Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 29

On Monday May 13, the New York Sire Stakes made their first stop of the year at Monticello Raceway for 3 Year Old Pacing Colts, the conditions were less than ideal as it was a cold, rainy raw day that was reminiscent of a fall day and certainly not the middle of May. Hickfromfrenchlick, the Ray Schnittker trained harness racing son of So Surreal started from post position 4 and went off the 1/5 odds on favorite in the 6 - horse field. Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark Macdonald) lead the pack every step of the way, reeling off even rated fractions of 28.2, 58.1 1:28.1, American Mercury (Tim Tetrick) were the first to move down the backside as the outer flow developed with Stone Hanover right behind him. It looked like Hickfromfrenchlick was going in for an easy layup but American Mecury was not done yet as the duo paced home strong, but Hickfromfrenchlick rebuffed American Mercury by a scant neck to score in 1:55, pacing his last ¼ in 27 in the fastest mile of the afternoon. Stone Hanover finished 3rd, coming home in 26.4. Hickfromfrenchlick is owned by Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing LLC and TC Spatorico. In the second heat of Sire Stakes, it was a race of the Major's, Major Blake left fast from post 4 from the gate but decided to take the 2- hole tuck as Major March from the rail cut the steady fractions of 28.2,58.1 1:26.4, Respect The Flag and Astarie angled out past the ¾ maker in an effort to start tracking down Major Blake, but their efforts were thwarted as he coasted to a 2 length victory in 1:55. Major March is trained by soon to be Hall of Famer Linda Toscano, the Art Major - Mach You And Me colt is owned by Bay Pond Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. Major Blake was 2nd and Astaire finished 3rd Major March                    --Geri  Schwarz photo The highly touted Reigning Deo highlighted the last heat of Sire Stakes in the 6th race, the Rock N Roll Heaven colt started from the rail and was the 3/5 favorite going to post. Dealer's Table (PP4) and Jason Bartlett cut the soft fractions to the ¾ pole 29.3, 59.3 1:28.1. Rollwithpapajoe (T. Buter) was the first to come off the rail approaching the half, he continued the overland route with no cover. Heading for home he rolled to an easy 3 length win over Reigning Deo held on for 2nd place followed by Covered Bridge. Rollwithpapajoe is trained Jenn Bongiorno, The Roll With Joe colt is owned by Barbara Bongiorno, BK Lambos and D. Libertos. The Excelsior A contest's saw Shim (American ideal - Feel Life) leave the gate unhurried to rally over Caviart Cale in 1:58.3 for Trainer - Driver and part owner Pat Lachance, in the second A class Surreal Art (So Surreal - Artcotic) was content to sit the pocket while Shanghai Bobby cut the mile. It was a good battle down the lane between the two but Surreal Art hung on for a neck victory over Shanhai Phil in 1:55.1 Sire Stats for the afternoon showed American Ideal and So Surreal both had 2 winners, Jason Bartlett and Patrick LaChance each had a driving double on the chilly afternoon. $461,000 was wagered on the 8- race card for a per race average of $57,625.   By: Shawn Wiles

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Pennsylvania All-Stars harness racing series began its annual run at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night, with three $30,000 divisions of sophomore pacing males in the spotlight. The first All-Stars division was taken by the heralded and well-bred Sweet Lou colt Blood Money, but only by a nose in 1:50. It was an interesting strategic "chess match" between Scott Zeron, guiding Blood Money, and George Napolitano Jr. behind Escapetothebeach: Zeron gradually guided Blood Money to the lead past a :26.4 opener, only for Napolitano to brush in front of the stands with his first-time 2019 starter to have the lead before the :55 half. Zeron didn't want to be caught in with his 1-5 shot, so he regained command before the 1:22.3 three-quarters, only to have Escapetothebeach hang right behind him, take the Pocono Pike, and only get beaten by the slightest of margins. Brassy Hanover, ducking inside fading cover on the far turn, rallied up the far inside and missed by only ¾ of a length in third. Blood Money had won his seasonal debut at The Meadowlands in 1:50; this mile was the fastest of the year by a sophomore on a 5/8-mile track, and tied Blood Money with himself as the fastest "glamour division" colt on any size track. Nancy Johansson trains the winner of $372,244 for Diamond Creek Racing. Branquinho, winless at two but a full brother to Huntsville, looks like he may flourish in his sophomore campaign - he's now undefeated in three 2019 starts, following up on a Stallion Series win last week with an All-Stars victory in 1:50.1, his fastest ever. The Somebeachsomewhere colt bypassed an enormous hole mid-first turn and went on to the lead near the :27.2 quarter; favored Lyons Night Hawk also chose to press forward and grabbed the top halfway to the next station, which was reached in :54.4. The chalk had repelled outside competition by the 1:22.4 three-quarters; Branquinho (the 9-5 second choice) would be his major challenger in the lane, and the winner responded sharply when tipped out from the two-hole by Tyler Buter, winning by ¾ of a length for owner/trainer Ray Schnittker (note: Buter and Schnittker share brown-and-gold colors). Somebeachsomewhere picked up a second sire credit when Air Force Hanover, parked a good way for the lead and not getting a breather up front, was still able to draw clear in the lane to take a new mark of 1:50.1. Air Force Hanover and George Napolitano Jr. (who drove five horses to Victory Lane on the card) were still outside past the :26.3 quarter, then ranged up to the lead in the frontstretch towards the :55.2 midway clocking. Aflame Hanover, the 2018 PA Fair champion, forced the winner to go an all-out :26.3 third quarter to keep the lead, and after the challenger started to fade past the 1:22 three-quarters, "George Nap" kept the winner's mind to business as he posted a 2¾ length victory