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Plainville, MA --- The final legs of the $15,000 Wood End Light for 2-year-old harness racing trotters and the $15,000 Nauset Light for 2-year-old pacers were held on Sunday (Sept. 20) at Plainridge Park producing two more winners who will be competing in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes starting next week. The Wood End Light was won by Me Too Baby (Matty Athearn) who led at every station of the mile before turning for home and holding off a charge from the pocket-sitting Sumbigbank Hanover (Jay Randall) to score her first lifetime win by a neck in 1:58.2.   Me Too Baby ($3.00) is owned by Thomas Dillon and trained by Gretchen Athearn. The Nauset Light saw Suzie Blue Chip (Shawn Gray) sit a garden spot trip behind last week's winner Bumpah Stickah (Jim Hardy) all the way to the top of the lane where Gray pulled and ran down the leader at the light to win by ¾'s of a length in 1:56.1.   It was the third win in a row for Suzie Blue Chip ($2.40) and owner Kapildeo Singh. Eve Bergeron does the training. Both of these horses will draw serious consideration in the MASS when it kicks off at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Sept. 27) when the 3-year-olds go to post. The 2-year-olds will first convene on Monday (Sept. 28). Driver Drew Monti led all reinsmen on Sunday with three winners followed closely by Shawn Gray with two. Trainer Domenico Cecere also sent two stablemembers to the winner's circle. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Sept. 21) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- A pair of 4-year-old mares won co-featured $12,000 distaff paces at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 17), each employing a different harness racing strategy to get the job done. First in a mid-level conditioned event, That's Incredible (Drew Monti) drafted along fifth while Avery Seelster (John Nason) marshaled the group to the half in a quick :54.3. At that point Monti had That's Incredible out and rolling on the outside as they made their way up the backside. Passing horses quickly, That's Incredible drew alongside Avery Seelster in the last turn and took the lead at the head of the stretch. Under mild urging, That's Incredible stayed in front of the late closing Shady Caroline (Nick Graffam) and Certified Ideal (Mitchell Cushing) to win in 1:53.2, which was a new seasonal mark.   That's Incredible ($3.60) scored her fourth win of the year for owner Joseph Trice and trainer Jimmy Nickerson. Then in the non-winners of six lifetime condition, Mary Goodnight (Shawn Gray) took the lead at the quarter and stayed on top all the way to the wire. Posting fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.1, Mary Goodnight turned for home and held off the hard charging After The Lovin (Ron Cushing), Cornerd Beach (Bruce Ranger) and Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) all the way down the stretch to win by a length in 1:54.   It was the third win in a row and fourth out of the last five starts for Mary Goodnight ($2.40) who is owned by Joey Mcwhinnie and trained by Scott Rollins. Driver Bruce Ranger had the hot hand again, winning three races on the card while Kevin Switzer Jr. and Jay Randall each won two. Trainer Melissa Beckwith registered three winners as well with Robert Gale posting two. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Sept. 17) with post time set for 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- He made his last  harness racing start in Australia on June 26. Now just 11 weeks later, Ideal Star N had a career day at Plainridge Park as he won the $15,000 Winners-Over Handicap on Monday (Sept. 14). Major Leaguer (Nick Graffam) took command of the race and led the field unaccosted to the half in :55.2. Then in the second turn, JK Will Power (Mitchell Cushing) pulled first over followed by Moonshine Kisses (Phil Fluet) and Ideal Star N (Shawn Gray). The outer flow started to slow at three-quarters and that's when Gray tipped Ideal Star N three-deep into the last turn. He took the lead in deep stretch and pulled away to a length advantage at the wire in 1:51.3.   It was the first North American win for Ideal Star N ($12.20) and a new lifetime mark. Owned by the Jesmeral Stable, Ideal Star N is trained by Sheena Mcelhiney. Gray, Mcelhiney and Jesmeral also hooked up in the eight race with Audi Hare N (1:52.1, $5.80) giving that team a double on Monday. Gray ended up with a driving triple at the end of the day. The co-featured $15,000 conditioned pace for Massachusetts owned 4-year-olds and under was won by Finnbar (Ron Cushing) who went right to the front and led at every station en route to a half-length victory in 1:53.