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It was as uneventful an eight-hole trip as Missile J and harness racing driver Brian Sears, (part of entry) could possibly have wished for Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. A week after winning the lone, $40,000 elim for the 26th Rooney, Missile J was blind-drawed behind the eight-ball in a field of two 3-year-old colts and six geldings. He was in play early over a track that was moisturized by a fair amount of pre-card rain. Missile J fell into an open three-hole behind pole-sitting entrymate Artmagic (George Brennan) and Rodeo Rock (Dan Dube), who left a bit wide from post position No. 2 to make sure Missile J couldn't get around him early. Artmagic had things his own way over the "good" surface, getting a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :56.1 intermission. The leader then lost his closest pursuer, as Rodeo Rock gave up the ghost chasing a :27.2 third quarter (1:23.3). Missile J had taken out of third by then, getting into second and picking up the scent of the leader. Artmagic owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but his night was about to end. Missile J and a handful of closers rolled by, with Missile J drawing out to win by 2¼ lengths in 1:53. Second-at 37-1-went to a much-improved Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker), with Yankee Artillery (Jordan Stratton), Artmagic and Manny (Brent Holland) settling for the smaller remainder. No Shame Blue Chip (Tyler Buter), Rodeo Rock and a breaking Tap into Power (Jason Bartlett) completed the order. For Missile J, an unraced-at-2, $100,000 American Ideal gelding co-owned by Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables and trained by Linda Toscano, it was his fifth (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $51.50, with the triple returning $194.50. "Last week was his first (half-mile) start and he was a bit aggressive," Sears said. "Tonight, he was more relaxed and the trip, from an eight-hole, certainly worked out. I was happy with him in the elimination and happier tonight." "He just wasn't ready (last season)," Toscano said. "We had to take our time with him, and it's begun to pay off. The Rooney was always where we wanted to try him. He has (New York) sire stakes and open stakes on the schedule, and tonight was a good first step." Sears won the Rooney for a fourth time (Badlands Hanover-2008, Pet Rock-2012, In the Arsenal-2015), matching the number of one John Campbell. The race began in 1989, one year after the death of Art Rooney Sr. Frank Drucker

Ken Jacobs has enjoyed his share of success in harness racing, both on the national stage and at home in New York. He has campaigned horses such as Dan Patch Award winner Heston Blue Chip and stakes-winners Kenneth J, He's Gorgeous, Doctor Butch, Jewels In Hock, and Becca J, not to mention many other successful horses. He hopes he can add Missile J to the list in the future. Unraced at age 2, Missile J has won four of seven races this year and brings a four-race victory streak to Saturday's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old male pacers at Yonkers Raceway. The Linda Toscano-trained Missile J and driver Brian Sears won the single Rooney elimination last weekend at The Hilltop, but will need to fire like a rocket this weekend after drawing post No. 8 for the final. "On a half-mile track, it's very tough," Jacobs said about leaving from the outermost spot on the starting gate, which wins at a rate of 3.6 percent at Yonkers. "You need some luck. "He's a pretty fast horse and has a good attitude. He just has to stay sound. I've got the best trainer, so I'm very lucky. Very lucky. Linda and I have been together for 10 years, maybe longer, and she is very honest and loyal. I really like that. It's been a good partnership and we really enjoy each other." Missile J is a son of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Cantor's Daughter. Missile J was purchased for $100,000 under the name Newsmaker Bluechip at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. Missile J is a full brother to stakes-winner Brownsville Bomber and his family includes millionaire Cam Swifty and stakes-winner Lonesome Day. "I picked them all the same way," Jacobs said. "I have my own criteria that I go on. Once they fall into that, I look at their conformation and family. That's how I do it. If the conformation is there, that's the one I try to get. I really liked this horse. "He trained down real good last year, but he got sore so we just quit with him. He's a pretty nice horse." Jacobs owns Missile J with Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables. "She said that every year I pick out winners, so could she have a piece of this one," Jacobs said, laughing. "She's such a wonderful person; she really is. She's good for the sport. She just loves the business. We're pretty good friends, so it was no problem. I'm happy Wanda is in on this horse." Missile J debuted with a ninth-place finish on Jan. 2, but since then hasn't been off the board in six races. His first win came in 1:51.1 on Feb. 20 in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands and he lowered his career mark to 1:51 with a victory at the Big M a week prior to the Rooney elimination. The triumph followed a respite of more than two months away from the races. "I gave him time off because I want him fresh for the rest of the year; we've got races all the way into November," Jacobs said. "That kind of helps him I think, giving him a little rest in between." Missile J is staked to the top races on the New York circuit and also has the Progress Pace on his schedule. "I didn't put him in the Breeders Crown or Meadowlands Pace because I wasn't sure how he was going to come back," said Jacobs, who owns a company with multiple locations in upstate New York that distributes electric motors, drives, controls, motor parts and power transmission products. "I thought he was going to be OK, but winning a couple non-winners of two (conditions) you don't know if you can go with the big guys. "He's got the Empire Breeders Classic and the New York Sire Stakes, races that I enjoy. I'm a New York kind of guy. (Driver) John Campbell calls me 'Billy Joel.' That's my nickname to him. He says I'm just a New York kind of guy. I just enjoy the racing. I have to go against the big guys; little old me, I (own) five or six horses. People think I buy 50 horses every year, but I really don't. I usually get two colts and two fillies. But I'm very passionate about it." In the Rooney final, elimination runner-up Rodeo Rock will start from post two for driver Daniel Dube and trainer Don Swick. He finished 1-3/4 lengths behind Missile J, who paced 1:53.2 for the win. Elimination third-place finisher Artmagic, owned by Purple Haze Stables and coupled with Missile J in the wagering, will start the final from post No. 1. George Brennan is listed to drive for trainer Trond Smedshammer. Saturday's card at Yonkers also includes the $100,000 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old female pacers. For more, click here. Ken Weingartner

