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Vernon, N.Y. -- Paul Kelley trainee Obrigado looks to defend his title in Friday (August 26) evening's $193,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon Downs, but he'll once again have to contend with the likes of Resolve, Homicide Hunter, and Flanagan Memory after squaring off against them throughout the harness racing season.   Obrigado (7-2 morning line second choice, post 7) has won 4 of 11 races this year, including the Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia, the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs, and the Cleveland Classic at Northfield. While doing his best work on small tracks this season, his most impressive performance may well have come over two turns in the Cashman Memorial at the Meadowlands earlier in the month, where he escaped traffic on the far turn and stormed home in :26.4 in pursuit of Resolve. Regular driver Mark MacDonald will once again pilot the 6-year-old Boy Band gelding for the partnership of the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45.   Elitloppet runner-up and Cashman winner Resolve (5-2, post 6) looks to lead the charge to upend the defending champion in the night's tenth event, having also won the Arthur Cutler Memorial this season. Ãke Svanstedt trains and drives the 5-year-old Muscle Hill entire. Flanagan Memory (9-2, post 8) also enters from the Cashman, finishing a gathered-in third after seizing command through a bold middle move. The 6-year-old Kadabra entire earned all four of his seasonal wins in Preferred company at Mohawk. Brian Sears will take over the lines for trainer Rene Dion.   While Obrigado, Resolve, and Flanagan Memory have faced each other on multiple occasions this year, a new shooter is quickly gathering momentum. Homicide Hunter (6-1, post 2)--representing Crawford Farms Racing--enters off a decisive 1:50.1 victory in last week's Sebastian K Invitational at Pocono, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go and edging away to a four-length score. David Miller handles the driving duties of the 4-year-old Mr Cantab gelding for trainer Chris Oakes.   In the $170,000 Muscle Hill for distaff trotters (race 9), 21-time winner Hannelore Hanover (5-2, post 7) looks to maintain her dominance after winning 12 of her 13 assignments this year. The 4-year-old daughter of Swan For All proved a decisive and handy winner in her Miss Versatility preliminary at Tioga on August 14, completing the mile in 1:52.4 over off going yet with much in reserve. Yannick Gingras will remain aboard the Ron Burke trainee, who also captured the Miami Valley Distaff and the Armbro Flight, as well as the Fresh Yankee and Hambletonian Maturity over the 1-1/8-mile distance.   Among those aiming to hand Hannelore Hanover her second defeat of the year are Jewels in Hock (7-2, post 2, John Campbell), 2015 Empire Breeders Classic winner Barn Doll (9-2, post 4, Jeff Gregory), and double millionaire Shake It Cerry (6-1, post 5, David Miller).   A pair of New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings headline the undercard, with the undefeated Serious Major and Funknwaffles due to square off in the $55,500 eighth event.   Horsemen are reminded that entrants for the Crawford Farms and Muscle Hill events will race out of the detention barn, and they are due to arrive no later than 8:00 p.m. Thursday (August 25). Horsemen in need of hotel rooms for the weekend are advised to contact the race office at 315.829.6825.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- The Tioga Downs race office has announced a 20 per cent across-the-board purse increase, applied retroactively to races from Friday, August 19, and effective through the end of the current harness racing meet (Saturday, September 17).   Top-level Open purses increase from $11,000 to $13,000, maiden purses have been bumped up from $4,000 to $4,800, and similar increases occur across all classes.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs    

