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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

Batavia, NY --- After taking a week off, Mr. Euroman returned with strong resolve and won the $8,000 Open II Handicap harness racing pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 12). Daylight Rush (Dave McNeight III) started from the pylons and kept that position for most of the race. With no other leavers in the contest, McNeight guided Daylight Rush to a tepid half of :57.2 with Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) sitting right on his back. Mcspidey (Kyle Cummings) pulled first-over in front of the stands but only got as close as a half-length to Daylight Rush by the three-quarters in 1:25.2. As they made their way through the turn, Mcspidey faded and Davis pulled right line on Mr. Euroman who popped out of the hole, barreled down the lane and ran down Daylight Rush at the wire to win by 1/4 length in 1:53.3, which was a new seasonal mark.   It was the third win of the year for Mr. Euroman ($17.40) who is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice is the trainer. In the $7,000 Open III pace, Polak A (Ray Fisher Jr.) came in fresh off a two-month layoff and bounced back strong his first start out of the box with a come-from-behind effort and strong stretch drive to catch the race-long leader Machlicious (Drew Monti) at the wire to win by a head in 1:55.2. Polak A ($25.20) is owned by Eric Prevost and trained by Sabrina Shaw. Billy Davis Jr. and Drew Monti both drove three winners on Saturday’s card while Shawn McDonough piloted two. McDonough also registered two wins on the training side along with Maria Rice.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 16) at 5 p.m. There will a carry over pool of $858 for the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday and as a result, a United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering guaranteed pool of $3,000 for that wager with free program pages available starting Sunday (Sept. 14) at www.ustrotting.com, www.bataviadownsgaming.com and on the Batavia Downs Facebook page   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Mike Merton drives four winners including the $6,000 featured harness racing pace with Real Lucky N at Tioga Downs on Sunday (September 6).  In the feature, Devisser (Renaldo Morales III) took the lead and led to the first quarter in :26.4.  Real Lucky N ($3.90) took over as they went by the stands for the first time.  He led to the half in :56.4.  Rockntouch (Brandon Parker) came first-over and put on pressure all the way down the backstretch.  Real Lucky N led to three-quarters in 1:24.3.    As they made the turn for home Real Lucky N shook loose and won going away in a lifetime best of 1:52.3.  Rockntouch held on to finish second.  Mac Anover (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) took third.  Real Lucky N is a 6-year-old gelding by Real Desire.  He is owned and trained by Rob Harmon.  It was his fourth win this season.  He now has 26 career victories.  Merton’s other win came with Whip N Neigh Neigh ($54.50), Majoring Artist ($44.40), and Lofty Beach ($3.70).  With just two live racing dates left in 2020, Wally Hennessey leads all drivers with 84 wins.  Mike Merton is second with 68 tallies.  Corey Braden (26), Tyler Buter (24), and Bruce Aldrich Jr. (21) round out the top five.  Rob Harmon trained three winners on the program and leads all trainers with 42 victories.  Gaston Lareau is second with 32 trips to the winner’s circle.  Joe Skowyra is third on the list with 29 wins.  Mike Deters (26) and Jim McDonald (25) round out the top five.  Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 11) and will feature the New York Excelsior A finals.  Post time is 3 p.m.  For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com    John Horne for Tioga Downs.

