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East Rutherford, NJ - The $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial will see seven of the top harness racing older trotters currently racing convene at The Meadowlands to contest the 19th renewal of the Grand Circuit stake on Friday, June 24.   Mr. Cutler was a popular and successful Manhattan restaurateur. His empire of restaurants began in 1990 with Carmines (still a popular Italian family style venue) and grew to embrace several cuisines such as Ollie's Noodle Shop, Gabriela's Mexican and Virgil's BBQ. A Virgil's location is set to be opened soon by Mr. Cutler's longtime friend Jeff Gural as part of the renovations at Tioga Downs.   On the track (race 7) it's a quality over quantity field that includes Obrigado, who will seek to make it three consecutive memorial trots having annexed the Charlie Hill and Maxie Lee in his last two starts. A winner 37 times in 67 career starts, Obrigado is now less than $4,000 from the coveted million dollar mark in career earnings. Trainer Paul Kelley shares ownership of the classy veteran with the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45 and Mark MacDonald will be in to drive.   Resolve is making his first start back state-side for Ake Svanstedt after an impressive showing in the Elitlopp last month where he finished second in that final to Nuncio.   JL Cruze will return to his favorite track as he searches for the form that made him virtually invincible in his award winning season of one year ago.   The Burke Stable has drawn posts one and two with Crazy Wow and Gural Hanover. Wind Of The North and Flanagan Memory are both accomplished trotters who add class and form to the contentious field.   Post time on Friday is 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, June 20, 2016-"Anything you can do, I can do...just as well."  Friday night, harness racing driver Jason Bartlett won six of Yonkers Raceway's 11 races, including that evening's feature with Krispy Apple. Saturday night, Mark MacDonald won six of Yonkers Raceway's 11 races, including both of that evening's co-features with Sunfire Blue Chip and Aggressive. With the six-pack gauntlet having been thrown down-twice-perhaps a third driver can join to form a "devilish" troika. For now, though, Messrs. Bartlett and MacDonald own the bragging rights. The pair entered Monday night ranked first (276 wins) and sixth (83), respectively, in local standings. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 18, 2016 - "I don't think I have anything left to say." Such was the post mortem of one harness racing driver Mark MacDonald Saturday night after winning six of Yonkers Raceway's 11 races. One night after Jason Bartlett won a happy half-dozen, MacDonald picked up that gauntlet, including taking both halves of the night's $45,000 co-features in his best-ever local work night. MacDonald chauffeured favored Sunfire Blue Chip ($5) to a down-the-road victory in the Open Handicap Pace (1:51.2). "Sunfire," from position No. 4, defeated a pocket-sitting Doctor Butch (Dan Dube) a by length, with Artistic Major (Jason Bartlett) a good, two-move third. While the pacing result was predictable, the featured trot was not so much. MacDonald and pole-assigned Aggressive ($38) edged past E R Ellie (Jordan Stratton) by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.3. Undercover Strike (Bartlett) was a steppy third, while just-over-even-money fave Luminosity (George Brennan) was a non-factor sixth. MacDonald's first win of the evening was behind a first-up Northview Punter A ($11.40) in the $18,000, second-race pace (1:52.1). He then lasted on the lead with Forty Five Red ($7) in the $22,000, fifth-race pace (1:52). After putting the two features to bed, MacDonald then swept the $591 late double with Summers Windsong ($59) in the $26,000, 10th- race trot (1:54.4), and a pocketed Sapphire City ($25.60) in the $22,000, 11th-race pace (1:52.2). Not even the MacDonald Fan Club deciphered the Saturday Pick 5, so Monday night's gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,424.39 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Frank Drucker

In 2014, Michael Pozefsky watched a horse he bred --- Resolve --- race in the Hambletonian Stakes. This year, he hopes to watch a horse he bred and owns compete in the $1 million harness racing event. Pozefsky and Edward Wilson bred The Royal Harry, who on Sunday races in the $222,975 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old male trotters at Vernon Downs in upstate New York. The colt, whose family includes two Hambletonian winners and a Hambletonian Oaks champion, is now owned by Pozefsky and his brother, William. The Royal Harry has won two of six career races and hit the board a total of five times, earning $32,030. He has a win and a second-place finish this season, with his victory coming in 1:55.1 in a conditioned race June 10 