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Vernon Downs welcomes NYSS for sophomore trotting colts on Friday. Two harness racing divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings will race at Vernon Downs on Friday (May 10). In the first division ($58,700), JNR Express (John MacDonald) is the 3-1 morning line favorite. He is Trained by Jessica Okusko for owners James DeArmond and Russell Young. The colt by Conway Hall won the NYSS consolation final as a freshman. He is two for two in 2019. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart) and Chapter Fashion (Mike Simons) are both at 7-2 morning line odds. Both raced in the NYSS freshman final a season ago. Chip Chip Conway (Conway Hall) is owned by Kenneth Weckstein and trainer Gary Messenger. The gelding is one for one this season with three career victories. Chapter Fashion (Chapter Seven) is owned by Fashion Farms LLC and trained by Jim Campbell. He is a gelding with three career victories. He also is one for one this season. In the second division ($58,700) the morning line favorite at 2-1 is Skyway Kon Man (Trond Smedshammer). Winless in six career starts, the gelding by Conway Hall had an impressive third place finish in his last start at Freehold Raceway for the Dexter Cup Final ($118,950). He is owned by the Purple Haze Stables LLC and trained by Smedshammer. The second morning line choice at 3-1 is Mr Vicktor (Tyler Buter). He is trained by G. Buzzy Sholty for owners Joeseph Lee, Diamond Pride LLC, and Sholty Racing LLC. The colt by RC Royalty is three for four in his career including a perfect two for two start this season The nine race card on Friday starts at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernon Downs.com   John Horne for Vernon Downs

Ms Cheesman (Howard Okusko Jr) wins the harness racing featured fillies and mares pace ($6,500) on Friday (August 31). Angel Speak (Claude Huckabone III) went to the front and led to a first quarter of :26.3 and then to a half of :56.0. Ms Cheesman ($7.70) followed in the pocket. Owned by Bay Pond Racing and trained by Jessica Okusko, she popped out of the pocket just before they hit three-quarters in 1:25.1. She took over and just cruised down the stretch to win in 1:53.0. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) came up to finish second. Jaclyn Hanover (John MacDonald) got third money. Ms Cheesman is a 3-year-old filly by Betterthancheddar. It was her fifth win this season and career victory number 6. The veteran Jay Sears wins another at Vernon Downs. In 10 drives this season, Sears has four wins and one second this season. For anyone that is a a great record. What is amazing is that Sears is 76 years old. The lovable driver is racing like he is a youngster. He guided Star Flyer ($10.60) to a gate-to-wire victory in a lifetime best of 1:58.1. Star Flyer is a 4-year-old mare by Cantab Hall. She is co-owned by Sears with David Fishman and trained by Ray Van Dreason. It was her fourth win in 11 starts this season. It was career victory number five. How can you not root for Sears? If you love harness racing all you can do is smile! Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 1) with a 10 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs      

Vernon, N.Y. -- Fresh off his 1,000th career driving win, taken with Jessica Okusko trainee Manny in a $39,900 New York Sire Stakes event at Monticello Raceway on Monday, harness racing driver Chris Lems posted a four-win night at Vernon Downs on Thursday (June 9) evening.   The 29-year-old South Dakota native captured the evening's featured $7,500 Miracle Mile Pace for distaffers, sustaining a first-over bid with Super Soph ($4.60) on the far turn to reel in the pacesetting Pancakes (Fern Paquet, Jr.) and subsequently stave off a late push from the second-over Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) for a 1:52.3 triumph. Jackie Rousse trains the 6-year-old Admirals Galley mare for owner Mark Wamp.   Lems also prevailed with Kyler's Valentine ($6.40, 1:55.1), Grecale As ($5.30, 1:57.3) and Thats My Dream ($8.50, 1:57) on the 10-race card.   The 50¢ Pick 5 was hit, yielding $291.50 on the winning combination of 6-6-4-3-7.   Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (June 10), with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Monticello Raceway was honored to be the site of harness racing driver Chris Lems 1000th career win, ironically Monticello was the site of Chris's his first stake win. Chris drove Manny to victory in the 3rd division of NYSS in 1:54:2. Manny (American Ideal - Foolish Kiss) is trained by Jessica Okusko, for owners M and L of Delaware & Victoria Dickson. Chris also drives for powerful stables of Jessica Okusko and George Ducharme. Monticello Raceway Pick 5 Carry over at $4,532.00 Monticello Raceway’s Pick 5 carry over is now $4,532.00. The first leg of the Pick 5 begins in Race 3.  Director of Simulcasting, Maureen Flynn said “this is the biggest carry over that we have had, we are glad to offer our patrons this opportunity” By Shawn Wiles    

