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The inaugural event for 2016 New York Sire Stakes took place at Monticello Raceway on Monday May 23. 6 NYSS events were contested, two races for each category, the Excelsior A's, and Excelsior B's and the upper echelon Sire Stake fields. The front end ruled, as eight of the harness racing cards eleven races where won wire to wire. Starting off the action in the second race was the first heat of the B division, it was almost too much action, as Sultry Susan made a nasty break in the first turn and went to her knees, scattering the entire field behind her. Dw'sblissfulthinn capitalized on the miscue and made the most of it, scoring a wire to wire win for trainer Debra Miller, and driver Jim Marohn Jr. in 2:00:1 for owner Donald La Page, The 2nd heat of the B class was the following race, I Got The Life, (Roll With Joe) benefited from a conservative drive by Mark Macdonald. She settled in 5th, and used the passing lane to score in a photo for a lifetime best 1:59:1. Jim Graham co owns the filly with Ronald Viola. Race 4, was the first division of the open class of fillies, Jim Morrill Jr. aboard Soft Ideal showed the field through fractions of 28:0, 56:4, 1:26:0 was stalked the entire mile by the Burke entry of Mother of Art and Art Critic, the filly labored in deep stretch but hung on for the win 1:55:2. She returned a $3.60 Already with 11 starts under his belt and tight, he seasoned Erv Miller trainee Rolling Going Gone (Roll With Joe) won on the front end in 1:57:2 for driver Marcus Miller and owner Ross Bonafield. Milky Way Rae (American Ideal) was under wraps and raging with pace for driver Jim Morrill Jr, scoring well in hand in 1:55:2, pacing the fastest LQ of the day of 28:2 in the afternoons final Excelsior event, the win gave Morrill a driving double on the card. The final NY Bred race of the came in race 8, Andy Miller brought his American Ideal filly, American Ivy to the fray, the tender footed filly started from Post 5, took the lead before the ¼ from Vino and Formaggio and showed the way, ranging into contention at the ¾ came Time on My Hand, but American Ivy rebuffed the challenge, prevailing in the afternoons fastest race 1:54:3, for owner Joe P Racing LLC of Delray Beach, Fl. American Ideal had three daughters enter the winners circle, followed closely by his Blue Chip Farm stable mate, Roll with Joe who had two winners on the afternoon. By Shawn Wiles

Neither favorite prevailed in New York Sire Stakes action at Vernon Downs on Saturday (May 21) evening, with harness racing 3-year-old trotting colts Smalltownthrowdown ($8.70) and Sir Royson ($42.00) prevailing in their respective $61,300 events.   In the first division, carded as race six, Smalltownthrowdown yielded to even-money choice Allerage Echo (Jim Morrill, Jr.) upon reaching the backstretch, vacating the pegs and dueling to a 1-1/4 length victory after enjoying a clear tracking journey. Trainer Dan Daley drove the Cash Hall colt to a 1:56 score over sloppy going, defeating Allerage Echo by 1-1/4 lengths. Third-place finisher A Jersey Contract (Jeff Gregory) was 2-3/4 lengths farther back.   Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford, IV, Donald renner, and Richard Lombardo own Smalltownthrowdown.   The compexion of the eighth-race second division changed entirely when 2-5 favorite Dayson (Morrill) broke stride at race's midpoint. Jim Marohn, Jr. worked Sir Royson out of traffic on the far turn, drawing off to a 3-1/4 length victory in 1:56 after reeling in pacesetter Sweet Royalty (Gregory) in upper stretch. The Crazed colt sprinted off through a :27.4 final quarter mile to defeat Dexter Cup winner Dante (Oskar Florhed) and Reve Royale (Chris Lems) for trainer Linda Toscano and owner R-and-I Farms, LLC.   Marohn led all drivers with three wins on the 12-race program, also teaming up with Southern Palms ($15.60, 1:57.2) and Uncle Mack ($21.40, 1:58.1) in $15,000 Excelsior A events.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (May 27) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

The New York Sire Stakes seasons gets underway at Monticello Raceway on Monday May 23, as harness racing 3 Year Old Pacing Fillies take center stage. When Race Sectary Eric Warner opened the box there were a total of 44 fillies, this was broken down to 2 divisions of each the Excelsior A & Excelsior B series and 2 Sire Stake events. The A class's vie for a purse of $15,000 the B class's, races for $6,700, the Sire Stakes go for a purse $61,300 on the afternoons 11 race card. The action gets underway in Race 2, the 1st split of the Excelsior B Series. Monticello horseman Gary Messenger (Sultry Susan) PP1 and Frank Yanoti Were Gonna Rock (PP3) each have 1 entered. Race 3, is the first heat of Sire Stakes competition, 7 fillies will go behind the gate. Soft Idea looks to be tight after 3 Q's under her belt, the last one a wining effort in 1:54:4 for trainer Linda Toscano, the daughter of American Ideal won over $200,000 in her freshman season. Ron Burke will also bring his entry of Mother of Art (PP4) and Art Critic (PP6) to the fray. The final split of the Excelsior B class is race 3, Bullvillefirerworks will look to light up the sky from the rail. The Bullville Powerful filly who calls Monticello Raceway home, is looking for her second consecutive win, she won last week at her home track in 2:00:4, LQ of 29:1. Pop Art Delight, another Monticello Raceway juvenile with start from post 4, with Jim Taggart Jr aboard. The Excelsior A class starts in Race 5, Erv Millers, Rolling Going Gone starts from the rail for driver Marcus Miller, The Roll With Joe lass has been busy this year. Already with 11 starts under her belt this year and a mark of 1:55:4, taken at Yonkers. Race 7 denotes the final Excelsior A event on the card, this competitive legs will