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The countdown to the biggest night of the year for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters began in earnest on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as a bevy of elimination action brought out some of the Prairie State's best. Freshmen pacing fillies started the Saturday night action with a total of 15 youngsters entered in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elim's. The top five will be back on Super Night to battle for a $163,000 (est) jackpot. In the opening split Jesse De Long & Hamm Family Trust's Sportsmuffler made her local debut a winning one as she rolled to an easy 4 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.3. Perfectly placed In The Pocket by driver John De Long, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Whatifthere'smore exploded past the pace setting Cowgirl Chic in the lane as she rolled to her sixth win in nine lifetime starts. Cowgirl Chic held on well to finish second while Girls Hunt Too (Dale Hiteman) was third and Star Gram (Brian Carpenter) was fourth. Angel Demon (Ryan Anderson), the 1-2 favorite in the field of eight, stopped badly after a first over bid on the far turn but still managed to gain a spot in the final with her fifth place finish. In the second division Leland Mathias and Paymaq Racing's Mr Leland's Filly continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:56.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Sent from third to first after a tepid opening quarter the Erv Miller trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Incredible Katie appeared to have plenty in reserve through the lane as she toyed with her rivals while posting her fifth win in seven lifetime starts. BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) turned a pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the show dough after a bold first over bid at the top of the stretch. Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) was fourth while Fox Valley Redhead (Dale Hiteman) finished fifth. A field of 10 was sent postward in the $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts with the top nine finishers joining Fox Valley Cupid, who opted for a bye, in next week's $147,000 (est) final. Living up to his overwhelming 1-9 favoritism Megan Rogers Racing Stables Unlocked completely dismantled this field as he reported home with an effortless 6 ¼ length victory in 1:50.3 for driver Dave Magee and trainer Erv Miller. The issue was never in doubt in this one as the good looking son of Duneside Perch--Miss Major Power worked his way to the front after the opening quarter and proceeded to widen his margin at each call while posting his fourth straight victory over these rivals. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) followed the winners every move after relinquishing the lead on the backstretch but was no match for the heavy favorite while garnering the second place check. Svaya Knows (Travis Seekman) rallied late to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Van, Uncle Ugly, Overloaded, Cotton Eyed Joe, BlueRiver and Sleazeburgernfries. The older pacers renewed acquaintances as a total of 16 veterans were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Tony Maurello Stake elimination's. Once again the top five finishers will be back for what should be a very entertaining $112,000 (est) final next week. In the first division the Bob Phillips owned and trained Al's Hammered came flying down the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a seasons best of 1:49.1 with Bobby Smolin at the controls. Content to bide their time near the back of the pack through some quick early splits, Smolin put the five-year-old son of Droppin'thehammer--Alberts Magic into contention at the top of the lane. Uncorking the big late kick he's come to be known for Al's Hammered proceeded to wear down FortSilky (Casey Leonard) in the final sixteenth of a mile for his 13th win in 19 starts this season. FortSilky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Big Daddy Woo Woo (Ridge Warren) was third. Ice Scraper (Todd Warren), who carved out the fast fractions held on for fourth while Ricky Bobbie (Pat Curtin) was fifth. In the nightcap Bert Hochsprung and the Erv Miller Stables classy veteran Iam Bonasera picked a nice time to grab his first win of the season as he rolled to an easy 1 ½ length victory in 1:51.3 with Travis Seekman at the controls. Perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Big Brad (Robert Smolin) carved out pedestrian splits of 27.4, 57.0 & 1:25.1, Seekman maneuvered the seven-year-old Cole Muffler--Shesoluvabull gelding to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go and the lifetime winner of more than $670,000 did the rest, storming home in 26.1 to get the win. Big Brad settled for second while another Miller trainee, A Cool Card (Dave Magee) was third. Crankin' It Up (Kyle Wilfong) was fourth while Doubletrouble (Todd Warren) was fifth. Next up were the two-year-old pacing colts as a total of 19 hopeful's met in a pair of $15,000 battles. The top five in each race will return for what is expected to be next week's biggest purse of the night at $187,000 (est). The first split provided a thrilling finish as the Roger Welch trained entry of Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova finished one-two with Earndawg getting the 1 ½ length score in a career best of 1:54.0 for the partnership of Bo & Pat De Long and E.J. Miller Jr. Sitting near the back of the back of the pack after starting from post position eight, driver Todd Warren did a magnificent job of guiding the altered son of Sportsmaster--Pacific Sister K through the lane charging from eighth to first in the final quarter-mile for his third win in nine lifetime starts. Rockin Cassinova (Dale Hiteman) parlayed a nice ground saving journey into the place check while Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin) rallied for third. Also gaining spots in the final was the pace setting Dupage's Z Tam (Casey Leonard) and Thisishowweroll (John De Long). The second elimination was also a barnburner and when the smoke cleared it was Rocco Ruffolo's Lucpark who prevailed by the slimmest of noses in 1:55.1 for driver Dave Magee. Given a Hall of Fame steer by Super Night's leading driver, Lucpark left quickly from post nine and settled in nicely at the pylons until the top of the stretch. That's when Magee went to work with the Erv Miller trained son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best, deftly maneuvering off the cones then squeezing through a tight hole with an eighth of a mile to go before wearing down the pace setting King Of The Swamp (Todd Warren) in the last stride for his fourth win in eight lifetime starts. C Note (John De Long) shook loose late to finish third. The last two spots in the final went to Mighty Hot Shot (Brian Carpenter) and Fox Valley Elijah (Dale Hiteman). A total of 23 distaffers were dropped into the box for a trio of $15,000 Lorna Propes Stake elimination's with the top three and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) advancing to next week's $120,000 (est) championship. In the first division Jesse De Long's Let's Go Higher, the defending champion in this event, returned to town for trainer Heidi Rohr and promptly served notice that she's going to be tough to dethrone as she posted a 4 ¼ length wire to wire victory in 1:52.1. Confidently handled by driver John De Long, the six-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed shot right to the top and promptly rattled off splits of 28.3, 57.1, & 124.4 before sealing the deal with a brisk 27.2 final panel for her 22nd win in the past two seasons. No Respect (Kyle Wilfong) followed the winner every step of the way but was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) was third. Fox Valley Touche finished fourth. In the middle split Wilson Racing Stable, Norm Neff and Mark Eichberger's Dune In Red parlayed a perfect trip into a 2 ½ length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Dave Magee. Sent hard from post five, the chestnut daughter of Duneside Perch--She Has The Look elected to let a hard charging Party Hangover (Todd Warren) go just after the quarter. That put the Tim Wilson Jr trained miss in a perfect spot the rest of the way. Magee then maneuvered the four-year-old out of the pocket and she responded beautifully as she zipped right by the odds on favorite for her fourth win of the season. Party Hangover held on for second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) was third. Zumba finished fourth. In the final elimination of the night fittingly went to another Dave Magee driven mare as he guided Joshua Carter's Just By Design to a one-length victory in 1:52.3. As was the case for nearly all of the night Magee had the roan six-year-old perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Fox Valley Absolut carved out splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:25.0. Fit and fresh as she waited for the passing lane, the Mike Brink trained miss cruised right by the pace setter for her third win of the season. Fox Valley Absolut held on for second while Toshie Special (Dean Magee) finished third. Auniqueaquistion finished fourth. The elimination action continues on Sunday, Sept. 7th with a $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination. That tussle will go as race six on the 10-race card which begins at 7:10 p.m. (central). No eliminations were needed for the Lady Ann Reed for three-year-old trotting fillies or the Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies. The latter did have a "prep" on Saturday night which was taken by Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly and driver Matt Krueger in 1:55. By Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park    

Back From Vacation (Dream Vacation) recorded his second consecutive victory on Tuesday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Heidi Rohr-trained trotter finished third in his local debut a few weeks back but dominated his competition last week upon dropping into the $5,000 claiming level. The six year old trotter coasted out to the early lead once again on Tuesday night and never had an anxious moment before drawing out to win in 1:58.4 with driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. in the sulky. The win was one of two on the card for the Rohr-Aldrich tandem who also teamed up for a victory with heavily favored Teach Me To Bucky (Crazed) who prevailed in his local debut in the evening's opener. Rohr currently sits second in the trainer standings just a few wins behind leading conditioner Jordan Derue while Aldrich is second in the driver standings albeit a long ways back from leading reinsman Billy Dobson. Aldrich piloted three winners on the Tuesday card. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

