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YONKERS, N.Y. – Multiple stakes winner Obrigado made his last harness racing start in the $200,000 Caesars Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park Sept. 21, 2018. Despite finishing fourth beaten just 1 3/4 lengths by Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder and trotting his final quarter in :27.0, Obrigado did not emerge from the race well. Trainer Paul Kelley faced the reality that the career of his $1.8 million earner was over. “He had a little bit of a suspensory issue going around there, which was something we had never experienced with him before. "He’s had other aches and pains for sure. It wasn’t really looking too good. We scanned it a few times and pretty much the prognosis looked like retirement was probably the right thing to do,” Kelley said. “Wintertime was coming on and you want to find any horse a good, permanent home,” Kelley continued. “I was kind of scrambling; I didn’t really have any options. I figured the best scenario would be to get him someplace where he could be turned out for the winter and let him heal up naturally on his own.” Kelley sent Obrigado to Chris Coyle's Olive Branch Farm in North Carolina, where the 9-year-old son of Boy Band wintered and recuperated. Come April, Kelley still didn’t have a forever home lined up for the Boy Band son, so the trainer brought him to his racing stable at Congress Hill Farm in Monroe, N.J. “He’s one of those horses that you don’t really want to part with,” Kelley said. “At one point, I was thinking maybe I’ll be the permanent home.” However, Obrigado didn’t find retired life of daily paddock turnouts interesting enough, especially when forced to watch the other Standardbreds going to the track every morning. Kelley recognized the horse needed work. “We were putting him out in the paddock every day, but you could tell he was a little bored just doing that; that wasn’t enough, especially being in the barn with all the other horses that were getting tacked up and going to the track every day. He’s an intelligent horse and he wanted to do that too,” Kelley explained. Kelley had Obrigado’s leg scanned again, and with a green light from the vet, began light jogging on the track, swimming sessions, and under saddle riding. Obrigado took to his work and started to rebuild his foundation. With routine scans coming back clean, Kelley started to step on the gas over the summer. “The horse loves being on the track. He loves being out there with other horses. That was really the easy part of it all,” Kelley said. “It wasn’t like we had to push him along. He’s always been a happy horse, likes work, likes the competition and all that. “We just gradually increased the workload to the point where we got to August and we felt like he’d had enough groundwork, maybe we can start some more speed work with him. We did that and I held my breath for a long time thinking, ‘Is he going to be OK? Is he going to come out of it OK?’ So far, he’s been remarkable, he’s been just fine.” A 45-time winner in 92 starts, Obrigado’s accomplishments include a pair of Maine Sire Stakes championships in 2012 and 2013 and the Crawford Farms Open Trot in 2015. Obrigado’s biggest season came in 2016, when he captured the Maxie Lee, Charlie Hill Memorial, Cleveland Trotting Classic, Cashman Memorial, repeated in the Crawford Farms Open Trot, won the Dayton Trotting Derby, and competed in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot before closing the year with a victory in the $400,000 TVG FFA Trot. Obrigado remained competitive on the Grand Circuit in 2017 and 2018 before going on the shelf. “Mentally, that horse has never changed. That’s what’s remarkable about him,” Kelley said. “You see people sometimes; your attitudes go up and down throughout a racing season. You see that with horses; horses have lulls where they just don’t seem to be too keen. He’s never ever been that way. He’s always just been real bright-eyed, real keen, head out over the gate, and ears are always forward. That’s just the kind of horse he is. He’s a happy fella and he really loves being out on the track and he loves being out with other horses all the time.” Obrigado will make his comeback Saturday night (Dec. 7) in the $42,000 Open Handicap Trot at Yonkers Raceway. Dan Dube will drive the 8-1 morning line shot from an assigned inside post position for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, S R F Stable, and Linwood Higgins. Obrigado prepared for his return with three qualifiers at Freehold. Rene Sejthen drove Obrigado to a second-place finish in 2:01.1 over a good track with a minus two variant Nov. 1 and again took the lines in a 13 1/4-length qualifying win on a fast track in 2:00.0 with a minus one variant Nov. 8. Kelley brought in Dube for Obrigado’s final trial Nov. 22, in which the gelding posted a 1:59.2 win. “My second trainer Rene took him the first two times and he was doing the right thing with the horse and being cautious and letting the horse do it on his own,” Kelley said. “I know from talking to Rene the weather conditions on those days weren’t particularly good. According to Rene, they were both really good miles for Obrigado considering the conditions and the horse did everything on his own and real easy. “I skipped a week and then I had Dan Dube take him the last time and I just told him, ‘Make sure he does a little work the last half of the mile. He’s got to go a little bit.’ It was kind of a funny qualifier because he got caught in and a couple of pacers were battling things out up front. When Dan finally got him out and got rolling, I think he trotted his back-half in about :57.2 and he came a good last quarter, so that was good. It gives him a little bit of speedwork.” Obrigado will face a difficult field in his return, including the first four finishers from the $35,000 Preferred Handicap Nov. 23: Stormy Kromer, Will Take Charge, Lean Hanover, and Swansea. Sumatra and Winning Shadow step up off overnight wins Nov. 22 to complete the lineup. “I suspect it’s going to take him a couple of races to get up to speed with the rest of the horses he’s got to race against, but everything has gone very well,” Kelley said. “He’s come back very well, so it will really be interesting to see what happens over the course of the winter. “He’s coming off the bench and he’s been on the bench for 14 months, so I can’t expect him to be tip-top, but maybe by having the inside, he can save some ground,” Kelley continued. “I know the horse is going to be competitive from his own standpoint, but maybe he’s not physically ready quite yet. I would expect it’s going to take two races for him to get up to speed. I think that’s realistic.” Although he will take things on a start-by-start basis, Kelley hopes to race Obrigado at Yonkers throughout the winter. Obrigado sports a 7-for-19 record at the Hilltop with seven additional placings, all at the Open level or higher. Kelley will also look for options during Yonkers’ hiatus beginning Dec. 18 and continuing into early Jan. 2020. “We’ll get a couple of starts in at Yonkers and then they go on break,” Kelley said. “Maybe with Yonkers down, (Freehold) will be able to fill an Open. That’s a possibility if I can do that for a race or two until Yonkers comes back, but I think Yonkers is where I’d like to race him the most over the course of the winter. I think he could be a real good winter horse for Yonkers.” Kelley also hopes to reunite Obrigado with Mark MacDonald, who’s last driving start came with Kelley’s The Veteran at Saratoga July 20. MacDonald suffered a fractured shoulder joint, among other injuries, in a pre-race spill later that night, but is approaching a return to the sulky. “(Obrigado) definitely likes this track, he knows his way around that track for sure, so it makes sense,” Kelley said. “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I’m hoping around the first of February, Mark MacDonald should be back and it would be great if I have the horse coming off the shelf and Mark coming off the shelf and we can reunite the two of them. “The partners are all excited. They’re all amazed just like I am that he’s back. Horses like that, they’re once-in-a-lifetime horses,” Kelley said. “They’re remarkable in their own way. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and they find a way to get back in the game. I’m just hoping we can go week to week, he can stay sound and we can manage him properly and it can be a fun 2020.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through December 17.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Mark MacDonald is still more than a month away from returning to the racetrack as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but the veteran harness rcing driver is feeling good and looking forward to a successful 2020. MacDonald was injured in July when he was unseated from the sulky prior to a race at Saratoga. He suffered a fractured left shoulder joint and is now rehabbing following surgery and three months in a sling. He hopes to return to action sometime in January. "I'm doing really good," said MacDonald, who is working out at the gym daily and getting physical therapy four days a week. "I'm taking it day to day. It was a massive surgery and it takes time. It's just time to stabilize the muscles around it. But I'm feeling good. I feel like I could drive tomorrow. I don't know if I'd want to hit the ground tomorrow, and that's what they're worried about. The surgeon wants me clear for contact. "Strength-wise, it's no problem. But I don't want to mess it up if something were to happen. It's frustrating because it feels really good and they're saying just take it easy. That's easier said than done sometimes but I'm working through it and listening to what they tell me. "They X-rayed it the other day and said it's perfect. They were really happy with the way it looked." In addition to repairing MacDonald's shoulder, the surgeon was able to correct tendon issues MacDonald suffered in a previous accident. "I always had pain in that shoulder for a long time," MacDonald said. "Not horrible, but it always bothered me a little bit. Where he fixed it up, it feels really good. They did a great job and I have a feeling that when I do start driving again it's going to be a lot better than it's been in a long time. "It's hopefully short-term pain for long-term gain." MacDonald has suffered his share of injuries over the years but said this one was the most difficult. "I seem to get myself into these predicaments," MacDonald said with a laugh. "For a while, I was bummed because I couldn't do anything. Shoulder surgery is really tough, the toughest one I've had. "You're just sitting around doing nothing. I had a hard time getting out of bed for a long time, physically; I needed a hand up. I couldn't move my arm for months. It's hard to sleep, hard to get comfortable. I couldn't even put my socks on, it was terrible." A native of Prince Edward Island who now lives in Goshen, N.Y., the 40-year-old MacDonald has won 6,220 races lifetime and $91.6 million in purses. He was Canada's Driver of the Year in 2005 and 2006. "Hopefully I'll get back at it in January," MacDonald said. "Maybe I'll change it up a little this year and go to The Meadowlands a little bit more. We'll see what happens. Hopefully I'll have a real good year. I'm just staying positive now. I have something to look forward to." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

When it comes to travel, Mark MacDonald is unlikely to get to stakes races any easier than his trip on Friday (July 5). MacDonald is listed to drive in two of the afternoon's six Landmark Stakes harness racing events at Historic Track in Goshen, N.Y.; the town the 40-year-old driver calls home. "I'm right around the corner," MacDonald said, laughing. "That won't be a tough commute. I wish they had all the races there. Life would be easy." MacDonald is scheduled to drive two horses for Historic Track-based trainer Ray Schnittker. One of his drives will come behind Rodeo Beach, a full sister to 2016 Dan Patch Award winner Huntsville, in the $9,500 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers. Rodeo Beach, bred by Schnittker and Charlie Iannazzo, is making her career debut after two qualifier wins, both in 1:57.1. "You never know until they actually race, but when they train down good, and they qualify good, you've got to have some high hopes for them," MacDonald said. "I think she's pretty special, but we'll see. She's got real quick speed. I've really liked everything she's done so far." MacDonald's other drive is with Captain Malicious in the $15,700 Landmark for 3-year-old male pacers. Schnittker has three of the five horses in the race, including Branquinho, who is a full brother to Huntsville. Branquinho, with Tyler Buter listed to drive, has won four of six races this year and $116,700. His victories include a division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars and he finished second in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. Both Branquinho and Rodeo Beach are out of the mare Wild West Show. Her first six foals, all sired by Somebeachsomewhere, won at least one race and five have earned at least six figures to date (with three banking in excess of $525,000). Wild West Show and her offspring Cowboy Terrier, Stevensville, and Beachesofcheyenne all won Landmark Stakes at Historic Track. "That's a great family," MacDonald said. "They all seem to be great racehorses." Friday's Landmark Stakes are part of the annual Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. The meet coincides with the sport's Hall of Fame inductions, which will occur Sunday at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. This year's Hall of Fame class is led by trainers Blair Burgess, Joe Holloway, Jerry Silverman, and Linda Toscano; driver/trainer Ted Wing; owner Ted Gewertz; and communicators Mark Hall and Dave Little. Also being honored are horses Art Major, Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, Graceful Touch and Southwind Serena. Dr. Leroy Coggins, Charley Hinkle, Allen and Connie Skolnick, and Delinquent Account will be inducted as Harness Racing Immortals and Steve Oldford, the 2019 Museum Amateur Driving Champion, will be recognized for a sixth time. Foiled Again will be in Goshen for the weekend, leading the post parade at Historic Track on Saturday and Sunday and welcoming guests to the HOF dinner Sunday night from 4-5 p.m. on the Walk of Fame. Racing at Historic Track begins Thursday and continues through Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m. daily. Admission is free for children (12 and under); adults are $5 and includes a racing program. The stable area is open to visitors, to see the racehorses up close as they prepare for competition. Sunday's races include the annual Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry Memorial Trot, featuring a field of Hall of Famers. This year's event will include inductees Burgess, Holloway, and Toscano as well as Wally Hennessey, David Miller, Brian Sears, Dick Stillings, and Jimmy Takter. Following the race, the drivers will be available to meet fans and sign autographs at tables located adjacent to the grandstand. "Hall of Fame weekend is great," MacDonald said. "They always have a great atmosphere there. It's cool. It's grassroots racing at its finest. What really makes it great is that the grandstand is packed. Everybody likes working in front of a packed house. It's just really enjoyable." Historic Track is located at 44 Park Place. For additional information about the track and this week's races, click here. The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street. For additional information, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