Vernon, N.Y. -- Commencing his move upon exiting the far turn, M & L of Delaware and Victoria Dickinson's Dude's the Man ($4.30) worked to the fore in mid-stretch to capture the Memorial Day (May 30) feature at Vernon Downs, a $10,000 Open/Preferred Pace.   A stakes contender at three, the 4-year-old American Ideal entire kept well off the early pace, better than only the well-detached Damon Blue Chip through splits of :26.1 and :54.2 dictated by JK Panache (Truman Gale). As JK Panache left pocket rival Rock On Me (Dan Daley) behind on the far turn, Chris Lems angled Dude's the Man off the pegs, gearing up off the far turn into a :27 third quarter.   Dude's the Man ultimately collared JK Panache in mid-stretch, holding off a late bid from 21-1 outsider Memory Game (Jimmy Whittemore) to prevail in 1:49.4 by three-quarters of a length. JK Panache faded to third upon giving way.   Jessica Okusko trains Dude's the Man, now a six-time winner.   Lems led all drivers with four wins on the 12-race card.   The 50¢ Pick 5 sequence stymied the Monday punters, chiefly on account of Western Toro's 16-1 upset in the eighth race. The carryover to Thursday (June 2) evening's Pick 5 is $552.54. Post time for the first of nine races on Thursday at the Miracle Mile is set for 6:45 Eastern.   by James Witherite,for Vernon Downs    

Vernon, N.Y. -- Twenty harness racing 2-year-olds contested a quartet of John Simpson Memorial events on Friday (October 16) evening at Vernon Downs, with driver Chris Lems capturing two of the four stakes races on the night's 12-race card.   In the $25,080 Bret Hanover for pacing colts and geldings, Lems and Toddler Tantrum ($3.00) made an early push to the fore, drawing clear of pocket rival Cenovis (Jim Marohn, Jr.) on the far turn and holding off a late bid from War-n-Munn (Jimmy Whittemore) for a 1:54.4 triumph over sloppy going. Don Tiger and Birnam Wood Farms own the son of Western Terror, and Jessica Okusko handles the training duties.   Lems would have to wait until the eleventh race to complete his stakes double, sweeping late to a narrow victory in the $23,492 Razzle Hanover for pacing fillies with Major Millie ($25.00). The daughter of Art Major tracked the top pair through a relaxed early pace, swinging wide off the far turn and charging late to collar Cut and Paste (Marohn) and Wine Snob (Mike Simons) for a 1:55.2 victory. Erv Miller trains Major Millie for Howard Schneidler's KDM Stables.   On the trotting side of the docket, Dan Daley trainees swept the top two spots in the $25,680 Super Bowl for colts and geldings. Smalltownthrowdown ($7.00, Daley, part of entry) took advantage of a pocket trip, holding off his entry-mate Royal Bachelor (Fern Paquet, Jr.) for a 1:57 triumph. The son of Cash Hall is owned by the partnership of Daley, Crawford, Lombardo, and Brenner.   In the $23,492 Davidia Hanover for trotting fillies, Radiant Beam ($4.40) pulled the pocket and kicked clear for a 3-1/2 length triumph. Jim Marohn, Jr. drove the daughter of Holiday Road to a 1:58.4 victory for trainer Andrew Harris and owner Arrhythmic, LC, defeating Dame Edna (D.R. Ackerman) and I Will Take Credit (Daley).   In the evening's overnight feature, a $7,000 top-level conditioned trot, Margaret and Amy Butler's J A T O ($2.50) earned his 24th career win in 26 starts, holding off a late challenge from Write That Down (John MacDonald) in 1:54.2 by a handy 1-1/2 lengths. Chris Lems handled the driving duties of the 3-year-old Big Apple Deli colt for trainer William Okusko.