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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batavia, NY---The eighth and final division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) will visit Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 16) when fifteen 2-year-old pacing fillies congregate to vie for their share of the $109,000 in purses up for grabs. This will be the last time this class will compete before the $900,000 NYSS Night of Champions for 2-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 26) and for some, the outcome of their performance here will dictate whether or not they make the cut in the point standings. The top-six point-getters are solid to make the final, but the last two slots are definitely up for grabs. The first $54,500 division (carded as race three) has four horses on the verge of making the final, but the morning-line favorite is making her first start in a NYSS event this year. Upside Surprise (Art Major-Latte Lady) got a late start to her career after being scratched sick in her first race back on July 10 at the Meadowlands. She did not return to the track until August 18 when she broke her maiden in a big way, winning by 10-lengths at Pocono Downs in 1:53.4. Her next engagement was the Shes A Great Lady Stake at Mohawk Raceway where she was second in her elimination before finishing sixth in the $341,250 final behind L A Delight in 1:51.2 on September 5. Upside Surprise (2-1) will leave from post 4 with Jordan Stratton at the lines for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. The next four horses by odds are all looking to capture those last two spots in the final and they all need a win to have a shot. But that is something three of them have not done all year. North American leading trainer, Ron Burke, has three horses in the race: Art Critic (Art Major-Snippet Hanover) and the coupled entry of Encore Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Docdor Cameo) and Rockin Date (Art Major- Rockin Beauty). Art Critic (3-1) has not won at all this year but also has not missed a check in NYSS action either. Her best race time was 1:54.3 at Vernon Downs just two starts ago and she put out a good performance at Yonkers last week as well. Art Critic will have Jim Morrill Jr. aboard and leave from post 2. Encore Deo (7-2) does have one NYSS victory at Buffalo Raceway back on July 1 in a career best 1:57.3. She was race timed at Vernon in 1:53 flat two starts ago and moves back inside after drawing post six at Yonkers last week. Encore Deo gets the driving services of Matt Kakaley and will leave from post three. Rockin Date (7-2) is also winless this year but also never seems to get beat by much. Unfortunately for her, after drawing post one and two four times in her last five starts, she moves out to post seven for tonight and that will be difficult to overcome. Local driving leader Kevin Cummings picks up the lines for the contest. In the second $54,500 split (carded as race four) six of the top seven point-getters are competing in the absence of the overall point-leader, Soft Idea. With a lot of early speed behind the gate, Sassa Hanover's track record of 1:54.2 could be in jeopardy. Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) comes into this event red-hot. She has won her last two outings including a lifetime best, 1:52.2 at Vernon Downs before coming right back in 1:55.4 at Yonkers. She is currently fifth in the standings but could move up considerably with a win here. This filly likes to come off the pace and with the all the leavers entered, this race could set up just right for her. Dime A Dance (3-1) is another student of Ron Burke and will start from post three with Matt Kakaley in the bike. No Clouds Bluechip (Roll With Joe-B J's Sunshine) currently sits second in points with 224 as well as NYSS earnings of $101,999. She strung three-straight wins in NYSS action in July and August and hasn't finished worse than third in the series all year. Pegged as the second choice at 7-2, No Clouds Bluechip gets the services of Kevin Cummings as chosen by trainer John Berger. American Ivy (American Ideal-Haunted) is seven for seven in the money this year and finished second to Soft Idea in her last two outings. Last week at Yonkers she was beaten a narrow neck in 1:53.4 off a perfect trip, but that was the fastest of the divisions that night. Joe Holloway trains American Ivy (9-2) and has assigned Mark Macdonald to steer from post five. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

Nichols, N.Y. -- Having taken her past four wins from pacesetting and pocket trips, Non Stick ($3.70) demonstrated increased versatility in her $36,566 New York Sire Stakes win at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 11) evening, sustaining a first-over bid on the backstretch en route to her 1:57.1 harness racing victory.   Lucas Wallin eased the 2-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky and Meucci Madness just off the pace, drafting behind Pampered Winner (Mark MacDonald) and Love Crazy Love (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a soft :59 half mile before commencing a bid on the backstretch. Non Stick progressed steadily without the aid of cover, forcing a :28.4 third quarter before working to a clear lead off the far turn. After collaring Pampered Winner, Non Stick held off a late rally from Love Crazy Love, who emerged from the pocket in the final yards to miss by three-quarters of a length. Royal Surprise (Dan Daley) chased her cover to take third.   