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Batavia, NY --- Black Is Back took full advantage of post one in Saturday night's (Aug.17) $12,500 Open Handicap harness racing pace at Batavia Downs, going gate to wire in impressive fashion. Driver Dave McNeight III flew off the wings to claim the point with Black Is Back in the first turn and then kept his foot on the gas to the quarter in :27 flat. The race was basically over at that point as the pair would just continue to extend their lead from there. After hitting the half in :56.2 on top by 1½, Black Is Back paced away to a two length lead at three-quarters and four lengths by the top of the stretch. As he turned for home, McNeight sat statuesque as the wrapped-up Black Is Back continued to pull away and hit the beam on top by seven in 1:53.2. It was the second win in four Batavia Downs starts and seventh win of the year for Black Is Back ($3.70) who now has banked $50,110 this year for owners Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr.. Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. trains the winner. The $11,000 Open II Handicap also went to a coast to coast winner; Tullow N. John Cummings Jr. rousted Tullow N off the gate and to the front and never let anyone get close to them the whole mile. After clicking off fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:24.4 with a loose lead to boot, the field was scattered behind Tullow N except for Manceiver (Drew Monti) who sat the pocket the entire way and was close enough to be considered a contender. But Tullow N didn't see it that way as he turned for home and pulled away to a 2-¾ length win in 1:53.1. With $55,135 in earnings on the strength of four wins in 2019, Tullow N ($8.10) is also two for four since coming to Batavia Downs. Blindswitch Racing owns the 8-year-old altered son of Mach Three-Tessa Bromac and Dave Russo does the training. Shawn Gray was in from Saratoga to drive on Saturday and put on a clinic while he was here. Gray won half the card; five out of the 10 races including a natural Hat Trick in the final three races of the night. He had his picture taken with Best Ears (1:54, $9.20), Myell's Rockstar (1:54.2, $6.30), Thisjetsabookin (1:54.2, $4.20), M G Home Run (1:56, $13.60) and P C Shockwave (1:56.4, $2.60). The five-bagger vaulted him from ninth to fourth in the local driver standings in one night. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 18) at 1:15 p.m. Sunday will feature a $3,000 guaranteed pool on the early Pick-5 wager that runs from race one to race five. It is part of the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) Strategic Wagering program and as such, free program pages are available for those races on the USTA website or by clicking here for a direct download. (http://bit.ly/2Nc7pwj) By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs      

Plainville, MA --- Coming off a 3-year-old year that saw him earn in excess of $65,000 without any stake events, Quicksilver Kemp has come back strong at four and has now taken a new lifetime mark after winning the $12,000 conditioned trotting feature at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Aug. 9). Quicksilver Kemp (Wally Watson) got away third and watched Simple Kaos (Shawn Gray) run away with the first seven-eighths of the race. With a gapped three-length lead, Simple Kaos set fast fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25.1 and looked like he had the win wrapped up. As they moved into the stretch, Simple Kaos got simply tired and came off the pylons. This left an opening for the drafting Quicksilver Kemp and he took full advantage. Watson had him in full gear and they trotted up a storm to the wire, winning by one length in 1:55.2, which was a career best for the gelding. It was the second win in the last three starts for Quicksilver Kemp ($7.80) who is owned and trained by Joel Wheeler. Shawn Gray had a driving hat trick on Friday and Todd O'Dea had a double-double; that being two wins with horses he both trains and drives. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 12) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Plainridge Park's top harness racing driver and trainer combination of Shawn Gray and Jimmy Nickerson teamed up once again to score wins in the two featured races held at the Ridge on Monday Afternoon (July 8). In the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap, Sir Pugsley tucked third from post seven off the gate while Opus Blue Chip (Drew Campbell) took the field to the quarter. But Gray rolled Sir Pugsley to the top past that station and would remain the pace-setter from there. After hitting the half in :55 flat, Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) came calling first up and pushed Sir Pugsley to the three-quarters in 1:22.4 and continued to to be aggressive around the far turn and into the stretch. The pair continued to pace side by side all the way to the wire but Sir Pugsley held his advantage