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Plainville, MA --- When the Massachusetts Gaming Commission gave their support to a tentative date for live harness racing to begin at Plainridge Park, it was contingent on Phase-3 of the governor's reopening plan beginning on schedule.That has not happened and the track's starting date has changed. On Friday (June 19) Governor Baker announced that he was extending Phase-2 by one week so he could get a look at two weeks of indoor dining data before making a decision on starting Phase-3. As a result, if Phase-3 does begin after that one week extension, qualifiers at Plainridge would be held on Monday (July 6) and Thursday (July 9) and then the opening day of live racing for the 2020 season would take place on Monday (July 13). Any further delay of implementing Phase-3 will also result in another delay in the racing dates listed. The condition sheets for qualifiers are now on the United States Trotting Association's website (www.ustrotting.com) with a double draw to be held for those qualifiers. You must declare by 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning (July 2) for the draw for Monday (July 6) and Thursday (July 9). Horse men and women are also reminded to renew their Massachusetts racing licenses in advance of the start of live racing. With limited access to the judges office due to social distancing, it is suggested you print an application from the MGC website (https://massgaming.com/licensing/horse-racing-licenses/), fill it out and return it with a check. MGC personnel will be working prior to the track's opening to process all applications received in order to avoid any kind of last minute rush.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

  Plainville, MA --- During a special meeting of the Racing Division of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission held on Tuesday (June 16), the commisioners of that board unanimously voted to allow live harness racing to begin at Plainridge Park on Monday (July 6) in accordance with the governor's phased reopening program, assuming Phase-3 begins as scheduled.   The meet which was originally slated to start in mid-April was put on hold as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.   There will be two days of qualifiers held prior to the resumption of live racing that will take place on Monday (June 29) and Thursday (July 2). Horses who have not raced within the last 45 days will be required to qualify before entering the box at Plainridge Park.   Full details on entry dates and post times will be listed on the condition sheet which will be made available next week.   A complete set of safety protocols collectively drawn up by the governor's office, the MGC, Penn Gaming, Plainridge Park and the HHANE that include items such as social distancing, wearing a mask and spacing in the paddock will also be made available to all participating horse men and women prior to the qualifiers and must be strictly adhered to.   More information pertaining to the meet will be made available as opening day draws near.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

As the country looks to progress in the COVID-19 reopening phase, more jurisdictions are giving race tracks the green light to start or resume their horse racing meets, albeit with restrictions to keep a second wave of coronavirus cases from happening. On Wednesday, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) announced that Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley received permission from the Alameda County Health Department to resume racing next Thursday (May 14). On Thursday, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission announced that racing can resume as of June 14, with Indiana Grand Racing and Casino set to officially unveil the date for its opening day sometime next week, according to a track press release. It’s possible the Indiana Grand may allow fans to watch racing as soon as July 4. Last week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gave the state’s tracks the OK to resume racing. On Wednesday, Charles Town Races confirmed it will restart racing next Thursday. Charles Town halted its meet on March 24. I miss the team, the entire team at the track. It’s been lonely and trying months, but I promise you better times are ahead of us right now,” said Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races Vice President of Racing and Sports Operations Erich Zimmy said in a video statement posted Wednesday on Twitter. Mountaineer Park, West Virginia’s other horse track, will start its meet on May 31. Santa Anita Hopeful to Resume Next Week More tracks may soon receive permission to resume racing, including Santa Anita Park. The southern California track suspended its meet on March 27 after receiving an order from the Los Angeles County Health Department to comply with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order. Newsome initially gave that order