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It all started in 1986; a year with just two driving wins. It got better a few years later, with 421 and 419 wins in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Now, Yonkers Raceway mainstay Larry "Bomber" Stalbaum's legendary work ethic and aggressive on-track style has garnered him the milestone achievement of 5,000 lifetime driving wins. Larry's path to accomplishment was a long and winding road, accentuated by his forceful desire to make good on both professional and personal fronts. While the 5,000 victory plateau is a career feat, his personal life is no less of an accomplishment. Larry and veteran conditioner Kimberly Asher are lovingly raising four focused and devoted children. Facebook postings show Larry with his brood, none older than teenagers, traveling behind him in jog carts during training miles with charges from the Asher Stable. A recent posting by the children themselves spoke volumes, referring to Larry as "the best Dad EVER." Larry has right to be very proud of how far he has come, exhibiting the traits of both a consummate horseman and a very special father. The SOA of New York is proud that Larry graces the Yonkers' oval as part one of North America's deepest driving colonies, and wishes him every continued success, both at the Hilltop Oval and on the northeast circuit. The SOA of New York

On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, harness racing driver Larry Stalbaum entered the winners circle for the 5000th time. He guided a horse that he owns Multiple Choice, a 12 year old Keystone Raider gelding to 3 length win in the first race. Larry was surrounded a throng of family, well-wishers and horseman in the winners circle after the race. Larry has been a long time regular at Monticello Raceway, over the last few years he has also branched out to Pocono Downs and Yonkers Raceway. An excited Stalbaum said in the winners circle "I am very glad that this win came at Monticello, I have a lot of fond memories here." Larry added to his tally by also winning the 5th race with Givemybest Hanover, for owner Woody Hoblitzell of Destin,FL. By Shawn Wiles

At Yonkers Raceway on Monday night, they honored harness racing driver Larry Stalbaum for reaching the big 5000. Stalbaum won his 5,000th career race earlier in the afternoon at Monticello Raceway, but we decided to ignore that malfeasance and give him his props anyway. Stalbaum was presented with the congratulatory sign, recognizing his latest accomplishment. "A tired driver and a lot or tired horses," Stalbaum sheepishly said, though the numbers beg to differ. Stalbaum, who turns 52 next month, is a native of Valparaiso, IN. He won his first race in 1986 and was a leading driver in Michigan before making the move east. Now based in Matamoras, PA, Stalbaum plies his craft in Westchester, as well as Monticello and Pocono. The Stalbaum/Kim Asher Stable is annually among the leaders locally, with Larry, as his career total confirms, also a sought-after catch-driver. Want to make Stalbaum smile? Bring up Special Report. The career $1.5 million earner won the 2008 final ($390,000) of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series here (1:51.4), the highlight of the hard-knocking gelding's 59-victory career. Stalbaum's best seasons were 2004 (wins, 421) and 2012 (purses, $4.38 million), and has earned seven figures in purses every season since 2003. Frank Drucker

Sapphire City (Jason Bartlett, $8.60) and Backstreet Hanover (Larry Stalbaum, $10) shared the glory Saturday night at the harness racing meeting at  Yonkers Raceway's winning the co-featured $48,000 Open Handicaps. Pole-assigned Sapphire City won the weekly pacing feature, chasing Forty Five Red (Mark MacDonald) before whipping him in a two-speed number (:27.4, :56.1, 1:24, 1:51.4). The final margin was a medium-sized nose a season's-best effort. The Real One (Pat Lachance) was a belated third as the 7-5 favorite, with Frankie's Dragon (Dan Dube) and E Z Noah (Brian Sears) completing the cashers. For second choice Sapphire City, a 7-year-old millionaire Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stables and Jordan Sklut, it was his fifth win in 26 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $35.20, with the triple returning $150. The week's marquee trot saw the lass Backstreet Hanover-from post position No. 5-move from seventh turning for home to win going away. The margin was 2¼ lengths in a season's-best 1:55.2. Rock of Cashel (Tyler Buter) rallied for second with ABC Muscles Boy (Eric Carlson), Skates N Plates (MacDonald) and Tober (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. The latter two mixed it up early (:27.4, :57.1, 1:25.4), helping the cause of the closers. Tepid 7-2 fave Theraputic (Joe Bongiorno) was a non-factor seventh. For third choice Backstreet Hanover, a 7-year-old daughter of Andover Hall trained by Chris Marino for owner David Hamm, it was her fourth win in 19 '15 tries. The exacta paid $115, the triple returned $744 and the superfecta paid $4,716. The Raceway's live season continues Monday (first post 7:10 PM), a "French-centric" Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

