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Batavia, NY --- Driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Jim Clouser Jr. and owner William Emmons teamed up to win both harness racing feature paces at Batavia Downs on a snowy and sloppy Saturday night (Dec. 5). In the $8,500 Open I Handicap pace, McSpidey coasted behind Tullow N (Dave McNeight III) through quarters of :28.4, :58.4 and 1:27.2 before leaving the pocket off the last turn and outpacing him to the wire in a quick :28.4 last quarter to win by 3/4 of a length in 1:56.2. It was the third straight win for McSpidey ($3.20) and his first Open I victory at Batavia Downs this year. Then in the $7,500 Open II Handicap pace, Long Train Runnin left, took command and never looked back. After getting to the half in a tepid :58.2, Morrill hit the gas and opened up a three-length lead at three-quarters and extended it to five at the top of the stretch. From there he was wrapped up heading for home the easiest of winners in an identical time of 1:56.2.  It was the second win in the last three starts and sixth win of the year for Long Train Runnin ($2.50) who has only missed one check in his last 10 starts. Morrill also won two more races on the card giving him a Grand Slam for the evening. Morrill is the meet’s leading dash win driver, currently with 97 wins. Another Grand Slam winner was trainer Gerry Sarama who scored four with Big Pocket Teen 1:59.1, $89.50), (Beachy Dream (1:58, $3.90), Sir Richie N (1:58.1, $3.00) and Love The Dragon (1:58.1, $5.60). Sarama has 60 wins this meet to lead all other trainers by a minimum of 30 wins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 9) and will kick off the final week of the meet. Wednesday will feature a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 wager. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites on Monday. The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on the Saturday (Dec. 12) program. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Yonkers, NY-- Two 7-horse fields of trotters went to post tonight (Dec. 3) at Yonkers Raceway in the North American Amateur Drivers Association harness racing series which was presented before the betting card got underway and when each event was declared official, a pair of Tony's emerged victorious; Tony Ciuffetelli won his split with Golden Kronos in 1:58.2 while Tony Verruso copped his division with Exarch in 1:59.2. Both horses used the front-end route to victory. In his split Ciuffetelli sent Golden Kronos to the lead from the two-hole and they got first call at the quarter in :29 while keeping Karets and driver Joe Lee on the limb. They were one-two by the half and remained in those positions until the three quarters where Karets began to fade. At that point Golden Kronos and Ciuffetelli scooted away to a three-length lead as they headed for home and at the wire Golden Kronos was an eased-up 1-1/2 length winner over Dw's Revenge who was driven by 17-year old Brett Beckwith.    Five lengths behind the winner If I Must rambled home third best for Paul Minore. In the other event hot-handed Tony Verruso notched his third victory in his last five starts when he gunned Exarch to the lead from the seven-hole. “I was told he could and leave like a runner and when the gate sprung I let him ramble and we were in front before the (first)turn,” Verruso said. “Once there it was little more than catch-me-if-you can.” They passed the first stanza in a swift :28.1 and they had two lengths on the field when they trotted by the half in :58.1 “Bob (Davis-with Lucky June Bug) was the first to move on us but my horse easily kept him at bay and in the stretch we opened daylight and finished a 2-1/2 length winner,” Verruso added. Lucky June Bug was second best while Jacks To Open took home the show dough for Nicole Dicostanza. The NAADA series continues next Thursday at Monticello Raceway   By John Manzi for NAADA

Monticello, NY – On Thursday afternoon at Monticello Raceway McGwire Sowers enjoyed a driving triple, it is the second time in a month that Sowers drove 3 harness racing winners on the afternoon. Sowers literally lit up the tote board with his first winner Terem Up Louie (PP4) , the 45-1 longshot scored in 1:59.4 and returned a healthy $87.00-win ticket for owner Tammy Sowers.  Sowers next trip to the winner’s circle was aboard the 3-year-old Hypnoticdream, the son of Hynotic Blue Chip scored a 4 length wire to wire win in 1:56.4 - $3.50. For Hypnoticdream is was his 3rd win of the season, he is owned by Mo Coo Inc of Merrick, NY. The driving triple came in race 6 with Our Regal Ideal N, the classy 9-year-old gelding romped in a 12 length victory for owner Clifford Grundy, time for the mile was 1:56.1 - $2.70. The 20-year-old McGwire Sowers seasonal driving win total is 70, ranking him in sixth place, right behind fellow Mainer Brandon Parker Jr. Bruce Aldrich Jr. leads the pack with 110 wins. While only 20 years old the reserved McGwire shows a great amount of poise and patience in the sulky, no doubt benefitting from the advice of his sage and father Bo Sowers. Bo Sowers also enjoyed a training triple on the card, the 3 wins upped his tall to 76 wins thus far for the season at the Mighty M, giving him a strangle hold on leading dash winning trainers. Gary Messenger is in second place with 55 winners. Michael Merton had a driving double on the afternoon.   By Shawn Wiles

