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On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, Jim Taggart Jr. won his 4000th career win, the win came in the 7th race on the harness racing card, aboard Classic Can Dream. The If I Can Dream mare won in 1:58:3 for Trainer Gary Messenger and Owner Kenneth Weckstein. The Monticello born and raised Taggart started his career in the backstretch of Monticello and started driving here in 1988, his career earnings are in excess of $19,000,000. On hand in the winner's circle he was surrounded by family members and fellow horseman and well-wishers. By Shawn Wiles

Nichols, N.Y. - Scott Woogen's K J's Caroline ($9.80) took full advantage of a pocket trip in Friday (September 9) evening's co-featured harness racing $13,500 Mares Open 1 Pace at Tioga Downs, only reaching the lead in the last 15 yards of a 1:51.2 mile. The 6-year-old Roddy's Bags Again mare was involved from race's outset as she customarily does, repelling Northern Beauty (Mike Simons) on approach to the first turn before yielding control to Yes You Can (Aaron Byron) after a :26.3 first quarter. K J's Caroline enjoyed a clear pocket ride through middle sectionals of :55.1 and 1:22.4. Jim Taggart, Jr. angled K J's Caroline out of the pocket just above the eighth pole--but another threat would emerge deeper out in the form of Northern Beauty, who hooked three-wide off the turn once able to shake free. K J's Caroline gained the upper hand in the nick of time, just collaring runner-up Yes You Can by a neck and likewise staving off third-place finisher Northern Beauty in a three-way stretch battle. Gary Messenger trains K J's Caroline, now a 28-time winner. Brandos Muscle Man elevated to first in featured trot In the $13,500 Open Handicap Trot, 17-1 outsider Brandos Muscle Man ($37.40) was elevated to first after his stretch bid from the pocket was interrupted by pacesetter Dragin the Wagon (Byron), who bore out off the far turn and clipped Brandos Muscle Man amid their stretch duel. Mike Merton drove the 8-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding to his 30th career win in 1:53.3, albeit by default. Dragin the Wagon was relegated to second for his upper-stretch foul, while Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) could only muster enough momentum to capture third from off the pace. Rick Dane, Jr. trains Brandos Muscle Man for the Rock and Roll Stable, Inc. and Monica Banca. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 10) evening, with the first of 13 pari-mutuel events due off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Better Said ($23.80) overcame a speed-grinding first-over trip to take the harness racing $15,500 featured pace Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Jim Taggart Jr. was able to take away the lead from favored frontstepping Single Me in early stretch, but 2014 Breeders Crown winner Sayitall BB came clear in the Pocono Pike and charged hard, extending the winning daughter of Well Said, but she remained game to hold off her oncoming rival by a neck. Better Said also took a new mark of 1:51.2 with the victory, in which she came her own last half in 55 flat despite the first-over grind. Kyle Spagnola trains the winner of $194,552 for owner Michael Polansky.   Two other distaffers of note winning on the Tuesday Pocono card were the Royel Millennium filly Prairie Sweetheart, now 9 for 9 lifetime as she prepared for the fall stakes season in Florida by lowering her mark to 1:50.4 for driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Mike Deters, the latter co-owner with Laurie Poulin and John Spindler, and 2014 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes 2PF champion Southwind Roulette, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere who raised her stack of chips to $562,655 while lowering her speed mark to 1:50.1 under the guidance of Mike Simons for trainer Ron Burke and owner Frank Poerio Jr.   PHHA / Pocono

Nichols, N.Y. -- Scott Woogen's Six Bax ($26.80) held off stern pressure to upset as the longest shot on the board in Saturday (August 6) evening's featured $11,000 Open 1 Trot at Tioga Downs, giving harness racing driver Jim Taggart, Jr. one of his four wins on the 10-race card.   The 7-year-old Kadabra gelding emerged with the early lead, forcing Don Dorado (Mike Simons) into the pocket through a :27.1 first quarter before bracing for an extended first-over challenge from Its Payday Friday (Ronnie Morales) through middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.3. Six Bax dug in to rebuff the challenge of Its Payday Friday on the far turn and subsequently held sway of a belated rally from Oh No Three O (Jeff Long), who swung four-wide in the straight off a fourth-over trip. Six Bax prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.3, while Oh No Three O finished a neck better than Its Payday Friday to just claim second.   Gary Messenger trains Six Bax, who scored his sixth win in 16 tries this year. Messenger and Taggart also teamed up with Cool Breeze de Vie ($2.40, 1:54.4) and I'm Fabulous ($5.60, 1:57), while Steven Moore trainee Murs Son ($16.80, 2:00) rounded out Taggart's driving grand slam.   The 50¢ Pick 5 will carry over again to Sunday (August 7) afternoon's 12-race card, with $531.91 of added money on the line should anyone succeed in selecting the first five winners. Post time for the Sunday opener is set for 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

