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Plainville, MA --- The Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager has been one of the most popular bets offered at Plainridge Park since its introduction and also one of the toughest to hit. Since the last winning ticket was cashed here back in September, the carryover pool has now grown to $47,420 after the ninth race on Friday (Nov. 21). Now with the meet heading into the final week, the pool must be paid out. Whereas the track has been offering the wager twice on each live racing day, this week the Wicked Hi-5 will be suspended from the wagering menu all week until Friday (Nov. 27) when it will be offered only one time in race six with a mandatory payout and guaranteed pool of $75,000. If there is no unique winning combination purchased, the track will pay out on the closest winning combination(s) wagered. The Wicked Hi-5 on Friday will be part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering program and as such, a free program page for the race will be available on the USTA's website (ustrotting.com) under the "Handicapping" tab on Tuesday afternoon. The $75,000 guaranteed pool is the largest ever offered in the 21-year history of Plainridge Park. With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up on Thursday (Nov. 26), there will be no live racing held at Plainridge. However that card of racing will be conducted on Wednesday (Nov. 25) instead. Post time for the final three days of racing at Plainridge Park is 1 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts    

Plainville, MA --- Rock Diamonds N made an early second-over move behind live outer cover and turned it into a harness racing victory in the $17,500 District 9 Gronk Series at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 19). Avatartist (Bruce Ranger) got away sharp and was two on top at the quarter in :26.4. Shortly after that station, Bet You (Kevin Switzer Jr.) pulled first into the breeze while Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) followed willingly. The field was in two rows heading up the backside with three in and three out when Bet You drew alongside Avatartist at three-quarters. That challenge faltered coming out of the last turn where Cushing tipped Rock Diamonds N three deep and started to drive hard down the lane. Avatartist was game and held his ground but Rock Diamonds N had a head of steam and rolled past him at the wire to win by 1/4 length in 1:53.   It was the fourth win of the year for Rock Diamonds N ($11.40) who now has earned $189,945 on the strength of 15 wins since coming to the Northern Hemisphere last year. The 7-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover-Dancing Diamonds is owned by Kevin Sywyk, his driver Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs does the training. The team of Cushing, Sywyk, Ranaldi and Gibbs also doubled up, sending Mach Doro A ($8.40) to a six-length win in the day's final race. In the other $15,000 Gronk division, Quick Shot (Bruce Ranger) scored his second consecutive victory after pulling at the three-eighths to take the overland route to the top of the stretch where he grabbed the lead and then held off Cherokee Hiflyzane (Mitchell Cushing) by a neck at the wire in 1:53.3. Quick Shot ($5.60) is owned by Kathleen Brewer and is trained by Artie Brewer. Bruce Ranger was the top driver on Thursday, scoring a hat trick on the 10-race card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 20) with post time at 1 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The Fun Marshall has certainly had a good time since coming to Plainridge Park. After getting her first win of the year at the Meadowlands on October 2nd, she is now four-for-four at The Ridge after taking the $12,000 fillies and mares harness racing feature pace on a very inclement Friday afternoon (Nov. 13). Best Honey Hanover (Kevin Switzer Jr.) took the lead with The Fun Marshall right behind, and went to the quarter in :26.3. Positions remained unchanged to the half where Odds On Algorithm (Shawn Gray) motored up the outside to challenge the leader. The three horses broke away from the pack up the backstretch and got to three-quarters in 1:24.1. Halfway through the last turn, Best Honey Hanover started to fade and The Fun Marshall tipped three-deep around her. It turned into a match race down the lane as The Fun Marshall and Best Honey Hanover traded strides all the way to the wire where The Fun Marshall just got up to win in 1:53.1.   Still perfect in Massachusetts, The Fun Marshall ($5.20) is also perfect for her owners Jim Winske, David Winske and Stephen Michaels. Melissa Beckwith trains the winner. Beckwith also trains Mach Me Onemore (1:54, $2.60) and Rural Art (1:53.2, $7.20) who both won, giving her a training triple. Drivers Bruce Ranger and Shawn Gray each had two wins to lead all drivers on Friday. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Nov. 16) with post time at 1 p.m. There are only six racing days left in the 2020 live racing meet which concludes on Friday (Nov. 27). By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- JK Will Power took the overland route to an impressive harness racing victory in the $17,500 Winners-Over pace at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 12). Mitchell Cushing seated JK Will Power third off the car while Paternity Suit A (Drew Monti) took the lead at the quarter. Just past that station Major Leaguer (Nick Graffam) popped the pocket and grabbed the front as they hit the half in :56.1. At that point JK Will Power was already out and wheeling with Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) on his back heading to three-quarters. With the field now three in and three out, Major Leaguer continued to lead past the three-quarters and through the last turn, but started to falter at the head of the stretch. JK Will Power took the lead there while Hudson Phil tipped three deep and Paternity Suit A found room along the pylons. And although the two chasers made up ground to the wire, JK Will Power stayed on task to finish the job and win by 1/2 length in 1:52.1.   It was the seventh win of the year for JK Will Power ($12.00) and it pushed his earnings to $68,280 for owner Michael Goldberg Racing. Jeff Lieberman is the trainer. In the co-featured $17,500 District 9 "Gronk" series, Beachchip Hanover (Shawn Gray) sat a perfect pocket trip behind Avatartist (Bruce Ranger) the entire race until the stretch where he pulled and kicked home to a 1-1/2 length in 1:51.3 victory. Beachchip Hanover ($7.20) is owned by Jeffrey Epstein and Steven Gondelman and is trained by Jamie Gerard. In a true rarity, 10 different drivers and 10 different trainers accounted for the day's 10 winners at The Ridge on Thursday. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 13) with post time at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- After a successful stint at Yonkers Raceway, Nows The Moment returned to Plainridge Park and reclaimed top honors after dominating in the $17,500 Winners-Over harness racing trot on Monday afternoon (Nov. 9). Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) left three-deep into the first turn and took the lead before the quarter in a blistering :26.2. Mister Muscle (Bruce Ranger), who was tracking right behind him, then grabbed the front right after he cleared as they passed by the stands. Not content with the trip, Nows The Moment once again pulled to retake and did so before the half in :54.3. An eighth of a mile later, Eurobond (Drew Monti) was out and rolling towards the two-move leader to press the issue further. They trotted past three-quarters in 1:23.1 and tangled into the stretch when Nows The Moment started to kick away and opened up a two length advantage. With Stevenson keeping him on task, Nows The Moment maintained his lead to the wire over a late closing If Not Why Not (Kevin Switzer) and won in 1:53.2.   Nows The Moment ($7.20) has now earned $86,700 on the strength of six wins this year for owner Sonya McDonald. L Alex MacDonald is the trainer. In the secondary featured $15,000 conditioned trot, two-time Massachusetts Sire Stake champion Without A Warning (Shawn Gray) extended her winning streak to six in a row after she took the lead past the quarter, fought off a challenge from Dazzling Lindy (Drew Monti) at three-quarters and trotted away down the lane to a wrapped-up 1-1/2 length win over Southwind Frost (Mitchell Cushing) in 1:54.3. Without A Warning ($2.40) is a 3-year-old filly who swept the MASS for two consecutive years and now boasts $424,822 in lifetime earnings on the strength of 12 wins in only 26 career starts for breeder/owner Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Shawn Gray, Nick Graffam and Mike Stevenson all had two driving wins on Monday while Mike Graffam led all trainers with two wins as well. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Nov. 12) with post time at 1 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Coming off a heavy slate of stake action in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana, Gai Waterhouse drew into a $12,000 overnight conditioned harness racing event at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Nov. 6) and paced away with her first win of 2020. Watchful Eye (Shawn Gray) took the early lead before Gai Waterhouse (Drew Monti) grabbed the top spot in front of the stands. Positions changed again when Watchful Eye retook once more as the pair do-si-doed by the half. The two top horses remained in one-two order to the three-quarters and around the last turn, but when they approached the head of the stretch Monti tipped Gai Waterhouse and the filly went right past Watchful Eye. She then paced strong to the wire one length ahead of the late closing Scotlynn Seelster (Mitchell Cushing) to win in 1:54.2, which was a new seasonal mark.   