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WILKES-BARRE, PA – The Betterthancheddar mare Miss You N, given a fine pocket trip by driver Scott Zeron, gained into a :54.3 last half to catch pacesetter Vorst by a half-length while taking a new mark of 1:51.2 in winning the $14,000 pacing feature for mares during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Miss You N was away quickly and stretched Vorst to a :27.2 opener, then yielded and sat in the two-hole as Vorst got a breather to a :56.4 half. Favored Apple Bottom Jeans made a good first-over move to and past a 1:24 three-quarters to challenge, but eventually the race came down to the first two inside horses, and Zeron utilized the Pocono Pike to catch the pacesetter. Ross Croghan trains the winner for the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC, who saw their mare boost her bankroll to $181,430.   The Irish-bred mare Blackwell Ruby IR showed no rust after a near-four month layoff, brushing to the lead in front of the stands and going on to a career-best 1:51.2 triumph in a $13,600 distaff pacing class. Jim Marohn Jr. drove the winner of 12 for 16 lifetime for trainer Bob Cleary and owner Gavin Murdock, and she shows every indication of being a threat to tougher mares (though she can still win in this class twice more based on her meager earnings before going westward across the Atlantic). Stopping the clock a tick faster than the featured females was the Captaintreacherous sophomore colt A Positive Hanover, who was pointed right down the road by driver Corey Callahan upon coming in from Canada and kept on rolling to a convincing 1:51.1 triumph for a new lifetime best. Third in a division of the Bluegrass at two, A Positive Hanover looks ready to fulfill his potential now for trainer Blake MacIntosh, co-owner with Steve Heimbecker, Touchstone Farms Inc. and Larry Denley. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The aptly named harness racing trotter, Ice O Late, had no issues being quarantined during the pandemic and has emerged as the horse to beat at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday. Ice O Late headlines the third race Preferred Trot at H3R and comes into the race off an impressive 2:01 triumph last week in his first start of the 2020 season. With Francis Picard in the sulky for trainer and co-owner Luc Chouinard, Ice O Late closed from fifth place last week to win with ease by three and one-quarter lengths. He starts from post three on Sunday. Chouinard co-owns Ice O Late, an eight-year-old gelding by Yankee Glide with Daniel Lamarre. Hoping to pull off an upset will be Rideau Carleton invader, Keepall (post 5), Holiday Party (post 4) and Voodoo Man (post 2). The first two-year-old pari-mutuel race takes place Sunday with the second race pace for colts and fillies. Too Soon BG, a son of Betterthancheddar, has won both of his early "baby" races, the fastest last week in 2:04.2 with Francis Picard in the sulky. Too Soon BG was bred and is owned by Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy and is trained by Eric Milot. Another standout is Platine Alpha from post three. She is sired by Control The Moment, trained by Sylvain Tremblay and will be driven by Carol Voyer. Platine Alpha was bred and is owned by the Alpha Stable of Metabetchouan and was second last week to Too Soon BG. The top mares at H3R go at it again in the Preferred Pace, the sixth race on the program. Last week's return winner, Sieras Rose, is handicapped with post 8 and starts alongside rival Sophies Cam (post 7). Other contenders include Uptown Woman (post 3) and Uno Cincuenta (post 4). Post time for the Sunday afternoon card is 1:00 pm. For a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a second straight night, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras recorded five wins and won the feature at the Meadowlands, as he scored with Trump Nation in Saturday night's Preferred Handicap for pacers. Trump Nation, sent to the gate as the 4-5 public choice, blasted away from post seven in the field of eight along with Atta Boy Dan and Americanprimetime. Endeavor was in the early scrum but driver Corey Callahan decided to back off into the four-hole as Atta Boy Dan led at the quarter. Trump Nation continued on until surging to the top at the three-eighths. Endeavor, the 2-1 second choice, was on the move at the half racing on the rim and chipped away at the leader's edge, drawing to within a length at the head of the stretch. The rivals battled through the lane as Endeavor continued to inch closer, but at the wire, it was an ultra-determined Trump Nation out-gaming Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Harambe Deo was third.   Gingras wasn't worried as his primary foe was closing in. "I was pretty confident I was going to be able to hold him off," said Gingras. "This horse was super again." Trump Nation, a 5-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N who is trained by Ron Burke, returned $3.80 to his backers. He's now won 15 of 40 lifetime starts and earned $432,446 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Evan Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby. THE NEED FOR SPEED: A fast track and comfortable-for-the-time-of-year temperatures in the 40s on a clear night led to some rock-the-clock times on the program. The red-hot Bell I No, who won a week ago in 1:49.1 despite cold conditions and a -1 track variant, recorded the second fastest mile in North America of 2020 when he ripped through fractions of :26.4, :54.1 and 1:22 before completing the mile in a lifetime-best 1:48.4 to record his third win in four starts in the sixth race high-end conditioned pace. Andy Miller drove the Andrew Harris trainee. Just two races later, the Ron-Burke