This Week: Camluck Classic, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontario; Currier & Ives Filly Trot, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; and Graduate Series second leg and Somebeachsomewhere, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action opens on Friday night (May 31) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$157,000 Camluck Classic for older male pacers. Racing will take place on Saturday (June 1) at two venues. The Meadows will host the $70,000 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters and Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature two C$80,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts and single C$99,000 second leg divisions in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters and 4-year-old pacers. Complete entries for the Meadows race can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair and Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: As a yearling, Bettor's Wish sold for all of $20,000. "But he's not a $20,000 horse anymore." So said co-owner and trainer Chris Ryder Saturday night (May 25) after his charge - and driver Dexter Dunn - made short work of Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. The 29th Rooney, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, turned into a romp for the odds-on ($3.70) choice. One of two elimination winners, Bettor's Wish drew post position No. 6 in the finale. He found himself three-wide early, outside of Captain Malicious (Mark MacDonald) and Buddy Hill (Brian Sears) and inside of Blood Money (Scott Zeron). Blood Money made the lead before a :27 opening quarter-mile, then a :55.4 intermission. Going up the backside the second time, Rollwithpapajoe (Joe Bongiorno) was advancing out of fifth before he broke stride. That allowed Buddy Hill a path out of third, and as he was about to leave the cones, Bettor's Wish extricated himself from the pocket. That one disposed of Blood Money soon after a 1:24.1 three-quarters, preparing to bust the race wide open. Bettor's Wish slapped three lengths on his rivals in and out of the final turn, then ran it up. The final margin was a half-dozen lengths in a season's-best 1:51.4. Second went to Branquinho (Tyler Buter), while Air Force Hanover (David Miller) was third. Buddy Hill and Blood Money picked off the remainder. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt co-owned by Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Kenneth Solomon, has won all three of his seasonal starts and earned $180,000. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards.   Here are the leaders following this past weekend:   Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 193; 2. Jason Bartlett - 144; 3. George Brennan - 110; 4. Jordan Stratton - 107; 5. Daniel Dube - 104. Trainers: 1. Jim King Jr. - 149; 2. Ron Burke - 85; 3. Rene Allard - 77; 4. Richard Banca - 61; 5. Andrew Harris - 54. Owners: 1. Jo Ann Looney-King - 55.2; 2. Tim Tetrick LLC - 51.7; 3. Richard Poillucci - 41.7; 4. Brad Grant - 41; 5. D R Van Witzenburg - 40.   Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Northfield Park, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Tioga Downs. Northfield will host the Battle of Lake Erie for invitational pacers, Mohawk will feature five stakes eliminations, led by the North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, and Tioga Downs will offer the third leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters.   Paul Ramlow Internet News Manager U.S. Trotting Association

CHESTER PA - Sons of Captaintreacherous won five of the six $20,000 third round harness racing preliminaries of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing colts Monday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, but it was the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Prince Of Tides who posted the fastest time, 1:50, which also rewrote the North American season's record for his division. Eric Carlson, who tasted sulky success four times on the matinee card, moved the winner to the lead in front of the stands, and the sophomore came home powerfully, last half in :54.1 despite bearing out in the stretch to be 6¼ lengths clear of favored Skip To My Lou, the only StS horses to win in both the preliminary legs before today. Prince Of Tides, who dropped down from the Sire Stakes to post the impressive triumph, is trained by Ross Croghan for Let It Ride Stables, Mr. Dana Parham, and Howard Taylor. Carlson had another Stallion Series winner, this one part of a StS training triple for Tony Alagna, Odds On Boca Raton, who is now perfect in two Stallion Series starts after a 1:52.1 victory. Odds On Boca Raton went right to the top and discouraged all other challengers, finishing a length to the good of Stienams Beach for Odds On Racing. The other two Alagna winners were driven by Dexter Dunn, who joined Carlson in showing up in Victory Lane twice after a PaStS race. The Dunn-Alagna pairing included U S Captain, who is undefeated in three 2019 starts, the last two in the Stallion Series, after taking a new mark of 1:50.2. The promising pacer controlled the throttle and kept pocketsitting Cloudbreak 3¼ lengths at bay for Brittany Farms, Brad Grant, Joseph Barbera, and U S Captain Racing. The other win for Team Dunn/Alagna was produced by Waterway, who took his second start of the year after a third in his yearly bow. Dunn moved Waterway to the lead in front of the grandstand and had smooth sailing from there, withstanding Champagneonthebeach