Batavia, NY --- A field of Open trotters and Open filly and mare pacers went postward, each for $8,500 on Wednesday evening (Dec. 2) at Batavia Downs and two local harness racing favorites notched additional wins to their already impressive resumes. On the trot, Il Mago (Billy Davis Jr.) continued to dominate the diagonal-gaited gang after grabbing a quick lead and opening up a 2-1/2 length lead going to the quarter in :28.3. He then extended that lead to four lengths at the half and five at three-quarters. Turning for home, Il Mago was already wrapped-up and trotted unabated with 6-1/4 in hand stopping the clock in 1:56.4, which was only one-fifth of a second off his seasonal mark. It was the 55th career win, ninth win of the season and fourth win in a row for Il Mago ($4.60) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. The top distaff pacers saw the return of HP Sissy (Jim McNeight Jr.) after a seven week sabbatical and “Sissy” came to play on Wednesday. After taking command right off the gate, she tripped the timer in :28.1, :58.4 and 1:27.1 before a credible threat presented itself in the name of Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings), who got close to the leader heading into the last turn. But close would be as far as it went as HP Sissy turned for home and held sway to the line where she won by 1/2 length in 1:56.3. HP Sissy It was the seventh win of the year for HP Sissy ($6.50) and owner Finocchario’s Dream Stable. Jim McNeight trains the winner.   Bill Davis Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. both had driving hat tricks on Wednesday while trainers Ryan Swift and Sabrina Shaw each registered two wins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 5) with post time at 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced that it will be increasing all purses by 20% for the final week of harness racing of the 2020 meet. That would raise the top purse for all Opens from $8,500 to $10,200 all the way down to the bottom purse from $3,200 to $3,800. "It has been a very difficult season for everyone in this business and we are pleased to be raising the purses during the final days of racing to help the horsemen get a jump on their expenses heading into the downtime between meets." said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. "Despite all the challenges this year, we have been able to complete our meet without interruption and that is do to everyone involved working safely and carrying out all our safety guidelines. Hopefully the increased purses will help make the holidays a little better for all." The final week of racing consists of Wednesday (Dec. 9) and Saturday (Dec. 12) with post time for both days at 5 p.m.   Guaranteed $3,000 Pick-5 pool Wednesday at Batavia Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced there will be a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday (Dec. 2). The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages for races one through five are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites or by clicking here. (https://www.trackmaster.com/freeContent/usta/freeContentFiles/hpl/btv1202x.pdf) The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on the Saturday (Dec. 5) program. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- With no winner in the harness racing Pick-5 wager on Wednesday (Nov. 25) at Batavia Downs, there is a $2,392 carry-over that will move to Saturday (Nov.28) and there is a guaranteed pool of $7,500 for the Pick-5 wager that day.  The pool, which is the largest guarantee of the meet, is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website or by clicking here. (https://legacy.trackmaster.com/usta/btv1128x.pdf) The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on next Wednesday’s (Dec. 2) program.  Post time for the first race Saturday is 5 p.m.  Below is an analysis of the Pick-5 races by Batavia Down's resident handicapper, "Hot Picks".  Race 1: You may be able to escape by just using two horses, No. 4 Journeyman and No. 8 Rainbow Romance N. Billy Davis chose to drive Journeyman over No. 5 Gimme The Pacifics, a horse he has been driving, so I’ll let his choice do my handicapping. The horse has simply faced better, so you could get brave and single Journeyman, since Rainbow Romance has post 8 and hasn’t hit the board this year, despite being in top barns (Scott DiDomenico and Gerry Sarama).   