over fast-closing Highlandbeachlover, who was hampered by a nonflowing outer tier. Brian Brown is the conditioner of the four-time career winner for Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and W. J. Donovan. Pocono's love affair with the claiming box produced a "new track record" on Saturday, as the Mach Three seven-year-old gelding Raksmach N was claimed for $40,000, a record for the mountain oval. A winner of three straight before a very hard-fought third from the outside post eight on Saturday, he leaves owner Mark Akins with a $2400 purse check and a $5000 profit on his haltering of the horse for $35,000 last week, minus the week's training fee; the horse now goes to the Oakes barn and the Northfolk Racing Stable. In all for the night, 12 claims totaled up to $304,500, running the seasonal totals to 147 claims, with $2,642,500 changing hands. Tomorrow night marks the 2019 debut of The World's Fastest Trotter, the locally-based Homicide Hunter, in a $30,000 open trot event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS); Tequila Monday and Kissininthesand seem likely to renew their first-round GNOS rivalry in the $30,000 mares open pace.   ATTRIBUTION - PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing trainer/driver Ray Schnittker shipped in a squadron of three-year-olds who were impressive victors during qualifying events on Wednesday morning at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Fastest of three three-year-old pacing colts that Schnittker guided to wins was the So Surreal colt Hickfromfrenchlick, named after basketball star Larry Bird, who made very pole a winning one in 1:54, last quarter 27. 2¼ lengths behind Hickfromfrenchlick was Shake That House, third in the Metro at two and a ¾ brother to Breeders Crown winner Split The House. Branquinho, a maiden who was stakes-placed at two, looked a bit more like a full brother to Huntsville as the Somebeachsomewhere colt paced in 1:55 - 27.4. A race earlier Captain Malicious, a Captaintreacherous colt and Sheppard winner, won in 1:55.2, coming from third with his own back fractions of 56.3 - 27.4. A fourth Schnittker winner was the sophomore trotting filly Jezzy's Legacy, a Donato Hanover out of the $800G+ winner Jezzy, who put in a 28.1 last quarter to stop the timer in 1:56.2. Another of Donato Hanover's offspring was successful - the four-year-old Whats The Word, second in his Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship last year, who came out of the pocket sharply to get home first in 1:57 for the Allard brothers. Fastest mile of the a.m. session went to the Captaintreacherous filly Blue Ivy, winner of a Bluegrass division, who made two moves to win in 1:53.3 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Chris Oakes. PHHA / Pocono

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 21, 2018-For years in Boston Celtic green, Larry Bird taunted, tortured and tormented New York. Saturday night (Sept. 22nd), his 'nicknamesake' tries to take it. Hickfromfrenchlick drew post position No. 6 in 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding event during Yonkers Raceway's $1.8 million New York Night of Champions. The race, sponsored by the state's Agriculture and Horse Breeding Development Fund, is the fourth of a dozen-race card and the third of eight consecutively-contested $225,000 sire stakes finales. Hickfromfrenchlick is no stranger to the spotlight, having won the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here in mid-July (1:55.4). The son of So Surreal returned to Westchester in late August, picking off divisional leader-and tonight's pole-sitter-Melodie's Major in a New York Sire Stakes event (1:53.3). It was off to Vernon Downs after that and a down-the-road, life-best 1:51.3 statebred romp. For the season, he's won four of six tries ($120,541), though he did not fire in his final NYSS try (Batavia). "Stuck behind some bad horses who had no reason to pull," Ray Schnittker said. Fortunately for Hickfromfrenchlick's co-owner/trainer and sometime chauffeur, those sort of nights have been few and far between. Schnittker drove that night (as he did at Vernon), but is AWOL (Meadows) Saturday, so he enlists Tim Tetrick this time around. "Training down, he was good, so I'm not surprised," Schnittker said of the $47,000 (Goshen, NY) lad who's also co-owned by Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico. "He had a :27 and change last quarter (in a Landmark event) at Goshen, so I knew he was ready. "I trained his mother (My Girl's a Star) and she had a record of (1):52 and 2 as a 2-year-old. (Author's aside...My Girl's a Star was a solid New York Sire Stakes lass, winning 7-of-11 and more than $139,000 as a frosh [2010] despite having the misfortune of being in the same age group as one See You at Peelers). "I told Mark (MacDonald) he was going to win the Sheppard, so just don't screw it up, which he didn't." Any such guarantees for Tetrick before he and Hickfromfrenchlick Saturday night? "No one can outleave Melodie's Major if they wanted to, but I think (Hickfromfrenchlick) can get around some of the others, and if he's close, he wouldn't stun me." Regardless of Saturday's outcome, Hickfromfrenchlick is finished for the season. "He's done everything we've asked," Schnittker said. Post time for the New York Night of Champions fun and frolic is the usual 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Batavia, NY --- The eighth and final "regular season" visit of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) to Batavia Downs brings the 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings to Genesee County on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to compete in two divisions for a total of $109,000 dollars. The Batavia Downs track record for 2-year-old pacing colts is 1:54.2 and that standard is definitely in danger of going down. The NYSS events are carded in race three and five. Two $15,000 Excelsior "A" legs will be held in race one and two. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m. The first $54,500 NYSS freshman pace features the top point earner in the series Melodies Major (Art Major-Hilarious) and the red hot Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star) in a race that could easily rewrite the local record book. Melodies Major has raced exclusively in NYSS events this year and has excelled, winning five out of seven of them. And he's been successful over every size track in the state. In his most recent outing he scored a big come-from-behind win at Vernon Downs, taking a new lifetime mark of 1:51.3 in the process. He comes in here sharp as a tack and looking forward to the final. Melodies Major is 2-1 morning line and leaves from post five with his regular driver Tyler Buter aboard for trainer Mark Ford. Pushing the issue will be Hickfromfrenchlick who has won four out of his last six outings. Hickfromfrenchlick has won his last two NYSS races and like Melodies Major, took a new lifetime mark of 1:51.3 at Vernon Downs last week. The start before that he won in 1:53.3 at Yonkers, beating Melodies Major by only a half-length. He hasn't been worse than second all year and he will be a force to deal with here. Western New York native trainer/driver Ray Schnittker will be aboard from post six as the second choice at 5-2. The second $54,500 split has Reining Deo (Rock n Roll Heaven-Little Miss) looking to cement his spot in the NYSS final. Reining Deo is currently eighth in points but could still be knocked out in a worst-case scenario. He has been one-two-three in four NYSS starts and has a mark of 1:54.2 at Saratoga. A win would give him 142 points and a ticket to ride in the final. Trainer Brett Pelling has Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike and they have been made the 2-1 morning line favorite from post five. JoJo's Place (Roll With Joe-Angel Place) is winless this year but has hit the board in three NYSS races. He has a very outside chance of making the final but only if he could win here. Recently he has been hampered with outside posts for the last five outings and drawing post two will definitely help. Although he finished fifth last week at Vernon, he still paced in 1:52.3 in defeat. Matt Kakaley will be driving for trainer John Butenschoen and they were made 3-1 by the track handicapper. Major March (Art Major-March You And Me) has been a bit of a late bloomer. After winning big in an Excel "A" race at Saratoga in 1:54.1 by seven lengths, he stepped up to the NYSS for the last two starts and acquitted himself well. He seems to fit this field nicely and should not be overlooked given his recent outings. Hall of Fame trainer Linda Toscano has tabbed Drew Monti to drive and they will start from post six at 7-2. The 2018 NYSS Consolations races which carry a total purse value of $320,000 will be held at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 21). By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs      

Melodies Major (Tyler Buter) captured the first of two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshman pacing colts and geldings. Both divisions raced for a purse of $56,500. Reigning Deo (Jim Morril Jr.) took the lead hitting the first quarter in :26.2. The favorite, Major Blake (Jason Bartlett) took over before hitting the half in :55.0. He continued to lead hitting the three-quarter mark in 1:23.2. Melodies Major ($11.40) was fifth after three-quarters. Owned by Martin Scharf and trained by Mark Ford. He cam flying down the stretch to win in a lifetime best of 1:51.3. Artie's Ideal moved up to take second with Jack Nation finishing third. Melodies Major is a 2-year-old colt by Art Major-Hilarious. It was the fifth win of his young career. All wins were legs of the NYSS. Buter won two more races on the card. His other wins came with Shake That House ($3.40) and (Rollonhighway ($3.30) Hickfromfrenchlick (Ray Schnittker) easily wins the second division of the NYSS. Hickfromfrenchlick ($3.70) fired right to the front and went gate-to-wire controlling all the fractions (:27.1, :56.0, 1:23.2 1:51.3). Owned by Nolamaura Racing LLC., Thomas Spatorico, and trainer Schnittker, he would hold off a late charge by second place finisher Chatelroll (Scott Zeron) to get a lifetime best mark. Jet Rock (John MacDonald) finished third.   Hickfromfrenchlick is a 2-year-old colt by So Surreal-My Girls A Star. He has now won four out of five races in his career.   Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 7) at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

After seeing Wild Bill suffer an injury at age 2 and from bleeding issues this year at 3, trainer Ray Schnittker hopes his colt is ready to turn the corner beginning in Saturday's eliminations for the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers Raceway. Wild Bill, a full brother to Dan Patch Award-winner Huntsville, adds Lasix for his upcoming race following off-the-board finishes in his past two starts. For his career, he has won three of eight races and earned $58,391 for Schnittker, who bred Wild Bill with the late Charlie Iannazzo and remains the owner of the colt. "He hadn't been racing that well," Schnittker said. "We scoped him and he was bleeding pretty badly so we put him on Lasix. I think it's going to make a big difference. He trained very well on it and I think it'll be a factor. It seems like it really made a difference, but we're going to find out quickly on Saturday." The Messenger Stakes is the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. Stay Hungry won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, on Aug. 4 at The Meadowlands. The final jewel, the Little Brown Jug, is Sept. 20. Stay Hungry and Wild Bill were among 11 horses entered in the Messenger. The top-four finishers from each of Saturday's two $40,000 eliminations advance to the $500,000 final on Sept. 1 at Yonkers. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT), with the Messenger eliminations as races five and six. Wild Bill won the first two races of his career -- including a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division that included future open-stakes-winners Nutcracker Sweet, Hayden Hanover, and Dorsoduro Hanover -- before consecutive fifth-place finishes that proved to be his final starts of the season. "He got a leg injury so we had to quit with him," Schnittker said. "He came back a hundred percent on that." Wild Bill is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Schnittker's mare Wild West Show, who has produced stakes-winners Stevensville, Cowboy Terrier, Beachesofcheyenne, and Huntsville. In 2016, Huntsville paced a world-record-equaling 1:49 mile and was named best 2-year-old male pacer. In 2017, he won the Meadowlands Pace and Cane Pace before retiring in October because of injury. His best win time of the season, 1:47.4, led all 3-year-old pacers. "He's definitely not Huntsville, but he's a pretty nice colt," Schnittker said about Wild Bill. "He's a lot smaller horse, but he's the same type of horse -- he wants to go. He's just nice to drive, two fingers and does everything right. He's a little smarter horse probably than Huntsville. I don't know if he's as fast. I think I'd rather have fast than smart." Wild Bill has a full stakes schedule ahead of him and Schnittker hopes the issues that have hampered the colt are things of the past. "If he can put it together here a little bit, I'd be tickled to death if he could hit the board in the final, we'll see what happens," said Schnittker, who will drive Wild Bill on Saturday. "I'd be surprised if he's not kind of right there. I'm looking for a strong second half of the year." Following are the fields for the eliminations of the Messenger. Jimmy Freight was supplemented for $30,000. First elimination: 1. Babes Dig Me, George Brennan, Tony Alagna, 3-1; 2. Wild Bill, Ray Schnittker, Ray Schnittker, 12-1; 3. JK Wildfire, Jason Bartlett, Brett Pelling, 7-2; 4. Topville Olympian, Brian Sears, Chris Oakes, 3-1; 5. Nutcracker Sweet, Jordan Stratton, Jimmy Takter, 3-2. Second elimination: 1. Springsteen, Brian Sears, Rene Allard, 5-2; 2. Winston, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 8-1; 3. Decoy, Mark MacDonald, Jimmy Takter, 9-1; 4. Jimmy Freight, Louis Roy, Andrew Harris, 9-5; 5. Stay Hungry, Doug McNair, Tony Alagna, 2-1; 6. Kwik Talkin, Jordan Stratton, Rob Harmon, 20-1. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

On Sunday afternoon at Yonkers, Dewycolorintheline became harness racing's newest millionaire with an overnight win giving him a career total of $1,000,481 from 31 wins in 147 career starts.   Now 8 years of age, Dewycolorintheline was bred by Jeff Gural as Little E, LLC, came from the first crop of Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe out of his stakes winning mare Magenta Hall 2, 1:55.2m and was sold to Ray Schnittker for $110,000 with Gural remaining a partner in the Deweycolorintheline Stable.   A precocious freshman, Dewycolorintheline won his Peter Haughton Memorial elimination and was fifth in the final. A win in the Yonkers Trot highlighted a sophomore season that saw him earn over $400,000 for the year. From there it's come the hard way, grinding out more than $100,000 each season at ages 4, 5, 6 & 7 and the old boy is now halfway there again in 2018.   Allerage Farms will sell a Cantab Hall half sister to Dewycolorintheline by the name of Plum Rose in the Lexington Selected Yearling sale this October.   From Allerage Farms  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 14, 2018-They're 2-year-olds. Things happen. Such was the case in Saturday night's (July 14th) $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, Yonkers Raceway's premier event for 'open' frosh colts and geldings honoring the Hall of Fame founder of Hanover Shoe Farms. When the stone dust settled, Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark MacDonald, $5.30) emerged an open-length winner in a six-horse race that was not for the squeamish. At the outset, the eventual winner-from post position No. 2-was off the gate. His next-door neighbor to the outside, Just Plain Loco (Jim Marohn Jr.), tried to leave but threw in steps. He eventually righted the ship, but was wide into the first turn. Meanwhile, 4-5 choice World on Edge (George Brennan) led into the first turn, only to jump it off That left first starter and 58-1 rank outsider Can We Dance (Greg Merton) as sort of a default leader from his outside post. The bombardier put up intervals of :28 and :57, the latter as pole-sitting Hurrikane Kingklee (Dan Dube) tried to pull pocket, only to reconsider. Nearing the 1:26.1 three-quarters, the field truncated...even World on Edge, who then misbehaved again. Hurrikane Kingklee finally did dispose of the longshot leader, while Hickfromfrenchlick was right behind. The 'Hick' inhaled the tiring front-enders in the final turn, opening to two lengths into the lane. Hickfromfrenchlick then rolled home in his parimutuel debut, the final margin 3¼ lengths in 1:55.4. Just Plain Loco, who angled widest into the final turn, survived his race race-and-a-half to finish second, with another first-starter Treasure Tom (Jason Bartlett) third. Hurrikane Kingklee and Can We Dance settled for the minors, while World on Edge needs to think about what he did. For second choice Hickfromfrenchlick, a $47,000 (Goshen NY) plebe son of Larry Bird, er, So Surreal, co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico, he's won both of his purse tries (Landmark at Goshen). The exacta paid $20, the triple paid $155 and the superfecta paid $367. "He shied from the car at the start," MacDonald said. "I was fortunate with the breakers to get away where I did and just sort of sit there. "When Danny (Dube, Hurrikane Kingklee) pulled, I was right behind him and he just sort of paced away. Ray (Schnittker) told me not to screw it up. A strange race. Glad we won." Saturday's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by odds-on Always at My Place (Brennan, $3.10) in a season's-best 1:50.3. Sunday's (July 15th) matinee goes at 11:28 AM, with the first four 'French' trots going as both overflow-field and added-distance (mile-and-a-quarter) by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Goshen, NY - The great trotting mare Check Me Out only has two foals of racing age, and both are track record holders at the track that their mom called home. Check Me Out raced to fame and fortune in 2011 and 2012 for Ray Schnittker and her first two foals - Mooska Stride - 3,1:56h at Goshen Historic Track (GHT) on Sunday, July 1 and Check Out Trixie - 2,1:58.4h at Goshen on Friday, June 29 were both Track Record performances. Through three days of racing at Goshen Historic Track, Cameo Hills Farm in Montgomery, which produced all three of these fillies, has bred the winners of six races at GHT - Check Out Trixie, Major Sugar Rush, Hickfromfrenchlick, Damion Diesel Hahn, Mooska Stride and Youcouldbethatgirl. The first four are trained by Ray Schnittker while Mark Harder trains Mooska Stride and Dan Daley conditions Youcouldbethatgirl. by John Manzi, for Goshen Historic Track

