On the Cusp ($7.80) seized the lead and never looked back, making every pole a winning one in Friday (September 5) evening's $15,000 Open Handicap Pace for fillies and mares at Tioga Downs. Shawn Gray sent the seven-year-old Camluck mare immediately to the fore, tracked throughout by Inittowinafortune (Aaron Byron). With 1-2 favorite Pan Luis Obispo (Jim Meittinis) away just worse than midpack, On the Cusp maintained an honest pace through a :55.2 half mile, far from grueling. While Pan Luis Obispo never proved a threat, stalling at head-stretch amid her three-wide bid off cover, Inittowinafortune chased stoutly in the final eighth, but On the Cusp had plenty left in reserve to stave her off. On the Cusp prevailed by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51.1 over Inittowinafortune. Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) rallied late off a stalking trip to hold third. Dylan Davis trains On the Cusp for owner Kapildeo Singh. While visiting driver Shawn Gray took the evening's featured event, Phil Fluet won four of the night's nine races to lead all drivers for the evening. Fluet proved victorious with Weekend Getaway ($15.20, 1:54.0), Martha Michelle ($8.50, 1:56.0), Cashamatic ($10.80, 2:00.0), and Princess Bliss ($10.60, 1:54.4). Blows Me Away nearly gave Fluet a fifth win on the card, but the pair were outkicked by Aint Got a Home and Aaron Byron in the final yards of the evening's eighth event. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 6) evening, with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs
Brussel Sprout (Glidemaster) continued his recent hot streak on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The five year old trotter moved into the $15,000 claimers a few weeks ago and is now three-for-three in that class following a frontrunning victory in 1:58.2 on a chilly summer night in the Spa City. The Allan Johnson-trained trotter set a lifetime mark last week when he overcame a tough trip to prevail in 1:56.3 and extended his win streak on Thursday night. Pop My Buttons (Phil Fluet) sat the pocket to the favored winner and finished second to complete a chalky $4.40 exacta while Holy Smokes (Stephane Bouchard) completed the triple. Brussel Sprout was driven to victory by Austin Siegelman. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella
Freedomformysoul established a new Monticello Raceway track record for freshmen pacing colts when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. drove the son of If I Can Dream to a 1:55.2 triumph in their division of the $110,000 NY Sire Stakes. The victory erased the former standard of 1:55.3 set by Share The Delight during 2007. Coming into the race off a stunning 1:53.3 track record last week at Saratoga Raceway Freedomformysoul was understandably the overwhelming betting favorite and Morrill used the front-end route for an easy victory over Rockntouch and driver Yannick Gingras. After getting looped on the first turn by Mikado Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) Morrill wheeled his colt back to the lead and they passed the first stanza in a stiff :28.0 and then paced the second quarter in :28.2 reaching the halfway point in :56.2. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could. "I got to the half faster than I wanted to, so I didn't even pull the (ear) plugs." Morrill admitted after the race. "He's one of the best 2 year olds I've ever driven. He's the real deal." Owned by the Freedomformysoul Stable and trained by Nancy Johansson the son of If I Ca Dream paid $2.30 for win. Southwind Masimo won a division of the NYSS in 1:55.4 for Patrick Lachance. That final time was abetted by speed duel for the lead between We Think Alike (Ray Schnittker) and Old Man Cleary (Yannick Gingras) with early fractions of :27.1, :56.2. Lachance had Southwind Masimo out after the half and they swept to the front up the backside and were all by themselves at the wire some 11-lengths ahead of K Ryan Blue Chip and driver Joe Pavia, Jr. "They were playing hardball up front which worked out good for me," Lachance said in the winners circle when he stopped for a photograph. Southwind Masimo is owned in Canada by Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber and trained by Lachance. The winner paid $27.60 for win. In yet another NYSS split Americanprimetime, sent off at odds of over 78-1, lit up the tote board and paid $161.50 for win when Tyler Buter drove him to victory in a time of 1:57. They rallied from five lengths back at the top of the lane to collar Ultimate G, driven by Jason Bartlett. Americanprime time is owned by the Rock N Roll Stable and trained by Rick Dane, Jr. Jason Bartlett won a pair of $110,000 NYSS splits. His first was with Twin B Stingray in 1:56.4 pacing