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YONKERS, N.Y. – Last summer, talented harness racing pacer Western Hill showed promise of becoming a top stakes 3-year-old. The Tony Alagna trainee finished second in his North American Cup elimination June 10 and fifth in the final the following week. After failing to make the Meadowlands Pace Final, the son of Western Ideal again finished second in an elimination of the Adios and earned a fourth-place check in the final. Despite the potential he showed, Western Hill fell out of form in the fall and began to toil in the conditions at Yonkers. After two seventh-place finishes at the non-winners of 8 level in November, owner and breeder Tom Hill called trainer Andrew Harris. “When I worked for Casie Coleman back in the day, Tom had a lot of horses with Casie and so obviously I had known him well through them because I took care of Western Silk on and off when she had her,” Harris said. “Over the years, we’ve talked on many occasions and it seemed like they were going to give me an opportunity here or there, but nothing ever came to fruition until all the sudden this horse. They said, ‘we want to continue on as a 4-year-old with him, we just want to give him a shot.’ Who’s going to turn down a shot on a horse like that?” When Western Hill arrived, Harris saw a sharp-looking, speedy individual. However, it soon became clear the gelding had lost his confidence amid the string of losses and tough trips, which saw him try to close from well off the pace on Yonkers’ half-mile oval. “When I first got him, the first thing I noticed was, even though he was in a brand-new barn that he had never seen before, he got in the stall and put his head in the corner,” Harris recalled. “He was a little pouty and he just wasn’t happy. “We turned him out in the field every day with other horses and let him go out and be a horse a little bit,” he continued. “I know that Alagna likes to train a little bit harder than some, so I backed off on his training and didn’t train him as hard and just tried to freshen him up that way. Not that that would work on every horse, but it seemed to happen to work on this horse.” In his first start for Harris November 27, Western Hill drew post three and picked up top driver Yannick Gingras. After a pocket trip, Western Hill finished second by a nose in the $22,000 overnight. The following week, Gingras put Western Hill on the lead and the gelding scored a 1-length win in 1:53.2. “I think Yannick was a huge factor in bringing that confidence back because he put him onto the lead and he liked it,” Harris explained. “When you lose form, drivers don’t put them in play.” With his confidence and attitude improving off two good races, Harris took Western Hill to Harrah’s Philadelphia December 17, and the gelding posted a blowout win. He again set the pace and opened a 6¼-length advantage in the stretch in a 1:51.3 mile. “When he went to Chester he was just in total command and looked like his old self where he was wanting to be a big horse. He’s not a big horse, but he wants to be a big horse,” Harris said. Off his impressive performances, Western Hill will get a shot against Open pacers tonight at Yonkers Raceway. An 8-1 longshot in the field of six, Western Hill will make his 4-year-old debut against the likes of 2-1 favorite Gokudo Hanover, who ended his 2017 season with a win in the local Open, as well as the runner-up and third-place finishers from that race, Killer Martini and Thisjetsabookin. Take It Back Terry, who won the Preferred Pace to close the season, returns in the Open as the 3-1 second choice and Shane Adam completes the lineup. The $40,000 feature is slated as race 6 on the 12-race program. “The group that he’s in with, I actually like this spot,” Harris said of the step up. “The horse on the rail of Scotty Di’s is a really nice horse (Gokudo Hanover). Hopefully we’ll sit close to that one and hopefully get a shot at him down the lane. He fits with that group.” Despite fitting the non-winners of $30,000 condition, Harris entered the Open ranks in hopes of facing his age group. With the 4-year-old Open failing to fill at this early point in the season, Harris was happy to take a shot in the aged ranks. “I did enter for the 4-year-old Open because I was hoping he could race against horses his own age. I thought that I’d have a clear advantage over them with how sharp he is right now,” Harris said. “The non-winners of 30, I think that’s as tough as the Open anyway. I knew he probably wouldn’t get handicapped the outside in the Open, he’d probably have a better shot at the inside where the non-winners of 30 is an open draw and he could have gotten the eight-hole.” Like his five rivals, Western Hill