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For those who follow the harness racing 'Leaders of the Week' chart, you may have noticed an unfamiliar name in the top 5, Jim Devaux. Devaux was tied last week with National Dash winner Aaron Merriman for the most wins in the nation, as they were both tied with 17 wins, although Devaux did it with 39 less starts. Jim has been on an absolute tear at Monticello Raceway in the last 6 weeks, he is putting open lengths between himself and the other drivers in the Monticello driver's colony in the win department. Thus far in 2017 he has 92 wins, compared to the 2nd place driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. with 61. This time last year Bruce Aldrich Jr. who was the leading dash winner had 75 wins. Jim has won 5 races on a card 5 times and won 4 races on an afternoon twice already this year. The soft spoken, affable DeVaux says "I enjoy doing well at Monticello, this is my home town track, I grew up in the backstretch, I have enjoyed racing here over the years, I'm not happy when I'm not racing here. I have been very fortunate to get the power to win, and all I need to do is put them in the right spot town to win". Devaux sport a UDRS of 460, besides driving for leading Monticello Raceway trainer Dolores Basilone, Jim has done very well driving horse for other trainers as well. Jim DeVaux and the other top drivers at Monticello Bruce Aldrich and Jim Taggart Jr. are a tight nit bunch and it's possible that any one of them can win 3-4 races a day. "We all get along pretty good and things work out" noted DeVaux. Devaux currently is in 4th place in the leading dash winner's category at Saratoga Raceway with 9 wins. By: Shawn Wiles

Just Make Believe (Kadabra) was a nominee for harness racing 'Trotter of the Year' last season at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the John Di Stefano trainee was a force in the local feature in 2016. On Sunday afternoon, the seven year old made his return to the Spa to compete in the $12,000 Open Trot and driver Jim Devaux moved Just Make Believe early. Released at odds of 3-1, Just Make Believe wound up sitting the pocket to the favored On The Podium (Bruce Aldrich Jr) as that one battled last week's Open winner Slugfest (Jay Randall) who was first over. Just Make Believe became a reality in the stretch when he surged by to take over the lead under the shadow of the wire, coming on to win it by a head in 1:57.4 on another cold afternoon in Saratoga. Slugfest came up second best while On The Podium had to settle for the show spot. It was the first victory in two starts in '17 for the Just Make Believe coming off of a year in which he piled up thirteen wins. The winner paid $8.00 and led an exacta and triple that returned $32.40 and $95.50, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee set to begin at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Gotalottacredit (Credit Winner) sprung the upset in the Friday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Dave Dewhurst trainee sat the pocket in the $7,500 conditional trot for New York Sired highsteppers and wound up on the lead when the race's front-runner made a break heading to the three-quarter pole. Gotalottacredit held off the late challenge from rival Intensify (Phil Fluet) before stopping the timer in 2:00.3 on a cold, windy March night in Saratoga. Longshot Yessir I'm Royal (Brian Cross) earned the show spot. Gotalottacredit, who was driven to the upset victory by Jimmy Devaux, returned $31.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $126 and $797, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

James Devaux rounded out a productive week at Monticello Raceway, for the second time in a week he drove five winners on the harness racing card, the tally for the week was 13 trips to the winners circle. Can't It Be Me started off the 5 bagger for DeVaux in the 3rd race, starting from the 9 hole he got away 4th, and was parked from the half to past the ¾ pole to win by a scant head in 1:59.1 for leading trainer Dolores Basilone. In the next race he scored a wire to wire victory with Lone Valley Sam for New Berlin NY. trainer Steven Ray. In race 7, the out of town invader Mccito, took no prisoners to win by 11 lengths in 1:57.3, the fastest mile of the day. The 5 year old son of McArdle was recently racing at Miami Valley for trainer Al Annunziat. Monticello Raceway newcomer Marta Piotrow has been turning heads recently with a respectable UDRS of .256, with 3 wins in 8 starts, she is part owner with Anthony Napolitano of Winback Prince (PP5) who gave Devuax his 4th win of the afternoon. In race 10, Devaux survived a little scare when Troon put in some extra steps and briefly went off stride in deep stretch, he regained his composure and gait to track down pace setter Intheperfectstorm to prevail in 1:59.1. Mike Merton and John Desimone Jr. each drove 2 winner on the afternoon card. Monticello Raceway is dark on Presidents Day Monday February 20, live racing resumes on Tuesday with a 12:25 post time. By Shawn Wiles