trained Covered Bridge equaled Effronte A's national season's-best of 1:48.3 by coming from off the pace in taking another high-end conditioned pace. Driven by Gingras, Covered Bridge lowered his previous lifetime mark by two-and-one-fifth seconds while making his seasonal debut. A LITTLE MORE: Chalk players ruled the night, as eight winning favorites scored on the card. ... Wagering on the track's four popular multi-leg puzzles was vigorous as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($75,544), 20-cent Pick-6 ($29,150), 50-cent Early Pick-4 ($89,159) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($74,289) accounted for total bets of $268,142. ... Gingras, Dexter Dunn (three winners), Andy McCarthy (two) and Marcus Miller (two) combined to win 12 of the 13 races. ... Burke recorded three wins on the night. ... All-source handle on the card totaled $2,687,050, the eighth time in the last nine programs that wagering has exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

MILTON, ON - December 26, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park concluded its 2019 harness racing season with the traditional Boxing Day matinee on a foggy Thursday. The $35,000 Valedictory and $35,000 Niagara for three-year-old pacers headlined the 12-race program along with presentations to the season's leading owner, trainer and driver. Cheddar Bay prevailed by a nose over Jknr Liketell in a thrilling finish to the Valedictory Series. Driven by J Harris, Cheddar Bay got away ninth and would pick up cover racing towards the half, eventually sitting second-over and just two-lengths from the top at three-quarters. Virgin Storm blasted from the rail and posted an opening-quarter of :26.4 before releasing Windsun Ricky and retaking the lead before a half of :56. Conboyville grinded away first-up pressuring the leader at three-quarters in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Virgin Storm gave a valiant effort, but surrendered the lead in the final-eighth. Cheddar Bay and Jknr Liketell, who had a ground saving trip in fourth, paced by the lead and would hit the line together with Cheddar Bay prevailing in 1:53.4. Virgin Storm held on for third, while Windsun Ricky was fourth. A gelded son of Betterthancheddar, Cheddar Bay finished second in last week's second-leg after a sixth-place finish in the series opener. The Peter Core trainee is now three for 29 this season with $66,924 earned for owners Donald and Heather McGregor. Cheddar Bay now sports career numbers of four wins and $75,809 in earnings. He paid $23.40 to win. Cheddar Bay Arya Stark completed the sweep of the Niagara Series in fitting fashion by rallying from seventh at the head of the line to reach up for a length and a quarter victory in 1:55.4. Trained by Melissa Lamoureux, Arya Stark got away seventh and would move to the outside at the midway point, but still sat nearly 10 lengths from the lead turning for home. The daughter of Royal Mattjesty and driver Chris Christoforou swept by their rivals to defeat Trip Aces Hanover, Cranberry Brie and Dreamfair Zenfire, who had nearly five on her rivals at three-quarters. Arya Stark is now seven for 36 in 2019 for Lamoureux, Jeffrey Boyd and Jefferson Davis. The sophomore now sits with $89,662 in earnings this season and career numbers of eight wins and $94,537 in earnings. A $2 win ticket on Arya Stark returned $4. Arya Stark Owner Brad Grant and trainer Richard Moreau once again led their respective categories, while Sylvain Filion made a return to the top of the driving ranks. Brad Grant enjoyed another tremendous season by capturing numerous stakes events, while also winning many Preferred and high-level overnights. The Milton, Ontario resident saw horses he owns win 66 races and earn over $1.6 million during 2019 at Mohawk Park. 1187422 Ontario Inc. finished second in wins with 45, while Robert Key finished with 42 wins. Serge Godin's Determination had the second highest earnings in 2019 with $1.3 million, highlighted by 37 victories. Trainer Richard Moreau again led all conditioners in victories and earnings. The Puslinch, Ontario resident posted 181 wins and $3.6 million in earnings. His stable sent out just over 1,300 starters. Carmen Auciello finished in the runner-up spot with 137 wins, while the top-five was rounded out by Ben Baillargeon (87), Rod Boyd (86) and Shawn Steacy (52). Tony Alagna finished second to Moreau in earnings with $3 million, while Auciello ($2.6 million), Nancy Johansson ($2.3 million) and Baillargeon ($2 million) were the only other trainers to surpass $2 million in earnings. There was no final day drama for leading driver, as Sylvain Filion finished with 267 wins, 42 more than nearest rival Louis Philippe Roy. Bob McClure finished third with 205 wins, while Trevor Henry had 193 and Jonathan Drury 177. A resident of Milton, Filion also led all drivers in earnings with $5.4 million. Roy also topped $5 million with $5.1 million, while McClure ($4.7 million) and Henry ($4.2 million) were the other drivers to surpass $4 million on the season. Live racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park now takes a holiday break prior to launching the 2020 season on Saturday, January 4. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