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Finnbar ($9.20) is owned and trained by Nancy Longobardi and will be racing later this month in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes which start at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Sept. 27). Driver Ron Cushing also doubled up on Monday after winning with Bettors Fire N ($4.80) who went gate to wire in a new seasonal mark of 1:52.1. Heidi Gibbs trains Bettors Fire N for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Sept. 17) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- It was better than a hat trick or a grand slam; it was "Graymazing". That's the only way you could describe what harness racing driver Shawn Gray did at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 10). He won six consecutive races in which he drove, much to the delight of those who backed him at the windows. After finishing third in the first race, Gray won races three through seven and then race nine. He did not have a ride in race eight. Gray's win total also accounted for over half of the races won during the 11 race card. Among Gray's six-pack was a victory in the featured $12,000 Winners-Over distaff pace with Firstup. Firstup got away fourth in a :26.3 first panel but was on the point by the half. But she was not alone. Pasultimatedelite N (Drew Campbell) was pacing strong right beside her, pushing the issue in a 1:22 third quarter. Just past that station Gray asked the mare for more and the mare responded. Firstup opened up a four-length lead with an eighth of a mile to go and kicked away to a wrapped-up 7-1/2 length advantage at the wire in 1:50.3. The time was a new career mark.   It was the second straight win for Firstup ($4.60) at Plainridge Park for owner Jesmeral Stable. Sheena Mcelhiney trains the mare. Gray also won with Weekend Getaway (1:51.1, $3.80), Suzie Blue Chip (1:54.4, $2.60), Gottalovemyshadow (1:51.1, $4.20), Brenda's Got It (1:53, $6.00) and Mary Goodnight (1:53, $3.80). Gray's sulky superiority gave him an outrageous .889 universal driver rating for the day and vaulted him into the lead for driving honors for the meet. Gray now has 42 wins, one ahead of Drew Monti and six in front of Bruce Ranger and Mitchell Cushing who are tied for third. Gray is also currently seventh in North America for UDR among all drivers with between 300 and 499 starts. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Sept. 11) at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- After having raced at Pocono Downs and Yonkers Raceway in recent weeks, Tom Me Gun N made his first Plainridge Park start a winning one after coming up large in the $15,000 Winners-Over harness racing pacing feature on Monday afternoon (Aug. 31). Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) went for the early lead with Tom Me Gun N (Shawn Gray) behind him, but also had Major Leaguer (Nick Graffam) parked out at his side and this was a battle that would go on for over half a mile. The horses hit the quarter in :25.4 and the half in :53.4 and at that second station, Rock Diamonds N got some separation from Major Leaguer and opened up about a two length lead. As the race moved around the final turn, Major Leaguer faded just enough to allow Tom Me Gun N off the pylons and he came with a fast brush against Rock Diamonds N. Tom Me Gun N quickly took the lead at the top of the stretch and paced away unchallenged to a 4-1/2 length win in 1:50, which was his first North American win and a new lifetime mark.   A 10-time winner in Australia last year, Tom Me Gun N ($19.00) scored his first win of 2020 for owner the Jesmeral Stable and trainer Sheena Mcelhiney. Driver Shawn Gray, trainer Sheena Mcelhiney an owner the Jesmeral Stable pulled off the connection hat trick, winning three races on Monday. The group scored with the aforementioned Tom Me Gun N, My Mind Is Made Up (1:52.3, $23.60) and Mr. Right Hanover (1:51, $7.60). A pair of Massachusetts-bred horses took the pacing co-features for 4-year-olds and under on Monday and both won in impressive style. In the $15,000 division, the 3-year-old gelding R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer Jr.) went off as the heavy favorite and didn't disappoint as he went gate to wire and won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:52.4, which was a new lifetime mark. It was the second win of the year for R Maddy Blue Chip ($3.00) who is owned by Thomas Dillon and Scott Dillon and is trained by Joe Nelson. Then in the $12,000 condition for non-winners of two, the prohibitive favorite 2-year-old gelding Maui (Bruce Ranger) left from post one at 1-9 and was never headed en route to a 6-1/4 length romp in 1:54.3. It was the second win in only three lifetime starts for Maui ($2.10) and owners KDK Standardbreds. Kevin Switzer trains the winner. R Maddy Blue Chip and Maui will both compete in the lucrative Massachusetts Sire Stakes that start on Sunday (September 27) at The Ridge. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Sept. 3) with a new post time. The races will now begin at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- When the prohibitive harness racing favorite broke in the $15,000 Winners-Over trot, the race became anyone's for the taking and Shorething Fashion claimed the prize at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Aug. 28) at 30-1. Gemologist (Jordan Derue) took the field to the quarter and when the 1-5 Kings County (Drew Monti) tried to brush and crush for the lead off the turn, he made a break and left a lot to be determined. The trotters remained in single file until the half where Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray) and Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) came at the leader in the outer flow. This left Shorething Fashion (Bruce Ranger) sitting fifth at the pylons. At the three-quarters Wings Of Royalty gained a half-length lead over Gemologist but couldn't clear, so Nows The Moment tipped three-high into the stretch. Ranger had Shorething Fashion on Nows The Moment's back and went four wide in mid-stretch and out-trotted everyone to the line, winning by 3/4's of a length in 1:55.2, which was a new seasonal mark.   