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HARRINGTON, DE  - Sunfire Blue Chip ($17.20, Mark Macdonald) was a 1:51.1 winner in the 12th Annual $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway Monday. The race annually spotlights many of the sport's top older pacers and honors former long-time Delaware legislator Bobby Quillen, who passed away in 2004. Quillen was a regular at the racetrack, who enjoyed live harness racing and was endeared by many in the community. Owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and R A W Equine, Sunfire Blue Chip, a Jimmy Takter-trainee, notched his 32nd career win off a pocket trip. Scott Rocks closed ground for second with Evenin of Pleasure third. Rockin Ron set the fractions and faded to fourth. An 8-year-old American Ideal stallion, "Sunfire" scored his second straight win in his 108th career start. "My horse was really good last start at Yonkers," said Macdonald. "I kind of had an all-or-nothing approach behind the gate tonight and was able to get a great trip and it worked out. You can do anything you want with him. He's a lot of fun to drive. " It was a productive first visit to Harrington for driver Macdonald, whose a regular at Yonkers Raceway (Ny). Five Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) $20,000 elimination events for 2-year-old pacers were on the undercard with Team Teague stealing the show with three wins. George Teague and K&R Racing's The Lady Sheriff ($8, Montrell Teague) was the first filly winner in 1:57.2 for trainer Clyde Francis. The Southwind Lynx filly registered her first career win off a ground saving trip. The first division for colt and gelding pacers would soon ensue with The Lady Sheriff's stablemate, Dashiki ($3) scoring a 1:54.1 score for the Teague and Francis combo. Dashiki held off a fierce late rally from Chillaxin Away to achieve his first career win in his third lifetime starts. Dashiki is a son of Barber Pole. The second filly division went to The Wiz Kids Stable's Golden Wigglet ($7, Bart Dalious) in 1:57.1. The Mr. Wiggles filly notched her second career win for trainer/driver Dalious with a late rally that reeled in pacesetter Vistamista late. The third filly division saw Edward Walls' Lily's Puddle Jumper ($4.80, David Rearic) score in 1:59.1. The Gamblers Dream filly outkicked pacesetter Miss Giggles to the wire for a one length win. Trained by Walls, it was her second career win. The final colt division to another Teague-tied horse, George Teague Jr.'s Keepmywiglegametyt ($6.40, Montrell Teague) who surged clear of leader Son Of A Lynx in deep stretch for his first career win. The Francis-trainee is a son of Mr. Wiggles. In the $15,000 Open overnight feature, Richard Lombardo, Charles Cochran III and Josh Green's JJ Flynn ($7, Yannick Gingras) was a 1:51.2 winner over Q's Cruise and Options Are A Dream. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 15, 2018-Trainer Jeff Gillis made no secret about why he hijacked Will Take Charge from the stakes schedule and into Yonkers Raceway for Saturday night's (Sept. 15th) co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. "There's no reason other than we want an invitation to the International Trot," Gills said. "He didn't race well in his last start (final of the Maple Leaf Trot) for whatever reason. We wanted to prove he belongs, and it would be an honor for me." The issue of whether or not Will Take Charge gets to represent the Great White North (either by himself or with some company) in the million-dollar, Saturday, Oct. 13th, event wasn't going to be settled this night, though the road test supplied by odds-on Will Take Charge (Mark MacDonald, $3.20) had to impress. Two-moving to the lead from post position No. 7 (everyone in a notch after a pole defection), Will Take Charge was third early behind Gruden (Brian Sears) and Fashion Creditor (Brent Holland). He then made the lead between a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.3 intermission. Not surprisingly, the teletimer gapped out the field as Will Take Charge and Gruden offered an unscheduled match race. After a 1:24.3 three-quarters, Will Take Charge owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Gruden was resurgent, however, taking another 'run' at the leader before missing a nose in 1:53.2. Fashion Creditor held off Lord Cromwell (Jordan Stratton) for third, with Barry Black (Austin Siegelman) getting the final pay envelope. The mile matched the local aged gelding standard set by former all-age track record-holder Quick Deal in 2013, while also equaling the second-fastest Westchester trot mile, a tick behind the 1:53.1 of filly Plunge Blue Chip two weeks ago. "Jeff told me not to lose, so I guess I'm good with orders," MacDonald said after his date hit town for the first time since late April. "There aren't too many trotters who can get down to the half that fast here and hang on, so I was impressed.." For Will Take Charge, a 5-year-old Kadabra gelding owned by Mac Nichol, it was his ninth win in 19 seasonal starts (earnings at $409,965). The exacta paid $9.40, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $23.80 and the superfecta paid $111.50. Saturday night's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by a pole-assigned, pocketed Chantepleure (Stratton, $23.20) in 1:51.3. By Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