Jim Wilkinson has a good chance to be posing in the harness racing winner's circle following Saturday night's featured Bill Conlin Pace, as California Rock will be representing his shedrow. Wilkinson trains and co-owns the sophomore and he made short work of the opposition at 70 cents on the dollar in one of last week's eliminations with Luke Plano guiding, coming to the line with plenty in the tank in a 1:55 4/5 performance. "We bought him as a yearling and he was racing against some pretty stiff competition this summer at Hoosier Park," Jim related. "He paced in :51 and change there, but those were some tough horses. "I think he's got a real good chance to climb the ladder here, he just needs some confidence." That climb begins with Saturday's Conlin, where he will face the other elimination winner Rue Hanover, who was also impressive for driver/trainer Chip Lackey. The opening night card also saw Wilkinson sending out Gorgeous For Real in a coast-to-coast performance as the odds-on choice, with that 5-year-old pacer also going about his business for the Schwartz, Axelrod, O'Neill and Wilkinson partnership. The son of He's Gorgeous, who was a 1:50 3/5 victor at Hoosier this year, is working his way toward $100,000 mark in earnings and never looked like a loser last week after flying from the gate from the outside post for Plano. "He got some class relief from those Indiana races and found a real good spot," his conditioner noted. "He's won at the top level here and I'm looking forward to racing him." Gorgeous For Real was scheduled to suit up in Friday night's feature. Rue Hanover, California Rock head Bill Conlin The $8,900 Bill Conlin Pace heads the harness action Saturday night at Cal Expo, with last week's elimination winners California Rock and Rue Hanover getting the marquee treatment. A 10-race card is on tap with first post set for 6:40 p.m. California Rock is a 3-year-old son of Rockin Image out of the Bettor's Delight mare Tia Maria Hanover who is owned by Schwartz Wilkinson, Axelrod and O'Neill with Jim Wilkinson the conditioner and Jim Lackey at the controls. In last week's elimination leg with Luke Plano at the helm, California Rock proved a punctual 3-5 favorite as he brushed to the lead past the quarter and was never seriously threatened after that, coming to the wire with three and a half-lengths to spare in a 1:55 4/5 tour. Rue Hanover should have an equal amount of supporters Saturday night for driver/trainer Chip Lackey, who also co-owns the distaffer along with Kenneth Seastrom. The 3-year-old Betterthancheddar filly was sent off the 8-5 second choice in her elimination and came home by two and a half lengths in a 1:55 3/5 performance after withstanding a strong challenge on the final turn while carving out the fractions. Completing the field are Joltin Joe, Intrepid Byrd, Joker John, Budgie Smuggler, Lakota Law, Red N Hotallover and Custards Dungeon. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness            

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The top harness racing filly in Eastern Canada will have a fresh challenger from the center of the nation on a stakes Saturday at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The 13-dash presentation has a 6 P.M. first race post time featuring the Lady Slipper stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies and the Joe O'Brien Memorial stakes for two-year-old pacing colts. The card features a pair of $13,000 Lady Slipper Gold divisions for rookie fillies in races 10 and 12. Watch Me Dance headlines the final division in race 12 as the top money earning rookie filly will have Jason Hughes pinch hitting in place of regular pilot Mark Bradley, who has elected to drive post 6 starter Bettorthanbobbi. Hughes and Watch Me Dance leave from post 3 in the field fresh off a win in 1:58 her last start for trainer and co-owner Stephen Quinn and co-owners John Quinn of Charlottetown and Ozzie MacKay of Moncton, N.B. A winner of $23,218 so far this season, the filly has six top-two finishes from seven seasonal outings in her debut campaign. Mittaroniandcheese has rail control in the field of seven with Adam Merner driving the daughter of Betterthancheddar for owner Shaun MacIsaac of Charlottetown and trainer Jamie Smith. Fresh off a maiden breaking score, Mittaroniandcheese was racing the tough Ontario Sires Stakes circuit and draws into her first stakes engagement in Atlantic Canada. The other Lady Slipper Gold division in race 10 will have Streakazana mounting a top challenge from post 6 for trainer-driver Marc Campbell and fractional ownership group MCR Streakazana Group of Charlottetown. In O'Brien Gold action for two-year-old pacing colts, Windemere Ryan and Woodmere Rollnpop will square off in an $11,000 division in race 6. Windemere Ryan will guard the rail for driver Adam Merner, trainer Melissa Rennie and owner High Five Racing Stable of Stanhope, while divisional leader Woodmere Rollnpop has post 5 for trainer-driver Clare MacDonald. Merner and Rennie are favoured in the other split in race 8 as Mr Kelly has post 1 as the morning line favourite in the $11,000 class. The son of Rollwithitharry will take his never worse than third record into the event for owners Marsha Knoz and Kyla and Wade MacDonald of Stanhope. The card also has a number of Lady Slipper and O'Brien grassroots divisions as well as the Dave Holland 50 Years In Radio pace in race 4. Holland will join Lee Drake and Peter MacPhee on the Red Shores broadcast including a special edition of the Inside Track at 5:35pm. Stakes Mania Sunday In Summerside SUMMERSIDE, PE - Fresh off a lifetime best performance, Woodmere Oleksiak will put her undefeated streak to the ultimate test Sunday afternoon at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway on a mega-stakes program. The 11-dash Sunday card gets underway at 1 P.M. with Woodmere Oleksiak shouldered with the far outside in race 7 of the program in a $14,000 Lady Slipper Gold division for three-year-old pacing fillies. David Dowling will drive the daughter of Articulator from the Earl Watts stable for owners Windemere Farms of Hampshire, Hollis Newson of Cornwall, and Nova Scotia owners Ric McNutt and Debbie Denney as she looks to add to her $44,888 in seasonal