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When harness racing driver Mark MacDonald reached his lofty 5,000 victory milestone at Yonkers Raceway he did so with the pacing mare Midnight Mass. The 33-year-old MacDonald, a native of Charlottetown, PEI, was a Toronto circuit standout for years. He migrated stateside, making Yonkers his base of operation since 2012. MacDonald's resume, which began with a win behind Make it Music in a "quarter claimer" at Rideau Carleton Raceway in June of 1997, includes personal bests in 2006 of wins (745) and purses (more than $10.1 million). He won the Little Brown Jug with Mr. Feelgood, added a pair of Breeders Crowns (2007 Mare Pace-Moving Pictures and 2011 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace-Betterthancheddar) a North America Cup (2010-Sportswriter) and a pair of O'Brien Awards as Canada's leading driver. His career purse earnings exceed $60.6 million.    

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald would pilot Atlanta to a track record for freshman trotting fillies by capturing the first division of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) and getting his 6,000th career driving victory at Vernon Downs on Friday night (September 22). Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) remained undefeated winning the second division. Fury Road (Chris Lems) would lead the first division ($55,500) trotters into the first quarter in 28.3. It was short-lived when Atlanta (Chapter Seven - Hemi Blue Chip) claimed the top spot just before the top of the back stretch. Owned by Rick Zeron Stables, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor, and Brad Grant while trained by Zeron, she would be joined by the first-over by Supergirl Riley (Marcus Miller) just before the three-quarter marker. The two fillies would then have an epic battle all the way down the stretch. Atlanta ($7.50) would dig down deep to hold off the heavy pressure from Supergirl Riley (Muscle Mass - Crown Royal), to set the track record in 1:54.0, while getting her fifth career win. All this making win number 6000 even sweeter for MacDonald. MacDonald would later on add win 6001 with Padua Hanover ($3.60). Supergirl Riley had to settle for second with Perfect Summer K (jimmy Whittemore) getting third. Plunge Blue Chip (Muscle Mass - Dunk The Donato) would get her sixth win in six starts taking the second division ($56,500). Big Checkmate (Donald Dupont) would grab the early lead but Plunge Blue Chip ($2.10), who is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. and trainer, driver Svanstedt, would take over before the first quarter and put up all the fractions :28.3, :58.0, 1:27.2, 1:55.0. The 2 year-old filly was in complete control and would get a career best time beating her top rival Lima Novelty (Jason Bartlett), who came on late to finish second three lengths back. Big Checkmate hung on for third. Chris Lems would win four on the night. He got victories with Give Angel Credit ($7.50), Sweet Thing ($2.10), Dreams Beach Boy ($3.30), and In The Clear ($5.10). Vernon Downs returns to live action on Saturday (September 23) with a 13 race card starting at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com John Horne for Vernon Downs.    

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, September 3, 2017- 'Dewy Defeats Seven, None Named Truman'. Pole-assigned Dewycolorintheline and harness racing driver Mark MacDonald, held sway Sunday afternoon (Sept. 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. With 'only' an eight-horse field, the weekly trotting feature went at the flat mile. The field left without 7-5 favorite Taco Tuesday (Jordan Stratton), who broke before the start. A handful were put in play early, including P L Hercules (George Brennan), but that one danced himself into the penalty box prior the first quarter-mile. When the sorting was completed, Dewycolorintheline had taken over from Money Maven (Brent Holland) soon after a :28.4 opening two furlongs. It was a 1:00.1 intermission when 96-1 proposition Prime Power N (Steve Smith) gave his backers a thrill with a first-up effort. That one did hang around in and out of a 1:28.3 three-quarters before getting put away. Dewycolorintheline opened a length-and-a-half in the lane, then held off Money Maven late. The final margin was half-length in 1:57.2. Sumatra (Eric Goodell), Crazshana (Greg Merton) and Prime Power N rounded out the payees. For third choice Dewycolorintheline, a 7-year-old, 2013 Yonkers Trot-winning son of Deweycheatumnhowe co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker and Dewyolorintheline Stable, it was his fifth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $121.50, with the triple returning $627. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 3-Rich Daddy (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 1-Infinisti AS (Yonkers' 4th race) returning $13.50 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,2,74. Sunday matinees, along with the 'New York, New York Double,' return Oct. 29th (post time TBA). Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - August 5, 2017 - Pure Country faced pressure for the final quarter-mile from Nike Franco N but fended off the challenge to win Saturday's $200,400 Lady Liberty Stakes for harness racing older female pacers by a head in 1:50 at the Meadowlands. Nike Franco N was second and fast-closing Penpal finished third. Shesjustadelight N led the field to the first quarter in 27.2 before Pure Country made a move on the backstretch and claimed the lead at the half, which was reached in 55.2. Nike Franco N started a first-over drive prior to three-quarters and was alongside Pure Country when they hit the marker in 1:22.2. The two mares raced side-by-side the rest of the way, with Pure Country putting her head in front at the wire. "She's a really good mare, I'm very fortunate to pick up the drive," said winning driver Mark MacDonald, who sat behind Pure Country for the first time in her career. "That was a really brave, courageous effort down the stretch to fight off (Nike Franco N). She was actually beat. Halfway down the stretch Nike Franco had her headed. She's just so game and gutsy that she dug back in and stuck her head out and got there for me." Pure Country, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, won for the first time in seven races this year, although she had three second-place finishes. "She's a fantastic filly," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said. "We ran into a lot of problems with her. She got sick and stuff like that." Takter credited former driver Brett Miller for suggesting a driver change. "He's such a class guy," Takter said. "This filly fits Mark's style. He drove a great race. I was very happy for Mark." By Somebeachsomewhere, Pure Country is owned by Diamond Creek Racing. She has won 21 of 38 career races and earned $1.9 million. Pure Country paid $10.40, $3.20 and $2.60. Nike Franco N, the 2-5 favorite, paid $2.10 and $2.10. Penpal paid $3.20. By Ken Weingartner

Saturday’s two Hambletonian elimination races include two horses with identical morning-line odds and a harness racing driver on each looking for their first Hambletonian Crown ever.  8-1 shot Seven and Seven, driven by Mark MacDonald and trained by Tom Durand, will leave from post 2 in a field of 10 in the Hambletonian’s second elimination heat (race 9). Seven And Seven has not raced since June 17, where he finished third in the $183,230 Goodtimes Final at Mohawk Racetrack to eventual winner and Hambletonian favorite International Moni. “He is a pretty resilient horse. He will go with them and right now he is training really good,” said Durand, who is participating in his third Hambletonian, having finished second in the 2011 final with Whiskey Tax and eighth in an elimination with Roughing It in 1990. “In the Goodtimes, he was spooked at the start of the race but driver David Miller said he was really impressed with how he responded and he had a ton of horse left. The qualifier last week at Mohawk was good, but it was a bit disappointing because, I wanted to test the horse out on the front end, and he didn’t want anything of it, so we won’t be sending him out to the lead on Saturday.” With Miller opting for What The Hill out of post 1 and Brian Sears driving Dover Dan from post 5, MacDonald will drive. MacDonald drove in his first Hambletonian heat last year and finished sixth with Reigning Moni, missing the final by one spot. “To make the final and possibly win it would be the culmination of something we have worked for for a very long time,” said Durand via phone call Wednesday. “He has been training like a monster, especially his last time out on Tuesday, he shifted gears like that and is right on the bit. He is going to give it his all I know that.” Another 8-1 shot, Jake, will leave from post nine in a field of nine in Saturday’s first Hambletonian heat (race 8). Trained by Luc Blais, Daniel Dube will drive. Blais, a native of Lochaber Ouest, Quebec and who is seeking his first Hambletonian champion, is coming off a solid year in which he ranked fifth in Canada’s trainer earnings with $1.78 million. The 55-year-old Blais had worked with a number of stakes winners at Yves Filion’s Bayama Farms in Quebec before starting his own stable. His best-known recent successes include two-time O’Brien Award-winning trotter Intimidate and Ontario Sire Stakes champion trotter Emoticon Hanover. Dube’s last drive in a Hambo heat was with Workout Wonder in 2015, finishing sixth. Dube did drive Make It Happen to a third-place Hambo final finish in 2008. “He raced good the last time out and I think he will be all right coming from the outside post,” Dube said via phone call Wednesday. “I can do whatever I want with him. In these eliminations, you need a little bit of racing luck to make the final. We just have to get there.” Dube finished second with Jake in a $15,000 race on July 29th. “This is the best race. I can’t explain it. For us to get to the final and have a chance to win, it would mean a lot to me and a dream come true,” Dube said. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1 by LOU MONACO, for the Hambletonian Society  

