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YONKERS, N.Y. – At the beginning of 2019, Atlanta appeared primed to have an exceptional 4-year-old harness racing campaign. On the heels of a sophomore season that included victories in the Empire Breeders Classic, the Kentucky Filly Futurity, and the Hambletonian, Atlanta’s connections should have been riding on cloud nine with their distaff star. However, after going through a public drama that ended with the mare being transferred from trainer Rick Zeron to Ron Burke, co-owner Michelle Crawford was nervous ahead of Atlanta’s seasonal debut in the $100,000 Miami Valley Distaff. “I think one of the most important races was in Ohio, her first start,” Crawford said. “We had that $100,000 race and we were watching with huge anticipation. We went through a lot of drama in the beginning of the year, she changed trainers and you don’t know how they’re going to start up again as 4-year-olds.” Atlanta extinguished any fears Crawford had with a 7 3/4-length romp in the Distaff May 6. Her first start with Yannick Gingras in the sulky, Atlanta led at every call and extended her advantage from a length at the half to 5 passing the three quarters before stopping the timer in 1:50.4. After the Distaff, Atlanta’s Grand Circuit victories continued to pile up. She took a leg of the Graduate at Woodbine June 1 then captured the elimination and final of the Armbro Flight over the following two weeks. Atlanta returned to the Meadowlands in July to take another Graduate leg and the $250,000 Graduate Final July 6, where she toppled male rival Six Pack in a lifetime best 1:49.1. In her career, Atlanta is 19-for-35 with $1,799,089 earned. Crawford isn’t sure what enables Atlanta to go toe-to-toe with males like Six Pack, but believes her mare by Chapter Seven is simply a standout. “I do know that some of the Chapter Sevens are freaks. I think they’ve shown themselves on the track for the last few years,” Crawford said. “You have Walner, you have Atlanta. There are some significant Chapter Sevens out there. I think when you have filly or mare like this, anything goes.” In addition to her victories, Atlanta finished third (and was placed second by the stewards) in the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity and second in both the elimination and final of the Maple Leaf Trot. In the Maple Leaf Trot final, Atlanta left from post 10 and never saw pylons, tracking the cover of Crystal Fashion throughout. Despite her overland journey, Atlanta tipped off cover and cut into Guardian Angel As’ lead in the stretch, losing by just a half-length in 1:50.4. Crawford felt Atlanta’s defeat was one of her most impressive efforts yet. “Even though she didn’t win the one in Canada, I think she was the best horse in there that day,” Crawford said. After the Maple Leaf Trot, Atlanta recorded a hard-fought head win the Charlie Hill Memorial Trot at Scioto Downs and now looks to add the $1 million Yonkers International Trot to her resume. It’s a race Crawford has become accustomed to watching from the sidelines with dreams of winning. “Who doesn’t have that race on their bucket list? I think there are a few big races I’ve had on my bucket list and the International Trot, obviously we haven’t had anything in there before,” Crawford said. “To have a girl representing the U.S.A., I don’t think it can get better than that. “I’ve watched it before from the Yonkers bleachers and it’s just a really powerful thing when they come out and the flags are flying. It’s an honor to be part of that.” Heading into the Yonkers International Trot Oct. 12, Atlanta hasn’t raced since the Hill Sept. 7. She has one qualifying victory at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sept. 24 and worked out 1 1/4 miles at Yonkers before the races Oct. 1. The break in Atlanta’s racing schedule was by design. “I think that she proved to us that she can do what she needed to do and she had some fabulous wins. I think there is something to be said about treating them at this level like Thoroughbreds,” Crawford said. “Rick always did that last year, he treated her very much that way and it worked well. You don’t need to race her week-in and week-out to keep her ship-shape, I think you need to protect her a little bit. Ronnie has done everything in between the races to keep her up and in shape.” Even with Atlanta’s preparations at home and the qualifier, the workout over the half-mile track with Gingras in the bike was key. Atlanta made her first start as a 2-year-old in New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers July 18, 2017 and she made a break when trotting into the first turn. Her next start at Batavia produced an identical result as Atlanta jumped it off entering the first bend. She hasn’t started on a half since. “I think it was really important since she doesn’t race on a half-mile. Ronnie needed to know up front if he needed to adjust or make any changes,” Crawford said of the Oct. 1 workout, in which Atlanta successfully navigated the Yonkers oval, going 10 furlongs in approximately 2:26. “Yannick was pretty happy with her. I was pretty pleased with the mile,” Crawford said. “I think I would be more nervous if they came out of that training and said, ‘we need to change a whole bunch of things because it wasn’t that easy for her to get around.’ Then I’d be a little bit more nervous. She’s pretty pure-gaited. Given that, it should be a no-brainer for her.” Atlanta drew post position three in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot and will again have Gingras in the sulky. She is the 3-1 morning line favorite. Cruzado Dela Noche seeks a title defense for Sweden and drew post seven in this year’s International, one slot inside of last year’s runner up Lionel of Norway. Denmark’s Slide So Easy also competed last year and returns; he drew post one. Guardian Angel As will also represent the United States and will start from the second tier in post nine. Marion Marauder will make his third appearance in the International representing Canada. European sensations Bahia Quesnot (France, post two), Uza Josselyn (Switzerland, post four), Zacon Gio (Italy, post five), and Norton Commander (Germany, post 10) complete the field. “All of us are hoping she puts her head down and gets out of there and doesn’t look back, doesn’t look left or right, just keeps going,” Crawford said. “It’s hard to say. I can’t predict how the race is going to set up. There are some fabulous horses in there and a lot of those horses like to be parked all of their miles; they have the endurance, so you really don’t know. You have no idea what to expect, but I think Atlanta has proven to everybody that she definitely deserves to be there. “It gives you goosebumps to see the company she’s in and they’re all coming over to the United States for this crazy race.” Atlanta would be the ninth mare to win the International Trot and the first since the race was revived in 2015 after Hannelore Hanover and Ariana G failed to join the ranks of Peace Corps (1991), Kit Lobell (1989), Classical Way (1980), Delmonica Hanover (1973 and 1974), Fresh Yankee (1970), Roquepine (1967 and 1968), and Armbro Flight (1966). Crawford Farms Racing owns Atlanta in partnership with Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor, a group Crawford calls the dream team. The group will be in attendance Saturday to cheer their mare on. “We’ll all be there rooting her on together and I’m really excited about that, too,” Crawford said. “We’ve come a long way and we have a great partnership. It’s just a lot of fun.” The $1 million Yonkers International Trot is slated for Saturday, October 12 at Yonkers Raceway. The card will also feature a pair of $250,000 invitationals, the 1 1/4-mile Harry Harvey Trot and 1-mile Dan Rooney Pace. For more information on the event and its participants, click here. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 6:50 p.m. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Saratoga Springs, NY-- Sam "the Man" King is a happy man. And why shouldn't he be, after all, he just scored a harness racing driving victory at Saratoga Raceway copping a $6,000 CKG Billings Trot with Windsun Missile in a 1:57 clocking. And what made this victory extremely gratifying for the 20 year old was because it was his first lifetime driving victory. When the gate sprung King set sails for the front-end but he ran into a buzz saw in the presence of Muzzys Muscles and driver "Smokin Joe" Faraldo, and it wasn't until the two passed the first stanza in a stiff :28.1 that Faraldo yielded command. Once on top King led his competition by the halfway point in :58. But up the backside Muzzys Muscle began to trot away and at the three quarters he had three lengths on the field, a margin he held all the way to the wire. Royal Surprise , who benefited from a two-hole trip couldn't close the gap in the lane and finished second for Brett "the Kid" Beckwith . Third place went to Someway Same Hall, driven by Tony" Shifty" Ciuffetelli. It was the winners fourth seasonal triumph by the 6-year-old Kadabra gelding. He is owned by Thomas Mc Tygue and trained by Michelle Crawford. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Prominent harness racing owner, breeder and equestriane Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms in Durhamville, New York, was the succefull bidder for top trotting mare, Atlanta, winner of the 2018 Hambletonian and voted the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. The sale took place via the internet on www.OnGait.com. In order to buy out part owner and trainer Rick Zeron, who had received a six month suspension stemming from instances in Canada this past year, Atlanta was put up for auction.  The daughter of Chapter Seven, who has already earned $1,140,000, was started at $500,000 as the opening bid. Over the four-day period the bidding continued to increase. During the final five minutes of the auction, she remained at $1,550,000 until the auction was closed.  "This is a real deal," said Eric Cherry, co-owner of OnGait.com. "The other partners weren't sure how to disolve the ownership of Atlanta. Rick Zeron was speaking to me about it and one of the co-owners, Howard Taylor, has successfully sold a number of horses and that led them to us at OnGait. I understand that at least two or three of the partners wanted out on the horse and Michelle Crawford and Brad Grant wanted to keep the mare. "Once we got the page up," Cherry continued. "I started getting phone call from people wanting to know if this was for real. There were more than 23,000 views on the page. We were able to get a fair value on Atlanta as we have people around the world that were interested in her. Using OnGait.com was perfect for this special sale." Brad Grant then confirmed the deal. "Howard Taylor, Bill Holland (Holland Racing), the Crawfords and myself, we were all in to keep the mare and i thank them all." by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink  

