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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The tactics may have changed but the results remained the same for Bred For Greatness as he posted his fourth straight harness racing victory at Buffalo Raceway with a narrow nose win in 1:57.3 over Lougazi in the $11,500 Class A-Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night (June 24).   The win, which returned a surprising $14.80 to his backers, was also the seventh in eight tries this season for the 6-year-old gelded Bred For Greatness (Federal Way-Wendy Woo).   Usually staying close to the lead, Bred For Greatness turned things around this time as winning driver Kevin Cummings shot to the lead and posted fractions of :29.2, :59.0 and 1:29.0.   While enjoying the lead, Bred For Greatness knew Lougazi would be charging late and he was right. But fortunately, Bred For Greatness hung on as Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) just ran out of real estate. Victoria Swan (Drew Monti) captured the show position.   Owned by trainer Mike Ohol and Steven Gross, Bred For Greatness has put $37,240 in the bank this season and $128,471 lifetime.   Hey Kobe ($11.00) got a perfect pocket trip and posted a 3/4-length victory over Blue Bell Bonnie in the $10,000 Class A-B Handicap for the distaff pacers.   After watching the pace setting Squeeze This park out the heavily favored Hey Sweetie through three quarters in 1:28.1, it became a closer's dream come true.   Hey Kobe pounced on the golden opportunity in the passing lane and took full advantage to score the win while Blue Bell Bonnie (David McNeight III) rallied for second and Squeeze This (Fisher Jr.) held on for third.   Hey Kobe gets a perfect trip in victory   Owned by Keith Pinkowski and trained by Mihajlo Zdejlar Jr., Hey Kobe (Bettor's Delight-American West) is an 8-year-old mare now has four victories in 10 tries this year. The win jumped her seasonal earnings to $18,918 and $371,289 lifetime.   Fisher Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. each had driving triples while Wade Tomaszewski and Cummings had doubles. Maria Rice and Ryan Swift each produced two training victories.   Racing action will continue on Saturday evening at 6 p.m.with a 13-race program slated.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, entries and results, go to     by Brian J. Mazurek for Buffalo Raceway

Vernon Downs hosted two harness racing divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old trotting colts & geldings on Wednesday (June 24). Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt) is impressive winner in the $59,000 first division of the NYSS. Take The Credit (Andy Miller) took the early lead but Bluffinner (Trond Smedshammer) found the front before hitting the first quarter in :28.0. He was followed by the coupled entry of Take The Credit and Third Shift ($2.80) as they hit the half in :58.2. Third Shift would make his move as they headed for the last turn going first over from third. He would get a clear lead before hitting three-quarters in 1:26.2. He would just pour it on in the stretch winning it with ease in a lifetime best of 1:54.3. Take The Credit came up to finish second. Ballcapnbluejeans (Mark MacDonald) fired late to take Third money. Third Shift is a 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven. Owned by Melby Gard Inc., and trainer Svanstedt. He was a winner in his first start of 2020. He now has four career wins. Bekery J (Scott Zeron) charges late to capture $58,000 second division of the NYSS. At the start they would be five wide as they went by the stands for the first time. Beerthirty K (Tyler Buter) worked his way clear to lead to a first quarter of :28.1. Barn Holden took over right after the quarter and led to the half in :56.4. He would remain in control as he started to open up as he hit three-quarters in 1:25.4. Berkey J ($13.60) made his move from third as they made the turn for home. He took over at mid- stretch and held off a late surge from second place finisher, Chaptiama (Trond Smedshammer) to win in a lifetime best of 1:54.2. Barn Holden settled for third. Bekery J is a 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven. He is owned by Kenneth Jacobs and trained by George Ducharme. He is one for one in 2020. He now owns four career victories. Vernon Downs return to live racing on Thursday (June 25) with a 13-race card at 4 p.m. For more information go to   John Horne for Vernon Downs.

It’s A Herbie (Verlin Yoder) went from first to last in the final eighth of a mile to capture the $8,000 Open Handicap trot at Tioga Downs on Tuesday (June 23). Prairie Fortune (Jim Taggert Jr.) went to the front and led to a first quarter of :27.2.  Joey Pro (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) followed Prairie Fortune to the half in :56.3 and to three-quarters in 1:24.4. It’s A Herbie ($4.60) was still last as they went around the paddock turn.  Joey Pro popped out the pocket and made the first move as they reached the stretch.  He was joined by a late charging My Lindy Winner (Mike Merton) as they went three across the track.  It’s A Herbie looked like he had wings as he went four wide  in the stretch and used a last quarter of :27.3 to get a lifetime best mark of 1:53.3 to win easily.  Joey Pro had to settle for second.  My Lindy Winner finished third. It’s A Herbie is a 4-year-old gelding by Here Comes Herbie.  Owned and trained by Yoder, he got his first win of 2020.  He now has 11 career victories. Dustin Ingraham trained three winners on the card.  He won with Canale Hanover ($6.30), Thundercrest ($10.80), and A Fool For Mark ($3.60). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Monday (June 28) starting at 4 p.m. For more information go to<>   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

