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Tac’s Delight (Self Possessed) made his local debut a winning one on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway in one of the most dramatic photo finishes tihs year.. Billy Dobson piloted the eight-year-old trotter to a win in the $19,260 Open Trot for trainer Rene Allard after coming from the back of the pack before winning a tight photo finish by a nose. The second, third and fourth place horses were separated by only an additional nose, nose and a neck! Tac’s Delight was making just his second start of the season for Allard and his first since January but was good enough to score in 1:56.2. Pay The Winner (Stephane Bouchard) just missed securing the upset and had to settle for second while Victory Tax (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot with Slugfest (Jim Devaux) fourth in the photo. Tac’s Delight returned $15.60 to win in the Friday feature. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway  

Crazy About Pat trotted to a new 3-year-old colt track record at Monticello Raceway when Jimmy Morrill, Jr. guided the son of Crazed to a 1:57 triumph in his division of the $155,000 New York Sires Stakes on Tuesday afternoon, September 17. The colt’s victory erased the former standard of 1:57.1 set by Napoleon and driver Stephane Bouchard on June 11, 2008. Morrill also won the second NYSS split with Tirade Hanover in a time of 1:58.2 and he won a $12,700 division of the Excelsior Series with Robin Would in 2:00.4. But the buzz was about the ease in which Crazy About Pat established the new track record where the son of Crazed-Dibrizzi trotted off to a stunning nine length victory over Order By Keeper driven by Marcus Johansson. Sent off the prohibitive favorite from the five-hole Morrill sent his trotter to the lead but they didn’t gain command until they neared the quarter pole. From there Crazy About Pat trotted off by himself and was open lengths in front the rest of the mile.. At the half the colt was three lengths and was four in front on the final turn. When Crazy About Pat straightened in the lane, without any urging from his driver, they sailed home an easy nine- length victor over Order By Keeper and driver Marcus Johansson. Third place went to Crazed N Lindy (Jimmy Marohn, Jr.) When told he set a new mark for 3 year old trotters, Morrill was asked if his colt could have gone faster since he had beaten the record by just one-fifth of a second. “He had a lot left in the tank and we could have gone more but why would we?” Morrill said. “We’ve got enough points for (to be eligible to) the ($225,000 NYSS) final.” Owned by the Patricia Stable of Massapequa, NY and trained by Noel Daley, Crazy About Pat raised his seasonal bankroll to over 256,000 and returned a $2.40 win mutuel. In the other $79,375 division Morrill left cautiously from the seven hole with Tirade Hanover and they skirted the confusion triggered by the breaking horses on the first turn and they ended up on the lead in a soft :29.4 first stanza. From there Morrill got away with a :30.3 second quarter and Tirade Hanover went on to a very easy six- length triumph over Theraputic and driver Aaron Byron in a 1:58.3 clocking. Modest Prince (Andy Miller) was third under the wire but placed fifth by the judges when his interference while on a break which caused the field to scatter on the first turn. Kegler Hanover (Marcus Johansson) was awarded the show dough. Morrill, who never says too much about the winners he drives, had a broad smile on his face when he and Tirade Hanover returned to the winners circle. “He’s the horse to beat in the(NYSS) final,” Morrill blurted out without even being asked a question.. Owned by Leigh Raymer, Stephen Moss and Harold & Helene Solomon, it was the fourth consecutive victory and fifth in 10 starts for Tirade Hanover and the son of Crazed-Teagarden Hanover raised his seasonal earnings to over $188,000. Of the five Excelsior Series trots the most impressive was Bay Pond Stables Ex King when Dan Daley drove the CR Excalbur-Crown Crysta gelding to a 1:57.1 victory for the youngster’s third win in his last five starts. Asked why they raced Ex King in the Excelsior Series instead of the Sire Stakes , Daley replied; “He was no good early and only has come around recently. And besides we needed to earn enough points to be eligible to the (Excelsior) series final.” Other Excelsior Series winners included Brookroaddonnie (1:59.1- Mike Simons); Signal Hill PK (1:59.4-Stephane Bouchard) and Jelectric (2:01-Jimmy Marohn, Jr.) John Manzi

Max Will Start continued his terrific season at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Wednesday night as the claiming pacer won for the eighth time of the year. Wally Hennessey piloted the eight year old pacer for trainer Mike Carrubba and moved Max Will Start (Mach Three) to the early lead. The favorite never had an anxious moment in going wire to wire in 1:56.4 over a sloppy Spa oval. It was the third consecutive victory for Max Will Start whose owner Robert Pucila of Mount Kisco, NY also saw his All Powerful (Stephane Bouchard) prevail on the thirteen race card. Max Will Start is one of the winningest horses of the season at Saratoga. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway  

