Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 635
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Nichols, NY - The New York Sires Stakes Excelsior A finals were raced at Tioga Downs on Friday, September 11, each for a purse of $50,000. Uhtred won the glamor boy division in the day's fastest 1:51.1 with a gate to wire tour de force from post nine, driver Jason Bartlett's third stakes win on the day. A rallying Levine eked out second in a photo over My Pal Joe.   Unraced at two, Uhtred was making only is sixth career start and winning for the fourth time. The Art Major colt has displayed unusual talent over that short span for trainer Carmen Auciello and owners Earl Hill, Jr and Stephen Klunowski, clearly his best days are before him. Just Joshing (Marcus Miller) kicked off the stakes in the 2-year-old filly trot with an upset of heavily favored Izzy Demsky for trainer Julie Miller in 1:58.2. The Chapter Seven lass sat a pocket behind the fave then out sprinted that one through the lane to post the half-length win. Andy Miller Stable, breeder Windsong Stable and Dumain Haven Farm share ownership of the winner who took a new speed mark in the process. Dresden (Scott Zeron) avenged the loss of the favorite in the opener when the freshman Roll With Joe pacing filly took race three in a personal best of 1:54.1 over Carrington in a largely front stepping effort. Dresden is a Henderson homebred trained to now three wins in four attempts by the venerable conditioner Chris Ryder. Zeron came right back to take the baby colt trot with Linda Toscano's Royson's Punch affording that colt an ideal trip after a hard leave to the lead, releasing heavily favored Barn Hall then out-gaming that one in the shadow of the wire in 1:57. Linda trains the Chapter Seven colt and owns as Camelot Stable in partnership with R and I Farms. Mullinax (Bartlett) took the freshman colt pace as a slight favorite in a forwardly placed 1:53.2 effort. The wire arrived just in time for Mullinax as Hopnroll Heaven was gaining quickly and just missed. Mark Ford trains the winner, a son of American Ideal, for long time owner Bill Varney. "It's been a really hard year on everybody, and this is one bright spot. I certainly wish the late Ed Mullinax who the colt is named for, was here to have raced him. Ed was a great guy to do business with, but an even greater guy to hang out with. He was a good friend," was the heartfelt response of trainer Mark Ford who bred the colt along with Mr. Mullinax. "All of the money Ed made in the business he reinvested and it's a huge loss to all of us that he's gone. The owner of this colt, Mr. Varney, is another really stand-up guy." Tioga's leading driver Wally Hennessey caught the mount on C And T's Credit when trainer John Stark, Jr. sent out a powerful entry in the 3-year-old filly trot and Wally took full advantage of the opportunity. Hennessey had C And T's Credit on the lead through a comfortable 58.1 half and that was enough to seal the deal as the pair won as they pleased in 1:55.1 over Soprese who rallied late for the place. Frank Barbato and Sam Bova Racing are the proud owners of the winner, a daughter of Credit Winner. Bolt Of Beauty became Marcus Miller's second stakes winner on the day. Away from the rail post position, Marcus had the Bolt The Duer filly close up through the early stages then bum rushed Discoforadollar going into the last turn, opened up and held sway over Turnthefrownaround in 1:52.3. Erv Miller conditions the sophomore filly pacer for his own interest as Erv Miller Stable in partnership with Tanah Merah Farms and Sara Miller. Conquest AS (Bartlett) dominated the 3-year-old colt trot field gate to wire with the greatest of ease in 1:55.1. Bartlett pointed him forward from the word go and the driver's work was largely done as the Conway Hall gelding did the rest. Bronze Yankee rode the pocket to a place finish. Trainer Annette Lorentzen had her charge primed, the Lorentzen family owns and bred Conquest AS under the ACL Stuteri AB banner. Tioga Downs will close out the 2020 racing season with a 13 race card tomorrow with post time at 3:00. by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs  

GOSHEN, NY - History was made Sunday (Sept. 6) in Orange County, New York, as Goshen Historic Track hosted the New York County Fair Finals (NYCFF). For the first - and probably only - time ever, the eight races, which each sported a purse of $10,000, for 2- and 3-year-olds of both gaits and sex divisions ended their seasons at "The Cradle of the Trotter." Normally, the county fair races kick off July 4th weekend in Goshen, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the competitors had to labor into the September holiday. To qualify for the finals, the competitors needed at least five starts from the 14 County Fair tracks. Due to state guidelines, the competitors didn't have the fans to cheer them on, but that didn't stop the races from being ultracompetitive. In fact, it came down to the final race to determine the NY County Fair's top driver. Leon Bailey, 33, by virtue of his win in the NYCFF for 3-year-old colt & gelding pacers with Mr Dunnigans (American Ideal-Legacy), moved to the top of the driver standings over Claude Huckabone III. There was some confusion when Mr Dunnigans crossed the wire, however, because the colors worn by the driver were not Bailey's. "What better way to pay tribute to him than to wear his colors?" said Bailey, who sported horseman Ed Dunnigan's colors in the victory. The horse is named after Dunnigan - a family friend of Bailey, trainer Jessica Okusko and the ownership team - who passed away in February of 2019. Mr Dunnigans, who is owned by David B. Smith, James S. De Armond, David Earl Towne and James J. Giannuzzi, remained perfect in six seasonal county fair starts. Bailey also made a trip to the winner's circle with his own trainee, Miley Rose (So Surreal-Bellas Bliss), in the 2-year-old NYCFF for filly pacers. After a hard-fought stretch duel, Bailey and Miley Rose, who is owned by Donn L. Lewandrowski and Gail M. Farrell, scored by three-quarters-of-a-length over Jason Bartlett and Elegant Blue. "Any time that I get to drive with the big guys like Jason Bartlett, I always look at it as a pretty good opportunity to test my skills," Bailey said. "Anytime you can race the best and beat them, it's something that I definitely enjoy doing." Bartlett ended