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Enjoying a pocket trip behind Ideal Fashion until mid-stretch, Some or Lis ($38.20) prevailed narrowly, scoring an 18-1 upset in Sunday (August 2) afternoon's featured $7000 upper-level conditioned pace at  the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   Andy Gardner kept the 6-year-old Lis Mara gelding close to favored pacesetter Ideal Fashion (Chris Lems) through a :26 initial quarter, tracking intently through a :57.4 middle half before commencing his bid with clear sailing off the turn.   The two dueled past mid-stretch, and Some or Lis was able to just wear down Ideal Fashion for a 1:53.2 score.   Fiftyshadesdarker (John MacDonald) kicked cover at head-stretch, rallying to take third while three lengths in arrears of the top pair.   Richard Dow owns and trains Some or Lis.   Chris Lems and Fern Paquet, Jr. led all drivers on the 10-race card, each recording three victories.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 7) evening, with post time set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite

Nichols, N.Y. -- After working clear of Elite Awards with just over a circuit to go, Fireyourguns ($2.60) narrowly held off a late charge from that same rival--and two others--to capture Sunday (August 2) afternoon's $12,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs.   Aaron Byron floated forward with the 6-year-old American Ideal gelding, clearing pacesetters Elite Awards (Corey Braden) and Eastend Eddie (Jim Marohn, Jr.) just after a :27.1 initial quarter. Fireyourguns then travelled with an uncontested lead through middle sectionals of :55.3 and 1:23.3, but faced a pair of stern challenges on the far turn when Elite Awards pulled the pocket and Eastend Eddie was carried three-wide off the corner. Those two charged valiantly upon straightening for home, as did Electrofire (Mike Simons), who fanned four-wide in the final 150 yards. Fireyourguns, though all-out, narrowly held off his trio of pursuers, prevailing in 1:51.3 over fast going.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   In addition to his win with Fireyourguns, Byron teamed up with Galex ($18.00, 1:53.2) and Dragon Fever ($9.20, 1:53.1) to lead all drivers with three wins on the 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 7) evening, with first post at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Sustaining a first-over bid through the far turn, Wings of Royalty ($2.40) wore down the pacesetting Count Speed for a 1:54.3 triumph in the $8000 Open II Trot at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 1) evening.   Count Speed (John MacDonald) crossed and cleared from the extreme outside to dictate the terms, rating a :56.4 half mile before facing the first-over Wings of Royalty on the far turn.   The two dueled through a :28.1 third quarter, continuing their battle off the corner while leaving the pocket-sitting A Lister (Fern Paquet, Jr.) five lengths in arrears.   Wings of Royalty ultimately prevailed by three-quarters of a length, wearing down Count Speed in the final yards.   Fleetwood Hall (Roman Lopez) charged off cover to take third, just missing by a length.   George Ducharme trains Wings of Royalty for owner-breeder Raymond Campbell, Jr.   Truman Gale led all drivers with four wins on the 11-race program.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (August 2) afternoon, with the first of 10 races scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Taking advantage of a pocket trip and room on the far turn left by a fading Bourbon Bay, Skates N Plates ($29.60) pounced late to just collar Six Bax in Saturday (August 1) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs.   Aaron Byron secured the pocket with the 4-year-old Revenue entire, drafting behind Grey Ice (Corey Braden) through a :27.2 first quarter.   As soon as Byron vacated the pocket and brushed Skates N Plates to the lead, though, Six Bax (Jim Taggart, Jr.) circled three-deep out of third, clearing just upon passing the winning post on the first occasion.   After taking charge through a :55.2 half mile, Six Bax faced mild pressure on the backstretch from the first-over Bourbon Bay (John Cummings, Jr.), maintaining his 1-1/2-length lead through three-quarters in 1:24.3.   As Bourbon Bay faded on the far turn, Six Bax found room to vacate the pegs, driven to a narrow 1:53.4 victory in the final yards.   Six Bax held second, while Tirade Hanover (Tyler Raymer) kicked cover off the far turn to take third.   Paul Kelley trains Skates N Plates for owner-breeder Robert Key.   Byron scored a hat trick on the 12-race card, as did Jim Taggart, Jr.