The combination of Jim Devaux and Dolores Basilone has been working very well as of late and today was no exception as both enjoyed a very good afternoon at Monticello Raceway, James DeVaux drove 5 winners on Tuesday's harness racing card and Trainer Dolores Basilone won 4 races. DeVaux capped off both ends of the early double, Sweet Kix from the rail was his first trip to the winners circle, followed by Muscle Beachboy (Dolores Basilone) in the 2nd half of the early double. In race 3, it was the Scott Biccum trained Nancys Skyscape who gave Devaux the early hat trick. After a short hiatus, the next winning drive was in race 7, Powder Keg, starting from the rail for trainer Dolores Basilone, scored in 1:57, the fastest mile of the afternoon, coming right back in the following race was the Monticello Raceway iron horse Hoboken Hanover (Dolores Basilone) to visit he winners circle by virtue of his 1:57. win, LQ in 28.3. Devaux also had 2 place and 1 show finishes on the card. Devaux is now atop the leading dash winning driver with 57 wins, Bruce Aldrich is 2nd with 49 wins. With the sun shining and the track dry, it marked the return of all time Monticello Raceway leading dash winner Billy "Zeke" Parker, he finished the day with a 2nd and a 3rd place finish out of 2 starts. By: Shawn Wiles

On Monday January 30,harness racing driver James DeVaux put on a driving clinic as he won six races on the eight race card at Monticello. The new tally of six wins for the day puts Devaux right behind Bruce Aldrich Jr for leading dash winner drivers, Aldrich leads the pack with 42 wins, and Devaux is 2nd with 35. He reeled off five in a row starting from race two thru race six. He took the 2nd half of the early Daily Double with Nautilus De Vie for trainer Dawn Devaux, in succession his other winning mounts were, Hang To The Riggin, Pen Drop, I Deal Vic and Rustys Flying. His last win on the card came in the 8th race, where he guided Hollywood Jess (PP7) to win for trainer Dolores Basilone in 2:01.2 By Shawn Wiles

On a rainy afternoon harness racing card, it was raining wins for drivers Jim DeVaux and Jim Taggart Jr. and as they each won 4 races at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon. Jim Taggart Jr. had been mired in a brief 2017 win slump, only having won 3 races thus far this year. He set the tone early and added to his tally by winning the first race with Cevina De Chakrika in 2:00 for trainer Anthony Regina, he came right back in the 3rd race to score with Future Life from the rail to returned a $8.40 win ticket. Jim DeVaux started his 4 bagger in race 4, behind PITA ($6.00) for Monticello Raceway leading trainer of the year Dolores Basilone. The DeVaux/Basilone tandem took race 5 with Fly To The Angels in 2:02.4 over a track rated sloppy. Big Payout scored from the 8 hole for Taggart Jr. in race 6, Taggarts last win of the day was in the 8th race with Adorable Ben (PP3) DeVaux was halfway there, For Kevins Sake, won in race 9 Thinkyoucandance was the 4th win of the day for James DeVaux and Dolores Basilone. 2016 Leading trainer Dolores Basilone was the trainer for all of James DeVaux 4 wins. By Shawn Wiles

