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YONKERS, N.Y. – When Larry Stalbaum was in the process of vetting the purchase of Gina Grace in late 2017, the harness racing trainer watched a replay of the Group 3 Sue Kelly Ladyship Stakes at Menangle, where then 8-year-old mare Culinary Delight got up to defeat his prospect by a half-length in 1:51.4. Stalbaum bought Gina Grace and shipped her to his stable in the U.S. and he thought so highly of her, that he also brought home Culinary Delight. “The only reason I bought her was because she beat Gina Grace,” Stalbaum said. “I gave a lot more (money) for Gina Grace and I had high hopes for her. I watched her beat Gina Grace one time and I took a shot on her and bought her and I like her.” Stalbaum’s pair of New Zealand-bred mares proved productive in 2018. Gina Grace raced in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series early in the year and finished second in a $40,000 series consolation and earned $106,270 in 40 starts. Culinary Delight did even better, winning eight of her 34 starts, setting a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at Pocono Downs, and taking home $109,141. “She never faltered. I had a little sickness go through my barn, so all of my foreign horses got a little sick, including her, so we had to take a little break and get them all over that, but she bounced right back and she did fine,” Stalbaum said of Culinary Delight. “I had high hopes for her and if everything holds together, even though she is getting kind of old, she can do a lot of good in these last few years of her career.” Culinary Delight will start her 9-year-old season Friday night (January 11) at Yonkers. The Lis Mara daughter out of the Christian Cullen mare Culinary Affair will look to add her first local $44,000 distaff feature to her resume.  Culinary Delight completed her final race in Australian last March and she qualified for Stalbaum April 10. The trainer quickly realized his latest acquisition had a preferred style of racing and training. “She’s a little over aggressive, so I try to keep her calm,” he said. “I try not to leave with her because she gets a little over aggressive real easy. I think she’s a lot better from behind than she is leaving. She’s very, very big, she’s kind of large. She doesn’t like a lot of work, but she shows up when I race her.” Culinary Delight began her stateside campaign with two straight wins in local overnights and a runner-up finish in the Filly and Mare Open May 4. Stalbaum took her upstate over the summer and fall, where she became a regular face in the distaff opens at Tioga and Saratoga.  In her most recent outing at the Spa December 14, Culinary Delight tracked the leaders from third, pulled first-over at the half, and wore down the competition to post a 1:54.2 win with Stalbaum in the driver’s seat. The race demonstrated one of Culinary Delight’s best qualities, as her trainer explains. “She can take a lot of air. It doesn’t matter to her,” he said. “Every time I’ve raced her and left hard, she hasn’t been quite as good, so she’s a lot better if I don’t use her early. I can pull her whenever I want to.  “I just float off the car and as soon as they line up and slow down, I just pull her,” he continued. “It didn’t matter, she just kept coming. The stretch is so short there, you have to be close. She never gives up. She has a lot of fight in her. I really, really like her. She’s a nice horse.” Culinary Delight will start from post position four in Friday’s feature and is a 7-1 chance on the morning line with Stalbaum in the sulky. Her competition includes Clear Idea in post two, who will surely leave the gate and at 9-2 early odds and Amateur Hour, who drew the inside and is 7-2 after an off-the-pace victory here December 14. Itty Bitty, Wishy Washy Girl, Dudesalady, Best Of Jenna, and Made Of Jewels AS complete the lineup.  Culinary Delight’s midpack starting position is ideal, according to her trainer. “Slide her over and see how the race works out,” Stalbaum said. “She’s ready, she’ll do whatever I ask her to do. We’ll see how the race unfolds.” Stalbaum hopes Culinary Delight will be competitive at the Hilltop. Although he never sets plans for his horses in stone, he anticipates keeping her at Yonkers for the foreseeable future. He is optimistic she can make an impact in the lucrative local feature. “I’ll probably keep her there a while and see how it goes. I bounce my horses around, take them a little bit of everywhere. I don’t have a set schedule. Wherever they fit, that’s where I take them,” Stalbaum said. “I do have high hopes for her, I think maybe we can stay there for a while, do some good, and make some big money. That’s what I’m hoping for.” First post time Friday is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Larry Stalbaum's Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) won his first local harness racing Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel in mid-October. Following a third place finish the week after, the seven year old New