Nichols, NY -- Just a week off his 1:52.1 track record outing, Bourbon Bay ($3.10) delivered yet another scintillating harness racing performance, bottoming out his six rivals with a 1:52.2 triumph in Saturday (May 9) evening's featured $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs. The four-year-old Sand Vic gelding wasted no time, establishing the early lead sharply and setting a torrid pace--one he would sustain for much of the mile. After cutting a pair of identical :27.2 quarter-miles, John Cummings, Jr. called upon Bourbon Bay to accelerate up the backstretch, opening up seven lengths on Detroit Rapper (Jim Meittinis) through three-quarter split of 1:21.3. While the :26.4 third quarter proved more taxing on his six pursuers, Bourbon Bay eventually tired in mid-stretch, trotting home in a :30.4 final quarter while still 7-3/4 lengths clear of his nearest rival. Wisenheimer (Tom Jackson) rallied wide of tiring foes in the final stages to take second, while Detroit Rapper tired to third after chasing throughout. Bourbon Bay is under lease to his driver, while Megan Wilson handles the training duties of the 15-time winner. Cummings scored a driving triple on the night, prevailing as well with Island Charm ($19.20, 1:59.3) and Hold On Tightly ($15.80, 1:56.4). Dan Clements recorded a hat trick as well, victorious aboard Typical Newyorker ($11.20, 1:58.4), Oho Diamond ($2.70, 1:58.1), and Write That Down ($5.80, 1:55.1). A Penny Earned caps Lems grand slam at Vernon Vernon, NY -- Driver Chris Lems had the hot hand at Vernon Downs on Saturday (May 9) evening, with a victory from A Penny Earned ($3.50) in the evening's $10,000 Open Trot headlining his driving grand slam. After earning decisive open-length victories earlier in the evening with odds-on favorites High Rise ($2.40, 1:57.4), Silver Fox J ($3.80, 1:54.1), and Sweet Thing ($3.30, 1:55.3), Lems secured the pocket with A Penny Earned in the featured finale, drafting behind Lutetium (Jimmy Whittemore) through a sensibly measured pace of :27.4, :57.4, and 1:26.2. In mid-stretch, Lems vacated the pocket with A Penny Earned, pouncing in the final yards to prevail by a length in 1:54.1 over Lutetium. War Hero (Howard Okusko, Jr.) tracked the top pair throughout, staying on to hold third. Trainer George Ducharme co-owns A Penny Earned with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva. Live racing returns to both Tioga and Vernon Downs tomorrow (Sunday, May 10), with afternoon cards at both locations. Vernon kicks off their 10-race Mother's Day program at 1:15 p.m., while the first of 12 races at Tioga is slated for a 1:30 p.m. departure. by James Witherite, Tioga/Vernon Downs
Nichols, NY -- Enjoying a solid form spree in early-year stakes events on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit, Bourbon Bay ($7.30) shipped south to Tioga Downs as one of six entrants in the Opening Day (May 2) harness racing feature, leaving the other five in his wake en route to a 1:52.1 score in the $14,000 Open Trot. The four-year-old Sand Vic gelding allowed Deacons Valley to clear the front early, powering to the fore after a :27.1 first quarter and not looking back. After clearing the lead and continuing through a :55.3 half, lessee-driver John Cummings Jr. opened up on the field with Bourbon Bay, amassing a three-length lead through a :27.1 third quarter and holding that margin through the far turn. While 3-5 favorite Twin B Spike Man (Mike Simons) mounted a rally off the far turn, he could only gain into second, 1-3/4 lengths in arrears of Bourbon Bay's 1:52.1 track record performance. Deacons Valley faded to third after chasing from the pocket. Megan Wilson handles the training duties of Bourbon Bay, who cored his 14th career win in 30 starts. The 5/8-mile track, rated "fast" for the Opening Day 10-race card, was truly fast, with seven winners equaling or improving upon their lifetime marks. While Mike Simons couldn't prevail with Twin B Spike Man in the featured event, he registered five wins on the program, scoring with My Muscleman ($6.00, 1:55), Lightning Paige ($3.90, 1:54), Twain Drive ($3.50, 1:57.2), Crazy Eyes ($5.50, 1:56.2), and J R Jazz ($9.30, 1:57.1). Panpero Firpo upsets in Vernon feature; MacDonald and Hochstetler sweep Farina splits Vernon, NY -- After mustering just minor shares in recent tries against top Saratoga company, Panpero Firpo ($19.00) employed a change of tactics in tonight's $10,000 Open Pace at Vernon Downs, closing the pocket behind dueling leaders before pouncing in deep stretch for a 1:51.4 score. The five-year-old No Pan Intended entire drafted behind an extended duel between JK Panache (Chris Lems) and Talking Blues (Frank Davis), sitting just off them through the first three-quarters of the mile while boxed in by a second-over Damon Blue Chip (John MacDonald), last week's Open winner. At the top of the stretch, with Talking Blues beginning to fade, Brett Crawford made his move with Panpero Firpo, taking over late and holding off Damon Blue Chip for a 1:51.4 triumph. JK Panache was a worn-down third after enduring steady pressure. Trainer Jackie Rousse owns 16-time winner Panpero Firpo in partnership with Bill Reepmeyer. Additionally, a pair of $4,000 second-round divisions of the Anthony Farina pacing series were contested, with trainer Homer Hochstetler and driver John MacDonald teaming up on both winners. Hot Lemonade ($2.40) pushed clear and turned aside a stiff challenge from Flight Again (Truman Gale) for a 1:53.2 victory in the first division, while Speaking Out ($5.80) sustained an uncovered bid to take the second division in 1:55.1. The Anthony Farina series final is scheduled for Mother's Day (May 10) along with the Catherine Burton trotting series final. Live racing returns at Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 3) afternoon, with a 1:30 p.m. first post, while Vernon Downs resumes racing action on Friday (May 8) evening at 6:45 p.m. by James Witherite, Tioga/Vernon Downs
WILKES BARRE PA - Walk The Walk, a son of former harness racing "Horse of the Year" Muscle Hill, emerged as the only horse competing in Bobby Weiss Series action to take a second straight win in the $15,000 Tuesday preliminaries, two for trotting males and two for pacing females, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Last week's first round trotting male winners, Walk The Walk and Two Hip Dip, were matched in one division, and Walk The Walk maintained his perfect record in the series by winning Tuesday in 1:55.2 on a cold night and a sloppy racetrack. Last week Walk The Walk was well in front when he made a break nearing the wire, so in the interim trainer Chris Ryder qualified him with trotting hopples, and this week Walk The Walk was errorless, making an early move to command and then stepping home in 57 to defeat Raise The Curtain, with Two Hip Dip, the slight second choice as last week's winners were both sent off at 11-10, third after a first-over trip. David Miller, who drove both winners last week, stayed with Walk The Walk, and the horse repaid that confidence of Miller in tallying for the ownership of Ruder, Sidney Korn, Robert Mondillo, and Max Wernick. Bourbon Bay, third last week in snapping a six-race win skein, bounced back to winning ways, going a tick faster than the other trotting cut in winning by open lengths. The Sand Vic gelding is trained by Megan Wilson for driver/owner John Cummings Jr. Thebeachnextdoor put paid to the hopes of a repeat Weiss win for Life Is A Beach and Crescent City, both nose victresses last week, by taking a personal mark of 1:53.4 in one leg of the female pacing competition. Jim Morrill Jr., behind hid fourth winner of the night, guided the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, like Muscle Hill a former Horse of the Year and who was nosed out in the first round, to a wire-to-wire triumph, with last week's winners finishing 2-3 respectively. The Brewer Adams-trained mare is owned by Adams Racing LLC and Brian Clark. Allthatjazz De Vie couldn't be a repeat winner because Tuesday's other division for females was her first start of the year, but she won her Weiss debut by personally coming home in 56.3 to win in 1:54.4 over Hollyrocker (the other distaff to be nosed in the first round). Andrew McCarthy sulkysat behind the sophomore daughter of American Ideal, now 5 for 7 lifetime, for the familiar pairing of trainer Ron Burke and the ownership combine of Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. PHHA / Pocono