Wil DuBois is the kind of kid you want to see succeed in harness racing, if only because he loves it so much. A third generation horseman along with his brother, Thomas, and sister, Samantha, Wil proudly states that the sport is in his blood. For any doubters, consider two stories to prove the point. The first came during Wil’s junior year of playing football for Biddeford High School in Maine. At the time, he was also helping out his dad, Todd, at their stable and was unable to make football weightlifting sessions. He still lifted on his own, but the coach wasn’t buying it. “He said football comes before family and stuff,” DuBois said. “I said ‘You know what, I’d rather be with the horses anyway.’” He continued to play lacrosse that year and, after early graduation in February 2015, Wil and Thomas went to New Jersey so Wil could work with trainer Linda Toscano. That’s where the second story comes in. Thomas took a job and Wil worked with Linda while both lived in a hotel room. Because Wil didn’t have a car, Thomas eventually quit his job so Wil could get to the stables every day. It was a sacrifice in the name of Standardbreds, but it eventually cost the brothers. “It was pretty cool,” said DuBois, who turns 20 in August. “But I really wasn’t making enough money to support both of us. He couldn’t find another job, so we came back up this way. I lived with my uncle (Billy DuBois) and started working for him.” That wasn’t really a problem, since Wil considers working with horses about the greatest thing on earth. He earned his first driving win last October and since getting his trainer’s license, has garnered four training victories since April. Wil’s fraternal grandparents, Gordon and Jane DuBois, and maternal grandfather, the late Raymond Sawyer, are all Standardbred veterans. Todd and his wife, Donna, fell right in line, and their kids are keeping the tradition alive. Samantha works with Todd in his barn and will attend Morrisville for horsemanship, and 23-year-old Thomas is in his fourth year at Scarborough as the youngest paddock judge in the U.S. For good measure, their cousin Jordan Derue is one of the leading drivers at Saratoga in New York. “They all seemed to gravitate toward the horses,” Todd said. “It’s almost like they’re born into it; like there was never going to be a question for any of the kids.” There’s a reason for that. “The biggest thing is they actually love the animals,” Todd said. “Even if there’s not a lot of money, if you wake up and can be around horses and enjoy your day that’s all the money you need in the world. I think they see that. “Not that you don’t need to make money and pay your bills and eat; because you do. But Wil’s out hustling. He jogs horses; he does what he needs to do. He’s not sitting around doing nothing. He helps his grandfather, he helps his uncle.” He is literally living the dream, except for the part where he has to work part-time at a bakery to pay his bills. “When I was younger I got interested in different stuff but I’ve always wanted to train horses,” he said. “Train and drive, that’s always been my dream. I’m up every day at the barn. I’d rather be there than at the bakery.” You know it’s serious. Who doesn’t want to be at a bakery? Actually, Wil would rather still be in New Jersey, which was the original hope when Todd hooked him up with Toscano. “I’d like to see him get out of Maine, and I got him the job with Linda and thought maybe he could launch from there, but it was tough with the two guys down there and just one job between them,” Todd said. “But he definitely learned some stuff with Linda. “They’ve got a higher class animal. They’re in a different league. It’s more condensed. I have 15 horses, and two or three of us take care of them. Down there, you’re only going to take care of three or four. It’s more polished.” Wil found it to be a great experience. “It was really cool,” he said. “I got to see (2012 Hambletonian winner) Market Share, ($1 million-earner) Doctor Butch. I got to see how differently New Jersey is from Maine. It’s a lot more business, where up here it’s more of a family thing. I loved every minute of it. Hard work every day. Seven days a week -- no time to get in trouble.” Asked if he tends to get in trouble, Wil laughed and said “Oh yeah, once in a while.” Fortunately, he has put trouble on the backburner, getting his provisional driving license and trainer’s license within the last seven months. At 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, DuBois’ frame is not conducive to driving. But on Oct. 3 at the Cumberland Fair he drove Real Yankee to get his first win. “It was surreal, it was the best feeling I ever had in my life,” Wil said. “It was pretty cool, too, because I was working for my uncle Billy. That day we had three in and we won all three races.” His first training win came in April, and he has amassed three more since. “That was a little different than the driving win,” DuBois said. “The horse I won with last year was my own. My uncle was the trainer, my grandfather was the owner, I didn’t have any of those licenses yet. These horses I don’t own so it’s kind of different.” Wil enjoys climbing in the sulky, but realizes his size limits what he can do. “I like messing around in the amateurs and stuff,” he said. “If I ever get down (in weight) to drive later, I’d love to drive.” “I think he’s good at both driving and training,” Todd said. “It’s his dream to be a