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Batavia, NY---Perfect weather and a lightning fast track provided record-breaking conditions for Buen Camino and trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and the pair did not disappoint. They were never headed in a $55,500 division of the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs and rewrote history. In an uncharacteristic move, Smedshammer sent Buen Camino out of the gate and put him right on the point; something the 2-year-old had never done before. But it wasn't done by accident; his driver had a plan. Smedshammer said after the race "It was time to put him on the front end. He was very good tonight." And perhaps very good was an understatement. After cutting fractions of :29.3, :59.4 and 1:29.2, Buen Camino pulled away from the pack while motoring in a :28.3 final panel to post a lifetime mark of 1:58 flat, which was also a new track record at Batavia Downs for 2-year-old trotting geldings. Post time favorite Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) got caught second over in a dull outer flow behind Andy Ray (Brent Holland) and followed that one to the top of the last turn before tipping three deep. But by that time it was too late as Buen Camino had opened up three and was cruising for the wire. Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) who skirted the pylons during the mile caught second and Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory) closed well to be third. The winner paid $22.40. This was the second win in only four lifetime starts for Buen Camino (Cash Hall-Baby Bella) and it boosted his earnings to $64,722 for owner Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stable LLC. After the race, Polisseni said "He's been a nice horse since day one but he's had some bad trips along the way. Trond really likes him and we're both very optimistic for next year." In the other $54,500 division, Tidquist (Conway Hall-Appomattox Lady) captured his first lifetime win in a convincing wire-to-wire, 1:59.4 victory for driver Mike Simons. Shooting quickly off the wings, Tidquist took a powerful four-length lead to the quarter pole where most of the field had trouble keeping up with him. After marking the first three stations in :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1, Royal Deceptor (Michael Mc Givern) who had been tracking him second, finally got close and pulled to challenge at the top of the lane. But Tidquist had another idea and turned on the speed to fly home in a sparkling :28.3 final quarter to win by a widening length and a quarter. Royal Deceptor hung on for second and Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) was third. Overlooked by the bettors, the winner paid $27.60. The win was the first in six lifetime starts for Tidquist and was responsible for the bulk of his $33,196 in earnings for owners Robert Brooks, Jana Bowen, John Buettner and Charlene Long. Tidquist is trained by Jeffrey Long. There were also three divisions of the Excelsior Series that went for a total of $38,000. Abir Hanover (Credit Winner-Are You Ready) captured the first $12,600 division in 2:01.2 for trainer Paul Kelley and driver Jason Bartlett and paid $4.60. Abir Hanover is owned by Paul Kelley, W.J. Donovan and Theodore Gewertz. Lucky Pablo (Lucky Chuck-Classical Princess) won the second $12,700 split, also in 2:01.2 for trainer/driver John Stark Jr. and paid $24.00. Lucky Pablo is owned by Edmund Smith, Crawford Farms LLC, James Giannuzzi and David Smith. And in the third session, Crazshana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) won the $12,700 contest in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and paid $3.50. Crazshana is owned by the Purple Haze Stable LLC. The Purple Haze Stable sent out three winners on the evening and drivers Trond Smedshammer and Mark MacDonald both had driving triples. Racing resumes on Friday (Aug. 22) at Batavia Downs with a 12 race card that has a 6:35 post time.   Tim Bojarski

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - When more than $6.8 million of career class and cash hit town, notice is summarily taken. Such is the case Friday night, with Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Trot enhanced by the presence of Bee A Magician and Arch Madness. Bee A Magician, the reigning Harness Horse of the Year, won the draw as she makes her local debut and just her third career half-mile track start (two at Flamboro in 2012). The 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra, driven by Brian Sears, is trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman. After a 17-for-17, $1.5 million season a year ago, Bee A Magician has a win and five seconds in seven tries this season ($154,704). The career bankroll is in excess of $2.4 million. Despite her lack of small-track experience, "I have no reason to think she won't handle it," Norman said. "I'm probably gonna tighten up some of her equipment a bit, but that's about it. "It should be a good test for her. She needed a race (out 20 days since her last start), we're planning to race her on the half at Delaware (Ohio) next month, and perhaps we can come back for the (details to be announced) Invitational Trot here (late October)." "She trots the turns well, so I don't see a problem," Sears said. "We can play at by ear and see the race unfolds." According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Anne Chunko, Bee A Magician is the first Horse of the Year to race here after winning the award since Gallo Blue Chip (HOY in 2000, raced here twice in '03). With a mere $4.2 million in lifetime loot, Arch Madness makes just his second Westchester visit (an eight-hole break in a 2009 Open Handicap Trot). He drew post position No. 3 for trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The 10-year-old Balanced Image gelding, who could also be a Invitational candidate, is Long Island co-owned by Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. With 35 wins in 117 career starts, there's not much room left on this resume. The remainder of Friday night's overstuffed co-feature (8h race, approx. post time 9:30 PM) includes...2-Sombody As (Dan Dube), 4-Tober (Jason Bartlett), 5-Theraputic (George Brennan) 6-Dewycolorintheline (Jordan Stratton), 7-Coraggioso (Eric Carlson) and 8-Obrigado (Brent Holland). "Dewy" won the 2013 Yonkers Trot, while Coraggioso was the 2012 New York Sire Stakes (3-year-old colt/gelding) champ. 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