TORONTO, February 16 - Bourbon Bay completed the General Brock series sweep with a dominating harness racing victory Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A field of nine four-year-old trotters contested the $50,800 final of the three-week series. Bourbon Bay and driver Mike Saftic came into the finale off two impressive victories in the opening two rounds and they lived up to their 3/5 billing with another eye-catching performance. A son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay sprinted out to the lead from post position one and posted a speedy opening-quarter of :27. A fired up Bourbon Bay had to be reeled in a bit by Saftic down the backstretch as he had a two-length advantage over Severus Hanover in second and more than ten-lengths on Bags For All in third. The duo would reach the half in :56.1 and continue to roll along around the final turn, while the back of the pack tried to tighten up to the leaders. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26, Bourbon Bay kicked into another gear and extended his lead back out to several lengths on his opponents in the stretch. When it was all said and done, Bourbon Bay scored an easy-looking 4 ½ length victory over Bags For All in 1:55.1. Meadowview Vicky finished third, while Severus Hanover took fourth. A four-year-old gelding, Bourbon Bay had been racing primarily in New York, but shipped north of the border into the Mike Sinclair barn for the General Brock. Bourbon Bay is leased by John Cummings Jr. of Nichols, New York and now has four wins from six starts in 2015. Monday's victory was the ninth career score for the son of Sand Vic and pushes his career bankroll over $75,000. Bourbon Bay paid $3.20 to win. In order to be eligible to the General Brock, the three- and four-year-old trotters had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 9 - Cash For Gold and Bourbon Bay came away with second leg victories in the General Brock harness racing series Monday night at Woodbine. A group of 17 trotters were split into two $18,000 divisions for the second round of the three-week series. The second division featured a matchup between both winners from the first leg, Bourbon Bay and Severus Hanover. The race got off to a hot start, as Bourbon Bay grabbed the early lead, but Severus Hanover sprinted up on the outside to clear to the front at the opening quarter in :26.4. Bourbon Bay and driver Mike Saftic quickly moved back to the lead and posted a half-mile time of :56.2. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3, Bourbon Bay stretched out his lead to several lengths in the stretch and cruised home to an impressive 4 ½ length victory in 1:54.3. Illseeuincourt rallied to finish second, while Tellmehowyoulikeit took the show spot. Severus Hanover faded back to finish seventh. A four-year-old son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay is now two for two since moving north of the border into the Mike Sinclair barn. The gelding trotter is leased by John Cumming Jr. and now has a record of three wins from five starts in 2015. The clocking of 1:54.3 is a new lifetime mark for Bourbon Bay, who surpassed $50,000 in career earnings with the victory. Bourbon Bay returned $3 to win and will now have a chance at a General Brock series sweep next week. Bourbon Bay In the first division of the evening, Cash For Gold made a second-quarter move to the lead and it was lights out from there. Trained and driven by Michael Vanderkemp, Cash For Gold, the 6/5 favourite, got away in third, but made a quick move down the backstretch to overtake the lead from the second choice Bags For All at the half in :58. After an easy third-quarter of :30.1, Cash For Gold was able to sprint home in :28 and score a two-length victory over Bags For All. Stuarts Dynasty got up for third. The round two victory gave Cash For Gold his first win from four starts in 2015. The four-year-old son of Cash Hall was coming off a third-place finish in a first leg division last week. Owned by Sonja Booth, Cash For Gold now has three career victories and earnings exceeding $57,000. Monday evening's clocking of 1:56.1 lowered his lifetime mark by a fifth of a second. A $2 win ticket on Cash For Gold returned $4.70. Cash For Gold The $50,800 General Brock series final will take place next Monday (February 16). Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, February 2 - The General Brock Series kicked off Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack under frigid temperatures at the Toronto harness racing oval. A group of 18 three and four-year-old trotters braved a windchill of -20 degrees Celsius in a pair of $18,000 divisions for the first leg of the three-week series. In the opening division, Severus Hanover went gate to wire to win in 1:58.1. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Severus Hanover trotted out to the early lead and hung up opening fractions of :29 and :59.3. Around the final turn, Severus Hanover stretch out his lead by a few lengths to post a three-quarter time 1:28.1 and then cruised home under no urging from Jamieson to win by a length and three-quarters. Oaklea Wyatt finished second, while Latoka took the third spot. Severus Hanover is a four-year-old son of Explosive Matter and is trained by David Frey for owner 373818 Ontario Limited of Maple, Ontario. Monday's victory was the trotter's seventh career triumph and improved his 2015 record to two wins from three starts. The winner's share of the purse increased his career bankroll to over $65,000. Severus Hanover paid $7.50 to win. In the second division, Bourbon Bay pulled off the upset victory to snap Bags For All's four-race win streak. Driven by Mike Saftic, Bourbon Bay was parked for the majority of the first turn before clearing in front of the 4/5 favourite Bags For All. However, James MacDonald and Bags For All did not wait long to move from the two-hole and circled around Bourbon Bay to take the lead at the half in :57. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:26.3, Bags For All led the field into the stretch with Bourbon Bay following closely in behind. In the stretch, Saftic and Bourbon Bay took their shot at Bags For All from the two-hole and were able to just get by the favourite in deep stretch to prevail by half a length in 1:55.3. Cash For Gold, who was second over around the final turn, got up for third. Racing primarily in New York, Bourbon Bay shipped into the Mike Sinclair barn to win his WEG circuit debut Monday night. A four-year-old son of Sand Vic, Bourbon Bay is leased by John Cummings of Lancaster, New York and now has seven career victories, including two of three starts this season. Bourbon Bay's career earnings now exceed $41,000. The clocking of 1:55.3 knocked more than three-seconds off the trotter's previous lifetime mark. Bourbon Bay paid $24 to win. In order to be eligible to the General Brock Series, the trotters had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Round two of the General Brock Series is scheduled for next Monday (February 9). Live racing continues Thursday night at Woodbine with a ten-race card featuring the first leg of Miss Vera Bars Series. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie
Jewels In the Sand, the youngest competitor in the field at age 4 and one of four mares in the harness racing event, showed her heels to her eight rivals in winning the seventh race feature pace at Hippodrome 3R Tuesday. It was the first Tuesday evening program of the summer meet. Guard Dog and driver Stephane Pouliot was the even money favorite from the wagering fans and they went right out to go to the lead over a stubborn Lukes Devon (Frances Picard) to the opening quarter mile in :28.4. As soon as they settled down after the quarter mile, trainer/driver Sylvain Lacalle moved first-over with Jewels In The Sand, who started from post 8 and they bullied their way to lead after the half mile marker in 1:00.3. From there Jewels In The Sand was feeling her oats and she held the field at bay past the three-quarters in 1:29.3 and then pulled away in the stretch to win in a romp by four and three-quarter lengths. Guard Dog was able to hold off Lukes Devon for second and third place respectively. The time of the race was 2:00, a lifetime mark for Jewels In the Sand. The daughter of Sand Vic is owned by Kelly Duval Lacalle and Rejean Boucher and it was her third win in ten starts this year. After the first four days of the race meet and 41 races, the average win price per race remains high at $13.30 and the percentage of winning favorites is only at 29.2%. Hippodrome 3R is now featuring live racing every Sunday at 1 pm and Tuesday at 7 pm. For more information visit their website at www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Maryland Standardbred Race Fund registered 35 stallions for 2014. Moving to Maryland from other states are Total Truth, Sand Vic, Nuclear Breeze, Great George Two, and Groton Hall also Up Front Charlie and Western Hero are returning to Maryland after an extended absence. First time stallions standing in Maryland will be trotters Charlie De Vie, GooGoo GaaGaa (book full) and pacers Dr. Dreamy, P H Bestman, Rusty's All In, Rusty's For Real and Wynnfield Scamp (breeding restricted/racing). All 21 stallions from last year will also be returning. The complete list with contact info, stud fees and full pedigrees is available on the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund website at http://www.msrfonline.com/. This website contains all stallion and staking information, including forms, payment dates, eligible lists, racing info when available and regulations. Please contact the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund if you have any questions at 410-775-0152 or 240-285-0326, our e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org by Cheri Stambaugh for MSRF
