LEBANON, OH - Rehab Mountain trotted to his second straight track record capturing the $9,500 Open at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night. Despite a week off due to the race not filling and drawing the outside post position, the seven-year-old gelding was sent directly to the front by trainer-driver Brad Hanners. Following pedestrian early fractions of :29 and :58.4 the pride of the B6 Racing Stable stepped on the gas with a :28.2 third split then held off all challengers with a :29.2 final quarter to stop the clock in 1:56.3. Hanners has raced sparingly in the first month of the Miami Valley meet, but is batting .1000 with five wins in five tries thus far. Master Host (Josh Sutton) saved ground through the lane to finish second in the featured mile followed by Itzaziam (Pat Berry) and Cashahallic (Jim Pantaleano) across the finish line. by Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Department
LEBANON, OH. - Driver Jason Brewer and his partners had a huge night at Miami Valley Raceway on Thursday. Not only did the talented reinsman win three races, but he was an ownership partner on each of them. Brewer's big night started with Brooklets Sugarland in the seventh race. Following a brief give-and-go back to the front end, the lukewarm favorite was on the engine the entire mile to beat All Tanned Up (Tony Hall) and May Street Bon (Jim Pantaleano). The $4000 claiming mare is owned by Brewer in partnership with Vince Orlando. In the very next race Volleyball Star became the first three-time winner at Miami Valley, besting a field of $5000 claiming mares in 1:55.2. Although just mildly favored in the race, Brewer stepped alertly to the front of the class off the wings of the gate and widened to a six-length margin of victory at the wire. Co-owned by the Holland Racing Stable, the winner bested Dangerous Forever (Tyler Smith) and Dora Des Rivieres (Jeremy Smith). Brewer proved it wasn't just favorites he could guide to victory when he returned to the winner's circle after race ten, a $5000 conditioned distaff event captured by Autumn Seelster in 1:56.2. The triumphant lass was parked on the outside much of the mile but managed to reach the finish line a length ahead of fellow longshot Bella Sophia (Randy Tharps) and Babes's Bistro (Kayne Kauffman). Bettors who thought Brewer could score the hat trick were rewarded with a $27 win ticket mutual. The $2 exacta in the race returned $960.40 while the winning 50-cent trifecta combination paid $954.70. Brewer's partner on Autumn Seelster is William Fleming. On Wednesday night, 21-year-old Tyler Smith, who currently stands atop the driver's dash standings at the initial Miami Valley meet, visited the winner's circle four times to bring his total to 20 triumphs after 13 nights of racing. Racing continues at Miami Valley on a Wednesday through Sunday night schedule with a regular 6:30 p.m. post time. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Dept.
LEBANON, OH. - Sisters Aqua Artist and Sectionline Yankee won back-to-back races Sunday night at Miami Valley, including the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open pace. Trainer Steve Bauder had the siblings super sharp on this night and reinsman Chris Page used that to full advantage. Aqua Artist, at age seven, two years the senior of Sectionline Yankee, (both out of the Cambest mare Aquatic Yankee), beat the top distaffers with a front-stepping 1:55.1 effort. She bested Rev Me Up (Dan Noble) and Holiday Shopper (Jason Brewer) for her 25th career triumph, raising her lifetime bankroll to $306,696. Sectionline Yankee pushed her total earnings to $246,795 with her 14th win. Her 1:56.3 score over Babe's Chip (Tyler Smith) and Sonic Breeze (Jim Pantaleano) came in a $7000 conditioned event. Owners Harold Lee Bauder, Harold L. Bauder and Michael Dixon also bred both winners. By Gregg Keidel
LEBANON, OH. - Despite the outside post position in a scratch-shortened field of seven, Itzaziam trotted to an impressive 1:57.4 score in a $7000 conditioned event at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night. The six-year-old gelded son of Harrys Star Ranger put in two stellar qualifiers at his new home track before notching his first Ohio pari-mutuel win over Cashahallic (Jim Pantaleano) and Mama Made Me Blue (Dan Noble). Co-owned by James Craparotta and driver Pat Berry, it was the 15th career win for Itzaziam who is trained in Ohio by Conor Flynn. Hunchie (Noble) garnered the lion's share of a $6500 purse offered for conditioned claimers who were non-winners of 10 races and carried $15,000 tags. Gerrie Tucker owns the winner who races out of the Virgil Morgan Jr. stable. Hunchie's 1:56 clocking bested Bullwinkle (Jason Brewer) and T M Valley Storm (Tyler Smith). Racing resumes Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. when the feature will be a full-field $10,000 Open Pace.
