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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Sooner or later, Strong Hope is going to make believers out of the betting public. And after setting a new track record Friday night (April 22) in the $10,000 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway, at last he might get the well earned respect.   For the third straight race, Strong Hope was shunned at the betting windows and proved his doubters wrong once again with an impressive victory in 1:57.1 over the fast track. The time shattered the old standard of 1:58.1 for aged trotting colts (5+) set in 2014 by Armed Dangerously.   It was the third straight double digit win for Strong Hope who returned $11.80 for the comfortable 1-1/4 length victory over Northern Bullet. Strong Hope now has $17.40 and $53.50 win prices to his credit during his current streak.   And while Strong Hope continued his winning ways, so did driver Jim Morrill Jr.   He recorded another seven-bagger including a stretch of five in a row. Morrill Jr. now has posted 59 victories at Buffalo Raceway in 119 starts. It was the fourth time this season he has had seven wins on a card at the Hamburg half-mile oval. While flirting with the record, Kevin Cummings' mark of eight wins set on June 11, 2005 still stands.   In the feature, Lutetium set some wicked fractions of 28.1, 57.1 and 1:27.1 which was a perfect set up for the hard-charging Strong Hope.   Going first over past the half, Strong Hope (Ray Fisher Jr.) made steady progress toward the top and was in command at the top of the lane. Northern Bullet (Morrill Jr.) finished a non-threatening second while Lutetium (Todd Cummings) held on for third.   Owned and trained by Joe Agostino, it was the fourth win in 14 starts this season for the 9-year-old Strong Hope (Cr Excalibur-Spring Lane Joanie). The victory upped his 2016 winnings to $25,941 and $526,824 lifetime.   Trainer JD Perrin had three wins and Agostino two on the card. Ray Fisher Jr. doubled in the sulky.   Racing will continue on Saturday night with a 12-race card scheduled for 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, results, race replays and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Jim Morrill Jr. has been dominating Friday nights at Buffalo Raceway the past few weeks with seven wins on a card becoming a regular occurrence. Driver Billy Davis Jr. wanted to get in on the act and has taken over Wednesday evenings.   Making the weekly trip from Flamboro Downs, Davis Jr. is sure liking the Hamburg half-mile oval as he posted a seven-bagger, the first of his career, to highlight the Wednesday night action (April 20). He has now won 25 times in just 77 starts.   It's the fourth time in 2016 that a driver has seven wins on a program at Buffalo with Morrill Jr. doing it three times and Davis Jr. once. Kevin Cummings' record of eight still stands from June 11, 2005.   For Morrill Jr., he made the most of his one drive of the night as he drove the heavily-favored Dontch Remember ($4.80) to a nose victory over Fashion Katie in the $9,000 featured pace for the mares.   By guiding Dontch Remember to her third win of the campaign in a seasonal best 1:57.0, Morrill Jr. took over sole possession of first place in the driver's standings with 52 victories in just 108 starts. He'll have plenty of opportunity on Friday night to increase his margin as he is scheduled to drive in all 11 races.   It was a three-way battle to the top as Nutmegs Yankee, Mach This Way and Memumsnotnice all wanted command at the quarter pole. When the dust settled, Memumsnotnice came away with the lead and put of fractions of 28..0, 57.0 and 1:26.4. Those hot fractions proved to be costly in the end.   Dontch Remember, who wanted no part of the lead, and sat back in fourth. Going first over at the half and methodically cutting into the lead of Memumsnotnice, Dontch Remember finally gained control midway down the stretch.   It wasn't clear sailing, however, as Dontch Remember had to hold off the late rally of Fashion Katie (Drew Monti) and Nutmegs Yankee (Truman Gale) who finished second and third respectively.   Owned by Michael Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama, Dontch Remember (Western Terror-Dreamsicle) is a 6-year-old mare that has earned $15,300 this season and $144,413 lifetime.   Todd Cummings had a driving double while trainers Jim Graham, John Mungillo and JD Perrin each had two victories.   