Harrisburg, PA --- Monarch Blue Chip (hip #1003) topped Thursday’s edition of the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg, selling for $90,000 to trainer Sam Schillaci for owner Ken Bencic. The colt, a son of Crazed out of the Revenue S mare Reven Crown, bears a bold white blaze. “He is a well-made colt, the three-quarter brother (Rolls Blue Chip) who we raced against this year and he was a good horse,” said Bencic. “Credit Winners cost too much money, although I have two down in Kentucky. We train outside Cleveland at Sahbra Farms, so he’s headed there.” Schillaci says this colt has been in his sights all along. “We targeted him from the beginning,” said Schillaci. “We were hoping he didn’t sell that high. He was right about to the limit of where we were going to go. We’re very pleased to have him and we hope he turns out to be the horse we think he is. Nowadays, people are paying a few extra dollars for a horse that just looks the part and he definitely looks the part.” Ed Lohmeyer and his wife, equine surgeon Dr. Patty Hogan, bred one of the higher priced horses on Thursday, hip #921, the RC Royalty colt Lunch With Jack. He sold for $55,000 to New York-based trainer Gates Brunet. “I’m looking for New York breds and I’m looking for trotters and I’m very short on trotters,” said Brunet. “I’m focused on trotting colts and he’s a very nice looking individual and I like the fact that there’s a very recent update on the horse. The brother, Crosbys Clam Bake, just won the Grassroots Final in 1:53 in Toronto. “The RC Royaltys, they do good, but there weren’t that many selling that I could see. There weren’t any in Lexington; there were a few at Morrisville. One of his horses won the Hambo (Royalty For Life) and he throws nice looking individuals. In New York, Credit Winners, I can’t touch them. But for that kind of money, $50,000, you get a nice looking individual. I love Conway Halls, but they’re hard to touch, too. “I’d like to win the Hambo, but I buy horses bred for the sire stakes. I bought this one for Ted Gewertz and Clare Chappell; there may be other partners coming in. The colt’s name comes from Dr. Hogan’s family. “Jack is Patty’s father’s nickname; he came over every Wednesday and had lunch with Patty,” said co-breeder Lohmeyer “He passed away about two months ago. John J. Hogan and they called him Jack. “Per Henriksen raced a half-brother to him for me in Canada this year, Crosbys Clam Bake, named after the first Pebble Beach (golf tournament). He raced real well. He made $90,000 and I sold him for $125,000.” Paul Kelley signed for hip #988, a $60,000 pacing filly by Art Major, named Mowet Blue Chip out of the Matt’s Scooter mare Armbro Savannah. “I saw him at the farm, but if you turn the clock back about 15 years, I actually had her mother, Armbro Savannah,” said Kelley. “I bought her as a yearling and I really liked her a lot. I ultimately ended up selling her to Perretti Farms as a broodmare. She went on to produce what she did (six stakes-winners; five $100,000 winners including millionaire Georgia Pacific) and she’s been a good producing dam. This particular filly I thought was one of her better looking foals. She stood very correct, a lot of the prior foals were a little bit toed-in and they were still able to overcome that kind of conformation fault and be good horses. “This is the first one I’ve had out of the mare. She’s a little but older now, but she (the yearling) is very correct, so I’m happy with her. There will be partners on her, New York people, players to be named later. There are some people very interested in getting in on her, so it shouldn’t be hard to split her up.” Through the first four days of the sale, 1,047 horses sold for a total of $35.9 million and an average of $34,345 against 2012 figures of 1,162 horses sold at an average of $28,889. This is an improvement of 13.7% over 2012. “It’s the same trend that’s been going on all week,” said Dr. Paul Spears, president of the Standardbred Sales Company. “Unofficial numbers show that we’re just short of $36 million gross, 1,047 horses sold for $39,950,500 with average prices $34,345. We’re up considerably over last year. New York had the highest average of $39,667 and New Jersey actually did quite well at $38,830. Pennsylvania is at $35,200 and Ontario’s at $23,354. “So overall, quite good and I don’t think there were any big surprises, to me. A few of the highest priced horses today were placed there on purpose by their consignors. Sometimes being a big fish in a little pond is a good thing. I thought it was very solid all the way through and again, we have to remember, there are there are more than 500 fewer commercial yearlings being sold in the Mid-Atlantic area at public sales over the last couple years. When supply goes down that far, the demand is there and so the prices have to go up.” 1,162 horses sold at an average of $28,889. by Ellen Harvey for HRC
Despite suffering a near life-ending injury as a freshman, the 4-year-old daughter of Cash Hall has amassed $441,078 in career earnings and, with a solid fourth-place finish in last week’s Breeders Crown elimination, earned a berth in Saturday’s $250,000 Mare Trot. Owned by Ted Gewertz, NY, NY; Michael Rosenthal, Las Vegas, NV; Jean Brunet of Ontario and Debbie Brunet of Munsville, NY, Cowgirl Hall is a well-built, streamlined, yet anxious filly who has earned the majority of her dollars trotting around New York State raceways. “She’s been very good to us,” said her conditioner Debbie Brunet. “She’s got a lot of talent and it’s a bit of a miracle that she ever made it to the races.” Debbie purchased the filly out of the 2010 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg for $23,000. “We really liked the breeding and liked the looks of her once we saw her in the flesh,” she recalled. “Her dam—Centerfold Hall—is a well-bred mare who was a very nice 2-year-old.” Centerfold Hall, 2, 1:56.3M ($88,136) is a daughter of Garland Lobell who won multiple events at two, including a $82,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final and an Arden division at The Meadows. After training down well over the winter months of 2011, Cowgirl Hall appeared poised for a successful freshman campaign. She won her pari-mutuel debut in a Saratoga overnight on June 29 by six lengths, trotting in 2:03.1 with Debbie’s husband Gates in the sulky. After a third-place finish in a $25,439 New York Sire Stake, she finished a strong second to Check Me Out in a $16,810 Tompkins Geers at Tioga Downs on July 14, timed in 1:56.3. It was then that near-disaster struck. “She had just finished second to Check Me