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

Sustaining a first-over push to the fore before holding off the late-charging Pan Luis Obispo, Dirty Girty ($17.60) proved a 1:52 upset winner in Friday (August 29) evening's $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Tioga Downs.   The four-year-old Western Terror mare tracked pacesetters Inittowinafortune (Aaron Byron) and De Vins Girl (John Cummings, Jr.) through a :56 half mile before commencing her first-over bid on the backstretch.   After nudging 2-1 second choice Inittowinafortune along through a :27.2 third quarter, Dirty Girty turned up the pressure, taking the lead off the far turn and edging clear to a two-length margin in upper stretch.   She dug in late to stave off the hard-closing 4-5 favorite Pan Luis Obispo (Jim Meittinis), with the ground-saving Southwind Trini (Corey Braden) staying on for third.   Mike Merton handled the driving duties aboard Dirty Girty for owner-trainer James Clouser, Jr.   Racing returns to Tioga on Saturday (August 30) evening, with first post slated for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs 

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

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

Jimmy Takter trainee French Laundry ($2.50) proved a convincing winner in his $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 24) afternoon, as did other odds-on favorites Wheels Ah Smokin ($2.10) and Bee the Queen ($3.00) in their respective races.   However, freshman trotting filly Mission Brief, sent off at 1-20 after her dominant Merrie Annabelle win at the Meadowlands three weeks ago, faltered in her Kindergarten Classic event, enabling Lady Clarabella to score a 22-1 upset.   French Laundry, sent off the 1-4 favorite in the sixth race for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, wasted no time asserting himself on the lead. He forced Party on the River (Tyler Buter) into the pocket on the first turn, rated a 1:00.2 half mile, and sprinted clear upon facing late pressure from the first-over SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller). The son of Muscles Yankee kicked clear to a 2-1/2 length win in rein to Yannick Gingras, besting SS Poseidon and RG's Thunderbolt (Jim Marohn, Jr.) in 1:57.1.   The fourth race was the earlier colt division of the Kindergarten, with Chuck Sylvester trainee Wheels Ah Smokin (David Miller) repelling a late challenge from Lucky Ten K (Chris Lems), sprinting clear to a 3-1/2 length win in 1:57.3.   Fillies contested their pair of $10,000 divisions in races eight and ten, with Bee the Queen (Chris Lems) never looking back off an early brush to the fore, edging clear of Fashion Gab Alot (Scott Zeron) by 2-3/4 lengths for a 1:57.3 win in the eight race. George Ducharme trains the Donato Hanover filly.   While three of four odds-on favorites had no trouble in their respective victories, Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief (Yannick Gingras) was a victim of multiple breaks in the tenth race, faltering on the first turn after lagging the gate by three lengths.   Josie's Joy (Tyler Buter) assumed the early pacesetting duties, controlling a :58.2 half mile while under no pressure. While eventual winner Lady Clarabella (David Miller) commenced her first-over bid into the far turn, Mission Brief had caught the field, closing ferociously through the middle half.   Unfortunately for those backing the prohibitive favorite, the daughter of Muscle Hill broke again at the top of the stretch while the Randy Beeckman-trained Lady Clarabella pushed clear of Josie's Joy to win by 2-1/4 length in 1:57.3. Josie's Joy held second, while Cocoacabana (Jacqueline Ingrassia) stayed on for third after tracking the winner's cover.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 29) evening, with first post set for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Pouncing from the pocket on the approach to the far turn, Keith Pippi's Traverse Seelster ($3.30) recorded the fastest mile ever at Tioga Downs for an older trotting gelding, taking Saturday (August 23) evening's $15,000 Open Trot in 1:52.4.   Brandon Simpson settled into the pocket with the six-year-old Angus Hall gelding, drafting behind Lutetium (John Cummings, Jr.) through a :56.2 half before making his two-wide push with five-sixteenths to go.   Traverse Seelster responded at once, kicking clear to a three-length lead on the far turn. Through the stretch, he was chased home by Twin B Spike Man (Mike Simons), but last week's Open winner could only muster a second-place finish, closing to within a length and a half. Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) rallied from last in the field of five to take third. Oh No Three O (Corey Braden) was a non-threatening fourth, and early pacesetter Lutetium faded to last after giving way.   Amber Buter trains Traverse Seelster, whose 1:52.4 mile bested Tac's Delight prior record for older trotting geldings by a fifth of a second. The overall track record for trotters stands at 1:52.3, most recently achieved by Obrigado.   Sunday (August 24) afternoon's 13-race card kicks off at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with freshman trotters taking center stage in a quartet of Kindergarten Classic preliminaries.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Driver Aaron Byron had the hot hand at Tioga Downs on Friday (August 22) evening, taking five of the evening's ten races. Among his triumphs was a 1:52.1 win in the $15,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace with Inittowinafortune ($6.20).   After establishing the lead with the four-year-old Cams Fortune mare, Byron yielded to the pocket, allowing Southwind Trini (Jim Meittinis) to set steady fractions of :27.3, :56 and 1:24. With the first-over De Vins Girl (John Cummings, Jr.) fading on the approach to the far turn, and even-money favorite Pan Luis Obispo (Vinny Ginsburg) commencing a three-wide bid off stalled cover,   Byron was able to wedge out of the pocket with Inittowinafortune. The Michael Russo trainee struck the front in the final sixteenth, driven clear to a 1-1/2 length win over Southwind Trini. Pan Luis Obispo stayed on for third.   Byron also teamed up with Odds On Aventure (1:54), Belle Boyd (1:53.3), Shutthefrontdoor (1:54.1), and Rompaway Brandon (1:57.1) to complete his quintet of wins on the evening.   Live racing returns to Tioga with a 12-race card on Saturday (August 23). Post time is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

