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WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 22, 2015 -- Hidden Land shed cover around the final turn and nailed the game leader, Set Me Up, at the wire to capture Tuesday's $24,800 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Away fifth for Eric Goodell, Hidden Land followed the live cover of Spreester before taking aim at Set Me Up, who had been stung by a 26.2 opening quarter on a "good" surface. Hidden Land got her nose past Set Me Up to score in 1:52.2 The pocket-sitting Coffee Addict finished third. Brad Irvine trains Hidden Land, a 4-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover-Armbro Ocasey who now boasts $147,257 in career earnings, for William Sartin and Mark Salerno. Tony Hall piloted five winners, Goodell four and Jim Pantaleano three on the 16-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 8, 2015 -- Hidden Land circled the field three wide from the three-quarters en route to an impressive harness racing victory in Tuesday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Hidden Land was sixth with cover stacked in front of her when Dave Palone tipped her into the three path. The 4-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover-Armbro Ocasey collared the leader, Coffee Addict, in mid-stretch and defeated her by a neck in 1:52.3. The ground-saving Do Me Honor earned show. Brad Irvine trains Hidden Land, who extended her career bankroll to $133,957, for William Sartin and Mark Salerno. It was one of four wins on the 15-race card for Palone. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Hidden Land crossed the finish line faster than any harness racing female in the history of Northfield Park when she won the $13,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace in 1:51.4 on Friday (October 2).  The clocking formally broke the 1:52 four year-old pacing mare record by Lease Ness Monster (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) set earlier this year. The partnership of William Sartin and Mark Salerno owns Hidden Land.  Brad Irvine is her conditioner and Don Irvine, Jr. was in the sulky for the winning drive.       Hidden Land (Badlands Hanover-Armbro Ocasey-Abercrombie) started from post eight.  She led her competition through fractions of :26.4, :55.3, 1:23.4 and 1:51.4.  There was never really an anxious moment for the winner, who bested her competition by 2 ½-lengths.       Hidden Land now has four wins in 28 starts this year.  Friday’s victory represents her ninth career score and bolstered her bankroll to $89,157.  She returned $18.00 to win.    Ayers Ratliff     

(NEW KENT, VA - Trainer/driver Brad Irvine's Bagel Man and Rick's Crossroads captured both divisions of the Horace Martin Memorial Pacing Series Wednesday afternoon at Colonial Downs as the 17th annual harness racing season got underway. Both pacers faced eight other foes in their respective divisions but took different paths to the winners circle. The late closer races contested at a distance of 7/8ths of a mile. Bagel Man, an 11 year old I'm The Chairpan gelding, sat fifth thru the first trio of fractions before making an outside move on Scarboro Hanover and A.J.'s Poppop, who were dueling for the lead. Irvine smartly guided Bagel Man to third at the head of the stretch before easily sweeping by the front steppers. He crossed in 1:39 1/5, 3 ¼ lengths ahead of McBlack. Rick's Crossroads did not need a come from behind effort as he sailed to a 4 ¼ length triumph in wire to wire fashion. The 8 year old Dream Away gelding never led by more than a length until the straightaway and carried a lead of only a nose into the third fraction. He finished in 1:40 2/5 and earned his 21st career win. The Martin series will extend to a mile distance next Wednesday and the 1 ¼ mile distance for the third and final legs. River Runs Deep and Wishingonadragon scored first leg victories in the VHHA Pacing Series on Wednesday. Chuck Perry's 3 year old Riverboat King colt wired the field in 1:55 4/5 while trainer Stacy McLenaghan got her third win of the card with the latter in an identical 1:55 4/5 clocking. Colonial Downs will host a 9 race card on Thursday at 1 PM. The season continues thru October 26 with racing every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. by Darrell Wood, for Colonial Downs