Gai Waterhouse ($2.10), who was the Kentucky Sire Stake 2-year-old pacing filly champion last year, has now earned $220,367 in only 18 lifetime starts for owner Great horse and trainer Domenico Cecere. Driver Matty "Ice" Athearn was at it again at Plainridge. On Monday he won with 60-1 shot Stihl N and returned $133.40, which was the largest win payoff of the season. On Friday Athearn left from post one with 69-1 shot Easteriffic and followed the heavily favored Gottalovemyshadow (Shawn Gray) to the top of the stretch where he pulled and blew right by to win by 2-1/2 lengths and pay $141.00. Joan Harmon, Normand St. Clair and Mike Foley own the Gretchen Athearn trained filly who now holds the distinction of paying the highest win mutuel of the meet. Bruce Ranger was the top driver on Friday, winning four races during the afternoon while Melissa Beckwith was the winningest trainer with three scores. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Nov. 9) with post time at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA --- The harness racing District 9 event for Plainridge Park based pacers with a Trackmaster of 87 or less known as "The Gronk" continued for a second week with a $17,500 purse on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 5) with Bet You claiming the winner's share of the purse. Driver Kevin Switzer Jr. floated out third to the quarter with Bet You while Waves (Nick Graffam) took the lead. But once Waves settled, Bet You made a brush for the lead in front of the stands and then got to the half in :55. Tisadream N (Drew Monti) pulled first-over at that point and would proceed to push the leader for the rest of the mile. Heading up the backside Tisadream N slowly made up ground despite the :27.1 pace set by Bet You, and by the top of the stretch he was within 1-¼ lengths of the front runner. Heading down the stretch the lead continued to diminish as Tisadream N dug in, but Bet You was tough and closed out the mile on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:51 flat. It was the third win of the year for Bet You ($8.00) who is owned by Scott Dillon. Joe Nelson is the trainer. The track record for 3-year-old pacing colts was tied on Thursday in the $15,000 condition for 5-year-old and under pacers by newcomer Sports Obsession (Drew Monti) who shipped-in to Plainridge from Woodbine/Mohawk Park after a 27 day layoff and overcame post seven to go gate to wire and win by 1-¾ lengths in 1:51.1. The time was also a new lifetime mark for the winner.   Sports Obsession ($5.00) is a son of Sportswriter-Hayworth Blue Chip that is owned by Joseph Trice and trained by Jimmy Nickerson. Monti and Nickerson were a hot tandem on Thursday combining for three wins on the card. Besides Sports Obsession, the pair also sent OK Kudo (1:53.1, $8.60) and Givenupdreaming (1:51.4, $3.00) to the winner's circle. Monti ended up with the driving Grand Slam adding GD Cruise For Gold (1:55.1, $5.00) to his tally for the afternoon. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Nov. 6) with post time at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts    

Plainville, MA --- Northfield Park regular Mister Muscle took the short 635 mile ride down the 90 to Plainridge Park and immediately flexed his way to the winner's circle in the $17,500 Winners-Over trotting harness racing feature on Monday afternoon (Nov.2). Mister Muscle (Bruce Ranger) took the lead and opened up a two length advantage over Ronnie Goldstein (Shawn Gray) at the quarter in :27.4. With a gapped advantage still at the half, Pappy Go Go (Mitchell Cushing) and Eurobond (Drew Monti) started rolling an outer flow in pursuit of the leader. Mister Muscle opened up three at three-quarters as Pappy Go Go faded, Eurobond went around him and Ronnie Goldstein started to dig in. With footsteps getting closer, Ranger started to heavily urge Mister Muscle at the head of the lane as his lead was diminishing with every stride. But despite the pursuer's best efforts, Mister Muscle took their best shot and hung on by a neck for the win in 1:55.3.   It was the sixth victory of the year for Mister Muscle ($10.40) who is owned by Patricia Schneeberger and trained by Melissa Beckwith. The biggest win mutuel of the meet was paid out on Monday after Matty "Ice" Athearn lived up to his name while coolly driving 60-1 Stihl N up the pylons at three-quarters and then three-deep in the stretch to nose out R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer) at the wire in 1:55.1 to claim a new lifetime mark. Stihl N returned $133.40 to win much to the delight of her owner James Hemenway. Paul McHugh is the trainer. Shawn Gray led all drivers on Monday with three wins while Alicia Gray led all trainers with two. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Nov. 5) with post time at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- They were dashing through the snow at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Oct. 30) but the elements did little to cool red hot The Fun Marshall who scored her third consecutive harness racing win in the $15,000 featured pace for fillies and mares. The Fun Marshall was floated off the gate by driver Mitchell Cushing and methodically worked her way to the lead past the quarter. Once seated, she comfortably paced to the half in :57.1 and three-quarters in 1:26.4 with Kitty Hoyne (Nick Graffam) in pursuit on the rim. By the time the race reached the stretch, The Fun Marshall had opened up a two-length lead and paced home unchallenged in 1:56.1 over the muddy track.   