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Everyone knows that harness racing was weaned on the half mile tracks and many a young driver learned the ropes while competing in the races at the nation's county fairs. Now, with those states who have sire stakes programs the events not only have helped preserve county fair racing but the added purse monies made available has spawned groups of horsemen who race primarily on the county fair circuits. New York State has a good program for those who prefer to race at that level, and many do. At summers end, those who raced the New York Sire Stakes County Fair circuit this year will convene at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, September 2 with their colts and fillies who earned the right to compete in the series $10,000 finales which are available for the eight colt and filly pacing and trotting divisions. Besides having earned enough points to qualify for the finals, still there's a condition with the amount of county fair starts that are also needed. Among the trainer/drivers who are the stalwarts on the NYSS County Fair circuit are Harold "Joe" Smith and Doug Ackley. Year in and year out these very talented horsemen develop colts and fillies that are standouts in their divisions. And this year is no exception. Ackley, 70, developed three that will be racing on the card and he'll be on the driver's seat behind each of them. Of the three, J A TO, a freshman trotting colt by Big Apple Deli, has most impressive credentials with eight wins in nine county fair starts and nearly $11,000 in purse money. His fastest victory was clocked in 2:07. Ackley's Amma Crazed, a 2 -year-old daughter of Crazed which he drives regularly, has three wins and has been on the board in all 11 of her starts. She bankrolled nearly $11,000 for Ackley who co-owns the filly with Tyra Joanne Ackley. Over the years Ackley, from Gowanda, NY, has earned nearly$2 million racing at the New York Fairs and has won 793 races rarely driving over 100 times a season. Harold "Joe" Smith, from Malone NY, at 80 years of age is having one of his best years in the sulky with 26 wins in 67 starts with a UDR of .580. In his career Smith has drive 953 winners and his mounts-mostly his own-have earned $1.24 million. He qualified four youngsters for the finals with his own Sterling Cadet, the favorite to win the 3 year old colt and gelding trot. This altered son of Conway Hall has 10 wins and seven seconds in 19 starts and purses of $32,380 this year with a 1:58.3 record taken at Saratoga Raceway. And Smith's Olivia's Z Tam, a sophomore Bettor's Delight pacing filly has seven wins, four seconds and $16,343 in 19 seasonal outings. Although Smith did all the driving at the fairs he'll had the lines in the $10,000 finals to Jimmy Devaux. Now well-seasoned after a summer racing at the New York fairs and at a few pari-mutuel tracks along the way, the entered youngsters will surely open the eyes of the railbirds who perhaps feel that because of where they raced, they may not be worthy of attention. But put that notion to rest because all the entrants in the eight NYSS County Fair Finals will make their sires and dams proud a make good showings, win or lose. There will be no live races at the Mighty M on Labor Day but on Tuesday, September 2 the NYSS County Fair Finals will be joined by six overnight events on the 14- race card which will have a 12:50 pm post time. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Harness racing two year old colt and gelding trotters were in town on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to take part in the New York Sire Stakes. Three divisions of the $53,500+ stakes races for freshman trotters highlighted the card with Trond Smedshammer's Buen Camino (Cash Hall) leading the way as the fastest among stakes winners. Buen Camino was the favorite in his four horse division of the Sire Stakes after three rivals were scratched. Coming off of a convincing, career best win in 1:58 at Batavia, Buen Camino moved out to the early lead in his local debut and battled major danger Home'n Dry (Wally Hennessey) throughout the final quarter before that one made a break late in the stretch and was subsequently disqualified from second. Buen Camino was the fastest of the three winners in the 'big time' stakes races by almost two seconds. Favored Sugarmakesmecrazy (Crazed) held on to win for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt in 2:02.3 and Andy Ray (Crazed) pulled off an upset for reinsman Steve Smith and trainer Erv Miller with his victory in 2:01 while dismissed at odds of 17-1 in the other two big stakes races on the card. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella  

Crazy About Pat (Crazed) pulled off a mild upset in the $14,000 featured trotting race on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Paul Kelley trainee won his previous start which was his first for new connections and on Friday battled some of the top local trotters. Benefiting from an early speed duel, Crazy About Pat and reinsman Shawn Gray moved three wide at the three quarter pole and outtrotted his rivals home to win 1:55.3. The four-year-old trotter moved his career earnings to over the $400,000 mark with his win that came at odds of 7-1. Longshot Walltocousins (Joe Bongiorno) held second while Slugfest (Jay Randall) closed for third. The victory was one of three on the night for Shawn Gray. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. was the star of the evening on Friday night at Vernon Downs. He won with six of his nine drives on the 12-race program.   One of those wins was with Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing) in the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The win was the seventh consecutive Sire Stakes win for Gural Hanover. Gural Hanover actually sat second behind Wild And Crazy Guy (John Macdonald) through the opening quarter of 27.4 seconds.   As the field moved into the backstretch, however, Gural Hanover powered to the lead and never looked back. He dominated the remainder of the race and eventually moved away with authority in the stretch to win by four lengths.   