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Nichols, NY -- After his two-year-old season culminated in a second-place finish in the Breeders Crown, In the Arsenal ($2.60) made good on his odds-on promise in one of four New York Sire Stakes events ($110,000 added total purse) for harness racing three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Sunday (May 17) afternoon at Tioga Downs.   The son of American Ideal and Ladyotra (On the Road Again) settled well off the early pace, retreating to fourth after he was caught wide on the first turn behind eventual pacesetter Gold Coast Muscle (Mike Simons). In the Arsenal would stalk comfortably from midfield as Soto (Brett Miller) made a push to the fore after a :26.1 first quarter mile, advancing in the breeze to press the pace on the backstretch. While able to make gradual gains on his own, he found another gear just before the far turn upon immediate asking from Brian Sears, making up two lengths on Soto through a :27.1 third quarter. In the Arsenal continued his pursuit in earnest, dueling with and just collaring Soto in the final yards, prevailing by a scant neck in 1:50. Oneisalonelynumber (David Miller) stayed on to finish third after following the winner's cover.   Kelvin Harrison trains seven-time winner In the Arsenal for owner-breeder White Birch Farm and the In the Arsenal Racing partnership.   For Sears, the victory was one of three on the card, also teaming up with Time Out I'm Tired ($25.00, 1:52.4) and JK Allnitelong ($8.80, 1:51.4) in a pair of Excelsior events on the undercard.   Art Major sired two of the other three New York Sire Stakes winners on the afternoon's program, with Yannick Gingras driving Sicily ($9.70, 1:51.1) and Cartoon Daddy ($4.30, 1:51.4) to victory in their respective divisions. National Seelster ($5.80, 1:51.4)--who gave futile chase to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $58,000 Gilmour at the Meadowlands in March--captured the fourth division, with Andy Miller piloting the Bettor's Delight colt.   A special Monday evening card is up next at Tioga Downs, with the first of 11 races on May 18 due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs  

Making her return to the races after she spent her two-year-old season in the shadows of JK She'salady, Sassa Hanover ($2.70) proved dominant in her harness racing sophomore debut, trouncing six other three-year-old pacing fillies in her $30,450 New York Sire Stakes event on Saturday (May 16) evening at Vernon Downs.   The Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover filly was a fair bit off the early pace, tracking from midfield as Mosquito Hanover (Chris Lems) and Not Before Eight (John MacDonald) alternated on the lead through a :55.2 initial half mile. On the backstretch, Andy McCarthy moved Sassa Hanover off the pegs, commencing a strong push to the fore well before reaching the far turn. Upon clearing Not Before Eight, Sassa Hanover was faced with a first-over challenge from Bossers Joy (Greg Merton), but she quickly dismissed that rival, kicking clear to a 5-1/2 length victory in 1:51. Bossers Joy narrowly held second from Not Before Eight, who labored late after chasing from the pocket.   Trainer Ron Burke's Burke Racing Stable co-owns seven-time winner Sassa Hanover with the Panhellenic Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Larry Karr.   Daughters of Bettor's Delight took two of the other three Sire Stakes splits, with Bettorhaveanother ($22.40, Chris Lems, 1:51) and Bettor Be Steppin ($3.50, Corey Callahan, 1:51.3) proving victorious. Art Major filly Moonlit Dance ($13.00, Joe Pavia, Jr., 1:52.1) rounded out the quartet of Sire Stakes winners on the evening's program.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (May 17) afternoon, with first post time set for 1:15 p.m.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

