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It was John & Dan Wach's Canadian Wildcat pulling off the upset in the feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday, a trot for non-winners of $17,500 in their last 5 starts. The 5-year-old son of Angus Hall was coming off of three straight off-the-board finishes against similar. The odds board was wide open however, as four of the eight combatants were under 3-1, with the favorite going off 5-2. At the start, it was Possessed Fashion (Ron Pierce) and Yagot Class (Tim Tetrick) leaving well for the lead, as Canadian Wildcat (Mike Simons ) settled off the early tempo. The opening quarter went in :28. The battle raged on up top, as classy veteran Bastille (David Miller) forced another lead change under the finish line the first time, and was first to the half in :56.2 (:28). Possessed Fashion made another move towards the lead up the backstretch, and battled first over while Bloodstockshalltab (Yannick Gingras) took up second over position, as the field bunch at three-quarters in 1:25.3 (:29.1).  Turning for home, the speed gave way, allowing Canadian Wildcat to split rivals in the final steps, winning by a neck, stopping the clock in 1:55.4 (30.1). Bloodstockshalltab settled for second, while Possessed Fashion was third. The Dawn Dellaporte trainee returned $98.20, keying an exacta worth $668.20. Once again, driver Tim Tetrick led the day with three wins. He was coming off of a six win performance on Wednesday. Live racing returns on Friday, with a special post time of 2:30 PM. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Three divisions of the Debutante Stakes (part of the Historic Series) were contested at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon (Oct. 10). The harness racing events were for 2-year-old filly pacers, each going for a purse of approximately $35,000.   In the first division, it was the John Butenschoen trainee Happiness (Mike Simons) going gate-to-wire to remain undefeated. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover was able to rate a 29.4 second quarter, before going on to pace a strong back half in 55.4 to secure the victory. Bob and Lauren Tucker's Ideal Nuggets (David Miller) provided a strong first over challenge, but came up a neck short in an exciting stretch duel. The mile was completed in 1:53.1. Happiness ($4.80 to win) is owned by breeders Vieux Carre Farms and trainer John Butenschoen. Cover Model (Corey Callahan) finished third.   In division two, Better Said (Tim Tetrick) made it two in a row. The daughter of Well Said battled for the lead for much of the opening quarter (27.4) before going on to a strong front end victory. She won by two lengths, stopping the clock in 1:52.1. Rock Me Gently (Yannick Gingras) sat in the Pocket seat throughout to finish second, while My Little Delight (Andrew McCarthy) closed mildly up the inside to finish third. Better Said is owned by Brittany Farms, and is trained by Linda Toscano. She paid $4.60 to win.   In the third and final division, Southwind Roulette (Yannick Gingras) came into the event as the heavy favorite, but Seeking Nirvana (David Miller) had other ideas. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere left aggressively from the far outside to sit pocket behind the favorite. After patiently drafting for much of the mile, she was given her cue, vacating the pocket just beyond three-quarters. In the stretch, Seeking Nirvana was able to survive a passing lane surge from Alexa Said (Brett Miller) to win by a quarter of a length, stopping the time in 1:52.3. She paid $17.60 to win. Seeking Nirvana is owned by Patricia Stable and Barb Matthews, and is trained by Noel Daley.   In overnight action, Bamond Racing's Venus Delight (Tim Terick) scored in a winners over $25,000 lifetime event for filly and mare pacers. The 4-year-old picked up her sixteenth victory out of just forty starts in come-from-behind fashion, stopping the clock in 1:51 flat. Ms Caila J Fra (Ron Pierce) raced a big first-over effort to be second, while Charisma Hanover (Yannick Gingras) cleared late to finish third. Venus Delight is trained by P J Fraley, and paid $4.20 to win.   Michael Bozich    

Both of our major award winners for this week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs come from the claiming ranks. In the past, claimers were often thought were often thought of as being a notch or two below their counterparts in condition races. That has changed at MSPD, where the claiming races often feature winning times comparable or even better than condition races with similar purses. The exploits of our two horses of the week will demonstrate the rise of the claimers as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: MILLIONDOLLARTOUCH Up until a few weeks ago, this eight-year-gelding seemed to have just one big effort in him for the entire year. He picked up just one win in his first 22 races of the year, but it was a monster mile of 1:50:2 on July 26 that seemed to herald bigger things to come. Those bigger things didn't arrive until Milliondollartouch pounded a field of $12,500 claimers on September 17 by 7 ¾ lengths.   