The final racing nights in April at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs were marked by cold, windy, and rainy conditions that tested the grit and determination of our horses and drivers. We can only hope that the weather is going to turn for the better, but it's a testament to the caliber of racing at our track that the competition was as electric as it was despite such adverse conditions. Here is a look back at the past four racing nights as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: UP FRONT TIM T Most of the time the horses that win these Weekly Awards come from the upper classes and are often the favorites or close to it in their respective groups. Yet the recent achievements of Up Front Tim T, a 7-year-old stallion trained by Bruce Lundstrom, have maybe been more impressive than most if only because he has been so unheralded on his hot streak against the $5,000 claimers. It started on April 13, when Up Front Tim T rallied from far back early to win by a head as a 16-1 shot. He followed that up on May 22 with another late-kicking win, this time a bit more moderately priced but still a mild surprise at 4-1. On Tuesday night, his biggest obstacle was a #6 post position, which meant that he might be shuffled too far back for his late move if he stayed on the inside. Driver Tyler Buter, who was aboard for the previous three wins, sent Up Front Tim T on the outside on the back stretch, taking on some extra distance but giving his horse a chance to uncork his late move. In the stretch, the stallion blew by the leaders and came home a winner going away in 1:55:3, a time skewed by sloppy conditions. This time he was a 6-1 shot, meaning that he's picked up three wins in a row without being the favorite once. Unheralded, yes, but, of late, also unstoppable. Other top pacers this week include: American Shuttle (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), a mare who ripped off her Third Straight win over the $15,000 claimers on Sunday night in a career best 1:51:3; Schoolkids (Brett Miller, Tracy Brainard), whose condition win on Saturday night came in 1:50, the fastest pacing time of the week; and Bestnotlie Hanover (Anthony Napolitano, Douglas Berkeley), who won his second straight and third in his last four with a claiming victory on Saturday night in 1:51:1. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: A CROWN FOR LINDY Anyone who knows anything about the trotting game knows that the constant possibility that even the very best of them might go off-stride makes every trot a bit of a nail-biter. As a result, sometimes it's not the flashiest or even the fastest of trotters who gets to the winner's circle with regularity, it's the one who's steady, consistent, and gives itself a chance week in and week out. A Crown For Lindy has found that consistency in his last couple starts. On April 13, he overcame a tough outside post to find the pocket and upset a $7,500 claiming group in a career-best 1:55:4. On Sunday night, the 8-year-old gelding from the Brad Irvine barn had a better post but also moved up into the more rugged $10,000 claiming group, which seemed like a tough test. One by one, horses made their play for the front end in the race, only to break stride. Meanwhile A Crown For Lindy, with Don Irvine Jr. in the bike, stayed flat and strong, eventually making his way to the front for the victory in 1:57. That makes two in a row for the veteran trotter, who has demonstrated in this mini-streak that, for the trotters, steadiness is sometimes as important as speed. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: War Cry Hall (Howard Parker, Jim Raymer), who won a condition trot on Wednesday night against a tough group in 1:56 in the slop; Wind Of The North (Mike Simons, Clifton Green) who posted the best trotting time of the week by a wide margin with a condition in on Saturday night in 1:54:1; and Majestic Stone (Scott Zeron, Bucky Angle Jr.), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a condition victory in the slop on Wednesday night in 1:56:2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: EMBASSY SEELSTER Off-tracks often lead to long shot winners, and that was the case on Wednesday night, when Brett Miller rallied this mare to a claiming handicap pacing win at 22-1, paying off $46.80 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Simon Allard Simon really caught fire in the second half of 2013 at Pocono, and he has continued that hot streak this year. He picked up five wins this week, including a triple on Sunday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Daryl Bier Bier, who is also known as an excellent driver, came up with three training wins this week, including a double on Tuesday and a win with Bandolito on Saturday in the featured Preferred pace. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs    

