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Richly talented open class performer Mach Alert is out of the winter harness racing carnival. The Mach Three gelding has been battling hoof issues and trainer Ian Gurney has reluctantly made the decision to back off and allow him time to fully recover. Mach Alert was aiming at the Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint (July 9) followed by the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake the following week. “It’s disappointing but the horse comes first, his whole career has been thwarted by injuries and niggling setbacks and this is just another one of those issues that we have to deal with. He’s got bad corns and I’m going to get them sorted, you can’t take on horses like Christen Me, Hectorjayjay, Ohoka Punter, Ultimate Art and Nova when you’re not right so he’s out.” Gurney explained The former Queensland Derby winner recorded back to back victories recently at Albion Park including the Listed $25,000 Flashing Red but failed at his most recent start. Mach Alert finished a well beaten 8th at his most recent start in the Gr.3 $30,000 Lucky Creed on June 18 at Albion Park, the race was won by his stablemate Avonnova. While it’s disappointing for Gurney, the popular horseman still has two chances heading into the open class features with dual Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova plus former Queensland Pacing Championship winner Ideal Scott. Both pacers are racing in excellent form. Avonnova starts on Saturday night in the Listed $25,000 Mr Feelgood at Albion Park where hostilities will be renewed with Ultimate Art. The free legged pacer ended the winning sequence of Ultimate Art at 8 wins in their most recent outing in the Lucky Creed two weeks ago. This week, Avonnova faces a tricky draw on the inside of the second-line while Ultimate Art has drawn ideally in gate two in the 2138m mobile start feature. Ideal Scott will next start in the Sunshine Sprint next week after running a slashing second in the Wondais Mate last week behind the late closing Glenferrie Hood in a time of 1:52.4. The American Ideal gelding led up in the 1660m feature. Chris Barsby

Harness Racing aficionados will be licking their lips at the thought of next Saturday night’s four-year-old entires and geldings’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final after tonight’s semis and barrier draw. Heat winners Ideal For Real and Tee Cee Bee Macray have drawn five and 13 respectively, while reigning Vicbred champ and horse of the year Menin Gate, a fierce warrior when in front, has drawn well in barrier three. Murranji Track in gate two has good gate speed and can run along also, so he will surely create headaches for speed mappers. Tee Cee Bee Macray was ultra-impressive in winning his heat tonight, and while barrier 13 is never ideal, he does his best work when winding up with a big finish. Trained by Alan Tubbs, Tee Cee Bee Macray (Ponder/Way Mya Macray) sprinted powerfully through the final 400m to overhaul pacemaker Solarsonic in the run to the line. Driven by Greg Sugars, Tee Cee Bee Macray rated 1:56.9. “There’s a lot of depth in the (four-year-old) field … but he’s very fast,” Sugars said. “He’s a very good horse.” The win clearly meant plenty for the Tubbs team, who received plenty of congratulations trackside. Ideal For Real (American Ideal/Tamara Hall) was also super-impressive, the Emma Stewart-trained star winning its 10th race from 18 starts with a 1:56.2 run to score by 14.2m over runner-up Sevens Hope with Mister Wickham third. Despite the ease of the win and the high expectations being placed on Ideal For Real, Lang said the entire still had a bit to learn. “He’s got to learn to go straight or he’ll have to cover more ground than the others … he’ll get beat doing that,” he said. “He’s got a good record but it won’t be an easy race next week.” The continued dominance of the Emma Stewart stable was on full display in the four-year-old mares’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals tonight. The Smythes Creek trainer qualified five mares for next Saturday night’s final, giving her almost half the field. Stewart-trained Starburst Girl (barrier two for the final), Brighty Valentine (three), Lovelist (seven), Delight Me (nine) and Stay And Play (11) will all line up in the big dance. Delight Me (Bettor's Delight/Cornsilk) impressively won her semi-final with Gavin Lang in the sulky, defeating stablemates Lovelist and Starburst Girl in the first semi-final, working wide in the run before finding the line strongly. Stay And Play (Live Or Die/Play Ball) posted a mile rate of 1:56.2 in her 8.3m win over Snip Of Grand in the second semi-final, with third placegetter Brighty Valentine also hailing from the Stewart stable.