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Lyonssomewhere pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2014 harness racing season as he led from start to finish in capturing the first jewel of the pacing Triple Crown, the $437,325 60th annual Cane Pace at Tioga Downs on Labor Day Monday. Sent off at odds of 19-1, he paid $40.20 to win. A $35,000 supplement to the Cane Pace paid off for the three-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere who will now head out to Delaware, Ohio to go after the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Little Brown Jug, on September 18. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Lyonssomewhere left from post seven and went right to the front with Luck Be Withyou (Ron Pierce) taking the two-hole spot from the rail. They sped to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26 seconds. Lyonssomewhere and Gingras were hot on the lead and took the field to half mile marker in :53.3 as JK Endofanera (Brian Sears) started up first-over with race favorite He’s Watching (Tim Tetrick) second-over. But to the surprise of all, Luck Be Withyou and Pierce came first-over in front of JK Endofanera as they wanted to go first up again Lyonssomewhere to the three-quarters in 1:21.3. It was then that Gingras realized the good position he was in and started to open up his lead by the top of the stretch with Lyonssomewhere as Tetrick has swept three-wide with He’s Watching and started to gain ground with every stride coming down the stretch. But it was too little too late as Gingras kept his colt going strong to win by a half length in a lifetime best clocking of 1:49.4. Doo Wop Hanover (Corey Callahan) was third. Trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Brentford, Ontario, it was the fifth win in nine starts this year for Lyonsssomewhere.   “Ronnie (Pierce) tried a couple of time to come after us,” said Yannick Gingras, “And he was not one of the horses I wanted to follow. I really did not know what I wanted to do behind the starting gate. I would have followed He’s Watching. My horse is handy enough that I could make my decision once the gate left. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold him off (He’s Watching),” said Gingras, “He’s got an awesome kick. Around the last turn I knew he wasn’t in the top four so I wanted to get some separation between the two of us. It worked.” “We supplemented horse,” Takter said, “And when we got post seven I said to owner Jeff Lyons, Gosh we never get any luck with this horse. He had a great week going into this race. I had a feeling he could do it. I know how good he can be. He is a fantastic horse. “That is why we supplemented him to the Cane Pace,” Takter said, “Because he is so lightly staked we wanted to give him a chance in this race and now we will give him a shot in the Little Brown Jug.” “We are all over the moon and thumbs up after this race,” said owner Jeff Lyons, “We know he is a good horse. This time he got a good trip, a fantastic trainer and driver and so we made it.” The Labor Day card also saw Yannick Gingras triumph in the $25,000 Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, winning the sixth race on the card with Cabrera en route to his title. A pair of wins from Matt Kakaley propelled him into second place, while Ron Pierce finished third. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Vernon, NY --- Labor Day weekend harness racing began with a bang at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 29) night as the opening leg of the Tioga-Vernon All-Star Drivers' Championship shared the spotlight with the Zweig Memorial, the Jack Bailey Memorial and the Crawford Farms Trot. All drivers advance to Tioga today (Sept. 1) for round two and the Cane Pace. Following the first four legs of round one of the drivers 'race for the cup' the lead is shared by Yannick Gingras and Ron Pierce with 20 points each. But it was not solely the lure of a $10,000 first prize that drew the top reinsmen to Vernon. With over three-quarters of a million dollars of purse money on the card, and some of the best racehorses in the country, the big guns were happy to be in town. For trainers, the day began with a noon check-in at the detention barn for the top stakes horses. Many horsemen made the most of the opportunity to attend the inaugural Open House at Crawford Farms in Durhamville, just 10 minutes north on route 31 near Verona. With plenty of yearlings to inspect, several trainers like Ron Burke, Linda Toscano, Charlie Norris, Homer Hochstetler and Gates Brunet got a head start on their evaluation rounds. Al and Michelle Crawford put out an elaborate spread of barbecue and refreshments and most attendees spent the sunny afternoon socializing and looking at colts. The crew at Vernon also had a fun-filled evening planned at the Downs, which started with an autograph session with the top drivers and included a T-shirt giveaway as well as the Jim Marohn Jr.bobblehead. Fans lined up along the apron to get the T-shirts and Marohn dolls which were individually emblazoned with the nine different drivers competing. Even the boss himself, Jeff Gural, was on-hand to greet the drivers and fans, and could be seen along the outside fence chatting with the Green Hornet before the card began. Following the third race was the ever popular Racing Under Saddle series $5,700 final. The race was won by Heather Reese who opened up a city block on the rest of the field by the time they rounded the final turn. Team Crawford packed the winner's circle to help celebrate with their colleague and farm manager who was the winning rider in 2:04 with Tymal Oh So Nice. Both Zweig finals went to Takter stable all-stars. Filly Shake It Cerry rallied in 1:53.4 with Ron Pierce driving and improved her seasonal stats to 8 wins in 10 starts and $395,036. Colt Father Patrick got back to his winning ways and eclipsed $700,000 for the season with regular pilot Yannick Gingras in 1:52.2. Despite all the 3-year-old trotting talent on tap, the elixir that the crowd was truly thirsty for was Sebastian K and the rest of the field in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot. The number one horse in North America went off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite and did not disappoint, winning strategically for Svanstedt USA in 1:53, equaling the track record. The Crawford-sponsored purse put the collective earnings of the talented field just over the $15 million mark, and included Archangel (2nd), Market Share (3rd), and 2013 Dan Patch Horse of the Year Bee A Magician (4th). Gingras and Pierce will be reunited today (Sept. 1) at Tioga along with Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Matt Kakaley, Scott Zeron, Jody Jamieson, Jim Marohn Jr. and Chris Lems for the final round. Along with the drivers challenge, the Miss Versatility and the Shady Daisy fill-up the Southern Tier's holiday menu. Highlighted by the $437,325 Cane Pace, first leg of the pacing triple crown, the historic event features glamour boys He's Watching and JK Endofanera. Labor Day in central New York will assuredly go out with a bang as well. by Chris Tully

