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After edging clear of her eight rivals in a :27.4 third quarter, Brixton Medical's Shaqline ($5.30) narrowly held off a valiant stand-side charge from Barn Doll to take her $41,300 New York Sire Stakes event at  the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs on Friday (May 15) evening. The fastest of twenty-seven three-year-old trotting fillies split into three divisions, Shaqline protected the early lead from a host of other leavers, including Nunkeri (Jim Meittinis), Northern Obsession (John Cummings, Jr.), and Miss B'ville J (Mike Simons). After establishing the lead through a :28 first quarter, the Credit Winner-Vivica Hall mare managed to keep the first-over Northern Obsession at bay enough to catch a :30.2 second-quarter breather before accelerating clear on the backstretch. While widening her margin to 3-1/2 lengths on the far turn, Jeff Gregory angled Barn Doll three-wide off the cover of a stalled Northern Obsession, charging after Shaqline upon cornering. Despite that late threat, Jim Morrill, Jr. was able to encourage Shaqline to hold sway, prevailing in 1:55.1 by the scantest of margins. Frou Frou (Mark MacDonald) sustained her third-over rally to narrowly take third over Northern Obsession.   Jimmy Takter trains Shaqline, whose career bankroll eclipses the $145,000 mark with her fourth career win.   In earlier New York Sire Stakes action, Magic City ($22.40) rallied from off cover to just defeat 3-5 favorite Allerage Belle in a 1:56.2 score. Co-owner and trainer Jeff Gregory handled the driving duties aboard the Conway Hall-Beach Magic filly. Lindy Land ($20.40) earned a pillar-to-post 1:56.3 victory in rein to Mark MacDonald, holding clear of a chasing Zanna Blu for the entirety of the journey. Frank Antonacci trains the daughter of Crazed-Nana's Best.   Live racing continues at Tioga Downs on Saturday evening (May 16), with post time at 6:15 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes picks up on Sunday afternoon (May 17), with three-year-old pacing colts and geldings headlining the ten-race card. Top pacer In The Arsenal, a six-time winner at two, has been installed the 3-5 morning line favorite in Sunday's fifth race, a $31,050 Sire Stakes division. Brian Sears is slated to drive the Kelvin Harrison trainee.   The week concludes with a special Monday evening (May 18), with post time at 6:15 p.m.   James Witherite

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. took the first two divisions of the $96,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old colt pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, putting new marks on Wakizashi Hanover (1:50.2) and Blood Brother (1:51), before missing the "sweep" by a nose when Rise Up Now (1:50.2, driver Simon Allard) edged Allbeef N Nobull.   Wakizashi Hanover, an altered son of Dragon Again trained by Joanne Looney-King for the Tri County Stable of Nova Scotia, kept his seasonal tally perfect in two starts in winning by 1¼ lengths. Wakizashi took the early lead in 27, saw first 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Yankee Bounty and then Dragon Eddy brush by him to the 54.3 half, which necessitated his moving first-over ahead of the oncoming Cardiac Fashion, who already had skirted trouble at two points in the mile. The winner took the lead past the 1:22 3/4s, with Yankee Bounty vacating the collapsing pocket when Cardiac Fashion tipped wide, but Wakizashi Hanover already had the jump, with Yankee Bounty able to clear back to the winner's inside to edge Cardiac Fashion by a neck for second.   Blood Brother paced his own last half in 54 flat to be up by a neck over a stubborn Rufo in the second cut. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding was taken off the gate and was rambunctious back in fifth as Joe Hill and Rufo were the prime disputers in the 26.4 opener, and was still seven lengths behind at the 55.3 half. Morrill had to take the uncovered route as Rufo was going unmolested on the lead, and had gained to within three lengths by the 1:23.2 3/4s. Taking the far turn very well, Blood Brother showed great ability to go up by a neck over his rival in early stretch, but Rufo never let the margin get bigger than that as he put up a fierce struggle down the lane. The talented winner still looks like he'll learn from (and improve with) more racing, and with Jimmy Takter training him for Diamond Creek Racing and the J&T Silva Stables LLC, it seems likely he'll build on his 2 for 2 2015 start.   Morrill had Allbeef N Nobull on top twice before the 3/8 in the third cut, but the deck reshuffles more on the Pocono racetrack than it does in the casino, and after the 26.3 quarter Rise Up Now and driver Allard were following their main rival to the top, hitting the half in 55.2 and the 3/4s in 1:23.1. The stretch duel boiled down to these two, with "Allbeef" gaining in the famed Pocono Pike, and might have taken it all were he bigger than the smallish sophomore he is, but Rise Up Now, also an altered son of Somebeachsomewhere, held gamely and won by the smallest margin to give him both a perfect yearly record after four starts and a new mark. Trainer Brian Brown, the defending Jugette champion with Color's A Virgin and who has a Pennsylvania UTR this year of (no typo) .821 at the moment, may find himself with a ticket to the Thursday big race at the Delaware dance for the Strollin Stable, King McNamara (the Floridian is the only non-Buckeye in the ownership group), William Robinson, and Country Club Acres Inc.   '********* "The girls" would have to put on quite a show Sunday to match the colt fireworks tonight, but there's lots of talented in tomorrow night's $128,000 All-Stars sophomore distaff pace, including 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Southwind Roulette, fellow Breeders Crown finalist Well Hello There, and first-round Sire Stakes winners Safe From Terror and Storm Point - all of whom come from the ubiquitiously-victorious barn of Ron Burke.   Brian Brown? His PASS winner of last week, Serious Filly, is sitting this one out, but he has Somewhere Sweet and Triple V Hanover, both second last week, in Sunday night. Maybe he'll be in both big Delaware dances - and can you think of anything better for a "hometown boy"?   PHHA / Pocono  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Kevin Cummings registered four wins and Jim Morrill Jr. posted a driving triple to take the spotlight during the 12-race harness racing program at Buffalo Raceway on Friday night (May 8).   Cummings, Buffalo Raceway's leading driver, steered Farmerssixfournine ($17.00), Whitesand Noble ($10.60), Bet On Me Hanover ($4.00) and Sleep Talker ($5.00) to victories. Cummings now had 137 wins on the season and leads runner up Shawn Gray by 58 victories. The margin is 137-79.   Morrill Jr. swept the chalky early daily double ($8.10) aboard Historian ($5.00) and The Bronx Bumper ($3.20) then later scored with OK Braveheart ($4.10).   Something has to give on Saturday night when the $25,000 Niatross Series Invitational pace goes off in the ninth race at Buffalo Raceway.   After literally battling in two series over the past three months, the top four qualifiers from each leg return for bragging rights and the lion's share of the $25,000 pot. Dedalos and Jettison, winner's of the 'A' and 'B' Series respectively, hope to be wearing the overall crown when the dust settles. But there are several others lurking who are more than capable of spoiling the dreams of the two division winners.   Dedalos, who won the 'A' Series back on March 7th in 1:57.3, had three wins and a second place finish in the 'B' Series. Unfortunately for her, the lone setback came in the finals where Jettison rallied to take the length victory in 1:56.0.   It won't be easy for Dedalos, however, as the 11-year-old gelding drew the eight post with Jim McNeight in the bike. They are 9-2 on the morning line. The series has been a profitable one thus far for Dedlaos as he's made $33,974 thanks to five wins in 13 attempts.   Jettison and coupled entry-mate Delightful Caitlin (2-2A) are the 5-2 choice on the morning line thanks to the giant comeback win in the 'B' Series finals on April 25th. Sitting seventh at the half, Jettison began to roll three-wide at the three-quarter marker and put up a 28.4 final panel to collar Dedalos.   Owned by Curtis Edholm and the Ultra Racing Stable, Jettison is trained by Darren Taneyhill. Jettison has five victories on the season and $28,310 in the bank.   While Jettison and Dedalos look for another showdown, there are several others that could prove to be flies in the ointment.   Secluded Island is the second choice at 3-1 and drew the rail with driver Jack Flanigen in the sulky. The 11-year-old gelding has four wins and a pair of second place finishes in his last seven starts and has produced over $640,000 in lifetime earnings. Secluded Island set the pace in the 'B' finals on April 25th but flamed out to finish fourth.   Full Circle Spirit had a pair of wins in the 'B' series qualifying rounds but must overcome the seven post with driver Shawn McDonough. He is part of a coupled entry (1-1A) along with the always dangerous It Was An Honor.   Here's the field from inside post outward: Secluded Island (Flanigen), Goddess's Justin (Shawn Gray), It Was An Honor (David McNeight III), Jettison (Kevin Cummings), Delightful Caitlin (Ron Beback Jr.), KC Colt (Drew Monti), Full Circle Spirit (McDonough) and Dedalos (McNeight).   The Niatross Series Invitational tops the great card on tap Saturday night with 12 races going to the post at 6:35 p.m.The $9,500 conditioned pace opens the program with Youwillwishyouhad the early 3-1 choice from the seven post.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race results and replays, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

WILKES-BARRE PA - Ooh Bad Shark has been nothing but Ooh Good Shark since starting her 2015 harness racing campaign earlier this month, and Wednesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono she went a stunning mile in 1:49.2 to win the $25,000 handicap mares pace.   The seven-year-old daughter of Cam's Card Shark opened her season with a win at Harrah's Philly, then in her last two races had been third and second to the rampaging Show Runner, who entered Wednesday's race with a six-race winning streak. But "The Shark"'s driver Jim Morrill Jr. knew his mare was sharpening, so he made a daring quarter-move from fifth at the noted frontrunner after a 26.4 opener, and paced her own second quarter in 26.3 to go by Show Runner at the 54.2 half.   