Out in the Geers and we were thrilled,” Debbie recalled. “After we brought her home that night, she somehow found a nail in her stall, and got hung up on it, literally.” Cowgirl Hall likely kicked a board that resulted in exposing a long nail that protruding out in her stall. During the night she somehow impaled herself upon it. The nail went straight into and through her shoulder joint. It did not affect the muscle, flesh or cartilage surrounding the joint. “It was just a freak thing,” Debbie stressed. “The nail was long and had gone all the way into her right shoulder—a near perfect straight puncture wound. There wasn’t any blood but we hit her with antibiotics and cleaned up the wound and for two days she seemed okay. Then on the third day, she seized up and couldn’t walk. Her shoulder was all blown up.” Debbie and Gates loaded the filly onto a trailer and headed for New York’s Cornell University Veterinary Clinic. “It was all we could do to get her on the trailer, that’s how bad she was,” Debbie remembered. “Gates drove her down to the university and when he took her off the truck, the veterinarians there told him that her chances were not good; that 90% of shoulder joint infections result in the horse having to be put down. The vets there were not optimistic about her chances at all, and in fact, told Gates straight out to just put her down, that there would be very little hope for her to ever walk normally, let alone race. But Gates was determined and told them to do whatever they could to save her.” The operation cost a hefty $10,000, but Gates and Debbie’s faith in Cowgirl Hall paid off quicker than anyone thought possible. “After surgery, the attending veterinarian, Dr. Lisa Fortier, told us there was no debris in the wound, and that the fluid looked good,” Debbie offered. “Cowgirl was at the clinic for several weeks and when she came home, she appeared to be fine, like the injury hadn’t affected her at all.” Miraculously, Cowgirl Hall returned to work immediately, jogging and training, and scoring a winning 2:00.3 qualifier at Vernon Downs on Aug. 26. One week later she won a $36,050 Historic division at Vernon, wire-to-wire, in a seasonal best of 1:57. “She was a tad ouchy for a few days, but after the swelling went down, the wound never really seemed to bother her, and it didn’t affect her stride,” Debbie acknowledged. “We were thrilled that she seemed to take it so well.” Cowgirl Hall went on to procure $52,385 in earnings her freshman season, scoring additional wins in a $16,355 Simpson at Vernon in 1:57.2 and a $12,200 New York-bred late closer at Yonkers in 2:01.4. At three, Cowgirl Hall came back stronger than ever, scoring a trio of wins in her first three trips postward that year. She won a $10,900 New York Sire Stake Prep in 1:55.1, drawing off by 8¼ lengths in her customary, gate-to-wire fashion, then ten days later won a $59,346 NYSS at Saratoga in 1:57.4 in the same style. She then won a $12,800 New York State Fair test in 1:56.4, and would go on that summer to win four more times, amassing $351,245. The high point of her sophomore season came when she captured the $225,000 NYSS Final at Yonkers in 1:57.1 on Sept. 22, 2012. Debbie is no stranger to harness racing, having been taught the ropes via her father, trainer Jack Sherren. “My dad was my mentor and he was a great teacher, and a kind, gentle soul,” Debbie stressed. “He taught me how to take care of a horse the right way. He just loved horses and I used to go with him every day after school, when we lived in California and raced at Hollywood Park. He was a very talented horseman who had a true love of the business.” Debbie met Gates Brunet while working in California for her father, and in 1976, married him and together the couple moved to New York, near Vernon Downs, where they have been based ever since. Together Debbie and Gates train “about a dozen horses in the summer,” before heading to Pinehurst, South Carolina for the winter. “We usually have anywhere from 15 to 18 babies down there,” she stated. This year, Cowgirl Hall has added another five wins and four thirds to her tally in 17 seasonal starts. Lifetime she’s posted 16 wins, six seconds and nine thirds, and this summer recorded a career mark of 1:54.3s in a Vernon overnight with Gates in the sulky. Debbie stressed that while the filly is a tough competitor on the racetrack, she’s also a demanding keeper. “She’s a real high maintenance filly who has to be turned out every day,” Debbie said. “She needs to get out, she doesn’t like too much time in the stall, and frets if she doesn’t get her pasture time. As soon as we turn the truck on, she knows she’s going to race and starts walking around her stall. This routine has worked best for her, and it works for a lot of our horses. We continuously rotate horses in and out from Vernon.” Cowgirl Hall’s luck of the draw has been consistently poor when it comes to her Breeders Crown starts. Last year at Woodbine she drew post ten, and after a first-up trip, finished sixth. Now, she’s drawn post nine in this year’s final, but Debbie still has faith in her filly. “We haven’t been lucky with the Breeders Crown draw, but at least we’re showing up,” she chuckled. “The filly is feeling good right now and came out of her elimination well, and we’re very happy to have the opportunity to be part of another Breeders Crown.” by Kim Rinker for the Breeders Crown
On Monday afternoon (Sept.30) Monticello Raceway hosted four $45,000 finals of the Excelsior Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters and arguably the most impressive was the victory turned in by Spreester when she easily defeated seven other New York bred pacing fillies by four lengths in 1:57.4. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. was in the sulky when Spreester started from the seven hole but that position was quickly compromised when they left strong and made the front before the quarter mile timer flashed :29.1. Once on the lead they remained unchallenged as the daughter of American Ideal paced through fractions of :59 and 1:28:2 before Morrill gave her her head and she paced off to an easy victory over Barbuda Babe and Jimmy Meittinis . Carlota Blue Chip was third for Joe Bongiorno. Trainer Paul Zabielski handed the lines to Jimmy Morrill, Jr. and it was the first time that Morrill sat behind the filly who had previously won seven of nine races this year. A relatively small filly Morrill said of her; “She’s like a little car, just as handy as can be.” Although Morrill was impressed with the filly her owner Kimberly Zabielski was more so after she rushed from the paddock to the winners circle with a smile from ear. While she held Spreester for the photo she said;: We bred her and we’re so proud of her .She’s our first sires stakes winner.” In spite of having the seven hole Spreester was sent off as the odds on favorite and paid $3.80 for win. In the colt division Jason Bartlett and Natural Leda were also teamed for the first time and the talented reinsman took advantage of racing luck and got Natural Leda home first in a 1:57.2 mile. After a pocket trip though past the half and around the clubhouse turn Bartlett felt his colt was ready for action. “He was good up the backside and they were working hard in front of me so I moved (to challenge) and we got alongside of Jimmy (Morrill, Jr. with Cabbies Delight) and my colt outpaced him to the wire,” Bartlett said of Natural Leda. Cabbie’s Delight held on for second and Hands Off Frank (Jordan Stratton) finished third. Owned by Deanna Frost, Rick Phillips and John Fielding, Natural Leda returned a $16.00 win payoff. John Stark, Jr. guided Royal Max to his fourth win in his last five starts when they easily captured the freshmen colt trotting division turning back Uproar and driver Chris Lems in a time of 2:01.1 by an eased-up six lengths. Dan Daley got Commissioner Daley up for the show dough Royal Max looked mighty impressive in victory and Stark was asked why he wasn’t racing in the sire stakes to which he simply said; “He got good late.” Owned by Ed Smith, Crawford Farms, Jim Giannuzzi and Dave Smith the son of RC Royalty paid $3.60 for win. The $45,000 filly final went to Ski To The Max and driver Gates Brunet in 2:02.4 over Trish (Jim Meititnis) and Brookside Lily (Aaron Byron) “She got good late and I think next year she’s sires stakes caliber,” Brunet said of Ski To The Max. Co- owned by Ted Gewertz, Debbie Brunet and Jean Brunet Ski To The Max paid $3.60 for win. John Manzi
Four $45,000 finals in the Excelsior Series will be featured on the 14-race card at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon, September 30. These races are for the top point earners in the 2 year-old divisions that were contested at various raceways throughout the state during the summertime. They will go as races one, four , eight and 11 on the Monday program. Strangely, lawyer Ted Gewertz, alone or with partners , will start six youngsters in the Excelsior Series finals and will have at least one in each division. Gewertz is no stranger to racing top quality horses. He has owned, either wholly or partly, some of the greatest champions over the past few decades. Among them ; Deweycheatumnhowe, Windsong’s Legacy, Custard The Dragon, Thehousethatruthbuilt, Giant Hit, and Neighsay Hanover, to mention a few. And Gewertz is no stranger to the Catskills either, having spent his youth waiting tables at a multitude of hotels in the famous and now gone, “Borscht Belt”. In the first $45,000 Excelsior division for 2 year old filly trotters Ted’s name adorns the ownership of both Ski To The Max and Sweet Jesse T who’ll race coupled as the favorites in their split. Gates Brunet trains both fillies and will drive the former from the four hole while Jimmy Marohn, Jr. got the assignment behind the latter and will leave from post five. In the Second $45,000 Excelsior final for 2 year old colt and gelding pacers, Gewertz is sole owner of High Q, a co-favorite who’ll race coupled with Bosak. Both colts are trained by Ray Schnittker, hence the coupling. Gates Brunet will drive the former from the eight hole while Jordan Stratton will handle the lines behind the latter from the pole position. Gewertz again is part- owner of two colts who’ll start in the $45,000 Excelsior Final for freshman trotting colts and geldings. Both are in the Ray Schnittker barn. Hands Off Frank has the pole position and will enjoy the services of Jordan Stratton while One Last Roadie will leave from the four hole with the meet’s leading driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. at the controls. And in the last $45,000 Excelsior Series Final, for freshmen pacing fillies, Gewertz in partnership with Ray Schnittker, will send out Hay Stacked who’ll start from the five-hole with Jordan Stratton in the sulky. But according to John Flynn, the track’s odds- maker, in that contest they’ll all be hard pressed to beat Spreester who has a four race win streak and has won seven of nine lifetime starts and owns a 1:52.3 record taken on September 6 at Vernon Downs. Betty Holt, the executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of NYS, was asked if an owner ever had six horses in the previous finals? “No, “ she said unequivocally, and when quizzed who the owner might be she guessed correctly when she answered, Ted Gewertz. “He’s a wonderful man who loves harness racing and Ted is a tremendous supporter of New York State racing.” First post for the Monday card will be at 12:50pm. by John Manzi for Monticello Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 19, 2013--Yonkers Raceway Thursday night hosted the $235,887 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Three divisions, at $78,629 each, made up the event. Division leader Maud Blue Chip (Tyler Buter) did nothing to hurt her resume, airing at 2-5 in the first grouping. In play from post position No. 4, she never had any angst through fractions of :30.2, 1:00.4, 1:31.2 and 2:00.3. "Maud" held pocket-sitting Crediama (Trond Smedshammer) at bay by a length-and-a-half. It was another 4½ lengths back to Sky to the Max (Gates Brunet), while second- and third-choices Beauty of Gray (Jim Meittinis) and Annie's List (Jason Bartlett) both broke. For Maud Blue Chip, a daughter of Credit Winner trained by Chuck Sylvester for co-owners David McDuffee, Melvin Hartman and Little E LLC, it was her fifth win (fourth consecutive) in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $7.90, with the triple returning $31.60. It was another two-speed number in the second event, with outside entities L Dee's Scripture (Bartlett) whipping 11-10 fave Exotic Form (Dan Daley) Starting outside her six rivals, L Dee's Scripture sashayed through sub-stations of :30.3, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 and 2:01.1. The margin was a length, with How Bout Cash (Dan Dube) recovering from an early misstep to snatch third--beaten 6½ lengths. For "Scripture," a Credit Winner lass trained by Julie Miller for co-owners Larry Dumain and Carlo Lattinelli, she returned $11.60 (third choice) for her third win in a half-dozen '13 tries. The exacta paid $28.40, the triple returned $151.50 and the superfecta (Low Valley Dream [Steve Smith] was fourth) paid $976. The final event saw Market Rally (John Cummings Jr.)--who won at 100-1 here last month--have a few more bettin' buddies this time around. From the pole as the 3-5 favorite, she took over from Flyhawk Falina (Daley) after a :29.4 opening quarter-mile. Market Rally then won as she pleased (:59.4, 1:29.3, 2:00). The final distance at the wire was 4¾ lengths over Share My Secret (Smedshammer), with "Falina" fading to third. For Market Rally, a Cash Hall miss co-owned by (trainer) Megan Wilson and Johnny Yoder, she returned $3.20 for her third win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $23.20, with the triple returning $40.80. New York Sire Stakes continue Friday night, with the $227,488 Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts/geldings. The $1.8 million New York Night of Champions is set for Saturday, Sept. 28. 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 around the NYRA schedule. Frank Drucker
