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Batavia, NY --- Harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. hit another milestone in his illustrious career after he steered Love The Dragon ($3.00) to victory in the third race at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 21) to reach 7,500 wins lifetime. In his typical style, Morrill went right to the front, rated a perfect mile and was a wrapped-up winner in 1:58.3. To date, Jim Morrill Jr. now has 40,273 starts with 7,500 wins, 6,220 seconds and 5,152 thirds with $108,289,933 in earnings. Morrill currently sits 13th in North America for UDR with a mark of .380. At the current Batavia Downs meet, Morrill is the leading driver with 86 wins, $426,956 in purse money and a UDR of .381. Morrill made his first start driving for his father at Foxboro Park in 1984. The family's operation eventually moved to Rosecroft Raceway where Morrill started getting many catch drives and soon found himself in high demand. In 1990 Morrill went to New York and started driving for Ray Schnittker and George Anthony at Yonkers Raceway and with much success achieved there, decided that move would be long term. During his time competing at the New York/New Jersey circuit Morrill recalled his most memorable race as being the 2004 Meadowlands Pace where Holborn Hanover was a 58-1 upset winner in 1:49 to equal the stake mark. After 15 years of driving at the highest level, Morrill left the metropolitan area in 2005 and relocated his family and business to western New York and since arriving has not only been at the very top of the driver colony on that circuit, but also an annual dominant force in the New York Sire Stakes. In 2006 at Batavia Downs, Morrill set the all-time driving standard for the track with 177 wins and a UDR of .537 for one meet. Long Train Runnin showed a lot of heart and determination as he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the $8,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 21).  Long Train Runnin (Shawn McDonough) got away third as Stratosphere (Drew Monti) took the scratch-shortened, single-file field to the half in :58. As they passed that station, Long Train Runnin was already out first-over and moving fast towards the leader as they proceeded into the clubhouse turn.  Moving towards three-quarters, Stratosphere and Long Train Runnin were pacing side-by-side and had broken away from the pack by three lengths on the strength of a :27.3 third panel. As they were rounding the final bend, Stratosphere pulled clear and opened up a length advantage heading into the stretch. But the relentless urging of McDonough reinvigorated Long Train Runnin who found another gear and caught Stratosphere at the wire by a head in 1:54.2. It was the fifth win of the year for Long Train Runnin ($6.10) who has now earned $32,552 this year for owner WIlliam Emmons. Jim Clouser Jr. does the training. Emmons and Clouser teamed up again in the very next race to capture the $7,500 Open II Handicap with McSpidey (Jim Morrill Jr.) who went wire to wire by 2-¼ lengths in 1:54.4. It was also the fifth win for McSpidey ($2.40) who is now over $343,000 in lifetime bank.  Shawn McDonough had a huge night at Batavia on Saturday, driving four winners and sending two for pictures that he trained. McDonough steered the aforementioned Long Train Runnin, Are You In (1:58.2, $22.40), Santana Beach (1:56, $25.80) and Nesh Cruiser (1:58.1, $27.40), who he also trained along with PL Lester (1:54.3, $10.20).  Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 25) with post time at 5 p.m. and there will be a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 on Wednesday. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages for races one through five will be available on the USTA and Batavia Downs websites early next week. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- It's the same old story, same old song and dance for Il Mago, who has been seemingly unbeatable of late at Batavia Downs. And there was no page turned as he took yet another $8,500 Open I Handicap harness racing  trot in Genesee County on Wednesday night (Nov. 18) over an off track that saw snow flurries earlier in the day. Jim Morrill Jr. took his usual spot on the point with Il Mago off the gate and cut fractions of :28.2 and :57.2 without any early challenges. But past the half, Cr Blazin Beauty (Dave McNeight III) came calling and would accompany the leader all the way to the wire. Cr Blazin Beauty trotted towards Il Mago up the backside and around the final turn and by the top of the stretch, the leader was in her sights. As the finish drew near it was clear Il Mago needed the line as Cr Blazin Beauty had now trotted alongside. But the 11-year-old Il Mago knows how to close the deal and he did once again, winning by a neck in 1:57.3. It was the third straight win and fifth in the last seven for Il Mago ($5.20) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. The Morrill, Torcello and Sarama team collectively had the Hat Trick on Wednesday as Toothofthedragon (1:58, $4.20) and Concertina's Image (1:58.4, $6.80) also registered wins. In the undercard $7,500 Open II pace for fillies and mares, Wonderful World (Billy Davis Jr.) tripped-out behind Yankee Secret (Dave McNeight III) until the stretch where she pulled and paced away to a 1-3/4 length win in 1:56.4. Wonderful World ($11.00) is owned by Mike Carrubba and her trainer, Sabrina Shaw. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 21) with post time at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- On a damp Wednesday evening (Oct. 28) at Batavia Downs, a pair of $8,500 Opens produced runaway harness racing winners while the meet's third winningest driver inched closer towards the leaders. The night opened up with the fillies and mares Open I Handicap where Tellawoman (Jim Morrill Jr.) left with the gate and led at every point of the mile. After escorting the short field of five to the half in :58, Morrill stepped on the gas and Tellawoman sped away in a :28.1 third panel, stretching out to a 3-1/2 length lead at the point. As they rounded the last turn Tellawoman kept on going and kicked-away to a 5-3/4 length advantage at the wire in 1:56.1. It was the third win in the last four starts for Tellawoman ($8.00) who is owned by Rose Campbell and trained by Russell Bratt. Later in the program, Morrill also won the co-featured Open I Handicap trot with Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) who was utterly peerless this night. Il Mago left and established a six length lead at the quarter in :27.2. He extended that to 12 lengths at the half in :56 and 15-lengths by three-quarters in 1:25.2. Morrill had Il Mago wrapped up at that point and he just sauntered across the wire by 6-3/4 lengths in 1:57.4. It was the sixth win of the year for Il Mago ($4.20) and owner Mike Torcello. Gerry Sarama trains the venerable 11-year-old who has now won 52 races lifetime. Driver Drew Monti won five races on the card including a natural hat trick in races five through seven. Monti scored with Lucky Guess (2:01.2, $5.00), Keystone Keen (1:57.2, $4.70), Barn Beast (1:59, $11.00), Mean Pauline (1:58.1, $5.40) and Carly Girl (1:57, $5.00). Monti currently has 57 wins and sits in third place behind the leading Jim Morrill Jr. who has 70 wins and Billy Davis Jr. who is second with 61 wins after tonight. Kevin Cummings led all trainers on Wednesday winning three races during the proceedings. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 31) with a special Halloween matinee post time of 1:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- A pair of $8,500 Open events topped the harness racing card at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 7) and connoisseurs of the longshot were very happy with the outcome of both events. In the Open I Handicap pace for fillies and mares, Lady Dudette took the overland route to victory in a short but select field. HP Sissy (Denny Bucceri) grabbed the lead and paced uncontested to the half in :57.1. Past the five-eighths, Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings) pulled first-over from fifth and motored up towards the leader. The two mares were closely engaged by the three-quarters and around the last turn with neither giving way. At the top of the stretch Cummings asked for more and Lady Dudette came through. She paced away from HP Sissy and held off a late charging Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) to win by 3/4's of a length in 1:56.3. It was the seventh win of the year for Lady Dudette ($12.00) and her owner, driver Kyle Cummings. Tammy Cummings trains the winner. Then in the Open I trot, the tough-as-nails Il Mago looked his old self in a gate to wire win producing his second fastest clocking of the year. Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) took early control and put the field to bed. After clipping quarters of :28.3 and :57.3, Il Mago opened up a three length lead trotting up the backside and extended it to five by the time he hit the top of the lane. From there he got home by 3/4's of a length over a fast closing Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) and won in 1:56.4. It was the 51st lifetime win for Il Mago ($26.40) and it pushed his lifetime bankroll to a very impressive $880,638. The classy 11-year-old son of Kadabra-Northern Style is owned by Mike Torcello and is trained by Gerry Sarama. Jim Morrill Jr. pulled off a not often seen feat at Batavia Wednesday when he won four consecutive races. Starting in race seven, he won with Southern Palms (1:59, $7.10), Il Mago, Tellawoman (1.56, $5.60) and Sentimental Lady (1:57.1, $7.00). Races seven to 10 just happened to be the Pick-4 wager and the all-Morrill Pick-4 returned $930.00. Besides Morrill's four wins, Dave McNeight III had three wins while Billy Davis Jr. and Shawn McDonough each had two. McDonough also led all trainers on Wednesday with three wins while Russell Bratt, Rich Mays and Gerry Sarama all won two each. Sarama's pair brought his lifetime training win total up to 996, now just four shy of the 1,000 win plateau. There were no winners in the Pick-5 on Wednesday so the $1,462 carry-over pool will move to Saturday (Oct. 10) and Batavia Downs will be offering a $4,000 guaranteed pool through the USTA's Strategic Wagering program for that wager. Free program pages will be available for the first five races on Saturday at both the Batavia Downs and USTA websites starting on Thursday (Oct. 8). Post time for live racing on Saturday is 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- The last time Percy's Z Tam drew post one was March 14th and he took full advantage of his starting position as he won the featured $8,500 Open I harness racing pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Sept. 26). Long Train Runnin (Denny Bucceri) bolted the wings and overtook the point by the quarter in :27.2. With Percy's Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) following closely in line, Long Train Runnin paced unimpeded to the half in :56.4 and would not feel the heat until midway up the backstretch. That's where Morrill pulled Percy's Z Tam and took the lead at the three quarters, rounded the last turn and took a two-length advantage into the stretch. He then paced sharply to the wire, holding off a late rush from Mr. Euroman to win by ½ length in 1:53.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the sixth win of the year for Percy's Z Tam ($5.30) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. In the $7,500 Open II pace, Harry Hoo N (Shawn McDonough) followed Under Paid (Ray Fisher Jr.) all the way to the top of the stretch where he tipped, took the lead and held it to the wire where he won by ½ length in 1:54.2, which was his best effort this year. Harry Hoo N ($11.60) scored his second win in the last three starts and the fourth win of the year for owner Harry Wortzman. McDonough also trains the winner. Drew Monti was the leading reinsman on Saturday winning three races on the card. Billy Davis Jr., Dave Mcneight III, Jim Morrill Jr. and Shawn McDonough all visited the Purple Haze winner's circle twice. McDonough also registered two wins on the training side as well. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs      

Batavia, NY --- Percy Z Tam started slow but put on a spirited late rally to capture the $8,500 Open I pacing harness racing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Aug. 8). Getting away fifth, Percy Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) watched as Under Paid (Denny Bucceri) took command and led the group to the half in :57. Thor De Vie (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled at that point and Percy Z Tam followed one back as the race moved around the clubhouse turn. From there, positions remained unchanged until halfway through the final turn when Morrill tipped Percy Z Tam three-deep into the head of the lane and started to accelerate. First he circled Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) who came off the pylons and then caught Under Paid before the wire to win by 1/2 length in 1:54.2. It was the fifth win of the year for Percy Z Tam ($8.80) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. In the $7,500 Open II pace, Iluvtomakemoney (Ray Fisher Jr.) was hopelessly boxed in at the three-quarters yet managed to find racing room in the last turn. Fisher then went three-high turning for home and Iluvtomakemoney was able to catch Atlantis (Jim Morrill Jr.) at the wire by a nose to win in 1:55.3. Iluvtomakemoney ($8.70) scored his fourth win of the year for the Tanah Merah Farms and Swift Racing Stable. Ryan Swift is the trainer. Shawn McDonough remained red hot at Batavia, winning three more races as both driver and trainer. Jim Morrill Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. also both had three driving wins Saturday while trainer Jim Clouser Jr. also had a hat trick. Trainer Gerry Sarama and Maria Rice each scored two conditioning victories as well. With two weeks of racing now in the books, Jim Morrill Jr. is the current dash driving leader with 13 wins followed by Billy Davis Jr. with 10, Dave McNeight III with seven and Shawn McDonough with six. On the training side, Gerry Sarama and Shawn McDonough are tied for the lead with seven wins apiece followed by Jim Clouser Jr. with six and Maria Rice with five. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 9) with a special early post time of 1:15 p.m. It's an all New York Sire Stake card featuring 2 and 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Bred For Greatness ($6.20) was certainly 'great' once again as he notched a length harness racing victory over Lougazi in Buffalo Raceway's $13,000 Class A-Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday evening (March 11).   