at Vernon Downs. He was second to Sir Royson in his first start, which came in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs. Sir Royson, the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Empire Breeders Classic, won by a half-length in 1:54. "He won against a lesser crew at Vernon last week, but we just needed another race to try to be ready for this week," Pozefsky said. "His first start, it was a good line, but he got a good trip and he got a good drive. I wasn't expecting to go that much, but he did, which was terrific." The Royal Harry, trained by Ake Svanstedt, raced only four times last season. He had a win and two second-place finishes, but was shut down in early October to prepare for this year. "He was a big colt," Pozefsky said. "Instead of rushing him into it, the Svanstedt Stable decided to bring him along at a slower pace, which was fine with us. We had higher hopes, but he got to a point where he was going about the same and we decided to bring him back as a 3-year-old and hope that he improved substantially. It appears he has, but we'll know a lot more about that after the Breeders Classic." Wilson and Pozefsky bred and raced The Royal Harry's dam, Wilsonator, who enjoyed success on the Ontario circuit and finished fourth in the 2010 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters. The family also includes Hambletonian winners Emily's Pride and Spencer Scott and Hambletonian Oaks champion Keystone Pioneer. Pozefsky and Wilson also shared the breeding credit for Resolve, who finished fifth in the 2014 Hambletonian. The two breeders take turns naming their horses and Wilson named The Royal Harry, a son of RC Royalty, after Pozefsky's son Harry, who is now 29. The Royal Harry was put through the Standardbred Horse Sale in 2014, where the Pozefskys bought back the yearling for $100,000. "He's just part of the family," Pozefsky said. "We liked him a lot. It was kind of an easy decision. The dam was a fine mare and this is her second foal. Her first foal (Muscle Hill-sired Hillsonator) is racing well in Canada." The Royal Harry is one of two Hambletonian eligible horses in the Empire Breeders Classic, along with George Ducharme-trained Reve Royale. Pozefsky hopes The Royal Harry can continue to make strides and find himself at the Meadowlands on Aug. 6 for the Hambletonian. "He's got to find some real additional time," Pozefsky said, "but surely that's the dream." The Royal Harry will start the Empire Breeders Classic from post No. 1 with Mark MacDonald in the sulky. He is 5-1 on the morning line. Svanstedt will drive Dexter Cup winner Dante, who is 9-2 from post nine. Sir Royson will start from post seven with Jim Marohn Jr. driving for trainer Linda Toscano and owner R-And-I Farms. A homebred son of Crazed-Leibovitz Hanover, Sir Royson has won five of nine career races and earned $84,722. Sunday's card at Vernon Downs also features the $234,375 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old female trotters. The entry of Earn Your Wings and Straight A Student is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Earn Your Wings, from the stable of trainer Anette Lorentzon, and Straight A Student, from the stable of trainer Paul Kelley, are coupled because of common ownership. by Ken Weingartner

On a steamy Saturday (June 11) evening at Scioto Downs, Obrigado fended off the late charge of track record holder and harness racing world champion Natural Herbie to claim the trophy for the $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot. The 6-year-old gelding, piloted by regular reinsman Mark MacDonald, was the beneficiary of a perfect pocket trip, which the duo parlayed into a powerful 1:53.3 score. “He is just such a great horse,” said MacDonald. “You can do anything you want with him and all he wants to do is win. For some reason, I’m not sure why, we just get along. Tonight you could not have asked for a better position and then he did all the rest.” Leaving from post six, the gelded son of Boy Band and the Malabar Man mare Malimony, settled into second behind the leader and recent world champion Muscle Up The Goal. Content to allow the hometown favorite and the public’s selection at 4-5 to set the pace, Obrigado simply followed that rival around the Columbus oval behind fractions of :27.1, 57.3 and 1:25.3 before he was pulled out of the pocket at the top of the stretch to commence his drive to the wire with a :27.4 final panel. Obrigado glided by Muscle Up The Goal and completed his victorious journey to the wire seemingly well in hand. Natural Herbie placed pressure on the property of conditioner Paul Kelley, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45, however, his first over bid rendered him unable to match strides with the victor. Flanagan Memory, the 2013 O’Brien Award winner, closed from eighth to nab the show spot. Sent off at odds of 3-1, Obrigado paid his supporters $8.20. Natural