earnings. After a pair of runner-up finishes, Woodmere Tango has post 4 in the other $14,000 Lady Slipper Gold division for sophomore fillies. Clare MacDonald will drive her trainee as she looks to add to her $38,203 in seasonal earnings for owner Morah Kerr of Greenfield, N.S. Red Dirt Boomer also has a streak on the line with five straight wins from post 5 with trainer Gilles Barrieau in the bike for owner Daniel Ross of Belfast in the first $11,000 Joe O'Brien Memorial gold division in race 4. The son of Malicious was a winner in a career best 1:55.4 his last start at Truro Raceway in Nova Scotia. Red Dirt Rocknroll is the top choice in race 8 for an $11,000 purse with Dowling at the controls for trainer Lenny Myers who co-owns with Jack Quinn of Charlottetown. Race 5 is the lone Lady Slipper two-year-old trot division for a $15,000 purse as Red Shores Charlottetown track record holder Incredible Hally draws post 1 for trainer-driver Marc Campbell and owners Calvin Larkin, Erika Bradley, Brian Fogarty and Herbie MacDonald. Mile Hill Willie is the top pick in race 3's Lady Slipper three-year-old trot division for a $9,500 purse for driver Gilles Barrieau and owner-trainer Paul Morrison. The champion son of Armbro Barrister won his last two starts with his latest in 1:59.2. The other $9,500 three-year-old trot division has Maritime Champion Gettin Messi the heavy morning line favourite from post 4 with Mike McGuigan in the seat for trainer Len McGuigan and owner Jamie Whalen of Avondale. The Atlantic Aged Pacing Mares Series final, sponsored by Standardbred Canada, caps off the stakes program in the race 11 finale with $15,217 at stake. Sodwana Bay will look to rebound from a narrow loss in her latest from post 6 with Barrieau back at the lines for owners Wayne MacRae of Fall River, N.S., and Howmac Farms Ltd., of North Wiltshire. A winner of 11 of 16 races this season, the daughter of No Pan Intended has never been worse than second all season. For more information go to www.Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

Unusual Clarity (Joe Nassimos) comes flying late to win the featured $6,000 fillies and mares pace at Vernon Downs on Wednesday (August 7). Traffic Jam (Howard Parker) went to the front just before hitting the first quarter in :26.2. Her lead was two lengths as she hit the half in :55.0. She was still in control when hitting three-quarters in 1:24.0. Unusual Clarity ($9.70), who is owned by Nicholas Gibides and trained by Paul Minckler, was fifth at the half. She found herself in fourth after three-quarters. It looked like Traffic Jam was going to cruise to an easy victory but Unusaul Clarity found another gear and went by Traffic Jam just before the finish. She equaled her lifetime best of 1:52.3. Traffic Jam had to settle for second with Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) finishing third. Unusual Clarity is a 4-year-old mare by Betterthancheddar. It was her eighth win this season. She now owns 13 career victories. Vernon leading driver John MacDonald had two wins on the night to give him 71 victories this season. Howard Parker is second with 58 tallies. Jimmy Whittemore is third with 51 wins. Claude Huckabone III has 26 wins so far this season for fourth place. His dad Claude Huckabone Jr. rounds out the top five with 22 trips to the winner's circle. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Thursday (August 8) featuring New York Sire stakes for sophomore trotting fillies. The 11 race card starts at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com. by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - You Got Trumped got a first-over journey into a slow pace to overcome, but he proved to have the necessary late sprint to win the $13,000 featured pace on Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:55.3. Racing over a track that was downgraded to "good +1" early in the card, You Got Trumped got away fourth for driver Matt Kakaley as favored Record Machine marched right to the front, with Bag Pipe Major right behind the leader as Record Machine went 28.2 to the quarter and a creaking 59.2 to the half. It was obvious at that point that the race would be a quickstep home, and the victorious Bettorthancheddar gelding had the fastest high gear in him, coming his own final half in 55.3 despite taking the air to post a ¾ length decision over Bag Pipe Major, who in turn photoed out Record Machine for the deuce. Andrew Harris trains the winner for Louis and Thomas Frascella and A Harris Racing LLC. The Napolitano brothers continued to have the hot hands at Pocono this racing week - George had five victories on the card and Anthony three, giving them 13 and 11 wins respectively over a trio of cards and thus combined 24 of the 39 visits to Victory Lane in the last three days, a 62% ratio. FINISHING LINES- The elite of harness racing's two-year-olds declared in today for their Breeders Crown elimination races on Friday, and on Tuesday the three-year-olds and older horses with Crown aspirations with have their draw for Saturday, should their particular section need eliminations. The $6,000,000 Breeders Crown Championship Night is Saturday, October 27. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 6, 2018-There say there's a story everywhere (hey, just buy the premise) and Yonkers Raceway proved that again Thursday night. Sometime around 5:30 in the early evening, Windsun Magnolia had the track all to herself in a good, old-fashioned walkover. The $6,100 lower-level New York Sire Stakes Excelsior event attracted her and her alone. If there's an easier way to break one's maiden, we'd be hard-pressed to find it. Windsun Magnolia, a 3-year-old daughter of Betterthancheddar, entered with a career 0-for-16, with all but one of those starts coming this season. For her part, Windsun Magnolia toured the turns in 1:58 for her first victory. The event's uniqueness caught the attention of WCBS-TV (Ch. 2) sports anchor Steve Overmyer, who came out to do a story about the 'lonely' lass. Overmyer, who earlier this season did a feature-and subsequent updates-about Foiled Again's quest for his 100th career win, discussed the 'race' with driver Jim Marohn Jr. "She's pretty happy to be here," a wry Marohn Jr. said in the winner's circle, with Mother Nature raining on the parade. "I think she (Windsun Magnolia, not Mother Nature) knows what she did. "It was a lot more fun that I thought it would be." A copy of the race (hers was the first non-bettor) can be found at www.dropbox.com/sh/yphlh6ih04qoght/AAB0Eomry5woo3RS1bUtALCsa?dl=0. The WCBS-TV story may be viewed at newyork.cbslocal.com/video/category/news-local-news/3930509-one-horse-race-delivers-sure-thing-at-yonkers/ by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Batavia, NY --- Three divisions of 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings went postward at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept.5) to compete for the $117,600 in purses up for grabs as well as the last chance to accrue available points to make the $225,000 final for this group. In the first $39,200 division, Ghost Dance (American Ideal-Epoxy Queen) pulled the upset at 9-1 and closed hard to do it. . The heavy post time favorite Topville Olympian (Brett Miller) shot right to the front and took the field to the half in :55.3. There, Rockapelo (Jason Bartlett) pulled first up with Ghost Dance (Scott Zeron) on his back as they heaed into the turn. Rockapelo cleared quickly around the tiring Topville Olympian, whose gap then allowed Ghost Dance to drop back to the pylons behind the new leader to save ground. These two stood pat until the top of the lane where Zeron pulled Ghost Dance and paced by Rockapelo at the wire winning by a length in 1:52. "The race set up well for us and he got brave with the two-hole trip. And then he paced strong in the lane" said Zeron after the race. It was the fourth win of the year for Ghost Dance ($20.00) and it pushed his earnings to $98,002 for owner Millar Farm. Rick Zeron trains the winner. The second $39,200 split was won by Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) who made a statement move at the half and then stretched out from there. Ostro Hanover (Louis Roy) rushed to the front and set early splits of :27 and :56.3. But before they hit that second timer, Ideal Feeling (Jason Bartlett) was out and rolling and took the front by the time they hit the third turn and from there, the race was history. Ideal Feeling opened up a three length advantage as he hit the third quarter in 1:24 and then rounded the final bend and cruised home in :28 flat, winning by as many as he wanted in 1:52. "Last time he had the eight hole and had no chance, but he just felt like he was a great horse. I was hoping Mike (trainer Deters) would bring him up here because I thought he'd be good. He showed it today, he's a real nice horse. He left, he came first over and he won easy" Bartlett said after the race, Rick Berks owns Ideal Feeling ($7.90) who now has four wins this season and $62,791 in purses. The third $39,200 division looked to be a match race between Springsteen and Muscle Hill and it was for three eighths of a mile. But it was Mach N Cheese (Betterthancheddar-Mach You And Me) that pulled off the upset at 19-1 when they hit the wire, Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) was intent on cutting the race and he got his way; leading the group to the half in a slow :57.1. Not happy with the tepid pace, Springsteen (Louis Roy) came up first with Mach N Cheese (Jim Marohn Jr.) in tow. Springsteen locked up with Hitman Hill up the backside and the two tangled from there, around the last turn and down the stretch. But Mach N Cheese who had been drafting during the up-front battle, tipped three-wide in the straight and under heavy prompting from Marohn, paced by the leaders to win by a neck in 1:53.4. "It was a slow half but we picked it up pretty good up the backside and there was a really good horse on the front. But I followed the horse I needed to follow and everything just worked out for us from the top of the stretch home. He got around here very well. He's a very good half mile track horse" said Marohn in the winner's circle. Mach N Cheese ($41.00) scored his sixth win of the year for the Save The Day Stable and trainer Rob Harmon. There was one Excelsior "A" race on the card and the winner there could have competed in the top class tonight. Thor De Vie (So Surreal-Pebblebeach De Vie) was very impressive leading every step of the way and winning by four lengths in 1:52.2, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner. Thor De Vie ($3.30) is owned by his trainer, Jim Graham, Lee WInters, Paul Tandlmayer and Giuseppe Micchia. Batavia Downs offered a $2,000 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool on Wednesday and there were no winning tickets once again. As a result there is a $2,900 carryover for Friday (Sept. 7) and there will be another guaranteed pool of $6,000 for the early Pick-5 (which runs from race one to race five) that will be part of the USTA Strategic Wagering program. Post time for Friday evening is 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 4, 2018--New York Sire Stakes return downstate Thursday night (Sept. 6th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $168,499 Mike Cohen Pace for 3-year-olds fillies. The event, remembering the publicity director at the Raceway as well as NBC Sports, goes in triplicate (races 8, 9 and 10). The ($55,833) opening division is seemingly the