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When Diamond Tiara scored her 17th victory at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, July 22nd that total continues to lead all others in races won this year in North America. And quietly, without much fanfare, Shortest Distance's 15th seasonal victory,,also on the Tuesday card, positions her a clear second on the North America leaderboard in races won in 2014. "One of our highlights last year was keeping track of Tracys Song as she kept piling up wins and now this year we have two pacers who are one-two in races won on the continent," noted Eric Warner the tracks senior director of racing. "And again this year it's the girls (mares) making all the news." Warner's comments are quite accurate where Diamond Tiara is concerned. The 7 year old daughter of McArdle-A Diamond In June has headlined many a story coming from the Mighty M this year. She was claimed from Philip Schultz for $9,000 by on June 16 by Al Annunziata and the following week Schultz claimed her back for the same price. But Schultz didn't have her long because Annunziata claimed her back again for $9,000 on June 30. During that three week stretch Diamond Tiara won twice and finished second when claimed on June 16. After throwing a clunker in her race on July 8 where she was beaten 24 lengths and finished last, Annunziata's Diamond Tiara bounced back on Tuesday (July 22) and wired the field in a season's equaling 1:55.2. Asked what happened to Diamond Tiara when she was beaten so badly on July 8, Annunziata explained: "Even though we stepped her up in class I knew there was something wrong with her.We had her scoped and found out she was full of mucus which tremendously hampered her breathing. I had the vet(veterinarian) work on her and today she was her old self and wired the field like she also did." Bruce Aldrich Jr. was at the lines for Annunziata and he sent Diamond Tiara to the front and she paced through fractions of :28.1, 58.1; 1:27.2 being shadowed closely by Mike Merton with Get Your Own. They were on Aldrich's back as the field headed for home but when Aldrich asked for more, Diamond Tiara kicked in and opened up daylight and paced a :28 final stanza en route to a three length triumph in 1:55.2. "She's (Diamond Tiara) got her issues," Aldrich admitted, "but when she gets to the top of the stretch on the lead she fights hard to win. And, as you have seen this year, she usually does (win)." In 24 seasonal starts Diamond Tiara has won 17 times and has three second and three thirds and has bankrolled $29, 311. Before Diamond Tiara was claimed from Annuniziata by Philip Schultz, Mike Watson had been her trainer. On July 7, with Watson's guidance, Schultz took Shortest Distance from Annunziata for $6,000 in a claiming race.. While racing for Annunziata, Shortest Distance had 14 wins in 23 starts and her first start for Watson and Schultz she finished fourth in a 1:56.4 mile with a $9,000 claiming tag. But yesterday (July22) Shortest Distance took home all the money racing with a $6,000 claiming price. Watson's driver of choice, Jimmy Taggart, Jr. was at the lines and they wired the field and with a gritty :28 last quarter held off hold Midnight Mass and Zeke Parker by a head in a time of 1:56.3. By the way, Taggart drove Diamond Tiara to 15 of her victories when she was in Watson's barn. On Tuesday both Diamond Tiara ($5.40) and Shortest Distance ($3.40) were betting favorites in their races. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Freedomformysoul established a new Monticello Raceway track record for freshmen pacing colts when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. drove the son of If I Can Dream to a 1:55.2 triumph in their division of the $110,000 NY Sire Stakes. The victory erased the former standard of 1:55.3 set by Share The Delight during 2007. Coming into the race off a stunning 1:53.3 track record last week at Saratoga Raceway Freedomformysoul was understandably the overwhelming betting favorite and Morrill used the front-end route for an easy victory over Rockntouch and driver Yannick Gingras. After getting looped on the first turn by Mikado Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) Morrill wheeled his colt back to the lead and they passed the first stanza in a stiff :28.0 and then paced the second quarter in :28.2 reaching the halfway point in :56.2. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could. "I got to the half faster than I wanted to, so I didn't even pull the (ear) plugs." Morrill admitted after the race. "He's one of the best 2 year olds I've ever driven. He's the real deal." Owned by the Freedomformysoul Stable and trained by Nancy Johansson the son of If I Ca Dream paid $2.30 for win. Southwind Masimo won a division of the NYSS in 1:55.4 for Patrick Lachance. That final time was abetted by speed duel for the lead between We Think Alike (Ray Schnittker) and Old Man Cleary (Yannick Gingras) with early fractions of :27.1, :56.2. Lachance had Southwind Masimo out after the half and they swept to the front up the backside and were all by themselves at the wire some 11-lengths ahead of K Ryan Blue Chip and driver Joe Pavia, Jr. "They were playing hardball up front which worked out good for me," Lachance said in the winners circle when he stopped for a photograph. Southwind Masimo is owned in Canada by Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber and trained by Lachance. The winner paid $27.60 for win. In yet another NYSS split Americanprimetime, sent off at odds of over 78-1, lit up the tote board and paid $161.50 for win when Tyler Buter drove him to victory in a time of 1:57. They rallied from five lengths back at the top of the lane to collar Ultimate G, driven by Jason Bartlett. Americanprime time is owned by the Rock N Roll Stable and trained by Rick Dane, Jr. Jason Bartlett won a pair of $110,000 NYSS splits. His first was with Twin B Stingray in 1:56.4 pacing a :28- second final stanza en route to victory. And they needed every bit of that to hold-off Bet You and driver Yannick Gingras by a head. Twin B Stingray is owned by J & T Silva Racing Stable and C C Stables and trained by Aaron Lambert. He paid $20.20 for win Bartlett's other sire stakes victory came with My Spirit Soars in1:57.2 for owner Daniel Van Wart. After putting My Spirit Soars on the lead, Corey Braden made a quarter pole move with odds-on favorite JD He's Da Bomb and Bartlett let them take command before the half. From there Bartlett bided his time and in the lane rallied My Spirit Soars to a head victory over Berkley and Scott Zeron. "I didn't want to go with him (Corey Braden) when he came at me near the half so I let him go. If I didn't my colt would probably not have gotten a check (piece of the purse)," Bartlett admitted. Trained by Tom Fanning, My Spirit Soars paid $5.90 for win. Excelsior Series winners and their drivers included: Can't It Be Me (2:00-Bruce Aldrich, Jr.); Southwind Rex (1:58.4-Jeff Gregory); Spiritintheclouds (2:00.3-Mickey McGivern); Artistic Major (1:59.2-Brent Holland) and Hayden's Little Man (1:59.3- Phil Fluet) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It'll be business as usual on Monday, July 21 when Monticello Raceway's simulcast signals will again be available to all outlets. The Monday race card will feature the outstanding 2 year old pacing colts and geldings in the New York Sire Stakes who'll compete in five divisions for over $110,000 in purse money. The strong undercard will offer over $50,000 in purses in the five Excelsior Stakes, also for freshmen pacing colts and geldings. In all, the Monday, July 21 program will offer 13 races with first post slated at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

It'll be a great afternoon of action on Monday, July 21 when Monticello Raceway features New York-bred 2 year old pacing colts and geldings. There will be five divisions of the $110,000 New York Sire Stakes which will be joined by five splits of freshmen colt pacers in the Excelsior Series who'll compete for total purses in excess of $50,000. The day will commence with arguably the best $21,800 NYSS division on the 13 race program when two speedy freshmen, Freedomformysoul and Rockntouch, clash in the first race on the card. Both were NYSS winners at Saratoga Raceway on July 12, and both with eye-opening performances. Freedomformysoul, a son of If I Can Dream-Hello Grin, in only his second lifetime start made a quarter pole move to the front and then bristled to a stunning 1:53.3 victory for driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. He'll start from the pole position again with Morrill in the bike. In his first lifetime start Rockntouch, sailed wire to wire for a splendid 1:55 triumph also with Morrill at the controls. However, on Monday Yannick Gingras will be in the pilot's seat when this son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Touch Of Bogart leaves from the two-hole Freedomformysoul is trained by Nancy Johansson for the Freedomformysoul Stable while Monte Gelrod conditions Rockntouch for Freddy Monteleone. In another NYSS division, race four on the card, the undefeated Oneisalonelynumber and Aimo Hanover will lock horns. Both pacers won their respective NYSS divisions at Saratoga in identical times of 1:57.3 Oneisaloneynumber, an altered son of Bettor's Delight-No One Is Alone is trained by Casie Coleman for the West Wins Stable and Adriano Sorella while Aimo Hanover, an Artiscape colt out of Allamerican Celeb, is owned by the Doug Ackerman Stable and trained by D.R. Ackerman. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. will drive the former while Jeff Gregory will handle the latter. In a third split, race eight, K Ryan Bluechip gets the nod as the early line favorite. He was a close second to Freedomformysoul at Saratoga officially timed in 1:54.1. The son of Art Major-Fool That I Am won a baby race at Pocono Downs in 1:54.2 on June 20. Joe Pavia, Jr. trains and drives K Ryan Bluechip for Steve Held, Joe Barbera, the AGC Stable, and Harbor Point Hospitality. They will leave from post four on Monday afternoon. Then fourth split, race 10, will feature K-Rock, a Rock N Roll Heaven-Sunduel A colt who was 1:55.1 NYSS winner at Saratoga for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. From the powerful Ron Burke Stable K-rock will be driven by Yannick Gingras when they start from post three. JD He's Da Bomb, who earlier this season won two baby races at Tioga Downs- the fastest in 1:57.1- will be the one to beat in the final NYSS division which will go as race 12. Blocked and beaten just a length in his NYSS split at Saratoga and individually timed in 1:55.4 the Art Major-Cherry Bomb colt will leave from the pole position with Corey Braden at the lines. Paul Bernardo trains JD He's Da Bomb for Joe Martinelli. "These sire stakes races appear to have some of the best pacing colts we've ever seen, especially at this time of the year," noted Eric Warner the track's Sr. Director of Racing. "Fans will be in for a pleasurable afternoon." The undercard also features some nice colts in three Excelsior "A" divisions and two Excelsior "B" divisions. They'll be joined by three overnight events. The 13-race card will get underway at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Quietly, and without much fanfare, Rose Run Nash keeps winning. Yesterday (July 16) at Monticello Raceway the harness racing 5 year old Trainforthefuture gelding notched his 13th seasonal triumph and continues to lead all trotters in races won in North America. Driven, once again, by Jimmy Marohn, Jr. and carrying a $10,000 claiming tag, Rose Run Nash scored a neck victory in 2:00.1 when he came from sixth at the three quarters to collar both Famous Dude (Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) and Larissa (Mike Merton) who finished in a dead-heat for second. "This is the best race he (Rose Run Sam) went all season. He trotted his last quarter in :28.4 and had to come a long way to win it," trainer Danny Gill said after the mile. He then added "Now we're up two," meaning that Rose Run Nash has a two-win lead over four others each with 11 wins. When queried about the gelding's sire, Trainforthefuture, Gill replied quickly. "Oh, he's Ohio- bred and I've had him just about a year now. He's a sweetheart, just a pleasure to be around and Jimmy (Marohn, Jr.) says he's always on the trot (doesn't break stride) and real handy in a race," Gill was leading trainer here two years ago and was second to Lounsbury last season, This year, again, his pupils are winning plenty of races. Currently Gill is in a fight-not literally- with Bob Lounsbury and Gary Messenger for leading trainer honors. At days end, Messenger is in command with 79 winners, four more than Gill's 75, while Lounsbury is close with 73. John Manzi

Gural Hanover's victory in his $59,100 division of the New York Sires Stakes for sophomore colts and geldings on Tuesday afternoon (July 15) was an eye-opening one when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. guided the big altered son of Crazed-Givemearing to a new all age trotting track record of 1:55.2. It was the fastest trotting mile in the 58-year history of the Mighty M and it erased the former standard of 1:55.4 set by Man About Town in 2007. In doing so Gural Hanover set a new standard for 3 year-old trotters expunging the 1:57.1 mark co-held by Green Day (2007) ,Gaelic And Garlic (2012) and Ex King (2013). Morrill also won the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie in 1:57.3 and he was victorious in three Excelsior Stakes which gave him five winners on the card. But Gural Hanover was the overwhelming star of the day. In against his arch rival Expressive Action (Mike Simon) Morrill chose to send Gural Hanover to the lead from the four-hole on the hot and humid afternoon. They gained command on the first turn and cruised by the first quarter in :28.2. From there Morrill let the big fellow ramble past the half in :57.2 two full lengths ahead of Expressive Action and that was as close as Mike Simon's trotter could get to Morrill's. At the third stanza Gural Hanover had a three- length lead which was opened to four at the wire. Expressive Action finished second with Hallanet and Trond Smedshammer another length back in third position. "He's push button," Morrill said of Gural Hanover in the winner's circle after the race. "You can leave with him, put him in a hole or do whatever you want and you can drive him with two fingers. He's a monster and a real pleasure to sit behind real pleasure to sit behind." Lightly raced Gural Hanover only had one start as a freshman and was victorious in 2:00 at Balmoral Park in late September. This far this season the big bold-going gelding now has four wins; one second and one third in six seasonal starts and his bankroll has swelled to over $104,000. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables and trained by Ron Burke the winner returned a $2.30 win mutuel. Morrill, unquestionably the dominant force on the NYSS circuit, also copped the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie, a Conway Hall-Pauls Wink gelding trained by Heidi Rohr. In that contest Flyhawk El Dorado and driver Mark MacDonald seemed to have everything under control as they led Zoey De Vie and odds-on favorite Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern) through fractions of :28.3; :59; and 1:28.4. However, as Flyhawk El Dorado rounded the final turn the trotter went off stride which opened an easy path to the finish for Zoey De Vie who rallied and kept Cash Me Out at bay to score a one length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.3. "He's a good colt who has had some bad luck but we got good luck today." Morrill said referring to Flyhawk El Dorado making a break as the field turned for home. "We were in the right place at the right time but we still trotted a :28.3 last quarter to win it." Owned by Jesse and John De Long, Zoey De Vie paid $8.10 for win. All the 3 year olds in Excelsior Series performed also admirably. Winners -with drivers--were: JL Cruze (1:59.4-Jimmy Marohn, Jr.); Crazzy Crazzy (1:58- Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); Winbak Glory (1:59.2-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.); General Bill Brown (1:57.3-Mark MacDonald); Flyhawk Thriller (1:58.1-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) and Consumer Rate (2:01.1-Mark MacDonald) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

On Tuesday afternoon (July 15 ) Monticello Raceway will host 3 year old trotting colts and geldings in both the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series. Two NYSS events, along with five Excelsior's, will offer over $163,000 in purse money. The NYSS events mark the third of eight legs for the sophomore trotters at various New York racetracks en route to the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. Along the way the competing colts and geldings will earn points in each leg, depending on the placements, with the top eight point recipients earning a berth in the rich finale. Although the Excelsior's outnumber the NYSS, five to two, those competing in the sire stakes events, at least at this time, are the cream of the crop and each division will go for a purse of $59,100. Two of the Division A Excelsior's go for $12,600 purses while the three Division B trotters each race for $6600. The NYSS trots will go as races eight and 12 on Tuesday's 13-race card and both fields contain quality trotters. The first $59,100 split pits Gural Hanover, an altered son of Crazed-Givemearing, against Expressive Action, a Conway Hall-Yetta's Angel colt. Both young trotters have similar credentials with each having three wins, one second and one third in five starts. And both have won on big tracks in 1:54 and a piece although Expressive Action has already earned over $167,000 while Gural Hanover's current bankroll tops $75,000. However the latter has defeated the former in the two previous NYSS events at Saratoga Raceway and at Buffalo Raceway. The odds-maker sets a 4-5 morning line odds on Gural Hanover while Expressive Action has been rated at 2-1. Gural Hanover is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E Stable and Panhellenic Stable and will start from the four- hole with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the controls. Meanwhile, Expressive Action, trained by John Grasso for the John Grasso Stable, Inc. will have his regular driver, Mike Simons, in the sulky when they start from post position two. Cash Me Out, with three consecutive victories-two in NYSS action-has been rated the 2-1 early line favorite in the second $59,100 division. His last, a 1:56.4 come-from-behind triumph over Expressive Action at Buffalo Raceway was a beaut. The Cash Hall-China Victory colt has four wins and three seconds in eight starts and over $88,000 in earnings. Owned by Traylor Racing, trained by Cheryl Mc Givern, Cash Me Out will start on the far outside from post six with Mickey McGivern at the lines. Flyhawk El Durado, the winner of last year's $225,000 2 year old colt and gelding final, will be the main competition in the six horse field. Trained by Mark Ford for Martin Scharf the Conway Hall-El Paso Gal colt has purses of over $77,000 and a best win time of 1:54.1 taken at Mohawk Racetrack in Canada. Mark MacDonald will be in the pilot's seat when the colt leaves from post four. The five Excelsior Stakes trots make a solid undercard on the Tuesday program. First post will be at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