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 17) evening, with the first of 11 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Artmagic (Art Major) set a track record for two year old gelding pacers on Thursday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as he scored in the $45,000 co-featured New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series Final. The Trond Smedshammer-trained freshman sat the pocket and pounced in the stretch with driver Jim Morrill Jr in the sulky. Morrill piloted Artmagic to his first career victory just two weeks ago at Saratoga and followed it up with a lifetime best and track record-setting performance on Thursday as he stopped the timer in 1:54.1. Morrill drove another track record-setter on Thursday as the veteran reinsman sat behind upset winner Boxall (Credit Winner) in the Excelsior Final for freshman trotting colts. The Jessica Okusko-trained Boxall, dismissed at odds of 15-1, came from off the pace to record his win in 1:58.1, a track record for two year old trotting colts. Outsidecourt (Conway Court) upset the big favorite in the two year old trotting filly division of the Excelsior Finals. The freshman filly charged past the favorite to prevail in 1:58.4 for trainer Gary Messenger and reinsman Bruce Aldrich Jr. Lyra (American Ideal) scored in the Excelsior Final for freshman filly pacers, winning on the front end for driver John Cummings Jr and conditioner Jean Drolet. Lyra's fifth victory of the campaign came in 1:56. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

War Hero (Wally Hennessey) scored a victory in his local debut on Tuesday night at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jessica Okusko-trained trotter has been a force in the Vernon Downs Opens this summer and drew post five in his Spa debut. War Hero got away last in the six horse $18,000 feature but swooped the group after getting a third over trip. The morning line favorite, War Hero paid $10.20 to win after besting longshot Teach Me To Bucky (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and the favored E R Ellie (Dan Cappello Jr) in 1:55. The win was the sixth of the season for the seven year old trotter and served as one of four winners on the night for Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey. On longshot night in Saratoga, War Hero led an exacta and triple that paid $106 and $314.50, respectively. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at the Spa with a first post time of 7:05pm. Melissa Simser

WASHINGTON, PA, August 1, 2015 — He was forced into a first-over challenge and skipped shadows for much of the mile, but when all was said and done, Dude’s The Man captured Saturday’s $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light at The Meadows in 1:48.4, fourth-fastest in the 49-year history of the event. Yankee Bounty rallied for second, 2 lengths back, while Lost For Words, who threatened briefly in the lane, was third. Winning trainer Jessica Okusko won the Adios orchids in her first try while winning driver Corey Callahan, who had 13 previous Adios starts including eliminations, took his first Adios title. M&L of Delaware and Victoria Dickinson own Dude’s The Man, a son of American Ideal-Art’s Risk who finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Meadowlands Pace final but has been hampered at times by lack of early speed. Callahan said he wanted to get the colt into the race early from post 2. “On these speed-favoring tracks, you can’t circle them from last,” Callahan said. “You can’t get away seventh, be third over and have a shot. I wanted to get away as close as possible, and fourth is where I ended up.” Although Dude’s The Man was first up from fourth, he had little trouble clearing My Hero Ron, winner of an Adios elimination last week. “I thought My Hero Ron was just okay last week,” Callahan said. “I came at him last week with Yankee Bounty and almost got him, so I was pretty confident being first up with that horse on the lead.” Of greater concern was the winner’s persistent battle with shadows. Okusko said she added a Daisy roll and a Pelling pacifier during the week to keep the colt more focused, but their impact was limited. “I was trying to talk him over the shadows and hold onto him,” Callahan said. “Around the last turn, clouds came over. Someone was looking out for me in the last turn. The clouds covered the sun, and he paced right home.” Another potential problem for Dude’s The Man vanished in the lane when Lost For Words, right on the winner’s bumper, didn’t finish strongly. “At the top of the stretch I thought I had a shot,” said Brian Brown, who trains Lost For Words. “He scoped with blood, so he may need more Lasix. Any time a horse bleeds, he’s in trouble.” Okusko said Dude’s The Man may be pointed to the Cane Pace and also remains eligible to the Battle of the Brandywine, the Little Brown Jug and several stakes at the