The kids are getting out of school, the pools are opening up, and the weather is getting steamy which means we are entering the thick of the summer season, the point at which the harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono reaches dizzying heights. Rest assured that the month of May went out with a bang at Pocono, with a bevy of excellent performers of both the equine and human variety vying for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: FIFTYSHADESDARKER This 5-year-old gelding with a name that references a certain steamy book-turned-movie spent much of the spring at Northfield raceway in Ohio, reaching as high as Open II company in his stint there. He arrived at Harrah's at Philadelphia on May 7 and, after flashing early speed, faded to fifth in a $15,000 claiming event. Fiftyshadesdarker was claimed out of that race and joined the barn of trainer Chris Oakes. The gelding's fortunes began to change when he came to Pocono to face the non-winners of $7,000 condition group on May 19 in his first start for the Oakes barn. Driver George Napolitano Jr. found a nice cozy spot for him in the pocket, and Fiftyshadesdarker rallied late for the win in 1:52:4. On Saturday night he faced down the same condition group, this time from the #5 post and with the added pressure of being made the 3-2 betting favorite. But once again Napolitano was able to secure a pocket trip that allowed Fiftyshadesdarker to save both ground and energy. Come the home stretch, he had plenty left in the tank to blow by the pacesetter and he ended up pacing away to win by two lengths in 1:52:1. With two consecutive wins, Fiftyshadesdarker is probably moving up in class, but if he can keep finding that pocket, he might just be able to move up in style. Other top pacers this week include: Jebswesternshake (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Lare), whose condition victory in 1:50 on Saturday night was the fastest time of the week at Pocono; Ideal Candidate (George Napolitano Jr., Dean Eckley), who followed up two straight wins at Harrah's with a claiming handicap victory at Pocono on Saturday night in 1:51:2, a new career mark; and Gordys Filly Yenta (Simon Allard and Jason Bartlett, Conor Flynn), a mare who won twice this week, a condition on Sunday and a claimer on Wednesday, each in a time of 1:52:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PERFECT RENDITION In a $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap on Wednesday night, two extremely hot horses, Easter Leggs and P L Eureka, lined up alongside each other. Easter Leggs had won two of her last three races, while P L Eureka had won four of five, with his only loss in the stretch coming at the hands of Easter Leggs. Meanwhile Perfect Rendition had a pretty good record of his own to stand on, but since much of his success had come at Monticello, including a win in his last start, and since he was stuck with the #9 post, he was overlooked in favor of the others, going off at 14-1 on the tote board. Trained by Kimberly Asher, Perfect Rendition was fourth early on as favored Easter Leggs set the pace. Driver Larry Stalbaum stayed patient with Perfect Rendition, a nine-year-old gelding, moving up to third-in on the back stretch when another horse headed to the outside. Still, as the top of the stretch approached, Easter Leggs still had the lead and Perfect Rendition appeared to have precious little racing room. Yet Stalbaum was able to squeeze his horse through a tight window at the pylons. Easter Leggs began to falter and Perfect Rendition, full of energy, charged through this tiny aperture and blew by. He still had to sweat out a strong closing move by Trading Places, but he held up to win by a head in 1:55. It just adds to the wonderful year this veteran is having, with ten in-the-money finishes in eleven starts and six wins. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Cadillac Cruiser (Simon Allard, Pierre Paradis), who rolled to a claiming handicap victory on Wednesday night in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; She Wore Red (Anthony Napolitano, Nancy Johansson), a filly who rallied for her second consecutive condition win on Tuesday night, setting a new career-best of 1:55:1 in the process; and Born To Fight (Anthony Napolitano, Mark Ford), who overcame a tough outside post to score his second straight condition win on Sunday night in 1:55:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: GORDYS FILLY YENTA This pacing mare sent the crowd home stunned on Sunday night by winning a condition in the last race of the night at 16-1, paying off $35.60 on a $2 wager.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: LARRY STALBAUM Stalbaum had his best night of the meet at Pocono on Saturday night when the competition was at its toughest, as he picked up three driving victories.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: AKE SVANSTEDT Following up on his big year at Pocono in 2014, Svanstedt has continued to roll this season, and he added to his total this week with three more training wins including a double on Sunday.   That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the newly-announced official name of the northeast Pennsylvania oval known in the industry as Pocono Downs, kicked off its 50th anniversary year of harness racing on Saturday night, with three $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series for developing male pacers all going against the form as far as the race winners.   The biggest upset was produced in the first division, with Shadow Margeaux (Larry Stalbaum), who had three third-place finishes in this series last year, benefitting from an overcooked pace over the "good" surface to rally from last at the stretch call and tally in 1:52.4. The Shadow Play gelding, trained by many-time Downs champion Steve Salerno for himself, Bruce Potter, and Edward Bardowski, paid $77.00 to win as the longest shot on the board - with second-longest shot Kolt Power second and third-longest shot Red Pine third.   The second Weiss cut saw the second choice win, but it was a $15.60 second choice, as the Well Said gelding Mojito Hanover (Marcus Miller) was a pocket rocket in a 1:53.1 tally, with the 2-5 Burke Stable entry settling for a 3-5 finish. Jim Campbell harnesses "Mojito" for Fred and Shirley Schwartz, Onda Racing Stable LLC, and Shore Thing Stables LLC.   A two-ply Burke force got some measure of revenge in the third division, but Victory At Last (Matt Kakaley), who held off the first-over YS Lotus in 1:52.4, was in an entry that was not the favorite - he paid $4.00 to win, while YS Lotus was 3-5. Victory At Last, an altered son of Quik Pulse Mindale, is owned by the leading combine in the sport, Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   The Weiss Series will feature pacing females and trotting males in first division action on Tuesday, while trotting fillies will be in the spotlight Wednesday, as Pocono opens on a three-night-a-week schedule. The top competitors after four preliminary legs come back for a $30,000 divisional Championship.   The feature for overnight horses, a $22,000 pace, rang true to form as the Cambest gelding Blatantly Best (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.80) rallied from second-over to be clear late in 1:51.3. Larry Remmen trains the winner for owner Bradley Grant.   However, Shadow Margeaux was the first of many longshots to report home first on Saturday - races 11-13 consecutively saw One More Miracle ($41.40), Salevster Stallion ($34.40) and Feels Like Magic N ($48.40) handsomely reward their scattered backers.   George Napolitano Jr., going for his fourth straight dash driving title and record ninth local crown, guided home four winners on the opener, with Matt Kakaley, the last horseman other than "George Nap" to be on top here (2011), had three. Two-time defending North American dash champion Ron Wrenn Jr., in his first-ever night of racing at Pocono, had a respectable 10-1-3-1-.300 sulky tally, despite being named on only one horse at the time of the draw.   Jerry Connors

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