enters tonight’s Open Pace off a month layoff. Harris feels the time away from racing helped Western Hill’s soundness. “I didn’t really let him down. We jogged him all the way through and trained him up all the way through,” Harris said. “He’s fairly sound right now, so I think that way it helped him out a lot.” First post time at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. To view entries for the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Yonkers Raceway began its 2018 harness racing season with a bang Sunday afternoon, with more than $2.1 million in all sources wagering on the 12 race card. The North American common pool wagering was $1,398,314 and additionally, in excess of $700,000 was wagered in separate exotic pools in France. “We haven’t seen wagering totals like that at Yonkers Raceway for  many many years,” remarked SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. When Yonkers is racing on Sunday afternoons, normally seven trotting races are simulcast to Europe where the French PMU conducts wagering. The French commingle into the North American win and show pools and also have separate pool wagering on each race. “Yonkers Raceway in cooperation with the SOA of New York is happy to seed new markets and cultivate them,” Faraldo continued.  “Innovating globally wherever possible to grow the business domestically and abroad. It is hard work done cooperatively with Yonkers management and our trainers, drivers, owners and caretakers who all sacrifice.” The 2018 Yonkers Raceway meet continues Monday with a more traditional nighttime card of 12 races. New for 2018 is a 6:50pm first post for all evening cards. Yonkers races Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights in January before also adding Thursday night racing in February. The “French Sundays” continue each Sunday afternoon in January.  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 8, 2017— Stop us if you’ve read this missive before. Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $8.40) did her thing from first-up Friday night (Dec. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. Away fourth from the pole, the Matchmaker victress watched Best of Jenna (Mark MacDonald), Newborn Sassy (Brent Holland) and 3-5 choice Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) all take early shots. Lady Shadow, back here first the first time since the 2016 Matchmaker, had to work for it, racing wide to  make the lead. The $1.9 million lass, now racing for her fourth trainer in the last three months, did get around Newborn Sassy after a 27-second opening quarter-mile. It was a rated :56.1 intermission when Mackenzie A moved to engage. She did so passing a 1:24.4 three-quarters, her gait better than it was off the same trip a week ago. Mackenzie A collared Lady Shadow in the final turn, closing the repeat sale by a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:52.4. Newborn Sassy ducked inside to grab second, with Lady Shadow tiring to third. Lakeisha Hall (Joe Bongiorno) and Pretty Image (Matt Kakaley) settled for the remainder.   For third choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Ellen Kinser & Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22.60, with the triple returning $63. Frank Drucker

Avon, NY--- Western New York harness racing horsewoman Margaret Preston died on November 22, 2017. She was 92. Preston was born October 31, 1926, the daughter of the late William and Marie (Cleary) Preston. She is survived by her sister Maureen Kingston; nieces and nephew Maura (Emil) Kostraba, John (Beth) Kingston, Sheila Kingston (Wes Clements), Andrea (Jon) Bailey; several great nieces and great nephews. She was pre-deceased by her brother-in-law David Kingston. Ms. Preston was an avid horsewoman who raced harness horses for many years. She bred and owned several Standardbred race horses in addition to training and driving them. Her last win in the sulky came with trotter Serious Fan at the Palmyra Fair in a New York County Fair stakes in 2009 at the age 84. Ms. Preston was a member of the United States Trotting Association and the Western New York Harness Horseman's Association. Besides racing horses, Ms. Preston was retired from the Dundee Central School District as a Librarian Media Specialist. Family and friends are invited to call Sunday (Nov. 26) from 4-7 p.m. at the Stephenson-Dougherty Funeral Home, Inc. 350 Genesee St, Avon, NY. Her Funeral Mass will be held Monday (Nov. 27) at 10:00 a.m. at St. Agnes Church, Avon, NY followed by interment at St. Agnes Cemetery. Memorials may be made to St. Agnes Cemetery, 96 Prospect Street Avon, NY 14414, or St. Rose Cemetery PO Box 8A Lima, NY 14485.   Tim Bojarski