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

Benefiting from a pocket trip, the Wiz Kids Stable's Golden Gun ($27.80) took his second consecutive win in Monday (August 18) evening's $15,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs.   The four-year-old Headmaster gelding tracked 1-4 favorite Bet On the Law (Joe Pavia, Jr.) through strong yet controlled fractions of :27.1, :55.3, and 1:22.4 before edging off the pegs midway through the far turn. At the top of the stretch,   Bet On the Law was fully extended, and would be collared by Golden Gun in the final 70 yards of a 1:51 mile. Golden Gun won by just shy of a length over Bet On the Law, while JK Panache (John Macdonald) just missed second off a stand-side charge.   John Cummings, Jr. drove Golden Gun for trainer Jeff Sorenson.   Racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Friday (August 22) evening, with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

While North America Cup winner JK Endofanera ($2.50) coasted home in 1:50.1 to win his $54,072 Geers Stake division on Sunday (August 17) at Tioga Downs, the top story of the afternoon saw Father Patrick gamely outkicked by Datsyuk ($52.00) in their $36,036 division of the Arthur Tompkins Memorial.   After an uneventful start, Yannick Gingras sent Father Patrick to the fore, floating clear of Hillustrious (David Miller) with little effort involved through a :57 half mile.   The 16-time winner accelerated up the backstretch through a :27.4 third quarter, but Hillustrious was able to keep with him from the pocket.   Meanwhile Datsyuk, waiting in the wings thus far, commenced a two-wide rally on the far turn, taking a narrow lead in the final 100 yards en route to a hard-fought 1:53.1 victory. Father Patrick, whose next appearance is slated to be the Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs, was a narrowly beaten second, and Hillustrious held even for third off his pocket trip.   Trainer-driver Charlie Norris co-owns Datsyuk with Leonard Buckner. The Explosive Matter gelding's 1:53.1 mile was the fastest ever at Tioga Downs trotted by a three-year-old gelding.     The earlier Tompkins division for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings saw Nancy Johansson trainee Resolve ($4.40, Corey Callahan) elevated to a win after just missing Sumatra (Brett Miller) in a 1:54.1 mile, as Sumatra was found guilty of a pylon violation upon exiting the final turn.   The Tompkins Memorial for three-year-old trotting fillies saw a field of three contest their $46,572 division off the pari-mutuel card, with Stephen Farrell's Mistresswithmuscle pulling clear for an 11-length win in 1:56.1. Yannick Gingras handled the driving duties for trainer George Ducharme.   Additionally, Tompkins divisions were held for two-year-old trotters of each sex, with Jolene Jolene ($2.10, David Miller) taking her $28,571 split in a track record-equaling 1:55.2 mile. The Jonas Czernyson-trained daughter of Muscle Hill angled wide on the approach to the far turn, pulling clear of Crunchess Finale (Dan Rawlings) for a 4-1/2 length victory.   Other two-year-old Tompkins winners included fillies Allerage Star (1:55.4, Corey Callahan) and Dynamite Dame (2:00, David Miller) while trotting colts Muscle Diamond (1:56.2, John Campbell) and Habitat (1:56.4, Yannick Gingras) prevailed in their splits as well.   The Geers Stake for three-year-olds drew a lone division for each sex, with JK Endofanera posting a solid 1:50.1 win in the $54,072 colt division. The son of Art Major controlled the terms throughout, parrying a challenge from the first-over Doo Wop Hanover (Scorr Zeron) before holding off pocket rival Bushwacker (David Miller) by 1-1/2 lengths. Yannick Gingras handled the driving duties for trainer Ron Burke.   The $50,572 filly division went to Katie Said ($6.70), who was sent three-wide on the far turn by Marcus Miller to pass the dueling Uffizi Hanover (David Miller) and 4-5 favorite Precocious Beauty (Doug McNair) for a 1:52.1 victory. Rockingcam Park (John Campbell) chased off cover to take second, while Empire Breeders Classic winner Precocious Beauty faded late to third. Julie Miller trains Katie Said, a three-year-old daughter of Well Said.   Live racing resumes at Tioga with a special Monday (August 18) evening card. First post for the 12-race program is set for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs    