Repelling a late challenge from Spice It Up Lindy, Twin B Spike Man ($3.10) proved a gutsy 1:54.4 winner in Saturday (August 30) evening's $15,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs, giving Mike Simons one of his four driving wins on the evening.   The seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding wasted no time achieving the lead, brushing clear of Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) after a soft :29.2 first quarter and immediately accelerating through a :57 middle half. Now with Spice It Up Lindy in a tracking position, Twin B Spike Man entered the far turn with a 1-1/2 length advantage. Despite a late challenge in the final yards, Twin B Spike Man held sway for a one-length victory. Stitch in Time (Jim Taggart, Jr.) tracked the top pair the entire mile, checking in a non-threatening third.   Donald Eccleston and Albert Abdala, III co-own Twin B Spike Man with Simons. Gail Wrubel handles the training duties.   Simons was victorious on three other occasions through the evening, teaming up with Brookside Lily ($37.60, 1:58.2), Rock Star ($3.10, 1:53.2), and Current Image ($7.90, 1:58.2) to complete his grand slam.   Live racing returns on Monday (September 1) afternoon, with the 11-race card set for a 1:30 p.m. EDT start. The blockbuster Labor Day program features the 60th Cane Pace, the Shady Daisy, a preliminary Miss Versatility event, and the second half of the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs 

With this being a holiday weekend and with such top notch racing we are doing a second edition of Who Will Win It for this Sunday and Monday. Sunday is headlined by the $175,000 Championship Finals of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for trotters and pacers at the Red Mile plus two divisions of the NYSS at Batavia. Then on Labor Day Monday it’s the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, plus the filly counterpart, the Shady Daisy plus the top older trotting mare battle in the Miss Versatility, all at Tioga Downs. Good Luck! $175,000 Trot Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Colt Final Red Mile 7th race SUNDAY – Even having drawn post nine, Tinder is still the horse to beat in here. He has won both his preliminary rounds including a 1:55.4 mark and has four wins and four seconds in his eight lifetime starts. Use Scacco Matto and Samburu in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Filly Final Red Mile 12th race SUNDAY – Just having six starters in this final won’t make a real difference with Cielle in the field. This filly is nearly unstoppable with six wins and two seconds in eight career starts. She breezed by more than seven lengths last week in a lifetime best 1:57.2 and has beaten everyone else in this field the last few weeks. Use Makeba Hall and Third Sue in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Colt Final Red Mile 13th race SUNDAY – Despite being a late starter this season, On Golden Ponder is making up for lost time for Robert McIntosh Stable. He’s undefeated in both his KYSS preliminary legs including a 1:54.4 romp by four lengths last week. Draws the rail and can win from on or off the pace in here. Use Last Best Chance and Proceed To Party in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Filly Final Red Mile 14th race SUNDAY – Having finished either first or second in her last five starts makes Rollin Deep the one to beat. And she has Hall of Famer Michel Lachance driving to boot! Tough filly can win from on or off the pace as she has in her last two starts. Use Somethinincredible and All Charged Up in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 4th race SUNDAY – Well matched field in here and I am going with Jaded Dream. She won last out at Yonkers in 1:54.4 so she can handle a half mile track and should be able to come from off the pace for Matt Kakley in here. Use Just Add Vodka and Carlota Blue Chip in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 8th race SUNDAY – With seven wins this year and five wins in her last six starts it’s tough to pick anyone else in here but Major Dancer. Class of the field should prevail once again. Use Sweetnsinful and A La Notte Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Mares Open Tioga Downs 3rd race MONDAY – When an entry comes in like world champion Classic Martine and Frau Blucher for the Chris Oakes Stable, you almost can’t pick against them. Yet another entry in the field from Jonas Czernyson includes world champions Maven, D’Orsay and Ma Chere Hall. Now who to pick? I am going with the entry of Classic Martine and Frau Blucher as both are coming off superb victories and may just tag team to win in here. Use D’Orsay/Maven/Ma Chere Hall entry and Charmed Life in exotic plays. $124,325 Pace Shady Daisy 3yo Fillies Tioga Downs 7th race MONDAY – Many will like Fancy Desire in here as she was super game earlier this season but I am going with Katie Said. She has the rail, has been great coming from off the pace in recent weeks with three straight wins and a record mile against top fillies in 1:49.4. Use Fancy Desire and Tyra in exotic plays. $437,325 The Cane Pace 3yo Colts Tioga Downs 9th race MONDAY - All eyes will be on He’s Watching and rightfully so as he is the leading three-year-old in the nation and his connections have set up the Triple Crown as their goal this year. He has been super sharp winning his last four starts impressively. He will be tested again in here but should be up to the task. Use JK Endofanera and Luck Be With You in exotic plays.

