." Cal Expo salutes Ed Burgart and wishes him and his wife Marsha the very best in his retirement. There will be mandatory payouts in all wagers on Saturday night, including the reduced 16 percent takeout 20-cent Pick 5 and 20-cent Pick 4, with the latter featuring a $30,000-guaranteed gross pool. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness        

Washington, PA - December 12, 2020 - Stall Applications for stabling at The Meadows for January 1st through June 30th, 2020, are now available. Inquiries should be directed to Race Secretary Tom Leasure at 724-225-9897 or Tom.Leasure@pngaming.com “We have a limited number of stalls available for outfits interested in racing at The Meadows this winter and spring”, according to Leasure. Applications must be returned to the Race Office by Friday, December 20. Applications are available on The Meadows website, www.meadowsgaming.com. by Mark Loewe, for The Meadows      

Nominations are still being accepted for the 2019 Caretaker of the Year. The award, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport - the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis. Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA's Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by Hard Rock Northfield Park and USHWA, with Fair Island Farm coming on this year. "We have been presenting trophies to the winning caretakers during the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile for a couple of years now, so we are very honored and happy to be able to now recognize the national Caretaker of the Year," said Zubrod. The Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening, Feb. 23, 2020, where he or she will be recognized. The winner will also enjoy a two-night stay at Rosen Shingle Creek, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets. "Caretakers are the day-to-day unsung heroes of the industry, long before and after the spotlight of the grandstand lights," said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. "This cadre toils in anonymity, not looking for a pat on the back, but always looking out for the best interests of their charges health and welfare. We are fortunate to have many outstanding caretakers in our industry to look after our equine athletes." Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible to be the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles. All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, and sent to chairman Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. (USHWA) From the United States Harness Writers Association

MANALAPAN, NJ - December 12, 2019 - The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey announce effective immediately in order to qualify and receive harness racing awards for all SBOANJ sponsored programs you must be a member and have a current W-9 form on file. The SBOANJ programs include the New Jersey sired bonus awards and the New Jersey breeder's awards. No money will be released until all information is verified. Membership forms and W-9 forms can be found at www.sboanj.com, if you have any questions please contact the office at 732-462-2357. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 12, 2019 -- The Super Hi-5 jackpot at The Meadows is approaching $95,000. Thanks to another carryover, Friday's Super Hi-5 jackpot stands at $94,846.91. The Meadows offers the harness racing wager on the final race of each live card. First post for Friday's 13-race program is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

Batavia, NY --- With the final weekend of harness racing at hand, the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (UNY USHWA) has announced the horses of the meet for 2019. Pacer of the Meet-Back Is Black (Western Terror-Magic Moments) 1:52.1 ($242,850) Black Is Back started his year with a tag and ended up a top-class pacer. After being claimed for $20,000 at Saratoga Raceway back in May, Black Is Back found his way into the barn of trainer Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. through a private purchase by his current owners Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr. He made his first start at Batavia Downs in July, soon won the $12,500 Open I pace and then never looked back. For the season at Batavia, Black Is Back made 13 starts with five wins, two seconds and three thirds, all in Open I company and did not miss a single check the entire meet earning him $44,565 in the process. He finished in the money 77% of the time and his best win time at the Downs was 1:53.1. For the entire year Black Is Back has made 26 starts with 10 wins, four seconds and four thirds for $79,765 in purses with a mark of 1:52.2. Trotter of the Meet-Lougazi (Lou's Legacy-Winning Blade) 1:56.1 ($198,483) Lougazi made an encore performance this year as he was the 2018 Batavia Downs Trotter of the Meet. During the 2019 season in Genesee County, Lougazi made 16 starts with five wins, four seconds and three thirds and much like his side-wheeling counterpart Black Is Back, Lougazi made all his starts in Open I company as well. Lougazi had a very high 75% in the money average too and his $50,500 in purses was the highest amount earned by any overnight Standardbred competing at the meet this year. His career