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In what turned out to be one of the fastest miles ever trotted at Monticello Raceway On The Podium rambled to a 1:56.2 triumph winning the featured race on Wednesday afternoon, (Sept. 17). That mark erased the former standard of 1:57 co-owned by Cornishman N in 2011 and Rompaway Alan in 2013. Bruce Aldrich, Jr. drove the winner for trainer Jose Godinez and strangely it was On The Podium's first seasonal victory in 22 starts although the Donato Hanover 5-year-old gelding had five seconds and three thirds which previously earned owners Blindswitch Racing and Anthony Nicometo nearly $30,00 this year. On The Podium's new standard followed a 1:54.1 new track record for 4 year old pacing gelding set just the previous afternoon by Twin B Famous and driver Mike Merton . However, On The Podium's surprise track record was unexpected as all eyes were on Rose Run Nash (Jimmy Marohn,Jr.) who was seeking his 19th seasonal victory and was sent off as the betting favorite in the race and after finishing fourth Rose Run Nash will have to wait for another day to extend his North American leading 18 wins. The 1:56.2 track record by On The Podium was even more amazing that it came in a six-horse field but it was set-up by the early speedy fractions (:28, :57.4, 1:26.3) driver Mike Merton set with Scottish Cross. On The Podium started from the three hole and after settling in along the pylons he was the first to move when the field approached the halfway point. By the third panel Aldrich's trotter was nose-to-nose with Scottish Cross and on the final turn they opened-up daylight and had three lengths on the field. As they headed for home the margin was extendedto eight lengths when they crossed the wire. Scottish Cross was collared by I'm Fabulous (Jimmy Taggart, Jr.) who came from way back finish second a nose ahead of Scottish Cross in third place. Even-money favorite, Rose Run Nash, came into the contest off two consecutive 1:57.4 victories but never got unwound and finished fourth nine lengths, behind the winner. The victory was one of three on the card for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. who was elated after his track record triumph with On The Podium. "Last week we fell short by a head and finished second to Rose Run Nash and with him on the rail (pole position) I figured he'd be tough to beat in here," Aldrich acknowledged. "I knew my horse had lots of trot when he warmed up good today but I never expected he'd set a track record. What a nice surprise." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

There are some who are hard to beat here at Monticello Raceway; two are horses and the other is driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. On Monday afternoon, Sept. 15, Shortest Distance notched her 20th seasonal victory and Diamond Tiara racked up win number 19, and leading driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. reined five winners on the 10 race card and continues to lead the driving colony in victories. The veteran pacing mare Shortest Distance seems nearly impossible to beat in the $7500 claiming ranks and she continues to lead all Standardbreds in wins in North America this season. Her victory on Monday was a cake walk for the 9 year old Park Place mare when Bruce Aldrich, Jr. sent her to the front even though Shortest Distance had to pace a swift :27.1 first quarter to gain command. But once on the engine Aldrich got her to the halfway point :57.2 and from there Shortest Distance cruised to an easy five-length triumph in a time of 1:55.4. Latin Lyric (Jimmy Devaux), who forced Shortest Distance to pace that :27.1 first quarter, finished second. "She's about as tough as they come," Aldrich said of Shortest Distance. "Now we have our sights set on the (Monticello) track record of 22 wins and if she stays sound we have a chance at that (mark)." Aldrich referenced the 22 wins complied here by Golden Storm GB back in 1985 and although a few have come close no one has beat it, yet. But Shortest Distance isn't the only one chasing the Mighty M track record for victories. Add to the list Diamond Tiara, who was nearly unbeatable earlier this season. On Monday afternoon the 7- year- old McArdle pacing mare visited the winners circle for the 19th time this year, but under unusual circumstances, this time. She made it there via a disqualification. Actually, after being roughed-up during the first quarter, Diamond Tiara and driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. gained control and led the field all the to the top of the stretch where it appeared that she would once again go on to victory. However, with the field tightly bunched coming off the final turn Jimmy Marohn Jr. slipped 25-1 shot Machs little Filly up the inside and in the lane they paced on to to a one-length 1:57.4 triumph over Diamond Tiara. But wait.....immediately after the finish the judges flashed the inquiry sign on the tote board and upon careful and lengthy review it was deemed that Machs Little Girl went inside three pylons at the head of the lane and because of that she was placed second and Diamond Tiara had her 19th seasonal victory. She, like Shortest Distance, has been claimed four times thus far this year and now Diamond Tiara is back in the Mike Watson stable And Aldrich's five winners on the Monday card give him 415 for the year, good for sixth place on the North American driver leaderboard. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Rose Run Nash scored his 18th victory of the season at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday afternoon when Jimmy Marohn Jr. drove him to s 1:57.4 triumph over On The Podium driven by Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Now the 5-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture has moved four victories ahead of Too Salty and continues to lead North America in races won this year by a trotter. In fact Rose Run Nash trails Mighty M pacer Shortest Distance by just one triumph for most victories by any standardbred in 2014. Coming into the contest off a 1:57.4 victory last week Rose Run Nash repeated that performance with a gutsy victory today (September 10). The race began with Larry Stalbaum sending Mr. Invincible to the front and carrying Marohn's trotter to a :27.4 first quarter before they relinquished command. Once on top Marohn kept the pedal to the metal and had a two-length lead at the half as the timer tripped :58. Up the backside the betting favorite On The Podium, in from Saratoga Raceway, trotted by Mr Invincibe and was in second position behind the pace-setter as they trotted by the third stanza in 1:27.4. When the field headed for home Rose Run Nash had already held off a challenge from Typical Newyorker (Mike Merton) and still had a one length lead. However, by mid-stretch Rose Run Nash was visibly tired but he was dead game when On The Podium rallied along the pylons. Rose Run Nash was giving such a great effort that his head swung from side to side like a pendulum with each hard fought stride toward the finish line. So much so that the head swinging was visibly noticeable to the rail birds who got to see a determined veteran equine give his all to win a race, something that Rose Run Nash has done 17 times previously this year. "He was running out in the stretch and I let him do it so as not to interfere with his determination to win. And I wasn't jerking his head from side to side, he was doing it himself reaching down for something extra with each of his final strides," Marohn said in the winner's circle as trainer Danny Gill held his pupil's head and kept chipping "number 18-number 18" referring to Rose Run Nash's season win total. "I've driven a lot of horses but I don't think I ever felt the determination that Rose Run Nash showed in his victory today," Marohn added. "Maybe he is used to winning but he surely gave his all in victory today. And people will tell you they (horses) are dumb animals, but when you are around them you know better." Rose Run Nash is owned by Ed Hall. He paid $4.40 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It wasn't a battle of the titans at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon (Sept 8), it was, however, a confrontation between Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, the two harness racing horses with the most victories, (18) in North America this season. Actually the two had confronted one another back on August 25th and both finished off the board. But on Monday, Shortest Distance prevailed and her 19th seasonal triumph makes her the clear leader in races won by a Standardbred tin 2014. Bruce Aldrich Jr. was again at the controls behind the 6 year old Park Place mare as they easily scored a five length victory in 1:55.1 after starting from post position three. Future Rock Star and Zeke Parker finished second while Givemybest Hanover was third for Larry Stalbaum. After the race an excited Aldrich chirped "I did it my way" which he referred to racing Shortest Distance out of a hole. "We had the three- hole and they wanted me to go to the front around Diamond Tiara (post 2) and Jimmy's (Devaux) mare (Latin Lyric on the pole position) but they were head-to -head and wide open on the first turn so I ducked in along the pylons behind them. But as I was doing that I was thinking, if this doesn't work it would be all my fault (for not winning the race) since Al (Annunziata-the mare's trainer) wanted me to race her on the front-end." Devaux finally allowed Jimmy Taggart, Jr. and Diamond Tiara to take command as they passed the first quarter in 28.2. From there Diamond Tiara had command all the way until the three quarters where Shortest Distance zoomed by her and went on to an easy victory. In the lane Diamond Tiara had broken equipment and barely finished when Taggart got off the bike and had assistance taking the sulky off the mare who moseyed home and finished sixth. In the winners circle trainer Al Annunziata acknowledged he wanted Aldrich to race his mare on the front-end but he was smiling and happy with the results just the same. Shortest Distance, owned by Marissa Godinez, returned a $5.10 win payoff. And for Bruce Aldrich, Jr., it was one of four winners on the card for him and his seasonal total of 399 driving victories currently places him sixth in races won in North America. There must be something in the Catskill Mountain air that again this year Monticello Raceway, in the county Seat of the former Borsht Belt, has the horse with the most victories this season like it did with Tracy's Song until the final night of the 2013 campaign. But this year there are three at the top of the lists. The other, a trotter, Rose Run Nash from the Danny Gill barn, has 17 wins is tops in the trotting division. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