Race 2: Up until this last race, newcomer No. 2 Random Task A may have been a single. He’s still a must- use since Torcello-Sarama-Morrill have teamed up countless times to win with this type of shipper. No. 5 Mateo steps up off a terrific mile and is a big closing threat, even though he does lose regular pilot Drew Monti. If you can spread, maybe include No. 3 Sure Please and No. 4 Raylan Givens.   Race 3: Three to use here, No. 4 Ideal Chance (the Cummings barn has continuously won with newcomers from The Meadows), No. 6 Xenia’s Chip and No. 7 Love The Dragon. Since the No. 3 Pure Image is an unknown factor, a big budget could include, even if the TrackMaster rating numbers say he’s a tick below. And No. 2 Calvery Hill was facing infinitely better in the summer but hasn’t raced in three months. If you’re brave, single No. 4, whose TrackMaster ratings are superior.   Race 4: A narrow budget can maybe survive with just No. 4 Kings Treasure (the speed) and No. 3 Terror O (the closer). No. 1 Jude Hall rarely wins (1-for-23) but he was victorious the last time he drew the cones (albeit in a lower class on Halloween).   Race 5: There’s nothing worse than being alive to the final leg and getting knocked out. It’s conceivable to foresee a few different scenarios on how this race will be run, so several could be in play to win. Thus, spread if you can. No. 1 Carlos Danger and No. 6 Bugatti getting Billy Davis are obvious must-use types, No. 4 Jimmy C R has speed and is dropping and No. 7 Big Pocket Teen has Jim Morrill Jr. but a bad post.   Tim Bojarski

Monticello, NY -  If Michael Merton looked at his horoscope today it would have told him that today was going to be a good day, as on the 10 race card Merton won 4 of them.  The harness racing quadruple began in race 2 from the 8 hole aboard Brutally Lucky who was just that, the 2 longest shots on the board finished 1-2 Brutally lucky paid $59.50 with the 65-1 Paradise Paintball finishing second, the 8-5 exacta returned $1,195 and the 8-5-3 Triple came back at $4,912. Fast forward to race 5, The New Americana (PP3) scored a wire to wire win in 1:57.4 - $6.00 to notch his 4th of the year. In the following race it was with Bliss And Luck (PP5) who used the catch me if you can tactic to win in 2:00 - $2.50. In the last race of the day Michael scored with Fox Valley Charliz in 1:56.1 - $4.60, the win gave trainer Andrew Adamczyk a training triple on the card. Young gun Brandon Parker also drove 2 winners on the day.   By: Shawn Wiles

Batavia, NY --- One came from behind and one led all the way, but both were the best in their harness racing class at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Nov. 4). The $8,500 Open I Handicap trot was won by Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) who got away a gapped fifth while Daylon Phantom (Dan Yetman) took an unchallenged lead to the half in :58.2. There, Before I Die (Jim McNeight Jr.) pulled first over with an advancing Lougazi on his tail. Positions remained the same up the backside and around the far turn until Lougazi tipped three-deep at the top of the stretch and the pocket-sitting Majestic Kat (Billy Davis Jr.) found room inside and shot through. Four pylons from the wire, Lougazi and Majestic Kat passed Daylon Phantom and then hit the line together in 1:58.4. After the photo, Lougazi got the nod and came back for his picture.   It was the fourth win of the year for Lougazi ($8.10) who made his first start in almost a month for owner Mary Warriner. Ryan Swift is the trainer. Then in the Open II pace for fillies and mares, Tellawoman (Jim Morrill Jr.) led every step of the mile, tripping the timers in :28.4, :58 and 1:26.3 before turning for home and hitting the line on top by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55.4. It was the third straight win and fourth out of the last five for Tellawoman ($3.10) who is owned by Rose Campbell and trained by Russell Bratt. Tellawoman winning in 1:55.4 Ray Fisher Jr. led all drivers on Wednesday as he registered a hat trick. Also Jim Morrill Jr., Billy Davis Jr. and Drew Monti, who are currently the top three dash drivers of the meet in that order, all had two wins. On the conditioning side, 12 different trainers accounted for the night’s 12 winners. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 7) with post time at 1:15 p .m. The early start is due to the Breeders Cup races.