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Vernon Downs held harness racing Finals in eight divisions of the New York Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night with purses totaling $360,000.   The 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings were first up and provided an 11-1 upset with Commissioner Daley (Conway Hall-Irish Washerwoman) storming through the stretch once he got into the clear and rolling right past Genius At Work late to win in a final time of 1:55.2.   Commissioner Daley is owned by Ann-Mari Daley of Lake Worth, Florida and Michael White of Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Dan Daley is the trainer-driver.   2-year-old trotting fillies were up next and, as opposed to the first of the eight Finals, this one went according to form as 3-5 favorite Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) took the lead in mid-stretch and held off a strong closing kick from Morcredit Bluechip to score a victory in 1:57.   Barn Girl is owned by Steven and Nancy Pratt of Corfu, New York. The trainer is Howard Okusko and she was driven to victory by Jeff Gregory on Saturday night.   Freshman trotting colts & geldings provided the most exciting stretch drive of the night as part of a 5-1 entry, Progression (Credit Winner-Ens Curious), came through an opening on the inside left when the favored Crazshana drifted out in the lane. Progression's final time was 1:57.4.   Progression is owned by Leigh Raymer, who also trains, of Delaware, Stephen Moss of Pennsylvania, Harold and Helane Solomon of New York. Mark MacDonald was the driver on Saturday night.   The sophomore pacing filly race was won in gate-to-wire fashion by Expose (Artiscape-Good News Lady). She took the lead immediately and never was headed again as she triumphed in 1:52.4   Expose is owned by Linwood Higgins of Scarborough, Maine and Stake Your Claim Stable of Seacaucus, New Jersey. Linda Toscano trains and Jim Morrill Jr. was the winning driver.   Archetto Hanover (Bettor's Delight-Arts Masterpiece) took the 3-year-old colt and gelding pace after rallying past the favored Murder He Wrote at the top of the stretch. He went on to win by a length in a final time of 1:51.4   Archetto Hanover is owned by Paymaq Racing of Illinois, Greg Gillis of Ontario, Canada, and Louis Willinger of Kentucky. The trainer is Erv Miller and the winning driver was Marcus Miller.   2-year-old pacing colts and geldings might have provided one of the more impressive wins of the night from Artistic Major (Art Major-Western Dancer). Artistic Major (Brent Holland) made the lead at the top of the stretch and powered away to win by four lengths in a time of 1:52.4.   Artistic Major is owned by David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio of Ohio and Steve Elliott of New Jersey. Steve Elliott doubles as the trainer.   Freshman pacing fillies followed that and Rock Me Gently (Rock N Roll Heaven-Cam Swifty) prevailed in what turned into a clustered finish with multiple horses ending up close together. The final time was 1:55.   Rock Me Gently is owned by Old Block Stables Inc. and Kenneth Klein of New York and The Fra Stable LLC of New Jersey. The trainer is Steve Elliott.   The final Final of the Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night was 3-year-old trotting fillies and the winner was Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) with Jim Morrill Jr. driving. She took the lead right away and cruised to an easy victory by nine lengths in a final time of 1:56.3   Dreamsteeler is owned by Andrew Herzog of Monticello, New York and Tracy Brainard is the trainer.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Thursday night with an 11-race program. Post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity

As it has done on four other occasions the $118,000 Lorna Propes Championship for filly and mare pacers 3yo & up produced yet another repeat harness racing champion as the Jesse De Long owned Let's Go Higher held on to win by a length in 1:52.0 with John De Long at the controls. Last year's winner of this event left hard from post five but was quickly covered up as Dune In Red (Dave Magee) and Party Hangover (Todd Warren) battled through a tough opening quarter of 27.1. Moving first over as the field raced by the half-mile mark in 55.0 the Heidi Rohr trained six-year-old swallowed up Party Hangover as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.3. "I wasn't surprised that we had to do as much work as we did because they're not going to be able to beat her if they just leave her alone on the front end," said a confident De Long. Through the stretch the daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed held sway as Dune In Red came charging at her along the inside while No Respect (Marcus Miller) was closing on the outside. Unfortunately time ran out for that pair as Let's Go Higher dug in gamely to post her 23rd victory in the past two seasons. Dune In Red was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while No Respect was third. After the victory a beaming De Long was more than happy to sing the praises of his charge. "Halfway down the lane I was nervous," he said. "But she fought off the outside horse then nearing the wire she caught the inside horse out of the corner of her eye and she just dug in again. I really believe this is the toughest mare I've ever driven and her will to win is just second to none." The 1-2 choice after a strong elimination win the previous week Let's Go Higher continued the parade of favorites paying $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while moving her career bankroll to a gaudy $460,435. Tom Kelley