The list of stallions for standing in Maryland for 2014 may be viewed at http://www.msrfonline.com/ the pedigrees will be up as soon as we receive them. Please keep checking back as this list may increase as we have late registration till Feb. 1, 2014. All 21 stallions from 2013 have returned along with 11 new stallions including Nuclear Breeze, Sand Vic and Great George Two. Now is the time to breed your mares in Maryland and foaling in Maryland also has it's benefits such as Breeder Awards for MD sired horses and possible racing preferences for overnight races For more information please go to our website or call 410-775-0152 by Cheri Stambaugh for MSOA
The C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series saw action in both regions this past weekend with Kelly "Sky" Walker prevailing in the midwest at Raceway Park on Sunday September 1 and the following day Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin winning at Plainridge Racecourse in the east. Both sportsmen are previous Amateur Drivers of the Year; Walker in 2011 and Krivelin, 2012 and 2001. Walker's victory came at the expense of five others when he guided Love ignites to a come-from-behind neck victory in a time of 2:00.1 while a patient pocket-trip enabled Krivlein to prevail over seven others in 1:59. At Raceway Park, Walker, with Love Ignites, started along the pylons and played hardball parking both "Lawbook Larry Farley's and "Trader Bud" Hatfield's trotters by the quarter in :29. But neither Farley, with Rewrite the Rules and "Trader Bud" with Wolf's Jan, cleared and they remained two and three wide heading toward the halfway point which was timed in :58.4. After everyone settled in along the pylons, when the field headed up the backside "Marvelous Marv" Raber and Tabulator rallied from fifth position to the lead at the third stanza in 1:28.2 with Walker and Love Ignites in hot pursuit. In the lane, Love ignites was the strong horse and the 4 year old Sand Vic gelding collared Tabulator at the wire for a head victory in a time of 2:00.1. Dolea Delight and Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford took home the show dough in that one. Love Ignites , owned and trained by Walker, paid $4.80 for win. Walker, off to his best start in his relatively short amateur driving career, notched win number 11 to go along with 17 seconds thus far this year. And it was Walker's 83 winning drive in just 485 career starts. On Labor Day at Plainridge Racecourse, Bobby Krivelin had a picture perfect trip behind pace-setter Famous image and driver "Mike " I Ain't Finished" Eaton and in the lane he came calling. Eaton hustled Famous Image to the lead from the three-hole and once on top he kept the pedal to the metal and they trotted by the quarter in :28 and the half in:57.4. Krivlein, comfortable in the two-hole with Budlightning , was probably licking his chops as he followed the leader and waited patiently for the long homestretch to appear but once it did Famous Image didn't come back to Krivelin as much as he had hoped. Still Krivelin was able to strongly urge Budlightning through the stretch and the two-hole covered trip paid off as the veteran Sierra Kosmos gelding got up in the final strides to photo-out Famous Image in a 1:59 clocking. Budlightning, owned and trained by Diane Hellen, paid $7.00 for win. For Krivelin, it was seventh winning drive of the season and the 148th of his amateur career. by John Manzi