and won by three-quarters of a length in 1:51, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the second win in a row, third of the year and 20th lifetime for the 5-year-old Sir Pugsley ($12.00) who has now earned $42,095 this season for owner Burke Racing Stable and Marc Reynolds. Then in the $12,000 upper-level conditioned pace, the venerable campaigner Betterlatethannever got away eighth by almost 13 lengths and stayed there well past the half while Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Fernleigh Rebel A (Mitchell Cushing) battled relentlessly to the half in :53.3 and the three-quarters in 1:21.4. There Betterlatethannever started his outside trek around tiring horses, eventually tipping four deep heading into the lane where he barreled down the stretch to overtake the whole and win by a half-length in 1:51.1, which tied his seasonal best. Betterlatethannever ($5.60) got his seventh win of the year and pushed his earnings to $63,772 for owners Nickerson Racing and David Glazer. Betterlatethannever Those victories pushed Gray's win total to 77 for the meet and Nickerson's to 28, leaving them both ahead of their nearest categorical competitors by six wins. With no unique winning ticket once again on Monday, the Wicked Hi-5 jackpot continues to grow. When live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (July 11) and they line up for the sixth race, the carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 will be another track record high of $32,332. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA --- Plainridge top harness racing driver Shawn Gray has been on a roll of late after Mitchell Cushing tied him for the dash driving lead over a week ago. Since then he's opened up a six-win gap and on Monday afternoon (July 1) he put an exclamation mark on it with five more wins, including victories in the day's top two classes at Plainridge Park. In the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace, Gray and Sir Pugsley got their revenge over Mach Doro A who got up to beat him in late strides last week in the feature race at The Ridge. This week he was able to hold off a similar rush at the wire to claim the victory. Sir Pugsley grabbed the lead past the eighth pole and settled down to the pylons with a two-length advantage at the quarter in :27. Pacing smartly passed the stands, Sir Pugsley's first challenge courtesy off Tisadream N (Drew Monti) who came first up to engage the leader at the half in :55.3. Maintaining a constant three-quarter-length lead, Sir Pugsley held Tisadream N on the rim to the three-quarters in 1:23.3 and then into the final turn. There Opus Blue Chip (Drew Campbell), who had been drafting second-over, tipped three-deep and was followed by Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) who had been last most of the race. When the group straightened out for home, Mach Doro A looked the fleetest of foot and was barreling down the center of the track. But Sir Pugsley had the jump and was able to hang on by a nose at the wire and win in 1:51.4 which tied his season's best effort. It was the second win in 14 starts this year for Sir Pugsley ($17.20) who has now earned $35,095 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Marc Reynolds. Earlier in the card Gray scored with Betterlatethannever in the $12,000 upper-level conditioned pace in his first start back in his old barn off a claim. Betterlatethannever got away fifth from the gate while Lindy Beach (Drew Monti) barked out the fractions on the front. With the race in two rows in a :54.4 half, Warrawee Nonsuch (Mitchell Cushing) was advancing first over up the backside with Betterlatethannever on his back. Positions remained unchanged from there to the top of the stretch where Betterlatethannever tipped three-wide around Warrawee Nonsuch and flew down the stretch under a subtle line drive from Gray to win by two-lengths in 1:51.1, which was a new seasonal mark. Betterlatethannever It was the 36th win in only 88 lifetime starts for Betterlatethannever ($4.40) who is owned by Nickerson Racing and David Glazer. Jimmy Nickerson trains both Sir Puglsey and Betterlatethannever. Gray rounded out his driving pentafecta with Lone Survivor (1:53.2, $3.80), Superbowl Party (1:53.3, $14.20) and Hide Me Away (1:54.3, $6.80). Gray is not only the current leading dash driver at Plainridge Park, he is also the fourth leading percentage driver in North America with a Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .363. Shawn Gray                     --Tim Bojarski photo After Mitchell Cushing added two wins to his total for the meet on Monday as well, Gray remains the meet leader by a nine-win margin of 73 to 64. Speaking of pentafectas, Plainridge Park started out the day with a record pentafecta carryover pool of $21,026 in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 wager. After there were no winners there, and no winners again in the ninth, the day ended with another record carryover pool of $24,921 