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 2) afternoon, with the first of 11 races due to begin at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Nichols, N.Y. -- Jim Morrill, Jr. continued his success on the New York Sire Stakes circuit on Friday (July 31) evening at Tioga Downs, prevailing in five of the evening's 10 races. Among his wins was a $56,500 New York Sire Stakes split for 2-year-old pacing fillies, in which Soft Idea ($3.00) kicked clear in upper stretch after staving off mild pressure on the far turn.   Soft Idea, a daughter of American Ideal and Walk Softly, was relaxed in the early stages, brushing from fourth to clear Wishy Washy Girl (Ray Schnittker) after a :27.4 first quarter. Once making the lead with a circuit to go, Soft Idea pulled the pace back through middle fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.1 before Mother of Art (Mike Simons) applied mild first-over pressure through the far turn. Soft Idea kicked clear off the far turn, opening up 4-3/4 lengths on her rivals for a 1:54.2 triumph. Mother of Art held second, while Art Critic (Aaron Byron) emerged from traffic to take third.   Linda Toscano trains Soft Idea for the South Mountain Stables, the Bay's Stable, the Radio Racing Stable, and Little E, LLC.   The other featured New York Sire Stakes event on the evening saw No Clouds Bluechip ($4.30) claim the winner's share of a $55,500 purse. Mike Simons secured the pocket with the daughter of Roll With Joe and B J's Sunshine, drafting behind American Ivy (Mark MacDonald) through sectionals of :27.1, :57.3, and 1:25.2. Boxed on the far turn by the first-over Killing Em Softly (Morrill), No Clouds Bluechip found room at the top of the stretch when Killing Em Softly broke stride, edging off the pegs and sprinting to the lead in mid-stretch. No Clouds Bluechip also prevailed in 1:54.2, defeating American Ivy by three-quarters of a length. Vino and Formaggio (Chris Lems) held third off a ground-saving trip.   John Berger trains No Clouds Bluechip for Richard and Farrell Carney, along with Barbara Berger.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 1) evening, with a 12-race card due to begin at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Despite setting a grueling pace with even-money favorite Fireyourguns tracking from the pocket throughout, Steelhead Hanover ($6.00) had enough left in deep stretch to narrowly prevail in Monday (July 27) evening's $12,000 Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs.   Mike Simons secured a close tracking spot with the 6-year-old Bettor's Delight entire on the first turn, situated just behind Fireyourguns (Aaron Byron) and Eastend Eddie (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a :26.3 first quarter.   Upon completing his brush to the lead with a circuit to go, Steelhead Hanover kept at a rapid pace, bracing for a sustained challenge from Fireyourguns on the far turn after a :54.3 middle half.   Driven out through the stretch, Steelhead Hanover prevailed by a neck, holding off Fireyourguns in 1:49.4 over fast going.   Eastend Eddie hooked three-wide in the stretch, sustaining a belated rally to hold third.   Joe Pavia, Jr. trains Steelhead Hanover for Dijo Racing, Joseph Barbera, the AGC Stables, and Pint Size Racing.   While Simons completed a driving double in the sub-featured $10,000 Open II Pace with Electrofire ($3.90, 1:51.4), Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers with three wins on the 10-race card.   The "Mighty Mite Part Two" teamed up with Giddy Up Delight ($6.60, 1:52.4), Flying Cowboy ($15.80, 1:50.3), and Retail ($6.10, 1:53).   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (July 31) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Nichols, N.Y. -- In conjunction with a United States Trotting Association initiative to boost purses for horses just beginning their racing careers, Tioga and Vernon Downs have elevated purses for select races, effective Friday, July 31, 2015.   Tioga Downs will increase purses for maiden, non-winners of two, and non-winners of five events by approximately 15 per cent. Those races will now be contested for $4,800, $5,600, and $6,400 respectively (formerly $4,200, $4,800, and $5,500).   Likewise, Vernon Downs will boost purses for maiden, non-winners of three, and non-winners of five races by approximately 10 per cent. Those races now will carry purses of $3,300, $4,000, and $5,600 respectively (formerly $3,000, $3,600, and $5,100).   For more information and current condition sheets, visit www.tiogadowns.com and www.vernondowns.com.   by James Witherite, Tioga and Vernon Downs