The rest of the fractional times were 56.4 for the half, 1:25.3 for three-quarters, and a final time of 1:53.3. Wild And Crazy Guy tracked Gural Hanover after being passed, but could never again mount a serious threat. The complete order of finish for the second division of the New York Sire Stakes was: Gural Hanover, Wild And Crazy Guy, Zoey De Vie, Karets, and Hallanet.   Gural Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Little E LLC and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York. The trainer is Ron Burke.   The first division of the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for the sophomore trotters actually produced a better final time of 1:52.4.   The winner was Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Gal), driven by Mark MacDonald. The race was similarly run to the second division, as Royal Max (John Macdonald) led through the opening quarter of 26.4 before Flyhawk El Durado moved past and led the rest of the way.   The half was 56.1 seconds and three-quarters went by in 1:24.3. The complete order of finish for this division of the New York Sire Stakes was Flyhawk El Durado, Royal Max, Expressive Action, Daley Lovin, Mister Anson, and Lukas Hall.   Flyhawk El Durado is owned by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York and trained by Mark Ford.   The dominant man of the evening, though, was Morrill. He started the evening off right, winning with his first two drives, Winbak Glory in the second and Morning Joe in the third.   He didn't return to the Winner's Circle until the seventh race with Genius At Work in the first division of the New York Excelsior "A" Series.   The score with Gural Hanover in the ninth followed. That was part of a natural hat trick of wins for Morrill to wrap up his night. He won with Engagedatlexington in the tenth and Flaming Yankee in the eleventh. Morrill also finished second twice on the night, with Omnipotent in the fifth and Crazzycrazzy in the eighth.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Saturday night with a 12-race program. First post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

3-year-old trotting colts take the spotlight at Vernon Downs on Friday night as the New York Sire Stakes return with two strong divisions as part of the 12-race harness racing program.   The first division is carded as the sixth race with a purse of $59,100, featuring a field of six. The 9-5 morning line favorite is Flyhawk El Durado, owned by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York. Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Gal) is currently working a three-race win streak entering Friday night. All of those wins have been in New York Sire Stakes races, two coming at Yonkers and one at Batavia.   The colt will be driven by Mark MacDonald and is trained by Mark Ford. Also of note in the first division is a horse named Lukas Hall. While Lukas Hall (Conway Hall-Goddess Of War) might be 10-1 on the morning line, his ownership tandem is worthy of an extra look. Former New York Jet wide receiver, Wayne Chrebet, is part owner with Little E LLC. Little E LLC represents Vernon Downs owner, Jeffrey Gural. Chrebet played 11 seasons with the Jets and is the team's 5th all-time leading receiver   While the first division is going to be excellent, the $59,100 second division of the New York Sire Stakes on Friday could produce something very special. The 9-5 morning line choice is Gural Hanover, who has won six consecutive New York Sire Stakes races at five different racetracks. Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing). Given the name, it is easy to determine that Little E LLC of Jeffrey Gural is part of the ownership group, as well as Burke Racing Stable & Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York. Jim Morrill Jr. will be the driver and Ron Burke is the trainer.   However, Gural Hanover might not have a very easy time of it making that win streak a Lucky Seven. There appears to be strong competition from Zoey De Vie and Cash Me Out. Zoey De Vie (Conway Hall-Pauls Wink) is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. He has a previous New York Sire Stakes win at Monticello on July 15. Mark MacDonald will drive for trainer Heidi Rohr. He is owned by Jesse and John De Long of Clinton, Wisconsin. Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) had a pair of New York Sire Stakes wins earlier this year at Saratoga and Buffalo in June. Cash Me Out is owned by Traylor Racing LLC of Ballston Spa, New York. Michael McGivern drives and Cheryl McGivern trains Cash Me Out.   The 12-race program on Friday also includes two divisions of the New York Excelsior "A" series, three divisions of the New York Excelsior "B" Series, and a $10,000 Open Trot. First post time on Friday night at Vernon Downs is 6:45pm. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

Batavia, NY---Perfect weather and a lightning fast track provided record-breaking conditions for Buen Camino and trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and the pair did not disappoint. They were never headed in a $55,500 division of the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs and rewrote history. In an uncharacteristic move, Smedshammer sent Buen Camino out of the gate and put him right on the point; something the 2-year-old had never done before. But it wasn't done by accident; his driver had a plan. Smedshammer said after the race "It was time to put him on the front end. He was very good tonight." And perhaps very good was an understatement. After cutting fractions of :29.3, :59.4 and 1:29.2, Buen Camino pulled away from the pack while motoring in a :28.3 final panel to post a lifetime mark of 1:58 flat, which was also a new track record at Batavia Downs for 2-year-old trotting geldings. Post time favorite Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) got caught second over in a dull outer flow behind Andy Ray (Brent Holland) and followed that one to the top of the last turn before tipping three deep. But by that time it was too late as Buen Camino had opened up three and was cruising for the wire. Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) who skirted the pylons during the mile caught second and Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory) closed well to be third. The winner paid $22.40. This was the second win in only four lifetime starts for Buen Camino (Cash Hall-Baby Bella) and it boosted his earnings to $64,722 for owner Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stable LLC. After the race, Polisseni said "He's been a nice horse since day one but he's had some bad trips along the way. Trond really likes him and we're both very optimistic for next year." In the other $54,500 division, Tidquist (Conway Hall-Appomattox Lady) captured his first lifetime win in a convincing wire-to-wire, 1:59.4 victory for driver Mike Simons. Shooting quickly off the wings, Tidquist took a powerful four-length lead to the quarter pole where most of the field had trouble keeping up with him. After marking the first three stations in :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1, Royal Deceptor (Michael Mc Givern) who had been tracking him second, finally got close and pulled to challenge at the top of the lane. But Tidquist had another idea and turned on the speed to fly home in a sparkling :28.3 final quarter to win by a widening length and a quarter. Royal Deceptor hung on for second and Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) was third. Overlooked by the bettors, the winner paid $27.60. The win was the first in six lifetime starts for Tidquist and was responsible for the bulk of his $33,196 in earnings for owners Robert Brooks, Jana Bowen, John Buettner and Charlene Long. Tidquist is trained by Jeffrey Long. There were also three divisions of the Excelsior Series that went for a total of $38,000. Abir Hanover (Credit Winner-Are You Ready) captured the first $12,600 division in 2:01.2 for trainer Paul Kelley and driver Jason Bartlett and paid $4.60. Abir Hanover is owned by Paul Kelley, W.J. Donovan and Theodore Gewertz. Lucky Pablo (Lucky Chuck-Classical Princess) won the second $12,700 split, also in 2:01.2 for trainer/driver John Stark Jr. and paid $24.00. Lucky Pablo is owned by Edmund Smith, Crawford Farms LLC, James Giannuzzi and David Smith. And in the third session, Crazshana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) won the $12,700 contest in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and paid $3.50. Crazshana is owned by the Purple Haze Stable LLC. The Purple Haze Stable sent out three winners on the evening and drivers Trond Smedshammer and Mark MacDonald both had driving triples. Racing resumes on Friday (Aug. 22) at Batavia Downs with a 12 race card that has a 6:35 post time.   Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY--- $110,000 is up for grabs in two divisions of New York Sire Stake action for freshman trotting colts and geldings on Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs. The fourth race has seven horses going postward in the first division for $54,500 in purse money. Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty-Art Of Deception) went wire to wire in his career debut at Buffalo Raceway in a sparkling time of 1:59.3, which set a new track record. That win at Buffalo makes him one of only two horses in the race to be victorious over a half-mile track. He then won at Tioga before finishing third at Yonkers. After being scratched sick on August 2, Driver Michael Mc Givern elected to race the colt from behind rather than on the point like had all year. Assuming he needed that start after his 17 day layoff, Royal Deceptor has a great chance to rebound here with his early speed from post five for trainer Cheryl Mc Givern. Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparkling Cider) has been spectacular on bigger tracks this year for trainer George Ducharme, but has had his challenges over the half-mile ovals. In his last four starts he has set two consecutive lifetime marks at Tioga Downs (1:57.4) and Vernon Downs (1:56) but in between has made breaks off the gate at Yonkers and Monticello Raceway. Regular driver Chris Lems will try to make him behave from the rail to get his third victory of the year. Pier Ho Exotic (Conway Hall-Rose Run Exotic) has had just the opposite history. He made breaks at Tioga and Vernon but has a win at Buffalo Raceway in 2:01, a second at Yonkers and a fifth at Monticello after being parked out most of the mile. Pier Ho Exotic is the other horse in the race to win over a half-mile track and John Cummings Jr. will once again be on board from post two for trainer Megan Wilson. The second $55,500 division is carded as race eight and has eight starters. It also features a battle between the top point's leaders for this sex and gait. Gabe The Bear Dean (Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch) had a flawless performance last week at Monticello Raceway when he went gate to wire in 1:58.4. The four and three-quarter length victory was his fourth in six starts and boosted his earnings to $74,119 for the year. Trainer/driver Ray Schnittker will have to overcome post six in the full field of eight but has the gate speed to do it. Mambo Blue Chip (Lucky Chucky-Flirty Two) has been nearly flawless for trainer Linda Toscano his last four starts, winning three and finishing second by only half a length. Those victories helped bank his $68,169 for the year and leave him tied with Gabe The Bear Dean atop the NYSS leaderboard for 2-year-old trotting colts with 183 points. Mambo Blue Chip has Jeff Gregory aboard from the rail and that puts him in the perfect spot for his stalking style. Insomniac (Crazed-Catch Some Z's) has a win and two seconds since coming into the Paul Kelley stable on July 19 and that includes a 1:56.4 lifetime mark at Vernon Downs. In his other two starts he was narrowly defeated by today's favorites, Gabe The Bear Dean at Yonkers in 1:58.3 and Mambo Blue Chip at Monticello in 1:59.3. Jason Bartlett who has driven Insomniac for most of the year is aboard again, looking to avenge those defeats. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series on the card with total purses amounting to $38,000. The most closely contested of those is the tenth race where Crashana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) is coming off back-to-back three length victories and is set to go against Lucky Budd (Lucky Chucky-Britt's Spirit) who also has back-to-back victories going into tonight. Both horses scored their wins on the same nights at the same tracks, but raced in different divisions. They also both sport 1:57.3 lifetime marks at Vernon Downs. Looking to play spoiler is Titanium (Conway Hall-Classic Yankee) who dropped into Excelsior action from the NYSS last week to collar his first win of the year at Monticello in 2:01.2, the same night Crashana and Lucky Budd raced and won. Facing these two for the first time and drawing inside them, Titanium will look to become the dominant trotter in this series tonight. Post time for the first race is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Barn Doll got off to a slow start but she finished first and fastest of four divisions of New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Batavia Downs. After getting away a gapped fourth, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and driver Jeff Gregory watched as Jim Morrill Jr.'s Pig Hunt cut out speedy fractions of :29 and :59.3, while pulling just before that second station. After starting the outer flow, Barn Doll slowly advance towards the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:30 flat. Once being eased around the last turn, Gregory got the filly in gear and she simply out-motored the rest to win in an impressive 1:59.4. Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) who followed Pig Hunt the whole race was second and My Lucky Word (Mark MacDonald) closed outside to be third. The winner paid $4.70. This was the fifth win in seven starts for the Steve Pratt trained Barn Doll who has now earned $70,712 on the year for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stable. She is the current point's leader in the NYSS standings for her gait and sex. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Laverne Lavec) won the second fastest division, going wire-to-wire in 2:01. After leaving hard to grab the lead, Mark MacDonald then grabbed leather to perfectly rate the game trotter through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 before flying home in a brisk :29.1 to register the win. Betcha (Dan Daley) was second and Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) was third. Nunkeri paid $3.50. Nunkeri is owned by Millstream Inc. and the Nunkeri Stable and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. This was her second win in five starts in 2014 and brings her bank up to $49,825. Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) also won her division in 2:01 but had to do it amidst an overabundance of road trouble. At the start of the race, Duolectra (Mark MacDonald) made a break which allowed Kaliska to inherit a quick lead. That lead was subsequently challenged by Summer Scent (Dan Daley) to the quarter in :30.2. Once she cleared, Kaliska and Ray Schnittker followed close behind while watching Concentration (Chris Lems), Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Spell That (Sam Schillaci) make breaks at various points of the mile. Once pulled, Kaliska out-dueled Summer Scent to the wire to win by almost two lengths. Kaliska returned $15.00 to win. The victory was the second of the year for Kaliska and pushed her earnings to $44,957 for owners Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable, Farm Alber Horse Racing LLC and Ray Schnittker, who is also her trainer. In the fourth split, Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann's Fan) proved dominant in what became a very short field very fast. With an early scratch and Miss B'ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Hot Start (Mark MacDonald) making breaks before the eighth pole, Zanna Blu found herself with a commanding lead and only three contenders behind her. Driver Gates Brunet took her through fractions of :30.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 with a five-length lead, before shutting her down with a line-drive to a length and three-quarter win in 2:01.1. She returned $6.90 to her backers. This was the third win in six starts for Zanna Blu and her owners Albert Crawford, Michelle Crawford and James Crawford. The winners share pushed the Gates Brunet trained filly's cash total to $47,176 for 2014. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior series on the card. Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Darling Marissa) who was driven by Mark MacDonald won the first $12,600 division in 2:00.4 for owner/trainer Janice Conner. Long Summer (Prayer I Am-Summer Ran) driven by Jeff Gregory won the second $12,700 split in 2:04.2 for owner Roy Dobbins and trainer Andrew Byler. And Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) was driven by Mark MacDonald and won the last $12,700 session in 2:02.4 for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt. Barn Girl is trained by Howard Okusko. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered his 6,000 career driving victory in a non-betting Excelsior B race with Ron's Coren in 2:04.1. Along with the wins, Morrill has pocketed purses totaling $87,659,175 during his career and annually remains one of the highest UDR reinsmen in the sport. Drivers Jeff Gregory and Mark MacDonald both scored driving triples on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 20) with post time at 6:35. The card features two divisions of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

The weather was far from perfect for the Batavia Downs leg of the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday (Aug. 13) as premature autumnal conditions presented cold temperatures, rain and a track rated as "good". But the tough got going and in one race, a major upset was the result. In the first $59,100 NYSS division, Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) was sent off as the even-money favorite and proved her backers correct as she made a big move at the half and cruised home victorious. Off the gate, L Dees Scripture (Chris Lems) left for the lead and quickly faced a strong challenge from Oh Sweet Penelope (Dan Daley) up the backside. But just before the quarter that challenger made a break so Lems then guided L Dees Scripture unabated to the half in 1:01. At that point Avalicious was out and rolling from fourth with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines to push the issue before swooping by the