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Looking at where drivers and trainers rank now, a week into October, for wins and money as compared with this point in the season last year, we see mixed results. Ron Burke’s high end aged stock has disappointed; perhaps that’s one of the reasons he’s about 100 wins and $2.6 million behind his record setting pace of 2014. He needs about $9.5 million in the last quarter of the season to reach his $28.4 million record; that would represent a third of what his stable earned in all of 2014. We still have the second week of the Lexington meet, the Breeders Crown, the Fall Final Four, Matron and others, but December is pretty much a dead month, so it will be a chore to make up all that ground over the course of the next seven weeks. Number two Jimmy Takter is having another great year, but he’s still more than $960,000 short of where he was a week into October in 2014. Patrick has been retired, Cerry isn’t herself and Nuncio is racing in Europe. Since the leader on the driver board, Yannick Gingras, works primarily for those two trainers, it’s no surprise that his bottom line is suffering. Like Burke, Yannick is down about 100 wins, and he’s light $3 million. He needs almost $7.5 million to reach last year’s record total. That 43% shortfall would be very tough to make up in such a short period of time. Rene Allard, who is not a major presence on the Grand Circuit, is ahead of last year by 65 or so wins and up more than $1.4 million. His brother Simon is also up by almost 50 wins and a million dollars. Jeff Bamond is fourth on the trainers list, but PJ Fraley was the trainer of record for that stable last year. Jeff is $390,000 ahead of what PJ had banked to this point. Second place driver David Miller has 40 more wins but he’s upf $1.3 million, while third place Tim Tetrick is right about where he was—showing 17 fewer wins but only $3,300 or so off what he had a week into October of 2014. Many of the Yonkers drivers are ahead of last year in the money column. Jason Bartlett only has a handful more wins, but he’s ahead $1.7 million; Sears is down more than 50 wins, but he’s still up more than $330,000; George Brennan is down 60 wins, but ahead $9,000. Dan Dube has 100 plus more wins than he had last October and he’s ahead of the game a nifty $2.6 million. Tyler Buter has 80 more wins and is up more than $2 million. Mark MacDonald is short 25 wins but he’s ahead $330,000. Sylvain Filion is the only WEG based driver with more money than MacDonald. That’s a telling stat. Filion is up more than 100 wins, but he only has an extra $350,000 to show for it. Doug McNair is up more than 50 wins and $340,000. Randy Waples has about the same number of wins, but he’s short $320,000. Jody Jamieson is down almost 80 wins and $940,000. While James MacDonald is off 100 wins and more than $650,000. So, for the most part, the WEG drivers aren’t faring very well in comparison to 2014. Trainer Tony Alagna is down a dozen wins, but up about $50,000. He’s currently in fifth and with Casie Coleman and Erv Miller dropping back, he’s in a position to improve on last season’s seventh place finish. Miller is off about 50 wins and $1.3 million, while Coleman, who is also short 50 or so wins, is short $2 million. Steve Elliott, the trainer of four-year-old star Doo Wop Hanover, is already 29 wins and $960,000 ahead of what he did in all of last year. Ake Svanstedt is ahead of his 2014 pace, as he has won 37 more races and his charges have earned a half million more to this point. George Napolitano Jr, who is only a half dozen wins from the top in the dash race, continues to have a tremendous year. He’s 75 wins ahead of last year and up more than $890,000. Scott Zeron is also thriving; his win total is up by 24 and his money by more than $840,000. Brett Miller, on the other hand, is down $840,000 and 100 wins. As Burke and Takter have cooled off, so have their regular drivers. Matt kakaley is down a million dollars and more than 70 wins. Some criticize Ronnie Wrenn Jr for racking up the wins but not earning a commensurate amount of money. Well, he’s only 7 wins ahead of last year right now, but he’s got an extra $825,000 in the piggy bank. Corey Callahan, who is fifth in the dash race and sixth in dollars, has more than 70 extra wins and $1.1 million beyond what he had on this day last year. The King of the NYSS, Jim Morrill Jr, is up a little more than that, despite 17 fewer wins. A couple of more trainers who are killing it are Brian Brown, who has 43 more wins than he did one year ago and has banked $1.1 million more, and Virgil Morgan Jr, who has earned $950,000 more than last year on 31 more wins. BAM’s trainer Nifty Norman is $720,000 ahead on 17 more wins. And Jim Campbell is plus $280,000 on 17 more wins. So the guys at the top of the totem pole, Burke, Takter and Gingras are still wildly successful, but for one reason or another not to the degree they were in 2014. One or all may get hot over the next several weeks and catch up to themselves, but it won’t be easy. In addition, there are plenty of success stories from across the spectrum, from the likes of Steve Elliott, Jeff Bamond, Jim Campbell, Dan Dube, Tyler Buter and Scott Zeron. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century.  He writes a weekly blog for  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

LEXINGTON, KY-- The $264,000 International Stallion Stakes (ISS) for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters was contested in five divisions on the Thursday, Oct. 8 harness racing program at The Red Mile.   Headlining the action was Ron Burke's Southwind Frank, a son of Muscle Hill out of Flawless Lindy by Cantab Hall, who broke the world record of 1:53.2 set by Centurion Atm in 2014. In a robust closing effort, Southwind Frank strided to the wire in 1:52.2 by open lengths over Lagerfeld and Mavens Way.   Mavens Way sprinted on the lead, establishing fractions of :27.2, :55.4, and 1:24.4. Drafting behind the leader, Lagerfeld was flushed first over approaching the head of the stretch, with Southwind Frank caught third over in that flow. Once in the stretch, driver Yannick Gingras fanned Southwind Frank towards the center of the course and accelerated by everyone as he sped to the wire clear.   Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stable, and Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, Southwind Frank paid $2.10 to win. This was his ninth win in 10 starts this season.   "We've been looking to race him from the back, but you're 1-9 sometimes and everyone else is waiting for you," Yannick Gingras said. "Today, nobody was waiting for us, and it was a good thing. I wanted to race him from the back and trot home. He sure did."   "It's definitely cool," Gingras also said in response to driving the world's fastest 2-year-old trotters at Lexington. "I'm fortunate enough to drive for two powerful stables that have a lot of babies and young trotters. It's definitely been a thrill, and now both of them are great horses [the other being Mission Brief]."   Commandeering the lead after stalking a battle, Milligan's School advanced to a 1:53.3 performance to take the first division of the ISS.   