Herbie, dismissed at 22-1, provided $14.40 to place and Flanagan Memory at 9-1 offered $7.40 to show. The exacta was $68 and the trifecta a generous $475.80. “I could not have asked for a trip around this track that was any better,” MacDonald said. “It was like a dream and honestly, I was shocked it worked out that well for us. I knew Natural Herbie was coming down on us and I respect him because he is such a nice horse, but my horse had the advantage off how this race set up. This was a very strong group of horses and it is a great win for us.” A Maine champion as a freshman and sophomore, Obrigado is the pride of Kelley’s stable and rightfully so, as the horse has now banked enough from his career record of 67-37-14-6, including this evening’s purse, to be roughly $4,000 shy of millionaire status. Purchased by Kelley, who was drawn to what an exemplary physical specimen he is, for $53,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Mixed Sale, Obrigado has been a winning machine before and after leaving the confines of his home state. Although Kelley shied away from top competition at age four, he placed the horse with the elite of his division last year as a 5-year-old and he has excelled. In 2015 he earned $405,535 with a record of 4-6-3 from 18 trips to the gate and knocked heads with all the best trotters currently competing in the sport. This year Obrigado has trotted five miles with three victories, one second and one third. Despite it being only June, the gelding has already collected just under $250,000 in purse money. The win in this Grand Circuit event is the second consecutive triumph for Obrigado in 2016 and comes immediately subsequent to his huge victory in the $200,000 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah’s Philadelphia on May 29. “I think he is even better than last year,” MacDonald said. “It is like he is in a zone and in peak form. It was not like he was bad by any means last year. He is a very smart horse that does nothing wrong and I think this season is going to be very fun with him and might be his best yet. “Paul (Kelley) wanted me to drive him as a 4-year-old, but circumstances did not work out to enable me to. Paul protected him and kept him up at Saratoga that year so he did not have to face many of the best trotters. I think that strategy is working out now, as he is so sharp and I know I can count on him for many more appearances in big races this season. Paul has really done a tremendous job with this horse and the horse himself just has all the tools. There is no denying he is right there with the best racing right now and he continues to make me very happy.” by Kimberly French, USTA Internet News Editor

CHESTER, Pa. --- Most people might be unhappy to see clouds block out the sun on their Memorial Day weekend, but harness racing driver Montrell Teague couldn't have been more overjoyed. Teague drives Wiggle It Jiggleit, a horse who has a penchant for jumping shadows on the racetrack. So when Teague saw the clouds roll in moments before heading onto the track for Wiggle It Jiggleit's start in Sunday's $200,000 Dorothy Mullin Invitational for older male pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia, he was relieved. And under the cover of those clouds, Wiggle It Jiggleit went out and paced the fastest mile in the 11-year history of Harrah's Philadelphia, stopping the timer in 1:47.3 as he captured the Mullin Invitational by 1-3/4 lengths over early pacesetter Rockin Ron. Rockeyed Optimist finished third. "When I warmed him up, he jumped over a couple (shadows); that would have been another obstacle to overcome," Teague said. "The shadows were out pretty good until we went out, so it worked out perfect. The clouds worked out in our favor." The previous fastest mile at Harrah's Philadelphia was 1:48, a mark shared by Artistic Fella and Mister Big. The time was one-fifth of a second off the world record for a 4-year-old gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile oval. "He's done so many races and all of them are spectacular, it's hard to pick one that stands out," Teague said after the 4-year-old Wiggle It Jiggleit won for the 29th time in 36 career races and increased his lifetime earnings to $2.57 million. "This is right up there with all the big ones, I think. "I thought I could have gone faster, but if I'm already in front I just want to look back and see where they are and start celebrating." Also on Sunday's card at Harrah's Philadelphia, Obrigado won the $200,000 Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters by a neck over Il Sogno Dream in 1:52 and Venus Delight won the $200,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers by 2-1/2 lengths over Katie Said in 1:50.4. Wiggle It Jiggleit, harness racing's 2015 Horse of the Year, has won six of nine races this season and finished no worse than second in any start. He entered the Mullin Invitational off a track-record