The Fun Marshall ($2.10) is owned by Jim and David Winske and Stephen Michaels and is trained by Melissa Beckwith. In the undercard $12,000 distaff condition, Best Honey Hanover (Kevin Switzer) led at every station before finishing very strong, holding off a wall of four horses who all finished within a length of each other behind her in 1:54.3, which was the fastest mile of the dismal weather day. It was the 10th win of the year for Best Honey Hanover ($3.60) who is owned by Steven Kouray, Donald De Luca and Peter Daratsos. Jimmy Nickerson trains the winner. Mitchell Cushing was the day's top driver with three wins registered. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Nov. 2). Please note that post time will be moved to 1 p.m. starting Monday and will remain there for the duration of the meet. The final day of racing at Plainridge is Friday (Nov. 27). By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- After coming up just short in the feature at Plainridge Park last week after a tough parked-out journey, Hudson Phil got a perfect trip and paced away to a seasonal harness racing mark in the $15,000 Winners-Over pace on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 29). Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) tucked in second off the gate behind Rock Diamonds N (Mitchell Cushing) who splashed to the half over a sloppy track in :56. At that point Ideal Star A (Shawn Gray) was rolling up the outside and pushed the leader to a quick :27.3 third panel. Around the last turn Ideal Star A faded, making room for Hudson Phil to pull off the pylons and like a rocket, he opened up a quick two length lead and extended that to 3-3/4 at the light in 1:51.3, which was his best effort of 2020.   Hudson Phil ($5.80) scored his fifth win of the year for owner the Kellogg Racing Stable and trainer Jackie Greene. In the co-featured $15,000 condition for 5-year-olds and under, Unlikeanyother (Bruce Ranger) made quick work of the field on the point while setting fractions of :27, :57 and 1:24.3. From there he maintained his one length lead over the pocket-sitting Sea Isle City (Shawn Gray) all the way to the wire to win in 1:52.3. It was the fourth win of the year for Unlikeanyother ($3.40) who is owned by Jim Winske. Melissa Beckwith is the trainer. Nick Graffam, Drew Monti and Ron Cushing all had two driving wins on Thursday. Trainers Melissa Beckwith and Jackie Greene also scored two wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Oct. 30) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing driver Scott Zeron was all business at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Oct. 26) as he won four of the eight Massachusetts Sire Stake finals, including three straight to start the day. Trainer George Ducharme and owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. also combined for three stake wins and five in-the-money placings during the afternoon. There were eight $90,000 divisions combined for a total value of $720,000. Zeron struck first with the 2-year-old trotting gelding Incommunicado (Chapter Seven-Gran Cavalla) who took an early lead and marched on the point by 1-1/2 lengths all the way to the three-quarters. At that station Incommunicado kicked-away from the group and opened up six lengths around the last turn and stretched that advantage to 17-1/4 at the wire where he stopped the timer in 1:56.2, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner.   It was the third straight MASS win for Incommunicado ($2.60) who is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz. Ake Svanstedt is the trainer. The Moni Maker Stable bred Incommunicado who was an $80,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2019. Next in the 3-year-old male pacing division, Zeron sat behind the heavily favored Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) and similarly called the shots on the front. When the race got to the half, Spatterdash (Mike Stevenson) moved alongside and presented a real threat as the pair matched strides to the three-quarters and halfway around the last turn. There, Wyatt J pulled away by a length but still had to quell a late charge from R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer) and Han Solo (Shawn Gray) to win by 1/2 length in 1:52.1. Now undefeated in four starts in Massachusetts, Wyatt J ($2.20) has also won eight straight starts this year for owner Ken Jacobs. Linda Toscano is the winning trainer. Wyatt J was bred by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and was a $245,000 yearling purchase at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale. Zeron's natural Hat Trick was completed in the 2-year-old male pacing division with Mullinax (American Ideal-Up Front Kellie Jo) who took an early