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Mares Final barrier draw 1: Diamond Castle 2: Starburst Girl 3: Brighty Valentine 4: Soho Tokyo 5: Boadiceas Fury 6: Snip Of Grand 7: Lovelist 8: Glory Daze 9: Delight Me 10: Morton Plains 11: Stay And Play 12: Keayang Mercedes (em) 13: Miss Dreaming Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires & Geldings Final barrier draw 1: Repeat After Me 2: Murranji Track 3: Menin Gate 4: Sevens Hope 5: Ideal For Real 6: Lucky Lombo 7: Mister Wickham 8: Solarsonic 9: Stagger Lee 10: Soynwasabi 11: Rule Of Thumb (em) 12: Blacknbrown 13: Tee Cee Bee Macray ............................................................................................................................................................................... Tingira Beach has emerged a frontrunner in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series' two-year-old colts and geldings for New South Wales team Shane and Lauren Tritton, dominating his semi-final and drawing well. Things only got better for the Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Western Tingira after he won his class's second semi-final by 12.9m, having then drawn barrier four in the final. Conversely, fellow semi-final winner Jilliby Kung Fu will start from barrier 12 and will have to do things the hard way in the final on Saturday, July 2. Lauren Tritton, driver of Tingira Beach, warned there was more improvement to come from her colt, who found the front and comfortably beat highly-fancied Victorians Our Little General and Wrappers Delight into second and third place. “(Tingira Beach) is still really green, he still had a look around, but tonight he raced a lot better," Tritton said post-win. "He still had a good look around in the race and was on and off the bit. Next week he might run a bit better and could get the best of them." Tritton said Tingira Beach's favourable draw, albeit with Geoff Webster's Wrappers Delight inside her, would not be a huge factor. “He’s very versatile and the barrier doesn’t really mean much too him," Tritton said. "He hasn’t got that much gate speed in him, it’s always good to draw a good barrier but that’s not much of a worry.” It could be a worry for Jilliby Kung Fu, though the talented Terang colt is only too happy to run them down from behind. In his semi-final, Jilliby Kung Fu found the front and, though he “gets a bit lonely out there on his own”, according to driver Jason Lee, he had enough of a buffer to win by 2.5m from Geoff Webster’s fast-finishing Misterfreeze. The two-year-old colt by Four Starzzz Shark out of Slip Slop Slap, trained at Terang by Marg Lee, produced a fifth win in 10 starts when from barrier 10 he looped the field to find the front. “I think he’s a better chaser and I probably got a bit of itchy feet and thought I should jump around to the front, but he didn’t really want to go on with the job,” Jason Lee said. “He had a little bit left in the tank.” Misterfreeze kept him close company at Tabcorp Park Melton in the semi-finals and Somebeachshadow, trained by Craig Demmler and driven by Jodi Quinlan, surprised with a third placing having started a $59 shot.   Barrier draws: Two-year-old colts and geldings pacers 1: Wrappers Delight 2: Ruthless Armbro 3: Misterfreeze 4: Tingira Beach 5: Form Analyst (emg) 6: Island Specialmajor 7: Canada Bay 8: Our Little General 9: Bundy Playboy 10: Albarock 11: Somebeachshadow 12: Jilliby Kung Fu 13: Classic Maker (ODM) Cody Winnell & Michael Howard

Smythes Creek harness racing trainer Emma Stewart holds plenty of aces in next Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. The three-year-old pacing fillies’ division appears to be one of her strongest hands. Stewart has four runners in the field and semi-final winner Whirily School’s stocks only rose when she pulled gate one at the barrier draw. “It was one of those cases where the wide barrier draw was actually to her advantage,” Greg Sugars said of Whirily School’s semi-final win tonight. “We were able to press forward and once she was able to take up the lead she was always the one to beat. “It’s probably a very honest and fair assessment to say she’s probably a length or so behind the very best of her age group, but she is certainly not far behind them . With a bit of luck in the final she is definitely in with a chance.” Whirily School (Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen) worked forward to eventually find the lead through a 45secs lead time and posted quarters of 30.5, 32.5, 28.9 and 28.9 for a mile rate of 1:58.7. Stablemate Rocknroll Magic will take a power of beating in the final though, despite drawing barrier 11. The filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic made it 15 career wins from 22 starts tonight, notching a 1:57.5 mile rate in the chair (55.2 last half) to overhaul leader Rockstar Angel by a half-neck. “I probably expected that is where I would land in the run but I was still confident enough she’d be good enough,” winning driver Gavin Lang said. “She’s one of the main players (in the final), as you know with Emma and Clayton’s horses this time of the year they’re always on song.” Rockstar Angel has drawn barrier eight so will follow Whirily School. In the three-year-old colts and geldings’ final, semi-final winners Soho Tribeca (American Ideal/Pixel Perfect) and Iceenothink (Art Major/Decethree Lombo) have drawn gates three and four for the Final. Iceenothink finished powerfully tonight for Chris Alford and trainer Larry Eastman (who combined to win this section last year with Menin Gate), holding off Mario Attard and Don’t Hold Back, who also savaged the line from well-back. Iceenothink posted a 1:57.4 mile rate. Soho Tribeca, trained by Jayne Davies and driven by Alford, scored by a half-neck over Carter Bromac, with Brallos Pass third in a rate of 1:57.4. “He was going to get a good run through, (it was) just whether he could stay in front of Brallos Pass. That didn’t work out but he (Brallos Pass) had to do a fair bit of work,” Alford said. “Just got to hope he gets a good draw and he can play a part next week.” Burrumbeet trainer-driver Michael Stanley is set for a busy Vicbred finals night once again, qualifying six pacers through tonight’s semis. His three-year-old Spiritwriter drew the pole in the males’ division and that brings him right into contention.