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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) hosted its Annual Awards Banquet December 2 at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, honoring the top horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the 2018 harness racing season. Awards were given to the 2 and 3-year old champions across the three racings series: the New York Sire Stakes, the Excelsior Series and the County Fair Series. This season's NYSS "Night of Champions" was held at the Yonkers Raceway on September 22. Taking home a combined $1.8 million in purses were champions Winndevie (Credit Winner-Vida De Vie), Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows), Money Shot Hanover (Art Major-Marinade Hanover), Reigning Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Little Miss K), Plunge Blue Chip (Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato), Helpisontheway (Chapter Seven-Porque), Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom), and Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Capelo Rose). The title of Leading Breeder went to Winbak Farm, Linda Toscano took home Leading Trainer and Jim Morrill Jr. was honored with Leading Driver of 2018. The 2019 Night of Champions' date was unveiled during the awards banquet. New York's richest night of racing will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Batavia Downs. The evening honored the NYSS Excelsior Champions, who took home $55,000 each at Saratoga Casino Hotel on September 23. The 2018 champions are Lifetime Credit (Credit Winner-Mariah De Vie), Labadee As (Conway Hall-Smith Hall), Heavens Challenge (Rock N Roll Heaven-Challenge Accepted), Cal (American Ideal-Hula's Z Tam), Michando (Muscle Mass-Haul'n Fanny), Nows The Moment (Credit Winner-Glide By), Special Kay Deo (American Ideal-Little Miss K), and Thor De Vie (So Surreal-Pebblebeach De Vie). The evening also celebrated the NYSS County Fair Champions, crowned at Monticello Raceway on September 6, following two months of racing at 20 county fairs across New York State. Each final carried a purse of $10,000, collected by Golden Gypsy (Ulay Boko-Uffra Girl), Hereyago (Muscle Mass-End of Innocence), Lily Hammer (So Surreal-Jens Underdog), Cal (Roll With Joe-Crystal De Vie), Good Luck Ginny (Lucky Chucky-Classical Ginny), Royal Bahama (RC Royalty - Becca J), Heaven's Diva (Rock N Roll Heaven-Village Bolero), and Super Roll (Roll With Joe-Calista). Joseph Chinado Sr. took home Leading Trainer, and his son, Joseph Chindano Jr. took home the title of Leading Driver of 2018. "It's always a special evening to be able to reflect on the past season and relive so many of the impressive moments from the New York Sire Stakes," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "We want to thank Batavia Downs for their incredible hospitality and we look forward to being back here next fall for the 2019 Night of Champions." The USTA District 8 Champions recognized at the banquet included Winndevie, Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna), Brooklyn Lilacs (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sombodythatiustono), Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star), Atlanta (Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip), Perlucky (Lucky Chucky-Paper Girl), Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie), and Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N). Atlanta took home the coveted title of Horse of the Year, while Toscano was named as Trainer of the Year, Morrill Jr. as Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year and Chindano Jr. as County Fair Driver of The Year. The Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal was awarded to longtime NYSS supporter and Standardbred owner, Kenneth Jacobs. The medal is presented annually by Harness Horse Breeders of New York State in recognition of outstanding contributions to harness horse racing and the improvement of breeding Standardbred horses in New York. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund) is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Jason Politi | Baker Public Relations

A reminder that today (Nov. 21) is the deadline to RSVP for the New York Sire Stakes & US Trotting Association District 8 (Upstate New York) Annual Awards Banquet. Please RSVP via phone or email to Judy Spadaro at 518-694-5002 or jspadaro@caphill.com. The banquet will be held Sunday, Dec. 2 at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel. The cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., hosted by USTA District 8 Tracks. The awards banquet will follow immediately at 7:30 p.m. in the Grandstands Banquet Room. Tickets are $35. Payment should be made out and sent to: Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund C/O CHMS 230 Washington Avenue Extension, Suite 201 Albany, NY 12203 A special room rate of $99 has been arranged for all banquet attendees at the Hotel at Batavia Downs. Reservations can be made online by using Code NYSS2, or by calling 585-815-7000. Tell the desk you are making a reservation for the New York Sire Stakes banquet to receive the discounted rate. Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the banquet. From the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund  

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes has announced annual Breeders Awards for the 2018 racing season, totaling $1,000,000. Payment packages will be mailed to the recipients over the coming days. The full list of awards can be found at the New York Sire Stakes website. The Breeders Awards program provides rewards for each level of New York Sire Stakes racing: Sire Stakes, Excelsior Series and County Fairs. The awards are residency based, rewarding breeders who keep their mares in New York State for at least 180 days during the year of conception, thereby contributing to the agricultural economy. The program is designed to stimulate New York State's agriculture sector and support New York farms. Top award winners in 2018, with key earners in parenthesis, include: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. - $165,587.44 (Plunge Blue Chip, Quincy Blue Chip), Winbak Farm - $87,405.15 (Courtly Choice, My Delight), Crawford Farms LLC - $58,525.64 (St Somewhere), Richard Balog - $44,833.48 (Helpisontheway), and Steve Jones - $43,541.87 (Hickfromfrenchlick). "Breeders are the foundation of the harness racing industry. We are proud to support the investment they make in maintaining exceptional broodmares right here in the Empire State when breeding to New York-registered stallions," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "As the demand and quality of New York horses continues to be strong, so will the economic and agricultural benefits that the Standardbred breeding and racing industries provide to the State of New York." This year, the equivalent of nearly 20 percent of a 2-year-old's earnings were returned to their breeder and more than 15 percent of a 3-year-old's earnings were returned to their breeder. This calculation is made each year depending on the pool of resident mares and the Sire Stakes program earnings of the resulting foals. In addition, 12 breeders earned more than $15,000 in Breeders Awards and 161 different entities will receive funds in 2018. The largest single Breeders Award earner this year was Helpisontheway (Chapter Seven), the 3-year-old trotting filly who won on the Night of Champions and earned $262,000 of her $485,000 in purses this season in the New York Sire Stakes program. Her performance alone returned $40,846.43 to breeder Richard Balog. The top Breeders Awards earners over their 2- and 3-year-old seasons combined were all fillies. Pacer Alexis Faith earned $54,230.79 for breeder Melvin Segal during her Sire Stakes career. Close behind were trotters Lucky Ava, who earned $52,803.99 over two years for breeder Little E LLC, and Plunge Blue Chip, who scored $49,300.05 for breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock. The New York Sire Stakes is the state's premier harness racing program for 2- and 3-year-old Standardbreds designed to stimulate the breeding, buying and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State. It is the nation's oldest harness racing program of its kind has served as a model for state-bred racing programs. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund) is a public benefitcorporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the Fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the State. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Additionally, the Fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research. From the New York Sire Stakes