up as the big winner of the day, taking five of the eight County Fair Finals. Bartlett won the 2-year-old pace for colts and geldings with Brave Element (Bolt The Duer-Necessary Element) for trainer Claude Huckabone III and owner Go Where The Money Is Stable in a track record for juvenile pacing geldings of 1:57 3/5, breaking the mark set by Gallo Blue Chip in 1999. Bartlett also won on Sunday with: Flexible Credit (Credit Winner-Back On Track) in the 2-year-old filly trot, who is trained by David Dewhurst and owned by Dewhurst and Philip K. Hale. Ready For Workout (Whataworkout-Oven Ready) for owner/trainer Earl J. Sauve in the 2-year-old trot for colts and geldings. Xenia's Chip (Heston Blue Chip-Xenia Hanover) in the 3-year-old filly pace for trainer Jim Graham and owner Keith R. Pinkowski. Crazy For CJ (Crazed-Godiva Lindy) for trainer Huckabone III, who was the top trainer on the NY County Fair circuit for 2020, and owner Chasing Dreams Stable. The win in the 3-year-old trot for colts and geldings was the seventh straight for Crazy For CJ. "To see [the connections of the county fair horses] after the races, they are so happy to win," Bartlett said. "I've been in some big races with bigger purses, but I don't know if you see the smiles and how authentically happy they are with these horses. They work hard all year and to have some success like they did today it's good to see." Driver Mark Whitcroft won the 3-year-old filly trot with Notoutofthewoods (Prayer I Am-Edge Of The Woods), who is owned and trained by his wife Cheryl Davis Whitcroft. In compliance with state protocols, attendance was restricted to owners with advanced reservations who had to remain in designated areas. Due to the generosity of the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, The Hambletonian Society, the Grand Circuit, OnGait.com, Big Dee's Vet & Pet Supply and Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program, the races were livestreamed and can be viewed for a year at www.nysirestakes.com. From the New York Sire Stakes

Trenton, NJ — Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett clearly remembers the first time he trained a horse. The pre-teen thought he was going much faster than instructed, discovered he was going much slower, and came up with a number somewhere in between. “My grandfather (trainer Dick Bartlett) told me to go in (2):15 and I think I went in, like, (2):40, and I thought I was flying,” Bartlett said. “I missed that mark by a lot. I had to come back and lie to him a little bit and told him I went in (2):25 so I wasn’t too far off.” Since that day Bartlett has learned to go fast for real in becoming one of harness racing’s top drivers. He has ranked among the Top 10 in North American harness racing in wins nine times overall and among the Top 10 for purses also nine times. Bartlett has enjoyed great success at his home track, winning nine driving titles at Yonkers Raceway. He has 8,431 career wins and $114 million in earnings. It all started on his family’s farm in Windsor, Maine, where Jason would wile away the hours in the stable when not excelling at football and basketball. “As a kid I was always drawn to it, it was never a chore for me to go to the barn and work and help out,” Bartlett said. “I always loved it. Loved going to the races. It was very easy for me. I kind of knew I wanted to do that. But my grandfather told me to ‘Go to school, get a degree, and this will always be here when you get back.’” Dick had a stable that ranged between 20 and 30 horses, “so on the weekends and school vacations it was almost kind of mandatory I was there at the barn helping.” Aside from performing his duties, Bartlett showed an eye for horses at a young age. One of the favorites among his grandfather’s stable was Pay Or Play, for good reason. “I actually picked him out at a sale,” Bartlett said. “He showed a lot of speed, but he showed a ton of breaks and my grandfather always loved that. I had to drag him to the barn to look at him. He was in one of those far barns and he was like ‘Nah I don’t want to go see this thing.’ I ran over myself and looked at it and I dragged him over and he ended up buying him.” Another special horse from Bartlett’s youth was Geri’s Beauty, with which he won his first race at the Windsor Fair in 1998. “I don’t remember that much,” he said. “I just remember it was at a fair and it actually worked out pretty good. I came second over to three-wide down the backside. I started driving three weeks before that. I think I was a junior in high school. We started out two fairs before that and I finally got my first win at our hometown fair.” Jason Bartlett has enjoyed great success at his home track, winning nine driving titles at Yonkers Raceway. Mike Lizzi Photo. During that period, Bartlett was splitting his time between the stables and the gym. As a standout two-sport athlete in middle school, he needed to decide between basketball and football in high school. He would have opted for the gridiron, but his school did not have a football team, so he chose hoops. That turned out to be a pretty good choice as Bartlett became an explosive backcourt scorer. Heeding his grandfather’s wishes about attending college, Jason took his talents to the University of Southern Maine in Portland, where he became the NCAA Division III scoring champion one year with a 28-point average. Despite those numbers, he never harbored illusions of playing at the next level. “Division III is a whole different beast,” he said. “I’m fast, I’m quick, I can jump, but I was too small, didn’t have enough muscle.” After graduating with a degree in industrial electricity, Bartlett headed straight back to the barn to get started on his “real” career. Asked if that major ever came in handy, Jason laughed. “For the most part if I look at a tool I draw blood,” he said. “If I had to, yes. But I wouldn’t get rich on it. My uncle did that sort of work, that’s why I jumped into that field. But I just got the degree to have it in case racing didn’t work out.” Bartlett worked with his grandfather for the next five years. In 2009, owner Scott Dillon — who owned most of the horses Bartlett trained at the time — encouraged him to go out on his own. Dillon helped him financially in making the move to New York. “I knew some trainers in New York that were originally from Maine,” Bartlett said. “Bobby Sumner and Timmy Case were doing