John Gilmour, a nine- time Monticello Raceway driving champion, passed away on July 5th in Monticello, NY and on July 9 the raceway and many of his fellow horsemen eulogized him and is many accomplishments of his six-decade career here at the Mighty M. At that service, Gilmour's all-time favorite horse My Buddy Chimo, was walked from the paddock to middle of the racetrack in front of the grandstand by fellow horsemen and family members. Once there they were joined by a horde of fellow drivers, more family members, and longtime friends and they gathered around My Buddy Chimo as Zeke Parker placed a blanket on the horse and the emcee spoke of Gilmour's prowess in the sulky. The blanket had copy on both sides; one side included his race wins and congratulated him on a great career and the other had a tongue -in-cheek comment of Gilmour's fierce competiveness when he competed in a horse race. It was well known by his fellow drivers to never try to wrestle the lead from him once he was in command and the statement on the blanket extolled that sentiment. Known around the backstretch as "Sep", Gilmour had accumulated 4492 driving victories in his six- decade career. He was one of the four famous Gilmour brothers which included Buddy, George and Lloyd. Collectively they drove over 14,250 winners, mostly during the heyday of harness racing where two-track driving daily was never an option. Among the members of his family who were on hand for the ceremony included; his daughters, Janet and Heather, his son Michael and granddaughter Megan, his ex-wife April Karkos and his longtime girlfriend Vita Yakin. Cousins Dean Gilmour and Mark Gilmour also attended as did several nieces nephews and grandchildren. Zeke Parker took the microphone and told the assembled crowd of some of his experiences while racing with Gilmour. "I'd park him and he'd park me but after the races we'd go across the street and have a beer together," he said. "John was a tough competitor on the race track but off the track he was just the opposite, a real mellow easy going guy." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

It seems like 1:54.3 is a final race time that 4-year-old stallion pacers like to adhere to at Monticello Raceway. On Tuesday (July 8) Only The Lonely joined two others in the Mighty M record books when the son of Western Ideal-Lonesome Day reeled-off a wire to wire triumph in 1:54.3 in his first pari-mutuel start this season. That mile equaled the record held by both All My Life (2005) and Lover Boy (2012). Marcus Miller was in the sulky for trainer Nick Surick and sent Only The Lonely to the lead from the seven-hole and they were in command before the quarter mile was paced in :28.2. From there Miller was just buggy ridding as they passed the half-way point in :57.3 and then they came a final half in :57.0 to win by a one and -a- quarter lengths over Memory Game and by JohnMike Merton. Only The Lonely came into the race off a 1:52.1 qualifier at Gaitway Farm with his trainer at the lines on June 23. Surick watched today and was pleased with his horse's mile. "He won in 1:50 and a piece last year and earned over $96,000 and he went a real good mile here in his first start this year. He We didn't want to face the 'bearcats' in his first start back so I called Eric (Warner Monticello Raceway's director of racing) and he told me he had a race for non-winner of seven races lifetime so we decided to bring him here for his first pari-mutuel start, Surick said and then added,"He (Only The Lonely) went a good mile today on the half-mile track here and he looked like himself. He's a nice horse and we're looking for a year from him." Co-owned by Surick, KDM Stable and the J.L. Benson Stable Only The Lonely paid $3.50 for win. Marcus Miller and Nick Surick teamed- up again in a later race and were victorious with Yanoyanomenow in a time of 1:55.0 However Only The Lonely's 1:54.3 wasn't the fastest mile on the hot and humid afternoon. Trainer Bob Lounsbury's CC Stormy was victorious for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. in 1:54.1. The same combination scored again with Dreamluck in 1:54.4. Also on the card the winningest horse in North America, Diamond Tiara now in a new barn, faced the boys for the first time this year after winning 17 times against her own gender, and she didn't fare well. She finished off the board for the first time in 23 seasonal starts. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Like thousands of others rock n roll singer Larry Chance stopped by to enjoy a night at the races followed by a great fireworks display at Monticello Raceway on July 4th . He lives in nearby Hurleyville, NY. On that evening Larry made a presentation to winning driver Mark MacDonald after MacDonald won a Excelsior Stakes race with American Filly. Chance, and his vocal group the Earls, are still entertaining after 50 years in the business. Some of their hits include; Life Is But A Dream; Looking For My Baby, Remember Then, Never, Eyes, and I Believe, to name a few. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway    