Nichols, N.Y. -- Trainer Julie Miller swept both $54,500 New York Sire Stakes events for harness racing 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings as part of a Sunday (August 21) afternoon harness racing grand slam at Tioga Downs.   Devious Man ($3.10) proved most impressive among 2-year-old trotters to negotiate sloppy going on the 14-race card, drawing clear at will after rating a :59 first half in his Sire Stakes division, carded as race nine. The son of Credit Winner and Miss Garland edged away from his four rivals on the far turn, posting a 5-3/4 length win over Swell Chap (Tim Tetrick) and Royal Casanova (John Campbell) in 1:55.3. Andy Miller drove Devious Man for Stroy, Inc.   Devious Man's stablemate Money MacIntosh ($9.80) prevailed three races earlier, but would have to work a good bit harder to do so. Andy Miller angled the son of Credit Winner and Apple Plush first-over on approach to the backstretch, working to wear down Stick With Me Kid (Jason Bartlett) through a :28.1 third quarter before digging in to stave off the late-rallying Zack's Zoomer (Marcus Miller) by a nose in 1:56.2. Another Chapter (Brett Miller) saved third after being mired in traffic on the far side, while odds-on favorite Such an Angel failed to catch the field after an early break in stride.   The Millers also accounted for one of the four Empire Breeders Classic eliminations on the card, posting a 39-1 upset with Redneck Rally ($80.00) in the day's fifth event. The 3-year-old American Ideal ridgling sustained first-over gains up the backstretch to force a :27.3 third quarter, wearing down prohibitive favorite Roll Away Joe (Jim Morrill, Jr.) and holding off a belated push from Artmagic (Campbell) in 1:52.1.   American Passport ($3.90) captured the other Classic elimination for colts and geldings (race eight), brushing with a circuit to go and parrying a stout challenge from Talk Show (Morrill) in 1:51. Scott Zeron drove the American Ideal colt for trainer Tony Alagna.   In the Classic eliminations for fillies, No Clouds Bluechip ($3.80) and Penpal ($5.80) proved victorious.   No Clouds Bluechip had little trouble prevailing in the day's fourth event, working to a clear lead, turning aside an extended first-over push from Soft Idea (Zeron), and holding pocket rival Major Millie (Jason Bartlett) at bay in 1:53. Brett Miller drove the Roll With Joe filly for John Berger.   In the seventh, Penpal made perfect use of live cover through a :55.4 middle half, drafting behind Dime a Dance (Matt Kakaley) before swinging three-wide off the far turn. The daughter of American Ideal rallied to collar both pocket rival Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) and pacesetter WIshy Washy Girl (Morrill) in 1:51.3 with trainer Patrick Lachance in the bike.   The fields for the Empire Breeders Classic finals, scheduled for Sunday, August 28, are as follows (post position, horse, trainer, asterisks denoting elimination winners), with final drivers to be available later in the week:   EBC Filly Pace - $239,225 1 - Soft Idea - Toscano 2 - Wine Snob - Schnittker 3 - No Clouds Bluechip* - Berger 4 - Wishy Washy Girl - Brainard 5 - Penpal* - Lachance 6 - Angels Rockn Pink - Oakes 7 - Major Millie - Elliott 8 - Right Stuff - Toscano 9 - Dime a Dance - Burke AE1 - Rock Me Baby - Lind   EBC Colt & Gelding Pace - $240,475 1 - Ideal Son - Fanning 2 - Missile J - Toscano 3 - American Passport* - Alagna 4 - Fresh Cut - E. Miller 5 - Redneck Rally* - J. Miller 6 - Fine Diamond - Burke 7 - Stolen Glimpse - Burke 8 - Craftship - Alagna 9 - Artmagic - Smedshammer AE1 - Nox Vegas Bluechip - Foley   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 26) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- JK Panache ($3.10) continued his dominance in the top pacing ranks at Vernon Downs with a 1:48 shellacking of his three harness racing foes in Saturday (August 20) evening's featured $9,000 Open/Preferred Pace.   John MacDonald sent the 7-year-old Art Major gelding to a clear lead over Modern Gesture (Andy Gardner) on approach to the first turn, posting a :25.2 first quarter before keeping a fast pace throughout. JK Panache maintained an uncontested lead through middle splits of :53.4 and 1:21 before drawing away in upper stretch. JK Panache used a :27 last quarter to evade Jacksrluckytoo (Greg Merton) by 4-1/2 lengths, while Rock On Moe (Dan Daley) rallied mildly to take third in the last yards from the fading Modern Gesture.   