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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Wilberforce was a force to be reckoned with in Buffalo Raceway's $13,000 Class A-Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday evening (Feb. 26) as he struck to the lead and hung on the rest of the way to take a 3/4-length decision over Daylon Phantom in 2:01.0 over the sloppy harness racing track.   After being parked at the start of the race, John Cummings Jr. made the decision to march forward with Wilberforce and it proved to be the right call.   With splits of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:30.0, Wilberforce ($8.60) was strong enough down the stretch and was able to hold back the late surge of Daylon Phantom (Renaldo Morales III) while Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.) took the show spot.   Co-owned by trainer Kris Rickert and Dale Wareham, it was the fourth victory in eight starts this season for the 8-year-old gelded Wilberforce (Caviar Crown-Rose Run Imprint). The win moved his earnings to $33,950 on the campaign and $321,222 in his career.   Fox Valley Veto ($3.60) has been battling in the Open Trot to start the 2020 season at Buffalo Raceway but got a much appreciated drop in classification and responded nicely in the $10,000 Class A division with a solid 2-1/4 length victory over Are You In.   It took a three-wide move to the opening panel to vault Fox Valley Veto (Davis Jr.) into the lead and he never looked back from there.   Setting the fractions of :30.3, 1:02.0 and 1:32.1, Fox Valley Veto tripped the timer in 2:01.3 and never was threatened as Are You In (Kevin Cummings) and Catch The Bouquet (Drew Monti) settled for second and third respectively.   Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags, Team Rice Racing and Adelphia Bloodstock, Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed-Yankee Victory Om) is trained by Maria Rice. The win upped the 9-year-old gelding's earnings to $5,650 and $532,638 lifetime.   Machs Echo ($7.90) got a perfect pocket trip and turned it into a narrow nose victory over Sarah Cola in the $10,000 Class A-Open Handicap Pace for the filly and mares.   Jag Out (Kevin Cummings), who finished in third, set the tempo with fractions of :29.1, :59.0 and 1:29.1. She couldn't hang on, however, as Machs Echo (Jim Morrill Jr.) attacked from the passing lane while Sarah Cola came on the outside. It was a photo finish with Machs Echo managing to nose out Sarah Cola.   Owned by Finocchario's Dream Stable and trained by Mike Ohol, it was the first win in four attempts this season for Machs Echo (Mach Three-Rocket Time). The 6-year-old mare has now produced a bankroll of $9,200 in 2020 and $104,571 lifetime.   Cummings Jr. had a triple in the bike while Monti and Cummings each had a pair of wins. Gerry Sarama had a training triple and David Russo a double.   Racing will continue on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with a 13-race program on tap.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, simulcast schedule and upcoming promotions, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Fox Valley Veto ($8.90) figured things are cheaper by the dozen as for 12th time this season, a track record has either been tied or broken at Buffalo Raceway.   Going gate-to-wire, Fox Valley Veto broke the all-aged trotting standard at Buffalo Raceway with a splendid 1:56.0 victory over the fast track in the $11,500 Open Trot on Friday night (July 20). It eclipsed the old mark of 1:56.1 set in 2014 by Gural Hanover and tied this year by Chelseas Chance and BZ Glide.   Starting from the three post, driver Billy Davis Jr. and Fox Valley Veto fired off the starting gate and assumed the top position quickly. Empire Earl N (Drew Monti) also tried a leave attempt but broke stride and it extinguished his hopes.   With fractions of :29.1, :58.0 and 1:27.1 on the board, Fox Valley Veto wasn't home free turning for the finish line. Southern Palms (Kevin Cummings) and the first over Barn Winner (Ray Fisher Jr.) each were within striking distance but couldn't cut into the lead and settled for second and third respectively.   Co-owned by the Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed-Yankee Victory Om) is trained by Maria Rice. It was his fifth victory of the season in 21 attempts, upping his earnings to $50,709 and $441,441 lifetime.   The track record was just the start of a great night for Davis Jr. as he finished the program with five victories while Monti added a pair. Rice and David Russo had productive evenings with training doubles.   The 2018 season comes to a close on Saturday night with a 10-race card slated for 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, simulcast schedule, upcoming promotions, race replays, results and entries, to to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Fox Valley Veto ($13.20) didn't want any part of a hotly-contested front end battle in Buffalo Raceway's featured $11,500 Open Trot on Friday night (June 22) and his patience was eventually rewarded with a head victory over B Z Glide in a seasonal best 1:56.3.   