lead to the quarter in :26.4 before Maui (Shawn Gray) tipped and took control. At the five-eighth's pole Call Me Maverick (Mike Stevenson) and Bumpah Stickah (Jim Hardy) drew even with Maui and Mullinax and the foursome paced away from the field. At the top of the stretch Bumpah Stickah tipped three deep and Mullinax went four wide and got the best of the insiders by only a neck at the light in 1:53.4. The time was a new stake record and tied the existing track record that Mullinax set himself earlier this month. It was the sixth win of the year and second straight for Mullinax ($5.00) who is owned by William Varney and trained by Mark Ford. Mullinax was bred by his namesake, Ed Mullinax. Zeron completed the Grand Slam in the 3-year-old trotting filly division behind Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who took the lead off the gate and was never headed after that. The filly trotted through quarters of :28, :58 and 1:26.2 when Zeron let Without A Warning out a notch and she swelled up down the stretch with a 6-1/4 length lead at the beam, timed in 1:55. Without A Warning ($2.10) swept the MASS for the second straight year and is now a two-time champion for owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Without A Warning has also never lost a race in the state of Massachusetts and is a perfect nine-for-nine lifetime. The 2-year-old filly pace went to Purameri (American Ideal-J K Pure Pearl) who got away sixth behind the front-running So Amazing (Bruce Ranger). At the half Suzie Blue chip (Shawn Gray) was out and rolling and driver Nick Graffam followed that cover with Purameri all the way to the top of the stretch where they swung wide and paced up a storm passing So Amazing. Once in front, Purameri opened up a 2-1/2 length lead and won in 1:54.1 in a 7-1 upset. Purameri ($17.00) scored her second and biggest win in Massachusetts for owner the Purple Haze Stable and trainer Jessica Okusko. Next was the 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings and Double Dealing (RC Royalty-Heather Spur) dug deep to get the win. After getting away third behind Life Is A Feast (Scott Zeron), Shawn Gray pulled Double Dealing at the half and motored up the rim towards the leader and engaged him on the backstretch. The two trotters tangled to the three-quarters, around the last turn and into the stretch where Double Dealing opened up a two length lead and cruised to the wire under a line drive in 1:57.1. It was the third MASS win and seventh overall of the year for Double Dealing ($4.60) and owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) won her fourth straight MASS race after capturing the 2-year-old trotting filly division. Me Too Baby (Matty Athearn) opened up a quick three-length lead on the field while Royal Envy sat fifth. But that was short lived as Shawn Gray came early behind Moni For Lindy (Scott Zeron) who was on the move in front of the stands. Moni For Lindy cleared at the half before Royal Envy crossed over for the lead past the five-eighths. With no serious challenge from behind, Gray line-drove Royal Envy from that point all the way to the wire where she won in 1:57.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Royal Envy ($4.00) now has four wins out of six lifetime starts for owners/breeders Al Ross and Ray Campbell Jr. The filly is also trained by George Ducharme. Finally in the 3-year-old pacing filly group, Ry's Red Rocket (Sunshine Beach-Mo Molly Blue Chip) took no prisoners as Matty Athearn sent her to the front and she never looked back. Ry's Red Rocket tripped the timer in :26.4, :56.1 and 1:24.4 with Rojas Blue Chip (Drew Monti) right on her back, but her back was all the competition would see as Ry's Red Rocket turned for home and paced smartly to the wire on top by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54. Ry's Red Rocket ($3.60) got her second stake win and sixth of the year for owner/breeder Linwood Higgins. Gretchen Athearn trains the winner. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Aside from being the most prolific Standardbred breeders in the state, Ray Campbell Jr. is also the president of the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts. He has been involved in the sport for most of his life and has seen first hand the ups and downs of breeding and racing in Massachusetts, as well as the growth it has experienced in recent years. Campbell's first interaction with harness racing was at a yearling sale at Young Meadow Farm (now the UMass Equine Research Farm in Hadley). They held fair racing there years ago over a five-eighth's mile track, but there were also stallions standing at the farm. "My interest in the beginning was fair racing. Back in the 80's and 90's there were multiple venues from the western part of the state to the central part and it was typical fair racing only without the fair. You would race out of your trailer for a couple thousand dollars and a cooler and it was really all about the competition," said Campbell. Campbell transitioned and started breeding in the