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Happy Heart (Woodstock) came into Thursday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel with a pair of second-place finishes in the Open Pace for fillies and mares in 2019. The Melissa Beckwith trainee scored three victories in the local feature last season and on Thursday recorded her first of the year as she closed sharply up the inside in the five-horse Open. Brian Cross picked up the catch-drive and sat third throughout the mile with Happy Heart before the rail opened up at the top of the stretch. With the race's odds-on favorite Coveredndiamonds N (Jay Randall) starting to tire on the lead, pocket sitter Westsluckycam (Bruce Aldrich Jr) moved to the outside turning for home. The passing lane opened up for Happy Heart who was dismissed at odds of 7-1. The six year old mare surged up the rail and scored in 1:54.1. Westsluckycam finished second while Coveredndiamonds N had to settle for third in the $15,000 Open. Happy Heart paid $17.20 to win and led an exacta that returned $90.00. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post scheduled for 6:45pm.   Mike Sardella

Too Much Man (Deweycheatumnhowe) proved too much for his competition in Wednesday's co-feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The four year old harness racing trotter came to the Spa for the first time earlier in the month after a connection change to trainer Scott Mongeon. Too Much Man scored in his local debut in the conditional ranks on August 7th before moving to the level where he competed on Wednesday night. The co-feature for New York sired trotters went for a purse of $9,630 and Too Much Man wound up as the public's 6-5 second choice in the wagering while riding a three-race win streak. Driver Brian Cross moved the up-and-comer out to the early lead in the feature and enjoyed pretty comfortable fractions throughout. Too Much Man drew away a bit around the final turn before checking in at the wire in 1:57.4 for his fourth consecutive victory. Miss Muscle (John Stark Jr) surged late to be second while the race's favorite Alex The Great (Billy Dobson) had to settle for third. The win time matched the seasonal mark for Too Much Man who is now four-for-four since coming to the Spa. The other co-feature on Wednesday night was won by Video Chic who held on to prevail in 1:59. The three year old filly was one of two winners on the card for trainer Homer Hochstetler and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr as they also teamed up for a victory earlier in the evening with young trotter If I Must. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Howd Ya Like That (Howd That Feel) survived pressure from the top two favorites in her co-featured $9,000 race for New York sired trotters on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Brian Cross piloted the four year old mare who drew the rail for Thursday's tilt that saw her go off at odds of 4-1. The race's favorite Missus Mia Wallace (Wally Hennessey) sat the pocket throughout as Howd Ya Like That carved out the fractions and ended up as the runner-up after taking her shot at the winner in the stretch. The second choice in the betting was Yonkers invader TT Conway (Jay Randall) who wound up first-over on Howd Ya Like That before fading to a third place defeat on Thursday. Howd Ya Like That recorded her third win of the season for owner-trainer Laurie Tranowicz as she went coast-to-coast in 1:57.3 in the "Winners of 2 but not more than 5" races lifetime trot. Longshot Mr Gerrity (RC Royalty) went wire-to-wire in the other $9,000 co-feature on Thursday as Saratoga Hall of Fame driver Kim Crawford guided the Guy Roemer trainee to a career-best 1:58 victory while dismissed at odds of 9-1. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Winkys Gal (Rc Royalty) made a big move approaching the half mile pole and drew away from her rivals to win the $7,500 co-feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night. The James Weidman trainee made her seasonal debut last week and got a great trip from driver Brian Cross. As a 17-1 longshot in that start, Winkys Gal got a trip on the rail and saved ground enough to finish second in her return. On Friday night, Cross settled in towards the back of the pack with the four year old trotting mare before unleashing her heading to the half. Winkys Gal brushed to the lead and went a back half in 57.4 en route to her first win of 2017, a win that came in 2:00.2. A five-time winner last season, Winkys Gal now has a first and a second in two starts in '17. She paid $6.90 to win in the co-feature for New York sired trotters. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Seafood Missy (American Ideal) scored first over in career best fashion on Wednesday night at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to complete a double for trainer-driver Brian Cross. The three year old pacing filly has been competing in Excelsior Series races for much of the summer and following a pair of breaks, qualified before competing in Wednesday's $8,900 conditional pace for fillies and mares. First over on the race's favorite Status Warrior (Chuck Connor Jr), Seafood Missy kept plugging away before dueling the leader into defeat. The fourth win of the season for the filly came in 1:56.4, a new lifetime mark. Cross also piloted trotter Maggie's Brand (Cr Excalibur) to a first over score earlier in the night in the $8,250 NY Sired trot. Cross trains and co-owns Maggie's Brand who matched her career mark with a 2:00.3 score on Wednesday. Live racing continues at the Spa on Thursday with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Melissa Simser  