Goshen, NY --- Check Out Trixie attracted plenty of attention Friday (June 29) at Historic Track, winning the $8,475 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters in a track-record 1:58.4 on the opening afternoon of the half-mile oval's four-day Grand Circuit meet. The clocking shattered the previous mark of 2:01.3 for a 2-year-old female trotter, which was set by Daytona Blue Chip in 2012. Check Out Trixie, trained and driven by Historic Track-based Ray Schnittker, is a daughter of 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Schnittker's two-time Dan Patch Award winner Check Me Out. She prepped for her career debut at Historic Track with a 1:57.4 win in a qualifier June 20 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Her Pocono win time is the fastest of the season so far for a 2-year-old filly trotter on a five-eighths-mile track and her Historic Track clocking is the fastest for a 2-year-old trotter on a half-mile track. Check Me Out is owned by Schnittker and Steve Jones, who also are the breeders of the filly. She is part of Trixton's first crop as a sire and the second foal out of Check Me Out, who won 25 of 31 races at ages 2 and 3 and set multiple world records. "The mother, in my mind, is one of the greatest trotting fillies of all time," Jones said. "Trixton looks like he's got horses that have speed. I guess in time we'll find out if they have quality. I saw a couple at the Meadowlands that looked like they could fly. So I think he's off to a good start. This looks like probably his best filly, but you never know. Time will tell. But it looks like she's off on the right foot." Jones said Schnittker liked Check Out Trixie from the beginning and the filly is staked heavily. "Who's to say whether she's good enough to be the top dog, but she's off to a good start," Jones said. "I think trotting in (1):58.4 over this racetrack is a pretty good accomplishment. "I'm hoping that she shines when the lights get bright later in the summer." Jones also was the breeder of two other Landmark Stakes winners, with Major Sugar Rush (Art Major-Sugarcoated) taking the $12,100 event for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:54.2 and Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star) winning the $11,000 event for 2-year-old male pacers in 1:57.3. Major Sugar Rush was driven to victory by Jordan Stratton for trainer/owner Schnittker. It the gelding's first win in eight starts this season. Hickfromfrenchlick, a reference to the nickname of basketball legend Larry Bird, was driven to his career-debut win by trainer Schnittker, who owns the colt with Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico. The Nolamaura Racing group is based in Goshen and led by Patrick English and also includes his father, Kerry. The family owns a beer distributorship. "This is our third year of racing," Patrick said. "The stable name is Nolamaura Racing; it's my two daughters' names. This is just a group of guys that like to have beer and have fun and we're just lucky to be with Ray and have a good horse. "I'm the third generation on the board of directors here at the track. My dad is on the board and my grandmother was here. It's fun to be involved and give back and now actually have a horse that looks really good and is winning." Other winners on the card Friday were Grammy Winner in the $6,125 Landmark for 3-year-old female trotters, Solitary in the $6,125 Landmark for 3-year-old female pacers, Midnight Express S in the $13,600 Landmark for 3-year-old male trotters, Ladybeluckytonite in the $9,125 Landmark for 2-year-old female pacers, and Amico Mio Bi in the $14,350 Landmark for 2-year-old male trotters. Grammy Winner (Credit Winner-Grammy Hall) won in 1:58.3 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Todd Buter. The filly is owned by Gene Oldford Farms, Lynette Buter, William Fuhs, and Carol Fuhs. She has won three of 13 lifetime races and earned $24,733. Solitary (American Ideal-Lonesome Day) won in 1:55 for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Nick Surick. The filly is owned by William Daggett Jr., Lawrence Vukovic, and J L Benson Stables. She has won three of 22 career starts and earned $71,555. Midnight Express S (Maharajah-Truly Devoted) won in 1:58 with Oskar Florhed driving for trainer Ake Svanstedt. The colt is owned by Olle Leven and has won four of 14 career races (and three of his last five) and earned $32,881. Ladybeluckytonite (Art Major-Run On Luck) won in 1:57.3 for driver Jordan Stratton and trainer Rick Dane Jr., who owns the filly with the Rock And Roll Stable. Ladybeluckytonite has a win and a second in two races, with $17,687 in purses. Amico Mio Bi (Donato Hanover-Lapponia) won in 1:59.1 in his career debut for local owners Janice Connor, who also trains the colt with her husband Chuck, Brian Connor and Ebby and Peter Gerry's Arden Homestead Stable. Stratton piloted Amico Mio Bi to the victory. "He's a nice colt, so hopefully he'll keep going like he is," Chuck Connor said. "We made some changes on him that helped him. We put the trotting hobbles on him for the half-mile track. When we trained him last week he was a little shaky in the turns, but not bad. We wanted to steady him a bit with the hobbles and it worked. We'll keep (the hobbles) on now and just let them out for the bigger tracks. "He seems like he's improving, so that's a good thing." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