It was the fifth victory in six starts this year for Bred For Greatness and it was also his seasonal best with a 1:58.1 clocking.   Getting a perfect stalking trip behind the fraction-setting Cr Blazin Beauty, Bred For Greatness (Jim Morrill Jr.) tipped to the outside down the stretch and took command midway down the lane. Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) made his usual late charge but ran out of real estate and had to settle for second while Cr Blazin Beauty (Kevin Cummings).   Co-owned by trainer Mike Ohol and Steven Gross, the 6-year-old gelded Bred For Greatness (Federal Flex-Wendy Woo) now has produced $23,940 in earnings in 2020 and $116,221 in his career.   Noble Legend ($2.70) was no match in the $10,000 Class A-B Handicap Trot as the 8-year-old gelding put a 12-1/4 length pounding on the field in 1:58.3 over the fast track.   There race was never in doubt as Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.) roared right off the gate and put up splits of :31.,1, 1:00.4 and 1:29.4 in going the mile in 1:58.3. The only battle in the event was for the place position as Are You In (Cummings) finished a distant second with Barn Winner (Fisher Jr.) taking third.   Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock, it was the first win in seven tries for Noble Legend (Kadabra-Lovin It). The victory moved his seasonal earnings to $14,860 and $292,889 lifetime.   Julio's Girl (David McNeight III) produced a :57 back half and that proved to be more than enough to capture the $10,000 Class A Handicap Pace for the filly and mares.   Getting a first over trip, Julio's Girl ($7.50) collared the pace-setting The Bay Front near the three-quarter marker and strutted away to the 3-1/2 length win in a season's best of 1:56.1. The Bay Front (Morrill Jr.) held on for the place position with Little Joke (Davis Jr.) rolling into third.   Trained by James Clouser Jr. and owned by William Emmons, Julio's Girl (Art Director-Prayer Answered) has now found the winner's circle four times in six tries. The 7-year-old mare now has a seasonal bankroll of $15,980 and $161,958 in her lifetime.   Davis Jr. completed the night with four driving victories while Morrill Jr. added a pair. Rice conditioned a pair winners. Racing will resume on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program slated. There will be a $955 carryover in the Pick 5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, simulcast schedule and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr., a three-time North American UDR champion, continued his red-hot sulky ways during the early portion of the 2020 meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, picking up five victories on the twelve-race Saturday night card. One of the wins came in the richest race of the night, a $20,000 claiming handicap pace, and the horse he guided, the Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Don, has been as hot as the driver - a winner of his last four and five of his last six after a 1:52.2 victory on a night where the mercury hovered near the freezing mark. Taken by trainer Walter Adamczyk and owner William Emmons for $34,375 out of his second straight prelim win in the Game Of Claims, the pair have won $35,000 in purse money with the horse since then, taking his $50,000 Game Of Claims Championship last week and now this event. The Shadyshark Hanover gelding Horsing Around has now won three of his last four starts after a thumping 1:51.3 engine victory in an $18,000 claiming handicap pace, motoring home in :27.4. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ed Gannon Jr., who is also co-owner of the winner with Frank Canzone. Jim Morrill Jr. also had success in the featured conditioned event of the evening, a $17,000 trot, guiding the Jailhouse Jesse gelding Bully Boy to a lifetime best of 1:54.1 despite the chilly conditions. Trainer Jenny Melander had her new acquisition ready from the word "go," with Morrill moving with Bully Boy from fifth, five lengths off at the quarter, to the lead before the second turn, trotting his own individual second split in 27.1. He opened a big lead on favored Muscle Star, who had made two speed moves despite broken equipment, and never surrendered the advantage to the wire for owner Risto Vidgren. Morrill ended up with a 12-5-2-0 tally for the night, giving him a 24-21 win advantage over perennial Pocono driving king George Napolitano Jr., and Jim's UDR for the meet is a lofty .411. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