best year also included a new lifetime mark of 1:56.1 taken at Batavia in September. Overall in 2019 Lougazi has made 34 starts with nine wins, 10 seconds and five thirds with $94,000 in earnings. Mary Warriner owns Lougazi who is trained by Ryan Swift. Mare of the Meet-HP Sissy (Up The Credit-Monica Blue Chip) 1:52.1 ($367,629) HP Sissy was purchased privately in January by John and Sally Finnocchario and became the star of the Finnocchario's Dream Stable. She went on to win 13 races out of 37 starts and made $116,493 racing at tracks across New York State. In July HP Sissy made her first of 13 starts at Batavia Downs and ended up winning four Open I paces for fillies and mares, besides finishing second three times and third four more and made $41,375 in purses along the way. She wound up in the money 85% of the time which was the highest percentage of hitting the board of any horse racing at the meet. Her fastest win time at the Downs was also her seasonal mark; 1:53.3. Mike Ohol is the trainer of HP Sissy. All the connections of Black Is Back, Lougazi and HP Sissy will receive their awards in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle at Batavia Downs between races on Saturday (Dec. 14) during the UNY USHWA Night of Distinction. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA

After weathering what turned out to be an extended storm of injury issues that kept 2015 Horse of the Year Award winner Wiggle It Jiggleit sidelined for nearly three years, George Teague Jr. is looking forward to seeing his 7-year-old harness racing  pacer continue his comeback attempt in Thursday's $25,000 open at Dover Downs. Wiggle It Jiggle will be making his third start this year, but his first since Sept. 30. The gelding finished second in his 2019 debut at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio on Sept. 19 and third in the open handicap at Harrington Raceway. Since then, Wiggle It Jiggleit has won twice in qualifiers at Dover, the first in 1:55.1 with a final quarter of :29.3 and the second in 1:54.4 with a final quarter of :27.2. "He's doing good," said Teague, whose George Teague Jr. Inc. shares ownership of Wiggle It Jiggleit with the Teague Racing Partnership LLC. "He was tying up a little bit (leading to his recent time off) and when I got him off that, I qualified him, and he just didn't fire like I thought he should. It turned out his blood was a little off. "The last time I qualified him he seemed to be a lot more like himself. Not totally like he was in the past, but I still think it's just going to take a little while. I'm hoping he can come back to that status, or close to it. He's going to be fine. We'll see how it plays out." Wiggle It Jiggleit, trained by Clyde Francis, has won 38 of 53 career races and earned $3.91 million. His earnings rank sixth among pacers in North American harness racing history. "At any time, any horse can come up with injuries; unfortunately, he did," Teague said. "It didn't look that bad originally, but one thing turned into another, turned into another, which turned into three years. It is what it is. That was a perfect storm. But every storm blows over. "He still seems like the horse of old, he really does. He doesn't seem any less willing to go. Everything is there, we just have to put the speed back into him, and I don't expect that to come over night. He's sounder than he's ever been and looks great physically. We just have to put the work in and see if he can get a little stronger and a little faster." Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Thursday's open. Jim Morand will drive Wiggle It Jiggleit, subbing for Montrell Teague, who recently suffered a wrist injury that will keep him in a cast until after Christmas. George Teague Jr. is taking a race-by-race approach with Wiggle It Jiggleit but is hopeful the son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover can return to the Grand Circuit in 2020. "I still think it's a possibility," Teague said. "I'm not going to ruin his reputation by putting him in the box when it doesn't look like he should be in. I'm just trying to get a grip on how I think he'll come back and whether he gets back to close enough where I think I can invest a little bit of money in staking him. "I'm not making any definitive plans; I'm just hoping he tells me as we go along. It's tough to get back to where he needs to be without racing against competition. I can qualify, I can train, but none of it is like racing. When he makes it to a point where I think he's showed me enough one way or another, then I'll make my decision there." Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. (EST) Thursday at Dover. The open is race 12, with an 8:10 p.m. estimated post. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Chris Ryder, as harness racing trainer and part owner, has announced that Bettor's Wish will stand to a limited number of mares in 2020 for a stud fee of $10,000. He will be collected at Walnridge Equine Clinic, Cream Ridge, N.J., making his foals eligible to the reenergized New Jersey Sire Stakes.   Bettor's Wish will remain in training and race next year against the sport's older pacers in the popular free-for-all events.   "There was a lot of interest from around the country and within our own ownership group to breed to him. I don't think there will be any issue keeping a regular collection schedule," Ryder said.   Part-owner Eric Cherry is delighted to be able to breed to Bettor's Wish next year. "I bought into him for his stallion potential and because he crosses so well with a lot of my mares. I will be breeding Breeders Crown Champion Call Me Queen Be (p,3,1:49.1f) Candlelight Dinner (p,2,1:52.2), I'm Trigger Happy (p,3,1:51.3f) and others. I'm very excited for the future."   Bettor's Wish had a remarkable 3-year-old season amassing $1,643,745--the most of any horse this year--and a record of 13 wins and 6 seconds in 19 starts. He finished the year with a field-sweeping second in the TVG Final at the Meadowlands racing against older horses, making him the first 3-year-old pacer to hit the board in the history of the TVG races.   For further details or booking information call (908) 451-4135 or email BettorsWish@gmail.com.   From the Bettor's Wish Ownership Group    

Dover, DE - Moments of Joy and driver Victor Kirby left quickly to start off the Mares Open Pace at Dover Downs on Wednesday as Rockin the Boys A and Driver Dexter Dunn found a seat, nearing the quarter pole. Wisdom Tree, the three to five race favorite, and driver Tony Morgan settled, then rushed to the top past the quarter pole.  They set fractions of :27.1,  :55 and 1:23 as Valuable Art, rushed 1st up for driver Corey Callahan, and pressured the leader to the three quarters. Moments Of Joy waited patiently in the pocket and stormed home down the inside to win by a half length at odds of 9/2 in 1:51.1. Moments of Joy was driven by Victor Kirby and is owned and trained by Bryan Truitt. Finishing 2nd was Wisdom Tree for driver Tony Morgan and trained by Jeff Cullipher. Rockin the Boys A was third for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Andrew Harris. Moments Of Joy was a $6,000 yearling purchase by Bryan Truitt. With the win,  her lifetime earnings now exceed over $200,000. Bryan Truitt stated in the paddock after the race “ Not bad for a yearling that nobody wanted”. Dexter Dunn won 5 races on the card. Wiggle It Jiggleit returns to Dover Downs tomorrow in the 12th race. Post Time is 4:30 pm. by Alex Kraszewski, for Dover Downs

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Dec. 12) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Joe Hundertpfund, Natasha Day, and Adriano Sorella. Hundertpfund, a long time Owner and Trainer in harness racing, is the Grand Father of Layla, who was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing's Sarcoma in February of 2016. The 8-year-old has captured the heart of the harness racing industry, as several horsemen and horsewomen took part in #Layla Crushes Cancer, a fund raising event at the Marydel Fire Company in Delaware. Day, who surpassed $1 million in career earnings on November 18th at The Raceway at Western Fair District, will talk about her career in the sport of harness racing. Sorella, a prominent harness horse owner, will talk about the second part of fan favorite Jimmy Freight's career, the breeding shed. Jimmy Freight will stand at Winbak of Ontario in 2020. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30a.m.via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. From Post Time with Mike and Mike  

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Tyler Buter is putting the finishing touches on a memorable harness racing season and looking forward to taking another step forward in 2020. The 34-year-old Buter has won a career-high $5.56 million in purses and driven in a career-high 34 races worth at least $100,000 this season. He also got the 3,000th win of his career in April. Among Buter's other triumphs this year were the $500,000 Messenger Stakes, the most lucrative victory of his career, with American Mercury and the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series championship for trotters with Rich And Miserable. He was second in the Matron and third in the Little Brown Jug with American Mercury and second in the Art Rooney Pace with Branquinho. In addition, he drove in the Hambletonian eliminations, Breeders Crown, Kentucky Futurity, Adios, Three Diamonds, and Progress Pace. Buter was named the Driver of the Year in U.S. Trotting Association District 8, which covers most of upstate New York. Entering Thursday, he had won 324 races this year, marking the fourth time he topped 300 in a season, and the first time since 2009. "I'm definitely happy with the way the year went," said Buter, who resides in Middletown, N.Y. "I made the decision early in the year that I was going to drive more and train less. Judging by the numbers, it definitely paid off. "It was a lot of 'firsts' for me this year (on the Grand Circuit). Being in the big races, that's where I want to be. Not everybody wants to travel and follow those horses around, but that's what I like to do. I like driving the 2- and 3-year-olds; I think that's the most fun to me." Buter, though, did enjoy a good bit of fun this season with a 4-year-old, Rich And Miserable, trained by his father Todd. The gelding has won 11 of 21 races this year, highlighted by his head victory over Hannelore Hanover in the Great Northeast