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Empire Casino at Yonkers Raceway's publicity department has been pretty busy as of late, scoring harness racing stories nearly every week in the newspapers and on television news. Headed by Nicholas (Nick) & Lence Nicholas along with assistance from the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the pr staff at Yonkers have been doing an excellent job and today's article is wonderful for our sport and tracks throughout the industry should be making the same efforts to get great positive stories about our industry. Click below for the latest story on the track. https://www.lohud.com/story/sports/2018/09/24/reins-hand-enthusiasm-high-driving-horse-yonkers-raceway/1205135002/

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 9, 2018-Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett, $4.80) and Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory, $8.10) shared the Saturday night (June 9th) spotlight, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicaps. Favored Somewhere in L A, remanded behind the eight-ball in week's adult pace, was parked past a :26.4 opening quarter-mile to make the lead. He did so around Always at My Place (George Brennan), with Soho Wallstreet A (Eric Goodell) away third. Somewhere in L A found a :56.1 intermission before invading Barimah A (Brent Holland) moved from fifth. The one had an eventful effort, looking around while on a line, then seemingly stalled before getting in gear again. Meanwhile, the leader remained so in and out of a 1:24 three-quarters, the advantage a length entering the lane. Always at My Place was able to extricate himself from the cones, but missed a in 'Somewhere's' season's-best 1:52. Barimah A was a good third, with Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton) and Theartofconfusion A (Dan Dube) grabbing the remainder. For Somewhere in L A, a 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was his fifth win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16.20, the triple returned $88 and the superfecta paid $454.50. The weekly trotting feature had a different look early when 9-10 choice Seasoned Saint (Bartlett) broke before the start and wound up a 'did not finish,' appearing injured. Bluebird Jesse (Holland) made the lead (:28, :57.4), pocketing 82-1 bombardier Fearless Man (Goodell). Tight Lines, away third from post position No. 4, moved to the leader down the backside the second time. He was the new at the 1:25.3 three-quarters, widening to a length-and-three-quarters in and out of the final turn. From there, Tight Lines closed the sale, winning by 2¾ lengths in 1:54...fastest local trot mile of the season. Bluebird Jesse easily held second, with Andy Ray (Dube), Uva Hanover (Brian Sears) and DW's NY Yank (Brennan) relegated to the minors. For second choice Tight Lines, a 5-year-old Yankee Glide gelding co-owned by his trainer/driver, Jesmeral Stable and William Richardson, it was his first board finish in four '18 tries. The exacta paid $42.20, the triple returned $234.50 and the superfecta paid $2,099. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY. – Tight Lines returns to Yonkers Raceway in the $44,000 Open Handicap Trot, carded as race 8 Saturday night (June 9). Booted by his sweep of the Yonkers Raceway/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series and a win in a Yonkers Open Handicap last fall, Tight Lines won 10 of 25 starts last year and banked $223,270. The gelding has earned $337,226 in his career for owners Jeff Gregory, Jesmeral Stable, and William Richardson. Gregory credits Tight Lines’ attitude and desire to work for his success. “He’s an overachiever. He likes what he’s doing, and we had a little luck last year placing him in spots where he fit well, so it maximized his earning potential. He had a big year,” Gregory said. “He likes what he’s doing, he tries his hardest all the time. A lot of horses don’t do that for you. He enjoys his job. You’re not forcing him to do anything, he’s enjoying what he’s doing.” Although Gregory initially intended to race Tight Lines into the winter, hoping to take advantage of softer company in the off season, an onslaught of winter weather and the toils of a long 2017 campaign took their toll. Gregory decided to give the trotter a break rather than struggle through a winter campaign. Tight Lines went to the sidelines after finishing sixth in a local Open January 21. “We just ran into such a bad winter. It was a nightmare trying to keep him going, keep him sharp, and keep him sound during the winter,” Gregory said. “The conditions just didn’t feel like it was worth it for all the work we had put into him.” Tight Lines spent two months in the field and another two months training back. Now 5 years old, the gelded son of Yankee Glide matured physically and came back fresh. “It seems like every year he’s gotten a little bigger and filled out a little more. He’s more of a man now than a boy,” Gregory said. “He continues to get bigger and bigger every year. He’s an athletic horse and he’s a really kind horse. He’s really nice to be around, he loves people, he loves the other horses. He’s really very easy to get along with.” After Tight Lines won a May 22 qualifier at Harrah’s Philadelphia by 12 ¾ lengths in 1:55.2, Gregory looked for a suitable starting point for the trotter’s summer campaign. With earnings from a win in the $40,000 Open Trot at Yonkers December 3 still on his card, Tight Lines only fit