Artful Way (Artistic Fella) was at it again. The Jackie Greene trainee scored another win in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday night as the harness racing  five year old destined to be the track's Pacer of the Year for the second straight season prevailed in the local Open for the eighth time of the year. Artful Way blasted out to the early lead over a sloppy track on Saturday and the public's 4-5 betting favorite never had an anxious moment before stopping the timer in 1:53. The track's Pacer of the Year in '16, Artful Way is having an even better year in '17 as his Saturday victory was his thirteenth of the campaign, eight of which have come in the local Open. Dancin Yankee (Mark Beckwith) finished second in the $19,500 feature as he kept a streak of his own alive. The pacer who holds the all-time track record at the Spa has competed seven times in the Open this year and finished second or third in all seven. Bet You (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot on Saturday as Artful Way cemented his Pacer of the Year status once again. The local star will certainly be a top candidate to be Horse of the Year in '17 as well. Frank Coppola Jr, who piloted the superstar Artful Way to the victory, had a sensational night. The track's top driver piled up an amazing seven victories on the card, padding an already insurmountable lead in the driver standings. Trainer Jackie Greene had four winners on the Saturday program. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella  

Batavia, NY---The $125,000 finals of the Claiming Championship Series (CCS) that highlighted the harness racing card at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 11) produced some impressive efforts on the track from both man and beast and one of them now tops the sport once again. Quicksilvercandy A who came into the night tied with Safe From Terror for the most wins in North America this year with 19, reclaimed her previously lone spot at the top by winning the $20,000 final for $5,000-$7,500 claiming fillies and mares by a nose over her stablemate Kaitlyn Rae. Quicksilvercandy A (Drew Monti) took a two-hole trip behind Kaitlyn Rae (Larry Stalbaum) to the top of the stretch when she dropped into the passing lane and out-paced the leader to the wire, winning by a mere nose in 1:57. It was the 20th win of the year for Quicksilvercandy A ($2.10) and 61st of her stellar career. The winner's share of the purse pushed her 2017 earnings to $106,694 for owner Larry Stalbaum. North America's leading percentage trainer Kim Asher trains Quicksilvercandy A. Monti had a total of five winners on the program including two more legs of the CCS. In the $20,000 CCS final for $7,500-$10,000 claiming trotters, Chelseas Chance went wire to wire in impressive style to win easily in 1:59. It was the sixth win of the year for the 6-year-old Kadabra mare that is owned by James Caradori and trained by Carl Monti. Monti also won the $15,000 CCS final for $4,000 claiming horses and geldings with Donegal Jim who sat third the whole mile before tipping wide off the last turn and pacing by the pace-setting One Chaser (Ray Fisher Jr.) to win by a length in 1:56.4 for owner/trainer Tessa Roland. Lucky McTrucky (1:54, $20.40) and I'm So Handsome (1:54.1, $11.00) rounded out the quintuple-win night for Monti. In the $20,000 CCS final for $5,000 to $6,000 pacing horses and geldings, Kings Treasure (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled at the three-quarters and powered home to a one-length victory in 1:56.1. Kings Treasure ($4.30) is owned by the Resilient Racing Stable and is trained by Rose Russo. The $15,000 CCS final for $4,000 to $5,000 claiming trotters went to Ellen's Streak (Larry Stalbaum) as she went coast to coast from post one in 2:01.1. Ellen's Streak (3.70) is owned by her driver and trained by Kim Asher. The $20,000 CCS final for $8,000 to $10,000 claiming pacers was won by Rock The Dream (Ray Fisher Jr.) in wire to wire fashion in 1:55.1, with a sparkling :27.3 final quarter. Rock The Dream ($2.40) is owned by Benjamin Ortiz and trained by Frank Mastrodonato. The last $15,000 CCS final was for $4,000 claiming fillies and mares and it went to Fox Valley Lena (Ray Fisher Jr.) who led at every station before stopping the clock at 1:58.1. It was the 13th win of the year for Fox Valley Lena who is owned by David Bratt and trained by Russell Bratt. In the weekly featured $10,000 Open Handicap Pace, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) looked in mid-season form for his last start of the year, leading at every station before holding off strong late charges by Focus Power (Drew Monti) and Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum) to hang on to a head advantage in 