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Bruce Clarke has returned for another winter stay in California, bringing along his top trotter I Love New York and a dozen other assorted performers. You can say that Im hoping to rebuild, said Clarke, an accomplished driver/trainer who has driven over 2,900 winners in his career and recently went over the $12 million mark as a chauffeur. I Love New York is owned by Clarke along with longtime clients Jack Coffey and Patricia Waldeck and the 6-year-old Broadway Hall homebred is nearing $250,000 in earnings while sporting a 1:54 3/5 career standard that was established here last season. His most recent victory came in late August over the five-eighths Tioga Downs oval in the state hes named after and the dark-hued trotter has gone some big miles for Clarke since his introduction to the game. Im out here for the winter and its nice to get away from the cold, Bruce related. This wasnt the best of summers for the barn, because we had a lot of bad luck, but Ive got some young ones here that Ill be getting ready. The one thing missing from his arsenal this year would be some Sire Stakes performers, which has been a mainstay of the shedrow over the years, but Clarke still figures to make his presence felt during the course of this meeting. A reminder that there are now four wagers here that feature a reduced 16% takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the Jackpot 6; the Pick 4 and the Hi-5 on the nitecap.    High Bet Hanover High Bet Hanover, who has fired nothing but bullets at this meet in five appearances, heads the cast for Sunday evenings featured Open III Pace for fillies and mares. An 11-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with a first post of 4:45 Pacific. The headliner will go as the second race on the evening with a field of six set to face the starter. High Bet Hanover has recorded two victories and three seconds from her five starts at the stand for owner Kc C Cavalho, trainer Tim Brown and driver Luke Plano. Overall, she is going for her eighth snapshot on the season from 41 trips to the post. The 6-year-old Bettors Delight established a new lifetime mark three starts back when she captured the finale of the Annette Funicello Series on October 18 in 1:53 4/5. She came back to be the runner-up in a conditioned affair and then returned to her winning ways in her most recent tour. Sent off the even-money choice in that contest, High Bet Hanover sat a tracking trip for a half, then attacked to the final bend and went on to a two and three-quarter length score with Plano This time around, Director of Racing Robin Schadt has assigned the mare the outside post. Dont Hurry Love completed the exacta behind High Bet Hanover last week and will be looking to turn the tables. The 5-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway races for Ed Actkinson, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and will be guided by Mooney Svendsen. She boasts $135,000 in earnings and a 1:54 1/5 career standard. Completing the cast are Free Girl, who gives the Brown barn two looks at the outcome; the Steve Wiseman-trained duo of Surprisingly Sweet and Razzle Be Dazzled; and Rag Doll, who hails from the Lino Pacheco barn and leaves from the inside slot. Mike Ratzky - Cal Expo Harness

Harness racing returns to Cal Expo Saturday night under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with a 14-race program on tap and a first post of 6:15 p.m. Racing will be conducted on Saturday nights in October, expanding to Saturday and Sunday programs in November. Plans then call for a three-night a week schedule beginning on December 26 with Friday racing added to the mix. Heading the opening-night card are two divisions each of the opening legs of the Bill Conlin and Annette Funicello Pacing series; an Open II event for the pacers and an Open II contest for the trotters. Robin Schadt is the new Director of Racing. My goal is to produce a racing program where every horseman gets their horses raced on a regular basis for decent money and to provide the betting public with competitive fields on which to wager, she said. Saturdays program features four wagers at a reduced 16 percent takeout, including the new 10-cent Cal Expo Jackpot Pick 6 that starts on the third race. The wager requires a single winning Pick 6 ticket, or there is a carryover. The other low-takeout wagers are the 50-cent Pick 5 that begins on the first race; the 20-cent Pick 4 that covers races 10 through 13 and comes with a $20,000-guaranteed pool; and the 10-cent Super Hi-Five on the nitecap. Taking a closer look at the Open II Trot, multiple stakes-winning I Love New York returns to California for Bruce Clarke, while the Open II Pace finds A Real Miracle heading an interesting cast as he makes his way back from Indiana for Junior Wilkinson. Luke Plano back to defend driving title Luke Plano, fresh from capturing the driving title at the winter/spring Watch and Wager LLC meeting here at Cal Expo, is back to defend the crown. At that last meet, Luke made 160 trips to the winners circle, with his nearest competitor being James Kennedy, who had 121 winning tours at that session. Both will be in action on Saturdays 14-race program. Its exciting to be back, said Plano, who has been plying his trade in Indiana this summer. I know there are going to be some new horsemen here, and that should certainly add to the competitiveness of the racing. As far as switching from the seven-eighths track at Hoosier Park to the one mile here, there are a lot of similarities. The one difference would be that even though you can win from the back at Hooiser, there is more of a speed bias and you want to be close if you can. Here are Cal Expo, its a much fairer track in that regard and you have more options. As has been the case in the past, Plano will have a very small stable of his own while normally driving in just about every race on the card. Ill have anywhere from three to six horses in my barn, but I prefer to concentrate on the driving, he explained. Its worked out real well that way. Luke will be looking to get off to a quick start on opening night with several very live performers set to go to the post under his direction. Its a good bet hell be posing for more his share of pictures. By Mark Ratzky                      