really well at Yonkers at the time. I used to take horses from Bobby Sumner if they weren’t right, he would send them to me so I could race them in New England. “Bobby always had a stable of 40 or 50 horses, he was one of the leading trainers at Yonkers. When I came down, he asked me to drive some of his horses at Yonkers, so I started catch driving for him. We started doing really well and it just took off from there.” Bartlett also trained 25 of his own horses when arriving in New York. But when he started having driving success, he sold them in order to focus on just one aspect of the sport. “Driving was always the one thing I was trying to strive for,” he said. “To be a catch driver, and that was it.” Bartlett points to Dillon, Sumner, and Maine Hall of Famer Don Richards as playing big parts in his success. Richards allowed Jason to live with him during college so he needn’t incur any housing bills. His biggest influence, of course, is Dick, who is still going strong at 80. “Tough love would be one of the big things I took from him,” Bartlett said. “He critiqued me a lot. I always say he was my biggest fan but my biggest critic. Even if we had a great day he was always pushing me to be better. Don’t be satisfied. Don’t be complacent. Just because you’re doing good now doesn’t mean you’ll be doing good in a month. Work hard.” Jason Bartlett and his family celebrated his 8,000th career win in 2019. Katy Gazzini Photo. Bartlett and his wife Kristen are trying to pass along those qualities to their children, who inherited the athletic gene of both parents. Kristen is a former field hockey, basketball and softball player. The Bartletts run their local CYO basketball program and also coach their sons’ teams. Kobe, 13, and Karter, 9, are more into playing sports than working the stables at the moment. Jason speaks with pride at how Kobe’s team finally won New York’s Orange County CYO championship along with the regional title after several years of near misses. “They focus a lot on sports,” Bartlett said. “They play soccer, lacrosse, football. They’ll watch me on TV. I guess Karter is a little more intrigued by it, he loves to go jog. It’s a tough business, a tough way to make a living. They might get into it later but they’re going to have to go to school and stuff, just like my grandfather made me do.” And that seems to have worked out pretty well. Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Yonkers, NY — Despite no concrete timetable for his — or anyone’s — return to the races, harness racing driver Jason Bartlett is well into his recuperation from COVID-19. Bartlett, a 22-year veteran of the sulky with over 8,400 driving wins to his credit, recently discussed his experience recovering from the novel coronavirus with Yonkers, N.Y., media outlet News 12 Westchester. “I was just stuffy,” Bartlett said about his bout with COVID-19. “One thing that was weird was my eyes were killing me — I couldn’t really look side to side; I could only look straight ahead.” After coming in contact with John Brennan — who passed on March 10 from complications of COVID-19 — in late February, Bartlett decided to get tested for the virus after experiencing some of the common symptoms. “I wanted to protect my family and everyone I work with,” he continued, noting concern for the horsemen he works closely with in addition to his son’s youth basketball team, which he coaches. Fortunately, Bartlett has been able to weather the storm well, indicating that he has “been pretty lucky with the whole thing,” but he is quick to show deference to trainers and caretakers, whose round-the-clock responsibilities continue — racing or no racing. “At this time, we’re all one,” Bartlett remarked. “The trainers still have to feed these horses … these horses still have to be taken care of.” The USTA Communications Department

YONKERS, NY – Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts (“Empire City”) announced today the suspension of racing operations at its harness track, Yonkers Raceway, through Wednesday, March 18th . Empire City learned on Tuesday, March 10th that an employee of the Standardbred Owners Association (“SOA”), the harness horsemen association, tested positive for COVID-19 before passing away. The individual had an office in the Yonkers Raceway paddock building located next to the racetrack and was last there on February 28, 2020. His death was announced Tuesday, March 10th by New Jersey officials, as he was a resident of that state. As a precaution, racing was canceled on March 10th and employees who had direct contact with the individual were provided with information to secure testing, self-quarantine, and advised to contact their healthcare providers if they are experiencing symptoms. Professional cleaners were engaged to deep clean and sanitize the impacted areas, including the race office and paddock. In addition to regular cleaning procedures, Empire City has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting protocols, with a specific focus on high-touch surfaces. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the casino. Empire City released the following statement: “The health and safety of our guests and employees remains our highest priority. We continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and closely follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials. We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of the colleague we lost. It is a tremendous loss to the sport of racing, the SOA, and the Yonkers Raceway team. He will be missed.” Empire City Casino and its dining entities remain open with regular operating hours.  