Zealand invader fell sick and wound up taking a month off to recover. Stalbaum qualified Crockets Cullen N at Monticello in anticipation of his return to the Saratoga Open on Saturday night. Crockets Cullen N was assigned post four for his try in the $20,000 feature and Stalbaum unleashed him early. After making an easy lead, Crockets Cullen N yielded to soon-to-be three-time Pacer of the Year Artful Way (Frank Coppola Jr) who wound up on the front end. Artful Way set honest but relatively comfortable fractions throughout and after checking in at three quarters in 1:24.4 braced for Crockets Cullen N who was keen to go. Stalbaum popped the pocket at the head of the stretch and the battle ensued. Crockets Cullen N got up in the nick of time to edge the track's defending Horse of the Year to score in 1:52.2 for his second victory in the local Open. Artful Way came up second best while Lachie Maguire N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Pulling off a minor upset, Crockets Cullen N paid $9.30 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $48.80 and $207, respectively. The win was one of three on the card for Stalbaum who won the $16,050 Winners Over with Chumlee A and a conditional race with his O'Sundland who came from off the pace to prevail on Saturday night. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Culinary Delight N (Lis Mara) came from well off the pace to record the win in Friday's Fillies and Mares Harness Racing Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns, trains and drives the eight year old New Zealand bred who drew post five in the six-horse feature on Friday. Culinary Delight N got away fifth and sat patiently near the back of the pack as the race's favorite Clear Idea (Billy Dobson) was carving out the fractions. The race's 3-5 public choice in the wagering, Clear Idea didn't face a challenge before checking in at three quarters in 1:25.3 on a cold November night in Saratoga. Betabcool (Bruce Aldrich Jr) was the first to move on the outside, coming out after the leader approaching three quarters. Culinary Delight picked up the cover of that rival and they began to close-in in tandem on Clear Idea around the final turn. Culinary Delight N came charging home and got by Clear Idea in the final strides before stopping the timer in 1:54.2 to record her second win in the local Fillies and Mares Open on the season. Culinary Delight N paid $16.00 to win in the upset score and led an exacta with the favored Clear Idea second that returned $41.00. Betabcool N earned the show spot and completed a $130.50 triple in the Open for distaffers. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) is a new addition to the Larry Stalbaum stable as the New Zealand import made his USA harness racing debut just a couple of weeks ago. Last Saturday night (Oct 6), Crockets Cullen N came to Saratoga Casino Hotel for the first time and made an immediate impact, winning in 1:52.1. This weekend, it was up into the Open Pace for Stalbaum's new acquisition and Crockets Cullen N again proved up to the task. First-over on veteran leader JK Panache (Jimmy Devaux), Crockets Cullen N surged by heading to three quarters and paced a third panel in 27 seconds before clearing the lead. The favored Mar Nien A (Jay Randall) followed the cover of Crockets Cullen N but had to settle for second as the Stalbaum trainee scored in 1:51.4, a new lifetime best. Crockets Cullen N paid $13.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $35.20 and $241.50, respectively. The Australian invader Mar Nien A had been three-for-three since moving to the stable of trainer Amanda Kelley but was the runner-up in Saturday's $18,000 Open Pace. JK Panache earned the show spot. Stalbaum piloted three winners on the card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Culinary Delight N (Lis Mara) flirted with a win a couple of times in her three local starts heading into Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Kim Asher-trained distaffer finished second in last week's Fillies and Mares Open and was the public's second choice in the wagering on Friday night in the $14,500 feature. Larry Stalbaum pilots the eight year old mare who got away third in the seven-horse Open. With the favored Lady Shadow (Wally Hennessey) on the front end looking to go back to back in the ladies' feature, Culinary Delight N sat patiently in third before powering to the outside approaching the three quarter pole and cruising past the odds-on favorite at the top of the stretch. Culinary Delight N came on to win in 1:52.2 on Friday, drawing away from Lady Shadow who had to settle for second. Spreester continued her lengthy stretch of finishing in the money as she earned the show spot after coming from last in the Open. Culinary Delight N returned $6.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $17.80 and $53, respectively. The win time was the second fastest of the season for any pacing mare at the Spa. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

