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Preferred Equine Marketing and Blue Chip Farms announced today that World Champion Crazed will return to the New York stallion ranks in 2015. The million dollar-winning son of Credit Winner stood at Blue Chip's facility at the start of his stud career before moving to Hanover Shoe Farms in 2013. After siring both the 2- and 3-year-old New York Sire Stakes colt champions in 2014, the decision was made to return him to the Empire State. "The sons and daughters of Crazed earned almost $1.6 million in the New York Sire Stakes program alone this past season," said syndicate manager David Reid of Preferred Equine Marketing. "With such a strong performance in the New York arena, and overwhelming support of the Crazed Syndicate in moving him, I'm delighted to partner with Blue Chip again in promoting and standing Crazed in 2015 and beyond,: he continued. Crazed will stand for a stud fee of $5,000. From Preferred Equine Marketing & Blue Chip Farms  

Stirling Cadet (Conway Hall) continued his sensational season on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Harold Smith owns and trains the three year old trotter who had a dominant summer racing in the New York Sire Stakes Fair Circuit after competing at a high level in overnight races at the Spa this spring. Stirling Cadet went on a tear this summer and piled up win after win at the fairs before winning the $10,000 Final on Monticello by an incredible fifteen lengths with driver Jim Devaux in the sulky. Devaux piloted Stirling Cadet in the $7,000 Winners of two but not more than four lifetime trot and moved the breakout trotter out to the early lead in a sizzling opening quarter of 27.4. The race's second choice in the wagering held off the favored Sheer Action (Billy Dobson) in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:57.4. The win time served as a lifetime mark for the trotter who has now put together a season in which he has twelve wins and seven second place finishes in 21 starts en route to over $40,000 in earnings. Sheer Action finished second while longshot Bull Spreader (Mickey McGivern) earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Trainer Frank Antonacci liked what he saw when he purchased Sonic for $155,000 at last fall's yearling sale in Lexington. So much so that he was willing to spend another $155,000 on family member Whataworkout a month later in Harrisburg. On Friday, Antonacci sends the two sons of stallion Muscle Hill into separate Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters at The Red Mile. Both will be making their second lifetime starts. Sonic's mother is Spice On Ice. Among Spice On Ice's other offspring is Southwind Sofia, who is the mother of Whataworkout. "We kind of went all-in on that family," Antonacci said. "We liked it once, so we might as well like it twice." It was actually the third time Antonacci liked the family and its connection with Muscle Hill. On the same day he purchased Sonic, he missed on a Muscle Hill-sired filly named Mission Brief. Her mother is Southwind Serena, who also is out of Spice On Ice. Mission Brief, who sold for $150,000, won this year's Merrie Annabelle Stakes in a world-record performance 1:52.2 performance, then lowered the mark to 1:52.1 in her elimination of the Peaceful Way Stakes. "I loved Mission Brief when I saw her in Kentucky, which is really the same family," Antonacci said. "I didn't get the job done buying her, although we focus more on the colts at the sale anyway." And Antonacci is happy with what he's seen from those colts so far. Whataworkout won his debut in 1:56.4 on Sept. 18 in a division of the Kindergarten Series at The Red Mile. Sonic went off stride from post eight in his Kindergarten split, but Antonacci was unfazed. "Sonic I think got a little lost from the eight hole," Antonacci said. "I'm going to give him a pass on his first performance. Hopefully this week (starting) from the rail he'll be a little more focused. "Whataworkout was kind of in a messed up race (with horses making breaks) but he showed his professionalism and stayed at it and got the job done. "They've both got big speed and big ability. I think they've got a bright future." Whataworkout, owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, is in the first of five Bluegrass divisions for the rookie trotters, where Peter Haughton Memorial winner Centurion ATM is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Sonic, owned by Lindy Racing, is in the fifth division, where The Bank is the 5-2 morning line choice. Antonacci also sends out homebred stakes-winner Iron in the fourth division and Mesmerized in the second division. The twice-raced Iron, a son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Ivory Lindy, is coming off a victory in the American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park. He is in the same Bluegrass split as Haughton runner-up Uncle Lasse, New Jersey Sire Stakes champ Guess Whos Back, and New York Sire Stakes champ Crazy Wow. Iron lost a month of time during the summer because of complications from what was believed to be a spider bite. "That kind of stalled him out just as we were about to get ready to qualify in July," Antonacci said. "It was pretty wild. He's recovered from that and he's starting to put it all together now. "We've liked him from the beginning and we're very happy with him. He's getting better every time we've brought him to the track and hopefully he keeps going that way." Mesmerized is winless in three starts, but the colt's mother, Gift Card, won a Bluegrass division in 2008 and is a full sister to Antonacci's million-dollar-earner Crazed. The homebred Mesmerized faces undefeated Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ Billy Flynn in his Bluegrass division on Friday. "We've got primarily the same people who owned Crazed with us on him, so that's nice," Antonacci said. "He's just been Steady Eddie. He's had some races where racing luck didn't go his way, but he continues to improve. He's a good gaited, good looking horse. We're just looking for him to keep improving." The remaining Bluegrass Stakes division is headlined by Habitat, who won the William Wellwood Memorial on Sept. 13 at Mohawk Racetrack. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Mistresswithmuscle (Muscle Hill-Nicole's Promise) was sent off at less than even-money in the $5,100 harness racing featured trot at Vernon Downs on Friday night and she rewarded the faith of the betting public with a three-length victory in 1:55.4.   Mistresswithmuscle (Chris Lems) languished in mid-pack throughout the opening quarter of :27.1 while Laettner (Fern Paquet Jr.) led the way. She then moved aggressively once the field moved past the half-mile mark in :57.3 and took the lead on the far turn. From there, she led past three-quarters in 1:26.1 and went on to an easy victory.   Laettner actually rallied nicely after falling back through the field after holding the early lead to get second. Winbak Meadow (Roman Lopez) finished third.   The complete order of finish was: Mistresswithmuscle, Laettner, Winbak Meadow, Ilari, North Bay Hanover, Ski To The Max, Eightyfive Pop, and Makes Me Crazy.   Mistresswithmuscle is owned by Stephen Farrell of Ocala, Florida and trained by George Ducharme.   It proved to be an interesting evening of racing at Vernon Downs on Friday in one respect. Through the first eleven races on the 13-race card, there were eleven different winning drivers. The only repeat winner of the evening ended up being Dan Daley, who won the eighth race with No Bad Dreams after being caught three-wide on the far turn and the twelfth race with Daley Lovin by a three-length margin. When Jimmy Whittemore won the last race with Steuben Rudy, it meant that there were twelve different winning drivers in thirteen races.   Live racing resumes on Saturday night with a 13-race program that includes eight New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series races with purses totaling $360,000. First post time on Saturday at Vernon Downs is 6:45pm. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

HARRINGTON, Del. - Jeff Clark's Springforth ($6.60, George Dennis) continued her consistent form spree with a 1:53 win in the $17,000 Mares Open Tuesday at Harrington Raceway. Trained by her owner, the 4-year-old Artiscape mare set all the fractions in her second win of the year. She has not been worse than second in her last four starts versus Open competition. Embassy Seelster, who won a similar division four starts back was second, while Scootin For Joy was third. Springforth made nearly $180,000 as a sophomore on the New York sire stakes circuit. Drivers Montrell Teague, Victor Kirby, Allan Davis, Tony Morgan and Ross Wolfenden each had two wins on the program. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

LATHAM, NY - Even though the New York Sire Stakes finals have just been completed, yearling buyers are already looking ahead to the fall yearling sales to select the next champion. With a smaller class of pacing yearlings nominated to the New York Sire Stakes this year than in the recent past, buyers of these sidewheelers will have an even greater opportunity for their piece of the rich Sire Stakes purses the next two years. A recent shuffle of pacing stallions in New York State has resulted in a smaller crop of yearlings this year with approximately 125 (27%) fewer pacing-bred youngsters nominated in 2014 than were in 2013. Purses, however, are still estimated to top $16 million next year for the entire program, with an equal amount of state funds split between both gaits. Nominations of trotting yearlings have remained relatively steady. The first major offering of New York-bred yearlings will occur at the Morrisville College Yearling Sale Sunday, Sept. 21st followed by Lexington Selected Sale on Sept. 30 - Oct. 4th and then Harrisburg Sale beginning November 3rd. Yearling buyers interested in learning more about the multi-tiered New York Sire Stakes program can contact Harness Horse Breeders of New York State at 518-785-5858, email info@hhbnys.org or visit the New York Sire Stakes website at www.nysirestakes.com. From the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State  

Pat Lachance is betting on a son of Bettor's Delight to make Saturday's New York Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers a joyous event. Southwind Masimo, trained by Lachance, was his division's top points earner through the preliminary rounds and will start Saturday's $225,000 final from post No. 1 at Yonkers Raceway. Lachance will handle the driving, as he has in all but one of the colt's previous five races. The race is part of the Night of Champions card at Yonkers, where eight NYSS champions will be crowned. Post time is 7:10 p.m. for the first race. Southwind Masimo, owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber, has won four of five starts - all on the sire stakes circuit - and earned $85,481. He is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, behind Tom Fanning's Betting Exchange, who starts from post two and is 3-1. Betting Exchange, also a son of Bettor's Delight, has won two of five races and earned $66,125. His victories have come in his two most recent starts, including a 1:51.1 triumph in a sire stakes division on Aug. 30 at Vernon Downs. Only six 2-year-old pacers have won with a faster time so far this season. "I don't know who the best one is in