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Plainville, MA --- After coming up just short in the feature at Plainridge Park last week after a tough parked-out journey, Hudson Phil got a perfect trip and paced away to a seasonal harness racing mark in the $15,000 Winners-Over pace on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 29). Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) tucked in second off the gate behind Rock Diamonds N (Mitchell Cushing) who splashed to the half over a sloppy track in :56. At that point Ideal Star A (Shawn Gray) was rolling up the outside and pushed the leader to a quick :27.3 third panel. Around the last turn Ideal Star A faded, making room for Hudson Phil to pull off the pylons and like a rocket, he opened up a quick two length lead and extended that to 3-3/4 at the light in 1:51.3, which was his best effort of 2020.   Hudson Phil ($5.80) scored his fifth win of the year for owner the Kellogg Racing Stable and trainer Jackie Greene. In the co-featured $15,000 condition for 5-year-olds and under, Unlikeanyother (Bruce Ranger) made quick work of the field on the point while setting fractions of :27, :57 and 1:24.3. From there he maintained his one length lead over the pocket-sitting Sea Isle City (Shawn Gray) all the way to the wire to win in 1:52.3. It was the fourth win of the year for Unlikeanyother ($3.40) who is owned by Jim Winske. Melissa Beckwith is the trainer. Nick Graffam, Drew Monti and Ron Cushing all had two driving wins on Thursday. Trainers Melissa Beckwith and Jackie Greene also scored two wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Oct. 30) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Certify (Credit Winner) lengthened his impressive local harness racing win streak on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The four year old was assigned post six in the six-horse Open Trot and driver Jay Randall was tasked with piloting the talented trotter who came out of the Melissa Beckwith barn for the first time. Certify won his first start for new connections last September when he prevailed in the $55,000 New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series Final and has gone on a tear at the Spa ever since. Bringing a six-race win streak into Sunday's try into the $15,000 Open Trot, Certify was the public's 6-5 betting favorite and got away last in the feature. Randall was patient with the favorite who began to make his move after a half mile of 56.3. Certify progressed quickly and overpowered the race's leader past three quarters of 1:26.3 before turning on the afterburners. Shorething Fashion (Shawn Gray) mirrored the move of Certify, following his cover until the chase proved futile. Certify stopped the timer in 1:56.2 for his second Open win of the season and his seventh consecutive Saratoga victory. Shorething Fashion was the runner-up for the third consecutive week while Cartier Volo (Brian Cross) earned the show spot. Certify, who is owned by William Hartt and Marc Reynolds, paid $4.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $15.60 and $130.50, respectively. Live racing is set to resume on Wednesday at Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Sunday marked the start of the 2020 harness racing season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. A ten-race program was highlighted by the $15,000 Open Trot on a day that included a long sleeve t-shirt giveaway at the track. The Open featured a field of just five participants, one of which was the track's defending Horse of the Year Cash Me Out. The millionaire trotter was assigned post position five for his first start of the season and wound up making a break after suffering broken equipment. Invader Shorething Fashion (Andover Hall) drew the rail for the season's first feature and though the Mike Eaton trainee got away third in the early going, the six year old came storming home in the stretch to record the win in 1:58.1 on a pleasant February afternoon in the Spa City. Mister Muscle (Mark Beckwith) carved out reasonable fractions on the lead in the Open but wound up having to settle for second-best while Mr Cool Seaeyre N (Larry Stalbaum) finished third. Shorething Fashion's driver Jay Randall piloted a pair of winners on opening day as he sat behind Certify (Credit Winner) who was the winner of the first race of the 2020 racing season. In the Open, Shorething Fashion paid $8.60 to win and led an exacta with Mister Muscle that returned $31.20. Live racing continues on Monday with a President's Day matinee that is set to kick off at 12 Noon. The afternoon will feature several $1 food and beverage specials as well as a $5,000 guarantee in the Pick Five pool. The Pick Five begins in the matinee's first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The Charging Moa N (Changeover) made her local harness racing debut on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Patti Harmon-trained mare who drew post six in the six-horse Fillies and Mares Open came in as a winner of three races in four tries since coming to the U.S to compete out of the Harmon stable. The Charging Moa N wound up being the race's 7-5 betting favorite as she got away last among the featured pacing mares. With honest fractions being set up front by fellow out-of-towner Shellie