YONKERS, N.Y. – Live harness racing will return to Yonkers Raceway Monday, June 22 with 64 trotters and pacers set to compete on an eight-race program beginning at 7:05 p.m. Monday’s card marks the first race day at the half-mile oval since the effects of COVID-19 halted the 2020 season on March 9. Yonkers successfully conducted qualifiers last Monday (June 15) in preparation for reopening. In accordance with guidelines issued by the New York State Gaming Commission, health and safety protocols are in place for racing’s return. These include capacity limitations and distancing measures, temperature checks and health screenings, installation of no-touch fixtures and disinfectant stations, equipment usage and cleaning protocols, mandatory use of face masks, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the racing area.  Monday’s program will be the first of three this week and features the return of Hysteria, a 4-year-old Shadow Play gelding trained by Jenn Bongiorno, who brings an eight-race win streak dating to June 22, 2019 into the sixth race, a $13,500 conditioned pace. Tuesday’s card will feature the Filly and Mare Open Pace while Thursday’s program co-features the Open Pace and Open Trot, each carrying a purse of $33,000. Although the track remains closed to bettors and fans, punters can watch and wager on the action at, which offers an 8% rebate on all wagers placed on Yonkers’ races (except place and show). The betting menu has been adjusted as follows for the eight-race format: Early Pick 4 beginning in race one Pick 5 beginning in race four Late Pick 4 beginning in race five Pick 3s beginning in races two, three, and six Doubles beginning in races one and seven Superfectas offered on even-numbered races Win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta on all races Free TrackMaster platinum past performances are available for Monday’s entire card on the Yonkers Raceway website. Stakes season will resume at the Hilltop with the first leg of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies July 2. Sire Stakes will continue throughout July and August with Yonkers Raceway set to host the New York Sire Stakes Finals Sept. 12. Additional announcements regarding the stakes schedule will be made when available.  The amended Yonkers Raceway calendar will see live harness racing conducted Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights until July 2. Beginning the week of July 6, the schedule will add Friday nights. Saturday night racing will resume the week of July 20 as the track returns to its normal five night per week schedule through Dec. 19, apart from dark days Friday, Sept. 11 and Thursday, Nov. 26. First post time is 7:05 p.m. The complete revised racing calendar is available online here.  

Thursday afternoon marked the return of harness racing at Saratoga Casino Hotel with a thirteen-race program on a beautiful June day in the Spa City. With only about a month of the scheduled season being contested in 2020 heading into Thursday, trainer-driver Alek Chartrand had just ten starts as a trainer and six as a driver under his belt on the year. The return card was a big one for the 35 year old Chartrand who enjoyed his best day of the “young season” as he not only recorded a pair of victories but secured both wins with horses who had drawn post position eight. The dazzling mile of the day came from a Chartrand trainee who was making just his second lifetime start. My Pal Joe (Roll With Joe) raced only once as a freshman in 2019 but came into Thursday’s event for maiden pacers off an impressive 1:56.3 romp in a qualifier contested last week. Chartrand powered My Pal Joe out from his outside post and made it to the top. The sophomore dominated his group of fellow three year olds before scoring a decisive eleven-length win in an eye-popping 1:53.4. Chartrand’s Onspeed N (Bettor’s Delight) also drew the unfortunate task of starting from post eight on Thursday when she made her local debut. Dismissed at odds of 16-1, Onspeed N pulled off the upset in her first Spa start as she parlayed a pocket trip to a win in 1:57.1. Onspeed N, a new addition to Chartrand’s stable, paid $35.60 to win on Thursday. Trainer Jaymes McAssey and driver Jordan Derue teamed up for a pair of victories on the matinee card as well with Derue piloting three winners in total. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a thirteen-race card set to kickoff at 12 Noon.    Mike Sardella  

Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) takes the $50,000 first harness racing division in the opening leg of the Graduate Series at Tioga Downs on Sunday (June 14). Gimpanzee ($2.40) easily jumped out to the lead from his outside post. Chin Chin Hall (Dexter Dunn) would latch on from the pocket. Gimpanzee cruised to a first quarter of :26.4 and continued to lead as they hit the half in :55.1. He used a :27.4 quarter going up the backside to hit three-quarters in 1:23.0. Gimpanzee, who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., and R.F. Stable, just breezed down the stretch to win in 1:51.2. Chin Chin Hall gave a valiant effort but had to settle for second best. Reign Of Honor (David Miller) finished third. Gimpanzee is a 4-year-old horse by Chapter Seven. He is now one for one in 2020. He now has 18 career victories. He was just a fifth of a second off his lifetime best mile. Gimpanzee Grand Swan (Brian Sears) holds on to win the $50,000 second division of the Graduate Series as Sears and trainer Melander sweep both divisions. Pure Chance (Aaron Merriman) got to the front first but Grand Swan ($3.70) went first over to get to the quarter first in in :27.3. Grand Swan led to the half in :56.4 and to three-quarters in 1:25.0. Grand Swan, who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Never 2 Late Stable, Grand Swan Racing, Bruce Soulsby, and Alan Weisenberg, led the way as they made the turn for home. Second place finisher, Pure Chance pulled out of the pocket and dueled with Grand Swan all the way down the stretch. Grand Swan had just enough to win in a career best time of 1:53.0. Explosivebreakaway (Tom Jackson) was third. Grand Swan is a 4-year-old mare by Swan For All. It was a win in her first start of 2020. She now has 19 career victories. Grand Swan Tyler Buter drove five winners on the night. He combined with trainer Rob Harmon for wins with Conman Crown ($4.90), Clarion Hall ($3.50), and Shecouldbegood N ($2.80). His other victories came with Thundra ($4.70), and Prairie Cougar($7.50) for trainer Mike Deters. Tioga Downs once again had a strong handle of $365,113. Live racing returns on Monday (June 15) with 13-race card starting at 4 p.m. For more information go to   John Horne for Tioga Downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Julio's Girl ($3.90) remained perfect at Buffalo Raceway with a solid three length harness racing victory in 1:56.4 over Hey Sweetie in the $11,000 Class A-AA Handicap Pace for the filly and mares on Wednesday night (June 10)   Since arriving at Buffalo Raceway in early March, Julio's Girl (David McNeight III) has reeled off three straight wins in as many starts, all in convincing fashion.   Scoring from the four post, Julio's Girl had a bit of a tussle to reach the top with Hey Sweetie (Billy Davis Jr.). Once she cleared, there were no serious threats as Hey Sweetie and Hey Kobe could only watch Julio's Girl and battle for the minor awards.   Trained by James Clouser Jr. and owned by William Emmons, it was the fifth win in seven attempts this season for the 7-year-old mare Julio's Girl (Art Director-Prayer Answered. The victory jacked her bankroll to $21,440 on the year and $166,458 lifetime.   Call My Broker (Dan Yetman) avoided three breakers and then used a first over journey to capture the victory in the $10,000 Class A-B Handicapped Trot, He notched the $27.20 win over Mighty Nicky (Drew Monti) and Lucky Sheila (Jim Morrill Jr.) in 2:00.3.   Call My Broker posts $27.20 upset win.   With the favored State Ofmyhead AS, Kimco Kid and Lucky Sheila all making early breaks, Well Connected Kid took off and set the fractions of :30.3, 1:01.0 and 1:30.3. Call My Broker was first off the pylons and headed straight to the top at the three-quarter marker. From there, it was clear sailing as no one was able to mount any challenges.   Owned by Franklin Meier and trained by Angelo Nappo, it was the second victory in nine tries for the 6-year-old gelded Call My Broker (Muscle Massive-Pretty Crafty) in 2020. The win jumped his seasonal winnings to $14,776 and $132,944 lifetime.   Davis completed the evening with five wins in the bike with Yetman posting a double. Maria Rice and Sabrina Shaw each had three training victories.   Racing will resume on Saturday evening with a 12-race card scheduled beginning at 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and entries, go to     by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will host the first Grand Circuit stake of the 2020 harness racing season when the 1st leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters comes to the Southern Tier of New York on Sunday, June 14.   The draw for the June 14 card will be on Thursday, June 11 with a box closing at 9:00AM.    Electronic entry for the Graduate Series is now available on etrack.   Be advised; Post time for all Tioga Downs race cards will be 4:00PM on Sunday and Monday for the month of June.   Horses shipping in for stakes will be assigned stalls in a ship in barn and will remain in those stalls through the race. There is no detention and we ask that you ship up day of the race and ship back out as soon as practically possible.    The NY COVID-19 Protocol is available on the web and the pracrices are much like they are at Meadowlands. We are pleased to host the Graduate Series and our other stakes but we must insist that you follow these guidelines explicitly as to not jeopardize our status.   The Graduate Pacing Leg #1, Roll With Joe Open Pacing stake and NYSS for 3-year-old filly trotters will all be raced on Sunday, June 21.   Questions should be directed to the Racing Office at 607-699-7688.     Nick Salvi