Down the backstretch Ooh Bad Shark had Show Runner literally breathing down her back, and then Valerya made a huge first-over bid that carried her to within a length of the leader at the 1:21.4 3/4s. Around the final turn, Show Runner finally began to melt a bit, but Valerya actually drew on even terms with the "Shark" as they turned for home.   In the stretch Valerya actually got a head in front, but Morrill kept asking his mare, and she had more to give, fighting back to the top past midstretch to finally eke out a neck decision. Show Runner held for third, another two lengths behind.   Veteran William Wiggins could not have a sharper distaff in his care, and Wiggins is also co-owner of the winner of $394,405 with Donna Fedorak.   '*****   Pocono will be featuring a doubleheader of racing on Saturday, Kentucky Derby Day, with the 11 a.m. card highlighted by four division of a PA All-Stars contest for three-year-old trotting colts, and the 6:30 p.m. evening session topped by the Van Rose Memorial Pace for the free-for-all set.   The northeast PA track ends a racing "holiday weekend" Sunday with three divisions of the PA All-Stars event for the Hambletonian set's filly counterparts (no slight meant, Mission Brief). Such promising sophomore misses as Livininthefastlane, third in her Breeders Crown Final last year, 1:54.2 2YO Lilu Hanover, and Goldsmith Maid elim winner Gatka Hanover will be among the fillies trying to make their marks in the early season.   PHHA / Pocono  

Here Comes Numbers (Here Comes Herbie) prevailed in Sunday’s $17,000 Open Trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Jim Morrill Jr piloted the Ron Burke-trained seven year old to a front running score in the matinee’s featured race. Here Comes Numbers stopped the timer in 1:57.3 while scoring by open lengths over Red Hot Herbie (Billy Dobson) who was the runner up. Waiting On A Woman (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot in his return. Here Comes Numbers paid $8.40 to win and led an exacta that returned $63 and a trifecta that came back $227.50. Morrill and Burke also teamed up to win the Saturday night feature with Statesman N. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a 4:00pm first post time for the twilight racing card.  Mike Sardella

Statesman N (Christian Cullen) had to settle for second best as the betting public's favorite in last Saturday night's $17,500 feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway but this week, the Ron Burke-trained eight year old would not be denied. Statesman N, who came from off the pace in last week's 'Winners Over' pacing feature, moved out to the early lead for driver Jim Morrill Jr on the foggy Saturday night in Saratoga. Once he got to the lead, the 1-5 favorite would not be denied and hit the wire first in 1:54.3. Classic Gent (Stephane Bouchard) sat the pocket to the winner and held strong in the stretch to finish second while longshot JK Panache (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot. While Statesman N was the feature winner, it was Mickey Hanover (Billy Dobson) who put up the fastest time of the young season at the Spa with a sensational victory that came in 1:52.4. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:45pm. Mike Sardella  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Dontch Remember didn't forget. In just her second race of the harness racing season, Dontch Remember found her way back to the winner's circle as she rolled to an easy 2-1/4 length win over Cameron Lucky in the $8,500 pace for the fillies and mares at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday evening (March 11).   Dontch Remember used a perfect drive by Jim Morrill Jr. to register the victory, the 13th of her career.   Sitting third behind the front-stepping Cameron Lucky (Kevin Cummings), Dontch Remember tipped out and started gobble up ground as the field rolled to the three-quarter marker.   In the lane, Dontch Remember ($6.00) left little doubt of who was the best as the 5-year-old mare was in cruise control, using a 29.4 last panel to post a 1:59.0 time over the good track. Cameron Lucky held on for second while You're Too Funny (Jack Flanigen) finished in third.   Owned by Michael Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama, the win was the first of the season for Dontch Remember (Western Terror - Dreamsicle), now a winner of $83,619 lifetime.   In the co-featured $8,500 trot, Aruba Vacation (Fern Paquet Jr.) relinquished the lead but never gave up in rallying back for a 1-1/2 decision over Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) in 2:01.3.   Enjoying the lead through the first half mile of action, Aruba Vacation could just watch as Flaming Yankee (Shawn Gray) took command at the three-quarter pole but had some bad luck with broken equipment, fading to sixth.   Aruba Vacation ($14.80) pounced on the opportunity and won the drive to the line, holding off Justgottogetthere while Diamonds For Life (Cummings) was third.   Owned by the Howard Stables and trained by Guy Howard, it was the first win in six tries in 2015 for Aruba Vacation (Dream Vacation - Dixie Hit). The 8-year-old gelding has now won $5,750 this season and $531,788 lifetime.   Racing will resume on Friday night when a 12-race card will be presented at 6:35 p.m.   For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