Freehold, NJ --- The Pacing Triple Crown begins Monday (Sept. 1) at Tioga Downs in upstate New York, where eight 3-year-old pacers meet in the $437,325 Cane Pace. He’s Watching brings a four-race win streak into the Cane Pace and is undefeated in three lifetime starts at Tioga Downs. Last season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes in 1:50, which established the track record for a 2-year-old. And in his most recent race, a 1:49.1 triumph in the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Aug. 10, he missed the track standard for 3-year-olds by two-fifths of a second. or the year, He’s Watching has won five of eight races, including the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4, and earned $692,247. He’s Watching was not eligible to the Cane Pace, but his connections paid $35,000 to supplement to the race. “He likes Tioga,” said Ontario-based trainer Dave Menary, who owns He’s Watching with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. “Hopefully we’ll keep our Tioga streak alive. “I’m really happy with him. This is the third time he’s had three weeks off between starts and he’s liked it so far. He raced well last time and seems to be in top shape right now. I had him to Mohawk (Racetrack) on Monday and went a good mile with him. “We’ve just kind of followed the same routine every time he’s had three weeks off and it’s working so far. I think we’re ready for Monday.” First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Monday, with the Cane Pace slated for approximately 3:46 p.m. The card also includes the fourth leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters, featuring world champions Classic Martine, Maven, and Frau Blucher. No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He’s Watching, who will be driven by two-time Cane Pace winner Tim Tetrick, will start from post six. “At Tioga, the six hole is fine,” Menary said. “I was hoping not to get the very inside or the very outside. I think from the six hole, it gives Tim a lot of options. I leave (what to do) up to him.” JK Endofanera, who in June won the North America Cup, enters the Cane Pace off a win in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes on Aug. 17 at Tioga Downs. In his previous two starts -- his elimination for the Empire Breeders Classic and the EBC final -- he finished second to He’s Watching. For the year, JK Endofanera has won six of 10 races and earned $660,709 for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables. He starts the Cane Pace from post five with driver Brian Sears. He’s Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries to the Cane Pace, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyonssomewhere. Luck Be Withyou, who won last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers, saw a three-race win streak snapped when he finished in a dead-heat second to All Bets Off in the Carl Milstein Memorial on Aug. 15 at Northfield Park. “There are a lot of horses in there, not just JK,” Menary said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start (in the Triple Crown). I’ve been able to keep him really fresh and he’s been sharp. Hopefully I can keep him sharp. “I’m trying to take it week by week, but he’s still got a lot left on his plate. I think he’s in good form right now and hopefully he can stay that way until the end of the year.” Following is the Cane Pace field with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Bushwacker, David Miller, Chris Ryder; 3. Doo Wop Hanover, Corey Callahan, Steve Elliott; 4. Stevensville, Mark MacDonald, Ray Schnittker; 5. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke; 6. He’s Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 8. Beat The Drum, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby final, Metro final, She's A Great Lady final, Champlain Stakes and Simcoe Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Zweig Memorial, Zweig Memorial Filly and Crawford Farms Trot, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y.; and Cane Pace, Shady Daisy and Miss Versatility, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Aug. 28) at Mohawk Racetrack with three divisions in the C$253,114 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Aug. 29) card at Mohawk features two divisions in the C$249,242 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the C$209,189 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters. The big Saturday (Aug. 30) program is highlighted by the C$667,000 Metro final for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby final for open pacers, the C$480,000 She's A Great Lady final for 2-year-old filly pacers, the C$218,076 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters and the C$207,689 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action will take place at Vernon Downs on Friday night (Aug. 29) with the $340,000 Zweig Memorial main event and $60,000 consolation for 3-year-old male trotters, the $150,000 Zweig Memorial Filly for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot for older open trotters. On Monday (Sept. 1), Tioga Downs will host a trio of Grand Circuit events, led by the $437,325 Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature the $125,000 (est.) Shady Daisy for 3-year-old filly pacers and the $40,000 (est.) fourth leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Mohawk Racetrack this past Saturday night with eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro Pace and the She's A Great Lady. Sweet Lou was a 1:48.1 winner in his Canadian Pacing Derby elimination. Leaving no doubt as to his current superiority, Sweet Lou powered his way to victory in the first Canadian Pacing Derby elimination in preparation for this week's Canadian Pacing Derby final. With Ron Pierce simply a passenger, Sweet Lou, the prohibitive 1-9 choice, was initially tucked in third as Thinking Out Loud clocked the first quarter in a blistering :25, before blowing by the leader and taking the field to the half in :53.3. After opening a couple of lengths on his pursuers while reaching three-quarters in 1:22, Sweet Lou easily prevailed by one length in a stretch drive over the determined veteran Foiled Again, the world's richest pacer, and Domethatagain in 1:48.1. It was Sweet Lou's 10th consecutive win of the year on a 2014 resume which includes victories in the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park, U.S. Pacing Championship and William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and the Ben Franklin at Pocono Downs. Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou, a 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future, has banked more than $3 million, but has enjoyed more success this year than in past seasons, including his 2-year-old campaign in 2011 when he won 10 of 12 starts, capped by the Breeders Crown, and was named divisional champion. Clear Vision, with Brett Miller, nailed stablemate Bettor's Edge at the wire to take the second elimination. The top two finishers are both trained by Ron Burke. Bettor's Edge, the even money choice, had things all his own way for all but the final strides, cutting out leisurely fractions of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.3. But somehow Clear Vision, who finished second by a nose to A Rocknroll Dance in last year's Canadian Pacing Derby, came flying late from last for the nose win in a three-horse photo in 1:50.3. State Treasurer finished a neck behind the winner in third. It was only the fourth win in 19 starts this year for the 8-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover, but by doing so, he went over the $2 million mark in career earnings with his 27th lifetime victory. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 826; 2. Tim Tetrick - 514; 3. Ron Pierce - 396.5; 4. David Miller - 369.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,171.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 569; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 199; 5. Julie Miller - 180. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 258.6; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 231.1; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 162; 4. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 5. Robert Key - 125. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Tioga Downs and Mohawk Racetrack. Tioga will host the Reynolds Memorial events for 2-year-old trotters. Mohawk will offer the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers, Champlain Stakes races for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage for 3-year-olds and William Wellwood and Peaceful Way for 2-year-olds. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Eight top three-year-old pacers will contest the first jewel of pacing's Triple Crown, the 60th Cane Pace, and nine top drivers will contest the second half of the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship on a blockbuster Labor Day (Monday, September 1) card at Tioga Downs.   He's Watching brings a four-race win streak into the $437,325 Cane Pace, carded as Monday's ninth race. Since fading to third in the North America Cup, the son of American Ideal proved a powerful 1:46.4 winner in the Meadowlands Pace and an equally dominant 1:49.1 winner in the Empire Breeders Classic, taking the eliminations for each respective event as well. Usual driver Tim Tetrick has once again been listed by trainer David Menary. He's Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyons Somewhere.   Among those looking to deny He's Watching the first jewel of pacing's Triple Crown are Milstein runner-up Luck Be Withyou and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera.   Luck Be Withyou, the Chris Oakes-trained son of Western Ideal, chased McWicked in the $400,000 Milstein at Northfield two weeks ago, finishing in a dead heat for second with McWicked, just three-quarters of a length behind eventual winner All Bets Off, who pounced up the open stretch. Ron Pierce is listed to drive the nine-time winner.   JK Endofanera, the lone millionaire in the field, rebounded well from a sixth-place finish in the Meadowlnads, taking second in the Empire Breeders Classic before scoring a 1:50.1 Geers Stake win locally. Ron Burke has listed Brian Sears to handle the driving duties.   Ten three-year-old pacing fillies entered the Shady Daisy, which will be raced as a single $124,325 dash in the afternoon's seventh race. Fancy Desire, a $7,500 supplemental entry, leads the full field, having won the $300,000 James Lynch at Pocono in 1:49.3 among seven other career wins. Mark MacDonald has been nominated by trainer Kevin Carr to drive the Real Desire filly. Geers winner Katie Said (Marcus Miller), Pennsylvania standout Tyra (Tim Tetrick nominated), and stakes-placed Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell nominated) are also among the Shady Daisy entrants.   Eight distaff trotters will vie for their share of $40,000 in a Miss Versatility preliminary event, carded as the third race. Divisional standout Maven returned to her winning ways in a Preferred event at Pocono last week, struggling in prior events since returning to the States after a sixth-place finish in the Elitloppet. The Jonas Czernyson trainee will be reunited with regular driver Yannick Gingras, and will race as part of a three-mare entry with stablemates D'Orsay (Corey Callahan) and Ma Chere Hall (David Miller). Classic Martine, who has found her way into the spotlight as of late with wins in the Armbro Flight and Ima Lula events, also draws into the star-studded event, with Tim Tetrick listed to drive the Chris Oakes-trained daughter of Classic Photo.   