LEBANON, OH. - Despite sub-freezing temperatures Lookinforadventure scorched the new Miami Valley five-eighths mile oval in 1:51.4 on Sunday night to capture the featured $10,000 Open-Preferred pace and lower the track record. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. left alertly and opted to sit the pocket throughout most of the record-setting mile. Eventual runnerup I'm Feeling Good (Tony Hall) posted front-end fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:23.4 before yielding halfway down the stretch to finish 1-1/2 lengths behind. Ardyne Ace (Jim Pantaleano) raced gamely from the outside post position in the field of nine to garner the show dough. Green Acquisition Corporation owns Lookinforadventure, a six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover out of the Jate Lobell daughter Student Driver. The winner was recently moved to the Virgil Morgan Jr. stable as he approaches the half-million dollars in career earning plateau. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
Miami Valley Raceway opens Friday night in southwest Ohio and there will be no shortage of talent on the racetrack during the opening weekend. Among the drivers expected to compete are the three most recent national dash champions: Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Dave Palone and Dan Noble. Wrenn led North America in wins in 2013 with 714 while Palone led in 2012 with 675 and Noble was tops in 2011 with 773. The new five-eighths-mile harness racing track, located between Dayton and Cincinnati, opens Friday night with an 11-race card. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. Palone, who is based at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania, has won more races than any driver in North American harness racing history, with 16,223 victories to his credit entering Thursday. Wrenn, who was the leading driver at Northfield Park last year, and Noble are expected to be regulars at Miami Valley, along with Pat Berry, Jack Dailey, Greg Grismore, Tony Hall, Kayne Kauffman, Jeff Nisonger, Jim Pantaleano, Tyler Smith, and Randy Tharps. Hall was the leading driver at Scioto Downs last year and Smith, who is the youngest driver in history to amass 1,000 wins, was the leading driver at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Kauffman was the top driver at Lebanon Raceway, which closed in December to make way for Miami Valley, a $175 million racino with a grandstand to accommodate more than 1,000 fans and a casino with 1,600 gaming machines to help increase purses. "I think everyone is looking forward to the racing," said Smith, who is from Washington Court House, Ohio. "There's going to be a lot of new faces and it should be very competitive. It's good. I think Ohio needs more drivers, new faces, to make the racing better. "Whenever you've got money (for purses) you're going to get good horses, and good horses bring good races." Miami Valley, which will offer live racing Wednesdays through Sundays until early May, held qualifiers on Feb. 1, giving drivers and horses their first trips around the oval. In the 14 prep races, nine were won by a horse that was no worse than second at the half-mile point, although it is too soon to draw conclusions about how the track's design and surface will affect racing throughout the season. "It's going to take a while to get it set up, and making it tougher is the fact this is the worst winter we've had in 12 or 13 years," said Hall, an Ohio native who earlier this year surpassed 4,000 career wins. "I think the track is probably going to be a little tiring the first few months until it gets set up." Kauffman, who lives 10 minutes from Miami Valley, said the track is not banked as much as Scioto Downs, the state's other five-eighths-mile oval, which might factor into driver strategy. "At Scioto you can pull at the quarter and live for a long time," Kauffman said. "I think here people might sit and wait a little longer." Smith said he thought speed would hold up based on what he saw in the qualifiers. "Maybe that will change, but right now it looks like a front-end track," he said. There is no inside passing lane in the stretch at Miami Valley, which also will affect strategy. "That's a big game-changer," said Hall, who plans to race regularly at Miami Valley in addition to racing at The Meadows. "Usually you get a two-hole trip and it's a great place to be, but now you might look for other positions for