VERNON, NY—The New York-bred sophomore trotting stalwarts Palm Beach Chic and Long Island Tea each stopped the timer at 1:54.4 while winning their respective divisions of Friday night’s $131,774 NY Sires Stakes feature at Vernon Downs. Former Vernon regular Jeff Gregory did the teaming behind Palm Beach Chic in Friday’s fifth race. The Linda Toscano-trained daughter of Conway Hall-Back On Track advanced from fourth in the far turn and closed from third in the stretch to earn a career-best win clocking by defeating the on-rushing Fifth Shades by one length. It marked the third season’s score (second at the Downs) and fifth lifetime tally for the career-winner of more than $121,200, who is owned by Jeff Gregory, Inc. and William H. Richardson. Saratoga regular Brian Mattison did the steering for trainer Paul Kelley in race seven as Long Island Tea (Credit Winner-Strong Tea) made every step a winning one en route to a decisive score and a career-fastest showing. It was the sixth victory in 10 all-time starts (all in 2013) for the lifetime winner of $61,796, who is owned by the Kelley Racing Stable and Steve Stewart. Maggie O (Equinox Bi-Gramola‘s Image) produced a 1:56.3 lifetime-fastest victory in race 10 that proved to be the fastest divisional score in Friday’s $63,000 Excelsior Series contest for 3-year-old distaff practitioners of the diagonal gait. Jim Morrill, Jr. piloted the lifetime winner of $55,473 for trainer Randall Ring and owner Timothy W. O’Brien. Friday’s other Excelsior Series splits were won by Kinda Crazy Lindy (Crazed-Possessed By Lindy) in 1:57, Makes Me Crazy (Crazed-Croupier Lady) in 1:57, Suzie’s Little Vic (Sand Vic-Somethingsosimple) in 1:57.4, and Blush And Crush (Conway Hall-Blushing Jo Anna) in 1:58.1. Gregory also teamed Client Nine to a 1:53.3 victory in Friday’s $10,000 sixth race, the week’s Open trot, while Sheer Brilliance became a two-time winner at the meet after a sizzling 1:50.3 triumph for driver Sean Bier in the $10,000 eighth event, the week’s Open pace. Maryann Plano’s veteran trotter Ulay Boko uncorked a front-striding 1:55.1 triumph for leading driver/trainer Rick Plano in Friday’s 11th event that resulted in the 11-year-old horse becoming the winningest equine performer after 44 programs with six first-place finishes. Gregory amassed four victories during Friday’s 13-race program, while Plano picked a pair of training tallies. DOWNS DOINGS Friday’s purse outlay was more than $20,000… Ulay Boko now leads three fellow trotters and a trio of pacers by one win credit… Thanks to a driving assist from his son, Luke, Rick Plano has already produced five conditioning credits during the current weekend with one program remaining … The Downs will offer simulcast wagering on tomorrow’s entire Hambletonian program from The Meadowlands starting at 11:50 a.m… Saturday night’s live 12-race Vernon program will begin at 6:45… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran
The New York Sires Stakes will make a stop at Vernon Downs on Friday evening, where seventeen three year old filly trotters race for over $130,000 in purses. The first division (race 5) fields nine, with Joie de Vie Farms' consistent Credit Winner lass Lola De Vie the choice. She has won six times in eight outings this season, including the $237,600 Empire Breeders Classic final in early June for trainer Chris Ryder. She leaves from post seven with Jim Morrill, Jr aboard. Lady Riviera is the morning line choice in division two (race 7). This Sand Vic filly has yet to find the form that she exhibited at two, when she compiled eight board finishes in nine starts. Recently relocated to the Linda Toscano barn by owner Richard Banca, she was second beaten only a neck in 1:57.4 at Yonkers two back. Morrill has the drive on her as well. Five Excelsior divisions for the sophomore co-eds will provide an interesting undercard. The races begin at 6:45pm at Vernon and a visit to the track website will provide greater depth of information. Nick Salvi
This coming Monday, May 13, at the Spring Mixed Sale at Delaware, Ohio, Winbak Farms has five royally bred two-year-olds going into the sales ring.
Harness racing's largest standarbred nursery Winbak Farm was founded in 1991 by Joe and JoAnn Thomson. The farm was originally Winfield Farms, home of the legendary Thoroughbred, Northern Dancer. The name Winbak is derived from the 'Win' in Winfield and B A K for each of Joe and JoAnn's children (Bradley, Ashlee and Kimberly).
Sweet Future has again been elected Pacing Broodmare of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association, making her the first broodmare to win her category twice, while Trotting Broodmare of the Year honors went to La Riviera Lindy, dam of Harness Racing Horse of the Year Chapter Seven.