As the New York Sire Stakes draw closer to the eight $225,000 finales, presented on September 13 at Yonkers Raceway, the fields in each preliminary division leading to those rich finals understandably get smaller as only the most competitive move on. However as the fields get smaller the purses in the supporting divisions get larger. On Thursday afternoon (August 21) two $60,200 divisions of NYSS sophomore filly trots attracted only 14 entrants which leads one to believe that most are, in fact, this year's cream of the crop while those who aren't among them are looking to join their ranks. Or maybe their connections believe they have a good chance to get a huge part of the substantial purse. Still, as the two seven-horse fields race for the respectable purses offered, final results of these two trots could change the points- earned landscape especially since the stop at the Mighty M on Thursday will be the final preliminary leg before their $225,000 finale. The top eight trotters who will have earned the most points in the NYSS preliminary legs will get an opportunity to vastly increase their seasonal bankrolls in the rich finale. However, should any of the top eight fail to enter, the door will be open for those next in line in point totals. Joining the two NYSS trots will be three Excelsior Series trotting events also for 3 year old fillies arguably of lesser caliber than their NYSS cohorts. Each of the two Excelsior "A" Series trots will race for purses of $12,600 while eight others will go for a $6,800 purse in the Excelsior Series "B" event. The first $60,200 NYSS trot will go as race six on the 12-race card. That event features the top four in points. They are (with points and drivers), Market Rally (275-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.), Glowngold (130-Chris Lems), Driving Miss Crazy (130-Gates Brunet); and Beauty of Gray (125-Jim Meittinis). All almost assuredly will eligible to the Final. Others in that seven horse field (with points and drivers) include Annies List (117-Tyler Buter), Cutup Hanover (75-Jeff Gregory) and Gammy's Girl (26-Mark MacDonald). If total points determine the abilities of the entrants then the second $60,200 division arguably contains a softer field, although Avalicious (125-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) is tied for fourth in total points. She'll be joined by L Dees Scripture (111-Chris Lems),Maud Blue Chip(61-Tyler Buter), Lindys Crazy Dolly (25-Larry Stalbaum), Crediama (21-Jeff Greory), Flyhawk Falina (17-Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) and Do You Believe (8-Mark MacDonald). However, It should be noted that many of the fillies with lesser point totals isn't a decree of their abilities, it's just that they only started a few times in the NYSS this year. The Sire Stakes trots will be presented as races six and eight on the 12-race card on Thursday. They'll be joined by three quality sophomore filly trotting races in the Excelsior Series which will bolster the undercard. They will go as races one, two and five. Post time for the afternoon card is slated for 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night hosted the $202,599 New York Sire Stakes Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Three divisions -- at $67,933, $67,933 and $66,933 -- comprised the competition. As was the case Monday night, driver Yannick Gingras won two of the evening's three sire stakes events. In the second division, he went the distance-from post position No. 4--with Cartoon Daddy ($4.90), holding off some unwanted advances from 32-1 proposition American Crossroad (Scott Zeron). The former kept the latter at bay, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.4. Berkley (George Brennan), at 78-1, was third, with 51-1 Ultimate G (Eric Carlson) fourth. Cartoon Daddy's job was made much easier when 7-10 fave The Spy (Tim Tetrick) broke in the first turn and division points leader coming into the night Americanprimetime (Tyler Buter) misbehaved while making a second move. For second choice Cartoon Daddy, a son of Art Major co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Joe DiScala Jr., it was his fourth win in a half-dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $53.50, the triple returned $887 and the superfecta paid $6,937. "The best thing about him is his gait," DiScala said. "We wanted a horse who could get around the small tracks, and he's been very impressive." Gingras and Bet You ($2.80) won the final statebred grouping, moving to the lead (from post No. 2) before the half and closing it out in 1:55.1. The final margin was a wrapped-up length-and-three-quarters over 25-1 Yippity Hanover (Tetrick), with 42-1 Betting Exchange (Jim Morrill Jr.) third. A breaking K Ryan Bluechip eliminated himself as the second choice. For Bet You, a son of Bettor's Delight trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners Christina Takter, Jim & John Fielding and Joyce McClelland, he's now 2-for-5 in '14, with both wins coming here. The exacta paid $44.40, with the triple returning $390. "Ideally, you'd like to race these 2-year-olds out of a hole, but the way the races shaped up, I had no choice but to put them on the lead," Gingras said. "Cartoon Daddy tends to wait on other horses a bit, but he dug in when he had to." The evening's first division saw a formful favorite in Southwind Masimo (Pat Lachance, $2.60) roll off cover to run his record to four wins in as many starts. From post No. 5, he tracked Azorean Art (Larry Stalbaum), then blew past that one to widen out by 2¼ lengths in 1:55.1. Dee's Rocketman (Brian Sears) was third. For "Masimo," a Bettor's Delight colt trained by his driver for co-owners Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber, he took over the points lead in this division. The exacta paid $12.60, with the triple returning $66.50. 