MILTON, ON - September 13, 2018 - Owning a racehorse has never been easier and Woodbine Entertainment will continue to hold the door open by offering a New Owners Seminar this Saturday at Mohawk Park. The second annual New Owners Seminar starts at 6 p.m. in the North America Cup Room and is open to the public. Those in attendance at the seminar will enjoy presentations from Landmark Racing Stable and TheStable.ca. Each group offers affordable and easy options for becoming involved in racehorse ownership. Landmark Racing Stable and TheStable.ca operate differently, but both remove the potential intimidation factor for a person making the leap into the sport. Mark McDonald of Kingston, Ontario joined the Landmark Racing Stable last fall after being out of harness racing for many years. He attended the yearling sale in London and has since taken advantage of the access provided to the group by visiting the horses and even jogging a few. "It was a golden opportunity to get back in at a reasonable cost for the amount of enjoyment you could get out of it," said McDonald, who trained horses more than 20 years ago at Kingston Park. "Anybody that's been to the racetrack that wants to get into the game other than being a spectator or bettor, that's the best way to do it." Pep Moretti of Illinois joined TheStable.ca after dreaming for many years of owning a racehorse. "This has allowed me to achieve a lifetime dream I thought I would never be able to afford," said Moretti. "Getting into ownership was confusing and intimidating. The Stable made things easy." Attendees at Saturday's seminar will be able to ask any questions to the presenting groups. Representatives will also stick around following to answer questions one-on-one. Anyone attending Saturday's seminar will be eligible to enter a draw to win a share of a racehorse courtesy of Ontario Racing and in conjunction with Standardbred Canada. Ballots will be available upon arrival. The New Owners Seminar begins at 6 p.m. and will lead into Saturday's $2 million card, which begins at 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for- Woodbine Communications

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 19, 2018-Favored Obrigado (Mark MacDonald, $4.20) pounced from the pocket Sunday afternoon (Aug. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 off-going Open Handicap Trot. The weekly trotting feature went at the flat mile, the 11th of 12 races and well after the four added-distance 'French' races. Generously assigned post position No. 2, Obrigado worked around polester Dewycolorintheline (Ray Schnittker) as outside number In Secret (George Brennan) hurdled his six foes and made the lead. After early intervals of :27.1 and :56.1, Such an Angel (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fourth. The bid was both brief and poor with In Secret finding a 1:24.3 three-quarters. He took a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Obrigado was lurking. That one edged out and edged away, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:55. Charmed Life (Steve Smith) overcame a weak tow to grab second, with In Secret, Andy Ray (Jason Bartlett) and Dewycolorintheline rounding out the payees. For Obrigado, an 8-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, S R F Stable & Stable 45, it was his second win in five seasonal starts (career 44-for-90, earnings over $1.76 million). The exacta paid $38, the triple returned $244 and the superfecta paid $542. Sunday's verse of the 'New York, New York Double' featured a winning combination of 1-Glory to Kitten (part of entry, Saratoga's 1st race) and 7-Deo (Yonkers' 3rd race), returning $7.70 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $6,992. The next Sunday matinee is Aug. 26th (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 11, 2018-Veteran Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald, $9) finished what he started Saturday night (Aug. 11th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Using his usual gate speed, Great Vintage-from post position No. 5-threw down intervals of :27.1, :56.4, 1:24.2 and 1:52.2. He held off a first-up McErlean (Brent Holland) by a head, with 3-2 favorite Always at My Place (George Brennan a second-over third. Pacing Major N (Austin Siegelman) and Doctor Butch (Jason Bartlett) came away with the minors, while logical would-be favorite Evenin 'of Pleasure was scratched-sick. For third choice Great Vintage, a 10-year-old son of American Ideal owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg & Goran Falk and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his fifth win in 13 seasonal starts (career 45-for-161, earnings over $1.26 million). The exacta paid $102.50, the triple returned $402 and the superfecta paid $636. It was one of MacDonald's four wins during the 11-race card. Sunday's (Aug. 12th) matinee has a first post of 12:40 PM, with races 1 through 4 of the overflow-field, mile-and-a-quarter 'French' theme. The 'New York, New York Double' is comprised of Saratoga's first race and Yonkers' third. Post times are 1 PM and 1:40 PM, respectively. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Sunday afternoon’s (Aug. 12th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $4,979.96 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (if 11 or less races, the gimmick is the last five races on the card). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Sunday‘s program may be downloaded at http://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/sun_program.pdf First post Sunday is 12:40 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Monticello, NY - The last leg of the 2018 Sire Stakes took place at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon August 6 as 3 Year Old Pacing Fillies closed out the season with a bang. The first heat of Sire Stakes was worth $61,300, Apothic and Mark Macdonald started from post 3 and took the field to the fastest opening ¼ of the year, hitting that station in 26.2. The duo still set the pace to the ½ in 55.2, as the outer follow developed with 4 in and 4 out. Apothic started to tire down the back side as Solitary was the new leader as the field past the ¾ in 1:24.1. As they turned for home Newsday ranged into contention after enduring a brutal trip on the outside, Better Than Happy who benefitted from a perfect 2 hole trip the entire mile took advantage of the passing lane. The pair paced stride for stride down the lane and hit the wire in a dead heat in 1:53.3. Better Than Happy is owned by Joe P Racing LLC of Delray Beach Florida and is trained by Jennifer Bongiorno and was driven by Joe Bongiorno. Newsday a bay filly by Art Major is trained by co-owner Richard Silverman, Scot Zeron was the driver. In the second division of Sire Stakes, also racing for a purse of $61,300, divisional point leader Wisdom Tree started from post position 8, Scott Zeron rushed the Betterthancheddar filly away from the gate, she made the front just past the ¼ in 27.4. Once on the front end, she controlled the fractions 56.1, 1:24.4 to win in 1:52.4 by 2 lengths, just a tick off the track record of 1:52.3. Wisdom Tree is owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher, she picked up her 9 win of the year for trainer Ed Hart. Bullvillekarla (Jim Marohn Jr.) scored a wire to wire win in her Excelsior A heat in in 1:55.3 -$7.20, the Bullville Powerful filly is owned and trained by Steve Crevani. Mink Pink was second followed by So Long Darling. Psychic Bluechip (Scott Zeron) overtook the early pace setters to win her division in 1:55.1, over the heavy favorite KJ's Justine. The Art Major filly is trained by Joseph Skowyra and earned her 5 win of the year. Escape Again went wire to wire in her race to win by a length in 1:54.3 for owner - trainer Troyce Thomas, the daughter of Artiscape was driven by Jim Marohn Jr. The first heat of the Excelsior B class in race 1 was a 4 horse field, Lady Orb extended her win streak to 3 and picked up her 4th seasonal win for trainer Erv Miller, the daughter of Art Major scored in 1:57.3 and returned $3.10 to win for driver Marcus Miller. Reflexionofroyalty notched her first win of the season in 157.3. the American Ideal lass is trained by Allen Sisco and was driven by Kyle Dibenedetto. On the afternoon Scott Zeron drove 3 winners and Jim Marohn Jr had 2, Art Major led all sires with 3 winning daughters on the afternoon. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 21, 2018-Veteran Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald, $6.60) had to work for the lead and that worked for him Saturday night (July 21st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Using his usual gate speed, Great Vintage-from post position No. 5-had an early impediment in Barimah A (Brent Holland). Forced wide around that one, Great Vintage then continued to the lead, taking over from Robbie Burns N (Greg Merton) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. Once he fronted the fray, Great Vintage finished it off (:56.4, 1:24.4, 1:52.4). Second went to a stubborn 17-10 fave Always at My Place (George Brennan), who was also compromised when an out-again Barimah A moved first-up and was his obligatory hard-to-steer self. Barimah A eventually went back in-again-leaving Always at My Place to take up the chase. Great Vintage, with a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, defeated Always at My Place by three-quarters of a length in 1:52. Robbie Burns N was a pocket third, with Run Oneover N (Jim Marohn Jr.) and that Barimah A rounding out the payees. For second choice Great Vintage, a 10-year-old son of American Ideal owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg & Goran Falk and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his fourth win in 11 seasonal starts (career 44-for-159, earnings over $1.24 million). The exacta paid $22, the triple returned $68.50 and the superfecta paid $281. Sunday's (July 22nd) matinee has a first post of 12:30 PM, with races 1 through 4 of the overflow-field, mile-and-a-quarter 'French' theme. The 'New York, New York Double' is comprised of Saratoga's