The harness racing industry has the extremely rare opportunity to purchase one of the few fillies to capture the prestigious Hambletonian. Hambletonian champion Atlanta, the first filly to capture the Hambletonian in 22 years with her 2018 victory, won eight races and more than $1 million this past season. The daughter of Chapter Seven - Hemi Blue Chip never finished worse than third as a sophomore, and along with her coveted victory in the Hambo added wins in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, her Breeders Crown elimination, Empire Breeders Classic elimination and final and two New York Sires Stakes events to her resume.   Atlanta will receive the Dan Patch Award as 2018's Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in the U.S on February 23. Atlanta was listed on www.OnGait.com on Tuesday night (February 12) with a starting bid of $500,000. The now four-year-old is entered in an online auction with bids closing Friday, February 15 at 1:00 p.m. According to the listing, Atlanta is "selling to the highest bidder due to a true partnership dispute" with current owners listed as Rick Zeron, Crawford Farms, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant. On January 9, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued Zeron a fine of $10,000 and suspension of 180 days, which he has since appealed. "After a well-deserved vacation, she is back jogging at Sunshine Meadows in South Florida as she prepares for her 2019 campaign," the owner's statement on Atlanta continued. "Staked to the world." From OnGait.com

The United States Harness Writers Association announced today that three outstanding indiviuals in the sport of harness racing will be honored with Dan Patch Awards. Michelle Crawford was voted the "Good Guy" award, journalist Ray Cotolo the Breakthrough Award and photographer Chris Gooden the Unsung Hero Award. Michelle Crawford may not keep quite as unremitting a schedule as Merriman, but she comes very close. An unbridled enthusiastic voice for harness racing, Michelle is foremost the co-operator with her husband Al of Crawford Farms, a midstate New York breeding facility, and his racing component Crawford Farms Racing, always looking to acquire the next big star and improve the overall quality of horses associated with Crawford. One giant step towards that goal in 2018 found Michelle in the winners circle of the sport’s biggest race, the Hambletonian, as a partner on the filly Atlanta, who upended the boys in the classic race for three-year-old trotters and then went on to a million-dollar season, and now looms as potentially a great broodmare. Crawford Racing also is co-owner of Homicide Hunter, whose 1:48.4 mile at Lexington earned him “World’s Fastest Trotter” honors. Michelle is aware of the “bigger picture” in harness racing, reflected in her serving as vice-president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, and especially as a board member of the newly-formed Standardbred Transition Alliance, where she will undoubtedly put into practice on a continental level the well-established programs to take care of former racing and breeding stock that she has established at Crawford. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her one of the more positive forces – a real Good “Guy” -- for the sport. Two other USHWA honorees serve the sport on a communications level, with one of them involved in the chronicling of the sport half his life – and he’s only 19! Ray Cotolo, winner of the Breakthrough Award as an up-and-comer on the non-training-driving side, started accompanying his journalist father Frank to the major races, and swiftly picked up the necessary knowledge to combine with his natural communications skills to become a source of knowledge for the industry and fans in several areas: a podcast called North American Harness Update, a pioneer (2012) project which went “on the road” for the first time in 2018; freelance work, mainly writing, for such important entities as the Hambletonian Society, The Meadowlands, Standardbred Canada, the Woodbine Entertainment Group, and the Red Mile; and as a budding announcer. And Ray is doing all this while enrolled at Elizabethtown (PA) College, as a communications major benefitting from the Harold Snyder Memorial Scholarship Fund of the late on-track television pioneer. Chris Gooden works as the photographer for the racing at The Meadows racetrack, in addition to “regular” jobs his business picks up in his southwestern Pennsylvania area. But what is “Unsung” – and remarkable – about Gooden is the amount of work he does gratis, of his own volition, to keep The Meadows at the forefront of the new forms of “social” communications media (and beyond). Facebook coverage of live racing? Check. Including “live-from-the-bike” camera photography? Double check. Keeping up a high profile on Twitter? Check. And there’s one above and beyond the call of duty. When illness hampered a local horseman’s finances a few months ago, Gooden posted a Facebook notice that he was selling a special photo of Foiled Again – the Bergstein/Proximity winner, and based at Gooden’s “home track” of The Meadows – and would donate the money minus shipping to the beleaguered family. And over $1500 has been raised so far. No fanfare, just results -- that’s why Chris Gooden is an Unsung Hero. Crawford, Cotolo, and Gooden will be honored at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers’ website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Every career and every job has this factor. It is the thing that keeps the job going and keeps the consumer interested. It may be a service or a product. It is the reason people do, people buy, and people watch. Harness racing has many different factors that keep the fans in the stands and the horsemen in the barn. It is the lights and camera at the end of the race, the cheers of the crowd in the grandstand, the anticipation and excitement in the paddock at post time. It is watching with tears and screams of joy as the horse you own or the horse you bet on win. More importantly, it is the animal that makes the sport what it is. The horse that is carefully and slowly trained for days, weeks, months, and years. The horse that is cared for on a 24/7 basis with a specific feeding schedule, training regimen, and equipment list. Each horse is treated and cared for individually. The sport of horse racing is plagued by stereotypes that depict the game to be inhumane and cruel. Rumors and lies are spread that convey the sport as abusive to the animal. The uninformed believe the bits and the equipment, the driver and the whip, the stall and the gates, and more are harmful to the wellbeing of the horse. The purpose of each of these and the behind the scenes in the barn is seemingly only known to those who have actually experienced it and lived it. The bit fits comfortably in the mouth where it does not make contact with the teeth. It is used for steering and control. Each piece of equipment is specific to the horse to ensure safety in the race. At a young age, these horses are trained to become accustomed to their harness and equipment. Trainers work slowly with them so that they understand their job and so that they are ready and fit to race. The whip that the driver uses is hit against the numbered saddle pad that the horse wears producing a sound, not pain. The stall a horse sits in is reasonably sized for the animal. It is for the protection and safety of the horse. There is a reason for everything that horsemen do – the only solid and most commonly shared reason is that these are here for the safety of everyone involved (horse, trainer, driver) and for the comfort of the horse. Horses are beasts of power and strength. They are capable of enduring long distances at fast speeds or short distances at even faster speeds. They run courses, go over jumps, race around barrels, and more. They are equally as intelligent as athletic. They have the ability to communicate through movement. Their ears, their eyes, and their nose communicate specific emotions. A simple gesture of the ears forward or back to indicate whether or not best to stay away or come close. The eyes moving directionally or as a retaliation of fear or anger when white. The nose flaring due to activity and motion or fear. They cannot verbally communicate with us but we have the ability to understand them. Harness race horses are individually cared for in the sport. Horsemen do what it takes to adjust them to their stable and their routine. Horsemen understand the personalities and quirks of these animals. They know what the horse’s favorite treat is, whether or not the horse likes a certain grain, how much water they drink, or what allergies they may have. They find the right equipment, right shoes, and right medicine. And, when it is time, they find the right home for the horse after their racing careers have come to an end. These horses power our sport and they have had a significant mark in history while continuing to write it. They are our horses, our pets, our family. No matter if they are a trainer or owner or groom, horsemen do what it takes to ensure the comfort and safety of their horses and a forever home after racing. Hyperion Hanover, now a 15-year-old pacing bay gelding, out of Cam Luck and Hattie. As a two-year-old, Hyperion was purchased out of the Harrisburg sale for $75,000. The trainer lightly raced him and put him back in the sale. Trainer-driver Jim McDonald purchased the colt for $5,500 for SSG Stable. He was shipped to Florida and retrained as 3-year-old. He was a stubborn horse with no good work ethic, according to McDonald. He was schooled multiple times and qualified three times. They started him five times with two wins, one in 54 and last quarter in 27.3 with driver Wally Hennessey. He was shipped to Rob Fellows in Ontario and won his first sire stake in 52. Then, he was shipped to Rod Hennessey in Western Canada where he won the Western Canada Pacing Derby. He made $300,000 as a three-year-old. He continued in Ontario and became an open pacer for another year. He went back to Jim McDonald in Florida and was given the winter off then, qualified, and sent back to Ontario. Once again with Fellows, he won in 1:50 flat. Until 2012, Hyperion continued to be a preferred type horse. He was shipped back to Florida and campaigned with the Open Pace for two more years. At age 12, he began to lose stamina and paced in only 53 and change. Owner Ed James decided rather than putting the horse in a claiming race and continuing to race him, he would retire at age 12. He was turned out in a two-acre paddock at a farm in Florida - Smiley Farms owned by Gary and Caroline Smiley. That farm was sold three years later so the Smiley couple called James and asked him to find the horse a new home. Ed James decided to put him on a truck to a facility in Canada that James is familiar with and has brood mares at already. He paid $1,500 to ship him from Florida to Canada for his new and forever home at Killean Acres in Ingrasall, Ontario. Hyperion Hanover was turned out with other horses upon arriving, the farm owners being wary of how he would act with the others. Within ten minutes he had found himself a buddy. He was never made into a riding horse because of his disposition and