VERNON, NY—The favorite Maud Blue Chip continued her winning ways with a career-best 1:58 performance in a division of Thursday night’s $109,124 New York Sires Stakes feature for 2-year-old filly trotters at Vernon Downs. Competing against eight eager rivals over a rain-affected good track in Thursday’s ninth race, Maud Blue Chip rallied from fourth at the half to become a challenging second entering the final quarter. With Tyler Buter doing the teaming for trainer Chuck Sylvester, the steady-striding brown filly turned on the speed in the stretch and defeated Market Rally by 1-3/4 lengths. It was the Third Straight NYSS score, and the fourth win (coupled with a pair of third-place finishes) in six starts for the quick-footed daughter of Credit Winner-Queen of the Moor, who increased her winnings to $126,639 for owners Melvin Hartman, David H. Mc Duffee and Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC stable. Thursday’s other NYSS winner was Exotic Form, a representative of the Dan Dailey Stable entry, who also closed late to post a 1:58.2 lifetime-fastest tally in the sixth session. Claude Huckabone, III was at the controls for Daley as the opportunistic bay filly overtook the favorite, Gammy’s Girl, in the final furlong and secured a three-quarter length score, her second NYSS win in succession and third (coupled with a second-place finish and a third) in seven official outings. The fast and fit daughter of Malabar Man-Form Fitting increased her earnings to $103,045 for the Winbak Farm. Thursday’s 12-race program also included three divisions of a $38,200 Excelsior Series contest for state-bred frosh-filly high-steppers. The winners were Ski To The Max (Conway Hall-Enjoy The Sun) in 1:59.3 for driver and trainer Gates Brunet and the Theodore Gewertz, Y. Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet ownership contingent; Emiliana (Cash Hall-Monalisa Can) in 1:59.3 with Chris Long teaming for trainer Jim Graham and owner Lisa Wyatt, and Holly’s Lightning (Conway Hall-Indigo Sakra) in 2:00.2 for driver/trainer Sam Schillaci and owner Greg Martin. The crowd’s choice Billmar Scooter, making just her second local appearance, delivered a 1:51.2 triumph in Thursday’s $10,000 second race, the week’s Open distaff pace. The hard-hitting 8-year-old mare rallied from fourth in the final quarter to defeat Love You Bye, last week’s victor in this class, by two lengths. It was the fifth current victory and 38th all-time for the bay daughter of Keystone Raider-Its Scooter Time, who is owned by driver Tyler Buter, trained by Amber Buter and owned by the Oldford Farms. In addition to Tyler Buter’s driving double, reinsman Chris Lems collected his meet-leading 19th two-win credit during the track’s 63rd program of 2013. DOWNS DOINGS The Peter Carney-conditioned trotter Rattle On (2:02.1) and Holly’s Lightning (2:00.2) each earned their first pari-mutuel victories during Thursday’s card… The Downs will present a 10-race program starting at 6:45 on Friday night… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran
Harper Blue Chip might not be as speedy as his father, former trotting star Majestic Son, at this stage of his career, but trainer Mark Steacy thinks he could become one of his majestic sons. The 2-year-old Harper Blue Chip is among the 10 finalists in Saturday's C$365,000 William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk Racetrack. The colt has won three of six races this season, including his most recent two. Last weekend, he won his Wellwood elimination in 1:56.1 and on Aug. 30 he won a division of the Champlain Stakes in 1:56. Saturday's card also includes the C$374,000 Peaceful Way Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters and the C$686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old male trotters. Harper Blue Chip and driver Sylvain Filion will start the Wellwood from post three. Once-beaten favorite Father Patrick, who won his elim in 1:55.3 from post 10, starts from post four with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. "He's had a good week so far," said the Ontario-based Steacy, who owns Harper Blue Chip with Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald and David Reid. "One thing about him, he's always full of himself. He's a good-feeling horse and seems to enjoy life. "Father Patrick is one talented horse. Unless he makes some kind of mistake, he looks pretty much unbeatable. But it's a horserace and anything can happen. The way my horse has been getting better and better every week, I'm hoping we're not at the bottom of the well with ours. If we get a good trip anything can happen." Steacy trained Majestic Son, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 2006. Harper Blue Chip's mother, Winning Jonlin, produced stakes-winners Medusa Blue Chip and Vibe Blue Chip and is a full-sister to stakes-winner Myolin. The family also includes two-time Horse of the Year honoree Mack Lobell and Hambletonian champion American Winner. Harper Blue Chip sold for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. "He had fairly decent conformation," Steacy said. "He might have been just a little bit toe-out, but nothing drastic. I don't mind that on a trotter anyway. He had a nice rear end on him and a good shoulder and I really liked that. I could see similarities in a few respects to what his father had. "I thought this one was probably bred better than most Majestic Sons on the mother's side. That's what Majestic Son has always lacked; he's never bred these kinds of mares before. The ones I've had have all been decent horses with lesser pedigree. I figured this one has got a little more pedigree and a little more body to work with, so maybe he could