Red Mile. “He’s from a great family, and he has great conformation,” she said. “He’s really come into himself. This was the first time he raced on a five-eighths, and he got around it great.” ADIOS NOTES. Elimination winners National Seelster, Cooperstown and My Hero Ron finished 8th, 4th and 5th, respectively . . . Rock N’ Roll World took the $50,000 Adios Consolation for David Miller, trainer Kelly Stackowicz and owners Jeffrey Snyder and Three Decades Racing . . . Lyonssomewhere collected a front-end victory in 1:49.2 in the $50,000 Roy D. Davis Memorial Pace. Andy Miller drove for trainer Julie Miller and owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound . . . Last Saturday, the Ron Burke stable set a PR with 24 horses entered (22 actually raced), most ever for a single program at a single track. The stable shattered that mark Saturday when they raced 29. Although Burke had to settle for second and fourth in the Adios, he notched seven wins on the 17-race program. Evan Pattak

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

Doug Paul and Victoria Dickinson hope "Dude" is the man in the Meadowlands Pace. Paul and Dickinson are among the harness racing owners of Dude's The Man, who was one of the 14 horses entered in Saturday's Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace eliminations at Meadowlands Racetrack. The 3-year-old male pacer is Dickinson's first race horse and is named after her Jack Russell terrier, Dude. "And Dude is the man," Dickinson said with a laugh, adding about the horse and dog, "They have similar strong personalities." Dude's The Man, with Corey Callahan listed to drive, will race in the first of two $50,000 Meadowlands Pace eliminations Saturday. The top five finishers from each seven-horse field will advance to the final on July 18 at the Big M. Elimination winners will have the opportunity to draw from posts one through six for the final. "He's a fast horse," said Paul, who owns Dude's The Man with his mother, Rosalind, as M And L of Delaware LLC. "One of these days he's going to step up and win a big race for us. Hopefully it will be next weekend. He's got the speed, he's just got to get the right type of trip. "We're real happy with him. We couldn't be happier." The Meadowlands Pace eliminations are part of a Saturday card that also includes a single elimination for the Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, Reynolds Stakes divisions for 3-year-old male and female trotters, and the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters. First race post time is 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Dude's The Man prepped for his Meadowlands Pace elim with a second-place finish against older horses Monday night at Vernon Downs, the home base of trainers Howard Okusko Jr. and Jessica Okusko. For the year, the colt has won two of six races - including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes - and earned $43,501. He has been off the board just once, when he was beaten by only one length in his North America Cup elimination and finished fifth. "The North America Cup, it was just the luck of the draw," Paul said. "The way the race set up, he just had a little too far to come, but he was flying at the wire. "He never knows the end of the mile. He's always full of pace finishing. He normally runs out of racetrack before he's tired." Dude's The Man's connections decided to skip last weekend's Max C. Hempt Memorial in the hopes of having a fresh horse for the Meadowlands Pace. The Pace elims include four horses - Wiggle It Jiggleit, Wakizashi Hanover, Artspeak and In The Arsenal - who were among the top five finishers in both the North America Cup and Hempt. Wiggle It Jiggleit won the Hempt in 1:48.2 last Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Wakizashi Hanover won the North America Cup in 1:48 on June 20 at Mohawk Racetrack. Those two horses will compete in the second Meadowlands Pace elimination, along with undefeated Iowa invader Roland N Rock. "We figured we'd skip the Hempt because they fly there anyhow and be fresh coming into the Meadowlands Pace," Paul said. "Hopefully some of them tired themselves out, although those good ones never seem to tire themselves out, do they?" Dude's The Man is a son of American Ideal out of the mare Art's Risk. His second dam is Dan Patch Award winner Delinquent Account, who is the mother of Dan Patch Award honoree Artiscape. Dude's The Man was purchased under the name American Risk