Make Or Miss led through a :29 first quarter before going off stride in the backstretch, allowing the then-three wide Hititoutofthepark to circle by Honor Above All for control. Driver Andy Miller pulled Milligan's School off the rail and charged him to the lead, clearing through a :57.3 half. Being challenged only by first-over Celebrity Express through a 1:26.1 third-quarter, Milligan's School accelerated for the finish. Hititoutofthepark chased for second, while Celebrity Express held on for third over Honor Above All.   Now a winner in five of 11 tries this season, Milligan's School, a son of Yankee Glide out of the S J's Photo mare Tori Ann, paid $3.60 to win. He is owned by Stroy Inc. and trained by Julie Miller.   "A couple of them were living pretty good on the inside," Andy Miller said. "There was a little bit of movement into the first turn, and I just waited until we got to the backside. Corey [Callahan on Hititoutofthepark] made the front there and took a hold of his horse a little bit, so I let my horse trot up by him there and he was just strong the rest of the way."   "I think he's over them," Miller also said about Milligan's School's breaking issues. "It was a little bit unfortunate in the [Pennsylvania] Sires Stakes final [when he broke]; I thought he had a big shot at winning that, and the horse [Love Matters] began to run in front of him. David [Miller] was driving him that day, and when he moved him [Milligan's School] to go around that horse, he tipped over, so I don't really think it was his fault that day."   With the 1-5 favorite Love Matters breaking before the half, pocket-sitter Hollywood Highway pounced on the vulnerable leader Sliding Home to take the second division of ISS in 1:54.2.   On the lead, Sliding Home set fractions of :29.1, :57.2, and 1:26.4. By the far turn, only Hollywood Highway, and Desert Runner were in contact with the leader, but Desert Runner became rough gaited during his stretch bid, leaving Hollywood Highway and Sliding Home to compete for the top spot. Already out of the pocket, Hollywood Highway began to slide by Sliding Home by the eighth pole and extended to a three-length win over Sliding Home and Desert Runner.   Hollywood Highway, a son of Muscle Massive out of the Kadabra mare L A Freeway, returned $12.00 to win. He won his third race in six starts this season, and is owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, trained by Staffan Lind, and driven by Tim Tetrick.   "He was sold for $50,000 last year, and Staffan Lind's owner purchased him," Marvin Katz said. "They took him back to the farm and x-rayed him, and they really didn't like them. They called us and said 'Can we have our money back?' We said 'Sure, if you want, we'll take half; whatever you'd like.' They said they wanted their money back. So we took him back, sent him to Jimmy Glass's farm, and he did some vet work on him."   "He didn't go into training until near the middle of February," Katz also said. "Staffan [Lind] was the trainer who purchased him originally, so we sent him back to Staffan, and he has done a great job. He has really turned into a top-end colt."   "[Jimmy] Takter's horse made a break, but that happens," Tim Tetrick said. "Staffan really likes this horse; he's said he has been coming along good. Last week on the front, he just didn't like that and he fell asleep, but the colt raced good, trotted to the wire well. It was very pleasing."   Brooklyn Hill was game in his 1:53.1 effort in the fourth division of the ISS. Sitting second to Southwind Flash off a :27.4 first quarter, driver David Miller sent the Jonas Czernyson trainee around the leader and to the lead before the half. Once in control, he trotted fractions of :56.1 and 1:24.4 before experiencing serious opposition from Dog Gone Lucky, who pulled first over around the turn. They were throat to throat through the stretch, but Brooklyn Hill, despite losing the lead slightly in the battle, reemerged victorious.   Finishing third was Brownie Hanover.   Brooklyn Hill, a colt by Muscle Hill out of the Conway Hall mare Brooklyn, claimed his second win in 10 starts this season. He competes for the interests of Srf Stable.   "He raced really, really good," David Miller said. "He has been racing great all along, but he has just been up against Southwind Frank a lot. He might not have been at his best up in Canada [in the $283,480 William Wellwood Memorial], but he was definitely really good today."   "Yeah... We keep finishing second to him [Southwind Frank] all the time," Miller also said in regards to Brooklyn Hill's earnings of over $160,000 this season.   In the final ISS division, the Ake Svanstedt-trained Dupree scored his third win in eight starts this season with a 1:53.4 mile. He took control from Treasure Keys K through a :28.2 first panel, but then yielded to Bar Hopping heading to the half. He went :55.4 and 1:25.1 on the front and turned for home about two-lengths clear of Dupree, who just angled to the outside. By the midpoint of the stretch, Dupree began to approach Bar Hopping and was soon alongside the Jimmy Takter trainee, eventually pulling away from him and towards victory.   Petrossian As finished third.   A colt by Andover Hall out of the Muscles Yankee mare Hustle N Muscle, Dupree competes for the interests of Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Courant A B. With Ake Svanstedt in the sulky, Dupree paid $4.60 to win.   "We've always had high thoughts about this horse," assistant trainer Bernie Noren said. "He got a little sick in the middle of the season, but he really showed us the horse he's supposed to be. I knew he was going to race good in the [Pennsylvania] Sires Stakes final at The Meadows and the driver [Aaron Merriman] drove him carefully up there."   "Last week, the track was so heavy," Noren also said. "You can see today that the horse [Dupree] is running much faster. He's really good and showed he has a really good head, answering to the horse on the inside [Bar Hopping] and the outside [Petrossian As]."   "If everything works out okay and he works fine tomorrow we're going to go for the Breeders Crown, of course," Noren also said. "But this is a very tough group; very talented horses have won today, so it's going to be tough to come up there, too."   Live racing resumes tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 9, with three divisions of the $224,100 ISS 2-year-old filly pace and four divisions of the $272,000 ISS 2-year-old colt and gelding pace. First-race post is slated for 1:00pm.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