YONKERS, NY,  -It was "Elimination Saturday," with Yonkers Raceway hosting paring events for three harness racing stakes events. Fifteen 3-year-old colts and geldings turned into eight for Yonkers Trot No. 60, as standouts Nuncio (John Campbell, barred from wagering) and Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.30, part of entry) were comfy winners in the pair of $40,000 elims. Nuncio, in play early form post position No. 5, waited his turn before finally making the lead. He parked Skates N Plates (George Brennan), then strode home by 3 ½ lengths (:28.4, :58 1:26.4, 1:56.2). Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick), the wagering "winner ($6.20), was second, with Journey (Dan Dube) and Expressive Action (Jason Bartlett) third and fourth, respectively. The wagering exacta paid $81, with the wagering triple returning $221. For Kentucky Futurity champ Nuncio, a millionaire Andover Hall colt trained by Jimmy Takter for owner Stall Tz, it was his ninth win (third consecutive) in 14 seasonal starts. Note that he and sixth-place finisher Amped Up Hanover (Matt Kakaley) raced for purse only, as the latter, co-owned by Takter's wife, Christina, were not made a parimutuel entry. "He didn't have to show me anything," Campbell--eying a third Trot title--said of Nuncio. 'I just took my time with him getting the lead, then I let him do it all by himself." Nuncio New York Sire Stakes champion Gural Hanover, the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into this season's Trot, won the draw in the second elim. He retook from a breaking-soon-after Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald) before finishing his four turns (:28.4, 58.1; 1:27.2; 1:56.3) a length faster than Resolve (Tetrick) in 1:56.3. Third went to King City (Brennan), with Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) getting the final place at the table. For Gural Hanover, a Crazed gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables, he's now 10-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $7.10, with the triple returning $24.40. Gural Hanover The $40,000 musical chairs elim for the 59th Messenger--nine soph colts/geldings to end up with eight--was won by a pocket-sitting Luck Be Withyou (Tetrick, $23). From post No. 2, he whipped a cone-skimming Forty Five Red (Brennan) by a neck (:27.2; :57, 1:25 1:53) with McWicked (Dave Miller) a belated third. All Bets Off (Kakaley), the NYSS champ and strongest third of the 4-5 favored entry, tired noticeably on the lead despite cheap fractions, winding up fourth. Western Conquest (Brent Holland), Lyonssomewhere (Brett Miller), National Debt (Campbell) and Stevensville (Ray Schnittker) completing the qualifying octet, while Double Your Bet (Jason Bartlett) was outrun. For fourth choice "Luck," a Western Ideal colt owned by John Craig and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fifth win in 13 '14 tries. The exacta paid $41.40, with the triple returning $84.50. "I just wanted to be able to be in a position to chase (All Bets Off)," Tetrick said. "He obviously was no goof tonight, and we were able to take advantage." "Flat, very flat," Kakaley said. "I was cruising at the five-eighths, then in the final turn, I knew I was in trouble. "I don't know if he's sick, but he was not nearly the same horse tonight." Luck Be Withyou Saturday night's pair of $20,000 eliminations for the Lady Maud (3-year-old pacing fillies) were won by Fancy Desire (Brennan, $2.70) in 1:54, and Act Now (Brennan again, $4.90) in 1:53.1. The other lasses returning for the final are Beautiful Lady, Tyra, Do Your Job, Scandalicious, A La Notte Hanover and Anagada. Also Saturday, the Raceway honored the recently-retired Cat Manzi with a video tribute, a winner's circle presentation and a meet-and-greet autograph photo session with fans. Next Saturday's (Oct. 25) five stakes finals...$500,000 Yonkers Trot, $500,000 Messenger Stakes, $250,000 International Trot Preview, $150,854 Lady Maud and $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot (no elims-only six entered) shall be "open drawn" Tuesday afternoon. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

In the three nights of racing that took place at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs the past week, we witnessed some outstanding performances by experienced veterans. Yet the two victories that stood out among such a distinguished crowd were scored by a pair of three-year-old fillies. We'll take a look at each of those precocious performers as well as the best of the rest in this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC CARPET This filly was unraced as a 2-year-old, which meant she started her racing career this year. She began that career on some small tracks in Canada and started to really find her stride with a romping win on the 5/8-mile oval at Rideau Carlton in August. That's when she shipped into the U.S. and joined the barn of trainer Ron Burke. She immediately paid dividends with a comfortable win at Harrah's at Philadelphia by another big margin. In her first appearance at Pocono on September 30, Classic Carpet faced off against a non-winners of four condition group and dominated as an odds-on favorite in 1:51, a new career-mark. With a three-race winning streak in tow, it was no surprise that she went off against that same condition group on Tuesday