there, but there's a few of them that can go," Lachance said. "There are some good ones for sure. I think (Southwind Masimo) has got as much of a chance as anybody. "I'm going to try to get away as close as I can to the front and we'll see what happens. With a little racing luck we'll be in good shape, I think." Southwind Masimo is the first foal out of the dam Max's Leading Lady and was purchased for $65,000 at last October's Lexington Selected Sale. Max's Leading Lady was a multiple winner on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and second dam Ascending won an Ontario Sire Stakes Super Final and Canadian Breeders Championship. Lachance has trained two million-dollar-earners by Bettor's Delight, Forensic Z Tam and Hula's Z Tam, so that was another prime selling point. Hula's Z Tam was the 2009 New York Sire Stakes champion for 2-year-old female pacers and Forensic Z Tam was a two-time runner-up to Kenneth J in NYSS finals. "Bettor's Delight has been very good to me, so that was the first thing I liked about him," Lachance said about Southwind Masimo. "He had decent size and his conformation was good. We were just trying to get the best conformation, the best pedigree possible, obviously for what you can afford. He was well put together and we took a shot at him." Following the New York Sire Stakes championship, Southwind Masimo is scheduled to head to Lexington's Red Mile for the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. He also is eligible to the Matron and Breeders Crown. "We'd like to go on and give him a chance," Lachance said. "He's always showed ability and racing in New York is as good as anywhere. You're going to race against Grand Circuit horses Saturday night. "I think he'll like a big track," he added about his colt, who has raced so far only on half-mile and five-eighths-mile ovals. "He certainly can get around a half very well, but I think a big track will really help him. I think he'll step up. I don't think it will be a problem at all." Lachance's hopes in the NYSS are not limited to Southwind Masimo. He sends out longshot Sir Sam's Z Tam in the final for 3-year-old male pacers, starting from post three at 20-1 on the morning line. Ron Burke's entry of All Bets Off, a multiple stakes-winner, and Forty Five Red is the 4-5 choice. "We're shooting for a check," Lachance said. "He's had a decent year. He's not the best one in there, but I hope to hit the board with him." For more about Saturday's Night of Champions, read here. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Jeff Gregory is not ready to close the book on being a catch driver, but he is set to write a new chapter in his harness racing career. Or, maybe more exactly, rewrite a chapter.   Gregory, who has won nearly 6,700 races as a driver, plans to start training horses again. The New York native last trained regularly in the mid-1990s, prior to moving his base to New Jersey. He qualified his first horse, a 2-year-old female trotter named Miss Andover, last week at Harrah's Philadelphia. The filly is owned by Bill Weaver and was trained previously by Noel Daley.   "Noel was kind of looking to put her into a smaller stable, maybe where someone could pay attention to her every day and train her and drive her,” Gregory said. "She's maybe a little nervous filly and might do better with having one guy looking over her. So they brought her to me.   "It's nice to have a Hall of Famer (in owner Bill Weaver) give me the chance to get started again.”   Gregory, who turned 48 years old on Monday, Sept. 8, established his career high for driving wins in 2004, with 581. His career best for purses came in 2010, with $5.73 million. He is a three-time U.S. Trotting Association District 8 Driver of the Year and was the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Rising Star in 2002.   He was sidelined from September until late March because of a broken elbow, but has won 55 of 466 races this year and nearly $1 million in purses. He continues to be one of the top drivers on the New York Sires Stakes and Excelsior series circuits.   "The last couple winters have been a little slower for me catch driving, in part because I got hurt last year with my elbow,” Gregory said. "I'm getting to the point in my career where I'm leaning toward training some younger horses again, like I used to. I'm (48) and running up and down the road all the time, it's nice money, but there are a lot of young guys doing it too.   "I've got this one (filly) for Bill and I have two 2 year olds that are turned out that I'll be bringing back in around December. I've got two or three guys that want to buy yearlings, so I'm hoping to have half-a-dozen horses or so for the winter. We'll go from there. I'm not giving up driving, but I enjoy the horses and I like working with the young horses.”   Gregory has owned a handful of horses with Bill Richardson in recent years, with Linda Toscano handling the training. But Gregory often jogs and works with the horses in the morning.   "She's very excited about me doing this,” said Gregory, who won the 2011 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters with Toscano's Chapter Seven. "She's been helping me out. Whatever I need, I'm welcome to, to help get me started.”   Gregory, who followed his father, Gary, into harness racing and got his biggest win in 2005 with Jonas Czernyson-trained Jalopy in the Hambletonian Oaks, is going to be based at Showplace Farm in central New Jersey.   "I'm looking to start another chapter,” Gregory said. "I'm going to train these horses in the morning and try to stick to (driving at) Yonkers if I can. The New York Sire Stakes has been good to me. I'm hoping some of these horses of my own turn out where I can take them around and race them, hopefully reap the benefits of hard work over the winter.   "Hopefully, we'll catch a good lottery ticket at the sales. Maybe we'll get lucky. I feel I can do a good job with the horses.”   by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Batavia, NY---Betting Exchange and Berkley were on the outside looking in at the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers coming into tonight's final leg of the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding division. But winning heals all and that's exactly what they both did to advance to the final next Saturday. In the first $54,500 contest, Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) scored his second win in a row to move from ninth to sixth overall in the standings and lock up a spot in the $225,000 final. Betting Exchange came off the wings for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and went right to the front to cut the mile. After briefly settling in fourth, Americanprimetime and Mark MacDonald pulled and came up to challenge the leader. That move found the colt getting parked through fractions of :27.3, :56 and 1:25.2 before packing it in around the last turn. From that point on Betting Exchange ran away and hid, winning the race by three lengths in 1:55.1. The winner paid $5.70. Play The Field (Kevin Cummings) was second and K Ryan Bluechip (Joe Pavia Jr.) was third. It was the second win in five starts for Betting Exchange and boosted his earnings to $66,125 for owners Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz and Tom Fanning, who also trains the horse. After the race Morrill said "I didn't really want to get into a speed duel but he felt real good tonight so I let him roll. After he fought off Americanprimetime he paced very strong to the wire." In the second $54,500 split, Berkley (Art Major-Monterey) caught his competitors and the betting public asleep as he upset both with a strong stretch-drive victory at 17-1. The win boosted him from tenth to seventh in the standings and also qualified him for the lucrative NYSS final. Mark MacDonald sent Bet You out like a rocket and paced strongly on the lead to an uncontested :58.1 half when Southwind Masimo and Mike Lachance came first-over to challenge. That encounter was short lived when the pack straightened out up the backside and Bet You shifted gears to hold the group at bay. To this point, Joe Pavia Jr. had Berkley sitting comfortably In The Pocket behind the leader, just waiting to take his best shot at the head of the lane. Bet You opened up a two length lead coming for home but the fresh-legged Berkley rolled off the pylons and right by the leader with a furious brush to pull the upset in 1:55.3. The winner returned $36.00. Bet You hung on to be second and Southwind Masimo was third. This was the first win in nine starts this year for Berkley and raised his bank to $58,620 for owners Randy Bendis, Reed Broadway and Thomas Pollack. Berkley is trained by Ed Hart. Pavia had a glowing review saying "I was really impressed how good Ed (trainer Hart) had him tonight. He was much improved and raced super. He got a real good trip and we took advantage of it." There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card, each going for $12,600. The first division was won by Heaven Rocks (Rock N Roll Heaven-Cheerful Outlook) who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:56.1 and returned $4.70. He is owned by Paymag Racing, Greg Gillis, Mystical Marker Farms LLC and Louis Willinger and trained by Erv Miller. The second leg was won by Soto (Rock N Roll Heaven-Incredible Beauty) who was driven by Mark MacDonald in 1:55.2 to pay $4.90. He is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, R A W Equine Inc. and Jim Fielding and is trained by Jimmy Takter. The final split was won by Mystical Pacer (Bettor's Delight-Take My Pulse) who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:56.4 and paid $6.10. He is owned by Mystical Marker Farms, Paymag Racing and Ron Michelon and is trained by Erv Miller. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. scored a driving grand slam while Mark MacDonald and Brent Holland both registered doubles on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday evening with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 5, 2014-Yonkers Raceway Friday night hosted its final statebred division of the season, the $198,999 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings. It's the last chance for these freshmen to qualify for the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions, held here next Saturday (Sept. 13). Three divisions - worth $66,733, $65,533 and $66,733, respectively -- made up the event, which honored the memory of the iconic Hall of Fame harness publicist from the sport's golden age. Many of "Tootie's" family, including his wife, Bunny, and friends were on hand for winner's circle presentations. Friday's pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps, for trotters and distaff pacers, were won by Traverse Seelster (Tyler Buter, $4.90) in 1:54.1, and Venus Delight (Bartlett, $6.10) in 1:51.3. The latter matched Rocklamation's track record for a 4-year-old pacing mare. First division-Second choice Insomniac (Jason Bartlett, $7.20), from post position No. 4 and from start to finish (:30.1, 1:00.2; 1:29.3; 1:58.3). Crazshana (Trond Smedshammer) was a first-up second, beaten a couple of lengths, with Credit Creation (Mark MacDonald) third. Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory) broke In The Pocket as the 6-5 choice. For Insomniac, a Crazed gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley and William Weaver III, it was his second win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $27.20, with the triple returning $121.50. "I wanted him to finish better than he has, and he did that tonight," Bartlett said. Second division-Second choice Crazy Wow (Dan Rawlings, $8) gave both himself and his driver a successful local debut. From post No. 2, he led at every pylon (:30, 1:00.2, 1:30, 1:58.2). Wings of Royalty (Brian Sears) chased from a loose pocket-beaten 2½ lengths-with even-money fave Sugarmakesmecrazy (Ake Svanstedt) a non-threatening third. For Crazy Wow, a son of Crazed owned by Joseph Hess and trained by Dan O'Mara, it was his third win in six '14 tries. The exacta paid $23.80, with the triple returning $56.50. "Dan (O'Mara) said he had a good trotter and asked me drive him," Rawlings said. "He showed high speed, then broke, but he showed me enough that I told Dan 'Wherever he goes, I'm going.' "He's had some rigging issues, but Benny Eggers, who has the horse here, figured it out. He deserves a lot of the credit." Third division-Pole-sitting (and odds-on) Buen Camino (Smedshammer, $2.30) fooled very few, going the distance (:29.4; 1:00, 1:30.3; 1:59.1). Royal Lad (MacDonald) challenged in and out of the final turn before missing a length, while 111-1 shot Pier Ho Exotic (John Cunning Jr.) was a good, two-move third. For Buen Camino, a Crazed gelding trained by his driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, he's 2-for-2 here and 4-for-6 overall, having won his last three (NYSS) starts. The exacta paid $23.80, with the triple returning $230. "What's impressed me about him is his speed," Smedshammer said. "Speed wins races. Ideally, you don't want to have a young horse on the front every race, but we drew inside and figured it was the best place to be." The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway    

Batavia, NY---Sometimes victory is hard fought and other times it comes without effort. This week, BZ Glide cruised from second last to the winners circle in the $9,000 Open trot at Batavia Downs with nary a nudge from driver Mike Caprio. At the start of the race, Armed Dangerously (Shawn McDonough) made a break almost immediately as the rest of the field pulled away in post-position order. Dartmouth Hall (Kevin Cummings) then led the troops through a pedestrian :29.1 quarter and 1:00.1 half, where Caprio pulled BZ Glide just before that station. The 5-year-old son of Yankee Glide slowly and methodically gained ground on the leader without much urgency displayed from his driver. As the bunch hit the three-quarter pole in 1:29, BZ Glide had pulled even with Dartmouth Hall and then forged ahead from that point forward. Caprio hand-drove the gelding from there winning by a widening two-length margin in 1:58.2. The 1-2 favorite paid $3.00 to win. Sack Full of Gold (Jim McNeight) who had followed the winner second over was second and Serious George (Jack Flanigen) snuck up the rail to be third. This was the fifth win in 16 starts for BZ Glide and raised his yearly earnings to $42,605 for his owner Mike Caprio and trainer Alana Caprio. Reinsmen Ron Beback Jr., Jack Flanigen, Shawn McDonough, Jim McNeight and Drew Monti all scored driving doubles on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 5) and features the $109,000 New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The last chance to see the best bred standardbreds in the Empire State race at Batavia Downs this year occurs on Saturday night (Sept. 6) when the New York Sire Stakes makes its last stop at the Genesee County oval for 2014. The 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings are featured as the stars of tomorrow and will compete for $109,000 in purses. The first $54,500 NYSS division goes as the fifth race and features seven pacers going postward. Americanprimetime (American Ideal-Prime Example A) is currently ranked second in points for the Night of Champions finals for his sex and gait and boasts a 1:52.4 lifetime mark at Tioga Downs this year. This Rick Dane Jr. trained colt likes to be on the front end and will get his chance here scoring from post three. He has made two breaks in his six starts but when he is on his game he's hard to beat. Brent Holland will sit behind Americanprimetime for the first time in this race. Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) beat Americanprimetime last week at Vernon Downs en route to taking his lifetime mark of 1:51.1. He has been lightly raced due to an injury in July and has only four starts this year. But he's made the most of the opportunities he has had and appears to be improving with every start. Betting Exchange needs points to move up in the standing in order to make the final and this will be his last chance to do it. Top NYSS reinsman Jim Morrill Jr. is aboard for trainer Tom Fanning. Azorean Art (Art Major-Dancin Barefoot) is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and looks to be coming into this race sharp as a tack. Also coming off a lifetime mark of 1:52.3 at Vernon last week, Azorean Art overcame road trouble the entire race and still found a way to win. Driver Mark MacDonald drove him for the first time in that victory and is back in the sulky here. Azorean Art is currently fifth in the standings but could move up substantially with a win. The second $54,500 NYSS division goes as race nine and has the top horse in the series competing in it. Southwind Masimo (Bettor's Delight-Max's Leading Lady) is a perfect four-for-four this year and all in NYSS action. He has won both on the front and from behind, and on both small and large tracks. The Pat LaChance trained colt took his lifetime mark of 1:54 at Tioga Downs, but he actually paced faster last quarters in his two starts at Yonkers. However Southwind Masimo is coming