for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. "He was the only yearling in the sale that didn't have a video," said Paul, who has seen Dude's The Man win four of 16 career races and earn $87,788. "I don't know if that hurt his price or not. But we liked what he looked like and we try to buy families that can produce a good horse." Dickinson, who is a real estate agent in Greenville, Del., is a longtime friend of the Paul family. She had previous experience riding horses and over time developed an interest in trotters and pacers. "It's been an evolution," Dickinson said. "It's been fun to learn. At least we're starting out on a good note with Dude." And now she is looking forward to the chance to advance to the Meadowlands Pace final. "It's exciting to have something to watch every week with hope and anticipation," Dickinson said. "It's beyond exciting. It can't come quickly enough." Here are the fields for the Meadowlands Pace eliminations: HN-PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1-1-Dealt A Winner by Cams Card Shark -David Miller-Mark Silva 2-2-In The Arsenal by American Ideal -Brian Sears-Kelvin Harrison 3-3-Dude's The Man by American Ideal -Corey Callahan-Jessica Okusko 4-4-Artspeak by Western Ideal -Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna 5-5-Hurrikane Ali by Rocknroll Hanover -Yannick Gingras-John McDermott 6-6-Revenge Shark by Cams Card Shark -Corey Callahan-Tony Alagna 7-7-Pierce Hanover by Cams Card Shark -Brett Miller-Ken Sucee HN-PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer 1-1-Trading Up by Somebeachsomewhere -Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna 2-2-Rock N' Roll World by Rocknroll Hanover -David Miller-Mark Silva 3-3-Roland N Rock by Rocknroll Hanover -John Campbell-Duane Roland 4-4-Lyons Levi Lewis by Well Said -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke 5-5-Badiou Hanover by Well Said -Andy Miller-Julie Miller 6-6-Wakizashi Hanover by Dragon Again -Tim Tetrick-Joann Looney-King 7-7-Wiggle It Jiggleit by Mr Wiggles -Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Vernon, N.Y. -- A pair of $6,500 upper-level conditioned events--one for trotters, one for pacers--headlined the Memorial Day (May 25) harness racing program at Vernon Downs, with Jersey Boy ($4.40) and UF Bettors Hanover ($16.40) proving best on their respective gaits.   The Turn N Burn Stable's Jersey Boy made an early push to the lead in the trotting feature, but was rebuffed by McKenzie's Star (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :27.3 first quarter. The two battled side-by-side for the majority of the race, until Jersey Boy pushed clear in the final eighth, drawing off by three lengths for a 1:54.4 triumph. My Buddy Hall Lee (Roman Lopez) stayed on from the pocket to take third.   Josh Kinney drove the 6-year-old Yankee Glide gelding for trainer Jessica Okusko.   UF Bettors Hanover ($16.40) sprung a mild upset in the afternoon's pacing feature, swinging three-wide off dueling leaders A Fool For Mark (Dustin Ingraham) and Lilys Real Boy (Fern Paquet, Jr.) en route to a 1-1/4 length win. The 5-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding sprinted clear of the late-closing Relentless Dreamer (Brian Connor) for a 1:51.4 victory in rein to Justin Huckabone.   Trainer Scott West co-owns UF Bettors Hanover with Katie Currie.   Live racing returns at Vernon on Friday (May 29) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

The annual fortnight of Grand Circuit racing begins on Thursday, September 25 with the $336,000 Bluegrass Stakes for freshman trotting fillies, traditionally the kick-off to the meet.   This stake has been known for a number as years as the Norman S. Woolworth Memorial remembering one of harness racing's most beloved personalities. Twenty seven fashionably bred debutantes were entered and split into quad-features on the twelve race card.   Wild Honey leads the first division of six in the third race. The gifted Cantab Hall filly is but a head away from an unbeaten season, having won six of seven with the $260,000 PASS final chief among those wins. Wild Honey shattered CR Kay Suzie's 20 year old half-mile track World Record by more than a second in a dazzling 1:55.2 performance last week at Delaware. She'll be a short price in this one for the Jimmy Takter barn and driver Yannick Gingras. Christina Takter, Fielding, Liverman & Fielding are the proud owners of the $35,000 bargain from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.   