The 2013 season for filly pacers was all about I Luv The Nitelife and Shebestingin. At year's end, Somwherovrarainbow hadn't lived up the her two year old championship season. Now four, Somwherovrarainbow decided she was going to make a statement in her 2014 debut, at the Meadowlands a $22,500 B-1/A-2 Handicap for filly & mare pacers. In a race that included a wild sprint in the first turn, where the Rainbow Blue mare was stuck between horses 3-wide, Somwherovrarainbow moved to the lead on the backstretch, opened up with powerful acceleration and tripped the timer in a sparkling 1:49.1 for Tim Tetrick, who appeared to have his mare comfortably wrapped up in the stretch. The final margin was 6 3/4 lengths over Pan Luis Obispo with Continual Velocity third. Monkey On My Wheel who was parked 4-wide around the first turn, predictably faded in the final 3/8th's of a mile. For Somwherovrarainbow , the 2012 Breeders Crown Champion is onto the Bluechip Matchmaker at Yonkers Friday night for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Ted Gewertz and Diamond Creek Racing. If tonight's effort is any indication, she is sure to be a force in that series. Friday night at The Meadowlands saw the opening leg of the Horse & Groom trotting series with the first of two $20,000 divisions going to Amigo Ranger in 1:55.1. Corey Callahan drove the Amigo Hall five year old to a first over score, wearing down the favored Hldontghttourdrms in the stretch for his first win of the campaign. Ashes Cash closed to be second and longshot Home Turf was third. Ron Burke trains the winner for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stable. The second division featured an exciting stretch drive where Bambino Glide, who cut the mile, called on all he had to hold off a relentless Time To Quit, who missed by a diminishing neck in 1:53.1 with longshot March Awareness third. Bambino Glide was sent out by team Orange Crush, Andy and Julie Miller for owners Kapildeo Singh and Shakoor's Racing Stable. The second leg of the Winter Survivor series also split into a pair of divisions with the first of those going to Cane Ridge and Callahan in 1:51.1. The winner of last season's Rags To Riches late closer was sent right to the top from the outside post nine and rated an honest pace to score handily over Mc Rusty and Astreos Flash. Trainer Doug Dilloian shares ownership with Darius Oshidar and East Wind Stable. The second division of the Winter Survivor went to Mattador D with a well-timed late move for Joe Bongiorno in 1:53.4. A winner in a division of leg one last week, Mattador D settled well back as Hacienda led through a casual 58 flat half mile. Closing from the third over position, Mattador D was put to a rousing drive by Bongiorno and was actually a fairly comfortable winner over Malosi N. The feature race Friday night was the $30,000 Free-For-All Trot, carded as race six. That event went to Modern Family who scored decisively in 1:52.1 for Tim Tetrick. Parked past the 27.1 opening quarter, Modern Family crossed over, got a breather in the middle and tacked a 27 flat final panel on the end of the mile. DW'S NY Yank was second and Daylon Magician saved third from a first over trip. Daryl Bier is the trainer and part owner of the winner, who passed the $300,000 career earnings mark, with Charles Dombeck and Richard Poillucci. Brad Irvine is the trainer and Carly Roman the owner of Mattador, a likely favorite in next week's $47,650 final. Total handle for the Friday card was $3,053,484, a slight increase of 4-percent over 2013. Racing returns on Saturday, featuring the first round of The Clyde Hirt series and a $30,000 Free-For-All headlined by a rematch of Golden Receiver and Dovuto Hanover, with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

The Meadowlands Winter Survivor Series began on Thursday, March 6 with a pair of $12,500 divisions. The opening round drew twenty one horses that had started in a $15,000 or less claiming race in at least once in their last four starts, which resulted in a couple of pretty competitive fields. In the first division, Tamayo shipped in from The Meadows for Ron Burke with a fairly imposing record and his form converted to the big track successfully with a 1:51.2 win. Yannick Gingras sent Tamayo away from the gate smartly and made the top, turned barn mate Malosi N loose as they moved toward the half and shook free late for the score. Malosi N held second and Mc Rusty split horses late for the show. The winner is owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Division two was won by Mattador D and Joe Bongiorno in 1:51-. Bongiorno found position in fourth early as Boiler Bob The QB and Cane Ridge hooked up through taxing early fractions of 26.3 - 55.2. As they fanned out for home, Mattador D was fed racetrack by his young driver and rolled on by the tiring speed for the win. Highland Boreas was second and Astreos Flash snuck though for third. Mattador D races out of the Brad Irvine barn for owner Carly Roman. The win was one of three on the card for Meadowlands rising star Joe Bongiorno. The series continues with leg two next Friday and concludes on Saturday, March 22 with the $47,650 final. Live handle showed a 37-percent increase on the card compared to 2013. Racing resumes with a 13-race Friday card with post time at 7:15 P.M. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands    