features LYRA (PP1) Milky Way Rae (PP6) Queen of Darkness will be dangerous with driver Jim Morrill Jr behind her for the first time. On paper, Race 8 appears to be the race of the day, the final division of the Sire Stakes eligible's, Vino and Formaggio, who was an impressive winner at Monticello Raceway in Sire Stakes action last year, in this same company, will start from the rail for trainer Ron Burke who also with sent entry mate Encore Deo (PP 6) with Matt Kakaley driving to post. Crawford Farms LLC, of Syracuse NY, sends forth, Angels Rockn Pink, the brown daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven will start from post 4, for master filly trainer Chris Oaks. Purchased as a yearling for $35,000, Angels Rockn Pink, hailed from the Diamond Creek consignment for her new owners Crawford Farms LLC. American Curves threw in an unexpected bad performance last start at Mohawk, prior to that, she was razor sharp grabbing an early season life mark of 1:56:3. By Shawn Wiles

The Empire's annual caravan made its seasonal downstate harness racing debut Monday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $164,672 New York Sire Stakes Joe Goldstein Trot for 3-year-old fillies. Not there's every a bad time to break a maiden, but going for $40,768 qualifies as a good time to do so. Pylon-diving (from post position No. 2), rank outsider Young Bridge (Scott Young, $60.50) saved every inch of ground in the second statebred event, getting to the line a nose before Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) in 1:58.3. Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) was a pocketed third as the 11-10 favorite. "I thought we had it won, but the stretch is long as I saw Mark (MacDonald, Straight A Student) coming on the far outside," Young said after his first local drive. "We always though this filly had some talent, but she was very hot as a 2-year-old. We've taken our time with her, and it seems to have paid off." Young Bride, a daughter of Lucky Chucky co-owned by Robert Young, Scott & Linda Worton and Premier & Associates Farm, she's now 1-for-4 this season and 1-for-8 in her brief career. The exacta paid $306.50, with the triple returning $915. George Brennan doubled his sire stakes fun, 'getting the bob' in the $40.768 opening event with pole-sitter Lindylicious ($10.80) in a life-best 1:58.4. Dizzy Broad (Morrill) was second as the 9-5 favorite, with Dazzling Dollars (Trond Smedshammer) third. For fourth choice Lindylicious, a Credit Winner miss co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Donald & Barbara Arnstine, it was her second win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $36.40, with the triple returning $118.50. Brennan was a pocketed winner in the $41,568 third NYSS grouping with Credit to Thelimit ($7.20), who picked off Canstopwontstop (Sears) by a length in 1:59.1. Zette Starlet (Smith) was a rallying third at 94-1, while 1-2 favorite Winning Princess (Morrill Jr.) jumped it off early. For second choice Credit to Thelimit, a daughter of Credit Winner trained by Sam Schillaci for co-owners Peter Barbato, Matthew Bencic, Peter Bova and Jodi Schillaci, it was her first win in four '16 tries, The exacta paid $28, with the triple returning $531. The evening's fastest was saved for the lastest, as last season's frosh divisional champ, Non Stick (Dan Dube, $2.70) handily won her soph debut. From post No. 5 in the $41,568 final NYSS event, the odds-on miss sailed through intervals of :29, :58.3; 1:27.3 and a life-best-matching 1:56.3. She defeated Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) by a length-and-a-half, with Fad Finance (Smedshammer) third. For Non Stick, a Lucky Chucky lass co-owned by (trainer) Ake Svanstedt and Little E LLC, she ran her perfect resume to 7-for-7. The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $34.20. Frank Drucker

Three-year-old gelding trotter Dayson (Yannick Gingras) was spectacular in his harness racing debut for the Ron Burke stable on Thursday at Harrah's Philadelphia. After going 7 for his first 7 as a 2-year-old, the altered son of Conway Hall broke in the New York Sire Stake's final as the heavy favorite, thus ending his undefeated streak. After a pair of qualifiers, he was entered in the featured event on Thursday, a trot for non-winners of $20,000 in their last 5 starts, or Non-winners of 9 races. He was sent immediately to the lead from post 8, brushing past the quarter pole. After rating quarter two, he was challenged by 25-time winner Escuela (Geo. Napolitano Jr.), but was up to the task. The margin of victory (3/4 of a length) does not reflect the ease with which he won, as he was under-wraps in a time of 1:53. The clocking was only 3/5ths of a second off of the track record for 3-year-old gelding trotters set by Pinkman last year. He is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stbls, J & T Silva Stables, and R. Smith. Michael Bozich

Nichols, N.Y. -- Tioga Downs has revamped its 2016 late-closing program to avail harness racing 3-year-olds opportunities to race in conjunction with the New York Sire Stakes schedule, with a quartet of estimated $25,000 finals scattered through May and June.   The Gail's Diner and Nichols True Value series, both for 3-year-old pacers which have not won two races or $25,000 at the close of nominations, will take place entirely in the month of May before the Sire Stakes season begins. The M&J Oil & Lube and Williams Auto series, both for trotters under the same conditions, are scheduled to take place in June while premier trotters compete in the Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon.   Each series will feature two preliminary legs worth $7500 apiece, with top earners reconvening for the final. Nominations close on March 15, 2016, with a fee of $300 per horse nominated due to the Tioga Downs Race Office along with the nomination blank available at http://tiogadowns.com/media/racing/lcad.pdf.   James Witherite