early 1990's, standing his first stallion at Sawmill River Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts. He then started buying broodmares and it became a family enterprise. "My father and I were all hands on deck with the whole operation. Our focus was to race horses in Massachusetts but also have some that could compete in New York," Campbell explained. "Then about 20 years ago the fairs started fading away, Foxboro closed and the sport had pretty much come to a halt here. It changed everything." However everything changed again, only this time for the better after the Race Horse Development Fund was instituted in 2015. Since that time breeding and the performance of the horses that were bred has improved exponentially each year and people who would have never thought of racing young horses in the commonwealth, now want in. "First and foremost there is a much greater degree of interest. Next there are inquiries about "how do I get involved?" Now we have more people participating each year and that is driving the number of eligible resident mares up each year," said Campbell. "As the horse population grew, farms were in great demand and stalls were hard to find. Eventually that improved as some farms started to pop up and reclaimed some of the land and now there's more availability for boarding." Campbell explained that the issues people had trying to race in years past are gone and have now been replaced with opportunity. "It was difficult before when you had 2 and 3-year-olds here, you just couldn't get them raced. You would find yourself in races with added conditions facing older horses. But they have really done a great job with enhanced purses and restricted races and that has been very good for the program," explained Campbell. "It's a terrific thing to have young horses racing here now, although the racing is tough; there is nowhere to hide. I've been doing this a long time and the days of two and three horse fields are a thing of the past." In recent years the track and stake records have continued to be broken and that is a true indicator of how far the program has really come. And that shouldn't really be a surprise because of the number of quality mares that have been bred. There are currently 146 eligible to race as 2-year-olds in 2021 and that number seems to climb year after year. "To keep the program moving forward and growing, it's vital to have Plainridge Park remain a thriving and viable venue. This keeps people engaged in the sport and the revenue that it, along with the other casinos generate, help fund the RHDF which in turn makes the stakes a worthwhile investment that people want to get involved in," concluded Campbell. The finest Massachusetts-bred Standardbreds will be on display Monday (Oct. 26) when the $720,000 Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will be held at Plainridge Park. Post time is at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Since shipping into Massachusetts, Eurobond has been performing at a high level and did again on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 25) when he won the $15,000 Winners-Over harness racing trot at Plainridge Park. Eurobond (Drew Monti) settled in fourth while Midnite Craze (Kevin Switzer Jr.) led the field to the half in :58 flat. Monti had Eurobond out and rolling at that point and they took control by two lengths at the three-quarters in a swift :27.4 third panel. From there Eurobond kicked-away around the turn and down the stretch and opened up by 4-1/2 lengths at the wire where he won in 1:54.2.   It was the second win in the last three starts at Plainridge Park for Eurobond ($2.60) who is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert Rudolph and trained by Domenico Cecere. In the co-featured $15,000 conditioned trot for 5-year-olds and under, Manruptcy (Mitchell Cushing) tripped out to the half behind Just Dreamin (Mike Stevenson), tipped at the five-eighths and grabbed the lead before the three-quarters. Manruptcy continued to trot with authority in the turn and down the lane, holding off a pesky Split Rail (Shawn Gray) at the wire to win in 1:55.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Manruptcy ($11.80) is owned by Justin Hale and is trained by Kyle Spagnola. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26) at 2 p.m. when eight divisions of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes will go postward for a total of $720,000.