because the owners felt he earned his right to retirement. Overall, Hyperion Hanover had 301 lifetime starts (52 wins, 49 seconds, 42 thirds) and over $1.2 million in earnings lifetime with a record of 49.1. Ed James is the owner of Hyperion Hanover and the owner of SSG Gloves and Glasses. He has been involved in harness racing throughout his life, mostly as an owner. He was very active in the Ontario program and is the owner of McWicked. He contributes to the USTA retirement fund and is active in post-racing. He is also supportive in other equine facilities, including the hunter-jumper divisions in West Palm Beach. If a rider is wearing SSG gloves when they win a category in the show, he donates a set amount of money to a charity. A horse with a solid record and an owner with a well-known business, SSG Gloves and Glasses. Despite the large cost to transport the horse from Florida to Canada, Ed James was willing to do whatever it took to bring the horse to his retirement home. Five years ago, Michelle Crawford built her retirement farm. She built it for her love of the horses and great interest in developing a good life after racing for them. “It became this fire in the belly to just make sure they went to good homes,” she said. Michelle has a history of working as an advocate for rescuing and rehoming Standardbreds, including in the involvement of retiring racehorses. She has worked with Standardbred Retirement Foundation and has helped rescuing tons of horses. She had already had some retirees and a breeding farm, but expanded to build the retirement farm. A thousand acres and beautiful facilities that would be forever homes to numerous horses. She has 35 current retirees at her farm, including retired broodmares. It depends on the age, if the horse is young enough and has potential if it is either sold or moved to the retirement farm. “The hardest part is that some of these horses still have purpose, more than to just stand in a field for their lives. Especially, if they are young, but if there isn’t a better option for a better home, it is better they stay in place.” There are Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds at her farm, some that may be broke to ride in the near future with the help of a local woman. Michelle Crawford purchased Fifty Shades Darker as a yearling. He had gotten an injury to his foot that his first trainer rehabbed, but was unsuccessful in getting him back going again. He was finally good enough to be able to race again. The decision was now to race him up and down in the conditions or put him into a claimer. The trainer suggested putting him into a claimer, under the impression that no one would claim the colt. The first race in a claimer and he was claimed. “It broke my heart. I waited a year and a half after that hoping to get the horse back, but he wasn’t in a claimer,” Crawford said. “I watched every race and finally, he was in to go in a claimer at Pocono Downs. I didn’t know anyone there to claim him, but got in contact with trainer Chris Oakes to claim him so I could just retire him.” Chris Oakes convinced Michelle to allow him to try to race him which resulted in winning the first four starts. He made too much money and was back to square one with the decision to jam into the conditions or be put into a claimer again. The decision was made to retire him. He now lives in a paddock with a Clydesdale and four old broodmares. “Everybody loves him. They can just jump on his back. He is just a lovable and wonderful horse. A treat hog and a carrot hog. He was just one of those horses with this distinctive brow line that really set him apart. I just loved him so much and wanted him back for retirement,” Michelle said. Crawford also retired Classic Conway, a horse that she was able to watch being born. It was her “first child coming into this business”. She kept the trotting gelding from birth to retirement, where he now resides at her retirement farm. He is now a nine-year-old pasture mate to other horses at her farm. According to Michelle, Classic Conway had this special personality. He would hear her voice and come running. “He knows he is special,” she said. He won a lot of sire stakes as a two-year-old and had a lot of potential. In his three-year-old year, he hurt himself. Michelle began to nurse him back to health. He was trailered to Morrisville for the spa and towed on the grass for soft footing. He came back and won the final that year. Classic Conway was later retired due to a suspensory. He was and is Michelle’s most special horse with Fifty Shades Darker being right behind him. One horse that could continue racing and one that could not share a great life after racing on the same farm. “I am a huge, professional corporate, but found a place in the horse world to serve a purpose. I want to leave a legacy in making a difference to help animals and to save the Standardbreds or any horse. I hope that we can stop slaughter. I’ve made it my mission to gather troops to promote and do right by the industry and help in the after-racing world.” Michelle was introduced into the business 11 years ago after meeting her husband. She has an owners license and a breeding farm and now, retirement farm. Her farms have 80 broodmares, their 80th mare just being bred and 300 horses of babies, yearlings, and more. She is also a proud owner of Atlanta, the recent Hambletonian winner. Casie Coleman is currently an owner-trainer and former driver in the harness racing business. She was born and raised into it and she says it is all she has ever done. At just the age of 38, her lifetime stats include earning just under 60 million and over 2,000 wins. She has won Canada’s trainer of the year five times. Coleman claimed Our Lucky Killean (“Luck Dog”) when he was three years old out of an allowance claimer that went for $60,000. The pacing bay gelding went on to make over a million dollars in purse money, winning the Molson Pace, Des Smith Classic Pace, and other open events. “He had a mind of his own, a hundred percent,” Coleman said. “He was the boss. If things weren’t done his way or if we fought it, he would tie up easily or just get sour and race poorly.” “When you would walk him to the race track hooked to the jogger, he had days that it would take nearly an hour because he would just stand still, watching the other horses jog by. He wouldn’t move until he was ready to. “Other times he would literally go backwards in the jog cart. One time, he took me up a large hill and tried going backwards. I did my best not to tip over the jog cart!” Casie Coleman retired the gelding when he was ten years old. He was still sound and in great shape, but just wasn’t performing the way he used to. “I didn’t want to cheapen him and I didn’t want him in a claimer,” she said. She found a home with a friend of hers, Jennifer Connor, who worked for Blue Chip Farms at the time. He is now 17 years old and she still has him. “He has an amazing home. I don’t even want to know what stall rent is at the barn he is at, it is gorgeous.” Connor shows “Luck Dog” at Standardbred shows. Coleman found this new and wonderful home with the help of sharing a post about her search on Facebook. Jennifer contacted Casie expressing great interest for the horse. “I knew she would give him this unreal home, so I sent him out to New York,” she said. “He lives like a king now.” Casie is able to see him every him every once in a while, when she is in the area in New York. “Lucky, as I call him, or Luck Dog as Casie calls him is one of the classiest horses I have ever had the privilege to be around,” Jennifer Connor said. “He walked into the indoor arena the day after he arrived and I was able to get right on him. He marched around the arena like he had been doing it his whole life. And he never looked at any of the jumps that were scattered around the arena. “He exudes confidence. He has never refused anything that I have asked of him. He has shown in-hand, under saddle, jumped, been driven, hunter paced, recently went on a camping trip, and was part of a commercial shoot for Chase Bank at Blue Chip Farms. “I love this horse so much. He would jump a table if I asked him to. He walks, trots, and has a pretty decent canter for a pacer. He likes to work and prefers to be stabled with all the amenities like a fan in the summer. He’s always professional. He might not be the most affectionate horse, but he tolerates a lot!” she said. Jennifer Connor grew up in harness racing. She showed jumpers and equitation in most of her childhood. She attended University of South Carolina and rode on the NCAA Division I Team. Lucky is the first Standardbred she has ever retrained for a second career. “He is by far the easiest horse I have trained!” Casie Coleman contributes to retired race horse charities and funds. She even, recently, discovered one of her former horses that she hadn’t owned for years, Rudy the Rock, was located at a slaughter house. She contacted them and sent $1,200 to bail him out. He was rescued and given to Go and Play Stables. Our Lucky Killean is one of many horses Casie Coleman has retired. “Way too many to remember them all,” she said. “I always try to find good homes for them.” Michelle Crawford and Casie Coleman have high profile stables in the racing business. They have done whatever it takes to help provide current and former racehorses with forever homes. Owner-driver-trainer John Hallett and owner-trainer Michelle Hallett are New York and Florida horsemen and, also, my parents. They have both been in the business throughout their entire lives. They began their stable, Hallett Racing Stable, in 1991 and have since raced along the East Coast, more recently out of their stables in Tioga Downs and Pompano Park. Typical New Yorker was short in stature with a thick build. He had a black coat with a small white star in the center of his face. He earned his name as he was a “typical New Yorker”. Across the Tappan Zee bridge, the population of New York City is riddled with the stereotype that they have this overly pompous attitude. They are home to the Bravest and the Finest. New York City is the Big Apple, the land of dreams. The skyscrapers are big, the personalities are big, the attitudes are bigger. If you have ever had the pleasure of traveling across into the city, you understand where all of these notions originate. New York City has definitely earned their title and respect. It is a big and beautiful city. Yet, it is shaded by those ideas that they are better than everyone. A “look at me” attitude surrounded by the fact that they must be the center of the world. Typical New Yorker was nothing short of that. He was small but captured the attention of everyone around him. His name earned him multiple features in Justin Horowitz’s filming of ‘Inside Harness Racing’. If you ever looked into the eyes of this two-year-old colt, you would’ve seen the attitude just flourishing within. His eyes pointed like daggers at everyone around him; except, of course, in the face of a camera or in the presence of Michelle Hallett. New Yorker was her pride and joy. He was spoiled from day one. Of course, all of our horses