be OK. After that you've just got to get lucky." Steacy saw other similarities between Harper Blue Chip and Majestic Son. "They're both very smart horses," Steacy said. "Majestic Son was just a little more than ordinary training to get to the races, but he always did it right. Just as Majestic Son did, this guy seems to be getting better with every start. I think Majestic Son showed just a little more raw speed than this one does at this point. "(Harper Blue Chip) was good gaited and didn't make very many mistakes at all. He didn't show any big speed training down, he was just kind of the same quarters all the time; nothing flashy. But after he got started to race, the speed started to come. And it's coming a little bit more with each start. You like to see a little go to them, but with a young trotter at that point I'm just as concerned about seeing a good gait." Steacy brought Harper Blue Chip along slowly and gave him his first three starts in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots Series. He didn't face open stakes company until the Champlain. "That's kind of my policy; I try to give them as many easy starts before I start getting in against tougher competition," Steacy said. "I always believe they're a better horse if you can get a couple easy starts into them, get them brave and make them think that they're good." Following is the field for the Wellwood Memorial with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Massive Talent, Scott Zeron, Nifty Norman; 2. Raise The Curtain, Tim Tetrick, Dustin Jones; 3. Harper Blue Chip, Sylvain Filion, Mark Steacy; 4. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 5. Il Sogno Dream, Paul Macdonell, Chris Beaver; 6. P L Hercules, Chris Christoforou, Matthew Dupuis; 7. Odds On Amethyst, Dan Daley, Daley; 8. Credit Fashion, Brian Sears, Jim Campbell; 9. Damfoolrmillionair, Randy Waples, Brad Maxwell; 10. Muscle Midas, John Campbell, Gates Brunet. SUNSHINE BEACH TO MISS LITTLE BROWN JUG Trainer Mark Steacy said Wednesday that Battle of the Brandywine winner Sunshine Beach would miss the Little Brown Jug because of a health issue. Sunshine Beach, ranked third in the current Road to the Little Brown Jug Top 10, has won five of 12 races and $494,885 for owners Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand. He handed Captaintreacherous his only loss this year with a world-record-equaling 1:47.4 mile in the Battle of the Brandywine on Aug. 17 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He was eighth against older horses on Aug. 31 at Mohawk and second to Vegas Vacation in a division of the Simcoe Stakes last weekend at Mohawk. The Little Brown Jug, the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, is Sept. 19 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. "We made the call last night," Steacy said. "We thought hard about it because we really wanted to go. We just felt it was too much for him. I wouldn't say he's been sick, but his blood has been a little low the last week or two; I think he was just a little anemic for the last two races. "I just don't think I can get him healthy enough to race in the Jug and then Lexington and the Breeders Crown. I'd like to win the Little Brown Jug as much as anybody, but we have to put the horse before ourselves. Something had to give and I thought I'd take an extra week to make sure he's real healthy for Lexington." Vegas Vacation, who won his Simcoe division in a stakes-record 1:48.3, is the No. 1-ranked horse in the Road to the Little Brown Jug ratings. Sunshine Beach, who led the Simcoe from the start until yielding to Vegas Vacation in the stretch, has won six of 18 career races and earned $531,565. "After he came back from Pocono, I think it did take just a touch out of him," Steacy said. "That said, I thought he raced really good in the Simcoe. I think if we can get him back to 100 percent, like he was, he's going to race that much better. You've got to be at your peak for sure." by Ken Weingartner for USTA
The New York State Fair races make their annual appearance at Vernon Downs this weekend with the freshman fillies racing on Friday evening. Three divisions each of trotters and pacers will go postward for the Excelsior series purses of $12,000 plus the entry fees for each. Race one is led by a pair of Conway Hall fillies, Thoughtfully from Brandon Simpson’s barn and Trish from the Ed Lohmeyer stable. Trish has a pair of Excelsior wins to her credit and starts from the outside post seven for owner Patty Hogan and driver Roman Lopez. Thoughtfilly broke her maiden for Jimmy Morrill at Batavia last week and he’s back aboard on Friday for owners Mystical Marker Farms, Hood, and the Simpsons. The second trot division is race nine where Pazza is the favorite from post eight for trainer/driver Gates Brunet. The Crazed filly has flashed speed despite some inconsistencies in her brief career thus far for her owners Joe Spadaro and the voice of NYRA, Tom Durkin. Turn to race ten for the last of the trotting fillies and you’ll find a competitive group of seven. Slice Slice Baby is a modest choice in her very first start for trainer Erv Miller. This Conway Hall lass has but a pair of qualifiers to show but starts from the rail for Charlie Norris. Paymaq Racing and Harvey Eisman own her. The pacing fillies are three short fields in races four, five and six. Spreester is 9/5 on the morning line based on her penchant for winning. The American Ideal filly has won four of six and over $25,000 this year for owner Kimberly Zabielski and trainer Paul Zabielski. Frank Coppola, Jr is in for the drive. Next up, Sweet Brown looks like the one to beat off her speedy past performance. She’s a Bettor’s Delight owned and trained by the team of Tyler and Amber Buter with Morrill scheduled to drive. Barefoot Beauty is the choice in race six. She’s an Art Major who has paced in the 1:54 range her last couple and comes into this race after facing Grand Circuit fillies in the Eternal Camnation last week. Ron Waples is listed for trainer Gregg McNair and owner Jim Avritt. Post time for Friday is 6:45pm as Vernon kicks off State Fair week. Visit the Vernon website for information on the planned activities. by Nick Salvi