Racing will resume on Friday night at 5 p.m. with an 11-race card scheduled. There's a $1,884 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the fifth race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It was quite a night once again for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and he brought trainer JD Perrin along for the ride as the pair absolutely dominated the action on Friday night (April 15) at Buffalo Raceway.   Morrill Jr. put up another seven-bagger and amazingly moved into a first place tie in the driver's standings with 51 victories in just 107 starts. He tied the injured Jack Flanigen who also has 51 wins but in 263 tries. Morrill Jr. finished in the money in all 10 drives.   It was the third time this season Morrill Jr. has had a seven-win night at Buffalo Raceway. He accomplished it on March 3 and March 25 and also did it twice before on March 1, 2013 and February 15, 2006.   Kevin Cummings holds the all-time mark at the track with eight victories on June 11, 2005.   And for Perrin, the three-time defending training champion at the Hamburg half-mile oval, he extended his huge advantage in the standings with a five-win night. He holds a 47-26 lead over Maria Rice who conditioned a pair of winners.   The Morrill Jr.-Perrin combination won five times as Precise Accusation ($3.50), Leave Your Mark ($3.90), Aberarder Smitty ($2.60), Bruener ($7.00) and Herbie Is Gone ($7.80) all went to the winner's circle.   In the feature, Noble Legend literally caught a 'good break' and took Buffalo Raceway's $8,200 trot.   Kahoku had an unfortunate miscue which helped Noble Legend take the two-length victory over the favored Ali De Vie in 1:58.3 over the fast track.   The race around the final turn and into the stretch seemed to belong to the front-stepping Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) as he enjoyed a comfortable two-length advantage over Noble Legend. Things changed in a hurry however as Kahoku broke stride, allowing the pocket-sitting Noble Legend to take command and cruise home to the victory. Ali De Vie (Morrill Jr.) took second while Kahoku regrouped in time and managed to roll into the show position.   Owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Noble Legend (Kadabra-Lovin It) has now earned $17,854 in 2016 thanks to four wins in nine starts. The 4-year-old gelding is trained by Maria Rice.   Racing will continue on Saturday night with an 11-race program set to go to the post at 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Incredible! That's probably the best way to describe harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. and his current hot streak at Buffalo Raceway.   Morrill Jr. continued to make the Hamburg half-mile oval his personal playground as he notched a seven-bagger on Friday evening (March 25). It was the second time this season he has had a seven-win night. He accomplished the feat back on March 3. He's also done it at Buffalo Raceway twice before, on March 1, 2013 and February 15, 2006.   Kevin Cummings holds the all-time mark at the track with eight victories on June 11, 2005.   Morrill Jr. lost his chance to tie the record as his final ride of the night, Diditagain Hanover, was a late scratch in the 11th race.   In just 75 starts in 2016 at Buffalo Raceway, Morrill Jr. has 38 wins, putting him second in the driver's standings.   As far as the main event, the toughest part of Ali De Vie's race in the $8,200 trot on was getting the lead and that wasn't difficult. Once he gained control, it was smooth sailing to the finish line, winning his fourth straight race.   Ali De Vie ($3.40) and Morrill Jr. waited patiently for the front end to sort itself out and it proved to be the right strategy. The pair steamrolled to the top just before the opening quarter pole and were never challenged in the 1-3/4 length win over Kahoku in 2:00.1. It was the fourth consecutive week that Ali De Vie and Morrill Jr. have combined for a victory.   Setting fractions of 30.3, 1:00.3 and 1:30.2, Ali De Vie felt only minor pressure from Edom Up Blue Boy at the three-quarter pole but that fire was quickly extinguished. Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) took the second place spot with Im The Cash Man (Drew Monti) third.   Owned and trained by Marc Shuttleworth, Ali De Vie (Conway Hall-Excusez Moi) is a 6-year-old gelding that has now won five times in eight starts in 2016. His seasonal earnings jumped to $17,806 and $110,044 lifetime.   Jack Flanigen, Buffalo Raceway's leading driver, doubled and trainer Maria Rice had a pair of victories.   Racing will continue on Saturday night with a 12-race card slated for 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, results, race replays and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