Trainer Dave Dewhurst co-owns JK Panache with Philip Hale.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (August 25) evening, with post time set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Saratoga invader So Nice ($7.30) led a driving hat trick for Mike Merton on Friday (August 19) evening's 11-race harness racing card at Tioga Downs, holding off all comers in the co-featured $13,000 Mares Open 1 Pace.   The 6-year-old Ponder mare sprinted clear authoritatively from post 6 before reaching the first turn before controlling terms through early splits of :28 and :56.3. Up the far side, So Nice was forced to accelerate by 1-2 favorite Stacia Hanover (Mike Simons), whose first-over pressure prompted a :26.4 third quarter. So Nice withstood the challenge in kind, edging away at head-stretch and holding off a late bid from Heart Major (Jim Meittinis), who lunged from the pocket to just miss. So Nice prevailed by a neck over Heart Major in 1:51.3, while Shutthefrontdoor (Scott Coulter) rallied off stalling cover to save third.   Amber Buter trains 22-time winner So Nice for the Gene Oldford Farms, LLC, Steve Oldford, and Tyler Buter.   Merton also prevailed with Brandos Muscle Man ($4.30, 1:56.2) and Lisa On Top ($17.80, 2:00.1).   The $13,000 Open 1 Trot saw Prairie Fortune ($6.60) rally off cover to capture his fifth win in seven tries, drafting behind Its Payday Friday before vaulting three-wide at head-stretch and lifting to collar Swishnflick in 1:55. Jim Meittinis drove the 4-year-old Arapa Victory gelding for Mike Deters--who trains the 22-time winner--and Laurie Poulin.   A pair of Italian American Friendship Series events for amateur drivers were contested early on the card, and Otello Zorzetto swept them both. Zorzetto posted a gate-to-wire win with Gary Messenger trainee Superiorcourt ($5.30) in 1:58.2, and used more patient tactics to prevail with Surge Seelster ($5.60) in 1:55.3 for trainer Stacey McLenaghan.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 20) evening, with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Fresh off a track-record performance at Tioga Downs in last week's Geers Stakes, Cougar Bait ($5.00, part of entry) proved dominant in Friday (August 19) evening's lone $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary for harness racing 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, carded as race two at Vernon Downs   Marcus Miller brushed the Western Terror-No One Is Alone gelding to the fore after a :27.2 first quarter before rating a :57.3 middle half. Upon turning for home, Cougar Bait felt mild pressure from 3-5 favorite Lindythefourteenth (Scott Zeron), edging clear easily off the corner--Lindythefourteenth broke stride only after he began to regress. Meanwhile, Cougar Bait drew off by 4-3/4 lengths over his stablemate Harry Terror (Andy McCarthy), who rallied belatedly to take second from Manattack (Chris Lems). The 1:51.4 mile time gave Cougar Bait a new lifetime mark in his third consecutive win.   John Butenschoen trains Cougar Bait for the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, Inc., Jeremey Day, Tangie Massey, and the VIP Internet Stable, LLC.   Miller scored a stakes double at the Miracle Mile, making gradual gains with Ameraway ($3.90, part of entry) through the stretch en route to a 1:53 win over Well What's New (Zeron) and V String (McCarthy) in the tenth event, a Kindergarten preliminary for pacing fillies. Trainer Erv Miller co-owns the daughter of American Ideal and Shyaway with Paymaq Racing, the aforementioned Tangie Massey, and Neil Cumsky.   The earlier Kindergarten split for fillies, carded as race six, saw Caviart Ally ($3.80, part of entry) make all the pace and accelerate through the far turn for a 1:53.2 score over pocket rival Someonesomewhere (Miller) and the belatedly-gaining Jenny's Terror (Fern Paquet, Jr.). Andy McCarthy drove the daughter of Bettor's Delight and Allamerican Cool for trainer Noel Daley and owner Caviart Farms.