are spoiled with treats and toys and more; but, this one was different from the start. He had reined her in with his demeanor. He was fed pudding and more. His favorite flavor was Butterscotch. He would eat anything put in front of him. He was extra spoiled when one of his owners, Roger Doire, brought him oranges. He even had a special “New Yorker” lead chain that him and him only could use. John Hallett purchased the yearling out of the Harrisburg Sale in November of 2009. John and Michelle began breaking him to race, trained him, qualified him, and then entered him into the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) once he reached the age of two-years-old in the summer of 2010. He won his first five sire stakes races in a row as a two-year-old. “He was a tough little bugger – fat, but definitely had a lot of heart and strength,” John said. “He was a tough guy until he saw a bird – white birds particularly. He was a perfect gentleman to jog or walk, but once one of those white birds flew by or landed, he was gone. He would take off and throw himself. He was funny like that,” Michelle said. Typical New Yorker was still able to race, but John and Michelle Hallett along with partner Michelle Oglesby agreed that retiring the ten-year-old would be the most beneficial option for the horse, avoiding the possibility that the horse reinjures his leg. He was retired at Tradewinds Park Stables as a trail riding horse for the staff and public. I remember the first time I tried to ride him and, with his attitude, he tried to throw me off. He was, however, a barn favorite at Tradewinds and very well-mannered to ride and go on the trails. “We chose this farm because it was a beautiful facility with practically all-day turn out with a few hours of ‘work’ time as a trail horse. Other Standardbreds were here as well and we knew workers and volunteers at the farm. However, it was the hardest decision to make. It was an easy decision to make to retire him, but so hard to watch him leave.,” Michelle said. From about eight in the morning to four in the afternoon, the horses are pulled from their turnout paddocks and moved into their stalls. They only go on one or two rides on the trail per day, depending on the day. Then, they are moved back to their fields where they spend the rest of the day and night. Their life is easy and comfortable. They have other Standardbreds at the facility. Whenever they have an open stall, they love to get retired Standardbreds due to the ease of transition into saddle. John and Michelle Hallett have shared a lifetime in the business. Michelle Hallett was born into the business with her parents being trainers Bruce and Linda Aldrich. Her brother, Bruce Aldrich, Jr. is a racehorse driver in the tracks of New York. John Hallett was introduced into the racing world at six-years-old and continued throughout his life working for various trainers, primarily Wally Hennessey, until creating his own stable with Michelle. They have two kids, Jonathan (John) Hallett and Jessica Hallett (me). They are currently training this summer at Tioga Downs. Typical New Yorker is just one of numerous race horses they have retired to happy and forever homes. Bruce Aldrich, Sr. is a lifetime horseman in the harness racing business. Since the beginning of his journey into the racing world and the beginning of his stable, he has seen and trained many horses. Of all the horses that every horseman has come across in Standardbred racing in general, there are always the select few being the favorites. For Aldrich, it was the trotting colt named Samsawinner. Samsawinner is a 12-year-old trotting gelding. Throughout his career, the horse had 62 wins with a record of 56. The gelding has always been a goofball with a special kind of personality, according to Aldrich. When he was turned out in the paddock at the top of the hill at Monticello Raceway, he was hard to catch. He would swerve and bounce out of reach to avoid being caught. He thought he was funny. Sam wasn’t racing to par, unable to go anymore, and would be forced into a claiming race, so instead he was retired. He is now at a farm in upstate New York living the pasture life. He had a good card with a lot of wins and a lot of money made. Owner Woody Hoblitzell agreed to retire the colt. Bruce Aldrich, Sr. started in the business when he was 12 years old when he cleaned stalls for Bob Tisbert. He has worked and trained for numerous stables in his career, include Carl Allen and Mickey McNichol among others. He has had his own stable as well for many years. He has trained for Woody Hoblitzell for over 20 years. Samsawinner is his first retired horse. Cheri Clarke and her husband, trainer Edgar (Sparky) Clarke, trained racehorse No Monkeys Allowed. “It’s quite humorous don’t you think? Not your typical tough, regal racehorse name and not your typical racehorse,” Cheri Clarke said. No Monkeys Allowed was originally named Issuer Blue Chip. “Someone must have seen his playful attitude and legally changed it to something to fit his personality,” Cheri joked. They got him at the age of four in 2011 for owner Robert Orr of Deerfield Beach, FL and took a career record the following year of 1:50.3 at Vernon Downs. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding with earnings of $358,624 lifetime was retired at age 11. No Monkeys Allowed, or “Monkey”, was very fat, according to Cheri as well as what other people have told her, too. He ate very well and always knew when treat time and lunch time was. “If you are headed to the paddock and it generally takes about ten minutes to get up there, give yourself 20 with Monkey,” said Cheri. He was a very nosy horse and needed time to stop and look around as they would walk to the paddock. He also had this personality that he would just know when to behave, when to stay calm, when he could get away with acting up, and then when to be a racehorse. He would let you know with his eyes if something was not right. Yet, nothing bothered him. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He was just calm and collected. The Clarkes favorite memory of Monkey was pacing in 49 and finishing second in Vernon. As time went on and Monkey got older, as all things do, his pace grew slower. Instead of putting the gelding in a claiming race, they decided to search for a new home, a new life after racing. They checked local farms with no luck due to no space available. Finally, they discovered a horseman with connections in need of a horse for trail riding. Putting the horse in a claimer and if he had been claimed would have led Cheri to wonder and worry. When any horse is claimed, especially a barn favorite, every horseman agrees to just have this thought in the back of their mind, wondering how they are doing or how they are being treated, what is going on in their new lives, where they are. With the home Cheri and Sparky found, there was no worry or wonder. They are updated regularly with pictures and stories. He is a really good riding horse and goes out on trail rides on his own or with other horses just fine. His new home was on a farm in Texas. “Although my career is short by most standards of horsemen, my husband grew up in the business with his brother, Bruce. He has had 1,500 wins and $6.3 million in purse earnings. His father, Roy (Rod) Clarke, was a predominate trainer in the Maritime provinces of Canada,” said Cheri. Sparky and Cheri are currently training at Tioga Downs for the summer and in the winter, Pompano Park. No Monkeys Allowed is their first retired horse. My Sweet Mandy was racing in her two- and three-year-old years when she was discovered by Mandy Lareau. “I wanted her and I followed her through her early years of racing. She was not a claimer, though. “I had family in the grandstand at Tioga Downs at one point and they saw this mare and her name in the race and knew I should have her. “It was a dream for me to have this horse, to get her. She shared my name and I have always wanted a grey horse,” Mandy said. The grey pacing mare was put into an auction in Delaware where Gaston and Mandy Lareau had planned to buy her, but was later taken out. She was moved to Florida where she was entered into a claiming race for her first start and claimed by the Lareau Stable. They kept her for three years until she injured her foot. The veterinarian had said it was an infection and that the horse would need to be put down, a definite no by Mandy Lareau. Four months were put into rehabilitation by Mandy. The mare was able to be brought back to the track again. Yet, the Lareau’s decided to retire her to avoid re-injury to the foot. They started by talking to Laurie Poulin for turnout at her farm. After some time, the final decision was made and now, at eight-years-old, she is a broodmare at Poulin’s farm in Florida. “She’s a sweetheart. I think she will be a great mother. She has taken care of an orphan baby at Laurie’s farm already. She just has a great personality,” said Mandy. Every horse has their own personality. Their own quirks and traits that make them individual and unique. No different than people, they have this character that makes them, them. According to Mandy, the mare has the greatest personality, just her own personality. She didn’t like anything tough on her. No lead chain over the nose. She would kick and squeal when you put the harness on. She was bad to jog. She loved treats. She didn’t wear any equipment at all, didn’t like it. The less equipment the better she would race. She would fight you to race. The easier you were on her, the better she was to you. She had a record of 53. She was a good race horse. She is good to people she is used to. She did not connect with certain people, but, according to Mandy, she loves Laurie Poulin’s granddaughter. At Tioga Downs, My Sweet Mandy was in the first stall. But, at Pompano Park, she took the second stall so that, as Mandy worked on the cross ties, the mare could play with her. If Mandy was put on the trailer second, she would not go on. She was spoiled and loved attention. She always got her way. If you showed her the lead chain she would talk. “In a way, she was like me. I wanted to be like her. She was a free spirit and just happy all the time. “My Sweet Mandy was just a joy. I loved seeing her in the morning. It would make me smile and I miss her, but I know she is in a better place now at Laurie’s farm,” said Mandy. Gaston and Mandy Lareau have each been a part of the business for over forty years. Gaston has owned, trained, and driven. “He is a horseman who loves horses and tries to figure them out, a real horseman,” according to Mandy. They have been together for thirty-eight years. “When he says something, I already know what he’s going to say.” My Sweet Mandy is their first retired horse. Typical New Yorker, Samsawinner, No Monkeys Allowed, and My Sweet Mandy were equally alike in being the barn pets and favorites for the Hallett, Aldrich, Clarke, and Lareau Racing Stables. John and Michelle Hallett; Bruce Aldrich, Sr.; Sparky and Cheri Clarke; and Mandy and Gaston Lareau did whatever it took to bring their cherished babies to a happy and forever