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 - When the 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters go postward Friday (8-1) to chase their cut of the $116,000 up for grabs in the two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes, the track record for this category is in danger of falling and its demise could come at the hooves of Gural Hanover. Since arriving at the Ron Burke Stable, Gural Hanover has been almost perfect; stringing four consecutive victories most recently. Included in those wins were an all-age track record of 1:56.1 at Buffalo Raceway and an all-age track record of 1:55.2 at Monticello Raceway. This week he is singularly focused on Batavia Downs. The track handicapper has installed the gelded son of Crazed as the 1-5 choice and due to the short field of five there will be win and exacta betting only. And 1-5 might be a windfall for bettors considering Gural Hanover is the NYSS point leader of his class and he has leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. navigating once again. With his front-running style, current form and penchant for half-mile tracks, Gural Hanover definitely has the ability to erase the 1:54.3 mark set by Archangel in 2012. Whereas this division looks to have an overwhelming favorite, the first division has the makings of a real solid horse race. Flyhawk El Durado, Cash Me Out and Zoey De Vie are as even a group of trotters that could be put together in a race. All three have beaten each other at some point this year and the group looks resigned to banging heads for the remainder of the season. Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Girl) was the NYSS 2-year-old trotting colt champion in 2013. He was six out of nine last year and finished his campaign in strong fashion. Since starting back this year for trainer Mark Ford, he faced some stiff Grand Circuit competition early finishing third behind 2014 Hambletonian starter Trixton in the Simpson Stake at the Meadowlands in May. In this series so far he has two wins, a second and two thirds and is coming off the best last outing (a 1:55.3 win at Yonkers Raceway) of anyone in this race. With the exception of an early season break at Saratoga, the Cheryl Mc Givern trained Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) has been no worse than second all year posting four wins and five seconds in 10 starts. He is the second richest starter in this field with $130,575 on the card for this year and just finished second to Gural Hanover last week. Michael Mc Givern is at the helm once again. Zoey De Vie (Conway Hall-Paul's Wink) made his stake debut this year in the Excelsior series victory before stepping up to the top level in June. Since then he has a win and three seconds in four NYSS starts. Last week he sat on the back of Flyhawk El Durado the entire mile at Yonkers but couldn't get by him in the lane. However the trainer/driver duo of Heidi Rohr and Jim Morrill Jr. will look to avenge that defeat in this leg tonight. The talented trotting trio of Cash Me Out (4-5), Flyhawk El Durado (3-1) and Zoey De Vie (8-5) is currently ranked second, third and fourth respectively on the NYSS leader board. The undercard features two divisions of the $25,500 Excelsior Series A and two divisions of the $13,400 Excelsior Series B series races. Post time for the 12 race card is 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Gural Hanover's victory in his $59,100 division of the New York Sires Stakes for sophomore colts and geldings on Tuesday afternoon (July 15) was an eye-opening one when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. guided the big altered son of Crazed-Givemearing to a new all age trotting track record of 1:55.2. It was the fastest trotting mile in the 58-year history of the Mighty M and it erased the former standard of 1:55.4 set by Man About Town in 2007. In doing so Gural Hanover set a new standard for 3 year-old trotters expunging the 1:57.1 mark co-held by Green Day (2007) ,Gaelic And Garlic (2012) and Ex King (2013). Morrill also won the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie in 1:57.3 and he was victorious in three Excelsior Stakes which gave him five winners on the card. But Gural Hanover was the overwhelming star of the day. In against his arch rival Expressive Action (Mike Simon) Morrill chose to send Gural Hanover to the lead from the four-hole on the hot and humid afternoon. They gained command on the first turn and cruised by the first quarter in :28.2. From there Morrill let the big fellow ramble past the half in :57.2 two full lengths ahead of Expressive Action and that was as close as Mike Simon's trotter could get to Morrill's. At the third stanza Gural Hanover had a three- length lead which was opened to four at the wire. Expressive Action finished second with Hallanet and Trond Smedshammer another length back in third position. "He's push button," Morrill said of Gural Hanover in the winner's circle after the race. "You can leave with him, put him in a hole or do whatever you want and you can drive him with two fingers. He's a monster and a real pleasure to sit behind real pleasure to sit behind." Lightly raced Gural Hanover only had one start as a freshman and was victorious in 2:00 at Balmoral Park in late September. This far this season the big bold-going gelding now has four wins; one second and one third in six seasonal starts and his bankroll has swelled to over $104,000. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables and trained by Ron Burke the winner returned a $2.30 win mutuel. Morrill, unquestionably the dominant force on the NYSS circuit, also copped the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie, a Conway Hall-Pauls Wink gelding trained by Heidi Rohr. In that contest Flyhawk El Dorado and driver Mark MacDonald seemed to have everything under control as they led Zoey De Vie and odds-on favorite Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern) through fractions of :28.3; :59; and 1:28.4. However, as Flyhawk El Dorado rounded the final turn the trotter went off stride which opened an easy path to the finish for Zoey De Vie who rallied and kept Cash Me Out at bay to score a one length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.3. "He's a good colt who has had some bad luck but we got good luck today." Morrill said referring to Flyhawk El Dorado making a break as the field turned for home. "We were in the right place at the right time but we still trotted a :28.3 last quarter to win it." Owned by Jesse and John De Long, Zoey De Vie paid $8.10 for win. All the 3 year olds in Excelsior Series performed also admirably. Winners -with drivers--were: JL Cruze (1:59.4-Jimmy Marohn, Jr.); Crazzy Crazzy (1:58- Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); Winbak Glory (1:59.2-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); General Bill Brown (1:57.3-Mark MacDonald); Flyhawk Thriller (1:58.1-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) and Consumer Rate (2:01.1-Mark MacDonald) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

That's A No No (Keystone Nordic) continued the winning ways in what has been a sensational season for Jordan Derue at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. A previous Johnny Page Award winner for up-and-coming driver, Derue is having a breakout season as a trainer in 2014 and currently sits atop the trainer standings at the Spa. The 23-year-old horseman has ten more wins than his closest competitor in the standings Heidi Rohr and lengthened that lead just a bit on Thursday night. Derue purchased That's A No No privately last month and has had a nice stretch with the seven year old since dropping him into the bottom level claimer. Last week, That's A No No overcame post eight to become the pocket rocket for Derue and on Thursday went right out to the early lead despite once again starting from the outside post. That's A No No faced a two-pronged challenge in the stretch but dug in to prevail in 1:59 for a seasonal mark in the $4,200 claiming event. Derue, who now has 50 wins locally as a trainer this season, has a training average of just shy of .400 in what has been a breakout year for the youngster as a trainer. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

You Rock My World (Muscle Mass-Disco Inferno) has apparently found the right form in 2014.   After winning just one of nineteen starts in 2013, You Rock My World (Jim Morrill Jr.) not only picked up win number nine in eighteen starts this year, he set a track record at Tioga Downs in winning the $43,200 Final of the Morrisville College Trotting Series for 3-5 Year Old Colts.   The final time of 1:53.1 broke the former track record for 4-year-old geldings by a second and two-fifths. You Rock My World moved to the front before the field made it to the first turn. He then proceeded to set strong fractions of 27.4 for the quarter, 55.4 for the half, and 1:23.3 for three-quarters.   Deacons Valley (Ross Wolfenden) was really the only other horse to stay anywhere near the leader during the race, getting to within a length before eventually fading to finish fourth after such a strenuous effort.   You Rock My World ended up winning by an impressive margin of six lengths. Stitch In Time (Tyler Buter) rallied to finish second and Cal Chips Brother (Corey Braden) also finished nicely to get third.   The complete order of finish was: You Rock My World, Stitch In Time, Cal Chips Brother, Deacons Valley, BZ Glide, Spaced Out, Sweet Ben, Jaipur, and Winwood Scout. You Rock My World is owned by John Smiel of Rutland, Vermont and trained by Heidi Rohr.   The 3-year-old trotting fillies headline a 15-race program at Tioga Downs on Monday night. The New York Sire Stakes will take place with two divisions, carded as the seventh and ninth races, on the program. Both divisions offer purses of $62,400. In the seventh race, Glowngold is the 3-1 morning-line favorite after Sire Stakes victories at Vernon Downs and Buffalo Raceway recently. In the ninth race, Market Rally is a slight 2-1 morning-line favorite after a Sire Stakes win at Buffalo, while Crediama, the Empire Breeders' Classic winner at Vernon, is second choice at 5-2. Post time at Tioga Downs on Monday night is 6:15pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Tioga Downs