by ¾ of a length in 1:52.1 for Alagna And Begley Stable, Santo and Joseph Barbera, and David Silverman. The final two Stallion winners both took new marks; one was Latissiumus Hanover, who took his fifth straight win, all in Stallion Series action, while lowering his mark to 1:50.3 in this third round prelim. No, that is not a typo - Latissimus Hanover had swept his four prelims in 2018 and would have been the likely choice for the 2YO Championship, but his season ended after the quartet of wins, and this was his first start since August 13 of last year. But the colt looked muscled up and fit to go, taking the lead early and maintaining it by 1¾ lengths over Captain Mckee for driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Ray Schnittker, who co-owns the talented youngster with Ted Gewertz and Mary Arnold Kinsey. The smallest margin of victory came in the race with the only off-the-pace winner, as Revelry swung wide from third-in coming into the lane and just caught Seafarer by a nose in 1:51.1. George Napolitano Jr. guided the winning gelding for the Cancelliere brothers - trainer Tom and owner John.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 24, 2019-An off-the-pace Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton, $14.60) prevailed in a blanket photo Friday night (May 24th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away fifth from assigned post position No. 2, Glenferrie Blade A watched as Angel's Pride (Joe Bongiorno), Rockstar Angel A (Eric Goodell) and 7-5 choice Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) all tried it up front. It was Feelin' Red Hot seizing the scepter before a :26.4 opening quarter-mile. She then found a :56.1 intermission before Angel's Pride was back at it, engaging Feelin' Red Hot through a :27.1 third quarter (1:23.4). The two choices continued their battle in and out of the final turn, with Sandy's Beach (Jim Marohn Jr.) second-over and Glenferrie Blade A behind her. Feelin' Red Hot was losing the scrum to Angel's Pride, but that one was about to lose the war. Glenferrie Blade A closed widest and fastest, whipping Angel's Pride by a nose in 1:52.4 while taking advantage of a soft (29-second) final quarter. A ground-saving Queen Lostris N (Mark MacDonald), Feelin' Red Hot and Made of Jewels AS (Dan Dube) picked off the remainder. For third choice Glenferrie Blade A, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Mach Three owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her first win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $52.50, the triple returned $205.50 and the superfecta paid $853. Saturday night (May 25th), the Raceway offers both the $300,000 At Rooney Pace and $109,234 Lismore. The 29th Rooney, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, goes as the 10th race...1-Captain Malicious (MacDonald), 2-Rollwithpapajoe (Bongiorno), 3-Branquinho (Tyler Buter), 4-Buddy Hill (Brian Sears), 5-Price Hanover (Dube), 6-Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), 7-Blood Money (Scott Zeron), 8-Air Force Hanover (Dave Miller). The 15th Lismore, for the soph pacing ladies, is right before as race No. 9...1-Mi Nina Bonita (Brent Holland), 2-Rock N McRoll (Dube), 3-Queen of the Pride (Stratton), 4-As Time Goes By (Brennan), 5-Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett), 6-Privacy Hanover (Miller), 7-Rockn' Philly (Tim Tetrick), 8-Annie Hill (Sears). Post time for the dozen-race card is 6:50 PM, after the completion of which Yonkers begins a hiatus until Friday night, June 7th.   Frank Drucker Director of Publicity

On Monday May 13, the New York Sire Stakes made their first stop of the year at Monticello Raceway for 3 Year Old Pacing Colts, the conditions were less than ideal as it was a cold, rainy raw day that was reminiscent of a fall day and certainly not the middle of May. Hickfromfrenchlick, the Ray Schnittker trained harness racing son of So Surreal started from post position 4 and went off the 1/5 odds on favorite in the 6 - horse field. Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark Macdonald) lead the pack every step of the way, reeling off even rated fractions of 28.2, 58.1 1:28.1, American Mercury (Tim Tetrick) were the first to move down the backside as the outer flow developed with Stone Hanover right behind him. It looked like Hickfromfrenchlick was going in for an easy layup but American Mecury was not done yet as the duo paced home strong, but Hickfromfrenchlick rebuffed American Mercury by a scant neck to score in 1:55, pacing his last ¼ in 27 in the fastest mile of the afternoon. Stone Hanover finished 3rd, coming home in 26.4. Hickfromfrenchlick is owned by Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing LLC and TC Spatorico. In the second heat of Sire Stakes, it was a race of the Major's, Major Blake left fast from post 4 from the gate but decided to take the 2- hole tuck as Major March from the rail cut the steady fractions of 28.2,58.1 1:26.4, Respect The Flag and Astarie angled out past the ¾ maker in an effort to start tracking down Major Blake, but their efforts were thwarted as he coasted to a 2 length victory in 1:55. Major March is trained by soon to be Hall of Famer Linda Toscano, the Art Major - Mach You And Me colt is owned by Bay Pond Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. Major