We have been advised by the Director of Racing at Yonkers Raceway that each horsemen (trainers, drivers and grooms) seeking to participate in harness racing at Yonkers needs to get an antibody test. This is not something the SOA of NY agrees with in any way shape or form. The way we were told this is meant to work is that the 1st time a horsemen comes on the grounds he/she will need to show the test document result to the Race Office or to the Director of Racing. Importantly, the current version of the Gaming Commission protocols requires that the test result shows that the individual is positive for antibodies. Without a positive test, we are told you will not be able to access the grounds. Accordingly, every horsemen who wishes to race at Yonkers is encouraged to get tested in the event the current protocol stands as currently stated. The type of test required was not specified. One version is a pinprick that we understand is being done even at some pharmacies and other versions employ the drawing of blood. It is our understanding that participants at other harness tracks in the State are not being required to present such a test, and we are hopeful that we can have a constructive dialogue with the Gaming Commission to remove this one protocol, particularly given the very real concern that numerous participants -- including those who sheltered in place and engaged in social distancing and thereby avoided contracting the Covid-19 virus -- would be excluded from racing at Yonkers pursuant to their license. We are hopeful that the robust protocols being implemented at other tracks (for example, Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon) which involves, among many things, the answering of relevant health questions will be considered more appropriate and better suited to the circumstances at hand, but as of now the existing protocol as relayed to us by the Director of Racing stands. It makes no sense to us since more people do not have positive antibodies. Regardless, numerous other protocols will be implemented, including temperature checks (anyone with a temperature greater than 100.4 will not be allowed access to the paddock), the requirement of wearing masks, social distancing, sanitary procedures and the aforementioned answering of relevant health questions. Reminder: No owners or fans are permitted on site during this initial start-up period until further notice   SOA of NY

Tioga Downs will begin their 15th season of live harness racing with a 12 race card without fans on Sunday (June 7), with a post time of 4:00 p.m. The five-eighths mile track from Nichols, NY will race on Sundays and Mondays at 4 p.m. in June. They will also race on Tuesday (June 23) and Tuesday (June 30) with a 4 p.m. post time as well. In July and August they will be racing every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Post time for Friday and Saturday will be at 6:15 p.m. with a 1:00 p.m. starting time for Sundays. In September Tioga Downs will race Fridays and Saturdays using a 6:15 p.m. post time with the exception of closing night Saturday (September 19) starting at 4 p.m. Their will be a special Labor Day performance on Monday (September 7) starting at 1 p.m. Tioga Downs will once again be the home to some of the best harness horses in the country. Tioga will feature the Roll With Joe Open Pace, the Artiscape Open Mare Pace, Joie De Vie Open Mare Trot, Crawford Farms Open Trot, the Empire Breeders Classic for pacers as well as a leg of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers. 2019 leading driver Wally Hennessey and leading trainer Mike Deters return to defend their titles. For more information go to www.tiogadowns .com John Horne for Tioga Downs

When harness racing begins on Sunday (June 7) there will be a new voice behind the mic at Tioga Downs. Andrew "Shades" Demsky, 32, a native of Bellmore, NY will be taking over the duties. Demsky, a graduate of Hofstra University will be taking over for last year's announcer, Rich Mattei. Demsky is excited about making a return to the Southern Tier. In 2010 he took a position with the Binghamton Mets in the video production department. He worked for two other minor league teams working in video and fan entertainment. Demsky said "Fan entertainment in baseball simply meant putting on a show while a game was taking place, and at times, it can be truly captivating. There are parallels to horse racing. There is a theater to horse racing. Fashion. Jockeys/Drivers in "colors." A bugler. There's even a parade. (We just call it the "post parade.") Oh, there's also about 10 races a day at any given track! Racing is meant to be experienced." Demsky, who was raised just 15 minutes from Belmont Park, just decided one day to leave baseball and took whatever he could find in horse racing. "My grandfather was the horse player in the family. He spent as much time as he could at Roosevelt Raceway. He was buried with a program in his hand." says Demsky. "Shades" wound up at Tampa Bay Downs working for the television crew and transitioned to become the track's public handicapper. Since then he has held positions at Canterbury Park, Presque Isle Downs, and with the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association. Demsky, who will also be working in the race office said "While the bulk of my work in horse racing has been in marketing and promotion as a public handicapper, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to come to Tioga to learn the racing office side of the business and to get behind the mic in the announcer's booth. Calling a race is certainly a challenge, but I've never been one to be complacent. It's the reason I've taken so many jobs across the country and the reason I continue to challenge myself. At Tioga, I'm fortunate to be at such a beautiful facility and can only hope COVID19 restrictions lift so that fans, old and new alike, can experience it as well." On dark days, Demsky looks forward to playing golf and fishing in the same golf courses and lakes he did just a decade ago. He will get to call his first race at Tioga Downs on Sunday with a post time of 4 p.m. For more information go to   John Horne for Tioga Downs.  