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final Barrier Draw 1: Whirily School 2: Ideal Lifestyle 3: Kalinda 4: Platinum Power (em) 5: Just Wantano 6: Nikkibadwagon 7: Flojos Gold 8: Rockstar Angel 9: Alessa 10: Celebrity Guest 11: Rocknroll Magic 12: Rockabella Starz 13: Champagne Taste Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts & Geldnigs Final Barrier Draw 1: Spiritwriter 2: Battle Born 3: Soho Tribeca 4: Iceenothink 5: Keep On Rocking 6: Senor Macray 7: Brallos Pass 8: Herehecomes 9: Professor Tom 10: Showgun Thomas 11: Illawong Maestro 12: Dont Hold Back 13: Carter Bromac ..................................................................................................................................................................................... Advantage Sundons Courage and Princess Phoenix after the three-year-old trotters' barrier draws for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. Drawn on Friday night amid the pacers' semi-finals, Sundons Courage drew the front row in the colts and geldings and fellow heat winner Cruisin Around will start from barrier eight, while Sky Majesty will start from barrier 12 in the fillies, opening the door further for her rivals. The three-year-old fillies semi-final promises to be an evenly fought and engaging final, with several winning hopes. Among them is Princess Phoenix, a $1.80 favourite in the second heat at Bendigo last Wednesday, who led but was beaten into third by winner Into The Unknown, from Donna Lewis’ Toolern Vale stable, and Geoff Webster’s Rift Valley. The first heat was all about Sky Majesty (Skyvalley/Mystic Hush). Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan was rapt with her filly’s heat win, which she said was one of her “best runs to date”. The 12m victory came after she found the front and careered away, and Sky Majesty should be right in the final despite the tough draw. “I was very happy with her heat,” Quinlan said. “She’s a good chance. There’s not a lot of difference between the horses in the grade, it is pretty even. “(Sky Majesty) can sit and sprint. She is not a class above them, but I think they have all come back to each other.” The three-year-old colts and geldings final also promises much, not the least of which is another showdown between Cruisin Around (Bacardi Lindy/Cloud Chaser) and Sundons Courage. Both won their heats, with Sundons Courage (Sundon/Truscott Photo) a 1.6m winner for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove and Bolinda driver Chris Alford, with Brent Lilley’s $34-shot Kyvalley Tinman running into second. Cruisin Around’s win was even tighter. Driven to one-out one-back by Myrniong’s Greg Sugars, Cruisin Around lost touch with front runners Calder Knight and Big Jack Hammer at the final bend but wound up sufficiently in the straight to win by a short half-head. Bannockburn trainer-driver Geoff Webster’s three-year-old Big Jack Hammer (The Press/Running Pinevale) punched on for second in the breeze and will be a threat come next Friday’s final, says Cranbourne’s Michael Hughes, trainer of Cruisin Around. “There are three or four really good horses,” Hughes said. “(Cruisin Around) has always had a ding-dong battle with Sundons Courage. Big Jack Hammer looked back on song, and a few others are also a chance. It will all come down to who has the best luck.” Hughes’ confidence about his own charge’s horse were only emboldened with Cruisin Around’s heat win. “I think he went pretty good. I was a little worried when he lost ground at the top of the straight, but he did a good job to pick them up in such a quick quarter,” Hughes said. “I give him a really good chance as long as he does everything right. The horse is really good, feels really good, there are no issues. He is a good sit-sprinter, but has also done it the tough way and led before.”   Barrier draws: Three-year-old colts and geldings trotters 1: Kyvalley Tinman 2: Skyflyer 3: Big Jack Hammer 4: Calder Knight 5: Sundons Courage 6: Cargerie 7: Sun Valley Road 8: Cruisin Around 9: Diamond Wes (emg) 10: Sky Me A River 11: Menewa 12: Shetland  13: Imahe Man (ODM)   Barrier draws: Three-year-old fillies trotters 1: Aldebaran Eve 2: Never Never Land (emg) 3: Princess Phoenix 4: Mizurri 5: Defence Power 6: Into The Unknown 7: The Cooler 8: Tension Seeker 9: Getthenet 10: Illawong Bliss 11: Rift Valley 12: Sky Majesty 13: Scottish Sardius (ODM) Michael Howard/Cody Winnell