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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 18, 2014 -- Statebred sophomore fillies took another turn downstate Monday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $219,700 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace. The harness racing event annually honors the memory of the former Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, whose contributions to the success of the Empire program cannot be measured. Many of Bruce's family and friends were on hand, enjoying the evening and making winner's circle presentation. Three divisions -- at $72,800, $72,800 and $74,100 -- comprised the coterie. Odds-on Major Dancer (George Brennan, $3.50) just lasted in the opening event, holding off a cone-skimming It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron) by a "shrunken head" in 1:53.2. Away alertly from post position No. 2, Major Dancer-who looks anything but a professional racehorse warming up-threw down intervals of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.1. Longshot Ken Doll J (Jimmy Whittemore) tried it first-up from sixth, but could not close. Major Dancer opened 2½ lengths in and out of the final turn, but needed some urging to close the sale. Southwind Illusions (Eric Carlson) was a best-of-the-rest third. For Major Dancer, a daughter of Art Major trained by Casie Coleman for Ontario tri-owners West Wins Stable, Mac Nichol and Adriano Sorella, it was her seventh win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10,40, with the triple returning $65.50. "Casie (Coleman) said she's gonna hop and skip warming up," Brennan said of Major Dancer. "She said I had to get her attention, so I scored her down hard, but even that didn't seem to work. "But has the talent and that was enough tonight." (Major Dancer was a late lame scratch from her last scheduled NYSS start here. She worked out the next day to become eligible for the Empire Breeders, where she won her elim and was second in the final). Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke won the other two Hamilton groupings, both from the pole. Jaded Dream ($5.10) blew past a non-resistant Up Front Elizabeth (Mark MacDonald), then held off Supplemental Income (Jason Bartlett) by a nose in 1:54.4. Sweetnsinful (Whittemore) was a rallying third, while even-money fave Medusa (Tim Tim Tetrick) was shuffled out from the pocket when the leader caved. For second choice Jaded Dream, a daughter of If I Can Dream co-owned (as Burke Racing) by her trainer, Weaver Bruscemi and Panhellenic Stable, she's now 3-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $22.40, with the triple returning $129.50. A La Notte Hanover ($12) reinforced the "short distance between two points" theory in the final sire stakes sojourn, taking it to the house (:29.1, :58.1, 1:26.4, 1:55). Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.), as the 4-5 choice, tried the winner from the inside but missed a head. Spreester (Dan Dube) was third, with Delightful Dragon (Dave Miller) fourth. The first four finishers were separated by a neck at the wire. For fourth choice "A La Notte," an Art Major miss co-owned (as Burke Racing) by here trainer, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Larry Karr, it was her second win in 13 '14 tries. The exacta paid $22, with the triple returning $62.50. "The first filly (Jaded Dream) went by so easily," Gingras said. "I felt Jason (Bartlett's) horse (Supplemental Income) right on my back, but mine du in. The other filly (A La Notte Hanover), I would have been content sitting second, but no one really left against her and she was able to get some cheap fractions." New York Sire Stakes continue Tuesday night, with the $202,599 Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old fillies. 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. Frank Drucker

Leading first-season trotting sire Lucky Chucky has been represented by the two highest ranked two-year-old colts in the rich New York Sire Stakes program this year. The leading pair are Gabe The Bear Dean ($74,119) and Mambo Blue Chip ($68,169), who both won NYSS divisions at Monticello Raceway on August 11. A few days earlier Lucky Chucky sired a further two NYSS winners in the two-year-old fillies Dancewithme Chuck and Luck Follows Me, who captured $32,700 races at Saratoga, while another Lucky Chucky filly, Nunkeri, won a $27,750 division of the NYSS at Batavia Downs on Sunday (August 17). The 2010 USA Trotter of the Year Lucky Chucky, whose first crop has earned more than $450,000 to date, can be accessed through Stallions Australasia representatives Daren and Gayle Garard and Greg Ryan. His service fee is $5,500 including GST in Australia and $5,000 plus GST in New Zealand. From Stallions Australasia