While 3-year-old trotting filly Barn Doll ($4.60) kicked cover to beat older company in Sunday (July 26) afternoon's $12,000 Open Trot at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs, it was trainer Joe Skowyra who shone most brightly on the nine-race card, with all three of his trainees on the program proving victorious.   The first race, a $3700 first-level conditioned trot saw He Belongs Here ($4.70, Brandon Simpson) mount a rally on the backstretch after settling well off a quick early pace, working into the lead on the far turn before staving off a late charge from Maggie O (John Cummings, Jr.) to prevail in 1:58.4.   In the sixth race, a $5000 claiming event, Master in Charge ($4.70, Aaron Byron) took charge from the outset, rating a soft :59.4 initial half.   When a first-over bid from Dance With Molly (Gary Clark) came up short and a three-wide push from Psyched (Sean McAleese) lasted no longer than the entry of the far turn, Master In Charge drew off to a 5-length win, staying well clear of a late-rallying Ashcroft (Mike Simons) in 1:57.2.   After a flash deluge caused a brief delay before the late double, the afternoon's final race saw Justherighttouch ($9.50, Byron) enjoy a pocket trip behind Highland Yankee (Cummings), emerging once free off the far turn to take the lead in upper stretch.   Justherighttouch subsequently held off a late charge from P L Houdini (Ronnie Morales, III), who circled the stalled cover of Aruba Vacation to miss by just a half length.   The 8-year-old gelding won in 1:58.3, giving Skowyra a training hat trick on the afternoon.   Barn Doll kicks cover to triumph in trotting feature   Not to be outdone, Barn Doll utilized a :27.1 final quarter to defeat her five rivals in the featured $12,000 Open Trot. Beginning from post 6, the Conway Hall filly came away second from last, just detached of the top quartet through a soft :57.1 first half.   On the backstretch, Jim Meittinis moved her second-over to draft behind Oho Diamond (Morales), inching closer as pacesetter Six Bax (Jim Taggart, Jr.) accelerated through a :28.4 third quarter.   Barn Doll would do her best work without the aid of cover, though, as she stormed home after losing Oho Diamond's cover, collaring Six Bax in the final yards and prevailing by a half length in 1:53.4.   Trainer Steven Pratt co-owns Barn Doll with Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stables.   Live racing returns at Tioga for a special Monday evening card tomorrow (July 27).   Post time for the 10-race card is 6:15 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite

When Yannick Gingras makes an appearance at a harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, he has a strong tendency to be mightily successful on the racetrack.   Such was the case on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, when he swept the filly and colt divisions of the Harry M. Zweig Memorial stakes.   In the $185,000 Zweig for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Gingras settled Mission Brief ($2.60, part of entry) into the third spot out of her midpack post, tracking Wild Honey (John Campbell) and Magic Marker (Brian Sears) through a :27 initial quarter before brushing to the fore at race's midpoint.   Just as Wild Honey slackened through a :56.1 half mile, Mission Brief charged past, opening up her lead to two lengths on the far turn.   The daughter of Muscle Hill and Southwind Serena would hold that margin through a :55.3 final half, defeating Wild Honey in 1:51.4.   Magic Marker stayed on to be third, while Gatka Hanover (Brett Miller) rallied mildly off cover to take fourth.   Ron Burke trains Mission Brief for the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, the J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. Now a 12-time winner, Mission Brief has amassed $791,417 in career earnings.   Mission Brief     A mere hour after Mission Brief asserted herself in the $185,000 Zweig division for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Pinkman ($2.10, part of entry) found room up the inside to strike late from a pocket trip in the $370,000 Zweig event for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.   Beginning from post 7 as part of a four-horse Jimmy Takter-trained entry, Pinkman left strongly, stringing out Habitat (Brian Sears) in the early going before yielding to stablemate Canepa Hanover (Takter) after a :27.3 initial quarter.   The gelded son of Explosive Matter and Margie Seelster drafted comfortably behind his stablemate through a :56.1 middle half, but was boxed at the apex of the far turn when Habitat attempted a first-over bid.   With racing room at a premium in upper stretch, Pinkman found room up the inside, passing Canepa Hanover in the final sixteenth.   He prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:52, a stakes record.   Canepa Hanover held second, while Workout Wonder (Daniel Dubé) rallied late to take third past Wings of Royalty (Tim Tetrick).   Also taking career win number 12, Pinkman stretched his career bankroll to $1,187,139 for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman.   Pinkmam   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 31) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