Shorething Fashion had been a fixture at Plainridge in past years but has been racing exclusively in New York in 2020 until this start. Returning to his old stomping grounds proved profitable for his backers as he returned $62.00 for the win, and also for his owner the Jesmeral Stable. Sheena Mcelhiney trains Shorething Fashion . In the $12,000 conditioned trot for 4-year-olds and under, Dramatra (Shawn Gray) got away fourth but took the lead by the three-eighths pole, maintained a gapped length lead around the track for the final loop and claimed a 1-3/4 length 1:55.2 win, which was her fourth victory in the last five starts. Dramatra ($2.80) is owned by Ray Campbell Jr. and Al Ross (who also bred her) and is trained by George Ducharme. The Massachusetts-bred 3-year-old Dramatra (Trixton-Bourbon N Grits) is a three-quarter sister to the 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life and is eligible to the lucrative Massachusetts Sire Stakes that get underway at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Sept. 27). The team of driver Shawn Gray and trainer George Ducharme was quite formidable during the afternoon as they got three horses to the winner's enclosure for pictures. Not to be outdone, driver Bruce Ranger had a driving hat trick on Friday as well. With the conclusion of week eight of the season, the driver race is tight as a drum at the top with only eight wins separating numbers one through four. Drew Monti continues to lead with 36 wins and Mitchell Cushing is second with 30. But with big days put in by both Gray and Ranger, they are now third and fourth respectively with 29 and 28 wins apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Aug. 31) with post time set for 4 p.m. Please note that starting on Thursday (Sept. 3), post time will be moved back to 2 p.m. and remain there through Friday (Oct. 30). By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Shawn Gray put on a harness racing driving clinic Monday afternoon (Aug. 10) at Plainridge Park, winning five of the 11 races on the card and posting a .694 universal driver rating for the day. Gray won the featured $10,000 condition pace for 5-year-old and under fillies and mares with Mary Goodnight who took control in front of the stands going to the half. Mary Goodnight paced smartly to the three-quarters in 1:24 and opened up a two length advantage at the top of the stretch. From there she paced home unchallenged and stretched out to a 4-1/2 length win in 1:52.4.   Mary Goodnight ($4.40) is owned by Joey Mcwhinnie and is trained by Scott Rollins. Gray also won the fastest $10,000 division for 5-year-old and under male pacers with Sea Isle City in a career best effort. After taking the early lead, Sea Isle City eventually got shuffled back to fourth by the three-quarters. When the race reached the stretch, Gray was able to find racing room and shot Sea Isle City up the middle of the track and outpaced Spatterdash (Mike Stevenson) to the wire and won in 1:53, which was a new lifetime mark. Sea Isle City ($17.80) is owned by William and Barbara Ethier and is trained by Jamie Gerard. Gray rounded out his big day with wins behind All About Rusty (1:54.4, $5.60), Dreamzzzz R For U (1:54.1, $4.80) and Passport To Art (1:52.3, $3.20). Drivers Mitchell Cushing and Kevin Switzer Jr. and trainers Alicia Gray and Jamie Gerard each had two wins apiece as well. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Aug. 13) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Thursday's (July 30) card at Plainridge Park featured a pair of $12,000 condition races that both yielded well-backed harness racing winners on another very hot afternoon. In the 5-year-old and under group of non-winners, the Massachusetts-bred CBF Bantam (Shawn Gray) came from off the pace to score a new lifetime mark. Besidetheseaside A (Ron Cushing) took early command and rattled off swift fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.2 while being challenged by the favored Meetmeatthedance (Bruce Ranger) for that third quarter. Around the last turn, CBF Bantam (Shawn Gray) shook loose from fifth and tipped three-deep around the tiring Meetmeatthedance, taking dead aim at Besidetheseaside A. As they headed down the lane, CBF Bantam got the lead and paced strong to the wire and won in 1:52.4, which was a new lifetime mark. CBF Bantam ($5.80) is owned by Glenn Harris and Marion Phelps and is trained by Barrie Farrar. Then an upper-level aged group of condition pacers saw Tisadream N (Drew Monti) win his second straight race after leading at every station. Bettors Fire N (Ron Cushing) got to the front by the eighth pole but yielded the lead to Tisadream N before the quarter in :27. Once on the point, Monti tapped out splits of :56.2 and 1:25 before Quick Shot (Bruce Ranger) got within a length going around the last turn. But that was as close as he would get as Tisadream N swelled up in the stretch and pulled away to a 1-½ length victory in 1:53. Tisadream N is owned by Tony Gruppo and Tim Bojarski and trained by Scott Rollins. Drivers Nick Graffam and Shawn Gray each scored two wins, both in successive races. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 31) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts    