Billed as a matchup between the razor sharp Sweet Justice and the classy Daylon Magician, Friday's Open Trot at The Meadowlands seemed to be a 2-horse race on paper, but in the end, it was anything but. Sweet Justice broke stride right at the start, seemingly leaving the race to Daylon Magician who asserted an early lead. Setting fractions of 26.4, 55.2 and 1:23.4, Daylon Magician driven by Dave Miller turned for home seemingly on cruise control. But World Cup was guided off the pylons by Joe Bongiorno and made his move with three-sixteenths of a mile to go and what a move it was as he wore down Daylon Magician sprinting home in 27.4 to get up by a nose at 17-1. World Cup is owned by Carly Roman and trained by Brad Irvine. It was that upset that sparked a lone winning ticket in the Pick-5 which returned $30,052.60 for the $.50 cent minimum play. The Pick 5 wasn't the only pool with one winning ticket as Mike Simons repeat upset victory with Twin B Spike Man at 31-1 in the tenth race B-1/B-2 Handicap Trot ensured one winning ticket in the Late Pick 4, which returned $64,811.80. Perfect Alliance was noteworthy impressive winner in her return to the races, romping to a 7-length score in a lifetime best 1:53.3 as she gears up for the Charles Singer Memorial Series. Driver Yannick Gingras stole the driving show tonight, winning five races extending his lead in the drivers standing to 14 wins in front of Dave Miller. It was another big night for the on-track handle, as it yielded a 14-percent increase over the same race day in 2013, while the total handle of $3,120,181 was a five percent increase as well. Racing resumes on Saturday with first post time of 7:15 P.M. The program features a Free For All Handicap Trot, featuring Hypnotic Blue Chip, Bettor's Edge and the razor sharp Dovuto Hanover. Darin Zoccali      

Monday evening’s qualifiers served as a dress rehearsal for Saturday night’s grand opening of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment’s brand new grandstand. Meadowlands employees and their families were invited to Pink, the terraced dining room in the new building, for a complimentary tasting of the new menu and give the servers a test run of the facility.   The races began at 6:00pm with the accomplished older trotter Mister Herbie cruising around the oval in 1:53- for driver Tim Tetrick. After a 57- half, “Herbie” turned on the jets and won by many lengths. Trainer Jeff Gillis shares ownership of the $1.7 million winning son of Here Comes Herbie with Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay.   So Surreal (Somebeachsomewhere) won easily in 1:53.4 (final half in 55-) for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker prepping for next week’s Governors Cup eliminations. Gewertz, Kurnit & Arnold are partners with Ray on the colt.   Don’t Blame Her, long a favorite of the Bongiorno family, sharpened up with an eye catching 1:54.2/27.1 effort in the third. Barbara and Bobby own the mare, driven by their son Joe. Brad Irvine trains.   Another preview night of qualifiers comes along this Thursday at 6:00pm. Horsemen have been invited to attend on that occasion to sample the fare in Pink. Then the house opens for real on Saturday with a stakes laden card of racing. Stay informed with a visit to The Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment website. by Nick Salvi for the Meadowlands

They thunder down the stretch, a sea of grey and white…a ghostly apparition of horses! It’s time again for the Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs!   The renowned record-breaking track will play host to all grey** or roan horses on Wednesday, October 30th, otherwise known as “Mischief Night”.   Entries for the race include morning line favorite Gotta Love Him, trained by Cindy Weitoish and driven by Matt Kakaley, at odds of 3-1; last year’s Grey Ghost winner Lilywhites, ready to defend her win, and driven by Mike Kimelman for trainer Sara Kimelman, at odds of 7-2 as the second favorite; Next at odds of 4-1 is the Joe Pavia Jr.-trained Express Jet, coming off a second place finish at Pocono on October 24th and driven by Ron Pierce.   Also entered are Saratoga shipper Six Gun, trained by Brad Irvine and driven by Joe Bongiorno at 9-2; the Robert Lounsbury-trained Working Stiffs at 10-1, who finished in the money in her last four starts at Monticello Raceway; Artic Byrd, shipping in from Yonkers, and trained and driven by Truman Gale, at odds of 12-1; odds of 5-1 on McThird Dimension, trained by Blake Macintosh and driven by Simon Allard; and Hillcrest Bigdaddy, driven by Aaron Byron and trained by Scott Osterhout at 8-1. The race is the third on the card with approximate Post Time of 7:06 p.m.   Children of Pocono horsemen will be on hand to present the winning trophy in a specially decorated Winner’s Circle.   This year, while Outrider Terry Scott recuperates from recent injuries, his brother Gary will take his place as the Headless Horseman, leading the ghostly greys down the stretch.   **According to the U.S. Trotting Association, the governing body of harness racing, less than five percent of all harness horses are grey in color. The most famous was the former world champion trotter and Hambletonian winner, Greyhound. Jennifer Starr Racing Marketing Manager Racing Operations  