In addition to the high-profile stakes action, nine of the premier drivers in the sport complete the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, with the first round taking place on Friday (August 29) at Vernon Downs. As in years past, the overall winner of the nine-race tournament takes home a $25,000 first prize--the equivalent of the commission for winning a $1,000,000 race. All nine drivers additionally will donate their commissions to charity.   Tioga Downs honors last year's Driver's Championship winner Jim Marohn, Jr. with a bobblehead giveaway. Fans can receive their bobblehead, as well as a Drivers' Championship t-shirt (while supplies last) at the promotions table on the tarmac prior to and during the races. Post time for the 11-race card is 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Horsemen are advised that entries for the Cane Pace card held Monday (September 1) at Tioga Downs will be accepted until 9:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, August 28. In addition to the 60th Cane Pace, the card features the Shady Daisy for three-year-old pacing fillies and a Miss Versatility event for distaff trotters.   The Monday program will also carry five nine-horse Drivers' Championship events, with Championship races receiving a 20% purse boost from the listed amount on the condition sheet. Additionally, bonuses will be paid to each trainer who enters a horse used for the Drivers' Championship, ranging from $100 to $500. Horses who finish sixth through ninth in Drivers' Championship races will also earn $100.   For the condition sheet, follow the following link: http://www.tiogadowns.com/media/racing/condsheet.pdf   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

August 24, 2014 - In the final two legs before the mid-season break of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Josi Verlingieri dominated her fellow competitors with a net profit of $1,886.25, more than $1,000 ahead of the rest of the pack. While Verlingieri leapfrogged from 8th to 4th place with her performance, Brandon Valvo remains on top at the mid-season break, leading his fellow handicappers with a net profit of $3,604.50, $1,395.80 ahead of his closest competitor, Bob Zanakis Other handicappers had less profitable, though significant weekends. Overall leader Brandon Valvo ended the final weekend of the summer portion of the competition with a weekly net profit of $830 edging out Earl Paulson who had a net profit of $800. As for key wagers for the weekend, after starting off with a $70 loss in Leg 22 (August 15), Verlingieri reversed her fortunes dramatically with a profit of $1,956.25 in Leg 23 (August 16) by going all in with a $125 Win and Place wager on Solar Sister ($27.50, $7.80) in the 3rd leg of the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk Racetrack. For Leg 22, the inaugural Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park, Earl Paulson netted a profit of $662.50 thanks primarily to a $25 Exacta box of three horses ($155 total) which returned $835. Valvo managed a $609 profit in Leg 22 with a $50 Win, Place wager on Milstein Memorial Consolation winner National Debt which returned $475 plus a $10 Trifecta part-wheel ($60) on the Milstein Memorial with its $294 dividend while scoring a $221 profit in Leg 23 primarily with his $10 Trifecta box ($60) in the Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway which returned $206. Paulson scored a $600 profit in the Friday night leg of the competition primarily with a $25 Exacta three-horse box ($150) which returned a gross of $835 and a $137.50 profit on Saturday evening with a $5 Exacta box ($30) in the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation which returned $252.50. Other performances worth noting were Sally Hinckley's $386.50 profit in the Saturday evening stanza with a $20 Trifecta key ($240) in the 3rd division of the Nassagaweya which returned $600 while Rusty Nash scored a $230 profit thanks to a $353 return on a $20 Win, Place wager on the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation. The current standings at the break are: As of August 16, 2014 - Leg 23 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $830.00 $3,604.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($500.00) $2,208.70 $1,395.80 3rd Earl Paulson $800.00 $744.90 $2,859.60 4th Josi Verlingieri $1,886.25 $614.15 $2,990.35 5th Derick Giwner ($143.00) ($44.23) $3,648.73 6th Brian McEvoy ($12.50) ($177.50) $3,782.00 7th Ray Garnett $0.00 ($622.15) $4,226.65 8th Mark McKelvie ($500.00) ($624.00) $4,228.50 9th Rusty Nash $18.52 ($1,624.11) $5,228.61 10th Sally Hinckley $216.10 ($1,671.90) $5,276.40 11th Ann Stepien ($240.00) ($1,749.11) $5,353.61 12th Gordon Waterstone ($500.00) ($1,900.30) $5,504.80 13th Garnet Barnsdale ($498.00) ($2,226.00) $5,830.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($463.00) ($3,046.70) $6,651.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($500.00) ($4,548.40) $8,152.90 by Allan Schott, for HANA