With Jimmy Marohn, Jr. sidelined by a racing accident at Tioga Downs last weekend, Monticello Raceway based trainer Danny Gill, who uses Marohn almost exclusively, had to scramble to fill the gap behind his pupils this week. However, on Thursday (Sept. 4), when Gill had six horses in to go, he split the driving chores between three talented chauffeurs; Bruce Aldrich, Jr. Larry Stalbaum, and Johnny Desimone. And Gill finished with a good day with two wins and two seconds from the six starters. Most productive was Desimone who won two races for Gill, both trotting events. First, and foremost, Johnny D scored a 1:57.1 victory with Rose Run Nash ($5.30) which was the 6 year old Trainforthefuture gelding's 17th victory and is tops by a trotter on the continent this year. Now, Rose Run Nash is just one victory away from tying pacers Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, who co-lead North America with 18 wins. And strangely, all three horses are Mighty M regulars. Desimone also reined Gill's other trotter, Sir Siro ($9.50), to a gate to wire to victory in a time of 2:00. "Desimone is good with trotters that's why I used him today, "Gill offered. "He used to work with (Gary) Messenger who always has a lot of good trotters." Gill is also in a fight for leading trainer honors with Messenger and Bob Lounsbury. "We each won two races yesterday," Gill added. "But Messenger is still the leader." Messenger's 102 winners is currently tops while Lounsbury and Gill are in hot pursuit; Lounsbury with 95 wins and Gill with 94. On the driving side Bruce Aldrich Jr. continues to lead the local colony. On Thursday he added three more victories to his seasonal totals and currently leads runner-up Jimmy Devaux by 34 wins; 224 to 190. However, Aldrich is again among the leaders in North America in races won. Driving basically at two tracks, Monticello and Saratoga, many days simultaneously, his 393 winners ranks him sixth at this time. Last year Aldrich's 645 victories tied him for second place nationally with Dave Palone. Ronnie Wren Jr. copped the title last year with 714 wins. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Monticello Raceway hosted the final leg of the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series for 2 year old filly trotters on Wednesday (Sept. 3). There were three $37,000 splits in the sire stakes and five short fields in the Excelsior Series. And despite eight of the 12 races on the card featuring the up- and -coming freshmen trotters still wagering was good. The owners of all the winners could stand tall especially Braxton Medical AB, the proprietors of Shaqline who, in only her fourth lifetime start, equaled the track record for freshmen trotting fillies when Jimmy Takter guided her to a 1:59.2 triumph in her NYSS split. Shaqline now shares top honors with Lady Riviera who also was victorious in 1:59.2 for Ronnie Pierce in 2012. Takter, driving more now and enjoying it immensely, sent the daughter of Credit Winner-Vivaca Hall to the lead from the pole position and they raced unchallenged on the front- end until the final turn. There, after shadowing Shaqline all the way from the get-go, Mark MacDonald moved Nunkeri out to contest the leader but all Takter had to do was give his filly her head and she remained in front as she trotted a final quarter in :28.4 en route to her track record equaling performance. Nunkeri was three lengths back in second place and Dancewithmechuck took home the show dough for Charlie Norris She's a real good filly," Takter told those who joined him in the winner's circle.. He was asked why this was only Shaqline's fourth career start to which he replied; "She had an entrapped epiglottis and it took three surgeries before the problem got fixed. She's breathing great now and she's going to be a real good 3 year old." Shaqline is a pretty nice 2 year old now, Jimmy, and she'll be the one to beat in her $225,000 NYSS Final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, September 13. Sent of the favorite in the betting Shaqline paid $3.80 for win. The finale will be no cake walk when Shaqline faces some of the other division winners along the way, especially Concentration and Kaliska, who each were victorious in NYSS action at the Mighty M on Wednesday. Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall-Super Starlet, had driver Chris Lems smiling in the winners circle after they scored a 2:00.1 victory over Summer Scent and driver Dan Daley. After a slow start Lems put Concentration on the pylons in third position and they were five lengths off the lead set by Daly and Summer Scent as they passed the quarter in :30. Lems followed the leader until he moved his filly out to challenge up the backside. They easily gained command and at the third stanza in 1:30 they had two on Summer Scent. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could, as Concentration coasted home a 1-1/4-length winner in 2:00.1. Daley's filly was second and Ray Schnittker got Summers Windsong up for third place. "She's a nice filly and if we get a good (post) position in the final I think she'll be heard from,' Lems added through his smiles. Trained by George Ducharme for owner Chip Campbell, Concentration paid $5.20 for win. Schnittker also got a chance to have his picture taken after he won the final $37,000 NYSS division with Kaliska in 2:00. But he had to work hard for it. After they fell into the two-hole on the first turn behind Dan Daley and Cherry Crown Jewel that duo led the field by the quarter in a swift :28. When they passed the half in :58 Schnittker was out and going and Kaliska took command up the backside. They kept the lead until the finish and Schnittker had to steadily urge his filly but Kaliska held off a late rally on the far outside by Mark MacDonald and Duolectra to win by a neck. Favored Pig Hunt was third for George Brennan. "She's green and I had to keep after her because she tried to pull up three times in the stretch," Schnittker expounded after the mile. The Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian filly is trained by Schnittker and owned by Schnittker, Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable and Fam Alber Horse Racing LLC. She paid $10.00 for win. The undercard featured five divisions in the Excelsior Series also for freshmen trotting fillies. Winners included: I'm Very Lucky (Sam Schillaci) in 2:08.4 ; Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00; Morcredit Bluechip (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00.2; Teacher Pat (Chris Lems) in 2:02.3 and Waiting Room (Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) in 2:01.1. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