Tirade Hanover and Tyber Tyke proved victorious in Saturday (September 13) evening's co-featured $15,000 Open events at Tioga Downs, headlining an eleven-race closing night card.   Tirade Hanover ($16.60) sustained a sweeping three-wide bid on the far turn for a 1:54.3 victory in the $15,000 Open Trot, staving off a resurgent Oh No Three O. The four-year-old Crazed gelding was well off dueling leaders In Your Room (Mike Simons) and Oh No Three O (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :55.3 initial half mile, sweeping three-wide past a stalled Spice It Up Lindy (Tom Jackson) en route to the far turn. Tirade Hanover continued on to the lead 100 yards from the winning post, maintaining his momentum to just hold off Oh No Three O, who split rivals in a late rally from the pocket. B L Class Act (Aaron Byron) gained late down the grandstand side to take third.   Tyler Raymer drove Tirade Hanover to his fifteenth career win. Trainer Leigh Raymer shares ownership with Stephen Moss, Harold Solomon, and Helane Solomon.   Hoosier invader Tyber Tyke ($4.90) kicked clear late in the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace after sustaining a barrage of pressure, emerging from a four-way battle to control a :55.1 initial half mile. The five-year-old Panspacificflight gelding then repelled a stout first-over challenge from Golden Gun (John Cummings, Jr.) before drawing clear to a 6-1/4 length victory in 1:50.3.   Bettorsluckystreak (Jim Taggart, Jr.) took second narrowly after shaking free in the final yards, while Dreamlands Art (Mike Simons) finished a tiring third after stalking from the pocket.   Fern Paquet, Jr. handled the driving duties aboard Tyber Tyke for trainer Daniel Gill. John McGill and Brian Carsey co-own the 19-time winner.   Tioga Downs honored driving champion Jim Marohn, Jr. and training champion Mike Deters during the evening's festivities, along with acknowledgements of Trotter of the Year I Love New York (trained and driven by Bruce Clarke through the meet) and Pacer of the Year Fireyourguns (driven by Aaron Byron for trainer Terence McClory).   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

After enjoying a cozy pocket trip, Stitch in Time ($19.20) made a late push to the fore, collaring 6-5 favorite Wisenheimer to take the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot at Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 2) evening.   Brandon Simpson floated forward with the four-year-old Keystone Nordic gelding, settling behind House Money (Aaron Byron) on the first turn. As Wisenheimer brushed to the fore through a :28 first quarter, House Money broke stride, enabling Stitch in Time to inherit the pocket with just over a circuit to go. The two would continue as an uncontested leading pair throughout, but Stitch in Time was able to benefit from his tracking trip in the final eighth. Off the far turn, Simpson angled him wide, and the response was instant. Stitch in Time wore down Wisenheimer, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. I Love New York (Bruce Clarke) was carried to the grandstand side off a stalking trip, staying on for third.   Amber Buter trains Stitch in Time for owners Lynette Buter, Carol Fuhs, and William Fuhs.   Racing returns to Tioga with a stakes-filled Sunday (August 3) afternoon card. The 13-race pari-mutuel program is slated for a 1:30 p.m. EDT start, with a pair of non-wagering events to commence a half-hour earlier.   by James Witherite

