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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batavia, NY---With an eighth of a mile to go, two lengths separated the seven horses that competed in Saturday night's (Aug. 30) $9,500 Open pace at Batavia Downs and the final result came down to the wire. But when they crossed the line, Best Ears used his head as the margin of victory in the night's feature race. When the man said go in the seventh race, Big Unit (Kevin Cummings) bolted from post two and took an immediate lead off the gate. Best Ears (Jack Flanigen) left from the four hole and was parked, but methodically worked his way towards the leader through a :27.3 first quarter. After not being able to take control at the point, Flanigen tucked Best Ears in second behind the hard-rolling leader before the pack hit the half in 55.3. Then Ready To Work (Jim McNeight) came barreling from behind to take his shot at the top. He led a dull outer flow to the three-quarters in 1:25 before actually drawing near the leader. As they started to bunch around the far turn, Burton Blue Chip (Lee Dahn) swung three-deep around Ready To Work and Best Ears was sitting cool In The Pocket behind Big Unit. But Big Unit fell victim to his own fast pace at the head of the lane and started to fade. When they headed down the stretch, Ready To Work took over the lead before Best Ears found the passing lane and shot through in time to win by a head in 1:55. The post time favorite returned $3.40. Ready To Work was second and Burton Blue Chip was third. It was the sixth win in 29 starts for Best Ears who now has a total of $42,017 earned for 2014. The 5-year-old Shark Gesture gelding is trained by Frank Mastrodonato for owners Joe Amico and Joe Amico Jr. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 31) at 1:15. The card features three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

With this being a holiday weekend and with such top notch racing we are doing a second edition of Who Will Win It for this Sunday and Monday. Sunday is headlined by the $175,000 Championship Finals of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for trotters and pacers at the Red Mile plus two divisions of the NYSS at Batavia. Then on Labor Day Monday it’s the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, plus the filly counterpart, the Shady Daisy plus the top older trotting mare battle in the Miss Versatility, all at Tioga Downs. Good Luck! $175,000 Trot Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Colt Final Red Mile 7th race SUNDAY – Even having drawn post nine, Tinder is still the horse to beat in here. He has won both his preliminary rounds including a 1:55.4 mark and has four wins and four seconds in his eight lifetime starts. Use Scacco Matto and Samburu in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Filly Final Red Mile 12th race SUNDAY – Just having six starters in this final won’t make a real difference with Cielle in the field. This filly is nearly unstoppable with six wins and two seconds in eight career starts. She breezed by more than seven lengths last week in a lifetime best 1:57.2 and has beaten everyone else in this field the last few weeks. Use Makeba Hall and Third Sue in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Colt Final Red Mile 13th race SUNDAY – Despite being a late starter this season, On Golden Ponder is making up for lost time for Robert McIntosh Stable. He’s undefeated in both his KYSS preliminary legs including a 1:54.4 romp by four lengths last week. Draws the rail and can win from on or off the pace in here. Use Last Best Chance and Proceed To Party in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Filly Final Red Mile 14th race SUNDAY – Having finished either first or second in her last five starts makes Rollin Deep the one to beat. And she has Hall of Famer Michel Lachance driving to boot! Tough filly can win from on or off the pace as she has in her last two starts. Use Somethinincredible and All Charged Up in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 4th race SUNDAY – Well matched field in here and I am going with Jaded Dream. She won last out at Yonkers in 1:54.4 so she can handle a half mile track and should be able to come from off the pace for Matt Kakley in here. Use Just Add Vodka and Carlota Blue Chip in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 8th race SUNDAY – With seven wins this year and five wins in her last six starts it’s tough to pick anyone else in here but Major Dancer. Class of the field should prevail once again. Use Sweetnsinful and A La Notte Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Mares Open Tioga Downs 3rd race MONDAY – When an entry comes in like world champion Classic Martine and Frau Blucher for the Chris Oakes Stable, you almost can’t pick against them. Yet another entry in the field from Jonas Czernyson includes world champions Maven, D’Orsay and Ma Chere Hall. Now who to pick? I am going with the entry of Classic Martine and Frau Blucher as both are coming off superb victories and may just tag team to win in here. Use D’Orsay/Maven/Ma Chere Hall entry and Charmed Life in exotic plays. $124,325 Pace Shady Daisy 3yo Fillies Tioga Downs 7th race MONDAY – Many will like Fancy Desire in here as she was super game earlier this season but I am going with Katie Said. She has the rail, has been great coming from off the pace in recent weeks with three straight wins and a record mile against top fillies in 1:49.4. Use Fancy Desire and Tyra in exotic plays. $437,325 The Cane Pace 3yo Colts Tioga Downs 9th race MONDAY - All eyes will be on He’s Watching and rightfully so as he is the leading three-year-old in the nation and his connections have set up the Triple Crown as their goal this year. He has been super sharp winning his last four starts impressively. He will be tested again in here but should be up to the task. Use JK Endofanera and Luck Be With You in exotic plays.