night as a 4-5 favorite despite being up against a solid field of young distaff pacers. With Matt Kakaley doing the driving, Classic Carpet once again made her move to the lead on the front stretch at about the 3/8-mile marker of the race. From that point, nobody posed even a modest threat to her dominance in the race. She coasted to the line 3 ¾ lengths in front of her closest foe in a sharp 1:51:4. She may have started a bit later than most, but this filly is making up for lost time in a big way. Other top pacers this week include: Wake Up Peter (Tyler Buter, Larry Remmen), who powered to a condition win on Saturday night in 1:50, the fastest time of the week at MSPD; Artache Hanover (Anthony Napolitano, James Eaton), who rallied from the pocket on Saturday night for his second straight condition win, this one coming in 1:52:1; and Cameron Lucky (Jim Morrill Jr., Darren Taneyhill), a mare who picked up her second straight claiming handicap win on Wednesday night, this one in 1:52:1. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: STRUCK BY LINDY Unlike Classic Carpet, Struck By Lindy did race as a 2-year-old and she turned in a standout season, churning out four wins in just 12 starts and earning over $300,000 in purse. Her prospects for a great sophomore year seemed excellent, but even though she had several in-the-money finishes against good competition, she entered a condition trot on September 27 winless in eleven 2014 races. On that night, she followed outside cover and rallied for the victory to break the losing streak in a time of 1:54:1. Last Saturday night, the filly from the Nifty Norman barn once again tackled a tough condition group of non-winners of $14,000 in the last five starts. Struck By Lindy doesn't like to fire early, so the inside post she had might have worked against her as she was shuffled back in the pack. Driver Andrew McCarthy had no choice but to send her first-over on the back stretch to try to get the lead. Despite having to do all the work herself, the filly still glided on by the leaders. In the stretch, Struck by Lindy powered home to hold off closing Fools Revenue by 1 ½ lengths for the victory in 1:55. That makes two straight and provides further evidence that this talented trotter is regaining the form that made her such a big winner as a 2-year-old. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Black Caviar (Simon Allard, Clifton Green), a filly who rallied for her second straight condition win on Tuesday night, this one in 1:57:1; Not Afraid (Andrew McCarthy, Jimmy Takter), who scored a win in the week's featured Preferred trot on Saturday night in 1:52:3, easily the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Home Front (Ake Svanstedt driver and trainer), who followed up his maiden win last week with a condition victory on Wednesday night in 1:57:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: BLACK CAVIAR As noted in the honorable mention above, this filly's win with Simon Allard in the bike on Tuesday was her second straight, yet she still got away at 28-1 for a $58 payout on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Andrew McCarthy McCarthy has been on quite a roll in the second half of the season at Pocono, with four wins on Saturday and three more on Tuesday exemplifying his hot streak. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Larry Remmen Remmen had just two starters in on Saturday night but he got his money's worth from them as Wake Up Peter and Word Power each scored impressive condition victories. That will do it for this week, 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---The Saturday night (Oct. 4) Open pace at Batavia Downs provided one of the most exciting finishes racing fans have seen at the oldest lighted harness track in North America this year. The top three horses finished a neck apart and when the photo was examined, What The Sheik and Fireyourguns tripped the light at the exact same time. When the race got underway, Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) took an early lead as What The Sheik (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) got away fourth and sixth respectively. The order stayed unchanged to the half when Fireyourguns pulled from the rear and flushed What The Sheik for live cover. That outer flow made minimal progress pacing towards the three-quarters as Western Alumni was sitting on a two-length lead. At the top of the lane it appeared as if the leader was home-free, but when Fireyourguns tipped three-wide he prompted What The Sheik to pace on and the pair hit the wire in tandem just a head in front of Western Alumni, who hung on for third. The mile was timed in 1:56.1. It was the sixth win of the year for What The Sheik ($2.90) who is trained by Gerry Sarama for owner Mike Torcello and the twelfth win of the year for Fireyourguns ($2.50) who is trained by Terence McClory who owns the horse with Jennifer and Robert Lowe. A pair of drivers accounted for seven of the 12 winners during the night. Jim McNeight recorded a grand slam with Maradona ($9.50), Hopskipanajump ($8.70), The Maniac ($4.20) and Flight Crew ($19.40) and Jim Morrill Jr. had a three-bagger with Unicorn Hanover ($20.00), What The Sheik ($2.90) and Muncie ($4.30). It was a natural hat trick that occurred in races six, seven and eight for driver Morrill, trainer Gerry Sarama and owner Mike Torcello. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 8) at 6:35 and kicks off the Downs new racing schedule of Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, all with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The winds of change blew through western New York Friday night (Oct. 3) and the rain fell along with the temperature. But the inclement conditions did not dampen the performance of Justgottogetthere as he won the $9,250 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs, nor driver Jim Morrill, Jr. who won five races on the night. The short field of six got even shorter after Live Jazz (John Cummings Jr.) made a break leaving in the first turn. That left Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) a clear path to the front. But co-favorite Armed Dangerously (Jim Morrill Jr.) who left right behind the leader was trotting side-by-side with him, giving Serious George (Kevin Cummings) a perfect garden spot trip. After hitting the half in :58 flat, the parking ticket took its toll and Armed Dangerously started to falter. That left Justgottogetthere a gapped leader waiting for a bid from the pocket-sitting Serious George. That challenge came down the lane but it was too little, too late. Justgottogetthere got there by a diminishing one-length lead to win in 1:58.3. Serious George was second and a late closing Keystone Bernard was third. It was the second win in 10 starts for Justgottogetthere ($4.80) and boosted his 2014 earnings to $20,815 for owners Antonietta Landi and North Creek Racing LLC. The lightly raced 5-year-old son of Valley Victor is trained by Jerry Nugent Jr. Jim Morrill Jr. was on hand Friday to put on another driving clinic. He rendezvoused with owners five times in the Purple Haze winners circle as he scored with Medicine Ed ($7.30), Release The Terror ($6.10), Missmaximus ($7.00), The Bronx Bumper ($7.50) and Story Book ($5.30). Morrill is currently second in North America among all drivers for percentage, sporting a gaudy .401 UDR. And on the strength of the night's performance, he drew even closer to the top-spot. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 4) at 6:35. The Pick-6 carry-over pool has grown to $2,296 and will be up for grabs starting with race seven. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---It was a pretty simple scenario in the Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 27). Arguably the two best horses in the race slugged it out head-to-head and one was left standing. That one was Fireyourguns. Even-money post time favorite What The Sheik (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front to take the lead, a move he hasn't made since mid-August. He paced uncontested through pedestrian fractions of :28 and :57.3 before Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) fired it up on the outside after getting away last. By the three-quarters, Fireyourguns was staring What The Sheik in the eye when Caprio popped the plugs and asked the 5-year-old American Ideal gelding for more. The pair paced around the far turn in tandem-style and battled through mid-stretch before Fireyourguns got to the tiring What The Sheik and paced home to win by an easy length in 1:54.2. The winner paid $6.40. Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) who sat second the whole mile finished in the same spot and What The Sheik hung on for show. It was the eleventh win in 19 starts this year for Fireyourguns and boosted his 2014 earnings to $81,405 for owners Terrence McClory and Jennifer and Robert Lowe. The feature was one of the few races Jim Morrill Jr. didn't win Saturday as he scored a five-bagger on the night. He won with Unicorn Hanover ($12.00) and Santanna's Gal ($4.70) to take both halves of the early Double ($24.40) and then continued to tally with Auditorial ($5.00), Yosemite Cam ($2.50) and Whipmeintoshape ($5.60). Dave McNeight III and Jim McNeight also registered consecutive driving doubles. Racing resumes Tuesday night (Sept. 30) at Batavia Downs with post time set for 6:35. Just a reminder the races can be watched live locally and Time Warner cable channel 98 on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---After getting hung out to dry last week, Armed Dangerously ($6.10) bounced back with the best effort of his career in winning the $9,000 trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 26). At the onset of the race, Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) made a laborious trip to the front after being parked out by Starlitestarbrite (Shawn McDonough) in :28.4. Then after taking his two-length lead past the half, Dartmouth Hall (John Cummings Jr.) initiated the outer flow and took Armed Dangerously (Jim Morrill Jr.) along with him. When the pair drew near Justgottogetthere before the three-quarter pole, Cummings elected to tuck Dartmouth Hall in behind the leader while Morrill urged Armed Dangerously to trot on. Morrill's decision ended the race because Armed Dangerously pulled away around the last turn and down the stretch to post a wrapped-up, three-length victory in 1:57.4. The winning time was a new lifetime mark. Justgottogetthere gallantly hung on for second and Force Nine (Ron Beback Jr.) closed to show. It was the seventh win in 21 starts this year for the 5-year-old Cash Hall horse and it drove his annual earnings up to $38,511 for owner Mike Torcello. Armed Dangerously is trained by Gerry Sarama. There were also two divisions of the CKG Billings amateur driver series on the docket. The first $4,500 division went to Windsong Destroyer ($16.40) driven by Richard Roach and the second $4,500 division went to Allpointsbulletin ($6.60) driven by Steve Oldford. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. piloted three winners on the night while Drew Monti registered a driving double. Morrill is currently the second ranked percentage driver in North America among all reinsmen starting at least 500 times this year. He is boasting a gaudy .403 UDR which is only .005 from the top spot. Racing resumes on Saturday night (Sept. 27) at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 scheduled post. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Vernon Downs held harness racing Finals in eight divisions of the New York Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night with purses totaling $360,000.   The 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings were first up and provided an 11-1 upset with Commissioner Daley (Conway Hall-Irish Washerwoman) storming through the stretch once he got into the clear and rolling right past Genius At Work late to win in a final time of 1:55.2.   Commissioner Daley is owned by Ann-Mari Daley of Lake Worth, Florida and Michael White of Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Dan Daley is the trainer-driver.   2-year-old trotting fillies were up next and, as opposed to the first of the eight Finals, this one went according to form as 3-5 favorite Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) took the lead in mid-stretch and held off a strong closing kick from Morcredit Bluechip to score a victory in 1:57.   Barn Girl is owned by Steven and Nancy Pratt of Corfu, New York. The trainer is Howard Okusko and she was driven to victory by Jeff Gregory on Saturday night.   Freshman trotting colts & geldings provided the most exciting stretch drive of the night as part of a 5-1 entry, Progression (Credit Winner-Ens Curious), came through an opening on the inside left when the favored Crazshana drifted out in the lane. Progression's final time was 1:57.4.   Progression is owned by Leigh Raymer, who also trains, of Delaware, Stephen Moss of Pennsylvania, Harold and Helane Solomon of New York. Mark MacDonald was the driver on Saturday night.   The sophomore pacing filly race was won in gate-to-wire fashion by Expose (Artiscape-Good News Lady). She took the lead immediately and never was headed again as she triumphed in 1:52.4   Expose is owned by Linwood Higgins of Scarborough, Maine and Stake Your Claim Stable of Seacaucus, New Jersey. Linda Toscano trains and Jim Morrill Jr. was the winning driver.   Archetto Hanover (Bettor's Delight-Arts Masterpiece) took the 3-year-old colt and gelding pace after rallying past the favored Murder He Wrote at the top of the stretch. He went on to win by a length in a final time of 1:51.4   Archetto Hanover is owned by Paymaq Racing of Illinois, Greg Gillis of Ontario, Canada, and Louis Willinger of Kentucky. The trainer is Erv Miller and the winning driver was Marcus Miller.   2-year-old pacing colts and geldings might have provided one of the more impressive wins of the night from Artistic Major (Art Major-Western Dancer). Artistic Major (Brent Holland) made the lead at the top of the stretch and powered away to win by four lengths in a time of 1:52.4.   Artistic Major is owned by David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio of Ohio and Steve Elliott of New Jersey. Steve Elliott doubles as the trainer.   Freshman pacing fillies followed that and Rock Me Gently (Rock N Roll Heaven-Cam Swifty) prevailed in what turned into a clustered finish with multiple horses ending up close together. The final time was 1:55.   Rock Me Gently is owned by Old Block Stables Inc. and Kenneth Klein of New York and The Fra Stable LLC of New Jersey. The trainer is Steve Elliott.   The final Final of the Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night was 3-year-old trotting fillies and the winner was Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) with Jim Morrill Jr. driving. She took the lead right away and cruised to an easy victory by nine lengths in a final time of 1:56.3   Dreamsteeler is owned by Andrew Herzog of Monticello, New York and Tracy Brainard is the trainer.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Thursday night with an 11-race program. Post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity

Batavia, NY---After watching the proceedings from last for a half, noted closer BZ Glide swooped the field for the third time in the last four weeks to take the featured $9,500 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 19). Even money post-time favorite Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) did what he does best and blasted to the front in :28 flat. But just as soon as he settled, Armed Dangerously (Jim Morrill Jr.) had pulled from fifth and was floating up the outside. As they passed the half in :57.1, Morrill's charge sputtered but the cavalry was right behind. Sack Full Of Gold (Michael Whelan) was rolling up the rim and Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) and BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) had tipped three-high and were barreling. Around the entire last turn, Lutetium, Justgottogetthere and BZ Glide were three deep from the rail out. But when they hit the head of the lane, BZ Glide became a man among boys and put away the competition under a hand-drive from Caprio. BZ Glide won by a length in 1:56.4 which was a seasonal mark for the Yankee Glide gelding and also matched his lifetime mark set last year. The winner returned $10.40. Justgottogetthere hung on for second and Serious George (Jack Flanigen) was third. It was the seventh win in 18 starts for BZ Glide and the victory topped off his 2014 bank at $52,105 for owner Mike Caprio. BZ Glide is trained by Alana Caprio. Driver Kevin Cummings scored another driving triple on the night while Jim Morrill Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. both tallied doubles. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 20) with a 6:35 post. Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - Post positions have been drawn for the 25th edition of the New York Night of Champions, hosted by Yonkers Raceway Saturday night. The $1.8 million event, richest night of harness racing in the state, offers eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals for 2-and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Once again, each race is sponsored by a prominent Empire State breeding farm. Some hot-off-the-overnight-sheet tidbits from each of the races, which go as races two through nine on the 13-race card ($10,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5, 50-cent base wager races 5 through 9)... Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Filly Trot (2nd race)-Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, head number 5, post 5) led the lasses with six wins in eight seasonal tries ($95,287) and 2-for-2 here, but was scratched sick from her last scheduled start. Pig Hunt (Brennan, HN 4, post 3) also won both of her local tries, while Concentration (Brian Sears, HN2, post 1) enters with three win in her last four work nights. All three lasses mentioned are daughters of Conway Hall. Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Pace (3rd race)-Spreester (Jason Bartlett, post 1) won both the division during the summer and the draw for the final. The Kimberley Zabielski-owned homebred daughter of American Ideal does seem to enjoy her craft, as in 6-for-14 this season ($134,330) and a career 14-for-24. It Was Fascination (Brett Miller, post 2) has been open stakes-placed, while Ken Doll J (Sears, post 4) authored a 40-1 upset in her latest at Batavia. Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace (4th race)-A three-headed Ron Burke-trained monster in Band of Angels (Brennan, HN 1, post 1), Sassa Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr., HN 1A, post 2) and Bettor N Better (Matt Kakaley, HN 1B, post 3) had the pills perform perfectly. They're a combined 16-for-21 this season-occupying the first three places in the standings-with earnings in excess of $330,000. "Angels" and "Sassa" are daughters of Rock N Roll Heaven, while "B n B" is a Bettor's Delight lass. Stirling Brook Farms 3-Year-Old Filly Trot (5th race)-Market Rally (Morrill Jr., HN 2A, post 6) was last season's statebred champ, and, after being sold to Burke and Associates, has continued her excellent form. The Cash Hall lass has run roughshod over her foes, winning six of her last seven tries...the only blemish being an early Batavia bobble. She's 5-for-5 here in her career, accounting for half of her career (10-for-21, $544,716) win resume. Morrisville College Equine Institute 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot (6th race)-Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer, post 6), a Cash Hall gelding, has rattled off three consecutive wins ($125,338). Crazy Wow (Dan Rawlings, post 1) needed a win here and some help to get the last place at the table, while Insomniac (Bartlett, post 8) also enjoyed a six-figure summer. Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace (7th race)-All Bets Off (Kakaley, HN 1A, post 6), with a pair of open-company wins (Art Rooney Pace, Milstein Memorial) on his holster, has hit the board in all 11 tries this season (8 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third, $530,425). Stay Up Late (Mark MacDonald, HN 5, post 5) has won his last couple of NYSS events, and could be best of others. Genesee Valley Farm 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace (8th race)-Any number of these have mastered freshman orientation, including points leader Southwind Masimo (Pat Lachance, post 1)-4-for-5 thus far-Americanprimetime (Tyler Buter, post 5) and Cartoon Daddy (Kakaley, post 6), who has won thrice in four Westchester effort. Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot (9th race)-Defending champ Flyhawk El Durado (MacDonald, HN 2, post 1), who enters with six wins in 13 '14 tries ($292,711), has won his last four versus statebreds. He features wild speed to take advantage of the pylons, while the gelding Gural Hanover (Morrill Jr., HN 1, post 2) is 8-for-10 ($274,413) has strung together seven (NYSS) wins in succession entering this race. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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