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 24 - Lindys Nightmare and Collective Wisdom captured first round divisions of the harness racing Town Pro Series Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Town Pro Series has been used as a launching pad by lightly raced three-year-old pacing fillies over the years and after Friday's first leg it appears the 2016 edition will continue that tradition. Lindys Nightmare turned in a sizzling 1:50.4 performance to capture the first division. The Frank Antonacci trainee took over the lead in the second-quarter for driver Rick Zeron and reached the half in :56.1. Lindys Nightmare paced her third-quarter in :27.4 and still had plenty of energy left for the stretch drive. The 3/2 favourite rocketed home in :26.4 to draw away from her five rivals to score a 4¾ lengths victory in a career-best 1:50.4. Twenty Three Red came from fifth at the three-quarter pole to grab second, while Southwind Tango, who followed Lindys Nightmare into the stretch, finished third. A daughter of Western Terror, Lindys Nightmare was making just her fourth career start Friday. The Antonacci trainee was unraced at two, made a break in her career debut on May 1st, but now has three consecutive victories. Owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Lindys Nightmare has now earned $22,000 for her connections. She paid $5.10 to win. Lindys Nightmare Collective Wisdom enjoyed a pocket trip and pounced in the lane to score a 1:52 victory in the second division. Rocknroll Vision, the 4/5 favourite, went to the front and led the field of the five by the opening-quarter in :27. The public's choice went unchallenged through fractions of :56 and 1:24. In the stretch, Collective Wisdom was angled off the back of Rocknroll Vision by driver Jonathan Drury and the 7/2 second choice powered by to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:52. Queen Ideal finished third. A daughter of American Ideal, Collective Wisdom now has two wins in five starts this season after going winless in four outings at two. The Richard Moreau trainee has now banked $22,900 this season for her 1187422 Ontario Inc. ownership group. Collective Wisdom paid $9.60 to win. Collective Wisdom In order to be eligible to the Town Pro Series, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of March 31, 2016. The second round of the Town Pro will take place next Friday (July 1). The first leg of the Summertime Series highlights live racing Saturday night at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Mother Of Art ($2.70) was the fastest of the two division winners in the New York Sire Stakes for harness racing three-year-old filly pacers at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (June 22) as she went gate-to-wire in 1:53.4 to beat stablemate Dime A Dance by 3/4 lengths.   The time just missed tying the track record for 3-year-old filly pacers of 1:53.3 set in 2015 by Mosquito Blue Chip.   In the other division, American Ivy (Andy Miller) got a perfect pocket trip and roared past Angels Rockn Pink to register the 1:56.0 victory over the fast track.   Mother Of Art protected the inside post position at the start in the second division) and set sail from the rail with splits of 28.0, 57.0 and 1:26.0. While Dime A Dance (Kakaley) made a mild threat late in the lane, it wasn't nearly enough as Mother Of Art comfortably prevailed. Time On My Hands (Jim Morrill Jr.) took the show position.   "She felt real good off the car," driver Mark MacDonald said of Mother Of Art. "She was good throughout the mile and had plenty left in the end."   The victory was the second in seven attempts in 2016 for Mother Of Art (Art Major-Mommy Robin Q). The Ron Burke-trainee upped her seasonal winnings to $68,287 and $151,543 lifetime.   The first division may have been won at the start as American Ivy, who started from the six post, showed early gate speed and was able to drop in second behind the pace-setting Angels Rockn Pink.   "I intended on leaving with her," Miller said in hopes of getting the lead with American Ivy. While they didn't get there, it all worked out perfectly. "I was content in following Angels Rockn Pink and she (American Ivy) performed well in the passing lane," Miller stated.   With fractions of 28.4, 58.0 and 1:28.1, those fractions seemed reasonable enough for Angels Rockn Pink to go gate-to-wire. American Ivy went into the passing lane and dropped a 27.3 final panel on the field to spring the $14.60 upset. Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) held on for second while Encore Deo (Matt Kakaley) finished in third.   Owned by Joe P Racing LLC and trained by Julie Miller, American Ivy (American Ideal-Haunted) has now won twice in seven starts this season, moving her 2016 earnings to $81,800 and $170,290 lifetime. Both of her victories have come in Sire Stakes competition with the first coming on May 23 at Monticello Raceway.   In the $15,000 Excelsior A Series race, Rolling Going Gone covered the mile in 1:59.0 and returned $2.30 with Morrill Jr. in the sulky.   The Excelsior B Series saw Wine Snob (Kakaley) use a 1:57.3 time in score the popular $2.30 win while in the second division, Stirling Electra (Morrill Jr.) posted a 1:58.0 clocking and returned $2.90 to her backers.   In the $10,000 Open Pace for the filly and mares, Who Says That (Drew Monti) rallied on the far outside and posted the $16.00 decision in a lifetime best of 1:55.0.   Morrill Jr. finished the evening with four wins while Kakaley had a double.   Racing will continue of Friday evening at 5 p.m. with an 11-race card scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