1:54. It was the seventh win of the year and 55th lifetime victory for Fireyourguns ($4.60) and owners Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrence Mc Clory, who also trains the winner. The Downs dash driving race remains a developing metric with the top spot getting tighter after Saturday's action. Larry Stalbaum is still in the lead with 103 wins, but on the strength of his five-win performance, Drew Monti is now only one win behind with 102. Ray Fisher Jr. who also had a good night by winning three races, now sits in third with 98 wins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 15) with post time for the first race set at 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Often overlooked when it comes to amateur harness racing is that a good many of the participating drivers are also owners and many race their own stock in the amateur races, especially in the granddaddy of all amateur events, the C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series. And furthermore, many of these gentlemen drivers employ professional trainers. Case in point: Longtime owner and sportsman, Dave "The Rave" Offenberg. On Saturday night (Nov. 4) in an east region Billings trot at Yonkers Raceway Offenberg gave his own trotter, Fiji, a picture-perfect drive and they rallied to a 1:59.2 victory over Gonna Fly and driver Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. "I had the four hole and when the starter let us go I grabbed the lead and then surrendered it to Tony Verruso with Flirting Duesy," Offenberg said via telephone. "We were going a pretty good clip (:28.2) so I was content to sit the pocket as Tony's trotter cut the fractions and then up the backside endured a stiff challenge from Steve Oldford's Gonna Fly who eventually gained command and on the final turn and began to pull away. "When we headed for home I had daylight and Fiji proved to be the strong horse in the stretch and we went on to a length victory over Steve's trotter." Flirtin Duesy held on for the show dough. Fiji, a 4 year old Cantab Hall gelding, is owned by Offenberg's Allister Stables and trained by Eric "the Little Redman" Abbatiello. Although he has driven only 10 times this season tonight's triumph was the first of the year for Offenberg. But since he's been participating in amateur racing he had 51 career driving victories. "To me it's just a whole lot of fun being able to drive my own stock," Offenberg said. "If you can't have fun in harness racing you don't belong doing it." by John Manzi for the Billings Series

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - He was due. Hell, he was overdue. Urbana Bayama (Jordan Stratton, $34.60) snapped a 53-race losing streak Tuesday night (Oct. 24th), surviving a first-up Yonkers Raceway trip to win the sloppy, $8,000, eighth-race harness racing pace. Away fourth from post position No. 2, he defeated a pocketed Ransom Demand (Scott Zeron) by a nose in 1:56.2. Urbana Bayama came in 0-for-24 this season and winless since mid-January of 2016, losing his last 29 starts of last season. Paul Blumenfeld co-owned and trained 'Urbana,' a 7-year-old son of Jereme's Jet and Stratton's fourth of five consecutive wins during the 12-race program. Frank Drucker

New York, NY --- Defending champion Resolve on Tuesday drew post No. 6 and was made the 3-1 morning-line harness racing favorite for Saturday's $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. The 6-year-old stallion will be driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt in the 1-1/4 mile invitational for older trotters. The 39th International Trot features a field of 10, with horses representing the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The event's press conference and draw was held at Manhattan's 21 Club. Resolve, owned by Hans Enggren and one of two U.S. representatives, has won four of 10 races this year and earned $485,149. Two of his wins this season have come at distances greater than one mile; the Cutler Memorial and Cashman Memorial, both at 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. He faced international competition in Sweden's Elitloppet, where he finished third. For his career, Resolve has won 18 of 62 races and earned $2.61 million. "I would rather have seen him draw from (post) one through four, but you could have four other bad numbers too," said Sarah Svanstedt, the wife of Ake Svanstedt, who missed the draw because of driving commitments elsewhere. "He's in the middle. He's a versatile horse, so it's not too big of a problem." The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected three years ago by Yonkers President and CEO Tim Rooney. Resolve will attempt to join Roquepine (1967-68), Delmonica Hanover (1973-74), Ideal Du Gazeau (1981-83) and Lutin D'Isigny (1984-85) as horses to win the event in consecutive years. Resolve enters the International Trot off a seventh-place finish in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot on Sept. 8 at Mohawk Racetrack. He was found to be sick, possibly from a tick bite. "We trained him and everything looks normal," Svanstedt said. "He looks happy and fresh. He will do his best to defend it. He's a fighter. I'm looking forward to Saturday." In Secret, the remaining U.S. representative, drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line. George Brennan will drive the Ron Burke trainee, who has won six of his past seven starts, all at Yonkers. The 5-year-old gelding has won 21 of 75 career races and earned $358,385. He is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, J&T Silva Stables, and Larry Karr. "He gets around (Yonkers) really good," Brennan said. "It's unfortunate he's got the eight hole. That puts us up against it. I think he fits in real good, if he drew good. "But it's still a horserace. It doesn't matter where you draw, it matters where you finish." Canada's Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winner and Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, drew post No. 1 and is 5-1 for driver Scott Zeron and the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling. "I looked over at Scott and he said anything but the one (post) was going to be a disappointment, so he's happy," Keeling said. "We're pleased. Our nose is on the gate and that's the most important part." Marion Marauder, owned by Devin Keeling and Jean Wellwood, won this year's Hambletonian Maturity at the distance of 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. The 4-year-old stallion has won 14 of 35 lifetime races and earned $2.22 million. Last year he won his elimination and final of the Yonkers Trot in his only career starts at Yonkers Raceway. He heads to the International Trot off a 1:53.4 win in a qualifier Oct. 3 at Mohawk Racetrack. His most recent race was Sept. 8, when he was eighth in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot. "He's healthy now," Keeling said. "He's trained great and he qualified great. We're just hoping for some good weather and a good day." Italy's Twister Bi, who won this year's Oslo Grand Prix and is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, drew post four and is 4-1. France's Dreammoko, a son of 2015 International Trot runner-up and 2017 Elitloppet winner Timoko, will start from post three and is 6-1. Oasis Bi, another representative of Italy, drew post No. 2 and is 5-1. Oasis Bi finished second in last year's International Trot and is joined by Sweden's On Track Piraten as a three-time participant in the event. On Track Piraten, who finished fourth last year, starts this year from post 10 and is 8-1. Midnight Hour, a Diesel Don-sired 6-year-old gelding with two Group 1 wins under his belt this year, drew post seven and is 10-1. He is one of two horses representing Finland in the race. The other, Shadow Woodland, will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky and starts from post five at 12-1 on the morning line. Denmark's Tripolini VP drew post nine and is 15-1. The International Trot is part of a New York harness-record $3.3 million card at Yonkers on Saturday. Racing begins at 1 p.m. and includes eight New York Sire Stakes championships plus two $250,000 invitationals, the Dan Rooney Pace and Harry Harvey Trot. Following is the field in post-position order for the International Trot with drivers, trainers and morning line odds. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 2. Oasis Bi-Kim Eriksson-Stefan Pettersson-5/1 3. Dreammoko-Gabriele Gelormini-Richard Westerink-6/1 4. Twister Bi-Christoffer Eriksson-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5. Shadow Woodland-Tim Tetrick-Reijo Liljendahl-12/1 6. Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3/1 7. Midnight Hour-Iikka Nurmonen-Ossi Nurmonen-10/1 8. In Secret-George Brennan-Ron Burke-6/1 9. Tripolini VP-Jeppe Juel-Jeppe Juel-15/1 10. On Track Piraten-Johnny Takter-Hans Stromberg-8/1 Note: Tripolini VP and On Track Piraten start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. Ken Weingartner