De Vie (Greg Merton), The Charging Moa N remained at the back of the pack in a half mile that went in 56.3. Third-over approaching three-quarters, driver Jay Randall tipped The Charging Moa N three-wide and charge she did. The eight year old distaffer made an impressive move and swooped the group in a matter of strides, going last to first and accelerating away from her rivals before stopping the timer in 1:53.4 over a track labeled 'good.' The Charging Moa N paid $4.90 to win in her local debut and bested Shellie De Vie who finished second for an exacta that returned $15.20. Bontz N (Billy Dobson) rounded out the triple that came back $46.00. The Charging Moa N became the third lady pacer to win the local Fillies and Mares Open this season for Harmon and Randall as they teamed up for victories in the distaff this spring with mares January A and Coveredndiamonds N. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. There will be a $1,901 carryover in the Pick Five pool with the Pick Five beginning in the first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Bro (Rock N Roll Heaven) endured some difficult trips in the two legs of the Gary Kamal Memorial Pacing Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Homer Hochstetler-trained pacer drew the rail in Saturday's $35,200 Series Final and the three year old's journey wound up being a bit smoother. Driver Jay Randall powered Bro out to the early lead in the Final, getting the sophomore to the top in a 28.1 first quarter. After pacing the half in 57 seconds, Bro was confronted by the race's favorite and series star Mister Miami (Claude Huckabone III) who had the daunting task of trying to reel-in his major danger via the first-over journey. The trip proved too difficult for the odds-on favorite Mister Miami as Bro dispatched him around the final turn. Pocket sitter SB Angelindisguise (Mark Beckwith) took his shot in the passing lane as two-leg winner Sweet Deisel (Dan Daley) shook loose in the stretch. Sweet Deisel came on to be second while SB Angelindisguise had to settle for third. For Bro, it was the second victory in a $35,000+ race in the last six weeks as the three year old scored in the New York Sire Stakes Consolation Final contested at Vernon Downs last month. Bro, who paid $6.00 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $31 and $123, respectively, is owned by Jay Hochstetler and the Finkelburg Racing Stable. Randall's win behind Bro was one of three on the night for the veteran reinsman. Bro adds his name to the list of previous winners of the Kamal Pace which consists of Twin B Spy, Bell I No, Stirling Electra, Carolina Beach and Kiwi Tintin N. The $17,500 Consolation of the Kamal Memorial Pace contested on Saturday went to The Great Buzz N (Auckland Reactor) as the Paul Zabielski trainee went coast-to-coast in 1:54.4. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee starting at 12 Noon. There is a $1,134 carryover in the Pick Five pool with the Pick Five beginning in race one. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The featured field was reduced to five participants after a scratch on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open featured 1-5 betting favorite Bontz N (Billy Dobson) who went wire-to-wire in her local debut last week (August 23rd) while competing in the Winners Over for distaffers. On Friday night, she made her first start in the Open and moved out to the early lead though she paced a first quarter in a quick 27 seconds. Bontz N continued to cruise quickly on the engine and after reaching the half in 55.4 was met with the challenge of Come Get The Cash (Jay Randall). Come Get The Cash paced a final half of 54.4 last week while coming up just shy of reeling in Bontz N when they squared off for the first time. In Friday's feature, the power surge from the John Macdonald-trained Come Get The Cash would prove to be more than enough as she overpowered the favorite and drew away in the stretch before stopping the timer in a career-best 1:53.1. Bontz N held strong for second while Surreal Feeling (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. Come Get The Cash paid $9.20 to win in her upset victory and led an exacta with the favorite second that returned $15.40. The win was the fourth of the season in fifteen tries for the four year old who has really come into her own in the past few months and now adds Open winner to her resume. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. There will be a Pick Five carryover of $1,384 on Saturday with the Pick Five beginning in the evening's first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Plainville, MA --- Betterlatethannever put in a strong front-end effort to capture his second straight harness racing win after taking the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 26). It was a four-horse, four-wide dash off the gate for the lead with Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore), Betterlatethannever (Jay Randall), Tisadream N (Drew Monti) and Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) all arguing for control. Still stacked up at the :26.4 quarter, Betterlatethannever took over from Major Leaguer past that pole and settled in on the top. Tisadream N was now parked in the breeze with Mach Doro A on his back, pushing