WILKES-BARRE PA - OK: you just had many great horses race at your track on the previous card in the $2,120,000 Sun Stakes Saturday Championships Night. So what can you possibly do for a followup the next night, Sunday, July 1? Well, here's what The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is doing - it has scheduled five $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for two-year-old colt pacers. The top pacing colt trainers of the last few years all have multiple entries in the stakes sessions - Ron Burke has seven in, Brian Brown five, Ray Schnittker four. Despite the fact that raceday is the first day of July, the collective fields already have ten horses who have won in 1:56 or better, including six who have gone 1:54 or less (baby races and pari-mutuels treated equally throughout). There are eight horses in the All-Stars who have already twice crossed the wire first, including three who have beaten 1:55 in each of their two victories: Semi Tough (race 3, PP1, Burke), Blood Money (race 5, PP7, Jimmy Takter), and Captain Malicious (race 7, PP7, Schnittker). And that listing doesn't even include the fastest two-year-old of 2018 at the time of this writing, De Los Cielos Deo. This member of the Burke Brigade, on June 18 over the Gaitway mile track, won in 1:52.3 while coming his own last three-quarters in an astounding 1:21.3, in his second lifetime start (he won the first, but "only" in 1:56.4 - 27). De Los Cielos Deo, a name which is a Spanish/Latin hybrid meaning "from the heavens of God," does have un infierno de une mala posicion (a hell of a bad position) drawing the 8-ball, just outside of his fellow son of Captaintreacherous, Captain Malicious, in the seventh race, the last of the five All-Stars divisions. That's how you follow up a $2M+ card featuring the stars of today - load up the next card with the stars of tomorrow. FINISHING LINES -- Pocono will have a sixth $30,000 race on Sunday night, a Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) event for pacing mares. Caviart Ally, who won in the GNOS last week from the rail at Philly and paid $72.20 to win, finds the other two series winners starting from more difficult spots: L A Delight from post six and Tequila Monday from post eight. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

The inception of the idea of importing some French horses, cast in a comment to me made by Alex Dadoyan the executive director at SOA of NY over 18 months ago, became an odyssey that he and I initially never thought might ever become reality.  Originally cast as just something we would try to implement in November of 2017, we concluded that this project might fail because the finances to complete it might be too lean after the fall yearling sales and we were just too busy working on showcasing the "Day of Champions and the International Trot. Besides, all the the details had not really been thought through.More time was needed and with the break at Yonkers coming over some 10 days in May and June we thought it best to try to have the details in place by then. Alex and I decided to acquire 24 head- if possible - from France. A few questions like price; what would we ask interested parties to do; how could we make it fair to all; and how could we do our due diligence in the selection of these horses and gain the trust, of the 24 potential new owners of horses they had never seen? My first thought was to get someone like my friend Mike La Chance to come on board to help us select the horses. Then Ray Schnittker signed up and when Ron Burke was brought on board by Alex, all the expertise one could hope for was settled. Thinking that we need commitments from people, a non refundable payment was decided upon to test the real intent of the potential new buyers. That filled up quickly once it was decided that these horses would be written into a series of races just among themselves so as to avoid their being thrown in with horses taught more speed over shorter distances and harder tracks. They might never initially have had a shot. So off to management to get an agreement on the series, the number of legs and the purses. Both Bob Galterio and Steve Starr, thought that legs of $30,000 each and a $100,000 final and longer distances was the way to go. Next the details with the French Le Trot had to be worked out to get horses that were currently racing who were geldings and would only require a 24 hour quarantine, had to be found for a price of $25,000 saving an additional $3,000 for that matching cost for the shipping put up by the SOA of NY. The SOA board approved the project that has a substantial cost but provided everyone, and anyone, the opportunity to participate. The ARK at JFK -where these horses will be shipped to-is a $62,000,000 state of the art brand new facility unparalleled in the world today. That quarantine cost is being absorbed by the SOA of NY and besides saving the new owners money, more importantly it saves these horses from further shipping to Newburg, NY after traveling from France to their point of departure in Belgium . While the Le Trot or Cheval Francais as it is also referred to, had an original list of 132 horses meeting our general criteria that had to be whittled down to 60 or so head. That number, we assumed, would all be shipped for our convenience to the great training center owned by Le Trot outside of Paris known as Grosbois. Later we learned that our volunteer team of experts would travel the country by road, rail and air to get to see 12 here, 8 there, in either Paris, Nice, Normandy, Laval or Bordeaux.... France is bigger than we knew. The team of Burke, La Chance and Schnittker proved to us that not only is the harness horse breed very tough and durable but our trainers are even tougher. The schedule was very, very tight and saw unanticipated bumps in the road like a plane cancellation and a train strike that popped up 1 hour before departure. The audibles that had to be called by our French counterparts and guardians Damine and Emmanuelle came with the expected look of desperation but always an improvised last minute solution. It was always apparent to me that this was