the open class and Gregory opted to race in the $30,000 Open Series at Pocono Downs June 3. In addition to the deep field assembled, including 2017 Yonkers International Trot participant In Secret, Tight Lines faced testing conditions in his return as evening rains left the track sloppy. Still, Tight Lines tracked cover second-over and closed with a :28.4 final quarter to finish fourth beaten 1 ½ lengths. “It rained really hard up there and the track was real muddy, it was quite a heavy track,” said Gregory, who also drives Tight Lines in all his races. “He held his own and I think if he’d have had one start under his belt, he would have finished second. He just got nipped for second, but he probably just needed another tightener.” Although Tight Lines led at every call of the three preliminary legs and the final of the Bonus Trotting Series last year, Gregory has since found the trotter prefers to race off cover, just as he did in his return. Tight Lines won three straight races from off the pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia last fall and Gregory hasn’t sent him to the lead off the gate since. “He actually does like to follow horses. Last year, I raced him at Chester and he got on a roll there, he was coming from behind every week and really loved passing horses,” Gregory said. “When he was in the series, he was the chalk every week and he didn’t really have to be on the front, it just seemed like I could avoid a lot of trouble if I was up there. Now that he’s in with some better horses, they can leave just as good as he can, if not better. The option of just sending him to the front every week is out the door.”   With a race under his belt, Tight Lines returns to the Yonkers trotting feature as a 3-1 morning line second choice from post four Saturday night. Seasoned Saint is the race’s 5-2 favorite from post six off a runner-up finish to DW’s NY Yank last out May 26. Bluebird Jesse, winner of the 2018 renewal of the Bonus Trotting Series is 7-1 from post five while DW’s NY Yank is a 6-1 shot from the assigned post eight. Deweycolorintheline, Andy Ray, Uva Hanover, and Fearless Man complete the field of eight. “I expect him to race ok. He likes Yonkers, he really likes it everywhere. The track doesn’t matter. He usually does what he can no matter what,” Gregory said. Saturday night’s 10-race program also features a $44,000 Open Handicap Pace in race six. First post time Saturday night at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. View entries for the card by clicking here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Point Somewherelse enjoys a special place in Jeff Gregory's stable, and not solely because the stallion is Gregory's only pacer. Point Somewherelse was bred by Bill Weaver, a Hall of Fame breeder and owner who passed away two years ago, and Gregory drove the horse's dam, Don't Point At, during her final season of harness racing in 2013. A year later, Gregory decided to cut back on catch driving and return to training horses after a 20-year hiatus from that side of the sport. The first horse he raced from his reconstituted training stable was a Bill Weaver-owned trotting filly. Gregory and Weaver also teamed up with trotter Tight Lines, who has raced at the top levels at Yonkers Raceway. "It was kind of nice for me to come across another horse of Bill Weaver's because we had such a good history together as friends and business partners," Gregory said. "He's missed by a lot of people. "Bill didn't have many pacers; (Don't Point At) was one of the few pacers he had. She was an open (level) mare at Yonkers, a really hard-knocking mare." Point Somewherelse, a 4-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, races next in Tuesday's $63,400 Sagamore Hill Series championship at Yonkers. The stallion has won four of six races this year, including two preliminary rounds of the Sagamore Hill. He will start Tuesday's final from post five with Gregory in the sulky. Other two-time winners in the preliminary rounds of the series were Mach N Cheese, Obscene Blue Chip, and Sometimesawinner. The Kevin Switzer-trained Sometimesawinner, driven by George Brennan, is unbeaten in three races this year and the Sagamore Hill's 5-2 morning-line favorite. Point Somewherelse is the 7-2 second choice. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. Tuesday and the Sagamore Hill final is race No. 7 on Yonkers' 10-race card. "Post five isn't the end of the world," Gregory said. "It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse. If things shake out his way, if he gets any sort of a decent trip, he's just as good as the rest of the horses. But it's a tough race for sure. There are other horses in the race just as good as he is. It's kind of an evenly matched field, so it could go any which way." As a 2-year-old, Point Somewherelse won a division of the Liberty Bell Series and finished third in the John Simpson Memorial. He was purchased by Steve Finkelstein's Jesmeral Stable in May of his 3-year-old season from the stable of trainer Noel Daley, who also trained the stallion's dam, Don't Point At. For his career, Point Somewherelse has won seven of 27 races and earned $130,426 in purses. "We bought him early summer last year thinking we might have a good 3-year-old for the stakes," Gregory said. "He just wasn't quite good enough for the top horses. The 3-year-olds are so tough; you've got to have a great horse to compete. "We thought the competition might be a little softer (this) spring. We were hoping to get lucky and find a softer spot. Knock on wood, it's worked out so far, but it's never easy. He seems to get around Yonkers well and Steve Finkelstein lives five minutes from there. Hopefully the horse is going to be a good overnight horse for him for five or six years and whack out a little money." Gregory, who is based in central New Jersey, has an 18-horse stable, with 17 trotters. Of his trotters, seven are 2-year-olds and four are 3-year-olds. Over the past two seasons, Gregory has won 46 races and $1.16 million in purses as a trainer and won 100 races and $2.86 million as a driver. For his career, the 51-year-old Gregory has 6,860 driving wins. "I got super lucky and got great owners," Gregory said. "They're all experienced owners and they know the ups and downs of the business. They give me the time I need with the horses and don't pressure me. And I've got a great staff. (Assistant trainer) Roni Newhart is excellent. She takes a lot of pressure off me. It helps me enjoy the business knowing I have reliable people. It puts your mind at ease." Gregory, who won the 2005 Hambletonian Oaks with Jalopy and captured a Breeders Crown in 2011 with Chapter Seven, enjoys working with trotters. "It seems that's how we do our best work," Gregory said. "I think we have a small edge because I can train them and drive them. I get used to them. We're not switching drivers every week. It's great if you can get a top catch-driver every week, but it just doesn't happen unless you've got the best horse in the country. "I'm enjoying this side of the business again. I like, and my owners like, taking a shot and dreaming on a young horse. Hopefully we can continue doing that. Hopefully it keeps working out." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, December 3, 2017—Rank outsider Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory, $62.50) was the ground-saving harness racing star Sunday morning (Dec. 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. With just a seven-horse field, the weekly trotting feature went as the late-morning opener, before the seven ‘French’ trots. In play from post position No. 5, Tight Lines actually surrendered an early pocket to lone lass Charmed Life (Yannick Gingras), as both sat behind just-over-even-money favorite Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett). Meanwhile, Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) found himself in no man’s land and rushed up to prompt early intervals of :27.3 and :56.4. Going toward the 1:25.4 three-quarters, Rubber Duck was retreating. Melady’s Monet, meanwhile, owned a length lead into the lane before Charmed Life pulled pocket. The lady went past ‘Melady,’ but a cone-skimming Tight Lines went past both of ‘em. Tight Lines defeated Charmed Life by a half-length in 1:55.1. Melady’s Monet faded to third. The minors went to DW’s NY Yank (Jordan Stratton) and Muscles on Fire (Brent Holland). For Tight Lines, a 4-year-old Yankee Glide gelding co-owned by his trainer/driver, Jesmeral Stable and William Richardson, it was his 10th win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $164.50, with the triple returning $530. Those sagacious handicappers who unearthed Tight Lines and Taco Tuesday (Dan Dube, $41.80) in the $26,000, second-race trot took home a season-high $1,279 daily double (last Sunday’s early double paid $1,162), This ‘New York, New York Double’ saw a winning combination of 4-Dream Pauline (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Gruden (Yonkers’ 5th race) returned $13.30 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,927. Sunday matinees, along with the ‘New York, New York Double,’ conclude Dec. 17th (post time TBA). It’s the final program of the season. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Dec. 4th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,036.97. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Sunday afternoon), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory), wins a leg of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing 3 year-old trotting fillies at Vernon Downs on Thursday (August 10), for a purse of $117,600. It was the start of corntastic weekend at the Miracle Mile with free corn but but she was the "Bella" of the ball on this night. Celebrity Ruth (Jason Bartlett) would charge out to the early lead, but Barn Bella (Conway Hall) wouldn't wait and takeover before the quarter. Owned by the Purple Haze Stables with Nancy and trainer Steven Pratt, she would control all the fractions :27.0, :56.2, 1:26.0, 1:53.2. Celebrity Ruth (Archangel), would follow and stay close. Once they got to the top of the stretch Celebrity Ruth (second) would attempt to make a run at Barn Bella ($2.30), but the 3 year-old filly would put it in another gear and win in the end by two lengths. Amber Ella (Jim Marohn Jr.) would finish third. Barn Bella has now won 10 of the 11 starts as a sophomore trotter. Her last time at Vernon Downs she won the Empire Breeders Classic ($228,250). She has now captured five legs of the NYSS. Her only blemish was a fourth place finish at Buffalo (NYSS) after going on a break. Jimmy Whittemore would win three races on the card. He would win with Hustleonhome ($13.60), Northern BB ($8.20), and Love Live Laugh ($8.10). Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 11) with a 10 race card starting at 6:45. Corntastic weekend continues at the Miracle Mile on both Friday and Saturday. John Horne for Vernon Downs.