horses you'd like to land up close. The track does have long straightaways, so that might help closing horses out some." Added Kauffman, "The stretch is longer and you do kind of drift out more, which might open up room for horses." Miami Valley Raceway, which has a 156-stall paddock, will host the James K. Hackett races for Ohio-sired 3-year-old colts and fillies, with purses increased to $25,000 for the finals, on April 26. The track also will present the first legs of the Ohio Sire Stakes series when the state's best 3-year-old pacers and trotters compete on May 2 and May 3. In addition, the meet-ending May 4 card will include two new Grand Circuit races for older female pacers and trotters: The Sam "Chip" Noble III Memorial for the pacers and the Miami Valley Distaff Trot. "It'll be interesting to see how it all goes," Kauffman said. "They have some issues they need to address, but they're working on them and have been real receptive to suggestions. I think there will be plenty of horses. Hopefully everybody can be successful." "I think it's going to be a nice facility overall," Hall said. "People have waited a long time for an opportunity like this, and some had gone just about as far as they could go waiting for something good to happen. Like any new place, they've got some kinks to work out, but overall I think it's going to be great." By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA
Gregg Keidel, a native of Ohio and someone who has contributed much to Buckeye State harness racing in various capacities over the last 35 years, is “returning home” as the race secretary at both of the new Dayton-area racinos that will be filling the traditional racing spot formerly held by venerable Lebanon Raceway: Miami Valley Raceway, a joint venture of Churchill Downs and Delaware North which will soon open the 2014 racing season in southern Ohio, and Dayton Raceway, a “Hollywood Slots”/Penn National venture which will follow Scioto Downs’ traditional summer meet in what is envisaged as an almost year-round circuit. Most of Keidel’s experience, as those familiar with him know, was picked up in the northeastern part of the state, at what was known then (and still is by many) as Northfield Park in Cleveland. Following his selling a chain of weekly newspapers which he had managed to success at an early age, Keidel got into harness racing as an owner, but it wasn’t long before he was training and driving his own horses, racing at Northfield, Windsor in Ontario, and the county fairs. Gregg had two early successes in his stable’s black and green colors: the pacer Blastabaroness, a top two-year-old Ohio filly of 1984 who gave Keidel 12 of his 14 victories very early in his sulky career; and a caretaker plucked out of waiterdom from the Northfield clubhouse who would go on to be known to many fans over 6000 victories later, Jim Pantaleano. Keidel’s newspaper experience led him to supplement his stable’s income by serving as a part time publicist for the track, and when a position in the racing office as assistant to Dennis Haskell opened, Gregg saw a more “stable” life for himself and his family and decamped there fulltime, shortly becoming Northfield racing secretary, a post he would hold for over 20 years as Northfield built itself into one of the hardest-working successes in the sport. During most of this time, Keidel “kept himself in the stirrups” on the Billings amateur circuit, being named Amateur Driver of the Year in North America in 2001. “I’ve had some of the best experiences in my life from amateur driving,” Gregg states. “I’ve been blessed to make six overseas trips as part of a visiting team of amateurs taking on the host countries, and they certainly have provided quite a few good memories. I’m also proud I notched my 100th win during Jug week in Delaware,” in 2007. When Running Aces Harness Park opened north of Minneapolis in 2008, Keidel took on the challenge as race office boss during the summer meet, getting a midseason leave of absence from the Cleveland oval, and he combined the two jobs until deciding to focus on Running Aces in 2010, with Florida judging his other source of income (though he also handled the last meet at Toledo Raceway Park last year – mainly from Running Aces!). One of the great aspects for Keidel in his new jobs is that the spring meet at Miami Valley and the fall meet at Dayton Raceway bookend the summer action in Minnesota beautifully. “I think these