On Thursday afternoon December 3rd at Monticello Raceway, Jimmy Taggart Jr. won 5 races on the card, this capped off a productive week for Taggart. During the course of the week Taggart won 13 races, including a 4 bagger on Tuesday. James won the 2nd, 4th , 7th, 8th and the 10th and final race of the card with Amazing Quest for trainer Robert Lounsbury in 1:57:1. Taggart currently ranks in 2nd place for the most wins with 244, trailing Bruce Aldrich's total of 371, Jason Ryan holds a 1 win lead over Larry Stalbaum (190 -189) for 3rd place. The former Pocono Downs drivers has been calling Monticello Raceway home for the past 2 years with much success to show for it By Shawn Wiles

Nichols, N.Y. -- Jim Taggart, Jr. was the star of the Friday (August 7) evening harness racing card at Tioga Downs, prevailing in three of the evening's seven races.   After missing the board in both halves of the daily double, the 45-year-old reinsman took the third race, a $4300 first-level distaff pace, with Ton of Luck ($6.50) sustaining a first-over bid on the backstretch en route to a 1:54.1 win for owner-trainer Shane Arsenault.   Taggart was elevated to victory in the fifth race, a $7500 claiming event for pacing mares, when he and Powerful Love ($3.50) were placed up from second after unofficial first-place finisher Cam Funny (Corey Braden) was disqualified for a pylon violation in upper stretch.   Taggart competed his hat trick in the featured sixth event, a $7200 third-level conditioned pace for mares, with Smokin N Grinin ($5.00) edging clear of late threat Wishingonadragon (Braden) and pocket rival Maejusmac (Mike Simons) for a decisive 1:54.4 triumph. Scott Blackler owns and trains the 8-year-old Grinfromeartoear mare, who took her second consecutive win in the evening's top event.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 8) evening, with the first of nine races scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. The program also features the 2015 renewal of the Tioga Downs World Chicken Spiedie Eating Championship, presented by Lupo's.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Taking advantage of a pocket trip, Lauxmont Capri ($16.40) scored an upset win in Sunday (July 12) afternoon's $14,000 Open Pace at the harness racing meeting Tioga Downs, kicking clear at will for a 1:53 score.   The 5-year-old Red River Hanover gelding pushed the pace up the pegs, stringing out U Belong To Me (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a :26.4 first quarter before easing back to the pocket.   The two remained uncontested through the middle half, as first-over challenger Prairie Jaguar (Jim Meittinis) could only get to within three lengths of the lead at any point of the race.   As he faded off the far turn, Jim Taggart, Jr. angled Lauxmont Capri--with clear sailing all the while--out of the pocket, vaulting clear upon cornering.   U Belong To Me was devoid of any response, fading sharply through the stretch.   As Lauxmont Capri drew off in the final sixteenth, Electrofire (Mike Simons) emerged from traffic up the inside, just collaring the tracking Hunchie (Corey Braden) for second, 2-3/4 lengths in arrears of the winner.   Western Trademark (Aaron Byron) rallied from the back of the pack, gaining down the grandstand side to take fourth.   Gary Messenger trains Lauxmont Capri for owners Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger.   Byron and Marohn score hat tricks   While Taggart earned top honors in the day's featured event, Aaron Byron and Jim Marohn, Jr. were the driving stars on the 10-race card, each recording three victories.   Byron prevailed in partnership with St Lads Lotto ($4.10, 1:52.2), An Officers Duty ($7.20, 1:54.1), and Elite Awards ($12.40, 1:52.3), while Marohn teamed up with Special Joe ($4.10, 1:52.3), Smellthecolornine ($6.70, 1:53.1), and Retail ($26.00, 1:51.4).   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (July 17) evening, with the first race due to begin at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Taking advantage of a pocket trip and a blistering pace, K J's Caroline ($5.40) took charge late, holding off a bevy of closers in Friday (July 10) evening's $10,000 top-level pace for fillies and mares at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs.   The 5-year-old Roddy's Bags Again mare dueled early with Stormunn (Aaron Byron), ceding the lead on the first turn but not without having a hand in forcing a taxing early pace.    Stormunn worked clear through a 25.4 opening quarter over fast going, tracked intently by K J's Caroline through a :56.4 middle half.   On the far turn, Jim Taggart, Jr. edged K J's Caroline out of the pocket, collaring the pacesetter in mid-stretch before edging clear.   While Smokin N Grinin (Tyler Freese), Maejusmac (Dan Clements), and Forty Three (Jim Meittinis) all showed late pace from midfield or farther back, K J's Caroline held them all at bay, prevailing by a length in 1:52.   Gary Messenger trains K J's Caroline for owner/breeder Scott Woogen.   Taggart would go on to sweep the first four races of the evening's eight-race program, teaming up as well with Twin B Flirt ($3.00, 1:53.2), Purple N Gold ($4.00, 1:53.2), and Bullville Bren ($4.00, 1:57.3).   Live racing returns to Tioga on Saturday (July 11) evening, with a nine-race card due to begin at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