which will be available for the Wicked Hi-5 wager in the sixth race on Thursday (July 4) when live racing resumes. Post time for the first race Thursday is 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Bouncing back from a break and an outside post in recent starts, Make It A Double surprised the harness racing betting faithful and took the top prize in the $16,000 Open Handicap trot at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (June 7) at 12-1. Make It A Double (Mark Athearn) got away fourth as even-money favorite Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray) marched at the head of the group to the quarter in :27.4 and the half in :57.2. With no one making a move and the field still in single file, Athearn finally pulled Make It A Double at the five-eighths pole and started the advance towards Wings Of Royalty. Make It A Double drew alongside the leader just past three-quarters and the two then tangoed around the far turn. But by the time they hit the straightaway, Wings Of Royalty had faded out of contention and Make It A Double had established a clear advantage. A late charge by Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) in mid-stretch made it interesting for a moment, but Make It A Double stayed the course and hit the wire first in 1:55. It was the fourth win of the year and all at Plainridge Park for Make It A Double ($26.40) who is owned by William Phipps and trained by Gretchen Athearn. The $12,000 conditioned undercard trot went almost as fast as the feature as Sortie Hanover (Drew Campbell) took the lead just past the half and then stepped off to a :58 half and 1:26.1 three-quarters. From there he simply trotted away from the field by almost four lengths under no urging to win in 1:55.3 and establish a new lifetime mark. Sortie Hanover                                --Tom Melanson photo Also claiming his fourth win of the year, Sortie Hanover ($3.20) now has $37,055 on the card for owner Mark Ford. Elisha Lafreniere trains the winner. Driver Drew Campbell had the hot hand in the bike on Friday winning four races on the card. Besides the aforementioned Sortie Hanover, Campbell also won with Vodkancaviar (1:57, $6.80), Gias Boy (1:57.4, $7.60) and Somekinda Hanover (1:56.4, $3.60). Campbell came into the day with 4,995 career victories and despite having four trips to the winner's circle, came up one short of reaching the 5,000 win lifetime milestone. However it appears he won't have to wait long to achieve that goal as he has 10 drives at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (June 8). Once again there were no unique winners in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in either the sixth or ninth races today and as a result, there will be a $9,286 carryover pool available in the sixth race on Monday (June 10) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- In what could only be described as a powerful performance, Rock Diamonds N toyed with a top field of harness racing pacers at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (June 3) and came away with his third consecutive win after taking the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap in gate to wire fashion. Leaving from post six, Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) set up shop on the point by the eighth pole and opened up a two length lead while cruising to the quarter in :26.4. By the time the race reached the half it was in two rows with Late Night Joke (Shawn Gray) moving on the outside and Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) stalking from the pocket, but the chasers were still a long-length behind the leader and that margin was not diminishing. The race remained unchanged to three-quarters and around the last turn when Rock Diamonds N hit the head of the lane and Cushing merely tapped his tail, put his hands in his lap and just held on for the ride as the stout-hearted son of Rocknroll Hanover pulled away to a four-length lead and ran away with a wrapped-up victory of 1:51.1. The winning time was a new lifetime mark. Since making his first North American start on April 8, Rock Diamonds N ($4.00) has now won five out of seven races for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs trains the winner. Cushing also won the co-featured $12,000 conditioned pace with JK Will Power who out-fought Cruzing Hill (Drew Campbell) for the lead past the quarter and then set every fraction from there. After registering a tepid :56.4 half, JK Will Power then put up back to back :28.4 splits and held off a late charging Cruzing Hill from the pocket as well to win by one-half length in 1:54.2. JK Will Power                             --Tom Melanson photo It was the fourth score of the year for JK Will Power ($3.60) who is owned by Michael Goldberg Racing and trained by Jeff Lieberman. During the afternoon, Patrizio Ancora, Mitchell Cushing, Jim Hardy and Jay Randall all scored driving doubles. Trainers Domenico Cecere, Eric Beach and Shawn Answeeney doubled up as well on the conditioning side. The Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta remains the most elusive bet at The Ridge and as such, has produced yet another healthy carryover pool of $3,729 that will be available in the sixth race on Thursday (June 6) when live racing at Plainridge Park resumes. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski  for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Deetzy (Jereme's Jet) has done plenty of winning in the local harness racing Open Pace over the course of the last few seasons at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jimmy Nickerson trainee spends much of his time traveling from track to track racing against top-flight competition but has landed back at the Spa for his most recent two starts. Coming off a third place finish in his return to town last week, Deetzy was the public's 6-5 betting favorite on Saturday night. Shawn Gray piloted the seven year old pacer and wasted no time powering him out to the early lead. Deetzy cruised through a first quarter of 27.1 and a half of 56 seconds and had plenty left in the tank for the race's stretch run. Deetzy paced away from his rivals to score in 1:51.3 to record his first victory in the local Open this season and fourth win overall in the 2019 campaign. Panocchio (Gerry Mattison), another Spa veteran, came on to finish second in the $15,000 feature while Carolina Beach (Mark Beckwith) closed to be third to continue his "on the board" streak in the Open Pace. Carolina Beach has now finished second or third in seven consecutive installments of the local feature. Deetzy paid $4.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $29.20 and $68.50, respectively. Deetzy's win was one of four on the night for reinsman Shawn Gray who continues to drive at a high percentage in his starts at the Spa. Live racing continues on Sunday at Saratoga with a matinee kicking off at Noon. Mike Sardella

Plainville, MA --- A trio of $12,000 condition harness races that included one pace and two trots, headlined the card at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 30) and when the dust had settled, two of them provided some handsome returns. In the  pacing edition, Legal Power (Shawn Gray) took an early lead and dictated the entire mile. After going :27, :55.4 and 1:23.4 without anyone getting closer than a length, Gray loose-lined Legal Power at the head of the lane and he paced away with no further encouragement to score an easy two-length win in 1:52.4, equaling his lifetime mark. Legal Power ($3.40) claimed his seventh career victory for owners Dandy Farms Racing and FT Racing Stable. Jimmy Nickerson is the trainer. On the trotting side, Hs Marcia (Drew Campbell) took the lead from Southwind Rich (Jim Hardy) before allowing that one to retake, and then sat the pocket trip the rest of the way. At the head of the stretch Campbell pulled Hs Marcia and out-legged Southwind Rich to the wire while holding off a late charge from Tobasco (Joe Di Stefano) to win in 1:58.3. Hs Marcia            --Tom Melanson photo Hs Marcia ($15.40) is owned by Emery Pelletier and is trained by Randy Bickmore. Then in the book-end trot the lightly regarded Aces And Eighths (Wally Watson) got away last by 13-lengths and eventually pulled third-over in a dull outer flow at the half before tipping three-deep at the top of the final bend where he was full of trot and then blew by the field in deep stretch to win by two-lengths in 1:57. The 17-1 Aces And Eights returned $36.20 for owner Jeffrey Epstein and triggered a 1-3-6 trifecta that paid $3,264.60. Jamie Gerard does the conditioning. Aces And Eights                     --Tom Melanson photo Drew Campbell had the driving Grand Slam on Thursday. Besides scoring with the aforementioned Hs Marcia, Campbell also won with Gw Show Faith (1:52.4, $4.20), Kitty Russel (1:55, $21.20) and Shady Secret A (1:54.2, $7.20). The Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta which had not been hit in recent days and as a result, produced a hefty carryover pool was claimed today in the sixth race when one lucky bettor had the 1-5-3-2-9 combination and won $8,670.12. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 31) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- A pair of Winners-Over paces topped the Memorial Day card at Plainridge Park on Monday (May 27) and there was no one to laughing at Late Night Joke's harness racing performance in the fastest of the two divisions. In the $13,000 seven-horse leg, Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) played hardball with Late Night Joke (Shawn Gray) on the point but eventually relented past the 26-flat quarter. But as soon as Late Night Joke cleared, Quick Shot came right back out to reclaim the lead. These two paced strongly atop the field from the half to three-quarters with only a mild bid from Rockin' Cougar (Nick Graffam) during that time. Around the far turn it became a two-horse race