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Batavia, NY---It was bombs-away at Batavia Downs Sunday (Aug. 31) when the heavily favored Major Dancer came up just short at the wire as 40-1 Ken Doll J pulled the surprise in a $39,900 division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Off the gate Sweetnsinful (Jimmy Whittemore) took an uncontested lead around the turn and up the backside before the 1-2 Major Dancer (Jonathan Drury) rushed and took over the top as they hit the quarter in :27.1. After a pedestrian second split of :30.1, Table Talk (Jim Morrill Jr.) started the outer flow and Ken Doll J (Aaron Byron) followed in swift fashion. Feeling the heat, Drury stepped on the gas and tried to pull away to the three-quarters with a :28 flat third panel. But the strategy was ineffective as the chasing pair continued to make up ground through the turn and into the stretch. From that point on it was a real horse race with a tiring Major Dancer coming back to Table Talk, who was outside of her and Ken Doll J, who was three-wide. When they hit the wire, Ken Doll J just got up in the final stride to win in 1:54 and light up the board. The winner paid $83.00. Table Talk was second and Major Dancer hung on to be third. This was the second win of the year for Ken Doll J (Bettor's Delight-Normajeankillean) and also a seasonal mark. The victory brought her earnings up to $74,882 for owner Ken Jacobs. Ken Doll J is trained by Linda Toscano. After the race, Byron said "Everything just worked out. I got a great trip and I didn't really have to do much to half. The filly was real good down the lane." In the first $39,900 division, Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) was the beneficiary of a patient steer and came away with a three-quarter length victory as a result. Up Front Elizabeth (Mark MacDonald) flew off the wings and led the field through a quick and gapped :27 quarter in post-position order. The story remained the same to the half in :56.3 when Carlota Blue Chip (Jack Flanigen) pulled and tried to apply some heat. She was only able to get up to third on the outside before stalling with two other horses behind her at the three-quarters in 1:25. When the outer flow faded around the last turn it allowed the rail-riding Barefoot Beauty (Jimmy Whittemore) to come off the pylons and that in turn left a spot for Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) to shoot up inside. At the head of the stretch, the bearing-out Up Front Elizabeth was in the middle with Barefoot Beauty to her right and Just Add Vodka to her left. The three battled to the wire with Just Add Vodka getting the advantage at the end to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2. Barefoot Beauty was second and Up Front Elizabeth was third. It was the third win of the year for the Julie Miller trained filly that also happened to be a new lifetime mark. The victory boosted the seasonal earnings of Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) to $94,233 for owners Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Steven Demeter, Herbert Burns III and Nahuel Agosti. Morrill praised both the horse and trainer saying "I can't believe how much better she was today. Julie did a great job getting her ready." In the second $39,200 split, Spreester (Jason Bartlett) made quick work of a short field and two breaking horses to register a five-length romp in the fastest of the three divisions. As the field went into the first turn, Delightful Dragon (Mark MacDonald) made an uncharacteristic break and watched as the rest of the field pulled away. Sky Artist (Kevin Cummings) was on the point but Medusa (Aaron Byron) was pushing the issue outside at the quarter in :26.4. But Medusa appeared to get foul-gaited and Byron took her back to the wood fourth. Then Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from second to challenge but also made a break before the half in :56.1. So with two of the three favorite guilty of miscues, Spreester, who had been sitting second through it all, pulled past the five-eighths, circled and cleared the leader before they hit the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. When she got back to the pylons, Bartlett popped the plugs and became a passenger as Spreester shifted gears and simply paced away from everybody. She hit the wire a five-length wrapped-up winner in 1:53.3. The winner paid $5.60 to her supporters. Delightful Dragon recovered from the early break to be second and Sky Artist hung on for third. This was the sixth win in 14 starts for Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) and the Paul Zabielski trained filly topped off her bank at $134,680. Spreester is owned by Kimberly Zabielski. Bartlett commented "I really didn't want to sit in the two-hole but they kept blowing up around me. She just exploded down the lane." The results of today's NYSS contests were important in the point's standings leading into the Night of Champions finals. Spreester took over the top spot, Just Add Vodka moved from fifth to third and Ken Doll J vaulted herself from twelfth to seventh. There was also an Excelsior leg contested and was won by Expose who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:56.3. The winner paid $6.80. Expose is trained by Linda Toscano and is owned by Linwood Higgins, Stake Your Claim Stable, Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered a four-win afternoon and Mark MacDonald scored a double. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Sept. 1) with a special Labor Day matinee card slated to start at 1:15. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---On Sunday afternoon (Aug. 31) the New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old pacing fillies come to town to compete for their cut of $119,000 in purses. The group is highlighted by Major Dancer (Art Major-Two Steppin' Sally), who is currently the fourth highest money earning 3-year-old pacing filly in North America with $201,644 in the bank. She is a seven-time winner in twelve attempts and has only finished out of the money once this year. She won the $46,248 Town Pro stake at Mohawk Raceway earlier this year in her lifetime best time of 1:51.2 as well as an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in 1:51.4. She finished second in the $244,875 final to Precocious Beauty in a 1:51.1 mile. Major Dancer will be driven by Jonathan Drury for trainer Casie Coleman. She is listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the third $39,900 NYSS division carded as the eighth race that also features A La Notte Hanover driven by Matt Kakaley and Table Talk with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines. A La Notte Hanover (Art Major-All Night Long) starts for the powerful Ron Burke stable and is a two-time winner in 2014. She won her last outing at Yonkers in NYSS action with an impressive 1:55 wire-to-wire victory that brought her bankroll up to $87,733 for the year. She also competed in the Empire Breeders Classic and finished close despite having a lot of traffic to deal with in both of those races. Table Talk (Bettor's Delight-Place At The Table) took an early seasons mark of 1:51.4 at Mohawk and has competed in the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stake and $212,150 Mistletoe Shallee where she paced back-to-back 1:49 miles for driver Tim Tetrick. She has been plagued with some bad posts and a breaking issue of late but looks to be in a good spot here for trainer Brad Dalious. In the first $39,900 division carded as the fourth race, Ron Burke and Julie Miller have the one-two punch going to post. Burke sends out Jaded Dream and Miller counters with Just Add Vodka. Jaded Dream (If I Can Dream-Jaded Gal) put forth a handy effort at Yonkers in her last, winning a NYSS leg there in 1:54.4. It was a welcome sight after a series of poor post draws and the resulting tough trips. She has three wins in 13 starts and $62,586 in the bank. Matt Kakaley is back in the bike behind her for the first time since June 18. Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) only has two wins this year but has been consistently in the money; 13 out of 16 starts and that made her $74,283 for the year. Her mark of 1:55.3 was at Monticello but she has paced considerably faster than that in defeat on several occasions. Jim Morrill Jr. who has driven her several times over the summer gets the assignment. The second $39,200 division which goes as the seventh race has three very tough competitors going post-ward and looks to be the most closely contested event. It features the first, second and fourth leading points leaders for this sex and gait in the NYSS this year. Blush Hanover (Art Major-Brissonte Hanover) currently tops the leader board and comes into this race sporting five 2014 wins for trainer Linda Toscano. She finished a strong third in the Empire Breeders Classic final after a very rough parked-out trip. She has a 1:52 mark at the Meadowlands and has only failed to hit the board once out of 14 starts this year. Her $168,831 in earnings is tops in this field and she looks to add to that total in here with Jim Morrill Jr. at the helm. Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) is second in points despite also having recorded five victories. This filly can race on the front or from behind and that versatility makes her a formidable foe. Her $115,080 in earnings is also second highest in the field and driver Jason Bartlett who has driven this filly twice before with winning outcomes, opted to driver her today for trainer Paul Zabielski after having been down to steer two horses in this same race. Medusa (Bettor's Delight-Mythical) ranks fourth in points among the group but is not that far behind the leaders. She has seven wins in 14 starts and $102,723 stashed away. The Paul Kelley trainee has a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs and also had two good efforts in the Empire Breeders Classic races. Tioga Downs regular Aaron Byron gets the drive tonight from Tim Tetrick who had been at the lines for her last three starts. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. Batavia Downs also has a special Labor Day matinee 12-race card on tap for Monday (Sept. 1) with a 1:15 post. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---There was a lot of harness racing action on Wednesday night (Aug. 27) at Batavia Downs and as the New York Sire Stakes headlined the racing, both man and beast were in top form. The Ron Burke trained Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) re-wrote the record books when she toured the facility in a blistering 1:54.2, erasing the old mark of 1:54.4 for a 2-year-old pacing filly set by Barefoot Beauty just last year. This was the fourth track record set at Batavia Downs in 2014. Jim Morrill Jr. left the gate with Sassa Hanover from post five in the $35,867 division and dropped in third behind the early leader Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) and the pocket sitting Yes You Can (Mike Whelan). But when they headed up the backside for the first time, Morrill quickly came out and overtook the leader by the quarter in :28.1 and at that point, the race was over. Sassa Hanover got to the half in :57.1 and the three-quarters in 1:26.2 and from there her only adversary was the clock. Morrill popped the plugs past the last station and the slick-gaited filly paced her hips off down the lane in a :28 flat last quarter and the record breaking final time of 1:54.2. Sassa Hanover paid $2.10 for the win. Devil Child (American Ideal-Kattimon) was second and Yes You Can (If I Can Dream-Cantbuymehappiness) was third. This was the fifth win in six starts for Sassa Hanover and it boosted her bank account to $125,992 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, The Panhellenic Stable Corp, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Lawrence Karr. In the first $35,167 division, Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover) made it two in a row for trainer Paul Jessop and driver Jim Morrill Jr. but not without a tenuous ending. My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) left swiftly in the four horse field and spearheaded fractions of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:28.4. But the action picked up at the three-quarters when Pop The Tags (Brent Holland) came with a rush to challenge the front running filly around the turn and down the stretch. However when the rail opened up as the group straightened out, Mosquito Blue Chip buzzed through the gap and nipped the leader at the wire by a half-length in 1:56.3. The heavy 2-5 favorite returned $2.80 for the win. My Little Delight (Bettor's Delight-My Little Dragon) was second and Pop The Tags (Bettor's Delight-Breathe) was third. It was the second win in seven starts for Mosquito Blue Chip, pushing her annual income to $101,302 for owners Our Three Sons Stable LLC, Donato Falchicchio and Paul Jessop. The final $35,867 division was as good as it could be for Bettor N Better (Bettor's Delight-Vanite Semalu) as she won easily in her preferred front-running style. This was the second NYSS win on the night for trainer Ron Burke and the third for driver Jim Morrill Jr. Off the wings, One Hot Majorette (Mike Saftic) flew right to the front from post six and crossed over by the eighth pole. Jim Morrill Jr. played give-and-go with Bettor N Better off the rail and retook the front as soon as they straightened out up the backside. But Heavenly Bride (Mark MacDonald) was immediately at her again and established the third lead change as they passed the quarter in :29. Morrill, not content to sit in second, once again pulled Bettor N Better at the top of the stretch and retook the lead once more before they hit the half in :58. From there the race was Bettor N Better's to be won. She took the group to the three-quarters in 1:27.4 before On Hot Majorette came back for one more challenge. That was quickly rebuffed and Bettor N Better paced away down the stretch to a length and a half victory in 1:56. The winner returned $2.10. Heavenly Bride (Rock N Roll Heaven-Native Bride) was second and Heavens Legacy (Rock N Roll Heaven-Unique Legacy) was third. That was the fourth win in six starts for Bettor N Better and pushed her earnings to $117,125 for owners Our Horse Sense Stable and Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Jim Morrill Jr. put on a driving clinic, scoring five wins and three seconds on the night. He was employing incremental positioning in many races where he made several moves within the mile to improve his horse's location during the race and the strategy was paying off. Morrill is the leading NYSS driver this year and has been annually for some time. In 2014, horses he drove have won 41 NYSS races and earned in excess of $1.6 million in those contests. After the races, Morrill spoke glowingly of all his charges. "Sassa Hanover is a very, very nice filly. She didn't really get over the track that well tonight but we got the job done anyway. She will definitely be one to beat in the final at Yonkers. Mosquito Blue Chip drew well and then had the race set up perfect for her. When the rail opened up, she sprinted to wire and got across. And Bettor N Better is just a sweet heart, but she is very professional too. We were on cruise control the entire mile." There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card that offered a total of $36,000 in purses. The first $12,600 division was won by Moremercy Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mercy Mercy Mercy) who is trained by Julie Miller and was driven by Chris Lems. The winner paid $4.70. Moremercy Blue Chip is owned by the Andy Miller Stable and the Pinske Stable. The second $12,600 leg was won by Rock My world (Rock N Roll Heaven-Love The Game) who is trained by Ed Hart and was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. She returned $4.20 for the win. Rock My world is owned by Jeffrey Snyder. The third $12,700 split went to Hey Kobe (Bettor's Delight-American West) who is trained by Jean Drolet and was driven by John Plutino. The victor returned $8.10. Hey Kobe is owned by Stephen Schneider, William Siegel and Marthe Drolet. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 29) with post time set at 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---In the sixth of eight New York Sire Stakes visits for 2014, three divisions of first-year female pacers go postward on Wednesday night (Aug. 25) in pursuit of $106,901 in purses. Races one, four and eight will feature the best distaff side-wheelers bred in the state. The track record of 1:54.4 set by Barefoot Beauty in 2013 definitely has a target on it as many of the entrants are more than capable of a similar mile and will be taking a big shot. In the first race, Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover) is coming off three sharp efforts, and most recently got her first lifetime win in 1:55 at Yonkers last week. She hasn't missed a purse check all year and that has made her the top money winner in the race with $83,718. The Paul Jessop trained filly will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. The royally-bred My Little Delight (Bettor's Delight-My Little Dragon) scored a lifetime mark at Vernon Downs two starts back in 1:52.3 and came up just a head short to Mosquito Blue Chip last week. Mark MacDonald gets the nod from trainer Noel Daley for the Third Straight week and MacDonald has been on fire in each of his Batavia visits this year. The outside post in the short field should have no effect on this talented 2-year-old. Pop The Tags (Bettor's Delight-Breathe) steps back up to NYSS action after winning three in a row in Excelsior action. She has one start in the top series this year but with disappointing results. But Pop The Tags is in a good spot here to utilize her front running speed for driver Brent Holland who was at the lines in her last three efforts for trainer Erv Miller. The fourth race features the 2-5 heavy favorite Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mango Hanover) from the powerful Ron Burke Stable. After reeling off four consecutive wire to wire NYSS wins that includes her lifetime mark of 1:52.2 at Vernon, Sassa Hanover, who is currently second in the point's standings, came up just a nose short to Mosquito Blue Chip in her last start at Yonkers. Her $108,085 in earnings and four victories for the year surpasses her competitor's combined totals for each category and she looks to add to those numbers tonight. Jim Morrill Jr., who last sat behind her in a 1:56.3 win at Monticello Raceway on July 4, takes the lines from Yannick Gingras this week. Devil Child (American Ideal-Kattimon) has yet to win a NYSS race but missed doing so twice this year by a combined total of only one and three-quarters lengths. After scoring an easy win at Vernon in an overnight last week, she may just be brave enough now to track Sassa Hanover from the rail and have the best shot of challenging her in the lane. Jimmy Whittemore is up for trainer Homer Hochstetler. The third division in the eighth race has another Ron Burke pupil pegged as the 4-5 morning line choice. Bettor N Better (Bettor's Delight-Vanite Semalu) has three wins and two seconds in five lifetime starts, all of which were NYSS events. Her lifetime mark is a 1:55 effort at Saratoga but she just got beat at Vernon in a 1:52.3 clocking over the big track. She seems to thrive on the front end and tonight from the rail with Jim Morrill Jr. aboard, she seems to be set up for success. Our Hot Majorette (Art Major-She's So Hot) raced off a two-week layoff last week at Yonkers and managed to show well. But to see what this filly is really capable of you must look at her effort on July 22, also at Yonkers. She followed the top New York 2-year-old filly Band Of Angels, and just missed winning. She finished second, beaten only half a length in 1:54.4, last quarter in :26.4. If she is able to regain that form in here, the favorite could be beaten. Mike Saftic makes a very rare Batavia Downs appearance on the call from trainer Eric Adams. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series on the card going for a total of $38,000. They are programmed as races seven, nine and ten. Post time for Batavia Downs Wednesday night races is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 25, 2014 - Yonkers Raceway Monday night hosted the $197,500 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Four divisions comprised the event. Division leader Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $3.10) did nothing to diminish her standing, winning the $49,150 third division in 1:58.4...by far the night's fastest. Racing second-up from post position No. 4, she went up and over a last-turn bolting Nunkeri (Mark MacDonald), beating that one by three-quarters of a length. Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) was a best-of-the-rest third. The effort was just two ticks off the track record (Some Girls, 2010) for this division. "She's just a professional and she enjoys what she does," Gregory said. "Mark's filly looked like she wanted to go home early, but nothing seems to bother (Barn Doll). For Barn Doll, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her sixth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $6.30, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $12.20. Driver George Brennan doubled his pleasure in the first two ($49,150 each) sire stakes events, with odds-on Pig Hunt ($2.50) in 2:01, and second choice Counsellor AS ($5.80) in 2:00.3 The former, a Conway Hall miss, controlled from the pole, defeated pocket-sitting Zanna Blue (Gates Brunet) by three-quarters of a length. Summer Scent (Dan Daley) was third. For Pig Hunt, co-owned by (trainer) Jennifer and Janice Connor, she's now 4-for-7 this season. The exacta (two wagering faves in order) paid $8.20, with the triple returning $28.40. "The best thing about her? She trots," Brennan said. "I was able to back it down enough (1:31.3 three-quarters) to make sure she had something late." Both Barn Doll and Pig Hunt are 2-for-2 locally in NYSS competition. Counsellor AS, second-up from post No. 4, went right by even-money Miss B'ville J (Morrill Jr.), drawing out to win by a couple of lengths. Make it Blue Chip (Ray Schnittker) was third. For "Counsellor," a Conway Hall homebred miss owned Acl Stuteri Ab and trained by Annette Lorentzon, it was her third win in eight '14 tries. The exacta paid $14.40, with the triple returning $30.40. "She's learning," Brennan said. "I think she'd have won the last time, but I drove her off her feet." The evening's final ($50,050) sire stakes event went to down-the-road favorite Concentration (Sears, $4.30)-from post No. 4--in 1:59.3. The margin was a length-and-three-quarters over, Duolectra (Brennan), who skimmed to cones to grab second at 28-1. Shaqline (Jimmy Takter) was third. For Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall owned by Raymond Campbell and trained by George Ducharme, she's 3-for-7 in her first season. The exacta paid $88.50, with the triple returning $332.50. A special Monday shoutout to the veteran Wholly Louy, whose win in the $21,000, 10th-race pace made him harness racing's newest millionaire (66-for-220, $1,000,063). 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  

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. was the star of the evening on Friday night at Vernon Downs. He won with six of his nine drives on the 12-race program.   One of those wins was with Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing) in the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The win was the seventh consecutive Sire Stakes win for Gural Hanover. Gural Hanover actually sat second behind Wild And Crazy Guy (John Macdonald) through the opening quarter of 27.4 seconds.   As the field moved into the backstretch, however, Gural Hanover powered to the lead and never looked back. He dominated the remainder of the race and eventually moved away with authority in the stretch to win by four lengths.   The rest of the fractional times were 56.4 for the half, 1:25.3 for three-quarters, and a final time of 1:53.3. Wild And Crazy Guy tracked Gural Hanover after being passed, but could never again mount a serious threat. The complete order of finish for the second division of the New York Sire Stakes was: Gural Hanover, Wild And Crazy Guy, Zoey De Vie, Karets, and Hallanet.   Gural Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Little E LLC and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York. The trainer is Ron Burke.   The first division of the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for the sophomore trotters actually produced a better final time of 1:52.4.   The winner was Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Gal), driven by Mark MacDonald. The race was similarly run to the second division, as Royal Max (John Macdonald) led through the opening quarter of 26.4 before Flyhawk El Durado moved past and led the rest of the way.   The half was 56.1 seconds and three-quarters went by in 1:24.3. The complete order of finish for this division of the New York Sire Stakes was Flyhawk El Durado, Royal Max, Expressive Action, Daley Lovin, Mister Anson, and Lukas Hall.   Flyhawk El Durado is owned by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York and trained by Mark Ford.   The dominant man of the evening, though, was Morrill. He started the evening off right, winning with his first two drives, Winbak Glory in the second and Morning Joe in the third.   He didn't return to the Winner's Circle until the seventh race with Genius At Work in the first division of the New York Excelsior "A" Series.   The score with Gural Hanover in the ninth followed. That was part of a natural hat trick of wins for Morrill to wrap up his night. He won with Engagedatlexington in the tenth and Flaming Yankee in the eleventh. Morrill also finished second twice on the night, with Omnipotent in the fifth and Crazzycrazzy in the eighth.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Saturday night with a 12-race program. First post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