The sensational harness racing filly Barn Bella (Conway Hall) was at it again on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Steven Pratt-trained filly was the 3-5 betting favorite in the $91,550 New York Sire Stake for three year old trotters. Regular reinsman Jeff Gregory sat behind her as she looked to go move her record to eight for nine in 2017. Gregory was patient with the odds-on favorite sitting fourth while major danger Celebrity Ruth (Jason Bartlett) carved out the fractions. Barn Bella powered up first over but never got too close to Celebrity Ruth until mid-stretch. At that point, the superstar filly surged past the leader to take over and win in 1:55. Celebrity Ruth had to settle for second while Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci) earned the show spot in the featured trot for sophomore fillies. Barn Bella has now scored 14 victories in her 18 career starts en route to almost $430,000 in earnings. Southwind Tesla (Chapter Seven) recorded her first NY Sire Stakes win on Thursday as Jordan Stratton piloted the Rene Dion-trained filly to a wire-to-wire score in 1:55.2. The earnings from the win in Thursday's $89,950 race more than doubled the career bankroll for the Ontario-based trotting filly. Live racing continues on Friday night with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - "It ain't a fit night out for man or beast." Such were the words of W. C. Fields many decades ago, repeated Tuesday evening (Apr. 25th) before, during and after the $100,000 harness racing final of Yonkers Raceway's YR/Standardbred Owners Association of New York Bonus Trotting Series. The all-card wind-driven rain didn't deter one man (Jeff Gregory) and one beast (Tight Lines, $2.40), who made short work of their rivals over the gooey going. The race wasn't officially over after the draw, but even those that weren't behind the eight-ball were in fact behind the eight-ball. From the pylons, Tight Lines deferred to a couple of early leavers before taking over from Golden Son (Jason Bartlett) From there, the only entrant to sweep all three preliminary legs hydroplaned his way to happiness (:28.1, :57.3, 1:26.3, 1:56.1). The final margin was 3¼ lengths over Pridecrest (Dave Miller), with Golden Son third. The minors went to Hillosophical (Tyler Buter) and Ameliosi (Yannick Gingras), while an out-the-mile Triumphant's Chip (Dan Dube), Windsong Magic (Brian Sears) and Steed (Joe Bongiorno) completed the order. For Tight Lines, a 4-year-old Yankee Glide gelding co-owned by his trainer/driver, Jesmeral Stable and William Richardson, is was his fifth win (all at odds-on) in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.20, the triple returned $45.40 and the superfecta paid $290.50. "The weather didn't play a part in my strategy." Gregory said. "I figured a few of the others would take a shot leaving and I wasn't going to stand mine on his head in the first turn. I thought I'd be able to get to the front at some point. "I paid him into some stakes for 4-year-olds, including the Graduate and Hambletonian Maturity," Gregory said. "He's going to have to step up his game to go with those trotters. If not, he stays here (Yonkers)." As per the conditions of the series, a $10,000 bonus was awarded to the winner by the SOA of New York. A $35,000 series consolation was won by Showmeyourguns (Jordan Stratton, $2.40, part of entry) in 1:58.2. Frank Drucker

FREEHOLD, NJ – September 17, 2016 – It was a beautiful day for Freehold Raceways fifth annual Open Space Pace celebration.  The twelve race harness racing card featured two Lou Babic stake finals for two-year-old pacers.  The New Jersey sire If I Can Dream showcased his offspring in both finals. The two-year-old colt pacers kicked the day off in the second non-betting race off the regular scheduled card.  Everyway Out had his way again today, keeping his perfect record untainted in the $62,000 Lou Babic Final.  Tetrick sent his colt out of the gate to take the lead and hold off a late charging Deo Galileo in the stretch for the win in 1:56.3.  Trained by Dylan Davis this makes seven wins in seven starts with $154,155 lifetime earnings.  Firefox Hanover came in third. The seventh race was the Lou Babic Final for two-year-old filly pacers with a purse of $57,000.  Jeff Gregory moved his filly Designated Drinker just past the quarter and sailed home virtually unchallenged in 1:58.2.  Misqued finished second while Maiden Dream with driver Jim Marohn Jr. rounded out the trifecta to finish third.  The Chris Lems trainee Designated Drinker takes win number two on the season boosting her lifetime earnings to $78,820. Freehold will continue its New Jersey Stakes schedule on Thursday, September 22, 2016 with a 12:30 pm post time. Courtney Stafford

Vernon, N.Y. -- Harness racing favorites prevailed in all three New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting fillies at Vernon Downs on Friday (September 2) evening, with Barn Bella's ($3.50) 1:55.3 mile proving most impressive of any.   The daughter of Conway Hall and Bravissima sprinted clear at the outset of her $36,566 event, posting a :28.3 initial quarter before pulling back the pace and rebuffing a middle move from Maewegonow (Charlie Norris) through a :58.4 middle half. In similar fashion, Barn Bella would subsequently sprint off from an upper-stretch challenge from Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci), using a :28.1 closing sectional to put 3-1/4 lengths on runner-up Mamora Bay, while fading third-place finisher Maewegonow ultimately checked in twelve lengths in arrears. Jeff Gregory once again drove Barn Bella for trainer Steven Pratt, who shares ownership with Nancy Pratt and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables, LLC.   