Trainer Ake Svanstedt co-owns Non Stick, now undefeated through five career races, with Little E, LLC.   Subsequent $36,566 New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting fillies on the evening's 13-race program went to Posterity ($4.40) and Dizzy Broad ($2.70), both of whom pushed to the lead late to push their respective career win tallies to five.   Posterity, a daughter of Lucky Chucky and Vintage Chip, had no part of the early pace, saving ground on the backstretch to pass a parked and beleagured Zette Starlet (Bob Moran) before vacating the pegs and launching a strong bid on approach to the far turn. Posterity collared pacesetter Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) in upper stretch, drawing off to a 2-1/4 length win in 1:57 with trainer Charlie Norris handling the driving duties as well. Carrie Norris, Janine Zito, and Buck Sprinkle share ownership of Posterity.   Dizzy Broad likewise worked to the lead late in the mile, but took advantage of a pocket trip behind Franniegetyourgun (Mark MacDonald) before turning up the pressure with just over a quarter mile to go. The two dueled through the far turn, but Dizzy Broad kicked clear with less than a furlong to go, wearing down Franniegetyourgun and staving off an explosive late charge from Dazzling Dollars (Marohn) for a 1:56.4 score.   Jim Morrill, Jr. drove the Ron Burke-trained daughter of Broad Bahn and Portia for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Earl Smith.   The 2015 live racing season at Tioga Downs concludes on Saturday (September 12), with a 10-race card, car and television giveaways, and a fireworks spectacular on the docket. Post time is 6:15 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Twenty-one 2-year-old trotting fillies will contest three New York Sire Stakes events on Friday (September 11) evening's harness racing program at Tioga Downs, with Non Stick looking to keep her undefeated record intact.   Non Stick, one of a quartet of four-time winners on the program, has been installed as the 6-5 morning line favourite in the evening's fifth race, carrying a $36,566 purse.   The daughter of Lucky Chucky and Meucci Madness was recently a pillar-to-post winner at Yonkers, having taken her career mark of 1:56.3 at Vernon the week prior.   Lucas Wallin handles the driving duties for trainer Ake Svanstedt.   A pair of four-time winners square off in the second division, carded as race six on the 13-race card.   Posterity (9-5 ML) reeled off three straight wins before she was collared at Yonkers in her most recent race, edging clear for a 1:56 win at Vernon on August 14.   Trainer Charlie Norris will drive the daughter of Lucky Chucky and Vintage Chip.   She will have to contend with Ron Burke trainee Goosebump Hanover (7-5 ML), who comes in off three straight New York Sire Stakes victories, most recently holding sway narrowly for a 1:57.2 win at Saratoga.   Jim Morrill, Jr. is slated to drive the daughter of RC Royalty and Good Common Cents.   In the third and final division, programmed as the seventh event, Dizzy Broad (7-5 ML) seeks to extend her winning streak to three.   Ron Burke and Jim Morrill, Jr. once again team up with the daughter of Broad Bahn and Portia.   The penultimate program of the season at Tioga Downs is due to begin at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Not that there is ever a bad time to be racing well, but for Rockin' in Heaven, he's certainly picked a dandy time to get good. The 3-year-old son of Rock N' Roll Heaven looms a player Saturday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the New York Night of Champions (Part I). Four $225,000 sire stakes finals of soph boys and girls, pacers and trotters go as races 5 through 8 (first post 7:10 PM), with each race sponsored by a prominent Empire State breeding farm. Rockin' in Heaven landed post position No. 2 in the last of the quartet, Blue Chip Farms Pace. Dr. Ian Moore, the man behind the likes of Shadow Play and State Treasurer, co-owns (with Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte and Gordon McComb) and trains. The Good Doctor has imported one of Ontario's leading chauffeurs, Trevor Henry, for a rare Yonkers appearance. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Anne Chunko, Henry has one previous career Westchester work night, a 2010 excursion driving an eight-hole, 90-1 shot (Quantum Cashman) in a NYSS event. So, why is Henry crossing the border Saturday? 'Cause Rockin' in Heaven is good. He enters with three wins in his last four starts, including an 11-1 upset in the $290,000 final of the Empire Breeders Classic (Tioga, life-best 1:50). Henry himself did the recent honors, a wire-to-wire, 1:53 NYSS effort at Batavia where he was parked three-deep making the lead. "He's a nice horse," Henry said en route to Mohawk Thursday night. "He can be lazy and he never wins by much, but he's progressed. "When Ian (Moore) first started with him, he said he couldn't get a lot out of him," Henry said. "I think it wasn't until his win in (June's division of the) Somebeachsomewhere (Mohawk, 1:50.3) that we finally started to see the sort of colt he was." Enough to get his driver to cross customs, at the very least. For the season, Rockin' in Heaven-a $40,000 Harrisburg yearling-has eight wins, four seconds and a third in 15 starts ($310,565). His current form spree began here, sticking his tongue out at the wire in an $84,187 NYSS sire stakes division early last month. Rockin' in Heaven has certainly learned his craft well after a three-win, $14,000-plus season as a frosh. New York Night of Champions (Part II), with four, $225,000 sire stakes finals for the 2-year-olds, goes Saturday, Sept. 26th. This is the first-time in the NOC's 26-season history that it has been a two-night production. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 10, 2015 - This Saturday, Sept. 12th, the best 3-year-old trotters and pacers bred in New York State descend upon the historic Yonkers Raceway at Empire City Casino for the first of the two-part annual harness racing New York Night of Champions. The competition, inaugurated in 1990 by the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), celebrates its 26th anniversary this year. For the first time, the finals are held on two nights, both featuring four sire stakes finals at $225,000 each. Part II of the competition takes place Saturday, Sept. 26th, with New York's premier 2-year-old trotters and pacers, All eight finals are again sponsored by prominent Empire breeding farms. "It's always an honor for Yonkers Raceway to host the New York Night of Champions," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "With Yonkers generating far and away the highest revenue among all New York harness tracks, it's only fitting the divisional champions are crowned here." First post time of the night at is 7:10pm at Yonkers Raceway with the NYSS Night of Champions taking races five through eight on the dozen-race card. Highlights are below: Fifth Race (Majestic View Farms Filly Trot) - Barn Doll (driven by Jeff Gregory, post 6) looks to repeat as divisional champ. This season's points leader has been ultra-consistent, as in 10-for-12 this season ($352,863) and 17-for-21 lifetime. The daughter of Conway Hall, co-owned and trained by Steve Pratt, enters off a blowout win at Yonkers Raceway earlier this month. Jewels in Hock (driven by Jim Morrill Jr., post 4), one a select few who knocked off Barn Doll, enters winning half of her 16 tries in 2015 ($241,496). Lady Winona (driven by Jason Bartlett, post 7) is the stronger lass in the Julie Miller-trained entry. Sixth Race (Cameo Hill Farm Filly Pace) - Bettorhaveanother (driven by Tyler Buter, post 3), Band of Angels (driven by Jason Bartlett, post 8) and defending champ Mosquito Blue Chip (driven by Jim Morrill Jr., post 7) have all enjoyed successful summers, though "Mosquito" did make an uncharacteristic break in her latest try at Yonkers Raceway. Bedroomconfessions(driven by Dan Dube, post 6) enters as hot as any of these, with three wins in her last four tries. Seventh Race (Morrisville College Equine Institute Colt/Gelding Trot) - Is there anything Yonkers Trot winner Habitat (driven by Jim Morrill Jr, post 3) can do for an encore? A career millionaire off his open-length win this past Saturday, the son of Conway Hall gets another look at Trot finalists Buen Camino (driven by Trond Smedshammer, post 1) and Workout Wonder (driven by Dan Dube, post 6). Royal Deceptor (driven by Mickey McGivern, post 5) and Wings of Royalty (driven by Jason Bartlett, post 7) have both had productive seasons. Eighth Race (Blue Chips Farms Colt/Gelding Pace) - Artistic Major (driven by Jim Morrill Jr., post 3), the leader in the clubhouse, has some talented foes in Betting Exchange (driven by Jason Bartlett, post 5) and National Seelster (driven by Andy miller, post 7), among others. The lineup for Part II of the New York Night of Champions is to be drawn Tuesday, Sept. 22nd. About the New York Sire Stakes--The New York Sire Stakes was the first program of its kind developed in North America and later became the model for state-bred racing programs in nearly all of the major harness racing states and provinces on the continent. Sponsored by NYS harness racing industry organizations, the first NYSS events were held in 1961. The official New York Sire Stakes program was inaugurated in 1965 when the state's harness tracks and breeding industry leaders who sought to spur the breeding industry successfully lobbied the State Legislature for support of their endeavor. The group was led by the late Dr. Harry M. Zweig, a distinguished veterinarian from Nassau, NY. Dr. Zweig's tireless efforts proved successful when the Laverne Law was enacted. The legislation created the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund), the public benefit corporation that administers the New York Sire Stakes program. The law mandates the Fund to receive a percentage of the industry's betting handle to manage the NYSS program and to perpetuate its mission. The New York horse racing industry came together once again in 2001 to advance the sport of harness racing in the state through the addition of video lottery terminals at each race track. With harness racing's late Bruce Hamilton leading the way, the industry again ran a successful campaign and the NYS legislature amended the pari-mutuel law, allowing video lottery terminals at the state's harness racetracks. The first racino opened at Saratoga Raceway in 2004, paving the way for racinos at the remaining six race tracks statewide. Since the inception of racinos at harness tracks, New York Sire Stakes purses have more than doubled and continue to increase. Frank Drucker