Courtly Choice (Art Major) matched the track record for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as he prevailed impressively in New York Sire Stakes competition. Canadian trainer Blake Macintosh brought Courtly Choice south to compete in New York for the first time and the freshman had the daunting task of overcoming post position eight in his debut in stakes competition. Mark Macdonald piloted the two year old and wound up pulling him first over after finding a spot midpack in the early going. Courtly Choice overpowered the race's favorite before kicking away late to win in 1:53.1, a time that matched the track record set for freshmen in NY Sire Stakes competition in 2015 by Joe Larry Curly. Courtly Choice was dismissed at odds of 17-1 and returned a hearty $37.40 to win in his division of the $42,025 NYSS on Wednesday. Locally-based gelding Jersey Jim (Artiscape) was another who soared to a first-over victory in Sire Stakes competition on Wednesday as the Perry Simser-trained freshman scored in 1:54.1 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. First over was the trip de jour on Wednesday as Jimtastic (Art Major) was yet another Sire Stakes winner to score via the first over journey as the Andrew Harris-trained two year old cruised to an open length victory in 1:54.1 with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. In fact, of the four winners of the $42,025 races on Wednesday, only Paprike Blue Chip (Roll With Joe) prevailed with a journey other than first over. The John Butenschoen trainee parlayed the pocket trip to his first career Sire Stakes score, stopping the timer in 1:55 with Jim Morrill Jr sitting behind. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

WASHINGTON, PA, July 27, 2017 -- As a Hall of Fame, high-profile harness racing trainer, it's hard for Jimmy Takter to fly under the radar. Yet that's exactly what he's done with Blood Line, who'll compete in Saturday's $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Blood Line goes from post 8 with Mark MacDonald at the helm. The final anchors a blockbuster Adios Day Card that features six Grand Circuit stakes. First post is noon while the Adios goes as race 11 at approximately 4 PM. Takter won the Adios with Vintage Master (2009) and again with Sunfire Blue Chip (2013). For all that, Blood Line, a homebred son of Somebeachsomewhere-Blood Diamond for Diamond Creek Racing, was dismissed at 13-1 in his Adios elimination. After leaving for early position, he shot the Lightning Lane and missed upsetting heavily favored Huntsville by a neck. Blood Line has won only once this year -- a Pennsylvania Sires Stake split at Harrah's Philadelphia -- but finished second to Huntsville in a Meadowlands Pace elimination before breaking stride in the final. "I don't know what happened that day, but he wasn't far off there," Takter said. "He's a good horse, and if he steps up, he'll be a pretty solid horse." Takter knows that Blood Line, 12-1 in the morning line, must step it up now if he's to defeat Fear The Dragon and Huntsville, the No. 1- and No. 2-rated Standardbreds in North America. "If those two horses are in 100 percent form, without a doubt, they're a little better," he acknowledged. "But horses are flesh and blood. They can take so much and after a while, some of them go a little backwards." He also knows that Blood Line's upset chances took a blow when he drew outside. "If you have to have post 8, The Meadows is probably the best place to draw it because of the slanted starting gate," he said. "This horse has tremendous gate speed; I'm sure Mark will give him a try and leave with him. But if he goes a 26 quarter, he'll pay for it at the end of the mile." Takter indicated Blood Line is eligible for most of the late-season stakes, including the Little Brown Jug. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Adam Bowden is never quite sure what to expect from Blood Line. Last weekend, the colt finished second to award-winning Huntsville in the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace elimination, completing the mile in 1:49.1 with a :26.3 last quarter. In his previous start, Blood Line went off stride at odds of 2-1 in his elimination of the Hempt Memorial and failed to advance to the final. Needless to say, Bowden is hoping for more of the former than the latter in Saturday's $738,550 Meadowlands Pace final for 3-year-old pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. Blood Line, co-bred by Bowden's Diamond Creek Farm and owned by Bowden's Diamond Creek Racing, will start from post No. 1 with Mark MacDonald driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. Blood Line is 5-1 on the