leader to take command at the three-quarters in 1:30.3. Once they cleared, Morrill gave the filly her head and she trotted away in easy fashion to win in 2:00.4. Beauty Of Gray (Jim Meittinis) shook loose for second and Lindys Crazy Dolly (Jeff Gregory) who was aired out hung on for third. Avalicious paid $4.30 to win for owners Michelle Crawford, Albert Crawford and Patricia Crawford. This was her fourth win in 11 starts this year and it pushed her earnings to $148,640 for trainer Ron Burke. The second $59,100 split saw a major upset occur when 1-9 favorite Market Rally made a break attempting to take an early lead. When the car pulled away to start the race, Driving Miss Crazy (Gates Brunet) and Gammy's Girl (Jim Meittinis) both left and got away 1-2 as they straightened out up the backstretch. Market Rally (Jim Morrill Jr.) had tucked fourth off the wings to let the field settle, but then was pulled and started rolling past the eighth pole. As they passed the quarter in :30 flat, Market Rally got ahead of the front runner to take the lead. But just as soon as she crossed over she made a break and ended up last, spotting the new leader about 10 lengths. That leader (Driving Miss Crazy) tended to her task, carrying the field to the half in 1:01.1 and the three-quarters in 1:30.4. After a dull outer-flow offered no challenge through the middle fractions, Annie's List (Tyler Buter) managed to overtake second and a still last Market Rally then tipped three-high around fading horses to start making up ground. As they straightened out for the stretch drive, Brunet was working Driving Miss Crazy to stay alert on the lead, Buter was urging Annie's List to catch her and Morrill was working Market Rally to make up lost ground. After a good stretch drive, the trio hit the wire a length apart from each other with Driving Miss Crazy victorious in 2:00.4. In a tight photo for place, Market Rally did in fact rally for second and Annie's List was third. In the shadow of the overwhelming favorite, Driving Miss Crazy was let go at 10-1 and paid $22.60 to those who supported her. This was the sixth win in 13 starts for Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) who has now earned $124,017 in 2014 for trainer Gates Brunet and owners Theodore Gewertz, Y Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and chalk bettors were in heaven as favorites dominated both races. Right after the $12,600 first division started, Little Baby Peanut (Jeff Gregory) and Twist Of Faith (Tyler Buter) both made breaks as the group motored into the first turn. That left Classic Belisima (Gates Brunet) on a loose lead with Do You Believe (Jim Morrill Jr.) getting the trip as the group went single-file to the quarter in :30.4 and the half in 1:02.2. Past the five-eighths Morrill pulled the pocket sitter and drew even with Classic Belisima and the two went stride for stride around the entire last turn. When they straightened out, Do You Believe proved to be the better horse as she pulled away to a two-length victory in 2:01.4. Classic Belisima hung on for second and Ginny And Tonic (Ray Fisher Jr.) got up for third. Do You Believe paid $2.30 as the heavy favorite for owners Brian Doolittle and Leigh Raymer, who also trains the filly. In the second $12,700 division, Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) turned in the fastest time of any of the stake races during the night, be they NYSS or Excelsior, in a dominating performance for trainer Tracy Brainard. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. eased Dreamsteeler out of the gate and took his time getting to the front. But once they got there the filly was brave and Morrill had his hands full rating the mile. However he did a perfect job as they scooted through even fractions of :30, 1:00 and 1:30. Down the lane, Morrill sat chilly as Dreamsteeler just jogged home in 1.59.4. How Bout Cash (Chris Lems) and Slice Slice Baby (Tyler Buter) completed the top three finishers in that order. Dreamsteeler went off 1-9 and paid $2.20 to win. It was her sixth win in seven starts and brought the 2014 Excelsior points leading filly's coffers up to $34,950. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. brought home four winners on the night and Gates Brunet and Tyler Buter both piloted doubles. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 15) with a 6:35 pm post. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Trainer Jody Weidman and driver Jay Randall teamed up for a pair of winners on the Tuesday card at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Vernon Downs-based Weidman has always done well when he has brought members of his stable to the Spa over the last several years and tallied a trainer's double with conditional trotters Ozymandias (Crazed) and Bluebird Jamaican (Southwind Elian). Ozymandias was his race's 1-5 betting favorite as he dropped in class and had little trouble swooping the group to prevail in a seasonal best 1:58.4. Bluebird Jamaican overcame a first over journey to win a photo in 2:00. Each of the Weidman trainee's victories came in $4,000 conditional trotting races. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. Mike Sardella  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 12, 2014--Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night hosted the $221,000 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. A total of 13 entered a pair of six-figure divisions. The harness racing event honored the memory of the Basketball Hall of Famer, former New York Knickerbocker standout-and avid horseplayer-with family and friends making winner's circle presentations. As luck and form would have it, the two winners here were the same two that won this division's last downstate go-round not quite three weeks ago. The first ($109,500) grouping saw last season's frosh statebred champion, Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald, $2.50), deliver on a puny parimutuel promise (:28.3, 58.2, 1:28, 1:56.1). In play from post position No. 2, he played leapfrog with Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern), then completed his appointed. "El Durado" whipped Cash Me Out by a length-and-a-quarter, with Daley Lovin' (Dan Daley) third. For the in-form Flyhawk