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Pompano Beach, FL...February 14, 2017...The two girls beat up on the four boys in Pompano Park's harness racing feature trot on Monday night as M T Ur Pockets and Bad Angel finished one-two in the featured "Over-The-Hill Gang" trotting feature.   M T Ur Pockets, the 10 year-old daughter of Hard Rock N Roll, used a backstretch blitz from fifth and surged into the lead heading into the final turn to go on to score a lifetime best 1:54.4--her only other score in that time three seasons ago on Hoosier Park's larger seven-eighths oval.   Owned by Albert Abdala III along with trainer driver Mike Simons, the brave mare won for the 35th time in her career, pinning a two length defeat on the only other mare, Bad Angel (Tom Jackson).   The 1 to 5 favorite, My Revenuer (Brad Kramer), who took command three-eighths into the mile, was caught flat hoofed during the winner's blitz and had to settle for third, 2 1/2 lengths away.   Lugar, making his first start back in a little over one year, finished fourth in a solid effort while Adenium picked up the nickel in the sextet of warriors.   It was Bad Angel surging off the wings early with Lugar away in good order, as well, with My Revenuer on the prowl early from his outside post.   With an opener in :28 by Bad Angel, that mare had to yield as My Revenuer sprinted forward and into the lead three-eighths into the mile.   My Revenuer then proceeded to the half in :57 as M T Ur Pockets was fifth but on the move once they straightened away on the backside.   The issue was all but settled once M T Ur Pockets comfortably secured the lead past the third station in 1:25.4, settling the stage for her :29 finale.   After the race, driver Mike Simons said, "She's just a rugged mare that gives all she's got every start. When she is in the mood, she can brush with the best of these and, tonight, she felt her best and, when I asked, she answered.   "She might not win every week, but she sure tries hard every week."   M T Ur Pockets now has 35 career wins and $238,500 in lifetime bounty.   As the 7 to 1 third choice, M T Ur Pockets paid $16.20 to win.   Racing continues on Tuesday night with Rockn Stien looking to stretch his winning streak to two after a lifetime best performance last week--1:53.1. Peter Wrenn is expected back in the bike for the feature.   Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale now has a carryover of $73,852 heading into the program.   Post time is 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...January 24, 2017...Tater Twister, "chewed up and spit out" last week starting from the outside post, took advantage of the coveted five post this night to score a gate-to-wire harness racing win for Mike Simons, stopping the timer in 1:53.4 in the $12,000 Open Handicap Trot at Pompano Park. The gallant seven year-old gelded son of ABC Garland pushed the Hummer Starting Gate out of the way at the start and clocked panels of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25 before a :28.4 finale held off the late surging Rockn Stien, handled by Peter Wrenn, by a neck. Massive Lightning, with Mickey McNichol handling the lines, was a fast closing third while Gold Savage finished fourth. Swan Handicap finished fifth, picking up the nickel, after the second choice, Massacaia, made a miscue leaving to finish last in this classy sextet. An hour after the race, driver Mike Simons related, "last week, I was reading the story about Tater being 'chewed up and spit out' and, with this great post, I was going to try and not let that happen again. "I thought if I could get enough of a jump on Pete's (Wrenn) horse (Rockn Stien), that we had a chance to upset the applecart here. "His horse raced giant last week and I thought he was the one to beat here. "Actually, when you think about it, my Tater was six lengths faster than Pete's horse during the opening quarter and his was 5 ¾ lengths faster than us the final three quarters. "That was the difference at the end--a neck! "Murph (trainer Mike Murphy) knows how to train one and I am happy and lucky that I am sitting in the bike when the real test comes. "It was a great win for the horse and a great birthday present for Mike. Yup, it's his birthday today!" Owned by Imogene Rhule along with Geneva Stewart and Barbara Murphy, Tater Twister now is two-for-three in this young season, good for $12,000. Career-wise, Tater Twister has 18 wins and bounty of $125,801 to go along with his mark of 1:53.2 taken at Pompano two starts back to kick off the new year. As third choice in the betting at 9 to 2, Tater Twister rewarded his faithful with a mutual of $11.80. The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Ruddy Rusty for Ricky Macomber, Jr., in 1:55. The