We have slowly worked our way into the 2020 season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, racing just two nights a week throughout the month of February, a much earlier start to the season than normal. But the action hit the ground running, in large part due to the Game of Claims series, a fun late closer affair making its debut at Pocono this year. Each weekend in February at Pocono, four different groups of claimers met in preliminary legs with the intent of making the high-stakes finals. They were eligible to be claimed in those preliminaries, with the claiming price rising each week to make it more expensive for owners who wanted to jump in late on a hot horse. The finals took place this past Saturday and Sunday. Let's see who came out on top. CLAIMING PRICE $15,000 to $20,000 (Final Purse $30,000) Royal Heart went off as the 9-5 betting favorite after winning his previous leg. He grabbed a pocket seat early behind second choice Horsing Around, who came in with wins in both of his previous Game of Claims races with front-end speed. But Horsing Around couldn't get away with an easy lead in the Saturday night final, as he was hounded by a first-over effort from Pop's Romeo. Even though Horsing Around fended off that effort, it left him vulnerable in the stretch drive. That's when driver Simon Allard tipped Royal Heart to the outside and he came up strong to win it by a half-length in 1:53:3 over Horsing Around. American Music finished third. Royal Heart moved to two-for-two since joining the Rene Allard barn. CLAIMING PRICE $25,000 to $30,000 (Final Purse $50,000) After winning the first two legs of the series, Trente Deo took last week off after being claimed and joining the barn of trainer William Adamczyk. He went off as the 2-1 second choice in Saturday night's final, with Polak A getting the favorite's attention at 9-5. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. had Trente Deo in motion first-over pretty early in the mile, but that proved to be the right move when he picked up cover from Classy Hill on the back stretch. When the rounded the final turn, Trente Deo shrugged off the cover and came charging up at Polak A, who was setting the pace. Trente Deo blew right past Polak A and then held off late kick from What's Goin On to finish second, with Beach Pro nabbing the show. Trente Deo won by 1 ½ lengths in 1:52:3 to finish a perfect three-for-three in the series. CLAIMING PRICE $7,500 to $11,000 (Purse: $15,000) In his back-to-back wins in preliminary legs, Always B Magic benefitted from inside post positions and pocket trips. For the final on Sunday night, he had to leave from post position #5 in a field of nine, still a good spot but a decidedly different look. Tough Mudder set the pace, while driver George Napolitano Jr. decided on a first-over path for Always B Magic, the even-money favorite, when he couldn't get the pocket. It was by no means an easy journey for Always B Magic, considering he was parked out for two of the three turns. He eventually wore down Tough Mudder, but Naked City came up strong late after the favorite provided his cover. Always B Magic managed to gut it out to win it by a nose for new trainer Susan Marshall, staying perfect in the series with a winning time of 1:55. Naked City just missed in second while Mystery Island picked up the show. CLAIMING PRICE $10,000 to $15,000 (Purse: $20,000) In the preliminary legs of this group, Charger Blue Chip was arguably the top performer, going win, show, win in the three races. Yet he found himself at 9-1 on the odds board in Sunday's final, primarily because he was saddled with the outside #9 post. Driver Jim Marohn Jr. drove him aggressively, sending him early and retaking the lead from Carmens Best on the front stretch. A lot of times a speed duel like that would leave a horse vulnerable to closers. And, indeed, Grandpa Don, the 7-5 favorite, came up with a first-over threat. But Marohn kept summoning up reserves of energy from Charger Blue Chip, leaving Grandpa Don and the rest of the field struggling in his wake. Charger Blue Chip, trained by Marc Mosher, came home a 2 ¼-length winner in 1:54:1, with Grandpa Don second and Carmens Best third. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs          

Batavia, NY --- 3-year-old Gia's Surreal had been a solid campaigner all year on the New York Sire Stake circuit, culminating that harness racing series with a second place finish in the Excelsior "A" final in September. Since that start the filly has won three straight races in overnights against aged mares and on Monday (Oct. 14) knocked off the track's top class, the $12,000 Open Handicap pace for fillies and mares at Batavia Downs. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. left fast with Gia's Surreal and led the ladies to the quarter in :27.4 and the half in :57.2. As the race proceeded onto the second circuit, Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) and Kaitlyn Rae (Mike Caprio) moved up on the rim to apply some pressure and pushed a fast :28.2 split to the three-quarters. But Gia's Surreal, who had maintained a 1-1/4 length lead the entire race, stayed stout and kept to her business which was turning back all challengers and pacing home strong to win in 1:55. Gia's Surreal ($3.10) scored her ninth win in 19 starts this year and pushed her stake-enhanced earnings to $83,869 for owners Jim Graham, Edward Peron, Lee Winters and Thomas Mariano. Jim Graham trains the filly. Gia's Surreal was one of three wins for Jim Morrill Jr. on Monday. Billy Davis Jr. also got the driving hat trick on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 18) at 6 p.m. There is no racing this Wednesday (Oct. 16) due to today's special matinee card. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- A pair of $9,000 claiming/conditioned trots topped the harness racing card at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 4) and the winner of each took a different route to victory. Call My Broker (Jim Morrill Jr.) took full advantage of his pylon post position and seated the field off the gate. Then, after cutting moderate fractions of :28.4, :59.3 and 1:29.1, Morrill kept Call My Broker rolling down the lane and held off the pocket-sitting Barn Winner (Ray Fisher Jr.) to win by three quarters of a length in 1:58.3. Call My Broker ($3.60) scored his fourth win of the year for owner Frank Meier and trainer Angelo Nappo. Later in the other division, Alert Hanover (Shawn McDonough) started from post two and opted to stay there, taking the garden spot trip behind Golden Tate (Jim Morrill Jr.) from the start to the top of the lane where Golden Tate made a break he did not recover from. McDonough directed his horse around the off-stride trotter and cruised home on top by a length, also in 1:58.3. Winning his fourth race of the year as well, Alert Hanover ($6.80) was owned by Carl Kuepfer and trained by Patrick Shepherd until the race ended when he was claimed. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 5) with post time at 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Blue Bell Bonnie has been one of the toughest harness racing mares competing at Batavia Downs this season. Coming off three wins in her last four starts and moving up in class, the mare went right to the front and never looked back in the $12,500 Open I Handicap Pace for distaff participants at the Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 11). Driver Jim Morrill Jr. sent Blue Bell Bonnie to the front and proceeded unchallenged to the half in relatively mild :57.4. With the field still in single file as they headed into the third turn, HP Sissy (John Cummings Jr.) finally pulled first-over past the five-eighths and made a bull rush towards the leader, drawing alongside her in the backstretch. The two matched strides to the three-quarters and into the final bend before Blue Bell Bonnie found a new gear and started to pull away. With a clear one-length lead, Morrill urged Blue Bell Bonnie down the lane and she responded to win by a length in 1:54 over a fast closing Little Joke (BIlly Davis Jr.). It was the eighth win of the year for Blue Bell Bonnie ($4.70) and it pushed her earnings to $52,798 for owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. James Clouser Jr. trains the 7-year-old daughter of Mister Big-The Girl Can Bet. In the $11,000 Open II fillies and mares pace, Mean Pauline (Shawn McDonough) got a perfect pocket trip behind Machin Marley (Jim Morrill Jr.) before popping the deuce at the top of the stretch and wrestling away the lead at the wire to win by a head in 1:57. Now with four wins on the year and earnings of $30,756, Mean Pauline ($21.20) has already surpassed her efforts of last year for owner Harry Wortzman. Her driver Shawn McDonough also trains the winner. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. had a driving triple on the card to lead all reinsmen. When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 13) at 6:00 p.m. there will be a guaranteed carryover pool of $4,000 for the Pick-5 wager. This will be part of the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available for races one through five on the USTA's website. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Two top class Open races -- one on the trot and one on the pace -- were carded on Friday night (Sept. 6) at Batavia Downs and Lougazi and Miss Mary Mach provided very exciting finishes in their respective harness racing contests. It's been four weeks since Lougazi came away a winner, but that all changed Friday in the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot. CR Blazin Beauty (John Cummings Jr.) took her usual spot on the lead while Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) tucked-in sixth off the gate. After single-file following occurred for the first three-eighths, Joey Pro (Shawn McDonough) came first up from third and Lougazi was obliged to