driver, but there’s not many 6-2 guys out there. Jason Bartlett is 6-2 but he’s a beanpole. Wil’s quite capable for being a driver, not just because he’s my son, but he’s got a good set of hands and gets along with the horses. He makes good moves.” DuBois’ immediate plans are to stay in Maine for the summer, work with his family and check out the racing in Maine and Massachusetts. He feels “the fair season up here is always the best. It’s peaceful, everybody knows each other. It’s a fun atmosphere.” He and Todd also know that for Wil to advance, he will need to move elsewhere. In the winter, he will see where things stand and is hoping to go to Florida “and learn some things.” Where he ends up depends on what kind of position he gets. “It depends if I get a job offer or if we can find somebody who wants to race down there,” Wil said. “If we can find someone who wants to race I would love to go to Pompano. If not, I wouldn’t mind breaking babies somewhere.” He has at least one guy in his corner who feels he can make it. “I think that he’s going to have a good career,” Todd said. “He’s a good horseman, he’s got a good set of hands. He gets along with them. He knows what he needs to do.” More importantly, he knows what he wants to do. “It’s all about keeping the horses happy,” he said. “This has been in my blood. I don’t focus on anything else.” A high school football coach and an older brother willing to give up his job and car can both vouch for that. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (January 8, 2016) - The $25,000 Open I Handicap Trot was the featured event on the Friday night harness racing program at The Meadowlands. A highly competitive field of nine went to the gate, with Lindy's Tru Grit a slight 2-1 favorite at post time. There was plenty of speed off the gate as Uva Hanover, Opulent Yankee and Somebody As all left for position. Only two of those remained trotting after the first quarter as Opulent Yankee went off-stride on the first turn. Somebody As grabbed the racetrack through a 26.4 sharp opening quarter. Uva Hanover was content to sit the pocket behind the leader through a 55.2 half mile. On the far turn, Lindy's Tru Grit, who was stalking the leaders made his move for the lead, which he reached past three-quarters in 1:24. It was his race to lose in the stretch, but Uva Hanover was guided off the pylons and began to reel in the favorite. Uva Hanover took over in mid-stretch and powered away to a sharp two length score in a lifetime best 1:52.2. Lindy's Tru Grit remained second with Can Do rallying well to finish third. The win was the 14th for Uva Hanover, whose earnings are approaching $350,000 lifetime. He is trained by Linda Toscano for Stake Your Claim Stable and Martin Sternberg. Fresh from his trip to Australia, Tim Tetrick guided the five year old gelded son of Cantab Hall to the victory. March Awareness Upsets Open II Trot A tepid pace and a pocket trip resulted in a 9-1 upset for March Awareness in the supporting feature on Friday night at The Meadowlands. Allowed to sit behind the lone-leader. Lauderdale who wheeled off fractions of 28.1, 57.3 and 1.26.4, March Awareness slingshot by in deep stretch to score in 1:55 for Yannick Gingras. The win was the 19th in the career of March Awareness with earnings of $219,740. He is trained by Ron Burke, who co-owns the six year old gelded son of Ken Warkentin with Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C. Team Orange Crush Pairs Up Andy and Julie Miller teamed up to score a pair of trotting wins early on the card at The Meadowlands on Friday night with Magenta Man and Allerage Star. Magenta Man scored in a non-winners of two condition event in a lifetime best 1:55.4, while Allerage Star did not disappoint as the 2-1 favorite from post 10 in a non-winners of six trotting event. Both trotters are owned in part by Jeff Gural’s Little E L.L.C. After sweeping the late daily double, Yannick Gingras bagged four winners on the card. Jim Marohn Jr., Andy Miller and Trond Smedshammer each won a pair. Total handle on the 14-race program was $2,879,881. Racing returns on Saturday, with first post time at 6:35 P.M. Darin Zoccali

A rare Monday card (Sept. 28) from Harrah's Philly featured two divisions of The Liberty Bell for 3-year-old filly pacers and a pair of upper-conditioned level events on the pace as well. Linda Toscano trainee Better Said (S. Zeron) took the first division of The Liberty Bell. The daughter of Well Said was leading the compact field of five when top contender Well Hello There (Gingras) broke at the quarter pole. Better Said led every step of the way in 1:53.1. It was her fifth victory of the year, her first since a mid July overnight win here at Harrah's Philly. She is owned by Brittany Farms. Steve Elliott charge Bodacious (S. Allard) continued her winning ways in division two. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere took off the early pace, settling in fifth from post one. She was able to grind into striking position, holding off the upset minded Deli Beach (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) to win by a head in 1:52.2. She is owned by Conrad Zurich and Hauser Bros. Racing. In other news, aged pacer Sky Is The Limit (S. Allard) was game in victory in a non-winners of $20,000 in the last 5 starts or non-winners of 9 races or $90,000. The 5-year-old son of Western Ideal drafted behind cover until three-quarters, edging wide to defeat pace-setter Bettors Glass in 1:51.3. It was career win 16 for the Shaun Vallee trainee, starting for the ninetieth time. Owned by Darius Oshidar, he paid $7.00 to win. Richard and Dale Julich's Badix Hanover won his third straight on Monday. The 3-year-old gelded son of Western Ideal led at every quarter, completing the mile in a lifetime's best 1:50.3. The race was for non-winners of $15,000 in their last 5 or non-winners of 7 races or $70,000 lifetime. The Kevin Mc Dermott trainee was heavily favored in the event. Michael Bozich