A large crowd turned out at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs on Saturday (July 4) evening for Independence Day festivities, and Bourbon Bay bounced back from a defeat two weeks ago to capture the featured $12,000 Open Trot.   The 4-year-old Sand Vic gelding worked clear of March Awareness (Richard Simard) on the first turn, controlling the terms through a :56.3 initial half while under no pressure.   On the backstretch, lessee/driver John Cummings, Jr. asked Bourbon Bay for a bit more trot, and the response was instant.   Bourbon Bay accelerated through a :28.1 third quarter, drawing clear of his foes off the far turn.   He ultimately amassed 2-1/2 lengths of clearance on his rivals, defeating them in 1:54.2   Grey Ice (Corey Braden) made a late push off the pegs to just take second, while March Awareness tired while chasing, checking in third.   Megan Wilson trains Bourbon Bay, who is now an 18-time winner in 37 career races.   Jim Taggart, Jr. led all drivers with three wins on the nine-race card, earning his second hat trick in as many nights.   He was victorious aboard You the One ($21.80, 1:58), Sweet Kix ($56.00, 1:57.4), and Six Bax ($3.50, 1:55.1).   Live racing returns to Tioga on Sunday (July 5) afternoon, with the first of 11 races slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Nichols, N.Y. -- Narrowly missing Fireyourguns in last week's top pacing event, Bettorsluckystreak ($13.00) sustained a first-over grind to just collar even-money favorite That'll Be the Rei in Sunday (June 21) afternoon's $14,000 harness racing open pace at Tioga Downs.   Jim Taggart, Jr. floated into midfield with the 5-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding at race's outset, out-sprinted up the pegs by Believe This Bob (Dan Clements) in the initial stages. Believe This Bob subsequently ceded the lead to That'll Be the Rei (Dan Clements) after a sensible :27.3 opening quarter mile. Just as That'll Be the Rei pulled the pace back through a :56.3 half, Bettorsluckystreak mounted his first-over rally, gaining steadily from fourth to apply pressure at the midpoint of the backstretch. The two would duel through the far turn and into the stretch, with Bettorsluckystreak just collaring That'll Be the Rei by a neck in 1:53.4, also staving off a three-wide push from the second-over Dreamlands Art (Brandon Simpson), who took third placing.   Trainer Gary Messenger co-owns Bettorsluckystreak with Kenneth Weckstein and Richard Rubin.   The 11-race program also featured a pair of second-round Nichols True Value late-closing events, with Let's Foal Around ($7.40, Mike Simons) and Jeneral Patton ($2.50, Jim Marohn, Jr.) both parlaying pocket trips into victories.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (June 26) evening, with post time slated for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Story Book extended his winning streak to nine in a row, the harness racing betting favorite left hard from the rail and took the lead in the first turn, Astor driven by Jason Ryan gained the lead at the quarter pole in 29.0 and continued to show the way past the half in 58:2. At the quarter pole BB Smash started his move on the outside, at the top of the lane, he made a bold 3 wide move, Astor still had the lead at the top of the stretch, but when the passing lane opened up, Stalbaum tipped Story Book to the inside and the diminutive son of American Ideal easily withstood the challenge of Astor to prevail by a length in 1:58:4, to give Larry Stalbaum his 2nd win of the afternoon. Also on the afternoon leading dash winning drivers Bruce Aldrich won 3 and Jim Taggart Jr bagged 2 wins by Shawn Wiles

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