The first of two divisions for the $220,000 Bluegrass Stakes 3-year-old colt trot at the harness racing meeting at The Red Mile went to Crazy Wow off a pocket trip in 1:55.4.   He took control through a :28.2 first quarter, but soon yielded to challenger and 4-5 favorite The Bank.   The Bank went on to set fractions of :57.3 and 1:27 before Crazy Wow readied to pounce out of the pocket.   Once out and moving in the stretch, Crazy Wow slid up to The Bank and past him after the eighth pole, advancing to victory over the favorite, Crescent Fashion, and Classic Venture.   Owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms, trained by Ron Burke, and driven by Tim Tetrick, Crazy Wow collected the 12th win of his career, earning $977,415.   The son of Crazed out of the Mr Vic mare No Pan No Gain paid $4.00 to win.   "Timmy [Tetrick] did a good job," Ron Burke said. "He could've gotten a bad spot, but Trond [Smedshammer on Donatomite] was not leaving him [out and parked] and just held his position. He [Tetrick] got in behind Yannick and out-tripped him."   "They [Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms] bought him after his two-year-old season and, actually, he's been a surprise," Burke also said. "I thought he was a good horse, but he's been a little bit better than a good horse.   They're [the owners] are going to supplement him to the [Kentucky] Futurity next week, and then they're going to supplement him to the Breeders Crown, so he's going to get an opportunity to prove he is the best or one of the best."   "That [Crazy Wow supplementing] pretty much cements her into the [Kentucky] Filly Futurity," Burke said in regards to Mission Brief racing next week. "It seems stupid to race against your own money when you're supplementing one in, so she'll race against the fillies and then move on to the Breeders Crown."   Muscle Diamond defeated the 1-5 favorite Uncle Lasse in the second division of the Bluegrass, charging from the back of the field to a 1:56 victory.   The pace was set by Southwind Mozart, putting up fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:27.3 before a challenge came from Uncle Lasse, who began his first-over move at the half.   He edged by leader Southwind Mozart in the stretch, but was soon confronted by Muscle Diamond towards the center of the course.   Uncle Lasse failed to trot with Muscle Diamond, finishing second to the 3-1 second choice. Honor And Serve was third.   Paying $8.80 to win, the colt by Muscle Hill out of the Lindy Lane mare Windylane Hanover collected the sixth win of his career, earning $502,459.   He's owned by Charles Keller III, Charles Keller IV, E. Bittle, and trainer Brett Bittle, and driven by John Campbell.   "It [the trip] worked out well. I was within striking range at the head of the stretch, and he kicked home the best he has in quite a long time," John Campbell said.   Ray Cotolo

Mission Brief put in an effortless performance in the first of two divisions of the $144,000 Bluegrass 3-year-old filly trot at the harness racing meeting at The Red Mile, taking the lead after the first quarter and striding away to a 1:54.4 win.   Classical Annie set the first quarter of :29.2 as Livininthefastlane edged towards the front first over, with Mission Brief on her back.   Taking the lead before the three-eighths pole, Mission Brief progressed towards fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.3.   Classical Annie, residing in third for most of the mile after losing the lead, circled around Livininthefastlane to take second, and Speak To Me charged down the center of the course to finish third.   Sent off the overwhelming favorite at 1-9, Mission Brief paid $2.10 to win.   The filly by Muscle Hill, out of Varenne mare Southwind Serena, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi, trained by Ron Burke, and driven by Yannick Gingras   She scored her eighth win this season, seventeenth lifetime, and has earned $1,356,062 in her career.   "Even here she's a lot different," Ron Burke said. "There's not as much noise and there's not as much action, so she's obviously going to calm down a little bit more. The track's obviously better than it was last night, but it's still nowhere near fast. Basically all we wanted to do is get around there without hurting her [Mission Brief], and just get a mile in her."   "By the same thing, the Breeders Crown is six days later," Burke also said in regards to Mission Brief's speed as a three-year-old compared to her 1:50.3 last season at Lexington. "Like I've said all along: I want to come in here, win three races, and just go home."   "Love it," part-owner Jerry Silva said in regards to the experience of watching Mission Brief race. "She stacks right now on the top of the list of the filly trotters that I've had. I hope she continues to be healthy and continues, with Ronnie [Burke] and Yannick [Gingras] making me a happy owner."   Grinding to control uncovered around the far turn, Jimmy Takter-trainee Wild Honey patiently attacked pacesetter I'm So Fancy to then edge away from her rivals and towards a 1:55.4 win.   On the lead, I'm So Fancy set fractions of :29, :57.4, and 1:27.1. Wild Honey generated the two-wide move at the half, with Gatka Hanover and Katniss tracking her into the turn. Approaching I'm So Fancy at three-quarters, Wild Honey quickly took the lead at the head of the stretch, powering away from closers Lilu Hanover and Lady Winona, who finished second and third respectively.   Collecting her fifth win this season, fifteenth in her career, Wild Honey, a daughter of Cantab Hall out of S J's Photo mare U Wanna Lindy, pushed her career earnings to $1,125,135.   She is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Herb Liverman, and was driven by John Campbell. Also a resounding favorite at 1-5, she paid $2.40 to win.   "She went a great trip up in Canada [in the Elegant Image] to finish second to Mission Brief," John Fielding said. "She was awesome tonight, and she has just been a terrific filly all along for us at two and now at three. She's small, but she's very gutsy, and it's just a privilege to be associated with her."   "I don't know yet," Fielding said in regards to Wild Honey entering the Kentucky Filly Futurity next week, Oct. 10. "I'll have to talk to Jimmy Takter."   Ray Cotolo

Hot Type spotted Tamarind 6-1/2 lengths, then wore him down in the lane to capture Monday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at the harness racing meeting at The Meadows. Hot Type was sitting fourth when Mike Wilder sent him first over after Tamarind. The 4-year-old Chocolatier-Lithograph gelding closed in relentlessly despite the sloppy going and defeated Tamarind by 1/2 length in 1:54.3. Trustworthy Kid recovered from an early break to earn show. Ron Burke trains Hot Type, who extended his career bankroll to $180,926, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Evan Pattak        

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 25, 2015 -- Competing at The Meadows for the first time since Aug. 1, Atta Boy Dan showed his customary fondness for his home track as he survived a wicked 26.3 opening panel and captured Friday's $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace. Atta Boy Dan's travels took him to Harrah's Philadelphia, Scioto Downs and Charlottetown, where he finished second in the final of the Gold Cup and Saucer. The 6-year-old Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot gelding was as sharp as usual at The Meadows, winning a three-ply battle for the early lead and rolling home in 1:50.1 for Dave Palone. Long shot Dealin Dan shot the Lightning Lane for second, 2-1/4 lengths back, with Mattamerican third. Ron Burke trains Atta Boy Dan, who now boasts $410,192 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Jim Pantaleano piloted four winners and Mike Wilder three on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Sassa Hanover showed her versatility in winning the 45th Jugette in Wednesday action at the the harness racing meeting at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. In the $151,350 second heat, Matt Kakaley sent Sassa Hanover after the lead from the rail position. Southwind Roulette (Corey Callahan) improved from her third starting position to sit behind the leader. The first elimination winner Bettor N Better (Yannick Gingras) was the first to challenge but could not get past the eventual winner. Sassa Hanover drew clear of the field and scored a two length victory over Southwind Roulette and Somewhere Sweet (Jim Morrill, Jr.) in 1:51 1/5. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, winner of the 2010 Little Brown Jug, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Lawrence Karr. The win was trainer Ron Burke’s second Jugette crown and Kakaley’s first.   “I was second the past two years, so this feels good,” noted Kakaley. The two heat time of 3:42 established a new two-heat world record. In the second elimination, Sassa Hanover came from off the pace and went from last to first to score in a stakes record equaling 1:50 4/5. Momas Got A Gun (David Miller) was hustled off the gates wings to take early command of the field of six. Kakaley dropped Sassa Hanover to the back of the pack and was content to sit there until midway down the backstretch. Sassa Hanover swooped past the field and beat Somewhere Sweet by ¾ of a length. Bedroomconfessions (Tim Tetrick) and Serious Filly (Scott Zeron) advanced to the final. In the first elimination Bettor N Better came from off the pace to score in 1:51 1/5. David Miller and Triple V Hanover protected his rail position and led the field through the first three-quarters of a mile. Yannick Gingras eased Bettor N Better off the rail going down the backstretch and drew off by 2 ¼ lengths over the pocket sitting Southwind Roulette (Matt Kakaley) and Moremercy Bluechip (Andy Miller) in 1:51 1/5. Wicked Little Minx (Brett Miller) also advanced to the final. Two Divisions of the Buckette Held Classical Annie and Aaron Merriman took the faster of the two divisions in the $109,200 (div.) Buckette for three-year-old distaff trotters. The field of six raced in post-position order through the first three-quarters of the mile. The leader Katniss (Yannick Gingras) made a break in stride and was taken into the safety lane handing the lead over to the pocket sitting Classical Annie. The daughter of Andover Hall held off a late rally by Smexi (Corey Callahan) by a neck in a lifetime best 1:54 1/5. Jim Arledge, Jr. conditions the filly for Laura Baker, John Schmucker and Thomas York, Jr. The second $54,600 division was won by a fast closing Speak To Me (Brett Miller) who swooped past four rivals in the deep stretch to win in 1:55 1/5. Jimmy Takter trains the Muscle Massive lass, who has earned $324,418, for Brittany Farms.   Tipton Teeez Survives Tough Trip to Win the $44,200 Standardbred (2FP) Tipton Teeez and Yannick Gingras never saw the rail, but still had enough in the tank to win the Standardbred for freshmen filly pacers. When the gates wings folded, Montrell Teague hustled Miss Me Yet after the early lead, forcing the eventual winner to race on the outside. As the field of nine rounded the final turn five fillies were within two lengths of the pacesetting Miss Me Yet. Tipton Teeez gutted out a 3/4 length victory over Rockin Rum Springa (David Miller) and Hug A Dragoness (Matt Kakaley). Miss Me Yet hung on for fourth. Brian Brown trains the Wester Terror filly for Jennifer Brown and Richard Lombardo.   Beaver Trainees Sweep OBC Two-Year Filly Trot Trainer Chris Beaver won both divisions of the $98,000 Ohio Breeders Championship. Kestrel (Aaron Merriman) rebounded from a narrow defeat in the recent Ohio Sires Stake Championship to score a decisive nine length victory over Bellesvictoryring (John Konesky III) in 1:58, shattering the stakes record. The daughter of Triumphant Caviar is owned by Wilbur Stoll Lang and Beaver.   Beaver was back in the Delaware winner’s circle a few races later with Evanora (Ryan Stahl). The daughter of Pilgrims Taj scored in 1:58 4/5 over the pacesetting Count On Cami (Kurt Sugg). Evanora is owned by Sandra Burnett.   Neely’s Messenger, David Miller Score in OBC Neely’s Messenger scored a mild upset over I Know My Chip (Chris Page) in the final strides to win the $75,000 Ohio Breeders Championship for sophomore colt trotters in 1:57. Miller is the winningest driver in the history of the Delaware County Fair with 206 victories. Neely’s Messenger is conditioned by Marty Wollam for Dale and Julie Ann Sweet. Jay Wolf  

Bill Donovan is looking forward to seeing Band Of Angels compete in Wednesday’s $212,250 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the harness racing meeting at Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio, but the longtime owner will watch from afar.   “Of course, I’m excited,” Donovan said. “Anytime you have a horse good enough to go into one of the premier races in the sport, you’re excited. She’s earned her way in, for sure.   “(But) I’m very superstitious,” he added with a laugh. “Every time I go to a big race, it seems like disaster strikes.”   Band Of Angels is one of 12 fillies entered in the Jugette, and one of four horses in the race from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. She will start from post No. 3 with driver Yannick Gingras in the second of two $50,450 eliminations and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. The top four finishers from each division return later in the day for the $151,150 final. A horse must only win the final to be declared the Jugette champion.   Post time is noon for Wednesday’s first race at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, located 30 miles north of Columbus. The Jugette eliminations are races 12 and 13. The final is race 17.   Band Of Angels heads to the Jugette off a nose win over Devil Child in the New York Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 12 at Yonkers Raceway. Band Of Angels and driver Jason Bartlett started from the outside, post eight, but got the lead in the opening quarter-mile and went on to victory.   “I think most people wrote her off from winning the sire stakes final, but she persevered,” Donovan said. “I was surprised myself. Jason Bartlett gave her an aggressive drive getting her off the (starting) gate and she did the rest. She’s just been a real pleasure.”   Band Of Angels has won six of 13 races this year and 12 of 23 lifetime starts, with total earnings of $462,745. She has finished worse than third only once in her most recent 11 races.   In 11 career races on half-mile tracks, such as the oval at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, she has posted eight wins, one second, and one third.   “She is awful good on a half-mile track, so I think she’ll give a good accounting of herself on Wednesday,” Donovan said. “She’s been a solid horse this year. When they make the money she’s made this year, it’s obviously a good year."   “We’ve been fortunate with Band Of Angels in that she did come out of a terrific 2-year-old season and she has more than held her own at 3. I think she belongs there. I think she’s definitely in the top 10 of 3-year-old fillies this year.”   Band Of Angels is a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, the 2010 Little Brown Jug winner and Horse of the Year honoree, and the mare Time N Again. She is a half-sister to millionaire Romantic Moment and was purchased as a yearling for $100,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale.   