Taking full advantage of a cozy pocket trip, Wisenheimer ($8.10) found ample room up the inside to defeat Dough Dough in Saturday (July 26) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs.   The five-year-old Revenue gelding achieved the early lead, but driver Jim Marohn, Jr. quickly yielded to the pocket, allowing 6-5 favorite Dough Dough (Mike Simons) to handle the pacesetting duties. While I Love New York (Bruce Clarke) advanced two-wide to force a strong :57.0 middle half, Dough Dough accelerated to maintain her advantage.   After reaching the three-quarter split in 1:24.4, Dough Dough was able to dismiss the challenge of I Love New York, but was softened up by the steady pressure. In the final hundred yards, Wisenheimer found room at the pegs to strike the front, prevailing by just over a neck in 1:53.4. Dough Dough held second, while House Money (Aaron Byron) sustained a three-wide bid off the far turn to take third.   Jenny Melander leases and trains Wisenheimer, who is now a 13-time winner.   The drive aboard Wisenheimer was one of three winners on the evening for Marohn, who again took top driving honors on the card.   Live racing returns to Tioga with an 11-race Sunday program. First post is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

While Aaron Byron scored a Saturday (July 12) night grand slam at Tioga Downs, he could only muster second honors in the evening's featured $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 Trot, as I Love New York ($18.40) dug in through the stretch to narrowly prevail.   The six-year-old Broadway Hall entire brushed to the lead after Obrigado (Aaron Byron) pushed clear in a :28.4 first quarter, rating a :57.4 middle half before facing pressure on the far turn. With 300 yards to go, I Love New York dug in to turn aside the first-over Stitch in Time (Jim Marohn, Jr.), and dug in late to stave off an inside rally from Obrigado, prevailing narrowly in 1:55.2. Trainer-driver Bruce Clarke co-owns I Love New York with John Coffey and Patricia Waldeck.   While I Love New York took top trotting honors on the night, Aaron Byron took top driving honors, teaming up with Muscles to Spare (1:57.3), B L Class Act (1:55.3), Joann's Princess (1:57.0), and Clearwater Hanover (1:55.1) for his quartet of wins on the card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs with an 11-race Sunday (July 13) afternoon card. First post is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