Sustaining a first-over push to wear down odds-on favorite Money On My Mind, Twin B Spike Man ($30.20) proved an upset winner in Saturday (August 16) evening's $15,000 Open Handicap Trot at Tioga Downs.   As expected, Jim Marohn, Jr. sent 1-5 favorite Money On My Mind to the fore, controlling a :56.4 first half mile before facing pressure into the far turn. After reaching three-quarters in 1:25.2, Money On My Mind found himself bracing for the oncoming onslaught of the first-over Twin B Spike Man, who pushed to the fore at head-stretch. With the favorite fading at the pegs, Twin B Spike Man was left to contend with a chasing Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) in the final yards, holding sway for a half-length victory in 1:54.2. Stitch in Time (Brandon Simpson) stayed on well for third off a pocket trip.   Co-owner Mike Simons drove the seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding for trainer Gail Wrubel. Donald Eccleston and Albert Abdala, III also share ownership of Twin B Spike Man. The win was one of three on the night for Simons, who also teamed up with Highland Yankee (1:56.3) and Magglio (1:56.3).   Racing returns to Tioga on Sunday (August 17) afternoon, with non-wagering Tompkins-Geers action scheduled for 1:10 p.m. EDT. The eleven-race pari-mutuel card kicks off at 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Many top three-year-olds have pointed to Sunday (August 17) afternoon's Tompkins-Geers Stakes at Tioga Downs as part of their summer campaigns, including top trotter Father Patrick and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera.   Jimmy Takter trainee Father Patrick looks to rebound from the break he made as the 2-5 Hambletonian favorite, and has every chance to do so as the 3-5 morning line favorite in Sunday's $36,036 ninth race. The son of Cantab Hall won all six of his other races on the season, including a 1:50.2 triumph in the Beal Memorial at Pocono and a 1:51.3 score in the Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands. The 16-time winner, looking ahead to the Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs to propel him into the sport's fall championship season, will be joined by usual driver Yannick Gingras from post 4.   Fellow Hambletonian contender Datsyuk drew into the same division, and has been installed as the 5-1 second choice from post 3. Unraced at two, the Explosive Matter gelding earned wins in the first three of his eight races, finishing in the money in all save the Hambletonian. Trainer Charlie Norris will handle the driving duties once again.   A third Hambletonian starter, Resolve, drew into the first division, starting from post 6 in the $36,536 sixth race as the 7-2 morning line second choice. Corey Callahan remains in the bike behind this Muscle Hill colt for trainer Nancy Johansson after a fifth-place finish in the Hambletonian.   While two divisions were necessary for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings in the Arthur Tompkins Memorial, three-year-old pacers will contest the Geers Stake in a lone division for each sex.   JK Endofanera headlines the $54,072 seventh race for pacing colts and geldings as the 8-5 morning line favorite, teaming up with Yannick Gingras from post 7. The North America Cup winner enters off a strong second-place effort behind He's Watching in last week's Empire Breeders Classic for trainer Ron Burke.   