home. Michelle MacDougall, D.V.M., is an active advocate in the race to helping find racehorses homes after retirement. She has helped place horses and has been a member on the board of Futures for Standardbreds. She has had quite a few of her own horses that she had placed in forever homes as well. Handleyourscandal is a ten-year-old mare that was retired from racing due to breathing complications while racing. Since retirement, she has foaled three, but was not being bred for the 2018 season. “In early March of 2018, I learned about a good friend, Laurie Poulin, losing her mare shortly after foaling. “I had Scandal at the farm and was not planning on breeding her this season, so I offered to try inducing lactation. Despite cautious optimism from a colleague, he provided a protocol and Scandal was able to produce milk in only four days,” said Doc MacDougall. On March 7th, Scandal was introduced to her foster filly and there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. “A few nickers back and forth and the filly immediately latched on and successfully nursed,” Doc MacDougall said. “Laurie sent a video of the moment and I actually shed a happy tear or two.” Since then, there hasn’t been a single awkward moment, according to Michelle. The two are inseparable and have joined the broodmare herd. “There are even reports that Scandal has adopted a second colt in the field. Apparently, he prefers to spend time with her rather than her birth mother and Scandal happily nurses both fosters as if they are her own. She is such a wonderful mare.” Michelle MacDougall has also had six other retired horses – Handle My Scandal (4, P, Bay, Mare – $1,830 – Retired 2017), Overseer NZ (15, P, Bay Gelding – $125,296, 1:52.0F – Retired 2013), Twin B Flirt (8, P, Bay, Gelding – $121,080, 1:52.1M – Retired 2017), Surprise Ending (18, P, Bay, Mare – $107,734, 1:54.4 – Retired 2010), Gilbralter (18, T, Bay, Gelding – $129,598, 1:55.3F – Retired 2012), Glors Boy (18, P, Bay, Gelding – $623,421, 1:50.4M – Retired 2012), and To The Point (12, P, Bay, Mare – $80,447, 1:53.0Z – Retired 2012). Handle My Scandal (“Ms. Piggy”) was bred by Michelle MacDougall. A full body scan at the age of two revealed a microfracture in both knees and left tibia and so, the mare did not make the races. Despite the injuries, the only symptom was getting rolly and making breaks at speed in the turns. She was given time off and restarted in her three-year-old year. Another full body scan influenced Michelle to retire the mare. She is now in Maine. She participated in a youth program and graduated and was adopted by one of the youth program kids. Overseer NZ (“Lou”) was a talented racehorse whose career was cut short from a soft tissue injury, according to Michelle. She rehabbed him for over a year before breaking him to ride in the winter of 2014. Michelle set her sights on endurance riding and he was the perfect mount. “He was small, light on his feet, quick, nimble, and would rack and canter when asked,” she said. An injury to Michelle prevented her from participating in her endurance debut, despite tirelessly training Lou. He now serves as “Uncle Lou” in her breeding program where Michelle weans foals from their mothers into the paddock with him. He has raised four years of weanlings for her. Twin B Flirt (“Flirt”) suffered two separate soft tissue injuries. According to Michelle, during her time racing the colt, he was a significantly fun-loving, happy horse with all kinds of spunk and play. He had successful rehabilitation, yet the decision was made to retire him when he faced a Lasix reaction. Michelle decided that best for his health would be to retire him. He is now in a home with a novice reins man, Keith Gordon, president of Blue Star Equiculture that provides home and sanctuary to draft horses at the end of their careers. Flirt enjoys a life of pleasure driving around the farm in Massachusetts; although, at first, Michelle had warned him that driving a draft horse versus a Standardbred is the difference between a Mack Truck and a Maserati. Surprise Ending (“Prize”) suffered a slab fracture in both knees as a 3-year-old, but successfully continued racing for many more years. She was retired when the aches and pains were taking too long to recover after a race. She had a great attitude for life so Michelle decided a second career as a pleasure horse would fit her well. She has been broke to ride and spends many hours pleasure driving down the carriage paths of Arcadia National Park with now owner, Barbara Pretorious. Gibralter (“G-Money”) was a hard-hitting horse with a huge desire to race, but unfortunately was plagued with poor conformation which caused him to interfere at speed one the aches and pains of being an aged racehorse changed his gait. Changing track sizes did not help so the horse was retired. Michelle broke him to ride in 2012 and kept him for two years as a trail horse, riding through the Ocala National Forest. She offered him to New Vocations for placement. He now participates in 25- and 50-mile endurance rides with his new owner. Glors Boy was an incredibly successful racehorse who participated in and won some of the most prestigious races in harness racing. He was well-deserving of a great life after racing and was retired in 2012 as a riding horse for Michelle. She rode him for the next three years through the Ocala National Forest during her winters in Florida. In 2015, she contacted Futures for Standardbreds and Robyn Cuffey to find anyone interested in a “husband horse” because he was so good at being babysitter on the trails. He was placed in a home in the spring of 2015 and even showed and won in a local dressage competition with his new owner. He is now shared as both a trail and show horse throughout southern Maine. To the Point (“Big”) was a super talented free-legged pacer, but was plagued with lameness issues throughout her career. From a young age, she suffered from progressive white line disease and often required significant breaks from racing to allow the hoof to grow out properly. In 2012, she was retired to Michelle’s broodmare program, but, unfortunately, could not carry a foal to term so Michelle broke her to ride. She played around with her in the Ocala National Forest until 2015, when she was donated to Robyn Cuffey to become part of a competitive driving herd. Big was perfect as a singles driving horse, but was unable to relax in the pair due to her competitive nature. She was adopted as a companion to Glors Boy. Doc MacDougall is also a participating member of Racing Under Saddle (the R.U.S) as well as a competitor in the New Jersey National Standardbred Horse Show. She has trained horses to ride under saddle for the RUS and in dressage, hunt-seat, and more for the horse show. Michelle MacDougall, D.V.M., plays an important role in life after racing for harness horses. She has placed her own horses as well as others, contributed as a member of societies for placement, and has trained horses for the transition into new careers after racing. We will be competing alongside each other at the National Standardbred Horse Show in New Jersey at the end of this summer. It is a large venue that gives the opportunity to showcase the talent and flexibility of the Standardbred. It features the transition from harness and race bike to saddle and show ring. From dressage to hunt-seat to jumping, these horses can do it all. Their handlers and trainers do what it takes to ease a transition into a post-racing career. Twelve-year-old trotting gelding Red Victor was claimed to a stable that Rebecca Segal worked for six years ago, at the age of six. During this ownership, the chestnut broke down, taking a year and a half to get back going. Once he was ready to race again, the owner died, causing the horse to be put into the sale. Segal bought the eight-year-old out of the sale and has kept him ever since. She spent six months bringing him back to race ready and qualified him, where he won. “It was the most exciting part of owning him and my favorite memory that he was able to come back after all that time,” Segal said. He was very full of life, according to Rebecca. He had quite the personality, very loving and just cool. “Once the cart was on, he would rear up and just be ready to go,” she said. He didn’t race much and eventually stopped racing due to a broken bone. They were told they would have to put him down. When it came time to actually having to do it, he was moved to the house of a veterinarian and then to another place to actually help him get better. Rebecca got the horse back six months later and has kept him ever since. He travels with her; wherever she goes, he goes. Keeping a retired horse is not entirely cost effective for a groom. Rebecca ensures to keep the utmost comfort for the horse; maintaining up-to-date shoeing, vaccinations, and more. She finds a local farm, within 20 minutes of her at most, where she can board him while she works at the track, from Batavia to Buffalo to Tioga to Pompano. Rebecca finds the farms based off of good references and people that she knows and trusts. She is very specific of where she keeps him and the farm needs to match her views on good horse care, because everyone has their own style and way of doing things. “It is important to me that he has a good life being retired. I have been lucky to have been able to find people that are willing to help us. We have been able to find deals on boarding and shoeing and more that really help us out a lot,” Rebecca said. Rebecca Segal was born into the business and has been in it for all 27 years of her life. Her family is also involved in the harness racing business. She is a groom at Tioga Downs this summer and in Pompano Park in the winter. She just got her owners and trainers license. Red Victor is her first retired horse and she has done whatever it took to keep him comfortable and close-by. His new life involves traveling and a career in casual or pleasure horseback riding on the farm. Regardless if you are a groom, trainer, owner, veterinarian, or anything else, we take care of our horses, our pets, our family.  