Puffed up by the big win, Milliondollartouch, trained by Mark Kesmodel, stepped up his asking price in a $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap on Saturday night. Andrew McCarthy took him to the front at about the 3/8-mile marker of the race and kept the pedal down, leading to intense fractions that seemed likely to sap the gelding's energy as the mile wore on. McCarthy must have had a pretty good inkling of how much his horse had in the tank though, because Milliondollartouch kept digging hard on the front end. Final Curtain tried to chase him down in the stretch, but the gelding held him off for a win by a half-length in 1:50:4. The fact that Milliondollartouch was able to follow up one standout performance with another suggests that the final months of his season might just be filled with consistent excellence instead of sporadic brilliance. Other top pacers this week include: Aslan (Andrew McCarthy, Tony O'Sullivan), who rolled to an easy win in the week's featured Preferred pace on Saturday night in 1:50:1; Scott Rocks (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), whose winning time of 1:49:4 in a condition pace on Saturday night was the fastest at MSPD this week; and Keystone Real Deal (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Carr), who earned his second straight claiming win on Wednesday night and did so in 1:51, matching a career-best time. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: A COOL MILLION Is it a coincidence that both of our big award winners have some variation of the word "million" in their name? Maybe, but what can be said for certain is that both of them certainly looked like they worth every bit their lucrative monikers. A Cool Million started to find her best stride once she arrived at Pocono on August 29 following a claim at Harrah's at Philadelphia for $10,000 that put her in the Gilberto Garcia-Herrera barn. The 6-year-old mare immediately paid dividends with a win in the $10,000 claimers in her first start at Pocono and then followed it up with a win in a $12,500 to $15,000 claiming handicap trot. In both of those races she set new career marks. On Tuesday night she stepped up into a $20,000 claiming group, her connections likely hoping that recent momentum would outweigh the jump in class in terms of her prospects for the race. It turns out they were right. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, A Cool Million was just too tough to catch. She spread out her lead to a no-sweat margin at the line for her third consecutive victory, and once again she did it in a career-best time, which on this night was 1:53:1. She was claimed following the race, so her new barn is going to be getting a mare at the absolute pinnacle of her powers. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: King's Cavalier (Anthony Napolitano, Joe Geiser), who moved up in class to capture his second straight condition trot on Saturday night, this one coming in a career-best time of 1:54:1; DW's NY Yank (George Napolitano Jr., Rob Burke), whose condition win on Saturday night came in 1:52:1, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Wind Of The North (Simon Allard, Clifton Green), who rallied to win the $25,000 Fred Yaggi Memorial Trot on Saturday night in 1:52:2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CANADIAN OVERALL Even though he had raced just three days previously at Harrington, this trotter with Mike Simons in the bike stunned a condition group on Saturday night at 18-1 for a $38 payout on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TYLER BUTER Buter enjoyed an impressive hot streak on Saturday night, ripping off three straight wins on the ultra-competitive card when only one of those winners was favored. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JAMES EATON The Eaton barn was feeling it this past week, ripping off a pair of training wins on Saturday night and then following it up with a training triple on Tuesday. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs    

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 26, 2014 -- Although he was pressed in the stretch, Yankee Bounty extended his harness racing career unbeaten streak to eight by capturing a division of Friday's $91,998 Keystone Classic at The Meadows. Mike Simons and trainer John Butenschoen teamed to take the other two splits, with Dragon Eddy and Tomy Terror, in the event for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Yankee Bounty quarter-poled to the lead for Eric Ledford, who stepped up when transportation problems prevented regular driver Yannick Gingras from reaching The Meadows. The pocket-sitting Chaching Hanover, who had only a maiden victory to his credit, kept close to his undefeated rival until Yankee Bounty drew off late under mild urging to triumph by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:51.2. Wild Again was third. Yankee Bounty won his two most recent starts, including the Pennsylvania Sires Stake championship, by a nose and a neck, narrow escapes that may lead some to consider him vulnerable. Don't count Ledford among them. "He was on the right line just a touch, but there was never any doubt," Ledford