third race and Yonkers' fifth. Post times are 2:07 PM and 2:20 PM, respectively. . by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 14, 2018-They're 2-year-olds. Things happen. Such was the case in Saturday night's (July 14th) $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, Yonkers Raceway's premier event for 'open' frosh colts and geldings honoring the Hall of Fame founder of Hanover Shoe Farms. When the stone dust settled, Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark MacDonald, $5.30) emerged an open-length winner in a six-horse race that was not for the squeamish. At the outset, the eventual winner-from post position No. 2-was off the gate. His next-door neighbor to the outside, Just Plain Loco (Jim Marohn Jr.), tried to leave but threw in steps. He eventually righted the ship, but was wide into the first turn. Meanwhile, 4-5 choice World on Edge (George Brennan) led into the first turn, only to jump it off That left first starter and 58-1 rank outsider Can We Dance (Greg Merton) as sort of a default leader from his outside post. The bombardier put up intervals of :28 and :57, the latter as pole-sitting Hurrikane Kingklee (Dan Dube) tried to pull pocket, only to reconsider. Nearing the 1:26.1 three-quarters, the field truncated...even World on Edge, who then misbehaved again. Hurrikane Kingklee finally did dispose of the longshot leader, while Hickfromfrenchlick was right behind. The 'Hick' inhaled the tiring front-enders in the final turn, opening to two lengths into the lane. Hickfromfrenchlick then rolled home in his parimutuel debut, the final margin 3¼ lengths in 1:55.4. Just Plain Loco, who angled widest into the final turn, survived his race race-and-a-half to finish second, with another first-starter Treasure Tom (Jason Bartlett) third. Hurrikane Kingklee and Can We Dance settled for the minors, while World on Edge needs to think about what he did. For second choice Hickfromfrenchlick, a $47,000 (Goshen NY) plebe son of Larry Bird, er, So Surreal, co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico, he's won both of his purse tries (Landmark at Goshen). The exacta paid $20, the triple paid $155 and the superfecta paid $367. "He shied from the car at the start," MacDonald said. "I was fortunate with the breakers to get away where I did and just sort of sit there. "When Danny (Dube, Hurrikane Kingklee) pulled, I was right behind him and he just sort of paced away. Ray (Schnittker) told me not to screw it up. A strange race. Glad we won." Saturday's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by odds-on Always at My Place (Brennan, $3.10) in a season's-best 1:50.3. Sunday's (July 15th) matinee goes at 11:28 AM, with the first four 'French' trots going as both overflow-field and added-distance (mile-and-a-quarter) by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, May 24, 2018--Yonkers Raceway's Thursday night (May 24th) saw the highest local exacta of the season. When 22-1 Ransom Demand (Mark MacDonald, $47.80) edged past cone-skimming 62-1 Ziggy Sky (catch-driver Jim Marohn Jr.) late in the $9,000, fourth-race pace, the 4-7 gimmick returned $1,899 for a two-buck wager. The first two finishers had been boardless in eight and four '18 starts, respectively. With 3-10 favorite Soho Jackman A (Jordan Stratton) faltering in the final strides and settling for a blanket-finish third, the 4-7-1 triple paid $5,047 for a $2 wager. Beast Mode (Brian Sears) was fourth, thus the 4-7-1-5 superfecta returned $27,106 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket $1,355.30). Yonkers' previous high 2018 exacta this season was $1,411, occurring late last month. by Frank Drucker, for Empire City @ Yonkers

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 5, 2018 - The fifth night of the fifth month found harness racing driver Mark MacDonald putting forth his own the Cinco de Mayo festivities, with five winners during Yonkers Raceway's dozen races. Cinco de MacDonald, indeed. MacDonald's Saturday (May 5th) quintet was highlighted by Western Fame ($14) in the co-featured $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. After backpedaling out of the pocket in the final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series a fortnight ago, the homebred showed no ill-effects here. Caught three-wide early from post position No. 4, Western Fame made the lead after a contentious :26.2 opening quarter-mile. He then rated a :29.2 next subsection (:55.4 intermission), which ended up serving him well as 11-10 choice Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) came to visit. That one moved from fourth, but only into a 28-second third quarter (1:23.4). Western Fame opened a length into the lane, then held sway in 1:52.2, his fastest purse win time of the season. Second went to a second-up Gratian Hanover (Joe Bongiorno), who closed resolutely but missed a neck. Somewhere in L A, Windsong Leo (George Brennan) and Roland N Rock (Brent Holland) came away with the small envelopes. For third choice Western Fame, a 5-year-old son of Western Ideal owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $92.50, with the triple returning $358.50. MacDonald's five-bagger began as favored We Think Alike ($4.10) won the $20,000 fourth-race pace (1:53). Sunfire Blue Chip ($4) handily went the distance in the $25,000, ninth-race pace (1:52.4), then odds-on fave Artful Way did the same in the $20,000, 10th-race pace (1:53). The subject then won the $20,000 pacing finale with an off-the-pace Swing City ($9.40) in a season's-best 1:52.2 One race that eluded MacDonald was the co-featured $40,000 Open Handicap Trot, where odds-on Fearless Man ($3.70) repeated in facile fashion. From post No. 6, he finished what he started (:28.3, 58.4, 1:27, season's-best 1:56). For Fearless Man, an 8-year-old Elegant Man gelding trained by Andrew Harris for co-owners Rick Zeron Stables, Murray Greenfield, Noblock and Cool Cat Racing, it was his fifth win in 13 seasonal efforts. Frank Drucker

If Western Fame were human, harness racing driver Mark MacDonald could envision him fidgeting with his necktie while bemoaning a lack of respect. A multiple-stakes-winning pacer, Western Fame has not been the favorite in his most recent six victories (five at odds of 9-2 or higher) and has been the betting public's top choice only five times in his past 39 races. When he was the favorite during that span, he produced three wins and missed a fourth by a nose. In his past three starts, all in preliminary rounds of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway, Western Fame won twice and finished second by a half-length. On Saturday, the 5-year-old stallion competes in the $532,000 Levy championship, leaving from post No. 1 with MacDonald driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. Western Fame is 7-1 on the morning line. "He's always been a little bit of a Rodney Dangerfield; no one gives him a whole lot of respect," MacDonald said. "I don't think people realize what a nice horse he is. He's always been a little under the radar." Western Fame has won 12 of 46 career races and earned $750,618 for breeder/owner Brittany Farms. Last year, he won the Prix d'Ete and Confederation Cup, and in 2016 he won a heat of the Little Brown Jug (where he was second to Betting Line in the final), a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and an elimination of the Breeders Crown. In addition to his runner-up Jug finish in 2016, he was second in the Matron Stakes (at 23-1), Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship (from post seven at 29-1) and a division of the Tattersalls Pace (by a neck at 9-2). "He's been a lot of fun," MacDonald said. "He didn't race much at 2 and didn't really start coming into his own until September of his 3-year-old year. He's a lightly raced horse and he's really turned into a nice racehorse." Prior to this year, Western Fame was a horse that needed to be raced aggressively from the start. Half of his wins were gate-to-wire and only twice was he worse than second at the race's midpoint. This season, he has not led prior to the stretch and only once was he better than third after three-quarters. "I found that as a 3- and 4-year-old he was kind of a one-trick pony; he really liked to be on the front," MacDonald said. "He's matured and is more versatile now. He seems to really have the will to go forward and likes a target. He's won all different kinds of ways. I really like the way he's coming into the race." The Levy brings together a number of harness racing's top older male pacers. Last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner and defending series champion Keystone Velocity is the race's 5-2 morning-line favorite, followed by Mach It So at 4-1, Dr J Hanover at 9-2, and Somewhere In L A at 5-1. Evenin Of Pleasure follows Western Fame, at 8-1. New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend, who won the 2016 Levy championship, topped the points at the end of the five preliminary rounds. He drew post seven for the final and is 9-1. Rockin Ron -- who joined Bit Of A Legend, Somewhere In L A, Dr J Hanover, Mach It So, and Western Fame as multiple winners in the prelims -- will start from post eight. "It's wide open," MacDonald said. "There are not too many horses in that race that you could say would be a total head-scratcher if they won. If any horse can win from the outside, it would be Bit Of A Legend. Rockin Ron got the eight hole, but he's a good horse too. That race is so competitive. "At the end of the day it's going to come down to whoever gets the best trip or a lucky break. That's it. Whoever can work out the best trip is going to win." Also on Saturday's card is the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for older female pacers. New Zealand-bred Shartin, who posted a series-best three wins in the preliminary rounds, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite from post No. 1 with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Jim King Jr. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) with the Matchmaker championship carded as race nine and the Levy as race 10 on the night's 12-race card. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

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  

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