Continuing his "dream season" while overcoming what could have been a harness racing career ending injury the Robert Phillips owned and trainer Al's Hammered posted his second career Super Night title taking the $112,000 Tony Maurello Championship by two-lengths in 1:49.2. That time equaled the stakes record for this 3yo & up event. .   With his owner-trainer choosing post position five for this event the trip worked out perfectly for the big late rusher as he sat mid-pack while Fort Silky (Casey Leonard) and Iam Bonasera (Marcus Miller) battled through blistering fractions of 26.3, 54.4 & 1:21.4.   Moving first over on the final turn driver Robert Smolin put Al's Hammered into contention alongside the pace setting Iam Bonasera as the field turned for the money.   "When I saw those fractions up front I really thought I was going to be home free," said Smolin. "He's got no problem going first over so I really was where I wanted to be."   As he's done so often this season, the five-year-old son of Droppin'thehammer seemed to find another gear as he eyed the finish line, putting away the leader and then drawing clear in the final 100 yards for his 14th win of the year. Iam Bonasera held on gamely to finish second while FortSilky was third.   The 2012 Langley Memorial champion boosted his career bankroll to $476,497 with his second Super Night championship while returning $3.40, $2.40 & $2.10 to his legion of backers.   Al's Hammered and Bobby Smolin equaled the stakes record of 1:49.2 while capturing the $112,000 Tony Maurello Championship on Super Night.   Tom Kelley  

In what turned into a replay of last year's Filly Orange & Blue on harness racing "Super Night" at Balmoral Park, Engel Stable of Illinois' Thesleazyprincess became a two-time Super Night victress, this time capturing the $142,000 Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies by a nose over My Little Bit in 1:53.1 Hustled off the wings of the gate by Marcus Miller, the homebred daughter of Sagebrush--Da Sleazy One landed In The Pocket spot right behind My Little Bit as she led the field through splits of 27.3, 56.1 & 1:24.2.   "I wanted to get out of there quickly and get around the two fillies inside of me," explained Miller. When we wound up right on the back of my dad's (Erv Miller) other horse (My Little Bit) I knew we were going to be in pretty good shape."   Continuing to sit right on the leaders helmet until the passing lane, Miller ducked the bay filly inside where she gradually wore down the pace setter, finally getting up in the last stride after a thrilling duel. As was the case last year, My Little Bit (Casey Leonard) was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Party Hangover Two (John De Long) rallied late to get the show dough.   After the race Marcus seemed a bit stunned by it all.   "It's always great to come home and always great to be a part of Super Night," he exclaimed. "At the top of the lane I thought my filly was going to be an easy winner but My Little Bit showed how tough she is tonight as well. I didn't know if I got there or not until the numbers came up. Last year "Sleazy beat me when I was driving My Little Bit so I guess I got a little revenge tonight."   A recent addition to the barn of Erv Miller Thesleazyprincess who returned $8.60, $4.00 & $4.00 now boasts $243,831 in earnings on the strength of a 4-4-7 record in 30 career starts.   Thesleazyprincess (inside) nosed out My Little Bit to win the $142,000 Grandma Ann for driver Marcus Miller. Tom Kelley

Super Night 2014 at BalmoralPark kicked off with a pair of trotting events for harness racing three-year-olds as the $100,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake and the $100,000 Su Mac Lad started the biggest night of racing for the state-bred set. It was only fitting that Super Night's leading reinsman, Hall of Famer Dave Magee piloted the winner of the opener as he guided James Bafia and Eugene White's Bailey's Wish to a neck victory in the Lady Ann Reed. The final time was 1:58.1.   Given a perfect steer despite leaving from post position nine the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen was able to work her way to the front after being parked through opening splits of 29.1 & 57.2.   "I was a little concerned and a little surprised we had to work that hard to make the front," said a relieved Magee. "Like most any horse she's best off a trip but that wasn't going to happen from the 9-hole tonight."   Continuing to roll along on the front end as the ladies passed the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.3 Bailey's Wish began to brace for the challenge of heavily favored Macie Rae (Ryan Anderson) who was out and rolling from third.   As the two hooked up with just over an eighth of a mile to go disaster struck for the favorite as she made a nasty break leaving Bailey's Wish alone on the front.   The Dirk Simpson miss then dug in gamely as she neared the wire, holding off a late bid in the passing lane from longshot Lora Lee Breeze for her fourth win of the season. Lora Lee Breeze was a hard charging second while Say No Mo (John De Long) was third.   "I knew my horse was going to try all the way down the lane but I really wasn't sure how much she had left when that horse came at her," said Magee. But the other filly made the break and my horse seemed to get more confidence at that point and she just kept going long enough to get there."   The second choice in the wagering, Bailey's Wish returned $8.00, $4.00 & $3.20 while running her career numbers to 9-8-3 in 26 starts with earnings of $238,438.   