The opening night card of the 2016 harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono saw some familiar trainers and drivers revisiting the winners circle, and the Holiday Road gelding Its Huw You Know capturing the featured $15,500 second race trot in 1:55.2.   Jim Morrill Jr., with a UDR of over .600 starting the season at Buffalo, completed a sweep of the Daily Double with Its Huw You Know, huw who, as opposed to his win in his last start at The Meadowlands where he came from behind, made a quarter-move to the top in front of the stands, stole a 30 second third quarter, then went on to win over My Love Bi (George Napolitano Jr.). For trainer Ron Burke, it was his sixth win of the day in Pennsylvania after capturing five at The Meadows in the afternoon, with his Burke Racing owning a piece of all six and main partners Weaver / Bruscemi also listed on five winners including this one.   The Morrill - George Napoiltano Jr. finish was a repeat of the season's curtainraiser, one of three $14,000 cofeatures, this one for high-end claiming handicap pacers. Forego The Cigar, coming from Northfield with a 6-3-3-0 recent tally, added a win at Pocono to that fine record when Morrill also used quarter-moving tactics with the Western Terror in defeating Cotton Eyed Joe ("GNap") in 1:52.4 for trainer Dale Loney and owner Amy Loney. (Not surprisingly for Pocono, the 1-2 finishers were claimed out of the race, at a track where Saturday night claims usually ran into the double digits the last couple years.)   The $14,000 conditioned actually went considerably fastest than the feature, as Zooming returned to the track where he took his 1:51 mark two years ago and won here for defending driver champion George Napoitano Jr., going 1:53.3 with the temperatures near 40 degrees. Zooming had to go the hard uncovered trip against pacesetting P L Houdini (guided by George's brother Anthony), but despite the rough journey the Classic Photo gelding had more than enough to get by for trainer Amber Buter and owners Steve Oldford, Gene Oldford Farms LLC, and Tyler Buter.   Eric Carlson completed a consecutive double when he drove Star Cover to a win 1:51 engine triumph in the other $14,000 feature, a high-level conditioned pace. The altered son of Royal Mattjesty had posted three seconds in as many recent starts between Woodbine and The Meadows, but he found the famous Pocono surface just the right answer for trainer Brewer Adams and Owner Joseph Trice.   Just as the fastest trotting time did not come in the biggest purse event, so too did the quickest pacing triumph come outside the twin features for that gait. UF Rockin Dragon, a Rocknroll Hanover gelding handled by Anthony Napolitano, lowered his lifetime mark to 1:50.2 in a $12,500 conditioned pace, with the engine score tacking on a 27.3 kicker to leave little doubt for trainer Mark Ford and owners Up Front Racing LLC.   Pocono races on a Saturday-Tuesday schedule in March, with 16 races slated for this Tuesday at 6:30. The mountain oval adds Sundays on April 3 (with a new Sunday starting time of 7:30), and Mondays on April 11th, racing these four days most of the 2016 campaign.   PHHA / Pocono

Ali De Vie sure must like the work of Buffalo Raceway track photographer Steve Roth. For the third straight Friday night, Ali De Vie (Jim Morrill Jr.) posed for pictures in the winner's circle for Roth by taking the $9,000 featured trot in a seasonal best 1:58.1 over the good harness racing track.   And while Ali De Vie ($8.30) isn't camera shy, he's not afraid of taking on stiffer competition each week either. He's stepped up in class the past three starts and showed that he's capable of handling the tougher tasks.   As expected, the speed ball Lutetium (Ron Beback Jr.) zoomed to the top from the outside. Ali De Vie managed to find a seat in fourth as Lutetium posted panels of 28.4, 58.3 and 1:28.2.   Starting a first over trip just past the half-mile marker, Ali De Vie steadily began to slice into the lead of Lutetium and nudged ahead in mid stretch to pull away for a half length win. Lutetium was a stubborn second while Carbon Footprint (Drew Monti) picked up the third place check.   In was the fourth win of the season for Ali De Vie (Conway Hall-Excusez Moi). The 6-year-old gelding has put $13,706 in the bank in 2016 and $105,944 lifetime. He is owned and trained by Marc Shuttleworth.   Morrill Jr. finished the evening with four victories while Todd Cummings added a double.   Racing will continue on Saturday night at 6 p.m. with an 11-race card scheduled.   