After showing an explosive late kick to prevail in last week's sub-featured trot at Tioga Downs, I Love New York ($34.80) prevailed with a more extended bid in Saturday (June 7) evening's featured $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 event, sweeping past a pair of dueling pacesetters en route to a 1:55 victory.   The six-year-old Broadway Hall entire tracked from midfield as 2-1 favorite Lutetium (Greg Merton) rated a :56 half mile. On the backstretch, Cold Certified (Aaron Byron) engaged Lutetium in an extended duel, while trainer-driver Bruce Clarke positioned I Love New York second-over on the approach to the far turn, fanning three-wide after a 1:24.4 three-quarter split. With the leading pair dueling into defeat, I Love New York swept to the fore, driven to hold sway from a deeper-closing In Your Room (Mike Simons) and the five-wide Bouncing Bax (Howard Parker), prevailing by three-quarters of a length.   Clarke co-owns I Love New York with John Coffey and Patricia Waldeck.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (June 8), with a 13-race afternoon card slated for a 1:30 p.m. (EDT) start.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Pompano Beach, FL...October 6, 2013...Pompano Park kicked off its 50th anniversary season on Saturday in a festive atmosphere featuring a live bugler, the popular Miami Food Trucks, a new wagering format and fireworks...on the toteboard! In the winner’s over feature, Avantage, the longest proposition on the board at 21-1, upset the applecart in scoring his very first win of the year. The seven year-old altered son of Electric Stena, driven by Tom Sells, took full advantage of a suicidal early pace involving the 1 to 10 stable entry of Deep Finesse and B N Bad--:26.1 to the quarter--to sweep into the lead on the final turn to score by 1 3/4 lengths over Fine Fine Fine (Bruce Clarke). Hillybilly (Bryce Fenn) completed the trifecta with Hyperion Hanover and Neptune Blue Chip earning the final two awards. In a post race interview, Sells said, “...this horse kept knocking on the door for so long and that hot pace really helped him. When I tilted him out around that second turn, he really came alive. He rarely misses a check and, finally tonight, he got the lion’s share. He’s just a good, solid, hard trying racehorse!” Trained by Michele Plouffe for owner Elizabeth Zimmerman, Avantage paid $45.20, $13.00 and $27.20 across the board, keying a trifecta payoff of $4,263.00. Fine Fine Fine paid $15.20 and $42.80 while Hillybilly returned $15.60 top show--the lopsided show payoffs resulting from the entry, garnering the vast majority of the show money, being off the board. In Florida Sunshine Stake action, the three year-old Tashia, again handled by Stephane Lareau, extended her winning streak to seven with a splendid 1:55.1 win for owner Jay Sears, who was celebrating his 72nd birthday. Trained by Kim Sears, the versatile free-legged filly motored up from fifth around turn two, engaged the leading Seven Arias (Sells) around the final turn and put her away turning for home, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. Dandee Diamond (Wally Ross, Jr.) finished third. I Spy A Gator and Full Of Moxie earned the final checks in the field of nine. In the Sunshine State Stake for sophomore trotters, Tim T, driven by Tom Sells, easily handled his foes with a gate to wire score and knocked more than two seconds off of his previous lifetime best. His margin was almost five lengths at the end of the 1:56.4 mile. Favored Railee Kwik (Ranger) was second while Proud Expression (Mel Turcotte) finished third. Stablemates Sky Crest and Without Hesitation earned the minors. Tim T is a gelded son of Basil trained by Mike Deters for the consortium of Morosini, Fritz and Prendergast. Earlier in the day, a non-wagering matinee featuring Florida breds in Sunshine State Stakes action was held with noteworthy performances by Sandalonia, J D Eleven Bell’s, Tough Issue, Tyree’s Treasure and Quincy, among others. Sandalonia, driven by Mickey McNichol, took top honors in a division of the juvenile pace for fillies, using a gutsy :29 final panel to hold off La Regina and Gold Star Jessica in 2:00.2. The Six Of Diamonds lass is trained by Sandy Hollon for owner Heddy Nelson. J D Eleven Bell’s, a daughter of Eleven A M, made a bold quarter move to the top and led the rest of the way for Bruce Ranger, stopping the clock in 1:59. In the division for two year-old colts and geldings, Tough Issue Tom Sells), a gelded son of Tough Sir, led every step of his mile, using a :28.1 final panel to establish a new lifetime mark of 1:59.1. Trained by Mike Deters, Tough Issue is owned by Brenda Komers along with the Verderame Stable. The spirited Tyree’s Treasure annihilated her competition with a victory measuring 13 1/2 lengths in a new lifetime best of 2:00.3. Bruce Ranger handled the filly’s lines for trainer Mark Friedman and owners Holliy Proesel and the Polo Stable. Finally, Quincy, who usually likes to race off the pace, used the opposite tactics to win in 1:55.2 for Bryce Fenn. The three year-old son of Six Of Diamonds clocked all the fractions--:28.1, :57 and 1:26.4 before using a :28.3 finale to seal the deal for the Marc Aubin Stable. by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...September 26, 2013...Pompano Park is set to kick off their 50th anniversary pari-mutuel season on Saturday, October 5. John Yinger, Director of