win in the Battle of Lake Erie on May 21 at Northfield Park. In the Mullin, Wiggle It Jiggleit found himself in second place behind Confederation Cup champion Rockin Ron. Teague and the 1-2 favorite made their move to challenge Rockin Ron just after reaching the race's midpoint and battled side-by-side around the final turn. From there, Wiggle It Jiggleit paced away from his rivals to post the victory for owners George Teague Jr., who is Montrell's father, and the Teague Racing Partnership. Wiggle It Jiggleit is trained by Clyde Francis. "It was unbelievable," Montrell Teague said. "I thought there might be a few more horses leave and I'd have to take back a little further, but when you've got a two hole you've got to take advantage of it. I saw a horse coming on the outside of me and I didn't want to get locked in. I was just playing my part and seeing what was going to go on and trying to be out before anyone got outside of me." Wiggle It Jiggleit's next start is expected to be Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack in the second round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers. In the Maxie Lee, Obrigado held off Il Sogno Dream after even-money favorite JL Cruze went off stride in the final turn. Also going off stride in the race were Shake It Cerry and Gural Hanover. Morning line favorite Bee A Magician was scratched earlier in the day because of an unspecified injury. It was Obrigado's second win in four races this year. The 6-year-old gelding has won 36 of 66 career starts and earned $891,229. Obrigado is owned by the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45. He is trained by Kelley and was driven by Mark MacDonald. "I thought his effort was great," Kelley said. "I don't think he ever got ahold of the racetrack, to my liking anyway, but he's a game horse and he just gives 110 percent every time you put him on the track. All the horses that race at this level are just tremendous athletes, and he overcame it. "His year has been really good. We dealt with some issues last year with his front feet stinging him and I think we have a better handle on what he likes and what he doesn't like. Hopefully he's going to have a really good year." Then with a laugh, Kelley added, "I need a retirement plan and I don't have one right now; not a good enough one. So this could be it." In the Betsy Ross, Venus Delight and driver Tim Tetrick rallied from midpack to overtake Katie Said in the stretch and post her first win in nine races this year. The 6-year-old mare was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer in 2015. "If you're going to get a first win of the year, this is a good one to get," winning trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. said. "I think she just came back a little slowly. She had a long year last year; she raced hard and just needed to get her legs under her a little bit. This definitely worked out today. "Timmy made a great move and she just exploded today. I was very happy with the way it worked out." Venus Delight, sent off at 9-1 odds in the Betsy Ross, has won 26 of 71 career races and earned $993,523. She is owned by Bamond Racing. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Ake Svanstedt, Inc. and Little E, LLC's Non Stick ($2.70) remains undefeated in eight career starts after a comfortable two-length harness racing win in her $40,600 New York Sire Stakes division on Saturday (May 28) evening at Vernon Downs.   Mark MacDonald wasted no time with the 3-year-old Lucky Chucky filly, working clear of Goosebump Hanover (Chris Lems) before exiting the straight. Non Stick was uncontested through splits of :28, :57.2, and 1:26, working clear of her seven foes on the far turn. At head-stretch, Goosebump Hanover vacated the pocket to give chase, but Non Stick maintained her clear lead throughout under just mild encouragement for a 1:55 triumph. Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) circled from the rear of the main group to take second, while Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr.) saved third off her cozy tracking trip. Goosebump Hanover lacked any late burst from the pocket, finishing fourth.   Ake Svanstedt trains Non Stick, who has amassed $226,532 thus far in career earnings.   Mario Mazza's Stick of Butter ($7.20) prevailed in her Sire Stakes division off an extended first-over bid, dueling clear of pacesetter Straight A Student for a 1:54.3 win. Trainer Francisco del Cid drove the Lucky Chucky filly.   Fair Winds Farm, Inc.'s Open Access ($33.80) also found the winner's enclosure, vaulting off cover and collaring Fad Finance and Swinging Royalty for a last-to-first 1:54.1 score. Charlie Norris drove the daughter of Credit Winner for trainer Robert Baggitt, Jr.   