3-year-old trotting colts take the spotlight at Vernon Downs on Friday night as the New York Sire Stakes return with two strong divisions as part of the 12-race harness racing program.   The first division is carded as the sixth race with a purse of $59,100, featuring a field of six. The 9-5 morning line favorite is Flyhawk El Durado, owned by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York. Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Gal) is currently working a three-race win streak entering Friday night. All of those wins have been in New York Sire Stakes races, two coming at Yonkers and one at Batavia.   The colt will be driven by Mark MacDonald and is trained by Mark Ford. Also of note in the first division is a horse named Lukas Hall. While Lukas Hall (Conway Hall-Goddess Of War) might be 10-1 on the morning line, his ownership tandem is worthy of an extra look. Former New York Jet wide receiver, Wayne Chrebet, is part owner with Little E LLC. Little E LLC represents Vernon Downs owner, Jeffrey Gural. Chrebet played 11 seasons with the Jets and is the team's 5th all-time leading receiver   While the first division is going to be excellent, the $59,100 second division of the New York Sire Stakes on Friday could produce something very special. The 9-5 morning line choice is Gural Hanover, who has won six consecutive New York Sire Stakes races at five different racetracks. Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing). Given the name, it is easy to determine that Little E LLC of Jeffrey Gural is part of the ownership group, as well as Burke Racing Stable & Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York. Jim Morrill Jr. will be the driver and Ron Burke is the trainer.   However, Gural Hanover might not have a very easy time of it making that win streak a Lucky Seven. There appears to be strong competition from Zoey De Vie and Cash Me Out. Zoey De Vie (Conway Hall-Pauls Wink) is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. He has a previous New York Sire Stakes win at Monticello on July 15. Mark MacDonald will drive for trainer Heidi Rohr. He is owned by Jesse and John De Long of Clinton, Wisconsin. Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) had a pair of New York Sire Stakes wins earlier this year at Saratoga and Buffalo in June. Cash Me Out is owned by Traylor Racing LLC of Ballston Spa, New York. Michael McGivern drives and Cheryl McGivern trains Cash Me Out.   The 12-race program on Friday also includes two divisions of the New York Excelsior "A" series, three divisions of the New York Excelsior "B" Series, and a $10,000 Open Trot. First post time on Friday night at Vernon Downs is 6:45pm. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night hosted the $202,599 New York Sire Stakes Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Three divisions -- at $67,933, $67,933 and $66,933 -- comprised the competition. As was the case Monday night, driver Yannick Gingras won two of the evening's three sire stakes events. In the second division, he went the distance-from post position No. 4--with Cartoon Daddy ($4.90), holding off some unwanted advances from 32-1 proposition American Crossroad (Scott Zeron). The former kept the latter at bay, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.4. Berkley (George Brennan), at 78-1, was third, with 51-1 Ultimate G (Eric Carlson) fourth. Cartoon Daddy's job was made much easier when 7-10 fave The Spy (Tim Tetrick) broke in the first turn and division points leader coming into the night Americanprimetime (Tyler Buter) misbehaved while making a second move. For second choice Cartoon Daddy, a son of Art Major co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Joe DiScala Jr., it was his fourth win in a half-dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $53.50, the triple returned $887 and the superfecta paid $6,937. "The best thing about him is his gait," DiScala said. "We wanted a horse who could get around the small tracks, and he's been very impressive." Gingras and Bet You ($2.80) won the final statebred grouping, moving to the lead (from post No. 2) before the half and closing it out in 1:55.1. The final margin was a wrapped-up length-and-three-quarters over 25-1 Yippity Hanover (Tetrick), with 42-1 Betting Exchange (Jim Morrill Jr.) third. A breaking K Ryan Bluechip eliminated himself as the second choice. For Bet You, a son of Bettor's Delight trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners Christina Takter, Jim & John Fielding and Joyce McClelland, he's now 2-for-5 in '14, with both wins coming here. The exacta paid $44.40, with the triple returning $390. "Ideally, you'd like to race these 2-year-olds out of a hole, but the way the races shaped up, I had no choice but to put them on the lead," Gingras said. "Cartoon Daddy tends to wait on other horses a bit, but he dug in when he had to." The evening's first division saw a formful favorite in Southwind Masimo (Pat Lachance, $2.60) roll off cover to run his record to four wins in as many starts. From post No. 5, he tracked Azorean Art (Larry Stalbaum), then blew past that one to widen out by 2¼ lengths in 1:55.1. Dee's Rocketman (Brian Sears) was third. For "Masimo," a Bettor's Delight colt trained by his driver for co-owners Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber, he took over the points lead in this division. The exacta paid $12.60, with the triple returning $66.50. 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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 18, 2014 -- Statebred sophomore fillies took another turn downstate Monday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $219,700 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace. The harness racing event annually honors the memory of the former Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, whose contributions to the success of the Empire program cannot be measured. Many of Bruce's family and friends were on hand, enjoying the evening and making winner's circle presentation. Three divisions -- at $72,800, $72,800 and $74,100 -- comprised the coterie. Odds-on Major Dancer (George Brennan, $3.50) just lasted in the opening event, holding off a cone-skimming It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron) by a "shrunken head" in 1:53.2. Away alertly from post position No. 2, Major Dancer-who looks anything but a professional racehorse warming up-threw down intervals of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.1. Longshot Ken Doll J (Jimmy Whittemore) tried it first-up from sixth, but could not close. Major Dancer opened 2½ lengths in and out of the final turn, but needed some urging to close the sale. Southwind Illusions (Eric Carlson) was a best-of-the-rest third. For Major Dancer, a daughter of Art Major trained by Casie Coleman for Ontario tri-owners West Wins Stable, Mac Nichol and Adriano Sorella, it was her seventh win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10,40, with the triple returning $65.50. "Casie (Coleman) said she's gonna hop and skip warming up," Brennan said of Major Dancer. "She said I had to get her attention, so I scored her down hard, but even that didn't seem to work. "But has the talent and that was enough tonight." (Major Dancer was a late lame scratch from her last scheduled NYSS start here. She worked out the next day to become eligible for the Empire Breeders, where she won her elim and was second in the final). Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke won the other two Hamilton groupings, both from the pole. Jaded Dream ($5.10) blew past a non-resistant Up Front Elizabeth (Mark MacDonald), then held off Supplemental Income (Jason Bartlett) by a nose in 1:54.4. Sweetnsinful (Whittemore) was a rallying third, while even-money fave Medusa (Tim Tim Tetrick) was shuffled out from the pocket when the leader caved. For second choice Jaded Dream, a daughter of If I Can Dream co-owned (as Burke Racing) by her trainer, Weaver Bruscemi and Panhellenic Stable, she's now 3-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $22.40, with the triple returning $129.50. A La Notte Hanover ($12) reinforced the "short distance between two points" theory in the final sire stakes sojourn, taking it to the house (:29.1, :58.1, 1:26.4, 1:55). Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.), as the 4-5 choice, tried the winner from the inside but missed a head. Spreester (Dan Dube) was third, with Delightful Dragon (Dave Miller) fourth. The first four finishers were separated by a neck at the wire. For fourth choice "A La Notte," an Art Major miss co-owned (as Burke Racing) by here trainer, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Larry Karr, it was her second win in 13 '14 tries. The exacta paid $22, with the triple returning $62.50. "The first filly (Jaded Dream) went by so easily," Gingras said. "I felt Jason (Bartlett's) horse (Supplemental Income) right on my back, but mine du in. The other filly (A La Notte Hanover), I would have been content sitting second, but no one really left against her and she was able to get some cheap fractions." New York Sire Stakes continue Tuesday night, with the $202,599 Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old fillies. 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. Frank Drucker

Barn Doll got off to a slow start but she finished first and fastest of four divisions of New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Batavia Downs. After getting away a gapped fourth, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and driver Jeff Gregory watched as Jim Morrill Jr.'s Pig Hunt cut out speedy fractions of :29 and :59.3, while pulling just before that second station. After starting the outer flow, Barn Doll slowly advance towards the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:30 flat. Once being eased around the last turn, Gregory got the filly in gear and she simply out-motored the rest to win in an impressive 1:59.4. Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) who followed Pig Hunt the whole race was second and My Lucky Word (Mark MacDonald) closed outside to be third. The winner paid $4.70. This was the fifth win in seven starts for the Steve Pratt trained Barn Doll who has now earned $70,712 on the year for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stable. She is the current point's leader in the NYSS standings for her gait and sex. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Laverne Lavec) won the second fastest division, going wire-to-wire in 2:01. After leaving hard to grab the lead, Mark MacDonald then grabbed leather to perfectly rate the game trotter through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 before flying home in a brisk :29.1 to register the win. Betcha (Dan Daley) was second and Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) was third. Nunkeri paid $3.50. Nunkeri is owned by Millstream Inc. and the Nunkeri Stable and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. This was her second win in five starts in 2014 and brings her bank up to $49,825. Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) also won her division in 2:01 but had to do it amidst an overabundance of road trouble. At the start of the race, Duolectra (Mark MacDonald) made a break which allowed Kaliska to inherit a quick lead. That lead was subsequently challenged by Summer Scent (Dan Daley) to the quarter in :30.2. Once she cleared, Kaliska and Ray Schnittker followed close behind while watching Concentration (Chris Lems), Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Spell That (Sam Schillaci) make breaks at various points of the mile. Once pulled, Kaliska out-dueled Summer Scent to the wire to win by almost two lengths. Kaliska returned $15.00 to win. The victory was the second of the year for Kaliska and pushed her earnings to $44,957 for owners Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable, Farm Alber Horse Racing LLC and Ray Schnittker, who is also her trainer. In the fourth split, Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann's Fan) proved dominant in what became a very short field very fast. With an early scratch and Miss B'ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Hot Start (Mark MacDonald) making breaks before the eighth pole, Zanna Blu found herself with a commanding lead and only three contenders behind her. Driver Gates Brunet took her through fractions of :30.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 with a five-length lead, before shutting her down with a line-drive to a length and three-quarter win in 2:01.1. She returned $6.90 to her backers. This was the third win in six starts for Zanna Blu and her owners Albert Crawford, Michelle Crawford and James Crawford. The winners share pushed the Gates Brunet trained filly's cash total to $47,176 for 2014. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior series on the card. Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Darling Marissa) who was driven by Mark MacDonald won the first $12,600 division in 2:00.4 for owner/trainer Janice Conner. Long Summer (Prayer I Am-Summer Ran) driven by Jeff Gregory won the second $12,700 split in 2:04.2 for owner Roy Dobbins and trainer Andrew Byler. And Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) was driven by Mark MacDonald and won the last $12,700 session in 2:02.4 for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt. Barn Girl is trained by Howard Okusko. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered his 6,000 career driving victory in a non-betting Excelsior B race with Ron's Coren in 2:04.1. Along with the wins, Morrill has pocketed purses totaling $87,659,175 during his career and annually remains one of the highest UDR reinsmen in the sport. Drivers Jeff Gregory and Mark MacDonald both scored driving triples on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 20) with post time at 6:35. The card features two divisions of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY - The stars of tomorrow will be on display Sunday (Aug. 17) in four divisions of the $110,000 New York Sire Stake 2-year-old filly trot at Batavia Downs. The first $27,250 NYSS division is programed as race two. Concentration (Conway Hall-Super Starlet) has five NYSS starts to date with two wins and two seconds. Her only miss was at Buffalo when she made a break off the gate from post eight and never got involved. Concentration's seasonal mark is 1:58.2 at Vernon Downs and she is currently second in points on the leader board for this series. She draws post three in here for driver Chris Lems and trainer George Ducharme. Summer Scent (Malabar Man-Summer Hit) is coming off her fastest race time of the year but was also unable to take advantage of a pocket trip to get a victory like she did the week before. She is a very capable trotter over the small track and her 2:00.3 victory at Yonkers is evidence of that. Summer Scent hasn't missed a check in sire stake action and that has put $31,464 in her bank. Driver Dan Daley can use his fillies closing ability to track what looks to be some fast early fractions. Frou Frou (Conway Hall-Nowerland Hana) has four lifetime starts and all four were in NYSS action. After winning the first at Vernon Downs in 1:58.1, she finished a fast closing second in her last two. The Tony Alagna trained trotter has gone off the prohibitive favorite in all of her starts and will look to return to that early winning form in this latest attempt for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. Race four is the second division and they will vie for $27,750. Betcha (Cash Hall-Sienna) has been showing good form for trainer/driver Dan Daley all year. She has two wins and a second in five NYSS efforts with a lifetime mark of 1:59.4 at Tioga Downs. Her good work has put $41,393 on her card as well. She is third overall in points and has proven she can win both in front and from behind and can handle any size track. She once again draws an inside post (2) and looks to be a solid contender. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Lavern Lavec) won her first lifetime start in NYSS action at Tioga Downs in 1:59.4 and subsequently has three consecutive second place finishes for her efforts. But two of those were in this series and she came up short to the top two points' leaders respectively in each start. Like Betcha, Nunkeri is a handy horse and can race from any spot in the field. Mark MacDonald, who sat behind her in her lone victory and who had a big day at Batavia on August 1, will be in the bike for trainer Jonas Czernyson this week. Dancewithme Chuck (Lucky Chucky-Vail) and Counsellor AS (Conway Hall-Cordele AS) are both coming off NYSS victories last week at Saratoga Raceway and will be looking to further develop that success. The third leg goes for $27,250 and is carded as race six. Miss B'Ville (RC Royalty-South Jersey Angel) is a bit of an enigma, but a formidable force none the less. She trotted the best race of her life in NYSS action last week at Saratoga, winning wire-to-wire in 1:59.2 from the rail. The start before that, she made a break at Yonkers leaving from the same post. She also has a score at Buffalo Raceway in July and those victories bulked her earnings to $31,749 this year. The formidable training/driving team of Tracy Brainard and Jim Morrill Jr. will bring Miss B'Ville to the gate looking to notch win number three. Hot Start (Lucky Chucky-Mallelujah) raced against world record holder Mission Brief at the Meadowlands in an elimination of the Merrie Annabelle stake on July 25. That race went in 1:53.2 and Hot Start was obviously not ready for that kind of speed at this point of her career. However she did trot in 1:57 herself in that race and knocked over a second off her previous start over the same track. In her only half mile track encounter, Hot Start made a break in the first turn at Saratoga as she seemed to over-trot herself. How she handles the half at Batavia this week remains to be seen. The trainer/driver team of Czernyson and MacDonald send Hot Start to post. The fourth and final NYSS split goes for $27,750 and is listed as the eighth race. The prohibitive morning line favorite at 8-5 is Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and she was given that designation for good reason. She had strung four straight wins before last week, with her best effort a 1:59.1 victory at Yonkers. She is the top point getter in the sire stakes this year for her sex and gait for trainer Steve Pratt. Last week she made an uncharacteristic break in the first turn at Saratoga as the heavy 1-9 favorite and that took her completely out of contention. This week she draws the rail and driver Jeff Gregory will look to make amends for the only start she didn't hit the board all year. Pig Hunt (Conway Hall-Chippewa Street) has been red hot lately, scoring back-to-back round trip victories for trainer Janice Conner. Her 1:59.4 seasonal mark was also at Yonkers and her $45,981 earned is second best in this field. Although she drew post seven and lost Brennan for this start, there will be no lack of talent behind her in the bike as she picks up Jim Morrill Jr. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior Series worth a total of $38,000 on the twelve race card that features a trot in every event. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 14, 2014--Yonkers Raceway Thursday night hosted the $194,800 New York Sire Stakes Frank Becerra Pace for 2-year-old fillies. A total of 11 lasses entered a pair of divisions. The first ($96,400) grouping proved-again-why you race 'em, as 1-20 "death and taxes" lass Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras) was snapped on the money by 17-1 outsider Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr., $36.60). The former, looped out of the gate by My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald), eventually made the lead after a 28-second opening quarter-mile. From there, a :57.1 intermission before One Hot Majorette (Brian Sears) took out of third. She tried to engage "Sassa" by the 1:26.1 three-quarters, but the fave gradually turned away her advances. Meanwhile, an unhurried Mosquito Blue Chip, last among the quintet from post position No. 4, worked out a second-over trip. She angled wide and was just fast enough, sticking her tongue out at the (1:55) wire for a maiden-breaker. Sassa Hanover held second, with My Little Delight third-beaten just a head. For third choice "Mosquito," a daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by (trainer) Paul Jessop, Our Three Sons Stable and Danny Falcicchio, it was that first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $68, and there was no triple wagering due to the short field. "She was all guts," Morrill said. As for Sassa Hanover, who tasted defeat for the first time after a 4-for-4 start, "She was no good tonight," Gingras said. "Just didn't feel the same. Maybe they can look at her blood, but it was definitely something." Gingras and odds-on Band of Angels ($2.30) were more than good enough in the second ($98,300) sire stakes event. Put in play early from post No. 4, she gave nothing else a chance (:28.2, :57.4; 1:26.2; 1:55.2). With weak, first-up pressure from Hipnumberone (George Brennan) out of the way, Band of Angels opened three lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin was 2½ lengths over uncoupled stablemate Bettor N Better (Jason Bartlett), who rallied from last at the half. Bossers Joy (Sears) was third. "There wasn't much to it," Gingras said. "She's impressed me every start." For Band of Angels, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven owned by W J Donovan and trained by Ron Burke, she's now 5-for-5 to begin her career.. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $4.30, with the triple returning $15.60. The New York Sire Stakes continue Monday night, with the $219,700 Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old fillies. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

The weather was far from perfect for the Batavia Downs leg of the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday (Aug. 13) as premature autumnal conditions presented cold temperatures, rain and a track rated as "good". But the tough got going and in one race, a major upset was the result. In the first $59,100 NYSS division, Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) was sent off as the even-money favorite and proved her backers correct as she made a big move at the half and cruised home victorious. Off the gate, L Dees Scripture (Chris Lems) left for the lead and quickly faced a strong challenge from Oh Sweet Penelope (Dan Daley) up the backside. But just before the quarter that challenger made a break so Lems then guided L Dees Scripture unabated to the half in 1:01. At that point Avalicious was out and rolling from fourth with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines to push the issue before swooping by the leader to take command at the three-quarters in 1:30.3. Once they cleared, Morrill gave the filly her head and she trotted away in easy fashion to win in 2:00.4. Beauty Of Gray (Jim Meittinis) shook loose for second and Lindys Crazy Dolly (Jeff Gregory) who was aired out hung on for third. Avalicious paid $4.30 to win for owners Michelle Crawford, Albert Crawford and Patricia Crawford. This was her fourth win in 11 starts this year and it pushed her earnings to $148,640 for trainer Ron Burke. The second $59,100 split saw a major upset occur when 1-9 favorite Market Rally made a break attempting to take an early lead. When the car pulled away to start the race, Driving Miss Crazy (Gates Brunet) and Gammy's Girl (Jim Meittinis) both left and got away 1-2 as they straightened out up the backstretch. Market Rally (Jim Morrill