Western Luke (Western Cyclone) set a lifetime mark in Tuesday’s $6,000 featured race at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Drawing his best position in almost two months, Western Luke sat patiently off the pace before swinging three wide around the final turn and drawing away in the stretch. The Robyn Mangiardi trained four year old proved best in a career best 1:55.3 with Chris Long in the sulky. Knockout Art (Bruce Aldrich Jr) finished second while Down N Dirty (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot in the conditional-claimer for young pacers. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella

Walltocousins (Cantab Hall) secured his first victory in a local feature on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the five-year-old trotter endured a long first over journey before securing the win in 1:57. Walltocousins was piloted to the score in the $18,000 Open Trot by Joe Bongiorno. Pay The Winner (Stephane Bouchard) drafted in the cover of the winner before finishing second while Count Speed (Wally Hennessey) came on for third. Walltocousins is trained by Brad Irvine. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella

VERNON, NY—The purse-earning pacer Elleofnxample unleashed her patented late charge and came away with a 1:53.2 triumph in Thursday night’s $10,000 feature for Open female pacers at Vernon Downs. Todd Frocione, 49-year-old son of Syracuse owner Lon Frocione, did the teaming in Thursday’s ninth race as Elleofnxample started out sixth among the seven distaffers. As the pace-setter, Abbey Road Hanover rolled through splits of :27, :56 and 1:24.1 over a rain-dampened “good” track, Elleofnxample began her scenic rally around the final bend, advancing to third entering the last furlong. The 7-year-old mare closed in a :28.2 final quarter to pass and defeat the mile-cutter (who finished third), and the on-rushing challenger, Love You Bye, who ended up three-quarters of a length back in second. Thursday’s tally was the fourth locally and fifth this season for the Tony Mondi-conditioned daughter of N Xample-Fairline Hanover, who currently sports 26 lifetime victories and earnings of more than $250,600. Thursday’s fastest win was a 1:53.1 showing by the 5-year-old pacing mare Southwind Lavanda, who captured the evening’s first event, with Jimmy Whittemore teaming for trainer/part-owner James Healey and the Stephane Bouchard stable. John Macdonald won three of Thursday’s 12 races, while Whittemore, along with driver Chris Lems and trainer Leopold Sawyers, were each credited with a pair of first-place finishes during the track’s 52nd program of 2013. DOWNS DOINGS The MacDonald-steered pacer Gramjesty earned his first pari-mutuel victory after a 1:56.3 effort in Thursday’s 12th race. Chip Zombick conditions the 3-year-old gelding for owners Michael Pozefsky, William Pozefsky and Myron Ekstein… The Downs begins two straight nights of State Fair racing for New York-bred freshmen tomorrow (Aug. 23), with filly trotters and pacers displaying their talents on Friday, while the male Standardbreds take over the spotlight on Saturday evening; first post at 6:45 each night… A special program on Sunday, Aug. 25 will feature the first round of this season’s 7th-Annual All-Star Drivers’ Championship, as well as the $700,000 (est.) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. There will also be a Corey Callahan bobblehead doll giveaway, free drivers’ championship T-shirts (both items dispensed while supplies last), as well as an iPad and laptop computer giveaway… 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  

Fox Valley Christo (Yankee Skyscraper) scored a convincing victory in the $6,420 featured race on Wednesday at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Brandon Simpson trained pacer, who was piloted by leading driver Billy Dobson, wasted no time moving out to the early lead. Fox Valley Christo saw his lead grow with every stride late in the mile before opening up in the stretch to win in 1:55.4. It was the fourth victory in twelve tries on the season for the sophomore pacer who followed up a second place finish in his local debut last week with the Wednesday romp. Here And Now (Stephane Bouchard) closed sharply for second behind the favored winner while longshot Bad As Bart (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella

BATAVIA, N.Y. -- It was a nice homecoming for former Western New York driver Jeff Gregory Sunday afternoon as he posted four victories on the card, one in a $65,220 division of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings and three in the $12,600 Excelsior Series. Gregory, originally from nearby Churchville, N.Y., posted a front-running victory with Modest Prince ($7.00) in 1:57, beating Hambletonian elimination participant E L Rocket by four lengths in Sire Stakes action. He also took the non-betting Excelsior affair with Twilight Meteor in 2:00.4, guided Doc's Tebow ($4.40) to a impressive 1:58.3 victory and capped off the Excelsior trifecta aboard Brookroaddonnie ($3.20) in 1:58.4. In his Sire Stakes win, Modest Prince set sail for the rail and cruised the entire mile, posting fractions of 28.2, 57.3, 1:27.3 and used a 29.2 final quarter to run away from E L Rocket (Jim Morrill Jr.). E L Rocket, starting from the fifth spot, got shuffled back to sixth at the start, made a mild three-wide charge down the backstretch, but by then Modest Prince was long gone. The margin of victory was 4-1/2 lengths. "He's so handy," Gregory said of Modest Prince, a RC Royalty colt out of In To Me. "We took advantage of the rail, I saw we had separation down the backstretch (from E L Rocket) so I thought we'd just 'go for it' and we'd go down swinging." When Gregory stepped on the gas at the three-quarter pole, it delivered the knockout punch to E L Rocket and the remainder of the field. Theraputic (Stephane Bouchard) ended up in third. The first $65,220 division saw Tirade Hanover start from the rail and go wire-to-wire in 1:57.0. It was definitely a change in tactics for Tirade Hanover but one Morrill took advantage of. "He's been better coming from behind but we had an uncontested lead so that's what we did," said Morrill of being the pace-setter from the pylons. Tirade Hanover, a gelded son of Crazed, set fractions of 28.3, 58.0, 1:27.4 in posting the winning time of 1:57.0 over the fast track. "He's still seems pretty fresh so I think he's got a shot in the finals," Morrill added. Blackwolf Run (Sam Scillaci) placed second, nearly four lengths back, while Kegler Hanover (Marcus Johansson) rounded out the top three. Dan Daley, who scored two Sire Stakes wins at Batavia Downs Friday night, registered an Excelsior win with Ex King ($10.40) in the opener with a 1:59 clocking while Golden Tate ($7.00) won for driver Cat Manzi in 1:57.4. The racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night with the New York Sire Stakes invading once again. There will be two $41,879 divisions of the Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies which will bring in drivers Cat Manzi, Jim Morrill Jr., Jeff Gregory and George Brennan. There will also be four $12,700 divisions of the Excelsior Series for the three-year-old filly pacers. There is also a Guaranteed $3,000 Pick-4 starting in the third race. For more information including race replays, future promotions and the latest news, go to http://bataviadownscasino.com/live-racing . by Brian J. Mazurek  

BATAVIA, N.Y. ---When you talk about Sunday afternoon's New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old colt trotters at Batavia Downs, it's not about the quantity but the quality of horses that will line up behind the starting gate. There will be just two divisions of $65,220 each of the Sire Stakes, but it will bring together 15 top three-year-old colt and gelding trotters along with some big-name drivers to Batavia Downs. There will also be five divisions of the Excelsior Series, including a non-betting affair set for 12:50 p.m., just before the regular 1:15 p.m. post. Drivers expected in town again will include Hall-of-Famer Cat Manzi, Jim Morrill Jr., Per Henriksen, John Stark Jr., Stephane Bouchard and Jeff Gregory. The first $65,220 division of the Sire Stakes will be the fifth race with Crazy About Pat and Tirade Hanover headlining the field of seven. Crazy About Pat (5-2) has won his last two races in the Sires Stakes, posting a 1:57.3 at Saratoga and a 1:56 at Yonkers. Driver Cat Manzi will start Crazy About Pat, a son of Crazed, from the seven post and will want to set the pace which has proven to be successful recently. A winner six times in 14 starts, Crazy About Pat has earned $200,995 this season and has surely matured and developed since 2012 when he had just four show finishes in eight starts and just $21,222 in earnings. The main threat should come from the rail where Tirade Hanover (9-5) and driver Jim Morrill Jr. will start. In going 1:55.4 in a victorious effort at Saratoga on August 6, Tirade Hanover, an altered son of Crazed, was nearly seven lengths off the lead at the half, but trotted home to win easily by 3-1/4 lengths. He has won $277,161 in his career and had a great 2012 campaign, winning seven times in 11 appearances for $193,999 in winnings.  It should be a classic battle where Crazy About Pat will play 'catch me if you can' with Tirade Hanover, who should come charging with a late kick. The fans are in for a treat in the eighth race, the second $65,220 division of the Sire Stakes. That's where E L Rocket will be, fresh off a fourth place finish in 1:52.4 in a Hambletonian Stakes elimination at the Meadowlands. He will highlight the field of eight as the heavy 3-5 favorite from post five. E L Rocket, by Credit Winner, has won five of 11 races and amassed $108,625 this season. He will be driven by local favorite Jim Morrill Jr. and is conditioned by Ron Burke, far and away North America's leading trainer. Burke has 659 wins this season and nearly $12 million in earnings. To prove Burke's dominance, Rene Allard is a distant second with 294 victories, a 365-win difference. E L Rocket has had a four-race win streak earlier in the year and posted marks of 1:53.1 at Vernon Downs and a 1:55.1 at Yonkers, all in Sire Stakes events. Modest Prince, (3-1) has been camera shy this season, winning just once in 10 starts. But Modest Prince, however, has earned $146,895 this year thanks to being in the money nine out of 10 times. He's also been saddled with some brutal post positions the past three appearances. The rail could be just what Modest Prince, a son of Rc Royalty, and driver Jeff Gregory need to find the winner's circle. The three-year-colt trotting mark was set last season of 1:54.3 by Archangel. It also set the all-time track record trotting mark at Batavia Downs. With great conditions expected, it's a time that could be challenged. There will also be four $12,700 Excelsior Series races sprinkled in among the 13-race card, along with the $7,000 Open II Trot and $8,500 Open Trot. The program could be considered the best thus far this season. A big crowd is expected as besides the outstanding card and nice weather, it's Dollar Days with $1 Sahlen's Hot Dogs, sodas and draft beer. For more information on the track, including schedule, race replays and upcoming promotions, go to http://bataviadownscasino.com/live-racing. by Brian J. Mazurek  