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 22, 2018-What did we learn Saturday (Sept. 22nd) during Yonkers Raceway's hosting of the Empire State's richest night of racing, the 29th New York Night of Champions? The $1.8 million event-eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals for freshmen and sophomores of both sexes and gaits-produced the expected, the unexpected and the 'it's a good thing no one was hurt." ACT I-The Expected Odds-on numbers Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer, $2.30), Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, $2.30), Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt, $2.20), Wisdom Tree (Tim Tetrick, $2.50) and Helpisontheway (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.50) delivered their short parimutuel promises. Winndevie grinded by leader Quincy Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.), winning the Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Filly Trot in 1:59. The latter led through intervals of :28.2, :59 and 1:27.4, but couldn't stall the first-over (from post position No. 2) foe, who prevailed by three-quarters of a length. Sensibility (Jordan Stratton) was third, with Amal Hall (Andy Miller) fourth. The daughter of Credit Winner, trained by her driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, is now 6-for-7 this season (3-for-3 here), with earnings of $227,858. The exacta paid $8.50, the triple returned $42.40 and the superfecta paid $108.50. Despite the win, Winndevie's 'date' did not seem impressed. "She wasn't at her best," Smedshammer said. "She's much better in the turns than she was tonight. Very bumpy. She won because no one else was there with her." Smedshammer said Winndevie was eligible to the Breeders Crown, but '"the way she was tonight, she's better off out in the field." Gimpanzee made it 7-for-7, winning the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot in 1:56.3...a track record for his weight class. From post No. 5, he was third at the :28.2 quarter-mile, then made the lead before a :58.2 intermission. He then finished it off, getting a 1:27.1 three-quarters before that new track standard. Gimpanzee defeated Thunder (Jason Bartlett) by a half-length, his narrowest margin of victory this season. Our White Knight (Miller) was third-some dozen lengths behind-with Horns for Three (Jim Maroon Jr.) fourth. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven, saw the bankroll improve to $278,858 for co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $3.40, the triple returned $11.40 and the superfecta paid $94. "Very professional, very mature," Sears said, "He knows what he has to do and goes out there and does it." "I knew all along he'd be a good one, from when he was training down," trainer Marcus Melander said. "Just a good horse to be around." All-age track record-holder Plunge Blue Chip had nary more than a qualifier for money in the Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Trot. From post No. 2-and one Svanstedt's five entrants in the race-she strolled early and lost 'em late (:29.2, :58.1, 1:26.3, 1:55.3). Plunge Blue Chip avenged last season's poor sire stakes finale effort, rolling home by seven lengths. Lima Novelty (Morrill Jr.) was the best of the rest, with Ciao Dolce (Miller) and Fury Road (Dan Dube) rounding out the gimmick finishers. Plunge Blue Chip, a Muscle Mass lass, has six wins, three seconds and thirds in 11 '18 tries ($485,101). She is co-owned by her driver/trainer Blue Chip Bloodstock, Little E LLC, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables. Wisdom Tree was the best in her division coming in and coming out, easily winning the Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Pace. From post No. 4, she worked around Newsday (Stratton), then had few issues (:27.4, :57.1, 1:25.2, 1:53.2). Wisdom Tree defeated Newsday by a length-and-a-half, with a first-up Alexis Faith (Morrill Jr.) third and Checkered Past (Bartlett) fourth. It was the 11th win in 14 seasonal starts ($387,351) for Wisdom Tree, a daughter of Betterthancheddar co-owned by Thomas Pollack & Jeff Cullipher and trained by Ed Hart. The exacta paid $9.10, the triple returned $22.40 and the superfecta paid $63.50. "I'm glad it's over," Hart said. "She's been racing on the front every start, probably because she's the best in there. We haven't put her in a lot of the open stakes since we wanted to stay in the sires, but she's eligible to one at Indiana (Hoosier), Northfield and the Matron (Dover), so she's not done yet." As for Helpisontheway, he was certainly helped by Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack being ineligible to the final (not enough prelim starts). So, after finished second to that in the Trot and a statebred event here, Helpisontheway had his way in the Morrisville College Equine Institute 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot). Away fourth from post No. 4, he watched Winning Shadow (Mike Simons) lead (:28, 57, 1:25.3) before that one was put away by 50-1 Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley). Helpisontheway was towed behind that live longshot, widening to win by 2¼ lengths. An out-the-mile The Veteran (Stratton) was second, with Purpose Blue Chip, who outraced hid odds, and Winning Shadow were respectively third and fourth. Helpisontheway, a Chapter Seven colt trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Camelot & Bay's Stable and Little E LLC, has seven wins and four seconds in his 13 '18 tries ($467,775). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $15.40, the triple returned $188 and the superfecta paid $568. "Versatility," Toscano said. "He can leave and sit back the way he raced tonight. "Last season (1-for-8), he was immature. Some 2-year-olds just don't get it. The ability was there. He just needed to figure it out." ACT II-The Unexpected Reigning Deo (Morrill Jr., $42.20) closed from third-over, winning the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace in 1:54.4. From post No. 4, he watched as Hickfromfrenchlick (Tetrick) led through intervals of :28, :57.1 and 1:25.1. The Sheppard winner slugged it out with Melodie's Magic (Tyler Buter), who surprisingly did not leave from the pole. Deepest of all arrived Reigning Deo, who whipped 'Melodie' by a length-and-a-half. Artie's Ideal (Marcus Miller) was a pocket third, with Hickfromfenchlick fading to fourth. For fifth choice Reigning Deo, a son of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by (breeder) Deo Volente Farms, (trainer) Brett Pelling and Brian Gordon, it was his third win in seven first-season starts ($193,712). The exacta paid $89, the triple returned $661 and the superfecta paid $2,355. "We wanted to go through the (sire stakes) program with him," Pelling said. "I mean, he's always carried himself well. We weren't planning to race him at Batavia (10 nights ago), but he was seventh in points, so we figured we needed to." They were correct, and rewarded. Moneyshot Hanover (Buter, $10) 'won the bob' over So Awesome (Tetrick) in the Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace. So Awesome was the first leader before giving up to St. Somewhere (George Brennan), That one laid down the law (:27.4, :56) before making an ugly break down the backside the second time. So Awesome then inherited the front of the fray, getting three-quarters in 1:24.4. She owned a length