The first leg of the Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series was contested on Monday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The fifth annual Derue Memorial kicked off with three divisions for trotters five years old and younger. The Perry Simser-trained Winter Mint pulled off the biggest upset of the three divisions as he prevailed in a career-best 157.3. Scoring at odds of 7-1 and driven to victory by Jimmy Devaux, Winter Mint was the fastest among the three winners in leg one. Golden Kronos and Bruce Aldrich scored first over in 1:58.2 at odds of 7-2 to secure his leg one victory while the only favorite to prevail in the series' first leg was Jaymes Mcassey's Laser Leo who went coast-to-coast in 1:58 flat with Billy Dobson in the sulky. There are two legs of the Derue Memorial before the Series Final that is scheduled to go for a purse of 36,000 dollars. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6 45pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, N.Y. - In Secret has been an unstoppable force at Yonkers Raceway of late. He boasts a six-race harness racing win streak dating to July 2, the last four of which have come at the Open level. In Secret’s driver, George Brennan, hoped the trotter’s exploits would earn him an invitation to the Harry Harvey Trot on the International Trot undercard October 14. To his surprise, the raceway announced In Secret as a representative of the United States in the $1m Yonkers International Trot this Monday (Oct. 2). “I was just hoping maybe we would get an invite to the $250,000 invitational they have that day,” he said. “It was a pleasant surprise when I saw it. It’s great.” For Brennan, the chance to compete in the International Trot is about more than the race’s $1 million purse. Although he drove Arch Madness to a fifth place finish in the $250,000 International Trot Preview in 2014, Brennan has lacked a horse for the International Trot since the race’s revival in 2015. “It’s my home track, Yonkers. It’s a very good horse. It’s been my main account, Ron Burke. It means a lot,” Brennan said. “There’s a lot going into it, a lot at stake to it. The stars are lined up. It’s really exciting.” In Secret’s win streak began when the 5-year-old won a $35,000 overnight at Yonkers July 2 for trainer Noel Daley. In his next start, In Secret debuted a winner for Ron Burke in a $42,000 overnight August 13 before winning his first local Open in Brennan’s characteristic wire-to-wire style in his next try the following week. In Secret wired the field in another Open August 27 before showing a different dimension when he won his third Open in first-over fashion September 16. In Secret won his most recent start at the Open level on the lead September 30. With his success, the son of Deweycheatumnhowe’s earnings have swelled to $354,385. “He’s done everything I could ask. I’ve raced him on the lead. A couple weeks ago, I had to drop in fourth, I raced him first-over. He came first-over and won that race,” Brennan explained. “He’s done everything I’ve asked of him so far and he’s responded to it. He’s pretty solid. He knows the track, he gets over the track perfect.” Making In Secret’s win streak even more impressive, two of his victories came from post six, another three came from post seven, and one came from the far outside. In Secret’s first two wins came at the 1 1/4-mile distance of the International Trot. Brennan also drove In Secret to victory in a 10-furlong overnight from an outside post earlier this year. “He’s good, he’s solid, he’s professional. He makes my job easy,” Brennan said. “I raced him earlier in the year for Noel Daley and he won that race also. I left for the lead, but somebody pounced. He sat the two-hole and he won easily. He’s versatile.” In Secret’s impressive feats haven’t come without a price. The difficulty of dealing with outside assignments week after week means In Secret never gets an easy race or trip; he earns every win, Brennan explained. “He’s got to work hard. Every week he does win is work,” he said. “That’s the only thing. It makes it tough going into (the International) because he’s had no cupcakes. Every race is work for him because of the post positions. But it is what it is and he’s overcome them, so let’s hope the success continues.” In Secret will get a final start in before the International Trot in this week’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot, carded as race six Saturday night. In Secret will start from post eight, and Brennan doesn’t intend to pamper the gelding a week before the biggest race of his career. “I’m going into that race, it’s a $50,000 Open, that’s a heck of a purse, and I’m still trying to win it. We’ll go forward, try and get him involved, if not on the lead, involved somewhat, and we’re going in to win,” he said. “Definitely not racing him easy going in. When horses are good and horses are sharp, you’ve got to race them. That’s how you keep them sharp.” Looking ahead to the International Trot, Brennan hopes to draw a post position in the first tier where In Secret can have his nose on the gate. Although he isn’t sure how the presence of seven European horses and drivers