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 12, 2015-It was a dark and stormy night, but undeterred, Yonkers Raceway forged ahead for the first of two harness racing New York Nights of Champions. For the first time since its inception in 1990, the eight sire stakes finals were halved. Saturday night, the Empire's best 3-year-olds had the marquee, with four, $225,000 sire stakes finals. The NYSS events were each again sponsored by a prominent breeding farm. The skinny... Majestic View Farms Filly Trot - Second choice Jewels in Hock (Jim Morrill Jr., $6.20), leaving from post position No. 4, needed every bit of her lead. She was just sway against the relentless chase of last season's divisional champ, 3-5 favorite Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory). The final margin, after fractions of :28.1, :57, 1:26. and a sloppy 1:56.3, was a narrow nostril, with both drifting late (though not near one another). Lady Winona (Jason Bartlett) was a pocket third. For Jewels in Hock, a daughter of Credit Winner trained by Linda Toscano for KJ Stables, it was her ninth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.20, with the triple returning $27.60. "The advantage we had (over Barn Doll) was this filly can leave the gate," Toscano said. "She hasn't always been the easiest horse to work with and we've tinkered with the equipment, but she's shown she has the talent." After the race, it was revealed Barn Doll had been sold to William Weaver III for an undisclosed amount, with Gregory taking over the training. Cameo Hill Farm Filly Pace - Props to Bartlett, who launched Band of Angels ($21.60) from an eight-hole and went the distance. She looped defending champ (and 2-1 choice) Mosquito Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.), forcing that one into a seat and a second move. Band of Angels was able to rate early (:28.2, :58, 1:26.1, 1:54), then whip pocket-protecting Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) by a wet nose. Mosquito Blue Chip was a credible third. For sixth choice Band of Angels, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven owned by W J Donovan and trained by Ron Burke, she's now 6-for-13 this season. The exacts paid $124.50, with the triple returning $458.50. "I was going to duck her inside (Mosquito Blue Chip), but she was so good leaving, I just went on with it," Bartlett said. "The half was cheap, even with the sloppy track and she felt strong. We beat some nice fillies in here." Morrisville College Equine Institute Colt/Gelding Trot - In bingo, Habitat (Morrill Jr. $2.70) would have been your proverbial free space. A Yonkers Trot champ last Saturday was a statebred champ this Saturday. From post No. 3, Habitat saw Wings of Royalty (Bartlett) grab the first lead, then did his thing (:29, :58.2, 1:28. 1:56.3). The final margin was a never-threatened length-and-a-quarter over Wings of Royalty, with Mythology Bluechip (Andy Miller) third. For Habitat, a Conway Hall colt co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stable, it was his eighth win (fourth consecutive) in 15 '15 tries. The exacta paid $13.20, with the triple returning $83.50. "A training mile," Morrill Jr. said. Blue Chips Farms Colt/Gelding Pace - "He just shows up every start." That's what co-owner/trainer Tom Fanning appreciates about odds-on Betting Exchange (Bartlett, $3.70) after that one's solid win in the finale of the sire stakes quartet. Two-moving to the lead from post No. 5, he controlled the conversation (:27.1; 56.4; 1:24.4; 1:52.4), dispatching a first-up Rockin' in Heaven (Trevor Henry) en route to a handy, 3¼-length victory. Rank outsider Americanprimetime (Eric Carlson) skimmed the cones for second at 41-1, with first leader National Seelster (Miller) lasting for third. For Betting Exchange, a son of Bettor's Delight also co-owned by Howard Taylor and Susan Kajfasz, he's now 3-for-14 this season after beginning 0-for-7. The exacta paid $77.50, with the triple returning $393.50. Scheduled superfecta wagering was cancelled after a pair of scratches, including the winner's entrymate. "We closed up his bridle and that's made him more aggressive," Fanning said. "He's not waiting on horses anymore." The Raceway hosts New York Night of Champions (Part II)-four, $225,000 sire stakes finals for 2-year-olds-Saturday night. Sept. 26. Saturday's pair of $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by... --Pace, Sapphire City (Jordan Stratton, $26.80) in 1:52.2; --Trot, Luminosity (George Brennan, $10) in 1:55.2. Frank Drucker  

Linda Toscano trainees Cut and Paste ($2.10) and Soft Idea ($2.40) both achieved early leads and never looked back in their respective $31,894 Reynolds Stake divisions for 2-year-old pacing fillies on Thursday (September 10) evening at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs, while Katies Rocker ($2.20, part of entry) was king among five 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings in their lone $64,788 dash.   The first division for pacing fillies, contested as race 3, saw Cut and Paste work clear of Twice an Angel (Matt Kakaley) in the initial stages, controlling the terms throughout her 1:54.3 triumph.   Jim Marohn, Jr. comfortably rated sectionals of :28.1, :57.4, and 1:26.2 with the daughter of Well Said, and Cut and Paste responded immediately to the late challenge of Twice and Angel to prevail by 1-1/2 lengths.   In the second division, carded as race 5, Soft Idea settled off early pacesetters JK Fannie (Kakaley) and Wine Snob (Mike Simons), drafting through a :28.1 initial quarter before brushing to the fore upon entering the home straight on the first occasion.   Once clear on the lead, Jim Morrill, Jr. rated a :57 middle half with the American Ideal filly.   Off the far turn, Soft Idea dug in to repel dual challengers JK Fannie and Wine Snob, both of which closed in from either side in a dead heat for second, three-quarters of a length behind the odds-on winner.   While pupils of Toscano took both filly divisions of the Reynolds, a Jim Campbell trainee prevailed in the lone split for colts and geldings.   Katies Rocker worked clear of his four rivals with no trouble at all, sprinting off through a :27.3 initial quarter before Simon Allard rated a :31 breather to race's midpoint.   On the backstretch, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding was nudged along by his entrymate Show the Fashion (Kakaley), but Katies Rocker proved far superior in the end.   The Fashion Farms homebred edged clear by 1-1/2 lengths, using a :55.1 back half mile to cap a 1:53.4 victory over Safensound Hanover (Morrill), who gave chase from the pocket once clear in the final sixteenth.