Latham, NY---There was a full slate of accolades to pass out on Sunday (Nov. 15) when Batavia Downs hosted the USTA District 8 and New York Sire Stakes year-end awards banquet. This marquee event was presented by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. The gathering of top names in harness racing from the Empire State mingled at a cocktail party in Grandstands Banquet Hall at Batavia Downs that was sponsored by all the harness tracks in the state, before sitting down to a dinner of surf and turf. The awards presentation, which included video highlights of all the winners, began just before dessert. The focus for many was the announcement of USTA District 8 horse of the year and when the envelope was opened; Crazy Wow took home the hardware. Crazy Wow (Crazed-No Pan No Gain 1:51.1, $1,260,540) is owned by Our Horse Cents Stable, JT45, J&T Silva Stables LLC and Deo Volente Farms LLC and is a student of Ron Burke. The ownership group purchased the colt at the end of his 2-year-old campaign (where he became the NYSS 2-year-old trotting colt champion) and Burke guided him to a million-dollar season on the Grand Circuit in 2015. After starting his 3-year-old campaign off winning two of three NYSS events, Crazy Wow began collecting major stakes. He won the $255,325 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs in a lifetime best 1:51.1 over an off-track. Next he took the $500,000 Colonial Trot at Pocono Downs. Then after an untimely break in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, he finished a fast-closing second to Hambletonian winner Pinkman, in the $532,000 Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk Raceway. Crazy Wow closed out the year with three out of four wins including the $109,000 Bluegrass Stake at the Red mile, $270,000 Erskine at Hoosier Park and the $243,550 Matron Stake At Dover Downs. For the year, Crazy Wow had nine wins in 17 starts and earned $1,027,612 in purses. The New York Sire Stake award winners featured some of the best horses in North America this year and in many cases, they outperformed their competition in any jurisdiction for their sex and gait. Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) was named the NYSS 3-year-old pacing colt of the year. Betting Exchange raced against the best 3-year-old pacers all year, acquitting himself well in every event. He finished second in the $380,000 Art Rooney at Yonkers and third behind Wakizashi Hanover and Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $810,000 North American Cup at Mohawk. He won three NYSS races including the $225,000 final. His seasonal mark tied the track record of 1:51.2 for 3-year-old pacing males at Batavia Downs and his 10 in-the-money finishes carded him $430,975 for the year. Habitat (Conway Hall-Habit's Best) was named the NYSS 3-year-old trotting colt of the year. Habitat started winning early in the year when he took the $133,170 Dexter Cup at Freehold on May 2, which was his seasonal bow. His schedule then turned quickly challenging. He finished second to Crazy Wow in the $255,325 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Down, second to Hambletonian champion, Pinkman in the $157,250 Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands before finishing off the board in the Hambletonian. But Habitat would rebound in a big way, taking the $500,000 Yonkers Trot just a week before winning the $225,000 NYSS final, also at Yonkers. He tallied eight wins for the year and stashed $727,814 in cash for his efforts. Travel Playlist (Art Major-Village Madonna), who was named the NYSS 2-year-old pacing colt of the year, was the fastest 2-year-old of his sex and gait in North America this year, taking a 1:49.2 record at Vernon Downs in a division of the NYSS on September 7. In his speedy, albeit abbreviated season, Travel Playlist won five NYSS events which helped him bank $252,570 for the year to go along with his National season's record. Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover), who was named the NYSS 2-year-old pacing filly of the year, set a world record for her sex and gait over a half-mile track when she circled the course at Batavia Downs in 1:52.4 on September 16. She won four NYSS events including the $225,000 final. Those wins figured into eight top-three finishes and they padded her account with $219,989 for the year. Jim Morrill Jr. was named the NYSS Driver of the Year. Morrill scored 44 victories in the series that earned over $1.8 million in purses for their connections. Morrill also registered an amazing .460 UDR for the entire NYSS season. Ron Burke was the NYSS Trainer of the Year. Burke campaigned 29 horses on the Empire circuit this year and they account for 31 wins and just under $1.6 million in purses. Burke's trainees earned checks 74% of the time in races they competed in. And the NYSS Breeder of the Year was Winbak Farm. The 21 horses bred by Winbak earned $778,238 in the NYSS over the year and earned purse checks 72% of the time. Here is a complete list of all the New York Sires Stakes champions: 2015 USTA DISTRICT 8 CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Goosbump Hanover Owners: Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva Stables, Crawford Farms & Joseph Di Scala Jr. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Dime A Dance Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc.& J & T Silva Stables 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Barn Doll  Owners: Steven & Nancy Pratt & Purple Haze Stables LLC 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Divine Caroline  Owners: Michael Ouriel, Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz & Rojan Stables 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Dayson  Owners: Margaret Butler & Amy Butler 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Travel Playlist  Owners: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Ronald Michelon, Taylor Made Stallions & Frederick Hertrich III 3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Crazy Wow  Owners: Our Horse Cents Stable, JT45, J&T Silva Stables & Deo Volente Farms 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Penji Hanover  Owner: W. Springtime Racing Stable DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Jim Morrill Jr TRAINER OF THE YEAR-George Ducharme HORSE OF THE YEAR-Crazy Wow 2015 NEW YORK SIRE STAKES CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) Owners: Ake Svanstedt Inc.& Little E LLC Breeders: Michael Andrew & Steve Stewart Trainer: Ake Svanstedt Driver: Daniel Dube NYSS Earnings: $178,948 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe- Hat Dance Hanover) Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. & J &T Silva Stables Breeders: Eugene Kurzrok, Richard Taylor & Stephen Springer Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Matt Kakaley NYSS Earnings: $214,016 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Jewels In Hock (Credit Winner -Jewels Galore) Owner: KJ Stables LLC  Breeder: Steve Jones Trainer: Linda Toscano  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $293,553 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Band Of Angels (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) Owner: WJ Donovan  Breeders: Steve Stewart & Birch Hollow Farms Trainer: Ron Burke  Driver: Jason Bartlett NYSS Earnings: $206,569 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Allerage Echo (Conway Hall- Echonomical) Owner: Kenneth Jacobs  Breeder: Little E LLC Trainer: George Ducharme Driver: Brian Sears NYSS Earnings: $261,939 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Travel Playlist Art Major -- Village Madonna Owners: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Ronald Michelon, Taylor Made Stallions & Frederick Hertrich III Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Erv Miller  Driver: Marcus Miller NYSS Earnings: $234,695 3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Habitat (Conway Hall- Habit's Best) Owners: Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables & Weaver Bruscemi LLC Breeder: Fredericka Caldwell Trainer: Ron Burke  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $158,375 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight- Cheeky Hanover) Owners: Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz & Tom Fanning Breeder: Flintlock Farm Inc. Trainer: Tom Fanning  Driver: Jason Bartlett NYSS Earnings: $201,437 DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Jim Morrill Jr. TRAINER OF THE YEAR-Ron Burke BREEDER OF THE YEAR-Winbak Farm 2015 NEW YORK-BRED EXCELSIOR CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Outsidecourt (Conway Court-Getaway Cheyenne) Owner: P&J Stables  Breeder: P&J Stables Trainer: Gary Messenger  Driver: Bruce Aldrich Jr. NYSS Earnings: $46,800 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Lyra (American Ideal- Hypnotize) Owners: Stephen Schneider, William Siegel & Marthe Drolet Breeder: Winbak Farm  Trainer: Jean Drolet Driver: John Cummings Jr. NYSS Earnings: $58,050 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Out In The Country Stable Breeder: Morrisville Col Fdn Inc. Trainer: Howard Okusko Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $41,100 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Hey Kobe (Bettor's Delight-American West) Owners: Stephen Schneider & William Siegel Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. Trainer: Jean Drolet  Driver: Matt Kakaley NYSS Earnings: $53,250 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Boxall (Credit Winner -Vallaire) Owner: Little E LLC Breeder: David Anderson Trainer: Jessica Okusko  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $42,000 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Artmagic (Art Major-Sammy's Magic Girl  Owner: Purple Haze Stables LLC Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farm Inc. Trainer: Trond Smedshammer Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $38,700 3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Andy Ray (Crazed-Crown N Lindy) Owners: Paymaq Racing, Ronald Michelon & Harvey Eisman Breeder: Lindy Racing Stable Trainer: Erv Miller Driver: Andy Miller NYSS Earnings: $46,425 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Masterson (Bettor's Delight-Tug River Princess) Owner: Let It Ride Stbls.Inc., Robert Cooper Stables LLC & Jerry Silva Breeders: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Trainer: Tracy Brainard  Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $56,250 DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Jim Morrill Jr. TRAINER OF THE YEAR-George Ducharme BREEDER OF THE YEAR-Winbak Farm 2015 NEW YORK COUNTY FAIR CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Linda's Choice (Conway Hall-Howard's Sister) Owner: Philip Hale Breeder: Philip Hale Trainer: David Dewhurst Driver: James Devaux NYSS Earnings: $8,850 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Niche Blue Chip (Art Major- PW Spare) Owners: Elizabeth & Dyce Spalluto, Veronica Dylo & David Widzinski Breeder: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Trainer: Mihalo Zdjelar Jr. Driver: Gregory Merton  NYSS Earnings: $12,857 3 -YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Hollywood Jess (Conway Hall-Howard's Sister) Owners: Philip Hale & David Dewhurst  Breeder: Philip Hale Trainer: David Dewhurst Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $10,925 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Maya Scape (Kenneth J-AB Seascape) Owner: Laurier Sauve  Breeder: Howard Stables Trainer/Driver: Henry Westbrook III    NYSS Earnings: $11,875 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Trooper Jim (Conway Hall- Alpine Goal) Owners: Heather & Barry White Breeder: Barry White Trainer: Barry White  Driver: Bruce Aldrich Jr. NYSS Earnings: $7,585 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Americanation (American Ideal- Cool World) Owner: Pine Hill Stables Breeder: George Miller Trainer: Jeffrey Johnson Jr. Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $7,275 3 -YEAR-OLD COLT TROT J A T O (Big Apple Deli-Highwaytoheaven) Owners: Margaret & Amy Butler Breeder: Steuben Farms Trainer: Margaret Butler Driver: Douglas Ackley NYSS Earnings: $17,787 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Adonis Bay (If I Can Dream-Kiss Me I'm Lucky) Owner: Harold Smith  Breeder: Bulletproof Enterprises Trainer: Harold Smith  Driver: James Devaux NYSS Earnings: $11,757 DRIVER OF THE YEAR-Truman Gale TRAINER OF THE YEAR-David Dewhurst BREEDER OF THE YEAR-Winbak Farm By Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State

Batavia, NY---On Sunday (Nov. 15), Batavia Downs will be the site for the USTA District 8 membership meeting, Director election and New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) year-end awards banquet, hosted by the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. All members of USTA District 8 are invited to attend the general membership meeting which begins at 5 p.m. in the Robert J. Kane board room. The agenda includes a discussion of proposed USTA rule changes and other business, followed by questions and answers. There will also be membership voting for two Director’s seats that are currently available and polls will open at 4 p.m. If you are not attending in person, be advised that your mailed ballot must be received by the USTA no later than November 11. At the conclusion of the meeting, there will be a cocktail party (open bar) held in advance of the dinner that will start at 6:30 p.m. and be hosted by Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Raceway, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. Cocktails and hors devours will be available at in the Grandstands Banquet Room, located on the upper level. Dinner will start at 7:30 p.m. and will also be held in Grandstands. Shortly after dinner begins, opening remarks will kick off the NYSS awards ceremony and presentations by the USTA and the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. Tickets for the banquet are $30 per person and must be purchased in advance. Anyone purchasing a ticket will also receive $15 worth of "free-play" on the gaming floor. Tickets can be obtained by sending a check (payable to the NYS Harness Horse Breeders) to NYS Harness Horse Breeders, 12 Avis Drive, Suite 1, Latham, NY 12110 Attention: Betty. Payment must arrive no later than Wednesday (Nov. 11) and the general public is welcome to attend. If you need further assistance, please call the HHBNYS at 518-785-5858.  By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Artmagic (Art Major) set a track record for two year old gelding pacers on Thursday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as he scored in the $45,000 co-featured New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series Final. The Trond Smedshammer-trained freshman sat the pocket and pounced in the stretch with driver Jim Morrill Jr in the sulky. Morrill piloted Artmagic to his first career victory just two weeks ago at Saratoga and followed it up with a lifetime best and track record-setting performance on Thursday as he stopped the timer in 1:54.1. Morrill drove another track record-setter on Thursday as the veteran reinsman sat behind upset winner Boxall (Credit Winner) in the Excelsior Final for freshman trotting colts. The Jessica Okusko-trained Boxall, dismissed at odds of 15-1, came from off the pace to record his win in 1:58.1, a track record for two year old trotting colts. Outsidecourt (Conway Court) upset the big favorite in the two year old trotting filly division of the Excelsior Finals. The freshman filly charged past the favorite to prevail in 1:58.4 for trainer Gary Messenger and reinsman Bruce Aldrich Jr. Lyra (American Ideal) scored in the Excelsior Final for freshman filly pacers, winning on the front end for driver John Cummings Jr and conditioner Jean Drolet. Lyra's fifth victory of the campaign came in 1:56. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 26, 2015 -Yonkers Raceway Saturday night hosted New York Night of Champions (Part II), featuring four, $225,000 New York Sire Stakes Finals for harness racing two-year-olds. The NYSS events were each again sponsored by a prominent Empire breeding farm. The skinny… Allerage Farm Colt/Gelding Trot - After a perfect (7-for-7) summer, 3-10 favorite Dayson (Jeff Gregory) “chose” the fall to have his first fall. He jumped it off leaving the gate, caught the field, then broke again. That left the aptly-named Allerage Echo (Brian Sears, $11.80) with a lonesome lead, and he did the rest. Starting from post position No. 3, he traversed the terrain (:29, :58.3, 1:28, 1:57.2) in a life-best effort. Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) closed well for second, beaten 2½ lengths, with Reve Royale (Jason Bartlett) third. That one was a stablemate of the winner, but raced uncoupled (bona fide separate ownership).   