Donovan is making his second appearance in the Jugette as an owner. His filly Bettor B Lucky finished second to Darena Hanover in the 2012 Jugette. Both horses were trained by Burke.   “I’m hoping to turn the tables on that finish this year,” Donovan said.   The morning line favorite at 5-2 in the second elimination is trainer Virgil Morgan Jr.’s Momas Got A Gun, who will start from post No. 2 with driver David Miller. She is coming off back-to-back second-place finishes in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, where she missed by a head, and Valley Forge Stakes.   A daughter of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Benear, she is a full sister to 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach. She has won three of 14 races in 2015 and earned $313,368.   Triple V Hanover is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the first elimination. The Brian Brown trainee will start from post one, also with Miller in the sulky. She has won four of 11 races this year and earned $105,265 for owners Donald Robinson, King McNamara, and Strollin Stable.   Following are the Jugette elimination fields in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line odds.   $50,450 First Elimination Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Triple V Hanover-David Miller-Brian Brown-3-1 2. Southwind Roulette-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-7-2 3. Bettor N Better-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6-1 4. Moremercy Bluechip-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10-1 5. Wicked Little Minx-Brett Miller-Nancy Johansson-12-1 6. Mosquito Blue Chip-Jim Morrill Jr.-Paul Jessop-7-2   $50,450 Second Elimination 1. Serious Filly-Scott Zeron-Brian Brown-6-1 2. Momas Got A Gun-David Miller-Virgil Morgan Jr.-5-2 3. Band Of Angels-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-3-1 4. Bedroomconfessions-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna-12-1 5. Somewhere Sweet-Jim Morrill Jr.-Brian Brown-8-1 6. Sassa Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-4-1 Ken Weingartner

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 19 - As Southwind Frank streaked to a seventh straight victory, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras picked up his third consecutive William Wellwood Memorial Trot trophy on Saturday evening at Mohawk Raceway, part of the Maple Leaf Trot undercard. With the win in the $373,000 race for two-year-old trotters, trainer Ron Burke also captured back-to-back Wellwood finals. Both Burke and Gingras won the 2014 edition with Habitat and Gingras scored in 2013 with the Jimmy Takter-trained Father Patrick. In the 2015 dash, Brooklyn Hill was the fastest off the gate, taking the early command. Southwind Frank, the 1-9 favourite, following behind in second but never found a spot on the rail as the rookie colts and geldings went past the first quarter in :28-flat. Into the backstretch, Gingras sent Southwind Frank to the front and that is where he stayed, posting the half in :57.1 and the three-quarters in 1:25.4. In the final turn, Marion Marauder and driver Scott Zeron made a bid for the lead, but they couldn't catch Southwind Frank, who ultimately stopped the clock in 1:55.4 to win by one and one-quarter lengths. Marion Marauder finished second and Deep Impact got up for third. "He's raced good that way (on the front)," said Gingras. "There wasn't that much speed out of the gate so I figured to take control of the race and let him do his thing...I knew I had the best horse in the race. My job is to just keep him out of trouble and get him to the wire." Owner Jerry Silva is now looking to next year's stakes schedule due to the triumph. "It makes me think next year. Hambo. We're going to be in it," he said. "We tried this year with Mission Brief against the boys. We didn't have a boy, but now we got a real boy, Southwind Frank." The son of Muscle Hill and Flawless Lindy is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and J And T Silva Stables LLC and boasts earning of $513,505. Southwind Frank now has eight wins from nine outing, which includes victories in a Champlain and Reynolds Stakes division, the Peter Haughton Memorial Final and a New Jersey Sires Stakes Championship. Southwind Frank paid $2.20 to win. Southwind Frank Mission Brief cruise to Elegantimage victory Mission Brief continued her dominance of the three-year-old trotting filly division with a crushing five and a half length victory in the $404,000 Elegantimage Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Ron Burke trained filly came into the Elegantimage final off a 15-length victory in her elimination last week. Sent off as the 1/5 favourite, Mission Brief and driver Yannick Gingras were able to drop in fifth, while several fillies slugged it out in the early stages. Muscle Baby Doll and driver Doug McNair wanted the front and parked out Wild Honey by the opening-quarter in :26.4. Down the backstretch, Gingras made his move with Mission Brief, but was forced to go three-wide around Wild Honey before overtaking Muscle Baby Doll at the half in :55.2. It was game over once Mission Brief found the front, as the superstar filly trotted a third-quarter in :28.1 and a final-quarter under wraps in :28.3 to win in 1:52.1. "She was amazing tonight, I didn't even start her up," said Gingras following the race. "The plugs are still in and she's just toying with them. She's in another class." Wild Honey finished second, while Elegant Serenity, the daughter of race namesake Elegantimage, finished third. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Brief has now won seven of nine starts this season and 16 overall. Gingras had high praise for how the filly gets the job done. "She makes the game plan, when she steps on the racetrack sometimes like last week she decided she was going to go all the way," he said. "Today she was a little bit more (easier) to handle so we just let the dust settle. I can't make plans with her, she makes them." A daughter of Muscle Hill, Mission Brief is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC., Our Horse Cents Stables, J And T Silva Stables LLC. and Weaver Bruscemi. The Elegantimage victory increased her career earnings to over $1.3 million. Mission Brief paid $2.40 to win. Mission Brief Hill celebrates birthday with Peaceful Way win Rookie trotting filly Caprice Hill gave her owner Tom Hill an extra special 65th birthday present this year - a $410,000 Peaceful Way Stakes win on Saturday evening at Mohawk, which is part of the Maple Leaf Trot undercard. With Tim Tetrick in the sulky, the Tony Alagna-trained Caprice Hill also made her fourth consecutive trip to the winner's circle. The 4-5 favourite got away fourth and followed behind fractions of :27.1 posted by Celebrity Eventsy, and :56.3 then 1:27 put up by Emoticon Hanover. Into final turn, Could It Be Magic advanced first up from third and Caprice Hill tracked her cover. At the head of the lane, Caprice Hill kicked off cover and was fed open racetrack. The bay miss responded and trotted on by her rivals to score by one and one-quarter length and stop the teletimer in 1:56.1. Celebrity Eventsy finished second and Dewdle All Day rallied for third. "It's