Story Book has yet to write his last chapter, but his most recent one is a harness racing success story. Yesterday he notched his 8th consecutive win, the win skein started on November 17 at Monticello Raceway. The beginning of story starts with Cinderella, the dam of Story Book, Cinderella, who was a gritty mare in her own right taking a lifetime mark at 6 of 1:52:2, retiring with earning in excess of $250,000, her second dam was the top notch Most Happy Fella filly of yesteryear Toy Poodle. “She was a Blue Blood in Michigan” said Stalbaum in the paddock after the race. Larry owned and trained Cinderella, throughout her career he was so impressed with her that he figured he would give her a shot and breed her to a NY eligible American Ideal. “Story Book raced his first lifetime start at Monticello as a 2 year old, we were offered good money for him and we sold him at the end of his 2 year old year” said Larry Stalbaum after the muddy win.  “I saw where he was racing in Buffalo and was not racing to well, so I figured I would take a chance with him” said Larry. Stalbaum’s afternoon got a little better, when he also won the following race with Where’s Waldo in the non-winners class. Monticello Raceways post time for the Monday thru Thursday schedule remains at 12:25pm for the month of February.  Monticello Raceway’s new Pick 5 wager are races 3 – 7. By Shawn F. Wiles

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 4, 2014-P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett, $18.40) sat, sat, and sat again Saturday night, before eventually angling out and winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Assigned outside his seven foes after winning this race a week ago, P H Supercam watched as Dream Out Loud N (Eric Goodell) paid a :26.2 opening quarter-mile price to get around pole-assignee The Real One (Pat Lachance). Dream Out Loud N then hung 6-5 choice Easy Again (George Brennan) through a :55.2 intermission. Moving toward the 1:23.3 three-quarters, the leader was tiring and the people' choice stopped. Casimir Jitterbug (Dan Dube) went wide, while a parade of ponies extricated themselves from the cones. First The Real One, then Fameous Western (Larry Stalbaum) and finally a ground-saving P H Supercam, who had advanced taking the inside route. That one widened to win by a couple of lengths in 1:52. Second went to a last-over Pancetta (Eric Carlson), with Fameous Western, The Real One and Casimir Jitterbug rounding out the payees. For fifth choice P H Supercam, a 7-year-old Million Dollar Cam gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by PJ Fraley, it was his ninth win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $79, with the triple returning $602 A $25,000 Open Handicap Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings--leading to the Messenger Stakes here later this month--was won by All Bets Off (Brennan, $3.60). That one defeated over a fast-closing McWicked (Bartlett) in 1:52.4. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 3, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 co-featured Open Handicaps-one for distaff pacers and one for trotters with valid membership cards--were won by a pocketed Coffee Addict (Dan Dube, $20.80) and a cone-skimming Obrigado (Eric Carlson, $10.40). Pole assignee Rock N Loud (Larry Stalbaum) gave her backers an early thrill, leading through a :26.4 opening quarter-mile and a :55.2 intermission. Coffee Addict (Dan Dube) was behind that one from post position No. 2, Simple Saver N (Eric Goodell), who aborted a quarter-move, tried it again, out from third toward to the leader at a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Monkey on My Wheel (Carlson), who had left into a four-hole, chased that one. Rock N Loud was about to wear out her welcome early in the lane, as the other lasses crowded around her. Set Me Up (George Brennan) set it up from third-over, but it was (Coffee) ground-saving "Addict" to get the decision in 1:53.1. The latter whipped the former by three-quarters of a length. Monkey on My Wheel flattened to third, with last week's victress, Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett) and tepid 5-2 favorite Campanile (Tyler Buter) completing the cashers. For sixth choice Coffee Addict, a 4-year-old daughter of Dragon Again trained by Bruce Saunders for Pennsylvania co-owners James Clarke Sr. and Andrew Altobelli, it was her sixth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $319, with the triple returning $2,023. The week's marquee trot Fort Valley AS (Bartlett) loop a couple into the first turn, then give it up to Home Turf (Brennan). That invader, set away as the 6-5 fave, made the lead right at a 28-second first sub-station. It was a :57.4 half before Somebody AS (Dube) was in a hurry, moving from fourth. He and Home Turf dropped the gloves in and out a 1:26 three-quarters, with Fort Valley AS backing away In The Pocket. The two leaders were in a virtual dead-heat in and out of the final turn before Obrigado-seventh early from post No. 6-made up good ground. He found his way deep in the passing saw and disposed of a stubborn Somebody AS by a half-length in 1:55. Home Turf, Bentley Karan (Goodell) and Fort Valley AS settled for the remainder. For second choice Obrigado, a 4-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, William Weaver III, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45, he's now 8-for-19 this season (29-for-42 lifetime). The exacta paid $55.50, the triple returned $259 and the superfecta paid $1,029. Please note that since no one hit Friday's Pick 5 wager, Saturday's version begins with a carryover of $3,429.04 (50-cent base wager, races 5 through 9). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