lead into the lane, but Moneyshot Hanover was able to tag her at the line. Third went to JK American Beauty (Sears), with Hurrikane Norakane (Dube) fourth. For third choice Moneyshot Hanover, a daughter of Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Mark Harder, Rick Phillips and Deena Frost, she now 3-for-8 ($203,408) this season. The exacta paid $25.20, the triple returned $151.50 and the superfecta paid $750. "She's two fingers to drive," Buter said. "She was bumpy around the last turn, but she dug in ACT III-The 'It's a Good Thing No One Was Hurt' The outset of the night's final statebred event, the Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace, was the sort of stuff one can't unsee. Pole-sitting 6-5 favorite Springsteen (Sears) was off the gate at the start, then hung a dead right, perhaps the victim of some equipment issue. Equipment or not, he impeded those who did not leave, including Heavenly Sound (Marohn Jr.), Rootin' Tootin' (Mark MacDonald) and Twin B Tuffenuff (Brennan). Getting the worst of it was Ghost Dance (Morrill Jr.), who ended up locking wheels with Springsteen as both found their way to the back fence. That left three horses in contention, with Rockapelo (Bartlett, $11.40) moving from third down the backside the second time and taking over the lead. From post No. 4, he won by 4½ lengths in 1:53.1. My Delight (Brent Holland) was second, with Ostro Hanover (Dube) third and Heavenly Sound fourth. Neither two- nor four-legged creature involved in the incident seemed any worse for wear. For third choice Rockapelo, a Rock N Roll Heaven gelding trained by Toscano for owner Enviro Stables, it was his third win in 13 seasonal starts ($203,5452) and pushed Bartlett over the $100 million career earnings plateau. The exacta paid $82.50, the triple returned $482 and the superfecta paid $1,943. "I didn't see what happened, but I heard yelling and I know when you the inside and you go right, it's not a good thing," Bartlett said. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace and Trot were won by Great Vintage (MacDonald, $45.80) in 1:52.2, and Yes Mickey (Bartlett, $5.60) in 1:54.2. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers Raceway will host eight finals of the New York Sire Stakes Saturday night (September 22) worth a combined $1.8 million. Tim Tetrick will drive seven of the 64 statebreds who seek championship titles, and the 36-year-old is confident in his horses. “The New York program is great. The New York breeding program is very strong and when you have that much money, you get better bred horses. It’s good for them to showcase their breed, “Tetrick said. “It could be a really good pay day.” Tetrick’s name tops the earnings list of North American drivers with his horses taking home $9.5 million so far this year. Tetrick drove Shartin to victory this spring in the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final, Yonkers’ signature race for mares, and finished fourth in the Hambletonian Final with Crystal Fashion. The latter leads all standardbreds in earnings this season with $908,207 in the bank while the former is ranked seventh with $759,111 earned. “It’s been very good. I was close to getting my second Hambo’ there, winning the first heat and coming up short in the final,” Tetrick said. “Shartin has been a very good mare in the aged group and I’ve got some nice two-year-olds that are racing good. All in all, it’s been a pretty good year.” Tetrick will look to add to his impressive tally in Saturday’s finals and the star driver took time to catch up with the SOA’s Brandon Valvo about his chances. Race 2 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Fillies Hanna Dreamgirl – Post 8 – 20-1  Daughter of Chapter Seven won in the $10,000 Kindergarten Classic at The Meadowlands July 20 with Tetrick in the sulky and earned a spot in the Sire Stakes final with a victory in the series at Vernon Downs August 23 for Jim Morrill, Jr. The Linda Toscano trainee has another six seconds and thirds from nine starts with $97,164 earned.  “She’s pretty nice. Kind of a big mare. A half probably isn’t the best spot for her, but she has raced good and done OK on the half. She likes to trot, and you never know with the two-year-old trotting fillies. You might say it’s a bad spot, but three or four might run and then you’re sitting in the right spot to pick up the pieces. She’s a nice filly, got a lot of quality. I’ll just play it by ear. When I’ve driven her, she hasn’t been the biggest leaver. I’ll probably just look over to my left and hopefully some people make mistakes and she’ll definitely have to win from the back, that’s for sure.” Race 3 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings Chapter Fashion – Post 7 – 7-1  Jim Campbell trainee won from post seven locally August 20, doubling up on a 1:56.1 score in the Tompkins Geers at Tioga Downs August 10. Tetrick drove in the latter race and looks forward to getting behind the son of Chapter Seven again after Jason Bartlett chose rival Thunder. Chapter Fashion enters off a break in stride in his last start September 14, but Tetrick isn’t concerned about the miscue.  “I’ve only driven him one time and he raced really good that time. I left out of there a little bit, floated, got away third. When I pulled him, he trotted right by the front-end horses and raced really well. He did it right. Jim’s having a great year, his horses have all been doing really, really well and I think the horse is definitely a player. If we had drawn in one or two spots, I would have liked him even more, but he’s still going to get a shot to get good money. "Jim asked me if I was going to be there, I said yeah and he said, ‘I’m putting you back on that horse.’ He’s a little squirrelly in the post parade. You think he’s going to be really aggressive, he wants to pull and lug on you but when you go to the gate, he says, OK what am I going to do here, and he lets me do my job. He’s all trot and doesn’t want to make breaks, so he’s pretty nice. I’m not worried about that. Jim will have him right. Who knows what happened, maybe he just got in a bad spot or took a bad step, but Jim said he didn’t really have an answer for it.” Race 4 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Colts and Geldings Hickfromfrenchlick – Post 6 – 9-2 Tetrick will take the lines for the first time behind the Schnittker-trained colt. The So Surreal son recorded a blowout 14 ¼-length win in the Landmark at Goshen in his debut June 29 and won the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace July 14. Hickfromfrenchlick posted two wins in Sire Stakes company in his next four starts, including a 1:51.3 lifetime best at Vernon September 3. “I’ve seen him race. He looks like he’s pretty tough, he looks like he can leave the gate good and he’s very versatile. He won the stakes race earlier in the year with Ray driving and I’ve always done good for Ray and Ray’s always done good for me, so I’m excited to get to drive him. I’ll talk to Ray and watch some replays and go from there. Mainly just feel the horse out when I get out there.” Race 5 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Fillies So Awesome – Post 6 – 2-1 Tetrick drove the daughter of So Surreal to three wins, including her maiden-breaking score in Sire Stakes at Yonkers July 6, another local leg of the Sire Stakes July 24, and a Sire Stakes split at Saratoga August 31. The freshman filly also earned a Sire Stakes win at Batavia with Morrill in the sulky. She’s earned $176,190 to date, the most of any 2-year-old on the card, and all four victories have come in wire-to-wire style. “She’s been awesome. She’s a professional, she goes out there and does her job. You want to leave, you want to duck, she’s got tons of speed and she’s been at the top of her class all year. I think she’s definitely the one to beat in there. She’ll be going forward. When you’re one of the better ones, it’s hard to give up three or four lengths early whenever you think you have the best horse. She’ll definitely be looking left when you go out