YONKERS, N.Y. – When the husband and wife duo of Larry Stalbaum and Kimberly Asher decided to shift their stable’s focus back to Yonkers Raceway this year, they knew they would need a fresh barn of top-class horses to compete. Instead of looking to domestic sales or claimers, Stalbaum went back to a move that he’s had success with in the past, importing horses from Australia and New Zealand. “I like buying them from down there. If I’m going to race Yonkers, they all get around a half good down there because that’s basically what they race on,” Stalbaum said. “I just do a lot better buying them from down there. I wanted to buy some good ones, so I went back to where I’ve done good.” Stalbaum wanted a mare who could compete in the Matchmaker Series and a gelding who could race in the Levy. He ended up with a pair for each series: Gina Grace and Miss Irish Rose for the Matchmaker and Chumlee and Simply Susational for the Levy. This fresh quartet of pacers has been responsible for six of Asher’s seven training wins posted so far this season at Yonkers. “It’s been very, very good. All the new horses I’ve bought have been racing really good. A couple old standbys that I’ve had are racing ok, but the new horses have really done what I’ve asked them to do.” All four of Stalbaum’s series eligibles are racing this weekend at the Hilltop, none at a higher level than Gina Grace, who takes her second shot at the $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Friday night. A 6-year-old by Bettor’s Delight out of the In The Pocket Mare Linda Grace, Gina Grace was a four-time Group 3 stakes placed mare in Australia before arriving in the U.S. a few months ago. She made an immediate impression on Stalbaum. “I liked her. She’s got a lot of attitude. She’s kind of high-strong and has a very willing attitude, he said. “She likes her space, she eats good, she’s real tough. She’s not like a big baby, she’s not a lover. She likes to go outside, she likes to eat, and she likes to do her job. She’s kind of the perfect racehorse. She’s always happy, she’s always good, but she’s a little ornery to be around.” Gina Grace made her first stateside appearance in a qualifier at Monticello January 10. She won by 7 ¼ lengths, giving Stalbaum the confidence to ship her to Buffalo Raceway for her first pari-mutuel start in the Filly and Mare Open January 24. However, after being parked out the first half-mile, Gina Grace faded and finished a distant seventh. Looking back, Stalbaum concedes the trek to Buffalo and the harsh winter weather contributed to Gina Grace’s lackluster debut. “She didn’t take the ship (to Buffalo) very well. It was a little too far of a ship and plus, it’s summer down there and its winter up here. It happened to be really winter up there, it was brutal for those couple weeks,” Stalbaum said. “It was a bad decision on my part, I shouldn’t have taken her up there, but I was looking for an easy race for her, something I didn’t really have to race her very hard and she ended up having a little issue.” Stalbaum qualified Gina Grace back at Buffalo February 3 and entered her in a $20,000 overnight at Yonkers six days later. She won by a length in 1:54.2 and came back the next week to post another length win when up in class in 1:55.0. Her victories impressed Stalbaum, who was in the driver’s seat for both races. “She was very good, well in hand. She’s very nice to drive, she can do anything you want her to do, she’s not overly aggressive but she likes her job and she’s very willing to do whatever you want her to do,” he said. “She’s very versatile. As of right now, that’s what she seems like to me. She can take air, she can come from the back, she can leave. She can do anything.” In her first try in the local Filly and Mare Open one week ago, Gina Grace started from post six and finished fifth beaten 2 ¼ lengths to Sell A Bit. Although Stalbaum wanted to see more from her, he’s still optimistic about her chances going forward as the Matchmaker Series approaches. “She drew bad and we were kind of far out of it. I would have liked to see her finish a little better, but it was her first time she’s been against those horses,” he said. “I was happy with it. She drew bad, got way too far back, picked up a little money. Hopefully she’ll start drawing a little better.” Gina Grace will start from post six again this week and is a 9-2 chance on the morning line with Stalbaum in the bike. Itty Bitty is the 3-1 morning line choice off a sharp qualifier for Andrew Harris while millionaire L A Delight is a 6-1 chance in her debut for trainer Nancy Johansson from post seven. Lispatty, Clear Idea, All About Madi, Delightful Dragon, and Carobbean Pacetry complete the lineup. The Filly and Mare Open is slated as race six on Friday’s 12-race program, which begins at 6:50 p.m. To view entries for the races, click here.   Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, February 27, 2018—A week ago, Solo Story missed a hard-charging neck at 40-1. Tuesday night (Feb. 27th), he didn’t miss at all. Try $125.50, Yonkers Raceway’s largest win mutuel of the season. Bumping up from the $15,000 claimers to the $20,000 fraternity, the 61-1 Solo Story (catch-driver Larry Stalbaum) closed from seventh from in the line, winning the $13,000, eighth-race pace in a season’s-best 1:54.3. Starting from post position No. 7 in the field of nine, Solo Story was barely in the same area code—eighth, 14 lengths out—early. He remained eighth (though closer) at both the half and three-quarters before uncorking his rally from seventh off the final turn. He actually won going away, beating Wild Again (catch-driver Anthony Napolitano) by a length. Adonis Bay (Eric Goodell) was third, with Inspiration View (Jordan Stratton) fourth to complete the gimmicks. For Solo Story, a 5-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding owned by Jesse McAssey and trained by Jaymes McAssey, it was his second win in six seasonal starts.  The exacta paid $599, with triple returned $4,971 and the superfecta paid $40,448 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket worth $2,022.40). A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Thursday evening’s (March 1st) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $6,118.60 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 6 through 10 (for these 10-race cards, ordinarily it’s races 7 through 11). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Tuesday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

Batavia, NY--- Batavia Downs leading harness racing driver Larry Stalbaum is nick-named "The Bomber" for his propensity of winning with long shots. Stalbaum lived up to his moniker on Saturday night (Nov. 25) when he escaped the consciousness of the betting public and got home first with 14-1 shot Itsonlyrocknroll A in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.   It was a mad dash off the gate as Hardts Or Bettor (Ray Fisher Jr.), Littlebitaclass (Billy Davis Jr.) And Focus Power (Drew Monti) all battled for the lead. Focus Power tucked in third and Hardts Or Bettor parked out Littlebitaclass for the remainder of the contest. The pair paced in tandem in :26.4 and :56.1 when Littlebitaclass wore down past the five-eighths.   At that station Jimi Wind Ricks (John Cummings Jr.) tipped three-wide around him and approached the leader by three-quarters in 1:25.2. But Hardts Or Bettor was still not done as he rebuffed that challenge as well and rounded the last turn looking like he might be the best. But Itsonlyrocknroll A, who had been drafting fourth behind all the early action, made his way into the passing lane at the head of the stretch and from there wore down Hardts Or Bettor to won by a length in 1:54.2.   It was the 13th win of the year for Itsonlyrocknroll A ($30) and it pushed his earnings for 2017 to $80,785. Owned by his driver, Itsonlyrocknroll A is trained by Kim Asher.   The Stalbaum/Asher team also captured the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace in the very next race with recent Austrailian stable addition, Chumlee A.   Stalbaum was second at the quarter with Chumlee A but came quick at that station and led the remainder of the race. After getting to the half in :57.2, Stalbaum turned on the jets and sped the third quarter to :28.3, putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field. From there Chumlee A was wrapped-up and won by as many as he wanted to in 1:55.1.   It was the second win in two North American starts for Chumlee A ($2.60) who is owned by Mark Jakubik and his trainer, Kim Asher.   For the night the Stalbaum/Asher duo combined for four winners on the card, making their respective meet-leading driver and trainer leads even more secure.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 29) with post time at 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Aussie invader Miss Irish Rose A, who was privately purchased from down-under on August 23 by Larry Stalbaum, made her North American debut a winning one by taking the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 27) as heavy downpours moved through the area. From the start, Machin Marley (Kevin Cummings) and Squeeze This (Jim Morrill Jr.) argued vehemently for the lead over the rain-soaked track and pushed the quarter to :28 flat. Machin Marley settled on the front around the second bend and proceeded to take the race to the half in :58. At that station the race became a two-tiered event with Who Says That (Ray Fisher Jr.), Classy Lane Rose (Drew Monti) and Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) advancing in the outer flow. With three-in and three-out, there was a lot of action up the backside as Who Says That took the lead from Machin Marley for an eighth of a mile before Classy Lane Rose wrestled it from her at the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4. But Miss Irish Rose A was still on the attack and drew alongside the latest leader around the final turn, and then getting a slight advantage at the head of the stretch. It was Rose v. Rose as they headed for the finish; Classy Lane inside and Miss Irish outside. But despite a