strictly a working trip but I never anticipated that our team would be subjected to this kind of a work load. Our guys nevertheless went about their business and trained all 60 or so head without a complaint. Comments like, "Oh, he's real good; too slow; may have a breathing problem; is unsound; hits his knee; interferes behind; I like him a lot; we are taking this one; I hope I get that one" was precisely the best we could hope for from this team of pros. We had vets at every place to pull bloods, scope and x-ray every horse if that was the call. In Bordeaux, Burke drew some of that racing juice out of La Chance as they had a match race while egging each other on. While there is never a guarantee how one will turn out, at least they did their best, worked like you would not believe, had a little fun and were happy to do it for the project. As Ronnie Burke commented he was intrigued with " the novel idea and felt it was creating some excitement in the game". The journeys end will be at Grosbois where all the horses selected in the draw will be beginning to arrive on Monday and will be taken care of by Le Trot, insured by them and the SOA until their arrival at the ARK at JFK . There, additional insurance will be at the option of the new buyers. While at this beautiful facility they will be under the exclusive care of the USDA until the bloods come back from the US government lab, disease free. The new owner will have to arrange shipping, either with their own individual trailers or can ask Global Horse Transport who will supervise all importing details and requirements once they are landed, or whoever is chosen, to ship them to their new homes at the new owners expense. The SOA 's financial obligation to the ARK will end at the conclusion of the time the blood results come back and any longer stay, for a spiked fever, or the failure to pick up the horse the minute the release is approved will fall on the new owner. by Joe Faraldo and John Manzi

The Tuesday evening Paris-Vincennes program was highlighted by the Gr. II Prix Victor Cavey (monte, purse €120,000, 2850 meters, eight starters) with victory, in decisive fashion, to 9/1 Durzie (5f Jag de Bellouet-Shall We) with Alexandre Abrivard up.  L.Cl. Abrivard trains the winner for Ecurie Augustin Normand that was timed in 1.15kr.  The 3/5 favorite Dexter Fromentro (5m Qwerty –Princesse d’Ombree) was second for jockey Camille Levesque, trainer Thomas Levesque and owner Ecurie Pierre Levesque. The 14/1 Darthey du Rib (5f Ganymede-Quille Castelets) was third for J.L.Cl. Dersoir, trainer Joel Hallais and Ecurie Rib. Dominator Blond and Dhikti Vedaquais were fourth and fifth. As many know a group of three USA trainers are in France training and inspecting FR trotteurs that may be exported to the USA to compete in races at Yonkers Raceway for the FR imports there. The FR program is shown below along with a few Facebook pics at Grosbois, Cagnes Sur Mer and Tuesday evening at Vincennes. Monday : Reims/Grosbois Tuesday : Cagnes sur Mer (plane) Wednesday : Argentan (train) Thursday : Meslay du Maine (train) Friday : Bordeaux (train) The French journey began May 26, 2018. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Hightstown, NJ --- A 2-year-old’s first trip to the harness racing track for a training session is somewhat similar to high school orientation. It’s an opportunity to learn their way around and get comfortable in a new environment before the real work begins. “The first time, I don’t care how they go, really,” said trainer Ray Schnittker, who brought a small group of horses to the Meadowlands last week for the first of several training days at the track this month for 2-year-olds. “I just want them to experience going on the trailer. I just want them to see everything here; go by tractors -- because they’ve never seen this many water trucks or tractors -- be in the paddock, get used to a new setting. “A lot of guys don’t do it, but I think it does help. Usually the first time I’m disappointed in how they train here. The second time they’re a lot better. They figure it out.” The training days at the Meadowlands for 2-year-olds, a cooperative effort between the Big M and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, are offered from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. each Thursday in May. The costs for the sessions are covered by the SBOANJ. The organization and Backstretch Community Assistance Program (BCAP) also sponsor breakfast for grooms and trainers at JoJo’s Paddock Café. Schnittker’s horses making the trip to the Meadowlands included Branquinho (Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show), who is a homebred full brother to Dan Patch Award-winning pacer Huntsville, and Cloudbreak (Somebeachsomewhere-Must See), a half-brother to 2009 Pacer of the Year Well Said. They were joined by Check Out Trixie, a daughter of 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Schnittker’s two-time Dan Patch Award-winning trotter Check Me Out, filly trotter Jezzys Legacy (Donato Hanover-Jezzy) and colt pacer Captain Malicious (Captaintreacherous-Silky), who is a half-brother to stakes-winner Malicious. Schnittker, who has 15 total 2-year-olds in training, plans to bring a different group to the Meadowlands this week. The horses will train multiple times at the Big M before heading to qualifiers. “It’s a pretty good group,” Schnittker said. “No disappointments yet. We’ll see what happens.” Among the other trainers at the Meadowlands last week was Marcus Melander, who brought nine horses. “We only have a half-mile track to train on at home, so I don’t go that fast with them,” Melander said. “We will try them with a little more speed here, push them a little the last quarter, but mostly this first time they’re just here to learn. I’ve got another group for next week and this group will come back in two weeks. They should be ready to qualify at the beginning of June.” Melander’s horses included colt trotter Greenshoe (Father Patrick-Designed To Be), who sold for $330,000 under the name Rifleman at last year’s Lexington Selected Sale. Other colt trotters with Melander were Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows), who sold for $170,000 under the name Army Of Monkeys at the Standardbred Horse Sale, Kredit Karma (Credit Winner-No Pain No Gain; sold as The Fat Cobra), Great Explorer (Muscle Mass-Mayflower Volo; sold as Massive Volo), Swedish-bred Green Manalishi (Muscle Hill-Naga Morich) and Olympic Goal (Donato Hanover-Bewitching Beauty). He also had three filly trotters: Isolde (Cantab Hall-Tosca), Shee La (Cantab Hall-Victory Bouquet) and Tangent (Cantab Hall-Fraction). “They’re very nice,” Melander said. “I can’t say one bad thing about any of them right now. Hopefully they continue that way.” Overall, Melander is training 28 2-year-olds. “It’s a good group,” he said. “There are a couple that are a little bit behind, but we’re happy with most of them.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