It was a mad charge to the lead as Call My Broker, Kahoku and Chelseas Chance were three-wide across the track in hitting the quarter pole in :28.2. Finally grabbing the top, Chelseas Chance tripped the timer in :56.4 to the half. The outer flow then started to develop as Call My Broker and Kahoku began to retreat.   Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) was the first over and brought B Z Glide in tow to the three-quarter marker in 1:27.2. as Chelseas Chance was ready to throw in the towel.   In the stretch, it was a match race with Fox Valley Veto digging in gamely and managed to hold off the late bid by B Z Glide (Mike Caprio). Empire Earl N (Drew Monti) took the third place check, rallying from last.   Co-owned by the Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed-Yankee Victory Om) is a 7-year-old gelding that is trained by Maria Rice. It was the fourth win in 18 tries this season for Fox Valley Veto, now a winner of $43,492 in 2018 and $438,211 lifetime.   Drew Monti registered a driving triple while Davis added a double on the night.   Racing will continue on Saturday evening with a 12-race program slated to begin at 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

It was a big night for trainer Curt Grummel as the downstate based conditioner toted home top honors in a trio of trotting stakes at the harness racing meeting on Sunday night at BalmoralPark with the lightly raced but rapidly improving Dr. Venkman taking the biggest prize of them all in the $77,400 Lincoln Land Stake for ICF two-year-old trotting colts.   Taking advantage of an inside starting spot driver Pat Curtin positioned the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Broadway Show in the garden spot as Fear (Robert Smolin) led the field of youngsters through splits of 29.0, 58.3 & 1:28.4.   "Going into the race that's exactly how we hoped things would work out," said a very excited Curtin. "I knew some horses behind us were working out pretty decent trips as well but I knew if Fear could carry us into the stretch until there was room we were going to be in good shape. Once he saw that daylight he was gone!"   Fit and fresh as the field turned for the money a patient Curtin waited for room in the passing lane with that State Fair Stake winner. After securing his spot along the inside Dr. Venkman looked like a seasoned veteran as he scooted right by the pace setter and was on cruise control the rest of the way as he reported home with a 1 ½ length decision in a career best of 1:58.2. Mr. Strata (Mike Oosting) shook loose late and rallied in time to be the runner-up while Fear held on for third. Dr. Venkman, the co-favorite in the wagering returned $6.60, $4.00 0& $3.60 while upping his record 2-0-1 in four starts with earnings of $44,000 for the partnership of Curt and Craig Grummel, Clayton B Arnett and Chili Day Stables.   Sophomore trotting fillies were also in action on Sunday night as a compact field of six gathered for the $7,500 Xpress Bet Stake.   As expected Dr. Patrick Graham's Fox Valley Yoko had no trouble disposing of this group as she trotted away late to score by a 1 ½ lengths in 1:58.0 for driver Kyle Wilfong.   Confidently handled by her pilot the daughter of Pizzazzed--Yankee Victory was reserved early on as None Of That Stuff (Casey Leonard) rolled through splits of 30.1, 1:00.1 & 1:29.4. Grinding her way to towards the front while moving first over the Curt Grummel trained miss eventually wore down the pace setter and drew off in the final 50 yards to record her sixth win in 14 starts this season. Bands Muse (John De Long) shook loose late to rally for the bridesmaid spot while None Of That Stuff held on for third. Dispatched as the 1-5 favorite Fox Valley Yoko returned $2.40, $2.10 & $2.10 while running her career record to 9-7-5 in 26 career starts with earnings of $149,821 for her happy connections.   In the Lady Lincoln Land Consolation another Grummel trainee toted home top honors as Dr. Patrick Graham's Powerful Princess trotted to an impressive win in 1:59.0 with John De Long at the controls. The was the first in three lifetime outings for the daughter of Powerful Emotion--Maple Grove Glide who led the field into the stretch in last week's rich final before making a break a costly break. Tom Kelley

A pair of American Nationals for 2yo trotters and another Super Night elimination closed the books on a busy holiday weekend of harness racing stake action at Balmoral Park. In the opening American National a field of seven diagonally gaited fillies lined up behind the gate to battle for a purse of $46,750. Overlooked in the wagering after having some "breaking" issues to start her career, Diamond Creek Racing and Robert & Lynda Stewart's Catch All was as sure footed as could be while stepping her way to a three-quarter length victory in a snappy 1:56.4 for driver Trace Tetrick. Ducked off the gate as Bold Dresser (Oyvind Hegdal) led the field through opening splits of 28.3 & 58.4 Catch All was positioned perfectly in third as she moved to the outside with the field heading around the final bend.   "I wanted to let her get settled in for a bit before I asked her for anything," said Tetrick. "When I raced her at the Indiana State Fair she felt great to me and she showed me that day that she could grind away on the outside if you needed her to."   