El Durado, a son of Conway Hall trained by Mark Ford for owner Martin Scharf, it was his fifth win (third consecutive) in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.50, with the triple returning $10.80. "Right now, he's as good as anyone in the division," MacDonald said. "When he stays calm, which he didn't always do, he can trot all day and dig in at the end." The second ($111,500) sire stakes event saw odds-on choice Gural Hanover (Morrill Jr., $2.60) make one move to the lead, then turn out the lights. Settling fifth early from post No. 7, the people's choice saw Royal Max (John Macdonald) put thrown down a :28.4 opening gauntlet. From there, Gural Hanover made the lead (:58.1, 1:27, 1:56.2) and slammed the door. He whipped Royal Max by four lengths, with Mister Anson (Jeff Gregory) third. The only other entrant under double-digit odds, second choice Zoey De Vie (Jason Bartlett), broke early. For Gural Hanover, a Crazed gelding co-owner (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Little E and Panhellenic Stables, it was his seventh win (sixth consecutive) in nine '14 tries. The exacta paid $9.70, with the triple returning $49.80. New York Sire Stakes continue Thursday night, with the $194,800 Frank Becerra Pace for 2-year-old fillies. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

Batavia, NY --- The $118,200 New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies invades Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 13) and features the top series performer of the year so far for her sex and gait. Market Rally (Cash Hall-Supreme Dish) enters the night riding a five race winning streak, all in NYSS competition. Her dominance of this group is reflected in the combined 21 length total margin of victory over the course of those races. To date, Market Rally is currently the top point-getter in her division of the NYSS, doubling her nearest competitor. She has won purses amounting to $218,025 and has taken a lifetime mark of 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs for trainer Ron Burke. That $218,025 purse total ranks her fourth in North America for purses won by 3-year-old trotting fillies and eighth for earnings by 3-year-old trotters of either sex. In her last two starts at Yonkers and Saratoga Raceway, Market Rally's win times were 1:56.4 and 1:55.4 respectively. The Batavia Downs track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies is 1:57.2 set by Cowgirl Hall in 2012 and then equalled by Bouncing Bax in 2013. So the track record has a very good chance of being reset on Wednesday night. Market Rally will be driven by leading NYSS reinsman Jim Morrill Jr. and has been installed as the track handicapper's prohibitive morning-line favorite at 1-5. Annies List (Conway Hall-Lasting Forever) is the second highest money-earner in this race ($126,273) but has a penchant for finishing second (6 out of 9 starts). She likes to race from off the pace and has solid final quarter speed. Starting in this short field and having Market Rally to give her live cover in an outer flow, Annies List is a definite threat for trainer Amber Buter and driver Tyler Buter. Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) has been racing sharp of late for trainer-driver Gates Brunet. She won at Saratoga in 1:57.2 two starts back and tried to out-foot Market Rally last week as she cut the mile at Yonkers. A similar pattern looks to be taking shape here and her success seems dependenton how fast the fractions go. The first $59,100 division is a wide open affair that has 8-5 Avalicious co-favored with 9-5 Beauty Of Gray. Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) won an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic and finished second in the $217,725 final at Vernon Downs in June. Since that start the filly has encountered some breaking issues in two of her last five starts. Road trouble in her last two further cost her success. Beauty Of Gray (Conway Hall-Armbro Sparkle) has raced well but has not been able to get across first at all in 2014. She has four seconds on her card in her last five outings and has earned just under $100,000 for the year. Jim Meittinis has driven Beauty Of Gray in every start this year and will try to garner her first win of the season for trainer Tommy Anderson. Trainer Julie Miller has a stable entry in the race and that two-for-one offering has been made a 2-1 morning selection. L Dees Scripture (Credit Winner-Graceful Way) and Maud Blue Chip (Credit Winner-Queen Of The Moor) will start from posts one and five respectively and have some of the faster race times on their card in recent outings. L Dees Scripture has only one win this year and that was over a sloppy track at Yonkers on July 14. She has faced Market Rally in four of her last five starts and is getting some definite post relief this week as well and that may be all she needs to score win number two. Maud Blue Chip made her first start for the Miller Stable just three starts ago and has finished third on all three occasions. However she was raced timed faster in each start and should be in a decent stalking position at the end of the mile. There are also two divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card going for a total of $25,300. In the first division Leigh Raymer's Do You Believe (Crazed-Believe Hanover) has been made the 8-5 morning line choice and in the second split, 8-5 early favorite Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) brings her three race winning streak to town for trainer Tracy Brainard. Both horses will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Racing fans unable to attend the races Wednesday night can watch the entire NYSS filled program on Time Warner Cable channel 98, in Rochester and the surrounding counties. Post time for the 12 race card is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs  