There are options for racehorses after retirement. From being a trail riding horse to a show horse or a driving horse to a pasture mate, broodmare, or stud, our racehorses have a wide spectrum of opportunity for life after racing. They can be easily broke to ride and are very adaptable to a new environment. Every horse has their own personality, quirks, and traits that make them special, that make them who they are. We, as horsemen, have our favorites. We have small stables and big stables, one horse to a full farm. We are all unique in the way we care for our horses. From the time of day we feed to how we train to how we schedule a race night in the paddock, we all have our own way. But, one thing is for sure, and that is how we treat our horses and that is in the best way possible. We make sure they are comfortable. We show up seven days a week and give them all the attention and care they need. The best part of racing happens behind the scenes. It is when the horseman puts in all the time and effort and does what it takes to keep the animal happy and safe. These horses may or may not be able to continue racing; yet, regardless, their owners and trainers take the time to make the best decision for them whether it be to continue or to sell or to retire. These are only a few of the examples of life after racing and horsemen doing what it takes to give them a forever and happy home for life. by Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (September 13) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Montrell Teague, driver of Lather Up; Blake Macintosh, trainer of Courtly Choice; Darin Gagne, the track announcer at Running Aces Casino and Racetrack; Michelle Crawford, the new owner of Wes Delight and Jeremy Smith, who recently scored his 2,000th career win. Teague, driver of Lather Up, will discuss the great Ohio Sire Stakes Champion that will step up once again to face the top three-year-olds. Teague, who drove 2016 Little Brown Jug champion Wiggle It Jiggleit, will discuss his chances and how he feels Lather Up will be able to handle the heats in Delaware, Ohio. Macintosh, trainer of Courtly Choice, told the USTA's Ken Weingartner on Tuesday "we'll head to the Jug next" week. We will discuss how he feels the colt has been training leading up to the race and how he thinks he will handle the heats next Thursday. Courtly Choice paid a $45,000 supplemental entry fee. The Running Aces segment with track announcer Darin Gagne returns this week to talk about the happenings at the Minnesota track. Gagne will highlight some of the big events coming up and recap last week's events. Crawford, the new owner of Wes Delight, will talk about their recent purchase as they get ready for Delaware, Ohio. The Crawford's had another colt, Winston, staked to the Jug, but weren't sure that he was ready to make the lead. So they invested in Wes Delight who has made over $300,000 in 2018. Crawford will talk about their past Jug experiences and what draws them into the excitement of the race. Smith, who recently scored his 2,000th win, will join the program to talk about his milestone victory.  He will talk about his career so far and discuss where his career may be headed going forward. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

Monte activity is heating up for the summer season in Ontario and the US. Yesterday at Clinton Raceway there were two monte pari-mutuel contests on the ten race harness racing card. The first, for a purse of C$3,000, went to Celebrity Legacy (10g Windsong’s Legacy-B Cor Tamara-Dream Of Glory) for Alex Marion. This one scored in 2:04h after being placed first through a disqualification. The second event, for C$4,000, went to Southwind Alice (5f Muscle Hill-Accountability-Pine Chip) with Evelyn Harms aboard, timed in 2:03.4h. This winner took a similar monte event on June 4 at Kawartha for a purse of C$4,000. Replay link. Matinee and qualifying action is underway in the US. On June 19, at Goshen Historic Track, a matinee test went to Admirable Hanover (9g Cantab Hall-Almost An Angel-Crowning Point) for trainer/jockey Vanessa Karlewicz clocked in 2:15k. The prior Sunday at Goshen, Sing Out (8g Malabar Man-Some Where My Love-Lindy Lane) recorded a 2:05.1h victory with Michelle Crawford in the irons for trainer Kyle Spagnola. At Gaitway on June 13 Hiway Marcus (5g Gut Instinct-Highway Angel-Prince Pine) scored in 2:01.3 for Maria Buchanan and trainer Ron Burke. At Vernon on June 10 Funny Photo (7m Classic Photo-American Jean-American Winner) return to his RUS specialty with a 2:02.3s win. Sophie Engerran was the pilot for trainer Kimberly Gilmar-Daios. On June 17 at Vernon Jeanie Marie (9f Famously-Vite Vite Kosmos-Lindy Lane) won a RUS qua spin in 2:02s with a swift :29.3 final panel with Heather Reese aboard for trainer Jennifer Sansone. Monteamerica.com Thomas H. Hicks

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (December 23, 2014) - Crawford Farms, a leading New York-based breeding operation, and Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment have agreed to a three-year sponsorship deal that will make Crawford Farms the title sponsor of the Meadowlands Pace through 2017. Crawford Farms served as a major sponsor of "The Pace" in 2014. "We have made a long term commitment, which the industry needs, to the Meadowlands and the Meadowlands Pace and we are ecstatic that this race is held at a venue like no other in the sport," said Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms. "It is a dream come true to be able to sponsor one of the biggest events in harness racing and to be able to bring people to a state of the art entertainment facility with top restaurants and clubs." The Meadowlands Pace has been held annually since 1977, when Escort won the inaugural edition. He's Watching won the 2014 Pace in a record time of 1:46.4. "We are grateful to Crawford Farms for stepping up to the plate and partnering with us to help promote the Meadowlands Pace for the next three years," said Jason M. Settlemoir, CEO/GM of Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment. "The Crawfords continue to make a major investment in harness racing that is paramount to the long-term success of the entire industry." Crawford added: "We strongly believe that regardless of your level of participation in this amazing sport, everyone on every level from owners to trainers to drivers need to step up and contribute their time and money to the sport that pays them back so it stays alive with passion and is able to thrive for years to come." Live racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.PlayMeadowlands.com. ABOUT CRAWFORD FARMS Crawford Farms is a family-owned and operated farm since 1966. The farm is located on more than 100 acres in Durhamville, NY. In the recent years Albert & Michelle Crawford have greatly improved and expanded the Crawford Farms facility to include approximately 55 broodmares, more than two dozen racing horses, state of the art breeding/foaling facilities, plush pastures, a retirement paddock, and a half mile trotting track. Visit Crawford Farms online at www.crawfordfarms.com. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

Monticello, NY--Few harness racing horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms of Durhamville, New York.   From the second-story Crawford Farms mural at The Meadowlands to the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet where the water trucks proudly displayed the farm’s iconic insignia, racing fans are constantly reminded of the dynamic duo’s substantial commitment to the sport.  Evident across multiple digital platforms, the Crawford’s are very active on social media and have produced and broadcast several TV commercials during key, nationally televised harness races, including the Hambletonian.   Driven by a passion for the sport, and a desire to help harness racing prosper, the Crawford’s have sponsored this season’s Meadowlands Pace, Kindergarten Classic, Crawford Farms Trot and the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet.  In addition to vast purse support, they have recently completed a state-of-the-art equine therapeutic spa, 40-stall barn, and an 8-stall horse exerciser at their central New York breeding & racing operation.   For their considerable investment in the future of the Standardbred and support of harness racing and breeding in the state of New York, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has awarded Crawford Farms their annual Excelsior Award.   The award will be presented on Nov. 16 at the chapter’s 56th annual awards banquet.  Somewhat surprised when they learned of the award, Michelle and Albert Crawford were humbled by the honor.   “We love this business, and we are very pleased that someone has noticed and appreciated our efforts” noted Albert, son of the late Jim Crawford who was the affable former president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State.    “My wife and I are committed to breeding top horses in New York State and supporting the industry in the process.  We know that it is a considerable challenge, but we are rolling up our sleeves and eager to do the work!”   Michelle, the spark that energizes much of the daily operations added, “Every day that I am on our farm I am amazed at the work ethic and dedication that our staff contribute to our vision.  Whether we are breeding, foaling, weaning or performing racehorse rehab, they always give 110%, and for that I am very grateful.”   The farm, which was founded in 1966 by Jim and Patricia Crawford, continues to be a family affair.  The 100-acre nursery has continued to expand not only their footprint, but also their broodmare band.  Their yearling consignments to Lexington and Morrisville have continued to improve in scope and scale.   When they are not raising future harness racing stars, Michelle and Al own and operate one of the most successful healthcare lending institutions in the nation, Bankers Healthcare Group.  In fact, BHG was ranked as the 5th Fastest Growing Private Company by Inc.   Formed in 1992 from a modest group of four finance experts, BHG now employs close to 200 business professionals.   From the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA  

Vernon, NY --- Labor Day weekend harness racing began with a bang at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 29) night as the opening leg of the Tioga-Vernon All-Star Drivers' Championship shared the spotlight with the Zweig Memorial, the Jack Bailey Memorial and the Crawford Farms Trot. All drivers advance to Tioga today (Sept. 1) for round two and the Cane Pace. Following the first four legs of round one of the drivers 'race for the cup' the lead is shared by Yannick Gingras and Ron Pierce with 20 points each. But it was not solely the lure of a $10,000 first prize that drew the top reinsmen to Vernon. With over three-quarters of a million dollars of purse money on the card, and some of the best racehorses in the country, the big guns were happy to be in town. For trainers, the day began with a noon check-in at the detention barn for the top stakes horses. Many horsemen made the most of the opportunity to attend the inaugural Open House at Crawford Farms in Durhamville, just 10 minutes north on route 31 near Verona. With plenty of yearlings to inspect, several trainers like Ron Burke, Linda Toscano, Charlie Norris, Homer Hochstetler and Gates Brunet got a head start on their evaluation rounds. Al and Michelle Crawford put out an elaborate spread of barbecue and refreshments and most attendees spent the sunny afternoon socializing and looking at colts. The crew at Vernon also had a fun-filled evening planned at the Downs, which started with an autograph session with the top drivers and included a T-shirt giveaway as well as the Jim Marohn Jr.bobblehead. Fans lined up along the apron to get the T-shirts and Marohn dolls which were individually emblazoned with the nine different drivers competing. Even the boss himself, Jeff Gural, was on-hand to greet the drivers and fans, and could be seen along the outside fence chatting with the Green Hornet before the card began. Following the third race