a :28- second final stanza en route to victory. And they needed every bit of that to hold-off Bet You and driver Yannick Gingras by a head. Twin B Stingray is owned by J & T Silva Racing Stable and C C Stables and trained by Aaron Lambert. He paid $20.20 for win Bartlett's other sire stakes victory came with My Spirit Soars in1:57.2 for owner Daniel Van Wart. After putting My Spirit Soars on the lead, Corey Braden made a quarter pole move with odds-on favorite JD He's Da Bomb and Bartlett let them take command before the half. From there Bartlett bided his time and in the lane rallied My Spirit Soars to a head victory over Berkley and Scott Zeron. "I didn't want to go with him (Corey Braden) when he came at me near the half so I let him go. If I didn't my colt would probably not have gotten a check (piece of the purse)," Bartlett admitted. Trained by Tom Fanning, My Spirit Soars paid $5.90 for win. Excelsior Series winners and their drivers included: Can't It Be Me (2:00-Bruce Aldrich, Jr.); Southwind Rex (1:58.4-Jeff Gregory); Spiritintheclouds (2:00.3-Mickey McGivern); Artistic Major (1:59.2-Brent Holland) and Hayden's Little Man (1:59.3- Phil Fluet) by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 2014 Buffalo Raceway live racing season comes to an end on Sunday afternoon but the track will close with a bang as the New York State Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies highlight the final card of the year. There will be four $27,251 divisions of the Sire Stakes along a trio of $12,600 Excelsior A Series races and a $6,700 Excelsior B race in the 11-race program that is set for 1:05 p.m. And while there be some talented filly trotters taking to the track, it's like a 'who's who' that will be driving them. Former Western New York regulars Jeff Gregory, Ray Schnittker, Jim Morrill Jr., John Stark Jr., Phil Fluet, Sam Schillaci and John Cummings Jr. all will be returning to Western New York for day. They'll be joined by others including Dan Daley, Chuck Connors Jr., Charlie Norris, Chris Lems, Gates Brunet, Jim Meittinis, Rick Zeron, Robert Shepherd, Jim Marohn Jr. and Tyler Raymer. The Sire Stakes will be contested in the first, third, sixth and seventh races. The first leg features Counsellor AS (Gregory) who has a 1-1/2 length win in the Excelsior A Series at Vernon Downs on June 26 in 2:00.1. Counsellor As (Conway Hall-Cordele AS) broke stride in her last appearance at Tioga Downs on July 11. She'll look to rebound starting from the three post as the 3-1 morning line choice. Her main threat should come from 4-1 second choice Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Daring Marisa) who start from the four post. She has a pair of second place finishes in both of her pari-mutuel starts and will be handled by Connor Jr. The second division has Betcha (Betcha-Ruccoucou) as the 3-1 choice with Daley in the bike. Betcha cruised to an easy two length decision in the $27,250 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 1:59.4 on July 11. She may play 'catch-me-if-you can' from the four spot. The toughest leg could be the third which will go as the sixth race. It finds My Twisted Sister (Lucky Chucky-Pretzel Hanover) and Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) ready to battle it out. My Twisted Sister (Morrill Jr.) showed plenty of heart in posting a neck victory in the $27,750 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 2:00 on July 11. She'll get the inside post and should get a perfect trip. Barn Doll drew a tough post, the seventh spot, but can overcome it after posting a pair of big victories of more than three lengths in her last two starts, including 1:59.1 decision at Tioga on July 11 in the Sire Stakes. Barn Doll gets Jeff Gregory as her pilot. The final division has Spell That (Conway Hall-Mouche Hanover) the 3-1 early choice with Sam Schillaci in the sulky. She was last seen on June 26 at Vernon Downs where she suffered a narrow neck defeat in the Sire Stakes. She'll start out of the six post. The main threat could come from Northern Obsession (Conway Hall-Northernpossession). This 2-year-old has a pair of competitive third place finishes in two Sire Stakes starts and gets trainer-driver Ray Schnittker on the reins. They'll score from the three post. For more information including simulcast schedule, race replays, results and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Gural Hanover smashed the all-age trotting record at Buffalo Raceway Sunday afternoon by covering the mile in 1:56.1 over the lightning fast track to steal the spotlight in the second $61,300 division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The old mark of 1:56.3 was shared by Scorpion Moon (2007), Delano (2012), Crazy About Pat (2013) and Lutetium (2014). After shattering the track record with Gural Hanover, winning driver Jim Morrill Jr. said, "That was just a training mile. The horse is very, very good." Morrill Jr. was very good as well as he finished the program with five victories in the sulky. Gural Hanover ($2.10) started from the six post and cleared the top just before the quarter pole. He posted fractions of 28.4, 57.3, 1:27.3 and had a 28.3 last panel to destroy the record. Zoey De Vie (Phil Fluet) pressed Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing) slightly down the stretch and finished strong a length behind in second while Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald) placed third. The lightly raced Gural Hanover, now a winner four times in six career starts, has amassed $75,828 this season and $77,078 lifetime. He is trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E & Panhellenic Racing Corporation. Cash Me Out took the opening $61,300 leg and nearly set a new track standard with a 1:56.4 win. It was just a fifth of a second off the track record before Gural Hanover came along. It was basically a two-horse race past the three-quarter marker as the pace-setting Expressive Action (Mike Simons) and Cash Me Out pulled away from the field and were ready to battle for the stretch duel. Expressive Action hung tough until midway down the lane as Cash Me Out ($3.50) managed to wear down the leader and registered the length win. Mister Anson (Morrill Jr.) finished in third. "He's really good when he has a target to chase," winning driver Mike McGivern said of Cash Me Out. "When we pulled out, he had something to chase after." Owned by Traylor Racing LLC and trained by Cheryl McGivern, Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) has now won three straight races and two in a row in Sire Stakes competition. The victory pushed his 2014 winnings to $88,425 and $244,062 lifetime. In the Excelsior Series A races, all worth $12,500, Commissioner Daley (Dan Daley) cruised to a 1:59.1 victory and returned $5.80 for the win. The second leg had Flyhawk Thrill (Morrill Jr.) notching a popular $2.30 decision after covering the mile in 1:58. The Excelsior Series B races, with a purse of $6,600 each, had Credit Craze (Morrill Jr) post a surprising $14.20 win while Engagedatlexington (Jim Marohn Jr.) cruised to a 2:00.3 victory and paid $3.20. The racing will resume on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with a 13-race card on tap. The New York Sire Stakes will be back with the 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings headlining the program. For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
Hamburg, NY-- Three-year-old colt trotters make their mark on Buffalo Raceway on Sunday in New York Sire Stakes action with 6 out of the 16 entered being nominated for the 89th Hambletonian. Currently so far this season 2 track records have fallen at the hands of New York Sire Stakes horses. This Sunday they will be going after the mark of 1:56 3/5 which has been tied once already this season by veteran Lutetium. The first of two New York Sire Stakes takes place in race two. Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) is the 2/1 morning line favorite coming off a very nice win at Saratoga. This gelding has won $213,412 so far in his career and always looks strong and close to the pace. Cash Me Out driven by Michael Mc Givern has won three races this year and is on a streak of two straight coming to Buffalo Raceway. Expressive Action (Conway Hall-Yetta's Angel) driven by Mike Simons is the second choice in the field at morning line odds of 5/2. This three-year-old colt is coming off a very good front end trip at Saratoga and was a winner in the $215,125 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs in 1:54 1/5. Its possible trainer John Grasso could be gearing this one up for a shot at The Hambletonian in August. The rest of the field includes The Lindy Treaty (Ray Schnittker), Elegante Attire (Jeff Gregory), Daley Lovin (Dan Daley), Mister Anson (Jim Morrill Jr.), Hallanet (Jim Mahron Jr.), and High Q (Kevin Cummings). The second division picks up in the fifth race, and looks equally as difficult as the first division. Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing) trained by Ron Burke is coming off an impressive NYSS victory at Saratoga from an outside post just like he has today. Jim Morrill Jr. picks up the line for the gelding who has hit the board in all 4 starts this season. Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hal-El Paso Gal) is trained by Mark Ford and stuck on the outside this afternoon. He comes down from Mohawk Racetrack where he was a super horse in the $250,332 Goodtimes elimination and got a tough trip off some hot fractions in the Final. This colt has made over $350,000 so far and really seems to like the half mile tracks. The rest of the field includes JS Trotting Bob (Jeff Gregory), Zoey De Vie (Phil Fluet), Consumer Rate (Ray Schnittker), Karets (Ray Fisher Jr.), Rocky De Vie (Truman Gale), and Crazolo (Jim Mahron Jr.) There is also a set of $12,500 Excelsior Series "A" for the 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters and also a set of $6,600 Excelsior Series. For more information, including race replays, results upcoming promotions, and the latest news, visit www.buffaloraceway.com. By Michael Carter, for Buffalo Raceway