new opportunities in Ohio are exciting,” Gregg opines. “The parent companies all come from a racing base, and they understand that you have to promote both the racing and the casino play, whereas elsewhere many of the owners come from straight from the casino world, and the racing is often given a very secondary status.” The new 5/8-mile track at Miami Valley, nine miles from Lebanon Raceway, will accommodate nine-horse behind the starting gate – and Keidel would be very happy to have some full gates as MVR opens on February 7. “I am being realistic about how many horses we will attract at first,” he said. “There is no barn area here – we had a lot of inquiries from horsemen about stabling, but there just aren’t that many stalls available in the area right now, although some county fairs are talking about refurbishing their barn areas and staying open as training centers all year. Also, we have had some of the most miserable weather in the last few weeks around here (Gregg, it hasn’t been just around you – ed.), and a lot of horsemen are behind schedule in bringing horses back.” Indeed, the day this story was written, qualifying standards of 2:10 for pacers and 2:12 for trotters within 45 days were announced as a temporary measure until trainers get back on their schedules. If the horses may need a start or two to hit top stride, the same cannot be said about the driving colony. The last three North American driving champions – Ron Wrenn Jr. (2013), Dave Palone (2012), and Dan Noble (2011) – have committed to racing at Miami Valley during opening weekend, and interest in regular racing has been indicated by five other drivers with 3000+ wins: Greg Grismore, Randy Tharps, Tony Hall, Pat Berry ,… …and remember that Northfield waiter who got his start with the Keidel barn? Yes, count Jim Pantaleano, now 6,150 wins ahead of his former boss, among those likely to be checking out Miami Valley. For the opening two cards, Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8, Miami Valley will draw on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Gregg Keidel and the rest of the Miami Valley team will be hoping for some luck rubbing off on that date – because that day it will have been exactly 50 years since Pompano Park staged its first-ever card. It will be much warmer in Florida than it will be in southwest Ohio, but Pompano certainly has had its share of magic over the years – and Gregg Keidel has been in the horse game long enough to take magic, luck, or anything else that will aid his cause and that of his management. By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com
LEBANON, OH. - The race office at Miami Valley Raceway will open for the first time on Thursday morning (Jan. 30) from 8 a.m. until noon and again Friday morning from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The first order of business will be accepting entries for the first-ever qualifying races over the brand new five-eighths mile oval of Saturday (Feb. 1) starting at noon. Phone numbers for the race office are 513-934-7336, 513-934-7337 BS 513-934-7339, "We know that the prolonged arctic weather in southeast Ohio over the past month has been the worst in a quarter century," said Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "Trainers are having a very difficult time maintaining the schedules they laid out in anticipation of our opening. Accordingly, we've relaxed the qualifying standards temporarily to get as many horses back to the races as we can as soon as possible." Opening Weekend is slated for Friday through Sunday, February 7-9 with a 6:30 p.m. post time each night. Trainers within shipping distance of Miami Valley are urged to check out the condition sheets for the first three nights, available at both www.ustrotting.com under the Horsemen tab and at www.miamivalleygaming.com under the Racing tab. Horses will be required to show a good clean charted line within 45 days of their anticipated race. "We may be able to direct trainers who want to race horses two or three nights on Opening Weekend and are shipping from longer distances to affordable nearby overnight stabling. We are talking to the county fairgrounds in both Lebanon and Dayton about offering overnight rates to trainers who pre-pay with a deposit," Keidel reports. Hall of Famer Dave Palone, the winningest driver in harness racing history with over 16,000 victories, has accepted an invitation to race Opening Weekend at Miami Valley Raceway. Over a dozen other drivers with over 1,000 wins have announced their intentions to compete regularly. In order of lifetime triumphs they are Jim Pantaleano 6251, Greg Grismore 6181, Randy Tharps 4618, Tony Hall 4013, Dan Noble 3511, Pat Berry 3024, Jack Dailey 2679, Jeff Nisonger 2644, Josh Sutton 2220, Kayne Kauffman 1653, Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 1325, J.D. Wengerd 1318, Tyler Smith 1227 and Mark Winters Jr. 1056. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
