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Batavia, NY---It was bombs-away at Batavia Downs Sunday (Aug. 31) when the heavily favored Major Dancer came up just short at the wire as 40-1 Ken Doll J pulled the surprise in a $39,900 division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Off the gate Sweetnsinful (Jimmy Whittemore) took an uncontested lead around the turn and up the backside before the 1-2 Major Dancer (Jonathan Drury) rushed and took over the top as they hit the quarter in :27.1. After a pedestrian second split of :30.1, Table Talk (Jim Morrill Jr.) started the outer flow and Ken Doll J (Aaron Byron) followed in swift fashion. Feeling the heat, Drury stepped on the gas and tried to pull away to the three-quarters with a :28 flat third panel. But the strategy was ineffective as the chasing pair continued to make up ground through the turn and into the stretch. From that point on it was a real horse race with a tiring Major Dancer coming back to Table Talk, who was outside of her and Ken Doll J, who was three-wide. When they hit the wire, Ken Doll J just got up in the final stride to win in 1:54 and light up the board. The winner paid $83.00. Table Talk was second and Major Dancer hung on to be third. This was the second win of the year for Ken Doll J (Bettor's Delight-Normajeankillean) and also a seasonal mark. The victory brought her earnings up to $74,882 for owner Ken Jacobs. Ken Doll J is trained by Linda Toscano. After the race, Byron said "Everything just worked out. I got a great trip and I didn't really have to do much to half. The filly was real good down the lane." In the first $39,900 division, Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) was the beneficiary of a patient steer and came away with a three-quarter length victory as a result. Up Front Elizabeth (Mark MacDonald) flew off the wings and led the field through a quick and gapped :27 quarter in post-position order. The story remained the same to the half in :56.3 when Carlota Blue Chip (Jack Flanigen) pulled and tried to apply some heat. She was only able to get up to third on the outside before stalling with two other horses behind her at the three-quarters in 1:25. When the outer flow faded around the last turn it allowed the rail-riding Barefoot Beauty (Jimmy Whittemore) to come off the pylons and that in turn left a spot for Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) to shoot up inside. At the head of the stretch, the bearing-out Up Front Elizabeth was in the middle with Barefoot Beauty to her right and Just Add Vodka to her left. The three battled to the wire with Just Add Vodka getting the advantage at the end to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2. Barefoot Beauty was second and Up Front Elizabeth was third. It was the third win of the year for the Julie Miller trained filly that also happened to be a new lifetime mark. The victory boosted the seasonal earnings of Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) to $94,233 for owners Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Steven Demeter, Herbert Burns III and Nahuel Agosti. Morrill praised both the horse and trainer saying "I can't believe how much better she was today. Julie did a great job getting her ready." In the second $39,200 split, Spreester (Jason Bartlett) made quick work of a short field and two breaking horses to register a five-length romp in the fastest of the three divisions. As the field went into the first turn, Delightful Dragon (Mark MacDonald) made an uncharacteristic break and watched as the rest of the field pulled away. Sky Artist (Kevin Cummings) was on the point but Medusa (Aaron Byron) was pushing the issue outside at the quarter in :26.4. But Medusa appeared to get foul-gaited and Byron took her back to the wood fourth. Then Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from second to challenge but also made a break before the half in :56.1. So with two of the three favorite guilty of miscues, Spreester, who had been sitting second through it all, pulled past the five-eighths, circled and cleared the leader before they hit the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. When she got back to the pylons, Bartlett popped the plugs and became a passenger as Spreester shifted gears and simply paced away from everybody. She hit the wire a five-length wrapped-up winner in 1:53.3. The winner paid $5.60 to her supporters. Delightful Dragon recovered from the early break to be second and Sky Artist hung on for third. This was the sixth win in 14 starts for Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) and the Paul Zabielski trained filly topped off her bank at $134,680. Spreester is owned by Kimberly Zabielski. Bartlett commented "I really didn't want to sit in the two-hole but they kept blowing up around me. She just exploded down the lane." The results of today's NYSS contests were important in the point's standings leading into the Night of Champions finals. Spreester took over the top spot, Just Add Vodka moved from fifth to third and Ken Doll J vaulted herself from twelfth to seventh. There was also an Excelsior leg contested and was won by Expose who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:56.3. The winner paid $6.80. Expose is trained by Linda Toscano and is owned by Linwood Higgins, Stake Your Claim Stable, Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered a four-win afternoon and Mark MacDonald scored a double. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Sept. 1) with a special Labor Day matinee card slated to start at 1:15. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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  

After leaving strong from behind the starting gate, one could realize that Father Patrick and driver Yannick Gingras were not going to be passed by and that held to be true as the top colt wired the field in winning the $340,00 Harry M Zweig Memorial for three-year-old colt trotters Friday at Vernon Downs. With stable mate and entry Nuncio and driver John Campbell also leaving at the start it was a formidable duo that took control of the early lead to the opening quarter mile in a blazing :25.4 seconds. They raced indian-style to the half mile in an easy :56 and that was when Skates N Plates (Jim Morrill, Jr.) decided to the try coming first-over to no avail as they passed the three-quarters in 1:25.2. It was then that driver John Campbell moved out of the pocket and started to get Nuncio into high gear to mount a challenge against Father Patrick. But it was not to happen as Gingras urged Father Patrick on and he trotted a :27 second last quarter mile to win with ease by two lengths in 1:52.2. Nuncio was second with Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald) third. The time of the race was one-fifth of a second off of tying the stakes record for the Zweig Memorial. “In the post parade he felt really sharp,” said Yannick Gingras, “He was on the bit and this was one of his best races all year, the way he is supposed to be. When they popped the plugs (Nuncio) you have to worry as he is a great horse too. He tried hard too and never gives up. But once he came alongside my horse then my horse latched on even more. I was really confident with him and did not have to get after him tonight and that’s a good thing.” For Father Patrick, the son of Cantab Hall posted his seventh win in nine starts this  year for trainer Jimmy Takter. It was a sweep of the Zweig Memorial as Taker’s Shake It Cerry earlier captured the Zweig filly division. Father Patrick is owned by the Father Patrick Stables of East Windsor, NJ and he paid $2.10 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com 

Freehold, NJ --- The Pacing Triple Crown begins Monday (Sept. 1) at Tioga Downs in upstate New York, where eight 3-year-old pacers meet in the $437,325 Cane Pace. He’s Watching brings a four-race win streak into the Cane Pace and is undefeated in three lifetime starts at Tioga Downs. Last season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes in 1:50, which established the track record for a 2-year-old. And in his most recent race, a 1:49.1 triumph in the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Aug. 10, he missed the track standard for 3-year-olds by two-fifths of a second. or the year, He’s Watching has won five of eight races, including the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4, and earned $692,247. He’s Watching was not eligible to the Cane Pace, but his connections paid $35,000 to supplement to the race. “He likes Tioga,” said Ontario-based trainer Dave Menary, who owns He’s Watching with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. “Hopefully we’ll keep our Tioga streak alive. “I’m really happy with him. This is the third time he’s had three weeks off between starts and he’s liked it so far. He raced well last time and seems to be in top shape right now. I had him to Mohawk (Racetrack) on Monday and went a good mile with him. “We’ve just kind of followed the same routine every time he’s had three weeks off and it’s working so far. I think we’re ready for Monday.” First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Monday, with the Cane Pace slated for approximately 3:46 p.m. The card also includes the fourth leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters, featuring world champions Classic Martine, Maven, and Frau Blucher. No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He’s Watching, who will be driven by two-time Cane Pace winner Tim Tetrick, will start from post six. “At Tioga, the six hole is fine,” Menary said. “I was hoping not to get the very inside or the very outside. I think from the six hole, it gives Tim a lot of options. I leave (what to do) up to him.” JK Endofanera, who in June won the North America Cup, enters the Cane Pace off a win in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes on Aug. 17 at Tioga Downs. In his previous two starts -- his elimination for the Empire Breeders Classic and the EBC final -- he finished second to He’s Watching. For the year, JK Endofanera has won six of 10 races and earned $660,709 for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables. He starts the Cane Pace from post five with driver Brian Sears. He’s Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries to the Cane Pace, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyonssomewhere. Luck Be Withyou, who won last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers, saw a three-race win streak snapped when he finished in a dead-heat second to All Bets Off in the Carl Milstein Memorial on Aug. 15 at Northfield Park. “There are a lot of horses in there, not just JK,” Menary said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start (in the Triple Crown). I’ve been able to keep him really fresh and he’s been sharp. Hopefully I can keep him sharp. “I’m trying to take it week by week, but he’s still got a lot left on his plate. I think he’s in good form right now and hopefully he can stay that way until the end of the year.” Following is the Cane Pace field with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Bushwacker, David Miller, Chris Ryder; 3. Doo Wop Hanover, Corey Callahan, Steve Elliott; 4. Stevensville, Mark MacDonald, Ray Schnittker; 5. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke; 6. He’s Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 8. Beat The Drum, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

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

Batavia, NY---There was a lot of harness racing action on Wednesday night (Aug. 27) at Batavia Downs and as the New York Sire Stakes headlined the racing, both man and beast were in top form. The Ron Burke trained Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) re-wrote the record books when she toured the facility in a blistering 1:54.2, erasing the old mark of 1:54.4 for a 2-year-old pacing filly set by Barefoot Beauty just last year. This was the fourth track record set at Batavia Downs in 2014. Jim Morrill Jr. left the gate with Sassa Hanover from post five in the $35,867 division and dropped in third behind the early leader Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) and the pocket sitting Yes You Can (Mike Whelan). But when they headed up the backside for the first time, Morrill quickly came out and overtook the leader by the quarter in :28.1 and at that point, the race was over. Sassa Hanover got to the half in :57.1 and the three-quarters in 1:26.2 and from there her only adversary was the clock. Morrill popped the plugs past the last station and the slick-gaited filly paced her hips off down the lane in a :28 flat last quarter and the record breaking final time of 1:54.2. Sassa Hanover paid $2.10 for the win. Devil Child (American Ideal-Kattimon) was second and Yes You Can (If I Can Dream-Cantbuymehappiness) was third. This was the fifth win in six starts for Sassa Hanover and it boosted her bank account to $125,992 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, The Panhellenic Stable Corp, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Lawrence Karr. In the first $35,167 division, Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover) made it two in a row for trainer Paul Jessop and driver Jim Morrill Jr. but not without a tenuous ending. My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) left swiftly in the four horse field and spearheaded fractions of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:28.4. But the action picked up at the three-quarters when Pop The Tags (Brent Holland) came with a rush to challenge the front running filly around the turn and down the stretch. However when the rail opened up as the group straightened out, Mosquito Blue Chip buzzed through the gap and nipped the leader at the wire by a half-length in 1:56.3. The heavy 2-5 favorite returned $2.80 for the win. My Little Delight (Bettor's Delight-My Little Dragon) was second and Pop The Tags (Bettor's Delight-Breathe) was third. It was the second win in seven starts for Mosquito Blue Chip, pushing her annual income to $101,302 for owners Our Three Sons Stable LLC, Donato Falchicchio and Paul Jessop. The final $35,867 division was as good as it could be for Bettor N Better (Bettor's Delight-Vanite Semalu) as she won easily in her preferred front-running style. This was the second NYSS win on the night for trainer Ron Burke and the third for driver Jim Morrill Jr. Off the wings, One Hot Majorette (Mike Saftic) flew right to the front from post six and crossed over by the eighth pole. Jim Morrill Jr. played give-and-go with Bettor N Better off the rail and retook the front as soon as they straightened out up the backside. But Heavenly Bride (Mark MacDonald) was immediately at her again and established the third lead change as they passed the quarter in :29. Morrill, not content to sit in second, once again pulled Bettor N Better at the top of the stretch and retook the lead once more before they hit the half in :58. From there the race was Bettor N Better's to be won. She took the group to the three-quarters in 1:27.4 before On Hot Majorette came back for one more challenge. That was quickly rebuffed and Bettor N Better paced away down the stretch to a length and a half victory in 1:56. The winner returned $2.10. Heavenly Bride (Rock N Roll Heaven-Native Bride) was second and Heavens Legacy (Rock N Roll Heaven-Unique Legacy) was third. That was the fourth win in six starts for Bettor N Better and pushed her earnings to $117,125 for owners Our Horse Sense Stable and Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Jim Morrill Jr. put on a driving clinic, scoring five wins and three seconds on the night. He was employing incremental positioning in many races where he made several moves within the mile to improve his horse's location during the race and the strategy was paying off. Morrill is the leading NYSS driver this year and has been annually for some time. In 2014, horses he drove have won 41 NYSS races and earned in excess of $1.6 million in those contests. After the races, Morrill spoke glowingly of all his charges. "Sassa Hanover is a very, very nice filly. She didn't really get over the track that well tonight but we got the job done anyway. She will definitely be one to beat in the final at Yonkers. Mosquito Blue Chip drew well and then had the race set up perfect for her. When the rail opened up, she sprinted to wire and got across. And Bettor N Better is just a sweet heart, but she is very professional too. We were on cruise control the entire mile." There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card that offered a total of $36,000 in purses. The first $12,600 division was won by Moremercy Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mercy Mercy Mercy) who is trained by Julie Miller and was driven by Chris Lems. The winner paid $4.70. Moremercy Blue Chip is owned by the Andy Miller Stable and the Pinske Stable. The second $12,600 leg was won by Rock My world (Rock N Roll Heaven-Love The Game) who is trained by Ed Hart and was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. She returned $4.20 for the win. Rock My world is owned by Jeffrey Snyder. The third $12,700 split went to Hey Kobe (Bettor's Delight-American West) who is trained by Jean Drolet and was driven by John Plutino. The victor returned $8.10. Hey Kobe is owned by Stephen Schneider, William Siegel and Marthe Drolet. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 29) with post time set at 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Bettor's Delight is certainly a proud poppa. And why shouldn't he be, after all, two of his sons each won a division of the $117,000 New York Sires Stakes in 1:52.2 or faster at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, August 26. For A Bettor Time established a new track record for sophomore pacers with a 1:52 victory for Jimmy Morrill, Jr. and All Bets Off literally made a laugher out of his division when Matt Kakaley drove him to a eased-up nine-length triumph in 1:52.2. And in a $12,800 Excelsior Series event Murder He Wrote won an Excelsior Stakes in 1:52.2 for Jimmy Morrill, Jr. which was a track record for 3 year-old pacing geldings until the following race when the altered (sophomore pacer) For A Bettor Time went 2/5ths of a second faster. In one of the speediest afternoons on record at the Mighty M a third NYSS split went to Stay Up Late, and driver Mark MacDonald in a time of 1:53. In all, four races were timed in 1:53 or faster. In their NYSS split, For a Bettor Time came from nine lengths off at the three quarters and five lengths behind at the top of the lane to rally to a neck victory over Keystone Honor and Matt Kakaley in his track record 1:52 mile. The final time was abetted by the speedy early fractions set by Winds Of Change and driver Brett Miller who had his hands full trying to slow down his pacer after starting him up to take command in a :26.3 first quarter. Deep in the seat and with the reins taught a :54.2 half was the best Miller could do and with a :28.1 third stanza the three-quarters were paced in 1:22.3. In the lane the trailing horses came charging with For A Bettor Time scoring a neck decision in the second fastest mile ever pacer at Monticello Raceway. Big Boy Dreams was third for Jason Bartlett. "They were going so fast up front that I got lost in the pack," Morrill said with a cat that ate the canary grin on his face. "But we came and got'em at the end." Casie Coleman trains For The Bettor for the West Winds Stable, Robert Darrow, and Ron Broadstone. He paid $15.60 for win. It was the third victory on the card for Morrill, who also won an Excelsior Series paces with Murder He Wrote and with Believeinthespirit in 1:54.2. All Bets Off was the featured star of the afternoon and although it was really no surprise, still he made it an interesting race, or should it be said that Matt Kakaley made their NYSS split interesting. Sent off at odds of five cents on a dollar while coupled with stablemate Forty Five Red in the small five-horse field, All Bets Off just toyed with his competition. When Jimmy Morrill, Jr. went to lead with Twin B Tenacious from the pole position it forced All Bets Off, who started from post five, to search for room along the pylons on the first turn which he found behind the leader. Kakaley then allowed a parked-out Natural Leda, driven by Larry Stalbaum, to get in front of All Bets Off and when they did Kakaley was out and going and took command before the quarter pole. They then raced unchallenged through fractions of :27.1, :56, and 1:25 before Kakaley pulled the plugs on the final turn and when he did, it was 'see ya' later ' as All Bets Off paced away from his company and cruised home an eased-up nine -length winner in 1:52.2. Twin B Tenacious and Jimmy Morrill, Jr finished second but they were disqualified for interference on a break, which moved Forty Five Red to second money. Moliere Hanover was moved up to third for Jason Bartlett. "I love when I'm handed the lines behind him. He's just a great horse. What more can I say," Kakaley told those who gathered in the winners circle around All Bets Off. "When I pulled the plugs on the final turn he paced away and it was all over." All Bets Off, from the powerful Ron Burke Stable, is owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, the Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell and paid $2.10 for win. A third NYSS division gave trainer Casie Coleman two sire stakes victories although she had Mark MacDonald handle the driving chores behind Stay Up Late. And MacDonald didn't let Casie down when he sent the son of Artiscape-Dreamlands Jo Jo to the lead and cut fractions of :28, :57 and 1:25.1 before finishing in a time of 1:53. Capital Account (Brett Miller), sent off the 1-2 favorite, followed the winner throughout but couldn't muster enough power to overtake Stay Up Late and had to settle for second money. Ari Allstar finished third for Jimmy Morrill, Jr in that one. "He's small but mighty," was all that MacDonald said after the race. Stay Up Late, owned in Canada by the West Winds Stable returned a $6.80 win mutuel. Besides Murder He Wrote and Believeinthespirit, other Excelsior Series were bot driven by Jason Bartlett; American Bull in 1:57 and Youwillwishyouhad in 1:55.3. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Batavia, NY---In the sixth of eight New York Sire Stakes visits for 2014, three divisions of first-year female pacers go postward on Wednesday night (Aug. 25) in pursuit of $106,901 in purses. Races one, four and eight will feature the best distaff side-wheelers bred in the state. The track record of 1:54.4 set by Barefoot Beauty in 2013 definitely has a target on it as many of the entrants are more than capable of a similar mile and will be taking a big shot. In the first race, Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover) is coming off three sharp efforts, and most recently got her first lifetime win in 1:55 at Yonkers last week. She hasn't missed a purse check all year and that has made her the top money winner in the race with $83,718. The Paul Jessop trained filly will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. The royally-bred My Little Delight (Bettor's Delight-My Little Dragon) scored a lifetime mark at Vernon Downs two starts back in 1:52.3 and came up just a head short to Mosquito Blue Chip last week. Mark MacDonald gets the nod from trainer Noel Daley for the Third Straight week and MacDonald has been on fire in each of his Batavia visits this year. The outside post in the short field should have no effect on this talented 2-year-old. Pop The Tags (Bettor's Delight-Breathe) steps back up to NYSS action after winning three in a row in Excelsior action. She has one start in the top series this year but with disappointing results. But Pop The Tags is in a good spot here to utilize her front running speed for driver Brent Holland who was at the lines in her last three efforts for trainer Erv Miller. The fourth race features the 2-5 heavy favorite Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mango Hanover) from the powerful Ron Burke Stable. After reeling off four consecutive wire to wire NYSS wins that includes her lifetime mark of 1:52.2 at Vernon, Sassa Hanover, who is currently second in the point's standings, came up just a nose short to Mosquito Blue Chip in her last start at Yonkers. Her $108,085 in earnings and four victories for the year surpasses her competitor's combined totals for each category and she looks to add to those numbers tonight. Jim Morrill Jr., who last sat behind her in a 1:56.3 win at Monticello Raceway on July 4, takes the lines from Yannick Gingras this week. Devil Child (American Ideal-Kattimon) has yet to win a NYSS race but missed doing so twice this year by a combined total of only one and three-quarters lengths. After scoring an easy win at Vernon in an overnight last week, she may just be brave enough now to track Sassa Hanover from the rail and have the best shot of challenging her in the lane. Jimmy Whittemore is up for trainer Homer Hochstetler. The third division in the eighth race has another Ron Burke pupil pegged as the 4-5 morning line choice. Bettor N Better (Bettor's Delight-Vanite Semalu) has three wins and two seconds in five lifetime starts, all of which were NYSS events. Her lifetime mark is a 1:55 effort at Saratoga but she just got beat at Vernon in a 1:52.3 clocking over the big track. She seems to thrive on the front end and tonight from the rail with Jim Morrill Jr. aboard, she seems to be set up for success. Our Hot Majorette (Art Major-She's So Hot) raced off a two-week layoff last week at Yonkers and managed to show well. But to see what this filly is really capable of you must look at her effort on July 22, also at Yonkers. She followed the top New York 2-year-old filly Band Of Angels, and just missed winning. She finished second, beaten only half a length in 1:54.4, last quarter in :26.4. If she is able to regain that form in here, the favorite could be beaten. Mike Saftic makes a very rare Batavia Downs appearance on the call from trainer Eric Adams. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series on the card going for a total of $38,000. They are programmed as races seven, nine and ten. Post time for Batavia Downs Wednesday night races is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

ELORA, ON - In just his sixth year as a professional driver, James MacDonald of Guelph ranks among the best in Canada. He sits second in the nation in wins, is a close third in money and is on the verge of surpassing his best money year ever, the $2.9 million he earned in 2012. One of his biggest career victories came earlier this month when he won the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway with a 20-1 longshot named Win The Gold. "I've had a lot of good horses and a lot of good trainers use me, so that makes it easier." MacDonald is on an incredible roll in 2014. He kicked off the year getting married to Jenna MacDonell. Jenna is the daughter of veteran reinsman Paul Macdonell, the man best known for driving the incredible Somebeachsomewhere. "Paul's great and Jenna's even better," MacDonald said, laughing. A few months after getting married, James MacDonald surpassed $10 million in lifetime earnings and recorded his 1,000th career win. "It means quite a bit. I've been watching it for awhile," MacDonald said of the wins milestone. "You try and win as much as you can, but it's hard. There's nine, 10 people in every race trying to win and in Ontario it's not easy to win races. There are so many good drivers around. Just to know that you've been able to achieve 1,000 is kind of special." James is the third MacDonald brother to reach the upper echelons of the sport. James, Anthony and Mark MacDonald have won more than 9,000 races and $100 million combined. Mark MacDonald is a two-time Canadian driver of the year. James said it all starts with their parents, Fred and Gail MacDonald, back in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. "Our family's great. Dad and mom, they watch every race and they call after," James said. "Whether you're up the track or win, you're the best driver in the world. They're great and Mark and Anthony they're great, too. All our brothers. They all watch, they all call. "Mark, if he sees me do something, or Anthony sees me do something they're the first people to give good constructive criticism, so it makes it that much easier, for sure." Constructive? Brothers are able to do constructive? "Somewhat. It starts off as constructive and usually ends up in a fight," James said, laughing. "But, deep down I know it was meant well." James said the Ontario track that most reminds him of home is Grand River Raceway in Elora. "It's a great track to race at. The grandstand sits right on the track. The fans are lined up at the fence to watch. It's just a really friendly place to race at." To hear our conversation with James MacDonald - including what sport he beats his brothers at every time - check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway by Dave Briggs for Grand River Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 25, 2014 - Yonkers Raceway Monday night hosted the $197,500 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Four divisions comprised the event. Division leader Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $3.10) did nothing to diminish her standing, winning the $49,150 third division in 1:58.4...by far the night's fastest. Racing second-up from post position No. 4, she went up and over a last-turn bolting Nunkeri (Mark MacDonald), beating that one by three-quarters of a length. Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) was a best-of-the-rest third. The effort was just two ticks off the track record (Some Girls, 2010) for this division. "She's just a professional and she enjoys what she does," Gregory said. "Mark's filly looked like she wanted to go home early, but nothing seems to bother (Barn Doll). For Barn Doll, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her sixth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $6.30, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $12.20. Driver George Brennan doubled his pleasure in the first two ($49,150 each) sire stakes events, with odds-on Pig Hunt ($2.50) in 2:01, and second choice Counsellor AS ($5.80) in 2:00.3 The former, a Conway Hall miss, controlled from the pole, defeated pocket-sitting Zanna Blue (Gates Brunet) by three-quarters of a length. Summer Scent (Dan Daley) was third. For Pig Hunt, co-owned by (trainer) Jennifer and Janice Connor, she's now 4-for-7 this season. The exacta (two wagering faves in order) paid $8.20, with the triple returning $28.40. "The best thing about her? She trots," Brennan said. "I was able to back it down enough (1:31.3 three-quarters) to make sure she had something late." Both Barn Doll and Pig Hunt are 2-for-2 locally in NYSS competition. Counsellor AS, second-up from post No. 4, went right by even-money Miss B'ville J (Morrill Jr.), drawing out to win by a couple of lengths. Make it Blue Chip (Ray Schnittker) was third. For "Counsellor," a Conway Hall homebred miss owned Acl Stuteri Ab and trained by Annette Lorentzon, it was her third win in eight '14 tries. The exacta paid $14.40, with the triple returning $30.40. "She's learning," Brennan said. "I think she'd have won the last time, but I drove her off her feet." The evening's final ($50,050) sire stakes event went to down-the-road favorite Concentration (Sears, $4.30)-from post No. 4--in 1:59.3. The margin was a length-and-three-quarters over, Duolectra (Brennan), who skimmed to cones to grab second at 28-1. Shaqline (Jimmy Takter) was third. For Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall owned by Raymond Campbell and trained by George Ducharme, she's 3-for-7 in her first season. The exacta paid $88.50, with the triple returning $332.50. A special Monday shoutout to the veteran Wholly Louy, whose win in the $21,000, 10th-race pace made him harness racing's newest millionaire (66-for-220, $1,000,063). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

One of the best sophomore pacers in the country, All Bets Off, from the powerful Ron Burke Stable, will be the featured attraction when Monticello Raceway presents the last preliminary leg of the rich New York Sire Stakes program on Tuesday afternoon, August 26. All Bets Off, owner of a 1:48.2 record, is currently fourth on the list of money winning 3 year old colt pacers this year with over $511,000 in earnings. The son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope has seven wins, two seconds and one third in 10 starts this year and he comes into his $38,500 split off three consecutive victories the last in 1:50.3 in the Carl Millstein Final at Northfield Park on August 15. Owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell, Burke has once again assigned the driving duties to Matt Kakaley when All Bets Off starts from post five in the first race on the card. In all, Burke will send out six sophomore pacers that afternoon, four in the three NYSS splits while two others will race in the Excelsior Stakes. That means the Burke Stable will have an entry in one of the NYSS events and it so happens that it will be in the event that All Bets Off is in. Joining him on the mutuel ticket will be stablemate Forty Five Red, to be driven by Mark MacDonald, another nice colt but not the caliber of All Bets Off. It appears that Burke is probably starting All Bets Off in the sire stakes to make sure he has a enough points to qualify for the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. In the second NYSS division, race four, the Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account gets the odds maker's nod as the early favorite from the pole position. A winner of almost $105,000 this year the American Ideal-Copywriter colt, owned by Brittany Farms owns a record of 1:51 taken earlier this year at the Meadowlands. Brett Miller will be in the pilot's seat when Capital Account leaves from post position one. Another Brittany Farms pacer, Winds Of Change, whom they co-own with Val D'Or Farms, is rated the favorite in the third NYSS split, race eight on the card. Trained by Linda Toscano the son of American Ideal-Art's Temptress, has won two of his last three starts at Tioga Downs the fastest in 1:50.2. Winds Of Change will leave from the four hole with Brett Miler at the controls. The undercard features four Excelsior Series paces which will go as races two, five, six and seven on the 11- race card. Arguably, the best of the starters in those events is Lauren and Bob Tucker's Believeinthespirit, an Art Major gelding out of Spirit Of the West, who is a five-time winner thus far this year with over $41,000 in earnings. Trainer Ed Lohmeyer, has assigned Jimmy Morrill, Jr. to do the driving when the pacer leaves from post five in the second race on the card. First post is slated for 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Mach It So and Golden Receiver raced to a dead heat for the win in Saturday night's featured Preferred pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $25,000. Mach It So (Mach Three-Beach Dancer), driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer PJ Fraley, appeared to have the race wrapped up when he kicked his cover at the top of the stretch and scooted to the lead. But Golden Receiver (Village Jove-Royal Gold), driven by Simon Allard for trainer Jake Huff, found another gear in the passing lane late and rallied to pull dead even with Mach It So as they crossed the line in 1:49:4. Clint Westwood finished third, while, in a racing oddity, Word Power and Big Time Promise were Inseparable at the line for fifth place, making it the rare harness race with two separate dead heats. In other action on Saturday night, Maven (Glidemaster-M Stewart), the only mare up against the field of boys in the $25,000 Preferred Handicap trot, powered up first over to corral a hot pace and score by a length in 1:52:3. Trained by Jonas Czernyson and driven by Mark MacDonald, Maven, the 5-2 second choice in a field of eight, won for the second time this year and 27th in her career, pushing her lifetime earnings to $1,481,796. Waiting On A Woman finished second wile 6-5 favorite Sevruga settled for 3rd. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. was the star of the evening on Friday night at Vernon Downs. He won with six of his nine drives on the 12-race program.   One of those wins was with Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing) in the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The win was the seventh consecutive Sire Stakes win for Gural Hanover. Gural Hanover actually sat second behind Wild And Crazy Guy (John Macdonald) through the opening quarter of 27.4 seconds.   As the field moved into the backstretch, however, Gural Hanover powered to the lead and never looked back. He dominated the remainder of the race and eventually moved away with authority in the stretch to win by four lengths.   The rest of the fractional times were 56.4 for the half, 1:25.3 for three-quarters, and a final time of 1:53.3. Wild And Crazy Guy tracked Gural Hanover after being passed, but could never again mount a serious threat. The complete order of finish for the second division of the New York Sire Stakes was: Gural Hanover, Wild And Crazy Guy, Zoey De Vie, Karets, and Hallanet.   Gural Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Little E LLC and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York. The trainer is Ron Burke.   The first division of the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for the sophomore trotters actually produced a better final time of 1:52.4.   The winner was Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Gal), driven by Mark MacDonald. The race was similarly run to the second division, as Royal Max (John Macdonald) led through the opening quarter of 26.4 before Flyhawk El Durado moved past and led the rest of the way.   The half was 56.1 seconds and three-quarters went by in 1:24.3. The complete order of finish for this division of the New York Sire Stakes was Flyhawk El Durado, Royal Max, Expressive Action, Daley Lovin, Mister Anson, and Lukas Hall.   Flyhawk El Durado is owned by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York and trained by Mark Ford.   The dominant man of the evening, though, was Morrill. He started the evening off right, winning with his first two drives, Winbak Glory in the second and Morning Joe in the third.   He didn't return to the Winner's Circle until the seventh race with Genius At Work in the first division of the New York Excelsior "A" Series.   The score with Gural Hanover in the ninth followed. That was part of a natural hat trick of wins for Morrill to wrap up his night. He won with Engagedatlexington in the tenth and Flaming Yankee in the eleventh. Morrill also finished second twice on the night, with Omnipotent in the fifth and Crazzycrazzy in the eighth.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Saturday night with a 12-race program. First post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

The intermittent rain showers on Thursday afternoon, August 21 didn't deter Market Rally and Avalicious from their main objectives as each won their respective $60,200 divisions of 3-year-old trotting fillies in New York Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway. Both fillies, from the powerful Ron Burke stable, were driven to victory by Jimmy Morrill, Jr.. The two trotting events were the last of the NYSS preliminary legs prior to the top point earners in the summer-long series convening at Yonkers Raceway on September 13 to compete in their $225,000 Division Final. With her victory in a time of 1:57.3 Market Rally finished with 325 points which will undoubtedly make her the favorite in her rich NYSS finale. Avalicious, on the other hand, was victorious in 1:57.4 and finished with 175 points as second best. There's no argument that Market Rally has been the best NYSS sophomore trotting filly this year and her 9-length victory over Gammy's Girl (Mark MacDonald) and Cutup Hanover (Jeff