Jolene Jolene is the most accomplished of the seven fillies in the second division of the Woolworth (race 5). This Muscle Hill filly was second in the Merrie Annabelle and the winner of the Champlain stakes on her way to over $165,000 in earnings. She blew a shot at big money with an early break in the Peaceful Way final at Mohawk last week when division leader Mission Brief took herself out by going off-stride as well. A chance for redemption looms for Jolene, her owner Bill Donovan, trainer Jonas Czernyson and driver Dave Miller on Thursday.   A pair of solid fillies who have had their efforts focused on regional programs move onto the Grand Circuit stage in division three (race 8). Concentration has been working her way around the Empire State via the NYSS program with just over $100,000 in earnings to show for those efforts. She was the betting favorite in last week's rich final but jumped it off early and lost all chance for owner Ray Campbell, Jr. Trainer George Ducharme and Driver Brian Sears who teamed to win the 2013 Hambletonian with Royalty For Life, a horse in which Mr. Campbell had an interest, will look to rekindle that spark.   Local hopeful Armatrading (named for recording artist Joan Armatrading) should provide ample competition for Concentration. The Groton Hall lass won the $175,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final over this very track in August and closed nicely to be third in a Kindergarten leg last week for Atlantic Trot, trainer Kenneth Oscarsson and driver Randy Jerrell.   The fourth division (10th race) appears the most contentious based on current form.   Bee The Queen has really found her best stride here at The Red Mile with back to back Kindergarten scores for George Ducharme and owner Alfred Ross with equally effortless 1:56 wins. Allerage Star has pretty much made the winners circle her alternate residence, winning four of seven including her most recent, an unlikely recovery from an early break in the Kindergarten last Thursday. She flashed unusual determination and grit in that one for the ownership group of Jeff Gural (via his nom de course Little E, LLC) Jason Settlemoir, Dave Stolz and Art Geiger and trainer Jessica Okusko.   Captain Corey Callahan has the enviable yet difficult choice of either, having been named to drive both fillies.   The races begin at 7:00 on Thursday evening and continue at that post time through Saturday, then shift to 1:00pm on Sunday afternoon. Further information is available by visiting The Red Mile website.   by Nick Salvi, for the Red Mile                         View on www.theredmile.com Preview by Yahoo      

LEXINGTON, KY-- Freshmen filly trotters gathered for four divisions of the Kindergarten Classic Series at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 18. The fourth preliminary of the harness racing series attracted 38 contestants for purses totaling to $40,000. Allerage Star, despite galloping at the start, recovered nearly 13 lengths to weave past rivals and get a nose in front of Saturday Mornings and Cocoacabana in 1:56.2.   Cocoacabana was the pacesetter with Sweet Thing and Fly Angel Fly sitting behind. She set fractions of :29.1 and :57.4 (:28.3). Challenged around the far turn by Sweet Thing, Cocoacabana remained in control as the backfield approached. Fanning three wide came Fly Angel Fly, with Lady Winona four wide and Saturday Mornings five wide.   After a 1:27.3 (:29.4) third-quarter, Saturday Mornings rallied down the center of the course, while Allerage Star strolled onto the scene from in-between horses. Cocoacabana battled Allerage Star and Saturday Mornings up to the finish, where Allerage Star got a nose in front, going a mile in 1:56.2 (:28.4).   Returning $3.20 to win, the daughter of Angus Hall-Starry Eyed-Muscles Yankee is owned by Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, A. Geiger and D. Stolz, trained by Jessica Okusko and Corey Callahan was aboard.   Lilu Hanover rebounded after failing as the favorite in last week's prelim with a 1:55.3 victory over 24-1 Annaliina.   Scott Zeron piloted Lilu Hanover to the front, while Aarena Hanover gunned for the pocket from post 10. Lilu Hanover set a opening quarter of :27.4. She remained uncontested through a :57.3 (:29.4) half.   Rules Of The Road was flushed first over entering the far turn, with Annaliina drafting 2 ¾ lengths off the lead. Rules Of The Road remained at Lilu Hanover's throat through a 1:27 (:28.2) third-quarter.   