MANALAPAN, NJ - January 16, 2014 - In a 90-minute meeting, mediated by Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey President Tom Luchento, more than 150 horsemen had an opportunity to verbalize their concerns to Freehold management. The meeting, conducted in the Renaissance Room at Freehold Raceway on January 15, was focused on track conditions, medical response and other issues triggered by the horrific spill that occurred in the fifth race on Friday, January 10, 2014. Five drivers - Cat Manzi, Debra Rucker, Vincent Ginsburg, Chris Scicluna and Jim Pantaleano - ended up at area hospitals and a sixth driver, Rick Pantano, was also checked out after the starting gate slide into the field on the first turn. Horses suffered cuts and bruises. Representing Freehold were general manager Howard Bruno, director of racing Karen Fagliarone, starter Robert Blum and track supervisor Michael Fagliarone. "As a result of this meeting, we all seem to agree that there is a need for an independent track expert to review the track surface and the manner in which it is maintained," said Luchento. "We've also called upon Freehold to pay for the replacement of the racing bikes, colors, veterinarian bills and other costs that derived out of this accident. Additionally, the owners of the horses that did not get to race because of the cancellation of the balance of the card on January 10 will be reimbursed $125." All seven of the starters in the fifth race will equally split the $4,300 purse. Some speakers described the freeze-thaw cycle of the afternoon of January 10 as the "perfect storm" for the track conditions to turn dangerous in a short amount of time. Others expressed concern that if they complained or scratched horses on bad weather days, they would face retribution. Both Luchento and Karen Fagliarone assured horsemen that this would not be the case and that it was important for there to be an open dialogue between drivers and the judges. While outrider Beth Cumberland was praised for her quick response to gathering up the loose horses, there were questions about the slow response time for additional ambulances from local hospitals. This was exacerbated by the volume of black ice road accidents in the region, it was explained. Cat Manzi, who suffered multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung, was released from Jersey Shore University Medical Center on Wednesday, January 15. Debbie Rucker, who had internal bleeding in her leg, was discharged the prior day. by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ
MANALAPAN, NJ - January 14, 2014 - Rick Wills of Rick's Saddle Shop and Purina have come to the aid of the six drivers injured in a dramatic spill in the fifth race on January 10 at Freehold Raceway. Approached by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, Wills and Purina responded with a $700 gift certificate, redeemable for Purina Equine Feed, for each of the injured drivers: Cat Manzi, Debra Rucker, Vincent Ginsburg, Chris Scicluna, Jim Pantaleano and Rick Pantano. "The SBOANJ went to Rick for his help, and he and Purina were quick to step up and offer something that will help these horsemen get back on their feet," said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. "We greatly appreciate their solid effort on behalf of these horsemen. Hopefully, there will be others who will make similar offers." Rick's Saddle Shops are located in Cream Ridge and Englishtown, NJ. The dramatic spill unseated all six drivers when the starting gate car lost control and slid into the field as it entered the first turn. Hall of Famer Manzi and Rucker are still hospitalized. Manzi has multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung while Rucker has a leg injury. The accident will be the subject of a special meeting of horsemen and track management on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in the Renaissance Room at Freehold Raceway at 4 p.m. by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ
After the start of the fifth race at Freehold Raceway Friday afternoon the starting gate car slipped on the muddy track surface and slid down into the upcoming field of harness horses. All but one of the seven starters in the race crashed into the starting gate. Fortunately, all of the horses in the race escaped with only minor injuries and were able to walk off the track. Of the seven drivers involved in the accident, most were not able to walk off the track. Five drivers, Catello Manzi, Debra Rucker, Vincent Ginsburg, Chris Scicluna and Jim Pantaleano were taken to the hospital to be checked out. After the fifth race trot got underway, Civic Duty and James Clarry had moved to the early lead and they were able to miss the accident by only a couple of inches. The video of the race shows that after entering the first turn the starting gate began to slide in the mud and then headed towards the infield. After Civic Duty barely cleared by, Silver Delivery and driver Debra Rucker ran right into the starting gate and that caused a chain reaction accident among all but one of the trailing horses. The horse in last place at the time actually ran into the end of the gate and the hood of the starting gate car. Race officials declared the race a non-contest and refunded all wagers. They also canceled the rest of the live race program that afternoon. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
MANALAPAN, NJ - December 17, 2013 - Driver Eric Abbatiello and trainer Vincent Fusco Jr. wrapped up meet titles when Freehold Raceway wrapped up its 2013 season on Saturday, December 14, 2013. "I believe this is the third consecutive driving title for me at Freehold," said Abbatiello. "I appreciate the opportunities given to me by the trainers at Freehold." Abbatiello held a five-win margin over Jim Pantaleano for the combined January to May and August to December meet. "My own stable did well this year and a special thanks to my loyal owners," he noted. Abbatiello's stable produced 15 wins from 91 starters for earnings of $87,118. "Freehold is where I grew up, so it makes it that much more special," he added. Abbatiello, who received a degree in philosophy and business from Catholic University, switched from stockbroker and financial planner to harness horseman in 1999. But that was no surprise given his roots. His father, Carmine, and his uncle, Anthony, are both Hall of Fame horsemen. Abbatiello finished the year with 173 wins at Freehold, holding off Jim Pantaleano with 168 wins. Rounding out the driving Top 5 were Steve Smith, Cat Manzi and Vincent Ginsburg. Name Starts W P S UDR ITM% Earnings Abbatiello, Eric 956 173 153 132 0.316 48% $743,984 Pantaleano, James 832 168 124 101 0.325 47% $708,351 Smith, Stephen 824 119 102 141 0.270 44% $628,563 Manzi, Catello 511 115 73 65 0.347 50% $448,372 Ginsburg, Vincent 788 90 108 99 0.232 38% $466,075 Topping the trainer standings was Vincent Fusco Jr. with 65 wins, more than twice Nick Surick with 32 wins. Fusco’s stable earned nearly $236,000 thanks, in part, to an in-the-money percentage of 56 percent. Name Starts W P S UDR ITM% Earnings Fusco, Vincent Jr 278 65 45 47 0.380 56% $235,908 Surick, Nick 113 32 21 12 0.422 58% $130,949 Garland, Karen 181 31 19 34 0.292 46% $142,946 Mackenzie, William 140 26 27 20 0.340 52% $142,653 Scamporino, Frank Jr 128 23 24 12 0.315 46% $119,480 Live racing returns to Freehold Raceway on January 2, 2014. by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ
MANALAPAN, NJ – November 24, 2013 – Jim Pantaleano instigated the fundraising effort, and both Freehold Raceway and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey matched funds to raise more than $5,000 on Saturday, November 23, 2013 to benefit injured harness driver Anthony Coletta. Pantaleano made the pledge to donate his five percent fee as a driver in all 13 of Freehold’s races on Saturday. That totaled $463. Meanwhile, the SBOANJ and Freehold agreed to match his donation and those of any other drivers and trainers on the program. The result was $2,520 in fees and an equal amount from the SBOANJ and Freehold. Plus there were other donations from the racing community that well exceeded the $5,040. The beneficiary is driver Anthony Coletta, who suffered severe injuries in a racing accident on November 17, 2013 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. “We know it is a challenge for