said. "They haven't beaten him yet, and I don't foresee them beating him in the near future. You'll be reading a lot about him next year as a 3-year-old." Ron Burke trains the Yankee Cruiser-Bootleg Yankee gelding, who soared over $300,000 in lifetime earnings, for Yankee Bounty Partnership and Frank Chick. Yankee Bounty will dominate the headlines, as well he should, but Dragon Eddy emerged from the Keystone Classic with one laurel Yankee Bounty didn't get -- the stake record. He earned it with a front-end score in 1:51.1. UF Larry Alltheway was second, 3 lengths back, while Parklane Eagle rallied for show. "He's a real quick, real handy horse," said assistant trainer Tyler Butenschoen. "He comes off the car really well. He's been able to get in spots where he could put himself in the race. When he's got to the front, he's been able to control it. He's quick enough that he can accelerate away from them on the end." William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, Eugene Schick and Edward Bardowski campaign Dragon Eddy, a Dragon Again-Jaska Hanover gelding who now has banked $139,512. Tomy Terror hadn't been worse than second in eight career outings, a streak that appeared in jeopardy when he was attacked inside and outside while leading through the lane. The Western Terror-Mib Hanover gelding dug in and held off Reggiano by a nose in a career-best 1:52, with McArdles Lightning third. "He's such a good-feeling horse," Tyler Butenschoen said. "He has a great attitude, and he loves his work. He can get a little lost on the lead, but he'll explode off a helmet." Wiswell, Goehlen, Schick and VIP Internet Stable own Tomy Terror, who is eligible for such late-season stakes as the Breeders Crown and the Matron. In the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Southern Allie made the lead first over and held off the rallying Shock It To 'Em by a head to prevail in 1:51. Camcruiser Hanover completed the ticket. Randy Bendis conditions the 7-year-old Allie's Western-Pershing Angela gelding, who extended his career bankroll to $747,754, and owns with Tom Pollack, Jack Piatt II and R. Lewis Hauber. Dave Palone drove five winners and Simons three on the 16-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the card features a pair of Keystone Classics -- a $90,000 stake for three-year-old filly pacers and a $71,200 test for sophomore filly trotters. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Tirade Hanover and Tyber Tyke proved victorious in Saturday (September 13) evening's co-featured $15,000 Open events at Tioga Downs, headlining an eleven-race closing night card.   Tirade Hanover ($16.60) sustained a sweeping three-wide bid on the far turn for a 1:54.3 victory in the $15,000 Open Trot, staving off a resurgent Oh No Three O. The four-year-old Crazed gelding was well off dueling leaders In Your Room (Mike Simons) and Oh No Three O (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :55.3 initial half mile, sweeping three-wide past a stalled Spice It Up Lindy (Tom Jackson) en route to the far turn. Tirade Hanover continued on to the lead 100 yards from the winning post, maintaining his momentum to just hold off Oh No Three O, who split rivals in a late rally from the pocket. B L Class Act (Aaron Byron) gained late down the grandstand side to take third.   Tyler Raymer drove Tirade Hanover to his fifteenth career win. Trainer Leigh Raymer shares ownership with Stephen Moss, Harold Solomon, and Helane Solomon.   Hoosier invader Tyber Tyke ($4.90) kicked clear late in the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace after sustaining a barrage of pressure, emerging from a four-way battle to control a :55.1 initial half mile. The five-year-old Panspacificflight gelding then repelled a stout first-over challenge from Golden Gun (John Cummings, Jr.) before drawing clear to a 6-1/4 length victory in 1:50.3.   Bettorsluckystreak (Jim Taggart, Jr.) took second narrowly after shaking free in the final yards, while Dreamlands Art (Mike Simons) finished a tiring third after stalking from the pocket.   Fern Paquet, Jr. handled the driving duties aboard Tyber Tyke for trainer Daniel Gill. John McGill and Brian Carsey co-own the 19-time winner.   Tioga Downs honored driving champion Jim Marohn, Jr. and training champion Mike Deters during the evening's festivities, along with acknowledgements of Trotter of the Year I Love New York (trained and driven by Bruce Clarke through the meet) and Pacer of the Year Fireyourguns (driven by Aaron Byron for trainer Terence McClory).   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Two-year-old pacers took center stage at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 12) evening, contesting their divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stake on the penultimate program of the 2014 harness racing season.   And while Hall of Terror (Marcus Miller, $3.50) turned in a mightily impressive :54.4 final half mile in his victory, top honors went to Dealt a Winner ($3.90), who set a new track record for two-year-old pacing geldings.   