Middletown, NY - Harness racing Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Ray Schnittker said, "If I had ten dollars for every person in this room that I had a drink with...I would be a billionaire!" Over 200 horse people enjoyed the Monticello-Goshen USHWA chapter's 59th annual awards banquet at the Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club on Sunday, Dec. 3. Those in attendance listened carefully as the Goshen Historic Track-based trainer/driver was thankful for all the friends and memories he has made throughout his many decades of success in the Harness Racing industry. Having been a fixture around Goshen Historic Track and wherever top Harness Horses are raced, "Rockin' Ray" and his Grand Circuit stable have amassed over $37 million in purse earnings since calling the Cradle of the Trotter home. Of course Schnittker may be best known for his work with Deweycheatumnhowe, the $3 million dollar-winning Hambletonian champion, but this year his star 3-year-old pacer Huntsville earned over a million dollars and won both the Meadowlands Pace and the Cane Pace at the Meadowlands while battling with some of the best colts in the country. Dave Hanson, the driving force behind the development of the Morrisville State College's Equine Program and Standardbred yearling auction received the chapter's Excelsior Award for his dedication and selfless contributions of time, talent and energy to the improvement and integrity of Harness Racing in the State of New York. Now as the general manager of Leatherstocking Veterinary Services, he noted that he "missed managing a farm while at Morrisville." In retrospect, however, Hanson said that teaching students at the equine institute was one of the highlights of his career as a breeding specialist and stallion manager. Herbie Burns, the affable vet that everyone calls their buddy, made the crown roar with tales of his trials and tribulations and stories from yesteryear. It was easy to see why he was this year's John Gilmour Good Guy Award honoree. Starting out as a trainer/driver at Pocono Downs, Burns graduated from U. Penn and then learned the ropes from local icon "Doc" Gill. Over time Dr. Herbert Burns continued to develop Pine Bush Equine into a state-of-the-art Vet clinic, while simultaneously serving as the staff veterinarian for Blue Chip Farms. For decades, Stephen Crevani recipient of the Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award balanced a demanding career as a high-rise builder with his interest in breeding and racing harness horses. Now that he is retired, the 75-year-old has been able to focus all of his attention on the horse business and is reaping greater rewards as a result. Crevani always has a small but sincere group of horses in training and handful of broodmares at the family farm in Bullville, New York. All of his horses bear the "Bullville" moniker, and many compete at Goshen Historic Track with Steve in the sulky. Tim Masters was this year's recipient of the Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award, presented for his hard work and dedication to improvements at Goshen Historic Track. The facility has undergone sequential renovation to the 100+ year old grandstand. Masters oversaw the replacement of all the seats and the floors and will address the steel beams and the girders next. This year amateur driver "Yankee" Joe Lee has garnered 15 wins in 87 starts and over $87,000 in purse earnings. His current UDRS of .281 is bolstered by an additional 11 seconds and 10 thirds, including copping the Billings Gold Final at Yonkers. In fact, in the last two years he has tripled the amount of wins had the previous two years, earning him the Amateur Driver of the Year Award honors. Brandon Parker, son of Monticello Raceway's all-time leading driver, Billy "Zeke" Parker, Jr. enthusiastically received the Rising Star Award. "Lil Zeke" has had logged an unparalleled 448 starts in his first year of driving. Capturing 42 wins, 56 seconds and 57 thirds, a UDRS of .206 and earnings of $218,881, his rocket-launch debut is probably a starts record for a rookie reinsman! Even more remarkable is the fact that Parker just got his "P" license in May, and therefore accomplished this feat in just over six months of active driving. Knowledgeable about simulcasting from the bottom up, Carole Macedonio has been a lead cashier, evening simulcast manager and been responsible for converting the handle figures into revenue for as long as anyone can remember. Long considered a "lifer" at the Mighty M, she also administers and moderates the Monticello Raceway Memorabilia facebook page, a popular destination for cyber-space nostaglia. A long tenured, devoted employee, there is no part of the wagering product that she in unfamiliar with or has not had some experience in helping manage. A backbone of the simulcasting department, Carole Macedonio received Award of Appreciation for her over three decades of service to Monticello Raceway. The event marked another huge success for the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association that donates over $8,000 to industry causes annually, most notably the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, as well as Goshen Historic Track. by Chris Tully for Monticello-Goshen USHWA  

1 to 16 of 29