Jr.) had tucked fourth off the wings to let the field settle, but then was pulled and started rolling past the eighth pole. As they passed the quarter in :30 flat, Market Rally got ahead of the front runner to take the lead. But just as soon as she crossed over she made a break and ended up last, spotting the new leader about 10 lengths. That leader (Driving Miss Crazy) tended to her task, carrying the field to the half in 1:01.1 and the three-quarters in 1:30.4. After a dull outer-flow offered no challenge through the middle fractions, Annie's List (Tyler Buter) managed to overtake second and a still last Market Rally then tipped three-high around fading horses to start making up ground. As they straightened out for the stretch drive, Brunet was working Driving Miss Crazy to stay alert on the lead, Buter was urging Annie's List to catch her and Morrill was working Market Rally to make up lost ground. After a good stretch drive, the trio hit the wire a length apart from each other with Driving Miss Crazy victorious in 2:00.4. In a tight photo for place, Market Rally did in fact rally for second and Annie's List was third. In the shadow of the overwhelming favorite, Driving Miss Crazy was let go at 10-1 and paid $22.60 to those who supported her. This was the sixth win in 13 starts for Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) who has now earned $124,017 in 2014 for trainer Gates Brunet and owners Theodore Gewertz, Y Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and chalk bettors were in heaven as favorites dominated both races. Right after the $12,600 first division started, Little Baby Peanut (Jeff Gregory) and Twist Of Faith (Tyler Buter) both made breaks as the group motored into the first turn. That left Classic Belisima (Gates Brunet) on a loose lead with Do You Believe (Jim Morrill Jr.) getting the trip as the group went single-file to the quarter in :30.4 and the half in 1:02.2. Past the five-eighths Morrill pulled the pocket sitter and drew even with Classic Belisima and the two went stride for stride around the entire last turn. When they straightened out, Do You Believe proved to be the better horse as she pulled away to a two-length victory in 2:01.4. Classic Belisima hung on for second and Ginny And Tonic (Ray Fisher Jr.) got up for third. Do You Believe paid $2.30 as the heavy favorite for owners Brian Doolittle and Leigh Raymer, who also trains the filly. In the second $12,700 division, Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) turned in the fastest time of any of the stake races during the night, be they NYSS or Excelsior, in a dominating performance for trainer Tracy Brainard. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. eased Dreamsteeler out of the gate and took his time getting to the front. But once they got there the filly was brave and Morrill had his hands full rating the mile. However he did a perfect job as they scooted through even fractions of :30, 1:00 and 1:30. Down the lane, Morrill sat chilly as Dreamsteeler just jogged home in 1.59.4. How Bout Cash (Chris Lems) and Slice Slice Baby (Tyler Buter) completed the top three finishers in that order. Dreamsteeler went off 1-9 and paid $2.20 to win. It was her sixth win in seven starts and brought the 2014 Excelsior points leading filly's coffers up to $34,950. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. brought home four winners on the night and Gates Brunet and Tyler Buter both piloted doubles. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 15) with a 6:35 pm post. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Gatka Hanover defeated previously unbeaten Speak To Me to highlight Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were four $67,347 Sire Stakes divisions held for two-year-old trotting fillies. Speak To Me came into her division having won her first four races in convincing fashion. But on Wednesday night, it was Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough), trained by Ron Burke and driven by Matt Kakaley, who pounced from the pocket to defeat Speak To Me by 1 ½ lengths in 1:56:1. Gatka Hanover now has four wins in six lifetime starts, including three Sire Stakes victories without a loss. The other Sire Stakes winners on Wednesday night at Pocono: Wild Honey (Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy), driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Jimmy Takter, who won her third straight Sire Stakes race in 1:55, fastest Stakes time of the night; Jersey Strong (Muscle Massive-Vacation’s Over), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Mark Harder, whose convincing win in 1:56:2 was her third in as many tries at the Pocono oval; and Sweet Thing (Chocolatier-Berdine Hanover), driven by Charlie Norris and trained by Homer Hochstetler, who worked hard on the front end to keep off all comers for her second Sire Stakes win in 1:56. Pocono Downs Week In Review It's always difficult to pick the best horses in a particular week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to the extreme competitiveness of the harness racing action. This week has proved more of a pickle than most because there are a lot of horses on hot streaks who deserve consideration. On Saturday night, for example, six of the thirteen winners picked up at least their second win in a row. I'm not sure if there's a specific reason for this glut of winning streaks, but I am sure that this is a fine edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: SANDBETWEENURTOES In Saturday night's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for three-year-old pacing fillies, all eyes were on this powerhouse from the barn of trainer Larry Remmen. It's been an incredible sophomore season for this filly, especially considering she raced just once as a 2-year-old and finished out of the money. Instead of taking time to get her racing feet wet, she's come out of the box with seven wins in seven races this year, including a couple Sire Stakes wins and a victory in the $212,500 Mistletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands. While the field on Saturday was solid, many were fillies who had already come up short behind Sandbetweenurtoes in races this season. Included among those was Allstar Rating, who finished behind the unbeaten filly three times this year. But in her last start, Allstar Rating dominated in the Adioo Volo at The Meadows, giving her the confidence that things might be different this time around when she faced her arch rival. Sure enough, Allstar Rating made the lead while Sandbetweenurtoes fell much further behind the pace than is her custom. Once she started making her move for her regular driver Brett Miller though, there was no chance of stopping her. She hustled past Allstar Rating to win by a half-length in 1:50, making her eight-for-eight and also solidifying her status as the dominant force in the age group. Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who continues to dominate the lower claiming ranks, winning his fourth straight on Sunday night in 1:52; Speed Again (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who burned up the track in a condition win on Saturday in 1:48:2, fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Crimson Cruiser (Jim Morrill Jr., Douglas Hamilton), who overcame an outside post on Friday night and picked up a claiming win in 1:52:1, his third victory in a row. TROTTER AND LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WESTERN CREDIT It's rare that our categories overlap and one horse can claim two Weekly Awards in one shot. Yet Western Credit's recent run has been as unlikely as it has been impressive, more than meriting the embarrassment of riches. This gelding came into his race on August 3 without a win in 21 races in 2014, yet trainer Eric Mollor, who also did the driving that night, had the six-year-old rolling late for an upset win in 1:55:4 at 14-1. On Tuesday night, Western Credit was at it again, this time with Brett Miller in the bike and stepping up the condition ladder to face the non-winners of $10,000 in the last five races. The fans gave him even less of a chance this time around, putting him at 37-1. Miller sent him first-over early in the mile, which seemed like a tough journey for any horse, let along one with such long odds. It turned out to be strategic brilliance on Miller's part, since the sloppy track that night seemed to favor on trip on the outside. Western Credit did the rest, working hard to pick off everyone in front of him before holding off JC's Jake in the lane to win it in 1:55:1. At those towering odds of 37-1, the gelding paid off $77.80 on a $2 win ticket. Suddenly, that 0-for-21 to start the year is a distant memory. Western Credit is two for his last two and ready to take on all comers. Other top trotters this week include: Whata Donato (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), a mare whose winning time in a condition on Tuesday night of 1:53:3 was the fastest trot of the week at Pocono despite sloppy conditions; Well Built (Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder), a 3-year-old who knocked off mostly older horses in a condition victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:1 in the slop; and Gematria (Tom Jackson, Fred Grant), who picked up her second consecutive win, this one in Stallion Series action on Wednesday night in 1:58:3. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: David Miller Miller always steps up his game for stakes or series action and Tuesday night he was at his best, winning three times, including a pair of victories in the Stallion Series. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Mark Ford Ford always seems to manage great efficiency with however many horses he enters at Pocono, as he showed on Friday night by picking up a pair of training victories. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

Batavia, NY --- The $118,200 New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies invades Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 13) and features the top series performer of the year so far for her sex and gait. Market Rally (Cash Hall-Supreme Dish) enters the night riding a five race winning streak, all in NYSS competition. Her dominance of this group is reflected in the combined 21 length total margin of victory over the course of those races. To date, Market Rally is currently the top point-getter in her division of the NYSS, doubling her nearest competitor. She has won purses amounting to $218,025 and has taken a lifetime mark of 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs for trainer Ron Burke. That $218,025 purse total ranks her fourth in North America for purses won by 3-year-old trotting fillies and eighth for earnings by 3-year-old trotters of either sex. In her last two starts at Yonkers and Saratoga Raceway, Market Rally's win times were 1:56.4 and 1:55.4 respectively. The Batavia Downs track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies is 1:57.2 set by Cowgirl Hall in 2012 and then equalled by Bouncing Bax in 2013. So the track record has a very good chance of being reset on Wednesday night. Market Rally will be driven by leading NYSS reinsman Jim Morrill Jr. and has been installed as the track handicapper's prohibitive morning-line favorite at 1-5. Annies List (Conway Hall-Lasting Forever) is the second highest money-earner in this race ($126,273) but has a penchant for finishing second (6 out of 9 starts). She likes to race from off the pace and has solid final quarter speed. Starting in this short field and having Market Rally to give her live cover in an outer flow, Annies List is a definite threat for trainer Amber Buter and driver Tyler Buter. Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) has been racing sharp of late for trainer-driver Gates Brunet. She won at Saratoga in 1:57.2 two starts back and tried to out-foot Market Rally last week as she cut the mile at Yonkers. A similar pattern looks to be taking shape here and her success seems dependenton how fast the fractions go. The first $59,100 division is a wide open affair that has 8-5 Avalicious co-favored with 9-5 Beauty Of Gray. Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) won an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic and finished second in the $217,725 final at Vernon Downs in June. Since that start the filly has encountered some breaking issues in two of her last five starts. Road trouble in her last two further cost her success. Beauty Of Gray (Conway Hall-Armbro Sparkle) has raced well but has not been able to get across first at all in 2014. She has four seconds on her card in her last five outings and has earned just under $100,000 for the year. Jim Meittinis has driven Beauty Of Gray in every start this year and will try to garner her first win of the season for trainer Tommy Anderson. Trainer Julie Miller has a stable entry in the race and that two-for-one offering has been made a 2-1 morning selection. L Dees Scripture (Credit Winner-Graceful Way) and Maud Blue Chip (Credit Winner-Queen Of The Moor) will start from posts one and five respectively and have some of the faster race times on their card in recent outings. L Dees Scripture has only one win this year and that was over a sloppy track at Yonkers on July 14. She has faced Market Rally in four of her last five starts and is getting some definite post relief this week as well and that may be all she needs to score win number two. Maud Blue Chip made her first start for the Miller Stable just three starts ago and has finished third on all three occasions. However she was raced timed faster in each start and should be in a decent stalking position at the end of the mile. There are also two divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card going for a total of $25,300. In the first division Leigh Raymer's Do You Believe (Crazed-Believe Hanover) has been made the 8-5 morning line choice and in the second split, 8-5 early favorite Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) brings her three race winning streak to town for trainer Tracy Brainard. Both horses will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Racing fans unable to attend the races Wednesday night can watch the entire NYSS filled program on Time Warner Cable channel 98, in Rochester and the surrounding counties. Post time for the 12 race card is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The fourth and final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies was held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Friday night, with all three favorites winning and some idea of the Stallion Series Championship qualifiers developing. In the first cut, Somenicebeach made easy work of her career stakes debut by leading at every call en route to taking a new mark of 1:52. McVita Bella who *preliminary* calculated to be the Stallion Series pointsleader (*all official figures will come from the Harrisburg office of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission*) was second to the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, who was guided by Pocono's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes. Jim Morrill Jr. was in the sulky behind the other two winners, first with the Real Desire filly Real Drama, who was a pocket rocket in reducing her speed tab to 1:52.3. Kelly O'Donnell conditions the winning filly for the Bay Pond Racing Stable. Real Drama won her cut by three lengths; Morrill had much harder work in the third division, as he and the Well Said filly Lucy's Pearl rallied gamely from the two-hole to edge stubborn pacesetter Beach Body by a half-length in the fastest time, 1:50.3. "Trotting Guru" Ron Gurfein may train more pacers if he continues to bring out tough misses like this one, who is owned by Gurfein in partnership with Elizabeth Novak. After careful math (and again we STRESS these are NOT official figures), the following pointstandings (based on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 distribution) for the PAStS 3PFs emerge: 1. McVita Bella, 120; 2. Lucy's Pearl, 105; 3. Eiffel Tower, 4. Real Drama (both had 95 points, but Eiffel Tower wins the money tiebreaker $25,000 to $21,600); 5. Do Your Job, 6. Stucklikeglue (both with 70 points, Do Your Job with more money $20,000 to $12,200); 7. Beach Body, 65; 8. Baby Cat, 64; tie 9. Marathon Day and Oogle Google (both tied at both 60 points and $15,000 in earnings; if needed to split them, there would be a shake of the pills). The top nine declaring in will advance to the Stallion Series Championship, to be held at The Meadows on September 9.

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