Magee was right back in the winner's circle in the Su Mac Lad picking up a late drive as Marcus Miller was delayed getting to Balmoral and making the most of it, notching his 31st career Super Night win by steering Donald Emond's Big Bill Breeze to a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:56.1.   Sent right to the front from post position six the gelded son of Southwind Breeze--Big Z Cornsilk proceeded to stroll through splits of 29.0, 58.4 & 1:27.0 while under very little pressure from the rest of the field.   "I was very pleased by the way the opening splits went out there," explained Magee. Once I got control of things I knew I could always let somebody and go and still get the good trip but we never had to."   Easily fending off a first over bid from heavy favorite Fox Valley Veto (John De Long), the Monte Gelrod trainee was pretty much under wraps as he pulled away from his nine rivals for his 12th win in 16 starts this year. Bobby B Breeze (Todd Warren) parlayed a perfect pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Tour Hall (Mike Brink) rallied to finish third.   After the win Magee was quick to sing the praises of Nick Prather who conditioned Big Bill Breeze up until his recent sale.   "Nick really did a great job with this horse, developing him, teaching him and getting him to race up to his abilities," said Magee. "Now Monte has continued with him and he's really a very nice and solid trotter."   Now sporting an impressive slate of 19-2-5 in 28 career trips postward with earnings of $102,616 Big Bill Breeze returned $8.80, $6.00 & $5.00.   Bailey's Wish and Dave Magee held on gamely to win the Lady Ann Reed.   Magee was right back in the winner's circle with Big Bill Breeze in the Su Mac Lad.   Tom Kelley

Two-year-old pacers took center stage at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 12) evening, contesting their divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stake on the penultimate program of the 2014 harness racing season.   And while Hall of Terror (Marcus Miller, $3.50) turned in a mightily impressive :54.4 final half mile in his victory, top honors went to Dealt a Winner ($3.90), who set a new track record for two-year-old pacing geldings.   The son of Cam's Card Shark was well off the pace early in the tenth race, moving second-over behind Shooby Said (Jim Marohn, Jr.) after Gallic Beach (Tim Tetrick) brushed from midpack to the fore in a sensible :56.4 half mile. On the backstretch, David Miller angled Dealt a Winner three-wide, pushing past Shooby Said into a joint lead with Gallic Beach on the far turn. The two dueled through the stretch, with Dealt a Winner taking over outright in the final sixteenth and drawing clear for a one-length win. Sicily (Corey Callahan) tracked live three-wide cover on the backstretch, staying on for third.   Dealt a Winner's 1:52.3 victory took a second off the prior track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. Ed Hart handles the training duties for owner Jeffrey Snyder.   McArdles Lightning (Scott Zeron, 1:53.3) and Dragon Eddy (Mike Simons, 1:53.3) were the other two winners in the Reynolds divisions for two-year-old colts and geldings.   Corey Callahan teamed up with two freshman fillies for Reynolds wins as part of a Friday driving hat trick, holding sway with Divine Caroline (1:53.1) and kicking clear with Bettor B Steppin (1:53.3) in their stakes splits. Deli Beach (John Campbell, 1:55) was the other triumphant filly in the evening's stakes races.   The closing night (Saturday, September 13) program at Tioga features an 11-race card, with post time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 8, 2014 -- Day Lily generously rewarded her backers Monday at The Meadows, capturing the $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series championship for 2-year-old filly trotters at a lusty 32-1. The Meadows also hosted the three other PA Stallion Series $40,000 championships for freshmen, which were taken by UF Larry Alltheway (colt and gelding pacers), KY Lucky (colt and gelding trotters) and Half Past Seven (filly trotters). A quartet of $40,000 PA Stallion Series finals for 3-year-olds highlights Tuesday's program at The Meadows. Day Lily finished off the board in her final two stallion series preliminary legs, when she left for early position but lacked a finishing kick, and it appeared she would follow the same script in the championship. But when Mike Wilder squeezed her off the cones at the top of the stretch, she responded with fire and scored in a career-best 1:57.2, 1-1/4 lengths better than the favorite, Fly Angel Fly. Alpha Alpha rallied for show. "I didn't get shuffled too bad, but I got kind of stopped," Wilder said. "I really got lucky to squeeze out, but when I did, she was full of trot. She was sick her last two starts, but her trainer said she was over that and just put her in position. When I got out, she fired." Chris Oakes trains the daughter of Andover Hall-Filly At Bigs for Hauser Brothers Racing and Conrad Zurich. In the other finals: $40,000 Championship, Colt & Gelding Pacers UF Larry Alltheway won his Third Straight race by quarter-poling to the front for Dave Palone and prevailing in a swift 1:51.4. Hall Of Terror was second, 3-3/4 lengths back, while My Hero Ron earned show. The Dragon Again-Varbo gelding, a $50,000 yearling acquisition, continues to be a pleasant surprise for trainer Kelly O'Donnell and owner Up Front Racing, as he showed little early promise. "Training him down, he was probably the worst one I had all winter," O'Donnell said. "He'd pull up, wouldn't want to go. Once we got him behind the gate a couple times and baby-raced him, he's been a totally different colt He throws last quarters in 27 like nothing. You wouldn't have expected it training him down." He