John Guy Gilmour, a Monticello Raceway treasure for over 47 years, passed away on July 4th. He was 76 years old. Known to his family as Guy, Gilmour always spewed a "Howdy Sep" when greeting others. Gilmour was a consummate horsemen and an excellent race driver. His record speaks for itself. In his illustrious career which spanned six decades he finished with 4492 winners; in years when the racing seasons were short and two-tracks in one day driving wasn't an option. Ask Gilmour how many races he has won and you're apt to get an answer like "I don't know", or "I'm not sure", or maybe even "I don't keep track of those things". Statistics were really not important to him. Not one for pomp and fanfare, Gilmour just went about his work with a smile and a ragged cowboy hat taking care of his business. And he did it so long that it became second nature. Up every morning at the crack of dawn he headed to the raceway to jog, train and care for his stock. Then it was off to the paddock to don his driving colors and become one of the fiercest competitors anyone would ever have to race against. Over the years many a horsemen learned that you never try to wrest the lead from Gilmour when he's on the front-end. As a fellow driver once stated facetiously, "He'll let you go when his whip wears out!" Affectionately known as "Sep", John is one of the famous Gilmour Brothers, William (Buddy), George, and Lloyd who together accounted for more than 14,250 driving victories. For "Sep", Monticello Raceway had been home since the early 1960's although he began his career at Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs, two tracks near his hometown of Lucan, Ontario. In the mid 1960's, his brother Buddy, sent a contingent horses to race at Monticello Raceway with brother George in charge. John was second in command. Although John started slowly, once the local trainers got a glimpse of his abilities he became one of the most sought after catch-drivers. However, it wasn't until 1973 that John copped his first driving title. But from then on through the 1970's and into the early 1980's Gilmour's name was on or near the top of the driver's standings every season. During that period Gilmour won nine driving titles-during a few seasons there were both summer and winter meets-- and three times he established new track records for most driving victories in a single season. Although his reign ended when Zeke Parker called Monticello Raceway home in 1984 Gilmour still was among the leaders in races won every season right into the mid-1990's. As time went by Gilmour became more like a Damon Runyon character. Oh yes, his competitive spirit was still there but he mellowed with age. So much so, that there's hardly a sole on the backstretch-save a few guys he's "hung out to dry" recently-that has a bad word about him. Never one to complain, or even one to celebrate, John Gilmour's easy going ways and congeniality have endeared him to all who have the pleasure of knowing him. But in recent years Gilmour has been plagued with serious health problems, though if you ask him about them he'll shrug off his problems (prostate cancer and colon cancer) like a wet dog shrugs off water. He retired from driving in the fall of 2012. After his victory on November 28 with his beloved trotter My Buddy Chimo, Gilmour announced in the winner's circle that he was retiring from driving. Unbeknownst to nearly everyone, Gilmour sprung that on the world although he admitted he'll continue training his current five- horse stable. "Now I'll leave the driving to them young fellers." Asked why all of a sudden did he decided to retire the way he did, he simply said "I wanted to go out a winner." "It wasn't all of a sudden but I didn't want to say anything about it because I didn't know when it would happen. I don't drive that much anymore so it was hard for me to know exactly when I'd win my last race." Longtime friend, Betsy Phillips, for whom Gilmour drove her good trotting mare, Gettheflakout, sums up the feelings of all around the backstretch here when she said; "Everybody loves Sep". Make no mistake about it, John Gilmour was a treasure. He was a talented, hard-working, excellent horseman with a devil- may-care attitude. And he was an outstanding race driver." Details of his funeral services will be forth coming. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Even though the overwhelming majority of the 2 year-old pacing fillies in the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes at Monticello Raceway Friday were making their first pari-mutuel starts they raced like veterans. Sassa Hanover, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven turned in the fastest mile of the evening when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. guided her to a gate to wire two- length triumph in a time of 1:56.3. It turned out to be the Jimmy Morrill, Jr. show as the talented reinsman also scored victories with Bettor N Better in 1:58 and Band of Angels in1:58.3. Mike Lachance won the other NYSS division with She's Heavenly in 1:57.3. But the star of the show was undoubtedly Sassa Hanover who's trained by Ron Burke. Undefeated in her two previous baby races over the mile oval at Gaitway Farm Morrill sent the filly to the lead from the seven hole as the gate sprung and they took command as they rounded the first turn and sped