White Bliss ($2.60), the rare white Standardbred which drew $240,000 from Knutsson Trotting, Inc. at the 2013 Harrisburg sale, broke her maiden on Saturday (July 25) evening at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   The 3-year-old Art Major colt left strongly from post 8, settled into the pocket behind DW's Bullet through a :28.3, and subsequently brushed to the fore upon reaching the backstretch.   After rating a 1:00.1 middle half, Oskar Florhed opened up the advantage with White Bliss, pulling clear to defeat DW's Bullet by 4-1/4 lengths in 1:56.3.   Ake Svanstedt trains White Bliss, who accelerated home in :27.4 to record his first career victory.   Drivers Truman Gale and Chris Lems each recorded three wins on the evening's 12-race program.   Gale prevailed with mid-price victors Glorious Winner ($18.20, 1:56.3), Sucrose Hanover ($12.20, 1:52.3), and Ozymandias ($14.40, 1:56.2), while Lems teamed up with the more strongly backed Drinksforthehouse ($7.60, 1:55), Vintage Fenom ($5.20, 1:54.2), and RG Riptide ($6.60, 1:54).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, with the Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters headlining the day's on-track action.   Post time is 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- John MacDonald was the star of the Friday (July 24) night show at Vernon Downs, winning four races on the evening's 11-race harness racing card. In addition to victories aboard Elettrizzante ($12.00, 1:57.3), Martinique ($3.10, 1:53.3), and Table Games ($3.30, 1:54.1), the 33-year-old reinsman teamed up with Express Jet ($9.90) in the evening's featured $7,000 conditioned distaff pace.   Away the best in a field of six, Express Jet ceded the lead to Southwind Serenity (Truman Gale) after a :27.4 initial quarter, drafting comfortably from the pocket with no shortage of racing room through the race's middle stages. As Southwind Serenity accelerated off the far turn through three-quarters in 1:25, Express Jet worked to stay in close pursuit. In mid-stretch, the 6-year-old Jereme's Jet mare took the lead from the longtime pacesetter, edging clear and subsequently holding off the late-charging Aritzia Hanover (Claude Huckabone, III) by three-quarters of a length for a 1:53.1 triumph.   MacDonald, who recorded a training double in addition to his driving grand slam, trains Express Jet for the J P Stables and Crawford Partners, LLC.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 25) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Tracking live cover on the backstretch, Dan Clements's Mach It a Par ($3.00) showed immediate response at the top of the stretch once again, taking Friday (July 24) evening's $12,000 Mares Open Pace at Tioga Downs in decisive--and well-measured--fashion.   Getting away last in the field of six, John Cummings, Jr. angled the 5-year-old Mach Three mare second-over to track the live cover of Shutthefrontdoor (Vern Smith) well off a :55.4 half mile. Mach It a Par was towed into midfield on the backstretch as Shutthefrontdoor turned up the pressure on leader K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart, Jr.) past three-quarters in 1:24. K J's Caroline ultimately gave way midway on the far turn, but Shutthefrontdoor's new-found lead was in jeopardy at head-stretch. Mach It a Par tipped off cover just upon cornering, and surged to the fore in mid-stretch. She was taken in hand with 70 yards to go, and she prevailed by a measured half-length in 1:52.2. Shutthefrontdoor held second, and K J's Caroline checked in a worn-down third.   Renaldo Morales, III trains Mach It a Par, now a 14-time winner.   Cummings led all drivers on the evening, notching three wins on the 10-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, with first post scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

After reeling off three straight sub-:27 quarters, JK Panache ($5.20) not only had amassed a comfortable margin over his four rivals, but he tied Fireyourguns's 1:47.3 all-age pacing record at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs in Sunday (July 19) afternoon's $10,000 Open Pace.   Assigned the outside post in a field of five, JK Panache and driver Frank Davis vaulted clear of his four rivals through a sensible enough :26.3 initial quarter, subsequently using an eye-popping :53.2 middle half to bottom out the field.   After reaching three-quarters in 1:20, the leaders of the second flight began to tire, and 3-5 favorite Burkentine Hanover (Fern Paquet, Jr.) kicked cover to rally late.   He only could get to within 7-3/4 lengths of JK Panache, whose front-end 1:47.3 mile was simply too much for his competition.   That'll Be the Rei (Greg Merton) stayed on for third after a mild bid in upper stretch, while Ideal Fashion (Jimmy Whittemore) and Fiftyshadesdarker (John MacDonald) tailed off after giving futile chase through the middle stages of the race.   Trainer David Dewhurst co-owns JK Panache with Philip Hale.   Greg Merton led all drivers with four wins on the 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon on Friday (July 24) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