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (September 11) evening, with the first of 13 races due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Fifteen 2-year-old pacers--ten fillies, five colts and geldings--will vie for over $128,000 in purses as they contest their Reynolds Stake divisions on Thursday (September 10) evening at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs.   New York Sire Stakes standout Soft Idea has been installed the 4-5 morning line favourite in the $31,894 second division for pacing fillies, carded as the fifth race on the 11-dash program.   The daughter of American Ideal and Walk Softly has amassed over $128,000 so far in her career, winning five of seven races on the Sire Stakes circuit.   Jim Morrill, Jr. handles the driving duties for trainer Linda Toscano.   Another Toscano trainee has been made the morning line choice in the earlier $31,894 split for fillies (race 3), with Cut and Paste installed at 7-5 off her 1:53.3 maiden-breaking win at Pocono.   Jim Marohn, Jr. will drive the daughter of Well Said and On the Arm.   Of the quintet of pacing colts and geldings to contest their lone $64,788 Reynolds event (race 7), the Jim Campbell-trained entry of Show the Fashion and Katies Rocker have been made the 6-5 morning line favourite.   Katies Rocker, a two-time winner, comes off a 1:53.1 victory at Pocono after earning minor checks in the New Jersey Sire Stakes and the Geers Stake   Simon Allard is slated to drive the son of Rocknroll Hanover and Just Wait Kate.   Show the Fashion likewise ships in from Pocono, breaking maiden in 1:54.3 in his most recent effort.   Matt Kakaley will handle the lines of the son of Well Said and Show and Tell.   The first of 11 races on the season's antepenultimate program is due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

"She's very talented, but sometimes I wonder where to put the 50 cents in because the ride can get bouncy." Such was the post-race postulate Thursday night from driver Jim Morrill Jr. after he-with some able assistance from odds-on favorite Soft Idea ($3.10)-set a track record during Yonkers Raceway hosting of the $147,723 New York Sire Stakes Frank Becerra Pace for 2-year-old fillies. Soft Idea, this summer's division dominatrix, threw down a 1:53.4 gauntlet in the final ($48,941) division. Leaving from post position No. 3, she took over from second choice American Ivy (Brian Sears), then held that one at bay by a determined neck. It was more than three lengths back to Lyra (George Brennan) in third. The time matched Soft Idea's life-best, taken at Vernon. Morrill Jr., ironically, drove Summertime Lea to the previous local frosh filly track record (1:54.1) three Septembers ago. For Soft Idea, a daughter of American Ideal trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Bay's Stable, Radio Racing Stable, South Mountain Stables and Little E LLC, it was her fifth (NYSS) win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $6.50, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $18.80. "We're looking forward to the (Sept. 26) sire stakes final," co-owner Harvey Nagler said. Morrill Jr. also won Thursday's second opening ($49,841) Becerra division, as Time on My Hands ($7.70) overcame her outside post No. 7 and avoided the first-tune happenstance to widen out in 1:55. Second went to Killing 'Em Softly (Brennan), with Art Critic (Matt Kakaley third). The "Sommelier Special" hunch play went in the spit bucket early, as Wine Snob (Ray Schnittker) made a first-turn break, badly impeding 7-5 choice Vino and Formaggio (Sears). For second choice Time on My Hands, a daughter of American Ideal co-owned by Robert Mondillo, Michael Robinson, Steve Cheatham & BFJ Stables and trained by Chris Ryder, she's now 3-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $47.60, the triple returning $190. The opening ($48,941) sire stakes event saw Dime a Dance (Kakaley, $6.10)-pocketed from post No. 5-whizz by 7-10 fave Noclouds Bluechip (Sears) by a length in 1:55.4. Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) was third. For second choice (coupled with fourth-place finisher Encore Deo [Brennan]) Dime a Dance, a Roll with Joe miss trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva Stables and Blue Chip Bloodstock, it was her second (consecutive) win in seven tries this season. The exacta paid $6.30, with no triple wagering to the limited number (five) of wagering interests). "She just exploded when I asked her in the lane," Kakaley said. "As good as she was winning at Vernon (13 nights ago), she was better here."                                                                                                                         Frank Drucker

The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night hosted the $168,374 New York Sire Stakes Joe Goldstein Trot for 3-year-old fillies. The event, honoring the memory of a legendary sports publicist, went in two, $84,187 events. The opening division was won by Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory, $5.60) in a snappy 1:56.4. Unhurried from post position No. 2, she saw pole-sitting Nunkeri (Mark MacDonald) contend with a second move from 9-10 choice Lady Winona (Andy Miller). Nunkeri owned a short lead into the lane, but Barn Girl-who had chased Lady Winona before falling into a vacant pocket-ducked inside and went by. She beat "Winona" by a 1¾ lengths, with Nunkeri an easily-better-than-the-rest third. "She was very good in Excelsiors (lower-level statebred races), so they wanted to try her in sire stakes," Gregory said of Barn Girl. "She's turned into one of the better one in this group." For second choice Barn Girl, a daughter of Cash Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Out in the Country Stable, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, with triple returning $28. Thursday night's second sire stakes event saw Jewels in Hock (Jim Morrill Jr., $4.60) hold off a troubled-trip, 1-2 favorite in last season's freshman champ Barn Doll (Gregory). The final margin was a length in 1:57.3. First leader Waiting Room (Miller) held third. In play from post No. 4, Jewels in Hock retook from Waiting Room as Barn Doll, in search of a ninth consecutive victory, was caught wide early. She eventually found a five-hole before moving again first-up. For second choice "Jewels," a Credit Winner miss trained by Linda Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables, she's now 7-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $9.50, with the triple returning $45.20. "She's given us a lot of headaches with her equipment," Toscano said. "John (Campbell, who drove her exclusively earlier in the season) wanted her rigged one way, while Jimmy (Morrill Jr.) wanted her another way." We eventually (and lovingly, we'd guess) told Jimmy to shut up and we're leaving her the way she was with John, and it's seemed to work out." The Raceway's live season continues Friday and Saturday (first post both nights 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker

Entering Friday night, Market Share was winless in four starts this season. In fact, he was yet to hit the board. But that all changed in the featured $28,500 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadowlands. Market Share had his game face on this Friday night, as he soared around the East Rutherford harness racing oval, winning in wire to wire fashion as the 2-1 second choice. Market Share led at every point of call, and trotted a 27.2 final quarter while holding off the fast-closing Handover Belle to win in 1:51.1. The race favorite, Obrigado, trailed for much of the mile and despite flying home in 26.3, could only manage to finish third. Both the winner and third place finisher are likely headed to the John Cashman Memorial on Hambletonian Day. Eliminations (if necessary) will be contested next Saturday night. The win was the 26th in the illustrious career of Market Share, whose earnings surpassed $3.7 Million. He is owned by Richard Gutnick, William Augustine and the T L P Stable. He is conditioned by Linda Toscano and was driven to victory by Tim Tetrick, one of five wins on the 12-race card for Tetrick. Market Share Tetrick also scored in the $28,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace with the Pennsylvania invader, Ooh Bad Shark, who scored an off the pace win in 1:48.3. Ooh Bad Shark left for position from post six, but was quickly trapped along the pylons as Sandbetweenurtoes and Radar Contact vied for command. In the stretch Ooh Bad Shark was loaded with pace, but had to wait for racing room before angling out wide and finishing with a flourish to chase down Radar Contact with a 26.3 final quarter to score in a lifetime best performance. Longshot Lucy's Pearl rallied to be third. The winner is owned by Donna Fedorak and William Wiggins, who is also the trainer. The first round of the Kindergarten Trotting Series commenced on Friday as well. The colts split into three $10,000 divisions while the fillies contested a pair of $10,000 heats. On the colt side, Reve Royale, Waitlifter K and Winter Harbor emerged victorious while Hollywood Hill and Twice Is Right scored in the filly divisions. Both filly winners are trained by Jimmy Takter and are eligible to the Jim Doherty Memorial while Waitlifter K and Winter Harbor are Peter Haughton-eligible. Brittany Farms had a big night, finding the winner's circle three times with Winter Harbor, Propulsion and Twice Is Right. Rules Of The Road came up with a big effort in a condition trotting event, dominating a solid group in 1:52.3, a lifetime mark. The filly is trained by Janice Connor for the Arden Homestead Stable and was driven by Corey Callahan. She is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks. Eliminations will take place next Saturday night. There was more than one winning ticket in the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5, therefore that carryover will be $214,272.42 into the 13th race on Saturday. The Saturday program will begin at 7:15 P.M. and it features the $200,000 New Jersey Classic and the $100,000 Miss New Jersey. Darin Zoccali Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment | 1 Racetrack Drive | East Rutherford, NJ 07073            

Doctor Butch is the type of horse that dislikes wearing a blanket, even on the coldest days of winter. A blanket in the winner's circle, though, is another story. "No problem with that," Brad McNinch said with a laugh after detailing how Doctor Butch destroyed two winter blankets this year. "He loves standing in the winner's circle with a blanket." McNinch assists wife Linda Toscano with her New Jersey-based training stable and spends a lot of time with Doctor Butch. The 5-year-old pacer will have the chance to pick up a blanket Saturday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway when he faces seven rivals in the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial. Doctor Butch, who needs $41,963 to reach $1 million in career earnings, is the longest shot on the morning line at 12-1, but he will neither know nor care about the odds. He will start from post six on the half-mile oval, with Patrick Lachance driving. "He feels good; he looks good," McNinch said about Doctor Butch. "He looks like he can beat anybody and he thinks he can beat anybody. He's just that kind. He's just a good horse. It's mostly attitude. He just wants to beat everybody." Dancin Yankee, the 2014 Gerrity winner, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday's race. He will start from post two with Jim Morrill Jr. driving for trainer Gary Green. Luck Be Withyou, P H Supercam and All Bets Off are next on the morning line, with odds of 3-1 to 9-2. "I see Dancin Yankee going down the road, but I don't think he'll be left alone; there's enough speed," Toscano said about the race. "Fortunately for us, (Doctor Butch) can race both ways. He'll race just as well from the back as he will on or close to the lead. Hopefully with a trip we'll be OK." Doctor Butch, a son of Art Major out of the mare Classical Yankee, is owned by Ken Jacobs and has won 25 of 87 career races, including the 2013 Art Rooney Pace and 2012 New York Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers. He was purchased as a yearling for $55,000 under the name Recent Vintage and his family includes millionaire Yankee Cruiser and stakes-winner JK Majorette. He heads to the Gerrity off a third-place finish in the Open Handicap on July 18 at the