on March 19, but racing continued at the track as questions circulated whether racing could be considered an essential business. The Stronach Group (TSG), owners of the track, stopped allowing fans to at the track on March 13. Even as Santa Anita and Golden Gate, also owned by Stronach, stopped racing, Newsom’s order was not universally applied by every county health department in California. That allowed Los Alamitos Race Course, located just 23 miles south of Santa Anita, to continue holding races because it is located in Orange County. Santa Anita last gave an update about its situation to the TOC last week. At that time, Aidan Butler, TSG’s executive director for California racing, told the owners the track was prepping for a May 15 reopening but that was contingent partially on the county letting its stay-home order expire on that date. Massachusetts Commission Extends Delay Indefinitely While some states are allowing their tracks to move forward with reopening plans, other states are still pushing their reopening schedules further into the year. On Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 5-0 to extend indefinitely the suspension of harness racing at Plainridge Park Casino. Previously, the plan had been to allow racing activities to start at the track, located about 25 miles southwest of Boston, on June 1. However, in a memo to the commission, state Director of Racing Dr. Alexandra Lightbrown said that neither she nor Chris McErlean, the vice president of racing for Plainfield-owner Penn National Gaming, felt a June 1 opening was realistic considering the state’s current stay-home order has been extended to May 18. Lightbrown said that she and McErlean will review a reopening plan the state plans to release on May 18 and use that information to put together a plan for the harness track. The Harness Horsemen of New England have raised concerns about the extended delays, noting that racing – although not harness racing – is going on in several other states. In particular, the group opposes any plan that would tie the resumption of racing to the reopening of the track’s casino. However, Commissioner Gayle Cameron supported extending the postponement, noting it will be a challenge to reopen the track in a manner that’s safe for everyone. “Doesn’t mean an insurmountable challenge, but it will be a challenge,” she told her colleagues Thursday. “And I know that’s difficult for the horsemen and women to hear because they would love to get back to their livelihoods sooner rather than later. I certainly understand that, but safety is a key piece.” By Steve Bittenbender  Reprinted with permission of Casino.org

When opportunity knocked, Drew Monti answered. It led to the best season of the 25-year-old driver's career. Monti was amid what he called a "pedestrian" campaign at his home track, Buffalo Raceway, when he was presented an opportunity to drive regularly at Plainridge Park. It gave Monti the chance to make new, as well as strengthen previous, connections and drive in an increased number of stakes. By the end of 2019, his purse earnings were a career-best $2.24 million. Prior to last year, Monti had driven in two races worth at least $100,000. In 2019, he drove in 11. He won a Massachusetts Sire Stakes championship with Odds On Orlando and competed in Grand Circuit events at multiple tracks. He did not arrive at Plainridge until early June, but with the notable backing of Lindy Farms, posted 89 wins the rest of the meet. Only Mitchell Cushing and Drew Campbell won more races during that time. Monti also enjoyed success at Red Mile, winning 13 of 75 starts (only Dexter Dunn won more among drivers with fewer than 130 starts at the Lexington oval) while still finishing third in the standings at Buffalo and fourth at Batavia. "It was definitely my best year so far, including exposure," Monti said. "It's nothing even compared to what I'd gone through. Even just going to Plainridge for Lindy Farms and stuff, I feel like I made some big strides as far as taking it to the next level. "It's a great circuit at home, but if you really want to be in the game and do well, you have to get out there. Lindy really got me going. They got me out there and the rest of it snowballed from there. I'm very grateful to them for that." Monti has kicked off this year by driving at The Meadowlands and Buffalo. It is his first trip back to the Big M since the winter of 2017. He has nine wins in 86 starts at The Meadowlands heading into this weekend's action, when he will have a total of 17 drives on Friday and Saturday. "I talked with people about coming down and I'm glad I did," Monti said. "I'm happy to be there. It's been going pretty well, I think. "It's hard to pick where you're going to go. You kind of go where you're needed. Obviously, you've got to have enough work to make it worth your while. Anyone can say they're going somewhere, but to actually compete and have enough work to make it worthwhile is the key." Monti, a