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 20) evening; post time is set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Trainers Jimmy Takter and Julie Miller each captured two $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary events on Thursday (August 18) evening's 13-race harness racing card at Vernon Downs.   Takter's King On the Hill ($3.00) took full advantage of a cozy tracking trip, closing the pocket on the far turn and hooking three-wide off the far turn to eclipse Sweet Perks (David Miller) and early pacesetter Catch the Game (Yannick Gingras) in the evening's second event. The son of Muscle Hill and Lantern Kronos posted a 1-3/4 length win in 1:56, with Tim Tetrick driving for Christina Takter, Göran Falk, Göran Anderberg, and the Hatfield Stables.   Takter completed his stakes double in the tenth with Mellby Gard, Inc.'s Feed Your Head ($5.20), a pillar-to-post winner in rein to Yannick Gingras. The daughter of Muscle Hill and Flawless Bluestone seized command of the terms early and held clear of pocket rival Spending Spree (John Campbell) by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:57. No Bus For Us (Andy Miller) recovered from an early break to save third.   Julie Miller trainees captured races four and six, both in pacesetting fashion. Fly On ($4.40) proved the fastest of the ten 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings to compete on the card, using a :56.3 closing half to just evade pocket rival International Moni (Tetrick) for a 1:55.3 triumph in the fourth. Driver Andy Miller co-owns the son of Muscle Hill and Calchips Finisher with the Arden Homestead Stable and the GTY Stable.   Overdraft Volo ($11.20) circled three-wide on the clubhouse turn to secure the lead after yielding early in the sixth. The daughter of Yankee Glide and Bank of Newport controlled tepid middle splits of 1:00.3 and 1:30 before leading a :27.2 sprint home and holding 4-5 foavorite Glitzey Gal (David Miller) 1-1/2 lengths at bay in 1:57.2. The Pinske Stables and the Kentuckiana Racing Stable own Overdraft Volo.   The remaining Kindergarten division saw Crann Tara ($3.60) equal the fastest stakes time of the evening, wiring her four eighth-race foes in 1:55.3 with the aid of David Miller. Linda Toscano trains the daughter of Donato Hanover and Shan Riches for owner William Donovan.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 19) evening, with three pacing divisions of the Kindergarten Classic series headlining the 11-race card. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Harness racing favorites prevailed in both co-featured $9,000 Open 2 pacing events on Monday (August 15) evening at Tioga Downs, as Some Kinda Beach ($3.80) and Flying Cowboy ($5.00) lived up to their respective billing.   Some Kinda Beach scored a repeat win off an open-length 1:50.1 triumph at Vernon, but utilized different tactics on the rise in class to capture the evening's fourth event. Mike Merton slid the 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere entire second-over to track Vangura (Corey Braden) on the clubhouse turn, stalking live cover through a :27 third quarter as Vangura briefly headed pacesetter Winyard Hanover (Jim Meittinis). Merton abruptly angled Some Kinda Beach three-wide on the far turn, losing momentum briefly as Vangura faded sharply, but the pair quickly reset and lifted to a half-length win in 1:51.2. Mariner Seelster (Scott Coulter) found a seam up the pegs to claim second, while Winyard Hanover was an engulfed third, only beaten by three-quarters of a length.   Patti Harmon trains the 18-time winner Some Kinda Beach for the Harmon Racing Stable, Karma Racing, Inc., and Punctuality, LLC.   While Some Kinda Beach rallied off cover to prevail in his Open 2 event, Flying Cowboy earned his third straight victory in pillar-to-post fashion, capturing the eighth event in an identical time of 1:51.2. Mike Simons wasted no time with the 6-year-old Brandon's Cowboy gelding, working clear of Dragon Fever (John MacDonald) through a :27.1 first quarter. The 30-time winner subsequently turned aside a stout first-over challenge from Dee's Rocketman (Fern Paquet, Jr.) off the far turn before also repelling an inside bid from Dragon Fever to prevail by 1-1/4 lengths. Dee's Rocketman faded to third.   Joe Skowyra trains Flying Cowboy for owner Wade Wyatt.