For third choice Allerage Echo, a Conway Hall gelding trained by George Ducharme for owner Ken Jacobs, it was his fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $160, with the triple returning $833. ”It’s his determination,” Ducharme said. “He just tries every start, and the big track won’t pick him up. He goes as fast on a half as he does on the mile. “We’re looking forward to next season.” Allerage Echo Crawford Farms LLC Filly Trot - Nothing has been able to stick with Non Stick (Dan Dube, $6.60), who made in six wins in as many starts. From post No. 5, he wanted the lead (:28.4), then rated the rest to his satisfaction. (:58.4, 1:28.2, 1:58.2). The final margin, over Dazzling Dollars (Trond Smedshammer), was 2¾ lengths, with Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) a pocket third as part of the 13-10 favored entry. Dizzy Broad (Matt Kakaley), “Goosebump’s” partner, was fourth, with Posterity (Charlie Norris) fifth. For third choice Non Stick, a daughter of Lucky Chucky co-owned by (trainer) Ake Svanstedt and Little E LLC, it was her third win with Dube doing the honors. The exacta paid $47.80, the triple returned $144 and the superfecta paid $367. “She does everything right,” Dube said. “She wants to do it and she’s just going to get better.” Non Stick Winbak Farm Filly Pace - They gave Dime a Dance (Kakaley, $6.20, part of three-headed entry) some pace to chase, and she did the rest. From post No. 7, she saw an early scrum between 9-5 fave Time on My Hands (Bartlett), American Ivy (Sears) and track record-holder Soft Idea (Morrill Jr.). That trio forced the issue (:26.3, :55.3), with Dime and Dance slipping in fourth. She engaged Soft Idea toward a 1:24.1 three-quarters, eventually whipping an inside-diving Time on My Hands by a length-and-a-half. Soft Idea faded to third, beaten 2½ lengths.    For second choice Dime a Dance (and partners), a daughter of Roll with Joe trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Blue Chip Bloodstock, Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva Stables, it was her fourth (consecutive) win in nine ’15 tries. The exacta paid $16.60, with the triple returning $41. “A sweetheart to drive,” Kakaley said. “I loved the speed duel in front of me, and she took over from there.”   Dime a Dance Genesee Valley Farm Colt/Gelding Pace - As with Non Stick, odds-on Travel Playlist (Marcus Miller, $3.30) entered the evening undefeated. Making short work his rivals from post No. 7, he stepped swiftly early, then won under wraps (:26.2, :55.4, 1:25.2, 1:54.3). “Playlist” put away a second move from Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace winner Autotune Hanover (Tyler Buter) down the backside, widened to three lengths entering the lane before winning by 2½ lengths. Fine Diamond (Kakaley) rallied well for bridesmaid honors as the 67-1 rank outsider, with Autotune Hanover holding third.    For Travel Playlist, a son of Art Major trained by Erv Miller for co-owners Blue Chip Bloodstock, Ronald Michelon, Taylor Made Stallions and Fred Hertrich III, he’s now 5-for-5 to begin his career. The exacta paid $124.50, with the triple returning $250.  “I didn’t want to leave that hard just to get away third,” Marcus Miller said. “He’s just a smart colt. He allows me to race him when I need to and back it down when I can. I saw the fillies tire after some fast fractions in their race, but he felt very good.” Travel Playlist Saturday night’s pair of $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by… --Pace, Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, $3.90) in 1:50.4; --Trot, Melady’s Monet (Bartlett, $2.70) in 1:55.2. Special Saturday props to Limelight Beach (Brennan, $4.70), whose 1:50.1 flogging of the field in the $36,000 seventh-race pace matched the all-age (Crombie A, Forty Five Red) track record. Frank Drucker

It was a sweep by offspring of the late, great Rocknroll Hanover in a trio of stakes for New Jersey-sired pacers on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at the harness racing meeting at Freehold Raceway. Rock N' Roll World captured the New Jersey Futurity while Babic Finals went to Ideal Rocky and On Topof the Rock. In a battle to the wire between a pair of Mark Silva trainees, Rock N' Roll World [Rocknroll Hanover] drew off from Dealt A Winner for a length and a quarter victory in the $37,500 New Jersey Futurity for three-year-old pacers, the eighth race, in a sizzling 1:52.3. Rock N' Roll World [$2.80], sent off as the 2-5 favorite, cut the fractions with Daniel Dube driving. Jason Bartlett sent Cane Pace victor Dealt A Winner [Cam's Card Shark], the 8-5 second choice, after his stablemate but had to settle for second. It was 11 lengths to third-place Strut My Stuff [Western Ideal], one of three fillies in the field. Owned by Jeffrey Snyder of New York City and Three Decades Ra of Moorestown, NJ, Rock N' Roll World posted his third win of the year, finishing in-the-money in 10 of 16 starts this year. Lifetime, he has banked more than $270,000. He was bred by MJG Racing & Hill View Enterprises. The New Jersey Futurity is sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. Ideal Rocky, who won the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship in July at the Meadowlands, turned in an effortless two and a half-length victory in the $85,400 Lou Babic Final for two-year-old New Jersey-sired pacing colts, the sixth race. Corey Callahan guided even-money Ideal Rocky [$4] to an early lead and held off 6-5 Boston Red Rocks. It was 10 lengths to Don'tcallmefrancis in third. All three are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. Ideal Rocky paced the mile in 1:55.1, picking up his fourth win of the year. He has finished in-the-money in seven of nine starts for earnings of $198,163 for the ownership of William Wiswell of Elkhorn, WI; Janet Goehlen of Aurora, IL and Eugene Schick of Elgin, IL. John Butenschoen trains the colt who was bred by Fashion Farms. It took a photo to separate the top three finishers in the $56,000 Lou Babic Final for two-year-old New Jersey-sired pacing fillies. On Top Ofthe Rock [Rocknroll Hanover], in the middle of the three-way finish, got up for a nose victory over Queenofthedreams [If I Can Dream] with a neck back to LL Jackpot [Philos Hanover] in third. The time of the mile was 2:01 flat. The race was contested prior to the betting program. Steve Smith guided the Karen Garland trainee to her first victory in her third career start. In her first two outings, she finished third and then second to LL Jackpot in New Jersey Sire Stakes - Green Acres events the prior two weeks. Owned by Night Rogue Racing Stable of Hillsborough, NJ; David Rousso of Aventura, FL; Charles Krippendorf of Spring Lake, NJ and Stephen Smith of Freehold, NJ, she has now banked $30,590. Bred by Goldfinger Enterprises, she was a $25,000 Harrisburg Yearling Sale purchase. The Lou Babics are sponsored by the New Jersey Sire Stakes. Carol Hodes            