lightest, with Line Dancer (Jordan Stratton, post 1) retuning to statebred competition after winning an local overnight two starts ago. The daughter of Art Major, co-owned by (trainer) Ricky Bucci and Blue Meadow Farm, was a sire-stakes bridesmaid at Monti last month. Beachin' N Kissin' (Jason Bartlett, post 2), Betterthangraduate (Brett Miller, post 3) and Checkered Past (Jim Morrill Jr., post 5) all have recent overnight wins. The second ($55,833) Cohen event finds Solitary (Miller, post 2) returning off a closing second in this past Saturday night's (Sept. 1st) $112,904 Lady Maud. The American Ideal miss, though just 1-for-15 this season, has paid her win against the statebreds. Newsday (Stratton, post 5) owns a local NYSS win (and another 'heater' win at Monticello), while Mink Pink (Bartlett, post 3) was the scourge of the Excelsior ranks earlier in the season. Thursday night's final ($56,833) sire stakes grouping is the marquee matchup, featuring Lady Maud winner Alexis Faith (Morrill Jr., post 4). This daughter of American Ideal won that race (1:53.4) by (barely) extricating herself from the pocket. 'Alexis,' trained by Casie Coleman for co-owners West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinlay, is 4-for-11 this season ($226,388). Alexis Faith opposes the red-hot Wisdom Tree (Matt Kakaley, post 1), whose sire stakes resume reads five wins (including one here) and a second in six tries. The daughter of Betterthancheddar, co-owned by Tom Pollack & Jeff Cullipher and trained by Ed Hart, has won nine of her dozen '18 tries overall ($246,435). She's a month out since whipping the Catskills crowd (1:52.4) and owns a 1:49.4 life-best in the $141,200 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier. There's also a coupled-entry, Ron Burke-trained two-fer in Jewels Forreal (George Brennan, post 2) and Tell Me a Joke (Miller, post 7). Post time for the dozen-race wagering card is 6:50 PM, however those early (5:30 PM) attendees can watch a good, old-fashioned walkover. Windsun Magnolia (Jim Marohn Jr.) has the oval all to herself in a $6,100 second-level Excelsior event. Can 'Magnolia,' Marohn Jr. and track announcer John Hernan handle the pressure? Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Ms Cheesman (Howard Okusko Jr) wins the harness racing featured fillies and mares pace ($6,500) on Friday (August 31). Angel Speak (Claude Huckabone III) went to the front and led to a first quarter of :26.3 and then to a half of :56.0. Ms Cheesman ($7.70) followed in the pocket. Owned by Bay Pond Racing and trained by Jessica Okusko, she popped out of the pocket just before they hit three-quarters in 1:25.1. She took over and just cruised down the stretch to win in 1:53.0. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) came up to finish second. Jaclyn Hanover (John MacDonald) got third money. Ms Cheesman is a 3-year-old filly by Betterthancheddar. It was her fifth win this season and career victory number 6. The veteran Jay Sears wins another at Vernon Downs. In 10 drives this season, Sears has four wins and one second this season. For anyone that is a a great record. What is amazing is that Sears is 76 years old. The lovable driver is racing like he is a youngster. He guided Star Flyer ($10.60) to a gate-to-wire victory in a lifetime best of 1:58.1. Star Flyer is a 4-year-old mare by Cantab Hall. She is co-owned by Sears with David Fishman and trained by Ray Van Dreason. It was her fourth win in 11 starts this season. It was career victory number five. How can you not root for Sears? If you love harness racing all you can do is smile! Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 1) with a 10 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs      

Without question, Tom Pollack and Jeff Cullipher's filly pacer Wisdom Tree has been dominating throughout much of her sophomore season. She has won nine of twelve races as a 3-year-old, with five of those wins coming against New York Sire Stakes competition. She also has a Grand Circuit triumph to her credit. Bred by Winbak Farm, Wisdom Tree is out of the first crop of Betterthancheddar, and out of the dam Wisdom. "She (Wisdom Tree) was a half-sister of a horse I owned with Randy Bendis called Rich Wisdom," said Pollack. "We had some success with him, and he ended up getting hurt." Rich Wisdom won over $142,000 as a two-year-old. "We saw Wisdom Tree was kind of a looker out of a new sire (Betterthancheddar) and we decided to take a swing." Pollack, along with co-owner Jeff Cullipher purchased Wisdom Tree at the Lexington Select Sale for $28,000. Things didn't start well for the Jeff Cullipher trainee. After a pair of winning qualifiers, she had to wait until her 8th career start to break her maiden in a New York Sire Stakes event at Monticello. "We knew she had a ton of talent, but were concerned about her getting around the smaller ovals," Pollack said. She went on to win 2 of her next 3 starts, but finished a tough luck 7th in the NYSS Finals at Yonkers. "We drew the 8 post, and she was actually loaded with pace in the lane," said Pollack. "Her driver that night (Tim Tetrick) said she could've easily finished 2nd or 3rd if she could've stayed on her feet. She was just going too fast." As great of a 3-year-old season as she has had to this point, it didn't get off to a good beginning. "She got kind of sideways behind the gate in her first start of the season, and I thought 'oh man' here we go again," said Pollack. "Jeff (Cullipher) assured me this was different. Then she went on to catch fire." She went on to win 7 of her next 8 races, including the Nadia Lobell, a Grand Circuit event at Hoosier Park. As far as what's next, co-owner Tom Pollack maybe eying a potential Breeders Crown appearance if all goes well. "We have actually kicked around discussions of supplementing her to the Breeders Crown. We are thinking about it," said Pollack. Her next start will be at Yonkers for the last leg of the New York Sire Stakes, followed by the finals a few weeks later. She is staked to three events at Hoosier Park through October (Pegasus, Circle City, and the U.S.S Indianapolis), as well as the Matron in November at Dover Downs. Wisdom Tree's half-sister Smart Girl will be selling (Hip #239) at the upcoming Lexington Sale in October. by Mike Bozick for the Mike & Mike Show