Meadowlands. Over his most recent 14 starts, Doctor Butch has six wins and a total of 10 on-the-board efforts. His finishes outside the top three came in two starts from outside posts at Yonkers, a troubled trip in the Gold Cup Invitational at Mohawk, and when he tied up in the Jerry Taylor Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia. "He's probably a half-step below the top ones, but I wouldn't have any problem putting him in with them," McNinch said. "He's got a great attitude and he's got lots of go. He's on his game right now. It's just the routine he's in now. He loves it." Doctor Butch has raced throughout this year, making at least two starts in every month of 2015, and won eight of 21 appearances. He has been a member of Toscano's stable from the start of his career. "I love that as much as anything," said Toscano, who also credits caretaker Sanne Hansen for her work with Doctor Butch during the past two years. "We put the first harness on him and we broke him. Normally (Jacobs') horses go south and get broken in North Carolina. That year for some reason the colts stayed north. I think that's the best part, to get to keep one you broke yourself and then watched them turn into a good horse. "He's a pleasure to have. He's a very sound horse, and a very, very pretty horse. He's been paying the way. I kind of was instrumental in him not being sold (after his 3-year-old season) because I really believe in the horse. A formula for a really successful operation is having those winter racehorses that can help pay the bills. Ken loves the babies, but he loves to watch the racing too. It's been fun. Doctor Butch has kind of ticked all the boxes." Following is the field for the Gerrity in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Michael's Power by Camluck, Bruce Aldrich Jr., Mark Silva, 6-1 2. Dancin Yankee by Yankee Cruiser, Jim Morrill Jr., Gary Green, 5-2 3. Scott Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover, Stephane Bouchard, Mickey Peterson, 8-1 4. P H Supercam by Million Dollar Cam, Jason Bartlett, Jeff Bamond Jr., 4-1 5. Luck Be Withyou by Western Ideal, Mark MacDonald, Mickey Peterson, 3-1 6. Doctor Butch by Art Major, Patrick Lachance, Linda Toscano, 12-1 7. All Bets Off by Bettor's Delight, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 9-2 8. Domethatagain by Bettor's Delight, Billy Dobson, Rene Allard, 10-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

After proving a gritty winner in both his preliminary events, Jeneral Patton ($2.80) earned a hard-fought 1:51.3 victory in Sunday (July 5) afternoon's harness racing $42,800 final of the Nichols True Value pacing series at Tioga Downs.   Jim Marohn, Jr. brushed to the lead with the 4-year-old Art Major entire after a :27 first quarter, clearing Gokudo Hanover (Tom Jackson) with a circuit to go but then yielding to Let's Foal Around (Mike Simons), who claimed commend on entry to the clubhouse turn after dueling for the lead at race's outset. With Let's Foal Around taking charge through a :54.3 half mile, Jeneral Patton was able to draft along comfortably in the pocket as the mid-race leader faced heavier pressure. With three-eighths to go, Let's Foal Around faced pressure from a first-over Idealbeach Hanover (Brandon Simpson), and the two dueled through a 1:22.1 three-quarter sectional while Marohn angled Jeneral Patton three-wide on the far turn. In upper stretch, Let's Foal Around kicked clear of his dueling rivals, but was chased valiantly by a late-charging Stratocaster (Aaron Byron) up the pegs. Jeneral Patton responded to the late threat, holding sway by half a length. Stratocaster's potent inside kick earned him second honors, and the tiring Let's Foal Around held third.   Linda Toscano trains Jeneral Patton for owner Kenneth Jacobs.   Marohn took the $10,000 Open II Pace earlier on the card, driving Ron Burke trainee Eastend Eddie ($3.30) to a 4-1/2 length win over Electrofire (Simons) and Lauxmont Capri (Jim Taggart, Jr.) by way of a third-over trip. After losing cover on the approach to the far turn, the 7-year-old Million Dollar Cam gelding began to edge away, drawing off for a 1:51.2 score.   The afternoon's co-featured Open I Pace carried a purse of $14,000, and saw Believe This Bob ($3.30) dictate the terms through strong fractions before drawing clear to a 3-1/2 length win over U Belong To Me (Marohn) and Bettorsluckystreak (Taggart). Aaron Byron drove the 7-year-old Beach Romeo gelding for trainer Joe Skowyra.   Byron led all drivers with three wins on the 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (July 10) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Gotmyredressontnit put up the fastest mile while Soft Idea and Encore Deo also found the winner's circle in their first career starts to highlight the action in the three $36,566 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers at the harness racing meeting at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday night (July 1).   The track record at Buffalo Raceway of 1:56.3 set by Silk Purse in 2011 and tied by Summertime Lea in 2012 will remain safe for another season.   The first division was the quickest as Gotmyredressontnit just missed the track record with a 1:56.4 clocking while Soft Idea and Encore Deo each went the mile in 1:57.3 over the fast track.   The favored Gotmyredressontnit ($4.10) toyed with the field in the first division.   Sitting third at the quarter pole, driver Jason Bartlett said it was time to go with Gotmyredressontnit and took command.   She was on cruise control from there, going 58.1 in the second half mile, including a 28.2 last panel to pull away from runner up Wishy Washy Girl (Jordan Stratton) by 2-3/4 lengths while Another Look (Tom Jackson) finished in third..   Bartlett said after the race, "This filly is really fast. She's high speed and has a great gait."   He added that he was confident when they passed the half-mile pole.   "The way she's been qualifiying, I knew we had it won at the half mile.   I still haven't pulled the plugs on her." Gotmyredressontnit won her two non-betting prep races by 3-1/2 and 4-1/2 lengths.   Owned and trained by Janice Connor, Gotmyredressontnit (Roll With Joe-Western Top Cat) is now a perfect 1-for-1 in her young career.   