seven year-old chestnut gelding won a brief early tussle with Cashahallic to take command arouns the initial turn and then went on to post panels of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.1 before a final :29.4 sprint home sealed the deal by 1½ lengths over the late closing Groovey Kid, driven by Wally Hennessey. Cashahallic, with Aaron Byron in the bike, finished third after being prominent all the way while Kabu finished fourth. Unitaliano Bi picked up the minor award in the field of seven after a backside brush that left him 1½ lengths away turning for home. Trained by Jamie Macomber for owner Kelly Ford, Ruddy Rusty won for the second time this season in three starts to send his bankroll to $8,770 during this young season. Lifetime, Ruddy Rusty has banked $166,813 to go along with his 1:53.4 mark established two starts back. Off as the 9 to 5 second choice, Ruddy Rusty paid $5.60 to win. There were tote-board fireworks on Tuesday night at the track when there were multiple winning tickets on the 50 cent Pick-6, each worth $7,854.75. The track also announced that there will be a $25,000 Guaranteed Pick-5 pool based on a Tuesday carryover of $6,217. The Pick-5 cover races one through five. Also, the track's Super Hi-5 finale has a carryover for Wednesday night of $24,682. With that pool expected to exceed $30,000 on Wednesday night, the Super Hi-5 jackpot is claimed when there is one unique ticket sold on the winning 20 cent combination selecting the first five finishers in order. Post time for the Wednesday program is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL. - January 3, 2017...Baseball has its "Old Timers Day." Bowling has its professional senior category. The Old Timers Hockey Challenge is legendary. At Pompano Park, it's the "Over-The-Hill Gang" event for trotters eight years-old and up that has become a very popular event here in South Florida. On Tuesday night, the sixth edition of the "Over-The-Hill Gang" trot was contested with a full field of nine and, the only mare in the field, M T Ur Pockets, started her 10 year-old campaign with a gutsy win over her male counterparts, stopping the timer in 1:56. Trainer Mike Simons, part owner of the grand mare with Albert Abdala III, was in the bike for the 1 ½ length score over the nine year-old Undercover Bro, handled by Tom Jackson. Ramzan, the "youngster" in the field at eight years-old, rallied for third, 2 ½ lengths away while Lexis D J finished fourth. R G Rocket overcame the outside nine post to pick up the nickel. The daughter of Hard Rock N Roll, beginning from post two, was away in good order third as Benns Score Keeper and Adenium played musical chairs through opening fractions of :27.2 and :57.2 with Undercover Bro, fourth early on, on the attack past that half way point with M T Ur Pockets catching the live cover. With a picked up three-quarters in 1:26, Undercover Bro stuck his nose in front but was immediately confronted by M T Ur Pockets, using a :29.4 finale to score the win-her 34th career triumph. In a post-race interview, Simons compared his 10 year-old mare with a good bottle wine saying, "she just seems to get better with age. "She just loves what she does and can brush with the good ones. She's just a tough mare that loves when she has room to roam on the racetrack!" Coming off her best season on the track in 2016 with earnings of $50,013, M T Ur Pockets now has career bounty totaling $233,625. As the 3 to 1 third choice in the wagering, M T Ur Pockets paid $8.80 to win. Racing continues on Wednesday night with a quintet of mares going post-ward in the $11,000 Open. OK Heavenly, who has been knocking hooves with Godiva Seelster and Safe From Terror-both absent this week-has been installed as the 2 to 1 morning line favorite with Kevin Wallis down to drive. Metro Glide, Arodasi, Miss Mady and Drea's Good Powow completed the talented field. There is also a carryover of $1,200 in the track's Pick-6, covering races 3 through 8. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for the Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...January 2, 2017...Tater Twister stretched his winning streak to three at Pompano Park on Monday night (January 2), stopping the timer in a lifetime best 1:53.2 for driver Mike Simons in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot. The seven year-old gelded son of ABC Garland took clear command two strides past the first eighth mile and went on to post hot fractions of :26.4, :55 and 1:24 in route to a five length win over She's All In, driven by Rick Plano. Diamond Dagger, with Jason Dillander in the bike, rallied from last in this talented quintet to finish third, 5 ½ lengths away, while Railee Workable finished fourth. Serendipitious picked up the nickel in