final, and earned $277,000. He races Saturday in a conditioned event at The Meadowlands. "He was a fun surprise this year," Buter said. "He was just OK as a 2- and 3-year-old but he matured a lot between 3 and 4 and he had a great year. "Unfortunately, he wasn't staked to anything, but it might have been a blessing in disguise. We'll point him toward a couple bigger races next year. We won't go crazy, but we'll give him a chance to race with the top names." Buter grew up in Manchester, Mich., and got his first win at the Gladwin, Mich., fair before his 17th birthday. After successful stints in both Michigan and Illinois, he relocated to the East Coast in 2010. Despite his many years in the sulky, Buter is still evolving as a driver. "That's the crazy thing, I've been driving horses full time for 15 years almost, and you're always learning," Buter said. "I try to go through every night and drive every horse good. I'm my own worst critic; I'm pretty hard on myself as far as making mistakes. "It's still hard to go a whole night and not make one mistake, and I've been doing it a long time. Being mistake-free is everyone's goal and it's something I strive for, trying to be perfect, if I can." Over the years, Buter has realized the need to put any miscues behind him as quickly as possible. "I used to let it carry over and get upset," Buter said. "You can't let it get to you. Five minutes later, you're going to be driving someone else's horse that put in seven days of hard work to get ready for this race and you've got to give your undivided attention to that horse and not be thinking about the one you just drove." As for 2020, Buter has no specific goals. "I just want to keep getting better," Buter said. "If I can have a little better year next year, that would be great. You never really want to take a step backwards in this business." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, December 12, 2019— Harness racing trainer Peter Tritton, that fairly competent Down Under imported trainer, was asked about Bit of a Legend N, that fairly competent Down Under imported pacer. “We were coming off after a race one night and Jordan (Stratton) said to me, ‘Every driver should have a chance to sit behind a horse like this.’ ” Bit of a Legend N, who rarely ran out of real estate on the racetrack, has nonetheless run out of daylight as a racehorse. The 10-year-old double-millionaire is set to retire after a Yonkers Raceway winner’s circle send-off Saturday night (Dec. 14th). The son of Bettor’s Delight is off to Midland Acres in Bloomingburg, OH, to begin a stallion career. “I’m going to have to plan a road trip to go see him,” Stratton said. Bit of a Legend N and Stratton have gone down the road together, the number of memorable miles too numerous to mention. “He’s my favorite horse. No question,” Stratton said. Bit of a Legend N came over as advertised, having won Australian Breeders Crowns at ages 3 and 4. “Peter (Tritton) told me he was a getting a pretty nice horse,” Stratton said of the then 7-year-old who the late Harry Von Knoblauch purchased for $103,000. “I went to the farm to see him. He just looked good running in the paddock and in his first qualifier (Yonkers, January of 2016), I knew. “He didn’t go much (third, timed in 1:57.1), but the way he drove, the way he carried himself.” Rising through the overnight ranks with two wins and two seconds in four tries, it was time to wear the big-boy pants and the ’16 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Sweep. Bit of a Legend N won all five of his preliminary legs starts, including a stirring, track-record 1:51.2 dead-heat with Wiggle It Jiggleit. In the $609,000 final a week later, he drew well, took control early and won in a facile 1:51 (see accompanying photo). He was (and remains) the only Free-For-Aller to run the Levy table. The 2016 season saw Bit of a Legend N win 13-of-28 starts (with six seconds and one third), socking away $723,850. Proving he was no one-hit wonder, Bit of a Legend N threw down consecutive half-million-dollar seasons in 2017 and ’18. The 2017 Levy saw Bit of a Legend N win twice (with two seconds) during preliminary-round competition before a no-chance-trip fourth (to Keystone Velocity) in the final. He then hit the road, winning the $109,600 Molson (Western Fair, 1:51.3), $260,000 Gerrity Memorial (Saratoga, 1:50.3…at 15-1) and Quillen Memorial (Harrington, 1:52.1).  The next season saw another standout Levy-leg log (two wins, two seconds, one third) and yet another less-than-no-shot trip in the final. From post position No. 7, Bit of a Legend N charged home for second, again to Keystone Velocity. Bit of a Legend N eventually returned to Londontown, looking to defend his Molson (renamed to Camluck Classic) title. He wound up a flat, never-in-it fifth and “the only time he ever disappointed me,” Stratton said. “He’s had some EPM (parasite) issues throughout his career,” Tritton said. “We’ve been able to stay on top of it, usually, but I think that, and the ship up to Canada, was too much for him. His blood was no good, but he bounced back.” Indeed. A week later at Northfield, it was a first-up, life-best 1:49.4 effort in the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie, putting away the same horse—Rockin’ Ron—who had dusted his rivals in the Camluck. “Everyone was excited for him,” Stratton said. “There were people, wherever we went, who said he was their favorite horse.” Bit of a Legend N’s 2019 season was hampered by some poorly-timed quarter cracks, essentially costing him any shot of doing damage in the Levy. “It’s never a good time to get them, but this was a bad time for him, and us,” Tritton said. “It took about six or seven weeks to completely heal and the series doesn’t allow for any time off.”  “It not that he’s even slowed down that much, but the competition is just better,” Stratton said. “Before, you could win a race in 1:52. Now, it’s no better than third.” Stratton offered some of the same platitudes about Bit of a Legend N that were bestowed upon Foiled Again by his primary driver, Yannick Gingras. “He can relax and go a quarter in 30 (seconds), then sprint in :27. He won’t do more than what’s necessary. It’s just his way of taking care of himself. Look at his races. The margins are never that much. He knows what he has to do. That’s why he’s lasted so long.” The plan was for Bit of a Legend N to be racing Saturday nights through the end of the season, but after a second-place finish in late November, Tritton detected a bit of a problem with an ankle (“There was nothing to gain by having him go a couple of more weeks”), so the North American racing career ended with 33 wins in 99 starts and earnings of $1,909,935 (more than $2.5 million including foreign take-home). “I’ve had good horses before,” Tritton said, “but he’s different. To have the longevity he’s had and to produce in the big races the way he did, that’s what stands out.” …and they named him right, too. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
CHESTER, PA - The Yankee Glide gelding Max was very strong on the front end in winning the $18,000 featured harness racing trot at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday, completing a 1:54 victory by coming home in :27.4 in 38-degree temperatures. Max headed right to the lead in front of Infiniti As under the command of Yannick Gingras, but it looked as if he might have to surrender the lead after the :27.4 quarter to the brushing Rubber Duck, the classy veteran who was seeking his fourth straight triumph. However, Infiniti As made a break before the finish line the first time, allowing Rubber Duck to take the pocket behind Max as he went on to splits of :57.1 and 1:26.1, towards the latter call coming under pressure from the mare Kenziesky Hanover. Kenziesky Hanover and Max went at it head-to-head through the stretch, with Rubber Duck making it a competing threesome up the inside, but Max proved the best over Kenziesky Hanover by ¾ of a length in the brisk finisher, with Rubber Duck another neck back in third. Ron Burke trains the winner, who went over six figures in 2019 earnings with the victory, for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Frank Baldachino. P L Ketchup posted hot fractions in the $17,000 co-featured trot, but he could not hold off the late kick of the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Yankee Beast, who won his second straight by ¼ lengths while posting a new lifetime best of 1:55.4. Marcus Miller drove the fast-closing three-year-old for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owner Anna Kristina Lorentzon. Driver George Napolitano Jr. had three winners on the afternoon, as did trainer Christie Collins. Also, driver Pat Berry scored career victory #3999 when he won with Sortie Hanover; he's listed on seven horses tonight at The Meadowlands in pursuit of the milestone 4000th win, and if it eludes him there, Berry listed on nine horses here Friday afternoon. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  
Invader Robyn Camden (Art Professor) added one to her already bulky win total for the 2019 harness racing season as she prevailed in the Thursday feature for fillies and mares at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard trainee was assigned post position five in the five-horse Open which went for a purse of $18,000. Robyn Camden got away last in the feature but with the grueling pace being set wound up getting a nice trip to come from off-the-pace. Billy Dobson piloted the four year old mare who was the 6-5 second choice in the wagering as she circled the compact field before drawing away in 1:54.1 to record her fourteenth victory of the season. The race's favorite The Charging Moa N (Jay Randall) wound up first-over in a 27.4 third quarter and that trip took its toll on the talented New Zealand invader who wound up finishing third after being passed in the stretch by Bye Bye Felicia (Mark Beckwith). Robyn Camden became the third Allard-trained distaffer to win the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga in 2019 as she won the season's final ladies' feature on Thursday. She paid $4.60 to win and led an exacta with Bye Bye Felicia second that returned $36.80. The win in the feature was one of three on the afternoon for Dobson who will own seven driving titles at the Spa at the conclusion of the meet this weekend. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  
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