Buffalo Raceway will host a qualifier on Saturday for the World Harness Handicapping Championships at The Meadowlands. The winner will get an entry into the WHHC on April 30th along with hotel accommodations for two nights and $500. Entry fee is $10 and participants must be a Hamburg Gaming Players Reward member, which is free to join.   For more information including the latest news, replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Cold Certified gave the field in the $9,000 featured trot at Buffalo Raceway the 'cold' shoulder in the stretch on Friday night (March 11) and romped to a convincing 2-3/4 length win over Winkys Pride in 1:59.1 over the good harness racing track.   Jim Morrill Jr., who guided Cold Certified to the victory, put on another driving clinic as he had a five-bagger, his 22nd win of the season at Buffalo Raceway in just 43 starts.   With a five-way battle for the lead right off the gate, Cold Certified managed to find a spot along the pylons and was in fourth while Winkys Pride (Drew Monti) and the parked Lutetium (Truman Gale) duked it out. The fractions were 29.0, 58.3 and 1:29.2 to the three-quarter marker.   Cold Certified swung out three-wide down the backstretch was gobbling up ground just before the final panel and had no issues in overpowering the helpless Winkys Pride in the stretch. Lucky Pablo (Jack Flanigen) managed to gain the third place position.   Co-owned by Paul and Ronald Louis Viele, Cold Certified (Kadabra-I Like Stephanie) has three victories in seven starts in 2016 and moved his seasonal earnings to $20,080 and $451,087 lifetime. Alex Giuliani trains the 7-year-old gelding.   Ray Fisher Jr. finished with a driving triple while Angelo Nappo had two training wins.   Racing will continue on Saturday night with a 6 p.m. post for the 12-race card.   For more information including the latest news, results, race replays and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

It wasn't a matter if Youwillwishyouhad was going to win at Buffalo Raceway, it was just a matter of when. Well, that elusive harness racing victory came about on Saturday night (March 5) as Youwillwishyouhad got the perfect trip and posted a 1-3/4 length decision over If It Rains in the $10,000 Open Pace. The winning time was 1:56.4 over the good track.   And while Youwillwishyouhad finally found the winner's circle, driver Jim Morrill Jr. has been making himself right at home there. He scored seven victories on the night and was in the money in all 11 races with two second place finishes and two thirds. Morrill Jr. now has an amazing 17 wins in 33 starts over a seven-day span at Buffalo Raceway.   Morrill Jr. has had seven wins on a program at Buffalo Raceway twice before. He did it on March 1, 2013 and February 15, 2006. Kevin Cummings holds the all-time mark at the track with eight wins on a card on June 11, 2005.   In the feature, after four second place finishes and a third in his last five tries in the Open Pace at the Hamburg half-mile oval, Youwillwishyouhad ($4.10) was more than primed for a winning effort and didn't disappoint as the even money choice.   LA Camcharger did the dirty work by cutting the fractions of 28.1, 57.1, and 1:27.0 while Youwillwishyouhad sat back and enjoyed the pocket sitting trip. In the stretch drive, driver David McNeight III dropped Youwillwishyouhad into the passing lane and cruised past the leg-weary LA Camcharger (Ron Beback Jr.) who finished in third.   If It Rains (Morrill Jr.) showed some late kick to take second place but was never a serious threat to the wire.   With his first victory of the 2016 campaign, Youwillwishyouhad (Artiscape-Dawn's Ideal) has now been in the money in seven of eight starts this year, earning $18,200. It jacked the 5-year-old gelding's lifetime bankroll to $160,260. He is co-owned by Mark Jakubik and Tessa Roland and trained by JD Perrin, who had conditioned two winners.   Racing will continue at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night with an 11-race card set for 5 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, upcoming promotions and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