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing driver Shawn Gray, trainer George Ducharme and owner Ray Campbell Jr. all pushed themselves up the statistical ladder on Friday (July 24) after each scored a grand slam at Plainridge Park. First Gray and Ducharme teamed up for a pair of victories with Dramatra ($2.80) who took an overland route to a 1-1/2 length, 1:55.3 lifetime mark win and Without A Warning ($2.80) who jogged home to a six length victory in 1:55.2.   Dramatra is owned by Ray Campbell Jr. and Al Ross while Without A Warning is owned by Campbell alone. Ducharme's other two training wins came with Wings Of Royalty ($2.20) who led the entire race before drawing off to an 18-length win in 1:53.1 for driver Drew Monti while Greyscale ($3.00) and Nick Graffam closed sharply in the lane to catch Crazy For Luca ($2.10) and Mitchell Cushing at the wire where the two finished in a dead heat. Wings Of Royalty and Greyscale are both owned by Ray Campbell Jr., closing out his four-win day while Crazy For Luca is owned by Dale Hein, Tessa Perrin and Royal Roland. Gray completed his four-bagger behind Tobasco ($8.00) who took a new lifetime mark of 1:55.4 for owner Di Stefano and Son Stable and trainer John Di Stefano and Weekend Getaway ($12.20) who paced sharply in 1:53.4 for owner Jeffrey Kaylor and trainer Joe Therrien. Dramatra, Without A Warning, Greyscale and Crazy For Luca are all 3-year-old Massachusetts-bred trotters who will compete in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes at Plainridge Park later this year. Wings Of Royalty is also a Massachusetts-bred trotter who was the MASS 3-year-old trotting colt champion in 2015 and has amassed over $880,000 in lifetime earnings to date. With the first two weeks of racing now complete at Plainridge, Drew Monti is the leading dash driver with 10 wins followed by Shawn Gray who bolted into second today, and now has nine wins. Tied for third are last year's driving champion Mitchell Cushing and Nick Graffam who have eight wins apiece. On the training side, George Ducharme went right to the top with six wins on the strength of his four win day with Mike Graffam in second place with five tallies. There are three conditioners tied for third with three wins each and they are Scott Rollins, Roger Farrar and Mark Eaton. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 26) with a special 2 p.m. post time and will feature the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Bontz N has been the female force among pacers at Saratoga Casino & Racing this season. The nine year old distaffer won her fifth Filly and Mare Open of the year on Tuesday afternoon as her regular pilot Shawn Gray got the favored mare to coast through a comfortable first lap before drawing off from the competition in the final half. Bontz N was the 4-5 betting favorite in the $8,500 feature and cruised uncontested through a first half that went in 58.1. From there, the chase was futile for the rivals of the favorite who prevailed by a measured half length over pocket-sitter Thats Incredible (Billy Dobson) in a mile clocked in 1:55.1.   Barynya A (Sam King) sat third behind the top two throughout the mile and earned the show spot. Bontz N led an exacta and triple that returned $9.70 and $55, respectively. Bontz N's trainer Gary Levine came into the week atop the trainer standings this season but conditioner Melissa Beckwith piled up three wins on the Tuesday card as she and Levine remain very close at the top. With the driving victory in the ladies' Open, Shawn Gray has now piloting the winner of the most recent installment of the Fillies and Mares Open, the Open Pace and Open Trot. Live racing continues on Wednesday evening with a mostly New York Sire Stakes filled program as two year old pacing colts and geldings are featured. First post time is set for 7:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Harness racing trainer Jackie Greene has a pair of training titles to her credit at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The trainer of the Horse of the Year at the Spa on multiple occasions, Greene used driver Frank Coppola Jr. as her stable's regular reinsman for the last several seasons. With Coppola not in the mix anymore, Greene has used Shawn Gray on all of her horses in the first couple weeks of the 2020 racing season. On Wednesday, Greene and Gray teamed up for a pair of victories including one in a co-featured $9,000 trotting event for New York sired trotters. Deplorable Tom (Credit Winner) was acquired by the Kellogg Racing Stables this winter and after a few unsuccessful starts at the Meadowlands, the four year old made his local debut out of the Greene stable on Wednesday. Gray moved Deplorable Tom out to the early lead and they faced just a mild threat from the race's favorite before drawing off to score in 1:59.1. The Kellogg Racing's Brad's Buddy (Heston Blue Chip) put in a career-best performance on Wednesday as he posted a new lifetime mark. Brad's Buddy worked hard in the early going to overcome post seven but after getting through the opening quarter in 27.1 didn't face a significant challenge before stopping the timer in 1:54.3 to set a new career mark as Greene went two-for-two on Wednesday with new regular driver Shawn Gray at the helm. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon with a matinee beginning at Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Plainville, Ma --- Driver Shawn Gray kicked off the final week of harness racing in Massachusetts in a big way, winning four races on the nine-race card at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Nov. 25) including the $16,000 Open Handicap trot. In the feature race, Gray drove Quicksilver Kemp from post four an got away last in the field of five while Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) stepped lively on the front with a gapped lead to the half in :57.2. The heavily favored O So Easy (Bruce Ranger) pulled first-over and Gray followed with Quicksilver Kemp as the race motored up the backside. Then O So Easy found a seat second behind the leader before the three-quarters and that left Quicksilver Kemp out in the breeze. As the race rounded the far turn Quicksilver Kemp was winding up and continued to gain momentum before really starting to trot at the apex of the bend. Now reeling in Nows The Moment with every stride, Quicksilver Kemp drew even at the top of the stretch and then blew right by under a hand drive and won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:55.4. It was the third win in the last five starts and fifth win of the year for Quicksilver Kemp ($12.80) and it pushed his 2019 earnings to $72,595 for owner/trainer Joel Wheeler. Gray completed his Grand Slam with Good Heavens (1:57.2, $10.80), Jericho (1:56.3, $3.00) and All Night Credit (1:57, $10.00). The top pace on the card was a $14,000 conditioned event that saw Zinny Mach (Ron Cushing) pull first-over at the half and methodically advance towards the leading No Ordinary Man (Drew Campbell) before catching and out-duelling him in the stretch to win by a head in 1:53.2. The win was the second straight and third in the last four starts for Zinny Mach ($15.00) who is owned by Frank Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer. Whereas Gray led all driver on Monday, trainer Nancy Longobardi was the top conditioner on the card sending two of her students to the winner's enclosure for photographs. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 27) with post time at 1 p.m. There is no racing on Thursday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday and the meet will wrap up on Friday (Nov. 29) with a 1 p.m. post time. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The harness racing team of owner/trainer Joel Wheeler and driver Shawn Gray was prolific at Plainridge Park as the horses they sent to post took both features on the card on Monday afternoon (Nov. 11) . After taking the top trot at the Ridge just two weeks ago, Quicksilver Kemp scored again in the $20,000 Open Handicap on the strength of a late closing bid. Shorething Fashion (Nick Graffam) got off to a quick lead and opened up a three-length gap at the quarter in :28. Going unchallenged through the next panel, Shorething Fashion was greeted by a bid from last week's winner O So Easy (Drew Monti) past the half. O So Easy made a slow and methodical advance towards the leader and by the three-quarters was only a length away. However also moving on the outside was Quicksilver Kemp who had been following O So Easy into the far turn. When the race straightened out in the stretch, Gray tipped Quicksilver Kemp three-deep and easily circled the two trotters ahead of him to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55.1. It was the fourth win of the year for Quicksilver Kemp ($13.20) who has now earned $62,195 this year. Then in the $14,000 conditioned event for 6-year-old and younger pacing mares, Beach Watch led at every station, going quarters of :281, :58.2 and 1:26.2 before turning for home and holding off a fast closing Sometimes Always (John Beckwith) to win by one-quarter of a length in 1:54.3. The fifth win of the year for Beach Watch ($5.80) raised her earnings to $54,970 in 2019 making it the best season she's had in her career for both victories and deposits. Gray had one more win with All Night Credit ($10.40) which gave him the driving hat trick to lead all reinsmen on the day. Wheeler was also the winningest trainer on Monday. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Nov. 14) with post time at 1 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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      

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