Barn Doll got off to a slow start but she finished first and fastest of four divisions of New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Batavia Downs. After getting away a gapped fourth, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and driver Jeff Gregory watched as Jim Morrill Jr.'s Pig Hunt cut out speedy fractions of :29 and :59.3, while pulling just before that second station. After starting the outer flow, Barn Doll slowly advance towards the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:30 flat. Once being eased around the last turn, Gregory got the filly in gear and she simply out-motored the rest to win in an impressive 1:59.4. Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) who followed Pig Hunt the whole race was second and My Lucky Word (Mark MacDonald) closed outside to be third. The winner paid $4.70. This was the fifth win in seven starts for the Steve Pratt trained Barn Doll who has now earned $70,712 on the year for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stable. She is the current point's leader in the NYSS standings for her gait and sex. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Laverne Lavec) won the second fastest division, going wire-to-wire in 2:01. After leaving hard to grab the lead, Mark MacDonald then grabbed leather to perfectly rate the game trotter through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 before flying home in a brisk :29.1 to register the win. Betcha (Dan Daley) was second and Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) was third. Nunkeri paid $3.50. Nunkeri is owned by Millstream Inc. and the Nunkeri Stable and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. This was her second win in five starts in 2014 and brings her bank up to $49,825. Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) also won her division in 2:01 but had to do it amidst an overabundance of road trouble. At the start of the race, Duolectra (Mark MacDonald) made a break which allowed Kaliska to inherit a quick lead. That lead was subsequently challenged by Summer Scent (Dan Daley) to the quarter in :30.2. Once she cleared, Kaliska and Ray Schnittker followed close behind while watching Concentration (Chris Lems), Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Spell That (Sam Schillaci) make breaks at various points of the mile. Once pulled, Kaliska out-dueled Summer Scent to the wire to win by almost two lengths. Kaliska returned $15.00 to win. The victory was the second of the year for Kaliska and pushed her earnings to $44,957 for owners Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable, Farm Alber Horse Racing LLC and Ray Schnittker, who is also her trainer. In the fourth split, Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann's Fan) proved dominant in what became a very short field very fast. With an early scratch and Miss B'ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Hot Start (Mark MacDonald) making breaks before the eighth pole, Zanna Blu found herself with a commanding lead and only three contenders behind her. Driver Gates Brunet took her through fractions of :30.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 with a five-length lead, before shutting her down with a line-drive to a length and three-quarter win in 2:01.1. She returned $6.90 to her backers. This was the third win in six starts for Zanna Blu and her owners Albert Crawford, Michelle Crawford and James Crawford. The winners share pushed the Gates Brunet trained filly's cash total to $47,176 for 2014. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior series on the card. Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Darling Marissa) who was driven by Mark MacDonald won the first $12,600 division in 2:00.4 for owner/trainer Janice Conner. Long Summer (Prayer I Am-Summer Ran) driven by Jeff Gregory won the second $12,700 split in 2:04.2 for owner Roy Dobbins and trainer Andrew Byler. And Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) was driven by Mark MacDonald and won the last $12,700 session in 2:02.4 for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt. Barn Girl is trained by Howard Okusko. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered his 6,000 career driving victory in a non-betting Excelsior B race with Ron's Coren in 2:04.1. Along with the wins, Morrill has pocketed purses totaling $87,659,175 during his career and annually remains one of the highest UDR reinsmen in the sport. Drivers Jeff Gregory and Mark MacDonald both scored driving triples on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 20) with post time at 6:35. The card features two divisions of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

The countdown is on. In just a few days, horses and riders will be competing to capture the first title of the New York Racing Under Saddle Fair Series. The seven race series, which featured six race legs that were held at county fairs across the state, will culminate in a championship final race at Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg. The series ran throughout the months of July and August, giving participants the opportunity to earn points towards the final. In order to be eligible for the final, horses needed to compete and finish in any two of the six legs. Eleven horses participated in the series with seven qualifying to race in the final. Six of those will be racing for the championship. Entries are as follows and are based on points earned: Vassar Hall to be ridden by Michelle Crawford Kash Now to be ridden by Michelle Miller Truth In Action to be ridden by Karen Isbell My Irish Molly to be ridden by Jocelyn Lavigne John-Michael to be ridden by Tara Hynes Lemon Pepper to be ridden by Jennifer Lowrey Vassar Hall leads the group going into the final race with 75 points. The 10-year-old mare trained by Brett Crawford has won every leg she has participated in. Her first victory of the series was on July 10 at Afton Fair in a time of 2:11.4. She then defended her title at the Otsego County Fair in Morris on July 29. Crawford then continued her winning streak with Vassar Hall at the Chenango County Fair in Norwich on Aug. 5. There, she won the second RUS division, crossing the finish line in 2:07.4. Kash Now is sitting in second on the point list with 51 points. Michelle Miller has ridden the 10-year-old mare to one victory this season, winning in 2:12 at the Seneca County Fair on July 14 in Waterloo. Kash Now, trained by Michael Miller and owned by Lance Diehl, has also taken a second and three thirds in the series.  