After a punishing early pace led to defeat in his previous outing, Fireyourguns ($9.30) bounced back with a 1:50.3 triumph in Sunday (July 19) afternoon's $12,000 Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at  Tioga Downs.   Jim Meittinis sent the 6-year-old American Ideal gelding right to the front, working clear of Bettorsluckystreak (Jim Taggart, Jr.) and Believe This Bob (Corey Braden) on the first turn.   Fireyourguns set solid fractions of :26.2, :54.1, and 1:22.0 before facing a first-over challenge from Thunder Steeler (Dan Clements) on the far turn.   Fireyourguns had no issues dismissing that challenger, edging away at the top of the stretch and prevailing by 2-1/4 lengths.   Eastend Eddie (Jim Marohn, Jr.) swung three-wide off stalling cover to just take second, while Bettorsluckystreak was an all-out third off his pocket trip.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   The sub-featured $10,000 Open II Pace went to Elite Awards ($4.60, Taggart), who took charge with a circuit to go after yielding to Dreamlands Art (Brandon Simpson) in the early stages, only to hold off a late rally from that same rival for a 1:52.3 triumph.   Joe Skowyra trains the 4-year-old Powerful Toy gelding for owner Karen Walls.   Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers with four wins on the 13-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (July 24) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

In his second local start, Paul and Patricia O'Neil's Verdi ($9.60) held off steady pressure from Six Bax and subsequently held off a late stand-side charge from even-money favorite Spice It Up Lindy to capture Saturday (July 18) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at the ahrness racing meeting at Tioga Downs.   With a pair of scratches reducing the field to five, Verdi did battle with fellow 7-2 joint second favorite Lexis D J on the first turn, driven clear by Mike Simons after a :28.1 first-quarter duel.   Upon reaching the backstretch, Verdi was nudged along by the first-over Six Bax (Jim Taggart, Jr.), holding off intensifying pressure through three-quarters in 1:26.1.   At the top of the stretch, Verdi was fully extended, but battled stoutly through the final yards. Not only did he stave off Six Bax's extended challenge, but he also kept the late-charging Spice It Up Lindy (Charlie Norris)--who kicked cover off the far turn and accelerated in the final sixteenth--at bay for a 1:56 victory. Spice It Up Lindy missed by a long neck, while Six Bax stayed on to finish third.   John Hallett trains Verdi, a 4-year-old gelded son of Kadabra.   In addition to the feature, Simons took both halves of the early double, teaming up with Twin B Heartland ($5.40, 1:55.3) and Yolo Lindy ($2.80, 2:02.1) for a driving hat trick on the 13-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (July 19) afternoon, with the first of 13 races due to commence at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- After making an authoritative brush to the lead at race's midpoint, Howard Gill's War Hero ($5.60) edged clear of his four harness racing rivals, posting a 1:53 victory in Saturday (July 18) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   A Penny Earned (Chris Lems), Mc Tiny's Hope (Ben McNeil), and Winding Hill (Truman Gale) all left more forcefully than the 7-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding, who tracked from fourth through a :27 first quarter before his aggressive push clear midway on the backstretch. Just as A Penny Earned pulled the half back to :56.1, Jimmy Whittemore worked clear with War Hero and gradually opened on his foes. After posting a :27.3 third quarter, the Jessica Okusko trainee would ultimately amass a 2-1/2 length lead over A Penny Earned, scoring in 1:53. Distaffer Mc Tiny's Hope, while detached from the top pair off the far turn, finished an isolated third.   Whittemore earned a driving double on the 11-race card, as did John MacDonald.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 19) afternoon, with first post at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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