VERNON, NY—Ocean’s Motion obtained her first win of the season with an impressive 1:55.1 performance in Thursday night’s $12,000 Open feature for female pacers at Vernon Downs. Competing for only the 12th time this season, Ocean’s Motion had veteran Chuck Connor, Jr. at the controls as she left from the outside five post position in Thursday’s 11th event. Racing over a rain-soaked, sloppy track, the 6-year-old mare took her time building up speed. She rallied from fifth at the quarter to fourth at the half, shot to the front around the final bend and then showed her heels to the small but select field in the stretch, winning by an eased up 4-1/4 lengths. The stout effort resulted in the 22nd lifetime victory for the daughter of Camotion-Cr Charisma, who raised her career bankroll to more than $335,700. Janice Connor (Chuck’s wife) conditions the bay battler for owner Robert J. Lovett. Fans witnessed the second dead-heat for win at Vernon’s 81-program meeting after the pacers Rocha’s Hanover and Sunshine Patriot tied at the top following a 1:54.2 mile in Thursday’s seventh session. The win by Rocha’s Hanover was her second at the meet for trainer Robert C. Gale and owners Scott Hay and Scott Miller. Driver Truman Gale earned three wins during Thursday’s 12-race card. Sunshine Patriot’s score was also her second of the season at the Downs. Joe Bongiorno did the teaming for trainer Brad Irvine and owners Kim and Jordan Myers. Bongiorno also won with the pacer Inittowinafortune (1:52.3 in the ninth event) to secure his first driving double at the Downs this season. Robert C. Gale collected his second win of the evening after Truman Gale won the eighth race with Upfrontandpersonal (1:56.4) for owner Ross Bonafield. DOWNS DOINGS Truman Gale’s other win was behind the Judy Lanpher-trained pacer Sinspirational (1:53.1) in Thursday’s third race. Lanpher owns the 5-year-old mare along with her daughter, Connie, and Larry T. Lanpher…. Tomorrow night; Vernon will host the $433,500 championship finals of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-old trotters. Friday’s 12-race program will begin at 6:45 p.m.… Only seven live racing dates remain during the track’s 60th anniversary season that continues through Nov. 9… A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran

VERNON, NY—The productive pacer Don’t Blame Her returned to her winning ways during Thursday night’s $10,000 Open feature for female representatives of the lateral gain after a sizzling 1:52 performance at Vernon Downs. Part-owner Joe Bongiorno did the steering in Thursday’s sixth session as the favorite Don’t Blame Her accelerated into the lead from third following the opening quarter, and remained on the front end to the finish, defeating Love You Bye, the closest of her five foes, by 1-3/4 lengths. It was the third Open victory in the last four outings here for the quick-footed bay daughter of Village Connection-Never My Fault, who is also owned by Barbara Bongiorno, and trained by Brad Irvine. It marked the sixth season’s score and 57th lifetime tally for the career-earner of more than $787,100 who tied her 1:51.2 career win-mark here on Sept. 26. Jimmy Whittemore and Fern Paquet, Jr. each recorded driving doubles during the track’s 75th program of 2013. DOWNS DOINGS—Whittemore, a three-time track driving champion, took over sole possession of second place on the meet’s driving chart with his two-win performance. He entered the program tied with Roman Lopez, each with 88 wins…Lopez was also shuffled back to third place on the track’s conditioning chart after former training champ Dave Dewhurst earned his 32nd local win with the pacer Kyler’s Valentine in Thursday’s first event. He and Lopez had started the night with 31 current training tallies each…Friday’s 12-race card, which includes a $10,000 Open trot in event two, will begin at 6:45 p.m…Vernon will offer simulcast wagering on the 2013 Breeders Crown elimination races from Pennsylvania’s Mohegan Sun racetrack at Pocono Downs this Friday and Saturday nights…Only 13 racing dates remain during the track’s 60th anniversary season that continues through Nov. 9…A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. by Jim Moran for Vernon Downs  