morning line, third choice behind even-money favorite Huntsville and 4-1 Downbytheseaside. "If he puts it all together, you get a mile like the other night," Bowden said about Blood Line. "If not, then you get a horse that makes a break in an elimination that he's got a chance to win. He's frustrating in that sense, but he's clearly got high speed and if he's in the right spot he's going to challenge (Saturday). "He's kind of shown the ability to go with the top horses. I'm not sure he's in the same league as Huntsville, Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside, but I think that next group of horses is wide open and on any given day he's as good as they are. I was happy with the way Mark raced him in the elimination and put him in a good spot and kind of followed Huntsville all along. He gave himself a chance and then drew well for the final. I think we're in a good spot." The Meadowlands Pace is part of a stakes-packed card at the Meadowlands on Saturday, with an earlier-than-usual 6:30 p.m. post time for the first race. The Meadowlands Pace will air live on cable's SNY from 9-10 p.m., with the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters also part of the broadcast. Blood Line is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the lightly-raced mare Blood Diamond. He is a full brother to Blood Brother, who has earned $613,613 in four seasons of racing, and his second dam is Hall of Fame broodmare Arterra, the mother of millionaires If I Can Dream and Western Terror. Third dam Delinquent Account was a Dan Patch and O'Brien award winner and the mother of similarly awarded Artiscape. "(Blood Diamond) got injured before she could really show anything, but she comes from one of those top-class families and the intention always was to keep everything out of her," Bowden said. "She's bound to produce a great one based on her pedigree and the way these horses look. Whether it's Blood Line or the next one or the next one, she's going to do it. "She's produced two talented horses. I don't know where the limit is for this horse, but I guess we'll find out Saturday and the rest of the year." Blood Line has won three of 17 career races and earned $165,119. Last year he won divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. So far this season he posted one win on the sire stakes circuit. MacDonald has driven the horse four times, posting a win among three in-the-money finishes and never being worse than fourth. "Mark seems to be the perfect fit for him, for whatever reason," Bowden said. "His skill set and the horse just seem to mesh well together and they've raced well together. Finger's crossed. I can't imagine that he's not going to drive him aggressively and get him in a good position. If the horse is talented enough he'll be there." Takter has sent seven horses to the Meadowlands Pace final, with his best finish coming in 2009 with runner-up Vintage Master. Blood Brother is not Bowden's only hope to win the Meadowlands Pace. Diamond Creek Racing is among the owners of Downbytheseaside. The remaining owners of the Brian Brown-trained colt are Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco and Richard Lombardo. Downbytheseaside was among three horses, with Classic Pro and Miso Fast, to receive byes to the Meadowlands Pace final. For the year, the colt has won five of seven races and earned $323,500. He won the Art Rooney Pace and was third in the North America Cup, behind Fear The Dragon and Huntsville, and fifth in the Hempt Memorial. "The Hempt final was a little bit of a disappointment but Brian said he scoped sick, so that sort of explains that," Bowden said about Downbytheseaside, who has won 13 of 20 career races and finished worse than third only once while earning $900,606. "It's kind of nice that he got a bye and I think he's coming into this race as good as he's been all year. I would expect he would be right there at the end. I'd be disappointed if he wasn't." Huntsville, trained by Ray Schnittker and driven by Tim Tetrick, has won four of six races this year and 11 of 17 lifetime. He has never finished worse than second and counts the 2016 Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands among his career victories. He was second in the North America Cup. Schnittker won the 2010 Meadowlands Pace with One More Laugh. Tetrick has won four Paces, tied with Ron Pierce for the second most in history. John Campbell holds the record with seven trophies. Following is the field for the $738,550 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Blood Line-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-5/1 2-Mac's Jackpot-David Miller-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Boogie Shuffle-Scott Zeron-Mark Harder-30/1 4-Huntsville-Tim Tetrick-Ray Schnittker-1/1 5-Downbytheseaside-Brian Sears-Brian Brown-4/1 6-Miso Fast-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-10/1 7-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1 