As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, a carryover of $246.95 will head to Monday (May 30) afternoon's card. Post time for the first of 12 races on Memorial Day is set for 1:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald calls his time in London, ON racing at The Raceway at The Western Fair District "maybe the best time of my life." MacDonald, who is now based in New York and is one of the top drivers at Yonkers Raceway, will return to Western Fair Friday to drive Sunfire Blue Chip in the $150,000 Molson Pace invitational for trainer Jimmy Takter. "London was the first place I bought a house. It was a condo, but it was like a house. I lived in apartments before that. I actually lived 10 minutes from Western Fair," said the 37-year-old Prince Edward Island native, who first made his name racing in Ontario from 1999 through 2011. "I had some stoplights then, not bridge traffic. It is definitely a different atmosphere (in New York) as opposed to up there, but Western Fair was great. I had a lot of fun there. I won a lot of races. It was the first time I got to race in all the (Ontario) Sires Stakes and was kind of the go-to guy." What hasn't been as much fun has been the Molson Pace. MacDonald has raced in it nine times and never won. "It's been my Achilles Heel. That race just keeps getting me. I almost won it a few times. Dr No, I thought I was home with him and Our Lucky Killean got me right at the wire (in 2006). I think I still have the track record at London with Tigerama (1:50.4 in 2008). He buzzed around there in the elimination and then drew the seven hole and got stung past the quarter. He was kind of a speed horse. The seven hole and a speed horse don't really mix there in London, unless the inside wing falls off or something. Anyway, he got stung and ended up fifth." MacDonald last raced in the Molson Pace in 2014 and was eighth with Bandolito. "Bandolito, I got a horrendous trip with him. I was out early and he didn't fire. He wasn't right then, either. He didn't race for about five or six months after that race," MacDonald said. "I've had some good horses in that race, but I've raced some horses that turned up sick and I've raced some horses that just got beat. I just never get to the wire first." MacDonald, a winner of nearly 5,700 career races and more than $84 million is a two-time O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Driver of the Year. He set a record for driving wins on Canadian soil with 739 in 2006 - since surpassed by Jody Jamieson. MacDonald will be driving against his younger brother, James MacDonald, in this year's Molson Pace. James will pilot P H Supercam from post seven. "James is a good little driver. He's doing a great job. I talk to him all the time and always try to help him as much as I can. But I won't be helping him out on Friday," Mark said, laughing. "Don't eat yellow snow. That's my tip for him." Mark said he likes his chances with Sunfire Blue Chip, especially drawing the inside post three. "He's a really good horse... A good half-mile horse," Mark said of the six-year-old stallion, a son of American Ideal out of Shot Togo Blue Chip who has earned just over $1 million. "He won the Prix d'Ete as a four-year-old at Three Rivers. He's a really fast horse, good gaited. He doesn't wear a boot. He's a typical Takter horse. He's really well-mannered, a nice horse to drive. Everything about him is nice. He just won in 1:51 a couple of weeks ago in Yonkers on kind of a tiring track. It was a good mile that night." Sunfire Blue Chip has a record of 4-3-2 this year in 16 starts and earnings of just over $80,000. "He was sharp in the Levy (Series at Yonkers). He raced in every leg in the Levy and he just had horrible luck with the draw. He was, literally, outside every week... We couldn't get a break with that horse. They actually took him out of the Levy one week and I took him to the front and he won in like :53.3... The Levy wasn't meant to be for him this year, but he always raced well. He showed up every week." Now Mark MacDonald hope Sunfire Blue Chip shows up with his best game on Friday so he can finally claim the Molson Pace in his 10th attempt. Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows: 1. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 2. Bettor Rock On N - Jody Jamieson 3. Sunfire Blue Chip - Mark MacDonald 4. Evenin Of Pleasure - Sylvain Filion 5. Machtu N - Trevor Henry 6. Mcwicked - Randy Waples 7. P H Supercam - James MacDonald 8. All Bets Off - Matt Kakaley The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000. There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS 'Be A Winner Contest,' Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 - all low 15 per cent takeout wagers. For more information, visit molsonpace.com. Greg Blanchard