said UF Larry Alltheway will be pointed to the Standardbred at Delaware and the Keystone Classic at The Meadows. $40,000 Championship, Colt & Gelding Trotters When the leader, Longcat Hanover, broke stride in the stretch, KY Lucky took advantage of the opportunity, driving through the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:59, 1/2 length ahead of Wimborne Hanover, with Explosiveday third. "I was pretty impressed because we got slowed almost to a stop before we got to the Lightning Lane," said winning driver Marcus Miller. "He actually came back and trotted home pretty good. I thought we were second, but we got a little lucky." Tim Twaddle trains KY Lucky, a Malabar Millennium-Rosalita gelding who has finished in the money in all six career starts, for Craig Grummel, Curt Grummel and Chili Day Stables. $40,000 Championship, Filly Pacers Half Past Seven moved first over, gobbled up the leader, Angel Or Terror, and rolled to a comfortable victory in 1:54.1 for Tony Hall, trainer Mike Palone and owner Lone Wolf Stable. Icapella Hanover finished second, 2-1/2 lengths in arrears, while Angel Or Terror completed the ticket. "She's really had to race pretty aggressive," Hall said of the daughter of Western Terror-She's Eligible. "With a trip, she'll definitely get better and go some big miles here next year. The stallion series is a good fit for her." Elsewhere on Monday's card, Continual Velocity matched the track record of 1:50.2 for older mares when she cruised on the front end in the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Pace. Novascotia Hanover was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, with Scandalous Hanover third. Dave Palone piloted the 6-year-old daughter of Real Artist-Extreme Velocity, who now boasts $497,025 in career earnings, for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Palone drove five winners and Dan Rawlings three on the 16-race card. Tuesday’s (Sept. 9) card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will feature two guaranteed pools: a $7,500-guaranteed pool for the Pick 5 and a $5,000-guaranteed pool for the Pick 4. Both are part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While the Pick 4 guarantee is a regular feature of Monday and Tuesday programs, the track added the “instant” Pick 5 guarantee when no one correctly picked Monday’s Pick 5, resulting in a carryover of $1,830.96. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7) and Pick 5 (Races 12-16) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. Tuesday’s card also features a quartet of $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series championships for 3-year-olds. First post Tuesday is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Not even an hour after Sassa Hanover ($2.30) equaled JK Molly's 1:52.2 track record for two-year-old pacing fillies at Tioga Downs in her $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event, Mosquito Blue Chip ($6.10) set the record anew in her 1:52.1 Sire Stakes triumph, finding room up the inside off a pocket trip to just prevail on the all-stakes Thursday (September 4) evening card.   The daughter of Bettor's Delight and Sandfly Hanover held pocket position behind a speedy Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) through a solid yet well-rated :56.4 half mile, tracking intently as favorite Bettor N Better (Matt Kakaley) charged first-over at Devil Child to force a :27 third quarter. Blocked in upper stretch,   Jim Morrill, Jr. wedged through at the pegs with Mosquito Blue Chip in the final 70 yards to take the lead from Devil Child, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Bettor N Better flattened late, still holding third.   Trainer Paul Jessop co-owns Mosquito Blue Chip with the Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio.   Earlier in the evening, Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) gave Morrill his first Sire Stakes driving win on the evening, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go before turning aside a challenge from My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) and subsequently kicking clear to a 2-1/4 length 1:52.2 win. Ron Burke trains Sassa Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and Larry Karr.   In addition to New York Sire Stakes action for two-year-old pacing fillies, freshman trotters contested five W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stake divisions. Colts SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller, 1:57.1) and Sixteen Encores (Matt Kakaley, 1:57.2) proved victorious in their divisions, while Gold Cora (Mike Simons, 1:56.3), Allerage Star (Corey Callahan, 1:56.1), and Big Barb (Mike Simons, 1:57.2) scored wins in the three filly divisions.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 5), with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

CHARMED LIFE UPSETS IN MISS VERSATILITY