The son of Cam's Card Shark was well off the pace early in the tenth race, moving second-over behind Shooby Said (Jim Marohn, Jr.) after Gallic Beach (Tim Tetrick) brushed from midpack to the fore in a sensible :56.4 half mile. On the backstretch, David Miller angled Dealt a Winner three-wide, pushing past Shooby Said into a joint lead with Gallic Beach on the far turn. The two dueled through the stretch, with Dealt a Winner taking over outright in the final sixteenth and drawing clear for a one-length win. Sicily (Corey Callahan) tracked live three-wide cover on the backstretch, staying on for third.   Dealt a Winner's 1:52.3 victory took a second off the prior track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. Ed Hart handles the training duties for owner Jeffrey Snyder.   McArdles Lightning (Scott Zeron, 1:53.3) and Dragon Eddy (Mike Simons, 1:53.3) were the other two winners in the Reynolds divisions for two-year-old colts and geldings.   Corey Callahan teamed up with two freshman fillies for Reynolds wins as part of a Friday driving hat trick, holding sway with Divine Caroline (1:53.1) and kicking clear with Bettor B Steppin (1:53.3) in their stakes splits. Deli Beach (John Campbell, 1:55) was the other triumphant filly in the evening's stakes races.   The closing night (Saturday, September 13) program at Tioga features an 11-race card, with post time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite

Carried three-wide through the far turn, Bettorsluckystreak ($26.80) sustained his late bid en route to a 1:51.4 upset victory in Sunday (September 7) afternoon's featured pace at Tioga Downs.   The $10,000 upper-level conditioned event drew a field of eight, with newcomer Johnny Grippa (Jim Meittinis) handling the pacesetting duties throughout, establishing a solid tempo through a :55 half mile.   With Cashendash Hanover (Brandon Simpson) fading from the pocket and Hasty Western (Aaron Byron) sliding first-over with three-eighths to go, Greg Merton moved the four-year-old son of Bettor's Delight out to track cover en route to the far turn.   While Hasty Western continued two-wide despite the pocket opening up approaching the far turn, Merton moved Bettorsluckystreak three-wide past three-quarters in 1:22.4. The two sustained their rally, passing Hasty Western at the top of the stretch and pulling clear of Johnny Grippa in the final 70 yards to prevail by a length.   Prairie Jaguar, the 8-5 favorite, failed to sustain an extended uncovered bid, staying even to finish fifth.   James Clouser, Jr. trains Bettorsluckystreak for Kenneth Weckstein, Richard Rubin, and Gary Messenger.   Mike Simons and Tyler Buter led all drivers with three wins each on the 13-race card.   The 2014 live racing season concludes at Tioga Downs this upcoming weekend, with Friday (September 12) and Saturday (September 13) cards both scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Not even an hour after Sassa Hanover ($2.30) equaled JK Molly's 1:52.2 track record for two-year-old pacing fillies at Tioga Downs in her $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event, Mosquito Blue Chip ($6.10) set the record anew in her 1:52.1 Sire Stakes triumph, finding room up the inside off a pocket trip to just prevail on the all-stakes Thursday (September 4) evening card.   The daughter of Bettor's Delight and Sandfly Hanover held pocket position behind a speedy Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) through a solid yet well-rated :56.4 half mile, tracking intently as favorite Bettor N Better (Matt Kakaley) charged first-over at Devil Child to force a :27 third quarter. Blocked in upper stretch,   Jim Morrill, Jr. wedged through at the pegs with Mosquito Blue Chip in the final 70 yards to take the lead from Devil Child, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Bettor N Better flattened late, still holding third.   Trainer Paul Jessop co-owns Mosquito Blue Chip with the Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio.   Earlier in the evening, Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) gave Morrill his first Sire Stakes driving win on the evening, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go before turning aside a challenge from My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) and subsequently kicking clear to a 2-1/4 length 1:52.2 win. Ron Burke trains Sassa Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and Larry Karr.   In addition to New York Sire Stakes action for two-year-old pacing fillies, freshman trotters contested five W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stake divisions. Colts SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller, 1:57.1) and Sixteen Encores (Matt Kakaley, 1:57.2) proved victorious in their divisions, while Gold Cora (Mike Simons, 1:56.3), Allerage Star (Corey Callahan, 1:56.1), and Big Barb (Mike Simons, 1:57.2) scored wins in the three filly divisions.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 5), with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Repelling a late challenge from Spice It Up Lindy, Twin B Spike Man ($3.10) proved a gutsy 1:54.4 winner in Saturday (August 30) evening's $15,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs, giving Mike Simons one of his four driving wins on the evening.   The seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding wasted no time achieving the lead, brushing clear of Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) after a soft :29.2 first quarter and immediately accelerating through a :57 middle half. Now with Spice It Up Lindy in a tracking position, Twin B Spike Man entered the far turn with a 1-1/2 length advantage. Despite a late challenge in the final yards, Twin B Spike Man held sway for a one-length victory. Stitch in Time (Jim Taggart, Jr.) tracked the top pair the entire mile, checking in a non-threatening third.   Donald Eccleston and Albert Abdala, III co-own Twin B Spike Man with Simons. Gail Wrubel handles the training duties.   Simons was victorious on three other occasions through the evening, teaming up with Brookside Lily ($37.60, 1:58.2), Rock Star ($3.10, 1:53.2), and Current Image ($7.90, 1:58.2) to complete his grand slam.   Live racing returns on Monday (September 1) afternoon, with the 11-race card set for a 1:30 p.m. EDT start. The blockbuster Labor Day program features the 60th Cane Pace, the Shady Daisy, a preliminary Miss Versatility event, and the second half of the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs 

Pouncing from the pocket on the approach to the far turn, Keith Pippi's Traverse Seelster ($3.30) recorded the fastest mile ever at Tioga Downs for an older trotting gelding, taking Saturday (August 23) evening's $15,000 Open Trot in 1:52.4.   Brandon Simpson settled into the pocket with the six-year-old Angus Hall gelding, drafting behind Lutetium (John Cummings, Jr.) through a :56.2 half before making his two-wide push with five-sixteenths to go.   Traverse Seelster responded at once, kicking clear to a three-length lead on the far turn. Through the stretch, he was chased home by Twin B Spike Man (Mike Simons), but last week's Open winner could only muster a second-place finish, closing to within a length and a half. Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) rallied from last in the field of five to take third. Oh No Three O (Corey Braden) was a non-threatening fourth, and early pacesetter Lutetium faded to last after giving way.   Amber Buter trains Traverse Seelster, whose 1:52.4 mile bested Tac's Delight prior record for older trotting geldings by a fifth of a second. The overall track record for trotters stands at 1:52.3, most recently achieved by Obrigado.   Sunday (August 24) afternoon's 13-race card kicks off at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with freshman trotters taking center stage in a quartet of Kindergarten Classic preliminaries.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Batavia, NY---Perfect weather and a lightning fast track provided record-breaking conditions for Buen Camino and trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and the pair did not disappoint. They were never headed in a $55,500 division of the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs and rewrote history. In an uncharacteristic move, Smedshammer sent Buen Camino out of the gate and put him right on the point; something the 2-year-old had never done before. But it wasn't done by accident; his driver had a plan. Smedshammer said after the race "It was time to put him on the front end. He was very good tonight." And perhaps very good was an understatement. After cutting fractions of :29.3, :59.4 and 1:29.2, Buen Camino pulled away from the pack while motoring in a :28.3 final panel to post a lifetime mark of 1:58 flat, which was also a new track record at Batavia Downs for 2-year-old trotting geldings. Post time favorite Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) got caught second over in a dull outer flow behind Andy Ray (Brent Holland) and followed that one to the top of the last turn before tipping three deep. But by that time it was too late as Buen Camino had opened up three and was cruising for the wire. Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) who skirted the pylons during the mile caught second and Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory) closed well to be third. The winner paid $22.40. This was the second win in only four lifetime starts for Buen Camino (Cash Hall-Baby Bella) and it boosted his earnings to $64,722 for owner Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stable LLC. After the race, Polisseni said "He's been a nice horse since day one but he's had some bad trips along the way. Trond really likes him and we're both very optimistic for next year." In the other $54,500 division, Tidquist (Conway Hall-Appomattox Lady) captured his first lifetime win in a convincing wire-to-wire, 1:59.4 victory for driver Mike Simons. Shooting quickly off the wings, Tidquist took a powerful four-length lead to the quarter pole where most of the field had trouble keeping up with him. After marking the first three stations in :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1, Royal Deceptor (Michael Mc Givern) who had been tracking him second, finally got close and pulled to challenge at the top of the lane. But Tidquist had another idea and turned on the speed to fly home in a sparkling :28.3 final