WASHINGTON, PA, June 20 -- Parked in a 26.4 opening quarter before reaching the front, Spreester showed her toughness when she thwarted a pair of harness racing challengers and captured Monday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Aaron Merriman gave the 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree a 30 second-panel breather, enabling her to fend off the determined first-over bid of Southwind Roulette. Spreester dug even deeper to parry the Lightning Lane thrust of the pocket-sitting Certified Ideal and down her by a nose in 1:51.4. Southwind Roulette finished a game third. Bill Bercury trains Spreester, who now boasts $480,856 in career earnings, for Renee Bercury. Dave Palone piloted four winners and Merriman three on the 14-race card. With one victory on the program, Mike Wilder pushed his career total to 6,998. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis will drive brilliant last-start winner The Spinster in the $18,000 Team Trolio Spearwood Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will replace Kim Prentice, who will be in South Australia taking part in an Invitation Drivers’ series at Port Pirie on Friday night. Millendon trainer and part-owner Sonia Zucchiatti is delighted with The Spinster’s form (wins at Northam and Gloucester Park at her past two outings), but said that the American Ideal filly probably would struggle to beat star filly Dodolicious. “The Spinster has met Dodolicious four times and Dodolicious has finished in front of her every time,” Zucchiatti said. The Spinster revealed blistering gate speed from barrier six when she gave a dashing frontrunning display to win easily from Im Zuleika and Maia Maguire at a 1.55.4 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. She sped over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 28.9sec. The Spinster will start from the No. 7 barrier in the field of eight on Friday night, with Dodolicious (Colin Brown) in the outside barrier. Four of The Spinster’s five wins (from 11 starts) have been when she has set the pace, but Zucchiatti said she had not yet determined tactics for Friday night’s event. Dodolicious is trained by Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented by newcomer Shes Artful, a winner at one of her nine starts in New Zealand. Shes Artful will start from barrier two with Ryan Bell in the sulky. Zucchiatti said she planned to study Shes Artful’s style of racing before determining the tactics for The Spinster. Sheer Rocknroll, a talented filly in the stables of Ross Olivieri, has won at eight of her 21 starts and is an excellent frontrunner who will be suited by the No. 1 barrier. She warmed up for this week’s race with an impressive win in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when she dashed over the final quarter in 27.8sec. and beat El Barcelona by 2m at a 1.58.7 rate. However, Dodolicious has been almost invincible in races restricted to fillies in this State and she is certain to be at short odds to win and improve her record to 13 wins from 20 starts. Ken Casellas

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- A pair of track records, seven victories and a New York Sire Stakes win. It was just another day at the office for harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (June 15).   Morrill Jr. captured a $58,000 division of the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacers as to guided Missile J to a neck victory over Manny in a track record of 1:53.1 which eclipsed the gelding mark of 1:53.4 set by Murder He Wrote in 2014.   Earlier in the program, Morrill Jr. and Terrorcam set a new track standard for the 4-year-old pacing mares with a 1:54.1 time in a filly and mare optional claiming race. It crushed the old time of 1:55.0 established by Bet The Ranch in 2009 and Skyway Tia in 2015.   It was the fourth time this season Morrill Jr. has posted seven wins on a program at Buffalo Raceway as he accomplished the feat on March 3, March 25 and April 15. Kevin Cummings still hold the Buffalo Raceway mark with eight wins back on June 2011, 2005.   Fine Diamond and driver Joe Bongiorno won the $59,100 first division of New York Sire Stakes with a half-length decision over Craftship in 1:56.0.   Missile J ($2.20), the winner of the $300,0000 Art Rooney Stakes at Yonkers earlier this season, opened up a six-length edge with a quarter mile to pace, but just had enough left to beat the hard-charging Manny (Chris Lems) by a diminishing neck in 1:53.1.   A blistering 26.2 second panel which set up a 54.0 half for Missile J wasn't was Morrill Jr. was hoping for, stating, "He was all wound up. He just wanted to go."   And go he did. Missile J tipped the timer in 1:23.1 to three quarters and but was begging for the finish line. "He was certainly tired at the end, especially with those fractions," Morrill Jr. said after the race. Manny finished in second with JK Heaven Sent (Bongiorno) taking third.   Owned by Kj Stables LLC and the Purple Haze Stables and conditioned by Linda Toscano, it was the sixth win in 10 starts this season for Missile J (American Ideal-Cantor's Daughter). It increased his season earnings to $232,675. Missile J was unraced in 2015.   In the other NYSS division, Fine Diamond and Bongiorno sat back and watched the front end battle between Craftship (Morrill Jr.) and Bottom Deals (Lems). The speed duel did the pair in as Fine Diamond scooted down the passing lane to register the half length decision. Craftship took the place position and Autotune Hanover (Dobson) was third.   "With Bottom Deals and Craftship pushing the fractions, it set it up pretty well for me," said Bongiorno. "Fine Diamond was excellent."   A Meadowlands, the 22-year-old Bongiorno said, "It's my first time here (at Buffalo Raceway) and it was a great experience."   It was the fourth win in six starts for Fine Diamond (Rock N Roll Hanover-Yellow Diamond). The decision pushed his seasonal bankroll to $63,635 and $209,145 lifetime. He is trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Buscemi and the Panhellenic Stable.   In the Excelsior A Series with each leg carrying a purse of $15,000, the winners were Hash-Tag Chrome (Sam Schillaci), Readysetletsroll (Billy Dobson) and Here's The Scoop (Morrill Jr.).   The non-betting Excelsior B Series race worth $6,200 went to Americanation (Dobson).   Wanna Rock N Roll (Lems) captured the $9,500 Open Pace for the filly and mares in 1:56.1 and returned $4.20.   Racing will continue on Friday night at 5 p.m. with a 10-race card scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Missile J, the winner of the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace in late May at Yonkers Raceway, headlines one of the two $58,000 (est.) divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers that arrive at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday evening (June 15).   Co-owned by Kj Stables and the Purple Haze Stables, Missile J (American Ideal-Cantor's Delight) went unraced as a 2-year-old but he's sure making up for the lost season now.   In just nine career starts, Missile J has five wins, two seconds and a third for $198,675 in earnings. He's won six of his last eight tries and finished in second twice, losing by just a length each time.   Missile J's win in the Rooney on May 28 at Yonkers was impressive to say the least as he started from the dreaded eight post, but driver Brian Sears managed to work out a perfect trip with him. They stopped the timer in 1:53, beating Tailgunner Hanover by 2-1/4 lengths.   Last week however in a $39,900 division of the Sire Stakes at Monticello, Missile J (Tim Tetrick) tried the cut the mile from the seven post but couldn't hang on late as Talk Show got up in time for the victory in 1:53.4.   Jim Morrill Jr. gets the call aboard Missile J who is the 7-5 morning line choice that is trained by Linda Toscano.   The main threat in the race could come from Manny who scored from the rail last week in the Sire Stakes at Monticello in 1:54.2 for Chris Lems.   Others in the five-horse field, set for the ninth, are Nox Vegas Bluechip (Kevin Cummings), JK Heaven Sent (Joe Bongiorno) and Carlos Danger (Billy Dobson).   In the opening division, set for the eighth race, Fine Diamond looks to sparkle as he takes on five other rivals. A winner three times in five attempts this season, Fine Diamond draws the two post with Bongiorno in the sulky, finished second to Manny last week in the Sire Stakes at Monticello. Fine Diamond failed to win a race in 2011 but put $145,114 in the bank in just 11 starts.   The favorite at 2-1 is Craftship (Morrill Jr.) who drew the rail. He took a $39,900 leg last week at Monticello over Artmagic by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.2.   The remainder of the field includes Roll Away Joe (Kevin Cummings), Bottom Deals (Lems), Autotune Hanover (Dobson) and Cenovis (Ray Fisher Jr.).   With perfect weather expected along with a fast race track which has produced three track records already in 2016, the 1:52.3 colt mark set by Steelhead Hanover in 2012 could be in jeopardy along with the gelding standard of 1:53.4 established by Murder He Wrote in 2014.   There will also be three $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A Series and one non-betting race for the Excelsior B Series.   Racing will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday with a 11-race card set. There's a $487 carryover in the Pick-5 as well which begins in the fifth race.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

Monticello Raceway was honored to be the site of harness racing driver Chris Lems 1000th career win, ironically Monticello was the site of Chris's his first stake win. Chris drove Manny to victory in the 3rd division of NYSS in 1:54:2. Manny (American Ideal - Foolish Kiss) is trained by Jessica Okusko, for owners M and L of Delaware & Victoria Dickson. Chris also drives for powerful stables of Jessica Okusko and George Ducharme. Monticello Raceway Pick 5 Carry over at $4,532.00 Monticello Raceway’s Pick 5 carry over is now $4,532.00. The first leg of the Pick 5 begins in Race 3.  Director of Simulcasting, Maureen Flynn said “this is the biggest carry over that we have had, we are glad to offer our patrons this opportunity” By Shawn Wiles    