Harness racing driver Jim DeVaux put on a driving clinic of his own on Tuesday afternoon at Monticello Raceway by winning five of the afternoons nine races.  DeVaux, who won 181 races in 2016, is off to a fast start in 2017. The five bagger started in the second race, when he steered Majestic Jo (PP5) to victory for trainer Michael Weiner in 2:02:1.  The 13 year old Semalu Express (PP2) was the next winner in 1:57.4 in race 4 for owner Joseph Carelli of Deerborn Heights, MI. DeVaux came right back in race 5, a conditioned trot with Nautilus De Vie, the son of Credit Winner is trained by Dawn Devaux to score in 2:03 from post 4, paying a healthy $21.20. 2016 leading trainer Dolores Basilone had DeVaux up behind For Kevins Sake in the sixth race, the gelded son of American Ideal paced in 1:56.4 and returned $2.60 to his faithful.  The winning combination of DeVaux and Basilone struck again in the afternoon’s last race, when Steve Said scored an impressive wire to wire win from post 7. By Shawn Wiles

On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, James Devaux had a full house, he won 5 of the 9 races on the harness racing program. James is currently in 5th place in the leading dash win category with 144 wins, Bruce Aldrich Jr. leads the pack with 314. The 5 bagger started in the first race as he took both ends of the early Daily Double, he won the 1st race with Pen Drop ($4.40) in 1:56 for trainer Delores Basilone and came right back and took the 2nd race with Temptation Queen in 1:57 for trainer Murry Bassen. Dontelltellmywife ($6.50) was his winning drive in the 3rd race for trainer Michael Miller and owner Lewis Miller of New Berlin NY. The next trip to the winners circle came in race 5, as he steered Fluky's Girl ($5.30) to victory in 1:58 for owner Gregory Gardner. He ended the afternoon winning the last race with Paydaze On The Way ($4.50) for trainer and owner Andrew Adamczyk of Middletown NY. By: Shawn Wiles

Cash Poor (Cash Hall) wasn't going to settle for second on Sunday afternoon after being the harness racing runner up in back to back tries in the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Harry Reddick Jr-trained Cash Poor worked hard to get the early lead in the $16,000 Sunday feature as driver Jimmy Devaux guided him to the front in a first quarter of 27.4 on a chilly afternoon in the Spa City. The 8-1 longshot didn't get too much of a breather before being tested by a first over rival but held strong throughout before hanging on to score in 1:56, a seasonal best win time for the eight year old trotter. Zooming (Mark Beckwith) closed for second while longshot Flyhawk Thriller (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Cash Poor paid $18.40 to win while recording his eighth victory in 2016. The exacta and triple returned $42.80 and $165.50, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday at Saratoga with a 4:00pm first post. Mike Sardella

On Friday night, Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) did what Velocity Vespa does. The six year old harness racing standout scored a front-running win in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rich Banca trainee loves the lead and driver Jimmy Devaux worked hard to get her there on a rainy night in the Spa City. Velocity Vespa was parked out early before Devaux went pedal to the metal going to the quarter before the distaffer cleared the lead in a 27.2 opening panel. So Nice (Mark Beckwith) has been getting pocket rides behind Velocity Vespa seemingly for months and once again got the two hole trip in Friday's feature. After a breather in the second quarter, the race's 3-2 betting favorite was put to the test and fought gamely before hanging on to win by the slimmest of margins in 1:54.3. Truth And Liberty (Stephane Bouchard) flew home and came up just shy of the victory as the runner up while So Nice earned the show spot. For Velocity Vespa, it was her incredible 18th win in 28 seasonal tries. The exacta and triple paid pretty well considering it was just a six horse field as the exotics returned $23.60 (exacta) and $41.40 (triple). Velocity Vespa is well on her way to being named Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga as the winning machine has now tallied six victories in the local Open despite not making her seasonal debut until July. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