good fight, Miss Irish Rose A pulled away from her formidable foe about ten yards from the wire and won by a length in 1:54.2. The tenth lifetime win for Miss Irish Rose A ($3.00) was not only her first in the northern hemisphere; it was also a lifetime mark for the 5-year-old daughter of McArdle. Kim Asher trains the winner. In the $8,000 Mares Open II pace, Voltina (Kevin Cummings) abandoned her normal front-running posture in lieu of a two-hole trip to victory behind Mean Pauline (Shawn McDonough) courtesy of the passing lane in 1:56.1. Voltina ($7.10) is owned by CHS Racing LLC and is trained by Tony Cummings. Kevin Cummings had the driving hat-trick on Wednesday while Drew Monti, Larry Stalbaum and Ray Fisher Jr. each each had two wins apiece. Trainer Kim Asher also sent two from her stable to the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 29) with post time at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Slow starts and fast finishes are his trademark and Egosnattitudes followed the playbook to a "T" on Friday night as he captured the harness racing $9,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs. Egosnattitudes (Larry Stalbaum) got away last by ten-lengths to begin the race while Lutetium (Denny Bucceri) called the shots on the front end. While the race cruised by the half in :57.3, Egosnattitudes was rolling up on the outside, trying to get in the mix. Striker Ace (Kevin Cummings) pulled underneath him and drew even with Lutetium and those two matched strides until the five-eighths when Lutetium made a break. With Striker Ace (Kevin Cummings) now on the point, Egosnattitudes kept in hot pursuit and incrementally drew alongside the leader at the top of the lane before continuing right by him in the stretch to win in 1:57.1. It was the sixth win of the year for Egosnattitudes ($3.80) and the third win in four Batavia Downs starts. Egosnattitudes is owned by Graham Grace Stables LLC and is trained by Kim Asher. In the $8,500 Open II, Skyway Priss (Jim Morrill Jr.) was the only mare in the field and led every step of the way, winning her seventh race of the year in 1:57.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the second straight win for Skyway Priss ($4.20) both of which were for her new owners Buona Fortuna Stable and Marissa Russo who purchased the mare privately on September 3. David Russo trains the winner. Several horsemen had multiple win nights at the Downs on Friday. Leading driver Drew Monti and Jim Morrill Jr. both had a triple on the card while Larry Stalbaum brought two to the circle. And trainers Darrin Monti, Mark Temperato and Kim Asher conditioned two winners apiece during the proceedings. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 16) with the first post slated for 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY--- Focus Power moved up to the harness racing top class on the grounds after winning in the Open II last week, but the ascension was no impediment as he won the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 9). Focus Power (Drew Monti) left from post four and was in front and on the pylons before they race even hit the turn. With the short field settling, Believe This Bob (Shawn McDonough) wanted the front and came before the eighth pole and cleared before the quarter in :28.1. Positions remained unchanged until Southwind Torque (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled mid-way up the backside in what would be a short-lived bid. As the outside challenge faded in the turn, Believe This Bob was looking solid in front as they headed for home. However as soon as the passing lane was accessible, Monti directed Focus Power into it and shot right by Believe This Bob and paced away to a two-length win in 1:53.1. Focus Power ($7.80) now has $73,845 on his card on the strength of seven wins this year and the win time of 1:53.1 was only one-fifth of a second off the lifetime mark he just set last week. James Caradori owns the 5-year-old altered son of Shadow Play that gets his conditioning from Darrin Monti. In the co-featured $9,000 Open II, Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum) got away last and methodically worked his way up the rail while chasing fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:23.3 and before getting loose around the far turn to tip three-deep and simply pace away from everyone to win by two open lengths in 1:53.1. It was the second win in a row and 11th of the year for Itsonlyrocknroll A ($16.40) who now has earned $61,695 in purses for Stalbaum who also owns him. Kim Asher is the trainer. Larry Stalbaum visited the winner's circle five times on Saturday with Itsonlyrocknroll A, Teo Enteo A (1:56, $7.90), Mister Livan N (1:53.2, $4.60), Anderlecht (1:54.4, $3.20) and Saint William A (1:56.3, $7.10). Not wanting to be outdone, Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings each had two winners apiece as well. Trainer Kim Asher also sent four of her horses to the winner's enclosure for pictures. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Sept. 11) with post time set at 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---After three near misses in the resident top trot, Empire Earl N got the job done in winning the $10,500 harness racing Open Handicap trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 11). Striker Ace (Drew Monti) and Osprey Vision (Dave McNeight III) butted heads for the lead for almost a quarter mile before Striker Ace finally took control, but the :27.3 first quarter would take a toll on both later in the race. Past the half Edom Up Blue Boy (Rock Vinci) pulled first-over with Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) right behind. Edom Up Blue Boy made a steady advance and took over the lead by the top of the lane. But his shadow Empire Earl N kept coming, eventually swung clear in the stretch and trotted away to a relatively easy win in 1:59.2. Empire Earl N ($9.40) now has earnings of $45,905 on the strength of five wins this year for his owner Larry Stalbaum. Kim Asher does the training. Batavia Downs defending dash driver Drew Monti had the hot-hand on Friday, winning half the races on the card. His quintuple conquests included Rollovin (1:55.4, $3.10), Tenor Duharas (1:59.1, $3.30), Winky's Pride (1:59.2, $3.10), Lutetium (1:57.2, $8.40) and Skyway Tia (1:57.3, $6.90). With those five wins Monti vaulted himself back into the dash driving lead once again this year, now with 18 tallies. That is one ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. (17) who also had a driving triple on Friday, and two ahead of Jim Morrill Jr. (16) who was at Tioga Downs driving in New York Sire Stakes action. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 12) with post time set at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 2017 debut at Buffalo Raceway for the dynamic duo of driver Larry Stalbaum and trainer Kimberly Asher couldn't have gone much better as the pair swept all the season-ending honors at Hamburg half-mile oval.   Stalbaum was named Driver Of The Year while Asher was selected Trainer Of The Year for the 2017 campaign. To top off their incredible meet, two horses in the stable belonging to the tandem, Quicksilvercandy A and Empire Earl N, were named Pacer and Trotter Of The Year respectively.   Despite the season be cutting short by three days due to a tornado, Stalbaum and Asher put up some gaudy numbers.   Stalbaum finished the season at Buffalo Raceway with 194 victories in 839 starts, winning $1,010,597 in purse earnings.   Ray Fisher Jr. finished in second place in the driver's standings with 134 wins while Drew Monti took third place with 130.   Asher in the meantime dominated the training standings from start to finish. In 367 starts, she complied 115 wins for $575,663 in purse money and an astounding UTR of .473. Asher currently is atop the leader board nationally in the 300-499 start category with a .468 UTR and is seventh overall in training wins with 119.   Four-time defending training champion JD Perrin finished in second place with 74 victories while Gerry Sarama took third with 66.   Quicksilvercandy A, a 13-year-old mare, produced 13 wins on the year and earned $66,629 thus far to easily take the Pacer Of The Year award. The 13 victories is currently the second most nationally. She has been in the money 23 of 26 attempts this year and has a lifetime bankroll of $635,363.   Empire Earl N made it a clean sweep for the Stalbaum/Asher stable as he took the Trotter Of The Year award. He captured four races in just 11 starts but put $31,700 in the bank with most of his races coming from outside posts in Open competition.   There were four track records broken during the meet. Plunge Blue Chip started things off on June 30 by winning the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters in 2:00.0, breaking the old mark of 2:00.1 established in 2009 by Munis Blue Chip.   The aged (5+) pacing mare mark of 1:54.2 set by Majic Laughter in 2014 was tied by Deliciouslynaughty in 2017 by was eventually broken by Sarah Cola on July 12 as she toured the half-mile oval in 1:54.1.   The long-standing 1:54.0 record of Civil Attack set in 2008 stood the test of time as the aged (5+) pacing horses couldn't beat it until late in the season. Ironically, it was shattered twice in a week as Show Stopping put up a 1:53.4 time on July 8 only to see Utah Beach come along on July 15 and wipe out that time with a 1:53.2 mile.   There were career milestones that were reached as well as driver Ray Fisher Jr. notched his 4,000th lifetime victory on March 29 and Ron Beback Jr. drove to his 2,000th career win on April 19.   On February 25, it was a unique night for the McNeights as driver David McNeight III drove home three winners for three generations of his family. He first guided Sea Star to the victory for his father David McNeight Jr. and then helped himself out be winning aboard his own, Lucky Millionaire. On the last event on the card, McNeight III won for his grandfather, David McNeight Sr., with Spring Terror to complete the unusual trifecta.   