great to win a big race especially when it is your birthday," said Hill. "Yannick [Gingras] drove the filly along and he said when he drover she was Mission Brief with brains and she's proved it tonight. She is a gift from God. "Kadabra has proven to be as good a sire as any trotting sire in the world," added the longtime owner. "I don't know a lot about trotters. We asked Tony to get us a nice filly and he went and picked her out and he deserves all the credit and all the praise. He's picked her. He's trained her." Hill was then quick to correct himself. "He doesn't deserve all of it," the resident of Hamilton said, as Alagna chuckled. "His mother deserves a lot as well." Alagna's mother, Donna Lee Ozment, trains Hill's yearlings in Illinois. The daughter of Kadabra and Bramasole now boasts earnings of $377,730 and has six wins and one second-place finish from seven starts, which includes a victory in a Champlain Stakes division. Caprice Hill paid $3.90 to win. Caprice Hill Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 19, 2015 - Yonkers Raceway took a Saturday night stakes siesta, ceding the marquee to the overnight harness racing occupants. Luminosity (George Brennan, $3.50) and Crombie A (Brent Holland, $6.80) won their respective $48,000 Open Handicaps for trotters and pacers. Luminosity, as the 3-4 choice, had the identical, unimpeded assigned eight-hole path to the lead that Krispy Apple did in Friday night's distaff derby. Here, Luminosity controlled the crowd through intervals of :28.1, :56.4, 1:25.2 and 1:54. The margin, a length-and-a-half entering the lane, was a length-and-three-quarters at the end. Chasing from the pocket was pole-sitting For You Almostfree (Jason Bartlett), with UVA Hanover (Jordan Stratton) a three-hole third. Watkins (Pat Lachance) and Not Afraid (Dan Dube) rounded out the payees. For Luminosity, a 5-year-old Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was his 11th win in 2 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $44.40, with the triple returning $152.50. As for Crombie A, who won the 1-thru-7 draw in the weekly pacing feature, he worked out a second-over trip to snap the leading, 9-10 choice Somewhere in LA (Dube) by a half-length in 1:51.1. The latter kept the ball rolling (:26.3, :54.4, 1:23), taking a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. Eight-hole-assigned Take it Back Terry (Brennan) flew home to snatch third, with Big N Bad (Eric Carlson) and a pocketed Dream Out Loud N (Tyler Buter) settling for the remainder. For second choice Crombie A, a 9-year-old Down Under son of Life Sign co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh and Albert Abdala, he's now 7-for-10- this season. The exacta paid $17.60, with the triple returning $134. Crombie A owns a share the (1:50.1) all-age track record, taken in late July. Nest Saturday, it's New York Night of Champions (Part II), with four, $225,000 sire stakes finals for 2-year-olds. Frank Drucker

Someone messed up in Delaware, Ohio and forgot to include Empire Classic winner Mosquito Blue Chip in the mix when they drew for the Jugette today, so they rebooted, this time with a dozen fillies. Trainer Ron Burke, who has four entered, got screwed as he lost his rail positions with Bettor N Bettor and Band Of Angels, and wound up with both leaving from the three post. And Sassa Hanover, who originally drew the three in the first elimination, wound up with the six on the redraw. The fact that only 12 fillies are entered in the Jugette is disappointing. There is no Peelers, Jewel, Nitelife or Put On A Show, in her prime, to scare folks away. I guess everyone’s too busy promoting their better fillies for beating up on the slow poke sire stakes competition and getting them ready for the Super Duper Gold Plated Sire Stakes Finals. The Rocknroll Hanover filly, Wicked Little Minx, who starts in the first elimination for Brett Miller and Nancy J, is the only filly not bred in either New York or Pennsylvania. Six are from the former and five from the Keystone State—all by SBSW. We’re always hearing about how great the Ontario program is. Where are they? Must be resting up for the OSS Gold Series. But the next Gold leg is October 1 and the final is the 10th. The Burke Barn entered four, while Delaware based Brian Brown has three going. Folks love to rip Burke for overloading fields, but where would the sport be without him? There would only be eight entered without Burke. Many races at B tracks, like the Quillen, Indiana Pacing Derby/Dan Patch, Molson and Battle Of Lake Erie would be hurting without his contribution of starters over the years. Gural recently passed one of his goofy rules to limit him, but it did more harm than good. Last year 22 entered the Jugette, leading to a pair of seven horse eliminations and an eight. Burke had seven in and Brown three [including the winner], just like this year. Jimmy Takter and Casie Coleman, both of whom took a pass for 2015, had three and two entered, respectively. The field was more eclectic, as there were five Ontario breds and a pair from Indiana. There were only three from New York, because their Night of Champions was four days before the Jugette. This year it was eleven days prior to the race. And of course, there were thirteen from Pennsylvania. And the cherry on top was that the Always A Virgin filly, Color’s A Virgin, bred in Indiana, won the race last year. Let’s hope there are better results from the boys tomorrow. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

After her second place finish to Mission Brief two starts back in stakes action at The Meadows, Ron Burke trainee I'm So Fancy was a slight odds on favorite in the first division of The Liberty Bell series for 3-year-old filly trotters at  the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 17). Each division went for a purse of $40,000. Starting from post 4, the daughter of Donato Hanover was involved in a three horse scramble for the lead, eventually settling down into the pocket behind the speed of Livininthefastlane (Andy Miller). Smexi (Corey Callahan) drove up first over to challenge She tired in the lane after being involved in that early speed duel. I'm So Fancy (Yannick Gingras) was able to get up the passing lane to win by a neck, stopping the clock in 1:54.2, over Livininthefastlane and Smexi, who raced big to be third. I'm So Fancy ( 5.60) is owned by Burke Racing, Howard and Judith Taylor, and The Dandy Farms. Just two races later, Nancy Johansson trainee She Wore Red (Andrew McCarthy) scored the upset win. The daughter of Yankee Glide came away in the three hole, drafting behind the speed of Wouldn't Itbesweet (Corey Callahan) and Kirsi Hanover (Dave Miller). She was able to angle out at the top of the stretch, using a strong late brush to win by three lengths in the end, stopping the clock in 1:54.4. Scented Roses (Ake Svanstedt) closed up the inside to be second, while Wouldn't Itbesweet (Corey Callahan) finished third. It was the fifth career win for She Wore Red ($28.40), who is owned by Joyce Mc Clelland. Driver Brett Miller scored victory number 6,999 behind Explosive Yankee in race eleven on the card. Just one win away from 7,000, Miller has eight drives on the Friday afternoon card at Harrah's Philly, which starts at 12:40 PM. Michael Bozich