Batavia, NY --- You might say it was a two-horse race at Batavia Downs, except that it was between the top two harness racing drivers in western New York. Billy Davis Jr. won six races including the feature and Jim Morrill Jr. won five races including stringing four in a row, accounting for the winners of 11 of 13 races contested on Saturday night (Sept. 5). Davis’s best victory came in the $8,000 Open II Handicap pace behind Class Six. Davis sat in fourth with Class Six while Under Paid (Denny Bucceri) led the field around once. Then Davis pulled Class Six first over and made a three-wide move at the three-quarters, grabbed the lead by the top of the stretch and held off a late rally by Daylight Rush (Dave McNeight III) to win by 3/4’s of a length in 1:54.1. It was the fifth win in 20 starts this year for Class Six ($19.00) who is owned by Eric Prevost and trained by Sabrina Shaw. Davis also scored with Inspector Murdoch (1:58.1, $4.80), Hold The Gold (1:55.4, $25.80), Sizzling summer (1:55.3, $5.10), Rockin Legend (1:58.2, $5.30) and This Baby Rocks (1:56.3, $2.20). All six wins were for six different trainers. Among the five wins Morrill scored was the co-featured $7,000 Open III pace where he went gate to wire with Atlantis ($3.80) in 1:56.3 for owner Mike Torcello and trainer Gerry Sarama. Morrill also won with Beachy Dream (1:55..2, $2.90), Sir Richie N (1:56.1, $3.20) and Odyssey Blue Chip (2:00.2, $8.60) which are also owned by Torcello and trained by Sarama giving them a grand slam evening, and Whosurpapa (1:56.1, $2.50). After their big nights, Morrill remains the leading driver of the meet with 39 wins, followed by Billy Davis Jr. who has 31. Drew Monti sits in third with 17 and Dave McNeight III is fourth with 16. Davis is currently the ninth leading percentage driver in North America for drivers with 500 or more starts (Davis has 536) with a UDR of .343, sitting right behind Tim Tetrick and just ahead of Dexter Dunn. Morrill is seventh among drivers in North America with between 300 and 499 starts (Morrill has 495) with a UDR of .383. Batavia Downs had a big following at the windows on Saturday night as they registered their second largest handle ever under Western Regional Off Track Betting ownership, only behind the 2019 New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions last September. The Downs customers pumped over $120,000 more through the windows tonight than they did one years ago on this same date. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 9) with post time set for 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Wednesday evening’s harness racing program featured the final installment of the New York Sire Stakes for the summer at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Three year old pacing fillies took center stage with races of $74,500 and $75,900 highlighting the card on an evening in which the track record for sophomore fillies got matched. Hen Party (Roll With Joe-My Lady Day-Western Ideal) has simply been sensational this summer. The Tony Alagna trainee came into her $75,900 race on Wednesday off a victory in the Empire Breeders Final at Tioga Downs that came in a career-best 1:49.2. Andrew Mccarthy, who has been the regular driver behind Hen Party this season, guided the superstar out to the lead in a 27.2 first quarter in her return to NYSS action. Cruising through a first half in 56.1, the 1-5 favorite was met with just a mild challenge through three quarters that went in 1:24.3. Hen Party still appeared strong at the top of the stretch as she braced for pocket-sitting So Rude (Joe Bongiorno) who beat her the last time they squared off in Sire Stakes competition at Yonkers Raceway in early August. This time, Hen Party would not be denied and stopped the timer in 1:52 to match the all-time track record for three year old pacing fillies. The mark was set in 2006 by the award-winning Darlin’s Delight who had Yannick Gingras piloting. With the victory, Hen Party moved her seasonal earnings to over a quarter million dollars and has now piled up almost $430,000 in her 26 lifetime starts. The stakes star is owned by Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY. So Rude was the runner-up on Wednesday while Dragon Roll (Dexter Dunn) earned the show spot.   The $74,500 division of the NYSS for three year old fillies also went to a sophomore who has been a winning machine in her young career. The Dave Dewhurst-trained Racine Bell (So Surreal-Ty’s Artist-Real Artist) came into Wednesday’s stakes event on a three-race win streak. Following two Sire Stakes victories, Racine Bell scored in a conditioned race last week at Saratoga in what served as a prep for Wednesday’s try. Jason Bartlett piloted Racine Bell to a wire-to-wire victory on Wednesday to complete a four-bagger for the standout sophomore as she never had an anxious moment en route to victory in 1:52.4 as the 2-5 favorite. Last year’s two year old stakes champion The Fun Marshall (Mitch Cushing) sat the pocket to the favorite and was the runner-up while Cash Roll (Andrew Mccarthy) finished third. Racine Bell now has five wins in eight starts in 2020 and has earned more than $260,000 in her young career. Live racing goes on a brief hiatus at Saratoga Casino Hotel and is set to resume on Monday afternoon, September 14th. Racing is scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays for the remainder of September with first post times set for 12 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Dee’s Red Delicious (Corey Callahan) takes the $104,400 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting colts & geldings at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 30).  The morning line harness racing favorite Ahundreddollarbill (Jason Bartlett) went on a break right at the start.  Credit Con (Tyler Buter) went to the front with Sevenshadesofgrey (Mike Merton) challenging early.  As the headed for the quarter, Sevenshadesofgrey went off-stride.  Credit Con led to the first quarter in :28.2.  Credit Con used a :30.3 second quarter to hit the half in :59.0.  Dee’s Red Delicious ($3.20) made his move first-over down the backstretch as Unwritten Chapter (Wally Hennessey) followed second-over.  Dee’s Red Delicious took over the lead as they headed for the final turn hitting three-quarters first in 1:27.2.  As they made the turn for home Unwritten Chapter went all out on the chase and started to inch closer.  Dee’s Red Delicious found another gear and won going away in 1:56.2.  Unwritten Chapter had to settle for second.  Steel (Andy Miller) came up to finish third.  Dee’s Red Delicious is a 2-year-old gelding by Credit Winner-Apple Plush.  He is owned by Joseph Martinelli and trained by Bruce Saunders.  It was his third win in six lifetime starts.  Jason Bartlett drove three winners on the card.  He combined with trainer Claude Huckabone III to get wins with Sunny Days ($19.20) and I love My Country ($7.00).  His other victory came with Barn Hall ($2.50).  Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (September 5).  Post time is 3 p.m.  For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com    John Horne for Tioga Downs.