8-Santafe's Coach-Corey Callahan-Leo Iordan-20/1 9-Classic Pro-Trevor Henry-Dr. Ian Moore-15/1 10-Talent Soup-Eric Abbatiello-Bruce Saunders-30/1 by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Freehold, NJ --- Obrigado might have a little Alfred E. Neuman in him. One gets the feeling after talking with the 7-year-old trotter’s regular driver, Mark MacDonald, that an appropriate caption under the horse’s photo would be “What -- me worry?” just the same as the cartooned Neuman on the cover of MAD magazine. Going back to July 2014, Obrigado has won 18 races. Excluding one victory in which he was second-placed-first, the gelding has won 11 of the remaining 17 by a half-length or less. And the vast majority of those triumphs, nine to be exact, were by a neck or less. Those 17 wins, by the way, were worth nearly $1 million. “He never overdoes it,” MacDonald said with a laugh. “He takes care of himself. He makes you kind of sweat it out a little bit. Me, not so much now, because I know him and I’m confident he’s always going to give you that last little lunge at the end. But I’m sure for Paul and the other owners watching it probably makes them a little nervous.” Paul is trainer Paul Kelley, who owns Obrigado with Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and the multi-partner Stable 45. The group is preparing for more edge-of-your-seat excitement as Obrigado makes his seasonal debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot at Eldorado Scioto Downs in central Ohio. Hill was the founder of Scioto Downs and president of the track from 1959-1989. Obrigado, who received the 2016 Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter, is the 5-2 morning line favorite and will start from post one with MacDonald in the sulky. Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational winner Crazy Wow, starting from post eight with Chris Page at the lines for trainer Ron Burke, is the 4-1 second choice while 2015 Dan Patch Award honoree JL Cruze is 9-2 from post five with Ronnie Wrenn Jr. driving for Eric Ell. “That’s a pretty good group,” MacDonald said. “It should be a good race.” Last year, Obrigado won eight of 17 races and earned $873,300. He hit the board a total of 13 times and his victories included the Hill Memorial, TVG Free For All Series championship, Dayton Trotting Derby, Crawford Farms Trot, John Cashman Memorial, Cleveland Trotting Classic, and Maxie Lee Memorial. For MacDonald, the win in the Crawford Farms Trot exemplified Obrigado’s toughness and determination. Obrigado was in the outer flow in an opening quarter-mile of :26, cleared to the lead at the halfway point and then battled stride-for-stride with Resolve for nearly the final three-eighths of a mile before winning by a quarter-length in 1:51.2. “I think that was the best race last year, maybe the best race of his life since I’ve been driving him,” said MacDonald, who took over the driving duties behind Obrigado at the beginning of the horse’s 5-year-old season. “Man, that was a great race. They fought all the way down the stretch. Getting down by the wire Obi came back on and won. That was just a crazy mile. “He brings his lunch pail every night and goes to work. He’s tough. He’s got no quit in him. It’s kind of hard to give him a bad trip; I’ve been parked with him, I’ve been in bad spots with him, but he always gives 120 percent. He’s just a good horse. You look forward to his races. He’s always made a good account of himself.” MacDonald was happy to see Obrigado honored with a Dan Patch Award last year. Obrigado, who has won 42 of 79 career races and earned $1.62 million, was a star in Maine at ages 2 and 3 before being sold to the New York-based Kelley and partners in November 2013. “That was cool,” MacDonald said. “I was really happy for Paul and the owners. He was so good all year. I think maybe winning the TVG at the end of the year put him over the top, but to me he had such a great year. He won so many big races and he showed up to work every night. “You have to give Paul credit. I think he protected (Obrigado) a lot as a 4-year-old. He kept him out of the spotlight, away from the Grand Circuit horses. He kind of aimed for him to peak as an older horse and the patience paid off. He let him mature and grow into his own and he turned into a great aged racehorse.” Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. at Scioto Downs and the Hill Memorial is race eight, with an 8:50 p.m. estimated post time. Following is the field for the Hill Memorial. Post-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Obrigado - Boy Band - Mark MacDonald-Paul Kelley-5/2  2 - Natural Herbie - Here Comes Herbie - Verlin Yoder-Verlin Yoder-8/1 3 - Musical Rhythm - Cantab Hall - Peter Wrenn-Benoit Baillargeon-15/1   4 - Hemi Seelster - Holiday Road - Brent Holland-Richard Banca-10/1   5 - JL Cruze - Crazed - Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Eric Ell-9/2   6 - Centurion ATM - SJ's Caviar - Aaron Merriman-Ake Svanstedt-10/1   7 - Muscle Diamond - Muscle Hill - John Campbell-Brett Bittle-15/1   8 - Crazy Wow - Crazed - Chris Page-Ron Burke-4/1   9 - Homicide Hunter - Mr Cantab - Tyler Smith-Chris Oakes-12/1   10 - Major Athens - Andover Hall - Jody Jamieson-Jeffrey Gillis-6/1  Major Athens starts in the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 19, 2017 - A pocketed Lispatty (Mark MacDonald, $31.60) stalked and subdued a harness racing season-debuting Pure Country (Brett Miller) Friday night (May 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. On paper, it was a stacked sewing circle, decreased by one when Matchmaker conqueror (and this week's eight-hole assignee) Mackenzie A was a late-for-Lasix scratch. On the track, however, it was a nothing more than a two-speed number, with millionairess Pure County sent off a in her first Westchester appearance. From post position No. 5, the 4-5 fave easily worked around her pole-sitting rival before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. From there, it was a :56.4 intermission and 1:24.2 three-quarters, with Medusa (George Brennan) offering a weak, first-up try and third and the backfield gapping badly. Pure Country owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Lispatty edged inside and edged by. The margin was a neck in a season's-best 1:52.3. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) was third as the 53-1 rank outsider, with Mach it a Par (Brian Sears) and Medusa rounding out the payees. For sixth choice Lispatty, a 4-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilberto Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her second win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $114.50, with the triple returning $924. Lispatty Nerida Franco N Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, March 19, 2017-Aggressive (Mark MacDonald, $9.80) angled off the cones and was up at the wire Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Trot. Starting from the pylons in the field of nine (the infamous 10-hole was scratched). Aggressive minded his manners as the lass Allerage Star (Andy Miller) left over Lady's Dude (George Brennan), and wasn't in too much of a hurry (:29.1, :59). Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett), as the slight 7-2 favorite from the second tier, then offered some mild heat. The one came first-up from fifth toward a 1:28.1 three-quarters, but never serious challenged, Allerage Star had the lead at the 1:57 milepost, with a length-and-a-half advantage in and out of the final turn. It was about the juncture when Aggressive extricated himself from the cones. He and Lady's Dude-who appeared to duck into the passing lane a lap earlier-provided Allerage Star with unwanted company from both flanks. Lady's Dude did so again this time, but was outgamed by Aggressive, who earned the schnoz decision in 2:27.1 for the mile-and-one-quarter. Allerage Star was third, beaten a neck, with a traffic-troubled Luck O the Irish (Jordan Stratton) and Hemi Seelster rounding out the payees. The five payees were separated by just a length-and-three-quarters at the wire. For third choice Aggressive, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera for owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen, it was his third win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $130, the triple returned $510 and the superfecta paid $1,535. This was the final Sunday card until the end of May, and also the last 'New York, New York Double' until then (when Aqueduct becomes Belmont). Sunday's winning combination of 1-Lakeside Sunset (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 7-Not Afraid (Yonkers' 6th race) paid $20 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $5,745. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 22, 2016 -- Regil Elektra and harness racing driver Mark MacDonald found a late lane Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. It looked bleak for our heroine as the race unfolded. From post position No. 2, she found herself trapped in three-hole as Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) led through early intervals of 27-flat and :55.2. Skippin' By (George Brennan) was pocketed from the pole as the 9-10 choice when Secrets Out N (Jason Bartlett) went up and over the leader before the 1:23.2 three-quarters. That one opened a couple of lengths entering the lane, but just failed to close the sale. Bettor N Better (Tyler Buter), at 25-1, closed widest and--apparently--fastest. That is until Regil Elektra was able to get off the cones, then angle back inside and whip 'BnB' by a neck in a season's-best 1:52.1 Secrets Out N, Sell a Bit N and no-excuse Skippin' By rounded out the payees. For sixth choice Regil Elektra, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Montelone Stable and trained by Keith Armer, it was her seventh win in 24 seasonal starts. Her lifetime earnings are now $627,000. The exacta paid $330, with the triple returning $1,340. Frank Drucker