the issue to the half in :55. Moving up the backstretch Mach Doro A pulled three-deep around Tisadream N and drew alongside Betterlatethannever for a few strides before being quickly rebuffed by him. Then Betterlatethannever rolled around the last turn and opened up a two-length lead heading into the stretch. Major Leaguer came off the pylons to try and chase as did Captain Deo (Nick Graffam), but Betterlatethannever was the better horse this day and won in 1:50.3, which was a new seasonal mark. The ninth win of the year for Betterlatethannever ($22.80) pushed his 2019 earnings to $83,952 for owners Nickerson Racing and David Glazer. Jimmy Nickerson is the trainer. In the $12,000 upper-level condition pace, JK Will Power (Drew Monti) took full advantage of a class drop to score his sixth win of the year. JK Will Power pulled first over past the quarter and lived on the outside from there, eventually running down the leading Gillys Boy (Kevin Switzer Jr.) in mid-stretch to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51. The time was a new seasonal mark. JK Will Power ($11.40) is owned by Michael Goldberg Racing and is trained by Jeff Lieberman. Plainridge Park's special series for 2-year-old pacers, the Nauset Light, ran it's second $10,000 leg on Monday and the winner's time replaced a longtime standard at Plainridge. Han Solo (Kevin Switzer Jr.) left from post four and never looked back. After cutting quarters of :28, :57 and 1:25.4, Switzer kept his horse game to the wire, holding off a fast closing Sweet Lucille (Drew Monti) to win by a neck in 1:54.1. The winning time of 1:54.1 registered by the Massachusetts-bred Han Solo (Mister Big-Leah) was a new track record, replacing the 15-year-old standard of 1:54.4 set by Marced Card back in 2004. Han Solo ($4.60) is owned, trained and was bred by Monique Cohen. The colt is also eligible to the $1.8 (est.) Massachusetts Sires Stakes which gets underway on Sunday (Sept. 29) and runs through Monday (Oct. 28) at Plainridge Park. Drew Campbell and Drew Monti each had two driving wins on the card while Jeff Lieberman led all trainers with two wins as well. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Aug. 29) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

As the summer starts begins to wind down, Hudson Phil (Shanghai Phil) has emerged as the clear-cut front-runner for Horse of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jackie Greene-trained pacer has been the track's superstar in 2019 and on Saturday night, the four year old won the Open Pace for the eighth time this season. Jay Randall has been the regular driver for Hudson Phil in his local starts this year and the veteran reinsman wasted no time powering the standout pacer out to the early lead in Saturday's $15,000 Open. Hudson Phil sizzled through a first quarter of 26.2 before clicking off a half in 55.2 but didn't face his first challenge until checking in at three quarters in 1:23.3 when Major Crocker A (Billy Dobson) drew alongside to confront the big favorite. Hudson Phil rebuffed him around the final turn but Major Crocker A had one surge left in him and closed again in the stretch before coming up second-best in the 1:51.1 mile. Lockton Luck A (Mark Beckwith) finished third to extend his "on the board" streak to six. Hudson Phil's ten wins have led to over $100,000 in earnings in his monster 2019 campaign. Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Driver Jay Randall had a renaissance year of sorts last year at Saratoga Casino Hotel and the veteran reinsman has picked up right where he left off this season. On Wednesday's card, the 58 year old Randall piloted back-to-back winners and four on the night. Jay drove winners in two of the three $9,000 co-features for New York sired trotters and both for trainer Bob Gale. Randall moved first over with the Gale-trained Frank Hanover (Credit Winner) approaching the half on his race's favorite Aerial Flight (Jimmy Devaux). Those two slugged it out for nearly a half mile before Frank Hanover emerged victorious in 2:00. The three year old trotter had finished second in three consecutive starts at Saratoga before recording his fourth victory of the season on Wednesday night. The win was the second straight on the card for Randall who guided John Podres' Hot Tip (Mystery Chase) to victory in a conditional pace. Jay's third winner of the night came when he piloted the Brett Derue-trained It Aint The Whisky (Explosive Matter) to a front-running score. It wasn't until the Wednesday finale when Randall completed his grand slam guiding Gale's RC's Lady Royale (RC Royalty) to an upset in the $9,000 nightcap. RC's Lady Royale parlayed her pocket ride to victory and sprung the upset at odds of 25-1. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