horsemen to give up their income for the day, but we thank all of those who did step up to assist a fallen colleague with this fundraising effort,” said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. “ “Many thanks to Jimmy and Christi Pantaleano for starting the ball rolling and to all the other horsemen who joined the effort,” said Freehold’s Director of Racing Karen Fagliarone. Christi Pantaleano collected additional cash donations on Saturday, including a generous gift from the Landy family, to add to the total. From the racing fees, Andy Miller was the top money earner and contributor for the day with $620, followed by Pantaleano’s $463. Other drivers involved were Nick Surick, Steve Smith, Eric Abbatiello, Jim Marshall and Pat Berry. Donated training percentages came from Pete Fusco, Ken Hess and Mike Posner. by Carol Hodes for SBOA/NJ
MANALAPAN, NJ – November 22, 2013 – Jim Pantaleano, one of Freehold’s top drivers, will be donating his earnings from Saturday’s Freehold racing card to benefit injured driver Anthony Coletta. The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and Freehold Raceway will match Pantaleano’s donation of his five percent of money earned. Both the SBOA/NJ and Freehold urge other drivers and trainers to join Pantaleano and will match their donations from the Saturday, November 23 Freehold program. Pantaleano has a driving assignment in all 12 races at Freehold, many of them morning line favorites or second choices. His assignments, in race order, are: Star Of The Game, Keep On Amazin, Family Pride, Prestissimo, Csardas, Ideal Danny, Kaya’s Sweetheart, Beau Rivage N, Travers Hall, Pacific Escape, Butn Your Shirt Ed and Feel The Blues. “We hope that other drivers and trainers will join in this fundraising effort,” said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. “If they do, we will match their contributions. We thank Freehold for supporting this effort to help Anthony Coletta.” Coletta suffered severe injuries in a racing accident on November 17, 2013 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. by Carol Hodes for SBOA/NJ
Ronny Bugatti picked the perfect spot to put in the greatest performance of his career as Jason Bartlett drove him to a head victory over Sunfire Blue Chip in the $450,000 final of the Messenger Stake for three-year-old pacers at Yonkers Raceway Saturday. The third and final test for the Pacing Triple Crown in harness racing took a track record performance from Ronny Bugatti as he stopped the teletimer in a lifetime best 1:51.4. It was Word Power and driver George Brennan as the even money favorite leaving from the gate with Ronny Bugatti grabbing the two-hole spot and Sunfire Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras) dropping into third place. They went to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. Right before the half mile in :56.4, Lucan Hanovoer (David Miller) started up first-over and they were able to flush Sunfire Blue Chip, who started off after the race leader Word Power. After the three-quarters in 1:23.3, Word Power looked to begin tiring as at the top of the stretch Sunfire Blue Chip was able to collar him and go on by as Ronny Bugatti dropped to the passing lane and started after Sunfire Blue Chip. Twilight Bonfire (Tim Tetrick) had been third-over and tipped out and was beginning to make up ground on the outside, but it was Bartlett and Roddy Bugatti coming on strong to win it all. Sunfire Blue Chip a close second with Twilight Bonfire third. “The horse is really really good,” said Jason Barlett after the victory. “I didn’t think it was going to be that close. George was taking me right where we wanted to be. Then at the top of the lane his horse began to stall a bit. And Yannick was able to get the jump on me starting down the stretch. So we had to work a little bit harder but once he got in the passing lane he took right off. “ Sired by Art Major it was only the third win this year for Ronny Bugatti. He is trained by Allan Johnson and is owned by E. Prevost, B. Moneese and T. Haughton. The victory nearly doubled his lifetime earnings which now stand at $365,000. Sent off at odds of 6-1 he paid $14.80 to win. “CHARISMA” WINS LADY MAUD Charisma Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras had little trouble wiring the field by three and one-half open lengths to win the $178,684 Lady Maud final for three-year-old fillies in 1:52. It was Certified Ideal (Jim