Flyhawk Charm ($4.60) controlled nearly all the terms in her $35,866 Sire Stakes event, which ended up a virtual match race when all of her rivals save Nightflix Hanover (Ray Schnittker) broke stride in the early stages. The daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe and Final Time set fractions of :28.1, :57.3, and 1:28.1 before she was headed by Nightflix Hanover in upper stretch. No less, despite decelerating late, Flyhawk Charm fought back and eked out a three-quarter length victory in 2:00.3. Chris Lems was aboard for co-owner/trainer Joseph Flynn and co-owner Edward Flynn.   Amber Ella ($4.10) was the other Sire Stakes winner on the evening, capturing her $36,566 division from off the pace. The daughter of Chapter Seven and Blushed latched onto the cover of Sunshine Delight (Chris Lems) through a 1:00.1 middle half, using a second-over trip before kicking to the fore in upper stretch. Amber Ella drew off by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:57.1 in rein to John Campbell as the pace collapsed. Heels On Wheels (Matt Kakaley) saved second from the pocket, while the first-over Sunshine Delight was an engulfed third. Linda Toscano trains Amber Ella for the Enviro Stables, Ltd. and Camelot Stable, Inc.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 3) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Pink Pistol rocketed through the lane to pull off a 10-1 upset in the fastest division of Saturday's $161,047 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for harness racing 3-year-old filly trotters at The Meadows. The event, known as the Stenographer, was contested over three divisions, with Ginny Weasley (13-1) and Spicedbourbongirl (9-1) completing the long shot parade in the PASS opener. Jeff Gregory enjoyed a stake double behind Pink Pistol and Spicedbourbongirl. Pink Pistol hadn't raced in a month, as Rob Harmon, who trains the daughter of Cantab Hall-August Revenue for Harmon Racing Stable, Knightstalker Stable and Lynne Mondrick, gave her an extended break to help cure her gaiting problems. "She needed to go home and not ship so much," Harmon said. "She has a little tying-up issue, and shipping is not her best thing. She'll stay right here in the sires stakes. She's eligible for a couple in Canada, but she has to show us that she's back to herself before we start going up there." In the Stenographer, she got away third, saved ground and brushed through the stretch to triumph in 1:55, 1-1/2 lengths better than Sunset Glider, with Candy Lane third. It was the fifth win for Pink Pistol in eight lifetime outings. Ginny Weasley never had won a stake, but Lucas Wallin nevertheless used her twice -- once for early position from post 8, once to pursue the leader second over. She avoided the breaking Moots out of the final turn and scored in 1:55.1, a career best. Miss Tezsla was second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Black Broadway earned show. "She showed a lot of speed last year, and I won at the Meadowlands with her earlier this year," Wallin said. "So we told the owner to give her a little break and aim for the stake races. The trip went great today, but she won pretty easy." Ake Svanstedt trains the daughter of Andover Hall-Donepunk for Torp Trotting, Inc. Spicedbourbongirl also collected her first stake victory when she zipped past the 1-5 favorite, Womans Will, in the lane and prevailed in 1:55.4 for owner William B. Weaver III. Womans Will saved place, 1/2 length in arrears, while Kathy Parker completed the ticket. "She won pretty handy at Pocono in an overnight, so we thought we might as well give her a shot against the better girls," said Gregory, who also conditions the daughter of Cantab Hall-All In The Muscles. "It was only her second start of the year, so I didn't want to abuse her. I was hoping I could get lucky and save some ground." $60,000 PA Stallion Series -- 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters Saturday's card also featured a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake for sophomore filly trotters -- yet another showcase for Goodtogo Hanover, who won her seventh consecutive race. Witnesstheprincess and Shelovesumore also took $20,000 splits. As Goodtogo Hanover zipped to the top from post 7, driver Brian Zendt, noticed an unusual problem. A GoPro camera attached to her sulky to capture live images had loosened and flipped. The images transmitted may have been upside down, but the daughter of Explosive Matter-Grammy Hall stayed atop her game, winning in 1:56.2 "I don't know if it (the GoPro) bothered her, but it was rubbing her," Zendt said. "She was a little extra hot today. I thought she was a little quieter last time. I didn't plan on being at the quarter in 27.2, but as you could see, I was a passenger." Keystone Taylor finished 3-1/4 lengths back in second, with Best Of Dreams third. Bill Zendt trains Goodtogo Hanover and owns with Gary Saul. Witnesstheprincess rebounded from a pair of break-marred outings to collect a front-end victory for Aaron Merriman and trainer Chris Beaver, who owns the daughter of Andover Hall-Mystical Moonlight with Synerco Ventures and Michael Robinson. Mystical Power earned place, 3-1/4 lengths back, while Glidinthruparadise finished third. "She had a couple good starts here earlier this year, but we had some issues with her shoeing and her feet," Merriman said. "She wasn't getting over the track. Chris made some adjustments and thought she would be better. She really showed it today." Shelovesumore emerged from several months of vexing medical issues to rally for a 1/2-length victory -- at 20-1 -- over Summer Moonshine in 1:57.1. Explosive High finished third. Tony Hall drove for trainer Sharon Donella, who owns the homebred daughter of War Paint-Wasador with Kathleen Quinn-Hodel. "It's been a torturous three months," Donella said. "She had some problems with her cycle. Then she got a real bad sinus infection. We finally got the hormones worked out, the sinuses cleared up, and we got us a horse." In the $22,500 Winners Over 10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Unlocked powered to a front-end victory in 1:49, fastest ever at The Meadows by an older pacer. Fred And Ginger held the previous mark of 1:49.2 Jim Pantaleano piloted the 5-year-old son of Duneside Perch-Miss Major Power, who boosted his career bankroll to $417,244, for trainer Norm Parker and owner Megan Rogers Racing Stables. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino    