A quartet of Kindergarten Classic events headline this Sunday (August 24) afternoon's card at Tioga Downs.   Freshman trotting fillies contest races 8 and 10 on the 13-race card, with the latter division attracting Tompkins winner Allerage Star (post 2) and Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief (post 6). Four-time winner Mission Brief has amassed quite a resume already, taking the New Jersey Sire Stakes and Merrie Annabelle finals both in dominant front-end fashion, taking a mark of 1:52.2 with Yannick Gingras in the bike.   Gingras is once again listed to drive the daughter of Muscle Hill for trainer Ron Burke. Allerage Star, the other multiple stakes winner in the field, drew off to a four-length win in her Tompkins division last week, taking a mark of 1:55.4 in rein to Corey Callahan. Her other victory came in a Kindergarten division at the Meadowlands, holding off Dynamite Dame for a 1:57.2 win. Scott Zeron has been nominated to handle the driving duties by trainer Jessica Okusko.   The first division for fillies, carded as race 8, features George Ducharme trainee Bee the Queen (Donato Hanover), who was a chasing fourth in her prior Kindergarten effort at the Meadowlands, turning in a 1:55.4 effort. With two of her seven rivals making their career debuts, she looks to be the filly to beat.   Two-year-old trotting colts and geldings contest races 4 and 6 , with the stakes-placed Wheels Ah Smokin a top contender in the first division. The Chuck Sylvester-trained son of Muscles Yankee most recently finished third in his Tompkins division at Tioga, and was fourth to Habitat in a prior Kindergarten Classic division at the Meadowlands. Ron Pierce has been nominated to drive Wheels Ah Smokin, who starts from post 5.   The field also drew Jimmy Takter trainee Falk On Hill S (post 4), who looks to rebound from a break in his Kindergarten split at the Meadowlands earlier in the month.   Takter sends Kindergarten winner French Laundry in the second Kindergarten division, kicking clear to an impressive 1:55.3 Meadowlands win earlier in the month. Usual driver Yannick Gingras is nominated to drive the two-time winner, and they start from post 4. Among French Laundry's six rivals is Party On the River (post 7), a Kadabra colt who took his 1:58.3 mark in an Ontario Sire Stakes event. Mark MacDonald is listed to drive for trainer Patti Harmon.   Due to the Cane Pace drawing only eight entries, they will head directly to the $437,325 final on Labor Day (Monday, September 1). Meadowlands Pace and Empire Breeders Classic winner He's Watching leads the octet, along with North America Cup and Geers winner JK Endofanera. The pair will be joined by Beat The Drum, Bushwacker, Doo Wop Hanover, Luck Be Withyou, Lyonssomewhere and Stevensville.   Sunday afternoon's card at Tioga is slated for a 1:30 p.m. EDT post time.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Only eight three-year-old pacers, three of whom were supplemented to the race at a cost of $35,000 each, have entered the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, that will now feature just a final at Tioga Downs on Monday September 1 (Labor Day). The connections of He's Watching, Luck Be Withyou and Lyonssomewhere, all paid the $35,000 to be in the Cane Pace. The eight entered will race for a purse of $437,325 in the final. World champion He's Watching looms the early race favorite while rival JK Endofanera is also a major contender. Here is the field in alphabetical order: Beat The Drum Bushwacker Doo Wop Hanover He's Watching (supplement) JK Endofanera Luck Be Withyou (supplement) Lyonssomewhere (supplement) Stevensville‎ by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Cane Pace eliminations and Kindergarten leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday (Aug. 23) when Mohawk Racetrack hosts two C$40,000 eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and a trio of C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. More information on those races can be found by clicking on this link. On Sunday (Aug. 24), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $100,000 eliminations for the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature second round action in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Complete entries for the races at Tioga are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway this past weekend with a pair of lucrative stakes for pacing males. All Bets Off used the passing lane to score in 1:50.3 in the Carl Milstein Memorial. All Bets Off, overlooked by the betting public at odds of 7-1, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (Aug. 15) at Northfield Park. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke as the son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope won for the seventh time in 10 season's starts, while his share of the purse took his 2014 earnings to $511,175. All Bets Off is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell. Kakaley steered All Bets Off ($16.60) into the passing lane and he easily went by the tiring leader, McWicked, to reach the finish line on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.3. McWicked and Luck Be Withyou finished in a dead head for second. Stevensville was fourth and Let's Drink On It finished fifth. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Aug. 16) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The time was the fastest ever for an older pacing stallion on a half-mile track, breaking the mark of 1:49 previously shared by Jet Laag and Ponder. It was also the fastest mile ever paced at Saratoga. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Dancin Yankee is a 6-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest, owned by Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. Amber Buter is the trainer and Tyler Buter was in the sulky. The victory was the 15th in 23 season's starts for the bay pacer who lifted his 2014 bankroll to $457,640. Dancin Yankee ($3.90) started from post position three and went right to the front and was never caught through fractions of :25.4, :53.4 and 1:21, before pacing home in :27.4 for the record mile in 1:48.4. Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) sat In The Pocket the entire mile and finished second, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made a first over bid for the front down the backstretch, but could never catch the leader and ended up third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 686; 2. Tim Tetrick - 512; 3. Ron Pierce - 386.5; 4. David Miller - 307.