On Sunday afternoon, Let’s Go Higher (Cole Muffler) continued her stretch as the most consistent participant in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Heidi Rohr-trained mare was the Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year last year at the Spa and after going wire-to-wire in Sunday’s $17,000 Open, now owns three victories this season in the top race for distaff pacers. Shawn Gray sat behind Let’s Go Higher as they made every pole a winning one before stopping the timer in 1:53.4, holding off a late bid from the favored It’s A Miracle (Bruce Aldrich Jr) who ended up as the runner up. So Nice (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot behind the six year old Let’s Go Higher who owns a share of the track record for Aged Pacing Mares after prevailing in 1:52.1 on June 1st. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Let's Go Higher (Cole Muffler) matched the all-time track record for aged pacing mares at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The defending Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at the Spa, Let's Go Higher, parlayed her pocket ride to victory on a warm spring day in the $17,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Shawn Gray piloted the Heidi Rohr-trained mare and sat patiently as frontrunner Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) set sizzling fractions. After two scratches, the Open for distaff pacers was comprised of just five mares and Let's Go Higher wound up besting her rivals in 1:52.1, a time that matched the track record for aged pacing mares. The mark was set by Don't Blame Her in July of 2012. Let's Go Higher was the 6-5 betting favorite in the Sunday feature as she recorded her second victory in the local Open this season. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - As a racetrack owner, Jeff Gural has been a winner at Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and more recently with the Meadowlands. As a racehorse owner and breeder, Gural has enjoyed plenty of victories including the current nine-race winning streak by his 4-year-old trotting mare Perfect Alliance. But Gural will experience even a first for him in Friday's first race at the Meadowlands when Gural the horse-owner faces Gural the horse. Gural is a part-owner of 3-year-old trotting colt Propulsion, a $250,000 purchase by noted pedigree expert Myron Bell. Propulsion, a royally bred son of Muscle Hill out of Hambletonian Oaks winner Danae, was fifth last week in his first career pari-mutuel start. Among Propulsion's eight opponents on Friday is Gural Hanover, a 3-year-old Crazed gelding, owned by Jesse and John De Long. Gural Hanover sold for $17,000 at the 2012 Harrisburg sale, but won his only career pari-mutuel start last September at Balmoral Park. He makes his Meadowlands debut on Friday for trainer Heidi Rohr. "I guess the pressure is on Myron to deliver with our expensive horse," said Gural, "but I'm looking forward to watching Gural Hanover race too." by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

The defending Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Let's Go Higher (Cole Muffler) prevailed in her return to town on Sunday afternoon. The six-year-old mare flew out to the early lead behind a fast quarter of 27.2 and never looked back. Shawn Gray piloted Let's Go Higher for trainer Heidi Rohr and secured the victory in 1:55. Aint No Dollatable (Billy Dobson) sat the pocket to finish second in the $17,000 matinee feature while Venus Delight (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Let's Go Higher, who completed a training triple on the card for Rohr, was the race's 4-5 public choice. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Brussel Sprout (Glidemaster) completed a training double for Heidi Rohr on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The conditional trotter was dropping down from the $15,000 claimers when he finally moved to a good post with driver Shawn Gray in the sulky. The morning line favorite, Brussel Sprout followed the cover of the race's public choice before tipping three wide around the final turn. The five-year-old trotter had plenty left in the tank to cruise by his rivals before securing a 2:01 victory. Brussel Sprout went off at odds of 7-2 and completed a double for Saratoga's defending Trainer of the Year Heidi Rohr, who also teamed up with Gray for a victory with pacer Chrome Seelster (Stonebridge Regal). by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway

Recent News (Riverboat King) took a big time class drop for his Saturday start at Saratoga and the Heidi Rohr-trained pacer outclosed his competition to record his first win of the season. Recent News, who got away sixth and had to move four wide heading to the three quarter pole, had something left for the stretch run and drew away late to win the $11,000 conditional-optional claimer. Recent News, whose victory came in 1:56.2, returned $8.90 to win as he bested Lets Rock Together (Billy Dobson) and Theseyesrcrying (Jim Devaux). The win was one of two on the card for Gray and Rohr who also teamed up for a victory with pacer Tireman (The Panderosa). Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee starting at 12:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Driver Jim Morrill Jr usually dominates the action when he comes to Saratoga Casino and Raceway and opening day of the 2014 season was no different. Morrill piled up six victories on the card including a sweep of the Sunday double feature. The $17,000 Fillies and Mares Open served as the undercard and Morrill cruised to victory behind the Ron Burke-trained Magic Starlight (Real Desire). Moving to the lead early on, Magic Starlight never looked back before drawing away late to prevail in 1:56 as the race's odds-on favorite. Morrill and Money Twitch A (Life Sign) came from well off the pace to win the $18,190 Open Pace while overcoming the outside post. Trained by last year's Trainer of the Year at the Spa Heidi Rohr, Money Twitch A stopped the timer in 1:55.3 after utilizing a cover trip to secure his fourth win of 2014. Morrill, who averages close to five wins a night when coming to town, scored three of his six Sunday victories while piloting for trainer Kevin Efimetz. Live racing resumes on Thursday night with a 6:45pm first post. There will be a carryover in the pick 5 pool as the wager was not hit on opening day. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 1, 2014--Money Twitch A (Eric Carlson) kept the form spree going Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway $33,000 Open Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 4, Money Twitch A saw both Muscle Beachboy (Eric Goodell) and Dallenbach Hanover (Larry Stalbaum) take early shots. When they settled, it was 1-2 favorite Hypnotic Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett)--who won the draw--quarter-moving from third. "Hypnotic", unseen here since December of 2012, made the lead after a cheap, 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a :56.3 intermission, invading Dovuto Hanover (Ron Pierce) edged from fourth, but he was essentially pacing in place. Meanwhile, Hypnotic Blue Chip seemed in control at the 1:24.3 three-quarters. The people's choice owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane...before the wheels (figuratively) fell off the sulky. Dovuto Hanover found a new life, helping the cause of a second-up Money Twitch A and a third-over Fat Man's Alley (Matt Kakaley). They fanned out wide and wider, with Money Twitch A schnozzing Fat Man's Alley in 1:53. Third went to Dovuto Hanover, with a tiring Hypnotic Blue Chip and Lumberjack Willie (Jordan Stratton) settling for the minor spoils. For Money Twitch A, a 9-year-old Down Under Life Sign gelding owned by William Emmons and trained by Heidi Rohr, he returned $18 (fourth choice) for his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $65, with the triple returning $302.50. The feature race was about the only thing Pierce did not win, since he left with six victories on the dozen-race card (eight in his rare, two-night Westchester stay). Saturday's 12-race handle was $1,105,830, a second consecutive seven-figure night and third of 2014. By Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 6, 2013--Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $37,000 co-featured Open Handicaps--Pace for the ladies and Trot who all who passed initiation--were won by front-end Let's Go Higher (Jason Bartlett, $6.80) and double-millionaire Wishing Stone (George Brennan, $3.30). In play early from assigned post position No. 3, Let's Go Higher--as the tepid 2-1 choice--played leapfrog on the lead with Cocoa Beach (Matt Kakaley). After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :57.3 intermission, Cheyenne Miriam (Mark MacDonald) moved from third. However, that bid stalled before a 1:26 three-quarters, as Let's Go Higher owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. She held off a second-over Rock N Load (Jordan Stratton) by a half-length in 1:55.2. Third went to Cocoa Beach, with Sir Jillian Z Tam (Pat Lachance) and "Miriam" rounding out the payees. For Let's Go Higher, a 5-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler owned by Jesse DeLong and trained by Heidi Rohr, it was her 14th win in 37 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $26.40, with the triple returning $166.50. The week's marquee trot saw Wishing Stone end his season with a picture. Sent postward as the 3-5 choice from his ordered eight-hole, he was wide at the outset before wedging in fifth. It was Melady's Monet (Dan Dube) leading through sub-sections of :28 and :58.3 with Lorenzo Dream (catch-driver Kakaley) pocketed and Brando's Muscle Man (Eric Goodell) trying it first-up. Odds-on Wishing Stone was behind that one at the 1:27.2 three-quarters. An inside-the-cones Melady's Monet maintained the lead in and out of the final turn before Wishing Stone received the memo. He went by, with the margin a half-length in 1:57.1. Melady's Monet crossed the line second, but was set down to third for the above transgression. That moved Lorenzo Dream to second, with Zooming (Bartlett) and Elin (Larry Stalbaum) completing the cashers. For Wishing Stone, a 6-year-old son of Conway Hall trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Cowboyland Aalborg, Deo Volente Farms, J & T Silva and T L P Stables, it was his seventh win in 19 '13 tries. The exacta paid $13.80, the triple returned $43.40 and the superfecta paid $372.50. Next season, Wishing Stone begins a dual role as racehorse and stallion. 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 now available daily. Frank Drucker  

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