There were three Series Finals that took place on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway for young horses who have competed over the last few weeks for their spot in the $25,000+ harness racing finals. Starznheaven (Rock N Roll Heaven) was named Saratoga’s top two year old pacer last year and has now started out his sophomore campaign on a three race win streak. The Jackie Rousse-trained pacer recorded a wire-to-wire victory in a career best 1:54.3 in the JP Morel Memorial Pacing Series Final as the race’s 3-5 betting favorite. Frank Coppola Jr. piloted Starznheaven to his early season hat trick. Coppola also piloted the winner of the John Mongeon Sr. Memorial Trot Final as Quick Feet (Crazed) went coast to coast in a lifetime best performance of his own. The Margaret Spagnola trainee cruised in 1:59 as the race’s favorite at odds of 9-5. The Virginia O’Brien Memorial Final was won by longshot Karla Art (Major In Art). Brian Cross co-owns, trains and drives the three year old filly who took advantage of early speed duel before circling her rivals to prevail in a career best 1:58.3. Karla Art returned $71.00 to win as a 34-1 longshot. Live racing continues on Saturday evening at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

Calvin B (Bettor’s Delight) pulled off the upset in the $8,300 featured pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Thursday evening.   Brian Cross moved the 18-1 shot out to the early lead before yielding to the favorite approaching the quarter pole.   After getting shuffled back, Calvin B shook loose past three quarters and charged past his rivals to take command around the final turn before drawing away to score in 1:55.4.   Owned by John Smiel of Rutland, VT and trained by John Cross, Calvin B recorded his first victory of the season in the Winners of 2 but not more than 4 Pace and returned $35.60 to win.    Yonkers invader OK Galahad (Billy Dobson) finished second while Mister Skitter (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot.    Live racing continues on Friday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post.   Mike Sardella

Hallin Cash (Cash Hall) scored a wire to wire win in the $8,000 trotting feature on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The six-year-old trotter prevailed last Friday night behind a first over journey and despite stepping up in class was the race's 8-5 favorite while looking to repeat in the conditional trotting race. The Frank Fiero-trained trotter moved right out to the early lead for reinsman Frank Coppola Jr.and never faced an anxious moment before wiring the field in 1:58.1 on a chilly but pleasant night in Saratoga. Mr Jesse (Brian Cross) followed the winner every step of the way before finishing second while Goldstar Classic (Wally Hennessey) earned the show spot in a race that wasn't very kind to the closers. For Hallin Cash it was the fourth win of the season. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Montana Skies (Conway Hall) recorded her first ever local victory on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The five-year-old mare took all of 2013 off after a great start to her career. Montana Skies had earned over $90,000 in her two and three-year-old campaigns before being sidelined last year. Making her local debut this season for trainer Tim Dickie, Montana Skies wasn't able to find the winner's circle while racing in the $15,000 conditional-claimers, but came into Thursday night's $5,800 trotting race off of four consecutive third place finishes against tougher. The class drop and a cover trip served as the right formula for Montana Skies who moved off her cover and tracked down the favored Derby (Ray Schnittker) in the stretch before recording a lifetime best 1:58.4 victory with Brian Cross in the sulky. Derby, the race's odds-on favorite came up second best while Jackie Goldstein (Kim Crawford) finished third. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

High Blue continued his breakout season at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Thursday night. The Dan Hennessey-trained four-year-old made his local debut in April and has yet to finish worse than third. On Thursday night, High Blue (Majestic Son) moved aggressively to the lead before being met with the challenge of the race's even money favorite Powerful Valor (Austin Siegelman) at the half mile pole. These two dueled for a half mile while drawing away from their competition. High Blue and driver Wally Hennessey held on to win in 1:58 in the $6,500 trotting race. Owned by Paul and Patricia O'neil of Saratoga Springs, High Blue has now won four of eight tries since coming to town after pulling off the mild upset on Thursday night and has been worse than second only once. Powerful Valor finished a strong second while longshot Montana Skies (Brian Cross) finished a distant third. Live racing continues on Friday night featuring a pick five carryover of just shy of $1,400. First post time is set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