With the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace being canceled this season, the richest race of 2020 at Saratoga Casino Hotel was Wednesday evening’s $156,500 New York Sire Stakes event for harness racing three year old trotting fillies. Love A Good Story (Chapter Seven- Celebrity Lovin- Andover Hall) was the public’s 1-5 betting favorite while in the midst of another monster campaign. Andy Miller pilots the sophomore filly for trainer Julie Miller and owners Daniel Plouffe, Pinske Stables and Kentuckiana Racing Stable and moved the super soph out to the early lead on Wednesday. Untested in lap one, Love A Good Story reached the half in a comfortable 58.4 before picking up the pace a bit and checking in at three quarters in 1:27.1. The favorite had little difficulty putting the finishing touches on a measured length and a quarter victory that came in 1:55.4. Without A Warning (Jason Bartlett) charged home to be the runner-up in the featured race while No Mas Drama (Joe Bongiorno) held on to finish third. For Love A Good Story, it was win number five in seven starts in 2020 and the twelfth win in seventeen career starts for the filly who now has over a half million dollars in earnings following Wednesday’s score. While Miller sat behind the winner of the biggest race on the card, Jason Bartlett was the sulky star of the evening as the standout reinsman piloted six winners on Wednesday to continue what has been a big summer at the Spa for the 39 year old driver who has often come to town to drive on Sire Stakes evenings.   Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12 Noon.      Mike Sardella

Hudson Phil (Shanghai Phil) made his return to the Saratoga Casino Hotel harness racing winner's circle on Tuesday afternoon, an area is has been very familiar with over the course of the last few years. The Jackie Greene-trained five year old rattled off eight Open Pace victories in 2019, the second most of any horse at the Spa last season. Recently, Hudson Phil has spent much of his time competing out of town but the standout pacer raced in Tuesday's $8,500 at Saratoga and went off at odds of 5-2. Fresh off a stint at Yonkers and the Meadowlands, Hudson Phil flashed early speed on Tuesday with driver Shawn Gray finding an early spot with him in a first quarter that went in 26.2. Hudson Phil wasn't on the inside very long as he moved first-over on the leader after a 55.4 half. Working hard on the outside in a 28 second third quarter, Hudson Phil took the lead turning for home and narrowly held off the stretch threat from Funknwaffles (Billy Dobson) who came up just inches shy at the wire. Superstar pacer Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) followed the cover of Hudson Phil before finishing third in the mile clocked in 1:53.2. The win was third of the season for Hudson Phil and just the second in the local Open Pace. He paid $7.70 to win and led an exacta with Funknwaffles second that returned $23.20. The triple with Crockets Cullen N third paid $49.80. Hudson Phil is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY. Live racing continues on Wednesday evening at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:15pm. New York Sire Stakes action is featured with three year old trotting fillies taking center stage highlighted by a $156,600 race for the ladies.   Mike Sardella

Tioga Downs played host to the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) for 3-year-old pacing colts & geldings as well as 3-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday (August 23). Also, on hand was three harness racing divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshmen trotting fillies. Hen Party (Andrew McCarthy) breezes to win in the $223,500 EBC filly pace final. Galleria Gal (Matt Kakaley) got the early lead but So Rude (Joe Bongiorno) went to the front just before hitting the first quarter in :26.2. She would use a :28.3 second quarter to lead to the half in :55.1. As they headed for the final turn Hen Party came first-over on the chase as So Rude hit three-quarters first in 1:22.0. Hen Party took command as they made the turn for home. As they reached the stretch, she made it a party of one as she cruised home in a lifetime best of 1:49.2. Galleria Gal came up to finish second with Dragon Roll (Dexter Dunn) getting third. Hen Party is a 3-year-old filly by Roll With Joe. She is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Tony Alagna. It was her fifth win this season and eighth career victory. Splash Brother (Tyler Buter) gets impressive victory in the $240,600 EBC colts & geldings final. Save Me A Dance (Jason Bartlett) wrestled his way to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.1. Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) then took over as they headed by the stands for the first time. He led the group the half in :54.4. Blank Stare (Corey Callahan) was the first to make a move as he went first-over heading to the backstretch. Splash Brother ($9.30) took cover moving second-over fourth. Groovy Joe and Blank Stare went side by side all the way down the backstretch. Groovey Joe had a short lead to three-quarters in 1:22.1. As they made the turn for home Splash Brother came charging three-wide and flew right on by to take the lead as they reached the stretch. Second place finisher Major Betts (Dexter Dunn) came flying late but could only watch as Splash Brother won going away in 1:50.0. Blank Stare had to settle for third. Splash Brother is a 3-year-old gelding by So Surreal. He is owned by Nolamaura Racing LLC., Steven Arnold, Tammy Flannery, and trainer Ray Schnittker. It was his fourth win of the season and of his career. Aela Jamieson (Andy Miller) charges late to win the $34,200 NYSS first division. Dream Chapter (Wally Hennessey) jumped out to the early lead but Tranaquility K took control just before hitting the first quarter in :27.4. Dream Chapter reclaimed the lead as they went by the stands for the first time. She hit the half first in :58.1. Me Three (Brian Sears) was the first to make a move going first-over. Aela Jamieson ($6.00) followed second over fourth. Dream Chapter continued to lead as they hit three-quarters in 1:26.4. As they turned for home Aela Jamieson emerged into second and it became a two-horse race. Dream Chapter dug in but Aela Jamieson came flying down the stretch like a rocket. She would just get by to win in a lifetime best of 1:55.1. Dream Chapter had to settle for second. Illuminata (Ake Svanstedt) came up to finish third. Aela Jamieson Aela Jamieson is a 2-year-old filly by Chapter Seven-Blk Thai Optional. She is trained by Julie Miller for owners Andy Miller Stable, Dumain Haven Farm, and Little E LLC. It was her second career win in four lifetime starts. Moni For Lindy (Scott Zeron) goes three-wide to capture the $33,600 NYSS second division. Insured AM S secured the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :28.0. She used a :29.2 second quarter to lead to the half in :57.2. Splash Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) came first over on the back stretch as Moni For Lindy ($11.20) followed. Splash Blue Chip took a slight lead and hit three-quarters first in 1:26.4. As the made the turn for home, Insured AM S battle back and went shoulder to shoulder with Splash Blue Chip. Moni For Lindy came charging three-wide and blew right on by in deep stretch to win in 1:55.3. Splash Blue Chip finished second. Insured AM S settled for third. Moni For Lindy is a 2-year-old filly by Credit Winner-Live Moni. She is owned by Moni Maker Stable and trained by Domenico Cecere. It was her first career victory and three lifetime starts. Moni For Lindy Destined To Dance (Tyler Buter) waltzes to fifth straight win by capturing the $33,600 NYSS third division. Iteration (Brian Sears) went straight to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.2 and to the half in :56.2. Destined To Dance ($3.50) made her move first-over from fourth working her way into second as Iteration led to three-quarters in 1:25.2. As they made the turn for home Destined To Dance and Iteration battled all the way down the stretch but in the end Destined To Dance was too strong and she won in a track record time for 2-year-old trotting fillies in 1:54.4. Soukup Blue Chip (Andy Miller) came flying late to finish second. Iteration had to settle for third money. Destined To Dance is a 2-year-old filly by Chapter Seven-Go Go Dancer. She is trained by John Butenschoen for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Rich Preziotti, and Heritage Standardbreds. It was her fifth straight win in six lifetime starts. Destined To Dance Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 29) at 3 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com.   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

Two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two year old pacing fillies were featured on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel and each harness racing division contained 1-9 betting favorites. The first saw a superstar freshman filly continue her terrific summer while the other saw the big favorite falter due to an early miscue. The win streak lengthened for Test Of Faith (Art Major-Cannae Cammie-Cam's Card Shark) who easily cruised to victory with Jim Marohn Jr. piloting for trainer Brett Pelling. Test Of Faith, who owned two wins and second-place finish coming into her $70,300 race on Wednesday, coasted to a 1:54.2 score to continue the brilliant start to her career moving her earnings to over $100,000 already in just four lifetime starts. Heart Of Mine (Scott Zeron) came