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 19) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- An early-afternoon deluge could not deter Hannelore Hanover ($2.10, part of entry) in Sunday (August 14) afternoon's $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary at Tioga Downs, as she made easy work of her eight harness racing rivals with plenty in reserve at the end of a 1:52.4 mile.   Fresh off victories in the Armbro Flight, Hambletonian Maturity, and Fresh Yankee, the 4-year-old Swan For All mare floated gently into third on approach to the first turn, allowing White Becomes Her (Scott Coulter) and Rules of the Road (Jim Morrill, Jr.) to dispute the terms through a :27.1 first quarter before making her bid to the fore with nine-sixteenths of the mile remaining. The Ron Burke trainee cleared White Becomes Her easily at the completion of a :56 half, and she subsequently responded to mild first-over pressure from Jewels in Hock (John Campbell) up the far side. After being nudged along through a :28.1 third sectional, Hannelore Hanover drew away gradually while in hand, posting a 3-1/4 length victory over runner-up Jewels in Hock. Third-place finisher Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory) slid second-over on approach to the far turn and stayed on through the straight.   Yannick Gingras was once again in the bike behind Hannelore Hanover, who captured her 21st career win. The Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Frank Baldachino own the talented mare, whose career bankroll mounted to $885,763.   A pair of New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings shared center stage with the Miss Versatility preliminary, with American Passport ($10.80) and Roll Away Joe ($2.70) the victorious duo.   American Passport used a bold three-wide push on approach to the far turn to collar the dueling Missile J (Tim Tetrick) and Nox Vegas Bluechip (Jim Marohn, Jr.), drawing off at will as the pace collapsed for a six-length, 1:51.4 win over the late-rallying Talk Show (Morrill) in the $60,200 fifth race. Scott Zeron drove the son of American Ideal for trainer Tony Alagna.   In the $59,100 sixth event, Roll Away Joe brushed to the fore with a circuit to go and narrowly held off a four-wide charge from 40-1 outsider Bottom Deals (Tetrick) to prevail by half a length in 1:51.3. Jim Morrill, Jr. drove the Roll With Joe gelding for trainer Tracy Brainard.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Monday (August 15) evening, with the first of 11 races due off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Aided by live three-wide cover from prohibitive favorite JK Panache, Jet Airway ($29.00) and 24-year-old harness racing driver Atlee Bender teamed up to spring a 13-1 upset in Saturday (August 13) evening's $10,000 Open/Preferred Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs.   The 5-year-old Jereme's Jet entire dropped to the back of the quintet early on as Jacksrluckytoo (Greg Merton) sprinted off to establish a blistering pace. After a :25.4 first quarter, Jacksrluckytoo faced pressure in the form of 37-1 outsider Modern Gesture (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through middle splits of :53.3 and 1:21.4. As Jacksrluckytoo worked in an attempt to stave off his first-over challenger, 1-10 favorite JK Panache (Truman Gale) mounted a three-wide bid with Jet Airway looming right behind. Ultimately, Jet Airway circled four-wide off the turn and struck the front at the eighth pole while the pace imploded. Jet Airway ultimately bested JK Panache by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.2 over sloppy going, while third-place finisher Modern Gesture checked in a farther 5-3/4 lengths in arrears.   Trainer Erv Miller co-owns Jet Airway with Tangie Massey, Paul Sunderhaus, and Larry Agle. For Bender, both of his career driving victories in but five starts to date came with Jet Airway, now a 14-time winner.   The card began with a $5,000 C.K.G. Billings series event for amateur drivers, and Vernon Downs mainstay Celebrity Sitmulus ($9.30) dug in to hold off a late charge from the pocket-sitting Star Studded Cast in 1:57. Owner David Glasser drove the Homer Hochstetler trainee, a 6-year-old Cantab Hall gelding.   