of there. She’s all professional, she does what she’s supposed to do. She acts like she’s six years old and acts like she’s done it more than me.” Race 6 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Fillies Repentance – Post 8 – 9-1 Tetrick returns to the bike behind Diamond Creek Racing’s homebred Chapter Seven filly. She finished sixth with Tetrick in the Mary Reynolds at the Meadowlands July 7 and fourth in the Frank Zanzuccki on Hambletonian Day. The Linda Toscano trainee went 3-for-4 in Sire Stakes this year, winning at Tioga, Batavia, and Saratoga in her most recent start September 7. Toscano sends out two other trotters in this race while Åke Svanstedt will start five. “I’ve raced her a few different times and she is a talented mare. She’s well bred. I know the eight hole is going to be tough for her, especially with the entries. We’ll just have to play it by ear and hope somebody makes a mistake. We’ll have to get into the race somehow late in the mile. A couple times she’s raced good for me and a couple times she hasn’t. When I’ve gotten to drive her, it’s been against open company. That makes a difference, sometimes it’s a little tougher.” Race 7 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies Wisdom Tree – Post 4 – 7-5 After going 3-for-11 as a 2-year-old, Wisdom Tree drew post eight in the Sire Stakes Final and made a break, finishing seventh. Now 3, the daughter of Betterthancheddar out of the Artsplace mare Wisdom has 10 wins from 13 starts and $274,851 earned this year. Wisdom Tree’s crowning achievement to date came when she beat open stakes rivals in a 1:49.4 score in the $142,000 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park July 6. Trainer Ed Hart will hand Tetrick the lines for the first time since last year’s Sire Stakes Final. “I drove her last year in the two-year-old final. She had go, but she made a break or got run into. She’s come back and been a great three-year-old. I’m excited to get to drive her again. It just worked out because Scotty (Zeron) and Matt (Kakaley) both had to leave and I was in the right place at the right time to get her back. They told me she’s just one good drive away from winning, so if she gets beat it’s my fault.” Race 8 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings Cruising In Style – Post 5 – 8-1 The Andrew Harris-trained colt has just one win this year in a Yonkers overnight, but made the Sire Stakes Final with five seconds and thirds in the series this spring and summer. Jason Bartlett drove the son of Muscle Mass to victory in last year’s $50,000 Sire Stakes Consolation at Monticello and was named to drive in the final, but Tetrick picked up the drive when Bartlett opted for rival Clive Bigsby.  “I’ve never driven him. That was a pick up after they saw me on the sheet. He’s a good trainer, the kid does good. We’ve got the five hole, I know Åke’s horse and Linda’s horse are pretty tough, but hopefully we can get a good piece of it.” By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Batavia, NY --- The $320,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolation races were contested in eight divisions at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 21) with Jason Bartlett and Marcus Miller getting the lion's share of the eight harness racing contests. Bartlett won three and finished third two more times while Miller won two and finished second four times. Despite a heavy downpour early in the card, the track set up quickly and two lifetime and two seasonal marks were set during the evening in the NYSS races. Here is a race by race recap of the consolation events. 2-year-old filly pace Winner-Topville Angelina (American Ideal-A Fiesty Affair) 1:57.2 Owners-Erv Miller Stable, Michael Anderson and George Golemes Trainer-Erv Miller Breeder-Robert Hamather (non-betting) Topville Angelina (Marcus Miller) travelled second the entire mile behind Sun Viser (Billy Davis Jr.) through even fractions until the top of the stretch when Miller tipped her and she quickly paced by the leader down the lane to win by three lengths in 1:57.2. 2-year-old filly trot Winner-Sweet Chapter (Chapter Seven-Mom's A Sweetie Pie) 2:01.2 Owners-Hutt Racing Stable, Blake MacIntosh, Glenn Bechtel and the Mortgage Boys Stable Trainer-Blake MacIntosh Breeder-Winbak Farm Mutuel-$3.20 Sweet Chapter (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front and dictated the entire race. Contending with a heavy downpour during the mile, Sweet Chapter trotted to the three-quarters in 1:30.1 without a challenge before Hot Chapter (Marcus Miller) started an attack on the outside. Hot Chapter trotted hard down the lane in the middle of the track but Sweet Chapter had enough left to hang on and win in 2:01.2. 2-year-old colt and gelding pace Winner-KJ Leo (Art Major-Winsmith Jess) 1:54.4 Owners-Brenda Messenger, Philip Shapiro and Scott Woogen Trainer-Gary Messenger Breeders-Brenda Messenger, Philip Shapiro and Scott Woogen Mutuel-$24.40 Cub Fan (Marcus Miller) was a strong leaver and set the pace once he settled ahead of KJ Leo (Billy Davis Jr.) who would get the perfect trip. After getting to the half in :57.1, Jet Rock (Kevin Cummings) pulled first up and pushed the issue with Cub Fan all the way to the top of the stretch. At that point he faded and KJ Leo popped the pocket and paced down the lane stride for stride with Cub Fan. When they hit the wire they were a neck apart with KJ Leo getting the better of the photo in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark. 2-year-old colt and gelding trot Winner-JNR Express (Coway Hall-Yankee T L C) 1:59.3 Owners-James De Armond and Russell Young Trainer-Jessica Okusko Breeder-Donald La Page Mutuel-$9.00 JNR Express (Kevin Cummings) took no prisoners as he left and led at every station. After trotting well in hand through a 1:29.2 three quarters, JNR Express took a two-length lead into a stretch and held off a late surge by Brady Bunch (Marcus Miller) and Whimzical Chapter (Dan Daley) to win in 1:59.3, which was a new lifetime mark. 3-year-old filly pace Winner-Solitary (American Ideal-Lonesome Day) 1:54.4 Owners-William Daggett Jr., Lawrence Vukovic and the J L Benson Stable Trainer-Nick Surick Breeder-Docs Farm Mutuel-$3.30 Pelican Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) grabbed the lead by the quarter and took the race to the half in :57. An outer flow began to advance and by the three quarters horses were three deep heading into the turn with Solitary (Jason Bartlett) locked in fifth with no racing room. Believe In Me (Drew Monti) who was second on the outside bore out and gave Solitary and opening to get out and get out she did. Bartlett gave the filly her head and she shifted gears and paced away from the field to win by three lengths in 1:54.4, which was a new seasonal mark. "The race didn't unfold as I expected and I had to make my way out of traffic in the last turn. But When I got her free it was over," said Bartlett after the race. 3-year-old colt and gelding trot Winner-I'm The Muscle (Muscle Mass-Lady Bling) 1:57.4 Owner-Rheau Viau Trainer-Rene Allard Breeder-Blair and Erna Corbell Mutuel-$2.30 In a race shortened by two scratches, I'm The Muscle (Jason Bartlett) wanted nothing but the front and didn't waste any time getting there. He trotted unchallenged on top by two open lengths in :29.3, :59.3 and 1:29.1 before rounding the last turn and flying home in a quick :28.3 to win in 1:57.4. "He has been getting better and better each week and last week he was closing on Six Pack Late. He's a real nice horse," said Bartlett in the winner's circle. 