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- What's Goin On probably had the harness racing fans asking that exact question as he shocked the field in his $36,567 division of the New York Sire Stakes for the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (July 20).   In covering the mile in 1:56.4, the fastest of the three divisions, What's Goin On (Mark MacDonald) paid a handsome $37.60 to his faithful backers.   In other Sire Stakes action, driver Jody Jamieson took Windsong Napoleon straight to the lead and never looked back in registering an easy 6-1/4 length triumph over Twin B Cowboy (Jim Morrill Jr.) in 1:57.2 while the heavily-favored Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley) avoided disaster down the backstretch and was able to track down the pace-setting Americanfirewater (Jamieson) in 1:57.3.   The winners were short of the track records of He's Watching (1:55.4) set for the colts in 2013 and Roadside Delight (1:56.3) established in 2010 for the geldings.   In the most shocking result of the night, What's Goin On led from the start and put up respectable splits of 29.4, 59.4 and 1:29.1. The Mark Harder-trainee had plenty left in the tank for the last quarter mile as he paced home in 27.3 to hold off any late threats. This Is My Song (Jamieson) finished in second while Offdahook Bluechip (Kakaley) finished in third.   Owned by Rick Phillips, the VIP Internet Stable, Deanna Frost and Mark Harder, it was the first victory for What's Goin On (Roll With Joe-Shipps Xclamation).   In the first leg, Windsong Napoleon was able to set fractions of 29.4, 59.3 and 1:29.1 and used a final panel of 28.1 in going gate-to-wire in disposing of Twin B Cowboy and third place finisher America's Fleet (Mark MacDonald).   Owned by trainer Carl Jamieson, Thomas Kyron and Douglas Good, Windsong Napoleon (Art Major-Bunny Dearest) now has two victories in four career tries, earning $26,879.   In the other bracket, Miso Fast ($2.30) was fortunate to avoid trouble heading to the three-quarter pole and used a 27.4 last split to collar Americanfirewater in 1:57.3. Willie Joe Hall (Pat Lachance) took the show position.   Going first over down the backstretch, Miso Fast and a heads up Kakaley were able to swing wide and avoid the pocket-sitting Outkast Blue Chip who broke stride and scattered the field.   In the home stretch, Americanfirewater could feel the pressure being applied by Miso Fast in the lane and could do nothing but helplessly watch.   Miso Fast (Roll With Joe-Sakura Hanover) is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable and the J&T Silva Stable. It was his second straight Sire Stakes victory, now a winner of $39,896 in just two lifetime appearances.   Morrill Jr. took a pair of $15,000 Excelsior A Series events. He guided Funknwaffles ($2.50) to a 1:57.4 victory and Serious Major ($2.70) to a 1:59.1 decision. In the other leg, Percy's Z Tam ($4.60) found the winner's circle with a 2:00.0 score with Lachance in the bike.   Sargeant Reckless was a popular $4.20 winner in the $6.500 Excelsior B Series as Morrill Jr. steered him to a 2:01 victory. Watch Me Fly ($5.00) took the other division in 2:01.3 with Kevin Cummings aboard.   There were two divisions of the Claiming Championship Series contested with Fresh Squeezed ($4.50) posting a 1:56.1 victory for Kakaley in the $14,800 finale for filly and mare pacers ($8,000-$12,500).   In the $10,000 championship event for the distaff pacers ($4,000-$7,000), Mystical Danica ($3.20) cruised to a 1:57.2 victory under the guidance of Cummings.   Princess Katie (Ray Fisher Jr.) toured the Buffalo Raceway half-mile oval in 1:55.2 to capture the $9,500 Open Pace for the filly and mares. She returned $4.20 for the victory.   The final week of racing will continue on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with 10 races going to the post at 5 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Straight A Student ($3.10) and Fad Finance ($3.50) took their respective $60,200 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes and tied the Buffalo Raceway track record for 3-year-old filly trotters in doing so with times of 1:58.2 over the fast track on Sunday afternoon (July 17).   The clocking equaled the mark of 1:58.2 established in 2015 by High Rise.   In the opening leg, Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) got a perfect trip and won the cavalry charge down the stretch to register a head victory over Lindylicious (Kevin Cummings). Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) took the show position.   At the start, Straight A Student parked Goosebump Hanover to the quarter pole before finally relinquishing the lead. From there, Goosebump Hanover was in command until the top of the stretch when Straight A Student came charging down the passing lane and Lindylicious attacked from the outside.   