Two-year-old trotters take center stage in a Kindergarten Classic preliminary leg when live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (August 18) evening. The first of 13 races is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Tim Tetrick and Linda Toscano teamed up to capture all three divisions of the Geers Stakes for harness racing 2-year-old pacing fillies on Friday (August 12) night at Tioga Downs, while Cougar Bait ($6.10) led 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings with a track-record performance in his Geers split.   Tetrick and Toscano wasted no time finding the winner's enclosure, teaming up with Robin J ($2.10) in the $26,356 third event. The daughter of Roll With Joe and Mommy Robin Q worked clear of Haviture Way Honey (Marcus Miller) with a circuit to go and used a :26.3 last quarter to repel a first-over push from runner-up Touchamatic (Mike Simons) by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:54.   They teamed up again with Planet Rock ($2.10), who kept her undefeated record intact in the $26,856 fifth race. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and Villa Hanover settled off a contested pace, brushed out of midfield, and sprinted off to a 5-1/2 length margin of victory over Kiss Kiss (John Cummings, Jr.) in 1:53.1 for her fifth triumph in as many career starts. Robin J and Planet Rock also would give owner Kenneth Jacobs a stakes double on the night.   World Apart ($2.60) completed the sweep of the filly divisions for Tetrick and Toscano in the $26,856 ninth, chasing live cover provided by Pleasant Roll (Marcus Miller) on the backstretch before continuing to the fore in upper stretch after losing cover. The daughter of Art Major and Polar Opposition posted a 1:53 win for the South Mountain Stables, The Bay's Stable, LLC, Little E, LLC, and the Radio Racing Stable.   Of the three Geers divisions for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, Cougar Bait stole the show with his 1:52.2 track-record performance in the $24,640 fourth race. Mike Simons slid the Western Terror-No One Is Alone gelding second-over to track favorite Epic Union through the middle stages of the race, but lost cover on approach to the far turn as Epic Union cleared. Cougar Bait ultimately dueled to the fore at head-stretch, drawing off by 2-1/2 lengths over Beyond Delight (Jim Marohn, Jr.), who rallied to save second. John Butenschoen trains Cougar Bait for the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, Jeremey Day, Tangie Massey, and the VIP Internet Stable, LLC.   Ocean Colony ($23.60) prevailed in the $24,640 sixth, dueling clear of R J P (Marcus Miller) in 1:53.3 after being left uncovered on the far turn. Brett Miller drove the son of Somebeachsomewhere and Amora Hanover for trainer Jimmy Takter and the partnership of Takter, Fielding, Katz, Libfeld, Goldband, and the Hatfield Stables.   In the $24,640 eighth race, Every Way Out ($2.50) accounted for his fifth career win in as many starts, and Tetrick accounted for the third leg of a stakes grand slam. The If I Can Dream-Every Play colt responded to a late push from Bettor's Western (Brett Miller), holding sway by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.1 for the fastest mile on the night. Dylan Davis trains Every Way Out for Howard Taylor, Abraham Basen, Edwin Gold, and Thomas Lazzaro.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 14) afternoon, with post time at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- A pair of 2-year-old trotters from the Ron Burke stable proved victorious in their respective Arthur Tompkins Memorial divisions on a rainy Thursday (August 11) evening at Tioga Downs, both upending heavy harness racing favorites in the last yards.   Southwind Cobra ($11.60) dueled gamely to a 1:56.4 victory in his $28,585 split for colts and geldings (race 4), pulling the pocket on approach to the far turn to engage 3-2 favorite Bill's Man (Andy Miller) after yielding with a circuit to go. While Bill's Man battled to a narrow lead off the far turn, the son of Muscle Hill and Caerphilly fought back stoutly at the pegs to prevail by half a length over sloppy going. Cagey (Mike Simons) chased well through the far turn to finish a clear third off his clear tracking trip. John Cummings, Jr. drove Southwind Cobra to his maiden-breaking victory for the Burke Racing Stable, Jack Piatt, II, Larry Karr, and the Weaver Bruscemi partnership.   