Truth In Action was ridden to victory by owner and trainer Karen Isbell during the first leg of the series on July 3 at Goshen Historic Track. The 8-year-old gelding took second to Vassar Hall in the second division of the Norwich race. Although Truth In Action only raced in two races, he has earned 35 points and sits third on the point list. My Irish Molly got a late start in the series, but it was a great one. Jocelyn Lavigne rode her to a victory in the first division of the Norwich race. Although the mare only raced in one race, she earned a point and qualification into the final for showing up at Steuben County Fair in Bath, which was cancelled due to rain. Horses that showed up and checked in earned a point and eligibility for the final race.  John-Michael, owned by Terry Miller and trained by Michael Miller, has earned 21 points. The 6-year-old gelding raced in Afton and Norwich, taking second in both with Tara Hynes aboard. He also earned a point for showing up for the race in Bath. Lemon Pepper has also only raced in two legs of the series and has earned five points. The 15-year-old gelding is owned, trained and ridden by Jennifer Lowrey and received one point for finishing in the first leg, three points for placing fourth in the second division in Norwich and one point for showing up at Bath. The RUS NY 2014 Fair Series has a final race purse of $2,000 along with more than $1,500 in prizes from sponsors. In addition to series sponsors Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, Hawthorne Products donated a gift basket and NY Equine Fitness Center at Cleremont Farms is donating a Race & Recovery package valued at more than $1,250. The R&R package includes three treatments in their equine salt water spa and their hyperbaric chamber -- the only hyperbaric chamber in all of New England. Riders in the final race will also receive gift bags from the sponsors in addition to a pair of riding gloves donated by Big D’s. There will also be a High Point Rider Award presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series, with points earned for their finish in the final race as well. The current standings of qualified riders are as follows: Michelle Crawford–75, Michelle Miller–50, Karen Isbell-35, Jennifer Lowrey–25 and Tara Hynes–25. Many other sponsors also contributed services and financial support to the series. The series was made possible thanks to the following sponsors: Flagship Sponsor: New York Sire Stakes; Marketing Sponsor: Horsefly Group; Series Sponsors: Draper Therapies, Horse Quencher, Crawford Farms, Hawthorne Products, and Eric Abbatiello Racing. Race sponsors included Barb and Rick Bateman and T&K Harrington, LLC. by C J Millar, for RUS NY

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 14, 2014--Yonkers Raceway Thursday night hosted the $194,800 New York Sire Stakes Frank Becerra Pace for 2-year-old fillies. A total of 11 lasses entered a pair of divisions. The first ($96,400) grouping proved-again-why you race 'em, as 1-20 "death and taxes" lass Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras) was snapped on the money by 17-1 outsider Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr., $36.60). The former, looped out of the gate by My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald), eventually made the lead after a 28-second opening quarter-mile. From there, a :57.1 intermission before One Hot Majorette (Brian Sears) took out of third. She tried to engage "Sassa" by the 1:26.1 three-quarters, but the fave gradually turned away her advances. Meanwhile, an unhurried Mosquito Blue Chip, last among the quintet from post position No. 4, worked out a second-over trip. She angled wide and was just fast enough, sticking her tongue out at the (1:55) wire for a maiden-breaker. Sassa Hanover held second, with My Little Delight third-beaten just a head. For third choice "Mosquito," a daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by (trainer) Paul Jessop, Our Three Sons Stable and Danny Falcicchio, it was that first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $68, and there was no triple wagering due to the short field. "She was all guts," Morrill said. As for Sassa Hanover, who tasted defeat for the first time after a 4-for-4 start, "She was no good tonight," Gingras said. "Just didn't feel the same. Maybe they can look at her blood, but it was definitely something." Gingras and odds-on Band of Angels ($2.30) were more than good enough in the second ($98,300) sire stakes event. Put in play early from post No. 4, she gave nothing else a chance (:28.2, :57.4; 1:26.2; 1:55.2). With weak, first-up pressure from Hipnumberone (George Brennan) out of the way, Band of Angels opened three lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin was 2½ lengths over uncoupled stablemate Bettor N Better (Jason Bartlett), who rallied from last at the half. Bossers Joy (Sears) was third. "There wasn't much to it," Gingras said. "She's impressed me every start." For Band of Angels, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven owned by W J Donovan and trained by Ron Burke, she's now 5-for-5 to begin her career.. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $4.30, with the triple returning $15.60. The New York Sire Stakes continue Monday night, with the $219,700 Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old fillies. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (August 14, 2014) - Saratoga Casino and Raceway is set to welcome some of the country's finest standardbred individual performers during the running of the sixth annual Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Free for All (FFA) Pace on Saturday, August 16. The first post time is scheduled for 7:05pm that evening. This year's Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace features a balanced, high quality field of eight elite horses competing for $260,000. Notable entries in this year's pace include Ron Burke's Foiled Again, who has amassed over $6 million in lifetime wins; and Clear Vision, who currently shares the world record for aged pacers on ½ mile tracks. The career wins of all the horses in Saturday's pace total over $12 million. The $260,000 Memorial Pace is set for the 9th race of the evening's card. "We are very excited to have such a highly competitive field to go to post in this year's edition of our premier race," said Peter Iovino, Race Secretary at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "Along with the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year old colt pacers and a few quality open handicap races, it should make for a great night of excitement." Guests in attendance will receive a coupon for a free commemorative 2014 'Gerrity Night' t-shirt with the purchase of a $2 race program, while supplies last. Saratoga Springs Equine Officer, Jupiter, will be on hand for photos with guests from 6:30-8:30pm, along with his partner Officer Glenn Barrett. The duo is featured in the recent book, Standardbred Old Friends, which highlights Jupiter's brief career as a trotter at Saratoga Raceway before joining the Saratoga Police Department in 2003. The Memorial was created in 2009 as a pacing series honoring the memory of Joe Gerrity, Jr. and his many contributions. A highly respected leader, inspiration and an icon for Saratoga Raceway and the horse racing industry, he was a breeder of horses in Loudonville, a licensed harness driver and became Chairman of the Board of Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. (now Saratoga Casino and Raceway) on April 1, 1987. Mr. Gerrity later oversaw the expansion of the facility and the installation of video gaming machines, funding the project in part himself. He also served as a Director for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State for 20 years, and also acted as Treasurer for much of that time. Mr. Gerrity passed away in October of 2005.   From Saratoga Raceway & Casino        

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 12, 2014--Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night hosted the $221,000 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. A total of 13 entered a pair of six-figure divisions. The harness racing event honored the memory of the Basketball Hall of Famer, former New York Knickerbocker standout-and avid horseplayer-with family and friends making winner's circle presentations. As luck and form would have it, the two winners here were the same two that won this division's last downstate go-round not quite three weeks ago. The first ($109,500) grouping saw last season's frosh statebred champion, Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald, $2.50), deliver on a puny parimutuel promise (:28.3, 58.2, 1:28, 1:56.1). In play from post position No. 2, he played leapfrog with Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern), then completed his appointed. "El Durado" whipped Cash Me Out by a length-and-a-quarter, with Daley Lovin' (Dan Daley) third. For the in-form Flyhawk El Durado, a son of Conway Hall trained by Mark Ford for owner Martin Scharf, it was his fifth win (third consecutive) in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.50, with the triple returning $10.80. "Right now, he's as good as anyone in the division," MacDonald said. "When he stays calm, which he didn't always do, he can trot all day and dig in at the end." The second ($111,500) sire stakes event saw odds-on choice Gural Hanover (Morrill Jr., $2.60) make one move to the lead, then turn out the lights. Settling fifth early from post No. 7, the people's choice saw Royal Max (John Macdonald) put thrown down a :28.4 opening gauntlet. From there, Gural Hanover made the lead (:58.1, 1:27, 1:56.2) and slammed the door. He whipped Royal Max by four lengths, with Mister Anson (Jeff Gregory) third. The only other entrant under double-digit odds, second choice Zoey De Vie (Jason Bartlett), broke early. For Gural Hanover, a Crazed gelding co-owner (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Little E and Panhellenic Stables, it was his seventh win (sixth consecutive) in nine '14 tries. The exacta paid $9.70, with the triple returning $49.80. New York Sire Stakes continue Thursday night, with the $194,800 Frank Becerra Pace for 2-year-old fillies. 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. Frank Drucker

Although Crazshana's 2:00 victory was topped by two others on the afternoon card, still that clocking established a new Monticello Raceway track record for freshmen trotting geldings at Monticello Raceway when Trond Smedshammer drove him to a 2:00 victory in a division of the Excelsior "B" Series of the New York Sire Stakes on Monday, August 11. The altered son of Crazed-Keystone Shana, owned by the Purple Haze Stable, finished three lengths ahead of Mythology Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) and was one tick faster than the former standard of 2:00.1 set by Donttellmywife in 2006. In all, nine divisions of 2 year old trotting colts and geldings, in both the New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series, were featured that afternoon and the colts who won their NYSS splits were most impressive, each winning rather handily. Gabe The Bear Dean's 1:58.4 victory was the fastest of the three while Mambo Blue Chip scored in 1:59.3, and in his first lifetime start Sugarmakesmecrazy was victorious in 2:00.2. Ray Schnittkker guided Gabe The Bear Dean, a son of Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch, to a four-length triumph in 1:58.4 in the first $35,867 NYSS split. They finished just two ticks slower than Fashion Blizzard's 1:58.2 track record two years ago. Although Gabe the Bear Dean was abetted by breaking colts early in the mile still the powerful youngster needed no ulterior assistance as he trotted unchallenged through fractions of :29.2,:59.3,1:29.2 before finishing four