Pantaleano) who was first to show with Charisma Hanover also on the move to take the lead before the opening quarter mile in :27.1. Charisma Hanover then settled on the lead and pretty much held the field at bay to the half mile in :56.2. Scandalous Hanover and David Miller then came first-over with Antigua Hanover (Jason Bartlett) following second-over and they started gaining on the leaders by the three-quarters in 1:24. It was too little too late as Yannick let his filly pace away from the field. Certified Ideal held for second with Scandalous Hanover third. “She was definitely very good,” Gingras said. “She was good last week. I thought that tonight it was her race to lose. We had clear sailing and she did all the rest.” It was the eleventh win this year for Charisma Hanover and her fourth straight victory. The daughter of Dragon Again is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, both of Pennsylvania. Sent off as the 2/5 betting favorite, Charisma Hanover paid $2.90 to win. Videos attached By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 1, 2013--Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $37,000 co-featured Open Handicaps--Pace for the ladies and a Trot for all duly authorized--were won by a pointed-to-the-passing lane Royal Cee Cee N (Brian Sears, $2.60) a two-move Zooming (Jason Bartlett, $7.20). Late to the dance in her last two starts, Royal Cee Cee N was in this game at the outset. Making the first lead from post position No. 5, the 3-10 choice gave it up to last week's winner, Rock N Load (Dan Dube) right at the :27.1 opening quarter-mile. After a cheap, 29-second next interval (:56.1 half), Marty Party (Jason Bartlett) moved from fourth, with Ginger and Fred (George Brennan) in behind. It was Rock N Load leading in the out of the 1:24.3, up a length entering the lane. The people's choice was all dressed up in her after-Halloween best, waiting for her close-up. She ducked inside, went past the lead and getting the best of a wide Ginger and Fred by a head 1:53.2. Third went to Rock N Load, with Mary Party and Dawn's Legacy (Jordan Stratton) grabbing the minor moolah. For Royal Cee Cee N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Christian Cullen owned and trained by Mark Harder, it was her eighth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.60, with the triple returning $56.50, The weekly trotting feature saw Zooming, from post No. 4 (in one notch after an inside defection), made a second move to work around Lorenzo Dream (Brent Holland). Zooming made the lead before a :27.3 opening two furlongs, then rated a comfy :57.4 half. It was 3-2 choice DW's NY Yank (Brennan), who had left into a three-hole,. moving again. Meanwhile, Zooming maintained the lead through the 1:26 three-quarters, widening to 2 1/2 lengths turning for home. He prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:54.1. Lorenzo held second with a flattening "DW," with Whata Winner (Steve Smith) and Super Manning (Dube) earning the small change. Returning millionaire Little Brown Fox (Sears) broke early as the second choice. For third choice Zooming, a 5 year-old Classic Photo gelding trained by Amber Buter for co-owners Stephen Oldford, Oldford Farms and Tyler Buter, he's now 10-for-32 this season. The exacta paid $59, the triple returned $281 and the superfecta paid $1,227. Saturday night features finals for both the 58th Messenger Stakes ($450,000) and Lady Maud ($176,684), premier events for 3-year-old pacers. The former, third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, goes as the eight race...1- Odds On Equuleus (Corey Callahan, 8-1), 2- Ronny Bugatti (Jason Bartlett, 6-1), 3-Word Power (Brennan, 6-1), 4-Good Day Mate (Eric Goodell, 10-1), 5-Twilight Bonfire (Tim Tetrick, 8-1), 6-Lonewolf Currier (Sears, 5-1), 7-Sunfire Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras, 3-1), 8-Lucan Hanover (Dave Miller, 4-1). The Lady Maud, carded as the sixth race...1-Certified Ideal (Jim Pantaleano, 12-1),2-Handsoffmycupcake (Dube, 8-1), 3-Antigua Hanover (Bartlett, 10-1), 4-Charisma Hanover (Gingras, 7-5), 5-Scandalous Hanover (e) (Miller 3-1, 6-Live Entertainment (Sears, 12-), 7-Parlee Beach (e) (Tetrick, 3-1), 8-Jerseylicious (Callahan, 10-1). Note that Scandalous Hanover and Parlee Beach raced as a coupled entry. 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 around the NYRA schedule. by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway