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MANALAPAN, NJ -- September 23, 2016 -- Despite the suspension of a statewide campaign to encourage residents to support casino gaming outside of Atlantic City, the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey today announced that it would continue its grassroots efforts to help pass the ballot question that could provide much needed revenue to bolster New Jersey's struggling harness racing horsemen. It's frustrating that the best financed advocates for casino gaming in North Jersey decided to pull the plug on their statewide campaign,' said Mark Ford, President of the SBOANJ. " Our members now must use our limited financial resources to drive the message to voters that a YES vote on Question 1 will provide our industry with additional revenue to continue offering the residents and taxpayers of New Jersey important entertainment and quality of life benefits. Even if others are stepping back from the fight, the horsemen have no choice but to step up and do our part." This November 8th, voters will choose whether to allow casino gaming outside of Atlantic City. If the ballot question passes, the New Jersey Legislature could authorize two new casinos to be built in northern New Jersey. A percentage of the state tax revenue collected from the new casinos would be dedicated to supporting the horse racing industry. The SBOANJ has scheduled series of media interviews, public appearances, and social media events to highlight the Association and the benefit its members bring to their towns and communities. Courtney Stafford

Goshen, N.Y. - Newly inducted member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Bruce Nickells, drew the random letter "W" from a lottery-style basket for hip number allocation at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Sunday (July 3) evening. Yearlings whose dam's names begin with the letter "W" will start the Goshen Yearling Sale, and continue through the alphabet for the 160 colts and fillies being offered on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at the Mark Ford Training Center, Middletown, NY. Consignors and principles of the sales company were on hand to witness the ceremonial draw, which took place on the patio of Haughton Hall during the cocktail hour of the annual Hall of Fame event. Representing Winbak Farm was Hall of Famer Joe Thomson, who is also a director of the sale company. Russell Williams and Dale Welk observed the proceedings on behalf of Hanover Shoe Farms. The son and daughter of Immortal Hall of Famers represented their respective farms; Steve Jones from Cameo Hills Farm and Jean Brown of Blue Chip Farm witnessed the draw. David Meirs from Concord Stud completed the group of consignors, with Mark Ford and Bob Boni also on hand to represent the sales company. With hip numbers now drawn, pedigrees receive a final update next week with a digital version of the catalog being available on the sales company website on Thursday, July 21. Printed catalogs will be mailed Aug. 4th and will also be available during the Hambletonian festival at the Meadowlands. For more information, or to request a catalog, visit the sales company website at: GoshenYearlingSale.com by Chris Tully, for the Goshen Yearling Sale

RUTHERFORD, NJ -- June 4, 2016 -- Harness racing President Mark Ford along with Anthony Perretti and Mike Gulotta aligned forces with top state Democrats, county officials and union leaders on Friday at a news conference to convey their confidence to the public that casino gambling will be brought to the northern part of the state. Among those who spoke in favor of the expansion were Democrats Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Senator Paul Sarlo, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator Bob Gordon, and Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney stood at the conference in front of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce stating that bringing casino gambling to the area was “the right thing to do for the whole state.” "This gives us an opportunity to create thousands and thousands of construction jobs in the northern part of the state of New Jersey," Sweeney said. "But guess what; it gives us the ability to create thousands and thousands of jobs in the southern part of the state and helps us to rebuild Atlantic City, and gives Atlantic City the opportunity to be the destination we want it to be." Building northern casinos will have a ripple effect that will benefit the economy state wide, not just Bergen County, according to County Executive Tedesco. The Meadowlands is not the only proposed location, Hudson and Essex County are also being considered. However, it is the most important location for New Jersey horsemen. Tedesco believes the Meadowlands is a “perfect spot” for gaming expansion it is already a “premier entertainment destination” because of the Met Life Stadium, large-scale concerts and the current development of the American Dream project that already take place in the area. “The best is yet to come especially when we add casino gaming to the mix.” The public will have the opportunity to vote this November on whether or not casinos should be expanded via ballot question. New Jersey Senate Democrats released figures that state casinos could generate an estimated $4 billion in economic activity, and up to 20,000 construction and permanent jobs in North Jersey. The Atlantic City region will also benefit with $3 billion and thousands of jobs. It is very important that all horsemen go out and vote in favor of casino expansion this November. Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ

The New York Gaming Commission has reported further positives for harness racing trainers in testing samples for the Class 2 Drug Glaucine.   Trainers Mark Ford, Nick Surick,  Daniel Renaud and Milo Zdjelar have all been given notices that horses they raced came up positive for this drug.   This follows last week's announcement that Ron Burke and Julie Miller were hit with similar drug violations.   Please note, that these are only accusations, and that each of these licensees has a right to due process pursuant to New York law and regulations.   Burke & Julie Miller hit with drug violations   Gural issues statement on Glaucine Positives   Glaucine. An interesting mild-psychedelic with a taste for CEVs and euphoria.   Extract from Wikipedia   Glaucine is an alkaloid found in several different plant species in the Papaveraceae family such as Glaucium flavum, Glaucium oxylobum and Corydalis yanhusuo, and in other plants like Croton lechleri in the family Euphorbiaceae.   It has bronchodilator and antiinflammatory effects, acting as a PDE4 inhibitor and calcium channel blocker, and is used medically as an antitussive in some countries. Glaucine may produce side effects such assedation, fatigue, and a hallucinogenic effect characterised by colourful visual images, and has been detected as a novel psychoactive drug.   Mechanism of Action   Glaucine binds to the benzothiazepine site on L-type Ca2+-channels, thereby blocking calcium ion channels in smooth muscle like the human bronchus. Glaucine has no effect on intracellular calcium stores, but rather, does not allow the entry of Ca2+ after intracellular stores have been depleted.[5] Ca2+ influx is a vital component in the process of muscular contraction, and the blocking of this influx therefore reduces the ability of the muscle to contract. In this way, glaucine can prevent smooth muscle from contracting, allowing it to relax.   Glaucine has also been demonstrated to be a dopamine receptor antagonist, favoring D1 and D1-like receptors. It is also a non-competitive selective inhibitor of PDE4 in human bronchial tissue and granulocytes. PDE4 is an isoenzyme that hydrolyzes cyclic AMP to regulate human bronchial tone (along with PDE3). Yet as a PDE4 inhibitor, glaucine possesses very low potency.   For more on Glaucine from Wikipedia   Harnesslink Media    

MANALAPAN, NJ - November 19, 2015 - New Jersey's two harness tracks - the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway - have been awarded a combined 200 racing dates for 2016. The dates were approved at the New Jersey Racing Commission, meeting on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Trenton, NJ. Mark Ford, attending his first Commission meeting as president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, advised the Commission that the SBOANJ was reluctantly accepting the Meadowlands dates as an experiment for 2016. "We are concerned about losing dates in January and February and replacing them with September and October dates," Ford said. The Meadowlands requested 90 dates, Fridays and Saturdays only [plus Sunday, May 8], from January 2 through August 6 and from September 9 through December 31 [dark on Saturday, December 24]. Post time is 7 p.m. Freehold received 110 dates, racing January 1 through May 21 plus August 26 and 27, and September 2 through December 10. Racing days will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays plus three holiday Mondays - January 18, February 15 and September 5. Dark days are September 1 and November 24. Post time is 12:30 p.m. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ - November 17, 2015 - The Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey elected Mark Ford as its president at a reorganization meeting held on Monday, November 16, 2015 at the Association's offices in Manalapan, NJ. Ford, one of the leading trainers in Meadowlands history, owns and operates the Mark Ford Training Center. He fills the position occupied for more than a dozen years by Thomas Luchento. "We made tremendous gains while Tom was president," said Ford. "And we will redouble our efforts to expand racing opportunities in New Jersey, pushing ahead with plans for an expanded gaming referendum in 2016. We thank Tom Luchento for his leadership and know he will continue to contribute as a member of the Board of Directors." In the election of other officers, Mark Mullen was named first vice president, Robert Boni as second vice president, Chris Ryder as third vice president, Alfred Ochsner Jr. as treasurer and Anthony Romano as secretary. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ      

The 2015 Meadowlands Harness Racing Spring Mixed Sale took place on Sunday at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and the highlight was the sale of Warrawee Needy. Selling as Hip #106,  he was purchased for $260,000 by one of his former owners and trainer in Mark Ford. The six-year-old son of E Dees Cam-Great Memories has 28 wins on his card  with over $1.2 million in lifetime earnings. The world champion is one of the fastest horses in the sport with a record race mile of 1:46.4. He took his record in the 2013 William Haughton Memorial elimination at The Meadowlands. Last year the stallion was bred to a few mares and as a result has five foals on the ground. The very smart three-year-old pacer My Hero Ron who was Hip #41 also made the six figure mark when he went through the ring. He was purchased by Ron Burke, acting as agent with a winning bid of $130,000. A gelding by Well Said he has compiled a career summary of 2-5-3 in 16 starts  to date while banking $73,187. My Hero Ron took his 1:54.4 mark at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono as a two-year-old in a division of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. A total of 101 horses were sold on the day for $2,379,200, producing an average sale price $23,556. To view the complete sale results click here. Harnesslink Media

Wicked Business (Art Official) romped in the $8,300 featured pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Thursday evening. The Mark Ford owned and trained four year old was a solid third on Saturday night at the Spa while coming from well off the pace. Bet down late as the race’s 1-9 favorite, Wicked Business moved out to the top in the first quarter on Thursday and opened up a commanding lead late while never facing an anxious moment en route to a dazzling victory clocked in 1:53.1. Billy Dobson, who started out the day in a tie atop the driver standings with Frank Coppola Jr, piloted Wicked Business to his seasonal best win, a score that came by seven and a half lengths in one of the fastest times of the local meet. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga beginning at 6:45pm.  Mike Sardella

Louisville, KY --- When it comes to Warrawee Needy, Mark Ford utters a sentence that anyone in this sport knows all too well in describing the stallion’s career. “Welcome to horse racing,” said his conditioner and co-owner. “We were literally drooling we had the first crack at buying him, but there has been the bad luck, the awful draws and the fact we have never been able to get him quite right. I thought we would have a terrific older free-for-all pacer and he can go so fast so quickly, but we just don’t know if he ever will be what he once was.” But the 6-year-old world champion son of E Dee’s Cam and the Apaches Fame mare Great Memories, appears to be regaining the form he flaunted at ages 2, 3 and 4, as he prepares to compete in a $50,000 second leg of the Levy Series at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (March 28). Although that black cloud might still be hovering over him when it comes to where he will leave from, Warrawee Needy enters this race fresh off a 1:52.1 triumph in the first leg of the series last week, but will have to commence his journey from the seven post. His regular pilot, Mark MacDonald, will be holding the lines in what will be the eighth race on the evening card. Although he must contend with Foiled Again and Michael’s Power, Warrawee Needy, who is owned by Ford, his former trainer Carl Jamieson and David Shea, has earned the most money ($77,550) in the field this year and has already paced a 1:51.4h mile in 2015, as has Michael’s Power. Warrawee Needy has already nearly doubled what he earned last year ($41,540) and his record stands at an extremely acceptable 7-4-1-0. Could he quite possibly be back in the form that enabled him to pace a world record 1.46.4 mile as a 4-year-old? “This horse has been through so much and to be honest, he has kept me awake many nights,” Ford said. “He has been so frustrating and I’ve worried about him more than any other horse I have ever had. He has always shown flashes of brilliance and is such a nice horse to be around. He even looks the part of a racehorse, but we just don’t know how long he will stay together without getting sick.” Warrawee Needy has struggled with respiratory issues and allergies throughout his career. It has been difficult for Ford and his team to maintain his condition long enough for him to race consecutive weeks in a row. Toss in the horrible post positions the horse normally is allotted and it doesn’t make for a lucrative purchase for his connections. “I thought we would win the Breeders Crown with him in 2013,” Ford said. “But he stepped on a wheel and broke. It’s just been like that with him ever since. “We took him to Norm Ducharme at Cornell to look at him for throat surgery and he told us the sicknesses would not go away even if he performed the surgery. That is just something that happens with him and has to be managed. His groom takes such good care of him. She has her eye on him 24 hours and provides him with any treatment he needs, whether it be morning or night.” So why was Ford so thrilled to get his hands on this horse? It’s pretty simple. As a 2-year-old, Warrawee Needy earned $536,950 and sported a record of 12-9-1-1 while racing for Carl and Jody Jamieson. He was Canada’s 2-year-old pacing colt of the year. At age 3, he was still an elite horse in his division, but finished last as the second choice behind Sweet Lou after having the eight hole in the North America Cup, then ninth in the Canadian Breeders Classic after leaving from the 10 post position and was sixth as the favorite in his Breeders Crown elimination. Warrawee Needy still managed to amass just under $300,000. As a 4-year-old, Warrawee Needy kicked off his campaign with style against a fantastic group of older pacers. He was second in the Aquarius Series final, captured three straight Preferred contests at Woodbine and then was seventh in a TVG series leg after drawing the sixth spot on the gate. He then bounced back with a very nice second to Sweet Lou in the Meadowlands Maturity after both horses left from the nine and 10 positions. He was sixth in the Roll With Joe after leaving eighth at the gate and finally hit the winner’s circle again at Mohawk in the Mohawk Gold Cup. Once again, Warrawee Needy took the overland route by starting his race from the ninth post position. He then won his eliminations for both the William Haughton Memorial (in 1:46.4, equaling the fastest race mile of all-time) and the U.S. Pacing Championship while finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, in the finals. After being scratched from the Canadian Pacing Derby elimination, he qualified three times, once for Jamieson and then for Ford before not hitting the board in his Breeders Crown elimination and the final, as well as the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Warrawee Needy ended his season with a third in the American-National, a second in a TVG leg and an eighth in the TVG final after once again drawing the nine hole. “We have taken a lot of criticism for how we have raced this horse,” Ford said. “Especially for some of the spots we put him in like the TVG final last year after dropping him in against non-winners of $5,000 at Pocono, but no one really understands unless they are in that position. He would qualify great then race awful or else draw very badly. “Until this year, he had never raced much on a half because it was always thought he couldn’t get around it, but it had never been tried. That’s when we decided to take him to Yonkers and he seemed to like it. It also helps that he seems to like to race on the front, which helps there and Mark MacDonald gets along with the horse because he can be tough to drive. He’s been a good fit for him.” Obviously Ford has no idea what the season has in store for Warrawee Needy and although he’s realistic about the horse’s health, he still had enough faith to keep him eligible for the top stakes races. “He’s paid into everything,” he said. “We will see how he does and if he stays healthy. When I compare him to Gallo Blue Chip, which he can be, it is so different. This horse has such an amazing turn of foot, where Gallo Blue Chip did not, he just was going along and so much better than the other horses he was racing against. Then he just decided he didn’t want to race anymore and he had enough. “This horse is fast enough, looks the part and I really believed he might be untouchable. Those are just the highs and lows of the game though and that’s what can happen in this industry.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Wicked Business (Art Official) showed early speed on Thursday evening and won the $8,300 harness racing featured pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Austin Siegelman catch drove Wicked Business for trainer Mark Ford after the four year old had posted back to back third place finishes in his previous two starts. Siegelman found some early speed on Thursday from the young pacer and they never faced an anxious moment before stopping the timer in 1:55.4. The race's second choice in the betting, Wicked Business bested favored Glory Beach (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and Calvin B (Brian Cross) who earned the show spot. The victory was one of four on the card for Siegelman, last year's up-and-coming driver award winner at Saratoga. Live racing continues on Friday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 7, 2015 - Millionaire Warrawee Needy and harness racing driver Mark MacDonald, $20.80 finished what he started Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Open Handicap Pace. Getting the memo early from post position No. 3, Warrawee Needy worked around Sapphire City (Eric Carlson), then sat sail through early intervals of :27.1 and :56.3. Pancetta (Brian Sears), tepid 2-1 choice from the pole, advanced first-up from fourth He engaged "Needy" toward a 1:24.4 three-quarters, but the leader was up to the assignment. Warrawee Needy opened a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn, but Pancetta was quite done. His second effort ended up a neck short, as Warrawee Needy prevailed in 1:53. Mach's Beach Boy (Pat Lachance) closed crisply to grab third-beaten three-quarters of a length-with Sapphire City and Take it Back Terry (George Brennan) rounding out the payees. For fourth choice Warrawee Needy, a 6-year-old son of E Dee's Cam co-owned by (trainer) Mark Ford, Carl Jamieson and David Shea, it was his third win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $115.50, with the triple returning $594 The Raceway's live season continues Sunday (post time 1 PM, move those clocks up). After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM) and next Sunday, March 15 (post time 1:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily (all provided Mother Nature cooperates). Frank Drucker