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Western New York racing legend and former Grand Circuit driving star Gerry Sarama reached another harness racing career milestone after getting his 1,000th training victory with Ohio Prince in the 12th race at Batavia Downs. Sarama has been around the sport his entire life as his father owned and raced horses. He started driving at an early age and quickly found himself at the top of the driver colony in western New York and won many driving titles at Batavia Downs. Sarama made a move to Roosevelt Raceway in the late 1970’s and successfully competed with the best in the nation on the biggest stage at the time, racing side by side with the likes of Carmine Abbatiello, Herve Filion, Billy Haughton and all the other great New York City reinsmen of that era. But he eventually found his way back to his roots and continued to be at the top of his game ever since. The one constant of Sarama’s career regardless of what track he was competing at, he was always a highly sought after catch driver.    During his driving career, the now 78-year-old Sarama amassed 2630 wins and bankrolled $11.5 million dollars. But he curtailed that activity in 2007 and turned his attention to training full time. Since doing so Sarama has found as much success in the jog cart as he did in the sulky. He currently oversees about 14 horses and since taking over conditioning duties full time, his stable has won in excess of $5.6 million. During his entire training career Sarama has made 6,153 starts with 1,000 wins, 931 seconds and 843 thirds giving him a .292 UTR. The entire staff at Batavia Downs as well as all our horsemen would like to congratulate “The man with the hands” Mr. Gerry Sarama on this accomplishment.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- A rain-soaked track greeted horsemen for the night’s proceedings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 21) but stellar harness racing performances were still on display, especially by top class winners Before I Die and Tellawoman. A scratch-shortened field of six horses went to post in the $8,500 Open I Handicap trot and the race turned into a tale of two races. Chapter one was Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) who screamed off the gate and sped away to an eight-length lead at the half in :58 and looked like a walk-over tonight. At that same station, Before I Die (Jim McNeight Jr.) was sitting fourth and 11 lengths in arrears. Chapter two was when McNeight pulled Before I Die at the five-eighths and started making tracks towards the leader and doing it in a timely fashion. At the three-quarters Il Mago’s lead was down to four and diminishing with every stride while Before I Die was in full gear. When they hit the top of the lane Il Mago was digging in and determined to win, but Before I Die wrote his own ending by a head; winning in 1:58.2. It was the second top class victory this year at Batavia Downs for Before I Die ($8.70) and his owners Caren and Jamie Dubay, the latter who also trains the winner. Then in the $8,500 Open I Handicap for for pacing fillies and mares, HP Sissy (Denny Bucceri) led the field to the half in :27.4 but when Bucceri tapped the brakes in a :30.1 second panel, Morrill pulled Tellawoman and took control by the five-eight’s pole. As soon as he did, Bucceri came right back out with HP Sissy and rode alongside the leader with Yankee Secret (Dave McNeight III) now traveling three deep. Heading into the stretch HP Sissy faded and Carly Girl (Drew Monti) was trying to get out between her and Tellawoman while Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings) was also now flying down the stretch. When they hit the wire four horses were only a length apart in very close quarters and after an objection and two inquiries (none of which were allowed) Tellawoman won in 1:57, only 1/2 length ahead of Lady Dudette and HP Sissy who dead-heated for second. It was the second win in the last three starts for Tellawoman ($7.10) and owner Rose Campbell. Russell Bratt trains the winner. Jim Morrill Jr. and Drew Monti topped all drivers with three winners each on the night while trainers Sabrina Shaw, Kevin Cummings and Gerry Sarama tied for top conditioning honors with two apiece. With no winner in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday there is a $2,152 carry-over pool that will move to Saturday (Oct.24) and it has been announced that there will be a guaranteed pool of $5,000 for the Pick-5 wager that day. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites. The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on the following Wednesday (Oct. 28) program. Post time for the first race Saturday is 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