The cream of the freshmen and sophomore pacers and trotters on the NYSS County Fair circuit convened at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, September 2. Eight $10,000 divisions awaited the influx and by days end the champions were crowned in each division. "It was an enjoyable day of racing watching the youngsters go head to head in each of their divisions," noted Eric Warner the tracks director of racing. "And with limited amount of charted lines on many of the entrants still wagering on the card was good." Driving Me Lindy and Truman Gale kicked off the program copping the event for 3 year old trotting fillies winning by nine lengths in a creditable 2:00.2 for trainer Andy Gardner. Owned by Michael Eulo, it marked the Crazed filly's 10 triumph and raised her seasonal her bankroll to $33,484. The 2 year old totting filly final ended in a romp for Ron's Coren when Fern Paquet, Jr. guided the Cash Hall miss to a 2:04 victory. She's trained by Jessica Okusko for owner Ronald La Clair. The pacing final for freshman fillies saw Kruella score her ninth seasonal triumph when Kirk Desmond used the front-end route to score a victory in a time of 1:59.2 for trainer Joe Robbins Jr. The daughter of American Ideal, co-owned by her trainer and Bonnie Kowalcyk, won for the ninth time in 10 lifetime starts. Inside The Glass, locally owned by Rosemarie Moore, recorded the fastest mile of the NYSS County Fairs Finals when Larry Stalbaum sat back off a quick early pace and rallied late to win the 3 year old pacing filly division in 1:57.3 for trainer Paul Moore. The 3-year-old trotting colt final followed and saw Harold Smith's Stirling Cadet romp to a 15- length triumph in 1:58.4 for driver Jimmy Devaux. The Conway Hall gelding scored his 11th victory and increased his seasonal bankroll ---all on the county fair circuit-- to $37,380. Devaux also won the freshman colt and gelding pacing final with Harold Smith's, Adonis Bay in a time of 1:59.3. Although Smith drove his colts at the fairs the 80 year old accomplished horseman turned the lines over to the accomplished professional, Jimmy Devaux. Another NY county fair stalwart, Doug Ackley, won the trotting final for 2 year old colts and geldings with J A T O in 2:04.2 despite making a break before the start. The son of Big Apple Deli scored his ninth victory in 10 lifetime starts for owner-trainer Margaret Butler who shares ownership with Amy Butler. And Larry Stalbaum scored his second victory in the NYSS County Fair Finals when he guided Kings Maninblack to a 1:59 triumph in the event for sophomore colt and gelding pacers. The altered son of Riverboat King is trained by Joe Chindano who co-owns with Gianfranco Pozzolini. Perhaps overshadowed by the interesting card of county fair youngsters, Diamond Tiara moved back to tie Shortest Distance for the most races won in North America this year when Jimmy Taggart Jr drove her to a 1:55.4 triumph which was her 18th victory. Also on the card, Shortest Distance was looking for win number 19 but she got collared at the wire by Rusty's Flying (Fern Paquet, Jr) and had to settle for second money. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Everyone knows that harness racing was weaned on the half mile tracks and many a young driver learned the ropes while competing in the races at the nation's county fairs. Now, with those states who have sire stakes programs the events not only have helped preserve county fair racing but the added purse monies made available has spawned groups of horsemen who race primarily on the county fair circuits. New York State has a good program for those who prefer to race at that level, and many do. At summers end, those who raced the New York Sire Stakes County Fair circuit this year will convene at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, September 2 with their colts and fillies who earned the right to compete in the series $10,000 finales which are available for the eight colt and filly pacing and trotting divisions. Besides having earned enough points to qualify for the finals, still there's a condition with the amount of county fair starts that are also needed. Among the trainer/drivers who are the stalwarts on the NYSS County Fair circuit are Harold "Joe" Smith and Doug Ackley. Year in and year out these very talented horsemen develop colts and fillies that are standouts in their divisions. And this year is no exception. Ackley, 70, developed three that will be racing on the card and he'll be on the driver's seat behind each of them. Of the three, J A TO, a freshman trotting colt by Big Apple Deli, has most impressive credentials with eight wins in nine county fair starts and nearly $11,000 in purse money. His fastest victory was clocked in 2:07. Ackley's Amma Crazed, a 2 -year-old daughter of Crazed which he drives regularly, has three wins and has been on the board in all 11 of her starts. She bankrolled nearly $11,000 for Ackley who co-owns the filly with Tyra Joanne Ackley. Over the years Ackley, from Gowanda, NY, has earned nearly$2 million racing at the New York Fairs and has won 793 races rarely driving over 100 times a season. Harold "Joe" Smith, from Malone NY, at 80 years of age is having one of his best years in the sulky with 26 wins in 67 starts with a UDR of .580. In his career Smith has drive 953 winners and his mounts-mostly his own-have earned $1.24 million. He qualified four youngsters for the finals with his own Sterling Cadet, the favorite to win the 3 year old colt and gelding trot. This altered son of Conway