For the season, Buffalo Raceway had a 41.95 winning percentage for post time favorites.   In the handle department including the export, Buffalo Raceway broke even compared to the 2016 numbers. Director of Operations Jon Cramer said, "We are holding our own. We are very pleased with our simulcast network."   The 2018 season is expected to begin in mid-January.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) would take the Open Pace ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Sunday (July 9) for the third straight time. All together the harness racing 7 year-old has won five straight. Time Out I'm Tired (Jim Marohn Jr.) would jump out of the gate first but Fire Your Guns (Mike SImons), would work hard to take the lead before the first quarter. Fire Your Guns (American Ideal) would take all the early fractions :27.1, :54.2, 1:21.3. Time Out I'm Tired (Artiscape) would come out the pocket and challenge at the top of the stretch. Shady City (Metropolitan), who is owned by Staulbaum and trained by Kimberly Asher, would then make a three wide move in the stretch to blast by and win in a lifetime best of 1:50.1. Shady City ($5.90) would hold off a late charge by second best, Andreios Kardia (Aaron Byron). Time Out I'm Tired would hang on for third. Staulbaum would win two more on the card. He led Barbarian ($9.60) to victory, hanging on to beat Wellwesaid (Mike Merton). Staulbaum would get his thrid win with Winyard Hanover ($20.60) passing Lyons Johnny late in the stretch. Tioga Downs returns to live action on Friday starting at 6:50pm For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Itsrollrocknroll A ($2.50) took advantage of the luck of the draw in the $9,000 Preferred Pace at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (July 1) and crushed the harness racing field in 1:54.2.   After getting strapped with the seven and eight posts the past two weeks, Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum) finally drew the pylons and set sail from the rail in easily defeating Lucky King (Ron Beback Jr.) by a throttled down 1-1/4 lengths. Show Stopping (Ray Fisher Jr.) took the show position.   Lucky McTrucky took the early lead off the gate but once the field straightened out down the back stretch the first time, Stalbaum stepped on the gas with Itsonlyrocknroll A and powered to the top in 28.2. With the half going in 58.0 and the three quarters in 1:26.2, Itsonlyrocknroll A opened up a two length margin at the top of the stretch and cruised to the wire thanks to a 28.0 final panel.   Owned by Stalbaum and trained by Kimberly Asher, it was the eighth victory in 17 attempts in 2017 for Itsonlyrocknroll A (Million Dollar Cam-Boldandbeautiful). The 6-year-old gelding has now earned $43,350 this season and pushed his career bankroll to $213,520.   Stalbaum completed the evening with four wins, David McNeight III had a triple while Kevin Cummings and Drew Monti got doubles. Asher had three training victories with Rose Russo collecting two.   Racing will continue on Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. with a 10-race program set. There's a $791 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Dustlanemissmolly may have been the youngest participant in the $10,000 Open Pace for the harness racing mares on Wednesday night (June 28) at Buffalo Raceway but she was also the fastest and taught her elders a lesson in taking a head victory over Susie's Delight in 1:55.4.   The 4-year-old Dustlanemissmolly served the youth well as she went gate-to-wire for Buffalo Raceway's leading driver Larry Stalbaum in posting the popular $4.70 victory.   Starting from the rail, Dustlanemissmolly had no trouble in gaining the lead off the starting gate and put up reasonable fractions of 28.0, 57.2 and 1:26.2. Turning for home, the pocket-sitting Susie's Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) appeared to have the only realistic chance of chasing down Dustlanemissmolly but just ran out of real estate. Classy Lane Rose (Drew Monti) put in a late kick and settled for the show spot.   Co-owned by the Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and the Pine Hill Racing Stable, LTD, Dustlanemissmolly is trained by Maria Rice. It was the fifth win in 18 attempts in 2017 for Brandon's Cowboy-The Boss' Daughter mare. The victory pushed her seasonal earnings to $41,951 and $68,532 lifetime.   Monti and Fisher Jr., each registered driving triples while Stalbaum had a pair. Trainer Russell Bratt had three victories with Gerry Sarama and Rice getting two.   There's a unique all-trot 14-race card slated for Friday night beginning at 5 p.m. There will be New York Sire Stakes action with the 2-year-old filly trotters ready to tangle in five events worth approximately $22,000 each. There will also be Excelsior A and B Series races along with the $10,000 Open Trot. There's a $2,951 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, results and race replays, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

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