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald was the star of the show Saturday night, sweeping both of Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 co-featured Open Handicaps with favored Great Vintage (Pace, $5.30) and Obrigado (Trot, $8.20). Great Vintage, assigned post position No. 2, two-moved around Texican N (Jordan Stratton), then set sail on his appointed rounds (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24.2, season-matching 1:52). The people's choice eventually disposed of a first-up Bettor Rock On N (Dan Dube), then took a three-quarter length lead into the lane. He fended off an inside bid of Texican N by half-length in 1:52. Artistic Major (Brent Holland) rallied very well for third, with Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) and Atta Boy Dan (George Brennan) settling for the remainder. For Great Vintage, an 8-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.80, with the triple returning $220.50. As for Obrigado, he did his damage-from assigned post No. 5-from first-up. Away six, he saw Luminosity (Brennan) lead through intervals of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1. It was Luminosity holding a short lead into the lane, but Obrigado was relentless. He keep at it, whipping Luminosity by a length in 1:54.2. Homicide Hunter (Stratton) was third, with tepid 5-2 choice Major Athens (Brian Sears) and Allerage Star (Pat Lachance) earning the minor moolah. For second choice Obrigado, an 6-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, SRF Stable and Stable 45, it was his first win in a pair of '16 tries. The exacta paid $33.60, the triple returned $179 and superfecta paid $579. Saturday's $30,000 Preferred Handicap Pace was won by Machtu N (Steve Smith, $7.70) in a night's-best 1:50.4 for a first North American victory. Frank Drucker  

Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald, $13) roared through the lane Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. It didn't appear to be a closer's race after odds-on number Mosquito Blue Chip (Dan Dube) worked around Pasultimatedelite N (George Brennan) and dawdled through early intervals of 28-flat and 57-flat. Even when longshot Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) offered a stern, backside challenge, it was only into a 28-second (1:25) three-quarters. Despite the comfy fractions, "Mosquito" was about to be swatted. She was swallowed up from all sides early in the lane, with a third-over (from post position No. 7) Al Raza N closing fastest from sixth turning for home. She picked off Pasultimatedelite N by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2, with McCovey Cove N (Jordan Stratton), Jag Out (Steve Smith) and Know it All settling for the remainder. Mosquito Blue Chip faded to sixth. For third choice Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by (trainer) Augie Abbatiello's Durazzano Stable LLC, it was her fifth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $44.40, with the all-Kiwi triple returning $153. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Apr. 30) Pick 5 wager begins with a tidy carryover of $4,999.04. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

Bad Boy Matt with harness racing driver Mark MacDonald in the sulky, lasted-barely-from first-up Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Pace. Spectating early from post position No. 5, "Matt" saw 3-10 favorite Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) and fresh parimutuel Lasix Roland N Rock (Dan Dube) both leave inside of him. "Roland" was able to get away cheap enough (28-flat opening quarter-mile, :56.4 intermission) before Bad Boy Matt moved to challenge from fifth. Roland N Rock continued to lead in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters. Despite the seemingly-comfy fractions, "Roland" was foldin' off the final turn. This did nothing for the cause of a trapped-in Bit of a Legend N as Bad Boy Matt opened some daylight early in the lane. Bit of a Legend N finally saw the passing lane closed relentlessly, but ran out of racetrack. Bad Boy Matt's nose was at the line first in 1:53. A season-debuting Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) was a fast-moving third, with Dream Out Loud N (George Brennan) and Justified (Eric Abbatiello) rounded out the payees. Roland N Rock faded to seventh. For third choice Bad Boy Matt, a 6-year-old Badlands Hanover co-owned by Legacy Racing of Delaware & Reginald Hazzard II and trained by Wayne Givens, it was his third win in a nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $37.80, with the triple returning $303.50. Saturday night also saw the season's fastest mile(s), a pair of 1:51.3 efforts by Lunar Tide N (Shaun Vallee) and Mattamerican (Bartlett). Also, when 28-1 Keystone Honor (Brennan, $59.50), 35-1 Aberdeen Hanover (Pat Lachance) and 9-1 Life Up Front (Stratton) crossed the line 1-2-3 in the 11th race, it resulted in a $12,299 triple, richest locally thus far in 2016. The Raceway's live season continues with a "French" Sunday afternoon (first post 1:10 PM). Frank Drucker