Hall has 10 wins and seven seconds in 19 starts and purses of $32,380 this year with a 1:58.3 record taken at Saratoga Raceway. And Smith's Olivia's Z Tam, a sophomore Bettor's Delight pacing filly has seven wins, four seconds and $16,343 in 19 seasonal outings. Although Smith did all the driving at the fairs he'll had the lines in the $10,000 finals to Jimmy Devaux. Now well-seasoned after a summer racing at the New York fairs and at a few pari-mutuel tracks along the way, the entered youngsters will surely open the eyes of the railbirds who perhaps feel that because of where they raced, they may not be worthy of attention. But put that notion to rest because all the entrants in the eight NYSS County Fair Finals will make their sires and dams proud a make good showings, win or lose. There will be no live races at the Mighty M on Labor Day but on Tuesday, September 2 the NYSS County Fair Finals will be joined by six overnight events on the 14- race card which will have a 12:50 pm post time. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Due to an early Labor Day holiday this year Monticello Raceway's live racing schedule will change slightly in September. Since Labor Day falls on Monday, September 1 the raceway will be dark that afternoon and to keep continuity with the four-day a week schedule a race card has been added on Friday, September 5. After that, racing will be back to the usual Monday through Thursday format for the remainder of September. All post times will continue to be at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Bettor's Delight is certainly a proud poppa. And why shouldn't he be, after all, two of his sons each won a division of the $117,000 New York Sires Stakes in 1:52.2 or faster at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, August 26. For A Bettor Time established a new track record for sophomore pacers with a 1:52 victory for Jimmy Morrill, Jr. and All Bets Off literally made a laugher out of his division when Matt Kakaley drove him to a eased-up nine-length triumph in 1:52.2. And in a $12,800 Excelsior Series event Murder He Wrote won an Excelsior Stakes in 1:52.2 for Jimmy Morrill, Jr. which was a track record for 3 year-old pacing geldings until the following race when the altered (sophomore pacer) For A Bettor Time went 2/5ths of a second faster. In one of the speediest afternoons on record at the Mighty M a third NYSS split went to Stay Up Late, and driver Mark MacDonald in a time of 1:53. In all, four races were timed in 1:53 or faster. In their NYSS split, For a Bettor Time came from nine lengths off at the three quarters and five lengths behind at the top of the lane to rally to a neck victory over Keystone Honor and Matt Kakaley in his track record 1:52 mile. The final time was abetted by the speedy early fractions set by Winds Of Change and driver Brett Miller who had his hands full trying to slow down his pacer after starting him up to take command in a :26.3 first quarter. Deep in the seat and with the reins taught a :54.2 half was the best Miller could do and with a :28.1 third stanza the three-quarters were paced in 1:22.3. In the lane the trailing horses came charging with For A Bettor Time scoring a neck decision in the second fastest mile ever pacer at Monticello Raceway. Big Boy Dreams was third for Jason Bartlett. "They were going so fast up front that I got lost in the pack," Morrill said with a cat that ate the canary grin on his face. "But we came and got'em at the end." Casie Coleman trains For The Bettor for the West Winds Stable, Robert Darrow, and Ron Broadstone. He paid $15.60 for win. It was the third victory on the card for Morrill, who also won an Excelsior Series paces with Murder He Wrote and with Believeinthespirit in 1:54.2. All Bets Off was the featured star of the afternoon and although it was really no surprise, still he made it an interesting race, or should it be said that Matt Kakaley made their NYSS split interesting. Sent off at odds of five cents on a dollar while coupled with stablemate Forty Five Red in the small five-horse field, All Bets Off just toyed with his competition. When Jimmy Morrill, Jr. went to lead with Twin B Tenacious from the pole position it forced All Bets Off, who started from post five, to search for room along the pylons on the first turn which he found behind the leader. Kakaley then allowed a parked-out Natural Leda, driven by Larry Stalbaum, to get in front of All Bets Off and when they did Kakaley was out and going and took command before the quarter pole. They then raced unchallenged through fractions of :27.1, :56, and 1:25 before Kakaley pulled the plugs on the final turn and when he did, it was 'see ya' later ' as All Bets Off paced away from his company and cruised home an eased-up nine -length winner in 1:52.2. Twin B Tenacious and Jimmy Morrill, Jr finished second but they were disqualified for interference on a break, which moved Forty Five Red to second money. Moliere Hanover was moved up to third for Jason Bartlett. "I love when I'm handed the lines behind him. He's just a great horse. What more can I say," Kakaley told those who gathered in the winners circle around All Bets Off. "When I pulled the plugs on the final turn he paced away and it was all over." All Bets Off, from the powerful Ron Burke Stable, is owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, the Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell and paid $2.10 for win. A third NYSS division gave trainer Casie Coleman two sire stakes victories although she had Mark MacDonald handle the driving chores behind Stay Up Late. And MacDonald didn't let Casie down when he sent the son of Artiscape-Dreamlands Jo Jo to the lead and cut fractions of :28, :57 and 1:25.1 before finishing in a time of 1:53. Capital Account (Brett Miller), sent off the 1-2 favorite, followed the winner throughout but couldn't muster enough power to overtake Stay Up Late and had to settle for second money. Ari Allstar finished third for Jimmy Morrill, Jr in that one. "He's small but mighty," was all that MacDonald said after the race. Stay Up Late, owned in Canada by the West Winds Stable returned a $6.80 win mutuel. Besides Murder He Wrote and Believeinthespirit, other Excelsior Series were bot driven by Jason Bartlett; American Bull in 1:57 and Youwillwishyouhad in 1:55.3. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