into this race off a scratch at Vernon last week when he reported sick, so the colt has not raced in 18 days. Whether or not this will affect his performance remains to be seen, but having Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance on board will certainly help his cause. Cartoon Daddy (Art Major-Ask Alice) has four wins in seven starts this year and oddly enough, all four wins were on half-mile tracks. He has a sparkling lifetime mark of 1:53.4 at Yonkers Raceway which is considerably faster than any other horse in this race has paced over a half-mile track. He is currently third in points and could vault to number one with a victory. Cartoon Daddy hails from the powerful Ron Burke stable and will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Bet You (Bettor's Delight-Armbro Amoretto) has two wins and three seconds in six starts this year and the only time he finished off the board was due to an interference break. Also a Takter trainee, Bet You has displayed racing versatility on the track and seems to be brave on the front end. His mark is 1:55.1 at Yonkers but he paced considerably faster in a just-beaten mile at Tioga Downs in 1:52.4. Bet You is right behind Cartoon Daddy in the points standing and could also take the top spot with a win. Mark MacDonald gets his second straight ride behind him in here. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series to be contested in races one, two and seven going for a total of $37,800. Post time for the first race is 6:35. One other highlight for the night is the return of popular and second leading driver Shawn McDonough who was injured in a spill at Batavia Downs during a race on Labor Day. Only three days removed from the incident, McDonough will be back in the sulky on Friday night and is slated to drive the full card on Saturday. McDonough said "I'm doing pretty good. My ankle is still sore but not too bad, and I have been taking it easy the last few days. But now I'm ready to come back." -- Tim Bojarski

Not even an hour after Sassa Hanover ($2.30) equaled JK Molly's 1:52.2 track record for two-year-old pacing fillies at Tioga Downs in her $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event, Mosquito Blue Chip ($6.10) set the record anew in her 1:52.1 Sire Stakes triumph, finding room up the inside off a pocket trip to just prevail on the all-stakes Thursday (September 4) evening card.   The daughter of Bettor's Delight and Sandfly Hanover held pocket position behind a speedy Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) through a solid yet well-rated :56.4 half mile, tracking intently as favorite Bettor N Better (Matt Kakaley) charged first-over at Devil Child to force a :27 third quarter. Blocked in upper stretch,   Jim Morrill, Jr. wedged through at the pegs with Mosquito Blue Chip in the final 70 yards to take the lead from Devil Child, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Bettor N Better flattened late, still holding third.   Trainer Paul Jessop co-owns Mosquito Blue Chip with the Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio.   Earlier in the evening, Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) gave Morrill his first Sire Stakes driving win on the evening, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go before turning aside a challenge from My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) and subsequently kicking clear to a 2-1/4 length 1:52.2 win. Ron Burke trains Sassa Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and Larry Karr.   In addition to New York Sire Stakes action for two-year-old pacing fillies, freshman trotters contested five W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stake divisions. Colts SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller, 1:57.1) and Sixteen Encores (Matt Kakaley, 1:57.2) proved victorious in their divisions, while Gold Cora (Mike Simons, 1:56.3), Allerage Star (Corey Callahan, 1:56.1), and Big Barb (Mike Simons, 1:57.2) scored wins in the three filly divisions.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 5), with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Monticello Raceway hosted the final leg of the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series for 2 year old filly trotters on Wednesday (Sept. 3). There were three $37,000 splits in the sire stakes and five short fields in the Excelsior Series. And despite eight of the 12 races on the card featuring the up- and -coming freshmen trotters still wagering was good. The owners of all the winners could stand tall especially Braxton Medical AB, the proprietors of Shaqline who, in only her fourth lifetime start, equaled the track record for freshmen trotting fillies when Jimmy Takter guided her to a 1:59.2 triumph in her NYSS split. Shaqline now shares top honors with Lady Riviera who also was victorious in 1:59.2 for Ronnie Pierce in 2012. Takter, driving more now and enjoying it immensely, sent the daughter of Credit Winner-Vivaca Hall to the lead from the pole position and they raced unchallenged on the front- end until the final turn. There, after shadowing Shaqline all the way from the get-go, Mark MacDonald moved Nunkeri out to contest the leader but all Takter had to do was give his filly her head and she remained in front as she trotted a final quarter in :28.4 en route to her track record equaling performance. Nunkeri was three lengths back in second place and Dancewithmechuck took home the show dough for Charlie Norris She's a real good filly," Takter told those who joined him in the winner's circle.. He was asked why this was only Shaqline's fourth career start to which he replied; "She had an entrapped epiglottis and it took three surgeries before the problem got fixed. She's breathing great now and she's going to be a real good 3 year old." Shaqline is a pretty nice 2 year old now, Jimmy, and she'll be the one to beat in her $225,000 NYSS Final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, September 13. Sent of the favorite in the betting Shaqline paid $3.80 for win. The finale will be no cake walk when Shaqline faces some of the other division winners along the way, especially Concentration and Kaliska, who each were victorious in NYSS action at the Mighty M on Wednesday. Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall-Super Starlet, had driver Chris Lems smiling in the winners circle after they scored a 2:00.1 victory over Summer Scent and driver Dan Daley. After a slow start Lems put Concentration on the pylons in third position and they were five lengths off the lead set by Daly and Summer Scent as they passed the quarter in :30. Lems followed the leader until he moved his filly out to challenge up the backside. They easily gained command and at the third stanza in 1:30 they had two on Summer Scent. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could, as Concentration coasted home a 1-1/4-length winner in 2:00.1. Daley's filly was second and Ray Schnittker got Summers Windsong up for third place. "She's a nice filly and if we get a good (post) position in the final I think she'll be heard from,' Lems added through his smiles. Trained by George Ducharme for owner Chip Campbell, Concentration paid $5.20 for win. Schnittker also got a chance to have his picture taken after he won the final $37,000 NYSS division with Kaliska in 2:00. But he had to work hard for it. After they fell into the two-hole on the first turn behind Dan Daley and Cherry Crown Jewel that duo led the field by the quarter in a swift :28. When they passed the half in :58 Schnittker was out and going and Kaliska took command up the backside. They kept the lead until the finish and Schnittker had to steadily urge his filly but Kaliska held off a late rally on the far outside by Mark MacDonald and Duolectra to win by a neck. Favored Pig Hunt was third for George Brennan. "She's green and I had to keep after her because she tried to pull up three times in the stretch," Schnittker expounded after the mile. The Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian filly is trained by Schnittker and owned by Schnittker, Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable and Fam Alber Horse Racing LLC. She paid $10.00 for win. The undercard featured five divisions in the Excelsior Series also for freshmen trotting fillies. Winners included: I'm Very Lucky (Sam Schillaci) in 2:08.4 ; Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00; Morcredit Bluechip (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00.2; Teacher Pat (Chris Lems) in 2:02.3 and Waiting Room (Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) in 2:01.1. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Batavia, NY---It was bombs-away at Batavia Downs Sunday (Aug. 31) when the heavily favored Major Dancer came up just short at the wire as 40-1 Ken Doll J pulled the surprise in a $39,900 division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Off the gate Sweetnsinful (Jimmy Whittemore) took an uncontested lead around the turn and up the backside before the 1-2 Major Dancer (Jonathan Drury) rushed and took over the top as they hit the quarter in :27.1. After a pedestrian second split of :30.1, Table Talk (Jim Morrill Jr.) started the outer flow and Ken Doll J (Aaron Byron) followed in swift fashion. Feeling the heat, Drury stepped on the gas and tried to pull away to the three-quarters with a :28 flat third panel. But the strategy was ineffective as the chasing pair continued to make up ground through the turn and into the stretch. From that point on it was a real horse race with a tiring Major Dancer coming back to Table Talk, who was outside of her and Ken Doll J, who was three-wide. When they hit the wire, Ken Doll J just got up in the final stride to win in 1:54 and light up the board. The winner paid $83.00. Table Talk was second and Major Dancer hung on to be third. This was the second win of the year for Ken Doll J (Bettor's Delight-Normajeankillean) and also a seasonal mark. The victory brought her earnings up to $74,882 for owner Ken Jacobs. Ken Doll J is trained by Linda Toscano. After the race, Byron said "Everything just worked out. I got a great trip and I didn't really have to do much to half. The filly was real good down the lane." In the first $39,900 division, Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) was the beneficiary of a patient steer and came away with a three-quarter length victory as a result. Up Front Elizabeth (Mark MacDonald) flew off the wings and led the field through a quick and gapped :27 quarter in post-position order. The story remained the same to the half in :56.3 when Carlota Blue Chip (Jack Flanigen) pulled and tried to apply some heat. She was only able to get up to third on the outside before stalling with two other horses behind her at the three-quarters in 1:25. When the outer flow faded around the last turn it allowed the rail-riding Barefoot Beauty (Jimmy Whittemore) to come off the pylons and that in turn left a spot for Just Add Vodka (Jim Morrill Jr.) to shoot up inside. At the head of the stretch, the bearing-out Up Front Elizabeth was in the middle with Barefoot Beauty to her right and Just Add Vodka to her left. The three battled to the wire with Just Add Vodka getting the advantage at the end to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2. Barefoot Beauty was second and Up Front Elizabeth was third. It was the third win of the year for the Julie Miller trained filly that also