Vernon, N.Y. -- Employing a first-over bid through the far turn, Barn Girl ($2.20) delivered as the prohibitive harness racing favourite in her $45,000 New York Excelsior Series final, one of four to headline Saturday (September 19) evening's program at Vernon Downs.   The 3-year-old trotting daughter of Cash Hall and Turquoise Sweetie earned her 14th career win in the first Excelsior event of the evening, angling first-over just as Miss B'ville J (Jim Morrill, Jr.) took the lead through a :57.3 half. Barn Girl progressed steadily through the far turn, making ground in the second flight through a :28.2 third quarter before collaring Miss B'ville J in deep stretch for a 1:54.2 triumph. Jeff Gregory drove Barn Girl for trainer Howard Okusko, Sr. and owners Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt, and the Out in the Country Stable.   Andy Ray ($9.10) took top honours among 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings in their Excelsior final, placed second-over by Andy Miller behind the live cover of 4-5 faavourite Crazshana (Trond Smedshammer) before kicking cover to narrowly prevail in 1:54.1. Erv Miller trains the gelded son of Crazed and Crown N Lindy for Paymaq Racing, Ronald Michelon, and Harvey Eisman.   The 3-year-old filly pace saw Matt Kakaley slid second-over with Hey Kobe ($5.40) to track a live B Stern through a :55.2 half, only to be left uncovered on the far turn and sustain a bid to a deep-stretch lead. The daughter of Bettor's Delight and American West was able to wear down B Stern through a :27 final quarter for a 1:51.2 triumph. Jean Drolet trains Hey Kobe for Stephen Schneider and William Siegel.   In the 3-year-old pace for colts and geldings, Masterson ($3.50, part of entry) emerged late from a tracking trip, drawing clear for a 1:50 win to extend his win streak to five. Tracy Brainard trains the gelded son of Bettor's Delight and Tug River Princess for Blue Chip Bloodstock, and Jim Morrill, Jr. was aboard for the winning drive.   Morrill also captured two of the evening's four $50,000 New York Sire Stakes consolations, teaming up with Fashion Creditor (3-year-old colt trot, 1:53.2) and Penji Hanover (3-year-old colt pace, 1:49.4). Also victorious were My Lucky Word (3-year-old filly trot, 1:56.2, Corey Callahan) and Luck Be a Lindy (3-year-old filly pace, 1:51, Gregory).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Wednesday (September 23) evening, with post time at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- After rating a soft 1:00 middle half, Dayson ($3.10) kicked clear at will in upper stretch, keeping a career-long winning harness racing streak alive in Friday (September 18) evening's New York Sire Stakes races at Vernon Downs.   Twelve 2-year-old trotters, split into two equal divisions of six, vied for $107,000 in combined purses in the evening's co-featured events. Dayson, sent off the odds-on favourite in the second division (race 6), allowed Crown Point (Dan Daley) to vault clear in the initial furlong before making his move to the fore. Just having passed the winning post on the first occasion, Jeff Gregory floated the gelded son of Conway Hall and Nervey's Taurus clear, taking over through a :27.4 initial quarter before backing down a 1:00 middle half. Faced with a first-over challenge from Dog Gone Lucky (John Campbell) upon exiting the far turn, Dayson dug in at once, kicking clear upon cornering. While Dog Gone Lucky failed to sustain his bid, the second-over Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) gave late chase, only mustering a runner-up effort while 1-3/4 lengths in arrears of the undefeated Dayson's 1:55.2 mile.   Howard Okusko trains Dayson--now perfect through seven races--for Margaret and Amy Butler.   The earlier division saw Reve Royale ($3.50) make an early push to the lead, clearing Smalltownthrowdown (Daley) after a :28.3 initial quarter before rating a 1:00.2 middle half and subsequently holding off a stout challenge from his pocket rival for the length of the stretch to narrowly prevail in 1:57.1. Chris Lems drove the son of RC Royalty and Dream Street for trainer George Ducharme and owners Raymond Campbell, Jr., Paul Fontaine, and Alfred Ross.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 19) evening, with the first of 14 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time. The program features the $45,000 finals of the New York Excelsior Series for 3-year-olds, along with the $50,000 New York Sire Stakes consolations for 3-year-olds.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