a field shortened by the scratch of Gold Savage. In a post-race interview, driver Mike Simons, the author of 3,678 career wins, related, "I've driven a lot of horses over the years and this one is as fast a trotter as I have ever sat behind. "Even with a :26.4 opener, I had no concerns as he was doing it all on his own with no urging on my part. "He just loves racing, he loves competing and he's just an enthusiastic racehorse. "Mike (trainer Murphy) loves him and I certainly can see why. He's just a joy to drive and I am glad to be the one in the bike. He makes me look good!" Trainer by Murphy for Imogene Rhule, Geneva Stewart and Barbara Murphy, Tater Twister begins his 2017 campaign on the heels of his best season ever, winning nine times in 40 starts, good for $59,582. The win tonight--his 17th lifetime--vaulted his career bankroll to $118,761. As the 2 to 5 favorite, Tater Twister paid $2.80 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Write That Down, stepping up a notch after a win to close out 2016 in Open 3 company. The six year-old altered son of Crazed, driven by John Mac Donald, came from well out of it to score in a lifetime best 1:54.3 over Swan Handicap (Ricky Macomber, Jr.) with Explosive Muscles (Dave Ingraham) third. Cashahallic finished fourth in the mile while Uriel picked up the minor award. It was Commentary blasting off the wings to take an early lead, guiding the field through an opener of :27.1 before yielding to Swan Handicap, that four year-old sprinting past the half in :55.3 before feeling the heat from the favorite, Cashahallic, around the final turn. With three-quarters in a hot 1:24.4, Swan Handicap and Cashahallic got into a heated battle with Explosive Muscles giving chase on the outside and Write That Down swinging widest of all and collaring the leaders inside the sixteenth pole on the strength of his :29.1 finale. The win evened Write That Down's scorecard at 14-14-14 in 70 starts, pushing his lifetime bounty to $105,732. Trained by Jason Robinson for Taylormade Race Horses and Two Hands Racing, Write That Down was fifth choice on the board at 7 to 1 and returned $17.00 to win. Racing continues on Tuesday night with a competitive 10 race program highlighted by a $10,000 guarantee on the track's Pick-4 event, covering races 6 through 9. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...December 27, 2016...Tater Twister, with Mike Simons handling the six year-old gelding's lines, scored a repeat harness racing win in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot on Tuesday night (December 27), stopping the clock in 1:54.3. The son of ABC Garland pinned a defeat measuring 2¼ lengths on Gold Savage (Kevin Wallis) with She's All In (Rick Plano) just a nose further back in third. Explosive Muscles finished fourth in the mile while Diamond Dagger picked up the nickel in the classy sextet. Simons sent Tater Twister right to the front, out-dueling She's All In around the opening turn and taking the field through an opener of :27.2. At this point, Gold Savage was third while Explosive Muscles was next. Serendipitious, away cautiously after a miscue last week, was fifth with Diamond Dagger sixth and last. With positions stagnant during the :29 second quarter, the Simons-Tater Twister team felt no pressure with nary a threat even developing on the backside as a :28.4 third panel triggered the third timer in 1:25.1. In the lane, Tater Twister was on his own through a :29.2 finale, stopping the tele-timer in the aforementioned 1:54.3, easily holding off Gold Savage. In a post-race interview, driver Mike Simons related, "I really didn't see too much early speed in here tonight, so I decided to let him rock and roll early. Once we got to the front, he was nice and relaxed and, when we got to the half a bit cheaper than last week, I thought he'd have a chance to bring it home again. "Mike (trainer Murphy) really has him sharp now and I know this horse has a whirlwind of talent. He digs down deep every time." Owned by Imogene Rhule along with Geneva Stewart and Barbara Murphy, Tater Twister won for the ninth time in 40 starts, sending his seasonal bankroll to $59,582. Lifetime, Tater Twister has bounty of $112,761 to go along with a mark of 1:53.3, achieved at Pompano Park just last month. As the 8 to 5 second choice in the wagering, Tater Twister returned $5.40 to win. Racing continues on Wednesday night with a quintet of pacing mares set to do battle in the $11,000 Open Pace for the ladies. Safe From Terror, a handy winner in 1:51.3 in last week's top event for pacing mares, once again meets up with arch-rival Godiva Seelster. All Charged Up, Arodasi and OK Heavenly complete the very talented group with combined career earnings of $1,733,432. The Wednesday program also continues to offer the $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 on races six through nine. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Tater Twister, superbly handled by harness racing driver Mike Simons, turned the tables on the vaunted Prairie Fortune to score a gate to wire 1:54 victory in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot on Monday, December 19.   The six year-old gelded son of ABC Garland cut panels of :27.3, :56 and 1:24 before holding off the late surging, ground saving Gold Savage, with Kevin Wallis, to score by a half-length.   It was 6 1/4 lengths further back to Explosive Muscles, handled by Dave Ingraham, who finished third.   The 1 to 5 favorite, Prairie Fortune, driven by John Mac Donald, finished fourth but was set back a notch to fifth after an extended break in the final sixteenth, allowing Pocket Trip to move up a spot to fourth.   Sooo Handsome completed the roster, destroying his chances with a miscue just short of the opening quarter.   After the race, driver Simons said, "You know, last week when I drove him, he was very sharp and just got out-kicked late. This time, with John's (Mac Donald) horse leaving from the outside, I thought that maybe, if I put enough distance between us, he could hang on.   "When we got through the final turn and John's horse wasn't making any further headway, I really thought we had a good chance to get it done.   "He drifted out a bit in the lane and that let Kevin's (Wallis) horse get through, but, fortunately, the wire came up and we hit it first.   "He went a nice mile--the kind he's capable of when he's this good."   Trained by Mike Murphy for Barbara Murphy, Imogene Rhule and Geneva Stewart, Tater Twister scored his eighth win of the season in 39 starts, vaulting his 2106 bounty to 53,582. He's banked $106,761 lifetime.   While the winner earned the $6,000 stipend for the owners, the win enabled two fortunate Pick-6 ticket holders to cash in to the tune of $15,741.15 for their 50 cent investment on the winning 5-4-7-1-3-5 combination.   Tater Twister was the second choice in the filed at 5 to 1 and returned $12.20 to his faithful.   Racing continues on Tuesday night with a Super Hi-5 carryover of $33,029 awaiting.   Post time is 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park

WILKES-BARRE PA - Allbeef N Nobull and Bourbon Bay, which sounds like a very good dinner, were the winners of the $15,500 featured harness racing events on the pace and trot, respectively, on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Allbeef N Nobull swung four-wide headstretch from third-over and, still some 3 1/2 lengths out approaching midstretch, took advantage of a big late kick and a helping tailwind to run down YS Lotus in the final strides to post a neck tally in 1:51.2. The son of McArdle showed precociousness since his earliest racetrack days, where on July 9 of his freshman year he debuted with a 1:59.2 - 28.4 win at the Martinville IL Fair, and he has continued that ability to run his bankroll to $288,872 one start shy of his fiftieth race, winning tonight for driver Mike Simons, trainer Ron Burke, and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Donald Eamon, Howard Taylor, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. In contrast to the hard late charge Allbeef N Nobull put in to gain his victory, the Sand Vic gelding Bourbon Bay had an easier time in taking his feature, leaving in 27 to discourage any early challengers, continuing on quickly and hitting the wire in the clear while posting a time of 1:52.3. Anthony Napolitano had sulky duty behind the winner of $238,048 for trainer Ake Svanstedt, who assumed the trotter's training four starts back and already has rung up two wins and a third with him for Our Horse Cents Stables, JT45, J&T Silva Stables LLC, and Rossie Smith. FINISHING LINES - Pocono's and Philadelphia's strength were evident through the Grand Circuit card at Lexington's Red Mile on Saturday. Huntsville and Downbytheseaside, respectively 1-2 in the recent Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship and both by Somebeachsomewhere, both equaled the world record for two-year-olds of 1:49 first set by Pocono's co-track recordholder Sweet Lou; in another division of this two-year-old colt pacing stake, the Dragon Again gelding Dragnet Alert, trained by Oakes, set a divisional world record of 1:49.2. The other division of this stakes was won by Chip Walther, trained by Erv Miller and driven by his son Marcus, King of the Pocono Longshots - who paid $84.80, or less than half of what baby filly Zane Hanover paid ($189.80) for Miller and Miller in a division of the filly stake one race before Chip Walther won! The Napolitano brothers were dominant at Pocono Saturday, with Anthony recording five victories and George Jr., one ahead of his brother atop the local driving standings, visiting Victory Lane four times. Jim Marohn Jr. continued a hot recent hand with three scores; the evening's other two winners were driven by Mike Simons and Eric Carlson, and the way the aforementioned trio were going, it may not be surprising to learn that Carlson and Simons handled the two longest-priced horses of the night. PHHA / Pocono      