and Late Night Joke pulled the pocket before the stretch and drew alongside Quick Shot when they finally did straighten out. From that point on Gray had the whip tucked and Late Night Joke cruised home to a two-length victory in 1:50.4, which was a new seasonal mark. Late Night Joke ($10.80) scored his second consecutive win and third of the year for owner Dandy Farms Racing and Ft. Racing Stable. Jimmy Nickerson trains the winner. In the $14,000 second division, Avatartist (Mark Eaton) found his way to the front once again but after three straight weeks of :25.4 first panel splits, this time in a more controlled :27.4. With no one pushing the issue, the race continued to the half in :57.3 and it was really over at that point. Avatartist then went back to back quarters in :27.2 and :27.4 and held off late charges by Sir Pugsley (Shawn Gray) and Fashion Bythebeach (Mitchell Cushing) to win by a length in 1:52.4. Avatartist                                --Tom Melanson photo Driver Mark Eaton also trains and co-owns Avatartist ($10.40) with Bob McHugh, Robert Griffin and Russell Young. Driver Jay Randall had a big day at The Ridge scoring a Grand Slam on the afternoon. Randall won with Goddess Ofgoodness (1:57.4, $4.00), My Mind Is Madeup (1:52, $6.40), Fuzzylegsandall (1:54.4, $14.40) and Weekend Fling (1:55.1, $12.80). Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 30) with post time at 4 p.m. As a result of no one picking the winning combination once again, there is a $7,170 carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager in the sixth race on Thursday.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- On Monday afternoon (May 20) Mach Doro A asserted his dominance for the second week in a row and overpowered a full field of nine top pacers as he took the $16,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park. Avatartist (Mark Eaton) left from post nine and seated the whole harness racing field as he sped to the quarter in :25.4 over the sloppy track. As the race passed in front of the stands, J JS Delivery (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over and brought Bet You (Heath Campbell) and Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) with him in the outer flow. The race hit the half in :55 and J JS Delivery was drawing closer to Avatartist, but he wasn't doing it fast enough for Mach Doro A as Cushing tipped that one three-deep up the backside and blew past the field. By the three-quarter pole Mach Doro A had cleared in 1:23.1 and that marked the beginning of the end of the race. As he rounded the turn he started pulling away with the rest of the field double-decked behind him. Cushing looked over his shoulder at the top of the stretch and saw he was home free and Mach Doro A strode-out to an unprompted seven-length lead at the wire where he won in 1:52. The time was the second consecutive lifetime mark for Mach Doro A. Now a winner of 33 out of 83 races and $296,246 lifetime, the 8-year-old Mach Doro A is also two-for-two at Plainridge Park this year for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer. In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned pace, Passport To Art (Shawn Gray) got a perfect pocket trip behind Pokerface Bluechip (Mitchell Cushing) before tipping in the last turn to launch a strong stretch drive that wore down the leader at the wire where he won in 1:51.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Passport To Art ($12.20) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spaluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Passport To Art                     -Tom Melanson photo Shawn Gray had a huge day at Plainridge on Monday, winning five races on the card. Besides the already mentioned Passport To Art, Gray also scored with Queen For Life (1:59.2, $5.00), Jake G's Champion (1:57.3, $19.00), Chip Walther (1:52.3, $9.40) and Sir Pugsley (1:51.4, $3.00). With that performance Gray now has a commanding lead in the dash win race for the meet topping Mitchel Cushing by 12; 42-30. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 23) at 4 p.m. With now winner in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in race six or nine on Monday, there is a carryover pool of $1,995.95 for that same bet in race six on Thursday.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusett  