When the best Empire State harness racing 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits convene at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 12) for the first edition of the 2015 Night of Champions, some of the best sophomores in North American harness racing will be competing for the $900,000 in purses. In fact, it will include four of the top 20 colt and filly pacers and four of the top 15 colt and filly trotters currently in the sport. That gaudy list is definitely led by Habitat 3, 1:53 ($1,104,841) by Conway Hall-Habit's Best, whose $570,434 in 2015 ranks him fourth in North America among trotters of all ages behind Hambletonian winner Pinkman, Open sensation JL Cruze and Hambletonian Oaks winner Wild Honey. Habitat has been made the morning line choice in the 3-year-old trotting colt and gelding division by the track handicapper and is listed at 1-1. After completing an outstanding freshman campaign that saw him earn in excess of $500,000, Habitat began this year in quick fashion by winning the $133,170 Dexter Cup at Freehold in his very first start. He then won two out of three early NYSS events before hitting the Grand Circuit. Habitat trotted his fastest mile of the year in his Hambletonian elimination heat where he finished fourth to eventual stake winner, Pinkman, in 1:51.2. Unfortunately he drew post 10 in the final and was only able to watch his stablemate, Mission Brief, finish second from nine lengths behind. But since that time, the Conway Hall colt has been red hot; stringing together three consecutive victories in what could only be described as dominating fashion. He won the $58,662 Tompkins Memorial at Tioga Downs in a lifetime best-tying time of 1:53. Then two weeks later it was wire to wire in the $40,000 Yonkers Trot elimination. And he followed that up with a three and one-half length romp in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final. The NYSS final will be the third straight start at Yonkers Raceway for Habitat, who has already shown a propensity to perform well on that surface. The sports leading trainer, Ron Burke, will send Habitat postward with the leading NYSS driver, Jim Morrill Jr. in tow for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. The 3-year-old distaff trotting division features Barn Doll who has been installed as the 9-5 choice. Barn Doll 3, 1:52.1 ($560,650) by Conway Hall-Headintheclouds, seemingly does nothing but win. She is 17 out of 21 lifetime and 10 out of 12 this year. Her lifetime mark of 1:52.1 occurred two weeks in a row at Vernon Downs in June when she won the elimination and final of the $248,275 Empire Breeders Classic in identical times. Barn Doll has only been beaten twice this year, finishing second both times. And as this filly likes to come at the three-eighths, it took a :56 back half at Tioga and a :57 last-lap at Yonkers to take her down. Given the convincing manner she won her most recent two starts it would appear she comes into this race razor sharp. Steve Pratt trains Barn Doll and co-owns the filly with Nancy Pratt and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable. Jeff Gregory will once again be at the lines as he has for eight of her wins this year Jewels In Hock 3, 1:53.3 ($254,496) by Credit Winner-Jewels Galore, should pose the major threat to Barn Doll in this race as she comes into the contest winning three out of her last four starts. She is eight out of 16 in the winner's circle this year and that $241,496 has accounted for the bulk of her lifetime income. The filly likes the front end and will get the opportunity to cut the race in here for driver Jim Morrill Jr. Linda Toscano trains Jewels In Hock for Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables LLC. In the 3-year-old pacing filly division, Mosquito Blue Chip is rated the 5-2 morning line choice but comes into the race as bit of an enigma. Mosquito Blue Chip 3, 1:49.3 ($477,511) by Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover, had been rolling right along; winning three out of four races including a lifetime best 1:49.3 in winning the $269,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on August 23. But the very next week after a raucous spell behind the gate, going into the first turn she made the only break of her career; and it was a bad one. So how does that affect her chances 12 days later over the same track? Aside from that line, Mosquito Blue Chip has been a model of consistency since the beginning of June. She is eight out of 12 in the money, including five wins. And she was the third leading point getter and second highest money-earner in the series for her division this year. Jim Morrill Jr. will steer Mosquito Blue Chip for trainer Paul Jessop, who co-owns the filly with Our Three Sons Stable LLC and Donato Falcicchio. Finally, in the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings split, Betting Exchange is the prohibitive 7-5 choice coming off a very convincing outing his last start. Betting Exchange 3, 1:51.2 ($401,663) by Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover, is having an outstanding year. He finished third behind Wakizashi Hanover and Wiggle It Jiggleit (who are currently first and third in North America for 2015 earnings) in the $810,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway in 1:48 flat, beaten only three lengths. Then he finished fourth in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs. Yannick Gingras took the colt to the front from post seven in 26.2 before getting a two-hole trip for the race. After shaking loose in the stretch, he finished fourth in 1:50, beaten only three lengths. Betting Exchange followed that up with a devastating nine-length victory seven days later at Batavia Downs, going the mile in 1:51.2 and just missing the all-time track record by one fifth of a second. Jason Bartlett was up for that win and returns to try and repeat the effort for trainer Tom Fanning. Betting Exchange is owned by his trainer along with Howard Taylor and Susan Kajfasz. By Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York        