The top filly in last week's Empire Breeders Classic, Precocious Beauty, has been installed the even-money morning line favorite in the $50,572 fifth race, which could shape up to be a duel with Fan Hanover winner Uffizi Hanover. Precocious Beauty, the Gregg McNair-trained daughter of Art Major, took the Empire Breeders Classic last week in 1:51.1, drawing clear in the final yards after sustaining an uncovered bid. Usual driver Doug McNair is back in the bike after last week's triumph, and the pair will start from post 2. Uffizi Hanover, a Jimmy Takter-trained Well Said filly, has been installed the 9-5 second choice on the morning line, and will retain the driving services of David Miller from post 1.   Sunday's 11-race pari-mutuel card carries a 1:30 p.m. EDT first post, with a non-wagering $46,572 Tompkins event for three-year-old trotting fillies slated for twenty minutes earlier.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Sweeping three-wide on the backstretch to pounce on a pressured pace, Pan Luis Obispo ($6.00) drew off for a 4-1/4 length win in Friday (August 15) evening's $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Tioga Downs.   Vinny Ginsburg kept the four-year-old No Pan Intended mare well off a :54.2 first-half battle between Inittowinafortune (Aaron Byron) and Keystone Wanda (Corey Braden), moving a closer second-over on the backstretch before making a three-wide push past the fading Keystone Wanda. Pan Luis Obispo continued into the lead at the apex of the far turn, taking over from a softened up Inittowinafortune past a 1:22.3 three-quarter split. She drew clear of her six rivals at will through the stretch, keeping pocket rival Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) 4-1/4 lengths at bay for a 1:51.2 triumph. Cloris Hanover (Brandon Simpson) was an even--but all-out--third off her ground-saving trip.   Robert Bresnahan trains Pan Luis Obispo for winning owner Robert Bresnahan, Jr.   While only able to muster a second-place finish in the featured event, leading driver Jim Marohn, Jr. registered a Friday night grand slam, winning with R U Ideal (1:54.1), O Narutac Rockette (1:54.4), Wallstreet Hanover (1:58.4), and Winbak Heavenly (1:53.2).   Live racing returns to Tioga on Saturday (August 16) evening, with first post slated for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Enjoying a pocket trip behind May Day, the Wiz Kids Stable's Golden Gun ($42.60) proved an upset winner in Monday (August 11) evening's $15,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs, splitting harness racing foes to prevail by a scant neck in 1:51.1.   After a strong dispatch, the four-year-old Headmaster gelding yielded the lead to a headstrong May Day (Mike Merton), tracking through a :56.2 middle half breather after a harrowing :26.1 initial quarter. With Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) unable to sustain his first-over bid and even-money favorite Bet on the Law (Joe Pavia, Jr.) forced four-wide in his rally on the far turn, John Cummings, Jr. angled Golden Gun out of the pocket off the corner, taking over in deep stretch. While Bet on the Law sustained a strong late kick, the extra ground proved too much, as he just missed with his stand-side charge. Dull Roar (Aaron Byron) stayed on well off a three-wide bid to hold third.   Jeff Sorenson trains Golden Gun, who prevailed at double-digit odds for the second time this season.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 15) evening, with first post slated for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