MANALAPAN, NJ - September 17, 2015 - Saturday is Open Space Pace Day at Freehold Raceway, but the racing highlight of the card is actually a trot -- a $20,000 preferred trot -- with nine going to post for a mile and a half race. That is three times around the half-mile track, and the first mile and a half race in the modern era of Freehold Raceway, or as long as anyone can remember. The traditional distance for most harness races is one mile. Gural Hanover, driven by Joe Bongiorno and trained by Ron Burke, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the featured seventh race, the $20,000 Open Space Pace Preferred Trot Handicap. "This is the first featured mile and a half distance race at Freehold Raceway," said Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Karen Fagliarone. "We have an outstanding field of trotters, totaling lifetime earnings of over $3.3 million. We are excited to offer something new to both our patrons and horsemen. We are thankful to the group of trainers and owners who co-sponsored this event along with Freehold Raceway." New Jersey-based trainers and owners donated half the purse: Ross Croghan's Dockside Stables, Joe Holloway. Linda Toscano, Mark Harder, Weaver & Bruscemi Stable. Ron Burke, Tom Fanning, Scott DiDomenico, Julie and Andy Miller, and Tony Alagna. The field, from the rail out with driver, trainer and morning line odds: PL Eureka, Nick Surick, Tara Hynes, 10-1; Pip I, Harry Landy, Harry Landy, 15-1; Silver Credit, Steve Smith, Karen Garland, 12-1; In Nomine Patri, Joe Haney, Joe Haney, 15-1; Mugshot Jess, Pat Lachance, Taylor Gower, 10-1; Sevruga, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 4-1; Lucky Colby, Eric Abbatiello, Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, 9-2; Gural Hanover, Joe Bongiorno, Ron Burke, 8-5, and Photosavvy, Vincent Ginsburg, Robert Bresnahan Jr., 9-1. Photosavvy, the nine horse, will leave from the second tier. Longtime standardbred owners and the founding sponsors of the event, Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Landy will serve as grand marshals for the Fourth Annual Open Space Pace Day "Parade of Horses," starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Freehold Borough's Hall of Records and ending at Freehold Raceway. The parade will feature marching bands from Freehold Township and Freehold Borough high schools. After the parade, the festivities move to Freehold Raceway where there will be live harness racing, a petting zoo, vendor tables, food trucks and educational exhibits. There will be an autograph session with Julie Miller and Hannah Miller from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the winner's circle at Freehold Raceway A concert featuring Burlap to Cashmere and The Nerds begins at 3 p.m. By Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ

Ron Burke says he was all wrong about Southwind Frank. But with the way the horse has raced, the trainer is feeling all right. Southwind Frank is the 2-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's C$373,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at Mohawk Racetrack. The colt has won seven of eight career races -- all stakes events -- and enters Saturday with a six-race win streak. Last Friday, he won his Wellwood elimination by 1-1/2 lengths over Marion Marauder in 1:56.3 over a surface labeled "good" because of rain. "I don't think I've ever been as wrong on a horse as I've been with him," Burke said. "I can't believe how far he's come. It's amazing. I have a good feeling about him." The Wellwood is part of a stakes-filled card at Mohawk that also features the C$700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old male trotters, C$680,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters, C$410,000 Peaceful Way Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters, and C$404,000 Elegantimage Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. Burke's Mission Brief is the 2-5 favorite in the Elegantimage and his Crazy Wow is the third choice in the Canadian Trotting Classic, behind the Jimmy Takter-trained duo of Pinkman, the 7-5 favorite, and Uncle Lasse. Post time is 7:25 p.m. for the night's first race. Southwind Frank, a son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Flawless Lindy, was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and comes from a family that includes stakes-winners Cayster, Giant Hit, Program Speed, and Rockaroundtheclock. He failed to impress Burke early in his training for this season, but improved as the work became more serious. "The faster you go, the better he gets," Burke said earlier this year. "He couldn't trot in three minutes to save his life. He was horrible gaited and didn't have a great attitude. But every time we trained him he got a little better and then at like 2:30 it clicked. He's been a completely different horse since then. Either we were doing a very bad job at first or we're doing a great job now. "Horses learn at their own rates. You can push them all you want; some of them are going to do it quick, some you're going to have to wait on. He was a $100,000 baby so we didn't just cut him loose. I thought I had to give him a chance and I kept making stakes payments, and worried I was throwing just good money after bad, but for once it worked out." Waiting on Southwind Frank has resulted in victories in the Peter Haughton Memorial, New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, and divisions of the Reynolds and Champlain stakes. The horse has earned $308,579 for owners Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables, and J&T Silva Stables. In his Wellwood elimination, Southwind Frank and driver Yannick Gingras were in third place until the halfway point, then moved to the lead entering the final turn. Marion Marauder pulled even with Southwind Frank at the top of the stretch, but Southwind Frank eased away to post the triumph. The remainder of the field was more than a dozen lengths behind Marion Marauder. Southwind Frank's most recent six wins each has been by at least 1-1/2 lengths. "Yannick was pretty chilly with him, just letting (Marion Marauder) trot to him," Burke said about the Wellwood elimination. "The announcer was way more worried than I was that we were going to get beat. I was pretty confident. I think that other colt is a nice colt, but I think our colt is starting to look like maybe even better than just a nice colt." Burke's Elegantimage finalist Mission Brief won her elimination last Friday by 15 lengths in 1:54.1 over a "sloppy" track. She has posted back-to-back victories since finishing second to Pinkman in the Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 8. "She was vicious," Burke said about Mission Brief, who has won six of eight races this year and 15 of 21 lifetime starts, with career earnings of $1.16 million. "She couldn't have been better. She's just getting better and better. She's as good as she's been -- ever. I couldn't be happier with her." Muscle Baby Doll also won an Elegantimage elimination, beating Hambletonian Oaks champion Wild Honey by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:56. Trained by Tony O'Sullivan and driven by Doug McNair, the filly has won eight of nine races this year, including divisions of the Duenna and Casual Breeze Stakes. She brings a seven-race win streak into Saturday. "They said they could go with anybody and we're going to find out," Burke said. "If we get beat, it's going to take a good effort, I think." In the Canadian Trotting Classic, Crazy Wow will have to overcome an outside starting position --- post eight --- and a field that includes four Takter trainees, with French Laundry and The Bank joining CTC elimination winners Pinkman and Uncle Lasse. Crazy Wow, who counts the Colonial Trot among his six victories in 12 starts this year, was second by a head to Uncle Lasse in his elim. He has won 11 of 23 career races and earned $802,965. "The eight hole is not the best, but it's not the worst," Burke said. "He has a shot. It's going to take a little bit of luck on how he gets into it. That's what it's going to come down to." For a look at Saturday's complete card at Mohawk, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communication USTA