Although Crazshana's 2:00 victory was topped by two others on the afternoon card, still that clocking established a new Monticello Raceway track record for freshmen trotting geldings at Monticello Raceway when Trond Smedshammer drove him to a 2:00 victory in a division of the Excelsior "B" Series of the New York Sire Stakes on Monday, August 11. The altered son of Crazed-Keystone Shana, owned by the Purple Haze Stable, finished three lengths ahead of Mythology Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) and was one tick faster than the former standard of 2:00.1 set by Donttellmywife in 2006. In all, nine divisions of 2 year old trotting colts and geldings, in both the New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series, were featured that afternoon and the colts who won their NYSS splits were most impressive, each winning rather handily. Gabe The Bear Dean's 1:58.4 victory was the fastest of the three while Mambo Blue Chip scored in 1:59.3, and in his first lifetime start Sugarmakesmecrazy was victorious in 2:00.2. Ray Schnittkker guided Gabe The Bear Dean, a son of Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch, to a four-length triumph in 1:58.4 in the first $35,867 NYSS split. They finished just two ticks slower than Fashion Blizzard's 1:58.2 track record two years ago. Although Gabe the Bear Dean was abetted by breaking colts early in the mile still the powerful youngster needed no ulterior assistance as he trotted unchallenged through fractions of :29.2,:59.3,1:29.2 before finishing four lengths ahead of the Brent Holland -driven Andy Ray. A $105,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg, it was the fourth victory in six seasonal starts for Gabe The Bear Dean who now has nearly $75,000 for co-owner Ray Schnittker and the Minix Stable. "He's a nice colt and does everything right," Schnittker said about Gabe The Bear Dean, and then added: "He's got a big motor, too. Sent off at odds of 2-1 Gabe The Bear Dean paid $6.20 for win Mal and Janet Burroughs were on hand to watch Jeff Gregory drive their Mambo Blue Chip to a 1:59.3 triumph over Insomniac and Mark MacDonald in another $35,876 NYSS spilt and that had Burroughs smiling...and chirping. "I've missed the Hambletonian the last few years but this guy (Mambo Blue Chip) is gonna get us back there next year," said Burroughs, only the second amateur driver to win the famed Hambletonian. (He won the 2006 edition with Malabar Man while Harrison Hoyt was the other when he won with Demon Hanover in 1948). Trainer Linda Toscano had Jeff Gregory again drive Mambo Blue Chip and he responded with their third victory together. Understandably, Gregory was all smiles when he spoke of the colt's attributes. "He a smart colt and handles like an aged horse. Yeah, we got a good trip but he knew just what to do when he saw daylight in the stretch." After traveling along in third position from the start and still in third place at the top of the lane, when Gregory had room in the stretch he aimed Mambo Blue Chip toward freedom and the colt responded with a one length triumph. Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 yearling purchase was second choice in the betting and returned a $4.40 win mutuel. As impressive as any of the other colts was Sugarmakesmecrazy. Racing for the first time for money off just one qualifying start at the Meadowlands where he was beaten a nose in 1:58.1, he breezed to a wire to wire two-length victory in a time of 2:00.2 and kept favored Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer) at bay. Asked why the colt hadn't started earlier Svanstedt said; "He's so big that he had problems" as he pointed to the colt's right hind ankle and foot. "He's a good trotter now but he will be a very good 3-year-old." An $80,000 yearling purchase, the son of Crazed-Maple Frosting, paid $4.80 for win. He is owned by Mellby Gard, Inc. The supporting undercard featured three freshman trots in the Excelsior "A" Series and three in the Excelsior "B" Series. Besides Crazshana's 2:00 victory other Excelsior winners included; Deadhead Royalty, 2:04.1 (Howard Okusko), Abir Hanover, 2:04.2 (Jason Bartlett), Lucic, 2:04.2 (Steve Smith), Lucky Bud, 2:01.1 (Homer Hockstetler) and Titanium, 2:01.2 (Jason Bartlett) In all, a total of 11 of the 13 races were for trotters on that Monday and Shortest Distance, driven by Jimmy Taggart, Jr. won in 1:57 and scored her 17th victory of the season. She now has drawn even with Diamond Tiara as the harness horses with the most wins in North America this season. -John Manzi

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 4, 2014 - Yonkers Raceway Monday night hosted the $221,000 New York Sire Stakes Joe Goldstein Trot for harness racing 3-year-old fillies. A pair of divisions-worth $109,500 and $111,500, respectively-attracted a baker's dozen worth of participants (actually, a regular dozen after a second-event scratch). The opening statebred six-pack proved a very good time for Cutup Hanover (Jeff Gregory, $25.80) to break her maiden."Break" had been the operative word for "Cutup," who has now alternated flat miles and misbehaves over her last seven tries. Here, from post position No. 2, she was alone through intervals of :29.3, :59.3, 1:28.2 and 1:57.1. Second-beaten four lengths-was a loosely-pocketed Beauty of Gray (Jim Meittinis), who held off 6-5 favorite Avalicious (Jim Morrill Jr.). For fifth choice Cutup Hanover, an unraced-at-2 daughter of Crazed trained by Chris Ryder for owner Golden Gate Stable, it took 10 seasonal/career starts to get her picture taken. The exacta paid $131.50, with the triple returning $312. "We've had a lot of issues with her, just tinkering with some things," Ryder said. "I changed some of her equipment and shoeing-mainly shoeing-and we're finally seeing some results." Monday night's second NYSS event was, as advertised, a handy win by division-dominating Markey Rally (Morrill Jr., $2.10). Away third from post No. 4, last season's champion watched Driving Miss Crazy (Gates Brunet) and Flyhawk Falina (George Brennan) had their moments in the sun (though it was nighttime) after fractions of :28.3 and :57.4. It was go time soon after for Market Rally, who went up and over "Miss Crazy" well before a 1:27.2 three-quarters. From there, she opened 2¾ lengths into the lane before winning by a wrapped-up 2¼ lengths in 1:56.4. Annie's List (Tyler Buter) was second, with Maud Blue Chip (Brian Sears) third. For Market Rally, a daughter of Cash Hall, she's 5-for-9 this season (5-for-5 since adding Lasix) for co-owners (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Panhellenic Stable. The exacta paid $5.60, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $12.60. "I shut her down once I made the lead," was Morrill's succinct version of another succinct victory. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