Deetzy (Shawn Gray) glides to an easy harness racing win at the Tioga Downs Open Handicap Pace ($12,000) on Sunday (May 19). Americanprimetime (Mike Merton) grabbed the lead just before hitting the first quarter mark in :26.2. The lead was short lived as Deetzy ($4.10) took over as the lead as they went by the stands for the first time. Deetzy led to the half in :54.1. New World Order (Tyler Buter) put on some pressure just before Deetzy hit the three-quarter mark in 1:22.1. Deetzy is trained by Jimmy Nickerson and owned by the Holland Racing Stable. He shook loose in the stretch to win in 1:50.1. Americanprimetime was second best with Dakota Jack (Mike Simons) getting third money. Deetzy is a 7-year-old gelding by Jerome's Jet. It was his third win this season. He now has reached the winner's circle 26 times in his career. Tag Up And Go (Mike Merton) charges late to capture the Open Handicap Trot ($12,000). Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) went to the front and carved out all the early fractions (:27.2, :57.0, 1:25.1). Tag Up And Go ($2.40), who is trained by Patti Harmon for owners Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro, was fourth heading into the stretch. He looked like he put on wings as he out-dueled second place finisher Golden Son (Mike Simons) to win in 1:54.2. Prairie Fortune held on to finish third. Tag Up And Go is a 9-year-old gelding by Angus Hall. He has six wins this season including the last four in a row. The gelding now owns 45 career victories. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 24) at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs

Plainville, MA --- Three starts, three wins and Massachusetts native son Wings Of Royalty remains peerless at Plainridge Park this year. His latest harness racing conquest came on Friday afternoon (May 10) when he won the $16,000 Open Handicap trot in handy fashion. Driver Shawn Gray floated Wings Of Royalty off the gate and settled in third briefly as Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) cut the quarter in :27.3. But Gray pulled out there and rolled to the front as the race passed in front of the stands. He cruised to the half unassaulted in :56.4 but then saw Only Passing Thru (Nick Graffam) to his flank as they hit the three-quarter pole. The race rounded the last bend and at the head of the stretch Wings Of Royalty was trotting between Only Passing Thru and Nows The Moment and both of them were drawing closer. But the race got to the wire before they got to him and Wings Of Royalty maintained his dominance, winning in 1:54.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the fourth win in nine starts this year for Wings Of Royalty ($3.20) who was bred in Massachusetts by his owner Ray Campbell Jr. John Di Stefano does the training. Wings Of Royalty is eligible to the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot that will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28). 24 outstanding aged-trotters have been nominated to this Grand Circuit event that makes its return to New England's premier harness racing venue this summer. In the $12,000 conditioned trotting co-feature, Make It A Double (Matt Athearn) lived up to his name by winning his second consecutive race despite being parked out the whole mile to do it. After Lindy The Great (Patricio Ancora) took the lead, Make It a Double rolled up alongside and pushed the issue at every station. The two tripped the timers in :28, :56.4 and 1:25.2 before hitting the lane and dueling for another eighth of a mile. With both drivers vigorously urging their horses it wasn't until deep stretch when "Matty Ice" got Make It a Double to the front and won by one-half length in 1:54.4, which was also a new seasonal mark. Make It A Double                                    --Tom Melanson photo Make It A Double ($5.80) is owned by William Phipps and is trained by Gretchen Athearn. Drew Campbell led all drivers for wins on Friday, making three trips to the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (May 13) with post time set at 4 p.m.     Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The Saratoga, New York based harness racing trio of the Kellogg Racing Stables, trainer Jackie Greene and driver Jay Randall shipped two of their big guns to Massachusetts and came away with wins in both feature paces at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (April 29). The day's main event was the $16,000 Open Handicap pace and Hudson Phil brought his A-game for the win and set a new lifetime mark along the way. Leaving from post four, Hudson Phil exploded for the lead and set torrid fractions of :26.1, :54.3 and 1:22.1 before Starznheaven (Shawn Gray) engaged him at the top of the stretch. But Hudson Phil had plenty left in the tank as he came home in :28.1 to win by one-half length in 1:50.2. A 4-year-old son of Shanghai Phil and Hazel, Hudson Phil ($5.40) scored his third victory of the year, 14th of his career and pushed his lifetime earnings over a quarter-million dollars with $253,677 now in the bank. Then in the $14,000 Winners-Over pace, Some Attitude came in 0-for-7 in 2019 and went home with the win, the purse and his fastest mile in two years. Some Attitude watched as Avatartist (Mark Eaton) took command, but came right out to retake just past the :26 quarter. From there he set fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.2, which were almost identical to his earlier-winning stablemate. After swinging around the last turn Some Attitude was under light urging and paced home in hand, holding off all late charges to win in 1:51.1. Some Attitude                                  Photo courtesy of Tom Melanson After three consecutive second-place finishes, Some Attitude ($5.80) finally got across this year and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $203,530 in the process. Although Randall added one more win with Weekend Fling ($20.40) to end his day with a hat trick, Shawn Gray was the top dog again for wins scoring a Grand Slam on the card. Gray won with Opus Blue Chip (1:53.2, $3.00), Jo Pa's Artist (1:56.1, $6.40), Late Night Joke (1:52.1, $18.40) and Flem N Em N (1:52.4, $8.80). The four-win performance hoisted Gray into first place for dash wins at the Plainridge meet with 21, two ahead of Mitchell Cushing who had the lead entering the day. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 2) with post time set at 4 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Plainville, MA --- It’s safe to say that Shawn Gray stole the show at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (April 25) after winning five of the 11 races carded including a pair of $12,000 co-featured events for both male and female side-wheelers. In the first harness racing division of non-winners of six races lifetime for the 6-year-old and under colt and gelding set, Gray pulled first over at the half and took the lead with Passport To Art and then cut the remainder of the mile, eventually out-muscling Sometimes Always (Nick Graffam) in deep stretch to win by a neck in a lifetime best 1:52.1.  Passport To Art ($9.40) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spalluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Then in the second split of that same class for the ladies, Gray went to the front right off the gate with Well Said Maria and sped through quarters of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.4 before turning it up coming out of the last turn and pacing away to a wrapped-up six and one-half length margin of victory in 1:55.3. The heavily favored Well Said Maria ($2.10) is owned by Scott Dillon. Jimmy Nickerson conditions that winner.   Well Said Maria         -- Photo courtesy of Tom Melanson Gray rounded out his personal pentafecta with wins by So So Sweet (1:56.2, $5.60), Wood Hunter (1:54.4, $16.00) and Thrownoutofbetter (1:53.4, $7.00). On the strength of Thursday’s performance Gray now has 15 wins at the young Plainridge Park meet and is only one win behind the current dash leading driver Mitchell Cushing (who also had two wins on the card Thursday) who has 16.  Overall Gray sits in third place in North America among all drivers with 499 or less starts to date in the Universal Driver Rating (UDR) with a .388. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (April 26) with post time set for 4 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Plainville, MA --- Heavy downpours, steady wind, a sloppy track and seven formidable foes could not prevent Starznheaven from capturing the $16,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (April 22). Avatartist (Mark Eaton) was the fastest off the wings and skimmed through the water to the quarter in :26.2. But despite the torrid pace for any condition, Shawn Gray was not content to sit and pulled Starznheaven, took the lead and then dared everyone to catch him. Starznheaven got to the half in :54.2 and the three quarters in 1:23. There Tisadream N (Mitchell Cushing) pulled from third and paced even with Avatartist but the pair were still two-lengths behind the leader heading into the stretch. Starznheaven was motoring strong under a hand-drive from Gray while his pursuers tried to catch him, but that was not the case this day as Starznheaven held off their bid to win by two lengths in 1:51.4. The time was a new seasonal mark for the winner. It was the third win of the year and 40th of the career for Starznheaven ($3.60) who is owned by Marc Reynolds, Scott Dillon and Bradford Veilleux and trained by Jimmy Nickerson. In the $15,000 Winners-Over pacing co-feature, Gibbs (Mitchell Cushing) got away a distant seventh at the quarter before pulling third-over in a lively outer flow and then tipped three-wide coming off the far turn to circle the field and pull away to a two-length win in 1:53.1. It was the second straight win at Plainridge Park for Gibbs ($17.20) who is owned by Rick Howles. Eric Beach does the conditioning. Mitchell Cushing and Shawn Gray both had driving triples on the card while trainer Jimmy Nickerson did the same on the training side. The oppressive racing conditions provided some premium payouts on Monday including Rockin Cougar (Nick Graffam) who paid $58.40 in the ninth and All Artist (Drew Campbell) that returned $61.20 in the tenth. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (April 25) with post time at 4 p.m. For more information of harness racing in Massachusetts log on to the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts at www.sominc.net and Plainridge Park at www.plainridgeparkcasino.com.