3-year-old filly trot Winner-Supergirl RIley (Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel) 1:57 Owners-Paymaq Racing, George Golemes and Harvey Eisman Trainer-Erv Miller Breeder-Brittany Farms Mutuel-$2.10 Marcus Miller took advantage of the continuing front end bias and put the 1-9 favorite Supergirl RIley right on the point as the field followed in single file. With the rest of the group gapping behind, the pocket-sitting Golden Muscle (Drew Monti) pulled at three-quarters to take her shot. But halfway through the turn, Golden Muscle broke and Supergirl RIley found herself all alone trotting down the stretch a wrapped-up winner by three in 1:57. "She's just an unbelievable horse. She does everything right and she won easy tonight," said driver Marcus Miller after the race. 3-year-old colt and gelding pace Winner-Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) 1:52.4 Owner-Rick Berks Trainer-Mike Deters Breeder-Winbak Farm Mutuel-$3.10 Ideal Feeling (Jason Bartlett) seated third off the gate but then came quick past the eighth pole to grab the lead. Rolling handily past the half and to three-quarters in 1:24.1 without any opposition, Ideal Feeling watched as Lyons Steel (Kevin Cummings) left his cover and made his bid for the win. As the race moved down the lane, Lyons Steel continued to gain ground but Bartlett kept Ideal Feeling to task and he won by a half length in 1:52.4 to take his third consecutive win. Before the races began, Batavia Downs held a press conference with regional media outlets to formally announce the track being awarded the 2019 NYSS Night of Champions. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund awarded the $1.8 million finals to Batavia Downs because of its excellent facilities and their ability to promote the race and offer an exciting fan experience. Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel expressed his excitement looking forward to next year. "We are very excited for Batavia Downs Gaming to host the $1.8 million finals if the New York SIre Stakes with the long history this facility has with harness racing. We have made so many improvements to the track and can't wait to host everyone that weekend and showcase our new hotel and beautiful clubhouse." Kelly Young, Executive Director of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund said "2019 will be the 30th edition of the Night of Champions and we look forward to bringing it to western New York and Batavia Downs. We're really excited to watch this race track do what it does best; that is promoting harness racing and bringing fans in to watch the best horses the state has to offer." The date of the finals will be announced once the actual racing schedule is finalized. By TIm Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, N.Y. - New York's richest night of racing returns to Yonkers Raceway this Saturday with the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes "Night of Champions." Eight finals races featuring the best state-bred 2- and 3-year-olds will be contested for $225,000 purses each. Post time is 6:50 p.m., with the first NYSS Final scheduled as the second race of the card. A full list of entries can be found here. The star-studded evening features a number of familiar names and impressive resumes, including Plunge Blue Chip. The 3-year-old trotting filly holds the all-age track record at Yonkers with a 1:53.1 posted this season. She will be competing against last year's NYSS champion Lucky Ava in the sixth race. The other returning champion, Alexis Faith, will take on the 3-year-old filly pacers in race seven. This year's Yonkers Trot runner-up Helpisontheway is featured in the 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings division (Race 8) and Gimpanzee will look to extend his season long undefeated streak in the final for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters (Race 3). "New York-breds provided an exciting racing season this year, with track record performances across the state and Grand Circuit victories on the road, so we are guaranteed an exciting night of racing," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "We'd like to congratulate all the owners, trainers and drivers on another successful season, and thank our fans for their continued support." "The New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions highlights the best young horses bred in New York State and shows off our tremendous Standardbred breeding and racing program," said Richard A. Ball, Commissioner, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee. "These races have great energy and truly should not be missed." Race sponsors for the event include New York-based breeders and institutions: Allerage Farms, Blue Chip Farms, Cameo Hills Farm, Crawford Farms, Morrisville College Equine Institute, and Winbak Farm. The New York Sire Stakes program promotes the breeding, buying, and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State, and is administered by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. It was the first program of is kind, featuring 2- and 3-year-old colts and fillies, and has become the model for state-bred racing programs in North America. The NYSS Consolation Finals will be held at Batavia Downs on Sept. 21. The finals for the NYSS Excelsior Series are scheduled for Sept. 23 at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Earlier this month, the Fund announced that Batavia Downs will serve as host of the 2019 "Night of Champions." From the  Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 21, 2018-For years in Boston Celtic green, Larry Bird taunted, tortured and tormented New York. Saturday night (Sept. 22nd), his 'nicknamesake' tries to take it. Hickfromfrenchlick drew post position No. 6 in 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding event during Yonkers Raceway's $1.8 million New York Night of Champions. The race, sponsored by the state's Agriculture and Horse Breeding Development Fund, is the fourth of a dozen-race card and the third of eight consecutively-contested $225,000 sire stakes finales. Hickfromfrenchlick is no stranger to the spotlight, having won the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here in mid-July (1:55.4). The son of So Surreal returned to Westchester in late August, picking off divisional leader-and tonight's pole-sitter-Melodie's Major in a New York Sire Stakes event (1:53.3). It was off to Vernon Downs after that and a down-the-road, life-best 1:51.3 statebred romp. For the season, he's won four of six tries ($120,541), though he did not fire in his final NYSS try (Batavia). "Stuck behind some bad horses who had no reason to pull," Ray Schnittker said. Fortunately for Hickfromfrenchlick's co-owner/trainer and sometime chauffeur, those sort of nights have been few and far between. Schnittker drove that night (as he did at Vernon), but is AWOL (Meadows) Saturday, so he enlists Tim Tetrick this time around. "Training down, he was good, so I'm not surprised," Schnittker said of the $47,000 (Goshen, NY) lad who's also co-owned by Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico. "He had a :27 and change last quarter (in a Landmark event) at Goshen, so I knew he was ready. "I trained his mother (My Girl's a Star) and she had a record of (1):52 and 2 as a 2-year-old. (Author's aside...My Girl's a Star was a solid New York Sire Stakes lass, winning 7-of-11 and more than $139,000 as a frosh [2010] despite having the misfortune of being in the same age group as one See You at Peelers). "I told Mark (MacDonald) he was going to win the Sheppard, so just don't screw it up, which he didn't." Any such guarantees for Tetrick before he and Hickfromfrenchlick Saturday night? "No one can outleave Melodie's Major if they wanted to, but I think (Hickfromfrenchlick) can get around some of the others, and if he's close, he wouldn't stun me." Regardless of Saturday's outcome, Hickfromfrenchlick is finished for the season. "He's done everything we've asked," Schnittker said. Post time for the New York Night of Champions fun and frolic is the usual 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Batavia, NY --- The horses that missed the cut for the $1.8 million up for grabs in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions finals will convene at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Sept. 21) to compete for the $320,000 in purse money available in the NYSS consolation races. There are eight divisions that will go for $40,000 each and the first