It was also reported that leading driver Jason Barlett has been quarantine as coronavirus precaution. From Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – The Standardbred Owners Association of New York will make a presentation to the 2019 leading drivers and trainer at Yonkers Raceway Monday night (March 2). Drivers Jason Bartlett and George Brennan, who dead-heated for the most wins last season with 427 each, and trainer Scott Di Domenico, who dominated the trainer’s standings with 180 victories, will each be recognized for their achievements on the racetrack The driver’s race became one of the highlights of the 2019 season at Yonkers and put an unexpected twist on the final few days of racing. After nearly 11 months of competition and over 2,000 starts by the track’s leading drivers, there is typically little left to be settled in the meet’s final weeks. For instance, by Dec. 1, 2018, Jason Bartlett had a 104-win edge on Jordan Stratton. In 2017, Bartlett came into the stretch of the meet with a 153-win margin. However, with two racing days left in the 2019 season, Jason Bartlett and George Brennan were locked in a tight battle for the Yonkers driving title. At Dec. 1, the duo was separated by just three wins, with Brennan ahead 406 to 403. After trading blows throughout December, Bartlett brought a three-win margin into the penultimate night of competition (Dec.16) with 423 wins. It was the closest race in Bartlett’s memory. “Usually by this time, everything is cut and dry of who’s going to get it and who’s not,” Bartlett said. “Between me and George, we drive hard against each other. We’ve always done that. At the end of the day, we still respect each other on and off the track. It’s a good competition, but at the end of the day, we still have a job to do and that’s to win races and get as much money as we can for the trainers.” Bartlett drove four winners on the penultimate card to Brennan’s two, giving the former a 427-423 edge going into the final night of racing Dec. 17. Adding a further complication to the contest, Bartlett missed the final card due to a previously scheduled family vacation. Brennan won four of the first 10 races on the Closing Night program, tying the standings at 427 and had a chance to take sole possession in the final race with Lord Of Misrule. However, when that pacer finished fourth, the standings were final. After 2,657 races from January 7 through December 17, the contest ended in a dead heat. “It was very exciting. I’ve been leading driver before, but this was the most exciting driving race I’ve been involved in. It was a lot of fun,” Brennan said. “I just went about my business and that’s how it ended. It’s a lot of work, a lot of dedication, good clients. It means a lot. “You can’t really think about it. You just have to go about your business and try to stay safe and win races,” Brennan said. “There was something going on with the driving title, but in a sense, it’s secondary because you still have to get the job done, you still have to get the most amount of money for your owners and trainers you’re driving for. That’s the number one priority there.” Bartlett and Brennan both experienced memorable wins in the final week of racing. Bartlett drove Mach It A Par to victory Friday, Dec. 13 in her final career start. The $1.1 million-earning mare aired by 4 1/2 lengths in her bow, her 82nd start and 17th win with Bartlett. Brennan scored with 11-year-old millionaire trotter DW’s NY Yank on the final night of racing in the pair’s 82nd start and 25th win together. Bartlett, 38, won his ninth Hilltop title while Brennan, 52, earned his third. Bartlett saw Brennan as a mentor and an inspiration growing up, making the contest even more meaningful. However, the pair can leave the competition on the track and focus on their work. “He’s a driver that I’ve looked up to my whole life,” Bartlett said. “Being in a competition against him, running for number one, is a pretty big deal for me. Growing up and knowing George and looking up to him. “For me, it means I’m doing my job. I’m there to win races and business is good. Every year, you shoot for it. You’ve got to have a little luck along the way and get some horsepower,” Bartlett said. “It’s a job that I love to do, I’m very competitive at it and it’s really nice to go to work and know every race matters. There’s no messing up. I know a lot of people are watching it.” “I just want to thank all the trainers and owners and caretakers that look after and train the horses, because I can’t do it without them. A big thank you to them,” Brennan said. While Bartlett and Brennan battled to the wire for the driving title, Scott Di Domenico enjoyed an insurmountable lead in the training ranks. The 38-year-old harnessed 180 winners at Yonkers in 2019, 27 more than 2018 champion Rene Allard. It is Di Domenico’s first training title at Yonkers, a goal the he has been working toward for years. He was second in the standings last year with 160 wins and third in 2017 with 117. “It was great. To do that, it’s been something that I’ve been close to a few times over the last three or four years, but never got it solidified. To be able to get it done last year was really special,” Di Domenico said. “It was never anything that I was praying every night that I would get, but you work hard every day and you strive for goals and you strive to win races. When it all comes together like it did, it was really gratifying.” Allard topped the standings through July, but Di Domenico took over a narrow lead in August. Di Domenico extended the margin through the end of the season. However, which such a long season, the title wasn’t something Di Domenico focused on nightly. “Never gave it a lot of thought. Just tried to have our head down working hard and tried to come to work every night prepared and tried to win races,” he said. “The rest of it, it was going to work out one way or the other. I’m glad it worked out the way it did, but it was never something that you sat there every night getting your voodoo doll out and hoping the other guy didn’t win any races.” By mid-November, when he enjoyed a lead of more than 30 victories, Di Domenico could finally step back and look at the big picture. “It was looking promising, it really started to set in, in the middle of November. I was paying more attention to it than I had been at any other point in the year,” Di Domenico said. “But you still try to work hard, and you didn’t want to let up on the gas any to not be able to win. Just tried to stay on the same plan we were on the whole year and tried to keep buying horses and have fresh horses coming in and out all the time and doing the best we could.” Di Domenico averaged 60 to 70 horses in his stable throughout 2019, most of which were pointed to Yonkers, where he made 810 starts last season. Di Domenico credits owners Dana Parham and Jo Ann Fucci not only for being great clients, but also for being great for the industry. “Last year we took kind of a step up. As always, as it’s been since I’ve been out here, Yonkers was my main focus,” Di Domenico said. “All of (the owners), they’re the key to any success. If you don’t have good clientele