Gregory) only emphasized it. With her triumph on Thursday the daughter of Cash Hall-Supreme Dish has run her seasonal bankroll to over $262,000 on the strength of six wins and one second in nine starts. Sent off the1-9 favorite from the pole position Morrill hustled Market Rally to the lead as Gates Brunet and Driving Miss Crazy left strong from the six hole. The two fillies were wide open on the first turn but unfortunately for Driving Miss Crazy's connections she went off-stride and Market Rally was alone on the front-end when she tripped the first quarter timer in :28.2 Two lengths in front as she passed the half in :57 Morrill was looking to give his filly a breather. When she passed the third stanza in 1:27 Market Rally had a five length lead which she opened to nine at the wire. "We were getting out of there pretty quickly and I got my filly wound up, and because of that we got to the half faster than I wanted to, "Morrill related. But from there she was on cruise-control the rest of the way." Owned by the Burke Stable, Weaver-Buscemi, Our Cents Stable and the Panhellenic Stable, Market rally paid $2.30 for win. In the other NYSS split Morrill eased Avalicious away from the gate slowly and at the first quarter they were in sixth position, some nine lengths off the leader. Morrill bided his time in the early going and at the half he moved the filly out behind cover and it up the backside and into the final turn before he gave Avalicious her head. And when he did the daughter of RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers rallied to a three length victory, her fifth of the year. Asked why Avalious was four, or so, lengths off the gate at the start of the race Morrill explained; "I wanted to ease her away so she'd stay trotting. She gets a little anxious behind the gate but once she gets away (on the trot) she's usually steady the rest of the mile." Avalicious, owned by M.C. Crawford, A.C. Crawford and P.D. Crawford, was sent off as the 3-10 betting favorite and returned a $2.60 win mutuel. Three Excelsior Series trots bolstered the undercard with the locally owned Dreamsteeler the most impressive. (Local) owner Andy Herzog was on hand to watch his Cash Hall-Dream Street filly maul her competition with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the lines. It was Dreamsteeler's seventh win in eight seasonal starts after going 10 for 10 last year. Sent off five cents on a dollar, Dreamsteeler was victorious in a time of 2:01 and paid $2.10 for win. After the photo was taken in the winners circle Herzog was asked why Dreamsteeler doesn't race in the sire stakes. "I bought her in mid-June and she wasn't eligible to them (the NYSS), only to the Excelsior Series. But she's already won my money back and I got a pretty nice filly trotter to boot." Other Excelsior winners were Ski To The Max (Gates Brunet) in 2:02.1 and Slice Slice Baby (Charlei Norris) in 2:00.2. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

3-year-old trotting colts take the spotlight at Vernon Downs on Friday night as the New York Sire Stakes return with two strong divisions as part of the 12-race harness racing program.   The first division is carded as the sixth race with a purse of $59,100, featuring a field of six. The 9-5 morning line favorite is Flyhawk El Durado, owned by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York. Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Gal) is currently working a three-race win streak entering Friday night. All of those wins have been in New York Sire Stakes races, two coming at Yonkers and one at Batavia.   The colt will be driven by Mark MacDonald and is trained by Mark Ford. Also of note in the first division is a horse named Lukas Hall. While Lukas Hall (Conway Hall-Goddess Of War) might be 10-1 on the morning line, his ownership tandem is worthy of an extra look. Former New York Jet wide receiver, Wayne Chrebet, is part owner with Little E LLC. Little E LLC represents Vernon Downs owner, Jeffrey Gural. Chrebet played 11 seasons with the Jets and is the team's 5th all-time leading receiver   While the first division is going to be excellent, the $59,100 second division of the New York Sire Stakes on Friday could produce something very special. The 9-5 morning line choice is Gural Hanover, who has won six consecutive New York Sire Stakes races at five different racetracks. Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing). Given the name, it is easy to determine that Little E LLC of Jeffrey Gural is part of the ownership group, as well as Burke Racing Stable & Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York. Jim Morrill Jr. will be the driver and Ron Burke is the trainer.   However, Gural Hanover might not have a very easy time of it making that win streak a Lucky Seven. There appears to be strong competition from Zoey De Vie and Cash Me Out. Zoey De Vie (Conway Hall-Pauls Wink) is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. He has a previous New York Sire Stakes win at Monticello on July 15. Mark MacDonald will drive for trainer Heidi Rohr. He is owned by Jesse and John De Long of Clinton, Wisconsin. Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) had a pair of New York Sire Stakes wins earlier this year at Saratoga and Buffalo in June. Cash Me Out is owned by Traylor Racing LLC of Ballston Spa, New York. Michael McGivern drives and Cheryl McGivern trains Cash Me Out.   The 12-race program on Friday also includes two divisions of the New York Excelsior "A" series, three divisions of the New York Excelsior "B" Series, and a $10,000 Open Trot. First post time on Friday night at Vernon Downs is 6:45pm. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

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