is non-betting with a 5:20 p.m. post time. Then NYSS events are carded in race one, two, three, five, six seven and 10. Post time for the first betting race is 6 p.m. Supergirl Riley (Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel) is the early 6-5 favorite in the 3-year-old filly trot and comes in as the highest money earner competing in any of the consolations tonight with $221,589 on her card. Supergirl Riley appears to be at the top of her game after winning the $180,000 Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs in a lifetime best 1:54.3 over a sloppy track. She then matched that mark last week, winning a $50,000 Kentucky Sire Stake race at the Red Mile. And not to be overlooked was her start at Yonkers Raceway in the Hudson Trot final where she finished second by a nose in 1:53.1 to Plunge Blue Chip. Supergirl Riley is one of six entries for trainer Erv Miller in these consolations and Marcus Miller will be in the bike as usual. I'm The Muscle (Muscle Mass-Lady Bling) headlines the 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings and a quick look at the form explains why he's 8-5 morning line. After joining the Rene Allard Stable in July, I'm The Muscle rattled off five straight wins, the last of which was a four length romp in 1:55.2 at Batavia Downs in the rain. In his last start at Yonkers he finished third behind Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack and the top point-getter for this division Helpisontheway. This race would have to be considered class relief after that start and he should take advantage of that with Jason Bartlett up for the ride once again. The 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers should be a very interesting race as all eight of the starters competed at Batavia Downs two weeks ago in the final leg of their division this year. Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) won his split by six lengths in 1:52 after toying with the field the whole mile. He has since won again in an overnight at Tioga Downs in 1:52.2 by three lengths. He has faced Courtly Choice twice this year and knows what it takes to be the best. Jason Bartlett is back up and drew post three at 2-1 for trainer Mike Deters. Topville Olympian (American Ideal-Our Sophia) went off the heavy favorite here last time and started out the mile with a quick :55.3 half. But he faltered late and his failure to get any points knocked him out of the NYSS final and into this consolation. If he regains the form he had in the $500,000 Messenger final at Yonkers and most of the races before that, he will be a major player in this race. Trainer Chris Oakes has Tyler Buter up and they are rated as 3-1 morning line. Mach N Cheese (Betterthancheddar-Mach You And Me) was a winner in his Batavia outing, taking a 1:53.4 lifetime mark in the process. Jersey Jim (Artiscape-Jersey Pearl) scratched from that Batavia Start but has since finished third at Saratoga in an overnight in 1:51.3 and Cheese Melt (Betterthancheddar-B So Lucky) comes in off a tightener at Harrah's Philly where he ran away in 1:51.1, which was a new lifetime mark. The early Pick-5 wager (which runs from race one through race five) includes four of the NYSS consolation events and has a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for Friday. It is part of the USTA Strategic Wagering pool and race pages can be downloaded for free from Trackmaster and the USTA through this link. (http://handicapping.ustrotting.com)   The Batavia Downs early Pick-5 on Friday is also the USTA Play of the Day on the Harness Racing Fan Zone.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, September 19, 2018- Yonkers Raceway is offering these horsemen reminders... --Horses for Saturday's (Sept. 22nd) eight New York Night of Champions races are due in the paddock detention area no later than 4 PM Friday (Sept. 21st). Paddock opens at 12 Noon and the track itself shall be available, if needed. --There's a double draw Thursday (Sept. 20th) for the race cards of Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (Sept. 25th and 26th), Note the special Wednesday card replaces the program of Friday night, cancelled due to detenting. --Entry box for both days closes at 3:30 PM. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, September 17, 2018-Post positions have been drawn for Saturday's (Sept. 22nd) $1.8 million New York Night of Champions, with Yonkers Raceway again hosting the 29th edition of the Empire State's richest night of harness racing. Eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals, each sponsored by a prominent breeding farm or organization, feature the best 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Here's a hot-off-the-presses thumbnail of the divisions, which go as the races 2 through 9 during the dozen-race card. First post is the usual evening standard of 6:50 PM. 2nd race (Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Filly Trot) - Division points leader Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer, post 3) won her first five seasonal starts before a second-place finish at Saratoga. The daughter of Credit Winner, trained by her driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, won twice here, as did Conway Kellyanne (Charlie Norris, post 5). Amal Hall (Andy Miller, post 6) has three wins and four seconds in her seven tries, while Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr., post 7) has been board-certified in all seven starts (4 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third). 'Quincy' has earned $125,712, making her the richest lass among the octet. 3rd race (Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot) - Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, post 5) has been more untouchable than Eliot Ness, as in 6-for-6 ($166,358) by a combined margin of 23¼ lengths. The son of Chapter Seven is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Gimpanzee enters off a handy win here, as does Thunder (Jason Bartlett, post 3). The son of Conway Hall has won half of his eight seasonal efforts, with all the win in his last five tries. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr., post 8) has hit the board in seven of his nine tries this season. 4th race (Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace) -Melodie's Major (Tyler Buter, post 1) has won just about everything this season (8 starts, 6 wins, 1 second, $166,433), including the draw for the statebred finale. The Art Major colt is trained by Mark Ford for owner Martin Scharf. Hickfromfrenchlick (Tim Tetrick, post 6) has the 100G final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here leading his 4-for-6 resume. Major Blake (Bartlett, post 8) has won thrice in his five tries. 5th race (Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace) - So Awesome (Tetrick, post 6) led the points parade, winning four races (two here) during here frosh foray ($176,190). The So Surreal miss is trained by Scott DiDomenico for owner William Hartt. St. Somewhere (George Brennan, post 2) strung together three consecutive NYSS wins in July, also with a pair here. Moneyshot Hanover (Buter, post 3) tried her luck in open company north of the border after a pair of statebred wins. 6th race (Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Trot) -All-age track-record-holder (1:53.1) Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt, post 2) has been a beast all season (10 starts, 5 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds, $372,601). She did thrown down the new record in the $129,014 Hudson two starts, ago, then won a Saratoga NYSS event by seven-and-change widening lengths. One of her rare poor performances came in last season's statebred finale, however. Svanstedt trains for himself, Blue Chip Bloodstock, Little E LLC, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables. Lucky Ava (Bartlett, post 4) did upset to became the frosh champ a season ago and has five wins among her 10-for-11 board finishes this time around. Repentance (Tetrick, post 8) has won her last three tries, a pair in NYSS and a division of the Woodbine/Mohawk Simcoe. 