will change the dynamics of the race, he is confident in his horse and his own ability on his home oval. “A lot of it is going to have to do with the post positions. I’ve never raced in Europe before. I’ve watched those guys race here before,” he said. “I’d like to draw a good post position and you know what, the European drivers are going to have to worry about me if I get a good post position. “He’s been pretty much automatic, push-button and I just hope it continues. Whatever the case may be, I know he’s going to give me a good race,” Brennan continued. “Whatever it is in the International, I know he’ll give me a good, solid race and that’s all I can ask for.” More International Trot invitees will be featured as the race draws closer. The $1 million Yonkers International Trot will be raced Saturday, October 14 at Yonkers Raceway. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. Please note; Yonkers Raceway has set a 12 Noon first post for the Oct. 29th return of Sunday matinee.. The remaining five Sundays between then and the rest of the season are TBA. The card of Oct. 29th includes seven 'French' added-distance, overflow field trots, going as races 2 through 8. The 12-race card has a scheduled last post of 5:05 PM. Information regarding the return of that day's 'New York, New York Double' shall be sent when available.    NEW YORK DAY OF CHAMPIONS AND CONSOLATION RACES NOTE Yonkers Raceway and the New York Sire Stakes are reminding horsemen who have qualified for either Yonkers’ New York Day of Champions (to be held Saturday afternoon, Oct. 14th) or the consolation event (to be held at Monticello Raceway, Monday afternoon, Oct. 16th)  that all entries are due in Yonkers’ race office this Monday, Oct. 9th. Entry box closes promptly at 4 PM. Both series races shall be drawn Monday (Oct. 9th ) by Yonkers. For more information, please contact the Raceway’s (that would be Yonkers) race office at (914) 457-2627.     by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Batavia, NY---The old wagering adage suggesting you bet the longest shot in the shortest field was right on point in the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 29) as Osprey Vision scored big after being overlooked at 10-1 in the five-horse harness racing field. With the late scratch of Lutetium, Noble Legend (Jim Morrill Jr.) decided to be the leader to follow this week and took that position shortly after the start. With a sloppy track and no early opposition, Morrill took the field down to the half in :58.1 and looked comfortable in doing so. As the group was into the second circuit, Egosnattitudes (Larry Stalbaum) was motoring up on the outside with Osprey Vision (Drew Monti) second over. But halfway up the backstretch Egosnattitudes copped one and made a break, leaving Osprey Vision advancing alone towards the leader around the final turn. By the time the race hit the head of the lane Osprey Vision looked Noble Legend in the eye before trotting right by. Osprey Vision then maintained the lead while holding off the late charging Barn Winner (Ray Fisher Jr.) and BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) to win in 1:59.2. Osprey Vision ($23.80) now has eight wins and $55,814 earned this year for owner Marissa Russo and trainer David Russo. In the $8,000 Open II trot Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) broke a six-week drought, coming from way off the pace at the half following dull outside cover before tipping three-deep off the last turn to close down the lane and win by a neck in 1:59.4. Empire Earl N ($12.00) registered his sixth win of the year and bumped his bank to $55,590 for his owner who drives him, Larry Stalbaum. The New Zealand bred son of Earl is trained by Kim Asher. Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving triple on Friday. Drivers scoring two wins included Drew Monti and Larry Stalbaum. Trainers getting two wins included Kim Asher, David Russo and Angelo Nappo. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 30) at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Our Els Dream N (Elsu) became the third Al Annunziata trainee to record a win in the harness racing fillies and mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel this year. The eight year old mare wound up getting a first over journey in Friday's $18,000 Open for distaffers. The race's favorite faltered on the engine and Our Els Dream N took advantage, cruising by in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.2. Stylish Beachwhere (Frank Coppola Jr) followed the winner's cover and ended up as the runner-up while West Liberty (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot. Our Els Dream N is the third Annunziata-trained mare