It's the best card thus far of the 2016 season from top to bottom at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (Feb. 27) as the 12-race harness racing program will carry $116,500 in purse money.   The featured race is the $24,000 finals of the popular Niatross Knockout Claiming Series along with the $10,000 consolation event. Bolstering the program will be the highly competitive $10,000 Open Pace as well.   The evening will mark the return of Jim Morrill Jr. as he begins his 2016 campaign. It's safe to say he's not easing into the year as he is slated to drive in 11 of 12 races. Morrill Jr. won 264 races last year and more than $5.4 million in purses.   Also appearing at the Hamburg half-mile oval will be driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. who sits eighth place nationally in victories this year with 65. He was fourth in 2015 with 663.   After three consecutive weeks of eliminations, the Niatross finale has eight combatants ready to go at it for the title which is scheduled for the eighth race.   Mach It Paid (Jim McNeight) is the 5-2 morning line favorite starting from the four post. He has finished either first or second in all six starts in 2016.   Flashy Trick drew the rail with current Buffalo Raceway leading driver David McNeight III and has been installed at 7-2. The 7-year-old gelding has won two legs in the series including a wire-to-wire trip in 1:58 last week in the semi-finals.   Beechwood Wayne rides a two-race win streak but has the seven post with Drew Monti slated to be in the bike at 5-1.   Others in the race include Midas Blue Chip (Truman Gale), Delightful Caitlin (Ron Beback Jr.), Tymal Torch (Ray Fisher Jr.), M G Jade (Morrill Jr.) and First Of Fun (Aldrich Jr.).   The consolation race has Aberarder Smitty drawing the rail at 5-2 with Morrill Jr. Aberarder Smitty took a four-race win streak into last week's semi-finals but finished fifth, thus was relegated to the consolation.   The Open Pace looks to be a wide-open affair with three horses coming in on torrid streaks. Cobble Beach has been victorious in three of his four 2016 starts and was assigned the eight post with McNeight III aboard.   Western Alumni (Jim McNeight) arrives on a two-race win streak including last week's Open while Youwillwishyouhad has been a runner up the past two weeks at this level, losing by a neck each time.   And now throw the dangerous China Dream into the mix. He has a win, second and a pair of third place finishes in his last four appearances in the Open. It's a perfect recipe for a interesting contest which is set for the fifth race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

WILKES-BARRE PA -- Bigtown Hero and harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. used well-timed sweeping tactics to notch a 1:50.1 triumph despite near-freezing temperatures in the $30,000 Open pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night.   Morrill laid off a fiercely-contested front end with the American Ideal gelding, then made a big three-wide move nearing the final turn to swoop to the lead midturn and open up an insurmountable advantage. Still the world record holder for older pacing geldings on an "f" track by virtue of a 1:47.3 triumph here last year, Bigtown Hero is trained by Rene Allard for Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin.   R Gauwitz Hanover claimed for the 13th straight time   In other news, R Gauwitz Hanover, perhaps the most popular claiming pacer of all-time, changed hands after his 13th straight race when the Verrazano Stables LLC put up the $25,000 price to take ownership from Rene Allard. For owner/trainer Allard Saturday, R Gauwitz Hanover won for the 10th time in his last 11 races, moving to the lead after the quarter for driver George Napolitano Jr. and winning in 1:51.1 to give Allard two feature wins.   Here's a summary of the remarkable last four months for R Gauwitz Hanover. And though he keeps changing homes, one thing has remained fairly constant -- since July 25, George Napolitano Jr. has been tapped to drive every week.   Trainer Rene Allard had five wins and driver George Napolitano Jr. had four wins   Attribution: PHHA / Pocono

The marquee event at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 3) was the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. But harness racing history and outstanding performances in other races combined to provided a show that those in attendance won't soon forget. In the main event, Atta Boy Dan led at every post en route to a three-length victory in the 13th annual Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. Off the gate, Atta Boy Dan (Jim Morrill Jr.) rebuffed early challenges from Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) and Doctor Butch (Jim Marohn Jr.) and seated them both past the eighth pole. Then after the field followed in single file to a :27.4 quarter, Morrill backed off the half to :56.3 and took full control of the race. Royal Heart (Drew Monti) started an outer flow into the clubhouse turn and had Aslan (Sean McDonough) in tow, but no one got closer than two-lengths before they hit the head of the stretch. From there, Fireyourguns pulled the pocket for one last shot but Atta Boy Dan, pacing his last quarter in :27.4, was just too good