With no Open Trot on the docket, the $12,500 Winners Over for trotters was the feature on the Sunday harness racing card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The race’s favorite was Ulster (Glidemaster), the 2018 Trotter of the Year at the Spa, who was making just his third start of the season. The Amanda Facin trainee finished a strong second in his seasonal debut two weeks ago in the Open but faded in his last start after enduring a difficult journey. Ulster’s regular driver Jay Randall was at the helm once again on Sunday as the veteran high-stepper cruised out to an easy lead. After clicking off a first half of 58.3, Ulster was approached by rival Mugshots Bro (Jimmy Devaux) who rushed up first over to confront the favorite. Those two did battle for a half mile before Ulster put his competition away and recorded the win in 1:56.1, his first victory after his award-winning ’18 campaign. Mugshots Bro was a strong second while Triumphant’s Chip (Steve Genois) came on to be third. Ulster was the 3-5 betting favorite on Sunday and led an exacta and triple that paid $11.60 and $45.60, respectively. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with first post time set for Noon. There will be a carryover of $4,469 to the Pick Five pool on Wednesday with the Pick Five starting in the matinee’s first race.     Mike Sardella

Sandy Sue (Shark Gesture) joined the Jimmy Nickerson harness racing stable earlier this month and the four year old mare finished second in her first start in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. In the two weeks that followed her local debut, Sandy Sue didn't factor in the feature which led to her being assigned the rail for Thursday's try in the $15,000 Open for distaffers. Leading driver Billy Dobson sat behind Sandy Sue who went off at odds of 7-2 in the five-horse feature and took advantage of her inside post to cut the mile on Thursday. After pacing a first half in 57 seconds, Sandy Sue felt just mild pressure from the race's favorite Coveredndiamonds (Jay Randall) before scampering away around the final turn. Pocket-sitting Spreester (Jimmy Devaux) closed up the rail in the stretch but it was too little, too late as she ended up as the runner-up to Sandy Sue who stopped the timer in 1:53.4 for her first win in the local Open. Sandy Sue paid $9.00 to win and led an exacta with Spreester second that returned $49.80. Coveredndiamonds N had to settle for third. Defending driving champion Billy Dobson is having another huge year at Saratoga in 2019 and added three more wins to his total on Thursday's matinee. Live racing resumes at the Spa on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm.   Mike Sardella Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Hudson Phil (Shanghai Phil) became the second harness racing horse to win the Open Pace as many as three times this season at Saratoga Casino Hotel when the youngster went coast-to-coast on Saturday night. Hudson Phil joined his stablemate Artful Way as the only three-time Open Pace winners this year and did so in career-best fashion. Jay Randall piloted the Jackie Greene trainee and moved him out to the early lead in the $15,000 installment of the Open Pace. Hudson Phil never faced an anxious moment as he coasted to the wire-to-wire win in 1:50.2, a career-best clocking for the four year old pacer. Victorious in an Open at Plainridge last month, the rising star was the 6-5 betting favorite in Saturday's score as he recorded his fourth victory of 2019. Carolina Beach (Mark Beckwith) closed to be second while Deetzy (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple with the favorite on top returned $24.20 and $91.50, respectively. Hudson Phil, who is a new addition to the Open at the Spa this year, has become a force in the first few months of the season and has accounted for three of the six Open Pace victories for Jackie Greene trainees in '19. The win was the 15th in just 46 career starts for the up-and-coming pacer who appears to be hitting his prime. The clocking of 1:50.2 is the fastest for any horse thus far this season at Saratoga. Hudson Phil is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee starting at 12:00 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Plainville, MA --- After five non-winning starts in the Open trot, Namesmuscle did the drop and pop on Friday (May 24) to win the $12,000 conditioned feature for the diagonally gaited at Plainridge Park. Namesmuscle (Matt Athearn) took early command and rebuffed a quick bid from Fluff Me Up (Jay Randall), seating that one by the quarter. With the field in single file, the group marched to the half in :57.3 where Front Street (Mitchell Cushing) pulled first over with Sortie Hanover (Drew Campbell) right on his tail. As the race progressed to three-quarters Front Street was unable to get closer than a length to the leader so in the far turn, Sortie Hanover went three wide around him to continue to track down Namesmuscle. But Namesmuscle had slipped away with a two-length lead and trotted smartly on the front to the wire where he won in 1:55.2, which tied his lifetime mark. It was the second win of the year for Namesmuscle ($4.00) who has now bankrolled $21,720 in 2019 for owner William Phipps. Gretchen Athearn trains the winner. When live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Memorial Day Monday (May 27) there will be a $5,273 carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager in the sixth race. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