Yonkers Raceway hosts New York Night of Champions (Part II) Saturday night (Sept. 26), featuring four, $225,000 sire stakes finals for 2-year-olds.   The NYSS events, each sponsored by a prominent breeding farm, go as races two through five on the dozen-race card, with the usual first post of 7:10 PM.   A quick, hot-off-the-presses look at the quartet…   Second Race (Allerage Farm Colt/Gelding Trot) They haven’t knocked off Dayson (Jeff Gregory, post 4) all summer, as evidenced by his 7-for-7 ($182,612) seasonal resume. Having already earned ten times his purchase  price, the Conway Hall gelding looks to complete his run of the statebred table.   Reve Royale (Brian Sears, post 2) and Allerage Echo (Sears also listed, post 3) have each won four races this season.   Third Race (Crawford Farms Filly Trot) Points leader Posterity (Charlie Norris, post 4) has, obviously, been as consistent as of these lasses (7 starts, 5 wins, 2 seconds, $88,046), while no one has stuck it to Non Stick (Dan Dube, post 5) quite yet (5-for-5, $72,948).   Both are Lucky Chucky lasses.   Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill Jr., post 8) needed more influence with the draw, but she enters with three consecutive victories.      Fourth Race (Winbak Farm Filly Pace) Divisional diva Soft Idea (Morrill Jr., post 6) strolls into the finale with six wins (2-for-2 here, including a track record [1:53.4]), a second and a third ($144,407). The daughter of American Ideal is surrounded, at least at the outset, by a three-headed, Ron Burke-trained ‘monster’ in Mother of Art (Matt Kakaley, post 5), Dime a Dance (Kakaley also listed, post 7) and Encore Deo (George Brennan, post 8). Of those, the middle sister appears the scariest.   No Clouds Bluechip (Sears, post 3) has also enjoyed a six-figure season.    Fifth Race (Genesee Valley Farm Colt/Gelding Pace) Much intrigue because of the draw, which banished Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace winner Autotune Hanover (Tyler Buter, post 8) and the undefeated (4-for-4) Travel  Playlist (Marcus Miller, post 7) to the two outside venues.    Both are sons of Art Major. “Autotune’s” enrtymate, points champ Joe Larry N Curly (Morrill Jr., post 4)—he a Roll with Joe colt—enters with five wins in eight seasonal starts and leads his weight class in earnings ($171,781).    Note program changes shall be made Wednesday morning. Frank Drucker  

Vernon, N.Y. -- After rating a soft 1:00 middle half, Dayson ($3.10) kicked clear at will in upper stretch, keeping a career-long winning harness racing streak alive in Friday (September 18) evening's New York Sire Stakes races at Vernon Downs.   Twelve 2-year-old trotters, split into two equal divisions of six, vied for $107,000 in combined purses in the evening's co-featured events. Dayson, sent off the odds-on favourite in the second division (race 6), allowed Crown Point (Dan Daley) to vault clear in the initial furlong before making his move to the fore. Just having passed the winning post on the first occasion, Jeff Gregory floated the gelded son of Conway Hall and Nervey's Taurus clear, taking over through a :27.4 initial quarter before backing down a 1:00 middle half. Faced with a first-over challenge from Dog Gone Lucky (John Campbell) upon exiting the far turn, Dayson dug in at once, kicking clear upon cornering. While Dog Gone Lucky failed to sustain his bid, the second-over Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) gave late chase, only mustering a runner-up effort while 1-3/4 lengths in arrears of the undefeated Dayson's 1:55.2 mile.   Howard Okusko trains Dayson--now perfect through seven races--for Margaret and Amy Butler.   The earlier division saw Reve Royale ($3.50) make an early push to the lead, clearing Smalltownthrowdown (Daley) after a :28.3 initial quarter before rating a 1:00.2 middle half and subsequently holding off a stout challenge from his pocket rival for the length of the stretch to narrowly prevail in 1:57.1. Chris Lems drove the son of RC Royalty and Dream Street for trainer George Ducharme and owners Raymond Campbell, Jr., Paul Fontaine, and Alfred Ross.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 19) evening, with the first of 14 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time. The program features the $45,000 finals of the New York Excelsior Series for 3-year-olds, along with the $50,000 New York Sire Stakes consolations for 3-year-olds.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Joe Larry N Curly (Roll With Joe) broke the track record for harness racing two year old pacers on Thursday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Mark Harder-trained freshman colt was the public's overwhelming betting favorite in the $73,712 New York Sire Stake race on a beautiful afternoon in the Spa City. Jim Morrill Jr. piloted the two year old pacing star and moved him to the lead going to the opening quarter. Only briefly confronted in the mile, Joe Larry N Curly was confidently piloted and well in hand at the wire while a measured one length winner in 1:53.1. The win time bested the previous mark of 1:53.3 for a freshman pacing colt set by Heston Blue Chip on the Night of Champions at Saratoga in 2011. The victory moved Joe Larry N Curly's record to five for eight in the win column for the breakout freshman star of the NY Sire Stakes who will head into next week's Night of Champions as one ofthe favorites. Harder won the other $73,712 division of the NYSS as well as his Autotune Hanover (Art Major) cruised to victory in 1:54.2 with Tyler Buter at the lines. For Autotune Hanover, it was the fourth win in eight tries on the season. Live racing continues on Friday night with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella    