Nichols, N.Y. -- Now a six-time winner, Margaret and Amy Butler's Dayson ($2.10) drew clear at will for a 1:56 triumph in his $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event on Saturday (September 5) evening at Tioga Downs.   Jeff Gregory settled the 2-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall and Nervey's Taurus at the back of the main body of the field early on, better than just the far detached Neymar (Harry Landy), who faltered at the start. Dayson sat well off a :27.1 initial quarter before vacating the pegs at race's midpoint, working to within three lengths of 28-1 leader Credevie (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a :57 half. On the backstretch, the Howard Okusko trainee found cover in the form of the first-over Crown Point (Dan Daley), drafting to advance easily through a 1:26.3 three-quarter split before he was left uncovered on the far turn. Just as Crown Point cleared a tiring Credevie, Dayson found another gear, sprinting off through the stretch and ultimately defeating midpack stalkers Southern Palms (Mike Simons) and Chargin Cadet (Ray Schnittker) by 10 lengths to remain undefeated.   The other $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event on the evening's program saw Dog Gone Lucky ($9.40) recover from a mild shuffle on the backstretch, rallying off the far turn to defeat odds-on pacesetter Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55.3. Jim Meittinis drove the son of Lucky Chucky and Ebbtide Hall for owners Amy Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley as well as trainer Chuck Sylvester.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Monday (September 7) afternoon, with a $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary event headlining the card. Post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Batavia, NY---Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) lived up to her hype as she toyed with the field in her division of the $120,400 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 22) As Ray Schnittker flew off the gate with Waiting Room to take an early three-length lead, Jeff Gregory floated Barn Doll out before settling in fourth. As the pack entered the clubhouse turn, Gregory started his outside march with the filly and quickly found himself sitting second outside of the leader at the three-quarter pole in 1:28.3. Then halfway through the final turn, strategy came into play. Schnittker popped the earplugs looking to pull away while Gregory held his filly firm, making sure she got through that turn without issue. As the pair hit the top of the stretch, Barn Doll became explosive with trot and left the rest behind like they were tied to a post. Barn Doll ($2.10) was a five-length winner in 1:57.3, which was only one-fifth second shy of the track record for this gait and sex. It was the ninth win in 11 starts for the top NYSS point-earning trotting filly and raised her 2015 earnings to $311,520. After the race, Gregory commented "She just loves to pass horses down the lane. The filly is just a pleasure drive." Barn Doll is owned by Steve and Nancy Pratt and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable. Steve Pratt also trains the horse. In the other division, Jewels In Hock (Credit Winner-Jewels Galore) proved to be much the best even though she was tested early. Chris Lems put Jewels In Hock took and held the point immediately, until Nunkeri (Ray Fisher Jr.) motored up the outside to challenge and then take the lead at the quarter. But with the tepid :30 clocking, Lems pulled to retake the front and did so without issue. From there the race was pretty much over. Lems line-drove the filly to a 1:00.2 half and 1:29.4 three-quarters before letting her out a notch and trotting away from the field to win by two in 1:58.4. "She just does it so easy" Said Lems. "She trotted real strong to the wire. She will definitely be a factor in the finals in a couple of weeks." It was the eighth win in 15 starts (and five out of her last 6) for Jewels In Hock ($3.10) who saw her 2015 earnings inflate to $220,450 for Ken Jacobs' KJ Stable and trainer Linda Toscano. There were also two $15,000 NYSS Excelsior Series A races on the card Saturday. The first was won by Allerage Belle (Conway Hall-Bourbon Belle) in 2:00. The filly was driven by John Cummings Jr. for trainer Megan Wilson. Allerage Belle ($11.80) is owned by Alan Hainsworth. The second division went to High Rise (Conway Hall-RC Biscuit) in 1:58.4. Chris Lems drove High Rise ($2.60) for trainer George Ducharme and owner Ray Campbell Jr. The Downs $9,500 overnight pacing feature was won by Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) in 1:53.4 in one of the most exciting finishes this track has seen in some time. After getting away last and remaining there passed five-eighths, Caprio took full advantage of his rail ride as the field fanned four-deep at the three-quarter pole. Now only three lengths off the lead and with a wall of horses in front of him, Fireyourguns was tipped widest off all; five-deep, and he had a head of steam to back him up. At the top of the lane, Fireyourguns forced his will on the field and pulled away to a one-length victory. It was the ninth win in 13 starts this year for Fireyourguns ($18.60) who is owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terry McClory, who also trains the 6-year-old son of American Ideal. Visiting drivers Jeff Gregory and Chris Lems both scored driving doubles on the card. Racing resumes Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs with a 1:15 p.m. post time. Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

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