Kicking to a 2-length lead into the stretch, Lilu Hanover kept to her task as Annaliina gradually progressed towards the leader. Starting her bid a few yards too late, Lilu Hanover had a neck advantage at the wire over Annaliina, with Waiting Room and Lady Clarabella rounding out the top four respectively.   Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover-Donerail paid $5.00 to win.   Sarcy, upon brushing to the top after the first quarter, led the field to the finish in 1:55.3.   Bright Baby Blues swept across the track to claim command around the first turn, while Josie's Joy sat the pocket and Sarcy trotted third. After a :28.2 quarter, Jimmy Takter pulled Sarcy two wide to claim command before three-eighths. She was uncontested at the half, timed in :57.1 (:28.4).   Sarcy remained unchallenged around the far turn. Bright Baby Blues, stalking from the pocket, tipped first over at three-quarters, with Josie's Joy and Armatrading tracking her move. Timed in 1:26.1 (:29), Sarcy remained in control. Despite bids from Bright Baby Blues, Josie's Joy, Armatrading and Fashion Lover in the late stages of the mile, Sarcy held command and sailed to a 1:55.3 (:29.2) victory; Fashion Lover finished second, Armatrading was third and Josie's Joy was fourth. Sarcy, sent off the second choice, is owned by Christina Takter and John and Jim Fielding and trained by Jimmy Takter. The Donato Hanover-Southwind Allaire-Valley Victory daughter paid $7.20 to win. Bee The Queen, entering off a 30-1 upset in the Kindergarten last week, was victorious at odds of 1/5 in 1:56.1. Catherine's Melody showed early speed, while Bee The Queen floated towards the front, and Bright Eyes sat behind in third. The opening quarter was timed in :29.3. Bee The Queen made her move before the half, trying to sweep around Catherine's Melody as Bright Eyes, Flirting Filly and Shafina Hanover began their bids. Bee The Queen had a head in front through a :58.3 (:29) half. Although Flirting Filly broke traveling first over, Shafina Hanover made her way to Bee The Queen's wheel through a 1:26.1 (:27.3) third-quarter. Corey Callahan pulled the plugs on Bee The Queen and she kicked 3 lengths clear of Shafina Hanover, Bright Eyes and Catherine's Melody, and eventually winning by 3 ½ lengths in 1:56.1 (:30). A daughter of Donato Hanover-Bee Line-Self Possessed, Bee The Queen is owned by Alfred Ross and is trained by George Ducharme. She returned $2.60 to win. Bee The Queen extended her lead on the Kindergarten leaderboard with 158 points, with Allerage Star second with 125 points and Lady Clarabella in third with 111 points. Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 25, with the Grand Circuit meeting, commencing with the $300,000 Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. Declaration time is 9:30 A.M. on Monday, September 22. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

The cream of the freshmen and sophomore pacers and trotters on the NYSS County Fair circuit convened at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, September 2. Eight $10,000 divisions awaited the influx and by days end the champions were crowned in each division. "It was an enjoyable day of racing watching the youngsters go head to head in each of their divisions," noted Eric Warner the tracks director of racing. "And with limited amount of charted lines on many of the entrants still wagering on the card was good." Driving Me Lindy and Truman Gale kicked off the program copping the event for 3 year old trotting fillies winning by nine lengths in a creditable 2:00.2 for trainer Andy Gardner. Owned by Michael Eulo, it marked the Crazed filly's 10 triumph and raised her seasonal her bankroll to $33,484. The 2 year old totting filly final ended in a romp for Ron's Coren when Fern Paquet, Jr. guided the Cash Hall miss to a 2:04 victory. She's trained by Jessica Okusko for owner Ronald La Clair. The pacing final for freshman fillies saw Kruella score her ninth seasonal triumph when Kirk Desmond used the front-end route to score a victory in a time of 1:59.2 for trainer Joe Robbins Jr. The daughter of American Ideal, co-owned by her trainer and Bonnie Kowalcyk, won for the ninth time in 10 lifetime starts. Inside The Glass, locally owned by Rosemarie Moore, recorded the fastest mile of the NYSS County Fairs Finals when Larry Stalbaum sat back off a quick early pace and rallied late to win the 3 year old pacing filly division in 1:57.3 for trainer Paul Moore. The 3-year-old trotting colt final followed and saw Harold