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Mike Simons combined with the Andover Hall mare Tweet Me to win the $20,000 feature on his favorite gait Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as "The Trot Man" brought home the favored distaff two lengths clear in 1:54.2 - a race after he guided a pacing filly to her first victory in 26 career starts and paid $108.00 to win. Tweet Me was looped to the top by Flying Isa N early, continuing on to grab the lead past the 27.4 quarter. Simons posted middle splits of 57 and 1:25.3, and the victorious mare made it look easy in the last quarter by drawing clear for trainer Nicholas Devita and owner Bridget Mcneese. Flying Isa N came out of the pocket for the stretch drive, giving Pocono Pike access to third-inside Uncle Hanover, and that one closed to take second by ¾ of a length over "Isa," behind the winner of $390,678. Seventeen minutes earlier, it was Simons who had taken advantage of the "Pocono Pike from third-inside" situation, and he maximized his opportunity by getting Windup West home first with a length and a quarter to spare as she broke her maiden in 1:55.4 style. The Western Ideal filly, out of the four-time $100,000+ producer Matt's A Coming, had started her career in a PA Stallion Series race, but hadn't panned out as desired in eight starts at two and was purchased for $10,000 at the Blooded Horse Sale for owner/trainer Cindy Truitt; Windup West proved "18th time lucky," all at the mountain oval, for Truitt as she pulled the upset.... ... except that Mike Simons driving a $100+ winner isn't as much of an upset as one might think - it was the third time this meet that Mike has pulled off a mutuel supershocker, with no other driver at Pocono having more than one triple-figure winner, and only one other driver in the state, Dan Rawlings at The Meadows, having as many as three $100+ winners this year. PHHA / Pocono

Nichols, N.Y. -- Harness racing trainer Joe Skowyra and driver Mike Simons swept the pacing features on Saturday (August 20) evening at Tioga Downs, teaming up with Believe This Bob ($4.20) in the featured $13,000 Open 1 Pace and Flying Cowboy ($4.30) in the sub-featured $10,000 Open 2 Pace.   Believe This Bob avenged his defeat to Andreios Kardia in last week's Open 1 successfully, sprinting to a clear lead from Pop Cop (Scott Coulter) on approach to the first turn and controlling the pace through splits of :27.2, :56, and 1:23.2. The 8-year-old Beach Romeo gelding edged clear off the far turn, evading steady first-over gains from runner-up Andreios Kardia (Corey Braden) by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:51. Pop Cop faded to third after laboring from the pocket.   Mary Ann Larrimore owns 38-time winner Believe This Bob, a winner in four of his last six races.   Flying Cowboy used similar tactics early on in the sub-featured event, pushing clear of Winyard Hanover (Jim Meittinis) through the first turn before rating a leisurely :58 half mile. The 6-year-old Brandon's Cowboy gelding responded well to heavy first-over pressure from Vangura (Corey Braden), digging in following a :26.4 third quarter to repel Vangura and hold sway of Winyard Hanover by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.1. Major War (Mike Merton) mounted a mild rally off stalling cover to save third.   Wade Wyatt owns Flying Cowboy, a 31-time winner who posted a fourth consecutive victory.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 21), with a 14-race card due to commence at 1:30 p.m. Eliminations for the pacing divisions of the Empire Breeders Classic take center stage along with New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Mary Ann Larrimore's Believe This Bob ($5.80) enjoyed a pocket trip en route to a lifetime-best 1:49.4 victory in Sunday (July 24) afternoon's harness racing featured $11,000 Open 1 Handicap Pace at Tioga Downs.   The 8-year-old Beach Romeo gelding ceded the lead to 7-5 favorite Fireyourguns (Jim Meittinis) in the first 100 yards, enjoying a cozy pocket trip through splits of :26.2 and :55.1. On the backstretch, Believe This Bob found himself boxed as Piece of the Rock (Vinny Ginsburg) sustained first-over pressure to force a :27.2 third quarter. Fireyourguns responded in kind to turn aside Piece of the Rock at head-stretch, but Mike Simons was able to angle Believe This Bob out of the pocket to give chase upon cornering. Ultimately, Believe This Bob lifted to the lead in the final yards, collaring Fireyourguns by half a length. Lauxmont Capri (Jim Taggart, Jr.) stayed on for third off a traffic-troubled stalking trip, another 1-1/2 lengths back.   