was the ever popular Racing Under Saddle series $5,700 final. The race was won by Heather Reese who opened up a city block on the rest of the field by the time they rounded the final turn. Team Crawford packed the winner's circle to help celebrate with their colleague and farm manager who was the winning rider in 2:04 with Tymal Oh So Nice. Both Zweig finals went to Takter stable all-stars. Filly Shake It Cerry rallied in 1:53.4 with Ron Pierce driving and improved her seasonal stats to 8 wins in 10 starts and $395,036. Colt Father Patrick got back to his winning ways and eclipsed $700,000 for the season with regular pilot Yannick Gingras in 1:52.2. Despite all the 3-year-old trotting talent on tap, the elixir that the crowd was truly thirsty for was Sebastian K and the rest of the field in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot. The number one horse in North America went off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite and did not disappoint, winning strategically for Svanstedt USA in 1:53, equaling the track record. The Crawford-sponsored purse put the collective earnings of the talented field just over the $15 million mark, and included Archangel (2nd), Market Share (3rd), and 2013 Dan Patch Horse of the Year Bee A Magician (4th). Gingras and Pierce will be reunited today (Sept. 1) at Tioga along with Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Matt Kakaley, Scott Zeron, Jody Jamieson, Jim Marohn Jr. and Chris Lems for the final round. Along with the drivers challenge, the Miss Versatility and the Shady Daisy fill-up the Southern Tier's holiday menu. Highlighted by the $437,325 Cane Pace, first leg of the pacing triple crown, the historic event features glamour boys He's Watching and JK Endofanera. Labor Day in central New York will assuredly go out with a bang as well. by Chris Tully

Goshen, NY--Few harness horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms of Durhamville, New York.   When top trotters Sebastian K and Market Share line up for this Friday's (August 29) $200,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon, they will score behind the bright red Crawford Farms starting car. And that is just the beginning of the Crawford's omnipresence. Driven by a passion for the sport, and a desire to help harness racing prosper, the Crawford's have sponsored this season's Meadowlands Pace, Kindergarten Classic and the aforementioned Crawford Farms Trot, formerly the Credit Winner. In addition to vast purse support, they have recently completed a state-of-the-art equine therapeutic spa, 40-stall barn, and a 6-gate horse exerciser at their central New York breeding & racing operation. Their hearts and minds are 'all-in' this game; for their farm and for the future of the Standardbred. Michelle and Albert Crawford have undoubtedly jumped-in with both feet, and provided a much-needed push to a somewhat hesitant industry. "We love this business," noted Albert, son of the late Jim Crawford who was the affable former president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. "My wife and I are committed to breeding top horses in New York State and supporting the industry in the process. We know that it is an uphill battle, but we are digging in for the long haul!" From the second-story Crawford Farms mural at The Meadowlands to the upcoming Red Mile Grand Circuit meet where the water trucks will bear the farm's iconic insignia, racing fans are constantly reminded of the dynamic duo's substantial commitment to the sport. Evident across multiple digital platforms, the Crawford's are very active on social media and have produced and broadcast several TV commercials. This weekend is no exception. With the $400,000 Zweig Trot also this Friday, renovations to the farm have reached a feverish pace this month in preparation for their inaugural Open House on Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. The team is eager to show the sport the fruits of their labor. "Our yearlings are ready and we hope to draw a large crowd of horse people for some food and refreshments while they evaluate our stock," exclaimed Michelle Crawford, who provides much of the spark in the engine around the farm. "My crew has really stepped up over these past few weeks to make this facility 'show ready' for the upcoming affair," the hostess added with a proud smile. The farm, which was founded in 1966 by Jim and Patricia Crawford, continues to be a family affair. The 100-acre nursery has continued to expand not only their footprint, but also their broodmare band. Last year Crawford Farm was the leading major consignor at the Morrisville Sale and will bring nine yearlings back to that venue on Sept. 21. In addition, they have ten yearlings consigned to the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, including two selling on opening night, Sept. 30. While the yearlings were being videotaped, it was 'all hands on deck' and all feet had running shoes. Al, Michelle, Jim Jr., and even matriarch Pat participated in the 35th annual running of the babies. Albert stated, "This is the day we get to really see what we have. It's exciting, but a little nerve-racking too." When they are not prepping yearlings, Michelle and Al own and operate one of the most successful healthcare lending institutions in the nation, Bankers Healthcare Group. In fact, BHG was ranked as the 5th Fastest Growing Private Company by Inc. Formed in 1992 from a modest group of four finance experts, BHG now employs close to 200. It appears that growth and commitment are not just a mission statement, it is a Crawford way of life. by Chris Tully

Barn Doll got off to a slow start but she finished first and fastest of four divisions of New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Batavia Downs. After getting away a gapped fourth, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and driver Jeff Gregory watched as Jim Morrill Jr.'s Pig Hunt cut out speedy fractions of :29 and :59.3, while pulling just before that second station. After starting the outer flow, Barn Doll slowly advance towards the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:30 flat. Once being eased around the last turn, Gregory got the filly in gear and she simply out-motored the rest to win in an impressive 1:59.4. Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) who followed Pig Hunt the whole race was second and My Lucky Word (Mark MacDonald) closed outside to be third. The winner paid $4.70. This was the fifth win in seven starts for the Steve Pratt trained Barn Doll who has now earned $70,712 on the year for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stable. She is the current point's leader in the NYSS standings for her gait and sex. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Laverne Lavec) won the second fastest division, going wire-to-wire in 2:01. After leaving hard to grab the lead, Mark MacDonald then grabbed leather to perfectly rate the game trotter through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 before flying home in a brisk :29.1 to register the win. Betcha (Dan Daley) was second and Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) was third. Nunkeri paid $3.50. Nunkeri is owned by Millstream Inc. and the Nunkeri Stable and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. This was her second win in five starts in 2014 and brings her bank up to $49,825. Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) also won her division in 2:01 but had to do it amidst an overabundance of road trouble. At the start of the race, Duolectra (Mark MacDonald) made a break which allowed Kaliska to inherit a quick lead. That lead was subsequently challenged by Summer Scent (Dan Daley) to the quarter in :30.2. Once she cleared, Kaliska and Ray Schnittker followed close behind while watching Concentration (Chris Lems), Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Spell That (Sam Schillaci) make breaks at various points of the mile. Once pulled, Kaliska out-dueled Summer Scent to the wire to win by almost two lengths. Kaliska returned $15.00 to win. The victory was the second of the year for Kaliska and pushed her earnings to $44,957 for owners Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable, Farm Alber Horse Racing LLC and Ray Schnittker, who is also her trainer. In the fourth split, Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann's Fan) proved dominant in what became a very short field very fast. With an early scratch and Miss B'ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Hot Start (Mark MacDonald) making breaks before the eighth pole, Zanna Blu found herself with a commanding lead and only three contenders behind her. Driver Gates Brunet took her through fractions of :30.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 with a five-length lead, before shutting her down with a line-drive to a length and three-quarter win in 2:01.1. She returned $6.90 to her backers. This was the third win in six starts for Zanna Blu and her owners Albert Crawford, Michelle Crawford and James Crawford. The winners share pushed the Gates Brunet trained filly's cash total to $47,176 for 2014. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior series on the card. Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Darling Marissa) who was driven by Mark MacDonald won the first $12,600 division in 2:00.4 for owner/trainer Janice Conner. Long Summer (Prayer I Am-Summer Ran) driven by Jeff Gregory won the second $12,700 split in 2:04.2 for owner Roy Dobbins and trainer Andrew Byler. And Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) was driven by Mark MacDonald and won the last $12,700 session in 2:02.4 for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt. Barn Girl is trained by Howard Okusko. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered his 6,000 career driving victory in a non-betting Excelsior B race with Ron's Coren in 2:04.1. Along with the wins, Morrill has pocketed purses totaling $87,659,175 during his career and annually remains one of the highest UDR reinsmen in the sport. Drivers Jeff Gregory and Mark MacDonald both scored driving triples on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 20) with post time at 6:35. The card features two divisions of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