After his convincing Meadowlands Pace victory, Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and the Muscara Racing Trust's He's Watching ($2.50) cemented himself atop the three-year-old harness racing pacing division with an equally remarkable 1:49.1 victory in the $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 10) afternoon.   The son of American Ideal found himself in an early tussle with Twin B Speedo (Mark MacDonald) and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera (Brian Sears), pushing clear on the first turn before controlling the terms through a sensible :55.4 half mile. On the backstretch, Winds of Change (David Miller) advanced first-over into a narrow second, forcing He's Watching to accelerate to the far turn.   While He's Watching was able to withstand the added pressure of a :26.3 third quarter, Winds of Change could not, backpedalling off the far turn and ceding second to the pocket-sitting JK Endofanera.   He's Watching continued to pull away off the corner, drawing off to a four-length win in rein to Tim Tetrick by way of a torrid :53.2 back half. JK Endofanera was all-out while giving futile chase the entirety of the stretch, but remained a clear second over Twin B Speedo.   Winning trainer David Menary indicated plans for He's Watching to contend the Pacing Triple Crown, which commences at Tioga with the Cane Pace on Monday, September 1.     The $244,875 Empire Breeders Classic event for three-year-old pacing fillies saw James Avritt, Sr.'s Precocious Beauty ($10.40) sustain a first-over bid for the final half-mile of her 1:51.1 score, wearing down the pace-setting Delightful Dragon (David Miller) before pulling clear in the stretch.   Major Dancer (Brian Sears) couldn't rally off live cover, all-out to chase through the stretch, but finishing two lengths in arrears. Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) rallied off cover to just miss the fading Delightful Dragon in the photograph for third, but was elevated to third placing after Delightful Dragon was found guilty of a pylon violation on the far turn.   Doug McNair drove Precocious Beauty, a daughter of Art Major, for trainer Gregg McNair.   The Sunday undercard featured four $28,250 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, with The Spy (1:53.0, Tim Tetrick), Lone Survivor (1:52.4, David Miller), Americanprimetime (1:52.4, Tyler Buter), and Southwind Masimo (1:54.0, Patrick Lachance) prevailing in their respective divisions.   Racing returns to Tioga for a special Monday (August 11) evening card. The first of 13 races is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Fresh off a pair of harness racing open wins at Saratoga, Obrigado ($8.70) pounced from a rated tracking trip to take the $15,000 Open Trot on Saturday (August 9) at Tioga Downs, equalling the all-age track record of 1:52.3 in the act.   From the outset, Aaron Byron kept the four-year-old Boy Band gelding well off an ambitious pace set by Wisenheimer (Jim Marohn, Jr.), only starting to move a closer second on the far turn after a 1:23.2 three-quarter split. While pressing on the far turn, Obrigado gained into a joint lead coming to the top of the stretch, driven out in the final sixteenth to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Macs Bad Boy (Mike Simons) rallied off a stalking trip to narrowly take second from Wisenheimer, while odds-on favorite Traverse Seelster (Brandon Simpson) simply had too far to rally, finishing fourth.   The mark, shared by Manningly and Autumn Escapade, also gave Obrigado outright ownership of the track record for four-year-old trotting geldings, eclipsing the past record of 1:54.3 shared by Martino and Brookroad Knight.   Trainer Paul Kelley co-owns Obrigado with the partnership of Higgins, Weaver, and Stable 45.   Later in the card, Pan Luis Obispo ($13.20) sustained a first-over bid to prevail in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, wearing down Inittowinafortune in 1:51.4. Vinny Ginsburg handled the driving duties of the four-year-old No Pan Intended mare for trainer Robert Bresnahan and owner Robert Bresnahan, Jr.   Live racing resumes on Sunday (August 10) afternoon, with a stakes-laden program headlined by the finals of the Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired three-year-old pacers. Post time is 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

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