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 28, 2018--Yonkers Raceway Monday night (July 30th) hosts the $172,000 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old harness racing colts and geldings. Post time for the dozen-race card is 6:50 PM, with the sire stakes event going as races 7 (purse $85,250) and 8 (purse $86,750), respectively. The event again honors the memory of one of the true movers and shakers (not to mention a damn fine fellow) in the state's harness program. The opening event for the big boys offers some solid resumes, the haughtiest of which belongs to Springsteen (Dave Miller, post 2). The season has been highlighted by a win in the half-million-dollar final of Pocono's Max Hempt Memorial (life-best 1:48.3). He hits town, though, after faltering first-up in the his elim of the Adios. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven, co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh. has two wins in six starts ($286,500). Rootin' Tootin' (Mark MacDonald, post 6) has plied his craft versus statebreds, with sire stakes wins at Saratoga (life-best 1:52.1). The Roll with Joe colt is co-owned by (trainer) Blake MacIntosh, Stuart McIntosh, Robert MacNeil and Fred Brayford. Topville Olympian (Brian Sears, post 5) and Twin B Tuffenuff (George Brennan, post 7) have both been bridesmaids in their last two statebred sojourns. Monday night's second and final division finds the return of Art Rooney Pace winner Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett, post 2). The son of Betterthancheddar, who wired that $300,000 event in a life-best 1:51.3, comes back after sire stakes wins at Buffalo and Saratoga. For the season, he's 5-for-8 with $238,896 in the till for co-owners Evan Katz and Crawford Racing. My Delight (Brent Holland, post 5) authored a 34-1 upset in a $23,066 division of the Reynolds here in mid-May, then won (at 14-1) a sire stakes event at Vernon (life-best 1:49.4). Ostro Hanover (Miller, post 7) tries it after a 10-1 statebred win at Saratoga. Rockapelo (Sears, post 8) has hit the board in six of his eight '18 tries, including a win (life-best 1:50.2) in his $24,000 division of Tioga's Geers. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Batavia, NY---The heavily favored Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom) displayed why everyone from the track handicapper to the harness racing bettors heavily endorsed her as she dominated the field in her division of the $120,400 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing fillies at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (July 25). Wisdom Tree (Kevin Cummings) left for the lead but had to work hard for it; getting to the quarter in :27 flat. But once she cleared and settled in, the filly was in total control. Cummings backed the half off considerably before speeding up the proceedings up the backstretch, although no one was close enough to challenge. By the three-quarters Wisdom Tree had opened up a three-length advantage which she held as she cruised around the far turn and down the lane to win in 1:53, which was just one-fifth off the track record. Cummings said after the race "That was pretty easy once she got to the front. I backed off the second quarter to :29.1 and it was pretty much over from there. I had to get after her in the third quarter because she was starting to go to sleep on me but around the last turn when I pulled the plugs, she responded well and was looking for horses because she was off by herself for most of the mile." It was the fourth win in her last five starts and eighth win of 2018 for Wisdom Tree ($2.70) who has now carded $215,785 for the year for owners Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher. Ed Hart trains the winner. Wisdom Tree was a $28,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Select yearling sale and was bred by Winbak Farm. Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie) put in as impressive an effort in her division, but she did it from behind. Getting away sixth from post seven, Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill Jr.) watched from afar as Hurrikane Shorty (Jim Marohn Jr.) sped away with a loose lead in :27.1, :56 and 1:24.1. At that last station, Morrill was finally able to get his filly off the pylons from sixth and tipped three-deep into the last bend. She went from sixth to first during the arc of the turn and sped away to a two-length lead when they straightened out to win in 1:53.4. "She was very good tonight; she's been good pretty much right along. She threw a clunker in her last start but we came to find out she was sick. So we have her healthy again and she's back. She made a big move three-wide tonight but she did the same thing at Yonkers two starts down, coming home in :27.1. Once she gets moving she's good" said Morrill. It was the second win of the year for Alexis Faith ($6.60) but first of 2018 in the NYSS. The filly is owned by West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinlay and trained by Casie Coleman. Alexis Faith was purchased at the Lexington Select yearling sale for $55,000 and was bred by Melvin Segal. The third leg saw Ubettergo Go (Art Major-Ubetterthink