What’s going on here? Another new track record at Monticello Raceway? “That’s correct,” said the raceway’s announcer Howard Oil. “This one is the 10th new harness racing track records this season and that’s the most we ever had in a single year.” On Tuesday afternoon, September 30, with the leaves turning shades of red and yellow and beginning to fall to the ground, O’Sundland paced to a new track record for 4 year old stallions when Larry Stalbaum  guided him to a romping six-length victory in a time of  1:53 which established a  new standard for horses of his age and gait. O’Sundland’s victory was one and one-fifth seconds faster than the old mark of 1:54.1 set just two weeks ago on September 16 by Twin B Famous and driver Mike Merton. It was the first start here for the son of Ponder after coming in from the Midwest where he was racing at the Red Mile and Balmoral Park. “My buddy, Bobby Williams, Jr., just sent him to me,” Larry Stalbaum said of O’Sundland via telephone from the paddock.  Williams has had a lot of bad luck recently, lost his son and his good friend, Ken Sundland, for who(m) the horse was named for. “He told me he thinks O’Sundland is a good horse and after the way he  raced today, ya’ know, I believe he’s right.” After starting from the six- hole Stalbaum gunned O’ Sundland toward the front but they didn’t gain command until just before the quarter which was timed in :27.4. From there Stalbaum let his pacer breeze and they passed the halfway point in :57, two lengths in front of the field. Up the backside O’Sundland kicked in a 28-second quarter and they were three in front at that panel.  O’Sundland kept pouring it on and paced a 28-second final quarter en route to an eased-up six-length 1:53 victory. “We went down the road and he was well in-hand at the finish,” Stalbaum said using racetrack vernacular in conveying his thoughts. Odds-on favorite Mixed Media was second for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Kennanskingwilliam and Jimmy Taggart, Jr. finished third. “Since I got him he’s been at the farm running in the paddocks and I didn’t even train him. But he’s a speed horse and he doesn’t need much training, anyway. Still I was really surprised how easily he did it today,” Stallbaum added. “I was swinging on him in the lane and I know he’ll go a lot more before it’s all over.” Owned by Bobby Williams, Jr. and trained by  Kimberly Asher, O’Sundland had four previous victories in 10 starts. He paid $5.30 for win in his Mighty M debut. In a year with multiple track records, O’Sundland’s 1:53 victory was one of the fastest miles at the Mighty M thus far this year. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 27, 2014-P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett, $2.60) fooled no one Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Odds-on from post position No. 5, he had the field at his feet at every (:27.2, :56.3, 1:24.4, 1:52) pylon. The final margin was two lengths over a chasing McErlean (Eric Goodell), with Fameous Western (Larry Stalbaum) a ground-saving third. Pancetta (Eric Abbatiello) and Take it Back Terry (George Brennan) closed for the minor awards. For P H Supecam, a 7-year-old Million Dollar Cam gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by PJ Fraley, it was his eight win in 29 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $7.80, with the triple returning $48.80. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 26, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 co-featured Open Handicaps-one for harness racing distaff pacers and one for trotters of any affiliation--were won by a from-last Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett, $93.50) and a stubborn Traverse Seelster (Tyler Buter, $5.20). Venus Delight, beginning outside of her foes, viewed from the rear as 3-2 choice Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton) made the lead around Scandalous Hanover (Eric Carlson). After a :27.1 opening quarter and seemingly-soft :56.3 intermission, no one moved in front of Royal Cee Cee N (George Brennan), who did so from sixth. That brought up both last week's victress, Campanile (Buter), as well as Venus Delight, while Robin Cruiser found a 1:25.2 three-quarters. "Robin" maintained a short lead into the lane, until the outer flow rolled her over. Royal Cee Cee N went by first, then Campanile, then finally Venus Delight. That one whipped Campanile by a head in 1:53.2, with Royal Cee Cee N, Scandalous Hanover and a tiring Robin Cruiser rounding out the payees. For seventh choice Venus Delight, a 4-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight trained by PJ Fraley for owner Bamond Racing, it was her fifth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $595, with the triple returning $940. The week's marquee trot saw Traverse Seelster-one of several leavers, he from post position No. 5-settle early before stepping past pole assignee Bingo Queen (Eric Goodell). "Traverse," as the 8-5 favorite, shooed just about everyone away through sub-stations of :28.2, :58.2 and 1:27. The lone "nuisance" was a first-up Obrigado (Bartlett), who chased the leader for all he was worth before missing a length in 1:55.1. Somebody AS (Dan Dube) was third, beaten 3 ½ lengths, with Rossini (Larry Stalbaum) and The Triple Lindy (Carlson) settling for the small change. For Traverse Seelster, a 6-year-old Angus Hall gelding owned by Keith Pippi and trained by Amber Buter, he's now 13-for-25 this season. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $14.80, the triple returned $111 and the superfecta paid $632. Also Friday, Yonkers honored New York State racing inspector Matt Bibbo, who is retiring Saturday night. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Rose Run Nash scored his 18th victory of the season at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday afternoon when Jimmy Marohn Jr. drove him to s 1:57.4 triumph over On The Podium driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Now the 5-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture has moved four victories ahead of Too Salty and continues to lead North America in races won this year by a trotter. In fact Rose Run Nash trails Mighty M pacer Shortest Distance by just one triumph for most victories by any standardbred in 2014. Coming into the contest off a 1:57.4 victory last week Rose Run Nash repeated that performance with a gutsy victory today (September 10). The race began with Larry Stalbaum sending Mr. Invincible to the front and carrying Marohn's trotter to a :27.4 first quarter before they relinquished command. Once on top Marohn kept the pedal to the metal and had a two-length lead at the half as the timer tripped :58. Up the backside the betting favorite On The Podium, in from Saratoga Raceway, trotted by Mr Invincibe and was in second position behind the pace-setter as they trotted by the third stanza in 1:27.4. When the field headed for home Rose Run Nash had already held off a challenge from Typical Newyorker (Mike Merton) and still had a one length lead. However, by mid-stretch Rose Run Nash was visibly tired but he was dead game when On The Podium rallied along the pylons. Rose Run Nash was giving such a great effort that his head swung from side to side like a pendulum with each hard fought stride toward the finish line. So much so that the head swinging was visibly noticeable to the rail birds who got to see a determined veteran equine give his all to win a race, something that Rose Run Nash has done 17 times previously this year. "He was running out in the stretch and I let him do it so as not to interfere with his determination to win. And I wasn't jerking his head from side to side, he was doing it himself reaching down for something extra with each of his final strides," Marohn said in the winner's circle as trainer Danny Gill held his pupil's head and kept chipping "number 18-number 18" referring to Rose Run Nash's season win total. "I've driven a lot of horses but I don't think I ever felt the determination that Rose Run Nash showed in his victory today," Marohn added. "Maybe he is used to winning but he surely gave his all in victory today. And people will tell you they (horses) are dumb animals, but when you are around them you know better." Rose Run Nash is owned by Ed Hall. He paid $4.40 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It wasn't a battle of the titans at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon (Sept 8), it was, however, a confrontation between Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, the two harness racing horses with the most victories, (18) in North America this season. Actually the two had confronted