happened to be a new lifetime mark. The victory boosted the seasonal earnings of Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) to $94,233 for owners Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Steven Demeter, Herbert Burns III and Nahuel Agosti. Morrill praised both the horse and trainer saying "I can't believe how much better she was today. Julie did a great job getting her ready." In the second $39,200 split, Spreester (Jason Bartlett) made quick work of a short field and two breaking horses to register a five-length romp in the fastest of the three divisions. As the field went into the first turn, Delightful Dragon (Mark MacDonald) made an uncharacteristic break and watched as the rest of the field pulled away. Sky Artist (Kevin Cummings) was on the point but Medusa (Aaron Byron) was pushing the issue outside at the quarter in :26.4. But Medusa appeared to get foul-gaited and Byron took her back to the wood fourth. Then Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled from second to challenge but also made a break before the half in :56.1. So with two of the three favorite guilty of miscues, Spreester, who had been sitting second through it all, pulled past the five-eighths, circled and cleared the leader before they hit the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. When she got back to the pylons, Bartlett popped the plugs and became a passenger as Spreester shifted gears and simply paced away from everybody. She hit the wire a five-length wrapped-up winner in 1:53.3. The winner paid $5.60 to her supporters. Delightful Dragon recovered from the early break to be second and Sky Artist hung on for third. This was the sixth win in 14 starts for Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) and the Paul Zabielski trained filly topped off her bank at $134,680. Spreester is owned by Kimberly Zabielski. Bartlett commented "I really didn't want to sit in the two-hole but they kept blowing up around me. She just exploded down the lane." The results of today's NYSS contests were important in the point's standings leading into the Night of Champions finals. Spreester took over the top spot, Just Add Vodka moved from fifth to third and Ken Doll J vaulted herself from twelfth to seventh. There was also an Excelsior leg contested and was won by Expose who was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in 1:56.3. The winner paid $6.80. Expose is trained by Linda Toscano and is owned by Linwood Higgins, Stake Your Claim Stable, Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered a four-win afternoon and Mark MacDonald scored a double. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Sept. 1) with a special Labor Day matinee card slated to start at 1:15. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

There were three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers on Saturday night at Vernon Downs and driver Marcus Miller won two of them. All three divisions had purses of $37,266.   The first division went as the sixth race on Saturday and Azorean Art (Art Major-Dancin Barefoot) rallied from last place on the far turn to pass the entire field and win in 1:52.3. The early pace was fast in this division with a 25.3 quarter and a half in 54.3 for American Crossroad (Marcus Miller). Azorean Art was driven to victory by Mark MacDonald, one of four wins for him on the Saturday program. The trainer is Jimmy Takter and the colt is owned by Cristina Takter, Brixton Medical, and Hatfield Stables.   The first division also included a disqualification of third-place finisher Oneisalonelynumber, who went on a break on the first turn and caused significant interference in the field. He was placed last after the DQ. The complete order of finish for the first division was: Azorean Art, Sicily, The Spy, We Think Alike, American Crossroad, K-Rock, and Oneisalonelynumber. Southwind Masimo was a scratch (sick).   The Marcus Miller Show began with the next division of the Sire Stakes, carded as the seventh race. He drove Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) to a victory at 21-1, paying $44.80 to win and keying a $415.50 exacta. Betting Exchange was second for the majority of the mile, sitting behind the pacesetter, Americanprimetime (Jim Marohn Jr.). Miller made the winning move with Betting Exchange in deep stretch, angling out to move past Americanprimetime and get up for the victory in the final strides in a time of 1:51.1. Betting Exchange is trained by Tom Fanning and is owned by Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz, and Tom Fanning.   The complete order of finish for the second division was: Betting Exchange, Americanprimetime, Freedomformysoul, Cartoon Daddy, Yippity Hanover, and Nobettorplacetobe. Mikado Blue Chip was a scratch (sick).   The third and final division of the New York Sire Stakes was the ninth race on the program and Marcus Miller came through again, guiding Penji Hanover (Art Major-Platinum Hanover) to victory in 1:53.2. It was a well-timed drive by Miller, who sent Penji Hanover down the outside in the stretch to win just a heartbeat ahead of Bet You (Mark MacDonald), who conversely tried to come up the inside and had to wait the extra moment to get room and that proved costly. Penji Hanover is trained by Tony Alagna and the owned is W. Springtime Racing Stable.   The complete order of finish for the third division was Penji Hanover, Bet You, Berkley, K Ryan Bluechip, Ultimate G, Aimo Hanover, My Spirit Soars, and Play The Field.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Monday with a special Labor Day matinee program. First post time is 1:15pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs  

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