The sophomore trotting fillies will strut their stuff at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (August 15) in the $160,000 New York Sire Stakes and they will be joined by other 3-year-old fillies who'll compete for over $64,000 in the Excelsior Series. The Sire Stakes divisions will each go for purses in excess of $53,000 while each of the Excelsior Series splits is worth $12,700. Although she's not invincible, Lola De Vie figures to be the odds on favorite in her $53,383 NYSS division. Already this year the daughter of Credit Winner- Fan Favourite has won six times in nine tries including the $ 237,600Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Down on June9 in a 1:55.2 clocking. Owned by the Joie de Vie Farm and trained by Chris Ryder, Lola De Vie already has $249,039 on her card and she'll have Jimmy Morrill, Jr. in the sulky when she leaves from the five hole. But trouble may be loom in the presence of Alphadoodle, also a Credit Winner filly but out of Ella Minnow Pea. She sports a 1:57.1 triumph over the half-mile track at Yonkers Raceway on July 8. With over $76,000 bankrolled this year the mostly Canadian-owned filly will be driven by Stephane Bouchard and start from the pole position. Steve and Nancy Pratt's , Barn Babe, is the early line favorite in her $53,383 division. This daughter of Cash Hall-My Baby's Momma won a NYSS split at Batavia Downs in 1:58.1 and owns a sophomore record of 1:54.2 which she earned at Tioga Downs also in Sire Stakes action. John Cummings Jr. will handle the driving chores and they'll start from the pylon position. Perhaps the stiffest competition will be supplied by the Dan Daley-driven Royal Malinda who'll leave from the three-hole. This RC Royalty-Linda Mac filly has been on the board nine times in 13 starts with the fastest of her two victories a 1:55.2 effort at Vernon Downs on July 19. She is owned by Ann Mari Daley, the Purple Haze Stable and Richard Lombardo. A third NYSS split for a $52,383 purse, has Long Island Tea as the 5-2 early favorite. The daughter of Credit Winner- Tea Muscles comes into the contest off a 1:54.4 win at Vernon Downs on August 2. Unraced at two, Paul Kelley trains the filly who has won six of 10 races this year and purses in excess of $61,000 for owner Steve Stewart. However, the Cat Manzi- driven Wygant Lady has won a NYSS trot at Yonkers Raceway in 1:56.1 July 8 and figures to be a formidable foe from the two- hole. The daughter of Credit Winner-Rose Street Angel has already earned over $102,000 for owners Taylor Gower and Alan Stull. And though she is yet to return to her freshman form, the now Linda Toscano-trained Lady Riviera has only had four starts this year without a victory. Last season she won four of nine and earned over $129,000. Toscano will hand the lines to Jimmy Morrill, Jr. when the filly starts from post four. The NYSS splits will be races one, five and eight on the card while the Excelsior divisions will go as races four, six, nine, 11 and 12. The 14 race program will get underway at 12:50pm.   by John Manzi  