Batavia, NY---On Sunday afternoon (Aug. 31) the New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old pacing fillies come to town to compete for their cut of $119,000 in purses. The group is highlighted by Major Dancer (Art Major-Two Steppin' Sally), who is currently the fourth highest money earning 3-year-old pacing filly in North America with $201,644 in the bank. She is a seven-time winner in twelve attempts and has only finished out of the money once this year. She won the $46,248 Town Pro stake at Mohawk Raceway earlier this year in her lifetime best time of 1:51.2 as well as an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in 1:51.4. She finished second in the $244,875 final to Precocious Beauty in a 1:51.1 mile. Major Dancer will be driven by Jonathan Drury for trainer Casie Coleman. She is listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the third $39,900 NYSS division carded as the eighth race that also features A La Notte Hanover driven by Matt Kakaley and Table Talk with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines. A La Notte Hanover (Art Major-All Night Long) starts for the powerful Ron Burke stable and is a two-time winner in 2014. She won her last outing at Yonkers in NYSS action with an impressive 1:55 wire-to-wire victory that brought her bankroll up to $87,733 for the year. She also competed in the Empire Breeders Classic and finished close despite having a lot of traffic to deal with in both of those races. Table Talk (Bettor's Delight-Place At The Table) took an early seasons mark of 1:51.4 at Mohawk and has competed in the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stake and $212,150 Mistletoe Shallee where she paced back-to-back 1:49 miles for driver Tim Tetrick. She has been plagued with some bad posts and a breaking issue of late but looks to be in a good spot here for trainer Brad Dalious. In the first $39,900 division carded as the fourth race, Ron Burke and Julie Miller have the one-two punch going to post. Burke sends out Jaded Dream and Miller counters with Just Add Vodka. Jaded Dream (If I Can Dream-Jaded Gal) put forth a handy effort at Yonkers in her last, winning a NYSS leg there in 1:54.4. It was a welcome sight after a series of poor post draws and the resulting tough trips. She has three wins in 13 starts and $62,586 in the bank. Matt Kakaley is back in the bike behind her for the first time since June 18. Just Add Vodka (Art Major-Regal Wish) only has two wins this year but has been consistently in the money; 13 out of 16 starts and that made her $74,283 for the year. Her mark of 1:55.3 was at Monticello but she has paced considerably faster than that in defeat on several occasions. Jim Morrill Jr. who has driven her several times over the summer gets the assignment. The second $39,200 division which goes as the seventh race has three very tough competitors going post-ward and looks to be the most closely contested event. It features the first, second and fourth leading points leaders for this sex and gait in the NYSS this year. Blush Hanover (Art Major-Brissonte Hanover) currently tops the leader board and comes into this race sporting five 2014 wins for trainer Linda Toscano. She finished a strong third in the Empire Breeders Classic final after a very rough parked-out trip. She has a 1:52 mark at the Meadowlands and has only failed to hit the board once out of 14 starts this year. Her $168,831 in earnings is tops in this field and she looks to add to that total in here with Jim Morrill Jr. at the helm. Spreester (American Ideal-Rodeo Spree) is second in points despite also having recorded five victories. This filly can race on the front or from behind and that versatility makes her a formidable foe. Her $115,080 in earnings is also second highest in the field and driver Jason Bartlett who has driven this filly twice before with winning outcomes, opted to driver her today for trainer Paul Zabielski after having been down to steer two horses in this same race. Medusa (Bettor's Delight-Mythical) ranks fourth in points among the group but is not that far behind the leaders. She has seven wins in 14 starts and $102,723 stashed away. The Paul Kelley trainee has a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs and also had two good efforts in the Empire Breeders Classic races. Tioga Downs regular Aaron Byron gets the drive tonight from Tim Tetrick who had been at the lines for her last three starts. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. Batavia Downs also has a special Labor Day matinee 12-race card on tap for Monday (Sept. 1) with a 1:15 post. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Everyone knows that harness racing was weaned on the half mile tracks and many a young driver learned the ropes while competing in the races at the nation's county fairs. Now, with those states who have sire stakes programs the events not only have helped preserve county fair racing but the added purse monies made available has spawned groups of horsemen who race primarily on the county fair circuits. New York State has a good program for those who prefer to race at that level, and many do. At summers end, those who raced the New York Sire Stakes County Fair circuit this year will convene at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, September 2 with their colts and fillies who earned the right to compete in the series $10,000 finales which are available for the eight colt and filly pacing and trotting divisions. Besides having earned enough points to qualify for the finals, still there's a condition with the amount of county fair starts that are also needed. Among the trainer/drivers who are the stalwarts on the NYSS County Fair circuit are Harold "Joe" Smith and Doug Ackley. Year in and year out these very talented horsemen develop colts and fillies that are standouts in their divisions. And this year is no exception. Ackley, 70, developed three that will be racing on the card and he'll be on the driver's seat behind each of them. Of the three, J A TO, a freshman trotting colt by Big Apple Deli, has most impressive credentials with eight wins in nine county fair starts and nearly $11,000 in purse money. His fastest victory was clocked in 2:07. Ackley's Amma Crazed, a 2 -year-old daughter of Crazed which he drives regularly, has three wins and has been on the board in all 11 of her starts. She bankrolled nearly $11,000 for Ackley who co-owns the filly with Tyra Joanne Ackley. Over the years Ackley, from Gowanda, NY, has earned nearly$2 million racing at the New York Fairs and has won 793 races rarely driving over 100 times a season. Harold "Joe" Smith, from Malone NY, at 80 years of age is having one of his best years in the sulky with 26 wins in 67 starts with a UDR of .580. In his career Smith has drive 953 winners and his mounts-mostly his own-have earned $1.24 million. He qualified four youngsters for the finals with his own Sterling Cadet, the favorite to win the 3 year old colt and gelding trot. This altered son of Conway Hall has 10 wins and seven seconds in 19 starts and purses of $32,380 this year with a 1:58.3 record taken at Saratoga Raceway. And Smith's Olivia's Z Tam, a sophomore Bettor's Delight pacing filly has seven wins, four seconds and $16,343 in 19 seasonal outings. Although Smith did all the driving at the fairs he'll had the lines in the $10,000 finals to Jimmy Devaux. Now well-seasoned after a summer racing at the New York fairs and at a few pari-mutuel tracks along the way, the entered youngsters will surely open the eyes of the railbirds who perhaps feel that because of where they raced, they may not be worthy of attention. But put that notion to rest because all the entrants in the eight NYSS County Fair Finals will make their sires and dams proud a make good showings, win or lose. There will be no live races at the Mighty M on Labor Day but on Tuesday, September 2 the NYSS County Fair Finals will be joined by six overnight events on the 14- race card which will have a 12:50 pm post time. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Freehold, NJ --- The Pacing Triple Crown begins Monday (Sept. 1) at Tioga Downs in upstate New York, where eight 3-year-old pacers meet in the $437,325 Cane Pace. He’s Watching brings a four-race win streak into the Cane Pace and is undefeated in three lifetime starts at Tioga Downs. Last season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes in 1:50, which established the track record for a 2-year-old. And in his most recent race, a 1:49.1 triumph in the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Aug. 10, he missed the track standard for 3-year-olds by two-fifths of a second. or the year, He’s Watching has won five of eight races, including