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,071.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 242.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 216; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 132; 5t. Robert Key - 105; 5t. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old male trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, along with the Crawford Farm Trot for older open trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will offer the finals in the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, along with Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and Simcoe Stakes events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and 3-year-old filly pacers. Tioga Downs will contest the final of the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Shady Daisy for sophomore filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Nichols, NY - Eliminations for the 60th Cane Pace ($400,000e), the first jewel in the Triple Crown of Pacing, will be raced on Sunday, August 24 at Tioga Downs.   Entries must be declared with the Tioga Downs Racing Office no later than 9:00am on the morning of Wednesday, August 20. Supplemental declarations (at a cost of $35,000) are also due by that time.   It is interesting to note that supplemental entry (for those horses not currently eligible) to The Little Brown Jug, second leg of the "Crown", requires being the winner of the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace or Cane Pace.   The Cane final will be raced on Labor Day, Monday, September 1.   Also on the August 24 card is the second leg of the Kindergarten Classic Series for freshman trotters.   The condition sheet may be accessed here. The Racing Office may be reached at (607) 699-7688   Nick Salvi

This Week: Review Stakes, Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Ill.; Fox Stake, the Ralph Wilfong, the Horseman Stakes and the Hoosier Stakes, Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Ind.; Carl Milstein Memorial, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Joe Gerrity final, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ont.; and Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Monday (Aug. 11) at the Illinois State Fair with the $35,900 Review Stake for 2-year-old trotters, the $21,450 Review Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $18,800 Review Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Tuesday (Aug. 12) program features the $30,500 Review Stake for 3-year-old pacers and the $28,600 Review Stake for 3-year-old trotters. The Indiana State Fair will host one day of Grand Circuit racing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) with the feature being the $55,462 Fox Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers. The co-featured event is the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds will see two divisions each in the $26,920 2-year-old colt pace, the $26,632 2-year-old filly pace, the $25,928 2-year-old filly trot and the $22,404 2-year-old colt trot. The Horseman Stakes for 3-year-olds features single divisions in the $36,028 3-year-old colt pace, the $33,664 3-year-old filly pace, the $32,728 3-year-old filly trot and the $32,156 3-year-old colt trot. Then on Friday (Aug. 15), Northfield Park will host the $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers and a $100,000 (est.) consolation in the same event. Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host the C$60,000 (est.) Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers on Saturday (Aug. 16) and a C$20,000 (est.) consolation on Friday (Aug. 15). Also on Saturday, Saratoga Casino and Raceway will feature the $260,000 Joe Gerrity for open pacers and Mohawk Racetrack will contest the C$245,000 (est.) Nassagaweya for 2-year-old colt pacers and the C$215,000 (est.) Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Tioga Downs with Tompkins-Geers stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as the 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. These events carry purses estimated from $53,000 for the 3-year-old filly pacers to $85,000 for the freshman colt trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday (Aug. 8). Sweet Lou defeated stablemate Bettor's Edge in 1:47.2 in the Dan Patch. In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing, but stablemate Bettor's Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25. Carol's Comet and Aaron Merriman were well-placed In The Pocket second with the 1-5 favorite, Sweet Lou, next in line in third. Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4. Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader's wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field. Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a half-length to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor's Edge was a game second while Carol's Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window. Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 646; 2. Tim Tetrick - 502; 3. Ron Pierce - 369; 4. David Miller - 290; 5. Brian Sears - 245.   Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,016.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 233.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 211.