Ali Blue matched the track record for freshman fillies on Saturday night at Saratoga on a New York Sire Stakes laden fifteen race program. The Jimmy Takter trained two-year-old powered away from her rivals in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:54.4 to match the track record for two year old fillies. Ali Blue (American Ideal) moved her record to four wins in five tries in Sire Stakes action with her Saturday romp. Yannick Gingras sat behind the talented filly as she matched the mark set by Queenofthestars (Stephane Bouchard) in 2007 which was matched by Handsoffmycookie (Tim Tetrick) in 2011. The other Sire Stakes winners on the night were JK Molly (Art Major), who prevailed for Tim Tetrick in 1:57.2 and A La Notte Hanover (Art Major) with Andy Miller in the sulky, who stopped the timer in 1:56.1. The New York Sire Stakes will return to town next Saturday night when three year old pacing colts are set to slug it out. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05 pm. by Mike Sardella  

Management is pleased to report that all of the horses and drivers involved in the Wednesday night harness racing wreck at Saratoga are doing ok. Three of the four drivers involved in the ugly incident were back driving on Thursday night as Bruce Aldrich Jr, Billy Dobson and Cory Stratton all suffered some bumps and bruises but were back in the bike on Thursday. Brian Cross didn’t fare as well as the veteran reinsman reportedly suffered a concussion along with several cuts and bruises but was home resting on Thursday. He will be sidelined indefinitely. All of the horses involved came out of the accident as well as could be hoped for. Aldrich piloted the winner in the Thursday night feature as Legerdepan (The Panderosa) recorded her first Open victory as she came on to beat the favored The Last Laugh (Tyler Buter) in the final strides. For Legerdepan, it was her third consecutive win but the first while competing in the $18,000 Open for Fillies and Mares. The victory in the feature came in 1:54.4 for the Jose Godinez trained pacer. The Last Laugh had her lengthy win streak broken but finished a strong second in her local debut while Blows Me Away (Stephane Bouchard) closed to finish third. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a 7:05pm first post.  by Mike Sardella

Bettor’s Reward (Bettor’s Delight) rewarded many of the bettors on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the 7-5 co-favorite recorded his first ever victory in the local Open. Stephane Bouchard piloted Bettor’s Reward for trainer Janice Connor and after sitting third throughout lap one, moved the five year old to the outside past the half. The speedy pacer surged past the race’s favorite and opened up a convincing lead turning for home before stopping the timer in 1:52.4. Kelly’s Noah (Kim Crawford) finished second while invader Dallenbach Hanover (Jordan Derue) earned the show spot in the $19,260 Open Pace. With the victory, Bettor’s Reward moved his career earnings to just a bit shy of the $300,000 mark. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella

Elodie (Real Desire) recorded her first ever Open win at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Thursday night. The Jose Godinez trained six year old had finished in the top four in all three of her previous tries in the Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa heading into Thursday night but was yet to defeat the track’s top mares. Elodie proved worthy of her favorite status this week though as she went wire to wire to capture the victory in 1:54.2 over a tracked labeled “good.” Bruce Aldrich Jr.teamed up with Godinez for wins with Elodie and fellow mare Legerdepan (The Panderosa) on the evening. Elodie was the Open’s 2-1 betting favorite as she bested runner up Blows Me Away (Stephane Bouchard) and third place finisher Let’s Go Higher (Shawn Gray) in convincing fashion. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella 

Run To Vegas continued her win streak on Tuesday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the claming pacing mare again proved dominant. Coming into the evening as a winner of five consecutive races, Run To Vegas (Astreos) moved out to the early lead and did not look back before drawing away to a convincing victory in 1:56.2. Stephane Bouchard piloted the mare for owner-trainer Andy Sardella. The Run To Vegas win was one of five on the night for the veteran Bouchard who also made trips to the winner’s circle with pacers Perfect Play, Lucky Times and Allie Oakley and trotter Sandbyurman. The 46 year old Bouchard currently sits in third in the local driver standings. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05 pm first post. by Mike Sardella

Let’s Go Higher (Cole Muffler) won her first harness racing "Fillies and Mares Open" at Saratoga on June 30th. She went out to Vernon Downs and set a lifetime mark in their Open for distaff pacers in her last start. Thursday night, the Heidi Rohr trainee was back in town and wound up back in the winner’s circle. Let’s Go Higher sat the pocket to the race’s favorite Bell On Wheels and pounced on her in the stretch to record a 1:54 victory in the $18,000 feature. Bell On Wheels (Harry Landy) was the runner up while Persistent (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Let’s Go Higher won for the fifth time this season for owner Jesse De Long of Clinton, WI. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. MIke Sardella  

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