lengths ahead of the Brent Holland -driven Andy Ray. A $105,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg, it was the fourth victory in six seasonal starts for Gabe The Bear Dean who now has nearly $75,000 for co-owner Ray Schnittker and the Minix Stable. "He's a nice colt and does everything right," Schnittker said about Gabe The Bear Dean, and then added: "He's got a big motor, too. Sent off at odds of 2-1 Gabe The Bear Dean paid $6.20 for win Mal and Janet Burroughs were on hand to watch Jeff Gregory drive their Mambo Blue Chip to a 1:59.3 triumph over Insomniac and Mark MacDonald in another $35,876 NYSS spilt and that had Burroughs smiling...and chirping. "I've missed the Hambletonian the last few years but this guy (Mambo Blue Chip) is gonna get us back there next year," said Burroughs, only the second amateur driver to win the famed Hambletonian. (He won the 2006 edition with Malabar Man while Harrison Hoyt was the other when he won with Demon Hanover in 1948). Trainer Linda Toscano had Jeff Gregory again drive Mambo Blue Chip and he responded with their third victory together. Understandably, Gregory was all smiles when he spoke of the colt's attributes. "He a smart colt and handles like an aged horse. Yeah, we got a good trip but he knew just what to do when he saw daylight in the stretch." After traveling along in third position from the start and still in third place at the top of the lane, when Gregory had room in the stretch he aimed Mambo Blue Chip toward freedom and the colt responded with a one length triumph. Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 yearling purchase was second choice in the betting and returned a $4.40 win mutuel. As impressive as any of the other colts was Sugarmakesmecrazy. Racing for the first time for money off just one qualifying start at the Meadowlands where he was beaten a nose in 1:58.1, he breezed to a wire to wire two-length victory in a time of 2:00.2 and kept favored Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer) at bay. Asked why the colt hadn't started earlier Svanstedt said; "He's so big that he had problems" as he pointed to the colt's right hind ankle and foot. "He's a good trotter now but he will be a very good 3-year-old." An $80,000 yearling purchase, the son of Crazed-Maple Frosting, paid $4.80 for win. He is owned by Mellby Gard, Inc. The supporting undercard featured three freshman trots in the Excelsior "A" Series and three in the Excelsior "B" Series. Besides Crazshana's 2:00 victory other Excelsior winners included; Deadhead Royalty, 2:04.1 (Howard Okusko), Abir Hanover, 2:04.2 (Jason Bartlett), Lucic, 2:04.2 (Steve Smith), Lucky Bud, 2:01.1 (Homer Hockstetler) and Titanium, 2:01.2 (Jason Bartlett) In all, a total of 11 of the 13 races were for trotters on that Monday and Shortest Distance, driven by Jimmy Taggart, Jr. won in 1:57 and scored her 17th victory of the season. She now has drawn even with Diamond Tiara as the harness horses with the most wins in North America this season. -John Manzi

After his convincing Meadowlands Pace victory, Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and the Muscara Racing Trust's He's Watching ($2.50) cemented himself atop the three-year-old harness racing pacing division with an equally remarkable 1:49.1 victory in the $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 10) afternoon.   The son of American Ideal found himself in an early tussle with Twin B Speedo (Mark MacDonald) and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera (Brian Sears), pushing clear on the first turn before controlling the terms through a sensible :55.4 half mile. On the backstretch, Winds of Change (David Miller) advanced first-over into a narrow second, forcing He's Watching to accelerate to the far turn.   While He's Watching was able to withstand the added pressure of a :26.3 third quarter, Winds of Change could not, backpedalling off the far turn and ceding second to the pocket-sitting JK Endofanera.   He's Watching continued to pull away off the corner, drawing off to a four-length win in rein to Tim Tetrick by way of a torrid :53.2 back half. JK Endofanera was all-out while giving futile chase the entirety of the stretch, but remained a clear second over Twin B Speedo.   Winning trainer David Menary indicated plans for He's Watching to contend the Pacing Triple Crown, which commences at Tioga with the Cane Pace on Monday, September 1.     The $244,875 Empire Breeders Classic event for three-year-old pacing fillies saw James Avritt, Sr.'s Precocious Beauty ($10.40) sustain a first-over bid for the final half-mile of her 1:51.1 score, wearing down the pace-setting Delightful Dragon (David Miller) before pulling clear in the stretch.   Major Dancer (Brian Sears) couldn't rally off live cover, all-out to chase through the stretch, but finishing two lengths in arrears. Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) rallied off cover to just miss the fading Delightful Dragon in the photograph for third, but was elevated to third placing after Delightful Dragon was found guilty of a pylon violation on the far turn.   Doug McNair drove Precocious Beauty, a daughter of Art Major, for trainer Gregg McNair.   The Sunday undercard featured four $28,250 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, with The Spy (1:53.0, Tim Tetrick), Lone Survivor (1:52.4, David Miller), Americanprimetime (1:52.4, Tyler Buter), and Southwind Masimo (1:54.0, Patrick Lachance) prevailing in their respective divisions.   