by the first stanza in :29. They were two lengths in front as they passed the halfway point in :59.1 and up the backside Morrill let out a notch and Sassa Hanover zoomed by the three quarters in 1:28.2. As they rounded the final turn Zeke Parker rallied Mosquito Blue Chip from far back and challenged the leader but Sassa Hanover kicked in a :28.1 final quarter and was a solid two length winner over Parker's filly in 1:56.3. "I've been waiting for her all night," Morrill said of Sassa Hanover who was in the 10th and final race on the card. "I love this filly. She's big and strong and surprisingly well-mannered (for a youngster). Believe me, she's the real deal." Owned by Burke Racing Panhellenic Stable and Weaver-Buscemi Sassa Hanover paid $6.30 for win. Morrill's first victory came with another Ron Burke- trainee when he sat the pocket and rallied to victory down the passing lane to score with Band Of Angels, another daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven. But a :28.2 last quarter was needed for the neck triumph over Zip Code Envy, driven by Mark MacDonald. Band Of Angels is owned by W J Donovan who returned a$5.80 win mutuel. Morrill also scored with the good looking Bettor Delight filly, Bettor N Better. After gaining command at the quarter in :29.1 Morrill yielded the lead and waited patiently in fourth position as he searched for daylight. When the field headed for home Morrill found room on the inside and rallied the filly to a one length victory over Heaven's Legacy and driver Brent Holland. The victory gave trainer Ron Burke hi third win on the card. Bettor N Better is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock and Our Horse Cents Stable. She paid $4.70 for win. Mike Lachance and She's Heavenly made a laugher out of their division as they romped to an easy wire to wire five- length triumph over Fan Mail and Jimmy Morrill, Jr. She's Heavenly is owned and trained by Bob Horowitz. She paid $3.10 for win. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

On Friday evening, July 4th, Monticello Raceway will host 2 year old pacing fillies in both the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series. Four NYSS events, along with six Excelsior's, will offer over $174,000 to the owners of the fillies most of whom will be making their first pari-mutuel starts. And when the races are completed a Fabulous fireworks display will be presented. The NYSS events mark the first of eight legs for the freshmen fillies at various New York racetracks en route to the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. Along the way the competing fillies will earn points in each leg, depending on the placements, with the top eight point recipients earning a berth in the rich finale. The majority of the entrants are daughters of American Ideal, Art Major, Rock N Roll Heaven and Bettor's Delight although an array of other New York sires progeny dot the 10- race program that features only New York-bred stakes fillies. Granted, it's hard to expound on any of these fillies since they are in the infancy of their racing careers but some already have shown signs of brilliance. Take Bob Horowitz's She's Heavenly, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven who'll come into this contest off a 1:55.1 triumph in a baby race at the Meadowlands on June 28. She'll be driven by Mike Lachance. Or, how about Jimmy Takter's undefeated Zip Code Envy, another Rock N Roll filly who has won all three of her baby races at the Meadowlands with her 1:56.1 clocking on June 27 the best of the three. She's owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding and Brixton Medical Ab and will be handled by Yannick Gingris. Then there's the Bettor's Delight filly, Bettor N Better, from the powerful Ron Burke barn. She comes in off a 1:56.3 victory in a baby race over Gaitway Farm's mile oval on June 23. She's owned by Our Horse Cents Stable and Blue Chip Bloodstock and will have Jimmy Morrill Jr at the controls. However, the last race on the card, a$27,750 NYSS, has by far the strongest field with seven of the eight pacing fillies winners in non-wagering events led by Ronald Mersky's First Delight, a Bettor's Delight filly who is three-for-three over Saratoga's double oval with her 2:01.2 twelve-length triumph in her last start on June 27 the best. Cheryl McGovern trains her and Mike Lachance will drive. Two others in that contest are also undefeated thus far both with two baby race victories. Lady Beth, a Kenneth J filly owned by Ken Jacobs, Slo Down Stable, Ed Namiotka, Jr and Vincent Tangredi, has two consecutive wins for trainer Sam Serianni, the fastest a 1:58 clocking at Vernon Downs on June 20. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. will do the driving. And the Ron Burke -trained Sassa Hanover is also two-for-two with a 1:58.1 record on a 'good' track at Gaitway Farm on June 16. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Buscemi and Lawrence Karr and will be driven by Jimmy Morrill, Jr. Post time for the 10-race card will be at 5:30pm and 20 minutes after the final race fans will be treated to the raceway's 45th annual fireworks display. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