follow. Rolling up the backside, CR Blazin Beauty continued to set the tone but Joey Pro had enough. That meant Fisher tipped Lougazi three-deep and and had him in full flight around the far turn. As they came down the lane, Lougazi matched strides with CR Blazin Beauty before clearing in mid-stretch. From there Fisher fist-pumped while Lougazi crossed the wire first in 1:56.2, which was a new lifetime mark. It was the sixth win of 2019 for Lougazi ($5.90) and it raised his earnings to $62,250 for the year for owner Mary Warriner. Ryan Swift trains the winner. Then in the $12,500 Open I Handicap distaff pace, Miss Mary Mach entered the double digit win category after an exhilarating stretch drive to victory. It was the tale of two strategies. HP Sissy (John Cummings Jr.) bolted for the front while Miss Mary Mach (Jim Morrill Jr.) got away last. HP Sissy paced along easily in :27.4, :56.2 and 1:24.4 with no one giving her grief. At the three-quarters, Miss Mary Mach was still last and boxed in as well, without much of a shot to get out. As the race came off the final bend the horses outside of Miss Mary Mach faded and she finally had some room to roam. However HP Sissy was still four lengths ahead with only an eighth of a mile to go. Morrill had the plugs popped and was working hard in the sulky, but Miss Mary Mach was working hard on her own as she paced up a storm in the stretch and nosed out HP Sissy under the wire in 1:54.2. It was the 10th win of the year for Miss Mary Mach ($5.00) and pushed her to $81,887 in earnings for the year. Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi own the 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Mary Artman who is trained by James Clouser Jr. Several horsemen had very productive nights at Batavia on Friday. Wade Tomaszewski, Jim Morrill Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. had driving triples. On the training side, James Clouser Jr. had three from is stable visit the winner's circle while Chris Naedele and Steve Kiblin each won two. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 7) with a 6:00 p.m. post time. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts   

Batavia, NY --- Quincy Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Sirenuse) had a big night at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 23). She won the $118,800 New York Sire Stake (NYSS) sophomore filly trot, moved into the points and money earnings lead for her age and gender bracket and broke the standing track record for second year distaff trotters. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. left the gate easily with Quincy Blue Chip and took almost all of the :28.1 first quarter to make the front. But once they got the lead, the rest was history. With an open two-length lead, Quincy Blue Chip tripped the next two timers in :58.1 and 1:27.2, the last with With Out A Doubt (Marcus Miller) and Sensibility (Scott Zeron) directly at her flank pushing the issue. But Morrill let Quincy Blue Chip have her head and she trotted stronger as they headed into the stretch. Down the lane she was on cruise and crossed the line wrapped-up in 1:55.4. "I got her off the gate and eased her to the front. Once she got there she was very strong," said her driver Morrill. "I popped the plugs at the three-quarters and she was gone. She trotted down the stretch a thousand; as fast as any 3-year-old filly I ever sat behind." The winning time of 1:55.4 was a new track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies, breaking the old mark of 1:56.4 set by Celebrity Ruth in 2017 and tied by Seventh Heaven that same year. It was the seventh win of the year for Quincy Blue Chip ($3.10) and it pushed her 2019 earnings to $343,425. She has now surpassed the half-million dollar mark lifetime with with $525,387 in the bank. Quincy Blue Chip is owned by Barbara and James Boese and Richard Banca, who also does the training. Before starting in the $225,000 NYSS final on the Night of Champions at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 14), Quincy Blue Chip will compete in the Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Aug. 31). Morrill had a big night in the bike besides this win as he ended up with a hat trick on the card to lead all drivers on Friday. Two divisions of the $15,000 Excel "A" series were also contested on Friday, producing the following results. Qiss Me Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Make It Blue Chip) Driver - Billy Davis Jr. Owner - Rick Zeron Stable, James Walker, Noblock Racing Stable and Blue Chip Bloodstock Trainer - Rick Zeron Breeder - Ray Schnittker, Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo and Blue Chip Bloodstock Time - 1:58.2 Mutuel - $9.70 Amal Hall (Credit Winner-Arabella Hall) Driver - Jason Bartlett  Owner - Andy Miller Stable and DumaineHaven Trainer - Julie Miller  Breeder - Walnut Hall Time - 