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. Mohawk Racetrack with contest eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Metro for 2-year-old colt pacers and the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old filly pacers on Saturday (Aug. 23). The Sunday (Aug. 24) card at Tioga Downs will offer eliminations for the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds and the second leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Trainer Dave Menary is focused on getting He's Watching prepared for Sunday's $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old male pacers at Tioga Downs, but he's also looking forward to the colt's next probable challenge: A shot at the Pacing Triple Crown. The first jewel in the Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, is scheduled for Sept. 1 at Tioga Downs, with eliminations, if necessary, Aug. 24. He's Watching is not eligible to the Cane Pace, but Menary - who owns the horse with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust - is ready to pay the $35,000 fee to supplement to the race. "That's my game plan," Menary said. "I have a lot of goals. In the short term, I'm looking at Sunday. Right after Sunday, I'm concentrating on the Triple Crown. The Cane kicks it off. We've got to ante up and supplement to the Cane, and that's our plan. We plan on supplementing to the Cane. We plan on being there with bells on. "Hopefully things go well this week. We've got a decision to make and it's something I'll talk about with all my partners. But we're pretty confident in what we've got. You can't win the Triple Crown if you don't win the first leg of the Triple Crown." No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He's Watching has won four of seven races this year and brings a three-race victory streak to the Empire Breeders Classic final. For his career, the son of American Ideal-Baberhood, has won 12 of 15 starts and $856,207. Last Sunday, He's Watching won his EBC elimination by a half-length over JK Endofanera in 1:51.1 over a sloppy track. He's Watching, who was making his first start since winning the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4 on July 12, starts the EBC final from post three with driver Tim Tetrick. He is the 4-5 favorite on the morning line. "He's had a super week," Menary said. "He keeps making me look good. I'm pretty confident heading to the final. We were lucky to get the job done in the elimination and we got to pick our post. I couldn't be happier with what I see. I trained him very easy, but I loved the way he trained on Wednesday. He loves his work." Last year, He's Watching was 8-for-8 and received the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer. Among his victories was a 1:50 triumph that established the track record for 2-year-old pacers at Tioga Downs, and at the time was the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old colt on a five-eighths-mile oval. "I think I have the fastest horse going, but I think I also have one of the freshest horses going," Menary said, referring to He's Watching having two three-week layoffs since the end of May. "I'm pretty confident. He ships well, he does well; he's a special horse." JK Endofanera, who won the North America Cup on June 14, is among two horses in the EBC final trained by Ron Burke. The entry is 2-1 on the morning line despite JK Endofanera and driver Brian Sears drawing post eight. JK Endofanera has won five of eight races this year and nine of 15 in his career, with total earnings of $941,642 for owner 3 Brothers Stables. Winds Of Change, who won the other EBC elimination, will start from post one for driver David Miller and trainer Linda Toscano. His victory last Sunday, with Tetrick driving, was his first in six starts this season. The son of American Ideal-Art's Temptress, has won three of 13 career races, including divisions of the Champlain and Tompkins-Geers stakes, and is owned by Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Part of an entry with Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account, Winds Of Change is 6-1 on the morning line. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs announce a new format for the 2014 Drivers' Championship, scheduled to take place on a pair of marquee race days at both New York courses. The first round will take place at Vernon Downs on Friday, August 29, along with the $200,000e Crawford Farms Open Trot and the Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds. The second round is slated for Monday, September 1--three days later--at Tioga Downs, where the Drivers' Championship will share the spotlight with the Cane Pace, the Shady Daisy, and a preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility series for distaff trotters. Past years have seen the six top money-winning drivers in North America and a sponsor's exemption join the leading driver from both Tioga and Vernon, but the 2014 Drivers' Championship will implement a new means to compile the nine-driver field. This year, the leading drivers (by wins) at Tioga and Vernon will be joined by: - the top three (3) Meadowlands drivers (by purse earnings) - the top Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit driver - the top Harrah's Philadelphia/Pocono Downs driver - the top driver aged 25 or younger - a sponsor's exemption As of right now, the field would be comprised of Jim Marohn, Jr., Chris Lems, Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Tim Tetrick, Sylvain Filion, George Napolitano, Jr., Scott Zeron, and the sponsor's exemption. The field will be finalized according to drivers' statistics as of the close of racing on Sunday, August 3. As in past years, the overall winner takes home $25,000--equivalent to a driver's commission for winning a $1,000,000 race. Additionally, the leader at the conclusion of the first round wins $10,000. In addition to a slew of other giveaways and promotions, both tracks will host a Jim Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway in conjuction with the Drivers' Championship to commemorate last year's winner. With a healthy lead over Aaron Byron in the Tioga Downs standings, the "Mighty Mite Part Two" is poised to defend his title. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

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