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will hold harness racing qualifiers on Monday, June 1. The box will close at 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 31.   Tioga has a state required Reopening Protocol that horsemen must follow explicitly.   This questionnaire must be downloaded (must be a paper copy to turn in upon arrival - having it on your phone or other device is not acceptable) filled out completely and signed by all persons entering the grounds. Anyone entering the grounds will consent to a no touch temperature check that must not be above 100f to gain admittance.   Please enter electronically and be prepared to follow the guidelines as they are written when you get there.   Nick Salvi

Daily Star Chief Photographer Julie Lewis is the winner of two awards in the 2019 New York Associated Press Association Better Newspapers Contest. Competing in Division 1, among New York newspapers with weekly circulation of up to 75,000 papers, Lewis won first place in the Sports Photo category for "Sweet Chariot," a photo of harness racing taken on July 30, 2019 during the New York Sire Stakes at the Otsego County Fair in Morris. Lewis also won second place in the spot news category for an April 2019 photo of murder suspect Gabriel Truitt being captured by police in Oneonta. “The intensity of the harness racing was perfectly captured in the first-place sports photo,” Daily Star Editor Denielle Cazzolla said. “And it was Julie’s news-hound ear, as well as her eye for a well-composed photo that helped earn her the award for her photo of Gabriel Truitt’s arrest.” It was Lewis who heard police chatter on the scanner of a perimeter being set up downtown. She grabbed her camera an went to the scene, capturing the arrest. After confirming with Oneonta Police that it was Truitt, she called in the information to the newsroom, which posted the news on The Daily Star’s website and social media channels, breaking the news of the arrest of the man who was wanted in the arson death of former Oneonta firefighter John Heller several months earlier. First place finisher Flow With Joe, driven by Jody Weidman of New Berlin, is ahead of Steuben Savage, driven by Dustin Miller, as they round a turn during the sixth race of the New York Sire Stakes on Tuesday at the Otsego County Fair in Morris Julie Lewis | The Daily Star Photo “We are so happy for Julie to receive these well-deserved awards,” Cazzolla said. The first place sports photo may be seen online at The second place spot news photo may be seen at By Robert Cairns Reprinted with permission of The Daily Star

Yonkers, NY — The state of New York has released guidelines for the resumption of harness racing activities. The guidelines are available by clicking on this link, then scrolling down to “Racing Activities.” For all of the latest news on the resumption of racing, visit the USTA COVID-19 Resource Center. from the SOA of NY

This is the YouTube URL for the Zoom Roosevelt Raceway May 23rd, Harness Racing Broadcast.   Trot Talk - Remembering Roosevelt Raceway - May 23, 2020   In this nostalgic edition of Trot Talk, Matt and Charlie are joined by Freddie Hudson.   Freddie is a former drive...    

Tonight Saturday May 23, 2020 at 7:00PM (EST) - Winners Circle Racing (Charlie Longo & Matt Zuccarello) along with Freddie Hudson, of The Harness Racing Alumni Show will Remember Roosevelt Raceway on Trot Talk Saturday at 7pm.   Come join us for a trip down memory lane to hear former drivers and trainers tell the tales that made this iconic track memorable.   Guests include Jimmy Marohn, Sr., Billy Popfinger (Showbiz), John Kopas, Mike Forte, Billy Haughton , CeCe Levy, Joe Ricco, John Patterson Jr., Bobby Heil, Robbie Siegelmn, Dennis Laterza, Don Sider, Bobby Vitrano, Jon Paton, Jocelyn Tremblay, Alan Alkes and many others.   It's a Roosevelt Raceway Reunion on Zoom   Contact for the zoom meeting link    

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