One of the best sophomore pacers in the country, All Bets Off, from the powerful Ron Burke Stable, will be the featured attraction when Monticello Raceway presents the last preliminary leg of the rich New York Sire Stakes program on Tuesday afternoon, August 26. All Bets Off, owner of a 1:48.2 record, is currently fourth on the list of money winning 3 year old colt pacers this year with over $511,000 in earnings. The son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope has seven wins, two seconds and one third in 10 starts this year and he comes into his $38,500 split off three consecutive victories the last in 1:50.3 in the Carl Millstein Final at Northfield Park on August 15. Owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell, Burke has once again assigned the driving duties to Matt Kakaley when All Bets Off starts from post five in the first race on the card. In all, Burke will send out six sophomore pacers that afternoon, four in the three NYSS splits while two others will race in the Excelsior Stakes. That means the Burke Stable will have an entry in one of the NYSS events and it so happens that it will be in the event that All Bets Off is in. Joining him on the mutuel ticket will be stablemate Forty Five Red, to be driven by Mark MacDonald, another nice colt but not the caliber of All Bets Off. It appears that Burke is probably starting All Bets Off in the sire stakes to make sure he has a enough points to qualify for the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. In the second NYSS division, race four, the Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account gets the odds maker's nod as the early favorite from the pole position. A winner of almost $105,000 this year the American Ideal-Copywriter colt, owned by Brittany Farms owns a record of 1:51 taken earlier this year at the Meadowlands. Brett Miller will be in the pilot's seat when Capital Account leaves from post position one. Another Brittany Farms pacer, Winds Of Change, whom they co-own with Val D'Or Farms, is rated the favorite in the third NYSS split, race eight on the card. Trained by Linda Toscano the son of American Ideal-Art's Temptress, has won two of his last three starts at Tioga Downs the fastest in 1:50.2. Winds Of Change will leave from the four hole with Brett Miler at the controls. The undercard features four Excelsior Series paces which will go as races two, five, six and seven on the 11- race card. Arguably, the best of the starters in those events is Lauren and Bob Tucker's Believeinthespirit, an Art Major gelding out of Spirit Of the West, who is a five-time winner thus far this year with over $41,000 in earnings. Trainer Ed Lohmeyer, has assigned Jimmy Morrill, Jr. to do the driving when the pacer leaves from post five in the second race on the card. First post is slated for 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

The intermittent rain showers on Thursday afternoon, August 21 didn't deter Market Rally and Avalicious from their main objectives as each won their respective $60,200 divisions of 3-year-old trotting fillies in New York Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway. Both fillies, from the powerful Ron Burke stable, were driven to victory by Jimmy Morrill, Jr.. The two trotting events were the last of the NYSS preliminary legs prior to the top point earners in the summer-long series convening at Yonkers Raceway on September 13 to compete in their $225,000 Division Final. With her victory in a time of 1:57.3 Market Rally finished with 325 points which will undoubtedly make her the favorite in her rich NYSS finale. Avalicious, on the other hand, was victorious in 1:57.4 and finished with 175 points as second best. There's no argument that Market Rally has been the best NYSS sophomore trotting filly this year and her 9-length victory over Gammy's Girl (Mark MacDonald) and Cutup Hanover (Jeff Gregory) only emphasized it. With her triumph on Thursday the daughter of Cash Hall-Supreme Dish has run her seasonal bankroll to over $262,000 on the strength of six wins and one second in nine starts. Sent off the1-9 favorite from the pole position Morrill hustled Market Rally to the lead as Gates Brunet and Driving Miss Crazy left strong from the six hole. The two fillies were wide open on the first turn but unfortunately for Driving Miss Crazy's connections she went off-stride and Market Rally was alone on the front-end when she tripped the first quarter timer in :28.2 Two lengths in front as she passed the half in :57 Morrill was looking to give his filly a breather. When she passed the third stanza in 1:27 Market Rally had a five length lead which she opened to nine at the wire. "We were getting out of there pretty quickly and I got my filly wound up, and because of that we got to the half faster than I wanted to, "Morrill related. But from there she was on cruise-control the rest of the way." Owned by the Burke Stable, Weaver-Buscemi, Our Cents Stable and the Panhellenic Stable, Market rally paid $2.30 for win. In the other NYSS split Morrill eased Avalicious away from the gate slowly and at the first quarter they were in sixth position, some nine