Smith's Stirling Cadet romp to a 15- length triumph in 1:58.4 for driver Jimmy Devaux. The Conway Hall gelding scored his 11th victory and increased his seasonal bankroll ---all on the county fair circuit-- to $37,380. Devaux also won the freshman colt and gelding pacing final with Harold Smith's, Adonis Bay in a time of 1:59.3. Although Smith drove his colts at the fairs the 80 year old accomplished horseman turned the lines over to the accomplished professional, Jimmy Devaux. Another NY county fair stalwart, Doug Ackley, won the trotting final for 2 year old colts and geldings with J A T O in 2:04.2 despite making a break before the start. The son of Big Apple Deli scored his ninth victory in 10 lifetime starts for owner-trainer Margaret Butler who shares ownership with Amy Butler. And Larry Stalbaum scored his second victory in the NYSS County Fair Finals when he guided Kings Maninblack to a 1:59 triumph in the event for sophomore colt and gelding pacers. The altered son of Riverboat King is trained by Joe Chindano who co-owns with Gianfranco Pozzolini. Perhaps overshadowed by the interesting card of county fair youngsters, Diamond Tiara moved back to tie Shortest Distance for the most races won in North America this year when Jimmy Taggart Jr drove her to a 1:55.4 triumph which was her 18th victory. Also on the card, Shortest Distance was looking for win number 19 but she got collared at the wire by Rusty's Flying (Fern Paquet, Jr) and had to settle for second money. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

A quartet of Kindergarten Classic events headline this Sunday (August 24) afternoon's card at Tioga Downs.   Freshman trotting fillies contest races 8 and 10 on the 13-race card, with the latter division attracting Tompkins winner Allerage Star (post 2) and Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief (post 6). Four-time winner Mission Brief has amassed quite a resume already, taking the New Jersey Sire Stakes and Merrie Annabelle finals both in dominant front-end fashion, taking a mark of 1:52.2 with Yannick Gingras in the bike.   Gingras is once again listed to drive the daughter of Muscle Hill for trainer Ron Burke. Allerage Star, the other multiple stakes winner in the field, drew off to a four-length win in her Tompkins division last week, taking a mark of 1:55.4 in rein to Corey Callahan. Her other victory came in a Kindergarten division at the Meadowlands, holding off Dynamite Dame for a 1:57.2 win. Scott Zeron has been nominated to handle the driving duties by trainer Jessica Okusko.   The first division for fillies, carded as race 8, features George Ducharme trainee Bee the Queen (Donato Hanover), who was a chasing fourth in her prior Kindergarten effort at the Meadowlands, turning in a 1:55.4 effort. With two of her seven rivals making their career debuts, she looks to be the filly to beat.   Two-year-old trotting colts and geldings contest races 4 and 6 , with the stakes-placed Wheels Ah Smokin a top contender in the first division. The Chuck Sylvester-trained son of Muscles Yankee most recently finished third in his Tompkins division at Tioga, and was fourth to Habitat in a prior Kindergarten Classic division at the Meadowlands. Ron Pierce has been nominated to drive Wheels Ah Smokin, who starts from post 5.   The field also drew Jimmy Takter trainee Falk On Hill S (post 4), who looks to rebound from a break in his Kindergarten split at the Meadowlands earlier in the month.   Takter sends Kindergarten winner French Laundry in the second Kindergarten division, kicking clear to an impressive 1:55.3 Meadowlands win earlier in the month. Usual driver Yannick Gingras is nominated to drive the two-time winner, and they start from post 4. Among French Laundry's six rivals is Party On the River (post 7), a Kadabra colt who took his 1:58.3 mark in an Ontario Sire Stakes event. Mark MacDonald is listed to drive for trainer Patti Harmon.   Due to the Cane Pace drawing only eight entries, they will head directly to the $437,325 final on Labor Day (Monday, September 1). Meadowlands Pace and Empire Breeders Classic winner He's Watching leads the octet, along with North America Cup and Geers winner JK Endofanera. The pair will be joined by Beat The Drum, Bushwacker, Doo Wop Hanover, Luck Be Withyou, Lyonssomewhere and Stevensville.   Sunday afternoon's card at Tioga is slated for a 1:30 p.m. EDT post time.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

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