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- When Plainridge Park opens their doors to welcome racing fans to the start of the 2019 live harness racing meet on Monday (Apr. 8), they will also be celebrating their 20th year of operations hosting the Standardbred sport. Plainridge Park (then Plainridge Racecourse) held their grand opening in April of 1999 when an overflow crowd of 4,500 guests filled the parking lots and jammed the grandstand to witness the first live harness racing in the Commonwealth since Foxboro Park closed two years earlier. The track offered 14 races that first afternoon with an average purse of $3,900. Fans cheered as Worth Mentioning won the very first race by 12 lengths in 2:00.1 with Steve Smith driving. Two decades later, Plainridge Park has risen to new heights on the strength of the new $115 million casino complex that opened in 2015. Since then the racing product has benefitted from enhanced overnight purses of up to $20,000 per race as a result ever since thanks to the proceeds from gaming that go towards the track's purse account through the Massachusetts Race Horse Development Fund. Since the casino opened the facility at Plainridge Park has created significant economic benefits for local residents by generated as much as $186 million in annual revenue as well as employ 500 people who work at the site as stated in a December 2018 report by the University of Massachusetts. Plainridge Park's 2019 meet features 108-days of live harness racing held every Monday, Thursday and Friday through November 29. Sunday racing will be added from September 29 through October 27. Post time is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on all race days through August. It will then move to 2:00 p.m. during September and October and move once more to 1 p.m. for the final month of racing in November. Plainridge Park will continue to offer exciting wagering opportunities which includes the 20-cent Jackpot Wicked Hi-5, which will now be offered twice daily in races six and nine. Plainridge also offers full card harness and Thoroughbred simulcasting seven days a week. On the track, three millionaire drivers who made serious money for their connections at the Ridge last year will be back to ply their trade once again in 2019. 2018 leading driver Drew Campbell will return to defend his driving title and see if he can improve on his stellar 160-win and $1.25 million earnings season of a year ago. Also returning will be 21-year-old rising star Mitchell Cushing, who finished second with 139 wins and just over $1 million in purses. And rounding out this teaming trifecta is Shawn Gray who finished third in the standings, scoring 125 victories and $1.23 million in earnings. All three drivers registered career highs for money won last year and Campbell and Gray finished fourth and eighth respectively among all drivers in North America in Universal Driver Rating (UDR). The tracks signature race, the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot, will return in 2019 after a year's absence and will be held on Sunday (July 28). The race will draw North America's top aged trotters and put the track in the National spotlight once again over the summer. Also on that same card will be the newly instituted $100,000 Clara Barton Pace which is an Open event for fillies and mares. Plainridge Park will also host the Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) starting in September. Three preliminary legs for both gaits and genders valued at a total of $840,000 (est.) and eight finals totaling $800,000 (est.) make the $1.64 million 2019 MASS the richest races of the meet at Plainridge. State sponsored Standardbred breeding in Massachusetts is one of the fastest growing programs of its type in North America on the strength of its rapidly increasing purse account. 2-year-old eligibles have increased 50% since 2017 and resident mares have gone up 30% during that same time. Owners and breeders from the northeastern United States and Southern Ontario are taking advantage of breeding horses that have the ability to compete in two separate sire stake programs as a result of the resident mare rule in Massachusetts which allows any sire from any state to be bred to them, giving the offspring dual-eligibility. The 2019 MASS race dates are Sunday (Sept. 29) 3-year-old First Leg $35,000 added; Monday (Sept. 30) 2-year-old First Leg $35,000 added; Sunday (Oct. 6) 3-year-old Second Leg $35,000 added; Monday (Oct. 7) 2-year-old Second Leg $35,000 added; Sunday (Oct. 20) 2-year-old Third Leg $35,000 added; Monday (Oct. 21) 3-year-old Third Leg $35,000 added; Monday (Oct. 28) 2 and 3-year-old Finals $100,000 est. For more information on all the live racing action at Plainridge Park throughout the year log onto the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts (www.sominc.net ) or Plainridge Park Casino (www.plainridgeparkcasino.com ).   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

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