F Twenty Two (Jereme's Jet) posted an impressive 1:54.3 victory on a cold night in Saratoga while scoring by open lengths in the evening's $5,885 featured race. Brian Cross piloted F Twenty Two for trainer Geoff Howles and moved his record to three-for-three in the conditional-claimer for horses with a $15,000 claiming tag attached. F Twenty Two was by far the fastest winner of the evening and cruised to the win over Harmony Oaks Ruler (Bruce Aldrich Jr) who was the runner up and Gibson Blue Chip (Jay Randall) who earned the show spot for the twelfth time this year. Live racing takes place on Friday and Saturday night this weekend as the 2013 season comes to a close at the Spa. First post time each night is set for 6:45pm. by MIke Sardella for Saratoga Raceway  

Duc Dorleans (Shanghai Phil) scored a front running victory in the Saturday night feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Stephane Bouchard moved the race’s 3-2 favorite to the early lead and wound up withstanding fast fractions before stopping the timer in 1:53.4, surviving a late surge by Bet On Roulette (Brian Cross). Duc Dorleans finished third in his local debut a couple of weeks ago while closing sharply but wasted no time getting to the lead in this Saturday’s $12,840 Open Two en route to recording his fifth win of the season. Bet On Roulette was the runner up while Money Twitch A (Jim Devaux) flew late to finish third. The three year old Duc Dorleans has earned just shy of $290,000 in 29 lifetime starts. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway  

BATAVIA, N.Y. --- It didn't look like the weather was going to cooperate with any attempts the 3-year-old filly trotters were going to have in breaking the track record in the New York Sire Stakes at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Sept. 21). But someone forgot to tell Bouncing Bax. Despite rainy conditions during the day, the Batavia Downs strip was listed as 'good' but it was Bouncing Bax (Credit Winner-Bax Machine) who was 'fast' as she tied the track record of 1:57.2 set by Cowgirl Hall in 2012 winning her $42,679 division of the Sires Stakes. It was her fourth consecutive victory and also set a lifetime mark. Royal Malinda raced to a huge early lead and hung on to win her $41,879 leg in 1:58.3 while Palm Beach Chic rallied in the stretch to capture her $41,879 division in 1:59.2. But it was Bouncing Bax ($2.90) who stole the spotlight. She contently trotted along in third place until midway down the backstretch the final time. That's when driver Jim Morrill Jr. pulled out and went first over and easily trotted away from the field, beating the pace-setting Alphadoodle (Rick Zeron) by two lengths. Local favorite Barn Babe (John Cummings Jr.) finished in third. With the victory, Bouncing Bax has now earned $198,732 for the Harbor Racing Stable this season and $255,964 lifetime. Jim Raymer trained the winner. In the opener, Royal Malinda raced to a seven-length lead to the half and was throttled down by driver-trainer Dan Daley in the lane to notch a 2-1/4 length victory over Isabella Gal (Aaron Byron). Dubai Angel took the show spot for driver Roman Lopez. Heavily-favored Lola De Vie, who trailed by 10 lengths at the half, broke stride there and finished a distant fourth. It was the fourth win in 16 appearances for Royal Malinda (RC Royalty-Linda MacDream) and pushed her seasonal earnings to $114,916 for owners Ann-Mari Daley, Richard Lombardo and the Purple Haze Stables. The final division saw Kinda Crazy Linda (Jim Marohn Jr.) play 'catch me if you can' with the field of six and Palm Beach Chic (Marcus Johansson) did just that. Kinda Crazy Linda set fractions of 29.0, 59.3, 1:29.1 but a 29.2 last quarter by Palm Beach Chic ($9.20) was more than enough to catch the front runner and score the two-length victory. Cassa's Image (Fern Paquet Jr.) took the show position. With her fourth win on the campaign, Palm Beach Chic has now earned $112,982 on the year and $155,934 for owners Jeff Gregory and William Richardson. In the $12,800 Excelsior Series for the 3-year-old trotting fillies, See You At Office ($2.80) had the fastest time with a 2:01 with Morrill Jr. in the bike. Cash Now ($6.90) took a leg for John Cummings Jr. in 2:01.2 while Morosita Bi ($5.30) posted a 2:02.1 victory for reinsman Brian Cross. Sportsman ($6.70) went gate-to-wire in 1:55.3 for Cummings Jr. and captured the $8,500 Open Pace beating Western Alumni (Morrill Jr.) by 3-1/2 lengths. The racing continues at Batavia Downs on Tuesday night with a 12-race program slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. The entire card will be televised on Time-Warner Cable, Channel 98 in the Rochester and surrounding area. For more information on North America's oldest lighted harness track including upcoming schedule, promotions, race replays, news and statistics, click here. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs  