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing trainer George Ducharme has been one of the top trainers competing in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for years and his success in the series is no surprise as many of the horses the Walpole, Massachusetts native starts are tight and experienced coming in off their New York Sire Stake races. This year he brings a "Ducharmy" of nine starters to Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26) including a pair of defending 2-year-old champions looking to repeat and take their share of the $720,000 up for grabs in purse money. Here is a look at his starters followed by some comments by Ducharme. In the 3-year-old trotting filly division, Ducharme has a three headed monster led by Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who is one of those returning champions. Without A Warning race against Love A Good Story and Hypnotic Am all summer in the NYSS and finished third in the $225,000 final. She has now won three in a row in MASS competition, taking a new lifetime mark and setting a MASS stake record of 1:54.2 in the process. He is also starting Dramatra (Trixton-Bourbon 'n Grits) who is a sister to 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life and Greyscale (Credit Winner-Global Beauty) who has had some light stake work in New York. "Without A Warning is just a nice horse. She raced those three good fillies in New York all year and held her own. She was just maybe a step below them, but it has definitely bravened her up for the competition level she's had to race so far." "Dramatra was just growthy and sore last year so we quit with her. This year she's come back to be a useful racehorse that has held her own in stakes so far. Greyscale is a good honest little horse, not quite as fast as the other two, but one that has done what we've asked of her to this point for sure." Ducharme has two 3-year-old trotting colts starting including another returning champion, Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) who was racing in the Ontario Sire Stakes and Double Dealing who was a NYSS Excel A finalist. "I just got Life Is A Feast back a couple weeks ago. I trained him down last winter and then sent him up to Canada for his Canadian stakes. He hadn't raced in almost three weeks before his first MASS start the other day and I think he needed the race. So hopefully he should be a little better this week." "Double Dealing has just turned into a real honest little horse. He trots 55-ish every week and he can do it on the lead or from behind and I'm pretty happy with him." Another two starters appear in the 2-year-old trotting colts division with In The Cards (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) who had a win and a third in NYSS action and Beantown Madness (Conway Hall-Armbro Archer) who Ducharme has been very pleased with his progression coming in. "Beantown Madness has turned out to be a really nice little horse. We were very slow with him, we raced him in the NYSS Excel B races and let him learn because he wasn't the biggest horse at the time. But he's grown and filled out and really come into his own and he's learning how to make speed. I couldn't be happier with him." Ducharme's last trotting entry is 2-year-old trotting filly Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) who seems to be peaking at the right time and is three-for-three in MASS action. "Royal Envy was growthy and sore most of the summer and that hindered her progress. I qualified and tried to race her and she just wasn't good so we backed off on her, blistered her up a couple of times, brought her back and she's been really good. She definitely has plenty of speed and she's finishing her miles real good right now. I think she'll become a useful horse, hopefully Monday, and then into next year." Ducharme is also starting one pacer, a 2-year-old filly named So Amazing (So Surreal-Teddy Ballgirl) that has actually raced up to her name. "So Amazing is just a nice filly. Last week I was really impressed with her, having horses at her the whole mile without a breather and finish the way she did. And to pace in 1:53 as a 2-year-old against a good group of fillies. That's a real good division because there are three or four in there that have taken turns every week depending on how the trips go." Ducharme also commented on how far the stake has come since the Race Horse Development Fund was put in place in 2015. "Every year this stake gets more competition as the quality of the mares gets better. And the numbers are getting better because people have faith in the program at Plainridge and Massachusetts right now. I think all of the class groups are in the 20's next year so a lot of them could go split divisions next year," said Ducharme. "We bought a couple more Mass-bred yearlings in Lexington this year besides our home-breds so we're going to keep supporting the program for sure." By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Ken Jacobs has never had a horse compete in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes. But when the man who has competed harness racing standouts Heston Blue Chip (American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip $1.78 million), Kenneth J (Bettors Delight-Advantest $1.56 million), He's Gorgeous (Art Major- So Ravishing $743,844) and Walner (Chapter Seven-Random Destiny $567,652) finally does comes to town, it's no surprise he has the favorite in the glamour division of the $720,000 Massachusetts Sire Stake finals at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26). Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) is the heavy morning line favorite in the 3-year-old male pacing division. He was a $245,000 yearling purchase at Lexington in 2018, the highest price paid for any American Ideal yearling that year. And although his stature in the ring is what ultimately made Jacobs decide to buy him, it was also the reason he didn't meet his early expectations until this year. "I liked him going in; he was such a beautiful big horse, I had to have him. I usually don't go for big horses because I like a more medium size because we race on a half a lot in New York. But he was just gorgeous looking. As it turned out he was too big for his age and he had to grow into it," said Jacobs of Wyatt J. "As a 2-year-old he wasn't mature at all. He was so big I didn't want to hurt him. He did race decent at Vernon but that's a big track and I didn't want to put him on the smaller tracks so we shut him down and let him grow into his body. And he's done a pretty good job of that." His first two starts at three were 1:49 miles at Tioga and Vernon Downs against the top 3-year-old male pacers in New York and he acquitted himself pretty well. But Jacobs said he wasn't ready for that out of the gate and he decided to take him to Yonkers and get him brave in the non-winners classes and look past stakes in New York and forward to Massachusetts. "I sent him to Linda (Toscano) and that move worked out well for us. He kept winning races and kept getting better with each start. And he has just kept getting braver every week. They know when they're winning and they swell up, and that's what he's doing. And we want to keep that going for one more week," said Jacobs. Since moving to Yonkers, Wyatt J has won four straight races there before moving to Plainridge Park where he is now three for three in MASS competition. He has also set a new stake record of 1:51.3 for a 3-year-old pacing geldings in the process. Jacobs has never been to Plainridge Park, but plans to attend the finals this Monday. He said he has been impressed with the Sire Stake program and likes what he has experienced first hand this year. So much so he has already purchased another Massachusetts eligible yearling at Lexington named Knockout Lindy (Muscle Hill-Kinda Crazy Lindy) who was the sales topper for the third session and sold for $175,000. It's interesting to note that Knockout Lindy's dam, Kinda Crazy Lindy, is a sister to Big Man Ev (Chapter Seven-Possessed By Lindy 1:53.3, $231,921) who was the 3-year-old MASS trotting colt champion in 2017 and holds the stake and track record at Plainridge of 1:53.3 for 3-year-old trotting colts. Eight divisions of the $720,000 Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will take place at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Last week from post seven, Major Leaguer did not get involved in the early pace and finished where he started as a result. This week he was back on the point and circled the field at 17-1 in the $17,500 Winners-Over harness racing pace at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Oct. 22). Nick Graffam sent Major Leaguer to the front ahead of Tisadream N (Drew Monti) and got to the quarter in :26.1. Moving on the outside second at that point was Sgt Papa Daddy (John McDonald) and Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) who were both in the wind around the second turn and up the backstretch. Hudson Phil tipped three-deep around a fading Sgt Papa Daddy and brought Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) with him. Major Leaguer and Hudson Phil were fully engaged around the last turn when Rock Diamonds N joined the fray in the stretch. The three paced in close quarters to the wire but Major Leaguer was not to be denied and hung on by ¾'s of a length for the win in 1:50.3.   It was the seventh score of the year for Major Leaguer ($37.60) who is owned by Jimmy Whittemore. Marissa Chabourne is the trainer. Graffam also drove the winner of the $15,000 undercard conditioned pace for 5-year-olds and under, Benny Is A Jet, who became the winningest horse at Plainridge Park this year after scoring his sixth win of the meet. Benny Is A Jet got away fifth behind the leading Sea Isle City (Shawn Gray) and pulled second over behind Jackie Gheeson (Bruce Ranger) at the half. These two cleared and were one-two at the three-quarters, but Benny Is A Jet said goodnight to Jackie Gheeson and then held off the fast-closing Tucker Creek (Drew Monti) to win in 1:52 to claim his fifth straight race. Benny Is A Jet ($6.00) is owned by Braford Veilleux and Anthony Loiko and is trained by James Dunn. Nick Graffam ended up with three wins on the card to lead all drivers on Thursday. Amanda Kelly was the 10/22 leading trainer sending two for pictures herself. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Oct. 23) with post time at 2 p.m. Just a reminder, the $720,000 (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will be held at Plainridge on Monday (Oct. 26) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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