Obrigado (Boy Band) took today's Open Trot at Saratoga, for harness racing driver Mark Macdonald and trainer Paul Kelley. After getting away last, Obrigado circled the field for a victory in 1:55.4. Live racing continues Thursday with a post time set for 4pm. Mike Sardella  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 25, 2015 - After any number of predictable results in Yonkers Raceway's weekly Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace, harness racing longshots ruled the roost Friday night. Dune in Red (Mark MacDonald, $21.80) photoed Justhaven'tmetuyet (Jason Bartlett) in 1:52.4 after 3-10 choice Cinamony (George Brennan) couldn't sustain a second move. Dune in Red, assigned post position No. 4, gained the first lead before Skippin' By (Jordan Stratton) left over her. That one fronted the fray through early fractions of :27.1 and :55.2, while eight-hole ordered Cinamony found a seat fourth. The fave was out and moving between intermission and 1:23.3 three-quarters, but the dozen-to-one leader wasn't overly impressed. Skippin' By stood her ground in and out of the final turn, but the swarm was coming. Dune in Red ducked in, while Justhaven'tmetuyet went wide. When the dust settled, "in" whipped "wide" by a short nose, with Carobbean Pacetry, Cinamony and Strings (Eric Carlson) rounding out the payees. For third choice Dune in Red, a 5-year-old daughter of Duneside Perch owned (as Hero Stables) and trained by Bob Krivelin, it was her fifth win in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $109, with the triple returning $504. Saturday evening, it's New York Night of Champions (Part II), with Yonkers hosting a quartet of $225,000 sire stakes finals for 2-year-olds (races 2 thru 5 included in the dozen-race card). Frank Drucker

What started out as a "mundane" harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night wound up lending itself to any number of stories and sidebars. Let's run down the plotlines, shall we... The Features--A pair of sixes, in Great Vintage (Dan Dube, $6.10) in 1:51.2, and Luminosity (George Brennan, $6.70) in a life-best 1:53.3, won the evening's $48,000 co-features for pacers and trotters, respectively. The Record-Sharer--Forty Five Red (Mark MacDonald, $4.60) held sway in the $35,000 Open Handicap Pace for 4-year-olds, and he did so in 1:50.1. That effort matched Crombie A's three-week-old, all-age track record, while setting a new one for Forty Five Red's age group. The time also matched the son of If I Can Dream's own life-best performance. The Record-Sharer, Part II--Luminosity's previously-proclaimed 1:53.3 trotting work night equaled that of Melady's Monet for season's fastest locally (set four weeks ago). The Speed--Ten of the evening's dozen races were essentially won wire-to-wire, or at least by the horse who was moving to the lead at the quarter. The other two races were won by one out of the pocket and one sitting a three-hole. The "slowest" of the 10 pacing events went in 1:52.3, while the non-Luminosity trot "trudged home" in 1:55.2. The Milestone-in-Waiting--Take My Picture, a best-of-the-record while chasing Luminosity in the trotting feature, now has career earnings of $998,386. The 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding, who once upon a time was a Yonkers Trot runner-up, is technically a millionaire if you throw in his Racing Under Saddle earnings. The Humans--Dube won four races, Brennan three. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (first post 7:10 PM), featuring the $150,224 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot (2-year-old colts/geldings). Frank Drucker

National Seelster (Andy Miller, $13.20) ripped out of the pocket and ripped past a prohibitive favorite Thursday night, throwing down the gauntlet with the fastest of three efforts during the harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway's $168,375 New York Sire Stakes Hugh Grant Pace night. Leaving alertly from post position No 6 in the first $56.125 event for 3-year-old pacing colts/geldings, National Seelster made the first lead. He then gave up the baton to 1-4 choice Arque Hanover (Jason Bartlett) right at a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Southwind Massimo (Pat Lachance) was away third. Arque Hanover found a 56-second intermission and 1:23.4 three-quarters, with no outer pressure whatsoever. He took a length lead into the lane, but National Seelster was more than ready for his second move. He went up and over "Arque," winning by a length-and-quarter in a certifiably-snappy 1:51.1. Arque Hanover held second over Southwind Massimo. For second choice National Seelster, an (unraced at 2) son of Bettor's Delight trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Robert Mondillo and Oompa's Farm, it was his seventh win in 13 seasonal starts (4-for-4 in NYSS competition). The exacta paid $22.60, with the triple returning $86.50. "He's just a perfect colt," Ryder said. "Does whatever you ask, gets around any surface. We may try the Adios