It was a blanket finish with Straight A Student getting the head win over Lindylicious while Goosebump Hanover was just a neck back.   "I just wanted to make it around the first turn," MacDonald said in getting Straight A Student to the winner's circle. "I knew if I followed Goosebump Hanover around the track, I'd be where I wanted to be in the end."   Straight A Student (Credit Winner-Smarter Than Smart) as been playing second fiddle for much of the season as she has had five runner up finishes in her seven starts. "She's trotted some big miles this season and finally got the win," MacDonald added.   Trained by Paul Kelley, Straight A Student pushed her seasonal earnings to $71,885 and $93,675 lifetime.   In the second division, Fad Finance was ready to roll midway down the backstretch the final time but had to wait for racing room before rallying late to nip Monarchs Sequel (MacDonald) by a nose. Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) secured the show position.   Fad Finance had nowhere to go heading to the three-quarter marker as the pace-setting Swinging Royalty and the first-over Monarchs Sequel had her boxed in along the pylons.   In the race for the wire, Fad Finance found some wiggle room and just got up in time to take the nose victory.   "I did all I could do to keep her in the two hole," Morrill Jr. said of Fad Finance's journey. "If I could have gotten her free down the backstretch, we probably would have won by five lengths."   Trained by Trond Smedshammer, it was the third victory of the year for Fad Finance (Credit Winner-Armbro Vanity). The win pushed her seasonal bankroll to $83,038 and $129,988 in her career.   Fruition ($5.10) was the fastest in the $15,000 Excelsior A Series with a 2:00.0 victory which gave MacDonald a double while Kevin Cummings drove Outside Court ($7.30) to a 2:00.4 win.   Shawn McDonough swept both of the $6,600 Excelsior B Series as he was aboard Catalina Cash ($6.60) and Barn Diva ($10.40). Catalina Cash covered the mile in 2:02.0 while Barn Diva toured the Buffalo Raceway half-mile oval in 2:03.1.   Morrill Jr. took top honors on the day in the bike as he posted five wins.   The final week of the 2016 season at Buffalo Raceway will start on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with a 12-race card scheduled. The New York Sire Stakes will kick off closing week as the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers will be in action.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - As a general rule, investing in half-mile track eight-hole trotters is not the soundest handicapping philosophy. Sometimes, however, the risk-reward equation gets tossed on its ear. It was Tuesday afternoon, courtesy of Military Blue (Mark MacDonald), who lit up Yonkers Raceway's tote board to the tune of a $229.50 win mutuel. Beating only a lone breaker early in the $25,000 sixth race, Military Blue improved steadily, eventually operating from second over. Widest turning for home, he not only won, he did so going away. Military Blue defeating pace-setting, odds-on favorite Capt. Serious (Scott Zeron) by a couple of lengths in 1:57.1. Lindylicious (George Brennan) was third. The upsetter, a 4-year-old Lucky Chucky gelding co-owned by (trainer) David Hoover and Albert Abdala III, is now 2-for-11 this season. He led a $575 exacta and $1,970 triple. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Obrigado avenged last year's Cleveland Trotting Classic defeat with an impressive track record victory on Saturday (July 2). Last year's runner-up trotted like he had something to prove and bested his competition by 5 ¾-lengths. Obrigado ($3.40) started from the rail. He floated off the gate and two rivals were ahead of him at the 1/8-pole. Once the field was set, driver Mark MacDonald quarter-moved Obrigado. He took the lead just past the :27.2 opening quarter and never experienced an anxious moment the rest of the mile. He led his rivals through times of :56, 1:25 and 1:53.2. "He (Obrigado) is really sharp right now. I got him to the front and let things play out from there," said MacDonald. "Once this horse is near the lead, he does the rest." The 1:53.2 clocking replaces the 1:54.1 time of Kirty Dream (Aaron Merriman) as the fastest trotting mile ever on the Flying Turns for a five year-old and up gelded trotter. Kirty Dream's mark has held since 2014. Saturday's win is Obrigado's fourth win this year and 38th lifetime score, increasing his bankroll to $1,109,749 for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45. Completing the $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic were Muscle Up The Goal, Shake It Cerry, Il Sogno Dream, Maestro Blue Chip, Homicide Hunter and Like Old Times. "This is a great horse to drive. I love driving for Paul Kelley, and his owners are extremely patient," explained Mac Donald. "It is very meaningful to win races for guys like them." by Ayres Ratliff, for Northfield Park

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