Buffalo native, has won 1,532 races in his career with earnings of $9.50 million. In addition to driving, he helps his dad, Darrin, with the family's training stable. The family ties make for difficult decisions when it comes to traveling. "I don't think it's a secret, I love Buffalo," Monti said. "I'm not saying I would be opposed to moving anywhere, but I like the area I live in and I'm very close with my family. That was one thing that was difficult for me. You can't be everywhere all the time. You've got to make sacrifices. Sometimes it was with our own horses back home. I'd be watching our horses race and it was the first time I wasn't the one driving them. That said, I can see the rewards. "I'm very happy with the last couple years and the way things have progressed. I'd like to continue at that pace. I'm not one to really push things. I like to kind of let it come to me. (Early last year) I was a little bummed because I wasn't doing that great at home. I was winning races, but it was just very pedestrian. It's funny; it just shows you how things can change." Monti, who so far in his career has won two driving titles at Batavia and one at Buffalo, hopes to have a schedule similar to 2019 this year. "I'm planning on going back to Plainridge, I'm planning to be available for stakes, Grand Circuit, stuff like that," Monti said. "I'll still make appearances at Buffalo as much as I can. It's hard to say because things can change so quickly and unpredictably. It's hard to plan exactly what you're doing." Because you never know when opportunity will knock.  by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

Plainville, MA --- The curtain fell on the 2019 live harness racing season at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 29) and Sailor Jerry had the honor of winning the last $14,000 pacing feature of the year. Leaving from post six, Nick Graffam sent Sailor Jerry right to the front and never looked back. After posting fairly even quarters of :28.1, :56.4 and 1:24.4, Sailor Jerry took a one-length lead into the stretch and bravely held off the fast closing Betterlatethnnever (Mitchell Cushing) and Beachchip Hanover (Kevin Switzer Jr.) to win by a neck in 1:53.1. It was the sixth win of the year for Sailor Jerry ($15.00) who is owned by Mike Graffam and Christopher Hamilton. Mike Graffam also does the training. Lindy Pearl (Bruce Ranger) took the getaway $12,000 top trot after gaining the lead past the half and cruising home to a 2-1/2 length win in 1:56. Owned by the Lindy Farms of Connecticut and trained by Domenico Cecere, Lindy Pearl ($5.20) captured her third straight win at Plainridge Park as a result of today's effort. There were several presentations made in the winner's circle on the final day of racing as well. Track announcer Lenny Calderone was honored by friends and track management as he completed his 20th year of calling races at Plainridge Park. Calderone has been a staple in the announcer's booth since the track opened in 1999 and has added excitement and color to every contest he has described from high above the grandstand. Later, the meet's top driver and trainer were also lauded. Mitchell Cushing was the meet's leading dash driver finishing the year with 170 wins, 33 ahead of second place Drew Campbell, after his three-bagger on Friday. Cushing also earned in excess of $1.22 million in purses and sported a .352 Universal Driver Rating (UDR). Jimmy Nickerson led all conditioners this year at The Ridge with 58 wins, over $450,000 in earnings and a UTR of .377. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, Ma --- Driver Shawn Gray kicked off the final week of harness racing in Massachusetts in a big way, winning four races on the nine-race card at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Nov. 25) including the $16,000 Open Handicap trot. In the feature race, Gray drove Quicksilver Kemp from post four an got away last in the field of five while Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) stepped lively on the front with a gapped lead to the half in :57.2. The heavily favored O So Easy (Bruce Ranger) pulled first-over and Gray followed with Quicksilver Kemp as the race motored up the backside. Then O So Easy found a seat second behind the leader before the three-quarters and that left Quicksilver Kemp out in the breeze. As the race rounded the far turn Quicksilver Kemp was winding up and continued to gain momentum before really starting to trot at the apex of the bend. Now reeling in Nows The Moment with every stride, Quicksilver Kemp drew even at the top of the stretch and then blew right by under a hand drive and won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:55.4. It was the third win in the last five starts and fifth win of the year for Quicksilver Kemp ($12.80) and it pushed his 2019 earnings to $72,595 for owner/trainer Joel Wheeler. Gray completed his Grand Slam with Good Heavens (1:57.2, $10.80), Jericho (1:56.3, $3.00) and All Night Credit (1:57, $10.00). The top pace on the card was a $14,000 conditioned event that saw Zinny Mach (Ron Cushing) pull first-over at the half and methodically advance towards the leading No Ordinary Man (Drew Campbell) before catching and out-duelling him in the stretch to win by a head in 1:53.2. The win was the second straight and third in the last four starts for Zinny Mach ($15.00) who is owned by Frank Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer. Whereas Gray led all driver on Monday, trainer Nancy Longobardi was the top conditioner on the card sending two of her students to the winner's enclosure for photographs. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 27) with post time at 1 p.m. There is no racing on Thursday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday and the meet will wrap up on Friday (Nov. 29) with a 1 p.m. post time. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- A pair of $12,000 conditioned events for trotters under 6-years of age were contested at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Nov. 22) and it was girl power all around as 3-year-old fillies Lindy Pearl and Crystalline were much the best in their respective divisions despite weather that continued to decline as the day went on. Lindy Pearl (Drew Monti) got away sixth; seven lengths behind the leading Hs Marcia (Drew Campbell) who took to group to the half in :59.3. Monti was out and rolling with Lindy Pearl at that point and moved methodically up the rim as the race went to three-quarters. There they took the lead, turned for home and stretched out to a four-length win in 1:58.2. It was the second straight win for Lindy Pearl ($2.40) who is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and trained by Domenico Cecere. Meanwhile, using a completely different strategy, driver Kevin Switzer Jr. pushed Crystalline right to the front and moved through fractions of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:28.4 where the team had opened up a commanding four-length advantage. Crystalline then turned into the stretch and trotted home ahead by two at the line in 2:00. Crystalline ($3.00), who is the 2019 Massachusetts Sire Stake 3-year-old trotting filly champion, captured her ninth win of the year and enhanced her earnings to $147,465 for owner Ray Campbell Jr. Scott Renz trains the winner. Monti and Switzer each added another victory during the card and joined Mitchell Cushing as the leading drivers for the day with two wins apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Nov. 25) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Driver Drew Monti captured the 1,500th win of his harness racing career on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 21) at Plainridge Park when he guided the venerable trotter Hailstorm Volo to a gate to wire victory in the second race. For his career, Monti now has 1,501 wins, 1,346 seconds and 1,295 thirds out of 9,320 starts with a Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .299 and as a result of his work, the horses he's driven have earned a total of $9,259,976 during his brief seven year career. This year Monti has 256 wins, a UDR of .303 and earnings of $2,149,908. However the bulk of those numbers came just during the last five months. Starting in July, Monti divided his driving time between Batavia Downs, Plainridge Park and The Red Mile and at one point was listed as one of the top four drivers for wins at all three tracks. He was the primary driver for Lindy Farms at Plainridge and became a sought-after catch driver there in the process. He also drove Lindy's horses in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes and most of their entries in the Kentucky Sire Stakes as well. As a result of the multi-track schedule he maintained since getting his first win at Plainridge on July 10, Monti has won 170 races and bankrolled $1,574,959 during that short span. Although he did have more wins in 2017 (294), this year's earnings is a milestone for Monti and the first time in his career that he eclipsed the $2 million mark. With the Plainridge meet down to four days and the Batavia meet down to nine, Monti plans to take up residency at the Meadowlands right after the holidays. Driver Bruce Ranger was in top form at Plainridge Park on Thursday and put on a driving clinic while winning the feature as well as four other races on the nine-race card, which included a natural hat trick in races four through six. In the $12,000 pace for upper-level condition horses, Ranger left with Opus Blue Chip from post eight, went right to the front and never looked back. After cutting quarters of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1, Opus Blue Chip took a three-length lead into the stretch and made it last to the wire, defeating a fast closing Betterlatethnnever (Mitchell Cushing) in 1:53.2. For Opus Blue Chip ($14.20) it was the eighth win of the year and it pushed his earnings to $94,530 for owner Scott Dillon. Joe Nelson trains the winner. Prior to that Ranger won with Bet On Joe (1:55, $17.00), Chief Altawick (1:54, $4.20), Burkes Bandit (1:54.4, $5.80) and JJs Shark (1:54, $15.20). The five wins pushed him to 200 for the year which is the most driving tallies he has had since 2013. Ranger now has 9,159 wins and $37,379,248 in earnings during his distinguished career. Ranger is a member of both the Florida and New England Halls of Fame. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 22) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- A consistent rain and sloppy harness racing track were no deterrent for O So Easy who took an unconventional route to victory in the $20,000 Open Handicap trotting feature at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Nov. 18). In a reversal of strategy, driver Bruce Ranger left with the usually slow-starting O So Easy and put her right on the point. The lone mare shook her tail at the eight boys in the field as she took them through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27.2, leading the whole way by 1-¼ lengths. She then rolled around the far turn and started to pull away in the stretch and ended up hitting the wire 3-¾ lengths in front in 1:57. It was the third win in the last five starts and the sixth win of the year for O So Easy ($2.80) who is owned by Greathorse of Massachusetts and trained by Domenico Cecere. The top pace of the day was a $14,000 conditioned event that saw Zinny Mach N (Ron Cushing) get away sixth before pulling at the half, tipping three-wide at three-quarters and then pull away to a dominant five-length win in 1:55. It was the fourth North American win for Zinny Mach N ($4.40) who is owned by Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs does the training. Drew Campbell was the top driver at The Ridge on Monday, winning three races on the card while Jim Hardy and Mitchell Cushing finished the day with two apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 21) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- The 3-year-old Massachusetts Sire Stake Champion Crystalline looked in top harness racing form two-weeks removed from her $100,000 final victory after cruising to an easy win in the $12,000 trotting feature at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Nov. 15). Driver Kevin Switzer Jr. took Crystalline to the wood fourth and waited for everyone to seat behind Hs Marcia (Drew Campbell) moving to the quarter. When they did, he pulled the classy trotter off the pegs and rushed her to the lead she would maintain for the remainder of the mile. Crystalline hit the half in :57.3 and three-quarters in 1:27.1 while the competition stacked up behind her. The group then rolled off the far turn with Crystalline opening up a two length advantage under her own terms and won without issue in 1:57.1. Crystalline ($5.20) captured her eighth win of the year and boosted her earnings to $141,465. Ray Campbell Jr. bred and owns the daughter of Chapter Seven-Royalty Free who is trained by Scott Renz. After spending the last two months competing in stake engagements in Kentucky and Indiana, Lindy Pearl (Drew Monti) returned to Plainridge Park and made a strong move from the back of the pack to score a convincing 4-¼ length victory in 1:58.1 in the $10,000 trotting sub-feature on the card. It was the first seasonal win for the heavily favored Lindy Pearl ($2.20) who is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and trained by Domenico Cecere. Matty "Ice" Athearn and Bruce Ranger were the top winning drivers on Friday taking two races each. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Nov. 18) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The classic line "Thank you sir, may I have another?" from the movie Animal House seems more than fitting to describe the effort put in by top-class pacer Bettors Fire N on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 14) after taking his second straight harness racing win in identical fashion in the $15,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park. Opus Blue Chip (Bruce Ranger) took the initial lead in the race while Bettors Fire N (Mitchell Cushing) employed an overland route to the front that he reached by the quarter in :26.2. And once he hit the pegs, the rest of the field was racing for place. After grabbing leather and taking a leisurely saunter to the half in a pedestrian :30 flat, Cushing tapped the gas pedal and flew to the three-quarters in 1:24.1 with Bet You (Kevin Switzer Jr.) a half-length behind and outside while the rest of the field was bunched and keeping pace. But after rounding the final turn and hitting the stretch, Bettors Fire N found another gear and started to pull away from his pursuers under no urging whatsoever and cruised home to an easy two-length win in 1:52.3. Continuing to build on an already stellar season, Bettors Fire N ($2.80) chalked up his 11th win of the year and pushed his earnings to $179,220 for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs trains the 11-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight-Sparks A Flyin. Since making his North American debut in October of 2018, Bettors Fire N has never lost a race at Plainridge Park, going a perfect six for six during that time. In the $10,000 upper-level conditioned undercard pace, Passport To Art (Shawn Gray) pulled early into an outside grind behind Beachchip Hanover (Kevin Switzer Jr.) chasing down the leading Fernleigh Rebel N (Drew Monti) and eventually took the lead from his cover down the lane to win by a nose in 1:53. Passport To Art ($8.00) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spalluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Mitchell Cushing led all driver with three wins on Thursday while Nick Graffam and Shawn Gray each had two. Mike Girouard and Jimmy Nickerson were the top trainers winning two races apiece as well. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 15) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The harness racing team of owner/trainer Joel Wheeler and driver Shawn Gray was prolific at Plainridge Park as the horses they sent to post took both features on the card on Monday afternoon (Nov. 11) . After taking the top trot at the Ridge just two weeks ago, Quicksilver Kemp scored again in the $20,000 Open Handicap on the strength of a late closing bid. Shorething Fashion (Nick Graffam) got off to a quick lead and opened up a three-length gap at the quarter in :28. Going unchallenged through the next panel, Shorething Fashion was greeted by a bid from last week's winner O So Easy (Drew Monti) past the half. O So Easy made a slow and methodical advance towards the leader and by the three-quarters was only a length away. However also moving on the outside was Quicksilver Kemp who had been following O So Easy into the far turn. When the race straightened out in the stretch, Gray tipped Quicksilver Kemp three-deep and easily circled the two trotters ahead of him to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55.1. It was the fourth win of the year for Quicksilver Kemp ($13.20) who has now earned $62,195 this year. Then in the $14,000 conditioned event for 6-year-old and younger pacing mares, Beach Watch led at every station, going quarters of :281, :58.2 and 1:26.2 before turning for home and holding off a fast closing Sometimes Always (John Beckwith) to win by one-quarter of a length in 1:54.3. The fifth win of the year for Beach Watch ($5.80) raised her earnings to $54,970 in 2019 making it the best season she's had in her career for both victories and deposits. Gray had one more win with All Night Credit ($10.40) which gave him the driving hat trick to lead all reinsmen on the day. Wheeler was also the winningest trainer on Monday. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Nov. 14) with post time at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- After shipping back from a two-week stint at Yonkers Raceway, Bettors Fire N turned up the heat on his competition at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 7) as he took no prisoners en route to winning the $20,000 Open Handicap featured harness racing pace. Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) and Bettors Fire N (Mitchell Cushing) flew off the wings and went right to the front, with Bettors Fire N grabbing the lead and Cushing then grabbing leather as no one challenged early. He took the field to the quarter in :28 and the half in :56.3 before Betterlatethnever (Drew Monti) pulled first-over into the breeze. Bettors Fire N switched gears after hearing hoofprints and zipped the third panel in :27.2, leaving Betterlatethnever hung without advancing. The race rounded the final bend and when they straightened out at the top of the stretch, Betterlatethnever faded enough to allow the pocket-sitting Rock Diamonds N out of the hole to take a late shot. With both Cushings driving hard to the light, Bettors Fire N would not give up or in and he won by one-half length in 1:51.3. It was the 55th lifetime win and 10th win of the year for Bettors Fire N ($5.20) who has now earned $171,720 this year for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs trains the winner who in only 32 North American starts, has now won $202,120 in purses. The same connections own and train the runner-up Rock Diamonds N. In the secondary featured $10,500 upper-level conditioned pace, Tisadream N (Drew Monti) sat a perfect garden spot trip behind Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) through fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:23.2. Then coming off the far turn and heading into the lane, Tisadream N pulled and out-muscled the stubborn Quick Shot in a hard-fought stretch drive to win by one-quarter length in 1:52.1. Tisadream N ($3.60) scored his seventh win of the year and has now earned $55,110 in 2019 for owners Tony Gruppo and Tim Bojarski, Scott Rollins trains Tisadream N. Mitchell Cushing led all drivers on Thursday with three wins on the card while Drew Monti scored two. Scott Rollins was the top trainer with two tallies as well. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Nov. 8) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA --- Drafting off the pace early in pursuit of a stiff fraction, O So Easy rallied first-over past the half, grinding it out to capture the $20,000 Open Handicap harness racing trot at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Nov. 4). Madhatter Bluechip (Kevin Switzer Jr.) took his usual position on the front end off the gate and flew to the quarter in :26.3. Shorething Fashion (Nick Graffam) was keeping a fairly close stance while the rest of the field was gapped-off as they moved past the stands. Moving into the second half O So Easy (Drew Monti) pulled and was rolling in the breeze methodically making his way towards Madhatter Bluechip, who was still strong on the lead all through the final bend. Coming off the far turn O So Easy was outside of Madhatter Bluechip with the tripped-out Shorething Fashion trotting freely along the pylons. All three drivers were working their rides hard through the stretch where O So Easy did the best work and got up by a neck in 1:54.3. It was the fifth win of the year for O So Easy ($5.60) who is owned by Greathorse of Massachusetts and trained by Domenico Cecere. The best pace of the day came in the $12,000 conditioned event for 6-year-olds and under where the recently imported Zinny Mach N (Ron Cushing) took control of the race on the front, backed down the half to :56.4 and then posted back to back quarters of :27.1 and :28 to cruise home a wrapped-up winner by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner. It was the second North American win for Zinny Mach N ($9.40) who has acclimated well since shipping over. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three-Zingara is owned by Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs trains the winner. Drivers Ron Cushing, Kevin Switzer Jr., Matty "Ice" Athearn and Nick Graffam all had driving doubles on the card. Trainer Heidi Gibbs also had two winners on Monday. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Nov. 7) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- After a three-year layoff from harness racing, Whiskey Lindy made his first start back this August a winning one and has repeated that outcome every week since. He extended his streak to six on Friday (Nov. 1) after he won the $12,000 conditioned trotting feature at Plainridge Park. As he has done just about every week this year, Whiskey Lindy (Bruce Ranger) went right to the front and controlled his own destiny. Setting fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:27.3 along the way, whiskey Lindy turned for home and pulled away to a 3-1/2 length margin of victory in 1:57.3. The undefeated Whiskey Lindy ($2.40) now boasts earnings of $35,000 this year for his owners Greathorse and trainer Domenico Cecere. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Nov. 4) at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Despite wind, rain and six formidable harness racing foes, Bet You overcame all adversity to capture the $20,000 Open Handicap pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 31). Bet You (Kevin Switzer Jr.) got away fifth in line of the single-file group chasing the :26.3 quarter set by Opus Blue Chip (Bruce Ranger). Positions remained the same until Switzer pulled Bet you moving towards the half and advanced in the breeze first-over from there. Opus Blue Chip remained the dictator of fractions with no one able to gain ground as the race was rolling up the backside. After passing the three-quarters in 1:23.4, Bet You, who had been lagging on advancement, started to reel in Opus Blue Chip and by the top of the stretch looked him in the eye and then went right by. Bet You was in full flight in the stretch and paced away to a 1-3/4 length win over a fast-closing Calvin B (Mitchell Cushing) to win in 1:52.3. It was the seventh win of the year for Bet You ($11.20) who has now earned $86,310 for owner Scott Dillon. Joe Nelson trains the winner. In the $10,500 conditioned pacing undercard, Rockin' Cougar (Nick Graffam) won his second straight race in an upset after making a bold three-wide move at the three-quarters to collar Ben N Crosby (John Nason) by a neck at the wire in 1:55.2. Rockin' Cougar ($28.20) is owned by Diane Hellen and trained by Mike Graffam. Rockin' Cougar was one of three wins on the card for Nick Graffam who led all drivers on Thursday with a hat trick. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 1). Please note that starting with Friday's card, post time will be at 1 p.m. and remain at that time for the entire month of November. The Plainridge meet runs through Friday (Nov. 29). By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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