With the resignation of John Berry from the US Harness Writers Association's Hall of Fame Screening Committee USHWA president Chris Tully has appointed Shawn Wiles to replace Mr. Berry. Due to personal family issues, Mr. Berry could not make it to Goshen this weekend. Wiles, a vice president and longtime member of the Monticello- Goshen Chapter USHWA and general manager of Monticello Casino and Raceway is a current USTA District 8 Director as well as second VP of USHWA National and he has a long history in the sport. His career in harness racing started in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway during the 1970s where he worked as a groom for Richard Sturgis, Robert Camper and Jim Grundy. He then went on in search of a Grand Circuit stable to work for and found success with the famed trotting specialists of Continental Farms under the guidance of Hakan Wallner, Hall of Famer Berndt Lindstedt, and Jan Johnson. Wiles was the first American second- trainer to work for the famed Scandinavian trotting experts from 1980-1986. During his tenure as a groom he rubbed many top performers, most notably the crack stakes filly Dominant, and then worked for Castleton Farms from 1986-1988. Wiles joined Monticello Raceway in 1996, working under John Manzi in publicity and Bill Sullivan in operations. Wiles was initially promoted to assistant GM of Monticello Casino and Raceway, and lately promoted to General Manager of the entire facility. He was recently lauded by the local scribes on his tough stance on racing integrity. Wiles is also on various other USHWA committees including the Integrity Committee, Location Committee, and the Fan Award Committee. "I am honored to be part of the process that honors the legends of Harness Racing," Wiles said referring to his recent appointment to the Hall of Fame Screening Committee. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

The beat goes on for Diamond Tiara. Not only did the 7 year old daughter of McArdle win for the 16th time this year at Monticello Raceway on June 30 but for the second straight week she was claimed. Last Monday (June 27) Diamond Tiara was taken from Mike Watson's barn via a $9000 claim by trainer Al Annunziata after the pacing mare won in 1:55.3 which was her 15th seasonal triumph. This Monday (June 30) Annunziata reclaimed her for the same price from Philip Schultz after Diamond Tiara won again and she continues to lead all harness horses in races won in North America. Even though Jimmy Taggart, Jr. had been Mike Watson's driver of choice when Diamond Tiara raced for Annunziata last week Bruce Aldrich Jr. handled the driving chores. Yesterday Taggart was back in the bike for Watson and drove the mare to a 1:56.2 victory despite being roughed up in the first quarter which was paced in :27.3. After taking a tuck on the first turn Taggart wheeled Diamond Tiara out to challenge and took command after the first stanza. Once on the engine Diamond Tiara did what she does best and outpaced any and all competition even in the deep stretch when Mayabelle and Zeke Parker pulled the two-hole and was rebuffed and had to settle for second money a full length behind the winner. Known that Diamond Tiara was again claimed Taggart was asked about it. "She's certainly a tough one to loose. But I don't blame people for claiming her. I'd want her too," he said. Sent off again as the odds-on favorite Diamond Tiara paid $3.10 for win. After the race Al Annunziata was contacted in the paddock and told that there was another claim in Diamond Tiara but his was the one picked in a lottery drawing. "I claimed her back because she raced giant for me, too," he said. "I'm sure glad that I got her again but now I got to find a class for her." by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

During the month of July Monticello Raceway will add a special racing program on Friday, July 4th which will be the only change in the usual four-day-a-week racing schedule. "Added to our usual Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday format will be a Friday July 4th race card," noted raceway GM Shawn Wiles. "Our July 4th program will begin at 5:30pm and about 15 minutes after the completion of the racing program we'll have our 45th annual fireworks display. All the other racing post times during July will be at 12:50pm in the afternoon." According to Eric Warner the tracks director of racing the Friday card was added to accommodate the 2-year-old pacing fillies in both the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series. "Sire Stakes and Excelsior's will also be featured on Tuesday, July 15 and Monday, July21," Warner noted. There is free admission to the races and the fireworks display. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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