WILKES-BARRE PA - Despite a strong headwind hitting the trotters and pacers in the face as they entered the homestretch at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night, closers won both of the harness racing $25,000 winners-over features. The winners came from almost-opposite ends of the pari-mutuel spectrum: Cash Me Out paid $53.80 as the second-longest shot in the trot headliner, while $6.80 favorite Devil Child took the victory in the pacing mares spotlight race.   A frontstretch headwind, of course, means a strong backstretch tailwind on a 5/8-mile track such as Pocono, and quarters one and three were vicious in both features. There were no fewer than five lead changes in the field of nine in the top trot as numbers of 26.2, 56, and 1:23.3 were put up, as Cash Me Out was able to overhaul the horse responsible for the last number, Wind Of The North (ironic name in this discussion), by a half-length in the final 100 feet, stopping the timer in 1:53.3 over sloppy going. Andrew McCarthy drove the winning Cash Hall gelding, now with a career bankroll of $524,299, for trainer Kyle Spagnola and owners Taylor Racing LLC.   McCarthy was almost able to pull off a sweep of the features, as his mare, God Forbid N, swept wide into the lane following wind-influenced numbers of 26. 55.3, and 1:22.1 and made the lead, but the horse on her back, Devil Child, tipped wider and was able to pace past in the latter stages, stopping the timer in 1:51.2 while ¾ of a length ahead. Devil Child, a daughter of American Ideal driven by David Miller for trainer Chris Oakes, had been on the lead in all four of her previous 2016 races, but Miller didn't get into the Hall Of Fame by not knowing how to adjust for conditions, and he got this mare home tonight to raise her lifetime earnings to $448,138 for owner Susan Oakes and Crawford Farms LLC.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Ideal Cowboy chased hot fractions, then grinded up first-over and drew away in the last quarter to easily win the harness racing $25,000 winners-over featured pace Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Jason Bartlett, the leading moneywinning driver in North America so far in 2016, took a busman's holiday from Yonkers, where he is the leading driver and which is on hiatus for a week, and sat back while half of the six-horse field laid out hot splits of 26.1 and 53.2, with Bartlett and his winning American Ideal gelding beginning their raw move towards the 1:21 3/4s. Ideal Cowboy quickly passed his competition of the turn and drew off to win by five lengths over Jin's Dragon, who's risen from the "nw2800L4" class to featured race status within three months. The other member of "Team JB," trainer Jeffrey Bamond Jr., conditions the winner of $394,655, who lowered his lifetime mark by a tick, for Bamond Racing LLC and J&T Silva Stables LLC.   Bartlett wasn't the only denizen of Gotham City to take the mountain trip and make it profitable; George Brennan also came over and had three winners at press time to Bartlett's two.   Fastest mile of the night as this story went to print came in the $18,000 co-feature, as the McArdle ridgling McArdle's Lightning made every pole a winning one with a 1:49 victory. The winner went in 26.1 in both odd-numbered quarters, with the four-year-old, the youngest horse in the field, 1½ lengths ahead at the wire of the oldest horse in the field, eight-year-old Eighteen. Simon Allard guided the winner, who knocked 2/5 of a second off his personal best in triumphing for trainer Steve Elliott and the Lightning Stable.   PHHA / POCONO

Vernon, N.Y. -- Commencing his move upon exiting the far turn, M & L of Delaware and Victoria Dickinson's Dude's the Man ($4.30) worked to the fore in mid-stretch to capture the Memorial Day (May 30) feature at Vernon Downs, a $10,000 Open/Preferred Pace.   A stakes contender at three, the 4-year-old American Ideal entire kept well off the early pace, better than only the well-detached Damon Blue Chip through splits of :26.1 and :54.2 dictated by JK Panache (Truman Gale). As JK Panache left pocket rival Rock On Me (Dan Daley) behind on the far turn, Chris Lems angled Dude's the Man off the pegs, gearing up off the far turn into a :27 third quarter.   Dude's the Man ultimately collared JK Panache in mid-stretch, holding off a late bid from 21-1 outsider Memory Game (Jimmy Whittemore) to prevail in 1:49.4 by three-quarters of a length. JK Panache faded to third upon giving way.   Jessica Okusko trains Dude's the Man, now a six-time winner.   Lems led all drivers with four wins on the 12-race card.   The 50¢ Pick 5 sequence stymied the Monday punters, chiefly on account of Western Toro's 16-1 upset in the eighth race. The carryover to Thursday (June 2) evening's Pick 5 is $552.54. Post time for the first of nine races on Thursday at the Miracle Mile is set for 6:45 Eastern.   by James Witherite,for Vernon Downs    

Nichols, N.Y. -- Western New York pacing stalwart Fireyourguns ($3.70) made his 2016 debut at Tioga Downs a winning one, blazing a :26.4 third quarter up the backstretch en route to a 1:51 pillar-to-post win in the featured $11,000 Open Pace on Memorial Day (May 30).   Aaron Byron sent the 7-year-old American Ideal gelding to a clear lead, forcing last week's Open winner Nitro Seelster (Tom Jackson) into the pocket before controlling fractions of :27, :56.1, and 1:23.   After his dynamic third-quarter blitz, Fireyourguns worked clear by three lengths at head-stretch and left his rivals fully extended in pursuit. Meanwhile, Byron only mildly encouraged Fireyourguns to keep to task, winning comfortably by a diminishing length. Nitro Seelster held second from Knocking Around (John Cummings, Jr.), who sustained first-over gains off the far turn to take third.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   The win was one of three for Byron on the nine-race card, who also swept the early double with Major Player ($3.50, 1:54.1) and Andreios Kardia ($10.20, 1:52.4).   The 50¢ Pick 5 was hit, returning $153.00 with no winner in the sequence longer than 4.1-1. By contrast, the corresponding win parlay would have returned $66.19 on every 50¢ staked.   Racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (June 3) evening, with first post at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs     