In The Huddle (American Ideal) pulled off a mild harness racing  upset in the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Joe DeCarlo-trained pacer rode a three race win streak into his debut in the local Open. Reinsman Jimmy Devaux took the 9-1 shot In The Huddle back early as the fractions were fierce in lap one of the $16,000 feature. After sitting patiently while first half splits of 26.3 and 54.4 were carved out, In The Huddle made his move up the backstretch before fanning to the far outside turning for home. The four year old pacer emerged victorious from a scramble in the stretch, coming on to win in 1:52.4, besting BJ's Guy (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and Southwind Amazon who finished second and third, respectively. Less than three lengths covered the entire field at the wire in what was one of the most competitive local features in the 2016 season at the Spa. In The Huddle, a $10,000 claim back in June, has rattled off six wins in his eight starts out of the DeCarlo stable. Paying $20.40 to win, In The Huddle led an exacta that paid $75 and a triple that came back $460. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon featuring a pick 5 carryover of $2,586. The matinee kicks off at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) continued her sensational 2016 harness racing campaign on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Richard Banca-trained mare recorded win number 17 on the season as she went coast to coast in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Velocity Vespa is a dominant force when she makes the lead but has been a non-factor when having to come from off the pace. That trend continued on Friday night when the six year old mare marched out to the early lead in a first quarter of 27.1 and never looked back. Facing a bid from the first over favorite Mosquito Blue Chip (Bruce Aldrich Jr), Velocity Vespa dug in and put that one away turning for home. So Nice (Austin Siegelman), maybe the most consistent force in the Friday feature this year, closed sharply up the inside and finished second. She has now been the runner up in four consecutive tries in the local Open. Velocity Vespa's 17th seasonal score came in 1:53.1. The race's second choice in the wagering at odds of 8-5, Velocity Vespa led an exacta that paid $26.40 and a triple that returned $69.50 in the six horse feature. The standout distaffer was piloted to the win by Jimmy Devaux. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) went coast to coast to capture the Friday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. After being claimed in July by trainer Rich Banca, Velocity Vespa rattled off three consecutive wins in the Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa. The last of those victories came in a dazzling 1:51.3, a track record for a pacing mare at the Spa. The six year old distaffer didn't factor in last week's Open despite being the odds-on favorite but returned to the winner's circle after wiring the field in Friday's $16,000 feature. So Nice (Mark Beckwith) sat the pocket and finished second while Super Soph (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. Velocity Vespa's 16th win of the season came over a sloppy track in 1:53.4 on Friday night. Returning $4.90 to win, Velocity Vespa, who was driven to victory by Jimmy Devaux, led an exacta and triple that came back $15.20 and $77.50, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) became the fastest lady pacer in the history of Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night as the Rich Banca-trained harness racing mare scored her third consecutive win in the local Fillies and Mares Open. Banca claimed the six year old distaffer last month and the mare who had won 22 times in the last year and a half has added three more to her tally after a few dominant efforts in the $15,000 ladies' Open. Velocity Vespa surged out to the lead from her assigned outside post position on Friday and set brisk fractions while cutting the mile. The standout mare went to the quarter in 27.2 and the half in 55.4. Her sizzling speed display didn't end there as the winning machine paced through three quarters in 1:23.2 before hitting the wire first in 1:51.3. The final time is the fastest for any female pacer in the 75 year history of Saratoga, besting the mark of 1:52 which was owned by Darlin's Delight, a three year old filly when she set the mark, and So Nice, who held the record for aged pacing mares. So Nice was the runner up to Velocity Vespa in the Friday feature to complete an exacta behind the even money favorite that paid $14.20. Happily Ever After (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot to complete the triple that came back $87.50. Jimmy Devaux drove Velocity Vespa to her record setting score on a night in which he piloted three winners. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella  

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) scored her second consecutive win in the Friday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the Rich Banca-trained mare cruised to a wire-to-wire harness racing victory in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open. The six year old distaffer was claimed by Banca two weeks ago and went coast to coast in 1:52.1 in her debut for her new connections last week. On Friday night, Velocity Vespa was the race's 1-2 betting favorite and cruised out to the early lead in a first quarter paced in 27.3. Reinsman Jimmy Devaux gave the mare a bit of a second quarter breather before she was met with the challenge of a first over Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson). Velocity Vespa paced away from her rivals in a 27.3 final quarter and scored a decisive four length victory, stopping the timer in 1:52.2. Bazooka Terror was the runner up in the Friday feature for the seventh time this season while Campanile (Austin Siegelman) earned the show spot. For Velocity Vespa, it was win number 13 on the season in twenty tries following a 2015 campaign in which she won eleven times. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

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