1:57.3  Mutuel - $2.40 Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 24). Post time for the first race is 6:00 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Trainer John Hallett left the friendly confines of Tioga Downs with Joey Pro this week in lieu of a visit to Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 11) but despite the change in venue, they came away with the same result. Joey Pro scored another win, but this time in the top-class $12,500 Open Handicap trotting feature at the oldest lighted harness track in North America. Joey Pro (Jim Morrill Jr.) made it quick and simple; he left, took the lead and outlasted the competition. Morrill set quarters of :29, :58.1 and 1:27 with the field pretty much single-file behind him. Going into the last turn, Wheels A Turning (Dave McNeight III) was moving up the outside first-over, two-lengths behind the leader and he was also trotting up a storm. When the race straightened out down the lane, Wheels A Turning had drawn almost even with Joey Pro and appeared poised to motor right on by, but Joey Pro swelled up and held him off at the wire to win by a nose in 1:56.2 for his third straight victory. Well on his way to beating his career year of 2018, Joey Pro ($10.80) has now registered eight wins in 2019 and pocketed $41,780 in purses for owner ark Wamp. The $11,000 Open II Handicap trot also went to an outsider after Saratoga Raceway regular Rose Run Speedster (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled past the half, took control of the race before the three-quarter pole and rebuffed a late bid by Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) to win handily by 1-¼ lengths in 1:57.4. Rose Run Speedster ($4.40) is owned by Simzer and Derue and trained by Brett Derue. Jim Morrill Jr., Shawn Gray and Billy Davis Jr. all had driving triple on the card; Davis scoring the natural hat trick in the final three races of the day. Trainers Brett Derue, JD Perrin and Steve Kiblin all had two wins apiece. Live racing resumes Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 14) and the New York Sire Stake 2-year-old pacing fillies will be in town to compete for $107,000 in purses. Post time for the first race is 5:00 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Saratoga Raceway regular Hudson Phil traveled four hours west on the 90 for his first-ever harness racing start at Batavia Downs and the trip was worth his while. He won the $12,500 Open Handicap pace in gate to wire fashion at the Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 3). Hudson Phil (Jim Morrill Jr.) flew off the wings and took command with Lucan Hanover (Billy Davis Jr.) drafting close behind. After going to the quarter in :27.2, Morrill grabbed leather and backed the second panel off to a meager :29 as the rest of the field finally caught up. As they started on the second circuit Upfront Countryboy (Drew Monti) pulled first up on the outside to pass the gapped Adonis Bay (John Cummings Jr.) and then dropped back into third to save ground. The race moved into the last turn and Monti pulled Upfront Countryboy out again and aggressively started driving him as they headed into the stretch. Hudson Phil was still in command but Upfront Countryboy was closing with every step. Lucan Hanover, who had been following the leader the entire mile, was now full of pace but had nowhere to go and was locked on the pylons. Hudson Phil stayed strong on the point and held off all challenges to win by a neck in 1:53.3. Hudson Phil ($2.30) has now earned $86,832 for owner Kellogg Racing Stables on the strength of his eight 2019 wins. Jackie Greene trains the 4-year-old son of Shanghai Phil-Hazel. The $11,000 Open II was a very entertaining race. Cultural Paradise (Kyle Cummings) was cruising along smartly on the lead at the half in a moderate split of :56.1, before taking the race to the head of the stretch looking like a winner. But Iammbrightside N (Dave McNeight Jr.), who had been drafting on the outside for a half-mile, pulled three-wide at the three-quarters and was under a full head of steam. Cultural Paradise and Iammbrightside N battled side by side all the way to the wire where Iammbrightside N got the advantage by a neck in 1:53.3. It was the 33rd lifetime win for Iammbrightside N ($12.20) who is owned by Mirussa Russo and trained by Dave Russo. Several horsemen had multiple winners on Saturday night. Jim Morrill Jr., Dave McNeight III and Billy Davis Jr. all had three winners on the evening while trainer Dave Russo also sent two horses to the Purple Haze winner's circle. The New York Sire Stakes glamour division; the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings will invade Batavia Downs on Sunday when live racing resumes to vie for $117,400 in total purses. Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

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