Talented pacer Resurgent Spirit added the Brighton Cup (2579m) to his long list of harness racing feature race wins with a game effort at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit, fresh from his Ascot Gold Cup win a week earlier, faced the breeze for the last 1000 metres but defied the tough task to emerge triumphant over the fast-finishing Remember Joe with race leader Macho Comacho hanging on or third ahead of the favourite Mister Lennox. The Roger Whitmore-trained five-year-old gelding by American Ideal has won six and notched five minor placings from 14 outings this season for about $45,000 with his overall statistics of 24 wins and 10 minor placings from 43 starts for over $175,000 in stakes more impressive. Connections are contemplating an interstate trip for the gelding as the number of suitable races in Tasmania at this time of the year are dwindling. The gelding set a modern day record of the most number of consecutive wins from debut by a juvenile when he accrued 13 wins in succession as a two and early three-year-old of which nine were at two and included the Sweepstakes and Dandy Patch heats and finals. He won at his first four three-year-old starts but fell short in the Tasmanian Derby in which he finished a game third behind New Zealand-bred gelding Outrageous El from the Victorian stable of Adam Kelly. Resurgent Spirit ventured interstate to Victoria for the Breeders Crown 3YO series but he didn't handle the boat trip and finished down the track in a semi-final and then was last of nine in the Consolation final. Whitmore nursed his stable star back to health and given the way he has won three of his last four starts the gelding could make an impact if connections do decide to give him another chance on the mainland. Peter Staples

The American Ideal gelding Bigtown Hero, still having the 1:48.1 fastest clocking in 2016 North American harness racing (though it had been tied six minutes earlier by Artistic Major at The Meadowlands), was extended to hold off potential Pocono Pike pocket rocket Bettors' Edge in the $20,000 feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but "Bigtown," the even-money favorite, proved the bettors' hero as he held off his inside foe to win by a head in 1:49.2.   Driver Simon Allard sent the victorious veteran, who took his record of 1:47.3 here at Pocono two years ago, to the lead past a 26.1 quarter cut by $1.8M-winner Bettor's Edge, and took the field through middle splits of 54.1 and 1:21.4. Bigtown Hero looked strong, and driver Allard looked confident, into the stretch, but Bettor's Edge showed his class as he dug in late to try to rally past the favorite, with his gallant effort coming up just a bit shy. Simon's brother Rene, the meet's leading driver, conditions the winner of over $440,000 for Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin. A race after the feature, George Napolitano Jr. guided his fourth winner of the Pocono card, and his eighth of the day, with a frontstepping victory with Utah Beach, putting a new 1:52.4 mark on the horse. George posted four wins on the special Preakness afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia, leaving after the tenth race to make the trek to Pocono - which proved to be a good decision, as "GNap" swept the Pocono early double. After the eleventh at Pocono, Napolitano's scorecard for the day stood at 20-8-5-4, good for a UDR of .606 on the day. George Napolitano Jr. wound up with five wins on the Pocono card Saturday, and thus added with his four at Philly in the afternoon, he had a 9-winner day. George Nap's final victory, in race 13 of the 14-race card, was by a nose with the trotter Mandela Blue Chip, who earned a new mark of 1:53.4 in edging Upfront Billy -- driven by George's brother Anthony.   For the day for George:   PHL    10-4-3-2-.633 (he left Phl early, and won the DD at PcD for his trouble) PCD    14-5-2-4-.532 OVERALL    24-9-5-6-.574   ...   The Ron Burke Stable's 1-2-3 finishes in the recent $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic Final all return to Pocono tomorrow night (Sunday) for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, and the three will all be going in separate divisions. Check Six, the 1:50.4 Classic Final winner, starts from post two in the 10th race; second-place JK Will Power has post six in the fifth race split; and third finisher Big Top Hanover drew post five for Sunday's fourth race.   ... Finally ... There were 13 claims on the Saturday card at Pocono ... and the 13th one came in a conditioned race! Lucky Mass had been entered in a claimer and was subsequently scratched, and according to the rules the trotter was thus eligible to be haltered out of tonight's race for the previous race's $12,500 tag. Owner Ken Tisa put up the check, and Lucky Mass will be racing out of a new barn in his next start after finishing fifth Saturday.   PHHA / Pocono    

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