lengths off the leader. Morrill bided his time in the early going and at the half he moved the filly out behind cover and it up the backside and into the final turn before he gave Avalicious her head. And when he did the daughter of RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers rallied to a three length victory, her fifth of the year. Asked why Avalious was four, or so, lengths off the gate at the start of the race Morrill explained; "I wanted to ease her away so she'd stay trotting. She gets a little anxious behind the gate but once she gets away (on the trot) she's usually steady the rest of the mile." Avalicious, owned by M.C. Crawford, A.C. Crawford and P.D. Crawford, was sent off as the 3-10 betting favorite and returned a $2.60 win mutuel. Three Excelsior Series trots bolstered the undercard with the locally owned Dreamsteeler the most impressive. (Local) owner Andy Herzog was on hand to watch his Cash Hall-Dream Street filly maul her competition with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the lines. It was Dreamsteeler's seventh win in eight seasonal starts after going 10 for 10 last year. Sent off five cents on a dollar, Dreamsteeler was victorious in a time of 2:01 and paid $2.10 for win. After the photo was taken in the winners circle Herzog was asked why Dreamsteeler doesn't race in the sire stakes. "I bought her in mid-June and she wasn't eligible to them (the NYSS), only to the Excelsior Series. But she's already won my money back and I got a pretty nice filly trotter to boot." Other Excelsior winners were Ski To The Max (Gates Brunet) in 2:02.1 and Slice Slice Baby (Charlei Norris) in 2:00.2. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Last year around this time trainer Danny Gill plunked down $4000 and saved a trotter by the name of Rose Run Nash from a life of pulling an Amish buggy. Yesterday,( August 20) at Monticello Raceway Rose Run Nash defeated a field of $15,000 claimers in a time of 1:57.3 and scored his 16th victory of the season which makes him the trotter with the most wins in North America in 2014. As he usually does after one of his horses win a race, Gill- and his wife Brenna- come from the paddock to the winner's circle via a golf cart to take picture with his victorious pupil. Even before he got there (to the winners circle) he was waving and shouting, "That was his 16th win and now we are four in front" referring to having four more wins than the three runners-up. He and Brenna ran to congratulate driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and posed for the photograph. After he calmed down Gill was asked about Rose Run Nash, a 5-year-old altered son of Trainforthefuture. "I was racing a horse at Pocono (Downs) one night last year and someone there told me about a trotter that has some class but was heading to the Amish country," Gill related. "So I went to the farm where the horse was awaiting a trip to the Lancaster-area and I liked what I saw so we gave the 4-large they were asking for him. I'd like to buy 10 more just like him" Rose Run Nash breezed to a new lifetime mark of 1:57.3 when driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. set sails from the pole position and the pair raced unchallenged the entire mile trotting through fractions of :28.2, :58.1, and 1:28 with his tail out straight and flying in the wind before finishing some three lengths ahead of Pacific Margaux and driver Johnny Plutino. "Being on the front-end made it easy for me because he's a big horse and with his tail in my face all the way I could hardly see where I was going half the time," Marohn said smiling with his inimitable tongue in cheek expression.. "Not really, Danny's got him (Rose Run Nash) in top form and he's real sharp right now" and then he walked back his previous statement when he added, "I had no problem seeing where I was going." It was Rose Run Nash's second consecutive victory and fourth in his last five starts.. Now the property of Gill's main patron, Edward Hall, Rose Run Nash paid $3.50 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

As the New York Sire Stakes draw closer to the eight $225,000 finales, presented on September 13 at Yonkers Raceway, the fields in each preliminary division leading to those rich finals understandably get smaller as only the most competitive move on. However as the fields get smaller the purses in the supporting divisions get larger. On Thursday afternoon (August 21) two $60,200 divisions of NYSS sophomore filly trots attracted only 14 entrants which leads one to believe that most are, in fact, this year's cream of the crop while those who aren't among them are looking to join their ranks. Or maybe their connections believe they have a good chance to get a huge part of the substantial purse. Still, as the two seven-horse fields race for the respectable purses offered, final results of these two trots could change the points- earned landscape especially since the stop at the Mighty M on Thursday will be the final preliminary leg before their $225,000 finale. The top eight trotters who will have earned the most points in the NYSS preliminary legs will get an opportunity to vastly increase their seasonal bankrolls in the rich finale. However, should any of the top eight fail to enter, the door will be open for those next in line in point totals. Joining the two NYSS trots will be three Excelsior Series trotting events also for 3 year old fillies arguably of lesser caliber than their NYSS cohorts. Each of the two Excelsior "A" Series trots will race for purses of $12,600 while eight others will go for a $6,800 purse in the Excelsior Series "B" event. The first $60,200 NYSS trot will go as race six on the 12-race card. That event features the top four in points. They are (with points