the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4, and earned $692,247. He’s Watching was not eligible to the Cane Pace, but his connections paid $35,000 to supplement to the race. “He likes Tioga,” said Ontario-based trainer Dave Menary, who owns He’s Watching with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. “Hopefully we’ll keep our Tioga streak alive. “I’m really happy with him. This is the third time he’s had three weeks off between starts and he’s liked it so far. He raced well last time and seems to be in top shape right now. I had him to Mohawk (Racetrack) on Monday and went a good mile with him. “We’ve just kind of followed the same routine every time he’s had three weeks off and it’s working so far. I think we’re ready for Monday.” First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Monday, with the Cane Pace slated for approximately 3:46 p.m. The card also includes the fourth leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters, featuring world champions Classic Martine, Maven, and Frau Blucher. No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He’s Watching, who will be driven by two-time Cane Pace winner Tim Tetrick, will start from post six. “At Tioga, the six hole is fine,” Menary said. “I was hoping not to get the very inside or the very outside. I think from the six hole, it gives Tim a lot of options. I leave (what to do) up to him.” JK Endofanera, who in June won the North America Cup, enters the Cane Pace off a win in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes on Aug. 17 at Tioga Downs. In his previous two starts -- his elimination for the Empire Breeders Classic and the EBC final -- he finished second to He’s Watching. For the year, JK Endofanera has won six of 10 races and earned $660,709 for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables. He starts the Cane Pace from post five with driver Brian Sears. He’s Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries to the Cane Pace, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyonssomewhere. Luck Be Withyou, who won last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers, saw a three-race win streak snapped when he finished in a dead-heat second to All Bets Off in the Carl Milstein Memorial on Aug. 15 at Northfield Park. “There are a lot of horses in there, not just JK,” Menary said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start (in the Triple Crown). I’ve been able to keep him really fresh and he’s been sharp. Hopefully I can keep him sharp. “I’m trying to take it week by week, but he’s still got a lot left on his plate. I think he’s in good form right now and hopefully he can stay that way until the end of the year.” Following is the Cane Pace field with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Bushwacker, David Miller, Chris Ryder; 3. Doo Wop Hanover, Corey Callahan, Steve Elliott; 4. Stevensville, Mark MacDonald, Ray Schnittker; 5. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke; 6. He’s Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 8. Beat The Drum, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Harness racing two year old colt and gelding trotters were in town on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to take part in the New York Sire Stakes. Three divisions of the $53,500+ stakes races for freshman trotters highlighted the card with Trond Smedshammer's Buen Camino (Cash Hall) leading the way as the fastest among stakes winners. Buen Camino was the favorite in his four horse division of the Sire Stakes after three rivals were scratched. Coming off of a convincing, career best win in 1:58 at Batavia, Buen Camino moved out to the early lead in his local debut and battled major danger Home'n Dry (Wally Hennessey) throughout the final quarter before that one made a break late in the stretch and was subsequently disqualified from second. Buen Camino was the fastest of the three winners in the 'big time' stakes races by almost two seconds. Favored Sugarmakesmecrazy (Crazed) held on to win for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt in 2:02.3 and Andy Ray (Crazed) pulled off an upset for reinsman Steve Smith and trainer Erv Miller with his victory in 2:01 while dismissed at odds of 17-1 in the other two big stakes races on the card. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella  

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