The weatherman cooperated wonderfully on Thursday afternoon, August 15 with the sun shining brightly and the temperatures hovering around 75-degrees. On the racetrack sophomore trotting fillies were featured in three divisions of the $155,000 NY Sires Stakes and five splits of Excelsior Series trots each racing for a $12,700 purse. And to go along with the NYSS filly trots there were two overnight trots, and despite 10 trotting races on the half-mile track still fans wagered $746,943 on the racing card. By and large the competing fillies were well behaved and as usual some stood out. Bouncing Bax’s 1:58.2 triumph in her $52,383 division turned out to be the fastest filly trot of the afternoon although Proclaiming April’s 1:58.2 victory was just a tick slower. And although Barn Babe’s 2:00.2 was the slowest of the three splits it was, nevertheless , equally as impressive and she was the only betting favorite to win an NYSS trot today. The triumph by Bouncing Bax over the odds-on favorite, Long Island Tea, was not only the fastest trip of the day but the daughter of Credit Winner-Bax Machine sparked the biggest pay-off on the afternoon card when she returned a $40.80 win mutuel. In her split, Bouncing Bax got away slowly and after racing along in fourth position some nine lengths off the lead at the three-eighths pole, so driver Howard Parker moved his filly first-up and she continually moved forward and at the top of the lane she was just a head off the pace-setter Wygant Girl, driven by Cat Manzi. When they straightened for home Bouncing Bax trotted around Wygant Lady and then held off a strong late rally by the $135,000 yearling purchase Long Island Tea, driven by Brian Mattison. Wygant Lady faded and finished third. Trainer Jim Raymer joined Parker for the winners circle photograph and was getting ready to hold the filly for a picture when he overheard Parker being asked how come she was so great today? Parker didn’t have a chance answer because Raymer turned quickly and said, “She was that great last week at Vernon (Downs) too, but I just didn’t drive her right.” Owned by the Harbor Racing Stable of Houston, Texas it was the filly’s first win in 10 starts this year and she raised her seasonal bankroll to nearly $73,000. In her $53,383 division Proclaiming April, a daughter of Conway Hall-Lawn Tennis, raced unchallenged on the front end and was an easy winner over the odds on favorite Lola De Vie. Trainer Trond Smedshammer was in the bike and hustled Proclaiming April to front and they had a two length lead by the first stanza in :29.1. At the half in :59.2, favored Lola De Vie and driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. were in third place some 4-1/2 lengths behind the leader. Lola De Vie closed to within two lengths of the lead at the head of the stretch but in no way could she reel-in Proclaiming April who led her to the wire for an easy 1-1/2 length victory. Fifty Shades and driver Mark MacDonald took home the show dough. “She’s been a good filly all year but last week we had a bad post and she finished back,” Smedshammer said of Proclaiming April who now has bankrolled nearly $150,000 this season. “Post positions make a big difference everywhere but especially on a half mile track.” Proclaiming April paid $12.40 for win and is owned by the White Birch Farm. The other $53,383 split was an oh-so-easy victory for Steven and Nancy Pratt’s, Barn Babe. Sent off as the 1-4 favorite from the pole position, driver John Cummings, Jr. naturally took the lead and despite soft early fractions of :30.3 and 1:02 no one wanted to challenge the daughter of Cash Hall-My Baby’s Momma. As the field headed into the clubhouse turn the pace began to quicken and Barn Babe had a two length lead as she passed the third stanza in 1:31:4. From there, with a :28.3 final quarter, Barn Babe was home free by three lengths in 2:00.2 over Royal Malinda and driver Dan Daley. Bostonz Credit was third for Jeff Gregory. After the race Cummings was asked if he was worried going into the race. “I knew she was the best and we got away with an easy front-end trip but she would have handled this field racing from the back, too.” Now with six wins and three thirds in 11 starts Barn Babe has bankrolled almost $99,000 this year and has lifetime earnings in excess of $245,000. Owner Steve Pratt joined Cummings in the winners circle and he couldn’t resist saying “Not bad for a $5,000 purchase two years ago at (the) Morrisville (Sale). Five $12,700 divisions of the Excelsior Series , also for 3 year-old trotting fillies, comprised the undercard of which two were won by Gates Brunet. The veteran horseman scored with Bluish And Crush ($8.00) in 2:01.4 and with Tamasin Hall($9.80)m in 2:00.1. Brunet, who trucked in from Vernon NY after his final victory said,” I hated to coming here today because I thought both of my fillies would run since they have been racing on big tracks but I was pleasantly surprised because they stayed at their business and went good miles.” . Other Excelsior winners were Money Show ($4.00) in 2:02 for Jimmy Morrill, Jr., Makes Me Crazy ($6.20) in 2:01.2 for Claude Huckabone Jr. and Maggie O ($3.20) in 2:00.4 again for Jimmy Morrill, Jr. by John Manzi
BATAVIA, N.Y. -- It was a 'Daley Double' in the New York Sires Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies at Batavia Downs Friday night. Trainer/driver Dan Daley registered two victories on the evening, guiding Flyhawk Fallina and Exotic Form to the winner's circle to highlight the Sire Stakes action. In the third and final division, Beauty Of Gray ($3.20) with Jim Meittinis in the bike recorded the popular victory in front of the Batavia Downs fans. In the first division worth $34,577, it was a matter of survival. Flyhawk Fallina ($5.90) shot to the lead off the gate, managing to escape the chaos of four breaking horses. She won going basically unchallenged from gate-to-wire in in 2:01.3. Fashionable Apple (Jim Morrill Jr.), the only other starter not to break, finished 3-1/4 lengths behind in second while the heavily-favored Maud Blue Chip (Cat Manzi) regrouped after the miscue and finished third. Flyhawk Fallina now has two victories, all in Sire Stakes competition, in five career starts for owners J. Pennacchio, A. Daley and M.F. White. It moved her earnings to $53,530 on the season. Flyhawk Fallina is a Cash Hall filly out of Nowerland Nanette, Daley made in two straight Sire Stakes wins in the $35,277 second division as he steered Exotic Form ($13.00) to a head victory over the pace-setting Crediama (Jim Marohn Jr.) in 2:00.3. It was the fastest time of the night in the Sires Stakes. Crediama set the fractions of 30.3, 1:00.3, 1:30.1 over the fast track but couldn't hang on as Exotic Form went to the passing lane and got up just before the wire. Ruby Ruby Who (Jeff Gregory) took the show position. Exotic Form, a Malabar Man filly out of Form Fitting, scored her first victory of her career and increased her bankroll to $28,601 for Winbak Farms. In the final division, worth $35,277, Beauty Of