Racing, said that this season will feature new wagering options for the fans, as well as several new faces stiffening the competition, a new lighting system and a bump in purses. "We are going to offer a Pick-5 wager to kick things off on the wagering side--this to go along with our popular Pick-3 and Pick-4 bets. Of course, we'll have our usual wide array of other wagers on the menu, too," he said. Some of the new stables expected to heighten the level of competition include those of Jim Hardy, Chris Lems, Dave Stratton, Bruce Clarke, Jimmy Whittemore and Greg Wright. Yinger continued, "With our returning stables of great horsemen like Mike Deters, Wally Hennessey, Jim McDonald, Bruce Ranger, Joe Pavia, Jr. and Rick Plano, just to name a few, the racing will, no doubt, be at it's highest plateau in our 50 year history and we hope the harness community of fans will take notice. "We expect that the addition of Sunday racing, beginning in mid-November, will also get some serious notice from the fans." Pompano will also host a non-wagering program this Saturday, September 28, featuring Florida breds in Sunshine State Stakes competition. The Saturday matinee program has a post time of 11:30 and features many two year-olds beginning their racing careers. Also, the three year-old divisions have drawn some very powerful performers including a renewed rivalry between last season's top two juvenile pacing colt performers, Goldstar Thumper and Hillybilly. Goldstar Thumper, a son of Rock On, was bred and is owned and trained by Tom Audley. "Thumper" was last year's champion in his division, pinning a narrow defeat on arch-rival Hillybilly. He will be making his initial start of the year and will have the driving services of Bob Williams, Jr. Hillybilly, a son of N Aboriginal trained by Marc Aubin for breeder and owner Amanta Standardbreds, is already the author of a 1:52.1 mark this year and will have Bruce Ranger in the bike. The sophomore pacing event for the fillies pits two exceptionally talented fillies against each other--Seven Arias and Tashia. Seven Arias, trained by Mark Friedman for owner by Laura Newbery, was last season's champ, winning the crown of Super Night at Pompano with a splendid 1:55 mile for then trainer-driver Deshawn Minor. She has had but three starts this semester and has a 0-1-2 scorecard but comes into the action off of a sharp 1:58-:58 qualifying win over a track labeled as "good" after drenching rains. Tashia, owned by Jay Sears along with trainer Kim Sears, is on a roll, having secured five straight wins coming into this action. After a winless 2012 season, Tashia has won eight times this year with her last win in a lifetime best 1:55. Stall allocations for the 2013-2014 season have also been announced and are available at the following web site: www.pompano-park.isleofcapricasinos.com.  Click on the "racing" tab, then go to "horsemen" and stall allocations are posted at the top. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Cold Certified won for the 2nd time in two starts in 2013, both on the 5/8th mile oval in Nichols, Ny. Both times Corey Braden put the 4 year old son of Kadabra-I Like Stephanie on the front and both times he never looked back. Tonight, over a tracked listed sloppy after hours of steady rain, Cold Certified wrangled the front in a quick 27.4. After backing down to the half in 57.4, Braden used another burst of speed to lengthen his lead to five thru ¾ in 1:26.1 and cruised home to a length and three quarter victory over a hard charging Windsong Hercules, who shook loose late to close for 2nd, Fool's Revenue was 3rd. Corey Braden posted a driving triple while Bruce Clarke and Victor Kirby each secured driving doubles; Tyler Raymer had a training double. Also taking place during the races was the Annual Miss Tioga contest. A record 19 contestants entered to battle it out for the crown. When the dust settled, Mary Katherine Julp from nearby Vestal, Ny was the winner. She currently attends UMBC studying Biology and Pre-dental. Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Sunday, July 28th with New York Sire Stakes for 3 year old colt pacers, post time will be 1:30pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at www.tiogadowns.com. Jason Bluhm  

Harness racing freshmen fillies, on both gaits, were featured at Cal Expo on Friday night (November 18) in a pair of $15,000 California Sires stakes.

After having to settle for a third-place check in the first California Sire Stakes at the current Cal Expo harness racing meet for the sophomore pacing fillies, Dine N Wine apologized big time in the most recent stakes gathering last week and won going away while returning $9 to those who continued to have faith.

Victories by Pismo Beach and Vari Forgetful gave harness racing driver Bruce Clarke and trainer Bob Johnson a nice Friday night (November 4) daily double in a pair of $15,000 California Sires Stakes at Cal Expo.

At the age of 17, Brandon Bragg has to be one of the youngest, not to mention enthusiastic, harness racing owners at Cal Expo and in the country.

A well-mannered mile combined with being reunited with the pilot who he had won two in-a-row with saw Giles L S Hanover get back on the winning track. Conditioned trotters, racing for a purse of $4,500, were featured at Cal-Expo on Thursday night (October 23), on which Giles L S Hanover was fastest of all.

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