one another back on August 25th and both finished off the board. But on Monday, Shortest Distance prevailed and her 19th seasonal triumph makes her the clear leader in races won by a Standardbred tin 2014. Bruce Aldrich Jr. was again at the controls behind the 6 year old Park Place mare as they easily scored a five length victory in 1:55.1 after starting from post position three. Future Rock Star and Zeke Parker finished second while Givemybest Hanover was third for Larry Stalbaum. After the race an excited Aldrich chirped "I did it my way" which he referred to racing Shortest Distance out of a hole. "We had the three- hole and they wanted me to go to the front around Diamond Tiara (post 2) and Jimmy's (Devaux) mare (Latin Lyric on the pole position) but they were head-to -head and wide open on the first turn so I ducked in along the pylons behind them. But as I was doing that I was thinking, if this doesn't work it would be all my fault (for not winning the race) since Al (Annunziata-the mare's trainer) wanted me to race her on the front-end." Devaux finally allowed Jimmy Taggart, Jr. and Diamond Tiara to take command as they passed the first quarter in 28.2. From there Diamond Tiara had command all the way until the three quarters where Shortest Distance zoomed by her and went on to an easy victory. In the lane Diamond Tiara had broken equipment and barely finished when Taggart got off the bike and had assistance taking the sulky off the mare who moseyed home and finished sixth. In the winners circle trainer Al Annunziata acknowledged he wanted Aldrich to race his mare on the front-end but he was smiling and happy with the results just the same. Shortest Distance, owned by Marissa Godinez, returned a $5.10 win payoff. And for Bruce Aldrich, Jr., it was one of four winners on the card for him and his seasonal total of 399 driving victories currently places him sixth in races won in North America. There must be something in the Catskill Mountain air that again this year Monticello Raceway, in the county Seat of the former Borsht Belt, has the horse with the most victories this season like it did with Tracy's Song until the final night of the 2013 campaign. But this year there are three at the top of the lists. The other, a trotter, Rose Run Nash from the Danny Gill barn, has 17 wins is tops in the trotting division. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

With Jimmy Marohn, Jr. sidelined by a racing accident at Tioga Downs last weekend, Monticello Raceway based trainer Danny Gill, who uses Marohn almost exclusively, had to scramble to fill the gap behind his pupils this week. However, on Thursday (Sept. 4), when Gill had six horses in to go, he split the driving chores between three talented chauffeurs; Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Larry Stalbaum, and Johnny Desimone. And Gill finished with a good day with two wins and two seconds from the six starters. Most productive was Desimone who won two races for Gill, both trotting events. First, and foremost, Johnny D scored a 1:57.1 victory with Rose Run Nash ($5.30) which was the 6 year old Trainforthefuture gelding's 17th victory and is tops by a trotter on the continent this year. Now, Rose Run Nash is just one victory away from tying pacers Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, who co-lead North America with 18 wins. And strangely, all three horses are Mighty M regulars. Desimone also reined Gill's other trotter, Sir Siro ($9.50), to a gate to wire to victory in a time of 2:00. "Desimone is good with trotters that's why I used him today, "Gill offered. "He used to work with (Gary) Messenger who always has a lot of good trotters." Gill is also in a fight for leading trainer honors with Messenger and Bob Lounsbury. "We each won two races yesterday," Gill added. "But Messenger is still the leader." Messenger's 102 winners is currently tops while Lounsbury and Gill are in hot pursuit; Lounsbury with 95 wins and Gill with 94. On the driving side Bruce Aldrich Jr. continues to lead the local colony. On Thursday he added three more victories to his seasonal totals and currently leads runner-up Jimmy Devaux by 34 wins; 224 to 190. However, Aldrich is again among the leaders in North America in races won. Driving basically at two tracks, Monticello and Saratoga, many days simultaneously, his 393 winners ranks him sixth at this time. Last year Aldrich's 645 victories tied him for second place nationally with Dave Palone. Ronnie Wren Jr. copped the title last year with 714 wins. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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