Gray took the lead from Gammy's Girl just before the quarter pole and breezed home from there. Gammy's Girl (Manzi) was two lengths back and took second while Seeyouincourt (Eric Mollor) rallied for show. It was the first career win in two starts for Beauty Of Gray for trainer/owner Tommy Andersson of Sweden. The Conway Hall filly from Armbro Sparkle has made $26,554 in two career appearances. In the $12,800 Excelsior Series, it was bombs away in the first division as Thoughtfilly ($46.40) notched the win for Jim Morrill Jr. in 2:02.1. Sweet Jesse T ($3.20) went the mile in 2:03 for trainer/driver Gates Brunet to take the second division while Emiliana ($4.50) took the final division in 2:03 with Chris Long in the sulky. In overnight action, Cowgirl Hall, currently the Downs track record holder for 3-year-old trotting fillies lowered the aged mark for mares when she went wire-to-wire in 1:57 for trainer/driver Gates Brunet. Racing returns on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. with a 13-race card. The feature is the $8,500 Open Pace with a field of seven set to go to the post. Naked News, last week's winner, will score from the three hole and is the 3-1 morning line favorite with Jim McNeight in the sulky. Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) is the next choice at 5-2 out of the seven spot. For all the latest news, information, promotional schedule and race replays, go to http://bataviadownscasino.com/live-racing . by Brian J. Mazurek
BATAVIA, N.Y. -- The New York Sire Stakes arrives at Batavia Downs for the first time this season and it will feature two-year-old trotting fillies who will go for over $100,000 split into three divisions on Friday night. Post time for the 12-race program is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. There will also be three $12,800 divisions of the Excelsior Series as well for the two-year-old filly trotters. The group of talented freshmen trotters will also bring in an array of driving stars to Batavia Downs including Hall of Famer Cat Manzi and Jim Morrill Jr. Also making their way to town will be the likes of Gates Brunet, Jim Marohn Jr., Steve Smith, Jim Meittinis, and former Western New York regulars Ray Schnittker and Jeff Gregory Manzi has won 14,770 races in his career, making him the third all-time dash-winning driver in North America. He also has earnings of nearly $158 million, placing him fourth all-time in North America. Manzi is a member of the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. He has 175 victories thus far in 2013 and over $2 million in winnings. Manzi is scheduled for seven drives on Friday. Morrill Jr. will be in the sulky nine times Friday night and loves the home cooking of Western New York. At Buffalo Raceway this season, he won 58 of 183 races, posting a 31.7 win percentage. His UDRS at Buffalo was an astounding .461 and earned $538,623. This season nationally, Morrill Jr. is 20th in victories with 260 and 10th in earnings with over $4.1 million. He's fifth in North America in UDRS with a .382 mark. Morrill Jr. won the 2006 Batavia Downs driving title with a record 177 victories, a mark that still hasn't been challenged. The first race on the card will be a $34,577 division of the Sire Stakes. Flyhawk Falina has been installed as the 2-1 favorite in the field of six and scores from the two post for driver/trainer Dan Daley. Flyhawk Falina is a Cash Hall filly out of Nowerland Nanette and has posted a wire-to-wire win in the Sires Stakes at Buffalo Raceway on July 3rd. She has been in the money in three out of four career starts and has earned $36,764. The fourth race on the program has a field of seven going postward in the Sire Stakes and will feature local favorite Crediama who is owned by the Purple Haze Stable LLC of nearby Fairport, N.Y. Crediama is tagged the 4-1 morning line second choice. She won her last time out, winning by a nose over Beauty Of Gray at Tioga Downs in 1:57.4 on August 3. Crediama is a Credit Winner filly out of Mama B. Ruby Ruby Who is a major danger. She enters with first and second place finishes in her last two starts in the Sire Stakes. Jeff Gregory will be aboard the 3-1 favorite. The final division of the Sire Stakes will be seventh race and it looks very competitive. The favorite is Avalicious (3-1) who starts out of the five spot. She turned in a 1:58.2 time at Tioga Downs, finishing a game third last time out and will be driven by Chris Lems. The main threat could come from the rail where Beauty Of Gray will start for driver Jim Mettinis. As mentioned earlier, Beauty Of Gray was nosed out by Crediama last time out and is the 4-1 second choice. Another contender lurking is out of the seven spot. That's where Share My Secret starts. She scored a victory in 1:59.3 at Tioga Downs on August 3rd and sits at 7-2. With expected nice weather on Friday and the racing strip being lightning fast during the first three weeks of the season, the track record of 1:59.0 set by Dreamy Dawn in 2010 could be in jeopardy. In the three Excelsior Series, also for two-year-old filly trotters, Brookside Lily in the third race, and both Jesse T and Trish in the sixth race all come to town riding two-race winning streaks. Driver/trainer Ray Schnittker delivers Baby Shaq in the ninth race, the final Excelsior race of the night, and is the 5-2 favorite from the seven post. Baby Shaq has already competed in both the Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series but is looking for her first win. For more information on all the upcoming Sire Stakes coming to Batavia Downs, the promotional schedule, race replays and results, go to http://bataviadownscasino.com/live-racing. by Brian J. Mazurek