next, depending upon how many of those 'killers' are there." Thursday's other Grant events were won by Betting Exchange (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.10) getting off the seasonal schneid in 1:53.3, and Americanprimetime (Bartlett, $19.80), holding off 59-1 Rock in Heaven (Dave Miller) in a season's-best 1:52.4. The former, Bettor's Delight colt trained by Tom Fanning for co-owners himself, Howard Taylor and Susan Kajsfasz, zipped well past $300,000 in career cash. The exacta (Penji Hanover [Mark MacDonald] second) paid $4.50 (two wagering choices, with the triple (K-Rock [Yannick Gingras] third) returning $27.80. The winning margin was two lengths. For fourth choice Americanprimetime, a son of American Ideal trained by Rick Dane Jr. for owner Rock and Roll Stable, he's now 2-for-9 this season. The exacta paid $148.50, the triple (Artistic Major [Scott Zeron] third) returned $1,548 and the superfecta (17-10 choice A Bettor Hat [Brian Sears] fourth) paid $12,135 (base $2 payout). The winning margin was a half-length. The Raceway's live season continues Friday and Saturday (both at 7:10 PM), with Saturday night featuring the $107,500 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

Fast N Victorious was just that in the New York Sire Stakes for harness racing2-year-old colt and gelding pacers while Skip Jive remained unbeaten in his brief career to share top honors at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday night (July 8).   In the first $54,500 division, Fast N Victorious ($5.70) drafted perfectly behind the pace-setting Red Roll, who put up solid times of 28.3, 59.1 and 1:28.3.   It was a ding-dong battle to the wire with Fast N Victorious able to sneak past the stubborn Red Roll in the passing lane for the neck win in 1:58. Brigadoon (Billy Dobson) finished in third.   "Red Roll was very competitive and we had to fight for the win," Gregory said of the stretch drive. He added, "Fast N Victorious is like a race car and he loves the small tracks."   Owned by the Jesmeral Stable and trained by Gregory, Fast N Victorious (Art Major-Yankee Luck) rebounded nicely after a disappointing second place finish in his only start in Sire Stakes action last week at Monticello. The victory jumped his earnings to $35,891.   Skip Jive ($4.90) made it a perfect 2-for-2 in his young career putting in another impressive performance in 1:57.1 in the second division.   Being hung on the outside at the start, driver Mark MacDonald stepped on the gas with Skip Jive and took command at the quarter pole.   Setting fractions of 28.4, 57.4 and 1:28.2, Skip Jive was ready for a stretch battle from a threatening Joes On A Roll and Best Of Ribera.   But things fell apart quickly as Joes On A Roll broke stride in the lane and interfered with Best Of Ribera, wiping out the chances both had of a win.   Those issues allowed Skip Jive to cruise off with a 3-1/4 length victory. Carlos Danger (Jim Morrill Jr.) picked up the pieces for second place while Fine Diamond (Matt Kakaley) placed third.   MacDonald said the race at Goshen on June 21 where Skip Jive made a break at the start has turned him around. "We made a few equipment adjustments after Goshen and it really helped him out." He went on to say of Skip Jive, "He's a really nice horse. He was well in hand at the finish."   Co-owned by the W. Springtime Racing Stable and Shannon Brott, Skip Jive (Rock N Roll Heaven-Dancinwiththestarz) is trained by Paul Kelley. The win pushed his two-race career winnings to $42,033.   In the $15,000 Excelsior Series 'A' races, KJ Erich ($3.60) took the first division with a 1:58.3 mile for Gregory while Acting Out ($7.00) posted a 2:00.0 winning mark for Mike Simons. Gregory, a native of nearby Churchville, N.Y., finished the night with a double.   NY Whitesox ($7.50) took the $6,600 Excelsior Series 'B' race by going wire-to-wire for Dobson in 2:02.   BZ Glide ($7.70) went from last to first and took the $10,500 Open Trot in a seasonal best 1:57.0.   After watching Justgottogetthere cut the fractions of 28.3, 58.0 and 1:27.4, BZ went three-wide down the backstretch and trotted away smartly in the lane to post the 1-1/2 length win over Serious George (Shawn Gray). Winkys Pride (Drew Monti) took the show position.   Owned by the Caprio Stable and trained by Alana Caprio, BZ Glide (Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer) has three wins in six starts in 2015, earning an even $20,000 and $135,957 lifetime.   Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) nosed out Infrontigo Hanover (Jim McNeight) to take the $9,500 Open II pace for the fillies and mares. Country Delight toured the Hamburg half-mile oval in 1:56.1.   Racing will continue on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. with a 13-race program on tap.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   Brian Mazurek  

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