HARRINGTON, Del. - Some of harness racing's top older pacers will descend on the hub of Delaware Monday September 21 for the 9th Annual $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial Invitational at Harrington Raceway. Carded as the 8th race on a 13 race program, eight pacers with combined lifetime earnings of nearly $13 million will duke it out in a showdown of some of the sport's elite older pacing ranks, including three-time Quillen champion (2010, 2011, 2014) and the richest horse of all-time in harness racing, Foiled Again (2/1, Yannick Gingras). The 11-year-old Dragon Again gelding is coming off a difficult trip in the Canadian Pacing Derby. Three local interests are in the field, including Bandolito (5/1, Daryl Bier) who is one of just two horses in the field with a recent win over the track. Milford, Delaware based trainer Josh Green will send out $1.3 million winner Dancin Yankee and Harrington-based Just a Jolt Is a two-time defending Governors Cup champion over the Harrington oval for trainer Jim King Jr. A fresh threat from north of the border, Canada-based Shamballa (5/2, Rick Zeron) enters in terrific form and fresh off a second place finish in the $513,750 Canadian Pacing Derby Final. The Quillen will be the payoff leg of a $7,500 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool (Races 5 - 8), featured in conjunction with the USTA's strategic wagering program. The race is named in honor of the late Delaware legislator Bobby Quillen, who devoted his life to public service and always looked out for the best interests of horsemen. Quillen was also a board member of Harrington Raceway and the Delaware State Fair and was a regular at the races. Post time for the Monday program is 5:30 p.m. The field for the Quillen is listed below: $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial Harrington Raceway - Race 8 1 - Foiled Again (2-1, Yannick Gingras) Owners: Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables Trainer: Ron Burke 2 - Shamballa (5/2, Rick Zeron) Owners: Tao Racing and Rick Zeron Stables Trainer: Rick Zeron 3 - Mach It So (5/1, Tim Tetrick) Owners: Bamond Racing LLC, Trainer: Jeff Bamond Jr. 4 - Bandolito (5/1, Daryl Bier) Owner: Daryl Bier, Trainer: Daryl Bier 5 - Dancin Yankee (25/1, Ross Wolfenden) Owner: Baron Racing, Richard Lombardo Trainer: Josh Green 6 - Great Vintage (7/1, Bret Miller) Owners: C Takter, D Fielding, N Anderberg, G Falk Trainer: Jimmy Takter 7 - Doctor Butch (15/1, David Miller) Owner: Ken Jacobs Trainer: Linda Toscano 8 - Just A Jolt (25/1, Victor Kirby) Owner: Janet Hudson Trainer Jim King Jr. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

Batavia, NY---A lightning-fast track and 80 degree temperatures greeted the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old pacing fillies at Batavia Downs where two divisions offering a total of $109,000 in purses, along with important points needed to make the NYSS final, were up for grabs on Wednesday night (Sept. 16). Prohibitive 2-5 favorite Dime A Dance didn't dissapoint her backers as she put on a show in her $54,500 division, winning in definitive style and resetting the world's record for a 2-year-old pacing filly over a half-mile track. Dime A Dance (Roll With Joe-Hat Dance Hanover) took off the pace fourth and watched as No Clouds Bluechip (Kevin Cummings) and American Ivy (Mark Macdonald) duked it out for the lead in a fast :26.4 quarter. From there, the field remained stagnant until the half when Mother Of Art (John Cummings Jr.) pulled first over from third and Dime A Dance (Matt Kakaley) took cover second-over behind her. The group picked up the pace with a :28.4 third panel but that wasn't fast enough for the eventual winner. Dime A Dance swung three-deep at that station and circled the field to clear and pull away by three-lengths in an impressive and uncontested victory in 1:52.4. The time was a new world's record for 2-year-old pacing fillies, besting that of Isabella Blue Chip's 1:53.1 at Delaware, Ohio in 2006. It was also a new track record for Batavia Downs, smashing the old standard of 1:54.2 set by Sassa Hanover just last year. "She's definitely one of the better fillies this year. She was just awesome tonight; she could have paced faster" said driver Matt Kakaley. It was the third win in eight starts for Dime A Dance ($2.90) and it pushed her earnings to $101,513 for owners Our Horse Cents Stable, Blue Chip Bloodstock and J&T Silva Stables. The filly is trained by Ron Burke. In the first $54,500 division, Encore Deo hung on strong down the lane for a close victory over Art Critic. Wishy Washy Girl (Ray Schnittker) took a quick, early lead before yielding to Encore Deo (Matt Kakaley) before the quarter that went in :28. The field remained single-file to the half before the heavily favored Upside Surprise (Mike Micallef) pulled from fifth to start her outside trek. Upside Surprise got to third and hung and couldn't gain anymore as the leader took the field to three quarters in 1:25.4. Positions stayed the same to the top of the stretch and Encore Deo was riding a short lead when Art Critic (Jim Morrill Jr.) swung inside the fading Wishy Washy Girl and came up the pylons. The two battled in deep stretch with Encore Deo just hanging on by a nose in 1:55.1. "I wanted to try her on the lead tonight. At three-quarters I thought I was going to win but it got a little close there at the end" said Matt Kakaley. It was the second win in eight starts for Encore Deo ($13.40) and the winning time was a new lifetime mark for the filly. The winner's share of the purse pushed her earnings to $56,578 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Jason Melillo and Lawrence Carr. Ron Burke mentors the filly. There were also two divisions of the $15,000 NYSS excelsior series on Wednesday. The first split was won by Major Millie (Art Major-Gravity) in 1:57. The filly is trained by Erv Miller and was driven to the victory by Matt Kakaley. Major Millie ($9.10) is owned by KDM Stables Corp. The second stanza was won by Milky Way Rae (American Ideal-Aurora Borealus) in a swift 1:55.3. She is trained by Tracy Brainard and was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Milky Way Rae ($3.90) is owned by Fortunate One LLC. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 18) at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

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