behind you and guys that are ambitious about buying horses, ambitious about racing, then it is what it is. You’ve got to have people that are ambitious about it and want to win as much as you do.” One of the highlights to Di Domenico’s season was the development of trotter Swansea. The Swan For All gelding joined Di Domenico’s stable in late 2018 and rose through the ranks in 2019. He won three preliminary legs of the SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series last spring before finishing second in the $75,000 Final. Swansea then made the leap to the Open Handicap, winning three local trotting features before year-end. For the season, he went 14-for-29 and earned $255,815. “He was a horse that came from Indiana that nobody had any real high expectations of and to see him come here and make $250,000 and win a lot of races,” Di Domenico said. “He had a little bit of bad luck in the Trotting Series Final in the spring where the trip didn’t work for him as well as we were hoping that night. That horse, he’d have to be at the top of the list. “That series, three horses that really stood out to me now that you can look back on it, Swansea, Joey Bats, and Rich And Miserable,” Di Domenico continued. “It says a lot about that series and it shows how tough that racing can be at Yonkers.” Di Domenico also praised his team for the training title win. “It’s special, those guys work hard every day and certainly they deserve a lot of the credit,” he said. “They’re in the thick of going to the races every night, getting home late, up early, and taking great care of the horses. They certainly deserve a lot of credit for that.” Looking ahead to 2020, Di Domenico hopes for continued success and has his sights set on a repeat. “I’d like to do it again,” Di Domenico said. “It was fun and just the fact that you go to the track and most nights you feel like you’re prepared and you have as good a chance as any to win is a very good feeling. Going home after winning a race or two races is very gratifying.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The M Life Rewards Ladies Series begins Monday night, March 2 while the M Life Rewards Gents Series kicks off Tuesday, March 3. The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will return Friday, March 13 and the Borgata Pacing Series starts Saturday, March 14. First post time is 7:05 p.m. For entries to the races, By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 10, 2020--The second Monday of the month (Feb. 10th) resulted in another admirable Yonkers Raceway harness racing handle. A week after the single-season high ($1,025,349) figure, a total of $982,740 was wagered. The soggy dozen-race card included wins by P L Munson (Renaldo Morales III, $6) in the $16,000, sixth-race pace (1:54.3) and Weona Sizzler A (Jason Bartlett, $3.60) in the $14,500, 10th-race pace (1:54.2). Monday night began the Raceway's $7,500 guarantee Pick 5 pools, which continue each Monday and Tuesday. A total of $11,256 was invested, returning $272.25 for every correct (2/3/3/4/5) combination. Yonkers' Pick 5 remains a 50-cent base wager (races 5 through 9). The Raceway's live schedule continues every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with first post at 7:05 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 7, 2019-- A last-to-first Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett, $4.90) picked off her four harness racing rivals Friday night (Feb. 7th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Watching from the outside post position in the quintet, favored Kaitlyn N was at the rear as Itty Bitty (Dan Dube) led through early intervals of :27.3 and :57.2. Pole-sitter Wishy Washy Girl (Joe Bongiorno) was pocketed and Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) eventually moved first-up from fourth. The later engaged the leader in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters, with a second-over Kaitlyn N getting dragged into contention. The people's preference then moved widest and fastest through the lane, prevailing by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.4.   A reserved Sandy Win (Eric Goodell) did get into second, with Wishy Washy Girl, Itty Bitty and Feelin' Red Hot rounding out the order of finishers/payees. For Kaitlyn N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca and James & Barbara Boese, it was a winning seasonal debut. The exacta paid $25.20, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The 2020 racing season got off to a quick start at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday morning, as the Big Jim harness racing pacing mare Jossie James A won the first qualifier of the season in 1:54 while making her U.S. debut. Yonkers driving leader Jason Bartlett sent the oft-winning mare away quickly from post seven and tucked third. They sat in that position as Lyons River Pride, first or second in his last four starts against good foes at Yonkers, set fractions of :27.3, :56.4, and 1:25.1, then moved out on the turn and overhauled the leader by a half-length for trainer Richard Banca and owner Barbara Boese. Rene Allard, Pocono's leading trainer last season, teamed with his brother Simon for two qualifying wins, with the fast but fractious trotter Magical Journey in 2:01 and the stakes colt Captain Malicious in 1:57.1 in his 2020 bow. They also had seconds with Lyons River Pride and with newcomer Y S Sunshine, a Quebec stakes winner at two and three. The track's leading driver last season, George Napolitano Jr., also posted a first, guiding Nine Ways, a 14-time winner last campaign, to a wire-to-wire win in 1:56.4, one of two on the day for trainer Antonia Storer. Driver Tyler Buter also had a pair of triumphs during the first session. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will offer another qualifying session along with the draw for this Saturday's Opening Night of the 139-card 2020 racing season. The inaugural card will feature two events in the highlight races of February's action, the Game Of Claims Series for various levels of pacers, with elimination rounds determining who will be in the contest to sit on the throne after taking the series' rich Championship races. In the month of February, Pocono will race on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., with Mondays being added in March and post times shifting to the standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Monday cards will start at 4 p.m., and they will be joined at that start time in April with Tuesday racing as Pocono expands to its full standard schedule. An introductory press briefing will take place this Thursday to preview the highlights of the 2020 racing season at the northeast Pennsylvania track. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