Vernon, N.Y. -- A dozen 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings square off in two $53,500 New York Sire Stakes events on Friday (September 18) evening at Vernon Downs, while top New York-sired 3-year-olds vie for their share of $380,000 in an octet of Excelsior finals and Sire Stakes consolations on the Saturday (September 19) program.   Friday's freshman card features undefeated Dayson, a winner six times in as many starts with a career bankroll of $155,862 and a mark of 1:56 taken at Tioga. The son of Conway Hall has been installed the 9-5 morning line favourite in his division, carded as race 6, and Jeff Gregory handles the driving duties for trainer Howard Okusko. Among the five rivals Dayson will face is Dog Gone Lucky (John Campbell), who proved a faster winner at Tioga earlier in the season with a 1:55.4 triumph.   Saturday's program features a quartet of Sire Stakes consolations for 3-year-olds, each with a purse of $50,000; and four Excelsior finals, each worth $45,000. Notable contenders on the evening's 14-race card include Fashion Creditor (NYSS colt trot, 1:52.3m, Jim Morrill, Jr.), Barn Girl (Excelsior filly trot, 1:56.1s, Jeff Gregory), Crazshana (Excelsior colt trot, 1:54.1s, Trond Smedshammer), and Gold Coast Muscle (Excelsior colt pace, 1:50.4f, Mike Simons).   The Saturday program at the Miracle Mile also includes the culmination of the Vernon Downs Racing Under Saddle series, featuring a field of five trotters to compete in a non-wagering event.   First post each night is 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs 

Batavia, NY---A lightning-fast track and 80 degree temperatures greeted the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old pacing fillies at Batavia Downs where two divisions offering a total of $109,000 in purses, along with important points needed to make the NYSS final, were up for grabs on Wednesday night (Sept. 16). Prohibitive 2-5 favorite Dime A Dance didn't dissapoint her backers as she put on a show in her $54,500 division, winning in definitive style and resetting the world's record for a 2-year-old pacing filly over a half-mile track. Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) took off the pace fourth and watched as No Clouds Bluechip (Kevin Cummings) and American Ivy (Mark Macdonald) duked it out for the lead in a fast :26.4 quarter. From there, the field remained stagnant until the half when Mother Of Art (John Cummings Jr.) pulled first over from third and Dime A Dance (Matt Kakaley) took cover second-over behind her. The group picked up the pace with a :28.4 third panel but that wasn't fast enough for the eventual winner. Dime A Dance swung three-deep at that station and circled the field to clear and pull away by three-lengths in an impressive and uncontested victory in 1:52.4. The time was a new world's record for 2-year-old pacing fillies, besting that of Isabella Blue Chip's 1:53.1 at Delaware, Ohio in 2006. It was also a new track record for Batavia Downs, smashing the old standard of 1:54.2 set by Sassa Hanover just last year. "She's definitely one of the better fillies this year. She was just awesome tonight; she could have paced faster" said driver Matt Kakaley. It was the third win in eight starts for Dime A Dance ($2.90) and it pushed her earnings to $101,513 for owners Our Horse Cents Stable, Blue Chip Bloodstock and J&T Silva Stables. The filly is trained by Ron Burke. In the first $54,500 division, Encore Deo hung on strong down the lane for a close victory over Art Critic. Wishy Washy Girl (Ray Schnittker) took a quick, early lead before yielding to Encore Deo (Matt Kakaley) before the quarter that went in :28. The field remained single-file to the half before the heavily favored Upside Surprise (Mike Micallef) pulled from fifth to start her outside trek. Upside Surprise got to third and hung and couldn't gain anymore as the leader took the field to three quarters in 1:25.4. Positions stayed the same to the top of the stretch and Encore Deo was riding a short lead when Art Critic (Jim Morrill Jr.) swung inside the fading Wishy Washy Girl and came up the pylons. The two battled in deep stretch with Encore Deo just hanging on by a nose in 1:55.1. "I wanted to try her on the lead tonight. At three-quarters I thought I was going to win but it got a little close there at the end" said Matt Kakaley. It was the second win in eight starts for Encore Deo ($13.40) and the winning time was a new lifetime mark for the filly. The winner's share of the purse pushed her earnings to $56,578 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Jason Melillo and Lawrence Carr. Ron Burke mentors the filly. There were also two divisions of the $15,000 NYSS excelsior series on Wednesday. The first split was won by Major Millie (Art Major-Gravity) in 1:57. The filly is trained by Erv Miller and was driven to the victory by Matt Kakaley. Major Millie ($9.10) is owned by KDM Stables Corp. The second stanza was won by Milky Way Rae (American Ideal-Aurora Borealus) in a swift 1:55.3. She is trained by Tracy Brainard and was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Milky Way Rae ($3.90) is owned by Fortunate One LLC. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 18) at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

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