on to be second while Spicy Covina (Tyler Buter) earned the show spot. 1-9 shot Albergita Hanover made an early break in the $69,000 division of the NYSS for freshman fillies which opened things up for Rightfully Mine (American Ideal-Leah-Jet Laag). The Monique Cohen-trained Rightfully Mine was the runner-up to Albergita Hanover in each of their last two tries but with the favorite breaking early on Wednesday, it was Rightfully Mine's race to lose. Jason Bartlett sat behind the talented filly as she made every pole a winning one en route to victory in 1:55.3 to break her maiden in resounding fashion. Think Of Galaxies (Mark Macdonald) closed sharply to be second while longshot Party Queen (Matt Kakaley) finished third. Rightfully Mine wound up paying in $15.40 to win in the mild upset with the big favorite out of it. Bartlett piloted three winners on the card as his successes at the Spa continue. Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon starting at 12 Noon. Mike Sardella

KJ Leo (Jim Taggert Jr.) charges late to capture the $6,500 featured harness racing pace at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 9). Catcha Lefty A (Mike Merton) went straight to the front but Harry Terror (Wally Hennessey) went by and took the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :27.3. Harry Terror used a :28.3 second quarter to hit the half first in :56.1. Gibbs (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) was the first to make a move down the backstretch but stalled getting into third. Harry Terror looked firmly in control as he hit three-quarters in 1:23.3. KJ Leo ($11.80) was fourth as they made the turn for home. He found an opening and came flying three-wide to blow by second place finisher Harry Terror to win in a lifetime best of 1:52.1. Catcha Lefty A finished third. KJ Leo is a 4-year-old gelding by Art Major. He is trained by Gary Messenger for owners Phillip Shapiro, Brenda Messenger, and Scott Woogen. It was his second win this season. He now has 11 career victories. Wally Hennessey drove three winners on the card and leads all drivers with 63 wins. Mike Merton is second best with 47 victories. Tyler Buter and Corey Braden are tied for third with 21 trips to the winner's circle each. Bruce Aldrich Jr. is fifth with 17 wins. Gaston Lareau and Rob Harmon are in a tie for most training wins with 31 wins a piece. Joe Skowyra is in third place with 21 victories. Jim McDonald is fourth with 20 tallies. Mike Deters has won 18 races to round out the top five. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 15) starting at 3 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

Wally Hennessey reached seventh heaven on the five-eighths mile oval at Nichols, NY called Tioga Downs. He romped with seven harness racing winners including the $6,000 featured pace with Fernado on Sunday (August 2). In the feature, Catcha Lefty A (Mike Merton) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.2. Fernado ($4.00) came first-over from fourth and scurried past Catcha Lefty A as they went by the stands for the first time. Fernado led to the half in :56.0. The first to make a move was Jet Blue Miracle (Sean Bier) going down the backstretch. He sputtered first-over and forced a three-wide move by Red Dirt Rocknroll (Renaldo Morales) as Fernado led to three-quarters in 1:24.0. As they made to the turn for home Red Dirt Rocknroll moved into second and came charging at Fernado. Fernado dug in and held on to win in 1:53.2. Red Dirt Rocknroll had to settle for second place money. Jet Blue Miracle finished third. Fernado is a 6-year-old gelding by Delmarvalous. He is owned and trained by Jim McDonald. It was win number six of 2020. He now owns 19 career victories. Hennessey other wins came with Jurgen Hanover ($4.20), Money Earned ($3.60), Rock Star Melinda ($3.60), Court's N Session ($6.00), Mach West ($5.80). It was fitting his seventh win came with Mister Marvalous ($8.50). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 8) starting at 3 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

Batavia, NY --- It was a big stake day at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 2) as an all-New York Sire Stake card of harness racing featured 2 and 3-year-old trotting fillies vying in four divisions for a total of $213,400 in purses. The highlight of the day was Love A Good Story (Chapter Seven-Celebrity Lovin) who took the second $55,000 division for 3-year-olds in memorable style. Driver Andy Miller floated Love A Good Story off the gate and dropped in third while Without A Warning (Scott Zeron) got to the quarter in a quick :27.4. Positions remained unchanged in the throttled-down :30.2 second panel until Love A Good Story pulled first up as she made her way into the turn. Past the five eighths, Love A Good Story drew