Three separate divisions of the New York Sire Stakes produced plenty of fireworks at Vernon Downs on Saturday night. The biggest performance was a new track record for 2-year-old trotters of 1:54 for Crazy Wow in the third and final division with a purse of $36,566. Crazy Wow (Crazed-No Pan No Gain) went right to the front at the outset and cruised through fractions of 27.2 for a quarter and 58.1 for the half. Crazy Wow (Dan Rawlings) was actually headed by Eskimo Joe (Ray Schnittker) as the field approached the final turn, but quickly dispatched that challenge to retake the lead through three-quarters in 1:25.3. Crazy Wow stormed home to win by nine impressive lengths in that track record final time of 1:54. Drinksforthehouse (Chris Lems) finished second after Pier Ho Exotic (John Cummings Jr.) broke stride in the stretch. Eskimo Joe had to settle for the third spot. Crazy Wow is owned by Joseph Hess of New Milford, New Jersey and trained by Dan O'Mara. The 1:54 final time eclipses the previous mark of 1:54.3 by Nuncio, set in 2013. Nuncio very nearly made his own headlines on Saturday since he ended up as the runner-up in the 2014 Hambletonian Final at The Meadowlands.   The $37,266 first division was a story of survival for Insomniac (Crazed-Catch Some Zs). Insomniac (Mark Macdonald) took the lead immediately from the outside post position and led through a quarter of 28.4, a half of 59.1, and three-quarters in 1:29. The less than even-money favorite, Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory), attacked the longtime leader in the stretch, but could never get by Insomniac, who had plenty left in the tank after those conservative early fractions. Commentary (Mike Simons) rolled up strongly in the final strides to finish third at 32-1. Insomniac is owned by Paul Kelley of Gansevoort, New York and William Weaver III of Freehold, New Jersey. Paul Kelley is also the trainer.   Wings of Royalty (Rc Royalty-Sparkling Cider) was the winner of the $37,266 second division. Wings Of Royalty (Chris Lems) made a strong close through the stretch while three-wide to pass the pacesetting pair of Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) and Credit Creation (Jim Morrill Jr.) for a victory in 1:56. Credit Creation had taken the lead from the start and led most of the way around the racetrack, only being passed by Gabe The Bear Dean for just a quick moment before reassuming the advantage. His early fractions of 28.1 for the quarter, 58.3 for the half, and 1:27.4 for three-quarters were solid enough. Gabe The Bear Dean did get past Credit Creation for the second placing in the stretch, forcing Credit Creation to settle for third. Wings Of Royalty is owned by Raymond W.J. Campbell of Belchertown, Massachusetts and trained by George Ducharme.   Live racing will return to Vernon Downs with a 14-race program on Thursday night when the 2-year-old pacing fillies take their turn at center stage in the New York Sire Stakes. Post time for the Thursday program is 6:45pm.   Sophie Norton wins HHYF race on Hambletonian Day Sophie Norton of New Hartford, NY won the Harness Horse Youth Foundation race Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ. One kid was selected from Vernon Downs, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and Harrington Raceway to represent each track on Saturday. Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce was the co-pilot in the two seat jog cart with Sophie Norton. It was second consecutive year that the representative from Vernon Downs won the HHYF race at The Meadowlands. This year the HHYF was at Vernon Downs July 14-18. The five day camp gave youngsters hands on experience with horses, opportunity to work with local horsemen at Vernon, and the thrill of a lifetime competing in an actual race. Harness Horse Association of Central New York sponsors each kid that participates in the camp. For more information about HHYF and having your kid participate in the 2015 camp visit www.hhyf.org by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 1, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 co-featured Open Handicaps-for distaff pacers and everybody-into-the-pool trotters--were won by wagering choices Camille (George Brennan, $2.90) and Theraputic (Brennan again, $4). Camille, benefitting from a very generous assignment, left into a brief four-hole from post position No. 5. She then moved around Fashion Mystery (Eric Carlson) and Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton) before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. From there, it was nothing but fractional formalities (:56.2, 1:24.3 and 1:51.4...one tick off the track record for aged mare [Western Graduate-1:51.3 in 2010]). The two lengths entering the lane was the same final margin at the wire. Two-time defending champ Robin Cruiser was second, with Fashion Mystery, Classy Lane Rose (Dan Dube) and JK Letitgo (Jason Bartlett) settling for the lesser loot. For Camille, 6-year-old millionaress daughter of Camluck co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 Stable and Jack Piatt III, it was her fifth win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid 19.20, with the triple returning $49.20. The week's marquee trot saw the in-form Theraputic-from post No. 4-have no issues whatsoever. Making the lead well before a 28-second opening quarter-mile, he continued on his merry way (:58.1, 1:27.1, 1:55.1). He won by a couple of lengths over a first-up Bingo Queen (Brent Holland), with 42-1 rank outsider Some Like it Hot (Eric Goodell) third. Harbor Point (Bartlett) and For You Almostfree (Greg Merton) came away with the remainder. For Theraputic, a 4-year-old statebred Crazed gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, he's now 9-for-17 this season (third win in last four tries). The exacta paid $25.40, the triple returned $204.50 and the superfecta paid $930. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

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