There were three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers on Saturday night at Vernon Downs and driver Marcus Miller won two of them. All three divisions had purses of $37,266.   The first division went as the sixth race on Saturday and Azorean Art (Art Major-Dancin Barefoot) rallied from last place on the far turn to pass the entire field and win in 1:52.3. The early pace was fast in this division with a 25.3 quarter and a half in 54.3 for American Crossroad (Marcus Miller). Azorean Art was driven to victory by Mark MacDonald, one of four wins for him on the Saturday program. The trainer is Jimmy Takter and the colt is owned by Cristina Takter, Brixton Medical, and Hatfield Stables.   The first division also included a disqualification of third-place finisher Oneisalonelynumber, who went on a break on the first turn and caused significant interference in the field. He was placed last after the DQ. The complete order of finish for the first division was: Azorean Art, Sicily, The Spy, We Think Alike, American Crossroad, K-Rock, and Oneisalonelynumber. Southwind Masimo was a scratch (sick).   The Marcus Miller Show began with the next division of the Sire Stakes, carded as the seventh race. He drove Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) to a victory at 21-1, paying $44.80 to win and keying a $415.50 exacta. Betting Exchange was second for the majority of the mile, sitting behind the pacesetter, Americanprimetime (Jim Marohn Jr.). Miller made the winning move with Betting Exchange in deep stretch, angling out to move past Americanprimetime and get up for the victory in the final strides in a time of 1:51.1. Betting Exchange is trained by Tom Fanning and is owned by Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz, and Tom Fanning.   The complete order of finish for the second division was: Betting Exchange, Americanprimetime, Freedomformysoul, Cartoon Daddy, Yippity Hanover, and Nobettorplacetobe. Mikado Blue Chip was a scratch (sick).   The third and final division of the New York Sire Stakes was the ninth race on the program and Marcus Miller came through again, guiding Penji Hanover (Art Major-Platinum Hanover) to victory in 1:53.2. It was a well-timed drive by Miller, who sent Penji Hanover down the outside in the stretch to win just a heartbeat ahead of Bet You (Mark MacDonald), who conversely tried to come up the inside and had to wait the extra moment to get room and that proved costly. Penji Hanover is trained by Tony Alagna and the owned is W. Springtime Racing Stable.   The complete order of finish for the third division was Penji Hanover, Bet You, Berkley, K Ryan Bluechip, Ultimate G, Aimo Hanover, My Spirit Soars, and Play The Field.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Monday with a special Labor Day matinee program. First post time is 1:15pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs  

Eight top three-year-old pacers will contest the first jewel of pacing's Triple Crown, the 60th Cane Pace, and nine top drivers will contest the second half of the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship on a blockbuster Labor Day (Monday, September 1) card at Tioga Downs.   He's Watching brings a four-race win streak into the $437,325 Cane Pace, carded as Monday's ninth race. Since fading to third in the North America Cup, the son of American Ideal proved a powerful 1:46.4 winner in the Meadowlands Pace and an equally dominant 1:49.1 winner in the Empire Breeders Classic, taking the eliminations for each respective event as well. Usual driver Tim Tetrick has once again been listed by trainer David Menary. He's Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyons Somewhere.   Among those looking to deny He's Watching the first jewel of pacing's Triple Crown are Milstein runner-up Luck Be Withyou and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera.   Luck Be Withyou, the Chris Oakes-trained son of Western Ideal, chased McWicked in the $400,000 Milstein at Northfield two weeks ago, finishing in a dead heat for second with McWicked, just three-quarters of a length behind eventual winner All Bets Off, who pounced up the open stretch. Ron Pierce is listed to drive the nine-time winner.   JK Endofanera, the lone millionaire in the field, rebounded well from a sixth-place finish in the Meadowlnads, taking second in the Empire Breeders Classic before scoring a 1:50.1 Geers Stake win locally. Ron Burke has listed Brian Sears to handle the driving duties.   Ten three-year-old pacing fillies entered the Shady Daisy, which will be raced as a single $124,325 dash in the afternoon's seventh race. Fancy Desire, a $7,500 supplemental entry, leads the full field, having won the $300,000 James Lynch at Pocono in 1:49.3 among seven other career wins. Mark MacDonald has been nominated by trainer Kevin Carr to drive the Real Desire filly. Geers winner Katie Said (Marcus Miller), Pennsylvania standout Tyra (Tim Tetrick nominated), and stakes-placed Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell nominated) are also among the Shady Daisy entrants.   Eight distaff trotters will vie for their share of $40,000 in a Miss Versatility preliminary event, carded as the third race. Divisional standout Maven returned to her winning ways in a Preferred event at Pocono last week, struggling in prior events since returning to the States after a sixth-place finish in the Elitloppet. The Jonas Czernyson trainee will be reunited with regular driver Yannick Gingras, and will race as part of a three-mare entry with stablemates D'Orsay (Corey Callahan) and Ma Chere Hall (David Miller). Classic Martine, who has found her way into the spotlight as of late with wins in the Armbro Flight and Ima Lula events, also draws into the star-studded event, with Tim Tetrick listed to drive the Chris Oakes-trained daughter of Classic Photo.   In addition to the high-profile stakes action, nine of the premier drivers in the sport complete the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, with the first round taking place on Friday (August 29) at Vernon Downs. As in years past, the overall winner of the nine-race tournament takes home a $25,000 first prize--the equivalent of the commission for winning a $1,000,000 race. All nine drivers additionally will donate their commissions to charity.   