The first of the Dash For The "C" Notes mini-series this week at The Meadowlands got underway on Thursday night with the filly and mare pacers. It was contested in four divisions requiring a horse finish first or second to guarantee a spot in the $25,000 harness racing Final next week. The word of the night was upset. The first division saw a mild upset as SGT Molly Pitcher (9/2), who led early in the mile, yielded to pressure and re-rallied to score the win in a lifetime best 1:51.2 for driver Vincent Ginsburg. The winner was trained and owned by Robert Ginsburg Jr. Next up was another upset as Antigua Hanover overcame post 10 to score a sharp first over victory at 8-1. Forced to press the pace uncovered after leaving smartly from the outside post, Antigua Hanover just kept on coming wearing down favored Best Boss to win in 1:52.1. Antigua Hanover was driven to victory by Andy Miller for Amber Buter and owners Oldford Farms LLC and Tyler Buter. The third division was captured by 11-1 Weekend Getaway and Yannick Gingras. Entering the contest off a seven week layoff, Weekend Getaway went first over, wearing down Marty Party on the far turn and then holding that mare at bay through the stretch to win in 1:51.2, easily a lifetime mark. Weekend Getaway is trained by Phil Fluet who co-owns the mare with Keith Franklin. The final division also featured an upset winner as Deliciouslynaughty worked out a perfect second over trip to score the victory at 12-1. The race became wide open when 3/5 favorite, Bring Them Home, broke on the first turn. Deliciouslynaughty tracked cover and chased down Rhapsody Rose who did the work on the lead to score in 1:52.4 for John Campbell. The winner was trained by Mark Ford who also owns the mare. The $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 in both races went unclaimed. The fifth race carryover stands at $1,797.86 while the last race carryover has grown to $71,788.83. Post Time for the Friday program is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, October 8, 2014--Yonkers Raceway has a simple four-word, 15-letter request for everyone attending the sixth annual harness racing Fall Harvest Festival, set for this Saturday night (Oct. 11). "Have Fun. Wear Pink." All the popular Festival sights, sounds and tastes are back... ...live music, pony rides, New York State craft beers, exciting harness racing (including the Legislators' Challenge), face painting, a pumpkin patch and so much more in a fun, family atmosphere. Now, the reason for the request. Empire City, Yonkers Raceway, its horsemen and the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) have once again joined in the fight against breast cancer. A donation of $10 shall be made (with a maximum gift of $15,000) to the Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Chapter for every Fall Harvest Festival guest who wears the color du jour. In keeping with the theme, pink horseshoes shall be given away on the apron (while supplies last), all the drivers that evening are carrying pink whips and the winning horses receive pink blankets, sponsored (alphabetically) by Team Allard, Richard Banca, Amber Buter, Rick Dane Jr., Scott DiDomenico, Mark Ford, Allan Johnson, Peter Pellegrino, Jody Riedel, Brittany Robertson, Nick Surick and Anita Vallee. Representatives from the Komen organization are also going to be on hand to answer questions, provide informational materials and accept an oversized donation check in the winner's circle at 6:30 PM. Need some extra incentive to help a worthy cause? The first 1,500 Empire Club members who visit a promotions booth that day receive a free, $2 exacta box ticket on one of that evening's live races. The Fall Harvest Festival takes place trackside from 4 PM-8 PM, with the first Legislators' Challenge races set for 5:30 PM. Post time for the live racing card is the usual 7:10 PM. 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