Racing returns to Tioga for a special Monday (August 11) evening card. The first of 13 races is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Monticello Raceway will offer over $165,000 to 2 year old trotting colts and geldings in the harness racing New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series on Monday afternoon, August 11. There will be three splits each in the NYSS and the Excelsior A and B Series. In years past there was hardly a 2-year old trotter who could even approach 2:00 on a double-oval much less win in that time or faster. But those days are long gone. At the Mighty M on Monday in NYSS action there are already three freshman colt trotters that own records of 2:00 or faster and none of those racing in the events have had more than four or five lifetime starts at this time. The second $35,867 division, race 5 on the card, appears to be the most competitive and features Royal Deceptor who won a NYSS trot at Yonkers Raceway on July 25 in 1:58.2. Mickey McGivern will handle the RC Royalty-Art Of Deception colt when they leave from the six hole. However, they'll have to contend with Ray Schnittker's Gabe The Bear Dean who also won an NYSS event at Yonkers but just a tick slower in 1:58.3. They'll start inside Royal Deceptor in the four-hole. And with the Chris Lems-driven, Wings of Royalty , a 1:56 winner in his last start over Tioga Downs 5/8th mile oval in post three, this heat figures to be a barn burner. Mambo Blue Chip, an even 2:00 winner at Yonkers on July 25, is the early line favorite in third $35,867 NYSS division, race 8. Jeff Gregory will handle the son of Lucky Chucky-Flirty Two when they leave from post three. The afternoon card will kick-off with the first $35,867 NYSS split. Pier Ho Exotic, from the pylon position, figures to be the favorite at post time. John Cummings, Jr. owns and will drive the Conway Hall-Rose Run Exotic gelding from the pole position. Pier Ho Exotic sports a 2:01.2 record in an NYSS division over Buffalo Raceway's double oval on July 9. The undercard will feature three trots in the Excelsior Series Division "A" and three in the Excelsior Series Division "B" Series. Purists will be in their glory on the 13-race card of August 11. With four overnight races joining the nine NYSS trots, the betting card that day will feature 11 races for trotters and only two for pacers. First race post time set at 12:50pm. John Manzi

There were three New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies at Vernon Downs on Thursday night and Yannick Gingras came in to win two of them and drive the second-place finisher in the other. In all, Gingras posted four winners on the 14-race harness racing program to win top driver honors for the extended card.   Band Of Angels (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) won the $36,566 first division of the New York Sire Stakes. She moved to the lead as the field entered the backstretch and held that edge until Sawyer (David Miller) made a nice move to take over the top spot entering the far turn. However, Band Of Angels (Gingras) reclaimed the lead as the field moved into the stretch and moved away to a nice victory in 1:52.2. Band Of Angels has now won four consecutive New York Sire Stakes races at four different racetracks (Monticello, Yonkers, Saratoga, and Vernon), the last three with Gingras at the controls. Band Of Angels is owned by W.J. Donovan of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and is trained by Ron Burke.   There was a 9-1 upset in the $35,866 second division, as My Little Delight (Bettor's Delight-My Little Dragon) charged past Bettor N Better (Yannick Gingras) and Bettor Be Steppin (David Miller) in the stretch to get the victory in 1:52.3. My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) got her first win in five lifetime starts in this spot and paid $21.60 in the process. Bettor Be Steppin was very stubborn throughout the stretch on the lead, only succumbing in the final strides, getting passed by both My Little Delight and Bettor N Better. My Little Delight is owned by Adam Victor & Son Stable LLC of New York, New York. Noel Daley is the trainer.   Yannick Gingras returned to the Winner's Circle in the $36,566 third division at the controls of Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover). Sassa Hanover went immediately to lead and never looked back, maintaining a strong edge throughout the race. She stretched her advantage to five lengths in the stretch before settling for a three-length win in 1:52.2. Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) closed well in the stretch and finished second. Sassa Hanover matched the accomplishment of Band Of Angels, picking up four straight New York Sire Stakes wins at four different racetracks (Monticello, Yonkers, Saratoga, and Vernon). Sassa Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York and Lawrence Karr of New Jersey. Ron Burke is the trainer.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday night with a 10-race program. First post time is 6:45pm.   Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity  

There were longshots galore in the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Two year old filly trotters were in town and comprised five divisions of the $32,700 Sire Stakes for freshman highsteppers. There was only one favorite who prevailed among stakes fillies on Wednesday as Pig Hunt (Conway Hall) scored a convincing win for driver George Brennan in 2:01.1 at odds of 1-5. The fastest winner of the night for the freshman fillies was Miss B’ville J (Rc Royalty) who wired the field for Jim Morrill Jr in 1:59.2. It was the second victory on the season and easily a new lifetime mark for the Tracy Brainard-trained filly. Miss B’ville J went off at odds of 5-1. Three longshots won the remaining three stakes races as Concentration (Conway Hall) upset for driver Chris Lems at 16-1, Counsellor As (Conway Hall) prevailed for reinsman Marcus Johansson at 17-1 and Dancewithme Chuck (Lucky Chucky) scored at odds of 19-1 with Charlie Norris in the sulky. The New York Sire Stakes return to Saratoga on Saturday August 16th, the same night that the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Free-For-All Pace will take place. Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.   Mike Sardella

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