Rallying from off the pace with a three-wide move, Union-Endicott High School student Rachael Oltmer prevailed in the 2014 Tioga Downs harness racing scholarship race, earning a $3,000 scholarship through her victory with Newyorkjoyants. Oltmer, teamed with Tioga Downs driver Corey Braden for the non-betting race, moved Newyorkjoyants three-wide at the top of the stretch, moving clear of Ten Yard Penalty (Kayla Martin / Phil Fluet) and What About Brian (Megan Vanvorce / Mike Deters) to cover the 5/8-mile race in 1:17. Ideal Temptation (Jason Hill / Tim Lanpher) and Isthatallyagot (Shania Shaver/Edgar "Sparky" Clarke) completed the field. Oltmer will enter the veterinary technician program at SUNY Canton in the fall. Thanks to the efforts of the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, the New York Sire Stakes, and the New York State Agriculture Fund, all five participating students earned at least $1,000 in scholarship money. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
This Sunday (June 1) afternoon, five high school students from the Southern Tier will contest the 2014 Scholarship Race at Tioga Downs, sponsored by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, the New York State Agricultural Fund, the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, and Tioga Downs. The students will contest a 5/8 mile race--one complete circuit of the Tioga Downs track--for a top prize of a $3,000 scholarship, with all students earning at least a $1,000 scholarship. The students will be joined in the race by the professional trainer or driver with whom they have prepared for the race through the previous two weekends. The participants (along with high school, horse, and professional horseman) are: Post - Student (high school) - Horse - Professional Horseman 1 - Megan Vanvorce (Binghamton) - What About Brian - Mike Deters 2 - Shania Shaver (Candor) - Isthatallyagot - Edgar "Sparky" Clarke 3 - Jason Hill (Maine Endwell) - Ideal Temptation - Tim Lanpher 4 - Kayla Martin (Newark Valley) - Ten Yard Penalty - Phil Fluet 5 - Rachael Oltmer (Union-Endicott) - Newyorkjoyants - Corey Braden The non-betting Scholarship Race will be held after race 2 on the Sunday card at Tioga Downs. First post for the stakes-laden program is set for 1:30 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs
Victom As (Striking Sahbra) won the Open Trot on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway in 1:58.3. Trainer-driver Harry Landy moved the six year old trotter out to the lead in a quick opening quarter of 28.1 and held tough, turning back a host of rivals before hitting the line first. Victom As was making just his second start in over two months and followed up a third place finish last week with a victory in the $15,000 Friday feature. Slugfest (Phil Fluet) was the Open’s runner up for the third straight week while Easy Strength (Sam Schillaci) closed for third. Landy scored a training and driving double as his Fandango Dancer (Revenue S) prevailed earlier in the night. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway
Mr Web Page (Muscles Yankee) went from last to first to secure a win in the local Open for the second time in as many tries at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Roman Lopez-trained five year old won his local debut two weeks ago and was back in town following a second place finish at Vernon Downs in his previous race. Stephane Bouchard sat patiently in last with Mr Web Page while the fractions were fast in the early going. Moving three wide around the final turn, Mr Web Page swooped the group and drew away late to win in 1:58.3 to move his record in $15,000 Spa Opens to two-for-two. Lightly raced in 2013, Mr Web Page has now finished first or second in seven of his last eight starts. Slugfest (Phil Fluet) was the Open’s runner up for the second consecutive Friday night while Victom AS (Harry Landy) closed for third. Mr Web Page returned a solid $9.60 to win. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by MIke Sardella for Saratoga Raceway