and pulled away to an easy win in 1:52.1. Fireyourguns hung on to be second and Aslan came up to be third. "I had a smooth journey to the half and as soon as I called on him, he was on cruise right to the wire. That was a good horse (Fireyourguns) sitting on my back and I was a little worried about him, but mine felt pretty good too. I wish I could have a Burke horse off the rail every year in this race" said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr. It was the sixteenth victory of the year for Atta Boy Dan ($2.30) and the winner's share boosted his earning to $222,757 in 2015 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. Atta Boy Dan was just part of the story for Jim Morrill Jr. on Saturday night as he won seven races out of the 11 he had on the card. Combine those with a second and third he also had and Morrill posted an amazing .717 UDR for the evening. The all-time pacing track record of 1:51.1 was not broken in the race; however trotting history was made instead. Lutetium got back to his front-running comfort zone and destroyed the field in the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot. In a late driver change, John Cummings Jr. was tapped to steer Lutetium and wasted no time earning his keep. When prohibitive betting favorite, Tall Cotton made a break in the first turn, Cummings rushed Lutetium away and opened up a gap of as much as 15 lengths between himself and the rest of the field through fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:25.1 before scooting home to a six-length victory in 1:55.2. The winning time broke the existing track record of 1:56 for aged trotting geldings that was co-held by Lutetium and Second Hand News, both who set that mark in 2014. "They said he hasn't been leaving well lately, so I scored him down fast. Once he got the front in the race; the more I grabbed him, the more he went on. I was a passenger" said Cummings Jr. It was the ninth win of the year for Lutetium and it pushed his bank account to $68,886 for owner Colleen Girdlestone and trainer Mark Laidlaw. Overlooked at 10-1, Lutetium returned $22.60. This was just one of three wins for John Cummings Jr., who scored the hat trick on the night. There were also two, $50,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolation events on the card for 2-year-old colts and geldings and also fillies. The boy's division was won by Southern Palms (RC Royalty-Pacific Elegance) in 1:59.2. The post-time favorite went wire to wire and won by four-lengths. It was the first career win for Southern Palms ($4.40) who is trained by Erv Miller for owners Ronald Michelon and Anthony Lombardi. After the race, winning driver Jim Marohn Jr. said "Erv (Miller) tipped me off that he was a handful tonight; and he was!" The distaff leg went to Royal Surprise (RC Royalty-Miss Conway), also in 1:59.2. After getting away fourth, the filly tipped three-deep at three-quarters and pulled away to a two-length win. It was also the first career win for Royal Surprise ($6.50) who is trained by Dan Daley for owners Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford, Richard Lombardo and Michael White. "She was good the whole mile and when I asked her, she just trotted away. She was good tonight" said winning driver Jim Morrill Jr. There was a huge crowd on hand Saturday night and the fans both in the stands and watching remotely, were putting some money through the windows. The total handle was up 15% this year, versus Kane night of 2014. The Paddock Room and enclosed grandstand were very crowded and the clubhouse was sold out once again. There were so many people in line to receive their free Kane Pace t-shirt, it took over two races to distribute the goods. Racing will reconvene at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 7) for a 12-race program that will commence at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

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

Joe Larry N Curly (Roll With Joe) broke the track record for harness racing two year old pacers on Thursday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Mark Harder-trained freshman colt was the public's overwhelming betting favorite in the $73,712 New York Sire Stake race on a beautiful afternoon in the Spa City. Jim Morrill Jr. piloted the two year old pacing star and moved him to the lead going to the opening quarter. Only briefly confronted in the mile, Joe Larry N Curly was confidently piloted and well in hand at the wire while a measured one length winner in 1:53.1. The win time bested the previous mark of 1:53.3 for a freshman pacing colt set by Heston Blue Chip on the Night of Champions at Saratoga in 2011. The victory moved Joe Larry N Curly's record to five for eight in the win column for the breakout freshman star of the NY Sire Stakes who will head into next week's Night of Champions as one ofthe favorites. Harder won the other $73,712 division of the NYSS as well as his Autotune Hanover (Art Major) cruised to victory in 1:54.2 with Tyler Buter at the lines. For Autotune Hanover, it was the fourth win in eight tries on the season. Live racing continues on Friday night with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella    