The three-year-old trotting picture is wide-open once again as Spider Blue Chip set the world record for three-year-old geldings on a five-eighths mile track with a 1:52.2 triumph in the $500,000 Colonial Trot at Mohegan Sun at Pocono DownsSaturday. The rich in purse and history Colonial started off with Smilin Eli (Tim Tetrick) going to the early lead with Spider Blue Chip content with the pocket-trip to the opening quarter mile in :26.3. But the pressure was put on right away as Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life (Brian Sears) was on the move first-over and coming after the leaders at the half mile marker in :54.1. Corkey (Dave Miller) was following second-over. Down the backstretch Royalty For Life kept the pressure on as he collared Smilin Eli at the three-quarters in 1:23.1 but the first-over effort proved fatal to Royalty For Life as he began to fade as the field started down the stretch. Corkey tipped three-wide on the final turn but it was Spider Blue Chip and Peirce who moved to the passing lane and was able to look Smilin Eli in the eye and pass him by to win by a half length. Corkey was third. Sired by Andover Hall, it was the sixth win in ten starts this year for Spider Blue Chip. He surpassed the former world mark of1:52.4 that was co-held by I’m The Answer and It’s Complicated. Trained by Chuck Sylvester, Spider Blue Chip is owned by David McDufee  of Florida and Melvin Hartman of Ontario. Sent off at odds of 4-1, Spider Blue Chip paid $10.20 to win. “I just wanted to get on Smiln Eli’s back,” Ron Pierce said. “and see what would happen from there. I knew that they would let Brian cross over (with Royalty For Life). I was kinda licking my chops down the backstretch. I knew we just had to wait for some racing room.” “I knew we were in tough tonight,” Said trainer Chuck Sylvester. “I knew if there was a battle that we could get a great trip and that’s how it worked out.” A video is attached. by Steve Wolf

Management is pleased to report that all of the horses and drivers involved in the Wednesday night harness racing wreck at Saratoga are doing ok. Three of the four drivers involved in the ugly incident were back driving on Thursday night as Bruce Aldrich Jr, Billy Dobson and Cory Stratton all suffered some bumps and bruises but were back in the bike on Thursday. Brian Cross didn’t fare as well as the veteran reinsman reportedly suffered a concussion along with several cuts and bruises but was home resting on Thursday. He will be sidelined indefinitely. All of the horses involved came out of the accident as well as could be hoped for. Aldrich piloted the winner in the Thursday night feature as Legerdepan (The Panderosa) recorded her first Open victory as she came on to beat the favored The Last Laugh (Tyler Buter) in the final strides. For Legerdepan, it was her third consecutive win but the first while competing in the $18,000 Open for Fillies and Mares. The victory in the feature came in 1:54.4 for the Jose Godinez trained pacer. The Last Laugh had her lengthy win streak broken but finished a strong second in her local debut while Blows Me Away (Stephane Bouchard) closed to finish third. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a 7:05pm first post.  by Mike Sardella

Wednesday night race card at Saratoga was marred by a bad looking accident that took place in the evening’s ninth race. Just past the three quarter pole, pocket sitting Rozewood (Billy Dobson) was starting to fade and appeared to go down to his knees, causing an ugly chain reaction that resulted in four drivers being unseated and four horses that did not finish. While all four horses were corralled without major incident, the extent of the injuries to the drivers involved is currently unknown. It appeared that Dobson and Brian Cross got the worst of it while Bruce Aldrich Jr.and Cory Stratton, who were also unseated, did appear to walk away without major injury. All drivers involved in the accident were transported to the local hospital. Further updates will follow in the coming days. Best wishes to all involved in the spill. To view the accident click here.     Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella  

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