alongside Without A Warning and the two trotted side-by-side up the backstretch and to the three-quarters in 1:26.2. The match race continued around the last turn and down the lane when Love A Good Story got the edge with Miller urging her on and hit the wire in 1:55.1. The time was a new track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies, besting the standard of 1:55.4 set by Quincy Blue Chip just last year. It was the 10th win in 15 lifetime starts for Love A Good Story ($2.50) who has now earned $400,484 for owners the Pinske Stables, the Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Daniel Plouffe. Julie Miller trains the winner. Love A Good Story was bred by Celebrity Farms and was a $90,000 Lexington Selected yearling purchase. The first $54,000 split had an abbreviated four-horse field that saw Island Lily (Chapter Seven-Up Front Hotsey) dominate. Tom Jackson put Island Lily on the front and then led at every station with Destiny Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) on her back. After fractions of :29, :58.4 and 1:28.2, Destiny Blue Chip pulled the pocket and took a run at the leader in the turn. But Island Lily headed for home and trotted away clear to an easy 4-1/2 length victory in 1:57.2 Island Lily It was the first lifetime win for Island Lily ($4.90) who was unraced at two. Fred Grant both owns and trains the filly. Island Lily was bred by Noel Daley and Up Front Racing and sold for $70,000 at the Harrisburg yearling sale. The freshman class saw the best performance come in the second $52,200 division from Destined To Dance (Chapter Seven-Go Go Dancer) who dropped in fourth from post seven as Eliza B (Scott Zeron) scooted to the quarter in :29 flat. With four horses breaking early, the field was now in two groups with the top quad playing follow the leader to the half. Past the five-eighths Just Joshing (Andy Miller) came from third and made a move for the lead while Destined To Dance was still a gapped fourth. But after they entered the final bend, Tyler Buter hit the gas and Destined To Dance responded in dynamic fashion. Still three lengths off the lead, Destined To Dance dug in hard and with a full head of steam, flew down the stretch with ease while reeling off a :28.1 quarter to win by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:59.1. Destined To Dance It was the third straight win, all in NYSS action, for Destined To Dance ($3.80) who is owned by Heritage Standardbreds, Crawford Farms Racing and Rich Prezzioti. John Butenshoen trains the winner. Destined To Dance was bred by Crawford Farms and sold for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected yearling sale. The complexion of the final $52,200 division changed quickly as post time favorite No Pay No Way (Scott Zeron) broke going for the lead. But Ake Svanstedt was happy to take her place when he guided Broad Strokes (Chapter Seven-Lady Marian) to the front and then never looked back. Broad Strokes slowed the half down to 1:01.1 as no one challenged and Svanstedt continued to grab leather into the second circuit. Credit Income (John Stark Jr.) finally advanced on the outside and got within a length of Broad Strokes in the final turn and the two were on a breakaway. Broad Strokes and Credit Income traded leads all the way down to the wire where Broad Strokes got a slight advantage and won by 1/4 length in 2:01.2. Broad Strokes It was the first lifetime win and a lifetime mark for Broad Strokes ($6.80) who is owned by Little E, Joe Sbrocco, L. Berg Inc. and Triple Play Trotters. Ake Svanstedt also trains the winner. Broad Strokes was bred by Fair Winds Farm and was a $50,000 Harrisburg yearling sale acquisition. There were six $15,000 divisions of Excelsior A races held on Sunday as well with the following results.   3-year-old trotting filly Excel A winners:   Lady Jeter (Muscles Yankee-Salt Hill Brigid) 1:59.2, $22.40 Owner-Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV and Donald Brenner Trainer-Dan Daley Driver-Dan Daley Breeder-Salt Hill Farm Morrisville sale-$22,000   Reciprocalbluechip (Chapter Seven-Fraction) 1:59, $5.90 Owner-Carrie Norris, M T Pockets Stable, Acadia Farms and G and B Racing Trainer-Charlie Norris Driver-Charlie Norris Breeder-Diamond Creek Farm Lexington Selected sale-$65,000   Soprese (Conway Hall-Isabella Gal) 1:59, $8.30 Owner-Crawford Farms, James Crawford IV and Ann-Mari Daley Trainer-Dan Daley Driver-Dan Daley Breeder-Crawford Farms Lexington Selected sale-$25,000   2-year-old trotting filly Excel A winners:   Lovely Belle (Chapter Seven-Somebody To Love) 2:02, $3.20 Owner-Crawford Farms Racing Trainer-Tony Alagna Driver-Jason Bartlett Breeder-Crawford Farms Lexington Selected sale-$110,000   A Million Chuckles (Lucky Chucky-Win A Million) 2:04, $3.70 Owner-Peter Peck Trainer-Jim Shupe