Who says racing fans won’t bet on 2 year old trotters, certainly no one from Monticello Raceway. Yesterday (July 25) racing fans , both on and off track, wagered over $785,000 on the card which featured eight races of freshmen trotting fillies in the $130,000 NY Sires Stakes and the $50,000 Excelsior Series. And two weeks earlier, with a betting card which featured 2-year-old trotting colts in Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series action, fans poured over $995,000 through the betting machines. Of the four $32,662 NYSS filly trots on Thursday (July 25) arguably the most impressive winner was Larry Dumain and Carlo Lattinelli’s L Dee’s Scripture who was driven to a 2:00.3 victory by Andy Miller in only the filly’s second lifetime start. Miller also won another division when he guided Annie’s List home first in a 2:02.4 clocking. A third split was won by Maud Blue Chip in 2:01.2 for Cat Manzi while the forth NYSS division saw Jason Bartlett catch-drove Ruby Ruby Who to a 2:02.1 triumph. Although all the winning fillies went outstanding miles, especially so early in their careers, L Dee’s Scripture ‘s victory stood out. Trained by Julie Miller and driven by hubby Andy, the daughter of Credit Winner-Graceful Way went wire to wire from the pole position trotting every quarter around 30 seconds and finishing 1-1/2 lengths ahead of Exotic Form , a daughter of Malabar Man-Form Fitting and driven by Dan Daley. L Dee’s Scripture won her first lifetime start at Tioga Downs o July 18 in 1:58.3 and her first race from behind the starting gate five days earlier Miller guided the filly to a 1:58.4 triumph at the Big M. “She’s a real nice filly and she does everything right,” Miller said of L Dee’s Scripture whom he said he had trained on a half mile track before starting her in the NY Sire Stakes. She paid $2.60 for win. As it turned out Miller won the very next race, another NYSS filly trot , with Annie’s List in a 2:02.4 clocking with a final stanza in :29.4. The daughter of Conway Hall-Annie’s Promise got away soft from the pole position and with a quarter pole move to the lead the ball game was over. Once on top Annie’s List breezed to an easy 1-1/2 length triumph over Winning Pursuit and daughter of Credit Winner-Victor’s Pursuit driven b y Jason Bartlett. “I was careful with her leaving out of there because she’s still green and learning ,” Miller said. When asked if this race was the one he really wanted to win,” he chuckled and replied “Yes it was, for my best owner”, referring to the filly who is owned by his wife Julie… and himself. When asked where he got the filly he broke out in a big smile and said,” We gave $2500 for her at Harrisburg last fall.” Annie’s List returned a $2.50 win mutuel. A third NYSS split saw Jason Bartlett guide Roy Dobbins’ Ruby Ruby Who to a 2:02.1 victory in the filly’s first lifetime start. Like the other winners Bartlett used the front-end route with the Turbonator-BJ’s Promise K filly to score a one- length over Lady And The Cash, a daughter of Cash Hall-Lady Berndt driven by John Campbell. Ruby Ruby Who paid $8.50 for win. Cat Manzi returned to the racetrack where he began his illustrious career and reined a winner in both the NYSS and the Excelsior Series. The Catman won a Sires Stakes trot with Maud Blue Chip, a daughter of Credit Winner-Queen Of The Moor, in an impressive 2:01.2. After allowing Flyhawk Falina (Cash Hall-Nowerland Nanette) and driver Dan Daley to take command and cut the fractions Manzi waited to the homestretch to move Maud Blue Chip out to challenge and she picked up all the marbles when she trotted to the front and went on to score a 1-1/4 length victory over Daley’s filly. “She’s real tight and a smart filly,” Manzi said in the winners circle after the victory. “ Chuck (Sylvester- the filly’s trainer) doesn’t rush them and lets them come into their own.” Maud Blue Chip is owned by David Mc Duffee, Melvin Hartman and Little E LLC. She paid $7.40 for win. Manzi also won an Excelsior Series trot with Dr. Patty Hogan’s Conway Hall-So Wonderful filly, Trish in 2:05.1 for trainer Ed Lohmeyer. Andy Miller also won an Excelsior Series trot with Moon’s Twilight, a daughter of Cash Hall-Muscles Moonshine in 2:05.1 for owner Serge Beaumont. Brett Crawford also won an Excelsior split with his Credit Winner-Bibbidi Bobbidi filly, Julmyra in 2:05.3 He co-owns her with his wife Michelle. A final and most impressive victory in the afternoon’s Excelsior Series trots was the one turned in by Sweet Jessie T when Gates Brunet drove her to a 2:03 triumph with a 30 second last quarter. The daughter of Cash Hall-Rucoucou is owned by Ted Gewertz, Debra Brunet, and Jean Brunet. Sweet Jessie t paid $4.50 for win. John Manzi
VERNON, NY—Following a pair of speedy practice miles, Abbey Road Hanover looked razor sharp in posting a 1:51 career-fastest victory in Thursday night’s $10,000 featured sixth race at Vernon Downs. Vernon qualifying scores in 1:57.2 and 1:55.1 enabled Abbey Road Hanover to get in tip-top shape for Thursday’s female Open pace. With Rick Plano piloting for trainer Edgar Clarke, Abbey Road Hanover cut splits of :27, :55.3 and 1:23.1 before being headed by the pocket-sitting Little Santamonica entering the final sixteenth. The battling bay mare then slipped into another gear and accelerated to a three-quarter length triumph over her main challenger. While it was her first local tally of 2013, the comeback score resulted in the fifth season’s win (Four others at Florida’s Pompano Park) and the 12th lifetime tally for the quick-footed daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Allamerica Coed, who is owned by Florida’s Robert J. Orr and Gary J. Jonas. The hard-fought tally raised her career winnings to more than $138,000. The talented trotter Pazza posted the first pari-mutual victory by a 2-year-old at the 37-card meeting, rallying late to begin her racing career with a 2:01 triumph in Thursday’s eighth event. Trainer Gates Brunet did the driving for owners Joseph A. Spadaro and noted NYRA announcer Tom Durkin. Leading pilot Rick Plano pushed his victory total to 71 and tied fellow reinsman Chris Lems at 12 for most driving doubles at the meet during the evening, while his chief rival, Roman Lopez, also produced a pair of first-place finishes, as did former Downs champ Jimmy Whittemore. DOWNS DOINGS The 3-year-old trotter Makes Me Crazy (1:57.3) and sophomore pacer Cam Faire (1:56) also earned their initial pari-mutual victories during Thursday’s 12-race program… Lopez tied trainer Jocelyn Lavigne at 22 for second place on this year’s conditioning win-chart following his victory behind Cam Faire in Thursday’s fifth event... Plano leads in training tallies with 27… Friday’s 12-race card, that features a $10,000 Open-1 trot in race 10, will begin at 6:45 p.m… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran
Cowgirl Hall and harness racing driver Rick Plano shared top billing during Friday night's 12-race program at Vernon Downs.
Track record-holder Coraggioso cruised to a convincing harness racing victory in Friday's $10,000 featured Open trot, while fellow high-stepper Hold On Tightly became the first five-time winner at the current 10-night Vernon Downs meeting.
New York harness racing trainer Gates Brunet compares training 2-year-olds at this time of year to a game of poker. 'I got a poor hand last year, and the babies didn't come to much, but this year it's is looking much more promising. I have shares in six or seven and even though it's early days I think I might have a nice hand.