Her approval rating in New York would shame any politician, as would her margins of victory. Fortunately for the electeds, Barn Doll isn't taking them on. Unfortunately for the seven lasses she sees Saturday night, Barn Doll is taking them on. Barn Doll, her sights on another sire stakes championship, drew post position No. 5 in the Majestic View Farms International 3-Year-Old Filly Trot. The event is the first of four Yonkers Raceway finales comprising Part I of the 26th New York Night of Champions. The $225,000 finals for 3-year-old pacers and trotters go Saturday (races 5 through 8), while the equally-purses quartet of finales for 2-year-olds is set for Saturday, Sept. 26th . Each of the eight events is sponsored by a prominent New York breeding farm. As for Barn Doll, the daughter of Conway Hall has never left Empire's boundaries in her 21-race, $560,850 career. Her 17 wins (with three seconds) have included four in five Yonkers starts, highlighted last season's frosh championship. "She's just been a pro for two seasons," Jeff Gregory, Barn Doll's driver in 17 of her purse starts, said. "She always shows up. "(Trainer/co-owner) Steve (Pratt) warned me right away she was a nice horse, and she's lived up to it," Gregory said. Why? "Exceptional manners and speed," her chauffeur said. "Last season, if you saw her race, you'd never have thought she was a 2-year-old. She made one break (Saratoga) and that's because she was in heat, a fluke thing." As good as she's been on the small tracks up and down the Thruway, Gregory thinks a big track steps her up even more. "She's not the quickest out of gate, but with the big track, she can get out of there." Gregory has won 13 sire stakes finals, third all-time (behind Wally Hennessey and Jim Morrill Jr.). His dozen leg wins this season puts him second, behind runaway leader Morrill Jr. "Hopefully, we can get another one Saturday." Frank Drucker

Vernon, N.Y. -- An explosive :53.2 final half mile was more than enough for Travel Playlist ($4.40) to take top billing among 16 other 2-year-old harness racing pacing colts and geldings in Monday (September 7) afternoon's New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs.   Travel Playlist was unhurried early in the $55,500 first division, moving off the pegs from fifth at race's midpoint to chase Talk Show (John Campbell) after a :54.2 initial half mile.   The son of Art Major and Village Madonna steadily progressed through the far turn, taking second from a tiring Fine Diamond (Tyler Buter) through a :27.2 third quarter before subsequently mowing down Talk Show in upper stretch.   By way of a :26.4 final quarter, Travel Playlist turned in a decisive 1:49.2 victory, taking three-fifths of a second off the track record for 2-year-old pacing colts formerly held by He's Watching.   Joe Larry N Curly (Jim Morrill, Jr.) rallied late to take second, 3-1/4 lengths in arrears, while Talk Show checked in a beleaguered third.   Marcus Miller drove Travel Playlist for owner Ronald Michelon and trainer Erv Miller.   In the $56,500 second division, another son of Art Major prevailed. Autotune Hanover ($6.80) floated into midfield from a post 9 dispatch, slid second-over on the far turn to track the cover of Red Roll (John Campbell), kicking off stalled cover at head-stretch before pushing clear of a rapidly fading Skip Jive (Wally Hennessey). Autotune Hanover, by Art Major and out of Anderosa Hanover, kicked forward immediately when Tyler Buter moved him off cover, ultimately staving off the third-over Endeavor (Patrick Lachance) to win in 1:51.2.   Trainer Mark Harder co-owns Autotune Hanover with Rick Phillips, Deena Frost, and Peter Venturini.   Live racing at Vernon Downs shifts to a schedule of Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings for the remainder of September and the entirety of October. Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Now a six-time winner, Margaret and Amy Butler's Dayson ($2.10) drew clear at will for a 1:56 triumph in his $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event on Saturday (September 5) evening at Tioga Downs.   Jeff Gregory settled the 2-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall and Nervey's Taurus at the back of the main body of the field early on, better than just the far detached Neymar (Harry Landy), who faltered at the start. Dayson sat well off a :27.1 initial quarter before vacating the pegs at race's midpoint, working to within three lengths of 28-1 leader Credevie (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a :57 half. On the backstretch, the Howard Okusko trainee found cover in the form of the first-over Crown Point (Dan Daley), drafting to advance easily through a 1:26.3 three-quarter split before he was left uncovered on the far turn. Just as Crown Point cleared a tiring Credevie, Dayson found another gear, sprinting off through the stretch and ultimately defeating midpack stalkers Southern Palms (Mike Simons) and Chargin Cadet (Ray Schnittker) by 10 lengths to remain undefeated.   The other $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event on the evening's program saw Dog Gone Lucky ($9.40) recover from a mild shuffle on the backstretch, rallying off the far turn to defeat odds-on pacesetter Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55.3. Jim Meittinis drove the son of Lucky Chucky and Ebbtide Hall for owners Amy Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley as well as trainer Chuck Sylvester.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Monday (September 7) afternoon, with a $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary event headlining the card. Post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

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