Tioga Downs honors last year's Driver's Championship winner Jim Marohn, Jr. with a bobblehead giveaway. Fans can receive their bobblehead, as well as a Drivers' Championship t-shirt (while supplies last) at the promotions table on the tarmac prior to and during the races. Post time for the 11-race card is 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Here is Jay Wolf's Road To The Little Brown Jug updates for Week #4   1. He's Watching (1:46.4; $983,969) Owner: Menary Racing (ONT), Brad Gray (ONT), Michael Guerriero (ONT) & Muscara Racing (PA) Trainer: David Menary  Driver: Tim Tetrick He has not raced since winning the $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs (8/10) in 1:49.1. He should be the betting favorite in the Cane Pace Final at Tioga Downs on Labor Day. 2. McWicked (1:47.3f; $907,888) Owner: SSG Stables (NY) Trainer: Casie Coleman  Driver: David Miller Was tapped as the morning line choice in the first LBJ Future Pool. 3. Somewhere In LA (1:50f; $317,136) Owner: J & T Silva Stables (NY), Deo Volente Farms (NJ) & TLP Stable (NJ) Trainer: Robert McIntosh and Jimmy Takter  Driver: Brett Miller/Tim Tetrick Won the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at the Meadows (8/22) in 1:50. 4. At Press Time (1:48.2f; $325,903) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA) and Weaver Bruscemi (PA) Trainer: Ron Burke  Driver: Matt Kakaley and Yannick Gingras Has not raced since finishing second in the leg of the PASS at Harrah's Philadelphia (8/7). 5. Sometimes Said (1:50.1f; $383,395) Owner: Fashion Farms (PA) Trainer: Jim Campbell  Driver: John Campbell/Tim Tetrick The son of Well Said won a $13,000 Conditioned Pace at Harrah's Philadelphia (8/20) in 1:50.4. 6. Jet Airway (1:50s; $262,159) Owners: Erv Miller Stables (PA), Tangie Massey (FL), Paul Sunderhaus (OH) and Larry Agle (OH) Trainer: Erv Miller and Tony Alagna  Drivers: Marcus Miller and Randy Waples Has not raced since winning a conditioned event for three-year olds at Mohawk Raceway (8/16). 7. Limelight Beach (1:49.4; $285,952) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA), Weaver Bruscemi (PA), M1 Stable (PA) and Wingfield Brothers (OH) Trainer: Ron Burke  Drivers: Yannick Gingras and Matt Kakaley He finished second by a neck in the $100,000 Millstein Consolation (8/15). 8. Cammikey (1:49.4f; $217,788) Owner: Cam Land LLC (PA) Trainer: William Zendt Driver: Brian Zendt He has been racing well in the Keystone State, finishing in the top three in 10 of 11 seasonal starts. He won a qualifier at the Meadows in 1:53.2 (8/14). 9. Let's Drink On It (1:48.3; $331,112) Owners: Tina Seekman (IL), Larry Bond (IN), Hal Hewitt (KY) and Vincent Boido, Jr. (MI) Trainer: Joe Seekman  Driver: Tyler Smith He was forced to race on the outside for almost the entire mile, finishing 5th in the Millstein Memorial. 10. Beat The Drum (1:49.2f; $290,274) Owner: Bender Sweden Inc. (FL) Trainer: Staffan Lind  Driver: Ron Pierce Won a conditioned event at Pocono Downs (8/24) in 1:49.2, establishing a new lifetime mark.   This week's expert ranking is courtesy of Gordon Waterstone. Gordon is the Associate Editor of the Horseman and Fair World and its companion publication Harness Racing Weekend Update.   1. He's Watching 2. McWicked 3. Somewhere In LA 4. Jet Airway 5. Tellitlikeitis 6. Limelight Beach 7. Sometimes Said 8. Cammikey 9. At Press Time 10. Western Vintage by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

Jimmy Takter trainee French Laundry ($2.50) proved a convincing winner in his $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 24) afternoon, as did other odds-on favorites Wheels Ah Smokin ($2.10) and Bee the Queen ($3.00) in their respective races.   However, freshman trotting filly Mission Brief, sent off at 1-20 after her dominant Merrie Annabelle win at the Meadowlands three weeks ago, faltered in her Kindergarten Classic event, enabling Lady Clarabella to score a 22-1 upset.   French Laundry, sent off the 1-4 favorite in the sixth race for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, wasted no time asserting himself on the lead. He forced Party on the River (Tyler Buter) into the pocket on the first turn, rated a 1:00.2 half mile, and sprinted clear upon facing late pressure from the first-over SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller). The son of Muscles Yankee kicked clear to a 2-1/2 length win in rein to Yannick Gingras, besting SS Poseidon and RG's Thunderbolt (Jim Marohn, Jr.) in 1:57.1.   The fourth race was the earlier colt division of the Kindergarten, with Chuck Sylvester trainee Wheels Ah Smokin (David Miller) repelling a late challenge from Lucky Ten K (Chris Lems), sprinting clear to a 3-1/2 length win in 1:57.3.   Fillies contested their pair of $10,000 divisions in races eight and ten, with Bee the Queen (Chris Lems) never looking back off an early brush to the fore, edging clear of Fashion Gab Alot (Scott Zeron) by 2-3/4 lengths for a 1:57.3 win in the eight race. George Ducharme trains the Donato Hanover filly.   While three of four odds-on favorites had no trouble in their respective victories, Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief (Yannick Gingras) was a victim of multiple breaks in the tenth race, faltering on the first turn after lagging the gate by three lengths.   Josie's Joy (Tyler Buter) assumed the early pacesetting duties, controlling a :58.2 half mile while under no pressure. While eventual winner Lady Clarabella (David Miller) commenced her first-over bid into the far turn, Mission Brief had caught the field, closing ferociously through the middle half.   Unfortunately for those backing the prohibitive favorite, the daughter of Muscle Hill broke again at the top of the stretch while the Randy Beeckman-trained Lady Clarabella pushed clear of Josie's Joy to win by 2-1/4 length in 1:57.3. Josie's Joy held second, while Cocoacabana (Jacqueline Ingrassia) stayed on for third after tracking the winner's cover.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 29) evening, with first post set for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