Grind away she did on this night, drawing to within a head of the pace setter as the two fillies reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.1. In the lane the Bob Stewart trained daughter of Muscles Yankee--Clever Catch wore down the leader and proceeded to draw clear for her first career win in start number four. I Luv Blackhawkred (Lewayne Miller) turned a pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Bold Dresser held on for the show dough. After the impressive win, which was just three ticks off the track record of 1:56.1, Tetrick was quick to praise the $17,000 Lexington Select purchase. "I thought a lot of her after that second place finish in Indy," said Hoosier Park's leading reinsman. "Everything is still pretty new to her with this being only her fourth career start but I though she really stepped up tonight and showed that she's going to be a very serious race horse." The fourth choice in the wagering Catch All returned $21.40, $7.60 & $2.80 to her backers. Another 9-1 choice captured the $60,400 American National for 2yo trotting colts as Mystical Marker Farms, Bobby Brower, Ben Graber and Victory Hill Farms Barryscourt rallied in the final strides to nip 1-9 favorite Waitlifter K by a neck in 1:56.1. Perfectly handled by driver Lewayne Miller, the gelded son of Northern Kid--Katie Hall left alertly from post six and was able to find a seat in third as Waitlifter K (Trace Tetrick) carved out uncontested splits of 28.3, 57.3 & 1:26.2. With the heavy favorite opening up a three-length advantage at the top of the lane things looked bleak for the Bobby Brower trainee but Miller never stopped urging his charge as he gradually cut into the margin while racing on the outside of horses. With a sixteenth of a mile to go Barryscourt edged alongside the leader and gamely managed to poke a neck in front in the final strides to post his third win in four career starts. Waitlifter K was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while JD Cheese (Dale Hiteman) was third, 4¾ lengths behind the top pair. With the win the Kentucky Sire Stakes champion, who returned $20.20, $2.60 & $2.20 now boasts a gaudy bankroll of $125,400 in just four career starts. The final Super Night elimination of the busy weekend also put trotters in the spotlight as a field of 10 sophomore fillies battled in a $12,500 Lady Ann Reed Stake elimination. The top 9 finishers will return next Saturday for the $80,000 (est.) final where they will be joined by Persuasive Look. This battle produced one of the most impressive performances of the weekend as Dr. Patrick Graham's Fox Valley Yoko rallied from far back to win by a half-length in 1:58.2 for driver Kyle Wilfong. Hampered in the draw with post nine, the daughter of Pizzazzed--Hallie Rose saved ground for most of the mile while sitting near the back of the pack. After finally securing racing room in the lane, the Curt Grummel trained miss uncorked a huge rally going from eighth to first in the final quarter mile to notch her third win in 10 starts this year. Shez So Sassy finished in the bridesmaid role while Lc'snmotion (Mike Oosting) rallied to be third. Also gaining spots in the final were Bi Polar Rose, Fox Valley Harrah, Patient ID, Maple Grove Karen, None of That Stuff and Divinely Floozy. Tom Kelley  

Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed) cruised to a wire-to-wire victory in Sunday's trotting feature at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Heidi Rohr-trained trotter won the local Open Trot back in April but since then didn't score a win until last Sunday after dropping down in class. In Sunday's $14,000 Winners Over trot, Fox Valley Veto took advantage of his inside post and went coast to coast in 1:55.3 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. The race's co-favorite at odds of 2-1, the four year trotter recorded his fifth win of the season by holding off late charges from rivals Pop I (Harry Landy) and Gaelic And Garlic (Mark Beckwith) who finished second and third, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a first post time set for 4:00pm. Melissa Simser

On a night in which temperatures plummeted into the low 40's and were accompanied by strong winds and soaking rains that made it seem more like mid-October than the end of May, a pair of Cardinal Stakes put Illinois conceived and foaled trotters and pacers in the harness racing spotlight at Balmoral Park on Saturday, May 30th.   Trotters were first on the docket as a field of eight diagonally gaited sophomore colts lined up behind the gate to battle for a purse of $16,200.   Once again the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar proved that he's just too much for this division as he came powering through the slop to post a two-length victory in 1:57.4 under some confident handling by driver Todd Warren.   Ducking off the gate after showing high speed in his first two starts of the year the gelded son of Pizzazzed -Armbro Bahrain was content to trot along in sixth as longshot Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) led the field through splits of 30.0 & 1:00.1.   "There was no way I was leaving with him for a third straight week," explained Warren. "He was really "hot" last week and it's a long year so I didn't want him to get roughed up again."   Continuing to sit in mid-pack, Warren finally moved last year's division champ to the outside, picking up cover while third over as a hard charging Tricky Nick (Mike Oosting) quickly opened up a two-length advantage as he rolled by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:29.2.   With a 20mph tailwind in the homestretch Fox Valley Qatar quickly found his best stride and began gobbling up ground on the far outside of horses. Zipping right by the leader with a sixteenth of a mile to go Fox ValleyQatar left his rivals in his wake as he reported home in 27.3 to post his third win in as many starts this season. Captain Greedy (J.D. Finn) rallied to finish second while Tricky Nick held on for third.   Bet as though defeat was out of the question the 2-5 favorite returned $2.80, $2.20 & $2.10 while running his career numbers to 11-1-0 in 12 starts with earnings of $100,315.   In the winner's circle Warren was quick to sing the praises of his trotting star.   "He's just a pleasure to drive and he's perfectly fine sitting in a hole like he did tonight," said Warren. "He's very easy on himself and he's come back great after that awesome two-year-old season. I would expect him to have a lot of success with this group."   Sophomore pacing colts were featured in the second Cardinal Stake of the night as a field of 10 three-year-olds braved the elements for a purse of $18,400.   In a thrilling hotly contested affair the Dane May owned and trained Dinky Dune shook loose very late in the mile then came flying on the outside of horses to win by a head in a career best of 1:53.1 despite the sloppy surface.   Leaving alertly from post eight driver Pat Curtin had control of the early proceedings, battling Lucpark (Mike Oosting) through an opening quarter of 27.4.   "Going into the night Dane and I were kind of undecided on whether to wrangle him off the gate or to charge out of there and try to be up close," said a very happy Curtin. "With the weather and track conditions turning out the way they did we figured we better have him right up there in contention every step of the way."   Sitting in the pocket while Lucpark continued through middle splits of 56.3 & 1:25.1 the gelded son of Duneside Perch--Dream Hand was raging with pace as the bunching field began to move through the lane.   With Lucpark, Dixie's Boy (Casey Leonard) and Earndawg (Todd Warren) battling three across the track a patient Curtin was still searching for room with the fit and fresh Dinky Dune.   "I thought about trying to split those three because there was an opening for just a minute but I figured they would close that up on me in a hurry," explained Curtin. "So I just decided I was going to have wait a little longer until I could slide to the outside of all them because this horse can really rattle once he gets in gear."   Finally securing room on the outside of horses Dinky Dune unleashed a wicked kick, putting up a 27.4 final quarter to nip the favored Earndawg in the final strides. Last season's champ was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Dixie's Boy finished third.   Coming off an impressive elimination win the previous week Dinky Dune took plenty of action at the windows returning $6.40, $3.60, $2.80 while running his career record to 3-1-1 in nine career starts with earnings of $18,852. Tom Kelley  

Illinois conceived and foaled stakes action was in full swing on Sunday, May 17th, at Balmoral Park as a pair of state-bred events for harness racing three-year-old trotters and pacers shared top billing on the 10-race program.   Leading the way were ICF pacing fillies as a full field of 10 second season ladies met in the $17,800 Violet Stake. As she did in last week's prep for this tussle, Kay Willis's Lex overpowered her rivals in this event, storming up first over to grab command on the far turn and then drawing clear late to win by 2¾ -lengths in a career best of 1:52.3.   Confidently handled by driver Kyle Wilfong, the daughter of Lexington Legend--I Bet U left alertly from post five tucking in third as a hard charging Fox Valley Aubrey (Robert Smolin) sped to the top from post 10, leading the field through splits of 27.2 & 56.4.   After cruising along relatively unchallenged through the opening half, things heated up on the last bend as Lex came rolling up first over to challenge while the field charged by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.0.   Quickly overtaking the pace-setter, the Nelson Willis trainee zipped away to a two-length length advantage. The issue was still in doubt though through the final sixteenth of a mile before last season's Filly Orange & Blue runner-up imposed her will on her challengers, drawing clear late to win for the third time in five starts this season. Sportsmuffler (John De Long), who was used hard in the early going from post seven turned in a big effort to finish as the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Aubrey held on for third. A multiple stakes winner during her freshman campaign the homebred bay returned $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while upping her record to 7-4-2 in 14 starts with earnings of $83,100. Sophomore trotting colts were also on the docket Sunday night as a field of nine lined up behind the gate for an $8,000 Betzotic Stake.   