7th race (Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Pace) - 'Defending' champ Alexis Dream (Morrill Jr., post 3) has not lost a step ($228,000-plus last season, $230,000-plus this season). The daughter of American Ideal is co-owned by West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding J. Robert Darrow & Kevin McKinlay and trained by Casie Coleman. The $112,904 Lady Maud here earlier this month was one of her four seasonal wins. Wisdom Tree (Tetrick, post 4), the group's point leader, has been vicious this season, as in 10 wins and a second in a baker's dozen tries ($274,851). Newsday (Jordan Stratton, post 1) owns a pair of local sire stakes wins. 8th race (Morrisville College Equine Institute 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot) - With Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack AWOL, runner-up Helpisontheway (Morrill Jr., post 4) becomes one of the targets. The Chapter Seven colt, trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Camelot & Bay's Stable and Little E LLC, has six win and four seconds in his 12 '18 tries ($355,275). He had four wins in a row earlier this season. Winning Shadow (Mike Simons, post 3) has five wins this season, while The Veteran (Stratton, post 8) has six wins and over $194,000 this season despite drawing poorly more than once. 9th race (Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace) - No one has exactly stepped up and grabbed the baton in the state's glamour division, Springsteen (Sears, post 1) won a draw-time 'tiebreaker' to get into this race, then won the draw. Thrice a winner in a dozen seasonal starts ($346,729), the Rock N Roll Heaven colt has been tough to figure. Rene Allard co-owns (with Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh) and trains. Ghost Dance (Morrill Jr., post 5) enters with consecutive statebred wins, while Rockapelo (Bartlett, post 4) has hit the board in nine of his 12 '18 efforts. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY - Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Sept. 14th) wrapped up its New York Sire Stakes legs--all 16 of 'em--with the $156,200 Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old harness racing colts and geldings. Friday's event once again honored the memory of 'Tootie,' whose unmatched PR savvy in the golden age of the game helped make the nascent Roosevelt International Trot a happening. The evening's first ($77,400) grouping saw odds-on Thunder (Jason Bartlett, $3.10) do it handily in 1:58. From post position No. 2, he made the lead around Brady Bunch (Andy Miler) after an early break of Kredit Karma (Brian Sears). After that, no issues for the fave through dawdling (:29.1, 59.2, 1:29) fractions. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) tried it first-up from third, settling for second to the winner (as he did at Vernon), with the final margin three lengths. Brady Bunch and Quiksilver Bluchip (catch-driver Jordan Stratton) completed the gimmick finishers. For Thunder, a son of Conway Hall trained by John Butenschoen for co-owners Crawford Racing, VIP Internet Stables and Jeremey Day, it was his fourth win in eight seasonal starts (all in last five tries). The exacta paid $12.20, the triple returned $17.20 and the superfecta paid $98.50. "He's handy, he gets over any size tracks and he's getting better," Bartlett said. "We're ready for next week (sire stakes finals here)." The evening's second ($78,800) statebred sojourn was a mismatch on paper and in practice for divisional leader Gimpanzee (Sears, $2.10), making it 6-for-6 ($166,358) during his froshfest. All the wins have come in New York Sire Stakes competition, the latest after weigh stations of :29, :57.4, 1:28.1 and (identical to first event) 1:58. From post No. 6, he waited his turn to get by an eventually-breaking Captain Krupnik (Dan Dube) and Chapter Fashion (Bartlett). The latter eventually did the dance of the damned coming to the half, which led to an extremely gapped-out gang. The lead was eight lengths at intermission. Our White Knight (Miller) did cut in that passing the three-quarters, but the outcome was even more death-and-taxes than death-and-taxes. Gimpanzee won by 3¾ lengths, with Out White Knight safely second over Certify (Jeff Gregory). Fourth went to Captain Krupnik, as his break wasn't as costly as the other three misbehavers...even though all four were 'distanced' in the chart. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, has won his half-dozen starts by a combined 23¼ lengths. The exacta paid $23.20, the triple returned $222 and the superfecta paid $920. "He's done nothing wrong and tonight was the same," Sears said. The Raceway hosts the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions Saturday night, Sept. 21st, with eight, $225,000 divisional finals. Friday night's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Medusa (Sears, $6.60) in 1:52, the lady's 35th career victory in her 120th start. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

New York Sire Stakes Finals and Consolations All horses must be entered at Yonkers Raceway by Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, no later than 3:30 p.m. for both the New York Sire Stakes Finals and Consolations. Yonkers Raceway will draw post positions for the Finals, to be contested on Saturday, Sept. 22, and transmit the remaining entries to Batavia Downs to draw post positions for the Consolations, to be contested on Friday, Sept. 21. Purses for the New York Sire Stakes finals will be $225,000 for each division. Purses for the Consolations will be $40,000 for each division if five or more horses are carded. Purses will be prorated for divisions with four horses. New York Excelsior A Series Finals All horses must be entered at Saratoga Raceway by Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, no later than 9:00 a.m. for the Excelsior A Finals, held on Sunday, Sept. 23. Purses for the Excelsior A Finals will be $55,000 for each division. Racing Reminders 1) To enter, horsemen are reminded that horses must still meet the requirements of: (a) a charted satisfactory performance line within 30 days of declaration that meets the qualifying standards in the conditions, and (b) cannot have two consecutive breaks in the last two charted performance lines. If a horse does not meet these criteria, it must qualify before being entered. 2) Horses must start in at least three legs of the Sire Stakes or Excelsior Series to be eligible for the finals. If not enough horses with three starts enter, the highest point earner which entered with two starts will be selected, etc., to fill the first tier. 3) Only two entries from a common owner will be permitted to race in the final events. There is no limit on horses from the same training stable with separate ownership. Any horse that changes ownership within 30 days before the date of entry for the finals must have these changed approved by the Fund to race in the final events. 4) If there is a tie in the point standings for the last entry in a final event, the judges will draw by lot from the horses tied. 5) A horse may only race in one final event-NYSS Final, Consolation or Excelsior A Final. 6) There are no entry fees for any final events in 2018. **NOTE: This is a summary of conditions related to the Finals and Consolations meant to assist with the most frequent questions by participants and is not meant to replace or supplant the conditions governing the New York Sire Stakes and New York Excelsior Series. The NYSS Finals and Consolations and the Excelsior Finals are governed by the conditions and the rules of the New York State Gaming Commission. Questions regarding the NYSS Finals, Consolations or Excelsior Series Finals should be directed to Kelly Young, Executive Director of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund at 518-388-0178 or Kelly.young@gaming.ny.gov. From the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund   