Driver-Tyler Buter Breeder-Peter Peck Homebred   Enchanting Woman (Deweycheatumnhowe-Enchantment) 2:04, $7.70 Owner-Hossman Trainer-Robert Gale Driver-Jimmy Whittemore Breeder-Dunroven Stud Lexington Selected sale-$15,000       By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Former "Down-under" champion harness racing reinswoman Lauren Tritton couldn't have scripted it any better. Lauren, wife of accomplished trainer Shane, landed her first win in the USA with 11-year-old gelding Flaming Flutter at last Friday's Yonkers Raceway and Empire City Casino at New York. The old timer (by Bettors Delight-Twice As Hot (In The Pocket) showed there's still spirit in those aging legs with a tough victory in a $17,250 event. It was just Lauren's fourth drive in the US after moving from Australia four months ago. "It was pretty exciting. It did give us a real buzz, particularly doing something like this on the other side of the world," Lauren said. "It would certainly be up there with my most memorable achievements-it was a life goal I'd always thought about," she said. "And it's a nice feeling to have the monkey off my back!" Lauren makes no secret that Flaming Flutter, who Team Tritton races on lease from well-known Victorian horseman Geoff Webster, is her stable favorite. "There was some talk of the horse being retired when we decided to try our luck in the US-but Shane talked them around," she said. "He's a lovely old horse and I was just so rapt with his win because he had to do it hard over the last half. And his time of 1.51 for the race was super." Watch the final stages of the race click here:  Shane said he had to convince the other owners not to retire "Flame" and it did take some doing! "I really wanted to bring him with us, but the funny thing is that I haven't sat in the seat behind him since! Lauren adores him and does all the work with him and he's her favorite by a long stretch." Lauren Tritton has a highlight reel as long as your arm as a driver back home in Australia. She's driven over 850 winners, became the youngest woman in Australian history to drive 500 winners, was the first female to win the NSW Metropolitan Driver's Premiership and she is a winner of over one hundred group-listed races. Harness racing is unquestionably a male-dominated sport in the US, and despite Lauren's passion for competing at the top level, she isn't planning on regular engagements outside her Team Tritton appointments. "I know there's quite a few over here who are surprised to see her drive, but I'm just so proud to see her out there competing," Shane said. "There's no way Lauren would ever just want to do the races as a driver - you have to commit totally to it to be successful, and that means 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "She thoroughly enjoys occasionally driving some of our team and maybe she will inspire some young girls to give it a go. There seem to be others who drive, but just at fairs and not the top level." The maiden victory in the US by Lauren was part of "a good couple of days" for the team. Stable pin-up girl My Ruebe Star (Falcon Seelster-Zenola Star (New York Motoring) made it five wins from five starts when she claimed the $33,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap at Yonkers on Thursday. "She's really on fire and we're so pleased because we really had to twist the arm of (NZ-based) owner Mike Siemelink to bring her to the US," Shane said. "Mike sent her over to us from NZ in May last year with the idea to win some races at Menangle and get some quick times to her name and then breed from her. She won six races and was 4th in a Group 3 Final to Bright Energy in 1.50 after storming home from last," he said. "So it was a bit of a radical change of plans, but of all of our horses, 'Ruby' has been the one to acclimatize the quickest. She's in great order; she's dappled up and jumping out of her skin and now we'll look at some of the big mares' races next year with her. "Jordan Stratton has been driving her over here and he's stoked by the way she keeps stepping up. He hasn't had to pushed her right out yet and she's pulled up a treat again." Shane said there was still a learning curve when it came to changes in training methods from the Australian way to the US. "Probably one of the big differences is that we don't work them anywhere near as hard as we did back home. There's been a few other little adjustments along the way, but we'll keep learning and chipping away," he said. "Obviously at some point they'll get on their marks, so we'll just keep making hay while the sun shines." Team Tritton has established an enviable strike-rate since shipping to the States, winning a dozen races from about 40 starters.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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