and drivers), Market Rally (275-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.), Glowngold (130-Chris Lems), Driving Miss Crazy (130-Gates Brunet); and Beauty of Gray (125-Jim Meittinis). All almost assuredly will eligible to the Final. Others in that seven horse field (with points and drivers) include Annies List (117-Tyler Buter), Cutup Hanover (75-Jeff Gregory) and Gammy's Girl (26-Mark MacDonald). If total points determine the abilities of the entrants then the second $60,200 division arguably contains a softer field, although Avalicious (125-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) is tied for fourth in total points. She'll be joined by L Dees Scripture (111-Chris Lems),Maud Blue Chip(61-Tyler Buter), Lindys Crazy Dolly (25-Larry Stalbaum), Crediama (21-Jeff Greory), Flyhawk Falina (17-Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) and Do You Believe (8-Mark MacDonald). However, It should be noted that many of the fillies with lesser point totals isn't a decree of their abilities, it's just that they only started a few times in the NYSS this year. The Sire Stakes trots will be presented as races six and eight on the 12-race card on Thursday. They'll be joined by three quality sophomore filly trotting races in the Excelsior Series which will bolster the undercard. They will go as races one, two and five. Post time for the afternoon card is slated for 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

In what was supposed to be the confrontation between two pacers with the most victories in North America this season unfortunately didn't materialize. The often claimed duo of Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance were in to go against one another in the fifth race on the Monticello Raceway card of Monday, August 18 and that confrontation was looked forward to by the local rail birds. However, Philip Schultz', Diamond Tiara, who ships in from a training farm in Wind Gap , Pa, some 90 miles from the Mighty M, couldn't answer the call when the van she was riding in broke down en route to Monticello. The seven-year-old pacing daughter of McArdle, a 17- time winner this year and one who has been claimed four times since mid-June and currently back in the Mike Watson barn, became a late scratch. Awaiting her arrival for the clash was another 17-time seasonal winner, Shortest Distance, a 9 year-old Park Place mare again the property of Marissa Godinez after being claimed four times in her last five starts. Although many race goers were disappointed when the six-horse field of $7500 claimers was reduced to just five starters, none were more thwarted than the mares' drivers Jimmy Taggart, Jr. (Diamond Tiara) and Bruce Aldrich, Jr. (Shortest Distance). Both were on the muscle expecting an exciting event, each believing their pacer would become the sole horse with the most wins this year. However, as an old adage states; the best laid plans of men and mice sometimes go awry,still the show had to go on. And on it went for Shortest Distance and driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. who didn't have to contend with Diamond Tiara who had drawn the pole position. No sooner had the wings of the mobile starting gate folded, Aldrich sent the 1-9 favorite to the lead from the three-hole and after the first stanza was paced in a soft :29 it was Katie bar the door as Shortest Distance rambled to win number 18 , this time in a 1:57.3 clocking. Austin Siegelman mounted a late charge with Theron Seelster but second best was all they could muster. "We certainly had an easy time of it when Diamond Tiara was scratched but I believe it wouldn't have been ifwas in the race," Aldrich said after his victory. "I've driven Diamond Tiara a couple of times this year and I know she's gritty and no pushover. But don't get me wrong I enjoyed the victory just the same." Shortest Distance who paid just $2.30 for win, evaded another claim and remains, at least for now, in the barn of Al Annunziata who claimed her last week for Marissa Godinez. Maybe that victory lit a fire in Aldrich because after that race he won four others on the card and now with 358 seasonal driving victories he currently is sixth in North America races won. Last year his 645 winners tied him with Dave Palone for second place in North America behind Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.s 714. No photo of Shortest Distance's victory on Monday, or for that matter any pictures of the remaining winners on the card is available because strangely the Mighty M's award winning photographer, Geri Schwarz was stung by a bee before the Shortest Distance race transpired and because of an allergic reaction she was immediately rushed to the local hospital where she thankfully recovered. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Leading first-season trotting sire Lucky Chucky has been represented by the two highest ranked two-year-old colts in the rich New York Sire Stakes program this year. The leading pair are Gabe The Bear Dean ($74,119) and Mambo Blue Chip ($68,169), who both won NYSS divisions at Monticello Raceway on August 11. A few days earlier Lucky Chucky sired a further two NYSS winners in the two-year-old fillies Dancewithme Chuck and Luck Follows Me, who captured $32,700 races at Saratoga, while another Lucky Chucky filly, Nunkeri, won a $27,750 division of the NYSS at Batavia Downs on Sunday (August 17). The 2010 USA Trotter of the Year Lucky Chucky, whose first crop has earned more than $450,000 to date, can be accessed through Stallions Australasia representatives Daren and Gayle Garard and Greg Ryan. His service fee is $5,500 including GST in Australia and $5,000 plus GST in New Zealand. From Stallions Australasia

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