Burke's other winner came in a $28,410 division for fillies (race 5), as Romancing Rachel ($25.80) prevailed as the second-longest shot on the board. Mike Simons angled the daughter of Muscle Hill and Tady's Comer off the pegs with three-eighths to go, catching the cover of odds-on favorite Southwind Prius (Andy Miller) on approach to the far turn. At head-stretch, Romancing Rachel angled three-wide and swept clear to a two-length victory in 2:00.2 as Southwind Prius and Morning Glow (Jimmy Takter)--second and third respectively--dueled into defeat. The Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi share ownership of Romancing Rachel with Howard Taylor.   In the other Tompkins events on the nine-race card, Ice Attraction ($9.40) and Fly On ($2.10) both prevailed. Ice Attraction bested six fillies in 1:57.3 off a pocket trip in the $28,410 second event, angling at head-stretch to collar Southwind Avanti by three-quarters of a length. Oskar Florhed drove the daughter of Muscle Hill and The Ice Queen for trainer Ãke Svanstedt. In the $28,085 sixth for colts and geldings, Fly On posted a pillar-to-post 1:58.2 triumph, drawing clear by 4-1/2 lengths after his first-over rival Deacon Tony (Scott Coulter) broke stride at the top of the stretch. Andy Miller drove the son of Muscle Hill and Calchips Finisher for trainer Julie Miller.   Six divisions of the Geers Stakes for 2-year-old pacers--three for fillies, three for colts and geldings--headline Friday (August 12) evening's 12-race card at Tioga Downs, with first post slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- After Vernon Downs leading driver John MacDonald notched five victories on Wednesday night's card, current runner-up Chris Lems posted a natural grand slam to start off Thursday (August 11) evening's nine-race harness racing program--taking the featured $7,500 Miracle Mile trot with My Lucky Word ($7.00) as part of the sequence.   Lems sent the 4-year-old Lucky Chucky mare to a clear lead in the compact field of four, controlling the terms through easy splits of :28.1, :57.2, and 1:26.3 before posting a :27.4 closing quarter to evade a late push from even-money favorite Twice Too Nice (John MacDonald), who stalked intently from the pocket. My Lucky Word prevailed by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 for her 13th career win. Dave Dewhurst trains My Lucky Word for owner Philip Hale.   Lems also teamed up with Cascata ($6.10, 1:53), Patton ($3.70, 1:57.3), and Illusionsndreams ($9.20, 1:57.3) to lead all drivers on the night.   Claude Huckabone, III posted a training and driving double, upending odds-on favorites with Act of Valor ($15.60, 1:56.3) and Wine Photo ($30.00, 1:54.4).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 13) evening, with post time set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite

The J P Stables' All Charged Up ($3.10) swung wide off a second-over trip to collar Bettorhaveanother in Wednesday (August 10) evening's harness racing featured $9,000 distaff pace at Vernon Downs.   Trainer-driver John MacDonald settled off the pace with the 5-year-old Ponder mare, sliding second-over to follow cover provided by Keene Olivia (Claude Huckabone, III) with seven-sixteenths of the one-mile journey to go. All Charged Up swung three-wide off the far turn, sustaining her bid after pacesetter Bettorhaveanother (Chris Lems) repelled a stiff challenge from Keene Olivia. All Charged Up would claim her 19th career win just outside the sixteenth pole, reeling in Bettorhaveanother and drawing away to prevail by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51.4 over fast going. Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.) mounted strong belated gains to just miss the runner-up spot.   