Linda Toscano trainees Cut and Paste ($2.10) and Soft Idea ($2.40) both achieved early leads and never looked back in their respective $31,894 Reynolds Stake divisions for 2-year-old pacing fillies on Thursday (September 10) evening at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs, while Katies Rocker ($2.20, part of entry) was king among five 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings in their lone $64,788 dash.   The first division for pacing fillies, contested as race 3, saw Cut and Paste work clear of Twice an Angel (Matt Kakaley) in the initial stages, controlling the terms throughout her 1:54.3 triumph.   Jim Marohn, Jr. comfortably rated sectionals of :28.1, :57.4, and 1:26.2 with the daughter of Well Said, and Cut and Paste responded immediately to the late challenge of Twice and Angel to prevail by 1-1/2 lengths.   In the second division, carded as race 5, Soft Idea settled off early pacesetters JK Fannie (Kakaley) and Wine Snob (Mike Simons), drafting through a :28.1 initial quarter before brushing to the fore upon entering the home straight on the first occasion.   Once clear on the lead, Jim Morrill, Jr. rated a :57 middle half with the American Ideal filly.   Off the far turn, Soft Idea dug in to repel dual challengers JK Fannie and Wine Snob, both of which closed in from either side in a dead heat for second, three-quarters of a length behind the odds-on winner.   While pupils of Toscano took both filly divisions of the Reynolds, a Jim Campbell trainee prevailed in the lone split for colts and geldings.   Katies Rocker worked clear of his four rivals with no trouble at all, sprinting off through a :27.3 initial quarter before Simon Allard rated a :31 breather to race's midpoint.   On the backstretch, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding was nudged along by his entrymate Show the Fashion (Kakaley), but Katies Rocker proved far superior in the end.   The Fashion Farms homebred edged clear by 1-1/2 lengths, using a :55.1 back half mile to cap a 1:53.4 victory over Safensound Hanover (Morrill), who gave chase from the pocket once clear in the final sixteenth.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (September 11) evening, with the first of 13 races due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

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

Fifteen 2-year-old pacers--ten fillies, five colts and geldings--will vie for over $128,000 in purses as they contest their Reynolds Stake divisions on Thursday (September 10) evening at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs.   New York Sire Stakes standout Soft Idea has been installed the 4-5 morning line favourite in the $31,894 second division for pacing fillies, carded as the fifth race on the 11-dash program.   The daughter of American Ideal and Walk Softly has amassed over $128,000 so far in her career, winning five of seven races on the Sire Stakes circuit.   Jim Morrill, Jr. handles the driving duties for trainer Linda Toscano.   Another Toscano trainee has been made the morning line choice in the earlier $31,894 split for fillies (race 3), with Cut and Paste installed at 7-5 off her 1:53.3 maiden-breaking win at Pocono.   Jim Marohn, Jr. will drive the daughter of Well Said and On the Arm.   Of the quintet of pacing colts and geldings to contest their lone $64,788 Reynolds event (race 7), the Jim Campbell-trained entry of Show the Fashion and Katies Rocker have been made the 6-5 morning line favourite.   Katies Rocker, a two-time winner, comes off a 1:53.1 victory at Pocono after earning minor checks in the New Jersey Sire Stakes and the Geers Stake   Simon Allard is slated to drive the son of Rocknroll Hanover and Just Wait Kate.   Show the Fashion likewise ships in from Pocono, breaking maiden in 1:54.3 in his most recent effort.   Matt Kakaley will handle the lines of the son of Well Said and Show and Tell.   The first of 11 races on the season's antepenultimate program is due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

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