Joe Skowyra trains Believe This Bob, now a 37-time winner and a winner in four of his last six Open events in the Southern Tier.   No one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, resulting in a carryover of $556.05 to Friday (July 29) evening's card. First post is set for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- After his late push to the fore in last week's Open, Hititoutofthepark ($3.10) earned his third straight harness racing win in his $38,440 Arthur Tompkins Memorial Stakes division on Friday (July 1) evening at Tioga Downs.   Mike Simons situated the 3-year-old Yankee Glide ridgling behind the live cover of Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) on the backstretch, towed closer to pacesetter Steed (Matt Kakaley) through middle fractions of :57.1 and 1:26.2 before making his three-wide push in the final 300 yards. Hititoutofthepark accelerated off the far turn, working clear in mid-stretch and accelerating to hold sway of the late-rallying Blownoutofthewater (Jim Morrill, Jr.) in 1:55.2. Steed, while collared after repelling his first-over rival, checked in third after his game front-trotting effort.   John Butenschoen trains 9-time winner Hititoutofthepark for the Give It a Shot Stable, Kurt Welling, and the VIP Internet Stable.   Dominion Beach ($80.00) upset in his $38,940 Tompkins division, surging up late to collar the first-over odds-on favorite Cufflink Hanover in 1:54.2. Marcus Johansson drove the son of Muscle Hill for Courant AB and trainer Nancy Johansson.   In the two $27,690 Tompkins splits for fillies, Goosebump Hanover ($5.60, Morrill, 1:55.2) lunged to the fore off second-over spotting, and Celebrity Eventsy ($2.30, John Campbell, 1:54.4) edged clear of her foes handily after brushing to the fore with a circuit to go.   The Geers Stakes for 3-year-old pacers headline Monday (July 4) afternoon's program at Tioga, with $119,750 in aggregate purses on the line. Art Rooney winner Missile J (Tim Tetrick) headlines the $66,375 split for colts and geldings, carded as the fifth of nine races on the Independence Day program. Racing returns most immediately to Tioga on Saturday (July 2) evening, with the first of nine races due off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Mary Ann Larrimore's Believe This Bob ($4.10) made all the pace en route to a 1:51.1 harness racing triumph in Sunday (June 26) afternoon's $11,000 Open 1 Pace at Tioga Downs, holding off a belated rally from the rising Andreios Kardia to prevail at even money.    Mike Simons wasted no time with the 8-year-old Beach Romeo gelding, sprinting clear of Theseyesrcrying (Justin Huckabone) through a :26.3 first quarter. Believe This Bob would escape pressure through splits of :55 and 1:22.2, maintaining an uncontested lead and accelerating clear on the backstretch.   His biggest threat would come from the second-over Andreios Kardia (Aaron Byron), who circled three-wide in the final three-sixteenths of the mile as the first-over P L Idaho (Dan Clements) weakened after only mild gains.   The :27.2 third quarter was enough for Believe This Bob to keep the other seven at bay, as he held off Andreios Kardia by three-quarters of a length. Knocking Around (John Cummings, Jr.) rallied from a rearward trip to take third, and Theseyesarecrying faded to fourth from his pocket trip. Mike Simons   Joe Skowyra trains Believe This Bob, now a 35-time winner.   In addition to Believe This Bob, Simons teamed up with Big Jer ($2.30, 1:52.3) and Lucky Man ($3.10, 1:53.2) to lead all drivers with three wins on the 11-race card.   The Tompkins-Geers Stakes headline Week 9 at Tioga Downs, with 3-year-old trotters taking the spotlight on Friday (July 1) evening. Post time is slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Fresh off a 15-1 upset in a $55,503 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event at Pocono, Hititoutofthepark ($8.30) rose to chase down older harness racing company in Saturday (June 25) evening's $11,000 Open 1 Trot at Tioga Downs.   Mike Simons took his time with the 3-year-old Yankee Glide ridgling, settling well off a :27.3 first quarter Dragin the Wagon (Aaron Byron) and working closer through a :58.1 half. With three-eighths to go, Simons chased the first-over Oh No Three O (Jeff Long), towed significantly closer through the far turn before readying to make a three-wide push for home.   "He came right off the gate nice and handy, followed live cover, and when I called on him, he just pinned his ears and dug in," commented Simons on the 8-time winner. "He's a real professional."   Hititoutofthepark accelerated upon cornering, passing the stalled Oh No Three O with little effort, and subsequently chasing down Dragin the Wagon for a narrow 1:55.2 triumph. Six Bax (Jim Taggart) stayed on for third off a cozy pocket trip.   John Butenschoen trains Hititoutofthepark for the Give It a Shot Stable, Kurt Welling, and the VIP Internet Stable.   For Simons, the win was one of five in the bike on the 10-race card. In addition to his trainee Talktomecourage N ($4.70, 1:54.1) in the seventh, Simons teamed up with Undercover Bro ($5.20, 1:56.1), Alaskan Seelster ($12.80, 1:54), and Justherighttouch ($9.20, 1:56.2).   No one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, resulting in a carryover to Sunday (June 26) afternoon's card of $1,143.61. The Pick 5 kicks off in the first of 11 races, with post time set for 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Vernon harness racing invader A Penny Earned ($6.80) employed a change of tactics on Friday (May 20) evening at Tioga Downs, stalking cover and lunging to the line for a 1:55.3 triumph in the featured $11,000 Open Trot.   After a slow start, Mike Simons pointed the 7-year-old Conway Hall gelding second-over on the backstretch, drafting with the live cover of Its Payday Friday (Dan Clements) after Lucid Thoughts (Tom Jackson) rated a :57 initial half. The favored pacesetter accelerated en route to the far turn, reaching three-quarters completion in 1:25.3, but he would ultimately be headed off the far turn by the steadily advancing Its Payday Friday. A Penny Earned angled off cover at head-stretch, battling to a half-length win in the last yards. Its Payday Friday held second narrowly over B L Class Act (John Cummings, Jr.), who mounted a stand-side rally after being shuffled to last on the far turn.   Trainer George Ducharme co-owns A Penny Earned with the partnership of Ross, Fontaine, and Oliva.   Jeffrey Long and Jim Taggart, Jr. both recorded driving doubles on the eight-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (May 21), with the first of nine races slated for a 6:30 post time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Third-time harness racing starter Ideal Joey ($3.90) impressed at odds-on in his first-round $7,500 Nichols True Value Late Closing Series division on Sunday (May 15) at Tioga Downs, making all the pace and evading f the first-over Cenovis for a 1:53.3 triumph.   Mike Simons sprinted clear with the 3-year-old Roll With Joe gelding on entry to the first turn, assuming command from Diamond J (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :28 initial quarter before backing down the tempo with a circuit to go. Following a :57 half mile, Ideal Joey was nudged along by a steadily-advancing Cenovis through a :28.1 third quarter. Ideal Joey responded instantly to the pressure, edging clear on the far turn and ultimately prevailing by 2-1/2 lengths. Runner-up Cenovis held 2-3/4 lengths clear of the second-over JK Onaroll (John Cummings, Jr.).   John Butenschoen trains Ideal Joey for the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable and William Wiswell.   The win for Simons was part of a Sunday afternoon driving grand slam. Justin Huckabone accounted for three wins on the 13-race program.   The other Nichols True Value division went to Le Gambe ($7.60), who pounced in upper stretch and worked clear of the dueling Century Chancellor (Simons) and Rocket J (Jim Marohn, Jr.) for a 1:56.4 victory. Mike Simons drove the 3-year-old Shadyshark Hanover gelding for owner Ronald Michelon and trainer Erv Miller.   In the overnight feature, a $9,000 top-level conditioned pace, Tony Dinges trainee Grande Seelster ($30.40, Scott Coulter) emerged out of traffic in the last 70 yards, wedging wide to overtake Murder He Wrote (Marohn) and Winyard Hanover (Simons) in the final yards of a 1:53.3 mile. Favorite P L Idaho (Clements) only could muster fourth after faltering mid-race despite a ferocious stand-side rally.   Off the track, Tioga Downs mainstay Floyd, a 22-year-old quarter horse, was honored on Sunday afternoon. Floyd, accompanied by longtime Tioga outrider Wendy Ross, will conclude his career at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden later this month at the 2016 Elitloppet.   