The winners over trot and the PA Stallion Series headlined the harness racing action at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday as Classic Martine set a track record. Race ten was the winner's over $25,000 lifetime trot. The wagering public put their faith behind nineteen time winner Classic Martine. As the wings closed, it was the Ron Burke trainee Quick Deal firing to the top, while the favorite ducked into the pocket. They remained in that order until three quarters, when Opening Night emerged out of third, but his bid was short lived. In the stretch, Quick Deal and Classic Martine dueled, with Classic Martine narrowly winning in 1:52, a track record for 4-year-old trotting mares. Uncle Peter finished third. Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Oakes, Zurich, and Gold, trained by Chris Oakes, and was driven by Tim Tetrick. There were also four divisions of Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers, each going for a purse of $20,000. In the first division, it was Phil Peavyhouse's PV Dragon (Dragon Again-Jin Millie) living up to his favorite status. At the start, it was long shot Rock Springs (Well Said-Dolphins Can Talk) sprinting away for the lead, arriving at the quarter in :27. Shortly after, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent PV Dragon out of third, forcing the lead change just before the half. He received mild first-over pressure from May I Cruise West (Yankee Cruiser-Maewest Hanover), but kicked away in the stretch, stopping the clock in 1:53.4. Sambestmckee (McCardle-Jackie's Cammie) came charging hard up for second, while Pennyforurthoughts (Western Terror-Find A Penny) finished third. PV Dragon is trained by Amber Buter. In division two, Kevin Switzer's Letsmakeawish (Western Terror-Dynamite Donna) made it three straight with an easy victory, stopping the timer in 1:54.1. He brushed to the lead just past the quarter, which went in 27.2. He was unchallenged until three-quarters, when eventual third place finisher Redneckyachtclub (Real Artist-Fast Ruffles) attacked first-over. In the stretch, Letsmakeawish drew clear, holding off a late rally from B Well (Well Said-Ms Amanda B) who went on to finish second. Letsmakeawish is trained by Ron Burke, and was driven by Yannick Gingras. In the third division, Up Front Racing's UF Larry Alltheway (Dragon Again-Varbo) lived up to his 4/5 favorite status. Off the wings, it was This Time (Well Said-Finishing Touch) driving for the lead, with the favorite settling into fourth. The fractions were pedestrian (:28.3, :59.3) before things picked up in the back half. UF Larry Alltheway drove up first over, and was on even terms with the leader at the top of the stretch, before pulling away under Tim Tetrick taps in 1:54.3 (:55 last half) for the win. My Hero Ron (Well Said-Erma La Em) rallied for place, while This Time held show. UF Larry Alltheway is trained by Kelly O'Donnell. In the fourth and final division, Erv Miller trainee Hall Of Terror (Western Terror-Maytime Hall) upset the field for his third career win. At the start, Mcjagersonthemove (McArdle-Grand Fancy) drove up to take the lead, with Cabo Sunshine (Well Said-Make Mine Hall) dropping into the pocket. Just before three quarters, Parklane Eagle (Somebeachsomewhere-River Hanover) moved first over to challenge for the lead. In the stretch, Hall Of Terror swung off cover, and swept by for the win, stopping the clock in 1:53.1. He is owned by Ervin Miller Stables, Paymaq Racing, R. Michelon, and L. Willinger, and was driven by Marcus Miller. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Cane Pace eliminations and Kindergarten leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday (Aug. 23) when Mohawk Racetrack hosts two C$40,000 eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and a trio of C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. More information on those races can be found by clicking on this link. On Sunday (Aug. 24), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $100,000 eliminations for the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature second round action in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Complete entries for the races at Tioga are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway this past weekend with a pair of lucrative stakes for pacing males. All Bets Off used the passing lane to score in 1:50.3 in the Carl Milstein Memorial. All Bets Off, overlooked by the betting public at odds of 7-1, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (Aug. 15) at Northfield Park. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke as the son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope won for the seventh time in 10 season's starts, while his share of the purse took his 2014 earnings to $511,175. All Bets Off is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell. Kakaley steered All Bets Off ($16.60) into the passing lane and he easily went by the tiring leader, McWicked, to reach the finish line on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.3. McWicked and Luck Be Withyou finished in a dead head for second. Stevensville was fourth and Let's Drink On It finished fifth. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Aug. 16) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The time was the fastest ever for an older pacing stallion on a half-mile track, breaking the mark of 1:49 previously shared by Jet Laag and Ponder. It was also the fastest mile ever paced at Saratoga. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Dancin Yankee is a 6-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest, owned by Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. Amber Buter is the trainer and Tyler Buter was in the sulky. The victory was the 15th in 23 season's starts for the bay pacer who lifted his 2014 bankroll to $457,640. Dancin Yankee ($3.90) started from post position three and went right to the front and was never caught through fractions of :25.4, :53.4 and 1:21, before pacing home in :27.4 for the record mile in 1:48.4. Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) sat In The Pocket the entire mile and finished second, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made a first over bid for the front down the backstretch, but could never catch the leader and ended up third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 686; 2. Tim Tetrick - 512; 3. Ron Pierce - 386.5; 4. David Miller - 307.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,071.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 242.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 216; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 132; 5t. Robert Key - 105; 5t. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old male trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, along with the Crawford Farm Trot for older open trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will offer the finals in the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, along with Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and Simcoe Stakes events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and 3-year-old filly pacers. Tioga Downs will contest the final of the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Shady Daisy for sophomore filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

For the next four weeks Jay Wolf, Little Brown Jug Publicity Director, will rank the top 10 eligibles for the Little Brown Jug presented by Fazolis. Week #3 August 19, 2014 1. Hes Watching (1:46.4; $983,969) Owner: Menary Racing (ONT), Brad Gray (ONT), Michael Guerriero (ONT) & Muscara Racing (PA) Trainer: David Menary Driver: Tim Tetrick He has not raced since winning the $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs (8/10) in 1:49.1 2. McWicked (1:47.3f; $907,888) Owner: SSG Stables (NY) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: David Miller Finished is a dead-heat for second in the $400,000 Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park (8/15). 3. Somewhere In LA (1:50f; $308,136) Owner: J & T Silva Stables (NY), Deo Volente Farms (NJ) & TLP Stable (NJ) Trainer: Robert McIntosh and Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller Has not raced since winning a leg of the PASS at Harrahs Philadelphia (8/7) in a lifetime best 1:50. 4. At Press Time (1:48.2f; $325,903) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA) and Weaver Bruscemi (PA) Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Matt Kakaley and Yannick Gingras Has not raced since finishing second in the leg of the PASS at Harrahs Philadelphia (8/7). 5. Sometimes Said (1:50.1f; $376,895) Owner: Fashion Farms (PA) Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: John Campbell/Tim Tetrick The son of Well Said won his leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes (8/7) in a lifetime best 1:50.1. 6. Jet Airway (1:50s; $262,159) Owners: Erv Miller Stables (PA), Tangie Massey (FL), Paul Sunderhaus (OH) and Larry Agle (OH) Trainer: Erv Miller and Tony Alagna Drivers: Marcus Miller and Randy Waples Won a conditioned event for three-year olds at Mohawk Raceway (8/16). 7. Limelight Beach (1:49.4; $285,952) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA), Weaver Bruscemi (PA), M1 Stable (PA) and Wingfield Brothers (OH) Trainer: Ron Burke Drivers: Yannick Gingras and Matt Kakaley He is a recent addition to the Burke barn. He finished second by a neck in the $100,000 Millstein Consolation (8/15). 8. Cammikey (1:49.4f; $217,788) Owner: Cam Land LLC (PA) Trainer: William Zendt Driver: Brian Zendt He has been racing well in the Keystone State, finishing in the top three in 10 of 11 seasonal starts. 9. Tellitlikeitis (1:48.4s; $490,695) Owner: Lothlorien (ONT) Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller Was pulled up and did not finish the $400,000 Millstein Memorial (8/15) after breaking stride at the three-quarter pole. 10. Lets Drink On It (1:48.3; $331,112) Owners: Tina Seekman (IL), Larry Bond (IN), Hal Hewitt (KY) and Vincent Boido, Jr. (MI) Trainer: Joe Seekman Driver: Tyler Smith He was forced to race on the outside for almost the entire mile, finishing 5th in the Millstein Memorial. NR. JK Endofanera (1:48.2; $1,005,523) Owner: 3 Brothers Stables (NY) Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Brian Sears Harnessracing.com reported that trainer Ron Burke noted that the owners have no thought of going to the Little Brown Jug. Burke added, "he's a big horse and I don't know if he'd even get around there (the half-mile track at Delaware, Ohio), and you'd have to pay $45,000 for the chance to not get around. I don't think he's going. This weeks expert ranking is courtesy of Dave Bianconi. Dave is the Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting at Northfield Park. 1. He's Watching 2. McWicked 3. Somewhere in L A 4. Beat The Drum 5. Cammikey 6. Jet Airway 7. Let's Drink On It 8. Western Vintage 9. Limelight Beach 10. Friskie Adam   by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug    

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