Tac’s Delight (Self Possessed) won the Open Trot for the second time in four tries at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, cruising to a front running victory on Friday night. Billy Dobson piloted the eight year old trotter in the $15,000 feature and moved him out to the early lead. The Rene Allard-trained Tac’s Delight stopped the timer in 1:56.3 for his second win of the season, besting Slugfest (Phil Fluet) who finished second and Keystone Wyatt (Bruce Aldrich Jr) who earned the show spot. Tac’s Delight was the race’s 3-5 favorite. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. by MIke Sardella for Saratoga Raceway
The New York Sires Stakes sophomore pacing colts and geldings, always considered the cream of the crop of the sires stakes eligibilities, will lock horns Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, September 3. Two divisions, one for $79,385 and the other for $77,975, are on tap and they will be accompanied by four $12,700 splits of Excelsior Series colts. The NYSS events will go as races eight and 11 while the Excelsior Series splits are carded as races one, four, five and six.. Headlining the $77,975 NYSS first division is the Linda Toscano-trained, Ken Jacobs owned, Doctor Butch, who has already bankrolled $252,360 this year. His seasonal best clocking is a 1:51.2 mile at Yonkers Raceway on June 1 while winning the $275,000 Rooney Final. Doctor Butch will have Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the controls when they start from post five in the six-horse field. But it'll no cake walk for Doctor Butch. Among those the son of Art Major will be up against include Framed Art and Bettor Than You. The former, a $75,000 winner with a 1:54.2 record will start from the three hole with Mark MacDonald driving while the latter, a $110,000 winner with a 1:51.4 mark, will leave from the pole position with Jimmy Marohn, Jr. in the sulky. The other NYSS split, for a purse of $79,375, will have Sir Cary's Z Tam as the early choice. Pat Lachance, trains and will drive when they leave from post five. The Bettor's Delight gelding has bankrolled over $222,000 this year while taking a record of 1:50.3 at the Meadowlands. He comes into this race off a 1:53.3 NYSS victory over Saratoga Raceway's half mile track on August 18. Like Doctor Butch, Sir Cary's Z Tam will also have some stiff competition in the presence of Olde Time Hockey and Bet The Moon. Olde Time Hockey, from the Tom Fanning barn, a 1:50.3 winner of $107,000 this year, will start from the pylon position with Jason Bartlett driving and Bet The Moon, from the powerful Ron Burke Stable owns a 1:50 record this year while earning over1 $172,000. The undercard combines four solid races of sophomore colt pacers with Pull The Ripcord in race 6, arguably the most impressive starter in those events. Trained by Joe Robbins Jr., the Riverboat King gelding,unraced until this season, already has nine wins in just 14 starts with his 1:54.3 triumph at Tioga Downs and July 28 the fastest. Phil Fluet is down to drive. In all, 12 race races comprise the Tuesday , September 3rd card. First post is set for 12:50pm. by John Manzi
Highly Thought Of made win number one in 2013 an exciting one for trainer Tom Gummerson. Dismissed by the betting public as the longest shot on the board at 22-1, the race seemed to be going that way of the odds as Mike Merton guided Highly Thought Of around in 7th as the 5/2 second choice Runaway Tray led the field thru fractions of 27.4, 56.2, and 1:24.3. At the top of the stretch, Runaway Tray was on E and the mares behind her fanned out as 3 lengths covered the entire field. Highly Thought Of was moved 4 wide off the last turn and rallied in deep stretch to win by neck in 1:55.1. Getting up for 2nd was the other longshot, Camilla The Terror, who also rallied from the back following the eventual winner. The longshots produced a $672 exacta. Greg Merton had a hat trick on the night and the birthday boy Phil Fluet picked up a driving double. Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Saturday with a post time of 6:50pm. For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at www.tiogadowns.com. by Jason Bluhm
Harness racing claiming trotter Breewood Brier (Amigo Hall) extended her win streak on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, a streak that has dates back to last year.
He's able to watch Coraggioso in the morning and have his picture taken in the winner's circle, but Tom Durkin, a New York Racing Association announcer and the voice of NBC Sports horse racing telecasts for 26 years, cannot be in very close proximity to his own horse for any extended period of time.
The top New York-bred trotting sophomores will gather at Vernon Downs on Friday evening (June 8) to contest harness racing's rich Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) finals.