Woodside Charm (Chapter Seven-Fireworks Hanover-Muscles Yankee) shattered the harness racing world record for two year old trotting fillies at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday afternoon. Drawing the rail in the $81,750 New York Sire Stakes event, Woodside Charm brought a three-for-three lifetime record into the start. Bet down as the race's 1-5 favorite, the freshman filly played catch me if you can with trainer Verlin Yoder in the sulky. The sensational filly clicked off a first quarter of 27.3 and half in 55.2 and showed no signs of letting up trotting past three quarters in 1:24.1. The previous track record for two year old fillies of 1:57.2 was all but a memory at that point but what the timer said at the conclusion of the wire to wire victory was almost too unbelievable to fathom. Woodside Charm scored in 1:53.4, the third fastest mile in track history for a trotter and a new world record mark for two year old fillies. The previous North American record on a half mile track was 1:55.2 for a freshman filly, a mark easily surpassed in the dazzling Thursday stakes victory by Woodside Charm. 1:53.4, an almost imaginable time for a two year old trotting filly, is now the time to beat for freshman highsteppers moving forward and what a daunting task that will be as Woodside Charm enters the history books en route to staying undefeated. Though her five-for-five record was broken in the record performance on Thursday, Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer) was incredible in defeat, finishing second by only a little more than two lengths in the eye-popping, record-setting mile. The other division of the New York Sire Stakes for two year old trotting fillies went the way of Quincy Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Sirenuse-Cantab Hall) who scored in 1:57.1, a time that heading into the day would have served as a new track record for freshman filly highsteppers. The Erv Miller-trained Quincy Blue Chip cruised out to the early lead for Jim Morrill Jr. and didn't face many anxious moments before recording her fourth Sire Stakes win of the season besting Amal Hall (Andy Miller) who kept her streak of finishing first or second in every career start intact. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 13, 2018--We're done. Not really. Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Sept. 14th) hosts its 16th and final leg of New York Sire Stakes competition with the $156,200 Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Of course, this is the final chance to electrify the electorate before the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions here a week from Saturday (Sept. 22nd). Friday's event once again honors the memory of 'Tootie,' the sport's quintessential PR man and unsung hero behind the huge, back-in the-day success of the International Trot. The first ($77,400) grouping goes as the fifth race, with Thunder (Jason Bartlett, post 2) and Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr., post 4) again opposing one another. The pair finished 1-2 at Vernon late last month, the former's third sire stakes win in his last four starts. Thunder, a son of Conway Hall, is trained by John Butenschoen for co-owners Crawford Racing, VIP Internet Stables and Jeremey Day. The frosh bankroll of $113,121 dwarfs that of his rivals, though his previously-mentioned nemesis has put away $73,119. Chip Chip Conway has a win, three seconds and a third in five (NYSS) tries adding the straps. The Conway Hall gelding is co-owned by (trainer) Gary Messenger and Kenneth Weckstein. The evening's second ($78,800) statebred sojourn sees divisional beast Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, post 6) display his perfect 5-for-5 ($126,958) record. They haven't come within sniffing range of Gimpanzee, whose 'slimmest' margin in the five wins--ail in NYSS completion--has been 2¾ lengths. He aired here from an eight-hole last month in 1:57.3 and returns off a life-best 1:54.3 number at Vernon. The son of Chapter Seven is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Chapter Fashion (Bartlett, post 4) also won a statebred event here and has hit the board in all but one of his six tries. Post time for the dozen-race card is the evening standard of 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Batavia, NY --- Two divisions of New York Sire Stake (NYSS) 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were in town on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to compete for $109,000 in purses at Batavia Downs and in the first $54,500 split, Melodies Major (Art Major-Hilarious) left a lasting impression on the locals by setting a new track record. Bicorne Hanover (Matt Kakaley) left from post one and opened up a quick two-length advantage while Melodies Major (Tyler Buter) dropped in second to get the perfect garden spot trip. The top two broke away from the field while setting fractions of :28.3, :58 and 1:26.3. At that last station Buter popped the plugs and pulled Melodies Major and he went right past Bicorne Hanover in the blink of an eye. At the top of the lane, Buter sat chilly while Melodies Major paced home in :27.3, well in hand at the wire in 1:54.1. The time of 1:54.1 is a new track record for 2-year-old pacing colts at Batavia Downs, replacing the 1:54.2 standard set by Doctor Butch in 2012 and matched by He's Watching in 2013. "When I pulled him he was loaded with pace," said Buter after the race. "We got a perfect trip, everything went well and I couldn't have asked for anything better." It was the sixth win in eight starts this year for Melodies Major ($5.50) who now has earned $166,433 in NYSS purses and finished as the top point-getter in his division with 325. Melodies Major is owned by Martin Scharf, is trained by Mark Ford and was bred by James Avritt Sr. In the second $54,500 division, Covered Bridge (American Ideal-Stonebridge Kisses) provided a major upset in a blanket finish. The heavily favored Reining Deo (Jim Morrill Jr,) took an expected spot on the front end and with no early challengers, Morrill took advantage and backed the half off to :59.1. Having his fill of the slow fractions, Ray Schnittker pulled Hurrikane Kingklee from fourth and started moving up the outside. Morrill responded with a :28.1 third panel effectively ending the first challenge. However Covered Bridge (Kevin Cummings) who was drafting second-over, tipped three wide at the same time and was raging with pace. Covered Bridge got to within a length of Reging Deo going into the final straight and then proceeded to run him down to the wire, winning by a head in 1:55.4 at 22-1. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner. "Off a half in :59, she went a big mile from where she was," said Cummings. "She raced huge, I like her a lot. She's a nice horse." It was the second win of the year for Covered Bridge ($46.80), both in NYSS action for owners David Smith and James Giannuzzi and trainer Jessica Okusko. Covered Bridge was bred by WInbak Farm. There were also two $15,000 Excelsior "A" races on the card. The first division was won by Shim (American Ideal-Feel Life) who got away sixth by 12 lengths, survived an interference break then rallied to win by two in 1:57.1. Shim ($5.90) was driven by Ray Fisher Jr. for owners Pat Lachance (who also trains the winner), M & M Harness Racing, Ira Rosenblum and the Royal Flush Stable. Shim was bred by White Birch Farm. The second division went to Cal (American Ideal-Hula's Z Tam) who got away third before pulling at the half to take the lead and eventually the race in 1:58.1. Cal ($10.40) was driven by Matt Kakaley for owners Crawford Farms Racing and the Northfork Racing Stable and trainer Chris Oakes. Cal was bred by Pat Lachance and the Z Tam Stable. The $320,000 NYSS consolation races will be held at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 21). The $1.8 million NYSS finals are the following night, Saturday (Sept. 22) at Yonkers Raceway. By TIm Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

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