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

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

Gatka Hanover defeated previously unbeaten Speak To Me to highlight Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were four $67,347 Sire Stakes divisions held for two-year-old trotting fillies. Speak To Me came into her division having won her first four races in convincing fashion. But on Wednesday night, it was Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough), trained by Ron Burke and driven by Matt Kakaley, who pounced from the pocket to defeat Speak To Me by 1 ½ lengths in 1:56:1. Gatka Hanover now has four wins in six lifetime starts, including three Sire Stakes victories without a loss. The other Sire Stakes winners on Wednesday night at Pocono: Wild Honey (Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy), driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Jimmy Takter, who won her third straight Sire Stakes race in 1:55, fastest Stakes time of the night; Jersey Strong (Muscle Massive-Vacation’s Over), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Mark Harder, whose convincing win in 1:56:2 was her third in as many tries at the Pocono oval; and Sweet Thing (Chocolatier-Berdine Hanover), driven by Charlie Norris and trained by Homer Hochstetler, who worked hard on the front end to keep off all comers for her second Sire Stakes win in 1:56. Pocono Downs Week In Review It's always difficult to pick the best horses in a particular week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to the extreme competitiveness of the harness racing action. This week has proved more of a pickle than most because there are a lot of horses on hot streaks who deserve consideration. On Saturday night, for example, six of the thirteen winners picked up at least their second win in a row. I'm not sure if there's a specific reason for this glut of winning streaks, but I am sure that this is a fine edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: SANDBETWEENURTOES In Saturday night's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for three-year-old pacing fillies, all eyes were on this powerhouse from the barn of trainer Larry Remmen. It's been an incredible sophomore season for this filly, especially considering she raced just once as a 2-year-old and finished out of the money. Instead of taking time to get her racing feet wet, she's come out of the box with seven wins in seven races this year, including a couple Sire Stakes wins and a victory in the $212,500 Mistletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands. While the field on Saturday was solid, many were fillies who had already come up short behind Sandbetweenurtoes in races this season. Included among those was Allstar Rating, who finished behind the unbeaten filly three times this year. But in her last start, Allstar Rating dominated in the Adioo Volo at The Meadows, giving her the confidence that things might be different this time around when she faced her arch rival. Sure enough, Allstar Rating made the lead while Sandbetweenurtoes fell much further behind the pace than is her custom. Once she started making her move for her regular driver Brett Miller though, there was no chance of stopping her. She hustled past Allstar Rating to win by a half-length in 1:50, making her eight-for-eight and also solidifying her status as the dominant force in the age group. Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who continues to dominate the lower claiming ranks, winning his fourth straight on Sunday night in 1:52; Speed Again (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who burned up the track in a condition win on Saturday in 1:48:2, fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Crimson Cruiser (Jim Morrill Jr., Douglas Hamilton), who overcame an outside post on Friday night and picked up a claiming win in 1:52:1, his third victory in a row. TROTTER AND LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WESTERN CREDIT It's rare that our categories overlap and one horse can claim two Weekly Awards in one shot. Yet Western Credit's recent run has been as unlikely as it has been impressive, more than meriting the embarrassment of riches. This gelding came into his race on August 3 without a win in 21 races in 2014, yet trainer Eric Mollor, who also did the driving that night, had the six-year-old rolling late for an upset win in 1:55:4 at 14-1. On Tuesday night, Western Credit was at it again, this time with Brett Miller in the bike and stepping up the condition ladder to face the non-winners of $10,000 in the last five races. The fans gave him even less of a chance this time around, putting him at 37-1. Miller sent him first-over early in the mile, which seemed like a tough journey for any horse, let along one with such long odds. It turned out to be strategic brilliance on Miller's part, since the sloppy track that night seemed to favor on trip on the outside. Western Credit did the rest, working hard to pick off everyone in front of him before holding off JC's Jake in the lane to win it in 1:55:1. At those towering odds of 37-1, the gelding paid off $77.80 on a $2 win ticket. Suddenly, that 0-for-21 to start the year is a distant memory. Western Credit is two for his last two and ready to take on all comers. Other top trotters this week include: Whata Donato (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), a mare whose winning time in a condition on Tuesday night of 1:53:3 was the fastest trot of the week at Pocono despite sloppy conditions; Well Built (Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder), a 3-year-old who knocked off mostly older horses in a condition victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:1 in the slop; and Gematria (Tom Jackson, Fred Grant), who picked up her second consecutive win, this one in Stallion Series action on Wednesday night in 1:58:3. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: David Miller Miller always steps up his game for stakes or series action and Tuesday night he was at his best, winning three times, including a pair of victories in the Stallion Series. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Mark Ford Ford always seems to manage great efficiency with however many horses he enters at Pocono, as he showed on Friday night by picking up a pair of training victories. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

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