It’s been a terrific harness racing season in the sulky for Alek Chartrand at Saratoga Casino Hotel and on Monday, the up-and-coming reinsman recorded his first Open Pace victory. Chartrand sat behind the Linda Flynn-trained Olde Broadside (American Ideal) who has been on top of his game of late. After going winless in his first handful of starts in 2020, Olde Broadside scored three victories and had three third-place finishes in his seven tries leading up to Monday’s start in the $9,350 Open. One of two Opens on the matinee card, the pacing feature saw no clear-cut favorite in the wagering so much so that Olde Broadside, who was debuting in the Open, wound up as the 2-1 co-favorite in the race. The other co-favorite Gokudo Hanover (Chris Long) cut the mile and set fast fractions on the engine. After going a half in 55.3, Gokudo Hanover still led the way around the final turn but was stride for stride with Tenacious One A (Larry Stalbaum). Olde Broadside was third-over going to three quarters but came storming home in the stretch after fanning to the far outside. He got up to win in 1:54 to give Chartrand his first career Open win which was the first for Flynn in several seasons. Tenacious One A was the runner-up while Gokudo Hanover held on for third. Olde Broadside is owned by Francis Morse of Schuylerville, NY. The other co-feature went the way of invader Winning Legends (Winning Mister). Justin Huckabone trains and drives the four year old trotter who came in on a hot streak of his own. A winner of six of eleven starts in ’20 coming into his debut in the local Open, Winning Legends settled in fifth in the early going before moving first-over approaching the half. Winning Legends wore down the race’s leader and took over mid-stretch before hanging on to win by a nose over late-closing Ronnie Goldstein (Brett Crawford). Gruden (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Winning Legends, who is owned by Jonathan Applebaum of Yorktown Heights, NY, was the 3-5 betting favorite in the $9,350 featured event for trotters. The win was the first in a local feature for Huckabone as well as both Opens saw first-time Open winning drivers on the Monday matinee. Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for Noon.     Mike Sardella

Batavia, NY --- The top class for both pacing mares and trotters were featured on the Wednesday (Oct. 14) card of racing at Batavia Downs and the public’s choice came through in both harness racing events. In the $8,500 Open I Handicap distaff pace, HP Sissy (Denny Bucceri) got away fifth while Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) paced on the lead through five-eighths of the mile. That is where HP Sissy came calling first-up on the rim, drawing close to the leader at the three-quarters. Protect Blue Chip and HP Sissy then strode neck-and-neck around the far turn and into the stretch where HP Sissy started to inch away, clear and then hold off a late closing Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings) to win in 1:55. HP Sissy ($5.40) scored her sixth win of the year for owner Finocchario’s Dream Stable and trainer Mike Ohol.   Then in the $8,500 Open I Handicap trot, CR Blazin Beauty (Ray Fisher Jr.) took a similar path to victory, getting away third behind Majestic Kat (Billy Davis Jr.) before tipping at the half and trotting unhurriedly outside the leader for the next three-eighths of a mile. At the head of the lane, CR Blazing Beauty just switched gears and sped away to a two-length advantage by mid-stretch and then just jogged home a winner in 1:57.2, which was a new seasonal mark. CR Blazin Beauty ($6.30) is owned by Marissa Russo and is trained by David Russo. Drivers Dave McNeight III and Drew Monti both scored Hat Tricks on Wednesday while trainer Rose Russo did so as well on the conditioning side. Triple Sticks and Drivin’ Drew are the two hottest drivers at the Downs over the last five days, winning 14 and 13 races respectively. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 17) at 5 p.m.    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Goshen, NY - Live harness racing begins at Oak Grove Racing & Gaming in Oak Grove, Kentucky on Wednesday, October 14. The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's popular "A Drive to Win" traveling exhibit will be there on display in the grandstand area through October 28. The presentation is dedicated to the drivers and trainers who make every race possible. Their love of and commitment to the sport make this diverse group of remarkable men and women the backbone of harness racing. Large photo-storyboards profile over two dozen individuals, many of whom are recognized by harness fans everywhere. Oak Grove Racing & Gaming is located off I-24 about an hour north of Nashville, Tennessee just over the Kentucky state line. Post time at Oak Grove is 12:30 p.m. Please check Oak Grove's website for more information: www.oakgrovegaming.com. The Harness Racing Museum is located at 240 Main Street, Goshen, New York and is currently closed due to COVID-19. For information on Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame events or gift shop services, please visit our website at www.harnessmuseum.com or contact us at 845-294-6330 or email info@harnessmuseum.com.