quarter to win by a widening length and a quarter. Royal Deceptor hung on for second and Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) was third. Overlooked by the bettors, the winner paid $27.60. The win was the first in six lifetime starts for Tidquist and was responsible for the bulk of his $33,196 in earnings for owners Robert Brooks, Jana Bowen, John Buettner and Charlene Long. Tidquist is trained by Jeffrey Long. There were also three divisions of the Excelsior Series that went for a total of $38,000. Abir Hanover (Credit Winner-Are You Ready) captured the first $12,600 division in 2:01.2 for trainer Paul Kelley and driver Jason Bartlett and paid $4.60. Abir Hanover is owned by Paul Kelley, W.J. Donovan and Theodore Gewertz. Lucky Pablo (Lucky Chuck-Classical Princess) won the second $12,700 split, also in 2:01.2 for trainer/driver John Stark Jr. and paid $24.00. Lucky Pablo is owned by Edmund Smith, Crawford Farms LLC, James Giannuzzi and David Smith. And in the third session, Crazshana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) won the $12,700 contest in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and paid $3.50. Crazshana is owned by the Purple Haze Stable LLC. The Purple Haze Stable sent out three winners on the evening and drivers Trond Smedshammer and Mark MacDonald both had driving triples. Racing resumes on Friday (Aug. 22) at Batavia Downs with a 12 race card that has a 6:35 post time.   Tim Bojarski

Sustaining a first-over push to wear down odds-on favorite Money On My Mind, Twin B Spike Man ($30.20) proved an upset winner in Saturday (August 16) evening's $15,000 Open Handicap Trot at Tioga Downs.   As expected, Jim Marohn, Jr. sent 1-5 favorite Money On My Mind to the fore, controlling a :56.4 first half mile before facing pressure into the far turn. After reaching three-quarters in 1:25.2, Money On My Mind found himself bracing for the oncoming onslaught of the first-over Twin B Spike Man, who pushed to the fore at head-stretch. With the favorite fading at the pegs, Twin B Spike Man was left to contend with a chasing Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) in the final yards, holding sway for a half-length victory in 1:54.2. Stitch in Time (Brandon Simpson) stayed on well for third off a pocket trip.   Co-owner Mike Simons drove the seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding for trainer Gail Wrubel. Donald Eccleston and Albert Abdala, III also share ownership of Twin B Spike Man. The win was one of three on the night for Simons, who also teamed up with Highland Yankee (1:56.3) and Magglio (1:56.3).   Racing returns to Tioga on Sunday (August 17) afternoon, with non-wagering Tompkins-Geers action scheduled for 1:10 p.m. EDT. The eleven-race pari-mutuel card kicks off at 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Six divisions of Stallion Series action for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters were held at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (August 13) each going for a purse of $20,000. In the first division, it was Susan Daugherty's Wimborne Hanover going coast-to-coast for the victory. The son of Muscle Massive used a rated second quarter to his advantage, going on to win in a time of 1:58.3. Pocket-sitter Trust Fund Baby finished second, while Captian Trotterous was third. Wimborne Hanover is trained by Bill Daugherty Jr, and was driven by Yannick Gingras. In division two, it was Suit and Tie in a gate-to-wire performance, stopping the clock in 1:58.1. The son of Andover Hall set steady fractions, holding off a late challenge from Capt Serious, while favorite Master The Past finished third. Suit and Tie is owned by Bill Wiswell and M&L of Delaware Inc., trained by John Butenschoen, and was driven by Mike Simons. In the third division, Chuck Sylvester Trainee Old Oak came from off the pace to win. The son of Donato Hanover drafted behind the live cover of eventual second place finisher Flying Muscles, out closing him in the stretch, to win in 1:58.3. Favorite KY Lucky finished an even third. Old Oak is owned by Steve Jones, and was driven by John Campbell. Division four went to Longcat Hanover. The son of Muscle Massive drafted behind the speed of Don't Mind Me, and was able to barely get past in the final steps, stopping the clock in 1:57.4. Mercury Fashion was a distant third. Longcat Hanover is owned by the Pinske Stables and Enzed Racing, trained by Nifty Norman, and was held together by David Miller. In the fifth division, it was the Oyvind Hegdal trainee Explosiveday scoring an impressive win. The son of Explosive Matter fired quickly off the wings and never looked back, winning in an in-hand 200.1. Explosiveafternoon was second, while Handover The Money, who raced huge despite a tough trip, finished third. Explosiveday is owned by Camilla Hegdal and Kjell Anderson, and was driven by Oyvind Hegdal. The sixth and final division went to Donatomite. The son of Donato Hanover overpowered long shot leader, and eventual third place finisher Emotion In Motion just beyond the quarter pole, going on to a nine length win, in a time of 1:58.1. Plump Jack closed up for second. Donatomite is owned by Michael Andrew, and is trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Fresh off a pair of harness racing open wins at Saratoga, Obrigado ($8.70) pounced from a rated tracking trip to take the $15,000 Open Trot on Saturday (August 9) at Tioga Downs, equalling the all-age track record of 1:52.3 in the act.   