Once again the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar showed that he's the one to beat among his peers, rolling to a deceptively easy "neck" decision in a career best of 1:56.0 with Todd Warren at the controls.   Using the inside starting spot to his advantage the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain grabbed control of the proceedings after eyeballing RT Habenero (Kyle Wilfong) and Tricky Nick (Mike Oosting) battle through an opening panel in 28.4.   After allowing a hard charging Captain Greedy (J.D Finn) to grab a short lived lead, Warren had Fox Valley Qatar back out and rolling to the top as the field moved through middle splits of 57.0 & 1:26.4.   Through the stretch, last year's divisional champion appeared to be well in hand despite a shortening margin, casually shrugging off a late challenge from the pocket sitting Captain Greedy to record his 10th win in 12 career starts. Captain Greedy was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) turned in a nice effort to rally for the show dough.   With the win Fox Valley Qatar boasts a record of 10-1-0 in 11 lifetime starts with earnings of $92,215. Bet as though defeat was out of the question, the bargain priced $7,000 yearling returned $2.60, $2.10 & $2.10 to his legion of backers.   Tom Kelley

The 3-year-old season for a trotter doesn’t always mirror his or her harness racing freshman campaign. “It’s a new ball game. You never know how the second season will play out,” said veteran downstate trainer Mike Brink who sends out half of the six starters in Sunday’s Iggy Magoo at Balmoral Park on Sunday, the initial stake for 2015 for ICF male sophomore trotters. With the elimination of entries on the Chicago circuit instead of getting “three for the price of one,” Brink’s trio of Broadway Emption (12-1), Fox Valley Theboss (9-2, Casey Leonard) and Vick Valor (9-2, Scot Banks) will go their separate ways in the wagering, likely as longshots. Between them the Brink threesome only went 1 for 26 as 2-year-olds and the 1 win, by Vick Valor, was only a 2:08.2 mile on the Jerseyville Fair Track. “Broadway Emotion, a brother to Tour Hall trained the best of the three for this race,” said Brink who will guide the Powerful Emotion gelding away from the one-slot. “I made some changes on him and I think he could be a much better.” Standing in the way of Brink’s triad are Captain Greedy (2-1, J D Finn), Southern Special (15-1, Dean Magee) and last year’s ICF freshman colt trotting champion Fox Valley Qatar, winning of his first 7 career starts that included both State Fair titles and Plesac Final. Sunday’s Iggy Magoo will be the first outing for Fox Valley Qatar since early October when he was second best in the Lincoln Land Final to RT Habenro. Owned by trained by Herman Wheeler, “Qatar” put almost $85,000 on his first season card. The son of Pizzazzed trotted in 1:59.2 in last Tuesday’s qualifier, finished over 14 lengths behind the 1:56.3 winner Cant’s Catch K, a pacer. The fact that Fox Valley Qatar’s qualifier, like 3 other on Tuesday, had both pacers and trotters competing in a race makes it difficult for a handicapper to analyze. “I was happy with it,” said Wheeler, a native of Louisiana. “They went faster than I thought they would. I was expecting my trotter would be going in 2:00 or 2:01, so I’m pleased with 59.2. “We had a lot of rain this spring back home so I couldn’t get him on the track as much as I liked but when I did he trained well. I didn’t want to rush him back. It’ll take him a few starts to round into form.” Sharing the Sunday spotlight with the Iggy Magoo is the third race Betzotic, headed-up by Mr Leland’s Filly (3-1, Casey Leonard) and Lex (7-2, Kyle Wilfong) along with the “Winner’s Over” trot where the early 7-5 favorite Justice Jet (Ryan Welch) tries to grab his 7th win in 9 season starts. Well-Prepared: Sportsmuffler, last year’s Filly Orange and Blue runner-upon Super Night, had a dominating 1:58.1 winning qualifier with regular driver John Delong Thursday night before the Maywood Park. Owned by trainer Jesse De Long of Wisconsin and the Hamm Family Trust of Missouri, the Sportsmaster filly is expected to make her first 3-year-old start in next Sunday’s Violet elimination, a stake she won as a freshman. Mike Paradise

Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed) won his first local Open Trot on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Heidi Rohr-trained four year old finished third in last week’s trotting feature but on Sunday parlayed a pocket trip to victory. Fox Valley Veto’s first local score came in 1:56.2 at odds of 7-2 as he got the best of Slugfest (Jay Randall) who was seeking his third straight Open win. Slugfest won a photo for second with eventual third place finisher Stirling Cadet (Frank Coppola Jr). The victory was one of four on the matinee card for reinsman Jim Devaux. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with the twilight race card set to begin at 4:00pm.  Mike Sardella

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