Blake was 2nd and Astaire finished 3rd Major March                    --Geri  Schwarz photo The highly touted Reigning Deo highlighted the last heat of Sire Stakes in the 6th race, the Rock N Roll Heaven colt started from the rail and was the 3/5 favorite going to post. Dealer's Table (PP4) and Jason Bartlett cut the soft fractions to the ¾ pole 29.3, 59.3 1:28.1. Rollwithpapajoe (T. Buter) was the first to come off the rail approaching the half, he continued the overland route with no cover. Heading for home he rolled to an easy 3 length win over Reigning Deo held on for 2nd place followed by Covered Bridge. Rollwithpapajoe is trained Jenn Bongiorno, The Roll With Joe colt is owned by Barbara Bongiorno, BK Lambos and D. Libertos. The Excelsior A contest's saw Shim (American ideal - Feel Life) leave the gate unhurried to rally over Caviart Cale in 1:58.3 for Trainer - Driver and part owner Pat Lachance, in the second A class Surreal Art (So Surreal - Artcotic) was content to sit the pocket while Shanghai Bobby cut the mile. It was a good battle down the lane between the two but Surreal Art hung on for a neck victory over Shanhai Phil in 1:55.1 Sire Stats for the afternoon showed American Ideal and So Surreal both had 2 winners, Jason Bartlett and Patrick LaChance each had a driving double on the chilly afternoon. $461,000 was wagered on the 8- race card for a per race average of $57,625.   By: Shawn Wiles

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 3, 2019 - It was Lispatty and harness racing driver Mark MacDonald finishing what she started Friday night (May 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Taking it the distance from post position No. 5 (:27.1, :57.1, 1:25.1, season's-best 1:53.3), Lispatty opened to three lengths off the final turn, then held off late arrivals Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton) and Magic Forces (George Brennan). The former did get second, beaten a half-length, while Rockstar Angel A (Jason Bartlett) and a pocket-tiring Lovineveryminute (Dan Dube) settled for the minors. Made of Jewels AS (Austin Siegelman) tried it first-up and tired to last among the half-dozen. For the favored (by $81) Lispatty, a 6-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilbert Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her fifth win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $17.80, the triple returned $63 and the superfecta paid $198. Mutuel windows open at 10 AM for tomorrow's (Saturday, May 4th) Derby Day card from Churchill Downs. First post is 10:30 AM, with the 145th Kentucky Derby set for 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA – Tag Up And Go was in control throughout the $17,500 trotting feature on a less-than-optimum Sunday night (41 degrees, “sloppy +2” surface) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning by himself in 1:56.4. Marcus Miller left in controlling fashion with the Angus Hall gelding, set a very moderate pace even in the bad conditions, and still had plenty late to raise his earnings to $569,216. Rob Harmon conditions the harness racing veteran for Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro. There were a pair of $17,000 contests for developing horses on both gaits. In the pace, the Rollwithjoe gelding Youcaniknow is 2-for-2 in 2019 after a hard two-move victory from post nine in 1:53.4, holding off Grantmeawish by a neck for driver Matt Kakaley, who had three winners on the night. This is a rare Åke Svanstedt-trained pacer, owned by Åke Svanstedt Inc. In the subfeature trot, the Lucky Chucky gelding Chuckabuck, who was claimed for $12,500 on April 5, handled the rise from that level quite easy on the Pocono red muck, going gate-to-wire in 1:56.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer James Guagliardo, and owner William Sartin. In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, standing in a village’s muck and mire, one peasant remarks to the other that the passing horseback rider must be the King, and is asked how he knows that. “He hasn’t got (slop) all over him,” says the first peasant. Such was the case with driver Mark MacDonald, who came to Pocono and got easy front-end victories, staying “clean,” with two sophomores making their seasonal bows for trainer/co-owner Ray Schnittker. The winning duo were Captain Malicious, a Captaintreacherous – Silky colt who won in 1:53.4 - :27.3 for Schnittker and partners Dr. John Egloff, John Frisch, and Max J. Hempt, and Hickfromfrenchlick, the So Surreal – My Girl’s A Star colt whose named was influenced by basketball star Larry Bird, who won in 1:53.3 – :27.3 for the trainer and partners Nolamaura Racing LLC and Thomas Spatorico. Both three-year-olds were stakes winners at two, and their 2019 bows point towards another good campaign ahead of them. Hickfromfrenchlick                                                       -Curtis Salonick photo                                            Finally, the “Fast Comeback of the Night” award goes to driver Eric Carlson, who was dumped to the track in a mixup in race 13, then came right back in the 14th race finale to guide Derecho to a wire-to-wire victory – and pay $46.00 to win. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

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

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