Think) leave from post seven and tuck fourth at the eighth pole while Checkered Past (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Solitary (Jim Marohn Jr.) argued for the front. But halfway up the backside, her driver Mark Macdonald had her out and rolling and took the front by the quarter in :27.2. With the field in single file, Ubettergo Go slowed the pace and forced Apothic (Drew Monti) to advance an outer flow. The field hit three-quarters in two rows with Ubettergo Go still calling the shots, but Apothic looked live and Checkered Past was ready to strike having gotten the perfect pocket trip to this point. At the head of the lane, Macdonald asked Ubettergo Go and she responded by opening up a two length lead and hitting the wire in first in 1:53.4. "She went well. That was a bruising first quarter in :27.2 but she ended up pacing away anyway. She kind of stepped over a little shadow around the last turn there and it took her mind off her work for a minute, but then she just breezed her way home. She's a real nice filly" said Macdonald. Ubettergo Go ($4.40) is owned by Blake Macintosh, Tony Basile, Reginald Petitpas and Ozzie Mackay and is trained by Blake Macintosh. Ubettergo Go was a $13,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase and was bred by Concord Stud and Birnam Wood Farms. There were also two $15,000 division of the Excel "A" series on the card. The first division went to KJ's Justine (American Ideal-Day Blue Chip), winning gate to wire in 1:55.4. KJ's justine ($6.10) was driven Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Ken Jacobs. The second division was won by Psychic Blue chip (Art Major-All Spirit) who also led at every station in 1:56. Psychic Blue Chip ($9.00) was driven by Ray Fisher Jr. for trainer Joseph Skowyra and owners Jeffrey Clark and Vernon Cannon.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---For the second time in as many racing days, a band of state-bred sisters will be invading Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (July 25) when the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 3-year-old harness racing pacing fillies go postward to compete in three divisions for a total purse of $120,400. NYSS divisions go in races one, five and seven with post time for the first race at 5 p.m. Headlining the pool of 22 participants is Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom) who will be competing in the $39,900 third division. This filly is not only tearing up the NYSS this year; she is also racing large on the Grand Circuit. Besides winning three New York events so far, Wisdom Tree also won the $142,000 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park on July 6, setting a new lifetime mark and track record of 1:49.4 in the process. A week later she drew post 12 in the 1-1/8th mile $191,800 Mistletoe Shallee at the Meadowlands and finished a strong closing fourth behind the winner Kissin In The Sand after being parked out over half a mile in the distance race timed in 2:04.1. Wisdom Tree ranks high in stats among all 3-year-old pacing fillies in North America. For the year so far she is the third richest ($195,835), fourth fastest (1:49.4) and fifth winningest (seven) against all her rivals. In the NYSS she is the highest point-getter, has the most wins and has earned the most money. Trainer Ed Hart has called on Kevin Cummings to drive the 8-5 early favorite Wisdom Tree who will leave from post six. In the first $39,900 division Ubettergo Go (Art Major-Ubetterthink) started the year strong, winning back-to-back NYSS events. She then qualified for the $315,400 final of the Fan Hanover at Mohawk Raceway where fast early fractions caught up to her late and saw her finish seven lengths behind the winner. She was given a 26 day rest after that start and looked fresh finishing second by a head in 1:52.2 in a NYSS event at Vernon Downs. Now after another 11 day break, she looks like the one to beat. Trainer Blake Macintosh has Mark Macdonald in the bike behind Ubettergo Go who starts from post seven at 5-2. The main competition looks to be Solitary (American Ideal-Lonesome Day) who moves up from Excel "A" action at Vernon where she finished a strong second in 1:52.1 and Apothic (Art Major-Permafrost) who paced in 1:51.3 finishing third in a NYSS race at Vernon as well. Both mares are still looking for their first NYSS win. Solitary leaves from post one for driver Jim Marohn Jr. and trainer Nick Surick and Apothic starts next to her in post two with trainer Mark Harder calling on Drew Monti to drive. The second division goes for $40,600 and has Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie) listed as the 5-2 morning line choice. Alexis Faith has yet to win a NYSS event this year after being the 2-year-old champion in 2017, but she has finished second on two occasions. Like Ubettergo Go, Alexis Faith also raced in the Fan Hanover final and fared a bit better. After cutting three-quarters of the mile and having an open lead at the head of the stretch, Alexis Faith ended up fourth by only two lengths in 1:50.4. Arguing for the purse will be Presto Blue Chip (American Ideal-Cantor's Daughter) who just got beat at Vernon in 1:52.2 in her last start in NYSS action and Jewels Forreal (So Surreal-Dandy's Jewel) who took a lifetime mark of 1:51 at Tioga Downs in the $23,500 Geers Stake on June 29. Drew Monti drives Presto Blue Chip from post two for trainer Jeffrey Smith and Jewels Forreal has the services of Matt Kakaley from post six for trainer Ron Burke. There are also two $15,000 division of the Excel "A" series in races two and three and one $6,800 division of Excel "B" in race 11. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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