to win the Open at the Spa this season as the New Zealand bred mare joined fellow New Zealander Betacool N and Australian invader Quick Draft A as top flight lady pacers to prevail in the Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa this year. Our Els Dream N paid $11.80 to win on Friday and led an exacta and triple that came back $56.50 and $150.50, respectively. Our Els Dream N took her North American earnings to $304,610 as a result of 22 wins and numerous placings. She was driven to victory by Bruce Aldrich Jr. who piloted his 7,000th career winner on Wednesday at Monticello and was recognized for the feat on Thursday at Saratoga with a presentation in the winner's circle. Aldrich currently sits fourth in the local driver standings but well behind Billy Dobson who had a six-win night on Friday. Live racing continues on Saturday at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

By now you are probably familiar with the details of the devastating barn fire at Goshen Historic Track last Wednesday evening. The fire started around 6:00 pm and spread ferociously. We are very grateful that there was no loss of life and that more than 30 horses were rescued from their burning stalls. For this we must thank the quick thinking and responses of good Samaritans, harness racing trainers, Track staff and firefighters.   The following day, work crews were able to salvage some mementos from the historic stables and blacksmith shop. "It's a little early to tell what our exact plans are," said Steve Jones, the Historic Track board president. "But we've been here since 1838 ... We're going to pick ourselves up." More than anything, it is important to keep our national historic landmark a vital part of harness racing history. It is still the area's premier location for boarding, training and racing Standardbreds.   Now, more than ever, we need your support. We will be entering our 108th season of harness racing in 2018. Goshen Historic Track is the oldest active harness racing track in the world. Please help us keep the tradition of harness racing alive. A donation of any amount would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you!   *Goshen Historic Track is a 501C3 non-profit National Historic Landmark. Your donation will be tax deductible.   Here are more details about the fire on the Chronicle (Straus News) website.   Also: read more details about the fire on the Times Herald-Record website.    Visit our website   Check us out on Facebook   Please Help Us Rebuild   Goshen Historic Track | 44 Park Place, Goshen, NY 10924 845-294-5333 

Nuncio has received an invitation to the harness racing $1 million International Trot (World Cup) at Yonkers Raceway on October 14th. "We received an invitation in the mailbox on Friday. Now let's take a stand if we are going or not, "says Stefan Melander. Previously, Jerry Riordan's Twister Bi has both been invited and thanked for the environmental dollar race in New York. On the other hand, both Bold Eagle and Timoko have already refused to participate and Nuncio is the second trainer, trained in Sweden, invited to Yonkers International Trot ($1,000,000) over the 2,011 meter distance. For Stefan Melander, the race is no news. He won the World Cup in 1995 with Swedish-born His Majesty. "There are many things I need to keep in mind before I decide, but it's definitely interesting to go to Yonkers. Nuncio feels still strong in training and now I have to wonder if we are going to the United States and then continue to the French winter meeting, or if we just aim at Vincennes or the United States, "says Stefan Melander. Nuncio has previously celebrated success on the Yonkers Raceway. As a three-year-old, he won both trials and finals in Yonkers Trot ($ 500,000) with John Campbell in sulky. By Claes Freidenvall Reprinted with permission of Sulky Sport

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 4, 2017--A reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway's harness racing matinee program this Sunday (Aug. 6th), with a 12:30 PM first post. It's the fourth of eight consecutive Sundays. It's a dozen-race card, with races 2 (post time 12:55 PM) through 5 (2:25 PM) of the 'French' theme, as in overflow fields at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. The $68,000 Open Handicap goes as the third race, a field of nine with Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) sent behind the eight-ball. The 'New York, New York Double' is also back this Sunday, including Saratoga's 3rd race (post time 2:07 PM) and Yonkers' 7th race (post time 3:05 PM). Program pages accompany this release. Final post for Sunday is scheduled for 4:45 PM. Frank Drucker

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