For leading driver John MacDonald, the featured win was one of five on the nine-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (August 11) evening, with first post set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- In Friday (August 12) evening's Geers Stakes for harness racing 2-year-olds at Tioga Downs, a pair of precocious pacers will aim to extend their career unbeaten streaks to five races, and both tasks will be up to driver Tim Tetrick to complete.   Kenneth Jacobs's Planet Rock, so far 4-for-4 while exclusively campaigning on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, has been installed the 6-5 morning line favorite in the evening's $26,856 fifth race, and she will commence her one-mile journey from post 5. Linda Toscano trains the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and Villa Hanover who most recently powered clear to a 1:52 victory at Vernon Downs. Her past wins have come at Buffalo, Yonkers, and Saratoga.   In the $24,640 eighth event for colts and geldings, Every Way Out will lead the charge for trainer Dylan Davis out of post 4. The son of If I Can Dream and Every Play swept the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands in early July before posting a 1:52.3 victory in his Arden Downs division over a sloppy Meadows track on July 30. Howard Taylor, Abraham Basen, Edwin Gold, and Thomas Lazzaro share ownership of Every Way Out, also installed a 6-5 morning line favorite.   The companion event of the Geers Stakes, the Arthur Tompkins Memorial for 2-year-old trotters, is slated for Thursday (August 11) evening at Tioga. Julie Miller trainee Fly On seeks his third career win following a 1:55.3 triumph in his Kindergarten Classic preliminary at the Meadowlands. Andy Miller makes the trek to the Southern Tier to drive the son of Muscle Hill and Calchips Finisher.   Post time for both the Thursday and Friday cards at Tioga Downs has been set for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Scott Coulter, the leading driver at Tioga Downs with six weeks remaining in the 2016 meet, enjoyed a sweep of Sunday (August 7) afternoon's featured events, capturing both $9,000 Open 2 paces carded on the 12-race harness racing program.   In the seventh event, Coulter sustained gains with Energy Shakes ($23.20) without the aid of cover en route to a 1:53 win as the longest shot on the board. The 5-year-old Western Terror gelding gradually gained on pacesetter Pier Ho Temptation (Jim Taggart, Jr.) through the far turn, striking the front at the eighth pole and holding off a belated charge from even-money favorite Dee's Rocketman (Fern Paquet, Jr.) by half a length. Lilys Real Boy (Corey Braden) and Prairie Jaguar (Jim Meittinis) mounted rallies from well off the pace to narrowly miss the runner-up spot. Dan Morrissey trains Energy Shakes for owner Leona Morrissey.   The afternoon's tenth race saw Andreios Kardia ($4.10) return to his winning ways by way of a drastic change of tactics. While his success at the Open 2 level earlier in the season came by way of stalking and closing efforts, the 5-year-old Badlands Hanover gelding brushed to the fore with a circuit to go and maintained a rapid pace throughout. Andreios Kardia drew off easily at the top of the stretch, posting a 4-1/4 length margin of victory over the late-rallying Vangura (Braden) and Always N The Money (Jim Marohn, Jr.), who tired after chasing from the pocket. Andreios Kardia dominated in 1:50.3 for owner/breeder Ina Madill and trainer Jeffrey Byron.   A non-wagering Racing Under Saddle event was contested early in the afternoon, with Hyway Marcus making his bid off a clear tracking trip a quarter mile from home en route to a clear 9-length victory. The 5-year-old Gut Instinct gelding covered the one-mile journey in 1:59.1 with Maria Buchanan in the irons for owner Marohn Racing, LLC and trainer Patti Harmon. The Franchise (Michelle Crawford) mounted a stand-side rally to take second, while Funny Photo (Sophie Engerran) stayed on off a wide stalking trip to save third.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Thursday (August 11) evening, with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Horsemen are advised that entries for the Thursday card close Monday (August 9) morning at 9:00 a.m.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

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