There were three harness racing events for New York sired trotters contested on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel which served as co-features. Going for purses of $9,000 per division, the favorites did not thrive. Jackie Greene's Grammy Winner (Credit Winner) was the heaviest bet and fastest of the winners of the three divisions as the four year old mare went coast-to-coast in a career-best 1:56.4. Jay Randall piloted Grammy Winner who was coming off a start in which she was parked the mile. A five-time winner in 2018, Grammy Winner held off a late charge from her race's favorite Xcuseme (John Stark Jr) who closed sharply but came up second-best. Grammy Winner paid $8.10 to win in the mild upset. Grammy Winner wasn't the only trotter to set a lifetime mark in the afternoon's co-features as Im Tp's Crazed Bro (Crazed) posted a career-best effort in his $9,000 division for New York sired trotters. Brian Cross aggressively moved the Scott Mongeon trainee out to the early lead and the sophomore high-stepper held firm to register his fourth win in the '19 campaign. Stopping the timer in 1:57.1, I'm Tp's Crazed Bro sprung the upset at odds of 6-1. Dave Dewhurst's Tournament (Deweycheatumnhowe) also was dismissed at odds of 6-1 as he repeated on Wednesday. Jimmy Devaux piloted the four year old who was forwardly placed early to overcome post eight. Tournament surged up the inside and scored by the slimmest of margins, prevailing in 1:58 for the second consecutive week. When live racing continues on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga, there will be a Pick Five carryover of $8,021. The Pick Five begins in the matinee's first race. First post time is set for 12:00 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Trainer Jose Godinez has brought several different distaffers to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete in the Fillies and Mares Open over the last few years. Last week, his Westsluckycam prevailed in the $15,000 harness racing feature for the ladies as she went coast-to-coast with Bruce Aldrich Jr. in the sulky. On Thursday afternoon, Godinez unveiled his Shezallapples A (Sportswriter) for the first time in the ladies feature at the Spa. The six year old Australian invader came to town as a winner in three of her last four starts and was subsequently the Open's even money betting favorite after she drew the rail. Aldrich put Shezallapples A on the lead and after cruising unopposed in a first half clocked in 56.3 was met with the challenge of Coveredndiamonds N (Jay Randall) who rushed up first-over. Shezallapples A proved up to the task, drawing clear in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.3 besting Coveredndiamonds N who was the runner-up and third place finisher Queen Elsa (Steve Genois). The win was the second straight in the Fillies and Mares Open for Godinez and was his stable's third victory in the ladies' feature at the Spa in the last five installments of it. Sally Fletcher A prevailed in an April Open for distaffers for Godinez and Aldrich. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.   Mike Sardella

Plainville, Ma --- Trainer Heidi Gibbs and driver Ron Cushing brought their big guns Bettors Fire N and Mach Doro A to Plainridge Park to make their first starts since the Levy series at Yonkers Raceway in April and both horses fired in a big way, winning the top two pacing classes at the harness racing track on Monday afternoon (May 13). Bettors Fire N won the $16,000 Open Handicap pace with the fastest mile of the meet to date. Cushing left from post four with Bettors Fire N and dropped in second behind Avatartist (Mark Eaton) who was on a mission to the quarter in :25.4. But shortly after that panel he tugged the right line and Bettors Fire N was out and on the move, drawing alongside Avatartist at the half and by the three-quarters clearing in 1:22.1. He paced sharply around the last turn and after Cushing tapped the disk once at the top of the stretch, Bettors Fire N was on cruise control and the big horse motored home to win in 1:50.1. Bettors Fire N ($5.80) scored his 48th lifetime win and pushed his earnings to just under $790,000. The winning time was also a new lifetime mark. Earlier in the card stablemate Mach Doro A stood out in victory in the $14,000 Winners-Over pace. Mach Doro A got away last while fellow countryman Lettucerockthem A (Jay Randall) was the keeper of the quarters. After stopping the clock in :26.4, :56 and 1:24.1 Lettucerockthem A was doing a good job of holding off a three-horse outer flow that tracked him since the three-eighths. But as they were fanning off the final turn Mach Doro A was wound up from the back of the pack, tipping four-wide under a hand drive. He cleared the leaders at the top of the lane and cruised home as Cushing sat chilly to win handily in 1:52.2. Mach Doro A                                 --Tom Melanson photo Mach Doro A ($8.00) paced his back-half in :55.3 on the rim and also took a new lifetime mark for his effort. Both horses are owned by Kevin Sywyk, Frank Ranaldi and their driver Ron Cushing. Shawn Gray led all drivers on Monday with a Grand Slam performance. He scored with Spark A Dream (1:58.3, $2.20), Deetzy (1:52, $8.00), Modern Yankee (1:56.2, $3.60) and Beachchip Hanover (1:54.3, $4.00). Gray sits in first place this meet for dash wins with 33, six ahead of the second place Mitchell Cushing. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 16) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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