On Monday May 11th the New York Sire Stakes makes its 1st stop of the year at Monticello Raceway. On slate are 4 divisions of NYSS ($30,450), 2 Divisions of the Excelsior A ($15,000), and 2 divisions of Excelsior B ($6, 600) on the days 14 race harness racing card. The caliber of the entries is indicative of the quality of the New York Sire Stakes program in recent years. At first glance one would think that this was a Grand Circuit event with the likes of Crazy Wow and Habitat. According to Monticello Race Secretary Eric Warner "This is an exceptional crop of Colts this year and the Track Record may be in jeopardy" The track record for 3 Year Old Trotting Colts is also the All Age Track Record of 1:55:2, which is held by Gural Hanover. In the 2nd race, 1st division of Sire Stakes, Crazy Wow will start from Post 4. The Ron Burke trained son of Crazed comes into the race after 2 impressive qualifiers at the Meadowlands. He was the winner of last year's NYSS final. Crazy Wow is ranked 4th, right behind last year's 2 year Trotting Colt of the Year Pinkman in the Experimental Time Ratings. Last year he took a record of 1:54, with lifetime earnings of $232,928. In the 4th race, local favorite Hollywoods Thatway will look to defend his 3 race Monticello win streak. The son of Conway Hall is trained by Ed Hart, Billy Parker will be driving. Habitat, fresh off a victory in the Dexter Cup at Freehold last weekend, will start from post 3, in race 8 At 2 he earned $534,407, lifetime earnings in excess of $600,000 and a 2 year old mark of 1:53.4. His victories last year include the William Wellwood Final, Matron Stakes, and the Bluegrass Stake. The final division of the Sire Stakes is in race 14, has 2 Hambletonian winning owners vying for victory, Malvern Burroughs of Malabar Man fame, and Paul Fontaine owner of 2013 winner Royalty For Life. Burroughs will send forth Mambo Blue Chip, and Fontaine Lucky Ten K for trainer George Ducharme. Empire Resorts, Inc. and Monticello Casino & Raceway, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-794-4100

As the start of the New York Sire Stakes program is right around the corner, Monticello Raceway will be offering Prep Races for NYSS/Excelsior eligible horses. "We will be drawing Wednesday April 29, for Monday May 4th, for our first prep race, the purse for these events will be $4,500, our first Sire Stake/Excelsior event is on Monday May 11" noted Monticello Race Secretary Eric Warner. The first prep race will be for 3 Year Old Trotting Colts. "With some of the top 3 year Old Trotting Colts are starting to qualify lately, these races may fit perfectly in their schedule" said Warner. Monticello Raceways Post Time is 12:50 for its Monday thru Thursday schedule. The 50 cent pick 5 Wager runs in race 3 -7. Empire Resorts, Inc. and Monticello Casino & Raceway, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-794-4100

The New York Sire Stakes will once again generously donate initial purse money for another Racing Under Saddle season at New York fairs. Members of the Agriculture and New York State Breeding Development Fund Board approved a grant of $5,000, which is $1,000 more than what was given last year. However, additional sponsorship and help will be needed to make a 2015 season possible. The goal is to make the second season even bigger and better than the first. In order to do that we need to sta rt organizing a more formal committee and perhaps create subcommittees within that committee. We need more people involved. We do not only need committed owners, trainers and riders, but we need people who will help get sponsors, write blogs, promote the sport etc.  There are already more fairs that want to get on board and host a race. Our biggest challenge is getting enough sponsorship funds to have reasonable purses at each fair. While the racing season may seem far away, it will be here before we know it. Now is the time to start organizing and planning! The first step is to see who we can get on board and to see if we can find a central place to host meetings. We will also work on a way to get people involved via internet chat such as Skype or something similar if people are too far to attend personally. If you are interested in getting involved please contact Race Coordinator Michelle Miller at mnmiller84@gmail.com or (607) 643-8047. Also keep an eye on our Facebook page,https://www.facebook.com/RUSNYSeries, and webpage,http://rus-newyork.com, for upcoming meetings and plans as we move forward. We would also like to get some idea of how many horses/riders we might get this summer so we can plan on raising more money for multiple division if needed. Interest seemed to get greater as the season went on last year and we want to be prepared and not be scrambling for purse money at the last minute.  If you plan to ride expect to participate in at least one fundraiser and get involved with the committee at some level. Last season: The RUS NY 2014 Fair Series featured six legs and a championship final race. 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 horses competed to be named the first RUS NY Fair Series’ champion. Excitement and participation got greater throughout the summer. By mid-season horses were split into two divisions - allowing fans to get to see more than one race at certain fairs. The goal of fair racing: The main goal is to promote Racing Under Saddle and the versatility of the Standardbred breed as both a racing and a riding horse, to help Standardbreds find great homes after they finish their days on the track.  Fair races have different conditions to allow horses that are not as competitive at the bigger tracks a chance to race and perform. About the NYSS and the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund:  The New York Sire Stakes is the state’s premier harness racing program designed to promote the breeding, buying and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State. Administered by the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, the New York Sire Stakes is the nation’s oldest harness racing program of its kind. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and county fair races. Additionally, the fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research. by Michelle Miller, for RUS New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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