From the outset, Aaron Byron kept the four-year-old Boy Band gelding well off an ambitious pace set by Wisenheimer (Jim Marohn, Jr.), only starting to move a closer second on the far turn after a 1:23.2 three-quarter split. While pressing on the far turn, Obrigado gained into a joint lead coming to the top of the stretch, driven out in the final sixteenth to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Macs Bad Boy (Mike Simons) rallied off a stalking trip to narrowly take second from Wisenheimer, while odds-on favorite Traverse Seelster (Brandon Simpson) simply had too far to rally, finishing fourth.   The mark, shared by Manningly and Autumn Escapade, also gave Obrigado outright ownership of the track record for four-year-old trotting geldings, eclipsing the past record of 1:54.3 shared by Martino and Brookroad Knight.   Trainer Paul Kelley co-owns Obrigado with the partnership of Higgins, Weaver, and Stable 45.   Later in the card, Pan Luis Obispo ($13.20) sustained a first-over bid to prevail in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, wearing down Inittowinafortune in 1:51.4. Vinny Ginsburg handled the driving duties of the four-year-old No Pan Intended mare for trainer Robert Bresnahan and owner Robert Bresnahan, Jr.   Live racing resumes on Sunday (August 10) afternoon, with a stakes-laden program headlined by the finals of the Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired three-year-old pacers. Post time is 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 9, 2014 -- Hammered down to 1-5 off his surprising fourth in the Hambletonian, Il Sogno Dream lived up to expectations Friday at The Meadows when he dominated his Currier & Ives division and scored in a stake-record 1:53.2. Wheelsandthelegman took the other split in the $120,000 stake for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Il Sogno Dream caught the public's attention with his Hambletonian rally at 90-1, and they deemed him much the best. So did winning driver David Miller, who moved the son of Cantab Hall-Le Reve to the front at the quarter. He jogged from there, lowering the previous Currier & Ives record of 1:54.1 established by Vivid Photo in 2005. "I was very impressed with him," Miller said. "He was very easy to get along with and just raced super. He felt strong in the stretch. He felt like he had enough to finish it off." Chris Beaver trains Il Sogno Dream, who vaulted over $300,000 in career earnings, for Bill Manes, Dan Manes. Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. Wheelsandthelegman had to work much harder for his victory, first repelling Amped Up Hanover and forcing him back to the pylons past the quarter, then thwarting him again when he challenged anew near the three-quarters. The Donato Hanover-Carmita gelding triumphed for Dick Stillings in 1:55.1, a neck better than the game Amped Up Hanover, with Frost Free Hanover third. It was the seventh win for Wheelsandthelegman in nine career outings. "He's a real tough guy, but there's something not quite right about him," said Walt Carroll, who trains Wheelsandthelegman for Beth Carroll. "He got bit by a spider or something after he raced here Adios Day. There's just something missing. But he's a real competitor. I thought he was beat a couple times today, and he hung in there and did what he had to do." He attributed much of the youngster's success to trainer/driver Jim Raymer, who helped develop him. Carroll said Wheelsandthelegman likely will remain in Pennsylvania stakes for the balance of the season. $231,260 PA Sires Stake, 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Yankee Bounty stretched his career unbeaten streak to five with his most impressive performance yet, a 1:50.4 mile that erased the stake record of Johns Polyview and is the fastest mile this year by a freshman pacing gelding on a five-eighths-mile track. Lyons Again was second, 3-1/4 lengths back, while Lost For Words earned show. Blood Brother and Tomy Terror captured the other splits in the event known as the Tyler B. Yannick Gingras enjoyed a PASS double behind Yankee Bounty and Blood Brother. Making his initial start in the Ron Burke stable, Yankee Bounty was under wraps late, making Gingras wonder how fast the son of Yankee Cruiser-Bootleg Yankee ultimately can go. "He can go faster than 1:50.4, that's for sure. He had plenty left," Gingras said. "He certainly is impressive. He's the best 2-year-old I've driven so far this year, probably the best 2-year-old in the country." Yankee Bounty Partnership and Frank Chick campaign Yankee Bounty, who soared over $100,000 in lifetime earnings. A three-race maiden entering the race, Blood Brother was dismissed at 18-1 but found the Lightning Lane in time to score in 1:51.3. Wakizashi Hanover, the 3-5 favorite, was second by a nose, while Dragon Eddy completed the ticket. "He always could go, but