VERNON, NY—The quick-striding pacer Don’t Blame Her, and driver Fern Paquet, Jr. shared the spotlight during Thursday night’s 11-race program at Vernon Downs. Don’t Blame Her became a two-time winner at Vernon’s 69-program meeting with a 1:51.2 victory in the evening’s $10,000 Open for female pacers, while Paquet produced five wins during the card. For the second week in a row, co-owner Joe Bongiorno handled the lines behind Don’t Blame Her as the 10-year-old mare wired four fast-footed distaff rivals in Thursday’s second race, stopping the timer in 1:51.2, a mile that equaled her lifetime speed record and came within two-fifths of a second of Intimidate’s season’s standard for representatives of the diagonal gait at the Downs. The impressive mile resulted in the second straight score, fifth this season and 56th all-time for the bay daughter of Village Connection-Never My Fault, who is also registered to Barbara Bongiorno, and trained by Brad Irvine. It was the 210th start for the career-earner of $780,982. She had obtained her win-mark at The Meadowlands last season. Paquet captured the first, third, fourth, fifth and 10th events to tie Rick Plano, Roman Lopez and Chris Lems at one for most wins by any driver during a single program at the track’s 60th anniversary meeting. Three of Paquet’s victories (Mc Thunderstruck, Salome Marvel and Want More) were for owner/trainer John McNeil, III, who chalked up his initial training triple at the Downs this year. Jimmy Whittemore charted his 13th double at the Downs in 2013 to take an 83-81 lead over Roman Lopez in their battle for second place on this season’s dash-winning driving chart. DOWNS DOINGS Wanda Polisseni’s 3-year-old trotting colt Winnerwind produced his initial pari-mutuel victory after trainer Dan Daley drove the brown son of Credit Winner to a 1:59.1 personal-best mark in Thursday’s seventh session… The Downs will present a 12-race card on Friday that will begin at 6:45 p.m… A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran

VERNON, NY—The productive pacing mare Don’t Blame Her unleashed a strong stretch kick to win her Vernon Downs debut in 1:52 during Thursday night’s $10,000 featured eighth event. Saratoga regular Joe Bongiorno did the teaming for trainer Brad Irvine in Thursday’s Open for female proponents of the lateral gait as Don’t Blame Her rallied from fourth at the half and closed from second in a :27.2 final quarter to defeat the on-rushing Xenia Hanover by a head. Thursday’s tally was the fourth this season and the 55th all-time for the 10-year-old daughter of Village Connection-Never My Fault, a career-winner of nearly $776,000 that is owned by Robert F. and Barbara Bongiorno. Leading driver Rick Plano continued his productive ways during Thursday’s 11-race card. The 61-year-old horseman collected three first-place finishes that bumped his total at the 66-program meet to 120. One of his scores was a 1:58.2 mile behind the 2-year-old pacing filly Purty Hanover in the fourth race that became her “maiden” victory. The Donato Hanover-offspring now sports a 1-1-1 performance line after four pari-mutuel starts for trainer David Mcginnis and owners Cully Mcginnis and Alan Hyatt. DOWNS DOINGS Roman Lopez, Plano’s main rival in this year’s dash-winning derby, earned his 80th victory after teaming the Joseph Duh-owned-and-trained pacer Another Judy to a 1:55 score in Thursday’s 10th event… Live racing continues with 12 races on Friday, including a $10,000 Open trot in race nine, and a 13-event program on Saturday, that offers a $10,000 Open pace in race two. First post each night will be at 6:45 p.m… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran  

A Place In History, with Joe Bongiorno in the sulky, captured Saturday’s featured Open Pace with a purse of $18,000. Owned by Barbara Bongiorno and trained by Brad Irvine, the 4 year old Scoot Hanover gelding posted a winning time of 1:53. by Dave Oxford for Saratoga Raceway

Fancy Footwork recorded his first Open Pace victory on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Brad Irvine-trained pacer was the runner up in last week’s Open but this week got the job done in the $18,000 feature. Reinsman Joe Bongiorno sat patiently in the third spot through fast fractions but after three quarters in 1:23.2 found open road for Fancy Footwork in the passing lane. The seventh win of the season for the five year old gelding came in 1:52. Earlier this year, Fancy Footwork (Western Hanover) matched the then track record when he scored in 1:51. Bet On Roulette (Wally Hennessey) surged out of the pocket to be the Open’s runner up on Saturday night while front running favorite May Day (Jim Devaux) had to settle for third. Fancy Footwork returned $14.80 to win and led an exacta that paid $115.50 and a trifecta that came back $207. Irvine and Bongiorno also teamed up for the winner of the $14,000 Open Two as A Place In History (I Scoot Hanover) pulled off the upset at odds of 20-1. Live racing resumes on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella

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