On what turned into a rainy, sloppy night at Vernon Downs, Royalist was a front-running winner in Leg 2 of the Racing Under Saddle Series. Royalist (RC Royalty-Chocolatto Chip) was sent right to the front from the outside post by Michelle Crawford and the colt never looked back.   He led through fractions of 29.1 for the quarter, 1:02 for the half, and 1:33.1 for three-quarters. A challenge did materialize from Blue Boy Yankee (Kristina Smith), who pestered the leader throughout the final quarter mile, but could never quite get by. The final time for the mile was 2:04.3.   The complete order of finish was: Royalist, Blue Boy Yankee, John-Michael, Vassar Hall, My Irish Molly, and Kash Now. Royalist is owned by Raymond W.J. Campbell Jr. of Belchertown, Massachusetts and trained by George Ducharme.   The top point getters from the first two legs of the Racing Under Saddle Series at Vernon Downs will return for the $5,000 Final on August 29.   The featured pari-mutuel race of the Saturday evening at Vernon Downs was the $6,500 seventh race. The winner was Moonlight Ransom (Artiscape-Windsun Caprice), driven by John Macdonald. This was the second win in a week for Moonlight Ransom. In similar fashion to the win on August 9, Moonlight Ransom was a gate-to-wire winner. He led through snappy fractions over a sloppy track of 26.2 for the quarter, 56 seconds for the half, and 1:25.1 for three-quarters.   The final time was 1:53. Market Force (Jimmy Whittemore) was forced four-wide at the top of the stretch and still managed to charge through the lane and win a close photo for second place. Oh My Joepa (Claude Huckabone III) finished third.   The complete order of finish was: Moonlight Ransom, Market Force, Oh My Joepa, Whitemountainpower, You Bet Your Glass, A Fool For Mark, Axiom Hanover, and Dutch Richman.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs with an 11-race program on Thursday night. Post time will be 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

The countdown is on. In just a few days, horses and riders will be competing to capture the first title of the New York Racing Under Saddle Fair Series. The seven race series, which featured six race legs that were held at county fairs across the state, will culminate in a championship final race at Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg. The series ran throughout the months of July and August, giving participants the opportunity to earn points towards the final. In order to be eligible for the final, horses needed to compete and finish in any two of the six legs. Eleven horses participated in the series with seven qualifying to race in the final. Six of those will be racing for the championship. Entries are as follows and are based on points earned: Vassar Hall to be ridden by Michelle Crawford Kash Now to be ridden by Michelle Miller Truth In Action to be ridden by Karen Isbell My Irish Molly to be ridden by Jocelyn Lavigne John-Michael to be ridden by Tara Hynes Lemon Pepper to be ridden by Jennifer Lowrey Vassar Hall leads the group going into the final race with 75 points. The 10-year-old mare trained by Brett Crawford has won every leg she has participated in. Her first victory of the series was on July 10 at Afton Fair in a time of 2:11.4. She then defended her title at the Otsego County Fair in Morris on July 29. Crawford then continued her winning streak with Vassar Hall at the Chenango County Fair in Norwich on Aug. 5. There, she won the second RUS division, crossing the finish line in 2:07.4. Kash Now is sitting in second on the point list with 51 points. Michelle Miller has ridden the 10-year-old mare to one victory this season, winning in 2:12 at the Seneca County Fair on July 14 in Waterloo. Kash Now, trained by Michael Miller and owned by Lance Diehl, has also taken a second and three thirds in the series.  Truth In Action was ridden to victory by owner and trainer Karen Isbell during the first leg of the series on July 3 at Goshen Historic Track. The 8-year-old gelding took second to Vassar Hall in the second division of the Norwich race. Although Truth In Action only raced in two races, he has earned 35 points and sits third on the point list. My Irish Molly got a late start in the series, but it was a great one. Jocelyn Lavigne rode her to a victory in the first division of the Norwich race. Although the mare only raced in one race, she earned a point and qualification into the final for showing up at Steuben County Fair in Bath, which was cancelled due to rain. Horses that showed up and checked in earned a point and eligibility for the final race.  John-Michael, owned by Terry Miller and trained by Michael Miller, has earned 21 points. The 6-year-old gelding raced in Afton and Norwich, taking second in both with Tara Hynes aboard. He also earned a point for showing up for the race in Bath. Lemon Pepper has also only raced in two legs of the series and has earned five points. The 15-year-old gelding is owned, trained and ridden by Jennifer Lowrey and received one point for finishing in the first leg, three points for placing fourth in the second division in Norwich and one point for showing up at Bath. The RUS NY 2014 Fair Series has a final race purse of $2,000 along with more than $1,500 in prizes from sponsors. In addition to series sponsors Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, Hawthorne Products donated a gift basket and NY Equine Fitness Center at Cleremont Farms is donating a Race & Recovery package valued at more than $1,250. The R&R package includes three treatments in their equine salt water spa and their hyperbaric chamber -- the only hyperbaric chamber in all of New England. Riders in the final race will also receive gift bags from the sponsors in addition to a pair of riding gloves donated by Big D’s. There will also be a High Point Rider Award presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series, with points earned for their finish in the final race as well. The current standings of qualified riders are as follows: Michelle Crawford–75, Michelle Miller–50, Karen Isbell-35, Jennifer Lowrey–25 and Tara Hynes–25. Many other sponsors also contributed services and financial support to the series. The series was made possible thanks to the following sponsors: Flagship Sponsor: New York Sire Stakes; Marketing Sponsor: Horsefly Group; Series Sponsors: Draper Therapies, Horse Quencher, Crawford Farms, Hawthorne Products, and Eric Abbatiello Racing. Race sponsors included Barb and Rick Bateman and T&K Harrington, LLC. by C J Millar, for RUS NY

The weather was far from perfect for the Batavia Downs leg of the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday (Aug. 13) as premature autumnal conditions presented cold temperatures, rain and a track rated as "good". But the tough got going and in one race, a major upset was the result. In the first $59,100 NYSS division, Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) was sent off as the even-money favorite and proved her backers correct as she made a big move at the half and cruised home victorious. Off the gate, L Dees Scripture (Chris Lems) left for the lead and quickly faced a strong challenge from Oh Sweet Penelope (Dan Daley) up the backside. But just before the quarter that challenger made a break so Lems then guided L Dees Scripture unabated to the half in 1:01. At that point Avalicious was out and rolling from fourth with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines to push the issue before swooping by the leader to take command at the three-quarters in 1:30.3. Once they cleared, Morrill gave the filly her head and she trotted away in easy fashion to win in 2:00.4. Beauty Of Gray (Jim Meittinis) shook loose for second and Lindys Crazy Dolly (Jeff Gregory) who was aired out hung on for third. Avalicious paid $4.30 to win for owners Michelle Crawford, Albert Crawford and Patricia Crawford. This was her fourth win in 11 starts this year and it pushed her earnings to $148,640 for trainer Ron Burke. The second $59,100 split saw a major upset occur when 1-9 favorite Market Rally made a break attempting to take an early lead. When the car pulled away to start the race, Driving Miss Crazy (Gates Brunet) and Gammy's Girl (Jim Meittinis) both left and got away 1-2 as they straightened out up the backstretch. Market Rally (Jim Morrill Jr.) had tucked fourth off the wings to let the field settle, but then was pulled and started rolling past the eighth pole. As they passed the quarter in :30 flat, Market Rally got ahead of the front runner to take the lead. But just as soon as she crossed over she made a break and ended up last, spotting the new leader about 10 lengths. That leader (Driving Miss Crazy) tended to her task, carrying the field to the half in 1:01.1 and the three-quarters in 1:30.4. After a dull outer-flow offered no challenge through the middle fractions, Annie's List (Tyler Buter) managed to overtake second and a still last Market Rally then tipped three-high around fading horses to start making up ground. As they straightened out for the stretch drive, Brunet was working Driving Miss Crazy to stay alert on the lead, Buter was urging Annie's List to catch her and Morrill was working Market Rally to make up lost ground. After a good stretch drive, the trio hit the wire a length apart from each other with Driving Miss Crazy victorious in 2:00.4. In a tight photo for place, Market Rally did in fact rally for second and Annie's List was third. In the shadow of the overwhelming favorite, Driving Miss Crazy was let go at 10-1 and paid $22.60 to those who supported her. This was the sixth win in 13 starts for Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) who has now earned $124,017 in 2014 for trainer Gates Brunet and owners Theodore Gewertz, Y Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and chalk bettors were in heaven as favorites dominated both races. Right after the $12,600 first division started, Little Baby Peanut (Jeff Gregory) and Twist Of Faith (Tyler Buter) both made breaks as the group motored into the first turn. That left Classic Belisima (Gates Brunet) on a loose lead with Do You Believe (Jim Morrill Jr.) getting the trip as the group went single-file to the quarter in :30.4 and the half in 1:02.2. Past the five-eighths Morrill pulled the pocket sitter and drew even with Classic Belisima and the two went stride for stride around the entire last turn. When they straightened out, Do You Believe proved to be the better horse as she pulled away to a two-length victory in 2:01.4. Classic Belisima hung on for second and Ginny And Tonic (Ray Fisher Jr.) got up for third. Do You Believe paid $2.30 as the heavy favorite for owners Brian Doolittle and Leigh Raymer, who also trains the filly. In the second $12,700 division, Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) turned in the fastest time of any of the stake races during the night, be they NYSS or Excelsior, in a dominating performance for trainer Tracy Brainard. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. eased Dreamsteeler out of the gate and took his time getting to the front. But once they got there the filly was brave and Morrill had his hands full rating the mile. However he did a perfect job as they scooted through even fractions of :30, 1:00 and 1:30. Down the lane, Morrill sat chilly as Dreamsteeler just jogged home in 1.59.4. How Bout Cash (Chris Lems) and Slice Slice Baby (Tyler Buter) completed the top three finishers in that order. Dreamsteeler went off 1-9 and paid $2.20 to win. It was her sixth win in seven starts and brought the 2014 Excelsior points leading filly's coffers up to $34,950. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. brought home four winners on the night and Gates Brunet and Tyler Buter both piloted doubles. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 15) with a 6:35 pm post. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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