Gail D. Conte passed away on September 17, 2020.  Born April 14, 1955, Mrs. Conte was the first daughter of Vic and Nola Bloomfield.  Her father, a career army man, received an assignment to West Point Military Academy and Mrs. Conte attended Highland Falls High School.  During her junior and senior year, she enrolled at Boces Standardbred School at Historic Track in Goshen, NY. After graduation, Mrs. Conte went to work for Hall of Fame inductee, John Patterson Sr at Monticello Raceway.  She worked for him not only at Monticello, but also Roosevelt Raceway and Dalton, GA. In 1978, she married Michael Conte and continued working at Roosevelt Raceway for Angelo Anobile until the track closed in 1988.  She then attended Long Island School of Dog Grooming. Mr. and Mrs. Conte moved to Yorktown, IA in 1989, to be closer to her parents.  As an Iowa native, Clarinda, IA was always her home.  She opened a successful dog grooming business in Clarinda.  Mrs. Conte also helped start the Southwest Iowa Humane Society in 1991 and was always ready to support fund raising for the shelter dogs and cats.  In 2001, she went to work for NSK-AKS, retiring in 2017. During their time in Yorktown, Mr. and Mrs. Conte built up their breeding and racing stock.  They raced the Iowa Fair Circuit for 30 years and still do.  Some of the horses that have been bred or owned by Mrs. Conte include:  Hap Bob Bobby, Krissy Brit S, Military Brat, Military Stratcom, Foxy Jazz, No Money Fun, J R Jazz, Not Thinking, Cyclone Maximus and her favorite Pugwash.  Mr. and Mrs. Conte claimed Pugwash in 1979 on her recommendation, thus starting their journey into Standardbred ownership. Mrs. Conte is survived by her husband, Mike, of 42 years and sister, Kim.  Services are set for Monday (9/21) at Cummings Family Funeral Home, Bedford, Ia.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.   By Tara Spach

Golden Gun takes the $3,600 pace at Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 29).  Golden Gun ($19.80) squeezed in between horses and took the lead with a lap remaining and led to the first quarter in :26.3.  He used a :28.4 second quarter to hit the half first in :55.2.  Rise Up Now (Leon Bailey) followed in the pocket as Juxlivin My Dream (Chris Long) was the first to make a move going first-over but could not gain much.  Golden Gun led to three-quarters in 1:23.3.  As they made the turn for home Rise Up Now popped out of the pocket but was just spinning his wheels.  Chatelroll (Truman Gale) found an opening in deep stretch and came charging late but Golden Gun held firm and won in 1:52.4.  Chatelroll had to settle for second.  Clouseau Hanover (Jennifer Lappe) came up to finish third.  Golden Gun is a 10-year-old gelding by Headmaster.  He is owned by the Wiz Kids Stables and trained by Sorenson.  It was win number two of 2020.  He now owns 37 career victories.  Truman Gale, Chris Long, and Josh Kinney each had driving the doubles on the night.  Gale won with Ladyyouaregorgeous ($17.60) and Mama’s Gift ($5.10).  Long got wins with Wishyou’dtellme ($10.20) and Johnnysfirecracker ($16.40).  Kinney reach the winner’s circle with Rocknroll Captain ($11.40) and Star Track Hanover ($32.20).  As we head to the last weekend of racing Leon Bailey pulled ahead with 44 wins to lead all drivers in victories.  He leads Vernon Downs legend John MacDonald by just one race.  Kerin Warner got a victory and leads all trainers with 18 victories just one ahead of George Ducharme.  Just two live racing dates left at Vernon Downs this season.  They will race on Friday (September 25) and Saturday (Saturday 26) starting at 3:00 p.m.  For more information go to www.vernondowns.com     John Horne for Vernon Downs

The Harness Horse Association of Central New York (HHACNY), the Gaming Commission-recognized representative horsemen’s association at Vernon Downs Racetrack, together will the Management of Vernon Downs, announced today that the last live race card for 2020 will be conducted on Saturday, September 26.   HHACNY President Rick Papa stated, “While the viral pandemic that afflicted the nation was raging, we were quite fortunate to have been able to commence the 2020 race season, albeit later than we desired. Still, from the very moment the Governor announced the lifting of the moratorium on live racing, both the horsemen and management worked extremely hard to start the meet. Then, without the benefit of any revenue from the still shuttered video lottery terminal parlor (racino), we were able to offer competitive, full card harness racing without interruption.” President Papa continued, “Though the 2020 meet was scheduled to continue through November 7, it is only in just the last few days that the racino was given permission to reopen. Rather than subject the horsemen to a debilitated purse structure through the fall portion of the meet, it was jointly decided to cease racing at the end of September. This timed closure will ensure that by the anticipated opening of the 2021 season, the horsemen’s account will be fully replenished, such that owners, trainers and drivers will race for competitive purses. On behalf of the horsemen, I thank everyone involved including track management for its input into this important decision.” Vernon Downs President, Jeff Gural stated,“I want to thank the HHACNY for working with us this season as obviously the pandemic has been devastating to the industry.  I think we succeeded in providing an opportunity for our horsemen to get their horses raced the last few months including the all important NY Sire Stakes Program.  Despite the pandemic, horses need to be fed and cared for and with no income coming in it was a major hardship.  Let’s hope we can reopen on time in the spring and the pandemic will be a distant unpleasant memory.” Subject to New York State Gaming Commission approval, the 2021 race meet is scheduled to start in mid-April.   Management of Vernon Downs Racetrack

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