In the second division, a gutsy drive by Scott Zeron in the passing lane allowed Soft Idea (American Ideal-Walk Softly) to score a narrow victory over Vino And Formaggio and Angels Rockn Pink in an exciting blanket finish that was decided by a mere head.   Angels Rockn Pink (John MacDonald) set the fractions of 29.1, 59.0 and 1:28.1. They looked home free at the top of the stretch but things started to fall apart. The leg-weary Angels Rockn Pink was begging for the finish line but Soft Idea and Vino And Formaggio (Kevin Cummings) were pacing strong to the finish.   Soft Idea ($13.60) went as far down the passing lane as possible and managed to nose past the game Vino And Formaggio at the wire while Angels Rockn Pink was a head back.   Zeron admitted it was a tight squeeze down the stretch. He then added, "She was loaded the entire mile. I backed her off around the turns but down the stretch, I had a ton of horse."   Soft Idea is trained by Linda Toscano and is co-owned by the South Mountain Stable, the Bay's Stable, Radio Racing Stable and Little E LLC.   After losing a narrow decision in the second leg of the Sire Stakes, Cummings got his revenge in the third and final division aboard Encore Deo ($10.80).   Blasting to the top from the five post, Encore Deo, a $100,000 Lexington Sales purchase, played a game of catch me if you can and ended up wiring the field of seven. Putting up fractions of 30.1, 59.4 and 1:28.4, a 28.4 last quarter panel was enough to hold off any late threat. No Clouds Bluechip (Bartlett) finished 3/4 lengths back while Dime A Dance (Stratton) took the show spot.   "She handled the track really well," Cummings said of Encore Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven -Docdor Cameo). "I was a hair worried around the last turn, but once she straightened out in the stretch, she had a a lot left."   Encore Deo is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by the Burke Stable, Weaver Buscemi, Jason Melillo and Lawrence Karr.   In the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series, it was a clean sweep for Jim Morrill Jr. as he guided Amazon Ideal ($3.40) to a 2:00.3 win and was in the sulky with Roll Of Dreams ($4.00) who turned in a 2:00.1 time.   The $6,800 Excelsior 'B' Series went to Milky Way Rae ($4.20) who toured the Buffalo Raceway half-mile oval in 2:00.4 with Bartlett in the bike.   BZ Glide (Morrill Jr.) was victorious in the $10,500 Open Trot in 1:57.2 and returned $2.70 for the win. Morrill Jr. finished the night with four victories.   Country Delight ($4.00) went coast-to-coast in notching a 1:57.3 win in the $9,500 Open pace for the filly and mares. John Cummings Jr. handled the driving duties.   Racing will continue on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with 11 races scheduled to go to the post at 6:35 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   Brian J. Mazurek

Linda Toscano trainee El Bloombito (Marcus Miller) picked up his third straight win in the featured harness racing event at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday (June 21). It was a pace for non-winners of $20,000 in their last five starts or non-winners of 9 pari-mutuel races or $90,000 lifetime. The 4-year-old son of American Ideal got away sixth off a fast first-quarter (:26.1) set by lukewarm favorite Mr Husani N (Jim Pantaleano). The pace remained contested, as Ron Coyne trainee National Debt (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) brushed up to clear by the half, which was timed in :54.2. That's when El Bloombito made his move. He used a quick burst to take the lead at the three-quarter pole (1:21.3). He maintained a two length lead to the finish, equaling a lifetime's best performance of 1:50. Bettor's Glass (Andrew McCarthy) rallied for place, while Grab Your Keys closed for the show spot. It was the 9th career win for El Bloombito ($7.00), who is owned by Stake Your Claim Stables, the Camelot Stables, and Fred Wallace. Winning driver Marcus Miller had three wins on the card. George Napolitano Jr. and Andrew McCarthy each had four wins on the Father's Day program. Michael Bozich

There were two opens valued at $30,000 each at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon (June 14). The open pace was race six on the fourteen race program. It featured two of the top three finishers from the Jerry Taylor Invitational, including winner Great Vintage (Dave Miller) and third place finisher Mach It So (Jason Bartlett). The race favorite however was Doctor Butch (Scott Zeron). The 5-year-old son of Art Major finished fifth in the Jerry Taylor two starts back, winning his last start in 1:48.2 at the Big M. He was forwardly placed at the start, leading at the quarter-pole (26.4). Mach It So quickly vacated the pocket to take the lead, hitting the half in :55.1. Long shot Big N Bad (Eric Carlson) made mild headway first over, but was unable to gain past three-quarters (1:22.4). In the stretch, Doctor Butch was able to close home in :26.3 to win for the 25th time in his career, stopping the timer in 1:49.2. Mach It So finished second, while Great Vintage closed for third. Doctor Butch is owned by Kenneth Jacobs, and trained by Linda Toscano. He paid $5.00. In the open trot (race 10), Tom Fanning trainee Possessed Fashion (Jason Bartlett) was the lukewarm favorite. The son of Donato Hanover left well for early position from post 3, settling in behind battling leaders at the quarter (:27.3). Linda Toscano trainee Uva Hanover (Dave Miller) and Jimmy Takter trainee Not Afraid (Corey Callahan) battled for the lead with the latter being used hard to clear from post 8. After the tempo settled down at the half (:56.1), Jim Raymer trainee Rossini (Andrew McCarthy) mustered up a first over challenge. They battled to a three-quarter time of 1:24.3. Not Afraid put away the long shot's challenge in the turn, but could not hold off Uva Hanover down the stretch. The 4-year-old won by a little more than a length, stopping the clock in 1:53.2, a lifetime's best. Possessed Fashion got up for second, while Not Again tired to third. Uva Hanover is owned by Stake Your Claim Stables and Martin Sternberg, and paid $8.40 to win. Driver Dave Miller had five wins on the program. Michael Bozich

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