As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, the carryover for Friday (May 20) evening's card mounts to $498.30. First post on Friday is slated for 6:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA held its 57th Annual Awards Banquet for the third consecutive year in Middletown, NY at The Fountains on Sands Road on Sunday, November 22. The night got underway with a cocktail hour at 5:30pm followed by dinner at 7pm. Honored were the outstanding efforts both human and equine at Monticello Raceway and Historic Track this year as well as prominent individuals for their contributions to the industry. The Excelsior Award was presented to the knowledgeable and hardworking Betty Holt, the executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of NYS. Among her duties is traveling the state and visiting the pari-mutuel tracks and non-betting ovals twice a year in addition to running and attending various seminars and meetings that her office participates. The recipient of the prestigious Phil Pines Award was the award winning writer, Barbara Bedell, whose daily column in the Times Herald Record is read and enjoyed by readers from all walks of life. With harness racing a staple in the Hudson Valley, Barbara is a great promoter of good deeds by the people in the sport that evolved in and around Goshen NY as far back as 1837. Few people in harness racing are as pleasant to be around and or as talented as Eddie Hart who grew up near Goshen NY. His superb horsemanship and his easy going demeanor made it easy for the local scribes to present him with the John Gilmour Good Guy Award. Although Eddie has had many local standouts but he was catapulted into the national spotlight with the success of his top pupil, Roll With Joe. . Janet Terhune, the director of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, was the 32nd recipient of the Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award for her tireless efforts and her expertise in promoting the sport at Historic Track as well as the Harness Racing Museum. Hannah Miller was named the Chapter's "Amateur Driver of the Year" and she's just the second woman to win such an honor. Hannah has been the scourge of the amateur races this year and she has recorded 32 winners this year alone and has a .447 UDR. And she 'dances every dance' as a member of many amateur driving organizations. . Young, Shawn Simons, 24, the son of talented horseman Mike Simons, was presented with the chapter's Rising Star Award. Just last week he received his full "A" license as a provisional driver Shawn had driven 19 winners and his future in the sulky seems secure. And an Award of Appreciation was presented to Monticello Raceway's longtime announcer Howard Oil who has been behind the Mighty M microphone since 1984. His love of harness racing and flawless race calls have endeared him to racing fans. Brenda Messenger, Dr. Scott Woogen and Phil Shapiro's KJ Erich was named the 2 Year Old Pacer of the Year" while P & J Stables Outsidecourt garnered the "2 Year Old Trotter of the Year" award". Three-Year- Old Pacer of The Year honors went to Robert, James and John Dill's filly, Moccasin Blue Chip, while Bob McNerney's Hollywood's That Way, was the choice for "3-Year- Old Trotter of the Year". The "Older Trotting Horse of the Year" award" went to Bill & Carol Fuhs and Lynette Buter's Best Friend Always while Jim Doherty Jr.'s Linda Marie took home the "Older Trotting Mare of the Year" trophy. Giddyallyougot walked away with the "Older Pacing Horse of the Year" award and Mike Schultz' Powerful Love was the unanimous choice for "Older Pacing Mare of the Year" honors. Since claiming races are a staple of Monticello Raceway's racing programs multiple awards were presented in the claiming categories. Claiming Pacer Awards for horses and geldings went to Ed and James Hall's Talldarknhandsome, Mike Schultz'Amazing Quest, and Larry Waldbaum's Where's Waldo. While Claiming Pacer Awards for fillies and mares were presented to Lou Vutianitis' Rusty's Treasure, Ed Hall's Rusty's Flying, Mike Schultz's Caviart Savannah, and Larry Stalbaum's I'm A Nice Girl. Claiming Trotter Awards for horses and geldings went to Mike Simons' Ashcroft, Dr. Sam Sbarra's Baltimor AS, and Barbara Russo's City Kid. Claiming Trotter awards for fillies and mares were presented to Mike Schultz' Grace N Charlie and Larry Stalbaum's Ellen's Streak. Mike Schultz's horses have won over 100 races this year alone at the Mighty M and he easily walked away with the "Owner of the Year Award". Giddyallyougot was named "Horse of the Year" as a result of the 7-year old Cams Card Shark gelding winning 16 races in 33 starts and amassing over $54,000 in purse money racing exclusively at the Mighty M. He is owned by C and F Associates and trained by Andrew Adamczyk and was driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Hall of Fame publicist and past USHWA National president John Manzi, served as the banquet emcee. by John Manzi, for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

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