YONKERS, N.Y. – Entering the penultimate night of racing at Yonkers in the 2019 season, Jason Bartlett led George Brennan in the driver standings 423 to 420. The Dec. 16 program saw the drivers combine for six wins on the 11-race program and at the end of the night, Jason Bartlett extended his margin to 4, leading with 427 victories. However, Bartlett would be absent from the Closing Night program, Tues. Dec. 17 as he departed on a family vacation, never anticipating the driving title would be decided on the final night of a 2,657-race season. To that point, the two drivers had never spoken about the dash title. However, as Bartlett left the driver’s room, the pair acknowledged their rivalry for the first time. “OK, I got you by four. Win four tomorrow and we’ll just end in a tie,” Bartlett told Brennan.  “OK. Done,” Brennan responded. The tongue-in-cheek exchange proved prophetic as the Closing Night program unfolded. Brennan won four of the first 10 races, tying the standings at 427 apiece. After each victory, the Yonkers TV department displayed the standings on the track’s simulcast feed and track announcer John Hernan narrated the update for the viewers. “Yonkers had it on TV the last few nights. They were keeping count for us,” Brennan said. “It was very exciting. I’ve been leading driver before, but this was the most exciting driving race I’ve been involved in. It was a lot of fun.” Brennan drove Lord Of Misrule from post three in the 11th race, the final heat of the season. Leading trainer Scott Di Domenico sent out the 8-year-old gelding who chased only his second seasonal win in his 31st start of the year. “Bruce Saunders said to me, ‘do you like your chances in the last race,’ ” Brennan recalled. “I said, ‘well, he’s 1-for-30 for the year. That says it all right there.” Lord Of Misrule raced along in third throughout, but lost ground in the stretch and finished fourth 7 lengths behind a 1:53.4 score by Knocking Around. “(Lord Of Misrule) ended up getting a perfect trip, he sat third, I never had to pull him, but they went a really good mile in 1:53.4 and 1:53.4 kind of stretches him out in the summer anymore,” Brennan said of the $545,485-earner. “It was going to have to work out, it was going to have to line up perfectly for him. And it actually did and I didn’t have enough horsepower.” With the final race complete, Brennan had four on the card as promised and shared the driving title with Jason Bartlett. “I just went about my business and that’s how it ended,” Brennan said. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of dedication, good clients. It means a lot.” Bartlett enjoyed a lead from January through June as he focused solely on racing at the Hilltop. However, as New York Sire Stakes season ramped up through the late spring and summer, Barlett’s time was divided while Brennan stayed put at Yonkers. Bartlett and Brennan flip-flopped on the lead in July, but by September Brennan seized command with a double-digit advantage. The race narrowed again in late fall, as Brennan’s margin shrunk to eight wins by Nov. 1. By December, the drivers were in a tug of war. Brennan was sure his scheduled vacation in December would crush his chances. “He was creeping back up there pretty quickly,” Brennan said. “But then, I honestly didn’t think it was going to be close when I was taking four days off in December. I thought he would have a comfortable lead after that. I got lucky, got some good mounts, good post positions, and things worked out.” Brennan’s approach to the contest, much like his opponent’s, was to block out the race as much as possible. “You can’t really think about it. You just have to go about your business and try to stay safe and win races,” Brennan said. “There was something going on with the driving title, but in a sense, it’s secondary because you still have to get the job done, you still have to get the most amount of money for your owners and trainers you’re driving for. That’s the number one priority there.” Considering memorable horses or victories on the season, Brennan zeroed in on DW’s NY Yank. The 11-year-old Dilbert Hanover gelding has earned 58 wins and $1.5 million in 200 starts. His most recent score came with Brennan in the second race Closing Night, a $17,000 overnight in which DW’s NY Yank aired by 2 easy lengths. It was the pair’s 82nd start and 25th win together. “Some horses I really enjoy driving. Some of those old horses for Burke, like DW’s NY Yank, he’s one of my favorites. I enjoy driving those older horses like that,” Brennan said. “I’ve been driving him now since he was 4 years old. He tries hard. He’s definitely not what he was anymore, but he’s just a lot of fun to drive. He’s tailor-made for a half-mile track.” Although the spotlight was on the drivers for the final few weeks of the racing season, Brennan pointed out that the drivers only comprise a small piece of the puzzle and expressed gratitude for the other hardworking individuals who hand over the lines for two minutes each week. “I just want to thank all the trainers and owners and caretakers that look after and train the horses, because I can’t do it without them. A big thank you to them,” Brennan said. To read Jason Bartlett’s account of the driver’s race, visit http://ustrottingnews.com/bartlett-to-make-case-for-yonkers-driving-title-monday/. Yonkers Raceway opens its 2020 live racing season Monday, January 6. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 7:05 p.m. For entries to the races, visit https://www.empirecitycasino.com/racing/condition-sheets-entries-results/. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, December 17, 2019--Yonkers Raceway concluded its 2019 calendar Tuesday night (Dec. 17th) with a season-long harness racing dead-heat. George Brennan won four of the closing-night's 11 races--all with wagering favorites--and in doing so caught the idle Jason Bartlett with 427 local wins. Historians were trying to determine if there had been a leading-driver deadlock previously, but couldn't swear either way to that oddity. As for Brennan, he won Tuesday's $17,000, second-race trot with DW's NY Yank ($2.70) in 1:58.4, Showmeyourguns ($2.90) in the $14,500, seventh-race trot (1:58.3), Jet Rock ($4.50) in the $12,500, ninth-race pace (1:55.1) and Westchester-debuting Ginger Tree Marty ($3.70) in the $15.750, 10th-race pace (1:55.2). Brennan's chance to have the big chair all to himself was thwarted when Lord of Misrule was a never-threatening fourth in the $17,000 pacing finale. Yonkers' final 2019 leaderboard story shall be sent in the coming days. The Raceway's 2020 season is scheduled to begin Monday night, Jan. 6th, pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – By the time December comes around, the driving and training titles at Yonkers Raceway are usually sewn up. After nearly 11 months of racing and over 2,000 starts by the track’s leading drivers, there is typically little left to be settled in the meet’s final weeks. By December 1, 2018, Jason Bartlett had a 104-win edge on Jordan Stratton. In 2017, Bartlett came into the stretch of the meet with a 153-win margin. However, with two racing days left in the 2019 season, Jason Bartlett and George Brennan are locked in a tight battle for the Yonkers driving title. At December 1, the duo was separated by just three wins, with Brennan ahead 406 to 403. After trading blows throughout the last two weeks, Bartlett brings a three-win margin into Monday night (Dec.16) with 423 wins. It is the closest race in Bartlett’s memory. “Not since I’ve been to Yonkers, never have. Usually by this time, everything is cut and dry of who’s going to get it and who’s not,” Bartlett said. “Between me and George, we drive hard against each other. We’ve always done that. At the end of the day, we still respect each other on and off the track. It’s a good competition, but at the end of the day, we still have a job to do and that’s to win races and get as much money as we can for the trainers.” Although the race is proving a nail-biter, Bartlett had written off the title at the end of stakes season, when Brennan lead by double-digits. However, after Brennan took a week off from Dec. 7 to Dec. 14, Bartlett took a slight edge. “Obviously, in any sport, you want to be number one. At that track, that year, it shows what a good year I had and the hard work I put in,” Bartlett said. “Going through the year, it’s not something you really think about. I was chasing Sire Stakes all year. Obviously, I can’t be in both places on a given night, so you have to give up something. This year, I focused a little bit more on the Sire Stakes, which got me behind a little bit not being at Yonkers all the time. “As the stakes races got done, I was behind him and I kind of just chalked it up that I wasn’t going to catch him,” Bartlett said. “Then I got a little bit closer and he ended up going on his normal annual vacation, so I knew I would be able to close the gap a little bit then.” Bartlett, 38, is chasing his ninth Hilltop title while Brennan, 52, seeks his third. Bartlett saw Brennan as a mentor and an inspiration growing up, making the contest even more meaningful. However, the pair can leave the competition on the track and focus on their work. “He’s a driver that I’ve looked up to my whole life,” Bartlett said. “Being in a competition against him, running for number one, is a pretty big deal for me. Growing up and knowing George and looking up to him. “Between me and him, we’ve never really mentioned (the standings). I know he’s aware of it. Obviously, I’m aware of it. But we’re not driving any different against each other,” Bartlett continued. “You have enough to think about and try to put your horses in the best spot. That’s hard enough. Then you start thinking about George all the time and what I’m doing, is it going to affect George winning the race or not? You can only control what you can control. I can do my best to try to win races, I can control that. I can’t control what he’s doing and whatever else is going on. I try to control what I can and after that, it’s horse racing.” Bartlett enjoyed another season as Yonkers top money-earner, with horses he drove winning $8.3 million through Saturday (Dec. 14). With Brennan away, Bartlett won 12 races last week. He won five races Friday (Dec. 13), including Mach It A Par’s final bow. The Minister of Speed answered with three victories upon his return Saturday, including a wire-to-wire score from post eight with 18-1 upsetter Shoreview. Barlett will drive in all 11 races Monday night (Dec. 16) while Brennan has nine calls. The contest could be decided sooner than expected as Bartlett will miss Closing Night (Dec. 17) as he leaves on his family vacation. Brennan will drive in all 11 races on the Tuesday program. Regardless of the outcome, the contest is validating to Bartlett. “For me, it means I’m doing my job. I’m there to win races and business is good. Every year, you shoot for it. You’ve got to have a little luck along the way and get some horsepower,” Bartlett said. “It’s a job that I love to do, I’m very competitive at it and it’s really nice to go to work and know every race matters. There’s no messing up. I know a lot of people are watching it. The track announcer is right on top of it. It’s nice to see it’s going to come down to the wire and to put a little spin on it, I will not be there the last day, so whatever I get through Monday is it. “Whatever happens, happens. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. And if not, it was fun while we were doing it.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The 2019 season closes Tuesday, Dec. 17 and the 2020 season opener is set for Monday Jan. 6. First post time is 6:50 p.m. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 13, 2019--Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $2.80) went out a winner Friday night (Dec. 13th). The millionairess harness racing pacing mare, profiled earlier this week, handily notched career win No. 53 at her second home, Yonkers Raceway. Undeterred by pouring rain and a pared-down field of five rivals in the $22,000, second-race pace, odds-on Mach it a Par--from post position No. 2--retook early from Bellatricks (Brent Holland). She eventually widened in a 'sloppy' 1:54.1. The final margin was 4½ lengths over Annabeth (Jordan Stratton), with Bellatricks, Line Dancer (Eric Goodell) and Jewels Forreal (Matt Kakaley) rounded out the payees. For Mach it a Par, a 9-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and the Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her seventh win in 36 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8.90, the triple returned $27.40 and the superfecta paid $9,150. Mach it a Par ended her career with 182 starts, 53 wins, 29 seconds and 30 thirds ($1,152,767). The plan is for the lass to be bred to a to-be-determined New York stallion, After her final race night, Mach it a Par was given an official sendoff in the paddock, surrounded by her connections and racing officials and complete with congratulatory sign. Bartlett, meanwhile, won five of the night's 11 races to grab a six-win lead (423-417) over the idle George Brennan with three programs left in the local season. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, December 11, 2019-- Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett's first words about Mach it a Par were hardly the stuff of testimonials. "She doesn't look like much, her gait isn't the smoothest, very choppy, she has to use many more steps to cover same amount of ground," her usual chauffeur said. "But"--and there's always a 'but'--"what no one could measure was her heart." Mach it a Par makes the 182nd and final start of her seven-figure career Friday night (Dec. 13th), after which she'll be honored by her home away from home, Yonkers Raceway. Entering the $22,000 second race, the 9-year-old daughter of Mach Three has made her last 87 starts in Westchester for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and the Gandolfo Stables, "She's not supposed to do the thing she's done," trainer Richard Banca said of the 52-time winner. "She did overcome so much, all sorts of foot issues. She's just been tremendous and gets around Yonkers great. I don't know why, maybe it's her size. She took a (1:50.3) mark there (September of 2016, Brian Sears driving), which I think was a world record at the time. We've had her since early (March) 2016. I think the owners paid $60,000 for her. She was racing at Pompano. She had a lot of wins, but hadn't made much money. "We put her right in the (2016 Blue Chip) Matchmaker," Banca said. "She was probably eligible to non-winners of $10,000 (in last five starts), but we threw her in the series. She ended up winning and paying a lot ($81, George Brennan driving) and that really surprised us. There weren't that many surprises after a career-best '16 season (39 starts, 13 wins, nine seconds, eight thirds, $404,200), with Yonkers as her nearly-exclusive place to race. The past two full seasons have seen Mach it a Par pay her way, earning $200,000-plus in each. "It's not that she can't race anymore (six wins, more than $144,000 in 2019)," Banca said. "The owners just want to breed her (to as as-of-now undetermined New York stallion)," It wasn't all sunshine and Skittles on the track for Mach it a Par, however. The lass cost herself any number of winner's circle pictures and a fair amount of coin by not necessarily pacing the straight and narrow through the lane. "We never could figure out why she runs out," Banca said. "She doesn't do it every time (cue Bartlett...'She was a winner last [Friday] night [Dec. 6th], but off the last turn, she wants to go and get a hamburger in the grandstand') and we've tried some equipment changes, but then she ran in." So, there. Mach it a Par wasn't always pretty, but with more than $1.1 million on account, she was pretty good. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Thursday evening’s (Dec. 12th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $4,791.45 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 6 through 10 Thursday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Tuesday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Freehold, NJ --- Ever since coming to Freehold Raceway, Lucius Vorenus has excelled over the half-mile oval. He continued his winning ways on Friday (November 15), as he took the harness racing $50,000 final of the Standardbred Breeders' and Owner's Association of New Jersey trotting series.   Sent off as the even-money favorite, he was put right on the lead by driver Jason Bartlett. French Cafe, the clear-cut second choice, drafted in the pocket, but Lucius Vorenus was still able to set steady fractions of 28.4 for a quarter and 59.0 for a half.   Nearing three-quarters, Lucius Vorenus began to pull away, as he set the fraction in a slow 1:28.2. French Cafe had to settle for second, as Lucius Vorenus cruised under the wire in 1:56.3.   This is the third win in the last four starts for the Crawford Farms-owned gelding, who is sired by Father Patrick and trained by Nick Surick. He won the Garden State trot for colts & geldings in his Freehold debut on October 26, then added a win and a runner-up in the first two legs of the series. He's now earned $109,655 in his career; $74,375 of that total has come in his last four races.   Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday, with a scheduled first post time of 12:30 PM EST.   From Freehold Raceway    

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 8, 2019--A pocketed Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett, $10.60) picked off Write Me a Song (George Brennan) nearing the wire Friday night (Nov. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from assigned post position No. 4, Kaitlyn N stung Write Me a Song, releasing that one before a chilly, 26-second opening quarter-mile. Odds-on pole-sitter Lady Dela Renta A (Matt Kakaley) was cutting her own mile in third. It was after a :55.1 intermission and 1:23.1 three-quarters when Kaitlyn N edged from the pocket, Lady Dela Renta A in behind. Write Me a Song had a diminishing three-quarter-length lead off the final turn, with Kaitlyn N closing. The former whipped the latter by a length in 1:53.3. Third went to Sudden Change N (Austin Siegelman), ahead of an empty, 4-5 fave Lady Dela Renta A. Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr.) was fifth, while returning Wisdom Tree (Jordan Stratton) trailed. For Kaitlyn N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca, Barbara & James Boese, it was the third choice's fifth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $57, the triple returned $383 and the superfecta paid $934. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

1 to 16 of 635
1 2 3 4 5 Next »