he shakes his head the whole race," Gingras said. "He has the ability, but he just doesn't pay attention. Today he was a little bit better as far as that goes, and he got a good trip and got it done. We're working with different bits, and hopefully someday we'll find one he likes." Jimmy Takter trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Blood Diamond for Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables. Tomy Terror snapped his bridesmaid streak of three consecutive seconds by shooting the Lightning Lane to down Cooperstown by 1/2 length in 1:52.2, with Badiou Hanover third. Mike Simons drove the Western Terror-Mib Hanover gelding for trainer John Butenschoen and owners William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, Eugene Schick and VIP Internet Stable. "He's been on the front the last two times and just got caught, but we always thought he would be better off a helmet," said assistant trainer Tyler Butenschoen. "He got the cover he needed and exploded through there real good." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

Three separate divisions of the New York Sire Stakes produced plenty of fireworks at Vernon Downs on Saturday night. The biggest performance was a new track record for 2-year-old trotters of 1:54 for Crazy Wow in the third and final division with a purse of $36,566. Crazy Wow (Crazed-No Pan No Gain) went right to the front at the outset and cruised through fractions of 27.2 for a quarter and 58.1 for the half. Crazy Wow (Dan Rawlings) was actually headed by Eskimo Joe (Ray Schnittker) as the field approached the final turn, but quickly dispatched that challenge to retake the lead through three-quarters in 1:25.3. Crazy Wow stormed home to win by nine impressive lengths in that track record final time of 1:54. Drinksforthehouse (Chris Lems) finished second after Pier Ho Exotic (John Cummings Jr.) broke stride in the stretch. Eskimo Joe had to settle for the third spot. Crazy Wow is owned by Joseph Hess of New Milford, New Jersey and trained by Dan O'Mara. The 1:54 final time eclipses the previous mark of 1:54.3 by Nuncio, set in 2013. Nuncio very nearly made his own headlines on Saturday since he ended up as the runner-up in the 2014 Hambletonian Final at The Meadowlands.   The $37,266 first division was a story of survival for Insomniac (Crazed-Catch Some Zs). Insomniac (Mark Macdonald) took the lead immediately from the outside post position and led through a quarter of 28.4, a half of 59.1, and three-quarters in 1:29. The less than even-money favorite, Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory), attacked the longtime leader in the stretch, but could never get by Insomniac, who had plenty left in the tank after those conservative early fractions. Commentary (Mike Simons) rolled up strongly in the final strides to finish third at 32-1. Insomniac is owned by Paul Kelley of Gansevoort, New York and William Weaver III of Freehold, New Jersey. Paul Kelley is also the trainer.   Wings of Royalty (Rc Royalty-Sparkling Cider) was the winner of the $37,266 second division. Wings Of Royalty (Chris Lems) made a strong close through the stretch while three-wide to pass the pacesetting pair of Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) and Credit Creation (Jim Morrill Jr.) for a victory in 1:56. Credit Creation had taken the lead from the start and led most of the way around the racetrack, only being passed by Gabe The Bear Dean for just a quick moment before reassuming the advantage. His early fractions of 28.1 for the quarter, 58.3 for the half, and 1:27.4 for three-quarters were solid enough. Gabe The Bear Dean did get past Credit Creation for the second placing in the stretch, forcing Credit Creation to settle for third. Wings Of Royalty is owned by Raymond W.J. Campbell of Belchertown, Massachusetts and trained by George Ducharme.   Live racing will return to Vernon Downs with a 14-race program on Thursday night when the 2-year-old pacing fillies take their turn at center stage in the New York Sire Stakes. Post time for the Thursday program is 6:45pm.   Sophie Norton wins HHYF race on Hambletonian Day Sophie Norton of New Hartford, NY won the Harness Horse Youth Foundation race Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ. One kid was selected from Vernon Downs, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and Harrington Raceway to represent each track on Saturday. Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce was the co-pilot in the two seat jog cart with Sophie Norton. It was second consecutive year that the representative from Vernon Downs won the HHYF race at The Meadowlands. This year the HHYF was at Vernon Downs July 14-18. The five day camp gave youngsters hands on experience with horses, opportunity to work with local horsemen at Vernon, and the thrill of a lifetime competing in an actual race. Harness Horse Association of Central New York sponsors each kid that participates in the camp. For more information about HHYF and having your kid participate in the 2015 camp visit www.hhyf.org by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity

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